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]]> 123693 AR for customer engagement: when and how to use it right https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/ar-for-customer-engagement-when-and-how-to-use-it-right/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/ar-for-customer-engagement-when-and-how-to-use-it-right/#respond Mon, 27 Jan 2020 15:16:28 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/ar-for-customer-engagement-when-and-how-to-use-it-right/

The benefits of using Augmented Reality technology for better customer engagement

All of us remember the famous Pokemon Go game and its insane popularity – but can marketers use the same technology to attract users and make them buy more?

Apparently, the answer is yes. AR has proven to be a true gem for marketers as it significantly boosts customer engagement and the level of interest for a product.

Research by Deloitte states that most of the mid-market companies already experiment with AR to improve user experience and the global AR market is expected to reach about $75 billion by 2023.

If used right, AR technology can significantly increase the recognition of your brand among the users and engage them in a more efficient manner. We have looked at the different scenarios where the use of AR will deliver a supreme experience to your customers and will deliver tangible results to your company.

The presale stage: attract and engage

Because we live in the era of the internet, we can easily compare the products online, look for alternatives, and find the best deals with just a few clicks. With such a diversity of choice, the competition between the products has become incredibly tight and marketers need to use the most efficient tools to attract users. AR is one of the ways to do so in an engaging manner.

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Almost everyone today owns a smartphone and people download a great number of apps on a daily basis. So, as long as they learn that your business has a brand-new AR application, there is a good chance that they’ll give it a try. Here’s what AR can do for you at this stage:

  • Inform the users about the product by scanning the package or the QR code.
  • Give an option to “try” the product (i.e. makeup).
  • Offer an immersive experience by touring the user through the virtual company’s headquarters.

These are just a few ways of how the AR application can help you attract the users and increase brand awareness.

Some examples to inspire you:

  • Sephora Virtual Artist: The app enables the users to “try on” the Sephora makeup before buying it.
  • Wanna Kicks: The app that lets the users “try on” the shoes and choose the ones that look the best.

The point of purchase stage: facilitate the buying decision

Many people leave their shopping carts or physical stores without a purchase simply because they are uncertain about it. After all, nobody can predict just how well a product will look in their room or how it will match items they already own. The inability to try the product and the variety of choices lead to indecisiveness and hurt the overall sales.

AR eliminates this uncertainty by enabling people to actually “try” the product and match it with the needed items – all that without even leaving their home. A great example is the Ikea app that lets the users see how the actual piece of furniture would look in their house. After browsing the in-app catalogue and choosing the real Ikea item, users can then drag it around the screen and see how the item fits in the room. This is a really smart solution considering the fact that you do not usually have the option to “try” the furniture before buying it.

On top of this, AR strongly supports the customer’s buying decision by providing additional information on a product in an interactive and visually attractive manner. What many companies started doing is adding QR codes to the product packages that users can scan and receive additional information on the product making process, ingredients, etc.

Examples to inspire you:

  • Ikea’s app: Allows you to see how Ikea products will look in your house.
  • Audi’s AR app: Lets people test the vehicles and examine them from their phones.

The post-sale stage: inform and support

A good marketer efficiently sells a product to a customer but a great marketer keeps the customer’s interest after the purchase in order to retain a long-term relationship. This is another area where AR significantly helps marketers retain the customers and engage them even after the purchase is completed.

One of the key things to pay attention to at the post-sale stage is maintenance and support. Unfortunately, many marketers provide customers with kind of blunt and boring documentation and poorly designed FAQs which nobody reads.

AR is one of the ways to make maintenance and support more engaging and educate the customers in the right way. For example, upon scanning a QR code on the packaging, the user then sees interactive instructions and information on their mobile phone screen. The same applies to the AR manuals when the user can scan the item with the phone and see an interactive guide on product usage and maintenance.

AR-based gamification: exploring the product in a fun way

After the Pokemon Go boom, there has been quite a number of AR games that work by the same principle: explore the surroundings via the smartphone camera and collect items, perform tasks, interact with virtual objects. While the primary goal of such games and applications is entertainment, companies can use them to their benefit in order to attract new users and get their attention.

One of the ways to do so is developing an application that educates the users about the product and rewards them with certain incentives upon completing the task. In this way, the user will not perceive the application as pure promotion and will become engaged with the product at an early stage.

AR for employee onboarding and training

One more thing to consider when speaking about customer engagement is the quality of service that your employees provide. AR can help you by providing innovative ways of onboarding and training.

At the onboarding stage, you can provide the employees with a virtual AR tour around the company and its departments, including the key areas to learn about. If a company has multiple offices in different countries, AR is a great way to show new employees them all.

As for the training, AR can help you perform simulations that will teach employees how to act in certain scenarios. This is especially helpful for training employees for such situations as Black Friday, holidays, annoyed clients. In this way, you educate people on how to act and respond to stressful situations so they can efficiently handle them in real life.

Summing up

Though the use of a new and efficient technology sounds incredibly tempting, you should not rush into using it just because it’s trending.

In order for the AR to bring profit to your company, first, define your business goals and the state of the business and see which areas call for optimization. Only after defining the issue, you can come up with a suitable AR solution that will help you resolve it and attract customers to your product.

One more important thing to keep in mind is the quality of your app performance. It’s not enough to implement the AR technology – the app must run in a smooth and bug-free manner. For that, make sure to work with experienced developers who can ensure both the AR integration and high-quality user experience.


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5 pricing tips to raise your e-commerce AOV https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/5-pricing-tips-to-raise-your-e-commerce-aov/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/5-pricing-tips-to-raise-your-e-commerce-aov/#respond Mon, 27 Jan 2020 13:10:47 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/5-pricing-tips-to-raise-your-e-commerce-aov/

Perception matters when it comes to pricing. By applying a few principles of human perception to price presentation, you can craft your copywriting to maximize the perceived value in your prospect’s mind

Lee Atwater is attributed as saying, ‘perception is reality.’ This is never truer that in the world of marketing in general, and Offer pages in particular.

By applying a few principles of human perception to price presentation, you can craft your copywriting to maximize the perceived value in your prospect’s mind. The better you can do this, the higher your Average Order Value (AOV) will be – and higher AOVs translate into a higher revenue per visitor (RPV). Best of all, doing this requires only a bit of extra time and cost.

Pricing in the awareness and consideration stages

If you’ve been doing digital marketing for some time, you know the buying stages by heart: Awareness, Consideration, Decision, Action. While your prospects don’t always move through these stages in a linear fashion, they represent the type of thinking they’re doing – whether it’s seeking a solution or ‘the best value’.

So let’s dive into the pricing presentation techniques you should implement – or at least split test – on pages early and midway down your conversion funnel.

Delay showing your prices

An interesting thing happened during a 2007 study done at Stanford University. When participants were shown a box of chocolates, the ‘reward system’ of their brain lit up, as if to say, ‘I want to have this.’

But when the price was then shown to the participants, an entirely different part of the brain was activated, namely the insula. This is the area of the brain associated with experiencing pain, for example when we cut our finger or get excluded from a social group. In other words, our brains perceive price as pain.

