Product-led growth (PLG) strategy is at the forefront of a massive shift in the software purchasing process. Read our most recent blog in this series, PLG Series: Product User POV, to determine if your company is ready to put end users in the driver’s seat. For companies looking to make this shift, consider the steps it will take to get there, which will require two major stages of transformation: the evolution of the product, and the evolution of the organization.
Steps to Becoming a PLG Company
Evolution of the Product
PLG strategy hinges on end users being thrilled by the product the company offers. How can organizations create a thrilling software experience? While it may seem like an oxymoron, thrilling software is possible. It starts with prioritization of design, empathy, and frictionless touchpoints with a combination of user journey mapping, user testing, and intelligent data implementation. The end-user experience is what sets a working product and a great product apart. The product needs to serve as a solution to the user’s troubles, not just a jumble of benefits and features. The user journey is top of mind for pioneering PLG-focused companies, rather than the specs and selling points of the product itself.
A good example of this is the onboarding process for new users. In demonstrating software products, the demo should be focused on helping the user achieve their goals, not showing off features of the software it’s trying to sell. Product-led growth really means user-led: anticipating their needs, reducing their friction, and providing ongoing support to create a joyful, exciting user experience with the product. In the PLG model, product enjoyment leads to subscription sales, additional referrals, and customer retention. When shifting to a product-led growth strategy, companies must create sticky products, which capture user interest by delivering consistent value and compel users to use them more regularly.
Evolution of the Organization
To become a PLG company, the organization must first be willing to turn away from sales-led and marketing-led growth strategies. Instead, the business structure has to support the ability to move faster, more collaboratively, and with more complex dynamics. Collaboration and inclusivity are more than industry buzzwords; they actually can make or break internal strategies. To pull off the rate of product improvement necessary to keep pace with competitors, a PLG-focused company has to run as a democracy, taking input from a diverse group of stakeholders from a variety of different teams. Marketing, sales, CS, design, and engineering teams, for example, will all need to weigh in to make decisions that result in the best product and end-user experience.
The resulting company structure is often at first more difficult and complex than legacy structures, but it has proven the best way to organize a company that prioritizes the quality of the product for the consumer experience. When scaling, the first thought may be to attempt to grow teams through hiring to accommodate for better, quicker, product improvements. That process tends to be time-consuming, costly, and inevitably leads companies to fall behind their faster, leaner competitors who are prioritizing employee growth, flexibility, and collaboration. As a step toward this organizational transformation, it’s important to break down silos to stay communicative, informed, and aligned across teams.
After going through the transitional phases outlined above, the real work of a product-led growth company begins in harnessing value from the Freemium to Premium chain.
Capitalizing on the Freemium to Premium Chain
For a PLG-focused enterprise, after creating the best possible product and putting the organizational systems in place to support the development of increasingly spectacular products, the value in the product-led growth model comes from encouraging the following: Product adoption, Customer Loyalty, and Advocacy. This growth can be reaped from the Freemium to Premium chain, composed of three stages:
A frictionless entry point for users, leading to customer acquisition.
The user’s first interaction with the product should be personalized, delightful, and convincing. A free trial or demo experience allows users to self-educate about the benefits of the product and its ability to solve their needs, rather than having to deal with a salesperson or middleman to handle the transaction. This freemium experience can come in a couple of different forms: a reduced features version, a reduced capacity or usage version, or a reduced support version.
There are a few reasons as to why the free trial method is the best entry experience for customers seeking software solutions. First, the software is an intangible object and can be difficult to adequately describe with marketing lingo; it’s better to give users a hands-on experience that shows (rather than tells) the product’s benefits. Second, free trials reduce the fear of committing to a purchase, so users can explore the software offerings without concerns about getting locked into a subscription. Lastly, observing or collecting data during a demo experience allows you to gain valuable feedback on the product at hand. By seeing how end users experience the product designed for them, you can get a realistic sense of their positive reactions and friction points in order to continue improving the product offering.
Features located behind a paywall, leading to expansion.
The free trial leads the process by introducing the user to a must-have technology (where they’re reaping actual value), and the paywall follows by scaling up the pricing for the software as usage or benefits increase. After an opt-in free trial, a good conversion rate should be around 25%, and that rate jumps to 60% for opt-out free trials.
The product-led growth strategy for conversion is simple: freemium users are enticed to subscribe to premium accounts when they enjoy the product. To encourage subscriptions, it’s important to remind users of the benefits and product features. In addition, putting a clear time limit on the length of the trial creates a sense of urgency for freemium users to switch to premium subscriptions. Trial period expirations can help push users to take action, for fear of losing out on the benefits that they’ve come to appreciate while utilizing your software throughout the demo period.
Valuable integrations, leading to retention.
While gaining initial subscriptions is important, PLG strategy necessitates that these users continue coming back to the product. Ideally, each time the user utilizes the product, they should have a better and better experience. The PLG model will not work successfully if the company’s product becomes outdated or uncompetitive. Users must not only fall in love with the product but stay enamored. This can be done by continually improving the existing user experience, or by building out additional features and benefits to the product. However, if exploring the latter, keep the user journey segmented so that different audiences are still able to find the most relevant solutions quickly. As the product grows to encompass more features, the UX designers should ensure that the additional capabilities don’t cloud the interface to make it confusing or overwhelming.
