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Archive of ‘Marketing’ category

How to Use Google Analytics to Optimize Your Website

Google Analytics not only provides a picture of the good things happening on your site which include sales and lead generation. It can also point out the things that are not working well that need to be changed. Below are five steps for optimizing your website based on data available in Google Analytics.

Identify pages with the highest bounce rates

In the Site Content section of Behavior data, you can view your landing pages. View which pages are the common entry points to your site. Are those pages designed to receive new visitors? In other words, will a new visitor know what your website is about if they land on one of these pages rather than the home page? If you see a high bounce rate, it could be that it is not a good introduction for people who are new to your business and there is some room for improvement. Pay special attention to landing pages with a large number of visitors and a significantly higher bounce rate than the other pages on your site.

Analyze goal performance

The easiest way to see how you are doing on your site is to look at your goals in Google Analytics. However, rather than looking at just the raw numbers or the absolute percentages, examine what’s been happening over time so you can see if there’s been an improvement in site performance. So yes, you will still want to look at conversions as a number on it’s own, but make sure you do watch for trends over time. And give extra attention to any spikes and conversions that may be related to a new marketing activity that you started or perhaps an update that was made to your website.

General site performance

The Site Speed section under Behavior is more relevant to the website developers then to the marketers. However if you are involved in decisions about the design, it is helpful to know if an image-heavy page seems to be causing a slow load time. With short attention spans, you are losing potential customers who lose patience and visit another site. The good thing is that this is one of those problems that can be fairly easy to fix and it’s very clear-cut.

Check the Reverse Goal Path report

In a previous article, I wrote about how the User Flow through a website might not be that meaningful for many sites. If there is not a clear path through your website to reach a conversion, it is hard to know what you are measuring other than the end result. However, you may still want to check the Reverse Goal Path report to see the pages a visitor navigated before converting on your site. It can be helpful to know which pages are the common steps followed by people who eventually complete a desired action

Look for drop offs in your conversion funnel

Once you set up goals you can see how people travel through your site to complete them with a Funnel Visualization report (found in Goals section of Conversions). With this report, you can learn which pages have a high exit rate in the funnel and brainstorm ways to improve them.

Website optimization is all about using data to make your website more attractive to visitors and make visitors more inclined to complete a desired action on your website. Looking for ways to improve your site using your analytics and qualitative data such as customer surveys is an ongoing process.

And always remember that no matter how great you may think your website is, you are not the customer. If you can stay curious about what it is your website visitors want, it’s easier to get rid of your assumptions and to be more open to creative ways for improving performance. There can be room to change your overall copy, your images, your navigation, your offers, your landing pages etc. The bottom line is if you adopt a mindset where your website is not a one-time project, you will increase the ROI with the channels used to send you traffic.

 

Inside View of Agile Marketing

Do you feel like your company doesn’t understand what you do? Do you have a constant stream of requests and ideas coming into your team? Are you expected to immediately act on all requests? Do you feel like you can’t say no or negotiate? First of all, you are not alone!

What I learned

I recently instructed the Agile Marketing Boot Camp, and this is what I learned from my students. This class was comprised of mainly management-level marketing professionals that realized it was time to make a change in the way they are doing their work. The industry is changing and becoming more technology dependent. Teams are becoming more cross-functional, and marketers are now expected to have a wider range of skills including some IT functions.

The common theme with the students was that they were overworked and misunderstood. Marketing teams typically have too many stakeholders to keep up with. Within the 30 minute break, one of the students said that she had already received multiple urgent requests. If you are not on a marketing team and reading this, you are probably thinking well that’s just business, right?

Let me paint you a picture. You have 10 people in your company who each have a very important project that month and that is their top priority. Each of these people also has three or four ideas on what they want to do to market or promote their project. This is where the flood happens because these people either cannot or do not want to execute on those ideas. That is what the marketing team is for. Meanwhile the marketing team is drowning because these 40 requests have all come into the department at the same time, all marked as “top priority.”  The last line of these emails is something usually along the lines of, “Can you get this back to me this week?” Of course they feel like they cannot just say no, and then weeks go by without any progress and stakeholders become frustrated.

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Because of the nature of the marketing industry, it is more common now that executives and stakeholders are not doing this intentionally. They are simply unaware of what truly goes into completing some of these tasks. Marketing has become technical, and with that there are a lot of misconceptions of what a marketer does. I for one can’t even explain to my friends what exactly it is that I do. Most other departments in an organization don’t really know what marketing does either.

