Don’t stifle creativity by process

Scott Field is the Director of Communications at Team GB (The British Olympic Association), a role he decided to take after previously being Head of Media Relations at the FA.

He’s just returned from a successful Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, where Team GB mustered the enthusiasm of British athletes and fans alike; upon his return, we were keen for Scott to recall his experience and share it with us.

There’s no doubt that the British Olympic Association believes strongly in sport, as a means to challenge, inspire and unify us. The body has a vision to empower people to push themselves to the finish line and accomplish the ‘impossible’. At the end of the day, we’re all aspiring to be the best we can be – aren’t we?

This is a strong proposition and marketing is a crucial tool to get the message across in the most impactful way possible. We stopped in for a chat with Scott to get a little insight into what goes on in the mind of a Director at one of the most inspirational organizations of our time…

 

1. You moved from the FA to the Olympics – what do you think has been the biggest difference between the two?

Clearly, The FA is under incredible scrutiny and such is the prominence of football in the media and popular culture, the sport is constantly in the spotlight. Olympic Sport, on the other hand, has to work hard(er) for its coverage.

 

2. You’ve recently come back from the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang which must have been an amazing experience – is there a lot of difference between the Summer and Winter Olympics? Is there one that you prefer?

There is a great difference in the scale and therefore the intensity of the competition, but the sport is still of the highest quality. There is also an obvious difference in the athletes around free sports such as ski and snowboard park and pipe disciplines which makes it a really refreshing mix. It’ll be great to see free sports such as surfing and skateboarding in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games for that reason. No comment, on which one I prefer – I enjoy them both!

 

3. Can you give a small indication into what you will be covering at the dotmailer Summit – perhaps the key takeaways people can expect to leave with?

Hopefully I’ll make you smile and reprise a few great sporting stories from the Games, but maybe an insight into how we create our narrative to genuinely drive and support wider business development.

 

4. Have you seen any campaigns recently that you thought was particularly good?

KFC’s FCK apology. A good way out of a tough period.

 

5. Technology is becoming more and more prominent and impacting us all in different ways – have you got any key thoughts on this subject? And how you see this influencing our lives and our future?

There’s a creeping prevalence – some good, some bad. Spending an intense five weeks at the Games has made me think I need to put my phone down for a period. I see my very young children interacting with Alexa at home and realise their childhoods and futures are a world away from our own. It helps you remember that we need to retain balance in life, between digital and analogue lives – social media and conversation, physical activity versus sedentary activity.

 

6. What do you think will be the industry’s biggest opportunity in 2018?

Creativity is at the heart of everything we do. Great ideas provide opportunity.

 

7. Is there any particular advice that you would you give a marketer today?

See above. Don’t stifle creativity by process.

 

8. And lastly has there been anything that has truly inspired you lately?

Yes. I often get the opportunity to sit and listen to some of the most insightful and fascinating people and I had an hour listening to Dr Steve Peters recently. His words, anecdotes and insight can’t help but energise me.

 

Thank you so much Scott for sharing your insights, as well as some general inspiration. We’re looking forward to welcoming you on stage on the 19th April at the dotmailer Summit 2018!

Why attend the dotmailer Summit? Find out here.

The post Don’t stifle creativity by process appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Don’t just take our word for it

The concept of social proof is simple: if you see someone else – or a group of people – doing something, you’re more inclined to mirror the behavior yourself. The same is true in the world of commerce, in that consumers are more likely to be persuaded to buy if others like them have done so (and the experience was positive).

It’s no surprise then that dotmailer partner Trustpilot has a string of customers who are seeing significant conversion rate and revenue increases from reviews. Customer testimonials can bolster any kind of digital marketing, including PPC and SEM, yet email remains one of the most powerful ways to drive sales to your website. In fact, on average, email drives 18.4% of ecommerce orders[1], making it a very attractive marketing channel indeed.

The challenge for marketers is that not only are their emails fighting against a cluttered inbox, they’re also tasked with encouraging users to click through once the email is opened. Personalization, persuasive copy and relevancy go a long way to enhance the performance of email campaigns, but it’s social proof that adds the all-important layer of authenticity and trustworthiness. After all, consumers are more likely to listen to another consumer’s perspective of a product over a brand’s description.

How can I maximize social proof in my emails?

There are two ways to approach social proof in email marketing:

  1. Existing emails

Firstly, there’s the opportunity to add ratings, reviews and trust marks to existing emails. A simple tactic could be adding Trustpilot’s TrustScore to your email header or including a customer review in the footer.

