Do more with your data after busy shopping periods: five minutes with the data gurus

Keep your eyes peeled for part two.

Congratulations! Your business has weathered one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. But whether it’s Black Friday, Christmas, January,scorching summer sales, or even Halloween bonanzas, we all know that the work doesn’t stop post-event. It’s not just distribution and accounts that will have their hands full now – at least it shouldn’t be. As a marketer or a CX professional, this is where you can really get your hands dirty with data.

We speak with Ian Pollard, one of our senior product managers, and Sam Crawley, a product data scientist, to uncover what you should pay attention to once the dust has settled on a busy shopping period, and how to make the most of it in Engagement Cloud.

What are the most common challenges you hear about from retail customers following a surge in sales? Did this inform the product design of Engagement Cloud?

Ian: If you’ve just run a big sale, you’ll have some newly acquired customers. Having spent big on acquisition and likely taken a margin hit with discounting, you don’t want to lose them. Getting that all-important second purchase is the difference between never hearing from them again and building loyalty. This was what led us to build out the ‘single purchase customer’ tile as one of the nine metrics Engagement Cloud users can keep a close eye on and drill down into. 

Sam: There are nine tiles in total and things to learn from all of them, especially after a big sales event, as long as you keep context in mind! The ‘average items per order tile’, for example, might show that during the sale people were either picking up several discounted items or in fact buying lots at once. The latter might indicate a successful use of on-site product recommendations.

As Ian mentioned, the acquisition of new customers is a major part of these events, and many of them may not end up re-purchasing at all. It’s important to keep the average value of these newly acquired customers in mind, especially when comparing to the amount of money and effort that went in to acquiring them. Drilling down into the CLV tile, for instance, might give an idea of the ROI you’d expect compared with a standard period.

Now if you were head of marketing or customer experience, what would you do with this data? How would it help you achieve your goals of improving ROI, lifetime value, or overall customer experience?

Ian: Our segment builder lets you target customers by RFM persona. Drag in the RFM data block and target anyone in the ‘recent customers’ persona.

Marketing to these people is difficult at such an early stage of the relationship; all you really know is that they’re a new customer. They may have nothing else in common with each other. For this reason, I would follow up by using the most reliable data point you have — what they just bought. 

To target effectively against that, I recommend using our ‘also bought’ product recommendation. This looks at the highest value item in the recent checkout and finds other shoppers who have also purchased it. Within that group of shoppers, Engagement Cloud will then find other products they have bought and recommend the most popular. 

Sam: There is no magical method to improve ROI or lifetime value, but different marketing methods can be optimized and refined over time in order to see more success. This is where context becomes important.

We’ve given you the ability to filter the metrics and drill down reports on specific segments or RFM personas. What this means is actually really cool. You can trial different methods on different categories of customers. Then you can compare the effects on CLV and ‘average delay’ over time by selecting different date ranges.

Use these tools to find what works best for you and your customers.

Ian, what was the drive behind developing the recency, frequency, and monetary (RFM) personas (as well as the persona movement reports) in Engagement Cloud? What value do these data-driven metrics bring to a business?

Ian: RFM had been in our plans for a while and we knew it was a popular wish-list feature with customers. The ability to manually create RFM-like segments had always been possible in Engagement Cloud, so the decision to make a formal data model for it wasn’t something we rushed into.

 I’m really pleased with our model: it took a lot of thought, but I think it’s the right balance of power and simplicity. The core model is built around six very-easy-to-understand personas grouped across a lifecycle timeline familiar to any retailer — inactive, lapsing, active. It’s incredibly valuable to anyone wanting to do behavior-based targeting or reporting.

The movement reporting came from insights we uncovered whilst building the RFM model. Some of our customers were really interested in how customers moved through personas over time. That stuck with us and we started modelling these movements and found interesting stories in the data. Finding a way to show this to our customers was a little more of a challenge. We have some big opinions on data visualization in the team, but I think we’re all happy with where we ended up. Even if we did need to define a whole new color palette to make it work!

Which personas should businesses keep an eye on? And how should they be treated after a large sales event?

Sam: New customers, for sure.  After a large sales event you are likely to have a much larger chunk of new customers than normal, and this represents a great opportunity to increase your loyal customer base.  You should focus on marketing to these people, with the aim of converting them into repeat customers.  Make use of the persona movement report to keep track of them and figure out which tactics work best.

Any other advice on doing more with data for businesses using (or thinking of using…) Engagement Cloud?

Ian: We have a great feature called web behavior tracking (WBT). It tracks page views, and, when we can identify the contact, it matches those web sessions with them. If you combine WBT with RFM, you get the ability to identify emerging purchase intent. 

Why does that matter?

Ian: Think about a win-back campaign for your inactive customers. You’ve already paid to acquire them and they’re now giving you every sign that they can realistically be won back. They’re worth spending money on, they’re your best leads.

I would create a multi-stage and multi-channel campaign. If they don’t buy or engage via email, then re-target via Facebook, Instagram, or Google (which can you do via our program builder). If they engage again on your website but still don’t buy, then it may be worth looking at a coupon campaign. 

Any top tips Sam?

Sam: Try combining automation and programs with the persona movement report.  The report isn’t just useful for tracking what happens to your new customers after a sale, but can be used to see what the overall engagement lifecycle of your customers looks like. Filtering based on segments might reveal insights into what can be improved in your automation and programs, or where you are excelling.

Thanks both!