How Agile Can Help

Marketers are seeking out Agile Marketing for these reasons. They want to find a way to help their team organize priorities, utilize their resources, and manage stakeholder expectations.  Most of the students were aware of Agile from what they had heard within the IT Teams at their organization. They understand that the Agile methodology can truly be applied to the marketing industry in an effective way because of the growing use of technology and the structure of the project teams. Some had even taken some steps to start building up an Agile framework within their department. The common pain points were lack of resources and lack of communication between teams.

Over the two days of class, we focused on how to set up a structure within the marketing teams to help them organize their priorities and create a way to become more transparent within the organization. Agile Marketing is based off a foundation of transparency within the team and stakeholders. Teams are able to use data and organized planning to communicate and justify the projects they are prioritizing and give a more accurate estimate of project completions to stakeholders.

I could tell that they were truly excited to get started on what they learned in class and they were able to walk away with tools and foundations for starting to implement Agile within their teams. If you are looking for a way to find some real solutions for your team, click here to find out more about the Agile Marketing Boot Camp.

How to Optimize Your YouTube Campaigns

youtubeAfter your YouTube ads run for a while, you have access to valuable data about their effectiveness.  You can measure views and clicks as well as actions that happened at a later date but were initiated by your YouTube ad. Using these available metrics, you can measure performance and make decisions about what to optimize in the campaign moving forward.

Below are some considerations in optimizing your YouTube campaign.

Start with automatic placements

When selecting a targeting method, such as the topic, Google will select the relevant placements for you. Give this some time to run before adding managed placements to the campaign.  This gives you time to learn which types of sites perform well for you.

Remove low performing placements

After a period of time, compare your views and conversions for the different placements where your ad is viewed. If there are some placements that do not do well, you may want to exclude them from your campaign. Even if a particular site seems relevant to your business, it does not guarantee your audience is there.

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How to Create Your First Video Campaign for AdWords

More people are on YouTube than any cable segment in the United States, which means there is a huge audience there that will only continue to grow. And when you create your campaign, remember that mobile is just as important with video as it is for other AdWords ads since more than half of video views are on a mobile device.

Video presents such as a unique way to connect with the right people. Since they can like, share, and subscribe to your videos – rather than simply click – it’s a much different experience than user behavior on a typical Google.com search. With keywords, demographics, and topics, you can connect with the right customers at the right time.

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5 Frightening Myths about Email Marketing

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This article was originally posted on rso-consulting.com and can be found here.

With more smartphone users having access to their email 24/7, it’s important to understand how new consumer behaviors affect your digital marketing strategies. We’re cutting through the hocus-pocus to give you five email marketing myths and the truths you need to know.

Myth #1: Email marketing is dead.

Perhaps one of the biggest myths about email marketing is that it’s no longer a valid path to your customers. This couldn’t be further from the truth. According to Adobe’s 2016 Email Survey, people are spending 17 percent more time on emails year over year – with 45 percent using their smartphone to check work email and 63 percent to check personal email.

Myth #2: The window of opportunity is small.

Some organizations avoid email as a marketing channel because they assume people won’t take the time to read it. This is a common email marketing myth. The truth is people are spending 7.4 hours a day checking their email messages, a 17 percent increase year over year. This means more opportunity for your readers to see your messages as they are on the go.

Myth #3: Millennials only communicate via social media.

Thanks to the rise of Snapchat and Instagram, some companies only view their millennial audience through the lens of social media. But according to a study by Mapp Digital, millennial U.S. customers prefer email over other marketing channels. They are also more discriminating: only 38 percent of millennials subscribe to seven or more brands’ emails. So when you’re in, you’re in.

Myth #4: One email speaks to everyone.

Another one of those email marketing myths: you just need one type of email for all of your customers. Unless we’re talking about your welcome autoresponder (you have one of those, right?), almost every email you send needs to be segmented and personalized. Gone are the days of “Send All,” and in are the days of speaking one-on-one to your readers.

Myth #5: Mobile-friendliness doesn’t apply to email marketing.

With all of the hoopla surrounding mobile-friendly websites over the past couple of years, it’s understandable that organizations overlooked this new format for email marketing. The truth is, if your emails are not optimized for mobile devices, then they may not display correctly on your readers’ screens. Information may be missing, it may be hard for users to navigate through your email, and it may take forever to load. All of these obstacles can ruin the experience for your readers, so be sure your emails are set up for the way customers are using email nowadays.

Now that you know the myths about email marketing – and the truths – you can look at your email program as an opportunity to acquire, engage and convert customers, rather than a frightening part of your overall strategy.

