Get in Consumers’ Heads for Better Conversions – Minding Psychology in Commerce

I’m most honored to be communicating with you here today, TripleSEO-ers.  That’s what brands (and marketers on behalf of those clients) do, make connections with consumers.

Let me remind you of the reality of marketing; as in life, it’s like an onion.  We may keep peeling at the layers, finding there’s ‘more to it’ than previously thought.’

While consumers make ostensible, fully-conscious decisions, clever research and marketing implementation lie beneath the surface.

Sit down.

Lift your right foot off the floor, making clockwise circles.

Keep doing it while drawing the number “6” in the air with your right-hand.

(Most of) you will notice your foot changed direction.

Abracadabra, my friends.

Welcome to the world of psychology,

of the inner mind,

of the “why” of things, a place marketers and brands take great interest in as well as a much younger content_muse.

Now that we have our links, let’s peel away another layer of the onion, thinking about principles of psychology in planning better conversions.

 

Arousing Checkouts

I recently skedaddled to Atlantic City.  Glimmer, glam, and lights abounded.

source: adweek

Casino ads are so arousing, so stimulating, featuring scantily clad women alongside beautiful, happy couples, reveling in their winnings and good times.

These ads are oft arranged along the Atlantic City Expressway, tinseled around the shore towns, and present inside ornate, casino interiors.

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Developing a Content Strategy for your Niche Site

strategy-content

 

Once you have determined the main theme for your niche site you need to set out a content strategy for it. I am currently working on the design and content strategy for two of my new niche sites and as I want to make sure that these sites are both successful and profitable I am investing a lot of time right now in these early stages.

In the pre-Panda days it was very common place that after a bit of keyword research to determine the long tail and related search terms for your niche site thin, spun or cheaply outsourced articles would be generated to make it possible to rank your site for these search terms. Today I think it’s very important that people who are developing niche sites as a source of income develop a content strategy that puts the user first and not the search engines.

Niche Site Content Strategy 2009

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Niche Site Content Strategy Today

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“Content strategy is an emerging field of practice encompassing every aspect of content, including its design, development, analysis, presentation, measurement, evaluation, production, management, and governance.”

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My 2013 Goals

This is more of a personal blog post on where I plan to move my focus and direction in 2013. I’ve been sitting on this post for a while, as I wasn’t sure people would be interested in reading it.

goals

The long and the short of it is this year I am going to be focusing a lot less on client work and back my own abilities to build up a handful of websites that can generate a “passive income”.

Of course there is never a truly “passive income” but what I aim to do is invest my time upfront to build websites that can generate an income which I can reinvest in to new projects.

Ever since I became a full time SEO consultant I have been working a lot of hours, and although I could put up my prices it’s a realisation that offering SEO services is never really a long term solution for my own personal goals.

I decided to work for myself so that I could spend more time with the family and a good man reminded me that kids spell love… T-I-M-E

I also found inspiration from this post from Hiten Shah:

 

In January, you get a lot of posts with tips about how to make the New Year awesome.

A lot of those posts are garbage. Really, they are.

If you’re actually practicing being a conscious and growth-focused entrepreneur, you shouldn’t be waiting for some socially acceptable milestone to inspire yourself to become better than you are.

You have to be continually igniting that flame from within, regardless of what the calendar date is.

So, how do you do that? By doing what scares you the most.

I’m serious. You see, usually, the “right” thing to do is the one action that really scares the s*** out of you.

Once you know what that is in terms of your business (or maybe your life), go do it.

And I don’t mean do it all half-assed and crazy–you’ve got to think before you act, spend a small amount of time planning, and then move on that plan right away.

Tips are good. But those ones that roll around every New Year just don’t help because they let your brain and your focus atrophy the rest of the year.

Resolve to scare yourself each day. This is way better than a new year’s resolution.

 

The thing is building my own sites and making them rank doesn’t scare me but cutting back on client work so that I can reap the benefits in a few months from now does, especially with 2 young kids to provide for. So there will be a few lean months in our household as I wait for a positive ROI on these projects, but then again the most exciting and lucrative gambles are the ones where we back ourselves.

The Past

I got into online marketing by running a couple of music blogs back in the hedonistic days of 2006. I then learnt about the magical and mystical world of SEO and how I could quickly build a website, throw up some content and get a few links and make some money via Adsense.

My addiction moved on to affiliate marketing, and paid search too, and then it got serious as I learnt about creating PHP scripts that offered up personalised landing pages which would pull in content from Yahoo images based on the keyword and I made sure that all these crappy pages were getting indexed, giving me more content and more search traffic.

At my peak I had over 120 websites – I was in a serious spiral of churn and burn… Find what works then scale it.

