Productive Shop Toronto's Digital Craftsmen Fri, 06 Oct 2017 15:48:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Productive Shop 32 32 138350975 Creating an Effective Call to Action (CTA) Fri, 06 Oct 2017 15:48:21 +0000

…emails with just one CTA were found to have increased clicks 371% and sales 1,617%.

Every business knows how important it is to market effectively. From reaching out to followers on social media to creating a well-designed website that showcases the best of what your business has to offer, it’s clear that the more developed your marketing strategy, the better chance you have of growing your audience and drawing in customers. So why is it that so many business owners forget the most essential part of marketing — the call to action?

Although calls to action  may seem obvious — after all, you’d expect that a web post or sidebar would tell readers how to buy your product, right? — they’re commonly misunderstood, or not focused on as much as they should be. But there are obvious benefits — after one business changed its design to focus on relevant, well-placed CTAs, its conversion rate increased 22% quarter over quarter. And you can harness this power by thinking specifically about how to improve your calls to action and make them more appealing to users.

This guide will take you through the benefits of calls to action, some tips for designing and placing them, and how to evaluate how effective they are for your audience. Ultimately, the goal is to increase your own conversion rates and improve your business, simply by tweaking one aspect of your marketing.

The Purpose of the CTA

A call to action, or CTA, is the part of your marketing — whether in an email blast, Facebook post or online ad — that tells the viewer what they should do next. It often takes the form of a button that viewers can click to automatically take them to the next step, but it can also be a link or an instruction.

Often, CTAs direct people to go to your website and purchase your product; however, it can also be a call to share the post, tell others about your business or participate in a contest you’re putting on. That’s why business owners use CTAs for different purposes — to convince customers to sign up for a free trial, download a piece of further information or head to another of your social platforms.

So why are CTAs so important? To start, they’re incredibly effective — according to WordStream, emails with just one CTA were found to have increased clicks 371% and sales 1,617%. It works for social media, too — AdRoll reported that adding CTAs to your Facebook page can increase your click-through rate by 285%. Plus, it’s relatively easy to place your CTAs in a section of your content that readers will see; Unbounce found that more than 90% of visitors who read your headline also read your CTA.

Fun Statistics

Numerous research shows how effective CTAs are when done well — across all platforms, from social media to video to email marketing.

The location of the CTA, and the medium it’s presented in, is also crucial. Grow & Convert, which estimates conversion rates for certain CTA locations, and found that generic, end-of-ost CTAs and sidebars are the least effective, with the lowest conversion rates overall (0.5% to 1.5%). However, CTAs in pop-ups, sliders and bars, both had higher rates, while including a CTA at the welcome gates led to a whopping 10% to 25% conversions. Video is a particularly effective format, as research from KISSmetrics found that CTA in videos got 380% more clicks than in sidebars.

The appearance of your CTA matters, too. Statistics from SAP — which found that making their CTAs orange increased conversions by 32.5% — and Performable — which did the same for red CTAs and saw a 21% increase — speak to the effectiveness of bright, bold colors in getting the attention of readers. Another design technique is making CTAs look like buttons, which boosted clicks by 45% for one company. Finally, personalizing your CTAs is crucial, as HubSpot found that targeted CTAs lead to 42% more conversions than untargeted ones.

Is the CTA Placement Obvious?

It’s clear from the statistics above that the placement of your CTAs matters — a lot. But what techniques are effective, and what tips should you keep in mind when figuring out where to place CTAs?

The first rule of thumb is you should have no more than one CTA per page. The reason for this is that you want to keep your viewer’s attention focused on that particular CTA — so, for example, avoid telling them to share a video AND download a link AND buy a product, all in one location. This creates too many tasks for viewers to keep up with and usually just leads them to abandon your site altogether. Instead, keep it simple — give them one task to accomplish through one CTA.

Another clear principle is to make sure that your CTA is easy to find. As a Forbes article points out, your followers have to be able to see your CTA in order to click it, so make sure that it’s in a visible location and is in a color and style that does not blend into the background around it.

Design & Copy

Here are a few tips to keep in mind for designing CTAs:

  1. Create need-focused CTAs. You might want your customer to do something, but what’s in it for them? Base CTAs around what customers can gain from purchasing your product or doing what you direct them to do, and make sure your CTA displays that prominently.
  2. Get the customer to feel Instant gratification. Many businesses include “congratulations” pages that thank the user for downloading or purchasing their product — they can even play a cool video or send them a follow-up email. This kind of instant gratification, which activates the pleasure centers in the brain, helps customers feel like they made the right choice, and can lead them to click on other CTAs on your site.
  3. Keep it simple. Don’t create unnecessary complexity in your content or anxiety in the customer.
  4. Don’t use stock photos. Stick to simple images that feel unique; it makes the experience more authentic for customers.
  5. Don’t use common language. Phrases like “Download Now,” “Buy now,” “Learn more,” and “Subscribe” feel fake and contrived, and readers can smell them from a mile away. More than that, they just don’t inspire any kind of excitement or passion in the reader; instead, you should try to think of language that is unique to your company or hints at some of the rewards to come.
  6. Instill a sense of urgency. Language that implies your offer is time-sensitive or limited-time-only helps to convince viewers to follow the CTA more than they would if it was just an open invitation.
  7. Make them feel an urge to belong. Implying to viewers that they’re about to join thousands of others in doing what your CTA urges them to do helps them to feel like they’re part of a community, and encourages them to engage with your company.
  8. Inspire curiosity. It sounds simple, but your CTAs should make viewers actually want to click — and they’re never going to do that if they’re boring or uninspired. Try to make people who see your CTA click because they wonder what’s going to happen next or what the secret is that you haven’t revealed.
  9. Use social proof. Studies show that people tend to trust other consumers more than the companies themselves. That’s why social proof is so important — it’s anything that shows users what others think about your product. Incorporate it into the text around your CPAs so that viewers can feel like they’re making the right decision.

Five Examples of Awesome CTAs

  1. Spotify makes the CTA clearly visible, with a location in the center of the page and a green color that stands out.
  2. The same can be said of Misfit Wearables, which incorporates a simple but clearly visible button with text and visuals.
  3. Medium has two buttons, but it’s clear which one they want you to click because of the coloring.
  4. Basecamp’s CTA is personalized for the site, which mentions trying it out for free after some introductory copy and an arresting graphic.
  5. VelocityPage does some things right — like the bright colors for their buttons — but it breaks the one-CTA-per-page rule. How will viewers know which button to click? Limiting their CTAs may be more effective.

Testing Your CTAs

After you implement new CTAs, you’ll want to see what effect they’re actually having on conversion rates. The top two methods for testing CTAs include heat mapping and Google Analytics. The first tracks where users’ cursors travel around your site and where they linger the longest, which can help you understand if your CTA placement is effective. Google Analytics is helpful for tracking your conversion rates and seeing which links viewers click on the most.  

Let’s Get to work on your CTA

Designing CTAs is not an art, its a science – our gang at Productive Shop can help. With expertise in drawing visitors to your site and encouraging conversions, we have the tools and the know-how to help your business be the best it can be within your industry, let’s grab a cup of Joe to see how we can help.

13 Steps to Building a Hyper Converting Landing Page Mon, 02 Oct 2017 04:31:27 +0000

Want the secret sauce to building a landing page…the magic method that leads to undeniable success? Sorry. There isn’t one, but many.

First impressions are everything. We know that applies to first dates, job interviews and client services – it is also crucial to your success online. Having a strong and engaging landing page for your website can make or break your digital marketing conversion success. Want to build a fantastic landing page that excites your customers and leads to higher conversion rates? Keep reading…

What are Landing Pages?

In short, landing pages are web pages your target audience will first see when they enter – or land to – on your website. For a lot of situations, that might also be your home page. But, if you’re running a target ad campaign (and you should be!) then the landing page is going to be a unique page on your site with the sole purpose of gathering information from a user or getting the user to click-through the page to make a purchase (or some other type of conversion). It might be a product page, a blog post or maybe a webpage made uniquely for that campaign. 

Landing pages server primarily two purposes 1) To generate a lead or 2) To click through to complete an action (purchase, download, rsvp etc)

Before we start – take a look at this page from Wrike super simple, super effective (They pretty much nailed everything we’re about to chat about) 

Landing pages allow you to deliver a specific Call To Action (CTAs) to a narrowed audience. They give you the chance to personalize your CTA to a defined group of people. We’ll take a look at the components needed for a successful landing page that lead to high ROI and great conversion rates. So, let’s get started! Soon, you’ll be pumping out unicorn like pages that should be giving you conversion rates and helping you gather ample customer data.

Building a Successful Landing Page

Want the secret sauce to building a landing page…the magic method that leads to undeniable success? Sorry. There isn’t one, but many.

Probably a bit disappointing, but it’s true! Landing pages need to be unique and crafted to suit your content and goals. However, there are some tactics that apply across all sites – so let’s take a look at what they are and how you can use them.

