Combating Mobile Ad Blockers with Social Media Ads

There’s been a lot of chatter around ad blockers, especially since the announcements from both Apple and Google about installing their own ad blockers into Safari and Chrome. 

But something that’s still fairly new to the mix is mobile ad blocking. As more and more traffic moves to mobile, there’s a sense that mobile ad blockers will become more relevant – but should advertisers be concerned? Can mobile ad blockers affect your social media advertisements? 

In this post, we’ll look at some of the key considerations of mobile ad blocking, and how social ads may help lessen their impact.

What is mobile ad blocking?

Combating Mobile Ad Blockers with Social Media Ads | Social Media Today

The first mobile ad blockers were available on the internet as early as 2014. Today, there are a variety of apps that can be installed and used as browser extensions on a user’s mobile device, blocking ads deemed as “intrusive.”

Interruptions are one of the top reasons users will install an ad blocker – ads that pop up, roll out to form a longer top banner, or expand across a user’s screen lead to a poor user experience.

When using a mobile device, these ads van cause the viewer to turn away from websites or apps where these ads appear because they get in the way of what they’re trying to do.

A report from PageFair reveals that security (30%), interruptions (29%), speed (16%) and an excessive amount of ads (14%) are the main reasons behind the rise in mobile ad blocking adoption. 

The current state of mobile ad blocking

A total of 380 million mobile devices were using ad blockers at the beginning of 2017. This number’s predicted to continue to rise, as well as the number of desktop ad blockers, despite the overall decline in desktop usage.

Mobile-specific ad block adoption is highest in the Asia-Pacific region, where the use of mobile surpasses the use of desktops. Currently, only 8% of the U.S. population use mobile ad blockers, compared to 16% of the population in the APAC.

While in the U.S., ad blocker users want to get rid of intrusive ads, users in the APAC region often adopt mobile ad blockers due to limited data plans. Blocking such ads prevents users from hitting a pay cap with their web browsing. 

How ad blockers impact advertisers

As with most advertising, the potential for mobile ad blocking usage comes down to location, location, location.

If you’re targeting China, India or Indonesia, there’s a much higher risk of your ads being blocked on mobile devices – as noted earlier, limited data plans are the main reason for ad blockers’ large adoption at APAC.

As for the U.S. market, users generally aren’t opposed to viewing ads that are respectful or relevant. This points to the importance of improving both the quality and the targeting of the ads you’re sending out. Listen to why your audience is choosing to block ads, fix the problem and serve them a solution. 

You should also work to gain customers’ trust in your brand or business, which should lead to them finding your ads less intrusive to their mobile experience. 

Some of the most popular ad blockers, like AdBlock Plus, do have the ability to block some social ads, like YouTube and Facebook video ads. AdBlock is particularly effective when users visit these pages through a web browser, though the app’s powers are significantly more limited when it comes to the individual apps themselves. 

In addition, social platforms offer others ways to ensure ads are not hidden, giving users more control over their experience, which makes social media advertising a somewhat safer bet if you want to reduce the risks of having your ads affected by mobile ad blockers. 

Here are some of the main advantages:

  • Social media allows users to hide ads, but also give feedback. Facebook, Twitter and and Instagram allow users to select whether they want to hide an ad or see fewer ads of a certain kind. 
  • You have a variety of innovative ad formats available that make for high-quality, engaging posts. Just remember to stick to Facebook’s 20% text rule to avoid having your ads look like spam. 
  • With social media, users also have the option to scroll at will, meaning there are no ads that block the viewer’s feeds or that they have to watch for x amount of time in order to continue. This strategy increases the chances of success because the ads blend naturally with the content on user’s feeds. 

Ad blockers also can’t get in the way of an ad that shows up between users’ Stories on Snapchat or Instagram, sponsored content or InMails on LinkedIn or Twitter cards, for example. As a result, social media will likely become a more important medium for advertisers to continue reaching their intended audience as the use of mobile ad blockers increases.

The downside is that competition on social media tends to increase as social media platforms add more and more high-quality ad formats, which can impact the cost of advertising on social. Creating a detailed target plan, then, becomes even more important to allow advertisers to make the most of their budget, while delivering ads to an audience that’s actually interested in seeing them. 

Things not to be blocked from your memory

Users install ad blockers in order to have an uninterrupted experience while browsing on the web – which means you don’t want to be the intrusion that incentivizes them to adopt mobile ad blocking. 

Keep the customer as your focus, rather than only your advertisements and how far you can push them. Use social media targeting to reach your most valuable audience and deliver your ads to people who are most interested in your offers.

