Online Marketing

Why Your Next Marketing Hire Should Be A Chatbot

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Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To compliment the new Emerging Media classes in our updated catalog, he joins us today to explain the way chatbots are changing CRM, and how companies can benefit.

 

Because the chatbot is associated with a long history of frustrating and sometimes humorous responses to human questions, many Internet users roll their eyes when they hear the word chatbot.

And while some searchers ignore chatbox pop-ups habitually, many users fight the urge to close a window or end a phone call when they know a chatbot is on the other side.  

Nowadays, some of those users are pleasantly surprised to find that chatbot technology has come a long way in only a few short years. In fact, marketing teams might go so far as to say that chatbot technology has matured into the full-fledged industry called conversational commerce.

Why?

Because conversational commerce technology has emerged from its novelty phase when chatbots like Microsoft's Office Assistant and AIM's SmarterChild were cutting edge, and now it's —and it's riding a new wave of interest.

Source: Google Trends

In no small part, this chatbot renaissance is due to the proliferation and popularity of messaging apps which - along with brand name chatbots and personal assistants like Google Now and Amazon Alexa - have seen the marketing and AI potential of chatbots grow immensely.

Source: BI Intelligence

In addition, the modern marketing team's demand for 24/7 brand messaging and the ability to deliver a message when no one's available to take a call has worked double time to generate big waves of chatbot interest in platforms like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

Source: Google Trends

This means that the modern marketing team's demand for constant messaging has made the online environment ripe for innovation in chatbot marketing technology.

And while the most obvious function of chatbots may be in the realm of customer relationship management (i.e., attraction and retention of customers) the role of chatbots is expanding to include other realms for innovation in marketing: most notably, corporate productivity.

Here's why your marketing team's next hire should be a chatbot.

Big Customer Service Potential

Customer service, and specifically customer retention, is arguably the biggest, best, and most time-tested reason to invest in chatbot technology for your marketing team.

Over the years, customers have grown begrudgingly accustomed to going through the menu-items listed by interactive voice response systems (IVR), the ancient ancestors of the chatbot, that direct customers to the appropriate party via telephone keypad.

Source: Rob Guilfoyle, CEO Abe AI (LinkedIn)

Ask almost any customer what they think of interactive voice response, however, and you'll find that it's not a very good tool for retaining customers, much less maintaining customer satisfaction.

Today, free-flowing chatbot technology enables customers to interact with an AI system that - like a real employee - creates a conversational experience and learns a customer's preferences. Fostering such a natural language exchange rather than forcing a rote, numerical interaction is much more likely to meet modern consumer expectations, which increasingly depend on our ability to query interfaces like we would Google.

This is why adopting chatbot technologies early, and especially those that can handle customers' natural language queries, is likely to pay off in the long run—or in the words of Rob Guilfoyle, CEO of Abe AI, "likely [to] see quick and demonstrable ROI by getting ahead of the adoption curve."

Even Bigger Corporate Productivity Potential

Perhaps for the obvious reason that chatbots can avoid the complications that arise from human error, chatbot technologies have the potential not only to revolutionize the way we think about corporate productivity (i.e., as a means to the end of "the bottom line"), but also the very fabric of corporate productivity itself.

After all, if chatbots can take care of all our customers' service needs, could it become more productive for marketing teams to channel their energy into higher order, less tangible concerns, like accomplishing acts of social good? Could productivity become less defined as a measure of quantity than of quality?

Barring immediate answers to immaterial questions such as these, the prospect of a non-human future where someday, somehow, chatbots could replace human marketers is both frightening and exciting.

This prospect is frightening because chatbots really are beginning to spell a monumental change in the marketing profession for customer relationship managers. It is exciting because chatbots have the potential to more easily automate a processes that annoys customers at the same time as they develop more productive relationships with them.

All that is to say, good chatbots with good AI will make good customers, giving users and consumers the cutting-edge experience they crave with a company that is future-oriented.

And what better way to retain customers than to impress on them that you always have their interests (and their future) in mind?

Need more reasons why your marketing team's next hire should be a chatbot? Take OMI's newest classes on Emerging Media to see how chatbots are changing online marketing.

 


3 Ways Virtual Reality is Changing Brand Messaging

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Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To complement the brand new Emerging Media classes in our updated catalog, he joins us to discuss three ways the Virtual Reality is changing brand messaging today.

Right now, virtual reality is on its way to become the most disruptive trend in the media marketplace.

How do we know this? Because in 2016, virtual reality became the first and foremost emerging technology on Gartner's Hype Cycle, meaning it has passed the point of no return and reached the slope of viability. This is the same slope surpassed by innovative technologies like ephemeral messaging (Snapchat), which became one of the most popular marketing tools to emerge in the last five years.

So what does all of this mean?

In short, we can conclude that the immersive media experience called virtual reality is about to become a marketing technology that's not only viable for heavy hitters like Google and Facebook, but also sustainable, productive, and accessible for mainstream audiences.

And when virtual reality reaches this point, it will fundamentally alter the way marketers distribute and target brand messaging.

Just think about the possibility of a VR platform that could offer a more engaging social networking experience than Facebook!

