Is It Time To Kill-Off The Conversion Funnel?

What Does Behavioural Economics Tells us About Conversion Funnels?

 

We Are Connected:

Most conversion funnels appear to be based upon linear models of decision making such as  A.I.D.A (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). However, this ignores the fact that people are connected and use their networks extensively to identify who they can trust. This means they don’t mindlessly go though each step in the mythical conversion funnel until they complete their task.

Behavioural economics supports the idea of a non-linear decision making process as it provides clear evidence of how important our interactions with other people are in the choices we make. We use our network to reduce the chances of our decisions being a disaster. This is because if someone is known to our network they risk damaging their own reputational capital if they sell us something not fit for purpose.  Behavioural economics also shows how underlying emotions, social norms, traditions,  and many contextual factors such as our environment influence decisions. If any of these ring alarm bells we may reconsider our goals or abandon the purchasing process.

Image of paper people holding hands

Source: Freeimages.com

This often produces an erratic, on-off and on-again decision making process. Plus as we employ our unconscious brain when we can to conserve cognitive energy we may not even be consciously aware of many of the  factors that drive our decisions. This undermines much of the market research that organisations use to design their marketing campaigns.

Multiple Purchasing Processes:

 

In addition, when people are online they often simultaneously look at alternative solutions and so could be in more than one purchasing process at the same time.   This means the funnel metaphor is misleading when it comes to understanding real-human decisions as it over-simplifies the process.

A Leaking Bucket:

 

Image of behavioural economics decision bucket

 

A better metaphor may be a leaking bucket that is constantly being filled by a stream of water from a tap. People frequently swing from one decision to another and the importance of factors in our decision making can quickly shift as our emotions, social interactions and our environment alter our motivations.

Our brain filters out a lot of the information that we are targeted with and  cognitive biases  further distort our perception of the information we receive. Having a simple and compelling message is therefore essential if we wish to cut through the noise that surrounds us.

Imperfect Memory:

 Image of computer memory chips

Source: Freeimages.com

We don’t have a memory like a computer as each time we recall a memory it has to be recreated and elements inevitably get changed or lost. This means our memories are heavily dependent upon what happened at the peak and at the end of an experience. Get these wrong and chances are customers will not recall an experience in a positive light. It also explains why we need to regularly repeat our brand messages through advertising and other media as our memory degrades over time.

There is also evidence that high advertising and promotional spend acts as a kind of costly signalling which demonstrates the organisation has long-term time horizons and is likely to be in good financial health. This behaviour may increase trust in the organisation or product as people interpret this as an indication of confidence about the future of the brand.

Goals Motivate People:

When we create an unmet need  this forms an explicit goal (e.g. I want to have a reliable car to get to work). But for our brand (or website) to be chosen we need to communicate that we can deliver on key psychological or implicit goals, such as security and enjoyment. If we can convince customers that we are the most likely brand to meet these implicit goals we may generate an emotional response which can ultimately help close the sale.

Image of implicit goals
Implicit Psychological Goals from Decoded by Phil Barden

 

Provided the brand is available and the experience meets our expectations this may help form a habit which creates brand loyalty. In reality though, this can be broken by lack of availability or the creation of a new habit. Indeed, if the product does not deliver what it promised we are unlikely to create a new habit and may buy another brand next time we have the same explicit goal.

Don’t Ask Why:

If asked why we purchased a product we will post-rationalise and come up with what we think are rational reasons for our choice of brand. But as we don’t have full access to our subconscious processes this is a pointless exercise.  However, there are implicit forms of research that try to tap into these underlying motivations.

Conclusion:

The funnel is dead, or at least it should be on life-support as they are a misleading way of describing the decision-making process.  Funnels may also result in too much focus on customer acquisition and short-term thinking because they imply there is only one goal (conversion).  Instead we should be looking to ensure our product meets the needs and expectations of customers and try to create sustainable habits to encourage brand loyalty.

Dave Trott sums it up nicely in his book One Plus One Equals Three: A Masterclass in Creative Thinking:

“The product creates the experience.

The experience creates the reputation.

The reputation creates the brand.”

                                    Dave Trott, One Plus One Equals Three

Thank you for reading my post and if you found it of interest please share using the social media icons on this page.

Recommended reading:

Decoded by Phil Barden

Herd by Mark Earls

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • About the author:  Neal has worked in website optimization and A/B testing  for over 5 years with online brands such as Deezer.comVery, Littlewoods, Foxybingo and partypoker.  Using  a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer tools, Neal identifies opportunities to align the website design and performance with the organisation’s business goals. This may involve A/B testing  to validate the benefit of proposed changes and/or implementation of best practice recommendations.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@conversion-uplift.co.uk. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch, see his LinkedIn profile or connect on Facebook.

 

How To Improve Sales Using Live Chat.

What Are The Benefits of Live Chat?

Updated 2nd April 2017:

Improve visitor engagement, reduce bounce rates and cut operational costs by offering real-time interaction with customers whilst they are on your website. Why wait until they have left your site to try and contact them?

Live Chat is the ideal solution for dealing with a number of issues to do with your website. There are six main benefits of integrating live chat on your site:

Benefits of Live Chat:

 

  • Pain points – When a customer has a frustration or an unmet need, live chat can help resolve these ‘pain points’ by giving them instant access to a company representative.
  • Increased sales – Live chat is a proven tool for increasing sales because if a customer becomes confused or unsure about something they can be walked through the process by
    customer services using the live chat tool. This helps reduce visitors dropping out of key revenue generating customer journeys and puts the company representative in a good position to recommend additional products.

image of live chat box on intuit.com homepage

  • It gives you a competitive advantage – Many websites don’t offer live chat on their websites or only for a limited number of customers (e.g. registered customers). Given the benefits to your customers and your organisation of integrating live chat across key touch points on your website you will be able to leverage it as a competitive advantage. Ensure it is available for new customers, whether on your sign-up form or on your homepage as they often need more assistance than existing customers.
  • It’s convenient and reassures customers – A live chat system provides immediate access to help for customers who may be struggling to find what they are looking for on your website. The presence of live chat also provides reassurance to visitors that
    they will be able to contact someone easily and conveniently if they do get into difficulties on your website.

image of live chat box on Microsoft.com

  •  It reduces expenses – Live chat can save on staff time and phone expenses by lowering average interaction costs and improve contact centre efficiency by enabling employees to handle
    multiple chats. As staff spend less time on the phone because customers can use live chat to contact Customer Services this means that contact centre operators can multi-task during chat conversations and reduce the waiting queue significantly compared to a traditional call centre.
  • Live chat allows you to gather feedback about your website – Having the ability to communicate directly with visitors whilst they are browsing your website gives you the opportunity to gather feedback on your website and generate ideas for improving the user experience and revenues.

