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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bing Network. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’ve always been fascinated by the constant evolution of search. It scares me to accept that I’ve never been able to get the full grasp of these changes. I couldn’t sit still.

My career was built on writing and consulting about SEM. I should be prepared for the future. I should know what’s coming next. But, I don’t.

The future of search has me in a constant spin cycle.

Do you feel this way? Bing has 133 million monthly searches. Google hit over 100 billion. That’s a lot to take in. The good news is this hasn’t stopped me (or others!) from digging into these changes.

This past year working at SEJ has allowed me to explore new strategies to help explain the future of SEM. I discovered that I’ve been looking at the future of search all wrong. And, I think a lot of us have.

What is the Future of Search?

I’ve worked on over 100+ SEM clients. The majority of them focused only on increasing their rankings on Google.

This is where I went wrong.

I shouldn’t be focused on increasing rankings in Google, creating more content, or building more links. I should be focused on the user.

In 2016, we’re seeing marketers approach this in different ways:

Understanding searcher intent – Making it easy for searchers to get better search results by personalizing our content to answer queries and voice search.

Exploring multiple search channels – Building a search strategy outside of Google that reaches your target audience on the platforms they live.

Rand Fishkin has an amazing Slideshare on this:

The 7 Biggest Trends in SEO: 2016 from Rand Fishkin
For example, Confluent Forms worked with Michlin Metals to optimize for intent-based search. Confluent Forms altered the meta data and saw an upward spike in impressions, clicks and click-through rate, and position. And, they were even featured in a Google Answer Box. Optimizely increased conversions by 32% for Secret Escapes by matching user intent with expectation between landing page copy and PPC ads.

And, let’s not forget about the other search channels. Marin Software grew Sykes Cottage conversion volume on Bing by 259%. Hello Society increased referral traffic from 3,952 to 16,592 in one month on Pinterest.

All of this is how I now understand search will work in the future. Yep, I was missing the whole point all along.

In 2000, my main channels were paid search and organic search. Fast forward to 2016, to compete you must be on paid, organic, local, image, video, map, social, news, mobile, and voice search.

Whew! That’s a lot!

Does this New Way of Search Marketing Work for Big or Small Brands?

The short answer: Both.

Businesses spend thousands of dollars on PPC and SEO campaigns each year looking for the right audience. Utilizing tools like Bing’s Remarketing campaigns allows both big and small brands to benefit from targeting consumer buying behaviors for better ad conversions with minimal spend. AdWords also offers remarketing ads, so I’d analyzing both avenues before allocating your budget.

For me, smaller brands with a limited budget see greater success on Bing because the cost-per-click has been lower. WordStream also saw an average of 33.5% cheaper CPC on Bing.

In addition to advertising, businesses will also need to adapt to the new way users are searching. According to comScore, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. Voice search uses a more natural tone, which changes the search results.

Tech Goliaths like Microsoft, Apple, and Google, are focusing on new digital assistants, like Cortana. Cortana (iOS, Android, Windows), has already seen 2.5 billion questions asked globally. Pretty crazy, huh? Digital assistants are transforming how searchers use mobile. Searchers are bypassing Google search and using apps or voice search for their queries.

This means more opportunities for marketers to influence consumers and measure the impact of search on other channels.

Takeaways

It seems to me that the next generation of search will rely on helping businesses personalize their brand to reach a very niche audience. There is a whole new side for SEM marketers to explore — and potentially some awesome benefits, too!

Brands can expand their reach by utilizing multiple search engines.
The content based on user intent and conversational language will have a greater impact.
Investing in personalized ad campaigns can bring in higher conversions.

For all the work we do with perfecting our strategies, perhaps these coming years bring us the opportunity to engage on a deeper level more meaningful level, not only with our audience but with our brands too.

I’d love your thoughts on this! Feel free to discuss in the comments or on Twitter.

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/search-marketing-is-the-future-right/169326/

Rebecca here, filling in for Christopher this week – and yes, these are some nice, roomy shoes I’m standing in, thanks for asking.I don’t have any witty comments to make about the current state of UK politics, so let’s dive straight into the search-related news you might have missed while you were outside cloud-gazing, collecting butterflies, or (if you’re British) making the most of the fact that we can still travel freely between other EU countries…

As usual, Google is where it’s at this week, with news that HTTPS websites account for a third of search results on page one, an increase in the number of search results that receive a Quick Answer Box, and does Google’s newest acquisition mean it’s finding new ways to watch us all creepily?

Google is increasing the number of queries that receive a Quick Answer box

Jim Yu reported for Search Engine Watch this week on the fact that the portion of Google search results which received a Quick Answer box has increased from just over 20% in December 2014 to more than 30% in May 2016.

A Quick Answer, also known as a featured snippet, is when Google pulls content from a trusted, high-ranking website that will directly answer a user’s query and places it at the top of the SERP so that they can find the information they need without having to click through to another site. It can be an awesome way to dominate the SERP without having to fight for the top position.

A featured snippet for the search query, "Why is my internet so slow", featuring an answer from Lifehacker at the top of search results.

Jim looked at the impact that Google Quick Answers have on brands, and broke down the three-step framework for getting your content into a quick answer box. So now you can win the game without even playing it, too!

30% of Google search results are HTTPS websites

A new study from Moz has revealed that more than 30% of websites on page one of Google search use the HTTPS protocol. We know that HTTPS has been a “lightweight ranking signal” for Google since 2014, and the data that Moz has been tracking bears that information out.

Christopher Ratcliff looked at how the share of Google search results on page one that use HTTPS has climbed from an initially tiny fraction in August 2014 to a significant share of the results.

