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How 5G will pave the way for mobile app innovation

October 24, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Consumers’ and app developers’ wish came true in part when the White House announced the DoD will “relinquish 100MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum for commercial use, a process that will augment U.S. 5G networks over the next two years.”
  • These developments will lay the groundwork for some pretty cool app experiences, as well as a burst of innovation for users, advertisers, and app developers alike.
  • Digital Turbine Media’s Executive Vice President shares the top six trends to expect as 5G covers the country.

Consumers and app developers alike have been eagerly awaiting the widespread availability of 5G. Their wish came true in part when the White House announced the DoD will “relinquish 100MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum for commercial use, a process that will augment U.S. 5G networks over the next two years.” In 2021, we can expect to see more mobile customers have access to 5G, which, in turn, means app developers can offer them cooler and faster apps, and enjoy a bit of success in the process.

Here are six trends you can expect to see as 5G covers the country.

1. Progressive content: Phone and app virtualization

Progressive content, phone and app virtualization, enabled by 5G, will ultimately allow people to use their phones as they always wished they could. Here’s the concept: Rather than load up an app onto a device all at once, progressive content loads bits and bytes as needed. The result is an experience that feels more like a desktop than a mobile phone (read: lightning fast!). Virtualization, meanwhile, stores apps and data in the cloud, not the device.  And as is the case with all things cloud, the result is a more seamless experience.

2. Stronger UA campaign results

Mobile app developers stand to gain a lot with 5G. The ads that deliver the most bang for their buck — playable ads, videos, gamification — will load super fast, so users are less likely to click away from them. More than that, 5G will shorten the time it takes to install an app, lessening the chance of users abandoning it altogether (install abandonment, which can reach 80%, is the bane of the industry).

3. Better monetization opportunities

Successful monetization in the app world is largely driven by time spent inside of an app. The more pages a person views, the more ads they can be shown. When apps are slow to load and use, people get bored and move on, taking with them the app developer’s ability to earn money. In short: Faster speeds means more time spent in-app, which translates directly to more revenue.

4. AR/ER/IoT

Once 5G makes mobile phones as fast as broadband, that’s when consumers will begin to see all of the augmented reality, enhanced reality, and IoT they’ve been promised for so long. As TechRadar wrote, “This synergy between AR and 5G will also expand the potential for remote control drone and robot operation through enhanced HUDs (Heads Up Displays) and improved haptic feedback. Indeed, this lofty concept of the so-called ‘Tactile Internet’ is expected to kickstart the fourth industrial revolution.”

5. Higher quality social media live

Social Media Live has saved a lot of lives and held a lot of people accountable over the past few years. But the video feeds, stuffed through a 3G or 4G network, are super grainy. 5G will significantly up their quality, and we can probably expect to see a lot more people using it.

6. More apps

The number of companies and developers creating apps is likely to explode once 5G increases capacity and eliminates the latency woes of 3G and 4G. We’ll see a ton of AR games and wearables come to market. We’ll also see innovations in things like telemedicine, and a host of teleconferencing apps if 2021 sees another round of pandemic-induced lockdowns.

Combined, these developments will lay the groundwork for some pretty cool app experiences, as well as a burst of innovation for users, advertisers, and app developers alike.

Matt Tubergen serves as the Executive Vice President of Digital Turbine Media.

The post How 5G will pave the way for mobile app innovation appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


CEO’s take on emerging industry trends and strategies: Q&A with Moz’s Sarah Bird

October 20, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Hyperlocal SEO will help struggling communities salvage their local businesses.
  • Moz surveyed over 1,400 local business marketers and more than half said they plan to implement Google’s new features to support COVID-19 affected businesses.
  • Five under-rated yet crucial parameters marketers need to stay on top of.
  • Sarah Bird’s special tips to optimize audience engagement at various marketing touchpoints.
  • The best things you can do for landing pages is….?
  • Dive in for these golden nuggets and a lot more.

2020 has hit the reset button for the world in many ways adding more wheels to digital marketers’ and brands’ “car of struggles” for success. SEO is somewhat looked at as a game of Russian roulette where you win some and you lose some, and COVID-19 hasn’t made this any easier. To help you hit bull’s eye and add an extra push to your digital strategies, we caught up with Moz’s CEO, Sarah Bird to uncover emerging trends in the search scape, SEO, audience behaviors, and more!

Sarah Bird Q&A on emerging SEO and industry trends 2020
Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz

Q. What technologies, tools, and audience behaviors do you see shape up as 2020 progresses. If you were to draw a line between the temporary and ones that are here to stay, what would it be? 

Sarah Bird: Hyperlocal search has been important for years. 2020 has only increased its merit.

COVID-19 has made active local business listings management more vital than ever before. Communities struggling to keep themselves supplied and cared for in changed conditions must depend on the internet as a crucial resource, and when business listings can quickly communicate to them what’s available, where, when, and how, that’s truly important.

With Google rolling out new features that allow business owners to share updates about curbside pickup, home delivery, or special hours for vulnerable populations directly on their listings, customers can access convenient information with a simple search. We surveyed over 1,400 local business marketers and more than half said they plan to implement such services permanently. Aside from being absolutely necessary this year, businesses recognize that the investment in ecommerce should not simply be for the short-term, but should be able to accommodate their business and customers in the long-term.

Q. If you were to pick the hero of Moz’s local and international SEO strategy for the rest of 2020, what would it be? 

Sarah Bird: Reputation management will be crucial for local SEO strategy during 2020. We offer reputation management features through Moz Local that we urge users to leverage. 

Some of the most valuable features of Moz Local at this time are review alerts that allow you to quickly facilitate complaint resolution and response rating for quality control. During hectic times, customers are more emotional — this can either work for or against you. Should you receive a poor review during this time, it’s imperative that you respond quickly and empathetically.

Moz Local also offers a sentiment analysis feature that shows the most commonly used words for each of your star ratings. This can be useful in deciphering exactly what customers are finding important during this time.

Q. What five under-rated yet crucial parameters do marketers need to stay on top of to ensure that their brand has positively influenced their customers/target audiences?

  1. Keywords: Understanding your own keywords and those of your competitors ensures marketers have a plan in place to secure visibility on a brand’s offerings or content. 
  2. External links: These are an important source of ranking power in a SERP.
  3. Differentiation: Framing content correctly is key to reaching target audiences. Sometimes that means presenting contrarian ideas, as described by Caroline Forsey of HubSpot. 
  4. Omnichannel communication: Not all of your readers are going to read and engage via laptop or mobile, but be sure to consider how SEO is involved in your social media strategy.
  5. Outcome alignment: SEO goals don’t always have to focus on clicks. Ensure your marketing team is aligned on how content or a topic should be engaged, as it could mean that your ideal outcome is answering your customer’s question directly within the SERP. 

Q. What are the best ways to use entities that can leverage BERT, add more dimensions to keyword strategy, content, and the overall digital presence? 

Sarah Bird: I don’t encourage SEOs or marketers to optimize for BERT. There are too many variables to develop an effective strategy toward this model.

Instead, marketers should continue the focus on the overarching goal of creating excellent content that holistically understands and meets the intent of users. This is no small feat and requires an intense understanding of your business, your audience, and how the two intertwine. Creating world-class content that’s data-driven, timely, and empathetic to the audience will prove to be far more effective than focusing on this specific component of an algorithmic change from Google.

