Web Nerds https://thewebnerds.net We Get You Found Online! Thu, 20 Feb 2020 12:24:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://thewebnerds.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/cropped-favicon-32x32.jpg Web Nerds https://thewebnerds.net 32 32 98802099 How businesses can serve international customers https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/how-businesses-can-serve-international-customers/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/how-businesses-can-serve-international-customers/#respond Thu, 20 Feb 2020 12:24:30 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/how-businesses-can-serve-international-customers/

Every step of international marketing needs to be considered carefully, as doing business overseas comes with many different requirements

Proving a big success nationally can make business owners hungry to expand further and while approaching the international market is something many businesses have the capacity for, it is important to look at factors that influence the success of trying to “go global” too soon.

The strategies and practices that were a huge success at home may not suit customers in a different country or countries, and therefore it is vital that business owners are fully prepared and ready to tackle any differences head-on before launching on a global scale.

Moving into new international markets has many benefits and a business may have many reasons for wanting to do so. Some businesses might see huge potential for revenue growth in a particular market – the opportunity to expand with new customer segments that can’t be found at home.

However, every step needs to be considered carefully, as doing business overseas comes with many different requirements. Your customer – and the service they require – needs to remain your number one priority if success in other countries is to remain achievable.

International customer service and experience

Recognizing you have a customer base in another country is only the first step in actually marketing and delivering your product and service to them in a way that generates meaningful sales. Many business owners approach a new customer segment as they had previous ones and this is where problems can begin, particularly when entering new countries.

Offering customers in new regions requires a different approach on many levels from understanding those particular customer’s expectations to local legislator requirements and the costs that come with this. Issues such as translation and localization cannot be underestimated and must form a key part of the strategy any business puts into place before entering a new market.

How to expand into international markets

When success has come relatively easily at home, being complacent about going global is common. For some business owners, it is an intimidating idea. In both instances, the solution is the same: plan and research to be fully aware of the requirements of the nation or nations you’re hoping to launch into.

Expanding overseas

Due diligence of customs, values, culture and language is just the beginning, all of these are just tools in trying to convince the target audience in the new region that your product or service is worthwhile. The knowledge you acquire and everything you do to prepare for the launch overseas does not necessarily translate into leads and sales.

International expansions often require the support of a local partner and experts in local regulations and legislation. Most companies seek to employ or engage people from their chosen overseas areas so they have insider support and someone who can easily and confidently work in both your home offices and in the new market area.

Some business owners opt to look at partnering with local vendors or even working on a franchise basis, first launching their business with a qualified partner who invests in the company themselves.

A key part of the decision a business makes in this area is dependent on the experience they have of the target region and the people within their company they can rely on.

Challenges Faced when Entering International Markets

Global expansion comes with a wide range of challenges, which business owners simply can’t afford to ignore. Keeping abreast of all challenges when looking to grow globally is essential to see real success. Key challenges include:

Market knowledge and language

Every market is different and not understanding or keeping this in mind will significantly hamper a business’ chances of growth in new regions. Your research means nothing if you are not able to confidently approach this new market area fully localized and of course, language-ready. International success relies highly on language skills and localization and a full commitment to the new market you’ve chosen.

Putting your customers first needs to be carried through to your new region, which can mean everything from creating a new website with SEO tailored specifically for the local market and is fully in the destination market’s language to being sure of the nuances of the language, through the employment of native speakers and those with a full grasp of the idiosyncrasies of the language. Software and tools for translation simply will not work.

Pace and cultural difference

Different countries have different approaches to the speed of business. Countries such as Germany are renowned for their productivity, while business in the USA moves at an extremely rapid pace. Approaching a new market at your preferred pace simply will not work.

Business owners and their teams must be ready to adapt. Building trust and understanding will take time and you have to be prepared for business to take longer than you may be used to.

Tariffs, fees and logistics

If your business is based on the sale of goods, then understanding the import and export laws of your chosen international markets is essential. There are many countries where a fee applies for anyone importing into their country, as well as exporting, and for businesses in the e-commerce sector, this is particularly important. Understanding the local requirements for successful sales overseas is integral to the global growth of an e-commerce firm.

A stumbling block for many companies is this cost, especially smaller and start-up businesses, so it may be important to start slowly and on a small scale. Tariffs are influenced by many things from logistics to the size of orders and working with partners in your chosen nation can help to mitigate some of this cost as their knowledge of the local requirements will be stronger, allowing them to take you through costs before any deals or agreements are set in stone.

Business owners may feel deflated when first looking into the costs of exporting and importing goods but with the right approach, there are ways to mitigate this. Alongside working closely with knowledgeable local partners, business owners can look at concierge services, where mail forwarding services can help to minimize shipping costs, especially helpful in the early days when a business is looking to become established in a new region.

Local competition

If your business is in a saturated market ask yourself why an international customer should choose you over their local option. Persuading a foreign customer that may not know your brand that your goods or services are the best bet when they have an alternative on their doorstep is not the easiest task. Unless you’re a large multinational with a recognizable brand name, it is hard to make that first good impression and impact.

More work needs to go into building trust and reliability, and proving to the market you’re a viable option, if not the best choice. This again links back to the nuances of localization and translation – ensuring your approach is at least as good as the local competition, who have the upper hand in terms of language and experience.

Global strategies that worked

Many companies, most notably the largest US brands, have made their mark on the international stage. There are many examples of companies whose approaches have been successful for different reasons including:

LEGO

LEGO logo The world’s most popular toy brand, Danish innovator LEGO utilized its incomparable company culture and impenetrable brand as tools to push it forward overseas. Its core beliefs of creativity and building easily break boundaries and are common to all children around the globe.

Trial and error quickly showed LEGO that its approach in one country didn’t work in another. It trialled its US-style gift promotions in other markets with little success and began to see the need to focus in on consumer perceptions in each region and play to these, whilst keeping true to its core values.

WWF

The Earth Hour Initiative from the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) not only touched a social issue but lifted the company’s popularity in one particular market. Prior to Earth Hour, WWF’s role in the Scandinavian market wasn’t as large as it could have been.

Earth Hour However, the Earth Hour’s voluntary requirement to have the light’s switched off for a single hour was particularly fitting for countries such as Norway. These regions, where daylight hours are longer than most other nations, were prime candidates for the Blackout campaign.

By partnering with local digital agency Mobiento, WWF was able to place the Blackout Banner across some of Norway’s top media sites. This recognition of particular market segments for their campaign allows them to reach a huge amount of customers in this particularly relevant region for their campaign.

New Relic

Sometimes succeeding in a new market is about choosing the right area to base your international operations from. Silicon Valley-based data software company New Relic saw the potential in Dublin as their first international location.

NewRelic logo

The company’s research allowed them to select the perfect location for their international operations based on similarities between the two areas, access to a young educated workforce and a country where new technology is actively sought after and required.

They also looked at it from the perspective of labour costs and real estate value, allowing them to work from a good standpoint in terms of value as well as growth.

Expanding your business overseas

Overseas expansion is something that many businesses dream of, especially after achieving success and hitting growth goals. Approaching a new market can be exciting and intimidating all at once but with the right tools and a frank understanding of the challenges you face, there is no reason expansion can’t be a success.

