4 App Store Optimization Aspects You Need to Master

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App Store Icon On Apple Deivice ScreenWith the consistent year-on-year increase in mobile apps, app users and app downloads, it's essential that you understand how app stores work in order to use this knowledge to your advantage.

All app stores present a varied landscape of players, from app development companies with million dollar budgets, to small developers or hopeful entrepreneurs. Regardless of your marketing budget or type of app, everyone realizes that getting your app discovered and then download is progressively more challenging.

What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?

In contrast to search engine optimization (SEO), ASO deals with understanding of algorithms of app stores. However, what SEO and ASO have in common, is that ASO is concerned with controlling and managing everything that is possible to increase the likelihood of being discovered as well.

Why is ASO essential

In contrast to SEO, the exact ASO ranking factors and their importance are not so well known. Additionally, you are unable to consistently add value on app stores to potential users through blogs or other content. Because of this, it's essential you ASO your apps.

Failing to do so will cost you an enormous amount of traffic and possible users. According to Forrester, 63% of all apps are discovered via app stores.

You need to start thinking about ASO in order to:

·         Be discovered by users, as app stores are the biggest source of app downloads

·         Outrank your competitors

·         Rank higher for your keywords

·         Rank higher in Google´s semantic search for applications

·         Present your app and brand professionally and improve your other business assets

There are numerous ways to quickly find out how well you are optimizing your app store. You can test your knowledge with fun and detailed app store optimization quizzes that let you know exactly what needs to be improved, you can use automated tools, or refer to a checklist like the one we're about to share with you.

We will look at 4 crucial aspects of all ASO campaigns. In today's article we won't describe the importance of updates, screenshots, preview video and ratings. We will however talk in detail about your app's:

·         Name

·         Keywords

·         Description

·         Icon

1.    App name

The importance of your app name (also known as title) hopefully doesn't need to be explained in too much detail. Because it guides understanding of what your app is, it needs to be short and easy to remember, yet unique. A long name will be hard to remember, and you run into a possibility of having the name shortened with added ellipses. However, including keywords to app names is highly recommended. It will help your ranking, but stay away from keyword stuffing. Including your main keywords is a strong indicator of your app's relevance to the search term. A research by TUNE found that apps with a relevant keyword in their title ranked, on average, 10.3% higher than apps without a title keyword

Ideally, include a maximum of 3 keywords in your app name. To preserve and increase the value of your brand over time, try not to change the name too much - unless you have a good reason to do so. To my big surprise, TUNE also found that 84% of apps in their research didn't include keywords in their description.

Having an optimized name is a crucial aspect of ASO, and you must use it to its full potential.

2. Keywords

As mentioned above, adding keywords to your name is advised, but don't overdo it. Keywords must be also present in your description.  It represents a space where you can 'sell' your app. However, similarly to SEO, keyword stuffing your description is considered to be a black-hat technique and is likely to hurt your rankings. Apart from the description, you can add keywords also to other areas of your app store, such as updates and reviews. Although not confirmed, reviews with keywords can possibly contribute to higher rankings. However, asking for fake or inauthentic reviews is considered black-hat, so doing this on a mass scale is not advised. There is, of course, a dedicated area just for keywords too. Use all the 100 characters offered. The best practice is to list your keywords with a comma between them. However, don't add a space before or after the comma.

3. Description

We touched on keywords in point 2 above. Instead of spamming your description with keywords, focus on providing accurate description of your app's features and benefits that will convince the reader to download it. By doing exactly this, you will (most likely) include contextual keywords. You should always adhere to one rule when writing a description: write for readers, not search engines

The content needs to be compelling and written for people who will make the final decision of downloading your app. After you finish writing your description, revisit it and edit it by adding keywords where appropriate and where it will sound natural. It's important to remember that people will see only the first 3 lines of the description. Because of this, use the well-known copy writing technique of front-loading the benefits.

Front-loading benefits 

Ads, app stores or any other content for that matter on whatever medium represents a battle for your audience's attention. The chances that a user will read the whole description are close to null. Therefore, you must spark the interest with your readers as soon as possible. A proven way of doing so is by including the main benefits early in your copy. This will entice them to continue reading or to download the app straight away. On the other hand, if you decide to save the best for the end, you are making a great mistake. The reader is more than likely to be bored and disinterested quite quickly.

Lastly, make sure to include a compelling call-to-action in your copy. If your app has a low acquisition barrier (i.e. it's free), a great copy and call-to-action will entice users to try out your app.

4. Icon

Last but not least, we need to talk about your icon. Actually, your icon is one of the most important elements of your app. Similarly to your title, it is likely to be the first touch point with your brand or app. The users will instantly compare it with other icons, and make a split second decision whether they like it or not, and whether they will want to know more. Because of this, your icon needs to be optimized to the highest possible standard. If poor design will deter a lot of potential users, all the work you put into other elements such as the description, keywords, screenshots or video will be in vain.

Best practices

·         iOs dimensions: 1024x1024

·         Android dimensions: 512x512

·         No words in your icon

·         Simple and salient design

·         Colour and style consistent with your app

·         Unique (design, colour, idea) to differentiate yourself from others

·         Once launched, don't change it (unless necessary)

Making minimum changes to your icon is essential for brand consistency and recognition. Remember that users will see only the icon on their phone. Therefore keeping it same will contribute to the mere-exposure effect (liking something because you are frequently exposed to it) as the time passes on. App designers often overlook this important point. However, when Instagram changed their icon, even social media gurus like Gary Vee reported that they stopped using it as much! And if this can happen to a social media giant like Instagram, what consequences will brand inconsistency cause to your app?

