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Launching an App: Q’s Before Developing Your Marketing Strategy and Plan

December 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I want to start off with some of the questions that you’ll want to know the answers to as you are developing your app marketing strategy. If you haven’t started to think about the answers, take a little bit of time do it before you continue to develop your marketing plan. You’ll discover that it is much easier to develop the strategy and tactical plan if you have done the research to answer these questions first.

If you don’t know the answer to a specific question don’t worry, take  a stab at answering it and make educated guesses. For example I didn’t know what the value of an app user would be, but I did know data about usage of our mobile site. I used the mobile site usage data to make an apx value of the app user to determine that I was willing to pay (hypothetically) $3.50 per app download. This then allowed me to look at the different marketing tactics to determine which ones could generate downloads at the estimated cost of $3.50 or less.

Here is the list of questions you should try to answer:

  • What are you trying to accomplish? What are you goals for the app launch?
  • What is the approximate value of an app download/user for your company? (Another take on this question: How much are you willing to spend for an app download?)
  • How do you expect users to find your app?  Will you have an app specific landing page on your website/blog/social media?
  • Who are your competitors (websites + apps)?
    • How many app downloads have your competitors had?
    • Are your competitors apps free or paid? How does your price point compare?
  • How is your app different from your competitors? (Key Differentiators)

The reason I recommend you think about these questions before moving forward with developing your marketing strategy/game plan is because it will help you understand what is reasonable and what tactics you might want to use to promote your app. Prior to our app launch we had a lot of discussions about what our goal should be for total app downloads generated from our marketing and PR campaigns. Almost everyone wanted the goal to be 100K app downloads within the first 30 days of launch, and it was my role as Director of Marketing to determine if that was reasonable and achievable to provide feedback to the executive leadership and Board members. By asking and answering the questions above I was able to make my recommendation as to what would be a reasonable app download goal and what would be a stretch goal if we got the expected media coverage + feature app or editorial app pick.

Other questions you might want to investigate before developing your marketing plan:

  • If you know in advance that you won’t be able to advertise your app on your website, do you have another way to inform your users that the app is available? Can you get the development of an app specific landing page on your site in the future?
  • How many app downloads can I get from traffic from my website?
    • How much traffic will go to the mobile app landing page?
    • What % of that traffic am I estimating will transfer off to the App Store for download? (Transfer Rate)
    • What % of the transfers am I expecting will download and install the app? (Conversion Rate or Install Rate)
  • Can I install a SMS Text tool that will send a link to download the app directly to someones smart phone? How much am I willing to pay for this?

The next installation in the series will go over some of the best practices I learned from launching the Decide.com & Bing iPhone apps, as well as from interviews I did with other marketers who were responsible for launching apps in the last 12-14 months.

Thanks!
Christi

Categories: App Store, Apps, iTunes, KPIs, Mobile

Developing a SEO Strategy Plan for your website|Part 1 Objectives and KPIs

December 17, 2010 Leave a comment

I recently took a new job at Microsoft and am expanding my role beyond the paid search realm and diving into the fun and excitement of organic search. One of the tenants of my new position is to develop a SEO strategy plan, implement said plan and monitor and report the progress made in improving our organic search rankings. This is the process I’ve gone through as I’ve pulled together my SEO Strategy plan for our website, and how I’ve thought through the process.

  1. Understand where you are
  2. Determine where you need to go
  3. Land your objectives by identifying key tactics and the corresponding KPIs
  4. Develop scorecards to track KPIs and to measure progress
  5. Audit and work with site managers to fix 10-15 pages each month to ensure that we’re constantly improving site performance
  6. Start over!

This seems simple enough, but for some reason it’s easier said than done. I’ve got a mountain ahead of me to acheive the my manager and GM’s mission of:  “Establish organic search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search engine marketing (SEM) as an integral part of the global digital strategy which delivers high volume of qualified traffic to consumer marketing properties.”

My objective was to find ways to improve our organic search listings to reverse the trend of stagnant to downward trending traffic growth over the past 3 years and to do so in such a manner that SEO becomes a part of the site management and digital stragtegy process. After talking with several of my colleagues I landing on the following framework for developing my high level objectives along with the KPI’s that we would use to measure sucess.