For companies in the software technology space, shifting to a product-led growth strategy could lead to a better experience for customers and keep the enterprise at the front of the competitive edge. If you are interested in learning more about how Bluetext could use marketing tactics to help reposition your brand as a PLG-focused business, contact us.
The way that users engage with technology has dramatically changed in the last decade. As SaaS companies are stepping up their game to meet these demands, users are met with an abundance of software available at their fingertips to fulfill their every need. Tech-savvy people are seeking software that is more beautiful, more powerful, and more affordable than ever before. The patience for dealing with clunky designs or a challenging user experience has completely dissolved. Now more than ever, businesses are recognizing the value of leading with a great product and user experience in order to generate growth. Enter Product Led Growth.
Product Led Growth
Product Led Growth is a business strategy for companies to use their product as the primary driver for customer acquisition, retention, and expansion. Imagine a pancake house that is famous for its pancakes. You hear about the pancakes, try them, love them, and tell all of your friends to try them as well; thus, the cycle repeats itself. The restaurant’s main goal is to create an unforgettable pancake that keeps customers coming back; they don’t have to prove or tell anyone that they have amazing pancakes because the product speaks for itself. Businesses that have adapted Product Led Growth strategies are thinking about how they can put their product at the forefront of every step of the customer journey–the foundation is having an amazing product with exceptional focus on the user. People hear about it, they test it out, they start using it, and all of a sudden it becomes a necessity to run their business. This type of strategy fosters company-wide alignment across teams around the product as the single most important source of long-term, scalable business success.
Product Led Growth allows for a significantly lower cost to acquire customers because existing users are promoting and selling the product simply by enjoying using it. Unlike sales-led businesses, which aim to get a customer from point A to point B in a sales cycle, product-led businesses turn the typical sales paradigm on its head by allowing customers to try their product for free, through a freemium or free trial that eventually becomes a subscription or an add-on purchase. Some of the most successful companies implementing the Product Led Growth approach are Slack, Dropbox, and Zoom, just to name a few.
Perhaps one of the greatest examples of a company that has mastered the PLG strategy is Slack. By creating a completely new way for teams to communicate with each other, Slack leads with a product that is widely beneficial to almost any business, unique in its offerings, and initially free. Customers start with a free sign-up process with frictionless onboarding and are met with a superior customer experience throughout usage. Slack swiftly slides in premium plans for users to expand the scope of the platform after they’ve already started using it.
The company boasts over 12 million active daily users, with 156,000 businesses subscribing to the app and a profit of $292 million in 2021. They’ve also uniquely branded themselves with quirky and fun features that cannot be found on traditional messaging or communication platforms. By bridging the favored aspects of modern communications, like the iPhone emoji, the swift speed of the classic IM, and even conferencing abilities of Zoom, they’ve made a one-of-a-kind product that adopters find irreplaceable. It’s the kind of app that sells itself; you hear about it, you try it, and soon enough you’re using it every day. Slack is an excellent example of a company that leverages product features and usages as its main driver for acquisition and retention.
Next up, we have Dropbox. With sales that have surpassed $1 billion in less than ten years, Dropbox has a clear and undeniably successful product-led growth strategy. Dropbox’s product-led strategy succeeds in two crucial areas. First, Dropbox has developed a user-friendly product that satisfies market demands by making file sharing simple and convenient for end users. For users, the platform is intuitive and easy to set up, and accessible for recipients regardless of subscription status. Second, the platform encourages users to convert non-users by passing along a referral link that subsequently increases their storage credit. This recommendation strategy has allowed Dropbox to gain new clients while improving the satisfaction of current ones.
Last but certainly not least, we have Zoom. Unbeknownst to us at the time, a global pandemic created the ideal environment for Zoom’s product strategy to become a master class of the Product Led Growth model. Zoom continues to distinguish itself from its well-known competitors by putting the needs of its clients first and keeping its promise to offer a straightforward connection. By expanding on its PLG model, Zoom makes many of its essential capabilities freely accessible, putting Zoom in the hands of millions of customers who connect for work meetings, educational purposes, workout classes, and book clubs. Other premium features are further accessible through a paid subscription.
The bottom line is, Product Led Growth strategy is here to stay. It is challenging the traditional sales-driven growth model of software companies and transforming the way customers are acquired and retained. If you are interested in learning more about how Bluetext could use marketing tactics to help reposition your brand as a PLG-focused business, contact us.
There are no written rules when it comes to determining how to efficiently increase your company’s enterprise value. Unfortunately, there is no one-size fits all formula for enterprise success. Simply put, the strategy will vastly differ for every industry, sector, and individual company. That being said, marketing has been proven as a cornerstone of any effective business strategy and critical in raising enterprise value.
Your marketing strategy dictates the overall market’s understanding of what your business brings to the table, how you differ from your competition in the eyes of customers and investors, and perhaps most importantly, what the future holds for your business and how you intend to evolve as both the market and overall economy change. Whether your ultimate goal is to take your company public or take on capital investment in the near future, marketing will play a significant part in how you succeed. In this blog post, we’ll discuss tips on putting together a sound marketing strategy and how this can lead to an increase in enterprise value.
