8 Psychological Tips for Your Marketing Strategy

A recent article from Entrepreneur highlights eight useful reminders that can help you to implement psychology in your marketing efforts.

1. The human mind is prone to impulsivity.
Regardless of demographic, most people make impulse purchases, as shown by data from Chase, Gallup and Harris Interactive. This is why it works to ask customers to subscribe, buy and try it now.

“According to psychological research, “the reptilian” brain (the neocortex) expresses itself in: people’s obsessive-compulsive tendencies, the flight-or-fight response and the actions people take in response to urgencies. These are precisely the factors that inspire impulse purchases.” Deanna Christine Mulderrig

2. Images are processed faster than text.
A picture can say a thousand words—and it only takes a fraction of the time that it would take to read those thousand words. More importantly, it’s been shown that people think in pictures. Powerful visuals go a long way. Sometimes, the image makes or breaks the deal when consumers are considering an online purchase.

3. Blue is associated with trust.
An infographic from KissMetrics shows that blue is significantly associated with a sense of trust. Marketers can make use of the research available on color psychology. Of course, marketers should be aware that social factors are at play in these associations. For example, in American culture, white symbolizes purity making it a preferred color for wedding dresses. In contrast, Chinese culture attributes death, mourning and loss to the color white and use red in weddings because of its association to luck. Deanna Christine Mulderrig

4. Trust can be fostered by products and websites associated with appropriate words.
Words can lay the foundation of trust, especially when they are crafted thoughtfully. According to Entrepreneur, these are the words that work well consistently:

authentic
certified
guaranteed
loyal
official

5. Saying yes once means a high likelihood of saying yes again.
Otherwise known as the foot-in-door technique (FITD), salespeople have been taking advantage of the phenomenon that customers who say yes to a small request like an e-mail sign up are far likelier to say yes again.

6. The first number a customer sees can impact how the customer evaluates price in the future.
For example, a consumer in search of an affordable television with a budget of $1000 may see a TV is priced at $3,999 and consider that much too high. However, if that same consumer were to see that same television marked down to $1,499, the dramatically reduced price has an effect that may compel the purchaser to buy the TV even though it is over the original budget. Deanna Christine Mulderrig

7. Every decision is based on emotion.
According to Entrepreneur, neuroscience has proven that every single decision—even those made by more “rational” types—are informed by emotions. Marketers illiciting emotional responses as a way to gain more sales should instead approach this method as a way to align products/services and campaigns appropriately to the emotion to which customers might be most prone.

8. People often act according to how they’re labeled.
We see ourselves through the eye of the other, making the expectations and perceptions placed on us crucial to the formation of our behavioral inclinations.

“The message here is that it’s okay to tell your customers who they are, what they believe and how they will act. Your labelling will impact their decision to buy or not buy your product or service.”

Read the original article on Entrepreneur

-Deanna Christine Mulderrig

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Why social influencers matter

IMG_8677As the world has shifted to social media, consumers look at fellow consumers to inform their purchasing decisions. Instead of looking at companies, as they did in the past, they now look at each other and at their favorite personalities, who are consolidating massive followings on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and other platforms.

For these reasons, many believe influencer marketing to be the next big thing in advertising (Deanna Christine Mulderrig).

For the visionary marketer, the rise of the social media influencer creates a world of possibilities. It opens up a new channel for brands to connect with consumers more directly, more organically, and at scale. By creating branded content with social media influencers, brands can amplify their message while seducing their target audience.

However, influencer marketing is still new. Many marketers are still hesitant, at the risk of being left behind by the growing cohort of marketers that are embracing this new channel. In this article, we outline the 10 reasons why you need to launch an influencer marketing campaign today.

1. It’s Powerful

There are few things that drive a sale more effectively than a warm word-of-mouth recommendation. A study by McKinsey found that “marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.” And of those that were acquired through word-of-mouth had a 37 percent higher retention rate (Deanna Christine Mulderrig).

Influencer marketing presents a glaring opportunity for brands to leverage the power of word-of-mouth at scale through personalities that consumers already follow and admire.

2. It’s Social

It’s no secret – the world has shifted to social media. It’s time for your business to follow suit. A new report from Salesforce found that 70 percent of brands are increasing their social media spend this coming year (Deanna Christine Mulderrig).

Social media isn’t just an alternative to traditional media—it’s turning the traditional model on its head. Traditionally, consumers made purchasing decisions based on the advertisements that they saw or heard. Today, it’s easier to connect with other consumers via social media and make better purchasing decisions by learning about their experiences with a product or service.

People expect brands to talk with them rather than at them. They no longer expect brands to sell to them, but to entertain and inform them. In this new paradigm, influencers are a force to be reckoned with. Brands can strategically partner with the right personalities to spark organic conversations and seduce their followers (Deanna Christine Mulderrig).

3. It’s Sexy

When 50 influencers posted an Instagram picture of themselves wearing the same Lord & Taylor dress, on the same day, they told the Instagram fashion niche that the dress was a must-have article to be in the in-crowd. The dress sold out the following weekend. Working with influencers and tastemakers will communicate to the market that your brand may very well be the next big thing. In addition, you can repurpose the content they create to impress your existing customers.

4. Everybody Is Talking About It

From Forbes to Jay Baer, influencer marketing is reaching the lips of reporters and thought leaders across the globe.

A look at Google Trends illustrates the burgeoning growth of influencer marketing. Google classifies the keyword as a “Breakout,” meaning that the keyword is experiencing growth greater than 5000 percent (Deanna Christine Mulderrig).

5. It’s An Arbitrage

An arbitrage exists when something is selling for cheaper than it is actually worth. If you purchase this good, you will get a discounted price since the good’s real value is greater than its market price. The difference between the good’s market price and real value is your profit. In short, it is an opportunity to make big profits with a small effort.

