Tag: World Wide Web

Internet Marketing

How to Create a Facebook Link Image That Gets More Clicks

In recent years, it has become harder to drive organic traffic from Facebook. Not only does Facebook limit the reach of pages to less than 2%, but there are over 80 million pages you are competing with every time you post. This is why, if you want to drive traffic from Facebook, you need to do that extra bit to the links you post.
One way to go about this is by creating better Facebook link images because they take up the most space in a Facebook post and stand out from the text.

Image Source: Shopify’s Facebook page
If you create more attractive Facebook link images and optimize them for clicks, you will generate more attention and also drive more traffic.
So, today I am going to show you how to

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Programmatic ad viewability outperforming direct ads for first time, says report

A new study from Integral Ad Science (IAS) has noted a potential sea-change in terms of digital advertising, with programmatic desktop display ads in the UK outperforming publisher direct ads for the first time.
The Media Quality Report, which offers UK benchmarks for viewability, brand safety and ad fraud across digital environments and channels, noted that during the second half of 2018 almost seven in 10 (69.1%) programmatic UK desktop display ads met minimum viewability standards. Publisher direct ads, in contrast, were at just over two thirds (67.7%).
Viewability was determined as 50% of the ad unit in view for one continuous second for display and mobile advertising, 30% for one continuous second on large display ad formats, and 50% for two seconds for video ads, per the Media Ratings

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The harm of social media validation: A question of responsibility and protecting the vulnerable

Humans have an innate desire to be liked by peers and to feel a sense of belonging — and nowhere is this more prevalent than social media. The more likes, comments, and shares a post gets, the more socially validated the poster feels.
In fact, studies show that just these online reactions release dopamine in our brains, which makes us feel happy. Like gamblers at a slot machine, we anticipate a certain response when posting something online: Who will like my photo? Will it attract more likes than my last post or my friend’s post?
Not surprisingly, social media platforms know all about this and find ways to keep us (and advertisers) coming back for more. While it’s good for revenue — after all, marketers are willing to hand over more money if they

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Amazon beats Apple and Google to world’s most valuable brand ranking

Amazon has overtaken Apple and Google to become the world’s most valuable brand, according to a new report from WPP and Kantar.
The 2019 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking was as ever dominated by technology, with five of the top 10 designated as tech providers. Amazon and Alibaba (#7) were designated in the retail space, while McDonald’s – whose recent purchase of personalisation software provider Dynamic Yield was well documented – Visa and AT&T completed the top 10.
Of those in the top 10, Google – last year’s victor – fell to #3, while Tencent dropped to #8 from fifth position in 2018 and McDonald’s fell a place to #9. Despite the latter’s drop, the report noted McDonald’s brand value had increase 3%. Amazon, by comparison, saw

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How Gen Z is changing the rules of social: Moving from demographics to true communities

Social media usage continues to evolve at a rapid rate – and as Generation Z continues to flood into the working world, its applications for both users and brands who wish to take advantage of it come into much sharper focus.
That is the idea behind the first in a new series of reports from ZAK, a London-based creative agency which purports to ‘create big brand ideas that engage under 30s’, in its own words. The first paper explores the disparity between mainstream social networks and gaming communities, and the lessons which can be learned for brands.
From interviews with 1,000 20-somethings – or indeed younger – the report found almost two in five (38%) use Facebook as a messenger service only. In other words, users are no longer spending

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LinkedIn modifies its algorithm to create a better news feed for users

Are you fed up of scrolling through your LinkedIn feed and finding cat videos, motivational quotes, or apocryphal odes to business excellence that make you want to vomit?
Don’t worry – the social network has got you covered. LinkedIn has announced changes to its algorithm to prioritise better conversations in users’ feeds.
The company uses the maxim of ‘people you know, talking about things you care about’ as its framework. Consequently, as the company explains, it tries to filter through the garbage and onto the good stuff.
LinkedIn prioritises users by filtering through direct interactions, direct connections, such as co-workers, and information on profiles to gauge interests and common experiences. The ‘talking about’ section rewards conversations which are ‘authentic’ and have ‘constructive back and forth’, while common groups, hashtags, and pages

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Internet Marketing

The big ‘tech-tonic’ shift: As Amazon begins to break the advertising duopoly – what’s left for anyone else?

Google and Facebook have held a well-documented, vice-like grasp over digital advertising budgets for over a decade, commanding 56% of global digital ad spend in 2018. That’s a fairly lucrative share of a market worth £470 billion. Viewing these figures, it is easy to regard the incumbent digital duopoly as unassailable; concluding their influence is too wide and their foundations are too strong.
But rumbling away behind these astronomical numbers is a very real threat to the current digital status quo. Sitting on mounds of valuable data, Amazon has long been murmured as a contender with the power to disrupt the dominance of Google and Facebook. These murmurs have escalated up the richter scale to tremors following the latest report from eMarketer.
In the race for quantifiable ROI advertisers

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Why Web Push Notifications Are Not Working For You (And How to Fix It)

Web push notifications have been gaining popularity over the last few years – and it looks like it’s only going to get stronger.
According to recent studies, web push notifications have much better opt-in rates. To be exact, they are so good that marketers can build their marketing list 30 times faster than they can with email subscription.
Desktop usage still accounts for 42% of total internet usage worldwide. And website push notifications are a great way to reach these users.
The average click-through rates (CTR) of browser push notifications are much better than emails which still hover around 1-3%.
Here are the average CTR of web push notifications:

Image Source
But those types of mouth-watering results are only achievable when your visitors allow you to send them web push notifications – and click on your messages.
If

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Taking Relationship Marketing to the Next Level

Taking Relationship Marketing to the Next Level written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Zvi Band
Podcast Transcript
Today on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I chat with Zvi Band. He is a the founder of Contactually, and a hacker and community builder.
Contactually is a smart CRM tool that can help you manage relationships in the long term. He’s also invested in growing relationships and connections in his own backyard, in the Washington, DC area. He co-founded Proudly Made in DC for local startups and the DC Tech Startups Meetup group.
His book, Success Is in Your Sphere, delves even further into the topic, providing a step-by-step approach to leveraging your existing relationships to your advantage.
On today’s episode, Band shares what he’s learned about networking and

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How to Consistently Create Engaging Social Media Videos

We’ve all heard it, time and time again: video is the new king.
It’s the best performing form of online content. And in just a few short years, almost all online traffic will go to videos.
Is it a fad? I certainly don’t believe so – video is here to stay. New technology might appear in the near future and change how we watch videos, but at the end of the day, video will still be a thing. It’s something we absolutely love to see.
On social media, video is outperforming all other forms of content – some studies say that video generates 1200% more shares than both text and image updates combined.
And all major social networks now have at least one video format – even LinkedIn has turned highly visual.
So

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Internet Marketing

How to Craft the Perfect Email

How to Craft the Perfect Email written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing
Some small business owners are intimidated by email marketing. Having to write an individual email is scary enough if you don’t consider yourself a writer. The thought of sending an email out to an entire mailing list can be downright terrifying!
Fortunately, the perfect email is about more than just writing. And even for the written elements, once you’ve figured out the essential components, it’s easy for even those more timid writers among us to excel.
Here are the steps that go into crafting the perfect email.
Start with a Strong Subject Line
According to Campaign Manager, the average office worker receives 121 emails per day. That’s a lot of activity in just one inbox, and it

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Internet Marketing

Is Facebook’s privacy pivot all about business messaging?