Understanding the Current Market and Its Needs
As you know, the competitive landscape is constantly shifting, and any dramatic change in the competition calls for change in your strategy. The first step to putting together an effective marketing strategy is to understand your company in its position within the current market. Customer tastes and expectations are constantly evolving, so being able to adapt to current market conditions is critical in today’s economy. It’s important to ask yourself: What is your value proposition against your competitors? Are you where you need to be to maximize value? Can customers quickly get the information they need and are questions and service issues resolved promptly? Ensuring you’re meeting your customer’s needs will set you up for long-term success and increase your value as not only a supplier but also in the eyes of any potential investors.
When Government technology giants Octo and Sevatec decided to merge, they tapped Bluetext to guide them through a brand evolution, aligning both company brand identities into a new cohesive corporate visual identity. We worked hard to understand both companies’ positions in the market and design a message and visual identity that aligned Octo and Sevatec’s legacies under one united mission from both an internal and external perspective, increasing the combined entity’s enterprise value.
Future-Proofing Your Marketing Strategy
While it’s important to understand the current needs of your customers, it’s equally important to take a look in the mirror and focus your marketing strategy on your company’s future goals, both in the short- and long-term. What are your business goals and objectives? Do you anticipate a significant capital investment raise in the next 2 years? Or 5 years? It’s imperative to make conscious, strategic decisions by beginning with the end in mind instead of simply letting tactics evolve.
When Arlington Capital Partners acquired three leading companies in the national security sector, they turned to Bluetext to develop and launch a new unified brand from scratch. In less than six months, Centauri was born. Following the launch of the brand and a successful integrated go-to-market strategy that included PR, digital advertising, and social media, the firm went on a contract-winning spree and in less than two years, was acquired by industrial engineering juggernaut, KBR, for $800m. With an understanding of Arlington Capital’s goals from the outset, focused on raising the enterprise value of a combined entity, Bluetext was able to build a comprehensive marketing strategy that achieved the PE firm’s wildest dreams.
In Marketing, ROI is Everything
Let’s be clear, marketing can be an expensive undertaking. When you think about the various marketing tactics you can choose to include in your marketing strategy, consider every channel including but not limited to: direct marketing, public relations, digital marketing, advertising and promotion, and trade shows. While it would be great to put a significant budget toward each of these channels, that just isn’t feasible for the majority of companies out there. Just like you would diversify your stock portfolio, you should also diversify your marketing efforts, especially when starting out. Be smart about where you decide to invest your marketing dollars but don’t be afraid to commit to a research-driven marketing strategy.
Discuss internally the pros and cons of each channel, especially in the context of your competitors, industry, and customers, both existing and future. Additionally, determine if you can handle the execution of these marketing channels in-house, or if it may make sense to hire a marketing agency like Bluetext to take some of the load off of your internal team. Most importantly, however, is to establish clear metrics designed to capture ROI for each channel you decide to invest in and keep your internal and external teams accountable to them. Diversifying your marketing mix is the best way to ensure you’re increasing your brand awareness across a variety of customer-facing touchpoints, which will lead to an effective increase in perceived enterprise value from an investor perspective.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. That being said, having a strong understanding of your market, customer base, and short- and long-term business goals will strongly inform your marketing strategy and put you in the best position to succeed in increasing brand awareness, customer acquisition, and overall enterprise value. If you’re in need of support in putting together a comprehensive marketing strategy or a marketing partner to execute an already determined strategy, consider contacting Bluetext. For more than a decade, Bluetext has helped companies and private equity firms raise enterprise value. We specialize in planning, developing, and executing effective brand transformations to exceed business goals, with our clients benefitting from our deep creative expertise, seamless strategy, and innovative way of problem-solving.
“Should I use infinite scrolling versus pagination on this website?” is a question that many UX designers will ask themselves when starting a new project. Of course, the answer is “It depends.” This article explores the pros and cons of infinite scrolling and pagination to give you the context on when to use each in website design.
Infinite scrolling is a technique that allows users to scroll through a massive chunk of content with no finish line in sight. The page essentially refreshes as you continue scrolling, making it feel as if there is an infinite amount of content available. There are certainly some contexts for which this works very well but naturally, it does not suit each use case.
Pro #1: User Engagement
Infinite scrolling is best suited for instances where users are in “discovery mode”. When the user does not search for something specific, they need to see a large number of items to find the one thing they like.
The best examples of this are on social media, when users scroll through Facebook or Instagram they are excited to see what the next piece of content has to offer. Infinite scrolling affords exposure to as much information as possible at once, which means more information is consumed. The higher the exposure (in other words, impressions and reach), typically the higher the engagement is.
Pro #2: Scrolling Takes the Cake Over Clicking
Designing for users to click rather than scroll can cause a much longer user experience journey. Depending on the instance, we typically like to see scrolling used for quick actions that should be seamless for the user. For example, if you are looking to employ a tutorial for your new mobile app, you should consider a vertical or horizontal scroll experience to allow a seamless, one-page experience for your user. Clicking will impede their ability to quickly navigate through the tutorial and get to your app. Scrolling allows us to keep the user experience to remain easy-to-use and navigate.
Pro #3: Scrolling is Mobile-Friendly
Infinite scrolling is most frequently used on mobile devices where the screens are smaller. The smaller the screen, the smaller amount of information users can see within one viewport, which provides an excellent use case for infinite or long scrolling.
