Month: November 2017

Two Questions that Lay the Foundation for Effective Cross-Channel Marketing

Cross-channel marketing has moved beyond the hype to become a reality for marketers. In fact, it’s the new normal. Why? Our online behaviors have evolved – consumers are constantly checking emails, social media apps, and even interacting online via voice technology. To reach them effectively, a marketer must have the message in the right place at the right time.

However, setting up cross-channel marketing isn’t easy – especially when defining what the marketing strategy will be. If marketers aren’t prepared, or poorly set up as a team, budget and time will simply be wasted with no positive impact on the revenue or customer satisfaction.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, there are two fundamental questions marketers need to ask themselves. If they cannot answer these successfully, all the other processes or changes they put in place simply won’t be effective and cross-channel marketing won’t happen.

1. Has Your Marketing Team Shifted its Mindset?

Historically, when marketers need to launch a campaign or communicate with their customers, they look at each channel separately and consider how, when, and what content to use. This mindset needs to shift entirely. Marketers need to consider the entire buyer journey and how channels ought to work together to create a consistent experience. Only then will they be able to design campaigns that will capture attention.

2. Are You Clear on Your Entire Multichannel Marketing Approach?

Marketers need to be 100 percent clear on every stage of the cross-channel approach to ensure it will work effectively. So, take a step back and interrogate the plan. Does your team all agree on how to define cross-channel marketing? Does your team all agree on where it starts? How many channels are included and how will your cross-channel marketing efforts be measured?  

Once marketers can answer these questions and have entire team singing from the same hymn sheet, they will be ready to tackle the barriers to cross-channel marketing.

First and foremost, this involves breaking down silos. This is one of the biggest challenges for any brand. Different teams are responsible for social media, ecommerce, contact centers, etc. and usually, each team has a different focus, a different way of collecting and analyzing data, and different processes to reach desired outcomes.

The other biggest barrier to being able to achieve a single view of the customer is technology limitations. Stories abound of external providers who don’t understand their client’s business model and data, or take on a technology implementation project that’s either too big or not big enough.

Regardless of the hurdles to overcome, cross-channel marketing is happening and the choice marketers have is how effective their brand can be in achieving it. Only with buy-in from the entire team do marketers have the strong foundation they need to ensure customers are engaged, building loyalty and generating revenue.

Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud

In Pursuit of Relevance

Dear Feedburner Readers, we’ll soon be shutting down our feedburner plugin. If you’d still like to receive news from Brian Solis, please scroll to the bottom of and subscribe to the newsletter.

Welcome to irrelevance population: most of management by @gapingvoid and @briansolis

What does it mean to be relevant today?

We live and work in an era of digital Darwinism, where technology and society are evolving away from yesterday’s norms, mindsets, values, and behaviors.

Most companies want to be customer and employee centric. Most executives believe that their work matters to employees and customers. But the reality is that customers and employees are changing as times, trends and tastes evolve. They’re human after all. On the other hand, organizations and executives aren’t keeping up with evolution simply because corporate cultures are more rigid than they are agile. They’re more risk-averse than they are progressive.

The truth is that companies struggle to adapt because most corporate cultures and operational models were designed in an era before the internet. They’re increasingly exposed to “out of touchness” and thus, progress closer and closer to irrelevance.

The best intentions aren’t going to connect with customers and employees as they advance. The only way to do so is to invest in a leadership culture of empowerment, innovation and the pursuit of relevance.

Let’s go!

Originally published at GapingVoid.

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet, Brian is world renowned keynote speaker and 7x best-selling author. His latest book, X: Where Business Meets Design, explores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design. Invite him to speak at your event or bring him in to inspire and change executive mindsets.

Connect with Brian!

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
Instagram: BrianSolis
Youtube: BrianSolisTV
Snapchat: BrianSolis

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Brian Solis

The Rise of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Evangelists

Dear Feedburner Readers, we’ll soon be shutting down our feedburner plugin. If you’d still like to receive news from Brian Solis, please scroll to the bottom of and subscribe to the newsletter.

Have you noticed the shift in focus of the evolving digital expert?

We have…

The Gapingvoid team and I have collaborated on many projects over the last decade. Our work has focused on prodding executives and entrepreneurs to think differently in their approaches to digital Darwinism and disruption. Whether we’re speaking to startups about the next big thing, attempting to humanize corporate culture and innovation or exploring ways to engage audiences in more meaningful ways, art and story carry our messages. We like to have a little fun, even if it’s at our own expense.

The Next Big Disruption is Here

Every 10 years or so, there are emergent trends that are so significant, that they disrupt everything…from work to consumerism to behavior to values. Nowadays, that disruption is more frequent and widespread. It isn’t one thing, it’s everything, i.e. AI, AR/VR, blockchain, autonomous, robotics.

Along the way, there are experts who rise to navigate us through disruption. Twenty years ago, it was the dotcom boom and bust. Just over 10 years ago, it was social media. In 2018, we take a moment in time to observe something that others too have noted. In this case, we’ve all been rumbling about the rise of cryptocurrency evangelists, those who geeked out so much around Bitcoin, Etherium and the like, that they are moving the entire ecosystem from the fringe to early adopters and beyond..