 



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]]> 123693 Essential content marketing statistics for 2020 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/essential-content-marketing-statistics-for-2020/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/essential-content-marketing-statistics-for-2020/#respond Thu, 20 Feb 2020 10:11:58 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/essential-content-marketing-statistics-for-2020/

The must-know content marketing statistics to benchmark your plans against this year

Content marketing is still very much at the heart of digital marketing, with content continuing to be a vital tactic for bringing in traffic and encouraging conversions.

However, content marketing has moved past blogs and now encompasses so much more. The industry is also more competitive than ever, with content being produced on masse, making it harder to ensure yours stands out.

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In order to be successful at content marketing, you need to ensure that you’re taking into account more technical aspects – such as SEO – but also that you’re effectively battling for consumers’ attention. It is this battle that has led content to change at a rapid pace, with competition leading to increased levels of innovation.

This is why you need to stay on top of the latest trends and advances in the content marketing arena. With this in mind, here are some of the latest content marketing statistics that could help shape your strategy.

Percentage of B2B marketers with a documented content marketing strategy

69% of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy

More B2B marketers than ever before are documenting their content strategies, with 41% saying this is the case this year. This figure has been increasing slightly over the last couple of years, rising from 39% in 2019 and 37% in 2018.

However, what’s really interesting is the fact that a documented content marketing strategy seems to be linked to success. When looking at B2B marketer with successful strategies, 69% document them compared to just 16% of the companies who are least successful with their marketing.

This suggests that failing to plan really does mean you’re planning to fail when it comes to content marketing.

Key metrics to measure content success

76% of marketers use organic traffic as a measure of content success

Organic traffic and the positive impact on SEO are the main measures of content marketing success for businesses. Some 76% of marketers said that organic traffic is the key metric they use to measure the success of their content, showing that although other channels are driving traffic, organic is still very much king when it comes to content.

However, the quality of this traffic is not the second metric used to measure success. Instead, 62% said that the number of leads they get is a sign that their content is working. This is compared to the 60% who look at sessions and pageviews – signs of good engagement – and the 47% who use conversion rate as a key content success metric. Bounce rate is also low on the list, with just 31% naming it as a metric.

It is worth remembering that while content may rank well, it may not bring in the right traffic or qualify your leads. Looking at the quality of the traffic you’re attracting with your content marketing efforts and how many visitors are ultimately converting will give you a better indication of whether your content strategy is hitting the mark.

How long does it take to write a blog post?

It takes 65% more time to write a blog than in 2014

It is now taking more time to create blogs, with the average writing time in 2019 hitting three hours and 57 minutes – a 65% increase from 2014’s two hours and 24 minutes. This suggests that content marketers are reacting to the needs of consumers, with both length and quality becoming a lot more important.

Last year saw 19% of bloggers spending six hours or more writing blogs, whereas, in 2014, just 4.6% said the same. This could well be due to the fact that there is more competition, which means blogs need to be as informative and researched as possible to stand out, as well as the extra requirements in order to get content to perform well in SERPs.

Ultimately, this means that companies should be putting the focus on the quality of content rather than the number of blogs being created. This will ensure that you benefit from evergreen content but also that you end up with blogs that can be used across various channels and in multiple ways.

Content marketing activities outsourced by B2B companies

84% of B2B marketers are outsourcing content creation

The fact that blogs now take so much time to create could be a factor in the decision for many organizations to outsource content creation. In B2B companies, 84% of marketers outsource their content creation activities, suggesting that fewer businesses are opting to have any content capabilities managed in-house.

This outsourcing is regardless of company size, the budget for content marketing and the overall success of a company’s content marketing efforts, showing that it is a trend across the board. This means that while many businesses may be able to create content in-house, they are choosing not to.

While this is good news for agencies offering content marketing services, it does suggest that there are opportunities for companies to be more reactive by taking on more content creation responsibilities. Producing content related to the latest news – for example – can help show your business has its finger on the pulse, even if other content types are outsourced. Looking at ways to combine both in-house and outsourced content creation could offer a range of benefits.

What a typical blog post includes

26% of blogs include videos but 41% of bloggers report strong results from videos

Content is no longer about written content. Consumers want variety and content that is easy to consume, which is why video marketing is growing at such a fast rate. This means that blogs need to offer more in order to capture and hold people’s attention and increases the chances of them ultimately converting.

However, different elements don’t always deliver the same results – even if they are popular among content creators. For example, although 93% of blogs contain images, only 30% of bloggers say they get “strong results” from this content format.

Content formats delivering strong results

In comparison, 26% of blogs contain videos, which 41% say deliver strong results. On top of this, just 7% of blogs contain some form of audio content – such as podcasts – however, a third (33%) of bloggers say this is effective, showing that alternative forms of content need to be included in your content marketing strategy.

Most efficient content marketing tactics

67% of marketers say SEO is the most effective marketing tactic

Despite alternative content delivering strong results, the most efficient content marketing tactic continues to be search engine optimization. Around 67% of marketers say that SEO was the most efficient tactic that was implemented last year, and it is likely that this will continue into 2020.

However, with changes to Google’s organic search algorithms – such as the BERT update – succeeding at SEO is likely to become more difficult. This means that your content marketing strategy should encompass a lot more than just SEO.

Other tactics that proved to be particularly successful last year that marketers should bear in mind for 2020 included updating and repurposing existing content (51%), creating more video/visual content (37%) and optimizing the customer journey (35%).



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How to build your email list from the ground up https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/how-to-build-your-email-list-from-the-ground-up/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/how-to-build-your-email-list-from-the-ground-up/#respond Wed, 19 Feb 2020 16:00:04 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/how-to-build-your-email-list-from-the-ground-up/

Your email list is priceless, which is why you need to build it up and increase your audience

Email is the champion of the marketing world. Almost 60% of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI and they’re not wrong. With an average return on investment of more than $40 for every $1 spent, it’s hard to ignore the power of email marketing for both B2B and B2C companies.

Email ROI

Image source: AWS

While the stats speak for themselves, another reason why building your own email list is so effective is simply because you own it. Sure, you can acquire lots of attention and followers on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. You can even create strong online communities there. But at any moment, these walled gardens could take it all away.

Then how will you reach your customers?

The truth is, customers actually prefer you contact them through email for direct marketing purposes. So here’s how to build your email list from scratch.

Get to know your target audience

The point of building an email list is to communicate with your subscribers and drive them to take action. Before you do that, make sure you’re attracting the right type of people to join your email list.

Create user personas of your ideal customers. This will provide a snapshot of the characteristics, goals, and behaviors that your ideal audience will embody. User personas typically include:

  • Name
  • Demographics: age, income level, occupation, location
  • Image
  • Hobbies
  • Personality traits
  • Challenges
  • Fears
  • Values
User persona

Image source: AddThis

Mapping this out will enable you to personify your audience. Putting yourself in their shoes will help you discover where they hang out online or look for trusted advice. It will also enable you to cater the content you create to those specific user personas.

Optimize your website

After you discover who you want to target, you need a place for them to sign up. The ideal place for that? Your website.

If you don’t have a full site, set up a landing page. Or if you do have a site already built, incorporate banners, sliders, or popups to appear naturally as visitors interact with your content. That means your email list builder can appear anywhere you feel is suitable on your website:

  • The homepage
  • About Us page
  • Any landing page
  • Your blog homepage
  • At the end of each blog

The list goes on. No matter where it appears, your email list builder should include a short form for visitors to fill out and complete.

