dotdigital Summit 2019: an interview with Adam Baylis

Adam Baylis

At the dotdigital
Summit 2019, we’ll be hosting breakout sessions hearing from Marketers who are
blowing us away with their outstanding customer engagements, including Adam
Baylis, Group CRM & Insights Manager at The Jockey Club.

We sat down with Adam to get an exclusive insight into how they’re listening to customers and talking to them on channels that resonate.

Adam, can you give us some background about The Jockey Club and your role?

The Jockey Club,
established in 1750, stages thrilling sporting occasions including the Randox
Health Grand National, The Cheltenham Festival presented by Magners and The
Investec Derby.

As one of the UK’s
leading leisure companies we also play host to some of the biggest names in
music at our The Jockey Club Live events. This year we’re looking forward to
welcoming the likes of Madness, Jess Glynne and – rather appropriately – dotdigital
Summit headline speaker, Nile Rodgers.

My role as Group CRM & Insights Manager sits within the wider Group Marketing team at The Jockey Club. We support the marketing teams in each of the four ‘regions’ that encompass our 15 racecourses.

What has been your biggest challenge over the past year?

Outdoor events are
a massive part of the tourism, hospitality and leisure industry. Going to the
races is usually a big part of that for a lot of people. It’s a chance to get
outside, get some sunshine and generally have some fun.

But, with the
never-ending heatwave last year, and the unexpected success of the England
football team in the FIFA World Cup, we found ourselves facing some stiff
competition for people’s time.

This was a challenge
for the whole of the tourism, hospitality and leisure industry, not just us at
The Jockey Club.

The knock-on effect
of this was that, as summer drew to a close, we had to discover new ways to
connect and engage with our customers again.

How did you go about overcoming this challenge?

With 15 courses
around the country, we needed to make sure we weren’t adopting a
‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. We needed to apply our group tone-of-voice in an
appropriate manner in order to reconnect with our audience, particularly the
local communities near to our courses.  

This is especially important
for us, because in a single region, like the North-West, we have three courses
– Aintree, Carlisle and Haydock – which are all about three hours apart. There
isn’t as big an overlap among their audiences as we see at some of our London
courses – so maintaining strong relationships with our local communities is vital.

We knew we needed
to find a new, powerful channel that could deliver close and personal messages.

What do you think customers will gain from your talk?

I hope people leave
my talk excited to try the new channels that are ready and waiting for
marketers to tap into.

I think it’s really
important that we try and experiment with different channels to discover what
works for different audiences.

With the complexity
of the modern world there is a vital need for marketers to be nimble. We’re
never talking to one single audience. Every audience has groups within it that
will respond in different ways to different channels. For example, for us, the audiences
at Haydock racecourse responded really strongly to SMS.

If someone’s main
touchpoint with your brand is through your app, then speak to them on your app.
If they interact with your SMS, talk to them there.

We’ve worked hard
to understand our audiences and discover more effective and dynamic ways to
engage them and I hope people leave my session planning to do the same.

What are your plans for the future?

We go into
everything we do open to every opportunity.

One thing that we will
continue to be committed to is understanding what works for audiences. Today,
there are so many channels, that connections are made on an individual level.
What channels work best can’t be narrowed down to demographics or age ranges,
and this is what we plan to explore in the future.

At this point, it is impossible to get away from mobile messaging. It’s just sitting there, in the customers pocket. We need to figure out which channels work and target those segments accordingly. Whether that’s SMS, WhatsApp, or push, it’s all about going where the customer wants you.


Join Adam Baylis for his breakout session at the dotdigital Summit on Wednesday 20 March. Not got your tickets yet? Get them today.

The post dotdigital Summit 2019: an interview with Adam Baylis appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 3 days ago from blog.dotdigital.com

dotdigital Summit 2019: an interview with Mark Roberts

Ahead of the 2019 dotdigital Summit, we sat down with Mark Roberts, co-founder of Beer Hawk. Leading the charge of our ‘brilliant fundamentals’ breakout sessions, we wanted to know a little bit more about Mark, where he’s come from and get a little insight into the wisdom he’ll be sharing at the Summit.

Mark Roberts, Co-founder of Beer Hawk

So, you and Chris France founded Beer Hawk around 6 years ago, what were you doing before then?

