Market Segmentation: Definition, Types, Examples, and Use Cases

It’s no secret that market segmentation can increase the engagement rates of emails, blog posts, and sales pages.

In addition to increasing engagement rates, your messages hit closer to home and are in line with what your people want.

According to eMarketer, after implementing segmentation nearly 40% of marketers experienced higher email open rates while 24% experienced increased revenue.

That’s a win.

The smaller your customer segments, the better you’re able to target your message to the person receiving it.

Though there’s no denying the effectiveness of market segmentation, many people fail to implement it because of perceived complexity.

You have the potential to create dozens of segments and hundreds of messages. That’s by no means necessary.

Market segmentation is the process of dividing a market of potential customers into groups or segments based on different characteristics important to you. The people grouped into segments share characteristics and respond similarly to messages you send.

In this post, we’ll focus on the benefits of market segmentation, how to segment new leads, and simple strategies to increase revenue from segmented users.

Why market segmentation is so important

Before we jump into why it matters, let’s look at why ignoring it is doing more harm than good.

Think about how you interact with other brands. If you’re like me, you visit the website, consume great content, and maybe subscribe for their mailing list.

Over the next few days or weeks, they send you through an email marketing campaign to introduce you to their brand and get you to buy something.

You ignore half of those messages and only pay attention to the ones that matter to you. Sometimes you buy and sometimes you don’t. A good percentage of the time, you buy because you need their product in spite of their poor attempts of selling you.

This is unsegmented marketing at its finest. You see messages that don’t matter for products you don’t care about. If it goes on long enough you’ll eventually unsubscribe and move on with your life.

At KyLeads, we can’t afford to throw our marketing dollars away without seeing some sort of return. I’m sure you feel the same way.

Chanti Zak says:

Your prospect isn’t some basic B – she’s your mother. Okay, totally stole that quote from Ogilvy but it’s oh so true.

Nobody likes feeling like they’re just another number, but when you get to a certain level in your business, how do you help your ideal client or customer feel like you’re talking directly to them? Segmentation. Because segmentation breeds specificity and specificity sells.

Segmented email campaigns have an open rate that is 14.32% higher than non-segmented campaigns. Click-throughs are 100.95% higher than non-segmented campaigns. The stats are speaking, are you listening?

The clients I work with that use segmentation see higher open rates, lower unsubscribes, and higher conversions. They can get a bird’s eye view on exactly WHO comprises the majority of their customer base, and pivot their marketing to focus more on the most profitable segments of their audience.

The best part is when they use quizzes as a segmentation tool, leads don’t FEEL like they’re being segmented (nobody likes feeling segmented BTW).

Enter market segmentation and why it’s no longer optional.

Benefits of market segmentation

There are many benefits. I’ll touch on three.

More efficient – We live in an age where you can track almost everything. If you’re not measuring it then you can’t grow it. With marketing segmentation, you can track the effectiveness of each message for different segments of your audience.

Over time, you’ll discover the best ways to spend your money and achieve a positive return on investment.

More effective – which of the following messages would you respond better to?

  1. The ultimate guide to building muscle for men over forty
  2. The ultimate guide to building muscle

You may click on the second one out of general curiosity. If you’re a man over forty years old then the first one is almost guaranteed to pique your interest.

Once they click the first title and land on the page, they’ll be more receptive to everything there because it was made with them in mind. It would be a natural progression for them to buy what’s being sold or subscribe for a mailing list with more insights.

Better resource utilization

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.

– John Wanamaker

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Ever since the first flyer was printed, it’s been a challenge to measure what’s working and what’s not.

Customer segmentation addresses this issue by sending your messages to people who’re receptive to it. With the example about building muscle, you know the people consuming the content are over forty.

With that information, you can also make other assumptions in line with that demographic group (more on demographics in a moment).

The end result is using your limited resources in a way that’ll bring a higher ROI.

Types of market segmentation

There are four broad types of customer segmentation. These can be further subdivided into as categories as you like but always use the following classifications as a guide.

Demographic Segmentation

Demographic segmentation is the simplest and by extension the most widely used type of market segmentation. Companies use it to create broad groupings of the population based on things such as age, sex, location, religion, family size, etc.

These are usually black and white groupings that give you a profile of whether or not someone has the ability to buy what you’re selling. For example, if you have a product for people 21 and older (like alcohol) then people under that age group are irrelevant for you.

Similarly, products targeted at men usually won’t be useful for women unless you’re marketing it as the perfect gift.

An example of how companies use demographic information would be the travel industry. The way and the people who a first-class ticket is marketed to are different from a coach ticket.

They emphasize the comfort and luxury of first class tickets.

For economy class, they focus on the number of TV channels they have.

Behavioral Segmentation

Behavioral segmentation taps into the way people make decisions over time or in response to stimuli. For example, the way a company markets during the holiday season and the deals available are different from the rest of the year.

They’re aware people are in a more receptive mood and may be willing to make larger purchases. Younger people and athletes prefer brands like Jordan and Air Max while the older generations prefer brands like New Balance.

At first glance, it may seem like a demographic difference. While that plays a part, it’s more about the way the customer behaves and perceives the brands.

Geographic Segmentation

As the name implies, this type of market segmentation groups people based on their physical location. You may want to go this route because the needs of your customers differ from region to region.

For example, someone in a rural area wouldn’t need a subway but someone in a city would.

Geographic segmentation can also be used to offer specific deals to your potential customers. Lastly, you can use this type of segmentation to adapt the language and tone of your messages.

In Georgia, every soda is called coke until you ask a few clarifying questions. In Chicago, soda is referred to as pop.

Psychographic Segmentation 

This type of segmentation is based on the lifestyle, interest, and activities of individuals that make up a customer segment.

Demographic segmentation tells you someone is an older male while psychographic segmentation tells you they go hiking on the weekends.

This is the type of segmentation that tells you what people do and why they buy. Psychographic segmentation is similar to behavioral segmentation but there’s a difference.

Behavioral segmentation tells us that this demographic group buys bamboo underwear. Psychographic segmentation tells us this demographic group buys bamboo underwear because it has a smaller carbon footprint and they’re environmentally conscious.

Lenovo partnered with Neustar, implemented market segmentation, and created personalized banners on their homepage that increased click-through rates by 30% and conversions by 40%.

Implement market segmentation based on the following criteria

Email marketing segmentation and general market segmentation can be tricky because there are so many data points you can use.

It’s easy to get stuck in analysis mode when trying to decide what to focus on. Should you separate your audience into male and female or should you focus on where they live and their age?

The specific answer is that it depends on your business. If you’re selling athletic clothes, it makes sense to divide your audience into male and female.

When you’re selling online courses, those groupings don’t matter much. Though the specific segmentation path you follow will depend on your business, there are broad strokes you can take depending on whether you serve other businesses or consumers.

B2C

With the exception of professional consumers or prosumers, consumers are more sensitive to price and are more likely to make an impulse decision. Segmentation of these types of customers reflects their buying habits.

Gender

This is the most common and accessible segmentation method. There are certain categories that appeal to men more than women and vice versa.

For example, Ecommerce fashion websites are divided into men’s sections and women’s sections. Not only does this make sense from a practical perspective, it makes sense from a marketing perspective. It allows you to show visitors  relevant products.

Michael Kors divides the website into men and women.

The women’s section contains handbags and specific language that would appeal to women.

They do the same thing for men.

This is a simple example and many people reading this may think it’s a no-brainer. A lot of thought went into the phrasing of the menu labels. As a man, I have no idea what a continental or a slim & trifold is.

Moving on.

Geographic region

Geographic segmentation has the potential to deliver relevant messages. Consumers respond well to deals targeted at their specific location.

You can do this by sending messages with deals just for their city or even add a geotrigger to your website that mentions their region in your copy.

Interest

Retargeting your audience based on what they like is an effective strategy – especially when you have multiple products.

Someone with a general interest website that convers cooking, traveling, and parenting would have an issue delivering targeted messages. When they segment their audience into specific groups (more on how to do this later) they’re able to send messages that appeal to specific interests.

That could be an Ebook on parenting, courses on how to travel the world, a book with great recipes, or even a service that helps them book the best flights. The point is, you’re only sending messages they’ve expressed an interest in receiving.

You can also capitalize on interest segmentation if you have a single product. Anyone that visits your website is obviously interested in what you’re offering. Freshdesk took this route when I strolled through their website.

Age

Age alone may not be the best way to implement marketing segmentation. Coupled with one or more of the other segmentation methods, it’s a great way to further narrow down your potential customers.

Of course, if you have age sensitive offers like alcohol then it’s a must.

Coupled with their interests, segmentation based on age becomes powerful.

Purchase history

What have they purchased in the past and how long ago did they purchase it? This data will let you know what they’re interested in. Anyone can tell you what they like but the real truth is when they pay for it with cold hard cash.

Nissan launched a successful email marketing campaign that took into consideration when people purchased and what they purchased. They highlighted new products and important milestones like when their customers were due for an oil change.

B2B

B2B buyers are a different species. They’re not as price sensitive. When your product saves the business money, time, or earns money then it’s worth it. Price is secondary.

What they’ll be evaluating is how much it’ll affect their current workflow and how hard it is to implement.

They, naturally, should be segmented differently.

Company value

Company value is the value a company has for you and the value of the company itself.

At KyLeads, companies are limited in how valuable they are to us based on our pricing plans. We operate a self-service model where potential customers come to the website, read the pages they’re interested in, and choose a plan. There is little to no contact needed from a human.

Customers range in value to us from a few hundred dollars a year to mid four figures. We look at the companies value itself to determine how much they’d be willing to pay.

A company that’s doing a thousand dollars a month in revenue is much less likely to pay a few hundred dollars a month for our solution. A million dollar a month company wouldn’t bat an eye at the cost of our software as long as it solves a problem for them.

Ability to make decisions

This is an important consideration because it’ll inform how you talk to the people getting your messages. Let’s say you’re selling something targeted at programmers in an organization.

It benefits the organization itself but the developers are the ones who use it. In order for it to get adopted, their managers – who’re not engaged in day to day programming work – would need to approve it.

It makes sense to tailor your messages to each group. For the programmers, you’d talk about how this helps them do their jobs better. For the managers, you’d talk about how your solution improves productivity, reduces time wasted, etc. etc.

Niche focus

The last thing you should be aware of is the niche focus of your customers. This is important whether you have one product or dozens. When you know their focus, you can tailor your messages to highlight how your product can be used.

ActiveCampaign creates multiple pages for their different customer segments. Each page highlights the features that would appeal to that group the most.

It allows potential customers to see the value ActiveCampaign brings to the table without getting lost in irrelevant features.

How to segment your leads

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing what market segmentation is, the benefits, and a few criteria to segment different customers. Now, we’ll look at ways to implement segmentation in your business.

Using surveys to discover the best segmentation opportunities

Every market has multiple customer profiles. They can range from dozens to over a hundred. That’s way too many segments to use in a meaningful way.

Would you know the market segments that would capture the majority of your customers?

 

Don’t guess. Let your market tell you what’s important to them. For this, we’ll use surveys.

There’s a question we like to refer to as the “single most important segmenting question.” This will give you almost all the insight you need to make meaningful customer segments.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge you have in relation to X?

With a fitness example, the question would be “what’s your biggest challenge with fitness and weight loss?”

This open-ended question shows you the different groups you can segment your audience into. It also gives you a look at the exact language they use to describe their problems.

There’s is a quality aspect to the answers you’ll get. The longer the answer, the more weight you can give it. Someone may describe their situation with ten words and another describes it with a hundred words. The second person feels the pain more and should have more motivation to take action towards solving it.

Optimize for them.

This should be the first or, at worst, second question. If it’s not the first question then the first question should be something that can be answered easily.

For the remaining survey questions, ask things that you find important to your business. That could be income, preferences, age, political party, or whatever.

Send your survey out to your mailing list, advertise it to visitors on your website or set up an advertising campaign to get responses. Aim for at least a hundred participants. This will make up for any outliers you encounter.

Note: surveys sent to an external audience have completion rates of 10-15%.

Analyzing your segmentation survey results

The most important questions you’ll ask are open-ended which means you can’t use software to pull meaningful insights.

Open a word document to copy the answers from your survey. Also, open an excel file.

Read through the answers and categorize them into different groups. At first pass, you’ll likely end up with dozens of groups.

You’ll notice is that many of the answers are similar.

If the question was “what’s your biggest challenge when it comes to digital marketing”, answers could be:

  • SEO
  • Content marketing
  • Blogging
  • Link building
  • Facebook ads
  • Google display ads
  • Pinterest ads
  • Twitter marketing
  • Facebook marketing
  • Instagram marketing
  • Instagram ads
  • etc.

From those groups, we can see a lot of them can be consolidated. SEO and link building go hand in hand. Content marketing and blogging are siblings. Google display ads, Pinterest ads, and Facebook ads are all friends that can be grouped together.

Go through the answers until you’ve consolidated your choices into three to five market segments. Any more and it’ll be difficult to take meaningful action.