Con #1: Page Performance
Infinite scrolling requires the page to constantly “refresh” at the bottom to display more content. This scrolling undoubtedly affects your page speed and load time. Various research studies have shown that slow load times result in people leaving your site or deleting your app which results in low conversion rates. For that reason, it may be best to leave the long scroll at the door if you are looking to keep your website ranking high in SEO performance.
Con #2: Item and Search Location
For those looking to shop online or look for a specific resource, infinite scrolling doesn’t provide them the visual cue for where to find the item later. There is no ability to truly “bookmark” their place on the page, which can cause frustration if they go back later to find the same post.
Con #3: Scroll Bar Provides No Context
The scroll bar becomes irrelevant when you employ infinite scroll in your user experience. Users see the scroll bar and assume they’re close to the end of the page when in reality, the page will keep updating to show more content and there is no end in sight. It can be very misleading when users attempt to estimate the amount of data there is to surf through, which can cause frustration for the user and can lead them to leave your site.
Con #4: Absence of a Footer
With infinite scrolling, users will never reach the end of the page. This makes it difficult for them to ever find the footer, where important information and navigation links typically reside. Some ways around this are to make the footer sticky and always visible or collapse the footer into a sidebar. Alternatively, user experience designers can introduce a “load more” button that provides users with the ability to take control of their own experience on the site.
Pagination is a user interface pattern that divides content into separate pages. If you see a row of numbers or pagination dots at the bottom of a page, then you are experiencing a site’s pagination.
Pro #1: Good Conversion
Pagination is great for an instance where users are looking for something specific. As we saw before, scrolling is perfect for discovery mode—now’s the time for a solution for identification mode. “Scrolling is a continuation while clicking is a decision” (Joshua Porter)
Pro #2: Control and Item Location
Providing pagination within your website’s user experience, users instantly have a sense of control over the information they are browsing. Providing numbers or icons to click on gives users the sense that they are making a decision for themselves.
In addition, pagination affords users the ability to remember an item’s location and navigate back to it at any time. For example, if you are on your favorite e-commerce website looking for the right sweater to buy this fall and you find one you like but aren’t quite ready to buy, you can take note of which page you viewed it on—maybe you even bookmark it since the URL has the exact item location within the page. Pagination gives us this opportunity to take control of our usage of the website and gives a sense of authority to the user.
Con #1: Clicking Means Extra Actions
When you require your users to click to see more information, you’re requiring them to take an extra step. One way to make this less cumbersome is to allow users to dictate how many items appear within each page so they can scroll through more content up front and then navigate to the next page.
When considering user engagement within website design, user experience designers should consider the end goal of the user. Are they looking to find a specific piece of content that they can easily refer back to? If so, pagination may be the best option for your website. But if you simply are looking for endless discovery and providing your end user with as much new information as possible, then infinite scrolling may be the best for you.
In the end, it is best to consult a UX design agency, like Bluetext, to recommend the best approach for your business.
In late 2021, Apple released its iOS 15 update with a pretty drastic change in browser layout, creating a ripple effect in website UX design. The beloved search bar on Safari had been moved from the top of the screen to the bottom. Many users, who are less familiar with the thought process behind UX design were left with one question. Why?
Well, according to MacRumors, the move was more functional than aesthetic. Think about how one naturally holds and operates a smartphone; usually held within the palm of the hand and touchscreen controlled by your thumbs from the bottom corners. Therefore, controls brought to the bottom of the screen are easier to reach with one hand. This feature also creates more space for users to focus on the webpage’s content.
Research confirms that “75% of users touch the screen with one thumb.” This has led UX designers to favor a thumb-driven design, placing the most important and frequently-used features at the bottom of the screen. This ensures easy access with one thumb.
Traditionally, many website designers place navigation in the top corners of the screen. While that works with a desktop device, due to the greater range of motion coming from the computer’s mouse, it does not translate that effectively to a mobile device. With the navigation menu being placed on the top corners of the screen, the range of motion that the user’s thumb has can restrict easy access to that navigation menu. Especially as technology evolves and mobile screens grow in size, users find themselves having to reposition their hands. This in turn slows down the user’s ability to navigate webpages and ingest content.
What’s the big deal? I just have to move my hand a little to be able to reach the top corner of my screen. The answer is simple: efficiency. Bottom menu navigation allows the user to accomplish tasks faster and with a greater level of comfortability, which really adds up considering that the average American spends 5.4 hours on their phones.
A lot goes into the design process, and it is not all about aesthetics. It’s about how the product functions. In today’s world, 55% of website traffic is generated using mobile devices, so functional and efficient mobile layouts for a website is imperative to the success of a brand. It is essential that UX designs make easy navigation a priority because the easier a product is to use the more often it will get used or recommended. That is why features like bottom navigation are so effective. Especially if it is designed in a streamlined way that makes content visible, clear, and simple.
As users experience the bottom menu trend, users will likely have to take some time to readjust. Looking ahead at UX design trends for 2022, there will be a continuation of the emphasis on overall usability, navigation, and aesthetics being driving forces for design. There is a desire to achieve a seamless experience, where user experience designers focus on the continuity and natural progression of connecting all the steps of finding a landing page to purchasing an item. It is imperative that functionality is favored, so it will be interesting to see more experimentation with navigation placement and overall screen flow on mobile devices in the future.