6 Ways to Boost Your Business with Facebook Ads

6 Ways

Facebook is the most popular social network on the internet, and Facebook Ads is an extremely effective way to reach tens or even hundreds of thousands of people. Using Facebook Ads also allows you to take advantage of the wealth of data that Facebook collects, with advanced targeting options allowing  you to tailor your ads to audiences as specific or as general as you want. Here are six ways to use Facebook Ads to boost your business and promote your brand! (more…)

Use Cases for Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)

When you remarket online, you are targeting someone who is already familiar with you because of a previous visit to your website. There are so many opportunities to remarket using Google Analytics and Google AdWords together, with many people taking advantage of this on the Display Network since only 100 visits to your web site are required. RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) can also happen for Google search ads, but at least 1,000 cookies are required before RLSA can be utilized. Google states their required minimum of 1,000 is to protect the privacy of the people on your list. What makes this great for search is the ability to use a remarketing list combined with your keyword search campaigns.

The first step is to ensure remarketing is enabled in Google Analytics. Check your Property Settings, then look for Tracking Info, and then Data Collection.  Simply turn it to “on” once you get there.  If you are brand new to Google Analytics, you will want to enable this immediately even if you are not sure when or if you will remarket. Since your RLSA list does need 1,000 cookies, it may take some time to collect this many cookies on your site, depending on the volume of traffic you normally receive.

If you have been collecting this cookie data and are ready to start using RLSA, here are some use cases to consider in the context of the goals for your site.

  • Exclude customers searching for your company name. In this case, they already know about you, but forgot your exact URL. Assuming you are doing okay with your SEO strategy, you should show up on the first page for your brand name and would want people to click on your organic link rather than your paid listing.
  • Create ads for website visitors that abandoned their shopping carts.  If they start a Google search for what they almost bought from you, here is an opportunity to get in front of them again with an offer that will entice them to complete the conversion process.
  • Target people who have converted but did so a while ago. The maximum window for targeting is 180 days but can be changed. Perhaps your product is one people tend to buy quarterly. In that scenario, you would target every quarter (90 days) and remind them it is time to buy again. (If a site has a low volume and few conversions, this may be a tough strategy for some advertisers.)
  • Although I personally tend to bid low when starting a new Search campaign for clients, using RLSA is when it is time to increase those bids. This remarketing list consists of people interested in your products or services so when it comes time for them to continue researching, or searching again, on Google.com, you want to remind them of their past interest in you.
  • A recommended keyword strategy for Search campaigns is to have tight themes in each group that are targeted to the appropriate landing page. However, with RLSA, you may actually want to use broader keywords. This can keep your targeted audience from becoming too narrow.
  • The same remarketing rule of “Don’t Be Creepy” applies to Search just as much as Display. You don’t want to say “Finish buying our ____.” Not only will that feel like an invasion of privacy, it could result in some uncomfortable conversations in a household with multiple people using the same computer. A better strategy would be to make the offer based on assumptions about why the person did not complete a purchase. For example if they abandoned their cart at the time of shipping, a promo code for half off shipping can get their attention without feeling like an invasion of privacy.
  • Focus on engaged users. Perhaps your site is driven by content. The more time people spend on your website, the more likely the will see your affiliate ads. You can create ads for this group if they spent a certain amount of time on the site or visited a number of pages.
  • If you have an ecommerce site, you can engage some of your big spenders. Invite them to come back and spend even more based on their purchasing habits and what they have bought from you previously. You may find a better ROI for your ad spend if you go after this group.

There are some limitations to RLSA. Some dimensions, such as age and gender, are not available because of privacy.  You also unfortunately can not use language, location, operating system, device or browser, but hopefully the above scenarios provide enough justification for giving RLSA a try.

O.M.Gmail – Your “In” to More Google+ Followers

This article was originally posted on Rso-Consulting.com and can be found here.

Do you use Gmail? If you don’t, then chances are you know a lot of people who do. And every last one of them could be your next Google+ follower.

Let me explain.

Today I received this in my Gmail inbox:

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Wait, so what I’m saying is when businesses send emails to Gmail addresses, it connects to their Google+ accounts and displays the most recent post in the sidebar? That’s exactly what I’m saying.

Yes, Google has made it even more convenient for your email subscribers to follow you on Google+ whenever they open an email from you.

I mean, c’mon, in terms of getting more followers on Google+, this is downright brilliant. You’ve already gotten your subscriber to open the email (bonus for your email marketing program) and now you can grow your social media audience, too.

