The power of preference centers

Earlier this year it was revealed by the DMA that new subscribers are willing to hand over their data in exchange for personal experiences. Savvy-shoppers know that brands have the tools to create something really special. Preference centers simply give brands the opportunity to hear what they want, directly from the consumer.

What makes a good preference center?

Like a one-to-one
with thousands of subscribers, a good preference center shows that you’re a
brand that cares about customers’ experience. You want to get to know as much
about them as possible to ensure their experience is memorable.

Giving control to
subscribers is the fastest, most efficient way to increase satisfaction and
decrease unsubscribes. You’ll quickly discover what they want, so you can
easily tailor your marketing efforts to meet their needs. The more you meet
their needs, the more likely they are to convert. And the more they convert,
the more they spend.

A preference center
should allow subscribers to:

  • Pick newsletters or topics they’d like to see in their inboxes, e.g. daily briefing, weekly travel updates, monthly product releases
  • Inform brands about areas of interest including products and departments, e.g. shoes and knitwear
  • Decide the channel they prefer to hear from brands on, e.g. email, SMS, or WhatsApp

A smart preference center is a massive data-gathering tool. So, while you’re letting customers tailor their experience, don’t forget to collect the data you need to create personalized email perfection.

Making preference centers work
hard for you

While customers are
crafting their perfect journey, you’ll be learning a lot about them. But
there’s always something more you could know. You’re building a two-way
relationship with shoppers, and as a result, they’re happy to give you extra
tidbits of information.

It all helps them receive a better experience, so consider the extra data you could be gathering:

  • First name, last name, and date of birth
  • Address or zip code
  • A favorite product or service/wishlist builder
  • Important dates, e.g. anniversaries, birthdays
  • How they discovered your brand
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Favorite bricks-and-mortar stores or how frequently they visit one

The possibilities are endless, but it’s vital you’re clear and honest about why you’re collecting this data. If you put it to work improving their experience, they’ll happily hand it over

Epic examples of perfect
preference centers

Preference centers can be shown to shoppers in a number of different ways. Whether you decide to collect this information with newsletter sign-up, during the welcome email or as part of their account set-up, these examples should be enough to get you thinking creatively about your data capture.

Science in sport

Science in sport sign-up

Sports nutrition brand, Science in Sport, starts its preference collection simply. Using a sign-up incentive, it makes it clear that shoppers will benefit right from the beginning of this relationship. The brand also uses the opportunity to gather its first preference from customers.

By asking “What is your preferred sport?”, the brand is able to use this information to send products specifically associated with running, cycling, or triathlons.

You don’t always need to collect every piece of information immediately. By gradually collecting customer information in the same way as Science in Sport, you don’t risk overwhelming your audience, and potentially ruining their experience.

Spotify

Spotify, on the other hand, allows customers to control the content they receive on an account level.

Spotify preference

Once an account has
successfully been created, customers are able to choose what they hear about.
For each topic, listeners can also choose whether these communications come in
the form of an email or a push notification.

By diversifying its marketing channels, Spotify is increasing its chances of successful engaging customers.

MATCHESFASHION

To ensure customers don’t miss their chance to build customer experience, MATCHESFASHION uses its welcome program to push preferences to be submitted.

MATCHESFASHION sign up
MATCHESFASHION preference center

This preference center not only outlines what each newsletter covers but also states the day that it’ll land in customers’ inboxes. This helps build anticipation for the latest announcements and product launches. It also gives shoppers the opportunity to follow their favorite fashion designers. This information can then be used to deliver personalized edits every Monday and Friday as part of the ‘WOMENSWEAR JUST IN’ subscription.

MATCHESFASHION also goes on to confirm whether customers would be interested in receiving marketing via phone and post, as well as membership to its loyalty program.

The overall result:
endless opportunities for shoppers to personalize their experience.

J. Crew

J. Crew Unsubscribe

Don’t miss a single
chance to let customers tell you what they want.

J. Crew doesn’t. In fact, when customers click ‘unsubscribe’ in email, J. Crew gives shoppers a final opportunity to tailor its communications. This offers a chance to save the relationship. Customers can either choose to adjust the frequency of their emails or specify the products they would rather hear about.

It’s what you do with the data
that counts

The secret to
successful marketing is all about the quality of the data you have.

The better the data
you have, the better the experience you can build with your customers. By
creating intelligent, personalized journeys for customers and putting the customer
first, you’re creating an engaged fanbase, dedicated to your brand.

A powerful preference center gives you all the information you need to deliver the right message to the right customer, at the right time and on the right channel for them. To discover more about how Engagement Cloud is empowering brands to use customer data, don’t miss our very own Gavin Laugenie speaking at Magento Live later this month.


Keep reading

Tips to generate engagement
Online engagement blog

The post The power of preference centers appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 19 hours ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Making the most of your Black Friday campaign

It’s, therefore, safe to say that getting your Black Friday campaign right is essential.

Over the last ten years, we’ve seen a massive shift in Black Friday sales. Traditionally an in-store shopping extravaganza, Black Friday deals are now being scooped up by online shoppers, sparking a clicks vs. bricks war. A whopping $6.2bn was spent online in the US on Black Friday – up 23.6% in 2017.

Consumers are clearly shunning the stores in favor of a more accessible and stress-free way to bag the shopping day’s deals. This presents a tricky challenge to ecommerce brands; while high-street retailers are rewarded with limited rivalry, online stores are fighting in an arena where their voices can be silenced by the sheer size of the competition. Our November send volume is proof that consumers’ inboxes were groaning with messages from brands: 1.6 billion emails were sent from the platform, peaking over the Black Friday weekend.

Shopping day turned shopping week

An extended Black Friday shopping period – sometimes
referred to by retailers as the Black Tag or Cyber Week event – has been a
growing trend over the last couple of years. Have too many brands jumped on the
bandwagon and saturated the market, resulting in a lack of sales on the day
itself?

Michele Dupré from Verizon Enterprise Solutions thinks that
consumers now see Black Friday as a marathon and not a sprint: “Retailers need
to be prepared. Everything used to be built around Black Friday. Now, shopping
starts in early November and continues to December 24. Retailers must keep
consumers engaged throughout.”

And, on that very note, we thought it was about time we checked on some of the big brands to see how they made the most of their Black Friday campaigns.

Trends and findings

A prominent observation from our research was that retailers
see Black Friday as a weekend-long or even week-long event.

