Nurture over Nature: How to Guide Visitors through the Customer Door

customer experienceWe all know the saying, nature over nurture; however, is that true when it comes to the customer journey? Does natural instinct kick in when a customer comes to your website and they automatically know exactly what they are going to buy? The answer is obviously no, we have so many digital distractions on our websites now a days that a customer, unless they have been there before or knows exactly which model or services they are going to buy is going to get lost.  There are millions of businesses on the internet and the way you make your visitors feel on your site and through your other digital presences will make the difference between converting them from leads to customers. The customer journey is not a simple one, but as a business it is your responsibility to help them through the journey.

As businesses, we like the fact that most customers don’t come to an online store knowing exactly what they are going to buy because of the fact it often leads to customers buying additional products from us.

Come on, we have all been there with Amazon, we go for one thing like a new phone charger (the nature factor) and then $100 dollars later we now have a new cutting board shaped like a fish made of bamboo and four other things we didn’t intend to buy and chances are you forgot the phone charger.

But Amazon didn’t just allow nature to put $100s worth of products in your cart, no they nurtured you through different call to actions like New for You or my favorite Inspired by your Shopping Trends.

But how as business owners who may not have the wide-variety of inventory that Amazon has, be selling a service vs. a physical product, how can we turn site visitors into converted customers?

First you will have a little pre-work:

Step 1

  • For Retail Businesses:
    • Do you know what percentage of your site’s visitors put items in their shopping cart but don’t checkout? We have all done it, gone to a website put items in our cart and for whatever reason, whether we decided we didn’t want the items or simply walked away from our computers and closed the tab and just forgot it doesn’t matter – the potential customer still did not convert.
    • Do you know what percentage of those who put items in their shopping cart actually checkout? This number is hopefully much higher than that of the above. A Moz study of retail clients found on average visitors who put items in their cart checked out approximately 30% of the time that means 70% of visitors who had something in their cart did not check-out.
  • For Service-Based Companies:
    • Do you know what percentage of leads are converted into customers who use your service? This is important to know and then dive deeper into the why behind the leads who aren’t being turned into customers?  Is it due to the call to action, the copy overall on your website, the customer service delivery, or even reviews on external websites.
  • For All Business Types:
    • Do you know what percentage of visitors to your site walks through the digital door with a purchase in hand? It is important to note, there are a lot of factors that can skew this number so be prepared for it to be low. You may be surprised to learn that ecommerce as an industry only converts between 2-3% of visitors.

Step 2

  • Now that you have your benchmarks, you will need to set objectives for where you want to be. For example, do you want to increase the percentage of visitors who put items in their cart but don’t check out or is your objective to increase your total site visitors who convert? Be specific when you set these goals.

Now that you know what your benchmarks are and you have determined what your metrics for success are going to be, we can focus on four techniques for getting visitors through the customer door.

  1. General Email Campaigns

Now, not everyone collects emails on their customers, so if you don’t feel free to skip ahead but consider why you don’t have an email list of subscribers, leads, blog followers, etc?

Other companies have massive email lists and the more information you can utilize to develop targeted campaigns the better.

Not everyone has the luxury of having detailed information on their email list but you probably have more information than you think. For example, where did the lead/email come from? Was it through a contest; the website, or an in-person collection?  Where was the form filled out?  Location and source of lead can be great ways to start your targetted email campaign.

When sending out an email campaign, make sure it is segmented by a specific category/customer profiles and then personalized.  Email campaigns that utilize segmented lists have a 50% higher click-through rate. Utilizing segmented email campaigns will also help achieve a higher conversion rate with the next technique.

  1. Automated Email Campaigns

We all get them, emails on a seemingly random basis that offer us different deals for retailers, conferences, products and services at different times of the year.  These emails can come in the form of offering free promoted content such as a whitepapers or eBooks to get us to click to a website or a 40% off coupon.  These deals are extremely effective at making a customer feel personally tied to the brand as they appear to be completely customized to them.

If you plan to run a success email marketing campaign you have to remember you are trying to nurture your customers and show them that you care about them personally.  Automated campaigns can feel extremely cold if you don’t target them to the specific audience you are trying to convert with a specific message that appears personal.