Wrapping it up

ASO is a complicated concept involving a lot of small elements that need to be carefully optimized. However, tackling these one-by-one with a strategic approach can significantly improve your rankings.

Remember that the competition for your users is increasing on a daily basis, while your users' attention is decreasing!

ASO plays an important role to your overall success, and therefore it needs to be tackled with the seriousness it deserves. Because ASO is an ongoing process, you need to keep on top of the latest algorithm changes to stay ahead of your competition.

The strategies discussed will however give you a great start to optimizing your app store.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

David Kanika is the CEO and marketing strategist at App Marketing Mind’s (http://appmarketingminds.com), an agency providing marketing services and education to app developers. He uses a variety of marketing techniques to acquire customers and oversees implementation of client campaigns. He is a vegan and he loves to tell people. You can connect with David at david@appmarketingminds.com.

How To Attract New Consumers (Like, New-New) To Your Brand

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You certainly want to draw new people to your brand. Who doesn’t? But are you bringing in people who are new to your space, or just fighting for existing share?

When it comes to acquiring new customers, the best strategy is a balanced approach across the consumer journey. Companies commonly get stuck perfecting the later stages – i.e., in the intent, purchase and loyalty stages – and fail to attract true net-new prospects into the journey in the first place.

The beginning of the journey is usually left to mass brand awareness efforts with poor targeting. This creates a gap in the journey between brand awareness and purchase consideration. This also wastes a lot of effort on generating awareness with never-to-be-customers, while not gaining consideration from high-value prospects.

One of the more acclaimed strategy books of the 2000s was the book Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, about how to open up a new market space and create new demand.

The authors compare what they call “red oceans” and “blue oceans.” Red oceans are markets where companies fight with little differentiation for the same customers, and therefore have to compete on price. The blue ocean strategy details how to avoid getting caught in red oceans.

When it comes to customer acquisition strategies widely used today by brands, it strikes me that they’re still defaulting to a red ocean strategy.

Brands tend to focus acquisition efforts where competition is the fiercest, and often fail to do true net-new prospecting. For example, brands fight for:

  1. Past Customers: Reactivation campaigns to past purchasers are common, in an attempt to re-engage customers and subscribers who’ve made a purchase in the past but have since gone dormant. This is a useful tactic, but won’t power the start of the consumer journey.
  2. Competitor Customers: Some conquesting efforts are intentional. Some happen by accident due to lack of transparency. For instance, with co-op databases, you may accidentally find yourself conquesting when you thought you were net-new prospecting. When targeting consumers via a data co-op, you provide a list of your current customers and in return you more-or-less get a list of your competitors’ customers.
  3. Intent-based Prospects: These prospects are people who’ve declared a clear intention to make a near-term purchase, based on their behavior. When people provide contact details on an auto website, or ask for a quote from an insurance broker, they’ve made a clear statement about their being in-market or nearly in-market. Intent data is an important factor in calculating net-new prospects, but it’s one piece of a larger data puzzle. With intent-based prospects, once the prospect has registered her name, it’s sold to 3 to 15 brands who are left to win her over on price.

Not sure where to start with Lead Gen? You're not alone. Online Marketing Institute recommends these classes on Demand Gen. These classes make it easy for anyone in the digital space to understand the fundamentals of demand generation.

So why do brands neglect true prospecting efforts?

One reason is, there’s a lot of short-term reward for focusing on the end of the consumer journey and efficiently acquiring low-hanging fruit. Having a high conversion rate from consideration-to-purchase looks and feels great. The problem is the inherently lower volume in this stage in the journey, and even that volume fizzles over time without a strong early-stage acquisition process.

The other reason is status quo. It was the norm to purchase or rent “dumb” prospect lists for acquisition campaigns meant to drive new consumers to your brand. These lists were easily available, but lacked statistically relevant targeting, and mainly resulted in poor campaign performance. Yet, for a long time there wasn’t a better alternative. Some brands invested in manual data science to attempt to better predict future prospect behavior, but this was a time-consuming and costly process. And results varied.

Today, with automated cloud technology, it’s now possible to identify net-new prospects who are new to your business and who are the most likely to love and buy your products. And it can be done more accurately, in less time and with less cost. This is a game changer for the early phases of the consumer journey. Rather than rely on un-targeted brand efforts to people who will never become customers, brands can now spend brand dollars intelligently to reach large prospect pools, specifically those who have a significant chance of becoming a new customer in your space.

In the end, lower-journey strategies are important, but don’t dedicate all your marketing efforts to the zero-sum game. Real net-new prospecting will move you beyond fighting on price and features. Done right, blue ocean prospecting generates higher margins and is by nature a positive-sum sport.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

This article was originally posted on the Reach Analytics Blog.

How to Maximize Your Blog and Work Smarter, Not Harder

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How to Maximize Your Blog and Work Smarter, Not Harder

How to Maximize Your Blog and Work Smarter, Not Harder

Reduce, reuse, recycle. You’ve heard the mantra, only now it doesn’t just apply to saving the planet. This mantra can also be applied to marketing, specifically digital marketing. Rather than ramping up content creation, it’s time that digital marketing professionals work smarter, not harder.