In a landmark blog post last month, Mark Zuckerberg outlined a new, “privacy-focused” vision for Facebook. The announcement signaled a fundamental shift in strategy for the embattled company in the midst of growing public mistrust and plummeting usage of its core social network.
It was also a shot across the bow of Facebook’s Big Tech rivals in the ongoing battle over the future of business messaging.
Welcome to the living room
Zuckerberg rightly observes in his post that while social media channels like Facebook offer users a digital “town square,” the rise of messaging signals that people increasingly prefer to “connect privately in the digital equivalent of the living room.”
Lucky for Zucky, Facebook owns the two most popular messaging apps in the world — WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger — which,

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To Google, or not to Google: Why collaboration is vital for the future digital ecosystem

Opinion In a double clampdown, Google has capped the campaign data available to advertisers and the inventory they can buy — thereby severely restricting their flexibility to deliver successful campaigns to consumers.
Its decision to block use of the DoubleClick ID when transferring data between services has left advertisers in the dark — unable to connect the dots between campaign insights held in DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM), Campaign Manager (DCM) or the Google Exchange, with behavioural data from other ad tech providers such as Adobe Analytics. Without this data, understanding which audiences to buy so that messages reach the most economically productive users has become a guessing game.   
And the limitations on buying make matters worse. Advertisers using independent tools in any capacity, such as to test for ad

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Top 10 Social Media Analytics Tools For Business

Top 10 Social Media Analytics Tools For Business

Do you know which of your tweets perform the best?

What’s the best time for you to update Instagram with new posts?

Is your Facebook strategy working to convert traffic to leads ? Yes? No? Maybe?

You might be having a difficult time answering these questions without using a social media analytics tool. Today, most marketers are aware that they need some specific tools to measure their efforts.

There are a number of tools available that can analyze how your social channels are performing. The only catch is that a new tool is released every other day.

With so many options on the table, the question is what can be the best tool for your business?

Whether you need performance data of a particular campaign, Instagram or Facebook stories, or just an overview of your social media profiles, we have got your back. Let’s check the 10 top social media analytics tools to evolve your marketing strategy.

1. Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is one of the best social media tools  to analyze and show how your website content is performing on different social media platforms. For example, Buzzsumo lets you know how many shares your blog have received on Twitter and Facebook.

You can easily grab attention from your targeted audience via social media channels. Hence, it is necessary to understand what most of your customers expect. Buzzsumo helps you get insights into the number of shares every piece of content gets and the type of content that performs best on each platform. This depends on the content type, length, and the publish date.

Buzzsumo for social media analytics tools

2. Google Analytics

Technically, Google Analytics is not a social media tool. But it’s still one of the best tools to measure social ROI and track social media campaigns . You might already have Google Analytics set up on your website for monitoring and analyzing traffic, you can also create and access reports that will be specifically related to social media tracking.

For example, you should be able to see how much traffic is coming to your website from social networks or can use UTM parameters for tracking particular social media campaigns.

Google Analytics for social media analytics tools

3. Quintly

Quintly uses social data for providing effective solutions to agencies, brands, and media. It allows businesses to validate their social media efforts with powerful analytics tools.

On average, Quintly offers 350 social media analytics metrics. As a business, you can leverage these statistics or even customize them to measure your goals effectively. Additionally, with Quintly, you can arrange all the relevant social media KPIs on a pre-existing or a customized dashboard.

Moreover, you have an option to observe all your channels and compare them with one another to have comparative insights.

Quintly for social media analytics tools

4. Viralwoot

Viralwoot helps you track all the underlying data of your boards. With the help of this tool, you can monitor the number of followers, likes, pins, and repins. It provides data in the form of a spreadsheet which makes sorting easy for you.

Viralwoot enables you to track the SEO level of your social media board in order to improve its search rankings . Moreover, it also provides you with trending keywords for Pinterest. With this tool, you can analyze your content as well, such as which is your most pinned piece of content.

Viral Woot for Social Media Scheduler and Analytics Platform for social media analytics tools

5. SproutSocial

SproutSocial offers social media management software  to help businesses implement effective social media strategies and accomplish desired goals. It includes a robust social media management tool that incorporates social analytics in detail.

With SproutSocial, you can access all the analytics related to various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter from a single platform.

SproutSocial shares multiple reports of your social media accounts. It includes an engagement report on your Facebook page to your task performance report.

6. Snaplytics

If there is one thing missing from most of these social media analytics tools it is recognition of Snapchat. Businesses may have to use a separate platform to check data from Snapchat as it doesn’t have a strong internal analytics tool.

Snaplytics helps you with data related to the snaps performance of your users. It also provides insight into Instagram Stories. With the help of this tool, you can track the completion as well as open rates over time to have a better understanding of much your audience is engaging with you. You can also track engagements, screenshots, and replies to determine where you lose your users.

With this tool, you can create a schedule of stories for both Instagram and Snapchat. It also helps you capture the incoming snaps and then repost them.

Snaplytics for social media analytics tools

7. Audiense

Audiense helps you leverage your users’ interests, get actionable insights, and create robust strategies for your business. It provides you with unique visual audience segmentation.

Audiense insights allow you to identify your targeted social audience. It offers numbers of filter options to create a report that can be used to ensure you that you’re targeting the right segment of your audience. You are able to integrate this tool with your own data in a convenient way.

Audiense for social media analytics tools

8. Iconosquare

Iconosquare is specifically used for Instagram. One thing that separates Iconosquare from other social media analytics tools is that along with analyzing your normal videos and images, you can have insights into Instagram stories . If you choose one of the higher plans, there is an option to get influencer analytics as well.

Iconsquare for social media analytics tools

9. Tailwind

When it comes to visual social media platforms, Instagram and Snapchat are the ones that most people talk about. In this competitive marketplace, Pinterest is active too. And to measure your Pinterest performance, Tailwind is one of the most popular tools to try.

With the help of this tool, you have an option to track your followers and engagement trends. You can analyze your audience. Tailwind also provides Instagram analytics with certain plans.

Tailwind for social media analytics tools

10. ShortStack

You must have heard of a social media contest , right?

Have you given it a go? Did you pick a winner? Did you analyze how your contest went? You can answer all these with yes when you check out and try ShortStack . This social media contest app provides performance analytics. Running a social media contest can be a great approach to attract the attention of your users. You can also give away some free gifts to encourage users to enroll for your contest.

Shortstack for social media analytics tools

Wrapping up

Undoubtedly, there can’t be a one-stop solution for analyzing all your social media platforms. All you can do is to check every option carefully and go with the one that will suit your needs.

With the above list, you now have knowledge of what each tool can do and how it can help you. I hope this will aid you to target your social audience in a more precise way.