Live chat services can lead to a significant uplift in revenues to provide a substantial return on investment. Here is a link to a great infographic that summarises many of the benefits of live chat.

All the providers listed below offer free trial periods and so you can test them out without making any financial commitment.

Live Chat Providers:

 

1. Boldchat: An enterprise chat software that offers innovative features including an automated, tiered chat routing that manages
chats between agents and has extensive monitoring and reporting capabilities.

The open API allows surveys, chat windows and promotional pop-ups to be extensively customised. It allows agents to assist visitors to fill out forms, complete purchases in the shopping cart and access technical support. The dashboard also allows agents to see the customer’s referring webpage, keywords they used, their geographical location and their chat history. Free demo.

Image of Boldchat.com home page

2. Click4Assistance: A fully customisable live-chat facility that
offers a comprehensive range of features including extensive real-time monitoring, 1 or 2 way video chat, offer demonstrations, ask for feedback or gather leads, and design multiple fully configurable forms. Dashboard allows agents to view how visitor’s arrived at website, their location and much more. Offers full integration with CRM systems, social media platforms and Google Analytics.   21 day Free trial.

image

 

3. Crowdstream.io: A new but flexible and cost effective live chat solution that also offers light CRM functionality to proactively target customer segments according to their online behaviour. The chat button is customisable, with email alerts to keep you up-to-date with activity and you can even respond to messages when offline as Crowdstream will email you any messages whilst you are away.

The solution allows you to create smart segments with triggers based upon customer behaviour and you can also broadcast messages in a non-intrusive way to all visitors or just to specific customer segments.

The Starter plan (up to 2,000 profiles) is available for just £35 per month, whilst the Growth plan (up to 5,000 profiles) costs £75 per month. A Business plan (up to 25,000 profiles) is also available for £195 per month. All plans include a 14 day Free trial.

Image of Crowdstream.io home page

4. Liveperson: Offers an enterprise fully customisable
live-chat facility including real-time monitoring, allowing chat windows and promotional pop-ups to be extensively tailored. Comprehensive dashboards at campaign-level for understanding how engagement is affecting your KPIs and operational level for how your agents are performing.  30 day Free trial.

Image of Liveperson.com homepage

5. Velaro: Enterprise and small business live chat software which is fully customisable allowing chat windows to be tailored to your business needs. Extensive dashboard enables behaviour of visitors to be tracked and monitored to improve engagement. The missed chat report allows you to view a list of all the times a chat request was made and how an agent responded to the request. Monitor agent login activity using an agent login report which tracks when agents are working, on a break or actively chatting.  Has a Free
trial offer.

Image of Velero.com homepage

6. Vis.io: A comprehensive live chat  solution that offers instant messaging and video calls. A single plan is available at just €9 a month with no limit on the number of visitors, tickets or calls. It also offers simple integration with full support.  A free trial is also available.

Image of Vis.io homepage for live chat

 

7. Whoson: Provides a suite of plans from 1 user to enterprise. Provides intelligent targeting for a personalized experience.
Dynamically invite visitors with a personalized message based on their predicted requirements. Allows you to create rules and triggers – based on visitor behaviour – with specific actions allowing you to segment visitors into categories such as geographic location and repeat visitors.  A 30 day free trial 

image

8.  Zopim + Zendesk: Offers a unique chat design along with a
wide range of contact options to help build customer engagement.  Zopim’s services also give you analytical tools for understanding your customers’ needs and making better business decisions. The
chat window customisation options are limited to changing your window to match company brand colours.

 

image

 

Conclusion:

Live chat solutions offer a win-win situation. Free trails give you the opportunity to work out which one works best for you and customers get a simple and instant means of contacting you when they need your help.  That is not to say you don’t have to put the policies and procedures in place to manage live chat. However, live chat does give you an opportunity to engage with customers when it most matters and encourages a two-way conversation so that both parties benefit.

Thank you for reading my post. If you found it useful please share it using the social media button below.

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch, see his LinkedIn profile or connect on Facebook.

Why is Market Research the First Area to be Cut?

 

A few years ago I was working for a UK commercial bank and the Marketing department had been called together to meet the new Head of Marketing. As our new colleague was introduced to each area of marketing she acknowledged the value that they offer to the organisation. However, when she was introduced to the Market Research Team  we heard the fatal words “Oh, yes, Market Research, the first area to be cut when there is a downturn.”

Ironically within a matter of months we were hit by the financial crisis of 2008 and almost immediately my budget was drastically cut back. So, why is there a perception that the research budget is fair game when times are difficult? There are of course a number of inter-related reasons, but from my experience here are the main factors behind this attitude to market research.

 

Return on investment:

Senior managers understand numbers as they deal with them every day. To speak their language and gain trust it is important to provide figures on the value of research. Key here is stakeholder management to uncover all the potential benefits of decisions informed by research. But also follow-up on research by owning the action planning process, and agreeing how to calculate the value of research in monetary terms.

 

Revenue is up image

Source: Freeimages.com

 

This will also help in trying to prioritise research budget from a ROI perspective. But more importantly if we are seen to estimate the benefit of research in monetary terms the budget is less likely to be perceived as a cost centre and instead it may be recognised as a source of revenue and cost saving ideas.

As managers are just as loss averse as the rest of us they don’t like to have to justify expenditure unless there is a measurable benefit.  Building trust by talking their language allow us to re-frame research in a more commercial sense and open up opportunities to discuss more strategic projects to address longer-term business goals.

Loss aversion can also be used to our benefit as research can help protect a brand by uncovering poor sales practices and training needs of customer facing staff though covert observational techniques. Further, for digital communications related research use A/B testing to measure any uplift in conversion and then calculate the loss of revenue if the old content has been retained.

 

Herd mentality:

When other companies are seen reducing costs by cutting back on research and development it is easy for a senior manager to use this as evidence to support their own plans to save money by cutting expenditure on research. This copycat behaviour is difficult to prevent as in times of uncertainty we like to follow what other people are doing as we assume they are doing it for a valid reason.

