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Friday, November 24, 2017

When SEO isn’t your SEO problem

Even the greatest SEO strategy won't succeed if you can't implement it properly. Columnist Casie Gillette discusses common client obstacles and how to overcome them.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.


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The Top Customer Engagement Strategies That Generate Sky High Revenue

In order to run a successful business, you’ll need to do more than just acquire customers.

One of the best ways to have a successful customer retention strategy is by creating customer engagement.

That goes for all companies across every industry.

Whether you have a brick and mortar location in a small town or have a global ecommerce distribution network, the customer is the lifeline of your business.

While it may not seem like an issue or concern right now, failing to keep your customers engaged could be detrimental to your business.

Fortunately, it appears as though you’ve recognized the importance of customer engagement and that’s what brought you here.

You’ve come to the right place.

I’ll show you my proven strategies to help you improve your customer engagement strategy.

Following these techniques will show the customer how much you care about them.

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When customers don’t think you care, they’ll stop using your services and find another company to treat them better.

Part of successful engagement and retention involves going above and beyond to connect with your customers.

Big retail companies are even spending upward of $1 million on artificial intelligence technology to improve their customer engagement strategy.

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It’s the top expected benefit from such a big investment.

I’m not expecting you to do this, but I wanted to show you how much stress big brands are putting towards improving their company.

My strategies are much more cost efficient and will yield a high return on your investment.

They don’t require too much time or effort either.

You can implement these tactics to your marketing plan right away too.

Here’s what you can do to get started.

Create interactive emails

How much time have you spent in the last few months making sure that your email marketing strategy is performing at a high level?

I see this mistake far too often when I’m consulting with various businesses.

They send the same boring weekly newsletters and promotions.

While your customers definitely want to hear from you, the constant repetition won’t keep them engaged.

That’s a problem.

You can spice up your email campaigns by incorporating interactive emails to your messages.

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One way you can accomplish this is by getting your email to mimic the look and design of your website.

Include different menus that give the subscriber a reason to actively click to find out more information.

Accordion menus work well too.

It allows you to pack more information into a small space.

When a customer sees something that they like, they can click to expand the accordion.

This also improves the chances that your subscribers will see more of your content because it eliminates the need for scrolling.

Adding GIFs and videos to your messages can help increase engagement as well.

It’s much more exciting than just reading a plain email.

If you have a retail or ecommerce business, you should include live shopping carts in your messages too.

This is a great strategy to improve your shopping cart abandonment rates.

When a customer doesn’t finish the checkout process, send a follow-up email with the shopping cart embedded in the message.

That way the consumer can complete the transaction without having to go back to your website.

It’s quick and efficient for everyone, which will help generate more revenue for your company.

Use Facebook Live on a regular basis

Facebook Live is one of my favorite trends of the year.

It’s the perfect resource for businesses to engage with their customers.

More than half of marketing experts agree that video content yields the highest return on investment.

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Why?

First of all, it’s so easy.

Second, if you’re using Facebook Live to promote video content, it won’t cost you anything except for your time.

Treat your live stream as if it were a television show.

Don’t just come on randomly whenever you feel like it.

Set a scheduled time once or twice each week to go live.

This will help you build a loyal audience, which will impact your conversions and revenue.

One of the best parts of going live on Facebook is the ability to interact with the viewers in real time.

As you broadcast, users have the option to comment on your stream.

These comments could be directed towards you or even other people who are watching the stream.

Make sure that you respond those comments.

Acknowledge those users.

“That’s a good point, John Smith. I’ll keep that in mind.”

It’s simple.

That recognition will help make the viewers feel special.

It encourages them to keep watching each week and it inspires others to comment as well, knowing that they could also get mentioned.

Facebook live videos are native, which means they are embedded on a page or feed as opposed to an external link.

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Native formats increase the share rate of your content compared to other channels.

Don’t do a quick stream.

Longer live videos increase your chances of getting a larger audience.

Facebook allows you to go live for up to four consecutive hours.

You don’t have to stream for the full four hours, but I’d recommend doing at least two or three hours.

Not sure what to talk about during this time?

Don’t worry about it.

Just be yourself.

Obviously, you want to keep things professional, but this stream will give your customers a chance to see the human side of you.

Recognizing that there’s a real person behind the brand name will help them establish a closer connection with you.

This can ultimately increase customer loyalty.

Here’s something else you’ll want to keep in mind.

85% of videos on Facebook get viewed with the sound turned off.

So use lots of visuals in your stream.

You can also add captions to your video so the viewers can read what you’re saying.