Some techniques that help to drive successful campaigns:

  • Vary your content, this can be through different offerings, different incentives or different calls to action
  • Create a calendar of when your email campaigns are scheduled to run this can be part of your overall digital calendar you create that includes social postings or promotions
  • Utilize an automation tool and set up your varying campaigns through that
  1. Promoted Content

Just like an email campaign can work from some, other business find that promoted content works best.  Case studies, whitepapers, e-Books are all great examples of content, but they can’t stand alone.  Having great content is not the challenge it is getting it seen by your target audience that is the real challenge.  The reason you created this content, free or paid is to drive people to find out more about you and you can do that through a variety of means.

Promoting posts on social media channels in a targeted way can be a great way to introduce you content to a new audience.  Promoted posts can be either paid or unpaid.

If you are sharing content with an Influencer, it is highly recommended that you put a . before the @. Why you ask? If you tweet something at someone without the period, the only people that will see it are people that follow both of you, great if you want to tweet something amongst friends, not so great if you are trying to great viral content.  For example, if I wanted to tweet out the whitepaper I just created on Nature vs. Nurture to someone I think may retweet it  and expand my reach but not have the reach I could say:

  • .@SreWebSolutions check out this new whitepaper I created on #naturevsnurture in #business #internetmarketing

Another technique involves piggybacking on viral topics, trending posts or articles, or feature content.  There are several different ways to do this; however, if you are trying to promote content you have already created there are several tools out there.  I prefer to use Sniply to promote my content within others content because it is simple and I find potential leads are less turned off because the misdirection is less noticeable. This is the nurturing factor, you want to put your content in front of potential leads without them feeling like you are trying to sell them something.

Keys when you are developing promoted content:

  • Make it skimmable
  • Use headlines that encourage someone to pause and read
  • Stick to one problem you are identifying a solution for

The Call to Action (CTA)

Whether you are talking about body copy in your email or copy on your website, a call to action must be specific and must be utilizing the old newspaper term “above the fold” meaning a reader should not have to scroll in the email or on the website to find what you want them to do.  If you take a look at Amazon’s website, New for You is always above the scroll.

You never want to confuse your readers/visitors about what you want them to do because a confused customer is more likely to bounce from the site or not delete the email without clicking through.

Calls to Action must be:

  • Clear
  • Simple
  • Concise

CTAs that are original and directly state what you want the customer to do have a higher CTR and conversion rate than those that are indirect and unoriginal, don’t let your customers find out you borrowed copy from a competitor.  Customers will shy away from CTRs that have “the fine print” at the bottom especially if they feel suckered into paying for something.  Instead you want to go back to the nurturing mindset, make sure they understand there is no commitment this helps build trust.  You also want to make them feel like they are special and you want them, encouraging them to click with an incentive is important.  Remember you are telling them why they should waste their time and even more importantly in today’s day and age, their data, getting to another page.

Your call to action should avoid asking for money until it absolutely necessary

You want your potential customers to ultimately come to the conclusion of buying before you ever have to ask.  Think about it like this, when you go and buy a car you ultimately want to believe you decided what car is right for you and your situation, not have a sales person directly tell you what car you should drive and charge you for features you don’t need, the same should be said online.  It is more challenging to be the guy that gets a customer to buy online because you aren’t typically sitting with the customer and they have the world searchable at their fingertips to find reviews and your competitors.  But your call to action in an advertisement, mailer, email campaign, or direct content your website can help by making the customer question, “Why not you?” for the service.

It’s All About Nurturing your Leads

It’s easy to say you are going to be able to write effective copy, unfortunately not everyone does it. Internet marketing is about making your connections feel special, making them feel like the offer or Call to Action is just for them, internet marketing has to have the personal touch of in-person customer service.  Remember, it is simpler to nurture a lead that is on the fence about buying your product than it is to try and nurture your way into someone’s heart from the get go.  Allow nature to kick-start the process for you and then add the nurturing factor in to seal the deal. 

 

 

#ItsYourThing Product Testing

New Year…New You, it always seems to be someone’s motto around me after the ball drops.  But then by the end of January to mid-February, everyone seems to be back to their old habits.

On the go snackOver the Christmas holiday, I received the #ItsYourThing VoxBox from Influenster and SlimFast.  I love the days I receive a new #voxbox because I love product testing! To be honest, I was looking for a way to refresh, just like everyone else but I have never been a show off what you are doing type of person.  I am all for a new way of doing things and blogging about it but taking pictures showing people what I am eating really isn’t for me; however, throwing the new SlimFast products into my daily routine when I was on the go was extremely handy.

busy at work snackBrian and I had been trying to get back into our Paleo routine which we had paused over the Christmas Holiday but that has been a different type of struggle and SlimFast is not a Paleo substitute.  What I liked about this box was the fact that everything could be eaten on the go. I am really into Protein Shakes right now, so the Slim Fast Advance Nutrition Chocolate Shake was really nice to have at work in the midst of all the project stuff I have going on.#slimfast

I grabbed the SlimFast Advance Nutrition 100 calorie sour cream and onion baked crisps in between work and practice.  Sadly I was disappointed by the staleness of them.  I have had better and I think I would lean towards the Special K Sour Cream & Onion Crisp if I was going to have this snack again.

