Online Marketing News: Twitter Gets Googled, Meerkat Makes A Cameo, Facebook Floats

The Science Behind Buyer Personas

How to Create Buyer Personas [Infographic] – Buyer personas give you insight into how to best engage with your various customer types. But before you start creating those personas, take time to do the research. Check out this infographic to find out. MarketingProfs

Twitter Officially Launches Ads Companion For Mobile Campaign Management – New tool, unveiled as a test last week, gives advertisers the ability to monitor and adjust campaigns from Twitter iOS and Android apps. Twitter

Facebook Gives Users More Control Over Their News Feeds – On Thursday, Facebook announced a set of features that will give each person more control over what he or she wants to see. In essence, you get to reprogram the algorithm. Facebook

TV Becomes Major Driver of Social Activity [Study] – A new study from ShareThis shows that traditional TV-watching has evolved to become a multi-screen social experience. How can networks leverage social to stay relevant? ClickZ

STUDY: Facebook Video Ads Thrive; Twitter Advertisers Must Go Mobile – Social advertising and data company Kinetic Social, a Facebook Marketing Partner, offered a look at first-quarter-2015 ad performance on Facebook and Twitter. SocialTimes

Only 20% of Marketers Use Behavioural Triggers In Email Marketing: Report – Behavioural marketing technology allows brands to provide targeted, relevant communications based on a user’s web activity. See why you should be using it. Econsultancy

Twitter Sets Birthday Balloons As Bait To Reel In More Personal Data – Company adds profile design flourish to encourage people to share their birthdates. The information will be used to serve more relevant information, including advertising. Twitter

Facebook Becomes the Fastest Growing Global Media Company – Facebook has long been a dominant social media platform, but now the brand has grown to be one of the most profitable media companies in the world, according to ZenithOptimedia. ClickZ

Meerkat Introduces Cameo, a Way for Viewers to Interact With Stream — and Facebook Integration – Meerkat this week introduced a new feature that allows viewers to take over and contribute to a live feed on the app. Called Cameo, the feature allows the filmer to select a viewer to appear on screen for up to 60 seconds. Meerkat

Facebook Adds ‘Videos’ Tab to Page Insights: Track Metrics Across Custom Date Ranges – Facebook announced a useful new addition today that will help page owners measure the success of their videos across custom date ranges. Facebook

Facebook Changes How It Charges Brands for Clicks on Their Ads – Facebook is changing how it charges advertisers for click-based campaigns to make sure that, in return for their money, marketers are getting more than social currency. Ad Age

Google Now Indexing 466% More Tweets, Still Favoring Higher Authority Users [Study] – Google is now indexing nearly 5x the Tweets as four months ago, yet more than 96% of Tweets still go unindexed. Search Engine Land

Twitter Introduces Video App Ads, Bidding Based On Actions & Installs – A year after launching its app install ad feature, Twitter says advertisers are getting strong ROI from the program. Marketing Land

Facebook Introduces New “Floating” Video Player, Continues Push on Video Content – Facebook’s march towards online video dominance continues, with another new feature added into the mix to get users viewing more video content. This week, Facebook is testing a new video player option where users can detach a video from the News Feed and move it to your preferred viewing location within the browser window. Social Media Today

What were the top online and digital marketing news stories for you this week?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Infographic: WSI


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How to Harness Brainstorming to Build Great Content for Your Blog

Blogs can’t exist without content, and it is often one of the most stressful parts of blogging. Coming up with fresh, interesting, new content repeatedly for weeks, months, and years on end can take its toll if you don’t put strategies in place to help you before you get to burnout point.

Today’s challenge in our 31 day challenge is about alleviating some of that constant pressure (that you often don’t think about until it’s time to write) to allow you to just get on with creating content. Brainstorming ahead of time removes at least one of the obstacles to a full editorial schedule.

Brainstorming also allows you to step outside your blog for a moment and think long-term about things – you might have a great idea for a series, or even post ideas that aren’t just plain writing. It allows you to indulge your creative side for a moment and can result in topics you never even thought of but would be perfect for your blog.

In this episode, I share a process for coming up with ideas to write about that has worked really well for me. You’ll need a pen and paper, or even a whiteboard if you’ve got it. I’ll give you some steps to go through to define where your blog is headed, and help you create the ideas for content that will get it there. We also go through seven other ideas to help spark your creativity, which results in today’s challenge, which you’ll find on the podcast page (you’ll need them for tomorrow’s activity!).

See you tomorrow for the next episode.

ProBlogger Podcast Avatar

Click here to listen to day 11 of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog series on the ProBlogger Podcast. 