None of the brands we looked at restricted discounting to one day. 100% of retailers who participated in the occasion offered a sale for four days or more, however email promos and previews often spanned beyond that period. There were variations on the name of the shopping event, however, most were branded Black Friday, the Black Tag Event, or Cyber Week.

66% of retailers didn’t try and claw back the abandoned cart

Using email to combat cart abandonment was a proven tactic
that was missed by 56% of the brands in our 2018 Hitting the mark report. It
seems as though the retailers have still not realized the huge revenue
potential of cart recovery emails, with 66% of brands we looked at failing to follow
up on the lost sale.

Abandoned cart automations are easily set up and can often
deliver ROI in a matter of weeks, if not days. And with the global shopping
cart abandonment rate sitting at around 75.6%, we’re baffled as to why more
retailers aren’t utilizing this ROI-generating automation.

44% of brands didn’t use email effectively

14 of our sample of 32 retailers didn’t adopt email as a
method to market Black Friday deals, despite 22 of the brands participating in
the promotion. This surprised us considering email delivers the best ROI of all
the marketing channels, with average returns of $44 for every $1 spent.

However, as you’ll see from the next set of stats, there were many brands that had a heavy reliance on email when it came to amplifying shopping day sales.

Consumers received an average of 18 emails a day during the period

We received a total of 130 Black Friday-related emails that arrived before, during and in the final throes of the shopping event. That means over the week-long period, an average of 18 emails landed in our inbox every day.

What we found was that brands tended to use email to tease us with previews in the run-up to the event, then went hard on the day. For the remainder of the event, it was common to receive countdown reminders or category-specific product deals.

Black Friday still reigns in the US

Black Friday has swept its way across the world with
retailers in the UK, France and New Zealand jumping on board. But it seems that
US-based brands are still the ones who go the biggest on Black Friday.

We received a total of 95 emails from US brands, compared to just 27 from UK-based retailers. This isn’t totally surprising seeing as the Black Friday shopping period is tied to Thanksgiving and its origins as the United States’ start of the Christmas season. However, there were some American brands that were quite aggressive in their use of email. For example, Overstock sent us 18 emails over the week but it was Best Buy who smashed that number with a total of 26 emails over the seven-day event, averaging four emails a day.

Noteworthy brands

Easy opportunities to boost sales are still being missed by
companies of all sizes in all sectors. We decided to home in on a few retailers
who performed highly, along with a couple which surprised us. From this, we
hope to inspire you to branch out and try something new for this years’ Black
Friday marketing campaign.

ASOS

ASOS is a global fashion destination for 20-somethings, selling cutting-edge fashion and offering a wide variety of fashion-related content. The brand scooped the top spot in our 2017 Hitting the Mark report, collecting the highest number of points for email marketing compared to the other 99 retailers.

ASOS ranked above the rest for timeliness, its use of
automation and cross-channel promotion. But how did it fare on Black Friday?

The fashion retailer ran a site-wide 20% discount over the four-day period from Black Friday. It was widely promoted via email and as an appropriately themed homepage takeover. What we really liked was that despite offering 20% off all its products, ASOS targeted us with a gender-specific promo email that homed in on a category we’d shown an interest in previously.

ASOS Black Friday event

After browsing the ASOS website, adding something to our
cart and abandoning the site, a few days passed but we received no cart
recovery message. The lack of an abandoned cart email surprised us as the
fashion retailer scored highly for this automation program in our previous study.
One recommendation would be to use the abandoned cart program as a last-ditch
attempt to bag the sale on the last day of the event.

John Lewis

John Lewis is a chain of upmarket department stores operating throughout the United Kingdom. In 2017’s Hitting the Mark, the retailer was crowned the King of Customer Experience, scoring 32 points from a possible 35.

For a well-respected brand like John Lewis, a shopping event
like Black Friday necessitates a careful balancing act of attracting custom yet
without cheapening its name. And no surprises, the department store did it in
admirable style.

The John Lewis homepage tastefully reflected its Black Friday campaign which complemented its existing design. What’s more, the retailer fought back the competition by advertising that it was price matching a close competitor’s promotion.

At the start of the event and on the final day, John Lewis
used on-brand responsive emails to promote its offer and link us off to the
various price-dropped product categories.

John Lewis Black Friday abandoned cart

Finally, we were impressed to see that John Lewis followed up with after a well-designed abandoned cart email to encourage us to complete our purchase. The cart recovery program delivered the email the day after we’d placed the item in our basket. We especially liked John Lewis’s emphasis on free and easy returns if we weren’t happy with the product once it arrived.

Timpson

Timpson is a British retailer specializing in shoe repairs, key cutting, and engraving, as well as dry cleaning and photo processing.

The brand came 96 out of 100 in our main report – did it
improve its tactics for Black Friday?

In short, no. A year and a half on from joining the company’s mailing list – and a couple of months later buying a product – we still hadn’t received a marketing email. Timpson didn’t jump on the Black Friday bandwagon and this was evident from its homepage and website.

Timpson Black Friday homepage

In the 2017 study, Timpson lost points for failing to send a
cart recovery email. We tried again for this Black Friday special, to no avail.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren is a leader in the design, marketing, and distribution of premium apparel, homeware, accessories, and fragrances. In our 2017 report, the retailer performed quite poorly, coming in at 86 out of 100. However, we were pleasantly surprised by its efforts on Black Friday.

Understated Black Friday design appeared to be a theme for premium brands. Ralph Lauren named its event ‘Cyber Weekend Deals’ and the style of its website promotion was very much aligned with its typical brand colors.

Ralph Lauren used email to the max during its Black Friday campaign, first offering us exclusive early access to its deals and then catching us with a cart email after ‘forgetting’ to purchase our chosen item.

Notonthehighstreet.com

Notonthehighstreet.com is the leading curated modern marketplace, connecting the best small creative businesses with the world. The brand came up trumps in Hitting the Mark 2017, coming in at joint 11th place – and it didn’t disappoint in our Black Friday review!

We really liked Notonthehighstreet.com’s cute Black Friday homepage banner styled out as a handmade typographic tapestry. Like many other retailers we reviewed, its Black Friday event spanned beyond the day itself.

Notonthehighstreet.com made sure we knew about its Black Friday campaign with an email to wake up to. It was creative and eye-catching with a GIF taking center stage, along with light-hearted copy to encourage us to click.

The Notonthehighstreet.com abandoned cart email was equally original, with witty words and helpful touches in case we were having issues checking out. A perfectly executed Black Friday campaign.