When finished, you’ll have the major groups in your audience and a deeper understanding of how they describe their problems.

Check out a survey we’ve used in the past to get a better idea of the kinds of questions you can ask.

Now that you have the segments you’ll use, it’s time to segment your audience as they become leads, for that we’ll be using quizzes or opt-in surveys.

Quizzes

We couldn’t talk about segmentation without mentioning quizzes. Interactive quizzes are so effective with segmentation because they give you valuable insights while increasing engagement.

3.5x more marketers reported interactive content converts very well when compared to static content.

It’s no wonder the average conversion rates are over 30%.

You can ask almost any question with quizzes but it’s important to balance questions that help you segment your users with those they find interesting.

Wealthfront uses a quiz to help them better understand potential customers. They ask questions to gauge risk tolerance, investable assets, and investment goals.

When you’ve answered all the questions, they show you a recommended investment plan and estimated risk profile.

I seem to have a high tolerance for risk.

Right below that, there’s a call to action to open your account.

I’ll quickly go through how to make a quiz but be sure to refer to this post on creating quizzes for an in-depth walkthrough.

There are important things to keep in mind when creating your quizzes:

  • Maintain between seven and ten questions for your quiz. Much more than that and fatigue sets in and your completion rates will start to decline.
  • Begin your quiz with an easy question they can answer without much effort. Also, end your quiz with an easy and exciting question.
  • After the initial question, ask your main questions (what’s your biggest challenge related to x? or which of the following best describes you?) second. The answer choices are the groups you identified through your segmentation survey.
  • Use a variation of “What X are you?” “What is your X” or “what kind of X are you?” for your title. The best performing quizzes use this title.

After they’ve taken your quiz and are ready to get their results, put up a lead capture form. Use a headline for this part that lets them know what you’re going to send them personalized content based on their quiz outcome.

Inside of KyLeads, you have the ability to map each quiz outcome to a different mailing list or tag in your email marketing service.

That way, when they complete a quiz, they’re automatically segmented.

From there, all you need to do is send them targeted emails in line with their quiz results.

Note: If you have a front-end offer, the quiz results page is the perfect place to pitch it.

Website behavioral activity

After you’ve added people to your mailing list, they may or not buy. To increase the likelihood of arriving at your ultimate goal – a satisfied customer – you can layer on another type of segmentation.

Website behavioral activity is a way to segment users based on the pages they visit and content they interact with. For example, if they visit a specific product page multiple times then you can assume they’re interested in it.

Set up automation rules that fire an email when someone has performed a specific action. For example, you can set up an automation rule that triggers when someone has visited a specific page 3 times. Or you can set up automation rules that trigger when someone has downloaded a certain resource.

Of course, it depends on what your goals are.

Finish Line used behavioral targeting in their email marketing to increase email revenue by fifty percent and gross returns on Facebook ad campaigns by 30%.

How to increase your revenue with market segmentation

All marketing segmentation in the world is useless if you’re unable to provide a positive return on investment.

Let’s look at two specific ways to increase your bottom line with market segmentation.

Specific offers for specific segments

Each of your market segments wants something different from your brand. If you have a sports apparel brand there are men and women of varying age groups. All have different goals.

There may be technical runners, people who wear brand names for fashion, or nonchalant buyers who want the best gear for fitness.

Each group would react to the same message in a different way.

Few companies use the data I’ve them given to make targeted campaigns as well as ASOS. There are two things I buy a lot from there, outerwear and shoes. It seems like every time I get an email from them, they’re letting me know about a sale for one or the other.

Here’s an email they sent me recently.

They segmented based on two variables – location and preferences. In the email, they focused on my love of shoes. 50% was too much for me to pass up.

ASOS has a large selection of shoes so it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for. This email narrowed down my selection and gave me a deal at the same time.

At the bottom, they also highlighted some of the featured brands so I could shop only those shoes. This email was super relevant and I ended up buying.

ASOS has my purchase history to work with but you can get similar results by using your customer segmentation quiz.

An Ebook marketplace could segment on the genre of books you’ve purchased in the past (Amazon actually does this).

Poo Pourri goes in a slightly different direction. They send out recommended products to their email list and gauge who clicks on what.

When you click on a product such as Vanilla Mint, you’d be segmented into a list of people who like it. If you don’t buy, the next email in the series also features that product.

This continues until you’ve purchased the product or shown you don’t want it. Either way, they have more data to send out targeted campaigns in the future.

Doggy Loot segments their users with a few basic questions at the point of sign up. Their homepage has been developed to capture leads with a popup and a subscribe menu option.

First step.

Then segmentation questions.

Once they have that information, the team at Doggy Loot sends out specific offers for different customer segments.

If you have a large dog they send you something different from the people who have small dogs.

Their open rates increased by 10.2%, clickthrough rates were 410% higher than average, and contributes up to 13% of daily total revenue.

doggy loot market segmentation

The results were so promising that they rolled out the new homepage to their entire audience and looked for more ways to segment their market.

They did this by adding a MyDogs page where subscribers could add their dogs name, breed, size, gender, and birthday. They then used this information to send even more targeted messages to their subscribers.

Their results from this email marketing campaign were even better. They had open rates of 28.1%, clickthrough rates up to 750% above average, and it contributes up to 16% of daily revenue.

Dynamic content to position general offers differently

When you get down to the nitty-gritty of segmentation, you’ll see there are too many variables (and people) to craft individual emails. To make up for that, there’s dynamic content replacement.

This is the process of sending one email but showing different content base on preferences of the receiver.

For example, you may make one email that changes slightly when it’s a male receiving it or a female. There would also be a third version when you don’t have the specific information you need.

Air New Zealand built a dynamic email campaign called “Personality Allowed.” When passengers booked flights, they would get personalized pre-flight and post-flight emails.

In the pre-flight email, they’d share information such as the weather forecast, flight crew members, and images of their destination.

In the post-flight email, they’d add a link to the MyVoice platform where Air New Zealand allows customers to update their preferences.

The results of the pre-flight email were an average open rate of 69% and a unique click-through rate of 40%. For the post-flight emails, they had an open rate of 60% and click-through rate of 40%.

Eventful dove headfirst into customer segmentation by tracking the artists their customers viewed on the website and creating personalized emails.

An algorithm would collate that information and generate a list of artists the customer would be interested in. The information was dynamically inserted into weekly emails which increased their reactivation rates by 400%.

events market segmentation

The end results were:

  • 26% open rate increase.
  • 97% clickthrough increase.
  • 56% increase in click-to-open rate.

Conclusion

Market segmentation is one of the most powerful ways to increase your engagement and revenue. Many people believe it’s difficult to get the right data and implement it in their business.

That’s not exactly true. The key is to start from somewhere and work your way up.

Send out surveys to better understand your market

Analyze the results to find the best segments for your business.

Use an opt-in survey or quiz to segment your users and capture contact information

Determine the type of segmentation you’d like to implement (geographic, psychographic, demographic, or a combination)

Set up a few campaigns and tweak until you have a winner.

That all there is too it. You won’t be a market segmentation boss on the first go around but incremental progress will make all the difference.

Let me know how you’re using segmentation in the comments and don’t forget to share.

Information Bias in Business: How to destroy its negative impact

Today’s business landscape is evolving at a breakneck pace and technology has made it possible to measure almost everything.

This is a double-edged sword because there’s so much data. If you’re not careful, the information bias can creep in and lead to drawing the wrong conclusions about what’s really happening.

You may kill campaigns that were actually yielding fruit, discard tests that were working, take down lead magnets that can be optimized, or push marketing initiatives that hurt you.

It seems unlikely but in this post, I’ll show you real-life examples of the information bias at work, the common places it hurts your marketing, and what to do about it.

What is information bias?

The information bias is an error that stems from a measurement error (the difference between the observed value and the true value). It’s a flaw in the measuring exposure, covariate, or outcome variables that result in different quality and accuracy of information between comparison groups.

Put another way, the information bias happens when the inputs used to draw conclusions aren’t measured or observed properly. This leads to the wrong decisions.

John Hopkins defines it simply as “when information is collected differently between two groups, leading to an error in the conclusion of the association.”

These definitions may not be immediately clear so let me illustrate with an example that cost the company billions of dollars.

The cost of the information bias

Gillette has been a household name for decades. Until recently, it held over 70% market share in the US for its flagship products. Due to many factors like new competitors and attitudes around grooming, that market share has dwindled to roughly 50%. Gillette decided to tap into a social issue to rebrand and increase sales.

Gillette released it’s now infamous short film – We Believe: The Best Men Can Be. It has been viewed 33,000,000 times and has been disliked 1.5 million times.

For perspective, promotional videos get less than 1% of viewers to like or dislike them. The We Believe video had 4.5% of its audience give a negative reaction.

It was polarizing.

How did a multibillion-dollar brand drop the ball in such a massive way?

Information bias.

Gillette has been championing masculinity for 30 years but in the face of declining sales, they listened to a loud minority. Those people make toxic masculinity seem like the norm.

The reality is that only a few men can be categorized as perpetuating toxic masculinity. The ad alienated their core demographic.

In short, they listened to the people who were shouting from the rooftops that modern men are like this:

image of toxic masculinity

When in reality, they’re more like this:

image of real modern man

Needless to say, the people who buy Gillette products and are part of the second group didn’t like being lumped into the first group. It contributed to Gillette’s parent company, P&G, writing off $8 billion.

This is an extreme example of information bias but let’s look at how it can affect your business every single day.

Areas where information bias affects marketing

As mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of data – a lot of information – in modern business. You can measure everything from the number of people who visit your website and how long they stayed right down to whether or not the red or blue button gets more clicks.

All this data creates silos in organizations. The marketing team knows certain things almost intuitively. Even though it would positively impact the customer service team, they have no idea about it. That’s why an internal knowledge base and proactive knowledge sharing are so important.

If the knowledge isn’t shared, it brings up countless opportunities for information bias to impact your business in unintended ways. I’ll focus on the most common.

Conversion optimization

We do conversion optimization for everything from our lead generation forms and quizzes to sales pages and email subject lines. When done properly, they can have significant positive effects for your business.

Most A/B tests fail.

It may be due to the methodology of the test, what’s being tested, or the number of people who go through the test.

There are two main problems with conversion optimization. The first is inadequate traffic levels which means a lot of tests don’t get to statistical significance. The second one is what the test is measuring.

A dirty little secret in the conversion optimization world is that the majority of split tests which focus on superficial items like the button color or button text revert back to the median over time. So if that red button increased conversions by 50% today, those results may not hold over time.

For example, there’s a case study about how changing the button color increased CTR by 21%.

I don’t doubt those claims. What I doubt is whether they were able to sustain those gains over time.

This is information bias at its finest. The sample size for tests is too small so we’re using the wrong information to draw conclusions. Conversely, we’re testing the wrong things over a short period of time. When we roll the changes out, they don’t stand up over time.

What to do about it

The solution is dependent on how mature your CRO efforts are right now. If you’re just getting started, the most important thing you can do is to start with best practices and create meaningful tests.

Instead of focusing on the button colors and other inconsequential elements, test things like the layout of a page, the overall messaging, etc. These changes, though larger, have the potential to create long-lasting conversion boosts and prevent you from being forced into a local maximum.

Finally, create benchmarks for your tests such as the number of visitors needed before a decision can be made or the length of time before it can be adopted across the board. Once created, stick with those benchmarks religiously so you have standard datasets to work with.

Surveys

There has been a shift towards optimizing web experiences for humans which is a good thing. Part of this process is interacting with the humans who use your website and products.

To that end, we use surveys which are incredibly versatile for understanding customer perception about different aspects of your business. A few things you find out are:

  • Understand why people stop buying
  • Figure out what makes people buy
  • Get deep insights about willingness to pay
  • Brand perception

A common problem is treating all survey respondents alike. For example, if you send out a survey to your entire email list, some of them are customers and some of them aren’t.

It would make sense to give more weight to the opinions of customers over the opinions of casual browsers or email subscribers. At the same time, you can further divide your customer groups into segments.

Information bias occurs when you send out a survey to everyone who you can contact and give every answer the same weight.

What to do about it

The name of the game here is segmentation. There are countless ways to segment people who receive your survey. You can do it between customers and non-customers. You can segment by purchase history. You can segment based on demographic markers like age or gender.

It’s important to make sure the way you segment is in line with the goal of the survey. For example, if it’s market research, you may want to segment by buyer persona or demographic information. Here are a few more ways to think about segmenting your survey respondents.

  • Customers and non-customers
  • Frequency of purchase
  • Customer value (what pricing tier are they on or how much have they spent)
  • Source of the respondent (EG did they come from your mailing list or social follower)
  • Length of answer (for open-ended questions)

Advertising initiatives

This happened to us when we were testing Facebook ads for KyLeads. We tried to market like a SaaS company and were creating ads that were asking for a direct sign up.

We’d basically show up in your feed, ask you to sign up for a trial, and let our onboarding emails do the rest.