Here are a few tips to help you maximize the content on your blog and work smarter.

Build Themes into Your Editorial Calendar

An editorial calendar is not merely a holding place for blog topics and content ideas. It’s the ideal place to put down in writing the overall trajectory of your content marketing strategy.

Start by building themes into your editorial calendar. The easiest way to do this is to pick a larger topic for each month and have all the blogs for that particular month address certain aspects of that topic.

For example, an editorial calendar for a corporate recruiting firm may cover resume writing in May, preparing for an interview in June, and negotiating benefits in July. In May, the four blog posts will cover the main things to include in a resume, common resume mistakes, tools for checking grammar in resumes, and unique takes on resumes. Each of those blog posts will roll up to the general topic of resumes for month.

Repurpose Blogs into Downloadable Guides

A successful content marketing strategy does not rely solely on creating blogs. Rather, it incorporates multiple types of content to appeal to a variety of potential clients.

Instead of starting from scratch for each ebook, case study, white paper, or how-to guide you create, look to your blog. You can take content from a blog, especially a popular or well-received blog, and repurpose it into a white paper that can be gated and downloaded from the website. Or if a particular blog discusses what works, use a particular client to demonstrate how those approaches work and create a new client case study.

Turn a Blog into a Visual

Many marketing departments are fully utilizing their awesome designers or design team. Take advantage of their wonderful skills by having them turn a blog or ideas from a few blogs into a visual, like an infographic, tip sheet, or chart. This is one of the easiest ways to repurpose content, mainly because it requires chopping down content to the very basics so that the visuals tell the bulk of the story.

A great opportunity to create a visual content piece is a how-to article. How-to blog posts are the easiest to convert into an infographic or a presentation because a visual can take the place of a 200-word description. For example, if the recruiting firm creates a blog on what to include in a resume, they can work with a designer to turn it into a downloadable visual that a job seeker can reference while drafting his or her own resume (without writing new content!).

Use Analytics to Pick Topics

When topics aren’t resonating with prospects, ditch them. Stop covering topics that prospects and clients don’t care about. Eliminating the topic duds is a great way to streamline your process and focus on what matters to your potential clients.

The only way to know the difference between a dud and a winner when it comes to your blog posts is by reviewing the analytics. If you have Google Analytics installed on your website or blog, take a look at the traffic and track the downloads of your content pieces. We always suggest looking at a couple of months of data to weed out seasonal traffic spurts.

If a particular blog post does well, add more topics to your editorial calendar that address different aspects or takes on that particular topic. Using the recruiting firm again, if they wrote a topic on how to dress for an interview and it got 2x as many views as a topic on how to clean up your social media when job hunting, they should add more topics that discuss dressing the part for an interview.

Not sure where to start with Google Analytics, you're not alone?  Take, Getting started with Google Analytics, to learn to identify your preforming channels, and how to optimize them. 

Promote Your Blog Posts

It’s very rare that a blog post goes viral after sharing it on one social media channel. Don’t produce 20 blog posts hoping to hit on a topic that will have a viral reach. Instead, focus on producing 5 – 10 quality blog posts and spend time promoting them.

First, share them on all your social media channels. If you have multiple blog posts to share, be sure to share each post multiple times (at different times and days of the week). This will enable you to reach a higher portion of your audience and put more eyeballs on your blog posts.

Next, pay to promote your posts. Sponsoring your posts on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest enables you to reach users that aren’t part of your existing audience. Allocating a portion of your budget to promotion enables you to maximize the value of your blog posts. Even a small budget can have a dramatic impact in helping your post reach a brand new (targeted) audience.

Want to learn more about how to get the best visibility for your blog posts?  Take Getting Your Blog Content Shared On Social Media, for practical tips that work really well to get more of your blog content shared.

In an ideal world, you have the bandwidth to create a ton of blog posts, but in the real world, there just isn’t time. By following the tips here, you can maximize the blog posts you are able to create and increase the ROI of each one.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

Jeremy Durant About the Author: Jeremy Durant is Business Principal at Bop Design, a B2B web design and digital marketing firm. Jeremy works closely with businesses in need of a website, marketing and branding strategy, helping them to develop their unique value proposition and ideal customer profile. Jeremy received his BA from Merrimack College and his MBA from California State University, San Marcos.

4 Leaks to Plug in Your Lead Generation Strategy

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Stop losing money. Convert more leads. 4 Leaks to Plug in Your Lead Generation Strategy

There are a lot of different visuals that come into play when discussing a lead generation strategy. The lead funnel. The sales pipeline. The marketing workflow.

For whatever minor differences, they all share the metaphor of water flowing through something. For lead generation this is appropriate. A single crack in your funnel or pipeline and your carefully designed system begins to fall apart.

Over the past few years, the amount of content and social media messaging companies are creating has exploded. The main goal of this has been to increase website traffic and draw in more and more leads. In fact, HubSpot found that the top marketing priority in 2014 and 2015 was increasing the number of contacts and leads.

Now marketers are starting to ask an even more important question, what are we doing with those leads? In 2016, the number one marketing priority is converting contacts and leads into customers.

Your funnel/pipeline/workflow are full of leads, but how many of them are coming out the other side as customers? Are there any leaks in your lead generation strategy? Here are four areas to optimize to make sure no qualified lead is falling through the cracks:

  • Lead Capture

All of your inbound marketing works hard to grow an audience on your blog and social channels, but those follower counts don’t mean anything if you aren’t able to capture enough information to move the conversation forward.

