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

7 ways to boost ecommerce emails with social proof

So, what if there were a way to increase email conversions and improve customer experience – all without changing anything about the product or the price? Social proof uses readily available content to boost ecommerce emails, without the need for discounts or elaborate creative.

Why you need social proof

Social proof is the phenomenon where we
imitate others in order to make the right decision. When you crave an outfit
you just saw on Instagram or choose a busy restaurant over the quieter one next
door, you’re experiencing the effects of social proof.

This isn’t just a psychological tactic to
influence shoppers. Research shows that consumers see social proof as a key part
of the buying process.

Here, we’ll explore two types of social proof you can use to improve the performance of bulk and triggered emails:

Peer social proof

When making a purchase, consumers look for
unbiased sources of information such as ratings,
reviews
, and photos of real people
using the product. This is also called user-generated content (UGC).

For shoppers, ratings and reviews are a
crucial part of the buying process. 61 percent of customers look for product
reviews when making a purchase, while more than half (56 percent) find star
ratings helpful, and 29 percent want content from other customers.

Brands and retailers can help customers make better, faster decisions by including user-generated social proof in emails.

Wisdom of the crowd

When faced with a lot of options, we prefer to
follow what other people like us are doing.

You can use popularity messaging (e.g. ‘50
people bought this today’) to highlight what fellow customers are viewing and
purchasing. This adds urgency, informs shoppers what’s trending, and makes
stock more desirable.

Popularity messaging doesn’t require users to generate content for you – you can let the data speak for itself!

Here are some easy ways to enhance ecommerce emails with social proof.

1. Triggered emails: build trust with star ratings

Shoppers often abandon their cart because they aren’t ready to make a final decision. Triggered cart and browse abandonment emails are an opportunity to reduce purchase anxiety by including star ratings from existing customers.

Above is a great example of how social proof
can add value to shopping recovery emails without hugely altering the creative.
Star ratings fit in naturally alongside other essential information like
product imagery and delivery cost. Including the number of ratings adds another
layer of trust.

In a small space, Glasses Direct provides customers with a wealth of information to feel confident about completing their order.

2. Triggered emails: reassure shoppers with product reviews

Customer reviews go one step further than star ratings, giving detailed information about a customer’s positive experience of your product. Shoppers can more easily come to a smart decision when they know how your products perform in real life.

This example from Emma Bridgewater shows how reviews can complement vital product information and nudge customers towards completing a purchase.

3. Triggered emails: increase urgency with product popularity

You can harness the effect of social proof in
triggered emails even without user generated content. Popularity messaging uses
readily available browse and purchase data to show what other customers are
doing in real time.

This reassures recipients that your products
are proving popular, and increases urgency by indicating that the item may sell
out.

Cottages.com uses viewing data in booking abandonment emails to ensure that customers don’t miss out on their desired property:

Bulk marketing emails are the perfect occasion
to keep customers informed about your top-rated items. This builds trust and
shows shoppers that you care about providing them with the best quality
products.

For added impact, suggestions can be filtered by the recipient’s favorite category, as in this great product recommendation email from Bed Bath & Beyond:

5. Bulk emails: drive engagement with customer reviews

Bulk marketing emails can have lower
conversion rates than triggered messages, as they are not a direct response to
customers’ actions on your website. This means you have to work harder to
persuade customers to click through.

Providing brief customer reviews in marketing emails can spark the interest of customers who weren’t actively shopping for your products. Here’s an example from Molton Brown:

6. Bulk emails: encourage urgency with trending products

Highlight trending items with popularity
messaging to build trust in your products.

This has a two-pronged effect of tapping into
consumers’ fear of missing out (“What if the product sells out?”) and desire to
follow a consensus (“Other people are buying it, so it must be good!”)

In this email, VioVet adds urgency with messaging showing how fellow customers are interacting with the products right now:

7. Bulk emails: Inspire shoppers with social media content

Social media feeds let shoppers see your
products in real-life situations, so they can make an informed decision.

User-generated images appeal to customers’
emotions: shoppers can imagine how they will feel once they own your products.

Social media feeds can also encourage micro
conversions: While recipients might not be ready to make a purchase, they could
be persuaded to follow your social channels for more inspiration.

This email from LaRedoute makes shoppers feel part of a tribe by encouraging them to share their style:

Getting started with social proof

To get started, you’ll need to use a trusted ratings and reviews provider to collect customer feedback. Make sure that you have the right tools to incorporate ratings and review content, popularity data, and social media feeds into emails in real time.

For maximum impact, incorporate social proof
on your website to inspire shoppers at every stage of the journey. Consider
using a dedicated real-time marketing platform to provide a joined-up customer
experience without investing too much resource.

