Scoring marketing leads for better conversions

Scoring marketing leads for better conversions

Achieving monthly targets for marketing or sales teams is difficult and tough. Scoring marketing leads and then re-scoring by sales can work very well to achieve targets in a smarter way. Identifying and prioritising leads to chase is the first step to getting there.

Every business is unique, and each has its own lead scoring system. Scoring marketing leads is not entirely a scientific process, it is an unknown blend of experience and data. Experience is a variable, however, having accurate data can help you score the leads efficiently. Smarter scores are workable and yield results. The process of scoring marketing leads changes depending on the digital marketing trends.

What is lead scoring?

Lead score is usually a number that, normally expressed in percentage of chances of making the sale. Once you have a few leads in your marketing pipeline, score each one based on a set of pre-determined metrics. This will not only help pass valid leads to sales but also give you insights into what leads you are generating and how you can tweak the marketing process to attract better leads. This cyclic process will help you get better at the game with time.

The process of marketing lead scoring

Step 1: Choose your scoring variables / attributes

Scoring marketing leads involves understanding of your visitors. Create an average audience profile that resonates the characteristics of your average customer. Categorise by profession – do they run their own businesses or are they salaried? What is their domain? What are their actions before making a purchase – free trials, sampling? Take a feedback from sales and analyse the basis of their conversion to customers.

Normally, scoring marketing leads depends on the following variables:

  • Industry – Depending on your product or service, which domains or industries do you cater to? Get data from sales, analyse it and sort them by industry, calculate the percentage of conversion domain-wise. Use this data as a basis for analysing leads in the current pipeline.
  • Business size – Which size of businesses or customers working in those businesses gets you a higher conversion rate? SMBs Vs enterprise businesses is a big touchpoint to score your leads.
  • B2B – If your products or services are B2B, who approved the purchase from the client’s end? A C-Club executive, a VP, a manager or the purchase department? This analysis will give you accurate data on target oriented marketing.
  • Website – As the owner of the website, the marketing team needs to identify pre-purchase activity. Scoring marketing leads here will also depend on free-trial customers or visits to pricing pages, etc. If you can analyse and execute search intent optimisation (https://efficaci.us/search-intent-optimization-a-complete-guide/), it will give you fantastic results.

All touchpoints or factors that identify your high converting customers are called “segments”or “variables” in marketing lead scoring jargon. They do not have barriers and are interchangeable. Once you have these segments or variables in place in your entire marketing funnel, the next step is to find out the value of these leads.

Step 2: Ascertain lead yield or average conversion rate for your segments

Once you are done with marketing lead scoring for all leads in the funnel, you can use the following methods to calculate the conversion rates and the lead yield.

Conversion rate – Conversion rate is a simple ratio between the number of conversions or deals and the total leads. The formula:

(# of deals or conversions / Toal leads) * 100

Lead yield – This is the ratio between the total revenue from closed deals and the total leads. The formula:

Total revenue from deals / Total # of leads

Once you are done with these calculations, prioritising the conversion rate of lead yield will depend upon your business goals and the pricing models. For example, if you run a subscription-based revue model, conversion rates are very important because you are getting long-term customers and their value increases. If you are selling white goods, lead yield is a prioritised metric because you are doing onetime deals and onetime price is the only revenue.

Once this prioritisation is done, it is time to delve deeper into your lead behaviour and fine tune it.

Step 3: Compare your data

Once you are done with the ratios, how do you know if they are good or bad? It is always important to compare them with your old data. To do that, calculate the same for all your customers over a period (1 year data should be good enough). This will give you the conversion rates and lead yields for an average customer. Compare the present data (probably for the last 30 days or a month) with the average customer data. This insight is very critical to marketing lead scoring.

Scoring marketing leads

For example, if your lead conversion rate is 20% for the last year and your present funnel segment is averaging 5%, the lead score assigned should be low.

Step 4: Assigning lead score to variables and segments

Scoring marketing leads depends on the how the present data on a particular segment compares to your old data. Many businesses use a scale of 1 to 10. However, if you are looking for precision, expanding the scale to 1 to 100 will be a good idea.

Scoring marketing leads

Having keys within the score will enhance your consistency in marketing lead scoring. Use a point system, for example, a 10% lead score could be equal to 2 points and so on. A larger scale will be more precise for now and for future analysis.

Step 5: Attribute based lead evaluation

Once you have the list of attributes (as in Step 1) and lead scores, use them to evaluate leads in the funnel, one by one. Although many CRMs make a good job of lead scoring, a manual evaluation will give you more insights. Once you do this 5 or 6 times, the differences between a CRM evaluation and yours will be transparent and you can only expect so much from a CRM. This data will be useful to enhance your experience of marketing lead scoring and fortify your perspective on the differences.

Add up the attribute scores for each prospect in the funnel and create a list. You will have a much clearer perspective on the leads you are generating and this data can help tweak your marketing strategy and the sales pitches used.

Improve marketing targeting using lead scores

Once you have a first-hand experience in marketing lead scoring and understand the conversion attributes for your business and domain, you will gain insights into new marketing opportunities.

Scoring marketing leads

These could include better targeted marketing, targeted landing pages, targeting newly found segments and variables. This will help identify and prospect for high-scoring customers on the right channels.

These insights will also help recreate targeted email marketing campaigns month on month. When the outreach is better targeted, results are not far away.

