Good post on keeping users engaged


Lead nurturing/keeping signed up users engaged is critically important, and since I’ve been consulting it’s been a recurring theme to my work with clients. Getting customers into the top of the funnel is only part of the game; keeping them engaged is the other half of being successful with a SaaS product and with any sort of a lead funnel.

I really enjoy setting up touchless sales nurturing programs. Today there are a few really great services that help marketing teams carefully, and automatically, keep users coming back to a service or moving along within a longer sales funnel. I came across a great piece on user engagement and it got a lot of Twitter love.

In addition to the various channels the author mentions, I’d add that using a personalization layer is key to keeping users from opting out of your nurturing program. Every single time I’ve ever tested a personalization layer, the message with personalization has out performed. For example, at Boundless, adding info about the subject matter that a student was studying, or their school name, etc resulted in better response rates, better engagement rates and happier users.

The best thing is that tools are out there to automatically help a marketer use personalization. There is really no reason to still be using a blast, one size fits all nurturing program if you are at scale.

Pricing page optimization and highlighting a choice


I came across a great piece of content by a UI expert on tips for improving on page performance – both user experience and conversion.

One of the ideas that really resonated with me was on presenting a recommendation on the pricing page. I’ve had success with this idea in the past, but the way this was presented was novel to me and I really want to try it now:

pricing page designThe paradox of choice is a real effect – people get overwhelmed by too many choices. (Although here is a nice critique of the hypothesis – a little choice is a good thing, which is pretty obvious.)

The thing I like about this design idea is that the recommend price is displayed in a very different way than the other choices. I’ve seen things where one price has a little banner over it or is slightly larger, but making the entire placement and design of the highlight choice different is really smart. Now I want to try it!


St Francis Old Vines Zinfandel


I’m finally getting to my first personal blog post on wines! It’s taken a while for me to get my act together to actually write up one of the wines I’ve been enjoying since moving back to San Francisco.

St. Francis Old Vinez Zinfandel 2011

st francis old vines zinMy wife and I have been fans of big Sonoma Zin’s for a long, long time. We went through a phase where we drank really, really big wines – the super jammy, tannic monsters that Europeans dislike but Americans love.

The St. Francis Old Vines Zin isn’t quite a monster, but it does have a lot of great fruits and a long finish. But, unlike the wines we used to drink when we were a little younger, the finish is more tame and wine doesn’t stain our teeth in the same purplish kind of a way.

In addition to a great cherry nose, there is some kind of a black pepper flavor. And the finish is real, but not stupidly tannic. We’ve enjoyed this with blue cheese and and with a variety of meals like cioppino (yup, seafood) and meat.

I’ve bought a few of these and put them down, and I think they will get even better for the next few years. I hope to finish them up by 2018 or so!

What’s the deal with these spammy blog comments


I thought everyone knew that Google killed the spam comment SEO trick. It seemed to me like the volume of comment spam had gone down over the past 6 months or so, but I’m noticing a lot more of it all of a sudden… including these gems promoting prom dresses:

spam blog comments ss 2014-02-14 at 9.48.23 AMThe one that really surprised me was the last one, because it was disguised as a link to Sears – for half a moment I thought Sears had hired a spammy SEO consultant!


Smart post on growth hacking


The term “growth hacking” has kind of jumped the shark. But something I’ve really noticed since I’ve been consulting with a number of companies is that my marketing consulting looks a lot more like product consulting. Understand what people are doing with a product, figuring out which actions make a good user (as in establishing KPIs), getting my arms around what causes a person to not be retained (sometimes it’s a channel problem, sometimes it’s a product issue)… that’s what I’ve been doing with my marketing consulting.

I loved this piece on TC by Justin Caldbeck. This quote, from the end of the article, really hit home:

The problem right now is that many companies seem to be operating under the total misconception that growth fixes all. That leads them to bring on self-proclaimed “growth hackers” who rapidly acquire more customers through spammy viral techniques, but when those customers don’t engage, or — worse — have bad experiences and tell their friends about it, that growth curve crashes. By that point your growth hacker is on to his or her next gig, and you’re left with what you had to begin with: a product that either hasn’t found its audience yet or hasn’t yet given people a reason to engage with it.

So if you’re thinking about hiring a growth hacker, find someone who’s a great product person and who really knows user experience and understands user value, not just someone who knows all the tricks to ratcheting up your growth curve.