Our Fearless 50 on Being Fearless

Just last week, we had the pleasure of announcing the entirety of the inaugural class of the Fearless 50. We are excited to share their stories in their own words—what drives them to be fearless, including key takeaways that you can learn from as well.

Kimi Corrigan, Director of Marketing Operations at Duo Security, Emily Poulton, Marketing Manager at the Adecco Group, and Satu Ståhlstedt, Marketing Automation and Digital Marketing Specialist at Fujitsu, sent us their advice to marketers looking to be fearless in their own way. Their tactics range from the simple, like learning to enjoy the ride, to the difficult, like learning to accept failure as a part of growth.

Move Past Your Fear of Being Fearless

Kimi Corrigan, Director of Marketing Operations at Duo Security, shares her thoughts on what being fearless means to her, both inside and outside of her marketing role.

“Being fearless is an intimidating concept. The notion is a little different for everyone, but a common interpretation is that you must be bold, confident and have all the answers. I used to think I needed to operate that way, but now I know that for me, being fearless is recognizing the problems, fears and worry about what could go wrong and facing it all head on,” said Kimi.

One of the most common fears many of us face is the fear of failure. Kimi shares what it feels like to look at the fear of failure a bit differently, saying, “To be willing to fail, and fail fast, can sometimes be crippling. But I have learned with forced habit to take that leap every day and to take my team along with me. It’s bold to risk failure for yourself, but it’s fearless to risk it on behalf of your company and those who you lead. But the rewards are sweeter, bolder and bigger.”

Kimi also offers up this great pro tip: “Shove aside the imposter syndrome feels, put in the work, learn how to shake it off when things don’t go according to plan and never forget to celebrate the victories and milestones.”

Stand Out and Be Fearless

Standing out in the crowd is one of the most fearless things a person can do, and Emily Poulton, Marketing Manager at The Adecco Group, is no stranger to it. She believes demand generation is one of the most difficult marketing roles in which to be fearless, but taking that approach has been crucial to her success.

“The demand generation space can be pretty tough, not only for those just starting their marketing journey, but also for those who have been in the game for a while, because demand-gen marketing is all about people—generating someone’s interest in your content, attracting a person to your website, creating an environment where people can communicate with you and engage with your brand. If your job is to ensure your content stands out and gets to the right person, you need to be able to put yourself in their shoes. Don’t create a campaign for a target audience, a user or a lead, but for a human, a person, a tech-savvy and busy marketer.”

Emily mentions the importance of standing out and being willing to ask the tough questions to push the envelope, saying, “With so many emerging technologies, new trends, and where you are marketing to someone like you, it’s hard to stand out and create the demand for the products/services your sales team is asking marketing for. But the good news is, these trends bring new technologies and ideas for marketing professionals to evolve their campaigns from tried and tested whitepaper downloads, to bespoke user journeys. Try out the new digital tools and channels, apply them to your campaigns, try them for offline too. Be the first in your team/company/industry/country to try something new.

Don’t be afraid to be innovative, don’t be afraid to challenge your “we always do it this way” campaigns, don’t be afraid to ask, “Would I click on this?” Don’t be afraid to make the case and explain the “whys” to your manager/team. Be a fearless marketer.”

The Not-So-Smooth Road to Being Fearless

The concept of turbulence is not just related to air travel—the world of technology is a bumpy ride, changing every day, leading marketers to scramble for the best solution to the challenge they are facing. Satu Ståhlstedt, Marketing Automation and Digital Marketing Specialist at Fujitsu, believes that turbulence can actually give the marketer the opportunity to thrive and innovate in new and exciting ways.
“The 2010s are a riveting time in history to be working in marketing. Every day in the office is an adventure, abundant with new marketing technologies, social media tools, content and meme trends, and even legislative changes. While this ever-present turbulence might fill some with fear, I feel it’s an opportunity to thrive and to revolutionize the way marketing has been done before.

We’ve been given tools to offer highly personalized and automated marketing experiences to our customers every single time they engage with us during their lifecycle. The possibilities are endless. So much so, that many of us may feel overwhelmed.

The key thing is not being afraid to try new things, to always improve on yesterday and to understand that failure is part of success. What will never (hopefully) be out of fashion is the human-to-human approach. As automated as things become, we must always strive to involve a touch of humanity to whatever we are doing with our customers. Digital technologies and marketing automation will only enhance the humanity of marketing.

That being said, AI, VR, and AR still have not seen a proper dawn in marketing and I, for one, cannot wait until it does!”

We all share a common thread as part of the Marketing Nation community—being fearless in the pursuit of marketing excellence. We hope these anecdotes from members of the Fearless 50 are inspirational and educational to those who are just starting out in the world of marketing and reinvigorate the excitement of those who have been in the industry for years. Be willing to fail and learn from it, assert yourself and ask the tough questions, and enjoy the ride that being a Fearless Marketer affords us.

Thank you to Kimi, Emily, and Satu for sharing their insights into what being fearless means to them and we are looking forward to sharing more stories of bold and brave marketing as the year presses on.

How do you embrace being fearless in your role each and every day? Are you inspired by the ideas shared above by our Fearless 50? Let us know in the comments!

The post Our Fearless 50 on Being Fearless appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

Press Release Definition [+ How to Write & Send]

A press release is an official statement about your business sent to journalists and media outlets that informs a relevant audience about newsworthy information. Press releases are typically around 500 words and follow a standard format consisting of a headline, summary paragraph and body copy. Types of press release include new hire announcements, sponsored events…

The post Press Release Definition [+ How to Write & Send] appeared first on Fit Small Business.

Google Still Has A Lot of Work To Do When It Comes To Location…

One of the perks of international travel is getting to see what the SERPs really look like in other countries. Check out this query for “Sams Club”* I did while in Barcelona yesterday:

So Google thinks the “Barcelona” line of Sam’s Club furniture is relevant to me simply because I am in Barcelona. Note my query never specified location. Google just knows there’s a page called “Barcelona” which matches the name of city I am in. If had been in Helsinki and Sam’s had a line of much-needed Helsinki Bullshit Deflectors, it probably would have shown those.

The challenge is that Google often is not clear if a search query has local intent (we have talked a lot about this in our presentations on our Local SEO Ranking Factors Study). Google often is not sure if the searcher wants a document (aka “a web page”) relevant to a location or a document relevant to a word/phrase, entity or whatever. For another good example, see this post on Near Me SEO.

From the above result you can see that Google thinks there could be some local intent to the search (likely because Sam’s has retail locations) so it is showing me the Barcelona pages in the sitelinks. Had it been 100% confident, it likely would have shown the Barcelona URL as the top result (like a store page).

These results are not catastrophes but they could cause some confusion and possible abandonment for less-savvy clickers. They are not what I would call “good for users.” They do illustrate how tricky location can be for an algorithm.

My advice to retailers and any other sites with issues like these is to make it super clear which pages contain relevant location information by using structured markup. You could even link from the Barcelona product pages to the Barcelona store page with the anchor text=”Barcelona”. If Sam’s actually had a Barcelona location, that would make it more likely to appear in these results above the product pages. In extreme cases you may also consider either noindexing these URLs or using the Google Search Console Remove URL tool to get rid of these unwanted results.

This is an edge-case to be sure, but when you are operating at international brand scale, a few thousand edge cases can add up.

*A much-beloved LSG client

The post Google Still Has A Lot of Work To Do When It Comes To Location… appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

The 7 Most Useful Google Sheets Formulas

Lately, the best part of my day has been figuring out the cool new things I can do in Google Sheets — which, yes, definitely means I need to get out more, but also means I can share my favorite formulas with you.

How to Use Formulas for Google Sheets

  1. Double-click on the cell you want to enter the formula in. (If you want the formula for the entire row, this will probably be the first or second row in a column.)
  2. Type the equal (=) sign.
  3. Enter your formula. Depending on the data, Google Sheets might suggest a formula and/or range for you.

V-LOOKUP Google Sheets Formula

V-lookups, are by far, the most useful formula in your tool-kit when you’re working with large amounts of data. The V-lookup formula looks for a data point — like, say, a blog post title or URL — in one sheet, and returns a relevant piece of information for that data point — like monthly views or conversion rate in another sheet.

For example, if I want to see how much traffic a specific set of blog posts got, I’ll export a list from Google Analytics, then put that list in another tab and use the V-LOOKUP function to pull views by URL into the first tab.

The only caveat: The data point must exist in both cells, and it must in the first column of the second sheet.

Formula:

=VLOOKUP(search_criterion, array, index, sort_order)

Let’s walk through an example, which should make this a bit easier to understand.

In the first sheet, I have a list of blog posts, including their titles, URLs and monthly traffic. In the second sheet, I have a report from Google Analytics with average page load time by URL. I want to see if there’s any correlation between page speed and performance.

An example:

=VLOOKUP(A2,’GA Avg. Load Time’’!$1:$1000,2,FALSE)

IFERROR Google Sheets Formula

Any time you’re using a formula where more than 10% of the return values lead to errors, your spreadsheet starts to look really messy (see the above screenshot!).

To give you an idea, maybe you have two columns: one for page views and another for CTA clicks. You want to see the highest-converting pages, so you create a third column for page views divided by CTA clicks (or =B2/C2).

