Tag: Marketo Marketing Blog

How to Tap into the Power of Influencers

Influencer marketing has become a bit of a buzzword in the marketing industry as of late. Merriam-Webster defines influence as “the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect ways.”  From my perspective, influence, as it relates to marketing, is someone who resonates with an audience, makes an impact and provides value.

Why Should Marketers Invest in Influencer Marketing?

A recent study conducted by Content Marketing Institute found marketing campaigns that include influencers show a 10x increase in conversion rates. Think about that in terms of return on investment (ROI). That’s a potential return of over $9 for every dollar invested. Why wouldn’t you make a sound investment like that? And according to McKinsey, those customers who do convert have a tendency to stick around. They’ve reported that influencer campaigns achieve, on average, a 37% increase in retention. The numbers don’t lie. Marketers should explore how to engage influencers throughout the year. In this blog, we’ll examine what it takes to get and influencer engagement strategy started. 

Things to Consider

What should brands consider when building an influencer engagement strategy?

  • Resources: Determine what it will cost to implement and integrate a new influencer engagement program. And in addition, what it will cost if you don’t secure relationships with the top influencers in your industry—and the competition does.
  • Targeting: Research the top influencers you want to engage with and how you want to collaborate. Outline the where and when, types of engagements (webinars, speaking engagements, tweet chats, live streams, podcasts, etc.)
  • Sustainability: Think about how you can continue building the relationship beyond a single engagement. Create a long-term strategy that outlines future engagements to maintain consistent touch-points and a cadence of collaborations.
  • ROI: Identify what you’ll get by investing in an influencer program. Clearly define the impact an influencer program will have on your marketing, brand, and business.

Get Your Targeting Right

One mistake I often see marketers make is thinking of influencer engagements as a one and done strategy. However, in a digitally connected world, where individuals are following and engaging with influencers on a daily basis, aligning your brand with those influencers consistently is becoming more important than ever. Let’s dig a little deeper into how to determine the best fit for your brand.

How should brands start to identify influencers?

  • Observation: Look at who your target audience is following. This is a quick and easy way to identify who your audience is listening to and engaging with.
  • Understand Impact: Determine who will be impactful and provide the most value to your audience. Most influencers are creating and publishing new content on a regular basis. Research and review their top content to determine if what they’re creating is relevant, consistent, and helpful.
  • Understand their Voice: Ensure their tone and style matches, or complements the brand.
  • Credibility: There are a plethora of qualified, knowledgeable professionals out there who would be happy to work with your brand. Why waste your time on somebody who isn’t genuinely knowledgeable and engaging?

Who Runs the Program?

Once you’ve developed a strategy and identified who you’re looking to build a relationship with, you’ll need to think about how to collaborate with the key stakeholders involved in managing an influencer engagement program. These roles will differ from company to company, but you may want to consider:

  • Social media managers will be on the front lines interacting daily. Involving the influencers in tweet chats, live streaming, quotation templates, live tweets at events.
  • Content marketing managers to create content that incorporates influencer responses and views in blogs, ebooks, etc.
  • Corporate communication managers to negotiate contracts for event appearances, videos, commercials, 3rd party publications, etc.
  • Analyst Relations interact with a decidedly different set of influencers, but they still fit the definition and should have a plan for ongoing engagement and relevant touchpoints.
  • Customer marketing should always be involved. Your biggest, most impactful influencers are your very own customers. Sure maybe they don’t have 170,o00 followers on Twitter, but they do have first-hand experience to share with their peers—who are often your target audience.
  • Employee advocacy to include your own internal influencers in the program and amplify the activities that you are doing with external influencers.
  • A single point of contact that continues to build the personal relationship.

Make Your Program Sustainable

According to the report Influencer 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing by Traackr and TopRank Marketing, 55% of marketers plan to spend more on influencer marketing next year, and for those companies that already spend more than $250,000 on influencer marketing, that percentage jumps to 67%. But whether you have a big, small, or non-existent budget, it still makes sense to start influencer marketing now.

If you have a team of influencer stakeholders like I listed above, work with them to map out your big initiatives as anchors throughout the year, then craft activities and engagement points across the year. Don’t be afraid to be scrappy! Focus on making sure there is a value exchange and not simply continual asks of your influencers. You will find that as you gain momentum and success you can argue for more resources.

Measure the Impact

Let’s dig into how to measure the ROI of an influencer marketing campaign. Early stage metrics would include an increase in social media reach and impressions. You can also take a look at mentions, share of voice and new followers during the duration of your campaign. Later stage metrics can include UTM parameters that allow you to keep track of how many users are visiting your website from influencer referrals, and then further down the line convert. Another way to track the effectiveness of an influencer campaign is using a unique discount or coupon codes and then track how many of each are redeemed or submitted.

