NEW YORK CITY – Maurice Shirley wanted the inside scoop on how to get a tenure-track teaching post in higher education, and the Faculty First Look program at New York University is giving him a big dose this week.

NYU digital  marketing associate Nitasha Maindiratta discusses social media use.

Shirley, a doctoral student at New York University (NYU), is among 31 scholars from across the nation selected as part of the program’s second cohort. Housed in the university’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, Faculty First Look debuted last year with the goal of helping underrepresented students prepare to seek their first tenure-track faculty job post-graduation.

The group meets first in the fall for two days and then reconvenes in the spring for the second half. This week’s gathering on Wednesday and Thursday featured presentations by NYU faculty, administrators and staff on an array of topics, including how to craft effective cover letters and curriculum vitae, cultivating a professional presence on social media, faculty recruitment processes, what search committees look for and the importance of the first two years in a position, negotiating a job offer, postdoctoral fellowships, and how to build inclusive classrooms and navigate microaggressions in university spaces.

Renowned Latin musician Ruben Blades, NYU Scholar-in-Residence, was scheduled to lead a discussion with students late Thursday afternoon.

Shirley, who is in his fourth year of doctoral studies, said he was impressed with “a great layout of high-quality information” that helped him understand aspects of the process beyond the stress.

“It was almost like an iceberg,” he said. “I saw the tip and they revealed what was under the surface.”

“I want to know all of the nuances that nobody really tells you until you get into the thick of it. That first interview, you don’t have time to learn. That might be the job you want, and you don’t want to flub it.”

NYU Ph.D. student Maurice Shirley

But given the competitiveness of tenure-track faculty positions, a brand new Ph.D. graduate may have to consider other routes first such as a post-doctoral fellowship, adjunct teaching, a non-tenure track position or a job in a related field such as public policy or the nonprofit sector.

That was a major take-away for Texas-born Shirley, who received his bachelor’s degree in English from Ohio State University and a master’s in higher education and student personnel administration from NYU.

“Don’t give up,” he said. “Just because you do not initially find a job that is for you does not mean they’re not out there. It’s a long road that is being traveled. It’s a marathon.”

NYU started Faculty First Look to help more underserved candidates enter the faculty pipelines to colleges and universities, where academics of color remain generally underrepresented. And while the initiative provides a potential talent pool for NYU, it prepares the fellows to be successful on campuses anywhere, noted Dr. Stella M. Flores, who directs the program as associate dean for Faculty Development and Diversity.

“You are the most important social cause of the day, for us,” she told fellows, calling the program a sign of the university’s good will. “The more you pay it forward, hopefully the more it will come back to you.”

Impact, inclusion and innovation are part of NYU’s DNA and the motivation behind the program, said Dr. Dominic Brewer, the Steinhardt school’s Gale and Ira Drukier Dean. And leaders are exploring how to expand the program across the university and beyond, added Dr. Charlton McIlwain, vice provost for Faculty Engagement and Development.

Here’s more of the advice given to program fellows:

Used carefully and strategically, social media – especially Twitter – can be an effective tool to network and expand the reach of an academic as a relatable thought leader, said Nitasha Maindiratta, the school’s digital marketing and communications associate.
Preparing mentally and visually for a Skype interview – a common step in the faculty recruitment process – is critical to enhancing chances of getting an on-campus interview in the final phase of the selection process.
The cover letter should be tailored to the job advertisement and the curriculum vitae should be organized around it to convey a message and tone that thoroughly yet succinctly speak to an applicant’s qualifications for a position, plus an ability to fill a gap in the advertised program.
Throughout onboarding the first academic year and spending the second getting published and preparing for performance review the third year, “always stay connected to what you love” about higher education and that will keep you going, said Dr. Lisa Stulberg, associate professor in the school’s Sociology of Education department.
On paper and in interviews, “come across as having ownership of your research” and “get in the mindset of developing a research agenda,” advised Dr. Shondel Nero, professor of language education.

Queens native Jackie Cruz, who began her doctoral studies in the sociology of education at NYU in 2014 and expects to graduate in 2020, was a fellow in the first cohort and returned this year to encourage the second class. With a bachelor’s degree in English from Wesleyan University, a stint in Malaysia as a Fulbright Scholar and a master’s from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, the first-generation college graduate said Faculty First Look demystified the application process and will give her a competitive edge as she seeks a tenure-track teaching position specializing in women’s equity and education.

“When you want to find a tenure-track position,” she said, “there are so many things that you have to do – but not a lot of places where you can find out so much information.”

The program yielded fruit for inaugural fellow Dr. Keisha T. Lindsay, an NYU alumna who is now an assistant professor and Provost’s Fellow in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at NYU. A speech language pathologist and clinician, she is building an academic career researching how speech and language skills develop in children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, particularly language acquisition in children from the English-speaking Caribbean.

The Faculty First Look program gave her “information that really transformed the way I looked at the academy,” said Lindsay, a native Trinidadian. “I came to the program to see what it was all about, and I learned a lot.”

Flores said other schools are seeking NYU’s advice as they consider adapting the program to their campus contexts. Faculty First Look represents the sort of serious grass-roots initiative needed to culturally diversify college faculties and administrations, she added.

“It’s not just about admissions, it’s about who’s going to teach our students and lead our universities. Right now, we have the biggest demographic mismatch between who our new students are going to be and our professors and institutional leaders. It’s a matter of national integrity. Faculty and administrators need to represent the students they’re teaching.”

LaMont Jones can be reached at ljones@diverseeducation.com. You can follow him on Twitter @DrLaMontJones

Read more: diverseeducation.com

Posted by sergeystefoglo

The topic of faceted navigation is bound to come up at some point in your SEO career. It’s a common solution to product filtering for e-commerce sites, but managing it on the SEO side can quickly spin out of control with the potential to cause indexing bloat and crawl errors. In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, we welcome our friend Sergey Stefoglo to give us a quick refresher on just what faceted nav is and why it matters, then dive into a few key solutions that can help you tame it.

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

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. My name is Serge. I’m from Distilled. I work at the Seattle office as a consultant. For those of you that don’t know about Distilled, we’re a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, but have branched out since to work on all sorts of things like content, PR, and recently a split testing tool, ODN.

Today I’m here to talk to you guys about faceted navigation, just the basics. We have a few minutes today, so I’m just going to cover kind of the 101 version of this. But essentially we’re going to go through what the definition is, why we should care as SEOs, why it’s important, what are some options we have with this, and then also what a solution could look like.

1. What is faceted navigation?

For those that don’t know, faceted navigation is essentially something like this, probably a lot nicer than this to be honest. But it’s essentially a page that allows you to filter down or allows a user to filter down based on what they’re looking for. So this is an example we have here of a list of products on a page that sells laptops, Apple laptops in this case.

Right here on the left side, in the green, we have a bunch of facets. Essentially, if you’re a user and you’re going in here, you could look at the size of the screen you might want. You could look at the price of the laptop, etc. That’s what faceted navigation is. Previously, when I worked at my previous agency, I worked on a lot of local SEO things, not really e-commerce, big-scale websites, so I didn’t run into this issue often. I actually didn’t even know it was a thing until I started at Distilled. So this might be interesting for you even if it doesn’t apply at the moment.

2. Why does faceted navigation matter?

Essentially, we should care as SEOs because this can get out of control really quickly. While being very useful to users, obviously it’s helpful to be able to filter down to the specific thing you want. this could get kind of ridiculous for Googlebot.

Faceted navigation can result in indexing bloat and crawl issues

We’ve had clients at Distilled that come to us that are e-commerce brands that have millions of pages in the index being crawled that really shouldn’t be. They don’t bring any value to the site, any revenue, etc. The main reason we should care is because we want to avoid indexation bloat and kind of crawl errors or issues.

3. What options do we have when it comes to controlling which pages are indexed/crawled?

The third thing we’ll talk about is what are some options we have in terms of controlling some of that, so controlling whether a page gets indexed or crawled, etc. I’m not going to get into the specifics of each of these today, but I have a blog post on this topic that we’ll link to at the bottom.

The main, most common options that we have for controlling this kind of thing would be around no indexing a page and stopping Google from indexing it, using canonical tags to choose a page that’s essentially the canonical version, using a disallow rule in robots.txt to stop Google from crawling a certain part of the site, or using the nofollow meta directive as well. Those are some of the most common options. Again, we’re not going to go into the nitty-gritty of each one. They each have their kind of pros and cons, so you can research that for yourselves.

4. What could a solution look like?

So okay, we know all of this. What could be an ideal solution? Before I jump into this, I don’t want you guys to run in to your bosses and say, “This is what we need to do.”

Please, please do your research beforehand because it’s going to vary a lot based on your site. Based on the dev resources you have, you might have to get scrappy with it. Also, do some keyword research mainly around the long tail. There are a lot of instances where you could and might want to have three or four facets indexed.

So again, a huge caveat: this isn’t the end-all be-all solution. It’s something that we’ve recommended at times, when appropriate, to clients. So let’s jump into what an ideal solution, or not ideal solution, a possible solution could look like.

Category, subcategory, and sub-subcategory pages open to indexing and crawling

What we’re looking at here is we’re going to have our category, subcategory, and sub-subcategory pages open to indexation and open to being crawled. In our example here, that would be this page, so /computers/laptops/apple. Perfectly fine. People are probably searching for Apple laptops. In fact, I know they are.

Any pages with one or more facets selected = indexed, facet links get nofollowed

The second step here is any page that has one facet selected, so for example, if I was on this page and I wanted an Apple laptop with a solid state drive in it, I would select that from these options. Those are fine to be indexed. But any time you have one or more facets selected, we want to make sure to nofollow all of these internal links pointing to other facets, essentially to stop link equity from being wasted and to stop Google from wasting time crawling those pages.