Notonthehighstreet abandoned cart

Key takeaways for 2019

Once an in-store shopping day, Black Friday has successfully
merged with Cyber Monday to become one mammoth event.

Smartphones contribute more than $2bn of the $6.2bn from online sales, so mobile-readiness is essential. We witnessed some great examples of mobile-friendly emails, particularly from John Lewis and ASOS who used optimized templates, images, and copy, plus responsive content blocks.

However, what was jarring was the brands’ lack of use of email marketing automation, namely abandoned cart programs. Overall, there was a lack of personalization and a penchant for one-size-fits-all offers. Using smart segmentation and marketing automation these can be easily avoided.

Implement today

Our advice for this years’ Black Friday campaign would be to focus on key customer segments using Engagement Cloud’s RFM personas. Using these, you’ll be able to differentiate your new customers from your inactive users and loyal shoppers, making it easier to take each segment on a personalized, automated journeys.

For more inspiration, check out our Hitting the mark: Black Friday special report.


Keep reading

The post Making the most of your Black Friday campaign appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 5 days ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Keep these 3 Essential Reasons to Hire Internet Marketing in Sydney in Memory

Internet marketing refers to the marketing efforts used on a mobile device on the internet. Using social media, email, different websites and search engines, business organisations can target prospective customers. It is safe to say that digital marketing and seasoned inbound marketing is quite the same thing. Of course, there are visible differences observed all … Continue reading “Keep these 3 Essential Reasons to Hire Internet Marketing in Sydney in Memory”

The post Keep these 3 Essential Reasons to Hire Internet Marketing in Sydney in Memory appeared first on OutreachMama.

Reblogged 6 days ago from www.outreachmama.com

11 devilishly good Halloween marketing tactics to BOOst your KPIs

Halloween is fast approaching. That means two things:

  • The watershed will be brimming with grisly, gory, grotesquely gruesome movies. (Not my cup of tea; I prefer ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’.)
  • Brands will pepper their stores, websites, emails, and ad campaigns with jack-o’-lanterns, cobwebs, and many other devilish delights.

Halloween is a fun time for revelers. (I for one am glad that we live in a world with Octobers.) But that’s not to say it’s an easy ride. Carving a pumpkin is the last thing you want to do after leaving the office and battling the commute. Plus, who has time to decide on a fancy-dress costume when picking out an outfit for work is a tiresome daily struggle.

In the same vein, the build-up to Halloween is often a challenge for brands. Preparing the campaigns and crafting the right message can leave marketers distracted from their critical day-to-day activities. What’s more, October 31st is slap bang in the middle of crucial holiday planning for Black Friday and Christmas. But it’s worth it: in 2018 175 million Americans celebrated Halloween and collectively spent $9 billion dollars – a record of $86.79 per person.

Success takes tactful planning and a touch of creative flair.  

Enter us. To help you get the most out of Halloween, we’ve sourced 11 frightfully good ideas that will add some dark delight to your marketing campaigns.

1. Include a trick or treat in your Halloween emails

You’d be mad not to. This is a classic quick-win that every marketer should employ. Make trick or treat a game and inspire subscribers to play to win. Hide two separate offers behind their respective calls to action: trick or treat. Apple bobbing is another great example of gamifying your message.    

2. The devil is in the design

Go kitsch. Do cheesy. It’s Fall, so be cozy too. Adding a seasonal flavor to your design is a great way to bewitch customers – it makes your page or email more visually relevant. An autumnal angle on your shopfront emits warmth and nostalgia. Be loud and clear and informative. Be creative with color – if you need inspiration, just look outside.

Halloween Fall
Halloween autumn

3. Build the suspense

The leaves are falling and maybe your prices are too. Or perhaps you’ve developed a special spooky product line for a limited time only. Make some fun, and shout about it before it’s too late. We loved the creativity and urgency in this example from Lush Cosmetics:

Lush

4. Spook-ify your subject lines

Great Halloween subject lines should be creative, urgent, and specific. Embrace the cliché, because every other marketer will be. Here are some best-practice examples:

  • 🎃 Celebrate Halloween with our
    terrifyingly good offers
  • Spooky
    Savings – Up to 50% off
  • Style
    so good, it’s spooky.
  • Did
    you hear who won the skeleton race? No BODY!
  • Witch
    better have my candy
  • Autumn
    enchantment just for you
  • Send
    your Boos some love

5. Personalize the trick (or treat)

Personalization is the key to customer engagement and should be used from January to December, not just during the holidays. And that doesn’t just mean using a first name, either. You should include numerous relevancy points such as references to location, preferences, or a loyalty scheme. We loved Starbucks’ spooky ‘Broomates’ rewards email. The Halloween spirit really comes through with the Gothic type and ghoulish treats.

Personalization

6. Halloween is great storytelling

The history of Halloween is fascinating, so talk about it. Curate a story series on the history of Halloween that complements any promotional campaigns you’re running. But don’t overdo it on the copy. Simplify your story with iconography and don’t digress from what you’re trying to say.

Halloween storytelling

7. Everyone loves a Halloween freebie

Consumers are like trick-or-treaters – they expect free stuff. It doesn’t have to be anything substantial or super-lux. You can mask an everyday promotion under the guise of a spooky special offer. Over recent years, retailer Home Depot has slashed (no pun intended) 50% off select Halloween tableware. While last year All Bar One offered 2-4-1 on their devilishly fruity ‘Bat Bite’ cocktail during Halloween week, prompting people to download their app.

Spooky drinks

8. Right message, right time. Spooky, right?

Knowing your audiences is
important all year round. But at Halloween you’ll need to work out who your
personas are and how you can target them. 

Some might:

  • throw/attend a Halloween party
  • carve a pumpkin and make pie or soup
  • buy candy for trick-or-treaters
  • take their kids trick-or-treating

Sick or treat? Don’t forget not everyone celebrates Halloween; some
despise it and avoid it like the plague. Tapping in to their Halloween hatred
is a clever way to make sales.

You can use all of the above to
send a tailored marketing message that leads to a monster sales boost. According to the Halloween & Costume
Association
:

  • Over
    9 in 10 celebrants purchase candies
  • 70%
    spend money on decorations
  • Nearly
    7 in 10 buy costumes 
  • ¼
    of celebrants get greeting cards

So, give your time-strapped shoppers exactly what they want this October.

Halloween party treats

9. Don’t just be scary – be enchanting

For some Halloween is a creepy affair. For others it’s a snug time of year. Think foliage, squash, and conkers. Think crisp morning frosts and spiced Pumpkin lattes. So, dilute your fangtastic emails with Fall-inspired campaigns that focus more on the historical and seasonal characteristics of Halloween. 

