Trends Category

New & Innovative Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

Let’s face it. Conversion rates stink.
Here is a simple refresher with some innovative ideas that can supercharge your acquisition spending this year.

1 – Add a Personal Shopper – Bounce rates are what they are because the average consumer will visit 4 sites before making a purchase decision. What can you do to increase the stickiness of your visitors? Let your customers browse the entire catalog at once, like those at JE James Cycles who click the “recommended for you” link provided by Emarsys. Most site visitors abandon in :06 seconds because they can’t easily find what they’re looking for. People think in pictures, not in words. When you give customers the ability to browse they way they think, conversion rates can increase up to 4-times.

2 – Collect Email Addresses – Why try to convert everyone all at once? Take a portion of your acquisition budget and invest in retention marketing strategies. Collect as many email addresses as you can, and send customized messaging to visitors through email and look-alike audiences. Also, after reviewing hundreds of websites, make sure your email opt-in form is easy to spot. While you’re at it, just add a pop-up like the one at J. Benzal that gently reminds visitors to opt-in before they leave your page with an incentive.

3 – Build a Long-Term Relationship – Now that you have collected emails, now it’s time to build automations that re-connect with visitors after they leave your site. The most basic of marketers are sending cart abandon and browse abandon email campaigns. The best marketers have tailored those emails with predictive content, have stop-gap removals within the automations for customers who have purchased along the way, and have A/B tested the cadence of email messages to increase open and conversion rates.

Increasing conversion rates is tricky business, but you can do it!

What other innovative conversion ideas are you implementing to optimize ROI?

Jamar Cobb-Dennard
Omni-Channel Marketing at Emarsys
jamar.cobb-dennard@emarsys.com

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • RSS
  • FriendFeed
advertisement

Value Based Pricing for Professional Services

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Way in the back of the room, a young man in a crisp blue suit, raised his hand.

“Do you know how we make money?” he asked.

I was in the middle of one of my favorite topics, teaching attorneys how to increase their productivity by more effectively managing their time.

The crowd got real quiet because he was addressing the pink elephant in the room.

I responded with – “Thanks for having the courage to ask the question everyone in the room wants answered. Why would anyone want to get more work done in less time when most are incentived to bill for as much time as possible?”

This is an extremely important question – with no easy answer. However, we’ll discuss how to make this happen.

The Current State

Today, the majority of legal and accounting firms (referred to as “professionals” for the remainder of this piece) follow the same business model.

Get a new client, provide them with a billable rate, bill them as many hours as possible, and if they complain about your invoice, write down a portion of the charges.

Truth be told, no one likes this model.

Clients hate the idea of engaging with a $350 an hour professional who indicates that the fee will be “however long it takes.” In addition, these same clients are well aware that most professional’s compensation is tied directly to the amount of hours they bill.

NOTE: I’ve worked with hundreds of professionals over the years. To my knowledge, not one of them has intentionally delivered work in an inefficient manner just to increase their fees. However, this doesn’t mean that the current model is the most effective method for delivering these services.

Many professional services firms are frustrated by the fact that there are only two ways to grow revenue – Increase the amount of hours worked or the billable rate.

In 2015, the problem for these firms is made worse by 2 unrelated factors.

First, younger professionals (millennials) don’t typically have the same career goals as previous generations. They are very interested in work/life balance and are more likely to walk away from the big payday if it means a 70 hour work week.

Second, technology is commoditizing most professional service industries. By that I mean, it’s easier than ever to understand who delivers the exact service needed, compare prices and pit providers against one another in a bidding war. This competition depresses the average hourly rate and will only get worse as low cost providers (typically in foreign countries) get better at delivering their services in the US.

Shifting Paradigm

Maybe, it’s time to consider a different approach?

Instead of putting up with the status quo, I’d challenge you to consider the following question – What if I could charge for the value I create, rather than the number of hours I work?

I know what you’re thinking – Thanks for pointing out the obvious. What are you going to talk about next – how to eat whatever I want and lose weight?

In understand that charging for value instead of hours has been an elusive pipe dream for years.

However, the demographic/technological changes are forcing the industry to move beyond dreaming about value based pricing and work towards making it happen.

It’s Not Going to Be Easy

Let me state the obvious – this is not going to be easy. In fact, it’s going to be one of the biggest challenges your firm will face.

I’ve heard many of the standard objections…

It’s impossible to know how many hours a project will take. What if I guess low and end up losing a ton?
My clients haven’t even mentioned this idea. Why would I want to risk introducing a controversial new concept to a stable relationship?
Accountants/attorneys have been keeping track of their time in 6 minute increments for thousands of years – getting them to change behavior would be impossible.
What if my competition points out all that could go wrong with this approach and my clients agrees.
If I were running a large firm, I would look at these legitimate doubts and be very tempted to declare – “This challenge is simply too big.”

Your peers within the firm will push back the hardest. Next, many of your clients will be skeptical assuming this is simply another attempt to line your pockets.

As I mentioned, it’s not going to be easy.

Walk Before You Run

Because the challenge is so significant, I recommend you take a very careful and slow approach that follows these key fundamentals.

