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Thursday, June 21, 2018

US Supreme Court clears the way for sales taxes on all e-commerce sales

The court said that states were being harmed by the inability to collect taxes from e-commerce sellers. The post US Supreme Court clears the way for sales taxes on all e-commerce sales appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Instagram moves on YouTube with IGTV launch, opening platform to hour-long videos

The Facebook-owned app announced during its IGTV event that it has reached a billion users. The post Instagram moves on YouTube with IGTV launch, opening platform to hour-long videos appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Mobile marketer Leanplum buys Connecto’s conversational marketing

The acquisition of the Bulgarian firm boosts Leanplum’s goal of making conversations a central feature for maintaining brand relationships with customers. The post Mobile marketer Leanplum buys Connecto’s conversational marketing appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Tokenized loyalty platform Sweet offers Sugar tokens to energize fans

The platform is one of the first to actually deploy reward tokens for stimulating brand fervor. The post Tokenized loyalty platform Sweet offers Sugar tokens to energize fans appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Turning Your Data Into Compelling Stories – SMX Advanced Recap

Want to know how to turn unorganized data into compelling presentations? Contributor Keri Morgret recaps three SMX Advanced speakers as they share how to transform data into valuable insights. The post Turning Your Data Into Compelling Stories – SMX Advanced Recap appeared first on Marketing...

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Report: Marketing leaders aren’t keeping up with the speed of data

The Forbes Insights/Treasure Data survey found that only 13 percent of marketers consider their companies 'leaders' in leveraging customer data. The post Report: Marketing leaders aren’t keeping up with the speed of data appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Do the Right Thing for Your Business … and Your Audience

This week was all about doing the right thing — being cool, kind, ethical, and respectful. Not in spite of your business goals, but to support them. Because it turns out, most people would actually rather do business with someone who isn’t a complete tool. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman talked about content authenticity — what
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CMWorld Interview: Thinking Inside the (Answer) Box with Courtney Cox

In a digital marketing career that has spanned numerous roles, often with a heavy focus on SEO, Courtney Cox has watched plenty of trends come and go.

But like many of us, she’s convinced that answer boxes (or “featured snippets,” or “position zero,” as you will) hold the key to search success going forward.

Not only do these “best answer” results attain prime visibility on SERPs, but as voice search continues to grow more prominent, they are likely to become the only result for many user queries within a few years.

Recognizing the magnitude of this topic, Cox will dedicate her session at Content Marketing World to Position 0: Optimizing Your Content to Rank in Google’s Answer Boxes. Drawing from her experience at Children’s Health, where she’s tasked with helping modernize the digital experience in an industry that has been — by her own admission — a little behind the curve, she’ll offer up practical advice for claiming this crucial real estate.

As we eagerly await her afternoon session on September 5th in Cleveland, OH, we had a chance to ask Cox about some pertinent matters relating to her specialization. Here’s what she had to say about data-driven conversion rate optimization, strategizing through competitive analysis, speaking the language of coding as marketers, and more.


What does your role as Digital Marketing Manager at Children’s Health entail? What are your main areas of focus and key priorities?

I have a team of strategists and editors that manages the online experience for our patient families. This includes everything from the user experience of Childrens.com, SEO, paid search, and management of our local listings across the web.

We are currently in a major transition period. Our goal is to provide the best online experience of any pediatric healthcare system in the country. Healthcare as an industry is behind the times, and historically, we have been no exception. As the cost of healthcare goes up, our consumers place more scrutiny on the total value of their experience with our system.

We typically think of that experience beginning when patient families walk through our doors; however, the initial patient experience frequently begins online with a search and ends online with a review. It’s our job to use the digital experience to show the value of our clinical services, reduce the anxiety of our patient families, and provide them with the information they need to make the right decisions for their child.

This year, that means implementing rigorous user testing, redesigning nearly every template on Childrens.com, taking advantage of advanced search tactics such as structured data and accelerated mobile pages, and publishing reviews directly on our website.

 

What is one thing that most company websites could be doing better when it comes to driving sales and conversions?

Fair warning – I’m going to try not to get on my soapbox about this one, but it’s hard because I feel so passionately about it.