Download
The Retail Social Proof Barometer
to discover five types of social proof shoppers look for when making a purchase
decision.

The post 7 ways to boost ecommerce emails with social proof appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 4 months ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Boost your ecommerce success with dynamic pricing

The goal of every single ecommerce retailer is to find a solid way that leads them to improve their business. Personalized and segmented emails, delivering a great user experience and customer support, publishing good performing ads… The list goes on. All of these efforts have a great impact on the success of an online business. But in this article, we would like to tap into a mysterious area – having an effective pricing strategy through dynamic pricing to boost ecommerce success.

While dynamic pricing is not a completely new approach, ecommerce retailers have been using it more of late. Most of them were randomly optimizing their prices and changing them manually based on internal decisions. However, because of the increase in online price competition, and thanks to greater market intelligence and sophisticated dynamic pricing software, ecommerce retailers have realized the importance and the impact of dynamic pricing on their businesses.

What is dynamic pricing?

In basic terms, dynamic pricing is a pricing approach that enables you to set flexible prices by taking into account your costs, desired profit margins, the demand of the market and your competitors’ prices. In other words, you’ll be able to set the optimal price at the right time in response to real-time demand and competition status, while taking into account your business goals.

Why is dynamic pricing important?

The most apparent case is retail giant Amazon, who changes and updates its prices every 10 minutes and increased its revenues by 27.2%. Another big player, Walmart, adopted dynamic pricing and changed its prices 50,000 times a month. Using this pricing model, its sales jumped by 30% in 2013.

Dynamic pricing also lets retailers have additional and valuable insights on industry trends. Ecommerce retailers can apply different price limits and analyze price elasticities before deciding the optimal product price. A great way of testing and optimizing your prices is through paid ads. For example, Google Shopping provides instant data on how online shoppers are responding to your new price. You can analyze conversion rates, impressions, CTRs and margins after changing prices. By making continuous tests, you can find the optimal price.

The benefits of using a dynamic pricing strategy are abundant: improved margins and revenues; better conversion; control on the market; personalized prices based on season, demand and demographic; and presence in price comparison engines. As such, your prices always stay competitive and optimized in the ecommerce market.

Dynamic pricing use-case scenarios

If you are managing an ecommerce store, you should seriously consider adopting a dynamic pricing model with the right technology, since it has a significant impact on business success.

Here are some proven dynamic pricing use-cases that you can face in your industry:

  • Demand-based pricing

If the general or seasonal demand for your product is at low level, then you have to eliminate the excess stock in order to get rid of the extra costs. The most common practice is to drop prices as low as possible to increase sales.

On the other hand, if demand is high in the market (it can be a seasonal effect or instant hypes), it would be great to increase your prices for the purpose of boosting profits.

So in a nutshell, demand-based pricing lets you benefit from demand fluctuations in the market like increasing prices when demand is high or when your competitors’ products are out of stock.

Identifying your competitors’ out-of-stock products – through a competitor price monitoring tool, Amazon Bestseller, or tracking Google Trends – would give you great insight in understanding market demand and the most popular products over a certain time period.

Moreover, ecommerce retailers can apply a dynamic pricing strategy for some seasonal opportunities that occur during the holidays or shopping frenzies.

  • Time-based pricing

Time-based pricing is a dynamic pricing approach which enables ecommerce retailers to optimize their prices based on certain times of a day, month, year or the lifespan of a product in the market.

Different to demand-based pricing, as time is the core element rather than instant hypes in demand, the time-based pricing model is more predictable.

Let’s go through some real examples. The most popular industry using the time-based pricing approach is airline ticket providers. You should definitely notice that airline ticket prices are much higher in holiday seasons when compared with a regular season in the year.

Time-based pricing also works well if a product is outdated. Electronics brands use this strategy to increase the demand for an old version of a product. Whenever Apple releases a new version of a product, the price of an old version is marked down for the purpose of attracting more customers.

Through time-based pricing, you’ll always be aware of market trends as well as what your rivals are offering. With that intelligence you can always know where and when to decrease or increase your prices.

  • Competitive pricing

There are hundreds of competitors in the market and they adjust their prices continuously. That’s why you should also monitor them and take actions based on the pricing competition in the market.

If you deny your competitors then you won’t know if you’re priced too high or too low among them. That lack of information causes you to detach from the market.

In that scenario, you’ll face low conversion rates or slim margins which harm your sales and business growth. This is because your competitors are acting competitively and are more aware of market trends.

Do you know why?

The statistics show that majority of online shoppers compare prices before finalizing their purchase by visiting at least 3 online stores. Moreover, most of them name price as the very first criteria for their purchasing decision.