This article was first published on the Strike Social blog 

Source: Social Media Today (Original

How to Conduct an Instagram Takeover (And Why You Should Consider One)

Would you ever hand someone your social media accounts and let them market for you?

Passing your work off to someone else sounds great, but you probably have some reservations about how this would play out.

Fortunately, this is a trusted content creation strategy: the Instagram takeover.

Instagram is all about images and assuming you’re not a professional photographer, it’s easy for ideas to run dry – there are only so many pictures of the office you can post, right? That’s where fresh perspective comes in, helping to revitalize your Instagram presence and get your followers excited.

An Instagram takeover can boost awareness, engagement, or conversion – but it all depends on how you approach it.

Here are six key steps to a successful Instagram takeover:

1. Choose your guest poster

First, who will be the lucky guest?

Social media identity Gary Vaynerchuck says takeovers should provide a 50/50 value exchange for your business and the other party, so it’s important to consider this when looking at potential fit.

Your poster can be a person or another brand. Brands usually feature influencers in their industries. Employee takeovers can also be successful and easier to manage.

Consider:

  • Company or brand
  • Business partner
  • Industry Influencer
  • Team member
  • Employee
  • Customer
  • Community member

Fulbright Korea, a teaching grant program run through the US Department of State, does a great job showcasing the diversity of their teachers’ experiences while working abroad.

2. Set the ground rules

Once you’ve got a guest poster on board, it’s important to set clear goals around expectations, including:

  • Length of takeover (usually 1 week)
  • Type of content
  • Frequency of posts
  • Any required or suggested hashtags
  • Any off-limit topics or content

Lay out the guidelines clearly and answer any questions your poster may have.

You should also decide whether you’ll do a complete takeover or a partial one – in a complete takeover, the guest poster posts directly to your account using your login information. A partial takeover doesn’t require you to give away your account information; the poster sends you content to post on their behalf.

You can also facilitate partnerships using Instagram’s new paid partnership tags, which provide full transparency on post data, but only require you to approve a contributor to tag your business.

How to Conduct an Instagram Takeover (And Why You Should Consider One) | Social Media Today

3. Generate buzz

Promote the takeover beforehand, especially if you have a big name influencer.

It’s good etiquette to introduce your guest poster to your followers anyway, so there’s no confusion about the content on your Instagram feed.

Don’t forget to promote through other channels, and ask your guest to do their own promotion too.

4. Launch and monitor

Once the takeover begins, make sure someone on your team is dedicated to managing comments and feedback.

You may want to have your guest poster respond to comments for a more authentic takeover, but a member of your team should always keep an eye out for any negative feedback or questions.

5. Wrap it up and analyze

Make it clear to your followers when the takeover has ended. Your poster can point out their final post, and you can login afterwards with a public message thanking your guest and asking your followers for their thoughts.

But the work’s not quite done. It’s time for the numbers. Analyze your performance with metrics such as:

  • Views
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Direct Messages
  • Number of Followers
  • Mentions
  • Tags
  • Website traffic and conversions (if applicable)

6. Rinse, revise, and repeat

Instagram takeovers can become a regular part of your strategy, or you may choose to do several consecutive takeovers, common when featuring employees.

Used wisely, Instagram takeovers are an excellent marketing opportunity – a chance to establish business partnerships, while also adding another level of fun for your followers.

Source: Social Media Today (Original

5 Key Benefits and Considerations of Thought Leadership

5 Key Benefits and Considerations of Thought Leadership | Social Media TodayAlthough the concept of ‘thought leadership’ seems relatively new, and can be difficult to define, it essentially means that people don’t just look to you for product or service advice, they look to you for information and ideas.

If you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry, potential clients and customers will inherently trust you more – and equally beneficial, bloggers and reporters will also respond to you more warmly if you’re seen as an industry leader.

When it comes to thought leadership, it’s all about finding ways to connect with your audience and deliver the information your they want. After all, quality content is still king, and 94% of people said low-quality content would lower their opinion of the creator.

Interested in becoming more of a thought leader in 2018?

Here are five notes to consider:

1. Thought Leadership Feeds Publicity

Just like the right PR team can help you become a thought leader, being a thought leader fuels your PR opportunities.

When you’re seen as an expert in your field, more reporters, bloggers and influencers will get in touch, seeking your advice. This can lead to more publicity, especially if you’re featured in major publications.

As Dan Sondhelm of Sondhelm Partners notes:

“If you’re able to become a thought leader who’s influential in his [or her] words, you’ll likely earn more news coverage and speaking opportunities. On a particular topic, if you are the go-to person, reporters will call you more often. And if you have something to say, reaching out to reporters will be easier, since many will want to talk to you.”

