Author Archives: Roy Revill

Banner Ads Explained in 500 Words or Less

Let’s talk about online advertising.

Specifically, banner ads.

You know the ones: when you’re scrolling through your favorite website, (Today, mine is The New Yorker), and are greeted with one of these beauties:

Source

Banner ads, also called web banners, are ads displayed on web pages. Generally, they’re more image-based than other digital ads to catch the web browser’s attention. They usually contain an image or short animation, like a gif.

The goal of a banner ad is to drive traffic to a website. This happens when a browser clicks on the ad.

Also, if your banner ad is a potential customer’s first introduction to your brand, it could make-or-break their perception of your company. Plus, sizing can impact whether or not someone sees the ad at all.

Ad effectiveness can be impacted if a banner ad is too small or too large, but the correct size adds to the positive impression an ad could leave on a web browser.

So, we’ve got the basics. Now, let’s go over the proper sizes for banner ads:

The first two sizes, 300 x 250 and 336 x 280, are for medium-sized and large rectangles, much like the smaller ads on the sides of blogs. The leaderboard sizing (728 x 90) will look like The New Yorker ad from above, and the last two sizes are aimed to act as headlines or billboards on the top or bottom of a page.

Sometimes, finding the proper size for a particular ad requires experimentation. Remember that this isn’t one-size-fits-all.

Play around with sizes before committing to one — for instance, a medium rectangle might be switched in favor for a half-page ad.

Ultimately, ad size is critical. If well-sized, your ad will look natural, professional, and eye-catching — however, if it isn’t well-sized, it could look clunky or awkward on the page.

Can’t decide on an ad size? To combat that issue, when the ad is ready to go live, think about testing potential ad performance to see which size performs better with audiences. This is a great case for an A/B test, a process that puts different versions on a trial run to see which one customers interact with better.

Software, such as content management systems, help track metrics. HubSpot’s ad management software, for instance, can show you the ROI on different ads, which helps brands make informed decisions about which ad type to use.

Lastly, when creating ads, keep in mind that sizes aren’t the only key to incredible ads. It’s also good to focus on ad design, copy, call-to-action, and branding. These design details can take an ad from looking okay to outstanding.

Banner ads work online as they do in real life: they’re meant to catch a consumer’s eye and spark interest in a product or service. They’re intended to increase traffic and sell a product early in the buyer’s journey.

The right sizing can accomplish all of this. If an ad is visual and interruptive, there’s a great chance of having an effective ad — sizing shouldn’t disrupt that process. When planning out targeted sites for customers, think about the kind of ads that work best with the platform and go from there.

Agile Workflow | How It Helps Marketers Deliver Personalized Experiences

Spotify continues to heighten consumer expectations of personalization from brands. Last year, the music-streaming giant announced that some of its previously human-curated public playlists will be tailored to the tastes of individual users. That means no two distinct users will have the exact same playlists appearing in the Spotify dashboard. The company made the announcement after extensively testing the popularity of playlists curated by its editorial team and collecting data on user listening times and preferences. The change will be accompanied by new analytics tools for artists and labels.

 

Modern marketers know that personalized messaging is key to reaching an increasingly distracted audience, but recent research from IBM suggests that truly customer-centric marketing is still just out of reach. This is despite the proliferation of data and analytics technologies — and perhaps because of it. As the array of tools and information at every marketer’s fingertips continues to grow, so does the pressure to turn it all into real, measurable results. The reality, however, is that most lack the basic resources — including time and domain expertise — to translate unfiltered data into viable personalized marketing strategies, and agile workflow can help.

Great Expectations

These types of groundbreaking data applications are helping companies like Spotify disrupt and seize control of entire industries. They’re also changing consumer expectations at a rate that’s almost impossible to keep up with for most marketers. Even for brands that are able to offer innovative, personalized experiences, doing so can be a double-edged sword. Once users get a taste for personalization, they come to expect it from your brand. So one-off or occasionally personalized experiences can create a disconnect that detracts from customer perceptions of your company.

If elements within these experiences are constantly changing — like a landing page, for example — overtime, it can be difficult to track the impact of that change on your overall messaging strategy. Plus, marketers are often using personalization tools in silos when making the most of them requires a high level of internal knowledge sharing. When information isn’t shared universally, it can lead to the wrong messaging or messaging personalized to the wrong customer.

 

The Promise of Agile

 

The companies that are having the most success in terms of offering personalized experiences to customers are those that have an agile workflow, regardless of size. This approach allows marketers to incrementally test strategies to ensure they’re effective before investing a large number of resources into implementing them. Agile teams excel at accomplishing big things by breaking them down into smaller tasks with measurable outcomes. Those outcomes then inform future tests, meaning every initiative is built on a solid foundation of knowledge. And every initiative is scalable because institutional knowledge is consolidated, stored, and easily accessible. This is precisely the approach that companies like Spotify use to develop game-changing experiences.

 

Personalization doesn’t happen overnight — it takes time. With agile workflow, though, it takes less time. Here are four steps marketing leaders can implement to begin building an agile foundation:

 

1. Know what tools you need.

Just because your team recognizes the need for personalization doesn’t mean your tech stack is set up to deliver it. Start by focusing on results associated with one specific channel. Mobile apps, for example, are an increasingly vital brand communications channel, yet they’re also one of the least personalized.

 

Once you’ve pinpointed a channel, ask questions. What additional information will you need to make the experiences you offer via that channel more customized? Do you need to augment data for unknown users, or will you focus only on known contacts? Do your tools allow you to accomplish your goals, or will you need a custom solution? Having these answers will allow you to scope out the project and identify where additional investment is required.

 

2. Keep track of your ideas.

Create a backlog of ideas to test for your personalization program, and then stack-rank your backlog with a priority score based on business value, feasibility, and any other high-level metrics that could guide your decision-making process.

 

Try not to limit your thinking to only what you think is possible; the boundaries of possibility are constantly expanding. In the digital age, if you can imagine it, it can be done.

 

3. Define your metrics.

Whatever changes you implement must be measurable. For example, you might want to test personalized taglines on your homepage. If so, you must have a way to prove that the change is impacting your business. When you’re just getting started, prioritize trackable elements such as form submissions, purchase behavior, and click-through rates to quantify the impact of your test ideas.

 

Likewise, make sure the data you collect during testing is stored in a way that makes it accessible. Storing information in a number of disparate systems, for example, ultimately renders your efforts pointless because those insights are unlikely to be reused.

 

4. Make time to reflect.

To ensure resources aren’t wasted, make time to analyze testing results as a team and work diligently to tie those back to return on investment to the greatest extent possible. Document your conversations so that the insights can be easily accessed. Doing this will help you develop best practices that make sustained progress more attainable.

 

If you start small, iterate, and constantly test, you can optimize in real-time rather than wait for campaign results to come to you. In this way, an agile workflow will increase efficiency and productivity and make it easier for your team to try new things and adapt to a changing world.

The post Agile Workflow | How It Helps Marketers Deliver Personalized Experiences appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

4 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Got a Remote Job in SEO

Ever since I started college, I knew I wanted to work remotely. I hated the idea of having to work in an office; it felt restricting and, well, boring.

This became especially clear when I started my first job: a cubicle farm position at a failing software company. I was supposed to be a marketing coordinator, but there was never any work to do. I savored the two hours I was alone in the mornings. Sure, I never had to work hard, but being chained to a desk and surrounded by people was hell for an introvert.

Just a year later, I (along with my entire team) were laid off due to a merger. I swore I was never going back to an office job again.

By some stroke of luck, the kind folks at LSG took me in. I knew virtually nothing about SEO, but I had taken a college course on it once and I was pretty good at focusing when I was by myself. And God, I was willing to do anything to work remotely!

This year will mark two years working at Local SEO Guide. Although it’s not what I had originally intended to do, I can’t tell you how happy I feel that this is the way things turned out. My remote job in SEO is freeing and fulfilling. I don’t feel trapped anymore, and it lets me be part of a team without having to drive to work or sacrifice my introverted nature. The job definitely came with its share of surprises, and I wanted to share some things I wish I had known at the beginning.

Leave Your Degree at the Door

All of my coworkers come from vastly different backgrounds. We have an ex-political scientist, a phone sales guy, a bridal shop co-owner, a bicycle mechanic, a landscaper, and a retail employee in our ranks. Very few of my coworkers had a background in SEO before joining us, and even fewer of us originally aspired to become SEOs. But here we are, working with Fortune 500’s and helping huge companies get even huger. Our pasts don’t matter; only the results that we’re able to bring.

Even if you think you know SEO, every company does it differently. What one company says is right is going to be completely backwards to another. In a sense, this makes learning SEO easier for someone who originally knows nothing; they aren’t going to be stuck in their old ways.

Obviously, going to college for SOMETHING helps, but it’s not always necessary. Your attitude and ability to stick to your word is far more important. As a result, SEO can be a great job for people going through a major career change.

Of course, this is completely dependent on the company. There are, I’m sure, plenty of companies that require all of their employees to come from marketing backgrounds!

SEO Isn’t Cool (And That’s Okay)

No one is going to know what SEO is when you tell them what you do. Your friends are not going to think it’s cool. 

For the sake of not making us all look stupid, please don’t call yourself a ninja, or a guru, or whatever other stupid title you think is going to make your job sound more interesting than it is. You are not in a band. You are not the owner of a store that sells tiny hats for dogs. You are a person that helps people’s websites “go up on Google”. And that is nothing to be ashamed of! 

I feel like American culture bases our identities too much on what we do to make a living. When you meet someone at a party, one of the first things they’re going to ask to get to know you is, “What do you do?”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want people to think of me as “an SEO”. I want them to think of me as someone fun to be around, that enjoys learning 3D modeling and watching true crime documentaries.

Of course I could’ve pursued a cool job in 3D modeling if I’d worked for it, but honestly? I don’t want to. If you work doing what you love, what you love becomes work. And I like my hobbies.

Forget the 9-5

This is completely dependent on the company, but at my job it doesn’t necessarily matter how long you work. What matters is that you got the job(s) done like you said you would. Accountability and the ability to be someone that the team can rely on is crucial in a work from home job, especially in a work from home agency job.

If you come from a cubicle farm job (like I did) or a retail environment (like one of my coworkers did), this can be a very bizarre change. In an ultra-corporate or hourly environment, you’re expected to “serve your time”. This is also known as the “if you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean” mentality or the “time-based” work style. It doesn’t matter what you get done, because you’re just gonna have to keep going. My job in SEO isn’t like that–it’s “task based”. If I get my work done early, I can go do whatever I want. I’m still expected to be available, but I’m not expected to engage in “busywork”.

Personally, I absolutely adore this work style. I feel like it encourages hard work and finding shortcuts and ways to do things faster. Ever heard the quote “Always choose a lazy man to do a hard job, because a lazy man will find an easy way to do it”? It’s true. And the same lazy person will sit for eight hours at an eight hour job because they’re rewarded for serving their time, not working hard. 

Of course, a task-based work style can have its disadvantages. It can be hard to break the habit of striving for eight hours of work, and it’s surprisingly easy to miss deadlines when you work this way. Missing deadlines is a huge no-no at an agency job, so working in a time-based style can ironically result in having to work longer hours to make up for it. (Personally, I think more companies should switch to the task-based style!)

Time Management is #1

What you know about SEO doesn’t matter if you have poor time management skills. I firmly believe that time management is the number one skill for succeeding in a remote and/or task-based environment. 

At a remote job, especially, no one is there watching over your shoulder to make sure you get your work done. Sure, this is a blessing–no one likes to be micromanaged–but it also means you have to kick your own ass if you procrastinate for too long. It’s a double-edged sword. This makes it a great job for people with self-motivated, goal-driven personalities, but a poor fit for people who tend to be easily distracted and disorganized.

