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In decades past, entrepreneurs didn’t have nearly as much access to data and information. Yet, that didn’t seem to stop them from doing market research. They would pore over whatever information they had and tirelessly seek out more.

The roles seem to be reversed today. There’s more information circulating around the internet than ever before, yet it seems like fewer entrepreneurs are taking the time to determine market viability prior to launching startups.

Market research matters

Launching and growing a successful business can ultimately be simplified down to two key components. First, you need a valuable product or service that satisfies a pain point or provides significant entertainment value. Second, you need a target group of customers who want to purchase what you’re selling. Some entrepreneurs do well with the first part of the equation, but then fail to consider the second. They just assume that this target market exists and don’t do much investigative work. Unfortunately, this can be a costly mistake.

 

“The gathering of data, information and facts toward the advancement of knowledge that can assist with decision-making is essential to all organizations,” says Arbour Group. A failure to gather data at any stage of a business – especially when just starting out – can be dangerous.

The good news is that it’s easier than ever to conduct basic-level market research. The internet has opened up a wealth of opportunities for entrepreneurs and you would be wise to take advantage of them. Here are a few ways you can get started:

1. Perform simple Google searches

Sometimes, all it takes is a few simple Google searches to begin your market research. You can find out a lot about potential competitors, palpable pain points, market size, and existing solutions with a few swift strokes of the keyboard.

Will you find out everything you need to know about your target market by using a search engine? Probably not; however, it’s a fantastic place to start. You can gather just enough information to move into the next phase of research – which will likely be a more formal phase.

2. Use social media

Social media is one of the easier and more effective avenues for collecting information from customers. You can use it to gain firsthand feedback from individuals without having to set up formal focus groups or expensive studies.

“It is important to be open-minded and adaptable when conducting market analysis as some of the feedback you hear may not be exactly what you were expecting and hoping for,” entrepreneur Shawn O’Conner mentions. “You may feel attached to your business idea and wish to change nothing about it, but after conducting a survey maybe you find that customers are looking for a slightly different service or additional features.”

3. Partner with outside sources

It’s possible that you’re unable to gather enough market research on your own. This is often the case when launching a totally unique product that the market has never seen before. In these situations, don’t be afraid of partnering with outside sources that specialize in market research. It’ll cost you, but it’s better to spend some money up front than to waste money down the road as a result of selling a product to a market that doesn’t exist.

Make market research a focal point

Market research isn’t something you can gloss over. It’s one of the cornerstones of a successful brand and can mean the difference between launching a product that doesn’t sell and generating millions of dollars in revenue. There are obviously other pieces that play a part, but it all begins with an accurate and comprehensive understanding of your audience.

Author : Anna Johansson

Source : http://ventureburn.com/2017/01/is-market-research-a-lost-art-for-entrepreneurs/

Categorized in Market Research

Competitive analysis can be helpful, but columnist Dianna Huff explains why it's important not to get too focused on your competitors' performance.

Website traffic is one of those metrics small business owners use to determine if their website is “working” — along with the number of inquiries, leads or sales they get from it. Traffic is also a metric that gets a lot of hype; you can find millions of articles explaining how to increase website traffic.

In addition to looking at your own traffic, you can use tools that tell you how much traffic your competitors are getting. When small business owners see this information, they get concerned because generally, the traffic numbers are sometimes very high — or at least higher than what they’re getting.

As one business owner said, when an agency presented competitor traffic data to him, “All I could think, when I saw the data, was, ‘They’re eating our lunch’ in terms of sales.”

As I explained to him, however, these tools don’t tell you the full story. They don’t tell you, for example, whether the traffic is the right kind of traffic or if the traffic is resulting in inquiries. And, they certainly don’t tell you if the business is meeting its sales and marketing KPIs.

Not all traffic is created equal

Back around 2003 or 2004, Nickelodeon, the TV network, created this ingenious marketing campaign for the animated show, “Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius” (which my then 6-year old son watched faithfully).

 

The marketing campaign, which reached kids through the TV show, told them to look for special game codes on product packaging. These codes could then be used in the games featured on the show’s website. Then each week, players’ activities would be featured on the TV show.

I found this campaign, and my son’s active participation with it, so remarkable, I wrote an article about it for my newsletter and then posted the article to my website.

Although this was back in the day before social media, blogs and so on, traffic to my website skyrocketed within a couple of weeks. Why? That article was showing up in searches for “Jimmy Neutron game codes.” For a couple of months, I watched this traffic pour in — but ultimately, I made the decision to take the article down.

Why? This was back in the day before Google’s “Not Set / Not Provided,” so I could see exactly which search queries were driving traffic to my site. The search phrase “Jimmy Neutron game codes” didn’t exactly align with the keywords used by people looking for a B2B marketing consultant.

I can list lots of other examples like this, but I think you get the picture. High traffic doesn’t necessarily mean the right kind of traffic.

High traffic doesn’t always translate into inquiries

Last year, my company conducted a website and marketing audit for a small business owner concerned about the lack of inquiries. Traffic to the website was healthy — over 9,800 sessions a month — because the company was very diligent about creating content.

 

One of the problems, however, was that 65 percent of the traffic was due to blog posts, and of the hundreds of posts created over the years, four were responsible for 36 percent of overall traffic. While these posts were related to the service offerings of the business, they were also the type of “how to” post where a person could use the information without taking any further action with the company.

Hence, the content wasn’t helping with real inquiries — except the occasional newsletter subscription.

I’ve seen this happen over and over again with small business websites — and even with the Huff Industrial Marketing (my company) website, too. One year, for example, I wrote a blog post listing over 50 ways to drive traffic to a website. That post was picked up by numerous SEO practitioners and marketers, and over time, it became the number one traffic generator to the website — accounting for over 50 percent of traffic.

The problem, however, was it didn’t result in one inquiry, and all that non-targeted traffic was skewing the data in Analytics. We finally deleted it in early 2016, and at the same time, began creating content more in line with our client base. Yep, we took a huge hit initially, but it was the right decision. Traffic is up again — as are inquiries.

You have no idea what your competitors’ marketing strategy and business goals are

Because we provide marketing strategy for our small industrial manufacturing clients, we’re often privy to their business plans. These plans typically have a main objective: to grow the business to X number of dollars in five or seven years. To reach this objective, the plan will list various things the company will do: improve quality, enter a new market, introduce new products, replace antiquated equipment with automation and so on.

Thus, we base recommended marketing strategies on our clients’ business goals.

When you run reports using the tools available and then see your competitors and their (higher than yours) traffic numbers, what you’re viewing is data that is absolutely meaningless. Unless you have the company’s business and marketing strategy in front of you, you have no idea what the company’s KPIs or targets are, or if the traffic is meeting them or not.

And, since this data lacks context, basing your marketing strategy on it is a sure recipe for marketing disaster.

In conclusion…

Viewing metrics about your competitors’ website traffic shouldn’t be used as an indicator for deciding how to proceed with your marketing strategy. One, you have no idea if this traffic is “working” or not; two, you don’t know the reasons why the traffic might be higher than yours; and three, the traffic number itself is meaningless because it’s taken out of context.

Instead of focusing on your competitors and their traffic numbers, focus instead on your marketing. Rigorously track and measure your marketing tactics to determine what works — that is, which tactics result in inquiries that become sales — and then let go of the stuff that doesn’t work (even if everyone else is doing it). You’ll be much happier, and you’ll look really smart, too.

Author: Dianna Huff
Source: http://searchengineland.com/3-reasons-can-safely-ignore-competitors-traffic-metrics-267241

We live in the information age, and that’s reflected in the emergence of content marketing as a significant part of business marketing strategies. Create the right content and you can grow your business organically, as people find it via search engines and social media. Providing valuable content also establishes your business as an authority in its field, enhancing its reputation.

However, it’s time consuming to generate content and develop a marketing action plan for that content. If you get it wrong, you could end up investing a large chunk of valuable time on a failed campaign. That’s why it helps to incorporate content marketing tools to strengthen your efforts.

Here are five content marketing tools that can take your strategy to the next level.

BuzzSumo

One of the most difficult aspects of content marketing is consistently coming up with ideas for new content. BuzzSumo uses analytics to show you what content is trending and where. You can see what is being shared the most across any of the major social media networks and filter the results by the type of content (blog posts, infographics, videos, etc.).

 

Want to know which topics will get you the best results? BuzzSumo can show you topics related to your business that are the most popular right now, helping you create content that is more likely to trend. This tool’s analytics show you where your advertising is best spent to bring in more of your target audience. It also has information on which influencers are getting the most traction in your market, so you can find the right people to promote your content.

BuzzSumo

Curata

Curata is a content curation software that simplifies the process of finding and publishing content. It offers two products: a content creation software and a data-driven content marketing platform. If you’re having trouble sticking to a publishing schedule or curating content, Curata is a huge help. It draws and organizes content from hundreds of thousands of sources, and it has a self-learning engine so you get better results the more you use it.

