BarnRaisers


12 facts and studies show why website sliders suck 0

Posted on April 21, 2019 by Rob Petersen
website sliders

Website Sliders (a.k.a. carousels)

Website sliders are a web design term used for a slideshow added to a web page. There are considered a staple for many web designers and businesses to create graphic presence and make a bigger statement about their brand.

Many website plugins are now available that make it easier than ever to create sliders and carousels on a website.

But is bigger better? Here are 12 facts and studies that show why website sliders suck.

  1. Only 1% of people actually click on a website slider. Many confuse them for ads.
  2. Of that 1% of people who click, 89% click on the banner in the first position.
  3. Only 22% of Call-To-Action (CTA) clicks are on graphics; 78% are on text and headlines according to a study by KissMetrics. By using a slider or carousel, you’re lowering CTA clicks and conversions.
  4. 23% increase in sales for the website without a carousel in an A/B test that compared the same websites with and without a carousel.
  5. 47% of people expect a website to load in two seconds or less and sliders and carousels slow down the site.
  6. 53% of mobile users abandon mobile websites that take over three seconds to load and website sliders often don’t work well on mobile sites.
  7. Between 0.4 seconds and 5 seconds is the amount of extra time that a slider or carousel can add to your webpage studies have shown.
  8. 0.65% is the Click Through Rate (CTR) or 32 clicks out of 5,000 visits from a survey by Search Engine Land of B2B sites.
  9. No matter how much you brand your slider, if they look like ads (and they almost always do), there’s a high possibility they will be ignored. Eye tracking studies conducted by Neilson Norman Group found as soon as visitors perceived something to be an advertisement they turned their focus away from it.
  10. You take control out of your user’s hands and give it to the slider.
    Image sliders keep rotating, which is not only frustrating, but is terrible for usability according to the folks at UX Movement.
  11. Website sliders push key content down. Google has stated, since 2012, that pushing down content is harmful for SEO. When users search for something and click on a website, they are frustrated when the content is not readily available. Having to scroll past a slider lowers UX and Google may penalize.
  12. Website sliders are vulnerable to hackers. The most common ways that hacker enters websites are through website theme and plug-ins. Since sliders are carousel are often made available as plug-ins, hackers have easier access to a website.

If you’re thinking of using a website slider on your website, you might want to rethink it. Do these facts convince you? Does your business need to create a website that get results?

21 top marketing KPIs and why they matter (Video) 0

Posted on April 07, 2019 by Rob Petersen

Top Marketing KPIs

Top Marketing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are the metrics that matter for any company that wants to know and improve progress to a desired goal.

No company should begin this journey without a road map to stay on track as the video explains. KPIs are the GPS for any marketing plan.


But the number of possible marketing KPIs can be bewildering. So the choice of the right ones are a critical factor to make the right decisions.

Here are 21 top marketing KPIs and why they matter for your company’s business success.

Desired Goal KPIs:

  • PROFITS: Are revenues minus expenses. Profits are the most important financial metric because a company can’t secure financing from a bank, attract investors, fund its operations, grow business and stay in business with turning a profit.
  • SALES (VS. REVENUE): Are the products and services a company sells. Revenue is the money received by the company from its varied activities.  Sometimes, they are the same. When different, since every company’s success depends on the products they sell, sales are a better indicator of a company’s current vitality.
  • SALES MARGIN: Is the amount of profit generated from a sale for a product or service. By analyzing sales margins, you identify which products are the most (and least) profitable.

Customer Value KPIs:

  • CUSTOMER LIFETIME VALUE (CLV): Is a prediction of profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer.  It is the monetary value of the customer relationship. It is an important metric because it represents an upper limit on spending to acquire new customers. It is also an essential element for calculating payback of marketing investments.
  • ANNUAL CUSTOMER VALUE (ACV): Is the term used to describe annualized earnings. ACV takes into account either a first-time subscription fee or first-time offer that may effect short-term results. But it is not as important as CLV for business planning.
  • COST PER ACQUISITION (CPA): Is the cost it takes to acquire a customer. CPA is a key metric for any marketing department because you don’t want to spend more money to convert a customer than they’re worth.

