Planning a website update on a white board.

A Complete Guide to Improve Ecommerce CRO

Planning a website update on a white board.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new links and examples for you to use! 

Despite the importance of eCommerce conversion rate optimization, in our experience, the tactic can get overlooked. Simply put, eCommerce CRO is a tactic that can make tremendous improvements to your bottom line, without acquiring additional traffic than what you’re bringing in today. An improvement in eCommerce CRO from 1.5% to 2% could lead to a 33% increase in sales – all without adding additional traffic.  

When you sell services, products, or platforms online one of the most important metrics is your eCommerce conversion rate. It tells you what percentage of your site visitors are converting to customers. 

As an eCommerce growth agency, when we onboard a new partner, eCommerce conversion rate is one of the first tactics we want to tackle head-on when working with a new partner. 

Whether you’re a subscription-based business converting Free Trial Users to Paid Subscribers, a brand selling your product online, or a SaaS platform looking to grow – we undoubtedly will look at your eCommerce conversion rate

The reason: you don’t need to increase your ad spend to convert more. You just need to know how to optimize your conversion rate. 

At Tuff, a tactic called Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is at the heart of everything we do. From constantly testing paid ad campaigns across the internet to figuring out why more leads aren’t turning into customers, CRO is at the forefront of our learning and results.

What is eCommerce CRO? 

Ecommerce CRO is the process of making continual changes to your ecommerce website to improve the rate of users visited to the number of purchasers (ecommerce conversion rate). The easiest way to track ecommerce conversion rate is to divide the number of purchasers by the number of total site visitors. 

The simple formula of (purchasers) / (site visitors) = ecommerce conversion rate is the north star for all ecommerce CRO efforts. 

Whether it’s making stylistic changes to your product pages to cut down scroll rate, adding an exit intent pop-up to convince users to make a purchase, or improving the visibility of reviews on your site to influence potential customers into making a purchase, ecommerce CRO is an ongoing process with the intent of making continual improvements.

eCommerce Conversion Rate Optimization

For eCommerce businesses we typically look at the eCommerce Conversion Rate to tell us how traffic is interacting and converting through the eCommerce sales funnel.  

When our eCommerce clients at Tuff ask us how they can grow their online business without increasing their budget, we usually take a deep dive into what’s driving their eCommerce conversion rate

For starters, take a look at the table below showing how much you can increase revenue when the only metric that is increased is eCommerce Conversion Rate.

Full Month Target
Visitors 36,681 36,681
eCommerce CVR
0.19%
0.5%
Transactions 95 200
Average Order Value $1,143.96 $1,143.96
Revenue $108,676.05 $228,792

In the above example, our client can increase revenue by 110% by simply optimizing their conversion rate from 0.19% to 0.5% (a 163% increase). 

That’s a $120,115.95 revenue increase from pure optimization – no additional resources or ad spend needed!

How to Tackle Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimization with 72 Hour Sprints 

A computer measuring ecommerce conversion rate.

To increase your conversion rate you will need to learn what factors contribute to your existing CVR.  

At Tuff, an analysis we might use to learn more about your current CVR is to find out what percentage of your website visitors are getting to your checkout conversion funnel, which traditionally has three stages:

  1. Added to Cart
  2. Initiated Checkout 
  3. Purchased

By analyzing your checkout funnel, we can use our analysis to make a series of hypotheses about what is preventing a higher conversion rate – we then use those hypotheses as frameworks for our tests. Maybe there are frictions in your checkout process that stops visitors from purchasing or maybe it can be increased with a different type of product or service page or completely different user journey. 

Let’s pretend this is your checkout funnel for a month’s worth of visitors.

Visitors % of Total Visitors
Added To Cart 544 2.25%
Initiated Checkout 492 2.03%
Purchased 409 1.69%

Based on this data, we know that a low percentage of total website traffic ends up adding a product to their cart, which will effectively produce a low number of conversions. 

In addition, the amount of visitors decreases by 10% between Added To Cart and Initiated Checkout stages in the funnel. Between Initiated Checkout and Purchase, the decrease is 20%. 

Therefore, hypothetically a solution for us to increase the conversion rate with the above metrics is to increase the initiated checkout percentage.  

Now that we have our hypothesis, we must find a way to test it. 

Developing a Test 

 

Our hypothesis is – if we increase the number of visitors adding to cart then we will increase the conversion rate. 

A simple way to find out if this is true is to run a test that gets more people adding to cart by providing users with a discount code in exchange for information that is valuable to you. 

For many eCommerce websites, a piece of information that is extremely valuable is an email address. 

To find out if our hypothesis is correct, a lean and easy to implement 72 hour CRO Sprint test would be to ask for an email address (or other desired action) in exchange for an offer code. 

This type of test’s results are easy to track because you can see how often the promo code is used through your eCommerce platform. Removing this test is also easy should you find that it’s not working or is causing more problems than it’s solving in your customer checkout funnel.

Implement The Test

A team of marketers sitting at a table with computers.

To implement, the test needs to contain a time-sensitive offer, which will increase the likelihood that the offer is used at a faster pace than one that is not time-sensitive. 

Here are two examples of time-sensitive offers:

  • 15% off your purchase when you order in the next 10 minutes. 
  • Limited Time Offer: Free 2 Day Shipping Today

Create the pop-up through your email service provider (ESP) so that it is triggered when a visitor has been on a specific product page for more than 50% of the average page session duration.

If your average product page session duration is 30 seconds then the offer should open at 15 seconds. 

Do not set it to trigger when someone lands on the homepage. You want the visitor to be more qualified than a unique visitor. 

The offer should contain an email signup field and clear copy that compels the potential customer to use the offer within a specific amount of time. 

Best Practices

Be advised that a best practice for this is to provide the promo code to the customer on the form after they provide their email address and click submit. You can provide it in a separate email as well, but you want to make it as easy as possible for the customer to get the code and continue on their customer journey. 

Once you have the test launched, then set it to run live for 72 hours, but don’t just forget about it. 

Monitoring

Data to measure your ecommerce conversion rate.

You’ll need to closely monitor it. You must make sure that the test is either perpetuating your average conversion rate or increasing it. If it decreases your conversion rate then you will want to abandon the test and return the variables back to their original flow. 

Once your split test is complete then you can take your learnings and create a new test to run. Remember, you only want to run one test at a time or else you risk changing too many variables at a time and not being able to point to what works. Realistically, you don’t want to run more than 2 tests per week. 

Ecommerce CRO Test Examples

Here is a list of 7 more ecommerce CRO tests you can do to increase the percentage of visitors converting to customers:

Landing or Product Page Offer

If you’re using Shopify, an easy way to test pricing as to how it affects ecommerce conversion rate is to add a “compare at” price field and show that the product is “on-sale”, even if it truly isn’t. Doing this periodically will help you guage your pricing and how your audience responds to deals. 

Navigation Header Menu Organization 

Test changes in your navigation by prioritizing your top selling products and categories. Or, alternatively, push seasonal products by prioritizing them in the navigation structure as well. 