Ultimately, influencer marketing will boil down to one thing at the end of the day, relationships. Getting the ball rolling can be as simple as reaching out, introducing yourself and your product, meeting them face to face, shaking their hand and chatting about how you can create alignment between your business goals and their goals.

The post How to Tap into the Power of Influencers appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog http://blog.marketo.com/2017/06/tap-power-influencers.html

App Store Optimization: Why Creatives Lead to Successful Search Ads

Since Apple’s introduction of Search Ads last year, organizations with a mobile app are embracing Search Ads to improve their app’s conversion rate to become more discoverable in the App Store.

Search Ads are created using an app’s store listing, including an app’s metadata and creative. While all the metadata is important for visibility, the creatives (icon, screenshots, and video), need to be visually appealing and relevant to users to improve conversion. Search Ads can only be effective and convert users if the creatives are relevant and clearly demonstrate the app’s core features.

For Search Ads to be effective, it is crucial for marketers and developers to incorporate an App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy to optimize their app’s metadata and creatives to contain high-volume keywords and relevant images based on real mobile data of user’s search trends and behavior in the app store.

Where Do You Start?

ASO is the necessary foundation to making sure an app’s Search Ads are relevant and appealing to the audience for the app to become more discoverable. Before an organization dives into creating an ASO strategy, it is pertinent that they look at the current app market and analyze their competitors and understand how users search.

By evaluating competitors and understanding how users are searching in the App Store, marketing and development teams can have a guide on how to improve their App Store listing. Users tend to search with popular terms associated to specific apps, features or categories. For the most part, targeted keywords have already been determined, but after evaluating competitors and user trends, those keywords can be adjusted to generate more visibility.

Developers need to know which keywords would be most relevant to their app and target those terms. The keywords need to be closely tied to the app’s core features that are unique to the app to target its audience. Track user trends to make sure the keywords are related to what the audience wants in an app. Keep in mind, Search Ads are based off how relevant an app is to a specific term.

App developers also have the option to bid on keywords so their app will appear more frequently in user searches. Regardless of a developer having the highest bid on a keyword, Apple still ranks apps by relevancy. If the Search Ad is not relevant to the user’s search, it will not appear at the top of the App Store.

Search Ad Variations

Apple uses an app’s store listing, metadata and imagery to create its Search Ads. While developers are somewhat limited on what content goes into the Search Ads, they can at least choose how Search Ads will appear to users on the App Store.

Search Ads will appear in one of two forms:

  1. Icon plus first two lines of App Store description
  2. Icon plus screenshots and preview video (if applicable)

ASO optimization -ads

ASO optimization- ads with pictures

Search Ads can also appear in either portrait or landscape depending on the orientation of the current screenshots and preview video.

Optimizing Creatives

The only way that developers can make their app listing more relevant to user searches is by improving their app’s discoverability with ASO. The creatives, which include the icon, screenshots, and preview video, need to show how the app naturally appears to a better answer with its features.

One of the key aspects of ASO is creative optimization, which is an essential part of improving conversion. Here are easy tips based off ASO best practices that will help developers streamline their creative optimization to improve conversion.

  1. Screenshots

An app’s screenshots should be thought of as advertising banners that use high-volume keywords to be relevant in user searches. Screenshots need to clearly display an app’s core features and should be uncluttered. Developers and marketers need to make sure their screenshots are legible—if screenshots are too confusing, they are less likely to convert users.

ASO Tips- Add Screenshots

  1. Preview Video

When an app preview video is used, it takes the place of a screenshot but holds the same level of importance to conversion. Many developers forget that the preview video is presented as a still image, otherwise known as a poster frame. On Search Ads, this means the poster frame cannot be a random image that holds no relevance to the app. Instead, developers should be careful and make sure the poster frame contains high-volume keywords and an image that represents the app’s core features.

ASO Tips- Preview Video

  1. Icon

The app icon needs to be polished and unique to stand out among competitors. If the app icon is not memorable, regardless of showing up in a Search Ad, users are less likely to convert. Some marketers and developers use their brand logo or a memorable character to retain user attention. While this strategy works, the icon also needs to demonstrate the app’s core features and be void of confusion like the screenshots.

ASO Tips- Have a Good Icon

Key Takeaways

Organizations looking to become more discoverable with Search Ads need to improve their app’s metadata and creatives with ASO prior to using Search Ads. Since the keywords that appear in App Store listing will be used for the Search Ad. Make sure that the app’s creatives are clean, clearly demonstrate the app’s core features and the icon, screenshots, and preview video contain high-volume keywords that are relevant not only to the app but to the target audience. The only way an app will become visible through Search Ads is by being relevant first.

