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Customer Engagement Highlights Reaching New Customers Strategy

Organizational growth strategies: Aligning purpose and practice

Organizational growth isn’t just about increasing revenue or market share. It’s about building a sustainable and purpose-driven organization. 

Sure, every company aspires to quickly grow and see revenue rise. However, understanding the “why” behind that growth is critical for attracting and retaining talent, authentically engaging customers, and achieving long-term success. Simply put, understanding your “why” and aligning your purpose with your operational practices can unlock true organizational growth.

Understanding the ‘why’ in business growth

Many companies define growth in terms of financial metrics. While these are important, focusing solely on profit and EBITA is like having a destination in mind without plotting a route to get there, which can leave business strategies directionless. A truly purpose-driven business clearly understands its “why”—its core reason for existence beyond making money. This purpose serves as a guiding star, rallying like-minded employees, inspiring customer loyalty, and fostering a genuine connection between your organization and the market you serve. When companies are guided by purpose, they’re more likely to find their way to financial success.

Consider Patagonia, a company renowned for its commitment to environmental sustainability. Their purpose isn’t just selling outdoor apparel but protecting the planet for future generations. This purpose informs everything they do, from product design to marketing campaigns, and has earned them a fiercely loyal customer base for good reason. Consumers get to feel as if they are playing a part in the health of our environment by purchasing Patagonia goods while having great gear to enjoy the great outdoors. This is a great example of how threading purpose all the way through an organization drives positive business outcomes.

The significance of authentic branding

Authentic branding is the outward expression of your company’s purpose. It’s about clearly communicating your values, mission, and the impact you strive to make. Customers today are savvy; they can sniff out inauthenticity a mile away. Remember when Kellogg’s CEO Gary Pilnick suggested on national television that American families consider “cereal for dinner” in response to rising food costs? Consumers certainly do, and an organized boycott is still underway.

When your branding authentically reflects your purpose, it fosters trust and creates a positive emotional connection with your audience. Here’s where crisp and consistent storytelling comes into your brand’s message and content strategy. Your company story should be woven into every facet of your marketing and sales efforts. This can include blog posts, social media content, website copy, and even customer case studies. By consistently telling your story, you reinforce your purpose and build brand loyalty.

Linking purpose with operational efficiency

Purpose is not just a feel-good slogan; it must be operationalized to fuel your company and ultimately growth. This means ensuring your business operations and processes are aligned with your purpose and your people are equipped to deliver on your promises, not just to customers but to one another. 

Here’s where data-driven accountability and data-centricity come into play. Leaders and decision-makers need access to the right metrics and data to assess operational efficiency. These metrics should measure progress toward company goals, client satisfaction, customer perception, retention, and growth. By holding leadership accountable for key performance indicators (KPIs) that connect to purpose-driven growth, you create a feedback loop that ensures alignment across all levels of the organization.

The critical role of sales and delivery synergy

Imagine a scenario where your sales team paints a rosy picture of your product or service to close a deal, but then the internal teams responsible for delivery lack the resources or capacity to fulfill those promises. This disconnect between sales and delivery creates a frustrating experience for customers and can damage your reputation (your brand). It’s important to remember that sales are just one step in the customer journey.

For true organizational growth, your sales and delivery need to be in lockstep. This requires clear communication between both teams, ensuring everyone understands the product or service capabilities and realistic timelines. Additionally, shared goals that prioritize customer satisfaction and advocacy are crucial. By aligning purpose with operational practices, you can foster strong collaboration between sales and delivery, ensuring a seamless and positive customer experience from initial contact to successful delivery.

When internal solutions fall short: Finding the right partner

Sometimes, organizations get stuck in their siloed workflows and struggle to create the internal alignment necessary for sustained growth. This is when partnering with a trusted external partner can be invaluable. Infusing fresh perspectives and outside expertise can help you refocus your strategies with your customer at the center and your purpose as the driver for greater resonance with your target audience and purpose-driven growth for your business.

Here’s why seeking external help can help bring purpose to your efforts:

  • Internal blind spots: Teams can be too close to the problem, losing perspective on the value your brand exists to create for your customers and missing potential solutions.
  • Leadership challenges: Leaders may lack the expertise or resources to implement necessary changes when purpose becomes disconnected from practice in their business operations and strategies.
  • Translation to execution: Even when the purpose is clear at the brand level, it’s not always easy to thread it through to execution at the hands of practitioners. From sales and marketing to product, IT, finance, operations, and every other business discipline, the subject matter experts across all these domains need to approach what they do from the context of why they do it, which stems from your purpose.

By partnering with an agency that aligns with your purpose, understands the digital landscape, and approaches marketing, product, and data strategies as tools to help you fulfill your brand’s purpose and create the kinds of experiences that your customers demand, you can overcome organizational inhibitors and achieve your growth goals.

At Tallwave, we’re passionate about helping businesses unlock their full growth potential by aligning purpose with practice. We believe that a well-defined purpose, operational efficiency, and authentic execution of the brand are the keys to sustainable growth in today’s competitive environment.

Ready to take your organization to the next level? Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help you craft a purposeful and profitable growth strategy.

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CRO Customer Engagement Highlights Reaching New Customers Strategy

Measuring customer perspective: The key to great CX

Understanding and responding to your customers’ perspectives has become more vital than ever. Without understanding your customers’ points of view, making informed business decisions turns into a guessing game. And in today’s dynamic landscape, customer preferences can shift swiftly. When coupled with an increasingly volatile and competitive operating environment, gaining insight into their viewpoints isn’t just advantageous—it’s essential to unlocking growth and staying ahead of the curve. 

While business decision makers clearly desire critical insights into customer experience, it’s also becoming increasingly challenging. With growing concerns about privacy, the rise in importance (and difficulty) of capturing first-party data, and shorter customer attention spans, businesses face the task of navigating these complexities to comprehend their customers better. 

The good news is that there are best practices for measuring customer perspective that nearly every company can implement. Let’s dive in.

Building a customer-centric measurement approach: 3 core principles

Before we jump into the nitty gritty of measurement tactics, we have to align on three core principles that top-performing firms adopt into their operating philosophies and approaches to their customers’ journeys:

1. Embrace a diverse range of tactics. It’s not enough to rely on a single method; instead, a combination of approaches is essential to gain a comprehensive understanding of your customers’ experiences.

2. Automation and data are your friends. Many companies manually deploy an annual customer survey as their key measure of CX performance. While useful, this snapshot in time is far from ideal in terms of creating regular, rich insights that are actionable. Automating surveys allows for real-time data collection and the ability to capture the current voice of the customer.

3. Align data to your customer segments or personas. Every business knows its customers are far from homogeneous. The best companies ensure the data they’re collecting is appended to existing data they have on their customers (CRM data, for example) so that they can slice and dice as necessary.

How to measure customer perspectives: proven tactics

With those core principles in mind, below are some key tactics that can help you keep a pulse on your customers’ perspectives. While certainly not an exhaustive list of the metrics and data points businesses should be tracking, these tactics are particularly powerful when it comes to rallying teams around customer perspectives, solving issues, and making big strides in business performance.

Transactional Customer Satisfaction (TSAT or T-CSAT)

A riff on the age-old classic of overall CSAT, transactional CSAT is measured and triggered by specific interactions that represent only a portion of the customer’s experience with your brand. The power of this tactic lies in its fixed parameters. Unlike overall CSAT, which asks customers to think broadly, often leading to muted or generalized feedback, transactional CSAT captures customer perspectives in relation to a very recent, specific experience. The result produces two fantastic benefits:

1. Feedback is more visceral and clearly tied to a specific experience. It’s easier to find patterns related to a specific conversation, interaction, or even UX affordance, and you can directly measure or correlate changes made in these areas to future measurements.

2. Transactional CSAT feedback can be collected across the entire customer journey, giving you multiple points of feedback on specific interactions or experiences with a brand. This enables companies to build a complete, measurable picture of a customer’s experience across their journey, further boosting abilities to test, learn, and improve.

Leveraging these patterns, they implemented UX improvements across their digital properties, boosting the blended average of TCSAT scores by 23% in less than six months. 

A national insurance provider we worked with implemented Transactional CSAT at critical steps like their customer quote, customer bind, first billing, and even specific interactions within their service portal. It enabled them to pinpoint patterns of customer feedback both within the “steps” in the journey and across it. Leveraging these patterns, they were able to implement UX improvements across their digital properties, boosting the blended average of TCSAT scores by 23% in less than six months. 

Implemented using a mix of the standard Likert scale (scaled rating system) and 1-2 open response questions, Transactional CSAT provides the perfect blend of measurable quantitative and qualitative data to make decisions. And it’s all the more powerful if you can tie it back to some source of protected first-party data.

