In order to stay ahead in digital marketing, you need to innovate.
Good thing is, there’s of innovations already out there – you just have to find them.
In this post, I’ll pull 10 specific examples of some of the coolest and most effective techniques for increasing sales online that you probably haven’t noticed.
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Nike kind of kills it when it comes to digital marketing.
Not only do they routinely offer epic storytelling through video and social media, but they’ve taken their cutting edge approach to their website as well.
First up: when you navigate to the product page, you have the option to add the product to your cart or add it to your wishlist by clicking the small heart icon.
This one almost seems too simple, right? But that’s exactly why it’s so brilliant.
All too often, shoppers aren’t ready to commit to purchasing. But by offering them a way to save the product for later, they’ll be that much more likely to come back to it in the future.
Instead of having to search through your inventory again for that one product they think they liked (which let’s face it, a lot of shoppers just don’t do), they’ll have an easy way to access they were on the fence about.
Next, when shoppers perform a search on site, they’re given images of the products and the subcategories it falls under.
Again, simple. But by including a picture, it increases the likelihood that shoppers will click through, and giving the subcategories introduces them to a range of other similar products.
This is a brand that likely spends a good amount of money on its search feature – and they absolutely should be.
This a feature often overlooked by brands, but it’s well worth spending some time and money on it. After all, a recent study revealed that more than 40% say a search box is the most important feature on a website.
The last point is a bit of a good news/bad news situation for Nike.
The good news: their site has full international capabilities, which is extremely important for any brand hoping to sell products outside their home country.
The bad? It’s missing a hreflang tag, meaning it isn’t fully SEO-optimized.
E-commerce site Revzilla also features a few cool digital marketing innovations.
One thing that stands out is that it actually tells you the number of products per category right up top in its H1 tag.
As shoppers, you probably know that you generally have to scroll to the bottom of the page and click through the pages to find out how many options you have.
This way, shoppers know what they can expect.
Another thing they do – and this may be my favorite – is feature callouts for any sale or new products.
These are products they’re trying to push, and by highlighting something special about them, shoppers will be more likely to click.
Revzilla also does something pretty cool by including a short block of text at the bottom of the page. This is SEO optimized text suited to each product category.
It gives away enough relevant information about the product to warrant its inclusion and serves as a good way to include a few more keywords on the page.
Digital Marketing Innovations: San Diego County Credit Union
What I like about San Diego County Credit Union (SDCCU) is its use of an FAQ section.
So let’s take a second here and talk about just why these FAQs are so important.
As you may know, Google is extremely vested in returning the most relevant answer possible to a given search query.
More and more, those queries come in question form.
To give the most accurate results as quickly as possible, Google even came up with some enhanced SERP features designed to simply deliver a quick answer to a question. Case in point: the Featured Snippet.
It ranks above the organic results in a search page, meaning more eyes, and, if they like what they see, more clicks.
One of the best ways for a webpage to optimize for a Featured Snippet spot is to include an FAQ section, which clearly states each question and answer. When crawling your site, Google can then easily match your page to the related question.
These Featured Snippets are also routinely pulled for voice search results. And as more searches move to voice, brands will need to start doing everything they can to optimize their content for voice searches.
SDCCU is covering their bases here by combining the most helpful questions into one spot, making it easier for both users and searches to find what they’re looking for.
Mailchimp’s digital marketing innovation comes in the form of its use of microinteractions.
Microinteractions are small moments designed to engage the user. A Like on a Facebook page is a microinteraction. The vibration from your phone when you put it on silent in a microinteraction.
It’s the small stuff – the details – meant to engage the user as they browse your site or otherwise interact with your brand.
Mailchimp’s animated launch GIF is a perfect example.
It doesn’t serve much purpose from a functional point of view, but it does enhance the experience for the user. It also gives them an illustrated example of the action Mailchimp wants you to take, which is to launch your email campaign.