Guest author: Ritesh Patil is the co-founder of Mobisoft Infotech that helps startups and enterprises in mobile technology. He loves technology, especially mobile technology. He’s an avid blogger and writes on mobile application. He works in a leading mobile app development company with skilled iOS & Android app developers that has developed innovative mobile applications across various fields such as Finance, Insurance, Health, Entertainment, Productivity, Social Causes, Education and many more and has bagged numerous awards for the same. Connect with him on  TwitterGoogle+ , and LinkedIn.

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How to Create a Successful Business Event

How to Create a Successful Business Event written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Rich Brooks
Podcast Transcript

Rich Brooks headshotToday on the podcast, I visit with Rich Brooks. He is the president of flyte new media and the founder of The Agents of Change conference and podcast.

Brooks created the conference in Portland, Maine to build an event for digital marketers and to get flyte’s name out there as an industry leader. Now in its sixth year, Brooks has learned a lot along the way about creating and hosting successful business events.

In this episode, he shares what he’s learned about events. We cover everything from why a business of any size and in any industry might want to start an event, to how to manage sponsorships, to how to create an event that people are excited to return to year after year.

Questions I ask Rich Brooks:

  • Events are hard. Should all business owners be doing them?
  • How do you create an event that really stands out?
  • How do you get people to attend your event, and how do you get them to come back?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why the three Ss of events (seat, speakers, and sponsors) matter, and how they’re interconnected.
  • What is the role of community building in creating a great event.
  • What makes a great sponsorship for your event, podcast, or content.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Rich Brooks:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by About.US .

Choosing the right domain name is critical to ensuring the success of your small business. Help your business stand out with a .US domain name. Easy to remember, unique, and trustworthy, now is the time to secure the domain name that you want with a .US web address.

We have a special offer just for our listeners. Register your .US domain name for just $1.49 for a full year, plus get access to a free website builder and hosting service for 6 months. To take advantage of this offer, go to www.launchwith.us and use the promo code PODCAST.

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The Single Biggest Challenge Facing Modern Marketers (And How to Deal With It)

The Single Biggest Challenge Facing Modern Marketers (And How to Deal With It)

Marketing used to be simple…

Create a promise. Find a platform. Deliver a message.

As long as these three elements worked in unison, people would buy what you were selling.

Then came the internet – the biggest marketing platform ever created.

In the beginning, that’s exactly what it was. A platform that you could use to deliver a message.

But then things started to get complicated.

As we began crawling out from our safe rock of naivety, the implications of exactly what this platform meant for society started to rear their head.

Our personal thoughts, feelings, and information were now in the hands of those wanting to sell us things.

The clash of the titans – personalization vs privacy

As with any progression in technology or societal innovation, it starts as a free-for-all with little governance. Before long, society develops a strong desire to protect their rights and regulation becomes inevitable.

That’s what is happening now with marketing.

Given the enormous amounts of personal data and information stored in the ether of the internet and beyond, a question of how this affects our rights and privacy as individuals has become prominent.

It’s the perfect storm of data, technology, and human instinct…

Marketers want to personalize the consumer experience for people because they know it results in better business outcomes. Utilizing advances in artificial intelligence (AI), cross-platform synchronization, and machine learning, marketers are creating a consumer experience that is more personalized than a recommendation from your best friend. But consumers, for the most part, want to protect (or at least control the use of) their personal data.

It poses the question – Where do we draw the line between personalization and privacy?

What the research is telling us

Salesforce recently published their 5th installment of the State of Marketing report , a research study that surveyed over 4,000 marketing leaders around the world.

The primary goal of this study was to determine how cross-functional dynamics, data, personalization, and consumer engagement, are changing the way businesses and customers interact.

Here are some of the key findings from the study:

  • 59% of high performers use customer data to create more relevant experiences.
  • The adoption of AI by marketers has grown by 44% since 2017.
  • However, 35% of marketers feel challenged to balance personalization with privacy, and;
  • Only 30% of marketers agree their organization is completely satisfied with their ability to balance personalization with privacy.  
  • Yet, 44% of respondents believe their brand goes above and beyond to protect and respect customer privacy.

In short: more marketers are using technology to personalize the customer experience , but they are also actively looking to protect the privacy of their customers.

The tug-of-war is real…

How do we strike a balance between personalization and privacy?

The battle between personalization and privacy is only just beginning.

As marketers, we are scratching the surface of what is possible. For consumers, we don’t really even know what we want to control at this point – but it’s something.

The thing is, despite an uproar about privacy, 79% of customers are willing to share data in exchange for contextualized engagement and 88% will do so for personalized offers.

Airbnb is one example of a brand who effectively balances personalization and privacy. Their Trip Matcher quiz enables users to personalize their browsing experience by answering a series of targeted questions. This puts the power of marketing personalization in the hands of the user, not the company.

Marketing Personalization - Arbnb

Another brand who puts personalization in the hands of the user as a way of balancing the privacy equation is Warby Parker . They have a promotion which allows customers to try their glasses frames at home for free. But in order to choose the right glasses to try, customers complete an interactive quiz which personalizes the recommendations for them:

Marketing Personalization - Warby Parker

These are just two examples of brands who are striving to balance the desire for privacy with the expectations of personalization.

Wrap

In the end, buyers still crave connection with businesses – they want to feel appreciated. In order to create a sense of connection for customers at scale, we need to combine technology with human instinct to personalize interactions across all channels.

Yes, we need to use personal data to deliver on this reality, but if we do it in a way that gives customers choice and control it will build more trust than any form of marketing in history.

Discover what the highest-performing marketers are doing to tackle this challenge in the State of Marketing report.

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Why Good Content Isn’t Enough: Lessons From The Latest Content Marketing Studies

Why Good Content Isn’t Enough: Lessons From The Latest Content Marketing Studies

It used to be that as long as you wrote long-form, valuable content on a regular basis, you could do well at content marketing .

Unfortunately good content isn’t enough anymore.

The SERPs are getting more competitive, and the marketplace is turning into a winner-take-all battle to the death.

Here’s what the latest content marketing studies can teach us about ‘good’ content and why it’s no longer going to get you the results you want.

1. The battleground is overflowing

On average, four million blog posts are published daily. With so much competition, it’s becoming nearly impossible for your content to be seen.

There are millions to billions of search results for even the most absurd keywords on Google:

The battleground is overflowing for content marketing studies

“Good” content isn’t enough to make your post the one-in-a-million (or billion) articles that earn a coveted spot on the first page in SERPs. After all, only the top ten make it onto page one. At most.

Back in 2015, Moz reported a significant spike in the number of SERPs showing fewer than ten results .

SERPs showing fewer than ten results for content marketing studies

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And this trend hasn’t reversed.

But wait: does it matter if page one is only showing 5–7 results instead of the usual 10? If your article is ranking in position 8, you’re probably screaming, ‘Hell yeah!’

While, in reality, it’s not going to make much of a difference. Because over 95% of people click on one of the first five results:

International exact position for content marketing studies

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So, if you’ve been competing to get on the first page, you’ve been wasting your efforts. You need to be within the top 5 results. Which takes a lot more than just good content.