Quantitative data

Every company wants to be “data-driven,” but few truly are. By the same token, too many companies view quantitative data sources as the only empirical way to make decisions. At Tallwave, we view quantitative data as a key driver of decision-making, and we seek to complement it with qualitative data as well.

In a previous article, we outlined nine key metrics that every business should measure, but here are the top three that we recommend every company that has a tech- or digitally-oriented customer experience focus in on:

1. Metrics at the microconversion level: It’s particularly important that your team understands customer reactions along the path to conversion. While these micro-actions might seem like “obvious” metrics, we find that companies rarely track them on a granular enough level and, as a result, ignore minor changes that could have a major impact.

Looking for another resource? Hotjar has a great article on how to think about microconversions and how to start measuring them.

2. User paths/customer flow: This goes beyond the customer funnel and into actual user behavior. We track this data because it tells us where users think they should be looking for information or things they think will help them accomplish their goals. This, in turn, tells us where to focus to improve their journeys. The important key here is that we’re looking for where the volume of your user behavior is going. For example, if a customer abandons their cart, what percent go back to the previous page or edit cart vs. fully close out of the page? Where do they go next?

A couple of key questions your team should be asking themselves here:

  • How often do customers actually follow the “happy path” that I have designed for them?
  • When they deviate from that path, where do they go?

3. KPIs: This is an obvious one, but it has to be on the list. If your company does not have an existing dashboard that clearly tells a story around your top KPIs, we have a couple of useful articles on data quality management and the power of data storytelling that will help guide your journey.

User recordings

Simply put, there is no better way to visualize how your customers are experiencing your brand or product than watching them navigate the pages of your website or interact in your app. Better yet, there is no better way to illustrate the pain they feel when they run into a roadblock or can’t find what they’re looking for.

We strongly suggest implementing one of any number of UX recording tools to catalog, tag, and view user sessions. Even watching just 10-20 recordings per week could unlock major advances in understanding how to deliver on user expectations. While it’s not the only source of data you should rely upon, we’ve often found there is nothing better to bring a story to life than this.

How to make the most of your data to understand customer perspectives

We’ve covered a lot of ground here, yet there’s still so much more to unlocking the power of insight into customer perspectives. If we can leave you with just one thought, it is this…

Understanding customer perspectives is all about understanding their customer journeys. Each of the tactics we’ve covered here is oriented toward illuminating those journeys, either by collecting direct feedback on a string of snapshots in time, or by actually tracking the step-by-step progress of customers (microconversions) on the way to a conversion. 

And once you have collected the data, the next step is to leverage the data to understand how to remove friction, eliminate confusion, and simplify the process of customers getting to their ultimate end goals. See how we helped an e-commerce company double its revenue in just three  months by doing just that. Interested in learning more about how we can help your business measure and activate on your customers’ perspectives? Drop us a line…

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CRO Customer Engagement News Paid Media Reaching New Customers SEO Uncategorized

The rise of social shopping: How your feed becomes your marketplace

The way consumers interact with brands has undergone a significant transformation with the growing popularity of social ecommerce. This emerging form of shopping allows consumers to explore products and complete transactions through social media while creating a more engaging consumer journey and presenting new opportunities for brands to capture consumer interest. What once served as platforms for sharing photos, connecting with friends, and staying updated on the latest trends have now transformed into dynamic marketplaces where users can seamlessly transition from liking a product to making a purchase, all within the same app.

The emergence of social ecommerce

Online shopping has seen substantial growth thanks to the swift expansion of social ecommerce.  Global regions like China are setting the social ecommerce bar high for all brands by hosting 2-hour live shopping experiences on Tik Tok, and by creating augmented reality (AR) lenses on Snapchat that allow social shoppers to “try-on” items and share with friends. These sales-generating trends have illuminated a social shopping opportunity that the US has begun to emulate, leading to an increase of social shopping. McKinsey estimates that by 2025, social commerce in the US will have generated about $80 billion in sales (up from $37 billion in 2021) and global sales will have exceeded $2 trillion.

Social platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, and Snapchat have integrated social ecommerce capabilities into their user experiences. Instagram’s ecommerce shop feature is essentially a storefront housed inside of the platform, making it easier for consumers to find and buy things featured in their feeds by enabling businesses to tag products in their posts and stories. In a similar vein, TikTok has debuted shoppable livestreams, which enable brands to showcase their goods in real time and enable instant transactions. This in turn allows customers to communicate with content creators directly during the live streams so they can ask questions about the featured products. This convenience creates a better customer experience that drives incremental sales. 

Customer behavior and mobile-first shopping 

The popularity of mobile shopping is another element fueling the expansion of social ecommerce. Through the use of mobile phones, consumers can link directly and immediately to brands, which in turn enables personalized recommendations as well as targeted ads and real-time promotions. Social media platforms are internet marketplaces where users can explore products, read reviews, or even interact with different brands in a single interface. Basically, social media apps have made it very easy for people to browse, share, and buy products, making shopping more accessible and convenient than ever before thereby completely changing the retail landscape. With social media platforms evolving to become more mobile-friendly and creating mobile-first experiences through their apps, the influence of mobile shopping is expected to further accelerate, shaping the future of ecommerce.

Blurring boundaries: Content and social ecommerce strategy 

In the contemporary digital world, remarkable social media content is critical in creating interest, user engagement, and subsequent purchases. Top-tier content incorporates helpful visuals, enlightening videos, and captivating product stories that go beyond basic product descriptions and feature lists to forge emotional bonds with customers. This blend is crucial for grabbing user attention and fostering trust. Leveraging targeted messaging, product tagging, and in-app showcases, brands can bring their offerings to life, highlighting their distinctive value propositions while tackling consumer concerns head-on. Additionally, user-generated content, plus real-life testimonials, helps boost credibility and influence purchasing choices made by consumers. Great social media contents enable brands to develop close relationships with customers, thus enhancing brand loyalty as well as conversion rates all through the immersive world of social ecommerce.

Know your customers: Social shopping by generation 

It is important to note that each generation views and utilizes social media shopping differently. Hubspot compiled data on generational shopping habits over a three-month period and unveiled how each generation shops on social media platforms, which can be used to inform marketing strategies. According to Hubspot, Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X exhibit more enthusiasm for shopping via social media platforms compared to Baby Boomers. Gen Z takes the lead with 23%, closely followed by Millennials at 21%. In contrast, Gen X accounts for 13%, while Baby Boomers lag significantly behind at 3%. Among those interested in online shopping, 28% of Gen Z and Millennials have made direct purchases through social media, with 18% of Gen X also participating, whereas only 4% of Boomers engage in social shopping.

Gen Z is dominating the realm of social shopping. This is probably in part because they grew up in such a technologically advanced era. This generation is using social media platforms as search engines in order to discover brands and their shopping behavior indicates that though they are buying fewer items, they are buying items with a high value. For all generations, posting high quality content on organic and paid social media channels, setting up social media storefronts, and tagging products are great ways to build trust, especially with the Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers who browse but do not always commit to making a purchase on social platforms. It’s important to remember that even if social ecommerce isn’t the preferred channel for transacting purchases, it can be an important part of the path to purchase in other channels. So a good social ecommerce strategy is cross-generational.

Challenges and considerations for brands

Social ecommerce, the amalgamation of social media and ecommerce, represents a dynamic frontier for brands seeking innovative ways to connect with consumers and optimize their marketing strategies. As with any new frontier, there will be both opportunities and bumpy roads ahead. 

Through data analytics and tracking tools embedded in social platforms, social ecommerce provides valuable insights into consumer behavior and preferences for brands. This information includes user interactions and engagement patterns as well as purchasing history that can help companies identify opportunities for improvement. Effective businesses will often use this data to segment their target audience so they can deliver content that has been personalized to meet individual tastes and wants. As a result, businesses develop stronger customer relationships resulting in brand loyalty.

However, despite its promises, social ecommerce also presents a range of challenges. One significant hurdle is the saturation and competitiveness of social media platforms, which makes it difficult for brands to cut through noise and attract consumer attention. One way for brands to do this is by doubling down on personalization to ensure relevance and increase the likelihood of grabbing consumers’ attention. Additionally, ever-changing algorithms adopted by different networks together with rules governing advertising create another, requiring companies to continuously realign their tactics. One potential solution is for brands to focus on building a strong foundation for their marketing strategy. This may include: 

  • Diversifying advertising on social platforms: This can help mitigate the impact of sudden algorithm changes on any single platform.
  • Audience engagement: Actively engaging with the audience on social media can help brands build a strong community that will continue to engage with their content regardless of algorithm changes, mitigating the impact.
  • Analytics and data: Regularly analyze advertising data and performance by conducting A/B testing to understand what strategies are most effective. This data-driven approach can help you optimize your tactics in response to algorithm changes.

