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ROPO: 2018’s Most Important Multichannel Digital Marketing Report

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This post was originally published on this site

Posted by RobBeirne

Digital marketers have always had one drum they loudly beat in front of traditional advertising channels: “We can measure what we do better than you.” Now, we weren’t embellishing the truth or anything — we can measure digital advertising performance at a much more granular level than we can traditional advertising. But it’s not perfect. Multichannel digital marketing teams always have one niggling thought that keeps them awake at night: online activity is driving in-store sales and we can’t claim any credit for it.

Offline sales are happening. Sure enough, we’re seeing online shopping become more and more popular, but even so, you’ll never see 100% of your sales being made online if you’re a multichannel retailer. Whether it’s a dress that needs to be tried on or a TV you want to measure up before you buy, in-store purchases are going nowhere. But it’s more important than ever to make sure you don’t underestimate the impact your online advertising has on offline sales.

ROPO: Research Online Purchase Offline has plagued multichannel retailers for years. This is when awareness and hot leads are generated online, but the customers convert in-store.

There is one other problem hampering many multichannel businesses: viewing their online store as “just another store” and, in many cases, the store managers themselves considering the website to be a competitor.

In this article, I’ll show you how we’ve improvised to create a ROPO report for DID Electrical, an Irish electrical and home appliance multichannel retailer, to provide greater insight into their customers’ multichannel journey and how this affected their business.

What is ROPO reporting?

Offline conversions are a massive blind spot for digital marketers. It’s the same as someone else taking credit for your work: your online ads are definitely influencing shoppers who complete their purchase offline, but we can’t prove it. Or at least we couldn’t prove it — until now.

ROPO reporting (Research Online Purchase Offline) allows multichannel retailers to see what volume of in-store sales have been influenced by online ads. Facebook has trail-blazed in this area of reporting, leaving Google in their wake and scrambling to keep up. I know this well, because I work on Wolfgang’s PPC team and gaze enviously at the ROPO reporting abilities of our social team. Working with DID, we created a robust way to measure the offline value of both PPC and SEO activity online.

To create a ROPO report, multichannel retailers must have a digital touch point in-store. This isn’t as complicated as it sounds and can be something like an e-receipt or warranty system where you email customers. This gives you the customer data that you’ll need to match offline conversions with your online advertising activity.

As I mentioned earlier, Facebook makes this nice and simple. You take the data gathered in-store, upload it to Facebook, and they will match as many people as possible. Our social team is generally seeing a 50% match rate between the data gathered in-store and Facebook users who’ve seen our ads. You can watch two of my colleagues, Alan and Roisin, discussing social ROPO reporting in an episode of our new video series, Wolfgang Bites:

Clearly, ROPO reporting is potentially very powerful for social media marketers, but Google doesn’t yet provide a way for me to simply upload offline conversion data and match it against people who’ve seen my ads (though they have said that this is coming for Google AdWords). Wouldn’t this be a really boring article for people working in SEO and PPC if I just ended things there?

Google ROPO reporting

DID Electrical were a perfect business to develop a ROPO report for. Founded back in 1968 (happy 50th birthday guys!), a year before tech was advanced enough to put man on the moon, DID strives to “understand the needs of each and every one of their customers.” DID have an innovative approach to multichannel retail, which is great for ROPO reporting because they’re already offering e-receipts to customers purchasing goods for over €100. Better still, the email delivering the e-receipts also has a link to a dedicated competition. This sits on a hidden landing page, so the only visitors to this page are customers receiving e-receipts.

They were nearly set for ROPO reporting, but there was just one extra step needed. In Google Analytics, we set the unique competition landing page URL as a goal, allowing us to reverse-engineer customer journeys and uncover the extent of Google PPC and SEO’s influence over in-store sales. Before I unveil the results, a few caveats.

The ROPO under-report

Despite our best efforts to track offline conversions, I can’t say ROPO reporting reflects 100% of all in-store sales influenced by digital ads. In the past, we’ve been open about the difficulties in tracking both offline conversions and cross-device conversions. For example, when running a social ROPO report, customers might give a different email in-store from the one attached to their Facebook account. For an SEO or PPC ROPO report, the customer might click a search ad on a work computer but the open their e-receipt on their smartphone. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the beast, ROPO reporting just isn’t 100% accurate, but it does give an incredible indication of online’s influence over offline sales.

I expect to see improved reporting coming down the line from Google, and they’re definitely working on a ROPO reporting solution like Facebook’s upload system. While our approach to ROPO reporting does shine a light on the offline conversion blind spot, it’s entirely likely that digital advertising’s influence goes far beyond these (still mightily impressive) results.

It’s also important to note that this method isn’t intended to give an exact figure for every ROPO sale, but instead gives us an excellent idea of the proportion of offline sales impacted by our online activities. By applying these proportions to overall business figures, we can work out a robust estimate for metrics like offline ROI.

Results from ROPO reporting

I’m going to divide the results of this ROPO reporting innovation into three sections:

  1. PPC Results
  2. SEO Results
  3. Business Results

1. PPC results of ROPO reporting

First of all, we found 47% of offline customers had visited the DID Electrical website prior to visiting the store and making a purchase. Alone, this was an incredible insight into consumer behavior to be able to offer the team at DID. We went even further and determined that 1 in 8 measurable offline sales were influenced by an AdWords click.

