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How To Determine Which Online Channels are Delivering Sales Online and Off

photo credit: Ashleigh Brown

photo credit: Ashleigh Brown

The beauty of online advertising, unlike various other forms of advertising such as TV or radio, is that it is nearly completely trackable. When using Google Analytics as your platform, it is possible to see where website traffic has come from, whether it is from a paid ad on Google, Facebook advertising, an organic listing or referred from another website – the list goes on.

Google is now making that information a lot less complete with the encryption of search terms for organic clicks, so it’s more difficult for website owners and their marketing agencies to know which keywords drove the organic traffic to their site. Some would argue this is to protect privacy online, while others believe it merely encourages advertisers to use Google AdWords. It’s the only way you can see exactly what keyword was entered before the clicks that result / do not result in sales – I guess we’ll never know…

Cross-device tracking

There are parts of the online journey, however, where things do become a little hazy and it’s harder to track exactly what attributed to the final sale. For instance, online to offline sales and also cross-device customer journeys.

Mobile searches are becoming more and more influential within the buying cycle, with 40% of smartphone users’ purchases being influenced by a mobile search, ie. 40% of users who do research on their phone go on to make a purchase.

A huge 90% of people use multiple screens when spending money online, whether that be making a purchase or booking a service. Also, 87% do research online before entering a store to potentially make a purchase and 82% do research on their phone whilst in a store, looking at an item.

This shows that mobile search can be extremely important within the buying cycle, even though it might not convert there and then. That person might visit your shop to complete their purchase or return to your site via desktop to buy. Either way, mobile still attributed to that sale.

But how do we track this? Well, Google is now providing cross-device tracking within the AdWords interface so that advertisers can see how cross-device activity attributed to online sales. Google calculates cross-device conversions using its algorithm to compare the behavioural signals of a sample of signed-in users with a sample of non-signed-in users to estimate other occurrences of cross-device conversions. This information is then reported when Google is 95% sure that the data is accurate – a 95% confidence level.

Advertisers can see this information by adding the ‘Cross-device conv.’ column to their AdWords data.  According to Google “Cross-device conversions happen when a customer interacts with an ad (for example, by clicking on a text ad or viewing a video ad) on one device then converts on a different device or browser.” This allows advertisers to see how many conversions have been influenced by visits on multiple devices.

Store visit conversions

Google is always referring to the micro-moments, which are basically the important moments along the customer’s journey toward conversion. Google’s estimated total conversions across devices was an overall figure and insight into the many different forms of conversions other than just one-click purchases (ie. store visits, phone calls, downloads, sales), something it now refers to as ‘All conversions’.

Toward the end of last year, Google announced that they’ll now be able to better track offline store visits: “… advertisers can get a more detailed view of offline measurement with the ability to breakout store visits at a keyword or ad group level, and the ability to view visits by day, week, or month to better inform bidding and campaign strategy.” – Google Adwords on G+

There are requirements that you need to meet to be able to use store visit conversions:

  • Have multiple physical store locations in eligible countries.
  • Receive thousands of ad clicks and many store visits.
  • Have a Google My Business account linked to your AdWords account.
  • Create each of your store locations in your Google My Business account.

To find out if store visit conversions are available in your location you can ask your Google account manager.

How does it work? It is based on anonymous, aggregated statistics created with modelled numbers using both current and past data on the number of people who click your ads and later come in store. This can’t be linked to individual ad clicks or people – Google uses industry best practices to ensure the privacy of users.

The truth is that we will never be able to be 100% accurate when tracking customers or know exactly which ‘micro-moments’ helped persuade someone to purchase or sign up, but these latest developments from Google means we’re getting closer and closer.

 

Ashleigh Brown - Browser mediaAshleigh Brown, Head of Biddable Media at Browser Media Ltd, a specialist digital marketing agency. Born in 2005 as a search engine marketing agency, Browser Media still offers search as its core service but provides so much more than just tinkering with meta tags.

5 Mobile Web Usability Rules You Can't Afford To Ignore

5 Mobile Web Usability Rules You Can'tIf content is king then your website is its kingdom and no matter how great your content is, if your website is not providing the users a smooth user experience, your visitors are going to abandon it for sure!

But how can you make sure your website users get a rich and smooth web experience? This article tells you how to give your mobile web users a smooth experience. I will teach you the basic and the best of 5 mobile website usability rules that you can’t afford to miss. Follow these mobile web usability rules and craft a nice mobile web user experience to your visitors. Let’s get started!

Rule No. 1: Don’t go after every plugin you come across!

