Friday, July 20, 2018

Marketing Day: Gartner releases first Magic Quadrant, IAB Tech Labs launch blockchain-analysis & more

Here's our recap of what happened in online marketing today, as reported on Marketing Land and other places across the web. The post Marketing Day: Gartner releases first Magic Quadrant, IAB Tech Labs launch blockchain-analysis & more appeared first on Marketing Land.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.


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Report: Smart speaker ownership driving voice adoption on smartphones

But 38% also said they bought a smart speaker 'to reduce screen time' The post Report: Smart speaker ownership driving voice adoption on smartphones appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Planning to make a video ad or other video asset? 3 things to consider

Before you start shooting video, or even writing a script, contributor Jacob Baadsgaard recommends you ask yourself these key questions The post Planning to make a video ad or other video asset? 3 things to consider appeared first on Marketing Land.

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In Conversion Optimization, The Loser Takes It All

Most of us at some point in our lives have experienced that creeping, irrational fear of failure, of being an imposter in our chosen profession or deemed “a Loser” for not getting something right the first time. marketers who work in A/B testing and conversion optimization.

We are constantly tasked with creating new, better experiences for our company or client and in turn the customers they serve. Yet unlike many business ventures or fire-and-forget ad agency work, we then willingly set out to definitively prove that our new version is better than the old, thus throwing ourselves upon the dual fates of customer decision making and statistical significance.

And that’s when the sense of failure begins to creep in, when you have to present a losing test to well-meaning clients or peers who were so convinced that this was a winner, a surefire hit. The initial illusion they had — that you knew all the right answers — so clinically shattered by that negative percentage sign in front of your results.

Yet of course herein lays the mistake of both the client and peer who understandably need quick, short-term results or the bravado of the marketer who thinks they can always get it right the first time.

A/B testing and conversion optimization, like the scientific method these disciplines apply to marketing, is merely a process to get you to the right answer, and to view it as the answer itself is to mistake the map for the territory.

I was reminded of this the other day when listening to one of my favorite science podcasts, “The Skeptics Guide to the Universe,” hosted by Dr. Steven Novella, which ends each week with a relevant quote. That week they quoted Brazilian-born, English, Nobel Prize-winning zoologist Sir Peter B. Medawar (1915 -1987) from his 1979 book “Advice to a Young Scientist.” In it he stated, “All experimentation is criticism. If an experiment does not hold out the possibility of causing one to revise one’s views, it is hard to see why it should be done at all.”This quote for me captures a lot of the truisms I’ve learnt in my experience as a conversion optimization marketer, as well as addresses a lot of the confusion in many MECLABS Institute Research Partners and colleagues who are less familiar with the nature and process of conversion optimization.

Here are four points to keep in mind if you choose to take a scientific approach to your marketing:

1. If you truly knew what the best customer experience was, then you wouldn’t test

I have previously been asked after presenting a thoroughly researched outline of planned testing, that although the methodic process to learning we had just outlined was greatly appreciated, did we not know a shortcut we could take to get to a big success.

Now, this is a fully understandable sentiment, especially in the business world where time is money and everyone needs to meet their targets yesterday. That said, the question does fundamentally miss the value of conversion optimizing testing, if not the value of the scientific method itself. Remember, this method of inquiry has allowed us — through experimentation and the repeated failure of educated, but ultimately false hypotheses — to finally develop the correct hypothesis and understanding of the available facts. As a result, we are able to cure disease, put humans on the moon and develop better-converting landing pages.

In the same vein, as marketers we can do in-depth data and customer research to get us closer to identifying the correct conversion problems in a marketing funnel and to work out strong hypotheses about what the best solutions are, but ultimately we can’t know the true answer until we test it.

A genuine scientific experiment should be trying to prove itself wrong as much as it is proving itself right. It is only through testing out our false hypothesis that we as marketers can confirm the true hypothesis that represents the correct interpretation of the available data and understanding of our customers that will allow us to get the big success we seek for our clients and customers.