Conclusion

If you’re considering a job in SEO (or working remotely in general) I hope you found this article helpful. I know a new job can cause a lot of anxiety, especially when you’re entering a new type of work or have never worked remotely before. 

SEO and working remotely aren’t for everyone; it takes a lot of self-discipline to be able to do successfully. But for the people that are built for it, it’s a pretty awesome job.

The post 4 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Got a Remote Job in SEO appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

Why Valentine’s day can give your sales a boost

As we all know February is the shortest month which means we can have a lot to achieve and not a lot of working days to achieve it in. As a business, you still have to meet targets and forecasted figures and luckily is one holiday that can help you reach your business goals – Valentine’s day.

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying it’s a commercial success. Over the last few years, the UK has upped its game on gift-giving spending over £650 million (Mintel) and the highest spenders are men!

But what are we spending our money on?

Well restaurants benefit the most as couples spend the day, evening or weekend dining out, followed by hotels and accommodation for a romantic getaway, closely followed by florists as orders for bouquets go through the roof.

But it’s not all about those happy couples, there are plenty of ways to the might mobile phone is helping singles find each other too. Online dating continues to make waves with 5% of users feeling dating apps allowed them to feel more comfortable and to be themselves in dating scenarios, plus a lucky 46% of dating app users met their current partner online! (Figleaves)

Luckily we’re not just using our phones to match (or break up) with each other. Media IQ state that over 25% of us use our phones to buy presents, while 17.8% rely on their phones to make a dinner reservation or for a hotel booking (17.2%).

Astonishingly 46% of singles had never broken up with someone in person, but online or via texting.

Whether you are a restauranteur, a retailer, a travel agent, or even a zoo – whatever sector your business sits in, sending a Valentine’s Day message to your customers promoting your business might just be the perfect gift this Valentine’s Day.

Or why not just tell your customers how much you love them…

“Happy Valentine’s Day… To show you how much you mean to us we are giving you 20% off with the code LOVE”

The post Why Valentine’s day can give your sales a boost appeared first on Textmarketer.

vPromos Launches Bundled Loyalty, Text Messaging and Processing Solution for SMBs

DALLAS, Feb. 18, 2020 — (Business Wire) – vPromos, Inc., a provider of innovative loyalty and customer engagement solutions, today announced the launch of vLoyalty SMB. Loyalty, text messaging and free payment processing are bundled into an intuitive, easy-to-use solution that helps small and midsize businesses drive repeat visits and sales. vLoyalty SMB is a simple and affordable way for business owners to enroll, engage, know and reward their customers to drive more revenue. Initially available in Dallas and Atlanta markets, nationwide rollout of vLoyalty SMB will take place through the year. 

“You won’t find an easier and more affordable way to process credit card transactions and enroll customers into your own branded loyalty program,” said Dr. April Hang, CEO and chief pharmacist for family-owned and Atlanta-based Total Pharmacy Plus. “We are quickly seeing the power of having a loyalty program as our customers are coming back and engaging with increasing visit and purchase frequency,” added Hang. 

vLoyalty SMB is as easy as 1-2-3. Simple to use with no staff training required, vLoyalty uses patented payments terminal based card-linking technology with no loyalty cards, apps, punch cards, coupons or promo codes for consumers to use. Compliant SMS text messaging engages customers with offers, promotions and awards and keeps them up to date on loyalty point status. vLoyalty SMB offers free payment processing with a low monthly software as a service (SaaS) fee. The complete loyalty and engagement system comes preconfigured for plug-and-play installation, and because it is cloud-based, software updates happen automatically. It’s ideal for boutique retailers like pet, gift, consignment and cigar stores; coffee, tea, bakery, doughnut, cupcake, ice cream and yogurt shops; specialty restaurants; pet services like grooming, boarding and training; liquor stores, as well as CBD and vape shops. 

“Built on the success of vLoyatly Enterprise, which has powered loyalty and customer engagement for top retailers for more than 10 years, vLoyalty SMB brings big-box functionality to small and midsize business owners at a cost-effective price point,” said Alan Goldstein, vPromos CEO. “These businesses want and need solutions that are easy to deploy, use and maintain, and we look forward to helping drive revenue and deepen customer relationships,” added Goldstein. 

Businesses interested in learning more about vLoyalty SMB may telephone +1.214.891.1800 or email sales@vpromos.com. Parties interested in reselling vLoyalty SMB should email resellers@vpromos.com.

About vPromos, Inc.

vPromos combines the power of payments, terminal card-linked loyalty and promotions, and text messaging to help companies easily enroll, engage, know and reward customers, driving repeat visits and new sales. Our patented cloud-based suite of vLoyalty solutions for small businesses to very large franchise enterprises enables quick, easy and convenient loyalty program enrollment at the point-of- purchase, real-time access to historical purchasing data to optimize point-of-sale targeted offers and compliant SMS text messaging engagement to communicate with customers, all with seamless payments integration. vPromos powers loyalty and customer engagement with simplicity and expertise, keeping millions of consumers coming back over and over again. Founded in 2009, the company is privately held and headquartered in Dallas, Texas. For more information, please visit vpromos.com.

Media Contact:
Peggy Bekavac Olson
Strategic Marketing for vPromos
+1.480.510.8120
vpromos@smktg.com

The post vPromos Launches Bundled Loyalty, Text Messaging and Processing Solution for SMBs appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

5 Ways to Increase Your Market Share

In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone. The cell phone boasted a full touch screen, a slew of personalization options, and internet capabilities. These features were rare in the phone market before the iPhone, and having them all on one device was especially enticing.

Because of these innovative features, Apple built a reputation and loyal fan base in the first year of the iPhone’s release, earning the company a 3% market share.

Today, Apple has a 50% market share in the mobile phone industry. This means that half of phone owners globally own an iPhone.

As a business, knowing your market share tells you how you stack up against competitors. Ultimately, Apple needed to know its market share back in 2007, and continue to innovate and grow, to become a leader in the market today.

When we talk about raising market share, we’re talking about making informed marketing decisions that contribute to overall sales and customer retention. Here, let’s explore what it means to increase market share, and how you can do that, today.

What does it mean to increase market share?

To increase market share means increasing the effort you put into sales as a business, and using new or additional strategies to help you get there.

Market share is the percent of total sales in an industry generated by a particular company.

Simply put, market share is calculated by taking the company’s sales over a certain period of time, and dividing it by the total sales of the industry over that same period.

Basically, market share is how much you make as a company in the industry, and how that stacks up against others. So, to increase your market share, you need to make more sales than your competitors to increase your share in the industry.

Which is, of course, much easier said than done. How does one go about increasing market share? Let’s dive into that, next.

1. Find your niche and stick with it.

Your company should have a few characteristics that set it apart from the competition. For example, Apple’s logo and sleek design is seen on Apple’s entire suite of products.

Having that distinguishing brand characteristic — such as the Apple logo — enables people to more easily identify your company’s products across a line of similar-looking items. If your company is able to create a recognizable brand identity, while also producing higher-quality products or services than the competition (or products or services that serve a niche market), you’ll have a better chance of finding a larger piece of market share to capture.

For instance, I don’t know much about makeup, but I know a NARS blush when I see one because the design and logo of their products are so unique to the brand, and the quality of NARS products is undeniably good:

Nars makeup ad

Source

This strategy increases market share for a business that has found success with a previous launch. If a consumer sees your mark on a product, they will know what they’re getting, which informs their purchase decision.

As a marketer, you also want to consider which marketing materials can help you increase market share. For instance, do you have a popular eBook or YouTube series? Continue to work with those avenues more frequently to expand the reach those products get.

2. Innovate as society does.

Sony’s PlayStation owns 68% of the home console market share. Since 1994, Sony has been finding ways to innovate and update their video game consoles faster than their competition. These innovations are necessary to stay current in the industry and increase market share.

For reference, here is a 1994 PlayStation console:

Source

And a 2014 PlayStation 4:

Source

While some design elements have stayed the same, such as the logo and base system design, upgrades have been applied to match the times.

Take, for instance, the controller. They’re both similar, but while the PS4 controller is wireless, has a power button, and battery life, PS1 controllers don’t. PS1 power buttons are large and can be found on the side of the console, whereas much smaller PS4 power buttons can be found on the controller and on the console itself.

This is because as more advancements have been made in the gaming industry, Sony has adapted accordingly. The company has a keen eye on what gamers want as years pass, earning them a high market share.

If you fail to innovate in a way that’s reflected on the times, your business may fall behind and be forgotten. (RIP, outdated Aatari consoles).

3. Engage with customers.

Customers know what they want to see, so one way businesses can increase their market share is by asking them.

A carefully crafted survey sent out to loyal customers with questions about design, updates, and features can help you visualize tangible ways to improve your product or service, and in turn, increase your market share.

You don’t have to only use surveys, either. Engaging with customers on social media, such as in an Instagram story, works as well. Skincare company Glossier does this effectively:

Glossier skincare customer engagement

Source

Going to the source to ask what customers will spend their money on is a good campaign strategy for increasing market share. It’s a low-cost way to conduct market research and learn more about your place in the industry based on consumer perception.

4. Think about an acquisition.

You can increase market share through the acquisition of a company that aligns well with your own products or services. This requires a bit of research, but will ultimately end up in potentially gaining a larger market share.

Companies usually acquire companies to gain a larger market share or expand their suite of products. For example, Microsoft owns LinkedIn and GitHub. While the former (LinkedIn) can lead to an increase in market share among social media revenue, the latter (GitHub) can lead to an increase in market share among Cloud OS revenue.

Acquiring a competitor involves choosing the right company — one that will be a positive addition to your suite of products or services.

5. Continue to delight customers.

Netflix is no stranger to creating loyal customers. The platform is constantly adding more original shows and tightening its algorithm to cater to its customers. This constant refining of the platform led to a 2014 report that Netflix had a 90% market share in the streaming service market.

Having such a large market share due to these updates has helped Netflix even as more streaming services have entered the market. Customers have found themselves not wanting to cancel their Netflix subscriptions because they’ve found such deep value in it.

In short, Netflix makes its customers happy. I know I’m certainly happy when I can turn on the Netflix app and see most of my favorites displayed without needing to scroll further.

Netflix home page

Netflix positioned itself as a leader in the industry. Don’t wait for customers to come to you for ideas — think ahead, not just of what they need, but what they’ll want as customer buying experience changes overtime.

In 2007, Apple completely revolutionized mobile phones and tripled their market share in a year. 13 years later, Apple is still a leader in the mobile phone market because of the ways they constantly improve their product and create loyal customers.

By looking at your market share and finding ways to increase it, you’ll find greater customer retention and a more stable position in your industry.

Marketing Technology | Human Skills Become Even More Valuable in 2020

Historically, whenever a large, technological leap is taken it’s met with a degree of resistance, sometimes in a way that makes us laugh. The Wall Street Tech article, “Women And Children First: Technology And Moral Panic” shares that when trains were first introduced to the public there was a fear that women shouldn’t ride them since “uteruses would fly out of [their] bodies as they were accelerated to that speed.” They did not.

In that same article, Cultural Anthropologist Genevie Bell states that society often experiences fear “when particularly revelatory technological advances show up—specifically, ones which interfere with or alter our relationships with time, space, and each other.”

What Was Our Reaction to The Emergence of Marketing Technology?

If you are old enough, you’ll likely remember the book “Who Moved My Cheese?”. It’s a parable that taught readers they could only declare, “winner-winner cheese dinner” if they were willing to embrace change.

The book became a popular business “must-read” in the early 2000s, right around the same time that the internet could be found in most households. This new connectivity meant that organizations needed to quickly rethink the way they marketed their goods and services. The message “adapt or starve” resonated so much that a small book about overcoming the fear of change sold $28 million copies.