Plugins are meant to add usability to your website, but that shouldn’t turn out to be a roadblock for your users. Before you install any plugin or add-on, make sure it is worth adding and is going to add value to your website and thus adding value to your visitor’s user experience. More importantly, note that most mobile devices do not support plugins and also remember that plugins are also known for crashing, hanging and slowing down the websites and if not chosen properly, can prove to be vulnerable too. Give it a thought: Just because it is free doesn’t mean it should be in your bucket!

Rule No. 2: Use viewport properly to cater screen-friendly content

What’s a viewport?

Viewport gives web designers capabilities to decide on how to render the content across different screen sizes.

Without viewport, a typical web page will be rendered at a full, desktop width scaled to fit the device screen size. Configuring and defining viewport in your CSS allows you to choose and render web page’s size and content according to the device’s screen size, which can also be called a screen-friendly view.

Rule No. 3: Ditch the annoying horizontal scrollbar by sizing content to viewport

Horizontal scrollbar is one of the things that annoy mobile site users most. It is always advisable to ditch the horizontal scroll bar from your mobile-friendly site.

Here’s how to ditch it without changing much of your code on web pages:

  1. Different devices come with different screen resolutions hence pay close attention in defining viewports for various screen sizes.
  2. Also, please note that CSS pixel-wide width may also vary in viewport and hence your page content shouldn’t be dependent on a specific viewport width to render well.
  3. Avoid setting up large CSS widths in absolute terms can widen your elements unnecessarily, especially on small devices. Alternatively, you can use relative width values such as width:100% etc.
  4. Avoid setting up absolute positioning values that may cause the element to render outside the viewport on smaller screens. You can use CSS media queries to apply different styling rules for varied screen sizes.

Rule No. 4: Place tap targets properly; size and proximity matters!

When you are building web for mobile, you have to consider space constraint and usability for every element of the web page and this applies to tap targets (buttons, links etc.) too.

Problem: If your tap targets are placed too close with each other and are small, users will have frustrating web experience as they might end up clicking other, unwanted tap targets.

Solution: Keep button size reasonable good. Have good proximity among buttons so that users can tap them without their finger pad overlapping other tap targets.

Pro Tip: Android’s UI guidelines recommend a minimum tap target size of roughly 7mm (48 CSS pixels), compared to an average adult finger pad size of about 10mm wide.

Rule No. 5: Fonts size also matters to offer a good readability experience

And just like the distance, size too is a concern for tap targets. Too small or too large fonts can also leave your users frustrated so make sure you use legible font sizes to offer your users a good readability experience.

Here are few ways you can use to define font size in your CSS, follow the one that fits you best:

Font size can be specified via four common units: pixels (px), points (pt), EMs (em), and percent (%).

  1. Pixels are “CSS pixels” and vary based on device size and density.
  2. Points are defined in relation to pixels. A single pixel is 0.75 points.
  3. EMs and percent are “relative” units: they are relative to the inherited size and properties of the font being used. 1 EM is equivalent to 100%.

Pro Tip: Configure a viewport to make sure fonts will be scaled as expected across various devices.

Once you’ve configured a viewport, implement the Google’s following recommendations:

  1. Use a base font size of 16 CSS pixels.
  2. Adjust the size as needed based on properties of the font being used.
  3. Use sizes relative to the base size to define the typographic scale.
  4. Text needs vertical space between its characters and may need to be adjusted for each font. The general recommendation is to use the browser default line-height of 1.2em.
  5. Limit the number of fonts used and the typographic scale: too many fonts and font sizes lead to messy and overly complex page layouts.

 

The mobile is altogether a different sphere than a traditional web experience and so are the needs of your mobile web users. Going after traditional web guidelines won’t help you much on your mobile web domain. Apply these usability rules and recommendations given by Google and you will on your way to cater a smooth and silk web experience to your mobile website users!

moinMoin Shaikh an open source tech lover. By profession, he is a social media manager, webmaster and web analyst for an Australia-based IT firm – Intesols. He looks after analysis, design & development and promotion parts of websites. I also contribute for Mozilla Firefox. Love to blog and tweet often! Connect with me on Twitter @moingshaikh

2 5 Online Assets That Are Worth Your Time

You know you need online assets, but which ones are really worth your time? I asked myself this question as I prepared to launch my company, HipHire, which is a new platform that connects companies with quality part-time candidates using a unique matching system.

While HipHire’s concept and our platform are new, the way we get in front of our best customer probably feels familiar to you. Skim through this list and you’ll see that we use opt-in offers, blogging, social media and more. You’re likely already doing most of these things to market your own products and services.

But is it working?

In the tech startup world, being able to launch and gain traction quickly is hugely important. To make sure I was spending time on the online assets that were truly worth it, I did a combination of hypothesizing, testing, tweaking, and testing some more. This process led to rapid adjustments when things weren’t working, which meant more efficiency and better success in the end.

If you’ve ever wondered if your online assets were worth the time you’re putting in to them, here’s how to start testing.