Newsletter pop-up

That way your audience is able to opt in to receiving emails from you. It’s important to receive permission before adding someone to your email list – after all, it’s the law. 

Set up your email platform

After you optimize your website for capturing email addresses, you need to connect your email list builder to your email platform. There are numerous options that not only make it easy for you to integrate your tools, but also help you organize your lists. Here are just a few:

  • MailChimp
  • Aweber
  • Campaign Monitor
  • Constant Contact
  • HubSpot
  • SparkPost

Once your contacts are synced, you can segment them into different groups. This makes it easier to personalize your email outreach at scale through automation. Almost half of marketers use marketing automation of some sort to create personalized customer experiences.

Personalized customer experiences

Image source: [EmailMonday]

Why do this? The data says it works. Automated email campaigns account for more than a fifth of email marketing revenue, according to DMA. With that information in hand, make sure to select an email platform that not only fits your budget, but can support your long-term email marketing vision.

Hook people in with an enticing offer

Once you have your list builder tool and email platform set up, you now need something to incentivize your audience to subscribe.

As mentioned in an earlier section, find out what your audience cares about. Search for and join Facebook or LinkedIn groups where they congregate. Find out what questions they’re asking and what challenges they face.

Use this information to create a lead magnet and hook them in. Perhaps it’s something as straightforward as a marketing plan template, like below. Or maybe it’s a free audit.

Marketing plan

Image source: AddThis

Whatever it may be, what you offer has to be valuable enough to your visitors to compel them to exchange their contact information.

You can even incorporate content upgrades within your blogs, case studies, etc. to encourage people to download a piece of content. It should be related to what they’re reading and offer additional value and insight.

All you have to do is gate it so your visitors will need to provide their contact information to unlock it.

Free ebook

Image source: Hubspot

Start building with what you have

Once you have your foundation in place, you can start building with your current email contacts. No, you can’t just add them (remember, you need permission). But you can send a short, simple email asking your them if they’d like to join your list.

From there, you can set up a referral program. Ask them to share with three friends they think would enjoy your content. You can incentivize your subscribers to spread the word by offering swag or discounts, depending on how many referrals your users can acquire for you.

TheSkimm does an excellent job of incentivizing their subscribers for referring their newsletter. It’s how they grew their email following to over a million!

Leverage your social media channels

One of the easiest ways to grow your website traffic (and grow your email list) is through social media.

You already know where your audience hangs out online. Use those same groups you referenced for user persona research to engage your audience directly.

Participate in conversations and offer advice. Provide more insight to help your target audience address their challenges – and link to a landing page that details one of your related content offers. Doing this will help you expand outside your inner circle and reach a larger audience on a public platform.

Check out this Facebook group run by The Daily Carnage. Thousands of marketers congregate here asking for advice. In this example, someone solicited help, and it was the perfect opportunity for someone else to offer valuable insight in the form of a guide:

Marketing Facebook page

Buy paid ads

While growing your list organically is always the preferred – and free – method, you can always pay for ads to drive traffic to your landing page and build your list.

Some of the most popular channels to purchase ads include:

  • Facebook ads
  • LinkedIn promoted posts
  • Google AdWords

Paying for digital ads will enable you to target specific segments of people based on the parameters you set. This peace of mind lets you know that those who do sign up for your emails are exactly who you’re looking for.

The money you spend is an investment in the list you’re building for returns later. Here’s an example of a LinkedIn promoted post that Bizzabo shared:

Bizzabo paid ad

Content marketing

The most powerful way to grow your email list is through content marketing. It takes time, patience, and a lot of effort to develop quality content. But it’s worth it  – content marketing converts six times higher than other methods.

The goal here is to draw people in organically through search engines using SEO best practices. Deliver content so valuable, they’ll feel compelled to join your email list to stay updated.

Here’s an example. I searched “content marketing tips” in Google and the first result was a post from the Digital Marketing Institute:

 content marketing tips search

When I clicked the link to read the article, I was immediately given the opportunity to subscribe to their newsletter. If I enjoyed what I read, I could opt to stay informed on a regular basis.

Conclusion

You’re now armed with new knowledge on how to build your email list from scratch! The next step is using email to establish meaningful relationships with your audience.

If you do so successfully, you’ll reap the rewards. After all, email subscribers are three times more likely to share content on their social channels than those who came through another channel. And this ripple effect can help your business thrive.

 





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4 ways for brands to gain fanatics https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/4-ways-for-brands-to-gain-fanatics/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/4-ways-for-brands-to-gain-fanatics/#respond Wed, 19 Feb 2020 11:46:01 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/4-ways-for-brands-to-gain-fanatics/

If you can get customers to become loyal to your brand, their lifetime value to your company will skyrocket.

Turning customers into loyalists was once the holy grail of branding: If you can get customers to become loyal to your brand, their lifetime value to your company will skyrocket. Today, fanatics are the new loyalists. They don’t just buy your brand all the time, yours is the only brand they buy, so it becomes an important part of their identity.

A loyal customer loves your brand, but they might also buy your competitors’ products half the time. Brand fanatics — like sports fanatics — are fiercely loyal to the point of exclusion. They’ll even turn other items into billboards for your brand by placing your stickers and logos all over their computers, cars, and backpacks.

In essence, fanatics become natural brand ambassadors and the more the fanaticism spreads, the greater their impact on the public conversation. Your brand creates a social identity where fans are connected by their love of your products, services, or company — and that guides many of their buying habits.

How fanaticism equals brand advocacy

Consider the social identity of sports teams’ fans (especially when their team wins a game or championship): They feel genuine pride and joy, and they tell anyone who will listen about the team’s greatness. They may even disparage fans of other teams to boost the validity of their own.

Now, consider the same level of fanaticism applied to your brand. For example, Michelob Ultra is a lifestyle brand for active people (thanks to its low carbs and calories), and those who enjoy it promote that image by sharing photos and videos of themselves drinking it.

colinmccarthypga-Michelob-Ultra-post

Any brand that yields eventual fans will become a prominent feature in their discussion, especially online and on social media. They freely offer tons of priceless word-of-mouth advertising. However, no championships or epic rival games exist to help stoke the emotion that drives it; thus, creating brand fans is a far more nuanced challenge.

That level of fanaticism is driven by consumers’ emotional connection to your brand. It’s a subconscious connection that, according to Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman, drives approximately 95% of their purchasing decisions. In any market, that connection is driven more by experience than by a specific brand feature or message.

Apple fans are particularly strong examples of experience-driven fanaticism. It began with what is now legendary customer service — with every product, ad, app, and retail display coalescing into a single brand experience. Today, the competitiveness that Apple fans feel toward other brands has even crept into the company’s advertising.

Turning consumers into fans of your brand

Experiencing and connecting with a brand is the first step in a loyal customer’s journey toward ultimate fan status. It starts with awareness of the product or service and moves into the eventual purchase and use of it. Yet for those points of opportunity to bear fruit, every touchpoint along that journey must be spot-on.

Turning interested, loyal customers into fans of your brand is nuanced, but it’s well worth the effort. To get started, follow these tips for connecting with consumers on a more emotional level:

1. Make experiences the focus of customer service

In any form of marketing, great customer service is a key focus. In the digital format, that focus is now more intense than ever. You can do more than just answer phones; you can ask customers for feedback, solicit reviews, and solve problems immediately.