Ultimately, the era became a launching pad for the customer experience methodology and automated marketing technology we’re using today. It’s safe to say that once we got past the initial and very human response to the changes emerging technology was bringing, we cleared the way for further innovation.

Do We Fear the Next Iteration of Marketing Technology?

Automated marketing technology has allowed us to essentially outsource time-consuming, repetitive tasks such as scheduled social media postings and email launches. In 2020, we’re going to see this go a step further with more organizations incorporating AI decision making into their marketing platforms. 

For example, high-end skincare company Kate Sommerville built its eCommerce website with a platform that could offer unique product recommendations based on browsing and shopping patterns. The consumer’s online behavior assessment and the subsequently executed response was entirely automated.

As AI’s ability to predict and respond to human behavior increases, the potential to successfully interact with customers also rises. But as excited as we all are to level up our ROI, does the addition of AI decision making generate a creeping fear that human marketing positions will become redundant? 

Google’s Chief Economist Hal Varian explained why there’s nothing to fear in the Stanford article “Our Misplaced Fear of Job-Stealing Robots”. “Automation doesn’t generally eliminate jobs. Automation generally eliminates dull, tedious, and repetitive tasks. If you remove all the tasks, you remove the job. But that’s rare.” Varian goes on to share that “In 1950, the U.S. Census Bureau listed 250 separate jobs. Since then, the only one to be completely eliminated is that of elevator operator”.

Emerging Technology Makes Human Skills More Valuable

The reality is that while marketing technology will not be replacing jobs, it is undeniably replacing some of the tasks that fall within them. Organizational roles will begin to shift as more space is created within them.

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) does a great job explaining how we can expect to see marketing roles change in response to emerging technology in their article, “The Rise of AI Makes Emotional Intelligence More Important”. “Those that want to stay relevant in their professions will need to focus on skills and capabilities that artificial intelligence has trouble replicating — understanding, motivating, and interacting with human beings.” 

“It’s these human capabilities that will become more and more prized over the next decade. Skills like persuasion, social understanding, and empathy are going to become differentiators as artificial intelligence and machine learning take over our other tasks.”

The post Marketing Technology | Human Skills Become Even More Valuable in 2020 appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

Say Hello To The CRaP SERP

Hey ecommerce sites – worried you are getting too many clicks on head term SERPs?

If so, fear not, as yours truly stumbled into a Google test guaranteed to cure you of those annoying up-and-to-the-right trend lines.

I invite you to feast your eyes on this “Content Results Page” aka the CRaP SERP:

Or how about some mattresses?

Remember how the SEO team kept asking for a content budget? Yeah, you might want to take another look at that deck.

The post Say Hello To The CRaP SERP appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

Loyalty Training and Education in Ireland and Beyond

[Editor’s note: At Wise Marketer, our goal is to deliver timely, educational, and relevant news to professional data-driven and customer-centric marketers around the world. And at the Loyalty Academy, we have similar purpose to deliver this relevant education on the ground and in a hands-on environment in the form of corporate training, public certification workshops, and seminars. We are excited to announce a new partnership with the Irish Loyalty Awards to help deliver Loyalty Academy’s curriculum to a pan-European audience. We wanted to give you a brief overview of our partnership and how to participate in creating a positive professional influence on our industry.]

Global Demand for Loyalty Training and Education

The Loyalty Academy is meeting the demand for loyalty training and professional growth among data-driven, customer-centric marketers around the world and is excited to announce the first ever loyalty certification workshop in the Euro Zone.

The 2-day workshop will be held in Dublin in September 2020 and participants will be able to earn the credentials of Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional™ (CLMP) as sanctioned by the Board of Regents for the Loyalty Academy. Details will be announced at the 2nd Annual Irish Loyalty Summit on March 12, 2020 in Dublin.

This continues Loyalty Academy’s
international rollout of loyalty education as they have conducted seminars,
corporate training, and full certification workshops in 5 countries to date:
Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, and the US.

The workshop in Ireland marks the first
time the educational offerings of the Loyalty Academy have been brought to the
Euro Zone. Invitations will be sent to loyalty professionals throughout
Ireland, the UK and Europe. The CLMP workshop has helped ground hundreds of
marketers in the concepts, best practices, and tools needed to successfully
compete in the growing Customer Engagement and Loyalty industry.

Loyalty Academy joins forces with the Irish Loyalty Awards

The partnership begins with a featured presentation on The Six Competencies of Loyalty Marketing at the 2nd Annual Irish Loyalty Summit event in Dublin on March 12, 2020. Mike Capizzi, Dean of the Loyalty Academy, will lead the discussion and present a proprietary framework for evaluating what it takes to be great as a loyalty marketer. The awards gala will follow that evening with winners announced in multiple categories celebrating the best loyalty programs in Ireland. Information about the event and registration can be found at the Irish Loyalty Awards website. The Wise Marketer is serving as a media sponsor for the event.

The Dublin workshop will also be led by Capizzi, a long-time activist for the European Loyalty marketplace: “As Customer Centric marketing continues to grow in importance on the world stage, the demand for professional training is increasing,” commented Capizzi. “A new generation of marketing professionals are entering the work-place and are finding that CLMP certification can jump-start their career path with customer-facing brands.  At the same time, highly experienced practitioners are seeking education on the latest trends and channels to connect with their customers. The Loyalty Academy certification programs and online courseware are designed to meet the collective needs of the Marketing professional to compete successfully in a dynamic business environment.”

CLMP certification can also be earned one course at a time through online learning. The full curriculum consisting of 15 courses has been completed by 152 professionals globally across 17 countries.

Irish Loyalty Awards Co-Founders, Eileen McGuinnes and Marian Kelly, were responsible for putting the partnership together based upon the needs of the Irish and European loyalty communities. “We have been including educational seminars and thought leadership discussions for all attendees at the Irish Loyalty Summit the past few years,” said McGuinnes/Kelly, “and training services are a natural extension of our offering. By partnership with the Loyalty Academy we can deliver a best-in-class program that can work across Europe and can be customized based upon our own expertise in the loyalty industry.”

Sponsorship opportunities are available for both the Awards event and the Certification workshop. Interested parties should contact support@thewisemarkter.com for details or subscribe to our Newsletter to stay up-to-date with everything happening at the Wise Marketer.

The post Loyalty Training and Education in Ireland and Beyond appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

9 Valentine's Day Marketing Campaigns to Inspire You

 

Love, flowers, chocolate, bla bla bla …

Where are the marketing results?!

Okay, probably not what your Valentine’s date cares about. But if you’re a marketer, you might be interested in merging the most lovey-dovey of days with your marketing. But how?

Well, these companies have figured out some creative ways to leverage the warm and fuzzies (or unadulterated rage and crushing loneliness … whatever) that Valentine’s Day instills in people. If you don’t have a marketing campaign planned for the 14th, maybe some of these will inspire you to get in on some last-minute Valentine’s Day action. Pun totally intended.

9 Effective Valentine’s Day Marketing Campaigns

1. Frankie & Benny’s “Lady & the Tramp” Instagram Post

Last year, the Italian restaurant chain Frankie & Benny’s referenced romantic scenes from notable films like “Lady and the Tramp.”

In a cute Instagram post, two real dogs are seen on a classy date at Frankie & Benny’s holding the same strand of pasta in their mouths. This mimics a class scene from Lady and the Tramp where two dogs kiss after accidentally eating the same strand of pasta.

The carousel post then highlights actual photos from iconic movies like, “When Harry Met Sally.” In the post’s caption, it encourages Instagram audiences to guess which movies are being referenced.

While the real dog’s mimicking Lady and the Tramp grabbed attention, especially from the animal lovers on Instagram, this post’s caption and other photos encourages audiences to interact with the brand by guessing which movies are being referenced.

This is both a fun way to boost brand awareness, and leverage the holiday to gain engagement on social media.

2. Panera’s Engagement Offer

In 2018, Panera tweeted that customers who got engaged in one of their restaurants on Valentine’s Day could win free wedding catering from the chain. 

The tweet included a short and simple video which announced the promotion and showed two Panera employees cheering, as if they were witnessing a proposal.

This is a quick and sweet way to leverage the holiday and social media to gain foot traffic into a physical business. Although Panera is a giant corporation, this campaign strategy is so simple that smaller businesses could create something similar with a tweet, short video, and offer that drives foot traffic.

3. Facebook Messenger Heart Feature

Just before Valentine’s Day in 2018, Facebook Messenger’s Twitter announced that if you shared that you were “In a Relationship” with a friend you were messaging, celebratory hearts would rain down in your Messenger thread with that person.

Although a small business probably can’t add a major feature to their product just because of a holiday, this is a good example of how you can theme something related to your product, such as your website, around a holiday temporarily. 

Another thing that’s interesting about this campaign is that Facebook is using a competing social platform, Twitter, to announce this new feature. This slightly undermines Twitter, which also allows direct messaging but with less interactive features.

4. “Adults Meal” – Burger King

Burger King is no stranger to poking fun at its biggest competitor, McDonalds. This was no different before Valentine’s Day 2017 when they created an “Adult Meal” alternative with a similar box shape to McDonalds’ kids’ meal.

In the ad, Burger King explains that Kids’ Meals are for kids. But, on the night of Valentine’s Day, Burger King customers can buy an adult meal with an “adult toy.”

This campaign is pretty cheeky. However, it’s edgy mission and subtle comments about its competitor’s product make it memorable and funny. 

5. “Romance On Demand” – Uber

On-demand car service company Uber launched a Romance on Demand campaign in most of the cities where they operate. Take a look at the short, cute video they shot to explain the campaign:

If you didn’t watch the video, the gist of the campaign is this: You can request roses be sent to a special someone by selecting the “rose” in their app. You set the delivery location, and a black car arrives at that location with a driver totally suited-up to deliver a bouquet of roses.

Uber is a startup that’s figured out a way to create a campaign that delights its audience and drives additional revenue for its business — all without a tremendous resource investment. I mean, their drivers are already on the road, ready to take customers; but if there are Uber customers who don’t need a ride but totally need to send some flowers, and send them with style … well, let’s just say transporting roses at a premium price isn’t much different than transporting people. Except the margins are way better for Uber. Pretty impressive stuff.

And even better, they’re using inbound tactics to get the word out there! They launched the Romance on Demand campaign on their blog, via social channels with the hashtag #romanceondemand, with that adorable video you might have watched up above, and even by establishing local partnerships in the cities where they’re running the campaign to enter participants into a drawing to win some extra goodies. This is a low cost, high return campaign for Uber that totally aligns with its customer persona — high convenience and high style.

6. “Whose Heart do You Love” – MegaRed

MegaRed is a type of krill oil supplement sold in nutrition stores. If you don’t know already, fish oil is an excellent dietary supplement for those concerned with heart health, so it makes sense that its Valentine’s Day campaign theme is “Whose heart do you love?” Here’s how it works.

MegaRed is relying heavily on Facebook to facilitate this campaign, in which visitors can request free samples of their supplements through their Facebook app. What’s totally endearing about this campaign is that you can request the supplement for “The heart of someone you love.” In other words, you can give someone you love — whose heart you want to keep in tip-top shape — a free sample of their product. Even better? If you choose to give the free sample to a loved on, MegaRed will give you a free sample, too. And the love doesn’t end there: If they can reach 100,000 free samples given away, they’ll donate $100,000 to the National Coalition for Women With Heart Disease.