A good salesperson knows this, either intuitively or through training. They don’t want to discuss pricing with the prospect early on. The more they do, the less likely they’ll get the sale. So, what to do?

Don’t get into pricing specifics on consideration-stage pages. But do give a rough indication of pricing. This serves to:

  • Qualify your prospect – are they too cheap or low-budget for your offering?
  • Disqualify prospects who aren’t worth your effort – from whom you’d earn a small profit relative to the marketing effort you would put in.
  • Tell your target prospects that they’re in the right solution ‘sandbox’ – they’re not wasting their time on your website or marketing channel.

Example: SAAS subscription pricing

Let’s say that you sell a software-as-a-service (SAAS) CRM solution with this pricing:

  • $599/year for small/medium-sized businesses
  • $1199/year for enterprise-sized businesses

Instead of only showing the yearly subscription price, you could instead say:

“Plans starting at $49/month”

(for our 12-month plan)

That’s a cost most small business owners can afford but if they can’t, they’ll disqualify themselves early in the process.

You can show this directly on your pricing page (as CRM seller Insightly.com does – see below), or at the bottom of your services, solutions or landing pages.

AOV Insights

It’s always best to build value before mentioning pricing, which brings me to my next tip.

Build your offering’s value with great copy

Most rational people, even more brand-loyal, less price-sensitive ones, are seeking value: the best quality, social image, etc. for the money spent. That’s the mental ‘value calculation.

You build this value with your copy. Whether you’re scripting a TV commercial, marketing video or website sales page, it’s compelling copy that will grab your prospect’s eyeballs and keep them reading.

Here’s an example from the auto industry. The current tagline for Mercedes Benz is ‘The Best or Nothing’. This pretty well sums up what their brand represents. That’s why they see people driving C240s – lower-end, 4-cylinder, Mercedes sedan- because they would rather, for example, be seen in a low-end Benz than in a high-end Mazda.

Here’s Mercedes’ E-Series landing page. Their headline (H1) says, ‘The most intelligent business saloon’. It’s clear that they’re selling a ‘smart car’ to smart, upscale people.

Mercedes landing page

Just one scroll down the page they emphasize the vehicle’s innovative, future-forward design and the emotions it evokes. They mention cutting-edge technologies like driver assistance and new engines, just enough new tech – along with sexy imagery – to entice their visitor to click into the body style they like the most.

In this way, their copy positions the brand and makes their target prospect say, ‘That’s me’ (or ‘That’s who I want to be’). Higher pricing, of course, is implied for this brand. For lesser-known brands, you should show a high-level (‘Starting at…’) indication of pricing on your equivalent of the ‘model selection’ page.

Mercedes blog

Pricing in the decision stage

Let’s now move into the decision phase, where pricing – how it’s presented and, most importantly, perceived – are crucially important. It’s at this point that context, not just content, is king.

Change the context of your offer

Most of us humans are pretty clueless about how our brains perceive value. While this naivety makes your prospects prone to manipulation, it presents a great opportunity for you as a marketer.

William Poundstone, author of ‘Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value,’ shares a pricing study done with beers.

In the first test, only two options were offered: a regular beer and a premium beer:

Initial beer test

Out of 100 customers, 20 chose the first option and 80 chose the second. The revenues earned: US $236.

In the second test, the researchers added a lower-priced (US $1.60) beer to the mix. Here’s the resulting sales breakdown:

Secondary beer test

Revenues earned (per 100 purchasers): $255.50. This offer mix thus generated the highest revenues. Obviously, over more months, and thousands more unit sales, the revenue difference would really add up.

These examples show how important it is for you to present both different offer mixes and different pricing levels.

Experiment with price anchoring

As the old saying goes, the best way to sell a $2,000 watch is to put it right next to a $10,000 watch. Why? The principle at work here is a cognitive bias called anchoring. Anchoring refers to the tendency to more heavily consider, or ‘weigh,’ the first piece of information offered when making decisions. For prospects in Western cultures, the first item considered is the one on the left.

In the same book, Poundstone describes another study run by MIT scientists for a mail order business. In the first mailing, one of the women’s clothing items tested was priced at $39. The second mailer offered the item at $34; the third at $44. The outcome: the $39 price point generated higher sales. Specifically, 23% more people bought the dress at $39 than at $34. There was no significant difference in sales at the $34 and $44 price points.

This company also frequently put items on sale and marked them in their catalogs in this way: ‘Regular Price: $X; SALE: $Y’. As you might expect, they saw higher unit sales when the sale prices were highlighted. That is, buyers didn’t know that $Y was a good price unless it was ‘anchored against’ the higher regular price.

Consumers were also more likely to buy an item for $40 if a regular (anchoring) price of $48 was also shown, than if the same item was priced at $39, but with no price anchor. In other words, the anchoring and context of your offer matter more than your price points. So you should definitely test all of these variables within your specific marketing and product mix.

Hide extra costs in bundles

Let’s talk about the selling of accessories, commonly called ‘upsells’. If you’re like most people, you don’t want to pay much extra for these add-ons, even if they provide a better overall solution (10% appears to be the upper end of the ‘just noticeable difference’ cost threshold most people are willing to pay, according to Weber’s Law).

One way to ‘hide’ the extra cost of such upsells is to bundle them with your ‘base’ product (the main product you’re selling). McDonald’s was perhaps the first brand to do this when they asked, ‘Do you want fries with that?’ For example, a burger and drink purchased separately cost US $6.59, while the ‘combo’ was priced at US $6.99. That’s only 40 cents, or about 6%, more for the fries. McDonald’s has sold billions of combos over the years, so this approach clearly works.

The same principle applies when you’re marketing your offering. If you can keep your base-plus-accessories bundle price within 10% (or even 15%) of the price of your base product, you should offer the bundle on your product or other sales page.

UK-based bicycle seller Halfords.com does a great job of this, as you can see below.

Halfords product page

Here’s another benefit of bundling: you can offer the accessories that generate the highest margins. Amazon.com famously does this with their generic “AmazonBasics’ products and related accessories. It’s your choice whether you want to maximize revenues or profits based on these price manipulations.

For more insights on this approach, read the SmartInsights guide, How to optimize your e-commerce merchandising.

Wrapping Up

Some say pricing tricks smack of manipulation. I disagree. I say it’s just presenting your products and pricing in the best context and in a way that best meets your business goals. Ultimately, your prospects and customers control their own decision making.

So I invite you to try out some, or all, of these proven pricing techniques. Better yet, test them in a systematic manner using your Web optimization platform. You have nothing to lose, yet higher AOVs and revenues to gain. Plus, doing this only takes a little more design time.

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4 Tips to help you improve your website’s user experience and conversions https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/4-tips-to-help-you-improve-your-websites-user-experience-and-conversions/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/4-tips-to-help-you-improve-your-websites-user-experience-and-conversions/#respond Mon, 27 Jan 2020 11:51:09 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/4-tips-to-help-you-improve-your-websites-user-experience-and-conversions/

How do you make sure that your website’s user experience is on par with your visitors’ expectations?