Optinmonster recently shared the ten most important SEO ranking factors for 2019.

the ten most important SEO ranking factors for content marketing studies

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When looking at the list, it’s understandable if you start to feel a little excited about your chances. After all, the first three ranking factors (site security, page speed, and mobile friendliness ) are all fairly easy to meet with little to no technical or SEO knowledge .

Unfortunately, it starts to go downhill from there. It’s nearly impossible to gain the links and social signals required to rank in the top positions on search results.

Research from Moz and Buzzsumo indicated that 75% of blog posts received zero links and fewer than ten shares.

And it’s only gotten worse over the last four years. Much worse.

Today, according to a study by Backlinko, 94% of all blog posts have zero external links . 94%!

94% of all blog posts have zero external links for content marketing studies
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That means only 6% of the content being produced earns even a single backlink.

And your chances of getting multiple backlinks is even less likely. The same study shows that only 2.2% of posts earn backlinks from more than one external website.

Yet the top SERP spot holders have acquired thousands of links:

SERP spot holders for content marketing studies

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Competition is fierce. And the newer your site is, the more you’re at a disadvantage.

No one is going to link to your post unless it’s the best of the best.

That means content that: is audience and intent driven, has compelling copy, and covers a wide variety of subjects.

Sure, these types of articles might have been good enough in the past. But these days, all the experts agree that anything surface level isn’t going to make the grade :

Result Comparison for content marketing studies

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It’s no wonder that bloggers are relying more and more on paid traffic and influencers to help them reach their audience.

According to research conducted by Orbit Media, the number of bloggers who pay for website traffic has increased by 322% in the last five years!

Bloggers who report strong results based on type of promotions for content marketing studies

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These days, only the top 1% of 1% will ever show up in the top five SERPs.

And that’s not even the worst part…

2. Click-through rates are abysmal

We’ve already covered that 95% of click-throughs go to the first five results in SERPs. Which is bad enough. But just how closely did you look at that graph that I shared?

Let’s blow it up for easier viewing:

Click-through rates are abysmal for content marketing studies

Over 30% of CTRs on a desktop go to just the first SERP result. And that rate gets cut roughly in half as soon as your article slips just one position. While things are mildly better on mobile devices, it’s still a shockingly steep curve.

By the time you’re in third place, you’re only getting a third of the click-throughs of first place.

At this point, you may be so depressed by the competitive SERP environment that you’re thinking about your other options. After all, SEO is far from the only way to get your content out there.

Maybe you’re willing to put your money into paid ads?

Well, that’s no guarantee that your content will be seen either. According to WordStream’s latest survey, the average AdWords CTR is 3.17% for search and 0.46% for display ads.

Google Adrrords Industry Benchmarks average click through rate

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Both these averages are higher than when the survey was first done in 2016. But the average cost per click has also gone up over that period. Which brings us back to the insanely competitive battleground.

You could opt for social media ads instead. But the competition is just as fierce there. Acquisio reports that the average CTR of a Facebook Ad ranges between 0.5%–1.6%.

What about email marketing?

This option is marginally better, with an industry average CTR of 7.06%, according to Constant Contact.

All Industries Overall Average for content marketing studies

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But of course, you need to account for the insane reduction in potential reach. Since you’ve now gone from a SERP or social media audience in the 6–7 digits to a small mailing list. Even with the right lead magnets , your list is probably only in the 4–5 digits.

Wait, what about video content ? Cisco reported that 82% of all internet traffic will be related to video content by 2021. And as a newer development, it should be less competitive, with better results, right?

Wrong.

Video marketing is already as saturated a market as blogging , if not more so. Companies are already dominating with video, and first to market advantage for it was lost years ago:

Case Study Snowboard addiction for content marketing studies

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People already watch a staggering hour or more of online video content every day. And video-based ads have skyrocketed by 95% in the last few years.

Andrew Chen coined a special name for this CTR problem: the Law of Shitty Clickthroughs.

Back in the early days, even mediocre content got noticed, because there was very little competition. Skip ahead to 2011 and CTRs had already dropped to alarmingly low levels.

Check out Andrew Chen’s display ad example:

Check out Andrew Chen’s display ad example for content marketing studies

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And as he predicted, CTRs have continued to decay.

3. The game is rigged

We’ve already talked about the fact that Google is reducing the number of SERPs on page one. But we didn’t talk about what those organic results are being replaced with.

Enter the Knowledge Graph.

The game is rigged for content marketing studies

The knowledge graph was created by Google to answer people’s questions without making them click on a result to find the answer.

In other words, you’re now competing with the house. And the house always wins.

A recent study conducted by Moz reports that 40% of search results now end without a single click.

Which means that 40% of people have got their answers straight from Google, without ever having to click through to your website or anyone else’s.

And that percentage will only continue to grow.

Back on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, Google started experimenting with zero-result SERPs where organic search results were entirely removed from a small number of keyword searches such as the one shown here about the time in Seattle:

Google started experimenting with zero-result SERPs for content marketing studies

The experiment was halted less than a week later . But it is still an important omen of what may come.

Danny Sullivan update post for content marketing studies

And we shouldn’t be surprised since this has been Google’s primary objective since Day 1 .

Couple that with the fact that most people only read for 15 seconds on your content, leading to scroll maps and heat maps that look like this :

heat maps for content marketing studies

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All that hard work for almost zero real content consumption, and therefore, no brand awareness or development.

I’m not trying to suggest that SEO will disappear. Far from it. After all, Amazon and Voice search both equal SEO.

But we need to start looking at SEO and content in a new light. It’s no longer just text. And it’s no longer even static. Content is becoming more conversational, both through voice search and chatbots .

This is just yet another sign that SERPs have become winner-take-all markets. And ‘good’ content is not enough to survive. So what makes the cut? What is better than “good enough” in today’s market?

Let’s cover a few examples of how companies are standing out.

Check out this customer service resume article by Freshdesk . It covers multiple subsections and targeted keywords in the customer service space. This is a great start. Then, it delivers with detailed content and a free PDF to drive big-time on site and user satisfaction, all while building their brand:

customer service resume article by Freshdesk for content marketing studies

Image Source

Want to produce better content? Stop settling for mediocrity. Drive value through depth, content upgrades, and understanding what the user wants to see.

Another stellar example is from SpyFu , a competitive analysis tool. In a blog post about SEO audits , a topic that has been covered more times than you can probably count without going crazy, they vastly improved their value. How? First, they added a table of contents for usability:

blog post about SEO audits for content marketing studies

But that was just a minor step. Then, they took usability to the next level and created a video showcasing how to do it for visual learners and those that want to follow along:

How to do an SEO Audit for content marketing studies

Finally, they were responsive in the comments section answering any and every inquiry:

Responsive comment for content marketing studies

Want better results? You have to go the extra mile as SpyFu did. That means better-formatted content, more formats to consume it, and responding fast.

Conclusion

Content marketing can still provide significant results for your business. If it couldn’t, people wouldn’t still be creating millions of blog posts every day.

But in this hyper-competitive market, with no barrier to entry, anything less than extraordinary will languish in obscurity.

If your content is not amazing, unique, or controversial… don’t bother. Because the odds are literally stacked against you in almost every way possible.