About one-third of your pages, however, don’t have any CTAs — so they haven’t gotten any clicks. This will show up as #VALUE! on your sheet, since you can’t divide by zero.

Using the IFERROR formula lets you replace the VALUE! Status with another value. I typically use a space (“ “) so the sheet is as clean as possible.

Here’s the formula:

=IFERROR(original_formula, value_if_error)

So for the above situation, my formula would be:

=IFERROR((B2/C2, “ “)

COUNTIF Google Sheets Formula

The COUNTIF formula tells you how many how many cells in a given range meet the criteria you’ve specified. With this up your sleeve, you’ll never have to manually count cells again.

Formula:

=COUNTIF(range, criterion)

Let’s say I’m curious how many blog posts received more than 1,000 views for this time period — I’d enter:

=COUNTIF(C2:C500,“>1000”)

Or maybe I want to see how many blog posts were written by Caroline Forsey. If the author was in Column D, my formula would be:

=COUNTIF(D2:D500, “Caroline Forsey”)

LEN Google Sheets Function

Have you noticed Google Analytics cuts off the “http://” or “https://” from every URL? This posed a major issue for me when I wanted to combine data from HubSpot and GA — the V-Lookup function wouldn’t work because the URLs weren’t identical (“https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing versus “blog.hubspot.com/marketing).

Luckily, there’s no need to manually change every URL. The LEN function lets you adapt the length of any string.

=LEFT(text,LEN(text)-n)

=RIGHT(text,LEN(text)-n)

So, let’s say the full URL is in column I. To remove the “https://” string and make it identical to the URL in the Google Analytics tab, I’d use:

=RIGHT(I2, LEN(I2)-8)

If you wanted to remove the last characters in a cell, you’d simply change RIGHT to LEFT.

Array Formula for Google Sheets

Rarely do you need to apply a formula to a single cell — you’re usually using it across a row or column. If you copy and paste a formula into a new cell, Google Sheets will automatically change it o reference the right cells; for example, if I enter =A2+B2 in cell C2, then drag the formula down to C3, the formula will become =A3+B3.

But there are a few drawbacks to this. First, if you’re working with a lot of data, having hundreds or thousands of formulas can make Google Sheets a lot slower. Second, if you change the formula — maybe now you want to see =A2*B2 instead — you have to make that change across every formula. Again, that’s time-consuming and requires a lot of processing power. And finally, the formula doesn’t automatically apply to new rows or columns.

An array formula solves these issues. It’s one formula, with one calculation, but the results are sorted into multiple rows or columns. Not only is this more efficient, but any changes will automatically apply to all your data.

ARRAYFORMULA(array_formula)

Let’s suppose I want to see how much non-paid traffic we’d gotten in March and April. That requires subtracting paid traffic from total (column D from column C) and then adding the totals together. Two separate formulas.

Or, I could use an array formula:

=ARRAYFORMULA(SUM(C2:C5-D2:D5)

The second part, SUM(C2:C5-D2:D5), should look somewhat familiar. It’s a traditional addition formula — but it’s applied to a range (cells C2 through C5 and D2 through D5) instead of individual cells.

The first part, =ARRAYFORMULA, tells Google Sheets we’re applying this formula to a range.

I could also use an array formula to look at the non-paid traffic specifically from updates (not new content) in March and April.

Here’s what that would look like:

=ARRAYFORMULA(SUM(C2,C4-D2,D4))

IMPORTRANGE Google Sheets Formula

I use to spend a ton of time (and processing power) manually copying huge amounts of data from one spreadsheet to another. Then I learned about this handy formula, which imports data from a separate Google Sheets spreadsheet.

Suppose our resident historical optimization expert Braden Becker sent me a spreadsheet of the content he updated last month. I want to add that data to a master spreadsheet of all the content (both new and historically optimized) we published. I’d use this formula:

IMPORTRANGE(spreadsheet_url, range_string)

Which would look like:

IMPORTRANGE(“https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/abcd123abcd123”, “Update Performance!A2:D100”)

How to Split Text in Google Sheets

Splitting text can be incredibly useful when you’re dealing with different versions of the same URLs.

To give you an idea, let’s suppose I’ve created a spreadsheet with every URL that received at least 300 views in January and February. I want to compare the two months to see which blog posts got more views over time, fewer, or around the same.

The problem is, if I do a V-LOOKUP between the two tabs, Google Sheets won’t recognize these as the same URLs:

https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/songs-for-maximum-motivation (regular URL)

https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/songs-for-maximum-motivation?utm_medium=paid_EN&utm_content=songs-for-maximum-motivation&utm_source=getpocket.com&utm_campaign=PocketPromotion (tracking URL)

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/create-infographics-with-free-powerpoint-templates (regular URL)

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/create-infographics-with-free-powerpoint-templates?utm_medium=paid_EN&utm_content=create-infographics-with-free-powerpoint-templates&utm_source=getpocket.com&utm_campaign=PocketPromotion (tracking URL)

It would be awesome if I could get delete everything after the question mark in the tracking URLs so they matched the original ones.

That’s where the split text formula comes in.

=SPLIT(text, delimiter, [split_by_each], [remove_empty_text])

Text: The text you want to divide (can be a string of characters, such as https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/create-infographics-with-free-powerpoint-templates?utm_medium=paid_EN&utm_content=create-infographics-with-free-powerpoint-templates&utm_source=getpocket.com&utm_campaign=PocketPromotion, or a cell, like A2)

Delimiter: The characters you want to split the text around.

Split_by_each: Google Sheets considers each character in the delimiter to be separate. That means if you split your text by “utm”, it will split everything around the characters “u”,”t”, and “m”. Include FALSE in your formula to turn this setting off.

In the example above, here’s the formula I’d use to split the first part of the URL from the UTM code:

=SPLIT(A2,“?”)

The first part is now in Column B, and the UTM code is in Column C. I can simply delete everything in Column C, and run the V-LOOKUP on the URLs in Column B.

Alternatively, you can use Google Sheet’s “Split text to columns” feature. Highlight the range of data you want to split, then select “Data” > “Split text to columns.”

Now choose the character you want to delimit by: a colon, semicolon, period, space, or custom character. You can also opt for Google Sheets to figure out which character you want to split by (which it’s smart enough to do if your data is entered uniformly, e.g. every cell follows the same format) by choosing the first option, “detect automatically.”

I hope these Google Sheets formulas are helpful. If you have any other favorites, let me know on Twitter: @ajavuu.

How to Run a Marketing Campaign with GSuite

 
Check out this free ebook on running effectibe marketing campaigns using GSuite.

Unriddled: Apple's Latest MacBook, Another Facebook Data Loophole, and More Tech News You Need

Welcome one, welcome all to another Wednesday: the day that marks the halfway point — almost — to the weekend.

As we find ourselves halfway through July and grasping tightly to the weeks of summer that remain, we know you don’t have a ton of time to devour news. So, in keeping with tradition — we’ll keep this week’s “Unriddled” quick.

It’s our Wednesday tech news roundup, and we’re breaking it down.

Unriddled: The Tech News You Need

1. Apple Releases a New Macbook Pro

Apple announced last week the latest release in its MacBook Pro lineup, calling it “the most advanced Mac notebook ever.” Among its news features, the company says, are faster computing, an improved Retina display, and the ability to prompt Apple’s voice assistant with verbal “Hey Siri” commands — and, according to some early users, a quieter keyboard. But there may be more beneath that (hushed) surface, with rumors floating that the subdued typing volume is actually a way of masking the manufacturer’s known keyboard reliability issues. Dieter Bohn of The Verge shares more first impressions. Read full story >>

2. Facebook Privacy Loophole Discovered in “Closed” Groups

CNBC reported last week that Facebook has closed a loophole that allowed the identities of members of closed, private groups on the platform to be scraped with the use of a Chrome browser plug-in. The issue was discovered when the moderator of a closed group came upon the Grouply.io browser extension, which allows third parties (like marketers) to harvest private member information like names, employers, and locations, among others. A Facebook spokesperson told CNBC that the extension has been shut down. Read full story >>

3. Uber Steps Up Its Background Checks

Uber is reinforcing its efforts around safety, telling Axios that it will now conduct ongoing background checks on drivers, rather than performing them on a one-time occasion. Partnering with background check provider Checkr and safety data company Appriss, this move is the latest of Uber’s efforts, largely under CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, to improve the company’s reputation, especially when it comes to rider safety. The announcement of these efforts was shortly followed by reports that the company is under investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for gender inequity. Read full story >>

4. The Tech Giants Go to Washington (Again)

Policy representatives from Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter appeared before the House Judiciary Committee in a hearing on social media filtering practices — the second one to take place this year. All three were facing allegations that they filter or suppress conservative content — but little of that particular topic was actually discussed during the hearing. Tony Romm of The Washington Post has more. Read full story >>

5. Twitter Follower Counts Drop

Following the previous week’s report that Twitter has been conducting sweeping account suspensions, the company announced last week that it would delete locked accounts from total user follower counts, causing many of them to drop. Read full story >>

6. The Genius Marketing of HQ Trivia

In the world of tech, it’s hard to go too long without hearing a reference to the HQ Trivia app. But what’s all the hype about — and what can we learn from its success? Read full story >>

That’s all for today. Until next week, feel free to weigh in on Twitter to ask us your tech news questions, or to let us know what kind of events and topics you’d like us to cover.