We recently found a cartoon created by Habib Haddad, that depicted these stages in a way that inspired us to add our take and share with everyone.

Here’s to the experts!

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet, Brian is world renowned keynote speaker and 7x best-selling author. His latest book, X: Where Business Meets Designexplores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design. Invite him to speak at your event or bring him in to inspire and change executive mindsets.

Connect with Brian!

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
Instagram: BrianSolis
Youtube: BrianSolisTV
Snapchat: BrianSolis

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Brian Solis

Visual Studio and Xamarin at Microsoft Build 2018

Just like last year, I was able to attend the Microsoft Build conference in Seattle. The three day event was action packed with loads of interesting, technical sessions and to give an idea of the vision of Microsoft. There were a couple of great Xamarin-related announcements that I wanted to share, which sadly were a lot less than last year.

Still, great Xamarin minds like Miguel, James, Mikayla and David took a spot on one of the stages at Build and shared their latest and greatest. I wanted to highlight a couple of things that got me most excited and is available for us today to create great Xamarin apps!


What’s new with Visual Studio for Mac by Mikayla Hutchinson

Visual Studio for Mac v7.0 went Generally Available during the keynote from Build last year. At this years conference, v7.5 has been launched in Stable after being available in Preview for a while. Sweet!

Mikayla went maximum purple for her talk at Build and shared some pretty cool stuff. I personally like the changes done in Xamarin.Forms development, now using the .NET Standard templates and IntelliSense being added to XAML development. Also, editing the Entitlements.plist for iOS development is now easier than ever. Simply open the file in the IDE and get to work! WiFi debugging is available for iOS development as well. Visual Studio for Mac also ships a new Android Device Manager so you won’t need to rely on the one shipped by Google.

Non-Xamarin specific functionality that has been added include ASP.NET Core development with Razor, JavaScript, and TypeScript Editor Support, Building Serverless solutions with Azure Functions as well as support for .editorconfig-files (My colleague Bas wrote about this too). Support for TFVC is available in Preview as well! More details can be found on the The Visual Studio Blog. Version 7.6 is already available in Preview if you want to get a look at even newer features.

Visual Studio for Mac is really working hard to get feature parity with it’s brother on Windows, but on the other hand it’s interesting to see the direction of Visual Studio Code. That IDE is getting more features as well through plugins, but hasn’t reached the level of VS yet.

Visual Studio and Xamarin: The future of app development by Miguel de Icaza

Originally this session was planned together with James, but for unknown reason only Miguel took the stage. His session was built around the complete Development Cycle for mobile development, which was interesting since it started being non technical at all.

One of the more technical bits was the announcement that the Android emulator now supports Hyper-V making it blazing fast and using it is much simpler. Miguel drew this simplification in a beautiful overview.

Another thing that was added, was the Android Designer (in Preview Release). It’s now possible to have a Split View, Drag and Drop and Completion of your *.AXML-files. I’m really looking forward to this since it can speed up development a lot.

Also, the ugly syntax for Xamarin.iOS development when using WeakReference<T> has become a lot cleaner now. Now simply use the [Weak]-attribute to specify this type of reference, which is essentially how this works in Objective-C as well using the __weak-attribute (or weak in Swift).

Miguel finished his presentation with some food for thought of other things people are working on. An example was Xamarin.Essentials which I’ll cover later as well. Other topics were Elmish and Ooui. In the last minute, Miguel talked about Xamarin.Forms Shell which goal is to make it simple and straightforward for new developers to get a complete app experience that is properly structured, uses the right elements, with very little effort and a clear path to being good by default. It’s currently still a draft, looking for feedback.

Cloud-connected apps with Visual Studio, Xamarin, and Azure by James Montemagno

James didn’t show any new stuff, but told the mobile developer story from start to end. Sadly, his demo had some hiccups on Android but that was due to a bug that was already fixed in a later version. He essentially walked us through the Geocontacts-app, an app to connect CDAs.

In order to create the app, he (obviously) used Xamarin and combined it with loads of interesting libraries. New for me were the MSAL (Microsoft Identity Client) and Markdig (Markdown processor) libraries.

The app also used Azure Functions, something that can be created using Visual Studio for Mac as well. James completed the app development cycle by using App Center to build, test and deploy the app.

What’s new in Xamarin.Forms 3.0 by David Ortinau

Loads of goodness has been dropped for Xamarin.Forms in their 3.0 release. David started his session with a recap from last year, but quickly switched to thanking the Community Contributions to Xamarin.Forms, as well as taking the time to focus on some Community Projects like Prism from Dan Siegel.

XAML standard was announced last year, but still isn’t fully used everywhere. David promised it will drop in Xamarin.Forms 3.1, which is expected within the upcoming 6 weeks. RTL-support is already available at this time.