The post App Store Optimization: Why Creatives Lead to Successful Search Ads appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog http://blog.marketo.com/2017/06/app-store-optimization-creatives-lead-successful-search-ads.html

How to Increase Conversions: 10 Tips to See Positive Results

As a marketer, many of your campaigns may be built around one primary objective: getting people to fill out a form.  Often, designing a compelling advertisement isn’t enough to encourage people into handing over their details. Many factors can deter someone from submitting a form, including the unwillingness to provide contact information.

Here are some content design strategies and tips that you can employ today to effectively nudge people toward conversion:

Just Say ‘No’ to Distractions

When driving people to a form, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to distract them with detours. Landing pages should be built as simple as possible. Here’s how:

1. Drive people to a landing page—not your website.

You want people to do one thing, and one thing only: fill out that form. You must drive them with a simple and engaging email to a landing page that is specifically built for your campaign. Sending someone to your website offers a plethora of distractions, including images and text that don’t apply to your campaign’s appeal, multiple links to other information, and in some cases, flashing beacons of light that are begging folks to take some other action. If you want people to drive directly to your destination, don’t drop them off in the middle of Las Vegas where sparkling lights from competing assets beg for their attention. Likewise, steer clear of cluttering your emails with the same distractions.

2. Remove ALL navigation from the landing page.

Don’t offer an exit ramp when you are trying to capture a person’s information on a form. Doing so can make your lead stray away from your primary call-to-action. Will they find their way back to your form?  Maybe.  Most of the time—no. At that point, you may have lost their impulse to decide. Instead, your landing page should be designed simply, and with only ONE action they can possibly take: fill out that form.

Be Consistent

Emails, advertisements (online and offline), and social campaigns should have a similar look and feel. Using too many different images, layouts and copy between assets can create a disconnect for people, and can even make a person feel like the content is not reliable.  Instead, try to use the following techniques in design:

  1. Use the same (or reasonably similar) header image in the outbound email and on the landing page.
  2. Repeat copy from the email on the landing page—especially the headline.
  3. Use the same color scheme in emails, landing pages, and on the form.
  4. Always provide a clear call-to-action:  don’t make people search for it!  One of my colleagues calls this the “BOB” (Big Orange Button). Top-converting emails and landing pages always contain some version of the BOB.

Do More with Less

All too often, I have seen emails and landing pages designed with too much text, and entirely too many images.  Asking people to read an entire magazine before filling out your form will certainly contribute to losing their interest.  Here are some tips on how to do more with less:

Create an impulse decision.

  • A compelling headline with a short summary of details in an email can create an impulse to react.

Don’t give up the farm!

  • Your email should be quick, to the point, and provide just enough information to drive them to the landing page—and don’t forget the BOB!
  • The juicy details should be found in the downloaded content after submitting the form, not in the email, and not all on the landing page either. Otherwise, what’s the point of filling out the form?

Keep all the important stuff above the fold.

  • Remember old-fashioned newspapers?  If you haven’t heard “above the fold” in the past, it refers to everything you see on the newspaper page before the paper folds. All the interesting, juicy, enticing, infomation and your call-to-action should be above the point where someone needs to scroll through the email or landing page in their browser.
  • Just remember “If a person must scroll, it takes a toll.”

Use a short form.

  • This may seem like a no-brainer, but I have seen a ton of long forms out there. On average, forms with five fields or less have higher conversions. Several factors can impact conversion on even short forms, however. For example, making the telephone field required is a typical detour. In some cases, simply moving the telephone field to the bottom of the form can help. Results can vary based on your content and your audience. To optimize your forms, try an A/B test and see which one is performing the best.

In this exciting new digital age, social media has impacted customer behavior in a way that creates multiple challenges for marketers. Today’s savvy internet surfers are accustomed to getting all the information they need in a short social media status message or in a brief article online. We can learn from this behavior. These micro status messages entice people to follow links to landing pages. Your content marketing strategy should do the same.

Creating short, simple, and actionable marketing messages using the techniques I described here can have a positive impact on conversion rates. While this is not an exhaustive list of conversion strategies, these basics can significantly impact your results.

Do you have any conversion strategies that you use? Please share them here!