A graph by Moz showing the percentage of HTTPS results on page 1 of Google between January 2014 and June 2016. The graph line begins at around 7% and climbs gradually, with a sudden jump upwards between June and July 2015, then continues to climb gradually to reach 32.5% in June 2016.

As Christopher put it,

“The results are definitely enough to give SEOs pause for thought when it comes to considering whether to switch their sites to a secure protocol.”
Mobile searches on Google have now exceeded desktop – how has the landscape of search changed?

Jason Tabeling looked at how the landscape of search has changed now that, for the first time ever, mobile searches on Google have exceeded desktop. “To account for this massive shift, Google has made some of the most drastic changes to search results in years,” including removing right-hand side ads and adding a fourth paid listing above organic search results, causing mobile results to be filled with ads.

A screenshot of Google mobile search results for "car insurance", showing two paid ads which together take up the entire screen.

Jason broke down the data on the number of times paid ads, shopping results or local listings appear in search results and evaluated how the information should affect your search strategy.

Google acquires image recognition startup Moodstocks

Google announced yesterday that it has acquired Moodstocks, a French startup specialising in machine-learning-based image recognition technology for smartphones.

As the International Business Times reported,

“Following the acquisition, which is expected to be completed in the next few weeks, the Moodstocks team will join Google’s R&D team in Paris where they will continue to “build great image recognition tools within Google”.”

Between the Twitter acquisition of Magic Pony two weeks ago and Amazon’s acquisition of AI startup Orbeus in April, it seems that visual processing and machine learning is where it’s at for major tech companies.

The Sun gave a particularly hysterical take on this development by announcing that Google had revealed plans to put “eyes in machines” and that “campaigners” had urged Britons to “cover up cameras on smartphones and computers”. Er… that sounds a little impractical.

A photograph of a poster (said to be from one of the Google cafeterias) reading "GOOGLE IS WATCHING YOU" with "Google" being the Google logo. The logo also has two eyes in the Os.

But in all seriousness, this latest addition to Google’s R&D department could be the first step towards giving Google the capability to identify and run a search for objects in the physical world, à la CamFind.

And if Google really is watching me, well, maybe it’ll finally be able to tell me where I left my keys.

Google is experimenting with another use for Google Posts

The SEM Post reported this week that Google has been spotted expanding its use of Google Posts, a new(ish) feature combining elements of social publishing and rich cards, into more ‘ordinary’ search results.

Moz marketing scientist Dr. Pete Meyers originally noticed the posts appearing in search results for a charter school in New York, KIPP NYC. Google debuted the feature, which I believe still lacks an official name (but has been dubbed “Google Posts” by the search commentariat), back in March as a platform for US presidential candidates to put across their policies.

KIPP NYC

It was later seen expanding the feature to include a select handful of local businesses, and then using it to cover the I/O developer conference in May. None of these past uses of Posts show up in search results any more – and at the time of writing, KIPP’s appears to have disappeared too – making them a bit like a pop-up soapbox for select entities (and keeping us all guessing about what Google’s eventual plan is for Posts).

What’s interesting is that although the KIPP NYC posts were only just spotted in search, a scroll down their Google Posts page shows that the school has been using Google’s new feature since April. In other words, there could be any number of other lucky users or groups quietly using the platform and waiting for the hallowed spotlight of Google to finally, finally shine on them. And we wouldn’t know.

If you want a shot at joining their ranks, the waiting list is still open.

Source:  https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/07/08/five-most-interesting-search-marketing-news-stories-of-the-week-4/

Business owners, retailers and marketers are all used to the traditional calendar of events that motivate consumers. It's accepted that parents shops for school items in the late summer, toys and gifts during December, and retailers usually schedule sales accordingly. But just as the internet has changed much about how, where and when people shop for goods, it has also changed when they look for specials.

A recent study of internet search queries reveals that more consumers are searching for deals on the internet throughout the year. According to Hitwise, a division of Connexity, online searches for deals increased 40 percent between 2014 and 2015.

The study found that one in every 300 online searches is focused on finding a coupon, sale, discount or deal. This may just be 0.3 percent of all searches, but when you consider Google performs 3 billion searches a day, it translates into a lot of people that are searching for deals.

The study is based on data from the Hitwise U.S. panel of 10 million online consumers, including 3.5 million mobile devices. A practical use for this data can be seen in what the researchers found out about people looking for sales on shoes or school items.

"Deal-oriented searches include those using keywords: sale, coupon, deal, rebate, bargain, discount or clearance," said John Fetto, senior analyst research and marketing at Connexity, according to media reports. "Interestingly, when it comes to searches for 'sales' specifically, footwear, including shoes and boots, are the most commonly sought-after products throughout the year."

The report also revealed that school shopping starts earlier than many retailers realize. Citing, Connexity's Bizrate Insights, the report found that back to school shopping is starting as early as April. Their recent survey found more than 10 percent of back to school shoppers will begin picking up items by June, and by August more than half will already be shopping.

Retailers who want to take advantage of this should run ads for school supplies, just without specifically mentioning, back-to-school. People know what they need and are looking for a good deal, they don't particularly need an event to justify the sale (20% off is a good bargain whatever the reason).

This research certainly shows the benefits of running specials throughout the year, but there is a need for balance. If customers become too dependent on sales, they may start to pass over items at regular price, knowing that the item will be on sale in a week or two.

This effect has also been seen by retailers in the shoe industry. According to data cited by Footwear News, "the past holiday season alone--which was rife was heavy promotions and saw many footwear and apparel companies garner dismal profits--is evidence of the negative impact that excessive discounting can have on companies."