A great example is Disneyland, which is renowned for the beautifully engineered, immersive experiences it provides to park visitors. The Ritz-Carlton, where customers have come to expect the gold standard of customer service, offers another great example. When customers are the focus of an experience, that experience alone can be enough to drive a growing fanaticism for your brand.

2. Do not just communicate; engage with customers

You can’t build a great experience for customers if you don’t engage with them. With so many options to do so digitally, customers expect their brands to engage with them regularly. Asking fans for feedback on new products is one way to keep a conversation going.

Engagement is another key to innovative service. Many a Zappos fanatic is born from engaging customers with the wide-ranging charity activities it sponsors. Its “Home For The Pawlidayz” campaign — in which Zappos covers adoption fees for dogs and cats in no-kill shelters just before the holidays — is just one of these charity initiatives. Mars invites customers around the globe to interact with it through initiatives like M&M’s international “Flavor Vote” campaign.

Zappos-Home-For-The-Pawlidayz

3. Go the extra mile every chance you get

If you constantly deliver what your customers expect, loyalty will grow naturally. But if you want them to become fans of your brand, overdeliver every chance you get. Give them more than they expect, both in marketing and in your product or service offering.

Opportunities to go the extra mile are a dime a dozen, but companies that take it are rare. Try out a number of options, like developing a VIP club and providing exclusive specials for fans who share their experiences. Be sure to keep feedback channels open and encourage fans to provide input on what works and what doesn’t.

4. Be so authentic that you repel some people

If you want consumers to become true brand fans, accept (and even embrace) the fact that your authenticity will repel others. Having fanatics means having a narrow focus on who you cater to. Being everything to everyone is counterintuitive.

The similarities with sports fanaticism are a great way to highlight this: Fans’ identities are built as much by loyalty to one team as they are by rivalries with others. (Consider Android fans competing with Apple fans.) If you’re authentic enough to make fans passionate about your brand, repelling other customer bases will be a sign of that success.

The difference between loyal customers and true fans is the difference between loving your brand and being in love with your brand. Getting customers to fall in love is the new holy grail of marketing, and these tips can get you there successfully.

 





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How to maintain vibrancy in your marketing workforce https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/how-to-maintain-vibrancy-in-your-marketing-workforce/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/how-to-maintain-vibrancy-in-your-marketing-workforce/#respond Wed, 19 Feb 2020 09:18:22 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/how-to-maintain-vibrancy-in-your-marketing-workforce/

Employee engagement has been shown to impact many different areas within an organization with three primary areas being performance, retention, and revenue

The shift of employee engagement to disengagement often comes down to a mismatch between employee expectations and what the organization is offering, particularly in relation to training and development.

Across all experiences, I have encountered students and employees who are disengaged and at times, I have been disengaged myself. So what got people re-engaged? For others, it was personalizing the learning experience, what had got them to this point and where they wanted to go moving away from the ‘one size’ model and searching for new and novel ways to engage them.

For myself, it was recognizing that I had needed to take responsibility for my own continuous learning.

To say that I’m passionate about learning and engagement.

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A little bit of background about myself. Even though my initial training was in secondary education, I have been fortunate enough to work across a number of different industries and while I have only been focused on digital marketing for the last eight months, I have been in the marketing industry the whole of my working life.

Why engagement matters

If we are to maintain a vibrant workforce, then engagement is critical and offering opportunities to learn is one way that research has suggested this can be achieved.

Employee engagement has been shown to impact many different areas within an organization with three primary areas being performance, retention, and revenue.

Why is employee engagement important?

  • Performance – Highly engaged employees can improve business performance by up to 30% and are more likely to exceed performance expectations.
  • Retention – Higher engagement reduces the temptation for staff to leave.
  • Revenue – employee engagement improves advocacy, increasing opportunities to bring in revenue while raising and maintaining the brand profile.

Companies that act strategically on personalizing learning opportunities are more likely to have high performance, solid revenue streams and are more likely to win the war for talent. 

Global shifts in workforce learning needs

Alvin Toffer Quote

This quote from Alvin Toffler could quite easily have been written this year but the fact that it is from his book Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth and Power at the Edge of the 21st Century, published in 1990, shows that learning agility has been considered important for life in the future for a very long time.

With increasing life expectancy and dwindling state resources, it will be important for people to work and remain engaged for longer across their lifespan.

Learning agility will be a key behaviour and is the focus of Heather McGowan’s provocative titled article, ‘Learning is the New Pension’. She suggests that remaining employed or employable depends not on one’s formative education but on one’s willingness to learn new skills or re-train to address new, novel and often complex work and life situations.

“Continuous learning in the workplace must become the new norm if individuals and organizations want to stay ahead.” – Redefining the role of the leader in the reskilling era, McKinsey Quarterly, December 2019

With the expectation that the organization will provide continuous learning opportunities, the demand for leaders to take on a new role as learning facilitators will require planning and support as it may be unfamiliar to many leaders and managers.

The Consortium for Advancing Adult Learning & Development found that the development of a learning culture is essential for the continuing success of an organization in an everchanging environment. They identify that learning as an adult may be more difficult as the pain of making mistakes doesn’t roll off as quickly as it might have when we were younger. Therefore, it is critical that leaders foster an environment of psychological safety where employees are supported and actively encouraged to continue learning.

A key question to ask at this point is “If leaders are going to provide this environment, what is the learning that employees and businesses in the digital marketing industry actually need?”

Understanding the learning needs of your workforce

The latest OMCP Role delineation study (2019) shows digital skills competency areas that members of the industry agree are required to be successful in digital marketing roles.

Digital marketing skills that are required

This list, extracted from the World Economic Forum Report – The Jobs of Tomorrow (January 2020), uses data from Coursera to show what learning topics are most popular in relation to marketing, sales and content. There is a strong correlation with the previous chart, which suggests that individuals are already accessing the knowledge required to be successful in the digital marketing industry.

The challenge for leaders is to encourage this type of learning and surface these skills in meaningful ways so that they can be applied within the workplace.

One consistent theme that emerges is that although intuition and creativity will still play a critical role in crafting marketing messages and campaigns, data and advanced analytics are expected to underpin almost every marketing decision – including which marketing levers to pull, when, and for which customers.

So, if we know what the industry requires and some people are engaging in self-directed learning, why isn’t everyone engaging in lifelong learning? Andrew Bollington, Global Head of Research and Learning for LEGO Foundation in a 2015 OECD Business brief questioned why, with so many opportunities for lifelong learning available at the click of a button, many employers still report a “skills gap” when looking for talented members of the workforce.

Andrew believes the reason for this is that taking advantage of lifelong learning opportunities demands certain skills.

Specifically,

  • We need to be motivated to learn, without the constant supervision and support of a teacher.
  • We need to be able to ask questions and relate the knowledge gained to real-life challenges.
  • We need to stick at the challenge even when the work gets hard.
  • We need to be prepared to try something; fail; adapt; then try again until it works.
  • We need to network with other students, sometimes virtually, often across cultures.
  • We need to critically analyze and evaluate the content we find in seconds on the internet, not memorize it.
  • We need to play creatively with ideas and solutions.

I believe that an additional difficulty is that many learning solutions still have an industrial age where focus, experience, timing, and access are very different from what is needed and expected. The report Modernizing Learning: Building the Future Learning Ecosystem outlined how learning activities and delivery must shift for it to meet the current and future needs of learners.