Aside from the great feeling this campaign instills — I mean, promoting heart health is kind of hard to argue with — I love their use of social media to get the word out there. For instance, on Twitter, MegaRed is seeing celebrities like Joy Bauer and Toni Braxton posting about the campaign. Pretty impressive. And on YouTube, there’s this fun, short, touching video that will, forgive me, but totally touch your heart:

This campaign is being handled by an agency, but one thing that made my heart smile is a quote from MegaRed’s CMO, Jennifer Steeves-Kiss, to the New York Times. “We want to start making digital and social a significantly greater priority for us,” she said. “People are spending four to five hours a month online researching supplements if they’re supplement enthusiasts,” Steeves-Kiss shared, and additionally, they are in the middle of an acquisition by a company whose executive are “great proponents” of social and digital marketing.

We can’t help but smile at seeing the adoption of inbound methods by brands that have millions to spend on traditional advertising methods!

7. “Show Your Love for the Jersey Shore” – The State of New Jersey and the SBA

The State of New Jersey, along with the Small Business Association, are running a pro-business campaign called “Show Your Love for the Jersey Shore.” The call-to-action for the campaign? To spend your vacation dollars — particularly on Valentine’s Day — at the Jersey Shore. It’s being promoted on Facebook, Twitter, via email, and via live events in partnership with destination marketing organizations. Information about special promotions being offered by shore businesses will be shared socially, too, so if you’re looking for something to do tomorrow, check it out 😉 For instance, you might be interested in …

I know I sure would be!

The goal of the campaign is to show that the Jersey Shore is open for business after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. The problem some shore businesses are facing is the perception that businesses aren’t recovered from the storm. While there’s still much more recovery to be done, there are some businesses that are, indeed, ready to accept tourists. They just need the word to get out there.

Director of Jenkinson’s Aquarium, Cindy Claus, told NorthJersey.com, “I think so many people see on the news that we got hit by the storm. They see all the destruction, and yes, there’s a lot of destruction and a lot of sadness, but there’s a lot of businesses that were able to get opened. And you need to come back because that’s the only way these businesses are going to survive.” The aquarium was able to open back up on February 1, and is hoping this campaign will help get the word out there that they’re welcoming visitors with open arms.

Whether the campaign works or not remains to be seen, but it’s fantastic to see federally funded institutions finding a way to, essentially, newsjack as a way to aid the shore community — particularly affected businesses — in attaining their previous levels of visitors.

8. Scribbler Valentine’s Day Campaign

Scribbler, a UK-based personalized greeting card service, has won my heart because of its celebration of content in its Valentine’s Day campaign. Using their blog, they’ve asked their audience to share what their definition of “love” is. All you do is visit their blog, and answer these three questions:

Or, you can tweet your response to the Scribbler Twitter account. The winner will get a free iPad mini, and the best answers will be compiled in their Valentine’s Day ebook. To inspire people, Scribbler is also using Facebook and Twitter to post some of the best answers that are coming their way. This campaign is fantastic for a few reasons:

  • It’s a simple way to generate leads that can be nurtured later.
  • It’s a simple way to get people aware of and engaged with their social channels to expand their reach.
  • It’s a simple way to crowdsource content.

This campaign is an excellent idea for anyone trying to expand the top of their funnel — campaigns with a low time commitment but high level of delight are great ways to make new fans that you can later nurture into customers.

9. UncommonGoods Email Marketing Campaign

When I stumble across good email marketing, I get excited. When I stumble upon lovable email marketing, I swoon. Take a look at the lovely email ecommerce company UncommonGoods sent last week to remind/enable/capitalize on last-minute shoppers:

ucgemail resized 600

 First of all, one of the great things about all of UncommonGoods’ emails is their attention to detail. For instance, they tied the Valentine’s Day theme into more than just the design and theme of the email campaign: Take a look at the little tiny text at the top left of the email to see what I mean. Instead of just saying, “For an HTML version of this email, bla bla bla,” they said, “Email still a sweet nothing? Click here.” Love is in the details, as they say.

But the layout of the email also makes taking action super easy for the recipient. Notice how they’ve divided up the gifts, essentially, by persona. “Whose heart are you aiming for?” they ask — at which point you can click on the person you need to shop for, and be brought to a landing page with content that aligns with your need.

But you know what takes all this to the next level? The fact that UncommonGoods finds a way to incorporate blogging into all of this! If you visit UncommonGoods from this email, you’ll see the following (pay particular attention to the orange call-out):

vdayemail resized 600

Not only does the design from the email align with design on the website, but when you click on the parts of that little box — let’s say you’re looking for gifts for your girlfriend — you get taken to a blog post of the top ten gifts for girlfriends, with a picture of that gift, a fun and well-written description of that gift, and a CTA to make the purchase next to each gift.

ucgpage resized 600

Nothing like integrating your marketing channels to sweep a marketer off her (or his) feet!

Valentine’s Day Campaign Takeaways

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in Feb. 2013, but was updated for comprehensiveness on January 30, 2020.

Event Invitation Emails: How to Create One that Rocks

Running a successful event can be stressful, especially when you have so much to coordinate, including the agenda, the venue, and the speakers

Email event invitations, however, shouldn’t be stressful.

If you’re struggling when deciding what to include in your email event invitation, consider what you’d like to see in an invite — probably information about the agenda, venue, and speakers, right?

Answering the questions your audience will have about your event is a great place to start when writing an email invitation. The rest comes easily, as long as you consider good look at design, inclusive language, and personalization depending on your recipients.

Event invitation emails are helpful because they inspire interest for the event, makes emails personalized, streamlines the process of messaging.

If you’re looking for ideas about how to write an amazing event invitation, keep reading.

How to Write an Email Invitation For an Event

Remember, not all event invitations need to be snazzy, high-budget, high-time investment productions. In fact, effective email invitations can be made in about 20 minutes.

Use this section as a base-level cheat sheet for ideas to implement in your next email campaign.

Before you hit “Schedule,” or “Send,” think about if you can answer the “So what?” question audiences will ask after seeing your invitation in their inbox.

To create a stellar email invite, you have to make sure it’s personalized to the reader, instills curiosity, and effectively communicates what the event will entail.

1. Answer the 5 “W’s”.

First thing’s first, tell your audience what’s happening. In school, some of us learned about the 5 W’s — who, what, when, where, and why.

This is a good rule of thumb when writing an email invite. If you can point to your email and identify all five, you’re off to a great start.

Take this email, for example:

This is a wonderful event email because it answers the five questions:

Who: Vanessa De Luca

What: A seminar called “Women Who Lead”

When: December 11th, 4-6 PM

Where: HubSpot

Why: To have a conversation that emphasizes creating space for women to share and own their narratives.

By reading this email, I wouldn’t have any follow-up questions about event logistics. I know exactly when and where I need to be, and what the event will be about. Notice how this email isn’t the flashiest or most animated, but it gets the job done and still has personality.

2. Remember that less is more.

You need to cover all your bases in email invites, but remember not to crowd your email with details. If you find yourself struggling to fit the time of the event in your email, you probably have too much other information.

You don’t want to make it confusing to read, which might turns readers away from your event. I wouldn’t want to attend an event that comes with a poorly organized email — since I’d assume the event could be poorly organized, as well.

To consider the “less is more” sentiment, take a look at this email from Starbucks about their Happy Hour, which are special times where Starbucks Rewards members can enjoy specialty drinks at lower prices:

starbucks happy hour event email invite

This email still answers all base questions without needing paragraphs to explain. So if your event is a recurring one or something low-key, forego the extra words and set up the email as more of a reminder to RSVP.

3. Don’t forget a CTA.

I’m not sure what we were doing before adding calls-to-action (CTAs) to event invitation emails, but it’s a good thing we’re not in that world anymore. Take this sample email I made using HubSpot’s email software:

HubSpot email event invite example

As a consumer who forgets nearly everything that’s not on her calendar, I need a CTA that automatically adds an event to my calendar. Additionally, it makes it easy to RSVP, since all it takes is a click of a button

As a marketer who cares about click-to-open-rates and tracking those who clicked on the CTA, it means being able to measure those results in a content management system to think about ways to improve for the next event email.

Including a CTA is a win for both sides — as a marketer, it gives you metrics to track click-through rates, and consumers will appreciate the delightful user experience.

4. Make the design enjoyable.

Before you finalize your email, think about whether you’d attend the event based solely on the design. If the answer is no, you probably need to put more effort into the aesthetic of your email.

You might be pulling a blank on how to design a beautiful email, and that’s okay. Keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Stick with your branding — Start by choosing the colors that match your brand and incorporate them into your email. Colors go a longer way than traditional black and white text.
  • Choose a template — As someone who knows little about coding and equally as little about design, templates have become a lifesaver. Websites like Canva or Mailchimp have an array of templates you can use to create your email, like this template from Canva:
Canva example of a stunning template

Source

  • Play with simple elements — Simple things, like shapes and sizes, really help an email’s design. Refer to the image above and how it uses circles and cylinders to fill negative space in an interesting way.

Thinking of elements like these can brighten up an email, as well as experimenting with sizes of text. If you’ve found you want to take up more space in your email, make the font sizes bigger and incorporate shapes or designs like stripes running across the header.

5. Consider your language.

Always, always check the language of your email. Think about the vibe your message sends, and if it’s the right one you want to convey. You’re communicating your event details, but you’re also conveying your brand.

Double-check elements like your CTA: Is it more inviting than the standard, “Learn more!” that has become routine in emails? What about your text? Does it drop playful language where applicable?

Stunning language in an email example

For instance, this INBOUND email is a great example of laid-back language. The language is more conversational than formal.

When you use conversational language, the reader feels more connected to your invite, like you already know them.

6. Think about the details.

When you’re done designing your email, think about little details that will delight your invitees. Have you created a thank you or follow up email? Have you made the subject line something that will captivate subscribers?

Little details like subject lines can be more emotionally engaging to your audience. Ultimately, audiences will be delighted if you show in your invite that you had them in mind. Some people open emails based on the subject line, so it can also make or break your email performance.

If your event location is difficult to find, consider including directions in the bottom of the invite. An event that includes some kind of map or directions in the invite tells me that the sender took people’s commutes into consideration, like this one:

Example of delighting customers in an event email invitation

You can include directions by adding a Google Maps screenshot into your email, or using email marketing software to embed a Maps feature into your template.

Your event is set to go off without a hitch, and your email event invitation should, too. If you use online software to create an email, you can pull off a professional, flawless design in less time than you think.

By focusing on the important information, honing in on simple yet effective design elements, and making the language pop, your email invite will set itself apart from others in a way that’s inviting and delightful for readers.

Don’t forget to scroll through your own inbox for inspiration, too!

Future of Marketing | 5 Areas You Have to Make a Priority in 2020

Considering the lightning speed at which technology is transforming our daily lives, it’s no surprise that the marketing landscape is evolving at a similar pace. What does the future of marketing look like? While it can be a challenge to stay ahead of the trends, shifts, and latest developments in marketing at any given moment, we’ve never shied away from a challenge.  

In the spirit of a new year and a brand-new decade, we looked at some of the biggest obstacles we, as marketers, have been facing up until nowand created some objectives and resolutions for the years to come. We also want to know about your own goals and objectivesso we can provide you with the most valuable resources possible. At the end of this blog, you’ll be able to share your resolutions, priorities, concerns, and more. 

It comes as no surprise to us that more than a third of CMOs say their number one focus is sustainable growth.* So, we dug deeper, and found that marketers across the industry reported a number of substantial challenges that they felt stood as obstacles to achieving this higher-level growth: 

  • Finding effective scalability solutions 
  • Proving the impact of digital marketing  
  • Choosing and integrating the right technologies for their team 
  • Acquiring buy-in from executive leadership and the C-suite 

As marketers ourselves, we went to work to figure out how to overcome these obstacles. We came up with five recommendations that we believe will help solve these challenges — and more importantly, that we believe will help drive growth well into the next decade. 