Take a look at some of the top Facebook video statistics from 2016.

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All of these numbers reiterate what I’ve been saying.

So add this strategy to your marketing campaign to improve the relationship between you and your customers.

Run a contest or sweepstakes

Promotions are a great way to get the attention of your customer base.

Everyone wants something for free, so give the people what they want.

First, you’ve got to understand the difference between a contest and a sweepstakes.

A contest means that the customers need to put forth some sort of effort to win.

There’s a judgment involved in selecting the winner based on skill.

A sweepstakes means that the winner is completely random.

Personally, I recommend running a contest as opposed to a sweepstakes because it gets the customer more involved and genuinely interested in your brand.

If they enter a sweepstakes, all they do is enter and forget about it.

I would recommend running your contest through social media platforms.

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When analyzing the top benefits of social media marketing, we can see that the list applies directly to our discussion about customer engagement.

Developing loyal fans will help increase your revenue.

Running your contests on social media will also increase exposure for your brand.

One suggestion could be a photo contest on Instagram.

I like this technique because it’s so easy.

Plus, it encourages user-generated content.

Tell your customers to post a photo that relates to your business.

The user who has the most likes on their picture will win the contest.

Now your brand is all over social media exposed to people who may not have known about you before.

So in addition to improving engagement with your existing customers, you have the opportunity to acquire new customers at no cost.

It’s two birds with one stone.

Here’s an example of a contest that Infiniti ran on social media.

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Using a hashtag to enter the contest can also help increase the chances of your promotion going viral.

Contestants know that their photo will be compared to other customers, so they’ll have a chance to check out all of the other entries as well.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re running a contest.

  • Make sure the rules are clearly posted
  • Set a deadline
  • The prize needs to be relevant to your brand
  • Allow mobile users to participate
  • Your hashtag should be creative and unique
  • Make sure the contest is shareable on social platforms
  • Announce when you’ve selected a winner

Since contests are so easy and inexpensive to run, I recommend doing this frequently.

Just because the contest is over, it doesn’t mean you can’t start another one up right away.

In fact, running these promotions often will give your customers a reason to keep entering and keep them actively engaged with your brand.

Post on your Instagram story

Take advantage of everything that Instagram has to offer.

Don’t just post to your profile.

Add photos and videos to your story as well.

Similar to Snapchat, anything on your Instagram story lasts for 24 hours.

So be active and add to it every day.

These are my top suggestions for what you should put on your story.

  • Promotional information and discounts
  • Social proof
  • Content from your website
  • Behind the scenes clips of your company workspace
  • New product launches
  • Introduce your staff

All of these will keep your followers engaged with your profile.

If you want to run an enhanced version of Instagram story, you can go live on this platform as well.

We already discussed the importance of this strategy when we talked about Facebook Live.

I recommend using Instagram live story for something different than your Facebook strategy.

With Facebook, you should host a weekly stream.

But with Instagram, you should go live when you’re at an event or doing something cool.

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This will create an authentic interaction with your viewers.

As a result, they will stay engaged with your profile and brand.

Write a double opt-in landing page

Here’s a strategy that’s often overlooked.

To increase customer engagement, you need to acquire customers who want to be engaged in the first place.

Here’s what I mean.

If your customers can create a profile or join your subscription list with just one click, you may get some people who aren’t genuinely interested.

Making customers take an extra step to join a list will increase engagement.

The best way to do this is with a double opt-in landing.

So when a customer subscribes to your email list from your website, make them confirm their subscription with a welcome email.

It will help you filter out people who don’t want to be engaged.

Double opt-in emails will also improve your open rates.

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While you may end up with fewer subscribers if you implement this strategy, you’ll get more active subscribers.

This will make it much easier for you to apply the other engagement tactics that we discussed.

Conclusion

Improving your customer engagement strategy will positively impact your revenue.

Not sure where to start?

Follow the tips that we outlined.

Start by developing interactive emails.

It’s easy. Just continue to email your current subscriber list but include videos, GIFs, live shopping carts, and menus to increase engagement with each campaign.

Schedule a time each week to go live on Facebook.

Interact with the viewers who comment on the stream.

This is a perfect opportunity for you to connect with your customers in real time.

Run a contest or sweepstakes that encourages UGC.

Contests will give the customers a reason to interact and engage with your brand.

Take advantage of the Instagram story feature as well.

Another way to make it easier to engage with your customers is by filtering the most viable candidates to your subscription list.

Create a double opt-in landing to ensure that your customers are interested and actually want you to keep engaging with them.

What type of content will you include on your Instagram story to increase engagement with your current customer base?