2. Thought Leadership Fuels Content

There’s a massive amount of content creation going on every day, and one of the most popular resources creators now use to find new ideas and trends is via thought leaders.

If content creators reference your work, it leads to more publicity for you – you could also have content creators contacting you for collaborations.

3. Thought Leadership Builds Credibility and Trust

Providing people with valuable, accurate information on a consistent basis earns you credibility and rapport. Your peers will respect you for this, making them more likely to help you in any way that they can. Your customers will also trust you and feel like you’ve given them something of value, making them more likely to choose your business over a competitor.

Anthony Gaenzle of Saxton and Stump explains it this way:

“Your team is a critical part of your brand. This is especially true in fields like healthcare, marketing, legal and other areas that require true experts. Your clients or customers want to know that they’re hiring or purchasing from knowledgeable individuals with a lot of experience in their respective fields, so being able to convey that message in your marketing and PR is important for success and growth.”

4. Thought Leaders Give Freely

The most respected thought leaders give away all kinds of content, free of charge, in the form of blog posts, podcasts, videos and more. It’s a way for them to show their expertise and connect with their audience, which couldn’t happen if they asked for money right off the bat.

As per Sherrilynne Starkey of Thornley Fallis Communications:

“Start with from a paradigm of generosity. Freely give news and information to assist and support the people in your target audiences. Give them real value in terms of ‘how to’, ‘why you need to know’, ‘here’s how to do it’ type stories and content. By being generous, and really focusing on giving value, you’ll reach more people, build loyalty and gain market share.” 

By creating a valuable funnel of free information, you can engage with potential customers and clients, and turn them into paying customers down the road.

5. Thought Leadership Isn’t for Everyone

It’s not easy becoming a thought leader. You need to generate a substantial amount of valuable content, and you need to be comfortable taking a stance on issues in your industry.

In some instances, and depending on your industry, taking a controversial stance with your views could divide your customer base, so you need to carefully consider if you have the time to become a thought leader, and if that approach that’s right for your business goals.

George Bradley of Circa Interactive offers this advice:

“There are times where it may be best for a business to not position themselves as a thought leader. When making this decision, a company should always look at their customer base. Is making a particular stance going to greatly divide opinion? Could this lose you more clients or customers than it is likely to gain? If the answer is yes then sometimes the bottom line has to come first and it may be best to position yourself where the company will thrive.”

Becoming a thought leader in your field can be a rewarding experience which can gain you a loyal audience and a solid network of influencers to help you boost your business. It requires time commitment and the right type of personality, but with the right attitude and consistency, it can take your brand to new heights.

Main image via Tumisu/Pixabay

Source: Social Media Today (Original

Japanese Webmaster Office Hours(ウェブマスター オフィスアワー 2017 年 8 月 31 日)

ウェブマスター オフィスアワーは、ウェブマスターの方からの質問にGoogle 社員がお答えしたり、ウェブマスターの方と Google の間での情報交換をざっくばらんに行う場です。みなさまから事前にイベントページ上に頂いた質問にお答えしながら、リアルタイムでやりとりもさせて頂けたらと思っています。 イベント ページ上に質問を投稿して頂いてもいいですし、オープンにはちょっと質問しにくいなあという場合には以下のフォームからご質問ください。 http://goo.gl/IodO4y みなさまにお会いできることを楽しみにしております!! #ウェブマスターオフィスアワー ・今後のウェブマスター オフィスアワー開催予定は Google ウェブマスター コミュニティ( http://goo.gl/Zo5b8g )またはサイト( http://goo.gl/nZYTpf )でご確認下さい。 ・過去のウェブマスター向けハングアウト一覧は以下 URL からご覧いただけます。http://goo.gl/6EDi7q

Source: Google Webmasters (uploads) on YouTube (Original

Building a Community of Advocates Through Smart Content

Posted by Michelle_LeBlanc

From gentle criticism to full-on trolls, every brand social media page or community sometimes faces pushback. Maybe you’ve seen it happen. Perhaps you’ve even laughed along as a corporation makes a condescending misstep or a local business publishes a glaring typo. It’s the type of thing that keeps social media and community managers up at night. Will I be by my phone to respond if someone needs customer service help? Will I know what to write if our brand comes under fire? Do we have a plan for dealing with this?

Advocates are a brand’s best friend

In my years of experience developing communities and creating social media content, I’ve certainly been there. I won’t try to sell you a magic elixir that makes that anxiety go away, but I’ve witnessed a phenomenon that can take the pressure off. Before you can even begin to frame a response as the brand, someone comes out of the woodwork and does it for you. Defending, opening up a conversation, or perhaps deflecting with humor, these individuals bring an authenticity to the response that no brand could hope to capture. They are true advocates, and they are perhaps the most valuable assets a company could have.