Q. Tips to optimize audience engagement at marketing touchpoints like emails, landing pages, and social media?

Sarah Bird: Each of these touchpoints are important for a business’s SEO strategy. These aren’t tactics that can be tacked on — they all have a powerful impact. 

Email marketing delivers some of the highest ROI, generating $ 38 for every $ 1 spent. When it comes to emails, call-to-actions must be clear. Consider which landing pages you’re sending people to and whether they’re appropriate to improve bounce rates.

Social shares of a brand’s content have a high correlation to ranking (as described by our own Cyrus Shepard.) As with everything in SEO, a focus should be put on the keywords used as well as the medium of the content being put out and whether or not it’s optimized.

High-converting landing pages may lead to high bounce rates, which could negatively impact SEO. Rand Fishkin actually addressed this exact issue in a Whiteboard Friday. The best things you can do for landing pages is – focus on high-conversion long-tail keywords and to provide keyword-based content.

Feel free to share your thoughts on our interview and the emerging trends, drop a comment!

The post CEO’s take on emerging industry trends and strategies: Q&A with Moz’s Sarah Bird appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Five excellent tips to optimize SEO for Bing – not Google

October 17, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Bing isn’t the search engine with the largest market share, but it still serves millions of users every day. One-third of U.S. online queries are powered by Bing, most notably in terms of voice-assisted searches.
  • The five effective and easy-to-follow Bing SEO tips below will help you rank for the secondary search engine quickly.
  • A Bing SEO vs. Google SEO mindset is not productive, especially since both search engines use the BERT algorithm. Many optimization initiatives meant for Bing also work for Google, and vice versa.

You read that right: we’re focusing on Bing SEO in this article.

Did you know that Bing is the second biggest search engine worldwide? It also powers Yahoo!, the third biggest. In July 2020, Bing captured nearly 6.5% of the global search market.

In any discussion about SEO, mentioning Google is unavoidable. However, the industry giant isn’t the only search engine that can send traffic to your website. You can make Google SEO your primary focus, but it shouldn’t be the only one in your marketing toolkit.

A global market share of less than 10% doesn’t sound like much, but it translates to millions of users. Bing powers one-third of online searches in the U.S., counting direct searches and those done through Yahoo! or AOL. And as of August 2020, Bing controls over 13% of the U.S. desktop search engine market.

How Bing is different from Google – and why it matters

There are certain things that Bing does better than Google.

For example, doing an image search using Bing is preferable due to the higher quality results. You can search for different layouts and see licensing information for each image without having to figure out where to look. Bing also pioneered infinite scrolling for image search results, though it’s no longer unique – Google now offers this feature, too.

Video search is also more hassle-free with Bing, despite YouTube being a Google brand. When you search for a video on Bing, the results come up as a thumbnail grid. You can then watch the videos without leaving the SERP.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Bing and Google is their amount of influence in a fast-growing subsection of online searching: those done through voice-assisted devices. In 2017, an estimated 35 million Americans used one of these devices at least once a month. Of those millions, more than 70% were Amazon Echo users – and Amazon’s Alexa is powered by Bing.

Five Bing SEO tips to implement for optimization

You will often find that optimizing for Bing SEO is much like optimizing for Google SEO. Both search engines use the BERT algorithm – which means keyword stuffing, manipulative link-building schemes, and other questionable tactics won’t work.

However, there are certain things you can do to take your search engine optimization a notch up with Bing. Below are five tips you can apply to your current marketing initiatives.

1. Claim and list your business on Bing Places

Google has Google My Business, Bing has Bing Places. The goal of these two is similar: to deliver the best and more useful local search results to its users. Claim your business on Bing Places and create a listing to improve your local SEO ranking performance.

Note that Bing rewards websites that put their location details on prominent display. Bing’s algorithm also considers information from third-party sources, such as social media platforms like Facebook. To optimize your Bing SEO presence, make sure you’re ranking in Facebook’s local search engine, too.

2. Improve SEO through Bing Webmaster Tools URL indexing

After claiming your business, use Bing’s Webmaster Tools to index your website.

You will need to sign in to your Bing business account – which may use your Outlook, Hotmail, or Microsoft login – and verify ownership of your website using a back-end XML sitemap.

Like any other search engine, Bing’s algorithm will better handle and understand your content if you employ categories and tags to make your website’s pages more discoverable. Should you work on this, you can expect Bing to deliver better search results and ad experiences involving your brand.

3. Pay extra attention to on-page SEO for Bing

While backlinking still helps with Bing SEO, clever and contextual keyword utilization is much more relevant. To rank for Bing, concentrate your efforts on on-page SEO rather than off-page SEO.

However, certain tricks will work better than others. For instance, Bing seems to prioritize content with exact keyword matching in page titles, meta descriptions, and web content. You may want to sacrifice smooth readability occasionally for long-tail keywords verbatim.

Using keywords in URL slugs, subheadings, and in the first paragraph of your content are also good practices to follow if you want to see your website nearer the top in Bing SERPs.

4. Maintain a genuine online social media presence

Bing’s webmaster guidelines tell us that social signals weigh heavily in its ranking algorithm. What this means is that your social media presence matters more to Bing than it does to Google. We touched on this briefly when we talked about claiming your business on Bing Places.

How your social media performs helps Bing judge the quality of your content. So, make sure you’re not buying likes or follows, or posting without a clear brand voice.

What does Bing mean by “social signals”? These are social media shares and interactions, typically on industry-leading platforms like Twitter and Facebook. However, you also need to match your social media presence to your target audience. Law firms probably won’t have much use for Pinterest or Instagram, for example, but these platforms could be indispensable for photography studios.

5. Consistently produce great content

Make sure that anything you publish is trustworthy, scannable, readable, and well-researched. Lots of related images to illustrate your points throughout the text content will help, too.

Focus on quality and not quantity. Don’t try to maximize your content by splitting it into several short blog posts. In 2020, the ideal blog post length should be between 2,100 and 2,400 words – enough to thoroughly discuss a topic with authority, but not too long that fluff would be inevitable.

Not yet convinced? Here’s why marketers should focus on Bing

Bing, the second most influential search engine in the world, can be a very lucrative channel. You shouldn’t ignore opportunities for increased reach and growth. Besides, Bing SEO tips may often coincide with what you’re already doing for Google SEO.

If you’re ambivalent due to Bing’s runner-up reputation, consider its parent company. Did you know that more than 1.5 billion devices worldwide are powered by Windows, and over 900 million of those use Windows 10? That last part is important because Windows 10 devices direct traffic to their built-in search engine: Bing.

More than 85% of desktop computers run on Windows. When you ask Cortana a question or search from your lock screen, you’re using Bing. Bing also powers search functions with applications like Microsoft Office, Skype, or Outlook.

One of the most overlooked audiences is over 65 million gamers on their Xboxes. Microsoft’s gaming console uses Bing, too. When players pause their games to search for something, they’re typically using Bing and not Google.

Wrapping up: Bing SEO vs. Google SEO

It’s not a good idea to think of optimizing your online presence in terms of Bing SEO vs. Google SEO. As we’ve touched on consistently throughout this piece, Bing is more similar to Google that many realize. Their algorithms may not be the same, but with delicate balancing, it’s not difficult to come up with a strategy that satisfies both Bing and Google.

Any savvy marketer will find it a good idea to get in on both market shares. Despite the low percentage of people using Bing and Yahoo!, you’re still looking at a potential audience numbering in the millions.

Justin Staples is a business entrepreneur who provides companies with results-driven SEO, custom web design, digital marketing, and content development.  He can be found on LinkedIn.