In a nutshell, because of price competition in the ecommerce space, online pricing becomes one of the key elements that influences the purchasing decision. So, retailers should be very attentive with their management and optimization.

Think about a scenario in which one of your competitors applies discounts and undercuts your pricing. With dynamic pricing, you can automatically react to its discounting strategy and regain your competitive status again.

Your prices may be too competitive when compared to your closest rival. So, even an increase of 10% or 20% won’t harm your competitiveness in the market. To grab at this opportunity, you need fresh competitor intelligence and dynamic pricing. By investing in both, you will be able to retain your competitiveness and increase your profit margin.

How to ‘really’ apply dynamic pricing to your strategy?

As mentioned above, Amazon is a huge fan of repricing!

Now let’s see how to apply this smart strategy!

Having tons of data is great. But, the crucial thing is to convert data into actionable insights. Fortunately, there are dynamic pricing and repricing software in the market that help you to generate recommendations from the data that you’ve collected from competitors. Then, the technology lets you calculate optimal prices through repricing rules that you’ve set based on your competitors’ prices, market demand and costs.

Once the optimal price rules are set, then you can enjoy the rest! The repricing engine works all day and your prices will be changed according to the fluctuations in the market and, of course, based on the rules that you’ve set. With the mix of competitive intelligence and repricing ability, your business can gain a seamless competitive advantage in the market. As you’re able to react to every single move in the market, your prices will always stay competitive or optimized.

Let’s give an actual example:

There are two different retailers competing in the same category:

  • The first retailer named ‘Great E-Commerce Retailer’ is selling all types of products from almost every category (electronics, home & kitchen appliances, fashion products, sports products,… the list goes on…)
  • The second retailer named ‘Super Sport Retailer’ specializes in the sports category.

Then, imagine that these retailers are competing harshly over price in the ‘football shoes vertical’. To take advantage of repricing technology and find the most optimal price, the below rule for Super Sport Retailer can be set;

My prices for every product under ‘football shoes category’ should be 10% lower

+

than ‘Great E-Commerce Retailer’

+

but they should be at least 15% higher than my costs

After setting this rule and assigning it in the repricing engine, ‘Super Sport Retailer’ will always have competitive prices in the football shoe category that won’t veer lower than its costs.

Repricing in ecommerce is key to remain competitive and grow your business online.

So, what are your thoughts on dynamic pricing and repricing? Have you ever tried it on your ecommerce store? If yes, what are your experiences? Please don’t hesitate to share all of them with us at Prisync.

The post Boost your ecommerce success with dynamic pricing appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

How to Boost Bookings & Conversions with Google Posts: An Interview with Joel Headley

Posted by MiriamEllis

Have you been exploring all the ways you might use Google Posts to set and meet brand goals?

Chances are good you’ve heard of Google Posts by now: the micro-blogging Google My Business dashboard feature which instantly populates content to your Knowledge Panel and individual listing. We’re still only months into the release of this fascinating capability, use of which is theorized as having a potential impact on local pack rankings. When I recently listened to Joel Headley describing his incredibly creative use of Google Posts to increase healthcare provider bookings, it’s something I was excited to share with the Moz community here.


Joel Headley

Joel Headley worked for over a decade on local and web search at Google. He’s now the Director of Local SEO and Marketing at healthcare practice growth platform PatientPop. He’s graciously agreed to chat with me about how his company increased appointment bookings by about 11% for thousands of customer listings via Google Posts.

How PatientPop used Google Posts to increase bookings by 11%

Miriam: So, Joel, Google offers a formal booking feature within their own product, but it isn’t always easy to participate in that program, and it keeps users within “Google’s walled garden” instead of guiding them to brand-controlled assets. As I recently learned, PatientPop innovated almost instantly when Google Posts was rolled out in 2017. Can you summarize for me what your company put together for your customers as a booking vehicle that didn’t depend on Google’s booking program?

Joel: PatientPop wants to provide patients an opportunity to make appointments directly with their healthcare provider. In that way, we’re a white label service. Google has had a handful of booking products. In a prior iteration, there was a simpler product that was powered by schema and microforms, which could have scaled to anyone willing to add the schema.

Today, they are putting their effort behind Reserve with Google, which requires a much deeper API integration. While PatientPop would be happy to provide more services on Google, Reserve with Google doesn’t yet allow most of our customers, according to their own policies. (However, the reservation service is marketed through Google My Business to those categories, which is a bit confusing.)

Additionally, when you open the booking widget, you see two logos: G Pay and the booking software provider. I’d love to see a product that allows the healthcare provider to be front and center in the entire process. A patient-doctor relationship is personal, and we’d like to emphasize you’re booking your doctor, not PatientPop.