You’re fighting an uphill battle. Where you need to be the one in a million to get noticed.

Guest author: David Zheng is the Founder of Growth Wit  and Wisemerchant  and the Head of Growth at BuildFire . He specializes in growth and content strategies to help influencers, eCommerce brands, venture-backed startups, and Fortune 500 companies grow their traffic and revenue online.

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How to Adapt Your Content Strategy to the Future of Google

How to Adapt Your Content Strategy to the Future of Google

SEO is one of the fastest-changing marketing channels and no wonder! Google is coming up with dozens of updates and changes each year forcing forward-thinking digital marketers to come up with more and more ways to keep up.

But keeping up is not even enough. In order to maintain consistent search engine visibility marketers need to keep looking into the future of Google. What will the search industry look like in 5 years and what should we be doing now to prepare?

I’m not that good at predicting the distant future of Google but here are three emerging trends to embrace now:

Use topic clusters to structure internal linking

While internal links define the hierarchy and structure of a site, they also make navigation intuitive and easy, while distributing link authority through the pages. However, if they are not organized well, the full benefit of an internal linking strategy won’t be achieved.

Using the topic clustering technique is a great way to create an effective internal linking strategy that will help both search crawlers and human beings to better understand your site.

Simply put, a topic cluster is grouping your site pages by topic. It’s an enhanced and combined version of a blog category page and the manually curated “Resources” page.

Topic clusters should demonstrate that a site covers a specific subject comprehensively, i.e. users will be able to find an answer to any subject-related question on the site.

You can build an effective topic-cluster-driven internal linking page by following these two steps:

1. Identify your topics

You’ll need comprehensive pages for each topic the site covers, so it’s important to determine the site’s main topic areas.

Although it’s normally not fun to do, it’s critical to conduct a content audit. This will force you to take a long, hard look at the existing content. This should be relatively easy, provided you’ve been tagging and categorizing the content consistently.

If the content is not structured by tags and categories, it’s a good idea to create a simple spreadsheet to help you create order and structure. Each row should have the URL of a blog post and the corresponding focus topic. Identify the posts that could serve as pillar pages.

2. Build clusters and interlink them together

When this is done, it should be relatively easy to group all posts into clusters. When it comes to internal linking:

  • Use breadcrumbs for each article within a cluster to link to its parent/pillar page. Use Google’s official best practices to markup the breadcrumbs using structured data.
  • Use in-content links to internally inter-link all pages within each cluster.

I am a big proponent of in-content links for two main reasons:

  • They are believed to be more effective for spreading link equity around the site than menus and footer links.
  • They are better for click-through:

Genentech click through for future of google

Although it is okay to link content to topics that are not in the cluster, this should only be done when necessary. The objective here is to provide links that will guide visitors through the customer journey and answer increasingly specific questions while breaking down conversion barriers.

3. Create an on-going strategy to promote your clusters

Re-vamping your current category pages to turn them into clusters is a good idea. Here’s a great article on how to rank your category pages by turning them into pillar content pages:

Create the On-gfoing Strategy to Promote Your Clusters for future of google

As you can see, the end goal is to create high-quality multi-media resource pages categorizing your existing content by topic. On top of all, these are also your biggest assets. By marketing these pages you ultimately promote all the individual articles and assets that are linked from your pillar pages.

My suggestion is to add your SEO team to your social media calendar for them to be able to add these pages for social media promotion as soon as they are done working on them. ContentCal is a tool that can help you put these articles into circulation. Your SEO team can add the pillar pages into the “Pinboard” for your social media manager to put them on a schedule:

ContentCal Pinboard for future of google

[ContentCal bridges the gap between your SEO and social media marketing teams allowing your SEO assets to be effectively promoted through brand social media channels increasing their organic visibility.]

Leverage user intent for SEO

In the SEO world, “Searcher intent optimization ” has received a lot of attention lately. These days Google focuses on identifying and measuring user satisfaction signals. And the future of Google looks very similar.

This refers to a search sequence when a user sends a query, finds and clicks on the relevant link, discovers useful information, and then either enters a query for the next stage of the journey or stops searching.

The objective of user-intent profiling is to achieve higher user satisfaction which improves your rankings (by sending positive signals to Google) and keeps your customers on your site (by giving them what they want).

Users can be targeted based on funnel stages if the content is created around the search intent. Queries can be divided into three categories : transactional, informational, and navigational.

  • Transactional queries are executed by users who have done their research and want to purchase something. These are bottom-of-the-funnel prospects and these queries have the highest value. These often include terms such as “requirements,” “integration,” “pricing,” and “comparison.”
  • Informational queries are executed by users who are doing research and are not really interested in purchasing anything. These often include terms like “when is,” “how does,” “what is,” etc.
  • Navigational queries are executed by users who want to find out where they need to go to in order to fulfill a need. They could be looking for a physical location or a URL. These include the brand name, “address,” “location,” or a generic product name.

You will likely to see more clicks and conversions if you focus on creating content that directly responds to these three types of queries. Search engines use topic modeling and other known factors to determine user intent and match it to page content.

You can reverse-engineer Google’s understanding of search intent for each query using Text Optimizer which is an advanced SEO tool that grabs Google search results for each query and applies semantic analysis to extract intent tables:

  • Type in your search query
  • Select “Google”
  • Click “New text”

You’ll see the tool generate the list of all terms and concepts that will help you optimize your content for Google and its users’ expectations:

Optimize your content for future of google

Furthermore, conversion optimization is needed to help you identify whether you are doing a good job meeting your visitors’ expectations and giving them what they came for. Finteza is the easiest way to set up event monitoring and compare their performance across different landing pages:

Finteza for future of google

[Keep track of your on-page conversions to identify those that fail to satisfy the user’s intent]

Focus on topic optimization instead of keyword optimization

While the goal of keyword optimization is to make a page rank for individual keywords, the objective of topic optimization is to make a page rank for a group of keywords, i.e. the main keyword and its close synonyms and related terms.

Topic optimization should result in more diverse rankings and satisfy a changing algorithm with the future of Google moving further away from keywords and closer to a user’s intent. If you do a good job discussing a topic in-depth, you have likely touched on many other ideas that are connected. A page that is optimized well indicates both depth and breadth to search engines, enabling the site to rank well for a bigger range of keywords.

The skyscraper technique is commonly used to get topical authority. This, basically, involves taking the piece of content that ranks highest for the topic and then writing a better piece.

You could also exploit areas where your competition has only scratched the surface and dive deeper with your own content by adding step-by-step instructions, examples, figures, and stats. You should use whatever your audience might find helpful and relevant, while never stuffing it with more keywords.

The basic point is not to write the most in-depth, longest piece of content, but rather to answer relevant questions, hence providing the most helpful content. Some examples include:

You can use Serpstat’s grouping tool to identify topics behind keywords and optimize for the whole group of keywords:

Serpstats grouping tool for future of google

[Serpstat uses Google search results pages to group keywords by relevancy allowing you to optimize for each group rather than for each individual keyword]

Prepare for the screenless buying journey

Most importantly, in 5 or so years ago, the future of Google may become 100% screenless. Voice and visual search are both on the rise. Consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of speaking their search terms to a device or showing the camera what they want to buy.