Image of herd of sheep

Source: Freeimages.com

This of course is not always wise and as in the case of stock market bubbles when people copy behaviour blindly without assessing the risks it can end in disaster. The important strategy here is to identify and highlight those successful organisation that are not following the heard. Investigate their approach to research and their successes in the field of insights to demonstrate the value in having a longer time horizon.

 

Confirmation Bias:

People are always looking for information that will confirm their attitudes and opinions. The danger here is that managers often try to use insights from research to justify a decision they have already made. Rory Sutherland recently suggested that over 50% of market research may be commissioned as a kind of insurance against a decision going wrong. The manager can then blame the research if it proves a disaster.  I suspect this is probably not far off.

If the research is for “arse covering” as Rory puts it I try to steer the research towards a more useful area of insight. Review the problem from a wider frame of reference and identify other related questions that might be more valuable to answer. Then make a subtle suggestion to the manager by asking them if that had thought about asking this question instead. Explain how this new question would help their problem, but also how it might be more beneficial as a whole.

Also make sure you ask the commissioning manager what they think the research will discover to counter hindsight bias. You can then add this to the brief and create a research hypothesis to be tested.

 

Emotional attachment:

As human beings we are emotional rather than rational creatures and our decisions are heavily influenced by psychological goals, such as power and autonomy. We respond most positively to people who take a genuine interest in our lives and make us feel important.

 

image of woman smiling to show emotions

Source: Freeimages.com

 

Make an effort to get to know your senior managers, find out what motivates them, from both a personal and business perspective. This will also help you identify their achievements so that you can give sincere complements to build a stronger relationship.

This should also allow you to find out about their perception of research so that you can consider how to counter any misconceptions. But the important behaviour is to listen and get them to tell you what their priorities are and you can then go back later with plans to target these needs.  As is often the case it’s not what we know, but who we know that matters.

 

Targets & Short-Termism: 

Understandingly there is a tendency among public companies to focus on hitting the next quarterly targets. This tends to result in an obsession with setting goals to help meet these targets. However, research from the Harvard Business School – “Goals gone wild” indicates that goals imposed on people by others (e.g. sales, quarterly returns, customer satisfaction scores etc), narrow our focus and limit our thinking which reduces our ability to come up with innovative solutions.

There is also plenty of evidence to suggest that goal setting can also result in unethical behaviour. Tesco and Halifax Bank of Scotland (now part of Lloyds Banking Group)  in the UK and Enron in the US are prime examples of where lofty revenue and growth targets encouraged a race to meet them at any cost.

 

Image of Enron E logo

Source: Freeimages.com

Short-term thinking almost inevitably leads to less research and development.  Research can be used to help counteract the negative side-effects of goal setting and inform decision making in a way that helps broaden our horizons. You can employ loss aversion here to focus attention on the dangers of missing out on new emerging trends or disruptive technology.

You can also ensure that your focus reflects the needs of the business to achieve efficiency’s and cost savings by proposing projects that assist this process. Behavioural economics for instance can be used to used in many areas, from call centres to production lines, to create new habits and improve customer decision making.

 

Thank you for reading my post. If you found it useful please share using the social media logos below.

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.uk and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback.  By  aligning each stage of the customer journey  with the organisation’s business goals this helps to improve conversion rates and revenues significantly as almost all websites benefit from a review of customer touch points and user journeys.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch and view his LinkedIn profile.

Does Usability Research Reflect Real Human Behavioiur?

 

Good navigation and the ease with which users can find relevant content on a website is critical for a good customer experience. Card sorting, tree testing and other usability research solutions can assist in this process by providing input from users to improve our chances of making good decisions in designing choice architecture.

 

Are We Measuring Reality?

However, we should acknowledge that when we give a person a task to complete as part of a usability study we are directing their behaviour and in some instance we may have taken them out their natural environment. This will inevitably influence their response. Behavioural scientists have found that many of our decision are made automatically by our unconscious brain, and that the context and our underlying emotions heavily influence the choices we make. We also behave differently when we are aware that we are being observed.

Asking respondents direct questions is especially problematic as people over-think issues because they switch to their slow, rational brain when encountering a mentally demanding task. Unfortunately most of the time when we are browsing a website we rely on our fast, intuitive, unconscious brain to make decisions without really engaging our conscious thought processes.  The implication here is that we cannot even access the rationale behind much of our behaviour when interacting with a website and so there is no point asking us to explain ourselves.

“People don’t have reliable insight into their mental processes, so there is no point asking them what they want.” Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, fast and slow.

 

UserZoom.com prototype testing methods

Source: UserZoom:

How do we deal with these limitations of usability research?

 

Context is important:

Avoid taking people away from their natural environment if at all possible. Certainly don’t use focus groups as this is about far away of a normal browsing behaviour as you can get. How often do you search the web with a group of people you have never met and discuss your likes and dislikes of the site, with full knowledge that someone is observing you behind the mirror?

This is why remote user testing methods have an advantage over some face-to-face methods. Participants can be in their normal environment, with their normal distractions and so their behaviour is less likely to be influenced by the testing process. Don’t get me wrong, there will still be some bias as a result of the testing method, but it may be substantially less than techniques which take the user out of their normal browsing environment.

 

source: Remote user testing –  UserZoom:

 

Observe and listen rather than ask:

You will get more meaningful insights from simply observing and listening to your users during a usability test as past behaviour is a more reliable indicator of future behaviour. Try to avoid verbal interventions as much as possible because people don’t like to admit when they do something wrong and you are likely to influence how they then behave in any future tasks. If you do want some verbal feedback, just ask your testers to say what they are doing as they go through the task.

But always keep in the back of your mind that usability testing is about informing your judgement, and not to prove or disprove someone’s opinions. It is also an iterative process that should begin early on in the development of a design and go through to after it has been implemented.

 

5 second test UsabilityHub.com

Source: UsabilityHub:

Implicit Research Methods:

As I have already mentioned, most of our daily choices are made by our fast, intuitive brain which means we don’t have time to rationalise why we are making those decisions. New implicit research techniques such as functional MRI, EEG, biometrics, eye tracking, facial decoding and implicit reaction time studies (IRTs) are allowing marketers to access the sub-conscious part of the brain to better understand how we respond to communications and designs.

Eye tracking research helps identify which specific elements of a page or message attract our attention, but also the communication hierarchy of messages. Heatmaps allows us to display this data to reveal the proportion of visitors who noticed each of the key elements on a page, plus the frequency and duration of gaze on each element.