Arbitrages are common in advertising. For instance, when Facebook first launched its ad network, early adopters reaped record returns on investments (ROIs) because nobody else was competing for the ad-space. However, as Facebook became more popular, more marketers started bidding for ad-space, driving the prices up by more than 335 percent in 2014 and evaporating everybody’s ROI.

The arbitrage “closed.”

Influencer marketing is currently an arbitrage. There is a massive supply of influencers, but few marketers running influencer campaigns, meaning that the cost of buying an influencer promotion is below its real value (as measured by your ROI).

Pro tip: Snapchat and Periscope are some of the newer influencer marketing markets. Barely any marketers are investing in it, creating an enormous arbitrage.

6. Prices Are Rising Faster Than You Can Say…

Arbitrages don’t last long. As more people learn about them, more people invest in that good, driving up the price and closing the arbitrage (Deanna Christine Mulderrig).

When NeoReach got started in the space in late 2013, the going rate for a branded Vine that got 3M loops was a mere $400. Nowadays, a branded Vine with that kind of exposure goes for $10,000 to $15,000, and prices only keep going up.

7. Consumers Are Tired Of Paid Ads

According to research firm Yankelovich, the average American is exposed to 5,000 advertisements a day. Whether or not that number is scientifically proven, it gets the point across: we are exposed to A LOT of ads.

In fact, we see so many that we’re unconsciously tuning them out, a phenomenon called “banner blindness”. Infolinks, a digital advertising platform, found that only 14 percent of their respondents could remember the last ad they saw and identify what was being promoted. With all of the advertising interrupting them, it’s no surprise that people love products like AdBlock, Netflix, and Spotify Premium that take ads out of traditionally ad-saturated media experiences.

8. It’s Native Advertising

In contrast to traditional advertising, which interrupts the consumer experience, native advertising places brands and products within the organic content, creating a more pleasurable experience for consumers and a more powerful marketing solution for brands.

According to MDG Advertising, a full-service advertising agency, 70 percent of internet users want to learn about a product through content rather than through traditional advertising. Another study by Dedicated Media found that purchase intent is 53 percent higher for native ads.

9. It Helps Your SEO

On top of building your brand and improving your sales numbers, influencer marketing also helps your search engine ranking. According to The Social Media Revolution, user generated social posts account for 25 percent of search results for the world’s top 20 brands. The more people mention your brand on social media, the more popular and relevant you will be on Google (Deanna Christine Mulderrig).

10. It’s Targetable and Trackable

Decisions without data are shots in the dark at best. For decades, the advertising industry was limited to shooting in the dark, having only access to traditional strategies that yielded murky information about audience reach, sales funnel influence, and branding impact.

The digital world is different. Every website visit, social like, and picture posted online can be stored and analyzed, yielding oceans of data that turns into valuable insights about your target market and your advertising performance.

– Deanna Christine Mulderrig

otogibak source: http://www.adweek.com/digital/10-reasons-why-influencer-marketing-is-the-next-big-thing/

5 Things You Must Do Before Jumping Into Paid Internet Advertising

Deanna Christine Mulderrig

Paid advertising is a great way to guide more traffic to your site and increase business, but it can become expensive quickly if you aren’t careful. How do you make sure you are getting the most out of your paid ads?

Just the other day, I was speaking with a business owner in my local community. They recently had begun an aggressive Google AdWords campaign that was working, sort of. They were receiving new leads, but the leads were for things they didn’t even do. Their AdWords buy was too broad, and they were paying for leads that weren’t any good.

How do we make sure that our paid advertising is performing as it should be? There are several simple things we can do to make sure we are getting the most bang for our buck.

Understand How Long Tail Keywords Work

The main thing we need to understand before jumping into paid advertising (especially search advertising) is how it all works – more specifically, how keywords work. Google’s AdWords tool is a great resource for discovering keywords in your industry (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

The problem with this tool is that it tends to push people toward very broad keywords that are far more expensive and much less effective. These are called “head” keywords. It is important to remember that you aren’t necessarily looking for the highest-traffic keywords. You are looking for the words that your customers use to look for you.

So, you will need to be on the lookout for something called “long tail keywords.” These keywords are the longer, more specific keywords that, when added together, make up the majority of search-driven traffic.

Deanna Christine Mulderrig.png

In the example above, the term “social media marketing” is considered a “head” keyword, which means it is searched for very frequently. The much less popular term “social media marketing courses online” receives few searches, but better exemplifies a long tail keyword. You might be able to go even further and try something like “the best social media marketing courses online.”

The big mistake that many first-time marketers make with SEO or pay-per-click advertising is choosing the wrong keywords. When you purchase “head” keywords like “social media marketing,” you will spend significantly more money and reduce your ROI dramatically. The key that you have to remember is you will get a lot more bang for your buck by targeting a large number of lower-traffic terms than by targeting a small number of higher-traffic terms.

Finally, the best source of keywords can come from your own website. Consider using a survey tool like Qualaroo to find out what your customers are looking for or why they decided to do business with you (after checkout for example). The language they use can be very effective ad copy for internet advertisements (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

Know the Territory

There are a lot of places to buy ads, with each site having its own strengths and weaknesses. To start with, you should understand some of the major types of paid advertising.Deanna Christine Mulderrig.png

Display Ads or Banner Ads – Banner ads immediately come to mind when we think about online advertising because they stand out so noticeably on the page. They are very common and come in a variety of sizes. These ads can be effective, but they tend to target customers who are not actively looking for something new.

For example, a person may be reading a newspaper article and not be interested in a new social media course. Display ads can be successful, but they need to be used properly. Display ads can be purchased using a pay-per-click model or they simply can be displayed for a certain length of time (Deanna Christine mulderrig).Deanna Christine Mulderrig.png

Text Ads – Text ads are the type you usually see on the primary Google search page. These ads generally are less expensive than display ads and target customers that actually are looking for something specific. They can be very effective but depend heavily on good keyword research and A/B testing (a topic we will discuss later in this post).