Digital marketers need to abandon the “gut feeling” approach to conversion rate optimization. In the days of expensive usability labs and split-testing software, businesses with limited budgets could be excused from making data-driven, customer-centered optimizations. Those days are over.

If you want to outperform your competitors, you must start listening to your customers and responding to their behavior. If you’re not using free tools like Google Optimize for split testing or one of the infinite number of inexpensive user testing options available, then I guarantee you are failing your customers in some way in which you’re currently unaware.


Digital marketers need to abandon the “gut feeling” approach to conversion rate optimization. @CourtEWakefield #CMWorld
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Moving on to your subject of focus at CMWorld: Aside from the obvious placement benefits, why is it so important to aim for ‘Position 0’ on Google search results?

‘Position 0’ results (aka ‘Featured Snippets’, aka ‘Answer Boxes’) are important for a number of reasons. As you mentioned, prominence at the top of the search engine results page positions your website for more engagement and clicks than a lower position, but that’s not all.

Voice platforms like Google Home rely heavily on the position 0 results to give answers to voice queries from their users. For example, if you ask Google Home, “why can’t my kid sleep?” you’ll get an excerpt from Childrens.com that shows in the Google answer box for the same query on Google.

It’s been predicted that by 2020, half of all searches will be done through voice, and most of those searches will be headless (on a screenless device like Amazon Alexa or Google Home). In those cases, position 0 is the only result. You want to own that space.

 

How can competitive analysis improve our efforts to land an Answer Box?

The best thing to start with is to take inventory of the websites populating the answer boxes for queries you want to dominate. Then go look at what they’re doing on their pages. Are they using natural language in their headlines? Do they have structured data? What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? Is there a theme across all the sites that you can mimic?

Then, you’ll want to match what they’re doing right and take advantage where they’re failing. In my experience, most websites are not well-optimized for the answer boxes, and they’re ranking through dumb luck. A little effort goes a long way.


In my experience, most websites are not well-optimized for the answer boxes, and they’re ranking through dumb luck. @CourtEWakefield #CMWorld
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When it comes to working toward Position 0, which optimization techniques pay dividends above and beyond the SEO impact?

Any time that you invest significant effort into providing quality content that answers your visitors’ questions in a well laid out and easy-to-digest format, you’re going to start seeing payoffs beyond rankings. I think most content marketing folks understand that.

To ensure our content is high quality and highly relevant to what our customers need, we’ve been using a new technique that starts with the “People Also Ask” questions on Google. Basically, we type in a query we want to rank for, take inventory of the “People Also Ask” questions that appear for that query, and answer those questions directly in our content with the question itself as an H2 on the page.

Google is giving us a gift; by revealing these questions to us, they give us a deeper look than ever into the aggregation and relation of their search data. We’d be foolish not to utilize this data to create the most relevant content for users and position ourselves as a valuable thought leader.


Any time that you invest significant effort into providing quality content that answers your visitors’ questions, you’re going to start seeing payoffs beyond rankings. @CourtEWakefield #CMWorld
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What does the emergence of the Answer Box tell us about how search engines are changing to serve the user experience? What do you foresee as the possible next step in that direction?

The demands on our time are greater every day, and folks’ attention spans are ever shorter. We want answers, and we want them now. Answer boxes are just a response to that.

I won’t be surprised if five or 10 years from now, Google has enough functionality and feature sets that the majority of small businesses won’t need their own websites. You’ve already seen less reliance on individual ecommerce sites with the emergence of Amazon and even Etsy. Google could make this possible for service-based businesses like barber shops and coffee shops.

People get kind of anxious about that, especially those in the web development business, but the commoditization of the web has always been a reality. Those of us in digital marketing must adapt or die. And, on the client side, if Google is sending the business, why wouldn’t you want to reduce the cost of doing business by eliminating web hosting fees?

 

How can content marketers work more smoothly and seamlessly with development teams to get things done efficiently? Where do you see the most common snags?

I’m so lucky at Children’s because we have a marketing technology team that sits with us, and they are some of the most talented and easy-to-work with folks I’ve known in my career.

But I know not everyone has that luxury. I think the thing that has helped me most in my career is that I’ve also been a developer. While not every content marketer can go out there and learn a coding language, they should really try to learn as much about that world as they can. It helps when you’re requesting the implementation of structured data or Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) that you understand the complexities or at least how much work it will take.