These kinds of microinteractions are great details to add in to keep users engaged and interested. How can you incorporate them in your site?.
Where Lowes really shines is its personalization and solid knowledge of its target audience.
First, it features a page dedicated to calculators that let users figure out how much they’ll need to budget to complete a range of projects.
The cool part about these calculators is that they serve as micro funnels for the brand. Say a customer uses the calculator to determine how much they’ll need to refloor their kitchen.
Lowes shows them the budget breakdown, and then maybe a video of one of their products in action.
Then, they might be kicked to a product page that shows everything they’ll need to complete the project within their price range.
After all that, Lowes will probably wind up with a new customer or two.
Different types of calculators. It’s such a broad store, really help users segment out they specifically need.
It’s pushing the customer to products and highlighting their usefulness, and pre-qualifying them by showing the pricing they can expect.
All of that serves as a buying funnel and pushes users to ultimately make a purchase.
Lowes also does a great job with their how-to section, including a huge number of filters that lets users sort by home area, activity, season, and information type.
Both of these features are extremely effective ways of targeting their demographic. Lowes likely has a huge audience of DIYers who are looking for ways to upgrade or add value to their homes, and their filters cater to that.
And because it’s such a broad store, the personalized product calculators and the number of filters help users efficiently locate the products they need.
Digital Marketing Innovations: Trip Advisor
If you perform a search for the “best hotels,” chances are you’ll see a Trip Advisor result in the top spot.
Trip Advisor is continuously ranked #1 ranked for “best hotels” and “hotels near me” searches.
Why? Because their titles, frankly, are pretty awesome.
Take a look at the page above. What do you see in the title?
First of all, it’s different than all the other results on the page. It has all caps, it has numbers, it has the year, location, and price – all right there in the title.
You can tell they’ve spent some time testing various elements in the title – the best words, whether they should include pricing, etc.
They’re also using a dynamic template, which automatically configures to the location a user is searching from.
All of these elements give it a leg-up in the search results and definitely helps Trip Advisor stand apart from the other listings on the page.
LeadPages uses real-time purchase notifications on their site, which let users know when someone has purchased their product.
Why is this cool? Because it acts as social proof.
In fact, the tool used to power the notifications is called Proof.
As we know, social proof is extremely powerful in marketing and appeals to our crowd mentality.
The more people we see buying or using a product, the more likely we are to want it ourselves.
This isn’t just speculation; research shows us that product reviews are 12-times more trusted than product descriptions and sales copy from manufacturers, and nearly 70 percent of online consumers look at a product review prior to making a purchase.
Because reviews and the like come from actual users like you and me, not the brand itself, they come across as more trustworthy.
Similarly, if you can prove your product is popular and widely-used, it will be seen as more trustworthy.
That’s why this LeadPages strategy works so well, and why every brand should look at ways to incorporate social proof into their strategy.
If you don’t have the volume of purchases like LeadPages, you may want to take a different approach. Collecting user reviews and testimonials is one of the best places to start.
First of all, Wikipedia is the #1 SEO site in the world.
So as you might guess, there’s a lot Wikipedia’s doing right.
All the internal links, user participation, the structure of information and the sheer amount of information available is a search engine’s dream.
What I like here specifically is their update history, which is clearly visible to the public.
The more fresh content and updates you provide, the higher it will rank.
Take a look at Wikipedia’s page on Abraham Lincoln. It’s updated – a lot – and no surprise here, it ranks #1 for an Abraham Lincoln search.
This isn’t a new, evolving subject. This is a historical figure, and yet people are still finding ways to add new content to the page.
That’s why it’s so important to include updates and refreshes in your content strategy, especially for your top-ranking “money” pages.
Digital Marketing Innovations: Marketo
Chatbots are a pretty big deal in marketing.
You’ve probably seen them pop up all over your favorite websites, asking to help and providing information when interacted with.
It’s the latest and greatest way for brands to automate customer service tasks. And some brands, like Marketo, are taking it one step further.