A good way to maintain balance between sales and regular prices is to make sales specific to certain products or categories of products. By using more nuanced, instead of sitewide sales, customers can't assume the type of item they want to buy will be on sale soon. As an added bonus, rotating specials in this way gives consumers a reason to check the site or newsletter often.

The entire report from Hitwise has some interesting information, and can be downloaded for free from their website. For example, the report found that TV and Tire searches are highest in December and that Furniture and Mattress searches reach their peak in August/September.

Check it out for yourself for more research you can use to plan better campaigns throughout the year. And some more recent research on consumer behavior, read this article on what makes a brand authentic to consumers.

Source:  http://www.inc.com/peter-roesler/study-shows-consumers-searching-for-online-deals-all-year-round.html

With tons of new content published online every day and our attention spans shrinking by the day (or minute), having a firm understanding of the individuals you're trying to reach is increasingly vital to a business's existence. New research and tracking trends are popping up all over but this is what you should get used to in 2016:

It's all mobile.

Everything and everyone is mobile. Your research, analytics and marketing must be, too. Emily Culp of Keds stated in a recent interview that consumers look at their phones 150 times a day. Pew Research recently jumped on board with mobile surveys, increasing the percentage of their telephone surveys conducted via mobile to 75%. It was only 25% back in 2008. Which makes sense because as of 2014, 44% of Americans lived in households with no landline, so researchers were missing a huge portion of the population by surveying people with landline phones.

Your business, your content and your research needs to be mobile friendly. How long are customers spending looking at your page? Are they using an app or visiting your mobile site through Chrome or Safari? Do they first check social before beginning their shopping? Most of their activity will occur on their mobile device.

Track the decision-making process.

The consumer experience does not begin when someone enters your store or visits your website. As I mentioned above, so much of their activity is on their mobile device and their likely chatting with friends, visiting your social channels and those of influencers well before they get to the business's site. It's crucial to understand all the steps and see where most of your audience is spending their time prior to a purchase.

"The way you present your content, value proposition and call to action will have a big impact on the decision-making process and whether your users will convert," says Darryl Stevens founder & CEO of digiTech Web Design. "I recommend that you get to know your customer from a deeper perspective. There is a treasure trove of data that you can glean from each user action, interaction and decision, both within your website and on other touch points. You can use these to optimize your design and content for better performance."

Time is measured in nanoseconds.

Attention spans are short and getting shorter. Marketing must match that pace. Short videos, flashy photos, and quick reads get and keep attention. If you take too long to reel in the customer, they've moved on to a new site, new feed or new app.

Similarly, if a message doesn't work, you must adjust quickly and seamlessly. There is very little time to go all the way back to the drawing board. A-B testing and having backup options for each campaign is the only way to keep those potential customers. "Understanding what you have learned in the past is critical so you can re-apply and synthesize those learnings quickly so not only making faster adjustments but better decisions" says Kristi Zuhlke, CEO and Co-Founder of KnowledgeHound, a technology that enables market research and marketing organizations curate, search and analyze their market research within seconds. Stay on top of the analytics and be checking your progress far more frequently than a quarterly or monthly basis. If you wait that long, you've already lost too many people and you won't be able to win them back.

It's always worth noting that the core principles of marketing haven't changed. You still need to offer a product people want or need at a price they're willing to pay. However, place and promotion have consistently evolved to mean mobile and online engagement. Remember, people will read and engage with content that is interesting and relevant to them. Sometimes that content is your marketing.

Source:  http://www.inc.com/adam-fridman/how-market-research-is-changing-in-2016.html

Categorized in Market Research

How to use online market research tools, including search techniques, tips, and tools for using the Internet for researching your competition and market.

Your may already be conducting online market research for your business—but you may not know it. Some of the easiest to use and most common tools are located right at your fingertips. Web searches, online questionnaires, customer feedback forms—they all help you gather information about your market, your customers, and your future business prospects.

The advent of the Internet has presented small businesses with a wealth of additional resources to use in conducting free or low-cost market research. The following pages will describe the different types of tools to conduct online market research, go over the general categories of market research, and advise you how to create the best online questionnaires.

Online Market Research Tools

The following techniques can be used to gather market information with the help of a few mouse clicks and keystrokes:

Keyword Search. You know how to do a simple Web search using search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Take that a step farther by searching for "keywords" that people would use to find your type of products or services on the Internet. See how much interest there is in these keywords -- and how many competitors you have in this market. Keyword searches can also help remind you of product niches that you might not have considered.

There are other reasons to conduct keyword searches. 'First, you're going to be reminded of product niches that you might not of thought of.' says Jennifer Laycock, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Guide, an online guide to search engines, portals and directories. 'Second, these services will also give you a guesstimate of how many existing sites already use that phrase,' Laycock continues. 'How many existing sites already offer that product.' WordTracker and Trellian's Keyword Discovery are popular keyword search engines.

Competitor Links. A traditional search engine can also help you check out your competitors, their prices, and their offerings. Try typing 'link:www.[competitor's name].com' into Google to find out how many other sites link to your competitor's website. 'It is a great way to see a competitor's link development and PR campaigns,' says Shari Thurow, Web expert and author of the upcoming book Search Engine Visibility. 'Is the competitor promoting a product or service similar to your own? Maybe you can get publicity because you have a new or better product.'

Read Blogs. Blogs are updated much more regularly than traditional websites and, therefore, they can be another gauge of public opinion. Search blogs by using blog-specific search engines, such as Technorati or Nielsen BuzzMetrics' Blogpulse. 'Blogs tend to move at a faster pace and be more informal in tone, so you're more likely to pick up conversation about a new product type or need on a blog than on a standard web site,' Laycock says.