But reaching the next phase in Gartner's Hype Cycle can be a long and arduous process, especially if new questions arise about expanding scales and climbing costs. In other words, it's still too early to say who's ahead in the race for peak VR productivity - innovators and investors will have to take a backseat to the free market, and patiently watch what happens.

In the meantime, mass market potential for virtual reality and immersive media has approached its most lucrative phase. Now is the time for marketers to use every spare second they have to observe key developments in the VR marketplace.

This is all the more true given that VR has already begun to change brand messaging as we speak.

Here are the three biggest ways virtual reality is doing that -

1. Virtual Reality is Changing How Marketers Sell Experience

Because virtual reality is a rich media format that sells an immersive experience, the technology is already revolutionizing the marketplace for experiential marketing.

Most theme parks have already caught onto this use of virtual reality, as many now furnish VR headsets to enhance their guests' experience.

Source: Mirror Online (2017)

SeaWorld, for instance, recently installed wraparound headsets to give riders of their Kraken roller coaster an experience they will never forget.

When the practice of selling people an experience has become the secret ingredient for tapping consumer markets—and particularly the Millennial consumer market that is so large, expansive, and accepting of new technologies—marketers cannot afford to underestimate the power that virtual reality has to reach new levels of engagement with global audiences.

The question is whether or not this method of delivery for virtual reality can be sustained and scaled to fit smaller media for less cost, but still deliver an unforgettable experience.

Right now, interactive designers and VR enthusiasts are at work bridging that gap with headsets that can browse the entire Internet in 3D.

When you consider the possibility of being able to see every video on the web in three dimensions, you open up a new world of possibilities for thinking about engagement with brand messaging -

That brings us to our second point -

2. Virtual Reality Is Disrupting How Marketers Track Attention and Engagement

When the practice of using a mouse or smartphone declines in the face of VR adoption, what happens to metrics like click rate? How do we measure user attention span and engagement with brand messaging if people aren't using their hands to interact with applications?

Part of the answer may lie in the startup potential of an emerging technology called Virtual Reality Eye Tracking.

Source: DTG Technology Readiness Levels (2016)

According to a method used by world militaries to measure an emerging technology's usability—the Technology Readiness Level (TRL)—Virtual Reality Eye Tracking has reached its full potential: enabling full gameplay for disabled persons.

As a result, it has become possible to measure engagement in virtual reality simply by tracking where a user is looking at a screen, and the technology which makes this possible is more than halfway to mass marketability.

What this could mean for brand messengers is that VR headsets have the potential to render taps and clicks obsolete in the near and distant future, especially if eye recognition technology becomes viable for larger screens.

It also means that attention—arguably the most important metric for determining user interest—is well on its way to becoming the next big metric for measuring a brand's success at attracting and retaining an audience.

3. Virtual Reality Is Disrupting How Marketers Sponsor Social Good

What if I told you that VR revenues are much more likely to come from markets of professionals who are undergoing vocational training for careers in computer science, engineering, and medicine rather than movies and passive forms of entertainment?

Source: Oculus - VR for Good

Of course, virtual reality is good for gaming - Eye Tracking technology can testify to that fact. But because this feature is primarily being developed so that disabled and handicapped users can play games without the use of their hands, the technology can also be thought of as virtual reality that sponsors a social good.

There are many developing uses for virtual reality technology that might accomplish something similar. For example, Oculus sponsors a challenge for aspiring filmmakers in high school to use 360-degree video technology to produce content that can inspire a change in their communities. Medical doctors and interactive designers are currently at work on developing applications for virtual reality that provide pain relief to children.

Today's marketers can likely think of many applications for this type of content as the viewer market for it grows. There already are opportunities for 360-degree video ads (and ad networks) that might be used to convey brand messaging that is socially moving. The next question for online marketers might be how can we use virtual reality for brand messaging to tell even more compelling stories than we are already telling?

Conclusion

However you look at it, virtual reality is on the cusp of changing the brand messaging landscape for marketers everywhere. Will you be one of the pioneers creating change, or a reactionary on the sidelines?

To learn how you can be one of the pioneers, take OMI's newest classes on Emerging Media.

 


How Google Analytics Can Build Your Web Presence

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Editor's Note: April Davis is a content producer at Webfirm, and joins us today to explain how Google Analytics can boost your online presence, and how to get started.

Have you ever heard the phrase, "a billboard in the middle of a desert?" It sounds like a ridiculous idea. Nobody would put a billboard in a desert because there's nobody in the desert to see it.

However, many businesses create "billboards in the desert" when they build a website and do nothing to bring visitors in.

One reason new webmasters face this problem is because they don't understand the tools bundled with their own website. This failure is especially true for Web analytics; while it may seem like a website is doing its job whether a human is paying attention or not, nothing is really that simple.

No digital marketing strategy is complete without effective reporting, because without transparency, how do you know what’s working and what’s not?

This is where tools like Google Analytics come in.   