Right before my game later that week after I was running late from a meeting on a day I had missed lunch, I was lucky I had stuck the Meal Replacement Bar in my bag.  It kept me satisfied until the end of the game when I could have a real dinner.  I don’t know if I would say it was a true meal replacement  but it definitely helped keep me focused on my team and not my stomach.

#ItsyourthingThe 100 calorie cinnamon bun swirl crisps were a nice sweet treat.  There is nothing super special about them; however, I liked them more than the other 100 calorie pack I received.

Overall, am I not sold on SlimFast as 100% lifestyle change, I like the protein shakes the best which makes sense because that was their first real product.  But I do believe that #ItsYourThing is a great campaign for woman and for anyone who is trying to lead a healthy lifestyle.  Because at the end of the day it isn’t about it being a new year or being a new you, it’s about being the best you can be all the time.

"I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes."

#VitaVoxBox

#vitavoxboxWhat does the word VITALITY actually mean? When I received the news that I would be receiving the Influenster #VitaVoxBox I had to stop and think about what it could actually contain, what products would I be testing and reviewing. Would it be all health and wellness items? Would it be make-up that makes you look younger? Would it be fitness related? What did Vitality mean to Influenster?

Well I loved the box that Influenster came up with for this campaign; however, I am extremely jealous of those who received the Keurig box which included the new Keurig 2.0! I really want to try that new brewer because I make 2-3 cups a day with my single cup Keurig but it can get expensive using multiple K-cups to satisfy that caffeine addiction. But I digress! Included in the #VitaVoxBox was a nice range of products that complimented each other very well. You had things like Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons (you can never have enough of those if you are a girl), Elizabeth Arden Serum for younger lively looking skin, First Degree Burn Cream, a SoftLips cube, Bikini Ready energy gummies, and Pure Leaf Tea.

tamponsI am a big proponent for girls getting free tampons and when they are the ones I use….even better! As an active girl, you really cannot go wrong with Playtex Sport and the Fresh Balance adds a nice soft odor to a sometimes…uncomfortable situation.

#loveofleavesAs a caffeine drinker I like to switch it up between tea and coffee depending on my mood and the day. I have tea K-Cups as well as coffee ones because you never know in the morning if it will feel like a tea kind of day or a big cup of coffee kind of morning (The work world is complicated!). So receiving the Pure Leaf bottle of tea was welcomed because it gave me a nice option to bring iced tea to work and have it during the afternoon slump post-lunch.

Energy GummiesThe Bikini Ready gummies were not something that I would necessarily ever buy myself; I would however, look into trying out the protein powder that they also have in their product line. I love coming home and making a protein shake or smoothie after a nice hard work-out so that would definitely be something I would use. I am hoping that I can earn a top spot in that badge so that I can try out the other products in the line and make a better judgment on the brand as a whole.

The First Degree Burn cream is #burnshappenawesome though I haven’t had to use it yet which I am not complaining about! I have my own aloe plant that Brian and I use if we burn ourselves typically but having an actual cream that you can apply is a nice safety net. We now keep the burn cream in the bathroom for my hair straightener accidents which is super convenient. I cannot count the times I have unfortunately burned my finger with my straightener because I have to keep it on the hottest setting because of my thick hair!

#flawlessfutureI never would have thought that I liked the Elizabeth Arden products but I really like the appearance it gives to my skin. It is not super oily which I tend to have a problem with when using certain products like this because I have naturally oily skin but this works very nicely. It takes approximately two pumps of the serum to cover my whole face. Not that I am trying to make my skin look younger but giving it a fresh look is something every girl wants to have.

Finally the last product in the box – the SoftLips cube! I have carried this with me practically everywhere. I have taken it with me to concerts, to work, to training and to the gym – it is great! My only complaint is that it is an awkward shape to take out in a little clutch or wristlet but if you have a big purse you are golden! It keeps my lips super hydrated and does not make me feel like I have to keep applying more and more like certain other brands who shall remain nameless.