This technically worked. We got signups but it cost us $125 to get a customer. Our ads looked a bit like this:

(bonus points if you can guess the company).

Many people would consider this a success because with this acquisition cost, our LTV:CAC ratio is better than 3:1. There’s just one problem, we don’t have a lot of money in the bank from our VC backers (IE we don’t have ANY money from VCs).

If we tried to scale that acquisition strategy, we’d be out of business even though we’re acquiring customers who would eventually yield a profit.

We put a halt to Facebook because the data was telling us it wasn’t working. We were looking at Facebook ads the wrong way – information bias – and suffering because of it.

Other ways people fall prey to information bias with advertising initiatives include:

  • Not letting the campaigns run long enough (not giving it enough data)
  • Incorrect targeting
  • Using broken funnels/sales processes and amplifying them with paid traffic.

In these instances, the information you receive will have errors which lead to the wrong conclusions. In the end, you may write off ad platforms that have the potential to change the game for you.

What to do about it

The solution here is manifold because there can be many reasons you’re getting the information bias. First, it’s important to run your campaigns long enough to get the right data. Make sure you allocate enough budget to your advertising campaigns before you kill the losers off.

Before you start running ad campaigns, research your market thoroughly so you can make sure your targeting is correct. This depends on the platform you’re using. With Facebook, that’s interests but with Google that’s Keywords.

If you don’t have the time, energy, or skills to do the research then be prepared to test many different variations of your targeting until you’re able to hone in on the one that works for you.

Finally, optimize your pages, sales process, or funnel before you write an ad platform off. Many times, you may get clicks on your ads but no one is converting. Is it because you’re being sent junk traffic? Maybe. At the same time, it may be because of message mismatch or poor landing pages. You won’t know until you test and optimize it.

That process takes time and energy. Sorry, no shortcut.

Conclusion

The information bias, like other cognitive biases, happens whether we like it or not. The key is to be aware of it and actively work to minimize it.

In this post, I’ve touched on a few ways information bias affects businesses and what to do about it. Don’t try to tackle everything at once so you’re not overwhelmed.

Instead, focus on one or two areas such as CRO and determine whether or not you’ve been affected by information bias. If you have, take steps to reverse or minimize the effects of it. When you’ve put processes in place to ensure it won’t repeat itself, tackle the next one until you’ve reduced the information bias in your business.

It’s important to note that you can’t get rid of it completely, you can only manage it. Let me know how you’re tackling the information bias in your business and don’t’ forget to share.

How To Create A Personality Quiz That’s Insanely Shareable

Quizzes are some of the most powerful lead generation devices out there – especially personality quizzes.

They make it possible to convert more than 30% of your visitors, increase engagement, and segment new email subscribers all at once.

It’s the best of all worlds.

What many people don’t realize is that there are many ways and types of quizzes and each one has a different use case.

Some quizzes are ideal for product recommendations while some of them are perfect for engagement and subscribers.

Personality quizzes fall into the second category.

In this post, you’ll learn how to create engaging personality quizzes that move you closer to the end goal – more email subscribers and customers.

What is a personality quiz?

There are many different types of quizzes. Some quizzes are more of an assessment. If someone gets the answer right or wrong, they’ll get a specific score or grade.

Other quizzes test your knowledge about specific subject matter. For example, how much do you know about marketing? Or how much do you know about Game of Thrones? Depending on how they answer questions, you’ll assess their understanding of the topic.

In both of those examples, there’s a right and a wrong answer.

With a personality quiz, there’s no right or wrong answer because no one can have the wrong personality. What a personality quiz aims to achieve is shed light on the kind of person that’s taking the quiz and make recommendations based on it.

example personality quiz

At its core, a personality quiz is designed to reveal something interesting about the quiz taker so they’ll want to share it with their network. This, in turn, gives you more exposure, leads, and social proof. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.

Why do they work so well?

There’s a reason personality quizzes work and it has little to do with you and your brand. The real culprit is human psychology.

Dr. Robert Simmermon, a psychologist in Atlanta Georgia, says they’re so addictive because of our sense of unfolding story. This is an aspect of narrative psychology which postulates that humans make sense of the world and their lives by grouping events into a series of stories.

These stories fit together over time and essentially form our own biographies. This narrative is always evolving and gives credence or authenticity to us, our actions, and our position as the hero of our own story.

This happens subconsciously. Most people never realize they’re going through this process which is why quizzes are so powerful. When someone takes a personality quiz, the results can reinforce the internal narrative already happening.

Image source

This entire process is why Barnum statements are so powerful. You’re able to use general statements and apply them to specific situations. The person on the receiving end of those statements will interpret them how they see fit.

How to make a personality quiz

Now that you’re up to speed on what a personality quiz is and the psychology behind why they work, it’s time to create one. Not just any personality quiz, one that will be shared from one corner of the web to another.

The personality quiz topic is everything

Just like with a blog post, you can, quite literally, create a quiz about anything. That doesn’t mean you should.

The topic you focus on should be relevant to your target market. If you’re in the fitness space, you could create a quiz asking people “What Kind of Game of Thrones Character Are You?” While that may get you a lot of interest because Game of Thrones is so popular, will the people who take the quiz be interested the rest of your brand?

Probably not.

If you’re in the fitness space and create a personality quiz such as “What’s your ideal workout style based on your personality?” it may get less interest. That’s not a bad thing because you know the people who do take it are in your target market.

There are two simple ways to come up with the right topics for your personality quiz

  1. Your own content
  2. The content of others

Your own content

You’ll take the most popular pieces of content and adapt them to make different personality quizzes.

Step 1:  Log into your Google Analytics account (if you don’t have GA, it’s free and worth setting up)

Step 2: Choose the correct property (if you’re tracking more than one website) and click behavior > site content > landing pages.

Step 3: Set a timeframe of six months to account for any spikes in traffic that may have happened. It’ll all even out over time.

Step 4: Exclude your homepage and product pages to find your 10 most visited pieces of content.

Run them through Buzzsumo to see which ones are the most shared.

Adapt the top 3 (or however many you want) into quiz topics. As you can see, we’re not taking a stab in the dark, we’re using what your audience has shown you they resonate with to create the personality quiz.

The other strategy is to use the content of popular websites in your niche to find the perfect topic for your personality quiz.

Using the content of others

I’m sure you know the popular websites in your niche so I won’t focus on how to do market research to find them. Here’s how to use their popular content to choose a quiz topic.

Step 1: Navigate to buzzsumo.com

Step 2: Type in the URL of one of the popular websites in your niche

Step 3: Look through the results of the most popular content and see if you can adapt it to make a personality quiz.

Step 4: Rinse and repeat with the other popular websites in your niche until you have a few personality quiz topics you think will work for your audience.

After settling on the right topic, it’s time to make outcomes that encourage sharing.

Creating the outcomes

It may seem like the questions are meant to come first. They’re not because each question and answer in a personality quiz is designed to move people to a specific outcome.

That means if you’re creating the questions first, the answer options aren’t designed to for your outcomes and one of two things can happen:

  1. There’s a disconnect between what a user answered and the outcome they get
  2. You have to go back and recreate the questions

Neither option is ideal.

That’s why we create outcomes first.

Moving on.

Your outcome is designed to do two things:

Use the information the quiz taker gave you to diagnose their problem or personality and also show them the next steps.

The next steps can be anything. A product recommendation, a course of action, signing up for a webinar, etc. It depends on you.

There are two ways to create an outcome with KyLeads. You can redirect quiz takers to a specific page on your website or you can create an outcome directly within the quiz builder.

Both options are viable but setting up your social sharing is easier from within the quiz builder. Whatever route you choose, there are certain elements each outcome should have.

  • Compelling imagery

There are two types of images you can use in the outcome. You have your featured image and you have additional imagery inside the outcome itself. This is found within the outcome itself.

The first image quickly communicates what the outcome is all about. The other images help your quiz taker better understand the outcome they’ve gotten.

Think of it as a blog post. You have featured images and other images that help you drive your point home and illustrate what you’re talking about.

  • Relevant outcome text

After you’ve decided on a relevant series of images (or at least the featured image), next comes the outcome text. This can also be a video.

Many people drop the ball here because they want to write 50 words and call it a day. After all, they’re only interested in the leads they’re generating. While this can technically work, it can leave a bad taste in the mouths of your audience.

They took a few minutes to go through your quiz and the outcome wasn’t relevant to them. Do you think they’ll pay attention to your follow up emails and offers or even share the outcome they got?

Not likely.

The most effective outcomes are at least a few hundred words long and have two parts. The first part is where you talk about their answers and what it means for their personality.

Incorporate what you know about your audience here while using Barnum statements.

The second part is where you present a CTA for them to take the next steps.

  • A CTA moving them to the next step

This can be anything that makes sense for your business but it has to be relevant to the quiz. After you’ve used Barnum statements to present their outcomes, what should they do next?

How can they take advantage of the new insights they’ve gained?

You prescribe a solution and show them how to take the next steps.

For example, if you found out that their marketing personality is publish and pray, you could present a simple product that helps them get more organized with distribution.

What kind of products and services do you have that can tie into the outcome or would make sense to be the next step? This is a front end offer so it shouldn’t be too expensive.

Up next are the questions.

Write compelling personality quiz questions

Note: we’ve written extensively on quiz questions here so I’ll just highlight the main points for you. Be sure to read the article I just linked.

Keep in mind that personality quizzes are informal. Even if your brand isn’t adventurous, it’s a rare opportunity for you to loosen up.

Ask questions using words and phrases your target quiz taker would use naturally. If they would use contractions then you use contractions. If they describe carbonated water with food coloring as soda or pop then describe it the same way.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Start with an easy question and end with an easy question
  • Keep it between 7-10 questions
  • Incorporate your brand personality
  • Use simple language and avoid being “clever”
  • Keep your target user in mind

Those are the most important aspects of creating a compelling set of quiz questions. The most important thing is to make sure they match your outcomes so there’s no disconnect.

Make a compelling lead capture page

This is the fun part – generating email subscribers.

It can also go wrong.

Why?

Because simply telling quiz takers to enter their details to get their results isn’t ideal. This may work and oftentimes, it works better than a site wide popup.

We’re not looking for incremental improvements. We’re looking for 20% – 40% conversion rates on our quizzes. That’s not possible when you don’t give an incentive that goes beyond just telling people to sign up to get results.

Here are a few things you can do to create a better offer at the point of lead capture:

  • An email course based on their outcome
  • A cheatsheet
  • A guide
  • A checklist
  • Etc.

So yes, you tell them that they need to submit their email address to get their results but you also layer on an extra reason.

Within the KyLeads quiz builder, that’s as simple as adding a heading and subheading. Since each outcome has a unique mailing list or tag applied to it, set up your email marketing service to deliver a lead magnet or whatever the incentive was depending on the outcome they got.

Conclusion

Personality quizzes are a powerful way to generate leads, understand your audience, and engage with your current subscribers. It’s also easy to get wrong and not see the results promised.

This post has gone through the process of creating a quiz from choosing a topic to building the lead capture page. Out of everything, the topic is the most important.

Go through the process outlined here starting with your topic to create a compelling personality quiz.

Let me know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to share.

9 Ways to Get Blog Readers & a Flood of New Subscribers

I’ll be the first to admit.

It sucks when you’re creating great content and great products but you’re unable to get readers to visit your blog.

Many people think it’s a content problem so they focus on making more of the same. That’s not always the answer. It’s almost never the answer.

It may work for websites like Entrepreneur and Forbes but for a smaller website, more content won’t cut it.

In this article, I’ll go through a few specific ways to get readers and turn them into subscribers at the same time.

First, create the right content to get readers to your blog

This is where most people miss the mark. It’s sad but true.

The content created just doesn’t appeal to their target market so their target market doesn’t pay attention.

Yes, “how to make a GIF” gets 33,000 searches a month but is that relevant to your target audience?

Will those people be interested in your products, services, and other content?

The right content is important. In a study by Conversant, 65% of consumers say they’re fed up with irrelevant content. Needless to say, this can make or break your ability to get readers.

So how do you find the right content?

There are countless ways to do that but I’ll share two that have proven to be effective. The first one is to improve upon what’s already worked in the past. Brian Dean refers to this as the Skyscraper Technique.

I like to call it a bit of common sense.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel and come up with something that may or may not have demand. This technique makes sure you’re on the right track.

There are just four steps.

Step 1: Choose a few topics to write on.

The reason you want more than one topic is that you may not be able to create something better than what’s already available. That’s OK, move on to the next one if that’s the case.

Step 2: Find content that’s done well in the past.

There are many tools for this but we like to use BuzzSumo.com. You can search by domain or keyword. In this instance, we’re going to be using the keywords from the topics you shortlisted.

Navigate to the homepage and type the keyword into the search box. You’ll get a list of results like this:

It has a free plan with limited results & metrics. You can also use the options on the left to narrow the results down so it’s more relevant to your situation. Check for the angle that’s been shared the most.

Go through the results and assess whether or not you can create something better. If you can then you’ve just gotten relevant content that people care about.