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free tool from Google that allows you to measure - among many other variables - your website traffic. At first glance, this might not seem overly important or impressive. However, data from Google Analytics can help answer a number of key questions for website owners, including:

  • How many people are visiting the website
  • Where these visitors are located geographically
  • Whether the site is effectively converting mobile customers
  • What digital marketing tactics are driving the most web traffic (for example, PPC campaigns or social media marketing)
  • Which web pages attract the most visitors
  • How many web visitors have converted into an actual lead or sale
  • What digital channels users are coming from
  • Whether the website is fast enough, or takes too long to load
  • If it has a blog, the type of content that brings in the most visitors?

In answering these questions, website owners are able to establish what does and doesn’t work, and what they can do to improve the effectiveness of both their website design and their digital marketing strategy.

There are a lot of online tools and content from Google that can help you to understand Google Analytics, but to really learn the ins and outs of this effective web analytics tool and similar applications, a Web Analytics Certification can prove invaluable.

How Can You Use Google Analytics Data to Improve Your Business's Online Presence?  

So now that we know how important Google Analytics is in determining the objective of a website and targeting SEO efforts into the most effective channels, what are the benefits of applying it in everyday settings?

At its most basic level, Google Analytics provides the empirical data you need to make smart business decisions. You wouldn’t buy a car without doing research, so why would you invest in an AdWords campaign without first knowing which channels your web visitors are coming from?

When you dig a little deeper, you’ll quickly realize that Google Analytics comes with a host of other benefits.   

Tracking the Movement of Your Users

Google Analytics allows you to track exactly what people are doing when they visit your website. For instance, you can see what pages they visit, how long they stay there and the total bounce rate. You’ll also be able to see how they navigate through your site.

This will help you understand what pages on your site that visitors engage with the most, and which ones they’re not really interested in. This consequently means that once again, you can shift your attention to what’s not working and fix whatever makes them lose interest. It might be that the bulk of your visitors are coming from mobile devices and your site isn’t mobile optimized, or it might mean the content on your website isn’t appealing to your target audience.

In addition to these points, Google Analytics’ data will also provide insights into the usability of your site and whether it’s quick to load and easy to navigate, or whether it’s taking too long to load and is difficult to navigate.

Gauging Your Target Audience Perception

What’s your target audience?

Let’s say you’re a wedding dress designer who is targeting women between the ages of 25-35. You’re also targeting women within your local area. You can determine the accuracy of your target audience perception by using the audience reports that can be found within Google Analytics. These reports include everything from user locations and age, to gender and even interests.

After looking at these metrics, you might realize that your target audience is actually a little different from what you thought it was. For example, you might have a lot of mature-aged brides in their 40s shopping for your gowns, or perhaps you have customers from outside your local area who are interested in your designs.

Thanks to Google Analytics, you’ll be able to learn as much as you possibly can about your target audience, so you can ensure your ads and campaigns encompass the interests of your audience, while also making sure you’re targeting the correct locations, devices and etc.  

Better Allocation of Your Budget

Naturally enough, one of the biggest interests when it comes to analyzing website performance is determining how good return on investment (ROI) is. But how do you determine this, and how can you better allocate your budget to improve your ROI?

With Google Analytics, of course!

You’ll already be on track to improving your budget allocation when you nail steps listed in this article, but there are also reports available through Google Analytics that will offer you a percentage increase/decrease on your budget that’s dependent on the specific model of attribution you choose to use.

Once again, understanding your audience will also influence your budget allocation, as you might realise you need to be targeting users from different areas or with different interests.

How Can You Get Started with Google Analytics?

Getting started is easy; as there are no initial start-up costs and you can get started easily from the Google Analytics website. All you need to sign up is an existing or new Gmail account, and of course, a website to track. Then, you simply follow the provided steps.

For more in depth information on getting started with Google Analytics, consider a certification in Web Analytics. Our professionally guided classes will teach you everything you need to know to raise boost sales and raise ROI.

 

 

 


5 Tools to Use Google Analytics Like a Data Scientist

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Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To complement the brand new Google Analytics' classes in our updated catalog, he joins us to discuss five ways to approach the ubiquitous platform like a data scientist.

 

Google Analytics is simultaneously the most widely used and under-used analytics platform on the Internet.

How can it be both at the same time?

There's a simple reason: the freemium web service boasts more subscribers than any analytics platform in the world - but few users ever harness the sprawling interface to its full potential.

If you think of site development as building an office from the ground up, Google Analytics is a toolbox full of everything you need to build that office, complete with floors, desks and even a breakroom. But if you only know how to use a hammer and nails, that office will not just take a long time to build; it will be missing key components you can’t assemble without using the rest of the tools in the box.

Google Analytics has the potential to flip a website from a rundown office into a booming business that will attract the attention of thousands (if not millions) of people, especially if you know how to use its features like a data scientist.

With that being said, here are 5 ways you can start to use Google Analytics like a data scientist.

1. Use Funnel Analysis

Funnel analysis allows GA users to chart the path their customers will take through various pages of a website. This tool is particularly useful at pinning down exactly where (and maybe why) a customer abandons their journey through a site, whether it be a blog post that has no internal link structure, or a shopping cart that has a confusing layout.

As the go-to tool for tracking progress on a set list of conversions, funnel analysis is ideal for visualizing exactly how customers engage with calls to action across their entire online presence, especially because it can process data spanning multiple platforms.