David took us through the Conference Vision app (source), which is an absolute beauty of an app built with Xamarin.Forms 3.0. The app uses the new FlexLayout, as well as CSS and the Visual State Manager. I’ll cover these topics in upcoming blog posts.

If you want to learn more about the FlexLayout system, David created a sample app to do so. He also mentioned the F100 collaboration, which stands for a challenge to improve 100 little things in Xamarin.Forms. Since it’s Open Source, you can create a PR to add this functionality to Xamarin.Forms yourself!

David finished strong with a roadmap of the future for Xamarin.Forms. The {x:Bind} markup extension will be added later this year, but the vNext (3.1-pre1) is already available. vNext2 will include Gestures for Xamarin.Forms as well, which is something I’ll be really looking forward to.


Although I think there were a lot more interesting Xamarin announcements last year, the progress the teams shared are still pretty awesome for every Xamarin developer. What do you think and what direction would you like to see some change happening?

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See How Dynamic Text on a Landing Page Helped Increase Conversions by 31.4% [A/B Test Reveal]

a/b testing with ConversionLab

Pictured above: Rolf Inge Holden (Finge), founder of ConversionLab.

Whether your best ideas come to you in the shower, at the gym, or have you bolting awake in the middle of the night, sometimes you want to quickly A/B test to see if a given idea will help you hit your marketing targets.

This want to split test is real for many Unbounce customers, including Norway-based digital agency ConversionLab, who works with client Campaign Monitor.

Typically this agency’s founder, Rolf Inge Holden (Finge), delivers awesome results with high-performing landing pages and popups for major brands. But recently his agency tried an experiment we wanted to share because of the potential it could have for your paid search campaigns, too.

The Test Hypothesis

If you haven’t already heard of San-Francisco based Campaign Monitor, they make it easy to create, send, and optimize email marketing campaigns. Tasked with running especially effective PPC landing pages for the brand, Finge had a hypothesis:

If we match copy on a landing page dynamically with the exact verb used as a keyword in someone’s original search query, we imagine we’ll achieve higher perceived relevance for a visitor and (thereby) a greater chance of conversion.

In other words, the agency wondered whether the precise verb someone uses in their Google search has an effect on how they perceive doing something with a product, and—if they were to see this exact same verb on the landing page— whether this would increase conversions.

In the case of email marketing, for example, if a prospect typed: “design on-brand emails” into Google, ‘design’ is the exact verb they’d see in the headline and CTAs on the resulting landing page (vs. ‘build’ or ‘create’, or another alternative). The agency wanted to carry through the exact verb no matter what the prospect typed into the search bar for relevance, but outside the verb the rest of the headline would stay the same.

The question is, would a dynamic copy swap actually increase conversions?

Setting up a valid test

To run this test properly, ConversionLab had to consider a few table-stakes factors. Namely, the required sample size and duration (to understand if the results they’d achieve were significant).

In terms of sample size, the agency confirmed the brand could get the traffic needed to the landing page variations to ensure a meaningful test. Combined traffic to variant A and B was 1,274 visitors total and—in terms of duration—they would run the variants for a full 77 days for the data to properly cook.

To determine the amount of traffic and duration you need for your own tests to be statistically significant, check out this A/B test duration calculator.

Next, it was time to determine how the experiment would play out on the landing page. To accomplish the dynamic aspect of the idea, the agency used Unbounce’s Dynamic Text Replacement feature on Campaign Monitor’s landing page. DTR helps you swap out the text on your landing page with whatever keyword a prospect actually used in their search.

Below you can see a few samples of what the variants could have looked like once the keywords from search were pulled in (“create” was the default verb if a parameter wasn’t able to be pulled in):

A/B test variation 1
A/B test sample variation

What were the results?

When the test concluded at 77 days (Oct 31, 2017 —Jan 16, 2018), Campaign Monitor saw a 31.4% lift in conversions using the variant in which the verb changed dynamically. In this case, a conversion was a signup for a trial of their software, and the test achieved 100% statistical significance with more than 100 conversions per variant.

The variant that made use of DTR to send prospects through to signup helped lift conversions to trial by 31.4%

What these A/B test results mean

In the case of this campaign, the landing page variations (samples shown above) prompt visitors to click through to a second page where someone starts their trial of Campaign Monitor. The tracked conversion goal in this case (measured outside of Unbounce reporting) was increases to signups on this page after clicking through from the landing page prior.

This experiment ultimately helped Campaign Monitor understand the verb someone uses in search can indeed help increase signups.

The result of this test tell us that when a brand mirrors an initial search query as precisely as possible from ad to landing page, we can infer the visitor understands the page is relevant to their needs and are thereby more primed to click through onto the next phase of the journey and ultimately, convert.

Message match for the win!

Here’s Finge on the impact the test had on the future of their agency’s approach:

“Our hypothesis was that a verb defines HOW you solve a challenge; i.e. do you design an email campaign or do you create it? And if we could meet the visitor’s definition of solving their problem we would have a greater chance of converting a visit to a signup. The uplift was higher than we had anticipated! When you consider that this relevance also improves Quality Score in AdWords due to closer message match, it’s fair to say that we will be using DTR in every possible way forwards.”