This is one of the mistakes marketers make when trying to convert visitors and followers. The key is to only ask for enough information to move the conversation forward. Asking for too much information too early in the lead capture process can scare a potential lead away.

With the amount of marketing messages people are receiving on a daily basis, your audience is already apprehensive to give anyone their valuable contact information. Don’t make it difficult to exchange that information for whatever you are offering in return.

Want to learn more about Lead Capture techniques? These 8 classes from the Online Marketing Institute can help anyone in the digital space learn the fundamentals of demand generation.

Optimize Landing Page Conversions

Once you have an optimized and streamlined way of capturing lead information, avoid the temptation to overcomplicate it with a distracting landing page. Your landing page should clearly convey the value the lead will gain from providing their contact information. It should also be extremely clear on the action you’d like them to take. Unfortunately:

  • 48% of landing pages contain multiple offers. Keep yours simple to increase conversions.
  • Only 16% of landing pages are free of navigation bars. This gives your leads an option to leave your page without converting.
  • Only 48% of marketers build a new landing page for each lead capture campaign. Each landing page should be customized to the specific offer and campaign you are using.

Creating the perfect landing page for your offer can be a major challenge for marketers. By measuring and testing different approaches, you can zero in on a strategy that works for your business.

  • Have a Compelling Offer

If you’ve done your job correctly, your audience sees your company as a thought leader and a source of valuable information in your industry. The lead magnet is your chance to deliver on that promise.

While you may be able to capture your leads information with a great sounding title and an optimized landing page, it won’t do you any good if the magnet itself isn’t a valuable resource. You’ll have your leads information but you’ll have lost their trust. As you create different whitepapers, training videos, email courses and free trials, make sure you are asking whether or not this is content you’d be willing to pay money for.

Unsure of what your audience will find valuable? Using social media can give you insights into your audience’s preferences. By adding your follower’s social activities to create more enhanced lead data you’ll be able to develop much more targeted content.

As Jay Baer says, “the more you know about your customers, the more you can provide to them information that is increasingly useful, relevant, and persuasive.”

  • Start Lead Scoring

According to Gleanster Research, 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy. Moving your leads effectively through your pipeline requires a complete understanding of where they are in the buyer’s journey.

This understanding can only come from developing a system for scoring your leads. Despite its importance, 79% of B2B marketers are not engaging in lead scoring.

Rather than giving each lead the same amount of attention and lead nurturing – which means some leads receive more than they should and the more important leads receive less – rate your leads based on activity such as:

  • Subscribing to your blog
  • Following you on social media
  • Opening your email
  • Filling out a form on your site

A lead scoring system allows you to qualify and rank your prospects to engage with them over social and other channels in a much more customized and engaging way.

No matter what you do, you will never convert 100% of the leads that flow through your funnel. However, by creating an automated workflow and carefully analyzing it to ensure there are no major leaks, you can greatly increase your company’s ability to convert.

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 9.00.16 AMTeena Thach is Socedo’s social media and marketing specialist. Socedo is a demand generation system that empowers marketers to discover, engage with and qualify prospects through social media to generate revenue at scale.

 

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

What is the Difference Between Paid Content Marketing and Display Banner Advertising?

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Girl pondering the

What is the difference between paid content marketing and paid banner advertising?

Paid content marketing and display banner advertising (also paid for) are often thought to be at war with each other.

At first glance, their opposition seems obvious. With informative articles, free promotions, and interactivity that drives traffic inbound with users not even knowing it, content marketing appears far less intrusive than does display advertising, the old guard of online, outbound promotion, which gave us the Internet’s billboards: pop-ups, pop-unders, leaderboards, skyscrapers, and everything rectangular in between.

The reality is these forms are far less at war with each other than they are at peace. In fact in recent years, they’ve merged through a combination of methods employed in the fields of both native advertising and social media marketing. In this post, we explore how these two forms of marketing emerged, evolved, and combined to form much of what we see today when we visit a commercial website, as well as what a good marketing degree should offer in the way of training for these fields.

So how did banner ads and paid content get their start? By trading notes, essentially.

In 1994, banner ads initiated a boom through the 90s. Largely due to novel clickability afforded by their debut on several popular early websites like Hotwired and Yahoo, they earned a place of prominence among users of the World Wide Web. Around 1996, at the same time these ads were allowing a huge surge in the number of content-driven publishers like Hotwired that were able to generate substantial revenue selling ad space, the novelty of banner ads wore off—just as paid content was starting to spread its wings. In 1999, after a large dip in market value when banner ad effectiveness was measured to find 0.1% conversion rates, a rise in fear surrounding y2k, and the bursting of the Dot com bubble, online ad revenues dropped 32%, and investors started tightening their pursestrings during the first two quarters of the year 2000.

At this time, paid content and display advertising in particular retreated to lick their wounds. A period of market volatility ensued. That is, until Google AdWords came to the rescue. With new clickthrough and performance-based tracking technology available in 2002, Google introduced a new ad program that overhauled the landscape of online advertisement, transforming it from a predominantly paid placement model (i.e., the more buyers pay, the more their ad plays) to a predominantly pay-per-click model. This new advertising paradigm, which is still by and large the paradigm we use today, ranked and placed advertisements based on relevance to the user’s keyword searches rather than the size of a buyer’s bid at auction. Thus, a new era of online marketing was born: the era of search engine optimization, user-determined virality, and clickthrough-rate above all—an era in which paid content became king.