Conduct Online Surveys. Another way to gauge public opinion is through online surveys. While not as scientific as in-person or phone surveys that use a random sampling of the population, online surveys are a low-cost way to do market research about whether an idea or a product will be appealing to consumers. Now many companies offer to conduct online research for you or give your company the tools to carry out your own surveying. Some online survey companies include EZquestionnaire, KeySurvey, and WebSurveyor.

Research Tools and Techniques

There are a variety of types of market research tools -- both offline and online -- that are used by many large businesses and can be available to small and mid-sized businesses. When these techniques involve people, researchers use questionnaires administered in written form or person-to-person, either by personal or telephone interview, or increasingly online. Questionnaires may be closed-end or open-ended. The first type provides users choices to a question ("excellent," "good," "fair") whereas open-ended surveys solicit spontaneous reactions and capture these as given. Focus groups are a kind of opinion-solicitation but without a questionnaire; people interact with products, messages, or images and discuss them. Observers evaluate what they hear.

Major categories are as follows:

Audience Research. Audience research is aimed at discovering who is listening, watching, or reading radio, TV, and print media respectively. Such studies in part profile the audience and in part determine the popularity of the medium or portions of it.

Product Research. Product tests, of course, directly relate to use of the product. Good examples are tasting tests used to pick the most popular flavors—and consumer tests of vehicle or device prototypes to uncover problematical features or designs.

Brand Analysis. Brand research has similar profiling features ("Who uses this brand?") and also aims at identifying the reasons for brand loyalty or fickleness.

Psychological Profiling. Psychological profiling aims at construction profiles of customers by temperament, lifestyle, income, and other factors and tying such types to consumption patterns and media patronage.

Scanner Research. Scanner research uses checkout counter scans of transactions to develop patterns for all manner of end uses, including stocking, of course. From a marketing point of view, scans can also help users track the success of coupons and to establish linkages between products.

Database Research 

Also known as database "mining," this form of research attempts to exploit all kinds of data on hand on customers—which frequently have other revealing aspects. Purchase records, for example, can reveal the buying habits of different income groups—the income classification of accounts taking place by census tract matching. Data on average income by census tract can be obtained from the Bureau of the Census.

Post-sale or Consumer Satisfaction Research. Post-consumer surveys are familiar to many consumers from telephone calls that follow having a car serviced or calling help-lines for computer- or Internet-related problems. In part such surveys are intended to determine if the customer was satisfied. In part this additional attention is intended also to build good will and word-of-mouth advertising for the service provider.

Writing Online Questionnaires

When it comes to using Web-based surveys, small businesses should stick to a few simple but important rules:

The Shorter the Better. Don't alienate survey takers with long questionnaires. Limit yourself to 25 questions, which should take people five to seven minutes to finish, says Mary Malaszek, owner of Market Directions, a Boston market-research firm that works with businesses of all sizes. If surveys are much longer, people will abandon them 'and then you can't use them, and the next time you send them a survey they won't even open it,' she says. Other methods for keeping surveys short, according to a SensorPro white paper on online survey guidelines: make the first page simple, present answer options in multiple columns or a drop-down box, and put a status bar at the top of each question page so respondents know how close they are to being finished.

Avoid Open-Ended Questions. Since people want to zip through a survey, don't include a lot of open-ended questions where they have to type out the answers. Close-ended questions they can click on a button to answer—Yes, No, Maybe, Never, Often—work much better, Malaszek says. Companies can use close-ended questions to get the same kind of in-depth analysis open-ended questions provide by using rankings scales, which ask a respondent to rate something on some type of scale, 1 to 5, or 1 to 10, she says.

Be Persistent. If you're asking customers or vendors to take a survey, it's okay to send more than one invitation, especially to people who've previously indicated they would be willing to participate. Just make sure you've got people's permission, so they don't think you're spamming them, the survey experts say.
Be Patient. Businesses decide they want to do a survey then get impatient when they can't get the results right away, Malaszek says. Even though online surveys reduce some of the work, they take time to design and administer, and when the results are in, more time to interpret. It's a good idea to pick one person to shepherd the process, she says.

Source:  http://www.inc.com/guides/biz_online/online-market-research.html

Categorized in Market Research

Qualitative plus Quantitative industry search. what method is best for market research? in order to identify distinctions for qualitative plus quantitative search techniques, learn the examples here which I have given by way of tales.

Rapidresponse Benefits Shops

Not so long ago there was a very prosperous shop, named “Rapidresponse shop”. At one time the managing staff started to be concerned that Rapidresponse shop was not becoming favored by as many ladies as males – and that Rapidresponse was shedding an important portion of the market place.

Investigation Goal

An investigation task was created to know exactly how ladies sensed regarding purchasing from Rapidresponse shop and also the reason why. It had been determined that this investigation must be qualitative and the specified strategy would be In-depth-Interviews. The notion was that these ladies may be less likely to want to speak about their feelings regarding Rapidresponse shops in a team, so one-on-one interviews made good sense.

Qualitative Research

More than four dozen present or prospective women clients were paid to come into the main premises to talk about the usage of grocery stores as a whole, and particularly Rapidresponse convenience stores. The outcomes had been very astonishing to the managing staff. The main qualitative results included the following:

Ladies thought of convenience stores to be mainly created for males, without thinking of women,

The restrooms in grocery stores were thought to-be the dirtiest that could be noticed in a town – “gross” was the most typical definition – and that belief penetrated anything that women felt regarding grocery stores as a whole

Rapidresponse ended up being viewed as one of the worst of convenience shops “type of the spot for any male purchase gasoline, have a six pack of affordable alcohol and also tobacco, yet not the type of spot I would like to head”.