After I graduated in 2000, I joined the Grad team
at Procter & Gamble. After working there in various sales & marketing
roles for 5 years, I moved into consultancy where I specialized in marketing
and innovation, advising brands such as Coca-Cola and Kimberly Clark, before
moving into the finance industry around the time of the financial crisis. Great
timing! During my time at HBOS and then Lloyds Banking Group, I was involved in
a number of different areas including innovation, existing customers and customer
marketing.

It was during my time as Marketing Director at Laithwaite’s Wine that I got the inspiration to start Beer Hawk. Not satisfied with the beer offerings of the supermarkets, there was a growing demand for unknown and undiscovered craft beer brands. With so many small, amazing craft breweries out there, I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t a similar offering to Laithwaites, but for beer drinkers. So that’s what I did.

And why were you interested in marketing in the first place?

My interest in marketing is two-fold. Generally,
I’ve always been interested in psychology and in particular the psychology
behind consumer behavior. The other side that really interests me is the way great
consumer brands make things, especially the new and adaptive ways they innovate.

Could you explain what your job entails?

It’s a good question, as one of the things I like
to do is continually try to make myself redundant, by hiring better people than
me!  I always find up with something new
to do!  At Beer Hawk, I now look after
all our Marketing, B2B Sales, Product, Tech and Finance.  My business partner, Chris, looks after our
Customer Service, Operations and Buying teams. On a day to day basis, I really
spend my time thinking about our People, how are team is working, and the big
strategic things that we need to do differently.

Do you have a favorite experience from your career so far, I know you’ve won quite a few awards so that might be quite difficult for you to choose?

It is. It’s a really difficult question, but if I
had to choose something, it would be the moment someone really credible
promoted our brand for the first time.

In six weeks, Chris and I had taken Beer Hawk from
an idea, to a fully functioning website selling craft beers from around the
world. We were using social media, door drops and visiting product fairs to
spread the word about our new business. We were doing well, but we knew we
needed someone with a significant customer base to give us a much-needed boost.

And that was when we signed a deal with East Coast
Main Line trains (now LNER). As part of their rewards scheme, the train line
offered deals and discounts to customers who racked up points with every
journey – and Beer Hawk was now part of it.

I still remember the day they announced that we
were part of their rewards scheme. Chris and I had sold our cars to finance the
business, so we were walking back home from our (very small!) office. At this
time, we were still getting personal notifications every time an order was
placed, and we were lucky to get ten of these a day. So, you can imagine our
surprise when our phones started going crazy in our pockets.

East Coast’s email had gone out, and orders were
flooding in. Our feelings quickly changed from “cool, new orders”, to elation,
before dropping to dread. There were too many orders! How were we supposed to
fulfil these orders? Would we even be able to?!

We didn’t have enough beer, packaging or people. But that wasn’t going to stop us, because if that moment showed us anything, it was that we were really onto something. We were offering something that people really wanted.

What are your biggest work goals currently?

The accelerated speed of Beer Hawk has massively
increased the complexity of the environs we’re working in. Our customers are
very different, there’s no single persona we can tailor our marketing to. We
don’t just sell craft beers, but we offer gifts, homebrew kits, and draft beer
appliances. We’re operating in the B2C, B2B markets and we’re planning on
opening our first omnichannel bar experience. And our rapid growth has led to
our workforce expanding and becoming increasingly diverse and varied.

I want the audience to leave our talk understanding that it’s still possible to grow and expand, no matter the complexities. I want them to leave thinking, not of the struggle complexity presents, but the amazing opportunities it holds in store and the amazing innovations just waiting to be discovered.

What are 3 top tips for success?

  1. Know what you want to do. Have a clear purpose and goals about something your passionate about, because it would be rubbish to be successful in something you’re not passionate about.
  2. Surround yourself with brilliant people. Better yet, surround yourself with brilliant people who compliment your strengths, and, more importantly, your weaknesses. Teamwork is everything behind success. Nobody is perfect, and you will need people who challenge you if you really want to be successful.
  3. Belief. Have massive belief in yourself, in your team and in what you’re doing. Success is never simple; the road is never smooth. You will experience so many setbacks and moments where you will feel like you can’t do it, that, without belief and belief in what you do, you never will.

What has been your biggest challenge over the last year?

Beer Hawk is still an incredibly young business,
and over the past year, we’ve been experiencing some specific growing pains
about being such a fast-growing business.