2. SEO results of ROPO reporting

This method of ROPO reporting also means we can check the value of an organic click-through using the same reverse-engineering we used for PPC clicks. Based on the same data set, we discovered 1 in 5 purchases made in-store were made by customers who visited the DID site through an organic click prior to visiting the store.

3. Business results of ROPO reporting

ROPO reporting proved to be a great solution to DID’s needs in providing clarity around the position of their website in the multichannel experience. With at least 47% of offline shoppers visiting the site before purchasing, 1 in 8 of them being influenced by AdWords and 1 in 5 by SEO, DID could now show the impact online was having over in-store sales. Internally, the website was no longer being viewed as just another store — now it’s viewed as the hub linking everything together for an improved customer experience.

Following the deeper understanding into multichannel retail offered by ROPO reporting, DID was also able to augment their budget allocations between digital and traditional channels more efficiently. These insights have enabled them to justify moving more of their marketing budget online. Digital will make up 50% more of their overall marketing budget in 2018!

Getting started with ROPO reporting

If you’re a digital marketer within a multichannel retailer and you want to get started with ROPO reporting, the key factor is your in-store digital touchpoint. This is the bridge between your online advertising and offline conversion data. If you’re not offering e-receipts already, now is the time to start considering them as they played a critical role in DID’s ROPO strategy.

ROPO Cheat Guide (or quick reference)

If you’re a multichannel retailer and this all sounds tantalizing, here’s the customer journey which ROPO measures:

  1. Customer researches online using your website
  2. Customer makes purchase in your brick-and-mortar store
  3. Customer agrees to receive an e-receipt or warranty delivered to their email address
  4. Customer clicks a competition link in the communication they receive
  5. This action is captured in your Google Analytics as a custom goal completion
  6. You can now calculate ROAS (Return On Advertising Spending)

The two critical steps here are the digital touchpoint in your physical stores and the incentive for the customer’s post-conversion communication click. Once you have this touchpoint and interaction, measuring Facebook’s social ROPO is a simple file upload and using what I’ve shown you above, you’ll be able to measure the ROPO impact of PPC and SEO too.

If you do have any questions, pop them into the comments below. I have some questions too and it would be great to hear what you all think:

  • If you’re a multichannel retailer, are you in a position to start ROPO reporting?
  • Does your company view your website as a hub for all stores or just another store (or even a competitor to the physical stores)?
  • Have you seen a shift in marketing spend towards digital?

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Digital Marketing News: Gen Z’s Snapchat Love, LinkedIn’s GIFs, & Google Gets More Time

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This post was originally published on this site

Digital Marketing News: Gen Z’s Snapchat Love, LinkedIn’s GIFs, & Google Gets More Time

Snapchat Remains Teens’ Favorite Social Platform, Instagram Their Top Marketing Channel
Snapchat has remained the top social platform among teens, who also see Instagram as the best way for brands to communication with them, according to Piper Jaffray’s latest semi-annual “Talking Stock with Teens” survey. MarketingCharts

LinkedIn Teamed Up With Tenor to Add GIFs to Its Messaging
A feature allowing the use of animated GIF images has begun rolling out to LinkedIn users, the latest in a series of changes to add more fun to the business-oriented social platform. AdWeek

Google, Others Cut Into Facebook Share Of Consumer Time
Google’s properties including YouTube have grown more popular among U.S. adults than Facebook, with both taking up a greater share of consumer time than the properties of Verizon, Amazon, Snapchat, and Twitter, according to recently-released January 2018 Nielsen ratings data. MediaPost

Native Advertising Growth Projected to Slow
Native advertising spending growth among U.S. marketers will continue at a slower rate, less than half of the 64 percent figure seen in 2016, according to new eMarketer report data on the ads, which imitate the look of surrounding content. Wall Street Journal

Only 3% Of Marketers Deem MRC Video ‘Viewability” A Reasonable Standard
Just three percent of brand marketers see the current Media Rating Council’s (MRC) video viewability standard — which determines what is counted as a viewable impression — to be reasonable, according to recently-released survey information. MediaPost

62% of B2B marketers see video as priority format, finds LinkedIn study
62 percent of B2B marketers polled by LinkedIn feel that content creators should favor video among all platforms, ahead of email, infographics, and traditional social media creative material. The Drum

PiperJaffray Spring 2018 Taking Stock With Teens Statistics Image

What marketers need to know about Facebook’s updated Business Tools Terms
Facebook’s decision to apply the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards worldwide means an update to a number of the firm’s business tool definitions and accompanying terminology for marketers. Marketing Land

Google launches Enterprise Dialogflow chatbot platform out of beta
Google has launched its smart chatbot platform for businesses — Dialogflow Enterprise Edition — offering the ability to build artificial intelligence-based processing systems for customer service agents, virtual assistants, and other AI-infused support capabilities. VentureBeat

Ad tech streams into audio
Streaming audio providers are increasingly turning to new marketing methods for audio advertising technology that take advantage of smart speakers and voice search, and with digital audio ad revenue topping $1.1 billion in 2016 and growing 42 percent during the first half of 2017, creative targeting is abundant. AdAge