There is a very close relationship with a website’s user experience and the conversions you generate from it. Getting traffic to your website is only the first step; from that point on, you need to provide a good enough user experience to make your visitors want to hang around for longer and even more so, convert.

But how do you make sure that your website’s user experience is on par with your visitors’ expectations?

In this blog post, I’m going to share four tips to help you improve your website’s user experience and conversions.

Know what your visitors expect from your website

In order to improve your website’s user experience you first need to learn what your visitors expect from a website; below are the most important elements to consider.

  • Speed: Slow websites aren’t as frequent as they used to be even just a few years ago, but unfortunately, it still happens often enough. If your website isn’t fast enough, most people will leave it almost immediately (almost half of web users tend to leave if a website doesn’t load in three seconds) – and that will definitely have a big impact on your conversion rate.
  • Navigation: Another element that visitors will expect from your website, is a clear, easy website navigation. The easier you make it for them to venture through your website, the better – and the better the chance they will convert as well.
  • Design: Visitors also expect a beautifully-designed website, especially when it comes to a business website. If your website looks cheap or has ugly images, it will lose you a lot of visitors (that never come back).
  • Responsiveness: Is your website mobile-ready? Like speed, a mobile-ready website seems like an absolute must-have… and it is. But also speed, it’s still uncommon to see a website that has nothing to do with mobile devices or bad mobile websites where users can barely find anything of value (sometimes, mobile websites are stripped down of navigational options, which can make a visitor very frustrated).

These are the most important elements to consider; of course, there are many other small things that visitors often look for in a website but these are the first four you need to check and improve.

Understand how visitors use your website with heatmaps and scroll maps

One of the best ways to improve your website’s user experience and conversion rates is to take a good look at your website and how your visitors use it.

Heatmaps and scroll maps use colours (warm – reddish colours – to cool – blueish colours) to highlight exactly which parts of a page get the most attention from your visitors.

This type of knowledge can tell you a lot about your visitors, the user experience and what areas of your website and landing pages need work.

For example, you can use tools like Crazy Egg and Hotjar to see your own website’s heatmaps:


They will tell you where your visitors get stuck on your website, meaning you need to find ways to improve the user experience so that more visitors will continue past that point. They’ll also show you whether your calls to action are truly visible, if your navigation system is easy to use and other important information about your visitors and website.

You can even record the sessions of your visitors to see exactly how they act on your website – this will be of huge help with finding out what needs to be changed or optimized.

Improve your website’s navigation

As I mentioned earlier, your website’s navigation is extremely tied in with the user experience and your conversion rate. Bad navigation will lead to people leaving your website – and not coming back – while good website navigation will not only keep people around for longer, but it will also help convert more users as it’s easier for them to find what they’re looking for.

For example, if we look at the Amazon homepage, everything is very easy to find.

Amazon homepage

At first glance, you can see offers that are relevant to you, as well as any deals of the day or last minute deals – all you have to do is click on them to see the offers. Plus, in December, you can also see the Christmas Shop option in tw different places, as well as a tab for last minute Christmas deals. If that’s still not what you’re looking for, then you can click on “shop by department” to see an extensive but very well-organized list of all their departments.

In other words, anything you might need is readily available on the home page and is easy to get to. This is what every website (especially business or e-commerce websites) should be like.

VWO has done a very interesting case study on this subject, looking at how new and improved navigational system affects a website’s conversion rate. Turns out, it can have a pretty big impact.

The change was quite simple but incredibly effective; by using heatmaps, it was found that visitors weren’t interacting enough with the top menu. So, what they did was include a clearly visible navigation menu on the left-hand side of the screen, whereby each subcategory is clearly visible. This simple change resulted in an 8.9% increase in user engagement and what’s more, a 34% increase in people adding products to their carts.

Using heatmaps, study your own navigation menu to see whether your visitors are properly interacting with it or whether they’re facing issues and stopping.

Leverage white space on your website

On a website, white space is any empty space: on the sides, between paragraphs and so on. While it might not seem so at first glance, white space can have a pretty significant impact on both the user experience and your conversion rate.

For example, the use of white space strategically can:

  • Help you highlight a specific message that you want your visitors to see; for example, Neil Patel uses a lot of white space on this landing page so that visitors focus solely on his message.

Neil Patel landing page

  • Draw people’s attention to something: if you want people to notice something specific on your website (an offer, a specific product, etc.) you should use white space around it. For example, like Etsy wants visitors to focus on buying some Christmas gifts:

Etsy homepage

  • Help you better organize your content and elements; for example, eBay uses whitespace on its homepage not only to organize the different elements but also to make things clearer and easier to find for their visitors.

eBay home page


Your website’s design will have a huge impact on your overall conversion rate, either negative or positive. To start improving your website, you first need to know what your visitors expect from you; for example.

  • A speedy website
  • A website that works just as well on a mobile device as it does on desktop
  • An easy to navigate website
  • And a beautiful clean design that’s easy to understand and beautiful to look at

However, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned about website design and conversion optimization …is that it never ends. Year by year, continue testing new strategies, improving your website and looking for ways to improve. It’s important to understand that there’s always room for improvement as expectations change and technology evolves.

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News Roundup 24th January 2020 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/news-roundup-24th-january-2020/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/news-roundup-24th-january-2020/#respond Fri, 24 Jan 2020 15:38:26 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/news-roundup-24th-january-2020/

Google has changed search listings related to featured snippets, e-commerce to grow by over 30% in five years, Google urged to rethink third-party cookie blocking, Netflix named favourite UK brand

Google has dominated the news this week following its announcement that it has changed search results to deduplicate listings that appear as featured snippets. Find out how it could affect your strategy by reading the full story below.

New research has suggested that e-commerce is going to account for a fifth of all retail by 2024, as consumers turn to convenience rather than heading to the brick and mortar high street.

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In other Google news, it has been asked to rethink its decision to block third-party cookies by 2022 due to the impact it could have on digital advertising.

Finally, Netflix has taken the top spot away from Aldi to be named as the UK’s favourite brand while a couple of brands have taken spots in the top ten for the first time ever.

Google featured snippet tweet

Google featured snippets will be deduplicated on page one of results

Google has announced changes to the way listings appear on page one of results. In a tweet, Google SearchLiasison confirmed that pages that appear in the featured snippet for a search will no longer be repeated on the first page of results, pushing the organic listing to page two. The change launched on Wednesday, January 23rd, affecting 100% of global search results.

On top of this, featured snippets will now be classed as one of the ten organic listings shown on the first page of results, effectively removing ‘position zero’. The organic listing of the featured snippet page, if it previously appeared on page one, will be moved to the top of page two in search – however, this is not guaranteed. It seems that this will also be the case for searches that serve up two featured snippets.

While this will reduce duplication in results, it could have an impact on traffic to sites appearing in the featured snippet, as it has not been uncommon in the past to see pages in the featured snippet also appear further down the first page of results.

