Boombotix Launches New Site Design

New Website Launch

Overview

For those that have followed us along the years, you have probably seen the evolution of the brand.  From Skullyboom rebranding to Boombotix, wired to wireless devices, we’ve been through the depths of the portable speaker market.  We are very much a product driven team, but we don’t overlook the value of creating great digital content.  Selling portable speakers online is actually surprisingly difficult.  This isn’t something you can easily show a demo of over the web.  I love the challenge.

I believe that eCommerce is the future of retail.  The arena of digital merchandising has morphed into a game of art fused with technology.  I’ll do what I can to stay on the forefront there.
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The Endless Search for High Quality Website Traffic

SEO-Optimization5 Tips to Increase Ecommerce Conversion

The formula for eCommerce is painfully simple.  You need to bring in traffic and you need to convert a portion of your traffic to paying customers.  Over the past three years, we have seen triple figured growth in web sales of our portable speakers.  We have grown gradually more web traffic to the site but our conversion rate remained relatively constant.  More recently, I started really working on SEO (search engine optimization) in order to help get more traffic with greater quality.  In the past two months, we’ve managed to double our eCommerce revenue.  It can be hard to pinpoint EXACTLY what is driving the increased sales, but these are come things I think are helping.

1.  Create content designed to help your target customer

Last year we had two bloggers churning out posts with the sole intent of driving traffic.  Our highest traffic’d posts was a guy doing self portraits of himself on different drugs and crazy celebrity tattoos.  We seed this content on Reddit, Stumbleupon and other social media channels.  Sure it was great getting thousands of hits to our site, but the bounce rate was over 86%.  People didn’t care about what we were doing, they just wanted senseless entertainment.  This is probably the opposite of what you want to do on SEO.  Search engines are finding us for the wrong thing, and so are the people that visit.

I started telling my writers to narrow down the subject matter of our posts to gadgets and audio related posts.  Now people hitting our blog were at least coming to the site with some interest in a space only degree of separation from our own product.  We were still able to generate a good amount of traffic and increase the relevance.  Problem was, wed didn’t really see the increase in conversions.  So we started to get even MORE relevant.

We realized that the customer we wanted hitting the site were people that were in the market for a portable speaker.  We thought about some of the keyphrases that our customers might be using including best portable speaker or best wireless speaker.  We got even more specific on involving activities like best portable speaker for biking or camping.  We put together a bunch of portable speaker reviews with an emphasis on using terms that we felt our target customer was using online.  We did fair competitor comparisons to help educate our consumers on what differentiates our product from other portable speakers.  We ripped out about 10 videos on Youtube accompanies with keyword/keyphrase optimized postings.  The videos were crappy GoPro footage, but they were real and honest.  Keyword density is key to optimizing for SEO, but you have to be careful not to overdo it as that looks spammy.  Think about embedding those keyphrases into your writing so it looks and reads seamlessly.

After about a month, we started to bring traffic from people looking for our competitors (Jawbone Jambox, JBL Charge became legitimate keywords).  We started to pull hits to our site for phrases like best portable speaker.  The quality of our blog traffic also increased.  Users were visiting an average of one more page per visit and spent close to a minute longer on the site.  It was working.  I learned a lot about SEO through this article on Yoast, so you can certainly dive deeper there.

Here are some tips to optimize the SEO of your blog:

  1. Don’t just write for the sake of getting traffic.  Write for your target customers and try to be helpful and informative.  
  2. Don’t always write about why your product/service is the best.  It’s not all about you.
  3. Optimize each post using something like All in One SEO pack for WordPress.  This lets you have really SEO optimized titles and metadata on a post while still being able to have catch and personable titles on your post.
  4. Leverage the reach of your competitors to get traffic
  5. Embed keywords and phrases in your articles naturally with high frequency.
  6. Create a URL for each post that is directly correlated to your key phrase or word.  A good example of an optimized URL is http://blog.boombotix.com/2013/04/06/best-portable-speaker-of-2013-boombot-rex/ . Note that this URL has the key phrase best portable speaker and Boombot REX which increases the likelihood that people searching this phrase will land on this page.

2. How to get People to Your Store

Google Analytics has a really useful traffic analysis tool called Visitor Flow.  This is what a snapshot of Visitor Flow.  This is actually still a big problem for us but I’m gonna break it down for you so that you at least know what your objectives are.  Visitor flow can be found on the Analytics Dashboard under Audience>Visitor Flow.