Customer First – If your motivation behind making this change is simply to increase the bottom line, you‘ll struggle. The goal of this (and just about any) effort should be to bring more value to the customer. This focus will ensure you have the right conversations both internally and externally.
Understand the Data – Before you do anything, take the time to carefully detail the services that are a good fit for value based pricing (e.g. – simple contract reviews) and those that aren’t (e.g. – complex M & A transaction). In addition, put together a list of the clients who would be a good or bad fit for the initial conversations about this new approach. Keep in mind some clients (those that use you sporadically for small projects) may never be a candidate for this change.
Be the Leader – In the professional services industry, you’re either a commoditized vendor sitting and waiting for the next “project” or a trusted advisor. Assuming the latter role will allow you to have meaningful conversations about a change in your approach. You can then advise the client that considering value based pricing could help them effectively budget for legal services and efficiently utilize resources.

Start Small – Pick a small project and see how it goes.
Reflect and Adjust – Once the project is completed analyze the effort to understand the profit margin, the effectiveness of your team and most importantly – the satisfaction of the client.

I am fully aware that there are thousands of details left to be addressed before you do anything.

Changing the way you value and bill for your services is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a firm. It

To paraphrase a former president – I feel your pain.

Before you push this conversation to next year’s partner meeting, remember that it’s not 1995.

Today, the marketplace evolves at a pace we couldn’t have even imagined 20 years ago. The organizations that grow will be those that embrace innovation in its many different forms.

Get out in front and lead.

Help your clients perceive your firm as a valuable provider of services that help you to grow.

C.J. McClanahan
317-576-8492
cj@cjmcclanahan.com

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • RSS
  • FriendFeed
advertisement

Meditation and the Art of Being Quiet

Monday, August 31st, 2015

A friend of mine just returned from a five-day business trip to New York City. When I asked her how it went, she said, “Great! My meetings went well and I enjoyed the night life. But wow, I’m feeling frazzled. I really just need some quiet!”

I gave her a knowing smile, and she said (while rolling her eyes), “Oh, please. You don’t have to tell me … I know what I need to do.”

What I wanted to tell her, and what she already knew, was that her body was missing the meditative practices she had grown accustomed to (and yes, I had something to do with that). The constant noise that most of us are subjected to, whether it’s the sounds of electronics, traffic, machines or other people, can take a toll on your mind and body, especially when that noise level is beyond what you’re used to.

And that’s not even counting the other “noises” we deal with every day in our head, like: negative self-talk; obsessive list-making; worrying over deadlines; replaying stressful conversations; negotiating business deals or preparing for conflict resolution.

Most us of spend endless days running from task to task and place to place, tending to our colleagues, customers, family, children or bosses. We text, call, talk and listen to multiple conversations and stimuli pretty much around the clock. But we rarely take the time to breathe, calm down and get centered. Meditation is a practice that can transform your life and restore your energy and balance. The art of being quiet can bring with it an extensive list of additional physical and mental benefits, including:

Stress reduction
Increased attention span
Lower blood pressure
Better sleep
Higher brain function
Increased immunity
Clarity and peace of mind

There’s no doubt about it – meditation can be transformational. But don’t just take my word for it. “Getting away from the noise,” as my friend described it, is nothing new. For centuries, civilizations have known the benefits of this practice. But what might surprise you is how meditation is finding its way in places other than yoga studios and nature retreats. Here are some great examples:

Professional athletes use meditation to improve their game.
School systems in San Francisco, New York City and other communities around the world successfully incorporate meditation in the classroom.
Stressed-out employees find ways to meditate at their desk, and during their normal work day.

Some innovative (and maybe a little unconventional) quiet-seekers gravitate to extreme and unusual places like icy lakes and on top of buildings to find their calm.

Progressive CEOs, like Aetna’s Mark Bertolini, provide the space and opportunity for thousands of their workers to meditate and practice yoga.

As my friend discovered, meditation requires regular practice. But the good news is that it only takes a few minutes a day, and for many of us, that’s all we have! Anyone can learn to do it, and the benefits can help you create the very life you want to lead. Ready to find your quiet? I can help you with that.

What’s your quiet?

Do you practice meditation regularly? Where is your favorite place to practice it, and what type of benefits have you experienced? I’d love to hear about your stories. Please leave your comments below.

Deseri Garcia
Vida Aventura
317-362-4898
www.vidaaventura.net

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • RSS
  • FriendFeed
advertisement

Email Marketing is Not Dead

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

KyleLacy2015
For those of you living under a rock, our friends at the Salesforce Marketing Cloud released their annual State of Marketing report in January where they surveyed thousands of marketers (5,000 to be exact). All the questions asked dealt with uncovering top marketing priorities for this year, and the report includes a large section on email marketing, which — in case you were wondering — is still very much relevant.

For the majority of marketers, email remains an integral touchpoint along the customer journey — 73% agree that email marketing is core to their business. In fact, comparing this year’s survey to last year’s, the importance of email actually rose — 60% of marketers said that email is a critical enabler of products and services in 2015 compared to 42% of marketers in 2014.

There are many factors contributing to the increase in acknowledgement and success in email. The increase in the quality of content production and the continued optimization of marketing automation could be two big ones. However, I believe it’s the increased popularity of smartphones that ultimately points to the overwhelming increase in the value of email marketing. The smartphone offers consumers a constant inbox in the consumer/customer’s pocket. We used to be connected at home and at work. Now we are connected everywhere.

What can we learn from over 5,000 global marketers? For starters, email is not dead. The continued investment in email marketing continues to be an extremely important contributor to the success of any marketing campaign.

Kyle Lacy
Head of Marketing Strategy at OpenView
@kyleplacy

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • RSS
  • FriendFeed
advertisement