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Updates to Google Responsive Search Ads and Shopping Campaign Ads

Google keeps unrolling new features that help us better target our ads or test new aspects of our campaigns, and ultimately help you reach the right people. Google recently revealed new ad features that will affect both Smart Shopping Campaigns and Responsive Search Ads.

Here’s a closer look at the updates to
responsive search ads...

First, let’s review Responsive Search Ads. These ads work within your Google Search Campaigns. They allow you to input numerous assets (headlines and descriptions) and Google will use machine learning to rotate through those assets in different formations. This allows your ads to be shown to internet users more often and in different ways—which, when combined together, usually deliver a higher click through rate (CTR).

To put it in simple terms: Your message will be shown to people more often, and in multiple variations.

Now you can use two additional handy features within these ads: Countdown feature and Location insertion.

Countdown Feature

1-leverage-fomo

Image Source: Alexa Blog

The countdown feature allows you to dynamically highlight sales or time-sensitive deals. This allows you to create a sense of urgency within your ads. Think about those big department store sale ads you might’ve seen. They are often cheesy, but they actually work! And why? Because they make you feel like their sale is the biggest of the year and an event you can’t miss.

You want potential customers to feel this way about whatever you’re offering. You could, for instance, have a countdown that reads “Sale Ends in 6 Days”. This would update each day so that everyone who sees the ad knows exactly how long they have to take advantage of your sale—and could possibly increase your CTR due to increased interest.

Location Insertion

Location Insertion allows you to tailor the responsive search ads to the user by highlighting the location in which your product or service is offered. For example, if you offer services in every city in an area this could be useful instead of creating individual ads for each city. It could look like this: We deliver to {LOCATION(City)}. You can choose to show the city, state or country. This will help show that your product or service is relevant and local to your users.

Changes to Smart Shopping Campaigns

Google side chairs

The other changes that were noted by Google are within the Smart Shopping Campaigns. They started offering Free and Fast Shipping annotations, which have been proven to increase conversion rates by nine percent!

Google is working on creating more visual ads as well with features like video display ads. Later this year, they’ll have a more immersive and browsable shopping experience with a dynamically curated carousel of your most applicable products.

Image Source: Google

Don’t forget about the Customer Acquisition Value Tool that helps unite sales and marketing!

conversion-goals

Image Source: Google

Lastly, there is a new customer acquisition value tool that allows you to add a value to sales from new customers. Your campaign can use sales numbers and this new value to optimize performance, which ultimately can help you increase your revenue from new customers.

If your sales team is wondering what value the company is getting from running Google ads, this tool is a great way to bring the sales and marketing efforts together and put real value on your results.

Get more customers with Responsive Search Ads and Shopping Campaign Ads from Google.

If you need help navigating what these changes mean for your campaigns, we can help! OR, if you don’t have these types of ads running and feel you could benefit from them, we’d love to schedule a consultation with you. Contact us today to connect and get help.

Updates to Responsive Search Ads & Shopping Campaign Ads from Google Help Get More Customers Shopping
Young man on phone | Business Messages via Google Maps and Search

On June 25, 2020 Google announced expanding access to its Business Messages in Maps and Search. While they were at it, Google also announced new feature enhancements as well. When 75% of consumers report that they prefer to engage with a brand over private messaging channels versus traditional channels, this change matters for your business.

What are Business Messages from Google?

Learn how to setup Business Messages on Google Maps and Search

According to developers.google.com, Business Messages is a mobile conversational channel that combines entry points on Google Maps, Search, and brand websites to create rich, asynchronous messaging experiences that delight customers and drive business.

Don’t get intimidated by this explanation of Business Messages from Google Developers. In short, it’s a way for businesses to directly connect to consumers via Maps and Search.

If it sounds familiar, it should. In 2018, Google added a new way in maps to directly contact stores through messages, but it was only available in limited regions and for limited business types. Now, this comprehensive messaging solution is available across Android devices and through Maps on iOS.

More and easier ways for consumers to connect, sign me up, right?