Here are a few of the places you should try listing your ads, though there certainly are many others:

Google AdWords. – Google AdWords are an obvious choice for many businesses. They offer display and text ads in association with highly targeted keywords. AdWords are a clear choice for any campaign. Bonus Tip: Your Google Adwords ads will produce a better return on investment the longer you use Adwords. Google will rewards long-term customers with better “quality scores”.

Bing or Yahoo. – Bing and Yahoo both offer alternative ad platforms that work similarly to Google’s. They combine display and text ads with targeted search terms. Some brands find that, while these options bring less traffic, the overall ROI is a bit better.

Facebook or LinkedIn. – Social advertising has grown enormously in popularity over the last few years. These ads combine text and display elements and are targeted based on user preferences, demographics, and location. Depending on your business type, both Facebook and LinkedIn are valid options to consider (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

StumbleUpon. – The social network StumbleUpon offers a unique paid advertising option that is very inexpensive and guarantees a “click-through” of some kind. This is worth looking into, but it is important to track your actual conversions, which is the primary weakness with this model.

BuySellAds or Direct Buy. – BuySellAds.com is a great place to go to find additional display ad opportunities. These usually allow you to “rent” space on a site or a blog for a fixed cost. Additional opportunities like this can exist if you contact some of your favorite bloggers directly.

In the beginning, it is important to try several of these options and use hard data to make final decisions about where you want to put your money. Often, we simply guess which sites will be best without putting much effort into finding out if we actually are right. Hard data, not guesses, will tell you what gives you the best return. Good tracking capabilities will make this possible.

Have Your Tracking Ready

If you aren’t able to see how each of your ads is performing, then you shouldn’t be buying paid advertising at all. The beautiful thing about online advertising is that you get the opportunity to track everything. Google Analytics is an absolute must when it comes to online ad buying. This analytics package is free and easy to install (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

Once you have it set up, you should become very familiar with Google Analytics Custom Campaigns. These options allow you to create a customized URL for each ad that will help you see overall performance for all of your advertising. Using Google Analytics in this way will give you a single dashboard for comparing all of your advertising campaigns.

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Kissmetrics is another important tool for online tracking because it allows you to create a funnel report for your ads. Not only will you be able to see the amount of traffic that you received from the ad, but you also will be able to see how many of the clicks converted into a genuine lead, a purchase, or even a long-term subscriber.

This type of tracking is extremely important; click and traffic counts simply can’t tell you everything you want to know. While you may get fewer clicks with certain types of ads, if they are more likely to convert to sales, they just might be worth your while.utm tracking with KISSmetrics

Create a Landing Page

It is important to send incoming visitors to a unique page (called a landing page) on your website, rather than your homepage. This may seem counter-intuitive, but there are three very good reasons for using this strategy:

  1. Landing pages allow you to customize your message for incoming visitors. This means that you can continue the message that you started with your ads, which creates a cohesive experience.
  2. These custom landing pages allow you to push visitors toward specific actions, such as downloading a free ebook. (Displaying traditional navigation may distract your visitors.)
  3. Landing pages make tracking your visits very easy. This is especially important.

When you combine this strategy with easy funnel-tracking tools like Kissmetrics, you quickly can gain a lot of information about how to reach and sell to your new visitors. In some cases, you can create a single landing page for an entire ad campaign. In other cases, you may want to create a specific landing page for each keyword that you purchase.

It is important to remember to block your custom landing pages from search engines. This can be done with a simple edit to your “robots.txt” file. This is an important step that will make your ad tracking more reliable. If you allow Google and Bing to send non-paid visitors to your page, you may get a false sense of how your page is performing.

Create a Call to Action – Once you have a visitor on your landing page, how do you convert them into a lead or a customer? Every page you send them to should have a clear call to action. Think about this one carefully, because it’s the difference between a sale and wasted money.

I like to decide what the “number one” desired outcome for each page is before I design a landing page. Simply ask yourself, “What do I want them to do the most?” Then create the page accordingly.

Everything on your page should push your visitors toward the action you want them to take. Without considering this, you’re throwing money away.

Use A/B Testing – You may have launched your page, but you aren’t done yet. Small tweaks and adjustments can make a huge difference in your overall conversion rate. If you’ve followed the tips above, you should have the proper landing page and conversion tracking to make this task very easy.

A/B testing is being scientific about testing which methods work best. When you go about A/B testing, it is important that you make only a single, testable, change each time. For example, you could test the effectiveness of your page’s headline or button placement, but not both at the same time.

By testing a single change, you will be able to see conclusive results about what works best. A/B testing is an ongoing process, too, so don’t stop. Keep testing and modifying your page. You might be surprised at what it does to your overall conversion rate.

Review Results Regularly

Whatever you do, don’t look at your results every day. This practice can lead to off-hand changes that are made too hastily. It is best to wait so that your analytics have time to accumulate accurate trends and information. Then determine a set time period for reviewing your statistics and making changes. It might be monthly, it might be weekly. Checking monthly is a good plan for picking up broad shifts.

Also, you might consider setting up spreadsheets to track your statistics. It’s easier to pick up on trends and understand what you’re seeing when you dig into your analytics to pull out the numbers for your spreadsheet.

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Be prepared to kill keywords that are under-performing. Remember, conversion rates are your most important statistics, not clicks. Clicks just waste money unless they are doing something purposeful for you. With all paid advertising, especially AdWords, the longer you run your ads, the better your rates and quality score will become. This will be true particularly if you rely heavily on good A/B testing and are constantly refining your ad buy.

Set a Budget and Plan for the Long Haul

This is something that you will do for a while. Don’t expect to be finished in a week or two. You need to give it time and finesse your plan to get the best results. Again, cumulative trends and information will give you a clearer picture. Dedicate your time and funds for a serious study. Online advertising isn’t a quick-fix solution, but rather one requiring patience and observation.