Does your website menu need a refresh? Contact Bluetext today to learn about our web and UX design services.
When we talk about motion in branding, we’re talking about a wide variety of creative approaches. From subtle homepage loading flourishes to complex, eye-catching 3D advertisements, animation can breathe new life into your brand. Today Bluetext will explore why motion design for logos is on the rise, when it’s best applied, and some of our favorite examples.
The digital landscape is crowded, to say the least. The average American spends a little over seven hours a day on the internet, and much of that time is spent surrounded by thousands of brands and advertisements. A well-done animation can help your brand stand out from the crowd and add essential layers of personality to your marketing collateral.
Whether your brand is neat and polished or playful and young, animation can reinforce those core characteristics without a single word. Picture the old Nickelodeon “splat” logo, for example. In 2009, a handful of disparate channels (TeenNick, Nick at Nite, etc.) were rolled into the Nickelodeon brand, and a new logo was unveiled to go along with the consolidation. The older logo’s animation had a younger, scrappier feel, while the current logo is much more refined, and gets at the large-scale, premium approach of Nickelodeon’s parent company, Paramount. These approaches are vastly different from one another, but there’s not one “right” answer when it comes to logo motion. Both animation styles are integral parts of the brand’s history and tell the story of a brand’s evolution. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If a picture is worth a thousand words, an animation is worth a million.
Virtually any digital platform is an option when it comes to displaying an animated logo, but as they say, moderation is key. Instead of applying motion “just because,” it’s important to have intention behind the choice to display a static or animated logo. Here are a few of our favorite intentional applications of motion design in logos.
Use an animated logo when your space and time are limited
In cases where viewers may only see one or two components of an ad (scrolling quickly through a social feed, for example), you can convey more with an animated logo than you can with a static one. The key in these instances is to take up about the same amount of space and time as a static logo. This means your animation should be quick and to the point, like the example below from Nike. An added feature of Nike’s animation style is that they apply a different animation style depending on the audience and product, so each motion graphic feels uniquely suited to its context.
Amp up your site’s intro screen with logo motion
Along with the now-iconic “ta-dum” sound, Netflix’s loading visual is well-known and well-loved. Because the animation doubles as a loading screen, it doesn’t feel intrusive or overdone. It’s reminiscent of classic film grain, and it ensures that the Netflix visual identity is central to the viewer experience, regardless of whether the program is a Netflix original or not.
Animate your logo as part of a brand pattern
For Calling All Optimists, a GMAC brand, we developed an animated brand pattern using elements pulled directly from the brand’s logo. This is a handy asset in any brand’s toolbox, because it’s a custom element that can be used in place of stock imagery or generic graphics, and it can be front-and-center or fade into the background. You can explore our case study for Calling All Optimists here.
Tell a story about your brand using animation
Designtorget is a Swedish design house that sells all kinds of homewares, and their logo animation helps convey their line of business to unfamiliar customers. Using the “D” and “T” figures from their logo, shifting them around with other simple lines to portray things like a table and chairs and an abstract smiling person. This animation demonstrates the brand’s actual offerings while also presenting a playful, modern brand identity.
Ready to explore how logo motion can boost your brand? Contact Bluetext to learn about our dynamic branding and motion design services.
Happy ‘Get to Know Your Customers’ Day! If there’s anything social media marketers love, it’s creating “national holidays” around unique subjects (hope you have big plans for the upcoming National Hot Dog Day). But July 21st has been deemed one of the quarterly National Get to Know Your Customers Day, and Bluetext is here to help you make today and every day centered around customer engagement.
The “Get to Know Your Customers Day” is observed quarterly, on the third Thursday of January, April, July, and October. Why? Because every business should be continuously learning about their customer base to improve products and offerings around their evolving needs. While this holiday does sound silly, it s a gentle nudge to reach out to your customer base and get to know them better. It serves as a reminder to take advantage of every opportunity to learn more about current customers, strengthening your connection with them to maximize customer loyalty and grow your customer base.
There are a wide variety of ways to collect customer feedback and track preferences, especially with modern digital attribution tools.
It’s no secret that getting subscribers’ attention is tough. Everybody’s inbox is flooded, we’re all multi-tasking and the distractions can feel limitless while reading emails. Therefore inviting subscribers to take an official survey can seem like an imposition and often be ignored. However, an in-line survey that keeps to following best practices can be more achievable and still generate informative results:
- Keep it short: Create a clear distinction between “must-know” and “nice to know” questions. Simplicity and brevity is the recipe for customer engagement and responsiveness.
- Be actionable: Don’t collect data unless you have a clear plan of how to use it.
- Personalize and trigger customers’ emotions: Use the information you already know about your customers, such as their first name, to show investment and get to know them better.
- Offer an incentive: Even the opportunity to receive a $10 Starbucks gift card for filling out a survey can be just the push a customer needs to take action and increase your form-fill rate.