All in one text marketing guide for restaurants and takeaways

Restaurants and takeaways listen up – we have put together a very special, all in one, text marketing guide just for you. Below we have created 3 unique blogs, along with a downloadable guide, that will give you everything you need to send a perfect text marketing campaigns.

The 3 blogs below include the best time for you to send, a couple of do’s and don’ts of text marketing, as well as a whole load of example messages. So along with the guide that you can download and take away with you at the bottom of the page, everything is one click away.

The best time to send marketing text messages for restaurants and takeaways
Here you will find the best time in the day to send your customers marketing messages about booking a table and ordering food. We have broken it down into the best days in the week and at the weekend, and included when specifically, in these days is the best time send. Read here

 

Restaurant and takeaway dos and don’ts of text marketing
Here you can read all the do’s and don’ts for restaurants and takeaways when preparing and sending out an SMS campaign. From simple things like checking your spelling, to more vital things that if you ignore could end in a fine, like including an opt-out option. Read here

Food industry dos

 

Example marketing text messages for restaurants and takeaways
Split into 3 groups, we have given you over 20 example SMS messages that you can copy and put straight into your SMS campaign. Broken down into marketing messages, delivery and notifications, and personalised messages, all the content for your various messages can be found here. Read more

Example text messages food

 

All in one guide
We have even gone one step further and taken all the best bits from the 3 blogs above, added some extra helpful bits of information, and put it all together into this handy guide. Read here

All in one sms marketing guide

If you have any questions about text marketing, or anything you are unsure of, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us either by phone, 0117 205 0202 or by email at [email protected] and one of our expert team will be able to advice you.

Rewarding for Tenure: the richer relationships are the long-term ones

Photo:  Hannah Busing

In the world of academia, mention of the word “tenure” conjures up equal measures of glee and terror, depending on who you’re talking to.

By Mike Giambattista, CLMP

With apologies for the broad-brush stroke I am applying, tenured professors can see themselves as somewhat untouchable and therefore can have a reputation for smugness and entitlement (apologies as well to my professor friends). How many stories of college professors gone astray happen to be tenured?  Hard to say, but anecdotally, they seem to be in the news a lot.  That’s the downside of tenure.

The upside of tenure should, in theory, provide a context for a rewarded and mutually beneficial relationship between the tenure dispenser and the tenure recipient.  Let’s make this personal – think about any long-term relationship that you value.  You will almost certainly recognize its imperfections, but you will almost certainly recognize its benefits.  Relationships that last for a long time – whatever that period is – tend to have higher value for both parties.

Over the course of those relationships the nature of the “rewarding” behavior may change (it needs to) in order to accommodate changing levels of maturity and expectations. But in a healthy long-term relationship it would be hard to imagine that both sides aren’t seeing some significant benefit.  “Tenure”, as it were, gets rewarded.

 

Shouldn’t that be the case in loyalty marketing?

 

If one of our stated goals is to maximize the lifetime value of a healthy relationship, doesn’t it make sense that longevity should be factored into the algorithm?  You would think so.

There is a certain mobile carrier with whom I have had a long term “connection”.  I won’t say who it is because decorum dictates otherwise, except to say that it rhymes with “Ay Tee & Tee”.  Per the last few conversations with their customer service people, it would seem that I have been a valued customer for around 12 years.  You don’t know me personally, but I can tell you that 12 years is like a lifetime in my book.  We have come to know each other – our quirks and ticks, our preferences and our distastes.  We became comfortable with each other.  I knew they would keep up their end of the bargain and they knew I would do the same.  We were good like that.  There were certain expectations on both sides and, as far as I could tell, they were being met.

Until I asked one of their CSRs how I could reduce my bill.  I was told, by a very friendly person that there really was no way to make any real reductions and that my best bet would be to keep the plan I was on.  “Sorry, not much I can do”.  The person was very pleasant and acknowledged again that they valued my business.

I did the napkin math:  I pay a small fortune each month multiplied by 12 years.  Granted, their service has improved over the years and they do a lot of things right, but they had effectively waived off close to $30,000 in LTV in one call because they were not equipped with the tools to maintain and enhance a mature relationship – a healthy mature relationship that showed every sign of long-term profitability.

 

Smart loyalty means first understanding your customer and then wrapping strategy around that understanding.

 

The organization in this case seems to have gotten stuck at acquisition and never developed segmentation that was rich enough to identify and reward someone like me.

Did they not see value in me?  Did they not believe in the value of our relationship?  Did they just never get around to my particular segment because they have more pressing / valuable strata to attend to?  It seems to me there is a case for rewarding tenure.

Let’s face it, in the family hierarchy, acquisition always gets the bigger party.  Nurturing those newly acquired relationships into maturity can be a boring, tedious and relatively thankless process.  But done well, it can provide the means – the platform – for growing spend, profits – and genuine loyalty.

Postscript:  I’m in a new (wireless) relationship now.  We’re still in the honeymoon phase but I think we’re going to be together for a while – they seem to get me.

Mike Giambattista is Editor in Chief at The Wise Marketer and is a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional (CLMP).

The post Rewarding for Tenure: the richer relationships are the long-term ones appeared first on The Wise Marketer.

Staying Top-of-Mind Within the Modern Digital Landscape

Of late, I’ve had a personal breakthrough in the way that I look at delivering personalized experiences to customers within our ever-expanding digital world. Sometimes it can appear to be such a distant vision or complex idea to capture audience interests and then extend ongoing messaging through preferred channels of communication for each individual. We have the technology to listen, learn, and engage. But how can we do this in the most streamlined fashion without overwhelming our marketing resources?

Over the last couple of months, I have started implementing a logic for refining audience interests through our engagement platform and assigning follow-up communication according to the latest digital interactions that have greatly simplified the process for delivering a personalized audience experience.

While many unique variations could be added to the theme, here is the basic formula:

  • Start by establishing “listening” campaigns that articulate the preferences of audiences
  • Coordinate and assign ongoing communication to match these preferences
  • Expand the reach and reinforce the messaging of this ongoing communication through secondary channels and digital locations

There are undoubtedly many other approaches worth considering for articulating your digital marketing strategy. However, this formula is an excellent starting point if you are trying to move your marketing from single-channel communication to a more multi-channel approach. This article takes a look at each of these steps and provides some practical examples of how to put them to good use.

Identify Interest

“Put your feelers out there.” I don’t know where I last heard the term, though I believe it was a friend encouraging me to learn a new hobby. “You’ve got to put your feelers out there.” I think this is more of a reference to something like a hamster with whiskers or an insect with antenna. However, the analogy is accurate to marketing—as marketers we have to get an understanding of who we are targeting and their interests before we begin attempting to truly capture their engagement or calling audiences to action.

Digitally speaking, some people call this “casting a wide net.” What we are trying to do is uncover through digital interactions when and how people are connecting with our brand. To accomplish this, you need to be listening for engagement from the point where an anonymous visitor enters your website, all the way through to the point where they identify themselves, then on into their patterns of content consumption.

I may have already made many of us feel like this is a massive task, though in reality this often boils down to the following:

  • What brought someone to my site or content?
  • What actions are they taking on my site or with my content?
  • How frequently are they engaging with specific messaging?
  • Is the focus of their engagement shifting?

Let’s start with the source of audiences or visitors. With the right digital engagement platform, tracking where people are coming from is actually a whole lot more straightforward than it might appear. There are three main ways people get to your content: ads, referring pages, and direct messaging. While other means exist, the method for capturing these three sources can be applied to other channels as well.

  • UTM (Querystring) Parameters: The information located after the “?” within your browser URL is a treasure-trove of knowledge that can be used to identify what sent an audience to your site. Within your display ads and remarketing, make sure that UTM parameters are being used to determine which messaging has captured the initial attention of your visitors.
  • Referring Pages: Similar to UTM parameters, this information is automatically being registered by your browser and made available to 3rd Party engagement platforms. Essentially, the browser is able to deliver insights into what is driving audiences to your site.
  • Direct Messaging: Emails, text messages, mobile ads, and more all can supply sourcing information. While you may be sending out multiple messages, make sure to understand which of these messages are driving specific audiences to initially engage or continue engaging.
  • Clicks, Click-Throughs, and Links: much of modern digital tracking amounts to what part of your content or website an audience is clicking on.

Once sourcing information is collected, it is equally important to follow along with the actions and behaviors of audiences on your website. While Google Analytics is an excellent resource for a starting study of the overall effectiveness of page content, what is more important is to begin translating website behavior into audience preferences and interests. This is accomplished by looking for frequency and quantity of interactions.

Here is a simple, yet valuable example. Would you rather have a salesperson follow up with someone that visits your pricing page one time in the past two weeks or someone that has visited your pricing page four times in the past three days? The answer is obvious, though it illustrates a critical point, as marketers we need to combine WHAT audiences are doing with HOW often they are engaging. By doing so, we can create implicit segments of interest that are more in tune with the topics that will deliver personalized and engaging communication.