It is also not clear how tools like Google Search Console will deal with the change. There is also no information on what happens to a page’s organic listing if it loses the featured snippet position, i.e. does this mean that it regains its first-page ranking? It’s hoped that, as you need to be in the top results to get a featured snippet, losing one would mean you go back to appearing in the top ten rankings.

So exactly what does this mean for your SEO strategy? Primarily, it will mean you need to consider whether appearing within a featured snippet is worth it or if you’d rather be listed in the organic results on page one.

If you see a drop in traffic or conversions for searches that you have a featured snippet for, it may be worth blocking the featured snippet from Google use at a code level so you can focus on moving up your listings to page one instead. However, it’s important to note that a knee-jerk reaction is not the best plan of action. Assessing data over the next few months is the best way to make an informed decision, as is testing your strategy.

Online shopping to make up a fifth of retail by 2024

Online shopping is becoming even bigger business with the latest report from GlobalData finding that shopping habits in the UK are further shifting away from the high street. According to the research, a fifth of all retail spend will take place online by 2024, further affecting already struggling brick and mortar stores.

It is expected that the five years from 2019 to 2024 will see online spending increase by 30.4%, hitting £75 billion. At this point, it will make up around 19.8% of all retail spending, providing increased opportunities for e-retailers.

Sofie Willmott, Lead Retail Analyst at GlobalData, said: “Clothing specialists continue to develop their online proposition with many players now offering easy to use credit options like Clearpay and Klarna’s buy now, pay later, driving online conversion and giving shoppers another reason to choose the online channel over stores.

“Often first to market with tech developments, ASOS last week launched its “See my fit” augmented reality tool, which enables browsers to view selected items of clothing on different size models to help with purchase decisions and potentially reduce return rates.”

The biggest online retail sector is and will continue to be the largest single market in online retail. However, the food and grocery sector is expected to be responsible for a large proportion of the growth up to 2024. It is expected that this sector’s sales will increase by £5 billion, reach £16.2 billion as consumers capitalize on convenience.

Google Logo

Google urged to rethink third-party cookie blocking

Google has been called on to reconsider its decision to block third-party cookies on its Chrome browser from 2022. The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) have shared their disappointment that Google has opted to make the big change without consulting digital and advertising industries.

In a joint statement, the executive vice president of ANA and 4A’s, Dan Jaffe and Dick O’Brien, said: “Google’s decision to block third-party cookies in Chrome could have major competitive impacts for digital businesses, consumer services, and technical innovation. It would threaten to substantially disrupt much of the infrastructure of today’s internet without providing any viable alternative, and it may choke off the economic oxygen from advertising that startups and emerging companies need to survive.

“We are deeply disappointed that Google would unilaterally declare such a major change without prior careful consultation across the digital and advertising industries. We intend to work with stakeholders and policymakers to ensure that there are effective and competitive alternatives available prior to Google’s planned change fully taking effect. We will also collaborate with Google in this effort, so we can all ensure the digital advertising marketplace continues to be competitive and efficient.”

YouGov brand listings

Netflix becomes UK’s favourite brand

Netflix has become the UK’s favourite brand after knocking Aldi off the top spot, where it has been for the last six years.

According to YouGov’s annual BrandIndex ‘Buzz’ rankings, Netflix has seen a five-point increase in the rankings, ending with a score of 21.4. In comparison, Ali only managed a 1.1 improvement, landing it in second place with 19.8. Lidl has taken third place with an overall score of 15.1, showing that there is a big difference between the top two rankings and the rest of the list.

Other brands seeing improvements include Greggs, which is in the top ten for the first time after its vegan sausage roll helped it to secure a score of 11. Spotify has also entered the top ten with a score of 10.4.

These improvements for Greggs and Spotify mean that BBC One and Samsung have been pushed out of the top 10. BBC iPlayer has also seen a fall, landing at ninth place after being fourth in 2017.

Amelia Brophy, head of UK data products at YouGov said: “Netflix only entered into the rankings in 2016 and has done well to be highly perceived by the public in such a short amount of time.

“2019 saw Netflix focus on developing and launching original content that caters for multiple markets and demographic groups This appears to have been successful, rewarding them with multiple award nominations, including Oscars, and ensuring the brand was talked about positively more than ever before.”


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12 questions to ask when creating a landing page https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/12-questions-to-ask-when-creating-a-landing-page/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/12-questions-to-ask-when-creating-a-landing-page/#respond Fri, 24 Jan 2020 10:58:09 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/12-questions-to-ask-when-creating-a-landing-page/

Making people click through your ad is just a small part of the whole marketing process, you also need a great landing page to get them to convert

Paid campaigns are considered to be the best choice if you want to drive quick results, as they really do get those results. However, paid ads aren’t all about simply bidding on the right keywords. There are some other things you need to.

Making people click through your ad is just a small part of the whole marketing process. The next thing they face is your landing page – a web page you should create for the purposes of your advertising campaign. The effectiveness of this page will influence whether or not you achieve your business goal.

Quality landing page creation doesn’t require titanic efforts but it does need some research. The approaches you have to use will depend on your target audience and the goals you set. After all, if you launch an SEO webinar, your landing page shouldn’t look like a page promoting gifts for Mother’s Day.

On the other hand, there are basic features common to all the high-converting ads. To make sure you know the crucial aspects of a quality landing page, you should be able to answer all the questions in this post.

1. What’s your aim?

The first question is the most crucial one for your whole campaign. Your aim will impact your next steps. Content, design, CTA – all of these aspects depend on the reason for the creation of your landing page. I circled out the three common goals marketers set when launching paid campaigns:

  • Sell a product: This goal may include several CTAs, as your audience needs a different approach at each different stage of the sales process. If your ad shows up in search results, then people clicking through it probably have never heard of your company before. So, to drive prospects to purchase decision, it’s much better to offer the following options:
    • A demo.
    • A trial version.
    • Call-back and more.

Here’s the example of landing page Blue Winston provides:

Blue Winston landing page example

  • Nurture relationships with your audience: This goal contributes to your brand awareness and credibility. To achieve it, most website owners offer free seminars or webinars. In this case, the landing page contains a short description of the upcoming event, including its benefits, along with a sign-up form.

Free webinar landing page example

  • Gain subscribers: These landing pages look pretty simple and don’t require long explanations. You simply need to make it clear how they can sign up.

James Clear website subscribers landing page

2. Are you going to optimize your landing page for the specific goal?

The answer should be yes. One goal = one landing page. Never try to create multiple ads for one page, as this may result in a disconnect between the audience’s expectations and what they face.

Let me illustrate this: I searched for ‘buy AirPods’ on Google, There was a paid result in the first position:

Apple earpods Google search results

I clicked through the ad and found the landing page to be pretty frustrating:

Landing page following Google Ad

You can see the website owner didn’t bother creating a separate landing page for every product. Many people won’t want to scroll through the list of results to find what was advertised and so they will likely leave the page, increasing the bounce rate and reducing the ROI of your ad.