Want to hear more from Ian and Sam? They’ll be speaking at our dotlive event on Wednesday 11th December.

And don’t forget, this is the first of our three-part series in what to do after a surge in sales. Check back soon for part two, or sign up for blog updates and more here.

The post Do more with your data after busy shopping periods: five minutes with the data gurus appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 8 hours ago from blog.dotdigital.com

15 Black Friday marketing hacks to drive more sales

Over the course of three weeks we’ve written a three-part blog series on the best Black Friday marketing hacks to smash your sales targets. The first blog outlined the first nine hacks, while the second blog revealed another 13. Now we’ve released the final 15 to get your final marketing preparations in gear.

You can get quick access to all 37 Black Friday marketing hacks here.

1. Skip the early morning madness

Like the early morning commute, battling crowds in the inbox can prove futile. Remember that Black Friday is, more so than on any other day, a numbers game. What’s the likelihood that this customer is going to open – let alone see – my email over my competitor’s? Our advice is to hold tight as the chaos ensues and wait for the right moment to pounce: your chances of getting noticed will increase from noon onward.

2. Find your hook

Maybe it’s a hidden discount or limited product range? Play on human curiosity so that subscribers can’t resist clicking through to discover your mystery offer. Think specific and unique. If your store stocks something artisan or handcrafted, drive the exclusivity factor. There’s no better incentive that prompts people to buy than something special.

3. Create a referral campaign

Referrals are one of the most trusted forms of advertising because people value the experiences of others. It stems from the theory of collective opinion: the psychological circumstance in which we reference the behaviors of others to guide our own decision-making (i.e. a purchase). Referred customers can be a great driver of brand loyalty and deliver even greater ROI than other customers. For your refer-a-friend program to go viral, make it irresistible and time-sensitive.

4. Make it fun – de-stress the experience

Who doesn’t like a party? Cue the music, snacks, and drinks for some festive fun! Physical stores that don’t embrace the festivities are lackluster places which won’t cut the mustard on Black Friday. Email your subscribers and make some noise on social media to get the word out.

5. Give back

Ethical marketing may be a competitive advantage in business, but that shouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. It’s about doing something decent. Think humanity over profit. Outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia hit the nail on the head back in 2016: The brand donated 100% of its Black Friday sales to grassroots organizations working to create positive change for the planet in their own backyards. If that doesn’t scream ethical brand, then who knows what does.

Find out more ethical marketing techniques in our customer engagement white paper here.

6. Bundle products together

Maximize the amount customers are willing to spend on Black Friday. Group complementary products – items that go well together. Use ‘complete the set’ or ‘complete the look’ as a CTA. Do this on your website, over email, and on social. It’s a sure-fire way to upsell and increase AOV on Black Friday.

7. Reward your social media fans

Grab your share of today’s growing social media engagement. Social is a viral platform perfect for sharing consecutive special discounts and exclusive content during the Black Friday period. Oh, and don’t forget to hashtag. #BlackFriday

8. Offer specific exclusive discounts

Making your offer as specific and exclusive as possible will differentiate your brand from the pack. The frustrating thing about Black Friday for marketers is that brands are practicing the same tactics, which means it’s even harder to get heard. So maybe offer 35% off selected products or 25% off everything for email subscribers only.

9. Provide members-only discounts

Exclusivity goes a long way on Black Friday. Sure, you’ll be running campaigns across your entire database, but don’t forget to target different groups with different offers. If you’re part of an exclusive group, like a membership or subscription, you’d expect something special during the holidays. So, don’t disappoint. Amazon is a great example: this brand offers special money-off discounts to Prime Members.

10. Offer an incentive to spend more

Sounds crazy since you’re already offering bargains left, right, and center. But adding a small incentive to boost spend at the check-out can increase AOV across the board. Free shipping and next-day delivery (on orders over a certain amount) are great ways to tempt customers to add on some extra items at the checkout.

11. Make your offers time-sensitive to drive urgency

Everything in the run-up to Black Friday is for a limited time only, but there’s always a way to spice things up. Use an hourglass GIF to emphasize your promotion’s time limit in email. If you’re really data-savvy, you could even use advanced personalization to trigger an individual countdown that activates on email open.

12. Rescue abandoned carts

82% of carts were abandoned online on Black Friday 2018 in the U.S. (Barilliance). So, if you’re not already triggering cart recovery emails, then you’re leaving serious money on the table! Cost-effective and easy to implement, this program runs like clockwork to recoup lost revenue.

13. Extend the season

Extend beyond Black Friday to encompass Cyber Monday and further. Why not prolong your campaigns to acquire new customers throughout the whole week after Cyber Monday? You’ll be able to reach people faster and easier. And don’t forget the people that avoid Black Friday, who you can target once all the chaos has died down.

14. Stay open late

There are only 24 hours in a day. Milk it.

15. Go the extra mile

Do something that puts a smile on customers’ faces. For example, as Cyber Monday draws to a close, send your subscribers a voucher that they can claim then and there, but redeem whenever they want to. No urgency, and no strings attached.


You made it!

A huge ‘well done!’ if you actually read through all 37 tips across the three Black Friday marketing hacks blogs. You’re taking your holiday marketing seriously, and so you should be – there’s a hefty amount of revenue at stake. So why not adopt some new ideas that can make a real difference to your results? And remember, if you need help with campaign planning, program builds, or creative work, the dotdigital team is always on hand to lend a hand.