Any pages with 2+ facets selected = noindex tag gets added

Then, past that point, if a user selects two or more facets, so if I was interested in an Apple laptop with a solid state hard drive that was in the $1,000 price range for example, the chances of there being a lot of search volume for an Apple laptop for $1,000 with a solid state drive is pretty low.

So what we want to do here is add a noindex tag to those two-plus facet options, and that will again help us control crawl bloat and indexation bloat.

Already set up faceted nav? Think about keyword search volume, then go back and whitelist

The final thing I want to mention here, I touched on it a little bit earlier. But essentially, if you’re doing this after the fact, after the faceted navigation is already set up, which you probably are, it’s worth, again, having a strong think about where there is keyword search volume. If you do this, it’s worth also taking a look back a few months in to see the impact and also see if there’s anything you might want to whitelist. There might be a certain set of facets that do have search volume, so you might want to throw them back into the index. It’s worth taking a look at that.

That’s what faceted navigation is as a quick intro. Thank you for watching. I’d be really interested to hear what you guys think in the comments. Again, like I said, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. So I’d be really interested to hear what’s worked for you, or if you have any questions, please ask them below.

Thank you.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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GatherUp Answers the Question: You Have a Business Listing; Now What? Get Customer Reviews

GetFiveStars recently rebranded as GatherUp. The company says the new name better conveys how it helps businesses leverage their online business listings and reviews. Co-founder Mike Blumenthal told us in an exclusive interview that getting online business listings is only the beginning. It’s how you leverage those listings, and the associated customer reviews that often appear on listings and in search results, that make all the difference.

Get Customer Reviews and Much More

Business listings and online reviews have become increasingly important to online success. GatherUp is a service that helps businesses:

encourage satisfied customers to leave both direct reviews and public online reviews; get notified of new customer reviews and efficiently respond to them; aggregate and embed reviews on the business’s own website; manage the data that appears about the business in search results; and learn from reviews and improve service.

GatherUp, now based in Minnesota, launched in 2013 under the name GetFiveStars.  But increasingly they found the name didn’t convey all it did for small businesses, franchises and midsize to large businesses, according to Blumenthal.

“When we started out, our main purpose was to help businesses get more online positive reviews. Back then the name ‘Get Five Stars,’ which referred to 5-star reviews, aptly described what we did,” says Blumenthal.

“Fast forward to today, and the product does so much more. We now help businesses go beyond getting more reviews. We go several steps further and position them to ‘own’ their reviews.

“That puts business owners and managers in charge. They can display those reviews where they matter. And with our tools they can gain insights from those reviews. It’s an end-to-end offering.”

Google as Your New Home Page

Blumenthal says the online world is continuously evolving.  Online reviews are more important than ever, leaving business owners scrambling to discover the ins and outs.

“An important part of what we deliver is a system that helps business owners and managers learn from customer reviews and improve. We help ‘gather up’ reviews that reflect a business’s real world word of mouth and put that information on their website.  We also help that business be more successful through analysis of what customers liked and didn’t like. Then businesses can take action to improve,” he adds.

Customer reviews are an incredibly valuable asset in today’s world, said Blumenthal. Businesses should take control of their customer reviews, not leave them to the whims of third party sites like Google, Facebook or Yelp.

But that doesn’t mean search engine and review sites like Google aren’t important.

To the contrary, Google, especially, is crucial, asserts Blumenthal.  “We advise small businesses to think of Google as your new Home page. Your Google brand result is one of your most important pages on the internet. That is not to say it can replace your website. It can’t. But your Google presence should reflect the best your business has to offer. People searching will see how you appear in Google and make immediate judgments.”

“Seventy percent (70%) of new leads start at Google,” Blumenthal says.  The support for that statistic comes from GatherUp data.

“While traditional word of mouth remains important for all businesses, an in-store case study indicated that most new users were coming from online. We studied strong user intent signals — phone calls, driving directions, messages, contact form fills — from all online sources.  Google was the number one spot for new users to take action to connect with a business. And that behavior was strongly influenced by Google showing customer reviews from the business website as well as reviews from the likes of Google and Facebook,” he adds.

And what is the next best source for new customers, after Google?  The business website is a strong second. Facebook, a distant third.

You Have a Business Listing. Now What?

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have no control over how your business appears in Google results, insists Blumenthal. There are a number of things you can do.

Get and claim business listings. Make sure they are accurate.

But that’s only the start.  Think beyond the listing, urges Blumenthal. Have a strategy to ‘market’ your customer reviews.

“One of the best ways to succeed across these new realities is to fully understand what your customers are saying. Ask them for your own reviews, known as first party reviews.

Then use that ‘user generated content’ to reinforce your marketing by improving your processes and improving your website. Build content around the things customers said they liked most about your business. Embed customer reviews in your site using schema markup, which our product does automatically for you. In turn, this will improve your Google results,” he says.

In other words, take great care of your customers. Care about what they think.  Encourage them to share the great things about you they believe. And when they do, give that content a boost to make sure those good things appear far and wide online.

“It’s a winning formula in today’s landscape,” says Blumenthal.

Image: GatherUp.com

This article, “GatherUp Answers the Question: You Have a Business Listing; Now What?” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Whatever the business size may be, it is necessary to make the online visibility of the business strong to survive in the viable world. www.seojobtraining.in/blog/2014/11/15/digital-marketing-t…

Digital marketing tips for best results | ITProPortal

Aug 17, 2018 … Creating a sound digital marketing campaign is more than using catchy words and fancy images. There are various factors that must be taken …

Digital Marketing Tips That Work

Apr 16, 2018 … Reinvigorate your marketing plan and your business’s sales using these four simple but effective strategies.

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Apr 24, 2017 … As a brand how can you make sure you’re maximizing performance and boosting ROI with your digital ads? I’ve outlined some guidelines and …

What the Term “Relevant” Actually Signifies. Read to know more @ goo.gl/EVRL4l.

The web is getting so competitive; everyone’s already advertising on Facebook and Google. ▻▻Subscribe here to learn more of my secret SEO tips: …

Digital site marketing ideas blog sites bring you this one with a word of caution. Lots of companies utilize facebook on a day-to-day basis. Do not pretend that your companies do not utilize it at all. Let’s face it, Facebook influence on your service is both individual, addicting and incorporated into your organisation. Well, we at My Tech Manager are here to inform you that you require to be conscious how this can impact your digital site marketing. Here is our base list of how it can hurt your company online site.

1. Your site protected hosting can be compromise with code that connects your hosting platform to Facebook platform at the server (even shared server) level
2. Site style code with facebook embeded scripts can be utilized to share bad infection and malware to your valued clients
3. Utilizing #Facebook pixels to remarket your product or services can begin revealing advertisements from other companies consisting of however not restricted to your rivals up and down the street
4. Utilizing brand-new and none vetted content suppliers can leave your site material susceptible to surprise code that can damage your site success by sending out info about your organisation to the competitors
5. Without the appropriate security codes to secure your online site, you can leave your service, staff members, visitors and present consumers who go to your site open up to hacking themselves.

So these are My Tech Manager Top 5 effects of facebook hacking by some bad stars that can impact your digital site marketing and online existence. Get a site audit today done by an expert. My Tech Manager has the specialists who can assist you get this done. Simply drop us a line or post on among our social networks websites (twitter, google+ or Facebook) and among our friendly professionals can assist today.

Guy Tries To Rob Vape Store, Massively Fails

 vapeshop  Guy Tries To Rob Vape Store, Massively Fails vapeshop UNILAD.

I wear’’ t wan na make myself out to be some abandoner edgelord when I state robbing is ‘‘ cool ’, however’it simply is, isn ’t it?

.

Take away the bit with Heath Ledger contextualising his facial scars, and the only scene you actually keep in mind from The Dark Knight is the initial bank burglary –– put on’’ t lie.

.

I ’d even go as far to state all of the 21st and 20th centuries’ ’ biggest movies have actually been based around, or consist of, a break-in of some sort.

Though the majority of us get sweaty when nipping in to McDonald’’ s to snatch some sugar sachets in those difficult days prior to payday, there’’ s a part of our DNA that crave the adrenaline of effectively barging your method into someplace and taking whatever; screaming and withdrawing a weapon, ‘‘ Everybody down and I’’ ll blow ya f *** ing brains out!’ ’ Boys will be young boys, I think!

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Guy Attempts To Rob Vape Store, Fails Miserably

Probably the worst break-in effort of perpetuity

Posted by UNILAD on Friday, 7 September 2018

What I wear’’ t crave, is vape stores. Call me negative, call me snide, vaping simply doesn’’ t sit right with this brother. The odor, the taste, the fume, the noise –– I believe it’’ s a widely w ** k gadget.

So when I take a look at this video of some butterfingers asshat (who might or might not be Fred Durst) bungling a burglary of a vape store, I get unfortunate.

Not that I want damage on any innocent hard-working person, however a little bit of aggro may have been the kick up the arse these vapers required to begin smoking cigarettes genuine, or simply use up another pastime that doesn’’ t impress anybody beyond a tumblr feed.

Instead, the burglar in concern drops his weapon prior to can even verbalise his objectives and runs, dropkicking the door en route out.

 Guy Tries To Rob Vape Store, Massively Fails male vaping 1 Wikimedia Commons.

Truly unusual, amusing video footage that in all severity might’’ ve ended a lot even worse. Now if we must, let’’ s talk about vape life.

According to statistics from the World Health Organisation , there has actually been a consistent however little reduction in the variety of cigarette smoker around the world considering that the turn of the centuries, with figures dropping from 1.14 billion to 1.1 billion. Vaping is a completely various another tune.

