Lead Conversion and the Dark Art of Landing Page Optimisation.

Written by RMA on . Posted in Blog

We came across a striking statistic recently.

Apparently, the typical mid-size enterprise spends an average of $92 to bring each visitor to their website. That’s quite a sizeable investment, covering all aspects of inbound digital marketing – Pay Per Click programs, re-targeting, SEO, Social and Content and so on – along with more traditional offline activities. It’s a lot of effort, time and money spent in acquiring visitors.

So what happens when these visitors arrive on site? Well, the answer seems to be ‘not very much’. The same companies then spend a measly $1 in trying to convert these visitors into customers.

Why are companies investing so much in driving traffic to their sites and spending so little time and effort in getting anything from visitors when they get there? Well, as with everything in marketing…

It’s complicated.

Improving online conversion rates is far from an easy task. So many things can affect the performance of a web page that it’s immensely difficult to isolate, adapt and measure the important variables. Is it the Call to Action? The headline messaging? The layout and positioning of page elements? The copy? The truth is that it’s likely to be a combination of all the above, along with other ‘off-page’ elements that you’ve probably not even considered – online reviews and testimonials, the quality and strength of your social profiles, page load times and so on.

But it’s not THAT complicated

The important thing is to be methodical. If you’re a small team with a limited budget and modest site traffic you’re unlikely to have the resources to run a series of concurrent (multivariate) tests, so keep it simple and stick to an easily managed A/B split testing model:

  • Choose a campaign or traffic source (ideally one with a reasonable level of traffic) and split these visitors between your current landing page (control) and an alternative design (hypothesis).
  • Wait and see what happens. Does one page outperform the other? If so, great. That page becomes the control. Now you need another hypothesis.
  • And another
  • And perhaps another
  • Then, when you’re satisfied that the basic wireframe of the page is optimal, move on to testing other key elements.
  • Set up another A/B test, this time test variants of the Headline message. When you’re happy that this is optimal move on…
  • To the call to action and then
  • The imagery
  • The colours in the buttons, testimonials and so on.

The important thing is to test in a carefully controlled manner.

Once you move past the first stages of wireframe testing, you should be testing very limited elements – one at a time. Just test the C2A, then the headline, next the testimonials and so on. You need to be able to isolate causes.

There’s no doubt that it’s a time consuming and sometimes frustrating process but with so much invested in your online marketing, it’s not something that you should overlook. The time spent on optimisation activities could help close the gap between visitors and customers – making your website more profitable and providing a more efficient use of a valuable resource.

6 Steps to Optimise Your Content Marketing Strategy – Part 1

Written by RMA on . Posted in Blog

‘Content Is King’ is the 1996 Bill Gates article (now a catchphrase) to which many content creators and marketers refer when talking about the importance of content to support business and marketing strategy. Our belief, supported by years of experience, is that content may well be king but only:

  • When maintained by relevancy; and
  • When backed by an optimised content strategy.

A strong content strategy can help achieve marketing and business goals. If your organisation has started 2014 without one, then the hard work you put into creating quality (relevant) content may go to waste.

Far too often, content strategy is confused with editing. Content strategy is about more than just words on a page. It’s essential to consider how the content might by distributed, re-distributed, re-purposed, and through which channels. To some extent, re-using content in this way is about taking a single, carefully crafted piece of work and putting it to use in a number of different ways to achieve a particular goal. For example, more visits to your site, brand awareness, thought leadership, and so on. But, it’s easy to get this wrong. A bad content strategy might consist of the following:

  • Irrelevant, badly formed content
  • Article spinning
  • Blanket distribution of content

It’s important, not necessarily to limit the extent to which content is re-purposed, but also to ensure that it is used in the right manner, within the right context and then distributed to a target audience.

Content creation is, however, only one part of an organisation’s overall strategy. There are many other related activities that are equally important, all of which should come under the same business and marketing strategy umbrella. A content strategy will help align content activities to the overall strategy, providing you with a clear path to success (or an identifiable trail of improvements to make).

