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Is Chase Elliott NASCAR's next most popular driver?

Dale Earnhardt Jr. retired following the 2017 Monster NASCAR Cup Series having won the series Most Popular Driver award 15 times and holder of the longest streak by one driver. However, one driver won the award an amazing 16 times. The answer: Bill Elliott, the father of NASCAR young gun driver Chase Elliott. Will Chase Elliott add his name to a NASCAR award that his father owns for popularity? … Click to Continue »

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Reason Richard Petty hired Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s only black driver? That’s not it.

The questions come intermittently, sprinkled into a large group interview at Daytona International Speedway. But the central idea, like hot air and the truth, always rises. So Bubba, what’s it … Click to Continue »

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Sure, Danica Patrick never won a NASCAR race or title. Here’s why she still matters.

The Daytona 500 was the race to which I volunteered to go. The biggest race of the season is the first race of the season. The weather is warmer and … Click to Continue »

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[Use Cases] The GetResponse CRM: What’s New and What’s Next

The missing piece of the marketing puzzle is here! We’ve just launched our CRM (customer relationship management) tool to give you greater insight and control – and more time for fun stuff.

We wanted to create a CRM with the look, feel, and functionalities you want and need most. That’s why we made an easy to use version, and kept collecting your feedback.

And thanks to you, our CRM is now even more powerful. We’ve armed it with automatic deal conversion and a calendar.

Here’s how it’s going to work:

 

Update #1: Automatic deal conversion

All your lists that feed contacts to the CRM will now automatically convert them into deals at the stage you choose. Here’s an example of how it works:

Sajade is a wellness studio that already uses GetResponse. It decides to run a regular promo offering customers a free diet and fitness plan. To pinpoint prospects that might be interested, Sajade adds a signup form to a GetResponse landing page. When a prospect signs up, they’re put into a specific list: free_intake

Before, Sajade’s marketing manager had to manually monitor subscriptions and convert contacts in the CRM pipeline. Now she can simply enable automatic conversion, and all the contacts from the free_intake list will land in the right stage in the pipeline:

 

Convert contacts into deals

 

She clicks “next” and sets up the pipeline stage, adding extra information to create a deal profile:

 

Create deal profile

 

Here’s how Sajade’s pipeline looks once the automatic deal conversion is enabled:

 

Pipeline- automatic deal conversion

 

Sajade is now in full control, and can smoothly convert contacts into deals. And its manager Sandra can spend more time booking appointments and setting up tailored health plans. If she needs to stop the process at any time, she can simply click the contact icon under the stage name, and slide the status bar to the left.

Automatic conversion

Update #2: How to use the CRM Calendar

Planning and scheduling is important when it comes to business events. A well-conceived plan goes a long way in bringing positive results, while properly scheduled events can complement your planning. Entrepreneurs attend events for various reasons and also hold events of different types, like in-house seminars, networking events, dinner or lunch meetings, charity functions and fundraisers, webinars and customer training sessions, board meetings and monthly team meetings, product launch parties to create buzz, press conferences, trade shows, etc.

Having to keep track of all these in your notepad is definitely not a solution. Calendars are the right choice, showing you the list of events by day, week, and month. Marking your events and calls in a calendar helps you track upcoming events and scheduled calls. Most importantly, it gives you an idea of what’s lined up for the day and what your week is going to look like.

 

CRM Calendar

 

But how does that correspond with your business? Sandra, the owner of Sajade, has a very busy schedule: she’s the owner, the marketer, the sales manager, and the planner. She’s wearing every possible marketing hat you can while running a business.

The busier Sandra gets, the more important it is to stay organized. She’s excited about the new CRM calendar tool, because it helps her track and manage marketing tasks around her new customers. Every day Sandra gets to work, she checks her email, and logs in to her GetResponse account.

She’s ready to start the day with her marketing activities. As Sandra clicks on the task, she can see exactly what she needs to do in connection with a given prospect.

 

 

CRM Calendar Task

 

 

She also uses the CRM calendar as her daily productivity tool. Sandra uses her own pipeline to keep track on her operational tasks, like paying the bills and setting up maintenance tasks.