Step 3: Create the content

This is the second hardest step. Create content that’s better than anything else on the internet.

It doesn’t always have to be longer to qualify as better – though it helps. Design, rich media, and interactivity also matter.

Better is dependent on what your audience appreciates and responds to. For instance, in our niche, people like screenshots, linking to the source material, and long-form content.

In the fashion niche, it’s more about images and videos. Do what works for you.

When we adopted this strategy for our CRO statistics post, we decided to make it longer and better looking.

We currently occupy position zero and position 2 for our target keywords.

Step 4: distribute it far and wide

Up until this point, the focus is on finding and making the content. That’s the easy part when compared to distribution. I’ll talk more about this later in this article but you should follow promotion best practices to get readers to show up.

Post to social channels, email your subscribers, @ people on social media, post on forums, etc. Unfortunately, these things by themselves will only get you so far.

It’s important to also reach out to people individually and build links to your content to get the most bang for your buck.

Quora

Quora is the ultimate question and answer website. I’ve spent far too much time there myself answering questions to get readers and connect with others. It’s also a great place to research topics that people are truly interested in. The process is simple.

Log in or create an account and look for topics related to your niche by using the search bar at the top of the screen. Use broad keywords then slowly narrow your search.

Quora will show you a list of suggested topics. Click on any that catch your eye and go through the suggested answers.

When you click on the question, take note of the number of people following it as well as the number of answers and views on the content.

quora answer get readers

In the above image, thousands of people are following the question. This is a huge niche so the questions have more reach. Look for questions that have a large number of followers and views relative to the size of your niche.

If you’re in a small niche, 100 followers may be a good number to aim for. If you’re in a larger niche then you’ll be looking for questions with at least a few hundred followers.

Shortlist the promising questions and start creating content around them. These two methods should help you produce a lot of relevant content for a long time to come.

Optimize it for clicks and engagement to get readers

Relevant content which is useful for someone may be different from the content people enjoy interacting with.

I may have an embarrassing skin condition and need information about treatment options. It’s important and relevant to me but the research process isn’t enjoyable.

I do it because I have to but your content should be interesting, relevant and engaging. That starts with the headline.

Create a compelling headline/title

This is where a lot of your time and energy should be spent when it comes to content creation. If the headline isn’t catchy, no one will read/watch/listen to the rest of it.

A famous quote by David Ogilvy goes:

“On average, 5 times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.”

For every person that reads your article, at least 5 saw it in their feeds, in the forums, in your email blast, etc. Now, in a digital context, that ratio is worse.

We’ve written on headlines and headline formulas before and we’ve still got a lot of ground to cover so I won’t get into it here.

Incorporate rich media

After you get readers to start interacting with your content, an entirely new battle begins. The fight to keep them on the page.

It’s said that attention spans online are just 8 seconds. While that may be true in certain contexts, it doesn’t share the entire picture.

People focus on what interests them. That’s why we can tune in to our favorite shows every day for an hour or watch a movie like The Avengers and still want more.

That’s why it’s important to create relevant AND engaging content.

If you look back through this article, you’ll notice a lot of images. That’s intentional. It breaks up the text and makes it easier to read.

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Add video to blog posts
  • Break up the text with images
  • Add audio files that are relevant to the content

Develop a publishing cadence and stick with it

It doesn’t matter if you have a great blog with the perfect content. If people can’t count on you to deliver that content regularly then they won’t visit often. You don’t get readers. What’s the point when there’s nothing new?

Blogging for your business or as a business is a long term play. It doesn’t yield fruits after just one week. Most businesses that use content marketing publish a piece of content every day while a good portion of them publish once a week.

The key is to publish as frequently as possible but only if you can keep up with it. It’s better to publish once a week than to publish every day for a week then not publish again for a month.

Your readers will come to see you as reliable.

Pay for distribution

When people think about advertising, they usually focus on direct response. This can work well depending on the product you’re promoting. Most of the time, people don’t buy on the first visit.

Usually, they want to interact with your brand a bit more and make sure you’re legit before they get started or buy from you.

Great content is the perfect way to do that but getting it in the hands of the right people is hard. Enter paid distribution channels.

I’m not talking about Facebook or Google Ads. Those are too expensive for blog traffic.

We ran an experiment and spent $45 for just 38 link clicks. It was just traffic to a blog post with a lead magnet that was converting at 4%. That means it would cost roughly $30 to get a lead.

(click to enlarge)

 

Those platforms are good for retargeting and such but not for driving a ton of quality traffic.

Enter alternative ad networks. Two of my favorite for driving traffic to a blog are Ad Maven and PropellerAds.

using AdMaven to Get Readers

You can get clicks (using the push notification ads) for as little as a penny – and it’s traffic that converts. Just $100 to a series of articles on your website can yield over 10,000 visitors.

The above image is a test campaign we ran.

Once you get those readers they’ll share your content, subscribe to your mailing list, and follow you on social media.

Once you’ve gotten visitors to your website, it’s time to turn them into subscribers.

Targeted landing pages

In this context, a landing page is any page on your website that has minimal navigation and is focused on a single goal. That could be sales or lead generation.

Most people don’t have enough landing pages on their websites. According to HubSpot, the more landing pages you have, the more subscribers you can acquire. Why is that?

Part of the reason is that you’re able to create targeted offers for different segments of your audience.

For example, if you have a website that deals with furniture and clothes, the people looking for furniture will respond poorly to offers about clothes and vice versa. With targeted landing pages, you have the ability to narrow your offers based on the content they consumed.

How to create a landing page is beyond the scope of this article, but here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Minimal navigation
  • Focused headline
  • Use short text and bullets (depending on what you’re asking for)
  • Social proof if you have it
  • Consistent imagery and colors
  • Clear CTA button that can’t be missed

Here’s a simple landing page on our website that follows the above rules and converts above 30%.

Content upgrades

Content upgrades exploded on the scene a few years back and have been working well ever since. Content upgrades are simply bonuses or additions that expand the utility of a specific piece of content.

They’re hyper-focused on the content being consumed and you can see email sign up rates many times higher than a lead capture page/popup.

There are a lot of ways to go about creating a content upgrade. If your post is long and in-depth, you can repackage it as a PDF version. If not, you can create something like a checklist, quick start guide, additional information, or curated resource.

The choice for your content upgrade is up to you. The key is to create them for your most popular posts. Look at your Google Analytics account (or whatever you’re using for analytics) and sort by the most popular posts in the last 120 days or so.

To do this in KyLeads, simply create a popup the way you normally would and set up page-level targeting.

Aim for a conversion rate of 4% at the least but it can go as high as 20% or more.

Lead generation quizzes

Interactive quizzes are a step above the rest because they do a number of things well.

  • Create engagement before the ask
  • Help you find out more about your subscribers
  • Allow you to send targeted follow up messages
  • Creates an opportunity to present relevant offers

All of these things are good but what’s even better is the fact that you can get better conversion rates than popups and most landing pages. As long as the quiz is relevant, you should see conversion rates as high as 30%+.

This quiz we have is relevant to our target audience and also gives useful insights when someone submits their details and gets to the custom outcome page.

quiz to get readers and email subscribers

For example, if you have an article on your website called “10 little black dresses for summer” you can create a quiz called “What’s the best little black dress for your personality.”

It’s relevant to the content the person is consuming and also gives you the opportunity to present a targeted product.

You get a new email subscriber and possibly a new customer. It doesn’t get much better than that.

The nuances of creating a quiz are beyond the scope of this post but we’ve written a detailed guide on it here. Be sure to check it out before you create your own interactive quiz.

General opt-in or blog specific landing page

A general opt-in may not be nearly as effective as your content upgrades but it still works to get subscribers from lower traffic posts.

Use it on content which may not be worth the effort of a dedicated content upgrade but should still support your lead gen efforts. Conversely, you can make a blog specific landing page. Anyone that lands on your blog posts will be shown a CTA to visit the landing page.

Just like with your targeted landing pages, you should have minimal navigation, a compelling headline, social proof, etc.

Don’t go overboard with this page. You’re not selling anything and you want to quickly share the benefits without overwhelming your visitors.

Drive visitors to the page by setting up a floating bar campaign or an inline call to action using the KyLeads form builder.

In addition to linking to it from your main navigation or a floating bar, you can also link to it from:

  • Your social profiles
  • Regularly through social media updates
  • Your forum signatures

Offer simple tools and calculators

Your audience is using a lot of tools to achieve their goals and when you offer one as a lead magnet, it can have incredible results.

It’s important to note that your tool or calculator or doesn’t have to be complicated and involved unless you want it to be.

For example, we’ve had success with something as simple as an excel sheet that calculated the estimated conversions of a launch based on a number of factors. It took an hour to set it up.

Other organizations have gone further. Bryan Harris of Growth Tools regularly creates free software tools for his audience.

They’re highly relevant, deliver a lot of value, and generate thousands of subscribers every month. Those same subscribers go on to buy their products and services.

This particular approach is referred to as engineering as marketing and has been used by many companies to grow their email lists and attract subscribers.

WP engine also follows this route. It has a speed testing tool that lets you know how your WordPress site stacks up. In order to access your results, you have to submit your information.

WP Engine engineering to get readers

We also use this to an extent. Though it’s not gated with an email subscription, we have an ROI calculator that helps our audience understand the numbers they need to be profitable.

Think about what kind of simple tool your audience needs and create it. Drive traffic to it by using a traffic redirect popup or floating bar. Over time, it’ll start picking up links and rank well in search engines.

Conclusion

There are countless ways to get readers to your website.

You can spend ten thousand dollars on Facebook traffic and hope it works out or follow the systematic process outlined in this article. The first step is to always make content that’s relevant to your target audience.

After that, optimize it for clicks and engagement. Finally, distribute it far and wide. When the readers come, pick a few of the strategies outlined in this article to get email subscribers and you’ll have a large audience in no time flat.

Let me know how you get blog readers in the comments and don’t forget to share.

How to Design a Beautiful (and Persuasive) Product Page That Converts

Your product page is where the magic happens.

There are many factors that go into a successful business.

First, you need to build a stellar product for the right people.

After that, it’s time to get your marketing, messaging, branding, SEO, etc. right.

Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the road.

The next step is building a product page that communicates the value you provide while compelling visitors to take action.

It can be the difference between a business that takes off and one that flounders after a few months.

It’s the difference between a profitable advertising campaign and one that sucks up all your resources with no ROI.

In short, your product page (or pages) is one of the most important linchpins in your business.

It’s not important to get it right – it’s essential.

In this post, we’re going to dive deep into how to create a product page design that moves the needle in your business.

What is a product page – really?

There’s a bit of confusion around what a product page is and isn’t.

It’s commonly confused with a landing page. They’re not the same thing.

A landing page is a focused solitary page developed for a specific marketing or advertising campaign. It is designed for a user to take a single action such as download a resource.

A product page, on the other hand, is a page designed to sell a specific product. It details product information, order instructions, and shows product imagery.

Note: a product page doesn’t always show pricing information. For example, most SaaS websites separate pricing and product information.

Ecommerce websites tend to display pricing information on product pages and have conversion rates around 3%.

Now that we’re on the same page, let’s dive into the process of building a compelling product page.

The product page copy

This is where the product page is made.

You can have the most useful product with the prettiest pictures but it won’t get the job done if your copy sucks.

How to write copy is beyond the scope of this article.

Instead, we’ll focus on the necessary elements and a few tips to enhance your writing.

Length of product page copy

There’s a long-standing debate about how long copy should be.

Some people say no one reads anymore so make it short.

Others believe you can’t say anything important in a few sentences so make your copy long.

I say it should be as long as necessary to get the job done.

That’s not helpful. There are general situations when you should use long and short copy.

These situations vary and no rule is written in stone but when in doubt, follow the guidelines I’m about to give you.

When to use long copy

Use long copy for your product pages when the product is:

  • Expensive to the point of needing justification later.
  • Is complex and has many features that need to be explained.
  • Is part of a specialized sector not many people come in contact with.
  • Not unique so you need the extra copy to explain your case.
  • They found it but they weren’t looking for it. Your copy is a chance to convince them.

When to use short copy

Use short copy for your product pages when:

  • The product is simple and doesn’t require much explanation. Show them how to buy.
  • It doesn’t cost too much so people won’t need to justify the purchase later.
  • The CTA itself isn’t asking for an upfront purchase. An example would be to start a free trial.

Specificity

A vague product page doesn’t get results. No one wants to buy a product only to go through the process of returning it or seeking a refund.

Instead, they won’t buy it in the first place.

At all times, be as specific as possible.

If you’re selling shoes, don’t say they last for a long time. Instead, mention how you simulated 9,475 hours of walking time and they still looked brand new.

The more specific you are in your copy, the more believable your claims are.

Do you have testimonials from customers that point to specific results or outcomes they received?

Do you have a quality control process that ensures purity? Alcohol companies do this by telling us their drinks were distilled three times and aged over the course of five years to ensure quality and flavor.

novo watches product pages image

Novo watches takes storytelling and specificity to heart. In the above image, it looks like a text heavy page.