The post Five excellent tips to optimize SEO for Bing – not Google appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Agency lead generation: How to create white papers that convert

October 13, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Agency lead generation strategies are top of mind right now and attracting more leads regularly has become a challenge with more and more content being available online now.
  • Agile marketers are paving the path forward combining technology and talent.
  • You can boost lead generation using content that adds value to your prospects—content such as white papers.
  • Venngage’s Content Marketer, Ronita Mohan shares a five-step guide to design papers that will generate leads for your agency.

Agency lead generation strategies are top of mind right now. Attracting more leads regularly has become a challenge—the world is more online, but that also means that there is more content available.

Rising above the noise to draw in the right leads can seem like an impossible task. But we’re here to tell you that it isn’t.

You can boost lead generation using content that adds value to your prospects—content such as white papers.

While designing white papers from scratch can be tricky, there are online resources to create attractive white paper designs that boost brand awareness and increase conversions.

So, how do you create white papers that convert? We share a five-step guide to design papers that will generate leads for your agency.

1. Target agency lead generation audiences

Before you design a white paper, you need to define the audiences who will read it.

While your agency may have a diverse set of clients, when you’re trying to generate leads, you need to narrow down your focus.

You don’t want to create content that aims to please everyone—the chances are, you will end up attracting no one.

Generic content is easier to create—there’s a proliferation of it online. But you want your content to stand out in the crowd. That is how prospective clients will notice your agency.

To do this, you should study your market segments and answer these questions:

  • What pain points do your clients have?
  • How can your agency resolve those issues?
  • Is your current market large enough for your service?
  • Are there market gaps that you should explore?
  • What kind of content has already been successful?

Following this process will help you understand your audience’s needs better. This will make it easier to choose topics and designs for your white paper and boost conversions.

2. Define topics for agency lead generation white papers

Now that you’ve defined your audience—and you know your goal is agency lead generation—you need to pick a topic that is suitable for your prospects.

Remember, your aim with your content is to provide solutions to your clients’ pain points—that should be the driving factor behind creating any kind of content.

There are a few ways to find topics of interest for your prospects.

One method is to send survey questions to your existing clients asking them what kind of content they would like to see from you.

You can also look at content that has already done well on social media, past white papers, and blog posts. This will help you decide which topics attract the most views.

Consider searching online for keywords related to your clients. Google’s longtail keyword suggestions are a great place to find new content ideas.

Plus, SERP results give you an idea of what content is being searched for and why.

It is best to get granular with your white paper topics. Instead of creating a paper on the wider topic of brand awareness, the below example focuses on brand positioning.

defining topics for your agency lead generation white paperSource: Venngage

If you’re writing about email marketing—which is a broad topic—consider focusing on something narrower.

Write about incorporating user-generated content in emails, or how email marketing can be used to improve hiring rates.

You can also focus on specific aspects of your industry, such as the impact of phishing scams on company cybersecurity, or how to outsource IT departments.

The more targeted your topics are for your audience, the more likely they are to engage with your content.

3. Agency lead generation content creation

When you’re creating content designed for agency lead generation, your mind is on sales and conversions.

However, that shouldn’t be the primary thrust of your content. If you create white papers solely to sell your agency to leads, you might end up losing them instead of converting them.

Nobody wants to be sold to—especially when they’re investing time and energy into reading a white paper.

Additionally, white papers are gated content—they require interested parties to fill up a form to obtain access to the paper.

You can’t ask prospects to put in that much effort to get a piece of content that doesn’t enrich their lives or educate them about a topic.

But you do still need to convert prospects into clients. How can you do that?

Your white papers should be educational and informative about the subject matter, like in this example about employee engagement.

content creation for your agency lead generation white paper

Source: Venngage

Do original research into the topic and include data that backs up your assertions.

Share case studies and illustrated use cases from your agency. Not only do case studies make for interesting content but they also act as testimonials for your work.

The process of attracting prospects should be organic—encourage them with well-researched and well-written white papers.

4. Designing white papers for agency lead generation

Your white paper needs to be interesting and engaging, but it also should be attractive to prospects.

You could create a Word document, export it as a PDF, and share that with your audience. But is that going to get prospects’ attention like this example below?

Neon Digital Hiring Strategy White Paper_Venngaeg

Source: Venngage

It is possible to design a white paper that is colorful and detailed with templates and even from scratch.

We outline how to design great white papers to improve your agency lead generation efforts.

Be on-trend with your agency lead generation white paper design

Your white paper needs to follow present graphic design trends. This is important because, while you want to stand out from a crowd, you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb.

In the foreseeable future, these are some of the design trends agency marketers need to be aware of:

  • Muted colors, not bold or neon colors
  • Flat icons and illustrations, as opposed to 3D icons
  • Geometric shapes, instead of the abstract, flowing shapes of 2019
  • Classic Serif fonts, which are coming back into fashion

All these design elements will influence how you create your white paper and how successfully they draw in prospective clients.

Use visuals to design attractive lead-generating white papers

Visual communication has become one of the pillars of content marketing—which is why visuals need to be incorporated into your white paper design.

Start by designing an attractive cover page for your paper. 

Similar to book covers, the top page of your paper has the power to draw people to read further, like in this example.

using visuals for your agency lead generation white paper

Source: Venngage

Your cover page should also convey what leads will find within the pages of the paper—don’t mislead them with visuals that are attractive but irrelevant.

Though papers are largely text-based, that doesn’t mean that visuals don’t help engage readers further.

You can use visuals like icons, illustrations, photos, and charts to add depth to your white paper. They also make the content more readable and scannable.

When using photos, look for imagery that reflects your target audience—that will make the white paper feel more relevant to your readers.

Structuring your agency lead generation white paper

We have already mentioned the importance of having a cover page for your paper. But you also need to include an index that outlines the chapters of the paper.

To make the process easier, always include page numbers in your white papers. 

Readers will be able to return to sections they are interested in if they have an index to refer to, like in this example.

structuring your agency lead generation white paper

Source: Venngage

When you can, try to include quotes from experts in your field—this will give your paper more gravitas. Quotes should be highlighted with a bigger font size to vary the design.

In the same vein, include tables and text boxes that focus readers’ attention on specific facts and data.

Highlight key takeaways in the summary section of your paper—it is best to summarize your findings only after the paper is written.

Add a CTA in your agency lead generation white papers

What is the purpose of your paper? You want your prospects to perform some action.

That is why you need to include a call-to-action in your white paper—so that you can convert prospects into leads, and eventually into clients.

Here are some calls-to-action you can add to your papers:

  • Subscribing to your newsletter
  • Trying out your service
  • Scheduling a call
  • Learning more about your business

Ensure your CTA is visible and stands out on your page—this will encourage leads to click on it and travel further through your sales pipeline. 

Repurpose content into agency lead generation white papers

Creating content for agency lead generation can be a tough task—especially when you have to build content from scratch.

But there is a workaround for agency marketing teams—repurposing existing content. Instead of creating the text and visuals for papers, breathe new life into what you already have.

For example, your company blog may have multiple posts around one topic. These can be collated into chapters for a paper. 

Similarly, a webinar can be used to create a white paper, or a long eBook can be broken down into several white papers.

The possibilities for repurposing content are endless—keep an open mind and you can create papers that will generate more leads. 

5. Agency lead generation white paper promotion

Congratulations, you’ve created a white paper! Now, what do you do?

Leads aren’t going to find your paper on their own. You need to actively promote your content.