#getcubedI am such a fan of Influenster and the work they are doing serving as a market research distributor to their network of bloggers and social media users. It is such a nice tool for companies to be able to utilize and I am so pleased that I am a part of the process. This is my fourth box so far and I hope to receive many more in the future! I love that I really feel that the box is geared towards me and my interests because as a marketing person, I feel like that is exactly what companies want when they give out free trial products, they want their target user to try the products and get hooked!

*I received these products complimentary of Influenster for marketing research purposes!*

"I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes."

#GoVoxBox

Finally it is here!  I was very excited to receive my #GoVoxBox from Influenster.  This was something that completely interested me because of its health related nature.  As I am about to start training for my half marathon I was excited to be picked to be a part of this program.  There were a lot of health products associated with the box which was really nice to see.  It was also crazy because it was like this box was made for me and my terrible athletic feet and love of baths and smoothies.

tamponsOn a side note, when you sign up for Influenster you are allowed to pick five expert badges which are based on your interests.  You are limited with these because no one can be an expert at everything so Influenster wants to help you focus on what you actually know.  One of my expert badges is called the Six Pack Badge which has to do with health and wellness.  

Like the #UniVoxBox this box had the new Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons.  This was awesome because as any girl knows, you can always use more tampons and when they are FREE….even better.  I love the Playtex Sport Brand so I was definitely excited to get another box of them.  You can see my post Play It On for more information regarding the Playtex brand.

mueller almondsThe next product in the box was Blueberry Almonds by Blue Diamond!  I am a fan of almonds especially for snacking at work or in class.  The Blue Diamond brand has created a really awesome product.  Who would have thought almonds could be blueberry flavored?  These were really unique and I have never really tasted anything like it.  When you think of cocoa dusted almonds, this is a similar product just with a blueberry dusting.  I am excited to try the other varieties of this spinoff of cocoa almonds; however, as a girl and a chocolate lover, I think the cocoa dusted almonds may always been #1 in my heart.

muller greek yogurtAnother awesome part about Influenster that I really enjoy and this was my first experience with it – is that not all products come in the box, some you have to go to the store and pick out yourself.  This was the case with Muller yogurt.  I like this concept because it means that products that could spoil are not ruled out from boxes.  When I went to the store there were several different kinds to try out.  I like to try all the different brand’s versions of Greek yogurt so I went with the Muller Greek Yogurt Corner.  I selected the Honeyed Apricot because it sounded unique.  It was delicious and creamy.  I think I like this version of apricot better than the Chobani version of apricot.

orthodicTwo products in the box were from Profoot Care.  There was a set of orthodics and a pedicure rock.  The orthodics were a little small for my feet I found, but will work nicely as a back up set.  I have extremely high arches so I have worn custom orthodics in my basketball shoes all throughout college.  Obviously something that comes in a box is not going to be as customized to me but they are definitely a nice backup but I would not use them if I was to go run long distances or play basketball.

The second item, the pedi rock – is awesome!  My teammates used to joke that I had the grossest feet on the team!  Honestly I do because during season I am not worried about getting pedicures because they will get ruined after one practice, why waste the money. The rock would have been awesome to have after a long practice! I really enjoy it and am looking forward to my boyfriend not saying, “I have the best feet in the relationship”, because now I will.pedi rock

aqua spa body lotionThis box was so full it was exciting to go through and find out what variety of the products you got.  When it came to Aqua Spa, I received the Lavender + Chamomile body lotion.  It smells amazing.  I like using it after a long post-workout showers or baths.  I think I will end up using the lotion in the evenings more because the scent tends to make me sleepy.

next step shakerFinally the last company that was included in this Vox Box was Vitamin Shoppe.  They included 3 of their new meal replacement shakes and a shaker bottle to make them in.  So far I have only tried the chocolate version and found it very rich when prepared as the package directions say with water but found it much more enjoyable with soy milk.  next step shakeNow I am not trying to use it as a weight loss tool so that helps me have more flexibility on how I prepare the shakes.  I really do like the shaker bottle.  It is really easy to clean and use and the lid does not stick shut like some blender bottles I have had.  When I try the next two shakes I plan to make one with soy milk and the other into a smoothie!

So I have been apart of Influenster since the very end of January and I have already received 3 boxes.  I can’t wait to receive another Vox Box from Influenster in the future because the last three have been so good! I do not know why anyone wouldn’t want to be a part of this awesome service.  Who wouldn’t want to sign-up, receive free products that are customized to them and then give the companies their feedback?  What is great is you feel like the companies are actually listening to you and you are helping them improve their products!