Reflecting on changes in the digital marketing industry it is clear that the days of the strict T-shaped marketer have passed with successful employees in this industry requiring a more distributed level of knowledge and skill. Success in many jobs within digital marketing will depend more critically on an employee’s ability to master emerging technologies quickly will rather than expertise in one specific niche technology.

Moving forward data-savvy marketers will work alongside data scientists and analysts to oversee fully automated data collection, integration, and consolidation, and to generate insights for refining marketing mix and budget allocations.

Key decisions about campaign planning, pricing, and promotion will be based less on representative consumer research or gut feeling and much more on analytics.

With these business-focused success factors in mind, what would motivate employees to learn these skills and what does success mean for them?

Identify employee motivations and success factors

In the Who moved my skills research report, Towards Maturity, identified six key characteristics of modern learners based on how they learn, what digital tools are used, preferences and their perceptions of support.

6 characteristics of modern learners

Taking these characteristics into consideration there are four elements that should be considered when investigating learner needs.

They are:

  • Personal motivations for learning.
  • Understand what success means to each person.
  • Identify individual key learning needs.
  • Anticipate a high level of control, convenience, and personalization.

There wouldn’t be many marketers who would be unfamiliar with using personas to target segments during campaigns, however, within a learning framework it may be more useful to use archetypes. The reason for using archetypes rather than personas is that they have a stronger cognitive/behavioural focus alongside demographic factors. This is critical as self-directed learning is more likely based on a role rather than age or ethnic background.

A good example of archetypes for learning has been developed by FutureLearn who analyzed user data from nearly 7,000 users and discovered patterns from which they developed into archetypes.

While they developed seven archetypes, those most relevant for this discussion are The Work and Study Group of archetypes who were identified as learners who use FutureLearn primarily to enhance

Advancers learner types

Explorers learning type

Preparers learning type

Ultimately, by defining the different types of learners using their platform in the form of archetypes, they were able to act more strategically.

By applying a similar process, organizations can segment their workforce by their needs and success factors to provide more personalized learning experiences.

Once you have a clearer understanding of your learner needs it is important that you match it with an appropriate learning platform.

The World Economic Forum suggests that understanding the typical employee lifecycle is key for mapping the points where people will likely have a need to refresh their skills. This will allow organizations to invest in a truly relevant education system that will enable learning and training opportunities for workers at all stages of their careers.

Investment in a learning experience platform to produce long term benefits

When investigating a learning platform for your organization or team it is important to consider the way information can be accessed.

Degreed identified that self-directed learners showed a distinct pattern accessing at the point where need.

At Smart Insights we pride ourselves on developing resources and learning experiences that are actionable and directly relevant to learner needs.  One model that we use to focus our resource development is Workflow Learning and the Five Moments of Need as developed by Bob Mosher and Dr. Conrad Gottfredson. This allows us to tailor our content and learning experience to the most applicable moment for learner success.

5 moments of need

Keeping the 5 Moment in Mind it is important that the learning platform you choose has these essential elements of functionality as well to support experience delivery.

An effective learning platform must:

  • Be quick to launch.
  • Be memorable, direct and easy to navigate and search.
  • Keep learners interested to aid recall and application.
  • Empower positive behavioural change.
  • Deliver immersive learning with activities, educational games, case studies, simulations and storytelling.

Due to the interconnected nature of digital marketing, our resources do cross over into different moments of need which means that learners can access them as they need to ‘in the moment’.

Smart Insights' learning platform

A practical example, that has been simplified for clarity, demonstrate how the Smart Insights platform can be used for all moments of need. In this example, optimizing Google Analytics is an activity that is critical to the success of digital marketing efforts.

Optimizing Google Analytics

Organizational alignment

Now that we have covered the concepts and practicalities some of you may be thinking how it all fits together within an organization.

The Digital Marketing Institute suggests that it is critical to align skills training with the overall strategic direction of the business as in their research on 4% of organizations are doing so.

In the best cases, all effective learning experience efforts come as a result of a partnership between a company and its employees. The company should analyze its internal skill gaps and communicate its findings clearly.

The organization should then help employees acquire those skills, whether by creating new, in-house training programs or partnering with third-party training providers (such as industry associations and educational institutions).

Embedding learning into the overall strategy will also demonstrate that the organization is serious about the learning needs of employees and it provides a natural extension for management to consider linking transfers, promotions, and bonuses to participation in these learning programs.

Conclusion

It is clear that the changing nature of work requires new training methods focused on learning agility and fostering lifelong learning requires a focus on transferability and opportunities to explore adjacent, in-demand skills. It is similarly evident that organizations that are committed and responsive to the continuing education needs of employees report better performance and retention.

That workers and organizations must now have the ability to rapidly adapt to new information and quickly deploy new skills to act upon it means that the days when relying solely on the education received in the early part of your life are long gone.

This means that learning initiatives that match employee motivation and success needs and are embedded deeply into the workflow will not only improve engagement but investment in a learning experience platform that employees can access at the point of need will produce long term personal and organizational benefits well into the future.



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3 ways to increase your revenue from digital products in 2020 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/3-ways-to-increase-your-revenue-from-digital-products-in-2020/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/3-ways-to-increase-your-revenue-from-digital-products-in-2020/#respond Tue, 18 Feb 2020 16:31:58 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/3-ways-to-increase-your-revenue-from-digital-products-in-2020/

With no need to invest in inventory, the popularity of digital products is growing enormously

Creating and selling digital products is one of the best ways to monetize a website. Over two billion people are expected to buy digital products in 2020, which indicates huge opportunities for businesses.

With more and more people buying online, many entrepreneurs have started businesses selling digital products. This tough competition has made revenue generation difficult, unless and until you follow powerful strategies.

In this article, we will talk about the top three ways to increase your revenue by selling digital products in 2020.

1. Add a subscription model

A subscription model ensures recurring revenue from month-to-month. This will help you plan and make major business decisions. It’s been estimated that 53% of all software revenue will be generated via subscriptions by 2022. What’s more, some 70% of business leaders believe subscription models will be the key to future growth and expansion.

E-commerce business leaders such as Amazon have started offering subscription services on physical products such as food and beauty. You can make a subscription model work for your digital products as well. News publications such as The Economist and The Wall Street Journal have been doing it for years.

A subscription model is ideal for two types of business businesses that offer access to content or advanced features. If you create content that educates or entertains your audience or if you offer software as a service (SaaS), you can provide access to advanced content only to premium members (i.e. subscribers).

One of the key factors that influence the success of your subscription model is the price, as it is directly related to acquiring new customers, increasing the revenue generation from existing customers, and reducing your churn rate.

One great example is Naturally Sassy. Saskia “Sassy” Gregson-Williams provides free content about fitness and ballet movements through Instagram, YouTube, and her blog, which has helped her build a large following. She then created an online studio where her subscribers can get video-based lessons.

Subscription model example

New videos are added every month, so her subscribers get value for their money. The recurring income from the subscription model allows Sassy to create more free content and attract new people.

You can either offer your basic digital products for free and charge people if they wish to upgrade, or offer all your digital products for a fixed price. Both have their advantages. The freemium model helps you attract more people and build a loyal following base, while the latter one ensures a fixed revenue every month.