What are the new Business Messages Features?

To further drive ease of purchase, brand loyalty and easier connection with customer support, Business Messages is doing more than just expanding availability. Extra functionality has been added to Business Messages, including:

  • Smart replies to frequently asked questions
  • Customizable welcome messages
  • Visual product carousels within the messaging experience
  • Connection with a live agent

How you can access Business Messages

Business messages are currently available in English. Depending on your comfort level with implementation, there are multiple alternatives for integration.

  • Brands and messaging partners can sign up to access the Business Messages API and developer documentation.
  • Google also has partners ready to help brands optimize their messaging flow with engaged customers.
  • Businesses can also still manage messaging through Google My Business.

Interested in Implementing Business Messages?

At Sanctuary, we understand that even with streamlined implementation guides for something like Business Messages, it’s hard to find the time to roll out everything you want to for your business.

That’s why we’re here. Contact us today for help in using Business Messages to reach your consumers.

Get Messages from Consumers Straight Through Google Maps & Search with Business Messages by Google
Mobile phone users searching the internet - mobile page experience

If you are a marketer for a small business, you know how important your website is to serve your customers. Your website helps promote your products and services, but it also allows you to set yourself apart from your competitors. And if your website isn’t user friendly and doesn’t provide a great user experience, then chances are that your traffic will fall off and you’ll lose out to other businesses that have taken the time to optimize the performance of their site.

That is why it is important to know that not too long ago, Google announced that they would be releasing a new ranking algorithm sometime in 2021. This algorithm is intended to judge web pages according to how internet users perceive their interaction with the web page.

What is Page Experience?

If you aren’t familiar with page experience, it is essentially comprised of a set of signals that measure how someone would experience a website, and how they would feel about it. Metrics include loading performance, interactivity and the visual stability of the webpage. Further, search signals are also included as part of the experience. Those include mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS, and what is referred to as intrusive interstitial guidelines (aka pop-up ads).

Breaking down the Upcoming Google Page Experience

To make this a bit easier to understand, we have broken down the user-centered metrics, called Core Web Vitals, that will be scored as part of this coming change.

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) - This metric measures the performance of the site load. To ensure a successful and positive load experience, LCP should take 2.5 seconds or less.
  • First Input Delay (FID) - This metric assesses interactivity. To ensure a positive user experience, it is believed that pages should have an FIC that is less than 100 milliseconds, which is the same as 0.1 seconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) - This metric assesses visual stability. For a good user experience, a webpage should cultivate a CLS that is under 0.1.

So what does this all mean? In a nutshell, the page experience algorithm is constructed to assess web pages based on how users interact with it. Your website pages will rank higher when they provide a good experience, especially as it pertains to safe browsing, fewer pop-ups, high page speeds and if the site is mobile-friendly.

Google plans to provide notice of six months before this page experience update will go live. During that time, it is highly recommended that webmasters and business owners focus on improving their LCP (loading speed), FID (interactivity) and CLS (visual stability). You can leverage the Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console to help you assess your website speed. You can also evaluate your overall webpage performance with tools such as Lighthouse, PageSpeed Insights and Chrome Dev Tools. By auditing your site now, you can identify where improvements are made and allow your web developers to make the necessary corrections.

Great Content is Still King

This all said it is important not to lose sight of the need for great content. You can make all the changes in the world to your site, and if your content is poor, so will be your ranking. On the flip side, even with poor page performance, if you have great content, it will still rank highly in Google Search results.

If you need help figuring out how to weather this upcoming change, we would love to do some discovery work on your business. Contact Sanctuary today to learn more or request a consultation!

Preparing for Google’s Page Experience Update Coming in 2021
graphic of video ads

Google has been innovating a lot recently to help their advertisers gain as much as they can during the COVID era. It's a strange time to advertise, and digital has never been as important as it is right now. Google's newest innovation is introducing new ways to drive conversions through YouTube as people aren't able to get out and shop as freely—but they are on their phones more than ever.