You can publish content you find through Curata across any of your channels in one click. This makes it easy to maintain a steady stream of content without needing to generate the content yourself. Curata also analyzes the results of the content with your audience, showing you the outcome of your efforts and giving you the information you need to update your strategy when necessary.

Curata

Buffer

The most effective way to start building your business’ social media accounts is through automation, and when it comes to platforms, it’s hard to beat Buffer’s ease of use and excellent features. Buffer works with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest, so you can manage all your accounts in one place.

 

Posting consistently is a key factor in building a social media following, but that’s also a big-time commitment, especially when you’re attempting to build an audience on multiple social networks. Instead of periodically posting on social media throughout the day, use Buffer to set up a schedule of posts. You can use their Chrome browser extension and mobile app to add content to your queue at any time.

Not only does Buffer save you time, it also uses analytics to determine the best times of day to post content. Its Twitter analytics are especially useful, as it checks when your followers are active and analyzes the engagement your tweets get.

Buffer

Contently

With the rising number of businesses employing remote workers, managing everyone in a global content marketing operation can be a challenge. Contently helps keep your content marketing team organized, whether it consists of remote employees, freelance creatives, or both.

Everyone involved in a project can stay connected and collaborate with in-line commenting, email notifications, and a messaging system. The platform has cloud storage for everything related to your content, allowing you and your team to access it 24/7.

Using Contently, you’re able to view assignments on a dashboard, set up deadlines, track progress, and approve content. The platform also has tools for obtaining legal approval of completed content and sending invoices. In addition to its powerful content management capabilities, Contently can provide suggestions to help you generate ideas for new pieces of content.Contently

Outbrain

 

As anyone with content marketing experience knows, the saying “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t apply to online content. Getting your content in front of an audience is a challenge in and of itself. Outbrain is the leading content discovery platform on the web, so it can significantly grow your audience through increased visibility. It is a pay-to-play tool, but if you have the money in your marketing budget, this is a simple and effective way to get your content out there.

Outbrain is able to promote just about any type of content you want, whether that’s an article, video, infographic, or something else. Your content is placed on popular local and national sites as a promoted suggestion. When your audience finishes reading an article and are looking for something new to check out, they’ll see a link to your content.

Outbrain

There’s only so much time in the day, and with all that goes into effective content marketing, you could easily spend it all on mundane tasks. A more efficient and effective solution is to use the powerful content marketing tools listed above to streamline as much of the process as possible. This leaves you with more time to put towards your overall content marketing strategy.

The analytics available through these five content marketing tools are also extremely useful, as they break down what type of content is working well and show you the results of your content. Having more information speeds up and improves your decision-making process, so you can maximize returns on all your marketing efforts.

Author: Jill Phillips
Source: http://www.business2community.com/brandviews/mainstreethost/5-tools-will-help-create-amazing-content-01751531#io0Uodrg0eB1KrUJ.97

 

Categorized in Market Research

It used to be said that everyone has a book in them. These days, it might be more appropriate to argue everyone has infinite tweets, snarky Facebook updates, and semi-random comments in them. But plenty of people retain a thirst for more thoughtful writing, and also a desire to share it as widely as possible – and these are the best blogging platforms to go about doing that.

Blogs might have fallen out of fashion a touch, due to the onslaught of social networks, but there's something about having a space that's properly yours, potentially free from the distractions of a billion adverts and countless competing status updates. And the best thing is, there are a load of free blogs out there to get you started.

In this round-up, we explore 12 of the best blogging platforms for newcomers who want to get a free blog up and running. And not a LOLcat in sight!

01. Contentful

No one knows how they're going to want to display their articles a few years down the line, so Contentful provides a way to separate your content from your design. It calls this an "API-first" approach, so your content is stored on their servers and you can call it into any design or platform as you like. So if you want to build a completely different site in a few years time, it's easy to bring everything in as it's set up to be portable from the start. 

 

02. Jekyll

Jekyll takes your raw text files, which may be written in Markdown, if you like, and turns them into a robust static site to host wherever you want. It's the engine behind GitHub Pages, which means you can host your blog on there for free. 

Making your blog with Jekyll avoids the need to work with technicalities such as databases, upgrades and so on, so there are fewer things to go wrong, and you can build something completely from scratch. 

03. WordPress

If the folks over at WordPress are to be believed (and they seem suitably trustworthy sorts), it now 'powers' over a fifth of the internet.

It's easy to see why: on WordPress.com, you can rapidly create a new blog entirely for free, with a reasonable amount of customisation; alternatively, most web hosts provide WordPress as a free single-click install, and more info on what's possible there can be found at WordPress.org.

 

Newcomers might find WordPress a touch bewildering initially, but it's the best free option for anyone wanting a great mix of power, customisation and usability.

04. Tumblr

To some extent, Tumblr feels a bit like a half-way house between WordPress and Twitter. It offers more scope than the latter, but tends to favour rather more succinct output than the former.

Decent mobile apps make it easy to submit content to a Tumblr blog from anywhere, though, and it's reasonably easy to customise your theme to make it your own.

Tumblr also has a strong social undercurrent, via a following model combined with notes and favourites. Although be mindful that the service has quite a few porn bots lumbering about, which may give the faint-of-heart a bit of a shock should they check every favourite off of their posts.

05. Blogger

Best blogging platforms: Blogger

You'd hope with a name like 'Blogger' that Blogger would be a decent free service for blogging. Fortunately, it is. Sign in with your Google ID, and you can have a blog up and running in seconds, which can then be customised with new themes. It is, however, a Google service, and so be a touch wary, given how abruptly that company sometimes shuts things down that millions of people were happily using.

 

06. Medium

Best blogging platforms: Medium

Medium is the brainchild of Twitter's founders, and appears to be their attempt to do for 'longreads' what they once did for microblogging. The result is a socially-oriented place that emphasises writing, although within an extremely locked-down set-up. It's a place to blog if you want your words to be taken seriously, and if you favour a polished, streamlined experience. But if you're big on customisation and control, look elsewhere.

07. Svbtle

Best blogging platforms: Svbtle

Describing itself as a "blogging platform designed to help you think", Svbtle is fairly similar to Medium in approach. It again strips everything right back, resulting in a bold, stylish experience that pushes words to the fore. It could easily become your favourite blogging platform for the act of writing, but it again relies on you also wanting something extremely simple and not caring a jot about customisation.

 

08. LiveJournal

Best blogging platforms: LiveJournal

One of the veterans of this list, LiveJournal (like Blogger) started life in 1999. Perhaps because of its age, it rather blurs the lines (the site says "wilfully") between blogging and social networking.

The result is more of a community that affords you your own space, but that also very much encourages communal interaction. It is possible to fashion something more private, but to get the most out of LiveJournal, you need to be prepared to delve into discussion as much as writing.

09. Weebly

Best blogging platforms: Weebly

Weebly bills itself more as a website-creation system than something for solely creating a blog. It's based around drag-and-drop components, which enable you to quickly create new pages.

However, blogging is also part of the system, and you get access to customisable layouts, a bunch of free themes, and the usual sharing features you'd expect, to spread your words far and wide.

10. Postach.io

Best blogging platforms: Postach.io

Postach.io claims it's the "easiest way to blog". It's from the people behind Evernote, and, naturally, is deeply integrated into their system.

Essentially, you just connect a notebook to Postach.io and then tag notes as 'published' to make them public.

However, you get some customisation, too, including a bunch of themes, the means to embed content from other sites, Disqus commenting, and the option to instead use Dropbox for storing content.

11. Pen.io

Best blogging platforms: Pen.o

Pen.io's approach is also rather different from its contemporaries. Unusually, it doesn't require a login — instead, you define a URL for a post and set a password.

Images can be dragged into place, and you can create multi-page posts using a tag. And that's about it.

Really, it's a stretch to call Pen.io a blog in the traditional sense, but it's a decent option for banging out the odd sporadic post, especially if you don't want any personal info stored.

12. Ghost

Best blogging platforms: Ghost

Something slightly different for our final entry. Unlike the others on this list, Ghost is only free if you download and install it yourself; use the Ghost site and you pay on the basis of traffic.

However, this system differentiates itself in other important ways: it's entirely open source, and while writing you get a live preview of how your post will end up.

You need to be technically minded for this one, then, but it's a worthy alternative to WordPress if you're happy to get your hands dirty and have your own web space that's awaiting a blog.

Author: Craig Grannell
Source: http://www.creativebloq.com/web-design/best-blogging-platforms-121413634

Categorized in Market Research

Online advertising is likewise known as internet advertising or digital advertising which makes usage of the cyberspace to communicate the promotional marketing message to the customers.

The online advertising term is broadly categorized on the basis of types of advertising which includes search engine optimization (SEO), banner marketing, search engine advertising (SEA), email marketing, online video advertising, local online advertising, social media optimization (SMO) strategies and additional types of online advertising. These online advertisings appear on the internet more often than traditional advertising media such as television and newspapers.

Search engine advertising and pay per click marketing are the fastest evolving advertising concepts for numerous assortments of businesses. Pay per clip is comparatively simple and effortless to carry out scalable, enormously cost efficient and in house. PPC is a huge component of effective and efficient online advertising for the business.