But how do you get them?

Having strong brand advocates can help insulate your brand from crisis, lead to referring links and positive media coverage, AND help you create sustainable, authentic content for your brand. In this blog post, I’ll explore a few case studies and strategies for developing these advocates, building user-generated content programs around them, and turning negative community perceptions into open dialogue.

Case study 1: Employee advocates can counter negative perceptions

To start, let’s talk about negative community perceptions. Almost every company deals with this to one degree or another.

In the trucking industry, companies deal with negative perceptions not just of their individual company, but also of the industry as a whole. You may not be aware of this, but our country needs approximately 3.5 million truck drivers to continue shipping daily supplies like food, medicine, deals from Amazon, and everything else you’ve come to expect in your local stores and on your doorstep. The industry regularly struggles to find enough drivers. Older drivers are retiring from the field, while younger individuals may be put off by a job that requires weeks away from home. Drivers that are committed to the industry may change jobs frequently, chasing the next hiring bonus or better pay rate.

How does a company counter these industry-wide challenges and also stand out as an employer from every other firm in the field?

Using video content, Facebook groups, and podcasts to create employee advocates

For one such company, we looked to current employees to become brand advocates in marketing materials and on social media. The HR and internal communications team had identified areas of potential for recruitment — e.g. separating military, women — and we worked with them to identify individuals that represented these niche characteristics, as well as the values that the company wanted to align themselves with: safety, long-term tenure with the company, affinity for the profession, etc. We then looked for opportunities to tell these individuals’ stories in a way that was authentic, reflected current organic social media trends, and provided opportunities for dialogue.

In one instance, we developed a GoPro-shot, vlog-style video program around two female drivers that featured real-life stories and advice from the road. By working behind the scenes with these drivers, we were able to coach them into being role models for our brand advocate program, modeling company values in media/PR coverage and at live company events.

One driver participated in an industry-media live video chat where she took questions from the audience, and later she participated in a Facebook Q&A on behalf of the brand as well. It was our most well-attended and most engaged Q&A to date. Other existing and potential drivers saw these individuals becoming the heroes of the brand’s stories and, feeling welcomed to the dialogue by one of their own, became more engaged with other marketing activities as a result. These activities included:

  • A monthly call-in/podcast show where drivers could ask questions directly of senior management. We found that once a driver had participated in this forum, they were much more likely to stay with the company — with a 90% retention rate!
  • A private Facebook group where very vocal and very socially active employees could have a direct line to the company’s driver advocate to express opinions and ask questions. In addition to giving these individuals a dedicated space to communicate, this often helped us identify trends and issues before they became larger problems.
  • A contest to nominate military veterans within the company to become a brand spokesperson in charge of driving a military-themed honorary truck. By allowing anyone to submit a nomination for a driver, this contest helped us discover and engage members of the audience that were perhaps less likely to put themselves forward out of modesty or lack of esteem for their own accomplishments. We also grew our email list, gained valuable insights about the individuals involved, and were able to better communicate with more of this “lurker” group.

By combining these social media activities with traditional PR pitching around the same themes, we continued to grow brand awareness as a whole and build an array of positive links back to the company.

When it comes to brand advocates, sometimes existing employees simply need to be invited in and engaged in a way that appeals to their own intrinsic motivations — perhaps a sense of belonging or achievement. For many employee-based audiences, social media engagement with company news or industry trends is already happening and simply needs to be harnessed and directed by the brand for better effect.

But what about when it comes to individuals that have no financial motivation to promote a brand? At the other end of the brand advocate spectrum from employees are those who affiliate themselves with a cause. They may donate money or volunteer for a specific organization, but when it comes down to it, they don’t have inherent loyalty to one group and can easily go from engaged to enraged.

Case study 2: UGC can turn volunteers into advocates

One nonprofit client that we have the privilege of working with dealt with this issue on a regular basis. Beyond misunderstandings about their funding sources or operations, they occasionally faced backlash about their core mission on social media. After all, for any nonprofit or cause out there, it’s easy to point to two or ten others that may be seen as "more worthy," depending on your views. In addition, the nature of their cause tended to attract a lot of attention in the holiday giving period, with times of low engagement through the rest of the year.

Crowdsourcing user-generated content for better engagement

To counter this and better engage the audience year-round, we again looked for opportunities to put individual faces and stories at the forefront of marketing materials.

