There are no silver bullets in marketing. What makes businesses successful are scaleable and repeatable processes. A solid approach to generating consumer interest and promoting your brand will go a long way in building a profitable and sustainable company.
Here, 11 of the world’s most talented marketers share their best secrets, strategies and tips for growing big businesses.
1. James Mahon: Discovering what people really want
Your customers will consistently surprise you, but they are not the only people worth surveying.
James Mahon, an award-winning CBS affiliate TV reporter and media and marketing advisor, recommends:
“Don’t overlook those who you feel are not your traditional client base. They are the ones who can often teach you the most.”
Companies consistently discover new opportunities when they expand the scope of their consumer research.
2. Peep Laja: Mastering conversion rate optimisation
“If you’re focusing on tactics (make the button bigger, etc.), you’re doing it wrong. Focus on mastering the CRO process.” This includes in-depth research and extensive testing.
Assumptions and hypotheses must be regularly challenged. Laja adds, “The most important thing in conversion optimisation is the discovery of what matters. If you don’t know what specific elements on any page of your site might have an impact when you change/test them, you’re wasting everybody’s time.”
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3. Noah Kagan: Converting email audiences to subscribers
To deliver emails worth opening, include these five elements to boost your email marketing ROI:
- Powerful subject lines.
- Empathy toward customer intent.
- Compelling images.
- Compelling calls to action.
- Mobile optimisation.
4. Mike Allton: Circling the right people with Google+
“My best advice for new (and existing) Google+ users is to be very particular about who you circle. [Give] careful consideration to how you intend to use the network.”
Unlike Facebook, use Google+ “to discover and connect with the people you don’t know. This way, every time you log into Google+, instead of seeing random posts and discussions in your stream, it will be a rich dialogue that you’ll be excited to jump into every day.”
5. Bryan Eisenberg: The importance of relationships to influencer marketing
Instead of building a homegrown audience, clever marketers leverage others’ authority, influence and reach. Influencers with half a million fans on Facebook and two hundred thousand followers on Pinterest spend years cultivating large fan bases.
They’ve done all the hard work and to get in front of their audience, all you need to do is develop a single key relationship – with the influencer.
But remember that “influencer marketing is not a transactional deal but an ongoing relationship. Spend time understanding your influencer and their goals,” says Bryan Eisenberg, co-founder and CMO of IdealSpot and New York Times Best Selling author.
6. Dharmesh Shah: Inbound marketing needs an early start with content
Brands everywhere are in love with content, and rightfully so. Businesses looking to market their products and services throw absurd amounts of money on ads that never get seen. Instead, businesses should invest their marketing budgets intelligently and Dharmesh Shah, CTO of HubSpot and founder of Inbound.org, believes the first thing they should do is “start creating content and building reach the day you start building the product.”
Shah’s two arguments for prioritising content include:
- “First, marketing is not just about finding customers for the product you’ve built – in the early days, it’s also about better understanding the market you’re building for.”
- “Second, inbound marketing takes time. It’s a long-term investment, and the sooner you start, the better.”
7. Alex Attinger: Native advertising focus is engagement over conversion
By 2018, eMarketer estimates U.S. native advertising spending to be $8.8 billion dollars, up from $3.2 billion in 2014. To take full advantages of native advertising, Alex Attinger, Group MD of millennial advertising platform ContentClick, advises:
“stop thinking about [yourself] and instead take the consumer down an engagement journey. Too many brands focus on what they’re going to offer (coupons, special offers, trials etc) without truly engaging and interacting with consumers in a two-way conversation.”
8. Arjun Dev Arora: Retargeting, segmentation and testing
For powerful retargeting campaigns, Arjun Dev Arora, chairman of Retargeter and co-founder of Immediately, suggests brands “segment and target” their ads. The secret is creating “multiple campaigns based on and targeted from unique and defined places on your website.”
Every customer follows a different buyer journey. Avoid applying a mass-marketing approach to retargeting. Also, “make sure that you test a vast variety of creatives,” adds Arora.
9. Muray Newlands: Partner with like-minded publications
What I love about the digital age is how accessible expert knowledge is. If I want to learn from Richard Branson, I read his column on Entrepreneur. Many brilliant professionals similarly contribute to leading publications to get in front of their target audience. When developing thought leadership content, co-founder of Due.com Murray Newlands suggests:
“Find the publications which influence the market you want to connect with and contribute to those publications. Win with big ideas and great content that establishes you as a thought leader. Write about the whole industry not just your narrow interest.”
