Innovation Guide


 


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Do you ever wish you could build something so great that people and the media would get just as excited as they do when Apple launches a new product?
Or, do you ever wish that (because of your innovation), your company would rise in value so fast that the world’s biggest social media network would buy it for $1 billion?

An innovation like that would change your life forever. It’s the dream of every entrepreneur.
While there is no formula for creating revolutionary products, there are some critical elements of innovation that will promote their development.

This simple guide will help.

1. You can plan innovation

You may not be able to plan a specific and predictable sort of innovation…but you can create a culture in which people put a high premium on innovation. That kind of culture starts at the top.

In their early days, Google allowed employees to spend 20 percent of their time on pet projects. That led to some DOA products like Buzz, but it also set the stage for some killer ideas like Gmail.

The founder of GE, Thomas Edison, created an atmosphere that valued innovation by:

  • Encouraging collaboration
  • Encouraging mistakes
  • Demanding one major invention every six months and one small one every ten days

If you think about it, Steve Jobs did the same thing in his company, pushing his people to invent and then innovate products like the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.

2. You don’t have to spend a lot of money

The beauty of information software is that everything is basically free. In the old days, a company would have needed tens of thousands of dollars just to get the software for their product. Now, with open source movement, cloud storage and a whole range of free sources, expenses are reduced drastically.

The makers of Angry Birds—Rovio—innovated cheaply, which paid off big for them when they went public in 2012, at an estimated worth of $1 billion. Leer más “Innovation Guide”

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How Accurate are Alexa, Compete, DoubleClick and Google Trends?


 

http://blog.kissmetrics.com/free-analytics-accuracy/

Back in January, SEOmoz did a test of free statistics services like Alexa, Compete, DoubleClick, and Google Trends. Their conclusion was that the visitor data provided by these services did not match their own analytics.

Does that mean all of the data provided by these sites are rubbish? Not necessarily. We have relied on these tools for competitor research for ages, so we thought we would go beyond just the visitor data and look at other key pieces of information to see if they match up with Google Analytics data. The following is what I found.

Alexa

Alexa offers more about websites than just visitor statistics. Let’s look at how accurate they really are.

Traffic Stats

alexa traffic stats

Since most people think of Alexa as being all about traffic, let’s look at their basic traffic stats in comparison with my own Google Analytics data.

  • Pageviews Per User – Alexa estimates that the average pageviews per user for the last three months is 1.98. Google Analytics shows 1.38 pages per visit.
  • Bounce Rate Percentage – Alexa estimates the average bounce rate percentage for the last three months is 61.8%. Google Analytics shows 79.46%.
  • Time on Site – Alexa estimates that the average time on site for the last three months is 2:38. Google Analytics shows 1:22.
  • Search % – Alexa estimates that the average percentage of visits received from search engines for the last three months is 6.5%. Google Analytics shows 45.37%.

Search Analytics

alexa search analytic

Next on the list of data from Alexa is Search Analytics. Here, I am usually just interested in keywords, especially now that Google Analytics has decided to hide some of that data from users. Alexa, in the keywords department, is similar to my Google Analytics organic keyword data. Four of their Top Queries from Search Traffic are an exact match to terms in the top 25 organic keywords of my Google Analytics. Others are ones that I know I have regularly targeted.

Audience by Country

alexa audience location

Alexa offers some basic audience demographic information about your audience including age, education, gender, and so forth. I decided to look at the Visitors by country section beneath that to see how well they nailed the location demographic for my website. In this case, they are close with seven out of ten countries right as far as the top countries visiting my site. Leer más “How Accurate are Alexa, Compete, DoubleClick and Google Trends?”

5 Reasons Email Marketing Crushes Social Media Marketing for B2B


I know—how dare I have the audacity to hate on social media? It’s the way of the future! It will solve world hunger. It will have your babies.
And very soon, it will even make your decaf soy latte in the morning.
Don’t get me wrong. Social media is great, and you should use it in your marketing if that makes sense for your business.
But you should not put it ahead of email marketing.
Because all other things being equal, email marketing still crushes social media marketing. Here are 5 reasons why…() Leer más “5 Reasons Email Marketing Crushes Social Media Marketing for B2B”

6 Indispensable Free & Freemium SEO Tools


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When you are working on search engine optimization for your own business or for a client’s website, you will need some great SEO tools. If you have the budget, you can certainly pay for the best SEO tools the Internet has to offer, but if you don’t, then free and freemium tools are the alternative.