There are numerous ways to get eyeballs on your paper. Here are a few promotion methods to follow:

Blog posts

Create blog posts around your white paper content and include a call-to-action to download the paper, like in this example.

using blog posts to market your white paper for agency lead generation

Source: Pardot

Leads are more likely to access gated content if it has some context around it.

Email marketing

Promoting your white paper through an email campaign can boost downloads.

Share previews, statistics, or facts from the paper to entice your email list to click through to your paper’s landing page.

Write a follow-up email to everyone who downloads the paper to continue a conversation—this will increase conversions. 

Social media marketing (SMM)

Leads use social media to find content and future partners all the time. Sharing white papers on your channels will increase visibility for your content and your brand.

Use social media tools to schedule posts about your white paper at relevant times to your audience.

Website marketing

You can build a landing page for your paper that includes a summary and key learnings—enough information to encourage leads to download your content. 

Your page should include a simple form that prospective clients can fill in to access the paper—don’t ask for too much information, or they may be deterred from filling the form.

Promoting your content is a necessary step if you want to create agency lead generation strategies that convert.

Key takeaways: Prioritize audience needs to boost agency lead generation

Creating a white paper is a long process but a fruitful one that brings in more clients. To be successful, you need to follow a few crucial steps:

  • Target your white paper audience
  • Choose topics that are relevant to your leads
  • Create content that will encourage leads to partner with you
  • Design the white paper to attract leads
  • Promote your content on multiple platforms

These steps will help you create white papers that will boost your agency lead generation efforts.

Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at the online infographic and design platform, Venngage.

The post Agency lead generation: How to create white papers that convert appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Crowd marketing is the forum link building strategy you need to know in 2020

October 10, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Link building is still one of the best tactics to boost your Google rankings
  • Forum link building can help you tap into niche communities
  • Crowd marketing is the concept of setting up a strategy for forum link building
  • There’s no need to be discouraged if you’re just getting started
  • Quality is important both in your content and the forum that you decide to join

SEO is evolving through the years and it’s still more important than ever in your digital strategy.

It takes time to rank high in Google’s search results and one of the best ways to improve your success is to aim for credible backlinks to your content.

Backlinks can prove that the content is trustworthy and useful enough for the users to get you higher in SERPs. 

Through the years, link building is still one of the most effective methods to build your SEO. It helps you improve your search visibility and work towards reaching higher in the SERPs in a consistent and efficient way.

The question is, how can you make the most out of it in 2020?

Forum link building can be your secret weapon. Crowdo has released ‘The Ultimate Guide to Forum Link Building in 2020’ sharing tactics and examples to make it work.

Here are the key takeaways:

Content created in partnership with Crowdo.

Embracing crowd marketing

One of the most common tactics in link building is guest posting. It’s the process of featuring your content on another blog to get a link back to your site.

Although it’s a popular method, there are still more options to consider.

For example, ‘crowd marketing’, involves link building through communities and forums.

Crowdo is listing the benefits of ‘crowd marketing’ on their latest report:

  • Forums can be relevant for every niche industry. You can get links back to your site even when trying to reach a very specific group of people
  • It can be easier to get a link on a forum compared to getting a guest post published.
  • A lot of forums have been around for many years, which increases their credibility as a source of a link

It’s relatively easy to get a backlink from a forum. Your research can help you find the best way to reach your target audience to maximise the value.

It’s important though to avoid spamming or automated link generators. Crowd marketing should be a white hat technique rather than a quick win with no tangible results.

Focusing on the right links

You don’t want to gather as many links as you can if they don’t add value to your site and your ranking.

The quality of backlinks is crucial. If you’re unsure how to define the quality of the backlink, here are the key factors to consider:

  • Website traffic. Examine the traffic of the website to understand its popularity and it value it can bring
  • Relevance. Pick the forums and threads that are relevant to your site’s content. Don’t waste your time on links that are useless.
  • Authority. Look at the domain authority (DA) of the website. Tools like Ahrefs/ Moz / Semrush can help you discover a site’s DA. Aim for a DA that’s at least 50.
  • Context. Make sure your link is naturally placed in a sentence. Don’t just add the link on its own but rather link it to the right context.
  • Quality of forum. Analyse the forum’s quality. Too many spam posts are not a good indication of its quality. Aim for forums that are highly moderated as this may indicate the increase in the quality and the trust.

Best practices for scaling up link building

If you’re just getting started with link building, it might feel challenging to scale up your efforts.

There’s no need to quit though.

Here are Crowdo’s tips on how to address your challenges:

  • Don’t skip research. Research is crucial. Find the communities that are more relevant to your target audience. Look at their metrics. Read the latest threads to explore the topics that you want to be featured on.
  • Build trust. When you’re just getting started in a community, it’s important to take the time to build trust. If you need to register, fill all the details on your profile, join additional conversations, and aim for the long-term relationship.
  • Confirm that the threads are indexed by Google. Make sure that the forum threads that you’re about to post are indexed by Google. You don’t want to waste your time without seeing the content indexed.
  • Treat link building as an investment. Link building takes time. If your niche forum requires a registration fee, work on your end goal and what you want to get out of it. If it justifies the investment, do not hesitate to invest more time and resources on it.

Practical examples

If you want to see what forum building looks like, here is an example from Crowdo’s report.

In this example, the target niche is insurance providers. The community has more than 80k visitors, 93 DA, 48 TF. Thus, it makes the perfect source to add value to a conversation along with a dofollow backlink.

It’s a great example of how your research can lead you to the right source to make your link both useful and relevant.

Next steps

If you need additional help with your forum building, agencies like Crowdo can help you with on-demand link building services.

They are offering an exclusive offer to our readers with a 10% discount. You can find out more here and make the most of the offer using the coupon code provided in the link.

If you want to find out more about forum link building, make sure you read their latest report here.

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How to navigate social media marketing trends

October 6, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Even if you have a small marketing budget, you can still compete with bigger competitors.
  • To navigate social media well, you must hone your social listening and online investigation skills to find out what topics are relevant to your core audience.
  • Success requires embracing trends early with a creative and positive mindset.
  • Arjun Rai details four strategies for learning to navigate the changing social media landscape.

It’s no secret that social media marketing trends change rapidly. You might see a hashtag trending on TikTok before you go to bed, but when you wake up, everyone’s talking about a new hashtag or meme on Twitter. Is it any wonder that small business marketers need a way to confidently navigate social media?

For certain, it can be hard for small companies and startups to put more than a few hundred dollars into a social media marketing strategy. Plus, many entrepreneurs lack the experience and expertise needed to spot hot trends and capitalize on those topics in real-time, unlike big competitors that have unlimited marketing budgets and personnel.

The good news is that developing a successful digital marketing strategy is possible, and it doesn’t have to take grunt work or cost you more than a cup of coffee a day. It simply requires innovation. (In other words, even if you have a small marketing budget, you can still compete with the biggest competitors — #yougotthis.)

Unlocking the secrets of digital marketing

If you spend any time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media platforms, you’ve likely seen how trends bubble up out of nowhere. The possibilities may seem overwhelming, but you can’t afford to wait and see what sticks. You have to jump in and offer relevant content that outshines other chatter before the topic shifts. Agility is the game.

To navigate social media, you must hone your social listening and online investigation skills. Identify where you should start by asking, “What’s going to be pertinent to my core audience?” A good way to find out is to see what your strongest competitor’s social media marketing strategy looks like. Is the company using specific hashtags or emojis? Which posts garnered the most engagement?