Conclusion…

Marketing lead scoring helps marketers target the right customers and get a higher value for their efforts. However, marketing and sales need to work in tandem here and tread the thin red line between them with care. 

Make this process a part of your digital marketing strategy. After all, a cohesive business is always more efficient than not.

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SEO for beginners  – A bird’s-eye-view

SEO for beginners  – A bird’s-eye-view

Brief, unnecessary history

Search Engine Optimisation is a common enough term almost anyone online understands. However, this article is an eagle’s eye-view on SEO for beginners. SEO has been there for ages. According to multiple online sources, the acronym ‘SEO’ was first coined in 1997, about 34 years ago, predating all popular search engines. The 1990s saw many search engines – Excite, AltaVista, Infoseek, Ask Jeeves, Lycos, Yahoo [1994], google [1996] and others. 

The credit of coining ‘search engine optimization’ goes to the manager of the rock band (probably Bill Thompson), Jefferson Starship. He came up with this when he was upset about the rocks band’s official website ranked on the 4th page of a legacy search engine and not at position 1 on page 1. We credit this information to Bob Heyman, Managing Partner, Digital Engagement Group.

What is SEO?

SEO or search engine optimization is a method of building or organising your website [technical SEO] and its content [on-page SEO] and marketing it to search engines based on content, links and other off-site factors. [off-page SEO]. By the way, if you really want to brand your business and sky-rocket your marketing, please remember that Google is not the only search engine though it commands a market share of over 92% of the search market, as of June 2021.

Let us browse a simple list of how the entire process of SEO works.

The entire foundation of search engine optimisation is based on keywords or key-phrases. We should optimise each webpage on your website for a keyword for which you want that page to be found on the search engines. This works webpage by webpage and not the entire website.

SEO for beginners

So, Keywords

If the foundation is not good, your SEO skyscraper will not be stable. In this SEO for beginners guide, this is the most critical step of search engine optimization and if increasing relevant traffic to your website is a priority, this research and hard work is critical. Make a list of webpages that you want to appear on search engines.

Build a relevant audience or a customer profile with as much data as you can. Delve on it a little more and wear the customer’s hat. Think like him and write five (more the merrier) queries that he could use to search for your product or service. Make a list.

Make a comprehensive list of your top ten competitors. Check their websites, read their content and analyse their meta tags (keywords and other data defined in the backend code). This will help you generate more ideas and fill the gaps. Add to the list you are creating.

SEO for beginners

Look into long tail keywords (queries that are two or three words long). Long tail keywords or key phrases are important although they do not bring in much traffic. They bring relevant traffic; they are easier to rank for and are less competitive.

Use keyword suggestion tools. Google has an exceptional tool and there are many others you can use. On an important note, you can estimate the traffic for each suggested keyword, helping you to make an informed decision.

Move the list to your marketing think tank. Brainstorm and come up with the best ones. Prune the list to a maximum of 2 to 3 queries (keywords or key phrases). You see that they are just synonyms of each other and similar. These are your key phrases or keywords that you want that webpage to rank for.

And then? On-site SEO

Begin with your on-page SEO process. Implement the keywords or key phrases you choose everywhere when you market that webpage – blog posts, social media marketing posts that you may use for off-site marketing, the web page content and also into the meta tags -title, description and keyword tags (talk to your SEO guy, he will know). This process is also called on-site SEO or on-page SEO. Remember not to overdo it. Just a 2% integration will do (a.k.a keyword density). formula

While your team is doing this, remember that search engines look at your page differently. It differs from what you see. They see it in the HTML format (the code of the web page). So the keyword density that you would vary and it will be on a higher side depending on other variables. Nothing to worry.

Now, the webpage that you want to market needs to be optimised for click-through rates. Now, this is where your UX [user experience or design] team may get into loggerheads with the SEO team, but we can agree on a workable strategy. Optimising for CTR simply means the placement of ‘next step/action’ boxes at places where they are most visible and get more clicks.

SEO for beginners

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is about adjusting certain factors that have a direct affect the crawling and indexing of the webpage by search engines. Things like core web vitals, site speed optimization, hreflang tag, canonicalisations, structure data, etc. might sound Greek to you. However, these are important facts that need changing or adjusting. Your SEO guy can throw more light on these. I will write a more detailed blog post on this later on.

Off-site or Off-page SEO

Off-site SEO includes activities that are done away from your webpage or website. I will discuss a few of them here. Rest we will discuss in later posts, when I delve into their categories. These activities will include link building, press releases, brand building, local SEO, forums, events, guest posting, podcasts and reviews. You can find more help with other processes like content marketing, social media marketing, influencer marketing, search engine marketing, content syndication in other posts of this blog.

SEO for beginners

If the key phrases or keywords that you chose for marketing your webpage are competitive, it is critical that you do off-page SEO. Off-page or off-site SEO improves your webpage’s authority. It means that you are building your brand and goodwill. People will buy from a more authoritative website than from one that has lesser authority.

When your content is spot-on, meaning, if it is informative, detailed, unique and well-written, other websites (relevant websites) would like to link to it, which is great. Organic link building has always been good for webpage health. Th more sites link to your webpage, the more link juice (Google jargon) you will get and you will have a better SERP [Search Engine Ranking Position]. Link juice flows top to bottom, so try to build links to webpages that have more authority than yours.