So what happened to banner ads after their crash opened up the road for paid content’s preeminence?

They went native. That is, they began to take notes from king content on how to be less intrusive. Much like product placement in movies or TV shows usually goes unnoticed but still leaves impressions that have been shown to influence comsumer behavior, the success of native advertising pressured brands to pay for dynamic content rather than throw money at static “Click Here!” ad campaigns. The result is that in this new age of adblockers and textual content, banner ads would no longer be able to fill our periphery with flashy pop-ups, or at least not on websites that had become conscious of the importance of publishing relevant content and creating pleasant user experiences. Some of the most popular examples of native advertising today are advertorials, promoted tweets, and those little branded posts we scroll past on our Facebook News Feeds: Sponsored posts (which are based on paid placement), Suggested posts (which are based on your Google searches), or posts from organizations that your friends have liked or shared (which are based on your well, your friends).

Now, the (quite literally) billion-dollar question. Where are we headed? If banner ads have been eclipsed by paid content, then what does their future hold? And if paid content is king, then what else do we have to look forward to in the fields of social media marketing and native advertising? More of the same regime?

These are very big questions that no one post can presume to answer in full. But it is safe to say that we can expect greater things than more of the same. Banner ads are predicted by some, including Forbes’ online advertising expert, Robert Hof, and an eMarketer study, to be making a comeback in 2016. Due to innovations in ad-buying technology, new understandings of user search behavior, and increased awareness of user demographics, both banner ads and paid content are being traded through a practice that blends the stock exchange with online advertising to produce a new, largely automated industry called programmatic buying. Since display ad trading comprises a big portion of this ad exchange market, and because the emperor Google has decreed that “programmatic is here to stay”, it’s safe to say banner ads are nowhere near extinct, and that the paid content industry should consider other ways to incorporate display advertising’s outbound techniques into their inbound marketing campaigns.

For all these reasons, we should expect colleges and universities to offer marketing degrees that train their students in the art and science of social media marketing, native advertising, and programmatic buying. Without them, students will be left behind in a time where paid content and banner ads were supposedly enemies from different industries, instead of friends with the same ends. Isn’t that the goal of marketing after all? To unify people over a product for which they can share their mutual appreciation?

This article was originally posted BestMarketingDegrees.org

Want to learn more? Visit the Online Marketing Institute to take classes in Content Marketing , Digital Advertising, and more.

 

Demystifying Predictive Marketing for Brands

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Searching for Answers About Predictive Marketing for Brands

The term predictive marketing can conjure up thoughts of either complicated data science or mystical fortune-telling. But it’s really not that complicated or mysterious.

Prediction boils down to finding patterns in data, specifically patterns that let you calculate the likelihood of future actions or desired outcomes.

For example, if you have customers who purchased a product or service – like high-end bed linens or on-demand doctor services – then you can use data to find new people who are likely to buy those same products. We call these people likely to buy, net-new prospects. ‘Net-new’ just means people who’ve never heard about or been customers of your business.

Unfortunately, before predictive marketing, the word ‘prospect’ was a flimsy term that usually pointed to a random person, who perhaps was a certain age or gender. ‘Psychographic’ criteria were added over time, in an attempt to account for things like people’s activities, opinions or possessions. But, marketers couldn’t effectively process demographic, psychographic and other data all together – in toto – so no one really knew if these prospects would love or buy a product.

Today, the word prospect is becoming a more accurate and powerful word for B2C marketers. True predictive-based, net-new prospects are people new to your business and who are going to love and buy your products. For customer acquisition marketers, real net-new prospects are what dreams are made of. Predictive marketing lets you find and acquire them.

To help further demystify predictive marketing, here are a few other misconceptions—

The Top 5 Myths Of B2C Predictive Marketing

Building Predictive Models Takes A Long Time

This was the case at one time, however advances in technology like machine learning and cloud computing have dramatically reduced the time it takes to build powerful and accurate models. With the right software, you can now build models on a daily or even hourly basis.From data preparation, to model building, to scoring prospects for campaigns – the process can be streamlined for better customer acquisition.

You Need Data Scientists, Statisticians or Analysts To Build Predictive Models

Predictive models can now be created easily in the cloud. It doesn’t require technical subject matter experts. Any marketer can build a solid model themselves in minutes, which is great, because there is still a human element and marketers are best suited for the job.A software platform can build a model (or a data scientist, if you have time and money to waste), but knowing the customer base and marketing strategy will enable the proper reasoning behind building a model in the first place.

Marketers can quickly grasp what they need to know about how modeling works. It has become an accessible discipline like content marketing or digital advertising. As you plan, build, and implement predictive models, your familiarity with predictive details like ‘tiles’, ‘scoring’, and ‘likelihoods’ increases over time.

More importantly, marketers know what to do with model results. They can rapidly run acquisition campaigns to predictive-based prospects and feed results back into the modeling software for continued campaign improvements and optimization.

Building Predictive Models Is Expensive

In-house, manual data science is expensive due to the team and resources required. Meanwhile, outsourced, manual model building can cost many thousands of dollars per model – that’s just for building and doesn’t cover the cost of implementation. Predictive software platforms are cutting overhead by using machine learning and algorithmic prospecting to automate the building of custom, sophisticated predictive programs. The result is better modeling and implementation than previously available, yet at a reduced cost.