Coordinate Follow-Up

Listening for preferences must be fluid. With the right engagement platform, it is possible to setup workflows that consume information from all of the important touchpoints and dynamically shift segment inclusion to match the digital DNA of audience interest. This article does not go into the mechanics of setting up these workflows, though the right platform delivers simplicity and scalability, so you do not have to manually recreate the supporting tracking programs and elements over-and-over again.

With the right kind of fluid tracking in place to identify and assign interest segments, a modern approach to digital engagement will shift the assignment of content to match the most relevant topic or focus within the buyer journey. Rather than thinking of communication in a linear flow, modern digital communication is better thought of as a landscape of relevant “buckets” or “streams” of messaging. As individuals exhibit behaviors that match a specific bucket of messaging, appropriate platforms deliver functionality that can automatically adapt what type of communication an individual receives, or even dynamically adjusts the content of messaging to match their preferences.

Practically speaking, if someone has begun engaging with your brand in a generic fashion, then a bucket of content devoted to uncovering interest is the best starting place for ongoing engagement. As repeat visits to the same parts of your website, or consistent link clicks to specific topics, occur with appropriate frequency or quantity, it is appropriate to shift communication to a more targeted set of messaging. Finally, it is important to mirror the appropriate buying stage within the relationship and have buckets of communication devoted to stages of the sales process.

Other “buckets” can undoubtedly be uncovered to match your specific objectives and audience needs, though the concept is still applicable. Identify interest over time, then adapt the ongoing set of communication to match the digitally tracked interest of your audiences. Move messaging from generic to more specific over time—mirror and match interest and you are more likely to continuously captivate and engage.

Be Where Your Audience Is

The final element for keeping modern digital marketing strategies simple is to expand your messaging reach. Once interest is identified (or re-identified) make sure to setup self-updating programs or cross-channel audience lists that place interest-based messaging in front of your audience on a regular basis.

Here’s a solid example of how this works. When a visitor first comes to your website, offer initial messaging, then once their interest is identified, communicate across channels with messaging related to their interest. This can be accomplished by matching and reinforcing messaging across channels, such as remarketing, direct mail, text messaging, and more. The goal is to keep relevant topics top-of-mind throughout your target audience’s digital and offline experiences with your brand.

  • Use of low-cost methods for uncovering interest to start, such as email, website personalization, and mobile messages, to capture the core interest of a buyer.
  • Afterward, include audiences in more targeted campaigns such as ad remarketing on social media or direct mail to drive specific points of interest and be everywhere identified interest is at.

Summing Things Up

Delivering personalized and engaging interactions is a key to making brands stand out in our digitally connected world. To accomplish this, there are some basic steps that can help marketers begin delivering more relevant and interest-based communication.

While there are many approaches to consider, here is one formula that is a simple place to start:

  1. Cast a wide net to capture and track initial attention
  2. Uncover specific interest and focus communication
  3. Be top-of-mind everywhere your audience is

The best way to learn this methodology is to start with a target audience segment or set of behaviors that match a key sales initiative. From there, refine your methodology and build out a set of repeatable campaigns/programs. Then begin expanding the approach to other audiences and initiatives.

As stated before, numerous methodologies and frameworks can be used to drive digital results, this is just one. Would enjoy hearing more about your frameworks in the comments below.

The post Staying Top-of-Mind Within the Modern Digital Landscape appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

25 Fashion Marketing Ideas from the Pros

Coco Chanel once advised, “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” How do you apply that advice to fashion marketing and make it big in this fiercely competitive industry? What is the best way to break into the stylish and fast-paced fashion scene? To help you answer these questions and more, we…

The post 25 Fashion Marketing Ideas from the Pros appeared first on Fit Small Business.

Email Writing: How To Craft Effective Emails For International Teams

Are you a non-native English speaker who needs to regularly write emails to your international colleagues?

It can be a challenge to write effective, conversational emails when English isn’t your first language, but this article will provide some helpful tips to help you improve the overall quality of your emails and sound more like a native English speaker.

Being a non-native English speaker doesn’t mean you need to be limited by fear and insecurity every single time you hit the “send” button. Once you’ve applied these simple strategies to your writing, you should be able to confidently send emails to anyone (even those from native English-speaking countries like the US.)

Email Writing Tips for International Teams

Most people won’t tell you this, but crafting a good email begins even before you put down a single word. Writing a good email starts with your mindset.

When you’re in the correct frame of mind, you’ll be able to write effective emails that communicate and persuade.

Sounds logical … but how do you enter the “correct frame of mind”?

You internalize a few important email writing rules that you should apply to every single email you write. The best part is — these rules can also be applied to any form of communication, not just email.

Email Writing Rule #1: Imagine Receiving The Email You’re Writing

Have you ever received an email that it was so incoherent you couldn’t even finish reading it, let alone even consider replying? Or included a completely irrelevant proposition?

Ahrefs is an SEO tool, yet they received an email from a fishing company

One of the biggest problems when it comes to email writing is the lack of empathy for the recipient. Before even writing an email, most people won’t even consider whether their email will be well-received by the other party.

If you want your email taken seriously, you need to be able to empathize with your recipient before you even start writing. Think about the person you’re sending an email to:

  • Why are you emailing this person?
  • What does the person you’re emailing want?
  • Is this the right person to contact, considering what I’m trying to achieve?

Of course, if you’re already close to this person, then these questions are not as necessary. You can probably dash off a quick email, and still get a reply.

But, if you’re sending an email to someone new, or unfamiliar, then take some time to reflect on these questions. Your answers will help you write a more thoughtful, coherent email.

Email Writing Rule #2: Write Like You Talk

If you’re not a native English speaker, it’s normal to feel like you should be more formal when it comes to your email writing.

However, this results in emails that are too formal, and come off as awkward or stiff. For example:

Native English speakers write more informally — their writing sounds like one person talking to another.

Here is a quick grammar tip that will always help you sound more native: Write in an active voice and avoid the passive voice.

An “active voice” shows that a subject is performing the verb’s action, e.g.: “Marilyn mailed the letter.”

In contrast, the “passive voice” shows that the verb is acted upon by the subject, e.g.: “The letter was mailed by Marilyn.”

Instead of writing “your feedback would be much appreciated”, try saying “I would appreciate your feedback.” Instead of writing “your request has been received”, try saying “I received your request.”

Notice how writing in an active voice sounds more human.

How To Write An Effective Email

1. The Subject Line

The subject line is usually the first thing someone reads before they decide to open your email. This also means that the subject line holds the key to whether your email is opened, ignored, or deleted.

Unfortunately, non-native English speakers don’t always know what to write in the subject line.

Take a look at this example:

This particular subject line (real-life example by the way) is vague, indirect and does not hint to me at all what the content of the email will be about.

The result? *Delete*.

Subject lines are especially important if you’re reaching out to someone for the first time. The recipient doesn’t know who you are, and can only judge you from your subject line.

Even if you’re sending emails internally at your company, it still pays to write a great subject line so your recipient has an idea of what to expect. Like any busy person, your teammates receives a ton of email every day, and would certainly appreciate the extra effort of a descriptive subject line.

So, how do you write a good subject line?

Be clear, direct and describe the content of your email. Don’t be afraid to take up the whole subject line. Go ahead and tell them what to expect.

As you can see, there’s no need to resort to sneaky tricks or clickbait titles just to induce an open. Remember – you don’t want people to be tricked into reading your email, you actually want them to read it and take some kind of action.

You want to associate positive feelings with your email, not anger and disappointment.

Here are some good examples of subject lines:

  • I’m going to be in Town next Tues – are you available?
  • Introduction to Kevin Bacon
  • FAQ — will you take you 2 minutes — need answer today
  • Susan suggested I reach out to you

2. Start with an appropriate greeting.

To kick off the email, you should begin with an appropriate greeting. There are two components to the greeting: the salutation and the opening sentence.

Most non-native English speakers, probably out of fear of offending someone, tend to stick to just one salutation — Dear [X]. No matter the context, non-native English speakers will use Dear [X] over and over again.

The appropriate salutation actually depends on the situation. If you’re writing a formal email to a bank or government institution, it would be better to start off with Dear [X].

If you’re sending an email to someone you know, or work in a casual environment, then it is perfectly fine to go with a Hi [name].

To help you out, here is a list of salutations you can open with in your emails:

  • Dear [First Name]
  • Dear Mr./Ms. [Last Name]
  • [Name]
  • Good morning/afternoon
  • Hi
  • Hey
  • Hey/Hi there

Once you’ve gotten the salutation out of the way, it is time for an appropriate opening sentence. While the subject line determines whether your email is opened, your opening sentence determines whether your email is read till the end.

The best way to do this correctly is to research the person you’re writing to. Find out what your recipient is interested in. Look around their social media profiles (e.g Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), and if they publish, read some of their blog posts.

Do a Google search on their name, and see if anything interesting comes up. Visit their company’s website, read their About Us page, and find out what they are working on or interested in collaborating on.

With this information, you can write an opening sentence that builds rapport. Show that you understand them, what they need, and how you can help them.

With this, you can also show that you’re different — that you’re interested in them, are willing to go the extra mile to find out more. Showing that you understand their challenges helps build trust.