Digital Storefront Proves Valuable for E-Commerce

Shopping.gif

Source: Google

The first big thing Google is rolling out is a "digital storefront" that will appear alongside video ads on YouTube. This storefront will pull products from your Google Merchant Center and display them alongside a video ad. According to Google, one of their trials resulted in a 25% higher return on ad spend and nine times more conversions than the company's original media mix.

Simplified YouTube Video Action Campaigns

The next big thing Google is introducing is called "Video Action Campaigns". These campaigns are a cost-effective and easy way to attract shoppers, showcase products and drive conversions through YouTube. The platform automatically places ads on the homepage, watch pages, as well as Google video partner placements, allowing advertisers like you to expand advertising opportunities with YouTube and increase the visibility of your ads.

This will take a lot of the headache out of setting up your campaigns AND likely yield better results for e-commerce businesses. During the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are turning to alternative forms of entertainment and ways to shop. All signs point to Video Action Campaigns that combine two of the hottest things right now: YouTube videos and online shopping.

To see if Video Action Campaigns are the right way to go, you first have to make sure you have your Google Merchant Center account linked to your Google Ads account. Not sure what those are? That’s ok—we can help.

Lead Gen Ads Now on YouTube

youtube lead ads

Source: Google

Finally, YouTube is now introducing lead gen forms that will accompany video ads. Similar to other channels such as Facebook or LinkedIn that offer lead gen forms, YouTube will display a simple form under your video ad and give viewers an opportunity to connect with your company without interrupting the viewing experience.

Lead gen ads are an ideal way to collect information from people interested in your product or service. They’re direct and to the point, collecting only the necessary information without even leaving the platform and going to a separate landing page—ideal for users on a mobile device, which have only become even more common during the COVID-19 pandemic.

YouTube lead gen ads were trialed by Jeep, who reported bringing in 13 times more successful leads and an 84% lower cost per lead. They also claimed to have generated "the most leads at the most efficient cost among all ad platforms.”

Partner With Sanctuary

If YouTube ads sound like something you should be doing but you’re not sure how to get started, we’d love to help! Our team of digital marketing experts are ready to partner with you to make your business growth goals a reality. Reach out to the team at Sanctuary to learn what we can do for you!

Source: Google Ads & Commerce Blog

Google Introduces New Direct Response Advertising Opportunities on YouTube
woman searching the internet on phone

For most companies, it takes a long time to earn a coveted spot in one of the top search results on Google. So it’s nerve-wracking for everyone when the company makes a major update like they did toward the end of 2019.

In October, Google announced it would begin using an artificial intelligence system called BERT. Google updates its algorithm hundreds of times each year, but BERT was the most significant change the company had made in over five years.

BERT provides more relevant search results and is a notable shift away from keyword-specific searches. This article will review what the BERT update is, and what it could mean for your business and SEO strategy going forward.

What does BERT stand for?

BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. The algorithm is designed to understand the intent behind a user’s search, not just the keywords used.

Thanks to the BERT update, Google now focuses more on search intent rather than just the keyword itself. It helps Google understand the context behind a search, so that it can deliver more accurate results.

In an October blog post, Google Vice President Pandu Nayak used the following analogy to explain how the algorithm works...

Let’s say someone searches for the phrase, “do estheticians stand a lot at work.” Previously, Google would have pulled up search results based on the keywords used in that phrase, like “stand.” But the term “stand” is actually referring to the physical demands of working as an esthetician.

Keyword Intent Matching

Thanks to BERT, Google can better understand the context of the phrase and deliver more targeted search results. The update also allows Google to find results for more complex search queries. This idea of using context to figure out the intent of a search is called “keyword intent matching”, which is different from what was happening before, known as “keyword matching”. Google uses artificial intelligence to determine whether or not a user is satisfied with the results of their search, essentially measuring the relevance of the results in relation to the context and intent of the search.

Below is a screenshot that does a great job of showing the difference in how Google understands the words within a search.

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

What does the BERT update mean for your business?