Moreover, privacy concerns and data security issues are paramount considerations in the realm of social ecommerce. When collecting consumer information for personalization purposes, transparency, consent, and data protection must be observed to maintain consumer trust and compliance with regulatory requirements. If not properly addressed, these issues can not only damage the reputation of a brand but also lead to legal implications. Brands that wish to use social ecommerce should therefore put in place strong data governance practices and ethical principles so that they may protect consumer privacy while enhancing trust with consumers. 

Read more: Is SEO the secret to social media success? It could be.

Even though there are numerous opportunities for brands to foster engagement and sales through social ecommerce, marketers must exercise strategic, holistic approaches that consider both opportunities and potential obstacles.

Embrace the social media shopping revolution

The emergence of social ecommerce signifies a paradigm change in the way companies interact with customers and conduct online sales. Marketers can turn their feeds into dynamic markets that increase engagement, encourage loyalty, and increase revenue by utilizing social media’s power and embracing social shopping technologies. With the boundaries between social media and ecommerce becoming increasingly hazy, the future of shopping is in our hands as our feeds transform into virtual marketplaces.

Are you ready to grow your strategy for marketing? Get in contact with us, and together, we can begin converting your social feed into a dynamic marketplace that drives results. 

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Customer Engagement Uncategorized

Government giggles: How humor is changing social media for public agencies

Gone are the days of dry press releases and sterile announcements. In the age of social media and short attention spans, all kinds of government agencies are shedding their traditional stoic images and embracing a surprising tool from their marketing arsenal: humor. From the National Park Service’s witty banter to the IRS’s meme-filled musings, public agencies are discovering the power of laughter to connect with their audiences on a deeper level.

But why the sudden shift toward stand-up routines in public agencies’ content strategies?

The benefits of a chuckle: Humanizing serious business 

Humor can be a powerful tool for government and public agencies seeking to break down barriers and build trust with the public. Complex organizations become more relatable by injecting a dose of wit into their social media interactions. Faceless bureaucracies are becoming a thing of the past; using memes, pop culture references, and clever captions allows agencies to connect with younger generations and broader audiences in a way traditional methods simply cannot.

The National Park Service exemplifies this masterfully. Their Instagram account boasts breathtaking landscapes paired with unexpected captions that leave audiences chuckling. One recent post shows a video of the Northern Lights as seen from Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska, and then compares the breathtaking aurora borealis to “the night sky having a magical dance party.” This lighthearted approach not only entertains but also encourages engagement and reminds people of the beauty these parks offer.

Laughter is the best medicine: Making mundane information memorable 

But humor isn’t just about giggles. It can be extremely effective at making dry, or even unpleasant, subjects more relatable and accessible. By framing dull or complex information in a humorous way, agencies can increase memorability and engagement. Tedious and complex topics become easier to digest when delivered with a wink and a smile. 

Take the IRS, for instance. Navigating tax season can be a daunting task for many, but their social media presence cleverly uses pop culture references and relatable scenarios to explain filing processes and answer common tax questions.

A recent reel featuring an adorable black pup and the text “Dear Taxpayers, NOT A DEPENDANT,” not only resonates with the pet parents in the audience, but also provides a helpful resource with the caption. Through humor, the IRS makes engagement with a topic most people hate much more palatable.

Laughter is contagious: Expanding visibility and engagement

Finally, humor can be a powerful tool for expanding an agency’s reach and visibility. Funny content is more likely to be shared and discussed, leading to a wider impact. Research has shown that social media posts with humor tend to receive higher engagement rates compared to strictly informative content. This increased engagement translates into a wider audience for important messages and announcements.

Humor also gives consumers a reason to engage with brands outside of the occasions, transactions, and other moments where engagement would otherwise be limited. For example, if you’re not an outdoorsy person, the dread of camping, hiking, or battling mosquitoes may keep you far away from national parks. But just try to stay away from their social media accounts. Their content is quippy, clever, and downright funny, resulting in engagement from audiences that may not otherwise have a reason to interact with the brand.

While specific data on the precise impact of humor on social media engagement is still evolving, countless anecdotal examples exist. The National Park Service’s humorous posts consistently go viral, reaching millions beyond their initial audience and driving awareness for their conservation efforts. Humor, in essence, becomes an unexpected marketing tool, attracting new followers and amplifying the reach of essential information.

Stepping onto the stage: Concerns and considerations for adopting humor in social media

Of course, incorporating humor into a content strategy or social media plan isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Maintaining professionalism, avoiding offense, and achieving the right balance between serious and silly are all valid concerns.

The key lies in a strategic approach. Developing clear guidelines for using humor ensures your content reflects your brand voice while remaining respectful and appropriate. For instance, a public health agency might avoid political jokes, while a wildlife conservation agency might avoid humor that mocks endangered species.

Finding your funny bone: How brands can embrace humor

So, how can your brand incorporate a touch of humor into its social media voice? Here’s a few quick tips to guide your first attempts into adding a little laughter into your brand’s social strategy:

1. Identify your brand voice

Before diving headfirst into jokes, understand your brand personality, voice, and tone within the context of your target audience. What kind of humor resonates with them? Can you maintain your brand voice while being funny? Think about the overall tone you want to convey and ensure your humor aligns with it.

2. Find inspiration

Look to successful examples like the two government agencies mentioned earlier. Analyze the types of humor, tone, and content that work well for them. Consider adapting those approaches to fit your brand identity.

3. Start small and experiment

Don’t jump into full-blown comedic campaigns right away. Begin with lighthearted posts, witty replies, or humorous captions for your existing social media content. Gauge audience response and iterate based on their feedback. This allows you to refine your approach and ensure your humor lands as intended. Tallwave has taken this approach first-hand in our brand marketing efforts. Remember our 2023 April Fools’ post? We loved it, but it took our audience a while to warm up and laugh like we did. But, a few months later, our humorous holiday greeting is one of our most-shared posts to date.

4. Authenticity is key

Forced humor rarely works. Ensure your humor aligns with your brand values and feels genuine. Avoid humor that might be offensive, insensitive, or that might contradict your brand message.

5. Embrace trends and memes

Leveraging trending topics and memes with a unique brand spin can be highly engaging. A well-timed meme referencing a current event can spark conversation and increase reach. However, stay relevant and avoid overusing memes, as they can quickly lose their appeal.

6. Make data-driven decisions

Track your results! Analyze which types of humor resonate best with your audience and adjust your approach accordingly. Social media platforms offer analytics tools that can provide valuable insights into audience engagement.

The final act: Bringing laughter to your brand

As the case of government agencies using humor on social media demonstrates, laughter can be a powerful tool for connecting with audiences, delivering information, and building trust, even for the most unlikely brands. By incorporating humor strategically and thoughtfully, brands from all sectors can create a more engaging and relatable online presence.

At Tallwave, we understand the power of diverse strategies in crafting compelling content. Just as we helped a recent client in the healthcare sector achieve success through our content strategy work, we can help you develop a social media approach that incorporates humor effectively. Let’s chat about how we can help you bring a little laughter – and a lot of engagement – to your brand voice.

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CRO Customer Engagement Paid Media Reaching New Customers SEO

The road to victory: Paid media strategies in an election and Olympic year

For a few months every four years, the U.S. presidential election and Summer Olympics dominate the media landscape and create major challenges for advertisers trying to establish reach, maintain ad frequency, and meet cost per acquisition (CPA) goals. From roughly mid-July to early November, election campaigns and Olympic promotions overtake ad inventory, limiting supply and driving up costs for other advertisers. 

In 2020, the Tokyo Olympics attracted $2.25 billion in U.S. ad revenue and the U.S. election cycle totaled an unprecedented $2.5 billion of ad revenue. And that’s just for TV ads! With all of that extra competition in the market, breaking through the clutter and maintaining effective reach and frequency without breaking the bank becomes a major challenge for most advertisers.

Let’s explore how a thoughtful election- and Olympic-year paid media strategy can help you emerge victorious from this quagmire. After all, who doesn’t love a good underdog story?

Politics and pentathlons: The negative impacts on marketing

Before we discuss strategy, it’s important to understand what is at risk during these quadrennial events. Here are some of the ways your current paid media plan might feel the impact of the election/Olympic year:

Limited inventory

Channels like traditional broadcast, out-of-home (billboards, transit, airport advertising, etc.), and even CTV, have a finite amount of ad inventory. As politicians, advocacy groups, super PACs, the Olympic Games, and the likes buy up ad inventory, it becomes a challenge for other advertisers to secure inventory for themselves. 

For election candidate advertising specifically, the FCC requires broadcast stations and cable systems to charge legally qualified candidates the lowest unit prices, making TV advertising more affordable, and increasing the likelihood of those candidates purchasing a lot of inventory. Additionally, because candidates are guaranteed the lowest unit price that other customers receive, this means that you likely won’t be able to secure any zero-cost added value spots during this time.