Free tools are just that – free to use as much as you want for any of your projects. Freemium tools, on the other hand, have both free and premium rate plans based on your needs. The following are my six favorite free and freemium tools that are indispensable for SEO’s everywhere.

1. AdWords Keyword Tool for Keyword Research

google adwords keyword tool

All SEO campaigns should begin with keyword researchGoogle AdWords Keyword Tool is your best bet for a free keyword research tool. It is not necessarily exact with its numbers, so don’t believe that there is exactly 74,000 people searching for “website analytics” each month. What you can believe in is that “website analytics” is searched more often than “free website analytics”. You can also get a lot of great keyword ideas too!

2. SEO Book for a Keyword Research & On-Site Analysis

SEO Book

SEO Book actually has several free SEO tools on their website. You need to create a free account with their website first, and then you have unlimited access to the tools you see above, plus a few others including a keyword density analyzer, a page comparison tool to find keywords, an ad group generator for AdWords, PPC keyword wrapper, and a typo generator that shows the most common typos for keywords that you enter.

3. SEO Site Tools for On-Site Analysis & Suggestions Leer más “6 Indispensable Free & Freemium SEO Tools”

5 Psychological Studies on Pricing That You Absolutely MUST Read


As marketers, bloggers, or business owners, you will most likely come to deal with the process of pricing your products or services.

The thing is, many folks struggle with this process because although they understand their customer’s needs, they aren’t experience with what to charge people for their work.

Below I’ve analyzed a few recent research studies that dive into pricing of products and services in hope that you might better understand how to price your own goods.

1. Comparative Pricing: Not Always Optimal

competitor price comparison

One of the first techniques that many marketers attempt in forming a new pricing strategy is to directly compare their price with that of a competitor.

“Hey, my software is 30% less than this popular option, why not buy mine?”

The problem is, comparative pricing isn’t always as reliable as marketers think it is, and can effect costumer’s perceptions of the product in a few different ways.

Consider this scenario: Buying Aspirin…

aspirin

You walk into a drugstore and see the familiar sign inviting you to compare the price of the store’s brand of aspirin to a national brand.

What do you do?

According to Itamar Simonson, you may not go for the cheapest.

Instead, you may choose the major brand because you perceive it as the less risky choice. Or you may not buy anything at all.

This new research from a Stanford marketing study has shown that asking consumers to directly compare prices may have unintended effects.

Simonson found comparative pricing isn’t always favorable because “it can change the behavior of consumers in very fundamental ways.”

Consumers may decide not to buy at all or to minimize what they perceive as a heightened risk instead of following the advice that the marketer had in mind.

The study analyzes the effect of implicit and explicit comparisons to arrive to this conclusion.

Implicit comparisons occur when a customer takes the initiative to compare two or more products.

Conversely, explicit comparisons are those that are specifically stated or brought up by the marketer or advertiser.

To test the effects of comparative advertising, Simonson & Dholakia set up two trials.

The first involved selling CDs on eBay.

The researchers listed (for sale) a number of top-selling albums in CD format, such as “The Wall” by Pink Floyd (hey, not too bad of taste either ;)).

The cost of the CD’s put up for sale always started at $1.99.

They then “framed” these auctions in two very distinct ways.

The first way had the CD ‘flanked’ with two additional copies (of the same CD) that had a starting bid of $0.99.

The second had the original CD flanked with two copies starting at $6.99.

The results seemed clear: The CDs flanked with the more expensive options ($6.99) consistently ended up fetching higher prices than the CDs next to the $o.99 offerings.

“We didn’t tell people to make a comparison; they did it on their own,” said Simonson.

“And when people make these kinds of comparisons on their own, they are very influential.”

In order to test the effects of explicitly telling the consumers to compare, the researchers re-did the experiment with the same settings, only this time they outright asked consumers to compare the $1.99 CD with the other offerings.

