5 New (And Effective) Ways To Measure Event ROI

Events drive leads for sales and are a powerful networking tool that enables companies and brands to connect with their audiences and clients face to face. At least, that’s what we know. But as any marketer, sales rep and event organizer will tell you, qualifying those collected leads is anything but certain.


Because not all leads are created equal, and every individual at your event has their own unique journey to the final sale.

According to Statista, only 14% of B2B marketers’ budgets are being allocated for in-person trade shows in 2015. Because of this, event marketers are pressured to find the metrics that matter when it comes to proving value.

Traditionally most event organizers and sales reps have focused on the data that is generated before and after an event, which gives a good picture of who showed up, but not much else.

Here are 5 ways that event marketers can use the data that is being generated before, during, and after their events to create a richer experience for their attendees, while providing insights into the value of their show.

1. Social Listening

Using social media to track activity pre and post-event is nothing new, but keeping up with what your audiences are saying during your event could lead to valuable clues and insights to help optimize your event for the future. EventTrack revealed that nearly 77% of event marketers use social media as a key engagement strategy before an event. But that number drops to 61% after the event. It seems silly that most organizers would disappear on social after their event is over, and even sillier that we wouldn’t be prioritizing social media during events!

Try setting up a social listening dashboard to track your event’s unique hashtag. (And if you don’t have one of those, you’d better jump on that bandwagon!) Look for valuable clues such as sentiment, number of posts, images, etc. from your audience. Are they posting quotes from speakers who inspired them? Or are they complaining that the speaker went on too long? Are they posting a ton of photos about a specific exhibitor’s booth or product that they’re excited about? Those comments can go a long way to tailoring future events and finding the content that’s really connecting with your audience.

Using that social data will help you identify engaged attendees who really are invested in your event. Or use that social data to generate post-event content that you know your attendees loved by sending out notes from your most popular speakers, creating graphics based on trending quotes from your sessions, point audiences towards presentations that were used during keynotes, post photos of people having fun and enjoying themselves, or send out a newsletter highlighting all the great social activity that your event attracted to make attendees feel special.

Some tools you can use to set up an easy to use social listening dashboard:

  • Hootsuite – Set up an alert for your event’s unique hashtag or name and collect all social mentions on your registered social accounts. The mobile app will allow for real-time responses and monitoring no matter where you are on the floor.
  • Google Alerts – An “oldie but goodie” in terms of being able to have all mentions from around the web about your conference’s hashtag or name sent directly to your email account.
  • Mention – A personal favorite of mine for setting up a dedicated dashboard to listen for any mention of your show. Mention pulls in everything from blogs, to forums, to social posts all in one dedicated location.

2. In-Event Surveys

Want to know what your audience thought about the speakers or exhibitors you’ve booked? Ask them while the content is still fresh in their mind! Sending out surveys during or the night of an event is a great way to gauge interest from your attendees and an excellent way to collect additional data that you can use when planning for your next one. How long did they spend at the session? Did they enjoy the topic? Is there anything else they wish the speaker would have covered? What topics are they most interested in?

Don’t forget to look at the metrics that come with your survey as well, such as open rate, bounce rate, time on page, etc. Those people who took the time to give you feedback might be qualified leads waiting to be added to your sales pipeline! And what a great excuse to follow up with them to thank them for their time, whether the response was good or bad!

Don’t forget to pool your exhibitors for their thoughts and feedback on the event. They are in the trenches talking to your attendees, and they can probably offer some unique insights as to how they thought the event’s marketing worked, what could be done better, attendee attitude, etc.


Some survey tools you can use during your event to maximize attendee response:

  • Your Mobile App – If your conference has a dedicated mobile app that allows for surveying, this is an effective way to reach those who are already engaged and using your content to find their way around. Create surveys on the fly or work with your speakers to craft a questionnaire that will give valuable insights.
  • Email – If you’re collecting attendee email addresses at your event (and you really should), then you already have a direct way to connect with them to gain insights. Not everyone will respond during the event, because hopefully they’re still engaged with the event itself, but you might be surprised who answers after the day is over.
  • SurveyMonkey – A powerful and free survey tool to help you manage the email addresses, which allows organizers to “jazz up” their content a bit. Pro tip: Add your company’s branding to legitimize the messaging and increase response rate.

3. Targeted Messaging


Image Source

If you’re tracking movement during your event using beacon or RFID technology, then you have a good idea of where people are gravitating on the floor. Most event organizers send out messaging via their conference app, or using emails to “remind” attendees of upcoming speakers, special offers, etc.

Use that digital data to help understand which messaging and attractions at your event really resonated with attendees or inspired them to attend. For example, you can correlate how many individuals were scanned going to the events that you messaged them about via your conference app or use the email analytics to understand who was reading your content and who wasn’t. Not only will you have a better understanding of what messaging really caught people’s attention, you can prove to speakers, exhibitors, and your boss, which partners you should be securing for future events who will really drive attendance and traffic.

4. Gamification

Gamification is a trend that’s worth looking into when it comes to live events. What better way to engage attendees and get them excited about exhibitors, speakers, and parties than by creating a fun game with swag to encourage them to discover?

Some examples of successful gamification methods would be:

  • Scavenger hunts – just as much fun as when you were a kid, but now you’re competing for grown-up prizes, and there’s networking along the way.
  • Photo quests – encourage attendees to find locations or people to snap photos of that they can post to their social channels; it gets them to use your event’s hashtag, while promoting how much fun they’re having (and again, there’s prizes).
  • Social check-ins – getting people to check in at certain event locations can be difficult, but not when you incentivize them or make it part of a bigger game!
  • Networking challenges – Who’s going to be the first to collect 100 business cards or gain 20 new followers on Twitter?

The data that these types of games collect will be invaluable to knowing whether or not your content was compelling, and will help you understand which of your attendees were really interacting with your event.

Getting exhibitors in on the game is another great way to collect data too. They will appreciate the increased networking opportunities, and you will be able to see how actively people participated and where they went. Those attendees who enthusiastically played along may qualify as sales leads for your organization or possible thought-leaders to partner with in the future to help promote upcoming events or content that you plan on releasing.

5. Mobile App Insights


Your event’s mobile app is a treasure trove of attendee activity that you can export and use to produce data-driven insights. Beyond the total number of downloads, ask your app provider for a full breakdown of who used the app and how to discover whether or not it was effective. Did your attendees use the messaging function? Or were they more focused on the app’s networking capabilities? You could even send out a survey to ask attendees what improvements you could make to your event’s app. Those metrics will drive a better understanding of your audience’s needs as well as improve functionality.

Using this kind of digital data to help inform the layout, agenda, and messaging for your event will take a lot of the guesswork out of planning, not to mention deliver a more qualified list of leads to your sales teams! And because events are an expensive and immersive experience for everyone involved, marketers need these kinds of insights to help them prove value to their attendees, sponsors, speakers, and exhibitors.