Google says the update impacts 10% of all search queries, and it will also impact organic rankings and featured snippets. So there’s a good chance your website traffic could take a hit, assuming it hasn’t already.

But more importantly, it’s going to change the way users search Google. Instead of using unnatural keywords to search for information online, most people will begin using more conversational search queries.

Optimize for the user, not for Google.

The biggest takeaway from the BERT algorithm change is that business owners and marketers need to change the way they think about SEO. Instead of trying to optimize your content for SEO, focus on optimizing for your reader. In doing that, you’ll in turn be giving Google what it wants and getting better results in Search.

The BERT algorithm favors websites that readers find valuable. Focusing on creating quality content that provides a specific value to your audience will go a long way toward improving your Google search ranking.

Get SEO help from Sanctuary!

If you’re getting poor organic search results or feel that your website content needs updating to appeal more to your ideal customers, reach out to the Sanctuary team today! Our extensive SEO experience and knowledge of Google’s latest updates will help transform your current content and hopefully get you better results as part of a complete digital marketing plan.

Sources: Digital Marketing Institute

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Google BERT Algorithm Update
No Discrimination Advertising

Google is often making adjustments to its policies to better serve its users and ensure quality results. We recently saw two new policy updates for Google Ads advertisers that may affect how businesses target users and create ad copy.

Protecting Users from Discrimination from Housing, Employment and Credit Advertisers

One targeting update is to protect users from discrimination from advertisers. On top of sensitive categories that have already been excluded from targeting for many years, Google has added some new protective measures.

The new policy impacts housing, credit and employment advertisers. Google is working with the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), along with civil rights and housing experts to to address the discrimination and figure out how to move forward. The plan is to eliminate the possibility of the affected advertisers to exclude users based on age, gender, parental status, marital status, or zip code. They’ve been developing these new policies for some time and will be implementing them this year.

Clickbait Ads Policy Bans Clickbait and Sensationalist Text or Imagery

Another way Google is looking to protect users is with the Clickbait Ads policy rolling out in July of 2020, which will no longer allow clickbait or sensationalist text or imagery.

Google considers two types of ads that will fall into these categories:

  1. One using clickbait tactics with text or images, such as text similar to “Click here to find out” or before and after images promoting changes to the human body.
  2. The other type of ad that will not be allowed is an ad that depicts negative life events such as death or bankruptcy. This is to eliminate ads that pressure users to click on an ad to avoid harm or out of fear.

Learn How These Updates Affect Your Business Specifically

You may or may not be affected by these policy updates but we feel like it’s an important update for protecting users. Contact the Sanctuary team if you have any questions on how these updates may affect your business or your customers, or if you need help optimizing your Google Ads account!

Updated Google Ads Policies Put In Place to Protect Users from Discrimination and Clickbait
Add Gift Cards and Donation Links to your Google Business Profile

Due to the impact COVID-19 has had on local communities, Google has been working hard to make supporting local businesses easier. Recently, that extended beyond their initial primary focus of keeping customers informed in a (mostly) digital world.

Google Rolled Out Support Links for your Business Profile in May 2020

Support links enable merchants to add a donation link, gift card link or both to your profile. In tandem with the support links, a personal message can be shared to inform customers how the funds will be put to use. So far, this new tool is available in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Google Partnered with PayPal and GoFundMe for Donations

You don’t have to look far to see that businesses around the world are looking for support, and communities around the world are searching for ways to be supportive. For gift cards, you can link to an existing page on your website for purchase or to gift card offerings with one of Google’s eligible partners including Square, Toast, Clover and Vagaro.

While there are no Google fees associated with this service, there may be partner processing fees associated. However, the hope would be the benefit would greatly outweigh any fees.

What Your Community Sees on Your Business Profile on Google

GoogleMyBiz

Get Community Support

Community members can now tap a banner straight from Google Maps to find businesses nearby they can buy gift cards from or leave donations for. Here’s what it looks like ...

googlemaps

Learn More About Gift Cards and Donations for Your Google My Business Listing

Let us take care of the details so you can take care of your business. Contact the Sanctuary team today!

