AI, Chatbots and Designing the Next Generation of Automated Customer Engagement

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No matter how much sweetness or spin you add to it, early incarnations of AI-powered chatbots are the call centers of this generation. They’re cool. They’re scalable. They’re relatively inexpensive compared to human agents.

Yes, chatbots scale engagement through new, popular messaging channels and introduce conversational commerce capabilities that carry the potential to deliver incredible experiences. But here’s the thing…most of the interactions are basic, seeking to replicate existing transactions and experiences that only seem to wow those designing not experiencing them.

On the other side of code and algorithms however, are discerning, sophisticated, self-interested human beings. Transactions and capacity aside, engagement and experiences need to be designed to ever-shifting and heightened human standards and expectations. They don’t care that you have the ability to automate engagement. They care about engagement, experiences and outcomes. They care about themselves.

To design incredible experiences, conversational commerce engineers need to embrace human-centered design. Doing so combines the ability of messaging platforms, machine learning, AI as well as empathy, emotion and user experience (UX) interface design (UI).

IQ (Intelligence Quotient) + EQ (Emotional Quotient) + HQ (Human Quotient) = AI-Powered Experiences That Matter to People

I said as much at the 2016 DES (Digital Enterprise Show) in Madrid.

Before my plenary, I was asked to share my thoughts on next-gen conversational commerce design. I wrote about it for Forbes. But I also wanted to share my slides with you here.  Between the two, I hoping we can spark some great conversations and creativity to upgrade the future of artificial intelligence and human engagement.

Imagine the possibilities for customer service, support, e-commerce, search, CRM, loyalty programs, proactive engagement and all forms of CX 2.0! And, it’s not just about customers…it’s also about EX and employee engagement and experiences!

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
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Snapchat: BrianSolis

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Brian Solis

Experience Innovation – Designing for the X Factor in Customer Experience

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Coming up in Silicon Valley during the 90s and early 2000s was special for a geek like me. I moved to Northern California from LA in 1996. Tech and startups were at the time fledgling in Los Angeles but still exciting. I would later return to help catalyze the startup ecosystem. My goal at the time was to plug into the startup garage capital of the world. By then, there were already storied landmarks that one would have to visit. The HP garage (considered the birthplace of Silicon Valley), the Apple garage, the Google garage, et al.

But it wasn’t just garages. There were sprawling tech campuses that were already reshaping the Bay Area…and the world. Among the many, one of the iconic landmarks in the rise of Silicon Valley is the Xerox PARC innovation center. This is afterall, where Steve Jobs famously witnessed (and marketed) the GUI (graphical user interface), WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editing and mouse techologies for the launch of Lisa and Macintosh and the personal computer market.

I was beyond thrilled, when I was invited to PARC to present on the topic of “Experience Innovation.” It was not only an honor, but also validation of my years of work, that I could contribute something to epicenter of innovation.

I wanted to share that experience with you here.

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

How to Improve Your Customer Service with These 8 Ways to Get Feedback

It doesn’t matter what type of business you have or how long you’ve run it. Your customers are the lifelines of your brand.

Whether you sell products, offer services, or a combination of the two, customer service needs to be one of your top priorities.

You could have the best product in the world, but if you don’t treat your customers well, it’s going to hurt your bottom line. On the flip side, you could have a product that’s average, or even subpar, and be extremely profitable if you provide excellent customer service.

How is that possible? Well, the numbers don’t lie.

According to research, 80% of consumers say they’re willing to pay more money to businesses offering better customer service.

But that’s not all. Failing to provide good customer service can result in the loss of your customers.

What exactly causes a business to lose customers? Research shows that only 14% of customers stop supporting a business because they are not satisfied with their products or services. And 9% leave because of the price.

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But look at the top reason why customers leave a business. Nearly seven out of 10 customers will leave because they don’t feel valued.

In short, customer service is more important than what you’re selling.

Now that we’ve established why improving your customer service is important, it’s time to take steps in that direction. But how can you improve your customer service if you don’t know what your customers want?

It’s simple. Just ask them.

Getting feedback from your customers is a crucial component of your customer support strategy.

It shows them you care about their opinions. Furthermore, the results can help you better your business and ultimately make more money.

If you want to provide excellent customer service, I’ve narrowed down the top 8 ways to get feedback from your customers.

1. Create surveys

Leveraging customer surveys is the most logical place to start your quest for feedback.

Depending on what you’re using the survey for, the questions and potential responses can vary.

It’s important to have a clear goal when you’re creating these. For example, if you’re trying to improve your customer service, you don’t necessarily need to ask the customer about a specific product.

That said, surveying customers about a previous purchase shows them you value their opinions, which they perceive as good customer service.

The idea is to get your information and get out as soon as possible. Customers don’t want to fill out a 20-minute survey.

People are busy. In all honesty, they’ve got better things to do. I recommend using an online resource such as SurveyMonkey to create your surveys.

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You can create an account for free and have access to templates and pre-written questions about specific topics. Obviously, you can customize those to fit your business and goals.

Once your survey is complete, it’s easy to distribute it electronically to your customers through all your marketing channels.

Since time is of the essence here, keep your surveys short and limit them to a handful of questions. Don’t ask obvious or misleading questions.

Don’t ask questions and provide answers you want to hear. You may be doing things wrong. Allow your customers to share that information with you.

Sometimes you need to give your customers some extra incentive to fill out a survey to get as many responses as possible. A discount off their next purchase should be sufficient.

2. Interviews

Interviews might not work for your business.

It’s much easier for brands with brick and mortar locations to conduct interviews than for online businesses.

Sure, ecommerce companies can still interview customers. But they’d have to set up a Skype session or phone call to do so. This isn’t impossible, but it’s more of a hassle.

But those of you with physical store locations can interview customers when they shop in person.

