Month: July 2015

Popexpert’s Live Coaching Platform: Interview with CEO Aaron Kahlow

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Earlier this week I sat down with OnlineMarketingInstitute.org’s founder and CEO Aaron Kahlow, to catch up on how things are progressing into 2015 for the popexpert and OMI partnership. This is especially interesting since popexpert has offered a more general market approach to training and education online.

In this interview, Aaron gives us some exciting insights into what’s up next for the brand. He also talks about spirituality, mindfulness, and how to better manage your time. Let’s jump in:

popexpert CEO Aaron Kahlow

CW: Back in March, you posted a blog about why popexpert and OMI were going into business together. In that post, you talked a lot about the reasons for joining forces, and how the two complement each other. How’s that vision being realized today?

AK: There are three main ways we’re growing into this exciting relationship – technology, content and branding.

Technology

This is a new version of eLearning in the market. We’re combining digital coaching and the marketing place, matched with OMI’s existing digital eLearning library. There are some new realizations here, and this will be the first time anyone’s hearing about it. We’re excited to launch a new learning space called the Mindfulinstitute.co.

What you’ll find there is the ability to watch a lot of asynchronous classes, but you’ll also have the ability to book a live digital coaching session with experts. The way that we look at this is that you can get more education on something that you’re interested in, and also expand that into a life practice with live coaching. It’s one thing to like what you hear, and another thing to continue to practice it, so helping with that is our goal.

mindful coaching

Content

As we brought these two companies together, we looked at what types of content we were producing and how those can evolve. We concluded that people want more bite-sized pieces of content to remind them of the main points of their lesson. So we’re adding more 2-5 minute podcasts to give people a snippet of what they should be thinking about on a certain topic.

That can translate into video components, blogs and other types of content. Overall we’re focusing on mindfulness and wellness, digital transformation, and marketing, and then entrepreneurial-type topics. You’ll see a lot more coming out from the entrepreneurial category.

Brand

popexpert is the master brand. They can funnel info from there into our institutes to create specific disciplines on overall topics. It’s a nice natural synergy to have a masterbrand that covers all categories, and then area specific classrooms and institutes that help you learn topical focus areas.

We discuss the lifetime value of our customers a lot. Imagine the sheer impact of learning things from entrepreneurship, to digital marketing, to meditation. Our vision is to be the learning outlet for each of the stages in someone’s life, professional and personal. We want all of these things to come together and help people.

popexpert mindful coaching

CW: You mentioned that OMI would expand into some other areas of training. Can you give us some examples of those?

AK: For some of the larger global agencies out there, digital transformation is a big one. This includes all the pieces of the pie. This includes all of the digital elements out there and how to make them a part of daily life.

We’re also focusing a lot on solo-prenuer (1-5 people) and the specific needs that they have (website, building an audience, etc.). We’re spending time building content about how to get a business started alone or with just a few people. This is a big segment of the audience and we want to help them at every stage.

We’re expanding training around agency best practices, which I know you Clayton teach as well. Here’s a group that we’re focusing new attentions on, as well as others:

  1. Digital Transformation
  2. Solo-Prenuer Topics
  3. Website Building
  4. Local Search
  5. Programmatic
  6. Digital Advertising
  7. Big Data

digital training

CW: What are the bigger industries or corporations OMI is getting into now that you’ve partnered with popexpert?

AK: We’ve already got a good segment of clients that have corporate relationships with volume licenses with us. Some of the largest manufacturer and branding agencies in the world are with us and we’ll be expanding into other topics with them and other larger groups.

We want to hit the big issues like turnover, and some of the intricate disciplines that agencies and larger groups face. We want to tackle mindfulness so that it can help reduce turnover for people’s companies. If you don’t address this, they’re going to leave. We want to create solutions that create long-term employees.

 

CW: The industry of digital marketing training: how has it grown over the last few years, and where do you see it going in terms of growth in the next few years?

AK: The training industry serves over 200 billion users per year, so the space is large. No one needs to explain what it is anymore [eLearning]. Investors and large groups are putting in big money because they realize this is the future. We’re also seeing a lot of conversation revolve around education technology, which we’ve been involved in for years.