In my experience, developers really appreciate it when you consult with them about a request. “Have you heard about AMP? What do you think about it? I think it could really improve mobile traffic – does it have any downsides from your perspective?” That consultation goes a long way for buy in down the road.


While not every content marketer can go out there and learn a coding language, they should really try to learn as much about that world as they can. @CourtEWakefield #CMWorld
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Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2018?

You mean besides Tina Fey?

I’m a real tech geek, so the “How to Use Artificial Intelligence to Build and Optimize Content” and “Let’s Chat: How Messaging Apps, Chatbots, and Voice Assistants Will Impact Your Business in the Next 3-5 Years” have really piqued my interest. These are the things I hope we can get ahead of the game on to become healthcare digital marketing leaders.

Unpack More Answers

We thank Courtney for her great answers, which were extremely enlightening even if they didn’t come in a box.

For more expert insights on all of your most pressing questions, dive into the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing below!


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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Should you keep your best content on your site or send it away?

Contributor Julie Joyce looks at the pros and cons of keeping content on your site versus sending it away. The post Should you keep your best content on your site or send it away? appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Facebook gives autoplay video ads in Messenger a go

A Facebook spokesperson says they're in the "beginning stages" of placing video ads in Messenger. The post Facebook gives autoplay video ads in Messenger a go appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Advertisers will soon have AdWords tools to test & measure creative elements of YouTube video ads

YouTube's new creative suite -- which includes Video Experiments, Video Creative Analytics, YouTube Director Mix and Video Ad Sequencing -- is still in beta. The post Advertisers will soon have AdWords tools to test & measure creative elements of YouTube video ads appeared first on Marketing...

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Viant’s updated ACR knows what you’re watching on TV — and can immediately re-target your mobile devices with the same ad

The people-based ad tech firm has enlarged its automatic content recognition platform to deliver related ads in near-real time to other devices. The post Viant’s updated ACR knows what you’re watching on TV — and can immediately re-target your mobile devices with the same ad appeared first...

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Ask the #SMXpert: Smart B2B SEM Tactics

If you have a question on A/B split testing or are having challenges with ABM targeting on paid search, read on. Contributor Brad Geddes answers these questions and more in our continuing SMXpert series! The post Ask the #SMXpert: Smart B2B SEM Tactics appeared first on Marketing Land.

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How to Generate Sales for a New Product Release

So you’re ready to launch a new product.

Congratulations.

Regardless of your business type or industry, it’s important for brands, both new and old, to be innovative to stay relevant. I know how much hard work you’ve put into this new release, so I want to commend you on that.

Whether you’re releasing a new product or an extension of an existing product line, you’ve got to make sure your marketing efforts lead to sales.

Think about all the blood, sweat, and tears you put into this creation. Okay, maybe not blood, but you get what I mean.

This goes all the way back to your early brainstorming sessions as well as your research and development phases. You may have even had some failed attempts.

Oh yeah, and what about all the money you invested in this new product? Can’t forget about that.

If you can’t get consumers to buy your product, you won’t get an adequate return on that investment.

But those of you who are able to effectively promote your new product will enjoy the high sales. I’ll give you some tips and advice that will help you out.

Build hype early

If you wait until your product launches to start marketing it, you’ve waited too long. Those of you who failed to start early are already behind.

But don’t worry. I’m not here to reprimand you. There are still ways in which you can generate sales after the item is released, but we’ll talk about those later.

A great way to build hype in the early stages is by turning the announcement into a big deal. Apple is famous for this with its keynote presentations.

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Since the company has been using this strategy for years, consumers now anticipate the announcement itself. By the time Apple announces a new product, people have already decided to buy it.

Announcing new products at a particular event will get your audience ready. They’ll want the latest and greatest product or technology.

The anticipation of the release makes the product that much more desirable. Now you’ve got them hooked before it’s even released.

Consumers will be lined up around the block to buy your new product because they’ve been thinking about it for months. They already know the features and benefits of it because they’ve done the research.

Building hype before the release will help you generate sales on the release date as well as the subsequent days and weeks.

Start taking pre-orders

Again, this strategy relates to the idea of starting early.