If you’re featuring products in your email, you can also include customers’ star ratings to demonstrate popularity and credibility. In this instance you’ll want to ensure that the product page displays the correct rating and reviews, otherwise you might be doing more harm than good. Thankfully, Trustpilot enables you to add live ratings to your emails and website – so they’ll always be accurate.

Other emails that are worthy of ratings, reviews and trust marks are the welcome series and abandoned cart reminders. Welcome emails are designed to introduce your brand’s USPs and build trust with prospects, and social proof is the perfect way to back up your message. Abandoned cart emails remind customers that they didn’t check out and all it could take is some carefully placed social proof to get them across the line.

  1. Emails built around social proof

While your existing emails can benefit from a peppering of ratings and reviews, social proof can also define a new suite of campaigns:

  • Top reviewed products

You could create an email featuring your company’s top-reviewed products of the week or month, along with their accompanying ratings.

  • How you’ve used customers’ feedback

An email telling customers how you’ve used their feedback to make improvements to your product or service shows that you listen and act on comments.

  • Feedback emails

An obvious one, but email is the best way to collect reviews from people who’ve purchased a product or service from you. You can set up an automated email program to deliver the feedback request at the right time in the customer journey – e.g. a day or a few weeks after the order was placed, depending on your offering.

Social proof can go well beyond making your emails a customer-centric marketing device. In this free guide by Trustpilot and eCommerce MasterPlan, you’ll discover how it can also improve your company’s search rankings, bolster remarketing ads and improve AdWords performance.

[1] eCommerce Pulse – July 2016, Custora, 2016

The post Don’t just take our word for it appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Don’t be a copywronger!

Every business owner needs to market their products and services, but not every business owner can be an award-winning writer. However, when writing content for marketing emails, you’ll be pleased to hear you don’t have to be a master copywriter. To write engaging emails you simply need a decent copy strategy.

Here some fast and effective copywriting tips to ensure your emails are not only reaching the right person, but also encouraging them to read through and convert:

Know your audience

It’s simply not possible to write content that engages your audience if you don’t know who they are. It’s crucial to gain a good understanding of your audience before you begin writing. Your content also relates to your services and product; key terms and company information need to be word-perfect, and, if images are important to express your brand and what you do, they should be included in the email.

Compelling email copy is always targeted to the right readers and in the right format, but one email doesn’t provide the perfect fit for everyone. The key is to use software that allows you to create a targeted email written exclusively for that recipient, a feature that dotmailer’s Liquid Script provides.

Structure is key

Effective email copy isn’t just about the words you choose; it also has to do with how your writing is structured. If you are trying to write email copy that converts, you won’t get the result you want if you write a big block of text that is difficult or cumbersome to read.

The key is to keep sentences and paragraphs short and sweet. Break things up. Use subheadings and bullet points to organize the information you want to convey. This will  invite the eye to scan the content and pay attention to the parts that seem relevant to the reader.

It’s all about the reader

When writing marketing emails, make the content personal. Address the recipient by name,and use “you” instead of “we.” You do not want the message to come across as merely information about your business; it needs to be focused on your audience and what you can do for them.

Promote action

You aren’t just undertaking email copywriting to pass the time. You want the reader to do something specific and it helps to tell them, explicitly, what that is. This goes back to clarity. The best way to promote taking action is to use actionable words, such as “sign up” or “buy.” Another way to get readers to take action is to create a sense of urgency, perhaps by informing them that there is a limited time to take advantage of an offer you’ve communicated.

Benefits, benefits, benefits

People do not want to know all the product details; they want to know what the product can do for them. They don’t care if it’s blue, spherical, or can stand up to a sledgehammer. They want to know how it will impact their life and make things easier for them. Your email marketing copywriting should make this clear.

When writing effective marketing emails, you don’t have to be a master copywriter—you just need to know how to avoid being a copy wronger. Follow these tips and you are well on your way to writing engaging email content that converts.

Take a look at our best practice cheatsheet, Don’t be a copywronger!, for examples from industry leaders whose copy is paving the way.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

How do you deal with local SEO KPIs that don’t pass the smell test?

We all know that data can sometimes be unreliable, but columnist Andrew Shotland makes the case for why we shouldn’t just rely on free Google tools for data collection and analysis.

