How Marketers Use Social Media for Recruitment

by

Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To compliment the brand new classes in our updated catalog, he joins us to discuss how social media is used for recruitment, and how employers can benefit.

 

What if I told you that 94% of recruiters have reported using LinkedIn to vet candidates?

Or that the number of employers using social media to screen candidates has increased over 500% in the last decade?

If you’re looking for a new job, you might think I’m trying to give you a piece of conventional wisdom: “Keep your online presence professional.” (And that’s still true!)

But here's something you hear less often: if you’re looking for a new hire, then you already know these social stats spell far greater changes for recruitment and human resources than for jobseekers, unless they too aspire to become recruiters.

The Great Talent Tug of War

Before LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter were used to headhunt the best talent, Human Resources was the primary driver of talent acquisition.

But over the last 10 years, social recruiting on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms has revolutionized the way we hire, so that now what was once a job for the accounting team has become a job for the marketing team.

So how did this great talent tug of war wind up on the marketing end of things? Short answer: the Great Recession.

When huge job losses started occurring around 2008, HR departments became understandably less concerned with filling positions and more concerned with compensation and risk management.

Around the same time, all of our most popular modern social media platforms (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram) were undergoing a development renaissance, all while performing an admirable job of bucking the Recession’s downward trends and revitalizing the online economy that had crashed at the beginning of the 21st century.

The net result of this decline in hiring and ascent of social media was that social recruiting became many companies’ primary resource for not only scouting talent but acquiring it.

Where we once followed recruitment protocols that relied heavily on HR spending, talent scouts, and physical energy to go forth and fill a company’s talent pipeline, we now inhabit a world where free social recruiting technology has placed a vast and easily accessible talent pool right at our fingertips.

This heightened selectability has altered the job market’s center of gravity in major ways. If you’re an investor, then you might say what was once a seller’s market became a buyer’s market. If you’re in HR, you might say what was once an employee’s job market became an employer’s job market. And if you’re a social recruiter, you might say what was once a hustle for HR to fill an abundance of positions is now headhunting: the practice of sifting through hundreds of perfect-fit candidates to fill a choice few jobs with the best talent possible.

Yet with all of the convenient recruiting this talent acquisition revolution has created, there are perhaps an equal number of complications that arise from vetting people online. Chief among these is the age-old HR question: “How do I know I can I trust this person?

How to Know: Using Facebook for Social Recruiting and Talent Acquisition

Using Facebook for social recruiting requires a very discerning eye, but if used wisely, the world’s largest social network can be an excellent tool for talent acquisition.

One of the first reasons Facebook emerged as a tool for talent acquisition was largely a negative one; in its early years, Facebook was a more personal posting platform where employers could research whether prospective new hires behaved badly outside of work and could result in a PR nightmare for the company.

Rest assured, Facebook can be (and still is) used in this way. But many prospective hires know their Facebook pages will be vetted, so they often take precautionary measures that render the process of using Facebook to root out the bad apples less effective.

But there are still jobs for which Facebook vetting remains a highly recommended recruitment strategy. In fact, some of the web’s best social media managers were picked up from scrolling organically through News Feed and coming across users with carefully curated Facebook posts and great, engaging voices. Others use Facebook to cultivate and monitor an audience of enthusiastic fans, followers and groups that can be used as an excellent resource to mine brand advocates whose skill with word-of-mouth messaging could make them excellent candidates for new marketing jobs.

How to Know: Using LinkedIn for Social Recruiting

At first glance, LinkedIn might seem like the easiest tool to use for social recruiting. After all, it was created to connect job seekers with job offers, right?

In fact it was, but its features have grown in number and complexity since the service’s inception, so that now users have to navigate interfaces such as LinkedIn Premium and LinkedIn Pulse, and constantly think about how to execute a content strategy or promote their brand outside of the seasonal job search.

That makes good leads out of job candidates who regularly update their profiles with new content, experience, and education. But as with print resumes, social recruiters should trust but verify what they read on a job candidate’s LinkedIn profile and cross-check all of the candidate’s online profiles for consistency, credibility, and digital footprint.

All these layers of complexity mean that those who want to engage in social recruiting as a form of talent acquisition should be working hard to revolutionize their marketing strategy on the micro-level every day, especially if their brands, businesses and HR departments want to stay on top of the job market.

 

How are you using social recruiting for talent acquisition? To learn more, check out OMI’s brand new selection of classes. Our expert educators cover social recruiting, human resources, talent acquisition, and many other topics. For ten days, access is completely free.

5 App Store SEO Tips to Increase App Downloads

by

Editor's Note: Nick Rojas is a freelance journalist who has written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, and Yahoo. Today he joins us to discuss App Store SEO techniques that can increase your downloads and app revenue.

 

App Store Optimization (ASO) is an essential element for growing the success of your mobile apps. If you're bringing a new app to market, or need an ASO update, you can certainly increase your downloads with a little App Store SEO.

Publishers and developers often believe that their latest app is the perfect new utility, game, or source of information for the public. But in truth, there's probably already an app like yours in Google Play or the Apple Store. It may not be half as good as the product you've developed, but with an extended history and presence, it will be more easily discovered by users.

In fact, there are more than 6.5 million apps ready to be installed across the major app stores. According to Think with Google, the average number of apps a mobile user has in his or her smartphone is 36, and only 26% of them are used on a daily basis.

How do you get your app to stand out among millions, and achieve daily use with your audience? Apply these app store SEO tips, and you'll be well on your way -

1. Have an Eye-Catching App Icon

Icons are often a second thought when it comes to marketing an app, but this is a tremendous mistake. People are motivated by images, and your icon is often the first exposure they will have to your product. So what better way to entice mobile users than putting in the effort to design a catchy icon?

Tayasui Sketches Pro is a great example of an app with an eye-catching icon. Not only is it powerful and interesting, but it's relevant to the app's function. Users browsing an app store will quickly recognize what the app does, and why it might suit their needs.

2. Make the Most of Your Title Tag

The second most valuable app store SEO tactic is a title tag that sells. To maximize rankings with ASO, you want to ensure your app title is as enticing as your website’s <title> tag.