2. If you know the answer, just implement it

This particularly applies to broken elements in your marketing or conversion funnel.

An example of this from my own recent experience with a client was when we noticed in our initial forensic conversion analysis of their site that the design of their cart made it almost impossible to convert on a small mobile or desktop screen if you had more than two products in your cart.

Looking at the data and the results from our own user testing, we could see that this was clearly broken and not just an underperformance. So we just recommended that they fix it, which they did.

We were then able to move on and optimize the now-functioning cart and lower funnel through testing, rather than wasting everyone’s time with a test that was a foregone conclusion.

3. If you see no compelling reason why a potential test would change customer behavior, then don’t do it

When creating the hypothesis (the supposition that can be supported or refuted via the outcome of your test), make sure it is a hypothesis based upon an interpretation of available evidence and a theory about your customer.

Running the test should teach you something about both your interpretation of the data and the empathetic understanding you think you have of your customer.

If running the test will do neither, then it is unlikely to be impactful and probably not worth running.

4. Make sure that the changes you make are big enough and loud enough to impact customer behavior

You might have data to support the changes in your treatment and a well-thought-out customer theory, but if the changes you make are implemented in a way that customers won’t notice them, then you are unlikely to elicit the change you expect to see and have no possibility of learning something.

Failure is a feature, not a bug

So next time you are feeling like a loser, when you are trying to explain why your conversion optimization test lost:

  • Remind your audience that educated failure is an intentional part of the process:
  • Focus on what you learnt about your customer and how you have improved upon your initial understanding of the data.
  • Explain how you helped the client avoid implementing the initial “winning idea” that, it turns out, wasn’t such a winner — and all the money this saved them.

Remember, like all scientific testing, conversion optimization might be slow, methodical and paved with losing tests, but it is ultimately the only guaranteed way to build repeatable, iterative, transferable success across a business.

Related Resources:

Optimizing Headlines & Subject Lines

Consumer Reports Value Proposition Test: What You Can Learn From A 29% Drop In Clickthrough

MarketingExperiments Research Journal (Q1 2011) — See “Landing Page Optimization: Identifying friction to increase conversion and win a Nobel Prize” starting on page 106

The post In Conversion Optimization, The Loser Takes It All appeared first on MarketingExperiments.



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Gartner releases first Magic Quadrant on mobile marketing platforms

Mobile-only platforms take most of the top places, above Salesforce and Oracle. The post Gartner releases first Magic Quadrant on mobile marketing platforms appeared first on Marketing Land.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.


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IAB Tech Labs launches blockchain-analysis pilot program

The effort will examine blockchain projects by member organizations, resulting in a white paper that separates wheat from chaff. The post IAB Tech Labs launches blockchain-analysis pilot program appeared first on Marketing Land.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.


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The Top 15 Ways to Come up with New Content Ideas

I write a ton of blog posts for my websites.

Writing has become a major part of my life throughout the years.

People recognize this and often ask me the same question: How do you come up with these new ideas?

Truthfully, writer’s block happens to all of us. Just ask any writer, and they’ll tell you the same thing.

Sometimes you sit down, and the words don’t spill onto the page as easy as you’d like them to. I can relate and empathize with you there.

That said, I don’t have much trouble coming up with new ideas. I came up with a system a while ago that made it easy for me to constantly source new topics to write about.

These strategies aren’t limited to blog posts.

They can be used to come up with content for research articles, podcasts, and ebooks. You can even use them to come up with ideas for your new video blog or whatever else you’re working on.

Here are the top 15 ways to source new content ideas.

1. Create topic lists in bunches

When you’re ready to write new content, you shouldn’t be sitting down to decide what you’ll write about.

This wastes time, and it’s inefficient.

I like to create long lists of potential topics all at once. Spend a few hours researching subjects for new ideas.

Give yourself enough topics for at least a month or two. If you’re publishing three posts per week, you’ll want to aim for at least 12 to 24 new ideas.

how frequent

Sometimes, I come up with 50 topics at a time.

When your mind is focused on one task, it’s much easier to brainstorm. Come up with the ideas first. You can perfect the titles when you start writing.