That’s not the case.

They have compelling product imagery and a video above the fold.

Down below, they get into the details. It tells the story of the machinery they repurposed to make the watch.

The details and history weave together to form a strong narrative which helps close the deal on their $4,000 (CAD) watches.

Benefit Driven

Features are important yet they don’t matter without context.

Let’s say you’re selling a laptop that has one terabyte of hard disk space. That’s nice but most laptop buyers don’t know what that means in a practical sense.

This is where the benefits of your features come into play.

You can restate it as one terabyte of hard disk space to store your entire movie library, tens of thousands of songs, and pictures of every family event.

Suddenly, it’s easy to see how useful one terabyte of space is.

There’s a simple test you can perform every time you write a feature. At KyLeads, we call it the “And so what test.”

For every feature you have or want to mention, ask yourself “and so what?”

Our sunscreen has SPF 30. And so what?

Which means your skin is protected from 97% of all UVB radiation so you can enjoy your time in the sun without worrying about harmful effects.

We discuss the benefits of our features on our quiz product page. Instead of just saying you can do xyz, we also point out why that matters and the advantages it gives.

product page quizzes images

Use Cases

Have you ever understood what a product did and thought it would be valuable but couldn’t decide how you’d use it?

With a fashion-oriented purchase, you may like the piece but can’t figure out what you’d wear it with. That alone may make you skip it.

What about when you want to get something more important like software for your business?

You can understand the value of the software but don’t know how to use it in your business.

This happened to us recently.

We use a tool called Databox to combine and visualize some of our data.

When we were evaluating it, we knew it would be valuable but couldn’t figure out how to apply it to our particular situation.

Databox knows their prospects have this problem so they include a line on their homepage that addresses it.

The link in the above image takes you to a page with multiple templates. Each one is a use case.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Almost any product can benefit from displaying new and interesting use cases to potential customers.

  • Computers can be used for gaming, social media, or entertainment.
  • A table can be used in the living room, office, or on the patio.
  • Shoes can be for work, a night on the town, or weekend hangouts.

You know the ways your product can be used better than anyone. Educate your potential buyers to give your product page design an edge.

Visible refunds, shipping, and terms pages.

No one likes to be surprised during or after a purchase.

How would you feel if you were excited about a book, a pair of shoes, or anything else you were about to buy only to realize the shipping charges were exorbitant?

If you’re like 44% of people that abandoned carts, shipping may have played a part. It’s better to pre-qualify visitors who won’t pay shipping than have them skew your metrics.

Amazon is crystal clear with their shipping information. For the product in the above image, they mention how much shipping costs four separate times.

Be crystal clear about how long shipping takes and how much they will pay. You don’t want people hitting up your support line for products that haven’t arrived yet.

Apart from shipping, make sure it’s easy to find refunds, returns, and terms of service pages. An online purchase comes with a lot of uncertainty.

It may not fit, the software may not work right, the widget may be a different shade of blue, etc. Clear refund and return information alleviates some of that fear and increases the likelihood of someone giving you a try.

shipping sunday somewhere

Sunday Somewhere includes shipping and return information right on the product page.

Now, people can make an informed decision about whether or not they’ll pay shipping fees.

Videos

Before we jump into videos, I want to make it clear that they’re optional.

Not everyone has the budget or the skills to make high-quality videos.

A subpar video will do more harm than good so if you can’t get it right then skip this step altogether.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, video can work wonders on your product page.

They have been shown to increase conversions by up to 86%.

It’s easier said than done.

I’m sure you’ve seen poorly executed videos that do more harm than good.

There are three key elements:

  • Cohesive narrative. A good story/narrative draws us in and keeps us engaged. While you’re busy enjoying the story, lessons and information are passed into your mind. There’s no defense because we’re hardwired to love a good story.
  • Leave out all the buzzwords, jargon, and symbolism. You’re not trying to win an award, you’re trying to get people to buy. Let them know what it does, why it matters, and the outcome they can expect as a result.
  • Quick delivery. Again, you’re not trying to win an award. You’re trying to get a message across. Deliver it as quickly so your visitor doesn’t get tired.

In Qubit’s product video, they focused on one thing – speed. They wanted to illustrate how fast it was to get set up with their platform.

It was cohesive. They focused on one aspect of their product.

It was clear. They used no words and let the video do the talking.

It was concise. At 1:44, it was a good length for on the go consumption.

Technical specifications

An online purchase is unique in many ways. Your customer is trying to understand what they’ll get from a few pictures and words.

There’s no way for them feel, smell, weigh, or otherwise interact with the product.

Images and videos help but they still leave a lot to be desired.

Many product page designs don’t make room for the technical details/specifications. It seems like unnecessary information people don’t need.

It’s true, a lot of people don’t care.

It’s also true that a lot of people do.

A small percentage of them will write in and ask for the information they need.

Most of them will bounce and leave you with a lost sale.

For the people that want the technical specifications, you can add them under a tab or in a section after the main product information.

One of Press London’s products is what they call homegrown supplements for hair, skin, and nails. They offer a quick description next to the product image and an option to read more.

They’re aware their customers need more than a three line description before they buy ingestibles. In response to that, they add a detailed section that gives a more thorough description as well as an ingredients list.

Imagery

Images are a tried and tested way to illustrate your product. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling software, clothes, or drones.

In fact, you can’t sell without images.

People want to see what they’re buying before they enter their credit card details.

  • Larger images

Shopping is a tactile experience. People see and feel the products they buy. Online, that sensation is missing. The best way to bridge that gap is to use clear high-resolution images.

Mall.cz saw a 9.46% increase in sales when using clear large images for their products.

For a digital product, screenshots of the dashboard or lessons inside the product also work.

  • Multiple angles

This follows on the heels of high-quality images. People need to be able to see the product from different directions.

When I’m buying shoes online, I want to see the sole, the front, the back, and everything in between. I also want to be able to see the stitching.

According to ThinkWithGoogle, user-controlled zoom is an important factor with mobile shoppers.

In the image above, ASOS provides multiple angles of the product so browsers can get a clear picture of what they’re buying. In addition to that, they have a video.

  • Different designs

Standard product photos are on a white background. While this isn’t bad, it won’t allow you to stand out from the white noise of the internet.

In addition to the standard white background, show your products in use in different situations and with different people.

For example, if you’re selling shoes, show them in a formal, casual, and office setting (whichever ones apply).

Finally, gather and curate UGC (user generated content) for your product page as well as for your wider marketing collateral.

ASOS curates UGC and uses it throughout their marketing collateral.

Clear CTA’s

Calls to action (CTA’s) are the buttons, text, and little nudges you place throughout your website to inspire a visitor to take your desired action.

There are no hard and fast rules for CTA’s. The only thing you must do is test them.

With that being said, there are best practices to give you a head start.

CTA Copy

There are many schools of thought when it comes to CTA copy – especially on the product page. I think they’re over analyzing it.

There are two things to keep in mind above all else:

  • Keep it short. Your actual call to action should only be a few words long.
  • Action commands. Phrases like Shop now, Proceed to checkout, and add to cart aren’t used by accident. They’re embedded commands that inspire action.

CTA color

Again, there are no hard and fast rules about the color of your buttons. Some people say use a red button to increase conversions.

While that may be true in certain cases, it may not always be feasible. This is especially true if your branding doesn’t play nice with red.

Andreas Carter Sports increased their conversions by 50% by changing their CTA button from green to blue.

Your situation may be different. The most important thing to keep in mind is that your buttons need to stand out from the rest of the page.

CTA placement

This is a given but make sure your button is where it can be easily found.

If your visitors need to search for it then you’ve already lost.

Place it in a prominent position above the fold close to the major value proposition or title.

Conversely, you can place it next to the price of the product.

There’s no rule that says you can’t have more than one CTA on your page. On our forms product page, we place multiple CTA’s throughout the content.

Customer Reviews and Testimonials

The last element I’ll mention that’s super important for your product page design are honest reviews and testimonials.

90% of buyers say their decisions are influenced by online reviews.

Some brands throw their customer reviews on a wall of love or something similar.

Why do that when they can work so much harder for you on the product page itself?

Express watches added customer reviews to their product pages and increased sales conversions by 58.29%

In a survey of 1,000 consumers, it was found that reviews were the number one factor that drove shoppers to buy a more expensive product.

Few customers leave reviews because:

  1. They’re busy
  2. It can be difficult

Take the pain out of leaving reviews by adding the option to leave one right on the product page.

WordPress.org clearly displays reviews for plugins.

It seems people aren’t happy with Gutenberg.

There are a number of ways to take advantage of the reviews you get.

  • Video reviews on the product page for people to play while making the final decision.
  • A weighted review score that takes into account all the reviews you’ve received for that product over time. The individual reviews that make up this average are also displayed.
  • A text review (without the score) that shows the persons headshot and a specific reason why they liked your product.
  • Images of the customers using your product or service. This is also useful for other marketing collateral.

This Amazon page for Gates of Fire by Stephen Pressfield (recommended read) combines many of these features together.

A note on negative reviews: If all of your reviews are five stars then something is wrong. You can’t be perfect for everyone. A bad review here and there is expected and can help you shape the kind of product people love.

Second note: You may not have reviews and testimonials in the beginning and that’s perfectly OK. We all start from zero.

Examples of Product Pages that work

We’ve gone through the process of understanding what makes a great product page stand out. Now, let’s look at a few examples of high converting product pages.

underarmor example product page

Note that some of the things mentioned below are on the page but not in this particular screenshot.

What I like:

  • They show multiple angles of the product with and without a model
  • They have a prominent star rating for the product
  • Size chart clearly visible to reduce returns due to poor sizing
  • Contrasting call to action button with action oriented wording
  • An extra sizing chart that would give you a better idea of the fit
  • A recommended products section

What I don’t like:

  • The product description is just a bunch of bullet points that list out features and few benefits
  • No lifestyle shots of the clothes in action
  • Shipping information isn’t readily available

Pure Cycles sells premium bikes for adults. At least, that’s the message I got from their messaging and the imagery they use.

What I like:

  • The details section is well written
  • They have product as well as lifestyle images
  • Further down the page there are videos of the product in action
  • Reviews score is prominently displayed
  • Return policy and warranty is clear
  • Action oriented call to action button

What I don’t like:

  • The reviews aren’t on the same page
  • Size information isn’t clear until you scroll further down the page and open a different tab
  • Call to action button blends in with the color palette of the website – it’s muted.

Figleaves product page example

Figleaves is a women’s Ecommerce brand that sells lingerie, nightwear, and Uggs (no comment on that one).

What I like:

  • Prominent reviews section
  • Very clear shipping and returns info. If you click the link, it opens a popup.
  • Multiple product images with and without the model
  • Zoom on hover to get a closer look at the product
  • Action-oriented call to action
  • Recommended products further down the page

What I don’t like:

  • No sizing information
  • Call to action button is a different color but it’s muted
  • Generic product description
  • No lifestyle images

 

We all know Dove for their beauty products and more recently for their real beauty campaign. They also do well with their product page.

What I like:

  • They have prominent review info
  • Nice CTA color
  • Strong CTA text
  • Interesting question and answer section
  • More detailed information nestled in dropdowns
  • Product zoom function

What I don’t like:

  • The product image takes up most of the fold
  • No return information
  • No shipping information
  • No pricing information

Conclusion

Your product page is an asset that determines whether or not your business will be successful. I hate to put so much emphasis on a single page but it’s the truth.

IF there’s missing information or it’s poorly presented then all your marketing can go to waste.

In this post, we’ve taken a deep dive and you’re well equipped to create amazing product pages.

Start with the copy and make sure it’s specific and benefit driven. Show important information upfront to instill trust and reduce the fear associated with buying things online.

When you have compelling copy, the right imagery, and clear calls to action your product pages do what they were made to do – sell.

Let us know how you’re designing your product pages in the comments and don’t forget to share.

How to Use Triggered Messages in the Lead Gen Process

As I recently noticed after hanging out on Reddit one evening, I’m not the only one concerned with how triggered messages are done these days.

«Anyone else burned out as a consumer (if not as a marketer) by decades-old email-based lead gen tactics… as well as “conversational marketing” not seeming much better?

Oh, the email popups… and the exit intent popups… and the chat popups… all wanting to take info, only to give value… somewhere else, sometime later, after jumping through some more hoops…

Am I alone in thinking a “site visitor -> activated lead” experience should be much better in 2019?»

/u/ThatNat

So what is wrong with the lead generation process and triggered messages in 2019?

lead generation process

Image source

Timing and personalization are vital for lead generation and conversion, so in this article, we’ll take a look at how to make these processes more effective (and less annoying to users) with the help of lead generation triggers.

Lead generation triggers are automated messages triggered under certain conditions to turn a visitor into a lead.

Who are we going to trigger?