2. Use Segmentation

Segmentation is perfect for marketers who want to know more about their audience. The tool allows Google Analytics users to organize and isolate various audiences according to the geographic, demographic, and conversion rate data of individual site visitors.

Segmentation also provides its users with the ability to import behavior information, e-commerce data, marketing data and other external data to complement what it collects on your audience. This way, segmentation users can plug in data collected by multiple tools - including AdWords - to generate marketing and advertising campaigns designed specifically for certain segments of their audience.

3. Use Real-Time Reporting

Real-Time Reporting is a fast way to peek beneath the hood of your website and get an idea of how recent changes may be affecting site traffic.

Real-Time Reporting is ideal for monitoring new content and small promotions that are designed to boost the number of your visitors and conversions. Real-Time Reporting is an excellent tool for monitoring the response an audience has to new information that is deemed particularly relevant or important to your audience prior to publishing.

4. Use Diagnostics Tools

One of the most important tasks of any data scientist is separating anomalies from important trends. Google Analytics’ Diagnostics Tool automatically does this by notifying users when a variety of events or metrics are outside an expected range of values for your site. In other words, it tells you when something extraordinary is occurring.

Google Analytics also provides users with Analytics Assistant, which uses machine learning to learn your preferences and work as an automated data scientist, helping you uncover trends and insights according to the metrics that interest you and your business most.

5. Use Predictive Analytics

Like its name suggests, Predictive Analytics helps users predict things like user behavior. That includes which users are most likely to convert.

Because it isolates audiences that are most likely to convert, Predictive Analytics is especially useful for devising remarketing campaigns in AdWords. If you’re just starting a site and aren’t yet able to measure conversions, then try harvesting data by using Predictive Analytics features like Smart Lists or Smart Goals.

Are you using Google Analytics like a data scientist? Take our newest classes on Google Analytics to start scraping and processing data that will help your website reach its maximum potential.

 


8 Tips to Write Highly Effective Product Descriptions

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Editor's Note: Mary Walton works as a professional editor for College Assignment Help Australia and writes for Academized. Today, she joins us to discuss tips for optimizing product descriptions so they sell more products.

 

Writing good product descriptions isn't as hard as many believe it is. But while you don't have to be an expert, you should think about your audience and what they need. For instance, what are they looking for in a product, and what can you offer them that no one else can?

Remember, your product description is only part of the puzzle. There are photos, headlines, and other aspects that will also work to sell the product. However, that doesn't mean you can skimp on the description. Here are 8 tips that will help you write the perfect description, every time.

1. Understand your customers and develop buyer personas

You aren't selling to 'everyone'. Not everyone in the world is interested in your product. This means that you'll have to do some research into who your average customer is. Look at the people who have already bought from you. What do they like? What are their needs? What are their goals? If you look into what they're researching and buying online, you can get a lot of insight.

Next, you should create 'buyer personas'. It's likely that you have more than one demographic that shops with you. Create these personas in order to help you write descriptions that are laser targeted to the right people. For example, you can write a persona for a stay-at-home mom that's interested in houseware products that make life easier, or a camper who wants products that make life easier in the outdoors.

2. Talk to the buyer directly

Now isn't the time to be coy about what you're doing. Talk to the buyer directly, and tell them all about your product. This is why you need your buyer personas. With the right customer in mind, you can create a connection with them and become more than just another dry description.

Think about where you'd talk to this customer as well. Would you meet them in a soft play area with their kids? On a construction site? In the mall? Use this to determine the tone you'll take with them, and how you'll talk to them. Will you take a casual tone, or a more formal one? Picking the right one is important.

3. Turn features into benefits

You can simply list the features that your product has, but let's be honest, it's not all that interesting to your customers. They won't need every feature that your product has, and it's boring to read about them. If you just list the features, your visitors are likely to click away before they find what speaks to them.

Instead, turn those features into customer benefits. What is it about your product that helps your customer, or fulfills a want or need? For example, imagine you're selling a portable USB phone charger. It has 2 USB leads and a 2 hour charge time.

That's great, but rather than just report those features, turn them into benefits. You can say, "2 leads will let you charge two phones at once with this device, and quick charge will let you get back to using your phone right away."

4. Hire in the experts

If you're finding it difficult to write your own descriptions, you can hire in experts to create them for you. This offers you a lot of advantages as a business. You can free up time to work on other aspects of your business, and get descriptions that will convince customers to buy once everything is done.

The best way to get an expert to write for you is to look on custom writing services, such as Elite Assignment Help and Australian Help. You give them the job, and they'll give you a description quicker than you'd think. You can hire them as a one off project or on a long term basis, depending on your needs too.

5. Don't forget the SEO benefits

As with anything you write on your website, you should be thinking about how to optimize it for SEO. You want your products to rank highly on Google, especially withing the 'shopping' section. You should think about what will bring readers to your site, and what will convince them to stay and buy from you.

That means you'll need to pick your keywords carefully, and ensure you don't over stuff them into the text. Remember, the writing needs to still feel natural when you're using them. Additionally , ensure that your description accurately describes your product so customers know you're on the level.

