Sixth Man Marketing Acquired by JEB Commerce

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I’m very excited to announce that Sixth Man Marketing was acquired in early January by JEB Commerce! Our full team is now part of the affiliate management agency JEB Commerce and working with their team in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. From a brand standpoint we’ll be known in Spokane as Sixth Man Marketing – a JEB Commerce company, while nationally we’ll be the Analytics & Optimization division of JEB Commerce.

I started Sixth Man because I was fascinated by the type of work we provide, the results we’ve been able to deliver, and the relationships we’ve built with our clients over the years. But I’ve always wanted a partner to help help fill the gaps needed to create a world-class online marketing organization and help guide the long-term vision. Jamie Birch, the CEO of JEB Commerce, was one of the first people I met when we moved to Spokane. We’ve been friends and trusted business confidants ever since. I’ve watched as he’s grown his agency to support a long list of national clients, create processes and systems and help clients drive their ecommerce efforts. From our very first discussion it just made sense and always felt like a natural fit. It’s a great opportunity for both of our firms and I’m stoked to officially announce it.

I look forward to introducing Jamie and his team to my Spokane friends in the coming months!

Affordable Solutions To Usability

It isn’t affordable for everyone to hire a Conversion Rate Optimizer or hire an agency to do it for them. Especially when it is your startup and no one on your team has the necessary experience. Often times, your small businesses website was created by you, or at least you hired someone as a freelancer to build you a WordPress or Shopify site. You’ve made some initial headway and cranked out what you’re good at, but your website traffic isn’t converting how you’d like. Spending the money to hire someone is expensive, but the web is overwhelmed with UI/UX and CRO best-practices.

We often turn clients away early on in their businesses’ life-cycle because their budget is often better spent elsewhere at that stage. We often direct them to a string of resources available on usability and conversion rate optimization. I decided to compile a series of tools and suggestions to help optimize your website yourself, or at least point you in the right direction.

  1. List your goals and analyze them – Every website has a series of goals and KPI’s (key performance indicators) in mind, that serves as their purpose for having a website. Whether it’s sales for an ecommerce site (duh), newsletter signups, social shares, or phone call inquiries, every page has a mission. Before looking at your website, write down the goal completions your ideal customer accomplishes in a single visit of your page. Now check out every major page of your site. Are these goals clear to the consumer? Can they be accomplished in one or two clicks? Is the copy guiding them to appropriate calls-to-action (signup buttons, add to cart, etc.). Once you have a roadmap for your website, each goal should be clearly outlined on the page. There may be a laundry list of tools out there, but writing down the base goal of each page will really help you pinpoint what is working (and what’s not).
  2. google_analytics_oficialGoogle Analytics – For most clients, this will be the source of most website decisions from here on out. This powerful tool tracks user data across your entire site and can tell you which functions are working great, and where users are getting lost. Creating accurate goal funnels will see which steps lose the most customers and guide you to pages that need the most help.
  3. Google’s Page-Speed Insights – When it comes to usability, it’s easy to upset a user before they even get to your site with slow load times. It is pretty much the reason I’ve stopped clicking any links from BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, or Business Insider. The amount of ads, size of your images, and consolidation of your code all affect the time it takes your page to load. It all adds up really quickly and tears apart your user experience. 2015-05-19_1101Google has a handy tool to tell you exactly what is bogging down your page. Simply type in the URL and they’ll analyze the desktop and mobile versions of your pages resulting in a final score for each. Each analysis has a breakdown of important issues triaged to help you choose what to fix first.
  4. Untitled-2Website Grader by Hubspot – This is a pretty handy tool to get a rough overview of things you should keep an eye on throughout your site. Though the results are mostly suggestions of what Hubspot employees believe to be the best practices, they often point out features that are commonly overlooked. They breakdown your site into Blogging, Social Media, SEO, Lead Gen, and Mobile. Each of these end up with separate breakdown and checklist of your performance in the category. Like I said, a great tool to point out things you might miss, but take it’s suggestions with a grain of salt.
  5. 2015-05-19_1114UserTesting.com – A unique tool that allows you to post tasks about your site as live-users share their experience with you. As great as pre-built scanners are for assessing the code of you website and image sizes, nothing truly beats a real person’s experience on your pages. You’ll get feedback from a wide variety of demographics on how easily they accomplished your tasks. Though the service isn’t free, you’re able to cram a lot of value into each test.