AR Drawings Can Now Be Added to Videos in Facebook Stories
Facebook will roll out augmented reality (AR) drawing features for videos within its Facebook Camera offering, the company announced, a potential new promotional tool for marketers. AdWeek

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

The New Yorker Daily Cartoon: Thursday, April 5th, 2018

A lighthearted look at Facebook’s recent travails by Jeremy Nguyen — The New Yorker

Researchers Find New Malware Designed To Make ATMs Spit Out Cash — The Onion

Facebook Adds Ability to Tip Live Streamers to Mobile Apps — Variety

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Pubcon Florida 2018: Chatbots Are Cool, But We Gotta Keep Marketing Human – Search Influence — Search Influence
  • Lee Odden — 6 Keys to a Blissful Marriage between PR & Marketing (including insights from @leeodden & @mattschlossberg ) — Glean.info
  • LinkedIn (client) — Serving it Hot: Pro Tips to Make Marketing on LinkedIn Easy — MarTechSeries
  • Lee Odden — 3 Reasons You Need to Attend Content Marketing Conference 2018 — WriterAccess

Stay tuned for next week, when we’ll be sharing all new marketing news stories, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.


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How to Use Facebook Lookalike Audiences With Custom Audiences

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This post was originally published on this site

Want to expand your ad reach on Facebook? Looking for new ways to target potential customers? To explore creative ways to combine Facebook lookalike audiences with custom ad audiences, I interview Rick Mulready. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to […]

This post How to Use Facebook Lookalike Audiences With Custom Audiences first appeared on Social Media Examiner.

Marketing Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Building Moz – Whiteboard Friday

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This post was originally published on this site

Posted by randfish

The lessons Rand has learned from building and growing Moz are almost old enough to drive. From marketing flywheels versus growth hacks, to product launch timing, to knowing your audience intimately, Rand shares his best advice from a decade and a half of marketing Moz in today’s edition of Whiteboard Friday.

Marketing Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Building Moz

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we are going to chat about some of the big lessons learned for me personally building this company, building Moz over the last 16, 17 years.

Back in February, I left the company full-time. I’m still the Chairman of the Board and contribute in some ways, including an occasional Whiteboard Friday here and there. But what I wanted to do as part of this book that I’ve written, that’s just coming out April 24th, Lost and Founder, is talk about some of the elements in there, maybe even give you a sneak peek.

If you’re thinking, “Well, what are the two or three chapters that are super relevant to me?” let me try and walk you through a little bit of what I feel like I’ve taken away and what I’m going to change going forward, especially stuff that’s applicable to those of us in web marketing, in SEO, and in broader marketing.

Marketing flywheels > growth hacks

First off, marketing flywheels, in my experience, almost always beat growth hacks. I know that growth hacks are trendy in the last few years, especially in the startup and technology worlds. There’s been this sort of search for the next big growth hack that’s going to transform our business. But I’ve got to be honest with you. Not just here at Moz, but in all of the companies that I’ve had experience with as a marketer, this tends to be what that looks like when it’s implemented.

So folks will find a hack. They’ll find some trick that works for a little while, and it results in this type of a spike in their traffic, their conversions, their success metrics of whatever kind. So they’ve discovered a way to game Facebook or they found this new black hat trick or they found this great conversion device. Whatever it is, it’s short term and short lasting. Why is this? It tends to be because of something Andrew Chen calls — and I’ll use his euphemism here — it’s called the “Law of Shitty Click-through Rates,” which essentially says that over time, as people get experienced with a sort of marketing trend, they become immune to its effects.

Marketing Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Building Moz - Whiteboard Friday

You can see this in anything that sort of tries to hack at consciousness or take advantage of psychological biases. So you get this pattern of hack, hack, hack, hack, and then none of the hacks you’re doing work anymore. Even if you have a tremendously successful one, even if this is six months in length, it tends to be the case that, over time, those diminish and decline.

Conversely, a marketing flywheel is something that you build that generates inertia and energy, such that each effort and piece of energy that you put into it helps it spin faster and faster, and it carries through. It takes less energy to turn it around again and again in the future after you’ve got it up and spinning. This is how a lot of great marketing works. You build a brand. You build your audience. They come to you. They help it amplify. They bring more and more people back. In the web marketing world, this works really well too.

Marketing Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Building Moz - Whiteboard Friday

So most of you are familiar with Moz’s flywheel, but I’ll try and give it a rough explanation here. We start down here with content ideas that we get from spending lots of time with SEOs. We do keyword research, and we optimize these posts, including look at Whiteboard Friday itself.

What do we do with Whiteboard Friday? You’re watching this video, but you’ll also see the transcript below. You’ll see the podcast version from SoundCloud so that you can listen to the text rather than watch me if you can do audio only for some reason. Each of these little images have been cut out and placed into the text below so that someone who’s searching in Google images might find some of these and find their way to Whiteboard Friday. A few months after it goes up here, hosted with Wistia on Moz, it will be put up on YouTube.com so that people can find it there.