Click and mouse movement heatmaps from visual analytics solutions such as Hotjar and Decibel Insights can provide similar insights for existing pages. For true eye tracking research though solutions from  Affectiva and Sticky allow for you to evaluate both new and existing web page designs.

 

Clicktale.com heatmaps

Source: Click Tale:

A/B Test Usability Testing Results:

In the final analysis the only way you will ever know for sure if a change identified through usability testing improved agreed success metrics is to conduct an online controlled experiment or A/B testing as we refer to them. It is only when visitors are acting on their own impulses without any intervention from other parties and with their own money that you will see how they behave in reality on a website or app.

Prioritise the insights you get from usability testing to decide which are worthy of A/B testing and which should just be implemented as they are either no-brainers or unlikely to have a large impact on your success metrics.  A/B testing will give you the evidence to show exactly how much difference your usability testing has had on your conversion success metrics.

Wow, you have got the end of my post – congratulations! If you found this post useful please share using the social media icons on this page.

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.uk and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback.  By  aligning each stage of the customer journey  with the organisation’s business goals this helps to improve conversion rates and revenues significantly as almost all websites benefit from a review of customer touch points and user journeys.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch and view his LinkedIn profile.

Are Images of Beautiful Women on Websites a Distraction?

Do Images of Attractive Women Influence Behaviour?

Images of beautiful of models are often used on websites to get attention and sell product. This is probably because sex is one of our strongest and most basic instincts. We sometimes make decisions on the possibility of having sex, having more sex or being more sexually attractive. However, brand guardians sometimes challenge the use of pictures of attractive women as distracting and not consistent with the brand.

 

Women and the game of chess:

 

If used inappropriately images of glamorous women can certainly be counter productive and reduce conversion. But what does the evidence show regarding the power of beautiful women on men? Let’s take chess, one of the most rational and strategic games that one can play. Should the physical characteristics of an opponent you play at Chess affect your performance?

Image of Chess board and pieces
Image Source: Freeimages.com

 

As heterosexual men tend to produce more testosterone when in the presence of a beautiful woman, researchers wanted to understand if this would induce them to take more risk when playing chess against a woman they find physically attractive. To test this hypothesis they got a group of adults to rate the  attractiveness of accomplished chess players aged between twenty-five and thirty-four using official competition head shots.  They then analysed data from hundreds of chess games between 1997 and 2007 to see how male players  perform when drawn against a physically attractive female competitor.

The study used two indicators of riskiness during a chess match.  Firstly, the riskiness of each player’s opening moves.  Statistics shown that certain opening moves are much more risky than others. Secondly, whether the game ended in a draw. Draws are risk-averse because two experienced chess players can easily steer a game towards a draw with little chance of losing or winning the match.

The research results confirmed that male chess players who were drawn against attractive female competitor tended to use riskier opening moves and were much less likely to draw their matches. Their risky game play also meant that the male competitors lost more matches compared to their counterparts who were playing members of their same sex or less attractive females.

Evolutionary behaviour:

 

Statistics show that men are more than three and half times more likely to suffer a fatal accident than women. Evolutionary psychologists suggest that this is a direct result of men taking more risks to impress women. Researchers in Australia decided to put this to the test in a Brisbane skate boarding park.

They asked almost a hundred skateboarders to complete a number of easy and difficult tricks whilst being monitored by an experimenter. As the more difficult tricks have a higher chance of injury skateboarders are normally more likely to abort these moves to avoid injury.

Image of skateboarding
Image Source: Freeimages.com

 

The researchers recorded how many tricks were successfully completed, but also how often the skateboarders aborted the more difficult routines. Initially a male researcher monitored the performance of the skateboarders, but later on he was replaced by an attractive 18 year-old female experimenter. The ability of the skateboarders to complete the easy tricks was not affected by the sex of the experimenter. However, for the more difficult routines the presence of the female researcher led to the skateboarders to fail more tricks and abort a lot less often.

They also measured the testosterone levels of the skateboarder immediately after they completed their tricks by taking a sample of their saliva. As expected the testosterone levels of the participants in the study who performed in front of the female experimenter were significantly higher. The research findings confirmed that mating instincts were triggered by the attractive female experimenter and this led them to abort fewer tricks that were doomed to fail.

Are women a distraction?

However, is this type of behaviour due to sexual arousal or simply distraction? To answer the question three psychologists decided to study the earning power of eighteen topless models who worked at an Albuquerque lap-dancing club. As lap dancers earn most of their money comes from tips the researchers wanted to understand if men tipped models purely because of their attractiveness or were evolutionary motivations relating to the ability to bear children also at play.

The analysis demonstrated that men were subconsciously giving more generous tips to models who were fertile, but not taking the contraceptive pill and so had the ability to conceive. The average income of models who were not taking the pill peaked at $355 during the fertile oestrus phase, compared to $260 during the infertile luteal phase and only $185 when they were menstruating.  These large differences in earnings were not present for those women who were taking the pill.

The research findings concluded that men were responding to subtle “leaked cues” when women were in their fertile phase. Men appear to be more pretentious and likely to flaunt their wealth when in the presence of a women who is biologically able to conceive.

Can men predict their behaviour when aroused?

In 2001 researchers at Berkeley collaborated with the behavioural economist Dan Ariely to explore how well men are at predicting how they respond when aroused. Students were asked to indicate what their sexual and moral decisions would be in a variety of somewhat odd sexual activities.

Participants were asked the same questions when they were in a normal unaroused state, and also again when in a state of high sexually arousal. The researchers found that respondents predicted that their willingness to participate in a range of more risky and odd sexual behaviours increased by around three quarters (72% higher).

Ariely’s study concluded that when men are unaroused they are in-capable of accurately predicting their desire to engage in different sexual activities. Once they are aroused though conservatism, morality, prevention and protection appear to completely disappear from their thoughts.

Image of two models from Tiffany.com homepage
Image Source:

 

Are Men more Impulsive When Shown Images of Attractive Women?

Further, research by psychologists Margo Wilson and Martin Daly found that when men are shown images of attractive women they become more impatient and prone to impulsive decisions. The images put men in a mating frame of mind which causes them to discount future rewards more and seek instant gratification.