Purchase a Gift Card or Make a Donation Straight from Your Google My Business Profile
Retargeting Facebook Ad Traffic for Better Conversions

Have you been running Facebook ads for your company? Maybe you’re even having success—great click-through rates, low cost per results and awesome reach. Now it’s time to take your Facebook ads to the next level, which will help you successfully move those customers through the sales funnel and turn their clicks and website visits into something more!

Tell me how to turn clicks and website visits into something more.

First things first, you need to understand the different types of paid ads you can run on Facebook and what their main objectives are. If you are a new company or brand, you’ll need to take a step back and first think about starting with brand awareness ads on Facebook. This will get your ads in front of as many people as possible, helping to bring awareness to your name, product or service.

From there, two of the most used options are traffic and conversion ads. There are others as well, but for now, we’re going to focus on these. Traffic and conversion ads can seem very similar because both ads can be pushing traffic off Facebook to your website, but there is a big distinction. Traffic ads can be optimized for landing page views, meaning Facebook will show your ads to the people that are most likely to click on your link and load your website. Conversion ads can be optimized for whatever events mean most to your business, such as website purchases, sign-ups or scheduling appointments.

I’m Ready to Get Started. What Steps Do I Need To Take?

Facebook Traffic vs Conversion ads

Set-Up Facebook Pixel.

The first and most important step is making sure that you have a Facebook pixel and standard conversion events set-up on your website. These are actually small pieces of code that go on your website that allows Facebook to track the behaviors of customers visiting your website. The standard events are set-up on specific pages or buttons that you deem as important to your business (for example, your thank-you page after a purchase has been made, or the actual purchase button itself). Once this code is installed, you can start collecting important data that will help drive those conversions down the road.

Create traffic ads.

Once you have a pixel, you need to create ads that are going to drive traffic to your site, in turn giving the pixel data to work with! Create campaigns with a traffic objective, and optimize your ads for landing page visits. Create ads with intriguing and engaging copy and images, and let people travel to your website and learn more about your company and what you have to offer.

In order to get the most high-quality traffic, it is best to set your placements to focus on Facebook and Instagram feeds and stories. If you want people that are more likely to convert, those placements will get your more quality traffic than placements in the Audience Network. Monitor those ads regularly and make sure you’re getting the performance you want.

Create conversion ads.

Lastly, it’s time to create conversion ads and retarget those leads you received from your traffic ads, optimizing them for the conversions you want. You can duplicate your traffic campaign and change your objective to conversions.

You can now open your ad set back up to automatic placements, as you’ll be targeting a hot audience that you know has already shown interest. You will choose to optimize for whatever conversion event you think is most valuable. You will want to use the Post ID method—take the post ID from your traffic ad and on your conversion ad select ‘use existing post’ and paste the ID in that field. Now you are all set to turn those interested visitors into customers!

Need help setting up Facebook ads?

Talk to us to see how we can help you with your Facebook paid ad strategy and start getting those important conversions!

Sources: SocialMedia Examiner

Retargeting Facebook Ad Traffic for Better Conversions
Continuous Website Development

If your website is more than three or four years old, it’s nearly guaranteed to be behind-the-curve in terms of technology, design and current best practices for mobile, speed and other critical website trends. And it’s probably not serving the changing goals and needs of your business as well as it could, either.

But committing to a website overhaul can be overwhelming, particularly in terms of time and cost. Many businesses balk at the expense and hassle for months or years beyond when updates are truly needed. Even if you’re not concerned about the work or budget, it can be frustrating to wait six to nine months or more to deploy a new site that will better support your business.

In recent years, a handful of cutting-edge website development companies have shifted to a continuous delivery approach to website development. Rather than executing an entire website project before launching, continuous delivery means releasing each new feature or update as it’s ready. This equals faster times to market, lower-risk releases, higher quality, lower costs and happier teams.

What is Continuous Website Development?