Quantitative Research

As soon as the administration staff got an awareness of what problems they encountered with women clients, they felt that they required to know how generally these types of opinions were held. Now they required to obtain a few hard data, which implied that they required to perform a quantitative industry search. The research goals for this stage of research had been:

Learn how women clients of Rapidresponse are different from those that do not frequently go to these shops.Discover whether a repair of Rapidresponse may attract every team to go to the shops more often or perhaps anyway based on if the responder presently avoided Rapidresponce completely.

Concerning the quantitative stage of research they chose to perform 300 phone interviews with a mixture of women participants. The prerequisites to sign up in this stage of research had been: 50 percent of the participants claimed that they had utilized Rapidresponce at least seven times in the past 12 months, and the other 50 percent confessed to deliberately steering clear of Rapidresponse entirely, even though they did utilize other brands of convenience shops. The most important results from the quantitative stage revealed that:

More than 76% of all women Rapidresponse clients were ladies below thirty years old, with no kids, whilst females with kids along with higher earnings were five times not expected to buy at Rapidresponse.

The great report ended up being that of the women who didn’t right now utilize Rapidresponse, sixty four percent mentioned that if these shops were to modify their colors, wash their restrooms boost their health and female products, that they would be prepared to use Rapidresponse once again.

Their two levels of research provided the Rapidresponse administration staff an excellent comprehension of where they presently stood with feminine clients and also the reason why. The quantitative research furthermore revealed that those females who were not presently utilizing their shops might if they transformed their methods.

The choice now was to determine if getting a lot more middle aged ladies as clients was worth the price of upgrading their shops and also investing additional money to ensure that they’re neat and clean.

Source:  https://www.thesequitur.com/which-market-research-method-is-for-you-1286983/

Categorized in Market Research

I am not a trained marketer. Yet I've been the chief marketer and run major teams for major brands. At my last in-house role, I took a company from 45 million to 100 million users, and was on the executive team during its acquisition for nearly half a billion dollars.

As a result, I recently had the honor of being asked to give the commencement address at my alma mater. As I was thinking about the advice I would give to my younger self, I couldn’t help but think of the career advice I give over and over again to early-career leaders, entrepreneurs and executives, in marketing and otherwise.

I thought I’d share.

What makes me great as a marketer is that I am fixated on being a great leader. I used to be a Lone Ranger type. As I matured, I realized that as a marketing leader -- as a business leader, period -- you can’t do anything big without an on-fire, whip-smart team. So I study, then practice and practice and practice, everything about leading and inspiring brilliant people. I study and practice creating conditions conducive to their brains doing their best work, and creating cultures that attract the geniuses I work with. I urge you to do the same. And to read "Boundaries for Leaders."

Do not become one of those bitter marketers or “creatives” constantly railing against data and metrics. Don't fight the waves. Learn to surf. Beautiful, sensual, emotional stories without outcomes and data? That's called art. I love art. But that's not marketing. 

Learn about business. Study Lean Methodology and apply it to your content and marketing programs. Read "The Lean Startup." Get very conversant in data -- especially content performance data. Cut through the noise and figure out what few data points really matter in understanding how your programs are moving the business.

Learn how to interpret them to get insight into what makes your Customers do what they do. Then constantly tweak and align your marketing to your Customers and what they want. Not what they should want, or what you want them to want. What they actually want to have happen in their real lives. Seriously, read "The Lean Startup."

Exercise Buddhist detachment from your content, your programs, even tough work relationships. Do more of what works, what inspires, what transforms. When it's not working, fix it fast or stop doing it. Acknowledge, commemorate and keep it moving. Get those resources back and reinvest them into the programs, campaigns or people that bear fruit.

Learn how to make business cases. If you can't ever get the resources to do what you need to do, you will get frustrated and bitter and you won't get the results you want. I was a consultant for much of my career, and the skill of making the business case for everything I propose to do helped become a clear, thoughtful thinker and strategist. This served me exceedingly well as an executive and in my in-house roles. Learning how to sell in your work and how to get is a necessary part of being a great marketer. Read "The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals."

Learn about humanity. Behavior change. Why people do what they do. Study behavioral economics. Neuroplasticity. How people get stuck. How they get unstuck. How they stay unstuck. Read "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business." Read "Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength." Read "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness."

Become an expert on story and narrative. Literally study it, don't just use the word "story" all the time. Understand character, plot, conflict, climax. Take James Patterson's MasterClass on Writing. Read "The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories." 

Don't fixate on the channel. It's not about Instagram or Snapchat. Getting to product-market fit, getting people to care about what you do, that’s never about the channel. And, in fact, there will always be a new channel. If you understand human motivation, story and business strategy, you will be able to create products and content people care about, regardless of what the new digital channel of the day is.

Prioritize ruthlessly. Almost no one can work on three, really big, important priorities at a time. Feeling overwhelmed or frustrated is almost always a signal to revisit and double-down on prioritization. This mostly means making hard decisions that you can’t do awesome things you would love to do, because that would distract or take resources away from The Actual Most Important Thing.

Don't work on products or for companies that you don't find interesting. And really, by that I mean work only for companies you believe are out to solve real, human-scale problems that would make the world work better for your customers, even if the product itself isn't quite there yet or if you aren't personally the target audience for the product. If I don't leave the first meeting with a company talking to my friends about how intriguing the product or the vision or the people are, I generally don't work on it. 