Interested in A/B testing your own campaigns?

Whether you work in a SaaS company like Campaign Monitor, or have a product for which there are multiple verbs someone could use to make queries about your business, swapping out copy in your headlines could be an A/B test you want to try for yourself.

Using the same type of hypothesis format we shared above, and the help of the A/B testing calculator (for determining your duration and sample size), you can set up some variants of your landing pages to pair with your ads to see whether you can convert more.

ConversionLab’s test isn’t a catch all or best practice to be applied blindly to your campaigns across the board, but it could inspire you to try out Dynamic Text Replacement on your landing pages to see if carrying through search terms and intent could make a difference for you.


Beginner’s Guide to Customer Conversion Funnel

How do you get a new customer?

It may seem like a simple question, but the answer may be more complex than you think. Sure, you’ve got various advertising campaigns, and you’re generating sales.

A reasonable assumption would be that your marketing promotions are creating sales. While this may be partially true, it’s not a full answer.

One of the keys to running a successful business is to understand the customer buying process. Just because you’re selling something a consumer wants or needs doesn’t mean you are automatically in a position to make a sale.

But leveraging the basic concepts of the customer conversion funnel will make it easier for you to guide the consumer through the buying process.

This puts you in a position to maximize your conversion rates and ultimately generate more profits for your company.

There is a ton of information on the Internet about the customer conversion funnel. The funnel may look a little bit different, depending on whom you ask.

While the terminology may vary slightly, here is a basic visualization of what this funnel looks like:

image4 13

These are the steps a buyer goes through before they finalize a purchase. I’ll refer to this image as we continue through this post.

Throughout this guide, we’ll look at different versions of the funnel and discuss each stage in greater detail.

I’ll also show you some great marketing examples you can incorporate into your own funnel as a way to get more customers and drive sales.

If you are not familiar with the customer conversion funnel, this guide will cover all the basic concepts. Here’s what you need to know.

Create brand awareness

As you can see from the funnel I just showed you, the first stage of the process is the awareness phase.

The idea here is for you to come up with marketing strategies that can promote your company to a new audience. As of now, these consumers don’t know your brand exists.

You need to change that.

Obviously, this is much easier said than done. But there are plenty of ways for you to make this happen. It all depends on the goals of your company.

You’ll also have to decide how much money you want to spend when it comes to creating brand awareness. If you’re low on funds, you’ll want to take a look at my top tactics for marketing your company on a budget.

One of the most effective ways to create awareness is to improve your SEO strategy.

Remember, at this point, the consumers don’t know you exist yet. All they know is they have a want or need for something. Chances are they will start with a search engine.

A higher search engine ranking increases the chances of you getting more organic traffic to your website. In fact, 33% of clicks go to the top search result on Google.

Furthermore, the first page of an Internet search controls 75% of all clicks.

That’s why businesses are investing time and money into optimizing all their marketing channels for SEO in 2018.

image2 13

As you can see from the data, your website isn’t the only way for you to generate new leads and create brand awareness with SEO.

Social media is another cost-effective way to promote your business. In fact, 55% of consumers have made purchases directly through social media platforms.

That’s why I believe one of the best ways for ecommerce brands to grow is to leverage social commerce.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Right now, we’re still focusing on brand awareness. I just wanted to explain why these marketing channels are so important.

While not all consumers are looking to buy things on social media, it’s still a great place for you to introduce yourself to prospective buyers.

Start by creating a profile on as many social media channels as possible. Stay active on these profiles, and post new content daily.

Do your best to get more followers. Interact with these followers to increase your engagement rates. As a result, more people will get exposed to your brand.

If you want to take this strategy to the next level, you can generate leads with targeted ads. Facebook and Instagram are two of my favorite platforms to use this strategy for.

That’s because the ads are set up through the same system, so it’s easy for you to run paid ads through both.

While Facebook will always be a top marketing option, it doesn’t mean you should overlook Instagram. Marketers agree that this platform has become a top choice for creating brand awareness.

In fact, last year Instagram surpassed Twitter in terms of marketing usage by brands in the United States.

image1 13

As I said earlier, there are tons of ways for you to make consumers aware that your company exists. But some tactics are more effective than others.

For example, I’m sure you got flyers in the mail when a new pizza shop opened in your neighborhood. That’s an example of the awareness stage in the conversion funnel.

But those types of methods aren’t scalable and applicable to all businesses in today’s day and age.

You also want to get quality traffic. Yes, you want as many people as possible to know about your brand. But that’s not helpful if they’ll never actually become customers.

It’s important for you to emphasize quality over quantity if you want to create a funnel that yields high conversions.

That’s why focusing your efforts on SEO and social media is much more effective.

Generate interest

Now that people are familiar with your brand, it’s time to take them through the next step of your conversion funnel.