"I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes."

I am Making the Switch

Rimmel Stay Matte SwitchNow, typically I am a low maintenance makeup girl.  I love getting dressed up for a night out with the girls or for date night but when it comes down to going to class, unless I have work before I am a throw on some sweats, braid up my hair and add a bit of mascara type of girl.  Call me an athlete, call me a bum – it really doesn’t matter to me, I would rather be comfortable.

But when I received the Rimmell London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation in my #UniVoxBox from Influenster I thought, why not give it a shot.  First off, let me say I am still that girl that loves her sweats and my no fuss no muss days.  But I also like how this foundation is so simple to use and the “glowing” effect it leaves on my skin.

IMG_2133Often times when you get liquid makeup it can have a weird makeup smell to it – this is not the case with this foundation.  It is so light weight that I barely feel like I am wearing makeup.

Last Saturday it was time for a night out with the girls. So here is the transformation my skin went through.  As you can see in the first picture I had a healing pimple on my cheek at the beginning.

I want to note that I did use my Clean & Clear Advantage Lotion prior to putting the foundation on.  In the winter time my skin tends to dry out or feel tight more than the summer so I wanted to make sure that it didn’t throughout the night.  I love that lotion because it doesn’t feel like it clogs the pores, it is light and it helps clear the skin of most blemishes.

applying the makeupApplying the makeup is very easy.  All you have to do is use about a dime size circle, maybe a little less or more depending on your face shape and size.  I kind of just blotch it on all over the major areas of my face as seen in picture number two.  I do want to note, make sure that you either have a loose shirt on, a shirt you don’t care about or one you do not mind getting dirty if you have to change immediately or you can get ready before doing your makeup which is something I normally do not do.  This particular time I was using the makeup, I had a bit to let me makeup “sink in” so that I didn’t have to worry about it getting on my going out clothes. IMG_2136

As you are blending the makeup make sure you are getting the areas around your eyes, jawline etc.  If you get it on your lips wet a wash cloth to help take it off.  Don’t worry about getting it into your eyebrows either, you can use the same process to get it out of your eyebrows without taking it off from the rest of your face.

After the makeup has been applied to my face and rubbed in – to my liking – then it is time to add the mascara that is shown in the picture number below.  You can notice how the pimple that was quite apparent on my face at the beginning nearly disappears.

My face looks to much brighter, clean with very limited shine! This is exactly what you want when you are having a night out with the girls and know you are going to be taking a lot of pictures (which we definitely did)!

finished makupMy face looked good I was excited to put on my new outfit and celebrate my birthday with the girls.  To complete the look, I added a shadow eye-shadow, a blue eyeliner and a touch of bronzer. Bronzer blends really well with this foundation I found out.  Then I added a bit of gel to my hair to give it that little bit of curl/wave.former competitors turned teammates

It was a great night with the girls and this was one look I will definitely be using again! I am making the #StayMatteSwitch to this foundation!

Love these girls

 

It’s a Girl Thing

First let me warn any of my readers who are of the male variety that this post is strictly targeted towards females and feminine products.  But if you are the type of boyfriend that buys your girlfriend tampons, please read on for a recommendation!

playtex fresh balanceWhen I finally got my Influenster #UniVoxBox the most anticipated product for me was the Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons.  I currently use the Playtex Sport brand anyway so really I was thinking, free tampons what girl doesn’t want that? I have used the Sport brand mainly for the purpose of being an athlete and I thought they were really well marketed.  When I was younger I loved the colors that were featured on the boxes and because they didn’t cost more than their complimentary product I knew they were made for me and my fast paced life.

Now, I am not a scented tampon type of person.  I like the unscented just because I do not understand why they need to be scented.  But after trying these out I think I really like how light of a scent they have.  It is not super strong but it is just enough.

acticeI am extremely active and go to the gym a regular basis if not everyday, 6 days a week for at least a quick workout.  Being a college athlete my life does not stop because I have my period, it just can’t, so I needed a tampon that could keep up with me when I am working hard.  I have never really had a problem with this brand from the applicator (except on the rare occasion as listed in the complaint below) to leak protection while in motion.  This is the brand that our training room carries for all female athletes to have access too so they must be doing something right.RIT women's basketball

 

One complaint I have about the Playtex (plastic applicators) in general is when the two parts separate if you pull to hard before using it.  Restringing and putting the pieces back together to be able to use it is annoying but that is not in particular to just the Fresh Balance but the entire Playtex tampon line.