Image of models on WilliamHill.com Live Casino homepage
Image Source:

 

Discounting is the process where we reduce the value of benefits we could receive in the future against what we can get now.  Men generally have a higher discount rate than women (i.e. men are more short-term focused). The psychologists hypothesized that men have evolved a higher discount rate than women because successful reproduction requires much greater and prolonged investment by women.

Implications for digital marketing:

  • When appropriate images of beautiful women can help improve engagement and sell product.  Men are more likely to act impulsively and take risks when shown such images. This is ideal for products and services which offer the potential for instant gratification such as music and movie download sites, online games, casinos, loans and credit cards.
Image of women models on Barclaycard.com site
Image Source:

 

  • People relate to other people and we have a tendency to associate attractive people with intelligence and honesty. Use images of attractive people to convey relevant emotions and context to your product or service.
Image of Netflix.com homepage
Image Source:

 

  • Although we like to think of ourselves as rational, logical thinkers, in reality we are not. Sure we are driven by explicit goals (e.g. we need a cold drink), but our brand choice is driven by implicit or  psychological goals (e.g.  adventure, enjoyment, safety etc – see Decode goal map below),  what we think other people are doing, context (i.e. what we are doing & our environment), habit and our emotions. Use images to create positive context and emotions for your brand by communicating how it will help them meet important psychological goals.
6 main implicit psychologial goals
Source: Decode Marketing

 

  • A/B test different models to see which ones resonate most with your audience.  Adore Me, a lingerie website, discovered through testing that blonde models reduce conversion, props are a distraction, but couches are fine. The model can be more important than price as even a $10 price cut won’t encourage a customer to buy if an item is worn by a model they don’t like.
  • Through their A/B testing results  they also found that popular models can help sell more expensive versions of the same item which can potentially add millions to the revenues.
Image of model from Adoreme.com
Image Source:

 

  • Where your target audience is men and you want to discourage risky behaviour avoid using beautiful models to arouse visitors. For example where your product requires using current disposable income to put money aside for future gain, such as pensions and long-term investments, using images of attractive women could be counter productive.

 

  • So, attractive women do influence behaviour, whether we are male or female. The evidence is fairly conclusive and suggests that we can improve conversion by using appropriate images of beautiful women on websites to engage visitors and convey relevant contextual and emotional cues.  When you can though A/B test images as if you use the wrong image this can have a detrimental impact on conversion.

Thank you for reading my post and I hope you found it useful.  If you did find my post of value please click on the social media icons at the bottom of the page to show your appreciation.

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.uk and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch, see his LinkedIn profile or connect on Facebook.

Image Optimization Tools To Improve Load Speed & Conversion

14 Resources to Optimize Website Images:

 

Pictures are important for websites because studies indicate that a relevant image improves engagement and views of a page. Images grab our attention and can trigger emotions much more quickly than text. Our brains process images almost instantly, but it takes much longer to read copy.

image of 2 weights
Source: FreeImages.com

This has a cost though as it increases the weight of a page and consequentially the page often takes longer to load. According to the latest HTTP Archive Report which collects technical data from half a million of the web’s most popular websites, the average page now weighs 2,262 KB, up by 16% during 2015. The average webpage has grown by 221% since 2010 and well over half (64%)
of the weight (1,443 KB) is comprised of images.

To keep pages to a manageable weight it is important that images
are optimised to avoid slow load speed which can be damaging to conversion.   Google penalises sites with slow load speeds and visitors are more likely to abandon a site the longer it takes to load.

Research by Akamai and Gomez.com discovered that almost a half of users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and many will leave a site if it hasn’t loaded within 3 seconds.  Etsy found that 160KB of additional images resulted in a 12% increase in the bounce rate on mobile devices.

To help alleviate these problems here  are 14 resources, many of which are free, to optimize your images.

1. CompressNow. Free online tool that supports GIF, JPG, and
PNG. Upload an image up to 9MB, select compression level, and view.

Compressnow.com homepage image


2. FILEminimizer Pictures.
 Offers Free software to reduce
the size of your images, photos and pictures by up to 95%. Compress your JPG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, PNG, and EMF images and pictures. Compress whole digital photo albums at once. Choose from four different compression levels. FILEminimizer also comes in a premium suite that integrates with Microsoft Office, Microsoft Outlook, and Lotus Notes.

Image of Fileminimizer homepage from balesio.com


3. FileOptimizer.
 Free lossless file size optimizer for Windows that supports over 100 different formats. FileOptimizer has a simple
interface that’s easy to automate. All processed files are copied to the recycle bin, so you can easily restore them. FileOptimizer is an open source application.

image of fileoptimizer homepage from nikkhokkho.sourceforge.net


4. ImageOptim.
 This is a Free application for Mac that optimizes PNG, JPG, and GIF images. To do so, ImageOptim integrates a
batch of tools, including PNGOUTPngcrush, ZopfliJpegOptim, and Gifsicle. ImageOptim finds best compression parameters and removes unnecessary comments and colour profiles.

 

Image of Imagoptim.com homepage


5. Image Optimizer.
 Free tool that’s available online or as a
download. Change image dimensions, quality, or file size. Choose an image or compress images in bulk.

Image of imageoptimizer.net homepage


6. JPEGMini.
  A photo compression application that reduces (up to 80 percent) the size of photographs, while preserving their full resolution and quality. JPEGmini Pro supports photos up to 50 megapixels and includes a plugin for Adobe Lightroom. Lite is Free. 

image of jpegmini.com homepage


7. Kraken.io.
 Designed with the purpose of being a single, easy-to-use tool to optimise images. Offers multiple methods for resizing and cropping images, lossless and lossy options, and has a WordPress plugin. You can store optimised images directly in Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, and Rackspace Cloud Files.

Image of https://kraken.io/ homepage


8. PNGOUTWin.
 An application for Windows that uses its own proprietary algorithms for compression. Convert and compress to PNG from TIFF, GIF, BMP, and other formats, or optimize your existing PNG files. Compress one or more files, and drag and drop multiple files on the main window.

Image of PNGOUTWin homepage from http://www.ardfry.com


9. PNGGauntlet.
 A Free PNG shrinking application for Windows.
It combines PNGOUTOptiPNG, and DeflOpt to create the small lossless PNGs. PNGGauntlet converts JPG, GIF, TIFF, and BMP
files to PNG.

Image of PNGGauntlet.com homepage

 

10. PNGOptimizer. Free small Windows program that cleans and
reduces PNG files. It also converts other lossless image formats (BMP, GIF, and TGA) into PNG. PNGOptimizer has a simple drag-and-drop interface and creates easily available PNG screenshots.