Halloween enchantment

10. Put a spooky spin on retargeting ads  

Halloween is your opportunity to
turn something inherently negative into something fun. Svedka Vodka’s Halloween
curse campaign certainly had the creep factor, haunting and taunting users
wherever they went.

The eerie banners made fun of the persistent retargeting ads that follow us today. This time, the onslaught of digital ads wasn’t that vacuum cleaner you viewed 29 days ago but spooky prompts and scrummy Svedka Vodka cocktails.

Creepy ads

11. Halloween-ify your products

Anything can be Halloweeny; even a motorcycle. Make sure you bring your products to the forefront. Halloween is a great opportunity to present your offering in a different and more visually creative way.

Halloween products

Witch tactic will it be?

Witchever tactic you adopt, just be fun! Halloween is the perfect opportunity to engage dormant contacts and delight regular customers. It all comes down to giving them a good spook and making them laugh. Remember that embracing the season is competitive: Whether you put a Halloween spin on your products, re-skin your emails with a ghostly template, or tell chilling stories, your brand’s authenticity is what people will remember.


Get holiday-ready with Engagement Cloud. If you’re already a customer, check out more holiday content here!

The post 11 devilishly good Halloween marketing tactics to BOOst your KPIs appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotdigital.com

The 2019 Holiday Checklist for Local SEO Heroes

Posted by MiriamEllis



Right now, the shoppers nearest you are making some pretty long gift lists. US holiday sales are predicted to surpass $1.1 trillion, with 4.5–5% growth between November–January. That’s a lot of gadgets, garments, games, goodies, and gizmos to bought and sold.

Winter weather and long lines will be braved, traffic endured, tired feet soaked, and patience tested in the search for the perfect gift for everyone on everyone’s list. Holiday shopping can and should be cheery, but sometimes it can be a bit of an overload. The end of the year can put local businesses back in the black, but it can be kind of stressful, too.

And that’s why local business marketers need a list of their own. Your agency can be holiday heroes, both to clients and their customers. An organized approach can ensure that no mom with three kids in tow is inconvenienced by a wrong address on a Facebook listing, and no dad is doomed to wander lonely aisles for hours with no help in sight. Strategic planning can save your clients, too, from total holiday frazzle.

Be of good cheer! Download the Moz Holiday Local SEO Checklist, share it with each of your clients, and plan for reputation, rankings, and revenue to rise as a result of your well-orchestrated campaign:

Get your free copy!

Holiday marketing success in 3 segments

Part 1: The client

The local business owner provides the basic, raw materials and agrees to being ready with:

  • Knowledge of their customers and market
  • Sufficient, well-trained staff
  • Front door and indoor signage explaining hours and support availability for complaints
  • Adequate stock
  • Content for marketing
  • A joint commitment to ongoing local listing/social engagement during the holiday season

Part 2: The local marketing agency

Your agency knits up the online picture of local businesses and is ready with:

  • Accurate, complete, persuasive local business listings
  • Unique marketing ideas to set the client apart
  • A joint commitment to ongoing local listing/social engagement during the holiday season
  • Publication of holiday content, on time and in the right places
  • Analytics and post-holiday analysis

Part 3: The customer

The shopper is aided along their merry way by:

  • A great online experience
  • A great offline experience
  • An overall experience that’s exceptional enough to inspire them to leave a review, recommend the business via WoM, and return for more shopping after New Year’s Day.

A lot of time and care goes into crafting happy holiday customers. Ready for a detailed list of the finer points that could take your agency’s reputation to heroic proportions as we put a bow on 2019?

Download the holiday checklist!

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!

Reblogged 2 weeks ago from tracking.feedpress.it

Email: 3 things you must do instead of ‘sending to all’

This is one of the most frequent conversations I have with dotdigital customers who want to email their entire recipient base about a change – and usually quickly.

They want help with minimizing risk and troubleshooting the damage. I get it, terms have changed, a new privacy policy has been put in place, or something else has happened that you’re being told has to be communicated to everybody. I’ve been there, I understand your pain and I want to shout: THERE’S A BETTER WAY. Dealing with the damage retroactively is not the only way to handle this situation. 

A word on legalities

Before I get into the whys and hows, please note that this is deliverability advice and is meant to help you get the most from your brands digital messaging.  you should always check the legalities with your legal team. 

Recognize your email KPI

Before
making the decision to send an email to your entire file, take a step back and
consider the impact it could have.

When
building an email program, the goal is to hit the KPI that you are being
measured on. Whether that’s revenue, getting attendees to an event, pushing
forward a cause, attracting users to your app – there are many intended
outcomes from sending an email. Sending to a much larger group than those that
will support that KPI puts the program you have dedicated your time to at
risk. 

The risks of blanket email

Mailbox providers are held to their customers wants and needs – people like you and I who have email addresses, and they need to watch the positive and negative indicators closely to make sure the emails being allowed to reach the inbox are from brands that are sending wanted emails. When you send to your entire file, regardless of the status of that recipient, you run the risk of:

  • more complaints (recipients who mark a
    message as spam, complain to your ESP or complain to the mailbox provider)
  • high unknown users (email addresses that don’t
    exist)
  • sending to spam traps (email addresses used to
    identify senders sending with poor list hygiene or sending to recipients
    who haven’t given consent)

These
negative interactions, which can come from sending to all email addresses in
your file, can have a serious knock-on effect. Emails going to the customers
that keep you in business are put in jeopardy and are at risk of going in to
the spam folder or not making it to the recipient at all.

How can
you accomplish your goals without the possibility of causing damage to your
email program’s bottom line? Here are three steps to help you through this
situation:

1. Send an email to active recipients

Those who are actively participating in the email conversation with you will be interacting positively (i.e. opening, clicking) with your emails. Send them an email to explain any changes in a way that they will understand. Give them the ability to take it a step further by drilling down themselves. This shows that you respect them enough to make sure they really understand the changes that are being made. 

2. Segment recipients that are not being sent emails regularly into other digital messaging methods

Here, you minimize the risk to your deliverability. One of the benefits of using Engagement Cloud, offered by dotdigital, is that there are other avenues available to you. There are different channels where recipients may be interacting with you and more effectively reached.

3. Respect those that have actively said they don’t want to hear from you

If a
recipient has unsubscribed from your messaging – don’t send them any messages.
Explore other ways of communicating with those recipients. A couple of
examples:

  • If you have an online account available to your recipients, use a popover that communicates to users the changes that have taken place – and requires them to click through.
  • If you have an app, ask the user to agree to the new terms before using the app again. 