The key idea is different types of leads require different approaches. Some people visit a website and don’t know what they want yet. There are also people who look for something specific. In a nutshell, leads can be divided into:

  • Cold leads – onlookers that aren’t ready to buy. They compare offers and consider multiple solutions. It’s important to tell them more about the product and gently lead them to the right decision (that is to buy from you, of course).
  • Hot leads – visitors ready to buy. They simply need a little help (e.g., get to know about the terms of payment and/or delivery). However, keep in mind that you still need to qualify those leads to ensure they match the ideal customer profile and score them to asses their value for the company.

Side note: if your company relies heavily on sales, I recommend Aaron Ross’s Predictable Revenue book where he shares a few good ideas on the subject of lead generation, qualification, etc.

Triggered messages in the lead generation process

After users perform certain actions on the website they receive automatic triggered messages. Went to the registration page? Spent some time on the website? Closed the page? Well, there’s a message to trigger for each of these cases. It all acts as a reminder about you, your website or your product.

Lead generation triggers can be shown in the form of:

  • Pop-up windows. Less targeted, but can be shown to most website visitors. Pop-ups can be used for notifications, or to direct traffic, conduct surveys, and capture contact info.
  • Chat messages. You can deliver triggered messages to customers via embedded online chats. It is a widget installed on the website to communicate with customers online. Chat widgets provide a way to quickly consult users, answer their questions and potentially influence their decision. It’s a good way to increase conversions
  • Email. Never gets old and still yields the best ROI.
  • Web Push notifications. Web push notifications are a way to deliver information to users by means of short messages to the browser they use or directly to their desktop/phone. After they opt-in, the messages are sent whether they’re on the website or not. Similar to an email list, users subscribe but they don’t need to provide any personal information. A lot of them will prefer this option over email subscription.

Note: Push notifications only work if your website has HTTPS though there are workarounds provided by many companies.

The lead generation process you choose depends on your goals and audience but you’re not limited to a specific type of triggered message. You can use pop-ups to collect contacts and then launch an email campaign and follow up with push notifications. The end result is a lead nurturing campaign that leads to increased sales.

Popup window lead triggers

It is important to properly adjust popup display time in order to increase efficiency. The right delay depends on a number of factors but you should wait at least a few seconds. You can also set it up to popup when the cursor moves off the screen (meaning the user wants to leave).

If the popup appears immediately after the main page loads, there’s an increased chance that the visitor will leave. Let visitors browse the catalog first, look around, add something to cart, consume content, and then show a pop-up message.

Wisely delayed pop-ups can boost your subscription rate up to 3 times. The thread on pop-up timing on StackExchange suggests the delay may vary from 5 to 60 seconds. Might sound confusing but there’s a wise tip in the very same thread: refer to your ToP (time on page) metric and display the pop-up before the user leaves. There’s no point in 60-second delay if your average is just 10 seconds.

As for the content of the popup it varies from industry to industry:

  • In Ecommerce, pop-ups tend to present a discount (if your company cannot offer a discount, remember that users may be interested in useful content — guides, case studies, selections, etc.)
  • Media resources offer subscriptions or, again, notify about a limited time offer of a discount
  • B2B companies can use popups to suggest to schedule a meeting/call.

As a particular instance of a quality pop-up content, one can gamify customer experience and offer people lead quizzes. It is a great option to:

  • Step-up your engagement rate and reach out to those who are usually hard to engage (let alone convert)
  • Get to know your potential/existing customers better

As an interactive form of content, lead quizzes have proven to be up to 3-4 times more efficient in terms of lead generation and conversions. You can learn how to create a viral interactive quiz for lead generation in a thorough post by KyLeads.

Web-push notifications

Web-push is more appealing to users who do not want to leave their contact info. They hit the “subscribe” button and receive triggered messages via their browser or directly to the desktop even when the browser is closed.

Most use push notifications promote content, but they can do more than that:

Personalization and push-segmentation are in full bloom these days. Here is an example of bulk segmentation at OneSignal. Take a closer look at their docs to get an idea of what is possible in regard to user-to-user notifications.

Here’s a glimpse at how one can use push-notifications:

  • to work with customer doubts and objections
  • to offer useful advice
  • as a reminder that a customer has yet to make a purchase, or finalize an order

Notifications help online stores:

  • Talk about discounts and promotions.
  • Remind of an abandoned basket.
  • Show additional goods.

Many services use push notifications as a reminder to their customers (offers, delivery dates, order status, etc), or send interesting content and thus warm their leads up.

Optimizing the lead generation process with email

This one is a versatile tool to use in different scenarios. You can remind users about your existence, you can educate your user base, or (in a case with online stores) make them return to the cart and close the deal.

Online stores use it to:

  • increase the average order value by sending users a personalized catalog of goods;
  • upsell;
  • remind about products they browsed through or left in the shopping cart;
  • distribute unique content and increase customer loyalty.

Mailing lists are usually used in conjunction with pop-ups. It is a good way to segment the user base and show them targeted pop-ups.

SaaS services can use a newsletter to solve the following tasks:

  • motivate users to make their first payment or renew a subscription;
  • perform onboarding;
  • Inform users about updates;
  • increase user loyalty through emails with case studies, expert opinions, and other types of specific user-oriented content.

Image source:

Subscribers might not see the value of the service after the first month of use and will not renew the subscription. Sending them a series of messages is useful to prepare them for renewal (in advance) or make them reconsider later. That’s where need to think through your email strategy.

When and what emails to send:

  • Send the first email right after the subscription is complete. Provide readers with the info on when the subscription ends, the price and remind them about the auto-renewal feature (if present).
  • Send a follow-up email in the middle of the month. Tell users about new features of your service, showcase recent customer cases, work out most (if not all) objections, provide solid statements and proofs for why you’re useful and worth your price to make users prolong the subscription.
  • At the end of the month, a user should receive an email informing them the subscription expires in x days. This may be an opportunity to encourage them to upgrade.

If someone cancels the subscription in advance, send them a reminder email with info on when it ends and how to renew it. Write a compelling headline so it gets opened then remind them why your service is amazing.

Also pay attention to your email campaigns to avoid pitfalls. The most common is dead-end lead feedback. A lot of campaigns target potential leads, simply sending offers, content, or whatever. It seems to be enough, right?

No.

These automated campaigns are often left unmonitored. It is not uncommon (even from my experience as a lead) for a lead to take interest in an offer, ask some questions, and get no feedback. Setting up a campaign is not enough, you also need to monitor it, segment it and manage it over time.

Online Chats

Online chat is a useful tool for digital marketers and entrepreneurs when you want to help a customer pick a product, tell them more about special offers, or otherwise help with a purchase. It also helps you build trust. When people can ask about the size of clothes, terms of payment and/or delivery and get an answer right away it builds a connection between your platform and a user.

Some users are not ready to write first. After a user has spent some time on your website you can reach out to them via the chat.

Send them a triggered message like this:

“Hi, I’m your personal consultant [name of the consultant].

How may I be of assistance?”

The message and timing may vary.

For example:

Imagine a customer browsing through a specific section of your catalog for 3 to 5 minutes. That’s when you can address a customer with a more specific message: “Hi, looks like you couldn’t find the [product type] you need. Let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll tell you when it’s going to be in stock.”

You may be surprised but many users still treat these chats as automated, lifeless, pointless implementations and don’t trust them. “Why waste my time and write to some stupid bot which is not going to help me anyway?”

There are two important aspects to consider:

  • motivate users, make the first step (people are kind of shy when it comes to parting with their money)
  • show them you’re a real person, not a generic chat-bot

It’s all a part of a broader field — conversational marketing, which companies like Drift specialize in. It is fairly simple to implement and won’t require you to conduct a redesign or start your business from scratch. You can read a detailed guide to the conversational framework on their website.

Conclusion

Lead generation triggers help inform customers about the best deals, as well as increase loyalty and average order value. Use the appropriate types of messages and configure scripts properly to effectively solve business problems.

Do not spam, take it easy and make your pop-ups smaller, people want to consume content without being interrupted. There is a reason why users choose to block ads and even Google introduced inbuilt ad-blocking in Chrome. Dial it down a little.

However, remember every channel and every message has room for variation. Think outside the box and don’t forget about personalization. Be sincere, stay close, grow profitable.

Dmitrii Borodin, founder of GRIN tech — a boutique agency doing things online and claiming to do a full cycle: design, development, and marketing. Apart from client projects and everyday hustle GRIN tech’s team is playing around with in house projects like GRIN launcher & GRIN games. Find them on Twitter and Reddit.

Announcing Exit Popups + How to Use them to Build Your Mailing List 

Exit popups have been proven to work well for increasing website conversion rates

They can help you capture the attention of users who would otherwise exit your page without making a purchase or becoming email subscribers. 

That’s never a fun experience. 

It takes a lot of effort and energy to build an engaged mailing list that buys from you. 

According to the experts, you need to create lead magnets that speak to your target market. I won’t get into the mistakes people make when they’re trying to create effective lead magnets. 

I digress. 

If you’ve built the perfect lead magnet for your audience, you may still be struggling to grow your mailing list as quickly as you’d like. 

Why’s that?

There are a lot of factors that contribute to it but the lack of an effective exit intent popup may play an important role. 

We’ve been quietly working on creating exit popups that will allow you to trigger different types of notifications based on visitor behavior. 

I’ll walk you through what’s new in KyLeads and how our exit triggered popups work as well as how to make exit popups that convert visitors to subscribers. 

Exit popups in KyLeads

As I mentioned before, we’ve been quietly working on developing and testing our exit popup feature. The key with exit popups is to present a relevant offer when someone shows the intention of leaving the website. 

A mistake people make is trying to show exit popups to everyone that lands on a page. 

Why is this a problem? After all, you want to capture the visitors who would otherwise leave. 

Yes, that’s the idea in theory but in practice, not all the people who visit your website are qualified. A lot of them get there by accident and will exit or press back immediately. 

An exit popup won’t help you capture those contacts because they’re not right for your business anyways. 

It’s important to filter out users who fall into that category. 

KyLeads exit intent popups allow you to include a trigger option based on time in addition to triggering it based on leaving the current page. 

Here’s how that’ll look in practice. 

When you’re creating a popup form (either full screen or modal lightbox), navigate to the display options:

exit popup display rules

When the page loads, scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see the exit intent options. Toggle it on and set a minimum time delay before it can be shown to page visitors. 

This will filter out the people who landed on the page accidentally or don’t find value in it. When you’re done, publish your popup and start collecting email subscribers. 

Now, let’s look at what makes an exit intent popup and how to create effective ones for your website. 

What Is an Exit Popup?

An exit popup is a display that comes up on the visitor’s screen when they attempt to leave a  website.

A user could be on your page, and while viewing it, they might not find precisely what they’re looking for. Naturally, they’ll want to leave but while in the process of closing the tab or pressing the back button, an exit popup appears (either covering the whole page or a portion of the page) for the user to fill with their contact information.

Exit-intent popups give you one last opportunity to appeal to your visitors by detecting when the person is about to leave. 

It might seem that popups are unnecessary because the visitor was already leaving your site. But, you know what they say, you lose all shots not taken.

No matter how you feel about exit popups, they’ve been proven to work well to increase the number of people becoming email subscribers.

Difference between exit popups and other types of popups

Popups appear in different ways. Some of them show up instantly on arrival on the page or when certain conditions such as time on page or scroll percentage are met.

Instant popups might seem like a great way to get customers involved, but in truth, it’s the direct opposite.

Most visitors immediately close the popup or simply leave the page – this is abandonment. It’s not fun. 

When you visit a website, you’re usually in “look and see” mode. You could be shopping, anticipating an informative article, or something else entirely. If a popup appears immediately and conceals the content the visitor is looking for, they may get irritated.

Exit intent popups work a bit differently. They’re a response to the visitor’s desire to leave your website – their intent. 

As mentioned before, it’s your last opportunity to engage with users before they bounce. 

It doesn’t affect the user’s experience as much as other lead generation devices. Once the visitor decides to leave the page, they simply can. There’s no after effect.

As with other lead generation tools, it’s important to get the message right. If you don’t then you won’t see the gains associated with exit intent popups. 

 

Strategies to create an effective exit popup for list building

1 – Exit popup discounts

Almost everyone loves a discount.

 if you have an Ecommerce site it’s important to build a list of contacts that actually care about your products. An exit popup with a discount may be the key. 

Why’s that?

Because it’s only someone that has an interest in your products and services that’ll decide to sign up for a discount.

Instead of the regular ”Subscribe Here” many websites use (I’ll never know why they do that), you can use “Get this 10% DISCOUNT off your first purchase” to only get the people with the greatest purchase intent.  

Even if a purchase is not made due to other reasons, no harm is done, the visitors has filled in their details so then you can later promote other offers.

Busted Tees goes above and beyond by offering a full 40% discount to new customers. Either they have amazing margins or it’s a loss leader (loss leaders are also used on thank you pages). 

These are even more effective when you create discounts for different categories of products on your website. 

2 – Increasing the value of content

I’m sure you’re well aware of what a content upgrade is. 