To that end, we’ve created a three-part article series that we hope will highlight some of the key motivations behind content strategy optimisation and outline a useable framework. This first article is an introduction to the series. Watch out for the next article coming soon…

Why not get in touch with us to find out how we can align content with strategy in your organisation?

 

8 Thoughts from MWC14

Written by RMA on . Posted in Blog

Like many in the industry, we were at MWC last week in Barcelona. We had a brief and, possibly because of this, thoroughly enjoyable visit. MWC used to be the time to take the pulse of the industry, but now it seems as if, like Doctor Who, there are several pulses to choose from.

This is because, while on the one hand the promise that the entire ecosystem is represented remains true, on the other, the ecosystem has grown and morphed to encompass more segments and many more stakeholders. There have been numerous articles discussing MWC in the past few days and we won’t shy away from joining the bandwagon.

1. It’s awfully big and expensive – can you justify it?

Our first conclusion is that the jamboree is just too big and bloated these days. To be sure, there’s a lot of interesting things happening and it’s great that so many figureheads treat it as a vital element of the calendar, but it’s also clear that it’s increasingly difficult to navigate and increasingly difficult to stand out.

The primary reason for attending as a vendor (and in blowing a huge part of your marketing budget) is to meet actual and potential customers. This is becoming harder and harder and the investment required is growing dramatically. Some of our customers achieved this successfully but only by making MWC the main focus of their annual marketing budgets, leaving little room for other expenditure through the year.

Of course, the mega companies don’t much care about this but smaller companies need to think about alternative ways to meet customers. There are plenty of smaller, more focused events and they may well represent a better investment of time, resources and funds than the annual tapas fest that MWC has become. We certainly believe that you should think twice before committing so much to a single event.

2. You’ll probably learn more detail elsewhere…

Secondly, if you want to know more about a specific topic, say for example, SDN or NFV, which have been the subjects of much attention in the past few days, then there are probably better places to learn in more detail, but probably nowhere else where the chatter, grapevine and daily bombardment of news reflects quite so many opinions in such a short space of time. There’s a bit of a chain reaction these days – topics move in and out of focus and can quickly snowball.

In that respect, MWC is a bit of a Hobson’s choice. Either you go, and benefit from these nuggets while putting up with the noise and inconvenience, or you don’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s good for the vendors – on the contrary, to us, that argues for the exhibition side to be diminished and the role of the conference and forum itself to be enhanced.

3. But the conference itself deserves more attention

The exhibition is almost a sideshow, existing alongside but increasingly disconnected from the insightful analysis, comments and proceedings of the adjacent conference.

And this is the thing we particularly like about MWC and what we see as its enduring value. In a single event, there can be key industry leaders from all sides – the CEO of Telenor, the CEO of Facebook, alongside regulators, analysts, CEO of TEMs and so on. Thus, Mr Zuckerberg can make some remarks about the role of Facebook in the ecosystem and an impassioned plea for free internet access (to howls of derision from most) while the CEO of a Tier 1 MNO can respond with a thoughtful riposte in the same place. For industry commentators, this is gold dust and provides copy for thousands of column inches. Perhaps ironically, it was through OTT social media as well as traditional media that much of the debate was played out.

4. Facebook in call for DPI shock

Which brings us to Mr Zuckerberg’s comments themselves. There’s been a good deal of comment about his remarks, but one thing that stood out for us was the de facto appeal for DPI that lies at their heart. If Facebook traffic is to be zero rated (very little chance, in our opinion – why would you?), then it follows that it has to be recognised by the network. The only reliable way of doing this is via DPI, a topic of some controversy, but which none-the-less seems to be a key part of Facebook’s plans.

Regardless of whether he gets his way, and we rather suspect he won’t, it’s interesting how he has chosen to advocate something the means to achieve which was, until recently, anathema to many on the net side of the industry. We’ve commented before on how DPI can be used fruitfully by operators and it’s nice that Facebook agrees. It’s high time DPI became acceptable once again. Like and share if you agree.