“Continuous Delivery is the ability to get changes of all types—including new features, configuration changes, bug fixes and experiments—into production, or into the hands of users, safely and quickly in a sustainable way.”
continuousdelivery.com

Continuous delivery emphasizes making continual improvements instead of complete system overhauls. It’s a constant flow of incremental changes. Think about how often your apps and OS for your phone are upgraded with small updates and patches. For websites, improvements such as fresh design styles, a revamped sitemap, interactive tools and new features are deployed immediately as each is ready, rather than tied to a larger project and schedule.

The process goes like this:

  1. Planning - define all of the requirements and scope a solution for the individual improvement. All developers and stakeholders agree on the plan.
  2. Development - the website team develops the improvement according to the agreed-upon scope.
  3. Testing - the new feature is tested extensively to ensure it works for users, on a variety of browsers and devices, and within the rest of the website’s ecosystem.
  4. Launch - the new feature is released on the website.

And then the team picks up the next item on the website wishlist; rinse and repeat.

5 Ways Continuous Website Development Benefits Businesses

If you can make the mental shift away from traditional website development practices, you’ll find that a continuous improvement approach serves your business in some exciting and profitable ways.

#1: Faster Time to Market

A traditional website development project takes at minimum six months to produce—and often more. That’s a long time to wait for a website that can better push on your business and marketing goals.

Releasing individual updates as they are ready allows you to push out improvements much more frequently. Depending on the size and scope, you could launch new features or updates in as little as one month. Month after month.

#2: Lower Budgets and Commitment

Rather than committing upfront to a website overhaul costing tens of thousands due in several installments, you can pay a month at a time, a feature at a time. Defining a single website improvement enables tighter scoping and thus lower costs.

Or, having a set monthly retainer for website updates allows you to be always improving your website within a consistent, easily manageable budget.

#3: Higher Quality and Lower Risk

Working on one feature at a time allows you and your website team to focus on creating an ideal solution. Juggling an entire site at once can be challenging to get all the things exactly right all the time. We’ve found that more focused work produces higher quality work.

In addition, there can be less risk that something else could break on your site when you test and release an individual update rather than many together.

#4: Adaptation and Flexibility

When you commit to a traditional website development project, unforeseen changes or shifting requirements down the road can be both frustrating and costly. On the other hand, continuous delivery of one improvement at a time allows for adaptation and a much greater degree of flexibility. It also allows your digital marketing and website teams to be reviewing analytics and other testing data to adapt plans and further improve results.

#5: Better Partnerships and Happier Teams

It’s no secret that focused, productive teams are happier teams. Giving your website team the ability to regularly deliver improvements that get results makes the work feel highly rewarding for all involved. It also allows your team members and your website team to develop ongoing relationships and deeper understanding that further improve the quality of the work they’re producing.

Ready to Shift to Continuous Website Improvement?

If you’re like most business owners, you probably have a laundry list of frustrations with your current website as well as ideas for improvements. Consider tackling these issues and ideas now while they are small, rather than amassing a big “debt” of items that will take greater budget and resources to tackle.

At Sanctuary, we work within lean and agile methodologies for everything we produce, which has positioned us to provide continuous website development services. Agile has transformed how we get our work done, improving our up-front definitions, shortening our production timelines, increasing quality and strengthening client relationships.

We can work with you to develop and prioritize your wishlist of website improvements and then start working through it from the top down. Then, we’ll update that roadmap periodically so we always have a focused direction for where your website needs to go next. Contact us to set up a meeting about your website improvement needs.

 

Sources: continuousdelivery.com, techbeacon.com, news.net, blog.skodaminotti.com, ffwagency.com

Continuous Website Development Means Faster Times to Market, Lower-Risk Releases and an Overall Higher Quality Site
Habits to Keep Creatives Energized

Here at Sanctuary our first core value is:

WE ARE SANCTUARY

Sanctuary: n.(sank-choo-air-ee) A place of refuge or asylum. A sheltered, protected place removed from the harsh realities of the world. A creative escape. A place where you can feel safe and work without anxiety, worry or fear of failure. A person you trust. A place to call home...