Don't work for people you don't find inspiring or don't think you can learn from. You don't necessarily have to like them. But you should believe working with them will expand your capacity for greatness and your skills.

On the other hand, don’t overrule gut misgivings about hiring people, either. You should be excited about learning from those who report to you, too. And don’t expect others to work with you unless you will help them grow, too.

Make it your goal to leave the people in your wake -- your employees, teammates, peers, bosses and especially your customers, better off than than they were when they came into contact with you. Sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. It can be as small as saying something encouraging at every opportunity. (Without blowing smoke.)

Study integrity. Decide to do whatever it takes to be a whole person with the capacity to face and handle the real facts of every situation. Read Henry Cloud’s "Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality."

If you work in marketing or product, understand your brief as a starting point in the conversation about what you should be working on. Don’t just accept a brief that doesn’t make sense (or isn’t appropriately resourced) from the start. In particular, push back if what you’ve been asked to do is not the thing that will actually solve the business issue. Don’t just push back, though, propose what will solve the issue and be able to explain your thinking as to why -- even if it’s never been done before.

Develop the practice of being still and thoughtful every day, for a moment. If you can journal or walk every day, that’s even better. Allow yourself to listen to that still, small voice that comes up all the time -- the more you honor it, the more it will whisper creativity, energy, wisdom and clear direction your way.

Occasionally, in times of transition, it will also whisper “I’m scared” or “I don’t know how to do this next thing” or “Wow I feel like an imposter in this situation.” Build the habit of interpreting that as a signal that you’re on the right track. 

Source:  https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/276228 

Categorized in Market Research

When it comes to getting major influencers to help with your marketing efforts, you can be embarking down a treacherous path. While it’s crucial to on-board folks who have a lot of sway with your market, you have to be careful not to rub them the wrong way.

In some cases, it can be just as easy to either get ignored by the influencers altogether, or goad them into giving you the wrong kind of marketing. With that in mind, here are four do’s and four don’t’s to pay attention to when you are trying to get influencers to help market your product.

1. Do choose your influencers wisely.

First, and probably most importantly, is to choose the right influencers to reach out to. You want to make sure their following is actually part of your market. That way, your message gets conveyed to people who will actually have an interest in what you’re promoting.

For example, in 2010 when author Shel Horowitz published his 10th book, "Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green," he quickly identified that the appropriate influencers for his market would be newsletter publishers, bloggers, best-selling authors and the like. He reached out to these influencers, and saw tremendous results from the campaign.

Based on a Google search showing 1,070,000 responses for an exact-match search for the book title, I estimate that at least 5,000,000 people were exposed to the campaign (that would be a very low average of five people seeing each page).

Also, remember that bigger isn’t always better. Victor Ricci of Trend Pie says that “targeting the big name social celebrities is nice but doesn’t always have the best results. When looking to get the lowest CPI, engagement is much more important than follower count.”

2. Do amplify influencer messages.

Influencers are often under tremendous pressure to drive traffic to their message, so anything you can do to help them do that will be noticed and greatly appreciated. You should find an influencer you greatly admire, and start amplifying their content by sharing it on your own social media networks. Be sure to tag the influencer so he or she knows what you’re doing.

Digital marketing entrepreneur Spencer X. Smith found out just how powerful this courtship could be when he began sharing articles by Cheryl Conner of Forbes. He would share her stories on LinkedIn and Twitter, always providing his own thoughts about the piece and how his audience might use it. As a result of his efforts, Conner actually contacted Smith to be the subject of a feature article at Forbes.

3. Do offer influencers something to entice them.

Sometimes, just building the relationship might not be enough. Many influencers need something a bit more tangible than just you sharing their message, so you need to entice them. This could take the form of a charitable donation in the influencer’s name or something more along the lines of helping the influencer get even more exposure.

For example, Cloudways struggled at first to get influencers to promote its new cloud hosting management platform. They pitched a list of influencers one at a time, and were either ignored or told they were being too pushy. While part of this might be a lack of relationship-building first, what finally worked for Cloudways tells “the rest of the story.”

Cloudways reached out to influencers again, this time inviting them to be interviewed for the company’s blog. This got the attention of several influencers, especially mid-level ones and the response was strong enough that Cloudways has published more than 120 interviews and has created a community that loves the company’s product and talks about it often.

4. Do use an evangelical approach.

Remember who you’re approaching. Top influencers respond to a different kind of value propositions than regular users. While regular users respond to quantitative value propositions like “cheaper,” “smaller,” or “faster,” top influencers are more interested in qualitative value propositions. This is where you’ll use words like “revolutionary,” “breakthrough,” and “game-changing.” Influencers want to be involved in exciting ventures, so you need to attract their attention with engaging text.

Rick Carlile, the founder of Aegora.com, the Professional Marketplace, used a very evangelical approach in trying to attract influencers to come on board. As a result of his influencer marketing campaign, Aegora.com was able to attract around 500 high-quality signups to the site, a tremendous number in a highly competitive niche.

5. Don’t spam influencers with follow ups.

Yes, you should follow up with your influencer, but don’t be obnoxious about it. This means having a bit of patience, since most influencers are very busy people and may not have an opportunity to reply to your email in just a day or two. If you don’t hear back from the influencer within a week, then it’s probably safe to send a follow up email.

Adarsh Thampy, CEO of LeadFerry, points out that you have to walk a fine line between persistence and pushiness. Thampy suggests you should send no more than two follow ups, with at least a week’s gap in between, to maximize your chances of success. Remember, though, not to be pushy:

It goes without saying. But influencers are humans too. Do you feel like doing something if someone you barely know acts pushy? No. When you face resistance, let it go.

