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A NEW STRATEGY FOR ONLINE BUSINESS SUCCESS

A NEW STRATEGY FOR ONLINE BUSINESS SUCCESS

Most entrepreneurs build products and services that no one really using. For example, say you have a start-up and you build a team and a product. Then six months later you have a product you are happy to release. Now the day comes and you are ready to launch the product and guess what? Nothing happens.

The business creates a huge PR campaign and does a write-up for a few major publications and starts to build up a user base. Then what happens? They all usually end up not using the product or service after a few tries. This isn’t the viral growth your business was hoping, so now what do you do?

In this case businesses should not focus on creating new features; this just simply does not solve the initial problem of getting users and buyers for the product. Lets try something new in the world: growth hacking. What is growth hacking and how can it help your business?

Growth hacking is a set of tactics and best practices for dealing with user growth. These tactics will solve problems such as: getting more users, increasing the value of the lifetime users, increasing active users, and reducing the churn rate. Online businesses go wrong when they just focus on three things: traffic, users and revenue. There are four phases in the cycle and what happens in between the above three are the most important. It is imperative for every business to map out the lifecycle of their product or service.

Before we get into the details watch this video:

Phase 1: Getting People To Your Website

What about getting people to come to the website for online services such as tax return or tax return online and how they reach there. The tactics are: SEO, partnerships, blogs, contests, emails, and paid traffic. Most of the clients we work with use FACEBOOK ADVERTISING as their primary source to acquire new users of their website. We use specific targeting methods to get people to opt-in to our database. Remember to have a core offer to intrigue them to opt-in. This can be in the form of a webinar, white paper, eBook, videos, series of infographics or even a digital magazine.

Common Practice: We promote our offers and posts on STUMBLEUPON, REDDIT and other popular social bookmarking sites to get attention.

Phase 2: Getting Repeat Visits To The Website

Lets use one of our favorite websites as an example for this. QUORA allows users to share their answers on popular platforms such as Facebook and TWITTER. It even allows you to share the questions. Now say that the user shares their question and a friend is intrigued by it. They go on the website to check their answer and automatically decide to sign up. Then a few days go by and the user receives a weekly digest from Quora based on their interests. The user goes back to Quora and is encouraged to answer related questions. At the end the user starts sharing their questions, which leads to more users on the site. As a business, think about how you will move users from one phase to the next.

Another example is  bookkeeping services Sydney or bookkeepers Sydney site, which uses a tour guide to help you through the process.

Common Practice: Force people to sign up before they can view the content on your website.

Phase 3: Get Users To Become Active

When users love a good thing they refer it to their friends and it spreads like wildfire. The job of the business is to measure the conversion rate at EVERY phase of the lifecycle of a product. Our company uses MIXPANEL to measure conversion. We also use SEGMENT.IO to check on a variety of different services. Just note that in the beginning of this process the numbers may not be all that great. Do not focus on acquiring new people for a product or service if the number of active users is less than 1%. We want to make sure the users love the website and keep coming back for more information.

Common Practice: Use Facebook integration. It makes it really easy for people to share.

Lets get more in-depth by measuring the effectiveness of the traffic source to some online services such as online tax return service. Websites with minimal amount of items on them convert better. Use a overlay to improve activation and allow users to pick from different options. We use email to get people to come back for more of our products and services. Last we use an overlay to encourage people to share on Twitter and Facebook.

Common Practice: GROUPON and LIVING SOCIAL use two different pages to test their users. One is for direct traffic and one is for Google traffic.

Phase 4: Monetizing From The Database

We have a set of tools we use to check if we are monetizing from our website. We use UNBOUNCE to make sure our landing pages are favorable and what needs to be changed. Monetizing is all about testing and seeing what really works and what doesn’t. Then we use a website like OPTIMIZE.LY to perform A/B tests for our landing pages.

Common Practice: SWAGBUCKS.COM sends emails if you have been inactive for too long.

It is never too late to start implementing growth hacking techniques within your marketing strategy. Start with the testing and see where it takes the business!

HOW TO GET YOUR CUSTOMERS TO DO THE MARKETING FOR YOU

HOW TO GET YOUR CUSTOMERS TO DO THE MARKETING FOR YOU

Customer-centric companies are trending in the world of business. What does this mean? Customer-centric companies rely on creating positive experiences at the point of the sale and after the sale. They also rely on their customers for validation purposes. This means if they launching a new business or marketing campaign then they will allow their customers to do all the work. Most startups fail because of this very reason: they have not validated their concept or their business.

The process requires testing, market research, and advertising. When there is a 40 percent product-market fit, they can proceed. In other words, if 40 percent of their current customer base cannot live without the product or service, then it is worth pursuing. Now adding the customer-centric component can be the differentiator for a business. Why? They are simply providing an experience their competitor isn’t.

Why spend millions on marketing when you can have your own customers do the job for you?