Further Reading:

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

How to Harness Brainstorming to Build Great Content for Your Blog

The post How to Harness Brainstorming to Build Great Content for Your Blog appeared first on @ProBlogger.

Wow! Facebook Completely Changed the Way Advertisers Are Charged

Are you advertising on Facebook? You probably should be, since we all know that organic reach is dead, and everyone including your mother and her close friends are spending a significant amount of time on the social platform each day.

Well, for those of you intelligent individuals that already are, Facebook just revealed some shocking news. They’ve completely changed the way advertisers are charged per click!

 

Wipe the sweat away from your forehead, and stop running towards your computer to pause all of your Facebook campaigns: this is actually great news and will likely improve your ROI.

What’s Changing?

Facebook, similar to AdWords, operates on a cost-per-click (CPC) model, which previously charged for every action including clicks to links and apps, likes, shares, comments and even “continue reading.” Yesterday, they announced that in order to help advertisers better understand how effective their ads are in driving goals, they’ll only be charging for clicks to websites and apps. Hoorah!

So, what counts as a click again? Facebook clarified, “we’re updating CPC to only account for what we call ‘link clicks’ – i.e., the clicks related to certain ad objectives.” These include clicks to visit a website, call-to-action clicks, clicks to install an app, clicks to Facebook canvas apps, and clicks to view a video on another site. Basically any clicks that take your off the page onto another site (or into apps).

What About the Advertisers That Value Ad Engagement (likes, shares, comments, etc.)?

What it comes down to is the fact that likes, shares, and comments are not revenue-generating actions, and often mean nothing to the majority of advertisers.

Who wants to pay for likes and shares anyhow? It’s simply more logical to pay for traffic that is actually being directed to your website or an app that you desire your user to install. It will make the life of the advertiser easier when evaluating spend and effectiveness of the campaign as well. “Taking engagement actions out of the calculation makes it easier to evaluate performance-driven campaigns and set bids based on those desired outcomes,” says Marketing Land’s, Ginny Marvin.

 

But what about those advertisers that are focused on branding and reputation? Luckily these advertisers will still be able to target ads and bid for engagement, but these actions will no longer be tied to the CPC. “If an ad has lots of likes and shares, that’s a signal of high-quality content being delivered to the right people,” says Facebook. “It’s also important to remember that having lots of likes and shares on an ad or post is rarely and end unto itself. The most important factor for an ad’s success is bidding for the correct business objective.”

Facebook makes a valid point here! All too often advertisers are far too focused on followers, likes, and shares, when at the end of the day if they’re not getting traffic and conversions on their site, their main business objectives are not being met.

Twitter also made a similar change last year with objective-based campaigns.

Will Advertisers Really Save Money?

At the end of the day, most likely. CPC’s will be higher, and CTR is likely to decrease when likes, shares, etc. are taken out of the CPC equation. With that said, an advertiser will only be paying for more valuable, action-oriented actions, which will likely result in higher returns. So with higher returns and no longer having to pay for simple engagement actions, it’s likely that most advertisers will save and make more money.

“Advertisers should be happy because they want to back these buys into actual metrics – no one has been able to figure out the value of a like or a comment so it makes sense to pull that metric out,” entrepreneur Krishna Subramanian, told Business Insider. “Which will drive up conversions with clicks that truly matter and create more competition for true CPC campaigns because FB provides tremendous scale.”

Once these changes are implemented it’s critical to keep in mind that comparing past historical performance with current performance will become illogical. Luckily, “The new numbers should be a truer reflection of how their campaigns are meeting business performance objectives without being muddled by actions better associated with branding goals,” says Marvin.

What’s the Timeline on These Changes?

Well, that depends on how you buy ads. If you buy ads directly through Facebook’s Ads Manager or Power Editor, keep an eye out for any updated CPC implementation news, which should be coming within the next few weeks. Facebook has ensured that they will be providing messaging within the interface once the change has occurred.

For advertisers buying through a Facebook Marketing Partner, Facebook recommends speaking with your Marketing Partner to understand when they’ll be implementing the new API with updated CPC.

Lastly, those that buy through the API can begin buying ads with updated CPC today!

I’m curious, what are your thoughts on Facebook’s new CPC model?

About the Author:

Margot is a Content Marketing Specialist at WordStream with a background in PPC, SEM, content and digital marketing. Margot is passionate about writing and is also a regular contributor to Search Engine Journal and socialmediatoday.com. Margot was recently named the 25th Most Influential PPC Expert in 2015 by PPC Hero. She enjoys running and eating ice cream during her free time (not simultaneous although that would be impressive). Follow her on:

Twitter: @ChappyMargot

Google+: +Margot da Cunha

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/margotdacunha

You Cannes Do It! Award-Winning Ideas to Steal for Your Next Campaign

Cover-Cannes
The cool cats of Newcastle Brown Ale’s Cannes Lions-winning campaign.