3. Are you bidding on the right keywords?

The keywords your landing page shows up for have a direct impact on your campaign success. First of all, It’s always a good idea to check what kind of ads are already ranking for your target keywords. It’ll help you understand whether the competition is relevant to you.

Secondly, choosing several main keywords for your paid campaign is nice, but it’s not enough. Never underestimate the power of the proper keyword research. With Wordtracker, you can collect the right keywords for your ads.

Wordtracker dashboard

4. Who’s your target audience?

Understanding what kind of people are most likely to come across your ad copy will help you better tailor the contents of your landing page. Your target audience portrait (and their expertise as well) will influence different aspects of your campaign, including:

  • What kind of CTA you should use.
  • The description you should provide.
  • Whether you should add special elements like images or videos.
  • Your tone, approach, etc.

If you haven’t analyzed your target audience yet, you need to do so before creating a landing page for your campaign. First of all, take a look at Google Analytics. Even if you think you know who your buyer persona is, it’s still a good idea to check your website audience.

Go to the Audience > Demographics. There you’ll see the data on your visitors’ age, gender, location, language, etc. which will help inform your landing page.

Google Analytics users

On top of this, it’s a good idea to contact your sales department and ask them to provide you with your customers’ portrait. You may be surprised by the information they provide you with.

5. What do your competitors promise?

Before launching your own campaign, it’s always a good idea to discover your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. This step will help you avoid the same mistakes and discover some great ideas you could implement into your strategy.

The easiest and the most efficient way to analyze your competitors’ ads and landing pages is to check them with Serpstat. Simply enter your target keyword into its search field, select your country, and click on Search. From the Overview report go to PPC Research > Ad Research.

Serpstat ads research

You’ll see the list of ad copies showing up in search results for the queried keyword. If you tap on the link below each ad, you’ll see the landing page it leads to.

6. Is the content relevant to the ad?

Seeing your ad, users form expectations on what they will find on your landing page. People click through your ad copy because it promises them something they were looking for. Ife page content appears to be completely different to what was promised, they’ll get discouraged and return to the search results.

Such a situation may happen when you try to ‘entice’ customers with false promises or simply overdo with your marketing creativity. In most cases, you’ll just attract the wrong audience, who won’t convert.

So, if you want your click-through rate to correspond with your conversions, make sure there’s no disconnect between your ad copy and the landing page.

7. Do titles and headings contain some advantage for the audience?

The title and the following heading are the first things your prospects will pay attention to. They should be short, catchy and relevant to the content. What’s most important is that you should mention the advantage your visitor will get if they choose your brand. Show them you know their pain and that you’re ready to solve their problem.

8. Is it clear what you promote?

Some marketers fail to explain exactly what they offer on their landing pages. Remember that most people who see your ad will be seeing your brand for the first time.

For instance, this landing page shows up for the query ‘marketing automation tools’:

Monday.com landing page

Although the page is designed pretty well, it’s unclear why they need a user’s email and what ‘Get Started’ actually means. What are the benefits and why should a user provide their personal details?

As your landing page has some specific purpose, its content should be perfectly clear. Tell users how they’ll benefit if working with you.

Mailchimp landing page

9. Does CTA encourage users to the targeted action?

Remember that your CTA should denote the action you want your prospect to take. If it sounds too obvious, just review one more time the landing page by Monday.com I’ve mentioned above. The words like ‘Get Started,”https://www.smartinsights.com/”Click to benefit,’ and others may seem creative, but they don’t really describe what someone required to do.

Spell it out and highlight a benefit they get if they take the action your require, such as ‘Get Your Free Guide’, ‘Download Now’ etc.

10. Did you add a chat widget?

This aspect isn’t compulsory, but it could help you a lot. It may happen that your prospects have questions concerning your offer. You don’t want them to leave your landing page in order to search for your contact information (and let them change their mind), so it is a good idea provide a chat box on the page.

Even if your chat box uses a chatbot, this could help answer the most frequent questions and encourage users to convert.

11. Does it look trustworthy?

Don’t miss the opportunity to boast a bit with customer testimonials. Reviews always contribute to the brand’s credibility. If someone has never heard of your brand, they’re likely to find benefit in reading about the positive experience of your customers.

Testimonials example

Moreover, if you represent a B2B company, listing brands you work with on your landing page is a must. It’ll contribute to your expertise and engage more clients.

Client list landing page

12. Is the register form easy-to-use?

If you’re asking people to fill in a contact form, make this process as easy as possible. The fewer questions you ask, the better. Value your customers’ time. If the field isn’t required, then why add it to the registration form?

Keep them on one page and make the sign-up process as simple as possible. It can also be a good idea to offer something in return, especially in the B2C industry, to make signing up even more enticing.


These are the basic things you should consider when creating your landing page. Once you answer all these questions, it’ll be a great kick-start. Knowing the basic aspects of a quality landing page, you can test and develop it for your specific needs.

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Bolster your ABM strategy with laser-focused PR https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/bolster-your-abm-strategy-with-laser-focused-pr/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/bolster-your-abm-strategy-with-laser-focused-pr/#respond Thu, 23 Jan 2020 15:42:25 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/bolster-your-abm-strategy-with-laser-focused-pr/

Real-world examples of PR getting an account-based makeover

You ride on the ABM train because your destination is results town.

Life is all about the names on your account list that you’ve converted into customers and the revenue you’ve brought in from doing so. There’s a beauty to this kind of commercial simplicity!

Although the endpoint is succinct and straightforward, that doesn’t mean to say the process will be. You’ll likely have to flip, hack and smash your way through the age-old promotional mix in a way that befits an approach that operates with laserlike focus.

This brings a neat blend of freedom and flexibility when you’re looking at the activities to deploy as part of an ABM campaign. One such area that’s been under the spotlight for me recently in helping companies with ABM strategy is PR: specifically account-based PR. Before we get into the detail on that – first things first…

PR defined

PR is “the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour”. Well, that’s what CIPR has to say anyhow. Apparently, they know a thing or two about a thing or two.

Decent chunk to swallow in there. What I like about it is the synergy with ABM: it’s all about driving engagement with the business and influencing behaviour towards a sales outcome.

That’s a neat fit, right?

Account-based PR defined

I define account-based PR as the practice of applying the traditional discipline of PR (i.e. reputation management, influencing opinion and behaviour) to the ABM approach, focusing on target accounts.

In a similar fashion to other areas we’ve already explored in this series, such as account-based social and account-based events, it’s about taking an existing marketing paradigm and reshaping it for an ABM world. It’s not about being fussy or complex – it’s about being right on the money.

Do you need more help with your B2B strategy?

We have a range of resources to help B2B businesses grow, including:

Account-based PR scenarios

As a new kid on the block, account-based PR is something I’ve been taking to market with those organizations who have a desire to innovate their market.

Here are a few applications that will hopefully whet your appetite to weave the account-based way into your PR strategy

Reimagining competitions

One approach I’ve seen work really well recently was to execute a land and expand competition. This involved the client setting up a competition which was based on competency – complete with a dazzling prize.