Because we can’t get the CTAs unique to Reserve with Google, we realized that Google Posts can be a great vehicle for us to essentially get the same result.

When Google Posts first launched, I tested a handful of practices. The interaction rate was low compared to other elements in the Google listing. But, given there was incremental gain in traffic, it seemed worthwhile, if we could scale the product. It seemed like a handy way to provide scheduling with Google without having to go through the hoops of the Maps Booking (reserve with) API.

Miriam: Makes sense! Now, I’ve created a fictitious example of what it looks like to use Google Posts to prompt bookings, following your recommendations to use a simple color as the image background and to make the image text quite visible. Does this look similar to what PatientPop is doing for its customers and can you provide recommendations for the image size and font size you’ve seen work best?

Joel: Yes, that’s pretty similar to the types of Posts we’re submitting to our customer listings. I tested a handful of image types, ones with providers, some with no text, and the less busy image with actionable text is what performed the best. I noticed that making the image look more like a button, with button-like text, improved click-through rates too — CTR doubled compared to images with no text.

The image size we use is 750×750 with 48-point font size. If one uses the API, the image must be square cropped when creating the post. Otherwise, Posts using the Google My Business interface will give you an option to crop. The only issue I have with the published version of the image: the cropping is uneven — sometimes it is center-cropped, but other times, the bottom is cut off. That makes it hard to predict when on-image text will appear. But we keep it in the center which generally works pretty well.

Miriam: And, when clicked on, the Google Post takes the user to the client’s own website, where PatientPop software is being used to manage appointments — is that right?

Joel: Yes, the site is built by PatientPop. When selecting Book, the patient is taken directly to the provider’s site where the booking widget is opened and an appointment can be selected from a calendar. These appointments can be synced back to the practice’s electronic records system.

Miriam: Very tidy! As I understand it, PatientPop manages thousands of client listings, necessitating the need to automate this use of Google Posts. Without giving any secrets away, can you share a link to the API you used and explain how you templatized the process of creating Posts at scale?

Joel: Sure! We were waiting for Google to provide Posts via the Google My Business API, because we wanted to scale. While I had a bit of a heads-up that the API was coming — Google shared this feature with their GMB Top Contributor group — we still had to wait for it to launch to see the documentation and try it out. So, when the launch announcement went out on October 11, with just a few developers, we were able to implement the solution for all of our practices the next evening. It was a fun, quick win for us, though it was a bit of a long day. 🙂

In order to get something out that quickly, we created templates that could use information from the listing itself like the business name, category, and location. That way, we were able to create a stand-alone Python script that grabbed listings from Google. When getting the listings, all the listing content comes along with it, including name, address, and category. These values are taken directly from the listing to create Posts and then are submitted to Google. We host the images on AWS and reuse them by submitting the image URL with the post. It’s a Python script which runs as a cron job on a regular schedule. If you’re new to the API, the real tricky part is authentication, but the GMB community can help answer questions there.

Miriam: Really admirable implementation! One question: Google Posts expire after 7 days unless they are events, so are you basically automating re-posting of the booking feature for each listing every seven days?

Joel: We create Posts every seven days for all our practices. That way, we can mix up the content and images used on any given practice. We’re also adding a second weekly post for practices that offer aesthetic services. We’ll be launching more Posts for specific practice types going forward, too.

Miriam: Now for the most exciting part, Joel! What can you tell me about the increase in appointments this use of Google Posts has delivered for your customers? And, can you also please explain what parameters and products you are using to track this growth?

Joel: To track clicks from listings on Google, we use UTM parameters. We can then track the authority page, the services (menu) URL, the appointment URL, and the Posts URL.

When I first did this analysis, I looked at the average of the last three weeks of appointments compared to the 4 days after launch. Over that period, I saw nearly an 8% increase in online bookings. I’ve since included the entire first week of launch. It shows an 11% average increase in online bookings.

Additionally, because we’re tracking each URL in the knowledge panel separately, I can confidently say there’s no cannibalization of clicks from other URLs as a result of adding Posts. While authority page CTR remained steady, services lost over 10% of the clicks and appointment URLs gained 10%. That indicates to me that not only are the Posts effective in driving appointments through the Posts CTA, it emphasizes the existing appointment CTA too. This was in the context of no additional product changes on our side.

Miriam: Right, so, some of our readers will be using Google’s Local Business URLs (frequently used for linking to menus) to add an “Appointments” link. One of the most exciting takeaways from your implementation is that using Google Posts to support bookings didn’t steal attention away from the appointment link, which appears higher up in the Knowledge Panel. Can you explain why you feel the Google Posts clicks have been additive instead of subtractive?