So we’ve done all these sorts of things to optimize these posts. We publish them, and then we earn amplification through all the channels that we have — email, social media, certainly search engines are a big one for us. Then we grow our reach for next time.

Early in the days, early in Moz’s history, when I was first publishing, I was writing every blog post myself for many, many years. This was tremendously difficult. We weren’t getting much reach. Now, it’s an engine that turns on its own. So each time we do it, we earn more SEO ranking ability, more links, more other positive ranking signals. The next time we publish content, it has an even better chance of doing well. So Moz’s flywheel keeps spinning, keeps getting faster and faster, and it’s easier and easier. Each time I film Whiteboard Friday, I’m a little more experienced. I’ve gotten a little better at it.

Flywheels come in many different forms

Flywheels come in a lot of forms. It’s not just the classic content and SEO one that we’re describing here, although I know many of you who watch Whiteboard Friday probably use something similar. But press and PR is a big one that many folks use. I know companies that are built on primarily event marketing, and they have that same flywheel going for them. In advertising, folks have found these, in influencer-focused marketing flywheels, and community and user-generated content to build flywheels. All of these are ways to do that.

Find friction in your flywheels

If and when you find friction in your flywheel, like I did back in my early days, that’s when a hack is really helpful. If you can get a hack going to grow reach for next time, for example, in my early days, this was all about doing outreach to folks in the SEO space who were already influential, getting them to pay attention and help amplify Moz’s content. That was the hack that I needed. Essentially, it was a combination of the Beginner’s Guide to SEO and the Search Ranking Factors document, which I’ve described here. But that really helped grow reach for next time and made this flywheel start spinning in the way that we wanted. So I would urge you to favor flywheels over hacks.

Marketing an MVP is hard

Second one, marketing an MVP kind of sucks. It’s just awful. Great products are rarely minimum viable products. The MVP is a wonderful way to build. I really, really like what Eric Ries has done with that movement, where he’s taken this concept of build the smallest possible thing you can that still solves the user’s problem, the customer’s problem and launch that so that you can learn and iterate from it.

I just have one complaint, which is if you do that publicly, if you launch your MVP publicly and you’re already a brand that’s well known, you really hurt your reputation. No one ever thinks this. No one ever thinks, “Gosh, you know, Moz launched their first version of new tool X. It’s pretty terrible, but I can see how, with a few years of work, it’s going to be an amazing product. I really believe in them.” No one thinks that way.

What do you think? You think, “Moz launched this product. Why did they launch it? It’s kind of terrible. Are they going downhill? Do they suck now? Maybe I should I trust their other tools less.” That’s how most people think when it comes to an MVP, and that’s why it’s so dangerous.

Marketing Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Building Moz - Whiteboard Friday

So I made this silly chart here. But if the quality goes from crap to best in class and the amplification worthiness goes from zero to viral, it tends to be the case that most MVPs are launching way down here, when they’re barely good enough and thus have almost no amplification potential and really can’t do much for your marketing other than harm it.

If you instead build it internally, build that MVP internally, test with your beta group, and wait until it gets all the way up to this quality level of, “Wow, that’s really good,” and lots of people who are using it say, “Gosh, I couldn’t live without this. I want to share it with my friends. I want to tell everyone about this. Is it okay to tell people yet?” Maybe it’s starting to leak. Now, you’re up here. Now, your launch can really do something. We have seen exactly that happen many, many times here at Moz with both MVPs and MVPs where we sat on them and waited. I talk about some of these in the book.

MVPs, great to test internally with a private group. They’re also fine if you’re really early stage and no one has heard of you. But MVPs can seriously drag down reputation and perception of a brand’s quality and equity, which is why I generally recommend against them, especially for marketing.

Living the lives of your customer/audience is a startup + marketing cheat code

Last, but not least, living the lives of your customers or your audience is a cheat code. It is a marketing and startup cheat code. One of the best things that I have ever done is to say, “You know what? I am not going to sequester myself in my office dreaming up this great thing I think we should build or I think that we should do. Instead, I’m going to spend real time with our customers.”

Marketing Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Building Moz - Whiteboard Friday

So you might remember, at the end of 2013, I did this crazy project with my friend, Wil Reynolds, who runs Seer Interactive. They’re an SEO agency based here in the United States, in Philadelphia and San Diego. They do a lot more than SEO. Wil and I traded houses. We traded lives. We traded email accounts. I can’t tell you how weird it is answering somebody’s email, replying to Wil’s mom and being like, “Oh, Mrs. Reynolds, this is actually Rand. Your son, Wil, is answering my email off in Seattle and living in my apartment.”

Marketing Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Building Moz - Whiteboard Friday

That experience was transformational for me, especially after having gone through the pain of building something that I had conceptualized myself but hadn’t validated and hadn’t even come up with the idea from real problems that real people were facing. I had come up with it based on what I thought could grow the company. I seriously dislike ideas that come from that perspective now.

So since then, I just try not to assume. I try not to assume that I know what people want. When we film a Whiteboard Friday, it is almost always on a topic that someone I have met and talked to either over email or over Twitter or in person at an event or a conference, we’ve had a conversation in person. They’ve said, “I’m struggling with this.” I go, “I can make a Whiteboard Friday to help them with that.” That’s where these content ideas come from.