 



Online advertising uses numerous tools and techniques for online marketing functions which include sales CRM, e-commerce, e-mail, marketing automation, WCM, social CRM and web analytics. All these software tools collectively facilitate an organization to develop and implement effective and efficient marketing strategies.

The global online advertising market continues to rise in tandem with the global internet user base, social networking websites, income and widespread adoption of broadband. The industry is being motivated by mobile internet activity, increasing attractiveness and fame of mobile devices which includes tablets and smart phones that are proving to be beneficial.

The main factors that are driving the online advertising market are increased focus on digital media, cost effective, smart phone penetration, advertising by content providers and rising numbers of advertisers on social networking sites. The main factor that is restraining the growth of online advertising are lack of skilled personnel and still use of tradition advertising factors such as television and newspapers. The main opportunity for the growth of online advertising in future would be the emergence of SAAS based solutions.

 


The online advertising market is segmented on the basis of advertising sectors which include online classifieds, search, directories, and general advertising. In addition, the market is segmented on the basis of its mode of interaction which includes web sites, commercial online services, email providers, as well as other companies selling online advertising. Further, the online advertising is segmented on the basis of end use industry which includes BFSI and automotive industry among others. Furthermore, the market could be segmented on the basis of geography which includes North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and RoW.

The North American region dominates the market of global online advertising industry and is remain the market leaders in future as well. Asia Pacific region is expected to be the biggest emerging market for online advertising because of the large customer base.

Request for Sample Report and Table of content @: www.persistencemarketresearch.com/toc/4711

Some of the major companies that are dominating in the online advertising market include IBM Corp., SAP AG, Oracle Corp., Salesforce.com Inc., Aplicor LLC, Adobe Systems Inc., ComScore Networks Inc., Ebay GSI Commerce, Lithium Technologies Inc., Demandware Inc., Attensity Corp., Microsoft Corp., LongJump CRM, OpenText Corp., StrongMail Systems Inc., Percussion Software Inc., Zoho CRM Inc., Yahoo Analytics, SugarCRM Inc., Netsuite Inc. and Sitecore Inc. among others.

About Us:

Persistence Market Research (PMR) is a third-platform research firm. Our research model is a unique collaboration of data analytics and market research methodology to help businesses achieve optimal performance.


To support companies in overcoming complex business challenges, we follow a multi-disciplinary approach. At PMR, we unite various data streams from multi-dimensional sources. By deploying real-time data collection, big data, and customer experience analytics, we deliver business intelligence for organizations of all sizes.

Contact Us:

Persistence Market Research
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Categorized in Market Research

Whether you do SEO for a living or consider yourself a newbie, most people involved in search engine marketing know that there are two ways to go about it.

White hat and black hat.

White hat SEOs are the Jedi. We have tons of midi-chlorians in our bloodstreams and work for the forces of good in the universe.

This means promoting high-value content, engaging in deep keyword research to win in SERPS, and in general, promoting our websites or the websites of our clients using the methods that follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Black hat SEOs are the Sith. They are afraid that doing high-quality work to boost rankings takes too much time, so they take shortcuts that aren’t exactly laid out in Google’s best practices.

And we all know that fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering…

sad dog

Some of these black hat techniques can be attractive to people who are new in the SEO space! Ranking well in search engines takes a lot of time and effort, and finding ways to hack the system is understandably appealing for those new to search engine marketing.

 

When I was starting out, I used a few of the techniques detailed below and guess what? I got no results! My websites were all indexed correctly, but I wasn’t able to get anything to rank for meaningful searches until I learned the ways of the White Hat Jedis.

So what happens when you try to implement black hat SEO strategies? You may make slow progress for some time, but you’ll eventually get hit with a Google Penalty.

If you’ve already been hit with a penalty, it’s time to read The Definitive Guide to Recovering From a Manual Search Penalty.

What Are Google Penalties?

Penguin

The original Penguin update was launched in 2012. Google relies heavily on links from one domain to another to determine a website’s authority. The penguin update crawled the web for any website attempting to game the number of links pointing to their site.

Over 10% of search results were affected, some of which were removed from Google search results entirely.

Since then, website owners and professional SEOs have been keeping a pulse on Google’s search algorithm updates.

Panda

The Panda update is a bit different. Its goal is to filter search results to prevent “low quality” sites’ content from ranking. While the definition of “low quality” is subjective, Google has their own course on creating valuable content, so it’s easy to see what they consider to be high-quality when it comes to digital content.

 

What Do Google’s Penalties Do?

If your website gets hit with either a Penguin or Panda penalty from Google, the results are the same: the loss of your current ranking position in search results and a huge dip in your organic traffic. All because of a few black hat methods you used to try to promote your website.

And if your website relies heavily on organic traffic from Google, a penalty could result in a downward spiral that could put you down for good.

Black Hat Strategies to Avoid

While there are many strategies black hat SEOs use to try to game Google and rank well in search results, these are the most highly used and the most likely to get your website penalized by Google.

Links

Getting in trouble with the internal links in your website or external websites linking to you could result in a penguin penalty. Here’s what you want to avoid when it comes to links.

Buying Links

Why most people do it: Arguably the most important ranking factor is the quality and quantity of links back to a website. It’s logical to think that buying links from websites with high Domain Authorities is the easiest way to get backlinks without putting in a lot of work.

Why you shouldn’t do it: Buying links is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. It’s an easy way to get on Google’s bad side and receive an automatic or manual penalty. It’s unlikely you’ll get away with buying links without leaving a trail. Google tracks links that are likely purchased and those which are likely natural, so gaming Google is more difficult than you’d think.

Reciprocal Links

Why most people do it: When Website A offers to link to Website B, Website A might think it’s a good idea to ask Website B to link back to them as well. That way, they get a bit of link juice in return.

Why you shouldn’t do it: If there’s a purpose for both websites to link to each other, such as a partnership, then reciprocal links make sense. But if the entire purpose of the two-way link is “link juice,” you run the risk of getting penalized.

Footer Links

Why most people do it: A backlink from the footer of another website is seen as valuable because it’s a link back from every page on their website. Because all pages contain a footer, when you add the link just once, it’s like adding a backlink from every page on that site.

 

Why you shouldn’t do it: Similar to reciprocal links, if there’s a purpose, like telling readers who built the site, then it makes sense to include it. If the link is purely included to gain authority, is from a completely disconnected website or contains non-branded anchor text, the risk of a penalty is real.

Hidden Links

Why most people do it: By hiding text or links, some people think that you can include lots of links back to your site without Google even knowing about it.

Why you shouldn’t do it: Googlebots are smart and know when your website has any hidden text or links. Having hidden links is bad, but the double whammy comes in the fact that Google crawlers can see a different website than your visitors. That’s a big no-no and is one of the easiest ways to get penalized and drop in the rankings.

Comment Spam

Why most people do it: Some websites allow users to add a comment below a post, and sometimes those comment sections allow links. This is an easy way to link back to your site, right?

Why you shouldn’t do it: Wrong. Linking back to your site in the comment forms of other websites is spammy and something Google doesn’t want to see. In Google’s eyes, links should be earned through quality and valuable content, not posted in a comment form in just a few seconds. If you can add something to the conversation and a link back to your site in a comment is relevant and brings value to the readers, then it’s probably OK to include it. If not, try something a little less black hat.

Anchor Text Overuse

Why most people do it: Most SEO beginners are susceptible to this. When trying to rank a page or post for a specific search phrase, they try to link back to their websites using related anchor text. For example, someone trying to rank “brand new sailboats for sale” would link back to their website with 100 links, all with the anchor text, “brand new sailboats for sale.”

 

Why you shouldn’t do it: Again, Google sees what you’re trying to do. You’re attempting to rank well for a specific search phrase by using contextual anchor text. In the past, this worked pretty well! But not so much today. Google prefers branded anchor text instead of keyword anchor text — it’s more natural to link back using the anchor text, “Marty’s Boat Emporium,” because it’s more natural and suggests the link validates trust.

Malicious Backlinks

Why most people do it: To be clear, nobody does this to themselves on purpose. Nobody attempts to get links back to their website from malicious websites. Unfortunately, there are many black hat SEOs, spammers, and hackers out there who embrace the dark side and will try to damage another site by linking to it from a site that is spammy or even unindexed.

Why you shouldn’t do it: When a site that Google deems is spammy links to your site, it can hurt your ranking. If you see links from precarious websites coming to your website, it’s most likely they didn’t pick your site specifically, and they link to everyone. If you do find that there are suspicious websites linking to your website, use the Google Search Console Disavow Tool to ask Google to ignore the link.

Content

Publishing content that doesn’t provide any real value to your website visitors is grounds for a panda penalty. Here’s what to avoid when it comes to content.

Duplicate Content / Content Theft

Why most people do it: Producing high-quality, valuable content takes a lot of time and effort. For that reason, some people think they can take content published on another website and reuse / repurpose it on their own. Now your website can have great content without the pain of producing original content, right?