Looking for creative marketing campaign ideas? What if I told you that there was a literal festival of creativity that celebrated the biggest and best marketing campaigns, and laid their secrets of success?

There is! It is, of course, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. They recently announced the winners for 2015, and with the exception of a few breakout hits like the infamous ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, they are mostly huge in scope with a budget to match.

But you don’t need to lay down millions to run campaigns that are creative and effective.

Great ideas are great ideas, and you can make them work with any budget. So steal these lessons from the Cannes 2015 award winners, and make them a part of your next campaign.

Something for every screen

There used to be just two screens that you could expect to find your audience in front of: their television or their PC. The rise of laptops that could be used anywhere added a wrinkle to this framework, but the domination of mobile completely decimated it.

Because mobile devices can be used in so many places and situations it’s nearly impossible to guess a user’s context and mindset while using one.

The proliferation of mobile has been a sore spot for many traditional advertisers, who have failed to adapt to the new environment. Department store chain John Lewis, whose Christmas advertisements have become a major part of the holidays in the United Kingdom, deserves credit for evolving with the times.

John Lewis’ The Bear and the Hare campaign, launched in Christmas 2013, was ahead of its time even by 2015 standards — as one might hope with a total campaign budget of almost $11 million.

A video breaking down the details of the Bear and the Hare campaign.

The core of the Bear and the Hare campaign was a beautifully animated advertisement, unsurprisingly starring a bear and a hare. There was tie-in merchandise that completely sold out of stores.

One of the campaign’s most distinguishing traits is that it had something for every context — including every screen.

bear-and-the-hare
Image source: iMore

In addition to the advertisements on television (and, of course, YouTube), there were also tightly integrated social media campaigns, a single by Lily Allen, and a narrated ebook for tablets.

All of this ensured that John Lewis could keep fans engaged with its campaign no matter what type of device they were using.


Ensure your campaigns touch every context your audience could be in.

Click To Tweet


Give something for (almost) nothing

In a desperate bid to get their hashtags into our tweets, brands constantly ask customers to “share their story.” So clichéd is this call to action that a Tumblr exists solely to mock it.

But these stories are very rarely interesting, and aren’t your real concern; what you’re really after is the awareness generated by someone sharing your campaign with their social circle. So why not merely reward the act of sharing itself?

That’s what Lay’s did with their “Tweet to Eat” campaign, which involved them installing vending machine/video advertisement hybrids at various bus stops in the UK.

The video screens served as a window into a chamber in which British sportscaster Gary Lineker is trapped, alone with his copy of War and Peace, pleading for you to tweet so that he may bestow upon you a complimentary bag of chips.

tweet-to-eat
It’s just a little unsettling.

The participant gets to experience something novel and fun, gets a free bag of chips, and has an incentive to tell all her followers about the campaign. It’s a win for everyone.

This tactic doesn’t only apply to elaborate, physical experiences; you can leverage social sharing as a way to spread word about your gated content, while giving your audience a frictionless way of obtaining it. We’ve even done it on one of our own landing pages:

Tweet-to-Download

Presenting sharing as an option in alternative to something else is a win-win: you get the chance to reach someone who may have been unwilling to offer their email, and they tell their friends about your content, all while making a choice they feel good about.


Offering content in exchange for a tweet helps spread the word and build goodwill.

Click To Tweet


Mock the machine

In the internet age, with information flowing freely about all kinds of media, consumers have more awareness than ever about how advertising works and just how often they’re subjected to it. And they’re not super happy about it.

That’s why advertising that acknowledges its inherent inconvenience, or makes light of the advertising machine itself, has been winning the praise of shill-weary consumers.

Geico’s award-winning concept began with one universal truth: everyone hates pre-roll ads.

Even the most ardent marketers skip them, anxious to listen to the latest hot single, watch the news or have their endorphins set ablaze by the latest adorable animal.

So Geico crams the entire ad into those first five, infuriatingly unskippable seconds, and rubs it in your face: “You can’t skip this ad, because it’s already over.” But you know it cannot be so.

youtube-bar

You, humble dot with the red road in your rearview mirror, can see the expanse of grey highway ahead.

This accomplishes what most pre-roll ads could never hope to do: it convinces you to not skip the ad. And it rewards you for doing so, treating you to hilarious scenarios in which the ad’s characters freeze in place, while the world of the advertisement continues unabated around them.