Google Analytics Visitor Flow

 

On the far left side, you can see the region where your traffic is coming from.  Let’s look at that fat green block on the bottom by going to ‘group details’.  What we find is that 73.4% of users that hit the home page exit the site.  This is even higher than the homepage bounce rate which hovers around 66%.

What’s the difference between bounce rate and drop-off

The are similar, but bounce rate refers to the action where someone hits your site and then exits without going to another page.  In a drop-off, a user might have hit another page on the site and then reached a page where they decided to exit.  If the drop-off rate is higher than the page’s bounce rate, you might look into where a user is coming from and think about driving them to a page that is of more use to them.

optimize site design to get users where they need to go

First impressions are essential so why don’t we dig into home page design.  I always find it a tricky game to put content on the homepage that describes exactly what product/services are offered.  At the same time, it is nice to create a call to action.  It’s nice when you can incorporate the product/service with the call to actions:

Example: Learn more about Boombotix speakers (good) vs. Learn more (bad)

Learn more says nothing about what the company does.  The first phrase tells you that Boombotix makes speakers and this is a link to learn more about them.  We have a product that actually requires a decent amount of education so call to action that teaches a potential customer about our product is really helpful.  Put yourself in the mind of a new customer that hits the site.  They need to validate your product and they need to do it fast. Think about what messaging/media content will turn your customer on FAST.  70% of our customers are exiting our site on the homepage, but a mere 32% that perform an interaction exit later on in the flow.  What this tells us is that we need to look for ways to get more customers engaged quickly.

some things we will try to reduce drop off rate

  1. Make stronger calls to action on the homepage.
  2. Create content on the homepage that is concise and informative about the product or service.  We are going to try putting more content below the fold and drive customers to that content.  We will also embed links and buttons throughout this content .
  3. Create more clickable area.  You want your customer to engage with your site so give them some options on where they can go.  You don’t know exactly what piques their interest, but provide numerous opportunities to have another engagement and create an additional page view.
  4. Take a look at the devies that users are browsing on.  We’re getting about a third of our traffic on mobile now.  If your site is not rendering nicely on mobile, you might want to do something about that.  Mobile is trending FAST.

3. Have the right mentality to website analytics

There is a metric shit ton of data to look at on Google Analytics.  Aside from Visitor Flow, some of the things I look at to drive my SEO strategy is Content>Landing Pages.  This gives me a good idea of how people are finding us and what content have we posted that is actually getting high traffic.

SEO is an ongoing process.  This means it isn’t that helpful to look at the performance on a day.  Compare your timeline’s on a near term (this month) to long term (try year-to-date).  Get an idea over whether you are improving upon certain metrics including total unique views per month, time on site, and bounce rate.  Make sure that the strategies you are implementing are at least bringing you positive measurable results.  Lately, I find myself even focusing on an even more narrow timeframe to see if anything that I’ve done recently has had a drastic impact on the site averages over the past year.

The game to Analytics is all about finding patterns and understanding what things you can have influence over.  Once you understand what your have command over, you can embellish those strengths through additional content and PR.  Create finite goals and consistently find ways to test and optimize based on a well structured hypothesis.

some quick tips to get results from data cramming on analyTics

  1. If you have articles that are already generating traffic, go back and see what you can do to make those articles even better.  See what you can do to shave off that bounce rate.  
  2. Think about objectives that can be clearly measured.  I often times think about looking at a single page design and really work to understand how to decrease bounce rate or make the page more SEO friendly with different content.
  3. Find out where the best referrals are coming from.  If you have a site about horses, and you get PR from a bicycle site, expect some crappy views.  Take a look at the quality of traffic from bounce rate, page views, and time on site to get a feel over whether you’re marketing to the right people.

4. Gauge social impact on your website

swagonomics-instagram game

Facebook has consistently been our highest referring traffic site, but we get more than twice the number of pageviews from visitors coming from our blog.  It might be a safe hypothesis to say that people from our Facebook either already know about the brand thoroughly and they aren’t looking for additional content.  On the other hand, our Instagram game (Swagonomics) and our Blog have been exceeding the site average on pageviews.  To see the impact of social on your Google Analytics, go to Traffice Sources>Social.