There had to do with 7 million vapers in 2011. In 2016, that soared to a tremendous 35 million. Marketing research group Euromonitor approximated the number o grownups who vape will encompass nearly 55 million by 2021.

As much as I may like to wash the vaping neighborhood, its an ever growing market.

 Guy Tries To Rob Vape Store, Massively Fails GettyImages 630680572 Getty.

The worldwide vapour items market is now approximated to be worth $22.6 bn (££ 17.1 bn)– up from $ 4.2 bn a simple 5 years back.

The United States, Japan and the UK are the greatest markets. Vapers in the 3 nations invested a combined $16.3 bn on smokeless tobacco and vaping items in 2016.

European nations such as Sweden, Italy, Norway and Germany likewise include in the leading 10.

If you have a story you’’d like to inform us, go on and contact us by emailing stories@unilad.co.uk.

.

Read more: money.cnn.com

Infotech Blog Site – 8 Reasons Social Network Marketing Is Essential For Companies – Infotech Blog Site

Social network is quickly turning into one of the significant elements of digital marketing that offers amazing advantages that assist to reach countless customers worldwide.Any entrepreneur who is not using this profitable platform will be losing out on a remarkable marketing chance. Social network makes it much easier for you to get the word out concerning your objective and your services or items.

Your clients are now communicating with other brand names on social networks and you will be losing out on financially rewarding chances if you cannot engage your customers through typical social platforms.

Here are 8 reasons social networks marketing is necessary for your service.

.Enhanced Brand Awareness.

Social media is a worry-free and lucrative digital marketing platform that can assist to improve the presence of your service. To obtain begun, you must develop social networks profiles for your business and begin connecting with customers. By utilizing different social networks techniques, you will substantially improve your brand name acknowledgment. It is necessary to have various social networks pages for your business and develop a broad audience with constant and routine posts. Entrepreneur can enhance their user experience and brand name exposure by investing a number of hours a week on their social networks marketing projects.

.Cost-efficient.

Social media marketing is rather cost-efficient compared with other marketing techniques. For practically all the social networking platforms, it is totally free to sign and produce an account up. If you choose to utilize paid marketing on social media, make sure that you constantly begin little. With social networks marketing being budget-friendly, you will absolutely get a greater roi and have a larger spending plan for all your other service and marketing costs. By investing a long time and loan, you can considerably improve your conversion rates and get a roi on the loan that you invested.

.More Inbound Traffic.

If you do not market your company on various social networks platforms, you will be restricting your incoming traffic. Undoubtedly, customers who recognize with your organisation are most likely looking for comparable keywords that you have actually ranked for. This suggests that if you do not utilize social networks in your marketing method, you will not connect to customers who utilize social networks. Every social networks profile that you contribute to your marketing mix will be an entrance to your site, and each piece of material you publish will be another chance to get a brand-new customer. You will be efficiently opening your service to a more comprehensive range of flexible customers from all over the world when you market your organisation on social media.

.Much Better Search Engine Rankings.

Even though publishing your brand name’’ s message on social networks will get your company traffic, to attain a considerable success you need to apply more effort. Seo is substantial for obtaining greater page rankings and getting more natural traffic to your company site. To rank much better through social networks, you need to develop exceptional quality material that will incorporate your targeted keywords. Material such as infographics, blog sites, worker images and company info will assist make your brand name’’ s social networks profile more interesting and reliable. You will begin developing a social media neighborhood where your fans can like and even share your material when you begin publishing quality material for your service. Social network will offer you lots of chances to be in front of market influencers who will supply link backs and blog about your company, and this will straight improve your online search engine rankings. This is why you need to buy the finest digital marketing projects for your company.

.Engage with Customers.

Social media is a terrific method of engaging and connecting with consumers. You will have more opportunities of conversion when you interact more with your audience. You need to guarantee that you develop a two-way interaction with your target audience so that you can quickly cater to their interests and dreams. Engaging and interacting with your consumers is one method of winning their attention and communicating your brand name message to them. With reliable social networks marketing, your brand name will have the ability to connect to a bigger audience and develop itself without much inconvenience.

.Enhances Brand Loyalty.

One significant goal of nearly every organisation is to establish a faithful consumer base. Brand name commitment and consumer complete satisfaction are vital to establishing a big social networks neighborhood for your service. This is why you have to engage with your target market routinely and establish a strong bond with them. Constantly keep in mind that social networks is not simply limited to presenting brand-new services and products or marketing projects. Consumers have the tendency to see these platforms as fantastic service channels where they can straight interact with the brand names they like. Millennials need interaction with their preferred brand names, and this is why companies have to carry out social networks marketing so that they can get the attention of the most prominent customers.

.Develop Brand Authority.

Communication with customers is exactly what will make your organisation more effective, construct brand name commitment, and boost consumer fulfillment. When customers see your service publishing on social networks, responding to their concerns and publishing initial material, this will develop a more favorable image on their minds. By communicating with your target customers regularly, it shows that you and your organisation appreciate your customers. You can permit them to promote your company for you when you get numerous pleased clients that are singing concerning their purchase experience.

.Much Better Customer Satisfaction.

Social media is an excellent interaction and networking platform. With the support of these platforms, you can produce a voice for your organisation which is important in enhancing the total picture of your brand name. When they get individualized reactions rather of a automatic or digital message, consumers will value your organisation more. It reveals that you are mindful to the requirements of your visitors and you intend to provide them the finest experience when you acknowledge every remark.

It lacks a doubt that social networks marketing has a number of benefits for both recognized brand names and start-ups. By frequently upgrading your social networks method on various platforms, it will assist to increase traffic, increase SEO, enhance brand name commitment, and make sure more client complete satisfaction. Your rivals are absolutely marketing on social networks every day, so you need to likewise sign up with the bandwagon prior to your rivals take your possible clients. The earlier you begin on social networks marketing, the much faster you will see considerable development in your company.

The post 8 Reasons Why Social Media Marketing Is Important For Businesses appeared initially on Information Technology Blog .

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Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Generating and retaining customers is the lifeblood of every small business in the world. Which is why it’s no surprise that business owners find marketing the #1 biggest challenge.

We recently ran a survey with 304 business owners to uncover their biggest interests and challenges when running a business. Around 33% said marketing was their biggest challenge, money and time were close behind. Advertising was also on the list.

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

It’s clear that getting repeat business, retaining customers and generating new ones is a huge focus point for all business owners. The question is, how do you do marketing and advertising effectively? How do you attract new customers with a positive ROI?

Here, I’ll share nine of the most effective marketing strategies for small businesses. From search engine marketing to social media advertising, you’re about to get a ton of proven ideas to grow your business strategically.

1. A Website for Conversions, Not Fancy Design

When creating or optimizing a small business website, the design always seems to be the top priority. Indeed, many business owners fret over image sizes and shades of color. But what about its ability to attract new customers? Leading the website traffic down the right path to convert them into a customer seems to go out of the window in favor of design.

Yes, design is important. However, it should serve the function of the website — to generate new customers — not the other way around. So, what makes for a conversion-driven website? At the very least, your home page must include these elements:

Headline: What is the value proposition of your offering? What makes you different? The headline should grab the attention of the visitor and compel them to keep reading.
Calls-to-action: What do you want the visitor to do? Should they call you directly, fill out a form or buy from your website? Having a clear call-to-action will encourage visitors to take the next step in the relationship with you.
Benefit-driven copywriting: The content on your homepage (and product pages) must focus on the benefits that your product or service brings to the customer. It should talk about their challenges, not facts about your business. People care about how you can help them. Elements such as awards and years in business can help with trustworthiness, but should be secondary to what you do for your customers.
Social proof: Start collecting customer testimonials and wear them on your website like a badge of honor. You can also include reviews from third party sites (such as Google Reviews) and logos of any publications you’ve been featured in.
Contact information: Make your contact details easy to find. If you rely on telephone enquiries, ensure your phone number is in the header. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, make it easy for people to find you.
Visual content: The imagery you use should enforce what you’re offering. If you sell physical products, use imagery that illustrates them in use.

Bighorn Law prominently displays their phone number in the navigation bar. They also include a relevant clear headline and call-to-action relevant to the various locations they serve:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Whatever the action you want people to take, make sure you’re encouraging them take it!

2. Optimize for Local SEO

Once you have a conversion-driven website, it’s time to drive traffic. According to Search Engine Journal, 93% of online experiences start with a search engine. In other words, most of your customers will find you via Google.

Which is why it’s important you make it easy for prospects to find you in a sea of competitors. This means optimizing your website for SEO.

For small businesses, local SEO is the holy grail of digital marketing channels. Here are some components to keep in mind when running a local SEO campaign:

Optimize title and meta descriptions: These two elements dictate how you appear in the search engine. If you’re a plumber and operate in the Austin, Texas area, you’d want the keyword “plumber austin” to appear in your title and meta description.
Claim your Google My Business listing: By claiming your Google My Business (GMB) listing, you increase your chances of exposure on the search engine. This means appearing in directories as well as Google Maps:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Generate Reviews: Not only does your average rating contribute to social proof, it can also help your ranking in the local search results. Encourage your customers to leave reviews whenever possible.
Ensure your NAP matches: The NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) on your website must match the one you include in your GMB listing.

By ensuring your free local listing is set up and fully optimized, you’re more likely to attract more clicks, leads and customers.

3. Create a Funnel that Nurtures

Not all visitors to your website will be ready to buy right away. Which is why it’s important you have a call-to-action at all stages of the funnel.