The digital learning space is getting coverage everywhere now. Then you see things happening like Lynda.com being bought for 1.6 billion dollars. This has really put our industry on the map, and the attraction to it is growing faster by the day.

popexpert mindful institute

CW: Who’s the most popular expert?

AK: It’s pretty distributed, but we’ve got some names that come immediately to mind, like Rohit Bhargava, Lisa Buyer for her digital PR content, Emeric Ernoult for his tactical Facebook strategies, and many more.

 

CW: I noticed you’ve been moving around a lot…for those who don’t know, what have you been doing?

AK: Back when I was running an agency, I was moving around doing thought leadership. Now it’s transformed into me running a conference, the Online Marketing Summit, and doing those around the world. Now it’s more thought leadership around some of the broader stuff. I still talk a lot about digital, but I try to weave into the conversation about mindset and entrepreneurship.

I could teach you about social media marketing all day, but if you’re not ready to run a business, that’s not going to do you any good. You need to understand why you’re doing this in the first place, so I talk about that a lot.

 

CW: I know that you’re big into living a zen life. Are you able to do that while on the road so much? How do you do it?

AK: It starts with before you get on the road. Everyone who isn’t a Buddhist monk is challenged with this. Some of the things that have helped me are reading the things that plant the right subconscious thoughts into your mind, every single morning.

Make time for yourself in the morning. Not reading industry magazines or catching up on Facebook, I’m talking about being at peace inside. This helps you to stay focused during the day and not zone out. You just can’t do that kind of thing. You need to be in the conversation fully, or don’t do it at all.

popexpert live coaching

CW: What’s the next event that OMI has coming up?

AK: We’re doing a Virtual Summit on August 20. It’s a summit about being mindful with your work. Interested folks can email me at Aaron@popexpert.com to get more info. The other next big thing that I’m excited about is the launch of the MindfulInstitute.co, where people can learn more about how to be mindful and get into a proper mental state to reach their goals.

 


The Quick and Dirty Guide to Starting Off Your Small Business on Social Media

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Every day, more and more small businesses are embracing social media as a new and necessary part of both smart marketing and good branding. Of course, I’m glad to see this. But so often we see rather sad Facebook pages, inactive Twitter accounts, neglected social platforms. The road to weak marketing is paved with good intentions, as they say (they say that, right?).

social media for SMBs

Social media marketing can take time, money and strategic thinking – three things that many small businesses don’t really anticipate or properly allot for in their schedules or budgets. But getting off on the right foot can make a world of difference in the life of your social media networks. Starting off strong – with consistency and a smart strategy – will set you up for success, even when you’re too busy or your social media intern bails mid-week.

3 Steps For a Strong Start

Once you’ve thought hard and decided which social networks are best for your business (more on that here from social expert Kevin Popovic), get started with these 4 steps. You’ll build a sturdy basis for future reputation building and user engagement on whichever networks you choose.

1.     Be Consistent and Thorough in the Essentials

When you’re setting up your social media pages, there’s a lot to add. Photos, copy, hours, location details, etc. It’s important that you set the standard by being very consistent across all networks. If, for example, people call your business Downtown Hardware, but the full name is really Downtown Hardware & Tools, make sure you use that full title for all your social pages and accounts. Or if you have a few different logos that you use, choose one that will work for Facebook, Twitter, and your other pages. Customers and users should be able to recognize you right away, and different names or logos will just confuse them.

Each social network gives you different ways to list your information, but try to use the same copy wherever possible. So your About section for Facebook should match your LinkedIn summary, and your Google+ About as well. Have an extra-short blurb for networks like Twitter and Instagram that don’t allow you much space. Try to use the same handle wherever you can, so users can easily tag you in their posts.

social media marketing

The last part of this critical setup is being sure to include ALL the information you’re allowed to enter – this means hours of operations, contact information, location details, etc. Customers so often now turn to a Facebook or Google+ page to find out if you’re open when they’re on the go, and you want everything to be within reach even on a mobile device.