The best time to do this is after the customer has checked out and is getting ready to leave. You don’t want to bother customers while they are shopping because it could potentially prevent them from making a purchase.

Since it’s not the most common practice, this strategy could really help you gain an edge over your competitors.

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Nearly 90% of marketing experts believe that improving the customer experience is the top factor for differentiating their brand from the competition.

Before the customer leaves your store, politely ask them if they have five minutes to answer some questions. If you tell them the interview is going to be five minutes, you’d better stick to five minutes.

Conduct the interview away from the register so it doesn’t hold up your line.

It doesn’t need to be in an office, but go somewhere with some privacy so other employees and customers can’t hear the responses.

Introduce yourself and explain why you’re conducting the interview. Establish a rapport with the interviewee so they feel comfortable answering your questions honestly.

Make it clear that you won’t be offended by their responses. Some customers may be hesitant to provide negative feedback if they are saying it directly to your face.

You’ll need to let your guard down and ask questions in a way that gives them the opportunity to say how they truly feel.

The great thing about an interview, as opposed to a survey, is that the answers are more authentic. Customers have a chance to tell you what’s on their minds, without having to select from a pre-determined list of survey responses.

Record your interviews, with the customer’s permission, of course. That way you won’t have to scramble to write notes while they are speaking.

Again, you can offer an incentive to customers who take the time to answer your questions. Thank them for their time, and give them a coupon.

3. Add a comment box to your website

This one is pretty simple.

Include a customer feedback form on your website. That way, people who are visiting can see this as an opportunity to share their opinions.

Here’s an example of a basic version of a comment box on the BuildFire website:

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You have different options with these comment boxes. As you can see in the example above, this form requires you to include your name and email address with the message.

But you could provide the visitor with an anonymous option.

If customers do provide you with their contact information, it’s always in your best interest to reach out to them when you receive the message. This is especially true if they are voicing a complaint.

Apologize for any inconvenience you may have caused them. Offer a solution.

Let them know that you value them as a customer and that you’ll make improvements to ensure this won’t happen again. Thank them for reaching out to you.

Here’s something else to keep in mind. Don’t be discouraged by negative comments.

You should be thankful the customer told you about their poor experience instead of leaving without saying a word.

In fact, only 1 out of 26 customers will complain if they are unhappy. The other 25 will just give up on your brand and stop buying.

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When a customer gives you negative feedback, you still have the opportunity to make things right. Not all is lost.

You can turn a negative experience into something positive by mending that relationship.

4. Third-party reviews

Your business is on websites such as Yelp, Google Local, and TripAdvisor.

Just because you don’t control those websites doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Make a habit of checking those listings weekly, at a minimum.

If you are getting tons of reviews, consider checking more frequently.

For starters, you want to make sure the information listed on these sites is accurate. I’m referring to your hours, phone number, menu, pricing, etc.

But you also need to consider the customers who willingly took the time to write about your business.

Good comments. Bad comments. You want to pay attention to all of them.

All too often when we talk about customer service, it seems like businesses automatically jump to the negatives. While it’s important to be proactive about those poor experiences, it’s also necessary to keep track of the positive ones.

This will reinforce what you’re doing right. You’ll know what you should continue doing instead of changing something that customers are happy with.

5. Live video broadcast

Jump on the live video bandwagon.

Facebook. Instagram. YouTube. All of these marketing channels have live streaming features you should be taking advantage of.

While this tactic isn’t quite as intimate as a focus group, which we’ll discuss shortly, it gives you the opportunity to reach a high volume of customers at the same time.

Here are some of the top benefits of live video streaming, according to brands, retail companies, agencies, and other marketing executives:

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As you can see from their responses, a more authentic interaction with the audience ranked first on the list.

This authentic interaction is great for getting customer feedback. That’s because customers can comment in real time while you’re broadcasting live.

Everyone else watching can see those comments as well. Respond to comments.

Depending on how many people are watching your stream, it can be overwhelming to keep up with comments. That’s okay. Take your time to go through them.

The great thing about these live streams is you can save them and refer to them at a later time. Read through the comments, and take notes. Group similar statements so you can prioritize what needs to be addressed first.

Live video is great for customers as well. They can watch it on their smartphones from the couch as opposed to being bothered when they are in your store.

6. Focus groups

Focus groups aren’t nearly as popular as some of the other feedback methods. This is mainly because the logistics are more complex.

But that doesn’t mean you should ignore this option. Even if it’s not your top choice, conducting a focus group should still be in your arsenal of potential ways to get feedback from your customers.

An ideal focus group is conducted in person, with all the participants in the same room. Groups of six to eight customers should commit between 30 and 60 minutes of their time to participate.

Being in a room together will allow them to feed off each other.

One person could say something that another customer may not have thought of. As a result, it could trigger a response based on that customer’s experience.

Focus groups are great for testing new products and ideas. Allowing your customers to be part of the innovation process will make them feel valued, the importance of which I have already talked about.

Customers who participate in focus groups should be compensated much more than those who fill out a survey online.

Your customers who complete a survey may get 20% off their next purchase. But it’s not unreasonable to provide a $ 50 or even $ 100 gift card to customers participating in focus groups. You should also provide them with some food when they arrive.

7. Follow-up emails

After a customer makes a purchase, you should send them a follow-up message, asking for their feedback.

I’m sure you’ve seen these before. Here’s an example of a short survey from Venmo embedded directly into an email:

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As you can see, this survey is directly related to customer service.

In addition to embedding the survey into the email, you could also provide a link for the customer to provide feedback through a platform like SurveyMonkey, which I talked about earlier.

You may even decide to send a link to the comment box on your website I previously mentioned.

Just realize that any additional steps a customer has to take to give you feedback will decrease the chances of it being completed.

Don’t be annoying. All too often I get three or four emails from a company asking me to provide feedback for my most recent purchase, flight, etc.

You don’t want to be that person.