 

CRM Calendar- a productivity tool

 

While in the operations overview, Sandra sees what urgent tasks she can’t miss for the day. In the “all pipelines” view, she knows exactly what’s lined up till the end of the day.

 

All pipelines view

 

As you can see, CRM armed with the Calendar becomes not only a sales tracker, but also a very handy productivity tool, much needed by those of us who see themselves not only as marketers, but also as jacks of all trades.

 

Update #3 coming soon: Integration with marketing automation

I can’t wait for this one! We’re going fast in 2018, with a goal to fully integrate the CRM with marketing automation. It’s going to help you reach a higher level of segmentation.

We’ll post updates on the Platform Blog, so keep an eye on that or sign up for our newsletter to stay informed.

 

Over to you

Are you eager to learn more about these new functionalities within our CRM feature? Join the CRM Course for Small Business – it’s packed with practical tips, use cases, and it’s free!

Already a CRM pro? Take a look and let us know what you think of the new CRM features. Is there anything else you need to make it the ultimate CRM for your business? Comment below or log in to the CRM and use the Feedback Widget in your account.

 

The GetResponse CRM: What's New and What's Next

The post [Use Cases] The GetResponse CRM: What’s New and What’s Next appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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Can't Buy a House With Cash? You Can Still Land the Home

All-cash buyers are active in many markets, and they can strike fear in new home buyers. The cash buyer can perform and close quickly and provide sellers with a sense of comfort.

But, does this mean a solid buyer putting down 20 percent or more shouldn’t attempt to compete with the cash buyer? Absolutely not.

What if you can’t buy a house with cash?

The truth is, a buyer getting a mortgage can still compete against a cash buyer and win.

These are the questions that can make the difference:

  • Do you have a 20-percent down payment?
  • Are you well employed?
  • Do you have cash reserves in addition to your down payment?
  • Do you have very little debt?
  • Do you have good credit?

If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, your purchase should be as bulletproof as a cash buyer’s.

Paying cash for a house doesn’t guarantee a buyer will win over the seller. Well-qualified buyers who put in a little extra effort can seal the deal.

How can you compete against a cash buyer?

  • Be up front about your finances. Make your offer as strong as cash by providing the seller the confidence they need to accept your offer. In addition to a pre-approval letter from your lender, be open to allowing your agent or lender to provide financial information with your offer. Tell them what you make, and how much money you have in the bank. Show bank statements and even a copy of your credit report. Overload the seller to show them that you’re as solid as the cash buyer.
  • Ask your lender to get a head start on the mortgage. See if your mortgage professional can move the process along sooner. Send the lender a copy of the preliminary title report, if available. If you’re buying a condo, find out if a condo questionnaire is available and give it to your lender. If you take any of these steps, let the seller know. Of course, if you have not already, provide the necessary financial documentation to your lender right away.
  • Shorten the loan and appraisal contingencies. Ask your lender how quickly they can send an appraiser to the property, and how long the loan would take to turnaround. In some parts of the country, loans are being approved in less than 14 days – sometimes even 10.
  • Pre-order an appraisal. This may not be as easy with a bigger bank. But smaller banks, direct lenders or mortgage brokers can line up the appraisal in advance. At the time your offer is written, tell the seller the appraisal has already been ordered. If you can get the appraiser out within 24-48 hours of coming to terms with the seller, it’s half the battle.
  • Inspect quickly. Along with the quick appraisal and loan contingencies, get your inspector in and out. Shelling out a few hundred dollars and getting the inspections done within days of having your offer accepted shows the seller you mean business. It also gives them comfort that they’ll get over the biggest hurdle quickly.
  • Overpay. Cash buyers nearly always expect a discount from the seller simply because they’re offering cash and are a sure thing. As a result, the cash buyer will often make a lower offer. To increase your chances, top the cash offer, even if means paying a little more than you think the home is worth. If a seller is faced with a few thousand dollars’ difference, the seller probably wouldn’t risk it. But what if your offer is five percent higher than the cash buyer’s? The seller, perhaps wanting the best of both worlds, may ask the cash buyer to raise his or her offer. Some cash buyers will offer more, but not always enough to match. If you plan to live in the house for many years and it’s the home of your dreams, paying a little more to get the deal might only translate into $20 per month over the course of a long-term mortgage.
  • Make yourself known to the seller. Some buyers write “love letters” to sellers, hoping to appeal to their personal side. Does this work? Sometimes! If you’re competing with a cash buyer, particularly an investor who plans to rent the home out, it can’t hurt to get a little personal. The seller almost always wants to know more about the potential buyer. Ask your agent to write a cover letter and an introduction. Let the seller know who you are, why you like the home and what your intentions are. It usually works.