Our first employee joined the company 5 years ago. Our latest employee joined 5 weeks ago. We now have over 80 employees and continue to expand. Making sure everyone knew what they were doing, and how to communicate across teams is essential. For a long time, we had just enough processes in place to stop from falling over. Managing these growing pains was one of our biggest challenges over the last year.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell myself to start earlier, younger. I always knew that I wanted to start my own business, but I held myself back for years. I would tell myself to go into the ‘doing’ stage sooner.  

And finally, we have to know, what is your favorite beer?

Well, that all depends on where I am, what mood I’m
in and what time of year it is!

My favorite ever beer would probably be a Scheider Weisse Eisbock, sat in the amazing Schneider Brauhaus in Munich. But that’s not a beer I would enjoy on a hot summer’s day. For that I would probably prefer a cold, crisp IPA, like a Goose Island.


Join Mark Roberts for his breakout session at the dotdigital Summit on Wednesday 20 March. Not got your tickets yet?

Get them now.

The post dotdigital Summit 2019: an interview with Mark Roberts appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotdigital.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 11 months ago from tracking.feedpress.it

An interview with the author of Hitting the Mark 2017

Hitting the Mark 2017, our biggest and best email marketing benchmark report to date, is hot off the press! An in-depth analysis of 100 retail brands’ email practice, this report is the go-to for marketers looking to inform and inspire their strategy.

Now that the author, our Content Manager and wordsmith wizard, Ross Barnard, is back from some much-needed Hitting the Mark R&R, I asked him what it was like to construct a report so meaty it has its own serving suggestions.

Ross, we’ve heard a rumor that HTM100 totted up over 70,000 words – that’s a lot of copy! Why do you think there’s appetite for an email marketing benchmarking report of this size and stature?

Yes, it really is a beast of a document. I’m surprised I have enough words left in me to do this interview!

This was the eighth Hitting the Mark that dotmailer has published – and it’s certainly the biggest. In 2017, we wanted to introduce a bigger sample of brands to give marketers a broader view of the email marketing tactics being used by retailers. I think it’s important to not only present the common trends and observations from the research, but also to provide deep-dives into each brand; this is the best way to enable companies to learn from the best (and the worst!)

There’s some huge household names quite far down the scoreboard in HTM100. Were you surprised at the failures made by some of the bigger brands? Why do you think that was? (Sorry, that’s two questions in one!)

I was surprised to see some well-known brands coming in the bottom 50 for sure. There must be a good reason for this – i.e. they generate enough revenue from other avenues, meaning email is not a priority. However, I believe email has a place in every organization and this was certainly demonstrated by the top 10 brands. I think some of the digital content providers (e.g. those selling music, films, books etc.) can definitely learn something from the likes of Netflix; email automation and personalization lends itself perfectly to these types of companies that have access to a wealth of rich customer data.

This year’s report goes beyond the email to evaluate aspects of brands’ ecommerce experience. Why?

That big buzzword that’s been loitering around for the last couple of years: customer experience. We recognize that today, brands are having to mold themselves around the consumer; there’s a growing number of channels and touch-points to keep up with, and it’s interesting to measure how retailers are performing in this area. Needless to say, I was not surprised that UK department store John Lewis led the way.

Can you sum up this year’s HTM100 in 3 words?

  • Hefty (you could probably knock someone out with it)
  • Comprehensive
  • Unmissable (if you’re an ecommerce email marketer)

The physical copy of the report has a whole host of alternative uses. So far in the office we’ve heard: pillow, deadlift weight and tent peg mallet. What’s your favorite alternative use for HTM100?

I think it makes for a great height-raising laptop stand (especially if you’re a marketer, because you’ll want to keep it close by).

Want to find out where brands like Asos, John Lewis, and Google Play came in our email marketing benchmark report? Download Hitting the Mark 2017.

Just had lunch but still have room for a bite-size snack? Download our infographic version.

The post An interview with the author of Hitting the Mark 2017 appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

[INTERVIEW] Tink Taylor speaks at Indonesia’s first Meet Magento conference

In your own words, what is Meet Magento all about?

Meet Magento is a global not for profit phenomena. It pulls together the various elements of the community, which includes merchants, technology providers and agencies, right through to system integrators. Because of the love for Magento in the wider ecommerce world, these kinds of meet-ups have been put together over a number of years and they’ve really grown traction.