Landing Pages with Specific Opt-ins

landingpagesHipHire has two main business segments—companies looking to hire and candidates seeking part-time jobs. Instead of creating one opt-in offer for each audience, we created multiple opt-ins, each with their own specific landing page.

For example,

  • Our landing page for the Founders Club targets an elite group of Kansas City businesses who benefit from choosing HipHire early.
  • Our landing page for candidates seeking part-time summer jobs speaks directly to the needs of that particular job candidate subset.
  • We even created a landing page and opt-in offer specifically for you (yep, you!). Knowing what we do about the readers of this blog, we created something you’d find useful.

This focused approach makes readers feel you’re speaking directly to them. We tested a lot, and as we’ve fine-tuned this niche marketing, we’ve seen greater conversions.


Blog Content and Community

blogcontent

photo credit: pexels.com

In the months leading up to our launch, we provided information for job candidates and companies looking to hire. Even though our platform hadn’t launched yet, we kept in touch and kept people coming back to the site.

With the blog, as with everything else, I tested. I kept a close eye on analytics. When something didn’t work or when we found a vein that engaged people, we rebuilt the editorial calendar based on that knowledge. Being willing to change gears saves time and money by shifting energy from non-productive actions into profitable directions.


Social Media—Personalized

Social media

photo credit: pexels.com

Social media is about real connection.

I learned this lesson by trying to grow my number of Twitter followers. I followed 100 businesses in my target market each day. I had ditched using automated responses, so when somebody began following me back, I found relevant information about the person or company to create a personalized reply. I got creative, taking a picture of a handwritten note or making a video.

One person wanted to Skype to learn what I was doing because they were impressed that they received a custom message from me. This blew me away. The simplest level of communication and nobody is doing it? That strategy started adding 50 followers a week, but it wasn’t just numbers. Twitter became about real engagement and connection.

Personalizing each tweet may not be scalable, but focusing on quality personal connections makes a difference.


Mobile Ease

Mobile

photo credit: pexels.com

Our target market lives on mobile devices. We needed to go beyond mobile accessibility for the HipHire platform. We needed mobile ease.

One of the ways we did that was to show HipHire users that we can really deliver before asking them to set up a profile. We streamlined the profile process: type in a few key details (name and the like), then click, click, click, submit.

Making sure your site views correctly on a phone is pretty standard, but have you made your process simple for mobile users?


Visual Content

visual

photo credit: pexels.com

People want to know what the product looks like. They want to visualize themselves using it. That was a challenge for HipHire in the beginning because we started building awareness for the service before our platform was live. We got over this hurdle by providing “sneak peeks” throughout the process.

Since our audience was likely to be mobile, we showed mobile screenshots. This use of visual content demonstrated how clean and simple the process really is and helped build excitement as we neared our live launch.

To make your online assets really worth your time, focus on three Cs: customize, connect, and (when testing shows you should) change.

What tweak to online assets has been the biggest change maker for you?

 

Capture.PNG

Brian Kearns is an entrepreneur and the founder of HipHire. He’s passionate about connecting employers and workers who share a vision of the ideal workplace culture. He believes that the key to finding quality part-time people is through a better employee fit.

2 How Customer Photos Improve Mobile Shopping

Mobile commerce is expected to grow nearly 50% in the next four years.

But even with the rapid rate of tablet and smartphone technology, there are still many advantages of web over mobile for creating a seamless online shopping experience. This is strongly reflected in the still lagging mobile conversion and purchase rates—mobile’s conversion rate lags over 3.5x behind desktop. With consumers spending more and more of their online time on mobile, brands are turning to content generated by their customers to improve the mobile shopping performance.

Mobile commerce still lags significantly behind desktop when it comes to e-commerce.

  • Mobile conversion is generally terrible (0.6% conversion on smartphones in 2013 vs. 2.2% conversion on desktop)
  • Consumers rate mobile as the “most difficult” method for completing an online purchase compared to other purchasing channels
  • Customers rarely make purchases through mobile devices, and when they do, transactions made on mobile are on average much smaller.

Some reasons for mobile’s low reviews include:

  • Low bandwidth that limits photos and load times
  • Small screen that clutters and/or eliminates information
  • Difficulty in mobile app downloads

User-generated content from social media has become a valuable resource to combatting the mobile commerce chasm. For one, your customers are using social media on mobile (social media usage from mobile increased 23% in 2014.)  They are browsing and posting pictures across social channels on their mobile devices.  This means that when it comes to using their phones– your customers are mostly being exposed by content generated by their friends and/or influencers they follow. By displaying customer photos within native shopping apps and on mobile e-commerce websites, your brand can begin to bridge the customer experience gap between social media and mobile commerce.

So what are the general takeaways to why customer photos and social media content are so effective at improving the mobile shopping experience?