2.  Boost or Promote to Build an Audience

Of course, you should ask your family, friends and customers to share and invite other users to like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter, etc. But this will only get you so far – for many brick-and-mortar businesses, it can be hard to even break the 100 followers mark this way. Even if you’re generating great content that people want to read, it isn’t going to reach anyone if your audience is very limited.

When we interviewed social branding expert Jason Falls a few months ago, he said the #1 worst mistake that small businesses make is assuming that social media is free. It does require an investment, and investing a little money to boost your posts or promote your page will help you build the audience you need to make an impression on social media. No one can engage with your posts or retweet your tweets until they know you exist!

Whether you decide to boost posts or promote your Facebook page, both are very inexpensive for the improved reach you get. For many businesses, Facebook boosting or even Facebook ads can have a much better ROI than standard PPC or digital advertising. Recently after I posted something on Facebook, the app suggested that I boost to reach more people. Check out that increase for only $5!

social media boosting

This is helpful since it will grow the number of people you reach with your great content (you have great content, right?), but also important for building your reputation. It has to be said that a Facebook page with 47 fans and no reviews is just not a good sign when consumers are browsing for a company to do business with, or even just a restaurant for dinner. They’ll look for more established places to spend their money. Spend some money upfront so you can make more in the long run!

3.  Stay on Top of Your Channels with a Steady Schedule

Create a regular schedule for all your social platforms, and stick to it even when things get busy. Again, if consumers search for you and see a stale social page that isn’t regularly updated, they won’t think much of your business. If social media is for reputation building, you want to create the impression of a current, vibrant business, with lots of customer interaction.

Using a social media management app or tool (Hootsuite, Edgar, etc.) can be a great way to keep track of all your social, and allows you to schedule posts long in advance so you don’t have to worry about checking and posting every day when you’re busy with other things.

Sharing regularly doesn’t mean you have to produce tons of your own content. Subscribe to RSS feeds, Google Alerts, or relevant newsletters to learn about interesting news or information that you can share with your followers. Adding your own funny or thoughtful commentary when posting will help newsy posts fit in with your brand and voice.

Want to learn more about setting up the best social platforms for promoting your business? Check out this class: Social Media Marketing Best Practices for Small Businesses.

 

 


4 Great Ways to Personalize the Ecommerce Experience

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I love visiting the family-owned shoe store in the town where I grew up and getting some one-on-one guidance on sizing and styles. But I also love shopping online! Ecommerce personalization is about bringing the personal touch of a family-run shop into the modern online shopping experience. Personalized product recommendations are a proven way to boost sales and put some more green on your company books.

personalize ecommerce
Customers value ecommerce shops with a personal touch. Here are four ways – from beginner to advanced – to personalize in ecommerce.

1.  General Customer Account Data

Grouping customers by location (using physical mailing addresses or IP addresses), gender, or even marital status is quite simple. In this way, you can greatly improve customer response with relevant ads and promotions. Sending an email about bra sales to the ladies and not the men isn’t complicated, but can go far in improving customer engagement.

2.  Cross-category Connections

Cross-category connections are all about putting things that go together, well, together. For example, showing socks alongside shoes (and hopefully not with sandals), or offering pens with notebooks is logical and also helpful for your customers. Quick links to products that go together can inspire additional sales and make for a slicker, more streamlined ecommerce experience that users appreciate.

3.  Recency, Frequency, and Monetary Value (RFM) Analysis

RFM analysis is a more elaborate way of understanding customer data. With this method, each of your customers is given a unique RFM value that answers the following questions:

Recency: How recently did the customer make a purchase?
Frequency: How often does the customer make a purchase?
Monetary Value: How much does the customer typically spend on one purchase?

Based on this type of analysis you can determine when to send promotions and what promotions to send to particular customers in order to optimize conversion rates – and make your customers happy! It’s always exciting to find a deal on a new pair of raw denim jeans right when your old ones are about ready to retire. Customers will notice the personalization and timeliness of your offers.