5. Save your news unless you’re sure it will be heard

Of course, with MWC being so important to the industry at large, everyone worth their salt seems to scramble to make important (to them) announcements to coincide with the event. There is a deluge of news and it’s very hard to sort out what matters from the noise. In fact, there’s so much noise that we wonder whether it would be smarter not to make major announcements during this period – after all if you are a relatively unknown player, then it’s awfully difficult to get the 1500+ journalists to pay attention, jaded as they are with their round of parties. Unless you are sure of getting the attention, perhaps it’s best to save them up or risk being overshadowed by the fallout from announcements on whatever is in vogue at the time, such as WhatsApp.

6. Enjoy the experience of sporadic coverage

As regular visitors to MWC and its earlier GSM incarnation over the last 15 years or so, it’s been interesting to note the attempts by the industry to ensure sufficient mobile coverage is available. Largely, it fails. We had GPRS coverage, EDGE and sometimes 3G, but the Wi-Fi coverage (nice complementary in a sort of hetnet way) was intermittent and far from universal. As the showcase for the industry, coverage really ought to be ubiquitous. And, while we are on the subject of zero-rating data, isn’t it ironic that the mobile operators are pushing us humble visitors who actually work in the industry and build their networks to roam onto Wi-Fi whenever possible?

7. Customer experience has a long way to go

Customer experience is a huge topic and one that has grown from a number of different sources. We helped out with an interview for a customer and it was interesting to note how things have moved on in this space since 2013.

Of course, we’ve focused on the technology aspects of this in the past, discussing the role of big data analysis in delivering a better customer experience (and, incidentally, in delivering better efficiencies and so on for operators). Since then, we’ve had a number of interesting chats on the topic, not least with Carl Lyon of the QoE group. It’s become clear that everything should flow from consideration of the customer – the technology is simply an enabler to this goal.

With that said, we can reflect that, last year, operators were aware of two things. First, that the untapped (aka big) data in their networks existed and that they needed to do something with it. Secondly, that CEM was going to be hugely important. Of course, there has been an acceleration towards LTE and so on which has occupied perhaps more attention, but we also note that this year operators are beginning to act on the two issues and, what’s more, there has been much more discussion on the cultural and organisational changes that must result from an orientation towards delivery of a better customer experience.

2014 is going to be about making customer experiences better and more relevant. It will take a while, but we’re already seeing signs of progress. But, it’s not something that will ever be complete – rather, it’s a total reorientation that will affect how operators behave and act in the future. It’s rather exciting, as we are just touching the tip of the iceberg.

8. Applications are all very well, but we must focus on paying customers

There’s no doubt that consumers love mobile applications, but there is a huge degree of uncertainty regarding the returns that can be generated from any one of these. Users will sometimes pay (to a point); sometimes they won’t – and they may migrate to the next free service as soon as terms and conditions change. However, business users are different. They expect to pay and they expect to receive utility from their applications that is both proportionate and relevant to their businesses.

Increasingly, mobility has been extended to enterprise applications and considerable efforts have been invested in adding mobile capabilities both to existing solutions and to the introduction of new services. Indeed, so much energy has gone into this that it’s sometimes overlooked how fundamental voice is to enterprise needs. It’s a fact (we contend…) that voice remains fundamental to the needs of business users, irrespective of whether they come from the enterprise, are SMEs or SoHo users.

It remains surprising, therefore, why so little attention is paid to the needs of enriching voice services for business users. The very mention of RCS seems to incite heated debate but we’ve been consistent in that we see most utility for such a service from within the business customer base – of course, it needs to be extended via APIs and integrated with other capabilities – but it’s still a much clearer and more certain use case than a strategy predicated on attracting the mass of consumers already tied into Facebook, WhatsApp and the like.

We can’t explain why so much attention is focused on battles that are either hard to win or even already lost. Business users pay money and need richer services. They are poorly served in the mobile market and operators have neither particularly understood their needs nor invested heavily in serving them.

This needs to change – it’s a clear market (in fact, lots of similar and related markets) in which to carve out a niche and can generate more certain returns than competition with more agile competitors. Evidence can be seen of this from the entry of nimble OTT players with an OTT voice focus. Happily, there’s a long way to go and plenty of room for growth.