Homepage copy change

Using Google Optimize, you can test updated homepage content to see which copy variations speaks best to your target audience. Test, analyze, rinse, repeat. 

Homepage creative change 

Like a homepage copy change, you can test updated creative assets (images, featured products, etc.) to see what imagery works best for your site visitors. Is it product photos? Is it use-case photos? Does your audience want to see reviews above the fold? Test it! 

Increase Site Speed 

Site speed is directly correlated to conversion rate. If you have beautiful product photos on your site, make sure they are sized properly. A good CRO strategy will make sure the technical elements to the site are in good-standing. 

Exit Intent Offer Popup 

One quick test to implement for your ecommerce CRO efforts is to put an exit intent popup on your site with an offer to persuade users who may be on the fence. Even a small discount such as 10% off has been shown to improve ecommerce CVR. 

Referral Widget  

Have an engaged customer base on your site? Encourage them to share the good word! Many programs such as a “Give 10%, get 10%” encourages existing customers to share referral links to friends and family so they get a reward as well.

Ecommerce CRO can lead to big wins

If you’re curious to learn more about our ecommerce CRO process, or want to chat about your CRO potential, let’s talk!

Man walking into building.

LinkedIn Advertising in 2022: LinkedIn Ad Examples From Tuff Clients

Man walking into building.

Author’s Note: This post was originally published in 2020. It has since been updated for 2022! 

LinkedIn advertising has been quickly gaining momentum as a critical tactic for our clients at Tuff —and for good reason. As a growth marketing agency, we’re constantly testing new channels and tactics to find the right mix for our partner’s target audiences. In this article, we’ll show LinkedIn ad examples for a variety of tactics and industries. 

Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and Google, with LinkedIn advertising, you can connect with granular, business-oriented audiences with targeted copy and creative. 

LinkedIn has gotten a rep in the past that it’s only useful for B2B marketing. And while that is somewhat true – and we’ll provide a few examples below – we’ve also seen great success testing the channel for B2C efforts, too! Linkedin’s member base consists of a more engaged, professional audience than some other channels, so it’s a great place to be if you’re looking to promote a product or service that may best be served to this particular audience when they’re paying the most attention.

At Tuff, we’ve known the value of a comprehensive LinkedIn ad strategy for the last couple of years. We ran our first LinkedIn advertising campaign back in March 2017 and are still actively running campaigns for clients today. 

Example of a LinkedIn ad.

This is the first campaign we ran (ever!) on LinkedIn. It looks a little out-dated now but back then it was CUTTING-EDGE stuff.

We’re also willing to bet that LinkedIn will continue to grow throughout 2022 and beyond, especially as LinkedIn advertising features continue to improve and advance to match the same level of sophistication as other paid acquisition channels. 

That’s why we recommend LinkedIn display ads to a variety of our partners, B2B, SaaS, and eCommerce, especially those with valuable content, brand awareness goals, or leads to collect.  

In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the LinkedIn ad campaigns we have run so far in 2022 alongside our partners. 

Using LinkedIn for B2C Advertising Campaigns

Promoting Certificate Programs to Professionals for Pathstream

Goal: Driving leads

Campaign Objective: Website Conversions

Campaign Type: Sponsored Content

Creative Type: Static images

Pathstream offers certificate programs in partnership with Facebook, Tableau, Salesforce, and Asana and in partnership with universities throughout the country to help people who are looking to switch careers by learning something new or those who are looking to advance their careers by building upon their existing skill set. They’ve seen great success from Facebook campaigns, but we knew there was an audience on LinkedIn that we could very easily reach while they’re already scrolling through the channel for career-acceleration opportunities.

We leveraged Sponsored Content with the goal of generating leads by sending our target audience to campaign-specific landing pages where they could fill out a form to learn more about the certificate program they were shown. We learned shortly after launching that the best way to really make sure we were showing to a qualified audience for each program was to TEST TEST TEST these audiences.

We launched the campaigns by targeting an audience with relevant Job Titles AND 1-10 Years of Experience for the Digital Marketing program and an audience with the “Project Management” Skill, Years of Experience, and entry-level Job Seniorities for the Project Management program. In March, we layered new audiences into both programs built around another targeting option – Job Functions:

Project Management:

LinkedIn targeting for Project Mangement

Digital Marketing:

Digital marketing targeting on LinkedIn

Job Function targeting allows us to get a little broader and reach those we may be missing out by only hitting Job Titles, but the Years of Experience and Job Seniority targeting parameters still allow us to hone in on those who are not too far in their career and are looking to make a switch or advance where they currently are.

These audience tests helped us glean insights based on which audience was converting more, AND we were able to drive even more leads! By the end of April, the Digital Marketing Job Function audience had driven nearly double the leads than the original audience, and the Project Management Job Function audience, despite driving 4 fewer leads than the Skill audience, had contributed to a $20 lower CPL.

With the abundance of targeting options that are available in LinkedIn, it’s really important to ensure that you’re testing these audiences to find the one that engages with your ad and, ultimately, converts the most.

 

Getting in Front of Newcomers to the U.S. for Nova Credit’s B2C Efforts

Goal: Driving credit card pulls

Campaign Objective: Engagement

Campaign Type: Sponsored Content

Creative Type: A/B testing video and images

Nova Credit is a financial technology company that helps newcomers to the U.S. apply for financial services using their international credit scores from their home countries as long as Nova Credit services that country. 

Since we are looking to reach people who have just moved to the U.S., we have been taking advantage of LinkedIn’s Member Trait targeting options of “Recently Relocated (International)” and “Ex-pat.” Member traits are distinguished by members’ behaviors and actions they take on LinkedIn, their profile, their device preferences, and/or their general location inferred from their IP address.

LinkedIn Targeting for Newcomers

While our goal is to drive conversions from the campaigns, we have been testing the Engagement campaign objective. This objective shows the campaign to people who are most likely to like, share, comment, view, or click on the ads or follow Nova Credit’s LinkedIn company page. We bid on a “cost per engagement click” model, which means we’re bidding anywhere from $2-5 for an engagement click, making the objective fairly affordable with efficient cost-per-conversions – and we know that LinkedIn can oftentimes cost more than advertising on other platforms  

Through running these tests, we’ve found that LinkedIn has been the top channel in terms of driving conversions compared to the other channels we’re testing, which include Facebook, PPC, and Quora. And not only that, but it’s been one of the most efficient in costs due to the engagement objective.

Testing Video and Messaging to Mental Health Providers for Headway

Goal: Driving leads

Campaign Objective: Website Conversions

Campaign Type: Sponsored Content

Creative Type: Video

Headway is a software company in the mental health space that is working to build a virtual network of therapists who accept insurance that will help patients find more affordable access to therapy and care. We partner with them to target mental health care providers who are either working with insurance companies directly and looking to offload the work that comes with that or who have not yet considered working with insurance companies but would if they could find a helpful tool like Headway.

One element we began testing when we began our partnership with Headway was which creative type worked the best at encouraging providers to convert. It’s important to keep in mind with creative testing on LinkedIn is that you choose the ad format on the campaign level – so you can only set up ads within that format in your campaign. If you want to test between two formats, you’ll need to run 2 campaigns. In January, we ran static image videos but after a month or so of low lead volume, we switched to new video creative that our team had designed – and after swapping to video, the ads generated a 28% increase in click-through rate.