4.  Collaborative Filtering

Automated personalization using collaborative filtering is the most advanced form of ecommerce personalization. Collaborative filtering means that your entire webshop can be curated in a unique way for each individual customer. By making inferences across huge datasets, collaborative filtering discovers trends and marketing possibilities that would have otherwise been hidden within a pile of figures.

Related Class: Measurement and Testing for Ecommerce with Google Analytics

Collaborative filtering can reveal things like: “people who viewed this item also viewed,” “items on sale based on browsing history,” or “items in stock now that are similar to this item” (for out-of-stock items). Personalized product recommendations like these can drive sales and engage customers with relevant, valuable product suggestions. They can highlight great products that might not appear on the first page of search results or when casually browsing through best-sellers.

personalization for ecommerce
While collaborative filtering can be costly and complicated to implement in-house, there are many companies, like Softcube, that offer simple integration of personalized recommendation services to shops of any size.

Go Personal with Ecommerce Recommendations

Webshops can drive revenue, while creating a valuable experience for their customers, with ecommerce personalization. From the simplest adjustments to the most advanced levels, any webshop can realize the benefits of going personal.

Want to find out more about tweaking your ecommerce shop for better customer experience and higher conversion rates? Check out this OMI class: Ecommerce Testing to Dramatically Lift Sales.

 

 


The 15 Most Influential Educators In Digital Marketing: 2015

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digital marketing

The digital education landscape is ever-changing and ever-intricate. Teaching marketers, brands and businesses of all sizes how to get more ROI from digital is an exciting and innovative task. Because of that, we’ve seen lots of great marketing coaches, teachers and mentors helping people learn more about all the different niches in digital marketing.

On the half year mark, we’ve measured the most influential educators in the industry. We’ve taken a look at conferences, course engagement, activity and engagement with the audience, and are highlighting the 15 most influential educators in digital marketing for 2015 thus far.

The influencers highlighted in this year’s list are known for the following areas:

  • Concept innovation
  • Marketing relevance
  • Course penetration
  • Course comprehension
  • Practical application

With digital evolving so much in specific niches like social media, cross-platform marketing and agency services training, our education evolves as well. Adapting to change and learning new things is the theme underlying these marketers’ mantras. The leaders on this list show the most advanced, relevant ideas and practical education material in the industry.

Their taught marketing strategies help marketing professionals and brands, globally and at a constant, always-on speed. These leaders are known for their innovation and ease of application, and are a combination of bloggers, brands, teachers, mentors and speakers. Here’s the list of the 15 most influential educators in digital for 2015.

 Digital Marketing Educators 20151.  Neil Patel

Co-Founder | kissmetrics

Neil is one of the top marketers in the world, and walks the talk with 3 major influencer brands in digital. He was one of the leaders who preached the effectiveness of blogging (and content marketing in general) as a tool, long before it was mainstream. As the years have gone by, his personal brand’s blog NeilPatel.com has evolved into one of the best blogs on the internet.

A master of pushing the edge of marketing efforts and measuring their effectiveness, Neil always brings things back to ROI. From testing out lifestyle marketing, social media, and personal branding, Neil has a masterful way of writing that motivates you to market and leaves you feeling like you’ve learned a ton.

Digital Marketing Educators 20152.  Ryan Holiday

 

Speaker, Author & Teacher | RyanHoliday.net @ryanholiday

Ryan’s worked with some of the most successful projects in the industry and is known for launching projects with large success. He understands the media, and knows how to gain loyalty quickly and get users to stick to the brand. He’s also one of the most sought after teachers in the industry.

We’ve been watching his work for years, and in 2015, he’s been teaching fellow marketers how to break through the never-ending content overload, and how to stay focused. He’s got one of the most respected book lists out there, and we LOVE all of the books on it.

Digital Marketing Educators 20153.  Phil Pallen

Brand Strategist | PhilPallen.co

Phil was holding strong on our last marketing strategy ranking because he’s helped many people without digital backgrounds to build their brands. Today he’s on the list again, because of the new strategic direction he’s moving toward on his blog, PhilPallen.co.