CUSTOMER-CENTRIC CULTURE SAYS IT ALL

As a customer-centric business these four components rely strongly on your customers: corporate culture, sales, customer service, product development and marketing. Here is what you need to consider:

The product or service is built with the customer’s need in mind and solves a desperate problem.
Marketing is by and for the customers. Just ask them how they’d like to be marketed to.
Customer service goes above and beyond your competitors.

Now let’s circle back to your company’s values. Most of the clients I have worked with have created a “values” chart, which which their employees and customers can identify. For example, AirBnB realized that most of their customers wanted to “feel like home,” so they created a campaign around “Belonging Anywhere.” Try creating a personal story that rewards your target audience. For example, the birthday of your business can be the day on which you offer your customers a “free product” day. The last ingredient is to really take all of this and have fun with it.

Best Practice: Ask your customers why they chose your company. Write out your values and put them up on a wall for your employees to see. Have your employees and customers mix and mingle. What is the story behind your company? How and why it was founded? Last of all, create a brand voice for all the communications your company will use with customers. What’s your lingo?

EMPLOYEES VS. CUSTOMERS

How many of you have been cold called by someone and heard a script? I don’t know about you, but I have usually called out the person on the other end when I can tell they are reading a script. I simply ask them what it means to them to be where they are and who they are working for. Can they identify with their company and its values? Forget the scripts and encourage your employees to get creative. For example, Ritz-Carlton gives its employees a $2,000 budget to fix a customer problem (most of the time they do not use all of it). Another example is Whole Foods Market: when they were out of a product, an employee offered a homemade dish of the same product. Got creativity?

Then of course it is important to measure creativity in all areas. The most important area is the personal emotional connection with the customers.

Best Practices: Get your employees feedback: how can they improve the customer experience? Do you have a policy sheet, which defines what they can do and what they can’t do? What’s one new metric that defines customer satisfaction? Add it to your roster!

DEVELOPMENT OF THE ULTIMATE PRODUCT OR SERVICE

When you re-invent for your customers, the ideas should directly come from them. They are your biggest fans! The features should be implemented based on the consumer’s preferences. For example,REDDIT.COM adds new features to their site based on what their customers love. In correlation with the features is the user experience. For example, when you go to TWOSOCKS.COM allows you to customize your socks based on your personality. These are great approaches, and marketers are also leveraging the emotional intelligence trend. In the business world, this means finding the “hot buttons” for your best customers. MAILCHIMP does the by giving users a high-five after they send out a campaign.

Best Practice: Ask your customers how you can improve your business to make it better for them. Your customers want to feel involved, so create a community around your product for them to share ideas. Last, use a persona to represent your brand so you are able to evoke emotion towards it.

CONTENT DEVELOPMENT

We keep hearing that “content is king,” but why do businesses need to focus on content development? Where is the ROI in this stuff? The truth is that content development is crucial for your company. You want to create content that people can relate to. For example, publishing case studies is a phenomenal way of getting businesses on board with your content. Another strategy is to get others to build your ROI for you through guest posting. The only flip side to this is that the content has to comply with your current content strategy.

Best Practice: The best type of content is in visual form because it is easy to scan through. Recycle your content into slides, Pinterest boards. This will make it easy to distribute them through Facebook and Twitter.

CONVERSATIONS ARE POWERFUL

Conversations lead to big money for most businesses. The question should be, what are you doing to currently to dialogue with your biggest customers? Are you using social media? Are you inviting your customers to reply to your automated emails? You can do this by adding a do-follow process.

Best Practice: The golden way to have conversations with your customers is through live chat. Whoever is on the other end, make sure they answer all the questions they get, even if they are not directed toward them. Another way is to use a proactive invite and have follow-up conversations to make sure they were happy with your service.

What do you need to add to your business to make it customer-centric?

USING SOCIAL MEDIA METRICS

USING SOCIAL MEDIA METRICS

Most companies do not have quantitative metrics that demonstrate the use of marketing spending on their business such as tax return or small business accountants service. Fifteen percent of marketers are not tracking marketing return on investment, or ROI, according to the CMO REPORT, which collects the opinions of top marketers to predict the future of markets. In fact 27% of marketers rely on manager judgments. Only 2% of companies actually track lead generation to sales metrics.

Here are the common mistakes in analyzing social media metrics and how marketers can fix them:

MEASURING THE JOURNEY OF THE QUALIFIED LEAD

“Visitors” and “traffic” to your website are unqualified leads. However, when a visitor fills out a form or opts-in for more information, then they become qualified. For example, GLOBAL MARKETING TACTICS and MARKETING IS MATH collect qualified leads by having visitors fill out information on a pop-up to receive additional information.

Once you collect the lead, then you should follow-up with a SEQUENTIAL EMAIL MARKETING CAMPAIGN to get the lead to buy something or to learn about what their challenge is and how you can solve it.

The key to measuring the journey from prospect to lead is by using campaign codes, which identify where referral traffic originates and how prospects interact with your calls-to-action. This BRUCE CLAY GUIDE tells how to set up these tracking codes and which parameters to use for each measurement. For example, if you set up a retargeting campaign, then you can create a code that shows how the prospect maneuvers through the rest of your website and content. For example, I can set parameters to identify how my social media traffic is converting on the website.