The bottom line

Approach the communications with your recipients/subscribers/customers as a conversation. It’s a reciprocal, two-way thing, where both parties are conversing. Why risk ending the revenue-generating conversations by sending an email to your entire database when you don’t have to? Instead, save yourself some pain and use the opportunity to communicate with your recipients in the way they want to hear from you. Make this about them. 

Want more advice on deliverability?

The post Email: 3 things you must do instead of ‘sending to all’ appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 2 weeks ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Supercharging your marketing communication with in-store customer data

Businesses with a retail presence know very well that a strong omnichannel strategy lives and dies on having a single customer view. Storing offline and online shopping history in one place sounds awesome on paper but collecting personal information in-store is quite a challenge. 

When buying online, customers have all the time in the world, so they’re more inclined to type-in their contact data or register to a loyalty program, especially since their phone or computer can auto-fill certain fields. 

But in a brick-and-mortar environment, the same customers are less patient, unwilling to waste time on surveys in the middle of a shopping spree. Not to mention that manually writing down their information is just not a good user experience. 

A loyalty program could provide the necessary incentive since an overwhelming majority of people are willing to share their personal information and have their activity tracked in exchange for personalized rewards.

But to successfully seal the deal, you need to ensure that the in-store user experience is up to snuff. We at Antavo offer three solutions to engage guest shoppers the 21st-century way:  

Incentivised Product Interaction 

Associate each product with a unique tag that customers can find in a little sachet attached to the product. By scanning the tag, people will be redirected to the loyalty program’s landing page where they can register or sign in.

Link each product tag to an instant reward that customers can unlock by accessing the Loyalty program. Such rewards can include coupons or little gifts (like a free lipstick or custom laces) that can be enjoyed together with the purchase.

This strategy works because customers need to have an account in order to redeem the reward. And if they don’t, the fear of missing out will motivate them to quickly enroll in the loyalty program. Pro tip: when scanning the code, redirect shoppers to a page displaying an image of the reward to further emphasize the value of the incentive.

Mobile Passes

Mobile Wallets are native applications that are present in both iPhone and Android phones. Your Wallet can hold multiple Mobile Passes, which can be a one-time coupon, an event ticket or a loyalty program membership card.

Customers can have their Passes scanned by the shop assistant (using a POS device) to redeem a coupon or have their point balance updated. Doing so ensures that they’ leave a footprint after the purchase, giving you valuable insight.  

Another benefit of having a Mobile Wallet system is that you can target customers with personalized push notifications, using location-based technology. In other words, when they’re walking past the store, they receive a message telling them that their favorite product is now in stock. 

NFC-Enhanced Registration

If there’s something customers love even more than being rewarded, it’s being part of a great experience. The Loyalty Experience Kiosk — Antavo’s very own hardware-software solution — aims to turn the process of enrollment into something memorable; an act people genuinely desire to do. 

The Kiosk uses NFC technology to make the registration smooth and exciting. Imagine a large tablet that loops a flashy animation, inviting customers to touch their phone to screen. Once they do it, the animation changes, congratulating them, while the phone opens up the enrollment page.  

But the experience is only beginning. If they follow through and register, they can sync the phone to access various features on the tablet. For instance, after engaging with gamified functions such as the Prize Wheel or Sweepstake, the rewards aren’t shown on the tablet screen but on the phone, and it’s instantly redeemable during the checkout.

In short, NFC tech delivers value on two fronts: it makes the enrollment swift and painless, and at the same time increases footfall due to being a novelty.  

6 Reasons To Give In-Store Enrollment a Chance

With the solutions now at hand, it’s time to see what benefits you could reap from spicing up the store experience.

  • First and foremost, you can significantly expand your marketing database with the contact information of the freshly enrolled buyers
  • Even better, you have the means to retarget and nurture guest shoppers with follow-up messages or newsletters. 
  • In-store shoppers often have different preferences than their online-buying counterparts. Finally learning about their habits, needs, and wants is invaluable to engage them with personalized emails.
  • Having a larger and more diverse pool of contacts also unlocks new possibilities for A/B testing, as you can send out news and coupons with store-related incentives. 
  • Being able to bridge the gap between offline and online purchases highlights customers who buy on both channels, showing you their true purchase frequency. 
  • And let’s not forget that interacting with an NFC-enabled kiosk or redeeming a Mobile Pass are great experiences, convincing people to visit your shop more often. 

Naturally, collecting contact and personal information through loyalty solutions is just the first step towards faster, data-driven customer engagement. dotdigital and Antavo are hosting a marketing seminar, titled “How to boost your marketing with a loyalty program”, so if you’re interested in making your marketing communication more powerful, then book your seat here

The post Supercharging your marketing communication with in-store customer data appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 3 weeks ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Google Review Stars Drop by 14%

Posted by Dr-Pete

On Monday, September 16, Google announced that they would be restricting review stars in SERPs to specific schemas and would stop displaying reviews that they deemed to be “self-serving.” It wasn’t clear at the time when this change would be happening, or if it had already happened.

Across our daily MozCast tracking set, we measured a drop the morning of September 16 (in sync with the announcement) followed by a continued drop the next day …

The purple bar shows the new “normal” in our data set (so far). This represents a two-day relative drop of nearly 14% (13.8%). It definitely appears that Google dropped review snippets from page-1 SERPs across the roughly 48-hour period around their announcement (note that measurements are only taken once per day, so we can’t pinpoint changes beyond 24-hour periods).

Review drops by category

When we broke this two-day drop out into 20 industry categories (roughly corresponding to Google Ads), the results were dramatic. Note that every industry experienced some loss of review snippets. This is not a situation with “winners” and “losers” like an algorithm update. Google’s changes only reduced review snippets. Here’s the breakdown …

Percent drops in blue are <10%, purple are 10%-25%, and red represents 25%+ drops. Finance and Real Estate were hit the hardest, both losing almost half of their SERPs with review snippets (-46%). Note that our 10K daily data set broken down 20 ways only has 500 SERPs per category, so the sample size is low, but even at the scale of 500 SERPs, some of these changes are clearly substantial.

Average reviews per SERP

If we look only at the page-1 SERPs that have review snippets, were there any changes in the average number of snippets per SERP? The short answer is “no” …

On September 18, when the dust settled on the drop, SERPs with review snippets had an average of 2.26 snippets, roughly the same as prior to the drop. Many queries seem to have been unaffected.