Connecting with your prospects and clients in person is key to driving your sales and marketing. As described in this post, I am proposing several ways that you can learn about the actual experience of your attendees. Because each attendee has their own agenda, priorities and social behavior, it is complicated to understand every journey throughout your event.

At the very least, you should identify and understand those attendees who are the most engaged at the event. By focusing on these attendees, you will be able to optimize your messaging before, during, and after future events? With the right combination of tools, you can reveal much about your attendees and translate this on broader scale into successful sales and marketing campaigns.

Watch Our Upcoming Webinar

Brian Friedman will be the presenter in our upcoming webinar, How to Leverage Data to Drive Event Marketing Decisions. Signup if you’d like to learn more.

About the Author: Brian Friedman is the founder and CEO of Loopd. Design driven product leader socializing technology through wearables and analytics.

Who Wants to Become Business Partners with Neil Patel?

business partners

Have you ever wondered how I’ve been able to build multiple successful businesses? KISSmetrics receives over a million visitors a month, and the business raised over 15 million dollars in funding.

Crazy Egg, although it isn’t talked about much these days, does well too. It’s actually larger than KISSmetrics from a financial standpoint… it generates more profit each year than KISSmetrics does in revenue. And Hellobar, which is owned by Crazy Egg, is growing at a rapid pace. The bar is seen millions of times each and every day. 

And those are just the businesses people know me for. I have a handful of other businesses that do well too that no one hears about. For example, I’ve made millions of dollars in profit from real estate over the last few years…simply by buying distressed properties, fixing them, and then flipping them.

I’m not here to brag because the reality is I’m not that smart or even lucky. I’m where I am today because I’ve surrounded myself with people who are smarter than me. And I make sure I always take care of those people who do well for me…

In essence, my team members are like my family members. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am.

So what’s the purpose of today’s blog post? I am actually looking for more team members—family members—ones that I can work with for life.

Now, before you apply to any of these positions, make sure you read them all, and pick the one that’s the best fit for you. 

Basic skills

No matter what position you are applying for, I’m looking for people who have the following qualities:

  • You are a natural hustler.
  • You communicate professionally.
  • English must be your native language or you have native fluency.
  • You have a constant and reliable computer and Internet access.
  • You are intelligent, self-motivated, and hardworking.
  • You are looking for a long-term partnership because once I find someone I enjoy working with, I want to work with them for life (seriously).
  • You have to be willing to work 40 hours a week.
  • You need to have good time-management skills (you can work remotely).

If you have these qualities and skills, you may be a good fit for ONE of the openings below.

There are multiple job openings/partnership opportunities, apply to each of the ones that you feel you are a good fit for.

Opportunity #1: My new book

Over the years, many of you have told me that I should write a book. And I am actually now. It’s been in the works for more than six months, and it will come out next year. I’ll be announcing more details of the book in January.

The book is going to be co-authored with two of my long-time friends: Patrick Vlaskovits, who is a New York Times best-selling author, and Jonas Koffler, who is responsible for a lot of The New York Times best-selling books you’ve read.

If you are interested in joining our book team, here are the three positions we are looking for:

  1. Digital Marketer/Growth Hacker – you will be responsible for top-of-the-funnel marketing. You should have experience with SEO, social media marketing, conversion optimization, and anything else that could be used to drive sales.
  2. Content Marketer – you will be responsible for the editorial content and calendar, supporting this project, and will help identify and target sites with large audiences receptive to our messages as well as craft and create blog posts for A-list blogs and media outlets. You will also help schedule podcasts and AMAs. Being detail- and deadline-oriented is a must, and we’ll need our person to be extremely well-organized and have a passion for putting together insanely great content with a deep knowledge of outlets. Oh, and design skills are a plus.
  3. Research Assistant - you will work with us to track down great stories and data. You love getting to the heart of the matter, and you know how to find gems in unexpected places. You’re fearless and committed to new and big ideas while able to gather materials quickly. You will be an integral part of the content team, helping us dig up inspirational and exciting content for the project.

If you are interested in working on the book project with me, here’s how you can apply:

  1. Shoot an email to: neilpatelprojects@gmail.com
  2. The subject line must be: “Book Project for NAME OF POSITION” (This is not a trick question. Include the actual name of the position you are applying for.)
  3. In the email, note the following three things:
    1. Your full name
    2. Where you live
    3. The name of the city and name of the venue that the Beatles performed in for an entire year before they became globally famous.
  4. Attach a picture of a slice of pepperoni pizza. It has to be in the .png format and cannot be greater than 1 MB.
  5. Do only those tasks.

For the book project, you’ll be going through three rounds of interviewing before we choose the three lucky individuals. The tasks above will get you through round 1, after which we will give you the next set of tasks you will need to complete.

The deadline to apply for the openings for the book project is October 6th by 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Opportunity #2: My new software company

I’m looking for an engineer who can help create an ad management software. I already have the customer base and clientele for this business.

I’m not just looking for an engineer. I’m looking for someone who wants to become business partners and help start a new venture.

Here’s some of the skills I’m looking for:

  • Proficient coder – someone who writes clean code and can code extremely fast.
  • API knowledge – you either need to have the knowledge or to be a quick learner as you’ll be tapping into the Facebook ad API and the Google AdWords API.
  • Knowledge of Amazon Web Services – the product will be hosted on Amazon Web Services.
  • Ability to create a product that scales – keep in mind that there will be thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of users going through the product each and every day. There will also be a lot of data passing through the application that needs to be analyzed and computed.

If you are interested in becoming partners in the software company, please go here to apply.

Opportunity #3: Copywriters and funnel experts

I am doing a lot of stuff in the conversion optimization space right now. Here’s what I am looking for:

  1. You need to read Quick Sprout. Make sure you read the guides and posts on Quick Sprout as I am looking for someone who already knows the conversion optimization basics.
  2. You have to be passionate about online marketing. If you don’t love what you are working on, you’ll eventually quit. That’s why you need to have a passion for marketing.
  3. You need to understand copywriting, sales funnels, and email marketing. You don’t have to be the best at any of these tasks, but having a basic understanding of them is a huge plus. My team and I can help you become an expert on these topics.

If you are interested in the marketing position, please go here to apply.


If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. If you applied for a past job and didn’t get selected, it doesn’t mean you can’t apply for any of these openings.

Last time, we had an applicant who was very persistent. His name is Jared Mitchell. He kept emailing and calling and even got a meeting with me. He proved his value and did so well in the first few months that over the next six months he will make $150,000 to $200,000 just from my network.