If they don’t respond after the first message, you could send one more reminder. But that’s it. If they still haven’t given feedback, you could always try again in the future after their next purchase.

8. Social media comments

You need to stay active on social media.

But in addition to posting content on a regular basis, you also have to track what your customers say about you.

Don’t ignore your notifications. Read through your comments and direct messages.

Do this on all platforms. Facebook. YouTube. Instagram.

Use the Twitter advanced search query to find out what customers are saying about you, even if they don’t tag you directly.

Check out these comments from a post on the Lululemon Facebook page:

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The first comment is positive, and the second comment shares some criticism.

But do you notice something they both have in common? Lululemon responded to both of them.

As I said before, you need to treat both positive and negative feedback the same. In both instances, you want your customers to know you value them.

More than half of consumers say they expect brands to respond to their feedback. If their comments are negative, that number jumps from 52% all the way up to 72%.


If you can’t keep your customers happy, your business is going to struggle. It’s a fact.

Customers care more about customer service than they do about the quality and price of what they’re buying.

That’s why it’s so important for you to find ways to get their feedback. But there is no one-size-fits-all way to do this.

Not all customers will respond to all tactics.

In order to get responses from as many customers as possible, you’ll need to try different approaches. This will also help you get accurate results.

Refer to this list of my favorite 8 ways to get customer feedback. Ultimately, this will help you provide enhanced customer service.

What method is your company using to get feedback from your customers?

Quick Sprout

Why Inconsistent Messaging is Undermining Customer Experience

This article is part of our series on customer experience where we focus on topics relating to connecting data, intelligence and experiences. Further reading: Silo Busting is Essential to Delivering Personalized Experiences.

Delivering exceptional customer experiences has quickly become table stakes for marketers. Too often, though, these experiences are undermined by inconsistent messaging and opportunities go begging.

Repeated or irrelevant messages breed consumer intolerance and annoyance, which they are not afraid to shout about to the hilltops.

Inconsistent messaging can also be a lost opportunity. For instance, when a customer expects to be informed, but there is silence. Such as when a customer signs up to a new program and reasonably expects to receive a welcome email. When they receive nothing, that can create confusion and concern — which can be just as damaging as a sending a poor message.

In markets like China, where social and ecommerce platforms are dominated by a few large players, the risk and reward of consistent messaging increases, particularly for B2C companies.

For example, WeChat and Alibaba both have an incredible reach. And, given their prominence, consumers often use both platforms. So, any inconsistent message on WeChat can quickly undermine strong messaging on Alibaba, and vice-versa.

Compounding this problem, marketers sometimes focus too intently on WeChat and Alibaba and neglect their owned channels of email, SMS, and website. The messaging in all channels must be relevant and consistent.

Why It’s Happening

This isn’t rocket science, but it still trips up many marketers. The reason? The ubiquitous problems that arise from disconnected data systems and data access – marketers and systems in silos. Marketers simply do not have a single view of the customer, much less an accurate idea of what messaging has already been delivered.

That problem snowballs when channels are managed by different teams — such as a media agency for acquisition and remarketing, another agency for social marketing, while a company’s own marketing team manages email and mobile channels.

When this happens, even a central marketing plan can’t connect the data and creative for individual customer experiences.

Many organizations still lack the skills and tools necessary to unearth customer insights from first-party data. Those insights are needed to improve customer experience and deliver consistent, relevant messages through all channels automatically.

How to Fix It

A great place to start is to build consistency on the areas over which you have control and where you are comfortable.

For example, implementing automation and template programs for email and mobile channels will improve consistency in message cadence and content. At Oracle, we recommend leveraging existing data and using dynamic content to personalize your messages while maintaining a consistent message.

Next, build a data strategy to inform segmentation and start to weave that in other channels. It’s likely that your first major roadblock will be addressing how customer data is managed and accessed. Therefore, when getting data architecture in order, the focus should be on creating a core customer view in a secure, transparent and privacy-compliant way. All other data — such as sales, product, and policies — can then be attached to the core customer data, creating the fabled 360 degree view of the customer.

It is no small feat to upgrade data architecture and automate marketing. However, the benefits that accrue will quickly justify the undertaking.

Want to learn more? Get the Cross-Channel Orchestration Fundamentals Guide to learn how you can give consumers the personalized, relevant, and consistent experiences they want.  

Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud

Customer Experience For The Win #FTW

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I had the opportunity to keynote UNITE by Satmetrix recently on the topic of experience design for modern customers. Leading up to the event, I joined the team on a podcast to discuss the topic in-depth. I share it with you here in the hopes that it will help you.

Capture the heart, mind and spirt of the new CX…the customer’s experience

Ask 10 different executives what CX means and how to improve it, you’ll get at least 15 different answers. Hear Brian make a compelling case that customer experience is the future of business. Learn why CX is bigger than any one department – and, importantly, what to do about it.


Three word advice for CX success: “Be” the customer.

Debunk this myth! Customer journey mapping improves the customer journey. It’s all about experience mapping.

Admirable CX innovation: Experience mapping, flows, and overall experience design; they force an empathetic approach to CX.

Learn this from your peers: Career path/advice.

To raise the profile of CX in your organization: Highlight the friction that results from bad CX. Friction = lost revenue.

Listen here.

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

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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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

How to Think About Email Capture Forms Like a Customer

What keeps customers from filling out one of your email capture forms? Is it because they don’t believe you will deliver what you say? Is it because it’s too long? Too short?

In this clip from an in-person training session at 2016’s NIO Summit hosted by NextAfter at MECLABS, Austin McCraw talks about the two essential factors that we can influence to produce more leads through our capture forms.

The post How to Think About Email Capture Forms Like a Customer appeared first on MarketingExperiments.