What’s even cooler about this is once your email subscriber follows you on Google+, they may even see your posts in their search results if it relates to a term or keyword used in your posts. I know, it just keeps getting better, right.

Not to mention the limitless opportunities to connect them back to your website with updated content, promotions, etc. once they follow you.

So if you’ve already launched an email marketing program but you haven’t developed a Google+ page – or you have one but don’t use it – it’s time to put some effort into Google+.

The Gmail subscribers who are your biggest fans will be more than willing to follow you to Google+, and you don’t want to miss that kind of opportunity to build on those important relationships.

How to Use Pinterest for Business

Image is everything. Literally. Using images as part of a digital marketing strategy is no longer optional and Pinterest is one channel to help you make the most of images in your outreach via social media.  With over 100 million active users and the majority being female, there is a lot of opportunity for businesses who primarily target women. Popular categories that appeal to women on Pinterest include DIY projects, clothing, and home decor. Below are some key strategies to making Pinterest work for your business.

Make your content shareable

Any content on your website should have an option for viewers to easily share it on their social media channels.  If you have strong images that you want people to Pin, you want to have a “Pin it” option so people can share those images with a single click.

Create boards based on themes

When you create boards, do not use a single board for everything your brand offers.  If you sell X, Y, and Z, have a themed board for each of those categories.  The boards should be centered around your X, Y, and Z product lines but not strictly promotional. Include content that is related to those product lines, perhaps by Pinning ways current customers use your products. Pinterest users are more interested in content they can use and connect with rather than simply product images.

Describe your content

Pinterest does allow creative copy for each Pin so take advantage of that to explain what you find interesting about a particular Pin, using relevant keywords to help your SEO.  And remember, people may not (yet) be searching for information about your specific brand, so use copy that refers to the theme of your different boards, not just your brand name or product.

Interact with followers

The same rules apply. Social media is never only about you pushing out self-promotional content. Re-pin and comment on the pins your followers are sharing. Yes, it keeps you top of mind but also indicates you care about the people who care about your brand.

Create a group board for followers

Group boards are boards where anyone who is invited can Pin to it.  Do you have loyal fans out there? Invite them to Pin to your community board. It can also be a great market research tool to learn more about your audience based on what they choose to Pin to the community board.

Seek out influencers

These are the people who you want to like your brand because they have such a strong community.  Influencers will appreciate you Pinning your content and as a result, that may interest them in what you do.

Test Promoted Pins

Use part of your social media budget to target specific audiences by location, language, gender, and device with some of your popular Pins. You can either pay for Pinners to engage with Pins on Pinterest or visit your website.  Whichever method you choose, you need an image that connects with people emotionally so they are more inclined to share it.  As with your organic Pins, your keywords are just as important here. Watch the ad performance in real time and make adjustments as needed depending on what you see in your Pinterest Analytics.

Measure

With all your marketing channels, it is crucial to measure, measure, and measure. Those metrics tell you if you are cultivating a following or only speaking to yourself.  You can use Pinterest Analytics to learn how people engage with content on your site and Google Analytics to see if Pinterest is a referral source driving new traffic to your website.

What is interesting about Pinterest is that it is a visually focused platform and one that is also driven by search. Success for businesses who want to use Pinterest will depend on the ability to generate appealing, quality images, as well as using the copy and keyword strategies needed to attract traffic.

Content Marketing is Not a Buzzword – 3 Truths Explained

Some say content marketing is a buzzword. Marketers and industry experts disagree.  It is, however, unarguably all the buzz. Here’s an in-depth look into the subject, but first let’s examine the definitions of the terms.

Merriam Webster defines buzzword as “an important-sounding usually technical word or phrase often of little meaning used chiefly to impress laymen”. Clearly this is not the case with the term content marketing. According to a leading thought leader on the subject of content marketing, the Content Marketing Institute  (contentmarketinginstitute.com) (CMI) defines content marketing as “ a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

TRUTH #1:  Content marketing is anything but new. In fact, it has a long history and has been around for hundreds of years. John Deere launched its customer magazine – The Furrow - in 1895 to educate farmers about new technology and how they could leverage it to be more successful. The magazine is often credited as the first example of corporate storytelling, or content marketing in that the goal of the content was to drive, or change, consumer behavior (i.e. use technology). The Furrow has been so successful; it still exists today and continues to be published in 14 languages.

In the 1990’s, even though content marketing wasn’t known as such, it was a concept most often referred to in the industry as custom publishing, custom content, branded content and customer media. Today, those words can be wrapped into an umbrella term – content marketing.