Don’t forget your free cheatsheet here for all 37 Black Friday marketing hacks.

The post 15 Black Friday marketing hacks to drive more sales appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 2 weeks ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Customer Engagement: Brands need to focus more on data to engage with customers better

Customer engagement has been an industry-wide marketing term for around a decade now. It encapsulates the change in marketing philosophy brought about by three effects of digital media:

  • Rise of marketing automation
  • Move from one-to-many broadcast marketing to one-to-one conversational commerce
  • Proliferation of transactional and programmatic messaging

Customer Engagement pressures: Marketers need new ways to engage

According to the report, marketers have found that they need to find new ways to communicate with customers and build lasting relationships, or face crippling competition from more capable rivals.

Those that adopt a customer-engagement approach to their marketing strategy typically see improved customer satisfaction, resulting in improved customer retention and financial performance.

B2Cs, for instance, measure impact in increased order values and reduced marketing costs, while their B2B counterparts use customer engagement techniques to boost acquisition and optimize their lead quality.

For better customer engagement, brands need to connect and communicate smarter

Adopting a customer engagement-focused marketing strategy doesn’t happen overnight. Putting the customer at the heart of the business requires significant, inside-out change throughout the organization. Only 9% of respondents in the survey cited their business at an advanced level.

There are two main barriers to a robust customer engagement strategy:

  1. Difficulties in getting a single customer view (SCV)
  2. Disconnected technology platforms

Many businesses struggle with legacy systems that don’t work together, since driving engagement relies on the seamless connection of all data points. Plus, antiquated organizational structures impede the vital sharing of data across the business. This is another key requirement to creating a consistent and engaging experience along the path to purchase and beyond.

Headline stats highlight customer data silos

How are marketers engaging their customers?

  • 79% of respondents use email platforms
  • 65% use content management systems
  • 62% use social media tools

BUT, creating an SCV proves to be a challenge…

  • Just 65% of companies have integrated email and CRM
  • Only 56% of businesses have integrated email with their didgital analytics

And the levels of integration are far lower for other types of technology.

Consumers expect personalized experiences

Brands are well aware of the growing expectations of consumers. Personalization has, according to 25% of those surveyed, been one of the most important customer engagement-related trends in the last five years. The need to personalize is driving intermediate and advanced brands to focus more on AI as a tool to accelerate the customer experience into new realms of personalization.

More unmissable insights

For a deep-dive into all of the stats, as well as regional breakdowns across the UK & Europe, North America, and APAC, download the full version here.

You’ll discover the true importance of customer engagement, considerations and tactics for B2C and B2B, as well as how the right technology can drive long-term success.

The post Customer Engagement: Brands need to focus more on data to engage with customers better appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 4 weeks ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Select Fashion: more powerful in omnichannel marketing with its Segmentify and dotdigital partnership!

Select
Fashion is also one of the high-street womenswear retailers to whom, for the
first part of the year, 2019 didn’t bring good tidings. Struggling with all the
major challenges of the fashion retail industry, the brand was facing
administration.

Aware
of the opportunities online, the business was already investing in some tools;
but the poor performance from their existing solutions and disjointed marketing
channels was driving revenue losses on a daily basis. Looking to improve the
situation, Select Fashion decided to leverage its online investments to get
more engaged with their customers.

With
proven success in boosting ecommerce revenue by at least 20% and increasing
conversion rates up to 2.6 times for its hundreds of customers, Segmentify
seemed a perfect fit for Select Fashion. After a free trial of its integration
and widget designs, Select Fashion partnered with Segmentify for onsite
personalised product recommendations and email marketing solutions.

Moreover, dotdigital, another powerful player of omnichannel marketing with its over 4,000-strong customer base in 150+ countries, joined this partnership, adding a valuable competitive advantage. Success became a real certainty for Select Fashion.

Results: Segmentify and dotdigital

Go-live only took three days, and even after the first week Select Fashion saw a 12% increase in revenue and 4% uplift in conversion rates (4x more than its average rate). What’s more, personalized email campaigns had a great success: 87% open rate. During the last two months improvement continued, and Select Fashion secured a 14% increase in revenue, while 33% of all orders included an item from Segmentify’s product recommendations.

Email marketing is no longer a standalone platform for talking to customers. Today it works more effectively in tandem with other channels and touchpoints. With this in mind, Select Fashion promoted personalized product recommendations along the customer journey – a winning relevancy tactic. The brand has successfully highlighted the clear correlation between integrated data practices and better customer experience, plus significant revenue uplift.

Gavin Laugenie, Head of Strategy & Insight at dotdigital

About Select Fashion

Launched in the early 1980s, Select Fashion is a high-street womenswear retailer aimed at 18 to 45-year-olds. With up to 4,000 products (clothing, footwear, and accessories) and new lines added each week, Select offers quality products inspired by the latest fashion trends at an affordable price. Having stores across the UK, and rapid expansion plans in place, Select’s key focus is on opening more prime trading stores throughout the UK. Select’s product range covers key fashion needs, from trendy clothing to footwear and accessories. From the season’s must-haves to essential items, every young woman will find her perfect match.

About dotdigital

dotdigital is a leader in omnichannel technology. dotdigital’s Engagement Cloud is the platform of choice for businesses seeking to engage customers across all touchpoints. The platform’s features empower 4,000+ brands across 150 countries to acquire, convert, and retain customers. Users can connect customer data, surface powerful insights, and automate intelligent messages across email, SMS, social, and more. dotdigital is a global company with over 350 employees, serving companies of all sizes and in all verticals for over 20 years.