Best Practice: Use the campaign builder tool to create campaign codes for calls-to-action. Then organize the campaign codes by using tags so you know exactly where your prospects are going and how they are converting into leads. Each step of the journey needs to have a campaign code. Don’t forget to tag all elements of your form so you know exactly where prospects drop off.

WHAT ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS REALLY DOING?

Most CEOs do not care what customers do as long as they buy. However, measuring customer activity and what customers do on different social networks can lead your team to change a sales process. If the sales process is not congruent with the consumer’s buying behavior then conversions will be lower. It is important for an organization to measure the lifetime value of the customer, or LTV. Whether it be buying behavior on a social network or collecting such data as favorite color, birthday, and other personal information, such data will increase the LTV and decrease the customer acquisition cost because you will be able to target more precisely.

The truth is Google Analytics can’t track everything. You need more sophisticated tools to measure more granular data. This information will ultimately allow you to create a hyper-personalized campaign that helps your organization acquire new customers because you understand their behavior, interests and psychographics.

Best Practice: Contact your customer-relationship management provider and business intelligence team to find out more about your customer profile. Questions you may want to ask include: What data is available? What business questions do your stakeholders want answered? Which data points will help you analyze your projects?

CREATING A MEDIA COMPANY

Every business needs to have the three types of media: paid media (native advertising, display ads, pay per click, etc.), owned media (blogs, digital magazines, eBooks, whitepapers, etc.), and earned media (social shares, likes, retweets, favorites, upvotes, etc.) This will transform the organization into a value-adding media company by adding value to your biggest prospects and turning the visitors on your website into qualified leads.

A common way to classify paid, owned and earned media is by using campaign codes for some websites such as tax return Sydney or Accountant Sydney as an example. We use CAMPAIGNALYZER to manage campaign codes. First classify the campaign into a direct-response campaign or a business-branding campaign. Then, classify the advertising as either value-adding or core-message-centric. If you expect your customers to take action when they come to your site, then yours is a direct response campaign.

After this classification is established, then decide which types of campaigns you are trying to develop (solo ads, blogs, videos, cost per click, cost per thousand, etc.) These can even include the device you are targeting.

Best Practice: Create tags for all your data in your analytics program using business intelligence tools or other third-party programs. The more specific you are with your tags the better you will be able to track conversions to your site from various different social media channels.

THE SALES PROCESS AND CONVERSION LAYER

Most businesses have a sales funnel in place. For example, the last ecommerce site I worked with had the following funnel in place: comes from ad, searches for products, browses through offers, adds a few items to the cart, makes a purchase, and finally sees a confirmation page.

But is this funnel really tracking conversions? It could be, but from a macro-level or a micro-level? What is the definition of conversion? What if conversions didn’t occur in just one step as designed above? Life would be easy if conversions really happened in the way they are designed above. Most of the time, especially with social media, they don’t happen this way. There are times when prospects abandon the cart or they click through, leave and then return later. How do we measure these conversions?

The first step is to define what conversion really means and add goals and tags to the series of events that lead up to it. Author and digital marketing evangelist Avinash Kaushik’s MACRO-LEVEL AND MICRO-LEVEL CONVERSIONS will make it more feasible for you to track this.

Then create your conversion story. Imagine your first prospect, searching for your products or service. How did they find you? The first part of the conversion is the search. Once the prospects find you, then they look through your inventory and search for what they want to buy. This falls under measuring their shopping behavior.

At the end, they make a purchase, and what you want to know is whether they share that information with friends.

Best Practice: Find out how many shares you receive without having a referral program in place. If you find that you are receiving many referrals, then create a referral program using REFERRAL CANDY.

THE ULTIMATE CONVERSION STORY

What caused someone to buy from you? It may cost you to find out what really causes people to go from one end of the funnel to the other end. However, you can measure these social media metrics easily and for free when you group your campaigns by codes and tags. A conversion is like a football game. It defiantly takes more than one factor to make it happen. You want to know how the players interacted to reach the ultimate goal. This is how you design your conversion story.

When your customers are interacting with the different marketing channels, they all factor into the conversion. Imagine if you could find out how your customers interacted in the different social media channels before they confirmed their purchase decision. This would allow you to optimize all the channels before the final conversion takes place and know which touch points actually contributed to the sale.

Most business owners feel as though social media just doesn’t work, or there is no ROI. However, social media plays a huge role when it comes to converting a stranger to a lead. To find out what works and what doesn’t, you can measure this through marketing attribution or channel effectiveness. This allows you to spend more marketing dollars on what is effective and dispense with what doesn’t work.

Best Practice: Read this SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING ATTRIBUTION GUIDE to determine which channels drive purchases and which channels do not.

I hope this guide helped you determine how to improve your metrics. Remember it is all about the qualified lead journey, customer activity measurement, paid advertising measurement, the sales process, and your conversion story.

Comment below on what you’d like to learn next from me or if you have any questions!