A dog, unhindered by the social decorum of his masters, jumps onto the dining table and devours its bounty. A vacuum races away to an unknown frontier. And, uh, this:

By openly acknowledging the pain of pre-roll ads and delivering something that’s actually worth sticking around for, Geico is able to connect with an audience that would have otherwise rejected them without hesitation.

Mocking the world’s most reviled ad format is one thing, but what about taking on the biggest, most braggadocious advertising event of the year?

Heineken’s Newcastle Brown Ale — a brand whose prime demographic is probably really into the sportsball framed their If We Made It campaign around the absurdity of advertising during the Super Bowl.

Rather than run an ad during the big game, they designed a campaign around the ad they would have made, could they have afforded to. It was complete with summer blockbuster storyboards, scathing focus groups and Academy-award winning actress Anna Kendrick, pretending (or maybe not) to be livid over not appearing in an actual Super Bowl commercial.

They pulsed the snippets out through daily videos during the week leading up to the game, ensuring that the campaign had legs longer than its runtime.

The result is infinitely more memorable than yet another whiz-bang 30-second ad in a sea of whiz-bang 30 seconds ads.


Highlight the absurdity of advertising; there’s nothing your audience could empathize with more.

Click To Tweet


Master the art of interception

In addition to producing a genuinely funny campaign, Newcastle also managed to make themselves a part of the Super Bowl advertising conversation without actually having to run a Super Bowl ad.

But that’s not even the craziest story of Super Bowl advertising interception — Volvo managed to leverage their competitor’s advertisements as part of their own campaign.

Volvo wanted to get the word about their new XC60 model, but like Newcastle, couldn’t afford to run a Super Bowl ad of their own. But rather than creating a sprawling, hypothetical campaign, Volvo settled for something much simpler: a hashtag.

Volvo piggy-backed on their competitors’ Super Bowl ads with a simple proposition to the public: tweet #VolvoContest mentioning someone in your life who deserves the new Volvo, and they just might get it.

Except, you can only do it while a car commercial is airing during the big game. In Volvo’s own words, “When Lexus spent $4.5 million for this [Super Bowl ad], Twitter looked like this:”

volvo-twitter

The results spoke for themselves: up to 2,000 Tweets per minute, about Volvo, during other car companies’ ads. Awesome for Volvo and #volvocontest, which ended up trending nationally and globally during the #superbowl, and a big “ouch” for everyone else.

While Volvo took advantage of their competitors’ ad spots, it at least came up with its own hashtag. One of the more controversial methods of marketing interception is hashtag-jacking, which means co-opting an already-popular hashtag for your own use.

This is almost universally irritating and in poor taste, but there was at least one organization with a mission worthy of intercepting one of Instagram’s most popular hashtags, #nofilter, which is used when a photo has had no filter applied.

nofilter

This hashtag has been used on Instagram over 131 million times and Waves For Water — an organization whose mission is to get clean water to those in need — co-opted it for their NoFilter initiative.

Their campaign promises to implement one water filter in an area of need for every 1 million #nofilter uses on Instagram. Each filter is capable of producing 1 million gallons of clean water. 1 mention = 1 gallon.

Click here to view the embedded video.

For a cause this important, one is willing to overlook the modest crime of hashtag-jacking.


Draw attention to your campaign by making it a part of a much larger conversation. Tastefully.

Click To Tweet


“Context” is more important than “cost”

The shared thread between all of these campaigns?

It wasn’t just about great messaging or a killer value proposition. And despite the high production value of some of these campaigns, it wasn’t how about how much they spent, either. It was about finding novel ways to become a part of conversations and activities that their audiences were already engaged in, without seeming intrusive.

Now more than ever, marketing isn’t just about how much you can spend to get the word out — it’s about whether the word you’re spreading is interesting to anyone but yourself.

ProBlogger Podcast Day 10: How to Use Alerts

As ubiquitous as the internet is, you can’t be across all things at all times in your niche.

It’s important to have a general idea of what the trends are not only for your sake so you can stay current, but also so you can share that information with your readers (perhaps in your next link post? Or social media update?)

The easiest way you can stay abreast of what’s been going on is to set up alerts and subsriptions.

Today’s episode of the ProBlogger Podcast will take you through how you can create a steady flow of great input to fill your inspiration cup and to stay on top of current issues. We expand on the initial “set up an alert” challenge in the original 31DBBB workbook and I’ll outline the reasons I think you need to set up alerts, and how it will help you create better content for your readers.

We’ll go through both Google and Twitter alerts and some other things to consider setting up for blog posts relevant to you.

Head on over to the podcast for the links I mention to help you set up the alerts, which will be in the show notes.

Good luck!

ProBlogger Podcast Avatar

Click here to listen to day 10 of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog series on the ProBlogger Podcast. 