1. Personalize everything

There are no two ways about it: your customers want personalized content from all your channels, including web and email. With tech transforming our ability to fine-tune every message, consumers have less and less patience for generic web content and marketing emails and are far more likely to tune you out if you aren’t speaking relevantly and directly to them. 

Providing personalized content can create a better customer experience, and it also builds trust. When people interact with personalized content online and through email, they are much more likely to convert. Many B2B organizations have static websites that serve up the same content to all visitors, regardless of where they are from, what device they’re using, and their business data. 

This is where AI can be critical to your personalization efforts. In fact, more than half of marketers that have AI use it for content personalization.* Using predictive models that use machine learning to determine which types of web and email content customers prefer represents the next frontier in personalization. By incorporating predictive content into your website, you can match the right content to each visitor, even if they are new to your site. (Browsing data like company name, location, etc. can help your model determine which content to serve.) It can also help you personalize email campaigns and make them better over time. 

Source: 2019 CMO Survey, Deloitte

 

Our final word: adopt predictive modeling to personalize customer interactions with all your channels. 

2. Focus on revenue attribution

Nearly two-thirds of CMOs say demonstrating the impact of marketing actions on financial outcomes is their biggest communication challenge.* But only about one-fourth of all B2B product companies and one-third of B2B service companies can prove the impact of marketing activities on revenues.*

These stats show a significant problem with current reporting strategies because as we mentioned earlier, one of the top obstacles for marketers is being able to prove to leadership that they should invest in marketing innovation. 

Typically, CMOs use ROI and pipeline metrics to quantify marketing performance for the CEO and CFO. Those can be useful metrics—if they’re accurate. And surprisingly, even with the highly sophisticated tools and resources available with today’s tech, many businesses still use spreadsheets and other piecemeal tools to measure marketing attribution! Suffice to say, for long and complex customer journeys with many different touchpoints, these partial solutions do not remotely do justice to the impact of marketing on revenue.  

Accurate revenue attribution is essential to marketing-powered growth. A comprehensive marketing attribution system can help you improve marketing performance and gain support for scaling successful innovations. Your system needs to be able to track the customer journey from the first, anonymous contact (such as a visit to your blog or website) through all the different interactions that precede a sale. 

You should also be able to define multiple programs, channels, touchpoints, etc. and map your complete customer journey, no matter how long and complex it is. 

It’s also important that your attribution solution connects seamlessly to your marketing automation platform and your CRM. Marketing automation systems can track performance for different channels, but they can’t always tie all this information together, or link it to sales. Your CRM contains bottom-of-the-funnel data and actual sales. 

Our final word: audit your current marketing attribution solution — and if it isn’t accurate and doesn’t work seamlessly with your CRM, change it ASAP. 

(*The 2019 CMO Survey, Deloitte)

3. Make mobile marketing a priority

Mobile marketing has always been challenging, especially for B2B companies and B2C companies that offer complex products. But mobile selling is now coming into its own, both with B2B and B2C consumers. Mobile apps can be a significant source of revenue for B2B companies, particularly when they’re used to capture repeat orders from existing customers. 

Here are some quick, high-value tips for mobile optimization: 

  • Analyze customer behavior on your mobile-friendly web pages and in your mobile app. 
  • Understand how mobile users are interacting with emails they open on mobile devices. Almost two-thirds of emails are now opened on mobile devices. 
  • Take advantage of mobile-first channels, such as text messages, push notifications, and more. 

Our final word: if you haven’t already optimized your website for mobile viewing and/or developed a mobile app, it’s time to get on it. Mobile should be an integrated part of your marketing plan, and fully supported by your marketing automation solution. 

4. Measure long-term performance

Marketers are addicted to short-term metrics. Weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals keep us all on our toes. But most of the metrics we measure look at fairly compressed timeframes, and when we focus so intently on the short-term, we can miss longer-term trends that may reveal opportunities for growth. 

Incorporating longer-term KPIs into your performance measurement mix can help you see further than your competition and grow faster. Long-term performance measurement requires a complete dataset, so whatever tool you use for marketing analytics should connect easily to your CRM and other relevant platforms. You should be able to design your own reports without resorting to spreadsheets or asking IT for custom code. You should also have access to predictive analysis that can forecast future trends from your existing data. 

Predictive analysis often relies on machine learning and other forms of AI. Using machine learning can help you discover the characteristics of customers that respond to your marketing, seasonal engagement patterns, most appealing product combinations, and more.  

Our final word: Make sure you’re set up tactically to measure long-term trends and don’t miss the opportunity to use the insights gleaned to design new, and more effective strategies. 

5. Connect marketing and sales

Aligning your marketing and sales teams is a simple but effective strategy for growth. It’s also quite a bit harder than it sounds. 

Many organizations have major disconnects between sales and marketing baked into their existing processes. Leads may be passed from person to person based on internal rules rather than customer requirements. Marketing data may not be passed to sales at all (or vice versa). And most frustratingly, leadership may treat marketing and sales as fully separate entities. 

Yes, it can potentially feel like you’re walking into pandemonium. But don’t be deterred — connecting marketing and sales simply requires a mix of process and technology. 

From a process standpoint, it means meeting with sales, sharing metrics, and identifying what needs to be improved. It also means being accountable for sticking to plans. And if you practice account-based marketing (ABM), it also makes sense to create a shared revenue model that tracks each step from lead to sale and allows marketing and sales to share ownership of the results. From a technology standpoint, you must find a solution to integrate marketing and sales data. It is also essential to have a marketing automation platform that will allow you to design custom lead scoring models and easily share information across teams. 

Our final word: while it takes some adjustment time and requires thoughtful, direct communication, putting the right processes and technology in place will ultimately make collaboration with sales easier — and growth will follow. 

Now, in the spirit of personalization, connectivity, and smarter predictions, we’d love to hear from you directly. What are your concerns, goals, and marketing resolutions for 2020? Take this survey to help us better understand what’s top of mind for you and most relevant to your business in the year to come. 

Share Your 2020 Resolutions!

The post Future of Marketing | 5 Areas You Have to Make a Priority in 2020 appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

Can You Trust SEO Tools for B2B Keyword Research?

Goddamnit Dan, stop making our lives harder!

Sorry, you feel that way, random internet person, but hopefully, this post makes your lives easier!

Anyway, this tweet by friend of the show John-Henry Scherck got me thinking

Are these tools trustworthy in the B2B Saas space? In the thread above, Russ Jones, who works on Keyword Explorer and other things at Moz, had this to say:

So let’s all agree that this is a very difficult problem to solve and that nobody is perfect, but since tools are out there selling their data as meaningful it needs to be tested

The Test

So here is what I did:

1) Took a year’s worth of warehoused Google Search Console data for a B2B SaaS Client (Calendar year 2019) and calculated the average number of monthly impressions for all terms that got a click in our data set. This is going to be our source of truth for “Monthly Search Volume.” Of course, whether or not this is true is debatable, but it def means more to us and our clients then 3rd party tool data.

2) Exported the keywords that this site was ranking for from SEMrush and AHREFs. This export has the monthly search volume, as calculated by that tool, for each term the site is ranking for. SEMRush had about ~1,000 more terms then AHREFs for this site.

3) Then I took the overlapping keywords among all 3 data sets (GSC/AHREFS/SEMrush) and ran it through Keywordtool.io to get their search volume.

4) Created a histogram to represent the distribution of how things varied from the “source of truth.” To do this we calculated the difference using a modified growth calculation. If you weren’t already reading the post I would tell you, “You won’t even guess what happened next…”

But Dan, why didn’t you use Moz’s Keyword Explorer?

Great question! I did not use Moz Keyword Explorer as it is not available as a standalone product, and so we don’t have it in our toolbox. Someone at Moz please change this!

At the end of the day, a keyword set of ~10,000 keywords that drove traffic in 2019 was whittled down to 505. Wow!

The Results

This histogram above does what I think is a good job summarizing the data. That’s because I’m a giant nerd. The Y-axis is # of keywords. The “x-axis” represents buckets of keywords that are a certain percentage of monthly search volume away from the source of truth. If you want to nitpick my methodology, feel free to hit me up (@danleibson) on Twitter. Hat tip to Alexis Sanders on the visualization.

I think one of the most fascinating things is to look at the distribution between the large buckets on both ends. Those are the keywords that are off by the largest amounts, and you can see that whether that amount they are off is positive or negative varies.

I think this makes it hard to even discuss the directional accuracy of 3rd party keyword data. Just to illustrate this, look at where all 3 tools fell in regard to overestimating or underestimating search volume.

If you don’t know if it’s off by +/- 250% and which way, you can’t really call it directionally accurate…

The Takeaways

To me the biggest takeaways are as follows:

1) 3rd Party tools are only to be used for keyword discovery unless you are either looking at top of the Internet (specifically massive consumer queries), desperate, or both. In regard to the tweet from Russ I shared earlier, I think that it’s up to the tool providers to share this answer with us in a meaningful way, as they are the ones that want us to pay to use their data.

2) You have to have ALL THE 3rd PARTY TOOLs for keyword discovery. One of the things that stood out to me is that there were only 3 terms between SEMrush and AHREfs that were off <10% in BOTH data sets. That tells me that, in addition to the different terms in their index for this site, both indexes have very different methods of calculating keyword volume.
Their data sets are just way too different to rely on one. Similar to using multiple link index tools, if you don’t you are just going to have way less decision making information on what opportunities are out there.

3) No volume or low volume query strategies are money. This site I’m using as an example generated just over $2M ARR in 2019. That was through this strategy almost exclusively. This means having a tight analytics setup where you can show the business impact in revenue/pipeline, etc. from specific pages/content is a must.

I reached out to John-Henry for comment and this is what he had to say:

“Unfortunately, the data isn’t all that surprising. After helping numerous B2B software companies map out potential paths to generate inbound traffic, we have learned to lean into Google’s auto-suggest data for new content initiatives (where GSC data isn’t available) and ignore the no- and low-volume, inaccurate metrics provided by these tools for mid- and bottom-of-the-funnel keywords.”

I also wanted Alexis to give me some feedback on what she thought of the data:

“Estimates of organic traffic start with search volume, a CTR-curve (where each position is allocated a certain percentage of the click bounty), and then some clickstream data folded in (from sources like Jumpshot… RIP…). It’s always going to be an estimate.”

Buuuuuuuut that doesn’t mean that it’s not useful directionally. As the adage from George E. P. Box (founder of many models and tests) goes:

“All models are wrong; some are useful.”

In other words, “SEOs need to use what they have.”

How will this impact how you think about or use search volume data from 3rd party tool providers? Will you start warehousing and using calculated Google Search Console data? Get at the discussion here or on Twitter (dot) com!

The post Can You Trust SEO Tools for B2B Keyword Research? appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

eCommerce trends for 2020

This year, it is reported that even more brick-and-mortar stores will close their doors, but eCommerce will continue to rise. It is such a large part of the UK retail industry, that Statista have actually reported that by 2021, roughly 93% of internet users are expected to do online shopping – which is the highest online shopping rate in Europe. 

Now we may not have access to a crystal ball, but we do have a huge number of customers within the retail industry and, well, Google. So we’ve done a little research and pulled together, what we think are the 6 most interesting eCommerce trends to look out for in 2020, get ready to jump on the bandwagon!

1. More flexible payment options

This trend started in the US a couple of years ago and is now starting to pick up momentum in the UK. Some millennials may have noticed a pay on pay-day option open up on ASOS, through a company called Klarna. In the US alone, retailers offering ‘Afterpay’ have reported an increase in conversion rates between 20 – 30%. We expect to see many more stores adopt similar tactics as the year continues.  