What are these funnel stages? Typically, they include:

Top-of-funnel (TOFU): These are people who are entering the awareness stage and are looking for a solution to their problem.
Middle-of-funnel (MOFU): At this stage, potential customers are researching specific products and services to fulfil their need.
Bottom-of-funnel (BOFU): The prospect is ready to buy. They’ll be choosing from a selection of vendors. It’s your job to make sure it’s you.

Generate TOFU leads by offering something of value in exchange for their details. This can include educational material (such as ebooks and whitepapers) or product-related offers (like discounts).

To attract these TOFU leads, create content that delivers value upfront. You’ll learn how to do this in #6. MOFU content, on the other hand, should talk about their specific problems and the different ways they can solve it (including your offering).

Finally, BOFU content should focus on getting the prospect to become a customer. This content might include competitor comparisons, spec sheets and pricing tables. With all this content in hand, you can use email marketing to capture lead information at each stage of the funnel and nurture them into customers.

4. Identify Local & Industry Influencers

Influencer marketing has become a practice of its own over the last 24 months. For those not in the know, influencer marketing is where brands partner with social media “influencers” who have access to sizable audiences in order to promote their products and services.

While it may appear to be reserved for bigger brands, the art of influencer marketing is widely available to small businesses thanks to the rise of micro-influencers.

Micro-influencers are those with a smaller yet niche audience of engaged followers. They don’t cost as much, meaning it’s an affordable option for small businesses. Not only that, but they tend to receive a higher level of engagement than “major” influencers.

Using Instagram as an example, search for accounts that share similar interests to your audience or those based in your target geo. For example, if you run a burger restaurant, you could search for your town name to find the top posts:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Then, look through the accounts associated with these top posts. Identify those with 20,000 to 100,000 followers, as these fit the “micro-influencer” criteria:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

From here, engage with these micro-influencers to get on their radar. Do this by liking and commenting on their posts. Once you’ve done this a few times, send them a direct message (DM) to see if they’d be interested in working with you.

Offer freebies and in exchange for the exposure to their account. Work with them to create engaging content. Remember, Instagram is a social platform that thrives off high-quality and shareable photos. Make sure your content fits this criteria.

5. Optimize the Customer Experience

Customer service is no longer just about after-sales care. The entire relationship must be optimized to delight prospects, customers and advocates alike. This is known as customer experience, which encapsulates marketing, sales and customer support together into one cohesive strategy.

IKEA has one of the most recognizable customer experience strategies in the entire world. From the meatballs to the guided walkways where their furniture is setup, everything has been cleverly designed to delight the customer.

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

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So, what makes a great customer experience? Some say it’s about “sweating the small things” and going the extra mile. But to do that your entire business needs to be working towards the same goal.

This means making every touch-point with your business a delightful one. From talking to sales reps to browsing your website. Here’s a quick process to coming up with a good customer experience strategy:

Step 1: Create a Vision

Great customer experience puts the customer first. How can you be different and more brilliant than the competition? Are you dissatisfied with the status-quo? Brainstorm with your employees and come up with a mission statement.

Step 2: Understand the Customer Journey

How do your customers make decisions and research solutions and new products? To uncover this insight, talk to them directly. Conduct in-depth research and create segments for each customer category.

Step 3: Collaborate

Remember, customer experience means bringing every part of your business together. Collaborate with all of your employees to come up with the best customer experience strategy possible. Enable and empower them to serve your customers as best they can.

Step 4: Execute

Start making it convenient for customers to buy from you, easy to reach you and personalize the entire experience for each of your customer segments.

Over time, you must measure the effectiveness of your customer experience strategy. You can do this by running customer satisfaction surveys to see how happy customers are with different areas of your business.

When done right, customer experience can become your biggest differentiator. Take the time to delight your customers in every corner of your business as possible.

6. Create Valuable & Entertaining Content

As mentioned earlier, not every prospect will be ready to buy from you right away. Which is why it’s important to build a relationship early by delivering value up front.

How? With content marketing.

Content marketing is the practice of creating entertaining or value-driven (how-to) content to capture a wider audience. For example, Ozone Coffee uses content to share stories and attract an audience of passionate customers who care about social responsibility:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Define your content strategy by talking to your customers and uncovering the topics they care about. These topics don’t need to be directly related to your product, but they should be relevant.

In the example from Ozone above, they provided a healthy baking recipe for their readers. It has nothing to do with their business aside from the fact that baked goods taste delicious alongside coffee, but either way they know it’s a subject their customers care about.

From there, create a schedule and stick to it. This could be once a week or even once a month. Whatever your cadence, make sure it’s consistent.

When you publish new content, promote it through your social platforms, email list and any other channels you’re active on. Ensure you’re attracting a wider audience by encouraging your followers and customers to share.

7. Test Facebook Ads

Paid media platforms like Facebook Ads can provide a wildly positive ROI when done right. For example, design service Design Pickle generated over $5,800 in monthly recurring revenue from their Facebook ads:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

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Not only can you hyper-target your exact ideal audience, but you can generate leads with a small budget before scaling up.

To cover the intricacies of Facebook Ads would take an entire guide in itself. Instead, I’ll cover some basic principles and offer an example so you can see them in action:

Strategy: What do you hope to achieve? Are you promoting your products or content? Who is your primary audience? Make sure you have a documented strategy first-and-foremost.
Objective: This is the first step when setting up your Facebook Ads. Objectives include brand awareness, traffic and lead generation. Select the objective that makes the most sense to your strategy.
Target Audience: This is where the real power of Facebook Ads lies. Define targeting variables such a geographical location, gender, age — all the way to psychographic elements like interests and behavior.
Budget: Set a daily budget, schedule when you want your ads to run and select an optimization method. For example, “link clicks” will optimize your budget spend for generating traffic to your website.
Ad Format: Your ad creative can be served in image, carousel or video formats. Make sure you have this ad creative in advance by following Facebook’s guidelines.
Monitor: Keep a close eye on your Facebook Ad campaign. Monitor elements such as cost-per-click (CPC) as well as on-page metrics like bounce rate and avg. time on site.

In the example below, pediatric dentist Route 32 use engaging imagery to capture attention quickly. They also use benefit-driven copy with a clear call-to-action, making it clear what they want their audience to do:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

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Imagery is the most important element to Facebook Ads. It’s what will stop your audience from scrolling through their news feed. Use vibrant colours and include small amounts of text that get to the crux of what you’re offering.

8. Create Native Social Media Content

Of course, you don’t have to pay to play in the world of social media. Indeed, you can create an organic audience of engaged followers just by creating content they care about.

The process and strategy varies from platform to platform. Here, I’ll share some great examples from other small businesses and how you can emulate them for your own success.

In the example below, 33 Aces Brewing use their Instagram account to let their branding shine through while creating engaging photography:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

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Instagram users are drawn to high-quality photos. 33 Aces uses simple photography principles while showing the day-to-day life at their brewery to show their followers what goes on under the hood.

In this next example, Bean Box have used their platform to create a viral contest. When followers sign up, they receive a $10 gift card and the opportunity to win a prize worth $500:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

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When someone signs up for the contest, they have the option to share with their friends for more entries. This incentivizes sharing, as they have a greater chance of winning if they do.

Finally, this example from Bradbury & Partners shows how you can blend work with an element of fun in your content:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

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The overarching principle: create content that works in the context of each social platform. People prefer high-quality photography on Instagram, so make sure you give it to them.

Similarly, everyone loves a good Facebook contest, so find new ways to tap into this sharing behavior to expand your audience.

9. Don’t Neglect Partnerships

There are other small businesses in your marketplace who have access to your ideal customer. You can partner with these businesses to promote each other’s products and services.

Victoria Bennett, Partnership and Sponsorship Director at Barclays Personal and Corporate Banking, says it best:

“To tap into one another’s expertise, contacts and customers. A combined approach can be more powerful than flying solo when executed properly.”

Start by finding potential partners in your space. For example, a local music venue could partner with restaurants in the area to promote gigs in exchange for poster space inside the venue.

Events are another effective method of tapping into each others’ audiences. That same music venue could partner with restaurants to offer a variety of different foods for a weekend festival, tapping into each other’s audiences to spread the word.

Whoever you partner with, and however you do it, make sure it’s mutually beneficial. The partnership should work towards the goals of both businesses, no matter what they are.

How are you planning to grow your business this year and beyond? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively” was first published on Small Business Trends


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In this episode of Suite Spot, we concentrate on the rise of voice search in the hotel industry. Amber Wojcek, content manager at Travel Media Group, joins host Ryan Embree to study the impact of voice search in the industry and where it might be heading.

In the What’s News segment, Ryan speaks to several reports with some powerful statistics on the growing trend of voice search. The report shows the increase over time of voice and its projections for the future. In The Suite Spot, Ryan and Amber start by defining the difference between voice and traditional search. Next, Amber gives hoteliers tips on what they can do to optimize their websites for voice search and shares best practices on voice search traffic conversion. Ryan and Amber also predict what hoteliers can expect in the future of voice search in regards to reservations and guest experience.

In the Q&A segment, we answer a hotelier who questions if he should shift the majority of their focus and time from traditional desktop bookings to mobile bookings. As a reminder, to submit a question for future episodes, call or text 407-984-7455.

Resources:

http://www.digitalhotelier.com/blog/everything-need-know-voice-search-hotel-bookings/
https://www.travelmediagroup.com/optimize-voice-search/
https://www.phocuswright.com/Travel-Research/Research-Updates/2018/Voice-Still-Unskilled-for-Travel-Planning/
https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3482117/

Episode Transcript

Our podcast is produced as an audio resource. Transcripts are generated using speech recognition software and human editing and may contain errors. Before republishing quotes, we ask that you reference the audio.