And that’s what we should be focused on in terms of new service launches and service orientation. Yes, we have to build bigger and faster networks that can deliver the promised speeds, yes we have to delight customers and profit from doing so, but in terms of services, MNOs really ought to forget about FaceApps and instead concentrate on delivering innovative, rich services to customers that actually care about them and are likely to pay.

Thanks Barcelona – see you next year! Well, actually, we’ll be back in April for the IMS World Forum.

 

Gauging the Pulse of the WebRTC Industry with Upperside in Paris

Written by RMA on . Posted in Blog

One of the most exciting things we have observed over the past 18 months or so has been the gathering momentum behind WebRTC and HTML5. When we published our first report on the topic back in early 2012, it was clear that this was going to be of huge significance for communications service providers of all stripes as well as the vendor community.

Today, we are already seeing significant vendor and operator activity orientated around the integration of WebRTC and HTML5 capabilities into both existing and novel applications. Our partners, such as Gintel, jtel, Telesoft Technologies and Dialogic have all invested in the incorporation of WebRTC functionality into their solutions.

The fantastic thing is that we are moving from market prediction and forecast to market reality. The pace of change has been significant and we can expect to see commercialisation of these applications in 2014 as stakeholders both deliver new products and wake up to the market potential.

That’s why we’re excited to be visiting Upperside’s WebRTC conference in Paris this week. It promises to be a key forum for the discussion of progress towards the WebRTC enabled world as well as an opportunity to experience how vendors and service providers are incorporating WebRTC capabilities into their offers.

We’ll be reporting from the event and in the coming months, but if you are attending, why not give us a shout and come and have a chat?

The Downloadable Client Fallacy

Written by RMA on . Posted in Blog

While attending the recent RCS summit in Berlin, we heard a number of people, including some well-respected analysts, arguing that the absence of natively installed clients is a significant impediment to RCS rollout.

We can see the point – that is, that having to download and install an application might put some users off. But we fail to see how this argument can stand up when one of the rationales behind RCS deployment is often given (particularly by the GSMA) as enabling MNOs to compete with OTT providers of messaging services. Just to be clear, we don’t agree with that – we think RCS is more about enhancing messaging and staying relevant, but still.

Remind us, how do users obtain messaging applications from OTT providers? Via download, generally speaking. To suggest that users will be dissuaded from doing so by the need of installing applications via this route makes little sense. They are already doing it, just from so-called rival solutions.

If MNOs doubt their ability to encourage users to download clients, then that’s a failure of their marketing, not of the model per se. It’s nonsense to suggest that the model that has served OTTs so well cannot be applied to MNOs too. Why can’t they capitalise on delivery mechanisms that have proven so staggeringly successful? Of course, it would be marvellous were RCS to be natively deployed on each handset, but that’s not going to happen for many years. So why shouldn’t MNOs leverage the same mechanisms that have been used by OTT players?

We were reminded of this at the recent Ericsson EMEA Analyst event in Stockholm in a discussion we had regarding Wi-Fi offload and management solutions. In a discussion with Sheila Burpee Duncan, Head of Wi-Fi Marketing, we agreed that a key missing element was software on devices to enhance the management processes involved in handover and network selection, a subject about which we have written with our friends at GoS Networks. But what was surprising was to hear that RAN managers tend to be opposed to the provision of downloadable clients to address such issues.

Why? It’s how OTTs achieve success and scale so why can’t MNOs do the same? It’s really most peculiar – particularly when you consider that some MNOs are delivering high-quality and useful solutions from app stores too, as well as via HTML5.

For example, BT’s Wi-Fi application is a wonderful tool, enabling BT customers to easily register with hotspots nationally and internationally. It works, it’s free, is easy to configure, and updates directly from the BT website. They’ve promoted it very well too – with adverts on Facebook and alerts sent to their customers.

So why would MNO employees be opposed to doing the same thing, either for more effective Wi-Fi management (which brings benefits to their users) or for RCS (which brings benefits to their users), or for anything else for that matter?

It’s a mystery and we have no reason to doubt the impressions we received. But if it’s really true, then the marketing teams of MNOs really, really ought to learn a little bit more about how OTTs have successfully delivered their applications to millions of users. It seems they don’t understand the model at all.