It’s fantastic to see Magento, now that it’s an independent organization, being able to attend and   augment this community of events. It was really good to be there with Ben Marks, Magento’s Product Evangelist and other speakers including Mike Doyle, Magento’s Enterprise Sales Manager for South-East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

We’ve attended and spoken at various other Meet Magento events globally – including London, New York who we have hosted in our dotmailer offices and most recently Sydney. And as we expand our global remit, and Magento does too, then our attention turns to Asia. As one of Magento’s Premier partners, it’s important for us to work closely with the team, particularly as they look to expand their operations into the region.

For instance, I’m going to be speaking at one of Meet Magento’s next events in Vietnam run by Smart OSC  and they’re expecting something like 500-1,000 attendees! Shortly followed my Magentocom session in Shanghai China, run by Bluecom. The event in Jakarta, which was hosted by ICUBE, attracted around 300 delegates – even national TV broadcasters and finance ministers came along.

Why do you think Indonesia presents a big opportunity for ecommerce success?

While I was at the event, there was one statistic I heard during Acommerce’s presentation that really stood out for me. A lot of ecommerce is done out of Indonesia, into South-East Asia, and what strikes me is the huge opportunity. The size of South-East Asia in terms of ecommerce possibility is that it’s twice the size of the United States, and the third-largest combined economy in the world – behind China and India.

Tink and the Meet Magento speaker line-up

What did you speak about at Meet Magento and why?

I spoke about the 10 revenue-driving email programs for merchants. Simply, this is the number one piece of content that resonates around the world – including in the states, in the UK and in Australia.

When a retailer is buying a piece of software, they often have so many different requirements in their RFP document. But when they finally make their purchase and get the platform, they don’t know where to start or what to do with it! It’s a bit like getting writer’s block.

The 10 email programs guide gives online retailers a real starting point, because it highlights the top programs that are proven to make revenue and bring ROI. If you don’t begin with these, you’re effectively leaving money on the table. What’s more, they’re all simple to set up in our platform because it’s so easy to use, unlike some of our competitors. But if you haven’t got the time or inclination to set them up, we can offer it as a service or use one of our local partners who are fully trained.

Once online retailers have implemented those, we’re here to talk to them about their business and help them identify other automations that could make sense.

Who did you meet at the event?

As I mentioned earlier, the mixture of people at Meet Magento included Magento users, tech partners, solution partners, Magento themselves and, of course, retailers.

It was really good to meet some of the solution partners we’ve been in discussions with; it’s always much nicer to speak to people face-to-face and engage with the senior executives. It was also encouraging to speak to smaller yet growing retailers who’ve been doing the basics of ecommerce and email, and are now ready to take the next leap. Naturally, the logical move would be for them to consider dotmailer and Magento 2.

There were lots of technical integrators in attendance, who wire products together, which was really interesting. They were keen to speak to us because of dotmailer’s email automation tools and the level of sophistication we offer.

We’ve also got conversations going on with several new partners and we’re in the process of signing them up.

What were the three most interesting things you heard or learnt at #MM16?

  • The size of the ecommerce market and consequently the opportunities
  • The expected penetration of mobile devices is significantly higher in Asia than in other areas of the world
  • A shift in readiness of merchants who are set to adopt Magento 2 – and now we’re on 2.1, and almost 2.2, people are more comfortable and confident

What’s next? Tink will be speaking at Shop.org Dallas at our partner Absolunet’s event and then again at Meet Magento Vietnam next month. He’ll also be attending Dreamforce in early October as well as a number of other events. Keep your eyes peeled on the blog for updates.

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

The Nifty Guide to Local Content Strategy and Marketing

Posted by NiftyMarketing

This is my Grandma.

She helped raised me and I love her dearly. That chunky baby with the Gerber cheeks is
me. The scarlet letter “A” means nothing… I hope.

This is a rolled up newspaper. 

rolled up newspaper

When I was growing up, I was the king of mischief and had a hard time following parental guidelines. To ensure the lessons she wanted me to learn “sunk in” my grandma would give me a soft whack with a rolled up newspaper and would say,

“Mike, you like to learn the hard way.”

She was right. I have
spent my life and career learning things the hard way.