Further Reading:

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

ProBlogger Podcast Day 10: How to Use Alerts

The post ProBlogger Podcast Day 10: How to Use Alerts appeared first on @ProBlogger.

PPC Hero’s Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts & Rising Stars of 2015

Top 25 PPC Experts 2015

PPC Hero has just announced the results of their Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts voting for 2015, and I’m super happy and honored to have topped the list! But even more so, I’m so incredibly proud of my team here at WordStream Inc. and thankful to PPC Hero for recognizing the following members of our team:

  • Most Influential PPC Expert #3: Erin Sagin, Customer Service Manager
  • Most Influential PPC Expert #25: Margot da Cunha, Content Marketing Specialist
  • Rising Stars in PPC #4: Mark Irvine, Data Scientist

Of course, the amazing folks at Hanapin Marketing, the creators, owners and writers of PPC Hero, aren’t eligible for the honor – if they were, you can bet we’d see people like Matt Umbro, Jeff Allen, Carrie Albright and Amanda West-Bookwalter on the list.

As they noted in their announcement, PPC Hero saw a ton of shuffling around in the list from last year’s rankings. This year, they also added two much-needed sections to recognize:

  • Top 10 International PPC Stars
  • Top 5 Rising Stars in PPC

Of course, we also owe a huge fistbump to Elisa Gabbert, our Content Marketing Manager and editor of the WordStream Blog, the source of much of the thought leadership content we share with a million readers each month.

You should recognize many of the names in the top PPC influencers rankings, including paid search experts from Adobe, iProspect, Microsoft, Clix Marketing and more.

Let’s all send a big shoutout to PPC Hero for compiling this incredible list, to recognize the contributions of the people in our industry. PPC and the platforms we rely on are constantly changing and it’s through the openness of account managers, PPC execs and paid search media that we’re able to consistently deliver the best results to our respective clients.

most influential ppc experts

Via PPC Hero

PPC Hero wants to know if you love or hate the list – reach out to them on Twitter or leave your comments for us below!

 

grade your adwords account

Growth Lessons from Twitter, HubSpot, PayPal and PlentyOfFish

Some call it – *cough* – growth hacking. Others call it optimization. But what we’re all talking about, really, is crazy smart, innovative, results-driven, product-focused marketing that has an outsized impact on your company’s growth and bottom line.

1379943011_598292216
Amirite?

In certain circles, the term of art is traction. Traction is what separates fledgling startups from international brands and it’s the name of a one-day, one-track event that brought dozens of founders and growth champions from tech giants like Twitter, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Hootsuite, Marketo, HubSpot and PlentyofFish to Vancouver last month.

The day was filled with actionable insights and examples of how small tests, tweaks and tactics can make or break your business. Here are some of our key takeaways.

Product comes first

In many companies, product and marketing are viewed and operated as distinct departments. But one of the prevalent themes of the day was that your product is actually your most important marketing asset.

Indeed, Markus Frind, founder and CEO of dating site PlentyofFish made the crowd gasp when he said that by the time he hired his first employee (and started to build out his marketing team), he already had a hit product with 15 million users and $10 million in revenue!

Neil Patel, co-founder of KissMetrics and CrazyEgg, pointed out that conversion optimization is actually a lot like dating; you need to give people a chance to get to know you before you ask for their hand in marriage. He suggested letting potential customers play around with your product before they have to sign up.

Selina Tobaccowala, President & CTO of SurveyMonkey, said something similar:

The more you can get people using features of the product before they have to upgrade, the better for conversions.

But Tobaccowala also cautioned against pulling the old bait and switch. If you put a paid feature in people’s hands, let them know the price tag before they spend time with something they can’t afford.

Ryan Holmes, the founder and CEO of social relationship platform Hootsuite, insisted that the only reason Hootsuite outlasted or surpassed early competitors like Seesmic and TweetDeck is that it invested in product rather than advertising and PR.

Now that they’re the industry leader, HootSuite has built its marketing around the product – and the role it plays in people’s lives. Here’s how Holmes sees his role:

As CEO or founder your job is tell the story of your product and get people excited about it.

Find the metric that matters

If there’s anything that distinguishes growth-minded marketers it’s a steadfast belief in the power of numbers. As Aaron Ginn, Head of Growth at online retailer Everlane (and formerly of StumbleUpon) put it, a growth hacker is:

Someone who emphasizes data over opinions.

We know that data is big these days (especially “big data”) but that’s precisely the problem: Data is big. There’s a ton of it. And it can be intimidating and unwieldy.

That’s why, before staring into the abyss of analytics, you need to identify the metrics that really matter to your business.