1. Have a Clear Headline

According to Neil Patel, the headline on your webpage is “your first and most critical action of a landing page.” You need your headline to be clear, catchy and concise. It needs to tell the visitor of your landing page in no uncertain terms what you do. Offer a service? Selling a product? Whatever the aim of your landing page is, people will be far more likely to engage and fill out that all-important form if they aren’t spending energy trying to figure out what on earth it is you do.

Good headlines will be short, preferably no longer than 20 words, and grab the reader’s attention. Don’t try to be too clever or persuasive in this headline – that’s what the rest of the page’s copy is for.

Wrike has a clever headline on their homepage – the text behaves as if it’s being deleted and retyped, filling in the blank of “Leading Work Management Solution to ______” with phrases like “Enable Collaboration” and “Streamline Workflow.” The user instantly understands what the product is and what benefits it offers.

Landing Page Example

2. Focus on the Call-to-Action

All eyes should be on your CTA from the moment the visitor lands on the page. A call to action TELLS the user what you want them to do next, while making the user actually want to follow through with that action. Here are some proven tips for crafting an effective CTA: 

a. Create an Irresistible Offer

Offer visitors a discount, gated content or something else related to your product. The aim here is to make the offer something they can’t resist. Use powerful words, (marketing experts agree that using the word “Submit” on your CTA button is a bad move along with other typical bland/lazy wording; Sign Up Now! – Click Here – Download Now…etc, yawn) and make an appeal to your audience. 

Checkout Spotify’s CTA…oh man a FREE 30 day trial for Spottily Premium??? Fu#k Yeah!

Spotify CTA Exampleb. Have a Quality Image

People need visual appeal – we process visual data much faster and in a different way than we do text. This includes logos, smiling faces, illustrations and more. Don’t let it become too visually distracting. Instead, keep the lines clear and bright. Super Tip – people (your target audience) rather see…you guessed it people using the product or service you’re promoting, it helps with visualization and make product/service acceptance less of a painful process. 

c. Make a Value Proposition

A value proposition is essentially your chance to tell the user why your product is different/new/better/valuable. Whatever you use, make sure it’s user-oriented (“You’ll enjoy better productivity!”) not you-oriented (“We aim at helping you be more productive!”)

d. Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S)

Keep It Simple Stupid. This adage applies to so much, and it fits here too the summarizing point being ensure that the CTA is hassle free that anyone gets it. Don’t overdo it, don’t use flowery language or make the copy too long, don’t overlay images, and sure as hell don’t use fake looking stock photography. Short, punchy, appealing. RealCar New York City (a top luxury car rental service startup in NYC) has a SUPER simple CTA that’s dead to the point and showcases the product in the background “Go for a drive, Rent a Premium Car in New York City” followed by a Booking form – awesome. 

RealCar NYC

e. Narrow the User’s Focus

Cluttering a landing page can lead to confusion and visitors clicking away from the page before they complete the CTA. CrazyEgg is a good example of a solid landing page that narrows your focus onto the thing they want you doing most – signing up for a free trial for their visual analytics tool.

Crazy Egg Landing Page3. Minimize Searches & Navigation

Search bars and navigation menus can confuse users as to what they’re supposed to do on the page – plus, they give too many chances for people to leave the landing page without completing the CTA. Remove or minimize the search bars and menus on your landing page. CrazyEgg does a great job at this – their landing page is simple and clean.

4. Reduce Data Collection Forms

The more information you ask for on a form, the fewer responses you’re likely to get. One way to eliminate this problem is by having a basic CTA with a name and email address, then send the user to another page where you request more information. Again, CrazyEgg does a good job at this in both the landing page example above and their homepage – there is only one simple field for visitors to fill out.

5. Remove the Company Mission

The mission isn’t needed on a landing page – most companies put their mission on the homepage simply because they hope the customer understands what they actually do – yuk. It’s extra copy, extra clutter and distracting. If the information on your landing page doesn’t aim at moving people along the marketing funnel (Awareness, Interest, Education, Commitment, Sale, Retention), then delete it. There are other pages – like your “About Us” page – that are better homes for that kind of content. Trust me, people will go out an visit your about page to understand what it is you do…the homepage and about page are the top visited pages, like ever.  

6. Limit Links Leading Away

Too many links = too many chances to click away from the CTA. Limit hyperlinks in your text, flashy buttons, navigation panes and anything else that will lead the reader away to other website pages. CrazyEgg has very few links on their landing page, and one is a CTA button! You can also look at Wrike’s homepage which has a navigation which is soft with design, as not to stick in your face and promote clicking away from their pitch to you.

Crazy Egg home page7. Harmonize with CTA

All the messaging and information on your landing page needs to harmonize with the CTA. Anything extra or contradictory should be gone. Simple, straightforward and easy-to-read are the keys to a successful landing page.

a. All Content Supports CTA

The goal of a landing page is creating confidence in your product. Everything on the page should be aimed at supporting and reinforcing the CTA, building a unity of messaging and thought that helps move the visitor from casual viewer to customer. Neil Patel talks about how long the copy of your landing page should be. His rule of thumb? The bigger the ask, the longer the page, and vice versa. Just need an email address? Short CTA, simple form. Asking people to purchase or make a commitment? Longer copy, more information, testimonials and opportunities for them to ask questions. Grasshopper does a good job at this – their whole landing page supports why you should use their product.

b. Pain Relief Messaging

Targeting your customer’s “pain points” is a great way to connect emotionally and mentally with them. You want to identify a problem they’re facing and show how your product will fix or alleviate it. Talk about the situation they’re in – unproductive communication between coworkers, expensive options for a service, etc. – and then lead them smoothly to your CTA, offering them a solution.

8. Social Proof & Testimonials

Put a face to the claims. Providing social proof and testimonials is a great way to engage viewers. Social proof is just marketing based on the fact that individuals are more likely to value something that they can see others have already used and approved. You can make this work for you by displaying proudly the positive feedback clients give.

a. Client Logos

If you have prestigious or recognizable clients, display their logos on your landing page. You can even make them monochromatic to match the color scheme of your design. Displaying these gives you credibility, especially if you can throw in a few big-name companies. Wrike pops champagne in your face with, well…awesome brands – don’t you wanna be part of the party to organize your team now?

Wrike Social Proof

b. Testimonials (from Influences, Clients etc)

Give testimonials from the decision makers. Whether that’s a CEO, a manager or a department head, you want to provide opinions and feedback from the people who matter. Keep in mind, the voices that matter will differ based on what your product is. If you’re marketing to the agricultural industry, you’re going to have an audience who values different voices than a tech or marketing department will.

c. Images of Product in Action

Show how people use your product. If it’s a software, show happy employees around a computer using it. Use this to show how different people and companies make use of your product in different situations.

d. Guarantees & Badges

This comes down to how secure you can promise the customer that their information will be. SSL seals, BBB seals, verification by industry associations and more can help reassure clients that you will keep their email addresses, payment information and any other information they give you safe, it also helps when the user knows the industry and recognized that you’ve got a certain industry seal – must be a pro…

e. Star Ratings

Remember that time you bought the Squatty Potty from Amazon? Or that over-sized mirror from WayFair? Don’t tell me reviews didn’t help you make that decision. People are more like to purchase an online product when they see many other’s leave a nice star rating review – Ka-CHING!

9. Method of Contact

On your landing page, provide a way for people to get in touch with you in case they have further questions. Wrike does a great job at this. Their contact forms are streamlined and simple – one is an email signup with the text “Get started for free,” while the other is a “Request a demo” button. Both work well to engage the viewer.

10. Keep it Mobile Compatible

Mobile compatibility is one of the most important things to keep in mind when designing a landing page – and it’s the area that people most often forget. Make sure that when your page is viewed on a mobile screen all fields are clear, there’s no need to zoom in order to read text and buttons don’t overlap other copy. You can use this tool to see how your website will look on mobile devices.

11. Your landing page MUST be fast

Pages that load slowly will have a huge impact on your conversion rate. (Check out this graphic from Kissmetrics to see how it all breaks down.) You need to have a fast, easy-to-load page as your landing page, otherwise you run the risk of losing people before they ever see the CTA!

12. Test? Pfft…

Test your site. See how it looks on different browsers, screens, aspect ratios and more. Tweak, adjust and edit. There are so many ways that people view webpages, and you need to make sure that yours looks spectacular on all of them. Leave no stone unturned – you don’t want to lose out on sales because of a clunky design or a background that looks great on one screen and appalling on another.

13. Tools to Use (must try!)

Unbounce will help you design landing pages, run A/B tests and more.

Instapage will allow you to build one landing page for free, so give it a try and see if it suits you.

CrazyEgg will help you optimize your landing pages.

There are countless awesome tools available to help you make your landing page the best it can be. What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

BONUS – Checkout these 3 awesome landing pages (can you spot the elements we spoke of?)

Just to give you even more great ideas for starting points, here are three of our favorite landing pages of company’s that simply do it right.


1. Grasshopper

Value focused statement (in green), Social proof in the form of company logos gives credibility, fun illustrations as you scroll down the page, and the CTA is easy to understand and interactive.

Grasshopper Homepage


2. Trulia

Clear CTA, good use of photos, nice colors, easy-to-find and easy-to-use navigation all combine to make this real estate site usable and pleasant. Plus you can already start using the site from the get go – win. 