 SEO Objectives and KPIs

 Part 1 of my objective is acomplished. I’ve determined at a high level what it is that we need to do on a regular basis. Now I’ve got to identify and set the smaller tactical items for each of these main objectives, identify KPIs for each item, and develop my baselines!

Categories: KPIs, SEO

Determining KPIs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

the first article of this series I discussed what key performance indicators (KPIs) are and why it is important to define them. Unfortunately there isn’t a one size fits all model for which KPIs are right for you and your business. The next step is for you to look at your business and website and then compare what’s important to you to the metrics based on the purpose of your site.

First let’s begin with a homework assignment. Take 10-15 minutes and answer the following questions:

  1. What is the purpose of your website?

a) Promotional & Service Based Site

b) eCommerce Site

c) Lead Generation Site

d) Support Site

e) Social Networking/Community Site

f) Portal & Content Site

  1. What are the top goals of your website? (Try to list 3-5)
  2. What are the top goals of your company? (Try to list 2-3)

Examples of KPIs

Now let us look at your answers and go over some examples of KPIs based on the purpose of your site. You might find that your site has multiple purposes, don’t worry! It will mean that you will want to evaluate the aspects of your marketing campaign individually based on the goals.

  • ALL websites regardless of type:
    • Site Abandonment Rate
    • Landing Page Abandonment Rate (also referred to Site Stickiness)
    • User Retention Rate (ratio of new to returning users)
    • Unique Users (UU)
    • Time on Site
    • Page Views (pathing of PVs is also very important if you have a purchase or lead generation funnel)
    • Sessions per User; Sessions per UU
    • Lifetime Value of a Customer
  • eCommerce KPIs: You’re selling something tangible
    • Conversions
    • Transactions/Purchases
    • Pay per Call (1-800)
    • Non Revenue Conversions
    • Wish List Creation
    • Event Registry Creation
    • Product Page Views

    Non-Revenue KPIs:

    • % of wish listed items purchased
    • Amount of Time items remain in wish list
    • Active vs Non Active users
    • Conversion Rate
    • Conversion Path Analysis
    • Account Creation
    • # Items In Shopping Cart
    • Shopping Cart Abandonment
    • Total # of Sales
    • Total Revenue (Total # sales * average sale * profit margin = Total Revenue)
    • Average Order Value
    • Revenue per Acquisition
    • Cost per Acquisition
    • ROAS, ROI
    • Customer Lifetime Value

    Lead Generation: You’re enticing the user to contact you for something (information, product, etc)

    • Revenue Generating Conversion Events
    • Request for more information
    • Get Quote requests
    • Pay Per Call (1-800) transactions
    • Form Completions
    • If the form is multipage—Completion per section of form
    • Conversion Rate
    • Cost per Conversion
    • Conversion Path Analysis
    • % of false lead data to good lead data
    • Ratio of Leads to Close
    • Revenue generated from closed leads
    • ROI, ROAS
  • Non-Revenue Generating Conversion Events

    • Contact Us completions
    • New Account Sign Ups
    • News Letter Sign Ups
    • RSS feed subscriptions
    • Twitter Following Subscription
    • Social Networking Site Connection
  • Service or Support: You’re selling a service or supporting a product
    • Conversions
      • Contact Us completions
      • Request for more information
      • Web Chats started
      • Forums accessed
    • Non-Revenue Conversions
      • News Letter Sign Ups
      • New Account Sign Up
      • Podcast subscription
      • RSS feed subscription
      • Twitter Following subscription
      • Social Networking Site connection
    • Searches per Session
    • Searches per UU (or User)
    • Page Views
      • White Papers/Articles Accessed
      • Videos Viewed
    • Case Study Downloads
    • % Of users on site for less than 1 minute
  • Content Based: You’re selling media placements and driving traffic into your site via articles, user generated content, social networking, etc
    • Page Views per Clicks
    • Page Views per User
    • Forums/Comments accessed per User
    • Return Visits per Month
    • CPM Based KPIs
      • Impressions per Site Page
      • Impressions per Section of Site
      • CPM Revenue
      • Delivered to Sold Ad Inventory
      • Remnant/Make Good ad delivery to Rev. Generating ad deliver
    • Non-Revenue Conversions
      • News Letter Sign Ups
      • New Account Sign Up
      • Podcast subscription
      • RSS feed subscription
      • Twitter Following subscription
      • Social Networking Site connection
    • Non-Revenue Conversion follow on KPIs
      • Subscription to Cancellation Ratio
      • Length of Subscription
      • CPA, ROI