Joel: The “make appointment” link gets a higher CTR than Posts, so it shouldn’t be ignored. However, since
Posts include an image, I suspect it might be attracting a different kind of user, which is more primed to interact with images. And because we’re so specific on the type of interaction we want (appointment booking), both with the CTA and the image, it seems to convert well. And, as I stated above, it seems to help the appointment URLs too.

Miriam: I was honestly so impressed with your creativity in this, Joel. It’s just brilliant to look at something as simple as this little bit of Google screen real estate and ask, “Now, how could I use this to maximum effect?” Google Posts enables business owners to include links labeled Book, Order Online, Buy, Learn More, Sign Up, and Get Offer. The “Book” feature is obviously an ideal match for your company’s health care provider clients, but given your obvious talent for thinking outside the box, would you have any creative suggestions for other types of business models using the other pre-set link options?

Joel: I’m really excited about the events feature, actually. Because you can create a long-lived post while adding a sense of urgency by leveraging a time-bound context. Events can include limited-time offers, like a sale on a particular product, or signups for a newsletter that will include a coupon code. You can use all the link labels you’ve listed above for any given event. And, I think using the image-as-button philosophy can really drive results. I’d like to see an image with text Use coupon code XYZ546 now! with the Get Offer button. I imagine many business types, especially retail, can highlight their limited time deals without paying other companies to advertise your coupons and deals via Posts.

Miriam: Agreed, Joel, there are some really exciting opportunities for creative use here. Thank you so much for the inspiring knowledge you’ve shared with our community today!


Ready to get the most from Google Posts?

Reviews can be a challenge to manage. Google Q&A may be a mixed blessing. But as far as I can see, Posts are an unalloyed gift from Google. Here’s all you have to do to get started using them right now for a single location of your business:

  • Log into your Google My Business dashboard and click the “Posts” tab in the left menu.
  • Determine which of the options, labeled “Buttons,” is the right fit for your business. It could be “Book,” or it could be something else, like “Sign up” or “Buy.” Click the “Add a Button” option in the Google Posts wizard. Be sure the URL you enter includes a UTM parameter for tracking purposes.
  • Upload a 750×750 image. Joel recommends using a simple-colored background and highly visible 42-point font size for turning this image into a CTA button-style graphic. You may need to experiment with cropping the image.
  • Alternatively, you can create an event, which will cause your post to stay live through the date of the event.
  • Text has a minimum 100-character and maximum 300-character limit. I recommend writing something that would entice users to click to get beyond the cut-off point, especially because it appears to me that there are different display lengths on different devices. It’s also a good idea to bear in mind that Google Posts are indexed content. Initial testing is revealing that simply utilizing Posts may improve local pack rankings, but there is also an interesting hypothesis that they are a candidate for long-tail keyword optimization experiments. According to Mike Blumenthal:

“…If there are very long-tail phrases, where the ability to increase relevance isn’t up against so many headwinds, then this is a signal that Google might recognize and help lift the boat for that long-tail phrase. My experience with it was it didn’t work well on head phrases, and it may require some amount of interaction for it to really work well. In other words, I’m not sure just the phrase itself but the phrase with click-throughs on the Posts might be the actual trigger to this. It’s not totally clear yet.”

  • You can preview your post before you hit the publish button.
  • Your post will stay live for 7 days. After that, it will be time to post a new one.
  • If you need to implement at scale across multiple listings, re-read Joel’s description of the API and programming PatientPop is utilizing. It will take some doing, but an 11% increase in appointments may well make it worth the investment! And obviously, if you happen to be marketing health care providers, checking out PatientPop’s ready-made solution would be smart.

Nobody likes a ball-hog

I’m watching the development of Google Posts with rapt interest. Right now, they reside on Knowledge Panels and listings, but given that they are indexed, it’s not impossible that they could eventually end up in the organic SERPs. Whether or not that ever happens, what we have right now in this feature is something that offers instant publication to the consumer public in return for very modest effort.

Perhaps even more importantly, Posts offer a way to bring users from Google to your own website, where you have full control of messaging. That single accomplishment is becoming increasingly difficult as rich-feature SERPs (and even single results) keep searchers Google-bound. I wonder if school kids still shout “ball-hog” when a classmate refuses to relinquish ball control and be a team player. For now, for local businesses, Google Posts could be a precious chance for your brand to handle the ball.

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Reblogged 1 year ago from tracking.feedpress.it

Give your open rates a boost

That’s great, you might think, but do they act on the call-to-action once they’ve been opened? The one thing to keep in mind when measuring success is not just the number of opened emails, but the number of opened emails that then result in some kind of action: a sale or a lead.

In this post, we’ll share a few tips that’ll help you open your mind to new and exciting ways to get your customers to open, and act on, your emails.