You’ve got to come up with ways to create interest in your products and services. Your content strategy is going to be your best friend during this stage of the funnel.

You’ll also need to use your website to your advantage. Learn how to design a homepage that converts.

Your website needs to provide visitors with as much information as possible about your business so that you can answer any questions they might have. Here’s an example from the SERVPRO website:

image9 5

SERVPRO is a cleanup and restoration company.

If someone had a problem at their home, such as mold, they may type phrases like “mold remediation” into a Google search.

Due to their SEO efforts, SERVPRO would be a top search result. That’s part of the awareness stage, which I just discussed.

But now that a visitor has landed on the homepage, you need them to become interested in this service to get them through the tunnel. Based on this homepage, it’s clear that this company provides a wide range of services that includes restoration from:

  • water damage
  • fire damage
  • mold remediation
  • storm damage
  • commercial services

It makes sense that someone who has mold in their home would click on mold remediation to find out more information.

SERVPRO provides detailed information about mold restoration:

image8 12

But that’s not all. As you can see from what I’ve highlighted on this screen, their website includes lots of other resources for visitors to click on.

There is something for everyone here. They’ve got a guide about mold damage tips, odor removal, and detailed guide about black mold.

This is a great example of how you can generate interest in your products or services with your website.

High-quality and accurate content will make these prospective customers trust your brand. If you’re the one educating them on a topic, they’ll be more likely to buy from you over the competition.

That’s why your brand needs to have a blog.

It gives you an opportunity to always post fresh content on various topics related to your industry. You can publish informative guides through this distribution channel as well.

While the content of each post may be different, they all need to be written with the same intention. You’re trying to guide consumers through the conversion funnel.

That’s why companies that have a blog generate more leads:

image3 13

Your blog ends up killing two birds with one stone.

Earlier I mentioned that improving your SEO efforts will help you create more brand awareness. Well, blogging is a top SEO tool.

More visitors will get drawn to your website because of your blog, and ultimately that content will keep them interested as they continue through the funnel.

If you want to take your content strategy to the next level, you’ll need to create as many types of content as possible. Give these visitors a reason to stay engaged.

Enhance your content by building infographics and create downloadable ebooks as well.

Ultimately, you can use the interest stage of your conversion funnel to collect email addresses too. Once people subscribe to receive your emails, you can use this to your advantage as they continue through the buying process.


The consideration stage is very similar to the interest stage of the conversion funnel.

You’ll need to provide these prospective buyers with an incentive to complete the purchase. Here’s what I mean.

When they were interested, they may have done things like read your blogs, signed up for your promotional emails, or downloaded an ebook. But none of those actions generated a profit.

Remember earlier I said that different people have alternative terminology for their conversion funnels?

Well, I’ve seen ones that have the consideration phase labeled as “desire” instead. This makes sense, based on what you’re trying to accomplish here.

You have to make your brand look even more appealing to the consumer. Here is your chance to show them why they need whatever you’re selling.

The customer will weigh lots of options at this time before they decide to buy.

They’ll compare things like the cost, quality, and convenience of your product or service compared to alternative solutions. This falls under the evaluation stage of the buying process:

image7 13

Refer to the above resource for ways to entice buyers during this stage. Lots of these suggestions relate back to what I previously discussed about generating interest.

Implementing these tactics will help increase the chances that consumers will make it all the way through the conversion funnel.

Finalize the sale

Let’s quickly recap.

First, a consumer was made aware of your brand. Then, they learned more information about what your company offers. Next, they weighed their options and considered buying from you as opposed to not buying at all or going to one of your competitors.

Now, they’ve decided they wanted to buy. But that doesn’t mean they’ll do it.

Sure, they may say to themselves they want what you’re selling. They might even start the checkout process. But again, the sale isn’t complete until it’s finalized.

Here’s an example to illustrate my point.

Let’s say a customer decides they want to buy something from your ecommerce shop. They add the item to their shopping cart.

That’s great! You’re on the right track.

But they never end up buying the item. What happened? For starters, you need to get familiar with the top reasons for shopping cart abandonment:

image5 13

Take a look at the first few results from this research. These are all things that wouldn’t have been discovered during the initial stages of the conversion funnel.

You need to recognize why customers aren’t finalizing the sale and set up your checkout process accordingly to prevent this from happening in the future.

Ultimately, you need to optimize every element of your checkout process for conversions.

Focus on things such as:

  • the design on each page
  • images
  • CTA buttons
  • color schemes
  • the number of steps
  • value proposition

The list goes on and on, but these are reasonable places to start.

You can use tools to help you. Run A/B tests to determine the most ideal elements of your website to maximize conversions and drive more sales.

Tools like this can tell you whether certain CTA phrases are more effective than others.

Retain your customers

Most images of conversion funnels come to an end. As we’ve seen with the funnels we looked at so far, they tend to have an upside down pyramid shape or look like a funnel (hence the name).

They start wide because that’s when the prospective customer pool is the largest.

But the funnel slowly narrows because you’ll lose sales along the way. Don’t worry, this is inevitable. Nobody has a 100% conversion rate.