You don’t need to wait for your product to be in stock to start generating sales. Let your customers pre-order the product so you can secure profits right away.

Offering pre-orders has tons of benefits. One is collecting money early. But pre-ordering an item also gives your customers a sense of exclusivity.

It will give customers the illusion that they have something before anyone else does. They’ll be one of the first people to have the product in their hands.

Furthermore, if you take pre-orders, people may think there is a chance the product may sell out. If they don’t order it now, they may not have the chance to buy it on the official release date.

Pre-orders ensure your new product gets off to a strong start, which is better than it would do through the average product life cycle.

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There’s no reason to have a slow introduction phase if you can avoid it.

In addition to wanting to be exclusive or have the product before anyone else, think of other reasons why a consumer may be interested in a pre-order.

Discounts.

Everyone loves getting a deal. Depending on your brand image and pricing strategy, you could potentially offer a discount to customers who pre-order the product to help drive sales.

Taking orders before release can also help you gauge your inventory. You’ll have a better idea of how much of the product you’ll need to have on hand for the initial release.

This is important information in terms of your production costs, and it will help you maximize your ROI.

Target your most loyal customers

Just because you’re releasing a new product doesn’t mean you need to find new customers.

Don’t get me wrong. New customers are great, and they are always welcome to buy. But you already have an existing clientele of people familiar with your brand and existing products. Those are the customers whom you should contact first.

Your email marketing list is a great place to start.

These are the customers who are so interested in your brand and products that they signed up to hear from you on a regular basis. So send emails before and after the product launches.

Here’s an example of an email sent out by Lululemon:

image7 2

This email is promoting new colors of an existing product. So it makes sense the company is starting with its existing customers, who may already be familiar with this product.

Even if it was a new product, telling your email subscribers about it first is still a viable strategy.

It’s also worth noting that you have a 60-70% chance of selling to a current customer. But you only have a 5-20% chance of a new customer purchasing a product.

If sales are your goal, focusing on new customers won’t be as effective.

Research shows that it’s six or seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to market to an existing one.

When it comes to your ROI, marketing to your most loyal customers is the best bang for your buck.

Run a contest

Another way to generate sales for your new product is by giving it away.

I know what you’re thinking. This sounds counterproductive. How can you make money by giving something away?

You need to learn how to run a profitable giveaway. Contests will get people interested in what you’re selling. Rather than promoting it by saying “here is our new product,” put a unique spin on it by running a contest.

The cost to run a contest is relatively inexpensive as well. The only major expense is the cost of the item you’re giving away, plus maybe some additional shipping charges.

But the benefits will be worth it. In my opinion, social media platforms are the best places to set up your contests. Here’s why:

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Running your contests on social media will expose your new product to a larger audience. As a result, it will help you generate more sales.

Here’s a hypothetical example to show you what I’m talking about. Let’s say you run a contest on Instagram. To enter, people need to post a picture to their personal Instagram profiles and include a relevant hashtag.

Let’s say 1,000 people enter your contest. That’s 1,000 photos of your brand just from one contest. Tons of people will see these pictures.

Of those 1,000 entries, you’re selecting only three winners. But there are still 997 people who want your product, plus who knows how many people who were exposed to it.

They’ve already built up excitement about using it. There is a good chance a large chunk of that group will still buy it.

As you can see, something as simple as giving away three items can generate hundreds or potentially thousands of sales.

Offer a discount

Typically, most brands don’t offer discounts for new items. When a new product gets released, they discount older items.

While I can understand the thinking behind this concept, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s correct. People love to get a deal. Put your pride aside for a moment, and recognize that consumers are price sensitive. They’re also more intelligent than you think.

If they realize your new product will eventually go on sale, they have no reason to buy it right now. But by the time it goes on sale, they may have forgotten about it and lost interest.

While the product is fresh in the minds of the consumers, close the deal.

Mark down the price right away. If you want, use an age-old marketing trick. Jack up the initial retail price, then discount it making sure you can still profit.

Psychologically, it’s going to be tough for people to justify paying a full price for a product when they see cheaper items surrounding it on your site and in stores.

Blog about it

Use your blog to your advantage.