You can watch a quick demo here.

About Segmentify

Founded in 2015, and mentioned by Forbes as one of the top machine learning companies to watch in 2018, Segmentify today has hundreds of customers from all around the world. Helping ecommerce retailers to boost their revenue, increase conversion rates, powered by machine-learning technology, Segmentify tracks and targets individual website visitors according to their unique online buying habits better than any personalization platform on the market.

The post Select Fashion: more powerful in omnichannel marketing with its Segmentify and dotdigital partnership! appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Why we need Pride more than ever

Many view Pride as just another stint in the corporate activism calendar. If that’s what you think Pride is about then you’re wrong. Brands that celebrate Pride just as a competitive counter-move – “Well if they’re doing it, we should do it too” – need to wake up and smell the coffee. The momentum should come from brand virtues, not corporate greed. This isn’t a commercial price war or an aggressive marketing campaign.

This is people’s rights and freedoms.

Why Pride?

Pride is no longer a gay or
lesbian movement – it’s come to represent every minority in a bid to rid
society of its injustices. We want to live in an open and inclusive society
where everyone can be who they want to be and love whoever they want.

When people complain that there isn’t a straight Pride I just think: what injustices come with being straight? Do heterosexual couples fear harassment when showing public displays of affection? No. Does a heterosexual man suffer the abuse that a transgender might? Absolutely not. Hate crimes occur even in the most forward-thinking of communities – and far too often. Just a fortnight ago two women were assaulted on a London bus in a vicious hate crime because of their sexual orientation.

My experience of hate: A couple of years ago I was moments away from being physically assaulted when I was walking home from a nightclub with a friend. A seemingly nice man quickly turned on me when he realized I was gay, first saying that I hadn’t found the right woman, and then shouting, “you guys disgust me”. He started to blaspheme and get aggressive. Luckily, we were only a few minutes from my flat in Old Street, so I ran.

I was in so much shock that I went home for the weekend as I didn’t feel safe in London.

Remember Stonewall?

Pride celebrations were originally a political force to be reckoned with: think about the Stonewall riots in New York City in the summer of 1969. The underlying aim of this movement has always been to create a world where LGBTQ people don’t need to fight for equality. Sure, we’ve come a long way in countries like Belgium, Canada, Spain, Australia – even in the United States where in 2015 the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can marry nationwide.

Yet one of the criticisms of Pride is that it’s become more about the party (thanks partly to the progress that’s been made) than the politics itself. And it’s much easier to monetize a party. I bet the majority of young partygoers at Pride events don’t know who Ruth Simpson and Harvey Milk were.

We need to strike the right balance. Pride is about celebrating and having a good time; but we’ve also got to sober up and remember what the point of it is. Countless people before us, like those brave protesters in Greenwich Village in 1969, stood up to oppression and fought for our rights. If you haven’t seen Pride – a critically-acclaimed film which tells the story of an unlikely union between gay and lesbian activists and the Welsh miners in the 1980s – watch it. It epitomizes the spirit of Pride and highlights the enduring hardship of gay activism.  

Educate and mobilize

Brands have the power to support people globally. They have a responsibility to promote an inclusive and supportive working environment; that means educating their employees, customers, and stakeholders on LGBTQ issues. Such a support network empowers society to be more open-minded and liberal. Businesses will use their commercial arsenal – content, events, and merchandise – to spread the word.  

Yes, Pride shouldn’t be treated
as a commoditization – but in our capitalist world it’s hard not to see it that
way. The arguments that Pride has become a money-making ploy shouldn’t
discourage brands to get involved, because most aren’t in it for commercial
gain.

Rather, it’s about entering and
investing in the political debate.

Pride events have by no means
been stripped of politics. The threats of violence and oppression towards the
LGBTQ community worldwide underline the ongoing necessity of Pride month as a
political movement.

For example, many countries suppress LGBTQ rights and threaten people’s basic civil liberties. Closer to home, The Guardian reports that in the UK offenses have doubled since 2014 against gay and lesbian people and trebled against trans people. The sad fact is that there are still bigoted people out there whose intolerance undermines what our society stands for: respect.

Pride continues to act as a force for a better future, even in 2019. And we all have a responsibility to uphold its community-building values: diversity, individuality, and sexuality.   

In 2019…

These injustices fuel Pride’s raison d’ être. Yes, it’s a celebration of love. But it’s also a fight for a fairer, more equal, future.

Stand up to hate

If there were ever a time to embrace the Pride movement – it’s now. We need to fight for the teenagers who are too scared to come out to their parents. We need to stand up to aggressive homophobes and misogynists. We need to defend women’s rights in countries where they are treated like second-class citizens. We need to stamp down on xenophobia. We need to face up to racists who attack people because of the color of their skin. We need to protect minorities. We need to challenge laws that enslave people. We need to stand up to prejudices.  

We are gays and lesbians. We are
trans. We are women. We are black. We are Christians. We are Muslims. We have
disabilities. We are feminists. We are immigrants. We love one another. We are
PRIDE.         

Remember, love has no labels. Click here for more inspiration.

*Hero photo: People in Taksim Square taking part in the LGBT pride parade in Istanbul, Turkey.