In an effort to treat competing candidates fairly, the FCC also requires broadcast stations to abide by the “equal time” rule. This means that if one candidate gets a spot in the 6p news, the other candidates must also be able to receive a similar spot. As such, many non-political advertisers get preempted (“bumped”) during this time and may not receive makegoods during the desired window. This rule makes it especially challenging for advertisers who are operating within very specific promotional windows.

With political and Olympic ads taking over the airwaves, it becomes difficult for other advertisers to secure any ad inventory at all, yet alone enough to maintain an effective reach and frequency that will grow brand awareness or compel action from potential customers.

Cluttered ad space

As politics and Olympic promotion overtake traditional advertising outlets, many non-political and Olympic advertisers will move into the digital realm to secure inventory and lock in flat rates. The political and Olympic advertisers will be here too by the way. As you can imagine (or have experienced first hand in years past), the digital marketplace becomes inundated with heated political messaging and inspirational (usually sports-themed) stories, on top of all the normal ad clutter. 

It can be extremely challenging to break through all this noise. Consumers often get overwhelmed by excessive advertising, making it less likely that they will engage with or be influenced by ads.

Increased costs

While broadcast stations are required to keep costs low for advertisers, digital channels are not. Costs on Google, Meta, and other auction-based platforms will surge as competition increases. Cost per clicks (CPCs) and cost per conversions (CPAs) will increase as advertisers bid against each other to win ad space. Target CPAs are going to take more work to hit as each impression becomes significantly more expensive to secure. While you can still serve ads within a set budget, your paid media dollars won’t go nearly as far in auction-based platforms as they normally would outside the election and Olympic seasons.

Taking the podium: Overcome obstacles with a winning strategy

While the challenges that exist during an election and Olympic year may seem daunting, it’s not too late to implement a winning strategy. Strategically planning ahead can help mitigate these challenges:

Adapt your channel strategy

Perhaps the most obvious response to the challenges highlighted above would be to adjust your paid media channel strategy. The limited inventory on traditional broadcast channels will make it difficult to maintain an effective reach and frequency and auction-based digital platforms will experience increased costs. While you may not want to exclude these channels altogether, consider countering those challenges by:

  • Secure broadcast sponsorships and packages: These often guarantee a minimum number of impressions without the possibility of being preempted.
  • Extend your broadcast impressions with digital video and streaming audio: These channels have more inventory and often allow you to negotiate flat CPM rates.
  • Invest in podcasts: Podcasts break through the clutter by speaking to highly engaged listeners.
  • Incorporate flat-rate digital platforms: Plan ahead and collaborate with digital partners that will guarantee flat CPM/CPC pricing to avoid the increased bidding costs.

Understand your audience

As inventory shrinks and costs rise, efficiency is key. Don’t let your advertising dollars go to waste serving impressions to people outside your audience. 

Many marketers use demographics to define their target audience, but demographics have little to do with why a person takes a particular action. Well ahead of the Opening Ceremonies and primary elections, consider investing in values-based persona research to more clearly define who your audience is and what motivates them so that you can tailor your messaging and creative accordingly. Effective ad messaging and creative that resonates with your audience will help break through the ad clutter and drive action during a time when consumers are faced with significant distractions.

Additionally, make sure you’re investing in your first-party data to understand consumer behavior. Today, marketers collect more data than ever before, but often struggle to harness the power of that data in a way that yields actionable insights. Effective data quality management enables you to analyze the right data points that help you understand your customer, enhance their experiences, and optimize campaigns for more efficient and effective results.

Invest in Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy is the insurance policy for any paid media plan. A strong paid media strategy can drive significant traffic to a landing page, but if users are met with a poor website experience, they might leave without converting, thus creating a leaky bucket situation. A strategic CRO program systematically tests various iterations of website design and functionality to weed out points of friction and increase conversion rates. 

By investing in CRO strategy ahead of the election and Olympic year, you can help prevent valuable paid media traffic from trickling away pre-conversion during that time when paid media traffic is more expensive and harder to come by. During election and Olympic years, when digital costs increase and consumer attention is being directed elsewhere, decreases in conversion rates are almost guaranteed. An effective CRO strategy will help offset the anticipated decrease in conversion rates.

Learn more about CRO and other Integrated Digital Marketing Services from Tallwave.

Emerge victorious

Strategically planning ahead is key to ensuring strong paid media performance during election and Olympic years. Ready to get started? Let Tallwave help you get the most out of your paid media budget this election and Olympic year.

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Customer Engagement Uncategorized

Unlocking the power of data storytelling

Once upon a time, interpreting data was as simple as processing numbers. But with the volume of data collected multiplying exponentially every day, simply being able to analyze and interpret that data is no longer sufficient. Quickly providing data points and metrics without additional context and a story around what happened to produce the numbers and what to do about it is meaningless to business users who need to make decisions for their organization. 

Enter the world of data storytelling, the art of communicating data-driven insights effectively. This approach embraces narrative analytics and weaves facts and numbers into actionable insights.

The prologue: Why data storytelling matters

Data-driven storytelling is the art of transforming complex data sets into a compelling narrative. This narrative uses context, visuals, and insights to engage a specific audience and ultimately influence their decisions or understanding. It should be an essential part of any organization’s data strategy for two main reasons:

1. Data storytelling fosters engagement

In business, engagement is not just a buzzword; it’s a strategic imperative. While raw or straightforward data might be the backbone of decision-making, it’s the narrative around that data that provides qualitative context for quantitative information and mobilizes teams to action. Combining both straightforward data with an illustrative narrative via data storytelling transforms abstract figures into a compelling story, fostering engagement and understanding at every level of your organization.

2. Data storytelling enables understanding across teams

Bridging the gap between technical experts and non-technical stakeholders is a challenge that data storytelling helps to address. It presents the data in a way that is accessible to business users regardless of their technical or analytical expertise. There is an increasing need across numerous industries to bring these two groups together via data storytelling. Read our blog about bridging that gap here and how we have been successful at bringing teams together for the benefit of the overall organization. 

The plot: Elements of compelling data stories

The elements of compelling storytelling with data are like characters coming together to set the scene in your favorite novel. Consider your approach to the data story, how you’ll illustrate the story, and the potential impacts of your story with the following elements:

Audience-centric approach

In order to be effective, a data story must be crafted for the audience at hand. The storyteller must ensure they understand the motivating factors and perspectives of the intended audience. This oftentimes requires stakeholder discussions to build a clear understanding of metrics and KPIs that are relevant to respective audiences and/or persona groups. It also requires a solid partnership and mutual understanding of how stakeholders are using their data to make informed decisions. Without this context, storytelling around the data is much less effective.

Visualizing data for clarity

Data visualization is the brushstroke that brings your data story to life. Data without visuals is like a story without illustrations—less engaging and prone to misinterpretation. However, it is important to explore the art and science of visualizing data for clarity. Certain data points might be best visualized in a scatter plot versus a bar chart and it is important to think through the best and most straightforward visualization for stakeholders. Visual literacy is a superpower. It is also critical that data visualizations do not leave anything to be misinterpreted. While it is important not to clutter and overly complicate visualizations, clear and succinct titles and labels can make or break a visualization. Take a look at our example below.

Psychological power of storytelling

The human brain craves stories. There is neuroscience behind storytelling and why stories stick. Engaging multiple parts of the brain enhances the memorability of your data narrative, creating lasting impressions that transcend the numbers. Doing so is akin to creating a symphony of cognitive responses. By triggering various brain regions simultaneously, a well-crafted narrative becomes an immersive experience, leaving a lasting imprint on the audience’s memory.

Giving data a narrative engages multiple parts of the brain for emotional and empathetic processing. This is where it becomes more about the story than the raw numbers. The story becomes an experience, a journey that the audience embarks upon, making the data more than just information—it becomes a memorable and impactful narrative. The data narrative becomes a part of the audience’s cognitive landscape, ready to be recalled and reflected upon.

Learn more about Data Strategy & Analytics Services at Tallwave.

Intermission: Tallwave’s data storytelling in action

Narrating the full sales picture: A real example

Let’s dive into a real-world application of data storytelling. During a typical monthly reporting cycle, one of our clients, an e-commerce company, identified declines in sales and revenue across multiple digital channels on their owned website. Initially focused solely on e-commerce sales, the team was alarmed by the decline in organic and paid search sales. However, a more comprehensive understanding of the full story, including sales through brick-and-mortar partners, 3rd party marketplaces, in-store, and phone orders revealed a different story—increases in sales with partners resulted in greater TOTAL sales, and naturally cannibalized some of the sales from other sources.