The results of this showed that when explicitly stated to compare, prices of the adjacent CDs became statistically irrelevant to what the bids were on the middle disc.

Additionally, buyers became much more cautious and risk adverse in their purchasing of the CDs:

“The mere fact that we had asked them to make a comparison caused them to fear that they were being tricked in some way,” said Simonson.

The results were that people became more timid in every aspect imaginable: fewer bids, longer time on their first bid, and less of a likelihood to participate in multiple auctions.

Marketers need to be aware that comparative selling, although it can be very powerful, is not without its risks.”

Think about that the next time you directly compare your offering to your competitors.

Instead, you might better benefit from highlighting unique strengths and placing an emphasis ontime saved over money saved…

2. Selling Time Over Money

“It’s Miller Time.”

For a company selling beer, this type of slogan might come off as somewhat of an odd choice.

But according to new research which advocates the benefits of “selling time” over money, it may be a perfect choice.

“Because a person’s experience with a product tends to foster feelings of personal connection with it, referring to time typically leads to more favorable attitudes—and to more purchases.”

So says Jennifer Aaker, the General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Why would selling experience (or time spent) with a product work so much better in some instances than discussing the products favorable price?

Aaker noted that many (around 48% of those analyzed) advertisements included a reference to time, noting that many marketers seem to innately understand the importance of time to a consumer.

Unfortunately, very little in the way of actual studies had been done to back this up.

In their first experiment addressing this, Aaker and her co-author Cassie Mogilner set up, of all things, alemonade stand using two 6-year olds (so it would appear legitimate).

In this experiment, the lemonade sold could be purchased for $1-$3 (customer selected) and a sign was used to advertise the stand.

The 3 separate signs to advertise the lemonade were as follows:

  1. The first said, “Spend a little time and enjoy C&D’s lemonade”
  2. The second said, “Spend a little money and enjoy C&D’s lemonade”
  3. The third said, “Enjoy C&D’s lemonade” (neutral sign)

Even with this lemonade example the results were apparent.

The sign stressing time attracted twice as many people, who were willing to pay twice as much.

To further drive this point home, a second study done with college students (and iPods) was conducted.

This time, only two questions were asked:

  1. “How much money have you spent on your iPod?”
  2. “How much time have you spent on your iPod?”

Not surprisingly considering the last study, students asked about time demonstrated far more favorable opinions of their iPods than those asked about money.

The researchers thought that:

One explanation is that our relationship with time is much more personal than our relationship with money.

“Ultimately, time is a more scarce resource—once it’s gone, it’s gone—and therefore more meaningful to us,” says Mogilner.

“How we spend our time says so much more about who we are than does how we spend our money.”

Aaker and her colleague were not done yet, however.

Determined to test whether or not all references to money would lead to a more negative output (due to the participant being reminded of how much they spent on a product), they conducted a similar experiment at a concert.

This time, the “cost” was actually time, as the concert was free, but people had to “spend” time in line to get the good seats.

The two questions asked by the researchers in this scenario were:

  1. “How much time will you have spent to see the concert today?”
  2. “How much money will you have spent to see the concert today?”

The results?

Even in an instance like this, where time was the resource being spent, asking about time increased favorable opinions toward the concert.

Not only that, people who stood in line the longest, or the people who incurred the most “cost”, actually rated their satisfaction with the concert the highest.

“Even though waiting is presumably a bad thing, it somehow made people concentrate on the overall experience,” says Aaker.

So what’s the deal here?

Marketers need to start being aware of the meaning that their products bring to the lives of their customers before they start focusing their marketing efforts.

And one more thing to think about…

The study notes that the one exception seems to be any products consumers might buy for prestigevalue.

If you aren’t in the line of selling sports cars or tailored made suits, you most likely won’t have to deal with this, but the point remains:

“With such ‘prestige’ purchases, consumers feel that possessing the products reflect important aspects of themselves, and get more satisfaction from merely owning the product rather than spending time with it,” says Mogilner.

Factor these considerations of the important of time next time you go about pricing your product, and you’ll see that catering to consumer’s most precious resource, their time, can be more persuasive than even the most drastic of price reductions.