Why you shouldn’t do it: Not quite. Google is very particular about duplicate content and, in general, doesn’t like to see the exact same content spread across multiple domains. If you find a piece of content that you think your audience would find really valuable, it is possible to republish that article on your website as long as you have the permission of the original author and fully disclose the fact that it’s being republished. But if you’re thinking about blatantly copying content from another site, you’ll run the risk of a Google penalty.

Over-Optimization / Keyword Stuffing

Why most people do it: This is another common error for those new to the SEO world. Some people think that the more they optimize a page, the better their page will rank, so they include ten H1 tags and repeat the keyword phrase they’re trying to rank for over and over again.

Why you shouldn’t do it: This actually used to work. In 2000, if you wanted to rank for “purple elephant,” all you had to do was include the phrase “purple elephant” a few times in your title, a few times in your H1 tags, and ad nauseam in your content. But in 2017, Google is looking for the content that provides the most value to searchers. That means over-optimizing is out and focusing on giving the most comprehensive answer to a user’s queries is in.

Hidden Content

Why most people do it: Similar to hidden links, some people think they can include content that’s the same color as the background of the site. They do this to include textual keyword phrases in the website without affecting their users’ experience.

Why you shouldn’t do it: Again, Googlebots know when your website has any hidden text or links. Google’s priority is the users, and hidden content definitely counts as a bad user experience because it’s something bots can see but your visitors can’t. This is a big no-no and is one of the easiest ways to get penalized.

Security

While having an unsecured website can’t technically get you a Penguin or Panda penalty, it could result in the loss of your valuable rankings.

Hacked Website

If your website gets attacked or injected with malicious code and Google finds out, they can block your website for people using their search engine.

Not only will this cause you to lose the trust of anybody who visits your site from organic search, but it will cause your website to drop in the rankings just like a Penguin or Panda penalty would.

While it’s true you may receive a notification through Google Analytics that your site has been hacked, it still could mean a real penalty for your website in search results if Google knows your site contains malicious code.

To Wrap It Up

It should seem obvious that when it comes to black hat SEO, the numbers just don’t add up. Produce high-value content, follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and most importantly, don’t be in a rush.

Do yourself a favor and become a Jedi, not a Sith. It will pay off in the long run.

Author:  Joe Howard

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/11-black-hat-techniques-can-kill-seo-campaign/180601/?ver=180601X3

Categorized in Market Research

Do you think 2017 will be the year of video? Again? If so, you’re in good company.

In fact, if I were forced to TLDR this post, the big social media trends for 2017 could be boiled down to this:

  1. Video (live, recorded, and 360-degree)
  2. Influencer marketing
  3. Bots

But there is much more you can and should do in 2017 to be successful on the top social media platforms.

One of those things mentioned by a few of our experts may seem a bit obvious, but it could be the most crucial: you must understand your audience!

Tactics are great. Understanding all the big social networks where people hang out is also great. Data is also super important.

But really, if you want to drive more engagement and ROI from social media, you need to know – and be responsive to – your customers. Maybe this isn’t so much a trend as a proven principle of good old-fashioned marketing, but it’s especially in social media: make it personal! Put a little more humanity in your 2017 social media strategy.

Here’s what 26 of the top marketing experts say will be the biggest trends in social media in 2017 – and beyond.

We’ve gathered insights from these social media pros:

 


 

Heidi Besik, Group Product Marketing Manager, Adobe

 

Heidi Besik

 

The biggest trends in social media in 2017:

Video

In 2016, the biggest takeaway from the success of video is that platforms like Facebook are beginning to challenge traditional media for ad dollars. What we used to know as big television events are now consumed through snackable clips.

Next year, the continued importance and consumer appetite for video will drive further refinement. Social media platforms will introduce easier ways for users to access video, as well as better tools for creators.

At the same time, we will see brand advertisers begin talking about platforms like Twitter and Facebook as a new form of television. And as consumers get increasingly more comfortable (and familliar) with video, we will see a shift in organic content where brands beginning building out dedicated video teams and putting together an infrastructure that decreases turnaround times and gets content out faster.

Measurement

Social networks have matured into some of the most targeted ad channels around. As a result, it’s put a bigger spotlight on justifying ROI.

Advertisers need robust data in the same way they have for existing channels like desktop Web and broadcast TV. This will be top of mind in the new year, as we see social networks work to deliver on comparable metrics and certain advertisers advocating for more third-party auditing.

We will also see more measurement conversations within organic content. Despite continued calls for the “death of organic content”, it will continue to occupy a big role in a brand’s communication strategy.

What we will see are social teams tapping into some of the analytics disciplines in other channels like desktop web – becoming much more diligent in measuring what works and adjusting in real-time. The practice overall will become increasingly more data-driven to drive ROI, as they compete with paid and earned.

Internal Collaboration

We are moving toward the year of integration for social media, where it impacts all stages of the customer journey and has become a standard, integral part of the marketing mix. Social strategists will need to better integrate with existing digital programs across web, ecommerce and mobile. As the roles of content marketing and social marketing become more intertwined, we’ve seen this need accelerate through 2016 and think it will continue to be an area of focus for marketers moving through 2017.

Customers expect brands to deliver a consistent, personalized experience across touch points. Yet most social marketers are still using up to 7 different, disconnected tools to manage social activities.

Disconnected data, content, workflows and teams are leading to poor customer experiences. Tool consolidation that facilitates integrated content, workflows and data will be critical to leveraging the power of social to drive better more consistent omnichannel digital experiences.

 


 

Kendall Bird, Associate Social Media Manager, Collegis Education

 

Kendall Bird

As we move into 2017, there are major trends that we are already seeing transpire within the social media space including live and recorded video that create immersive social media experiences and organic reach continuing to decline. The two trends go hand-in-hand as video is prioritized within organic social and is seen as an authentic way to connect with followers. With that said, social marketers continue to need to keep their head on a swivel and stay creative in their strategy plans.

Within the broader social media community we are seeing platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram moving toward live, real-time video. These platforms have products that enable marketers to connect with their followers in a completely different light than they are used to experiencing.

Video presents the opportunity to create more candid experiences for your followers. Social media users will continue to demand to live vicariously through social media content put out by brands and influencers. The question is how will you make genuine real-time experiences that make your followers feel as though they are there?

Several brands are already doing this right including Birchbox, Sweetgreen and Inspiralized. Each one of these brands showcases their products in an authentic, creative and interesting manner.

  • Birchbox‘s Facebook Live experience is one of my favorites to watch because they unbox their product (Birchbox, for those who don’t know, is a curated, monthly subscription box for men and women) and show what the product is and how to use it.
  • Sweetgreen (an East Coast fast-casual restaurant) is the most creative when it comes to Snapchat. Recently, one of their Stories, was introducing a Sweetgreen customer sharing their favorite salad bowl. They snapped the story from the lens of the customer and through the chef’s perspective with Snapchat Spectacles.
  • Inspiralized is one of my favorite food bloggers (small bias!), but Ali really does a wonderful job maintaining her social media accounts and really focuses in on what her followers are interested in and what the channels are about. Inspiralized uses Instagram Stories to focus more on the personal side of her life and business, whereas Snapchat is focused more on tutorials and product.

As you envision your social media strategies for 2017, be thoughtful about each platform and your followers. Why are they watching Facebook Live, Snapchat, and Instagram Stories? Are you differentiating your accounts to fit what your followers are interested in? Why are they following you?

Consider conducting an competitor analysis of what they are doing on these platforms products, focusing on what is successful for them and how you can better those efforts for the brands you are managing. Always remember, you are building a community – would you want to be part of it?


 

Lisa Buyer, Speaker, Author & Consultant, The Buyer Group

 

Lisa Buyer

 

In 2017 social media marketers and brands will be expected to do more in less time; short of performing social media miracles. I see the start of a new condition called Social Media Stress Syndrome.

Everyone is chasing the ROI and trying to stay on top of the constant change and introduction of new platforms, tactics and tools. Live video, Snapchat (aka Crackchat), the increasing complexities of Facebook and the unknowns behind augmented and virtual reality will be keeping social media marketers awake at night.

Prioritization

Brands will need to fine tune focus on the platforms that are most important to their audience and figure out how to make the most of them. Do an audit of best performers and eliminate the time suckers.

Better content

In 2017 content is no longer king. Social media marketers will need to step up the game and only the brands investing in talented journalistic style writers will survive.

 

Distributed Content Management Systems (DCMS)

Creating, reaching and publishing is going beyond WordPress with platforms such as RebelMouse introducing the first DCMS.

Creativity

With platforms such as CanvaAdobe Spark and Buffer’s Pablo, visuals are spoonfed to social media marketers. Brands will be expected to take canned visuals to the next level in 2017. Standing out in the newsfeed’s visual competition will require more than just using stock visuals.

AR/VR/MR/PR

Augmented reality (AR) virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) are the latest public relations (PR) buzzwords turning heads. Social media marketers will be faced with figuring out how to make sense of this new technology. Follow sources such as Cathy Hackl, Robert Scoble and VR Scout.