Trulia homepage3. ZipCar

Clear Headline, Clear Join Now button and a clear message as to what ZipCar actually is with the product as the main background image.

Need Help? Drop Us A Line.

Optimizing landing pages to convert is no small feat, we’ll help you understand what IS and is NOT working and build a page that’s trendy and is a customer converting machine, we can’t promise you won’t talk about it to like…everyone.  Let’s get to work and get you performing, no contracts, pay as you go, experienced team – give us a shout.

Hate Ineffective Meetings? Here’s Your Fix :) Tue, 12 Sep 2017 03:40:05 +0000 Let’s be honest – no one gets excited about meetings. In fact, stating you enjoy meetings will usually result in the sarcastic laughter seen here – yea, I just used a Mad Men gif…

Ineffective meetings aren’t just boring, they are a time sucker for employees who would rather be focusing on other work. But here are some proven ways that can turn your meetings from wasted hours into productive sessions:

1. Prepare an Agenda

Productivity starts before the actual meeting begins. With a specific agenda, you can outline the exact topics and action items you would like to cover with your team. This will keep the meeting on track and prevent tangents that don’t contribute to the discussions at hand. In our digital side of life, we there’s ALWAYS more to talk about, whether its you conversion metrics reports, overall PPC performance or straight up project progress updates, keeping it focused with an itemized agenda will keep the team from wondering off tangents.

Ineffective meetings are filled with employees who have nothing to say, which defeats the purpose of collaborating. Follow the advice of Al Pittampalli, author of “Read This Before Our Next Meeting” – let your team know that members who do not bring added value will not be invited to future meetings – I know this is hard, but man…it simply works.

2. Start on a Positive Tone

The way you begin your meeting sets the tone for your employees. Why not make it a positive one? Psychology shows that starting a meeting positively creates a more productive atmosphere, which will carry on through the rest of your meeting.

Jeff Weiner, the founder of LinkedIn, begins every meeting by asking employees to share a personal victory and a professional achievement from the last week. This tactic gets people talking early on, making them more comfortable to contribute later.

3. Use the Right Tools

If you notice a pattern emerging during ineffective meetings, examine the tools you are using to keep your team on track. Maybe following the traditional format of meetings is limiting discussion or inviting too many tangents.

Either way, there are tools you can implement to ensure your meeting is productive:

  1. Tasks and Statuses: Sheryl Sandberg, the CEO of Facebook, has some great advice when it comes to productive meetings. She begins with a list of topics and action items. As they complete each item, she crosses it off and moves to the next one. This can sometimes reduce a meeting scheduled for one hour to just 15 minutes.
  2. Project Timeline: A large time waster in meetings is reviewing the status of ongoing projects. Dashboards facilitate collaborative work by showing progress in real time. Having your employees review current statuses before starting the meeting will allow you to jump right into next action items. Want a tip? Use Wrike, hands down the best project team collaboration & management software on the market.

4. Bring Back the Focus

 All meetings have a tendency to spiral out of focus. Here are some strategies that ensure your team stays on topic:

  1. Parking Lot – The Parking Lot Method is an effective way to keep your team on focus while showing the value of contributed ideas. If a team member suggests an item that starts to lead into an off-topic discussion, “park” the idea by writing it somewhere visible and suggest returning to it later.
  2. Cut Meeting Times in Half – Gary Vaynerchuck, a serial entrepreneur, caps his meetings at 15 minutes. He feels that the time crunch puts pressure on his team to be more productive and focus on the important stuff, rather than just filling time because an hour was scheduled for the meeting.
  3. Quick Breaks – This may sound counter-intuitive, but breaks during longer meetings makes your team more productive. Creative breaks interrupt the monotony of traditional meetings and gives your team an opportunity to stretch their bodies and minds, coming back to the meeting refreshed and full of new ideas.

5. Eliminate Distractions

Focus during a meeting is difficult enough for most people. To eliminate distractions, ban these three things from your meetings:

  1. No Other Client Work – Research shows that multitasking can cost as much as 40% of someone’s productive time. Ask your employees to focus on just the topics at hand and leave other work at their desk.
  2. No Food – Lunch & Learns are bullshit, you know it, I know it, the vendor knows it – No one wants to hear the crunch of chips during their presentation or the slurping of noodles. Eating during a meeting can be (ans IS) distracting for others, especially if the food is loud or has a strong smell. People’s weakest skill is…drum-roll please… listening, so why introduce an indulgent distraction?
  3. No Cell Phones – Research shows that people feel annoyed when they see others on their device during a meeting. It can be distracting for the speaker, who knows they don’t have anyone’s attention if they’re staring at their phone. On top of that, if the CEOs of top 500 companies can stay off their cellphones at meetings, so can your team.

++BONUS: Lose the Table

Standing during meetings is a proved tactic to get everyone nice and awake and focused on the meeting. Recent studies (such as the one by  Washington University in St. Louis)  have shown that standing during a meeting has increased productivity, helping attendees focus and causing them to be more likely to contribute ideas.

6. Always Set Next Steps

The final step of your meeting should focus on what you expect from your team. To ensure your goals are productive, remember to keep them SMART:

  • Specific: Goal should be clearly defined by what you plan to accomplish
  • Measurable: Provide tangible evidence to judge once the goal has been achieved
  • Achievable: Keep your goals realistic
  • Results-focused: Focus on the outcome of the goals, not the steps to get there
  • Time-Bound: Have an end date on when you plan to accomplish your goal

Want to continue taking your meetings to the next level? Productive Shop can help with management consulting and advice on team productivity for your digital shop. We turn exhausted teams, over emailing and a hectic environment into a well-oiled and happy collaborative machine (your team) that get’s things done on time, budget and keeps clients uber happy.

Why you should care about conversions Tue, 01 Aug 2017 11:00:26 +0000 Time: 15 min

What is Conversion?

If your goal is online marketing, then website conversion is the most important factor in your plan. Website conversion means that you are successful at getting a website visitor to perform the action you want them to perform. A conversion is a metric you track with an end goals – common conversion goals are:

  1. Signing up for your newsletter
  2. Buying Your Product
  3. Downloading an e-book
  4. Clicking on a paid online Ad
  5. Following your Instagram profile

Your online business success is measured by something called a website conversion rate, expressed as a percentage. It’s also sometimes referred to as visitor-to-lead conversion rate. If you have a business-to-consumer (B2C) website, you want to be above 3 percent for eCommerce and Retail, and above 10% for other IT / Technology businesses; if you have a Business-to-Business (B2B) site, you want to be around 5 to 8 percent.

The percentages for conversation rate should only include real leads; ensure not to count all the spam you get. Your website analytics platform (Google Analytics, BoostSuite, etc.) has the capability to filter out spam, malicious web sources, wrong target zones and even your own testing activity. There’s a little bit of setup involved on your part to track the pages & activities you want to, the rewards of quality and meaningful data is totally worth the initial setup time & effort.

Analytics will allow you to optimize conversation, for example: If you’re getting fewer than 500 high quality / relevant visits per month, you need to do something to improve your conversion rate.

Optimizing your conversions means that you take a methodical, structured approach to improve how your website is performing for you. Your business decisions should be driven by meaningful data, not guesses.

Read this post for eCommerce / Web Metrics  to understand they key metrics you should be focusing on 

How Do I Improve Website Conversion?

Create a Clear & Simple Call to Action (CTA):  The most important thing you can do is create a clear, obvious, strong call to action. Whether the CTA is on a website banner, paid Ad, you Instagram post, Newsletter, or a pop up coupon a strong CTA is absolute key to increasing your chances for conversion. When someone visits your website,the content must be clear about directing the user to perform a certain action.

Tip: content should be simple and uncluttered. Examples:

  • If your goal is for users to fill out a form, make that form the most prominent element on the page, keep it simple and prompt.
  • If the call-to-action is to make a phone call, make sure your phone number is in large font instead of being buried on the page. This is why landing pages are simple. They don’t typically have more than just the bare basics needed for the user to clearly see the CTA. It should be obvious what you want people to do once they have landed on your website.
  • Always try to create a sense of urgency that urges them to take action within a specific timeframe

Lots of marketers effectively use a three-pronged approach: (1) tell visitors what you’d like them to primarily do (email), (2) give them a second option (phone call), (3) then give them an opt-out option if they don’t want to do either of those things (maybe instead they just sign up for your newsletter).

Don’t crowd your messaging: Pitfall; don’t have more than one CTA per page/Ad/Message, meaning one single action you want users to take. Don’t mix asking them to phone, and asking them to download, and asking them to sign up all on the same page. Note: It’s perfectly fine to have multiple instances of a single call to action on one page though (vertical scrolling sites can have the same CTA on top, middle and bottom of the page).

Show Credibility: When you buy something, don’t you want proof that it works? Of course you do, and it’s no different for your own website. If you can offer proof that your offer or your product or services work, this is perhaps the best hook you can use to convert leads into customers. Lots of marketers use different forms of proof, like statistics or testimonials or case studies. Basically, any data that you can provide to convince a user is a great addition to gaining their trust to convert.