About the Author: Garrett Moon is a founder at Todaymade a web development and content marketing company, and the makers of CoSchedule an editorial calendar for WordPress that makes content marketing and social media easy.

-Deanna Christine Mulderrig

Original Post: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/

6 Blogging Best Practices to Strengthen Your Digital Marketing Campaigns

Deanna Christine Mulderrig

Deanna Christine Mulderrig

Given the extent to which content is driving digital marketing, branded blogging is a must. Especially with businesses that are looking to build an audience, blogging has to be a consistent practice. Not only does one have to produce quality content, one has to do it consistently, and keep getting better at it. That’s a tall order.

There are many aspects to a successful blog. Let’s look at a few things beyond SEO, grammar, consistency of posting and sharing on social to find out how can one keep a quality blog going.

1. Use a blogging tool such as Buzzsumo

As content creators we are consistently battling the challenge of producing great ideas on a daily basis. It’s tough work, but thankfully there are a number of tools out there that can help us generate ideas.

Buzzsumo is a great place to start. They have a free version which tells you about the most loved/shared topics in your niche. You see the number of shares trending topics receive on each of the most popular platforms. You are able to find key influencers as well as set up alerts and track mentions.

Portent, Google Trends, and Answer the Public are some other tools that can help you keep the content machinery oiled.

2. Search within social

A lot is being written about everything. To avoid sounding repetitive, you might want to first conduct a fast search on the topics you are writing about. The best place to do so would be social, where you would eventually be promoting your own content.

With the help of hashtags, search within Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest. Not only will this tell you what’s trending, but also give ideas to produce a unique twist on the topic. Quora is another platform that content creators absolutely must refer to during research. After all, the usefulness/relevance of topics is what will bring the target audience to you.

3. Find your audience

More important than knowing your audience is knowing where this audience is found. Internet marketing delivers its messages via a number of devices. Is your target audience going to be consuming your content via a mobile device or on a desktop? Your content needs to be shaped accordingly.

The requirement of content to be read on mobile devices is slightly different due to the smaller screen sizes and also because it would likely be consumed on the go.

You  want to use words that are easy to comprehend, structure your posts to aid readability on phones, introduce a number of breaks, and make sure to use sub headings or bullet points so that readers can glance down the post and determine if it’s something they would want to read. Infographics and podcasts are a good idea, too.

4. Join an online community

Nothing better to challenge your existing views, expand your horizons, or remain in the know about hot trends. All of this fuels informed writing. You will also acquire a ton of new ideas, something of direct relevance and hence importance to the target audience.

While online communities abound, and you should be able to find one that relates to your business without much searching. We recommend Medium. Insightful articles are published here on a daily basis.

5. Develop expertise in your field

Shallow blog posts are a dime a dozen. There’s so much out there that barely skims the surface, but that is not because content creators are lazy, it’s because there is only so much one can cover in a 1,000-odd words.

It’s helpful then to take one topic and write extensively about it. Not all in one post, of course, but spread it out over weeks or months. That kind of insight is rare, builds up gradually for the readers, and should win you new followers. It’s beneficial for your online profile to be known as an authority on something and expertise only comes about when you immerse yourself in a topic.

In case you have a team of content writers working for you, you could assign each of them a beat, the way it works at newspapers. That doesn’t mean they aren’t allowed to write on anything else; only that the more they engage with a subject, the better their understanding on the matter, and ultimately, the greater the content they produce.

In the end, this is what helps a blog stand out. To be known for something – that one thing that it does better than anyone else. Tools can help you generate ideas, but the best ones will still come from your own deep understanding of a topic and a unique take on it.

6. Produce evergreen content on a regular basis

Every few months, you want to write about a topic in depth. When you cannot do it through blog posts because of length constraints, do a special. Like a series, whitepapers, guides or even e-books. Evergreen content is deemed that way because the topics it covers remain relevant for a very long time and also because the content is exhaustive in nature.

This content will rank you as an authority in your niche and continue to bring greater organic traffic because there will always be people seeking this information as they discover (and try to understand) the online medium.

-Deanna Christine Mulderrig

Original source: www.business.com/

5 WAYS SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING REALLY AFFECTS BUSINESSES

 

Deanna Christine MulderrigWhat is social media marketing? I know that sounds like an first question, but it really does deserve some discussion. There are several dimensions to a great social media marketing strategy as well as its interweave relationship to other channel strategies like content, search, email and mobile.

Using social media for marketing can enable small business looking to further their reach to more and more customers. Your customers be sociable with brands through social media, therefore, having a strong social media marketing plan and being there on the web is the key to tap into their interest. If its implemented correctly, marketing with social media can help us to bring remarkable success to your business.

Let’s go back to the definition of marketing. Marketing is the action or business of researching, planning, accomplish, promoting and selling products or services. Social media is a communication medium that enables users to create content, share content or engage in social networking. Social media as a method is very different from traditional media for two reasons. First, the activity is largely public and approachable to marketers for research. Second, the medium allows for communication – both direct and indirect

What is Social Media Marketing?
A strong social media marketing strategy must include both the distinct features of social media as well as purchase the methods by which a brand can be monitored and promoted. That means that a having a strategy to push 2 tweets a day isn’t a fully bound social media strategy. A complete plan includes tools and methodologies to research your audience, to monitor and react to the audience, to safeguard and grow your personal or brand reputation, to publish content that provides value to your social network, and includes a promotion strategy that drives business results. That promotion strategy may even include social media advertising (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

Business results don’t always have to be the actual purchase, but they can be building perception, trust, and control. In fact, social media isn’t often found to drive direct purchases unless it’s by way of a concession or promotion. Social media is more often used to discover by word of mouth, a source of interrogation for research, and a source to connect – via people – to a company. Because it’s bi-directional, it’s quite unique from other marketing channel.