First, make sure your branding is front and center. This includes your app name, followed by a short description with your top keywords. For the Apple App Store you will have 30 characters to work with by fall of 2017. Google Play allots 50 characters.

Photo Editor Movavi makes good use of their app title. They ensure their branding is first with primary and secondary keywords, “Remove Objects & Enhance” following it up. Those keywords should link up with photos for user search queries.

3. Develop a Robust App Description

The biggest mistake many app publishers make when bringing a new app to market is not having a robust description that tells potential users exactly what they need to know. Like website SEO, you should make your above the fold content descriptive, following it with an information-packed, authoritative description below.

Terpy is a good example of how to offer a service, fulfill a need, and build trust. You want your title to lead app store browsers to your app, an icon that makes them click, and a description that makes them install.

4. Use Actionable Graphics

If you browse an app store, you may notice a number of apps with simple screenshots showcasing their features. This is great, but you should take your images one step further by creating actionable graphics.

To improve your install chances and increase your user base, take screenshots of your app in action, then add arrows, text, and other exciting, actionable images to highlight certain features.

SimCity™ 4 Deluxe Edition combines compelling text with eye-catching images. This gives potential users a better idea of how they can navigate and use the app, essential for increased installs.

5. Take Keyword Optimization to the Next Level

Like SEO, keyword optimization for your app is a very important element of ASO. In fact, keyword optimization is slightly harder for apps since you have limited space to place them.

For instance, a user may only see the first 600 or so characters of your description on their mobile devices. Another key factor in ranking when optimizing app keywords is that the first 167 characters are the most important, according to Mobile Action.

World of Tanks Blitz shows 220 characters above the fold and uses some very good keywords. In fact, the keyword “award-winning” nets in upwards of 1.7 thousand searches per month in the U.S. alone.

App Store SEO Keyword tips include . . .

  • Find keywords with a large monthly search volume
  • Ensure you are not trying to rank with keywords big companies are already ranking for
  • Make your top keywords a priority
  • Don’t use spaces between keywords; instead commas instead

Bonus Tip: Always Track Your Analytics

It's vitally important to track your app analytics, just like you would for your website. With the use of mobile SDKs you can implement services like Google Analytics for your app to keep track of important KPIs. You can also maximize your ASO efforts with SDK services for analytics, marketing, and more.

It does well to remember that ASO also serves profit benefits - the more users you have, the more in-app ads and purchases you can use and make. Employing the above app store SEO tips and tracking them via analytics will ensure you get the installs, user base and funds that your app deserves.

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

 

Mobile Consumer Insights: How People Spend Their Time on Mobile

SEO For Business Owners

Data and Analytics: Web Analytics

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 

3 Mobile Marketing Strategies Proven to Convert Customers

by

Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To compliment the brand new classes in our updated catalog, he joins us to discuss three mobile marketing strategies that your business can use to build conversion right away.

With over 8 billion mobile connections to the web in 2017, there are now more mobile devices than people on the planet.

Compound that fact with the following statistics:

  • For mobile searches, the first position on Google nets a 31.35% clickthrough rate. 
  • One in every three (34%) of online retail purchases now occur on mobile devices.
  • More Google searches are made from mobile devices than computers in 10 countries, including the U.S. and Japan.
  • Mobile is the fastest growing media channel by digital media consumption.

You get the idea—mobile has reached heights of global availability, marketability, and saleability that TV, Radio, and Print media could only dream of.

This is why most online marketers will ask themselves this question between now and 2020: Right now, aside from the lengthy and expensive process of developing new mobile applications, what can my business do with mobile marketing strategies to increase conversions?

Here are three cost-effective ways to do exactly that.

3 Mobile Marketing Strategies to Increase Conversions

1. Optimize Your Site for Mobile Users

This should be an easy check off the list for most people who know that in 2015, Google decreed that mobile optimized sites would get an extra boost in their rankings.

But the main reason to optimize sites for mobile users has changed slightly, from a directive of following Google’s guidelines to an industry imperative to follow mobile wherever it goes, especially when it signals higher conversion rates.

The the most basic reason to go mobile-friendly is to get a seat at the table, or have a shot of ranking anywhere near the top of the Internet’s most popular search engines. But currently the best reason to optimize your site for mobile is that users engage more intimately with mobile interfaces than they do with desktop interfaces.

In other words, people prefer mobile for finding specific pieces of information rather than for general research, which they reserve for desktop/laptop searches.

That means if a user is looking up “best mobile streaming service” on their phone, they will very likely click on the first search result they see, and either convert if they find a definitive answer, or bounce if they can’t.

This is why it’s imperative, when optimizing your site for mobile devices, to place the most informative and interactive components of your interface at the top of your landing page.

Example: If your goal is getting users to sign up for your email list and you already know your audience comes to your site looking for information about mobile streaming services, place an email sign-up at the top of your page with the header: Get Our Definitive Ranking of the 10 Best Mobile Streaming Services.

That way, mobile users who come to you looking for that nugget of information will see it right away. Otherwise, they’ll bounce, and bounce fast.

Unique clicks on ads: 15% higher on mobile-optimized sites.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) among mobile users: 64% higher than conversion rate optimization among desktop users (socPub)

2. Research Audiences and Target Demographics By Operating System

This strategy traces its roots way back to the timeless debate between Mac, PC and the demographic data that distinguishes those sets of users.

That demographic data includes distinctions between more affluent users (who tend to use Mac) and less affluent users (who tend to use PCs), as well as a smaller global sample of users (who tend to use Mac) and a larger global sample of users (who tend to use PCs).

For mobile operating systems, this debate centers around the difference between iOS and Android, the two software systems that respectively run iPhone and Android devices.

For mobile marketers, the distinction between user demographics holds true on mobile platforms, where a smaller but more affluent sample of iOS users tends to convert more often than the larger but less affluent global sample of Android users.

The most likely explanation for higher conversion rates among iOS users has to do with affluence: i.e., that iOS users likely have more expendable income than Android users. This doesn’t mean that Android users don’t buy or sign up for things on mobile platforms, but it does mean that there is a smaller subset of products and services that Android users will buy or sign up for on mobile.

The key takeaway here is that mobile marketers can and should research, target, and segment their audiences according to the demographic data most readily available to them about their users’ mobile devices.