Leveraging ugc (user generated content)

This content is the low hanging fruit and the gold mine of dominating social media.  Anything you can do to facilitate user generated content is a good thing in the modern marketing era.  We developed a gamification platform around Instagram.  Each time one of our fans hash tags a #boombotix on their Instagram, our site creates an indexed page with a specific SEO optimized URL. Users are awarded points for every time their posts gets liked.  They can redeem the points for discounts in teh eCommerce store.  Gamification is the method by which we drive brand interaction and it’s something we will consider exploring and developing in the new online market.

measuring social conversions

I’m not sure that this is the best metric on Google Analytics.  Although we’ve received thousands of hits from Facebook, the conversion rate seems strangely low.  This is likely because people exposed to the brand may as well just type the brand in the browser (especially using Google Chrome).  I take the atitude that most “likes” are customers that are a degree closer to converting.  I like to look at the growth of our social media following and correlate that to increased web traffic.

growing your social media reach

There isn’t really an easy way to do it, but some things that have worked in growing the fan base is simply reposting viral content.  We do Caturday ever Saturday and have a stupid cat photo that seems to yield more reach and interactions than most things we post.  We also have a Daily WTF.  Be sure to balance those stupid LOL posts with ones that are actually relevant to the brand.  Media content balance is key to get people understanding what your company is about.  Use viral posts to get the reach, but use high quality heartfelt content to get the respect.  Seriously though, cats are foolproof for getting circulation.

Magnet Cat

some tips on social media

  1. Don’t be afraid to get a little edgy or borderline offensive.  You will get some haters, but at least you created reactions and got people talking.  
  2. Figure out ways to automate any process possible.  We use an app called Hootsuite to message multiple channels in social media and schedule posts.
  3. Follow some rules of blogging.  Be helpful.  Be fun.  Be audacious.
  4. Don’t always try to SELL your product.  Sometimes just offering  your followers updates or entertaining them with useful info will be enough to give potential customers the warm fuzzy feeling about your brand.
  5. If you’re a startup, don’t hire someone to do your social media.  Build your base and listen to them.  You can outsource this position when your company is more mature and you have someone that really understands your brand ethos.

5.  Add more SKUs and prompt add-on sales

Boosting your eCommerce performance is a function of how much traffic you can convert on the site.  What often gets overlooked is how much more revenue can be generated per transaction.  When prompted in the right manner, customers by nature want to accessorize or add-on to their purchase to tailor it to their needs.

One of the things you do not want to do is add SKUs senselessly.  Your online store can become a mess and so can your inventory.  Instead, pick SKUs to go on your site that have obvious overlap and utility to your key product.  Accessories can add higher margin items to a single sale.  On our site, most transactions around around $92, but we offer a free shipping incentive at $100.  We prompt our customer at checkout by saying they are _____ amount from getting free shipping and often times up-sell with a wall charger.  Just be careful not to dilute your brand and offer products with strong alignment.

We also created a Freebies section on the store that offer customers additional incentive to buy our product online.  It also sets some of our close customers up with material like stickers and dog tags that can effectively turn some of our customers into brand reps on the street.

In Conclusion

I hope these couple tips were helpful to building your eCommerce site.  Between driving social engagement, optimizing rich content for SEO, intelligent site design, and selective analytics, I hope you can increase your conversion rate and bring better quality traffic to your site.  Next post I cover will be on product page design and site navigation.  Be sure to subscribe to our feed and check out our Ultraportable Speaker line if you get the chance.  Thanks for your continued support.

Using Instagram to build SEO

A method to crowd source content generation

As an ultraportable speaker company, we promote our users to take our product out in the field and engage in the world around them. One dilemma has always been being able to effectively capture the experience our customers are having. We followed GoPro closely over the years and saw how their users were using the video content in order to promote their product. GoPro was essential crowd sourcing customers content and educating future buyers how to use the crazy helmet camera. As a result, GoPro benefited from cost effective content creation and positive brand association with top athletes.

How we adopted the GoPro content creation strategy

Our product was initially created for the urban rider and we envisioned cyclists taking videos with their Boombot. As it turned out, photos became a much more popular medium than video content for our users. The growing popularity of Instagram and the simplicity of generating photo content attracted a larger user base.