This strategy will make it easier for you to pump out content. You’ll be able to pick a topic from your list and start writing.

2. Social media followers

Start with people who follow you on social media. Click on their profiles and see what they’re talking about.

Read through tweets. Check out photos. See what brands they are interacting with.

Some of these may lead to a dead end, but others can be extremely beneficial to your brainstorming process.

Plus, if you have tons of social media followers, you’ll always have a huge source of ideas.

You could even ask your followers directly. Post a question on your Instagram story, and ask for replies.

For example, let’s say you have a brand related to the fitness industry. Ask your followers a question about their favorite unconventional workouts or what meals help them lose weight.

The answers will help you come up with new content ideas.

3. Blog comments

Review the comments on all your posts. You should do that even when you’re not trying to come up with new ideas.

It gives you a chance to communicate with your audience. Always respond to their comments.

These comments can be a great source of inspiration. For example, here’s one of the comments from a recent post I wrote on the Neil Patel blog:

neil patel blog

The reader makes some interesting points here. I could pull a few different concepts from this message to write about in the future.

As you can see, I responded to his comment as well.

If people ask questions in the comments section, those questions could be used as titles for a new topic. Just tweak a few words or so to make it SEO friendly.

Regardless of what your audience comments about, I’m confident you can generate at least one or two ideas from this section of each post you publish.

The great thing about this source is it’s nearly never-ending. As long as you keep publishing new posts, there will always be new ideas hidden in the comments.

4. Conduct interviews

How do you know what type of content your audience wants to see? Ask them directly to tell you.

Conduct interviews. Ask them about their habits.

The great thing about an interview is it doesn’t have to be direct. You don’t have to have a clear black and white question with a definitive yes or no answer.

Just find ways to get people talking.

You’d be surprised how interesting some of these statements can be. The responders may start feeding you new content ideas without even realizing it.

It’s in your best interest to record your interviews. That way, you can review them later instead of frantically trying to write things down while someone is speaking.

5. Competitor websites

If you’re not sure what to write about, check out your competitor’s blog. This is one of the best ways to come up with long lists of topics in bunches.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to steal or plagiarize. But there is nothing wrong with using their titles and concepts for idea generation.

Look through their posts and start writing down topics you haven’t covered yet.

You have a huge advantage here because you can try to make your post about the same topic even better than theirs. For example, let’s say you’re using a top 10 list from a competitor’s blog as an inspiration for a new content idea. Well, you can try to one up them by creating a top 15 list on the same topic.

In addition to your competitor’s titles for new content ideas, you can also look at other aspects of their website.

Read through their comments section. You already did this with the comments on your website, so it makes sense there will be ideas buried in other sites as well.

See if they have an FAQ page on their site. These questions could all be ideas for the topics you can write about.

6. Google search suggestions

If you’ve got a general topic in mind, start searching for it on Google:

email marketing

Look at all the suggested topics that come up when I type in “email marketing.”

These suggestions could all be topics to cover.

In addition to the search suggestions, you can also check out the related searches at the bottom of the page:

related searches

If you’re not sure what to search for to generate these suggestions, start with content titles you’ve already posted.

The reason why this is such a good strategy is because you know the topics will be relevant to your audience.

Plus, you can assume these new titles will be SEO friendly since you sourced them through Google.

7. Recent events

Depending on your brand, you may not want to be reporting breaking news.

It won’t speak to your audience, and it doesn’t fit with your company image.

But you can definitely come up with ways to get creative. When you’re watching the news or reading updates from an online source, try to figure out how you can make these topics relevant to your brand.

Look up local events or  national trade shows related to your industry.

Give your audience information about the event. Tell them what they need to know if they want to attend or register.

8. Product reviews

Think about recent products you’ve used related to your brand or industry.

You can review these topics in a blog post or video demonstration.

For example, let’s say you run a website related to camping and other outdoor adventures. If you go on a fishing trip and use a new pole, you could write about your experience with the new gear.