Originally started in 2007 and known as Junta42, big brands became eager for information about content marketing. Eventually the need for more education and information about content marketing grew and Joe Pulizzi – a well-respected entrepreneur speaker and author – founded the CMI. Pulizzi and CMI remain passionate to this day that there is a better way for brands to market themselves than methods relied on in the past and that way is content marketing.

CMI produced an infographichttp://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2012/02/history-content-marketing-infographic/ – which details the timeline of content marketing. It actually indicates the beginning of content marketing began with content publishing in 4200 BC with caveman drawings.  Unarguably, content publishing has come a long way since then and continued to evolve and change with modern day digital technologies.

TRUTH #2: Quality content is critical to all forms of marketing and today, even plays a critical role in public relations. Content – when it is relevant and compelling – moves prospects through the sales pipeline from generating awareness about a specific brand to converting inquiries into qualified leads and turning those opportunities into profitable sales. Content – coupled with things such as excellent customer service – is also largely responsible for retaining and upselling customers because content marketing builds familiarity, likeability and trust for the brands that rely on – implement and execute – a solid content marketing strategy as the cornerstone of their marketing efforts across all channels.

Imagine today’s world without content marketing. CEO of SEOMoz Rand Fishkin points out in the Content Marketing Manifesto (http://www.slideshare.net/randfish/the-content-marketing-manifesto) that social media would not exist. Communities of online brand ambassadors would not exist. Nor would Search Engine Optimization exist.

TRUTH #3: The term content marketing is commonly known and accepted by the industry, by thought-leaders and by marketers throughout the world. Brian Clark also know as the Copyblogger (http://www.copyblogger.com/), buiit his business starting in January 2006 on the sole concept of content marketing. Today, he and his firm continue to expand other businesses – by showing people how to create valuable content that attracts attention, drives traffic, and builds your business.

Entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker and one of the world’s most popular bloggers, Seth Godin, (www.sethgodin.com/) also knows first hand about the concept of content marketing. Not only has he been inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame, but he turned the book publishing world upside down by introducing a series of four books through a Kickstarter campaign that reached its goal in only three hours to became the most successful book project since Kickstarter began in April of 2009.

The term is also solidifying the content marketing industry much like the terms similar to what happened in the past with email marketing, social media and word-of-mouth marketing.

Known content marketing agencies such as McMurry  (http://www.mcmurry.com) - which produces publications for Ritz-Carlton and other big brands -  as well as market research firms such as Altimeter (www.altimetergroup.com), have  adopted the term content marketing without question and use it widely.

Furthermore, content marketing titles and jobs are also starting to rapidly emerge in the market place. For example, David Beebe serves as VP of Global Creative and Content Marketing for Marriott International’s portfolio of 18 brands. A quick search in Indeed delivers nearly 800 results for content marketing jobs in North Carolina alone.

Content marketing is also an extremely hot topic at industry and marketing-related conferences held by such organizations as the American Marketing Association. Not surprisingly,  CMI puts on its own worldwide conference, Content Marketing World (http://www.contentmarketingworld.com/) each year, which will take place September 6-9.

TRUTH #4: Content marketing is at a tipping point. That is to say, if content marketing isn’t a clear focus or prioritized strategy for businesses today, it likely will be in 2016.

According to a Google Trends graph, interest in the subject has increased steadily since 2011, but jumped 20% in the fourth quarter of 2015, growing as much in two months as it did over the past two years.

“Content marketing has reached a tipping point, making this year’s report our most important one yet,” writes Contently in its State of Content Marketing 2016 report (https://contently.com/strategist/2015/12/17/state-of-content-marketing-2016/).

Contently, (https://contently.com/) which started about a year before the 2011 industry growth spurt, reports each year on the state of the industry based on research and interviews with top Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) coupled with feedback from their own customers.  They agree content marketing is at a tipping point.

“Our research and pipelines both tell us that the late 2015 spike is an indicator of what’s to come in 2016: more investment in content marketing and more mature content strategies.”

Others agree and say it is surprising that content marketing is still catching on for some.

“It’s amazing how many executives still don’t know about content marketing,” says Arnie Kuenn, CEO of Vertical Measures. “This year, I predict there will be a tipping point and it will become a main part of the conversation.”  Kuenn will lead a content marketing workshop at LeadsCon – an annual conference for networking, education and  content – March 15. The workshop will cover an eight-step formula — from strategy development and ideation through lead nurturing and measurement—marketers can use to create and distribute content that connects with prospects.

Still a skeptic? You won’t be for long.

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