6. Get to the point

Remember, you don't have long to get a reader's attention online. If they don't see what they want right away, they're going to move on. The best way to keep their attention is to put the most important point in the first sentence. For example, if you're selling sports clothing, your first sentence could be 'Stay comfortable and move freely with this specially designed sportswear line.'

7. Look at what your customers are saying

If you're using customer reviews on your site, look at what they're saying about your products. You can use what they're saying to inform and shape the way you write your own descriptions. For example, if you're selling a fitness app, customers may be saying things like 'I hate the music on other apps, but this one let me use my own playlists which I liked'. You can then list that benefit for customers in your description.

8. Format your descriptions well

Finally, you need to pay attention to how you format your descriptions. The way they're laid out will help keep the reader's attention, and convince them to buy from you. Use white space, bullet points, and good headlines to lay out your descriptions well.

These 8 points will help you create descriptions that will convince the reader that they should buy from you. Keep them in mind as you create your descriptions, and you'll find that your conversion rates shoot up. Make sure that your descriptions are doing your products justice!

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

 

Building a Digital Persona to Drive Strategy

Fundamentals of Digital Copywriting

Integrated Search: PR & SEO to Drive Results

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

 


 


Convert Web Traffic with These 5 Design Hacks

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Editor's Note: Nabeena Mali is the head of marketing at AppInstitute, and joins us today to discuss design techniques that can raise your traffic and conversion rates.

 

When launching an online business or bringing your traditional business online, a huge percentage of your resources goes toward building traffic. You invest in outreach and marketing, doing whatever it takes to drive people to your site.

But what happens when people land on your site? Does the user experience live up to the reputation you've generated? Or do people navigate away without converting?

Site design plays a pivotal role in converting visitors to loyal, long-term customers. Given that four out of five people in the U.K. are smartphone users, and 77 percent of Americans own the devices as well, having a mobile presence is no longer optional. Modern consumers expect a quality experience across platforms, so you must prioritize building a sleek mobile version of your site.

The most important principle, however, is delivering a cohesive, user-friendly experience in every aspect of your Internet presence. With these five design principles, you will be well on your way to doing that. Let's dig in -

1. Defer to the data

While design calls for artistic elements, the best sites begin with data. Everything from which buttons to incorporate to the color palette should be rooted in data.

Why?

Because every element - no matter how small - influences the customer experience. An effective way to determine which aspects resonate most with your audience is to tweak different elements and track engagement before and after those adjustments.

A/B testing campaigns are incredibly helpful for finding out what works and what turns people off. Run tests for different platforms as well. You may find that one user segment prefers to visit the desktop site and responds best to one page layout, while mobile users are more engaged by a different approach.

2. Design for the platform

Your user and brand experience should be consistent across mobile, desktop, and tablet devices, but the backbone of those designs should be tailored to each platform. You want to treat each as its own entity so you can optimize the experience for your audience wherever they find you.

One way to implement a multi-platform strategy is through responsive web design. This allows the site to reframe its dimensions and orientation based on different screen sizes. If you’re on a budget, services such as WordPress and Squarespace offer affordable templates that have responsive design functions baked into their code.

3. Don’t overcomplicate the design

If you clutter your page with too many images, features, and calls to action (CTAs), people become confused and frustrated. The goal is to convert them, so make the path to purchase or sign-up clear. Every element on the site should serve a specific and necessary function that guides people toward the goal.

4. Keep the main thing the main thing

New businesses often make the mistake of overselling themselves with too many items or a cluttered design. But when consumers feel overwhelmed or misled, they tend to close their browsers and never return. Make sure every page of your site has a purpose, and design with that purpose in mind.

Let’s use landing pages as an example: perhaps you offer people a free eBook in exchange for their contact information so you can email them about paid products in the future. That sign-up offer should be the focal point of your landing page. This isn’t the time or place to announce bonuses or other products and services. You have one goal with this page: offer one incentive to build an email list. Every aspect of the design - from color scheme, to fonts, to button shapes - should lead prospects in that direction.

5. Test a variety of Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

Get creative when designing your CTAs. Think beyond the standard "Buy Now" button to include unique but clear imagery, videos, and texts. Different approaches will suit different CTAs, so think about what you’re trying to evoke. Video is great for making a personal connection and inspiring emotions, while simple buttons or forms work well for more business-oriented offers. Each desired action should have a thoughtful design approach if you want users to respond positively.

6. Embrace white space

Also known as “negative space,” white space allows key design elements to stand out. Remember, everything on a page should serve a purpose. Anything that doesn’t directly enhance your branding, user experience, or conversion goals should be removed. White space lets the important things - such as the CTA or checkout button - do the talking. People have short enough attention spans as it is, so you don’t want to give them even more reasons to navigate away before converting.

7. Practice the three Cs: Contrast, color, and cues

Color is a powerful tool for evoking emotion and persuading people to convert. Study the color wheel to select colors that reflect the tone of your brand and complement one another on the site. You can create a complementary effect by using a monochromatic color scheme which incorporates different hues from a single color, or by choosing shades from opposite shades on the color wheel. You can go bright, dark, pastel -- whatever amplifies your brand’s tone and message. Beware of incorporating too many colors, as research shows that people tend to prefer simple color schemes.