Avg. Conversion Rate for mobile users of iOS: 2.09% (Smart Insights)

Avg. Conversion Rate for mobile users of Android: 1.47% (Smart Insights)

3. Offer Direct and Seamless Checkout

One of the biggest barriers to mobile conversions is any friction that gets in the way of completing a sign-up or purchase, either on-website or in-app.

Such friction usually comes from page redirects that take mobile users outside of your app or website and onto another forum that asks for information, money, and in some cases, new member sign-up. PayPal and some email services have become slightly notorious for doing this by asking users to log in and create new accounts to complete checkout if users are not already members.

Creating such friction often comes at the expense of a sale or sign-up, because it breaks the bond between the user and the service provider, who is expected to create and offer a uniform user experience.

As such, it’s imperative that mobile marketers work tirelessly to make sign-ups and purchases as direct and seamless as possible for mobile users.

There are a currently a number of ways to offer your services as directly and seamlessly as possible, including the use of mobile media for native advertisements that take users directly to your email sign-up, or in-app purchase landing pages.

Avg. Conversion Rate for mobile device that minimizes friction (e.g., tablet): 2.42%

To learn more about how you can implement mobile marketing strategies that will optimize your site for mobile users, join OMI's newest classes on the Mobile Channel, Mobile Consumer Insights, and Mobile Media Ad Formats.

Infographic: Choosing The Best KPIs to Boost Your Growth

by

Editor's Note: Colin Cieloha works for Skilled, where a version of this article first appeared. Today he joins us to share a comprehensive strategy for choosing the best KPIs to grow your business, all in a simple infographic.

 

KPIs or Key Performance Indicators are an essential part of modern business planning and goal setting. These carefully chosen and specific metrics can be tracked to indicate the performance of a department, employee, marketing strategy, or any other object oriented venture.

This diverse utility makes KPIs a unique tool for achieving your business's vision and objectives. However, when it comes to implementing KPIs, managers often find it hard to isolate the most useful ones to track. That's no wonder: the average Internet Marketer has over 20,645 potential options.

In this infographic, we outline a comprehensive strategy for choosing KPIs that will optimize the success of your business. We cover common mistakes that lead to the adoption of poor KPIs, and aim to give you a feel for the metrics that are relevant to your goals. Before diving in, here's a summary -

Using KPIs

Good Practices

Before choosing KPIs, you should have clearly defined goals that follow the rules of SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-limited. Here's a cheat sheet for factors that correspond to common desired outcomes:

  • A website visitor count can help to predict and understand customer needs.
  • Income from leads helps to predict future sales based on projected traffic and conversion rates.
  • A visitors to leads ratio helps you to gauge the value of your current traffic.
  • Optimizing response time leads to faster engagement between your sales department and prospects
  • A leads to clients ratio helps to diagnose areas of your sales funnel that need improvement.
  • Customer lifetime value indicates the revenue that a customer is likely to generate during the span of their relationship with your company

Marketers should understand that the best factors for gauging success change depending on business type. For instance, a content website should focus on click through rates and time spent on page are important; these factors are less important for e-commerce sites, which should focus on cart abandonment and products per order.

After selecting the KPIs for your business, its important to monitor them on a regular basis. Analysis will help to determine

  • What changes your company should make to attain desired outcomes.
  • Which KPIs are more useful than others: the poorest should be weeded out.
  • How often your KPIs should be tracked (weekly, monthly, quarterly?)

Worst Practices

Common mistakes when choosing KPIs include:

  • Measuring factors that are irrelevant to your success
  • Tracking too many KPIs at one time
  • Choosing factors that are difficult or even impossible to measure

E-commerce stores frequently overrate certain KPIs, and overlook better ones. Examples of overrated KPIs include,

  • Number of visits
  • Pageviews
  • Emails sent
  • Twitter followers
  • Bounce rate

Underrated KPIs include:

  • Revenue conversion rate
  • Average order value
  • Cart abandonment rate
  • Task completion rate

Continue your crash course in choosing KPIs with the infographic below. Feel free to save for future reference, or pass it along to your colleagues!

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

 

Web Analytics Fundamentals for a Data-Driven World

Planning SEM Campaigns: Establish Goals & KPIs

 

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media market

What’s AdTech & MarTech, and Why Should Your Business Care?

by

Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To compliment the brand new classes in our updated catalog, he joins us to introduce AdTech and MarTech and explain their ever expanding role in marketing.

 

AdTech & MarTech are two of the biggest buzzwords and most difficult-to-understand practices in the modern marketing industry.

There are two reasons why:

    1. AdTech & MarTech are still developing. Trying to understand them is almost like trying to understand two teenagers based solely on the fact that they play the same sport. In other words, it's too early to know where they will end up with any certainty.
    2. AdTech and MarTech are virtually becoming the online marketing industry. Any time you use a service that provides you with analytics and feedback on how people see and engage with your business online (think: Facebook and Twitter for Business), you’re harnessing the power of AdTech & MarTech networks. Translation: AdTech & MarTech are an ever-growing part of an ever-widening industry.

Despite the fact that they’re moving targets, we can say two things for certain: AdTech & MarTech are converging, and they have been riding waves of venture capital-backed search interest for at least ten years.

But arguably the biggest reason they are so important is not because of top-down investment, but because of bottom-up interest. That is, because businesses are recognizing that AdTech & MarTech​ affect their digital footprint​​, no matter how large or small that footprint is.​

Look no further than the top three search results the next time you google your business or industry—those first three returns will likely come from Google’s Search Network, an adtech service hosted by Google AdWords. If you or your business isn’t in that network, it will appear below those entries.

Complex search algorithms are at work behind adtech systems like Google’s, and these algorithms require some awareness of data management to properly integrate advertising platforms. But ultimately, that integrated advertising platform - or omnichannel - makes online advertising much easier to use and understand.

Definitions for AdTech & MarTech: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Despite the growing size and complexity of the marketing industry they influence, AdTech & MarTech can be broken down into simple definitions that parallel and complement each other.