Start as you mean to go on

When you meet someone new for the first time, it’s natural to introduce yourself. And the concept should be exactly the same when it comes to sending a first-time email.

Tell your customer or lead why you’re contacting them in a welcome email – for instance, they could’ve signed up to your newsletter on your website or joined your list as part of a social media competition. Set the expectations of your relationship, like letting them know how often they can expect to hear from you or telling them the kind of content they’ll receive from you. The more you put them in the picture, and the more information you give them about yourself, the more likely they are to open any future correspondence from you.

Keep it fresh

People’s tastes and preferences change over time. That’s why it’s essential you keep your mailing list as fresh as possible. You can do this by simply asking your subscribers if they still want to hear from you, or by checking in and seeing what they’d be interested in receiving via a survey.

If not, try a re-engagement program based on what you know about your contacts. You could either use the insight you have on your customers to create super-relevant content, or attempt something a little more explicit like a ‘We miss you’ email with accompanying offer. You can also use more creative and imaginative subject lines to pique interest – sometimes wacky and unexpected will alter people’s perceptions of your brand.

But if all this fails, simply (and politely) go your separate ways.

Make your subject line STAND OUT

A creative, funny, interesting, relevant, timely or personalized subject line can really help to boost your open rates.

Bland, generic ones are likely to block your chances – so make sure you put as much effort into crafting your subject line as you do your email body copy.

Use A/B testing to your advantage – record the results; keep sending the ones that work and stop sending the ones that don’t!

Segment your list

Every one of your customers has different needs, tastes and desires. Communicate with them accordingly by creating meaningful segments and tailoring your content so that it has resonance with each set of contacts.

Age, gender, location, past orders, behavioral data: these kinds of insight are invaluable in helping to guide you as to who should receive what content. Remember, the days of ‘batch and blast’ mailing are long gone – the more personal you are with people in your emails, the more likely they are to open and act on your messages.

Avoid spam

Another way to improve your open rates is to avoid your emails being labelled as spam. Every time an email is marked as spam, you’re at risk of harming your sender reputation.

Firstly, you’ll want to make sure your email makes it to the inbox by using a spam checker. dotmailer’s spam test gives your email a spam filter score and alerts you when it’s in danger of triggering inbox spam filters. This ensures that your IP reputation remains as clean as possible by providing you with a detailed breakdown of how your content and code scores against all the key spam filters in use.

Secondly, make it clear that the email is from a recognized sender. If it’s not obvious that it’s from you – i.e. you don’t have a friendly ‘from’ name or the email isn’t branded – then the recipient could mistake your email as spam.

Timing is everything

Open rates very much depend on timing. Day or night? Weekday or weekend? Season? It can be difficult to gauge, particularly when one person might consume your content during their morning commute and another might check emails intermittently throughout the day. One way is to test sending your emails at different times and see which garners the best overall response.

Another is to use dotmailer’s Send Time Optimization tool, which will optimize the time of individual sends to maximize open rates based on your contacts’ historical behavior.

Don’t be content with just standard content

If your recipient thinks they’re going to benefit in some way shape or form from opening your email, they will. You have to reward them for doing so. There has to be some value, financial or otherwise, in every email you send.

Discounts, loyalty points, exclusive previews, limited-time offers, video, tips, blogs….so whatever kind of content you provide, make sure it benefits the recipient.

Subscribe to a clear unsubscribe button

As painful as it might seem, some customers will want to separate from you.

To show that you’ve nothing to hide, don’t hide your unsubscribe button. Make it clear and accessible. If people see you’re being honest and fair, the more likely they are to trust you in the first place.

By using all the tools at your disposal – such as a spam filter – and making sure you’ve upped the relevancy of your emails, you’re much more likely to reach people’s inboxes and achieve the desired responses.

See many more marketing tips in our regularly updated resources library.

The post Give your open rates a boost appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

How to boost your open rates

Beautiful looking emails, filled with engaging messages and fantastic offers, can only be appreciated by their reader if they are opened in the first place.  As far as success metrics go, open rates shouldn’t be used as a stand-alone statistic. However, widening the funnel at the top is certainly beneficial towards boosting arguably more meaningful engagement & click through rates.

There are several ways you can approach raising those open rates, from top level targeting to fine-tuning your wording.  This blog aims to help you structure your tests to get the most meaningful results.

Think Strategically

The first way you can make sure your emails are being opened is to ensure your customers know who you are – make your ‘friendly from’ name clear to avoid being missed in the inbox.