The past 20 years have seen a lot of changes in search engine algorithms that penalised many websites for building irrelevant links. Relevance is about friendly domains and related businesses. If link building were as easy, everyone would have links everywhere. Marketers fought with Kung Fu Pandas and Madagascar Penguins in a no-win situation (Panda and Penguin are a series of Google Search Engine Algorithm updates) and a losing game.

First, instead of changing a marketing strategy umpteen times, due to search engine updates, it is only wise to stick to an honest policy and a sustainable marketing strategy. Gaming the search engines is not your business. Leave it to the underground experts. Focus on your core competence, running your business. More relevant links to your webpage means more goodwill and more authority.

Press Releases

Press releases traditionally are announcements in the press like newspapers, magazines, etc. In the online space, we relegate press releases to the same stature. However, in the recent years, they have become great marketing tools used for link building. 

Any new event or announcement, propagated digitally, gets anywhere between 10 to 25 links from good, authoritative websites. So, today, it is critical that everything your business does should see the digital press. Press releases also drive tons of referral traffic, improve brand awareness, and positions your business as a thought leader in the domain, bringing in trust signals.

Create. Great story, link your digital assets and ensure that you publish a press release frequently. Yes, releasing a press release costs money, but the advantages it brings in are tremendous.

Brand searches

Gone are the days when people never used a brand name to search for something. Today, if you want to buy a pair of scissors, your search will be for ‘Belmont Scissors’ or ‘Scissors on Amazon.’ In both cases, you are searching for brands. This is where a branding exercise becomes critical to your business.

“Search queries in the SERPs for your brand name are vital touch-points for both people and machines and are therefore essential to your business. You should track, evaluate, and improve them consistently.”

Jason Barnard, Founder & CEO at Kalicube

Your brand building exercises will help search engines understand your brand credibility, which improves your rankings. Building a brand will also ensure that you get mentions and links across the web naturally. People or other business want to associate with others who are famous. Get set to ignite your branding. Brand SERP is the new visiting card today.

Local SEO

If you are a brick and mortar business, localised to an area or city, SEO can be a completely different ballgame and you can reap fantastic benefits from it. Two off-page practices like Google My Business and citations can boost your popularity manifold.

4 in 5 searchers and over 40% of Google searches are for local information. If you can get Google My Business optimised listing on maps, it will help tremendously. If the locality is highly competitive, you or your competition will certainly show up on local maps.

Citations are equally important, especially on the map pack. Also, the NAP (Name, address, Phone Number) should be accurate and working. Any deviation from accuracy here is seen as incoherency, and the searcher may not bother finding you ever again. So, leveraging local search is a double-edged sword, tread carefully.

Once everything is in place, you need to aim for the 3-pack SEO. There is no guarantee you will get there. But, good positive reviews (more numbers), complete and accurate listing can get there with time. We discover reviews later in this piece. 

Forums

Forums are a great way to converse with people and build trust. Over the years, we have looked down on forums because marketers used them to build links and nothing else. However, look at the bright side, building links apart, you can showcase your expertise on the more popular forums like Quora or Redditt. In fact, many marketers have found major customers on forums by answering their questions patiently.

Forums are like cutting through the marketing mayhem and finding the right customer. Remember, the mindset of building links and the mindset of establishing expertise are completely different and until you are not breaking any guidelines, leverage forums.

Events

Events, especially online events, have become a part and parcel of marketing, thanks to the pandemic. Conducting events and webinars can be an exceptional idea to brand your website. Create a buzz around these events and they will contribute handsomely to your off-page SEO practices. 

When organised well with a lot of fanfare, events can help get much needed organic links and social media mentions, which will go a long way in branding. Though a little money and logistics are involved, events can get you a lot of word-of-mouth and branding. 

Follow up your event or webinar with a press release and you will get lots of marketing traction.

Guest Posting

Guest posting is writing a blog on someone else’s website. The most valuable tool in off-site SEO, guest posting, done with the right intent and strategy can get you easy customers. Though many marketers see guest posting as a link-building tool, that should not be the only aim to pursue.

We should guest post intending to put your expertise in front of a distinct set of audience, of course, related audience. If the content is good and informative, people will only flock to your website for more..

Podcasting

Podcasting is growing like crazy these days, and it can be a wonderful brand building tool. Over 75 million Americans listen to podcasts every month. And, if you are not in on podcasting, you are missing out a vast audience.

Podcasting is a great way to reach new audiences and talk to them convincingly. You may wonder if it is an off-page SEO tool. Yes it is, because Apple’s podcasts are a search engine and people find you by keywords in the title. Of course, Google podcasts too, have the same feature.

Reviews

SEO for beginners

Reviews comprise in Online Reputation Management [ORM]. Almost all online buyers look for reviews before buying and about 93% of online purchases are affected by this.

“Perhaps the most underrated benefit of collecting reviews is that, when implemented properly, reviews can help Google better understand your site. The common understanding is that Google uses them to derive brand signals, which can boost your site’s domain authority and eventually your position in search.”

TrustPilot

So, as an off-page SEO factor, positive reviews are very important for conversions. ‘Trust’ is the basic ingredient of all buying decisions, online or offline. Collecting positive reviews is critical to building a great brand, besides good business. And, if you are doing local SEO, reviews take the front seat for the 3-pack SEO.