AdTech (noun; adj)

  1. Short for "advertising technology."
  2. The industry name for any tool or application for researching audiences and delivering targeted advertisements to them.
  3. A group of platforms and software for hosting the automated exchange process of buying and selling advertisements through a machine-based ad network or marketplace (e.g., Adobe Advertising Cloud).
  4. Used in a sentence: "Were you able to attend that conference on AdTech in NYC? Reps from Fortune 500 companies sponsored a great exhibit on this adtech and artificial intelligence platform that helps you advertise on social media."
  5. See: "Facebook Ads," "Google Ads," and "MarTech" 

MarTech (noun; adj)

  1. Short for "marketing technology."
  2. An industry term that encompasses a vast body of tools, platforms, processes, and applications that we use to market online products and services (e.g., Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Email Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Marketing Analytics, and Marketing Management).
  3. Platforms and software for managing marketing data and automating marketing processes (e.g., Oracle Marketing Cloud).
  4. Used in a sentence: "Did you see the martech issue of Ad Age? They did a cover story on how the number of companies in MarTech has grown exponentially since 2011."
  5. See: "Facebook for Business," "Twitter for Business," and "YUGE DEAL."

Advertising is just one form of marketing, and AdTech is just one form of MarTech. As such, it's best to think of AdTech & MarTech as two sides of the same coin: AdTech is the front (what most people recognize a coin by), and MarTech is the tail that most people touch and see everyday without noticing.

So What (Do AdTech & MarTech Mean for My Business?)

Data and Targeting

Because AdTech and MarTech are driven by data collection, data analysis, data presentation, and data management, they have a much more nuanced research methodology for delivering ads than traditional methods of marketing and advertising.

Traditional methods tend to operate on the principle of "shoot-first-ask-questions-later" (e.g., billboard ads, radio ads, television commercials, and online banner ads). Traditional methods do involve at least a small amount of research, such as finding the best locations to air an ad for a targeted demographic. However, they also reach a substantial number of people who are not the intended audience for their particular product or service. This overreach can result in annoyance (or worse, distrust) for brands that are particularly repetitive or intrusive. Just think about the last time an infomercial for cleaning products interrupted your regularly scheduled programming when you weren’t in the mood.  

AdTech & MarTech make it possible to target your intended audience without as much overreach, so that video or banner advertisements will reach an intended audience that is not only more likely to be interested, but also most likely to convert.

Ad networks like those owned by Facebook and Google are particularly good at this, since they can deliver "native ads" in user feeds to appear more like solicited information than annoying or intrusive advertisements.

How are you using AdTech & MarTech?

Whether you know it or not, you probably already are. If you want to learn more about controlling the size of your digital footprint in marketing and advertising technology, view our new classes on search engines, data management, and integrated advertising platforms, free for ten days!

How to Build an Engaged Social Media Community

by

Editor's Note: Tess Pajaron works in business management for Open Colleges. Today, she joins us to explore how brands can build an active and engaged social media community.

 

While consumers have been using platforms like Facebook and Twitter for over a decade now - beginning with the raging success of MySpace in the early 2000s - brands have only begun to catch on in the last five years and realize the full potential of social media for marketing.

Social media not only makes people better, but offers plenty of amazing opportunities to businesses of every shape and size.

Instead of using social networks solely as marketing platforms to advertise products, companies can now use social media to build customer experience and create engagement. The ability to connect and communicate directly with a target audience allows brands to build a solid fan base and grow their community easily.

Here are 6 tips to help you create an engaged network of followers that will support your brand -

1. Make sure your business is easy to find

You can't grow your social media community or spread the word about your product unless customers can easily connect with your business.

Here are a couple of tricks you should use to make sure that your brand is accessible to customers and prospects:

  • Your social sharing icons should be prominent on your website
  • Feature the URL of your website and social media handles on business cards and other print media
  • Include a link to your brand website in social media channel descriptions
  • Personalize your email responses: don't solely rely on automated messages
  • Track all associated hashtags and mentions to know who is talking about you and your product. Engage with those who are!

2. Know your audience

Your social media community is not a homogeneous gathering of people who behave in the exact same way. Rather, it is comprised of individuals. Each one of them has unique reasoning and behaviors that predict how they will interact with your brand. Segment your audience, and target these smaller groups with the right messaging in order to reach them more effectively.

To create a strong social media community, good communication is vital. And in order to communicate well, you need to get to know your family. You will have a completely different relationship with different segments of your family. Your engagement with followers will differ on the basis of what you know, resulting in better responses.

3. Solve the problems of your followers

Use social media not just to directly promote your products, but to interact with your customers and learn what their key pain points are. If you want more results from your marketing, you need to do your best to solve problems for your customers.

Most likely, there are plenty of businesses out there that offer similar products to yours, so you need to stand out. That's something you can achieve by building trust in your community and helping your followers with issues unique to them.

Invite your community to join you in helping others deal with such issues. Promote user-generated content on your social media channels as well – that's how you build loyalty and offer real value.

4. Be generous

Motivate the members of your community to share their own content and spark exciting conversations on your social profiles. One way to do this is offering incentives, like coupons, or giveaways. Another way is by sharing user-generated content, and bringing valuable contributors into the spotlight.

Analyze your social media data to find out who your top contributors are. These will be the people responsible for engagement on your website. The more feedback signals you get – like shares or comments – the more likely the social platform is to show your posts to a higher percentage of your followers.

Create content for your top users. Be generous and add a personal touch to all your communications. That's how you build relationships and help fans feel connected in the community surrounding your brand.

Don't forget to keep the communication lines open and instantly respond to your followers if they reach out to you.  

5. Listen to your audience

To build a social media community, you need to produce content that your audience wants to consume. That's why your first step is finding out what they want, and there are many ways to go about doing this.

Create a quick video and ask your fans what they want to talk about. When your community provides you with answers, follow through by implementing new initiatives based on what they requested.  

Put your followers and their needs or desires at the center of your social media strategy. Actively listen to their social chatter to build further engagement.

Instead of asking your followers to share photos of the products that they purchased, ask them to share content that shows what your products have enabled them to do.

Make your social media channels focus on lifestyle, not just on products or services. You can be sure that purely promotional content will reduce engagement. Offer your fans behind-the-scene content that shows the inside of your company or how your product is developed. That's how you take your brand to the next level and develop a community of people who share a sense of purpose.