In order to better tell this story, Tallwave created customized, purpose-built, actionable dashboards in Google Looker Studio. These dashboards helped to mitigate risk of misinterpretation, presenting a clear and concise representation of the sales landscape. It is not uncommon for individual stakeholders to misinterpret data that they might have a personal or departmental bias toward and inadvertently lead other stakeholders astray. Nor is it uncommon for individual stakeholders to exert their own bias in a way that tells the story they believe to be true. This is why it is important to include cross-functional stakeholders involved in rounding out the data story or dashboard visuals to ensure consistent KPI understanding and consensus.

A purpose built dashboard identifying products with a low add to cart to view ratio that the organization should focus on improving this ratio by comparing competitor price points, inventory availability, lack of useful information listed on the product page, etc..

The resolution: Practical tips for effective data storytelling

Reducing complexity

In an era where information inundates every corner of our professional landscape, simplicity emerges as a guiding principle in effective data storytelling. The call is clear: advocate for simplicity in both language and visuals, ensuring your data story is accessible to all members of your audience.

Language Simplicity: Complex jargon and convoluted terminology can act as barriers to understanding. Embrace clear and concise language, choosing words that resonate with a broad audience. Your goal is not to showcase your vocabulary but to convey the essence of your data story in a way that everyone can grasp.

Visual Simplicity: Complexity in data visualizations often leads to confusion. You do not gain style points for making data visualizations complex and difficult to interpret. Instead, opt for visual simplicity. Choose charts and graphs that convey the message without overwhelming the viewer. Consider the power of minimalist design, where each visual element serves a clear purpose.

The art of simplicity in data storytelling lies in finding the delicate balance between conveying intricate insights and ensuring comprehensibility. Simplicity does not mean sacrificing depth; rather, it involves distilling complexity into a form that enlightens rather than perplexes.

The theme: Emotion and impact

In the realm of data, numbers tell a story, but it’s the human connection that makes it memorable. Data storytelling is not just about numbers; it’s about people.

Humanizing Data: Every data point represents a real-world scenario, a decision, or an outcome that impacts individuals. Infuse life into your data by humanizing it. Share anecdotes, testimonials, or real-life examples that resonate with your audience. By connecting data to real people, you create a narrative that goes beyond statistical significance.

The true power of emotion in data storytelling lies in its ability to inspire action. An emotionally resonant story is more than a set of charts; it’s a call to action. 

Within a compelling data story each element contributes to the overall harmony. It is also important to maintain consistency in your data narrative.

The twist: Can AI effectively assist in data storytelling?

AI in data storytelling: A double-edged sword

Data and analytics are always evolving and changing. Along with many other use cases, Artificial Intelligence (AI) emerges as a powerful tool to aid in crafting compelling narratives. However, this opportunity also comes with its complexities and challenges. Let’s explore how AI can effectively assist in data storytelling, its responsible usage, and the potential pitfalls that counteract efforts to tell a story with data.

AI’s role in enhancing data storytelling

AI offers the ability to sift through vast datasets, identifying patterns and trends that a human might overlook. Automation from AI can also assist in uncovering key narratives without as much of an exhaustive manual effort. With the help of AI, data stories can be tailored for specific audience segments, considering individual preferences and comprehension levels. This personalization ensures that the narrative resonates with diverse stakeholders, enhancing engagement and understanding.

Using predictive analytics can also be a big factor in forecasting future trends based on historical data. Integrating these predictions into data stories provides a forward-looking dimension, empowering decision-makers with strategic insights.

Responsible use of AI in data storytelling

It is important to be transparent about how you use AI algorithms to contribute to data storytelling. Specifically, outlining how AI is being used to process data ensures that stakeholders understand the methodology behind automated insights. This is critical for building trust with your audience.

While AI assists in streamlining the data analysis process, human oversight is absolutely imperative and neglecting the need for human oversight when building a data story could result in a less effective narrative. Human intuition and contextual understanding add a nuanced layer to storytelling that AI may lack. Striking a balance between AI assistance and human interpretation is key to responsible usage.

There is also a risk of AI identifying correlations without establishing causation. This can lead to misinterpretation of data relationships, potentially distorting the narrative and steering decision-makers in the wrong direction.

If you endeavor to use AI as a tool in your toolkit, to enhance your story, rather than using it as a crutch to tell your story, you will be exponentially more effective. 

The resolution: Navigating success in data storytelling

By acknowledging and addressing complex datasets, avoiding unnecessary complexity to prevent misinterpretation, and encouraging data literacy across various teams, organizations can transform the potential impediments into catalysts for success in data storytelling. At Tallwave, our data experts are equipped to support your data storytelling needs. We can help you embrace technical advancements, foster a culture of collaboration, and prioritize education to bridge the knowledge gap. Let us help you tell a comprehensive data story today!

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Building a business-ready website: Beyond the surface of your website strategy

In the fast-evolving digital landscape, a website is more than a digital brand extension— it’s a dynamic tool that can either advance or inhibit business. Creating a high-performing website requires moving beyond surface-level aesthetics to consider the functionality required to meet business goals effectively.

A website is arguably the most persistent external expression of a brand and one of the hardest working tools in the digital marketing arsenal. It’s the digital front door of your business and a frequent destination for customers at multiple points in their journeys. And yet, website strategy is often only skin deep, focused heavily on how a website looks rather than on how it functions. And it’s often short-term, considering the roles your website plays for your customers and your business today and note how it will need to evolve to meet needs in the future. When it comes to creating high-performing websites built to go the distance for both brands and customers, three is the magic number. 

The magic triangle: Role, goals, and audience

A triangulated approach that considers roles, goals, and audience can help you plan for successful and sustainable websites. This interconnected approach ensures that the website is not only visually appealing but also aligned with the broader business objectives. Let’s break down the elements:

Role: The purpose of your website

Understanding the role your website plays in your business is the first consideration in this website strategy power trio. At a basic level, websites can play two roles: business-enabling and revenue-driving. 

Business-enabling websites can support your business in a number of ways, including:

  • Acting as a support system for external revenue channels: Business-enabling websites act as a powerful support system for your existing revenue channels, such as your sales force. They don’t directly generate revenue themselves, but they play a critical role in nurturing leads, building brand awareness, and ultimately driving conversions through those external channels.
  • Encouraging high-value microconversions: While not the final sale, business-enabling websites excel at capturing high-value microconversions. These actions represent significant steps forward in the customer journey, indicating a prospect’s growing interest in your brand. Examples include lead capture forms, content downloads (e.g., white papers, ebooks), and newsletter signups.
  • Fueling the customer journey: Business-enabling websites are instrumental in moving potential customers through the buyer’s journey and down the sales funnel. By providing valuable content, educational resources, and clear calls to action, these websites nurture leads, build trust, and position your brand as a leader in your industry.

On the other hand, revenue-driving websites support transactions and encourage conversion, directly contributing to a brand’s bottom line. Consider how revenue-driving websites can support your business:

  • Acting as a revenue generating powerhouse platform: Revenue-driving websites are the engines that directly power your business’s revenue generation. These websites are transactional in nature, facilitating online purchases and financial transactions. Examples include traditional e-commerce stores selling physical goods, food delivery platforms where customers can order meals, travel booking websites where users can reserve flights and accommodations, and service-oriented e-commerce sites.
  • Encouraging transactions: The primary function of revenue-driving websites is to facilitate secure and seamless online transactions. This includes features like shopping carts, secure payment gateways, and clear order fulfillment processes.
  • Suiting your needs: Revenue-driving websites encompass a wide range of e-commerce models. From traditional product sales through an online store to service-based transactions, these websites cater to a variety of industries and customer needs.

Clearly defining whether your website plays a business-enabling or revenue-driving role for your business sets the foundation for the subsequent decisions in your strategy, from critical KPIs to key features and functionality, necessary integrations, and more. It also sets the stage for the expectations users will have when visiting your website.

Goals: What you seek to accomplish with your website

Now that you understand the role your website plays in your business, it’s time to define your website goals. You might consider setting these objectives with SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Website goals will vary depending on your website’s role and your overall business objectives. 

Consider the following examples:

  • Business-enabling website goals:
    • Generate a set number of qualified leads per month
    • Increase brand awareness and website traffic
    • Drive event registrations or webinar signups
    • Improve content engagement through downloads or shares
  • Revenue-driving website goals:
    • Increase online sales by a specific percentage
    • Grow average order value
    • Reduce cart abandonment rates
    • Improve customer lifetime value

Establishing clear and measurable website goals can help you track progress, identify areas for improvement, and ensure that your website strategy aligns directly with your business objectives.