Social Media Engagement
Be active on the social media platforms of best fit (each business is unique) and has the largest user base. Regular posts and invitations to engage, such as comments, polls, quizzes, votes, and direct messages are great ways to increase interaction with your customer base. The more you can engage with customers on a personal level, the better. Customers really do appreciate prompt and personal responses or shoutouts on social media platforms or through email. Of course, if the issue is about a specific product or a customer service issue, following up one-on-one is probably better. But when you respond personally, customers and prospects see that you care enough to take the time to engage with them. In a world where personal touch and emotions are growing more and more important in personal and business purchasing decisions, staying on top of your social game is key.
Create Customer Profiles with a CRM
Customer relationship management (CRM) software platforms, such as SalesForce or HubSpot are great tools to help you learn more about your customers. There are many different CRM platforms, such as SalesForce, Marketo, and HubSpot, with a range of functions, from sales enablement or marketing.
At its most basic, a CRM helps you keep track of all your customer data, from names and contact information to sales history, communications, interactions, lead scoring, and so on. A CRM allows digital marketers to visualize the complete customer lifecycle at a glance. Setting up website tracking and multiple digital touchpoints can allow a marketer to lead score, or assign different values to unique digital interactions such as a resource download, form submission, page view, etc. This creates visibility into the customer’s behaviors and an indication of their wants and needs. From these lead scores, you can send the appropriate marketing materials or target with specific ads that speak to their preferences or phase in the decision-making process.
Implement a Chatbot
It may seem counterintuitive to implement AI in an attempt to get personal. But, did you know a MobileMarketer survey found that millennials prefer speaking with a chatbot rather than with a human employee when they are searching for information about a product? This is largely attributed to the desire for fast and precise answers. Additionally, many feel more comfortable asking questions to a chatbot as they have the certainty of not being judged when they believe their question might be slightly naive. Thus, implementing a chatbot into your website can generate more conversations with customers and be a powerful learning tool for your organization on their common pain points and queries.
Not only does it encourage customer interaction, but it also makes users feel heard and attended to on your website. A chat allows them quick access to information, which shows respect for their time, and allows 24/7 access to online support. Not all companies have the luxury of a full support portal and personnel, so especially for those who don’t, a chatbot closes that gap to ensure customers still feel supported.
Chatbots have dual benefits in improving lead generation, qualification, and nurturing. Chatbots can ask questions throughout the buyer’s journey and provide information that may persuade the user and create a lead. Chatbots can then provide potential and current customer information to the sales team, who can engage with the leads based on their interests or questions.
At the end of the day, getting to know your customers should be a priority every day, not just once a quarter. There are endless possibilities and strategies to do so, but all lead to more accurate and actionable customer information which can be turned into actional improvements. Customers will inevitably leave companies that don’t evolve with their changing business environments, so staying engaged and attentive to their questions and needs is critical.
If you’re motivated to step up your customer knowledge and improve your engagement tactics, Bluetext can help. Our variety of services ranging from email marketing to marketing analytics can help fulfill the questions YOU may have about your customer base.
In a world where businesses are constantly challenged by a sea of sameness, bold messaging and design are crucial pieces of a marketing strategy that can propel you to the forefront of your industry. Flashy websites and digital user experiences are often the first points of contact with target audiences and are rightfully prioritized to engage users and grow brand awareness.
However, when it comes to building a sustainable and scalable brand identity the buck doesn’t stop at those brand entry points – it’s just the beginning. The all-encompassing “content” is not just a hot industry term – it’s the substance that supports every claim you make and validates your brand identity, and the way that content is presented is just as important as that first brand impression.
When it comes to presentation materials, collateral, stationery, and even internal communications, adhering to a thoughtful visual identity will go a long way in preserving and growing the value of your brand. Even non-marketing materials contribute to this. Content is essentially the foundation of your business, the legs of research and product information that your website or sales pitches stand on. Just as you wouldn’t want your home built with a hodgepodge of materials that don’t match in style and quality, you wouldn’t want your business coming across as disjointed and in-cohesive. Arm your employees with thoughtfully designed, professional-grade marketing and sales materials that continue your brand down the funnel.
In a crowded market, thought leadership content is table stakes as a marketing and lead nurturing tactic. The way that thought leadership is presented, however, is an opportunity for your brand to stand out. Bluetext was tasked with the programming and design of the Securonix brand identity which included all collateral materials for future PowerPoints, data sheets, product sheets, case studies, white papers, and stationery.
Developing a system of materials connected by a strong brand identity allows that brand story to be carried through to even this lesser-highlighted audience touchpoint. The Securonix website and user experience make an exceptional first impression, but ideally, a user would travel past the homepage into a resource or gated download. If that lower-funnel touchpoint doesn’t resemble the sophistication of a user’s first impression they will naturally become confused or skeptical. If the saying ‘put your best foot forward’ resonates, be sure to keep up the impression at every next step.
That thoughtfulness of the brand messaging and the way it influences their visual identity is carried all the way through to the layout of a data sheet. This elevates content from being just words on a page to being a valuable piece of the greater brand.
In this digital-first landscape, the expectations of B2C and B2B organizations have never been so in sync. B2B audiences and stakeholders don’t just expect high-quality and accurate information, they also expect to be wowed by its presentation. Packaging impressive statistics or insightful thoughts on industry trends in a way that is consistent with your visual brand while also considering the optimal layout that makes that information most impactful is crucial in differentiating that content as well as maintaining your brand identity.