Conclusion…

SEO is a game, played best with honesty. It is easier and cheaper to market online than offline. So, make the most of the game and grow your business sustainably. This SEO for beginners article is just the tip of the iceberg and you will understand better as you learn more and practice.

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6 keys to a potent Omnichannel Marketing Campaign

6 keys to a potent Omnichannel Marketing Campaign

Today’s internet population suffers from data deluge and social-media driven. This means that as a marketer, you need to run omnichannel marketing campaigns to ensure that every customer touch-point communicates a branded and holistic message in your marketing strategy. This includes digital marketing as well as traditional marketing touch-points.

Marketers today have more choice than ever before to advertise. The challenge in creating an omnichannel marketing campaign is the alignment of traditional with online. 

Traditional marketing channels like direct marketing, print advertising, radio and television have a unique method of advertising and you know what is the most effective method. Besides this, web advertising, social media marketing and mobile marketing cater to a distinct set of customers and have an entirely unique set of success strategies. In this backdrop, a unified omnichannel marketing strategy can be a challenge to create and execute.

Because of the above challenge, there is no fool-proof or surefire formula to create an integrated marketing campaign that is successful. However, the following steps will help create one that can maximise success through viewership and interesting CTAs.

Key 1: Isolate and understand your target audience

omnichannel marketing campaign

According to @StratCommun‘s Linda Pophal – “It’s important to clearly identify [who your target audience is by] both demographic and psychographic (attitudes, interests and behaviors), to help develop key messages and to identify the best communication channels to reach them.”

Creating audience profiles can be a great beginning to your omnichannel marketing campaign. Bring on the old audience profiles, if you have created them for other integrated marketing campaigns in the past. Edit them and make them relevant to the present time.

Some questions you should ask yourself are:

  • Who are your target audience / customers? 
  • What are they motivated by? 
  • How do they like being communicated to? 
  • Which magazines or newspapers do they read?
  • Which websites do they visit regularly?
  • If they are on social media, what are they talking about?

Key 2: Choose your channels for the omnichannel marketing campaign

omnichannel marketing campaign

Traditional or digital, choose your channels for your branded communication. Once you lock your data using Step 1, create a list of channels, both traditional and digital. Select relevant and useful channels where you think your audience fits in. Do not increase your marketing costs by including channels that may not work for you. You can use experience from past campaigns to choose.

Some questions that need answering here are:

  • What are the channels strengths and weaknesses?
  • Which ones will help me reach my objectives?
  • What percentage of my target audience is on each one?
  • Concentrate on effective channels and prune the list mercilessly.
  • Don’t be everywhere, all the time, ‘spray and pray’ does not work anymore.

Key 3: Follow your branding guide everywhere

branding

Keep your brand’s visual identity consistent across all traditional / digital channels and communication. Visual identity is how you want your viewers to perceive your brand. It is more than your logo; it is about the look and feel, common fonts and colours, graphics and photographs, and the totality of its impact. This will ensure that the viewer will make a visual connection across channels and with such branding, you will create a successful omnichannel marketing campaign. Research shows it takes over 5 impressions for a viewer to recognise a brand or its specific message.

Key 4: Create interesting content that can be adapted to all chosen channels

For communication across channels to be consistent, it is very important to create simple yet compelling content that can be adapted to all of them with ease. Do not use confusing phrases or Shakespearean language to impress. It is more important to get the message across than to learn your English. All communication – offers or messages must be clear and appeal to the viewer to take action while being consistent across internet, mobile phones and in-store.

omnichannel marketing campaign

All messaging should be good to use across all channels whether it is a blog post, email marketing content, a video or a case study. And, we should use the messaging across all channels as and where suitable by cutting across it without changing the visual impact.

All messaging created for your omnichannel marketing campaign should have proper CTA’s driving traffic and culminate in action, whether it is a sale, or a subscription or to build lists.

Integrated marketing campaigns need specific communication strategies to grow and succeed. Use client reviews, client’s social media handles and whatever resources you have to create the right impact. This will help your message go viral and improve reach. The more the reach, the more the conversions.

Key 5: Synchronise your omnichannel marketing campaign

If you are outsourcing your integrated marketing campaign, even bits and pieces of it, make sure that all teams involved are in sync with others. This is very crucial to success. Have regular team meetings, even daily, if required to ensure that the right messaging goes out on the right schedule at the right time. All teams should understand the campaign well along with its objectives, look and feel and messaging tactics. We should share all collaterals used across teams to drive home the message of success. Simply put, all of them should agree.

Coordination will go a long way in ensuring that your omnichannel marketing campaign is on course to success.

Key 6: Analyse the analytics

This is the most critical aspect of your omnichannel marketing campaign. It is important to man the analytics and use human analysis to understand the direction in which your campaign is headed. The attribution methods used can help understand your success and to tuck away as an experience for campaigns to come.

We understand that analytics from traditional marketing are difficult to come by, track, or their correctness is questionable. Take them with a pinch of salt, but do not write them off. They will important from a comparison perspective. But your digital marketing practices can get you perfect analytics of your omnichannel marketing campaign.

These analytics will also help you keep tabs on spending and give you insights from an ROI standpoint. 

Conclusion…

omnichannel marketing campaign

Omnichannel is one of the new digital marketing trends that will drive a consistent brand experience to grow your business with ease and make is sustainable.

Use these time-tested keys to drive successful omnichannel marketing campaigns and get futuristic.