Of course, this is not necessary if you’re emailing a colleague or someone you know, but it is still important to establish some kind of context so that they know what’s happening.

3. Keep your message short and concise.

According to Statista, we send and receive roughly 269 billion emails a day.

If we average out across everyone in the developed world (~4 billion people), every single person would receive about 68 emails/day!

This alarming statistic make one thing very clear: we spend a lot of time reading emails.

To write an email that is opened, read and acted upon is not easy. You have to put in the work upfront to ensure that the email is professional, empathetic, and easy to read.

You have to respect your readers’ time. While you may feel like you need to tell them everything in one email, don’t. No one is eagerly awaiting a three-page essay arriving in their inbox. Here’s one I received recently:

Ugh.

Instead, keep the email short, concise and to the point. Stick to essential and specific information.

Think about it this way: what’s the ONE thing you want to achieve after the person sees your email?

Make sure the email is written in such a way where it achieves the end result you want.

When you need to include a lot of information in an email, it’s probably better to suggest a phone call or a meeting instead.

Pro-Tip: Use this free meeting tool to schedule your meetings faster and avoid back-and-forth emails.

4. Use standard fonts.

If you’re using a non-English keyboard, your fonts may not show up properly on the other person’s device.

If you’re trying to look like a native speaker, use standard fonts. Some fonts for languages have their own “English font”, which are a dead giveaway that the person writing is a non-native speaker:

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 12.24.37 PM

To prevent all kinds of tech issues from coming up, stick to what is safe. Use web-safe email fonts like:

  • Arial
  • Courier
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica
  • Lucida Sans
  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Verdana

In fact, this is the exact list Gmail gives:

This will ensure that your recipient will receive your message in a normal font no matter what devices or operating system they are using.

5. Writing your closing.

Once you’re done with the content of your email, it’s time to close it off.

You don’t have to make it fancy — just keep your closing simple and straightforward.

So, nothing like this:

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 12.25.59 PM

Instead, stick to the safe, proven closing lines — and you should be good.

You can choose from some of the most common closing lines below:

  • Yours sincerely
  • Yours truly
  • Yours
  • Sincerely
  • Best regards
  • Best
  • Warm regards
  • Warm wishes
  • Kind regards
  • Kind wishes
  • Thank you
  • Thanks

If you’re really looking for something out-of-the-ordinary and fancy, then take a look at this list of email sign-offs that you can try.

6. Schedule your emails.

Because you’re writing an international email, time zones matter.

Due to the influx of emails one receives, an email you sent early in the morning could be buried at the bottom of his inbox by the time your recipient checks it. This may also mean that all your hard work spent crafting the email would be wasted.

Instead, set yourself up for success.

Remember Rule #1? Put yourself in their shoes.

When would they be most receptive? When would their inbox be “emptier”?

It might be during lunch. It might be Sunday evening when they are preparing for the week ahead. It might even be Friday — they’re probably in a good mood because the weekend is coming.

Then, use our free email scheduling tool to ensure that your emails are sent at the right time to the recipient’s inbox.

7. Do a final spelling and grammar check.

Don’t fail at the last mile.

Don’t spend all your time crafting a perfect message, only to be ignored by the recipient because it’s riddled with spelling and grammar errors.

After you’ve finished drafting your email, copy and paste it into Microsoft Word or Google Docs to give it a quick grammar, phrasing, and spelling check. Alternatively, you can also use checkers like Grammarly to automate the process while you’re drafting.

 Do a quick read-aloud to make sure that you’re not writing clunkily, or sound like a robot. You need your email copy to sound human.

Remember — help the reader focus on the message, not on your spelling errors.

Want more? Learn how to send the right email to the right person and provide maximum value with this free email marketing lesson.

 

 

[a]Source: http://shortwavedxer.blogspot.com/2013/01/china-tibet-broadcasting-voice-of-china.html[b]Couldn’t replicate what you wanted.. But I found this example.[c]Made the change

What is SMS marketing software?

What is SMS marketing software?
Annoyingly we are always coming up with and hearing new and confusing jargon, what happened to good old Ronseal ‘Does exactly what is says on the tin’. Sometimes we just want to hear and read things in plain, simple English.

So first things first, what exactly is SMS marketing?
SMS marketing is the perfect modern way to communicate with your customers. Sending them a text message via their mobile phone. For more details on exactly what SMS marketing is please read here.

And so onto what exactly SMS marketing software is…

SMS marketing software is what enables you to be able to text your customers in big bulk business marketing sends. So unlike using your mobile phone, you would log into an online application or website, this would then allow you to upload your contacts in bulk, create the message, and then send and analysis your results. For example, the equivalent for an emailing software would be Mailchimp, this allows you to login and send emails to customers.

Of course, SMS marketing software differs from company to company, and like any product or service some are better than others, some are more basic, where some are filled with helpful and insightful SMS marketing tools to help enhance your mobile marketing messages for a better response.

Message Box – SMS marketing software
Message Box is an online SMS Marketing Platform that enables you to send big bulk business SMS marketing messages, without the need to download or install any complicated software.

It’s jammed packed full of great free SMS marketing tools, to ensure you get the best responses possible from your mobile marketing exploits.

Send big bulk SMS marketing campaigns
Message Box is extremely powerful. It allows you to send massive mobile marketing sends in the single click of a button. 10 thousand, 15 thousand, 50 thousand, 100 thousand, 500 thousand – whatever the number is of your recipients, Message Box can handle the send. All routes are Direct Tier 1 UK Networks so no messages leave the UK and are delivered in seconds.

There are also more than one way to send your mobile marketing messages, schedule send for a particular time or date, automated sends or spread sends over a certain amount of time.

Message campaign analytics
Check the success of your mobile marketing campaigns by seeing how many were delivered, responses and how many people click your links.

Send SMS surveys
Create and send your own SMS surveys. Export all your data and responses

Purchase credits online
You can simply purchase credits online, whenever you want. Add them and pay for them – in a click of a button

Easily upload and manage contacts
Upload all your contacts and store them in different contact groups to send more relevant SMS marketing campaigns.

SMS web pages
Create and send bespoke mobile landing pages, filled with your own beautiful images and written text.

 

So if you want to tryout SMS marketing platform, Message Box – then please sign up for your mobile marketing account here for free! No contracts to sign or minimum

Visa brings digital loyalty to Latam & Caribbean banks

This weeks’ announcement that Visa had launched a new, all-digital loyalty platform for its Latin American and Caribbean bank partners could have been just another blip on the continuum of interesting fintech developments – there are a lot of them these days.  But I think this announcement bears some examination.

By Mike Giambattista, CLMP

The press release describes the new platform as a “white-label solution (which) enables issuing member banks of any size to offer top-of-the-line rewards and customer care programs they can adapt to their loyalty strategies and brand as their own. (It) features a user-friendly mobile app and web portal, as well as chat and voice, to make points redemption and customer service faster and easier for cardholders and financial institutions around the region.”  After a cursory walk through of the promotional demo, it’s clear that Visa and their tech partner Novae, have put a lot of thought into the user experience.

Beyond the tech “wow” factor though, Visa may have just scored a massive win in the region.  Consider how many banks are currently Visa partners (virtually all of them) and you get a sense of the value of this effort.

If this new platform genuinely delivers on the “omnichannel digital points redemption” promise, and if it’s true that banks of any size can easily integrate it into their loyalty strategies, then Visa Loyalty Solutions may have just rolled their wooden horse right past the moat and into the castle.  The size of their market and their existing access to it could create instant market dominance.

Operationally, one wonders what it will take to onboard thousands of institutions – no doubt, a herculean task.  Visa certainly has the resources, but will they be able to deploy them efficiently enough to keep their massive partner base functional and happy throughout the process?

On the consumer side, the new platform offers something akin to concierge-level customer service.  And though they don’t bill it as such, the demo gives you a sense that they really want their users to feel a high sense of value and touch.  But that will also come at a cost.

The mobile app makes it very easy to manage & redeem – those are purely technological functions.  But having a ready base of customer service reps armed with the right information to assist with help requests and travel arrangements takes manpower.  And in this case, lots of it.

Visa says the new platform allows cardholders the ability to redeem points and get preferential deals at more than 285,000 establishments worldwide – so there is clear value to the consumer.  And they appear to have developed a product that has a high degree of utility and adaptability for their bank partners.  Let’s see if the company can manage the adoption processes well and take the control of this valuable territory.  I’m betting they can.

Mike Giambattista is Editor in Chief at The Wise Marketer and is a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional (CLMP).

The post Visa brings digital loyalty to Latam & Caribbean banks appeared first on The Wise Marketer.

How to Block Websites on Chrome Desktop and Mobile

Let’s say you want to block certain websites, like Facebook or Pinterest, on your work computer to ensure those distractions aren’t inhibiting your productivity.

Or, maybe you just want to guarantee all Google searches aren’t available to your six-year-old.

Whatever the case, blocking a website on Chrome desktop or mobile is an easy and simple process. Best of all, it’s just as effortless to unblock those sites — so you can scroll through Pinterest, post-workday.

How to Block Websites on Chrome Desktop

  1. Go to the Block Site extension, and click “Add to Chrome”.

 

2. Click “Add extension” in the pop-up box.

3. You’ll see an icon at the top right of your Chrome screen — an orange shield with a circle and a diagonal line through the middle.