Usability shouldn’t be overwhelming, and though there are a lot of factors that go into ensuring your site is easily navigable and geared for conversions, it shouldn’t take away from growing the heart of your business. With a little time (and a few lines of code), you’ll have access to powerful information about how users perform actions and move about your site.

Mobile Matters – Will You Survive Mobilegeddon?

Mobile has mattered to online marketing folks like us for quite a while. But to be honest, it’s been tough to create a sense of urgency from business owners and executives to do a lot about their poor user experience on mobile devices. Really tough. But all that changes tomorrow (at least from an awareness standpoint) with Google’s algorithm update for mobile. This “mobilegeddon” has received plenty of mentions, including one from NBC News earlier this morning. But this post isn’t about the algorithm. It’s a quick message to business owners and executives to show the rapid growth of mobile and provide some help. The sky isn’t falling. But it’s a nudge from Google to provide a better mobile-friendly experience (as they define it).

Bonus: Here are two mobile dashboards you can import into your GA dashboard gallery to easily see the impact of your mobile traffic

Mobile Dashboard
Google-Focused Mobile Dashboard

Why Mobile Matters

Here’s why mobile is such a big deal. Mobile now represents almost half of all traffic for many consumer-facing businesses and is becoming increasingly important for B2B’s as well. Here are a few client examples that show the massive increase in mobile traffic. Though these are only a handful of examples, these traffic increases are pretty consistent consistent among consumer facing websites. While mobile traffic has been rapidly increasing the several years now it really ramped up during the 2nd half of last year. Take some time to better understand your mobile traffic!

Ecommerce
beardbrand1

Travel / Destination
Mobile Blastoff

Hospitality
Silverton-Mobile

Retail
Retail

Medical
medical

B2B
B2B

Import Our Mobile Dashboards

Take a little bit of time to get to know the impact of mobile traffic to your business. Understand the mobile behavior of visitors to your website. Find out how much of an impact tomorrow’s mobile algorithm update from Google is going to have on your business. Here are two mobile dashboards you can import right now (just click the links below to import into your Google Analytics Dashboard Gallery). The first dashboard is a new all-purpose mobile dashboard and the second is a very simple mobile dashboard to assess the impact of  tomorrow’s mobile update from Google.

Mobile Dashboard
Google-Focused Mobile Dashboard

When is it Time to Redesign Your Website?

How long has it been since your website was built? You might have built it yourself a decade ago or maybe you hired an agency to re-build it in the last 3-5 years. We hear from a lot of clients who say they “feel” that it’s time to re-launch, re-fresh, or just plain re-do their website. At Sixth Man, we try to take “feelings” out of the equation (though we definitely empathize). We advise our clients to focus on what their website needs to accomplish. Once you’ve established the goals and KPI’s (key performance indicators) there are tried and true techniques to discover how your website can best support those goals. We’ve outline four ways to identify what to update and why.

Here are four ways to prevent headaches, upset customers, and most importantly, sales.