My biggest disappointment with receiving this product was getting a box that was only one size.  It would have been ideal to receive a mixed variety box but you can’t really complain about something you receive for free!

"I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes."What I have found through receiving this product from Influenster is that I love the Playtex website. I think it is designed the way that the target audience of these tampons want it.  It is very female empowering rather than being super girly.  The website also offers discount coupons for its users to print out.  If they could add a digital coupon button that would make it even better so you can store the coupon in your smart phone and not have to print it out.  Another complaint I have about the website is it runs slow compared to many other sites for having limited content the load time is not good.  A final recommendation I would make to Playtex is to optimize the title tag on the fresh balance page (just my online marketer coming out)!

If you already use the Playtex Sport line – give this product a try and see if you like it better! Overall it is still the same product with a “fresh” scent added to the unscented variety they have sold for years.

 

Tea in the Time of a Vine

When I received the Red Rose Tea Water Enhancer through Influenster to try I was skeptical if I would use it more than once.  But now I can honestly say I have used it everyday because it is so quick.  Whether it is for iced tea on the go, an afternoon tea doing homework or a warm cup of tea…this product can do it all.

Real TeaI received the Black Tea flavor.  I still think that I like fruit flavored iced tea better; however, this flavor is warming up to me.  I have tried many different combinations to see if anything made it better than just regular tea.

I have found adding a few drops of lemon to it adds that extra kick.  The same thing can be said for making a half and half (Arnold Palmer).  I like to make the iced tea with the water enhancer and then make a glass of lemonade and then combined them.

I am really excited to try the other flavors of the water enhancers that Red Rose Tea has developed.  Once I finish the Black Tea flavor I plan to go out and buy the Blackcurrent Raspberry which is definitely a flavor I am interested in trying!

Check out my vine that shows how quick and simple it is to make your tea and be out the door!

Getting Google AdWords Certified

For me, working in SEM, getting AdWords certified was a no brainer.  The question was -when I was going to have the time to take the exam.  When I received my promotion at work, it was clear that I needed to get certified.  Finishing up your degree while working in a position similar to one which you would hope to get after college is hard work.  When you work in an agency, balancing your college experience and remembering when you are in the office you are a professional, can be hard.  So I decided to take the exam during my spring break because I had the time to put in the hours to study or so I thought.

Sadly, my brain was fried from the previous quarter and balancing everything that more sleeping happened than studying.  My first go at the exam was on a Thursday and I will be the first to admit, I failed because I did not put in the effort that was actually needed.

Because I was still new to using AdWords all the time in my profession, I was not familiar with all the required elements for the exam.  I took the advanced search exam the following day and passed but had to wait 7 days to retake the fundamental exam to get officially certified.  I was able to retake the exam a week later after I had actually studied for the exam and took a lot of notes.  I actually learned a lot of practical topics that I use in my current job at the agency.  I sat for the

When taking the exam you need to understand some basic topics:

  • Understanding the different metrics and areas of AdWords.
  • Know the different metrics such as Click Thru Rate (CTR), Conversion Rate, Clicks.
  • Understand how to achieve the goal you want.
  • Know how to use AdWords Editor
  • Know how to Target different groups of people.
  • What changes can be made at the different levels such as campaign vs. ad group.
  • Access levels.
  • MCC accounts

The Adwords exam was nerve-racking because you need to achieve the following scores:

  • On the Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam, a passing score is 85%.
  • On the Search Advertising Advanced Exam, a passing score is 80%
  • On the Display Exam, a passing score is 70%

These may sound simple; however, you need to achieve these scores with a locked screen which really means the test before proceeding makes you download a screen block which only allows you to see that screen for the duration of the exam.  In order to gain certification you must pass the Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam and one of the advanced exams: Search or Display.  I choose to take search because I was more familiar with that area of AdWords.

It is important to note that a Google certification last for two years, after that you will need to retake the exam.  Each exam costs $50; however, if your company is part of the Google Certification Program you may be able to gain access to the exam at no cost to you.

Another thing to remember when reading this blog and any other blog on this topic is that Google has the right to change the exam at any time.  They are constantly changing different areas of the exam including time, number of questions, concepts, questions, level of difficulty, etc.  When I took the exam I had two hours for 90 questions on one part and 112 questions on the other part (give or take a few questions).  AdWords is constantly changing and now with Enhanced Campaigns I am sure the exam will change even further.    Just study the material and you will be fine.