When I spend time with people doing their job, I was just in San Diego a little while ago meeting with a couple of agencies down there, spending time in their offices showing off a new links tool, getting all their feedback, seeing what they do with Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs and Majestic and doing their work with them, trying to go through the process that they go through and actually experiencing their pain points. I think this right here is the product and marketing cheat code. If you spend time with your audience, experiencing their pain points, the copy you write, what you design, where you place it, who you try and get to influence and amplify it, how you serve them, whether that’s through content or through advertising or through events, or whatever kind of marketing you’re doing, will improve if you live the lives of your customers and their influencers.

Whatever kind of marketing you’re doing will improve if you live the lives of your customers and their influencers.

All right, everyone. Hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. If you have feedback on this or if you’ve read the book and checked that out and you liked it or didn’t like it, please, I would love to hear from you. I look forward to your comments. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Marketing Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Building Moz – Whiteboard Friday

0

Posted by randfish

The lessons Rand has learned from building and growing Moz are almost old enough to drive. From marketing flywheels versus growth hacks, to product launch timing, to knowing your audience intimately, Rand shares his best advice from a decade and a half of marketing Moz in today’s edition of Whiteboard Friday.

Marketing Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Building Moz

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we are going to chat about some of the big lessons learned for me personally building this company, building Moz over the last 16, 17 years.

Back in February, I left the company full-time. I’m still the Chairman of the Board and contribute in some ways, including an occasional Whiteboard Friday here and there. But what I wanted to do as part of this book that I’ve written, that’s just coming out April 24th, Lost and Founder, is talk about some of the elements in there, maybe even give you a sneak peek.

If you’re thinking, “Well, what are the two or three chapters that are super relevant to me?” let me try and walk you through a little bit of what I feel like I’ve taken away and what I’m going to change going forward, especially stuff that’s applicable to those of us in web marketing, in SEO, and in broader marketing.

Marketing flywheels > growth hacks

First off, marketing flywheels, in my experience, almost always beat growth hacks. I know that growth hacks are trendy in the last few years, especially in the startup and technology worlds. There’s been this sort of search for the next big growth hack that’s going to transform our business. But I’ve got to be honest with you. Not just here at Moz, but in all of the companies that I’ve had experience with as a marketer, this tends to be what that looks like when it’s implemented.

So folks will find a hack. They’ll find some trick that works for a little while, and it results in this type of a spike in their traffic, their conversions, their success metrics of whatever kind. So they’ve discovered a way to game Facebook or they found this new black hat trick or they found this great conversion device. Whatever it is, it’s short term and short lasting. Why is this? It tends to be because of something Andrew Chen calls — and I’ll use his euphemism here — it’s called the “Law of Shitty Click-through Rates,” which essentially says that over time, as people get experienced with a sort of marketing trend, they become immune to its effects.

Marketing Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Building Moz - Whiteboard Friday

You can see this in anything that sort of tries to hack at consciousness or take advantage of psychological biases. So you get this pattern of hack, hack, hack, hack, and then none of the hacks you’re doing work anymore. Even if you have a tremendously successful one, even if this is six months in length, it tends to be the case that, over time, those diminish and decline.

Conversely, a marketing flywheel is something that you build that generates inertia and energy, such that each effort and piece of energy that you put into it helps it spin faster and faster, and it carries through. It takes less energy to turn it around again and again in the future after you’ve got it up and spinning. This is how a lot of great marketing works. You build a brand. You build your audience. They come to you. They help it amplify. They bring more and more people back. In the web marketing world, this works really well too.

Marketing Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Building Moz - Whiteboard Friday

So most of you are familiar with Moz’s flywheel, but I’ll try and give it a rough explanation here. We start down here with content ideas that we get from spending lots of time with SEOs. We do keyword research, and we optimize these posts, including look at Whiteboard Friday itself.

What do we do with Whiteboard Friday? You’re watching this video, but you’ll also see the transcript below. You’ll see the podcast version from SoundCloud so that you can listen to the text rather than watch me if you can do audio only for some reason. Each of these little images have been cut out and placed into the text below so that someone who’s searching in Google images might find some of these and find their way to Whiteboard Friday. A few months after it goes up here, hosted with Wistia on Moz, it will be put up on YouTube.com so that people can find it there.

So we’ve done all these sorts of things to optimize these posts. We publish them, and then we earn amplification through all the channels that we have — email, social media, certainly search engines are a big one for us. Then we grow our reach for next time.

Early in the days, early in Moz’s history, when I was first publishing, I was writing every blog post myself for many, many years. This was tremendously difficult. We weren’t getting much reach. Now, it’s an engine that turns on its own. So each time we do it, we earn more SEO ranking ability, more links, more other positive ranking signals. The next time we publish content, it has an even better chance of doing well. So Moz’s flywheel keeps spinning, keeps getting faster and faster, and it’s easier and easier. Each time I film Whiteboard Friday, I’m a little more experienced. I’ve gotten a little better at it.

Flywheels come in many different forms

Flywheels come in a lot of forms. It’s not just the classic content and SEO one that we’re describing here, although I know many of you who watch Whiteboard Friday probably use something similar. But press and PR is a big one that many folks use. I know companies that are built on primarily event marketing, and they have that same flywheel going for them. In advertising, folks have found these, in influencer-focused marketing flywheels, and community and user-generated content to build flywheels. All of these are ways to do that.