Creative for video ads on Linkedin

Since we saw a stronger CTR from the video creative, we deemed video as the winner and have been running video-only campaigns over the last few months. 

Another element that has led to a large spike in performance at a more efficient cost is the messaging in the ads. Headway services a select number of states throughout the country based on where they have large quantities of patients to work with, so our targeting approach has been segmenting the campaigns out by state and Job Titles. In March, we began to call out the states and statistics around the number of patients in each state in the ad copy. This doesn’t involve a ton of lift on our creative team’s end – we were able to simply swap a different state abbreviation or number depending on which state’s ad it was. 

The difference in performance, specifically the CPL, was very significant. When comparing March-April vs. January-February, the ads generated a 71% decrease in lead costs. While we’ve learned that testing and fine tuning our targeting on LinkedIn is very important, it’s also safe to say that our creative – both the image/video and ad copy text – truly make a difference as well.

Creative Split Test LinkedIn for Headway

Using LinkedIn for B2B Advertising Campaigns

Leveraging LinkedIn’s Company List Feature for Nova Credit’s B2B Efforts

We also partner with Nova Credit to promote their products to financial institutions who are looking for a way to tap into a new market of consumers, and we have been leveraging LinkedIn to get in front of these professionals. Their team provided us with a large list of companies they were looking to target. 

LinkedIn offers company list targeting that allows you to upload a list of company names that will then be matched against the 50 million LinkedIn Pages on the platform. 

LinkedIn recommends the list size be at least 1,000 organizations and to allow it at least 48 hours, or sometimes longer, to generate once uploaded. 

They offer a template to follow so that you can provide all of the appropriate fields to ensure the highest match possible. These fields include:

  • Company name
  • Company website
  • Company email domain
  • LinkedIn Company Page URL*
  • Stock symbol

While not all of these fields are necessary to properly match, the channel recommends you have at least company name, company website, and, most importantly, the company page URL. This last field requires you to manually find the LinkedIn page for each company you’re looking to target, but it’s well worth the match rate you’ll get once you upload.

The list we uploaded was only a couple thousand, but we were able to match to over 2 million members on the channel! From there, you can append more granular targeting options, such as Job Seniority, Job Functions, Years of Experience, or Job Titles. We layered Job Title targeting options into the B2B audiences so we could reach the most relevant people at these companies.

This targeting has allowed us to generate over 150,000 impressions in just over a month to aid with driving brand awareness around Nova Credit’s offerings to lenders and underwriters, all while specifically targeting the companies they truly want to be in front of!

How Are You Using LinkedIn Advertising?

At this point, it’s pretty clear that there is a lot more we can do to fully activate LinkedIn campaigns outside of just targeting Job Title or Company Industry. By taking advantage of the channel’s other features, we’ve been able to layer LinkedIn into our paid social channel mix to reach our target audience in new ways and with new messaging, and there is so much more to explore! If you’re looking to take your LinkedIn advertising to the next level, let’s talk!

pulling reports on a computer from google analytics

The Best Attribution Model for B2C and eCommerce Brands

pulling reports on a computer from google analytics

Attribution is a big topic in the growth marketing world and for good reason. Knowing which channels, campaigns, audiences, and ads hold the most value for your brand’s performance is incredibly important for growth. 

The challenge for B2C and eCommerce businesses though is that running multi-channel growth marketing strategies with perfect attribution is incredibly difficult. And even when you get strategic with Google Analytics attribution models, it’s still not always easy to know exactly how each channel is impacting your bottom line. 

So what should you do to figure out how to scale? 

In this article, I’ll lay out a few different attribution models and look at their pros anc cons, then show you how to analyze conversion paths and use them in tandem with attribution models to (hopefully) give you some deeper insights as to how your channels are doing and where to scale spend. 

Channel Platform Attribution 

As a growth marketing agency, when we hear about astronomical Return On Ad Spends (ROAS) above 5x and getting up into the 20s, it usually has something to do with Channel Platform Attribution. 

Channel Platform Attribution for the uninformed is when you pull performance data from dashboards within the ad platforms you are advertising on. For example, let’s say you’re running Facebook (Meta?) Ads. Within the Facebook Ads Manager, you can see performance metrics that help you understand how your campaigns, ad sets, and ads are performing. 

The logic for using this has generally been that it will be the most accurate because it’s the platform you’re using for the actual ads. 

The thing to remember is that ad platforms like Facebook make the majority of their revenue through their advertising platforms. Therefore, it’s in their best interest to have the most liberal attribution models, because the more that can be attributed to their platform, the more you’ll spend in that platform, the more that platform will make from you. 

Last Click Attribution 

The most conservative of all the attribution models, Last Click is the default attribution model within Google Analytics. 

As the name suggests, Last Click attributes conversions to the ad / channel that was last clicked prior to the conversion. 

Sample Paths

  • Direct > Organic > Google Search / Branded > Conversion 
  • Facebook > Organic > Facebook > Conversion 
  • Facebook > Conversion

In the sample paths above, which channels will be attributed with conversion in a last-click model? 

If you guessed, Google and Facebook for each path, then you are correct. 

The problem with this attribution model is that it was developed prior to multi-channel marketing being as dominant as it is in today’s advertising landscape. 

Once you get past a 1 touchpoint conversion path, attributing the channel / campaign / ad that was last clicked before a conversion is a bit of a stretch. 

Was it the Facebook Ad that was last clicked or was it initially the organic search that led to the session over 5 minutes long where the user dove in on the product and in some ways made up their mind. 

Linear Attribution 

With last click, it’s hard to tell which touch point is driving the conversion. In a linear attribution model, the entire conversion path is given equal weight showing that the whole path contributed to the conversion. 

This inherently reveals that more than one channel contributed to the conversion. 

What it fails to get at is which one. 

The Perfect Attribution Model (Hint: There’s not one)

There is no one perfect attribution model and it’s unlikely that there will be one for the foreseeable future. 

What’s more important than searching for the magic crystal ball that will tell you exactly what platform to put your money into is being able to understand each attribution model and what they’re saying about your strategy. Examining multiple attribution models can give you a better understanding of how your channels are doing than just one individual model. 

In addition, it is critical that you understand how each channel / campaign / ad is driving influence for your conversion. 

For instance, if you see that on average your path lengths are 2x touchpoints long and a high percentage of them that end in conversion are: organic / search > branded / search > purchase

  • What is driving people to search my brand organically? 
  • Is my website ranking for high intent Keywords important to my business? 
  • Am I running social campaigns like Youtube or Facebook Ads that are targeting the right audience but resulting in organic searches rather than direct clicks? 

Using attribution models to tell you which channel to increase spend in that path length example of organic > branded > purchase will not yield an increase in conversion.

Only when you understand the conversion path will you be able to understand where to scale (you know like Yoda would say). 