In this case, we began crowdsourcing user-generated content through monthly contesting programs during the organization’s "off" months. Photos submitted during the contests could be used as individual posts on social media or remixed across videos, blog posts, or as a starting point for further conversation and promotion development with the individuals. As Facebook was the primary promotion point for these contests, they attracted those who were already highly engaged with the organization and its page. During the initial two-month program, the Facebook page gained 16,660 new fans with no associated paid promotion, accounting for 55% of total page Likes in the first half of 2016.

Perhaps even more importantly, the organization was able to save on internal labor in responding to complaints or negative commentary on posts as even more individuals began adding their own positive comments. The organization’s community manager was able to institute a policy of waiting to respond after any negative post, allowing the brand advocates time to chime in with a more authentic, volunteer-driven voice.

By inviting their most passionate supporters more deeply into the fold and giving them the space and trust to communicate, the organization may have lost some measure of control over the details of the message, but they gained support and understanding on a deeper level. These individuals not only influenced others within the social media pages of the organization, but also frequently shared content and tagged friends, acting as influencers and bringing others into the fold.

How you can make it work for your audience

As you can see, regardless of industry, building a brand advocate program often starts with identifying your most passionate supporters and finding a way to appeal to their existing habits, interests, and motivations — then building content programs that put those goals at the forefront. Marketing campaigns featuring paid influencers can be fun and can certainly achieve rapid awareness and reach, but they will never be able to counter the lasting value of an authentic advocate, particularly when it comes to countering criticism or improving the perceived status of your brand or industry.

To get started, you can follow a few quick tips:

  • Understand your existing community.
    • Take a long look at your active social audience and try to understand who those people are: Employees? Customers?
    • Ask yourself what motivates them to participate in dialogue and how can you provide more of that.
  • Work behind the scenes.
    • Send private messages and emails, or pick up the phone and speak with a few audience members.
    • Getting a few one-on-one insights can be incredibly helpful in content planning and inspiring your strategy.
    • By reaching out individually, you really make people feel special. That’s a great step towards earning their advocacy.
  • Think: Where else can I use this?
    • Your advocates and their contributions are valuable. Make sure you take advantage of that value!
    • Reuse content in multiple formats or invite them to participate in new ways.
    • Someone who provides a testimonial might be able to act as a source for your PR team, as well.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Source: SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog (Original

Which Cities & Cateogries Currently Have Google Home Service Ads & Advanced Verification

San Francisco Bay Area:

locksmiths, plumbers, house cleaners, handyman, general contractors, electricians, HVAC contractors, painters, overhead door, auto glass repair, roadside assistance

Sacramento:

HVAC contractors, plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, auto glass repair, general contractors, roadside assistance, house cleaners, handyman, painters, overhead door

Stockton:

HVAC contractors, plumbers

Philadelphia:

plumbers, HVAC contractors, electricians, locksmiths

Atlanta:

plumbers, HVAC contractors, electricians, locksmiths, overhead door

Phoenix:

plumbers, HVAC contractors, electricians, locksmiths, overhead door

Seattle:

plumbers, HVAC contractors, electricians, locksmiths, overhead door

Los Angeles:

HVAC contractors, electricians, overhead door, plumbers, locksmiths

San Diego:

HVAC contractors, electricians, overhead door, towing, auto glass, plumbers, locksmiths

Source: Understanding Google Maps & Local Search (Original

The Single Best Thing I’ve Ever Heard About Ideation and Brainstorming

The best and most useful thing I've ever learned about ideation and brainstorming - Portent
Something my grad school professor said changed the way I’ve thought about brainstorming forever. Now it’s the best thing I can tell anyone else.

There are dozens of ways you can get a room going and pan the gold from a group’s brainstorm. There are hundreds of blog posts out there that list techniques for generating and vetting ideas. This isn’t one of them.

Instead, this post is about one idea. It’s not an exercise, but a framework. And it combines two of my favorite things (metaphors and graphs) for one unforgettable notion that has framed the way I approach ideating ever since. And it might change your process, too, maybe more than any of those listicles can.

Ideation and Brainstorming: An Illustrative Story

Once, in a graduate class in the University of Washington’s Human Centered Design and Engineering program, the professor asked the class what we could do with a piece of string and a coin with a hole in the middle. He threw an image up on the projector:

Coin and String Exercise - Brainstorming Warmup

“So, what can you do with this coin and a piece of string?”

Silence. No one really knew what he meant. No one wanted to ask and look silly.

“I’m serious, what can you do with these?”

One student raised his hand.

“Make a necklace,” he ventured.

“Excellent. What else?”

Another student: “You could use it to level a table.”