The post Why we need Pride more than ever appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 5 months ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Why Local Businesses Will Need Websites More than Ever in 2019

Posted by MiriamEllis

64% of 1,411 surveyed local business marketers agree that Google is becoming the new “homepage” for local businesses. Via Moz State of Local SEO Industry Report

…but please don’t come away with the wrong storyline from this statistic.

As local brands and their marketers watch Google play Trojan horse, shifting from top benefactor to top competitor by replacing former “free” publicity with paid packs, Local Service Ads, zero-click SERPs, and related structures, it’s no surprise to see forum members asking, “Do I even need a website anymore?”

Our answer to this question is,“Yes, you’ve never needed a website more than you will in 2019.” In this post, we’ll examine:

  • Why it looks like local businesses don’t need websites
  • Statistical proofs of why local businesses need websites now more than ever
  • The current status of local business websites and most-needed improvements

How Google stopped bearing so many gifts

Within recent memory, a Google query with local intent brought up a big pack of ten nearby businesses, with each entry taking the user directly to these brands’ websites for all of their next steps. A modest amount of marketing effort was rewarded with a shower of Google gifts in the form of rankings, traffic, and conversions.

Then these generous SERPs shrank to seven spots, and then three, with the mobile sea change thrown into the bargain and consisting of layers and layers of Google-owned interfaces instead of direct-to-website links. In 2018, when we rustle through the wrapping paper, the presents we find from Google look cheaper, smaller, and less magnificent.

Consider these five key developments:

1) Zero-click mobile SERPs

This slide from a recent presentation by Rand Fishkin encapsulateshis findings regarding the growth of no-click SERPs between 2016–2018. Mobile users have experienced a 20% increase in delivery of search engine results that don’t require them to go any deeper than Google’s own interface.

2) The encroachment of paid ads into local packs

When Dr. Peter J. Myers surveyed 11,000 SERPs in 2018, he found that 35% of competitive local packs feature ads.

3) Google becoming a lead gen agency

At last count, Google’s Local Service Ads program via which they interposition themselves as the paid lead gen agent between businesses and consumers has taken over 23 business categories in 77 US cities.

4) Even your branded SERPs don’t belong to you

When a user specifically searches for your brand and your Google Knowledge Panel pops up, you can likely cope with the long-standing “People Also Search For” set of competitors at the bottom of it. But that’s not the same as Google allowing Groupon to advertise at the top of your KP, or putting lead gen from Doordash and GrubHub front and center to nickel and dime you on your own customers’ orders.

5) Google is being called the new “homepage” for local businesses

As highlighted at the beginning of this post, 64% of marketers agree that Google is becoming the new “homepage” for local businesses. This concept, coined by Mike Blumenthal, signifies that a user looking at a Google Knowledge Panel can get basic business info, make a phone call, get directions, book something, ask a question, take a virtual tour, read microblog posts, see hours of operation, thumb through photos, see busy times, read and leave reviews. Without ever having to click through to a brand’s domain, the user may be fully satisfied.

“Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.”
– Epicurus

There are many more examples we could gather, but they can all be summed up in one way: None of Google’s most recent local initiatives are about driving customers to brands’ own websites. Local SERPs have shrunk and have been re-engineered to keep users within Google’s platforms to generate maximum revenue for Google and their partners.

You may be as philosophical as Epicurus about this and say that Google has every right to be as profitable as they can with their own product, even if they don’t really need to siphon more revenue off local businesses. But if Google’s recent trajectory causes your brand or agency to conclude that websites have become obsolete in this heavily controlled environment, please keep reading.

Your website is your bedrock

“65% of 1,411 surveyed marketers observe strong correlation between organic and local rank.” – Via Moz State of Local SEO Industry Report

What this means is that businesses which rank highly organically are very likely to have high associated local pack rankings. In the following screenshot, if you take away the directory-type platforms, you will see how the brand websites ranking on page 1 for “deli athens ga” are also the two businesses that have made it into Google’s local pack:

How often do the top 3 Google local pack results also have a 1st page organic rankings?

In a small study, we looked at 15 head keywords across 7 US cities and towns. This yielded 315 possible entries in Google’s local pack. Of that 315, 235 of the businesses ranking in the local packs also had page 1 organic rankings. That’s a 75% correlation between organic website rankings and local pack presence.

*It’s worth noting that where local and organic results did not correlate, it was sometimes due the presence of spam GMB listings, or to mystery SERPs that did not make sense at first glance — perhaps as a result of Google testing, in some cases.

Additionally, many local businesses are not making it to the first page of Google anymore in some categories because the organic SERPs are inundated with best-of lists and directories. Often, local business websites were pushed down to the second page of the organic results. In other words, if spam, “best-ofs,” and mysteries were removed, the local-organic correlation would likely be much higher than 75%.

Further, one recent study found that even when Google’s Local Service Ads are present, 43.9% of clicks went to the organic SERPs. Obviously, if you can make it to the top of the organic SERPs, this puts you in very good CTR shape from a purely organic standpoint.

Your takeaway from this

The local businesses you market may not be able to stave off the onslaught of Google’s zero-click SERPs, paid SERPs, and lead gen features, but where “free” local 3-packs still exist, your very best bet for being included in them is to have the strongest possible website. Moreover, organic SERPs remain a substantial source of clicks.

Far from it being the case that websites have become obsolete, they are the firmest bedrock for maintaining free local SERP visibility amidst an increasing scarcity of opportunities.

This calls for an industry-wide doubling down on organic metrics that matter most.