The 60-30-10 principle is a good rule of thumb for using colors effectively. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Your background constitutes 60 percent of your page, so it will be the dominant color. Dark or subtle tones work best, allowing other parts of the page to contrast nicely against it.
  • The base color accounts for 30 percent of the visuals on your page, including the header, footer, and other core aspects. You can select a few complementary or triadic colors to use for these elements, but again: don’t use too many. You want to create a visually appealing site that doesn’t overwhelm users.
  • The final 10 percent goes to your accent color, which applies to the CTA. Because you don’t want people to miss this key component, you should choose a bright shade that your audience can’t ignore.

Directional cues are also powerful for ensuring that people focus on the right components. Arrows are an obvious option, but the flow of text, photos, and other elements can subtly lead people in the desired direction as well.

Implementing these principles into your design strategies will help you develop a top-notch design that meets your audience’s needs and helps boost your conversions. However, the work is never really done. To keep the user experience fresh, always track performance and test design tweaks that move your conversion rate higher. As design standards and consumer preferences change, your site should evolve with them.

Nabeena Mali is the head of marketing at AppInstitute a DIY app builder for small businesses and passionate about sharing her knowledge and insights on design strategy, UI/UX trends and driving digital growth through content marketing.

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

Convert More Website Visitors into Customers: Best Practices for Usability and Analytics

Methods for Iterating And Validating Your Design

 

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

 


The 5 Biggest Trends Redefining Digital Marketing

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Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To complement the brand new content marketing classes in our updated catalog, he joins us to discuss 5 trends that are changing the Digital Marketing industry, and how you can make the most of them.

 

Perhaps the best definition of digital marketing is that it’s always changing.

The industry’s constant and rapid state of flux is why so many field guides on SEO and content marketing have emerged over the last decade, only to be rendered obsolete by changing practices the very next year.

This is what makes digital marketing difficult to define at any one point in time: it behaves more like a moving target than an established industry.

As a result, to fully comprehend what defines digital marketing (and therefore, what’s redefining it) we must look at the rise and fall of some of the biggest trends that have defined online marketing since 2004.

We say 2004 because that was the year Google started keeping track of interest in the search terms that define our current moment in digital marketing history—a moment dominated by 5 big trends that have emerged over the past fourteen years

The Big Trends

Using what we know about topics in digital marketing that capture marketers’ imaginations, our current moment in digital marketing history is being redefined by conversations about topics that fall within the following 5 trends:

  1. Digital advertising
  2. Content marketing
  3. AdTech & MarTech
  4. Mobile SEO
  5. Blockchain

Thanks in large part to Google Trends, we know that some very specific changes have occurred to these 5 big trends over the past fourteen years: changes that have already redefined digital marketing as we know it and will continue to do so.

Digital Advertising Is Outstripping TV Advertising

According to one source, digital ad spending surpassed TV ad spending around March of 2017. Although some of us are still waiting for confirmation from other sources on this tectonic shift in spending practices, the trajectory of the market appears clear.

The waning of TV ad spend ultimately signals a changing of the guard, a marked shift from one marketing industry dominated by television, to another marketing industry which is increasingly dominated by digital.

We can see this shift reflected in the slow and steady rise of Google search interest in "digital advertising," and the more precipitous fall of Google search interest in "TV advertising" between 2004 and the present.

That rise and fall suggests that both interest and investment in digital advertising are redefining digital marketing, as digital advertising emerges not merely as one small part of the future of modern marketing, but as one of its most valued players.

Content Marketing is Reaching Untold Heights of Popularity and Making Waves

It’s no secret that content is the most valued player of the digital marketing industry. One study even projects that if investment continues at current global levels, content marketing will be a $300 billion industry by 2019.

But the fact that content marketing continues to rise in practice and popularity despite having been around since before 2004 may surprise some of its practitioners.

Over the last six years, content marketing has undoubtedly shattered expectations with its ability to touch almost every industry in the world and reach record heights of cultural interest and financial investment. This trend is mirrored in Google Trends’ tracking of interest over time for the search term "content marketing," which reflects a steady, sometimes explosive intensification of search interest in content marketing, especially as its influence has expanded over the past 3 years in particular.

What appears to be creating this change may occur on a slightly smaller scale. Social messaging has become more ambitious, clickbait has become more aggressive, and content marketing has almost become something more like "contentious marketing," or messaging that is designed to generate controversy rather than make a point.

Whether or not this newfound propensity for wave-making explains the intensification of interest in content marketing since 2011 remains to be seen.

But one thing is certain: content marketing has redefined and continues to redefine digital marketing on a yearly if not daily basis.

AdTech & MarTech are Converging

Advertising technology has seen a lot of hype over the years.

But ad blockers and the growing popularity of AdTech’s cousin marketing technology have taken a toll, while interest in advertising technology has waxed and waned considerably over the years.

Looking at Google Trends' search interest index, marketing technology also appears to have followed this downward trajectory on a somewhat smaller scale. On the other hand, MarTech  recently experienced an uptick in search interest, which for the first time in digital marketing history, placed ahead of AdTech on Google Trends’ search interest scale this year.

The optics of this suggest that, perhaps like digital advertising is overtaking TV advertising, MarTech is overtaking AdTech with respect to cultural capital and financial relevance—in other words, the age of MarTech has arrived.