Image of PngOptimizer from PSYDK.org

 

11. PunyPNG. A Free online tool that supports JPG, GIF and
PNG. Compress up to 20 files, with a max of 500KB each. The Pro plan offers higher compression and optional “lossy” (e.g. slight quality reductions)  optimizations, with a 1MB max file size for 5,000 images per month.


12. 
RIOT.  (Radical Image Optimization Tool) is a Free image optimisation programme for Windows to visually adjust compression parameters while retaining minimum file size. Compare the original image next to the optimised image in real-time and instantly see the new file size. Its features include batch support for multiple files, image adjustment tool, and colour reduction.

Image of http://luci.criosweb.ro/riot/ homepage

13. TinyPNG. A Free online tool that provides lossy compression to reduce the file size of your PNG files. By selectively decreasing the number of colours in the image, fewer bytes are required to
store the data. TinyPNG also offers a plugin for Photoshop, for Windows and Mac.

 

Image of Tinypng.com homepage

14. Trimage. This is a Free cross-platform tool for optimizing PNG
and JPG files. Trimage uses OptiPNGPngcrushAdvanceCOMP, and Jpegoptim, depending on the file type. All images are compressed on the highest available lossless-compression
levels. Available for Linux and other Unix systems.

Thank you for reading my post. If you found it useful please share it using the social media button below.

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

 

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.uk and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback.  By  aligning each stage of the customer journey  with the organisation’s business goals this helps to improve conversion rates and revenues significantly as almost all websites benefit from a review of customer touch points and user journeys.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch, see his LinkedIn profile or connect on Facebook.

How Important is Social Media to a Brand?

Social Networks Influence Behaviour:

 

Humans are super social animals and we thrive best when connecting with other people. New ideas, products and behaviour spread through our social networks. Consequentially social media has massive potential if used to connect with the right individuals at the right time.

Research by PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PWC) of over 20,000 consumers worldwide found that almost half (45%) of digital buyers indicated reading reviews, comments and feedback on social media influenced their digital shopping behaviour. The influence of social media is probably much greater than this for because many of our  interactions happen offline via word of mouth  and may be so subtle that they are very difficult to identify and measure.

Indeed, research suggests that we often copy other people without being consciously aware of our behaviour. This is because we have developed an almost automatic ability to replicate the behaviour of those who we admire or aspire to be like. As a result the potential power of social networks  should not be underestimated. Indeed, online social networks continue to grow rapidly.

To help you in this important area of marketing I have summarised below over 50 tools that you can employ to get the most out of your social media activity. A number are free or have free trials available, so check them out if you think they could assist your social media planning and implementation.

 Over 50 Solutions To Optimise Your Activity:

1. Analytics for Social Media:

 

1. 33Across: This tool allows you to integrate social media
analytics with your marketing efforts. 33Across offers traffic building and monetization tools for content publishers. SiteCTRL provides real-time insights on how people consumer and share your content. This includes Copy&Paste which monitors on-site copy and paste activity and auto-inserts the page URL to create organic back-links which improve search rankings.

SpeedShare enables and tracks sharing of your content across multiple social networks. The analytics tool helps you to understand how your users share your content in the public domain and privately.

RevCTRL generates insights into the best places where you should focus your marketing efforts and allows for better placement and
more relevant ads for users. Select customized ad signals including social, search, contextual and more. As a result RevCTRL aims to provide higher CPMs and more revenue with fewer ads on your site.

 

Image of 33across.com homepage

2. Brandwatch: Supports 27 languages and is an ideal tool for
international organisations that require a multi-language solution. It is able to monitor conversations across the vast majority of social networks and offers highly targeted searches with industry leading queries powered by 22 Boolean operators. Using an advanced algorithm it offers spam-free data from millions of online sources.

Brand Watch

 

3. Circloscope: A circle management tool for Google+ It allows you to analyse a Google+ post and filter by the amount of engagement and then add those people who re-shared it to a circle. You can also drop in a link to an event and filter for attendees so that you can add them to a circle.

CircleScope

4. Crowdbooster:  A social media strategy tool that gathers data
from your Facebook and Twitter feeds. It allows you to analyse impressions, total reach and engagement and can inform you when people are most likely to view your latest blog post or video upload. This will help you adjust your strategy by understanding what is working and what is not. It also provides you with alerts about new Twitter members who may find your content or brand of interest.

Crowdbooster

5. Facebook Audience Insights: A Free tool from Facebook that allows you to better understand the audience you plan to target before you begin any campaigns.

Image of Facebook Insights page

6. Leadin App (from Hubspot): This is a Free inbound marketing tool which can tell you who is visiting your site and what content they are engaging with. When a visitor signs up to your site the app  automatically identifies the social networks they are on and adds those details to their profile information. The app also allows you to set up contact and lead capture forms on your website, or synchronise your existing forms to your Leadin database.

Leadin app

 

7. LikeAlyzer: For Facebook growth this tool allows you to keep
up-to-date with Facebook stats. LikeAlyzer weekly provides information on your Facebook page such as the number of posts per day, Likes, comments and shares per post, timing and length of posts.

8. Moz Analytics: Provides you with a single dashboard to browse your social media performance and other marketing efforts. As Moz is an SEO tool as well it will show you how your social media activity is affecting your SEO standing.

image

9. Qualia Media: The company has developed an Intent Quality Decision Engine to measure a person’s propensity to purchase. The engine identifies intent across screens and digital journeys by collecting and analysing signals of intent and selects your ideal consumers to deliver highly targeted ads.

10. Social Analytics: This is a Chrome extension that allows you to track real-time social engagement of any website to understand how popular a page or post is on various social networks. This helps you  understand how content on a site is shared and where you might focus social engagement.

Social Analytics

11. SocialFlow: Employs an optimisation algorithm that analyses your Twitter and Facebook data to ensure your content is sent at the optimum time. The tool uses three key criteria to determine when to post content. Message relevance, which of your messages in most likely to connect, your audience (who is currently online), and timing (when is the best moment to post this content).

Social Flow 2

12. Socialmention: A popular Free monitoring and listening tool. This covers over 100 social media networks and measures metrics such as sentiment, strength, passion and reach. Combined with an easy to use interface and the ability to export the data into an Excel sheet if required this is a highly useful tool that does not have any subscription to pay.