If your open rates benchmark low against the industry average, or are steadily declining, it could indicate that your customers are no longer engaging with your brand. If you see this trend, you should look to remove disengaged customers from your list, or give them preference options to regulate how often they hear from you for further segmentation. Not only is this best practice for managing customer lifecycles, but repeatedly emailing disengaged users will risk you hitting SPAM traps – damaging your brand and deliverability reputation.

Think Tactically

If your contact strategy is geared towards marketing to the right people, next you should be thinking of tactics to grab your customers’ attention in their crowded inbox.

A solid test & learn strategy should determine the optimum time to reach customers, as this will be different by industry sector & individual brand.

Your data should tell you when your customers are opening, and you should use this information to target them accordingly.  If your readers prefer enjoying your newsletter at home on a Sunday evening, that’s the time to target. It can also make all the difference to hit the inbox while they’re on their morning commute, rather than getting forgotten over lunch time.

Once you’ve figured out your optimum time to get mailing, be consistent.  It will build brand trust over time as your customers look forward to hearing from you.

Think Delivery

You’ve figured out the strategy and top level tactics; now it’s time to get noticed.

You haven’t got much text to play with in a subject line so it’s important to make every letter count.

The careful use of numbers & punctuation can be eye catching to the reader, but be careful not to overdo it and stray into SPAM territory.  If it works with your brand you can make the most of the growth in mobile and experiment with some emojis.

Humour, wordplay and personalisation helps you stand out from the crowd (if you don’t already, check out Paperchase emails for great examples of this).  However, if your copy writing isn’t that creative, make sure you front load your strongest offer/message so it doesn’t get overlooked

 

Whatever ideas you may take from this blog, remember to keep testing and keep learning.  What works for your customers now may not in 6 months, so pay attention to how they’re engaging with you and hone your strategy, tactics and delivery accordingly.

 

 

The post How to boost your open rates appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

SearchCap: Google Updates Local Guides, Bing Rewards On MSN & New AdWords Tests

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Google Using Points To Boost User Reviews, Beef Up Maps Content Nov 13, 2015 by Greg Sterling A couple of years ago, Google created a program in the mold of the…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 3 years ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

The Linkbait Bump: How Viral Content Creates Long-Term Lift in Organic Traffic – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

A single fantastic (or “10x”) piece of content can lift a site’s traffic curves long beyond the popularity of that one piece. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand talks about why those curves settle into a “new normal,” and how you can go about creating the content that drives that change.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard. Click on it to open a high resolution image in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re chatting about the linkbait bump, classic phrase in the SEO world and almost a little dated. I think today we’re talking a little bit more about viral content and how high-quality content, content that really is the cornerstone of a brand or a website’s content can be an incredible and powerful driver of traffic, not just when it initially launches but over time.

So let’s take a look.

This is a classic linkbait bump, viral content bump analytics chart. I’m seeing over here my traffic and over here the different months of the year. You know, January, February, March, like I’m under a thousand. Maybe I’m at 500 visits or something, and then I have this big piece of viral content. It performs outstandingly well from a relative standpoint for my site. It gets 10,000 or more visits, drives a ton more people to my site, and then what happens is that that traffic falls back down. But the new normal down here, new normal is higher than the old normal was. So the new normal might be at 1,000, 1,500 or 2,000 visits whereas before I was at 500.

Why does this happen?

A lot of folks see an analytics chart like this, see examples of content that’s done this for websites, and they want to know: Why does this happen and how can I replicate that effect? The reasons why are it sort of feeds back into that viral loop or the flywheel, which we’ve talked about in previous Whiteboard Fridays, where essentially you start with a piece of content. That content does well, and then you have things like more social followers on your brand’s accounts. So now next time you go to amplify content or share content socially, you’re reaching more potential people. You have a bigger audience. You have more people who share your content because they’ve seen that that content performs well for them in social. So they want to find other content from you that might help their social accounts perform well.

You see more RSS and email subscribers because people see your interesting content and go, “Hey, I want to see when these guys produce something else.” You see more branded search traffic because people are looking specifically for content from you, not necessarily just around this viral piece, although that’s often a big part of it, but around other pieces as well, especially if you do a good job of exposing them to that additional content. You get more bookmark and type in traffic, more searchers biased by personalization because they’ve already visited your site. So now when they search and they’re logged into their accounts, they’re going to see your site ranking higher than they normally would otherwise, and you get an organic SEO lift from all the links and shares and engagement.

So there’s a ton of different factors that feed into this, and you kind of want to hit all of these things. If you have a piece of content that gets a lot of shares, a lot of links, but then doesn’t promote engagement, doesn’t get more people signing up, doesn’t get more people searching for your brand or searching for that content specifically, then it’s not going to have the same impact. Your traffic might fall further and more quickly.

How do you achieve this?