Analyzing Conversion Paths > Using a Single Attribution Model

One of my favorite tools to use for them is the report in Universal Analytics called “Top Conversion Paths” located in Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Top Conversion Paths. 

multi channel funnels report from Google Analytics

This report defaults to showing path length at the Channel Grouping level, but you can go down to the ad set level. 

It’s a great way to see how many touchpoints on average it’s taking for users to convert and which channels are involved in the conversion. 

It’s even better when you use insights from the report in tandem with multiple attribution models. 

The best way to do this is to manually track your results in a spreadsheet in a Week over week (WoW) cadence. 

For each channel that you’re tracking, you’ll want to include multiple attribution models. 

For example, your tracking spreadsheet might look like this: 

paid media reporting spreadsheet

The above is pulling in the marketing spend for all channels, followed by web traffic, then we segment by Last Click + Assisted and Ad Channel Platforms. 

google analytics tracking spreadsheet

By showing multiple types of attribution models we’re able to drill down on what’s working and what’s not then run comparisons of what’s working against other attribution models. 

The result is not a crystal ball look into what’s driving growth, rather it’s an understanding of what channels are contributing most significantly to your overall growth. 

When you pair these insights with the Top Conversion Path report in Google Analytics, your insights will be far deeper than with any one attribution model. 

holding a phone

Compensation Models For Influencers

holding a phone

How to compensate your influencers for a brand ambassador or influencer marketing strategy is an important part of your program that you must figure out before you start reaching out and finding influencers for your brand. 

The problem is that there is no “right way” to compensate an influencer or brand ambassador for your brand. It depends on a multitude of factors like:

  • Type of Target Influencer (micro, macro, celebrity) 
  • Influencer Marketing Budget 
  • Dedicated Influencer Marketing Team Members 
  • Type of Influencer Content 

There are marketing trends that you can use to help define your compensation model based on the above factors. 

In addition, there are different compensation models you can use to style how you pay your influencers. 

The four that we will cover in this Compensation Model article are:

  1. Advocate 
  2. Performance
  3. Action + Performance
  4. UGC Rights + Performance 

Again, there is a definitive single compensation model that is perfect for every business, some may work better than others depending on your objectives and influencer targeting, but each one has a place within certain types of strategies. 

We’ll seek to unpack each compensation model and provide examples of strategies where they are proven to work. 

Advocate Compensation Model

influencer food photo

 

The first type of compensation model for influencers is what we internally call at Tuff, Advocate. This is a compensation model that relies on the generosity of your top customers to become your influencers. It focuses more on customers who have shown an immense liking for your brand rather than influencers with no prior connection to your brand. 

Using tools like Stamped.io and Klaviyo, you can set up Email Marketing Flows that help you identify advocates and invite them to share more about your brand with their friends and family. Depending on your customers, you may have some macro or celebrity influencers within these advocate circles, but for the most part this will be made up of people who might not think of themselves as “influential.” 

The advocate model can be used in tandem with any of the compensation models on our list or by itself. 

Performance Compensation Model

chocolate

 

The second compensation model on our list is Performance. It is widely used in traditional sales and affiliate marketing strategies as it rewards those who reach specified goals. For example, you may pay your Influencers a 20% commission of all sales they generate or $5 for each app install in the Performance Model. 

To make the performance model work you will need a way to track performance – most use some type of referral, affiliate marketing, or tracking link building software that has the ability to provide each of your influencers with a customized tracking link. This ensures that your influencer and team can both see how well your strategy is performing for a specific goal. 

The Performance Model can work for a variety of industries from B2B to D2C eCommerce to Mobile Apps and Games. It’s a great option for companies who want to try out Influencer Marketing without needing a large budget – as it only pays for performance (usually revenue-generating actions).

The problem with the Performance Model really starts with the popularity of influencer marketing amongst all types of businesses from startups to Fortune 500 companies – everyone is getting in on using influencers of all sizes from the micro to celebrity.

The reason this poses an issue for the Performance Compensation Model is that the larger companies who can afford to pay influencers upfront without needing to see results first have made it very difficult for influencers to be interested in a performance type model. 

Based on our findings with Tuff’s clients, the performance model may only work well in combination with an advocate model. The reason is you’ll need advocates who are interested in spreading your brand’s messaging with or without payment compensation. 

Base Plus

influencer photo

 

The third compensation model is called Base Plus, which is a form of Performance that provides the Influencer with a base payment. With a pure Performance Model, as discussed, you have the issue of the Influencer Marketing world being spoiled with high budgets since content marketers made Influencer Marketing out to be the greatest tactic since the beginning of modern growth marketing

In reality, Influencer Marketing has been around since the invention of sales when one happy customer said to another, “You’ll be happy with your purchase, trust me, I love mine!” 

With Base Plus, you provide Influencers with a base payment for each action like a post or mention, then you layer on a commission payment for high performance! 

For example, you might pay $50 per Instagram post + 15% for all revenue generated. 

As a reminder, you will need a way to track performance – you might be able to get away with UTM links, but a custom link tracking software will be better suited and designed for your exact needs. 

User-Generated Content Rights + Performance

woman holding a magazine

 

The final type of model we’ll talk about is a form of Base Plus. It’s what we’re calling User Generated Content Rights + Performance. Instead of making a base payment for an action, you’re paying a base for the right to the content that is created by the Influencer Marketing. 

This compensation model is the most advantageous to a brand because you’re paying for a digital good that you can repurpose across your marketing and advertising strategies. Should the performance of the post or mention not pan out, then you can fall back on collecting user-generated content like images or videos of your influencer using your product. You can then take those images and use them on your website design, email marketing, ppc, and/or social advertising campaigns.

Given the state of Influencer Marketing, it’s unlikely that you’re going to get away with a pure Performance model, so might as well go ahead and get the full rights to the image or video that the influencer is creating to market to their audience. 

For this compensation model to work, you’ll need performance tracking software and a contract that explicitly states you will own the full rights to the video or image used in the post as well as that you will need a raw, original file of that asset. 

The Influencers you use for this type of compensation model do not have to be professional videographers or photographers. In fact, we find that the top-performing assets in 2020 are lower quality user-generated content made on iPhones. 

Interested in Influencer Marketing but don’t have the bandwidth or team to execute a strategy yourself. Talk to Tuff about Influencer Marketing. 

Typing on slack.

How We Set Up the Right Lines of Communication with Clients

Typing on slack.

Here at Tuff, we put a lot of time and energy into creating partnerships rooted in transparency and authenticity. The more informed, honest, and clear conversations we can have, the better work we will all do. 

Kicking off a new partnership comes with getting really clear on ‘where’ we’ll work. We’ve been a remote team since Day 1 and this helps us be really thoughtful about ways we communicate with our clients. Aside from setting the growth strategy for each company, choosing the tools, and executing tactics, we’ve got to be master communicators. 

That’s why, when we work together, we make sure it’s easy and clear where and how to communicate. 

Channels we often use with clients to streamline communication include:

  • Weekly Growth Marketing Meetings 
  • Shared Google Drive 
  • Slack Integration 

Tuff client communication map.

Weekly Growth Marketing Meetings

Weekly growth marketing meetings give us a chance to come together on Zoom and align on the most important marketing priorities. 