Review counts per SERP

How did this break down by count? Let’s look at just the three days covering the review snippet drop. Page-1 SERPs in MozCast with review snippets had between one and nine results with snippets. Here’s the breakdown …



Consistent with the stable average, there was very little shift across groups. Nearly half of all SERPs with review snippets had just one result with review snippets, with a steady drop as count increases.

Next steps and Q&A

What does this mean for you if your site has been affected? I asked my colleague and local SEO expert, Miriam Ellis, for a bit of additional advice …

(Q) Will I be penalized if I leave my review schema active on my website?

(A) No. Continuing to use review schema should have no negative impact. There will be no penalty.

(Q) Are first-party reviews “dead”?

(A) Of course not. Displaying reviews on your website can still be quite beneficial in terms of:

  • Instilling trust in visitors at multiple phases of the consumer journey
  • Creating unique content for store location landing pages
  • Helping you monitor your reputation, learn from and resolve customers’ cited complaints

(Q) Could first-party review stars return to the SERPs in future?

(A) Anything is possible with Google. Review stars were often here-today-gone-tomorrow even while Google supported them. But, Google seems to have made a fairly firm decision this time that they feel first-party reviews are “self serving”.

(Q) Is Google right to consider first-party reviews “self-serving”?

(A) Review spam and review gating are serious problems. Google is absolutely correct that efforts must be made to curb abusive consumer sentiment tactics. At the same time, Google’s increasing control of business reputation is a cause for concern, particularly when their own review corpus is inundated with spam, even for YMYL local business categories. In judging which practices are self-serving, Google may want to look closer to home to see whether their growing middle-man role between consumers and businesses is entirely altruistic. Any CTR loss attendant on Google’s new policy could rightly be seen as less traffic for brand-controlled websites and more for Google.

For more tactical advice on thriving in this new environment, there’s a good write-up on GatherUp.

Thanks, Miriam! A couple of additional comments. As someone who tracks the SERPs, I can tell you that the presence of review stars has definitely fluctuated over time, but in the past this has been more of a “volume” knob, for lack of a better word. In other words, Google is always trying to find an overall balance of usefulness for the feature. You can expect this number to vary in the future, as well, but, as Miriam said, you have to look at the philosophy underlying this change. It’s unlikely Google will reverse course on that philosophy itself.

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!

Reblogged 3 weeks ago from tracking.feedpress.it

Are you ready for Black Friday? If not, here’s our checklist

For many of us, Black Friday conjures up terrifying images of crushing crowds and fighting over TVs.

Black Friday

That’s why we’ve
put together the ultimate checklist to help you plan your Black Friday sales
with confidence.

Today,
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are some of the biggest shopping days of the
year. Last year, Black Friday brought in $6.2
billion
in online sales in the US. Still a relatively new event in the UK,
2018 online sales increased by nearly 8% Y-o-Y to
reach £1.49 billion. In Australia, interest in Black Friday has grown by 614% over the last five
years, with shoppers spending on average
AU$263
a day.

Despite this, the public’s appetite for Black Friday deals seems to be declining. With fewer people visiting stores and opting to surf for sales online instead, competition is getting fiercer.

Black Friday boredom?

‘Declining’
might not be the right word. What we’re seeing is slow down. Where sale
increases had been in the double figures, we’re beginning to see that die down.

There
could be many reasons for this, but boredom is the most obvious explanation.

In the lead-up, shoppers’ inboxes are flooded with emails. Every single one of them shouting about not-to-be-missed deals and limited-time offers. They’ve heard and seen it all before.

Tactical shopping

Shoppers
are adapting. They’re preparing themselves and approaching Black Friday with
specific items in mind. 42% of shoppers know
what they want to purchase
, and they’re wise enough to have a rough price
in mind.

What
they’re buying depends on who they’re shopping for. 62% of shoppers are buying
for their families, while 45% are shopping for themselves.

Some
customers may be going through the year, racking up a list of items they want
to get when the Black Friday sales start. So, if they’re going to be tactical
about it, it’s time you were too.

Get Black Friday ready

Experience matters. On an average day, 80% of customers are willing to pay more for an item, if a brand offers them superior service.

To create unforgettable engagements, planning is essential. Especially for the holiday season. We’ve put together a killer checklist, so you can be fully prepared and focus on delivering the experiences that drive sales.

What
to do today:

1.) Decide what you’re offering

When we think ‘Black Friday’ we think sales, discounts, and price drops, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Big-ticket items tend to be where shoppers are looking for deals. Laptops, TVs, and smartphones being the most popular options. But if these fall outside of your remit, why not try another tactic? If you have a loyalty scheme or use RFM segments, how about targeting loyal customers with exclusive content? That’s what sports brand Nike did. There are no rules around Black Friday, so try something different to stand out in the crowded inbox.

2.) Update your PPC plan

We’ve already mentioned…

Look above

…shoppers have items in mind when Black Friday starts. What they may not have chosen is where they’re going to get it. By updating and increasing your PPC budget for the holiday season, your chances of being discovered will improve.

3.) Improve website UX

Experience extends far beyond how you make the reader feel with an email. Your website’s ease of use can be the difference between a sale, and an abandoned cart. Leading up to the holiday season, you should carry out a full audit of your site. Options such as guest checkout and gift-wrapping can make a huge difference to customers.

Guest checkout
Clear and simple. This is a perfect example from tech giants, Apple.

4.) Establish timelines

The most successful ecommerce retailer over Black Friday weekend (no surprise) is Amazon. Why is this? Because they offer a full week worth of discounts. Kicking off at the beginning of the week, Amazon runs deals all the way from Monday to Cyber Monday. Again, this is a great way to stand out from the crowd, but it’s not the only way.

Do
you want to build-up excitement and anticipation with a series of ramp-up
emails? Figure out what tactic you’re going to take and get planning. The further
in advance you can do this, the more time you’ll have to plan your design,
segments, content, and build your automation.

Also, don’t forget to be thinking about delivery. Can you fulfill a promise to deliver before Christmas? Are you going to need to outsource or hire more employees to manage your warehouse stock?

5.) Design your templates

Are you planning on refreshing your templates from last year, or looking for something a bit more bespoke to hook subscribers? Make sure you have them ready to go. Once they’re created so you can add them to your Black Friday automation programs.

It’s all important and now’s the time to get these details sorted. It’ll help ensure things go smoother as the big day approaches.