And in response, they expect directions and actions, not ten blue links that have been driving online visibility for more than a decade now.

How do you adapt to screenless and consequently click-less search?

There are things you can do already. For example, adopting Google Actions to teach smart speaker devices to navigate and use your site is one of the first things to do. Next, be sure to implement conversational marketing, i.e. create smart chatbots to help your customers whenever they need assistance.

Luckily, conversational marketing is easier than you think. Botsociety makes it easy to create smart customer support and shopping assistance chatbots.

Botsociety for future of google

[Teach your site to speak back to your customer by designing smart chatbots that can teach themselves to be of better service as they collect more data]

Be strategic about the future of Google

Content marketers have to be strategic and think about achieving broader objectives when content is created. Using a link structure that is organized, topic clusters that are comprehensive, and user intent profiles is more important for SEO strategies than ever before.

Guest author: Jessy Troy is co-owner of Hire Bloggers , a blog dedicated to helping bloggers find paid gigs or even full-time jobs. You can catch up with me on Twitter as @JessyTroy

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6 Email Marketing Myths You Can Ignore

6 Email Marketing Myths You Can Ignore written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Email marketing has been around for a long time, and consequently, people have developed a lot of opinions about what works and what doesn’t. However, as the digital marketing landscape has changed, some things about email marketing that used to be true are no longer so. And there are some things that have always been myths, but still persist today.

Here, let’s debunk the six biggest email marketing myths out there.

1. Email Marketing is Dead

As more digital channels have emerged through which you can reach clients, there have been whispers going around that email marketing is dead.

In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Marketers still see a great deal of value in email marketing, and are still investing heavily in this tactic. According to surveys from HubSpot , 93% of B2B marketers use email to distribute content. On the B2C side of things, 59% of consumers report that information in an email has influenced their purchasing decisions. And everyone is on email. Ninety-nine percent of consumers check their email every single day (and most report doing so multiple times a day).

2. Frequent Emails Feel Spammy

Some marketers are hesitant to send regular emails at the risk of annoying their mailing list. And it’s true, for most consumers, their inboxes are crowded places. A survey from Marketing Charts found that the average person receives 416 marketing emails each month.

But just because others are sending emails doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send any (or only send one once in a blue moon). The key to avoiding that spammy feel is ensuring that your content is always valuable. If you send emails that add value, provide information, and are actually helpful to your audience, you’re a lot more likely to see strong open rates and a reduction unsubscribes.

If you’re looking for tips on creating engaging content, check out this post.

3. Unsubscribes Are a Bad Thing

No one enjoys rejection, and an unsubscribe can certainly sting. But the reality is that unsubscribes are not necessarily a bad thing. A clean email list is key to staying on ISPs’ good sides, and that’s what will keep your emails from being barred from inboxes.

You can do things on your end to clean your list—like scanning for typos and giving people an option to re-opt-in if they’ve been unresponsive to your recent email marketing efforts—but unsubscribes are a way for you to get your customers to do some of the heavy lifting for you. An unsubscribe is someone saying they’re no longer interested in your content, and that could be for any number of reasons.

If you see a large number of unsubscribes all at the same time, that might be indicative of a problem with your content, but if you see people leave your list from time to time, that’s simply making space for a higher open rate overall and a better relationship with ISPs.

4. There is a Magic Day and Time to Send Emails

Some marketers swear by sending emails at a very specific time. If it’s not Tuesday at 10am, they won’t send an email!

There has been a lot of research over the years, with marketers trying to find that magic time where open rates will be high and conversions will abound. But these studies have been less than definitive, and so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to timing emails.

It’s certainly true that some audiences will engage with emails at a higher rate at certain times of day, but that will vary from business to business, so trying to stick with some antiquated idea about the one day and time you can send an email won’t serve you.

Instead, do some experimenting, send emails at several days and times throughout the week and see which ones get the highest engagement. Then aim for that time again, and see if you can repeat your results. Be willing to mix things up, and don’t be afraid to send emails out more than once a week (see point 2 above).

5. Long Subject Lines Spell Trouble

For a long time, marketers were told to shy away from subject lines that were too long to be fully displayed in someone’s inbox. That sounds on the surface like a sensible piece of advice, but it turns out that a recent study from Marketing Sherpa busted this long-held belief.

While email subject lines that fall into that “sweet spot” of 41-50 characters performed well, it’s actually longer subject lines with 61-70 characters that did the best. So don’t stress about fitting all of your email subject lines into those narrow parameters. Instead, work to create a subject that is attention-grabbing and really tells readers what they can expect to find inside the email.

6. Avoid Repeat Messages

Super Office reports that the average open rate for emails in 2018 was just shy of 25%. That means that three out of four people on your list are not seeing any given email. Some people won’t read a given email because the subject line doesn’t interest them, but others will miss it for completely innocuous reasons. They may have been busy that day or accidentally deleted the message.

Whatever the case may be, for your most important content, it’s okay to send the same email copy twice in order to get the highest engagement. This isn’t a tactic you should take with every email message, but it can actually be valuable when used sparingly.

There are a few caveats here. First, don’t send the same email on the same day. Instead, wait several days before you resend it. You should also switch up the subject line, so that those who wrote the email off the first time because of its subject line might open it this time, and so that those who opened it the first time around aren’t put off by getting the exact same email twice.

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How to Do a Content Audit That Will Reveal Hidden Gems On Your Website

How to Do a Content Audit That Will Reveal Hidden Gems On Your Website

The year 2019 introduced Marie Kondo and her famous KonMari Method of decluttering. Some call it phenomenal, but Kondo herself considers it as life-changing magic.

Made to be applied for just belongings, the KonMari method has been applied to personal lives, relationships, careers, and whatever aspect you need cleaning up. But what about in the digital world? The Internet is a vast space filled with content in all types, forms, and lengths that some aren’t even needed anyway.

But what if we apply the KonMari method to the content we see online? Then you don’t really need magic, you just need a content audit.

One gruesome task every digital marketer needs to face at one point in their content strategy is doing a content audit. If you’ve done content auditing a hundred times or are just starting to do one for your own website, read on to find out the step-by-step guide on how to do a content audit.

What is a content audit?

In technical terms, a website content audit is an inventory of all the indexable content you have on your website mostly in the form of written blogs. But if you have more diverse content like images, infographics, videos, and even audio then you can count that too.

Line up all your content, consider their individual performance to your overall analytics then compare it to your set KPI. Only then can you consider content that can be thrown away.

Why conduct a content audit?

What Internet users expect from a website experience for content audit

Image Source: MarketingCharts

From the chart above, most respondents answered that website performance like fast streaming and quick page speed is the first thing users expect when loading a website. To achieve the optimal page load speed, you can optimize images and fonts, and minify your Javascript or CSS codes for faster loading time.

Next on the priority list is the content of the website. Users check if the posts are still relevant, fresh, and updated.

If you’ve had a website running for more than 5 years, maybe even less, but you post and produce blogs on the regular then you definitely need a content audit. This is to make sure that the content you’ve produced is all working and converting for you? It’s not about quantity, but the quality you put online that matters most.

