Category Archives: Marketing

10 Best Real Estate Plugins for WordPress Sites

A WordPress plugin is a piece of software that enables customization of a website beyond its standard functionality. In real estate, this can mean turning your basic WordPress site into a beautiful and functional lead magnet that attracts the attention of clients while increasing your chances of a sale. In fact, real estate plugins for…

The post 10 Best Real Estate Plugins for WordPress Sites appeared first on Fit Small Business.

7 Creative Ideas to Maximize Your Marketing Impact

Marketing is much more than brand promotion; that’s only a part of it. It involves a much more in-depth analysis and tactics that require constant modification. 

Some aspects of marketing have become less trendy while many new ones are now in vogue. It’s essential to keep abreast of these changes and develop creative ideas that boost the impact marketing has on your business. 

This article will look at many creative ideas you can use to make a more substantial marketing effect in business.

How to maximize your marketing impact creatively

To make the most impact on your business through marketing, there has to be a fine blend of creativity and strategy. Let’s see exactly what this entails and how it is achieved: 

  1. Create content that attracts and is readable

These days, everybody struggles to create marketing content that pops up at the top of search rankings. And so you find many companies stuffing their content with strings of keywords that just turns the reader off.

If you want to make an impact in your marketing, then you need to create content that attracts your audience and that they actually want to read. There’s no use creating content that would be left unread or that does not have any impact on your target market.

What the average reader expects from any content they access today is creativity, interactivity, and value. Is your content creative? Is it engaging and interactive? Is it the sort of thing that attracts your customer persona? What value is it adding to the reader?

Content that you put on your company blog or website should answer these questions. It also helps to understand your audience’s preferences to create content that suits their needs. You can do this by collecting user data for analytical purposes.

CCPA Compliance guides help you stay in line with data privacy laws as you gather useful information about your audience that you can use to create relevant content for them. 

  1. Make the most of social media channels

If you still need to be told this at this time, then you have so much more to learn!

Social media marketing is one of the most widely used marketing channels in recent times. What’s more? It’s super-easy to get creative on these channels! Even better, you don’t have to do anything lengthy to get your point across.

The main idea of social media is to pass your point across with short and easily digestible content. With so much to see and do on social media, nobody wants to get bored to death with long, boring content.

First, you have to understand how every social media platform you’re on works. You cannot use the same marketing strategy on Instagram on Twitter or Facebook. Generalizing the content you present on each platform will not attract the type of customers you want.

Fun and spunky videos or graphic content will work better on Instagram than on LinkedIn, while long, topical discussions are suitable for LinkedIn. B2B types of posts are great for LinkedIn. Out of these posts, you can pick out the main points and develop them into short visual content for other social media like Instagram.

Knowing your target audience also helps you tailor your content to suit them.

  1. Improve Your Website Experience

Many businesses today cannot afford to exist without a website. Many people today spend more time on the internet than in the last decade. Everything is now digitized, but what makes the difference? What distinguishes your website from every other site on the webspace?

Many factors make up an excellent user experience on a website. Let’s take a look at some of them. 

  • Firstly, your website must be usable. This means that it must be easy to access and use. Not complicated. 
  • Next, your website should be findable. What this means is that content on your website should be easy to locate and navigate. 
  • Your website should also be desirable. Your branding, does it stand out? What’s your brand identity? Do the images, graphics, design, etc., invoke emotion in your audience? Or is it just bland?
  • Lastly, it should be accessible. Everybody should be able to access your website, especially those with disabilities.

This leads us to the next idea.

  1. Use precise and actionable CTAs

An improved website helps user experience greatly, and excellent user experiences improve your company’s ARR in the long run.

What is ARR? ARR is Annual Recurring Revenue, the amount of revenue your business should receive from your subscriber base every year. Excellent user experience on your website motivates users to subscribe more, which boosts the ARR. 

Many websites have found that a clear and actionable CTA does all the trick for gathering new subscribers. A call-to-action can be useful for anything you need your audience to do, including signing up for your site. What matters is the way you present it. 

Are you still stuck with emotionless CTAs like Follow this link, Click here, Go here? That may be the problem. A call-to-action should be an instruction that steers up action in your audience. Be precise, yet instructive. 

Try CTAs like Download Your Free Cookbook Now, Get Started for Free, Buy Now, Save Your Seat, Start Your Free Trial, etc. All these help the subscriber to see the need to fill in their email to subscribe or take the desired action, no matter what you need them to do. 

  1. Tell the same story, but this time change the narrative

The audience is tired of the same narrative. How about telling the same story, but this time in another way? Sometimes, all that customers need to see is a story that resonates with them.

For example, you run a startup skincare brand, and simply telling potential customers that your skincare products transform their skin in 90 days is not cutting it. Think about it; how many other skincare brands have sold the story to them in the same way?

Here’s a better perspective. Look inwards, what does your ideal customer personal look like? Say it’s a young woman who has struggled with acne for the better part of her life and is looking to get rid of it for good. How do you reframe your usual story to attract this ideal customer?

How about a short behind the scenes video that depicts how your products have transformed customers’ skin? Reframe your usual narrative. This time, show instead of tell. Show your customer that there have been women like her who deal with similar skin struggles, but using your products have made the difference for them.

Long posts on social media will not do the trick here; visual evidence is what your audience is looking for.

  1. Research, research, research

As uncreative as this might seem, it is essential in maximizing your marketing impact. Research has gone beyond the mere practice of scouring through hundreds of papers. 

These days, there are more hands-on approaches to conducting research. You want to launch a product? Do market research. Want to find out how well your service is doing? Collect data and do some analytical research. 

You want to find out how valid a business idea is? Use a pre-launch landing page and do your research! A pre-launch landing page is a hands-on approach for validating a startup idea. It gives you an idea of what to expect if you ever push through with your business idea. 

The point is, research shows you what you’re up against in terms of competition. It enlightens your marketing team on the right strategy to employ or to add to bolster your company returns. It also shows you what you can improve on or what you’re missing out on.

  1. Get personal

Many times, clients, customers, and consumers don’t actually care about your business. They only care about the solution your business brings to their problems. If you want to reach to their hearts (and pockets), you have to show that you care about their issue.

So, what can your business do for your customers? This is the first step to going personal. Take it a step beyond the surface level; how does your business add value to their lives? What problems are you trying to solve? 

A generalized approach to marketing is so last year. You must generate an ideal customer persona; this will help you understand the kind of prospective customers you should look out for and identify problems they’re looking to solve. 

Next, understand their needs and preferences based on their heatmapping on your website. How have they engaged on your website? What are they’re searching for? Got it?

Now, send targeted emails or ads to them based on their site behavior, offering to meet these needs they seek. 

Conclusion

Marketing takes a lot of time and effort, and it is only fair that it gives your business something back in return. These ideas will go a long way to maximize your marketing impact. The key takeaway to remember — ensure your business is adding value to your client persona. Customers are willing to walk with any business, as long as it offers them something valuable in return.

The post 7 Creative Ideas to Maximize Your Marketing Impact appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

6 Ways to Support Black-Owned Businesses During the Holidays

2020 has presented unprecedented challenges for businesses. COVID-19 has forced most to pivot their strategies online and adapt to a growing digital landscape. While some have been able to stay afloat, others haven’t been as successful and many have had to close their doors permanently as a result.

Black-owned businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the global pandemic. In the United States, 26% of Black-owned businesses closed their doors permanently between February and May of 2020, compared to 11% of white-owned businesses.

That’s why, this holiday season, HubSpot is joining Google, the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and other companies participating in Black-owned Fridays — an initiative to drive visibility and support for Black-owned businesses.

I spoke with Gianne Doherty, Founder of Organic Bath Co., to learn more about what businesses, and consumers, can do to support Black-owned businesses during this holiday season. Below are a few thoughts she offered during our conversation.

How to Support Black-Owned Businesses

1. Tell someone about a business or product.

Doherty started by saying that the simplest way to support Black-owned businesses during the holiday season is to tell people about their products. When you buy something cool or get a good deal, tell a friend. Online customer reviews are great, but a one-on-one interaction is usually the best way to convince someone to check out a business or product you love.

If you don’t know of any Black-owned businesses in your area, Doherty recommends heading to Google and doing a quick search. There are plenty of resources that can direct you to a Black-owned business in your area — one of which is the Official Black Wall Street Directory.

She also proposed searching social media sites to find Black-owned businesses online. For instance, if you search “#BlackOwnedBusiness” on Twitter, you can find plenty of accounts managed by Black business owners — liking, reposting, and sharing their content is also a great way to support these businesses.

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2. Refer customers to Black-owned businesses.

Word-of-mouth marketing is incredibly important for small businesses, especially if you’re operating in a B2B setting. Doherty noted that customer referrals make a huge impact on buying decisions, because customers will trust each other’s recommendations more than they’ll trust your brand’s advertisements. If you have the opportunity this holiday season, refer a Black-owned business to your customers or peers and help promote their brand.

Doherty also emphasized the importance of focusing on the value of the products and services you’re referring — and not just the fact that they’re Black-owned. After all, “shopping Black or shopping small doesn’t mean lower quality,” as she put it. When making a referral, Doherty encouraged people to highlight the benefits of the product or service along with the fact that they have been created by individuals who have been historically underfunded.

3. Shop early during the holidays.

The holidays are already a busy time for small businesses, and COVID-19 has made it even more difficult to keep pace with customer demand. In the United States, 99% of minority-owned businesses are small businesses, which means that many don’t have their own shipping operations like Amazon or Walmart.

Most small businesses in the United States use the United States Postal Service (USPS) when shipping their products, which can lead to delays as orders pile up around the holidays. Doherty recommends that customers try to buy their products early in the holiday season to avoid any potential problems that might occur with shipping.

4. Be patient with small businesses.

Alongside shopping early, Doherty also noted that customers will need to be a little more patient with small businesses this year. The holidays are already busy as it is and now, with COVID-19, many businesses are still learning how to adapt their marketing, sales, and customer service strategies. There are likely to be some new roadblocks to tackle this year, and customers need to be patient with small businesses as they work to overcome those challenges.