Let
the countdown begin:

6.) Push new sign-ups

Popovers are a great way to encourage new visitors to sign-up for your email marketing. In the lead up to Black Friday, use these to grow your marketing lists. Hook them with exclusive access to pre-Black Friday sales or free delivery during the sales when they subscribe.

7.) Plan your content

Show shoppers clearly, and concisely, why they should shop with you. What are your USPs? Bring your brand’s personality to life and give a reason to choose you over your competitors. Make sure your offers are clear and easy to understand. If you’re offering a discount via code, make sure it stands out and is eye-catching, so it’s not missed by readers. If it’s a site-wide discount, make it obvious. Remember, subscribers will be receiving hundreds of these emails. They’ll be skimming your emails at best, so make sure you’re hooking them above-the-fold.

BB Dakota Black Friday sale
Great Simple Studio Black Friday sale

You also need to reflect this across your whole site. You don’t want missed deals to lead to negative feedback because they weren’t visible on your site. Your offers need to be easy to find across your homepage and all Black Friday campaign landing pages.

8.) Check your providers

Make sure your website hosts and email providers know about your upcoming campaign and expect the rise in traffic. Updates or changes to their software could cause massive problems if they go wrong. Luckily, the development team at dotdigital put a coding freeze on Engagement Cloud during the holiday season, to ensure your marketing runs as smoothly as possible.

This year, Black Friday falls on Friday 29 November and runs until Cyber Monday on Monday 2 December.

Follow this checklist, and you’ll be ready to take on the world this holiday season.


Keep reading

Preparing for Black Friday
Holiday customer loyalty
Halloween blog

The post Are you ready for Black Friday? If not, here’s our checklist appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 4 weeks ago from blog.dotdigital.com

An Agency Workflow for Google My Business Dead Ends

Posted by MiriamEllis

There are times when your digital marketing agency will find itself serving a local business with a need for which Google has made no apparent provisions. Unavailable categories for unusual businesses come instantly to mind, but scenarios can be more complex than this.

Client workflows can bog down as you worry over what to do, fearful of making a wrong move that could get a client’s listing suspended or adversely affect its rankings or traffic. If your agency has many employees, an entry-level SEO could be silently stuck on an issue, or even doing the wrong thing because they don’t know how or where to ask the right questions.

The best solution I know of consists of a combination of:

  • Client contracts that are radically honest about the nature of Google
  • Client management that sets correct expectations about the nature of Google
  • A documented process for seeking clarity when unusual client scenarios arise
  • Agency openness to experimentation, failure, and on-going learning
  • Regular monitoring for new Google developments and changes
  • A bit of grit

Let’s put the fear of often-murky, sometimes-unwieldy Google on the back burner for a few minutes and create a proactive process your team can use when hitting what feels like procedural dead end on the highways and byways of local search.

The apartment office conundrum

As a real-world example of a GMB dead end, a few months ago, I was asked a question about on-site offices for apartment complexes. The details:

  • Google doesn’t permit the creation of listings for rental properties but does allow such properties to be listed if they have an on-site office, as many apartment complexes do.
  • Google’s clearest category for this model is “apartment complex”, but the brand in question was told by Google (at the time) that if they chose that category, they couldn’t display their hours of operation.
  • This led the brand I was advising to wonder if they should use “apartment rental agency” as their category because it does display hours. They didn’t want to inconvenience the public by having them arrive at a closed office after hours, but at the same time, they didn’t want to misrepresent their category.

Now that’s a conundrum!

When I was asked to provide some guidance to this brand, I went through my own process of trying to get at the heart of the matter. In this post, I’m going to document this process for your agency as fully as I can to ensure that everyone on your team has a clear workflow when puzzling local SEO scenarios arise.

I hope you’ll share this article with everyone remotely involved in marketing your clients, and that it will prevent costly missteps, save time, move work forward, and support success.

Step 1: Radical honesty sets the stage right

Whether you’re writing a client contract, holding a client onboarding meeting, or having an internal brand discussion about local search marketing, setting correct expectations is the best defense against future disappointments and disputes. Company leadership must task itself with letting all parties know:

  1. Google has a near-monopoly on search. As such, they can do almost anything they feel will profit them. This means that they can alter SERPs, change guidelines, roll out penalties and filters, monetize whatever they like, and fail to provide adequate support to the public that makes up and interacts with the medium of their product. There is no guarantee any SEO can offer about rankings, traffic, or conversions. Things can change overnight. That’s just how it is.
  2. While Google’s monopoly enables them to be whimsical, brands and agencies do not have the same leeway if they wish to avoid negative outcomes. There are known practices which Google has confirmed as contrary to their vision of search (buying links, building listings for non-existent locations, etc.). Client and agency agree not to knowingly violate Google’s guidelines. These guidelines include:

Don’t accept work under any other conditions than that all parties understand Google’s power, unpredictability, and documented guidelines. Don’t work with clients, agencies, software providers, or others that violate guidelines. These basic rules set the stage for both client and agency success.

Step 2: Confirm that the problem really exists

When a business believes it is encountering an unusual local search marketing problem, the first task of the agency staffer is to vet the issue. The truth is, clients sometimes perceive problems that don’t really exist. In my case of the apartment complex, I took the following steps.

  1. I confirmed the problem. I observed the lacking display of hours of operation on GMB listings using the “apartment complex” category.
  2. I called half-a-dozen nearby apartment complex offices and asked if they were open either by appointment only, or 24/7. None of them were. At least in my corner of the world, apartment complex offices have set, daily business hours, just like retail, opening in the AM and closing in the PM each day.
  3. I did a number of Google searches for “apartment rental agency” and all of the results Google brought up were for companies that manage rentals city-wide — not rentals of units within a single complex.

So, I was now convinced that the business was right: they were encountering a real dead end. If they categorized themselves as an “apartment complex”, their missing hours could inconvenience customers. If they chose the “apartment rental agency” designation to get hours to display, they could end up fielding needless calls from people looking for city-wide rental listings. The category would also fail to be strictly accurate.

As an agency worker, be sure you’ve taken common-sense steps to confirm that a client’s problem is, indeed, real before you move on to next steps.