Reimagining competitors ABM

Specific ABM outreach was undertaken to carefully target named contacts within target accounts to drive strong levels of participation from their VIP prospects and customers. In the best interests of fairness, the competition was open to anyone to enter.

When the winner deservedly walked away with the prize, the account-based PR machine kicked into action! It was used to work on specific PR activities all with the intention of expanding the footprint, awareness and engagement within the target account.

The winner and the work they were so proud of was featured in relevant blogs, news outlets and magazines – which obviously built up the self-esteem and profile of the winner. But most importantly, through an ABM lens, the internal comms and employee engagement teams within the target account were all over it!

These internal teams were over the moon at such an achievement from their colleagues and were enthusiastically sharing the news on social media sites but also using internal comms tools: newsletter, intranet, staff meetings and the like. This gave the client some serious air cover within the target account that would have been almost impossible to get by any other means.

Which organization doesn’t want to share incredible stories about their employees?

Case studies

Ahh, the trusty case study. Often lauded, rarely mastered. You’d be hard-pressed to find a marketer who doesn’t acknowledge their importance – and it’s one of the few tactics that effortlessly traverse the full range of B2B sectors.

ABM case study

Suffice to say, all B2B organizations must give their prospects assurance that they’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt in a business like theirs. Case studies are awesome for that. A customer story that’s been well put together can obviously give much-needed comfort that it’s a path well-trodden, but interestingly through an ABM lens, you can also get an alternative viewpoint on showing you’ve done this kind of thing for an organization like theirs before.

You see, the style of a case study that will resonate will vary greatly depending on the account. There are loads of variables to consider depending on what type of business you are, and the target account is. They’re certainly going to want case studies that are:

  • In the same industry.
  • Of a similar size as the target organization.
  • In a specific region.
  • Suffering the same pain points.

This is about fully integrating ABM into the customer reference program. As a result, when you set about interviewing a customer for a new one, it’s fully strategic and aligned with the accounts you’re looking to bring on board.

You need to think about the specific language to be used within it – language that is reflective of the insight you have about the key contacts in a target account.

Any pain points that are similar in scope or scale must be accentuated and given a real profile.

You can also begin to look at the social landscape around a key contact: can you get a case study from a close connection? This can make their shares really powerful and may even serve as the basis for a really neat, ‘non-salesy’ intro.

Obviously, considerations about the media the key contact uses and the social networks you should sponsor some account-based advertising on to get such PR dynamite in front of them is par for the course.

When you think about case studies with ABM as your guiding light, there’s an infinite amount of ways in which you can make it most relevant for your VIP readers.

Thought leadership

Another area that’s getting the full account-based PR treatment is thought leadership. In a similar vein to case studies, you can take knowledge of an individual account and set about creating specific, highly focused content to get into publications that are renowned within the target’s industry. In this model, a topic is hand-picked based on commonality with the target organization.

When the hard work’s been done and the piece is live, it can be used in an intelligent and structured foundation as part of an outreach process across whichever channels you know that your initial target contact within the ABM account responds well to. This kind of ammunition is gold dust for ABM teams across sales and marketing functions. Such content can be created that helps your ABM pipeline move with vigour and velocity through to an ROI-filled crescendo.

Moving forward

It’s certainly early days for account-based PR, but that hasn’t stopped the innovation hungry go-getters from putting themselves out there. Those that have bit the bullet are getting a ton of value from this ultra-targeted way of thinking about the classic promotional discipline of PR.

As with all of this activity, why not give it a go? I think you’ll find there are massive amounts of potential for your business by just leaning into this way of thinking for just a few days.

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Learn the language your web developer is speaking https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/learn-the-language-your-web-developer-is-speaking/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/learn-the-language-your-web-developer-is-speaking/#respond Thu, 23 Jan 2020 13:32:38 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/learn-the-language-your-web-developer-is-speaking/

Get a handle on the jargon to understand technical SEO and get your site ranking higher. 

Does your web developer speak almost exclusively in jargon, with an occasional smattering of what sounds like Klingon? Do they use phrases like ‘latent semantic indexing protocols’ in everyday conversation? Do you find yourself listening with a glazed expression, nodding along as a stream of acronyms pass through your noggin and you ponder, What does TTFB even mean?’.

Like it or not, your web developer is a key player in your organisation and you need to communicate effectively to maximise your web presence.

In the real world people often get their first impression of your business from your bricks-and-mortar premises. Similarly, your website delivers that first impression online and the way it’s designed dictates if your business is perceived as an attractive high street boutique or a run-down bargain basement. The better you’re able to communicate with your designer, the better site they’ll deliver – and that’s why it’s crucial to learn the lingo!

Site Visibility

A big part of a web designer’s job should be to make your website easy to find, ensuring that Google can quickly work out what the site is about and who it’s relevant to. This is known as Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO – you’ll almost certainly be familiar with the concept, but the SEO umbrella stretches over many topics.

The basic idea is that people type a query (‘law firms Bristol’, for example) into their favourite search engine (lets face it, probably Google). Google treats this query as a set of keywords which it tries to match with its database of web pages and then display the most relevant results: the pages Google calculates will most likely be able to answer the query.

Google is always trying to find the most trustworthy answer to the queries typed into it and it can be tempting to build your website just to rank better on Google. Bad idea – to get some quick wins and get your site ranking higher, stop reading and watch this sweet slice of eye candy:

Sign up for Free membership

URLs, Titles and Meta Tags

Search engines ‘index’ your site, storing information on layout and content which they use to match results to queries. Considered by most SEO professionals to be the strongest on page signal you can send to Google to tell it what this page is about is the URL (the bit after your domain name for example www.yourwebsite.com/THIS-BIT ) followed by the Page Title. On optimised sites these typically reflect the page’s topic; both the page title and the URL are defined within the page setup so it’s best to instruct your web developer on what you need these to be BEFORE the site is built.

Google’s smart enough to know that a page with the title ‘10 Simple Ways to Defeat a Cat Army’ should be a relevant result for queries about feline warfare, and will check the content of the page (including headlines, copy, alt text) to ensure they match with the expected topic. It will also check the body of the text for words which are related to the search keywords – something us SEO Nerds call ‘latent semantic indexing’ (or LSI), which is a fancy way of saying ‘words related to the keyword. In the above example, phrases like “kitten catapult” and “tactical spaying” would be semantically relevant to the search topic, and so would contribute to the page’s relevancy (therefore placing it higher in search engine results pages, or SERPs).


Mobile Internet is BIG business, with more browsing now done on mobile devices than desktops. If you’re going to capture some of this traffic, you need a website which works just as well on a 4” iPhone screen as a 21” desktop. Don’t forget that mobile browsing is conducted using a touchscreen – a button that’s nicely clickable with a cursor might not be so easy to find with stumpy little Shrek-like fingers and those “drop down menus” that only appear when you hover over something with your mouse – they don’t work on fingers – lose them or find a way to guide the user to that content without relying exclusively upon them. Content needs to scale to the dimensions of the screen it’s displayed upon to avoid text becoming unreadable and images being cropped.