In these 30-minute sessions, we recap what was done the previous week, review corresponding metrics, and align on what we want to get done the following week as a team. 

Here’s what a common agenda might look like: 

  • What are we working on this week?
  • What do we think we can achieve this week?
  • Who is doing what? 
  • What do we expect the results to look like? 
  • What does the data say? 

Following this call, we have a specific game plan for the week that keeps us focused on executing tactics that influence revenue (vs. running around chasing ideas like a headless chicken).

Below is an example of our weekly marketing doc with one of our partners, Renogy. We’ve met every single Wednesday since August 2019 and this weekly marketing doc has a running record on everything we’ve collaborated on as a team. 

Example of weekly meeting doc.

The reason we like having weekly meetings is because it increases the visibility and accountability of each team member and tactic for that week. Short pockets of time (5 workdays) force us to make the most efficient use of our time because there isn’t an opportunity to push something down your to-do list or to do it later. 

It allows us, as an agency, to make sure all of our attention goes toward our top priorities. 

Shared Google Drive 

Google drive screenshot at Tuff.

Anytime we bring on a new client, we create a shared folder in Google Drive or Dropbox. During onboarding, we’ll ask our clients to drop in information like: 

  • Product description
  • Historical data 
  • Projections 
  • Value points
  • Personas 
  • Sales Data 
  • User Flow 

Then, on an ongoing basis, everything we work on at Tuff goes into this shared folder. This keeps us organized and efficient. As a client of Tuff, you have access at any time to data, creative, strategy docs, and more. 

Slack Integration

With Slack’s “Shared Channels” feature, separate organizations can collaborate together in a Slack channel, each from within their own Slack workspace. Members can send direct messages, upload files, use apps and integrations, and start calls—all in a common space.

Opening up Slack with our clients is inline with the type of relationship we like to create with our clients, one that mimics the experience of having an internal growth marketer on your team.

Slack channel example with client.

Setting Ground Rules

Opening up Slack with clients is a very big step. It eliminates back and forth emails and helps remove that blocker question of ‘should I send this in an email? Or, wait till we meet in person?’. 

But, it is important to set the right expectations on both sides. Deep and focused work is critical to the success of our clients and their campaigns so we don’t want clients or team members to constantly get pulled in by Slack notifications. 

If we’re going to get meaningful results together we need the time and space to focus on strategy and execution (without pings!) which is why we work to protect this with specific Slack expectations. 

  • We don’t expect clients to immediately drop everything and answer our question, and neither should they.
  • We can cut down on email by using Slack to share documents, ask questions, schedule meetings, update on goals, etc.

Open Communication Channels

These processes are part of what sets us apart as an agency and our goal to serve as true partners. By asking the right questions and being intentionally transparent about everything we’re working on, we’re able to build a relationship that’s grounded in authenticity and intention. 

And this, more than anything else, enables us to get results. 

Data on eCommerce with YouTube ads.

4 Reasons You Should Be Using Microsoft Ads For Your Business

Data on eCommerce with YouTube ads.

Microsoft Ads, formerly known as Bing Ads, is the often overlooked PPC platform that many marketers and businesses treat as a lower-budget extension of their existing campaigns that are running on Google Ads.

But as Microsoft Advertising Partners and veterans of the platform, we know the value that Microsoft Ads can bring, especially in certain industries.

In fact, when recently split-testing the exact same campaign and keywords across Microsoft Ads and Google Ads, we found more value from Microsoft Ads in multiple KPIs.

You can see this for yourself in the KPI table below:

This platform-based split test experiment was done alongside our partner, CITI Program. Essentially, we wanted to know which search network would provide higher quality traffic for CITI Program’s target market of research organizations searching for research-specific training courses.

Although Google eked out higher pages/session, Microsoft Ads had a lower bounce rate and much higher conversion rate. 

Had we run this search campaign solely on Google, we may have paused, thinking that perhaps Search isn’t the right channel. Or, had we not split tested Google against Microsoft Ads, we may have never known that there was better performance to be had on the latter platform.

Now that you’re convinced Microsoft Ads is worth a try for your business, let’s take a look at a few of the benefits and efficiencies we’ve found in our recent experiments.

Enjoy Lower CPCs & Scale

“But who even uses Bing search?”

That’s one of the most common rebuttals when discussing advertising on Microsoft Ads, and I admit, I’ve fallen to this misconception before.

But in reality, Bing search accounts for 6.4 billion monthly PC searches and 36.9% of PC market share in the US. 

Source: Microsoft Ads

Simply put, if you’re not advertising on Microsoft Ads, you are missing out on a whole lot of traffic.

And, the fact that there are less advertisers on Microsoft Ads than on Google Ads, means less competition, which also means lower CPCs.

So, you could be also missing out on cheaper search traffic.

There are anecdotes all over the internet of companies and agencies who have achieved lower CPCs on Microsoft Ads than on Google Ads when testing the same keywords, but we have multiple first-person examples where this has proven to be true.

In the scenarios below, we’ve been split testing the same campaigns and keywords with the same budget splits across Microsoft Ads and Google Ads during the same dates. In both cases, CPC is lower on Microsoft. 

With more than enough search volume available and comparably low CPCs, experimenting with Microsoft Ads can help you identify opportunities to introduce your business via Search to a new audience that has the same high intent, but in many cases, costs a lot less to get to your site. 

Access Premium Placements With Audience Ads

Although Microsoft Ads doesn’t have a traditional display network in the same vein as the Google Ads Display Network, Microsoft Ads does boast access to some top quality native ad placements, many of which are currently in beta, or ‘pilot’, for Microsoft Ads.

One such available pilot is the Audience ads pilot, which provides access to premium placements on msn.com, the Outlook inbox, and the Microsoft Edge browser.

It’s only been a short couple of weeks since we began our testing with Audience ads in Microsoft Ads, but so far, the results have been promising. I’ve also been enjoying the flexibility and appearance of the ads, which are automatically cropped to fit a variety of responsive placements.

Even better, Audience ads feature expansive job and industry specific targeting options ala fellow Microsoft product, LinkedIn. This makes Audience ads an excellent choice for B2B businesses looking to reach their targeted audience.

With these placement and targeting options available, we’ve been able to scale our prospecting efforts for Vision33, a B2B partner, by reaching their targeted industries and buyer job titles through Audience ads and maximizing clicks and impressions in a way that simply wasn’t possible through Search ads alone.

We’ve also seen early success in our retargeting efforts through Audience ads – a previous pain point of running campaigns on Microsoft ads.

Compared to our RLSA Search campaigns that are set up to target the same audience of previous site visitors, Audience ads have provided greater impressions and much lower CPCs, with a $0.47 average, compared to $5.12 via Search ads.

Same retargeting audience, but a huge difference in the cost to get them back to Vision33’s website. I’ll mark that as an early win for Audience ads!

Snag More Desktop Searches

You may have missed it earlier, but the chart linked earlier from Microsoft mentions that the Microsoft Search Network accounts for 36.9% of all PC aka desktop searches.

Here it is again, so we don’t forget.