Bridging the local-organic gap

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
– Aristotle

A 2017 CNBC survey found that 45% of small businesses have no website, and, while most large enterprises have websites, many local businesses qualify as “small.”

Moreover, a recent audit of 9,392 Google My Business listings found that 27% have no website link.

When asked which one task 1,411 marketers want clients to devote more resources to, it’s no coincidence that 66% listed a website-oriented asset. This includes local content development, on-site optimization, local link building, technical analysis of rankings/traffic/conversions, and website design as shown in the following Moz survey graphic:

In an environment in which websites are table stakes for competitive local pack rankings, virtually all local businesses not only need one, but they need it to be as strong as possible so that it achieves maximum organic rankings.

What makes a website strong?

The Moz Beginner’s Guide to SEO offers incredibly detailed guidelines for creating the best possible website. While we recommend that everyone marketing a local business read through this in-depth guide, we can sum up its contents here by stating that strong websites combine:

  • Technical basics
  • Excellent usability
  • On-site optimization
  • Relevant content publication
  • Publicity

For our present purpose, let’s take a special look at those last three elements.

On-site optimization and relevant content publication

There was a time when on-site SEO and content development were treated almost independently of one another. And while local businesses will need a make a little extra effort to put their basic contact information in prominent places on their websites (such as the footer and Contact Us page), publication and optimization should be viewed as a single topic. A modern strategy takes all of the following into account:

  • Keyword and real-world research tell a local business what consumers want
  • These consumer desires are then reflected in what the business publishes on its website, including its homepage, location landing pages, about page, blog and other components
  • Full reflection of consumer desires includes ensuring that human language (discovered via keyword and real-world research) is implemented in all elements of each page, including its tags, headings, descriptions, text, and in some cases, markup

What we’re describing here isn’t a set of disconnected efforts. It’s a single effort that’s integral to researching, writing, and publishing the website. Far from stuffing keywords into a tag or a page’s content, focus has shifted to building topical authority in the eyes of search engines like Google by building an authoritative resource for a particular consumer demographic. The more closely a business is able to reflect customers’ needs (including the language of their needs), in every possible component of its website, the more relevant it becomes.

A hypothetical example of this would be a large medical clinic in Dallas. Last year, their phone staff was inundated with basic questions about flu shots, like where and when to get them, what they cost, would they cause side effects, what about side effects on people with pre-existing health conditions, etc. This year, the medical center’s marketing team took a look at Moz Keyword Explorer and saw that there’s an enormous volume of questions surrounding flu shots:

This tiny segment of the findings of the free keyword research tool, Answer the Public, further illustrates how many questions people have about flu shots:

The medical clinic need not compete nationally for these topics, but at a local level, a page on the website can answer nearly every question a nearby patient could have about this subject. The page, created properly, will reflect human language in its tags, headings, descriptions, text, and markup. It will tell all patients where to come and when to come for this procedure. It has the potential to cut down on time-consuming phone calls.

And, finally, it will build topical authority in the eyes of Google to strengthen the clinic’s chances of ranking well organically… which can then translate to improved local rankings.

It’s important to note that keyword research tools typically do not reflect location very accurately, so research is typically done at a national level, and then adjusted to reflect regional or local language differences and geographic terms, after the fact. In other words, a keyword tool may not accurately reflect exactly how many local consumers in Dallas are asking “Where do I get a flu shot?”, but keyword and real-world research signals that this type of question is definitely being asked. The local business website can reflect this question while also adding in the necessary geographic terms.

Local link building must be brought to the fore of publicity efforts

Moz’s industry survey found that more than one-third of respondents had no local link building strategy in place. Meanwhile, link building was listed as one of the top three tasks to which marketers want their clients to devote more resources. There’s clearly a disconnect going on here. Given the fundamental role links play in building Domain Authority, organic rankings, and subsequent local rankings, building strong websites means bridging this gap.

First, it might help to examine old prejudices that could cause local business marketers and their clients to feel dubious about link building. These most likely stem from link spam which has gotten so out of hand in the general world of SEO that Google has had to penalize it and filter it to the best of their ability.

Not long ago, many digital-only businesses were having a heyday with paid links, link farms, reciprocal links, abusive link anchor text and the like. An online company might accrue thousands of links from completely irrelevant sources, all in hopes of escalating rank. Clearly, these practices aren’t ones an ethical business can feel good about investing in, but they do serve as an interesting object lesson, especially when a local marketer can point out to a client, that best local links are typically going to result from real-world relationship-building.

Local businesses are truly special because they serve a distinct, physical community made up of their own neighbors. The more involved a local business is in its own community, the more naturally link opportunities arise from things like local:

  • Sponsorships
  • Event participation and hosting
  • Online news
  • Blogs
  • Business associations
  • B2B cross-promotions

There are so many ways a local business can build genuine topical and domain authority in a given community by dint of the relationships it develops with neighbors.

An excellent way to get started on this effort is to look at high-ranking local businesses in the same or similar business categories to discover what work they’ve put in to achieve a supportive backlink profile. Moz Link Intersect is an extremely actionable resource for this, enabling a business to input its top competitors to find who is linking to them.

In the following example, a small B&B in Albuquerque looks up two luxurious Tribal resorts in its city:

Link Intersect then lists out a blueprint of opportunities, showing which links one or both competitors have earned. Drilling down, the B&B finds that Marriott.com is linking to both Tribal resorts on an Albuquerque things-to-do page:

The small B&B can then try to earn a spot on that same page, because it hosts lavish tea parties as a thing-to-do. Outreach could depend on the B&B owner knowing someone who works at the local Marriott personally. It could include meeting with them in person, or on the phone, or even via email. If this outreach succeeds, an excellent, relevant link will have been earned to boost organic rank, underpinning local rank.