6. Be honest

People like to deal with businesses they trust. A smart way to build trust in your business is admitting to your mistakes when you make them. No company is 100% perfect. And some forget that it pays to be open and honest.

If you admit your faults and offer transparency in the face of criticism, you will win big among followers by showing your willingness to listen and your ability to adapt. On the other hand, if you try to mask a bad situation or avoid the problem, you will be on your way to destroying that trust. Show the human side of your business to win loyalty among your fans.

Conclusion

Social media is a great opportunity for brands, but building a community is about much more than just promotion. With a little bit of effort and creativity, you stand a great chance of engaging existing customers and raising your bottom line in terms of prospects and exposure.

Get started with any of the methods listed above, and watch your community grow!

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

 

How to Perform Segmentation Using Google Analytics

Content Marketing Implementation: Executing a Winning Content Program

Crisis Management with Social Media

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media market

Using Predictive Analytics For Unified Commerce

by

Editor's Note: Kate Lincoln is a business analyst, and graduate from the University of Suffolk. She also edits content for CustomerSurveyAssist.com, and joins us today to explore how Unified Commerce is changing online marketing, and how predictive analytics is the best way forward.

 

Although it has existed as a concept for decades, unified commerce is on the verge of becoming a reality. For many companies, everything from web-based efforts to mobile applications and traditional stores are connected in real time. With enhanced usability and speed, it is now easily possible to buy a new speaker from Shenzhen while chatting with a friend from Brazil about buying tickets for a concert in Germany.

While unified commerce has traditionally been pitted against omnichannel marketing, the distinction between them is no longer necessary or clear. With the right platform and design, multiple channels can be absorbed into a unified point of sale (POS), and there are good reasons for doing so.

Shifting Paradigms

A shift across the market to unified commerce seems inevitable at this point in history:

  • 77% of the world’s retailers say they plan to offer customers “buy anywhere, ship anywhere” services
  • 57% also report development of a shared cart that encompasses all channels, thereby simplifying the process of online transactions

The market is already highly efficient and competitive: according to an old principle elaborated by Vilfredo Pareto, the top 20% of customers provide 80% of the sales. Therefore, the struggle to gain customer loyalty will only lead to increasingly proficient marketing campaigns and cheaper products of higher quality.

Fortunately, the new, expanded digital universe produces vast amounts of data, and this trend will only increase as commerce becomes more unified. Centralized and processed by analytics software, the market’s mysteries can finally be unlocked for the profit of all, and sellers in particular.

In order to benefit, predictive analytics – or the use of data to determine the likelihood of future outcomes – must become a primary focus for online marketers far and wide.

Uses of Predictive Analytics

E-commerce has taken to the sky as a result of the new economic environment created by unified commerce. Competition has soared, along with customer satisfaction. Customer input is abundant, due to the feedback systems employed by almost every commerce-oriented business. This entails an ever-growing volume of data that can provide valuable insights.

First, predictive analytics can work toward the optimization of marketing campaigns, making it a new staple in the fundamentals of digital marketing. It does so by looking at the behavior of customers and their responses to certain stimuli via ads. Studying past reactions to specific images, words or entire products can turn up a better product, bringing a higher quality to the customer and increased profits to sellers.

Timeline of decision and execution is another point of interest: along every point of the sales funnel, your customers might change their minds about a purchase at any time. From a retailer point of view, if customers have a high probability of dropping purchases during a certain period of time, minimizing that period can only lead to more sales. As a result, the distance between decision and purchase has been increasingly shortened due to these facts uncovered by predictive analytics.

Essentially, companies are using predictive analytics to determine which products are most popular, which promotional events are most impactful and which special offers provoke the desired reactions in customers. Devised correctly and sustained by a long-term effort, a strategy involving predictive analytics can lead to much higher return on investment (ROI).

The Unified Customer Market

A single platform for commerce entails a single, unified customer market. The impact of sharing the same goods on a global scale is not yet fully understood: it causes changes and evolution in the quality of life for millions or even billions of people. The transitory period between fragmented national markets and unified commerce is giving rise to another breed of customer: the global buyer.

Not tied to any single currency, niche market or regional economic affiliation, the global buyer is capable of surfing a tremendous number of offers, and choosing those most relevant to his or her needs. Their voices become stronger and - if made consciously by enough people - their purchases gain more regulatory power.

Right now, the world is at a crossroads. The ingredients of unifying commerce and customer markets are already present, but they have not been fully mixed. The future is a realm of endless commercial possibilities and you, the seller, can doubly profit from what it has in store.

By using predictive analysis, your business can stay one step ahead of other modern producers, and miles ahead of old-fashioned competitors that struggle to set up a website.

Learn more with the following classes:

How to Grow Customer Value Through the Right Digital Experiences

Top of the Funnel Tactics for Inbound Marketing

Leveraging Analytics

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 

 

Three Easy Steps to Write Better Emails

by

Editor’s note: Sundeep Kapur is an educator and technology consultant who has teamed up with OMI to bring our readers a free Email Marketing Master Class. In preparation, he joins us to share his notes on delivering an effective message to email subscribers.

 

At the core of an email marketing campaign is the email itself, and this is where a brand succeeds or fails. After arriving in a prospect’s inbox, your email has one chance to make an impression. As such, crafting the strongest message possible is vitally important. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

What is your brand’s value proposition?
Can you verbally deliver it in less than 30 seconds?
Would the listener or recipient remember your key points an hour later?

At every email marketing workshop, I ask my students to apply the less-than-30-second rule to these three scenarios:

  • You are at a conference; how would you introduce yourself?
  • You are calling to get an appointment; what would you say?
  • You are meeting someone you haven’t spoken to in a while (while your plane is taking off); how would you quickly (and not abruptly) deliver your message?

The answers I get for this exercise include the following terms: recognition, interactive conversations, brevity/succinctness, emphasis on key points, high impact messaging, something the recipient can remember, and value based messaging.