No matter what, joining the “First!” crowd (aka early adopters) is a win. This holds true for anything: memes, emoji, hashtags, social platforms, etc. If the trend takes off, you become an early adopter and net more brand awareness. If it fizzles, you learn from the experience and prepare for the next trend. All you need to keep going is creativity and a positive mindset. Plus, the platforms themselves may reward you.

How to navigate social media

Does digital marketing still seem daunting? Here are four strategies you can use as you learn to navigate social media:

1. Spend up to 10% of marketing resources on new social media platforms

Did TikTok sneak up out of nowhere? You might not have noticed its growth signs. Don’t worry; it won’t be the last social media platform to take off.

Start investigating new social media platforms and spend about 5% to 10% of your marketing budget there. Get to know how they work and figure out where your business could fit in. At the same time, devote the rest of your efforts to popular platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. When your “portfolio” is split up like this, you won’t lose too much if a new venture takes a nosedive.

2. Conduct A/B tests with your content

Split test different kinds of copy, hashtags, graphics, videos, and images to see what does well. Once you find what performs the highest, make it 90% of your strategy. You can continue to iterate and experiment with the remaining 10%.

Remember that it’s OK to regurgitate content to a certain degree. Twist existing content into a new angle and reuse other people’s videos and images — just don’t forget to credit the original creator when possible. Memes in particular require very little editing. All you need is a popular format and a pithy caption.

3. Enlist help — real or digital

You can’t spend all your time learning how to increase brand awareness on social media. Find opportunities to crowdsource and automate your digital marketing in order to efficiently keep up with trends.

In his book ‘Traffic Secrets‘, Russell Brunson talks about trying Instagram with his influencer friends. This group approach can lighten your workload. Find partners you can create content and share insights with or consider relying on digital marketing automation tools to help you identify trends and schedule posts.

4. Avoid the “quick win” mentality

Social media trends come and go, but winning the digital marketing game is a long-term goal. It may take months or years for your account to take off, even on a new platform.

So stay positive and keep going. If and when you see significant success, you’ll gain street cred for being an early adopter or a long-term user. Plus, you’ll be in a better position to stay ahead of the curve on trends because of your comfort level with the platform.

Social media has proven to be an excellent equalizer, enabling fledgling companies to compete with larger businesses for followers and engagement. By following these four strategies, you’ll be able to better leverage social media trends this year and find your social stride.

Arjun Rai is the founder and CEO of HelloWoofy, a social media and blog management platform driven by artificial intelligence that helps small businesses (or as he likes to say, “underdog marketeers”) with smart marketing for the digital age. You can find him on Twitter @arjunraime.

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Leveling the playing field: Ahrefs’ free product to help content creators compete in Google

October 3, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Google antitrust, the market cases you need to know.
  • Google’s featured snippets do not payback content creators.
  • How to make content discoverable — no matter the marketing budget.
  • Tim Suolo, Ahrefs’ Chief Marketing Officer explains how they intend to level the playing field for smaller players.

While Google faces lawmakers with antitrust cases, it continues making billions from search result ads. Big players invest heavily in professional SEO tools and expertise to help get their content found in Google. Small businesses, nonprofits, and educational institutions struggle to get the organic traffic that their websites deserve. Today Ahrefs, an SEO toolset for digital marketers, releases a new free product – Ahrefs Webmaster Tools – to make SEO more accessible for website owners and help improve the discoverability of valuable content in Google.

Google’s antitrust case: What you need To know

Google faces antitrust issues for its dominance in web search, digital advertising, and smartphone software. Making $ 160 billion per year from ads in their search results, Google leaves online businesses struggling to get the free organic traffic that their websites deserve.

Travel antitrust crackdown of 2019

In 2019, Expedia Group Inc. saw its biggest revenue drop for 14 years, and TripAdvisor Inc. for two years. This is largely thanks to Google inserting its “Flights” feature into the search results for relevant travel queries.

Ahrefs example of Google's antitrust case

Back to 2016: Warner’s staff reduction

In 2008, Brian Warner launched CelebrityNetWorth.com to detail celebrity financial information. He hired a team of 10+ people to research the data, maintain its accuracy, and publish the investigations.

In 2016, a Google representative contacted Warner for permission to scrape his data. Warner declined but found his data in Google’s freshly-launched “Featured snippets” nonetheless. As a result, CelebrityNetWorth.com’s traffic dipped 65% within a month. This led Warner to cut staff by half.

SERP features scrape your content with no payback

Google’s featured snippets aim to answer a user’s query instantly. Since users get their answers directly from the search engine, they no longer have to click through to pages. However, these features pose a problem for businesses that invest heavily in their content.

SERPs scrape your content without any return

Google produces no content of its own. The answers for the SERP features come from existing content on websites, like Wikipedia. Google conveniently takes content from publishers and other websites and uses it in their SERP features.

In 2019, Rand Fishkin published the study confirming that less than half of Google searches now result in a click. This is a problem for content creators as they lose out on traffic from Google and, therefore, potential sales.

Budget is no longer crucial: Quality content will be found

Big players invest vast budgets in professional SEO tools and expertise to dominate organic search, making it difficult for small and medium businesses to compete in search results.

Omid Ghiam, Content Marketing Manager at Webflow said,

“In an ideal world, great content would show up at the top of search results. In reality, the lack of basic SEO knowledge makes the quality content unheard.”

To level the playing field for content creators, Ahrefs releases a free product – Ahrefs Webmaster Tools.

The initiative aims to improve the discoverability of valuable content from nonprofits, educational institutions, small businesses, and others who can’t yet afford to hire SEO specialists or invest in professional SEO tools. Dmitry Gerasimenko, CEO and Founder of Ahrefs explains,

“Our goal is to facilitate the infrastructure of the free and independent web, where everyone has an equal opportunity at getting discovered online. The competitive advantage should lie in the utility and quality of the information you produce, not in the knowledge of optimizing it for search engines.”

How does Ahrefs webmaster tools work?

A completely free SEO tool, Ahrefs Webmaster Tool (AWT) allows website owners to get deep and actionable insights to improve their website’s performance in search.

AWT scans any verified website for 100+ technical issues that might hinder its search performance, highlights what they are, and explains how to fix them.

It also shows website owners their backlinks, most linked pages, keyword rankings, and estimated monthly organic search traffic.

To get started, all users need to do is sign up. Then, upon registering for a free account, users will need to add and verify ownership of their website(s) via Google Search Console.

Ahrefs new webmaster tool to help content creators fight in the Google SERPs

Once done, users get access to two tools: Site Audit and Site Explorer.

Site Audit lets users scan their website(s) for 100+ SEO issues that could be hurting their performance in organic search. It also shows a breakdown of the most critical issues, how to fix them, and the affected URLs.

Ahrefs site audit report

Site Explorer shows website owners important SEO data, including their backlinks, keyword rankings, most linked pages, and more.

This data will help make better SEO and marketing decisions.

“Great content always needs to be the starting point. However, any result beyond the first page won’t get found. Through our current SEO strategy, we’ve seen traffic increases up to 62%, and Ahrefs’ toolset has been a key part of that,” says Fergus Taylor, an SEO specialist at Typeform.

Ahrefs Webmaster Tools provides website owners with the data and insights they need to outrank big players with deep pockets for free.

Tim Soulo is Chief Marketing Officer at Ahrefs. He can be found on Twitter @timsoulo.