Users will show you the way, just listen: Another important tip is to observe, listen and do what your users are directly or indirectly hinting you to. If your conversions aren’t working, you need to adjust rather than trying to get your customers to adjust to you. Pay attention to your tracking tools, what is the data telling you? How are people interacting with your pages? What actions are they performing? What’s the pattern? Don’t be afraid to ask visitors what they’d like to see from your site. It’s a great way to not only find out what they’re looking for, but also to determine the easiest way to provide them with that information.

Tip: Don’t guess, just ask! Most website providers and platforms have really good survey and feedback add-ons that make this job easy as well as affordable.

If you’re providing a service and you’re getting fewer than say 1,500 visitors per month (know your industry averages, a simple Google search will help you), really look at your site for problems. Maybe your CTA is not clear or your phone number or Send button is not prominent enough. Of course, you can always invest in sending more traffic to your site, but increased traffic without fixing your other problems is just that—increased traffic. If you can’t convert the traffic, there’s really no point in having more visitors, is there?

Web Design and Development

Focus on a functional site, not just prettiness: In our dreams, we all want a beautiful, gorgeously designed website. That’s fine, but keep in mind that your primary design goal is to design your site for visitors. It needs to be optimized for SEO and for tracking visitors. Design for design’s sake is definitely secondary. Function and form win the day. It is definitely possible to design something that is simple and user-friendly, while at the same time being impressive. You primarily need something that is intuitive to navigate, is not overly wordy, and doesn’t have a hail of images (slows down performance).

Keep it Simple: If your website is all about e-commerce, the simplicity in design and function must extend to your checkout process. Make sure the checkout is simple (one page checkout) and streamlined in ease of use. Your web stats package should give you data on how many times people leave an abandoned cart; if you have numerous occurrences, your shopping cart may be the culprit in why you have low conversion rates. And that is a shame, because you literally almost had that person as a customer. They spent the time to shop and add to the cart, so don’t fail when you’re almost at the goal line. Some tips to remember are:

  • keep the number of fields someone must fill out to a minimum
  • enable guest checkout, don’t make it mandatory to create an account
  • minimize the number of clicks
  • have as few pages as possible in the entire checkout process.
  • use a merchant tool to save your client’s credit card information for next time, and use the very successful Amazon model of one-click buying.
  • offer multiple payment options to make buying easy (Stripe, PayPal, Google Pay etc)

Remember that when you make it easy for people to buy, they’re more likely to convert.

What Your Analytics Will Tell You

Improving conversion rates boils down to understanding your analytics data and then making the necessary changes.

It’s important to understand a few of the more important metrics, read this post for eCommerce / Web Metrics we go in depth, meanwhile here are a few examples:

  • Total conversions: the number of visitors who actually executed on your CTA (they signed up to receive your newsletter, downloaded a document, purchased a product, etc.)
  • Conversion rate: the ratio of total conversions to the total number of website visitors. (500 conversions and 5000 visitors is a 10 percent conversion rate)
  • Bounce rate: how many visitors leave your website after only looking at a single web page? (A high bounce rate isn’t good, by the way)
  • Exit rate: the percentage of visitors who leave after viewing a page (rather than converting). You find out the last page they visited before leaving your site, and this can give you incredible insight. If any one page has a really high exit rate, that is a cause for concern.
  • Average time on site: how long did a user hang around? They might not be staying long enough to complete your CTA.
  • Average page views: how many pages and what pages did a user view before exiting your site?
  • Conversion funnel: you’ve probably heard this term quite a bit, but what does it mean? Think of it as the critical path that a user takes to complete the conversion process. A typical example is home page, product search results page, detailed product page and shopping cart checkout. The pathway should be short but effective. The less barriers to purchase you give to your users, the less anxious they’ll be to purchase.

Focus on Product Benefits

You’ve got a great design, and you’ve got an urgent CTA. What’s next? Now it is time to focus on the product. What are you selling? Information? Widgets? Services? It really doesn’t matter, because regardless of what you’re selling, many sellers make the mistake of focusing on the product features rather than on the product benefits.

For example, let’s say you’re selling a sleep aid. Rather than focusing on the fact that your product has a newer or better formulation, instead you need to highlight that it helps you fall asleep faster. It may seem like a nuance to you, but it makes a real difference to the end user. It’s about them, not you. You can create great copy talking about how fabulous your company or product is, but still have low conversion rates. That’s because you should be talking about how your fabulous company is going to solve the user’s problem. It’s a totally different approach than what most businesses take, and it works.

Hopefully, you’re doing most of these things already, and you only need a few tweaks to get higher conversions. If you’re pretty far off base, though, then it is definitely time to take stock of your website and implement these strategies.

  • Analyze your analytics first before you jump in and understand your goals
  • Clean design
  • Clear CTA
  • Compelling copy
  • Iterate & Implement

It was a lengthy albeit high level read, if you need an experienced shop to analyze your businesses web performance, create a strategy for success and boost conversions – you know the Productive Shop to turn to

It’s time for my coffee break – hope your day is stellar too

How to increase eCommerce sales RIGHT NOW Thu, 27 Jul 2017 01:47:17 +0000

Factors that are very or extremely influential in determining where Americans shop are price (87%), shipping cost and speed (80%) and discount offers (71%) ~ BigCommerce

Time – 35 min read

You never forget your first eCommerce implementation – many more exciting launches later we’ve decided to compile a list of eCommerce quick wins which will get your eCommerce shop performing beyond what you’ve ever thought possible. The thing is, we work with many medium sized businesses in Toronto, Los Angeles and New York and as much as I hate cookie cutter solutions, there are certain feature parallels which EVERY eCommerce shop should take in order to significantly improve their online performance.

So, if you’re the shop’s keeper, we’ve got some killer eCommerce advice for you which you can implement within a few months to get more guaranteed sales. Get comfortable and grab a cup-o-Joe.

1 – Get an Abandoned Cart Saver App

When users gather products into their shopping cart and leave the cart before checking out…they’ve abandoned it. Simply put, abandoned cart saver apps send an email invitation or a reminder to customers who have added an item to their cart but left before completing checkout. This will get some users to come back to purchase, hence saving the cart.

So, here’s how to make abandoned carts a thing of the past with follow up emails…just joking, you can’t, but you CAN REDUCE the amount of abandoned carts via some smart content & offerings.

Awesome eCommerce Abandoned Cart Apps: BigCommerce Cart SaverAbandon AidWP Cart Recovery

  1. Remind the user of the exact item’s they have left in their cart
  2. Combine a one time offer coupon with an expiry date
  3. Make the email personable, notice the “Psst… you forgot something” subject line in the below example from a cart saver.
  4. Remind them of your no-frills shipping policy

2 – Get a Coupon Pop-Up App

Pop Ups help you increase newsletter signups, increase purchases, decrease bounce rate & increase awareness of new products or offerings. Pop Ups are prompted upon certain type of triggers, most common being hovering over closing a tab/window, a timed popup upon landing on a page, or just that…visiting a certain page of your site.

Pop Up Ads make your site feel interactive and most importantly get a message across of your latest promotion / value offering to the window shopper. I’ve listed two unbelievably great apps that will turn page shoppers into potential buyers and to great sources of emails signups.

Great coupon apps also come with simple and powerful analytics which will allow you to understand how many impressions, clicks, registers/uses you have gotten based on your in-site Ad, allowing you to optimize for better ad copy, content, page location and trigger type. Many of our eCommerce clients in Toronto and Los Angeles have seen a minimum of 10% to a staggering 35% increase in sales and data collection.

Focus on creating at least these 3 coupon pops with stellar creative and dead simple copy (make sure the coupon code works and is simple to read)

  1. Instant Discount Offer: Trigger = Person on site for 10 + seconds
  2. Abandon Offer: Trigger = Person mouses over closing the tab or browser
  3. Latest Promotion Offer: Trigger = Person lands on the category with the most profitable (in proven sales) product you carry

Awesome eCommerce Pop Apps: JustUno , CouponPop

3 – Make Your Shipping Policy Without Frills

Poorly thought out shipping policies are responsible for a loss of staggering amounts of money (and shoppers). I know I know…you can’t beat Amazon Prime it is a killer, however, you can craft your policies is such a way that they are easy to read and are no-nonsense. Here are our top favorite shipping strategies:

  1. Free Shipping: hands down the highest converting shipping policy – why? you have Amazon to thank…kidding, sort of…but people are trying to save a buck anywhere possible, remember that one time you tried to buy a book for $25 to find out the shipping was $15, yeah, not attractive. Free shipping is also known as incorporating some of the cost into the MSRP price of your items. Yes, you will loose in the short term, but the volume of shoppers attracted by this strategy will outweigh the lower profit margin per product.
  2. Fixed Price Shipping: this is my favorite for two reasons: the shop wins as you don’t loose out on profit margin, and the shopper has a clear cost (with no hidden fees) to pay – awesome. However, keep in mind fixed price shipping is regional and should really consider which geographic zones are beneficial before you introduce multiple fixed priced shipping rules per geographic zone ex: Canada, USA, Europe
  3. Variable Shipping: yuck, don’t do it. But, if you must at least make the value offering of the product incredibly unicorn like, and your return policy better than a Klondike bar, that way most people will think like so “If I don’t like it, I’ll return it later” to never return it again, keeping money in your pocket.