Black-owned businesses have already saw an increase in customer demand this year when searches for Black-owned businesses increased by over 7,000% between May and July. Unfortunately, this growth has declined since, creating a greater need for buyers to support Black-owned businesses during the holidays. While it’s wonderful to see a sudden spark of interest over the summer, Doherty encouraged buyers to continually support Black-owned businesses year-round and not just when it’s trendy.

5. Partner with Black-owned companies.

If you’re a business owner, one way you can partner with black-owned businesses is on promotional campaigns. Doherty, for example, has been partnering with other Black-owned businesses to hold giveaways. She’ll give away another brand’s product while that brand will give away one of hers. This is a great way for each company to raise awareness for the other among their customer bases.

Here’s one example from her company’s Instagram page, where she partnered with two other Black-owned beauty brands to give away products.

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6. Buy from Black-owned businesses.

At the end of the day, the best way to support Black-owned businesses is to buy their products. Doherty said, “We’re voting with our dollars.” The businesses where we spend our money will be the ones that grow and thrive. If we don’t consciously shop at Black-owned businesses, we will continue to lose them at a disproportionate rate. If you really want to support Black-owned businesses this year, go out and purchase one of their products and tell a friend about them, too.

These are just a few of the ideas that Gianne Doherty wanted to share for Black-owned Friday. We hope it brings some attention to Black-owned businesses, especially those that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.

If you’re a Black business owner and are looking for ways to optimize your visibility this season, below are a few resources from Google that can help you reach new customers.

How to Get Support If You’re a Black Business Owner

Here are three things that Google recommends doing if you’re a Black business owner.

 

How to Easily Set Up Redirects in WordPress to Maintain SEO

Redirects automatically send, or redirect, website visitors from one URL to another URL. Businesses use redirects in a number of ways and for a number of purposes, from sending site visitors to a 404 page when they type in a broken or missing URL to sending visitors to a new URL in the case of…

The post How to Easily Set Up Redirects in WordPress to Maintain SEO appeared first on Fit Small Business.

‘Forward Buying’ Is The Next Stage Of Anxious Spending. Here’s What Retailers Should Know

Among the hottest-selling items on Amazon Prime Day this year was a propane patio heater marked down by 25%. But the price likely didn’t need to be reduced. Sales of patio heaters has spiked nearly 100% since the spring.

The surge in demand for particular “nesting” products, from patio heaters to wine coolers, not only reflects the activities Americans have adapted during the pandemic, it hints at the next stage in anxiety-induced shopping – accelerated, or “forward buying.”

Forward buying occurs when shoppers feel an urgency to purchase goods they may only perceive they might need. In doing so, they ease the fear that these goods won’t be available in a week. Think toilet paper and early-pandemic hoarding behavior.

Now, consumers are forward buying for lifestyle changes predicted back in the spring, and this is leading to shortages of goods from home podcasting equipment (for e-learning) to gym equipment to lumber (for DIY projects). The anxiety behavior that first appeared in the form of hoarding is still strong; it’s just transitioning with the prolonged effects of the pandemic.

The effect to retailers, however, has not changed much. They must continue to manage the customer experience and balance their supply chains. Delivering on that experience, however, requires understanding what is happening inside the shopper’s head at this advanced stage of an unprecedented time.

People Seek Sanctuary, And That’s Causing Panic-Buying

Patio heaters are a good case in point. As shoppers try to retrofit “normal” life events into the next season of pandemic-enforced solitude – winter and the holidays – they fret about the availability of the goods they’ll need to keep stress at bay.

Here are four insights into this anxious-spending mentality that retailers should consider in their merchandising and marketing strategies, now.

Anxiety causes “herd” buying. When anxious, people tend to replicate the behaviors of others. This may simply be a decision-making shortcut that reduces stress, according to a report in Science Daily. When there are only a few products left on the shelf, shoppers are assured that the product is good, but they also worry it will soon be gone. This contributes to the kind of FOMO panic that depleted store shelves of toilet paper and disinfectants.

Of course retailers can try to limit the units sold per customer when products are being depleted, but they also can play the bigger role of customer advocate and use their loyalty programs and technology to add a new service dimension. Why not track member preferences, or allow customers to flag certain products so they can be notified of availability, sales or even when stocks are running low? The e-commerce platform Shopify, which sells a variety of loyalty programs, offers a “back-in-stock” customer alert feature to its clients, which include Walmart, Facebook Shops and Steve Madden.

Panic induces the need to know products are “reserved.” In addition to availability, a key concern among anxious shoppers is that the products they order will not reach them in time. This concern is growing more acute as the holidays barrel toward us. If shoppers are afforded a variety of options for delivery, online and in-store, they will feel more secure. Features such as curbside pickup, same-day delivery and in-store app tools that show product availability are becoming expected.

Walmart is combining many of these features in its new, digitally enabled store format, which encourages shoppers to shop with the Walmart app and to use self-scan kiosks or contactless checkout, which saves time. Walmart has also recently launched Walmart +, its answer to Amazon Prime, which promises members free delivery, as fast as the same-day (Walmart already offered next-day and two-day delivery).

Lack of control translates to early buying. The pandemic has pushed many aspects of people’s lives out of their hands, so they control what they can with verve. This includes buying certain goods they think they may need in the future, rather than waiting to when the actual need arrives. Doing so eliminates “regret worry” – that they will live to regret notacquiring something, according to a report from the Yale School of Management.

Outdoor winter active wear is a good example of this fear – REI began selling out of staple cold-weather gear during its Labor Day sale. Early holiday shopping is another apt example. Target TGT 0.0%, sensing shopper antsy-ness, began offering “Black Friday” deals in mid-October, both to compete with Prime Day and to smooth out the holiday shopping season and prevent its supply chain from becoming overwhelmed.

Shoppers are more open to change and trying new things. Consumers facing job insecurity and economic pressure due to the pandemic have been changing their shopping behaviors, scrutinizing spending choices and seeking out goods that promise better value. According to McKinsey & Co., 36% consumers tried new brands during the pandemic. Of them, 73% intend to continue to do so. This is an opportunity for retailers and product manufacturers to entice shoppers to try new brands and categories that serve needs cropping up because of the pandemic. The new brand Neverland, which sells plants and seeds, was created expressly to fill the demand for easy-to-grow herbs and vegetables in urban living spaces.

Shoppers Just Want To Be Happy

Consider this a fifth insight. After seven months of relative reclusiveness, people are in mourning for the lifestyles they had to suddenly let go. In addition to ensuring the products shoppers want are in stock, retailers would be well served to find ways to make comfort available, too, through displays of empathy, kindness and one-to-one interactions (even at a distance). Forward buying is a manifestation of fear, and for many people, being told everything will be OK could be as warming as a patio heater.

After all, the act of paying it forward never runs out of stock.

The post ‘Forward Buying’ Is The Next Stage Of Anxious Spending. Here’s What Retailers Should Know appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

The Comprehensive Guide to Impression Shares

Online advertising is booming.

But, when you’re launching digital campaigns, you want to be sure you’re maximizing your efforts — and your profits — by boosting your ad’s impression share. Your impression share tells you how well your ad is performing compared to its total potential audience, and boosting it can help increase engagement as well as profit. 

If you’re only engaging a small portion of your target audience, then analyzing your impression share is usually a good place to start. Increasing this value will help you propel ads to the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and ultimately generate more engagement for your campaigns.

In this post, we’ll explain what impression share is as well as the different types that your marketing team can track during your online ad campaigns.

Each time your ad is displayed on a webpage, that’s counted as an impression. Ads have the potential for more impressions for different reasons, especially when they’re keyword-savvy, attractive, and relevant.

When you track impression share, you have a clear representation of how well your ad is performing and how you can improve it over time particularly through keywords. While there are plenty of metrics that can track how well your ads are doing, impression share helps you identify the shortcomings of your ad so you can fix it and make it more engaging to your audience.

Read on to learn about the different types of impression share that your business can track to generate more engagement for its ad campaigns.

Types of Impression Share

Search Impression Share

Search impression share is your ad’s impression share on a search network. According to Google, a search network is “a group of search-related websites where your ads can appear,” including Google search results, Google apps such as Maps and Shopping, and on Google search partners’ websites. This metric divides the impressions that your ad receives by the number of impressions it could receive on the search network.

This metric is greatly impacted by budget. If you have a low daily budget on Google, your ad will no longer be shown once you hit your budget. This means your ad might be getting impressions, but it’s still missing out on more engagement because of this daily limit.

If you’re not looking to spend more on your campaign, another way to improve search impression share is to focus on the quality score, target, bid, and conversion rate of your ads. These metrics gauge the effectiveness of your ad and improving them will lead to more engagement.

Display Impression Share

Google defines its Display Network as a group of over two million websites, videos, and apps where ads can appear. Display Network sites reach up to 90% of internet users and can show your ads in a particular context, or to a specific audience.

With display campaigns, you can increase your ad placements to improve impression share, but you’ll need to adjust your budget to accommodate this increase as well. Or, you can decrease your number of placements to make your campaign more cost-effective, but this will reduce the frequency of your ad’s display. The best approach is testing the number of placements until you’ve reached a point where you’ve optimized impression share without going over your campaign’s budget.

Target Impression Share

Target impression share provides an automatic approach to bidding on ads. With this tool, you can set automated bids for your campaign, which gives your ad a better chance of reaching the top of the SERP. And, with a more prominent position on a search results page, your ad is likely to gain more impressions over time. 

Although impression share is only available per campaign, you can track target impression share for all of your campaigns at once. There are plenty of options for customizing it, too. For example, you can set it to bid for a certain section of the page — like the top half — or for certain times and places.

Adwords Impression Share

Wondering how to access your impression share data in Google Ads?

Once you’ve logged into your Ads account, just go to Campaigns > Columns > Modify Columns > Competitive Metrics > Impression Share, then click Save.

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Now, your impression share will appear in a table that you can download.

Exact Match Impression Share

Exact match impression share is just as it sounds. This metric compares the impressions your ad received compared to how many it was eligible to receive for searches that exactly match your keywords. You can use exact match impression share to hone in on your keywords and improve your ads.