The post How to Increase Conversions: 10 Tips to See Positive Results appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog http://blog.marketo.com/2017/06/increase-conversions-10-tips-see-positive-results.html

Engage to Win, a Blueprint for Success in the Engagement Economy

In a blog post earlier this year, I introduced the concept of the Engagement Economy, which is the digitally connected world we live in that demands we, as marketers and brands, communicate with buyers in ways that resonate and are meaningful. In the Engagement Economy, our customers are in charge and they are more informed than ever because of the informational convenience and convergence of search, social, blogs, video, and hundreds more easily accessible digital touchpoints. Buyers are forming opinions, reaching conclusions, and influencing others well before we as marketers have a chance to “make our pitch”.

Beyond the buyer, our existing customers today want to feel wanted and understood. They want to build long-term relationships and align with brands that care about them and connect with them on a personal level across every channel and touchpoint. The point is this: Customers want to be engaged! With that said, it’s worth exploring what that really means for us as marketers. More to the point, how we can shift our marketing strategy and effort to more engagement?

Value Over Volume

True customer engagement is the whole idea behind the book that I am writing entitled, Engage to Win, which is my call to arms to all marketers to challenge their views about what it means to really “engage with” and not “market to” their buyers. I believe that many of the digital tools we have at our disposal—email, digital ads, social media, web, mobile, and more—make it easier than ever before to automate how we understand, connect with, and communicate to our customers. Improper use, or coordination, of these digital tools is where we often falter as marketers. We prioritize volume metrics over value metrics and we miss a huge opportunity to forge meaningful relationships with our buyers. To illustrate the types of relationships that I’m referring to, let me share two examples.

  • TOMS shoes has become successful in large part because of what it stands for. You buy a pair of shoes and they donate a pair of shoes to children in need. Everyone who wears TOMS shoes knows TOMS has built a movement and invited their customers to be a part of it. Thus, it has created an unpaid army of tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of “brand advocates” who spread the word about the company and the passion they have for the brand to their friends and followers across channels including social media.
  • Amazon has taken just about all the things people hate about retail—limited selection, slow delivery, a cumbersome checkout process and turned them into competitive advantages. You can order anything you want including clothes, movies, pet food, or automotive supplies and get it in two days or less. They started with books, but with the acquisition of Whole Foods, it’s fairly clear that Amazon wants to become the more engaged version of Walmart before Walmart becomes the more engaged version of Amazon!

These are examples of companies that connect with us as buyers in a profoundly more meaningful way than the repetitive pop-up ads that appear when you visit a website or the relentless emails you get from a retailer for which you have little interest!

The Nine Commandments of Engagement

In the precursor to my book, I offer nine “commandments” as rules of engagement that every marketer can follow to build customer relationships based on shared values and trust. These new rules start with listening to and learning from your customers before acting on what you find. They include tips that will help us as marketers be the best ambassadors we can be for our brands. The truth is that we have to curate the values associated with our brands. With that, here’s an excerpt:

ONE: Listen. Develop the discipline of continually listening to your customers via every channel you possibly can.

TWO: Learn. Take all that data you collect from customers and potential customers and turn it into insights.

THREE: Act on those insights, by dealing with your customers the way they want you to, when they want you to.

FOUR: Never forget you don’t create the engagement journey, your customers do. (You can curate it though!)

FIVE: Don’t let anyone other than you define what your organization stands for.

SIX: Everyone in the company has the opportunity to influence the engagement process—for good or evil. Choose good.

SEVEN: Never let anyone define your personal brand. Your organization must stand for something. You, as a human being, must as well. (And, of course, what you stand for will reflect on your organization).

EIGHT: No outbound content for your customer, whether it is an email, a video, whatever, should ever leave your company without being vetted by some type of focus group or feedback pool. In today’s age of hyper-reactivity, this is a requirement.

NINE: The world is evolving at an unprecedented, accelerated pace in terms of norms, tastes, preferences, beliefs, biases, and on and on and on. You cannot assume that what you believed to be true yesterday, literally yesterday, is true today. You and your organization need to accept that fact at the very DNA level of your being. It’s an absolute.

To help you put these suggestions into practice and sketch out your own engagement plans, we’ve developed a workbook that takes you through a set of provocative questions that will help you to take a critical look at where you are and where you’re going. I encourage you to take some time to work through it —possibly as a team activity—to help you shape your collective path forward in the Engagement Economy.

With that, I’ll leave you with one thought. It is our responsibility to engage our customers, not market to them. We must engage them early, engage them everywhere, and do so in meaningful ways at all times. But it’s your choice. You can choose to engage, choose to demonstrate that you understand the values of your customers, and choose to let them know you want them as a customer, or take the easy way out, and risk becoming irrelevant. I hope the choice is clear.