With just a simple content audit report, you can:

  • Remove low-quality content;
  • Improve on the trust and quality of the output on your website;
  • Update the old and outdated content available on your website; and
  • Recognize content opportunities.

Be like Marie Kondo; put everything you own in your hands and ask if it sparks joy in your life. In the case of digital marketing and content, view all your content and see if it sparks interest and converts in your favor.

How to do a website content audit

Step 1: Prepare a spreadsheet

Have an area where you can lay all of your belongings and asses them one by one. Step 1 - Prepare a Spreadsheet for content audit

Love them or hate them, spreadsheets are the lifeblood of every content strategy. Lay all your data in that single spreadsheet. Just keep adding tabs for every set of data you will be putting and laying down.

Tip: Google Spreadsheets saves time, space, and effort. Use it well.

Step 2: Crawl and index your website

Gather all your belongings and categorize them, placing them in proper bins.

Time to gather up all your content! You can download all the data and pages on your own, but if you have a number of pages then you might as well call a friend to help. Don’t worry about all the pages, just include all the indexable content.

Tip: Have a column to place your URL, Page Title, Date Published, Content Type, and all the other information you deem useful in your decluttering process!

Step 3: Import your analytics and data

The process of elimination and discarding to see what is needed and not.

What is an audit without checking for performance? Here is how to do a content audit of your website and data you’ll be needing from Google Analytics:

  • Organic Traffic – to know how many people are visiting and browsing through your website.
  • Paid Traffic – if ever you’ve ever invested in PPC then you must include the result of the ads.
  • Bounce Rate – to help analyze what’s wrong with the page; it may be because of the page speed on your website or the content is just not that good.
  • Time on Page – if you’re a blog site and visitors only spend a matter of seconds then are they really reading your content? This is where you will find out if your content strategy is effective.
  • Unique Visitors – the more views and visitors you get on your website then the more chances of conversion or engagement with your users.
  • Pages Per Session – after the homepage where do they go next? Do they browse on the website? This tracks how far users explore and read more on the website.
  • New vs Returning Users – these are the two most significant users a website can get. Are you attracting new people? And is your website gaining a following with its content or services?
  • Traffic Sources – this is needed for you to know where your users are coming or redirecting from. Do they catch you on Facebook often? Or is Search really your strong suit?
  • Conversions – if you have a sign-up for a newsletter or an ‘add to cart’ on your website you need to measure if those call to actions are working and getting the results you want.

Step 4: Import backlink data

Gather everything you own, even the objects that mean the most.

Whether you’re actively doing outreach for your website or not, backlinks can be a big boost in credibility and your DA score.

Collect all the links, list them down in your spreadsheet, and review them one by one. Instead of asking “what sparks joy?”, ask what links are following the Golden Rule of E-A-T : expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

Step 5: Review and analyze your data

Ask yourself and your belongings, “Does this spark joy?” If yes, then keep it. If not, discard the object.

Time for the most important step! The data you’re looking at is just bare skin and bones, you need to bring life to your data with a content audit. Once you’ve gathered all your data, process it one by one and then collectively.

  • List your key takeaways from the analytics and data you’ve gathered.
  • Review the content you’ve been posting and ask these questions in place of ‘what sparks joy’:
  1. Is the content updated and still relevant?
  2. Is their significant traffic on the page?
  3. Is the content ranking on search engines ?
  4. Are there significant shares on social media ?
  • Weed through your backlinks and see if they give significant value to your website or not because they’re just dead weight at this point.

It’s alright to take time with this step. This is where you really learn how to do a content audit of your website because this is where you’re dissecting your content strategy of the whole website and all its pages.

Tip: Review it all manually. No amount of SEO or online tools can give you the exact answer you need to improve your strategy. Put on your thinking caps, this is a long process.

Step 6: Create a content audit report

Discard all the unnecessary and start arranging your kept belongings in its proper place.

Create a content edit report for content audit

As with all things, documentation is highly needed and very much recommended. Put your whole process in a presentation format and present all your data in a simplified manner.

An example flow would be: first, present the gathered data, second is show your elimination process, third is the end result, and so on and so forth. You need to put your whole content audit process into writing not just for formality, but for future reference when you do another audit in the years to come.

Touch things only once

In KonMari, once you’ve touched an object be sure to put it back where you got it right away. Once you place something down and leave it, you are obligated to touch it and clean up again.

Just like with a content audit, if you don’t want to keep doing this tedious process annually or at least regularly, make sure what you posting online fits the bill and won’t even need to be audited.

Guest author: Aby League is an environmental researcher with a Masters Degree in Biology. She is working as a freelance writer and researcher of all things that interest her like Technology, Online Banking and Shopping, Market Research, and Innovation.

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Weekend Favs June 1

Weekend Favs June 1 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

  • Conversific – Use analytics tools to grow your Shopify e-commerce business.
  • imgix – Transform, optimize, and cache your online image library.
  • Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer – Check all of the key factors in your website’s SEO to find and fix weaknesses.

These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

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Best Practices for Keeping Your Email List Nice and Clean

Best Practices for Keeping Your Email List Nice and Clean written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

If you’ve been in business for a while, you’ve likely built up a quite a long email list. Email remains a convenient, effective way to reach prospects and customers, so it’s great to have a lot of names to send offers and updates to.

However, if your marketing emails are getting low engagement, it may start to raise eyebrows with internet service providers (ISPs). If you continue to have issues with your email list, ISPs will block your emails from ever reaching your customers—even those who are still excited to hear from you.

That’s why it’s important to keep your email list neat and clean. Sending emails only to those who are engaged and happy to be on your list will ensure better open rates and a greater return on your marketing efforts.

If you’ve let your list get to a scary place, now is the time to tidy it up. Here’s how you do it.

Look at Your Bounces

The first place to start when you’re cleaning your email list is to see where it stands now. Take a look at your bounce rates. Email marketing services will pull reports that show you hard and soft bounces.

A soft bounce is an email address that they were temporarily unable to reach. It may be because their server was down, or some other short-term issue. These addresses don’t need to be removed from your list right away, but do know that if the soft bounce continues week after week, it will become a hard bounce and then should be addressed.

Hard bounces are for email addresses that cannot be reached permanently. It might be because the email address has been closed (this happens a lot when someone signs up with their work email and then leaves the company). It may also be something that you can fix on your end, like a typo.

If the hard bounce is something you can fix, you should fix it and otherwise leave the name on your list! If the hard bounce isn’t something you can control on your end, remove that email address from your list.

Check for Typos and Role Addresses

As I mentioned above, a lot of typos in an email list can have an effect on bounce rate. Some typos are obvious and easy to catch—for example, email addresses with “gamil.com” instead of “gmail.com.” Others require a little more digging to fix. For example, you’re not necessarily going to know how a person’s last name or company name should be spelled, but there are ways to identify these issues. Cross check the spelling of their name across information in your CRM database. If their last name is spelled one way in the name section, but then spelled differently within their email address and the email is bouncing, you can assume that the email spelling is incorrect and instead switch it to the spelling reflected in the other portion of the form.