Scarface

Say hello to the SEO Machine we call Swagonomics

The idea was simple. We called it Swagonomics because it rewarded users with gear for great content. Users would sign up for an account using their already existing Instagram account. Anytime a user hashtagged #boombotix in their post, it would get pulled onto our feed. We wanted users to capture their active lifestyle while stimulating brand interaction between our users. Over time, users connected with other Swagonomics users due to interest in each other’s photographs.

Our site flooded with hundreds of photos in just a matter of weeks. Naturally, this introduced more problems, but importantly we were acquiring user generated content.

And voila! It was crowd sourcing at its infancy.

In SEO, content quality is always king

What happens when people start hashtagging #boombotix on random photos just go get points? How do you determine what adds value to the site versus detracts from it? The questions bounced around internally, so you could imagine that the community was wondering the same things. The need for a site moderator became very clear early on. Suddenly we had to make decisions on what we wanted our brand to represent. Looking back on it, this was a positive problem. We were essentially defining our brand values and creating the rules around what we defined as swag.

We created a back end that allowed us to disable posts from the feed in bulk. We tried fostering an understanding in our users of the quality we wanted to see.  By moderating the feed quality, users are able to gain a better understanding of what to put on the site. It was tricky and feelings were hurt, but we had to make moves for the better interest of the brand.

We didn’t drop our bloggers that we worked with. The content from our Swagonomics site did not replace the keyword rich content we developed on our blog. Swagonomics was just supplementing the site with a massive database with SEO rich images in a very cost effective manner. On numerous occasions, employees in the companies grabbed content from Swagonomics to use in marketing. That’s convenient.

where our company is going with swagonomics and gamification

The Swagonomics experiment is far from done, but this site has created the foundation for a gamified brand experience. The introduction of points and rewards built around promoting the brand in real life can be applied to a number of activities. As our community grows, the potential for our users to spread the word does too. When traditional marketing mediums like print are on their way out, brands that leverage digital media with social content marketing will be the ones that come out on top. They will drive the most direct eCommerce sales and build the greatest brand equity of all.

What is a hash tag and how can I haz it?

hash tag

Hello children and welcome back to internet humor 101.  Last time we talked about what a meme is.  We learned they are useful to depict humorous situations and increase emotional punch of internet satire.  Today’s lesson will focus on the use of hash tags.  For internet newbs, you may have noticed the pound sign followed by a stream of words that makes no sense at all (ex. #wehouthere #tryintofunction #bluntlife).

Understanding the hash tag objectives

Now before we go ahead and disregard the hash tag messaging, lets take a moment to really understand them.  Hash tags are used to categorize media and make them more search friendly. The hash tag is the ‘#’ symbol. If you take a picture of a cool bike, then hash tag it with ‘#bike’ so that other people looking for cool bikes can find it.  Now you are actually taking your hard earned media and potentially exposing it to more people to find.  This may result in your getting more impressions, likes and comments which will ultimately boost your Klout and ego.

So why don’t we look at some real world examples of hash tag usage.  Check out the picture below.

what is a hash tag

This is a pretty common use case.  Frodizzle wants to show the world that he is having a good time on his Sunday afternoon.  He is clearly smoking weed, drinking a Coors light, listening to a Boombotix speaker whilst aboard a boat.  Appropriate hashtags would be #beer #coors #boombotix #sailing and #ganja.  Those that are really in the know of hash tag circulation and slang might also add #bluntlife #weouthere #goodlife #crossfaded and #bitchimonaboat.

Each of these hash tags has the capability to be searchable within platforms like Instagram and Twitter.  While you may have been initially thinking that hash tags are stupid, think about how people become connected by common interest, language, and lifestyle.  That’s kind of cool.

Hashtag Evolution

Hash tagging has run rampant and people are now even just using it as a means to classify and categorize situations or media.  It has in someway replaced commenting so that people do not have to construct entire sentences.  Hashtags on Facebook are not event linkable or searchable and yet people use them.  Reference the example below in a conversation that sparked my interest in writing about it:

hash tag

Starting to hash tag

We just built a new site called Swagonomics where users hash tag #boombotix along with pictures of them using their portable speakers and exploring the world. Generally we just want to see people being adventurous and capturing the #swag of their life with an opportunity to get some or our products.   If they command the hash tag with authority and captivate the interwebz, to the winner goes the spoils.