6. Don’t forget to build influencer relationships.

Remember our suggestion in the do’s section about courting your influencer? This is crucial, because it builds a relationship with them before you even think about asking them for help. Failing to build that relationship first will mean you come across as being spammy and pushy.

Chris Boulas, the founder and president of digital marketing firm Formulytic, has built businesses from $5 million to more than $30 million in revenue, largely on the back of influencer marketing. Boulas points out how you can go about developing a relationship first:

Business is about give and take, so don’t approach influencers with a take-only mindset. Be ready to provide value in return. Do you have a skill, idea or feedback on an influencer’s business? Apply your skill or share your ideas for free and provide value upfront first. 

7. Don’t forget to set influencer guidelines.

How does your influencer reach out to his or her following? Through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or some other medium? Make sure you have specific guidelines in place for how you should be promoted and especially tagged, to generate the maximum exposure possible.

For example, Lindsay White of Lot801 Marketing points out that Instagram has recently made it possible to tag images. As a result of that, many influencers are only tagging people in the images when they are working with brands. This is a major problem, White points out:

"No one taps on the photo anymore to see who they tagged. But, they will read the captions. If your influencers aren’t tagging you in the caption, you’re missing out on some serious sales and social media followers. Since we’ve made this a requirement when working with any influencers, our sales are about 30 percent higher than if they didn’t tag us in both the caption and photo… along with an increase of about 50 percent in sales."

8. Don’t rely solely on the influencer for buzz.

Marketing almost has to take a multi pronged approach, so make sure you don’t get tunnel vision. You cannot rely just on the influencer to generate the buzz that will make your campaign successful. Consider the influencer just a piece of the puzzle, albeit a possibly big piece.

Marc Nashaat, of Powered by Search, stresses the importance of this multifaceted approach. He points out that at the same time you are building your influencer network, you should also be identifying the people or publications that cover your campaign topic or the engagements of your influencer. Do outreach to them to help “seed” your influencer-based marketing campaign.

Run a great influencer marketing campaign.

With these tips under your belt, you should be able to successfully attract the right influencers to help you with your marketing efforts. Just remember to be yourself, and follow the advice of folks who have been doing influencer marketing with great success for many years. 

Source:   https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/275923

 

SEO is a long-term strategy

 

You have to work hard to develop a body of highly optimized content for readers, and then you have to make efforts off-site to prove the relevance and authority of your website to search engines.

 

For the impatient marketer just starting out with their SEO strategy, the task can seem less than worthwhile. If this sounds familiar – and you need some quick SEO wins – this blog post is for you.

 

Here’s an eight-step SEO game plan for impatient marketers.

 

Step 1: Make Sure You’re Optimized for Mobile
First things first:

 

Is your site mobile-compatible? If not, this is one of your most important SEO tasks.

If you’re not sure, you can check right now using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test:

 

Mobile Friendly Test Website Screenshot

 

 

 

Just enter your URL and Google will tell you in seconds.

 

Optimizing for mobile is a really important step to get quick gains in SEO. For one, people in the US are now spending 61% of their time online using a mobile device. If someone accesses your site through mobile, and it’s not optimized, they’re much more likely to bounce, which is going to affect your results in SERPs.

 

And have you heard of Mobilegeddon? This is what marketers are calling Google’s April 2015 ranking algorithm update – one that was designed to boost the rank of mobile-friendly pages in search.

 

Step 2: Create a Site Map


If you’re already mobile-compatible, then the next step is making sure you have a sitemap.

A sitemap gives search engines detailed information about what pages are on your website, which will make it easier for them to crawl it. You can create one using XML Sitemaps for free (up to 500 pages).

 

XML Website Screenshot

 

 

 

If you use WordPress, there are simple plugins you can use to build a sitemap, such as Yoast. Otherwise, take your XML Sitemap and upload it to the root file of your site like this: /sitemap.xml.

 

Step 3: Get Set up With Search Console


If you haven’t already, you should sign up for Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, and verify your website.

 

Then you can submit your sitemap to each search engine. Here are the instructions for Google, and here are the ones for Bing.

 

On Search Console, just go to your dashboard, click ‘Crawl’ on the side navigation, then ‘Sitemaps.’ You’ll then see the option to ‘Add/Test Sitemap.’

 

Google Search Console Screenshot

 

 

 

Then just follow the prompts to get it set up.

 

Step 4: Check Your Site Speed


Now that you’re on Webmaster Tools, it’s really easy to check your site speed. In Google Analytics, click the “Reporting” tab in the top navigation.

 

Then, in the side toolbar, click Behavior > Site Speed > Overview to see your data.

 

Site Speed Menu Screenshot

 

 

 

Site speed is an important rank factor for SERPs, and it affects your bounce rate. People are impatient – the slower your website loads, the more likely they are to leave. In fact, 47% of consumers expect pages to load in 2 seconds or less.

 

Site speed also has an impact on your conversions—a 1-second loading delay can cause up to a 7% loss in conversions. This means you should do everything you can to make sure your website runs as fast as possible.

 

Google offers its own speed suggestions in the Site Speed drop-down menu. You can also look into different site speed fixes based on your platform (WordPress, Weebly, etc.). Here are some other common ways your content or setup can slow down your site speed.

 

 

Step 5: Make Sure Google is Crawling Your Website Properly


It’s important to make sure that Google is crawling your site properly – if it’s not, your content might not appear in search results at all.

 

If you’ve already submitted your sitemap to Search Console, check their Crawl Errors Report to see if they had problems crawling any of your pages. You should check back with this often as your website grows.

 

If you don’t already have one, create a robots.txt file in Google Analytics. If you have one already, check and make sure it’s not blocking any important URLs.