And Jared isn’t the only case. Jonathan Rozek continually bugged me to show me how he can improve my conversions through copy changes. He showed me the results, and he is on track to make a similar to Jared’s income over the next 12 months.

I look forward to bringing you into my family so that we can become team members and help each other grow and prosper.

P.S. Don’t forget to apply to one of the positions above.

How I Memorize Lines for Video Scripts & Public Speaking (FS130)

On the show today we share a smorgasbord of rewarding and profitable tidbits!

  • Want to know more about how we prepare for public speaking? Done.
  • Want to know how Chase memorizes lines of his video scripts? Done.
  • Want to hear about that one time when Steph ruined the sleepover? Done.
  • Tesla driverless car stuff? Of course!

Honestly, I had a blast recording this episode. It's honest, raw and interesting, with plenty of rich tips to collect along the way. Enjoy!

It’s better to listen on the go!    Subscribe on iTunes 

Want to know how @chase_reeves memorizes lines of his video scripts? Done.

Show Notes

Ashton Kutcher Speech – Teen Choice Awards (HQ) – YouTube

Pioneer Nation – October 1-3, 2015

Facebook working on 'dislike' button, Zuckerberg says

Fizzle – YouTube

Keith Richards: Under the Influence – Trailer – A Netflix Documentary [HD] – YouTube

Review: Trevor Noah Keeps ‘Daily Show’ DNA in Debut – The New York Times

In Enterprise SaaS sales, once you send over the formal proposal, what can you do to help increase the chance the deal closes?


What you can do is Ask.  Ask what the process is from here to close.  Ask who the exact people are that need to sign off to get you a check.  Ask how long it will take.

Ask what you can do to help.


Black box it and it could drag on near forever.

See Questions On Quora

View original question on quora

Friday Q & A: How to Know When to Kill a Strategy, Measuring Remote Employee Performance, and Gaining Trust With Customers Who Speak a Different Language

Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.

Happy Friday!

In our new Groove Friday Q & A segment, we’re answering any questions that you have about, well, anything.

A huge thank you to Benjamin Beck, Cleyton Messias and Marius for this week’s questions.

Check out this week’s answers below, and jump in with your own thoughts in the comments!

How do you decide if a strategy should be continued or stopped?

This question gets at the heart of one of the biggest challenges of being a small company.

We don’t have the volume of traffic and data that a business like Amazon or Netflix might have. Not every decision can be data-driven, because it can take a really long time to get statistically significant results for small tests.

Things like deciding whether it’s a good idea to do a giveaway, or to delete our company Facebook account, often are as much—or even more—about gut feeling as they are about metrics-driven decision making.

That can be frustrating to hear, especially in an ecosystem where it sounds like everyone is telling you that “data should drive everything.” The reality is that for 99% of businesses, that’s simply not practical. Intuition is hugely important, and plays a massive role in running a business, regardless of how unscientific it may seem.

Trying to justify everything you do with numbers will drive you crazy. Save that for tests that you know you can get great answers to based on data.

For everything else, practice the lost art of trusting your gut. And then learn from the results.

So, to answer your question: for many things (especially smaller initiatives like the giveaways), we don’t know whether it’s going to have a net positive or negative ROI in the long-term, but we make decisions based on how we feel.

Sometimes we’re right. Sometimes we’re wrong. But hopefully, every time we get better at making decisions.

How do you measure remote employees’ performance?

It’s been said many times, but whether deliberately or not, one of the biggest problems with the traditional office model is that for many companies, it has turned “hours worked” into a performance metric.

We don’t work on production lines where we need specific stations staffed at specific times, nor do we simply need warm bodies to be “present.” Showing up isn’t the same as getting things done.

In a perfect world, co-located businesses would realize the same thing, and the best approach for measuring remote employees’ performance would be no different than measure the performance of someone who works from the company’s office.

To me, that means measuring employees based on:

  1. Output: Are they productive in whatever hours they choose to work? Is their work product good? Does their work contribute to the business?
  2. Drive: Do they set and strive to achieve aggressive goals? Do they try to be better this week than they were last week?
  3. Teamwork: Are they a positive influence on the team? Do they make the people around them better? Do people like working with them?

To actually measure these things, take a combination of:

  1. Your own gut instinct (see my answer to question #1).
  2. Peer reviews from the team.
  3. Metrics that are specific to their role; each role is different, so you need to find metrics that can measure the effectiveness of their output (for example, a customer support agent might be measured in customer satisfaction).

Hope that helps!

If English isn’t your first language, how do you gain the trust of potential customers on phone calls?

I can think of at least two software products I’ve purchased in the last year built by founders who don’t have English as their first language.

You certainly have a challenge on your hands, but I’d approach it like any other challenge: figure out how to creatively work around it.

I’m not entirely sure what your product is and the best advice will depend on your specific target customer, but three things immediately come to mind:

  1. You mention gaining trust. Trust doesn’t have to be gained over the phone. You could try building valuable content for your prospects that solves problems for them, and then have it translated by professionals (which can typically be done pretty cheaply; Len gave some tips on that here).
  2. Another option would be to bring on a team member part-time to help with pitches to English-speaking customers. If you can’t spend the money on it yet, perhaps there are some ways you can work something out for a different form of payment (equity, bartering, etc…).
  3. Make phone calls regardless of the language barrier. An accent or less-than-great English doesn’t make you untrustworthy. I’ve gotten very untrustworthy vibes from many people with perfect English, and have been excited to business with many people who have accents, or even people with poor grammar for whom English is their native tongue. Just keep pitching. You’ll hear a lot of “no’s”, but so does every entrepreneur. Don’t assume it’s because of your English. Just keep going until you start hearing “yes.”

I’d favor option 3, but there are a few different ways that I think you can win here.

Send me weekly updates about Groove’s Friday Q&A

Thank you for subscribing!

Your Turn: Ask Groove Anything

I’d love for this new weekly segment to be successful, and provide a valuable repository of answers from our entire community for entrepreneurs everywhere.

To do that, I need your help.

Here’s what you can do to get involved:

  1. Ask questions. Post them in the comments of this post, or Tweet them to us at @Groove.
  2. Answer questions. Every Friday, we’ll post a new Q&A segment. If you have anything to add or share regarding any of the questions asked, jump in! Many of you are far more qualified than I to speak on some of the topics that people ask me about.

Are your customers in enough pain?

Let me let you in on a little startup secret: you want your prospective customers in pain. Lots of pain. Really suffering, like if their hands were being held over an open fire and the flames were starting to make their skin blister, blacken and burn.

Now, I basically a nice guy and don’t want anyone (except most Republican Presidential candidates) to experience any pain at all. All rainbows, kittens, and puppies. But, I want your prospective customers to really be hurting when they hear about you – and so do you.