Customer Actions KPIs

  • CONVERSION: Is the point at which a recipient of a marketing message performs a desired action. It means someone has responded to your call-to-action.
  • CONVERSION RATE: Is the percentage of users who take a desired action. Since there has to be a base against which to divide the actions, it is most often a visit desired web destination like a website, landing page or social media page.
  • MICRO AND MACRO CONVERSIONS: A micro conversion is a small step on the path of a visitor towards your primary conversion goal (usually called a macro conversion). For most websites, the macro conversions are either making a purchase, giving a donation or providing a lead. Because conversions are critical marketing KPIs and the customer journey usually takes a number of steps to get to the desired goal, micro and macro conversion are an important sub-set of conversions.
  • QUALITY LEADS: Is a lead that can convert into an actual sale of your product or service. Because marketing plans often produce leads but the quality of the leads is debatable, especially with sales people, the conversions steps a lead has to take to be a quality lead is worth scoring for marketing KPIs.
  • TRANSACTIONS: Are the numbers of sales of a product or service over a certain time period. Transactions are created for every order that results in an exchange of money. 
  • AVERAGE ORDER VALUE (AOV): Tracks the average dollar amount spent each time a customer places an order on a website or mobile app. To calculate your company’s average order value, simply divide total revenue by the number of orders.

Marketing Tactics KPIs

  • WEBSITE VISITS: Are individual visitors who arrives at your website and proceeds to browse. A visit counts all visitors, no matter how many times the same visitor may have been to your site. A “unique visit” refers to a person who visits a site at least once within the reporting period. Each visitor to the site is only counted once during the reporting period.
  • VISITS BY CHANNEL: Visits come from a finite number of channels – Organic Search, Paid Search, Direct, Referral, Social and Email. Since you are applying resources and money to drive website visits from these channels, it is important to track visits by channel to determine how your resources and funds are best invested.
  • BOUNCE RATE: Represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site and then leave rather than continuing to view other pages within the same site. Bounce Rate is thought to be a measure of a website’s relevance to its visitors.
  • KEYWORD SEARCH ENGINE RESULTS PAGES (SERP): Is the list of results that a search engine returns in response to a specific word or phrase query. Web designers and site owners use search engine optimization (SEO) methods to make their sites and pages appear at or near the top of a SERP.
  • LINKS (OR REFERRALS): Provide a simple means of identifying and measuring other websites that list your website on their site and are sending visitors your way.
  • COST-PER-CLICK (CPC): If you buy Paid Search, Digital Ads, Social Media Ads, Sponsorships or Influencers, Cost-Per-Clicks is the one metric that puts them on equal footing by showing the price you pay for each click. 
  • CLICK-THROUGH RATE (CTR): Is a ratio or percent showing how often people who see your ad end up clicking on it. CTR is an indicator of ad relevance to viewers.
  • EMAIL LIST SIZE: People who sign up to receive your emails or newsletters express a higher level of interest in your business. If you are taking the time and care to grow your email list so it represents quality contacts, the number of people on this list are a business asset worth monitoring.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWERS: Studies show people who follow your company on social media sites are more likely to continue using your products and services as well as recommending them to others. So the size of your social media followings on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube are also worth tracking.

Peter Drucker said the “purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.” If you consider these marketing KPIs, you’ll have a much better chance of succeeding. Do these seem like the top marketing KPIs to you? Do you need held determining the right KPI scorecard for your business?

marketing kpis

40 facts explain customer loyalty worth and how to make it work 0

Posted on March 24, 2019 by Rob Petersen

Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is the result of consistently positive emotional experiences that includes the product or services where both work together to deliver superior value.

How much value does a loyal customer represent to a company? How does a company secure loyal customers?

Here are 40 facts that explain customer loyalty worth and how to make it work for your company.

What’s a loyal customer worth

  1. Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
  2. The probability of selling to a new customer is 5-20 percent, while selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent.
  3. 1 in 3 customers will pay more to receive a higher level of service. 
  4. After the original purchase, the likelihood of a customer making a second purchase is close to 30%, and after they make a second purchase the likelihood of a third jumps past 50%.
  5. Increasing customer retention by 2% can have the same impact as reducing costs by 10%.
  6. Majority of a customer’s 365-day CLV is realized within the first 30 days as a customer. 65% is realized on day 1, and that grows to 79% by the three-month mark
  7. The cost of bringing a new customer to the same level of profitability as an existing one is up to 16 times more.
  8. Consumers spend up to 17% more with companies with excellent service.
  9. Millennials are willing to spend up to 21% more with companies for great service.