Find friction in your flywheels

If and when you find friction in your flywheel, like I did back in my early days, that’s when a hack is really helpful. If you can get a hack going to grow reach for next time, for example, in my early days, this was all about doing outreach to folks in the SEO space who were already influential, getting them to pay attention and help amplify Moz’s content. That was the hack that I needed. Essentially, it was a combination of the Beginner’s Guide to SEO and the Search Ranking Factors document, which I’ve described here. But that really helped grow reach for next time and made this flywheel start spinning in the way that we wanted. So I would urge you to favor flywheels over hacks.

Marketing an MVP is hard

Second one, marketing an MVP kind of sucks. It’s just awful. Great products are rarely minimum viable products. The MVP is a wonderful way to build. I really, really like what Eric Ries has done with that movement, where he’s taken this concept of build the smallest possible thing you can that still solves the user’s problem, the customer’s problem and launch that so that you can learn and iterate from it.

I just have one complaint, which is if you do that publicly, if you launch your MVP publicly and you’re already a brand that’s well known, you really hurt your reputation. No one ever thinks this. No one ever thinks, “Gosh, you know, Moz launched their first version of new tool X. It’s pretty terrible, but I can see how, with a few years of work, it’s going to be an amazing product. I really believe in them.” No one thinks that way.

What do you think? You think, “Moz launched this product. Why did they launch it? It’s kind of terrible. Are they going downhill? Do they suck now? Maybe I should I trust their other tools less.” That’s how most people think when it comes to an MVP, and that’s why it’s so dangerous.

Marketing Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Building Moz - Whiteboard Friday

So I made this silly chart here. But if the quality goes from crap to best in class and the amplification worthiness goes from zero to viral, it tends to be the case that most MVPs are launching way down here, when they’re barely good enough and thus have almost no amplification potential and really can’t do much for your marketing other than harm it.

If you instead build it internally, build that MVP internally, test with your beta group, and wait until it gets all the way up to this quality level of, “Wow, that’s really good,” and lots of people who are using it say, “Gosh, I couldn’t live without this. I want to share it with my friends. I want to tell everyone about this. Is it okay to tell people yet?” Maybe it’s starting to leak. Now, you’re up here. Now, your launch can really do something. We have seen exactly that happen many, many times here at Moz with both MVPs and MVPs where we sat on them and waited. I talk about some of these in the book.

MVPs, great to test internally with a private group. They’re also fine if you’re really early stage and no one has heard of you. But MVPs can seriously drag down reputation and perception of a brand’s quality and equity, which is why I generally recommend against them, especially for marketing.

Living the lives of your customer/audience is a startup + marketing cheat code

Last, but not least, living the lives of your customers or your audience is a cheat code. It is a marketing and startup cheat code. One of the best things that I have ever done is to say, “You know what? I am not going to sequester myself in my office dreaming up this great thing I think we should build or I think that we should do. Instead, I’m going to spend real time with our customers.”

Marketing Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Building Moz - Whiteboard Friday

So you might remember, at the end of 2013, I did this crazy project with my friend, Wil Reynolds, who runs Seer Interactive. They’re an SEO agency based here in the United States, in Philadelphia and San Diego. They do a lot more than SEO. Wil and I traded houses. We traded lives. We traded email accounts. I can’t tell you how weird it is answering somebody’s email, replying to Wil’s mom and being like, “Oh, Mrs. Reynolds, this is actually Rand. Your son, Wil, is answering my email off in Seattle and living in my apartment.”

Marketing Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Building Moz - Whiteboard Friday

That experience was transformational for me, especially after having gone through the pain of building something that I had conceptualized myself but hadn’t validated and hadn’t even come up with the idea from real problems that real people were facing. I had come up with it based on what I thought could grow the company. I seriously dislike ideas that come from that perspective now.

So since then, I just try not to assume. I try not to assume that I know what people want. When we film a Whiteboard Friday, it is almost always on a topic that someone I have met and talked to either over email or over Twitter or in person at an event or a conference, we’ve had a conversation in person. They’ve said, “I’m struggling with this.” I go, “I can make a Whiteboard Friday to help them with that.” That’s where these content ideas come from.

When I spend time with people doing their job, I was just in San Diego a little while ago meeting with a couple of agencies down there, spending time in their offices showing off a new links tool, getting all their feedback, seeing what they do with Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs and Majestic and doing their work with them, trying to go through the process that they go through and actually experiencing their pain points. I think this right here is the product and marketing cheat code. If you spend time with your audience, experiencing their pain points, the copy you write, what you design, where you place it, who you try and get to influence and amplify it, how you serve them, whether that’s through content or through advertising or through events, or whatever kind of marketing you’re doing, will improve if you live the lives of your customers and their influencers.

Whatever kind of marketing you’re doing will improve if you live the lives of your customers and their influencers.