It's likely that the two practices are reaching a natural state of equilibrium, as they converge, and both advertising and marketing become even more technologically intwined.

Mobile SEO is Exploding on the Scene After a Steady Hike in Interest

With more mobile connections on the planet than people, mobile marketing is the fastest growing media channel by digital consumption.

Following that trend, mobile content is fast becoming more popular among users and content creators than desktop content.

Much of mobile content’s popularity can be traced to the mobile optimization boom that occurred in 2015, the moment when Google informed the Internet that any websites which weren’t mobile-friendly would be see their content drop in the rankings.

We can see the results of Google’s heads up in the exponential uptick in search interest for the term “mobile SEO” in April of 2015, the same month Google released its mobile-friendly ranking algorithm. After the initial hype, interest mobile search engine optimization died down for a while, only to explode back on the scene in early 2016, since which time it has sustained peak interest.

What this means is that mobile content for the mobile web is here to stay and should not be ignored. It also means that mobile SEO should be at the top of content developers’ lists for trends not only to follow, but to participate in through 2017 and beyond.

Blockchain is Entering Conversations about Marketing Automation

Since it entered the popular consciousness in 2013, blockchain has captured the imagination of workers in every industry, from government agents to marketers and salespeople.

Aside from blockchain’s long-term potential to revamp how global markets operate and interact with each other, one of the main reasons blockchain has become important to marketers and salespeople is that it has the potential to safely and securely automate digital transactions in marketing and sales, as well as authenticate the origins of products for sale.

This automation potential has vast implications that could affect all of the trends discussed above, especially AdTech and MarTech. However, that potential may not come into play until 5 years from now. In the meantime, the fact of whether or not blockchain will affect all these trends is anyone’s guess.

Despite that, there is no doubt that every trend discussed above is working, in big and small ways, to redefine how we think about digital marketing, both today and tomorrow.

Wondering where you fit in with these trends? Take a class in digital advertising, content marketing, AdTech & MarTech, mobile marketing, and digital marketing automation today to find out what you can do to redefine digital marketing.

 

 


Mobile Content Strategy: 6 Ways to Engage Your Mobile Readers

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Editor's Note: Mary Walton works as a professional editor for Politics Assignment Help Australia and writes for Simple Grad. Today, she joins us to discuss strategies for optimizing mobile content for higher conversion rates. A version of this article first appeared on SplitMetrics.

Wondering how you can make your posts, descriptions and emails more engaging for mobile readers?

Whether you’re creating content for a blog, struggling to write a high-converting app description or optimizing text for App Store banners, there are several basic rules for building a successful mobile content strategy that will help you optimize each and every element on a user’s journey.

In this article, we will review 6 ways to refine your app descriptions and improve content for mobile devices.

Mobile has become the top way that many people to engage with content online. As smartphones become ever more ubiquitous, your content is making its way to a whole new market. Because of this, you have to look at copywriting in a whole new way. Here are 6 tips for writing mobile content that will engage mobile readers, and lead to higher conversion rates.

1. The key to a successful mobile content strategy isn’t to write less

It’s no secret that there’s less screen real estate when it comes to mobile. Some marketers take that to mean they have to write less content to keep a reader’s attention. But this kind of thinking is a trap. However limited they are by technology, mobile readers are not substantially different from desktop users: quality matters more than quantity. Remember, you can’t cut quality into truncated copy. In your mobile content strategy, focus on creating content that your readers will find useful.

2. Front load your mobile content

On desktop, you can show the reader several paragraphs before they have to scroll. But on mobile though, you have less space. This means you need to grab your audience's attention right away. As such, try front loading the most important information to the top of an app description, article, or post.

app description mobile content strategy splitmetrics

‘The important, attention grabbing copy needs to be in the first few sentences," says admissions officer Tim Leyman at Academized Paper Writing Service. "For example, if you were writing about cooking barbecue food, you may start out by saying ‘It’s summer and you’re looking for the perfect barbecue foods. We’ve rounded up all the recipes you should try this season.’ This tells the reader exactly what you’re going to do, and encourages them to scroll down."

3. Use plenty of images

On mobile, readers are much more interested in dynamic images. This doesn’t mean that text content doesn’t have a role to play, it just means that you need to find a way to complement app screenshots, icons or images in blog posts with your text content.

Sites like Buzzfeed have got this mobile content strategy down to an art. They use images to illustrate their points, and their text content simply elaborates on what they’re showing.

buzzfeed splitmetrics mobile content strategy

4. Short paragraphs work best on mobile

Readers tend to view paragraphs as a complete thought: the longer the paragraph, the longer the thought.

On mobile, this can look far too complicated and readers can get lost. The best way to deal with this is writing shorter paragraphs. Make it your goal to make a point in as few sentences as possible. Your content should still flow, but be ruthless about cutting unneeded words.

description mobile content strategy splitmetrics

5. Create short and snappy headlines

Again, because you don’t have a lot of screen real estate, your headlines should be short and snappy. Creating good headlines for mobile is a real art. You have to give readers information about what the app or article is about, but at the same time you need to keep it short so it’s not taking up too much room on the initial page or screenshots.

mobile content screenshots splitmetrics

6. Online tools can help with creating mobile content

There are plenty of online tools that can help you write good online content for mobile. Give some of these a try and see if they help you:

– Easy Word Count: This site gives you an accurate word count of your text, helpful when you’re trying to keep it short. It also highlights any mistakes you’ve made in text.