“Excellent. What else?”

There was a pause, and the professor suggested, “Maybe you could use it to make a tiny swing for a mouse.”

The class was emboldened. People started suggesting more ideas, nervous at first but then with gusto. Some ideas were good. Some were lame and poorly wrought. Others, ridiculous but somehow clever.

“Cat toy.”

“Weapon.”

“You could use it to hypnotize someone”

“Fish a magnet out of the gutter.”

“Create a scale that can only measure whether or not an object weighs more or less than the coin.”

“Make a lasso.”

“Or a noose.”

After a while, the suggestions died down. The students searched their minds for more to contribute, but the room fell silent.

“Nothing else?” the professor asked. No one spoke.

“What we just did was an exercise I use to illustrate how brainstorming works,” he said. “Most people think they know how it works, because it’s a term we’ve used since we were children, but I don’t think most people realize that brainstorming follows a bell curve.”

He drew a basic bell curve on the whiteboard and labeled its axes:

The brainstorming bell curve - Ideas over Time

“Almost any ideation session follows this pattern,” he continued. “The x-axis is how long you spend ideating. The y-axis is how many ideas you come up with.

“At first, people are quiet,” he continued. “They’re afraid to get the answer wrong or look dumb. The first idea always takes the longest to be said—you can see how gentle the slope is at the beginning of the curve. But once someone says the first idea, others follow, and in increasingly rapid succession.”

He annotated his bell curve:

The brainstorming bell curve - Portent

“After this period of ramping up, people begin a kind of frenzy. This is when the most ideas are generated, and it is the result of people finally feeling comfortable to truly say anything.”

“Do you remember what happened in our brainstorm just now, about the coin and the piece of string? Do you remember when I suggested the swing for the mouse? It wasn’t the best idea. It wasn’t even a very good idea, and the ideas you came up with beforehand were probably better. But I knew if I threw something absurd out there, you all would feel more comfortable getting a little absurd yourselves.

“It’s not the best idea that encourages the room to speak, it’s the silliest, the craziest, the most impossible or even the dumbest. That’s why we say there are no bad ideas. Because once you have your first ‘bad’ idea, you enter the peak of the brainstorm.”

He added again to the whiteboard:

The brainstorming bell curve - hitting peak ideation - Portent

“So what happens next?” the professor continued.

“The ideas slow down. Just as it gets progressively easier to think of ideas in the beginning, it gets progressively harder to think of more after you’ve reached the peak. Nothing lasts forever, including brainstorms. If you try to keep forcing new ideation after the brainstorm has run its course, you’ll reap diminishing returns.”

He drew a final note on the whiteboard:

The brainstorming bell curve - Seeing ideation all the way through - Portent

And then he dropped the metaphor:

“There’s a reason people call it ‘popcorn-style’ when a group of folks shout out ideas willy nilly. When you microwave a bag of popcorn, you have to wait in silence for the first few kernels to explode, and then the whole bag erupts. In the end, the pops become fewer and fewer, and you have to remove it from the microwave before you ruin the batch.”

I’d never heard that before, and I haven’t forgotten it since. Now, the most important thing I know about ideation is that you need to keep going until it’s really over. Too many people stop ideating before the brainstorm is actually complete and they miss the peak of it entirely. The brainstorm isn’t over when you have one good idea, it’s over when you can’t think of any more ideas at all.

If you’re coming up with ideas in a marketing meeting, the same principle applies. Don’t stop ideating after the first few ideas, and keep pushing until ideas come rapidly. And don’t stop until you’re really done.

And finally, if you’re trying to facilitate a brainstorm, you might have to swallow your pride and suggest something as absurd as a mouse on a swing.

If you want more than just a story and a single piece of advice, however, I recommend Portent’s newest ebook, Plug and Play Content Strategy. Author Augustin Kendall offers many exercises for ideation, vetting, and prioritization that will take you a lot farther than the end of your bell curve:

New Call-to-action

The post The Single Best Thing I’ve Ever Heard About Ideation and Brainstorming appeared first on Portent.

Source: Conversation Marketing: Internet Marketing with a Twist of Lemon (Original

How To Use Email Automation To Significantly Increase eCommerce Sales

How To Use Email Automation To Significantly Increase eCommerce Sales

Email marketing is a growing trend used by many businesses in the eCommerce world. In 2013, it accounted for more than 7 percent of all eCommerce transactions – leaving social media, banner ads and affiliate marketing strategies in the dust!

Check out these results from a Custora study called E-Commerce Customer Acquisition Snapshot.