Transcript of Webinar Best Practices Throughout the Customer Journey

Transcript of Webinar Best Practices Throughout the Customer Journey written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast


John Jantsch: Webinars. Everybody’s doing them, right? Well yeah, right, everybody’s doing them, but are they doing them well and are you using them in your business? I think that webinars are a great tool to use for every stage of the customer journey, not just as a sell tool, as a hard sell tool, like so many people use it. In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I speak with Omar Zenhom. Not only has he been running webinars and teaching people how to do webinars, he’s actually created an amazing software for doing webinars called Webinar Ninja, so check out this episode.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is sponsored by Ahrefs, the SEO tool set that I use every single day. Listen into this episode because I’m going to tell you how you can win a full year subscription, over $ 2,000 value on this amazing tool. Check it out.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Omar Zenhom, the author of The $ 100 MBA and a podcast by the same name, and he’s also the creator of a webinar platform called Webinar Ninja that has a new, shiny release that we’re going to talk about a little bit today. Omar, thanks for joining me.

Omar Zenhom: Thank you, John. It’s great to be here.

John Jantsch: So you have a whole course on webinars. You see a lot of webinars. I’m sure you consume a lot of webinars just in your kind of daily business. In your opinion what makes a good webinar? And I know there’s probably a lot of answers to that, but generally speaking.

Omar Zenhom: That’s a great question, because there’s so many people that are doing webinars today and I’ve seen a lot of them, just some of the taste-makers in our marketplace, and I find that the best thing that somebody can do when it comes to running a webinar is making sure that they’ve been able to convey some sort of value in a way that people can use. So a lot of people, they like to just do a value dump where they’re just like, “I’m going to tell them everything they need to know about golf,” and just if [inaudible 00:02:24] golf expert, let’s say, for example, and it’s just like an information dump.

And then there’s some people that on the other end of the spectrum they’ll maybe banter a lot and they’ll just go on and on and they just really don’t give a lot of information. Both camps are really not useful because when you just have some sort of information dump, it’s just so hard to retain all that information. And when you’re just bantering and you’re not really giving a lot of information, people feel like it’s kind of a waste of time. So what you’re really trying to do here is you’re trying to give specific information, give specific value in a way that they can retain it.

In my previous life, I was an educator for 13 years as a high school and university educator, and that’s one of the first things you learn, that when you’re teaching a classroom of students is that it’s not about how much information you give it’s just how well they can retain it. So you got to keep in mind that whatever I teach, let me see how I can make sure that they can retain it and implement it. That’s how they’re going to feel like they got a win. That’s how they’re going to feel like, “Wow, this wasn’t a waste of time. Wow, this was great. This person gave me a whole bunch of value that I can use, and it’s very applicable,” and they go away remembering your webinar and having that trust built with you so they can go ahead and purchase a product of yours or check out your next piece of content.

John Jantsch: I suppose it’s like any good presentation. There has to be that narrative arc that brings it all together, that keeps people interested, but then also, like you said, delivers a lot of value.

Omar Zenhom: Definitely, yeah.

John Jantsch: So you kind of alluded to this. I’ve probably been doing webinars for 15 years or so, and it used to be a really unique thing. I probably get 10 webinars pitched at me a day now. So what about that kind of glut? What is that doing even to the consuming, educating market? Is it too much, or is there still a purpose for it?

Omar Zenhom: Well, what I love about that dynamic is that when there’s so much going on, when there’s so many webinars or there’s so many videos on YouTube or whatever it is, it’s so easy to rise to the top. It’s so easy to stand out because people are just used to a mediocre presentation. So if you just do a few small things that differentiate yourself, that makes you a little bit better than the rest, you stand out and people remember you. Person that comes to mind is Tim Page. Tim Page is one of the best I’ve seen on webinars, so much so that we’ve hired him at Webinar Ninja to do our webinars because he’s so good.

John Jantsch: So a lot of people view, and I want to talk about various uses of webinars, but certainly the one that a lot of people see is the webinar that is selling something.

Omar Zenhom: Right.

John Jantsch: Are there some effective ways to, and again, you see people that are just like boom boom boom, they sell a lot but everybody comes away feeling kind of sleazy at the end, right?

Omar Zenhom: Yeah.

John Jantsch: So is there an effective way to both get people what they need but also not kind of come off as the hard sell?

Omar Zenhom: Definitely. There are two strategies that I’ve found that are really effective when it comes to this. The first strategy is just to be very honest about it from the start. A lot of people they talk about the problem they want to solve, they say that this is what this lesson’s all about, they’ll spend about 20 minutes on their back story or something like that, talking about their war stories. And then they spend about a good 30 minutes pitching at the end. And the whole time they’re watching the webinar they kind of feel like this is coming. “Oh my gosh, when are they gonna sell, when is the other shoe’s gonna drop?”

So one strategy is just to be upfront about it in the beginning, like the first five minutes. “Hey guys, this is what we’re gonna be covering today, this is what today’s webinar’s all about.” Or, “The first thing that I’m gonna just do right now is get it out of the way. We have an offer today, this is what the offer is. I’ll be going into detail what it’s all about. I’ll even give you a quick warning before I start this offer at the end so if you want to leave, no problem, no hard feelings.” I like to joke around about that. They feel like, “Oh, this person’s a real person,” and it also just lowers the anxiety. Like, “Okay, I know what this product’s all about, I know that this person’s just being honest with me, they’re an entrepreneur and they want to offer me something that can help me.” But then we can just move [inaudible 00:07:01]. “Okay guys, that’s a quick glimpse of what today’s offer is and the bonuses. And let’s move on to the lesson and let’s move on to the workshop.” And at the end I can go into detail and refer back to what I was talking about. A lot of people like that because you just feel like, “Okay, this is different and it just makes me feel comfortable.”