10. Alex Debelov: Proactive video distribution.
Alex Debelov, CEO of programmatic video advertising platform Virool, tells entrepreneurs to, “Consider the video’s distribution as a proactive part of the process rather than a reaction to a lackluster view count. Once in front of the right viewers, they will do the work for you and the organic traffic will keep flowing.”
To be strategic about your video distribution efforts, Debelov shares, “One tip we like to tell our clients is to use your social audience to test content before distributing it. For example, post three thumbnails to Facebook and see which one gets the most likes. This is an easy, unpaid way to optimise your thumbnail and drive an increase in clicks.”
11. Georgiana Laudi: Thinking holistically about webinars
“There’s more to webinars, than the webinar,” says Georgiana Laudi, VP Marketing at Unbounce. “From the topic selection, choice of guest, registration landing page, to how you leverage the webinar recording. Every detail needs deliberate and strategic thinking behind it. It’s not that the webinar itself isn’t hugely important (of course it is), but too often it’s the opportunities surrounding the webinar that are overlooked or under-estimated, and they make all the difference.”
For example, “The topic you choose for your webinar should be irresistibly useful, while inspiring attendees to take your desired action (purchase your product or service), without being the slightest bit pitchy. Your guest should bring not only expertise and credibility with them, but ideally a totally new audience to your brand too. Your email invitation and promos should encourage people to register even if they can’t attend the live event (you can send them the recording). Your registration page should be free from distraction like navigation to the rest of your site or social share buttons (ask for that after they’ve registered).”
This ensures every webinar you produce is successful. At Unbounce, “It’s these details (and plenty more) that helped turn webinars into our largest acquisition channel in only a few short months.”
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
The Launch Of Instagram TV
Giving a run to other institutions for their money, Instagram today has launched IGTV, a new application that will allow users to upload videos on its Instagram facility.
Commencing with one minute long videos, speaking at the launch today, Instagram CEO, Kevin Systrom, announced that users can now upload up-to an hour long video. This application will allow famous videos from celebrities. However, with IGTV, one does not necessarily need to be a big-name or famous, since creative individuals and groups can upload videos.
For now, everyone who enjoys the clutter free, easy to navigate Instagram, will be able to upload an hour-long video, except the smaller and new accounts that will enjoy this application after the expansion of the facility. This application will be globally available on Android and IOS and will allow viewers to browse through many longer videos, as well as visit the browse tabloids or suggest followed videos.
Furthermore, viewers will have the choice to watch ‘old’ videos and also get notifications on recent uploads. IGTV will also allow creators and inventors to develop Instagram Channels with various videos that other viewers can subscribe to, drive traffic of viewers to particular videos, granting the inventors the capability of uploading clear links of the video.
Systrom confirmed that there will be no advertisements on IGTV for the meanwhile. He added that this is still a great platform to put up advertisements at a later stage, as creators or inventors put in more time into videos for IGTV. This translates into an opportunity to make money. Instagram will not pay creators for the IGTV videos at this stage. IGTV has so much potential since creators will be from the over 1 billion current Instagram subscribers. At the same time, this could be big business, since the number of subscribers may rise.
Expectations are there to add to the monetisation option, and these include the potential of Instagram getting profits close to $5.5 billion in 2018, as compared to Facebook, which is just above $202 billion.
Moving up from just filtering and sharing photos, today Instagram has advanced from mobile networks, screens, and cameras, of which neither the longer videos could be supported. This has opened a new mobile TV for teens and families.
Additionally, Instagram can become the dependable place to view something on that small screen via creators’ and publisher video content curation, as opposed to YouTube, which always has a wider breadth of content.
5 Steps In Adwords Competitor Analysis: A Practical Case Study
In the second part of this article, we’ll be getting practical. What steps to take and what to do in each step.
In PART ONE of this article on the importance of competitor analysis in an Adwords campaign, we demonstrated to you the value that can be uncovered by performing a proper analysis of what your foe is up to on Adwords and how they can actually help you do better.
In the second part of this article, we’ll be getting practical. What steps to take and what to do in each step.
