Deciding where to focus your marketing and sales efforts in the coming year can be hard. So we reached out to experts, practitioners, and analysts and asked a simple question: How are you positioning your sales and marketing teams for success in 2018? Read the full article at MarketingProfs
The average clickthrough rate (CTR) of Facebook ads increased both year over year and quarter over quarter in 3Q17, according to recent research from iProspect. Read the full article at MarketingProfs
This infographic walks you through the step-by-step process of creating Instagram Stories for your business and highlights some of the additional features of the platform you can use to encourage even more views and engagement. Read the full article at MarketingProfs
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When you have strong thought leadership content, you want to get it in front of the right audience. Twitter can be a helpful channel when it comes to reaching not just readers, but also influencers who can help create more conversations around your content and your brand. Read the full article at MarketingProfs
KPIs are due EOD.
Profit and loss statements need to be generated.
Budget status updates have been requested.
Juggling multiple marketing campaigns is stressful. But more importantly, it’s also incredibly risky.
Soon enough, you’ve depleted your budget to the last few cents, and you have nothing to show for it.
Or worse, you didn’t spot the right trends in a successful tactic before spending too much on the underperforming ones.
And now you don’t have enough money to re-allocate to top-tier mediums.
Curiously enough, adopting the same methodical mindset of a financial currency trader can help you better manage results.
Start With a Currency Arbitrage Mindset
Here’s the problem with digital marketing.
It changes every day. Old stuff gives way to new stuff.
And you never really know how a campaign will perform until you try it.
That saying (1) is unhelpful and (2) requires extra money to experiment with potentially budget-draining activities.
But it’s true.
You really don’t know which playbook, game plan, or actionable tip is going to work until you experiment. The stuff that worked last year almost certainly won’t work the same this year.
Not to mention that every business is structured differently. Each caters to diverse audiences. So copying your competitors or that awesome tactic you read about is also out.
What works for Company X might bankrupt Company Z.
If there were set-in-stone tactics that produced million-dollar businesses overnight, every dude on GrowthHackers.org would be rich.
PPC might be amazing for your friend’s business. But that doesn’t mean investing in PPC is instantly going to turn you into the next Zuckerberg.
So where do people turn when they hit this realization? A/B testing.
You all know those case studies that promise a mythical pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
I did X and generated a 40000000000% increase in conversions!
Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it’s not that far off.
Most A/B tests fail, though.
They take too long to get results. Plus that whole “bias” thing. And of course, sample size.
You need a minimum of 1,000 conversions monthly for statistical significance.
So what should you do instead?
Implement a currency arbitrage mindset.
Currency arbitrage is a strategy in which the trader takes advantage of different spreads offered by brokers for a particular currency pair by making trades.
Different spreads imply a gap between the bid and ask prices. Meaning, they can buy and sell pairs to make more money.
What does this mean in English?
Place lots of small bets on different tactics, channels, platforms, and mediums so that you can evaluate their effectiveness in real-time.
Once you see specific trends developing (either positive or negative), you double down on the winners and cut your losses on the rest.
This way, you can test multiple experiments at once without the bias and lack of statistical significance that comes with A/B testing.
You get in and out fast. And you come out on the other side with specific campaigns to focus on rather than a mixed bag.
For example, you can’t always control the end result. But you can control the inputs that eventually get you there. And you can monitor, forecast, or predict where those will fall based on just a few days’ worth of performance.
Then, you can fine tune and adjust each ‘level’ accordingly to squeeze out the best results.
Adjusting Your Budget Based on Market Movement
The first banner advertisement ever appeared on HotWired in 1994.
Look at this gem:
By today’s standards, it looks like a joke, right?
Is that tie-dye? Yes, yes it is.
But it gets worse:
See that subliminal “YOU WILL” message on the right???
Super subtle. Lord have mercy on us all.
But guess what?
This banner ad debuted with a click-through rate of 78%.
Yes, you read that right. Seventy. Eight. Percent.
If you told any marketer today that your banner ads are getting a 78% CTR, you’d get laughed out of the room.
Why? It’s inconceivable. It’s probably impossible in today’s world.
Today, the average display ad CTR is 0.05%.
This all brings me back to one concept coined by Andrew Chen:
All marketing strategies over time will result in shitty click-through rates.
As more and more people use these tactics, the market becomes saturated.
Users get sick of it, and they don’t click. Or they go banner blind.
You can see trends that follow this concept with almost any marketing activity.
Remember the good old days when Facebook organic reach was insane?
You paid nothing and reached thousands or millions of eager users.
Now, organic reach is almost nothing:
As more and more marketers use the concepts put in place, it results in fewer and fewer results.
This is a perfect example of market movement and active management in currency trading.
You can’t hold certain trades forever and expect exponential performance.
Just because something is generating an insane ROI now, doesn’t mean you can ride it off into the sunset.
Markets are constantly shifting, just like marketing tactics.
What was hot one day (banner ads) isn’t now.