We believe this is an environment where Creatives can thrive!

So WHAT is a Creative?

  • They are ARTISTS. Not just a painter or designer, but someone who sees the world differently than others and comes from curiosity… A LOT!
  • They are INDIVIDUALS and they are unique. They like to color outside the lines .. ON PURPOSE!
  • They are THOUGHT LEADERS who influence people not necessarily through personality but through their innate gifts and talents.

Ultimately they are people who have ideas and make them tangible.

At Sanctuary Marketing Group we create new strategies for clients and we solve problems in new ways, we create copy and ads, we create core values and mission/value statements that shape our culture. Being creative means we’re constantly thinking!

Creatives are not just artists, designers and writers. They are not just the people who do the work you typically think of as creative. Business owners, marketing departments, engineers… all these people do creative work in their jobs.

Invest in Yourself with Daily Practices

As creatives we have to be constantly investing in ourselves—not only professionally, but also personally—with the goal of not getting in a rut.

Author Gretchen Rubin has a quote that says, "What you do everyday matters more than what you do every once in a while."

Without a set of daily practices to keep you aligned and energized you will eventually fall into a rut! Some of our creatives here at Sanctuary tap into new ideas and ways of thinking by listening to new podcasts often. This article is inspired by a podcast by Todd Henry called “Three Daily Habits That Will Change Your Life”.

So here are three daily practices you can do as a Creative to help keep you energized:

  • 1st Practice: Daily Study
    Do you have time set aside every day to study and absorb inspiring stimuli? This could be from a podcast, book, documentary, or article. Take time to fill your well and to disconnect from your “create on demand” role.
  • 2nd Practice: Daily Reflection
    Take time to stop, think, and reflect on the content you're studying. This doesn’t have to be for long either - it could be for 15 minutes per day. What inspires you may seem disconnected from your work projects but begin to chew over how you can force a connection between what you’re reading and the work you’re doing.What dots connect that can deliver the fresh perspective you’ve been looking for?
  • 3rd Practice: Daily Walk
    By taking a daily walk you allow for a variety of stimuli to be encountered and this will often jog new insights. Loose ideas can start to connect that might otherwise have been overlooked. Don’t forget to take something to jot your ideas down like a cell phone or notepad.

The infrastructure that you build is what will sustain you when life and work are stretching you beyond your limits.

Work with the Creative Team at Sanctuary

How you prepare today will determine your effectiveness for tomorrow! And that goes for your digital marketing plan, too. Partner with the creatives at Sanctuary to help grow your business. Contact us today to learn more about our approach!

 

Sources: The Writing Cooperative, Goins, Writer

3 Habits to Keep Creatives Energized
On-Site Customer Feedback to Improve Customer Experience

Your website can do so much more to grow your business than just acting as the online hub for generating leads and sales. Understanding and serving your customers well is key to all aspects of business—reputation, retention, referrals, return on investment and so much more (that may or may not also begin with “R.”)

On-site customer feedback micro-interactions provide a veritable mine of information for improving your customer experiences, online and off.

What is CX?

Short for “customer experience,” CX simply refers to the perception a person has of their interactions with your organization. The impression you leave with a customer influences how they think of your brand and how they talk about you with others.

CX is all-encompassing, from your interactions on social media to the ease-of-use on your website, to the cleanliness and friendliness of your brick-and-mortar stores, to how you treat your employees and give back to your community. Seed a positive experience with you in every place and way customers could possibly interact. You’ll reap their loyalty, trust and willingness to refer their friends and advocate on your behalf.

What are Website Micro-interactions?

Website micro-interactions are individual, targeted events offered within your site. A single action accomplishes a specific purpose.

In contrast, a macro-interaction represents more significant and layered actions such as completing an ecommerce purchase or lead generation form.

Swipe, animations, loading status icons and “Like” buttons are all examples of micro-interactions.

How to Use Micro-Interactions to Get CX Feedback

Post Feedback Micro-interaction

Successful businesses constantly evaluate and improve themselves by asking customers what they think.