Pens sharpened? Batteries charged? Lets go!
As a case study of a local Adwords campaign, we’ll be taking a look at one of the main spenders on PPC in South Africa, booking.com, and see what information can be gathered about their competition in paid search results.
Step 1. Find out who your client’s true competitors in paid search are
First of all, let’s get on the same page, by stating that your organic and paid search competition is not the same thing. If you know who you share the SERPs with, it doesn’t mean that you’ll share the paid ads section with the same set of companies.
Booking.com knows what we’re talking about.
Here’s the organic part of the SERP for ‘book a hotel’. Booking.com shares it with Trivago, hotels.com and Agoda.
They could have thought: Okay, so these are my competitors, I know what they’re up to, I’ll look into their strategies and I’ll be fine in both organic and paid search. But wait, what is happening there at the top of the SERPs? Who is this dark horse?
It’s Expedia! In organic search it stands further down from booking.com than the rest of the domains from the first page, yet in paid results Booking and Expedia are the closest rivals.
But that is just one keyword. There are many other keywords for which the companies want to advertise in Google, so to know whether you’re actually competing with them, you need to evaluate your competition level.
It’s a simple process of comparing the number of keywords you have in common versus the number that are unique with that competitor.
By estimating this value, you can distinguish your true competitors from big generic brands, niche competition and temporary distractions in the paid search.
Jokes aside, Booking and Expedia share a relatively similar online presence and are, of course, familiar with each other’s PPC strategy. That said, if you’re not a huge domain and know your usual competitors, it is even more frustrating to miss an audacious market newcomer or an organic outsider trying to cut the line and get to the top of the SERPs with an aggressive PPC campaign. So, the analysis of your true competition should be performed regularly. For the agencies that we support, we usually revise the competitors list once every quarter.
Step 2. Estimate your competition PPC budgets
Now that you know who you are rubbing elbows with in paid search, try figuring out how much they spend on PPC. There’s no way to know exactly what their budgets are (except for corporate espionage, but we don’t recommend that), but you can still make use of an estimation.
For that, you need to know how many keywords they target in paid search, what their cost-per-click values are, as well as their estimated search volumes. That is practically impossible to reveal manually, but the competitor analysis tool in SEMrush for example provides you with an estimation of the company’s PPC budget based on the data from their keyword database. Similar tools should be found in whatever quality software you’ve opted for.
Here’s the info we could gather about Booking.com by solely analysing the keywords for which it was showing up in paid search and the CPC values of those keywords.
Though it is a rough estimation, this info is helpful in planning your PPC campaigns in a way that meets with market trends.
Step 3. Find out your competitor’s unique keywords
What’s even better about competitor analysis is that it will help you save time by not needing to do the tough jobs yourself by letting you (legally) steal the best ideas from your competition and dwell on them. Remember, if you’re doing it to them, they’re probably doing it to you as well! All’s fair in love, war and paid advertising!
What’s the practical value of this? Well, your competitor’s unique keywords can be your missed opportunity.
By comparing the keywords that Booking and Expedia are bidding on, we see that there are a lot of keywords related to means of travelling and travelling companies in Expedia’s portfolio, but they are missing in the Booking.com set. It is obviously just another tactic for such a big brand, but for a smaller company, this comparison list could be a golden goose of new ideas.
Step 4. Research your competitor’s ads and banners
If you have ever been online, you know that the SERPs are crowded. The served results in both organic and paid search have to constantly overcome the viewer’s lack of attention, so the message in your ads should be short, clear, and actionable.
Your competitor’s copy can be a great source of information.
Comparing your ads to your competitor’s allows you to see the context and the standards of messaging in your niche and adjust your voice to or diversify from the usual tone.
Also, sometimes you need to develop multiple ad copies with similar content. Whenever creativity abandons you, you can look into your competitor’s copy and borrow a few ideas from them.
Step 5. Check your competitor’s target URLs
Imagine running an online retail business. Summer sales are coming, and you want to promote your goods with an AdWords campaign. Apart from the keywords that you want to bid on and creating appealing ad copy, you also need to think about the page which your ads are going to take your leads to.
Is it common in your client’s niche to have a specific landing page for a promo like this? Or is it enough to have banners on the home page? Take a look at your client’s competitor’s target pages and find out.