Do the best you can and be realistic. Make sure your financial “‘house” is in order. Work with a good local real estate agent, and start working with a local mortgage professional well in advance. Structure your offer to show that you’re ready to roll.

For more home-buying tips, check out our Home Buyers Guide.

Related:

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

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Cole Swindell to put on a show for All-Star Race fans in Charlotte

Charlotte Motor Speedway has tapped one of country music’s rising stars to get the crowd revved up before the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race on May 19. Swindell – best-known … Click to Continue »

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How to Track Your Affiliate Marketing Campaign

If you want to get the most out of your affiliate marketing campaign, track it. You can hardly grow your business without monitoring your affiliate efforts and evaluating the outcomes, so you can know what you’re doing right and wrong. Let’s see which metrics to examine and which to avoid when launching an affiliate marketing campaign.

Actionable metrics

High-growth companies monitor 33% more metrics than other companies in order to evaluate their marketing effectiveness. No-growth companies lean toward examining mere baseline metrics, such as the number of new clients acquired. These numbers might make companies feel good, but they don’t show the real picture.

For instance, let’s say that 30,000 new users have visited your website this month. That sounds great. But it’s more important to know why they did so, what actions encouraged them to view your products, and how you should respond. It’s quite important to understand which metrics show you a realistic picture.

To help you, I’ve gathered the most valuable metrics and split them into two main groups: quantitative and qualitative. We’ll start with the quantitative.

 

How to estimate the performance of your affiliate marketing

The best way to measure your affiliate marketing performance is to apply quantitative metrics. Quantitative metrics cover all aspects of online marketing that you can represent numerically. Among the most common metrics are:

 

  • cost per lead (CPL),
  • incremental revenue,
  • click-through rate (CTR),
  • conversion rate,
  • return on investment (ROI),
  • reversed sales rate,
  • percentage of fraudulent orders.

 

Cost per lead

When measuring cost per lead, you need to measure each lead generation channel used in your marketing strategy. Just divide the average monthly expenses on a given campaign by the number of affiliate leads you acquired during this campaign. Suppose you spent $600 on a pay-per-sale campaign and converted 15 people into leads. In this case, your CPL would be $40.

Once you’ve got the numbers, you can compare them with previous campaigns and evaluate the efficiency of your current affiliate program. In the chart below, you can see the average CPL for various industries.

Cost per lead per industry

[Image source: SurveyAnyplace]

 

Incremental revenue

Although affiliate campaigns increase revenue, they can be quite expensive. So, you’d better prove their worth by measuring incremental revenue.

Incremental revenue is revenue from transactions completed thanks to the efforts of a particular affiliate without any paid media, marketing channels (SEM, email, organic traffic), or other affiliate involvement. In other words, incremental revenue is the income generated from unique sales independently provided by an affiliate.

To calculate incremental revenue, first add the total revenue (base revenue) for some period (e.g. a quarter or a year). Then measure your revenue after introducing the affiliate campaign and deduct the base revenue from it.

Imagine you’re running a T-shirt shop and your base revenue is $27,000 per year. You’ve adopted an affiliate program from YourWinningAffiliate. After doing so, you bring in $32,000 over the next period. This means your incremental revenue is $5,000.