  1. Consumers are accustomed to seeing social photos from their mobile devices
  2. Integrating social content into mobile commerce helps connect the shopping experience to the larger consumer mobile behavior
  3. Customer photos are incredibly engaging and offer strong social proof of brands and products
  4. User-generated content is more engaging than custom or stock photography

Kenneth ColeCharlotte Russe

Kenneth Cole and Charlotte Russe place user-generated content on their mobile sites to enhance the customer shopping experience.

Social media plays a large role in improving the mobile experience and can be more than a channel for customer engagement. Customer photos can be leveraged to help personalize the mobile shopping experience and offer strong social proof of your brand and products. By integrating user-generated content into native apps and mobile web, your brand will begin to move the needle to drive higher mobile conversion rates and sales.

 

Kyle_Wong_PixleeKyle Wong is the CEO & Co-Founder of Pixlee, a SaaS platform that helps brands leverage customer photos to improve marketing. Kyle has been featured in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List and is a regular speaker and domain expert on influencer marketing and driving consumer engagement through social media.

 

5 What Customers Want

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing, and today’s guest post is from Mark Kirkpatrick– Enjoy!

photo credit: shutterstock

photo credit: shutterstock

The only consistent in the wants and needs of internet users is change. This has less to do with finicky temperaments and more to do with the change of the infrastructure of the internet itself. The gap in demands of internet users now compared to ten years ago is just as vast as that between the technologies of each of these two eras.

For online entrepreneurs—or anyone with a website, really—this means that incorporating what your customers want to see online is determined just as much by human nature as it is by keeping current with internet trends, and updating accordingly.

Fortunately, the things people want are not fundamentally different from moment to moment, and are grounded in a few fundamental principles. Knowing these will help optimize the changes you do choose to make in accordance with new developments.

Device Functionality

While the idea that making sure your site or content works on the device being used to access it sounds like common sense, this becomes a little bit more complicated in practice. Currently, internet access occurs from two primary categories of devices: computers and mobile devices. As most are aware, computers are on the decline and mobile devices are gaining popularity.

This is worth noting because, while making sure your site had a mobile component was good enough in the past, in certain cases, mobile should now be the focus of your site’s design. A quick look at a few sites, both big and small, offering currently popular services will reveal a clean, minimal design, ideal for mobile devices.

While mobile access is the biggest factor in the current look and function of the internet, it’s worth looking ahead to new developments, such as 3D printing or “the internet of things” for an idea of how internet use might look in the future. While these two innovations might not necessarily determine the look of the internet in the future, keeping up-to-date with these and other new technologies and offering functionality before other, similar sites, is one way to offer an edge over competitors.

Easily Viewable Content

When providing content to your customers or viewers, your goal is likely not just for it to be viewed, but for it to be understood. This is how content generates sales: with new information, customers now want what it is you’re offering. Accomplishing this is a multifaceted feat: form is just as important as function. While creating quality content has its own set of best practices, the currently dominant shape of popular content is in videos.

Some cynics believe this to be due to a decline in attention span. However, for younger generations, short videos fit into a schedule determined by short periods in between classes or brief study breaks. While a detailed article can likely only be skimmed in that period of time, a short video will get its point across, and, if it’s good, be shared with other young consumers on their breaks.

However some surveys even suggest that people watch even long online videos without any qualms. Small videos are nowadays being incorporated not just on websites and social networks but even within ads. Videos have been popular since the early days of YouTube, but with Instagram, Vine and Snapchat each changing how videos are viewed, and in turn increasing their relevance in consumers’ lives, video marketing is expected to be more important than ever.

Social Media Relevance

In the case of Snapchat specifically, these are not just videos but disappearing videos. With messaging apps on the rise, private, individualized content is likely to be the shape social media will take in the future.

Whether or not things continue in this direction (sites like Ello offer alternate, privacy-centric solutions), staying up-to-date with social media trends is key for business relevancy. While creating a Facebook page was a great tactical move for businesses in the past, Facebook is beginning a slow decline. And when knowing what customers want before they do is starting to determine the speed of marketing, starting a new campaign on a site that’s even just beginning to go stale could offer diminishing returns.

While the ideas above offer some ideas of how to meet customers’ needs, both conscious and subconscious, new news could leave internet users suddenly wanting something they never knew they wanted before. To market to this group successfully, staying ahead of this news, when possible, will ensure your campaign exists even before your customers know that you have something they want, offering an immediate source of gratification. In a constant state of change, keeping one step ahead of that change, while requiring a little more risk, will also lead to the highest rate of success.

author_markMark Kirkpatrick is an online writer and tech enthusiast in Los Angeles, California. In addition to researching how technology affects every industry, he also contributes to 1800-Number.com’s blog with his knowledge of business communications and innovations in virtual office tech.