If your company is releasing a new product, use this method to build hype for a new product launch.

You could even write reviews for products you don’t own and never used. Just look up products online, and base your discussion around online customer reviews.

9. Topic generator platforms

If you’re still stuck and can’t think of anything to write about or research, use online sources to help you generate topics.

One of my favorites is the HubSpot blog ideas generator.

hubspot

As you can see, it’s pretty simple.

Just add some keywords you want to include, and the tool will come up with a list of potential ideas.

In addition to the HubSpot tool, you can check out Portent’s content idea generator.

10. Personal stories

When in doubt, tell a story about something that happened to you.

It could be a success story. Or maybe tell your audience a story about a mistake you made.

How did you learn from it? How did you get to be where you are today?

It could be a recent story or one from the past. Master the art of storytelling.

Personal stories are great because they make your content unique. While people may have similar stories, the details of yours won’t be the same as anyone else’s.

11. Sign up for newsletters

Get content ideas delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up for industry newsletters. They’ll keep you up to date with trending topics, news, and events.

You can even sign up for competitor newsletters. See what they are discussing with their customers.

Use the topics covered in these emails to generate new content ideas.

12. YouTube videos

All businesses should have a YouTube profile. Use it to upload videos, and then share those videos on all your marketing channels.

But YouTube can also be a resource for coming up with new ideas.

Treat it the same way as a Google search, which I previously discussed. As you start to type in a subject, you’ll see suggestions.

When you watch a video, there will be related videos on the sidebar for you to consider as well.

Let’s say your brand is in the automotive industry. Here’s an example from the ChrisFix YouTube channel:

youtube

This video is about how to change the oil in a car. But look at the videos on the sidebar I’ve highlighted.

These related topics are about how to replace brake pads and how to repair rust on a car. Both of these are suitable new content ideas related to this industry.

In addition to finding topics based on the titles of videos, you can also watch some of them to find some inspiration within their content.

Just as you did with your website and the websites of your competitors, you’ll also want to read through the comments section of YouTube videos. Check out the comments on your videos as well as the videos you’re watching to help generate new ideas.

13. New products and technology

If your company sells something, writing content about a new product release is a win-win scenario.

I briefly mentioned this earlier when I talked about product reviews.

First, you’ll be able to generate a buzz for the release, which will ultimately help you drive sales. But it also gives you something to write about.

Furthermore, staying up to date with the latest technology trends can help you come up with new topics to cover.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or what type of business you have, new technology is evolving everywhere.

There could be new software directly related to your business or just a general advancement in your industry. These are all scenarios to consider sharing with your audience.

14. Use data and analytics

Have you seen a recent study related to your brand or industry?

Write about it.

You don’t have to be the one conducting the research, although that would make the content even better. But to save time, you can use new data to write about a subject.

For example, let’s say you’re in the fashion industry. This new study may be something worth writing about:

necktie

Use this study to talk about fashion trends that don’t require wearing a tie. Or maybe share ideas about how to wear a loose tie with the top shirt button unfastened.

You could even share a video demonstration about how to properly tie a tie so that it’s not too tight around the neck.

All these ideas came from new facts in your industry.

15. Revisit previously published content

Your old content shouldn’t be dead and forgotten. Use those topics for ideas too.

Just re-work the titles, and write a newer post from a different angle.

For example, let’s say your company is in the field of mobile app marketing. If you had written a post about how to get ranked on the app store, a new topic could be how to boost your ranking to get more downloads.

Although the topics are similar, they are not quite the same.

Or let’s say you’re in the personal finance space. An old topic might have been about how to save for retirement. But you can take some of the content from that piece and write a new article about the best retirement accounts to invest in.

If an old post has outdated research, you can write a new one that includes the updated information.

Conclusion

While you may suffer from writer’s block from time to time, you should never be struggling to come up with new content ideas.

There are many resources at your disposal. Learn how to take advantage of them.

Come up with a long list of new ideas at once.

Go through this guide of tips and tricks, and you won’t have any problems.

What resources are you using to generate new content ideas?



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