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Top 10 Tools to facilitate web development

September 26, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Web development is very essential for guiding you past the traditional methods of website development and approaching to other more unique and efficient prospects in the IT field.
  • Building an app or website is real but sometimes can be better facilitated through the testing and implementation phases of web tools.
  • Entering the new age of the digital world is just impossible without proper deployment, scaling, and database management. And this where the best web development weapons are on standby.

Web development tools are necessary to adapt and integrate in the development environments since they help you create a webpage, gather metrics, discover layouts and designs. Web development is all about evolving and stepping up the game you are currently very proficient in. Along with that it doesn’t demand much money,  require enormous sources or expect big money. The only thing development tools are incorporating is your boosted ultimate website performance. What is simply left is finding the right assistant on this journey. Here are the top 10 we have picked for you:

1. Chrome DevTool

If you are searching for a web assistant that would ensure your safety and optimize development, Chrome DevTool is sincerely recommended in this case. Taking into account that this is the most popular cross-platform browser of all, you should be certain that such a Chromium-based development technology will allow you to inspect, debug, and guide you through the browser.

While varied development tools are primarily focused on setting up websites, creating online stores, and launching blogs, Chrome DevTool is highly helpful in inspecting and tweaking. Although it is a bit hard to navigate through so many tabs and functions, Chrome DevTool offers you numerous panels for boosting productivity, analyzing load performance, and enhancing better user-friendly experience:

  • Elements panel
  • Console panel
  • Sources panel
  • Network panel
  • Performance panel
  • Memory panel
  • Application panel
  • Security panel

Such a division gives you a more fixed structure on elements and commands that you can apply depending on the existing page you are willing to diagnose. In order to access Chrome DevTools, you won’t even need to pay for anything, as it is built into the browser itself. Here is how you can open it.

2. VironIT

Good software development company’s support can facilitate your user experience with its comprehensive and all-inclusive approach even more. VironIT offers you a list of the new age web development tools and services to create a highly adaptable website or attractive web application.

If you wonder what kind of development tools are combined in one software, it might actually vary from AR&VR development (augmented and virtual reality) to IoT Software development (data visualization and analysis). Such a useful package of cross-platform tools in one place makes it easier for you to write, maintain and promote better development and react to possible vulnerabilities. In addition, it guarantees you rapid functionality of apps, programs, websites and its well-organized software designs.

There is nothing more efficient than a versatile service providing the fast and most secure web frameworks. You share the main goal.

3. React JS

React is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces and reusable UI components. Why do many developers use this web development tool is mainly because of the ease of breaking a developing application into several simple parts. Moreover, the style of application code derived with the help of React components can be used for any program’s interface which significantly speeds the process up.

Obviously, if you are willing to learn ReactJS, you need to know how to work with JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS. The solid knowledge of any of these markup languages makes the optimization journey with ReactJS more helpful and enjoyable:

  • It is faster because it performs optimization while drawing up code to JavaScript.
  • It is also error-free since all technical mistakes can be spotted during compilation.
  • It is easier to write templates, especially when you are familiar with HTML.
  • It is entirely automated since it can handle the JavaScript code, which is suitable for many browsers.

4. Github

You have no clue what the new age of web development means if you don’t try out GitHub. This web platform enables you not only to manage the web applications by coordinating the tools and its usability, but also to deploy regular teams and campaigns to the completion of these same applications or projects. GitHub accesses you a lightweight, branch-based workflow that helps you experiment with taking over new tasks and managing the existing workflow.

  • It helps you make changes, reviews without affecting other involved branches.
  • It offers a smooth documentation process that often complements the quality coding process.
  • It can modify pages’ content and style remotely via the web or locally on your computer

Why GitHub? The suggested privileges of breaking down barriers within a team when the project is implemented and keeping everyone focused on having the best performance. In the same way, it can let your business flow run smoothly and consistently at any point in time.

5. Novi Builder

You can’t even imagine what excellent sophisticated features you have been holding back when you were not a member of the Novi Builder community. This easy-to-use development tool offers you facilities for HTML drag and drop builder, access to all existing and future templates including free of charge themes. Also, it provides you with 20 must-have plugins and elements, such as Social Plugins, Contact form, Sliders, Countdown, Google Maps, and more.

The functionality and designs are exactly built for beginners developers who want to evolve and rise up on their IT working ladder. It is a great chance for deepening your understanding of website creation and ensuring solid knowledge of application development.

Along with the above-mentioned features, here is what else Novi Builder has to offer:

  • It offers advanced code editor support.
  • It supercharges your projects just from scratch
  • It can install an app and make it live in several hours at low cost
  • It empowers and modifies your existing HTML website with additional application integration facilities

6. BugMuncher

The BugMuncher’s list of integrations includes GitHub, Jira, Trello making it more accessible and easier to edit packages and manifest files. The toolkit enables you to draw the problems captured on your website and send it across as a screenshot. Generally, BugMuncher teaches developers how to make visual highlights and get immediate feedback with the most accurate details. In addition, this feedback comes not just from random visitors but your current customers when they interact with your service and share the reports of JavaScript and AJAX errors.

Unlike the rest of the feedback tools, this one doesn’t misuse or distort gathered information. It does exactly the opposite by testing development phases and saving your existing project from bugs. If you are quite hesitant it takes too long to collect BugMuncher feedback, you should remember that it is not about your colleague’s professional suggestion, a customer as a prime source of feedback. They can deliver you the most constructive criticism that would help you hone your business’ website or app development.

7. Bootstrap

Bootstrap is low-key the most popular HTML, CSS, and JavaScript framework for developing responsive, mobile-first websites. Its open-source toolkit stores different templates and designs for creating common user interface components. These elements usually include forms, buttons, navigations, dropdowns, alerts, modals, tabs, accordions, carousels, tooltips, and so on. Basically, it allows you to build mobile-friendly websites with a smart drag and drop facility.

Moreover, ready-made blocks of code and flexible layouts needed for HTML, CSS can be easily customized and used in accordance with your project’s requirements. The greatest Bootstrap’s features of all are:

  • Extensive list of components
  • Solid guarantee of the project’s responsiveness
  • Useful icon library

8. Notepad++

Notepad++ is your great assistant in text editing, syntax highlighting, plugin maintaining and this list of handy features can actually go on. Although it is available on Windows only, it can still be supported by GitHub, a primary distribution party.

Additionally, Notepad++ supports 27 programming languages. If you go to the Binary Translations page you can easily choose the language you need. Alternatively, you can open User Language Define System to help you define the definition of keywords or regular expressions. Moreover, if you are advanced at coding in languages like C++, Batch, and HTML, Notepad++ is just an ideal service for you. Imagine that:

  • You can find every instance of a word and perform actions on it.
  • You can access the replace function and get a change reference for each word.
  • You can also save time by typing the keyboard shortcut and skipping the appeared code next time or previous time.

Doesn’t it sound amazing to apply a word-search and text-editor tool like this with just a quick installation and some default language setting? You should definitely try it out.

9. Source tree

We wouldn’t bet on the wrong horse if we said that most of you are intermediate or even advanced developers who’d rather focus on coding than interacting with the Git repositories. SourceTree is a free web development tool available for Mac and Windows and perfect for database visualization and management. However, Source tree equally claims to serve both powerful experts, as well as absolute beginners. Yet, understanding the interface specs is easier than you can even think:

  • Bookmark windows represent database you are aligned with
  • Toolbar lets you take action without any command line
  • The sidebar is where you access the information about your current project
  • Repository history and code diffs share control to monitor previous changes

From now any coding changes will be demonstrated in real-time and with the aggregated view on all of your work.