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Google’s all-new, quite counterintuitive guide to ad testing

The days of rigid A/B testing are over. Columnist and Googler Matt Lawson talks about how to test ads in the age of optimized ad rotation.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.


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How I raised $55 million without a pitch deck

Columnist Lewis Gersh says the best way for a startup to secure funding is to market a truly innovative idea. But how can you market to investors that your idea is outside the box when your pitch is squarely inside the box?

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.


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Reddit is ready for advertisers, but are advertisers ready for Reddit?

Reddit has been working to make its platform safer for brands, but brands don’t seem to be widely aware of that work.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.


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Snapchat’s new Promoted Stories format gives advertisers their own slot in the app’s Stories tab

Promoted Stories combines Snapchat’s regular Stories and Snap Ads into the app’s latest version of a home page takeover.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.


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Digital Marketing News: Tech & ABM, Top Search Ranking Factors and 2017 Consumer Trends

How New Tech Trends Can Amplify Your Marketing Strategy [Animated Infographic] How can technology help your account based marketing be more efficient and more personal? This infographic answers that question and more about marketing technology trends, AI and machine learning. MarketingProfs Top 17 Organic Search Ranking Factors [STUDY] A new study from SEMRush shows the top search ranking factors for 2017. These factors heavily favor engagement and quality of content - with factors like bounce rate, time on page and direct visits dominating the top of the list. Having the appropriate keywords in the title, meta description and page content were near the bottom. Search Engine Journal No One Trusts Social Media, but They'll Keep Using It Anyway [New Data] Distrust for social media is on the rise, with close to half of survey respondents saying that Google, Facebook and Twitter are 'untrustworthy.' However, despite the distrust, few plan to stop using social networks and Google. HubSpot Study Finds Sharp Drop in Time Spent on Facebook eMarketer reports: "Facebook users in the US spent more time with the platform than users of any other social network, 18 hours, 24 minutes. But that was a significant drop from the 32 hours, 43 minutes recorded by Verto Analytics a year ago." eMarketer 2017 Consumer Trends Report What do US consumers care about in 2017? In this new study, social media data shines some light onto what topics of conversation are most prevalent and what conversations are emerging. Crimson Hexagon The State of E-Commerce in Fast-Moving Consumer Goods [Infographic] According to MarketingProfs, this infographic "offers insights into the current state of e-commerce in FMCG, also known as CPG (consumer packaged goods), as well as why e-commerce is no longer just an option for FMCG (it's a must-have) and which verticals have seen the most growth."  MarketingProfs Facebook debuts web-based VR experiences within standard News Feed Facebook has recently released examples of brands who have developed VR apps with which users can interact in the Facebook News Feed and mobile app. Facebook is calling them "360 experiences". MarketingLand Google AdWords Editor updates to support budget type option for video ads & more Google has announced even more updates to their AdWords Editor program. These updates will support new features like Gmail asset-based ads, video extensions and a new budget type option for video ads. Search Engine Land What were your top digital marketing news stories this week? We'll be back next week with more digital marketing news. Have something to share? Tweet to @toprank!

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4 Ways to Use Typefaces on Your Landing Page to Elevate Your Brand

There’s a reason you can recognize an Apple ad right away. Same with Nike and Airbnb. A big part of that is because of imagery, copy, and layout, but typefaces play a huge role as well.

Although the ROI of having a strong brand is harder to measure than, say, clear button copy, it’s telling that some of the most respected companies in the world have strong design cultures and distinct aesthetics.

Brand recognition via typefaces and design

Examples of Apple and Nike’s on-brand design aesthetics.

When designing landing pages, you need them to be on-brand, pixel for pixel. Great design is often a tell-tale sign of more sophisticated marketing (and can give you an easier time getting conversions as it can help convey that you’re well established). One of the most obvious elements that need complete design versatility on your landing pages is your typeface.

This is why Unbounce launched built-in Google fonts in September of this year. Now there are 840+ fonts to choose from for all your text and button needs, straight from the text editor’s properties panel:

New Google Fonts in the Unbounce builder

For some inspiration on how to best use this newfound world of hundreds of fonts, we’re passing the mic to some of our in-house designers at Unbounce. See what they have to say about everything from the best fonts for creating a visual hierarchy to how your text can communicate emotion. Plus see what types of fonts they’re excited to use in their upcoming design work in the builder.