Dinesh Thiru, VP Marketing at online education marketplace Udemy, said that his two main metrics are revenue and student happiness. While user growth is also important, Udemy learned that you have to look at both the quantity and quality of users you’re acquiring. Some users “monetize better than others” and so focusing on actual purchases helps keep Udemy honest.

In terms of tracking student happiness, Thiru said he looks at Udemy’s Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures how likely users are to recommend the company to friends or colleagues. Interestingly, Thiru found that users who reported a higher NPS also had a higher lifetime value. In this way, Udemy’s two key metrics reinforce each other nicely.


.@Udemy discovered that their most valuable customers were also their happiest ones.

Click To Tweet


Allen Lau, the founder and CEO of online writing community Wattpad, said that at his company’s primary metric is monthly active users. This is something Wattpad’s investors insisted the company focus on instead of making money. That said, more recently Wattpad has begun to zero in on advertising as its core business model and so the monthly users metrics now seems less like a vanity metric and more revenue-oriented after all.

Retention is not an afterthought

If you have poor retention, nothing else matters.

That’s a quote from Brian Balfour, VP Growth at HubSpot. It may seem dramatic, but we’ve all heard the adage that it’s easier to market to existing customers than new ones and without retention, traction just isn’t possible.

Balfour enumerated a few reasons retention is so important:

  • As you increase retention, you increase lifetime value and can afford a higher cost per acquisition (CPA) – allowing you to spend more at the top of the funnel
  • As you increase retention, you increase virality (your longtime customers become advocates on your behalf) and eventually decrease CPA
  • As you increase retention, you increase upgrade rates and decrease payback periods (meaning more money in the bank)

The key to retention in the first week after sign-up, according to Balfour, is to get users to experience your core value as quickly as possible through better onboarding, clearer messaging and tailoring the user experience to new customers.

improving-31-retention

For example, HubSpot was looking to increase adoption of its new email tool, Sidekick. The first step was to understand why users were churning in the first week. A majority of people reported that they just didn’t understand the product or have time to figure it out.

some-of-our-findings

By separating the new user experience from the core application, encouraging users to sign up with their work email addresses (where they were more likely to see the product’s value) and improving their educational content, they were able to significantly reduce churn.

It takes a community

Retention, of course, isn’t just about great user experience or clever email marketing. The key to keeping your customers for the long haul is to empower them to become more than customers.

Here’s the recipe for sustainable growth that Phil Fernandez, Marketo’s CEO, shared:

  1. Acquire new customers
  2. Grow lifetime value
  3. Build brand advocates
fundamental-recipe-for-growth

Fernandez said businesses need to think about how they’re creating a “shared purpose” with everyone in their “ecosystem,” meaning customers, employees and partners. In other words, you need to build a community.


.@Marketo’s recipe for growth? Acquire customers, grow lifetime value, build brand advocates

Click To Tweet


Part of this comes down to great customer support. Patrick Llewellyn, CEO of Australian design marketplace 99designs, said that establishing a customer support center in San Francisco early on was one of the keys to the company’s remarkable growth; customers would actually call them up just to validate that they were legit.

Another big piece of the puzzle is partnerships. Bastian Lehmann, CEO of online food delivery service Postmates, talked about building a “three-sided marketplace” that has allowed his company to monetize through three different streams:

  • Customers, who pay a delivery fee
  • Couriers – Postmates has been able to negotiate competitive rates for things like insurance and gear that they resell to delivery staff
  • Merchants – now that they have scale (and leverage), they can ask businesses, who they previously ignored, for a cut

Likewise, companies like Uber, PayPal and Dropbox have thrived off of old school referral programs. HootSuite’s Holmes boasted that partners have made hundreds of thousands of dollars off their ecosystem.

Bottom line: Give people a reason to love you and an incentive to spread that love and your boss (or investors or heirs) will love you too.

Mobile is kind of a big deal

Markus Frind, the plainspoken PlentyOfFish CEO, said something else that took the audience’s breath away at the very end of the day. He said that 90% of his site’s traffic is now mobile, which has led him to question whether they even need to support a desktop website anymore (!).

That’s a staggering statement from a tech founder. And he wasn’t the only one who emphasized just how important mobile has become as a lever for growth.


90% of @PlentyofFish’s traffic is mobile. Their CEO questions whether they even need a desktop site.

Click To Tweet


Sameer Dholakia, CEO of email delivery service SendGrid, pointed out that savvy marketers want to be able to run their campaigns across all channels.

Since your mobile users are the same people as your desktop users, you want to make sure the experience you’re giving them on mobile is complementary. It should reinforce the goals of the larger campaign while catering to their needs and intentions at that particular moment, on whatever device they’re using.