Ryan Embree: Welcome to Suite Spot where hoteliers check in and we check out what’s trending and hotel marketing. I’m your host, Ryan Embree. Hello everyone and welcome to another exciting episode of the Suite Spot. I am your host, Ryan Embree, and today we are going to be talking about voice search, a very popular subject and trend in the hospitality industry. And we’re going to be reviewing some statistics. We’re going to be reviewing, how travelers are using voice search and we’re actually gonna go into the future of voice search. So let’s go ahead and jump right in. We’re going to go into our What’s News segment and for today’s What’s News segment. We’re going to be looking at two different reports that were published on think with Google. And in these reports they gave some pretty powerful statistics as far as what’s happening right now with voice search and the trends year over year.

Ryan Embree: So the first statistic that that is mentioned in this report has to do with the percentage of searches that are now done by voice and this report published that according to Google, 20 percent of all searches are now done by voice in 2018. That’s a pretty incredible stat. That’s one out of every five times that someone goes on Google, they’re actually searching via voice rather than typing. And this trend is gonna continue to grow according to these statistics. Another interesting fact that Google published was the popular phrase in “near me,” right? We’ve seen that very, very popular in the hospitality industry, the hotel industry when travelers are searching for “hotels near me,” near attractions.

Ryan Embree: But that phrase “near me” grew more than a hundred and 30 percent year over year. So travelers are now asking for more information about their location and what’s around them. Uh, so that is ultra critical for hotels to know when they’re looking to attract these travelers that are doing these searches. So not only are we going to be looking at the stats and voice search as it is today, but also we want to prepare our hoteliers for what voice search holds in the future. So in saying that, another article that we wanted to bring to your attention was actually an article published by Gartner Inc, which predicts that in 2020, 30 percent of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen, which is a pretty incredible stat when you think about that. So this is a fast growing technological trend that hoteliers need to be prepared for. So what better way to prepare for this then bring in our very own Amber Wojcek who has done some extensive research on voice search, she’s written some blog articles about the subject and in today’s Suite Spot we’re going to be interviewing her and talking about what this is all about and what the future holds for this growing trend. Hello Amber, thanks for joining me.

Amber Wojcek: Thanks for having me back.

Ryan Embree: Absolutely. Um, so let’s go ahead and get [started]. Just start off pretty simply. You know, what’s the difference when we talk about voice search and traditional search?

Amber Wojcek: Yeah. So if we’re going back to basics searches generally when you open a browser on your phone, your computer and you type something into Google or Bing or Yahoo and then Google gives you back what it thinks you’re looking for. So the only difference is on voice searches, you generally hit a button or use a voice command and then speak your search query instead of typing it. So some examples of that would be, you know, your Siri on Apple products or Cortana if you use a Microsoft computer all the way to Amazon Alexa and Google Home. So the voice commands that start that are, you know, if you say, “okay, Google” or “Alexa” or you can generally hold down a button and then it will activate your voice search on your device.

Ryan Embree: And as we kind of talked about it and the What’s News, this is a very big growing trend when it comes to how travelers are, you know, not only looking for hotels but just, you know, finding information in general.

Amber Wojcek: Yeah, definitely. And I think you’re going to see a growth with that that goes along with, uh, just how many devices are out there because once you get a phone that has this capability, it kind of trains you how to use it and you’ll just keep getting more comfortable asking more of it the longer you have them. So I think it’s definitely gonna keep growing.

Ryan Embree: I agree. And you know, I think I’m really glad we’re doing this topic because I think a lot of the times when, you know, you mentioned it right with Amazon and Alexa and Apple and Siri and even the Google Assistants, hoteliers have really only thought of that in one way as far as, you know, guests interacting with the hotel. So whether that be Alexas in the room and you know, asking for information or something from the hotel, like they need more towels or something like that. And we’ve seen these companies and you know, we’ve talked about even at HITECH, how, you know, this was a big push. But I think it’s really interesting to take a look at how travelers are using voice search to actually make their booking decisions. They’re looking for hotels and they’re looking for information to make a actual booking decision.

Amber Wojcek: Yeah. And I think what’s important when, when you look at this, uh, you know, kind of customer journey is there’s a lot of stops along the way between when someone decides they want to take a trip and when they book that hotel. Um, and I think voice search is still kind of in the middle of that when people are researching, Google calls it micromoments. So if you’re in a waiting room or something, you’re just Googling for a few minutes to try and figure out some details of your trip, but you’re not necessarily ready to make the big purchase decision. And that’s kind of where voice is right now. But we’re going to see if it’s gonna grow to be kind of the all encompassing way to search and make your buying decisions.

Ryan Embree: Absolutely. And, you know, it’s funny because hotels, his past, you know, decade have been doing such a big push to be up there on those desktop searches, right when people go and they say, you know, hotels near me or hotels near a particular city, they are doing everything that they can to be up at the top of that organic search on computers and on mobile. But now we’ve introduced a whole other platform. What this voice search. So what’s the most important thing hotel you should do to optimize that to make sure that they are coming up on these voice searches?

Amber Wojcek: Sure. So I think the best thing to remember right now – and this could change in the future – is you can assume that if someone’s doing a voice search, then they’re probably on a mobile device. Uh, people aren’t yet at the point where we can use Alexas and Google Homes to book. I’m sure they’re pushing for that in the future, but we’re just not there. Uh, so generally someone’s going to be on their phone or tablet. I’m not sure of how common it is to use your desktop voice search assistant. But we would usually assume that you’re on mobile, so what’s the most important thing is that your website is mobile friendly, that it resizes to fit the screen so people can read what you have on the page, look at your photos, and of course use your booking engine on any device. And then secondly, I think you want to really think about your SEO on that website. Generally, what’s really interesting is when you look at the actual search queries people are using, when you search on your phone and you’re typing, you’ll use much shorter sentences, you might say like “hotels in Charlotte,” but if you’re using voice search, people tend to talk to it like they’re talking to a person.

Amber Wojcek: So you might open up and say, “okay, Google, find me cheap hotels in Charlotte that are pet friendly.” So you really need to think about those, what we call long tail keywords and implementing them in your website, your content, and really writing about everything that your hotel offers to help you come up further in search results.

Ryan Embree: That’s a really great point, that language that travelers are going to be using on a computer versus, you know, maybe talking to a device so you know,. Let’s walk them through the process, right? That traveler does end up finding that hotel through web search or I’m sorry, voice search. How do you convert them?

Amber Wojcek: So honestly the best thing you can do is open up your own website on a mobile phone and see how it shows up. You need to remember that in website terms, we call something above the fold, just like in a newspaper. What’s on your screen before you start scrolling is above the fold. So you want your most important information up there. We’ll generally include a booking engine are you know, important, special, something like that. And then when you look at a phone, it’s vertical and your room above the fold is much smaller. So you want to make sure that people don’t have to scroll really, really far before they get to the information that they need. You want to make sure your navigation and your menu is set up so that they can get to it really easily. And just kind of make sure that on a phone it’s the best experience possible and it’s just as good as being on a desktop as far as getting people the information they need to feel comfortable booking and getting them to that booking engine.

Ryan Embree: So one thing that I’m hearing from you a lot in this conversation is mobile. Yes. Is there any research that tells us how, how many travelers are booking on mobile?

Amber Wojcek: Yeah, there definitely is. Some of it’s a few years old, so I’ve, we’re keeping our eyes out for if there’s any newer research from Google, but from some of the most research recent research I’ve found it said about a third of leisure and half of business travelers have booked their travel on mobile. Um, and it is also unclear how many started with voice or even ended with voice and got there. What is also really interesting is you’re looking at a much lower conversion rate though on mobile. So even though people are getting more comfortable booking on mobile, it’s still not everyone. Um, so if you are looking at travel websites in general, their conversion rate’s about two point four percent on desktop, on mobile, it drops to just point seven percent. So what we’re seeing is again, those micromoments where people are researching on their phone and then once they’ve made a choice, they’re still kind of switching to desktop to make that booking decision. Um, but I think we’re definitely gonna in the next few years see a lot more growth in that booking on mobile.

Ryan Embree: I think so too. And you know, that is my kind of leads into my next question is the future of some of this technology, especially voice search. I mean we talked about it and the, What’s News about, you know, where this is expected to grow in the next couple of years. So where do you think the future of voice search is headed in this industry?

Amber Wojcek: Yeah, so I think it is really interesting how Marriott, I think it was Marriott, right? That put it Alexas in every room – is coming. So the way that they’re securing it is it’s really more of a way where someone inputs their search query, they’ll ask, you know, their Alexa for more towels and that kind of sends a text to the front desk to fulfill that request. So it’s a very, like one in one out relationship, it’s not more complicated. Um, in the same way voice search is a much higher level, top of funnel way to search. And really when you think about it, it took us a long time to get comfortable with mobile. That half of business travelers are booking on mobile. For a long time, websites weren’t responsive, the font was too small, you’re worried you’d pick the wrong dates or your credit card wasn’t secure.

Amber Wojcek: Um, so that’s a lot of the reasons why people are still booking on desktop. And just in my own experience, I mean the voice assistants get it wrong a lot. Um, I mean every day at home I play a trivia game on my Alexa and I tried to play it today and it thought I wanted it to play a song and it started playing a song from my Spotify, which was bizarre and annoying and frustrating. So I can’t imagine that I would trust it even if I know the exact hotel name and city and dates, I don’t know [if] I would trust it right now to book me a hotel. Um, so we’re gonna have to keep an eye on kind of where the technology goes. Maybe now that they’re making the vocals or voice assistance with, you know, display screens where you could kind of double check what it’s doing. Um, but yeah, I think a lot of people are projecting by about 2020, which is really soon that people are gonna start being able to do these things and I think we’re going to see that companies like Amazon are investing a lot of money in being basically another OTA resource to compete with all of that. So, uh, unfortunately it’s a lot of, “We’ll see.” But I think it’s coming really soon.