How to make it work – Give special status, surprise them, offer something exclusive with an experience that exceeds their expectations

  1. 92% of loyal customers rank price and value as the top driver for loyalty to specific retailers, followed by product/quality at 79% and variety/selection at 71%.
  2. 91% of consumers would reward a brand for its authenticity, and 62% say they would either purchase a product from a brand they deem to be authentic or express greater interest in buying from that brand in the future.
  3. 86% of Gen Xers and 85% of Baby Boomers would switch retailers immediately if customer service is poor.
  4. 81% of consumers agree that loyalty programs make them more likely to continue doing business with a brand.
  5. 81% of U.S. consumers feel loyal to brands that are there when they need them, but otherwise, respect their time and leave them alone.
  6. 80% of companies spend less than 30% of their time and budget on customer retention-focused messaging.
  7. 75% of companies see a return on investment from their customer loyalty program.
  8. 74% of Millennials would switch to a different retailer if they had poor customer service.
  9. 73% of customer loyalty club members are more likely to recommend and say good things about brands with good loyalty programs.
  10. 71% of shoppers say they would be more likely to use their loyalty cards if they could access these cards and rewards from their mobile phone.
  11. 66% of Millennials indicate that they are more likely to shop from stores where they are part of a loyalty program.
  12. 63% of U.S. consumers say they’d share more personal information with a company that offers a great experience.
  13. 62% don’t believe that the brands they’re most loyal to are doing enough to reward them.
  14. 61% of online shoppers chose receiving surprise perks and discounts as their preferred personalized experience
  15. 59% of US online adults who are members of a customer loyalty program say that getting special offers that aren’t available to other customers is important to them.
  16. 58% of adults don’t trust a brand until they have seen real world proof
  17. 58% of customers join loyalty programs to save money and 38% to receive rewards.
  18. 57% spend more on brands or providers to which they are loyal.
  19. 56% of high-income consumers feel less loyal to brands now than they previously did.
  20. 54% say they would consider increasing the amount of business they do with a company for a loyalty reward.
  21. 51% of U.S. consumers are loyal to brands that interact with them through their preferred channels of communication.
  22. 50% of consumers said they were willing to give a retailer a second and third chance, with 50% abandoning brand loyalty only after the same mistake was made more than twice.
  23. 50% of U.S. consumers said they switched companies they buy from this year because of poor customer experience.
  24. 48% say that the most critical time for a company to gain their loyalty was when they make their first purchase or begin service.
  25. 42% of consumers distrust brands.
  26. 41% of U.S. consumers say they ditched a company because of poor personalization and lack of trust. 
  27. 39% higher basket size of a customer in company’s loyalty program than a customer that isn’t.
  28. 37% of consumers trust brands less than they used to, compared to only 7% who trust brands more than they used to.
  29. 29% of customers shop around, but ultimately repurchase from the same brand.
  30. 13% of customers are loyalists, who don’t shop around.
  31. The average U.S. household has enrolled in more than 18 customer loyalty programs, but is only active in 8.4.

Do these facts explain what customer loyalty is worth to you? Do they give you an idea of what your company should do? Are you ready to get started?

12 blog case studies of small beginnings to super success 2

Posted on March 10, 2019 by Rob Petersen

Blog case studies

blog case studies

Blog case studies show the opportunity available to someone with a unique perspective on an area that is relevant to others. Successful blog are consistently supported with content that builds an audience and possibly monetary value.

People who make blogs into a business often start from the humblest of beginnings. It is their unique perspective on a particular topic, its relevance to others and the consistency of keeping the content fresh that makes them stand out.

They may make money from similar sources like affiliate marketing, sponsored content, ads, courses and event. But it is the differentiated way they discuss their area that turns their blog into a viable business.

Here are 12 blog case studies of small beginnings to super success.

ARTOFMANLINESS: Brett McKay founded the Art of Manliness in 2008 and has grown it into the largest independent men’s interest magazine on the web. It is a one-stop resource for actionable advice that covers every aspect of a man’s life: character, career, relationships, fitness, style, skills, and much more. Through weekly podcasts and articles, AoM tackles subjects from the philosophical and serious to the practical and fun. AoM differentiates itself from other men’s lifestyle media outlets in providing content that is intelligent, thoughtful, thorough, eminently useful, and clickbait-free. Estimated annual revenue is now $4,300,000.