Local content has been no different. I started out my career creating duplicate local doorway pages using “find and replace” with city names. After getting whacked by the figurative newspaper a few times, I decided there had to be a better way. To save others from the struggles I experienced, I hope that the hard lessons I have learned about local content strategy and marketing help to save you fearing a rolled newspaper the same way I do.

Lesson one: Local content doesn’t just mean the written word

local content ecosystem

Content is everything around you. It all tells a story. If you don’t have a plan for how that story is being told, then you might not like how it turns out. In the local world, even your brick and mortar building is a piece of content. It speaks about your brand, your values, your appreciation of customers and employees, and can be used to attract organic visitors if it is positioned well and provides a good user experience. If you just try to make the front of a building look good, but don’t back up the inside inch by inch with the same quality, people will literally say, “Hey man, this place sucks… let’s bounce.”

I had this experience proved to me recently while conducting an interview at
Nifty for our law division. Our office is a beautifully designed brick, mustache, animal on the wall, leg lamp in the center of the room, piece of work you would expect for a creative company.

nifty offices idaho

Anywho, for our little town of Burley, Idaho it is a unique space, and helps to set apart our business in our community. But, the conference room has a fluorescent ballast light system that can buzz so loudly that you literally can’t carry on a proper conversation at times, and in the recent interviews I literally had to conduct them in the dark because it was so bad.

I’m cheap and slow to spend money, so I haven’t got it fixed yet. The problem is I have two more interviews this week and I am so embarrassed by the experience in that room, I am thinking of holding them offsite to ensure that we don’t product a bad content experience. What I need to do is just fix the light but I will end up spending weeks going back and forth with the landlord on whose responsibility it is.

Meanwhile, the content experience suffers. Like I said, I like to learn the hard way.

Start thinking about everything in the frame of content and you will find that you make better decisions and less costly mistakes.

Lesson two: Scalable does not mean fast and easy growth

In every sales conversation I have had about local content, the question of scalability comes up. Usually, people want two things:

  1. Extremely Fast Production 
  2. Extremely Low Cost

While these two things would be great for every project, I have come to find that there are rare cases where quality can be achieved if you are optimizing for fast production and low cost. A better way to look at scale is as follows:

The rate of growth in revenue/traffic is greater than the cost of continued content creation.

A good local content strategy at scale will create a model that looks like this:

scaling content graph

Lesson three: You need a continuous local content strategy

This is where the difference between local content marketing and content strategy kicks in. Creating a single piece of content that does well is fairly easy to achieve. Building a true scalable machine that continually puts out great local content and consistently tells your story is not. This is a graph I created outlining the process behind creating and maintaining a local content strategy:

local content strategy

This process is not a one-time thing. It is not a box to be checked off. It is a structure that should become the foundation of your marketing program and will need to be revisited, re-tweaked, and replicated over and over again.

1. Identify your local audience

Most of you reading this will already have a service or product and hopefully local customers. Do you have personas developed for attracting and retaining more of them? Here are some helpful tools available to give you an idea of how many people fit your personas in any given market.

Facebook Insights

Pretend for a minute that you live in the unique market of Utah and have a custom wedding dress line. You focus on selling modest wedding dresses. It is a definite niche product, but one that shows the idea of personas very well.

You have interviewed your customer base and found a few interests that your customer base share. Taking that information and putting it into Facebook insights will give you a plethora of data to help you build out your understanding of a local persona.

facebook insights data

We are able to see from the interests of our customers there are roughly 6k-7k current engaged woman in Utah who have similar interests to our customer base.

The location tab gives us a break down of the specific cities and, understandably, Salt Lake City has the highest percentage with Provo (home of BYU) in second place. You can also see pages this group would like, activity levels on Facebook, and household income with spending habits. If you wanted to find more potential locations for future growth you can open up the search to a region or country.

localized facebook insights data

From this data it’s apparent that Arizona would be a great expansion opportunity after Utah.

Neilson Prizm

Neilson offers a free and extremely useful tool for local persona research called Zip Code Lookup that allows you to identify pre-determined personas in a given market.

Here is a look at my hometown and the personas they have developed are dead on.

Neilson Prizm data

Each persona can be expanded to learn more about the traits, income level, and areas across the country with other high concentrations of the same persona group.

You can also use the segment explorer to get a better idea of pre-determined persona lists and can work backwards to determine the locations with the highest density of a given persona.