Source

Despite the fact that the world has been using email for more than two decades, only recently have we started to really take advantage of email automation for business purposes. This technique can be incredibly helpful to increase eCommerce sales because it reaches the majority of your traffic and personalizes the experience.

There are several important truths about the use of email generally in modern business:

  • Email is one of the most effective marketing channels for conversion. It helps businesses reach more potential customers early, and persuade them to convert.
  • Email is one of the best tools for engaging potential customers because it offers incentives, promotions, discounts, and other benefits directly.

But how do you specifically use email automation to bring people back to your website and increase eCommerce sales?

1. Set up browse abandonment emails

Here’s a hard truth of eCommerce: the majority of the visitors don’t care about converting into leads and customers. They just don’t.

Even the most high-converting SEO and social media techniques cannot ensure that your eCommerce website traffic will convert.

You may be experiencing the same problem right now on your own site. After all, you’re reading this article.

To optimize an eCommerce site for conversions, a lot of methods are used. The most prominent one is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). It’s the art of persuading prospects to take the desired action that they are not quite ready to take.

CRO can be incredibly effective when powered with the right information and data. These components are critical because they allow the business to develop incentives that directly meet the needs of prospects.

Here’s a screenshot of site analytics that may look familiar to you:

Source

This site is not doing very well in terms of conversions. The ‘No Cart Addition’ indicator shows 2,602, which is 97.23 percent of the entire traffic. This means that only 2.77 percent of visitors added items into their cart.

A lot of eCommerce sites experience similar issues. CRO is the best answer but it’s not enough to fix them. It needs something else.

Emails! They are the best for leveraging site traffic and increasing conversions.

By automating emails, a business can engage with those 97.23 percent who left the site after browsing. These emails will help to persuade them to return and take another look, thus moving further down your funnel.

Marketers typically refer to them as Browse Abandonment Emails. They remind visitors to return to the cart page and complete their purchase. They can really decrease the number of visitors who drop off.

There are several important things to remember here. To improve the effectiveness of browse abandonment emails, businesses should segment visitors. Never send the same message to everyone!

For example, if there is a particular page on the site where they dropped off, such as a product description page, the browse abandonment email should feature the product description page in question as well as similar products.

Here’s an example of such an email:

Source

It invites the receipient to take another look at the products they already viewed, plus some more. It is relevant to the customer since the products are based on the browsing history.

Browse Abandonment Emails are most effective:

  • Sent shortly after the visitor dropped off
  • When they convey the main point of the letter in their subject line (e.g., ‘Take another look!’)
  • They contain more than one suggestion (the example above has three).

The effectiveness of browse abandonment emails is supported by recent studies. For example, a 2013 survey of US digital shoppers discovered that 81 percent of respondents were more likely to complete a purchase if they received personalized emails.

Of course, to send this type of email you need to capture the web visitors email address on your site first. The best way to do this is to offer them something of value, such as a lead magnet.

2. Choose the right email automation solution for your site

Many online businesses don’t use email automation to increase the effectiveness of their digital strategy.

But regardless of which eCommerce platform you’re using for your shop, there are email marketing tools available.

It’s just important to look at all the options and select the right one.

Here are some browse abandonment email options for the most popular eCommerce platforms:

Different providers of eCommerce platforms offer different options for their clients, so check all the settings that are available to you.

Don’t forget to:

  • Identify the places on your website where visitors drop off. It can be the homepage, categories, or product page. Send your emails accordingly.
  • Include product information in the emails to remind people about the advantages of buying the product.
  • Send emails shortly after the visitor drops off.
  • Send only one email. Don’t become a spammer.
  • Optimize the templates for all emails for viewing on various mobile devices. People browse shops on mobile all the time!

In conclusion

Email automation can be really helpful for increasing your ecommerce sales due to it’s high-converting marketing possibilities. By using site analytics, you’ll find loads of ways to experiment with this method.

If this post has demystified email automation a little for you, be sure to let me know in the comments section.

Guest Author: Lucy Benton is a marketing specialist and business consultant whose passion in expressing her own thoughts as a blogger and working at BestEssayTips. She is constantly on the lookout for ways to improve her skills and expertise. If you’re interested in working with Lucy, you can find her on Facebook.

The post How To Use Email Automation To Significantly Increase eCommerce Sales appeared first on Jeffbullas’s Blog.

Source: Jeffbullas’s Blog (Original

What to Do When the .COM You Want Is Taken by @5le

You’ve just decided to create a new business, or maybe you just had an idea for a new website. Either way, you do what everyone does in the 21st century: you go to register a new domain.

Unless you came up with an incredibly unique domain idea, you will likely discover someone – possibly even a domain squatter – has already registered the .com version of your domain.