COINDESK: Is the most successful cryptocurrency blog in the world, getting over 10 million visitors per month. It was started in 2013 by Shakil Kha, and then acquired by Digital Currency Group in 2016 for an amount rumored to be around $500,000. Today, they’re the go-to source for all news and updates in the blockchain world. They make money through advertising, publishing paid reports, and selling tickets to their conferences.

COPYBLOGGER: Started by Brian Clark with no more than $1,000 in seed cash, Brian worked incredibly hard to build an audience and help people. He engaged his audience and figured out exactly what they were looking for. And then he gave it to them. Brian Clark didn’t even have an idea for a product to sell. This approach led Clark and his growing team to launch Copyblogger’s Authority educational platform, its certified content marketer marketplace, and the StudioPress website builder for WordPress. Brian Clark has built CopyBlogger through partnership. Its parent company, Rainmaker Digital, serves more than 200,000 unique customers across its three brands and earns in excess of $12 million in annual revenue.

CREATEANDGO: Founded by Alex and Lauren (a former personal trainer and CPA), after first creating a health and wellness blog, they turned their attention to teaching others how to start a blog and make money at it in this one of our blog case studies. Last year, they earned over $1.66 million with a little less than $600,000 in expenses putting their blogs at over the million dollar mark in revenues. Books and courses account for the majority of revenue, followed by affiliate marketing, mostly for web hosting, email marketing and landing page building companies.

HUFFPOST: Started as “The Huffington Post” by blogger-cum-celebrity Arianna Huffington. It’s initial focus was on American politics with a decidedly liberal stance. It expanded to include a wide variety of other topics and localized editions. They’ve achieved this through pulling in content from a pool of individual bloggers and content creators. HuffPost makes it money from sponsored advertising revenue through banners and other digital ads across its variety of channels. It is by far the most successful blog of its kind, likely valued today at well over $1 billion, a great investment for AOL.” It is estimated Huffpost earns $1,40,00000 per month.

LIFEHACKER: Launched by Gawker Media and is currently owned by Univision Communications, the staff updates the site about 18 times each weekday, with reduced updates on weekends. The site bills itself simply as the site for “Tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done.” Simple and straightforward, yet highly intriguing. This is one of our blog case studies because who doesn’t need help getting things done?). Daily page views are 2.2 million and monthly revenues are $198,975.

MAKINGSENSEOFCENTS: Started by Michelle Garter as a blog to improve her finances and keep track of her progress to teach others, Michelle managed to pay pay off her $38,000 student loan in 7 months following her own advice. She writes in-depth articles about earning extra income with side hustle and controlling emotional spending. She has developed courses and products to help others. She also monetizes her blog through affiliate marketing and ads. Michelle went from being in debt to earning revenues of $120,000+/month through her blog

MASHABLE: Started by Pete Cashmore in his Scotland home and quickly grew to be the go-to source for social media and tech news. Since then, the outlet’s focus has expanded a bit. But it emphasizes social media news and updates while growing its audiences significantly, thanks in part to pushing content out on a variety of platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Mashable is monetized by offering a variety of advertising formats. Because it has 45M unique monthly readers, certain authors may pay Mashable to be featured on their site. It is estimated Mashable makes $2,000,000 per month.

NERDFITNESS: Cut from his high school basketball team in Sandwich, Mass, Steve Kamb hit the gym. To his surprise, he enjoyed working out. He wanted to create a home for people, like himself, who are kind of nerdy and are interested in fitness but are too self-conscious to go to the gym. Most of the firm’s revenue comes through online courses it sells through its Nerd Fitness Academy. The company also runs Camp Nerd Fitness, where several hundred people gather each fall for a fitness retreat held on a long weekend.  His monthly newsletter has 273,000 subscribers and annual revenue is in the seven figures.

NERDWALLET: Is a personal finance blog that helps people with personal financial decisions. They review everything from credit cards, mortgages, insurance, and all things finance. The affiliate commissions for financial products like these can get into the hundreds of dollars per referral. But what they’ve really mastered is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) understanding search intent. They create the best content and user experience depending on the keyword. These reason explain why they’re worth over $500,000,000.