5 Ways Social Media Marketing Affects Businesses

1. Showcase your brand – word of mouth is incredibly powerful because it’s highly relevant. People in a specific industry, as an example, often meet in social media channels and groups. If one person shares your brand or service, it can be seen and shared all over the social media by a highly-engaged audience. Thus social media marketing helps us in showcasing are brand it is a very huge platform for business. A local company can also become brand through social media. But for that they have to make powerful and useful content for their brand (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

2. Develop a loyal community – if you have an effective social strategy of providing value to your audience – either by direct helping, curated content, or other news, tips and tricks, your community will grow to respect and trust you. Trust and authority are important section of any purchase decision.If your user is not trusting you then your business cannot run for long period of time it will only run for a short period of time

3. Improve customer service – whenever your customer calls you for your help, it’s a 1:1 conversation. But when a customer reaches out on social media, your audiences get to see how you respond their needs. Great customer service can be checked through every corner of the globe… and so can lead customer service disaster.its better to make respond to your customer as fast as you can because if you unable to do so because it can bring very big problem to your business.

4. Increase digital exposure – why product content without a plan to share and promote it? Developing content doesn’t mean if you build it, they will come to you. They won’t. So building a great social network where the community become’s brand advocates is incredibly very powerful (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

5. Boost traffic and SEO – As we all know the search engines continue to exclude links, fans and followers as a direct factor in search engine ranking, there is no doubt that a strong social media strategy will drive great search engine results for your business. So your duty is to boost traffic to your website and to do that you should have to do SEO to put you in top ranking in google.

– Deanna Christine Mulderrig

Original source: http://www.digitalvidya.com/blog/

What is Conversion Rate Optimization and Why are we Still Confused?

There are so many questions about Conversion Rate Optimization, aka. “CRO” these days. I have frequent conversations with marketers from coast to coast on this subject and I’ve come to realize that we have a clear case of misinformation. Who is to blame for this ‘fake news’, you ask? The blame is on all of us actually.

I want to point out that while the internet has an enormous amount of information on crafting CRO strategies, a lot of it is less than optimal. My goal in writing this is to facilitate a paradigm shift in the way many marketers view the strategy behind CRO. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy conversing with marketers on the subject (and sounding smart whilst setting the record straight) however I’d like to get to a point where many of these aforementioned conversations pertain to customer theory learning and application as opposed to treatment wins/losses. Let me explain…

CRO is more about customer learning and less about winning a specific treatment over another. If you google something like ‘CRO’ or ‘A/B testing’ you will find several articles about these topics, some successful and some not so much.

So what constitutes a failed CRO strategy?

First of all, many marketers do not understand the full level of commitment required to engage and maintain a successful CRO strategy. An easy way to fail is to do what I like to call the ‘winning treatment only’ strategy. This involves creating test variations with the primary goal being to produce a ‘winner’. The main problem surrounding this strategy is that these types of tests are designed around the goal of getting a winning treatment, as opposed to proving or disproving a specific customer theory. This strategy will most-likely provide short-term gains however many companies who use this method fail to see long-term benefits and as a result, acquire a sour taste for CRO (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

How does this happen so often?

Decision makers have been exposed to case study after case study of button color and copy changes with big up arrows and large percentages (often relative with no context which makes me chuckle). Marketers are often pressured through terms like ‘ROI’ or ‘Overall Conversions’ to direct CRO departments/agencies down this path and while many agencies attempt to push back, fools still gotta eat.

So what constitutes a successful CRO strategy?

Commitment is the key. Essentially, we need to transform the thought of CRO from a short term boost in conversions or revenue to a long term investment for the future. This investment can permeate through your entire business, not just internet sales. I mean, in what case would you not share valuable customer insights across the business. Creation of a customer theory document that can be shared across departments is a vital component.

The successful CRO strategy seeks to prove/disprove customer theories in order to learn what drives customers to complete various activities in-line with the goals of the business. Testing is just one method to uncover these insights. To put it another way, the CRO strategy is focused on validating hypotheses (win or lose) to learn, and less concerned with what the experience will look like in the future from what we learn now.

For example, if a test concept proves a hypothesis correct/not correct, we will then take that learning into account when we either design the next treatment or redesign the experience going forward. We will not necessarily always just implement a winning treatment. That conversation will be like, ok now we know xyz about these customers, now let’s either advance the learning into a new hypothesis (next in sequence) or design the best experience around that (and other) understanding(s) and the needs of the business. This process could take a couple of winning treatments and a couple of losing treatments to truly understand and design the best experience (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

My purpose for writing this is not only to answer some common questions that I have been asked by many marketers, but to also help promote the common communication of what CRO is. As a result of all the miscommunication and failed attempts, and regardless of your position or title, we must all promote a paradigm shift in how we approach the strategy behind CRO.

-Deanna Christine Mulderrig

Original source: http://www.digitaloperative.com/blog/

DIGITAL ADVERTISING NEEDS TO PUT THE USER FIRST

Over the past two decades, a series of digital innovations have made it possible for advertisers to reach global audiences with unprecedented speed and precision. But for all that these “programmatic” tools have done to drive revenues for brands and media companies, it has become increasingly clear that the entire media ecosystem has forgotten a rather important piece of the puzzle: the real, live human beings who look at the ads we serve them.

Don’t believe me? Try to remember the last time you clicked on an ad. If you can’t, you’re not alone. According to Google, the average click-through rate for U.S. display ads is a measly 0.12 percent, meaning that people click on just one out of every 833 ads they see.

After years of ad experiences that are irrelevant to the user, out of context, and not creative — and suck up their smartphone data — it’s no surprise that more and more of them are turning to ad-blocking software to ignore these messages.

If the digital advertising industry doesn’t want consumers to tune us out entirely, we need to start putting the user first, by delivering creative, compelling solutions. After all, even the world’s best data-targeting and media-buying tools will be ultimately useless if no one is paying attention on the other end.