Depending on what your goals are, you can choose a subscription model. However, it is also important to measure the success of your recurring revenue strategy. It will help you understand what’s working and what’s not in your subscription model so you can make the necessary changes.

Kajabi

Using a solution like Kajabi, a platform for selling your own online courses can give you a better idea of how your subscriptions are performing over time. You can track monthly recurring revenue to judge the success of new offers and project future growth. Additionally, you can track average revenue per user and churn rate.

These metrics will help you understand if your subscribers are happy with the product they’re getting and if you’re headed in the right direction or not.

2. Discover what types of engagement lead to the most sales

Sales conversions don’t materialize spontaneously – they happen only after an audience member interacts with your various touchpoints over time.

You want your website visitors to read content, submit contact forms, play videos, subscribe to your email newsletter, etc. In the world of analytics, these are tracked as “events,” and keeping an eye on these events can help you understand user behavior on your website.

No matter what your objective is, all the pages on your website must be optimized for conversion. Knowing how each event impacts your conversion rate can help you optimize your website accordingly.

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For example, let’s say your goal is to get people to subscribe to your digital products and your visitors can get to the subscription checkout form from three different web pages. Knowing how many people visit those web pages is a good start, but to truly optimize your funnel, you need to work backward, so you can know what events are taking place that lead up to the sale.

Of course, you can’t optimize things you aren’t tracking. However, setting up event tracking in Google Analytics is not simple, and it requires repeating the process for each and every event that you want to track. That’s where Oribi comes into the picture. It tracks all referrals to your website, and all onsite events, automatically. You just need to define your conversion goals, using the easy interface.

Oribi dashboard

Oribi also allows you to find out why some days convert better than others. You can use this insight to perform more of those tasks and reach your business goals quicker than you otherwise might.

Oribi chart

This way you can make sure that the events are aligned with people’s intentions. This, in turn, will help you create experiences that help people build trust in your brand and increase the likelihood of conversion.

3. Optimize paths to conversion by tracking individual users

Tracking visitors can help you understand what most people look for as soon as they land on your website. It will also help you track the bounce rate, exit pages, top ten pages, and conversion rate. The benefits of tracking your website traffic cannot be ignored.

Advantages of tracking visitors include:

  • It allows you to see who is on your website in real-time.
  • It helps you figure out the channels that send you the majority of your traffic so you can increase your visibility in those areas.
  • It helps you determine which part of your website people like and which they don’t.
  • It helps you uncover where you lose most of your prospects.
  • It helps you find out how to optimize your website.

Google Analytics is the most popular analytics tool used by businesses to track visitors, however, it does not allow you to track individual users or flagging of particular IP addresses.

Individual visitor tracking can help you understand how each user uses your website and what each individual is looking for in your website, allowing you to offer personalized products. Tools like Albacross can help a great deal in this context, allowing you to gather intelligence on your visitors and push information on their site visits to your CRM.

Albacross

Benefits of individual visitor tracking include:

  • It helps you figure out why they are on your site (based on their browsing behavior).
  • It helps you understand their interests, and/or pain points.
  • It allows you to see where they are in your sales funnel, allowing you to send them personalized offers/recommendations.

Therefore, it is important to use an analytics tool that allows you to track both individual and overall visitors.

Final thoughts

Increasing revenue need not have to be difficult; instead, it should be one of the easy tasks of every digital business. Adding a subscription model where users pay every month to get access to the premium content can provide you with recurring money every month. Also, you need to track and optimize the right web pages/events to convert more people.

 



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SEO in 2020 and beyond: Optimizing for Google, the answer engine https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/seo-in-2020-and-beyond-optimizing-for-google-the-answer-engine/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/seo-in-2020-and-beyond-optimizing-for-google-the-answer-engine/#respond Tue, 18 Feb 2020 11:03:25 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/seo-in-2020-and-beyond-optimizing-for-google-the-answer-engine/

Google is transforming from a search engine to an answer engine, which you should use to shape your SEO strategy for the year ahead

These days we are witnessing the biggest evolution of Google as we know it. Google is transforming from a search engine to an answer engine.

That evolution is bringing new challenges to online publishers and businesses changing our marketing priorities and goals.

We went from this:

to this:

Google search results in 2019

in a matter of seven years.

As you can see, there are fewer organic results and more answers in the above-the-fold part of search engine result page.

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Google is the answer engine

Google is planning to become the ultimate answer engine and we find the evidence of that in its recent patents, including:

“Users of search systems are often searching for an answer to a specific question, rather than a listing of resources… When queries that are in the form of a question are received, some search engines may perform specialized search operations in response to the question format of the query. For example, some search engines may provide information responsive to such queries in the form of an “answer,” such as information provided in the form of a “one box” to a question.”

The big takeaway here (before we go into more practical tips), is that Google’s goal to become an ultimate answering machine that is able to consolidate multiple sources and document types to give the best answers.

But the main point here is that Google cannot do that on its own: it needs us, web publishers that provide the context. So organic visibility is still very real: Google needs web pages and will still reference them inside its smart search elements.

So basically our job as web publishers is to give Google the best answers we can i.e. make Google’s job finding answers easier. In return, Google will put us into the spotlight.

Optimizing for answers

Research niche questions

Google will strive to answer all sorts of queries, not necessarily question-type queries. With voice search and conversational commerce becoming the biggest trends of this new decade, optimizing for answers gives you more than organic visibility. It’s also a great way to better understand your target customers and better serve them.

Researching niche questions will help you get a deeper understanding of what to focus your content on and how to optimize it for question answering.

I have written a detailed article on question research here. Specifically, your first tool is Google itself. By simply searching Google you can get a good idea of questions your customers are asking online and the patterns you can emulate in your copy:

Google search auto correct

You can also use tools like Text Optimizer to better understand your niche and question-type queries.

Text Optimizer

Structure content with H2/H3 headings

Beyond actually giving our best creating content that answers all kinds niche questions, the most important step here is to structure your content the way Google can easily understand it.

Google is still a machine, so it needs a clear understandable document structure to be able to extract answers.

On top of everything else, every page needs to have a clear heading structure that reflects key points that are being covered. How to create a clear consistent heading structure?

Come up with the best answer format(s)

Think of the answer format that would answer each query in the best possible way (and also easily fit into a sentence or two for Google to be able to feature it).

Let’s take a look at a few examples…

Price-driven queries

For cost-related queries, the best strategy is to simplify an answer and clearly state a numeric answer (even if it’s an estimate):

Price-driven Google search query

List-driven queries

If the search query calls for an enumeration, create a bullet-point or numbered list:

Google bullet point featured snippet

Data-driven queries

If there’s a lot of data to give, create a table. Here’s a great resource walking you through creating beautiful tables to summarize large amounts of data:

Table in Google search results

Give different answers

There’s no ONE answer here, as you cannot always guess what Google will deem best fitting to the query.

So combine all sorts of formats to give several answers to one possible question.

Multiple answers in search results

Here’s the featured snippet that is being triggered by the above answer. As you can see it also combines both of the answer types (text and list):

Featured snippet example

Utilize video content

Google tends to generously feature videos, especially if the video seems to be the best way to answer this specific query:

Video in Google search results

So creating a video version of your content is a good way to increase your chances to get featured and build additional organic visibility.

Tools like InVideo make the job much easier, as you can copy-paste your text content and the tool will create a video automatically.