His coaching is a masterful combination of teaching personal branding, understanding the audience and motivating each brand to gain media attention, and how to recover from crisis, too. These areas aren’t much of a focus in the general digital population, but Phil understands how critical they are.

Digital Marketing Educators 20154.   Neal Schaffer

President | Maximize Your Social | @nealschaffer

Neal’s a dynamic teacher who works great in front of crowds. It’s a skill set not everyone has and it’s extremely valuable. Noted as the LinkedIn expert, Neal’s 2015 strategies so far are cutting edge. He talks recently, in a post on his curated marketing strategy, about how carefully choosing your LinkedIn network can benefit you in a big way.

Neal moves around a lot, but if he’s ever near you, listen carefully about how to leverage making connections on social networks to extend your real network’s reach. Neal is one of the hardest working leaders this year, and offers podcasts and just about every other form of marketing communication to learn from.

Digital Marketing Educators 20155.  Mari Smith

Speaker, Coach & Author | MariSmith.com

Mari is one of our most inspirational teachers in the business. She’s constantly doing a blog, podcast or coaching session about how to market better on social media. Facebook is her specialty and, coming up in the next few months, Mari will be helping Facebook by teaching at a series of pop up events. What can you expect? It’s all about practical advice.

The last time I heard Mari on a topic, I took a full page of notes. No one matches Mari when it comes to understanding timing, messaging and the technical details needed to get as much ROI as possible out of your social efforts. This year alone she’s been more innovative than anyone else in social, with a series of game-changing author pieces about the new marketing on Facebook – and it’s this that helped secure her spot on our list.

Digital Marketing Educators 20156.  Martin Shervington

Chief Singularity Officer | Plus Your Business      @MartinSherv

Martin’s got a knack for teaching and training at a level that few can operate on. It’s in his delivery and mindset on new marketing strategies that we find the innovation that lands him on this list. In addition to his site MartinShervington.com, he evangelizes at PlusYourBusiness.com and is a dynamic speaker. If you ever get the chance to see him at a conference, listen and take plenty of notes. Until then, check out his many eLearning classes via OMI.

Martin’s the Google+ guy, and in the remaining half of 2015, it will be a more competitive space than ever. Following Martin’s principles on his blog will give you more reach, and teach you how to market with your audience (or create one) on Google+. Too many businesses and marketers are overlooking Google+, and Martin is there to explain why that’s a big problem.

Digital Marketing Educators 20157.  Kevin Popovic

Founder | IdeaHaus | @kevinpopovic

Kevin is hailed as the ‘King of Social Media’ by some heavy hitter brands in the industry, and has been teaching social media to brands relentlessly this year. His recent advanced teaching, about curating your brand before deciding to invest in social media, shows a new trend in an old stigma in the industry. Social media just isn’t for every brand.

Kevin teaches businesses that understanding when and how to achieve your marketing goals is the second part of the digital marketing marathon. The first part, for many, is knowing if social media is for you or not. Kevin’s style of education shows that careful strategy, with thought to brand image and audience, is the only way your business can reach its goals. Watch out for more of this type of teaching in the future from Kevin (and others if they’re smart!).

Digital Marketing Educators 20158.  Jessica Lee

Founder | BizBuzzContent | @BzzContent

Jessica’s eLearning courses with us on content marketing are some of the most informative and actionable pieces out there (and there’s more on the way!). Practical and engaging, Jessica provides the right formula for using great content for inbound marketing. Her Web Content Playbook feels like a practical guide to 2015 content strategy.

Before Jessica started her content boutique, she worked with top expert Bruce Clay. She’s one of the most innovative, forward-thinking strategist today, and has the background to support it. Some of her strategy is even featured in a college textbook, and we’re proud to have her strategy available on the OMI site.

Digital Marketing Educators 20159.  Bernie Borges

CEO and Founder | Find and Convert | @BernieBorges

Bernie has one of the most unique teaching abilities in the industry. He’s recently been teaching about one of the most interesting topics for me in the industry, influencer marketing. There are niche social media stars in every industry on YouTube, Facebook and everywhere. Connecting these influencers with the right brands, in front of the right audiences, is one of the keys to digital success in 2016 and beyond.