LoMo (Local Mobile) is also growing in importance, as Google places a user’s location as a primary factor when determining relevancy for search queries. As such, having a comprehensive LoMo marketing strategy is fundamental to winning local business.

Because responsive websites are much easier to navigate on a smartphone, Google prioritises them in mobile search results, meaning that your website very probably won’t be displayed if it isn’t responsive.

Content Management Systems

If your website is the shopfloor, your Content Management System (CMS) is the store manager; you simply tell it what you want doing and it’ll make the necessary changes. Systems like WordPress make it easy for you to login and make changes yourself, so you can update stock, content and blogs without needing the services of your web developer.

Sites which are regularly updated are, yet again, likely to be ranked higher on search engines (Google says that any query deserves a really fresh answer), so a CMS which allows you to do this is a vital component to a successful site.

Hopefully, this brief rundown of acronym-busting will be of some use when you next have your developer in the room, but for further insight on the key questions to ask and what to be aware of, please download our free 25 Website Essentials eBook.
Thanks to Jon Payne for sharing his advice in this post. Jon is the Technical Director of Search and Social Media Marketing agency, Noisy Little Monkey


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How to grow your e-commerce business in 2020 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/how-to-grow-your-e-commerce-business-in-2020/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/how-to-grow-your-e-commerce-business-in-2020/#respond Thu, 23 Jan 2020 09:49:02 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/how-to-grow-your-e-commerce-business-in-2020/

In order to grow your e-commerce sales, you need a strategy in place to help promote an increase in conversions

E-commerce will continue to grow in 2020.

In fact, Statista has predicted that retail e-commerce sales will hit $4.2 trillion in 2020, up from $3.5 trillion in 2019. If you’re serious about your e-commerce business, then you’re probably already plotting how to get your maximum share of that pie.

But growing sales actually goes beyond wishing. You need a sound strategy you can implement to produce results.

Which marketing strategies will put you ahead of the competition this year? In this blog post, we’ll be discussing six effective strategies to help you grow your e-commerce business in 2020.

1. Instagram shoppable posts

Over the years, Instagram has grown sporadically in the social media space. Businesses already use Instagram for marketing purposes to reach new customers.

But with Instagram shoppable posts, prospects can now buy your products directly on Instagram. This reduces friction that occurs when users have to leave the Instagram app for your website.

To utilize this feature, you have to set up your products catalogue on Facebook and connect to your Instagram business account. After this, you can tag any product in your posts that followers can buy.

Away Instagram post

Another way e-commerce stores can exploit this feature is to combine it with influencer marketing. Here’s an example where Herschel Supply adds a shoppable tag to a piece of luggage promoted by fashion model, Michelle Dee.

herschelsupply Instagram post

Once your followers click on any of these products, they can fill in their payment details to buy the product. Also, they can get their shipping status information on Instagram.

Social media shopping

When you create more than 9 Instagram shoppable posts, you’ll have a “Shop” tab on your Instagram profile. Here, followers can shop for your products and make purchases.

Nordstrom social media posts

Instagram shoppable posts provide a platform to market your products where it’s easy for your prospects to buy.

2. Content personalization

With big players like Amazon and Netflix leading the way, content personalization is a trend every e-commerce store has to adopt. Consider it, potential buyers are likely to buy from your store when you display products relevant to them.

Then, it’s no surprise that according to research by Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from businesses that offer personalized experiences.

Sign up for Free membership

For effective content personalization, you need to consider the following criteria:

  • Previous interactions of the visitor on your website.
  • Demographic data such as location, gender, language, etc.
  • Time of visit such as time of day, month, or year.
  • Visitor’s declared interests.

Through content personalization, each visitor sees a page tailored to them with products they want to buy. Consider these two pages from FashionWatch. Here’s the page for a visitor:

Content personalization example 1

And here’s the page for another visitor:

Content personalization example 2

It’s evident that both pages have been personalized to the visitor. Thus, each visitor is more likely to make a purchase.

Amazon is a popular example of content personalization. From product recommendations to shipping information based on your location, each Amazon user sees an e-commerce store with their favourite products.

Amazon personalization example

3. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)

With augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), buyers get a better view of what they’re buying before they complete their purchase.

AR allows potential buyers to add a product to their environment before they buy. This displays how a product can fit into an environment.

An example is IKEA’s augmented reality app. This app was downloaded 8.5 million times and it helps buyers see how a piece of furniture will fit into their apartment.

Ikea's augmented realty app

Over the years, AR has been growing popular and that trend will continue this year. For instance, eMarketer predicts that 77.7 million Americans will use AR every month in 2020.

US VR and AR users 2017 to 2021

VR goes farther than AR and creates a virtual environment for your product. This is usually applicable to big products.

An example of VR in application was Volvo using Google Cardboard to market its new Volvo SC 90 luxury SUV. Google Cardboard took people through a mountain drive to experience this vehicle.

Even though VR has lower numbers than AR, 51.8 million is still a huge number of people. Obviously, there’s a potential for e-commerce stores.

Applying this technology to your e-commerce store will give people a better view of your products before they make a purchase.

4. Google Ads smart bidding

If you run shopping campaigns and other advertising campaigns on Google Ads, then smart bidding is a strategy you should pay attention to. Google uses advanced machine learning to help optimize your bids for better results.

The machine learning system uses signals such as time of day, location, device, language, operating system, remarketing lists and other information to set the right bids.

You can use smart bidding based on the following targets:

  • Maximize conversions
  • Maximize conversion value
  • Target CPA
  • Target ROAS

Smart bidding options

Since smart bidding is far from being a perfect technology, you have to monitor your bids and ad performance and compare them to your manual bids. Regardless, an advantage you get with smart bidding is that it helps to save time that you can invest in other campaign activities.

5. Omnichannel marketing

Imagine this situation: your customer has started the purchase process for a product on their smartphone and for some reason has to continue on desktop. Do they have to start over on desktop or continue where they stopped on their smartphone?

Apart from using different devices, another reality of marketing today is that prospects might have to use channels such as social media, email, phone, and others during interactions with your business.

With omnichannel marketing, you can integrate all these interactions together so that you can deliver your brand messages to prospects. Furthermore, it helps you to reduce friction during the buying process and increase conversions.

According to Invesp, companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain 89% of their customers while companies without omnichannel customer engagement strategies only retain 33%.

Omnichannel customer engagement strategy statistics

A great example of omnichannel marketing is the UK retailer, Argos. The company put a system in place to integrate its online and in-store experience.

For example, the click-and-collect feature allows shoppers to purchase a product online and pick up at a store. Argos also shows if the product is available at the nearest store. The retailer has increased its revenues as customers who use these features spend twice as much as regular shoppers.

Local shopping

Similarly, through the use of omnichannel marketing, Net-a-Porter increased its revenue by 16.9% to over $3 billion in 2017.

6. User-generated content (UGC)

To make their purchase decisions, buyers usually look at other people. That’s why user-generated content has an impact on the buying decisions of 84% of millennials and 70% of boomers, according to Bazaarvoice.