SHOWMETHEYUMMY: When Jennifer started food blogging, her husband, Trevor, a professional photography, worked a full time. Later, they reversed role and now have a food blog that benefits from the skills of both. Starting with revenue of $28/month, four years later, revenue is at $46,000+/month. The blog makes money from affiliate marketing, sponsored content, ads and a video product that teaches how to set-up, shoot and edit a face-paced food video called Show Me the Yummy Digital Food Video Workshop.

TUTSPLUS: Founded in 2006 by Collis Ta’eed, Cyan Claire, and Jun Rundelivering, it’s been delivering outstanding tutorials and content to designers and developers from across the world for quite some time now. Today, in this one of our blog case studies, they offer a hub of useful content and a tremendous marketplace where 2,000,000 active buyers are searching for site templates and useful paid tutorials that they offer as part of their platform. They earn their income primarily through membership and commissions from sales of digital goods on their platform. TUTS+ revenue is currently estimated at $175,000/month.

Do these blog case studies help you see how blogs can be big business? And how, from small beginning, the potential for super success with the right topic, consistency and perseverance is there?

30 facts explain breakdown in digital trust 0

Posted on February 24, 2019 by Rob Petersen
Digital Trust

Digital trust is going through a meltdown.

What started as an age of opportunities where social channels and open sources platforms opened up publishing, networking and business building possibilities with real, human connections has evolved into a new age of privacy concerns, fake news, fake accounts, bots, unwanted solicitations and spam.

What can brands do about it? Take a more active role in the context where their messaging and ads appear. Monitor the audience being built. Manage and measure customer experience and rely on first-party, not third-party, data.

Here are 30 facts to explain the breakdown in digital trust.

  1. 583 million fake accounts were identified on Facebook last year. Facebook says they removed them in the 1st Quarter of 2018 to try to improve digital trust.
  2. Nearly 48 million Twitter accounts are bots.
  3. 89% of consumers now read businesses’ responses to reviews to see if they should trust the business.
  4. 86% of consumers prefer security over convenience.
  5. 81% of Facebook users say that they have little to no confidence in Facebook to protect their data and privacy.
  6. Yet, 77% of Facebook’s US monthly active users access the app on a daily basis, and this daily habit of hundreds of millions of Americans will be a difficult one to break. 
  7. 77% of Americans believe mainstream media reports fake news.
  8. 68% of Californians believe the tech industry is under-regulated and 69% of people who work in the tech industry in California say their companies could increase oversight to improve digital trust.
  9. 66% of consumers trust Amazon to obey privacy laws; 62% trust Google to obey privacy laws and 41% trust Facebook to obey privacy laws.
  10. 66% drop in trust for Facebook since the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
  11. 65% of consumers want Facebook to disclose how they use personal data they collect.
  12. 62% of US adults get their news on social media.
  13. 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars.
  14. 56% of Americans trust Facebook the least of any major tech company with their personal information.
  15. 54% of consumers believe organizations will sell their data.
  16. 54% of B2B marketers say Facebook is their most important platform.
  17. 48% of consumers have stopped using the services of at least one organization due to a data breach and breakdown in digital trust.
  18. 44% of the general population gets news from Facebook.
  19. 44% of Facebook users say they recently changed their privacy settings on Facebook, and were sharing less with friends and followers. 80% say it’s due to negative stories about Facebook and privacy.
  20. 43% of Californians trust cannabis growers more than social media companies which only 33% of Californians trust.
  21. 40% of consumers only take into account reviews written within the past 2 weeks – up from 18% last year.
  22. 32% of consumers say a good thing about Facebook is that it is the best way to remember birthdays.
  23. 31% believe mainstream media reports fake news regularly.
  24. 30% of marketers think Facebook offers the highest digital ad ROI.
  25. Only 24% of U.S. internet users think Facebook will do enough to protect privacy in the future,
  26. 18% of US adults get news for social media often.
  27. Only 6% of US internet users say they trust media and entertainment companies.
  28. Only 6% say they trust social media.
  29. Only 3% say they trust marketing and advertising firms.
  30. Facebook ad revenue has increased 2X in last 3 years.

Do these facts explain the breakdown in digital trust? Could your company be doing something to improve digital trust with your audience?

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