Next, I ask my students to write a note for each of the above scenarios – “what if you couldn’t speak and had to type?” I offer them the following pointers:

  • How would you greet them?
  • How would you grab their attention?
  • Would you use an image/What image would you use?
  • What would you want them to remember?
  • What would you want them to do?
  • How would you measure the success of your message?
  • What would your next step be?

Then, I ask them to take what they have written and look at it on a mobile device. Most times, the message is too long, seems disjointed, and leaves the reader confused as to what to do next. Consider this simple advice to write better emails and craft better messages -

3 Practical Steps to Improve Your Email Messaging:  

1 – Go through the exercise of creating a message for a prospect. If I gave you a list of 100K consumers who were well to do, enjoyed a high level of online engagement, and were frequent buyers – how would you message them? Consider designing a series of messages – two to five emails to get your point across. Use the above bullets to think about the content sections and be brutally brief.

2 – A high impact, easy to understand, and memorable message should be designed like a movie poster. Take a look at the three posters below – they clearly tell you what their movies are about.

Like a movie poster, your message should be self-contained, brief, and highly impactful. Readers should be able to remember the core points of an email after one read, hopefully anticipating whatever you have on offer.

3 – In my master class, we cover a simple approach to messaging that has delivered results for many brands. Rich with case studies, my forray into email marketing highlights lessons from Anthropologie, Dillard’s, and Overstock.com. B2C, B2B, or even C2B:  these practical ideas will help you deliver on the perfect message.

Author Bio: Sundeep Kapur is an educator. After 24 years in corporate America as a business and technology consultant he returned to his passion – teaching brands best practices so they can achieve the same success. His email marketing class has been taught across the globe for more than 2,500 brands and he continues to receive outstanding reviews for his content.

Take Sundeep's Email Marketing Master Class for free, and learn everything you need to know about crafting the perfect message!

Join us Tuesday, Jul 25, 2017 from 12:00 - 1:00  PM PST / 3:00 - 4:00 PM EDT

 

Why Email is the Ultimate Marketing Omnichannel

by

Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To celebrate the launch of our new Email Marketing Course, Josh joins us today to discuss email as the first step in an omnichannel strategy that can skyrocket your traditional or online business.

 

Despite the hype surrounding social media, email is still the most popular and effective marketing tool for gaining and retaining customers.

Why?

Longevity. Of all internet marketing tools, email has been around the longest, which means it had a head start in the race for global users. As a result, those users - and all potential users - have had a long time to get comfortable with the service email provides, and think of that service as a part of everyday life, like telephone, TV, and billboards on the side of the road.

Another reason is success. Email is the top channel driving both leads and conversions, especially when it comes to doing business with other businesses, as well as doing business with consumers who want to do business. In other words, there’s a good reason 80% of businesses use email for retention. It works.

In other words, email is the most trusted, time-tested resource for converting leads into customers.

The Biggest Reason

Those reasons alone make email an essential tool for acquiring and retaining customers.

But while success and longevity are good answers to why email is essential for acquiring and retaining customers, they are not the be-all-end-all, nor the most pressing and relevant answers to why email marketing is so essential today.

In fact, arguably the biggest, most relevant and underrated reason that email marketing is essential to the customer lifecycle is that - at a time when brick-and-mortar stores are shrinking - email is the ultimate marketing channel to unify online and brick-and-mortar stores.

Here’s why.

Omnichannel Marketing

Social media is an excellent channel for increasing brand awareness in marketing and sales, but when it comes to conversions, social media platforms do not lend themselves to customers making buyer decisions.

Email does. If a user is willing to give you their email address, you have already sold them on your journey. And they are certainly willing to listen to your offer, if not entirely willing to buy your product, wherever it may be.

When a customer gives you their email address, they are giving you permission to enter their private online universe. They are also expressing a certain degree of brand loyalty and customer trust that is greater than a like on social media, and greater than or equal to an in-store purchase.

But all this is to say: acquiring a customer’s email by their own permission falls along the same spectrum of customer loyalty as online and in-store shopping. Many customers are willing to give their email addresses during purchase, especially if it means access to promotions and discounts—which is what makes email uniquely suited to being the most suitable marketing channel to unify online and brick-and-mortar stores.

So, instead of worrying about online sales cannibalizing brick-and-mortar sales or vice versa, businesses should see email as a unifying marketing channel, or what’s known as an “omnichannel." In this case, omnichannel marketing is the practice of using online messaging to lead customers to brick-and-mortar stores, and brick-and-mortar messaging to lead customers to online stores, all of which works to keep the customer lifecycle of acquisition and retention alive.    

Something to Consider

It’s no secret that brick-and-mortar retail stores are closing at a rate that could see 1 in every 4 U.S. malls shuttered by 2022. In 2016, the biggest retailer in the world, Walmart, closed 269 brick-and-mortar stores and bought Jet.com in an apparent bid to expand its online sales.

Meanwhile, Amazon.com continues to grow its already burgeoning online sales, and just last month expanded to the point of bursting its own digital bubble by purchasing Whole Foods and entering the brick-and-mortar business, wholesale.

Barring discussions of what all that says about the epic power struggle between Walmart and Amazon—which is impossible to say this early in the game—the expansion of each retailer into the other’s “domain” spells out what we’re seeing in the retail industry as a whole: a contraction for brick-and-mortar, an expansion for eCommerce.

What most businesses would rather see is a balance, which is why the first businesses to adopt an acquisition and retention model that can successfully unify online with brick-and-mortar could be the start of something new.

Why not start with email and add the ultimate marketing omnichannel to your business cycle?

Email marketing is a HUGE marketing channel. If you want more in-depth knowledge about integrating email into your marketing strategy, check out our updated class library with brand new email marketing courses.

 

11 Reasons You Should Care About Mobile Marketing

by

mobile marketing header

Editor’s Note: Kent Lewis is the president of digital marketing agency Anvil Media Inc. In preparation for his upcoming Mobile Marketing webinar, he joins us today to discuss trends that make mobile marketing imperative for your business.

 

Since 2007, my measurable marketing agency Anvil has been claiming the ‘Year of Mobile’ is upon us every year. Why? Because every year, mobile has reliably become a more important part of the marketing mix. In 2017, most brands are finally beginning to think about how mobile marketing plays into their overall strategy, and some are even developing mobile-first campaigns. Here are a few compelling statistics about the immense impact mobile is having on the marketing world:

  • By the end of the year, 75 percent of internet use will be via mobile devices.
  • 36 percent of Americans now go online using multiple devices.
  • 86 percent of respondents say it’s important to create mobile apps, according to Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s State of Marketing report.