In a world where mobile traffic is ever-increasing, it can be easy to overlook desktop traffic as we continue to optimize campaigns, landing pages, and entire websites for a “mobile-first” world.

But in some cases, like that of our B2B partner, Vision33, desktop traffic is still incredibly important.

In fact, when analyzing Vision33’s primary conversion (form fills) from January – June 2020, I noticed that desktop traffic converts much higher, across every single channel, than mobile traffic on the Vision33 website.

In fact, in some instances, desktop converts at a rate more than double that of mobile and/or tablet.

Knowing what we know about form fill conversion rates and desktop performance on Vision33’s website, coupled with what we know about Microsoft Search Network’s search market share of 36.9%, it’s clear to see why Microsoft Ads is working well for this B2B business.

Every business has different performance on its website, so “mobile-first” may not always be the best approach. If your business is converting higher on desktop than other devices, it’s time to increase that traffic by increasing your search volume through Microsoft Ads. 

Save Time By Importing from Google Ads

If you like saving time automating things as much as I do, Microsoft Ads makes this easy by allowing and even encouraging you to import your ads from Google Ads.

If you’ve already begun running ads on Google Ads and have a campaign structure set up that you’re comfortable with, it is incredibly easy to import these campaigns into Microsoft Ads and even set the import on a schedule. 

With this in mind, split testing Microsoft Ads vs. Google Ads, or even adding additional campaigns to your overall PPC mix becomes a lot easier. And, let’s face it, building campaigns in Google is still a much cleaner and more familiar process (sorry, Microsoft). 

The import feature has allowed us to experiment with the Microsoft Ads channel fast, while making sure we are still serving top quality campaigns and ads, leaving more time for optimizations and data analysis.

Note: If you’re ready to test Microsoft Ads for your business and decide to import your existing campaigns from Google Ads, be sure to double-check the fine details, like device bid adjustments, time and days of week, audiences, etc.

Conclusion

Although Microsoft Ads may not be the first choice for businesses when deciding where to allocate their PPC funds, it certainly deserves a closer look, and preferably an experiment or three, to decide if it’s right for you and your business goals. 

Certain industries thrive on the platform, and the lower CPCs make it incredibly enticing for those who are running out of room to scale their core search campaigns on Google, or are looking to increase high intent traffic for a lower cost through search campaigns.

If you’re ready to give Microsoft Ads a try, reach out to Tuff today.

two women looking at a computer

The 30-Minute Technical SEO Audit Anyone Can Do

two women looking at a computer

In the last article, we talked to about technical SEO and what it entails. 

In this article, we’ll talk about how to conduct a technical SEO audit. What to look for? What tools to use? And what to focus on? 

Selecting Your SEO Tools

Unless your website has less than 50 pages or so, you’re going to need an SEO auditing tool to crawl the website. The most popular SEO auditing software tools are SEMrush, ahrefs, and ScreamingFrog. 

Personally, SEMrush is my favorite because they grade your overall site health and provide a comprehensive user-interface for reporting, keyword tracking, and a lot of other features. 

Ahrefs is great for backlink auditing, building backlinks, and anything that has to do with the back links. But it is not ideal for auditing websites.

ScreamingFrog is a great tool and I will sometimes run it in parallel alongside SEMRush. It’s also significantly cheaper than both SEMrush and ahrefs, probably because there is no user interface in the cloud. It’s great to crawl the website and export that data to Google Sheets or Excel but there isn’t a user interface that allows you to run reports and present to clients.

Google Search Console and Google Analytics are also tools that you will want to have set up and connected so that you can accurately track your organic traffic.

For the purpose of this article, I will be using SEMrush and a few other tools for specific things such as site speed.

What to Focus on First

SEM Rush errors.

Another reason why I like SEMrush is that it prioritizes the most important errors, warnings, and notices.

  • Errors are issues of the highest severity and should be fixed first. 
  • Warnings aren’t as important but you should attempt to fix as many as possible. 
  • Notices are not so important and most likely will not be fixed on larger sites. 

These errors may look alarming but it’s important to understand that you’re not going to be fixing every single one. The audit takes into account SEO best practices and this would be the ideal if you are 100% focused on SEO and we’re willing to potentially compromise other aspects of the website to fix all SEO notices. So let’s drill down into the errors and see what to fix first. 

Errors list in SEM Rush.

The above screenshot shows the eight most critical errors that we must fix. You can click on each one and drill down to see exactly which pages the errors occur on. They also do a great job of explaining what the error is and how to fix it.

Since we have to fix them all we have to decide which one to start with. The easy thing to do is look at which one has the most errors and start there – hreflang conflicts. Another reason why this is a good error to start with is that it can be fixed programmatically. With a few lines of code, we can fix all 1400+ hreflang errors in the span of a few hours.

This is just a personal preference, but it’s always great to come back to your client and say “hey look, we fixed 1400 errors in our first week of implementing SEO fixes”. It’s a quick win and it goes a long way rather than starting with the 900 duplicate meta descriptions, which may take weeks to completely finish and deliver to the client.

After fixing all of the errors to the best of our ability we would then go on and do the same with the warnings and then the notices. My personal goal is to get the site health to 90%. That tends to be very challenging with large websites.

Page Speed

With page speed being so important, there are a dozen different tools we could use to check our page speed. We’re going to rely on the ones that are provided by Google today, specifically Google pagespeed insights.

Google page speed insights report example.

Focusing on the opportunities, we can see that images are significantly slowing down this particular website. So we would click on the errors and find solutions to the problems and present them to the client. 

Mobile Accessibility & Core Web Vitals

The rest of the technical SEO aspects that we’re going to look at today can all be viewed from Google Search Console.

Google search console screenshot.

Fortunately, this particular website doesn’t have any errors but if it did we would click on open report, find the specific hour, and go in and fix it.

Google search console screenshot.

This usually requires working closely with the developer as you can see most of the errors revolve around coding. This is also the same for the core web vitals, which mainly focuses on the speed of the website on desktop and mobile.

Conclusion

This is not an exhaustive list of all technical SEO aspects that you should be focusing on and fixing but it does cover the most critical issues that you should be prioritizing. If you are not experienced with this then I recommend hiring a technical SEO agency to take care of it for you.

Example of an ecommerce email on a phone.

A Crash Course in Email Marketing for Your eCommerce Store

Man working on a computer.

If you sell products online, you have a lot of options when it comes to marketing tactics. From influencers to ppc, it’s less about what you can do, and more about what you should do.  

Whether your limits are resource-related or budgetary, you will typically want to prioritize the marketing tactics that are likely to have the highest impact on your revenue.  In terms of reliability and ease of implementation, you can’t do much better than email marketing. 

Getting your ecommerce email strategy right, however, can prove a challenge. You only get one chance to grab a potential customer’s attention, after all, and you don’t want to lose sales once you have someone in your funnel. 

Keep reading for tips on how to build your list, the most popular email triggers, and inspiration from some of the greats! 