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Psychology marketing – 8 principles to gain more leads

Psychology marketing – 8 principles to gain more leads

Great marketers are not the ones who follow time-tables and execution. Great marketers are those who understand customer psychology and kindle their emotions, directly or indirectly. They are great communicators and understand psychology marketing principles like the back of their hand.

As a great marketer, the skill to craft perspective-changing content for better conversion rates and results is highly critical. Yes, getting there is challenging, and many of us have miles to go. But, there is, of course, a way to do it easily. Using these 8 psychology marketing principles can help you create compelling copy and messaging to enhance visitor engagement and better convert rates.

The 8 psychology principles

Marketing is not a numbers game, it is a compulsive influencing, engaging, researching and converting game. The better you understand your customer’s emotions, their direction of thought and their emotion-driven actions, the better you can tell your story. Remember, emotional appeal and engagement are the greatest keywords for any marketer, whether it is B2C or B2B. And your customer is not a bot, but a bot-hater.

You do not have to be a psychologist to understand or execute your strategy based on these principles. These 8 psychology marketing principles can help you get deep into the game with a significant advantage. Each of these principles can stand on its own, however, use all of them cohesively in line with your domain and activity as a part of your comprehensive marketing strategy for best results.

The Framing principle

Visitors come to your website looking for information, product, service or to buy something, which means they come with a pre-conceived notion. Understanding these notions is crucial to conversions because that will define how you place or present your product or service.

framing principle

Positioning your product or service in line with those pre-conceived notions can make the visitor more receptive to the messages and the chances of conversion improve. Understood, you cannot cater to all notions, even artificial intelligence fails in this aspect. You can probably cater to X% of visitors who may have a similar notion or intent. But you do not need to lose out on the rest. The presentation of the product or service can have pre-defined options, used as a menu on the web page.

This is called ‘framing’ or ‘priming’ the visitor. There are 2 crucial parameters to consider. One is the online atmospherics or the design and presentation of your webpage that influences visitors positively. The second is the perspective-changing content. For example, would you say ‘2% of users do not recommend’ or ’98% of users recommend’? Compelling content is always positive. Look deeper into visitor-intent to craft your design and message on the pre-defined presentation options, if you are using them.

We always prime a visitor with specifics, which could be price, problem or quality. According to a study, when a visitor comes in with a specific, it is valuable to him/her, if you add to it. Catering to such a specific and expanding on it can help convert better.

The challenge here is, which frame to use with visitors? For those who are aware of the product, you can frame it why your product is the best. Frame it as a solution to the problem if a visitor comes with one. For those who come with a price point, frame it as what better quality or features you offer and why is the best value for money. Framing can have pre-defined options, as mentioned earlier. The more options you use as visitors choices, the better will be the conversion rate.

The Verbatim principle

The verbatim principle is best explained as well constructed messaging or a blog post. In a good blog post or article, the header should serve as the general summary, the section headers should be clear and explain the benefits. If you are reading this, check the presentation of this blog post.

verbatim principle

When messaging follows this psychology marketing verbatim principle, visitors will most likely remember the gist and not the exact words as written or said. This is human behaviour, and they already overloaded us with information.

Messaging with catchy phrasing may make you proud as a peacock, but will it help the reader remember more? And today, most readers skim the article before allocating time to reading it. In short, they are looking for informational value. Short and effective headings will serve the purpose of providing such value, catchy, or not.

The Reciprocity principle

Deep inside, all of us prefer to return favours. More so in some cultures, but the temptation to do so is quite common in all of us. Not returning a favour creates a discomfort for many as though they are in your debt.

Today, online communities, shopping options, and a plethora of services have reduced traditional interaction between people. So, the best way ahead is to humanize your brand. Use an attractive character or a mascot to gel with your current branding and start giving out ‘stuff’.

reciprocity principle

The ‘stuff’ need not be physical goods or services which incur costs to you. The best ‘stuff’ you can give away is the intangible value using your top-notch content. For example, this article is to be read by fellow marketers, and these psychology marketing principles can be very helpful in the B2B or the B2C space. Remember, B2B, B2C or B2X, the decision maker on the other end is a human being, not a bot.

However, the value we offer from this article is in the eyes of the beholder. So, the effectiveness of list building also depends on the value you offer through presenting your content. People who read this content should think it valuable before giving their email away. Increasing the value of your ‘stuff’ will improve the value of your psychology marketing and the chances of reciprocity.

Another point that needs mention here is the CTAs. Do not stuff your ‘stuff’ with CTAs. Keep them at the end of the blog or page. In fact, we feel people will contact you without a CTA, if your ‘stuff’ is of real value. And those who do that are your customers for life, nurtured properly.

The Clustering principle

Clustering is keeping all similar information in one place to remember it and improve recall. This is an effective means of information storage, and that is how a human brain stores it. A human brain searches ’like instances’ when it is trying to recall something.

Did you know that a human brain is capable of much more than that is used in daily life? Try stretching it and it will stretch further. Don’t worry, it will not snap into madness, though it could snap into a genius or find its own ‘halo’.

clustering principle

For example, you wouldn’t put all your wrenches or screws on separate shelves or containers. You store all of them together and then look for the specific size when needed. So, you are clustering similar products together. A human brain clusters similar information together.

A free recall study used semantic clustering to understand the recall working of a human brain. They gave a group of participants 15 random assorted words to study and remember, asked to recall them after a specific period. Later, they were given another set of 15 words, grouped into topics. Recall was better in the second set.