Then, repeat the process. Aristotle might well have been speaking of link building when he said we are what we repeatedly do and that excellence is a habit. Good marketers can teach customers to have excellent habits in recognizing a good link opportunity when they see it.

Taken altogether

Without a website, a local business lacks the brand-controlled publishing and link-earning platform that so strongly influences organic rankings. In the absence of this, the chances of ranking well in competitive local packs will be significantly less. Taken altogether, the case is clear for local businesses investing substantially in their websites.

Acting now is actually a strategy for the future

“There is nothing permanent except change.”
– Heraclitus

You’ve now determined that strong websites are fundamental to local rankings in competitive markets. You’ve absorbed numerous reasons to encourage local businesses you market to prioritize care of their domains. But there’s one more thing you’ll need to be able to convey, and that’s a sense of urgency.

Right now, every single customer you can still earn from a free local pack listing is immensely valuable for the future.

This isn’t a customer you’ve had to pay Google for, as you very well might six months, a year, or five years from now. Yes, you’ve had to invest plenty in developing the strong website that contributed to the high local ranking, but you haven’t paid a penny directly to Google for this particular lead. Soon, you may be having to fork over commissions to Google for a large portion of your new customers, so acting now is like insurance against future spend.

For this to work out properly, local businesses must take the leads Google is sending them right now for free, and convert them into long-term, loyal customers, with an ultimate value of multiple future transactions without Google as a the middle man. And if these freely won customers can be inspired to act as word-of-mouth advocates for your brand, you will have done something substantial to develop a stream of non-Google-dependent revenue.

This offer may well expire as time goes by. When it comes to the capricious local SERPs, marketers resemble the Greek philosophers who knew that change is the only constant. The Trojan horse has rolled into every US city, and it’s a gift with a questionable shelf life. We can’t predict if or when free packs might become obsolete, but we share your concerns about the way the wind is blowing.

What we can see clearly right now is that websites will be anything but obsolete in 2019. Rather, they are the building blocks of local rankings, precious free leads, and loyal revenue, regardless of how SERPs may alter in future.

For more insights into where local businesses should focus in 2019, be sure to explore the Moz State of Local SEO industry report:

Read the State of Local SEO industry report

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

Reblogged 11 months ago from tracking.feedpress.it

Get more from your landing pages

Landing pages are your job

You’ve built a winning campaign, with compelling content and a stellar call to action. The reports show a healthy click-through rate, so you can tick that one off, right? No way, José. As email marketers, we’re a dab hand at perfecting the design, targeting and optimization of our messages; but our job goes beyond the remit of the email to include landing pages.

Lying just outside the bounds of your email campaign, landing pages facilitate crucial conversions, including online sales, mailing list sign-ups, and data input. All of these actions are under your influence and should not be overlooked; it’s time to think beyond the initial call to action.

Today’s consumer is looking for a perfect brand interaction

Lead generation marketing is no elaborate rouse. Your modern-day consumer, a tech wizard in their own right, is perfectly aware that their data is a hot commodity. They are willing and able to leverage their details to achieve the best of the best in customer experience, and they’ve already terminated relationships with brands whose interactions haven’t hit the mark.

This new attitude to data sharing doesn’t have to hurt your business; it’s all about understanding customer expectation. We know that a strong email marketing campaign with intelligent personalization, compelling content, and an attractive CTA encourages consumers to click through to convert.

However, if those clicking through are transported to a generic, impersonal homepage, it’s highly likely that all of the magic created from the email will be lost. Your CTA will become diluted by nonspecific website content, and the chances of your customers completing the action you desire get slashed.

In order to keep the magic alive, a strong sense of cohesion must be created between the campaign and the click-through destination. This is where the landing page comes in.

Provide consistent conversion opportunities

Landing pages offer engagement opportunities that arise seamlessly from an initial brand interaction. A landing page can take many forms, and provide a variety of essential services for your business. Ultimately, it’s the best web tool you have to drive your targeted audience to take an action, whether it’s making a purchase, requesting a demo or sales call, or downloading a piece of content.

Use cases for landing pages

Lead generation

Landing pages are the pillar of lead generation. Capture leads from email, social media, and search traffic at an increased rate by sending relevant customers to a targeted landing page. Once you’ve generated these leads, you can then segment, nurture, or pass them on to your sales team.

Support for your side of the bargain

Your offers are designed to increase engagement and drive sales. By implementing a landing page that trades customer contact information for access to the offer, you’ll bag more buck for your benevolence.

Achieve better customer insight

Whatever stage they’re at in the lifecycle, you can use landing pages to obtain more information about your audience. This can help you better profile contacts, leading to better quality customer communication.

Get the measure of engagement

Landing pages facilitate an understanding of which customers are the most engaged with your brand by tracking the interactions of existing leads. This also means you can collect more information on customers’ preferences and online behavior, which is handy for sales.

Get the measure of your success

Each landing page serves as a data asset for your marketing campaign. Track the reports from these pages to get insight into your marketing performance and strengthen your strategy.

There are a variety of ways in which you can incorporate landing pages into your marketing strategy to give them the edge they needs. The next step is to create an effective page that’s fully optimized for a seamless customer interaction.