Engagement Economy Workbook

The post Engage to Win, a Blueprint for Success in the Engagement Economy appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog http://blog.marketo.com/2017/06/engage-win-blueprint-success-engagement-economy.html

Less Than 1% Churn? It’s Possible—Just Listen to Your Customers

A little about me: I enjoy cooking, so I go grocery shopping once a week. I regularly spent a considerable amount of cash at the nearest Regional Grocery Chain™ store, until I noticed their customer experience starting to slide. Fewer cashiers worked the registers. Lines swelled with dissatisfied patrons and I slowly realized I was spending as much time waiting to pay as I was actually shopping.

So I did what any inconvenienced, disgruntled customer of the modern era would do: I took to Twitter to air my grievances to their corporate account.

To my surprise, @RegionalGroceryChain™ tweeted back at me! They apologized profusely and told me management would address the issue. I felt vindicated.

Then weeks went by. The lines didn’t subside. I fired off more unhappy tweets, each getting a similar reply. It became clear: they weren’t really listening to me.

The result? For the past four years, I’ve been happily handing my grocery budget to stores with a superior customer experience.

Is your business losing potential lifelong customers like me? If so, how do you keep them to make sure you’re not missing out on long-term revenue? Read on for 4 ways to better your bottom line.

1) Measure Happiness: Establish Your Baseline

Philosophers have spent centuries debating the very nature of happiness and how to quantify it. Fortunately for us fast-paced business types, Bain & Co. threw abstract discourse—and more than a few college textbooks—out the window when they invented the Net Promoter Score® (NPS®, for short).

Now the world’s leading metric for measuring customer loyalty and happiness, NPS is also shown to be highly predictive of future growth. Businesses who use NPS are 33% more likely to report growth rates over 10% each year.

It starts with one question: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely would you be to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?”

Based on the response, you can classify your customers as:

  • Detractors: unhappy, potentially damaging your brand with negative word-of-mouth
  • Passives: satisfied but indifferent, could be lured away
  • Promoters: loyal customers who are also ripe for referrals

Then you can more intelligently tailor your efforts for each type of customer.

Regularly sending out NPS surveys gives you valuable insight on where you stand in your industry. Learn more about how to use it here.

2) Customer Success: The Key to Increasing Retention and Reducing Churn

Once you’ve gone through all the effort to convert a prospect into a customer, their money is yours to lose. Don’t let your sales and marketing teams’ efforts go to waste! Customer success and support programs are critical to ensuring your hard-won customers stay satisfied—and stay spending.

In fact, strong customer success programs have been credited with reducing some companies’ churn rates to <1%.

When your customers have an issue, the first step (obviously) is to try and fix it. The next step is to follow up! Run post-case support surveys with the following questions:

  • Did our support team solve your issue?
  • Would you like anyone to contact you to further discuss your issue?

A 2013 Bain & Co. study found that a 5% increase in customer retention rates had the potential to yield profit increases from 25% to 95%. So don’t let customers’ issues eat into your bottom line: solve them swiftly and reap the benefits.

3) Listening to Customers: It’s Important at Every Touchpoint

Customers are 5.2x more likely to purchase from companies with a great customer experience. Bear in mind that the customer experience is a massive thing: it starts all the way at the tippy top of the funnel orbiting somewhere around “awareness/interest” and then continues for the duration of the relationship.

This is why, at every touchpoint, you should be actively listening to your customers. Here are some questions you can ask at every stage of the funnel:

  • Interest: Through which of the following online formats do you prefer to learn about products?
  • Consideration: Are you the primary decision maker for your business?
  • Conversion: How important is price?
  • Support: How can we improve our product?
  • Retention: How likely are you to purchase our product again?
  • Advocacy: How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?

4) Automating Your Action: Satisfy More Customers More Quickly

So now you’ve collected feedback at every touchpoint. Awesome!

However, getting the information isn’t enough—you need to act on it. That’s where automation becomes important. Syncing those survey responses to your engagement platform and its database with a tool like SurveyMonkey’s Marketo integration gives you the full picture of your customers’ satisfaction so you can set up triggers with the right follow-up actions.

Putting It All Together

Listen to your customers, solve their problems, and they’ll not only give you their money—they’ll give you more business.

Enriching your data with customer feedback gives you the actionable insights your business needs to turn prospects into customers—and customers into referral-rich advocates.

What are you doing today to ensure your customers are happy and continue to drive value for them? I’d love to hear what’s working or not working for you in the comments below.