But these sites taught me more about online marketing than reading any blog or course would have ever done. I was A/B testing everything, I was learning how to make people move through a site, how can I get people to spend more, how can I get more people to link to me that can send me more traffic.

Change of Direction

After about 12 months a friend asked me to build him a website and rank it so he could get more sales for his business, then more friends asked me and more. I realised that I couldn’t just build spammy links for these people they weren’t as risk averse as I was and after all they had businesses that had other people depending upon them for a pay cheque every month.

So I began to do SEO properly – the nice friendly neighbourhood white hat way. I then found more and more businesses who needed online marketing consultancy and those businesses who didn’t believe in paying upfront for SEO I created lead generation sites and then sold them referrals.

Towards the end of 2010 I was getting jittery with my personal sites I knew Google were getting smarter and I received a very good offer for my portfolio from a local guy I knew who had been good enough to share some of his affiliate marketing secrets with me.

If I had held on to these sites I can tell you the four horsemen of the affiliate marketing apocalypse would have ridden in to town and by that I mean:

  1. Panda would have got them
  2. Penguin would have got them
  3. Parton would have got them
  4. EMD update would have got them

Some people may be shaking their heads but you know what I can guarantee there are hundreds of “white hat” SEO’s who had some sideline sites like these that brought in a little extra income for them to enjoy themselves at a weekend with.

So what’s that got to do with any of this Chris?

Well a lot of people still have the perception that to succeed in affiliate marketing you need to do it in a dirty way. But even though the very early days of my online marketing career were playing in this space I know that there are many affiliate marketers having a lot of success doing things the “right way”.

I want to show people, that you don’t have to build crappy sites to succeed. If you invest the time and money into building websites that people actually want to use you can make a decent income from them whatever your monetisation strategy.

I plan to chronicle my journey on this blog, it probably means there are going to be a few different types of post from time to time than you are used to. But hopefully I can give you real examples from what I am doing.  All too often there is a lot theory in online marketing blogs but I plan to be able to share as much detail as possible with you from my projects.

I’ll keep this short as I have rambled on a bit but I plan to announce some of my projects very soon.

Getting your Business on Yelp

Yelp is a local review site with more than 30 million user-generated reviews and active communities in 15 different countries. Their reviews range over a number of verticals, including restaurants, retail, hotels and travel, real estate, education, and more. In the second quarter of 2012, they averaged 78 million unique visitors per month. With the launch of Apple Maps in iOS6 it is probably more important than ever for local businesses to start paying attention to Yelp and improving their engagement. By hooking into Yelp,

Apple Maps can not only show you nearby restaurants, but can also help you decide which one you want to eat at based on star ratings and reviews shown within the listing.

Over the past few months I’ve been participating in my local Yelp community and I decided with the recent developments I should reach out to my local Yelp community manager, Rowena Harris and ask her a few questions about her role and how businesses can be more active on Yelp.

What does your role as a Yelp Community Manager involve?

I could go on and on! Essentially, the key is in the word ‘Community’ – so I manage everything from welcoming new folk to the site, arranging off line events that help the Community bond, promote the independent business community of Leeds and even write a weekly newsletter to highlight all things awesome in the city!

Basically, Yelp is website that connects people to great local businesses, and anyone can sign up to read/write reviews about what’s great (and not so great) in their city. I’m the Community Manager for Yelp in Leeds. On a day to day basis the role involves writing the newsletter, engaging with the community online and I partner with events, to promote things going on in the city. I also organise events to promote the best of Leeds’ independent businesses to our Yelp Community and beyond.

How can people can become part of the Yelp Community?

All folks need to do is visit the Yelp! website to get involved – whether that means browsing reviews for suggestions of where to grab a craft beer, for example, or creating their own account to pass on recommendations of their own!
You can also sign up for the weekly newsletter on the site, have a natter on the Talk threads, put up cool local Events, make friends, and download the Yelp app to get involved on the go (checking in, leaving tips, and such like), so there’s tons of ways to join in the Yelping!

How can a business improve their visibility on Yelp?

From the Community side, which is where I’m at, the first thing I’d recommend to a business owner is to unlock the free business tools for their page – this is entirely cost free – to highlight themselves to the Yelp Community. Yelp aims to connect people with great local businesses and Yelp Business Accounts allow businesses to share information with the Yelp Community. Simply put, it’s word of mouth — amplified. To learn more check this page. If you are listed and your listing is unclaimed, click on the “Claim Local Business” link on the bottom the page and follow the instructions.

Another Community route that I deal with is in ‘word of mouth’ opportunities, via the exclusive Yelp events that I organise, which is a fantastic way for businesses to showcase their passions offline, in real life, to active and influential consumers (i.e. Yelpers). It’s always so much more engaging to have a real life taster and/or unique experience of a business and this is one of the best ways that I promote local independents – getting locals in the door and experiencing what they’re really about!