13. Sysmos:
A suite of social monitoring tools that help you collect and analyse relevant data within a framework that you can define to identify insights on what matters to you. It incorporates a workflow system that enables you to process large volumes of mentions to allow you to make data-driven decisions.

14. ubervu: Powered by Hootsuite, this is a popular real-time social media analytics tool that gives you access to primary data on social media activity which provides insights to improve your social media marketing activity.

2. Content discovery and creation:

 

1. Anews: An iOS app that allows you read all the news, blogs and social networks on topics that interest you in one place. The app also enables you to share any articles with your social networks.

2. Atomicreach: This tool analyses the emotional appeal of your content and evaluates whether your articles are written appropriately for the kind of people that read your content.  The app uses advanced data analytics to uncover how writing patterns impact your audience and machine learning to identify when they are interacting with your content.

image

3. EMV Headline Analzser: The Emotional Value Headline
Analyzer is provided by the Advanced Marketing Institute for evaluating how emotional a headline is to provide an indication of the chances of it being shared.

4. Nuzzel: A social discovery tool that aggregates the stories and posts that your Facebook friends and Twitter followers are sharing and then sorts them by the number of friends who share an individual piece of content or by most recent. It also allows you view other friends’ feeds to see what their friends are sharing with them to identify what is important to your immediate network, your
friends’ networks and your friends-of-friends’ networks.

Nuzzel

5. Pocket: This is a content curation tool that allows you to store articles, videos or other content for when you need it. It allows you to tag posts for easy sorting and filter by video, image or article.

Image of Pocket.com homepage

6. Portent Idea Generator: If you ever need a bit of help
with what to write about a certain subject this tool provides instant headline suggestions to build an article around.

Portent Idea Generator

7. RebelMouse: A social networking aggregation tool that allows you to use flexible, dynamic rules to auto-publish content from social platforms and gather content from RSS feeds and APIs. It also offers a CMS and mobile app platform which allows you to choose from a variety customisable designs.

8. RefreshBox: Is a social curation and email marketing solution.
The app allows you to package and send five links via email each week. There is a Chrome extension which will capture the title of any post you’re read and add it to your list which is automatically sent to your subscribers every Friday.

Image of Refreshbox.com

3. Content Management:

1. Buffer: Offers a Free account manager for one Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn account with up to 10 updates in each of your buffers (account schedule).  You can also have a 7 day trial to include Pinterest in your account.

This a great tool to optimize and automate the times when you post on social media. Further, it provides detailed analytics of the
number of clicks, favourites, shares, comments and the potential reach of individual posts. The browser plugin for the tool means that you don’t need to access the Buffer website to schedule or share content.

You can go Awesome for $10 a month to manager 12 social profiles, with unlimited posts in your buffer, and have two users to manage the account. This allows you to decide on whether to send posts out of one account or multiple accounts across different social networks
simultaneously.

2. CoSchedule: A Wordpress plugin that allows you to plan, schedule and promote your blog content across multiple social media channels. CoSchedule integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Buffer. You can also track post links though Bit.ly or Google tracking tags.  You can manage all your content creation calendar and social media sharing schedule from the
backend of your WordPress website or blog.
The tool will also monitor social media engagement from your posts and produce an activity report which ranks posts based upon the level of engagement.

Image of CoSchedule.com

3. Edgar:  A paid for solution that automatically adds your new posts to a library which allows you to recycle all your social media posts so that you end up with a never-ending queue of content. You can determine what to post and when it goes out.

Image of Edgar.com homepage

4. Everypost: A Free social media app that allows you to manage all your posts onto the major social networks in one place. The app enables you to send updates simultaneously to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest and also allows you to post via email. For Twitter it has a text shortener that automatically shortens
updates to keep them under 140 characters.

5.  Hootsuite: This one of the most well-known and popular social
media tools that helps you manage multiple social media accounts by monitoring, posting and delegating tasks within your team. This includes Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress, Foursquare, Instagram and many more.

In addition Hootsuite offers customised analytics, including scheduled reports, and they have partnered with Brandwatch to further enhance analytical capabilities.

Other features of the tool include the ability to collaborate as a team (e.g. delegate replies, Tweets, track messages etc.), RSS integration (post updates from an RSS feed) and mobile apps.

 

Hootsuite

6. IFTTT: This app allows you to connect many of your favourite apps to create automatic actions from one app to another when you complete a set task. These automated actions are called recipes and there are many to choose from.

Recipes include Tweeting your Facebook updates, share your Instagrams to Facebook, forward emails to save attachments to Dropbox, posting Vimeo videos you like to Tumblr, saving new texts you receive in Google Spreadsheet, copying any Instagram
pictures you take to Google Drive, adding your latest iPhone screenshots to a Dropbox folder and saving articles saved for later in Feedly in Pocket too.

image

 

7. Salesforce Marketing Cloud: The Digital Marketing Platform enables you to monitor and engage with customers across every channel, including email, social and mobile, automate and manage campaigns, publish content, analyse the results and optimize as you go.

8. SocialOomph: This tool allows you to schedule tweets in
advance and auto-follow your new followers. The dashboard enables you to combine Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plurk and your blog into one place to schedule posts and monitor social media activity.

Image of socialoomph.com homepage

9. Spredfast:  This is a social media management, listening,
analytics, sponsorship and content marketing tool.   It is particularly
good for gathering data from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr on audience reach and engagement.  You can assess engagement and campaign performance with unified social media dashboards.

It also includes a calendar feature which informs you of the optimal times to send updates. The tool integrates with digital analytics solutions such as Omniture, Google Analytics, Brandwatch, Crimson, Hexagon and more.

 

10. Sprout Social: A management and engagement platform for social business.  You can manage, post, monitor, and analyse multiple social media accounts from the tool. It allows you to post updates simultaneously across Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Monitor your messages across social networks through on streaming inbox and their ViralPost algorithm analyses your followers’ engagement patterns to identify the best time to
publish content. Their analytics reporting allows you to customize social media reporting across networks and profiles. Offers a 30 day Free trail.

image

 

11. Tagboard: This is a social search and display platform which
allows you to get a snap shot of sentiment surrounding your hashtag. This allows you to identify where most engagement was generated so that you prioritise effort in the right social networks. In addition Tagboard allows you to reply to people from the snapshot page, which works well for conferences and generating conversations in real-time.