However, the idea that your funnel will continue to get smaller and smaller even after the purchase stage is a bit alarming. That would mean you’re losing customers.

Obviously, you don’t want this to happen. That’s why I prefer looking at this image of the funnel to illustrate why the conversion process never ends:

image6 13

The process isn’t over after a new customer converts.

You’ll need to come up with additional marketing campaigns to get them to continue converting in the future. It’s a constant cycle.

Yes, I understand that the visual representation of the conversion funnel doesn’t actually translate to how it works. But with that said, I want to make sure you realize it’s not as simple as just a four-step process.


The model of the customer conversion funnel is one of the most iconic images in marketing.

As you’ve seen from everything I showed you in this guide, there are lots of different variations of this funnel and the way it works. While the terms of each stage may vary, the concepts of each one are the virtually the same.

You can generate more profits by understanding the basics of each phase.

Start by creating brand awareness. Then, get prospective buyers interested in your brand.

Come up with a unique value proposition that makes you stand out from the crowd as the consumer enters the consideration stage. This is your chance to tell them why they need to buy.

Optimize your buying process to maximize conversion rates.

The funnel isn’t over after a sale is finalized. You need to nurture your customers even after they convert to ensure they continue buying in the future.

These are just the basic concepts of the customer conversion funnel. We’ve barely scratched the surface here.

But as a beginner, you need to familiarize yourself with the above methods and implement these strategies before you dig deeper into the funnel.

How is your company using the customer conversion funnel to drive sales?

Quick Sprout

8 Top Tools To Optimize Your Social Media Conversion Strategy

Social media is an amazing source of traffic, leads, and engagement. But, how do you make the most out of your social media marketing results? What happens when people visit your website? How do you get visitors to convert to leads and customers?

In this post, I share some of the best tools to use in conjunction with your social media strategy.

What kinds of tools do you need?

Internet tools and software are designed to help businesses save time and get better results. However, there are a lot of different types of tools available and it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed.

That said, there are a few types of tools that are essential to an online business:

1. SEO tools

Social media sites and search engines are the biggest traffic generators. And the higher you rank in search results, the bigger the impact on your traffic stats. Use keyword research tools to understand how your audience searches online and what keywords to target with your web copy and your content. Plus, use SEO tools that tell you what areas of your website need work and what you need to optimize.

2. Lead capture and conversion optimization tools

So you’ve got people on your website. What next?

In order to get the most out of your traffic, use lead capture tools to turn visitors into leads and conversion optimization tools to help you build better browsing experiences that result in more conversions, consistently.

3. Leads and sales prospecting tools for B2B companies

In order to grow your business, you need to not only generate leads on a consistent basis, but you also need to find prospects. Sales prospecting tools help you save time and find more quality prospects.

So, without further ado, here are some of the best tools to use in conjunction with your social media marketing strategy:

SEO Tools


Ubersuggest is a free keyword research tool that can be used both for SEO and for PPC purposes. Not only is it free, but you don’t have to login, unlike Google’s keyword tool. There are quite a few tools that can do this, but what makes Ubersuggest stand out is a) it’s very fast, b) it gives you a lot of suggestions – pulled from Google Keyword Planner and from Google Suggest, and c) it shows you both search volume and CPC competition for each keyword.

But what’s really great is that Ubersuggest gives you exact numbers – not just a range, like some other similar tools.

Plus, you can search within the results as well as add negative keywords to be excluded from your search so that you can find the best possible keyword ideas.

Use this tool to help you optimize your website’s copy and content: find out what keywords your audience is using to search for products, services, or content like yours, and use this knowledge to optimize your own content. 


SEMRush is an all-in-one marketing toolkit with tools for SEO, online ads, social media marketing, and content and PR.

In terms of SEO though, there is a wide variety of useful tools to help improve your ranking:

  • SEO analysis tool that allows you to audit your website and find what SEO issues you have and start working on solving them, as well as optimization tracking so you can see how your efforts are paying off
  • Keyword research tool for SEO and PPC
  • Position tracking for any keywords you’re ranking for on search engines
  • Comparison tools for websites to see what your competitors’ SEO strategy looks like and what keywords they’re using
  • Backlink audit tool for checking all of your backlinks and removing any potentially damaging links

Conversion optimization tools

A/B Tasty

It’s not enough to get people to your website if the website isn’t built to convert. That’s where A/B Tasty comes in. This full suite platform for conversion optimization helps you gain a better understanding of your website visitors as well as helps you build a better website and better marketing campaigns.