Search Lost Impression Share

The “Search Lost Impression Share (budge)” column shows you the percentage of impressions that you’re missing out on because of your budget. A high percentage here may mean that investing in a larger budget could boost your advertising efforts and sales in the long-run.

The “Search Lost Impression Share (rank)” column shows you the number of impressions you’re losing based on a low rank. If this percentage is high, advertisers should consider how to boost rank through quality score and cost-per-click rates. Quality score evaluates your keywords’ past performances, ad relevance, landing page experience, and expected clickthrough rate.

Consider making adjustments to your campaign’s keywords and creative assets if your search lost impression share (rank) is high. A relevant ad with great keywords will rank higher on the SERP, which can lead to more impressions, clicks, and sales.

If you want to manually determine the impression share for an ad, below is a formula that can help you calculate it.

As Google explains, “Eligible impressions are estimated using many factors, including targeting settings, approval statuses, and quality.” Once the maximum number of impressions is determined, all you have to do is divide the number of impressions that the ad receives by the maximum number of impressions that Google decides it’s eligible for.

We can see how this formula is written in the example below. 

Impression-share-formula

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We can also modify this formula to find the total number of impressions that our ad is eligible for. For instance, if we already know our impression share, we can reformat the formula to look more like this. 

impression-share-available

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Impression Share Formula Example

Let’s say we created an ad and Google says there are 5,000 potential impressions available. After monitoring our ad’s performance for a month, we recorded about 4,000 impressions. This would mean that our impression share is 80% (4,000 recorded impressions / 5,000 available impressions =  80% impression share). 

Impression share is a handy metric for determining how well an ad campaign is doing and what your team can do to help it reach its full potential. By tracking impression share, you can automate bids, fine-tune your budget, and track keywords and quality score to reach your targeted audiences more often and generate greater brand awareness and profits.

For more ways to boost online ad engagement, read this list of helpful SEO tips.

How to Get Started With CRM-Powered Advertising [+ Why You Should]

HubSpot was founded during a time when people were under constant attack from aggressive outbound marketing tactics.

I’m sure nobody misses the unwanted ads, spam emails, and cold calls that used to interrupt their day back in the mid-00s.

Ad retargeting wasn’t a thing, so we all had to settle for repeatedly seeing the same ads for products we had absolutely no interest in.

Marketing has changed a lot since then. Thankfully.

Nowadays, companies have the ability to develop engaging advertising campaigns that complement their inbound strategies and speak directly to their audiences’ needs. The concept of journey-based advertising has been widely adopted and marketers can now create customized content for individuals at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Targeting has become more sophisticated, meaning that ads are now less interruptive and more informative — so sophisticated, in fact, that that we now take for granted the quality of the ads we get served in our Instagram feeds and YouTube videos.

Dare we say it — in some cases, the ad suggestions are actually really useful: “Oh, hey ad for that new running watch that I didn’t know I needed but now am obsessed with.” There is still a lot of bad advertising and mediocre marketing out there, but it’s important to recognize just how far we’ve come.

But, as advertising capabilities have evolved, so too has the digital landscape. And that has created a host of new challenges for marketers.

Cutting Through the Noise

There’s more choice online now than ever before, and what was previously helpful has, in many cases, become noise. Where we were once served two ads a day for a new jacket, we’re now served 22. Where there was once three restaurants in the local area offering takeaway menus, there’s now 30.

In 2020, this trend has accelerated due to COVID-19, as more and more businesses have moved online and added to the ever-increasing competition for attention. This increased volume of noise is causing consumers to tune out, and customer acquisition costs to go up. And marketers are struggling to make an impact.

To overcome these new challenges, marketers need a new approach — one that allows them to adapt the way they advertise to how consumers like to buy.

Today, the buyer’s journey is rarely linear. Consumers now interact with brands on laptops and smartphones and via social media, websites, and third-party influencers on the path to a purchase. And they still expect a consistent brand experience throughout.

Nowadays, the only way advertisers can break through the noise online and deliver a seamless experience across multiple touchpoints is with extreme relevance: both in terms of content and location.

Relevant messaging is the key to grabbing consumers’ attention, engaging them, and guiding them to the next stage of the buyer’s journey. The first step towards delivering this is meeting the audience where they are. With over four billion people worldwide now working from home, consumers’ purchasing behavior and content consumption habits are changing rapidly.

In the U.S., staying home has led to a 60% increase in the amount of content consumed — Americans are now watching roughly 12 hours of media content a day, according to Nielsen data. Knowing where an audience is paying attention is as important as knowing what messaging is likely to resonate.

Once a marketer understands where their target audience is spending their time, the next challenge is to create ad content that addresses their needs in an engaging way and is tailored to whichever stage of the buyer’s journey they are at.

For example, if a prospect is at the attract stage, an ad that helps them become more familiar with a brand name and core value proposition would probably perform much better than a niche ad that highlights a specific new feature. That type of ad would likely work better with audiences that are much closer to a purchase decision and comparing the feature sets of different products.

However, most companies today are struggling to deliver the type of relevant, engaging ad content that resonates with consumers. And, in most cases, the cause can be traced back to a disconnection between their marketing, website, and sales efforts.

When these elements aren’t working in unison, it becomes extremely difficult for marketers to get a clear view of where prospects are spending their time and which stage the buyer’s journey they are at. This makes it virtually impossible for them to deliver relevant messaging and leaves them with little choice but to resort to those dated outbound tactics I mentioned earlier.

In 2021, the secret to delivering better advertising lies in marketers’ ability to unlock the data at their disposal and leverage it to deliver hyper-relevant messaging and a unified buying experience.

At HubSpot, we call it ‘CRM-powered advertising.’

A Data-Driven Approach to Advertising

CRM-powered advertising enables marketers to create more relevant, engaging ads for prospects in three key ways:

  1. By providing them with up-to-date customer data, which allows them to understand their audiences’ preferences and purchase intent.
  2. By giving them reliable reporting based on holistic customer data, which provides insights into what’s working and what’s not.
  3. By enabling them to automate their ads based on live CRM data, which allows them to continually deliver relevant ads as prospects move to different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Let’s take a look at an example.

Say you’re a demand generation specialist working at a B2B company. Competition is rising in your industry and you’ve seen a decline in the number of qualified leads coming from your ads each month. You know that a more targeted and personalized approach is needed. And you turn to CRM-powered advertising.

As a first step, you create a different campaign for each stage of the buyer’s journey. For the attract stage, for example, you use data in your CRM to create a lookalike audience based on your happiest customers. This will be your target audience. You know that your company’s security features are a key differentiator in the market so you create ads that highlight that aspect of your value proposition.

Because the target audience you’ve created is reflective of your best customers, you get a high percentage of click-throughs. This leads prospects towards the next stage of the buyer’s journey, where they get the opportunity to download an ebook to learn more about your company’s products and services. Your software gives you the ability to create custom fields on the download form, which helps you to gain more granular preference data, and ultimately, get to know your prospects better.

You have set up your campaign to automatically route these new leads to your sales team, and because you’re working out of a shared CRM, you see a number of prospects move into the “demo” stage of their journey.

Again, using your CRM data, you sync these lifecycle stages to the display network you’re using, which automatically begins to serve a new set of ads to prospects based on the next stage of their journey. This allows you to deliver hyper-relevant messaging that addresses the pain points that are specific to prospects who are on the verge of making a purchase decision, such as social proof from happy customers.

As deals close, you then use attribution reporting to see exactly which new customers engaged with your ads and report to your leadership team on the number of deals your CRM-powered strategy influenced.

How to Get Started With CRM-Powered Advertising

HubSpot’s Marketing Hub is built to enable marketers to launch CRM-powered advertising campaigns and deliver a seamless experience for prospects — from the first time they see an ad to the moment they become a customer and beyond.

It offers ads tools that allow marketers to build deeply segmented audiences, serve different ads for different stages of the buyer’s journey, and precisely measure the performance of every campaign — all informed by rich CRM data.

Advertising has come a long way since the days of interruptive, irrelevant, and irritating content that once dominated our screens. A new era is unfolding — one in which consumers expect relevant messaging across every touchpoint and in which companies must find new ways to cut through the ever-increasing volume of noise online.

A CRM-powered advertising strategy, driven by a CRM platform built with this purpose in mind, empowers marketers to not only gain deeper insights into their customers’ needs, but to turn those insights into engaging content with the potential to delight prospects at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

How to Create a Subdomain in GoDaddy for Free in 3 Steps

Wondering how to create a subdomain in GoDaddy? You’re not alone, as it’s not the most straightforward interface. However, it’s actually a pretty simple process when you know what you’re looking for. To start, simply log in in to your GoDaddy account, navigate to the domain you want to add a subdomain to, and click…

The post How to Create a Subdomain in GoDaddy for Free in 3 Steps appeared first on Fit Small Business.

Customer Engagement and Return on Loyalty

It may seem strange, but Customer Engagement (CE) is a relatively new concept in marketing, only a couple of decades old.

The idea that the intensity of connection to your brand varies by customer became important as relationship marketing became important; customer-centric companies began outperforming product-centric organisations at roughly the same time social media made it impossible for brands to hide from public scrutiny. This may also explain why customer engagement is not defined in narrow purchasing terms, but includes activities that are not transactional, such as endorsements, word-of-mouth promotion, cross-buying and active feedback.

By: Tim Tyler, CLMP

There is growing evidence that purchasing behaviour is related to the intensity of customer engagement, with engaged customers showing a stronger preference for premium products and lower price sensitivity and proving to be more profitable than non-engaged customers. They also add value by facilitating customer acquisition for you through word-of-mouth recommendation. One study found “…that 48 percent of the respondents engaged (i.e. received a score of 3 or more [of 5]) with an Apple product did not actually own the product.”1

So, companies are designing programs that have the goal of engaging customers, not just selling to them. We will examine what these should look like if you want to achieve positive engagement (and sales) results.

Customer Engagement score

Customer Engagement is important for another reason; it allows you to segment customers by their level of engagement with your brand/program and use low engagement segments as control groups to accurately calculate the incremental value generated by your marketing investments, your Return on Loyalty®. We recommend our clients develop engagement scores for each customer, using measures of interaction that are not sales value driven. These scores help direct investments to those customers most likely to respond positively to your programs, avoid waste and help preserve whatever attention capital you have with other customers. Scores can be derived from a range of observable customer behaviours, online & offline, that position individual customers on the CE continuum2.