As I originally outlined in a 2012 article, Mobilizing Your Marketing is now table stakes; but as time goes by, a host of new trends has redefined mobile marketing. In this article, I’ve outlined eleven trends in mobile that your brand must consider when implementing or refining a mobile-friendly marketing program.

1. Voice Search

Searches originating from mobile devices continue to grow exponentially. Thanks to rapid adoption of Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, Apple Siri and Google Home, voice search will continue to increase in popularity. Amazon recently announced that Alexa now has 15,000 skills. According to recent research, 49 percent of US respondents use their voice assistants on a weekly basis, compared to 31 percent of global respondents. Interestingly, 57 percent said they would use voice search more if it recognized more complex commands. The good news is that each platform provider continues to increase the number of voice commands by thousands at a time. More than 20 percent of current searches on Android devices are voice searches.

This trend directly impacts search engine optimization and paid search, as both need to utilize voice-search-related initiatives to maintain a competitive edge. The first step is to optimize your website for long-tail search terms more common with voice-based searches. Similarly, paid search campaigns should target similar terms with mobile-optimized ads. On the web design side, leveraging Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) technology has shown to increase click-through-rates by up to 90 percent. Mobile searchers also spend 35 percent more time with AMP content than dedicated mobile web pages.

2. Location-based Marketing (LBM)

When Foursquare launched in 2009, the future looked bright for location-based marketing (LBM). For at least a year or two, mobile users were obsessed with “checking in” at local businesses via Foursquare or Facebook. While Foursquare may have gone the way of Groupon (still alive, but not exactly an Internet darling), LBM is still a thing. Key components of LBM include near field communications (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), wi-fi, geo-fencing, beaconing and local listings. Last year, beacon messages generated $44 billion in US retail sales. Nearly 80 percent of social media interactions now occur on mobile devices, which include location-based platforms.

While many consumers aren’t familiar with NFC technology, it is the missing link between location-based marketing and sales: Apple Pay, Google Wallet and other payment technologies rely on it for transactions. With greater support this year from Apple, expect much wider adoption of mobile wallets. Beyond leveraging RFID and beaconing to target in-store shoppers with unique messages, brands must embrace responsive-design for websites and proactive management of local business directory listings (Google My Business) and social platforms (Yelp!), including associated ratings and reviews, to ensure a holistic view of your customer journey.

3. Advertising Evolved

2017 is a special year for advertising, as it marks the first time in history that the total digital ad spend will surpass that of television. This year also provides a perfect storm of evolving ad options for mobile, with programmatic, video and native advertising. eMarketer recently reported that video ad spending for mobile will cross $6 billion in 2017, which is a 32 percent increase from 2016, according to another report.

Within mobile marketing, programmatic is expected to provide a major opportunity for advertisers. Brands are expected to spend more than $20 billion on mobile-programmatic advertising in 2017. Within mobile, video programmatic marketing will account for 28 percent of total spend by 2019. The third key trend in mobile advertising will be native advertising, which is expected to make up 63 percent of mobile display ad spend by 2020. Mobile advertising has clearly evolved from simple network and in-app display ads to today’s creative options across programmatic, video and native formats. Ensure your mobile advertising involves these developing technologies and trends to maximize ROI for your brand.

4. Augmented Experiences

Oculus Rift recently announced the ability to record real-world content and incorporate it into virtual reality (VR) experiences. Known as mixed reality, the new function will allow developers to bring video recordings from the real world into game/VR environments. This is an evolution from the other side of the spectrum, known as augmented reality (AR), which overlays virtual elements onto real world environments (Google Glass and Spectacles by Snap Inc.).

IKEA's VR showroom tech

According to Forbes, augmented reality technology will be a $5.7 billion industry by 2021. In comparison, global brands ranging from Coca-Cola and Ocean Spray to IKEA and Volvo have bet big on VR, creating immersive experiences to sell kitchen remodels, beverages and SUVs. Mobile devices are ground zero for the AR/VR experiences, as they are ubiquitous, powerful and highly personal. Google, Facebook, Samsung and Apple have all invested in VR technology, making it more affordable, accessible and engaging than ever. In the next 3 years, brands of all shapes and sizes should include AR/VR elements in their advertising.

5. Video Consumption

Over the past decade, mobile devices have dramatically changed how we consume video. According to HubSpot, video is the most popular online content format. Video is also viral: 92 percent of mobile video consumers share videos with others. In 2015, Flurry found that U.S. consumers spent more time on apps than watching television. Research also shows that younger consumers are less interested in watching TV, and prefer free or low-cost online video-streaming services. Remaining cable and satellite subscribers tend to multi-task on a second screen when watching TV, usually a mobile device. YouTube and Facebook dominate mobile video consumption currently, which means brands should actively create and sponsor content on those platforms.

360 video is growing in popularity, particularly on Facebook. Investing in 360 video can be costly and intimidating. For this reason, YouTube recently announced its VR180 initiative. According to recent Google research, 75 percent of 360-degree video users only look at the quadrant in front of them at the start of a video. With current 360 video offerings being largely under-utilized, grainy and unintuitive, 180 degree video offers a viable alternative for brands, as the same 4K resolution is condensed into half the viewing space, resulting in a sharper picture. With increased video consumption comes advertising opportunities. Mobile video ad spend is projected to exceed $6 billion by the end of 2017. This means that brands can buy into the conversation without committing significant initial resources to production.