All right, everyone. Hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. If you have feedback on this or if you’ve read the book and checked that out and you liked it or didn’t like it, please, I would love to hear from you. I look forward to your comments. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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How to Use Facebook Ad Dayparting to Optimize Your Results

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Want to make sure you serve Facebook and Instagram ads when your followers are online? Have you considered dayparting your ad campaigns? In this article, you’ll discover how to use dayparting to schedule Facebook and Instagram ads to pause and run on specific days and times. What Is Dayparting? Dayparting is the practice of scheduling […]

This post How to Use Facebook Ad Dayparting to Optimize Your Results first appeared on Social Media Examiner.

What Content Marketers Can Learn From an Adept Dungeon Master

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Content Marketing Lessons from Dungeons & Dragons

Content Marketing Lessons from Dungeons & DragonsIt’s probably not news to you that 91% of B2B brands use content marketing to attract, engage, nurture, and convert their audience. However, it might be surprising to learn that only 9% of those brands rate their content marketing as “sophisticated.” Sophisticated meaning that their content marketing is successful, scales across the organization, and provides accurate measurement to the business. This puts a lot of pressure on content marketers to elevate their game and provide more worthwhile and valuable content experiences.

Patrick PinedaAs an adept Dungeon Master (DM) of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) games, TopRank Marketing’s Motion Graphic Designer, Patrick Pineda, can relate.

It might sound a little odd at first, but Dungeon Masters and content marketers are more alike than you think. Responsible for creating meaningful and memorable experiences through content that takes people on a journey, you can see the similarities arise. Just like content marketers need to help guide people through the buyer journey, the Dungeon Master needs to guide players through a journey of their own.

After serving his friends as the go-to Dungeon Master, Patrick has learned a thing or two from creating lengthy campaigns—some successful, some not—that are both engaging and challenging. Discover Patrick’s lessons from the dungeon and how you can apply them to your content marketing campaigns and programs down below.

What Is a Dungeon Master?

For the unfamiliar, a Dungeon Master is the organizer for the wildly popular, 40-year-old tabletop role-playing game, “Dungeons & Dragons.” Not only do DMs organize the game, but they are also responsible for the game rules, details, and challenges. According to Patrick, the player experience hinges on a DM’s ability to create meaningful content that’s fun to explore.

One thing Dungeon Masters are not responsible for, however, are the players’ actions.

Like the self-directed buyers of today, D&D players are able to choose their own paths. As a result, DMs are challenged to make sure players finish the game. And just like your audience won’t read every piece of content you put in front of them, the same happens in a D&D game. Certain story elements DMs put together will never see the light of day because every player has a different play style, completes tasks in different orders, and takes different actions.

“The best Dungeon Master doesn’t just create a good story, but they also help players reach their goals,” Patrick claims.

Does any of this sound familiar? It certainly resonated for me.

5 Content Marketing Lessons From the Dungeon

Having created D&D campaigns that ruled and bombed, here are Patricks top five tips for developing content that resonate with your audience.

#1 – Your audience values originality.

If Patrick creates a campaign that plays to common tropes like a damsel in distress or small town disappearances, the story becomes predictable. But worse than that, the players feel condescended to as the game starts to feel dumbed down.

“Cliches and stereotypes will make players groan. It’s important when creating a campaign that I shake it up and play against common conventions,” Patrick says.

When examining your content and the story you’re trying to tell, it’s just as important to stay original and play with your audience’s expectations. For example, listicles with social media tips are a dime a dozen. Your audience might be more interested if you flip the idea on its head with social media mistakes. In changing it up, you’re giving your audience something new that they haven’t read before, capturing their interest.

#2 – Appeal to curiosity.

When it comes to creating an adventure for players to navigate, the DM has a seemingly impossible job. They need to create a unique and compelling world that is able to hold players’ attention—something not easily done. In fact, campaigns have taken Patrick days to put together. But that doesn’t come without its drawbacks.

“I’ve spent hours upon hours creating content for a campaign. But 80% of what I create may never see any playtime. It’s ultimately the players’ choice as to what tasks they want to complete and what quests they want to go on,” Patrick points out.

While the D&D world needs to have a unique and compelling narrative, it also needs to appeal to a player’s curiosity to ensure they keep playing the game and play the parts of the game that you want them to.

How does this apply to content marketing? Well, as you know, just because you’re producing content, doesn’t mean that your audience will find it. To find the answers they’re looking for, they might scour the internet, social media, and trusted experts for more information. Having an integrated content strategy that has multiple touch points throughout the buyer journey and an omni-channel approach, helps ensure you’re reaching your target audience whenever and wherever they may be searching.

Weaving SEO, social media, and influencer marketing into your content marketing strategy helps improve the reach and engagement of the content you’re producing. Through SEO, your organic rankings and click-through-rates will start to rise, improving your organic traffic. Social media messages that are well written and value-based help attract larger audiences from their social feeds. And, finally, tapping into industry influencers exposes your content to a wider network of like-minded individuals, as well as adding authority and credibility.

#3 – Avoid corraling your audience.

Nobody likes to be told what to do, including D&D players. While the DM writes the game and serves as a referee, they cannot influence a player’s actions. And if a DM attempts to, they could quickly lose a player’s interest.

“As a DM, it can be tempting to intervene and make sure that your players are playing the game the way you intended. But this is the one thing you cannot do.” Patrick emphasizes.