Here’s why: Pain changes behavior. While we all seek pleasure, pleasure is a weak second place when it comes to changing people’s behavior enough for them adopt a new product or service. Regardless of all the arguments you can make that your product will make this faster, richer, happier, more entertained or taller, customers will tune all that out as typical blah, blah, blah. Unless they are in pain and they decide your offering may take some or all of their pain away.

Keep in mind there’s all sorts of pain. From the manager who just got reamed by his boss to the mild, nagging boredom a 16-year-old feels when no one posts to them for like 10 whole minutes. And by the way, maybe your customer doesn’t even realize they are in pain, and with your help can get in touch with it (aka advertising).

But all and all, you, the self-funded startup founder (SFSF?), need to categorize, itemize, measure, and probe your customers’ pain, and decide if it’s enough pain to motivate them to listen to you, consider your offering, and ultimately buy.

I recently made that calculation with Solopomo.com. Sure, there are people out there who use Trello, and want to get their Trello work done using the Pomodoro Technique. While it’s a cool idea, and works, prospective customers are just not in enough pain to motivate the change in behavior Solopomo would need to succeed. (I’m keeping Solopomo around for a month or so, so if you haven’t picked up my nifty Trello tips, grab them before they go away.)

4129400323_03d17b79b0_mSo what’s next, side-project-wise? (I’ve got a day job that’s a blast) Time to return to doing a SaaS for a very specific group of people who are in real pain each and every day. They are feeling the pain of failing at building their dream. They are feeling the pain of sacrificing family time that can never be recovered. They are hating they day jobs. And they are starting to hate themselves because their best is not good enough to get the job done they way they’ve been trying.

I’m talking about you of course.

You’re reading this because you are trying, struggling, clawing to build your self-funded startup. But you are not making progress, or enough progress. You need a new approach, a whole new tool, for building your startup that make it possible to really make progress, not tread water week after week. You’re not sure I’ve got anything you can use, but your pain means you’ll at least give it a try.

So are you in enough self-funded startup founder pain to try something new? Let me know in the comments or drop me a line at bob.walsh@47hats.com.

The post Are your customers in enough pain? appeared first on 47hats.com.

Pride of Britain – Duane Jackson: His Story | Video: Fireside Chat at Business of Software Europe Conference 2015

Duane grew up in childrens’ homes in the East End of London, left school with no qualifications and ended up serving a 5 year prison sentence for drug trafficking. He served time in US and UK prisons.

On his release, with a baby on the way, he decided to “go straight”.  He struggled to use products like Sage and Quickbooks to keep accounts so developed a web-based application for his own use. He eventually spotted the opportunity to sell this product to other small businesses and KashFlow was born.

KashFlow was one of the first Software-as-a-service (SaaS) products and was at the forefront of the move of software from he desktop to the Cloud.

By 2013 KashFlow employed 40 people and was serving nearly 20,000 customers. In October 2013 the business was sold to IRIS for an undisclosed sum that has been reported as being “in the tens of millions”.

His extraordinary story is recapped in his recently released book Four Thousand Days and seen him be honoured in events such as the Pride of Britain Awards in October 2015. See our first released video of Business of Software Europe 2015 below and hear his story about building Kashflow.

Join the Business of Software Community.

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The post Pride of Britain – Duane Jackson: His Story | Video: Fireside Chat at Business of Software Europe Conference 2015 appeared first on Business of Software USA.

What Marketers Need to Know About Cohorts

The word “cohort” can be scary to those unfamiliar with the term. It may sound like something out of a medical journal or statistics class. But, I promise you, there’s nothing to be afraid of. And, if you’re a marketer, it’s pretty important to understand cohorts if you want to get into and benefit from marketing analytics.

So, what is a cohort? Wikipedia defines it as:

“A cohort is a group of subjects who have shared a particular event together during a particular time span (e.g., people born in Europe between 1918 and 1939; survivors of an air crash; truck drivers who smoked between age 30 and 40).”

Pretty simple, right?

And, if you’re one those left-brained people who love to analyze data, then cohorts are perfect for you.

Cohorts are frequently used in studies to compare groups of people. They’re useful because, in a cohort study, you track the cohorts over a period of time to see what kind of data each one brings.

To use one of the examples from above, you could study truck drivers who smoked between age 30 and 40 compared with those who didn’t smoke at all and/or those who smoked earlier or later in life. You would then look at various test results for each cohort and compare the data.

Now, we’re not going to be talking about truck drivers who smoked. Since we’re marketers, we’re going to run through how we can apply cohorts to optimize our marketing. We’ll also examine a couple of tools that offer cohort analysis.

How Can Marketers Use Cohorts?

There are literally hundreds of cohorts marketers can create. But, the question here is not how many they can create. It’s which cohorts will produce the most insightful data.

When thinking about which cohorts to track, ask yourself these questions:

  • Will the data I get from these cohorts produce insights that can change my marketing strategy?
  • Will I be able to clearly know what’s working and what’s not when it comes to marketing?
  • What targets do I need to hit this year? Will this cohort help me improve that metric?

Here are three cohorts marketers may find useful:

1. Signed Up / Purchased, Organized by Time

You’re a marketer, so it’s critical for you to deliver leads and signups to your sales team. Create a cohort that tracks people who visited your site and signed up. You’ll see when they first visited your site and how long it took them to sign up after their first visit. This can essentially tell you if your marketing campaigns lead people to take immediate action. Let’s break it down.

The new year begins, along with your new marketing campaign. You’ve spent the past 2 months planning it, designing it, and setting targets. Now it’s prime time, and you’re ready to see how it performs.

Your campaign runs from January – March. You get 100k visitors to your site, and your signup rate during this time remains at .5%. You start a new campaign in April.

Fast forward a few months, and you’re looking at a Cohort Report. You’re viewing the people who visited your site and signed up. For the people who visited your site sometime in the period January – March, you notice a slight increase in signups in the months following. You see that 1.0% of the people who visited your site in February came back in June and signed up. This means that the January – March campaign was more effective than initially thought.

As marketers, we often expect people to sign up right away. In our minds, we think they come to our site and either sign up or don’t. But the truth is, it’s not that binary. It’s not a yes or no at that very moment. Sometimes it’s a “wait and see.” People might visit our site, browse around, but then not sign up until later.

This is why it’s a useful cohort. Signups don’t always occur right away, and a cohort reporting tool can track signups over a long period of time.

2. Your Most Loyal Customers

Every marketer wants to acquire customers. But, as we know, not all customers are created equal. Some spend more than others, and some may require more “help” than others. There are also customers who sign up for your service and cancel a few months later (which doesn’t help your Cost to Acquire a Customer (CAC)). Most important, there are customers who sign up, stay engaged with your product, and tell their friends about it. You need to know who these customers are, where they came from, and how you can get more of them.