Transactional Customer Data Is Sufficient To Build Predictive Models

Brands are rich in data. Or are they? Transactional customer data is an advantage, but by itself won’t let you find net-new customers, who have yet to purchase your product. You also need demographic, financial, and behavioral characteristics to determine who your best customers will be, beyond previous spending that occurred. Predictive software platforms are able to enrich existing customer transaction data with hundreds of other valuable pieces of information.

Likewise, third-party behavioral and community data is a vital resource that allows you to reach net-new customers and avoid ‘red oceans’. (Red oceans are where companies for limited pools of customers reducing them all to competing on price.) Predictive software processes external data to open up immense pools of relevant prospects, new to your brand, who will look and act like your best customers.

Predictive Models Don’t Work / They Aren’t Better Than Univariate Targeting

Targeting prospects based on a single variable or imagined personas are expiring solutions. Marketers have relied on simple targeting, because there wasn’t a better option. When trying to hone in on future buyers, it was better to identify at least one, or a few, meaningful variables that ostensibly indicated something important about customers or prospects. This has limitations in the real world. People are more complex that simple persona-based modeling or univariate targeting can account for.

As marketers, we’re used to making assumptions about our ideal customer and potential buyers. We’ve grown used to attributing traits to segments like “Eco-Conscious Moms,” based on anecdotal evidence or severely fragmented data, which – when put to the test – doesn’t correlate or predict future purchase behavior. It’s not our fault. Marketers chose the best criteria available, but have been missing the many hundreds of variables and characteristics that give a true and dynamic view of customers and can identify best prospects.

Try it – run a campaign with predictive-targeting versus a random or univariate selection and check the results. With a control group, you’ll clearly see the power and ROI of predictive prospecting.

 

This article was originally published on the Predictive Analytics Blog.

8 Things to Do Immediately to Increase Your Blog Traffic by 3000 Visits a Month

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Increase Blog Traffic

8 Things To Do To Increase Traffic On Your Blog

Creating stellar content should be the prerequisite for any blog. But is that really enough to boost your blog presence?

Given the millions of blogs floating over the net, it’s even challenging for your great content to attract a pretty number of readers. It happens to all of us, a piece we expect to be a blockbuster falls short.

Still, if you implement these ideas below, you’ll be well on your way to a more popular, traffic driving blog.

Increase the Number of Articles You Post 

Quality content is a given, but not enough alone. According to Hubspot, websites that post over 16 blogs in a month get 3 times more traffic than those having 0-5 blogs posts monthly. Further, having more than 400 blog posts is said to double traffic over those having between 300 to 400 posts.

Similarly, online marketing Guru Neil Patel has found that increasing the number of blogs you post per week can significantly grow your monthly visitors.

Simply put,  more blog posts on your website means more visitors. Many recommend publishing 2 or more articles a week. Make sure to keep some blog posts long form, meaning about 2,000 words, so they can be easily cached by Google or other search engines.

Tweak Your Social Media Sharing

Social media can play a crucial role in the visibility of your blogs. This means building an effective social media strategy by targeting similar interest groups, networks, and pages to share your blogs. Stick to the basic principal of constant post updating and uploading.

Put an Emphasis on Guest Posting

Guest posting is the good way to increase your following. Find other websites or blogs that seem to have a good ranking and see if the editor is open to you placing a link to your website either in middle of the content or in the author bio. These links will drive traffic to your website, improving your site visibility. Besides dropping the website links, you can give the links to your social media profiles. Needless to say, if a reader likes your blog, they may think to follow you on your website and social media networks.

Choosing the right blogging site for guest posts can make the difference. Here are some tips from Kissmetrics for what to look for in a blog or website you want to guest post to:

  • Must Have Good Ranking and Traffic
  • Must Be of Your Genre
  • Must Have Engaged Readership
  • Must Have Active Blog Owner

Use Videos for Your Tutorial Blog

Apart from the textual content, a video is an impactful tool for engaging the reader. If your post is tutorial in nature, consider including a video summarizing the post. This increases engagement and SEO.

Make Your Newsletters Powerful

Email newsletters are not only beneficial for your web traffic but are great lead generators. If you’re a product based company an email newsletter is a must. All you need to pump it up is an active blog, and RSS feed and good pop up technique.

Switch to Responsive Design

Searching the net with mobile phones or tablets is common place. So, ensure your blog is responsive, thereby making it fit for every screen. Google has started rewarding mobile friendly sites in its SERP rankings. In other words, mobile ranking is crucial for your blog to be in the Google’s good graces.

Link to Other Bloggers in Your Article

Link to other blog posts or bloggers in your article and inform those blog owners or authors about your article via email, asking them to share. it’s a win-win situation for both of you.

Include Expert Opinions in Your Posts

Adding expert opinions gives your post/blog extra dimension. For example, if you are writing a medical blog on child diseases, adding a pediatrician’s commentary can add credibility to your post. Similarly, you can compile the opinions of different authors on any product launch or services. You can then ask the featured blogger or expert to spread or share the post. As a result, your website receives more attention.

Although some of these tips can take time, when taken together, you’re bound to be rewarded by new traffic and new leads. Good luck!