The post Less Than 1% Churn? It’s Possible—Just Listen to Your Customers appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog http://blog.marketo.com/2017/06/less-1-churn-possible-just-listen-customers.html

CMO Update: SEO Updates and Insights for the Rest of 2017

Google launched more than 1,600 changes to their algorithm last year. At that rate, it’s possible that 800 have already been implemented in the first half of 2017.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there are 800 potential impacts to your SEO strategy. Really, only ten of the changes that have been noticed this year have clear implications on the future of SEO. But those ten changes have major implications.

If you haven’t had time to keep up with the endless cycle of SEO news and Google changes, there’s no need to worry. Here’s a quick guide to the important things you might have missed, and what they mean for your SEO strategy in 2017 and beyond.

1. Google Is Claiming More Clicks, so Build Your Audience Now

So far this year, Google has launched a number of new features designed to make search results more user-friendly—and to claim more clicks for themselves:

  • Search Carousels—In February, new carousels popped up above search results for a variety of B2B queries. While similar carousels have displayed for B2Cs in the past, these new carousels display for searches like “project management software” and “best marketing software.”

marketing software carousel

  • Mobile Shortcuts—In March, Google added tappable shortcuts below the search bar on mobile. Clicking on shortcuts often takes users to either a Google property or displays AMP publisher results. While most of the shortcuts are currently for B2C industries, B2Bs should be preparing for the inevitable invasion of their verticals as well.
  • Ads Get Less Obvious—In April, Google changed how ads display in search results, removing the solid green background from the “Ad” label and replacing it with a thin green outline. While Google reports that users were still able to easily identify ads after the design change, a recent report from Merkle suggests that Google’s changes to drive ad growth have harmed organic search growth.
google ad changes

Image source: Search Engine Land

  • Job Search Engine—In late April, users began reporting signs that Google is testing a job search engine. While Google has not confirmed its intention to release a job search engine, it’s proof that the company is considering ways to convert traffic from a strong B2B vertical into its own.
google job search engine

Image source: Search Engine Land

What this means for the future:
Google is never going to back off trying to keep users on their own pages, and B2B industries are not exempt.

First, make sure your SEO strategy is converting searchers into customers and brand advocates. SEO will always be important, but the best SEO programs are paired with email marketing, social media marketing, and other initiatives that enable reaching audiences directly.

Second, don’t brush off SERP updates that seem to only apply to B2C keywords or industries. Those queries might offer the most immediate or easiest results for Google, but they will expand into B2B industries if and when they can.

2. Google Aims to Destroy Popups, so Consider Alternatives for

Last year, Google announced an impending ranking penalty for sites that display intrusive interstitials before users can access content.

ads google doesn't like

In January, the update went live, but early reports showed that it didn’t seem to have major impacts.

Then, in April, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google may be planning a built-in ad-blocking feature in a future version of its Chrome browser. On the surface this doesn’t make much sense—Google earns its money from ads so it wouldn’t make sense to block them. However, the blocker is not designed to block all ads—just “unacceptable ad types” like prestitial ads, popups, and auto-playing videos.

What this means for the future:
One way or another, Google intends to improve the user experience by eliminating intrusive ads. If you’re still using these formats to gain newsletter subscribers, it’s time to rethink your approach. There are a variety of alternative approaches:

  • Add a signup form to the top of your site sidebar.
  • Utilize callouts in the middle or at the end of content.
  • Replace popups with smaller banner ads, or exit-intent popups.

sidebar sign up form

Marketo’s main blog page displays a newsletter sign-up form at the top of the right sidebar.

footer sign up formThis form appears below every post on Propecta’s blog.

acceptable ad example

Banner ads are one of Google’s examples of acceptable, non-intrusive ad types.

3. Chrome Will Label HTTP Pages as Not Secure, so Migrate to HTTPS

HTTPS has been a minor ranking factor for a while now, and the small boost it offered may not have been enough to encourage sites to go through the process of converting. In May, however, Google announced that all pages that require users to enter data will have URLs prefaced with a “Not secure” warning in the omnibox starting in October.

https warning

Image source: Search Engine Land

What this means for the future:
While it may not happen this year, eventually the warning will appear before all HTTP URLs. This warning may deter users from spending time on your site, even if they’re just browsing a blog post that doesn’t require any submission of data. To play it safe, it’s best to take steps to convert to HTTPS now so you’ll have plenty of time to get through the process before the warnings begin displaying.

4. AMP Results Are on the Rise, so Weigh the Pros and Cons of Implementation

AMP results debuted in 2016 and primarily appeared for news-related queries. But since then, AMP results and carousels have been multiplying.

Although AMP results are only particularly important for news publishers at the moment, the quick expansion of AMP results suggests that Google believes AMP results provide more optimal user experiences.