Do your goals seem realistic? Did you set goals that are obtainable, that will make you stretch to achieve them, or have you aimed for the stars and are hoping to hire a rockstar that is promising to deliver the stars, the sun and the moon?

Are your website goals in line with your company’s strategic goals? Remember that different divisions within a company can KPIs that ladder up to the corporate strategic goal. If your company is selling a product you might find your goals tied between selling and supporting that product. You will want to have a mix of KPIs for both eCommerce & Service or Support.

So now that you have a general sense of what a KPIs is how do you select which ones are most important to track and monitor? Once you understand what to monitor, how do you prioritize the KPIs in order to ensure your company’s success?

Not all KPIs are created equal and they don’t have to have equal degrees of importance. You can have some basic goals that measure your site usability and engagement which help you understand elements that will contribute to financial goals. Prioritize your KPIs and share that prioritization with whomever is managing your marketing campaigns. Revist your KPIs on a regular basis to make sure that they still make sense and that all aspects of your business are aligned to the correct performance indicators.

Categories: KPIs, SEM

Choosing and defining your Key Performance Indicator’s (KPIs)

The end actions that you use to measure the success are called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs.) KPIs are subjective and vary from business to business; however, the best KPIs are used to help your business define and measure progress toward your goals. In order to define success you need to not only know what to measure and how to measure it, but also what the data means.

 KPIs change from industry to industry and business to business, so it’s not surprising that the various departments/divisions within a business can view different KPIs as being the most important to them. It is important to make sure that if different divisions or department use their own KPIs to measure success and that their KPIs tie to the main overarching strategic goal of your company. Here are some examples of categories of KPIs for an online marketing campaign:

  1. Financial KPIs measure a website’s profitability, including revenue & growth over time, operating profit, margins, ROI, ROAS, as well as other financial indicators.
  2. Marketing KPIs measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. I.E. SEO, SEM, PI, online banner campaigns, e-mails/newsletters, affiliate marketing campaigns as well as other traffic sources.  
  3. Conversion KPIs measure a website’s ability to convert visitors into customers/leads, as well as the various types of conversion on the website.
  4. Engagement KPIs measure a website’s ability for visitor retention, interest in content on site, and the ability to make visitors perform certain actions.
  5. Loyalty KPIs measure the website’s ability to make visitors come back often, time spent on site, ratio of new to repeat users, as well as other visitor related metrics.
  6. Usability KPIs measure the effectiveness and ease of use of your website.

 You should have noticed one key trend in the list above, all of the KPIs discuss measurement. In order for a KPI to be effective you have to be able to track it, bench mark it, and measure progress. I am a strong believer in data driven marketing decisions—and KPIs are all about the data.

 An effective KPI will:

  1. Reflect your businesses goals.
  2. Be quantitative and measurable.
  3. Be a key factor for the success of your company.

 If I can impress one key thing on you before you start any marketing campaign it would be this, “Know and understand what your goals (and your KPIs) are before you start your marketing campaign.” This seems simple and easy, but I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had discussions with potential clients who knew that they wanted to advertise but couldn’t explain the end action they expected from the marketing campaign. If you as the business owner (or marketing lead) can’t explain your goals, no marketer or agency will be able to succeed in making your business profitable.

 In this series I hope to help provide you with some tools to assess your existing situation and come up with actionable KPIs for your marketing campaigns.  Future articles will discuss KPIs in more depth and will contain more specific examples of Marketing KPIs based off of different types of websites.

Categories: KPIs, SEM