With a sophisticated Cohort Report, marketers can create a cohort of users who frequently login, and then they can segment (aka group) those users by the marketing channel they came from.

Here’s a way to think about it:

Your marketing challenge is finding loyal customers. You have no problem delivering signups, but 80% of them cancel their accounts after a few months. What about the other 20%? Where do they come from and how do you get more of them? This is where a Cohort Report can help you.


This is the Kissmetrics Cohort Report. It’s one of the best places to get this kind of data.

On the left, we see the marketing channel users came from. Move to the right, and you’ll see how well each channel performed. The darker the shade of blue, the higher the login retention.

With this information, we can see which channels are sending us the most valuable customers and then spend more money and energy on them and less on the ones that aren’t delivering.

3. Repurchase Rates

Every business needs loyal customers. That includes retail stores, SaaS companies, subscription-based companies, you name it. They need customers who come back and make purchases on a recurring basis. There’s no getting around it.

So how do you, as a marketer, find and acquire these loyal customers? Use a cohort. Here’s what you’ll want to do:

Find the people who have repurchased. This can be for any business, but let’s use e-commerce as an example. Then segment the purchases by product categories, marketing channels, or marketing campaigns. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Do certain product categories keep people coming back? Maybe people who purchased ties come back frequently and purchase other items. If so, it’s time to start promoting your tie collection more often.
  • Do any marketing channels have a tendency to bring loyal customers? For example, perhaps your AdWords campaigns are outperforming your Facebook ad campaign in bringing repeat purchases. If this is the case, you’ll want to spend more time and money on the AdWords campaigns.
  • You have dozens of marketing campaigns running. You have seasonal campaigns running four times a year and dozens of other campaigns running in between. With a Cohort Report, you’ll find out which ones drive purchases and repurchases.

The Value of Cohorts for Marketers

As you can see, there are many insights you can gather by grouping people together and tracking their behavior over time.

Each business and marketing challenge is unique. I’ve listed a few ways marketers can use cohorts to help optimize their marketing. But your challenges are unique, and only you will be able to create cohorts that garner valuable insight.

Where to Get This Data

There are two tools we’ll focus on that provide cohort reporting. The first is Google Analytics and the other is Kissmetrics. Let’s start by examining Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Cohort Analysis

Google Analytics has a feature called Cohort Analysis. Here it is:


You have four choices in setting up your cohort analysis:


Cohort Type
This is where you choose a cohort. Acquisition Date, for example, groups people based on when they first came to your site.

Cohort Size
Here you choose the time frame for each cohort. You can measure people on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

Here you choose what you’ll be measuring for each cohort. There are a variety of choices.

Date Range
You have a variety of date ranges you can choose from. This is determined by the size of your cohort. For example, if you choose a cohort size “by day” you’ll have the date range options of 7, 14, 21, and 30 days.

Underneath these options, the Cohort Analysis presents the data visualization. Users can see how well the cohort is performing over time.

The bottom part contains the raw numbers and the retention afterward. The darker the shade of blue, the higher the percentage (i.e., better retention).


The Cohort Analysis is still in its early stages. Some of the more advanced things you’ll want to do may be a little more difficult to set up in Google Analytics. It is, of course, free and does not inherently come with support. You can get support through a partner.

Kissmetrics Cohort Report

This report is one of the most customizable out there. You can track any event and property across a custom date range. Using this report, you’ll be able to measure how your marketing campaigns are performing and refine them based on the data. The report’s usefulness can also extend beyond the marketing department. Here are a couple of other departments that could use it:

Product Team

  • Track the features users keep coming back to. Which ones aren’t used as often? Why? Getting answers to these questions will help improve future product iterations and can help you find your product/market fit.
  • Know which features are used first by new users. Are new users gravitating toward one feature over another? What was their experience with this feature?
  • Understand the feature utilization that leads to payment. Is one cohort of users, who use a feature or area of your site more often during their free trial, more likely to pay for your product or cancel? Perhaps some features turn people off and they never return. Knowing this can make a huge difference.

Sales Team

  • Know the product plan that has the best retention. Your sales team should not knowingly be pushing product plans that have been shown to have higher churn.
  • Does viewing a certain element on a page lead to a signup? Maybe visitors who downloaded a white paper are more likely to sign up. If so, you can push people to download that white paper and even ask the marketing department to create more white papers.
  • Find which product features are used by each customer segment. For example, let’s say your sales team is trying to land a big account from a well-known SaaS company. To sell the account, your sales team needs to show them the features your other SaaS customers use. Think about it. You don’t want to show them features that none of your SaaS customers are using. You want to show them the features that their peers are getting value from.

Here’s a video demo of the Cohort Report:

If the video embed is not showing up, you can click here to view the video on the Wistia page.


We’ve gone through a lot. Here are the takeaways:

  • A cohort is a group of subjects who have shared a particular event together during a particular time span (e.g., people born in Europe between 1918 and 1939; survivors of an air crash; truck drivers who smoked between age 30 and 40). To put it another way, a cohort is a group of people who have a similar characteristic. Their behavior is then tracked over a period of time.
  • These cohorts can help marketers understand how groups of people compare against each other. If you have two groups with different behaviors, notice which one delivers the best results. Then refine your marketing with what you learn.
  • Sometimes signups don’t occur right away. A visitor may visit your site in January, bookmark it, and then return in June to sign up. The June marketing campaign may incorrectly be attributed with the signup even though it was actually the marketing campaign in January that brought the visitor. This is where the Cohort Report comes in handy.
  • One cohort that marketers commonly use is people who have signed up. Marketers can see how each marketing channel or campaign performs at delivering signups.
  • Many tools provide cohort data, but we focused on two of them – Google Analytics’s Cohort Analysis and Kissmetrics’s Cohort Report. Both have their upsides. If you’re looking to get more advanced analysis, definitely go with the Kissmetrics Cohort Report. The Cohort Analysis tool is still in its early stages.
  • The Cohort Report can be used by more than marketers. Nearly all departments in your company will be able to get useful data out of this report.

See How Cohorts Can Impact Your Marketing

Want to learn how the Cohort Report can help you optimize your marketing? Request a personal demo today!

About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is a Content Writer for Kissmetrics.

The Science of Familiarity: How to Increase Conversions by Being Completely Unoriginal

Do you remember when Slack launched last year? At the time, I was a diehard HipChat fan. Needless to say, I wasn’t interested in trying Slack. I considered it nothing more than a passing trend. Now? I use it for an average of 10 hours a day for personal and professional reasons. (Sorry, HipChat.)

What’s going on here? How’d I go from loathing something to using it daily in the span of just 3-4 weeks? It’s called the mere-exposure effect, which means we tend to develop a preference for things just because we’re familiar with them.