You can utilize your website as a key player in your feedback pipeline for improving customer experience. Micro-interactions such as “Like” or thumbs-up buttons, for example, may be used to collect useful feedback on your content, products, offers, navigation and more. This data can then be analyzed and used to continuously improve your marketing, and even your business.

For example, you can use a simple thumbs up, thumbs down, rating, or emoji event to get users to answer questions like:

  • Does this product have the features you were looking for?
  • Does this offer appeal to you?
  • Would you share this with your friends?
  • Did this page answer your questions?

Start with the questions you want to answer and then find the best tools to easily collect a swift response from your users.

Features and Tools for CX Micro-Interactions

There are a wide variety of ways you can implement feedback actions within your website. Here are just a few of the options you could consider:

  • Ratings (think 5 stars) for in-the-moment feedback
  • Thumbs up/down on pages
  • Exit pop-ups
  • Chatbots

Many online services offer tools for easily creating and implementing feedback interactions on your website. A few options we find attractive include:

Need to Improve Your Website Customer Experience?

A website that serves your business well requires more than just a pretty face (although we love to do great design, too). There’s a lot of strategy involved for how an effective website is organized and structured, the features, functionality and content it includes, how it’s built, and the experience it provides.

We’d love to talk with you about how Sanctuary can help improve your website and digital marketing, including your customer feedback pipelines. Tell us how you’d like to improve your website.

Sources: Microinteractions, Usersnap, UX Collective, Hubspot

Website Micro-interactions to Collect Customer Feedback
Monitor with Download

Free white paper or ebook downloads are nothing new, but it’s how you frame them that could make a big difference. Content Marketing Institute recently published an article on what they’re calling a “content upgrade”, which is a piece of gated content or some kind of resource that users can access as an upgrade or bonus that accompanies the content of the page that they’re on.

The idea of offering bonus content is that if you present people with resources on topics they’re actively reading about, you can not only position yourself as a vital resource and knowledge center, but you can also watch conversion rates on key landing pages and blog posts climb!

The Psychology Behind Bonus Content

People love free content, but it seems less valuable when it’s generalized or offered everywhere. When someone is on your website and they’ve seen the same offer for a free template download pop up on three different pages, it starts to become an annoyance rather than something helpful. Offering a bonus or upgrade feels more exclusive and specific to what they’re already interested in, making it more enticing.

Someone who does a great job of pairing valuable resources with specific blog posts or landing pages is HubSpot. If you head to this blog post on responsive emails, you’ll eventually see a popup offer to download an email marketing planning tool.

FreePlanningTool

Types of Content You Can Offer as a Bonus or Upgrade

The type of content you create and decide to offer as a bonus or upgrade to a larger piece of content (whether it’s a landing page or blog post) can be anything from a simple checklist to an extensive case study that details an innovative solution you were able to provide.

If you’re going to “gate” content, or ask users to provide you with information before they can access the content, you have to keep in mind that it needs to be valuable enough. People are hesitant about giving up their personal information, and they’re less likely to do so if it takes time.

  • Template
  • Checklist
  • Guide
  • Report
  • Case study
  • List
  • Chart
  • Infographic

Process for Creating and Gathering More Conversions from Bonus Content

You’ll need to pull in nearly the whole marketing team to pull off bonus content. Once your strategist figures out what the highest ranking pages are on your site, it’s time for the content team to plan out bonus pieces to create, and then it’s off to the design team to make the vision come alive! Don’t forget about programming to make that special popup happen on the right page!

  1. Look at the highest ranking pages on your site.
  2. Identify resources that could be created to extend or enrich the content on that page.
  3. Create the resources and add them to those pages in a graphic or popup callout.
  4. Get more emails!

Improve Your Content Strategy with Sanctuary

If you’re thinking that bonus content would work well for you but you’re not sure where to start, we’d love to dive in and come up with a content strategy that makes sense for your business. Contact us today to learn more.

Create Bonus Content/Content Upgrades for Higher Conversion Rates on Key Landing Pages and Blog Posts