Role addresses should also be removed from your mailing list. These are emails that are “support@” or “info@.” These are addresses that are easy to scan for and remove, and eliminating them can have a positive effect on your standing with ISPs.

Opt-In Messaging

Once you’ve gone through your existing email list and cleaned things up, you want to take steps to keep your list in good shape. That starts with opt-in messaging.

For people who sign up via your website, provide them with a double opt-in prompt as they’re entering their information. This means that they’ll click on the “Sign up for our mailing list” button, put in their information, and then receive a second prompt—”Yes! Sign me up for this list”—which they’ll have to click to confirm enrollment. Asking people if they’re sure they want to register will keep those who are on the fence from even getting on your list in the first place.

You can take the same approach with names who have been dormant on your list. You shouldn’t delete them right away on your own, but you can check in with those people who have not read your emails in some time. Send them a re-opt-in message. This gives them the chance to choose to remain on your list. If they do remain, this re-opt-in will perhaps reinvigorate their interest in your list and get them opening messages from you again. If they choose to go, that’s okay, too! They’ve done some of the work of scrubbing your list for you.

Create a Welcome Email

Sometimes people sign up for a new email list and then promptly forget that they’ve done so. A week later, they get the first email from the company and say, “What is this doing here? I didn’t sign up for this!” Suddenly, they’re reporting your email as spam. Get reported as spam often enough, and you can get dinged by ISPs.

That’s why it’s good practice to send a welcome email. Thank your new subscriber for signing up, tell them what they can expect from you going forward, and give them an opportunity to opt out now, in case they’ve already changed their mind.

Better yet, consider establishing a welcome journey series , focused on getting them to a sale even more quickly. No matter what route you choose to take with the welcome email, it will help to manage expectations for both you and them, and allows you to keep your email list clean from the start.

Send Regular Emails

Once you have a list of email addresses you know are valid, from people who are excited to be there, it’s up to you to stay in regular contact!

Setting a regular schedule for your emails keeps your fans engaged and open rates high. People who really want to be on your list will be excited to see your content, offers, and updates on a regular basis. If you only send emails once in a blue moon, it’s possible that even those who like your business will ignore it or question why they’re on your email list.

Sending regular emails is also a great way to weed out those who don’t really want to be there. When a customer or prospect regularly receives an email from a business they’re not excited to hear about, it’s more likely to drive them to unsubscribe. While having someone leave your list may seem like a bad thing, it actually saves you from having to do the work of identifying them as unengaged subscribers and removing them on your end.

Segment Your List

Another great way to keep subscribers happy and engaged is to segment your list . Segmentation means that people will get the content that’s most relevant and important to them, which will keep them opening and reading your mailings.

There are a number of ways to segment. One is by stage in the customer journey. You can provide your best repeat customers special discounts, sneak peeks at new products, and other fun bonus offers. Another is by past purchase behavior. Let’s say you own a toy store. A customer who’s purchased toys for babies in the past likely won’t want information about the newest board games or Lego sets, but they would like to hear about the latest car seat toys.

In the world of email lists, it’s quality, not quantity, that wins out in the end. Building and maintaining a clean list, filled with subscribers who are happy to be there, will help you to decrease your bounce rate, increase your open rate, stay on ISPs’ good sides, and get the most out of your marketing efforts. A tidy email list is a win-win-win, so set aside some time this summer to clean things up and set yourself up for email marketing success.

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Why A Small Business Needs A Responsive Website

Why A Small Business Needs A Responsive Website written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Responsive websites are a necessity in today’s digital marketplace. That isn’t surprising when statistics state that 51% of time spent online in the United States took place from a mobile device, rather than a personal computer. Your website should be mobile-friendly and responsive any time a user visits. Otherwise, you’re turning business away at the first click.

What is Responsive Web Design?

Though it is a common business marketing term, many small business owners still wonder what a responsive website really entails.

A responsive website, aptly named, means that the site’s web design has been developed to adapt and respond to the different forms of technology that your audience uses to view your site.

If you’ve ever opened a website on your mobile phone that seems to have you scrolling horizontally more than vertically, leaving you piecing together cut-off sentences and large photos, you’ve viewed a website that is not responsive. On the other hand, a responsive web design ensures that your visitors have a seamless experience while on your small business’s website.

What Are the Benefits of a Responsive Website?

Strategic business marketing includes many tactics to help your small business reach your goals, both online and offline. Responsive web design is a key tool, offering many valuable benefits to your online marketing efforts.

Faster Web Pages

Countless statistics indicate that internet users’ attention spans are becoming increasingly short, with more distractions than ever pulling your audience away from your site. With responsive web design, your site will be optimized. Optimization and faster webpage loading times mean that your website users will be able to more easily navigate your site, rather than getting frustrated and clicking away.

Higher Conversion Rates

With easier navigation and shorter loading times, website visitors are more likely to stay on your website and find information easily. Once your visitors are able to find your services, they are much more likely to decide on contacting you. Furthermore, a responsive web design ensures that your website remains consistent and recognizable for return customers who are using different devices to find more information about your business.

SEO Ranking

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard the term SEO. Though the term can seem vague at times, the important aspect of SEO to remember in terms of your web design’s responsiveness is that Google prefers those who have a mobile-friendly and desktop-version of their site. Even better, if your site can configure to all the tablets, large phones, and everything in between, your website will be ranked even higher in search results. Better SEO means better traffic to your website!

Less Website Upkeep

Rather than choosing a responsive web design, many small business owners choose a website with a mobile version and a desktop version. A problem arises with that solution. With the changing sizes of mobile phones and tablets, only two versions of a website prove to be a challenge. With a responsive site, an optimal layout is available for any screen size, thanks to fluid grids . Less time spent updating the sizing and layouts to keep up with technology trends means more time on what you do best!

Determine Marketing ROI More Efficiently

A responsive website provides an additional benefit to your small business’s analytics and reporting. Rather than managing multiple versions of a website, a responsive site allows you to track your audience, conversions, and traffic sources much more simply. Similar to Google awarding you through better SEO ranking, Google Analytics now caters to the responsive web design model to deliver consolidated information that gives you the whole picture on your marketing results.

A Unified, Memorable Brand

One of the key benefits of a responsive website is the ability to design one site that is applicable to all internet users. As a result, a single design delivers your brand’s look, personality, and voice in a unified fashion. Though this may seem surface level, business marketing best practices indicate that a unified brand builds loyalty and recall , which then directly converts to repeat customers.

Effortless Business Marketing

At Outreach Local Marketing, we believe that with a responsive website, your small business will be a marketing machine! Our process for website development centers around Google best practices, taking keywords, SEO, social media, and content into consideration. In the end, our goal for your responsive web design project is to create a website that ensures your business is putting your best digital foot forward. Forty percent of internet users have stated that they exclusively search on their mobile phones, so don’t let your small business fall behind the times!

About the Author

David Gersh is the founder and president of Outreach Local Marketing , a digital marketing agency based in Westlake Village, CA. Through his agency, he helps local businesses build a marketing machine that attracts leads & customers by implementing a strategy first marketing approach.

 

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