The trick is to make the lives of mobile users as easy possible. That means reducing the amount of friction between them and your conversion goal. As Dinkar Jain, Senior Product Manager at Twitter put it, “mobile users rarely want to do anything fancy.”

Alexander Peh, Head of Mobile at PayPal Canada, pointed out that something as simple as entering an email and password on a mobile device can be a “pain in the ass” because you’re forced to keep switching between numbers, letters and symbols on a tiny keyboard. Peh said that when they replaced the email and password requirement with a phone number and 4-digit pin on mobile, usage skyrocketed.


Don’t trouble mobile users. When @PayPal replaced email login with phone# login, usage skyrocketed.

Click To Tweet


For more detailed advice on how to optimize your pages and campaigns for mobile users, check out this handy article.

More learnings

The day was packed with too many awesome tips and insights to squeeze into this article (that and I’m getting hungry) so why don’t I just let you peer into my notebook yourself? You can find my unabridged TractionConf notes right here.

But since there’s nothing like a real life event, you should join us at the Call to Action conference in September. It’s also in Vancouver and you’ll learn a ridiculous amount about conversion rate optimization, A/B testing, copywriting, landing page design and – maybe, just maybe – a new growth hack or two. See you there!


The $100,000 Challenge: June Update

june traffic

I just wrapped up the third month of Nutrition Secrets, and I have to say, it turned out to be a great month.

When you look at the traffic stats of 33,562 visitors, however, you may think things are not progressing as the traffic only grew by 1,297 visitors. But all signals are pointing in the right direction.

Here’s what happened in the month of June… 

Started to focus more on search traffic

Our search traffic hasn’t climbed by much, but the blog is only 3-months old. Technically speaking, you can even say it is 2-months old as the domain name was switched after the first month.

For the month of June, Nutrition Secrets received 3,675 search engine visitors, which is a 106% increase over the previous month.

Typically, whenever you start a new blog, you have to wait 5 to 6 months before you start seeing good growth in search traffic. Why? Because search engines don’t just look at on-page code and links. They look at factors such as bounce rate, time on site, etc.

As your metrics hold steady or improve, they reward you over time. This prevents new sites from popping up and spamming their way to the top of Google.

Big drop in Facebook traffic

On June 20th, all of my blogs had a drop in traffic from my Facebook fan pages. Nutrition Secret saw something similar, and I ended up taking a big hit as the majority of the traffic was coming from the social web.

In addition to that, the post titles and topics focused more on targeting SEO and not social media. For example, topics such as “13 Fatty Foods That Are Surprisingly Healthy” did really well on Facebook because they were on unique topics that evoked curiosity.

But when you look at the search volume for these phrases, you’ll notice that the volume is really low. So instead, I had Mike shift his focus toward writing on topics that were more mainstream and would pick up more search traffic in the long run.

keyword traffic

I even created an Excel spreadsheet for him that helps him generate topic ideas based on search volume and popularity on the social web. (I’ll share it with you next month so you can use it for your own blog.)

Content production is up

If you look at the month of June, you’ll notice that we posted roughly 5 times a week. I taught Mike the exact process I have been using on Quick Sprout to write content at a rapid pace.

I even broke down the process on Quick Sprout in these 2 blog posts for you:

Mike is now able to write a blog post within 1.5 to 2 hours. Over the course of the next 30 days, I want him to be able to write a blog post in less than 1.5 hours so I can get him to write 2 posts a day. Sure, the content may be a bit shorter, but it should be doable since he isn’t writing 5,000-word posts like I am on Quick Sprout.

In the long run, this will help the site generate more comments, search traffic, and social shares.

Comments come from email

If you look at the comments on the Nutrition Secrets blog, you’ll notice that a lot of them are from the same people. Why? Because those people are subscribed to our email list.

Roughly 81% of all the comments on the blog are from people who are subscribed to the email list. Currently, the email list is only growing by a few subscribers a day, and every once in a while, we see a spike in opt-ins if a post does well on Facebook, but generally it’s not growing fast enough.

The traffic is there, but the opt-in offer isn’t too appealing. I will have Mike create some sort of a 30-day nutrition course, which we will use as an opt-in bribe. This should help increase the number of opt-ins to a few thousand a month.

Fixing mobile issues

The interesting thing about Nutrition Secrets is that over 54.4% of our traffic comes from mobile and tablet devices. But if you look at our mobile load time, you’ll see it could be improved.

pagespeed

I will have Mike focus on improving it. WordPress plugins that compress image sizes and cache the blog will help. As those metrics improve, search traffic will also start increasing at a faster rate.

Link building

The majority of the links we acquired are from other resource pages.