The model we like for customer engagement3 acknowledges that there are some complex drivers of customer engagement that marketers should consider. Some are physical (convenience), some are individual personality differences among customers, what your brand stands for is relevant and some go along with the nature of the business involved. For example, high involvement healthcare generates higher levels of customer engagement than grocery retail in research populations4.

Customer engagement is seen as a better predictor of loyalty related behaviours than other conventional quality ratings or satisfaction scores, which fail to capture the depth of relationships consumers form with some brands.

At least two surveys, tested for validity and reliability, have been published that measure customer engagement levels. These may be useful to companies with sparse customer data5. We are not aware of widespread use of these tests, however, as NPS seems to have absorbed most of our customer experience attention.

What are the surveys trying to measure?

The 2014 version has scales for customers’,

  • Conscious Attention: The interest the person has in interacting with the brand.
  • Enthused Participation: The zealous reactions and feelings when using or interacting with brand.
  • Social Connection: How including others enhances the interaction.

The 2016 instrument measures customers’ self-reported engagement by looking at

  • Referrals,
  • Knowledge Sharing and
  • Active Influencing of others.

to place organisations into a 2×2 matrix from HH to LL on the two axes that include employee engagement as a driver…

Effective Customer Engagement

What are the characteristics of an effective customer engagement-increasing initiative? They include;

  1. Dialogue. Participation by all parties, emphasising flexibility, interactivity. The Domino’s ‘Pizza Turnaround’, an active listening and testing initiative to improve their product and experience used social & direct feedback channels. It helped take Domino’s stock price from $9 to $160 between 2009 and 2016.6
  2. Facilitation, not instruction. Effective marketing programs avoid leading, and instead facilitate participation, involving consumers in creating and carrying out the initiative. Sephora’s Beauty Insider encourages customers to work with beauty advisers on their ‘look’.
  3. Authenticity. The program must be genuine and not simply a ploy to sell products. Patagonia encourages direct customer to customer experience sharing, Decathlon offers a second-hand marketplace for customers to recycle products, at a real cost to their own sales.
  4. Relevance. Information which is useful or pertinent to the decision-making process. Trip Advisor popularised the rating and comments of peer travellers, heightening the relevance of their service.

And look for individuals who have;

  • High interest in new experience-seeking.
  • Are looking for meaningfulness in an organization’s program(s).
  • Believe the program is psychologically safe, they will not be made to look foolish.
  • Are psychologically available to your program, have an interest in what you have to say.

As Vivek et al state, “Those CE programs that are more successful in terms of customer connections and loyalty, as well as sales and positive word of mouth , will tend to involve more organizational efforts at facilitation or allowing the customer to be involved in the creation of the program, as well as making sure the programs are more authentic, relevant, and involve successful dialogue between the parties based on how the consumer wishes to communicate. Further, individuals are more likely to engage in programs if they are experience-seeking, feel psychologically safe about the program, perceive the program to be meaningful, and feel psychologically available to engage with the program or organization.”7

Get all these things in balance and you have a good chance of building strong levels of customer engagement.

More customer loyalty and better financial performance are the prizes, but you also gain the ability to measure relationship returns and better deploy marketing resources.

But like many of the lessons we are learning in Marketing, the opportunity to engage customers at all, varies by the category of products / services you work with.

Also Read: Australian Payment Card Linking for Loyalty Comes of Age

Three types of loyalty/engagement

Australian researchers8 looked at “…established repeat-purchase markets where there is direct competition between branded products and services…” such as packaged goods, banking and travel agents, food and beverages, hotels, retail, OTC pharmaceuticals, basic cosmetics etc. They propose that customer loyalty/engagement comes in three types;

  1. Loyalty is an attitude that leads to a relationship with the brand. This is the model that aligns with the concept of customer engagement, ‘attitudes drive behaviour’ is the principle underpinning the concept. However, they caution; ‘…thought to be less applicable for understanding the buying of low-risk, frequently-purchased brands, or when impulse buying or variety seeking is undertaken, than for important or risky decisions.”
  2. Loyalty is revealed in behaviour. Customers are neither monogamous, or completely promiscuous but are polygamous, with a collection of brands they happily substitute for promotions or convenience. The researchers contend this describes the majority of customers in these categories, “The consumer buys the same brand again, not because of any strongly-held prior attitude or deeply-held commitment, but because it is not worth the time and trouble to search for an alternative.”
  3. Buying is determined by the customer’s whim, circumstances, or the purchasing situation. Budgets, time pressure, habit, stock unavailability, promotions are the reasons why customers buy or buy again.

Only the first of these ‘reasons for loyalty’ offers opportunities to influence customers through engagement strategies in these low-risk frequent purchase categories. And customers with this attitude are rare. The other two classes of customer respond better to promotion, display, availability improvements. We recommend again, that you start your customer engagement strategy by first determining what portion of your customers are available for engagement with your brand or category — if you offer a free concert will they turn up?

Tim Tyler is a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional and Managing Partner at Ellipsis & Company. He excels at strategy construction & tactical project management for customer centric initiatives — those that earn customer loyalty by providing a great, relevant experience. This white paper was originally published by Ellipsis.

Sources/References:

  1. S. Vivek & R. Morgan A Generalized Multidimensional Scale for Measuring Customer Engagement J Mktng Theory & Practice 2014
  2. Make sure you consider the ‘size of the customer’s wallet’ though, not all customers are equal spenders in your category either.
  3. Palmatier R., Kumar V., Harmeling C. (eds) Customer Engagement Marketing. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham 2018
  4. V. Kumar & A. Pansari Competitive Advantage through Engagement J Marketing Research 2016
  5. . Kumar & A. Pansari Competitive Advantage through Engagement J Marketing Research 2016
  6. Customer experience lessons from Domino’s Pizza
  7. Ibid
  8. Uncles, Dowling, Hammond Customer Loyalty and Customer Loyalty Programs Journal of Consumer Marketing October 2002 with input from Byron Sharp & colleagues

The post Customer Engagement and Return on Loyalty appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

Top GDPR Compliance Software

Disclaimer: This blog post is not legal advice for your company to use in complying with EU data privacy laws like the GDPR. Instead, it provides background information to help you better understand the GDPR. This legal information is not the same as legal advice, where an attorney applies the law to your specific circumstances, so we insist that you consult an attorney if you’d like advice on your interpretation of this information or its accuracy.

In a nutshell, you may not rely on this as legal advice, or as a recommendation of any particular legal understanding.

 

It’s not enough to implement a few changes for data protection in your business and forget about it. As part of the GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation that’s now in EU law, businesses need “data protection by design and by default”.

This means building data security and privacy into every aspect of your business’s data management strategy. From data capture to storage, maintenance, transfer, use, and cleaning, it’s essential to take care of your contact data ethically and securely.

While we’re not advisors on GDPR, we can follow the experts and present their recommendations. This includes collecting clear consent for communication, managing data securely, and implementing requirements such as cookie banners and privacy notices.

One of the most straightforward ways to meet these requirements is with GDPR compliance software.

GDPR compliance software helps businesses to manage customer data, consent forms, and data security. Some platforms also enable a company’s customers to edit the personal data that is stored or processed about them.

What is Personal Data Under the GDPR?

Personal data includes information related to people who can be identified from it, whether directly or indirectly. Pseudonymized data can help reduce privacy risks, but it is still personal data by this definition. The GDPR applies to the processing of personal data wholly or partly by automated means, such as a form on your website, or the processing of personal data which forms part of a filing system.

How GDPR Impacts Email Campaigns

When whispers of GDPR first started surfacing many moons ago, one of the questions that most perplexed business owners had was whether they could continue sending emails to their existing contacts.

As an email marketer in the world of GDPR, you need to collect freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous consent (Article 32) before sending emails.

Adhering to data protection in your email campaigns includes adopting these practices:

  • Requiring all leads to specifically opt-in to communications before sending email campaigns.
  • Offering contacts an easy way for their personal data to be edited or removed.
  • Purging contact data you no longer require or after the communicated storage time in your terms and conditions.

To maintain a clear oversight of all contact data, you can sync your current lead and customer data as well as their latest subscription and consent status between apps with a two-way data sync. You can also implement a consent management platform to collect and manage consent for all contacts.

 

Simplify GDPR Compliance with a Consent Management Platform

One key part of GDPR is documenting each contact’s consent to store their data and communicate with them. While you can use built-in features in each of your apps, it’s also helpful to choose a dedicated consent management platform, or CMP. Here are some of the top CMPs to consider:

  • Didomi is a popular consent and preference management platform with comprehensive solutions to collect, store, and leverage user consents and preferences. After completing the setup process, you can see a compliance score out of 100% for your business. With their Privacy Center, you can also offer customers a dedicated space to easily access and manage their consent and preferences.
  • Piwik PRO was built as an analytics platform but now includes a Consent Manager to manage your marketing stack’s compliance in one centralized place. It’s designed to get your tools up to speed with GDPR, California’s CCPA, Brazil’s LGPD, and other privacy laws around the world.

Other Apps to Streamline GDPR Compliance

As well as adopting a consent management platform, there are several other types of apps to help you manage your contacts compliantly. Here are some GDPR-friendly apps to consider adding to your stack:

  • LogicGate Risk Cloud is an agile GRC (governance, risk, and compliance) cloud solution. It includes enterprise-level solutions for risk management, compliance management, and data privacy.
  • Boxcryptor makes your cloud storage more secure with encryption for OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive among other providers. It’s free to use for one storage provider on two devices, and you can upgrade for unlimited devices, providers, and advanced filename encryption.
  • Onna integrates, unifies, and protects knowledge platforms in one centralized and secure place. Connectors include Google Suite, Microsoft 365, Dropbox Business, Zoom, and Slack Enterprise.
  • iubenda generates instant cookie banners and terms and conditions that are customized to fit your business, tech stack, and the data you collect. It’s especially valuable for websites and small businesses to comply with legal requirements quickly and simply.
  • PieSync and its two-way data syncing tool existed before GDPR, but it has some handy benefits for secure data management and up-to-date contact information, including subscription status. The two-way sync enables you to create a “single source of truth” between your apps and make your customer data easier to use and manage. Next to the subscriptions, you can also sync consent status and preferences between apps with customizable filters and rules.
  • Fathom Analytics was co-founded by entrepreneur and author Paul Jarvis, Fathom Analytics offers simple, fast, and privacy-focused website analytics as an alternative to Google Analytics. It doesn’t collect any personal data, so it’s instantly GDPR-compliant and you don’t need to include it in your cookie notice.