After all, there are more than 1 billion websites.

Don’t despair just yet on your naming idea! You have plenty of options available to still turn it into a great domain name.

Domain Name Is Taken

What Should You Do When Your .COM Isn’t Available?

Before digging into alternative ways of registering your domain name, it’s important to take a step back and think about your plan on bringing traffic into your website.

If your website will primarily be used in offline advertising like TV commercials, billboards, or business cards, it is critical that your domain be easy to spell.

Inventing a new word might seem like a fantastic idea and an easy way to get your perfect domain, but it can have unintended consequences. Online photo service Flickr lost 3.6 million unique visits a year to Flicker.com.

On the other hand, social news site, Digg.com, live workout app, Gixo.com, and domain reseller, Sedo.com all were able to maximize on their short made-up word domains because they were unique enough to not be confused with anything else.

Iterate on Your Domain Name Idea

Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  •  You can consider not using a .com if most of your traffic will come from sources other than direct type-in traffic. Search users and those discovering your website on social media are agnostic to what your domain is and will likely not even notice if it’s a .net, .org, .us or even info.
  • Consider using one of the new top-level domains (TLDs) like .agency, .jobs, .online, or similar. While there seems to be downsides for people that are unaware that these even exist, it still won’t matter if your traffic is primarily from search and referral sources.
  • Look for synonyms. Use an online thesaurus, like Thesaurus.com, to come up with word alternatives similar to your original idea.
  • Try using domain name tools like NameMesh.com or BustAname.com which even have alternatives in other languages. You may not like the suggestions that these tools recommend, but they will at least give you some creative ideas.
  • If there are several words in your domain name, try rearranging their order if you can. Sometimes one specific order may not be available as a domain name, but another may be. NYCmarketingagency.com may not be available, but marketingNYCagency.com could be. If you don’t have several words in your domain name, you may want to consider adding one, which brings us to the next suggestion…
  • Add another word to your domain name. TopMarketer.com not available? How about trying AmericasTopMarketer.com? Sometimes just adding some fun descriptive words will not only make your domain and business name more unique and available but also take your business name’s marketing from “OK” to “WOW!” You can also just add words like “online” or “best” if you are short on other concepts.
KnoweEm Screenshot

KnowEm lets people check for the use of brand, product, personal name or username instantly on over 500 social media websites.

Domain Best Practices

No matter what domain name you ultimately land on, you may want to stick to the following best practices:

  • Your domain name should be as short as possible. Shorter domains are easier for direct-type ins, don’t overflow on business cards, can be fully visible in search engines, and are social friendly (they can be easily shared from one person to the next).
  • Don’t buy a dropped domain unless you aware of the history of the domain. I once saw a real estate website that had formerly been a Japanese adult site. Even if any penalties or negative association had been scrubbed in search engine ranking algorithms, you can imagine that the backlinks to that site were not pretty.
  • Don’t put hyphens in your domain. They are easy to forget and confuse with the version of the domain names that don’t use hyphens.
  • Don’t use domains that are at all related to someone else’s trademark. This is illegal and can land you in hot water quick if someone finds out and decides to sue you. Any brand equity that you build into the domain will be lost as soon as you get that cease and desist notice.
  • Use keywords, if at all possible. Even if there is little SEO value to a keyword-rich domain, it will still build better keyword to domain associations with your customers.
  • But don’t stuff keywords! It will look terrible to users and not help with search engines.
  • Think about your social presence. If you’re naming a new business, it is ideal to make sure you can get some other social media accounts with the same business name. Before you settle on the domain use KnowEm.com to make sure that the most popular social media handles are available.
  • Buy similar domain names. Purchase easy misspells and other popular TLDs if they are available to keep anyone from squatting on your business name. This could be costly later once you have built up a brand and the domain squatters know that you don’t really have any negotiating leverage.
  • Don’t settle for the .co TLD of your brand just because it might be available. Although, there are many popular products and companies like calendar.co, angel.co and pocket.co they still likely lose large amounts of traffic to the .com versions of their domain which are completely unrelated to their business.

Conclusion

Whatever domain name you choose, it doesn’t have to be a lifelong commitment. You’re better off starting your web presence with the best solution you can find rather than spending weeks trying to find the perfect domain name.

With a little creativity and ingenuity, you can find a domain that works for you either temporarily or for many years to come just by following these tips and tricks on what to do when your .com is not available.


Image Credits
In-Post Images: 
Screenshots by Eli Schwartz. Taken August 2017.

Editor’s note: This post was previously published. It has been completely rewritten and updated.

Source: Search Engine Journal (Original