InVideo dashboard

  • Copy-paste up to 50 sentences of content (These will be your video subtitles).
  • Select a template and an audio.
  • Optionally, upload your own images.

It’s an easy way to diversify your content formats addressing various informational search queries.

Provide definitions

Get into a good habit of giving definitions (even if you assume your reader knows what it is about).

Any time you discuss any concept, create a h2/h3 “What is…” subheading explaining it in a sentence or two:

Definition in Google search results

Always create summaries and takeaways

Whatever it is your page is about, always close with the optimized subheading summarizing steps, types, specs, key differences, etc.

Summary in search results

It makes it so much easier for Google to find a clear concise answer.

Google search result summary

Conclusion

Clearly answer optimization is about giving the best answers you can. It is also about pointing Google exactly to where you answered each query.

On the bright side, answer optimization has many benefits beyond being featured in Google:

  • The more niche questions you answer, the more diverse rankings you will be able to build.
  • The more useful answers you provide on your site, the more people will bookmark, share and link to it.
  • The better you structure your content, the more people will be able to read and understand it.

Answer research and optimization is the future of SEO! Are you ready?

 





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Search engine marketing statistics 2020 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/search-engine-marketing-statistics-2020/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/search-engine-marketing-statistics-2020/#respond Tue, 18 Feb 2020 09:10:08 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/search-engine-marketing-statistics-2020/

Statistics on Search Engine Marketing usage and adoption to inform your search engine marketing strategies and tactics

Statistics help us turn data into information, allowing us to make informed and rational decisions and that’s exactly the purpose of this article. We’re huge fans of search engine marketing, but not everyone believes in its potential for growing a business, either through search engine optimization or paid search marketing – which means an Google Ads focus in many countries.

This article is aimed at helping you make better-informed decisions about the running of your search marketing and making the business case by modelling the returns from search engine marketing if you’re using a search gap analysis to put a quantitative estimate to the returns.

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How many searches are made each day?

As of January 2020, there were 4.54 billion internet users across the world, representing a penetration rate of 59% of the global population. It was previously estimated that this figure would reach 53.7% in 2021, showing that the rate of growth has picked up since 2017.

Active social media users in 2020

Who has the biggest search engine market share worldwide?

Google continues to dominate search engine use, starting 2020 with an average net market share of 73.34% on desktop. However, this figure is actually slightly below where it stood at the start of 2019 (75.46%) as Bing’s net share has seen a slight increase.

Desktop Search engine market share

Even with the small dip to start the year, Google is still the market leader, which needs to be taken into account for your digital strategy. This isn’t to say that you should discount other search engines though, especially a Bing and Baidu have more than a 10% market share each.

Search engine market share

It’s also worth pointing out that since Google reached a net market share high of 78.23% in January 2019, it has seen a decline, with Bing and Baidu seeing small increases throughout this time.

While it’s not possible to say exactly what has caused this, trust in Google has been impacted over the last year, which could be seeing people look to alternative search engines.

Mobile search engine market share

It’s a slightly different story on mobile, however, as Google saw a big drop in August 2018 but has since seen net market share increase, meaning it started 2020 off with 92.81%. This is likely due to Google’s continued focus on the importance of mobile UX factors for SEO.

Desktop vs mobile vs tablet searches

Up until mid-2019, mobile and desktop searches were mostly neck and neck, with mobile just edging into the lead every few months. However, June 2019 saw mobile account for 50.71% of searches, with desktop dropping down to 45.53%.

Desktop vs mobile vs tablet market share January 2020

Since this point, the gap between mobile and desktop searches has remained, with mobile becoming the top option for searchers. This shows that as more people remained connected 24/7 due to the high mobile phone penetration across the globe, desktop searches are likely to continue to decline.

In terms of the share of searches handled by tablets, these have seen a decline since the start of 2019. Although tablet’s share stayed consistently around 3.5% up to September 2019, October saw it drop to 2.93% and then decline further each month.

It is likely that mobile searches are only going to increase throughout 2020 as it becomes the dominant technology choice in terms of accessing the internet. Tablets are likely to continue to decline in use as people opt for more high-tech smartphones instead of multiple devices.

The impact of mobile search on SEO

What does this change in search habits mean for SERPs? At the moment, only 13% of websites are able to retain the same position for a particular search across all devices. So, you may be ranking well on desktop but not even appear on the first page of results on mobile. In fact, 30% of pages that show on the first page of desktop search results do not appear in the top 10 results on mobile.

SEMrush page visibility changes on mobile search

According to SEMRush, 71.76% of domains change rankings by one place on mobile compared to desktop, 52.16% change by three places and 29.16% change by 10 places. Although moving down one place may not seem like too big a deal, mobile searchers have different habits to those on desktop and so not being in the top three results could have a serious effect on your mobile traffic.

This is why sites in 2020 need to ensure that they are as mobile-optimized as possible and that they keep an eye on mobile rankings rather than simply keeping tracking of desktop rankings.

How much trackable web traffic comes from organic vs paid search?

The combination of organic and paid search is powerful, with 68% of all trackable website traffic coming from a combination of the two tactics. This means that they are both more beneficial for websites than other traffics like display and social media.

However, when looking at them separately, organic SEO is the dominant source of trackable web traffic, with 53% of traffic coming via this channel compared to paid’s 27%.

Trackable website traffic by source

Organic search’s dominance is fairly impressive considering the changes that have been made to the layout of search engine results pages (SERPs), which have pushed organic results further down the page, giving more dominant positions to paid results. However, users seem to put more trust in the results that rank highly organically.

How many clicks do organic search results generate?

While we already know that the place to be in search results is on the first page, however, it looks as though you really want to be result one to five.

The first five organic results of a search – when looking at the first page of results only – account for around 67.60% of all the clicks for a search query. In comparison, results six to ten on the first page only account for 3.73% of clicks.

Clicks generated based on ranking position

The first page of results also accounts for around 71.33% of organic clicks, with page two and three getting just 5.59%, showing that failing to rank highly will seriously damage your traffic. It also seems as though people prefer to click on organic results rather than adverts, with just 15% of all traffic either clicking on PPC ads or trying a new search.

How many Google searches result in a click?

Ranking highly on the first page or organic results doesn’t guarantee a click, though. Zero-click searches on Google have seen a steady increase over the last three years, with 48.96% of all US Google searches in the first quarter of 2019 ending without a click. This is a 12% rise from Q1 of 2016.

Where users click after searching Google

While this suggests that almost half of searches were solved without the need for a click, it does mean that organic traffic to websites as a whole is seeing a drop.

The answer to this doesn’t appear to be PPC either, as just 7.2% of searches clicked through to a paid result. In fact, for every click to a paid result, there are 11.6 clicks to organic results, showing that a focus on SEO and click-through optimization is key.



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How to use the McKinsey 7S model in marketing https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/how-to-use-the-mckinsey-7s-model-in-marketing/ https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/how-to-use-the-mckinsey-7s-model-in-marketing/#respond Mon, 17 Feb 2020 20:30:28 +0000 https://thewebnerds.net/2020/02/how-to-use-the-mckinsey-7s-model-in-marketing/

An example of reviewing your marketing capabilities using the McKinsey 7S framework

The McKinsey 7S model is a useful framework for reviewing an organization’s marketing capabilities from different viewpoints. Developed by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman during their tenure at McKinsey & Company in the 1970s, this model works well in different types of business of all sectors and sizes, although it works best in medium and large businesses.