 

4. Let’s say you’re feeling a little bitter from a recent World Cup loss, and want to block sports’ sites for a while. Simply go to a website, click that orange shield icon in the top right, and click “Block this site”.

 

5. Now, you won’t be able to reach cbssports.com (or any other website you chose). You’ve successfully blocked it. To unblock the site, click “Edit your list” in the top right (or click the icon, and then click “Edit block sites list”).

 

6. Each of your blocked websites will have a “minus” icon to the right — click that minus button, and your site will be unblocked.

 

How to Block Websites on Chrome Mobile (Android)

If you often surf the web via Chrome on your Android, you might need to block certain websites to ensure increased productivity at all times of day. Here are six easy steps to block websites on your Android Chrome browser (or any Android browser):

  1. Open Google Play Store and install the BlockSite app.
  2. Open the downloaded BlockSite app.
  3. Click “Enable” to allow the app to block websites.
  4. Click “Got it” — this will take you to your Accessibility settings.
  5. Select “BlockSite” and turn the switch from “OFF” to “ON”. Then click “OK” in the pop-up window.
  6. Click the “+” button in the bottom right.
  7. Enter any websites you want to block and click the check mark in the top right corner.

How to Block Websites on iOS Devices

There are a few apps in the app store that allow you to block websites on your iOS device. Here are two options with similar functions:

  1. Zero Willpower: This app is $1.99, and lets you create an easy list of all websites you want to block from Safari on your iPhone. Even better, there’s a timer, so you can block a website for a limited period of time.
  2. Site Blocker: Similar to Zero Willpower, Site Blocker lets you block distracting or unwanted websites on Safari on an iOS device, and includes a timer and suggestions as well. This app is free.

Now you’re all set to block distracting websites from your Chrome browser on desktop or Android. If you find you’re still struggling with productivity, take a look at our Ultimate Guide to the Best Productivity Apps.

SEO in the Age of AI: How to Get Ahead

We have come to an advanced leg in our internet science journey. We can no longer think of the internet as a glorified encyclopedia. Enter the virtual assistant with its interpersonal secretary skills. Now, we have a machine that functions with human intent. In light of this, our search engine optimization (SEO) must reflect far more than keywords. The internet has become a dimension unto itself. One requiring taxation, government, policing, and commerce. With this complexity comes the need for far-advanced SEO.

SEO Is Distinction

SEO’s raw purpose is to give a brand digital distinction. It uses tech, yes. But these are only the mechanics of it. With so many MarTech options on demand, your challenge is finding the tech that fits well. It shouldn’t be as difficult as finding Cinderella after the ball to try on the glass slipper. Still, market saturation happens at unprecedented rates. There are thousands of feet, but only one can wear the slipper, right? Still, social media gets consumed in mainstream media hashtags. This weighs down the rudder that steers consumers to you. Even with good keywords, hashtags, and relevant shares you get lost in communication. Unless you take the proper steps to move forward with your strategy. You don’t wedge huge feet into dainty glass slippers. You find a metric to size the exact dimensions of the rightful user’s foot.

Changing Venues/Tools

Tailoring your approach to your audience’s preferred method of communication is a timeless SEO skill. SEO is the fertilizer for page relevance continuity. Tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Google Lighthouse are essentials.

Google PageSpeed Insights gives the real-world performance of the pages within your site for both mobile and desktop devices. Additionally, it provides suggestions on how to improve the page. Google Lighthouse is an automated open-source tool for improving the quality of web pages, both public and those which require authentication. It audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, and more.

Mastering the speed of updates is like merging with traffic. Audits like Lighthouse are like crop checking in the agricultural world. Still, location overrides preparation. Plants don’t grow without the sun. Tailor the look of your website to match your message.

Even evolved, the internet will always have basic functions. Plugins aren’t going anywhere soon. If anything, they may be gaining momentum. New major content plugins, like those found on WordPress, are closing gaps in errors. 404 error alerts will become customizable. This means even your failed pages have room for your branding. These plugins will correct redirects and speed the de-indexing process.

Google as an Incentive

Google holds the championship belt in the search engine domination match. That doesn’t look like it will change soon. Acknowledging Google as a deciding force in SEO is standard. Take Google as an incentive to excel past the reach of well-established brands. Google News revolutionizes the way consumers see digital content.

Your customers want pure journalism told from the consumer’s viewpoint. They don’t want the trend race of the major publishers affecting the story. Your SEO puts your report in the Google News docket. The better compatible it is with Google’s new AI search assistants the more chances it has. Your consumers can cut through the hype and opinion mayhem. They can go straight to the pro source. Your source. Brand fame then becomes more than attainable. It is critiqued at all social levels. Responsible SEO is non-negotiable as the gap closes.

Security in SEO

The gap between the tangible and digital world closes further. Data crises have made heavy headlines. One wouldn’t think from an outsider’s view that SEO would hold the keys to this kingdom. Consider it. Becoming an information center for your industry that is also a brand has its own issues. Valuable information becomes exploitable information. Data is gold. Spend and store it with moderation.

Keep in mind that net neutrality is phasing out. Laws like GDPR pass on the same premise as global accounting principles. Data is business. Business requires ethics. SEO must apply to these rules or be a pointless waste of funds. Staying up-to-date on changing security policy is your civic duty. Your evolving content cannot take the transforming step otherwise.

Enter AI Guides

AI has empowered us in more ways than just automation. We have the ability to sift through thousands of pages, which makes these learning machines the university professors of the AI universe. Our dormant digital libraries now become instant downloads. These share to millions of communicating machine brains in an instant. Now, we have to leave lecture notes on each page. Our machines can take our information straight to class. Optimizations give them the ground to form a lecture on their own. SEO becomes more like the University of machines than a keyword list.

Distinguished SEO comes from a professional touch. Speed and performance in SEO now require more muscle behind the vehicle. Solutions exist to take a marketing scheme and add horsepower. Look for AI that empowers the marketer. AI like this has the power of the professor’s mind. It has the ability to find Cinderella on the moon and bring her slipper gift-wrapped. An amazing tool like this is your future saving grace. Invest in the bankable power of AI as a guide. Do so for the speed. Do so also because the traditional models of SEO will eventually fizzle to a low-burn. You will need more machine capacity than the internet’s non-machine learning era had available.

Innovation is Natural Selection

Internet science is in the early civilization years. There will be exploration. Some colonization. Disputes of policy. Some will conquer. Some will take losses. Nothing is certain. Still, one thing we know. Innovation is the evolution of machines. The more life we give them the more they emulate life. Life has basic instincts. Evergreen SEO means optimizing to merge human information with machine intervention. When less is more, life will find its own way. Your job is to be vigilant. To water and sow the seed. As an event, natural growth will happen on its own volition. Allow the best odds for that selection and escape the brand burn-out complex.

As machine learning and AI become more prevalent, what future do you see for SEO? I’d love to hear your predictions in the comments.

The post SEO in the Age of AI: How to Get Ahead appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

25 Customer Appreciation Ideas from the Pros

Your customers are the cornerstone of your business, so why not show them how much you appreciate them? If you’re looking for ways to express your gratitude to your faithful clientele, check out these 25 customer appreciation tips and ideas from the pros. 1. Create Custom Logo Signs for Your Clients Ally Compeau, Founder &…

The post 25 Customer Appreciation Ideas from the Pros appeared first on Fit Small Business.

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Seriously Google Search Console, why do you do this to me?

I want to like (trust) you, despite the historically numerous discrepancies in your data.

I’m delighted you are addressing the feature lag that SEO’s love to complain about.

But seriously, can we get internally consistent URL level data? Please?

 

The post Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

The 8 Essential Management Skills You Need to Lead a Successful Team

Last week, on the Fourth of July, I was feeling rather patriotic, so I decided to binge watch the HBO classic Band of Brothers. The critically acclaimed mini-series takes place in Europe during World War II, recounting Major Richard Winters’ leadership of Easy Company from a grueling boot camp to the invasion of Normandy and on to the end of the war. The series is a touching tribute to these brave soldiers, and in my humble opinion, it deserves all seven of the Emmys it won.

But if there’s one thing I’ll remember about this show, it’s a scene that’s only three minutes long: Major Winters orders an ambush on Axis soldiers who are resting in an embankment across a field from them. But before his soldiers can charge, he tosses a smoke grenade and bolts across the field alone. He wanted the Axis to target him before they could target his men.

Major Winters was willing to sacrifice his own life to preserve his company’s, and his courage and selflessness remind military leaders everywhere that you should serve others before you serve yourself. If you lead a team at work, this scene will also resonate with you — your job is to help your people succeed and achieve their goals.

But being a great leader isn’t something you can easily pick up and just start doing. Like any other skill, you have to work on it. So before you start channeling your inner Major Winters, here are eight management skills you need to learn to lead a team toward success.

The 8 Essential Management Skills You Need to Lead a Successful Team

1. You make your people feel safe at work.

Major Winters was an easy leader to follow because he always trekked into danger first, fought for his men, and did everything he could to protect them. He absorbed most of the risk so his men had a better chance of survival. And they respected and revered him for it.