  • Analytics – What is happening on your current site? Where are users getting stuck? Are goals getting accomplished? These are all questions easily answered by diving into the analytics of your current website. By setting up custom segments and dashboards, you’re able to see the user-behavior of specific visitor groups. What pages are users viewing most before making a purchase? What is convincing them to sign up for your newsletter? Understanding your users is good first-step to analyzing your current site and determine what is working and what isn’t. Installing Google Analytics is fairly painless for basic use and adding additional resources like CrazyEgg and KISSmetrics will provide deeper insight to how your website is being used by your target audience.
  • User Testing – The amount of people who skip out on this process when building (or re-launching) a website blows my mind. How do users navigate your site? Can they find what they’re looking for easily? User testing addresses these questions directly. Whether it involves extensive live-testing or even just having a few buddies poke around on your dev build to find where people are getting lost will help immensely. BONUS POINTS: Have a prototype built to quickly test your designs without doing any coding! Programs like InVision and Axure great for gaining awesome insight and both include mobile versions as well. Handing your developer a prototype to work from is also going to save you a lot of time and money.
  • Research – If you’re feeling the need to update your website, chances are that a business similar to yours already has. What have others done in your industry? Dig around and pay close attention to page elements, their website placement, and how they likely affect conversions. Don’t be limited to any particular site (and don’t be afraid to look outside of your industry as well) as most competitive companies are actively A/B testing their own websites to improve conversion rates. A great example is the adoption of One-Click shopping across a variety of brands such as Amazon, Dominoes, and Walmart as they try to eliminate cart-abandonment issues. A powerful method of checking into other website’s changes over time is using the Wayback Machine which provides snapshots of former versions of websites.
  • Ask Your Customers – Adding a survey tool to your site will give your users the opportunity to provide feedback about why they arrived on certain pages, if it was helpful, or what they felt was missing. Take user feedback and criticism with high-regard, as they’re the ones who will be using it (hopefully) regularly. Qualaroo is a great tool to accomplish this with a clean UI that won’t upset your customers with obnoxious pop-ups.

Rebuilding a website is a true test of understanding your customers needs. Do you know what they really want from your website? How can you best provide it that experience for them? Answering these questions before you take the leap will save you a heap of time and cash.

MozCon Recap and Test Driving a Starship

MozCon 2014The past week, I had the joy of spending the week in Seattle to experience not only my first MozCon, but my first marketing conference. Having spent the majority of my workforce life in hospitality, most conferences were sponsored by food and beverage vendors and were dedicated to eating and drinking the latest and greatest while wandering booths pretending that you hadn’t already tried the meatballs, similar to Costco’s sample day.

Moz went above and beyond anything I could have expected.

There are so many things to mention about the conference, but I’ll recap the top five that really stood out to me.

5. Mike King – API Killah. 
This guy blew the crowd away entirely. If you were following the Twitter feed for #mozcon you would have witnessed a plethora of “I’m officially freaked out.”, “Mike King just blew my mind”, and “WTF?” tweets. He kicked things off by describing a user’s unique fingerprint they leave on each website which was interesting in itself. He then threw us down the rabbit hole of linking APIs to take that fingerprint to find out EXACTLY who each user was, their demographic, their location, their habits, etc. It was insane. Unfortunately, he didn’t also blow us away with his rap skills this year, but I’m told they’re pretty epic. You can download his slide deck from the conference here and follow him on Twitter under the handle @iPullRank.

Mike Ramsey Shuffleboard4. Mike Ramsey – Small Town Man, Doing Big Things
I had the awesome opportunity to meet Mike Ramsey before his presentation and watch him and Ed Reese clean the shuffleboard house at the Unbounce MozCrawl afterparty. The following day he gave his local search presentation and was nothing short of incredible. He creatively and seamlessly incorporated his hometown of Burley, Idaho into every aspect of his slide deck and polished it with gorgeous photography, strategic humor and even pictures of his kids (who may kick you in the face). His firm, Nifty Marketing, focuses on “making local search sexy” and they do a damn good job. Check out his slide deck here and follow the genuinely nice guy on Twitter at @MikeRamsey. He also loves Weezer. Just saying.

Tesla S3. Test Driving A Starship
I have the pleasure of living a short drive (read: long, but worth it) away from Seattle, but it is usually the best idea to cram as many things into the trip as possible. We decided to take a quick break from the conference to walk over to a little car company named Tesla to take one out for a spin. We fully warned our co-pilot that we weren’t planning on buying one for a while and she reassured us that no one is, because you simply can’t; they’re booked out on production for the next year and a half. That being said, we hopped in, played with every option on the 17″ display and took off into the streets of Seattle. With 100% of the torque going straight to the wheels, my face hurt afterwards from smiling too much.
Note: I did not get paid for this shameless plug.