During those 3-4 weeks, I can’t even begin to guess how many times I heard or read about Slack. TechCrunch, The Next Web, Fast Company, Gigaom, WSJ, Inc. – everyone was talking about this new app. I began to like Slack because it became more familiar to me than HipChat.

Familiarity has a major impact on our decision-making process, whether we realize it or not. That means it has a major impact on conversions as well. Understanding the different psychological theories behind familiarity will lead to better UX / design, copy and calls to action.

The Science Behind Familiarity

Unconsciously, we give preference to things and people we’re familiar with. Psychologists have even found that the more often you see someone, the more likely you are to develop a romantic attraction to them. Even if the stimuli you’re being repeatedly exposed to is negative (e.g. an abusive relationship), you will subconsciously find comfort in the familiarity of it.

From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that familiarity leads to comfort. Something you’re familiar with is less likely to hurt you. Or, at least, hurt you in an unexpected way. We don’t want to risk the unfamiliar.

Psychologists have found that happiness is directly correlated to how many things (e.g. types of music, types of food, activities, countries) we’re familiar with.

Familiarity vs. Happiness

There are three theories that get to the heart of familiarity: cognitive fluency, prototypicality, and habit.

1. Cognitive Fluency

Cognitive fluency is a measure of how easy it is to think about something. It shapes what we believe, how we invest, and who and what we think is beautiful.

Our brains are lazy. The easier something is to understand, the more likely we are to believe it. According to psychologists, any situation where we are required to weigh information (e.g. voting, buying, marriage) is influenced by cognitive fluency.

If the name of your company is easy to pronounce, shares are likely to perform better.

If you write in a clean, clear font, people are more likely to believe you’re stating a fact.

In North America, if your name is John, people will be more trusting of you than if your name were Zesiro.

Takeaway: Simplicity really is the key to conversion. It’s even backed by science.

2. Prototypicality

Prototypicality is the degree to which an item is an exemplar of the category of which it is a member.

Our brains love prototypes. Once we have an idea of what something should be, we want other similar things to share the same qualities.

For example, we all know the prototype of a car. Now imagine Ford comes out with a car that has two wheels in the back and only one in the front. I’m willing to bet it wouldn’t sell well. Why? Because it has low prototypicality and that makes our brains uncomfortable.

What about an oval fridge? Or a five foot fall microwave? Or a website with no pictures?

Takeaway: If we aren’t familiar with something first-hand, we want it to be similar to something we are familiar with.

3. Habit

A habit, from the standpoint of psychology, is a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.

Our brains are creatures of habit. If you’ve ever tried to quit smoking or lose weight, you know this is true. The more often you do something, the more likely it is that you’ll continue doing it.

Habits are not as easily created and dropped as you’ve been led to believe.

You’re familiar with the concept that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Let’s bust that myth right now. That concept is based solely on the loose interpretation of what Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon, found in 1960. More recent studies, by trained psychologists, have found that it actually takes over two months to form a habit.

All of your habits, good or bad, provide a subconscious benefit to you. That’s why they’re so difficult to break. You know you shouldn’t check your email first thing in the morning because it’s bad for productivity, but you do anyway. No matter how hard you try, it’s difficult to stop the habitual behavior.

Takeaway: Persuading someone to break a habit is very, very difficult. Instead, use their current habits to persuade them.

Websites Using Familiarity to Convert You

Now that you know about familiarity, you can look around at some of your favorite sites and see how they’ve been using it to convert you.

1. Ecommerce

Let’s look at Amazon vs. those ranked in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

The average conversion rate for the Top 500 is 3.32% compared to Amazon’s average of 13% (nearly quadruple).

Amazon Prime members (that’s Amazon’s loyalty program), convert at 74%. When those same Amazon Prime members shop at other online retailers, they convert only 6% of the time on average.

Those numbers are impressive. So, what gives? Amazon’s copy and design aren’t 1,133% better than everyone else’s.

Amazon converts so much better than the competition because it’s familiar. The brand, not just the service or products, has become familiar… to the point of habit.

When you’re a habitual Amazon user, it’s unlikely that you’ll purchase elsewhere. Even if the product you’re looking for is available, you’ll check (and prefer to convert via) Amazon because it’s familiar, it’s safe.

“I got it on Amazon.” is almost as popular as “Google it.” It’s become the prototype. As a result, it’s become so easy to think about using Amazon that we, well, don’t. That’s cognitive fluency.

2. Tech Startups

If you’re familiar with tech startups, you’re familiar with this website design…

Tech Startup Design Prototype
Image Source

As the copy indicates, this is probably one of the most common site designs, especially in the tech startup space. Still, people continue to use it instead of coming up with something more original.

Why? Well, for the most part, laziness. It’s easy to steal ideas from the competition and follow a trend.

The design can definitely be improved upon and optimized. And a small element of surprise could go a long way in terms of standing out from the competition. After all, if you’re the same in the sea of sameness, you have no competitive advantage. If you blend in completely, you won’t be noticed at all.

But the fact remains that if an early tech adopter visits a startup site and its design / UX is dramatically different from the prototype above, it will be harder to understand (lower cognitive fluency).

“Oh, Startup XYZ just launched. Let’s check out their site.” That visitor knows exactly what to expect. Top right navigation, a hero shot and headline, and three services or benefits. That’s how early tech adopters have become accustomed to learning about new startups.

Consider the social networks…

Social Media Design Prototype

And news sites…

News Design Prototype

How to Use Familiarity to Increase Conversions

The question remains: how can you apply all of this psychology to your landing pages to increase conversions?

1. Design & UX

Cognitive Fluency
Your brain operates at a speed of about 120 bits per second (that’s quite slow). Just listening to someone speak takes up 60 bits per second. When the brain tries to multitask or process too many things at once, it ends up not processing any of them very well.

Consider what this means for a site with too many calls to action, too many columns, too much text, etc. The more stimuli competing for your visitors’ attention, the less attention you’ll receive.

The more simple your site is, and the fewer stimulants it has, the higher the cognitive fluency.

Unfortunately, your design only has about 50 milliseconds to convey to a visitor that it’s simple and will be easy to process.

Simplicity isn’t the only factor, of course. A Google study revealed that sites with low visual complexity and high prototypicality are the most appealing.

Let’s say you’re the CMO of a major gym chain. First, let’s look at the landscape…

Gym Design Prototype

It all looks rather… prototypical, right? If Danielle is looking for a gym, she’s probably been to all four of these websites. If she goes to yours, a fifth site, she is unconsciously expecting to see a similar design.

If she doesn’t, it’ll take her brain 50 milliseconds to deem your site too complex, too unfamiliar.

Out of habit, we process information online in a certain way. For example, the top left part of your site will likely get the most attention and people tend to read in an F pattern.