Audience: Who your website is speaking to

Your target audience plays a critical role in shaping your website’s design, content, information architecture, and functionality. Here’s why understanding your audience analysis is vital when thinking about website strategy:

  • Tailored user experience: By understanding your audience’s needs, preferences, and online behavior, you can create a user experience (UX) that resonates with them. This translates to a website that’s easy to navigate, informative, and facilitates desired actions, ultimately influencing conversion rates.
  • Content strategy alignment: Knowing your audience empowers you to develop a content strategy that truly connects. This means crafting content that addresses their pain points, interests them, and guides them through the buying journey.
  • Personalization potential: Audience insights can unlock personalization opportunities. This could involve tailoring website elements, product recommendations, or even entire landing pages to specific audience segments, leading to a more relevant and engaging experience.
  • Search engine visibility: Understanding your audience paves the way for essential SEO optimizations fueled by linguistic profiling and search journey analysis. Implementing data-driven optimizations based on these findings can improve search engine rankings and organic visibility for your business.

Learn more about SEO and other Integrated Digital Marketing Services from Tallwave.

Having a clear understanding of your target audience is the bridge that connects your website’s features and functionality with the user experience that drives results. Effective audience analysis involves:

  • Buyer persona development: Create detailed profiles of your ideal customers, including demographics, valuegraphics, needs, challenges, and preferred online behavior.
  • Website analytics review: Utilize website traffic data to understand visitor demographics, interests, and content consumption patterns.
  • Market research: Conduct market research to gain insights into broader industry trends and competitor audience strategies.

By combining these methods, you can create a comprehensive understanding of your target audience and leverage that knowledge to build a website that truly resonates with them.

Evaluating your website’s business readiness: Beyond the surface

While websites serve as prominent brand outposts, often acting as the initial point, their multifaceted nature can pose a challenge. Teams can get caught up in the aesthetics – visuals, interactive elements, and the like – neglecting to truly get under the hood and identify underlying strengths and opportunities.

Before you put your website to work, it’s essential to get down to business and review your site under the following lenses:

  • Technical infrastructure: Is the website’s technical foundation robust enough to support your business goals seamlessly, both today and into the future? This includes aspects like website speed, mobile-friendliness, security measures, and content delivery efficiency.
  • Customer experience (CX): Does the customer journey feel intuitive and cater to your target audience’s needs? Assess whether the website is optimized for high-value conversions aligned with your business objectives.
  • Accessibility: Is your website accessible for users with disabilities? Ensure that your website’s design and content adhere to WCAG guidelines. This means implementing features like alt text for images, keyboard navigation options, and proper headings.
  • Navigation paths and flows: Does your website seamlessly guide visitors toward their next steps, building upon interactions with other digital touchpoints in your brand ecosystem? A well-structured website anticipates user intent and facilitates a smooth journey towards conversions.
  • Design: Does the website effectively reflect your brand identity? Validate your website against your brand guidelines to determine if the visual elements, as well as content, are applied consistently across all pages.
  • Marketing and sales strategy alignment: Is your website an active participant in driving your marketing and sales efforts? It is important to make sure your website integrates with your marketing automation tools, facilitates lead capture, and effectively supports your sales funnel. It’s also critical to ensure the content management system on which your website is built supports the frequency with which updates may need to be made and the level of technical skill of those who will be responsible for making them.

This multifaceted evaluation approach can help uncover hidden roadblocks and optimization opportunities that ensure your website is not just visually appealing but strategically positioned to support your business goals.

Ongoing optimizations: Sustainable website strategy

Your website is a living entity, not a static brochure. Don’t “set it and forget it.” To maintain your website’s strategic effectiveness, you must plan for ongoing and iterative optimizations. Here are some key practices to keep in mind post-launch:

  • A/B testing: Test different website elements, like headlines, call-to-action buttons, or page layouts, to see what resonates best with your audience and drives conversions.
  • Data-driven decision-making: Leverage website analytics and user behavior data to inform website improvements and prioritize resources effectively.
  • SEO optimizations and content enhancements: Regularly update your website content with fresh, keyword-rich, relevant information to maintain user engagement and improve search engine ranking.
  • Mobile-first approach: Even in B2B scenarios, first contact often happens in the palms of your customers’ hands. Ensure your website is responsive and optimized for mobile devices.
  • Security maintenance: Regularly update your website’s security measures to protect user data and website functionality, especially when relying on cloud-based tools and data storage.

A well-defined website strategy is no longer optional – it’s a necessity. By understanding the role your website plays in your business strategy, your target audience, and your desired goals, you can create a website that is not just visually appealing, but strategically designed to drive impactful results.

And you don’t have to go at it alone. Tallwave is eager to create website strategy solutions that align with your consumers and meet them where they are when they need you most. Let’s talk.

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Customer Engagement Reaching New Customers SEO Strategy

Holistic search strategy: A Grandmaster’s approach 

Conquering the digital landscape to boost online visibility and establish brand presence requires a strategic approach that mirrors mastering a chess game. It’s all about drawing up and executing a holistic search strategy that covers every angle of the digital marketing board. 

With time and money on the clock, crafting a holistic search strategy looks like the meticulous planning and execution required in a high-stakes game. Achieving grandmaster marketing status isn’t merely about making moves; it’s about anticipating your opponent’s next steps. And by combining search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and other winning tactics with a holistic approach, you’ll be prepared for success at every turn.

The opening gambit: Unveiling the holistic search strategy

A holistic search strategy breaks down silos between paid search and organic search efforts. By analyzing data from both channels together, you can create a unified strategy that maximizes your visibility across search engine results pages. This approach ensures your website aligns with user needs at every stage of the customer journey, ultimately driving overall search performance.

It’s about weaving together the threads of customer behavior, market trends, and competitive intelligence to inform strategic decisions with optimism and purpose. By gathering and leveraging data from diverse sources, such as search engine analytics, valuegraphics, and market research, a holistic search strategy strives to optimize many facets of a brand’s online presence. 

Much like a well-executed gambit, implementing a holistic search strategy can maximize ROI by aligning marketing efforts with the evolving audience needs and preferences, ensuring sustained success in the digital board.

The middle game: Key elements in play

SEM, SEO, and conversion rate optimization are a triple threat in the digital realm and serve as the key elements in a holistic search and integrated marketing strategy. 

SEM: The Rook

Our agile rook, SEM, charges forth with paid campaigns, reaching engaged audiences, amplifying brand visibility in search engines, and driving traffic to websites. Unlike the organic approach of SEO, paid search utilizes paid advertising platforms to quickly reach engaged audiences and achieve faster visibility. 

Like a rook on a chessboard, SEM is a very powerful piece in a marketing plan, but it requires strategic planning to effectively deploy:

  • Keyword strategy: Leverage organic keyword research to inform which keywords you will bid on and which keywords you want to exclude from campaigns. Include a healthy mix of brand and non-brand keywords, and test bid strategies on those keywords.
  • Aligned ad and landing page copy: It is important that the ad copy aligns with the copy on the landing page it drives traffic to. This helps ensure a cohesive user experience, which generally results in better performance.
  • Use your assets: Don’t settle for just headlines and descriptions— take advantage of site links, callouts, structured snippets, phone extensions, lead forms, locations, prices, and promotional features to capture user attention and drive immediate action.

SEO: The Queen

The queen of your strategy, SEO orchestrates content, keywords, and technical aspects, ensuring your website ranks high on the digital field of play. Imagine it as the most versatile force, attracting organic traffic through optimized content, targeted keywords, and a user-friendly website structure. Think of SEO as building a sturdy, well-defended castle, organically attracting visitors with relevant content and strategic placement with vast mobility. 

Here, SEO serves as that central force:

  • Keyword research: Like a skilled scout, SEO identifies the most relevant search queries and key phrases your target audience is using.
  • Content creation: Drawing on these insights, SEO transforms into an informed storyteller, crafting engaging, informative content that resonates with your audience and answers their burning questions.
  • On-page optimization: Finally, SEO acts as the architect, meticulously optimizing website elements like title tags, meta descriptions, and internal linking, ensuring search engines can easily understand and index your content.

See our latest client success story to understand how SEO and content strategy can lay the foundation for success in the SERPs.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): The King

As the game nears its climax, we focus on conversion rate optimization (CRO). Much like a well-executed endgame, CRO ensures that every move, or every click, counts. 

Here’s how:

  • A/B testing: A/B testing allows you to explore different variations of elements like landing page design, call-to-action placement, and content structure. This data-driven approach helps refine your tactics, uncover winning combinations, and constantly improve your conversion rate. Meticulously testing different strategies can help identify the most effective approach for your target audience.
  • Strategic landing page optimization: Landing pages guide visitors toward desired actions, such as making a purchase or subscribing to a newsletter. By optimizing them for seamless user experience and clear calls to action, you convert interest into tangible results. Think of landing pages as kings capturing website visitors by providing a clear path to desired actions.