I also encourage any business owners to let existing or prospective customers know that they’re on Yelp, be it via the ‘Find Us on Yelp’ stickers, via Twitter/Facebook, and any other means that they wish. However, there’s a subtle, but really important difference between saying ‘find us on Yelp’ and ‘please give us 5 stars on Yelp’! After all, Yelp is all about authentic, unbiased consumer experiences, and we have systems in place to protect both Yelpers and businesses.

In addition to the above, really recently we’ve started to offer local business advertising solutions in the UK.

How to Optimise your Business Listing on Yelp

Fill out ALL the information on your business page. Add photos, business information, hours, website and contact info. Make sure you use your primary keywords too! By having a complete and search optimised Yelp profile you will increase the chances of customers finding your listing via the major search engines.

Post Announcements and Offers Frequently. Yelpers have a high rate of activity, so they will notice updates to your listing.  Also, your activity will appear in the directory for your city for everyone – not just people who visit your page – so this is a great opportunity to gain new clientele and reach out to people who haven’t heard of your business before. The more you post, the more people will notice your business, so start posting!

If your Yelp Business URL is long, you can create a short link redirect using a service such as bit.ly to make the process of typing in the URL seem less daunting, and quicker to accomplish.

As Rowena mentioned above Yelp have ways of checking if reviews are legitimate – therefore I would recommend you DON’T encourage your customers to leave reviews if they are not already signed up as a “Yelper” as there is a strong possibility that their reviews will be removed and if you get to many reviews by non “Yelpers” your business may become flagged.

You can’t please everyone all the time, and sometimes a negative review will get posted due to misguided customer frustration, or a member of your team making a mistake. As an owner Yelps gives you have the opportunity to respond to reviews to explain your side of the story. Unmerited negative reviews are usually very easy to spot. Be professional when responding to bad reviews as ultimately future customers will want to see that  the situation is now resolved and there are systems in place to prevent them from having a similar experience.

 

How To Track WordPress Signups and Comments With Google Analytics

I’m sure you have heard of Google Analytics which enables you to track the behaviour of a site.  The key to success with Analytics is using website goals.  This allows you to conveniently measure the success of your website to criteria you dictate.  For a blog (for me), 2 goals would be a user registration – and a user posting a comment on a page or post.  For this, we need to ensure tracking is on all appropriate pages and that the goals are correctly configured.

If you haven’t already – you should be using the Google Analytics code (which looks something like the following).

<script type=”text/javascript”>

var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);

document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src=’” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’

type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));

</script>

<script type=”text/javascript”>

var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-XXXXXXX-X”);

pageTracker._initData();

pageTracker._trackPageview();

</script>

Install Google Analytics

Firstly, make sure the Google Tracking Code is on all pages.  You can do this by editing your themes footer.php file.  Simply paste the Google Code before </body>.  But you’re not done yet.  You need to edit wp-login.php.  Search for </body> and before every instance add your Google code here too.  This will put tracking not only on your blog contents, but also registration and various front end forms too.

Configure Goal Tracking For Blog Registrations

You are now ready to configure Google Analytics to track goal actions on your blog.  To start with, we will setup the goal for a user registration.  Remember the additional code we added to wp-login.php?  This is where it comes into use.  Create a conversion goal based on the screenshot below.  I always give a goal conversion like this a value of 1 – due to reporting and keyphrase / traffic reports – which assigns a calculated money value field to various keywords and traffic sources to work out profitable items.

To make sure this goal is only counted when people register (and not just visit the page), add the following funnel configuration too;

There we have it.  If you leave this goal running for a while – you will be able to see exactly what keywords / traffic sources are driving registrations – and infact – whether your registrations are growing or falling…

Configure Analytics For Blog / Page Comments

The new version of Google Analytics allows us to track onclick events.  Every comments box has a submit button or image.  We can track when this button is clicked using Google Analytics.  To get your head around this concept, we setup what we call a virtual page view (a page that doesnt actually exist – the submit button) and we link this virtual page view to a goal in Analytics.

The first thing to do is edit your themes template file – namely comments.php.  Unfortunately, you will need a little bit of HTML knowledge to find the HTML code for the submit/image button.  Once you have located this, add the following code to the input object;

onclick=”javascript: pageTracker._trackPageview(’/goal/wordpress.html’);”

Thats it! Now – everytime the submit button is pressed on the comments form – analytics will log that /goal/wordpress.html has been visited.  This leaves the logical conclusion to add a goal conversion to this page.  See the screenshot below on how to do this;

 

That’s all there is too it.  You have now setup goal tracking on your WordPress blog.