Example: Leon’s (a Canadian furniture store) made their shipping & return policy (both factors key to influencing purchasing decisions) super obvious on their homepage.

4 – Up-Selling & Cross Selling

Increase Up-Sells: Up-selling is when you entice a shopper to spend more when they were about to purchase for less. Example: Stacking two similar dresses together of the same color, however one dress is Made in China – call it your standard line, and the other is Made in USA – call it your premium line that’s higher quality, costing a tad more. Due to the low price difference, consumers will shell out more on the higher priced item given the value offering is enticing enough.

Increase Cross-Sells: Cross-selling is when you offer complimentary products on the product page or during the check out process. Example: Selling a bed, while cross selling its complimentary night stands, dresser or mattress. Most shops loose money not because consumers are cheap, its because they are unaware of your offerings. We are HUGE fans of as they are hands down the best at cross selling on the web, see below “Complete the Set” example (while a user shops for a bed, a set is offered).

5 – Place Highest Selling Products to the most visible areas

This isn’t rocket science, yet MANY eCommerce stores neglect to do just this – ensuring their highest sellers / most popular products are at the most visible part of the website – always -. Most eCommerce platforms have this is as a standard feature, here are some common ways you can easily do this:

  1. Select Featured Products: most eCommerce platforms have a feature which allows you to mark/star/checkbox a selection of products which you want to feature on the homepage. Do this for products that sell the most.
  2. CTA link to a category: most eCommerce platforms allow you to create unlimited categories, so create a category for top sellers/most popular and link the URL to a gorgeous CTA on the home page.
  3. CTA link to a tag URL: some eCommerce platforms have an awesome feature which allows you to tag products within their options, so if you tagged various socks as “Best Socks” and then link to that URL, you’ll see your selection of socks. This is also best used for seasonal promotions (totally different topic to cover later 🙂 ) Anyway, create a CTA on the homepage, then link to the tag URL.

Here’s an awesome example of a tea shop, has added best sellers to the homepage – perfect.

6 – Religiously send out Newsletters 

eCommerce newsletters allow you to capture and nurture new and existing clients, it’s the most powerful and cost effective tool in your eCommerce arsenal, period.

Think of it, out of all of our online spaces the mailbox is the utmost personal space we’ve got, receiving an email is something personal and is much more likely to be opened, read and clicked on v.s. a paid online Ad. That’s because people have signed up to get emails, they’re expecting to receive and are not on guard.

Quick eCommerce newsletter statistics: SmartInsights a digital marketing advice and research firm, released a 2017 UK based stats on newsletter effectiveness here’s an example for two industries using newsletters:

eCommerce –  Open Rate: 16.75%  Click Through Rate: 2.32%

Physical Retail Shops –  Open Rate: 20.96%  Click Through Rate: 2.50%

Tips for a simple & successful newsletter:

  1. Have a personable subject line (Make the purpose of the newsletter clear ex: “Patio Furniture Flash Sale!” for a sale or “Pssst…we’ve saved your stuff” for a reminder of a dropped cart.
  2. Keep the image content to a minimal, no one likes a massive newsletter, if you need to scroll down, you’ve got too content.
  3. Ensure you reinforce your credibility in every newsletter, for example: have star ratings, or something like “Over 3,000 tea lovers rates us as 5 stars” to ease the decision making process, especially for new shoppers.
  4. Create at least the following 4 types of newsletter campaigns:
    1. Welcome message ex: Bam! Thanks for signing up
    2. Abandoned Cart: We’ve saved your stuff
    3. Sales / Coupon Campaigns: We’ve got a deal for you, 5 days only!
    4. Review Request: Love your purchase? We rely on solid feedback 🙂

Awesome eCommerce newsletter platform: MailChimp

7 – Invest in Paid Advertising

Whoever said paid advertising doesn’t work is also probably a flat-earth believer. Paid advertising is one of the only ways in which new eCommerce businesses can get noticed right away, the trick is knowing which platform to invest your money into and having super if not hyper-targeted Ads.

This is a beast of a topic on it’s own and I promise to write in more detail and dedicate posts and more posts till you’re bored, but for now here’s the quick why’s and how’s.

  1. Facebook & Instagram Ads: Next best thing to email, Facebook is a personal space for most people, if you’ve got a shop and want attention run a carefully targeted campaign to get relevant traffic through to your site – oh and it helps you engage your audience for free on your page – win.
  2. Google Display: Google is the household name for search, so it would be crazy not to focus in on displaying relevant Ads to your market using the Google Ad platform.
  3. Top tips for running a successful Ad Campaign (main message: be hyper specific, if you’re to broad with Ad criteria, you’ll end up wasting tons of money)
    1. Ensure its hyper regionally targeted (what physical regions do your shopper purchase from?)
    2. Use specific key search phrases, interests and audience profile characteristics
    3. Mirror your audience as much as you can / use your email subscription lists to target the audience with the same demography profile as your existing ones
    4. No wordiness or busy imagery, keep it simple and to the point
    5. Make the message personable and not read like a try hard Ad
    6. Adjust & optimize daily and weekly

Note: Facebook & Google Display advertising has some strict rules around products such as knives, survival kits, medicine, guns etc, so be sure to know the platform to invest in that won’t shut down your ads due to their policies.

8. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest Your Products

Social media serves as social proof – period – even if you sell toilet products ex: SquattyPotty. Pick ONE platform that will work best for you as they are free…(where do your shoppers hangout?) and work that platform with weekly imagery / posts of your products.

Hint: studies show that people react more positively when they see the intended product being used by another person similar to them, it helps them visualize using the product / see it in action.

Example: has aced their social media game, they frequently post photos of complimentary products and of -course – models using them.

9. Get Endorsements from Social Media Celebrities

Yes – this will involve money / sending “free” products to the social media celebrity, but man will this pay off twice fold if you’ve picked the right people to give your product to. Remember that a person that many others follow serves as an idol, and idols are followed & are listened to. Here’s my vetting list for picking social media stars:

  1. 25K + Followers minimum (unless you’re in a super niche in which case 5k followers might even do the trick), and the celebrity has to be directly related to what your business does or has the same type of audience your business needs.
  2. They don’t have posting diarrhea, meaning they don’t post more than twice a day. If they post more than twice a day your product spotlight might be over too soon with minimal impact.
  3. They’re willing to take your product and review it with you being able to do a second-eyes check on what they’re about to publish, if it’s not favourable you should have a say in whether or not the review gets published at all.
  4. Give them a social media guideline kit to provide approval on(simple 1 to 2 page word doc outlining the conditions of the agreement) this will help you protect your brand
  5. Send the product to them in the best possible package…go all out on this one
  6. Ask them to tag you back / @mention / link to your site in the post

Secret Tip: the most awesome part of having a social media celebrity post your eCommerce shop products on say..Instagram or Twitter, it stays on there for a long time if not forever. People will always be able to find it (this goes a million fold for YouTube reviews)

Example: Imagine you’re a fashion or women’s lifestyle brand and get Sandra Hagelstam (one of the best fashion bloggers) to highlight a product for you.

10. Get a Product Review App

One of the most key factors influencing purchasing decisions online is……… you guessed it, having credibility. There are tonne of amazing niche shops out there that loose money daily simply because they do not have the cookie points left from other users reviewing a product…but fear not, the solution is simple to implement and will help you with sales almost instantly, not to mention making your site feel interactive and alive.

By the way, my third recommendation although works for most shops is especially great for new shops which cannot afford to wait months or years to gather many reviews, it aggregates reviews from same products sold on other sites.

Awesome eCommerce Review Apps: YotPoTrustPilotTestFreaks

11. Blog or YouTube Product Reviews

Nothing spells “Credibility” and “Authority” better than a business that provides quality product or service relevant tips with uniquely generated content. There are several ways to do this:

  1. Yourself – Write or record a review / advice piece at least twice per month. Or hire a dedicate copy / content creator to do this.
  2. A Marketing Shop – Hire a marketing shop to write content on your behalf, just provide them the topics and main points you need to get across to your listeners. Ensure to iterate with them to understand style & tone.

Secret Tip: the more unique content your business posts, the more favourable you will look to Google search engine magic…aka you’ll likely attract more organic traffic.

12. Be Found on Google Maps (and reviews)

Have a physical location or want to get calls? Get on Google Maps, now. When was the last time you used Google Maps for finding McDonald’s, a 7/11, gas station or a steak restaurant…exactly almost always, so it simply makes sense to put your business on a map of the largest search engine platform in the world – just saying.

Secret Tip: once you setup your location on Google Maps, send an email to existing customers to review your biz – Google star reviews help get conversions and people to your physical shop (if you have one).

13. Use High Quality Images & Detailed Product Page Copy

The Image: quality images are a must have, since your website users cannot touch & feel the product, you need to do your best to simulate those senses with crisp imagery and good lighting. Take out the anxiety of buying online by providing multiple images of your product, front, side, a person using etc. this will help reduce the anxiety level of the purchaser of buying online.