Standard F Pattern
Image Source

Trying to change these types of habits would be a waste of time. Instead, design to accommodate the habits. Look at how CollegeHumor is using existing habits to their advantage.

CollegeHumor's F Pattern

If you overlay the F pattern, you’ll see that CollegeHumor draws attention to their top articles. While I don’t have access to CollegeHumor’s data, I’m willing to bet that once they convince a reader to view one article from the homepage, their engagement and retention metrics increase.

Note that the F pattern was discovered in 2006 and is not without its flaws.

While it’s still widely accepted and reported on, just a year later, Shrestha investigated the differences between searching and browsing. Shrestha found that while visitors were browsing, they followed the F pattern. However, if they were more deliberately searching, their eyes would jump around the screen in a less systematic way.

So, while the F pattern is a habit for most Internet users, it’s not a universal truth. Use tracking tools like SessionCam to analyze the viewing habits of your particular audience and design for their truth.

Next steps for you:

  • Eliminate as much clutter (e.g. rotating images, flashing anything, too many calls to action, etc.) and as many complex design elements (e.g. small images, less readable font, multiple columns, etc.) as you can.
  • Research your audience thoroughly to discover the types of sites they’re visiting so that you understand the design prototype. You must meet the basic expectations of that prototype.
  • Use a tool like SessionCam to identify the habits of your audience. Use that data to design for those viewing habits.

2. Copywriting

Cognitive Fluency
Think about this: The average American reads at a 7th or 8th grade level. Only 15% of the population has full literacy (a university undergraduate reading level). So, if you’re writing copy that a 12-year-old would find difficult to read, your writing is too complex for the average American.

In fact, the more complex your copy is, the less intelligent you are perceived. As it turns out, most people seem to believe the old saying: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Do you remember going over your times tables in elementary school? Studies have also shown that your brain forgets information at an alarming speed if there is no repetition – whether you’re in elementary school or not. (Quick, what’s 7×6?)

What are the words you often hear in your industry? How are competing products often described? You’ll want to match these types of words and phrases in your copy, to some extent.

Let’s look at the pickup truck market as an example…

Truck Copy Prototype

Strength, power, toughness are all key concepts on these sites. That’s the feeling pickup truck drivers are after, that’s the image they want to portray when they’re driving around. If those concepts were missing from you copy, you would be breaking the prototype.

Remember, according to the mere-exposure effect, we like words we hear often.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should steal copy directly from your competitors. Instead, steal it from your audience. Conduct some qualitative research and actually talk to your visitors. What types of words are they using to describe you and your industry? What types of words are they using day-to-day?

Look for trends in your data. Once you identify how your audience speaks and writes, you can begin crafting your copy.

As Steve Krug wrote in Don’t Make Me Think, scanning and skimming copy has become a habit.

In 2013, Chartbeat analyzed Slate.com and found that most people scroll through about only 50-60% of an article page. Visitors simply don’t read your copy the way you intend them to.

Design vs. Reality

Earlier this year, Copyblogger urged writers to begin crafting more scannable content to improve readability and boost engagement. Instead of trying to push visitors to form new habits, it’s much easier to accommodate their current habits.

Written vs. Read

Next steps for you:

  • Use words and sentence structures that are simple and easy to read. Write all of your copy as if you’re writing for a 12-year-old kid. Repeat key words, phrases and concepts multiple times… not for the search engines, but for information retention.
  • Conduct qualitative research to discover the words and phrases that your visitors are already using. Incorporate them into your copy to capitalize on familiarity.
  • Ensure all of your copy is 100% scannable. Use short sentences and paragraphs, make liberal use of subheadings, use informative images whenever possible, etc.

3. Social Proof & Calls to Action

Cognitive Fluency
Above, we mentioned that we find comfort in the familiar because there’s limited risk. Our natural aversion to risk is what has kept us alive for the last 200,000 years. This aversion is often at work without your knowledge, which means it impacts most decisions.

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, wrote, “For most people, the fear of losing $100 is more intense than the hope of gaining $150. [Amos Tversky and I] concluded from many such observations that ‘losses loom larger than gains’ and that people are loss averse.”

This means that if visitors perceive any type of risk after seeing your call to action, they’re more likely to surrender the potential benefit (your offer) than risk the potential loss (getting spam emails, being scammed out of money, ending up in a lengthy signup funnel, etc.)

We perceive anything we’re unfamiliar with (i.e. anything unknown) as risky. It’s why you’re afraid of the dark or the ocean or space… you don’t know what could be out there. It’s also why clarity beats clever.

As quickly as possible, help visitors get their footing and provide a no-risk call to action. If there’s uncertainty, there’s risk. If Tom doesn’t know what will happen when he clicks the button, he probably won’t click the button at all.

Answer the following questions for your visitors:

  • Where am I?
  • What can I do here?
  • Why should I do it?
  • What happens next?

Clever leaves room for interpretation, which means uncertainty. Clarity tells you what to do, why to do it and what will happen when you do. Clever doesn’t convert, but clarity does.

Again, look at the prototype for your industry. Visit your competitors and websites your audience frequently visits. What do their calls to action look like? Are they in popups or in right rails? How are they incentivized? How frequent are they?

For example, I’m personally seeing, opt out popup calls to action are taking over the sites I frequent…

CTA Prototype

All of these calls to action have some similar features:

  • A logo to lend credibility and reduce risk.
  • A large heading featuring a number.
  • A simple request for an email address.
  • A large button with benefit-focused copy.
  • A small (and cruel) opt out link.

Once again, you’re not looking to copy your direct and indirect competitors. Instead, you want to understand the expectations of your audience and meet those expectations on a basic level.

If the call to action feels familiar, there’s less perceived risk.

Before making a decision, we have a habit of seeking social validation. Try to recall the number of decisions you’ve made in your lifetime based on the fact that “everyone was doing it”. I’m willing to bet it’s a lot.

We know that conversion rate optimization experts still swear by the power of social proof. (If the product or service itself isn’t familiar, at least the names / faces associated with it might be.) Thanks to Robert Cialdini, we also know that social influence is a major factor in our decision-making process.

If your product or service doesn’t have a prototype, lacks social proof and is completely unfamiliar, you can always borrow familiarity…

Blank for Blank

Next steps for you:

  • Reduce any perceived risk surrounding your call to action. You’re naturally bias toward your own site, so perform some qualitative research to identify risk. Ask visitors what they think your site does, what they think the next step is and what they think will happen after they take that step. Does perception line up with the truth?
  • Identify the types of calls to action your direct and indirect competitors are promoting. What kind of expectations does this create in your audience’s mind? How can you meet those expectations with your call to action.
  • Capitalize on the human need for social validation by providing social proof near your call to action. If you don’t have social proof yet, borrow familiarity by taking two well-known concepts and using them to describe your product or service (e.g. it’s like blank for blank).