The second strategy that I saw that has been really effective, and I picked this up actually from our mutual friend Michael [Port 00:07:27]. So what he does is he actually has no pitch on the webinar. So what he says at the start, he says, “Hey guys, we’re gonna be doing a workshop and I do have a product that can really help you take your public speaking to the next level.” That’s his area of expertise, for those of you who are listening. “But I’m not gonna be talking about this today. You’re all automatically registered to another webinar tomorrow at the same time, and that’s when I’ll be talking about the product and you can ask all the questions about the product at that time.” And that’s all he talks about. That’s it, that’s the last time he talks about the product.

And then throughout the webinar people will ask questions like, “Hey, so do you have a payment plan for this product you mentioned?” “Well, really sorry but we’re not going to be talking about it today. Today’s the workshop, tomorrow you can ask all the questions you want.” And it makes people feel comfortable and it also makes people understand that this is not a sales webinar. What’s great about this is that the next day when he runs that second webinar for everybody who’s invited, everybody who was registered to that first webinar, it’s just fair game. Everybody expects him to sell, everybody expects him to talk about the product, everybody knows what they’re going to get. And they can ask buying questions and it’s just so much easier for Michael because he can just be himself and sell the product, and at the same product no one’s kind of guessing what this webinar’s all about.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and I wrote a blog post recently about using webinars in every stage of the customer journey. And I think that that’s kind of the key point there is that the first one was maybe awareness and trust building. And so then once you earn that trust then it’s like, “Come back tomorrow,” and you’re going to be ready to buy maybe even because you’ve kind of moved to the next stage. And clearly some of the people don’t come because they are in that stage. And so I think that’s a real key too. So many people just want to sell sell sell, and you’ve got to earn, I think, the opportunity. I have done webinars where we were down to 10 people left that wanted to get on the call, but all 10 of those people wanted to buy and they just needed a couple questions answered because they had gone through several gates, if you will, or stages. And I think people need to realize that this medium is no different than running an ad or something that would tell somebody to buy.

Omar Zenhom: Definitely. And I love what you said there because I firmly believe you can’t make anybody buy anything. Some people that use pressure sales, that sale’s not going to stick. They’re going to return it, they’re going to cancel, or they’re just going to have a bad taste in their mouth. So you really can’t make anybody buy. Plus you’ve worked so hard, you’ve spent so much time and effort and money to earn that trust to get them on the webinar. No, it takes a lot to try to promote that webinar. Don’t lose that trust, allow them to feel comfortable and buy when they’re ready.

John Jantsch: I tell you another side of using webinars that I don’t hear enough people talking about is we use them to serve our customers. So in other words we do a ton of training with webinars, we do a ton of added value or kind of helping them along with something that maybe they’re struggling with. And we also use it for a lot of internal things too. So I think companies should probably look at internal training and training of customers and serving customers as a way to think about webinars as well.

Omar Zenhom: That’s true. We love the idea of doing live training, live Q&A for your current customers. It’s a great way to [inaudible 00:10:59], it’s a great way to keep your customers happy. And these are really low maintenance kind of webinars, there’s no real performance needed because you can send an email out to all your customers or specific customers once a month and say, “Hey, it’s an AMA, ask me anything,” open Q&A, and people can ask you questions, people can get advice. And it’s just a great way for you to kind of hop on. It doesn’t have to be long webinar, it could be 30 minutes and ask a few questions, and feel like they’re being supported. Some people are really surprised when they get an email and the founder of the company shows up and answers questions for 30, 40 minutes once a month. They’re like, “Wow.” Sometimes that’s just enough for them to be like, “Okay, I’m going to hang on with this company. Even if I’m not using it right now I know I want to use them in the future so let me just sit tight, because these guys care.”

John Jantsch: And I think that you can only do so much with an email, but you get on and maybe you’re video sharing, and there’s just so much more trust that could be there, there’s so much more feeling of connection. And it’s not unlike, I should say, flying across the country and sitting in somebody’s office.

Omar Zenhom: I love that.

John Jantsch: Hey, wanted to remind you this office of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is sponsored by Ahrefs and I’m giving away a full year subscription to this awesome tool that helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors, and monitor your niche. I use this tool every single days. One of my favorite ways to use it is to learn why competitors are ranking so high and what I need to do to outrank them. There’s so many great backlink tools, search tools, keyword research tools, rank tracking, all built into this tool, and that’s why I love it so much. If you want to enter to win a full year of this tool, that’s like $ 2,000 value, go to Duct Tape Marketing Podcast and find this episode if you’re listening to this. If you’re on the page the links are down below, but you’re going to subscribe to the podcast, you are going to maybe do a little tweak to get some extra bonus entries. And in a couple weeks we will pick a winner and we’ll let you know if you won a full year. So go check it out.

So you have spent a great deal of time and effort and sweat and blood building a webinar platform of your own. Let me ask you this. What was sort of missing from the myriad of platforms out there that had you kind of say, “Why gosh darn it, I’m building my own.”

Omar Zenhom: Oh wow, that’s a good question. The funny thing is that I built Webinar Ninja by accident. I just built it out of my own necessity to scratch my own itch. I was running webinars to promote our membership program, the $ 100 MBA. I was using it also to support our member’s office hours. And I just couldn’t stand the solutions that are out there. They were clunky, they were not complete solutions. Often I’d have to build all these other components on the side whether like my own email notification system through my email marketing, and then I would have to do a follow-up of sequence and have my own landing pages. And then when I was doing it there was no kind of built in chat, so I had to have a separate chat. So it was almost too much trouble than it was worth.

And I was just like, “But I like doing these webinars,” because again, I’m a teacher by trade and I loved the medium and I was like, “Okay, let me see if I can just slap something together to make my life easier every time I run a webinar.” No intention to make this a commercial success. I’m a self-taught developer, if you want to even call me that. I just know simple HTML, CSS, some PHP. I couldn’t even complete it, I got a freelancer off to help me out to just clean it up. And then I started using it and my members that I was doing the webinar for were like, “Hey, I love what you’re using for this webinar. What is it?” And I was like, “Oh, it’s just something I slapped together.” And they’re like, “Oh, can I buy it?” And I was like, “Can you give me like a day to put up a sales page?”