The post How do you deal with local SEO KPIs that don’t pass the smell test? appeared first on Search Engine…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Don’t turn your back on back to school

Courtesy of: The Shelf

 

Want to learn more about creating the perfect omnichannel retail experience? Get a free copy of our recent whitepaper.
Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Stop Ghost Spam in Google Analytics with One Filter

Posted by CarloSeo

The spam in Google Analytics (GA) is becoming a serious issue. Due to a deluge of referral spam from social buttons, adult sites, and many, many other sources, people are starting to become overwhelmed by all the filters they are setting up to manage the useless data they are receiving.

The good news is, there is no need to panic. In this post, I’m going to focus on the most common mistakes people make when fighting spam in GA, and explain an efficient way to prevent it.

But first, let’s make sure we understand how spam works. A couple of months ago, Jared Gardner wrote an excellent article explaining what referral spam is, including its intended purpose. He also pointed out some great examples of referral spam.

Types of spam

The spam in Google Analytics can be categorized by two types: ghosts and crawlers.

Ghosts

The vast majority of spam is this type. They are called ghosts because they never access your site. It is important to keep this in mind, as it’s key to creating a more efficient solution for managing spam.

As unusual as it sounds, this type of spam doesn’t have any interaction with your site at all. You may wonder how that is possible since one of the main purposes of GA is to track visits to our sites.

They do it by using the Measurement Protocol, which allows people to send data directly to Google Analytics’ servers. Using this method, and probably randomly generated tracking codes (UA-XXXXX-1) as well, the spammers leave a “visit” with fake data, without even knowing who they are hitting.

Crawlers

This type of spam, the opposite to ghost spam, does access your site. As the name implies, these spam bots crawl your pages, ignoring rules like those found in robots.txt that are supposed to stop them from reading your site. When they exit your site, they leave a record on your reports that appears similar to a legitimate visit.

Crawlers are harder to identify because they know their targets and use real data. But it is also true that new ones seldom appear. So if you detect a referral in your analytics that looks suspicious, researching it on Google or checking it against this list might help you answer the question of whether or not it is spammy.

Most common mistakes made when dealing with spam in GA

I’ve been following this issue closely for the last few months. According to the comments people have made on my articles and conversations I’ve found in discussion forums, there are primarily three mistakes people make when dealing with spam in Google Analytics.

Mistake #1. Blocking ghost spam from the .htaccess file

One of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to block Ghost Spam from the .htaccess file.

For those who are not familiar with this file, one of its main functions is to allow/block access to your site. Now we know that ghosts never reach your site, so adding them here won’t have any effect and will only add useless lines to your .htaccess file.

Ghost spam usually shows up for a few days and then disappears. As a result, sometimes people think that they successfully blocked it from here when really it’s just a coincidence of timing.

Then when the spammers later return, they get worried because the solution is not working anymore, and they think the spammer somehow bypassed the barriers they set up.

The truth is, the .htaccess file can only effectively block crawlers such as buttons-for-website.com and a few others since these access your site. Most of the spam can’t be blocked using this method, so there is no other option than using filters to exclude them.

Mistake #2. Using the referral exclusion list to stop spam

Another error is trying to use the referral exclusion list to stop the spam. The name may confuse you, but this list is not intended to exclude referrals in the way we want to for the spam. It has other purposes.

For example, when a customer buys something, sometimes they get redirected to a third-party page for payment. After making a payment, they’re redirected back to you website, and GA records that as a new referral. It is appropriate to use referral exclusion list to prevent this from happening.

If you try to use the referral exclusion list to manage spam, however, the referral part will be stripped since there is no preexisting record. As a result, a direct visit will be recorded, and you will have a bigger problem than the one you started with since. You will still have spam, and direct visits are harder to track.

Mistake #3. Worrying that bounce rate changes will affect rankings

When people see that the bounce rate changes drastically because of the spam, they start worrying about the impact that it will have on their rankings in the SERPs.

bounce.png

This is another mistake commonly made. With or without spam, Google doesn’t take into consideration Google Analytics metrics as a ranking factor. Here is an explanation about this from Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s web spam team.

And if you think about it, Cutts’ explanation makes sense; because although many people have GA, not everyone uses it.

Assuming your site has been hacked

Another common concern when people see strange landing pages coming from spam on their reports is that they have been hacked.

landing page

The page that the spam shows on the reports doesn’t exist, and if you try to open it, you will get a 404 page. Your site hasn’t been compromised.

But you have to make sure the page doesn’t exist. Because there are cases (not spam) where some sites have a security breach and get injected with pages full of bad keywords to defame the website.

What should you worry about?

Now that we’ve discarded security issues and their effects on rankings, the only thing left to worry about is your data. The fake trail that the spam leaves behind pollutes your reports.