2. Rise in personalised content

Despite the introduction of GDPR, it’s safe to say that many of us are still unsubscribing to a number of emails each week. As customers become inundated with communication from various brands, their expectation of the value of the content ultimately increases. It’s no longer enough to simply add the customers first name to the beginning of an SMS. In order for businesses to keep their customers engaged, they are going to have to ensure content is personalised in line with customer expectations, or face the fact that the unsubscribe list is going to grow. 

3. The continued rise of SMS 

I know, we can’t believe it either! But apparently 2020 is going to be the year of late adoptees. With people spending an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes a day on their phone (Source: Rescue Time), sending an SMS direct to any mobile handset, can be a great way for companies to communicate with their customers. I mean, who knew?! 

4. Additional fulfilment options

Abandoned carts continue to be a challenge for businesses within the retail industry. However, customer feedback reveals that some of the more common reasons customers abandoned their cart, are centred around fulfilment – expensive or lengthy shipping, limited delivery options etc. Given how profitable increases in conversions can be to a business, it’s a no brainer that brands will try adding to their fulfilment options, in a bid to decrease cart abandonment in 2020. 

5. Evolution of voice search – Alexa!

According to Loup Venture, by 2025 75% of American homes will play host to a voice assistant. Naturally, as more homes adopt the likes of an Alexa, voice search will increase, as will expectations around what you can achieve with voice search. Now this one will take a little longer than 2020 to come to fruition, but we envisage businesses making moves towards voice ordering capabilities and to be frank, we want in. 

6. Increase in ethical considerations 

Last year brought environmental issues to the forefront of many minds and there are now more people than ever, looking to purchase more ethically. A study from Cone Communications found that a whopping 87% of individuals will purchase a product because a company advocated an issue they cared about vs 76% refusing to purchase from company after discovering it supported an issue against their beliefs. But don’t worry, on this one we can help. For instance, did you know that a single email produces as much as 0.014 grams of CO2e, which equates to roughly 285 SMS messages. 

In all seriousness though, to find out more about how your business could look to reduce their carbon footprint in 2020, speak to one of our friendly sales team at info@textmarketer.co.uk

We hope you’ve enjoyed the Text Marketer fortune reading!

The post eCommerce trends for 2020 appeared first on Textmarketer.

How to Increase Loyalty Program Fraud Awareness and Protection

All businesses have a responsibility to protect against fraud and chase down its perpetrators. The responsibility today goes beyond due diligence and is closer to a fiduciary responsibility carried out on behalf of customers, owners, and shareholders. Today, loyalty programs, with their valuable reward currencies and vast databases of personalized data, must be especially protected through preparation and vigilance.

A press release from Forter, a leader in e-commerce fraud prevention, caught our attention and made us think about how to increase Loyalty Fraud awareness and protection.

The press release announced the new “Forter Loyalty Program Protection” solution to “protect high value rewards programs from fraud and abuse, while also enabling merchants to offer enhanced programs with the best possible customer experience”. In this news release,  Forter referenced statistics from proprietary research commissioned in partnership with the Loyalty Security Association. The report is titled “Loyalty Fraud: Attacks From All Sides”.

Loyalty Program Fraud is on the Rise

In the research, a primary driver of loyalty fraud was found to be not just the giant storages of value in participants’ rewards accounts, but the fact that 45 percent of loyalty programs accounts are inactive. When program members are not paying attention to their accounts, fraudsters realize they have a perfect target for fraud.

The research also reported that 50 percent of merchants indicated that preventing and deterring loyalty fraud is a low priority. 42 percent say they don’t even have the skills internally to combat fraud. Put all of these factors together, and it’s no surprise that loyalty fraud is growing rapidly at 89 percent YOY.

Forter didn’t pay us to publish this news and even though they are a vendor selling a solution, we thought the research was valuable to share. The topic of  loyalty fraud prevention is incredibly important and sometimes not discussed enough.

Perspective from an Industry Expert

To add perspective to the news release, we contacted Christopher Staab, Chairman and Co-Founder of Loyalty Security Association to ask a few questions. Here’s what Chris shared with us:

Wise Marketer (WM): With all your work through the Loyalty Fraud association, what do you consider the most significant trends in loyalty fraud that people should know about?

Christopher Staab (CS): On top of the many publicized data breaches, companies should keep an eye on their call centers and mobile channels. As companies put in defenses against fraud online, fraudsters are attacking mobile apps or calling into the call center. Various providers focus on helping merchants to protect these channels, but in terms of the call center, training agents may be enough.

WM: How do companies go about getting more information on this topic?

CS: People can visit our Loyalty Security Website at www.LoyaltySecurityAssociation.com. We offer monthly webinars, organize various events, and have other resources like white papers.

WM: When announcements are made about a security breach at a retailer (think WaWa), how do we make clear the breach was equipment related (POS and fuel dispenser in this case) rather than loyalty program related? There are an increasing number of announcements that scare executives when an announcement blends all types of breaches together.

CS: The press mixes these types of fraud because the fraudsters mix them. If fraudsters obtain login credentials in a data breach, they often then attempt to access other accounts, including loyalty ones, of breached customers using the same credentials. This is another reason we should all practice good password hygiene and use different credentials for each account.

Reading the trends reported in the Loyalty Security Association report, and factoring in the insights from Christopher Staab, it goes without saying that it is highly recommended to pause, review, and study your loyalty fraud prevention, detection, and mitigation policies and procedures — because only YOU can prevent loyalty program fraud!

The post How to Increase Loyalty Program Fraud Awareness and Protection appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

Subdomain or Subdirectory? What They Are & How They Affect SEO

One of the most heated debates that I’ve been apart of is when I was arguing with my best friend that Taylor Swift is a good dancer.

The first thing you should know about me is that Taylor Swift is my favorite artist, so you’d have a hard time convincing me she’s bad at anything (because she isn’t).

That’s how I imagine the debate is between two search engine optimizers who debate whether subdomains or subdirectories are better for SEO.

As a marketer, that debate can cause confusion.

Below, let’s review the differences between a subdomain and subdirectory and how they affect SEO.

Essentially, it’s all about site hierarchy.

A subdomain can be used if portions of your site are extensive enough that they need a separate hierarchy. When it comes to a subdirectory, though, all portions of your site branch off of the main domain.

So, how can a company use a subdomain? Below are the most common ways:

1. Support: Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to have your customer support on your main site. For instance, Google uses support.google.com instead of google.com/support. The main reason is probably because of the site structure. Since Google is a search engine, it wouldn’t make sense to have its support as a subdirectory.

2. Different Regions: If you serve multiple regions, whether nationally or internationally, using a subdomain would be a good idea. If you had a site in German and one in English, it wouldn’t make sense to list those as subdirectories. For instance, Craigslist uses subdomains for the different regions it serves. Here are two of its subdomain sites: orangecounty.craigslist.org/ or stgeorge.craigslist.org/.

3. Blog: Many companies choose to have their blog as a subdomain. In fact, that’s what HubSpot does. If you’ll notice, the page you’re on right now is a blog.hubspot.com page. However, this specific article is in the Marketing subdirectory of the blog.hubspot.com subdomain. Sites choose to have their blog as a subdomain if they want to create a distinction between the blog and the rest of the site. Additionally, a subdomain is useful for a blog if you want to create a niche authority.

4. Ecommerce Store: For companies that sell merchandise, in addition to their regular product or service, they can put their ecommerce store on a subdomain. For instance, that’s what HubSpot does. Besides the main products, merchandise is available at shop.hubspot.com.

5. Events: If your company hosts events, it might be a good idea to partition that section of your site into a subdomain. Again, this is helpful when you want to distinguish a section of your site from your regular product or service. Microsoft does this with its events.microsoft.com.

Ultimately, subdomains are still a part of a website, but when a search engine goes to index those pages, they’re considered a separate entity. Below, let’s dive into how these affect SEO.

How do Subdomains and Subdirectories Affect SEO?

Some SEO experts believe that Google’s crawlers could confuse a subdomain for an entirely different website from the main domain. However, Google says its crawlers can recognize subdomains as extensions of parent domains.

According to Google, the site crawls, indexes, and ranks subdomains and subdirectories the same.

In the video below, Google Webmasters Trends Analyst John Mueller says, subdomains generally don’t hurt a site’s rankings. In fact, he says Google is smart enough to see your main domain and subdomain as being tied to the same website.

However, plenty of SEO experts still disagree with using subdomains.

Critics argue that subdomains will steal links from and hurt the organic reach of your main site. For instance, the theory is that since subdomains are considered a separate entity, inbound links to your subdomain won’t provide any value to your site.

Additionally, if you’re optimizing pages for the same keywords on your main site and subdomain, you could be competing against yourself.

On the other hand, supports of subdomains argue that subdomains make it easier to navigate your site. Ultimately, this leads to a better user experience, which could result in better engagement rates, therefore improving your SEO.

Additionally, subdomains can be beneficial if you have a large corporation and your subdomains serve a different purpose and essentially function as a separate business.

For example, Disney has subdomains such as cars.disney.com, shop.disney.com, and movies.disney.com.

Since these subdomains serve very different purposes, it doesn’t matter whether the critics are right, because they probably aren’t targeting the same keywords.

According to supporters, another benefit is that subdomains can help build niche authority. For instance, you might want your blog to be considered a separate entity from your product or service.

Conversely, if your site doesn’t have any extensive verticals on your navigation, then you might not need to use a subdomain because you want as many links going back to your main site as possible. If you don’t have a compelling reason to use subdomains, then subdirectories work just fine.

Although this topic can often be confusing, ultimately the decision depends on your website’s needs. Subdomains can provide organization and structure to your site for complicated site hierarchies. If you don’t have the need, then using a subdirectory can help bring all the “link juice” to your main domain.

The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2020

During the 1950s, Volkswagen sold a bus. Although now considered a classic vehicle, the bus remains an icon for the car company decades later.

The cool part? Volkswagen announced their new VW Bus — it’s electric and features sleek, modern styling. Volkswagen’s marketing for the vehicle is eye-catching, unique, and fun, and it complements the original “hippie” vibe the company was once known for.

Source

Volkswagen also released a TV commercial for the bus that’s clever, minimalist, and on-brand. It introduces the new vehicle with the song The Sound of Silence playing in the background (hint: electric cars are silent) and ends with a short message on the screen for viewers to read: “Introducing a new era of electric driving.”

This sentiment touches on the fact Volkswagen is contributing to society’s interest in electric, eco-friendly vehicles. It also relates to this being a new era for the bus.

So, who works on this type of marketing? Who helps create content that excites consumers about new and updated products, like the Volkswagen bus? Who encourages consumers to buy? Product marketers.

What makes product marketing unique? How is it different from conventional marketing? Let’s unpack the differences.

Product Marketing vs. Conventional Marketing

Product marketing is strategic whereas conventional marketing is all-encompassing.

Product marketing is considered a component of conventional marketing. In fact, if you look at the seven Ps of marketing, you’ll see product marketing is one of the most important aspects of a business’s marketing efforts.

Product marketing is focused on driving demand for and adoption of a product among existing customers. It’s focused on the steps people take to purchase your product so product marketers can build campaigns to support this work.

Product marketing is about understanding a specific product’s audience on a deep level and developing that product’s positioning and messaging to appeal to that audience. It covers the launch and execution side of a product in addition to the marketing strategy for the product — which is why the work of a product marketer lies at the center of a business’s marketing, sales, and product teams.

venn diagram with marketing sales and product for product marketing

Conventional marketing is focused on broader topics under the umbrella of marketing such as lead generation, SEO, and anything related to acquiring and converting new leads and customers. It’s about promoting the company and brand as a whole, including the products that are sold. These marketers make sure there’s a consistent, on-brand message behind all of the company’s content.

Why is product marketing important?

Product marketing is a critical part of any business’s marketing strategy. Without it, your product won’t achieve its maximum potential among your target audience. Let’s look at what product marketing does so you get a better idea of that I mean by this.