Keep Your Company Compliant

To maximize your organization’s GDPR compliance, there are certain steps you need to follow and checkboxes to tick. However, there are ways to streamline the process. GDPR compliance software can reduce many of the headaches and make it easier to meet the most important requirements, enabling you to get back to your other business goals sooner.

The Best Social Media Management Tools

In the world of social media marketing, there are hundreds of tools and software with features capable of helping you with different aspects of your social media strategy. These tools — also known as social media management tools — can assist with social media creation, collaboration, planning, scheduling , sharing, analysis, and more.

In this blog post, we’ll cover what social media management tools are, how your team can benefit from them, and 12 of the best options available today.

Let’s get started.

What is social media management?

Social media management is the process of handling (managing) your entire social media strategy. This includes planning, publishing, engaging, strategizing, and analyzing your social media content across the social platforms your business uses. It also entails understanding your social media strategy’s level of success so you can improve upon it.

Get certified in social media strategy with a free social media marketing course.

Social Media Management Tools

As mentioned above, there are a plethora of social media management tools available today. Some are meant to help with a wide array of social media management needs. Meanwhile, other tools are meant for specific types of social media management (e.g. tools for agencies) or facets of social media management (e.g. social listening or analytics). No matter your needs, goals, or industry, there’s a social media management tool for you.

Why use social media management tools?

Social media management tools assist with your social media strategy — typically, they have scheduling, publishing, collaborating, listening, and/or reporting capabilities. They also often have the ability to streamline interactions with followers cross-platform, offer access to all of your social accounts via a single dashboard, and analyze your success. They may also integrate with other tools your team uses such as your Marketing Software or CRM.

The 12 tools below are separated into categories based on what they’re meant for — as you read their descriptions, keep in mind that some of them overlap categories. For example, many of the general tools are great for small businesses — and many of the free tools are too.

Best General Social Media Management Tools

The following tools are ideal for all social media management teams — you can customize them to help you meet your specific needs and goals.

1.HubSpot Social Media Management Software

HubSpot monitors all interactions, conversations, and audiences on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles. It allows you to effectively target specific audiences with personalized messaging using context from the contact database in your CRM as well as data from your Marketing Software. Meaning, with HubSpot, you can manage your entire social media strategy — from planning to sharing to analysis — from a single and central location.

Here are some other notable features you’ll get from using HubSpot’s Social Media Management software:

  • Turn your content offers into social posts.
  • Schedule social posts weeks in advance on all of your profiles.
  • Keep up with current trends by monitoring keywords that are important to your brand and audience.
  • Reply to anyone who commented on your profile or post through HubSpot.

2. Sprout Social

sproutsocial social media management tool

SproutSocial is a social media management tool that assists with social listening, publishing, engagement, and analysis. The tool streamlines the processes of sharing relevant content on social platforms as well as creating and sending personalized messages to prospects, customers, and followers — all of this support frees up valuable time for social media managers.

Customer service features exist to help you offer assistance to customers on social when they want and need it. With Sprout Social you’ll be able to develop a better understanding of who your audience members are and what they want from you on social as well as how you can improve upon your current strategy.

(Note: Sprout Social’s customer care functionality integrates with HubSpot.)

3. Falcon.io

falcon.io social media management tool

Falcon.io is a social media marketing platform with a social media management solution that saves you time by helping you maximize reach, impact, and engagement among your audience.

The software has social listening capabilities to help you identify target audience members and prospects, understand what people are saying about your brand on social media, identify opportunities for engagement, and efficiently respond to any customer comments or concerns.

There’s also a content calendar that makes cross-platform social media planning easy and quick. Plus, you can view and respond to all customer messages and questions on one dashboard so no queries go unresolved.

(Note: Falcon.io integrates with HubSpot so you can easily sync customer data for campaigns, create custom audiences, and offer effective customer service via social media.)

Best Free Social Media Management Tools

Here are some effective free social media management tools. It’s not uncommon for tools to have a free version as well as paid plans that you can upgrade to as you grow and require greater functionality from your tool.

1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media marketing and management tool. It has a dashboard through which you can manage all aspects of your social media strategy. Although there are paid plans with more capabilities, Hootsuite offers a free plan that works well if you’re a small business. With the free plan, you can schedule up to 30 social posts in advance.

You’ll also be able to manage three different social profiles from your dashboard with Hootsuite’s free plan. Lastly, this option works for small businesses because only one person has access to the account.

2. TweetDeck

tweetdeck free social media management tool

Although TweetDeck is just for Twitter users, it’s a powerful social media management tool if you’re on the platform. This free tool allows you to simultaneously manage multiple Twitter profiles via a central dashboard.

Schedule Tweets ahead, monitor your competition, set alerts for your most important Tweets and Twitter activity, and manage your lists with ease. You can also customize your timelines as well as view and respond to conversations and Tweets in real-time via your dashboard.

3. Buffer

buffer free social media management tool

Buffer has a free plan that you can move to once you’ve completed your free trial with the software. Similar to Hootsuite, Buffer’s free plan works well if you have a small business with a small social media presence. This plan offers the ability to manage three social channels. You can schedule 10 posts in advance and only one user has access to your Buffer dashboard.

Best Social Media Management Tools for Small Businesses

Here are some social media management tools meant for small businesses.

1. Everypost

everypost social media management tool for small businesses

Everypost is a social media tool that allows you to manage multiple profiles and accounts at once. Customize your social posts, schedule them in advance, and share them all via a single platform.

Tailor social content for different platforms and then cross-post it from Everypost to streamline the process of sharing content across profiles. Use the tool to collaborate internally and manage roles — this way, you can delegate content to certain people on your team as needed.

2. Agorapulse

agorapulse social media management tool for small businesses

Agorapulse is a social media management platform that helps you improve social engagement and relationship building across your social profiles.

With this tool, you can schedule your content, interact with followers, and get reports to determine the success of your strategy and ROI of your engagement. There’s also a single inbox through which you can view, share, and respond to customer comments and questions.

Real-time collaboration makes it easy to send different team members customer inquiries and work on content together. Take advantage of the flexible scheduling features to either schedule individual posts or bulk schedule posts.

Additionally, the Agorapulse CRM that this tool automatically comes with tracks followers and their interactions with your brand so you can learn from those engagements now and reference them in the future.

3. Content Cal

content cal social media management tool for small businesses

Content Cal is a social media management tool meant for planning and publishing content. There’s an easy-to-use visual calendar you can pair with approval flows to ensure specific posts are shared at the right time.

Pull in content from other tools — such as Facebook, Slack, Google Drive, or Dropbox — to share on social. You can also collaborate with team members and ask for their feedback easily using the tool’s comments feature.

Best Social Media Management Tools for Agencies

The following social media management tools are ideal for agencies.

1. Sendible

sendible social media management tool for agencies

Sendible is a social media management platform specifically designed for agencies. The tool has an interactive and customizable content calendar so you and your team can view and collaborate on all social posts that are created, planned, and shared.

Use the content suggestion feature to get new ideas for content that’s likely to resonate with your client’s audience. There’s also a single-view inbox so you can look at all client messages at once — plus a priority filter option which allows you to filter and prioritize chats.

Lastly, set up user hierarchies and workflows to set permissions for certain team members — this way, certain people have to sign off on client content prior to it going live.

2. Nuvi

nuvi social media management tool for agencies

Nuvi is a social media management, marketing, and customer experience (CX) platform. It includes management tools for social listening, planning, publishing, engaging, reporting, and more — all with an end goal of creating an excellent experience for your customers and clients. Add permissions to your workflows so team members at your agency can collaborate and ensure all content is reviewed by the necessary people prior to it going live.

Create, plan, and schedule your content so it goes live when it needs to. Then, measure performance and keep an eye on competitors to understand what social media strategies are working best for them.

The engagement feature will make it easy to prioritize social media engagement and allow you to organize, prioritize, and share those engagements internally with the correct team members. Plus social listening features will ensure you don’t miss a beat across any of your accounts.

3. HeyOrca!

heyorca! social media management tool for agencies

HeyOrca! is a social media management tool for agencies. The platform allows you to manage all of your social content and clients in a central location so you can offer a seamless and memorable customer experience.

The content calendar allows you to share your plans for scheduled content easily with team members and/or clients. Create multiple content calendars — each with unique team members and social profiles — for each of your clients to keep things organized.

Create mock ups of all content you plan to share on social so your team members and clients can give the go-ahead prior to it being shared. You can also easily share your content with clients via HeyOrca! to get their feedback (and you can choose which versions of that content you want your clients to be able to see or not see).

Lastly, offer clients easy-to-understand reports to show them how successful the content you’re creating for their social media profiles is.

The management tools we reviewed above have the power to help you reach (and exceed) your social media goals. Determine what you need out of a tool to help you identify which option has the capabilities and features needed to help you achieve those goals.

Apply for the 2021 Marketo Engage Champion Program

I am thrilled to announce that applications are now open for the 2021 Marketo Engage Champion program. Next year is extra special as it marks the 10-year anniversary since the Marketo Engage Champion program was first launched. 

The Marketo Engage Champion program represents an elite group of our most advanced Marketo Engage users and brand ambassadors who are Marketo Engage Certified Experts (MCE) and actively share their knowledge and expertise in the Marketing Nation Community. Also, in an effort to be more inclusive and provide ongoing access opportunities for underrepresented communities, we are increasing the Champion class size from 40 individuals to 50.

If you are a customer or partner interested in taking your Marketo Engage expertise and thought leadership to the next level, I encourage you to apply for the 2021 program. 

APPLY HERE

If you have any questions, please email us at advocacy@adobe.com. My team and I look forward to reading your applications in the coming weeks!