The Description: Good for credibility and SEO, your product descriptions have to be concise yet as descriptive as possible about the product you are selling, take for example, they accompany their quality product images with technical specs that are clear as day to read – nailed it.

14. Easy to Use Navigation

If your potential customers cannot find want they want within 3 seconds you might as well consider them gone. Ensure that navigating your site feels natural and includes as little amount of clicks as possible.

  • Intuitive Search: as people start typing in the search bar, results should come up pronto to assist with visual searching.
  • Mega Menus: awesome for SEO and amazing for a quick visual of everything that you offer, The Hudsons Bay Company nailed this one, have a peek
  • Contextual / Dynamic Left Hand Navigation: If you’re a shop with many products, then sorting, and fine filtering through products should be a breeze, make this happen via contextual product category specific navigation
  • Never have 3+ layer search, ex: Category > Subcategory 1 > Subcategory 1.1

Example: Wayfair makes it easy as pie to navigate their site and pick from thousands of products on their eCommerce platform.

15. One Page Checkout

You must simplify your customer’s checkout experience. If you’re like most stores selling goods and services, ensure that when a customer decided to proceed to purchase, they are not spooked by complexity.

Secret tips to simplifying your checkout page

  1. Get an SSL certificate “”. This will allow your site to get a security seal and recognize that it is a secure site to complete transactions on, customers trust that. This is mandatory, get one now if you do not have it yet.
  2. Use one page checkout, usually its a vertical scrolling page that does NOT make your user leave to another page. Remember, most users on your site will be new and anxious, your job is to lessen their anxiety and heighten their trust levels.
  3. Offer a guest checkout – DO NOT  make it mandatory to create an account, this is a sure way to get people to hit the hills. Life’s already complicated with all of us having a gazillion logins. Offer a guest checkout, or if for whatever reason you do have to make people create an account for legal reasons, at least have single sign on service via social media which will make pre-filling info much easier ex: sign in via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

17. eCommerce Analytics – thoroughly understand web analytics 

Read the linked post – Understanding analytics is critical to making smart business decisions to keep your shop at peak performance & converting visits to sales, I know that you know this, but because it’s such a widely publicized topic, people have grown immune to its importance.

Understanding Analytics will enable you to do the following:

  • Understand your business’s profitability
  • Understand category & product demand (what your customers really want)
  • Optimize your Ad campaigns for more impact and less budget wastage
  • Understand what content to change on your website in order to have people reach you organically
  • Optimize customer engagement via Social Channels & Newsletters

16. Get a Mobile Payment Terminal (POS)

If you’ve got physical inventory, especially if you are the designer/maker of the brand itself, you should ALWAYS have a point of sale (POS) on you when you travel locally or abroad. My favorite app? Square, it turns your cellphone or tablet into a secure POS, say goodbye to expensive banking systems that are clunky, and hello to mobility at any trade-show or pop-up event you attend.

17. Tell Your Story (About Us Page) 

The About Us / Our Story page is one of the most frequently visited pages on your site, unfortunately most people get it dead wrong or simply neglect it. This is where your shoppers first WANT to fall in love with you, and it’s your chance to speak to them to convert them to buyers and loyal customers.

Some tips for a stellar about us page

  1. In one line, explain what you do / what your value proposition. Example: VistaPrint’s About Us page is awesome, tells you exactly what the business does “It’s simple: Our business is helping you promote yours.”
  2. Write a few lines about your history, even if you just started, get crafty with what led you to your value proposition (think like the customer, they should be saying “yeah that makes sense!” in their head when they read it.
  3. Reinforce your credibility, point out your simple shipping & return policy
  4. Have a picture of your / a team with relevant products so that people can relate

18. Shamelessly Talk About Yourself … Everywhere

Not really an instant converter – but I just had to put this one here. One of the most peculiar things I’ve noticed is that eCommerce aspiring small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are shy to talk about themselves. It gets even worse, most SMBs have a company culture of not actually knowing what their company objectives and primary products are. End. That. Now. You’re missing on hidden networking and referral opportunities.

Everyone in you shop should know what you do, why you do it and the value it brings to clients. You & your employees should have business cards on you always and be proud to talk about the biz 24/7 to anyone and everyone. Anyway, more on employee advocacy in later posts…

Now, if the above is overwhelming – it should be – as I just brain dumped our lessons learned from an average of 62 similar eCommerce implementations across Toronto, Los Angeles and New York. These are the top steps we have found to improve eCommerce sales across various industries, whether you are a Dental Supply Warehouse, Lifestyle Brand, Beauty Blogger, Construction Contractor, Car Parts seller, Outdoor Store or an International Tea Brand, the above steps will boost your sales. And yes, each of the above topics deserve a massive post of their own for a much deeper dive, we’ll get to that soon – promise.

If you’re jammed with various pipeline initiatives, give me a shout and I’ll help analyze your business’s digital footprint to fine tune and optimize performance – sometimes, we do take on a client or two.

Happy Selling!

How to Increase foot traffic to your coffee shop Sat, 22 Jul 2017 18:55:33 +0000

In the survey that received 1,200 responses from coffee shops and customers, we found almost 70% of coffee shops spend less than $100 per month on marketing. ~

If you’ve made your way to this post, chances are you’re a coffee shop or a local eatery owner looking to increase foot traffic to your store. Don’t feel overwhelmed – it’s totally doable with tad of effort, we’ve broken down the below must have steps. You need to focus on running a stellar shop, so we’ve focused on giving you the most realistic – simply what’s proven to work – short term goals to reach which will improve foot traffic to your shop.

Before I start, I really want you to know what motivated me to sit down and spend the time writing this post. In my favorite Toronto coffee & eatery shop, as I was getting my daily Coffee + Beef Patty combo I’ve sparked a brief discussion with the owner to see what she’s been doing online to help the shop grow. Shortly into the conversation she told me this; “A representative from company xxx told us we can increase traffic to our store for about $300 !”. The seasoned marketer is already laughing at this, I was in awe that someone would outright lie to a local shop to bag such a small amount of cash in hopes of up-selling the shopkeeper later.

So, to you – the shopkeeper – below are the must have steps to getting your shop more traffic based on our experience, interviews and research.

1) Know your industry statistics – use them to improve products & services

I’m big on leveraging customer data to better optimize your business to get relevant high quality traffic to your store. If you do not yet have customer data captured, it’s OK (for now) a simple Google search will get you on your way to understanding what product & service trends you should be focusing on. Here are some bare bone stats and improvements you can make right away by just knowing the data side of things from basic online research:

  • Marketing Investment: In the survey that received 1,200 responses from coffee shops and customers, we found almost 70% of coffee shops spend less than $100 per month on marketing. ~
    • The takeaway: Yes, it really is that bad, however this should be good news for you since investing more into high quality & relevant marketing effort will significantly put you above the competition as they are not even trying to get found.
  • Where People Drink Coffee: (39%) of Canadians drink their coffee out of home. Travelling/commuting (11%), eating place (16%), at work (16%) ~ Coffee Association of Canada
    • The takeaway: outside of home coffee drinking is skyrocketing, make it as easy as possible for people to drink in-store AND take out coffee in branded cups (your store’s brand). Offer large containers of coffee for corporate meetings, get a subscription service going. Do not sell non-branded cups, simply because branded cups do you double duty by letting others know where your customers bought coffee.
  • Coffee Consumption by Age Group: Traditional coffee is most likely to be consumed by those aged 65-79 ~ Coffee Association of Canada
    • The takeaway: this is a brilliant statistic to use for Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Google Ads. Knowing this you can easily start by segmenting (optimize later of-course) Ad distribution to the specific customer group.
  • Coffee Consumption by Type: Specialty coffee beverages and frozen blended coffee consumption are strongest among those aged 18-49 ~ Coffee Association of Canada.
    • The takeaway: once again, use this statistic for PPC Ad targeting. Also increase the visibility / offerings of specialty drinks along with frozen coffee variety to the younger customers.
  • Out-of-home Coffee Sales: Growth of sales for out-of-home coffee in the past five years based on has significantly increased, see the below three categories:
    • Specialty Hot Coffee: + 4%
      • The takeaway:  you MUST have specialty coffee offerings.
    • Iced Specialty Coffee: + 10%
      • The takeaway: Summertime? and you don’t have frozen coffee beverages? – you’re missing out on sales.
    • Traditional Hot Brewed Coffee: -1%
      • The takeaway: important to have, although due to the downtrend you should be focusing on having a variety of specialty and frozen beverages.

Anyway, you get the point, before taking on a task of improving sales, the first thing you should do is research trends within your industry, I guarantee you that you’ll either find affirmations “perfect, we’re already doing that !” or new discoveries “I had no clue specialty beverages are on demand, we need to increase our variety/start offering them”. Acting upond data (something we do daily at Productive Shop is your key to success.

2) Know Your goals to achieve after taking action on this post’s advice 

Now, let’s get rolling on improving your traffic, to do that, let’s set our goals (what are you trying to achieve with the below activities). In order to get a positive result at anything, you must set goals that are simple, measurable, attainable, realistic, and with a time frame in mind. So, let’s keep the below high level goals in mind which will be reached once you complete our advice. All of the below you can do within 6 months.