An affiliate hardly ever provides 100 percent of incremental sales. The key here is to determine what percentage of sales are incremental and whether that’s enough for your business.

 

Click-through rate

CTR measures the number of users who click on an ad or on a link to your site from a third-party and leave the page to land on another. With the click-through rate, you can find out which types of links get the most clicks and measure the overall success of your affiliate advertising campaigns.

What is an average CTR? When starting their career, advertisers should aim to achieve a 2 percent click-through rate. In fact, the average CTR on AdWords is 1.91 percent across all industries.

Click through rate, google adwords industry benchmarks

 

Conversion rate

The conversion rate shows the percentage of people referred by an affiliate who then complete a sale or fill out a lead generation form on your website. If you have a 3 percent conversion rate, that means that 3 users out of 100 who come to your website either make a purchase or leave their contact details. This is one of the most used KPIs in e-commerce.

Beware of high conversion rates (over 10 percent), though: a very high conversion rate may mean that your affiliate is a fabulous marketer, but more likely it means that they’re using suspicious promotional methods. The average conversion rate is about 2.35 percent.

 

Return on investment

Return on investment is thought to be the most important measure of performance as it shows the profitability of a marketing campaign. In other words, ROI tells you how much money you’ve gotten back for each dollar invested.

With ROI, you can either evaluate the efficiency of an investment you’ve made in a particular affiliate program or compare the payback across a range of such programs. All you need to do is divide the benefit you receive from your investment by the cost of that investment.

Let’s look to Andy for an example. Andy is the owner of a cat hotel. He decided to spread the word about his hostel and invested $500 in an affiliate strategy. A year later, Andy earned $600. So, his ROI is ($600 – $500)/$500 = $100/$500.

ROI is usually expressed as a percentage or a ratio. So, we can express Andy’s ROI as 1:5 or 20 percent. Is that a good rate? Not quite. Many entrepreneurs target a 5:1 ratio, as that’s considered strong for most businesses.

 

Reversed sales rate

The reversed sales rate indicates the number of users previously credited to an affiliate who return products bought from your website for a refund. A 7 percent reversed sales rate would mean that 7 orders out of 10 that are attributed to an affiliate are canceled.
It’s common for businesses to have some reversal. A reversal rate over 10 percent, however, may show that affiliates are sending low quality or mis-targeted traffic to your website or that affiliates exaggerate your product features to get more conversions.
In most cases, you can’t analyze the reversal sales rate before joining an affiliate program – except for the AvantLink and ShareASale networks. So, you need to measure this rate periodically during your affiliate campaign and take preventive measures to safeguard your business.

 

Percentage of fraudulent orders

Last year saw at least $7.4 billion lost to fraudulent or unviewable ads, which is 56 percent of all display ad dollars. And this number is expected to increase to $10.9 billion by 2021. Moreover, 37 percent of desktop ad impressions in the USA and up to 80 percent in Japan are fraudulent.

Ad fraud (where ad fraud is rife)

[Image source: Statista]

This is why you’d better monitor your affiliate campaigns for fraudulent orders to save your time and money. If you’ve noticed that fraudulent orders have grown with a particular affiliate or have even exceeded genuine orders, then remove that affiliate as soon as possible.

That’s all about quantitative metrics. Now you understand the figures that your affiliates deliver to you. But what about the overall quality of an affiliate marketing campaign?

 

How to test the quality of your affiliate program

Don’t focus exclusively on data that is easy to gather, but examine the intangibles as well using qualitative metrics. Qualitative metrics give you important insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your affiliates, their competitive advantages, and their trustworthiness.

I recommend considering affiliate behavior and affiliate sales fluctuations.

 

Affiliate behavior

You need to understand how many affiliates you have, how active they are, and what potential they offer. Consider the following metrics:

 

  • Level of program adoption among your affiliates ‒ Check how your affiliate relate to your brand to see whether they’re really engaged in promoting your product and addressing the traffic you want or if they’re neglecting your brand voice in pursuit of quick income.