So, when we create categories on our blog or list product features, they should be in the same section (like information) for better recall by visitors. The reason bulleted-lists are the most preferred way to present information. And, believe us, they work!

The FOMO principle

Human beings want to be a part of rewarding experiences. Once we get to know of one, it plagues us with subconscious anxiety until we join in and reward ourselves. It could be a free lunch, a wonderful product endorsed by peers, or a good play that your friends have been to. This is also called Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) effect.

FOMO principle

This works best in psychology marketing. As we already know, word of mouth is still the best marketing tool that works wonders. So, if someone buys a product or service and puts up a great review, the entire tribe will look at it with great interest and delve into what they would ‘gain’ by buying the product. The feeling is more like “why shouldn’t I buy this?” I am sure all of us have gone through this many a time.

Remember, we are all tribal and value other’s opinions, especially of those who are close to us, friends or family. We trust peer insights and truly believe that they would recommend nothing useless. Useful to self or not, we convince ourselves to buy it just because a peer recommended it.

A Nielsen study inferred that about 83% of consumers trust family and friend’s recommendations. 

Putting this psychology marketing principle to use, using reviews, social buttons and testimonials on your web pages, is a good idea. Many of us marketers use this principle without an explanation, because most websites use it. Great marketers are made of in-depth understanding. 

The Decoy principle

According to a study, the decoy principle affects everyday decisions by altering our choices according to the way they are presented. 

psychology marketing

In the study, a group of people were asked to choose between 2 options for lunch. The first option was a 5-star restaurant 25 minutes away, and the second was a 3-star restaurant, 5 minutes away. The choices were not clear but tended towards 3-star because of convenience and quality.

Then, a third option was introduced, a 4-star restaurant 35 minutes away. Now, most people chose the 5-star option. Why?

The 5-star option dominated asymmetrically the 4-star option. It was closer and had better quality food. So, a third option made the 5-star attractive. It was the better option. The 3-star restaurant never made it to the list.

So, people will choose a cheaper and convenient option unless they get better value from another option, real or perceived. Therefore, an additional purchase option that may not offer more value for the price will increase the perceived value of the other two options.

This decoy psychology marketing principle helps you to add an offer (decoy) to improve customer perception.

The Scarcity principle

How does the luxury market work?

By creating upmarket, heavily priced goods that only the rich and famous can afford. All of us want to own one of those because we feel powerful, owning something that many cannot. The innate desire to own something that is scarce or out of reach is very strong in all human beings.

So, when Violinist Joshua Bell played, the venues were full to the brim. One day, he played a free concert in a subway of Washington D.C. Did you know that he only had 7 people listening though thousands passed by? He played the same music he played on the stage, yet few listened. Why?

Because it was free and not scarce. When you do not get tickets for his shows, it becomes something unreachable or scarce. Because it was free and did not cost the listeners anything.

psychology marketing

Applying this psychology marketing principle, the difference between saying “only X in stock” vs. “only X in stock owing to popular demand” is clear. The latter pulls more customers than the former because the former is ambiguous. Specifics are critical to your messaging, especially those that cater to the scarcity principle of psychology marketing.

The Frequency Illusion principle

Human brain is an awesome pattern-recognition engine, built that way for eons. It is prejudiced to pattern because it is programmed to learn continuously. We also known this frequency illusion psychology marketing principle as the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon.

frequency illusion principle

For example, you want to buy a yellow sedan and researching for the best buy. During these times, you observe too many yellow sedans passing you by, and you look constantly at them to assess vis-s-vis your research information. This may seem to be mysterious, but your awareness is the culprit.

So, when you are highly aware of something, you see the same product or object popping up all around you. We also known the reason as confirmation bias and selective attention.

Applying this psychology marketing principle, we see that the use of pixels creates the same phenomenon online. When a visitor comes to your website and notices your brand, he or she will see your ads (if you are advertising) across the web. The effect it creates is an illusion that you are a big and an influential brand, which you may not be. The frequency illusion principle also affects the visitor’s perception.

It is important to understand the minimalist branding principles here. Your branding should be consistent across your website and your ads for this principle to be more effective and fetch better results.

Using psychology marketing to your advantage

All human beings are wired the same way, apart from the fact how a man’s brain interprets information and how a woman’s brain does. However, leaving the gender alone, they work similarly to interpret sales messages. This gives you a specific advantage in creating a marketing strategy. The 8 psychology marketing principles listed above are for generic use in marketing ethically and not meant of unethical practices in any manner.

They will certainly add an edge to your marketing strategy, going ahead. When leveraged together with proper research and insights, it can help your brand stand apart from the competition.

Conclusion…

Seasoned marketers who believe messaging is the key to conversions widely used the psychology marketing principles. No wonder then, they do not delve too much into figures and percentages. They focus on messaging and other related marketing ‘stuff’ and make these principles an inherent part of their marketing. 

Brands like Nike or Benetton result from using psychology marketing strategies, they are not market leaders by chance, but by hard work and purpose.

In short, great marketers always stand in the visitor’s shoes. The more they do that, the better they will get and better will be the results.