Here is how we get them. Mike searches the web with queries such as “nutrition resources” to find pages and sites that should be linking to our blog.

A good portion of the people we reached out to in June haven’t linked back, but that is mainly because we are going after EDU sites. It’s summer, which means most colleges are not in session.

So we are shifting our focus to building links from resource pages that aren’t on EDU sites.

In addition to that, we found that a couple of spammy sites linked to us. Here is one of the links. As you can see, the site isn’t the highest in quality, but there isn’t much we can do.

This happens to all websites, and you could disavow the link through Webmaster Tools, but there is no point if it’s only a small portion of your links.

Google is smart, and it knows it’s inevitable for you to have a few bad links. Because of that, it typically doesn’t penalize sites when this happens.

Mike’s also been building relationships with authors on sites like GQ, Vogue, and other magazine sites that have our ideal audience. We haven’t received any links from them yet, but we should once we start asking.

Currently, Mike is following these steps before he asks these people for a link. We’ll see how it goes in the next 30 days.

The one big issue we have been running into when building links is that people are removing links because they think Mike isn’t certified. His certification allows him to give advice on nutrition and fitness. I told him to update his bio to include this and create an about page to talk about the purpose of the blog as well as showcase his certifications.

Once he does this, we should be able to generate more links and hopefully keep them longer. In the meantime, he’s been emailing people who are removing the links and sending them a screenshot of his certificate. The only issue is, not everyone reads all of their emails, which means we are still losing links.

Strong signals

Although the traffic on the nutrition blog isn’t growing as fast as I would like it to, all the signals are pointing in the right direction. The content is great; people are commenting; and the rankings are climbing fast.

For example, the blog ranks on page 5 for the keyword “nutrition.” I know it is a vague search term and getting on page 1 will be hard…but we aren’t even trying to rank for that term.

rankings

We are also starting to rank for terms such as “lose lower belly fat.” We aren’t seeing a huge increase in traffic yet because moving up from page 4 to page 3 doesn’t do much. But once the site starts ranking on page 1, our search traffic will skyrocket.

Currently, we aren’t trying to rank for any specific term, and we aren’t building rich anchor text links. Instead, we are trying to write good educational content in hopes that people will want to link to us when we show them how great Nutrition Secrets is.

Conclusion

I still haven’t focused on monetizing the blog yet, but I will start within the next few months. The revenue will largely come from the email list, so I need to focus on growing it first, which will happen in July.

As for expenses, they have stayed more or less flat. Total expenses, since the start of the project, have been $2,889.74 dollars. In June, I spent $219, which went towards Aweber and hand-drawn images for Facebook.

What do you think about the progress so far? Do you think I’ll be able to generate $100,000 a month in income within 12 months?

Join WordStream for Marketing Festival Keynote & Conference in Brno #mktfest

The world of marketing doesn’t have to be dry, stuffy or corporate. This November, get your dose of top quality marketing education alongside incredible live band performances, plenty of networking and meetups, and a different party every night throughout the three-day Marketing Festival in Brno, Czech Republic.

This year, I’ll be opening the international marketing conference with a keynote on the most impactful trends in PPC marketing, today and in the future.

 Image of the crowd at Marketing Festival in Brno

Marketing Festival takes place November 26th to 28th in Brno, the second most populous city in the Czech Republic and the historical capital city of the Margraviate of Moravia. In this vibrant, authentic Czech setting, over 1000 marketers from around the world will have the opportunity to listen in on specialized lectures, hear about unique marketing case studies, and take part in a number of useful workshops.

Other speakers at Marketing Festival this year include:

  • Marty Neumeier, author of The Brand Gap and The Brand Flip;
  • analytics advocate Daniel Waisberg from Google London;
  • European SEO consultant extraordinaire Aleyda Solis;
  • Bart Schutz, customer psychology and neuropsychology expert;
  • Filipino SEO expert Jason Acidre, author of the Kaiser the Sage blog;
  • SEO expert and director of audience from Moz, Cyrus Shepard;
  • CRM and email expert Bjoern Sjut.

With its sessions, workshops and lectures on SEO, link building, PPC advertising, web analytics, content marketing and social media marketing, Marketing Festival in Brno is a comprehensive, must-attend conference. Those working in international markets or looking for the latest strategies and tactics in various global markets will especially appreciate the diverse speaker line up and content! Owner of Marketing Festival, Jindrich Faborsky, has even conducted thorough research to ensure the conference provides what attendees want.

Brno is a quick flight from London or a 30-minute train ride from Vienna. Join me in Brno this November for Marketing Festival – tickets are on sale now and with only 132 tickets left (out of a total of 1200!), they’re sure to sell out – get yours today!