Ryan Embree: and we’ve talked about this before. I mean, there’s definitely going to be some learning curve with some of this, with these, with these voice commands. Um, especially with, with integrating some of these voice commands within the hotel, there’s going to be some aspect of having to teach these travelers. What is, what is a command? What is a skill? Um, so I, I am right there with you. I think, you know, in a couple of years we’re gonna kind of see this blossom into what it potentially could do for hoteliers. Um, any final thoughts or closing thoughts about, you know, voice search?

Amber Wojcek: I mean I just think it’s a really fascinating section and I think it’s a good opportunity for hotels to kind of step up and optimize their websites. We saw when mobile did catch on as a way to book hotels, the OTAs, we’re kind of at the forefront of creating apps or better mobile websites and they took a lot of the market share. So now hotels are catching up a bit and I think that they have a big opportunity to kind of gain the trust back of travelers and mobile optimize their websites and get some direct bookings back.

Ryan Embree: Awesome. Awesome. Well we’re gonna go ahead and transition into our Q&A section here. Again, our Q&A segment is where we take questions from our listeners and hoteliers like you and answer them live on the air. So if you have a question about hotel digital marketing and you’re looking for some more information, we’d love to give you some insight on that question as a reminder, that phone number is 407-984-7455 again, 407-984-7455. And you can text or call that number. Okay. So for our Q&A segment today, we have a question that was texted in and they say, “I keep hearing the term mobile first. Should I forget about desktop and focus totally on mobile marketing?” So Amber, I’m going to pass this on to you.

Amber Wojcek: Yeah. So I think there’s actually a two pronged answer to this, one is, I mean, no, based on what we were just talking about, um, a lot of people are still really comfortable on desktop. Um, and there was actually some research that showed that 94 percent of travelers switch between devices while they book. So I’d assume that a lot are still coming to you from desktop. I think the second part of that is that there kind of isn’t a difference anymore between mobile and desktop. I think the New York Times actually just disabled their mobile.NewYorkTimes.com website because they are fully responsive now. Um, and you no longer can really have the mobile website in the desktop website. It’s all the same thing and you just need a good desktop website that also looks really good on mobile.

Ryan Embree: Right. And you know, with websites, responsiveness obviously is a huge factor. Um, it’s very, very critical, but also listing management, right? And making sure that your website is found on these listings.

Amber Wojcek: Yeah, definitely. So again, this will help both the desktop and mobile, so you don’t really need to think about it as two different things, you just want to make sure your business name and your address and your phone number are consistent anywhere you show up online. So whether it’s a Yelp listing or your website or TripAdvisor or Google or Facebook, that all of your contact information shows up the same way and that helps Google and search engines to know that you are the correct website when people are looking for you and that you’ll come up when people are looking for hotels near you.

Ryan Embree: And this also helps and facilitates with voice search, is that correct?

Amber Wojcek: Yeah, definitely because those listings are what feeds into something like Google maps or GPS system. So, [if] someone opens up their maps and just search searches for hotels. Then if your address is correct, you’ll show up and in one tap they’ll be able to call you and check your availability.

Ryan Embree: Yeah. And, you know, it is, is so frustrating to hear when, you know, with the investments that these hoteliers put in some of these websites to just have it kind of floating out there –

Amber Wojcek: Someone needs to be able to find you or else they won’t be staying with you.

Ryan Embree: Exactly. So, um, I think overall, yes, mobile is, is super critical. It’s going to, that trend’s going to continue. Um, but as of now, you know, people are still using desktops, uh, to, to book.

Amber Wojcek: Yeah. And I think you also need to think about your demographics as well. A lot of research about, you know, the big rises in mobile technology, it’s totally true. But you’ll see certain groups, maybe your millennial travelers are much more comfortable on mobile. Um, you know, if you have people staying at your hotel that are 55 and up, they’re probably gonna be more comfortable maybe searching on a desktop or calling and talking to a person there. So you want to make sure that they can, you know, find your phone number and get in touch with you.

Ryan Embree: Absolutely. Well very interesting stuff. I’m sure we’re going to have you back on, but I appreciate your time.

Amber Wojcek: Yeah, I’ll keep you posted on any changes.

Ryan Embree: Absolutely. So thank you so much, Amber.

Amber Wojcek: Thanks for having me.

Ryan Embree: Thank you all for listening today and have a fantastic rest of your day. To join our loyalty program, be sure to subscribe and give us a five star rating on iTunes. Suite Spot is produced by Travel Media Group, our editor is Anne Sandoval with cover art by Bary Gordon and content support by Amber Wojcek. I’m your host, Ryan Embree, and we hope you enjoyed your stay.

The post 06 – Optimizing for Voice Search appeared first on Travel Media Group.

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This cognitiveSEO Talks – On Search and Traffic episode brings to your attention a bunch of rare SEO tips and tricks and a frank all-SEO discussion with Andrea Pernici, a chief technology officer specialized in search engine marketing, design, and technical SEO, to mention just a few.  

 

From web analytics to mobile marketing, HTML & CSS, Andrea has it all: great digital marketing skills, an excellent understanding of the SEO landscape and a highly business-oriented approach. Therefore, there is nothing to prevent you from listening to the talk below. We guarantee you a good shot of know-how and a rare SEO approach you’ll learn a lot from. 

 

subscribe to cognitiveSE) youtube channel

 

 

Andrea Pernici is the Co-Founder of Search On Media Group and CTO and Co-Founder of 3BMeteo and he’s been working in the SEO field since the year 2005. His field of expertise and experience are very wide, from web analytics to design, search marketing and technical matters like coding, programming.

 

Aside from being a great guy and a brilliant pro, you need to know that Andrea played handball in the first league and if he were to choose another field to work apart from SEO, he would love to be a children books writer. 

The future digital marketing trends will probably be just “old stuff” with new names.

andrea pernici
ANDREA PERNICI

SEO senior consultant &CTO  @andreapernici / andreapernici.com

Andrea has a degree in Computer Science, he is also a teacher at various confs and, as himself confesses, he is sick for Web Performance, SEO, Web Marketing, CSS and he’s a Design lover. So, grab your pen and notebook, start listening to a great pro and enjoy a laid-back search marketing oriented discussion. 

I faced difficult periods when you suggest [your clients] to be honest but they see the competitors are not being honest and they are ranking better than you

andrea pernici
ANDREA PERNICI

SEO senior consultant & CTO  @andreapernici / andreapernici.com

 

 Tackled Topics: 

 

How the digital marketing trends will change in 2019
What is SEO really about
What are the most important aspects of SEO
GDPR (European Union General Data Protection Regulation) and SEO
Top OnPage and OffPage ranking factors that can help sites rank better
The biggest mistakes digital marketers and SEO pros are doing nowadays
How Google operates locally or in specific countries vs. how they operate globally
The set of skills any SEO professional should have

 

  Top 10 Marketing Nuggets:  

 

Google is very greedy of news articles, so it crawls a lot; if you reduce your response time even with a millisecond, you’ll increase your website’s capabilities. 6:29
Always try to use the free stuff Google offers and only with that you can obtain a lot of conversions. 9:23
The technical (SEO) is the foundation of everything you do. 11:35
Not always the search engine is the best place to find your customer. 13:41
The results of the GDPR action could be that the ranking would drop. 17:21
A future trend for sure will be the increase in progressive web mobile apps. 20:33
Developing lots of apps for lots of devices is often a waste of time. 21:06
An on-page optimization tip everyone should follow: check your robots.txt first. 25:57
You need to look at the SEO from a business perspective. Don’t concentrate on small things that cost money and have little impact. 32:33
The most important part is how you see the big picture. You may know the technical stuff, but if you don’t have the mindset to understand the things you need to do, you cannot be a great SEO. 45:36

 

The post How GDPR Affects Google Rankings & SEO with Andrea Pernici appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

Read more: cognitiveseo.com

What are some quick, low cost ways to generate fresh content and leads if you are a startup marketer with a lean team?

Michele Aymold

Michele Aymold

On this week’s episode of The Inbound Success Podcast, Parker Dewey VP of Marketing Michele Aymold shares what she’s focused on as she takes the reigns of marketing for this fast growing Chicago area startup. In her case, she’s applying lessons learned from her days running marketing for G2 Crowd and is using surveys to gather data on her audience and turn it into fresh content for the company while using lead nurturing funnels to keep Parker Dewey top of mind with survey respondents. 

Listen to the podcast to hear Michele’s tips for using surveys to generate leads and hear more about the results she’s gotten with this technique.

Transcript

Kathleen Booth (host): Welcome back to The Inbound Success Podcast. This is Kathleen Booth, and I’m your host. Today I’m excited to have with me Michelle Aymold, who is the VP of Marketing for Parker Dewey. Welcome, Michelle.

Michele: Hi. Thank you.

Kathleen: I’m interested to talk to you. Prior joining Parker Dewey, which I have heard described as a small start up in Chicago that is getting a lot of buzz, you were with G2 Crowd, which I think of as a large company just because G2 Crowd has been very visible to me in my career as a marketer.

Michele: That’s good. It means that I did a good job.

Kathleen: Well that’s what I was going to say. Obviously you did something right, because you know, maybe it wasn’t a very large company, but it was an established company that had an established marketing department. Certainly you grew it over time.

I want to start by having you tell our audience a little bit about yourself, but then I also want to hear a little bit about making that transition from a more established firm into a start up environment. Let’s just start there and see where it takes us.