Marketo offers personalized chatbots, tailored to the page the user is on.
For example, the bot in the image below pops up on the demo download page, with a message customized to that page. Click on it, and it will give you the option to skip the form.
Whenever you can, adding personalization features like these go a long way in engaging with your audience.
You can also use the personalized chatbots to segment based on the page they interact with the bot on and the questions or answers they select.
A word of caution here: I wouldn’t invest this much in chatbots unless you’re a big company.
If you don’t regularly have a bunch of people asking questions on your site, a chatbot on this scale may not be worth the investment.
This one is actually a marketing campaign done by ClickFunnels, and the book Expert Secrets is written by co-founder Russel Brunson.
The extremely well-done landing page offers a free book download, all you have to do is pay shipping costs.
The book itself is all about why paying for expert advice is a good investment.
If you like what he has to say, you’ll probably also like his product ClickFunnels.
Essentially, it’s all a funnel to get more ClickFunnel users and create more brand awareness, and it works.
Let’s start with the landing page. They’re doing a lot right great CTAs, exciting, well-thought-out language, including videos, and featuring everything above the page.
Beyond that, they ran about 15-20 different ads to anyone who came to this page in a sequence (and if you don’t know, I’m a huge fan of remarketing).
The more people remarketed to and the more downloads the book received, the more customers ClickFunnels is ultimately going to get.
Pretty smart marketing, if you ask me.
Wrap is a brand new product on the market, and it’s one I’m pretty excited about.
Essentially, Wrap creates an interactive brochure that you can send to people via mobile. It’s fully customizable, and you can use forms, buttons, images, animations, etc. to make it as interactive as possible.
It functions, in a way, like a micro-site, and is ideal for displaying top retail products or services your brand offers.
Perhaps the coolest thing about is that it’s made for mobile, meaning its fully swipeable.
The other thing I love about this new product is that it comes with a full suite of analytics. You can see specific locations where people are viewing your Wrap, and see which pages users are clicking and which aspects they’re interacting with.
Because the product is so new, I can’t say for sure how it will be used in the future. For now, I’m envisioning these Wrap brochures being used in email campaigns and newsletters to serve as an introduction to different brands and their products.
As time goes on, you can bet brands will get creative.
For example, AMC Theatres created a Wrap to send customer’s movie receipts. Flip through the Wrap, and they would see the movie trailer, images, related products, and other movies currently showing.
Hotjar is great heatmapping tool.
It tells you where people are interacting on your site – which buttons or tabs their visiting, which products are most popular, where they spend the most time reading, etc.
This feature, in particular, the Conversion Funnel, tells you where people are dropping off on your site.
In the example below, you can see 58% of people are dropping off at the homepage. That tells us that the homepage needs a little work, and elements like the CTAs, the information offered, language used, etc., needs to be re-evaluated.
The next biggest drop off happens on the pricing page, which means the pricing may need to be adjusted or better explains.
Then comes the registration page. Maybe the form is too long, ask for too much information, or doesn’t have a clear CTA.
And so on and so forth. The point is, this is a pretty incredible tool to have when it comes to monitoring your site activity and improving conversions.
Best part? You can sign up for a free, 15-day trial to test it out. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you test it out.
Shameless plug here: we did something pretty cool recently.
We ran an industry study surveying 300 marketers and how they would be shifting their marketing budget over the next three years.
The results were pretty interesting, but the study itself is what I want to talk about.
I highly recommend all businesses do their own industry study every 3-6 months.
Why? because it helps you manufacture press. A new study can easily be picked up by news sites and linked to from hundreds of reputable sources.
For more on how to create an industry study of your own, check out my full guide here.
Wrapping Up Digital Marketing Innovations
Digital marketing is constantly changing.
And sometimes, the smallest tweaks can make the biggest difference. These ten innovations are doing great things for the businesses above, and almost all of them can be applied to your own site.
So let us know, which ones will be using on your own website?