There are several ways that you can use this tool to your advantage; for example:

  • To understand what your visitors are up to on your website. See session recordings of visits to understand how your visitors browse your website, including every movement of their mouse and any click they make to see what bugs or navigation issues you might have. And, see heatmaps of al your pages to understand what exactly attracts visitors’ attention
  • To test different page versions. You can set up pretty much any kind of test you want, including A/B/n testing, split testing, multivariate testing, and funnel testing. This way, you can create different versions of the same pages to see which ones perform better and drive the most conversions overall
  • To build personalized experiences. The more you know about your audience, the better you can personalize their browsing experience in order to generate more conversions. You can use A/B Tasty to target specific behaviors (time spent on a page, pages viewed in total, etc.) and to target based on context (such as the visitors’ location and even the current state of the weather)


Sumo offers a wide selection of tools to help you generate more customers and traffic, as well as to track your success and to understand visitor behavior in order to optimize your website.

In terms of conversion optimization, Sumo has several tools for tracking your success:

  • Heatmaps that tell you where people are clicking on your website to help you position your calls to action and most important information in the best place. Plus, you can track all clicks on each of your website pages and get feedback in real time
  • Content analytics for understanding how much people are actually reading on your blog. This way, you can better place your calls to action on each of your blog posts or other content pages in order to generate more leads and conversions

Apart from all of these features, Sumo also integrates with Google Analytics so you can see all of your website stats directly in the dashboard, as well as tools for creating pop-ups, welcome mats, and contact forms.

Leads and sales prospecting tools


If you discover any potential leads or prospects on social media, you can use Lusha to quickly get their contact information so that you can reach out to them directly, rather than via social media (or an old email address that they’re not even checking anymore).

Lusha is a browser extension that works with LinkedIn and Twitter and quickly pulls up their direct contact information – and not just their email address like with most similar tools, but also their direct phone number.

This will allow you to reach out to your sales prospects directly and thus increasing your chances of getting a positive response.

If you want to get someone’s contact information, simply visit their Twitter or LinkedIn accounts and click on the Lusha icon to see their info.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Are you using LinkedIn to find potential prospects? If so, LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator can help you find more prospects and at a much faster rate than usual. Not to mention, if you search for sales prospects regularly, the free LinkedIn profile only allows for a few searches a month.

One of its main features is the advanced lead and company search.

As you can see above, you can use a plethora of criteria to narrow down your search in order to find the best possible candidates, including location (even postal/zip code), industry, position, years at current company, and company size.

Plus, the tool will also give you regular lead recommendations based on your needs to help you save even more time.

Any lead or prospect you find can be easily logged into your CRM tool through the CRM integration feature.

Lead capture tools


Wishpond is a complex marketing tool that offers quite a few different lead capture tools – most of which are essential to a growing business.

You can use it to build landing pages, contests and other types of promotions, pop-ups and online forms, as well as email marketing and marketing automation campaigns.

The builder is very easy and intuitive to use. It doesn’t require any coding knowledge and all you need to do is drag and drop the elements you want to add to your landing page, online form, or contest.

Plus, you have access to numerous templates for any lead capture page or element you want to create and you can easily set up A/B testing to find out which variations work best.

Once you generate leads, you can also use Wishpond to nurture them along the sales funnel into becoming paying customers with email marketing and marketing automation campaigns.

Hello Bar

Hello Bar is a simple, yet highly effective lead capture tool that will not only help you generate more subscribers for your email list, but will also help you generate more social media shares and more followers.

To get started, simply enter your website URL and you will then be able to select the goal you want to achieve: to encourage your visitors to call you, to promote a sale or discount, to grow your email list, or to get more social media shares, followers, and likes.

Once you’ve set up your Hello Bar, it will be clearly visible on every page of your website so that more of your visitors take action, whether it’s signing up, giving you a call, or any other action you want them to take.


Social media can be a highly effective way of growing your business online, generating more awareness and interest, as well as more leads for your business. However, in order to have a truly successful strategy, you need to make sure that each of your other channels is conversion-ready too. 

What other tools are you using to improve your website and your businesses’ results?

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Mari Smith – Social Media Marketing Success

Facebook And Instagram Video Updates, New Video Contest To Celebrate

Facebook and Instagram are going ALL IN on video! Facebook just unveiled numerous new video tools for Creators at its first ever Creator Day held on June 19th, 2018 in Los Angeles. Tools include:

  • Add interactive polls, quizzes, challenges and gamification to both Live and VOD
  • More videos added to the Watch Platform (not just shows)
  • Top Fans feature rolling out to more Pages
  • Video template for Pages
  • Creator App for Android now available globally
  • Apply for the Rights Manager tool
  • New Brand Collaboration Manager – brands and creators, register your interest!
  • Ad breaks coming to more creators
  • Fan subscriptions ($ 4.99 USD/mo) expanding to more creators
  • Paywall coming to Facebook groups ($ 4.99-$ 29.99 USD/mo)
  • Facebook for Creators Launchpad – creators can apply to get cash bonuses

PLUS, Facebook Stories for Pages are coming to desktop

And, autoplay video ads are coming to Messenger. (This was inevitable! Marketers rejoice. Users grumble.)

More info in my Facebook Live below:

NEW! IGTV Instagram TV App

Earlier today, Instagram announced it reached one billion monthly active users.

And, the much-awaited big news is that Instagram now has a standalone video app for watching long-form vertical video, simply called IGTV. The app will be accessible via a tab inside the flagship Instagram app as well.