Michele: I started my full-time marketing career back in 2007 just as I was finishing up a graduate degree. I think I thought I wanted to be a professor and that was a terrible idea. But I definitely worked hard through undergrad and grad school.

I’ve always just been really interested in how people make decisions. I think that knowledge that I was learning in school, it really led me to marketing because I think it helped me kind of get into a buyer’s shoes and think through the process so that I could build better campaigns to help them make those decisions.

I started working for the University of Illinois at Chicago and marketing some programs for them for non-traditional students. Found my way through tech and eventually found my way to G2 Crowd. That was a really awesome experience. I got to help grow the team. I love peer learning. I loved working there. The great part was, it was easy to get the customers to market for us.

Kathleen: Can you just state one word about what G2 Crowd is? In case somebody listening doesn’t know.

Michele: Yeah, totally. G2 Crowd is the largest business software review site, so anything, whether it’s an accounting tool, or a marketing automation tool. You can find reviews from real users on that site.

Kathleen: Yeah, it’s great. I know that when I am in conversations with prospective clients thinking of hiring impact, and I did the same in my prior agency, when they are trying to decide.

You know, we do a lot of work with HubSpot, and if they’re trying to decide, is HubSpot really worth it for me? We would always send them to G2 Crowd as like a nice, independent, third-party platform, where they could read reviews.

Michele: Exactly.

Kathleen: It’s super helpful for that kind of thing.

Michele: I think it makes you look smarter too, right? Like you can give your own opinion, but “hey, don’t listen to what I have to say, go ahead and read what others are saying as well.”

Kathleen: Yeah, exactly. So you were doing marketing at G2 Crowd, you did a great job, as we said, because you had me thinking it was a huge company. And then what made you make the move into the startup world? That’s just a very different environment.

Michele: I took a step back from building a big team to join in a little one, but I’m glad to hear there’s lots of buzz, and that means I’m working hard again and making it work.

Parker Dewey is super interesting to me and a passion of mine. What we’re doing is helping college students and recent graduates get that career experience they need for entry-level roles. We’re a freelance platform, and anything and everything that you can think about in intern or freelance or Dewey, we get the college students and recent grads to do it. They can add those skills to their resume, you get help, and then one thing that differentiates us is we’re not a recruitment firm, so if you’ve got a really great experience with someone, we encourage you to hire them. There’s no additional fee or anything, we just think of ourselves like the facilitators.

So, like I said, I mentioned that I started marketing at the University of Illinois at Chicago and just always been passionate about helping students sort of learn outside of the classroom.

Kathleen: You really did kind of come full circle and wind up back in that world of education. Even though it’s not technically an education company, there’s that link there. I think that’s kind of cool.

Michele: Absolutely. Yeah.

Kathleen: So, Parker Dewey. In my head I’m thinking of it like the Tinder of businesses and recent college grads.

Michele: Yeah, yeah.

Kathleen: What geographic area do you cover? Like, if I’m a company in Connecticut, can I use Parker Dewey?

Michele: Yes, please do. We’ve got students actually everywhere. It’s just US-based students for now. Who knows what the future will bring?

But again our goal really is to help anyone anywhere to get those students experience. A lot of the projects really lend themselves well to remote work. Like I’ve got a recent grad working on some social media for me this week. But then, because we’ve got networks or partnerships with the universities and colleges around the country. There could be someone that could come into your office and help you if needed too.

Kathleen: That’s great. I’m sure there are a lot of people listening who are now going to go out and look at your website and find solutions for all of the many things that they haven’t gotten done that they could’ve if they only had an eager young college grad to help.

Michele: Exactly.

Kathleen: I even have some things I might need.

Michele: Immediately when I heard about it, I was like “oh I have 20 things.”

Kathleen: Totally! Especially if you’re heading up a marketing team. I feel like I’m always drinking from a firehose.

So I’m curious, having gone through the experience, it sounded like you built the G2 Crowd marketing team from a very small team to what is becoming a much larger team.

As you come into Parker Dewey, it’s a smaller company with a smaller number of marketing resources. You obviously are going to have limited time and budget. Based on the experience you’ve had, what are you focusing on to produce results for Parker Dewey from and inbound marketing standpoint?

Michele: Yeah, so like I mentioned at G2 Crowd, I was lucky that I got the customers working for us, right? So once you got your first review at G2 Crowd, you are more likely to tell your other customers and your other prospects, “check this out, check this out.” So that was really helpful.

I’m actually starting to do something very similar here at Parker Dewey. Like I said, we’ve got this relationship with colleges and universities, and so as they start to have students and recent grads getting employed, getting this crucial experience, then they’re telling more of their students, “oh my gosh, you have to do this.” They’re also telling some of their business connections, whether that’s through the alumni network or what have you, “This is a great way that you can contact our students and get them working for you.”

So I’m big on getting everybody else to help me.

Kathleen: Yeah.

Michele: When you’re a small team, and you’ve got a limited budget, you rely on everyone else. So, that’s one thing that I’ve been working on.

Kathleen: How do you do that? Let’s actually dig into that a little bit deeper.

So you know that you want this virality, you want the colleges spreading the word, you want the students spreading the word, you want the businesses that hire them spreading the word.

Other than sitting back and hoping that that’s going to happen, how are you going about encouraging that behavior?

Michele: We all know from experience that there’s these pain points, but I think sometimes we feel, “It’s just me, I’m just overwhelmed, I’m just overworked, I’m just having trouble hiring my next hire.”

So what I’ve done at several companies I’ve worked through over the years, is work on the survey method. So, using the survey, getting people to answer some quick short questions about how they work and what their challenges are, and then turning that data into something that I can then present back to others.

My favorite example is actually just talking to someone like you and saying “Well we’ve helped other small businesses with this type of project, is that something that you need help with?”

And with that data, I mean I think it really helps to validate again, those paying points, and that there is a solution for you.

Kathleen: So, you put together a survey. Are you sending these surveys just to clients who have used your service already? Or are you sending it out to a broader audience?

Michele: No, to everyone. And actually so your audience probably was at INBOUND last year. For G2 Crowd we did something similar, just last year, at the INBOUND conference.

We were there asking questions about how people use reviews to make business decisions, how they trust them, if they trust them, what makes it trustworthy? And getting all that really valuable data that I can then turn around and turn into multiple pieces of content.

I’m a big fan of repurposing and I really just think, again, it all kind of goes back to that. We all sort of know we’ve got a problem, but when there’s a stat behind it, when there’s some data points behind it, it’s like oh yeah, it’s not just me, and I think that’s really reassuring.

Kathleen: Now, as a young firm that is still building its audience, how do you build a list for that survey? Like, if somebody’s listening and thinking “gosh I wanna try this,” I guess my first question is how do you determine who it should go to? And how do you build that list? But then the second really is also do you put in place any kind of incentives for people to actually respond?

Michele: Yeah, yeah, so couple different thoughts on that. First of all, I feel really lucky that Parker Dewey has a network already. Whether it’s through the Chicago entrepreneur scene, as well as through these colleges and universities that are just eager to partner with different innovative solutions to help their students transition from classroom to career.

So, I haven’t had to do much list-building yet, which is amazing. But back at other companies and back at other places, I think the thing is to cast sort of a broad net at first and have your survey respondents sort of filter themselves, so instead of just saying “I just want marketers to ask this,” but if you’ve got sort of connections in the network and a list, ask anybody to respond and have them identify their titles so that you could sort out and filter the data.

Michele: I definitely rely on my social networks and my in-person networks, and spreading the word that way.

And I think, again, what has seemed to have helped, you talked about rewards and incentives, a lot of times again, people just want that data to sort of understand how I measured up.

And so that’s always number one, before we even plunk down money for a prize or gift card, like let’s just see how many people will take it with the promise of the report in the end and we’ve been wildly successful to be perfectly honest.

Again, people just want this knowledge and want to learn from it.

Kathleen: Now do you have in your head when you send these surveys out, do you have like a certain minimum number of responses that you need so that you feel like the data you’re getting will be statistically significant?

Michele: Yeah, for sure. So when we just did our one last year — last fall with G2 Crowd — we got over 500. And our goal really at the time was 300 just for that particular project.

So getting more than 500 — we all felt really great about that and I have to thank the INBOUND attendees as well, because I think I hit up everybody.

But yeah, so it depends on your industry, obviously, and your niche. I don’t think anything under 100 is worth much. That said, I mean it’s easy for a marketer to say “hey I did a poll.”

I mean, I think it’s easy for a marketer to say, “Hey, I did a poll and here’s some responses I get.”

Kathleen: Smoke and mirrors, right?

Michele: Exactly. Yeah.

Kathleen: I guess my next question is really, do you have a personal feeling for how long you can make a survey and still expect people to respond, and do you set that expectation when you send it to them? Like, “this is five questions or this is two minutes.”

Michele: I think more about the time because every question’s sort of different. Sometimes you’ve got open ended ones in there that you really feel passionate about including and then maybe some ranking and things.

I also look back at the G2 crowd one we did last fall and think, “Oh, we really should have edited that more because I was really long winded.” We really could have rephrased it, but, again, when you’re running quickly to launch you kind of just get it out there and see what happens.

Michele: Like I said, I kind of try and pay attention to time. Time is money. Time is valuable and so I try and keep it under five minutes for the respondent.

Another good tip I learned, and I think it was from a graduate school class, so maybe it’s the only thing I took away, but all that demographic info at the end, people always want to put it up front to sort of try and self select it.

Like I said, sometimes you just need data and that’s the easiest thing. It’s okay if you skip it if you don’t get someone’s job title. You still got their responses. Or you don’t get their company sizes but you still get their responses. Just that little tip.