If you have any questions about getting certified, feel free to send me a message I would be happy to help out a fellow search marketer.

Certification

Discounts for College Students

If you are a typical college student, you are probably always trying to find a deal, a discount, a coupon, or avoiding spending money period. But did you know a lot of stores have student discounts, they just do not advertise their store’s discounts for students publicly?

Crazy when one thinks about it, you may be out shopping at a retail store and paying full or sale price when you could be saving an additional five to fifteen percent off, just for being a student. It is a nice way to justify your excessive college tuition payments.

Dairy Queen Logo

The problem with these student discounts in franchise stores is that it is up to the franchise owner to offer these discounts and train their employees to honor these discounts. Recently I encountered this problem on a Dairy Queen run with a few friends. We ordered our Blizzards and told the cashier we were students. The store front employee told us that there was no student discount offered at Dairy Queen. I would take this as a franchise right to not observe a student discount; however, another friend of mine had visited the same DQ just a week earlier and received the student discount.

Businesses need to be careful about training their employees consistently and holding their practices true to the company standards. Maybe this is not a big issue but the inconsistency reflects on the business as a whole. Now, is it going to stop me from going to DQ no, but it did give me reason to right this blog post.

I wanted to share other stores that do offer student discounts.

New York and CompanyClothing Retailers:

  •  NYC
  • J. Crew
  • Ann Taylor
  • Ralph Lauren Rugby
  • ShoeBuy
  • Forever 21
  • Banana Republic
  • Charlotte Russe
  • The Limited


Food Chains (remember they can be up to the franchise owner’s):

  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Subway
  • Chipotle
  • Dairy Queen
  • Waffle House

Misc.: 

  • Barnes and Noble
  • eCampus
  • Sam’s Club
  • New York Times
  • 24 Hour Fitness
  • State Farm
  • Greyhound
  • Apple

These are just a few of the many different categories of brands and companies that offer student discounts.

Who knew carrying your student ID around could be so beneficial and just in time for the holidays.

Strong is Beautiful

“I hate my butt, my hips, my thighs, my legs, my shoulders, my knees. My butt is too big, my thighs are too fat, my legs are too long, my shoulders are too broad, my hips are too wide, and my knees are too bruised. I hate my body.” Millions of young women have problems with self-body image. Nearly every person in the world sees flaws in his or her own body, but it’s the self-hate that can bring someone down. Instead of seeing the beauty in the differences of one’s figure, a good percentage of the population turns to hating his or her own body and communicating that through emotional and physical harm.My Shoulders It is a common occurrence among the athletic portion of the world, especially the female athletes to self-hate on the body that she has created for herself. In a world driven by the media’s perception of beauty, where the only accepted beauty comes in the form of a size 00 model, Nike comes through and shows young athletes it is okay for a woman to work hard and build muscle. Nike for Women’s message in the ad campaign is to show young athletes and women that any strong body is a perfect body.

Ad campaigns come in many forms. Some companies choose to run a campaign with a series of the same athlete selling one specific product, while others choose to do one ad per product. Nike tries to connect with the “average” person through using non-famous figures. In the case of the Nike for Women campaign, Nike uses large standout images of women’s body parts, which are often problem areas for women, as the main focal point of each ad in the series. The primary focus of the ad is to portray to athletes that athletics do not make one ugly, bruises and muscle tone are a sign of hard work. A few of the ads reinforce the idea that it is important to be proud of the body you have, there are body parts people can’t change including the size of one’s hips and the length of one’s legs. It is important to just be proud and love the body you have been given. No two bodies are ever going to be exactly the same and Nike tries to encourage all women to love her own personalized body.

The company attempts to attack the viewer’s self-esteem by targeting the major problem body parts of a woman’s figure. This is an attempt to create the idea amongst the target audience, women, that females who wear Nike have a better self-image. The ad campaign appeared in several publications including Seventeen, a magazine geared toward young girls typically between the ages of 13 and 19. Seventeen has a current campaign which aims to create a positive self-body image amongst its readers. Nike’s campaign was able to appear side-by-side with Seventeen’s “Body Peace Project”.