Just like TV, IGTV has channels. But, in IGTV, the creators are the channels. When you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch. Anyone can be a creator — you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel. ~Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder & CEO of Instagram

IGTV will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks on Android and iOS.

See more on this Facebook video by Instagram below… or this streaming vertical video on Instagram of Kevin Systrom’s presentation at the launch event. (Uh, the Instagram embed code wouldn’t work for me on the video, Lol! Hopefully you can click through and watch the video.)

Epic Facebook Video Contest!

To celebrate Instagram’s new IGTV Video App and Facebook’s New Video Tools for Creators just launched, I’m teaming up with my friends at to launch a fun video contest!

Using, you can easily repurpose your videos into 15-20 second Story format and 15 second – 10 minute vertical format for Instagram’s new IGTV!!

To enter for a chance to win fabulous prizes, just go to this Facebook post and leave a comment. Ideally, answer this question in the comments on the post: What is your #1 challenge with creating video content?


One lucky winner will receive a Ultimate Plan for a year + $ 1,000 worth of premium clips, sounds and images. Total value = $ 3,500+ is an amazing video creation tool with over 200 million premium assets (photos and video clips) + create multiple video formats at once. All friends of Mari Smith can get 30% off any annual plan at – use code WXA_30SMITH.


Mari Smith Pro Live Video Kit by iOgrapher. Includes a smartphone case, selfie diva light, mini tripod, small lav microphone, lenses and more. Value = $ 269

mari smith iographer kit


Awesome Selfie Stick by Yoozon with Bluetooth, Extendable Stick, Wireless Remote and Tripod Stand. Value = $ 22 each


This contest is open to all through midnight Pacific time on July 1st, 2018.

How to enter: ALL comments on THIS Facebook post constitute an entry. Ideally, answer this question on the Facebook Post: What is your #1 challenge with creating video content?

Five winners’ names will be drawn at random and winners will be contacted on July 2nd, 2018.

No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win this contest.

All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook or Instagram.

This contest is brought to you by and Mari Smith International, Inc. 

Find out more about

Video maker |

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Mari Smith – Social Media Marketing Success

Instagram Plans To Launch Long-form Video Hub, Invites Reporters To June 20th Special Event

Facebook launched its Watch Platform in the US in August 2017… and should surely be rolling out to more countries soon!

(Watch is a dedicated streaming video platform available on desktop, mobile and TV app. The platform features a variety of shows from all types of creators, including big names/celebs like Oprah, Tony Robbins, James Corden, industry experts, TED talks and more.)

Meantime, Instagram plans to launch a long-form video hub essentially to compete with Snapchat and YouTube.

(Facebook recently slipped into 4th place for the most popular apps among teens, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat are the top three apps teens use most. So, Facebook-owned Instagram is aggressively building out features to lure more of the younger demographic as well.)

PLUS, users will be able to post videos to Instagram of up to one hour in length.

This is huge news. Previously, the max video length on Instagram has been 60 seconds. Now, the max will be 60 minutes.

Learn more and join the discussion on my recent Facebook Live broadcast:

This Week’s Top 3 Articles

1. Instagram Plans June 20th Event To Launch Long-Form Video Hub –

Instagram has invited journalists to a special event on June 20th. Creators will be able to upload 4K, full-screen, vertically oriented videos ranging much longer than the current 60-second limit on videos. Apparently, users will be able to upload videos of up to one hour. And, rumor has it Instagram is finally going to announce they made the leap from 800 million monthly active users (in September 2017) to 1 billion monthly active users, which is a pretty big deal, too! Keep an eye on my Facebook Page on the morning (Pacific time) of June 20th for more updates. 

2. 12 Simple Tips for Making Your Videos Look More Professional –

Video, video, video! I’ve been saying this since 2013, ha! Seriously, 2018 is definitely all about video content marketing… and now especially with Instagram’s new video hub about to launch. But, it can be a challenge if you’re new to the game. My good friends at Animatron share some super helpful tips here on how you can make professional videos quickly and easily.

Animatron is the parent company of – my favorite video creation tool that has 200 million premium assets (photo & video clips). And you can create multiple formats at once (square, landscape, portrait, Story, etc.). Friends of Mari can get 30% off any annual plan with code WXA_30SMITH at

Related: 3 Social Video Marketing Tools to Grow Your Business

3. 9 Step Guide to Creating a Facebook Ads Funnel – via

You don’t need a large ad budget to be successful on Facebook. With advanced customization options, you can create tailored campaigns, connecting with your potential customers at every stage of their journey. Check out this excellent guest blog post by Shane Barker. 

Facebook Video Marketing webinar

I recently teamed up with my longtime friends at AdEspresso to lead a webinar about Facebook Video Marketing. You can catch the replay here.

P.S. Stay tuned for a fabulous new 3-part free gift I’m giving away… Mari Smith’s Facebook Video Marketing Success Kit!

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Mari Smith – Social Media Marketing Success