Productivity & Reporting

This is where the Social Media Stress Syndrome will come into play. Social media marketers will need to reinvent the meaning of productivity and fine tune the social media management aspects by investing in social media management dashboards with excellent reporting features such as Buffer, Hootsuite, Agorapulse, or Sprout Social.

Balance

In 2017, avoiding Social Media Stress Syndrome and maintaining digital work/life balance should be a priority in order to keep your sanity. Staying ahead of the social media marketing industry gets tougher each year and more complex.

In order to avoid being “taken down” by social media, marketers will need to find ways to reset and restore in order to stay fresh and creative without getting burned out. Apps such as Buddhify, integrating yoga into your weekly routine, and going offline for a walk at lunch are great ways begin finding balance in 2017. I’m writing my next book, “Digital Detox Secrets”, to help digital marketers find space for balance, opportunity, and productivity happiness.


 

Mel Carson, Founder, CEO & Principal Strategist, Delightful Communications

Mel Carson

Putting people first will be one of the trends we’ll see in social media in 2017.

Elections on both sides of the pond have proved that no matter how much data you have to suggest one outcome is imminent; unless you sit down with your target audience and ask them for their thoughts and opinions on whatever product or service you are trying to sell you might be barking up the wrong alley.

Also, our personal branding consulting business has tripled in the last 12 months which shows professionals increasingly see the benefit in having their wisdom and experience be more discoverable, shareable, and memorable across social networks, which is why I’ll be watching the Microsoft/LinkedIn integration with a keen eye!


 

Ashley Carlisle, Brand Relationship Strategist, Fractl

 

Ashley Carlisle

In 2016 we saw a huge surge in influencer marketing, which will no doubt continue into 2017 – but inevitably it will evolve as all trends do. The new year will see an increased emphasis on authenticity and transparency among influencers as they become more commonly integrated into social strategies.

Typically when we think of influencer marketing, we think of a product placement posted on a major celebrity’s Instagram account to hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of followers, but it goes beyond that. It can also include hashtag campaigns to encourage a genuine conversation among followers or account takeovers to help build a following. The latter examples, along with other creative, more organic ideas, will likely grow in popularity in 2017 as they emphasize authenticity and encourage engagement.

While the spotlight this year was primarily on pop culture celebrities promoting products falling into the discretionary consumer goods category (think apparel, beauty, alcohol, etc.), other brands will start looking into incorporating influencers in their 2017 social strategy.

 

As more research is becoming available to prove influencer marketing’s ROI, B2B and other types of B2C companies will likely join. These brands especially better work with powerful middle- and micro-influencers as they often have more influence over a more intimate, targeted audience – which also translates to more engagement.

As far as the networks themselves, Snapchat and Instagram were the networks of choice. While Snapchat has grown exponentially, Instagram will likely continue to take the lead when it comes to engagement into 2017, given its more diverse user base. Some even argue while Vine is officially dead, influencers could save Twitter with the help of livestreaming and Twitter Moments.

Even with the algorithm changes and crackdown on compliance with the FTC guidelines, influencers on social media will continue to prove their value into 2017.


 

Geoffrey Colon, Communications Designer, Microsoft

 

Geoffrey Colon

Two things for social media marketers to watch:

1. CRM

CRM via social has existed forever but now it’s a form of marketing. The better you do it, the better the word of mouth about your company, product, service spreads to others.

Reputation economics is only getting more influential on how people choose what company to use. Many companies have ignored this and as a result will pay a steep price in 2017 with either more customer churn or loss of potential new customers altogether.

2. Bots

Because of the volume of conversations that may exist in these channels, conversation bots are key.

The best companies will program and experiment with these in 2017 as they will only become more influential and allow companies who may have small staffs to handle mass quantities of inquiries through channels like Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and Skype.

 

 


 

Brent Csutoras, Founder & CEO, Pixel Road Designs

Brent Csutoras

If you look at the success of Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram, it’s clear there is a real shift in social media storytelling. It has been something optional for most businesses up until now, but I think in 2017 companies need to really give some serious thought and strategy to how they can incorporate more visual storytelling in their social media marketing plans.

Where possible, I also think it is going to be important for companies to start thinking about how they can incorporate beacon or location-based marketing efforts into their strategy as well. Virtually every app I’ve seen or been pitched this last year has had some beacon or location-based feature, so companies are going to have to start looking into incorporating this as well.

Over the past two years we’ve been building toward a significant shift in how we tell our stories through social media. In 2017 it’s time to get with the times and start embracing this shift – like now!

 


 

Melissa Fach, Social Community Manager, Pubcon

Melissa Fach

Customer service via social is huge already, but I believe it will grow in 2017. People prefer to do as much as possible via their phones, and we also know people go straight to their phones to complain about things on social media networks while they are on the go.

So, all businesses need to come up with more defined plans on how they are going to handle customer service issues via social media for 2017. Not handling complaints the right way, quickly, can result in terrible PR for any company. For example:

comcastcares unhappy customers

Some things to cover:

  • Availability hours & response times: Facebook is already giving badges for good response times and both Facebook and Twitter allow you to set availability hours & auto-respond to messages. I recommend all businesses learn about the customer service options available on both Twitter and Facebook.
  • Staff: Choosing staff is critical. Who has the temperament/self-control to handle potential and current customers the right way? Say the wrong thing and you will end up on the news.
  • Create protocols for all situations: Support, Q&A, Requests, Billing, Complaints, User Error, Crisis Management and Trolls.
  • Education: Make upper level management understand how critical social media customer service is and why resources and money are needed.

Another thing that will grow via social in 2017, video – every major social media network has focused on enhancing video options. Businesses of all sizes need to find creative ways to utilize video and to reach their targeted audiences.

 

Boring video just will not do. I am sure that we are going to be overrun with video, as we have been with content, soon enough. To stand out and be remembered businesses will need to go the extra mile.


 

Nikki Fica, Founder & CEO, Social Media Facelift

 

Nikki Fica

Smart brands and businesses should focus on the power of influencer marketing in 2017 for great social media success. They shouldunderstand what makes an influencer in their niche and take micro influencers into consideration.

Brands and businesses should also explore more live video options. With the rollout of Instagram’s live videos at the end of 2016 and Twitter’s livestreaming without Periscope, platforms are looking for you to share your authenticity on their platform. Show your “why” and make people fall in love with not only your product, but the brand and who is behind the brand itself.

As an avid “Shark Tank” viewer, the backstory of the entrepreneur is often reflected during the episode; where they came from, what their passions are, etc. Things that others can relate to. If a brand on social media plays a similar role and can relate to the consumer (the use of livestreaming can help tremendously), it may influence stronger.

Consumers may be more likely to purchase over a bland brand with a similar product who only talks about the product itself. Humanize your brand in 2017!


 Kat Haselkorn, Director of Content, Go Fish Digital

 

Kat Haselkorn

Measure everything. In social, it can sometimes be tricky to keep track of what works and what doesn’t across multiple platforms, but when you can show changes over time, that’s when you have something that plays into a more holistic marketing strategy.

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from business owners about Snapchat is the lack of metrics the platform offers its users. Their feeling is, If I’m investing all this time and energy into creating content, putting together stories, and building a following, I need to be able to prove its worth. That’s a totally fair criticism of the app.

Luckily, there have been whispers that Snapchat is unveiling more detailed reporting over the coming months and other platforms (and social media management tools like Sprout Social) seem to be headed down that path as well.

The more time you spend tracking and evaluating posts, the better your social presence will be. I can’t stress it enough: Don’t just throw something out there and see what sticks. Measure everything and use the data to adjust your social media strategy accordingly.


 Kelsey Jones, Executive Editor, Search Engine Journal

 

Kelsey Jones

Here are three social media trends you need to know in 2017:

Live Video

With the introduction of live video for Instagram, and the continuation of Facebook’s preference for live video in the newsfeed, businesses should continue to develop live video strategies and consider how it can tie into their existing marketing efforts. What events, learning opportunities, or internal team happenings are going on in the new year that could be translated into live video?

 

360-Degree Photos & Videos

Mark my words: this is going to blow up, due to Facebook’s acceptance of it and VR headsets. Soon you are going to be seeing brands and people posting tons of 360-degree media. Take advantage of it now by buying yourself a $100-200 camera that shoots these types of images (this is the one I have*) and beat your competitors to the punch.

Take Advantage of Your Data

I’m always amazed at the data we have at our fingertips when it comes to Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, as well as Twitter analytics. Instead of glancing over it each month to see how many new likes your pages or profiles got, really buckle down and look at what types and topics of posts do best. Dedicate yourself to taking more action based on data, and your social media presence will only continue to grow.

*Disclosure: This is an SEJ affiliate link


 Jordan Kasteler, Marketing Consultant & Entrepreneur

 

Jordan Kasteler

2017 is sure to bring about many new social media trends. There may even be new, hot social networks that spring up and give currently dominate social networks a run for their money.