If you don’t adjust your strategy based on analytic research and forecasts, you risk declining performances associated with passive management.
Passive management is when you sit idly by and attempt to cruise to the finish line on your current strategy.
Active management relies on analytical performance data over time to spot trends and make informed decisions about what needs to change.
If you notice a decline in organic reach on Facebook, you probably shouldn’t be dumping your campaign dollars into it.
Unfortunately, us marketers (including me) fall into this trap more often than we’d like to admit.
You log in to Google AdWords or Analytics and see some great conversion data:
Your plans are working as you’d hoped.
But that doesn’t mean you can sit back and let the good times roll.
Sure, you can do that for a little bit. But over time, as markets, tactics, and consumers shift, you’ve gotta take an active role in managing campaigns.
Adjust based on trends.
A great way to do this is by analyzing specific topics on Google Trends:
Or even keeping up to date with the latest studies on popular marketing tactics by conducting a basic Google search:
Stay up-to-date with market movement and look at the underlying trends or patterns. Because when people are blogging about it, tweeting it, favoriting it, or liking it, it’s already too late.
Be Cautious in a Bull Market
When everything is running smoothly, it’s referred to as a bull market.
Investor confidence and financial optimism are at an all-time high.
On the surface, everything is running like a well-oiled machine.
Unemployment is low. The economy’s GDP is growing steadily. Stocks are rising.
And your marketing tactics are getting more traction.
But with all of this surface-based optimism comes serious potential side effects:
It now becomes difficult to predict potential shifts and trends or when tactics might change.
Facebook’s organic reach was booming just a few years ago. Until, of course, it didn’t.
Now? Good luck. We’ve crapped out.
There is actually a pretty easy explanation for it. Simple supply vs. demand.
User growth is slowing while the number of content pieces has exploded exponentially. Too much supply, not enough demand.
Guess what’s going to repeat now on Instagram?
Right now it’s the place to be for your content. Just give it a minute.
And don’t get swept up by the bull market.
Find your own Big Short
Have you ever seen The Big Short?
If not, I highly recommend it. It’s a great movie.
Not just because it’s an incredible, intense account of the 2005 housing crisis.
Mainly because it features Steve Carell:
Inspirational as always, Prison Mike.
In all seriousness, it’s a great movie that heavily relates to digital marketing.
The main concept of the movie was based on the true story of Michael Burry, a hedge fund manager who shorted the housing crisis of 2005.
He believed there was a housing bubble, leading him to short sell and bet against the banks who thought he was a chump, taking his deals like candy.
The idea of short selling is motivated by the belief that a security’s price will decline, enabling it to be bought back at a lower price point for maximum profit.
And people thought Michael (Burry, not Prison) was insane.
Who in their right mind bets against the housing market when prices are nearly doubling year after year?
But Burry noticed a few troubling trends. He saw that subprime home loans were in danger of defaulting. And many adjustable rate mortgages with balloon payments were all adjusting around the same time.
He decided to throw more than one billion dollars into credit default swaps.
It’s safe to say that the banks weren’t too happy in the end.
Here’s the moral of the story:
Very few people believed him. But Burry discovered the mystical unicorn that most marketers strive to find.
The main point as it relates to marketing campaigns is this:
You need to find your own big short.
Your own diamond in the rough that you can tap into before anyone else.
Your own display ad invention that generates a 78% CTR.
Finding the tactic that brings your conversions up by 10x.
Sounds wonderful. But you know it’s not easy. Because it hasn’t been blogged about or shared at conferences just yet.
But examples of it do already exist in the marketing world today.
He took a spin on a classic link-building tactic that increased his search traffic by 110% in just two weeks.
On top of a massive increase in traffic, he generated countless backlinks from thousands of different referring domains:
He effectively took his link-building strategy to the next level by going against the grain.
He didn’t sit back and ride the wave of guest blogging or other outdated, declining strategies.
He found his own big short.
While small marketing tactics like A/B testing and creating new ads or creative for your campaigns is a step in the right direction, it isn’t the end-all-be-all. Small bets don’t move the needle.
They merely help you figure out if you’re on the right track (or not). And help to show you when it’s time to go all-in.
Managing marketing campaigns is a stressful task.
Big, splashy, high-budget campaigns have high expectations. Bosses and clients expect big, lofty performance to go with it.
Money can get away from you fast if you aren’t careful.
Even worse, you can get so caught up in data that you miss the right trends.
Trends that tell you which aspects of your campaign are winning and which are losing.
Instead of flying blind or crossing your fingers, think like a financial currency trader.
Analyze the data with a currency arbitrage mindset. Keep up with market movement by taking an active management role in your campaigns. Be cautious in a bull market when everyone’s saying the same things.
And don’t be afraid to bet big when the time comes.
About the Author: Brad Smith is the founder of Codeless, a B2B content creation company. Frequent contributor to Kissmetrics, Unbounce, WordStream, AdEspresso, Search Engine Journal, Autopilot, and more.