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What, Why, How of Core Web Vitals – fix CWV mistakes

What, Why, How of Core Web Vitals – fix CWV mistakes

Search Engine Optimization got a little complicated since mid 2021. Google’s introduction of Core Web Vitals (CWV) as an important but not a critical SEO metric [Relevance is still ‘king’] has since baffled many a digital marketers. To understand and implement these web performance metrics, they would need a fair amount of technical help. We have touched upon this in SEO for Beginners post.

What are Core Web Vitals?

CWV or Core Web Vitals is a set of web performance metrics that enable Google’s search to analyse and choose the results to display after a user query. The metrics are:

  • LCP [Largest Contentful Paint] – The speed at which a webpage’s main content loads. It is a measure of page load speed.
  • FID [First Input Delay] – The speed at which your webpage can paint pixels to the screen. It is a measure of page interactivity.
  • CLS [Cumulative Layout Shift] – The stability of your webpage while interacting with a visitor without shifting. It is a measure of visual stability.

Page load speed has been a ranking factor for long, however, Google is focussing on all of the three metrics as a part of its ranking algorithms.

What Google says about these web performance metrics?

Google says, integrating these web performance metrics into search algorithms will:

  • Help website publishers to offer enhanced page performance to visitors.
  • Better page speed matters since faster pages generate more leads, helps conversions and enhance advertising revenue.
  • Page performance reduces time for visitors to get where they want, quickly.
  • Making your site rank in accordance to Core Web Vitals will help rankings indirectly, adding to the direct ranking boost by Google’s algorithm.

According to Google, the Core Web Vitals ranking signal is weaker compared to other ranking signals directly related to satisfying a query. Relevance and content still rule the algorithms.

CWV thresholds are assessed at the webpage level. So, webmasters need to meet these requirements, page on page.

Starting May 2021, Core Web vitals will be included in page experience signals together with existing search signals including mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines.

Google

The effect of Core Web Vitals on Search Engine Optimization

As we already know the process of analysing websites is automated by the use of bots, web crawlers or spiders. These bots analyse content on a webpage and decide when the page can be displayed against a search query. One of the factors that bots check is the web performance metrics.

Since Google’s ranking algorithms are mostly secretive, it is difficult to ascertain how, CLS, LCP or FID actually effect your SEO. Since the inception of CWV into ranking factors in June 2021, many experts have analyzed and created case studies that demonstrate ranking fluctuations due to changed CWV performance metrics. It is understood the CWV as a ranking factor impacts Search Éngine Optimization to a great degree. Here is one such case study by By Barry Pollard .

How does it effect Google Search? A simple search study

I have searched for ‘digital marketing’ at google.com/ncr and I get results as in the figure below.

The first two results have similar content of similar length optimized to rank well. However, Hubspot ranks over Marketo because of the Core Web Vitals metrics shown underneath the search result title and above the description.

Core Web Vitals

The metrics are quite similar, in fact Marketo’s CWV are better than Hubspot’s. However, Hubspot ranks owing to its better treatment of the user search query. Look at the titles and you will understand how they cater to the search query.

Third comes Investopedia which has better CWV metric and still ranks third. This is because it has a different kind of content and is not optimized well for the user query ‘digital marketing’. The title itself says it is more of a definition.

This is just for understanding and only the tip of the iceberg. Search engines are much more complex and evolved than we can imagine, as marketers.

How to see CrUX data in search results?

Now, you must be wondering how I got the CWV CrUX data on my search results. Thanks to my good LinkedIn friend Christian Stenger, he gave me a few insights and guided me to use a Chrome extension. Click on this one and follow instructions. Please note that it will work only for the synchronized Chrome account where it is is integrated.

Why Core Web Vitals?

When a searcher looks for answers, they expect instant gratification. If a webpage is slow to load, searcher may move on to other websites for the same information. And, if a webpage loads like lightning, chances are that the searcher will return to the page, with a related query, later.

Other search engines like Bing or DuckDuckGo may be taking these web performance metrics into account for similar reasons. However, we have far lesser information of their search algorithms like Google. Even with Goole, we can only assume and not infer, however, since it has the king’s size of the search market, and we follow it all the time.

Deeper understanding of Core Web Vitals

As you read above the 3 web performance metrics that CWV comprises of are LCP [Largest Contentful Paint], FID [First Input Delay], and CLS [Cumulative Layout Shift]. Let us understand each of these in greater detail. In this section we shall be analysing this very website’s home page at https://efficaci.us.

Understanding LCP [Largest Contentful Paint] – troubleshoot and improve

Largest Contentful Paint or LCP is the measure of time it takes to load the largest piece of webpage into a browser. It could be a very large chunk of text or an image or even fonts, JS or CSS elements.

Remember, it is not the time taken to load the entire webpage. It loads the largest chunk and benchmarks the entire webpage accordingly. Again, it is user perception. If you are searching for an image, possibly it will load slower than a piece of text.

web performance metrics

According to experts, a LCP score should be less that 2.5 seconds, however, the lower it is, the faster and better.

For the webpage that we have taken as an example, the LCP is 880ms, which is way below 2.5 second threshold.

Core Web Vitals

Improving LCP – For measuring your webpage LCPs, you can use Lighthouse Chrome Extension. There are a few factors that can slow down your webpage LCPs. The following table will help you improve LCP tremendously.

web performance metrics
Understanding FID [First Input Delay] – troubleshoot and improve

First Input Delay or FID is the measure of time from the searcher’s first step and the webpage’s response to it. If a searcher is searching for something, he clicks on your webpage that comes up as a result and the webpage opens. So, the time taken from the searcher’s click to your webpage’s response is the First Input Delay.