If you want to get ahead of this shift, start doing your research and listen to Bernie, because he’s onto something. Renowned as one of the most respected teachers in digital, we’re happy to highlight what Bernie’s taught this year.

Digital Marketing Educators 201510.  Chad Pollitt

Co-founder | Relevance.com | @chadpollitt

Chad’s experiences span both content marketing and social. He’s made the Forbes Top 100 list for Ad Agencies in Social Content, and is an all-around great teacher. We’ve enjoyed our partnership with him, featuring his eLearning classes, and our subscribers have as well.

This year, he’s on our list for teaching fresh strategy on how to make content work to drive traffic quickly, and how to incentivize brand loyalty. You’ll find his authored pieces in numerous large media publications and his courses on our website.

Digital Marketing Educators 201511.  John Lee Dumas

Founder | Entrepreneur On Fire | @johnleedumas

John has been one of the industry’s most active marketers for a long time, and this year, he’s been especially on fire (pun intended). We’ve been following his podcast, where he’s got an incredible knack for discussing practical, relevant teachings that help you achieve your business goals.

As a host, he’s got a ton of knowledge and is one of the best for leading by example in the industry. Anyone can learn valuable takeaways from John, specifically in building a loyal audience that keep coming back for more. His podcast is one of the most popular in the industry, so listen and learn.

Digital Marketing Educators 201512.  Chris Boggs

Chairman | SEMPO.org | @boggles

Chris specializes in design and conversion, as well as both paid and organic marketing. He’s got years of valuable experience in understanding a brand’s audience, and knowing what to recommend for specific goals. It’s something no marketer should miss in his eLearning course – he masters this flawlessly. His 2015 strategy is cutting edge because he teaches cross platform strategy.

Chris serves as a board member on a number of industry-leading search brands. You can hear Chris’s 2015 strategy in his OMI eclasses with your membership, and his All Star summit session (coming soon!).

Digital Marketing Educators 201513.  Courtney Herda

 President | Smarter Searches | @courtneyherda

Courtney helps small businesses by teaching them how to drive traffic to their site. She’s got 8 years of experience in optimizing local businesses for search engines, and doing the same for national brands as well. Her OMI eLearning classes take a deep dive into how to leverage optimized technical and off-page assets to drive traffic.

This specific niche of the industry is the fastest changing, and Courtney’s 2015 principles are some of the most innovative in the industry, probably because she’s worked in some of the most competitive industries online.

Digital Marketing Educators 201514.  Ouali Benmeziane

CEO | WebCongress.com

Ouali runs one of the top conference events in the industry currently, and also takes the time to instruct marketers in an often-neglected area. He’s an expert in all things organization, events, and promotion online. What’s little known is that he often can give more practical advice than many other speakers.

Located in Los Angeles, Ouali is constantly organizing some of the best teachers in the industry for his events. He is easily someone we all can learn more from, particularly when it comes to the exploding niche of virtual and in-person learning and marketing events.

Digital Marketing Educators 201515.  Mary Wallace

VP Marketing Services | Activate.com

Mary teaches some of the most popular courses in the OMI catalogue. For 2015 she’s focusing on business to business marketing campaigns. In this little-covered niche, Mary is a huge help to B2B focused brands, and teaches how to take something boring and drive traffic through storytelling and other strategy.

She’s been in the industry for over 25 years and uses a fresh look at consistent testing and analytics to prove her marketing model. She’s one of the most advanced analytics teachers around.

There it is, your list of innovators in the industry halfway through 2015. Since things change so quickly in our industry, you’ll want to follow these industry leaders and learn as much as you can from the course material. Our instructors are here to help you achieve marketing success.

With so many voices in the industry, we want to give some added direction into niche, leadership, format and dynamic of who we know will benefit you the most. We’d love to hear from you as well, contact us for any questions or sign up now and start getting more out of digital.