– Click To Tweet: This tool creates sharing buttons for your website. Simply include one with your post, and your reader can click it to share with all their followers.

– Paper Fellows: If you need some encouragement with your writing, turn to this writing community. It’s full of other writers who can help you out.

– Citation Generator: This tool gives you the right citation for any source you use. Make your writing informed and trustworthy using this.

– Marketing Essay Help: Need some help with your editing? There are lots of helpful editing guides on this site.

– Ideaflip: If you have more than one copywriter, this is the app for you. You can share ideas in real time, wherever you are.

– Do My Assignment: This is the tool for you if you need proofreading assistance. It’s definitely one of the best proofreading tools online right now.

– Calmly Writer: The internet is full of distractions, making it hard to write. This tool helps you avoid all those distractions and get on with the job.

– Cheap Essay: This writing service is an excellent grammar help. Talk to the experts here if you feel your grammar needs improving.

– Snip.ly: This tool is the perfect call to action. It adds buttons that readers can click on to read anything you want to link to.

– SplitMetrics: Use SplitMetrics if you want to A/B test app descriptions and develop a mobile content strategy that drives installs.

These tips will help you write for a rapidly growing and important market. Get it right, and you’ll see conversion go through the roof.

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

Foundational Principles for Website Conversions

Engaging with Mobile Marketing: Choosing the Right Mobile Content

 

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

 


3 Ways Content Marketing is More Than Just Managing a Blog

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content marketers

Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To complement the brand new content marketing classes in our updated catalog, he joins us to explain the responsibilities of a content marketing master.

 

After spending hours and hours of planning and posting content, many content marketers slip into thinking their role is simply an exercise in blog management.

They think, "As long as my blog is populated with new content, gets clicks (and the occasional conversion), my job here is done." Then they brush off their hands, and go home for the day.

Most content marketers know their role is not that simple - that there are search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) concerns that must factor into every editorial decision before posting an article.

But sometimes even great content marketers fall into the camp of complacency, and forget that producing quality content means wearing more than one (or even two) professional hats.

The best content marketers balance at least three professional hats, all of which intersect with other corporate departments: They are one part researcher, one part brand ambassador, and one part SEO expert. That’s why today’s blog manager should be working like a Content Marketer in Chief, otherwise known as a Chief Content Officer (CCO).

1. How Content Marketing is Being a Researcher

Content marketers - and especially blog managers - know they need to do their homework. They know that producing good content means researching what other blogs are releasing, teasing out trends in industry discussions, and developing new ideas that will establish their brands as thought leaders and innovators in the public arena.

If they are aware of search engine optimization practices, they also know that executing a good search engine marketing strategy means staying up to date on changes to search algorithms from the most popular search engines, which could affect their company’s place in search rankings.

With all these knowledge bases, a Chief Content Officer should  know how and where to allocate resources in order to optimize content reach and production. This includes knowing when to hire out talent, when to pull the trigger on ad buys, and when to invest time and money in marketing technology that will provide further insight into the company’s target market.

2. How Content Marketing is Being an SEO Expert

Good blog managers know they need to get creative to produce the type of content that helps them rise in rankings. They should also know that to achieve brand recognition, they must encourage, manage, and project their own authority as an organization that pushes the envelope of thought leadership in their industry and knows what places them in Google Search’s top 10 search results.

For content marketers who have the mentality of a Chief Content Officer, this is where it becomes important to not only be a creative expert but also an SEO expert.

Chief Content Officers know all the tricks of the trade when it comes to search engine optimization. They are uniquely suited to harness the power of a variety of softwares and dashboards, pick up on industry trends, and find innovative ways to enhance their content’s placement via PageRank. The goal for Chief Content Officers is not just to make as many search results as possible, but also to expand their organic presence, quality scores, and relevant search traffic through an advanced understanding of how search engines and other websites value their content.

3. How Content Marketing is Being a Brand Ambassador

Blog managers and content marketers of all stripes should know that they operate on their company’s front lines. They should know that what they post and publish represents the voice of their brand; they are brand ambassadors, and first impressions  determine how their organization is perceived by the public.

For content marketers that have the mentality of a Chief Content Officer, the content they publish is more than an exercise in brand management: it is an exercise in brand execution. Every blog post that’s published, every video or social comment that’s posted is where the proverbial rubber meets the road, where not only the content marketer’s vision for the brand comes into play, but also where each and every executive’s voice and vision for the company comes into play.

In other words, content marketing is how every theory about how a brand should impact its audience meets practice, where customer meets executive, and vice versa. That’s  why content marketing is so much more than managing a blog.

Do you have what it takes to market content like a Chief Content Officer?

To learn how you can adopt the strategies of today’s best content marketers, check out our classes on content marketing from Content Marketers in Chief: Joe Pulizzi, Lisa Buyer, and Denise Robert McKee.