In a nutshell, they help your page visitor take the next step or make the current thing you’re talking about easier. 

There are many ways to deliver an effective content upgrade and exit intent popups qualify. 

They have the benefit of not interrupting your visitor while they’re deep in your article. At the same time, they make it possible to deliver the extra piece of the content puzzle. 

If you choose the topic wisely then you’ll see a lot of people decide to sign up for it. 

exit popup example

This is a clear example of using this strategy. It’s simply a PDF file of the article that the reader can get access to on-demand instead of coming back to the article every time they need to reference it. 

3 – FREE TRIALS

Sometimes a visitor lands on your page and loves it but doesn’t know what the next best step to take is. This may be due to skimming or because there’s no clear CTA (fixing that is a topic for another day). 

Either way, they’re going to leave before performing your desired action. 

An exit popup providing a free trial for the product will make the visitor put out their information before using/downloading the product.

At the same time, you can use the exit popup to direct them to the free trial page where they can insert their information. 

This also helps in a competitive market where there are more than 2 providers of such service/product eg Logic Pro and FLStudio or adobe and inkspace.

4 – Use attractive pictures in exit popups

They say an image speaks a thousand words. That’s just as true online. Choosing the right imagery for your exit popups is just as important as the message you use to entice visitors.

The aim here is to catch the eye of the visitor. You want a conspicuous exit popup to compel the visitor to take a second glance.

Consider putting an image that could cause a polite shock to the visitor, be creative with your image, and make sure it’s related to your page (or brand as a whole). Don’t go overboard with your image and make sure it is leading to that signup.

5 –  Show your most sought after product

A new visitor might be on your page they saw on social media or any number of channels. Though curious, they may not be satisfied with what they’re seeing on your page.

Of course, they get ready to leave. 

An exit popup that shows them one of your most popular products may just be the trick needed to get them to stay on the website longer.

It works effectively because instead of throwing all your products to the visitor at once, you present a product you know has the ability to convert people to customers. 

CONCLUSION

Exit intent popups can improve conversions when used correctly. Exit popups fail to work for marketers/businesses for two essential reasons:

  1. They aren’t drawing enough to capture the visitor’s interest.
  2. Irrelevancy and insufficient value in the popup.

If you can steer clear of those mistakes, you’re well on your way to building an engaged mailing list.

How your exit popup appears can also impact conversion rates. Test different elements to figure out what works best.

I’ve only mentioned a few strategies to increase the efficacy of your exit popups and the list is by no means exhaustive. 

Don’t be afraid to combine a few of these strategies together or come up with your own to make your popups even more effective. Let me know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to share. 

Target Market: Examples, Definition, and Finding the Perfect One

If the world of business were a simpler place, you wouldn’t need a target market or use target market examples as a reference point.

You could create a product, appeal to a few general wants and needs and boom – you’d be successful.

Business isn’t like that.

The most successful companies in the world have a clear target market. Their lead generation is more effective, their customer service is more helpful, and their product sells faster.

How do you find your ideal target market?

What is a target market anyway?

What strategies can you use to appeal to your target market?

This post will help you answer those questions and share target market examples so your business grows faster and more efficiently.

What is a target market?

A target market is a specific group of potential customers within a business’ entire addressable market that they choose to sell to. The business creates marketing materials, ads, and products that appeal to the group they’ve chosen.

Why does it even matter?

A while ago, it didn’t. There was little choice and little competition in the marketplace. People bought what they could find and were happy about it.

Now, there’s an almost unlimited amount of choice, people see thousands of brand messages, and buyer’s remorse is real. As a small business, it’s important to focus your limited resources on the group of people who’re most likely to buy.

Companies like Coke have the budget and resources to market to everyone but even it chooses to go after a specific target market with many of its products.

GLACÉAU Smartwater is a brand owned by Coke. It targets people in urban centers in their early 20s to late 40s who’re more health conscious. It has the resources to market to almost everyone but decided to gain market share by focusing on a specific group.

Marketing, branding, and sales decisions are easier because it’s not trying to appeal to everyone. The focus is on a small core group of customers who are responsible for the majority of sales.

How to define your target market

Many companies fail before they figure this part out because they use a shotgun approach to find their target market. If they find one that sticks then they stay in business. If they don’t then they’re added to the 90% of companies that didn’t make it.

There are countless ways to define your target market but in the end, it depends on your products, price points, and goals.

For example, Acme Inc. sells high-end accessories that range from $500 to $2,000. Its products last for a long time but there’s a high level of satisfaction amongst customers. It can use a number of criteria to define its target market such as income and interest in luxury goods.

Age and location wouldn’t be as useful to them because that’s not a determinant of whether or not someone will buy their products.

Here are a few ways you can begin to define your target market:

Surveys

The fastest way to find your target market is to communicate with the people who already buy from you.

It may not be feasible to call every one of your customers on the phone. You also don’t want to do all the work of building a compelling product page then lose the sale because you asked for too much information up front.

A survey is a great way to bridge that gap. Ask questions that will help you define what your target market looks like. If gender is important then use the survey to break down what the gender mix is. If income or type of business matters then be sure to ask questions that give you a better idea of that info.

A few general data points you may want to capture are

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Interest
  • Family breakdown
  • Etc

Take a look at this post on psychographic segmentation and demographic segmentation to get a better idea of the kind of information that would be useful for defining your target market.

Your analytics tools

You are using analytics tools to understand how people are interacting with your website and social media accounts – right?

Of course you are.

In Google analytics, you can find basic demographic information by clicking audience > demographics > overview.

If you’ve not done so already, you’ll need to activate this feature.

Social media platforms also provide analytics for you to dig into. For example, Instagram gives you information about the location, gender, age range, and best time of day to reach your followers.

Each platform gives you different information and you may even attract different audiences on each one. Check the analytics for all social platforms where you have a decent amount of followers.

It’s always better to ask customers directly but when that’s not possible then your analytics information is the next best thing.

Look at what the competition is doing (use with caution)

Take this suggestion with a bit of salt. It’s important to know who your competition is and what they’re doing but never imitate them outright.

Only use this method when you’ve done preliminary research and have an idea of who your target market is. The goal is to determine if your competition is going after the same market as you and whether they’re reaching segments you’d like to go after.

The information you gather will be topical at best because you don’t have access to their data. You can get a general sense of what they’re doing and how it’s working. That’s enough to decide whether or not you’d like to double down or change directions.

Test different messaging

At this point, you have a pretty clear idea about who’s using your products and services because you’ve asked them directly and have done your own research.

This will help you create a hypothesis about different messaging you can use and find a unique value proposition that resonates with your target market.

I say hypothesis because, until you test them, they’re educated guesses that haven’t been proven or disproven. The way you go about proving them is through systematic testing.

Create a series of landing pages that use different messaging you think would appeal to your target market. Set up social media ads or search ads that match the messages on the landing page and measure how well people respond to each one.

Measure conversions, not clicks.

Strategyzer is an online business education platform that helps small businesses and enterprises reach their goals. It was hosting a 2-day workshop with Alex Osterwalder and wanted to fill up seats so it turned to Facebook.

In the above image, very few people were able to connect with the message and the company ended up spending over $4,000 to acquire a single customer.

It later changed the ad copy and focus of the message.

The cost of acquisition reduced from over $4,000 to roughly $123.

Continue researching and testing

Your target market may change over time. It might be clear now but that may not be true in six months, two years, or the next decade.

That’s not a bad thing but it’s something you should be well aware of.

Your customer mix changes, your products evolve, and consumer preferences shift. Together, these factors may change what your target market looks like. Revisit the information you’ve gathered often to ensure you have the most accurate description.

Target market examples

It’s difficult to find target market examples because it’s not something that’s publicized like a mission and vision statement. With that being said, there are a few iconic target market examples to pull from.

The first one comes from Apple.

It created a series of commercials that compared Mac to PC. Mac was a hip young man while PC was the opposite. These ads targeted PC users as well as those who were looking to buy a PC. From the language used and the way the characters were depicted, it was clear Apple was targeting a young tech-savvy demographic.

Corona is a popular beer company but its massed produced and doesn’t have much flavor like a craft beer. Because of that, it can be marketed to a large group of people who drink beer. Their messaging seems to focus on a younger crowd that’s out drinking casually with friends.

Mercedes is one of the most successful car companies in the world and have cars that range from a few thousand dollars to over a million dollars. A single target market example is more difficult to pin down because, technically, it doesn’t have one. It has many.

In the following commercial, Mercedes uses humor and a bit of awkwardness to appeal to a young professional market while highlighting key features.

Target market strategies

There are a few target market strategies you can use after you’ve identified the groups most likely to buy from you.

Single Segment

Focus all your attention and energy on a single market segment. This can be a good strategy when there’s a market that responds much better than any other or you don’t have the resources to go after multiple target markets at once.

When you gain ground in your key segment and expand your business operations, you can move on to the next strategy.

Multi-Segment

This is ideal when you have multiple products or multiple target markets that respond well to your messages. This takes a lot of resources. If you’ve not differentiated in this way before or haven’t gained considerable ground in your first target market then it may be best to hold off on the multi-segment approach.

Multiple product businesses lend themselves to this strategy but it’s not a requirement. You can market a single product in a different way to multiple target markets.

A target market example from Vonage is health organizations. Vonage provides business phone services to everyone but it creates specific messages for each market it targets. It has a specific page for health organizations where it uses languages that relates to the industry.

Product specialization

You can position your product to appeal to multiple segments or you can create a product for only one segment.

Rela creates software that small business owners use to build microsites and generate leads. The features are peculiar to the needs of real estate agents. As the product develops, it continues to add tools for the target market instead of all small business owners that need a website.

Conclusion

There are two ways to market your business.

  • As the solution to any and everyone’s problem
  • As the solution to a problem a specific group of people have

It’s been proven time and again that choosing a target market is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Why?

Because you’re able to create products, services, and messaging that appeals to a specific group as opposed to every one.

Use this post as a springboard for choosing the perfect target market for your business.

Let me know what you think of the target market examples in this post and how you’re using them to grow your business.

The Barnum Effect: Use Flattery to Instill Belief (Or Why Quizzes Work)

Have you ever looked at your horoscope in the newspaper and thought it was oddly accurate?

Do you find it strange when you answer a few questions and get an assessment based on that information which seems to hit the nail on the head?

It’s not your fault, it’s a cognitive bias called the Barnum effect at play.

We’ve advanced a lot over the last 100 years. Computers, televisions, and penicillin were invented. Someone living in 1919 wouldn’t recognize the world of 2019.

Time square comparison image

For all our advancements, we’re still beholden to cognitive biases. One of which called The Barnum Effect and it’s part of the reason why personalityquizzes are so effective.

In this article, I’ll take a deep dive into what The Barnum Effect is and how you can use it to engage your audience and make more effectivelead gen quizzes.

What is the Barnum Effect

The Barnum Effect (also known as the Forer Effect) is a psychological phenomenon in which individuals rate descriptions of their personality – which are supposedly tailored to them – as having high levels of accuracy. In reality, the descriptions are vague and can be applied to a wide range of people.

I found my daily horoscope which was vague but just relevant enough to make me feel like it applied to me.

The sooner you speak up the better. You can spare yourself a lot of aggravation today by pointing out the discrepancy between talk and action whenever you notice it. Someone might simply forget a commitment or there may be a change that you’re not informed of yet. Sweeping up the mess can be short work if no one insists upon holding tight to drama. Put productivity at the top of your list of priorities and make logic your best friend. Your conscientious ways keep things ticking along like clockwork. Proactive measures save the day. Source

The term Barnum effect was popularized by Paul Meehl in his 1956 essay Wanted – A Good Cookbook.  This may be due to the belief that P.T. Barnum – the showman – claimed a sucker was born every minute.

The fact that people believe general information is tailored to their unique situation shows a level of gullibility. I wouldn’t go as far as saying they’re suckers.

Research relating to the Barnum effect

Over the years, there has been a lot of research that tested the efficacy of the Forer effect in different scenarios.

One such study was performed in 1947 by psychologist Ross Stagner. Stagner gathered personnel managers and asked them to take a personality test. After the test, he presented each of them with generalized feedback that had nothing to do with their test answers. In fact, it was based on horoscopes and graphological (the study of handwriting) analyses.

After being presented with the results, participants were asked how accurate the assessment was. Over 50% described it as accurate and no one described it as wrong.

In 1948, another experiment was carried out by the psychologist Bertram R. Forer. He performed what has been referred to as a classic experiment.

He administered his “Diagnostic Interest Blank” test to 39 of his psychology students. Each one was told they’d receive a brief personality sketched based on the results of the test. A week later, participants were given what was supposed to be an individualized sketch.

In reality, Forer gave every student the same sketch which had 13 items. Here are a few of the statements:

          You have a great need for other people to like and admire you.

         There is a tendency to be critical of yourself.

          You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not turned to your advantage.

          While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them.

          Your sexual adjustment has presented problems for you.

The average rating the students gave the personality sketch was 4.3 out of 5 (5 being the highest).