But in all seriousness I think what attracted people to it and why we decided to say, “Hey, let’s open this up and see if people actually are interested in it,” is because we really just wanted to make it easier for people to create and run webinars, to let the technology kind of fade in the background and let their content kind of shine. There’s so many platforms out there that promote, that have all these features or they’re going to make your business blow up and all of this stuff. But when they actually go and create a webinar or use it it’s just tedious, it takes 10 steps to create a webinar. It kind of just prevents you from doing them consistently. So that’s why we like to say is Webinar Ninja is just better webinars with no worries. You just go in, it takes 10 seconds to create a webinar. We do everything in the background, we create all the landing pages and the notifications and everything for you. If you want to geek out there’s advanced settings or you can edit all the stuff. But if you don’t you can just rub the webinar instantly. It just makes things just so much easier for people.

And when it comes to running the webinar we want to kind of just, again, let you shine. And we let you control everything on one screen so you can upload your slides and show your slides while you’re presenting so you don’t have to share your screen or use PowerPoint if you don’t want to. You can manage all the layouts, you can chat, you can answer questions, all that kind of stuff. And I built it as an educator. That’s why I built it because I wanted to make sure it’s a great tool for teaching, because I believe teaching is the new learning, and the new selling. Sorry, teaching is the new learning. Teaching is the new selling.

John Jantsch: Well I learn a lot more when I try to teach something so I’ll let you have that too.

Omar Zenhom: Yeah. So yeah, that’s really kind of the driving force or the influence I’ve had on Webinar Ninja, making it a great teaching tool that people like using. So yeah, I’m a firm believer as an entrepreneur. There’s so many great ideas out there, it’s really the person that implements it the best is who wins. And that’s what I’m trying to do.

John Jantsch: Well so I have, because I’ve been doing this a long time, because I do a lot of webinars for people, I’ve been on every platform probably that’s ever been created. And I will say that the common threat is they all lack a sense of elegance at all, and I think that in your latest update, 5.0, is that what we’re calling it?

Omar Zenhom: Yep.

John Jantsch: I think you’ve added an element of elegance that really doesn’t exist in a lot of the other platforms. Was that intentional or is that just hard work has eventually got you there?

Omar Zenhom: No, it was incredibly intentional. When we were working on 5.0 about 18 months ago it was like on the top of my list to hire the best talent when it came to design. And we went through so many interviews and finally we found [Irina 00:18:13] who is our head UX/UI designer. And on the interview I remember her, this is just a great story, I was asking her, “Hey, can you tell me a little bit about your experience and how your experience can contribute to our company?” And she came to the interview and said, “Hey, I actually signed up for your platform, I took a look at all your UI, your current UI, and hey, can I just share my screen? This is some mock ups I created where I think it would really much, a lot better for UI for the next version.” And she just came with these designs which were great, but it was kind of like the early stages of what 5.0 are. I was just like, “Okay, this woman’s got to get hired right now because she just gets it.”

And she understands that it’s not only elegant and it’s not only supposed to kind of make you look good as a contributor, as a teacher, as an entrepreneur, but also make people’s life easier, just make people say, “Oh, this is friendly, this is easy.” It’s one of the things we try to do with our brand is to kind of not make webinars seem so intimidating. And we want to make sure it’s approachable. In fact on our about page everybody on the page is a cartoon character dressed up as a ninja. So we just make everybody kind of approachable. And that’s really what we try to do with the UI is to really make people feel like, “Hey, this looks great, this makes me look professional.” But at the same time my attendees are going to feel like, “Wow, this is easy to use and I want to attend something that looks like this.”

John Jantsch: So without getting too technical, what’s the delivery platform built on? In other words I know in original versions there was a Google Plus integration. Has that gone away or is that still a part of it?

Omar Zenhom: Yeah, so Google Hangouts was a part of what Webinar Ninja was. It was part of kind of our history I guess. And I got to thank Google for giving us that kind of technology. But it couldn’t service forever, it was kind of like a stepping stone because Google Hangouts has a delay of about 30 seconds, or sometimes it gets as good as 15 seconds. But as an educator, as a teach, you know that that’s not so great with interaction. If I say, “Hey, let me know what you think of this thing on my slide,” and the chat the answers are like 15, 30 seconds late, it’s not really interactive, it’s not really great for that kind of technology. Plus I just didn’t like the idea of being reliant on another system that I had no control over.

So over the last 12 year-, 12 months, I’m sorry, we’ve been working on building our own media servers. We work on a technology called Web RTC, which is the latest technology for live video. It’s the video technology that Facebook Live uses or some of the bigger players that do live broadcasting. And it’s something that we really wanted to kind of use, because they’re really going to take us to the next level and allow people to interact in real time with no delay in HD, which is something that we really wanted to do. So that’s the video technology behind Webinar Ninja.

John Jantsch: Awesome. So tell people where they can find it. And we’re recording this show, it’s mid-September 2017, but obviously whenever you’re listening to this it’ll still be available. And we’ll have links in the show notes, so tell us where we can find out about it.

Omar Zenhom: Sure, it’s at And every plan comes with a 14 day trial, so you don’t get charged anything when you get started. So you can test it out, try it out, run a few webinars, see for yourself if it’s the right fit for you. Yeah, so go check it out,

John Jantsch: Well Omar, thanks so much, or Oman, thanks so much for joining us. And I’d venture to say the Citrix is nervous.

Omar Zenhom: Well I know how hard it is to create a webinar platform so a lot of respect to them as well.

John Jantsch: No kidding. All right, thanks. Hopefully we’ll into you soon out there on the road.

Omar Zenhom: Take care.