Tagboard

12. Tailwind: An app for saving you time with managing your
Pinterest account. It allows you to schedule pins in advance, schedule re-pins, easily pin any visual content from any website using the Tailwind hover button, obtain easy to understand analytics and get reminders about boards that you need to optimize.

The app also allows you to organise your Instagram photos based on likes, comments or most recent photos. Further, it allows you to post Instagram photos on Pinterest and connect with Pinterest users on
Instagram.

4. Design and presentations:

 

1. Canva: A free web-based design tool that has some of the best elements of Photoshop and a range of designer templates. A very easy to use tool which offers an excellent range of design templates, fonts and layouts.

There are also free tutorials that show you how to produce better graphics. A great tool if you wish to customize images to post on social media.

Canva

 

2. Haiku Deck: A web-based and iPad app for creating awesome looking presentations and with   the additional benefit of integrating with SlideShare. A great tool for reinventing content as you can choose from a range of stylish fonts, layouts and image filters to create a really polished looking presentation.

 Image of haikudeck.com homepage

3.  LeadPages: Offers you the ability to create landing pages to encourage desired conversations from your social media activity. It provides a powerful (WYSIWYG) visual editor to design and launch
landing pages within minutes.

Image of Leadpages.com homepage

4. Markr: Is an app for creating visual hashtags for photos and videos.  Connect your Facebook or Twitter account to capture trending hashtags or you can create your own hashtags, You can then add an appropriate hashtag directly to an image or video to help it stand out from the crowd.

5. Studio: A useful app that you can use with Instagram for image
design. Studio is a photo-based social network that allows you to easily add text-based designs and layers to your photos. It also allows you to remix designs that you come across and share it as one of your own photos.

Studio

6. Word Swag: This is an iPhone app that allows you add awesome text effects to your photos to create professional-quality posts and photo-quotes.

 

 5. Outreach:

 

1. Discover.ly: This is a Free Chrome extension that shows you the social networks that your email connections use and you can even cross-reference other social networks as you browse on individual social sites. This allows you to identify if you have the potential
to connect with individual people across multiple social networks or how you might connect with someone new through a mutual connection.

Discoverly

 

2. Little Bird: A tool for identifying, targeting and engaging with
the most influential people on the social web. It uses the collective discovery of other relevant people to find influencers and maps influencer networks to focus your social media strategy on the people that matter.

 

image

 

 

3. Zoho SalesIQ: This is platform for tracking website visitors that
enables you to connect and engage with your users in real-time. It includes a language translator, integration with Zoho CRM and advanced triggers to segment visitors by how long they’ve been on your website, pages visited, type of visitor and many more classifications and responses.

6. Planning:

 

1. Chase’s Calendar of EventsA platform that monitors events, holidays, landmarks, anniversaries, birthdays and many more items in the social calendar. The online calendar will plug you into the theme of the day and provide you with ideas for topical and interesting content or conversations.

 

2. Process Street: A free process and work flow management solution that also provides downloadable, step-by-step checklists for your articles to make your content more engaging. The tool also allows you to add images, videos and other files to your checklist.

Image of process.st homepage

3. Todoist: A useful tool to manage your daily task list. It also allows you capture ideas via mobile device, browser, email or desktop. You can then prioritise, schedule and add actions against each item on your list. It keeps individual project separate by using folders
and labels and everyday it notifies you the day’s actions.

image

7. Podcasts:

 

1. RINGR: Is an iOS and Android app that allows you to connect with someone you want to interview remotely and record the entire conversation over the phone. They simply have to install the app,
enter an invite code and begin the recording.

2. Smart Podcast Player: A WordPress plugin for
podcasters that is compatible with any podcast RSS feed from any podcasting hosting service, including Libsyn and SoundCloud.

The design of the Smart Podcast Player allows you to display
your podcast artwork, customise the colour of the adio track bar and adjust the colour of the full player between a light or dark coloured theme.

 

8. Share Content & Grow Traffic:

 

1. Bitly: A Free service that provides link shortening to post your content on social media accounts, together with real-time analytics, bookmarking your favourite sites and  allows you to track clicks.

Bitly

2. Snip.ly: This is an awesome URL link shortener that when clicked shows a customised call-to-action snippet at the bottom of the page. This is a fantastic way of driving traffic back to your own website by sharing great content from others. Snip.ly also has a Chrome browser plug-in that automatically snips links you share or create when used with Bit.ly. All your Bit.ly links will then automatically add the Snip.ly messages to your updates on social media.

 

3. SumoMe: This offers a suite of 11 free tools to help you grow the traffic to your site. The visitor heatmap tool allows you to see what your visitors are clicking on so that you can make more informed decisions about improving the design of individual web pages.

The Scroll Box allows you to ask visitors to submit their email addresses as they finish reading your latest post or learning about your product. Smart Bar is positioned at the top of your website to remind your visitors to join your email list, read your latest blog post, or whatever else you want them to do.

 

 

image

 

 9. Social Selling:

 

1. PeopleLinx: This is a tool for driving social selling behaviour using
gamification Users are allocated to a team so that you can view activity across teams and at an individual level. It allows team managers to set up profile “optimizations” and “to-do’s” that get assigned to people in each team. Automated alerts are then sent to team members to take action.

 

Peoplelinx.com

10. Twitter Analytics and Account Management:

 

1. Followerwonk: A great tool to analyse Twitter profiles. 30 day Free trial is available.

2. Tweepi: A useful tool for managing your Twitter account as it
allows you to remove unfollowers, clean up inactive followers, reciprocate by following new followers and follow accounts that may be of interest.

image

 

3. Twitalyzer: A comprehensive Twitter analytics platform that
combines basic Twitter measures with demographic data, commonly used metrics such as Klout, and their own proprietary scores.

4. Twitonomy: A dedicated Twitter account management and
analytics tool that will give you insights on the people you follow and those that follow you. It allows you to see who you follow, but do not follow you back, and those that follow you, but you don’t follow.

 11. Video:

 

1. Overvideo: This is an iPhone app that creates visual calls to
action when you share video content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. The app allows you to create and customize the call to action or link in the video and you can even select the moment you want a graphic or message to display in the video.

image

Wow,  you have done fantastic to get to the end of this long post. If you have found my post useful please share using the social media icons on this page.

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Foxybingo.com, Very.co.uk and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback.  By  aligning each stage of the customer journey  with the organisation’s business goals this helps to improve conversion rates and revenues significantly as almost all websites benefit from a review of customer touch points and user journeys.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch and view his LinkedIn profile.