Google Keyword Planner Tool

The keyword tool is fantastic for local research. Using our same Facebook Insight data above we can match keyword search volume against the audience size to determine how active our persona is in product research and purchasing. In the case of engaged woman looking for dresses, it is a very active group with a potential of 20-30% actively searching online for a dress.

google keyword planner tool

2. Create goals and rules

I think the most important idea for creating the goals and rules around your local content is the following from the must read book Content Strategy for the Web.

You also need to ensure that everyone who will be working on things even remotely related to content has access to style and brand guides and, ultimately, understands the core purpose for what, why, and how everything is happening.

3. Audit and analyze your current local content

The point of this step is to determine how the current content you have stacks up against the goals and rules you established, and determine the value of current pages on your site. With tools like Siteliner (for finding duplicate content) and ScreamingFrog (identifying page titles, word count, error codes and many other things) you can grab a lot of information very fast. Beyond that, there are a few tools that deserve a more in-depth look.

BuzzSumo

With BuzzSumo you can see social data and incoming links behind important pages on your site. This can you a good idea which locations or areas are getting more promotion than others and identify what some of the causes could be.

Buzzsumo also can give you access to competitors’ information where you might find some new ideas. In the following example you can see that one of Airbnb.com’s most shared pages was a motiongraphic of its impact on Berlin.

Buzzsumo

urlProfiler

This is another great tool for scraping urls for large sites that can return about every type of measurement you could want. For sites with 1000s of pages, this tool could save hours of data gathering and can spit out a lovely formatted CSV document that will allow you to sort by things like word count, page authority, link numbers, social shares, or about anything else you could imagine.

url profiler

4. Develop local content marketing tactics

This is how most of you look when marketing tactics are brought up.

monkey

Let me remind you of something with a picture. 

rolled up newspaper

Do not start with tactics. Do the other things first. It will ensure your marketing tactics fall in line with a much bigger organizational movement and process. With the warning out of the way, here are a few tactics that could work for you.

Local landing page content

Our initial concept of local landing pages has stood the test of time. If you are scared to even think about local pages with the upcoming doorway page update then please read this analysis and don’t be too afraid. Here are local landing pages that are done right.

Marriott local content

Marriot’s Burley local page is great. They didn’t think about just ensuring they had 500 unique words. They have custom local imagery of the exterior/interior, detailed information about the area’s activities, and even their own review platform that showcases both positive and negative reviews with responses from local management.

If you can’t build your own platform handling reviews like that, might I recommend looking at Get Five Stars as a platform that could help you integrate reviews as part of your continuous content strategy.

Airbnb Neighborhood Guides

I not so secretly have a big crush on Airbnb’s approach to local. These neighborhood guides started it. They only have roughly 21 guides thus far and handle one at a time with Seoul being the most recent addition. The idea is simple, they looked at extremely hot markets for them and built out guides not just for the city, but down to a specific neighborhood.

air bnb neighborhood guides

Here is a look at Hell’s Kitchen in New York by imagery. They hire a local photographer to shoot the area, then they take some of their current popular listing data and reviews and integrate them into the page. This idea would have never flown if they only cared about creating content that could be fast and easy for every market they serve.

Reverse infographicing

Every decently sized city has had a plethora of infographics made about them. People spent the time curating information and coming up with the concept, but a majority just made the image and didn’t think about the crawlability or page title from an SEO standpoint.

Here is an example of an image search for Portland infographics.

image search results portland infographics

Take an infographic and repurpose it into crawlable content with a new twist or timely additions. Usually infographics share their data sources in the footer so you can easily find similar, new, or more information and create some seriously compelling data based content. You can even link to or share the infographic as part of it if you would like.

Become an Upworthy of local content

No one I know does this better than Movoto. Read the link for their own spin on how they did it and then look at these examples and share numbers from their local content.

60k shares in Boise by appealing to that hometown knowledge.

movoto boise content

65k shares in Salt Lake following the same formula.

movoto salt lake city content

It seems to work with video as well.

movoto video results

Think like a local directory

Directories understand where content should be housed. Not every local piece should be on the blog. Look at where Trip Advisor’s famous “Things to Do” page is listed. Right on the main city page.

trip advisor things to do in salt lake city

Or look at how many timely, fresh, quality pieces of content Yelp is showcasing from their main city page.

yelp main city page

The key point to understand is that local content isn’t just about being unique on a landing page. It is about BEING local and useful.