DIGITAL ADVERTISING NEEDS NEW PRIORITIES FOR A MOBILE-FIRST, USER-CONTROLLED WORLD

At this point, you may be wondering how digital advertising became so unpleasant. In order to find the answer, it’s helpful to look back to the early days of digital advertising.

When the web was first emerging, brands reached consumers exclusively on desktop devices. Direct response advertisers were the first to embrace digital, and primarily with the intent of getting them to click a link that led them to a website, perhaps to a product online. From this focus on ecommerce came ad formats like pop-ups and banners that were designed to get people’s attention at all costs. And while they evolved over the years, when publishers and brands started transporting ads made for the desktop to mobile devices, small screen sizes and more focused user activity made the ads even more disruptive.

It was only a matter of time before consumers began exercising their power over the digital user experience, downloading ad-block software on computers and x’ing out of mobile ads. In order to be successful moving forward, advertisers must acknowledge the user’s power by developing creative solutions that are enjoyable and appropriately aligned with the mobile devices people are spending more and more of their time with.

HOW NEW STANDARDS AND INTERACTIVE AD FORMATS ARE CREATING BETTER DIGITAL ENVIRONMENTS

Fortunately, all hope is not lost. In fact, many in our industry are already hard at work building exciting mobile-first ad formats designed with the user’s best interests in mind.

For instance, the digital advertising trade group IAB has spent the past year developing new ad units that can be used across publishers and devices as part of its LEAN Initiative. Crucially, these formats are being designed with an eye toward making them non-invasive, lightweight and opt-in — giving people a choice of whether they want to engage with an ad that won’t take too long to load or deplete their monthly data supply.

As an example, BMW has recently been testing a unit on mobile devices where a short animation plays out across the screen before disappearing into a corner. The ad momentarily catches people’s attention before allowing them to decide for themselves whether they want to tap on it to learn more about one of the brand’s cars.

Elsewhere, social networks like Facebook and Snapchat are leading the charge with ads that take advantage of the best aspects of their mobile-first platforms. With Facebook’s Canvas, advertisers can easily build immersive, scrollable experiences that load directly within the company’s mobile app when people tap on them inside the News Feed.

Meanwhile, Snapchat has leveraged its insanely popular camera to help brands create their own custom filters. A filter made by Gatorade for this year’s Super Bowl, which allowed users to take video selfies of an animated bucket of the soft drink being dumped on their heads, generated 160 million impressions.

Each of these formats gives the user’s mobile experience top priority while allowing the consumer to control how they engage with the ad.

REBUILDING CONSUMER TRUST, ONE GREAT AD AT A TIME

Needless to say, a handful of great formats won’t be enough to persuade people to start paying attention to digital advertising all by themselves. But by devoting our time and energy to building experiences similar to the ones we mentioned a moment ago, we can begin the process of changing minds.

As Facebook, Snapchat, and BMW are proving, people aren’t averse to interacting with digital advertising so long as there’s something in it for them. For marketers, the time is now to start putting the user first and delivering the contextually appropriate, hyper-engaging ads we know you’re capable of.

-Deanna Christine Mulderrig

Original source: http://www.venturebeat.com

CES 2017: Lessons From Looking Back And Guide To Looking Ahead

The tech, media and marketing worlds have left the Consumer Electronics Show in the rear-view mirror (some taking longer than others thanks to snow back East). But before we all rush headlong through the rest of 2017, it’s worth taking a breath to review a few quick takeaways from the annual Sin City Summit that should guide us in months and years to come:

The increasing importance of authenticity

I can’t recount how many different conversations I had in which authenticity arose as a critical concern. In a world of increasingly virtual interaction, that is an elusive but highly valued currency. Authenticity is an issue for brands who want to make sure that their reputation is not harmed by running marketing messages in wholly inappropriate or offensive digital environments (think of a Coca-Cola ad on a white supremacist blog – or better yet – don’t). It is an issue for the agencies seeking to navigate the increasingly complex media and technology universe on behalf of those same brands looking for the right validation of who they work with and what platforms are “safe.” It is an issue for established and emerging publishers seeking to distinguish themselves in a content crossroads teeming with fake news and fake people (like bots).Ronald Reagan was fond of invoking the old Russian proverb of “Trust but verify” in dealing with arms control negotiations (no, I’m not invoking our president-elect here). When the reality of what’s behind the digital curtain may be very different from what’s in front, that Reagan-esque adage is beneficial one in guiding who you partner with on technology, content, and marketing (not to mention almost any other aspect of your business).
Focus less on new technology than about how technology learns and communicates

Are we getting to the point where we have enough stuff? I would hardly leap to that conclusion, but the device market was down 3% in 2016, and some of the hottest consumer items such as the Amazon Echo and VR equipment are hardly brand new. Yet the wonders of enhanced intelligence from the stuff around us seems to be just beginning (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

I’ve been an Echo devotee for at least a year, and Alexa (the voice of the Echo) feels like a member of the family. It’s (she’s?) not much to look at from a design perspective, and there is virtually no physical interaction, but Alexa’s capabilities are increasing exponentially. Entering CES, Alexa had over 1500 “skills” (think of them as apps) from playing music on-demand to telling jokes to adjusting home lights and thermostats. I understand that an additional 700 are on the way shortly.

Alexa and compatriots like Google Home and new products from Lenovo and others are in many ways a gateway to the “Internet of Things.” I’ve never loved this term but until a better one comes along it must suffice as a catchall for the insertion of enhanced artificial intelligence and wireless communications into virtually every physical product we drive, wear or use. The eventual ubiquity of the internet of things seems rivaled only by the historic jurisdiction of my former employer, the all-powerful U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, whose reach famously extended to everything that moves, burns, or is sold.