However, before getting involved with any new trend or site be sure that it’s a right fit for your audience. If not, you may be wasting your time drawing people toward you that aren’t interested in your product or service.

As for big trends to focus on, here are four:

Ephemeral Social Media

In other words, Instagram and Snapchat Stories are content that disappears within a limited amount of time. As this is the new rage, it keeps people coming back to these social networks to view daily content before it disappears. Use ephermal social media wisely but posting timely content, gifts for your audience, contests, show behind the scenes, etc.

Live Video

This is another trend social networks are allowing users to take advantage of. Instagram now has a live video option. This is another opportunity to take your users behind the scenes and provide real-time content.

Paid Social

More social networks are moving toward a pay-to-play landscape. As organic reach declines, it’s more important to pay for visibility. Social networks will continue to grow their abilities for businesses to narrowly target their users by demographic, psychographic, and technographics.

Mobile

With social traffic referring from mobile over desktop, it’s important that your content is speedy and provides a good user-experience on a smartphone with 4G bandwidth.


 Katy Katz, Senior Consultant, SmartBug Media

 

Katy Katz

Social media platforms are continually searching for ways to artificially reproduce the sentiments of real human interaction within a platform that is inherently non-human. This is why images are more popular than text, videos are more effective than stills, and live video is starting to gain traction.

This race to replicate human contact is only going to continue in 2017 and beyond; especially as 360 technology and virtual reality start to penetrate the market more deeply.

 

Brands should be thinking about ways to increase consumer access to that human factor – through strategic campaigns as well as organic interactions. That will be the best way for companies to improve their social performance in 2017.


 Jabez LeBret, CMO, GNGF

 

Jabez LeBret

We are about to see a move towards live video for brands. This will take two main forms including brand events and non-brand sponsored content.

For non-brand sponsored events the customer will become the promoter and producer. This user-generated content will be scary for many brands.

Years ago I wrote an article on Forbes comparing brand marketing to an API. Regardless of if brands are interested in letting the customer market the brand, they do not have a choice.

This means companies should be more proactive in engaging users to submit content. Instead of fighting the trend, get ahead of issues by facilitating the messaging and delivery. This will require companies to become proficient at creating live video content.

It would be wise to test various methods of encouraging your customers to create content on behalf of your brand. We are entering a new era of social media marketing and it is both scary yet exciting at the same time!


 Debbie Miller, President, Social Hospitality

 

Debbie Miller

Social video will continue to be a key trend in 2017. Between Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and Facebook Video, the options are becoming more vast and are constantly evolving.

It will be critical for brands to formulate how to best optimize their video strategy for maximum impact. It’s easy to get bogged down in scheduling written copy and photos, but video is a field that should be given more time and consideration moving forward.

With the rise in video comes the lure of real-time content. Both Instagram and Facebook are leveraging their live streaming components and businesses are able to connect with their audiences in unprecedented ways as a result. Businesses should consider the best routes for optimizing live video content, whether it be interviews, behind-the-scenes tours, exclusive announcements, etc.

One important thing to remember is that the social media world is constantly evolving, and the pace seems to be constantly becoming more rapid. It’s important to stay on top of current trends and changes so that you’re not left behind. It’ll be beneficial for companies to adopt more training and development of their teams to ensure comfortability in the space across your organization.


 

Merry Morud, Senior Creative Strategist, aimClear

 

Merry Morud

 

No longer will social marketers be considered the scrappy rebel force, existing on the fringe of marketing and pointing to false idol metrics. Social media marketers must integrate into the greater multi-touch nurture marketing ecosystem – digital and otherwise – to not only survive but become an undeniable force in 2017.

And BTW, it’s social’s job to integrate, not everyone else’s, for the greater marketing good.

Social marketers will be responsible for making money in a multi-touch environment. One or two-touch conversions in any channel are a finite asset after that brands need to (still) nurture with content.

Social will become a more powerful ROI-positive machine as marketers tap even more consumers further down the funnel with lookalike modeling and clean up retargeting rebounds from other performance marketers by layering on psychographic filters and promoting content that solves problems, demystifies, answers questions, explains benefits, empowers users and removes barriers to purchase.

Filtered performance retargeting has the potential to radically redefine how higher level marketers view social. So social marketers seeking to stay relevant should take heed.

If you didn’t notice, 2016 has been a wake-up call for, well, just about everyone as it peeled back the veil on just how insidious social, “news,” and search truly are. Social drives news. News drives search. And perception is reality. Social propagation is that which can create or cause cultural shifts and the goal of branding is a cultural shift.


 Rebecca Murtagh, Founder & Chief Strategist, Karner Blue Marketing

 

Rebecca Murtagh

In 2017, the race for social media fans, followers, likes, etc. will be overshadowed by a paradigm shift toward relationship cultivation. And, in case you haven’t noticed, this shift has already begun in a big way.

Relationships are the future of social media. Here are five reasons why:

1. Aggregation is So 2016

In 2017 In-tune marketers will shift the focus of social media from vanity metrics (followers, fans, likes, etc.) to relationships. The longer the relationship, the greater the return on investment, and lower cost of acquisition. The follower, fan or connection that has never been touched by the brand has zero value.

As attractive as it may be to report growth of the audience, sustainability of the brand will be determined by revenue. Winning hearts and minds is more important than ever to brands seeking to cultivate leads, customers, and champions. And, it will take a lot more than personalized website pages and emails.

2. Social Media Offers So Much More Than Mass Media

To make social media manageable, marketers have largely reduced social media into a new form of mass media. Broadcasting messaging without leveraging the social aspect of the channel leaves most of the unique potential of social platforms untapped.

Audience aggregation merely reflects the first introduction, a handshake if you will. Today’s consumer wants to do business with brands they trust. Trust has been redefined from just offering a quality product or service, to meeting the expectations of audiences in a transparent, ethical manner.

This is especially true with millennials, who will be between the ages of 20-37 years old in 2017. The good news is that millennials are willing to reward brands they trust.

Millennials are seven times more likely to give personal information to a trusted brand. In fact, 46 percent of surveyed millennials said they would share personal data if in exchange they received a more consistent, relevant, personalized experience, complemented by free perks, discounts and better customer service, across all platforms.

3. It’s a New Era

Millennials have, and will continue to, yield tremendous influence over consumer and B2B purchases. No longer youngsters, millennials will not only make purchase decisions differently than previous generations, as a “digital-first” generation, they will influence the decisions of Gen Y and Baby Boomers for years to come.

Millennials expect reciprocity; a two-way, mutual relationship with companies and their brands, and they consider a brand’s social, environmental or philanthropic efforts when making purchase decisions.

4. Social is Part of the Omnichannel Experience

More than 85 percent of millennials and 75 percent of baby boomers are ready for omnichannel interactions. Brands may not fully understand how broad this expectation is.

Omnichannel is often referred to as seamless integration between on and offline customer experiences. We have seen studies and surveys over the years reveal how consumers use multiple devices, across multiple channels, and across media channels for news, social interaction, job searches, shopping, and solutions for work, business and life.

The social experience is as important as the in-store, face-to-face, or website interaction with the brand. In addition to seek a “a hassle free, omnichannel, client experience personalized to their needs”, according to an IBM report.

Engagement requires much more effort than merely broadcasting to the masses. This is a tough pill for many brands to swallow.

Many have not kept up with the expectations of their audiences. And, in doing so, these brands have essentially begun the spiral into self-imposed obsolescence and extinction.

5. Tribes, Community & Crowds

There is untapped potential inherent to social media that can help brands connect with member of the audience, while connecting audiences to one another.

People don’t want to just do business with a business. They want to be connected with the people behind the business, and they want know how the business interacts with customers like them.

This is why review websites, social sharing of content, crowdfunding, etc. have been so effective. The power of tribes, community, and crowds have only begun to realize their potential.

The next generation of social media will promote greater access and transparency between brands and their fans, creating the sense of belonging and community the next generation craves.

Brands that embrace this new normal and invest in building relationships will be the winners in 2017.


 

Maddy Osman, SEO Copywriter & Founder, The Blogsmith

 

Maddy Osman

Here are two big social media marketing trends for 2017:

1. Instagram

Instagram will become a major player of the top social networks, thanks in part to tactics that effectively take a direct attack on Snapchat (like Instagram’s own “Stories”). Once their new Shopping feature is released to all brands, more clickable links will mean more conversions for retailers.

Facebook owns Instagram, so that means the Instagram ad platform will continue to evolve in the right direction. In my opinion, Instagram’s ad platform has yet to peak (in terms of saturation), and there are still plenty of opportunities for brands to stand out and accomplish specific goals.

2. Video

Video will continue to be important in 2017, but brands will need to keep innovating in the way it’s presented. You still don’t necessarily need high production tactics to be effective, but you should experiment with new technologies, like 360 Video.

Make sure to keep in mind the role sound plays, or doesn’t play in many cases. Many people watch video without sound, so make sure captions are enabled, and that you include the video’s title in the first frames of the video.


 

Erik Qualman, Bestselling Author & Motivational Speaker

 

Erik Qualman

 

Video killed the social media photo. While it seems obvious, the obvious isn’t always easy to execute.