Nike has established credibility through its own long-term customer base. Nike for Women is a more recently added product line. The idea created by the corporation was revolutionary. At the time it first appeared on the market it was one of a kind, the very first line designed with just women in mind. In athletics, women typically come second to men, and Nike creates the relationship that women are just as good as men and are not second-best in athletic training. The products designed for the new line are created with a women’s body in mind and allow for more comfort and form appeal. The alterations made to the previous models of clothes include: more padding in the soles of the shoes, wider sneakers, or stronger sports bras. The popular enterprise designs with specific needs in mind and always put the customer first. The company does not only create one size and expect its customers to fit only one mold. Nike understands that women come in all different shapes and sizes and the company believes that any size is beautiful.

The campaign is not only addressing the main issue of improving self-body image amongst women in general; it also focuses on the smaller issue such as the fact that athletes are going to be bigger than the typical “thin” person due to the element that he or she works out and creates muscle mass on his or her body. This idea is common throughout the athletic community, mainly the female population, because of the fact that certain clothing brands don’t fit over “fat” thighs, “plump” hips, “broad” shoulders, or “junk in the trunk”. It can be easy for a female to fall into an eating disorder to slim down and lose a few pounds, but Nike shows women that athletic bodies are just as beautiful as a non-athletic figure.

There is an old sexist statement, “women can’t play sports” often causes some women to shy away from being athletic. The physicality of female sports can be intimidating for any man and is often the cause for this sexist statement. The idea that some women can take on a man is threatening to the male. There are several fallacies of emotion that the ad campaign targets including the idea that bruises are ugly and girls who have them are ugly as well or untouchable or unmarryable, as seen in the ad about “My Knees”. Bruises simply show one is tough. Girls need to be happy with their own body; negatively downing something they have created causes more emotional stabilization problems than it is worth. Any girl’s body is beautiful; any girl can play any sport just as well as any boy, and muscle on a girl means that she is tough and focused on a goal.

Body image is a hard topic to cover in print. Creating one visual that appeals to all people in the population is nearly impossible, but Nike makes every attempt to create a campaign to promote positive body image and body respect to women athletes. The images and words combined in the campaign portray the message of self-respect. Athletes are powerful and therefore need a powerful body to support the strong mental attitude. The colors of the ads are pink and purple in an attempt to connect to the female target audience. In the ad focusing on the knees, the words are slanted in the way a knee bends. In the ad concentrating on the shoulders, the words are curved like the back of a female or the curve of a shoulder. My ButtThe words in the My Butt ad curve and form a backwards C just as a round butt curves. To go along with the placement of the words, the designs of the pictures are meant to represent any woman. The viewer’s eyes are immediately drawn to the bodily feature being defined, in hopes of inspiring the observer. The ads contain no faces or recognizable features of anyone besides the assets that are the center of focus for the ad. For example, in the ad concentrating on the thighs, the model’s shorts are extremely short accentuating the extremely defined muscles in her thighs. The ad for strong legs enhances the strength of a pair of long legs. Everything in the ad is placed with a purpose, from the slant of a word to the colors in the background. Placement means everything. Specific visuals are a key component to any ad campaign and Nike’s My Body campaign is no different. Each ad is specifically designed to create a positive image in the viewer’s mind about that particular body part.

My LegsThe belief that any shape or size is beautiful is not just an idea sponsored by Nike for Women; it is also sponsored by the entire Nike Company. This can be seen through the Just Do It slogan appearing at the end of each poem on each ad. The slogan “Just Do It” is the main company slogan that appears on nearly every ad campaign sponsored by Nike. Just Do It gives every female the empowerment to go out and do her best everyday no matter what sport, training, job, or day to day activity it is.

The beauty of this ad campaign is that it can run all year long because anyone can train at any given point during the year. Nike has developed products that fit the needs of women training in any weather condition. The beauty of athletic training is one can always cross-train indoors or put a jacket on and run outside; there are always ways to be active. Nike gear allows anyone (with any body type) to be given the opportunity to be an athlete and love the body they have been given.

Negative body image is a huge issue all over the world especially in the United States. Millions of people, a large percentage of which are women, struggle with poor self-image. Nike strives to create a positive image for all women through its My Body campaign, sponsored by Nike for Women. The series shows that having bruises proves one is

My Thighs

tough, sculpted shoulders are not something to hide in large baggy sweatshirts but something to be proud of and show to the world. The connections Nike makes to tug at the emotions of woman are countless the main point is that curves define a woman, no two bodies are going to be the same, but every body is beautiful. Women need to stop self-hating on every flaw they see on their bodies. Hard work deserves praise, not disapproval, especially by one’s self. Through the Nike for Women ad campaign, Nike attempts to create the idea that every figure is beautiful.

My Knees