The world of audio remains underdeveloped territory

Speaking of Alexa, part of what is so wonderful about these voice-activated devices is the ease with which it facilitates bringing sound into your environment. Whether it is music, headlines, the weather, or a meditation, it very simply demonstrates the power of audio in our surroundings (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

Yet it feels like the world of audio, in the spectrum of media content options available, has enormous room (and arguably a crying need) for innovation and growth. For example, look at the world of podcasts – literally hundreds of thousands of sound (no pun intended) options, but name one platform for listening to podcasts that resonates with consumers the way Netflix, Amazon or Hulu does for video. And how about sound as a tool for telling stories of brands? I had an interesting discussion with a digital content producer about the iconic sound associated with Intel Inside. How old is that – decades? Yet how many other brands have used sound to truly define themselves? The time is more than ripe for leveraging the power of our auditory sense.

Data still needs a whole lot of humanity to turn it into useful information

In baseball, data-driven Moneyball has been all the rage at least since Michael Lewis coined that term. But the Chicago Cubs won a World Series by marrying the data wizardry of their President Theo Epstein and his analytics team with the golden gut of Manager Joe Maddon. In the marketing world, we’re still at the front end of our love affair with data, but it should also come with a cautionary note (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

I’m sure it wasn’t the first time she used it, but I loved the line I heard at the MediaLink-sponsored panel discussion from Lindsay Nelson, Global Head of Brand Strategy at Vox. As Nelson drily noted, “No client ever asked me to send them another spreadsheet.” I think we all know what she’s talking about. There is no lack of data today, and no lack of companies and platforms that can gather it, crunch it, sort it, store it, and deliver it. But accompanying the data with real insights, and the context that often comes from informed, experienced judgment? As MasterCard might tell us, that is priceless.

– Deanna Christine Mulderrig

Original source: http://www.forbes.com

Four Ways To Optimise Mobile Copywriting For A Superior UX

In the past couple of years, it’s become more important than ever for websites to be mobile-friendly. 

With two updates to Google’s algorithm, both of which centre around favouring mobile-optimised sites, those that ignore this now risk a significant impact to search rankings (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

Copywriting is undoubtedly a big part of the mobile experience – so how can brands get their message across on smaller devices? Here are four tips.

And if you want to improve your copywriting or mobile knowledge, check out Econsultancy’s training courses.

Consider the user context

Effective mobile copy does not just consider the user – i.e. who the person is or what they know about the brand or company – it also considers the context that they are in. This means where they are, what device they are using and even their state of mind.

For example, a train booking site like Trainline knows that mobile users are less likely to want to book in advance. If they are using a smartphone, they probably want tickets in real-time (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

As we can see below, the desktop experience is largely geared around advance savings, whereas the mobile site is stripped back to focus on the current booking.

Trainline_desktop.JPG

This is reflected in the copy, with the latter asking direct questions such as “where are you starting?” in place of “enter your origin station”, prompting the user to take direct action while on-the-go.

trainline.JPG

Favour usability over tone

While a strong tone of voice is effective for engaging users, it’s far more important to consider usability on mobile (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

Short and compelling copy can help to counteract a limited word count and users with a shorter attention span. If copy merely clutters the page instead of aiding the user journey – it should be cut.

That being said, the fewer the words, the more impactful they should be. Sites that combine a strong tone with concise calls-to-action tend to be the most effective.

Pocket, the online service that allows you to save interesting articles and websites for later, is a great example of how to inject maximum information into the minimum amount of words.

Pocket.JPG

Granted, its mobile site isn’t that different to desktop, but its succinct style is clearly designed with smaller devices and screens in mind (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

Pocket_2.JPG

Consider the user journey

As well as the physical or emotional context of the user, effective copywriting factors in where the user wants to go in their online journey (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

This means including relevant links and prompts for navigation. Moreover, it also means ensuring that the copy is consistent throughout, even including things like error messages.

Often, this type of copy can be left to designers who will be more inclined to use language or phrases that are unfamiliar or jarring to the general public. This has the potential to disrupt the user journey, and even have a detrimental effect on conversion rates.

Including links within error messages is a great way to combat this, just like this simple but effective prompt for username recovery from MailChimp.

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Update the golden triangle

The ‘golden triangle’ is a rule of thumb referring to the fact that users focus on the top left hand of the screen when reading on desktop. More recently, however, it has been suggested that this does not apply to mobile users (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

A study by Briggsby shows that instead of attention being solely focused on the upper left, users take more of the screen into consideration, mainly due to the quick and short scrolling action required on smartphones.

Research found that 86% of attention is given to the top two-thirds of the screen, while it drops significantly at the bottom.

Brigssby.JPG

When it comes to copy, it’s important to take this into consideration. Placing the most important information at the top or centre of the screen helps reduce bounce rate and ensures the user’s attention is maintained.

Though it isn’t a perfect example of mobile design, Curry’s mobile site packs the most important information at the top.

Currently, it is displaying its January sales at the top of the page, separating everything into categories in anticipation of the user’s needs.

Currys.JPG

Unlike a lot of mobile sites, it does not require huge amounts of scrolling either, instead including a comprehensive side menu to guide the user onwards (Deanna Christine mulderrig).

The pros and cons of the hamburger menu are debated in greater detail in a separate post by Ben Davis.

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-Deanna Christine Mulderrig

Original source: https://econsultancy.com/blog

10 Expert Tips To Make 2017 Your Most Productive Year Yet

DeannaChristineMulderrigThere is no one definitive strategy to being productive, and it may take a little trial and error to find what works best for you. But if you’ve resolved to make 2017 the year you finally slay your to-do list every day, it can help to find out what’s worked for some of the most productive people.

In that spirit, we turned to some of our top experts and contributors to find out what approaches keep them productive all year long, in the hopes that a few of these can help you do the same in the year ahead.

1. PLAN TOMORROW TONIGHT

The early bird only catches the worm if it plans the night before, says PR strategist Christina Nicholson. “By filling out my specific planner the night before, I don’t feel rushed or like I have to get to something right away,” an approach that some time-management experts endorse. Simply having a battle plan is like waking up to find your work already started. Right away, Nicholson finds, the start of her day has “already been scheduled for me”—by her.