3. Effect of “Useless” Price Points Leer más “5 Psychological Studies on Pricing That You Absolutely MUST Read”

What to Do When Conversion Optimization Goes Bad


 

http://blog.kissmetrics.com

Conversion rate optimization isn’t always all kittens and rainbows. Sometimes you test things that you’re sure will send your conversions through the roof, but it ends up going over like a lead balloon. Sales plummet, sign ups slow to a trickle…

And you freeze.

The most important step you can take is to roll your site back to its pre-test glory. And you might be inclined to just keep it there because testing the wrong things (again) could send your traffic into a tailspin.

But before you swear off testing ever again, consider the following tips. Not only will you be able to recover more quickly, but you’ll also be able to create a testing and optimization plan that helps you pinpoint where your target audience is slipping through the cracks – and get them back.

Welcome to Testing.

welcome to website testing

You aren’t the first person who has gone through this – and you certainly won’t be the last. It’s completely natural to go into this with high expectations, but what you’re seeing is possibly a more down-to-earth result. Don’t look at this as if your idea is worthless or your site is ruined – this is why we test. Once you understand that this is a positive step forward, you can start thinking like a real conversion optimization scientist – crunching numbers and trying different changes to see what resonates with your unique audience.

Real data and hard numbers are preferable to gut feelings and instincts any day – especially when it comes to maximizing your sales and subscribers. So let’s get started. Leer más “What to Do When Conversion Optimization Goes Bad”

Does Website Design Impact The Bottom Line?


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Companies invest thousands of dollars when they want to redesign their website, hoping that a more attractive design will lead to more revenue. But does it really matter? Is simplicity more important than eloquent design? Where do you draw the line between simplicity and overkill? What really matters to users? While the ‘wow factor’ may leave a positive impression on investors, banks and even prospects, does it lead to more sales?

A minimalist site design like Wimp gets 4 million unique visitors a month and at its peak this past year reached 8 million uniques a month.

So is simplicity the key? Or does a crowded website with lots of information on each page work the best?

According to studies cited by usability.gov, having a credible looking website scored a 4 out of 5 on the relative importance scale. While it’s difficult to know for sure if good design means more revenue, we do know a few key design principles to keep in mind when designing a site.

In this post I’ll explore professional research that can potentially offer insights into what priorities a business should have on its web design. I’ll be addressing the common questions that many website owners have and attempt to offer tangible solutions.

What Can I Do To Improve My Websites Credibility?

Research shows that a credible website is key. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your websites credibility, as taken from usability.gov.

  • Provide a useful set of frequently asked questions (FAQ) and answers;
  • Ensure the Web site is arranged in a logical way;
  • Provide articles containing citations and references;
  • Show author’s credentials;
  • Ensure the site looks professionally designed;
  • Provide an archive of past content (where appropriate);
  • Ensure the site is as up-to-date as possible;
  • Provide links to outside sources and materials; and
  • Ensure the site is frequently linked to by other credible sites.

How Important Is An Uncluttered Website?

Having an uncluttered design is crucial if you want to make your website appear professional. Making it clean does appear to be an important characteristic for websites. Furthermore, it’s important to be consistent with where you keep your important items. Users who know where certain items are on your page(s) will be better able to use your website, thus improving web usability. Make use of navigation tabs and keep them in the same location on every page. Having a consistent website is key.

Here’s an example of a crowded site with too much to look at:

I counted the links above the fold and there are 49 links available to click on. If you include the drop down menu links, there are 135 links total; and this is just above the fold. Factor in all the different colors on the site as well and you can see why it’s poor design.

Here’s what good design looks like:

Their users are given the choice of 15 links to click on the entire page. They feature beautiful images of their product in action, have a call-to-action and a clearly defined goal that they want. They want users to fill out those three forms and sign up. Under the fold, links are faded out until you move your mouse around them.

Ask yourself: which site looks more credible? Which one are you more likely to give your credit card to? While this is an extreme example, it illustrates the point that an uncluttered, clean design is important.

Leer más “Does Website Design Impact The Bottom Line?”