10. Lambda Test

Certainly, before displaying your website to the users’ eyes, as a developer you are in charge of rendering it over different browsers. Depending on the coding language you use (like HTML, CSS  & JavaScript) they should be tested beforehand. Lambda Test is your main guide to ensure that your web application is adaptable for any browser even after you push code changes. Such cross-browser test automation offered by Lambda Test has a very simple and easy to understand interface. Even more, better addition is a vast collection of integration facilities (screenshots screen recording, plugins, and so on). All in all, this unique rendering mechanism is less complex, time-consuming, and instead much cheaper and faster in use.

Conclusion

Now, you are completely forearmed to successfully lead the war of web development. Getting an application done or an advanced code supported has never been easier. Try these top tools out and you will not regret it.

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Creating viral content: Is it possible to harness viral trends?

September 22, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • STEPPS model singles out social currency, triggers, emotional value, public popularity, practical value, and background stories as common points between viral content.
  • People’s tendency to mimic popular behavior and be a part of a group activity results in viral trends.
  • The internet likes content that is raw and genuine.
  • Evelyn Johnson details the elements of viral content and how brands can achieve it.

George Miller, famously known as Joji is one of the fastest rising musicians. He’s the first Asian-born artist to top R&B and hip-hop charts, he achieved this feat with his first studio album. But Joji is no stranger to fame. Before he was a teenage heartthrob —Joji was garnering millions of views on YouTube as FilthyFrank. This online persona was edgy, outrageous, and oftentimes, outright filthy which helped qualify as viral content.

To top it all off, FilthyFrank was responsible for creating one of the biggest viral trends in the history of the Internet.

The Harlem Shake

Back when TikTok wasn’t a thing and Twitter was just a few years old —viral trends were somewhat rare. It was unusual for people to replicate a popular video and take part in activities just because others were doing it on the internet.

The Harlem Shake changed all this. It’s hard to describe this trend so I will let Wikipedia do its job.

“The videos usually last about 30 seconds and feature an excerpt of the 2012 song “Harlem Shake” by American EDM producer Baauer. Baauer’s song starts with a 15-second intro, a bass drop, then 15 seconds with the bass, and a lion roar at the end of the first 30 seconds. Usually, a video begins with one person (often helmeted or masked) dancing to the song alone for 15 seconds, surrounded by other people not paying attention or seemingly unaware of the dancing individual. When the bass drops, the video cuts to the entire group dancing for the rest of the video”.

To explain it simply, a small 30-second clip of Joji dancing in his Pink Guy persona along with his friends in outlandish costumes caught fire, and soon, everyone wanted in on the act. Even the Norwegian Army joined in the fun.

Now, does this make any sense? Of course not.

The internet can be pretty senseless at times (or maybe most of the time). It’s hard to determine what exactly will capture the imagination of the masses.

But this hasn’t stopped social scientists from analyzing virality and what causes people to participate in a trend.

What exactly makes something go viral?

Let’s say you are a marketing manager at an ecommerce store trying to create a viral promo code. You may look at popular trends and get bedazzled by their randomness. Should you gather a group of individuals in random costumes and make them dance? Maybe it will turn out to be the next Harlem Shake?

Hopefully, it wouldn’t come to that as many academics and marketing professionals have tried to make sense of internet virality. Among them, Jonah Berger STEPPS Model and Robert Cialdini’s Principle of Social Proof and a study by Cambridge University gives an important insight into the psychology behind viral videos.

1. Jonah Berger’s STEPPS Model

When it comes to understanding virality, Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger is a familiar name. In his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Berger attributes six main reasons for the success of videos that go viral. He defines it as the STEPPS model:

  1. Social Currency: People share content that makes them seem smart and cool. While most of us would like to believe otherwise, we do care what others think of us.
  2. Triggers: Relates to the idea of “top of mind, tip of tongue”. People talk about things that are in their minds.
  3. Emotion: When people care, they share. Individuals are likely to share content they found emotionally arousing.
  4. Public: Anything that’s already popular is more likely to be shared further. People imitate other people.
  5. Practical Value: Useful stuff is also widely shared. Informational content has great value and hence “How to” videos often go viral.
  6. Stories: People are always interested in compelling narratives and stories. Anything that connects with the audience has a chance of being shared.

It’s hard not to trace at least some of these attributes in content that goes viral.

Old Town Road

Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road became a hit because it had a certain social currency. It was a cool genre-bending song about country life that people loved sharing. Since the song was released around a time when a game with similar themes —Red Dead Redemption, was extremely popular, it triggered a massive response.

People were sharing the memes of Old Town Road long before it became number one at Billboard 100. This means the song had a public aspect as well from the STEPPS model.

Admittedly, the song provided no real practical value. But it had an intriguing story: the song was removed from the country chart as critics believed it did not belong to the genre. This prompted country legend, Billy Ray Cyrus, to come out in the song’s support and collaborate with the singer.

2. Robert Cialdini’s principle of social proof

In his book, ‘Influence — The Psychology of Persuasion’, Robert Ciadini introduces the concept of social proof. In his own words:

“The greater the number of people who find any idea correct, the more the idea will be correct…We will use the actions of others to decide on proper behavior for ourselves, especially when we view those others as similar to ourselves”.

It’s also known as herd mentality or groupthink, where we assume an action is appropriate because others are performing it.

Consider this: How many times have you retweeted a tweet that already had thousands of retweets?

“When a social media post reaches a certain level of popularity —it is likely to get shares from individuals who are more influenced by the number of likes than the content itself,”

says Julia Markle, the head of digital content at ClothingRIC.

“This generates a chain reaction that transforms a popular post into a viral post.”

3. Viral altruism

Virality on the internet is most often random and spontaneous. But sometimes it is by design. In a paper published by the University of Cambridge, the famous ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was dubbed as “viral altruism”.

Social psychologist Dr. Sander van der Linden described some key psychological factors that cause such trends to catch fire. Among these is the power of social norms, in particular the attraction of joining a social consensus and the aspiration to conform to prosocial behavior, a clear moral incentive to act, and the need for a “warm glow”: the emotional benefit that’s gained from feeling compassionate.

In simple words, people act:

  • To participate in a popular activity
  • To gain the emotional reward of giving to others
  • When they believe it’s morally the right thing to do

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge appealed to people’s good side and this made it widely successful. Its virality resulted in $ 220 million being raised for battling the disease. However, not all similar challenges that go viral have a charitable aspect.

For instance, the “Don’t Rush Challenge” wasn’t for a greater cause but became popular as it allowed people to come together and build a connection by mimicking a popular behavior.

What makes the Ice Bucket Challenge special is that it demonstrated how internet virality can be harnessed and used to inspire action. Of course, this is easier said than done for brands.

How can brands create viral content?

The internet is filled with listicles that guide brands in crafting viral content. But having well-designed infographics, solid backlinks, and hiring influencers don’t always drive a flood of visitors to your website.

It’s important that along with covering the basics, you keep one important factor into consideration; authenticity. From the Hit or Miss video to Old Town Road and ALS Ice Bucket Challenge —all these popular trends were raw and genuine.

Considering this, brands should create content that fosters human connection. Almost all individuals who’ve studied virality believe “being involved in something big” motivates people to share content and participate in challenges. So whether you hit or miss, there’s no harm in spreading your word through genuine content that’s designed to go viral.