  • Understand your customers better.
  • Target your buyer personas effectively.
  • Learn about your competitors (products and marketing tactics).
  • Ensure the marketing, product, and sales teams are all on the same page.
  • Position the product appropriately in the market.
  • Boost revenue and improve sales.

There are also questions you, as a product marketer, will have to ask yourself and reflect on in regards to your product. Asking yourself these questions will help you ensure your product is a success among customers.

  • Is this product suitable for today’s market?
  • Is this product appropriate for our customers today?
  • How is this product unique from similar products of our competitor’s?
  • Is there a way to further differentiate this product from those of our competitor’s?
  • Are there any products we’ve sold in the past that we wouldn’t market or sell ever again now that we look back? Is so, why not?

As you can see, product marketing requires you to look at your products from a strategic perspective to ensure they’re successful among customers in your current market.

Now, let’s take a look at the specific responsibilities you have as a product marketer (or product marketing manager).

Your responsibilities as a product marketer may vary slightly based on industry, company, products, and company size and resources. If you’re working for a startup, you may be a product marketer who also helps create the content the broader marketing team produces due to limited resources and budget. As the business grows, you may move onto a team whose sole job is product marketing.

Let’s take a look at six common product marketing responsibilities.

1. Identify the buyer personas and target audience for your product.

You must identify the buyer personas and audience for your product so you can target customers in a way that’s convincing and makes them want to make a purchase. This will allow you to tailor your product and its features to solve for the challenges your audience is facing.

Use templates to create buyer personas for your business.

2. Successfully create, manage and carry out your product marketing strategy.

A product marketing strategy (which we’ll review shortly) allows you to create, build, and execute content and campaigns — this supports the steps that will lead your buyer personas and customers to make a purchase.

3. Work with and enable sales to attract the right customers for your new product.

As a product marketer, you have to maintain a direct relationship with sales. You’ll work with sales to identify and attract the right customers for the product at hand and provide sales enablement materials to reps to ensure they understand the product inside and out, along with all of its features.

This way, you and your teams are on the same page in terms of what’s being shared with customers, allowing you to provide a consistent, on-brand experience for anyone who comes in contact with the product.

4. Determine your product’s positioning in the market.

One of the most important parts of your job is determining the product’s positioning in the market. Think about this process in terms of storytelling — your positioning requires you to create and tell the story of your product.

As a product marketer, you’ll work with the broader marketing team and the product team to tell this story by answering critical questions like:

  • Why was this product made?
  • Who is this product made for?
  • What challenges does this product resolve?
  • What makes this product unique?

5. Ensure your product meets the needs of your target audience.

You must also make sure your product meets the needs of your customers and target audience. Through the research conducted to determine your buyer persona’s and target audience, you should have uncovered the pain points and challenges you’re working to solve with your product.

If your product doesn’t meet the needs of your customers, they’ll have no reason to make the purchase or choose your product over your competitor’s.

6. Keep your product relevant over time.

Your product needs to stay relevant over time. As needs, expectations, and challenges change and evolve, it’s your job to make sure your product marketing strategy, and the products themselves, remain relevant among customers.

This means you may have to manage slight changes in your product marketing strategy (which we’ll discuss next), or updates and modifications to the product itself (you’ll likely work with the product team, who actually creates the product, to do this).

Now, let’s take a look at five steps that can help you optimize your product marketing strategy.

1. Define your product’s target audience and buyer personas.

As mentioned, one of the main roles you have as a product marketer is to define a specific target audience and create buyer personas for the specific product being sold (different products will likely have different target audiences). This the first step to marketing your product.

By understanding your customers and their needs, challenges, and pain points, you’ll be able to ensure all aspects of your product marketing strategy (as in, the rest of the steps we’ll define below) are tailored to that target customer and persona. This way, the product and the marketing content that’s created for the product will resonate with your audience.

2. Determine the positioning and messaging to set your product apart.

After performing your customer research and learning about your audience, you’ll have identified their needs, challenges, and pain points. From here, you can think about how to highlight the ways your product resolves those challenges for your customers.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve differentiated yourself from your competitors. After all, they are your competitors because they solve the needs of your customers in a similar way to your company.

The key to setting your product apart is positioning (which we touched on earlier) and messaging. Positioning and messaging answers key questions your customers might have about your product and what makes it unique and then turns those answers into the main points behind your product’s marketing strategy.

It’s your job as the product marketer to ensure your customers and audience know the answers to these questions and don’t have to dig around for (or make assumptions about) them.

Examples of questions you’ll need to answer to develop your product’s positioning and messaging include:

  • What specifically makes our product unique?
  • Why is our product better than our competitors’?
  • Why are our product’s features ideal for our target audience?
  • What will our customers get out of our product that they cannot get from our competitors’ products?
  • Why should our customers trust and invest in us and our product?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can compile these responses into one, impactful, and shareable statement that captures your positioning and messaging as a whole. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Turn the answers to the positioning and messaging questions into an elevator pitch.
  • Use action words to excite your customers.
  • Ensure the tone of your statement captures the tone of your brand.
  • Focus on the benefit of your product as a whole (not just one specific feature).

And if you need more guidance, check out the HubSpot Marketing Hub product page. The main positioning and messaging statement reads as follows: “All-in-One Inbound Marketing Software: Everything you need to launch effective marketing campaigns that make people interested in your business and happy to be your customer.”

Tip: As product marketers, you should ensure the sales, product, and (the broader) marketing teams are also aware of your positioning and messaging around the product so they too can communicate the same information to prospects and current customers.

This allows you to ensure the entire company is consistent in the content and information they share about your product. Additionally, you can provide this information to your support team if you think it’s necessary, as they may be fielding support calls and working with your customers who’ve already invested in the product.

3. Set goals for your product.

Next, you’ll want to set goals for your product. These will vary based on your specific product, the type of company you work for, your overall marketing goals, and more — your goals will be specific to your business and situation. However, let’s review some common goals product marketers aim to achieve:

  • Increase revenue
  • Engage with customers
  • Improve market share
  • Gain customers from competitors
  • Boost brand recognition

Tip: Feel free to combine several of these goals or just choose one to focus on — every company and product will have different goals. The key is making sure you view and set these targets in the SMART goal format, meaning they’re specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

Use a free template to help you create and achieve your SMART goals.

4. Price your product.

As a product marketer, you’ll also have to contribute to the discussion of the price of your product. Depending on the company you work for, you might work with other teams on this part of the strategy, or it might be a job just for you and your fellow product marketers. Either way, you can consider competitive vs. value-based pricing.

Competitive vs. Value-Based Product Pricing

Competitive pricing means you’re basing your product’s price off of the similar products your competitors sell. It’s ideal for companies who have created a product similar to one that several other companies sell.

If you believe your unique features warrant a significantly higher price than those of your competitors’, you might choose to price your product above the other similar products on the market. A good way to evaluate the fairness of the pricing of all of your competitors is by studying financial reports and industry trends.

Value-based pricing allows you to maximize your profit, although it’s a bit more time-consuming to establish in comparison to competitive pricing. It’s ideal for companies selling a product with very few competitors on the market or one with exceptionally new and unique features.

Value-based pricing quantifies your item’s value in a way your customer can relate to their profitability. It allows you to base your product’s price on its value for your customer rather than whatever the market, industry trends, and your competitors say.

5. Launch your product.

Now it’s time for the most important part of your role as a product marketer — not to mention, the most exciting: the launch of the product you’ve been marketing.

There are two main parts to the launch to focus on as a product marketer: the internal launch (what goes on within your company upon product launch) and external launch (what goes on outside of your company, with customers and audience members, upon product launch).

Internal Aspects of a Product Launch

As previously stated, your job as a product marketer entails making sure the entire organization is on the same page about your product. This way, your customers only receive consistent and accurate details about the product.

The marketing, product, and sales teams at your company should be aware of the following information:

  • The product’s benefits
  • Any available product demo information
  • Sales training opportunities on your product and details about how it’s used
  • What the positioning and messaging looks like
  • Who your buyer personas and ideal customers are
  • What the goals for your product include
  • What your product’s features are
  • The pricing of your product
  • How your product is being launched to customers (which we’ll discuss momentarily)

Now, you might be wondering how to provide this information to marketing, product, and sales. Which channels are ideal for sharing these details with your fellow employees?

Here are a few examples of ways to do this:

External Aspects of a Product Launch

Externally, there are many ways to market your product launch so your current base of customers, prospects, and target audience learn about whatever it is you’re selling.

First, determine where you’re going to focus your product marketing efforts. Here are some examples of channels and places to do this (you might choose several of these or just one to focus on depending on your needs, goals, and resources).

  • Social media
  • In-store
  • Product launch event
  • Blog
  • Website landing page
  • Exclusive product preview (prior to the official launch)
  • Promotional event/ campaign (in-person and/ or online)

On whatever channel you choose to focus your product launch marketing efforts, you should include relevant product information (focused on your positioning and messaging) so prospects and customers can learn all about your product and why they need it. This includes your product’s features, what makes it unique, pricing, demos for customers, training for customers, and any other materials you’ve created and want to share.

Congrats! You’ve just worked through the steps to marketing a product. Remember, this process is one that should be thought about and updated as your products change and evolve so they remain relevant among your customers. (This shouldn’t be an issue as long as you have a member of your team focused on product marketing, considering it’s one of their main responsibilities.)

Let’s review four real-life examples of stellar product marketing.

1. Apple

Apple is a household name for leading technology products and software. Not only are its products gorgeously well-designed; they’re also super useful. But Apple’s product marketing doesn’t focus on the many product features — they market the user benefits.

product marketing example apple product benefitsSource

Apple doesn’t simply list the impressive features of their products; it uses those features to tell consumers who they could be and how they could work if they purchased those products. They tell a narrative using their products and encourage people to buy in the process.

2. Billie

Billie is a women’s razor brand. In a highly competitive market, Billie has helped its products stand out. How? It established a sharp competitive edge (no pun intended) by doing what no razor brand had done before — show body hair in its advertising.

product marketing example billie body hair campaignSource

Not only did this advertising approach get Billie’s audience talking about the brand, but they also appreciated the brand’s accurate portrayal of women’s bodies and body hair. These differentiators were more than enough to set Billie apart from other razor brands and products.

3. Coca-Cola

Did you know that over 95% of people around the world recognize Coca-Cola and its red and white branding? This comes as no surprise when you notice that most people order a “Coke” when purchasing a soft drink or cola. In fact, the brand recognition is so strong that Coca-Cola’s competitor Pepsi used the narrative in its Super Bowl advertising.

Through highly targeted positioning, repetitive advertising, and consistent branding, Coca-Cola has become a truly global household name and product.

4. MailChimp

There are dozens of email marketing tools on the market, but MailChimp hasn’t been fazed by competition. In fact, its risen above their competition by positioning itself as more than an email marketing tool: it’s an all-in-one marketing platform that helps businesses grow.

product marketing example mailchimpSource

Like Apple, MailChimp primarily highlights its benefits for the end user, not just its product features. A recent rebranding and site redesign further drives this narrative home.

Start Marketing Your Products

Product marketing is the process through which a company brings a product to market. Being a product marketer (or product marketing manager) means you’re at the center of your company’s marketing, sales, and product teams.

You’re an integral part to the success of your product, as you create and manage your product’s specific marketing strategy, but you also serve as a liaison between all three of these departments, ensuring everyone is on the same page with your product, it’s features, capabilities, and more. So, start developing your latest product’s marketing strategy to ensure it’s a success among your target audience and customers.

This post was originally published in February 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Marketing Nation Community Is Now Upgraded | Why You Should Join It

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

Marketing is a dynamic, continuously evolving process that has changed dramatically over the past years. It is easy to fall behind when so many trends and solutions emerge frequently on a regular basis. How does one keep current with the latest updates in marketing and continue growing professionally? 

