Admittedly, I know this title might provoke some head scratching at first: “SURVEYS?! How are boring old surveys going to all of a sudden become some major player in business?” And I’m so glad you asked.
Feedback-based marketing is nothing new. Everyone knows, or at least repeats, the mantra that ‘the customer is always right’ and that giving your customers exactly what they want is the key to the success of your business. It was true 50 years ago, and it’s still true today. That said, the growth you’re about to see from survey/feedback based business practices is due to the fact that new technology is vastly changing the ways we can and do interact with customers.
Traditionally, surveys have suffered from one of two shortcomings. The first, was that if you wanted to survey customers on the spot, or right after they had made a purchase in a brick and mortar store, you were likely going to have to use paper surveys. While you were collecting valuable realtime feedback, the tedium and cost of paper survey supplies and data entry was more than a little speedbump in keeping customer feedback a viable adjust-as-you-go business strategy.
More recently, we’ve had programs and websites which allow the creation of online surveys. These surveys can have their data indexed and organized in realtime, saving you hours or work and pay fishing through results. The downside was that there were no easy ways to execute these types of surveys when they were most needed (i.e. at a point of sale). Instead, customers would have to be emailed a link or asked to visit a website hours or even days later. At this point, the quality and accuracy of feedback and recall declines and you won’t get as good of insights as you could have.
Now, however, companies like Responster and Customerville have jumped on the rise of tablets and mobile phones to help bring the best of both worlds together. For your business, that looks like cross-platform surveys that are made to be integrated into touch and run on any device. Now, a business that invests in setting up a cheap iPad kiosk can all of a sudden be collecting helpful feedback from a large percentage of their customers within the first day.
Over time, it will become more apparent that the businesses who take advantage of platforms that allow them to better interact with and respond to customer feedback will perform better. Whereas the marketplace used to be largely dictated by what businesses told the public they needed in the past, we now exist in a consumer controlled world. The internet was the first wave of customer empowerment, social media overhauled it altogether, ensuring that customer complaints and suggestions could be heard around the world as soon as they were thought of, and now we’ve arrived at the third era. Mark my words, feedback is going to separate businesses more and more in the next few years, because no one is going to turn away from a brand that designs their product and service offerings in direct response to something that customer suggested 3 hours ago.
SEO is one of those secretive beasts that has been the obsession of online marketers since the dawn of their profession. Especially with the event of one search engine pulling far ahead of the rest in its usage, an intense culture was born out of focusing on how to best game or manipulate Google’s search algorithms over the years.
Now, for better or for worse – and I think for better – Google has wised up and, through a series of updates, brought their algorithms into the modern day by being able to account for the factors that make a site most relevant to users today. While this is great for Google’s users, it does mean that getting your site on top of relevant search results is no longer a simple matter of pulling the right strings for a few days and awaiting results. So, without further adieu, here are a few ways you can ensure your SEO success in 2015 and beyond.
Google knows what it wants, and so do you!
Google’s end game has always been about providing the best user experience possible. They want to make sure that the results they display are getting people to their desired answers as quickly as possible. While there are literally thousands of metrics that go into determining what websites best service the interests of a given query, a little bit of honesty about your site can go a long way in getting results. In every decision you make, you should be evaluating your options from a consumer perspective: Don’t think about your bottom line, or your conversions, or your sales funnel. Instead, figure out what decision will provide the best possible experience for people searching your niche. Have you adequately answered an asked question? Will your bounce rate remain low because people want to stick around and read what you have to say? These kinds of questions can help you honestly evaluate the usefulness of your site.
Social Indicators Are Huge
If you aren’t killing it in social media already, you’re behind the curve – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get started now anyways! Google has been known to, since the beginning of their work as a search engine – weight links and references to your sites as more or less important depending on where they come from. Nowadays, you can bet that social “buzz” is a metric taken into account by Google when ranking any site.
Now, being an expert in your market requires you to also take your social controls by the horns and get active. Promoting your own brand and site(s) through social can generate a kind of natural traction â€“ providing you’re putting out good content – that Google has no choice but to love. Well, that is, until the game changes again.
Ride Waves, Don’t chase Them
The best note to leave you on has to do with education. Simply put, you should be researching SEO and social bloggers and thought leaders regularly. Keeping up is half the battle, and you never know which big trend you can ride the front of and end up catapulted to the top of your market.
There is no better time than now to begin a Facebook Video Ad campaign. Although there’s still a place for traditional advertising, the tide is quickly turning towards a new, innovative, laser-targeted form of advertising—Facebook!
Place your strongest images at the start
Facebook video advertising is a different kettle of fish compared to TV, YouTube or billboards. You’ll need to grab the viewers’ attention almost immediately, and if you don’t, they’ll simply scroll straight past it and onto the next post in their newsfeed.
So, place strong, eye-catching images at the start so people will be enticed to watch the video. Users typically won’t spend long deciding on whether to watch it or not—a few seconds. Therefore, you need the images to have a particularly strong pull.
Prepare for silent viewing
As Facebook video ads are automatically scheduled to auto-play without sound, the majority of people will keep it that way. This means you’ll need to construct your video in a way that conveys the message you want it to, even if the viewer is watching it in silence.
Usually, a story-type narrative performs well, as the viewer will recognize what is happening, but will watch the whole video as each set of words should lead them to the next. You want to avoid giving all the information in one serving, as you want to keep the viewer engaged. Also, remember to place a CTA at the end!
Perform frequent testing
This one is hugely important because if you neglect testing, you’ll fail to figure out what works and what doesn’t. On Facebook, it is incredibly easy to tweak aspects of your ad, but if you don’t test regularly, you may end up wasting your budget on a campaign that isn’t claiming views.