Building your list

In order for any type of marketing to work you need an audience. To pursue email marketing, this requires, of course, email addresses. There are several ways you can go about collecting these. The easiest is to simply acquire emails at your point of sale. This is a natural part of eCommerce, and customers who do not want targeted marketing can always opt out. Of course, this only allows you to target people who already buy from you.

One popular method to grow your customer base is to institute a “pop-up” that entices website visitors to submit email addresses for a coupon. Keep in mind that you do not need to directly ask for the email address. Instead, simply offer the coupon. If the customer bites and you gain a sale, you will collect the email naturally. 

eCommerce email pop up example from Brumate.

Another strategy involves giving away free content. For example, you could provide “how-to’s” related to your industry, such as recipes if you sell cookware. These are called “lead magnets”, because they lure potential customers to your website through the voluntary submission of contact details. If you have a popular blog, you can request emails for access to a newsletter with exclusive content. 

Picking your triggers

Since online consumers get bombarded with marketing, a straight-forward email-based solicitation likely won’t get you many buyers. Because of this, you’ll need a trigger, or a purpose for your email. Some of the most effective triggers you can utilize include emails for abandoned carts, up-sells and cross-sells, promotional offers, and special promotions for customer loyalty and re-engagement.

Abandoned Cart Emails

We’ve all seen them in brick-and-mortars: the abandoned shopping cart, left idle like flotsam amidst the swift-running current of commerce. The e-commerce equivalent of this happens all the time. Any number of reasons can drive us to click away from our shopping carts before we complete a transaction. A sudden caller may arrive at the door, for example, or the phone rings, the baby cries, or we get diverted through a particularly salient social media post.

Believe it or not, nearly 70 percent of all online carts get abandoned before submission of payment. Shipping fees provide the number one reason for this, as customers get turned off by what they perceive as an “extra cost”. A simple way to transform this loss into a win is to send an abandoned cart email that offers free shipping. If you can’t take this hit to your margins, you can alternately send an email survey to learn the reason for the abandoned cart.

Up-Sell Emails

Up-selling occurs when you invite a customer to purchase a more expensive item in order to increase the overall value of their order. Cross-selling, a similar practice, happens when you recommend a similar or complementary product. Since customers with a three-year relationship spend 67 percent more than new customers, it makes sense that these tactics regularly target preexisting business. One way to capitalize on this tendency is to simply send an order follow-up email with related items. 

Promotional Emails

The promotional email offers a one-time discount or coupon, or announces a sale. These are among the most popular types of email marketing for sellers and consumers alike. Seasonal sales provide shoppers the opportunity for discounts, and give sellers the ability to clear out unsold stock. Coupons can help drive a burst of immediate sales, and can provide shoppers discount on bundles, or one-time savings that convince them to finally buy that expensive new toy. 

Example of sales promotion from an eCommerce brand.

A special type of promotional email is that which seeks to reel back in an old customer. If someone has purchased from you once, chances are they will do it again if given the right incentive. A customer loyalty or re-engagement email can provide just this kind of incentive, through promotions like those mentioned above. What makes these different than straight-forward promotional emails is that they feel exclusive. For example, the discount could only apply for customers who have made a purchase in the last year, or those who made purchases from a specific category.

Creating your emails

Having seen a ton of great emails pass my way, I’d love to share a short list of some of the emails that have stood out to me. 

Uber

Like all of Uber’s brand-related communications, the email was streamlined, clever, and well designed. These qualities help identify their brand, and therefore make Uber’s marketing efforts all the more successful.

Poncho

Some of the most effective communication weds brevity with humor. I like how the customizable weather forecast tool Poncho regularly utilizes this strategy through colorful, short marketing emails punctuated with witty copy. For example, the email below used a bright gif to communicate a forecast of high temperatures, and paired it with a statement about slathering on sunscreen to impress the dermatologist you’re crushing on.

Pit Viper

These emails have character. Pit Viper sells sunglasses online and their brand has a voice unique. Here’s one of my absolutely favorite emails from them that came after I ordered a pair of their sunglasses. This sticks out to me because it’s a simple confirmation email. They already had my money but instead of it being the same boring “thanks for your order” they took the opportunity to leave a lasting impression with their customers. 

Example of an order confirmation email.

Warby Parker

Lastly, Warby Parker, which could probably offer a PhD in emailmarketing, sent me a feedback email a couple of weeks after I bought a pair of glasses. I like this one because it’s short to the point and honest. And the subject line “Three cheers for feedback” is human and inviting. 

Bottom line, all eCommerce sites should get into the practice of email marketing as soon as possible. The benefits are simply too broad, and the expenditure so low, that it makes email marketing a no-brainer. Once you have your list of recipients, you can experiment with which types of emails work the best for your business. Get started soon, and each sympathetic recipient will not only grow your list of subscribers, but also your business’s bottom line.

Google search console results.

How to do SEO Link Building in 2020 [Free Email Template]

Google search console results.

Behind only quality content, content is always king, high quality link building is arguably the most important SEO ranking factor. So it’s no surprise that companies and SEOs put a lot of effort into building backlinks. I stress the term high quality, because the majority of link building that goes on is not high quality in my opinion. So what exactly does link building entail?

Link building can be both technical SEO and content SEO. It usually involves public relations, partnerships, and communication. In simple terms, link building is the process of getting another website to link to your website. This can be done naturally or it can be done strategically. 

Why is link building important?

Link building is important because one of the most important ranking factors that Google uses to determine how and where to rank your page in Google search results. Acquiring backlinks from authoritative domains can be very beneficial for your company. 

For SEO purposes, search engines crawl two different types of backlinks. A dofollow link and a nofollow link. A dofollow link simply tells the search engine crawler to follow that link, whereas a nofollow link does the opposite. So if you’re receiving a backlink from another website, a dofollow link is preferred, since a nofollow may not be crawled at all, though Google has recently announced that using nofollow is now seen as a hint, not a directive.

Beyond just getting a link from a high-quality website, there are a lot of additional factors that Google is looking at to determine how high quality that link is. The links that appear in the body of content with related anchor text are some of the highest quality backlinks you can get. For instance, if a news outlet covers a story on your company and links to your web page with text that is related to your core business, that is seen as a high quality backlink.

Link building research

When crafting a link building strategy, research is one of the most important factors. You’ll want to know exactly what type of link building you’re going to be doing, what websites and blogs you’re going to be focusing on, how you’re going to reach out, and what you’re going to offer.

Link building is certainly not easy. If you’re asking someone to insert a link to your website you better have a good reason why they should do so.

Let’s look at some different types of Link building strategies.

Link Building Strategies

This is not an exhaustive list but rather some of the most common link building strategies.

Mentions – using a tool such as Mention to find all mentions of your brand name and then reaching out to that webmaster and asking if they will link to your website because it will be beneficial to their readers.this has a higher success rate since they are already talking about your brand name and are familiar with your company.

Lost backlinks – this technique involves using a tool such as SEMrush or ahrefs to find backlinks that you have lost, for whatever reason, reaching out to the particular website or blog owner and asking if they can add back the backlink. This has varying degrees of success because maybe they removed the link on their own or maybe the link was broken, which takes us to our next method.