 

  • Types of active affiliates ‒ Segment your affiliates by the way they generate traffic (bloggers, deals and coupons, paid search, etc.). This will help you understand at what stage of the customer journey most users are converted. This metric depends on what you mean by “active affiliate,” which generally speaking is any affiliate that generates clicks, leads, or sales.

 

  • Percentage of dormant and top affiliatesDetect affiliates that generate low volumes or have stopped generating leads at all to enhance the efficiency of your affiliate campaigns. You may try to reactivate lapsed affiliates by sending dedicated emails or offering some kind of reward, or just leave them and invest more in your top affiliates.

 

Affiliate sales fluctuations

Direct your attention to rises and falls in your sales. Generally, sales are high during the shopping seasons (fall and winter) and slump during spring and summer. Of course, everything depends on the kind of products you sell. For instance, for Disney, products sell best on weekdays and holidays.

Your sales can also fluctuate due to technical problems, a better offer coming from your competitors or your affiliate’s blunders. Track changes, discover the cause and take action to obtain the best results.

But affiliate sales fluctuations aren’t the only pitfall you can face. Many marketers have the constant temptation to focus on so-called vanity metrics. What are they?

 

Vanity metrics

Vanity metrics include the number of downloads, followers, registered users, tweets per day, and so on.

These variables make entrepreneurs proud of their brand but are hardly related to the numbers that really matter: revenue, user retention, engagement, and repeat use.

So what vanity metrics should you forget about? In my humble opinion, the vainest are impressions, total visits, and bounce rate. Let’s see why.

 

Impressions and total visits

To put it simply, impressions are the number of times your ad (banner, button, text link) has been shown to a potential user. Each time an ad appears on a page counts as one impression.

“Wow, my ad was shown 70,000 times… 30, 000 users have visited my website this month!” This data may please your ego, but what does it give you? Users can view your advertisement dozens of times and not visit your site or may browse it and not buy anything. Impressions and total visits don’t provide any clear guidance for what to improve or what to do next.

 

Bounce rate

A bounce is when a user opens a single page on your website and then leaves your site without visiting any other pages.

Many marketers see a 70 percent bounce rate and think they need to close the campaign. But everything isn’t so simple with the bounce rate. It isn’t set in stone, and there can be hundreds of reasons for it to go up and down. For example, mobile traffic usually has a higher bounce rate than desktop traffic.

What’s more, the average bounce rate varies between 10 and 90 percent depending on the type of site you have. Check out the infographic below:

 Average bounce rate

 

Those are huge gaps, which is why you can’t consider the bounce rate particularly reliable and can’t reach any adequate judgment based on it. You can easily justify a high bounce rate without worrying about having bad content or ineffective landing pages. So, measure the success of your affiliate campaign with actionable metrics.

 

What gets measured gets managed

Have you adopted a successful affiliate program? It’s not enough to believe that you’re using an effective model. You also need to measure the efficiency of your affiliate marketing strategy. Measuring the right metrics can pave the way for your company’s success.

Conversely, vanity metrics can mislead you and damage your brand’s vitality. Stop investing your energy into misleading indexes and focus on metrics that really matter instead. Remember that the measure-and-optimize process should be ongoing.

Do you know of more actionable metrics? What metrics do you trust most? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

Affiliate Marketing Campaign Tracking

The post How to Track Your Affiliate Marketing Campaign appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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NASCAR team owner Roger Penske confirms new Ford body coming in 2019

In 2017, it was Toyota’s turn for a remodel. This season, it’s the new Chevrolet Camaro. It appears 2019 will be Ford’s turn to update its product. Speaking after Brad … Click to Continue »

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Michael Self wins crash-filled ARCA season opener at Daytona

Michael Self survived two multi-car melees in the closing laps to win the crash-filled ARCA Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday. Self pulled away from the field … Click to Continue »

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Remote Oman desert serves as stand-in for Mars

The Dhofar desert’s resemblance to the landscape on Mars, with similar riverbeds and salt domes, makes it a perfect location for more than 200 scientists from 25 nations to test out technology for a manned mission to Mars. 

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