This is true in content marketing, too, as making calls to action (CTAs) with zero context can be a turn-off for your audience. If you insert a CTA before your audience can learn what’s in it for them, whether it’s downloading an eBook, listening to a podcast, or subscribing to your blog, they’re less likely to do it. In fact, QuickSprout found that placing a CTA above the fold on a page decreased their conversion rate by 17% and attributed it to their audience not fully understanding why they should complete the action.

Instead, make sure that your CTAs have plenty of context and explain what the audience will gain by filling out your form, reading another blog post, etc. This helps ensure that your content satisfies your audience’s quest for knowledge.

#4 – Customize content for your audience, not the other way around.

As we mentioned previously, the players are in charge of their actions and how they choose to play the game, making it impossible for DMs to have control over the game experience. This makes it important for DMs to know their audience ahead of time, so they can include important sought-after details into different game components.

“I’ll ask players before we start what they hope to get out of the game, whether it’s take down an enemy or just to have fun. Knowing this ahead of time, I can tailor the game to what each player wants to have happen,” Patrick says.

For content marketers, this lesson should hit close to home. You need to know your audience well in advance in order to deliver personalized content. If you create content and worry about your audience later, chances are you aren’t engaging the right people.

After taking a look at your own audience’s characteristics and interests in Google Analytics, create unique personas for each of your audience members. This allows you to create content that is tailored for each person you hope to attract and engage. For example, if one of your target personas is a Director of Business Development, creating custom content that addresses a unique pain points like identifying new business opportunities or tips from the experts on how to strengthen their existing client relationships.

#5 – Chart your course.

There is a lot going on in a D&D game. And for the DM, that number is amplified as you have to remember every detail about your players, what’s been completed, and what could come next.

“To make sure I’m on top of the game and can portray characters well, I chart the game’s relationships instead of story elements. If I focus on the story, it could quickly become useless as players might do things out of order or in a non-linear fashion. By focusing on the relationships and where they fit in the narrative, the game becomes more fluid and flexible for the players and I can keep track of their journey,” Patrick says.

Tracking the journey isn’t the only thing Patrick notes, however. He also documents player strengths, weaknesses, and stats as the game progresses.

“I keep a character sheet that details each player’s play style. For example, if a player is investing their skill points in intelligence, I can tailor future encounters in the game to focus on problem-solving instead of combat. The opposite is true for a player who invests in raw strength,” Patrick notes.

Through detailed charts, maps, and grids, Patrick is able to make sure that his players have a personalized, seamless experience for every campaign they play, regardless of how they play it.

By taking the same approach with your content marketing, you can identify opportunities for customization and develop a strategy for weaving your content into the buyer’s journey. For example, by knowing which pieces of content attract a larger audience or drive more conversions, you can use that information to inform your content development and map your content to different stages of the funnel (see below).

Grid Assigning Content to Buyer StagesTo collect this data on your content and audience, review your Google Analytics behavior and conversion dashboards to find our which pieces of content excel at attracting, engaging, or converting your audience. Metrics like page views and entrances are good indicators for attraction, whereas time on page or number of pages per session can help you understand engagement. And, finally, the number of conversions through conversion tracking is the best way to find your top converting content. Armed with this knowledge you can create content plans that are tailored for your audience’s unique buyer journey.

Your Audience Is the Hero

A good Dungeon Master enables players to become the hero of the story through a personalized game with a compelling, original narrative. As a content marketer, it’s your responsibility to create content that transforms your audience into heroes as well, helping them solve seemingly impossible problems with your expert, best-answer advice.

Through an integrated content strategy with originality, personalization, and “best answer” content that’s mapped to the buyer journey, you can become the perfect Content Master for your audience.

For more ideas on how to become a masterful content marketer, check out these 25 content marketing tips, including how to tackle writer’s block, repurpose content, utilize storytelling, and more.

The post What Content Marketers Can Learn From an Adept Dungeon Master appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

6 Instagram Stories Design Tools for Marketers

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Want to create more professional-looking Instagram stories? Wondering how to easily add design elements or music to your stories? In this article, you’ll discover six easy-to-use design tools that will make your Instagram stories more interesting. #1: Customize Stories Templates With Easil Price: Basic plan is free; paid plans start at $7.50/month Easil is a […]

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6 Instagram Stories Design Tools for Marketers

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Want to create more professional-looking Instagram stories? Wondering how to easily add design elements or music to your stories? In this article, you’ll discover six easy-to-use design tools that will make your Instagram stories more interesting. #1: Customize Stories Templates With Easil Price: Basic plan is free; paid plans start at $7.50/month Easil is a […]

This post 6 Instagram Stories Design Tools for Marketers first appeared on Social Media Examiner.

How to Host a Facebook Watch Party in Your Facebook Group

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Want to build more engagement in your Facebook group? Have you heard of a Facebook watch party? Now your group can watch and comment on videos together. In this article, you’ll discover how to run a Facebook watch party inside your Facebook group. What Is a Facebook Watch Party? Facebook Watch Party is a new […]

This post How to Host a Facebook Watch Party in Your Facebook Group first appeared on Social Media Examiner.