 

There are also many external tools to help you crawl your website, including:

Screaming Frog
SEO Chat
Webmaster World


Step 6: Check for Missing and Duplicate Data


Next, you should run your own crawler to identify any missing or duplicate data. Most of the crawling tools out there are paid, but Screaming Frog will give you a free trial for up to 500 URLs.

 

Here’s what you should be looking out for:

 

Missing ALT tags
Missing (or duplicate) meta descriptions
Missing (or duplicate) H1 and H2 tags
Duplicate pages
404 errors


Use this information to go back through and fill in any gaps in your website’s data.

Google doesn’t like websites with duplicate content, so it’s important to either block duplicate pages with your robots.txt file, or make the content unique.

 

Step 7: Start Optimizing for Local Search


Google is increasingly favoring locally optimized results for SERPs.

For example, if I search for “phone accessories,” Google doesn’t show me online retailers:

 

Google Search Screenshot for Cell Phone Accessories

 

 

 

Google used my IP address to highlight phone accessory options near me, before the first organic result.

So if you want some quick SEO wins, focus on local.

 

First, add your business to Google My Business. Add your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) and make sure the information is accurate.

 

Google compares your My Business NAP to your other NAP listings around the web. If there are discrepancies, it will affect your rank.

 

Next, you should go to the other popular search data providers and make sure your NAP is available for Google to find. Check Yelp, Bing, Yellow Pages, and other listings relevant to your industry.

 

You need to make sure your NAP is correct everywhere it appears. Moz Local can help you find your other listings using just your business name and zip code:

 

Moz Local Screenshot

 

 

 

For incorrect NAPs, either update it yourself or contact the website to tell them the information is wrong.

 

Step 8: Look for Long-Tail Keyword Opportunities


At this point, you’ve sorted out most of the technical issues that can really affect your SEO. Now, you have no choice but to move on to keyword optimization.

 

Still, there are some ways to get quick wins when trying to rank for keywords. The best one is looking for long-tail keywords.

 

Ranking for the most popular keywords in your industry can take years – or it could never happen at all – but if you find the right long-tail keywords to optimize for, you can shoot to the top of rankings.

 

According to Moz, a huge portion (70%) of keywords have relatively low demand.

Long-tail keywords are discovered by thinking about user intent. When your audience sits down at the search engine, what are they typing in?

 

For example, say I’m an online retailer of phone accessories. Ranking for keywords like “iphone case” or “screen protectors” will be difficult — you’d be going up against the biggest brands:

 

 

Google Search Screenshot for phone cases

 

 

But a lot of the time, your audience wants something specific. “Fast charge wireless charging pad” or “Galaxy Note 5 Flip Cover Case” are long-tail keywords that would have much less rank competition.

 

Finding good long-tail keywords is mostly about imagining user intent. Once you come up with some options, you can determine how relevant and competitive they are using Google Adwords.

 

If you’re searching for long-tail keywords in particular, I recommend using Keyword Tool Dominator. It uses Google autocomplete to help find relevant long-tail keywords right from search:

 

 

Keyword Tool Dominator Website Screenshot

 

 

 

Conclusion


There’s no getting around the long-haul optimization strategies if you want to get and maintain the highest rank possible. But if you’re just starting out with SEO, there are a lot of quick tricks you can use to jumpstart your efforts.

Follow the eight steps above to start your SEO game plan for impatient marketers.

 

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/serps-success-seo-game-plan-impatient-marketers/158977/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Friday, so welcome to our weekly round up of search marketing and related news.

This week we have the 16 companies dominating Google, stats on retailers’ search budgets, and a look at accusations around Google and searches for Hillary Clinton.

Is Google manipulating searches for Hillary Clinton? Er,no…

There’s been talk of Google manipulating autocomplete suggestions for searches on Hillary Clinton. A video from SourceFed claims that searches around Clinton are being manipulated as they don’t return the suggestions they would expect to find.

Specifically, searches such as “Hillary Clinton cri-” did not suggest “Hillary Clinton criminal charges” and “Hillary Clinton in-” did not return “Hillary Clinton indictment.”

SEO and reputation management expert Rhea Drysdale does an excellent job of debunking the theory in a post on Medium.

Essentially SoureFed failed to compare similar searches for Donald Trump, which fail to suggest phrases like “Donald Trump lawsuit”.

trump la

In a nutshell, if Google is manipulating searches for Clinton, it’s doing the same for Trump. There’s another theory too – the popularity of the SourceFed video has led to thousands trying out these searches for themselves, thus potentially manipulating these results.

Google becomes the world’s most powerful brand

Apple’s value has dropped 8% to $228 billion in the past year, while Google’s has risen 32% to reach $229 billion. So Google takes top spot in Millward Brown Digital’s annual report.

mill brown

Amazon’s search spending

Fractl has analyzed the marketing spend of some of the biggest retailers, and search gets the lion’s share of Amazon’s budget.

During the period studied, the ecommerce giant spent $8 million on TV and radio, $54 million on print and $1.35 billion on search.

amazon-budget

For more stats, see Mike O’Brien’s piece on the research.

In search, do the the rich just get richer?

Earlier this week, Chris Lake covered an excellent Glen Allsop study into how 16 companies are dominating Google’s results.

As Chris says in his post:

In this case, the rich are major publishing groups. The way they are getting richer is by cross-linking to existing and new websites, from footers and body copy, which are “constantly changing”
And these are the big 16:

top16

Source:  https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/06/10/four-of-the-most-interesting-search-marketing-news-stories-of-the-week/

Categorized in Market Research
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