Break the rules where possible

Cesar Martinez, Senior Art Director here at Unbounce, hears a lot of talk about rules. But they’re not the be-all-and-end-all. As he tells us:

“Often when discussing typography with my peers, I hear about all sorts of design principles, some of which I’ve always challenged myself to learn almost as commandments. I realized that is very easy to fall into a vortex of overused principles of visual communication that can potentially damage your integrity (or what some call originality) as a brand.

When designing landing pages that need to feel especially branded or out of the box, try breaking these rules every now and then
(then A/B test to see what works and doesn’t). For example, you could use more than two typefaces in one paragraph, break the kerning on your headers, use a big bold-ass serif on a semi-black background and see how it looks with a thin handmade brushed calligraphic font as the subheader…I know it sounds crazy, but this can lead to unexpected results and it’s something I’m really looking forward to doing with the builder’s new built-in Google fonts.”

Some of Cesar’s favorite out-of-the-box examples of typography?

“I love what ILOVEDUST does when it comes to typography. I also recommend reading Pretty Ugly2 as an introspection of “bad” typography applications that succeed in the way they communicate a visual idea.”

Which font is Cesar most excited to use in the builder? A few: Roboto, Playfair, and Abril Fatface.

Try Roboto, Playfair and more in your next landing page design. See how to create a landing page in Unbounce and experiment with typefaces in a free 30 day trial.

Use fewer fonts to clarify information hierarchy

Denise Villanueva, a Product Designer, created our Unbounce Academy with clear and consistent hierarchy in mind.

“Good typography is the most straightforward way to create a clear content hierarchy. That, above anything else, should be the main criteria of choosing typefaces for your brand.”

Denise provided some specific pointers to help you achieve sound content hierarchy on your landing pages:

Denise

“When in doubt, using one font family in 2–3 weights (or two font families in 1-2 weights) will work the vast majority of the time. Using more than three typefaces can be distracting and chaotic — avoid doing it.”

As an example, Unbounce’s Fitspo template features the Raleway font (in all caps for headers and sentence case for regular body copy) and a clear, attention-grabbing header with supporting sections that guide you further down the page. Think of it as presenting your information in clearly defined levels that are easy to read.

Unbounce's Fitspo landing page template

Create a new landing page fast with the Fitspo template — or browse through other stunning designs you can use today.

Give someone all the feels with typographic details

For Denis Suhopoljac, our Principal User Experience Designer, using the right typography can evoke feelings in your audience:

Denis Suhopoljac

“Typefaces are all about composition, harmony, and mood rolled into one. By matching the right typography traits with voice, style and tone of a brand, you can enhance the wit, humor, or seriousness of a piece of copy. When it’s done right, typography makes your copy (and your entire brand experience) legible, readable, and appealing.”

Typefaces can convey emotion

Different fonts convey different types of emotions via text — what do these typefaces make you think of? Professionalism? Reliability? Playfulness? Timelessness?

Try incorporating typeface as part of your message

To Ainara Sáinz, our Interactive Designer, good typography can do double duty and save you from having to use other supporting imagery.

Ainara Sainz“If typography is done well, you don’t always need extra elements like images, backgrounds or even colors to reinforce the message. And sometimes, the execution is so flawless that the audience might not even need to know how to read to understand and feel the message behind it. Like Ji Lee’s Word as Image project—just… wow.”

Image via Ji Lee’s Word as Image project.

Your landing pages can make use of stunning fonts too

Having solid branding does wonders for a brand’s credibility, and our customers have been telling us that they want to get in on the action. Get into the builder today to explore the 840+ new typeface options available, and find your favourite pairings for your next landing page.



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Thursday, November 23, 2017

The TopRank Marketing Team Reflects & Gives Thanks

Today is a day that has become a cornerstone of American tradition and many of you are preparing for a day of fun and feasting with your love ones.

Every family has their own Thanksgiving traditions. For many families, you spend the day cooking, eating, conversing and eating some more. Others (like myself) take a more non-traditional approach and host a Friendsgiving with no turkey (don’t worry, there is prime rib).

The team at TopRank Marketing has our own Thanksgiving tradition which includes asking our team members to share thanks on a specific topic each year. Last year we shared why we were thankful for our clients and the year before we focused on why we were thankful for our team members.

This year, we decided to focus on what we are most thankful for in our career and what we’ve learned in our time at TopRank Marketing.

So sit back, put on your stretchy pants and take a moment to digest what some of our team members are most thankful for this year.

Steve Slater
Digital Advertising Manager

I’m thankful to have a career that is constantly changing and challenging me to change with it. I’m thankful to be at TopRank Marketing because it’s a company where open feedback and communication is valued. It’s also a company where personal growth and collaboration is baked into the culture.

