Marketo: In your book, Landing Page Optimization, you talk about the three keys to online marketing. Can you briefly talk about that?
Tim Ash: Marketers are involved in three main activities:
- online marketing drives traffic to the site (acquisition)
- then there’s conversion, or getting people to take some kind of action on a site –that can be anything from a click-through to a more important part of the site to an actual sale or form fill
- and then there’s retention, or increasing the lifetime value of an interaction.
Marketo: What are the most common mistakes found on landing pages?
Tim Ash: The 7 deadly sins are common problems that people have on their landing pages. They are so common, in fact, that I’ve devoted a whole chapter to them in my book, Landing Page Optimization. They include issues like:
- having too many choices on a page
- an unclear call to action
- having visual clutter and distractions
- having too much text
- or not making the connection with what happened upstream from the page
Marketo: What are your top tips for making social more actionable?
Tim Ash: Social media generally works better at the top of the funnel. Direct response mechanisms like pay per click, where someone has already shown their intent to do something by doing a particular keyword search, is closer to the bottom of the funnel.
At the top of the funnel you’re trying to education people on options they have to compare and do research, things like that. Social can be used to sway opinions by letting the consumer say “Hey I don’t have to think about this decision because my friends already agree on it.” So it’s important to show examples of leadership, that you\’re the best in your class, and so on. The best way to do that is to have lots of people who are just like your prospect doing exactly what you want your prospect to do.
Marketo: What can we apply from landing page optimizaton to optimizing social?
Tim Ash: I think one of the keys for social is to have the appropriate thing at the right stage of the process. A lot of times you might ask for a micro conversion like “liking” a page, for example, or sharing some item of information, so you have to design for these micro conversions. That might be as simple as saying “tweet this”, not on a whole blog post but on a single line or soundbite from a blog post. You need to make in convenient for people to share the experience.
Marketo: Your thought on the rise of visual content and where you think it’s heading?
Tim Ash: Visual content is kind of like synthesizer music was in the 1970s… everyone was doing it because they could. I think that it really needs a much more disciplined approach. For better of for worse, most of our brain is devoted to processing visual information. So it’s really important not to, for example, auto-play videos, or have sliders on your page that have rotating commercial banners, because that automatically triggers the reptilian, primitive part of our brain and makes us pay attention. Unfortunately it can often distract from your stated calls to action or other subtle, non-moving elements of the page that you want your visitors to pay attention to.