Ideas of things that are local:

  • Sports teams
  • Local celebrities or heroes 
  • Groups and events
  • Local pride points
  • Local pain points

Ideas of things that are useful:

  • Directions
  • Favorite local sports
  • Granular details only “locals” know

The other point to realize is that in looking at our definition of scale you don’t need to take shortcuts that un-localize the experience for users. Figure and test a location at a time until you have a winning formula and then move forward at a speed that ensures a quality local experience.

5. Create a content calendar

I am not going to get into telling you exactly how or what your content calendar needs to include. That will largely be based on the size and organization of your team and every situation might call for a unique approach. What I will do is explain how we do things at Nifty.

  1. We follow the steps above.
  2. We schedule the big projects and timelines first. These could be months out or weeks out. 
  3. We determine the weekly deliverables, checkpoints, and publish times.
  4. We put all of the information as tasks assigned to individuals or teams in Asana.

asana content calendar

The information then can be viewed by individual, team, groups of team, due dates, or any other way you would wish to sort. Repeatable tasks can be scheduled and we can run our entire operation visible to as many people as need access to the information through desktop or mobile devices. That is what works for us.

6. Launch and promote content

My personal favorite way to promote local content (other than the obvious ideas of sharing with your current followers or outreaching to local influencers) is to use Facebook ads to target the specific local personas you are trying to reach. Here is an example:

I just wrapped up playing Harold Hill in our communities production of The Music Man. When you live in a small town like Burley, Idaho you get the opportunity to play a lead role without having too much talent or a glee-based upbringing. You also get the opportunity to do all of the advertising, set design, and costuming yourself and sometime even get to pay for it.

For my advertising responsibilities, I decided to write a few blog posts and drive traffic to them. As any good Harold Hill would do, I used fear tactics.

music man blog post

I then created Facebook ads that had the following stats: Costs of $.06 per click, 12.7% click through rate, and naturally organic sharing that led to thousands of visits in a small Idaho farming community where people still think a phone book is the only way to find local businesses.

facebook ads setup

Then we did it again.

There was a protestor in Burley for over a year that parked a red pickup with signs saying things like, “I wud not trust Da Mayor” or “Don’t Bank wid Zions”. Basically, you weren’t working hard enough if you name didn’t get on the truck during the year.

Everyone knew that ol’ red pickup as it was parked on the corner of Main and Overland, which is one of the few stoplights in town. Then one day it was gone. We came up with the idea to bring the red truck back, put signs on it that said, “I wud Not Trust Pool Tables” and “Resist Sins n’ Corruption” and other things that were part of The Music Man and wrote another blog complete with pictures.

facebook ads red truck

Then I created another Facebook Ad.

facebook ads set up

A little under $200 in ad spend resulted in thousands more visits to the site which promoted the play and sold tickets to a generation that might not have been very familiar with the show otherwise.

All of it was local targeting and there was no other way would could have driven that much traffic in a community like Burley without paying Facebook and trying to create click bait ads in hope the promotion led to an organic sharing.

7. Measure and report

This is another very personal step where everyone will have different needs. At Nifty we put together very custom weekly or monthly reports that cover all of the plan, execution, and relevant stats such as traffic to specific content or location, share data, revenue or lead data if available, analysis of what worked and what didn’t, and the plan for the following period.

There is no exact data that needs to be shared. Everyone will want something slightly different, which is why we moved away from automated reporting years ago (when we moved away from auto link building… hehe) and built our report around our clients even if it took added time.

I always said that the product of a SEO or content shop is the report. That is what people buy because it is likely that is all they will see or understand.

8. In conclusion, you must refine and repeat the process

local content strategy - refine and repeat

From my point of view, this is by far the most important step and sums everything up nicely. This process model isn’t perfect. There will be things that are missed, things that need tweaked, and ways that you will be able to improve on your local content strategy and marketing all the time. The idea of the cycle is that it is never done. It never sleeps. It never quits. It never surrenders. You just keep perfecting the process until you reach the point that few locally-focused companies ever achieve… where your local content reaches and grows your target audience every time you click the publish button.

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Reblogged 3 years ago from tracking.feedpress.it