Lee Odden
CEO

I am incredibly thankful to work in an industry where curiosity, passion, creativity and a focus on marketing results can be rewarded in so many ways. Not only do I have the opportunity to gain digital marketing knowledge working with first class clients and an amazing team at our agency, but I get to share their success stories at marketing conferences all over the world.

Josh Nite
Content Marketing Manager

TopRank Marketing has been a career rebirth for me. In two years I learned more than I did in a decade at my old job. I’m so thankful for leadership that cares about nurturing talent, and for the incredibly smart team I work with. Everyone is so generous with their knowledge, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Myrle Croasdale
Copywriter

I am thankful to be part of a team that is leading in the digital marketing arena. The TopRank Marketing team intentionally works to stay ahead of emerging trends to deliver concrete results for clients. It great to be part of such a dynamic team.

Mike Odden
Research Analyst

As working at TopRank Marketing is my second career ( I thought in public schools for 31 years ) I feel very  blessed to have the opportunity. To see TopRank  Marketing grow and to be part of this team of super professionals is fantastic!

Caitlin Burgess
Senior Content Marketing Manager

I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to work and grow with so many amazing, talented people. Thanks to the support and nurturing I’ve received, I’ve cultivated great friendships and had the opportunity to grow and refine many areas of my marketing skillset. So, a big thank you to every TopRank Marketing team member. I couldn’t do what I do without you.

Debbie Friez
Social Media Lead

I am thankful for the opportunity to learn from the great minds at TopRank Marketing every day. When you work with creative intelligent people you can’t help but cultivate new ideas and push to do better work. I’m really looking forward to the new opportunities 2018 will bring!

Elizabeth Williams
Account Manager

I feel so wonderfully blessed to have the opportunity to work at TopRank Marketing. I am thankful to be surrounded by such outstanding, industry-leading digital marketing professionals. I love to learn alongside and from the expertise of my team as we take on big challenges and drive results for our clients. I can’t wait to see how we can continue to grow and improve in 2018.

Ashley Zeckman (That’s Me!)
Director of Agency Marketing

Where do I start? I am incredibly thankful for the various mentors and teammates that I have had throughout the years. Without these people who have helped guide me, I would know far less than I do today.

My time at TopRank Marketing especially has been filled with opportunities that I feel incredibly lucky to have. Lee our CEO has been a fantastic mentor and has bestowed an incredible amount of knowledge on me related to all things digital marketing, but especially around the topics of content marketing and influencers. The team members that I have the opportunity to work with every day are some of the top in their field and I am fortunate to learn something new each day. I would also like to thank the amazing people who have given me a chance and helped me step outside of my comfort zone to get up in front of audiences and speak on topics relating to content and influencers including Ann Handley and Nick Westergaard (you guys are amazing!).

Rachel Miller
Influencer Marketing Manager

I am thankful for the opportunity to meet and learn from so many top minds. I am truly grateful that my role allows me to build relationships and learn new skills on an almost a daily basis.

Amy Higgins
Account Manager

I’m thankful for the relationships that I have built with my clients. 

Together, we have launched amazing, thought provoking campaigns — ones that exceed audience expectations and engage interesting conversations with a ton of thought leaders in the market.

Nick Nelson
Content Strategist

I know this response will sound cliché, but it is amazing to do work that you genuinely enjoy, and are passionate about.

I’ve been writing relentlessly since the days when I’d print out a neighborhood newspaper as a 9-year-old and deliver it to doorsteps around the block (“The Daily Mouse,” we named it). I’m beyond grateful to now have a career in which I get to write creatively on a regular basis, helping clients articulate their brand narratives and reach people in unique new ways.

I know from my own past experience, and from conversations with many others, that it’s not exactly common to have a job you wake up and look forward to each day. That isn’t lost on me, and never will be as long as I’m lucky enough to be doing what I do.

Anne Leuman
Copywriter

I am thankful for all of my awesome TopRank Marketing coworkers who afford me the opportunity to learn from them each and every day. They truly put the “top” in TopRank (for the record, they also put the “prank” in TopRank).

Katie Uphus
Vice President of Operations

I am thankful for the opportunity to join the TopRank Marketing team and help set them up for growth and greater success!

Have a Safe, Happy & (Somewhat)Healthy Thanksgiving

Thank you to our amazing clients, influencers and followers for everything that you do. Without all of you, we literally wouldn’t be here.

Whatever your plans are for the long weekend, we hope that you set aside some time to relax and unwind. You’ve earned it.

Happy Thanksgiving!
The Team at TopRank Marketing


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