  1. Increase Online Reviews on Google
  2. Increase Online Reviews on Yelp
  3. Increase Social Media Mentions
  4. Increase Instagram Posts
  5. Increase Groupon Sales & Reviews
  6. Increase Cash Register Sales B2C (ultimate goal)
  7. Increase Business Sales (B2B) (ultimate goal)

3) Have an attractive store front & the right location

Not much marketing effort can help you if you are scaring your customers away or having a bland looking shop. After a conversation with some awesome shops on King Street, here’s a dead easy way to keep it nice and clean & approachable:

  1. Have clean windows with minimum signage (you want people seeing what’s inside)
  2. Your shop’s name should be prominent and visible, so it’s easily spotted by the passerby
    1. Highlight the special of the day or your specialty drink/food
  3. Make it obvious its a coffee shop/a type of eatery
  4. Create a transition zone – a zone of entry which allows the client to acclimatize versus walking in and hitting the counter / tables / chairs / bar etc right away. A contrasting carpet can do the job well.
  5. Get non-commercial music track rolling all day long: Bossa Nova, CoffeShop tune playlists or anything alike is currently popular – it sets an awesome mood, oh and by the way louder and up-beat music have been found to increase purchases for retail stores – no reason why you can sell custom swag. like branded cups and teaspoons.
  6. Know you location context – I will give you a perfect example of Distillery District. A tourist place with large volumes of human traffic, however will I be buying my morning coffee everyday? probably not. Because people go to Distillery District to drink beer or any other sort of alcohol. First, customers need convenience – a place closer to our work. Thus a great example will be “Starbucks”, “Tim Horton’s” or “Aroma”. Second, a good location is necessarily  in a visible location, metro station, gas station, shopping malls, schools, business centers. Third, do not neglect your neighborhood fact. Be aware that in high school not everyone will be able to pay $5 for a cup of coffee yet, in case it’s you biggest part of customers likewise if you’re near a fitness center you should adapt to offer “healthier alternatives” and “good for soul” food – point is, stay neighborhood relevant and know who you’re selling to.

4) Couponery (a term we invented): anything to do with discounted deals & bundles

Consumers purchase more often when they think they are getting a discount or some sort of tangible incentive, use this to your advantage and create discounts, combos/bundles and other easily understood offerings.

  1. Discounts for Social Posts: Ask customers to show you that they have tagged / mentioned you on a social platform in return for a discount on coffee or specialty drinks
  2. Free Sample Trays: Free tiny samples are the perfect way to seduce shoppers to eat more / come back later
  3. Offer Free WiFi: everyone is glued to the net, so let them use it at your shop. The catch? none really but the welcome page after they sign in should ask the customer to leave a review. This is also awesome for word of mouth marketing as the more people come to work at your shop, the more likely they are to let others know to swing by and visit them.

5) Offer a twist you’d be known for (mandatory) 

Slap an orange slice on that cappuccino cup dusted with chocolate flakes – let’s call it “Orange Mist”. You get the point, it isn’t hard to get creative and man does this pay off, if you are able to create that one specialty drink that everyone talks about, people will travel just to try it at your shop. A great example will be EL Catrine (in Toronto) , a Mexican theme inspired place famous for their MAYAN Margarita.

Another twist which will boost traffic to your store will be a unique experience. Thus, Starbucks came up with “Starbucks moment’s of connection” – writing on a cup. First it helps baristas learn names of their regular customer, in other words – personalization trick. Second “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – D. Carnegie. Third, customers will never miss their personal cup of morning coffee at your place.

6) Reviews (key to credibility & new client referrals)

  1. Ask customers to leave a review after logging into the WiFi
  2. Offer Groupon sampler packages (sample trays, combos for 2 etc…)
  3. Be Found on Yelp: mandatory, if you don’t have this yet wtf? If you do you can easily improve the amount of reviews by simply asking / provide incentive customers to get them.
  4. Google & Yelp Reviews: This will help you with Google Ranking & Search, ask all of your friends, family and then some to provide a review of the product they’ve tried in your shop, ask all of your customers to do the same.

7) Invest in online Marketing

Although having a website, online reviews and even interior decor should be guided by the marketing shop you’re working with (to ensure for stellar brand consistency) online paid marketing is a killer at finding and driving online and foot traffic to your store. The first thing people to do for pretty much anything is search Google or Google Maps for locations nearby, investing in regional paid advertising will significantly improve your rankings and top the list of your competitors.

  1. Google Ads: Hire a marketing shop to analyze what’s best for you PPC wise, is it Facebook or Google Ads?
  2. Google Maps: this is free, make sure you are found on Google Maps and there is a phone numbers along with work hours posted.
  3. Google Images: hire a photographer, or get a friend who is crafty with a camera to take some stellar shots of your restaurant and people atmosphere, post them on your Google Page and tag them to the business location so that the world can see how awesome you are.
  4. Blog To: Your marketing shop should easily be able to connect with a couple of social media and foodie celebrities that can swing by and write about your shop in local suggestive blogs – form reviews to experiences and recommendations the more unique and credible content there is online about you the faster you will be found in search, and the more people will be driven to swing by and try your specialty whatever it may be.
  5. Get an Instagram account…yesterday – Instagram is polluted with tons of Coffee images, almost as much as Yoga posing girls – and there’s always room for one more 🙂 – your shop. Post images daily of you cooking, making coffee, pastries – whatever. As long as the images are high quality having an Instagram account can and will serve as social proof for the new consumer generation. You can even run Instagram contests and ask for mentions / reviews to boost chatter of your shop online.

8) Have Stellar Pastries

Probably the most favorite things of anyone who is alive is anything sweet. Find a local bakery and make a deal with them, you can sell their products as long as you can purchase at  discounted rate from them. Cookies, Muffins and Cheesecake always save the day.

9) Have a clean washroom

I can’t stress this enough, many new customers (up to 70%) simply will never come back if you do not have a clean and comfortable washroom – to take care of business at. This isn’t an if, if your washroom needs to be cleaned stop reading and hire someone to do this, it has to be in pristine condition.

10) Have unique interior design

  1. Wallpaper is totally in – checkout EuroHome design in Vaughan, they’ve got hundreds of designs in their in store showroom at amazing prices, make your place look like a million bucks – hint: focus on 1 accent wall.
  2. Chandeliers are a thing of the now – Go to or walk in to any large home decor store and buy a couple of mock / non expensive Chandeliers – they add a touch of glam and sophistication to any environment and will make your patrons feel good (feeling good = coming back later to get the same sensation again 🙂


11) Run a radio Ad

This costs a pretty penny, and frankly you dont have to do this as long as you’re investing into online advertising, but if you have the extra cash, combining this WITH your online advertising efforts is hands down one of the most effective ways to make people aware of your shop. Your trusted marketing shop should be able to come up with a stellar quick radio Ad and book it at the perfect time when your target market is listening.

12) Make local alliances with other shops & events

  • Don’t do everything yourself, you’ll burn out – have a bakery nearby? perfect, use their awesome baked goods and vica versa. Cross promote each other.
  • Find an events venu, condo, art gallery, auto dealership – be their coffee & sweets supplier
  • Go to events: there’s always a few yearly events that you can sign up for and sponsor, if you do coffee why not pair up for winter events to drive revenue through the roof at winter parties?

Hope you enjoyed this post and have learned something new or gotten inspired to get a road-map going, give me a shout if you need an experienced Productive Shop to boost your online activity, we love our clients and are a hoot to deal with.

There’s still ample sun outside, so I’ll sign off for today and go grab myself a cup of Joe and enjoy the Toronto waterfront.

Top eCommerce Metrics for Growth Thu, 15 Jun 2017 01:21:40 +0000 Time to read: 30 min

I wish I could stress the importance of what a Key Performance Indicator is and actually have you listen, but luck has it – most executives, bloggers, agencies, and myself – have used the term so much in meetings, posts & eBooks, it’s lost all fucking meaning to the new eCommerce and website owners hungry for relevant fast knowledge.

Let me put it straight to you, if you don’t monitor the below KPIs for your business, or start doing it asap, you will not take full advantage of growth intelligence. You’ll end up focusing on the wrong shit and tweaking analytics platforms for hours on end without avail.

As I’m helping you get quick wins, here’s a list of absolutely critical eCommerce KPIs you should know in your sleep. All of the below should be analyzed about once a week to understand and grasp opportunity of positive trends or take action if you see early warning signs such as spikes in bounce rates, abandoned carts, orders, etc. Remember, when viewing these metrics you should always be viewing them for periods of time in order to understand short & long term trends.