Content is one of your organization’s most valuable marketing and lead-nurturing tools – ensuring that it can stand out in the crowded market is critical in taking your business to the next level. Contact Bluetext if you’re interested in revamping your B2B content marketing strategy.
Picture this: the year is 2013, Twitter is exploding into the public conscious with more than 200 million active users, and Facebook has a vice-grip on people’s free time across the globe. Social media, once considered an afterthought in any brand marketing strategy, is now on center stage. A fresh frontier to engage with current and potential customers in a way that no form of advertising has done before. Any brand worth its salt hires swathes of fresh-faced analysts to form social strategy teams and capitalize on the opportunity social media marketing presents. But, as with any emerging space, the way forward is not yet clear, and many brands are hesitant to make a bold leap into the unknown. Social media strategies are conservative and in line with traditional marketing: infographics are reposted on Instagram, product launches are promoted on Twitter, and brand Facebook pages are little more than an index of ads that have already run elsewhere. Despite social media platforms’ more casual formats, brand language is still tightly controlled and diluted with formality. The marketing world might be entering a new era, but the big brands still aren’t ready to give up their old tricks.
Now flash forward to 2022: the official Wendy’s Twitter account is telling people to smuggle Frosty’s into children’s movies, Arby’s Instagram is promoting a collab with famous rappers, and Slim Jim is furiously pushing a movement called #LongBoiGang. As a rational and well-adjusted person, you might be asking yourself how we got here? The answer, my dear reader, is memes.
What is a Meme?
So what exactly is a meme? Richard Dawkins first coined the term “meme” in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene to refer to how ideas evolve and are shared across different cultures. Under this broad definition, everything from urban legends to famous sayings could be memes. But, as the Internet began to connect people worldwide, the free exchange of information accelerated like crazy. It opened the door for new methods of conveying ideas, specifically memes as we know them today.
Modern memes can be broadly defined as pieces of media that are copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users. From a conflicted superhero to a distracted boyfriend, these images are retitled and reused by Internet users to comment on everything from personal events to pop culture moments. But it’s not just picture templates that can become memes: halftime shows, hashtags, and even celebrities can all be the inspiration behind Internet memes.
How Memes Can Benefit Your Brand
But even after being caught up on the history that made memes what they are today, you might still be asking yourself, what can they do for me? Here are four benefits that meme marketing can bring your business.
- Expanding your Engagement – Internet users spend an estimated 145 minutes daily on social media. They’re online to scroll through their pics, jokes, and videos while tuning out everything else around them, meaning you have the chance to capture their undivided attention. Meme marketing also opens the door to even more potential impressions through functions like shares, retweets, and comments.
- Keeping Consumer Attention – Social media users are highly resistant to traditional advertising on their favorite platforms, viewing unprompted commercials and ads as intrusions, not opportunities. But by sharing memes about your brand you can seamlessly slip into their content stream and cultivate more organic user interactions.
- No Price Promotion – The most enticing aspect of meme marketing is that it doesn’t cost a thing. Although hiring social media professionals or paid influencers can do a world of good, anyone up to date on current trends can join the fun post.
- Revealing your Relatability – One of the greatest struggles many companies have with managing their brands is appearing too outwardly corporate or robotic. Memes present a perfect opportunity for brands to communicate with consumers more casually and forge more personal connections in the process.
B2B Meme Marketing Inspiration
From forums like Reddit to social hubs like Twitter and Instagram, much of the content that keeps users returning to popular platforms are memes. If you want to meaningfully engage with consumers in these channels and build a social media strategy that isn’t stuck in the stone age, you’ll need to learn how to make memes. Here are a few examples of brands that succeeded in meme marketing to get your creative juices flowing!
- HubSpot – Fan favorite movies and TV shows present a treasure trove of possibilities for memes that social media users can recognize and connect with.
- RevGenius – Industry/category-specific memes can add a focused and personalized flair to your company’s social media presence.
- Adobe Marketo – Some companies even integrate memes into their trade show/event promotion like this make-your-own meme booth that Adobe Marketo featured to pump up engagement both online and at the event.
Want to take your social media strategy to the next level? Bluetext can help optimize your social media program and ensure you get the most out of your marketing.
Maybe you’ve seen one of those large banners across your Google Analytics property: “Universal Analytics will no longer process new data in standard properties beginning July 1st, 2023. Prepare now by setting up and switching over to a Google Analytics 4 property.” Seems problematic, right? Such a warning rings an alarm and raises several good questions to digital marketers, including: What is GA4? Should I switch now? Why is Google making me change? How do I switch? Will I still be able to access my data from previous years? If your mind is buzzing with these questions about your marketing analytics data you’re not alone. Luckily Bluetext has done its research and is here to answer some frequently asked questions and quell any lingering fears over this transition. This article will empower you to make an informed decision about Google Analytics 4.
What are Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4?
Universal Analytics (UA) is Google’s third iteration of its popular web analytics service. If you’ve logged on to Google Analytics in the past decade, you were more likely than not using UA. When UA launched in 2012, it was quite a technological leap, adding advanced features in cross-platform tracking and custom dimensions. It shaped Google Analytics from simply being a page view tracking platform to a robust data reporting and attribution tool that could compete against some of the largest web-oriented business intelligence platforms, like Tealium. Most importantly, Google provided nearly the whole feature set free of charge.