Simply having a battle plan is like waking up to find your work already started.

2. WRITE A ONE-ITEM TO-DO LIST

“This past year, my work became infinitely more complex,” says Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, who now directs the Better Life Lab at the think tank New America. Her solution? Scrapping her long, unfinished to-do lists and replacing them with a single daily goal.

“By acknowledging I had limited time, limited bandwidth, and too much to do, and forcing myself to choose just one thing and getting it done every day, I wound up accomplishing some of my most important goals,” she says.

3. GO FOR A STROLL

“The more I walk, the more ideas I have,” says Ellevest founder and CEO Sallie Krawcheck, opting for a low-tech productivity approach. “I put on some well-worn background music—so I only half pay attention to it—and go. Sometimes I get only an idea or two, but sometimes they come fast and furious and I’ll stop repeatedly to write them down.”

These impromptu solo brainstorms have proved surprisingly fruitful. “I can come up with four to eight ideas for newsletter updates, business initiatives, website improvements, people I should connect—you name it—over a four-mile walk.”

4. KNOW WHEN TO QUIT

“Some think that stopping work on a project is a failure,” says Viv Goldstein, leader for global innovation acceleration at GE, but backing away when you’re no longer adding value is crucial. “Don’t be afraid to stop work,” she says. “It creates capacity to work on things that truly matter and ends up saving time, energy, and resources.”

List six to 10 things that you commit to not do in 2017 because they are keeping you from focusing on your best work. Think of them as your anti-resolutions. This includes mental resources that can ebb and flow. Allen Gannett, CEO of the marketing analytics company TrackMaven, says that just being “willing to switch between projects to match my mood, I get much more done in a typical day.

“For example, if I’m working on a client presentation and I start to notice my attention waning,” Gannett explains, “I’ll go and answers emails for 30 minutes rather than just sit there pretending to continue working.” He hasn’t given up for good, just for the time being. “Usually by the end of that time, I’m ready to dive back into the presentation—and I got a dozen emails done” in the meantime.

5. DO ONLY THINGS YOU LOVE WHILE PROCRASTINATING

You may think that to truly be productive, you need to stop procrastinating, but it might be better to embrace it. “I love procrastinating, and I’ve come to grips with the fact that I’ll never stop procrastinating,” confides Tacklebox Accelerator founder Brian Scordato. “So I make an effort to only do things I love when procrastinating—exercise, [spend] time with friends and family, etc.” That’s helped put his less productive time to better use. It “eliminates the time-wasters we usually procrastinate with,” so you can get back to work without feeling guilty.

6. AUTOMATE SCHEDULING

If many of these tips sound pretty low-tech, count on a futurist to change that. Liz Alexander relies on a scheduling app to keep her schedule in order. “In an average week, I probably have a dozen or more people wanting to get onto my calendar. It used to take three or four emails just to nail down a single appointment,” she says. But after outsourcing that “tedious back-and-forth” to Calendly, Alexander says she’s found more time “to do more revenue-generating work.”

7. SHUT UP AND LISTEN

We waste inordinate amounts of time just yapping, says writer and designer Lisa Baird. “Conversations get so much further, so much faster when you close your mouth, open your ears, deprioritize your own agenda, and truly understand someone else’s.”

That matters more as organizations get flatter, says Baird. “Today’s consensus mode of doing business, where everyone has veto power, makes the notion of ‘stop talking’ a crucial productivity tool if you want to design or ship anything at all. “How? “Ask open-ended questions, but sparingly,” she cautions. “Speak just enough to get the ball rolling, then be quiet. Suffer silently through awkward pauses.” Baird admits that “this may feel a little weird, since most of us view productivity as doing, doing, doing.” But it’s the most efficient method she’s found for “moving from thought to action,” especially on teams.

8. PUSH THE IMPORTANT STUFF TO THE TOP

“I’m a huge fan of the Boomerang plugin for Gmail,” says The Muse cofounder and CEO Kathryn Minshew. “I use it to schedule emails to disappear out of my inbox and ‘boomerang’ back in at a later date, like ‘7:15 a.m. Tuesday’ or ‘5 p.m. Friday’.”

MailChimp’s VP of customer support Jon Smith does something similar by pushing less urgent but important emails into a small handful of folders, leaving the most crucial ones marked “unread,” and archiving the rest.

This way Smith’s top-priority messages stay front and center. “I try to have no more than 60–70 emails in my inbox at any given time,” he explains. “That’s the number I can comfortably process in one sitting, and I try to get through all of my ‘unread’-marked emails by the end of each day.”

9. SET “ACTION TRIGGERS”

Behavioral scientist David Hoffeld prefers “preloaded decisions that link a behavior with an external reference,” which researchers in his field have found can increase the likelihood of completing a task. These “action triggers” are simple formulas, Hoffeld explains: “When X happens, I do Y”.

While working on his latest book, Hoffeld would decide earlier in the day to do some writing after putting his kids to bed, and “then when that time came, I simply sat down and wrote for a few hours,” he says. “Preloading this decision and connecting it to an environmental stimulus enabled me to avoid decision fatigue, and gave me a boost in productivity.”

10. WRITE A “STOP-DOING” LIST

“Productivity is really about what you don’t do,” says Jocelyn K. Glei, author of Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done. Glei proposes sitting down and listing six to 10 things “that you commit to not do in 2017 because they are keeping you from focusing on your best work.” Think of them as your anti-resolutions, she suggests—”things like not sleeping with your smartphone in the bedroom, not opening your email first thing when you arrive at work, or not checking social media before lunch.”

Psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic backs her up. He says that “saying ‘no’ to irrelevant tasks, or outsourcing them” is the real secret to productivity. “Realize what you love and do well, and focus on that.”

-Deanna Christine Mulderrig

Original source: http://www.fastcompany.com