Tim Ash

Tim is a highly-regarded presenter and keynote speaker at SES, eMetrics, PPC Summit, Affiliate Summit, PubCon, SMX, OMS, AffCon, LeadsCon, Internet Retailer, and eComXpo.

He is the founder and chairperson of ConversionConference.com the first international conference series focused on improving online conversions.

Tim is a contributing columnist to several publications including ClickZ, Website Magazine, DM News, Visibility Magazine, Search Marketing Standard, Search Engine Marketing Journal, and Electronic Retailer Online Strategies magazine.

Learn a bit more about Tim prior to his session at CMC!


Q. As a keynote Internet marketing speaker at the upcoming Content Marketing Conference in Las Vegas, you’ll be discussing “Content that Sells.” Can you give us a sneak peek and name the top three aspects of content that sells?


A. 1) Written with the intended audience in mind

2) Addresses questions or problems that the person may have

3) Has a clear call-to-action in it (to advance the sales process)



Q. Can you sum up a few of the worst ways to turn off an audience, or provide a quick rundown on what ensures content will never sell?  

A. If you write things from your company’s perspective, you will bore people and put them to sleep. As they read any of your content, they are constantly asking “what’s in it for me” in the back of their minds…



Q. What’s the biggest mistake you see content marketers make?

A. Greedy marketer syndrome – too much of the focus is on the bottom of the sales funnel. While it is fun to cherry-pick the people who are ready to act, it ignores the vast majority of people earlier in the process. You have a real opportunity to advance the sale with content marketing since for many buying decisions, the first 60-80% of the process is self-service (they do not want to talk to your sales rep). This is where solid content can really dominate.


Q. You’re big on testing and analyzing results (which makes sense with a computer science background). How do you respond to those who say testing is a waste of time?

A. Without constant innovation and measuring Internet marketing results, you can’t succeed. So the people not doing testing will go the way of the dinosaurs soon enough.



Q. You wrote the book on landing pages and even have a Landing Page Optimization podcast on WebmasterRadio.fm. What drew you to landing pages in particular?

A. I think the more common term these days is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Think of it as growth-hacking your online marketing. Your web pages are the catcher’s mitts for all of your online marketing traffic. They are the one thing that you have total control over that can increase the ROI from all of your traffic acquisition efforts.


Q. Does every website absolutely need landing pages to be successful?

A. My definition of “landing pages” is broad. It could be a stand-alone page for a specific online campaign, it could be a micro-site, or it could be a page on your main website. Anywhere where substantial traffic lands on the way to important business goals deeper in the site is ripe for optimization.


Q. In your expert opinion, how much of a web design should be based on pure science?

A. There is no such thing as pure science. The key insight is that we are trying to influence human behavior. This is largely governed by our irrational and subconscious mind. In fact, recent research suggests that we literally can’t make decisions without emotion. So the key is to apply insights from neuromarketing about our tendencies and biases to the design of online experiences.



Q. Is there any room for wild creativity? If so, where?  

A. Wild? No. However, you should definitely play with outside the box ideas. Remember that you are not your target audience. They think differently than you do. So what seems wild to you, may be just the ticket for them. It is important to use a variety of sources and diverse perspectives when coming up with ideas to improve your conversion rate.


Q. You also chair the co-located Conversion Conference. How does content marketing relate to conversion and why might someone attend both CMC and Conversion Conference?

A. I see a very powerful intersection between content and conversion. The problem is that without content, you can’t advance the sale or address someone’s concerns. No matter how hard you try to close people, it won’t work if they are not ready to act. Content is often what gets them over the hump.

But on the flip side, most content is just cranked out willy-nilly without thought of the customer or how to advance the sale. Content folks are concerned with syndication, reach, virality, and not enough the business end-result.

The right approach is to marry the two. My CRO agency, SiteTuners, has developed a comprehensive Content For Conversion Audit. We look at key roles/classes of people interacting with your company online and trace their complete customer journey.

In a disciplined way, we can determine if the right content is available in the right format, how it is gated (through information gathering), and whether the right calls-to-action are attached to it. We also look at email and other communications. Often the behind-the-scenes marketing automation systems and email sequences are the most important content you have.


If you are smart, you will buy a combo pass to both conferences and learn about both… See you in Las Vegas!