What do current customers think about your product? How are they using it? What benefits have they derived?

User-generated content answers these questions and convinces prospects to buy. It becomes easy for customers to send UGC when you specify a hashtag on social media.

Then, you can repost on your business profile. Here’s an example from BMW reposting a customer’s picture of X5.

BMW Instagram post

If you’re looking for a great case study of UGC, look no further then Busabout. The tour operator offers hop-on-hop-off tours to 47 destinations across Europe. Amazingly, it features 110,000 traveler images of these locations.


As a result, Busabout achieved a 72% increase in hop-on hop-off page views and a 33% increase in web bookings in the UK.


Implementing a strategy just because it’s popular might lead to poor results for your e-commerce store. To avoid this, ensure that you use strategies effective with your audience.

Implement these 6 proven strategies for your e-commerce store and you’ll grow your customers and revenues in 2020.

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Practical keyword research: How to refine your keyword list https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/practical-keyword-research-how-to-refine-your-keyword-list/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/practical-keyword-research-how-to-refine-your-keyword-list/#respond Wed, 22 Jan 2020 17:15:26 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/01/practical-keyword-research-how-to-refine-your-keyword-list/

A three-step process for brainstorming, collecting and refining your keyword list

Whether you’re putting together a pitch proposal, preparing for an interview or working on a comprehensive SEO strategy, keyword research enables you to develop a clear understanding of what people are really searching for online. It’s a simple yet fundamental task that serves as the foundation for any small or complex project.

Effective keyword research removes the guesswork and provides a level of objectivity based on real user behaviour. I’ve often been confronted with requests to use certain words or phrases because they seem right or align neatly with a particular brand positioning. But when we’re creating content that we want to surface in search, we must mirror the language of our customers.

As search engines have evolved, so has keyword research. While there are many great guides and articles available online, some can be quite detailed and complex, so I want to outline a simple, straightforward three-step process that outlines the core elements of keyword research. For each stage, I have made suggestions regarding the tools, techniques and people required to get the most out of the process.

Brainstorm themes

Objective: Brainstorm and capture initial ideas and themes

Tools: Meeting room; whiteboard; brainstorming tools

People: Digital colleagues; digital agency; clients and senior stakeholders (e.g. MD/ CEO, Head of Marketing)

The first step is to capture ideas and themes that articulate what your brand is about from the perspective of different stakeholders. Consider what type of ‘buckets’ your products and/or services fall into. In addition to what you sell, what else do you want to promote and be known for, e.g. a mission statement or charitable cause?

At this early stage, I often find it useful to get away from the computer and to meet up with people in person to capture their thoughts. The priority here is to brainstorm themes and not to worry about specific keywords or phrases – this will come later once we know more about our keyword ‘territory’.

During the brainstorming stage you will naturally discover how different words and phrases can be grouped by theme and persona.

Keyword theme brainstorm

Once you’ve completed the initial brainstorm, rationalize the ideas into a manageable list of approximately five to ten themes. These will be your target themes to take into the next stage where you will generate a long list of potential keywords. The Really Cool Bike Company this could include:

  • Bicycles
  • Bicycle clothing
  • Bicycle components
  • Bicycle maintenance
  • Bicycle accessories

Generate keywords

Objective: Build out a master list of all relevant keywords

Tools: Excel; free search tools (Google Keyword Planner, KeywordTool.io); paid search tools (Moz, SEMRush)

People: Digital colleagues; digital agency

The next step is to gather the words and phrases that people are using to discover your brand, products and services online. The summary of themes from the previous stage will be used as a starting point for researching keywords in more detail.

Select your toolkit

For this stage, you will need to use two or three keyword research tools. Paid tools generally provide more detail and search volume accuracy but, depending on your budget, there are also some very useful free tools. I tend to use a variety of different tools depending on the project but they’re usually a combination of the following:

Generate ideas

Using your main themes and topics from step one, identify possible ‘seed’ keywords that you think people will realistically use to search. For example, you might decide on the following keywords for the theme ‘Bicycle clothing’:

  • Bike clothing
  • Cycle fashion
  • Cycle shorts
  • Bike waterproof
  • Cycle shoes

Take these keywords and plug them into your keyword research tool and review the results.

Keyword research tool

At this point, it’s also worth looking at Google Search Console (GSC) to get an indication of what keywords searchers are already using to find your website.

This won’t be a definitive list but it can provide guidance as you continue to research related search terms and build up your master list.

Competitors will also provide a rich source of inspiration and ideas. Search for some of the top terms and see who’s ranking.

Road bikes UK Google search results

Take a look at their main pages and evaluate what keywords and phrases they are using within the page content and metadata. I use the free MozBar Chrome extension to quickly highlight on-page elements.

Moz Chromebar extensions

Double-check search volume

The final stage in this part of the process is to add search volume for all of your keywords. While the search volume will never be exact, this is important ahead of the next stage (grouping and filtering) in order to prioritize keywords.

You may find that some of the free tools provide restricted, limited or no search volume. Some paid tools, including Moz and SEMRush, provide free trials and I would recommend taking advantage of these to build on what you’ve discovered so far and to double-check search volume.

If you’re using the Google Keyword Planner, you’ll notice that the tool only provides average monthly search ranges, which is not particularly helpful.

Google Keyword Planner (1)

However, if you install the Keywords Everywhere Chrome/Firefox extension you can see more detailed search volumes for all of the keywords.

Google Keyword Planner (2)

Armed with this data you should now have a simple, two-column list outlining all of your keywords and associated search volume.

Initial keyword list

Group and filter

Objective: Define keyword priority to inform content development

Tools: Excel; Google Trends

People: Digital colleagues; digital agency

At this point, you’ll have a long list of keywords and search volumes. The final step is to group and filter these keywords into an actionable list to help identify the core areas of focus. The main categories are as follows:

Brand terms

Popular terms that relate specifically to your brand and product/ service names, e.g. ‘the really cool bike co’; ‘really cool bike jackets’.

Primary terms

High-volume, popular terms that are likely to be your main focus and will influence the main content themes.

Secondary terms

Phrases with two to three keywords that are related to the primary term and will likely be a category or sub-category not related to a product.

Content-led terms

Phrases with three or more terms that are not directly related to your products/ services but could be used to create content in your area of expertise, e.g. ‘local bike routes’; ‘cycling routes in Devon’.

In addition to the categories above, you should also consider the intent behind each of the terms. Keywords and related content should reflect different stages of the customer journey.

Mapping keywords to customer journey

Using these categories and information, you can build on your initial master list.

Detailed keyword list

Next steps

Following further analysis of your keywords, you’ll eventually have a robust, actionable list. The next step is to develop a holistic keyword strategy that will outline how and where keywords and phrases will be used to create and refine content across your site.

Creating a keyword strategy is another blog post in itself but ultimately you’ll be looking to map keywords to current pages and run a gap analysis to decide whether you need to:

  1. Create new content where there are no pages that effectively meet the searcher intent for your keyword
  2. Optimize existing pages to improve current ranking

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