SERP dominance: Checkmate

Securing top positions on the SERPs and winning clicks is the endgame in a holistic search strategy. Success looks like seeing your brand in the top positions for relevant keywords, increasing your brand visibility, and driving significant organic traffic toward your website. From organic and paid search results to Google Shopping ads, answer boxes, featured snippets, videos, and images, provide search engines and users with a clear understanding of your content and increase the click-through rate for your organic listings. Think of SERP dominance as securing the king’s position and establishing your brand as a leader in the digital landscape.

Learn more about SEO, SEM, CRO, and other Integrated Digital Marketing Services from Tallwave.

The ever-evolving chessboard: Adapting to change

The digital realm is dynamic, constantly shifting and evolving. Just as Garry Kasparov adapted in response to every single one of Deep Blue’s moves, brands too must be adaptable and responsive in their holistic search strategies. 

Here are some key moves to keep your holistic search strategy at the top of its game:

  • Embrace new technologies: Stay informed about emerging technology and industry trends, such as voice search and SGE, and incorporate them into your strategy. Get started with our blog about SEO trends in 2024.
  • Monitor algorithm updates: Search engines regularly update their algorithms, which can impact your rankings. Stay informed about these updates and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  • Analyze your data: Regularly analyze your website traffic and user behavior data with GA4’s new metrics to identify areas for improvement and optimize your strategy for long-term success.
  • Keep learning, keep growing: The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving, so continuous learning is essential. Stay up-to-date with industry trends, attend workshops, and actively seek new knowledge.

Take the board with purpose (and Tallwave)

Just as in a friendly game of chess, adopting a holistic search strategy means thinking ahead, staying flexible, and making smart moves to outmaneuver the competition. In this dynamic arena, where algorithms are always changing and search trends are in flux from day to day, taking an integrated approach will help your brand stay sharp and ahead of the curve.

And when you’re ready to level up your search strategy and capture the king, Tallwave is ready to support your success. We’ve got all the pieces arranged on the board; take the first two squares forward by reaching out to us now.

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Customer Engagement Reaching New Customers SEO Strategy

Microconversions: Unlocking the power of incremental steps in your conversion funnel

Introduction: What is a microconversion?

In the dynamic world of digital marketing, where every click and interaction matters, understanding microconversions is crucial. But what exactly are they? Let’s start by demystifying this term.

What is a microconversion?

A microconversion is any incremental step a user takes to show initial interest in your brand or product. Unlike the grand finale of a macroconversion, like a product purchase or subscription that constitutes a final goal and often achieves a financial outcome, microconversions are the incremental steps along the way that lead up to those final actions. Imagine a visitor to your website as a curious explorer embarking on a journey. Along the way, they encounter various signposts, each representing a microconversion. These small actions might not lead immediately to a purchase, but they’re part of the breadcrumb trail that leads prospective customers to that final transaction.

Learn more about the power of the “micro-yes” in sales.

Why do microconversions matter?

1. Trust building and brand advocacy

Microconversions are like the first handshake between you and your potential customer. At the earlier stages of the buying journey, some common microconversions include:

  • Email newsletter sign-up: When a visitor subscribes to your newsletter, they express interest in staying connected. This small commitment builds trust and opens the door for further communication.
  • Social media sharing: When someone shares your content on social platforms, they vouch for your brand. Their endorsement reaches a wider audience, potentially attracting new visitors and signaling trust and confidence in your brand.

2. Insights into user behavior and intent

Microconversions provide valuable insights into user behavior. By tracking these smaller interactions, you gain a deeper understanding of what resonates with your audience and gain insights into the stage of the buyer’s journey they’re in and their needs at that stage. Examples include:

  • Page views: The number of pages a visitor views indicates their level of engagement. High page views suggest interest, while low views may signal disinterest. The nature of the content on the pages viewed can also illuminate stage and intent. For example, if a visitor navigates to specific product pages, adds products to a cart, or reviews a page on returns, those behaviors are all microconversions on the path to purchase that signal a higher degree of intent than a visitor that lands on your home page and then leaves.
  • Comments on blog articles: Engaged users often leave comments. These interactions reveal their preferences and pain points.

3. Optimization opportunities

Microconversions act as breadcrumbs leading you through the forest of user experience. They can also serve as a “canary in the coalmine” of your digital engagements, signaling friction that can then be resolved and highlighting areas for improvement. Consider:

  • Process milestones: These are linear steps toward the primary macroconversion. Analyzing them helps identify bottlenecks and UX pain points. For example, for one client, we pinpointed significant dropoff between the process milestones of viewing a product page and adding the product to a cart, particularly for mobile users. We discovered this was due to an issue causing the “add to cart” button to display much further down the page than intended, causing many users to overlook it and abandon the page. Addressing this issue allowed us to increase add-to-cart actions by 3.8x.
  • Secondary actions: These desirable but non-primary goals indicate potential future macroconversions. Examples include downloading an ebook, creating an account, or watching a video. Using these secondary actions as opportunities to deploy targeted outreach can be a great way to optimize the path to purchase with stage-specific content and messaging that nurtures prospective customers toward other high-value actions.

Monitoring and measuring microconversions: Enhancing your conversion insights

Understanding what microconversions are and the signals they represent is only half the battle. Unlocking their power to gain insights into the path to macroconversions and inform strategies for optimizing digital experiences to improve conversion requires ongoing monitoring and measurement. Both the types of data each microconversion produces and the methods for collecting and analyzing that data vary:

Qualitative data

Qualitative data can be invaluable for getting a sense for how effectively website visitors are navigating to and completing microconversions and where they may be encountering roadblocks in the path toward macroconversions. Here are some common approaches for gathering qualitative data on microconversions and examples of these measurement methodologies in action:

Heat mapping & scroll mapping

Heat mapping is like having a thermal camera for your website. It visually represents user behavior by highlighting the “hot” and “cold” areas of a webpage based on where users click, scroll, hover, and otherwise interact with the page (and where they don’t). Here’s how it works:

  • Heat maps: These colorful overlays show where users click, move their mouse, or spend the most time. Red and orange areas indicate high activity, while blue and green areas are less frequented.
  • Scroll maps: These reveal how far users scroll down a page. Understanding where visitors drop off helps optimize content placement.

Example: Imagine an e-commerce site. A heat map reveals that users consistently click on the “Add to Cart” button but rarely explore the footer links. This insight prompts you to enhance the checkout process and reposition critical links.

Session recording

Session recording is like a digital surveillance system for your website. It records user sessions, capturing every click, scroll, and interaction through the eyes of the user. Key points:

  • User behavior: Watch real users navigate your site. Understand their pain points, hesitations, and moments of delight.
  • Error identification: Spot usability issues, broken links, or confusing forms.

Example: You notice users repeatedly abandoning their cart during the payment step. Session recordings reveal that a confusing coupon code field is causing frustration. Fixing this leads to higher conversions.

Quantitative data

Quantitative data brings a numerical lens illuminating actions that can be counted, measured, or otherwise described in numbers. Where qualitative data can help you channel the perspectives and feelings of website visitors, quantitative can put that data into perspective in terms of its frequency and impact. Here’s how quantitative data on microconversions is often collected:

Basic analytics tools

  • Google Analytics (GA): The Swiss Army knife of web analytics, GA tracks user behavior, traffic sources, custom website conversion rates, and more. It’s free and essential for any website.
  • Built-in e-commerce analytics: Platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, or Magento offer built-in analytics. They provide insights specific to e-commerce, such as product performance, revenue, and customer demographics.

Example: GA shows that your blog attracts high traffic, but few readers proceed to the product pages. You optimize the blog-to-product link placement, resulting in increased sales.

Funnel reports

Funnel reports visualize the user journey. They break down the conversion process into stages:

  1. Awareness: Visitors arrive on your site.
  2. Interest: They explore content, view products, or sign up.
  3. Consideration: Users add items to their carts or engage with your services.
  4. Conversion: The final purchase or desired action.

Example: An e-learning platform’s funnel report reveals that most users drop off during the “Interest” stage. You tweak the landing page content, leading to better engagement.

Remember, microconversions are the stepping stones that pave the way for macro success. By combining qualitative and quantitative insights, you’ll create a conversion funnel that’s both user-friendly and revenue-boosting! 

Making the most of microconversions: Optimizing for conversion

The final step is putting qualitative and quantitative data-driven insights to work to optimize the digital experience to increase the microconversions (and ultimately macroconversions) your audience is successfully completing. This can be done broadly to optimize the digital experience as a whole or more narrowly to optimize for a specific high-value action through two distinct but interrelated approaches: 

Digital Experience Optimization (DXO)

Digital Experience Optimization (DXO) is the strategic process of enhancing user interactions with digital technologies to drive superior customer experiences. It encompasses a holistic approach to improving every touchpoint where users engage with your brand online. DXO aims to create seamless, personalized, and delightful experiences across websites, mobile apps, social media, and other digital channels.

Why does DXO matter?