What this means for the future:
Some have predicted that AMP will become a ranking factor. Whether that’s true or not is yet to be seen, but what is obvious is that Google believes that AMP provides a better search experience.

If that’s the case, it’s not a stretch to imagine that Google will expand AMP results to display for other, non-news industries. For that reason, it’s a good time for all digital publishers to assess the potential benefits of implementing AMP.

5. Voice Search is on the Rise, so Future-Proof Your SEO Strategy Now

Amazon’s Echo was the online retailer’s best-selling product during the 2016 holiday season, and it’s anticipated that nearly 25 million additional Amazon Echo and Google Home devices will be sold this year. Greater adoption of personal assistants will inevitably lead to increased voice search queries. In fact, 50% of all queries are expected to be conducted via voice search by 2020. Additionally:

  • Personal assistants now have a screen. In May, Amazon introduced its newest product—Echo Show—the first smart speaker with a built-in screen.

voice search echo

featured snippet feedback link

A small “Feedback” link now appears below featured snippets, allowing users to report inaccurate or offensive content.

What this means for the future:
Voice search will continue to grow, and Google will continue to seek ways to provide the most accurate and highest quality answers to voice search queries. That means that SEOs must begin forming voice search optimization strategies. This includes targeting natural language keywords, optimizing for featured snippets, and ensuring sites are mobile friendly.

SEO for 2017 and Beyond

The most critical task for SEOs and their leaders now—and in the future—is to keep the big picture in mind.

Google’s goal has always been, and will always be, to provide the best user experience possible: it’s what keeps people from turning to other search engines. Paying attention to algorithm changes and SEO updates is important, but it you’re already striving to provide an exceptional user experience, the changes shouldn’t upset your strategies too much.

Work with Google to give users what they want, but remember that Google might also be plotting against you. Use the company’s insights to learn how to delight users, and make sure your SEO is always working to build an audience of your own.

The post CMO Update: SEO Updates and Insights for the Rest of 2017 appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog http://blog.marketo.com/2017/06/cmo-update-seo-updates-insights-rest-2017.html

How to Convince Your Leaders to Invest in 10X Content (and Why You Should)

First, a confession. I click-baited you a little (really, just a teeny bit). I haven’t had to actually convince my leaders to let me and my team invest in 10X content. From the moment I was invited through the Typeform doors to launch a blog, it was clear that spitting out a dozen 500-word articles about forms and surveys each week—just so Google would be nice enough to send us a few visitors—wasn’t to be the “Typeform way.”

You see, I got lucky. I was joining a company founded by two designers—creatives, with big imaginations. They were never interested in the “read-it-do-it” way of doing things. Typeform was a product admired for being different, not just better. So anything we put on our blog had to take the same path, even if it cost more money and took more time.

But the point of this article is to talk about how investing in 10X content is helping us achieve multiple goals. And how it made dots on a GA chart fly upwards, like a herd of startled mountain goats:

Unique Pageviews to Typeform's online magazine

Unique pageviews to Typeform’s online magazine, after publishing their first 10Xed piece of content


What Is 10X Content, Anyway?

Disclaimer: I have zero authority to be telling you this. It was, in fact, power marketer and all-round-good-egg Rand Fishkin who first referred to 10X content in one of his Whiteboard Fridays. In the video, Rand proposed placing content on a scale of Panda Invasion to 10X.

10x content by Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin’s 10X Content whiteboard

It doesn’t take one of Elon Musk’s engineers to work out which end of the scale is the good end.
Here are the criteria for 10X content, according to Rand’s 10X Content guide:

  • Provides a uniquely positive user experience through the user interface, visuals, layout, fonts, patterns, etc.
  • Delivers content that is some substantive combination of high-quality, trustworthy, useful, interesting, and remarkable
  • Is considerably different in scope and detail from other works on similar topics
  • Loads quickly and is usable on any device or browser
  • Creates an emotional response of awe, surprise, joy, anticipation, and/or admiration
  • Has achieved an impressive quantity of amplification (through shares on social networks and/or links)
  • Solves a problem or answers a question by providing comprehensive, accurate, exceptional information or resources

We certainly don’t get all of this right at Typeform. I mean, come on, it’s a big-ol’ demanding list, right? Just check out the page speed for a Net Promoter score guide we did:

NPS Guide Page Speed

Cool-looking guide. Slow as hipster-cooked pork.

Although we’re not quite reaching the full 10X milestone yet, I’d like to show you how trying to get there is helping to move the needle for multiple KPIs, even though we didn’t exactly plan it that way.

Backlinks and All That SEO Stuff

If you have SEO baked into your strategy, you might be focusing most of your time on creating super-targeted, intent-driven content to match with all those lovely keyword queries.