 

3 The Top Google Analytics Reports for Assessing Mobile Activity

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Mark Hansen – Enjoy!

As the use of mobile devices continues to increase, understanding the needs and behaviors of our mobile visitors is increasingly important. Instinctively, we know that mobile users are on the go, so they’re more likely to lose patience with a slow mobile site or poor user experience (UX). But what we need to learn is how they’re finding our site, what their goals are, and what content engages them. Take a read below to learn how Google Analytics can best help you do just that.

Mobile Overview Report

DTM1The first report to review is the Mobile Overview report (Audience > Mobile > Overview), as this will provide an idea of the kind of impact mobile visitors are currently having on your website. Within this report, click the box next to “mobile” in the device row of the table, and then click “Plot Rows.” You’ll now have a chart that shows sessions from mobile users vs. all sessions. This graph shows how your percentage of mobile traffic has changed over time.

Within the table of this report, you can also compare the Bounce Rate, Pages/Sessions and Average Session Duration across desktop, mobile and tablet users. You’ll immediately be able to tell whether your mobile visitors are engaged, by comparing them to your desktop visitors.

If you have embedded videos or blog posts that aren’t formatted for mobile use, then a high Bounce Rate percentage may be an indication you should investigate further and consider redesigning those pages to improve UX.

Channels Report

DTM2Another useful report is Channels (Acquisition > Channels) with the “Mobile Traffic” segment applied.  This tells you where your mobile users are coming from, which can influence how you design campaigns to attract more visitors.

For example, if you learn that a large percentage of your mobile traffic comes from Twitter, strategically promote landing pages designed for mobile in your Twitter ads.

Within the Channels report, you apply the segment named “Mobile Traffic” by clicking “+Add Segment” at the top right corner of the report. To view only the information relevant to mobile, unselect “All Sessions.”

In the table below the chart, you will see a list showing whether Social, Email or another channel is the primary source for your traffic. You can delve deeper by clicking these terms, like “Social,” to learn what specific websites and networks are driving the most traffic to your site.

For example, you may learn 70% of mobile traffic is from Twitter but that the conversion rate is 0% from this platform. Perhaps then, you need to evaluate your site’s mobile conversion experience. You may also test tweeting links to different pages across your site to see which content performs best for mobile users.

Universal Analytics – User ID

DTM3Google’s Universal Analytics introduced a new tool called User ID that can be essential in understanding your mobile users and tracking conversions. The User ID lets you track a user across multiple devices and browsing sessions. It will give you a better idea of a user’s behavior leading up to their conversion point, helping you adjust your funnel to create more conversions. This functionality requires custom development to set up, which you can read more about here.

For example, you can learn that John Doe first visited your site from a Facebook promotion while on his phone. He scrolls through a couple of pages and provides his email for your newsletter but drops off. Then, a couple of days later you can see that John has revisited your website on his desktop computer by clicking a link within an email you’ve sent him. Universal Analytics will associate the same User ID to both visits. Finally, John goes to your site from his iPad and watches a video on how to start a free trial of your service and signs up.

Knowing that these three visits were all from the same person can help you better understand your leads and make website improvements. You may notice other users like John, who sign up for your newsletter but don’t begin experimenting with your service until they’ve received more information in the form of an email. Perhaps the incentive you included in the newsletter will serve you better on the website, when visitors first begin learning about your business – ultimately shortening the conversion cycle.

Conclusion

It’s imperative to understand how mobile users find your site, how their conversion path differ from desktop users, and how to adjust the mobile experience on your website to encourage these visitors to become customers. When doing this analysis, you may want to put together a full report on mobile traffic, and review it regularly with your team. But as a first step, get familiar with the mobile analytics data in the reports discussed here.

Mark Hansen-headshot-150-x-150Mark Hansen is the Founder and President of Megalytic, the leading tool for building web analytics marketing reports. Megalytic is used by digital agencies, marketers and business owners for faster, more insightful and better looking analytics reports.  Mark writes a regular blog about Google Analytics best practices for marketers and small business owners.

2 The Future of Mobile Search Marketing

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Justin Emig – Enjoy!

emarketer-mobile-growthJust a few short years ago, smartphones were reserved for those bleeding edge consumers willing to spend half of their paycheck on a device double the size of their existing ‘feature’ phone that allowed you to replicate an experience historically reserved for desktops or laptops. The adoption quickly exploded and in 2012, global smartphone adoption reached 1 billion users. Emarketer predicts that in 2014, that number will balloon to 4.55 billion. 1 in 4 worldwide mobile phone users will have a smartphone this year, and each of them are using this device to find products and services, many of them locally.