  • Customer expectations: In today’s digital landscape, customers expect smooth, relevant interactions. DXO ensures you meet these expectations.
  • Business impact: Positive digital experiences lead to increased customer loyalty, higher conversion rates, and improved brand perception.

We discovered this was due to an issue causing the “add to cart” button to display much further down the page than intended, causing many users to overlook it and abandon the page. Addressing this issue allowed us to increase add-to-cart actions by 3.8x.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) focuses on improving the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, such as making a purchase, signing up, or downloading content. It involves data-driven experimentation to enhance user experience and drive conversions.

Core elements of CRO

CRO applies a systematic approach to increasing high-value action completion by identifying and testing solutions to resolve friction points along the path to conversion to continuously improve performance. This process includes:

  1. Setting expectations: Clearly define goals and success metrics for each conversion action.
  2. User insights: Understand user behavior through analytics, heatmaps, and session recordings.
  3. Hypothesis development: Formulate hypotheses about what changes will improve conversions.
  4. Testing velocity: Regularly test variations (A/B tests, multivariate tests) to validate hypotheses.
  5. Cross-device testing: Ensure consistent experiences across different devices.
  6. Pre-test prototypes: Validate ideas before full implementation.
  7. Limit changes: Focus on impactful modifications rather than overwhelming redesigns.

Best practices for optimization

While CRO is focused on a specific digital experience, doing it effectively requires considerations that extend well beyond the specific microconversions you’re trying to improve, including:

  • Keyword research: Understand user intent and optimize content accordingly.
  • On-page SEO: Optimize meta tags, headings, and content for search engines.
  • User experience (UX): Prioritize intuitive navigation, fast loading times, and mobile responsiveness.
  • Content quality: Create valuable, relevant content that resonates with your audience.
  • Backlink building: Earn high-quality backlinks to improve authority.

Remember, DXO and CRO are ongoing processes. Continuously analyze, test, and optimize to create exceptional digital experiences and drive conversions. Let us show you how to incorporate this must-have continuous improvement cycle into your business!

Categories
Customer Engagement SEO

Beyond hype and hashtags: The complicated connection between SEO and influencer marketing 

The allure of influencer marketing is undeniable. Just like organic SEO, influencer marketing can bring brands amplified awareness, improved engagement metrics, and perhaps most importantly, a boost in conversion rates.

Influencer marketing and SEO can even be powerful tools when used strategically and in concert with each other. However, relying on influencer marketing to improve your organic reach can be complicated. 

How do influencer marketing and SEO work together? 

Though distinct players in the marketing game, influencer marketing and SEO share a complicated relationship. Even Google has acknowledged the link between the two strategies. Both SEO and influencer marketing offer unique advantages and challenges, and understanding the complex relationship between them is key to unlocking the full potential of both.

Here’s how influencer marketing and SEO can complement each other:

  • Increased brand awareness: Both strategies aim to get your brand in front of more people. Influencer marketing leverages influencers’ established audiences, while SEO optimizes your website for search engines, making it more discoverable to an even broader audience.
  • Improved brand trust: Positive influencer endorsements can build trust with their audience, which can translate to your brand. Similarly, high-quality, informative content created for SEO can signal trust to search engine algorithms, not only boosting your rankings, but potentially earning you visibility among Google’s rich results and establishing the expertise of your brand.
  • Content creation: Influencers can create valuable content (e.g., blog posts, social media posts) featuring your brand, which you can then leverage on your website or social media for SEO benefits.
  • Backlinks: If influencers link to your website in their web-based content, it can boost your SEO ranking through high-quality backlinks. (But remember, most social media links are “no-follow” and won’t count as backlinks.)

Here’s how influencer marketing and SEO are different

  • Sustainability: Influencer marketing often delivers short-term bursts of traffic and engagement, while SEO aims for long-term, sustained organic growth.
  • Control: You have limited control over influencer content and messaging, while you have full control over your website and its SEO strategy.
  • Scalability: Reaching a large audience through influencer marketing can be expensive, while SEO can be scaled more efficiently with ongoing effort.
  • Measurement: Measuring the direct impact of influencer marketing can be complex, while SEO metrics are typically more well-defined and trackable.

You might summarize the relationship and differences between influencer marketing and SEO like this: use influencer marketing for building brand awareness, social proof, and potentially generating high-quality content. Use SEO for building long-term organic traffic, establishing your brand as an authority, and improving overall website visibility. And of course, let’s not forget the links between SEO and social media, too! 

Let’s talk about Lashgate and its impact on SEO

TikTok beauty influencer, Mikayla Noguiera, is no stranger to controversy, but last year’s “Lashgate” has gone down in social media history. In early 2023, Nogueira posted a TikTok video review, in paid partnership with L’Oreal, showing off the conspicuous results of the brand’s new Telescopic Lift mascara. But the drama began to unfold when another app user posted a video asserting she had proof that Nogueira was wearing artificial eyelashes — specifically Ardell Wispies — in her review, which cast doubt on the mascara’s results. Nogueira posted the review that inspired Lashgate on Jan. 24, 2023. As of Jan. 24, 2024, exactly one year later, the video has garnered more than 60.5 million views on TikTok. 

According to organic search data from SEMRush, “Telescopic Lift Mascara” was searched 320 times in January 2023 (before Lashgate and shortly after the product launched). Monthly searches jumped to 5,400 in March 2023 as the drama peaked, and as of January 2024, the phrase has averaged 9,900 searches per month.

Even though the search volume for the product exploded by more than 4,200%, it’s not all good news. Branded search volume for the product largely included long-tail modifiers like “drama,” “controversy,” and “fake reviews.” 

On the flip side: What happened to Wispies?

Ardell false eyelashes hit the market more than half a century ago and have been a beauty industry favorite since. However, they have a slightly different SEO story to tell.

Let’s look at monthly search volumes for the term “Ardell Wispies”:

  • January 2023 (before Lashgate): 5,400
  • March 2023 (peak of Lashgate): 6,600
  • January 2024 (1 year after Lashgate): 5,400

Even though Noguiera’s paid partner was L’Oreal and not Ardell, the latter benefited from a modest-but-fleeting lift in monthly search volume when interest in the Lashgate controversy peaked. And this is how influencer marketing, regardless of hype or drama, typically works: a brand or product will see a surge in organic search volume and traffic after a product goes viral, but these figures fall back to the status quo when the hype dies down. 

While the short-term impact of influencer marketing can drive a rapid, short-term increase in brand visibility that could translate to a temporary positive impact on your brand’s bottom line there are no guarantees except that results will be fleeting.  Long-term organic search success comes from investing in a healthy, ongoing SEO strategy.

Connecting the dots between influencer marketing and SEO for long-term growth

Now that we’ve unraveled some of the nuances in the complex relationship between influencer marketing and SEO. Here are some actionable steps to craft a strategy that maximizes the potential of both to amplify your brand’s reach and build lasting organic visibility:

1. Align your influencers with your SEO goals:

  • Consider micro-influencers: They often engage in deeper connections with their audiences, creating content that feels more authentic and resonates better with search engines.
  • Prioritize content quality over reach: Choose influencers who align with your brand values and can create informative, engaging content that optimizes for relevant keywords.
  • Invest in evergreen topics: Don’t just chase fleeting trends. Collaborate on content that has long-term appeal and relevance, offering lasting value to your audience and search engines alike. 

2. Capitalize on content synergies and measure impact:

  • Repurpose influencer-generated content: Share their social media posts, blog articles, or video snippets on your website and optimize them for relevant keywords.
  • Leverage backlinks: Encourage influencers to link to your website within their content, providing valuable backlinks that boost your SEO ranking.
  • Track and analyze: Use analytics tools to monitor the performance of your influencer campaigns, both in terms of audience engagement and organic search traffic.

3. Build a robust SEO foundation to sustain the momentum:

  • Optimize your website: Ensure your website is technically sound, with fast loading times and mobile-friendliness. Incorporate relevant keywords strategically throughout your website content.
  • Focus on quality backlinks: Beyond influencer partnerships, actively pursue high-quality backlinks from reputable websites in your niche.
  • Create valuable content consistently: Don’t rely solely on influencer content. Publish informative blog posts, articles, and other valuable resources on your website to demonstrate your brand’s expertise and attract organic traffic.
  • Learn from the best: Want to see how influencer marketing and SEO work together first hand? Look at SEO influencers to see how it’s done.

Influencer marketing and SEO are both powerful tools, but don’t rely on influencers alone to expect long-term results. By implementing these actionable steps and a strong SEO strategy, you can leverage their combined strengths to build a brand that shines online, both in the spotlight of an influencer’s collaboration and in the steady glow of long-term organic success.


Ready to see for yourself? Let’s discuss how a full-funnel marketing program leveraging organic SEO can equal outstanding experiences and ongoing success. Here’s to the start of a great partnership.

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