  1. eCommerce Conversion Rate: a measure of the rate at which shoppers (visitors) convert to being your customer (purchasers). The conversion rate is the number of conversions divided by the total number of visitors. For example: if an eCommerce site receives 800 visitors in a month and has 25 sales, your conversion rate would be 3% (25 sales divide by 800 visits).
    • Secret Tip: segment your conversion rate by visitor type, the simplest being; mobile, vs tablet vs desktop visitors. Other favourite and super effective segmenting should be done by region to understand where your shoppers are coming from.
  2. eCommerce Total Orders: the amount of orders you have received in a given time period. Total eCommerce orders is a quick indication of your order volume health check, are they rising, falling or stagnant? This will also help you understand your business’s “seasons” to help you craft PPC campaigns.
  3. Cart Abandonment Rate: the rate at which customers leave your cart without completing the order. Calculation: Total initiated transactions (users are at the checkout page) divided by total abandoned incomplete transactions (abandoned carts).
    1. Tip: Typical cart abandonment rate is 60% to 80% with the average sticking around 70%
  4. eCommerce Abandoned Carts: the amount of potentially lost sales (when shoppers fill up carts, and do not proceed to completing the purchase). This metric allows you to understand which product categories, products or product combinations are consistently being dropped. It might be a symptom of a high priced product, high shipping costs, complicated checkout experience or a website bug.
    • Secret Tips to to reduce abandoned carts:
      • make your shipping & return policy super easy and non-variable
      • make sure you have an abandoned cart saver app (send emails with all abandoned cart content to the user)
      • use one time welcome coupons to motivate the purchase
      • adjust the price of the product or remove the product from the shop
      • simplify the checkout experience…make it one page
      • have a SSL certificate on the cart & purchase pages
  5. Bounce Rate: a measure of how fast users leave your site upon visiting it (Google Analytics measures it as a single page session). Bounce rate is a quick indication of whether or not something is significantly wrong with your homepage, category or product pages. Usually it’s due to product irrelevancy (the wrong consumers looking at the product), boring design, slow page load times etc.
    • Secret Tips to reduce bounce rate
      • Enable a coupon pop app to save users that are about to leave your site
      • Ensure your eCommerce PPC campaigns are highly targeted to ensure that the traffic coming to your site is relevant
  6. Website Average Session Duration: The total duration of sessions (in seconds) divided by total sessions.
    1. Secret Tip: This metric helps you understand your websites engagement level to the customer. Track / look at this metric along side the bounce rate to understand up/down trends in engagement.
  7. Website Pages/Session: the amount of pages a user browsers through on your site, the unofficial industry goal is having 2+ pages / session.
    1. Tip: analyze this alongside bounce rate and average session duration to have a solid understanding of user engagement.
  8. eCommerce Average Order Value: The average dollar value of all of your orders. This helps you instantly understand and forecast income. Also helps with decision making on pricing of key products. Tip: this metric is key to understanding Average Customer Lifetime Value (explained below)
  9. eCommerce Repeat Customer Rate: the percentage of customers that made an order which come back to make a 2nd purchase within a given period of time. Calculated by taking the total amount of repeat customers by the total amount of customers within a given time period.
    1. This metric is super important simply because repeat purchases are the lifeline of most businesses, having a low repeat purchase rate might indicate issues with customer service, slow shipping or poor product or service quality. Conversely, having a high repeat purchase rate means you’re acing your customer and product quality eCommerce game.
      1. Note: if you’re in an industry of products that have low to none repeat purchases, you might not care about this metric ex: hot-tubs, mattresses, wall paper, motor boat engines, etc.
  10. Website Traffic: how much total traffic you are getting to your website. A super important metric especially when segmented based on region, device, browser, app. This metric’s daily, weekly and monthly performance will instantaneously tell you if something is wrong or right about your marketing, eCommerce platform performance, seasonal trends, etc.
  11. Website Sessions: All interactions that a user has with your website in a given time period. It can be page views, social interactions, purchases, etc. Sessions typically last for 30 minutes, however in most analytics platforms you can adjust this down to a few minutes or even seconds
  12. Website Total Users: Total amount of unique instances a user has entered to your website. Note: Google Analytics might double count one user as two uniques users if the user has visited your site via cellphone and desktop (Analytics platforms measure this by setting cookies on users devices). This metric is useful in roughly understanding how many users are visiting your site.
  13. Website New Users: Visitors that did not have cookies before visiting your site.
    1. Tip: If you divide New Users by Total Users and compare that for a period of time you’ll roughly understand your new user growth rate.
  14. eCommerce Average Customer Lifetime Value: Customer Lifetime Value is the most important metric in retention analytics. It is the average amount spent by each customer over their lifetime at your shop. This lets you know how much you can forecast to spend in order to get attract a new customer.
    1. Note: The three key KPIs required to measure average customer lifetime value are: Average order value (AOV), Purchase frequency, Time period.
  15. Email bounce rate: This is the percentage of emails that where not delivered to your intended mail list.
    1. Tip: isolate the non-delivery emails into their own mail list/group, try delivering the message to them again, then remove the ones that are 100% inactive/fake/not working.
  16. Email Open rate: The percentage of emails that are opened (once you get a solid amount of opens, you should start optimizing for click through)
  17. Email Clickthrough Rate: The percentage of email recipients that clicked on links in emails. Calculation: Unique Clicks divided by total Delivered Emails
  18. Email Conversion Rate: the Percentage of people that purchased on your website after clicking a link from an email. Calculation: total sales from emails divided by total emails delivered.
  19. Top selling products: The most highest selling products you have, allows you to understand where to invest Ad money, newsletter efforts and coupon pops.
  20. eCommerce Purchase Funnel: how users journey through your site to making a purchase, reality check; the funnel always gets smaller and it’s up to you to figure out how to optimize it.
    1. Top Viewed Categories: the most frequently visited category pages
    2. Top Viewed Products: the most frequently visited product pages
    3. Added a Product to Cart: how many product where added to the cart
    4. Initiated Checkout: how many users have initiated the checkout process by visiting the checkout details page
    5. Completed Checkout: how many users have actually made a purchase. Remember, you use this metric to divide by the total website visits to get your conversion rate.
  21. Website Referrals: sites from which traffic comes from. This lets you understand what web sources you should be investing it, and, where your targeted shoppers are most likely to hang out at. Very useful if you are trying to understand where to invest in for paid advertising AND to check if your existing paid advertising is driving traffic from the sources you wanted. Alternatively, if traffic is coming from malicious sources, block the sites on your eCommerce server and filter the source out of Google Analytics.
  22. Ad Click Through Rate: the rate at which users click on your Ad. Calculation: Ad Clicks divided by Ad Impressions
    1. Tip: to increase click through rate, hyper-target your Ads to minute customer details such as the geographical region the Ad will show in, Sex, Age, Interests, Occupation and key word search terms the user is most likely to use. Oh and, have minimal words on your display Ad along with a stellar high quality picture of a person using your product.
  23. Ad Impressions: how many times your Ad has been shown to a user. Important metric to know the general performance of your Ads, are they even showing at the amount you expected them to be?
  24. Ad Clicks: how many times a user has clicked on  your Ad. Ad click are best filtered by region from where the clicks came from, this will help you understand where to focus your Ad budget.
  25. Ad Cost Per Click (CPC): how much the average cost is to get a click from a user. This will help you understand if it is even worth the money to continue a campaign.
  26. Coupon Pop Saves Rate: out of how many coupon popups which have been triggered, did the user actually end up providing and email or browsing around the site longer.
  27. Total Sales: the total sales you have made for a selected period of time. Monitoring this metric along side the Conversion Rate will help you understand your sales growth. Segment this by category to  get a deeper understanding of top performing product categories.
    1. Secret Tip: For a selected period of time, compare your total cost / Ad Spend of the PPC campaign to the Total Sales, this will help you determine if the marketing campaign is worth the Ad Dollars or not.
  28. Top search queries: Google Search Console and Analytics paired will show you what users have searched for in order to get to your website, use this intelligence to optimize key word driven campaigns and brush up on the copy of your Ads and even your product pages.
  29. Gross Profit Margin: best calculated over a period of time, the gross profit margin allows you to get an idea of profitability and the feasibility of your pricing model.
    1. Calculation: for a set date range, Revenue minus Cost of Goods Sold, divided by Revenue.
  30. Traffic by Region: not a metric, rather a segmentation. Know where your traffic is coming from and the top selling geographical regions. This will help you focus your budget to the right place and people and eliminated wasted dollars. Also, knowing where your traffic is coming from will help you discover new regions of interest.
  31. Purchases by Region: just as above, purchases by region will allow you to understand who actually spends money on your Ads. This should be view in alongside the Traffic by region to get an understanding of regional interest in your product.
  32. Abandoned Carts Saved: allows you to understand how many dropped carts where saved by an email follow up via your Abandoned Cart Saver App. Compare this with the total dropped carts to get an understanding of the effectiveness of your cart saving effort to then optimize/fine tune your follow up messaging.
  33. Peak Days & Times of sales: Know when your shoppers some to visit you, when are users most engaged and from what region? This will help you optimize your money for Ad spend so that you can allocate budget dollars wisely to peak periods of use.

Thanks for reading – for the sake of your business, please do take the time to correctly setup analytics tracking for your business and thoroughly understand the metrics that will help you drive forth business decision posed for growth.

If you need a hand setting these metrics up in Analytics tools, building a custom Excel report or a custom web dashboard, give us a shout, I’ll review, tune or setup analytics accounts to help you understand the key metrics you need to keep the shop performing.