Great leaders are always willing to protect their people, even if it means sacrificing their own interests, comfort, and a good metric or two. They want their people to feel safe at work. They want them to always know that they won’t get chewed out or lose their job if they fail. Their people know they can grow from these failures. And this results in a higher level of trust and cooperation.

When a leader risks and sacrifices herself to protect and improve her people, they’re willing to move mountains for her. Why? Because they know she’s already doing the same for them.

2. You can change your mind.

Even the smartest people get things wrong. But what seperates a good leader from a great one is the ability to admit that they’re wrong and change course in light of new information. Unfortunately, a lot of leaders won’t change their minds, even if it’s the right choice, because they don’t want to seem weak. Others have too much pride to admit that they’ve made a mistake. They’d rather pull rank and remind their subordinates that they’re in charge.

But admitting you were wrong requires a lot more strength than sticking to something that hurts your team or company, just because you’ve invested a lot of time and effort into it. For instance, Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat, a company that provides open-source software products, decided to go to market without integrating a newly acquired product into one of their new technologies in 2008. He didn’t want to spend three months rewriting code and making it open source. But he soon discovered that he had made a huge mistake: Red Hat’s associates and customers didn’t like using the product. And the only move the company could make was to rewrite the code. It would push them a year behind schedule.

The delay angered and frustrated his employees, and most of them thought Whitehurst wasn’t competent enough to run the business. But instead of blaming the issue on external factors, Whitehurst blamed himself. He owned up to his mistake and told the company why he made his decision. They then understood the rationale behind his decision. Not long after, many of his employees told him how much they appreciated his honesty and that he changed his mind about their go-to-market strategy. And that’s what ultimately earned him back their trust and support.

3. You understand the importance of team bonding.

Sometimes, team outings can feel like a forced way to bond — kind of like the annual Christmas get-together with your cousins growing up — but after a slightly awkward beginning of the night, you’re having a great time. And by the end of the night, you don’t really want to go home.

Solving an escape room or participating in a scavenger hunt can contribute to this fun, but most of it stems from bonding with your team on a personal level and learning about each others’ personal stories.

Sharing stories and having positive social experiences is the best way for a leader to develop trust with their team. Both of these things trigger the release of oxytocin, the hormone that helps us empathize with people, and it prompts us to help, relate, and care about others in the same way we do for our families. In other words, it’s the best way connect.

Having genuine conversations about what you and your team are passionate about, your lifestyle, and career motivations will break down barriers and build your team’s trust with each other and you, their leader. And this personal trust is what you need from your team to passionately support your overall mission and purpose.

4. You’re empathetic.

Every good leader should be able to be empathetic, right? Well, according to two Canadian neuroscientists, the higher you climb the corporate ladder, the harder it is to feel empathetic.

The part of your brain that triggers empathy is the mirror system. And whenever you see a person do something, it activates the thoughts and intentions that spark when you do the same exact thing. This helps you understand what motivates that person’s actions. But when you hold power over others, like in most leadership roles, the mirror system isn’t very stimulated, making it harder to place yourself inside other people’s shoes.

To stay on the same level as your team, consider trying a management technique called perspective-taking. If your colleague says something that frustrates you, take a step back and ask yourself why they took that position. How do they feel? Where is this perspective coming from? If you were in their role before, try to remember what it was like doing their job. Think back to your biggest fears and challenges. What made you feel threatened or insecure? Ultimately, perspective-taking will allow you to understand the root cause of your team’s problems and help solve for them.

5. You challenge your team.

During the 1988-89 NHL hockey season, Brett Hull led the St. Louis Blues with 41 goals scored. And after the season ended, he walked into his exit meeting with his head coach, Brian Sutter, expecting nothing but praise. But Coach Sutter didn’t give him any praise at all. In fact, he told Hull he needed to get better. Hull had the potential to be one of the greatest hockey players to ever live, but he could only be a Hall of Famer if he improved his work ethic. The next season, Hull arrived to St. Louis in the best shape of his life. And he almost doubled the number of goals he scored, with 72. The season after that he scored 86 goals. Hull was eventually inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame, and it’s all thanks to a coach who pushed him to train and perform at his best.

Like Brett Hull, everyone on your team can level up. Even your top performers. And to help them enhance their work ethic and skill set, push them to reach their potential and let them handle their own projects. They’ll be grateful for your guidance at the end of the day.

6. You don’t let your emotions influence your decision making.

Great leaders do what’s right, even if it causes a great deal of emotional pain. If they need to let someone go, even if they personally like them, they let them go. When they need to give constructive criticism to someone, even if they don’t want to hurt their feelings, they tell them what they need to improve on. The easy way out never pays off in the long term, and great leaders can blast through any anxiety or discomfort to do what’s best for their team.

7. You’re transparent.

Great leaders trust their people, especially with information. They know their team can sense problems in the organization. And since humans have a psychological bias that makes them more scared of ambiguity than risk, they make sure to provide as much information as possible about the issue and clearly communicate that they’re doing everything they can to resolve it.

Keeping things under wraps will only make their team feel anxious and unsafe — if they know something’s wrong, and they know their leader hasn’t disclosed all the information, they’ll ruminate about the worst possible outcome. And this is likely to scare the leader’s team and make them lose trust in him.

8. You acknowledge and appreciate your top performers.

As a leader, you must know how to make your team feel valued. It’s one of the most important emotional needs to meet. If you don’t, your team will feel unhappy at work — failing to recognize employees is one of the most common causes of employee dissatisfaction. To make them feel important to the team, happier, and incentivize them to keep improving, recognize and reward your employees for their accomplishments. You can does this in front of their peers, one on one, or even on Slack. This is also a way to inspire other members of your team to improve and earn recognition too.

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World Cup Double Credit Giveaway – get 10 thousand free credits!

We love football. And we love the World Cup. Throughout the footballing season we have plenty of joshing and joking around our football teams highs and lows, but nothing quite compares to that of a mass sporting global event, like the World Cup.

Here at Text Marketer towers, we have plenty of Nationalities represented, however our strongest followings will obviously be the (not so) MIGHTY England, and our European friends, Portugal. However we are all particularly upset that our favourite orange colour buddies, Holland haven’t made the cut!

But anyway… Such a huge global event watched by millions and millions all over the world, is an advertisers and marketeers dream! So many ideas and possibilities to promote and sell your brand and products, it can be difficult to know where to start…

Well of course SMS is the perfect marketing channel to contact your customers on, it’s instant, and your customers will definitely read your message whatever they are doing or whoever they are watching. So make sure you get your campaigns planned and messages scheduled up to send over the World Cup is vital.

And with all this in mind, like Maradona did 1986, we thought we would give you a little helping hand and do an offer of our own, to help you maximise your sales and send plenty of messages out.

Any new customer who signs up with Text Marketer during the World Cup, will be eligible to receive 10 thousand free credits in our double credits deal…

Any first purchase by a new customer between 1,000 and 10,000 credits – will get DOUBLED!!! So buy 10 thousand credits and we will give you another 10 thousand for free!!!

It’s an amazing offer, and an amazing sporting event… So make sure you and your business enjoy it as much as everyone else will. Sign up here for free now! 

How does CVS ExtraCare stack up against Walgreens Balance Rewards? The Tale of two Tapes

The news of Amazon’s big move into the pharmacy business caught our attention. Predictions about the impact of the impending disruption of yet another brick and mortar retail segment by the massive online retailer is a story we can write another day. What really jumped out to us was the news that immediately upon announcement of Amazon’s acquisition of Pillpack.com, the stock market punished the share prices of both CVS (down 6.6 percent) and Walgreens (down more than 9 percent) in the same market session.

By Bill Hanifin, CLMP

Market analysts are jumping to several conclusions as they run in fear from the shares of both CVS and Walgreens. First, they are assuming that price competition and supply chain management, core aspects of Amazon’s successful business model, will create a long-term advantage for Amazon/Pillpack versus traditional pharmacy competitors. Next, they are immediately convinced that Amazon’s presence in the pharmacy business will have tangible impact on consumer behavior. In other words, they are expecting that the percentage of consumers who choose to purchase prescription drugs online will significantly increase just because Amazon is the newest pharmacy of choice.

The one thing that stock analysts seem to ignore, or just heavily discount, is the importance of customer shopping experiences and customer loyalty in driving and maintaining market share. All of this compelled us to take stock of the respective customer loyalty programs offered by CVS and Walgreens. How do the two programs compare and is either, or both, strong enough to influence customers to continue to shop in their stores, rather than fleeing for their keyboards to order prescriptions and other over-the-counter items?

The receipt:

While the CVS receipt is long, it is at least communicating offers to its ExtraCare members.

If you believe that size matters, then CVS is the clear winner. We resist floating more humor about the length of their receipts, because we happen to know that CVS executives are well-aware their receipts are the butt of many jokes and, we understand, are on their way to making changes. For consumers committed to green causes and wondering “there must be a better way” to communicate offers, transforming the lengthy receipts to a digital format could relieve angst about paper waste and unlock higher engagement

The flip side of the receipt debate is that, while the CVS receipt is long, it is at least communicating offers to its ExtraCare members. There is a benefit to the immediacy of the customer watching the receipt print at the point-of-sale and hearing the cashier comment “wow, you’ve got lots of deals”. The Easter-egg hunt that follows can be fun for consumers, especially when a $5 ExtraCare bucks slip is found in the process.