Start talking about the product in your posts before it gets released. Continue talking about it after the release as well.

Blogging has many benefits:

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As you can see from these numbers, your blog can help you generate new leads. Consumers trust advice from blogs.

Sure, it’s obvious your readers will know your opinion is biased. They realize you won’t say anything bad about the products you want to sell.

But that shouldn’t stop you from writing about your new release. You can also reach out to other websites and try to get featured in guest posts.

Set up a link directly in the posts that brings the readers to the checkout page with the new product in their carts. Reducing the steps in the process increases the chances of driving sales.

Be innovative

If your new product is boring, is the same as your other items, or is already available from other retailers, people won’t be thrilled to buy it.

But if it’s unique, improves their lives, and enhances their customer service experience, they’ll be much more willing to spend their hard-earned cash.

Be creative.

Start by conducting the right market research.

What do your customers want? Give it to them.

Try to make drastic improvements to existing products that have problems. If your product is revolutionary, it will sell like crazy.

Highlight the new product on your website

Now that your product has launched and is available for purchase, don’t bury it on your website.

Showcase it on your homepage. Take a look at this example from the GAP website:

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The new arrivals are the first thing featured on its homepage.

Do you notice anything else about this site? It also offers discounts on its new items, a strategy I’ve previously discussed.

You can feature your new product in other places of your website as well.

Let’s say your site has a search filter, which it should, so I’m assuming it does. When someone searches for something by name or by a category that fits the description of your new product, it should be the first item they see on the page.

If they have to navigate through pages and pages of results to find your new product, it will decrease the chances of them buying it.

Here’s a look at how Michael Kors sorts products on its ecommerce page:

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You can employ a similar strategy to increase the exposure of your new products.

This will help you generate more sales.

Timing is everything

Your new product might be great. However, if you release it at the wrong time, you won’t get lots of sales.

For example, let’s say you’re planning to release a product on a Thursday, which just happens to be July 3rd that year. You can’t just do that without taking things like that into consideration.

July 4th is obviously a national holiday celebrated by Americans. Lots of people will take July 3rd off work and enjoy a nice long weekend with family and friends.

They could be having a barbeque, traveling, or spending the day on the beach. They probably won’t have tons of time or incentive to buy something online.

Your opening weekend is going to be a dud. This won’t build much buzz around your product release.

On the flipside, if you were releasing a product that could be used on the 4th of July, such as American flag apparel, you’ve got to make sure the release date gives your customers enough time to get the item before they need it.

If they need it for the 4th, releasing it on the 3rd won’t get you sales either.

You should also keep seasons in mind as well. For example, nobody in New England is going to buy snow gear in the summer.

When it comes to proper timing, ecommerce brands can build hype for the holiday season. You’ll want to release your products when consumers are ready and willing to spend money.

Use video content as a promotion tool

Don’t just share pictures of your new product. You’ll want to give people as much information as possible about what they’re buying.

That’s why video promotions are a viable strategy. There are lots of ways in which you can accomplish this.

You can use commercial style promotions to showcase your product. This can be done before and after your product is released.

Once the new product is available for purchase on your site, include a video demonstration to show website visitors how it works.

Recognize what type of content your target market wants to see. Consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.

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Furthermore, 90% of consumers say videos about products help them make buying decisions. Customers are 64% more likely to buy a product online if they’ve seen a video about it.

Share the videos on your website, social media platforms, marketing emails, and all your distribution channels.

Jump on the live video bandwagon. Showcase the product with live video streams as well.

These tactics will help you drive sales for your new product release.

Conclusion

Releasing a new product can be intimidating. You put so much effort into the release that you need to make sure everything goes smoothly.

If you don’t generate sales, your new product won’t turn a profit.

That’s why it’s important for you to start building hype for your product before it gets released. Take pre-orders, and start collecting money right away.

Rather than looking for new customers, promote the new release to your most loyal customers.

Come up with an innovative product. Run contests, and offer discounts as promotional methods. Talk about the new product in your blog posts.

Showcase the item on your website, and consider the timing of your release.

Create video advertisements, and share them on all your distribution channels.

If you follow the advice in this guide, your new product will generate sales and drive high profits as a result.

What marketing strategies are you using to drive sales for your newest products?



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