MozCon At The Garage2. MozCon’s Partner Hub
Moz did a great job in picking several partners for the event who hung out outside and gave demos and information on their products. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of fun people and learn more about some of the partners that we use, or are definitely using in the future. Never once did I feel pressured to purchase anything, they simply wanted to share what they were up to and get to know their potential clients. Had great conversations and a fantastic time hanging out with Paul from Buzzstream, Oli and the Unbounce team, and Taylor from Optimizely! Look forward to seeing all of them at future events!

1. Content
I’m not sure the best way to really title this concept that was generated throughout the conference but it is a breath of fresh air. Sure, we can’t game Google search like we used to be able to, but they’re forcing to provide something the internet truly needs: Good Content. We can hate on Google and their 1000s of employed PhDs who tweak and twist their algorithm without anyone knowing the better, skewing our client’s search rankings we’ve pushed so hard to produce. We can get mad every time they name an update after an animal we will soon despise when we see at the zoo, but they’re pushing us to make a better internet. Nearly every presentation held an underlying tone that we can be as technical as we want, but in the end, just make your site better, publish something people will share, write articles readers will love and want to come back to read again. Stop worrying about the little wins and focus on the big picture. The saying I have been throwing around the office lately can sum up the greatest idea from MozCon, “Do the thing”. Time after time, we get caught in the weeds focusing on unimportant projects, or financials, or who knows what, the problem is that we ignore the main idea. #DoTheThing

0. MOZ
So I am probably breaking some sort of countdown rule by going all the way to zero, but I owe the biggest shout out to Moz for putting on a seamless conference. The production value was outstanding with incredible and entertaining videos, great music, food, shirts, and even stuffed Roger dolls. We’ll be back next year, Moz. See you all then.

STARTUP_WEB-HOME_April20141

Startup Weekend Spokane: Bootcamp

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This past weekend Sixth Man Marketing was proud to host Spokane’s Start-up Weekend Bootcamp. This in-the-trenches preparation for Start-up Weekend Spokane brought a passionate and inspirational group looking to flesh-out their business ideas before the upcoming Startup Weekend competition.

Startup Weekend is a national event hosted in cities throughout the year that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation jam-packed into one long weekend. In a mere 54 hours, teams are formed to take ideas as far as possible to be judged and critiqued by a panel of business owners and successful entrepreneurs. Startup Weekend has spawned collaborations that have gone on to form local companies that have raised capital, produced products, and launched companies.  A few recent successes from Startup Weekend Spokane are Beardbrand,  iCpooch, Barters Closet and SavorX. We can’t wait to see what this year’s event produces!

Dan Gayle kicks off the Startup Weekend Bootcamp session

Past winner Dan Gayle kicks off Startup Weekend: Bootcamp with Conner Simpson and two other entrepreneurs

So what is Startup Weekend: Bootcamp? It’s a three-hour training session that provides an experienced peer group to help fine-tune pitches and provide valuable critiques and coaching for participants of the event. Everything was covered; from the 60-second initial pitch that kicks off the weekend to the final 5-minute presentation that seals your fate with the judges. Delicious food and drink was provided by the Stork Market Cafe to lighten the mood and get the ideas flowing.

pitching_250“The attendees will have a huge advantage over their competition at Startup Weekend because they now understand the format and have the insiders tricks and tips provided by previous winners.”  – Dan Gayle, Spokesman Tech Deck

Mock companies were created to get participants thinking about the importance of key elements like finding team members and how to work efficiently at the event. Connor Simpson, another organizer of the event and previous winner from Barters Closet, added, “We had a great time preparing for Startup Weekend by honing our 60 second elevator pitches”, a key part in surviving Startup Weekend.

For more details on Startup Weekend Spokane, check out the site here or click the image below.