FID is a click-to-start-load time, either from an external link or an internal one within the website.

The challenge in measuring FID is that for webpages that show:

“Discover what your real users are experiencing – No Data”.

There is no real wold data to assess it. However, the TBT or Total Blocking Time is a fair estimate going by Semrush.

Ideally, experts say that a FID or approximated TBT should be less than 100 milliseconds.

web performance metrics

Improving FID – The main culprit behind a poor FID are heavy JavaScript executables. You can directly reduce the JS load by optimizing JS complies, parses and executes.

Coming back to our example, you can see that the TBT is 0 milliseconds which is considered excellent.

Core web Vitals

First Input Delay can be comprehensively reduced by following coding best practices.

  • Mininimize unused poly fills and defer unused JS. This reduces execution time.
  • JS can be run on a background thread. Find the right web worker to do this.
  • Long -running tasks can be recoded into smaller, asynchronous tasks.
  • Optimize the webpage for interaction readiness (reduce CSS data fetch, minimise post-process date, keep only on-demand 3rd party code, have a lean 1st party script loading mechanism.

The following figure depicts how Best Practices score on our example webpage.

Core Web Vitals
Understanding CLS [Cumulative Layout Shift] – troubleshoot and improve

Cumulative Layout Shift or CLS is the measure of “page jumps”, a measure of the largest “bursts” of shifts on a webpage’s layout. A layout shift happens in milliseconds, it could be shifting side to side or top to bottom and vice-versa. You may have seen layout shifts in many webpages wherein you clicked something else than what you intended, because the layout has shifted without a warning. The shift normally happens when content shifts from one rendered frame to another. So, CLS is also a measure of how ‘stable’ elements load on to the screen from a website.

CLS is calculated as impact fraction * distance fraction.

The impact fraction is based on frames. It is the ratio between the total area of the frame (viewport) and the sum of all visible areas of all ‘unstable’ elements from the previous frame and the present frame.

The distance fraction is the ratio between the largest distance an ‘unstable’ element has moved in the frame, in any direction and the viewport’s lengthiest dimension, be it height or width.

Ideally, as per experts, a good CLS score should be below 0.1.

web performance metrics

In the example that we have been using, you see that CLS is way below the recommended threshold at 0.02

Core Web Vitals

Improving CLS – Reasons for a poor CLS could be:

  • Fonts causing FOUT (Flash Of Unstyled Text) or FOIT (Flash Of Invisible Text).
  • Dynamic or 3rd party content.
  • Embeds, iframes, Images or Ads without dimensions.
  • Executions expecting network response from DOM  (W3C’s Document Object Model) updation.

CLS can be improved by avoiding layout shifts. We recommend:

  • Define size attributes to all media elements. You can use aspect ratio boxes.
  • Animate transitions logically by providing continuity using context.
  • Refrain from inserting new content over the existing one, when you are not interacting with a user.

Other critical web performance metrics

Core Web Vitals are not limited to the above three metrics we have discussed. There are many more metrics to understand like TTFB (Time To First Byte), TTI (Time To Interactive), DOM (Document Object Model) and DCL (DOM Content Loaded) etc.

These are not as critical as the LCP, FID or CLS for Search Engine Optimization. However, it is important to understand these in order to spruce up the Core Web Vitals performance on your webpages.

Common mistakes to fix before you implement Core Web Vitals

There are many common mistakes like the deliberated assets put up on a webpage, either for assumed user experience or for the need of a particular domain. However, there are some facts that can damage your Core Web Vitals scores. These common mistakes can be avoided by fixing theses:

  • Optimizing Content above the fold – Having interesting content above the fold can be interesting to most visitors, however, to keep your web performance metrics in tact, you will need to prioritise their loading, otherwise they can negatively impact the FID and CLS. If your webpage has sliders, or embeds from social media feeds, SoundCloud or YouTube streams, Maps or photo galleries above the fold, you can well kiss your CWV scores goodbye. All these elements need to be taken below the fold.
  • Custom Fonts – Many designers use custom fonts like TypeKit or Google Fonts. They can add a lot of load and cause flicking on you webpages. Implementing them the right way is critical to avoid low CLS scores. Do not use more than two custom fonts.
  • Optimizing Images – The larger the image , the more time it takes to load and render on a browser. Optimizing images and giving them dimensions is critical to better your Core Web Vitals scores. Use WebP images to compress your images by not compromising on quality.
  • Analytics – Analytic tools like Google Analytics, AdRoll scripts and Tag manager can take their toll on your load times. Choose wisely and use one in a proper manner to keep your Core Web Vitals scores intact.
  • Platform Optimization – If most of the tips and trick we discussed here work towards scoring the CWV metrics, it is time you changed the server, the platform, the CMS or whatever it takes. Experiment and choose, CWV is going to be a major factor that will define search results, going ahead.

Conclusion…

We understand that scoring high on Core Web Vitals metrics is no easy task. We have given a fair warning, right at the beginning that you will need technical help, not to add some more mature marketing expertise.

You are welcome to speak to us about your CWV metrics.

As you have already seen the scores of this website’s home page, you can understand the pain and grind we have gone through to gain that score and derived experience.

Leverage our experience, talk to us today, and we can get you through the CWV threshold.

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