The deadline to apply is December 11, 2020.

Marketo Engage Champion Program Overview 

Champion Program Benefits 

  • Eligibility to apply for the Marketo Engage Champion Leadership Committee  
  • Exclusive Champion opportunities at Adobe Summit  
  • Champion Spotlight in the Marketing Nation Community  
  • Exclusive contests & incentives to help drive strategic Marketo Engage programs  
  • Exclusive Champion swag  
  • Access to Marketo Engage product beta testing and early adopter programs  
  • Opportunities to engage with Marketo Engage teams to provide feedback and support  
  • Ongoing speaking opportunities year-round  
  • Exclusive Champion badges (LinkedIn, Marketing Nation Community, Purple Select)  

Champion Program Criteria & Requirements

  • Current Marketo Engage Certified Expert (MCE) certification  
  • Attend quarterly Champion Program Calls  
  • Attend Marketo Engage Product Update Calls  
  • Attend or speak at a Marketo Engage User Group 2x per year  
  • Active participation in Marketing Nation Community  
  • Help grow Advocate Nation  
  • Sign Champion Program Charter and NDA 
  • Additional requirements can be found here  

Meet the current class of Marketo Engage Champions here and our Marketo Engage Champion Alumni here. Here is the link to submit your application to become a 2021 Marketo Engage Champion – the deadline is December 11, 2020.

The post Apply for the 2021 Marketo Engage Champion Program appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

How to Set Up Site Backups to Google Drive in 4 Easy Steps

To safeguard your website, WordPress recommends you keep a backup in three locations. While this may sound like a lot, it involves a lot less time than rebuilding your WordPress website, and it’s actually very easy. You can set up your backups through your web hosting provider, as well as through free plugins where you…

The post How to Set Up Site Backups to Google Drive in 4 Easy Steps appeared first on Fit Small Business.

Reinventing Your Customer Experience is Key to Remaining Profitable During Covid-19

Did you realize that over 84% of the companies who try to actively improve their customer experience see an increase in revenue? Leaving consumers with a good impression of your business is not easy. This task is even more challenging in the age of COVID-19. Businesses are clamoring to find a way to stay connected with customers as they linger in quarantine.

One of the main things you need to focus on when trying to stay profitable and increase revenues throughout this global pandemic is redefining your customer experience. Accomplishing this goal will require both hard work and persistence. Below are some things you need to consider when trying to improve and reinvent your customer experience.

Invest in Top-Notch Technology

Before you can make changes to your customer experience, you have to take stock of the systems and technology you have in place to serve your clientele. One of the first opportunities you have to provide consumers with excellent customer experience is when they call into your business. When consumers call your business, you want them to be routed to the right department right away.

If a customer has to stay on hold forever, they will get frustrated and hang-up. Instead of making this mistake, you need to invest in automatic call distribution (ACD) software. You may be asking yourself, what exactly is ACD? This software is designed to help your employees handle multiple interactions with customers at one time. With this software, you can rest assured that customers are directed to the right department for the information they seek.

Several useful options from NICE inContact can help in simplifying and making the procedure work properly.

Spend More On Online Marketing

Millions of people around the world are in quarantine at this very moment. Since being stuck indoors, people have taken to the Internet to fill the hours of the day. As these consumers peruse the internet for new products, services, and experiences, you need to make sure they’re able to find your business. The only way to accomplish this is by investing money in online marketing. Establishing an online presence for your business and getting active on social media platforms is a necessity.

By doing this, you can increase the level of visibility your brand has online. If you are unsure about how to structure and implement new marketing plans, then it’s highly suggested to seek out the help of a professional to get you started. Being consistent with your online marketing efforts is the only way to keep your brand on top. The money you spend on these campaigns will be worth it considering the sales leads they can produce.

Provide Your Customers with a Great Mobile Experience

This photo is an example of why enhancing customer experience on mobile is so important - the phone never leaves our hands!

Another important thing you need to focus on when trying to enhance your customer experience is targeting mobile users. Millions of people use their mobile devices to access the internet. When these people visit your website, they want a customized experience.

Websites that are not optimized for mobile users are very hard to use. Mobile users have to resize images and text in order to see what your business does. Instead of making these users jump through hoops, you need to invest in responsive design. With the help of an experienced web designer, you can fix the issues your website has with ease.

It’s Time to Make Some Changes

As you can see, there are many things you can do to improve your brand’s customer experience even during a pandemic. Making these changes may be a bit ominous, but it is the best path forward for your business. With the right guidance, changing your customer experience will be a breeze.

The post Reinventing Your Customer Experience is Key to Remaining Profitable During Covid-19 appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

13 Great Landing Page Examples You'll Want to Copy in 2020

While many landing pages look different and use a variety of interesting strategies to pull in audiences, they all serve one major purpose. These pages get website visitors to convert to the next stage in the buyer’s journey.

Rather than serving as a basic advertisement that shows a customer a product, a landing page aims to engage and delight a customer by offering them something that relates to the product or the company’s industry. When they fill out the form and receive a reward of interesting content, they might be even more likely to trust your brand and become a customer.

Quick tip: Want an easy way to add a form to your landing page? HubSpot’s free form builder tool can help you fill your CRM with leads from your website.

Let’s talk through an example of when a landing page can be especially effective. If a business wants to sell an AI product that helps salespeople, they might create a landing page that offers audiences a free video on how to use AI in the sales industry. Interested audiences might offer their contact information in exchange for the valuable information. If they enjoy the video they’ve received, they might be more likely to respond to or purchase a product from a company rep who calls them.

In another scenario, a publishing company that targets an audience of chief executives might create a landing page that invites audiences to sign up for a webinar hosted by an executive at a major company.

After giving their email address on the signup form presented on the landing page, the leads get an email with the webinar dates and log in information, as well as instructions on how to sign up for the publication’s newsletter or subscription. If the user is pleased by the webinar, they might sign up for the newsletter or a subscription to keep up with similar publication content.

Although their purpose is simple enough in theory, actually designing a successful landing page requires some detailed planning and creative testing.

Even after launching your landing page, you’ll want to pay attention to conversion rates to see how well it’s doing.

To determine your conversion rate, simply divide the number of conversions a webpage generates by the number of people who visited that page.

If your conversion rate isn’t close to the average just yet, don’t worry. Nailing those percentages can be a bit challenging at first, especially is you have a lot of regular page visitors. Luckily, there are a number of simple conversion rate optimization strategies that can help you boost your current rate quickly.

Regardless of what your business is selling or the conversion action you hope to instigate, it’s helpful to get inspired by seeing what other great landing pages look like. And because there’s no one “right” way of designing a landing page, you’ll want to check out examples from lots of different industries for different stages of the buying process.

Want to get inspired? Check out the great landing page examples below.

We don’t have access to the analytics for each of these landing pages, so I can’t tell you specifically how well they convert visitors, contacts, leads, and customers. But many of them do follow best practices while also implementing a few new experiments that could give you ideas for your own landing pages.

13 Great Examples of Landing Page Design

1. Lyft

We love that on Lyft’s landing page, they zero in on their drivers’ main motivation: earning money easily.

We also love that, in addition to the “Apply Now” form, drivers can type their city and the number of hours they might drive for Lyft in a week to calculate how much they’d make. When visitors fill out that information and press “Calculate,” they aren’t taken to a new page. Instead, they see a dollar amount followed by a new call-to-action button to “Apply Now” (which, once clicked, takes drivers up to the form).

By offering these two conversion paths, they’re able to address two different types of people in the conversion path: those who are ready to make the decision now and those who need a little more information before they convert.

2. The Professional Wingman

Okay, so the whole idea of having a professional wingman to help you find dates and a meaningful relationship is already pretty cool. But when you’re faced with the prospect of hiring one, it also raises questions. How does it work? How much does it cost? Is this really going to help me?

That’s why we love this landing page for Thomas Edwards, the original Professional Wingman himself, which outlines exactly what a complimentary coaching session is going to achieve. Plus, it’s clear that it’s complimentary, thanks to the boldly-colored call-to-action button above the fold.

Once you click that button, you aren’t taken to a new page. Instead, an interstitial form appears right there. And while it does request a lot of information — some of it a bit personal — it also sends the message that The Professional Wingman is going to take this seriously, but only if you do, too.

professional wingman landing page

3. Muck Rack

This landing page design has it all. It’s visually appealing and interactive, offers scannable yet descriptive headers about Muck Rack’s services, and uses quotes from industry professionals as social proof. Plus, the page is intuitive and easy to navigate.

The cool part about this landing page is that it can appeal to both of Muck Rack’s audiences. The top of the page is split into two, featuring their two different services side by side. Once a visitor moves his or her mouse over either of the “find journalists” or the “build free portfolio” CTAs, a very simple form appears — and that’s important, so as not to distract the user from the task at hand.

muckrack landing page

4. Cigital

There are a few things that make this Cigital landing page work. It has simple and relevant imagery. The headline is straightforward and the description of the ebook informs viewers of the specific value they will get by downloading it. There is only one call-to-action — “READ THE EBOOK” — that stands out on the page thanks to a bright yellow CTA button.

The only thing we’d change about this landing page is that we’d remove the navigation bar at the top. They tend to distract visitors and lead them away from the intended action. Not only is this a landing page design best practice, but we’ve also conducted A/B tests that’ve shown removing navigation links from landing pages increases conversion rates.

Cigital landing page

5. Khan Academy

The hard part about using your homepage as a landing page is that you have to cater to several different types of audiences. But Khan Academy’s homepage does that very well. This page is clearly designed for three different types of visitors: those who want to learn something, those who want to teach, and parents who are interested in using Khan Academy for their kids. Plus, how motivational is the emblazoned “You can learn anything” text at the top?

The remainder of the page is designed for viewers who are not completely familiar with Khan Academy. It colorfully and largely spells out the key benefits of using the learning platform — all of which are easy to scan and understand. There’s also a recurring CTA: “Start learning now.” As soon as viewers feel they have enough information, they can click the CTA to get taken back up to the form at the top of the page without having to scroll.

khan academy landing page

6. Club W

A little bit of delightful copy can go a long way on your landing page. We love the playful little aside — “(Hint: It’s Wine)” — that Club W included below the header of their corporate gifting landing page. It humanizes the brand and makes them likable, which could have a positive impact on their conversion rate.