Partnership building – This is the most common form of link building. General outreach to bloggers and webmasters in your industry. Just like any other outreach, its success depends on how targeted the outreach is, how enticing your offer is, how relevant your content is to their audience, and so on. NinjaOutreach and BuzzStream can be great tools for mass outreach, though I’ve always chosen to do it manually.

Since I’ve had pretty good success with this method in the past, I’m going to share with you some things that have worked well for me in the next section. 

Broken links – this method is very tedious and has a lower success rate than the previous methods. For this method, you use a tool such as ScreamingFrog to crawl a website with related content and find broken links. Once you find a broken link that is linking out to a piece of content that is similar to a piece of content on your website, you reach out to the blog owner and ask him/her if they want to replace the broken link with your new link.

HAROHARO stands for Help a Reporter Out and provides writers with daily opportunities to be featured in high quality articles. Each day you receive an email with stories that reporters are working on and if you are an expert on any of the topics, you respond and have a chance to be featured in the article. This doesn’t always guarantee a backlink, but they usually make it clear whether or not they will link to you.

Guest posting – guest posting is one of the most common forms of backlinking and involves writing a guest post to be featured on another website. Within that guest post you will ideally link a few times to specific pages on your website. This is okay as long as you’re not paying to post the guest. Google has recently said selling paid links on blogs is against its webmaster guidelines.

Partnership Building Outreach Template

Here is an email template that has worked well for me in the past. One important thing to note is that you usually need to offer a link swap, or a way to drive traffic back to their website as well. Nobody wants to do anything for you for free. Before I include the template, lets talk about the steps that lead up to it.

  1. Build a spreadsheet of 5 target pages that you want to build link to and save it in Sheet 1
  2. On Sheet 2 (if doing manual outreach) build a list of target blogs and keep track of the URL, website name, DA, contact’s name, and contact’s email.
  3. Once you have that information, you can create a mail merge directly in Google Sheets.

Email template

Hi,

My name is Derek, and I’m reaching out on behalf of [Your Company].

I wanted to see if you’d be interested in exploring ways we can collaborate on content sharing between your blog and [Your Company]. I’ve been reading [WEBSITE/BLOG] for some time and have noticed a lot of content overlap. I think we could benefit from driving our audiences back to relevant content where applicable.

Let me know if you’re interested in discussing further.

Thanks,

Conclusion

These are just a few link building strategies but the best strategy is always to create high-quality content and share it with an interested audience so that they will naturally build backlinks for you. 

Sketching website landing pages.

How To Write, Build, and Test Landing Pages

Sketching website landing pages.

Like a strategic blog post series or email marketing drip campaign, landing pages should be a part of any startup, eCommerce, or enterprise business’ online marketing toolkit.

From creation to testing, tweaking, and more testing, this conversion rate optimization process can help to increase conversion rates when done correctly.

Too many founders and marketers create landing web pages and forget about them. Even more frequently, marketers do one or two tests only to move onto another marketing initiative because they feel that they’ve learned all they can from their website visitors.

Think of your landing pages as a dynamic process. You should be able to learn from them on a recurring basis and leverage your winning results. Even after you’ve found scalable results, the landing page process will allow you to test those positive results and optimize further.

You can use your landing pages to qualify leads, test lead generation concepts with potential customers, and, of course, increase conversions. To do all of this and more, you’ll need a process.

Here’s the complete Tuff guide to help you write, build, and test landing pages.

Step 1: Landing Page Design Structure  

Landing page strategy sketch.

Before you start writing copy or considering your image assets, it’s incredibly important that you design a landing page structure that is the right fit for your industry and audience.

Depending on if you sell a product or a service, your landing page structure will be different. For eCommerce product companies your landing page might feature an offer discount for your product and for startup tech or Enterprise SaaS your landing page might be collecting email addresses through an email signup form field.

Figuring out the basic building blocks of your landing page is the first part in landing page design. When you have that plan, then you are ready to begin your design layout.

A great way to layout your design is through a process known as wireframing.

Wireframes are a blueprint to define the information architecture and layout of your landing page.

For each landing page, you create, you should have multiple versions, but you’ll want the structure of the landing page to be the same across all the landing page versions. Being disciplined with this part of the process will allow you to learn faster during the test phase.

Step 2: Write The Landing Page Copy

Writing copy for a landing page.

Now that you have the structure of your landing page design you can begin the process of writing your landing page copy. For each section of your wireframe, you will want to create a landing page with 5 different versions of the copy for you to use during the revision and testing stages.

For example, all landing pages have a headline, description, and call to action. For each copy component of the landing page, you will want to write 5 different versions – 5x headlines, 5x descriptions, and 5 calls to action.

Remember that your copy should be human, original, and succinct.

With a landing page, you’re focusing your user’s attention down to one goal – to take the call to action (email signup, demo booking, purchase with an offer).

The call to action should be clear and concise, the user should have no problem understanding what you want them to do and what they get in return using the copy you have provided.

Step 3: Build 5 Landing Pages and Add Images

By step 3, you should have your landing page section structured with 5 sets of copy assigned to each section. The next step is to build 5 landing pages with the sets of the copy.

We recommend using a tool to help facilitate your build. This process should be pretty straightforward since you have already done the planning.

If you have a habit of making changes in the middle of a process, don’t. If you can’t help yourself, then have someone else on your team put the landing pages together using the building blocks you already designed and defined.

Now is not the time for you to try to guess what will resonate with your audience – we’ll get to that in the next step.

Once you have your five versions of your landing pages built, then you’re going to pick two of them to use in your first round of tests. We recommend getting feedback from your internal team on what they think will be the most effective two versions to test against each other.

Remember the structure and goals of the two landing pages should be the same, the only variables that should be different are the copy and creative.

Step 4: Landing Page Testing

Woman biting pencil.

To effectively drive traffic quickly and learn efficiently which landing page converts best, you will create a test campaign with two ad sets that contain the same budget.

Each of the ad sets will contain identical ads to the other ad set, the only difference will be the destination that you send the audience to in each ad.

For example ad A will direct to landing page v.1 and ad B will go to landing page v.2.

Run each ad for the same duration.

After the ads have completed their tests, then measure which one is the winner. You can do this by measuring your lead generation results or overall conversions.

You now have a baseline to build new tests off of to optimize your landing page, but you’re far from done. The only real result that you have is that you know that the winning landing page performs better than the loser.

Next, you will need to put your land page winner up against an even better competitor to learn and optimize.

Step 5: Optimizing Landing Pages 

You will need to set up a new test where all the variables are the same except for one. Maybe you’ll choose to test a new headline or call to action in your second test.

To do a new headline, you would take your winning landing page and duplicate it, then change the headline to the new copy. You would then test the winning landing page from your first test against the new iteration.

For each new variable you test, you’ll need to do a new test. Once you have tested all the variables from your baseline winner then you should test against a new structure.

Finding a new structure will require you to repeat steps 1 – 4 to create a new landing page with a new structure and test it against your winning landing page from round 1.

To be successful at the landing page process you need to be disciplined at following the steps. Skipping them or combining too many tests at once within the process will result in a lack of understanding of what is driving positive results.