6. Intelligent Messaging

A trend has been clear for the past few years: mobile device owners are downloading fewer apps, which creates challenges for brands looking to create their own dedicated mobile experience. Conversely, consumers are spending more time on mobile devices, which means more time on fewer apps. Nearly 80 percent of mobile users globally have downloaded messaging apps (including WhatsApp, TextNow, Facebook Messenger, Line and Viber), and that market continues to expand. Brands that embrace artificial intelligence (AI) based chatbots to connect with consumers are taking a leadership role.

mobile marketing image

Pizza Hut's chatbot

The benefit of tapping messaging apps is that they shorten the sales funnel by understanding the context of conversations and feeding relevant information in return. The rise of in-app chatbots from the likes of 1-800-Flowers, Uber and Dominos validates further investment in the sector, particularly for customer service. More importantly, messaging apps are getting closer to commerce. Messaging app Kik, with more than 300 million registered users, recently announced its own digital currency Kin, which can be used globally to buy and sell goods. The opportunity for brands to create contextually-relevant conversations with a layer of commerce on top provides new ways to mitigate otherwise challenging mobile usage trends.

7. Shopping

Who doesn’t like shopping? According to multiple sources, not very many US-based digital consumers. In fact, 51 percent of Americans say they prefer to shop online. According to comScore, mobile ecommerce growth outpaced that of desktop e-commerce in the last quarter of 2016, growing 45 percent year-over-year (to $22.7 billion). 2017 looks to continue the trend, as Internet Retailer reports mobile commerce sales will top 30 percent for the first time. A ReadyCloud report found that 44 percent of retail internet minutes were spent on smartphones. That translates to roughly $2 billion in US mobile commerce, according to Invesp.

Mobile devices enable shopping on a whim, and 20 percent of American have purchased from the bathroom or while in the car. Social media plays an important role in mobile commerce, and 30 percent of online shoppers say they would purchase from a social media network. The most influential social platforms include Facebook, accounting for 38 percent of all e-commerce referrals. Pinterest comes in second at 29 percent and Twitter in third place with 22 percent of referrals. The bottom line: mobile devices make shopping as easy as a single click (patented by Amazon) and consumer brands need to adjust marketing and commerce initiatives accordingly.

8. Big Data Insights

Since Big Data came on the technology scene five years ago, marketers have latched onto the term and its implications for potential. The reason is that we know information is power, and we are surrounded by information. There are currently 2.7 Zetabytes of data in the digital universe today, and that number is growing rapidly. More than 5 billion people are calling, texting, tweeting and browsing on mobile phones worldwide (don’t look for that number to shrink either, as Facebook recently ran a successful test of its solar-powered drone designed to stay airborne for years to provide internet access to remote areas of the world). Speaking of Facebook, users upload 100 terabytes of data daily to its platform. To give you a sense of scope, 1.8 Zetabytes of data were created in 2011 alone, which equates to more than 200 billion HD movies, which would take you 47 million years to view.

Most alarmingly, the volume of business data worldwide across all companies doubles every 1.2 years. These numbers translate into opportunities, and Wikibon estimates that big data will be a $50 billion business this year. With all of the interest in big data, it may come as a surprise that far too many companies are not leveraging the opportunity as of yet. The DMA recently reported that up to 70 percent of companies are not collecting user content data from social media alone. Thankfully, a host of marketing technology (martech) vendors are providing solutions for big data capture and analysis.

9. Internet of Things

One area likely to contribute significantly to the big data vortex is the Internet of Things (IoT). Particularly relevant to mobile marketing, IoT offers brands an opportunity to gain insights into consumer behavior, as well as gain data-driven insights directly from smart products in and outside the home. Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2017, up 31 percent from 2016. It’s expected that there will be more than 30 billion connected devices in 2020 and 75 billion by 2025. In 2016, global spending on IoT across markets was $737 billion. IDC predicts that by 2020, this number will reach $1.29 trillion. With unprecedented potential to collect and analyze massive amounts of data from mobile and Internet-connected devices, marketers must be diligent in researching and adopting martech solutions to gain insights into current and potential markets and customers.

10. Mobile Wallet

Seasoned digital marketers may feel this article provides little more than validation. If you are one of those people, then this trend is for you. Living in the mobile Valhalla that is Portland, I’m sometimes privy to bleeding edge technology and trends. While we’re all familiar with mobile wallets, which provide convenient and secure payment options, you may not be aware of the potential power of mobile wallets for marketing. Mobile wallets can provide “passes” which are non-payment related, but can be transactional content, including loyalty cards, coupons, event tickets and ID cards.

Certain types of brands are natural fits for mobile marketing opportunities, including restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, sports teams and venues. Unlike paper or plastic alternatives, mobile wallet passes can be updated remotely and seamlessly. This is particularly powerful for couponing, since promotions expire regularly. A few examples of mobile wallet passes in action include WeChat’s social gifting, Alipay’s augmented reality coupons and PayPal’s “stores nearby” and “order ahead” functionality, which is designed to drive more traffic to physical retail stores.

11. Apps

I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on mobile applications, and how they’ve evolved over the past five years. As I mentioned earlier, mobile users are downloading fewer apps but using them more frequently than ever. Research shows that only 6 percent of people use an app after thirty days and five out of ten apps are used only ten times, according to the Adobe Digital Insights Mobile Benchmark Report. The same report indicates that app launches grew 24 percent year-over-year in 2016, but app installs only grew six percent.

Despite the challenges, 197 billion mobile app downloads are expected in 2017, and mobile app revenue is predicted to reach $77 billion this year. Perhaps the most intriguing new trend in the world of mobile apps is Android Instant Apps (AIA), which work without installation. Announced at Google I/O in 2016, AIA are now available to developers. AIA offer a way for brands to distribute lightweight versions of Android apps without requiring a visit to Play Store for a download. Users click on a link in the web browser and are able to get the nearly-full app experience, while circumventing some of the most concerning statistics regarding download and usage rates.

Conclusion:

Regardless of your marketing objectives, target audiences, budgets and available resources, these are at least ten emerging trends to consider when developing a mobile marketing strategy. Ensure you’ve factored in each of the above mobile factors into your mix to ensure your marketing efforts are exponentially more effective in the near future. 

Author Bio: Kent Lewis is President & Founder of Anvil Media, Inc., a digital marketing agency specializing in search engine, social media and mobile marketing for clients worldwide. Based in Portland, Anvil was founded in 2000 and services over 50 clients. For more information, visit www.anvilmediainc.com.

Want to learn more about prepping your brand with a mobile marketing strategy? Join our FREE webinar with Kent Lewis on August 22 at 12pm PST / 3pm EST.