The images below that header make a nice use of negative space, showing the user exactly what his or her gift recipient might actually receive, should they choose to gift with Club W. And, of course, there’s that bold call to action — “Email Us”.

The one thing we’d change? The CTA prompts the users email software to open, which drives traffic away from the site and the browser entirely. A form might be more effective here — not only would Club W be able to dictate what information it wants to capture, but also, it would keep the user on-site.

club w landing page

7. Codecademy

I like this page because it’s simple in both copy and design. The image above the fold is a computer screen displaying an HTML bracket with a blinking cursor — a whimsical, clear visual to accompany the form on the right.

The form itself is simple and only requires an email address, username, password, and a validation that you’re not a robot to create an account. Or, you can just use your Facebook or Google Plus login, shortening the conversion path even further.

For visitors who need more information before creating an account, the landing page also offers a video below the fold that explains their concept and value by way of a real-life success story. Again, this helps make the potentially intimidating world of coding more approachable for beginners.

Those who need even more convincing can continue scrolling for additional testimonials and other forms of social proof.

codecademy landing page

8. Poached

I don’t think we’ve ever lived in a time when, culturally, we’ve been so food-obsessed. Poached has turned that into a B2B model with a platform to connect proprietors and culinary talent.

When you visit the homepage, there’s no mystery about what you’re there to do — the giant “Post a job” and “Choose a city” calls to action help with that. And once you click on one of them, you’re taken to a no-frills form to become a member or log in, or a list of jobs in each city. It’s colorful and comprehensive — and, it makes us hungry.

poached landing page

9. Breather

Here’s another example of clever, delightful design on a landing page. As soon as you visit Breather.com, there’s an instant call to action: indicate where you want to find a space. Plus, it uses location services to figure out where you are, providing instant options nearby.

We love how Breather used simple, to-the-point copy to let the visitor know what the company does, followed immediately by the CTA to select a city. And if you need to scroll down for more information, you can see that Breather played with the microcopy with personality (“no commitment, ever”), reminding us there are real humans behind the design. That brings us a little closer to the brand. The negative space and soothing color scheme are also aligned with the product — essentially, room to breathe.

breather.gif

10. Startup Institute

Visitors to your website won’t hand over their personal information without knowing what they’re going to get in return. On its landing page, Startup Institute makes abundantly clear what will happen after you apply by listing a Q&A right beside the form. It might prompt some people to say, “They read my mind!”

To avoid hesitancy to fill out a form, use your landing page to set expectations upfront. That clears the air, and can also weed out the people who don’t take your content, product or service seriously.

Startup Institute landing page

11. Edupath

Who is your landing page’s target audience? While most of Edupath’s website content is directed toward students, there are sections dedicated to advising parents on helping their teenagers through college applications and SAT preparation. The landing page below is in one of these sections.

When parents fill out their teenager’s name, email address, and mobile number, a link to download the Edupath app is sent directly to them. The folks at Edupath know students are likely to do something if their parents ask them to — especially if it means they don’t have to surrender their phones.

Plus, it’s an easy, one-click process. This whole conversion path is a clever and helpful way to get the apps on more students’ phones by way of their parents.

edupath landing page

12. Taster’s Club

If there’s anything we enjoy more than a fine whiskey, it’s a whiskey club homepage that makes it easy to either join or learn more about membership. Case in point: Taster’s Club, which immediately serves up those very two CTAs on its landing page — which also happens to be its homepage.

For those to wish to learn more, clicking that CTA will immediately scroll the user down to colorful, image-rich details on what a Taster’s Club membership includes. Keep scrolling, and you get user testimonials.

But clicking the “Join Now” button is where the real fun begins. After doing that, you get to pick your poison — that is, the type of whiskey you like the most — and view the membership or gifting options available for it. Once you make your selections, you’re taken to an easy-to-navigate checkout page to enter your payment information. Good design and ease of use? We’ll drink to that.

taster's club landing page

13. Microsoft IT Showcase

The landing page below has been used to market and generate leads for one episode of Microsoft’s IT Showcase webinar series.

Microsoft IT Showcase Webinar Landing page

This simple and straightforward design does a great job of presenting why the webinar being offered is important to IT professionals. Along with a quick blurb describing what the webinar will discuss, the page also includes links to similar webinars, details on the speakers, and links to Microsoft resources that touch on the topics that will be discussed.

An IT company which has access to thought leaders or experts in their industry could similarly use this webinar landing page strategy to generate both leads and prospective customer trust. Audiences who feel informed after reading the landing page might sign up expecting the webinar to be insightful.

If the webinar seems informative and credible, these audiences will think that the IT company has an expertise in the product and might have quality product offerings. This will make them more willing to talk to a representative to learn more or purchase a product.

Ready to build your landing page?

If these examples have inspired you, but you’re not a design expert, we’ve also created a great list of free, professionally designed landing page templates.

If you’re looking for more landing page design examples, check out some of our favorite HubSpot landing page examples. You can also check out this quick guide to landing page design.

Marketing Attribution Advice From the Marketo Champion of the Year

Multi-touch marketing attribution is an essential practice for any good marketing professional. It provides a complete picture of the customer journey, in addition to clarifying where the marketing spend is going and proving ROI for different channels and programs. But I found myself wanting to know more about the personal experience of managing marketing attribution and hear about it straight from individuals in our marketing community.

I set out to find someone with deep experience in marketing automation and measurement who could walk me through the top challenges of marketing attribution. I wanted to choose someone who has worked with measurement and reporting in many different marketing automation instances.

About Ajay Sarpal

Ajay Sarpal has proven knowledge of marketing attribution. He runs the Bizible User Group and has extensive experience both in-house and as a marketing automation consultant. So I sat down (virtually) with Ajay Sarpal, 2020 Marketo Champion of the Year, to discuss the challenges of marketing attribution and how he’s tackled them throughout his 20 years of experience. Sarpal is a marketer with experience both in-house and as a consultant. He is also 2x Marketo Champion, 5x Marketo Certified Expert, completed 9 advanced specializations on Marketing Automation, and one of the Fearless 50 top marketers.

It’s exciting to dig in and find out what the challenges are that his clients are facing marketing attribution, and he had lots to say about the subject. In the interview, we covered several key issues that marketers face today: top challenges with marketing attribution, proving the ROI of marketing channels, visualizing the customer journey,  and improving marketing and sales alignment.

Q. What are the top challenges with marketing attribution?

A. “Lots of marketers don’t know which channels are generating the most revenue, so they’re qualifying people on soft metrics like opening an email 3 times or five times, and secondly, they’re not following a process or best practices in terms of attribution. With these issues, the leads sales receives can be of low quality, which frustrates them [sales]. It hurts the relationship between marketing and sales”. “Many marketers aren’t even aware that they can solve these challenges—especially with proving out ROI”.

Q. How can marketers start to show return on investment?

A. “Marketers need to evaluate the tools that they are using and how they work with their tech stack. Some tools work better than others. Marketing also needs to get sales stakeholders onboard to get proper access on Sales CRM and also understand the environment (processes).”

Q. How can marketers visualize the customer journey?

A. “Marketing attribution has various touchpoints – like the first touches, and the last touches, but with Bizible, you can capture all your touchpoints. It’s proprietary technology in Bizible that can capture that data and tie it back to Salesforce as well”.

Q. How can marketing and sales better communicate?

A. “If we want to tie marketing and sales together, marketers have to speak the language of sales. We need to add dollar values to what we’re quoting, we need to speak about revenue and velocity (time to convert a lead to close). We need to talk about timelines.”

Marketers face key challenges with proving the ROI of their activities, and every-touch marketing attribution through Bizible is here to help. If you want to accurately capture and measure your marketing activities, you need to implement a marketing attribution solution that can grow with your company. For more discussion on multi-touch attribution, check out the Bizible user group or speak directly to one of our experts at Bizible.

The post Marketing Attribution Advice From the Marketo Champion of the Year appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

The 7 Best Quiz Plugins for WordPress

While the idea of an online quiz might conjure images of silly personality quizzes designed to kill a few minutes, businesses can strategically use them in a variety of ways. They can be used to obtain market research and increase visibility through shareworthy content. They can also qualify leads and increase sales. The best part…

The post The 7 Best Quiz Plugins for WordPress appeared first on Fit Small Business.

Live Blogging the 2020 Election with Scalable Google Trends

7:15 pm PDT update

Well, things are moving right along in this election. I’m going to try to keep these short and sweet to avoid devolving into political commentary lol.

First observation, people are really focusing on “battleground” states and North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin are all in focus. Also people are focusing on the Senate and who will have control of that after the election is over (see below.)

Also, a civil unrest query has popped into the top rising queries as the election starts to shake out. Since it’s looking at current civil unrest it seems people just want to check in and make sure everything is still going “smoothly.”

Will be back in a bit as I’m kind curious how this develops, though made need some whiskey and a cheeseburger. In which case I will see you tomorrow.

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6:28 pm PDT update

Just wanted to see how quickly the data was changing and boy is it fast!!!! Don’t know how people keep up with this without robots. Anyway, in the national data Texas election results have started to come online as strongly as Ohio. While Florida may Florida, it seems like national attention has turned towards this two battleground states.

Looking at individual rising queries New Zealand based Predictit has been showing strong all day. Everyone wants predictions it seems! I just want to watch the data come in. Also, like I mentioned before, people are brand devoted to Fox News. Lastly, Arizona has already started showing up in individual queries, so I would expect to start surging as it’s early results start to come online (given how recent polling has been there.)