Author Bio: Varun Sharma is a Co-Founder at KVR WebTech Pvt. Ltd., one of the fastest growing seo companies in Chandigarh, India. He analyses Digital Marketing strategies, trends and practices emphasizing Mobile, SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Create Incredible Content even if You Feel Uninspired

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Content Marketing

Brainstorming your next content piece

A writer’s greatest battle is between him and a blank screen, or a sheet of paper, if you still prefer the old way. Battling against a looming deadline only comes second.

I’m willing to bet you’ve suffered from the hurdle of a writer’s block at least once in your life. Personally, I think I may have had a face off with this enemy every single time I am working on a writing assignment! It comes in so many forms, but the effect is still the same--a creative slowdown.

A writer’s block is an umbrella for all sorts of mental and creative blockages, which is why it is often considered as a huge, insurmountable hurdle. Most cases of writer’s block are commonly caused by the following: timing, distraction, and fear.

Among the three, it is fear that often leads to creative paralysis. You may have an idea, but you’re scared it might not be the right one or the right way to tackle it. Or you begin exploring a concept, and do actual writing, but at the middle of your work, you stop because you’re unsure of where you and your content is heading. After all, I’d like to believe that any kind of writing can grow a life of its own as it is being formed. In cases like that, the skill of restraint comes in handy to ensure that you can guide your writing into the expected output.

Given that writer’s block can spring from various reasons, let’s try to break it down to its different reasons, and identify solutions to each.

Maybe you’ve run out of ideas, or you’re in a creative rut. Whatever it is, you can’t get started because you don’t have anything to start with. Ironic as it may sound, you’re done even though you haven’t even started.

What you can do:

Simply write.

Although I have to disagree with the above mentioned problem, as I think that there can never be an absence of idea, people who experience it can overcome it by simply beginning to write.

Do free-writing exercises. You don’t have to write about something spectacular at that instant. Ideas are always there, and can be triggered by even a simple object. You could actually write about your realizations on your previous project, your breakfast, or even the yellow paperclip on your desk. It’s a matter of getting your fingers or hands moving, so your brain would follow suit.

Consult other writers.

A conversation can stir up your brain for ideas. You can exchange thoughts with your friends and colleagues to get your creative brain muscles working.

A great online resource you can check out is EduGeeksClub writing service. It’s a group of professional writing assistants that you can consult with regarding your writing process. Their competent writers and editors can help you get started with your idea through insightful comments and guided discussions. Moreover, EduGeeksClub offers proofreading, formatting, and editing services for instances you need to focus on just the actual writing, leaving you more time to focus on that task alone.

Problem: I have a lot of ideas in mind, but I can’t pin one down.

The thing about having too many ideas is the risk of an incoherent content. You will tend to put everything you want to say into your writing, but without sufficient and effective substantiation. You don’t want an output that’s all over the place, do you?

What you can do:

Organize your thoughts by mind mapping.

Mind maps are your thoughts laid down and dissected with the use of visual cues and codes. This process can help you untangle your jumbled thoughts, and put them into order. Identify your main and central concept, then work your way to a coherent outline as you branch out subtopics. This way, you also get to enrich your thoughts as you work with your visual outline. MindNode is an app you can use for easier mindmapping, especially if you work with a number of gadgets.

Plot an editorial calendar.

A mind teeming with ideas can be advantageous for writers like us. We don’t have to put everything in one go. It would be wise to have an idea bank, where we can select one, and work on that for a content. Keep in mind though that ideas can peter out, unless we note them down.

The best way to handle an idea bank is to have an editorial calendar. You can lay down your ideas and the appropriate story angles for each, and schedule a date for its output.

Once you’ve come up with an editorial content, you can turn to social media management apps like Buffer or Hootsuite to handle your varied content for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Problem: I find it difficult to express my thoughts in words.

I admit to having encountered the same in my writing experience. Sometimes, writers look for the word that would be a perfect fit to their ideas. The search for that word can take some time though. The next best thing you can do? Don’t say or write a word then.

What you can do:

Communicate via visuals.

When words fail you, you’ve got images to talk for you. After all, didn’t they say that a picture is worth a thousand words?

In addition, visuals add a layer to your content through the use of colors and shapes. Visual content is also more appealing than text alone, especially if you are targeting to publish your output in social media platforms.

Helpful apps for this aspect are ThingLink, which allows you to include interactive images and videos in your content, and Easel.ly, which provides you with a wide range of templates for your infographic needs.

Problem: I need my Muse to inspire me.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s not a problem. That’s an excuse that keeps you from writing. You’re either without an idea to begin with, so see answers to the top most problem, or distracting yourself from distraction...and the number one form of distraction at this age are your social media apps.

So if you want to produce great content, disconnect from your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Messenger.

Stay Focusd is a Chrome extension that prevents you from wasting time on online activities other than work. You identify the websites that you want to block after you used up your allotted time per day for browsing through them.

This way, you can still go visit your social networking sites, but you’re more mindful of the time you spend on them unless you want to temporarily lose access to those sites once you’ve used up your time.

Another great app you can use is the Pomodoro time. You have the option to set up the amount of time for work. Say, you settle for 25 minutes, which means you need to work for 25 minutes straight, without getting distracted. Once time is up, you can take a short break. Cutting your working hours into short segments keeps you focused on the task at hand, and makes sure you’re consistently productive throughout the day. Frequent breaks also prevent your mind from being overworked.

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Author's bio. Karen Dikson is a writer and blogger from New Jersey. She finds her inspiration in reading and travelling and she cannot imagine her life without writing. Connect with Karen on Twitter.