2017 is the year that social goes truly video. Brands will need to invest in both beautifully produced video as well as more organic video adaptations.

There will be a window of time where quality video will be able to help separate your business/brand. However, that window will shrink as advances in technology make artistic video common place.


 

Michelle Stinson Ross, VP of Marketing & Client Relations, K’nechtology

 

Michelle Stinson Ross

Two trends and one time-tested principle. First for the trends.

Live Video

As each year goes by more options on more devices lead to a lot of noise. What can brands big and small do to cut through that noise?

Video has always been key, especially for reaching an audience on mobile devices. Live video broadcasting on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are indicators that authentic interactive moments are here to stay.

Live video gives small brands an option to level the playing field without having to spend big production budgets. Live interactions also give brands a chance to test video content with instant and real feedback from their established communities.

But with live video broadcasting comes the necessity to have a quality brand spokesperson. That spokesperson must be able to talk both fluidly and fluently about the brand and it’s products/services. That spokesperson also needs to be someone who is relevant and relatable to a brand’s potential customers.

Yeah, you’re CEO may not be the best choice here. Save them to be interviewed by the spokesperson as a subject matter expert instead.

Influencer Marketing

Another way to cut through the noise in social media is to partner with influential users. It’s important to put just as much commitment to time an energy cultivating influencers (movers and shakers) as it is your customer base.

Getting the attention of someone that’s never heard of your brand before gets more and more difficult every year. Securing influential advocates to share is critical to that top of funnel awareness.

But don’t count on your free samples to be enough to entice influencers to shout your praises. You are going to have to market the value of a business partnership to them just like you are marketing your product/service to your customers.

A Time-Tested Principle

Make marketing a priority and not an afterthought. One of the issues we see consistently with new clients is the dawning realization that they need marketing.

Too many startups focus every resource on developing their ideas without considering how they are going to attract investors and customers. Struggling businesses tend to cut marketing budgets first.

The businesses large and small that move marketing up the priority list from luxury to necessity will always come out ahead of those that don’t. Just because there are a lot of self-serve DIY marketing options available doesn’t mean that brand’s can skimp on marketing budgets. If anything, it requires more time and attention to resources, personnel and media spend.

Commit to marketing and know when to hire, either in-house or a consultant/agency.


 

Jes Stiles, CMO Emerging Markets, Ringier AG

Jes Stiles

Building your own chatbot to distribute your content (ideally for Facebook Messenger). Why?

Traditional social media is fraught by algorithms and ads. More and more, we see not only millennials, but now also the other generations, moving away from broadcasting focused social media posting and towards narrowcasting in smaller message groups or 1-1.

A messenger bot can allow you to have personalized 1-1 conversations at scale, opening up a whole new audience who does not wish to connect with brand over email or download an app. Moreover, when built in a user-friendly manner, chatbots can actually provide a better experience than a human for common use cases with faster response times (no matter what time or day of the week) and greater personalization of content.

For examples of good bots in action, check out TechCrunch or eBay Messenger bots.


 

Bas van den Beld, Digital Marketing Consultant, Speaker & Trainer

 

Bas van den Beld

With the “fake news” discussion in 2016, the overflowing amount of posts on social media and the changing algorithms, things are about to change in 2017.

What is bound to happen is a trend in which brands and businesses have to “prove” they are legit. That they know what they are talking about and that they (will) do a good job.

This means more focus on helping clients and consumers. Customer service through social media will be more important than ever. If there is any trend businesses should focus on, it’s getting their business ready for that.


 

Ashley Ward, Director of Marketing, Madhouse Matters

Ashley Ward

Video. Video has already taken over social media in 2016 and has helped social media pages increase their engagement, conversions, and exposure for brands. In 2017, I predict an even larger increase in video posts from brands and businesses.

I’m not just talking about Facebook and Instagram, either. Facebook Live is helping brands create more organic videos and less production-heavy, which has been enjoyable for users.

But, Snapchat and Instagram Stories are great resources to show customers an “insider’s view”, give product demonstrations, and tours through video. You can then reuse this video content on other social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn.

Unlike images, which one single image shouldn’t be used multiple times due to image fatigue, one video can be clipped into multiple 5-, 30-, and 60-second clips and then shared on different social media outlets to provide followers with unique content.

If you haven’t already started thinking about adding more video content in 2017, start now.


 

Tessa Wegert, Freelance Journalist & Branded Content Developer

Tessa Wegert

 

The single biggest social media trend coming our way has got to be live streaming video. We’ve seen the live video market grow with Meerkat and Periscope, but now that Facebook is putting all its weight behind Facebook Live

Consumers are becoming more accustomed to seeing – and seeking – live video content. Brands can continue to push the boundaries and provide exciting live experiences for their customers and fans.

With live video, companies can take consumers behind the scenes in real-time, and consumers dig that kind of authenticity. I think we’re going to see some pushback against all of those staged, polished, and over-filtered Instagram posts brands have been investing in as consumers become disenchanted with social media marketing that feels as forced as the TV commercials and print ads of yesterday.

Live video is the cure for synthetic content, and brands that embrace the opportunity to take consumers inside their factories and test kitchens, to their photo shoots and runway shows, and backstage at the concerts and events they’ve been sponsoring for years will be rewarded with increased loyalty and affinity.


 

Dennis Yu, Chief Technology Officer, BlitzMetrics

Dennis Yu

Instead of trying to crank out endless content to distribute on a growing number of channels– a challenge for the modern day Sisyphus– get your customers to do the work for you. Here’s how to specifically do this, even if you have a tiny team and tiny budget.

1. Can I quote you on that?

Say this to anyone who has something nice to say about you – especially if on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or other sites. But often, these comments are coming through in direct mail, in store, at conferences, or when your customers are getting serviced. When you ask this question, they almost always say YES.

2. Place that quote in a spreadsheet.

Have columns for who said it, the category of customer, the type of comment (value, great quality, great service – however you bucket pain points), source, headshot of the person, and permission flag.

3. Make a Facebook organic post.

Do multiple images in a carousel and boost to lookalike audiences or custom audiences, depending on what stage in the funnel. The key is to have 10-15 of these posts. Test carousel versus not. You may find that video performs best, in carousel or not, as video view objective or for website clicks. Test it.

To go further in how to boost Facebook posts, see Digital Marketer’s most popular podcast episode of all time here.


 

Ashley Zeckman, Director of Agency Marketing, TopRank Marketing

 

Ashley Zeckman

Many brands today (even some of the best ones) are still struggling with one key element that leads to social media marketing success: understanding the people that they want to interact with.

In 2017, I think that smart brands will shift their focus from pushing messages out, to personalizing communications for a more meaningful interaction. That means it will be less about the on-page interactions and more about personal exchanges with prospects, customers, and influencers.

The rise of influencer marketing will make this shift even more imperative for brands that want to get on the radar of busy experts. There are a variety of tools that exist today, and many that I’m sure will be developed in the coming years that provide helpful insights into the habits and minds of your social media audience.

It’s our job as marketers to use that data to create a more inclusive, one-to-one experience in an environment that everyone is engaged with; social media platforms.


 

OK – the experts have spoken. Your turn! What do you think will be the biggest social media trends in 2017?

Author:  Danny Goodwin

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/social-media-trends-2017/181768

Categorized in Future Trends

Ask any of your friends, “are you sick of marketing email?” and you’ll be sure to hear the same thing: marketing emails flood their inboxes.

 

You probably agree. Personally, I spend 10-20 minutes a day grooming through my emails and unsubscribing from marketing emails. It gets to the point where I’m not even reading emails, I’m deleting them before I read past the first three words in the subject line.

 

This, among other trends, is changing the narrative for digital marketing. Marketers who want to keep up in 2017 should be aware of the following trends.

 

Marketing Trends to Watch in 2017

 

Ad Blocking Software Changes Digital Advertising Spend

 

Ad blocking software is so common that it has created major obstacles for marketers trying to reach consumers. It has forced brands to abandon traditional digital marketing tactics and brainstorm new ideas — but a lot of the new ideas are actually right in front of their noses. The advent of the digital age distracted us from who really helps sell products, and that is people. Ninety-two percent of people make purchases based on peer recommendations, and that means people are influencing each other’s buying behaviors. Marketing teams need to start turning their focus from traditional digital advertising campaigns to customer and influencer marketing content.

 

 

 

 

 

Chief Marketing Technologists will Help Make Marketing Technology Decisions

 

As the marketing landscape continues to embrace advanced technology, CMOs need to successfully partner with IT in order to meet marketing objectives. Simultaneously, IT must evolve in order to effectively collaborate with technically-oriented marketing teams. The role of chief marketing technologist (CMT) will serve as the connecting officer between marketing and IT. The CMT will be responsible for managing MarTech budgets, relationships with vendors and relationships with agency partners.
 

Companies will Drop Gimmicky Marketing Tools

 

There is a lot of spend happening for niche marketing tools that range from $50 to $500 per month, the majority of which rarely get touched. In 2017, marketers will eliminate these gimmicky tools that make data muddy and instead move their focus to real content about real customers that supports the peer-to-peer influence trend.
 