But don’t make the mistake of creating something that’s a blatant attempt to cash in on the internet culture. Millennials and Gen Z in particular will be especially hostile towards any such effort.

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How to drive digital innovation necessary during the pandemic

September 19, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • COVID-19 has kept consumers in their homes, which has led to significant spikes in internet use and companies scrambling to digitize in order to meet customers where they are.
  • The ability to quickly develop digital capabilities will continue to be critical for meeting customer needs and ensuring organizations’ survival.
  • To remain competitive, companies must enhance the digital customer experiences they offer through upgraded social media, optimized conversion, strategies, better marketing research, an effective internal website search, and fresh customer touchpoints.

Emerging digital technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing enticed leaders with their agility and efficiency. Many companies planned to make digitization a goal for the new decade.

In hindsight, they probably wish they hadn’t waited.

The novel coronavirus upended every aspect of our lives. As businesses and governments around the world try to combat the pandemic, millions of consumers sit inside their homes. And where do people go during a government-mandated lockdown? Online.

The unprecedented shift to remote work and online learning, combined with a dramatic increase in movie streaming, videoconferencing, and social media traffic, has led to significant spikes in internet use. In this same time frame, big tech companies — the businesses at the forefront of digital innovation — have flourished, as have brands that capitalized on the power of social media engagement.

The biggest trick to digitization right now is meeting customers where they are. For example, my company, Teknicks, is working with an online K-12 speech and occupational therapy provider. When schools began transitioning to remote learning, students’ needs changed, too. We helped the provider pivot its value proposition and messaging to accommodate school districts’ new realities. By focusing on teletherapy tools and reassuring parents, we’ve seen substantial growth and brand recognition during the pandemic.

Until we find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, your customers will likely engage with you through online channels. The ability to develop digital capabilities quickly will continue to be critical for meeting customer needs and ensuring survival for your organization. With that in mind, here’s how you can enhance your digital customers’ experiences:

1. Upgrade your social media

It’s not hard to be good at social media marketing — it’s hard to be great. As you build your audience on websites like Facebook and Instagram, be sure to engage with followers consistently. Create a content calendar mapping out your posts and sharing strategies and stick to it. These platforms are also a great channel for customer service, allowing you to provide personalized support and become instantaneously useful (something that customer support tickets and chatbots never seem to be).

If you already have a sizable engaged audience, it’s time to work on your content strategy. Don’t build your content strategy around keywords. Instead, focus on your audiences’ needs. A truly effective content strategy will be customized for the platform you’re on and will account for the user behavior most characteristic of that platform. Naturally, you will use keywords and phrases that are optimized for discoverability while maintaining authenticity.

One key strategy is to conduct marketing research using a survey. This tactic goes well beyond traditional keyword research and generates content ideas directly from your targeted audience, not a keyword tool. Surveying your prospective customers allows them to tell you what type of content they want to consume, significantly increasing the likelihood of engagement. Often, this strategy is the key to successful marketing strategy. I’ll go into more detail below.

2. Focus on and prioritize conversion optimization

Ideally, your website looks good and loads quickly, but those qualities alone don’t make a website great. The user experience that your website offers is ultimately what determines whether customers bounce in droves or actually stick around. Attempting to boost your initial traffic will exponentially increase customer acquisition costs, so improving your conversion rates via website optimization is a more affordable (and profitable) solution.

We often see double-digit increases in conversion rates on our first test. We typically focus on the most trafficked pages to increase the likelihood of big, impactful wins. There is an entire science behind conversion optimization, but the core fundamentals have remained the same for years.

To make sure your website’s architecture is seamless and intuitive, develop a conversion rate optimization strategy that works for you. This will require you to ask visitors for feedback, experiment with different messaging options, and regularly review your analytics, among other things. The idea is to get to know your visitors well. It takes work, but it will pay off over time as the incremental conversion rate increases impact top-line revenue.

3. Conduct marketing research surveys

With the right insights, you can turn every engagement into a memorable and valuable experience for both you and your customers. The best way to get customer insights is to ask. Design a survey of up to 10 questions in a variety of formats along with some screening questions to make sure the feedback you get is actually useful.

When designing, consider your potential customers’ preferences and pain points. For example, if you know your audience is mostly on Instagram, asking “What do you like about social media?” won’t be as effective as “What makes Instagram posts better than Facebook posts?” Once the survey’s drafted, post it to your social channels and send it out to your mailing list. You want to understand which messages resonate with your audience before you spend a cent on marketing. Learning how to conduct marketing research is one of the most important marketing skills you can attain.

Asking individual customers how they feel about various messaging options can give you a goldmine of useful data to help inform the language and design choices you make. Not every customer will choose to participate in a survey, but some will. Show them you appreciate their input by offering a small discount or another incentive once the survey is completed. You’ll be surprised by how many responses you get and how beneficial the precursory information is.

4. Review your internal website search

As much as you’d love for every visitor to spend hours exploring every nook and cranny of your website, most will want to get on with their lives after they’ve found what they came for. To make the process faster, you should offer some sort of internal website search functionality. If you don’t already have one, add a search box to your navigation menu.

Not every website has one, and even the ones that do have very surface-level functions. However, search bars are a valuable asset that can increase internal sessions and conversion. Internal website searchers are 216% likelier to convert, according to WebLinc. Search bars assist your visitors and expand your understanding of user behavior, providing you with the information you need in order to adjust your website accordingly.

Evaluate the effectiveness of your internal search, taking notice of how it finds and organizes the content after a search. Most native search functionality is very basic and just looks for the presence of “search term,” but you may want to test out more advanced filters that help users more effectively find the information they are looking for.

I recommend looking at the search data monthly to see what users have been looking for. Be sure to review what searches yielded zero results and which searches brought up irrelevant content. Identify areas that can be approved and understand your content gaps that need additional content to support the demand.

5. Identify new customer touchpoints

Innovation is all about using new technology to improve old processes. While your typical customer journey might depend on your industry and business, chances are good that you can find ways to enhance it with emerging technologies.

Evaluating whether an emerging technology is a fit for your business and whether you should invest in testing it out, starts with (drumroll …) a survey. As we discussed earlier, surveys can answer just about anything you want to know about your target audience. Go ahead and ask your audience if they own or use the emerging tech and validate its place in the customer journey.

Take the new home buying process, for example. David Weekley Homes, the largest privately-held home builder in the U.S., wanted to better understand whether voice-enabled devices can play a role in the customer journey. The company also wanted to propose a voice app idea to the audience and understand how they felt about the emerging technology concept. By conducting a survey, we uncovered that 81% of the respondents would consider the voice app idea to be somewhat to extremely valuable and 70% would possibly to definitely use the voice app if it existed.

The increasing usage of voice search and voice-enabled devices also offers an opportunity for consumer brands to make it easier than ever for customers to find their products. Tide, for example, has capitalized on marketing on Amazon’s Alexa Skills platform to remove a step from the purchasing process. Customers can use the company’s skill to order Tide products without having to pull up the Amazon app or go to the Tide website. In that way, new tech makes an old process (purchasing detergent) more frictionless than ever.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made digital innovation a business imperative. Regardless of your industry, you should look for ways to anticipate and meet customer needs. Your customers expect a seamless digital experience. If you can’t provide it, they won’t have to leave their homes to find someone else that can.

Nick Chasinov is the founder and CEO of Teknicks, a research-based internet marketing agency certified by Google in Analytics, Tag Manager, and a Google Premier AdWords partner.

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