Search on Mobile Devices

Armed with connectivity, consumers quickly realized that they could find the information they needed with just a few clicks and keystrokes. Since Google is obviously in the search business, they tried to make mobile search easier through their cross device native apps and streamlined browser experiences.

In just a few short years, mobile search is quickly on its way to becoming the primary search vehicle; dethroning the once almost untouchable desktop search experience. Even Google’s famed SPAM fighter, Matt Cutts, commented he wouldn’t be surprised if mobile search surpassed desktop this year! With such volatile adoption, marketers and small business owners need to be aware of what this paradigm shift will mean for their business.

The Future of Mobile Search

One of the biggest challenges with mobile search is the fact many consumers start a search on mobile and finish on another device. Tracking consumers throughout the shopping experience will provide a stronger idea of what drove the purchase and how to market to them more effectively. The other big challenge is the scarcity of consumer attention. With mobile search consumers extremely unlikely to venture past the first search results page, showcasing the correct information, as fast as possible, is paramount for winning the mobile search click.

Smartphone manufacturers, Google, Microsoft and Facebook are scrambling to find out ways to predict what you will search for, before you search for it. This data will help streamline the process, speed up your mobile search experience and ultimately win the lion share of your attention. Amazon has already figured out a way to predict what you are going to purchase before you purchase it, so it is just a matter of time before this weaves its way into search.

Many people continue to scratch their head about Amazon releasing the Fire smartphone, with such dominant forces like Samsung and Apple occupying a stranglehold over the industry. While it appears to be ‘just another phone,’ Amazon introduces some features that could potentially change the mobile search experience forever.

Firefly Technology

Firefly TechnologyWith Firefly, your phone is able to view printed text, recognize things around you, and most of all, listen to what is happening around you. Imagine having a conversation about making French Toast and being unable to remember what spice to use, and in a matter of seconds, a French Toast recipe appears on your phone, without any direct user interaction.

The Future of Mobile Search Marketing

There is no doubt that mobile search will surpass desktop search this year and be the primary vertical marketers and small business owners must focus their time. The major question is what will mobile search look like.

Google Now has the fundamentals necessary to be that predictive search engine. They have our cross device personalized history, manually curated search cards, and real time information. Add in a component of ‘selective’ listening to what is happening around us, and predictive search could be born. Apple is already ramping up their Siri efforts to compete with Google Now and so is Microsoft, with Cortana.

As if online marketing wasn’t hard enough for business owners and marketers to reach their target audience, the instantaneous needs of mobile search add yet another avenue they need to focus their efforts. However, moving quickly and optimizing your site for the mobile consumer could mean the difference between winning the mobile search battle and being relinquished to the catacombs of page 2.

Justin-Bio-shot-150x150Justin Emig is the Search Marketing Manager for Web Talent Marketing, the #1 Digital Marketing Agency in the United States, according to TopSEOs.com. Here, Justin uses SEO, Paid Search, Content Marketing, and Social Media to increase conversions and leads. Justin has spent his career building brands of all sizes and effectively mixes the traditional advertising world with online marketing to effectively tell a brand’s story. You can connect with Justin on Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, or see more of his content on the Web Talent Blog.

8 Ways to Amplify Your Content on Mobile

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Dave Landry – Enjoy!

photo credit: shutterstock

Mobile is becoming a powerful, driving engine in the content world. The January 2014 Mobile Technology Fact Sheet shows that 63% of adult cell phone owners use their phones to go online, while 34% of cell phone Internet users go online using only their phone rather than any other device.

Mobile content is distinct because of the idiosyncratic and curious ways users interact with it. A Rumble study from 2013 found that while certain mobile app user behaviors were similar, most of those interacting with mobile content exhibited unique behavior.

Apps account for 86% of the average US consumer’s time on a mobile device, while time spent on the mobile web declined. How can marketers make their content stand out in such a crowded mobile marketplace?

Here are eight ways marketers can amplify content on mobile:

1. Be mobile-friendly.

You must optimize for the device as well as the way that users will interact with your site’s content. Mobile users NEED simple sites with easy navigation. Utilize the principles of responsive design to ensure that your content will display correctly for all users on all devices.

2. Build a community.

You can amplify your reputation by being helpful and relevant to your audience. When you build trust, you also build a community – and this community will be vital when it comes to amplifying content. The cultivation of long-standing relationships is key to having your content amplified. Even if you’re not posting undeniably quotable and shareable content all day every day, your base community of followers with whom you regularly engage with will still have your back and interact.

3. Develop a mobile app.

With so many users trading in time spent on the mobile web for time in apps, it’s easy to see why it’s beneficial to develop your own app to deliver content to users. The added bonus is that you can further target content for the segment of users that download and use your mobile app. Enable all possible sharing options to allow users to share content with their network.