Have a look at a typical Walgreens receipt and it is void of promotional impact. Walgreens elects to use the purchase receipt to communicate program standing by sharing points earned in the transaction, point balance totals, and points needed to reach the next reward. It is difficult to say just how Walgreens promotes Balance Rewards in its stores. There is a prompt on the payment terminal asking if the customer is a program member, but the pharmacy misses out on the opportunity to promote the manufacturer-driven coupons that make the CVS receipt so weighty.

The Earn:

CVS clearly states that ExtraCare members earn 2% back on purchases. This is part of the receipt verbiage and is accompanied by status updates on club purchases that range across Hallmark Cards, Hair Color products, and soft drinks. The impact of the rewards message is weakened however by leading off with a “year to date savings” message. While it feels good on the surface to see a healthy savings total, it is not clear how the number is calculated. Even more fundamental, do consumers believe that such a number is really “savings”, or like the grocery receipts which cheerily shout that “you’ve saved $x.xx today”, just the result of sale prices which they should have earned anyway?

The earning value in the Walgreens program requires just a bit more work to decipher. I had to login to the member website to clearly understand that members earn 10 points per dollar and that 1,000 points equaled $1.00 in rewards value. In plain language, Walgreens rebates 1% to Balance Rewards members on purchases, while CVS rebates at 2%.

Walgreens does factor in a higher rebate for Balance Reward Members who choose to accumulate points over time. Members who collect 18,000 points earn 1.1% and can earn as much as 1.3% if they reach a 40,000 total. The concept is a good one, but Balance Rewards stretches out the earning curve much too long.

If the average member spends $100/month, it would take almost 3 ½ years to accumulate 40,000 points. Our assumption on monthly spend could be wrong here but considering that pharmacy is not an aspirational part of consumer’s monthly spending, value in the program should be delivered at a much earlier stage.

If the average member spends $100/month, it would take almost 3 ½ years to accumulate 40,000 points. Our assumption on monthly spend could be wrong here but considering that pharmacy is not an aspirational part of consumer’s monthly spending, value in the program should be delivered at a much earlier stage.

Digital Communication:

Both CVS and Walgreens have the point-of-sale, mobile apps, and websites at their disposal to communicate the value of their programs and to deliver offers.

CVS elects to position kiosks in its stores where members can swipe a card or scan a bar code from its app to learn about offers available on that shopping trip. There is also an option to have the offers earned on the receipt to be loaded onto the member “card” or account, making them automatically eligible for use upon the next purchase transaction.

Outside of scanning the app at the kiosk on each store visit, it seems the CVS program places greater value on interaction at the point-of-sale, with the impact of those lengthy receipts counted on to bounce customers back into the store as quickly as possible.

Walgreens also relies heavily on the point-of-sale, with prompting at the card terminal, but fails to fully communicate the many ways that members can earn points. Have a look at the graphic below or click this link and you will see that Walgreens offers different earn rates on everyday purchases and prescriptions.

You will also see the biggest differentiator that Walgreens Balance Rewards has to offer in competition with CVS, an array of point earning opportunities for tracking positive behaviors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. This element of the Balance Rewards program was one of the most innovative aspects of the program when launched and reinforced the Walgreens brand tagline “at the corner of happy and healthy” which the company ditched at the end of 2017  in favor of “Trusted since 1901”.

Is the suppression of the healthy living benefits in Balance Rewards related to the shift in brand messaging? We can’t answer that question but can say that a differentiating aspect of the rewards program seems to be underutilized.

The Data:

CVS is clearly striving to evidence that it is observing the purchasing patterns of its members by returning manufacturer coupons related to items they have purchased as well as others that might be of interest. Considering the length of the receipt, it has been surprising to note that only a small percentage of coupons printed are related to past purchases. Looking on the member website, however, coupons are categorized based on past purchases and other groupings, so the use of transactional data to trigger specific offers is much clearer.

How Walgreens is using its member purchase data is not as clear. As we’ve mentioned, the receipt is not used for promotional purposes and the point-of-sale terminal is only useful to identify members with their transactions. A scan of member emails over the past several months does not put product related offers in the spotlight. We are sure that Walgreens is carefully tracking member purchase data but wonder why the insights from this data are not more clearly made evident to improve the perception of value with Balance Rewards.

Conclusion – do we have a winner?

CVS ExtraCare would seem to have an edge in this head-to-head competition. The pharmacy keeps the value of ExtraCare squarely in front of its members at the point-of-sale and actively serves up a large volume of manufacturer coupons. It also delivers twice the rebate at a base level, while Walgreens is allowing its differentiating set of lifestyle rewards to slip further into the fine print of its program benefits.

The bigger question is whether either program packs the punch to serve as an Amazon/Pillpack vaccine. In both cases, the communication of program benefits could be sharpened to heighten the perceived value of the program to its members. Points could be offered more extensively in the aisles to give the daily shopping experience a “treasure hunt” feel, something that is difficult to replicate online. And, the role of the neighborhood pharmacy as vital to our ongoing health is something that can be communicated and supported through the rewards program.

On this note, much more could be done by both programs to make the reward program a more vital part of the daily shopping experience and remind customers the unique value of a brick and mortar pharmacy. Adding this aspect of value to both programs could prove to be the treatment needed to stave off customer defection to the newest online competitor.

Bill Hanifin is CEO of The Wise Marketer and is a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional (CLMP).

The post How does CVS ExtraCare stack up against Walgreens Balance Rewards? The Tale of two Tapes appeared first on The Wise Marketer.

How to Generate the Leads that Sales Wants with Paid Social

Congratulations, you have just gotten budget approval to launch a new social media campaign. As a marketer, you’re always looking for ways to impact the bottom line and what better way to do that than by creating a steady stream of potential new customers. So now it’s time to fire up the ads and watch as your leads turn into revenue, right?

Not quite.

While a high quantity of leads can undoubtedly be good, it’s not enough. According to research done by eMarketer, the highest priority of B2B marketers is increasing lead quality, while increasing volume only ranks in third regarding importance.

eMarketer example

It’s not sufficient to collect just any leads—even if there are a lot of them—they need to be right for sales outreach.

In this post, I will run through how marketing can create a great paid social ad campaign and work with sales to ensure that both sides are happy with the leads it generates.

Create Ads Worth Clicking On

Let’s face it: if you can’t create worthwhile ads, your campaign is destined to fail, and no amount of budget will change that.

There are several critical factors in this process:

Copy

Regardless of the social network, you’re on, you want your ad copy to drive engagement. Write in an upbeat, conversational manner, remembering that you are speaking to humans on the other end. Make sure to address the needs and pain points of your audience. Lastly, share actionable tips, but try not to be bossy.

Design

Pair your copy with beautiful imagery to make your ads pop. Use relevant video if available, if not, photos will do. Human eyes notice visuals before text, so make it count.

Gated Content

Now that you’ve got their attention, direct prospects to a landing page or ad form to exchange basic contact information for valuable content. Some people might fall at this hurdle, but those who remain will have distinguished themselves as interested, and as potentially great leads.

Find Only the Right People

Now that you’ve created dazzling ads with compelling content, the job is done, right? Wrong. It’s not just what you have to say, but who sees it. If you promote to too wide of an audience, you’ll get low-quality leads and blow your budget in the process.

Know Your Audience

You must know your audience to target them effectively. Location, interests, job title, and other demographics will be important to define and agree on before you start advertising.

Who’s Buying?

In many cases, the end user and the purchaser are different people. If awareness is your goal, end users can be good to target, but if you are looking only for conversions, theirs will be empty clicks.

Timing is Everything

While it involves more effort, monitoring your ad timing is crucial. If your target audience is only online during certain hours, you want your ads showing in that timeframe—any other time is wasted budget. Some ads may be affected by current events, so monitoring their timing to avoid controversy is important as well.

Collaborate to Fine Tune the Process

Getting these leads over to sales is only half the battle. The other half is figuring out what’s working and what isn’t to improve future leads. This requires sales feedback—without it, creating qualified leads is impossible. I once worked on a Facebook ad campaign that generated free trial requests, but my sales team was inconsistent in recording their interactions with prospects. They gave me anecdotes, but I needed lead conversion and engagement data to make the right decisions. Sales kept telling me they wanted qualified leads but were unable to hold up their end of the bargain in making that a reality. Without the right information, I was unable to make the necessary changes to the ad campaign to get sales the leads they wanted.

To avoid this situation, you’ll want to establish clear roles and responsibilities before campaign launch, while emphasizing accountability. If done right, you can create a positive feedback loop in which sales feedback helps shape the parameters for targeting the qualified leads that they crave. By recording and analyzing patterns of both those who convert as well as those who fall off, you will be equipped to optimize both your ads and targeting for future success.

Conclusion

Paid social media campaigns provide a tremendous opportunity to generate new business, but only if done right. Getting leads is easy, but getting the right leads is what generates results.

What do you think about my roadmap? Have you been able to get marketing and sales on the same page in your lead gen efforts? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments.

The post How to Generate the Leads that Sales Wants with Paid Social appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.