As an account manager, I frequently analyze platforms and Google analytics. A bulk of my time is measuring performance, identifying wasteful spend, and looking for ways to increase leads or revenue. Less of my time is spent navigating the clients website like their customers. Perhaps this is a mistake.
Are Website Errors Impacting Conversions?
Over the years, my investigation of poor campaign performance has led me to find issues on the website that were affecting performance. One time the cost-per-lead (CPL) spiked in one of my campaigns, and I discovered the lead form was broken. Another time a form option was removed and those campaign’s leads flatlined.
Another time I noticed a decrease in call conversions. The report showed more than 41 calls, but the call duration did not exceed 30 seconds which is the required length to be counted as conversions. After testing the phone number, the greeting stated the offices were closed. It turned out an employee left the company, and no one redirected the phones and instead all the calls went to voicemail.
Sometimes we forget campaigns can drive the right customers to the right pages, but then the website loses the conversion. The landing page experience is a key factor in the conversion performance for a campaign. If your form is too complex it can frustrate mobile searchers. If the checkout process is too confusing, your customers might abandon their cart.
Tip: Double check your conversion tracking, search impressions share lost to rank, and any potential negatives preventing your ads from showing.
Google Merchant Center Warnings
Recently, one of my clients received a policy violation warning from Google Merchant Center their shipping prices did not match on the website compared to what was in their feed. After receiving this notice, I spent time reviewing the shipping prices in Google Merchant Center versus their website.
If you are new to PPC or Shopping, the Google Merchant Center is a tool that gives you a place to upload and store products data for your website. This tool pushes the products into your Google Shopping campaign. Sometimes your product prices, availability, or shipping prices become outdated on the website. This may require something as simple as logging in and refreshing the feed. However, it may require updating information on the website or in merchant center to make sure they are the same.
Tip: Shipping and tax prices listed in Google Merchant Center can be higher than what is on your website without getting penalized. The prices listed on your website should never be higher than what is listed in your data feed.
In Google Merchant Center, using the Shipping Calculator, one products shipping price was $101.97.
On the website, I then proceeded to search the same city, state, and zip code shown in Merchant Center for the address. The listed price on the website was almost $100 higher at $199.95. This is the reason why the client was flagged for discrepancies.
Next, I tested some other locations to see if they were different. In Utah, the price was even higher at $399.90 for a product that is priced at $618.
Next, I selected Texas for the shipping destination and found the shipping price was $419.90. It is probably impossible to imagine anybody willing to pay that much for shipping.
After seeing these high shipping prices, it made me wonder if anyone had been willing to pay more than $300 for shipping on similar orders that were less than $1000. In Analytics, I downloaded all similar orders over the past year. Out of 293 orders, only 12% of the orders paid more than $200 in shipping, and only 1% paid more than $300.
This finding was significant, because it made me question if we had lost out on orders in states with higher shipping costs. This client sometimes runs promotions offering $200 off orders, and this often produced a spike in sales. After bringing this to the attention of my client, they are testing lower shipping prices.
How Important Is Free Shipping?
Are we coming to a point where people prefer free shipping? One recent article shows customers want items shipped fast and free. It also says more than 70% of customers will not come back after a poor shipping experience. Amazon offering Prime members free shipping was a game changer for internet shoppers. Although I have found merchants often roll the shipping costs into the price. Still there is a perceived free shipping offer available.
One article by Neil Patel says you can make free shipping profitable. He suggests running an A/B comparison where you can measure the differences in your total revenue when you offer free shipping. Is it possible offering shoppers free shipping increases your total orders and revenue? Another option is to offer free shipping on higher order values. ChannelAdvisor says “93% of shoppers willing to take advantage of offers to qualify for free shipping.”
Another good practice is to go through the checkout process as a customer to discover any roadblocks on your website. One time a shipping app failed to work and only offered Express shipping prices at a higher rate.
This afternoon, HubSpot announced it would be making cuts in its workforce during Q1 2023. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing it put the scale of the cuts at 7%. This would mean losing around 500 employees from its workforce of over 7,000.
The reasons cited were a downward trend in business and a “faster deceleration” than expected following positive growth during the pandemic.
Layoffs follow swift growth. Indeed, the layoffs need to be seen against the background of very rapid growth at the company. The size of the workforce at HubSpot grew over 40% between the end of 2020 and today.
In 2022 it announced a major expansion of its international presence with new operations in Spain and the Netherlands and a plan to expand its Canadian presence in 2023.
Why we care. The current cool down in the martech space, and in tech generally, does need to be seen in the context of startling leaps forward made under pandemic conditions. As the importance of digital marketing and the digital environment in general grew at an unprecedented rate, vendors saw opportunities for growth.
The world is re-adjusting. We may not be seeing a bubble burst, but we are seeing a bubble undergoing some slight but predictable deflation.
Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.
He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.
Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.
Happy customers love to share their experience, but sometimes they need some encouragement to do so. The cool thing is, once they do, they become even more loyal to your brand.
So, at this stage of the Customer Value Journey, ask people to share their positive experience with your brand by writing a review or sharing a social media post.
Once you get to stage seven, the Customer Value Journey is going to get a whole lot easier for you. This stage is all about learning your customer’s experience, and building up your testimonial database.
The most important part of this step is asking these four questions.
What Was Your Life Like Before Finding Our Solutions? What Challenges Were You Facing That Caused You to Consider Us?
These questions are great not only because it gives you some really good stories, but because it gives you some insight on how you can provide similar prospects with that AHA moment. Understanding the average day of your clients is important in reflecting on your Customer Value Journey, and helps you understand what really set you apart from your competitors.
What Key Features Had the Biggest and/or Fastest Impact?
Not only is this going to get you to really specific stories, you will understand the specific things you provided that gave the biggest impact. The answers to these questions will not only give you great insight and testimonials, it will provide you with ideas for new lead magnets. This part is a new Entry Point Offer goldmine!
What Has Been the Impact or Results in Your Life or Business Since Using Our Product or Service?
This is a fairly broad question, and that’s why we put it after the others. You will have already gotten all of the specifics out of the way with #1 & #2. But when you ask this question, this is where you get the most valuable stories. You can use this part as testimonials, as an order form, as a sales page, this part is testimonial gold.
If You Were Asked to Justify this Purchase to Your Boss or a Friend, What Would You Say?
This is our favorite question by far. If you had to go back in time and justify this purchase, what would you say? I promise you what we’re going to find is a lot of great ideas for the jobs that your product or service has done. You’ll get a lot of great ideas for your core message canvas. This question is about backfilling all of the assets that you may not have. Here you’re going directly to the customer who are already happy, and using their justifications to help you sell to new customers.
Hopefully you now understand just how valuable the Advocate stage could be, as well as the key questions you need to ask to get your customers talking. Here’s how it works for our example companies.
When it comes to fashion we all love to show off our outfits. So a good example for Hazel & Hems would be to have customers write reviews for a discount code or points towards their next purchase.
Better yet, follow up with the customers to ask them to share and tag themselves wearing the items in a social media post and providing them with something valuable as a reward.
For Cyrus & Clark Media, hopping on zoom meetings or a streaming service for live talks about them and their business could generate valuable awareness for them, and a live case study for the agency. They can use the questions Ryan provided during this lesson to conduct the interview.