What does it takes to make your landing pages a success?

The landing page program:

For 10 steps on how to build a high-converting landing page, download our cheatsheet here.

The post Get more from your landing pages appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Create a more exciting, rewarding and engaging user experience

As marketers, we want to influence our customers and clients to follow the path to conversion. But this can be a challenge for all of us – this is where Nathalie Nahai, the web psychologist, can help. She teaches global audiences about the link between behavioral sciences and the digital space, helping you build a better understanding of how to persuade your audience to take the desired path.

We were so impressed with Nathalie that we invited her to speak at this year’s dotmailer Summit where she’ll be bringing together the latest insights from the world of psychology, neuroscience and behavioral economics to explain the underlying dynamics and motivations behind consumer behavior.

In this blog we posed Nathalie a series of questions – read on to find out some secret hacks, interesting facts and a brief insight into what you’ll be taking away from the dotmailer Summit.

Get your ticket today because this is the one event you don’t want to miss.

Can you tell us a little more about yourself and how you found yourself drawn to web psychology – from what we’ve seen you have a really fascinating background, so it’ll be interesting to see who or what inspired you on your journey?

“Thank you, it’s been a rather unpredictable trajectory!”

“Having studied psychology at university, upon leaving I went straight to Central St Martins to explore fine art, something I have always had a passion for. During my time at CSM I’d been recording music on the side, and I thought it would come in handy to know how to develop websites to help promote myself. So, I went to some classes and as I progressed I ended up taking on freelance work.”

“I began thinking about joining a design agency, when a good friend of mine (who was just leaving agency life for something more entrepreneurial) suggested I hold off for a bit and explore some co-working spaces instead. I found a lovely place to work from where the organiser asked me to run some psychology-related workshops, and the penny started to drop. If psychology could shed light on the factors that influence our behaviours in the physical world, surely it could provide some insight into what shapes our decisions online, too.”

“I looked for books and postgraduate courses on the subject, but at the time I couldn’t find any resources that combined research from the fields of psychology, computer science, human-computer-interaction, marketing, ethics, cross-cultural studies, behavioural economics and UX (the latter two subjects having not yet hit the mainstream). Frustrated by the lack of an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach, I decided to write a book that would allow me to draw these threads together into something I would personally find useful to read, and after a couple of years of trawling through countless studies, Webs Of Influence was conceived – and that’s where it all started.”

What do you think the key messages are in what you do? And how to do you think you help to empower people?

“There are a few key messages in what I do… Firstly, we’re not rational agents and our decision-making is open to influence, both on- and off-line. Secondly, to understand and connect with people in a meaningful way, we have to understand their psychological context, which includes universal, cultural and individual differences. Thirdly – and this is the most important – we have an ethical responsibility to use these insights to create mutually beneficial experiences, which means being transparent (not using dark patterns), delivering on what we promise (providing real value), creating a great customer experience (building trust over time), and respecting people’s privacy (not using covert forms of tracking to follow, coerce or manipulate users into taking certain actions).”

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?

“People can expect to leave with specific, actionable principles that they can use straight away to create a more exciting, rewarding and engaging user experience that customers will want to come back to experience again.”

There has been a lot of talk recently about how our technology is impacting us and what we can do about it – have you got any key thoughts on this subject? And how you see this influencing our lives and our future?

“Yes I have a several thoughts on this! I think that the most important and pressing issue in this debate is having a space (or spaces) in which we can share, discuss and learn about what’s at stake, and what our choices might be for shaping the world in which we want to live.”

“We’re starting to see a greater interest in how technology can be designed and used to influence and manipulate behaviours, questions which, in my opinion, go to the heart of what it means to be human. Personally, I want to live in a society in which the individual is sovereign – we would own our own data by default and be able to choose with whom to share it, and we would be free from surveillance outside of public spaces – whether physically (via cameras and microphones in the home, or through biometric sensors which are fast becoming reality), or virtually (through the content we share and the activities we engage in online).”

What’s your favorite social medium to engage in?

“It used to be Twitter, but it feels as though it’s become so noisy that I now tend to engage more with Instagram, which I use to connect with a smaller, closer community.”

Any tips or hacks on what obvious mistakes sites make that discourage customers from buying?

“Yes – in a bid to stay on top of design trends, brands will often create websites, content and apps that look great but actually deflect attention away from the all-important call to action. A great example here is when brands use auto-playing videos on their websites – the motion will detract attention away from the CTA and will often lower conversion rates as a result. If you have to use video, reduce the amount of background motion that’s involved, so that users have the chance to locate and understand the call to action.”

Have you come across any interesting facts about global user behavior that you could share with us?

“Yes – high load times frustrate users no matter where they’re from! More seriously though, one of the most important factors that will impact the success of a business, is trust. If you can provide customers with something they value in a way that is frictionless and even joyful, not only will they be more likely to return to use your service and recommend you to their peers, they will also be more forgiving when you make mistakes – which in the amplified world of social media, can go a long way to protecting your reputation.”

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

“Yes, although it’s on a completely different note! I’ve been studying academic drawing at Barcelona Academy of Art, and I’m finding the whole process extraordinary (if you want to check out some of my work you can find it here on Instagram).”

 

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

You can find out more about the dotmailer Summit here, and for more consumer behavior insights, check out our email psychology whitepaper.

The post Create a more exciting, rewarding and engaging user experience appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com