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Contact

Contact Us

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Suite 125
Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814
Email: info@jebcommerce.com
Phone: 1 (800) 208-6215

We’d Like to Hear From You


About Us

About Us

Sixth Man Marketing is a data-driven online marketing firm in beautiful Spokane, Washington. We test landing pages, campaigns, and assumptions. We aren’t afraid to prove our clients or ourselves wrong in the pursuit of better results. We do this by performing usability research, testing, and detailed measurement to gain insight into how to increase revenue.

Our services include: analytics, conversion rate optimization, website audits, A/B & multivariate testing, usability research, user testing, prototype creation, campaign analysis, search strategy & recommendations.


Meet the Team

Ed Reese

Ed Reese

Founder

Ed has been helping companies improve their online marketing efforts for the past ten years. His experience includes advising major brands, agencies, universities, ecommerce companies, and nonprofits. He’s a Faculty Member at LocalU, an Adjunct Professor of Digital Marketing at Gonzaga University and speaks nationally on analytics and online marketing.

Tine Reese

Tine Reese

Co-Founder, Usability & Testing

“Usability is not a luxury—it’s a requirement!” Tine is passionate about thoughtfully integrating good design, clear communication, and user expectations in all facets of the online experience. She has a wicked sixth sense for what motivates people to take action on the web and a measurable track record to prove it.

Darin Herleikson

Darin Herleikson

Director of Client Services

Darin oversees all client work at Sixth Man Marketing. He has successfully bridged his experience providing detailed A/B testing and analytics reporting for our clients with his prior management and client services experience. The result is technical expertise, attention to detail, and a responsive work ethic our clients have grown to value greatly.

Audrey Kaplan

Audrey Kaplan

Usability

Audrey has 10 years of usability experience conducting usability research for the e-commerce group at Oracle and then leading usability teams at Google. Oh, she also has as a Ph.D in Cognitive Psychology. You could say she has a pretty good idea of why people do what they do when it comes to website behavior and actions.

Ash Boodel

Ash Boodel

Programming

Ash is a technical troubleshooter. You can throw him into a tangled web of incoherent, mangled code and five minutes later he’ll emerge with the answer. His experience and expertise in programming advanced database and backend solutions is invaluable when it comes to identifying and diagnosing website issues.

Mary Bowling

Mary Bowling

Search Strategy & Research

Mary has a wealth of experience when it comes to search. She has been helping optimize client websites for over a decade in a wide variety of industries. She is also a Faculty Member of LocalU, Co-Founder of Ignitor Digital and speaks nationally on search engine optimization.

Camille

Camille

Security / Hospitality / Chewing

Camille has been a valued member of the Sixth Man Marketing team since August of 2013. Her expertise includes security, hospitality, and paper chewing. Camille has proven to be a much loved member of the team and enjoys coming to work everyday.

Services

Our Services


What Makes Sixth Man Marketing Different?

Most internet marketing agencies try to force fit you into one of their “packages” and many are increasingly automating and outsourcing the work they do for their clients. Believing there are no one-size-fits-all solutions in online marketing, Sixth Man Marketing takes a totally different approach:

  1. Our recommendations are completely customized to meet the individual needs of your website and your business.
  2. You can expect our proven, high-level marketing experts to happily roll up their sleeves and personally work to help you meet your business goals.
  3. You may choose to engage us for a one-time project or as a long-term partner.
  4. We want you to get to know us before making before making a decision to work with us. Just swing by one of our open gym sessions or schedule a time to talk shop!

Core Services

  • Analytics

    The data collected from your website allows us to understand how visitors found you, what they are doing on the site and what is motivating them to take action. We go beyond simply knowing whether your website’s goals are succeeding or failing—we can determine how and why. We can then recommend strategies to replicate successes and improve your bottom line.

  • Usability

    Good SEO gets prospective customers to your website. Usability keeps them there and helps to turn them into buying customers. Sixth Man’s usability experts focus on helping your website work better for your business. How? By analyzing the data about your visitors’ actions and testing, testing, testing.

  • Search Engine Optimization

    Search traffic continues to provide one of the highest visitor intent online. Optimize your website to get more targeted traffic for your products or services. We provide organic search engine optimization (SEO) and local search optimization to get your business found online.