The Value Of Competitor Analysis On A South African Adwords Campaign
If you have doubts about the efficiency of an AdWords campaign being run in South Africa, here are some stats about the South African market to convince you.
Running a successful AdWords campaign can sometimes be like trying to understand the maths that Elon Musk is using to put a human being on Mars: you’re pretty sure it will work, but trying to figure how and why burns too many brain cells.
Well, help is at hand! In this TWO PART article, we’re going to demonstrate to you the value of performing a competitor analysis on an Adwords campaign, and show you just how and what you should be looking for.
As a digital marketer of any kind, you’ve probably had a crack at running and managing an AdWords campaign. Let me guess:
- Predicting the results and outcomes was impossible;
- You outsourced to an agency this one time. It cost you a fortune and they kept asking questions you couldn’t possibly have answers to;
- Setting the budget was more complicated than understanding the nature and purpose of Snapchat;
- And speaking of budget…it’s NEVER enough and always runs out too quickly.
Nobody is arguing with the fact that AdWords is one of the most complicated digital marketing efforts that you can undertake on behalf of a client or yourself. However, if done right, it could also be one of the most rewarding, effective and business-altering activities you could do.
If you have doubts about the efficiency of an AdWords campaign being run in South Africa, here are some stats about the South African market to convince you:
South African PPC market in numbers
In 2017 the total spending on Google ads in South Africa across all industries reached $30 million. The market’s thriving!
And these websites were the most generous spenders on Google ads. If only your budgets could compete, right?
However, these were the industry’s spendaholics.
Generally, businesses are way more careful with their PPC budgets: only 3.8% of all the companies spend more than R50 000 monthly, and the majority of 34.1% is just indulging their curiosity with somewhere around 1000 bucks a month.
And if you worry about your ad copy, take a look at the most popular phrases and CTAs used in South African ads:
So, how do you enter that market AND, at the same time, save your money?
Well, that’s like eating an elephant — get help and do it in pieces.
If you thought that running and managing an AdWords campaign was complicated, try getting advice from the pros on best practices to net best results. Just like deciphering that Musk math again.
- Split test your copy
- Use different ad extensions… or all of them
- Try out different calls to action
- Manage and track your budget daily
- Get your targeting on point
But also don’t forget about the foundation of any marketing campaign, digital or not: research your competition.
As wholesalers of digital marketing services to South African digital agencies, by far one of the most important and most advised best practices we suggest to the agencies that we support when running an AdWords digital marketing campaign is to ensure that they practice comprehensive and thorough competitor analysis.
What is competitor analysis for your Adwords campaign and how do you streamline it?
Running a competitor analysis during an AdWords campaign is like having a video camera in your competitions training session. It’ll help you pull back the curtain, see what they’re up to and adjust your efforts accordingly to ensure optimum results from your AdWords campaigns.
In our experience, many companies do not perform PPC competitive research, or don’t do it as often as they should. However, not having the full picture about your PPC competition is risky and can result in running ineffective campaigns. That means wasting your or your client’s budget without netting tangible results or missing the opportunities available to your client by underinvesting.
But recognising the difference that competitor analysis can make in your AdWords campaigns is only the first step. The next step is to find the right tool to help you perform your competitor analysis on a regular basis. The stats and data provided in this article were pulled by our team using SEMrush. It’s a software that we have found invaluable in helping us to provide white label, wholesale digital marketing services to the South African and international digital agencies that we support.
That being said, there are a wealth of similarly effective and powerful digital marketing tracking tools on the market worth investigating. We encourage you to get out there and see what works best for you.
The data that you should drill out of your competitor analysis
On all the levels of digital marketing, there’s a constant rivalry between best practice and revolutionary ideas. The question of whether to follow a well-trodden path or to do things differently in an effort to distinguish the brand you’re working on is always on the table. Or desktop in the case of digital marketing.
However, to make an informed decision you need to know the niche you are playing in as well as its main players. These questions will help you gather that information:
- Who is your true competitor in paid search?
- How much do they spend on PPC?
- What are their most profitable keywords?
- What do their ads and banners look like?
- What URLs should your ads target?
Now you know WHAT to ask. But what do you do with the answers and how do you use them to improve your own Adwords performance.
In PART TWO of this blog, we’ll be diving into just that. CLICK HERE TO READ ON!
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