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is simply Google’s newest iteration – think of it as a new generation of analytics technologies. The web has transformed significantly since the early 2010s, and Google is merely re-platforming analytics to match today’s realities. GA4 launched in 2019 to little fanfare but only recently gained significant traction in March of this year due to Google’s landmark announcement that GA4 will be the only analytics service it supports in 2023.
Why is Google Switching to Google Analytics 4 and Ending Support for Universal Analytics?
This is a complex question – with some good answers that Google will give you and some answers you’ll need to read between the lines to get. Google’s official statement is that GA4 better reflects the modern web. UA did a woeful job reporting on non-webpage-based metrics, such as those from web apps. It was also cumbersome if your reporting needs didn’t precisely match those of a traditional website experience – e.g., single-page or non-linear web apps. GA4 is more customizable and reflects modern data collection and attribution processes better.
The underlying message here, though, is that of data privacy. Since UA launched nearly ten years ago, fundamental shifts have occurred over how people and the law treat data privacy on the web. Think of Edward Snowden, GDPR, and the countless data breaches over the last decade. At its core, Google realizes that this enormous cache of web data collected from millions of websites, even if not strictly Personally Identifiable Information (PII), is a huge security risk to the company. GA4 is an attempt to offset some of that risk, either removing entirely or at least offloading it to individual companies. GA4’s data collection methods are more anonymized, and data retention is limited to 14 months. Overall, this is a calculated move by Google to push its analytics customers to use tools that won’t put Google in hot water.
What’s similar between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics? What’s different?
While the actual end-user experience may look starkly dissimilar, the foundation remains the same. GA4 will remain an incredibly flexible web analytics platform suitable for most websites today – regardless of whether it’s a personal blog, an online retailer, or a corporate website. Most day-to-day tasks like page view tracking, user attribution, and measuring bounce rates will remain the same. GA4 merely stores these metrics and measurements in alternative locations.
That isn’t to say everything is identical. The significant differences you’ll notice every day are rooted in the architectural shift in hit types. UA treated things like page views, events, and e-commerce tracking as separate entities or “hit types.” GA4, on the other hand, treats them all as “events”. Any tracking item will now be an event: resource downloads, page scroll, form submits. Google is thus simplifying the old event architecture by putting everything on the same level – everything is an event with associated customizable event parameters.
For example, under UA, a resource download event might have looked something like this:
- Event Category: Downloads
- Event Action: Resource Download
- Event Label: resource_file_name.doc
- Event Action: Resource Download
Note that regardless of whether it was necessary, Events always took on this three-stage hierarchy. GA4 removes this rigid hierarchy. Instead of having the arbitrary “Event Action” and “Event Category” dimensions, GA4 lets one create as many custom event parameters as necessary to communicate an event’s nature fully. GA4 can track the event instead as:
- Event: Download
- Download Type: Resource
- File Name: resource_file_name.doc
Sessions are also changing. By default, UA defined the end of a session by identifying 30 minutes of inactivity since the last event. GA4 measures the period between the first and last events in a session. GA4 also doesn’t create a new session when a user’s campaign parameters are changed. The major takeaway of these changes is that session numbers will likely be lower in GA4 than in UA.
Aside from these two critical areas, there are many other minor changes. While lesser in scope, these changes may affect your reporting, depending on what kind of features you currently rely upon regularly. For example, customizable views for properties are going away in GA4. If you depend on different views, you’ll likely have to experiment with custom audience building to replicate the reporting. As mentioned before, GA4 will also only store data from the previous 14 months.
Documenting every change is beyond the scope of this blog post. If interested in getting into the nitty-gritty, read through Google’s documentation on the significant changes.
Do I Need to Switch to Google Analytics 4?
Google states that no further data will be processed after July 1st, 2023 (Customers of 360 Universal Analytics get a small extension to October 1st, 2023). While Google may extend to a further date, make no mistake, Universal Analytics will eventually be completely deprecated. If your business relies on web analytics in any form, you need to start planning soon on what your migration plan looks like – hopefully well before July of next year.
How Can I Switch to Google Analytics 4?
For most websites, merely enabling dual tracking will be sufficient. Google has made an easy setup wizard for GA4. To access it, go to the admin panel for your UA property and click the “GA4 Setup Assistant” link. You can follow Google’s instructions here, but within a few clicks, you’ll have a tracking setup that collects both UA and GA4 data. You’ll already have nearly a year’s worth of GA4 data to review once UA goes offline next year. As noted previously, be aware that no historical data will be present in GA4, even if you use this wizard. That said, it will give an excellent basis of comparison to see the reporting differences, especially as you can compare each month between GA4 and UA up until the cutoff date.
Custom events and e-commerce will require a more personalized and custom approach. We’ll cover these in future guides here at Bluetext, but for now, you can consult Google’s guides on the matter here.
I hope this guide relieved some worries and cleared up some unknowns regarding Universal Analytics and GA4. There’s a lot to cover about GA4, and this guide only covers the surface. If you have any further questions about UA4 and GA4, be it migrating data, specific differences, or a transition plan, contact us to learn more about Bluetext’s analytics capabilities.