4. Make mobile a part of your overall strategy.

Keep your business and marketing goals in mind as you consider your mobile campaigns. Don’t make the mistake of treating mobile as something separate from your marketing strategy, as it should be integrated into the rest of your initiatives. Do not silo mobile because it will likely affect other aspects of your organization and marketing. Understanding where mobile falls into your overall strategy allows you to drive sales activities.

5. Consider real-time video.

In May 2014, Grabyo, a company specializing in real-time video, released a report stating that 72% of the traffic on their platform came from mobile. The company found that live TV clips generate exceptional levels of engagement on Facebook and Twitter. Content creators can sponsor these mobile clips to reach new members of their target audience. Content creators interested in amplifying content on mobile should consider paid sponsorship and advertising opportunities. With targeted advertising you will be able to measure exact analytics.

6. Don’t just think social – think branded.

Mobile users are almost twice as likely to share content on social media sites. A study from the video technology company Unruly showed that branded Vines are four times more likely to be shared than branded videos. Brands like PepsiCo, AT&T, and General Electric are already taking advantage of consumers’ love for bite-size content and use it to boost their overall content marketing strategies.

7. Add SMS to the mix.

comScore’s January 2014 report showed that 159.8 million people in the United States owned smartphones, making up only 66.8% of the mobile market penetration. The majority of devices on today’s market are SMS enabled. SMS messaging is affordable and provides a sizable ROI for marketers, as 90% of SMS text messages are read in the first 4-6 minutes of delivery.

8. Always analyze.

Perform a thorough analysis to help you understand what campaigns are working and which need to be adjusted. Take your newfound data and apply it to your next round of marketing. Your collected data and improved campaigns will be critical to amplifying future content.

Successful content amplification is rooted in providing your audience with engaging, valuable content. With creative power and vision, marketers can take advantage of the wealth of opportunities that mobile opens up for them.

Dave Landry Jr.Dave Landry Jr. is a journalist and business owner who enjoy creating graphic and written content on his downtime. He hope you enjoy this article.

How Mobile Marketing is Changing the Face of Events

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s post comes from Adam Hope.

‘Mobile marketing’ Image Credit: Osman Kalkavan

‘Mobile marketing’ Image Credit: Osman Kalkavan

In today’s increasingly mobile world, more and more marketers are focusing their activity primarily at mobile users. According to research from mobiThinking, there are over 2 billion people using a 3G or 4G mobile phone network. That means nearly 30% of the world’s population has access to high-speed mobile internet – and this percentage increases dramatically among business users and those living in developed nations. Data from eMarketer predicts that by 2017, 50% of the world’s mobile phone users will be using a smartphone with access to the internet and mobile apps.

Keeping up with the mobile trend

Mobile marketing is nothing new, businesses have been creating mobile friendly websites and using social media to reach their on-the-go audience for years. However, as with all technology, the industry is constantly evolving as new hardware and software are developed. These developments are aimed at enhancing the mobile experience for the user and are giving mobile marketers an increasing number of channels through which to reach their customers.

Mobile marketing at events

One key area of growth in the mobile marketing world, is the use of targeted activities to connect with customers at events. Whether it’s creating a pre-event buzz, managing the duration of the event or keeping in touch afterwards, mobile technology offers countless possibilities for customer engagement. Event marketing is rarely a fixed location affair, with businesses travelling to meet their target customers’ locational convenience and, as such, mobile marketing and event marketing make a well suited pair.

Creating a social buzz

The event marketer’s job starts long before the actual date of the event and mobile marketing is a great channel through which to build pre-event hype. Social media and mobile friendly email campaigns are a fantastic way to reach your pre-existing audience, giving them an early introduction to an upcoming event.

In order to have a wider mobile reach and grow your audience prior to the event, research influential local retweeters and sharers alongside complementary businesses in the location of your upcoming event. Get them to share your event information by building a relationship with these people and asking them to share information which may be of interest to their followers.

During the event

There has been an emerging trend in the creation of custom event apps. Businesses are either creating an app specifically for an event or expanding their pre-existing mobile app to include the event. This offers the ultimate convenience to the customer – putting all of the essential event information in their fingertips. Apps also provide great brand exposure as your business’ branding is installed on the customer’s phone, keeping your message fresh in their mind, as they use their mobile device.

Make it as easy as possible for your audience to access further information on your business, product or service at your event. Direct customers to your social media accounts by including information on how to find you online in your printed display materials. The use of QR codes has had a varying success rate, allowing mobile users to scan a code with their smartphones camera which takes them directly to your site. The more mobile channels through which your target audience can access further information, the better.

The use of geotagging at events is extremely valuable to businesses as it shares your attendees’ location with their friends, having a visible knock-on effect on social media. Ensure your event’s social pages are set up in a way which allows attendees to ‘check-in’ to your location.