Google’s Index Split Pushes for Improved Mobile User Experiences

 

Google announced an index split between mobile and desktop content. That means there will be different search engine results on different size devices, with the mobile results given primacy.This will push more focused designs and give users a better experience across the board. This also means marketers will need to invest more into better responsive design, examine their mobile SEO and reexamine their mobile strategy if they want to compete in both indexes.
 

Email Marketing will Become Less Effective

 

Do you read your spam? It arrives in the form of newsletters, automated sales email and general queries. If you are good at sniffing it out and marking mail as spam, then a lot of emails wind up in spam. What this means for marketers is that their emails are being heavily ignored. Email marketing is still effective but not nearly as effective as it used to be. So marketers will need to look to other forms of digital marketing to reach their consumers.

 

 

 

 

 

As People Get Weary of Sales Automation, Direct Sales Contacts Prevail

 

The email automation era is becoming very easy to spot, and it’s happening everywhere. Multiple emails like this land in our inboxes on a daily basis. This robotic tactic may even begin to harm a brand’s reputation. Sales people will go back to being people and will personalize an email or pick up the damn phone. The excitement of automation in the digital era will also make people realize that they like to talk to people. 
 

A Return to the Human Touch

 

After a massive digital wave changed the way the human population communicates and consumes information, I truly believe we're seeing a return of people being people again. Expect more humanizing of brands and more content around storytelling rather than cramming features into robotic emails campaigns.
 

About the Author

 

Randy Apuzzo is founder and CEO of Zesty.io, a web content management company. Childhood hacker turned entrepreneur by age 15, Randy has more than a dozen ventures under his belt, and today serves as a digital strategist applying both computer science and brand marketing expertise.

 

 

Author:  Randy Apuzzo

Source:  http://www.cmswire.com/

What's 'hot' for many may be 'not' for your business model in the 12 months ahead. Don't believe the averages.

Which United States markets will be the "hottest" for home building and development in 2017?

It depends, of course, on what you mean by "hot." Hot sales, hot pricing, hot opportunity for land acquisition and investment. It's all potentially different based on what your business model is, and what you're trying to get done in 2017.

Trulia chief economist Ralph McLaughlin counts five metrics as key indicatorscharacteristic of anticipated extra growth in 2017: strong job growth year to year vs. 2015, low vacancy rates, high affordability, more inbound than outbound home searches on Trulia's mega search engines, and, perhaps a bit oddly, a larger share of Republicans. Check out his column here to see how he came up with this list of "markets to watch in 2017."

So, it would appear that Mr. McLaughlin considers transactional pace as the key growth factor, and that "hot" denotes more volume.

 

Interestingly, in research and analysis work that looked at another set of fundamental drivers, the Urban Land Institute identified ten entirely different "Top" markets and a list of "five markets to watch" with absolutely no overlap with Ralph McLaughlin's line-up.

Driving the ULI list seem to be a subtler base of criteria for qualifying, as described by the lead analyst of ULI's research here.

“Viewed as a fluke when it hit the study’s top-ten list five years ago, Austin’s rise to the top of the list signals the durability of the city’s long-term appeal to investors,” says Mitch Roschelle, PwC partner and real estate research leader. “Austin, along with many of this year’s top-ten cities, boasts attractive, niche neighborhoods and a vibrant, diverse economy.”

Multi-dimensional economies, we'd guess, will be most metro areas best safe-guard for ongoing economic resilience, as it appears capital and resources investment are going to do some moving around in the next four years, perhaps to favor heartland, Rust Belt metros that have been on the decline, and to the detriment of some of the coastal areas that have been hogging all the attention as growth Meccas for the same amount of time.

Of course, there are more Top 10 Markets for 2017 than you can shake a stick at. You can find a passel of them here, including Realtor.com's very pretty infographic here.

The variable in all of the projections is, we think, pretty straightforward. It's what's happens and what's going to happen to jobs, the kinds of jobs, and household income. Here, one of the smarter demographic analysts in the field, Jed Kolko, looks at the geography of job growth in his role as chief economist for job search engine Indeed.com. He's got a top 10 list that jives more closely with Trulia's Ralph McLaughlin's.

Kolko's got a lot of great insight on jobs and geography, including the way averages and broad-stroke national blends of data profoundly obscure a great deal of what's really going on on the ground in localities. Here's one of Kolko's observations that clarify what I'm getting at here.

The national job numbers hide huge differences across sectors, local markets, and demographic groups. The decades-long shift from manufacturing to services continues: over the past year, professional and business services and education and health services were the fastest growing sectors, while manufacturing shrank. While some of the big swings in 2016—like the jump in construction and huge drop in mining—are corrections to short-run booms and busts, most reflect longer-term trends. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects health care to be the fastest-growing industry over the next decade while manufacturing will lose jobs, according to its latest ten-year employment projections.

The challenge, for both single-market small builders and developers and multiregional big public enterprises is wending and navigating through the thicket of national means and averages, of broad benchmarks, and ham-handed observations on trends that come of that noisy, often misleading data. Our Metrostudy team can help with some of that, as the lens of their research is at the job site and submarket level of detail.

 

We're starting to look at this notion of Simpson's Paradox or the Simpson-Yule effect and its role in some of the chronic missteps and miscalculations that come out of making an "average"-based assumption a guardrail of opportunity or challenge. Often an average is exactly inverse as an indicator of where the opportunity or challenge may be.

At the very least, it can have an important impact on what's a "hot" market for you in 2017, and what's not.

Source : http://www.builderonline.com/

Auhtor : 

Categorized in Market Research

A new year is around the corner and we might see some new things in 2017. Four CEOs of leading Nordic ecommerce companies share their thoughts on what they think will be the key ecommerce trends in 2017.

According to Marcus Fredricsson from Swedish car service portal Mekster, dropshipping is over. Customers have stronger demands, which makes convenient shipping options more important. “Today more customers disqualify online retailers who send goods directly from suppliers, particularly in cases when the goods come from different suppliers since they then need to spend far too much time to collect the goods in different batches”, he says.

Focus more on logistics

The CEO also thinks smaller online retailers must be prepared to partially loosen the customer relationship and focus even more on the logistics so they can successfully offer their products through international marketplaces like Google Shopping and Amazon. “You need a tremendous control of the supply chain logistics to satisfy customers.”

 

Fredricsson also thinks highly of virtual reality. “Although the ecommerce industry hasn’t found a way yet to utilize the technology, I think they will take on VR in a big way in 2017.”

Cut out the middleman

Cut out the middleman

Christoffer Tyrefors from Cykelkraft, Sweden’s largest online bicycle shop, thinks online retailers can do more themselves and only pay for actual delivery and thus cut out the middlemen. “Ecommerce players should find fundamental profitabilities of their core businesses and therefore needs to stop paying money to intermediaries.”

Rely less on Google and don’t get eaten

He also thinks Google has become way too powerful and online retailers are more dependent on the search engine than ever. “The ecommerce industry is feverishly looking for ways to reduce the importance of search, which in practice means to build brands. To build a brand requires something which happens to be the third major ecommerce trend in 2017 and that is: eat or get eaten”, he says, referring to large online market places that are being rolled out globally and the dominance of Google in the entire purchase process funnel. “Volume will become even more important. It translates to economies of scale, and with economies of scale it is easier to build the brand.”

 

Performance and sales will align more in 2017

Sven Hammer, CEO of monitoring platform Apica System thinks the B2B shopping experience will become more like B2C, as business-to-business retailers take advantage of all the actions the business-to-consumer industry took to improve their business models and shopping experiences. In less positive news, he thinks DDoS will continue to flood ecommerce website with disruptions and targeted. His third predicted trend is focused on analytics. “A platform that performs faster will lead to higher sales – a 100ms increase in page load can increase sales by 1 percent. Performance and sales will align more in 2017 as organizations establish KPIs like web/cloud/app performance to increase profits”, he says.

Salesman

The last CEO, Torkel Hallander from ‘ecommerce factory’ Nordic Etail, thinks SMR, “Sales Man Replication”, will become the new buzzword. “When ecommerce websites start acting like the world’s best salesman, shoppers will get a better experience and spread the world, but retailers will also increase their conversion rates and higher margins as result.”

Mobile engagement will increase influence over ecommerce

He also predicts mobile engagement will increase its influence over ecommerce. “Functionality for shopping mobile will reach new heights, selecting and choosing products, moving between devices, payments will be easier etc… but more importantly, the critical-mass hurdle for people to start realize they can do it in their phone has been passed: once you have purchased one thing in your phone, you will start wanting to do it all in the phone.”

Lastly, he thinks online stores and digital marketing will become even more targeted. In order to satisfy the customer and as a result maximize sales, online retailers will design their website presentation and their offering more for individual customer preferences, behaviors and purchasing power.

Author:  Ecommerce News

Source:  https://ecommercenews.eu

Categorized in Market Research
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