The 7S model can be used to:

  • Review the effectiveness of an organization in its marketing operations.
  • Determine how to best realign an organization to support a new strategic direction.
  • Assess the changes needed to support digital transformation of an organization.

McKinsey 7S framework

What are the elements of the McKinsey 7S model?

In summary, the McKinsey 7Ss stand for:

  • Strategy: The definition of key approaches for an organization to achieve its goals.
  • Structure: The organization of resources within a company into different business groups and teams.
  • Systems: Business processes and the technical platforms used to support operations.
  • Staff: The type of employees, remuneration packages and how they are attracted and retained.
  • Skills: Capabilities to complete different activities.
  • Style: The culture of the organization in terms of leadership and interactions between staff and other stakeholders.
  • Shared Values: Summarized in a vision and or mission, this is how the organization defines its reason for existing.

These components can be further broken down into ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ elements.

Hard elements: Strategy, Structure, Systems

Hard elements can be easily defined and directly influenced. They are the (often) more tangible elements of a business, like the strategy documents and mission statements that your company uses to inform its decisions. They also include the organizational charts that demonstrate the reporting structure in your business and the systems that you have in place to ensure everything is running smoothly (such as your IT servers and related data storage methods).

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Soft elements: Staff, Skills, Style, Shared Values

As hard elements provide the framework of how a company operates, soft elements are the less tangible qualities that a company demonstrates through its work. They are the people that comprise the workforce, the skills they offer, the office culture that evolves from their co-operation with different teams, and the combined outward impression they give the world.

Think of it like this – hard elements answer many ‘what’ questions about a business:

  • Strategy: What is the company’s driving strategy?
  • Structure: What teams are in place?
  • Systems: What formal systems ensure work progresses?

Whereas soft elements answer many ‘who’ and ‘how’ questions about a business:

  • Staff: Who comprises the company’s workforce?
  • Skills: How skilled are these workers?
  • Style: How do organizational leaders inspire their colleagues?
  • Shared Values: How does the company demonstrate its core values?

How can I use the McKinsey 7S model?

You can use each of the 7Ss to assess how the capabilities of an organization can be improved as the starting point of creating an action plan. Below are methods of how you can apply the elements of the McKinsey 7S model, using a hypothetical video games company (SmartPixel) as an example.

1. Strategy

What is your overall strategy? Think about what sets your company apart from its competitors and what position you want to hold or carve out in your industry. You should also have a clear idea of who your key customer personas are and how you are going to meet their demands/solve their problems/help them reach their goals.

Example:

  • SmartPixel creates smartphone games in a variety of genres (puzzle, platform, action, racing etc.) that emphasize geographically-specific leaderboards.
  • Their primary customer persona is casual gamers aged 30-55, with games aimed to be playable between other activities throughout the day.
  • These customers are busy throughout the workday, though need short breaks to distract them and prevent ‘burnout’.
  • SmartPixel games, therefore, operate local leaderboards that run for 3/6-hour time periods (called ‘bursts’) before refreshing, ensuring that players are rewarded for skilled gameplay and encouraged to play repeatedly (by chaining ‘burst’ participation together).

2. Structure

How is your company divided at an organizational level? What teams are in place, what tasks are they responsible for, and where do these teams crossover? You may find that, as your business grows and you reassess the McKinsey 7S model, that you need to expand your structure to better manage emerging capabilities that were not present when you started the company.

Example:

  • SmartPixel is separated into three main teams – Game Design, Artistic Development, and Programming.
  • The Game Design team is responsible for each game’s mechanics, story, and overall ‘game feel’, brainstorming an experience that customers will enjoy.
  • The Artistic Development team is responsible for the concept, character, background, and texture design behind each game that will capture the customer’s attention.
  • The Programming team is responsible for the coding and technical creation of each game, ensuring that the customers enjoys the functionality of the game and plays it repeatedly.
  • These teams each hold their own team managers, who report to an overall Producer team (which hold the company’s C-suite positions).

3. Systems

These are the processes, procedures, and information systems that support your business. Authority in organizational systems must be clear, and technical systems must be successfully managed and maintained to facilitate the work of the company’s teams.

Example:

  • The Game Design team pitches ideas to the Artistic Development and Programming teams to create an overall game pitch.
  • The Producer team will decide, in consultation with each team’s manager, each game’s overall direction before setting a calendar of work.
  • Rudimentary game testing is completed in-house, though further testing is outsourced to a market research company for customer feedback.
  • On-site servers are maintained by a dedicated team within the Programming team.

4. Staff

This is the breakdown of staff in terms of their background, age, gender, and characteristics.  Evaluate the teams you have in place and whether they are operating at optimal capacity as well as if they can facilitate professional growth.

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Example:

  • Each team is comprised of a variety of demographics, an important quality to maintain as the company grows.
  • C-Suite members have a combined 50 years’ experience in games development, meaning customers know games they play are made by gaming veterans.
  • Managers are encouraged to build a sense of comradery in their teams through incentivized activities.
  • SmartPixel maintains a relationship with a local university and operates an intern programme in the hopes to stimulate passion in video game creation, develop their skills, and potentially bring them into the company on a full-time basis after graduation.

5. Skills

Always be aware of the overall capabilities of teams and the specific skill set of team members. You should know what core competencies team members must demonstrate, as well as what attributes may expand a department’s offering (such as experience in an international market for using an industry-leading piece of technology).

Example:

  • SmartPixel encourages the hiring of artists with widely different styles in order to diversify idea generation and push capabilities of the Programming team.
  • Game Development team members are frequently sent on training courses to ensure the ideas they bring to their games are in-line with current consumer trends.
  • Team managers must maintain a personal development plan with their team members to monitor and develop their skills.

 6. Style

This element includes both the way in which key managers behave in achieving the organization’s goals and the cultural style of the organization as a whole. Managers may come to you with ideas or initiatives they believe will benefit their staff, though will use internal resources (time, budget etc.) meaning you will have to decide how much to allocate to them so long as they demonstrate a return on investment.

Example:

  • SmartPixel allows for input from all teams during the idea generation and testing phases of their games. Feedback is anonymized to ensure freedom of expression.
  • Team members that show passion behind an idea they pitch are encouraged to take greater responsibility during that idea’s development and ‘take ownership’ of that game’s particular creation.
  • Resources are made available to the Programming team to experiment with emerging technology, providing they demonstrate that technology’s suitability to SmartPixel’s current offering.

7. Shared Values

The final aspect of the McKinsey 7S model suggests that guiding concepts of the organization should be evident through both its external work and its internal culture. Neglecting your Shared Values puts your company at risk of becoming lost in the crowd of your competition and employees may not feel as personally tied to their roles, leading to decreasing productivity.

Example:

  • SmartPixel aims to instil a sense of personality behind each of their games, incorporating advanced game design ideas in as simple and accessible games as possible.
  • Games created should use positive re-enforcement and humour to craft a pleasant experience for even the shortest of gaming sessions.
  • Winners of gaming bursts should be recognized through our company’s social media channels to encourage a competitive community of players.
  • Internally, SmartPixel regularly recognizes accomplishments and innovations from individuals and teams.
  • Flexible working hours are available to ensure SmartPixel employees are able to work in a manner that suits them best.

 



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