Marketing Nation Community is the answer. Ask questions, share your best practices and lessons learned, and together, help each other get the most out of Marketo.

Having access to a powerful and supportive community is what helps us grow and develop professionally. Marketing Nation Community gives you an opportunity to connect with other Marketo users, open support tickets, exchange ideas and best practices, as well as grow your brand and career. In addition to all these benefits, you can also contribute to Marketo’s product roadmap by providing feedback or submitting ideas.

We are excited to announce that we’ve launched a brand new, improved version of the Marketing Nation Community. User interface, search, navigation, forum structure, gamification, and more are now significantly improved, resulting in a superior experience.

Check out what has changed in the Marketing Nation Community:

Quick access to the search bar: Search is important – we know that it’s the first thing most of our customers look for when visiting the Community. In our new communities, the search bar is magnified to make it even easier to access.

Lighter dropdown navigation structure: We’ve changed the navigation bar to drop down automatically and hyperlinked key areas, so you can visit more places with less clicking. These updates also simplified cross-community navigation for customers interested in learning across the Adobe Experience Cloud portfolio.

Cleaner forums interface: By working closely with our customers and internal stakeholders, we have significantly upgraded the browsing experience. All of our pages have been re-designed with an improved forum layout, more visual iconography, better spacing, and a cleaner font.

Universal search: With a newly integrated universal search engine, customers can perform keyword searches across all Marketo properties, including the Marketing Nation Community, Marketo Product Docs, and the Marketo Help Center.

We can’t wait for you to experience the Marketing Nation Community firsthand and reap all the benefits.

The post Marketing Nation Community Is Now Upgraded | Why You Should Join It appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

DTC, SEO & Sexy Content ROI

We had a bad client call last week.

The client is a sexy DTC start-up. They had asked us to put together an editorial strategy to improve their ability to target potential customers via SEO, but when we presented our recommendations which were primarily focused on high-intent-to-purchase queries, the CEO’s first question was “Why can’t we make sexy content like Goop, Away Travel, Food52 and Casper?”

Instead of targeting things you would ask before you bought the product, he wanted more “interesting” content that people would bond with. For example, if we were targeting people in the market for laptops, we wanted to target “what is a good laptop for everyday use?” and he wanted to target “best coffee shops in West Hollywood to work from,” with the idea that the person doing that search is their target customer and they would appreciate the brand’s POV on where they should hang out.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with his approach. It’s just a much longer, indirect play that targets a broad audience, most of which will likely not be in the market for his product any time soon. This is the kind of strategy Mercedes employs when it starts marketing to children so that when they grow up and have cash, they’ll subconsciously desire their cars. But it definitely helps to be Mercedes. And it definitely helps that Mercedes has money to burn.

But IMO this is not a great SEO strategy to get results in the near term.

There are plenty of good non-SEO reasons to invest in content, but if you are looking to rank well in Google for intent-to-buy queries, you’ll want to consider how well search intent aligns with your brand strategy. Looking at the DTC brands our client mentioned, you can see their content & SEO strategies are not all alike:

AwayTravel.com: Targeting The Top of The Funnel

According to SEMRush, AwayTravel.com gets almost no non-branded organic traffic. They do rank well for “carry on luggage,” but I believe that is mostly because one of their products is called “The Carry On Luggage.” They don’t appear to rank on page one of Google for any other significant non-brand queries and get barely any non-brand organic traffic:

AwayTravel.com Non-Brand Page One Keywords

It appears they put all of their “brand” content on https://www.heremagazine.com/ which according to SEMRush gets ~8K SEO visits/month from queries like “la to oregon road trip.” According to Ahrefs.com, they have done an aggressive backlinking program to this site over the past 6 months (4K+ links):

It looks like they have published north of 700 articles. Away branding on this site is almost invisible. I’d argue they get virtually no business directly from it. I am guessing the role of this site is to get email addresses so they can market the luggage to subscribers.

FOOD52.com & GOOP.com: When Brand Strategy Aligns With Search Intent

The folks at Food52 are either SEO geniuses or just lucky because they picked a niche where “brand” content – recipes, travel, home design, etc. – aligns perfectly with search queries like “matcha shortbread cookies” or “things to do in hudson, ny“:

Food52.com Non-Brand Page One Keywords

If you wanted to start a DTC business with an SEO strategy, you’d want to figure out a niche like Food52’s where the brand and the search intent are one and the same.

Goop.com
Goop is similar to Food52 in that it publishes a ton of content much of which is designed to lead you to a product, such as this post on why you’re not losing weight, which basically pitches their products as the cure. It also publishes City Guide content like https://goop.com/city-guide/the-mini-los-cabos-guide/ that ranks for “cabo itinerary,” which could hit travelers as they are planning a trip and might be in the mindset to buy a travel kit from them. Like with Food52, the travel part of this is not a bad SEO strategy if you are willing to invest in a ton of content plus promotion (aka links) and are looking to use this is as an awareness builder. Goop’s non-brand traffic looks pretty good:

Goop.com Non-Brand Page One Keywords

CASPER.com: The Opposite of Sexy


Casper feels almost 100% focused on “SEO” v “brand.” Most of their “brand” content lives on their blog, and much of the content appears to be focused on not-very-competitive keywords somewhat related to sleeping such as “what to do in the middle of the night,”  “plants in bedroom benefits,” etc. Most of these have low search volume, but you can see how someone might find Casper through these queries. This is not a bad strategy, but it’s not one we would choose as a primary SEO strategy, and I don’t think it’s Casper’s real SEO strategy.

Casper is prioritizing decidedly non-sexy “intent to buy” queries like “queen mattress size” and “how often should I replace my mattress.” According to the SEMRush data, https://casper.com/mattress-size-comparison-guide/ generates more than 50% of Casper’s non-brand traffic.

While Casper’s mattress size page looks about as sexy as Rudy Giuliani,

(sorry) it’s SEO performance looks super sexy to me:

Casper.com Non-Brand Page One Keywords

I would argue Casper may be over-reliant on a small number of URLs to do their SEO work. If that mattress-size page gets displaced in the SERPs, I wonder what that would do to their business.

So when you are thinking about investing in sexy content, before you pull the trigger, make sure you know exactly what you want that content to do for you. If it’s for social media, brand-building, etc., make it as sexy as you possibly can. But if it’s for SEO, make sure it’s at least targeting some sexy search queries.

The post DTC, SEO & Sexy Content ROI appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

Loyalty Newswire – February 3rd, 2020

Here’s what we’re following in loyalty news: Zeamo rewards incentivizes healthy employee lifestyles, Cubic reveals loyalty program for public transit, Tim Horton’s franchisees fire back at free donuts and coffee, crypto takes precedence in congressional hearing, Zelle is thriving, Remitly launches digital banking for immigrants, Atari announces video game themed hotels, Choice Hotels rewards golfers, retail and resale can may have to coexist, retailers are filing for bankruptcy not once but twice, and airlines struggle to serve both the casual and the frequent flyer.

And if you missed it, here’s last week’s loyalty newswire.

LOYALTY PROGRAM NEWS:

Zeamo Rewards Program to Incentivize Employee Fitness

Quotable: “Employee wellness programs have become a must-have benefit for attracting and retaining talent, and for keeping employees healthy, both mentally and physically. Employee fitness has proven to increase productivity while reducing illness, absenteeism, and presenteeism (employees who show up sick and are therefore less productive). Even more tangible, better employee fitness could reduce U.S. employer health care costs by as much as $6 billion a year.”

Cubic Reveals Public Transit Loyalty Program

Quotable: “The Miami-Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW)’s new mobile app, GO Miami-Dade Transit, encompasses features such as tracking, trip planning, mobile passes and a rewards program … Travelers will earn “Stars”—a proprietary digital loyalty currency, owned and operated by Cubic—when they view or interact with ads on the app, or when they use loyalty-based transit service provided by MDT.”

Tim Hortons loyalty program’s free coffee and doughnut giveaways raise questions for franchisee group

Quotable: “The program, called Tims Rewards, has shattered internal expectations at Tim Hortons since its launch last spring, jumping to roughly 7.5 million active users in a matter of months. Customers get a free coffee or baked good after every seventh purchase. But the Alliance of Canadian Franchisees, an independent association of Tims store owners, is suggesting that some owners are worried the giveaways are adding to their costs while not boosting sales.”

PAYMENTS NEWS:

Crypto Upstages Other Mobile Payments in US Congressional Hearing

Quotable: “The hearing — entitled “Is Cash Still King? Reviewing the Rise of Mobile Payments” — featured testimony from witnesses with backgrounds spanning payment providers, consumer advocates and financial inclusion non-profits … The members of the Fintech Task Force are clearly looking seriously at cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology as answers to issues of financial inclusion and a sluggish payments process.”

Peer to Peer Payments Platform Zelle Handled $187 Billion in Payments via 743 Million Transactions in 2019: Report

Quotable: “The Zelle payment network, which is owned by a group of seven major US banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, confirms that it has 378 contracted financial institutions that are using its network to settle near-instant transactions … The firm mentioned that sending funds with Zelle for birthday and holiday gifts has become a popular trend, referencing a survey performed last year which revealed that giving money was the preferred holiday gift.”

Remitly launches digital banking service for immigrant communities

Quotable: “”Passbook is the next step in Remitly’s mission to transform the lives of millions of immigrants around the world who make the huge sacrifice of leaving their families behind to live and work in another country,” Matt Oppenheimer, co-founder and CEO of Remitly, said in the release … Customers receive a Visa debit card to withdraw from ATMs in more than 200 countries.”

HOSPITALITY NEWS:

Atari, Video Game Pioneer, Plans to Open 8 Hotels to ‘Eat, Sleep and Play’

Quotable: “In a move that underlines the popularity of e-sports, the demands of its growing audience and how video games are escaping the bounds of their consoles, Atari announced on Monday that it would begin construction on its first-ever video-game themed hotel.”

Choice Hotels Launches Golf By Choice; Brings Industry-First Benefits To Its Loyalty Program

Quotable: “The program — the first of its kind in the hospitality industry — not only gives members exclusive access to deals on top-rated golf apparel and equipment, but it also allows members to earn and use points when booking tee times at golf courses located across the country.”

RETAIL NEWS:

‘Resale and retail can peacefully coexist’: Inside Nordstrom’s long-term resale plans

Quotable: “As brick-and-mortar department stores face stiff competition from online players and DTC brands, as well as deal with high real estate costs, they need to find new ways to service customers that meet them where they are and adjust to how they’re actually shopping. While resale may have once been seen as the enemy, it’s increasingly something that retailers are embracing to stay relevant. The challenge then becomes competing with platforms that solely focus on resale.”

More retailers file for bankruptcy twice as they struggle with rising debt, pressure from Amazon

Quotable: “It’s a scenario that’s getting more common for traditional retailers as they find themselves under pressure from a sea change in where and how people are shopping. Retailers like Barneys and RadioShack have found themselves on the brink twice — going through a bankruptcy filing once, emerging, and then heading back to court, again.”

AIRLINE NEWS:

Airline perks: The gulf between first-class and economy passengers just keeps widening

Quotable: “It seems like every time you look, airlines have added a ridiculous new amenity. Now they’re chauffeuring passengers to the gate in limousines and offering cabins with beds, private showers and butler service. But these airline perks aren’t for you. They’re only available to the elite flyers or the superrich. The rest of us must endure shrinking seats with zero service. Does anyone else think there’s something wrong with this picture?”

The Loyalty Newswire is compiled and edited by the staff at The Wise Marketer.

The post Loyalty Newswire – February 3rd, 2020 appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.