Step 3: Search for a similar scenario

As a considerate agency SEO, avoid wasting the time of project leads, managers, or company leadership by first seeing if the Internet holds a ready answer to your puzzle. Even if a problem seems unusual, there’s a good chance that somebody else has already encountered it, and may even have documented it. Before you declare a challenge to be a total dead-end, search the following resources in the following order:

  1. Do a direct search in Google with the most explicit language you can (e.g. “GMB listing showing wrong photo”, “GMB description for wrong business”, “GMB owner responses not showing”). Click on anything that looks like it might contain an answer, look at the date on the entry, and see what you can learn. Document what you see.
  2. Go to the Google My Business Help Community forum and search with a variety of phrases for your issue. Again, note the dates of responses for the currency of advice. Be aware that not all contributors are experts. Looks for thread responses from people labeled Gold Product Expert; these members have earned special recognition for the amount and quality of what they contribute to the forum. Some of these experts are widely-recognized, world-class local SEOs. Document what you learn, even if means noting down “No solution found”.
  3. Often, a peculiar local search issue may be the result of a Google change, update, or bug. Check the MozCast to see if the SERPs are undergoing turbulent weather and Sterling Sky’s Timeline of Local SEO Changes. If the dates of a surfaced issue correspond with something appearing on these platforms, you may have found your answer. Document what you learn.
  4. Check trusted blogs to see if industry experts have written about your issue. The nice thing about blogs is that, if they accept comments, you can often get a direct response from the author if something they’ve penned needs further clarification. For a big list of resources, see: Follow the Local SEO Leaders: A Guide to Our Industry’s Best Publications. Document what you learn.

    If none of these tactics yields a solution, move on to the next step.

    Step 4: Speak up for support

    If you’ve not yet arrived at an answer, it’s time to reach out. Take these steps, in this order:

    1) Each agency has a different hierarchy. Now is the time to reach out to the appropriate expert at your business, whether that’s your manager or a senior-level local search expert. Clearly explain the issue and share your documentation of what you’ve learned/failed to learn. See if they can provide an answer.

    2) If leadership doesn’t know how to solve the issue, request permission to take it directly to Google in private. You have a variety of options for doing so, including:

    In the case of the apartment complex, I chose to reach out via Twitter. Responses can take a couple of days, but I wasn’t in a hurry. They replied:

    As I had suspected, Google was treating apartment complexes like hotels. Not very satisfactory since the business models are quite different, but at least it was an answer I could document. I’d hit something of a dead-end, but it was interesting to consider Google’s advice about using the description field to list hours of operation. Not a great solution, but at least I would have something to offer the client, right from the horse’s mouth.

    In your case, be advised that not all Google reps have the same level of product training. Hopefully, you will receive some direct guidance on the issue if you describe it well and can document Google’s response and act on it. If not, keep moving.

    3) If Google doesn’t respond, responds inexpertly, or doesn’t solve your problem, go back to your senior-level person. Explain what happened and request advice on how to proceed.

    4) If the senior staffer still isn’t certain, request permission to publicly discuss the issue (and the client). Head to supportive fora. If you’re a Moz Pro customer, feel free to post your scenario in the Moz Q&A forum. If you’re not yet a customer, head to the Local Search Forum, which is free. Share a summary of the challenge, your failure to find a solution, and ask the community what they would do, given that you appear to be at a dead end. Document the advice you receive, and evaluate it based on the expertise of respondents.

    Step 5: Make a strategic decision

    At this point in your workflow, you’ve now:

    • Confirmed the issue
    • Searched for documented solutions
    • Looked to leadership for support
    • Looked to Google for support
    • Looked to the local SEO industry for support

    I’m hoping you’ve arrived at a strategy for your client’s scenario by now, but if not, you have 3 things left to do.

    1. Take your entire documentation back to your team/company leader. Ask them to work with you on an approved response to the client.
    2. Take that response to the client, with a full explanation of any limitations you encountered and a description of what actions your agency wants to take. Book time for a thorough discussion. If what you are doing is experimental, be totally transparent about this with the client.
    3. If the client agrees to the strategy, enact it.

    In the case of the apartment complex, there were several options I could have brought to the client. One thing I did recommend is that they do an internal assessment of how great the risk really was of the public being inconvenienced by absent hours.

    How many people did they estimate would stop by after 5 PM in a given month and find the office closed? Would that be 1 person a month? 20 people? Did the convenience of these people outweigh risks of incorrectly categorizing the complex as an “apartment rental agency”? How many erroneous phone calls or walk-ins might that lead to? How big of a pain would that be?

    Determining these things would help the client decide whether to just go with Google’s advice of keeping the accurate category and using the description to publish hours, or, to take some risks by miscategorizing the business. I was in favor of the former, but be sure your client has input in the final decision.

    And that brings us to the final step — one your agency must be sure you don’t overlook.

    Step 6: Monitor from here on out

    In many instances, you’ll find a solution that should be all set to go, with no future worries. But, where you run into dead-end scenarios like the apartment complex case and are having to cobble together a workaround to move forward, do these two things:

    1. Monitor outcomes of your implementation over the coming months. Traffic drops, ranking drops, or other sudden changes require a re-evaluation of the strategy you selected. *This is why it is so critical to document everything and to be transparent with the client about Google’s unpredictability and the limitations of local SEOs.
    2. Monitor Google for changes. Today’s dead end could be tomorrow’s open road.

    This second point is particularly applicable to the apartment complex I was advising. About a month after I’d first looked at their issue, Google made a major change. All of a sudden, they began showing hours for the “apartment complex” category!

    If I’d stopped paying attention to the issue, I’d never have noticed this game-changing alteration. When I did see hours appearing on these listings, I confirmed the development with apartment marketing expert Diogo Ordacowski:

    Moral: be sure you are continuing to keep tabs on any particularly aggravating dead ends in case solutions emerge in future. It’s a happy day when you can tell a client their worries are over. What a great proof of the engagement level of your agency’s staff!

    When it comes to Google, grit matters

    Image Credit: The Other Dan

    “What if I do something wrong?”

    It’s totally okay if that question occurs to you sometimes when marketing local businesses. There’s a lot on the line — it’s true! The livelihoods of your clients are a sacred trust. The credibility that your agency is building matters.

    But, fear not. Unless you flagrantly break guidelines, a dose of grit can take you far when dealing with a product like Google My Business which is, itself, an experiment. Sometimes, you just have to make a decision about how to move forward. If you make a mistake, chances are good you can correct it. When a dead end with no clear egress forces you to test out solutions, you’re just doing your job.

    So, be transparent and communicative, be methodical and thorough in your research, and be a bit bold. Remember, your clients don’t just count on you to churn out rote work. In Google’s increasingly walled garden, the agency which can see over the wall tops when necessity calls is bringing extra value.

    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!

    Reblogged 1 month ago from tracking.feedpress.it