John Jantsch:  Hey, thanks for listening to this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Wonder if you could do me a favor? Could you leave an honest review on iTunes? Your ratings and reviews really help and I promise I read each and every one. Thanks.

Duct Tape Marketing

Real Estate Landing Pages (Our Customer Favorites + Why We Think They’re Great)

Whether you’re an independent realtor or work at a real estate agency, you can gain a competitive advantage if you have owned digital properties to drive your paid and social traffic to.

Owned properties — like landing pages — provide you more control in real estate versus relying on popular listing sites where the journey isn’t always clear, you can’t customize your call to action or match your branding.

In short, real estate marketing can really benefit from lead capture landing pages because they allow you to:

  • Establish and grow your mailing list, ensuring you can follow up with and remarket to interested prospects later.
  • Showcase properties especially well, creating urgency and delivering especially compelling offers (like granting early access to listings, for example).
  • Track social and paid campaigns better. With a listing site you don’t have access to metrics and can’t determine ROI as quickly as you can with a landing page.

Ultimately, you can use landing pages to understand exactly who is interested in a property, entice prospects to book appointments (or other offers) and wow new clients with on-brand design.

In this post I’ll break down some of the best ways to start using real estate landing pages with a few examples from Unbounce customers.

1. Showcase your listings (and grow your mailing list)

At minimum, every real estate broker needs a place to share listings online. But ideally, you’ll want to own the experience.

RE/MAX agents Matthew Davidson and Kimbe MacMaster know this first-hand.

These independent agents use Unbounce landing pages to showcase an overview of a property: quick stats, a photo gallery, a video and details on the community. And while a property is available, prospects can book a showing as the call to action:

Featuring trendy parallax scroll, this page converts at 0.38%. Click to view full-length landing page.

Once the listing is sold (nice work Matthew and Kimbe!), the CTA changes to allow interested parties to sign up for early notice for similar listings in the future:

This post-sale CTA swap is a terrific way to build your email list for advertising similar properties in the future.

Having used the Unbounce Loft template, Matthew and Kimbe can simply duplicate this page each time they need a dedicated place to feature a listing. This allows the duo to be listing-specific when they link from a Facebook or search ad, ensuring a seamless ad-to-landing-page experience for potential buyers.

According to the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report, 41.6% of marketers in real estate have at least one page that converts under 1.3%, so Matthew and Kimbe’s conversion rate above is in line with what we see for many real estate marketers.

See how your conversion rates stack up in real estate (and nine other popular industries)

Download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report to see how your landing page performance compares to your competitors.

By entering your email you’ll receive other resources to help you improve your conversion rates.

2. Entice buyers with exclusive pre-sale info, floor plans, price lists and more

Booking viewings of individual properties is great, but what if the real estate you’re selling is still in development?

Working with large and small-scale real estate developers, Rennie helps their developer clients plan and execute all aspects of their marketing and sales strategy, including online advertising. As part of their online strategy, they create project-specific landing pages and direct all paid traffic to those pages to gather leads.

Here’s an example created for The Pacific by Grosvenor:

This real estate landing page currently converts at 7.92%. Click to view full-length page.

Jennie Sebastian, Rennie’s Digital Marketing & CRM Manager, shared that the marketing team typically has a kick-off meeting five to six weeks before a campaign. Once they determine targeting and put together a media schedule, creative — including development of the landing page — can begin.

The campaigns typically employ search ads, display, Facebook, Instagram and WeChat, but the team is always looking for new ways to reach their target audiences.

As many real estate marketers can likely empathize with, Jennie shared:

One of the biggest challenges in online marketing is coming up with a strong call to action that entices users to provide us with their personal information.

Depending on the phase of the project and assets available, CTAs range from, “Sign up now for early access” and “Download all floorplans now,” to “Book a private appointment now.”

Through numerous A/B tests the Rennie team has found that more specific CTAs convert significantly better than more generic ones, as they clearly articulate to a prospect what they are receiving in exchange for their information.

Which brings us to landing page idea number three…

3. Get prospects to picture themselves in their dream home with a virtual tour

Just as Jennie from Rennie told us above, compelling CTAs are very important in real estate marketing, and offering a virtual tour has proven to be very effective for their team:

We recently offered a virtual tour using special 360 degree photography for one of our projects in Calgary. After updating the CTA to “Take a virtual tour now,” we saw a significant increase in the conversion rate.

Here’s an example page of theirs, which converts at 4.15%:

Click to view the full-length landing page.

Clicking the CTA button triggers a form gating the tour:

Even if you can’t wrangle 360 photography, you can still get prospects to picture themselves in their dream home.

Simple videos, photo galleries, or even the hero image on your landing page can do the trick. But be sure to test.

Example test of hero image variants

Here’s an example from Coronation Properties via digital agency Rocket. They test variations of their pages with different key elements of a property featured in the hero image.

Here’s a variant wherein the bedroom is the hero shot:

And another where the kitchen takes the spotlight:

The takeaway here?

Get creative with videos, 360 tours, or even experimenting with your hero shot, to give clients a glimpse into the property that’s right for them.

4. Offer up relevant listings to abandoning visitors

While landing pages clearly offer a competitive advantage in real estate, you also want to ensure you’ve optimized your website for conversions.

As our customers at Brixio know, you can try out an Unbounce overlay to ensure you’re not missing out on conversion opportunities. Overlays allow you to show relevant offers to specific users at the perfect time, making them less likely to leave your website without converting.

Unbounce Convertables

We love their idea for an overlay triggered to appear on exit to those leaving a website, tempting potential real estate buyers with off-market or exclusive listings.

Here’s a preview of what they had in mind:

With Unbounce, you can launch your overlay at any point during someone’s visit on your website: on exit, on arrival, after delay, on scroll and on click. Find out how Unbounce overlays work here.

5. Test a simple value prop to prompt more commitment-heavy offers

For marketers in the business of custom real estate, your offer of a tailor-made home is much more commitment-heavy than simply moving into an existing place.