The post-event social sweep up

The success of an event is generally measured by examining post-event data, whether it’s the number of leads generated or the level of attendee engagement. Social media is a great way to follow up your event and give attendees a specific #hashtag that they can use when sharing images or comments socially, during or after your event. This makes it easy for businesses to track any mentions and gather a general overview of the event’s success.

Industry trends predict clear growth in the use of smartphones as people’s primary access to the internet. It is clear that successful event marketers will need to shift their focus to ensure that their events are fully integrated with mobile communications in order to ensure future success.

Adam HopeAdam Hope is a blogger for The Events Structure – the UK’s largest single source provider of road show exhibition trailers and mobile event marketing vehicles. We provide versatile event venues for exhibitions, one off events and marketing roadshows. These range from inflatable pop-up structures to fully customizable exhibition trailers. We work with a variety of large and small businesses to promote their products at events around the UK. Our self-drive promotional vehicles offer the ideal economical solution for small businesses looking to make a big impact.

 

6 5 Ways Your Website is Hurting Your Bottom Line

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Jake Magleby  – Enjoy!

Marketers have touted the benefits of an online presence for businesses for years. However, starting a business website is only the first step. For many would-be Internet business gurus, their bottom line is falling short of what it could be. Make sure your business is competitive on and off the Internet by avoiding these five common mistakes.

1. Unresponsive Web Design

If you haven’t optimized your web design for multiple devices (i.e. mobile phones, desktops, and tablets), you could be driving traffic from your site. According to eMarketer, local mobile searches are expected to exceed desktop searches by 2015. This means your site needs to operate seamlessly across devices in order to compete.

Smartphone

photo credit: Flickr, leo_prince008

Unresponsive designs equal cumbersome navigation and a frustrated user. The more intuitive the design (and navigation), the higher your conversions will be.

2. Slow Loading Time

Time is money, and Internet users are impatient. If you can’t deliver page results within a few seconds, you could be losing valuable traffic. According to Kissmetrics, a one-second delay in page response can result in 7% loss in conversions.

While there are many ways you can improve your page load time, consider focusing on these areas:

  • Minimizing HTTP requests
  • Optimizing images
  • Compressing larger pages
  • Combining CSS sheets

Akamai found that 47% consumers expect a web page to load within 2 seconds, and 40% will abandon the site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Don’t lose out on conversions before visitors even have a chance to see your content.

3. Unreliable Hosting Services

Small business website hosting services come in various packages. However, whether you host on a shared server, a dedicated server, or something in between, your web host should be able to do four main things:

  1.  Provide 24 hour tech support. If something goes wrong on your website, you need a guarantee that tech support will be able to help you right away to ensure the site is running properly as soon as possible.
  2.  Guarantee at least 99.9% uptime. When Amazon experienced a 40 minute downtime in August 2013, they incurred a $5 million total loss. Though a small business may not suffer revenue loss on such a grand scale, downtime directly affects your bottom line. Look for host providers like Midphase, that offer 99.9% uptime to ensure the best results.
  3. Protect your data. Most hosts will back up your web data on a separate server. This protects your information in the case of a costly security breach.
  4. Scale their services. Make sure that your hosting service can accommodate business growth and scale their services to meet your expanding needs.

If your host cannot fulfill these four promises, you could be setting yourself up for lost business.

4. No Calls to Action

Call to ActionTo turn visitors into repeat customers, consider adding a call to action after a purchase on the thank you page. Invite them to share the offer they purchased with their friends; encourage them to sign up for a newsletter; or ask them to “Like” you Facebook or follow you on Twitter.

Though you’ve already earned one conversion, a call to action can turn your single conversion into a loyal customer.

 5. Lack of Optimization

You can’t rely solely on branding to generate online leads. Marketing Charts found that 39% of customers for online merchants came from searches. What does this mean for you? You need to optimize your site for search and usability; because if people can’t find you, they can’t purchase from you.

There are many aspects to a good SEO strategy, but keep in mind these basics:

  • Include relevant keywords in your meta descriptions, title tags, and alt texts.
  • Update your contact information.
  • Add relevant keywords to your content and copy.
  • Share posts, deals, and information via social media.

Optimizing will increase your visibility in the SERPs, the traffic to your site, and ultimately your online conversions.

Though there are many factors that affect a company’s bottom line, taking time to improve your website will be worth the effort. If you have already done most of these things, investing in data analytics, such as Google Developers tools, is a great way to identify more nuanced problem areas with your website.

Evaluate your traffic patterns, click-through rates, and individual page conversions to discover small but significant ways you can improve your site and your bottom line today.

Jake MaglebyJake Magleby 1 has written extensively about effective marketing, sales, and financing strategies to help small business owners succeed in the fast-paced and ever-changing business world. He also has an interest in education and development.