The VCR Is Dead, But Video Is Fast Forwarding

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The last remaining VCR manufacturer ended production last month, signaling the end of the Be Kind, Rewind Era.

To be honest, news that VCRs were still on assembly lines past the century mark is shocking, especially with the rise in digital video viewers. Even more remarkable are the advances we are seeing this year with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), underscored by the massive Pokémon Go audience.

It seems pretty clear that our methods of delivering video content have changed drastically. What hasn’t shifted over time is our fascination with video itself.

A Look at Video Today

Adults in the U.S. now consume 99 minutes of digital video each and every day. That’s 38 more minutes than just a year ago.

To date, live streaming video is available on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter – with Instagram and Snapchat releasing their own versions of collected videos from live events. Two million VR headsets will be sold by the end of this year. Though, to be fair, this medium isn’t expected to go mainstream for another six to eight years. In technology, that feels like a lifetime.
Augmented reality, however, soared past virtual reality this year with the introduction of Pokémon Go. This location-based mobile app blends the real world and the fictional world for some insanely impressive video gaming. Some are concluding the gloss is fading, but 9.5 million users can’t be wrong…right?

From live streaming to virtual and augmented reality, I think it’s fair to say we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Where Video is Headed

Digital video natives are leading the way, tapping into cord cutter audiences that abandoned cable television for online and streaming programs.

Tastemade, the fifth-largest video publisher on Facebook and born from a tiny YouTube channel, now amasses triple the number of viewers as The Food Network. Apple announced recently it’s working on augmented reality behind the curtain, calling it a “core technology.” Amazon is working on original VR and AR content, because of course they are.

The VCR has left the building, but I predict we are only at the beginning of the future.

New video technologies are gaining traction, reshaping not only how we watch videos but also how we become a part of them.

This article was originally posted on the Reach Analytics blog.

4 Ways to Find Marketing Qualified Leads on Twitter

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Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere sign on white background.

You already know that social media platforms like Twitter have the potential to build your client base – and your bottom line. But how do you know when you’re looking at a marketing qualified lead? When do you know there’s a good chance of generating interaction, winning a new customer and increasing your sales? A few telltale signs and characteristics will help you navigate the vast world of online discussion and find those qualified leads that you want.

  1. They’re talking

While Twitter has 313 million active users each month, not all of them are engaged. You’re looking for social media users who are active. In your research, ask some key questions about your potential leads to help you decide whether someone’s likely to take it to the next level: Is this person engaged in Twitter – in other words, do they tweet often and consistently? Do they often share content, and if so, what kind? How well do they respond to mentions?

Kissmetrics says targeting power users – those who are 86% more likely to send tweets and twice as likely to follow more than 20 brands – can help build your MQLs. Likewise, cultivating influencers – those who are generally trusted experts or celebrities who have a wide following – can be hugely influential because that one qualified lead can result in connections with hundreds or thousands of leads.

Keep in mind that 46% of consumers turn to social media when they’re thinking of making a purchase – they want to know what other people think. What’s more is people are 92% more likely to trust recommendations over brand content – even when those recommendations come from people they don’t know, AdWeek says.

That’s the power of social media discussion.

  1. They’re talking about you

We don’t necessarily mean you, but more specifically whether people are talking about what’s relevant to you and what your company offers. Are they discussing your product, similar products, or activities and interests relevant to your product? Your marketing qualified leads will display interests that are congruent with your company.

Entrepreneur magazine points to the example of Chicago-area baker Foiled, which in 2011 filled about 1,000 orders a month. Owner Mari Luangrath said she built her

customer base through “targeted listening,” or finding the conversations where her company naturally fit, starting with female followers of a public radio station in the Chicago area. Searching Twitter bios for job titles, interests and other factors can help you identify a core target audience. Tools like Socedo can help you automate that process by searching keywords and syncing with your marketing software.

  1. They fit your buyer persona

Understanding who is most likely to purchase your product or become a client is key to finding MQLs on Twitter. What is your buyer persona? It’s essential a characterization of who is likely to respond to your product or offering. What is the age, gender, geographic location you’d like to reach? What are their job titles and where do they work? What do they spend their money on, and what do they like to do in their spare time? What is important to them? How do they describe themselves in their social media bios?

Who might be the influencers your target persona engages with? What are the keywords you’d expect them to use in search engines and in posts?

  1. They’re responsive

TwitterSmallBiz says 85% of Twitter users feel more connected to brands they follow than ones they don’t. Follows demonstrate interest in your company or product, as do actions such as likes and retweets. They’re a clear message that you’ve captured a potential lead’s interest, and it’s time to follow up. Socedo has found that socially engaged leads convert into customers 22 percent faster than leads who aren’t engaged. Reach out and make a connection with a follow and a direct message, offering engaging content with a clear call-to-action tailored to their interests. When they click your link, you know you’ve got them. Wait a day before sending them an email so that you extend the amount of time your brand is in their minds.

Remember, it might take a couple of “touches” on social media before a marketing qualified lead engages – look for ways to provide the most valuable, targeted content to your leads and you’ll be most likely to win them over as repeat customers.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 9.00.16 AMTeena Thach is Socedo’s social media and marketing specialist. Socedo is a demand generation system that empowers marketers to discover, engage with and qualify prospects through social media to generate revenue at scale.