The proportion of marketing-email subscribers who use Gmail for those subscriptions has jumped 76% since 2014, according to recent research from Yes Lifecycle Marketing. Read the full article at MarketingProfs
If your business can’t be Googled, then, for most people, it doesn’t exist.
You may be able to create leads via word-of-mouth, social media, or through speaking engagements. But if you don’t have a website or if your site cannot be found online, then you’re missing out on a tremendous amount of business.
You see, the vast majority of people begin their search for a product or service online. In one study, they found that 81% of shoppers search online before they make a purchase decision. In a different survey conducted by PowerReviews, they found that 38% of shoppers start their product searches with Amazon, whereas 35% begin with Google. What is more, the average number of sources people consult before making a purchase decision averages 10.4.
So let’s face it: People search before they shop.
Adapting to this change in consumer behavior is vital to the long-term well-being of your business. In other words, you need to help customers find you online.
In connecting with your target market, there are many tactics you can pursue. But before you do anything, the first step you need to take is to build a solid foundation with your website.
Now, I know this will sound like a no-brainer for many of our readers, but many small business owners do not have a website. According to a report by Clutch in 2016, they discovered that half of the small businesses they surveyed did not have a site.
From their research, there were several reasons provided why these small business owners did not have a site, such as costs and lack of technical abilities. However, the number one reason listed for not having a site was relevancy. Basically, many small business owners do not believe a website is relevant to their business or customer.
In this post, I want to counter this belief and share five reasons why a website is essential for your business—regardless of your industry.
1. Websites let you control your audience’s experience
Instead of building a website, many business owners lean toward connecting with their customers exclusively on social media. But there’s one harsh reality when it comes to building your business or brand on social media. It’s like building a house on rented land. You don’t actually own it.
For example, social media networks will not ask for your permission to make changes to their services. Often, the changes social media platforms make are beneficial in general, but they may adversely affect your relationship with your customer. However, building a website for your business puts you in control.
For your website, you have complete control, you can customize it however you see fit, and you don’t have to battle with any distractions.
What is more, it’s easier for you to lead your potential customers and hold their attention as they go through the buying cycle — first becoming aware of your product or service, then considering its value, and finally deciding whether or not to make a purchase.
2. Websites let you reach your audience without a gatekeeper
The promise of reaching billions of people on social media is just a promise. You can amass a huge following on social media, but you will not be capable of actually communicating with every single individual unless you pay to play.
For instance, Twitter says you can freely reach 30% of your followers, whereas Facebook puts you in a position where you have pay to be seen by more than 5% of your followers. (Some brands with 500K likes on Facebook report only 2% organic reach.)
Since social media platforms limit your potential reach (and third-party apps sometimes block your ads), it doesn’t make a lot of sense to primarily promote your business on social media.
3. Websites will lead to more in-store purchases
Do you want more people to visit your store’s physical location? Then build a website and optimize it for local search results.
Recent studies have discovered a growing trend in what’s called “webrooming.” For many people, they prefer to search online before they make a purchase offline. So, before entering your store, they will search online for their product of choice.
What does this mean for you?
Simple, it means your website is your company’s virtual front door.
4. Websites are what customers prefer
Where is the best place to interact with your audience?
Answering with “social media” is usually the way people respond. And it makes sense, too. Social media platforms are where billions of people around the world go to connect with their family, friends, and even brands online.
But here’s the crazy thing.
When it comes to engaging with you and your brand online, adults online are three times more likely to visit your website than your Facebook page. (This is just one example among many.)
People may like your updates, retweet your tweets, or even leave a comment, but when it comes to engaging with your company online, they would rather visit your website to learn more about your business and offerings compared to social media.
5. Websites are a better way to collect data
On social media, the connections you have and the data you collect belong to the social media platforms, which isn’t the case when you build an online audience through your website. You are in charge of the connections you make. You own the data. And you can take it with you wherever you go.
On the surface, this may not seem like a big deal. But the data you accumulate over time can help you exponentially. From possessing comprehensive analytics, customer contact information, and purchasing history, you can place yourself in a great position to meet your customer’s needs.
Do you want more business?
Then let me ask you this question: Do you have a website?
If yes, then great. You’re well ahead of the game. But make sure your site is optimized for keywords relevant to your business and that it works on mobile devices.
If no, then you need to build a website. Don’t allow the misplaced fear of costs or technical skills get in your way. There are many cost-effective options you can choose from to build a website for your business
The post 5 Reasons Why a Website is Essential for Your Small Business appeared first on The Copybot.
Facebook launches Messenger Kids app; Instagram tests standalone messaging app, adds Stories features; Twitter Lite expands to conquer new markets; Facebook allows pre-roll video ads; Pinterest's president is stepping down; and much more... Read the full article at MarketingProfs
Bank customers want personalized ads across channels, according to a report that asked consumers their thoughts on how banks advertise online. Check out the infographic for more tips on how banks can speak to their customers effectively. Read the full article at MarketingProfs