It might have greater or lesser impact depending on your site traffic, but everyone is susceptible to the spam.

Small and midsize sites are the most easily impacted – not only because a big part of their traffic can be spam, but also because usually these sites are self-managed and sometimes don’t have the support of an analyst or a webmaster.

Big sites with a lot of traffic can also be impacted by spam, and although the impact can be insignificant, invalid traffic means inaccurate reports no matter the size of the website. As an analyst, you should be able to explain what’s going on in even in the most granular reports.

You only need one filter to deal with ghost spam

Usually it is recommended to add the referral to an exclusion filter after it is spotted. Although this is useful for a quick action against the spam, it has three big disadvantages.

  • Making filters every week for every new spam detected is tedious and time-consuming, especially if you manage many sites. Plus, by the time you apply the filter, and it starts working, you already have some affected data.
  • Some of the spammers use direct visits along with the referrals.
  • These direct hits won’t be stopped by the filter so even if you are excluding the referral you will sill be receiving invalid traffic, which explains why some people have seen an unusual spike in direct traffic.

Luckily, there is a good way to prevent all these problems. Most of the spam (ghost) works by hitting GA’s random tracking-IDs, meaning the offender doesn’t really know who is the target, and for that reason either the hostname is not set or it uses a fake one. (See report below)

Ghost-Spam.png

You can see that they use some weird names or don’t even bother to set one. Although there are some known names in the list, these can be easily added by the spammer.

On the other hand, valid traffic will always use a real hostname. In most of the cases, this will be the domain. But it also can also result from paid services, translation services, or any other place where you’ve inserted GA tracking code.

Valid-Referral.png

Based on this, we can make a filter that will include only hits that use real hostnames. This will automatically exclude all hits from ghost spam, whether it shows up as a referral, keyword, or pageview; or even as a direct visit.

To create this filter, you will need to find the report of hostnames. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Reporting tab in GA
  2. Click on Audience in the lefthand panel
  3. Expand Technology and select Network
  4. At the top of the report, click on Hostname

Valid-list

You will see a list of all hostnames, including the ones that the spam uses. Make a list of all the valid hostnames you find, as follows:

  • yourmaindomain.com
  • blog.yourmaindomain.com
  • es.yourmaindomain.com
  • payingservice.com
  • translatetool.com
  • anotheruseddomain.com

For small to medium sites, this list of hostnames will likely consist of the main domain and a couple of subdomains. After you are sure you got all of them, create a regular expression similar to this one:

yourmaindomain\.com|anotheruseddomain\.com|payingservice\.com|translatetool\.com

You don’t need to put all of your subdomains in the regular expression. The main domain will match all of them. If you don’t have a view set up without filters, create one now.

Then create a Custom Filter.

Make sure you select INCLUDE, then select “Hostname” on the filter field, and copy your expression into the Filter Pattern box.

filter

You might want to verify the filter before saving to check that everything is okay. Once you’re ready, set it to save, and apply the filter to all the views you want (except the view without filters).

This single filter will get rid of future occurrences of ghost spam that use invalid hostnames, and it doesn’t require much maintenance. But it’s important that every time you add your tracking code to any service, you add it to the end of the filter.

Now you should only need to take care of the crawler spam. Since crawlers access your site, you can block them by adding these lines to the .htaccess file:

## STOP REFERRER SPAM 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} semalt\.com [NC,OR] 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} buttons-for-website\.com [NC] 
RewriteRule .* - [F]

It is important to note that this file is very sensitive, and misplacing a single character it it can bring down your entire site. Therefore, make sure you create a backup copy of your .htaccess file prior to editing it.

If you don’t feel comfortable messing around with your .htaccess file, you can alternatively make an expression with all the crawlers, then and add it to an exclude filter by Campaign Source.

Implement these combined solutions, and you will worry much less about spam contaminating your analytics data. This will have the added benefit of freeing up more time for you to spend actually analyze your valid data.

After stopping spam, you can also get clean reports from the historical data by using the same expressions in an Advance Segment to exclude all the spam.

Bonus resources to help you manage spam

If you still need more information to help you understand and deal with the spam on your GA reports, you can read my main article on the subject here: http://www.ohow.co/what-is-referrer-spam-how-stop-it-guide/.

Additional information on how to stop spam can be found at these URLs:

In closing, I am eager to hear your ideas on this serious issue. Please share them in the comments below.

(Editor’s Note: All images featured in this post were created by the author.)

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Reblogged 2 years ago from tracking.feedpress.it