But without backlinks, your SEO-focused content means nothing, right? For anyone who has done it, you’ll know that getting people to link to landing pages designed for conversion is no mean feat. I mean, why would anyone link to them? They’re designed for one thing—to make your business more money.

We’ve seen that by trying to go 10X with our content, backlinks come to us without having to ask for them. Why? Simply because we’re producing something interesting or useful, that people want to tell others about. Pretty simple when you think about it.

Now, getting these particular pieces of content to rank in Google was never our main objective. For some of this stuff we’re creating, even if we’re #1 for a load of queries, the traffic that comes through would be so far above the funnel that we wouldn’t see much in the way of conversions.

For example, take our conversational article experiment. The topic? A deep dive into the history of conversational UIs and how technology imitates art. The experiment? Offering a new way to experience online articles by integrating a chatbot that gives you a kind of director’s commentary as you read. Number of CTAs leading readers towards our product? Just the one, standard CTA in the footer—which not many people, unsurprisingly, clicked on.

So what’s the benefit of getting backlinks to this page? Backlinks mean domain authority and lots of lovely link juice (not something you can buy from your local Starbucks). With some well-thought-out internal linking, you can pass that link juice to the pages that really need it (because they convert).

So, instead of tirelessly trying to get people to link to a page that converts well but doesn’t appeal to a wider audience, try creating amazing content that people do want to link to and find other ways to push that SEO authority to your high-converting pages. Well, you know, if you want to.

PR without Doing PR

How many press releases have you published on one of those PR distribution sites that promise you more exposure than a public sauna? Lots, right? And how many high-quality publications have actually picked up your news and written about it? Not many, huh? Yup, we’ve been there. Time to rethink how to do PR for your business.

We were lucky enough to secure an interview with Susan Bennett, the original voice of Apple’s Siri. Before we put our questions together, we watched and listened to other interviews she’d done. We noticed that everyone was asking the same questions and that once you had heard one interview, you had pretty much heard them all.

With that in mind, we tried to find a new angle for our interview. Instead of focussing on what it was like for her to go from unheard-of voice actress to one of the most famous voices in the world (ok, we touched on it a little) we focused on how some key moments in her career had coincided with big advancements in conversational technology.

With our interview angle sorted, we then set about 10Xing the experience of consuming the content. We created our own custom audio player, researched and wrote an article, and integrated an interactive timeline into the whole thing.

Something we didn’t expect to happen was for big publications to consume our content and then rehash it into an article for their own sites, referring back to us as the original source of the interview.

Check out our referring domains chart from Ahrefs.

Typeform Referring Domains

“Read All about It!” Social Media Can Still Be a Source of Traffic

Are you finding it hard to get actual traffic back to your site from social media? Us too. We mostly use social as a way to engage with our audience and have a bit of fun.

However, for our Siri interview, social had something else in mind for us. A Reddit user kindly shared our interview, and within no time at all, it had trended on Reddit’s “Hot” list and had accumulated a cool 30k upvotes and 1k+ comments.

Typeform on Reddit

The result of our 5 minutes of fame on Reddit was 30k+ visits back to our article. Visits mean nothing without engagement, though. Just check out that time on page:

Time on Page- Typeform

Team Motivation as a KPI

I’ve left it to last, but only because if you remember just one thing from this article, I think it should be this: teams that are empowered to make 10X content will be 10X more motivated than those who are not.

Think about it. Are you more likely to go home and tell your family about the 500-word article about contact forms you wrote today or the fact that you played a part in the potential future of content? Rand’s words, not mine.

Rand Tweet

In my opinion, underestimating the power of motivation is a big mistake. When deciding on your next piece of content to create, your next product feature to build, the next policy to implement, or whatever, don’t just think about how traffic, social shares, and conversions will be impacted. Ask yourself, “How much will this motivate the team?” Products, content—and just about anything—that have love poured into them will almost always get the best results. Even if that result is simply a happier team that’s ready and willing to take on the next challenge.

What’s Next?

Typeform may have been good-looking forms and surveys two years ago, but that was just the first chapter of our story. The next chapter will be a narrative of innovation and experimentation, all with the purpose of making the way people collect data more human.

My team and I will continue to put our heads together to think up new ways to deliver unique experiences through content. We’ll keep investing time, money, and resources—and we won’t expect everything to work every time.

And what about you? What are you creating on your road to 10X?

The post How to Convince Your Leaders to Invest in 10X Content (and Why You Should) appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog http://blog.marketo.com/2017/06/convince-founders-invest-10x-content.html