A good idea would be to create two versions of the same video, so you can directly compare their performances. However, as we’ve just mentioned, keep testing to avoid eating away at your budget.
Don’t make the video too long
It’s crucial that you create a video that falls into an optimal length bracket. Ideally, you should make it around 30 seconds long, as this is what produces the best engagement. Of course, slight leeway either side is acceptable, but you should preferably make it shorter rather than longer.
After all, people love to scroll, scroll and scroll on Facebook. Very few people will stop and watch an advertisement that it is a minute long. Just ask yourself – would you watch an advertisement that took up that much of your time on social media?
The start of the month in internet marketing land should be called copytime. Every website out there is looking for brand new copy, from blogs to social media posts to web copy. Of these three important types of copy, only one is going to represent your website day in and day out. While none should be ignored or written off with any type of nonchalance, I personally believe that webcopy should be the most scrutinized of the three.
After all, many blogs are informal. Social posts aren’t meant to serve as your doctorate. But web copy, this is what the people are looking at when they get to your site. And not only that, it’s what the search engines are looking at when they rank your site. So, it’s easy to see why webcopy should be carefully crafted, but it’s not always so simple to see how it should be crafted.
Five Points to Keep in Mind When Creating Copy for Your Website
Here are five things that you want to keep in mind as you sit down to write your web copy:
1. Capture. The first thing your copy needs to do is capture the attention of your viewers. If you have some bland, boring headline followed by copy that drones on and on, you’re going to bore visitors right off your site (if not to sleep!). Be a little provactive, a little funny, stir it up. The average person browses dozens of websites each and every day, what is going to make them stay on yours?
2. Portray. Your webcopy should be very clear in conveying your value proposition. Visitors need to know exactly what makes you different from your competition. Why should they spend their money with you when there are 50 million other sites selling the exact same product or service? If you can’t answer this, then how can you expect your customers to understand it?
3. Stand Out. People don’t really have time to read everything you write. Even if you’re the most interesting writer in the world, eating a nice juicy steak is more interesting. You aren’t going to compete with reality, so make your content easily accommodating in that you have all key points standing out for quick scanning. Headings and subheadings are a must. Numbered and bullet lists help people get the information they need, do what they have to do and then get on with their life. You aren’t inviting them over for tea, you’re inviting them to learn what you have to offer them and then convincing them to take it and leave.
4. Describe. Description is vital for many products and services, yet so many marketers buy into the “picture is worth a thousand words” ideaology of content creation. Pictures are amazing, yes (videos are even better), but you need the details, features and benefits of your products and services in writing. Why? If nothing else, for the search engines and to rank for keywords, but trust me, there are still people out there enjoy reading everything they can about a product before making a purchase. Remember, an informed consumer buys more.
5. Perfection. Finally, it’s vital that your webcopy be absolutely free and clear of errors. No spelling mistakes, no grammatical errors, no txt spk. You want to convey authority on your site and nothing will lose it faster than mspelling a werd or too or making grammer errors or having poor punctuashun?
Overall, webcopy is to a website what a salesperson is to a brick-and-mortar location. You wouldn’t hire just anybody and send them out there uninformed and unpresentable, don’t do that with your webcopy.
The internet has changed the way millions of things, places, people and brands market themselves and every now and then, it’s good to take a look at one of these new trends and see if we can make it fit universally. Take for instance, the new trend in the music industry of what I like to call “internet marketing overkill.” This trend has proven very, very, very successful for some big names, mainly Beyonce, Weird Al and Pharrell.
Okay, so assuming you know who those people are (don’t worry if you don’t) you’re probably asking yourself what some pop music stars have to do with internet marketing, right? Right. And the answer is simple: they have all used “overkill” in their marketing to dominate the charts. The question is, can this translate into your niche? We think so.
What is Internet Marketing Overkill?
So the concept is simple: Weird Al had a new album coming out. Facing the end of his 32-year recording contract and a wave of YouTube competition, he went into “overkill” mode, he released 8 videos in 8 days. Not impressed?
How about Pharrell, who decided that making a standard music video that lasted for four to eight minutes (the length of the average song), he would make a video that lasted a whole 24 hours? Yes, a video that takes one full day to watch. Getting the concept of overkill yet?
If not, we can turn to Beyonce, or “Queen Bey” as her fans call her. The Queen of overkill dropped a music video for every single song on her album all at once. Previously, this was unheard of. Not only would one music video come out at a time, typically taking a few weeks to months in between them, there is no way one album would get a video for every single song, let alone in one day.
How Can Internet Marketing Overkill Help Internet Marketers?
So now two questions should be popping into your head: why does this work and how can I make it work for me. For starters, the why: it works because it gets people excited. It makes them feel like something is happening that never happened before. It gets them online and talking about what’s going on, sharing the videos and news. “OMG, did you see what Queen Bey did?!”
Okay, so if you have a target demographic of teenage girls, you might have put two and two together and are off to the campaigns already. But what about the rest of us, how can we make overkill marketing work for our target demographics? Simple: think of the most outrageous promotion you can think of and then multiply it by ten.
Of course, do this within reason. Don’t go blowing your quarterly ad campaign budget on this, but think of something that you can do which won’t break your bank. How about 60 free eBooks given away in one hour? All your social media fans have to do is be the first person to comment at the start of every minute and they win. How’s that for quick engagement?
Why Stop There? Overkill Everything!
The real point here is, it doesn’t have to specifically be internet marketing overkill that you are trying. Simply look around at what some of the bigger trends are in other industries and see if you can’t resize them to fit your own internet marketing needs. While not every single idea will work, the ones that do can be the difference in taking that vacation with the family this year or attending another affiliate marketing convention instead.