This poses an interesting challenge: interested prospects likely have many questions, may be exploring many options and need a reason to trust you immediately.

Here’s agency Rocket’s solution: an on-brand, clear landing page (where prospects can “enquire today”):

This page converts at 1.84%. Click to view full-length landing page.

This small offer accompanied by all the fine details serves as a type of micro conversion, ensuring Manor Homes’ prospects have the chance to reach out and get the conversation started about a custom home.

Get creative with your own micro conversion incentives! For example, you may want to consider inviting prospects to download a collection of your custom homes to preview at their leisure.

6. Offer up relevant content marketing (so you can nurture leads later)

Plenty of businesses use content marketing to reach their target audience, and as Edina Realty knows, this applies to the real estate industry too.

As a subsidiary of Home Services of America, Edina Realty’s licensed pros guide customers through home buying and selling. To provide the most value to their clients, they deliver unique and useful content via custom landing pages.

Check out this Unbounce landing page they created to distribute their Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Home – it converts at a whopping 18%:

Click to view full-length landing page.

By combining content strategy with retargeting, Edina Realty is able to reach prospective leads throughout the funnel and deliver quality leads to their agents.

Hannah Kaeter, Digital Marketing Manager at Edina Realty, told us about the importance of educating leads:

One of the key challenges in our market is a low inventory of homes for sale at lower price points. With this challenge comes an opportunity to educate potential sellers — many of them first-time sellers — about the process so they can evaluate and make informed decisions about their own property and situation.

Ready to build your digital property?

Overall, the above examples illustrate the importance of having a dedicated place to send your paid and social traffic, which can make all the difference in whether you can track the ROI of your real estate marketing. This beats relying on common listing sites — especially in the case of condo developments or offers that require sophisticated branding or high commitment, like custom homes.

Replicate the success of these realtors with Unbounce’s real estate templates, and be sure to download our Conversion Benchmark Report for a breakdown of where you stand in this industry.


Customer Experience is Defined by the Experience Customer’s Have, Remember and Share

The funny thing about customer experience is that, for all of its good intentions, it is a bit ironic. Many businesses talk about the importance of customer experience (CX). At the same time, many are prioritizing investments in new technologies and touchpoints to improve engagement. But, when asked about their understanding of modern customer behaviors, expectations, preferences and which experiences in their life they love and don’t love…you get crickets. All too often, customer experience doesn’t really start with the customer. But in reality, the customer experience can only be defined by the experience a customer has with a brand. And, it can only be measured by the experience they have in each moment and the sum of those moments. Said another way, customer experience belongs to the customer and it should start with them.

That’s the irony of CX. It’s often not customer-centered. Companies are frequently shareholder- or stakeholder-centric. Decisions must always have the company’s best interests front and center. As such, CX can be viewed as a cost center and not necessarily as an investment. But customers who have great experiences will almost certainly deliver ROI against any strategic, customer-centered approach to CX. For example, it’s been reported that customers will pay up to 25% more for a similar product if they believe they’re going to get an exceptional experience. They’re willing to spend more money with brands that deliver experiences that excel over mediocrity. Think about that. How sad is it that people will pay extra to avoid frustrating, indifferent or reluctant experiences?

Experience Matters to Humans

Customer experiences are just that…they’re experiences. They’re human. Customers too, are human. Surprise! This is why I look at, the emotional side of experience design in addition to technology and trends. Customer experiences, or experiences in general, are essentially emotional reactions to moments. They can be measured by how people feel, sense and respond at each touchpoint and in the totality of the customer journey. Customer experience is so much more than any one thing. It’s everything! Any technology, effort, process or policy that touches the customer contributes to experiences individually and collectively. They must be designed and they must work together.

Any investment in CX must first start with understanding the experience from the customer’s perspective, what’s broken or missing, and also what it could be in comparison to the experiences that customers love elsewhere. For example, whatever business you’re in, whether you’re a dentist or a bank, you compete with the likes of Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, et al., in terms of experiential standards. They’re fast, transparent, personalized, frictionless and evolving. They become the standard for what people want and expect.

For example, in my research into CX and digital transformation, I consistently find that companies are out-of-touch with modern customer. Most recently, I learned that the majority of businesses are planning CX and digital transformation roadmaps and making investments with incomplete information about the customer. Case in point, 2017 findings show that only 34.8% of businesses have fully mapped the customer journey within the last year, which is down from 54% last year. Wow.

Experiences Happen and They Influence Others

Customer experiences happen whether they’re designed to be amazing or not. The best and the worst experiences convert into memories. How people experience those moments shouldn’t be left to chance.

In this always-on, hyper-connected, mobile world, customers are sharing those experiences online, everywhere, and those shared experiences become the currency of influence. Customers increasingly rely on the experiences people have and share to inform and shape their decisions and next steps. This is why customer experience has never been more important and why CX must start with the customer’s experience at the heart of everything. That takes insight, empathy and then design. Touchpoints must be more than functional, transactional and connected. They must bring to life desired experiences that people prefer and hopefully remember in ways that positively impact the brand and influence others.

You have to know your customer and how they’re different than what you know or assume and how they continue to evolve. Then you have to design CX strategies for the experiences you want people to have and share. This really shouldn’t be a surprise. Exceptional CX doesn’t just build upon the experiences of yesterday, it breaks new ground to deliver modern experiences for today and tomorrow. That takes intent, design, integration and cross-functional collaboration to deliver experiences in each moment of truth and throughout the customer’s journey.

Design experiences that matter…to human beings. Then work together towards a vision and purpose that everyone can align with and deliver against.  Experience starts with you.

Please join Brian Solis at Nextcon, October 23rd at 9 a.m. for the opening keynote, “Great Expectations: The Customer Mindset for 2018.”

About Brian

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.

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Brian Solis