Balancing Familiarity and Innovation

Does all of this mean that original ideas are dead? No, not at all.

While unoriginal thinking can be advantageous and boost conversions, that’s not an absolute rule. Innovation is still alive, well and converting. Remember back in 2012 when Optimizely totally redesigned their site, removing the majority of their homepage copy, and saw an increase in conversions?

Innovation calls on the psychology of surprise. Essentially, when something unexpected happens, our brains are surprised and focus more attention on the new, novel stimuli.

According to Tania Luna, an entrepreneur and self-proclaimed surprisologist, “Surprise is the neuropsychological equivalent of a pause button. It makes us stop what we’re doing, hijacks our attention, and forces us to pay attention. It also intensifies our emotions by about 400 percent.”

Instead of reducing the need to think like familiarity, surprise increases the need to think.

So, now we have two contrasting psychological theories. Which one is correct?

Unfortunately, many marketers will choose one or the other, familiarity or innovation. The key is to combine both. Use prototypes, habits, and cognitive fluency to meet basic expectations and use surprise to delight.

You’ve seen this before, time and time again. For example, HubSpot’s email unsubscribe page…

HubSpot's Unsubscribe Page

And GitHub’s 404 page…

GitHub's 404 Page

Both pages meet the basic expectations of unsubscribe and 404 pages, respectively. Yet, they both have surprising elements designed to delight visitors.


It’s a simple concept: We like things that are familiar to us. But unless you truly understand why that is, you can’t use familiarity to increase conversions in a meaningful way.

Now you can convert visitors the same way Slack was able to convert me.

Here’s the step-by-step process to follow:

  1. Eliminate clutter and complex design elements.
  2. Understand the design prototype in your industry.
  3. Research the habits of your audience.
  4. Use (and repeat) words and sentence structures that are simple and easy to read.
  5. Discover the words and phrases that your visitors are already using.
  6. Ensure all of your copy is 100% scannable.
  7. Reduce any perceived risk surrounding your call to action.
  8. Identify the expectations your competitors’ calls to action are setting.
  9. Provide social proof near your call to action or borrow familiarity by taking two well-known concepts and using them to describe your product or service.

The post The Science of Familiarity: How to Increase Conversions by Being Completely Unoriginal appeared first on ConversionXL.

4 reasons why your marketing funnel should be super simple

Do you feel that your blogging and social media marketing efforts are going to waste? Do you feel that you can’t keep up with everything? You’re no longer sure which profile to use to publish which content?

I had all of those problems! I was rolling on my wheels, getting nowhere. Even though I was writing on my regular schedule, my efforts no longer mattered. All my online hubs looked out-of-date and inconsistent even though I was consistently working on them!

I was getting so discouraged that I started to feel that maybe I should just stop writing. It no longer seemed to have any impact.

Fortunately Laura Roeder’s Social Brilliant course helped me realise what a big mistake I had done.

I had created a marketing funnel monster

When Laura, a social media marketing expert, said that it’s ok and actually better not to have several blogs and profiles, it all became clear.

I had let my online presence get out of hands. When I drew out how people were supposed to consume my content, it was a mess:

Marketing Funnel Before

When I launched FirstOfficer.io, I created a blog and a Twitter profile for it. Next came the SaaS Metrics Learning Center. The new blog and email drip course about metrics needed its own email lists of course.

Each of those points and arrows cost time and money to create.

That’s not a marketing funnel in that image above – it’s a three-headed marketing spaghetti monster. It sits online and screams, waiting for me to feed all the open mouths.

When I was done deciding what I actually needed, it looked like this:

Marketing Funnel After

From now on, I’ll have just one blog and one email list.

Simple marketing funnel has several benefits

There are several big wins here:

  1. Maintainability
  2. Clarity
  3. Quality & Consistency
  4. Brandability

1. Maintainability – keep it all up-to-date

Up-to-date blog and online presence means you’re alive. When people see out-of-date content it doesn’t take long to draw a conclusion that you no longer care or that your priorities have changed.

The workload/expenses to keep everything up-to-date grows each time you add a blog, social media profile or email list. So before you do that, ask yourself: “does this support my strategy? What will I gain by doing this?”

Doing something just because others are doing it does not qualify as a good reason.

When you follow a strategy, it’ll also be an easy decision to take on writers and content managers you need to keep everything up to date. Each part of the system has a meaning and will be pulling its own weight.

2. Clarity – make it clear where to find you

Clarity works both ways. When you have a trouble choosing which blog or social media profile to write to, your readers will have a trouble choosing where to follow you.

It’s so much easier for everyone if there aren’t many overlapping options and choices.

When it’s clear to you what to do and where, you are less likely to procrastinate. Every time you need to stop and make a small decision, there’s a chance that you don’t do anything.

I can’t count the times I’ve skipped tweeting something just because I wasn’t sure which profile I should use. There’s always something more important to do, something more important to decide.

3. Quality & Consistency – create less but better

No matter if you do the writing or someone you hired, it always takes time – and time is money. When you concentrate the efforts, you’ll be able to do more with less.

Some of my friends use content creation services where they spend 30-45 minutes chatting to a content creator who then writes a post on that discussion. I think that’s a great way to take some pressure off from yourself. It’s still you, someone else just does the writing.

I haven’t tried that myself though, I enjoy writing my own posts. Instead I am looking for a content manager who could schedule my posts to WordPress and do all kinds similar little things that make my blogging faster for me.

All this makes it possible to consistently create quality content. High quality content makes people come back again and again for more. Plus, consistency is the key to branding!

4. Branding – give a face to your content

Let’s face it – company blogs are boring unless they have a face. If you don’t see who wrote what you just read, how do you know if the next post will be worth your time?

People love to follow people, not businesses. With just one simple funnel, it’s so much more easier to fill that spot.

Why did I kill FirstOfficer’s Blog?

I love my customers and I love running FirstOfficer, but my mission is bigger than just being an expert in SaaS metrics.

I want to support and fuel up creative entrepreneurs so that they can go on and make things better.

Continuity was another big issue for me. I’ve been writing actively since 2008, but every time I’ve had an intensive personal growth spurt and level up, I have abandoned my blog and started a new one. This time I wanted keep the traffic and momentum I had gained with Happy Bootstrapper blog and take it with me. One of the big things I’ve learned in my journey is that you have to leverage what you already have.

From now on I write at turbineroom.com and you can follow me at @JaanaKulmala. I’ve also merged all my email lists into a single newsletter. Whatever you buy from me, wherever you sign up, that’s where you’ll end up.

Don’t work hard. Work smart.

PS: if you aren’t on my list yet, hop in here.

The post 4 reasons why your marketing funnel should be super simple appeared first on TURBINE ROOM.