How do we get content that’s going to do this? Well, we’re going to talk through a number of things that we’ve talked about previously on Whiteboard Friday. But there are some additional ones as well. This isn’t just creating good content or creating high quality content, it’s creating a particular kind of content. So for this what you want is a deep understanding, not necessarily of what your standard users or standard customers are interested in, but a deep understanding of what influencers in your niche will share and promote and why they do that.

This often means that you follow a lot of sharers and influencers in your field, and you understand, hey, they’re all sharing X piece of content. Why? Oh, because it does this, because it makes them look good, because it helps their authority in the field, because it provides a lot of value to their followers, because they know it’s going to get a lot of retweets and shares and traffic. Whatever that because is, you have to have a deep understanding of it in order to have success with viral kinds of content.

Next, you want to have empathy for users and what will give them the best possible experience. So if you know, for example, that a lot of people are coming on mobile and are going to be sharing on mobile, which is true of almost all viral content today, FYI, you need to be providing a great mobile and desktop experience. Oftentimes that mobile experience has to be different, not just responsive design, but actually a different format, a different way of being able to scroll through or watch or see or experience that content.

There are some good examples out there of content that does that. It makes a very different user experience based on the browser or the device you’re using.

You also need to be aware of what will turn them off. So promotional messages, pop-ups, trying to sell to them, oftentimes that diminishes user experience. It means that content that could have been more viral, that could have gotten more shares won’t.

Unique value and attributes that separate your content from everything else in the field. So if there’s like ABCD and whoa, what’s that? That’s very unique. That stands out from the crowd. That provides a different form of value in a different way than what everyone else is doing. That uniqueness is often a big reason why content spreads virally, why it gets more shared than just the normal stuff.

I’ve talk about this a number of times, but content that’s 10X better than what the competition provides. So unique value from the competition, but also quality that is not just a step up, but 10X better, massively, massively better than what else you can get out there. That makes it unique enough. That makes it stand out from the crowd, and that’s a very hard thing to do, but that’s why this is so rare and so valuable.

This is a critical one, and I think one that, I’ll just say, many organizations fail at. That is the freedom and support to fail many times, to try to create these types of effects, to have this impact many times before you hit on a success. A lot of managers and clients and teams and execs just don’t give marketing teams and content teams the freedom to say, “Yeah, you know what? You spent a month and developer resources and designer resources and spent some money to go do some research and contracted with this third party, and it wasn’t a hit. It didn’t work. We didn’t get the viral content bump. It just kind of did okay. You know what? We believe in you. You’ve got a lot of chances. You should try this another 9 or 10 times before we throw it out. We really want to have a success here.”

That is something that very few teams invest in. The powerful thing is because so few people are willing to invest that way, the ones that do, the ones that believe in this, the ones that invest long term, the ones that are willing to take those failures are going to have a much better shot at success, and they can stand out from the crowd. They can get these bumps. It’s powerful.

Not a requirement, but it really, really helps to have a strong engaged community, either on your site and around your brand, or at least in your niche and your topic area that will help, that wants to see you, your brand, your content succeed. If you’re in a space that has no community, I would work on building one, even if it’s very small. We’re not talking about building a community of thousands or tens of thousands. A community of 100 people, a community of 50 people even can be powerful enough to help content get that catalyst, that first bump that’ll boost it into viral potential.

Then finally, for this type of content, you need to have a logical and not overly promotional match between your brand and the content itself. You can see many sites in what I call sketchy niches. So like a criminal law site or a casino site or a pharmaceutical site that’s offering like an interactive musical experience widget, and you’re like, “Why in the world is this brand promoting this content? Why did they even make it? How does that match up with what they do? Oh, it’s clearly just intentionally promotional.”

Look, many of these brands go out there and they say, “Hey, the average web user doesn’t know and doesn’t care.” I agree. But the average web user is not an influencer. Influencers know. Well, they’re very, very suspicious of why content is being produced and promoted, and they’re very skeptical of promoting content that they don’t think is altruistic. So this kills a lot of content for brands that try and invest in it when there’s no match. So I think you really need that.

Now, when you do these linkbait bump kinds of things, I would strongly recommend that you follow up, that you consider the quality of the content that you’re producing. Thereafter, that you invest in reproducing these resources, keeping those resources updated, and that you don’t simply give up on content production after this. However, if you’re a small business site, a small or medium business, you might think about only doing one or two of these a year. If you are a heavy content player, you’re doing a lot of content marketing, content marketing is how you’re investing in web traffic, I’d probably be considering these weekly or monthly at the least.

All right, everyone. Look forward to your experiences with the linkbait bump, and I will see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Reblogged 4 years ago from tracking.feedpress.it