Using the Barnum Effect with quizzes

At this point, it’s clear that people will accept general statements and apply a high degree of accuracy to it after answering questions about themselves.

There are a few things to take into consideration to make it work successfully with quiz outcomes.

Barnum Statements

Barnum statements are assertions that are vague and general but seem to be specific to an individual. For example, you can tell someone “at times, you have a strong sexual appetite.”

Well duh, almost everyone gets turned on every now and again but under the right circumstances, it seems personal and accurate.

They’re commonly used by psychics and mediums to put their subjects at ease and make them more receptive to statements that follow.

We’ll use it in a slightly different way.

When crafting your quiz outcomes, it’s important to make them vague enough to apply to a large group of people. At the same time, you want to phrase them in a way that’s personal and relates to the answers they gave.

It’s necessary to prime them with the title of the quiz and the questions you ask.


In the above image, the title itself primes me for a comparison to a game of thrones character. The quiz goes on to ask me questions about how I’d behave in certain scenarios which reinforces my belief of an accurate assessment.

Pollyanna principle

To get the most mileage out of your quiz outcomes and increase the believability, a little flattery is in order.

The Pollyanna Principle is the tendency for people to remember positive or pleasant items more often and more accurately than unpleasant ones.

This makes sense. Why would you allocate mental bandwidth to an argument or unpleasant experience? On the other hand, we cherish moments when we’re happy or pleased.

Your quiz outcomes can tap into the Pollyanna principle by adding a few positive Barnum statements.

For example, in the Game of Thrones quiz, I got Jon Snow.

Using Barnum Statements and the Pollyanna principle, a possible outcome could mention “When it matters enough to you, you become a fighter, just like Jon, you’re able to turn around situations that would sink others.

It’s a generally positive statement that could apply to everyone but seems unique because I just took a personality assessment.

The wording of the description itself.

This refers to how often you use positive statements vs negative statements. The more positive statements you use, the more likely someone is to take the assessment to heart.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use any negative descriptions or statements. They have their place and when used sparingly, it increases the likelihood the receiver will believe what you say.

Authority and honesty of the assessor

This is a major factor in determining whether or not someone will accept your outcome. Are you in a position to give advice on the topic? Are you credible in your niche?

For example, a fitness blogger could set up a quiz about body types and effectively sell the outcomes. If they put up a quiz about online income then it may not go over as well.

This is an extreme example but you should keep in mind that your quiz and outcomes should focus on your core competency. An SEO expert shouldn’t make a quiz about lead generation or CRO. It’s tangentially related but not quite their core competency.

Examples of the Barnum effect

The Barnum effect is everywhere when you know what you’re looking for. It’s not the specific domain of personality quizzes even though it works well there.

Horoscopes and cold reading

This is one of the most common uses of the Forer effect. A horoscope, like the example I shared above, will have positive Barnum statements that put you at ease and make the statement more trustworthy.

Cold readings consist of people who look at you, ask one or two questions or read your palm, and start telling you about your personality.

They use what’s called a rainbow ruse. They apply a personality trait to the mark and also apply the opposite personality trait.

For example, “You can be energetic when it comes to business but sometimes personal matters leave you exhausted.”

It works.

Netflix – recommended for you

Have you ever been on Netflix and gotten recommendations that were only kind of related? For example, you may have watched an anime six months ago and now your recommendations are full of anime.

Or it’s possible you didn’t watch anything in the same genre but Netflix is still recommending it for you.

They’re using a bit of machine learning and the Barnum effect to deliver those recommendations.


Yea, I’m only slightly interested in what they’re showing me but I’ll still take a look because it’s recommended for me.

Personality quizzes

Last but certainly not least are personality quizzes. It seems like they were built for the Barnum effect because of the way you can tailor outcomes to the way someone answered.

The key with personality quizzes, as mentioned before, is to prime your audience with a compelling title and questions that draw out information about the quiz taker.

personality quizzes using the barnum effect

In the above examples, the titles prime quiz takers to get a personality assessment. It’s coming from BuzzFeed which is well known for compelling quizzes.

It checks the boxes for the Barnum effect

          It’s coming from someone considered trustworthy

          The results use wording with just the right amount of positive Barnum statements

Conclusion

The Barnum effect is the secret to why quizzes (and personalized recommendations) are so effective. We’re primed to believe statements that appear to be tailored to us even if they’re general.

The key to using the Barnum effect is to use general statements that can be easily interpreted by the receiver. You should deliver a type of assessment or recommendation and incorporate positive statements.

In the end, the Barnum effect will increase the effectiveness of your messages and encourage people to trust your assessments in the future.

Product differentiation: What It Is And How To Use It To Explode Growth

Having a good product is nice.

A unique product is better.

A good product that’s also unique is like winning the lottery.

Amazing things happen.

They might as well stick an “S” on your chest.

Today, I’m going to touch on a topic I have a soft spot for – product differentiation.

Product differentiation (coupled with solid branding) is why people choose Levi jeans over the jeans you can get at Walmart.

Sure, they do the same thing but it’s a different product entirely.

In this article, you’ll learn about product differentiation, the different types, and methods you can use to implement it in your business.

What is product differentiation?

Product differentiation is a process used in marketing that identifies and communicates the unique value a product or brand brings to the table when compared to competitors.

This is not to be confused with a value proposition which communicates your overarching promise.

Beardbrand positions their products with a specific product ethos.

It mentions its philosophy as well as the difference between Beardbrand and similar competitors. It resonates with a certain group of people who then become devoted customers.

When product differentiation is done properly, it becomes a competitive advantage for you. You’re then able to foster brand loyalty and even charge more.

That’s why Rolex can charge a few thousand dollars for a watch and other brands are stuck fighting over $100 sales.

Advantages of product differentiation

It’s nice to have a differentiated product.

It gives you the ability to say “we’re the only ones that do x.”

More than being fun, it has a positive business impact. If you’re able to tap into and take advantage of those factors then you’ll increase revenue many times over.

It prevents you from being another faceless product in the sea of choice.

Increased value to customers

Product differentiation can focus on many factors your customers find important. When your differentiation strategy focuses on the value you deliver such as durability or long term cost savings, it increases the perceived value among customers and potential customers.

You can focus on the initial selling price and why it’s a bit more expensive than what’s on the market, added enhancements, or even lifecycle benefits.

For example, solar panel installation is expensive but in the long run, you’ll save money. Since consumers are saving money, they’re more willing to pay a higher amount on the front end.

No longer compete on price

This is one of the most important advantages of product differentiation. You no longer have to compete in a race to the bottom with similar brands.

For example, a shoe company can differentiate its shoes from other brands in terms of use case and durability. Jordan’s are a great example. It has developed a cult-like following over the years through superior craftsmanship, specialty uses, and limited edition releases.

The shoes below retailed for over $100 in 2008. I know because I happily bought a pair when they first came out.

Better brand recall and loyalty

Since you’re delivering value to customers instead of competing on price, the ones who choose you the first time are more likely to continue choosing you. That’s because it was a conscious decision to buy a more expensive product that provided more value.

They remember you and come back time and again.

The only prerequisite is that you maintain the initial quality they received. When you find yourself in a competitive market, any slip in quality may result in lost customers.

For example, if you’ve made a reputation for yourself as a company that delivers superior underwear in terms of fit, feel, and materials then people come to know you for that. If the quality slips, they’ll find a company that meets or exceeds the quality they’re used to.

No substitute

When your product differentiation strategy focuses on design or build quality then there is no real substitute for what you offer. At least, that’s the perception in your customer’s mind.

Yes, there may be other well-designed products but none are quite like yours. For example, Apple phones and computers have a unique design. It’s believed that no other company has such a recognizable signature look and feel.

Apple also did a good job of making consumers feel like the computer itself is superior (it is in some ways but falls flat in other areas). That’s why this computer starts at $1,300.

Types of product differentiation

There are three major types of product differentiation you can use as part of your strategy. The one you choose depends on your product and how well your consumers understand it.

For example, it would be much easier to understand product differentiation between jeans than enterprise analytics software.

Vertical product differentiation

This is when consumers are able to look at two differentiated products and compare them on a single factor. With this type of product, consumers are clear on the quality because it’s a well-defined product category.

For example, consumers are clear on the quality of shoes, clothes, and certain electronics. These would be vertically differentiated.

When a customer encounters two similar products they can compare them and say “Product A is better than Product B.”

In the fashion industry, there are countless types of shoes, shirts, and any other apparel you can think of. There are also countless price points which are set based on countless differentiation factors. With that being said, a customer can easily say Gucci is better than Toms, but the conclusion is subjective.

This white t-shirt costs a few dollars:

This one costs a couple hundred dollars:

Why?

Vertical product differentiation.

Vertical product differentiation is for products that can be classed as low quality or high quality by the average consumer.

Horizontal product differentiation

This type of differentiation happens when the product is harder to classify because it’s comprised of many features. Due to the complexity of the product, one or two characteristics are chosen as a way to compare and differentiate.

Consumers aren’t 100% sure about the quality of different products in the category.

For example, two foreign dishes served at a restaurant. There are many features that make the dish such as presentation, texture, ingredients, etc. but the consumer will likely focus on overall taste when making a decision. Even though they make a clear choice, they can’t say which dish is superior.

Horizontal differentiation is for products that can’t be classed as high quality and low quality to the average consumer.

Simple/mixed differentiation

As the name implies, this type of differentiation takes elements from both vertical and horizontal differentiation.

This happens when consumers are looking at more complicated products. An example would be software. There are countless features bundled up in software and a consumer will look at the core features and a few additional features when making their choice.

Vertical differentiation may occur in the main features but horizontal differentiation occurs with the less important features.

Methods of product differentiation

Product differences are usually minor. At their core, products in one category are the same.

That means the differences between one product and another don’t have to be physical characteristics or true features. It could be the product packaging, the way it’s advertised, who it’s pitched to, etc.

This section focuses on the ways you can implement product differentiation.

Quality

This is what most people think of when they hear the term product differentiation. It’s a tried and tested path to setting your products apart from the competition.

Quality allows you to charge a higher price point and attract better customers. At the same time, that quality needs to remain consistent or improve over time to keep customers happy.

Customer attracted to quality tend to be more discerning and are willing to pay a premium.

Customer service

You can almost never go wrong if you deliver superior customer service. You can sell a product that’s the same quality as your competitors but people will continue to choose you because of great service delivery.

One of the best examples of this is Zappos. It’s a shoe retailer with a generous shipping and returns policy. It also holds the record for one of the longest customer service calls ever made.

It’s not a marketing gimmick, Zappos has interwoven customer service into the fabric of its organization and was bought by Amazon for just under $1 billion because of it.

Price

I’m not a fan of competing on price if it’s a race to the bottom. Penetration pricing can trigger a price war where everyone loses.

The companies involved in the price war lose.

The consumers lose because brands may go out of business when they can’t compete.

Instead, choose a premium price point. You’ll attract better customers and have to sell fewer products to achieve the same revenue. In addition to that, you’ll keep more of the profits.

Design

It took a while but companies have finally woken up to the power of design in products and services. McKinsey found that companies which embraced design and made it part of their product strategy increased revenue nearly 2x as fast as companies who ignored design.

Design doesn’t mean your product needs to be elaborate. It can mean it works intuitively, is pleasant to look at, or evokes certain emotions.

Take these two images as an example:

That is not how a vase usually looks.

(Image source)

This is not how a chair is supposed to look.

Because of the novel design, it’s differentiated from any other product on the market and will attract a lot of interest (and possibly sales).

There are countless examples of design playing a prominent role in product differentiation.

Another one that comes to mind is Juicero. Though the company eventually closed its doors for other reasons, it had a great product design. People paid $400 a pop for this juicer.

Juicero product differentiation based on design

Benefits

What is the Promised Land your product gets people to?

At KyLeads, we help you understand your audience, generate leads, and segment those leads. All this is so you can send better messages that compel people to buy.

Louis Vuitton helps you get fly and lends you a certain amount of status. BMW is a luxury car brand that helps you get from Point A to Point B while projecting wealth and prestige.

What benefits do your products give your customers? What problems do you solve? Show the value you bring to the table over competitors.

Distribution channels

Where you spread your message (or don’t spread it) can also be an effective product differentiation strategy. For example, if you’re a luxury resort, you may advertise in specific magazines and ignore others entirely.

Some companies advertise strictly on adult websites while others wouldn’t be caught dead there. Some companies can only reach their target market through newspapers so they ignore YouTube, Facebook, Google Ads, etc.

Choose your distribution channels based on the image you want to portray and where you’ll find your customers.

Conclusion

Product differentiation is essential if you want to stand out in a crowded market.

It has many benefits and, when used right, will allow you to command a premium price point, build brand loyalty, and ensure you’re attracting the right customers.

Choose the type of product differentiation you’ll use then focus on one of the methods mentioned in the article. When you start to see success, layer other methods on until you’re truly unique in your market.

Let me know what you think about product differentiation in the comments and don’t forget to share.