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6:03 pm PDT update

 

Famous last words!!! So I vroomed this into a bunch of errors, but am back in businesses now as our team built a robust system and now I know to scale our instances before doing that 🙂

Alright, so first let’s talk about state level data! This is the first time I’m going to report on the state election query set I ran through trends. Though suffice it to say that people care a lot about swing states as you can see by their disproportionate representation to population like Virginia, Georgia and Vermont even being in the same ballpark as Florida when it comes to population

Also it seriously feels like deja vu with Florida

Now let’s talk about the national data set. This stuff is starting to look really cool! Nationally, the things that are seeing off the charts, turn it up to 11 growth are all local. First up, Ohio. It’s showing up big in terms of both the count and growth of it’s terms as illustrated below:

But also, we are seeing two Texas counties showing up as queries that are skyrocketing (gonna run out of hyperbole to discuss query growth soon.). I have never heard of Bexar or Tarrant county in Texas before but Heckler assures me they exist! They are seeing an increase, per Google Trends, of almost 500,000% growth at the query level. Bonkers.

Also, Broward county Florida, famous as the problem of every national election in recent memory, is also showing up in query data

A couple of last general observations:

The growth of top rising queries is several times bigger than it was even this morning. Basically, A LOT OF PEOPLE are searching right now.

Fox News has some crazy “loyalty”

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4:03 pm PDT update

Alright well it’s after work on the east coast and things are starting to pop in the data. Let’s start with general trends with a nice word cloud

Local issues are starting to pop in the national election data set. Here I have drawn attention to prop 22, a proposition here in California over the regulation of gig economy workers as well as governors races. However, the big dominating theme is Trump’s rally tonight, but more on that later.

This is also the first time I have looked a set of ~1k state election specific terms. Nothing much to report on that data set yet except that there is a lot of searching for historical electoral maps that got surfaced here (screenshot below). I guess people are trying to game this out at home?

And in term of just the top rising queries in the data set, well that is all coming up YUGE for Trump. Also, I think it’s kinda funny that Lil’ Pump has finally surfaced in this trends data so late in the day. Curious how this will progress as the night goes on, but my guess is Trump will work hard to drive search demand. We shall see!

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1:17 pm PDT update

Alright party people, back after some delay as I wanted to give the data some time to change as user behavior and the events on the group have changed. And I’m glad I did because the data is radically different then it was previously. A quick reminder that before Biden vs. Trump was big in the rising ngrams (see previous update below.) Well know that trend has shifted to the Vice Presidential Candidates and Kamala Harris is cleaning up (go CA)

Also, if you back out into the top level word cloud you can see how different things have changed between

Now

This morning

So I expect things to continue to get super interesting as we head into this evening. Speaking of interesting, lots of Trump queries are highly searched queries, including “fox news trump” which could be in relation to his Fox & Friends this morning or a navigation query to Fox’s Trump related coverage.

Not feeling good that 538 continues to insinuate itself into the American election psyche. Oh also, the fly is back

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10:29 am PDT update

Alright, well I have some news! First of all as we get later in the day I’m going to start segmenting out a seed keyword list of state and congressional election results so we can track what is going on with those as well.

Speaking of the data, you heard it hear first: Biden’s numbers are better then next to Trump’s. There are more Biden name related queries that are being searched at a greater rate of increase than Trump.

Also, queries around political violence continue to show up, but since these aren’t breaking through in terms of individual queries trending my guess is that is a self-perpetuating fear where people are doom searching.

Lastly, just look at these rising queries. First of all the Drudge and Real Clear are the two top trending news sources in this data set is very troubling. Second, who cares about either Barron Trump or Kim Kardashian just like in general but especially today. Lastly, “when will the next presidential election be” is a top 15 trending query. If only we planned these things at a regular clip!

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8:17 am PDT update

Alright, things are really starting to get popping now. The midwest has come fully online and we can see people searching for their states specific results starting to bubble up in the trends data (Hi Michigan and Kentucky!)

Are some of the top queries showing the state specific results

And here is the rising in the ngrams (e.g. full topic areas)

I would expect to see state specific results start to dominate as the day goes on. Though of course that could be overtaken by whatever narrative is happening around the election itself as well.

Speaking of, violence has finally broken through to be able to be visualized in a top ngram (bottom right) as well as civil war (top left). American’s are keeping it spicy this am!

For anyone wanting to play around at home, feel free to check our GDS report here

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7:18 am pdt update

This is probably going to be the least interesting update of the day. There isn’t enough movement in the midwest yet for that to really crack into trends. The trending ngrams are relatively the same. Most interesting pieces are Florida has officially entered the chat

and that election riots is trending downward (thankfully)

With the next update things should start to get interesting as the west coast is going to start coming online. I’m also going to release a version of the GDS dashboard for people to play with that will have our 2 test data pulls from yesterday and the first two data pulls of this am.

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6:14 pdt update

Well, now that the east coast has started to full come online the main rising ngrams are dominated by the polls. No real surprise there as a morning baseline check-in for what is sure to be a wild day makes a tone of sense.

Also, individual rising queries have seen some drop off of net worth and age related questions as individual polling queries start to dominate. No idea what the Trump Train Song 2020 is ¯_(ツ)_/¯.

6:40am PDT update

There are some pretty good deep cuts in the top 50 rising queries in the data set. I think the middle class question is really interesting as it’s generally a deeper level of question then I would expect today. And of course we are seeing our first hint of people searching about civil unrest.



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5:17am  PST update

Just ran the tool to capture 8am EST trends data. So far early searcher trends are looking to catch the latest poll numbers, which is unsurprising. Though I do think it curious how focused they are on candidates ages and net worth. As this beginning to develop I expect this data to be rather…interesting.

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Wow, it’s November 3rd 2020! That means election day in the US, and what an election. I’m going to eschew politics except to say GO VOTE. We have the day of at LSG, but I figured this would be a great time to deploy a new tool and to do so i’m going to live blog and tweet the election.

Specifically we hooked up Google Trends to our data analysis stack, built an elastic load balancer to be able to scale jobs with cost and now it’s just party time. And when I say party time I mean we can pass thousands of keywords into Google Trends, get them back hourly, process the keywords as NGRAMs to better understand what they are about.

Okay, first start here with these two fantastic articles by Ruth Everett:

An Introduction to Using Google Trends with Python

Visualizing Python and Google Trends

Okay, now that you have read those articles let me just show you around. First we started with a manually curated seed keyword list, then ran it through a Google scraper of ours to pull related searches. We took that list and ran it through Google Trends and pulled back the top and rising terms as well as their scores. We then ran that through the NLTK ngram library to be able to get categories/topics/themes. Then we data warehouse and dumped it into GDS. Screens below:


This is a view of the ngrams of rising queries from our seed list visualized in Google Data Studio

Ngrams of top queries in Google Data Studio

As you can see themes and topics!

Also, we have the ability to drill down to see the terms that make up the ngrams

This screenshot below is a drill down into “results 2020”

Cool right?

Anyway, I’m going to be updating this every hour and sharing any cool info on this liveblog and on twitter. Also for those wondering, the data set contains ~3,000 keywords.

 

 

The post Live Blogging the 2020 Election with Scalable Google Trends appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

Kohl’s Rewards Gets It Right

Yet Another Chapter in Kohl’s Long History of Loyalty

It’s a tough time to be a department store. A recent Forbes summary of the situation highlighted how one-fifth of all department stores in the US have closed since 2018; and while very few retailers are immune from the difficult times that have befallen the economy, department stores are especially hard hit in the face of changing customer behaviors, outdated business models, and customer loyalty that has all but moved on.

But these challenges aren’t scaring Kohl’s. In fact, the brand is strengthening and updating its loyalty program, and is squarely aimed at winning over new customers while gaining share of wallet in an incomparably heated competitive landscape. The latest chapter in Kohl’s loyalty evolution is just another page in a storied history of navigating, optimizing, and experimenting with program formats to better reach its customers.

Kohl’s Through the Years

Kohl’s began its loyalty exploration in a paradigm familiar to many other department stores of the day: a simplified store branded credit card designed to connect shoppers with purchase incentives and rewards. And like many other retail institutions, the inherent challenges of connecting greater audiences became apparent. Those who did not qualify or were simply not interested in holding yet another card in their overflowing wallets were excluded from the program entirely.

Kohl’s began to look beyond this model with the introduction of their Yes2You Rewards program in 2014. Enacted as a multi-tender strategy, membership was free, and had several integrated technologies for an enhanced user experience; in 2016, Kohl’s introduced Kohl’s Pay, enabling customers to transact their purchases and simultaneously earn Yes2You Rewards loyalty points with a single tap using Apple Pay. The bottom line for members was a flexible platform that earned one point for every dollar spent and received a $5 reward after reaching 100 points. Over the years, the program grew to 30 million members. But in that time, department stores still shuttered; customer loyalty continued look past the sea of aisles and yearn for relevant relationships; and Kohl’s realized they had to change with the times to keep audience fandom fresh.

It’s Game Time With Kohl’s Rewards

Kohl’s is earnestly trying to right the ship, and its latest program, “Kohl’s Rewards”, is evidence of their tenacity amidst difficult circumstances. The fundamental concept supporting the program remains unchanged from its predecessor: program members get 5% back in rewards. But there were several sticky points faulting Yes2You which have now been streamlined. For example, where Yes2You enforced separation between the main program platform and the company’s periodic Kohl’s Cash events, the updated Kohl’s Rewards reinforces unity. Instead of relying having a separate “points” currency, rewards are now disbursed as Kohl’s Cash in $5 increments. Thus, everyday rewards earnings can be combined with rewards from the retailer’s periodic special events that allow customers to earn $10 of Kohl’s Cash for every $50 they spend. Kohl’s Rewards also doubles down on targeted reminder communications, updating members about unused cash balances to ensure the program value is always top-of-mind. Other program features include:

  • Personalized deals
  • Birthday gifts
  • Relevant perks throughout the calendar year
  • The ability to get a print out of the Kohl’s Rewards balance on shopping receipts

Loyalty in The Limelight

Kohl’s reported a challenging first quarter. Net sales fell to $2.16 billion from $3.82 billion a year ago, and the retailer reported a net loss of $541 million, or $3.50 per share, compared with a profit of $62 million, or 38 cents per a share, a year prior. But by reigning in a loyalty strategy that is personalized to audiences and unifies a disparate experience, the brand is hoping to turn around its slipping status. At the end of the day, Kohl’s can’t control the external environment or the obstacles introduced by uncertainty. But it can create a tactically sound plan to greet customers with a program that performs, and that’s what the brand is well on its way to achieving.

The post Kohl’s Rewards Gets It Right appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.