Kathleen: Thanks for the good feedback.

Michele: Its the least important when it comes down to what you’re actually going to use those results for.

Kathleen: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. What tool are you using for your surveys?

Michele: I’ve used everything. I’ll say right now with Parker Dewey we’re playing around with Typeform. I love just the interface. It’s just very nice and clear and I feel like it gently guides you from question to question. I can also think back to early days setting up a very custom form that really was a survey back in my email tool.

Kathleen: There’s a lot of tools out there, that’s for sure. When somebody responds on the survey that you’re doing, are you looking at that person as a lead and are you funneling them into some kind of nurturing sequence or is it really just for the data at this point?

Michele: I definitely am funneling them somewhere. Looking at those responses and keeping your survey relatively short will help you do a better job at that.

There’s the people who answer exactly what your gut feeling was and, yes, they have the pain. I’m definitely going to remind them, “Hey, we believe we’ve got a solution for this.”

There’s the other people on the other end that say, “No, I’m not having problems with that. That’s not an issue for me.” You can learn from them, get advice. Maybe they’re not an advocate because they don’t need your solution, but you can really learn a lot from them.

Turn their tips into content, help others get help.

Then there’s all those people in between that you can nurture and do great things with.

Kathleen: So you get these results, they come in, you funnel the respondents into the various pathways that you’ve established for nurturing. Talk me through what you do with those raw results and how that then gets turned into different pieces of content.

Michele: I usually start with just a big master report. Here’s everything we learned. We did that at G2 Crowd again last year and took the report and gave that to everyone who took the survey. We also made it available on the website and promoted it a lot at events and through the team’s emails and things. We gave it away for free.

There was no form fill to view this data. It was because we really felt the data justified what our goal was — to show people that yes, business buyers are using reviews to make these decisions.

We gave that away, which was great. We got the report to more than ten thousand people, which was awesome.

Michele: Then the easiest thing to do from there is quickly turn your report into a presentation. We had a webinar shortly thereafter and got people to register for that. We’re able to take some of the webinar content, turn it into small and bite sized videos.

Then again, the idea is to offer people more and more information about the different results. We had ended up with a lot of cool infographics and social images just from the couple of data points that we got.

Kathleen: Is all of that content and that repurposed content being published on your website or are you looking to seed it out in other places, like other websites or other blogs, et cetera?

Michele: Well, at G2 we just self publish. I think we had a pretty good blog following.

Here at Parker Dewey, as I’m getting ready to launch my next survey, my goal is really going to be to get some of the college and universities to pick it up because I think they’re going to help me build my audience the most because they’re already well known. They’ve already got great web traffic and domains.

Kathleen: They have those fabulous .edu backlinks.

Michele: Exactly. Anything I can share with them to get them sharing is definitely going to help me spread the message far and wide.

Kathleen: Great. When you think about doing that, are you creating beyond … Are you essentially doing their work for them and giving them promotional assets? How much do you give them?

Michele: Yes. Doing the work for them, and that’s because I’ve been in their shoes and I know that even when you’re at a large organization like that it’s almost the same as being at a small organization. There’s just always so many different things that you can do and so many different directions you’re pulled in.

I’m going to seed them up with some templates and some suggestions and let their team sort of take from there to brand it to their own University and culture and all that.

Kathleen: I do find that any time you want somebody else to promote your stuff for you, the easier you make it for them, the higher the likelihood that anything will happen.

Michele: Absolutely. Yes.

Kathleen: Have you already tested out the survey strategy at Parker Dewey or is this going to be your first time?

Michele: We did a quick poll. We only put three questions in and just sent it to a few prospects just to get their feedback and hopefully have some more intelligent conversations.

We haven’t launched a bigger survey yet. That’s the next step.

To your earlier question about who you send it to, Parker Dewey is a dual marketplace. We also have his connection with the colleges and Universities.

I’m playing around this time with, do I want to send something to everybody? I think I do. I think I’m going to get some interesting layers and interesting answers by designing one that a recent grad, an employee, or a University could answer.

Kathleen: Hmm. That will be interesting. You’re definitely going to have to take a lot of care in how you structure questions so that they can be relevant to those very different audiences, but …

Michele: For sure.

Kathleen: It’s going to be cool if you’re able to pull it off. 

So you haven’t really seen concrete results from this yet at Parker Dewey, and I don’t know how much you can share about the results you had at G2 Crowd, but can you give us a sense about what sort of an impact this had, either on visits, traffic, leads, conversions, what have you?

Michele: At G2 Crowd, I know I asked someone to share with me the data so I know we got something like 289 people to attend that webinar and then those all went directly to sales to followup and continue the conversation.

Like I said, the report was free. There was no form fill, but at the end there was a call to action so we got a good percent, I want to say, two percent to continue on to the next action, which was really exciting.

I’ve also done this at other companies before. I was at Big Machines before Oracle acquired them. What we did with that was we took the data that we had pulled and actually turned it into an assessment, so we flipped it around and would invite companies to come understand where they were and how they lived in those different stages.

That actually ended up being our number one meeting booker. It just was a really great way, again, just people who feel pain and sort of just want to understand “Is everyone else like me?”

Kathleen: Yeah. That’s awesome. I’d love to hear about some of the other things that you’re planning with Parker Dewey and are these things based on stuff you’ve done elsewhere or are you coming up with some new ideas for the new company? Anything you can share on that front?

Michele: I just started an email series and it’s me, it’s really me.

I’m talking about the ways that I am relying on these college students to help me get work done and get it started. I wrote about my experience posting my social media job and it really only took five minutes to post. Here’s what I get as a result from this student.

I’m really just looking forward to being me this time around. I think because we’re young and small I can let myself shine and still think about the corporate image.

I also have experience building a team and working for small companies that grew fast. I’m excited about that.

Kathleen: When you think about doing an email series where the intent is really for you as an individual to shine through, what does that look like?

Email can manifest in so many different ways. From a design standpoint it can be very plain, html, and look like it just came from your Microsoft Outlook account or it can be super designed. You could have formal call to action buttons. I’m just wondering what your emails are going to be like and how do you translate your personality through?

Michele: I did a test. I tested one with a pretty banner and a button versus the plain text one and the results were close, but the plain text one got me more clicks. That’s what I’ll keep doing for now. I think I definitely want to add in some video down the line and some images and things, add them back in, but not so much in the html format.

Kathleen: It got you more click throughs on links in the email or opens?

Michele: Yes. Click throughs in the email.

Kathleen: Got it. Its really interesting. This is something that we’re talking about a lot here at IMPACT because there are a couple of other companies that have really doubled down on that plain html format.

Drift, as an example. Nikki Nixon over at Flip My Funnel does really fantastic plain html community updates.

It’s interesting. We have a lot of internal debate here on my team with some people saying that that can backfire sometimes because it makes it look like you’re trying to hoodwink your target into thinking it’s directly from you and it’s not a mass email, and other people saying, “No, it’s not about that. It’s just more about stripping away unnecessary stuff.” It’s such an interesting topic right now.

Michele: I think it really depends on the audience and your two examples, Drift, and Nicki at Flip My Funnel, and myself for this particular series that I’ve started, we’re all focused on marketers.

I’ll admit it too, when I see sort of a very beautiful email, it’s beautiful, but I might not start reading and taking the time to really click through it.

Kathleen: Yeah.

Michele: Maybe I’m a little more opposed to it. I think it’s always important to continue testing, whether it’s one audience or different audiences. Since I’ve worked really closely with HR industry in the past, and I would say the pretty button works better for them, and let’s probably think about it in reverse. They’re getting inundated with all these internal messages of “I need you to do this, I need you to do that”, and handling boring stuff, so to speak, through their inbox, so, a fun email makes a difference.

Kathleen: Yeah, and I always also wonder — the reason I was asking about whether you were referring to click through rates or open rates — I also wonder if sending a plain HTML email increases the likelihood that your email will go into the main inbox of the recipient as opposed to the promotions tab or something along those lines because you don’t have all that other stuff in it and Gmail maybe won’t see it so much as a big email blast. They’re no way to figure out if that’s true or not, but it’s something that I’m really curious about also.

Kathleen: I’ll be interested to see how it turns out.

Michele: In my test that I just ran, the graphic one got more opens, but the subject line was exactly the same, so, I don’t put too much stock in it, and I was specifically focused on the click through rate because that was what I wanted measure.

Kathleen: What platform are you using to measure your email performance?

Michele: I’m using HubSpot.

Kathleen: You are? Okay. Did you do a true A/B test in HubSpot where it picks a winner or did you just split your list and send-

Michele: I split my list 50/50 because it was a smaller list.

Kathleen: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. I think that’s what we were thinking about doing as well.

Kathleen: So, what else do you have in your bag of tricks?

Michele: A lot. I’m real excited about some of the play books that we ran at G2 Crowd and adopting them to this audience. Just some simple things like setting up some tweets that show off the success. We ran a really great, effective campaign.  We called it the “Twitter Thought” but it was always someone behind the scenes loading it in and had an excellent social media specialist who wrote it all.

Michele: Then I’m hoping to do the same thing here and just again show off the success of the projects that are getting done on the platform and try and keep us front and center in people’s minds as they’re thinking about what they can get done.

Kathleen: Now, Twitter. That’s so interesting that that’s your example. I feel like that is the most polarizing social network of all.

Michele: It is.

Kathleen: I happen to be a huge fan.

Michele: Well maybe Facebook now, I don’t know.

Kathleen: Well, yes. That’s true. I happen to be a big fan of Twitter. I like it a lot, but I think that there are specific ways we need to use Twitter to get value out of it.

Kathleen: You have, and what’s interesting to me is that you have very different audiences. You have the universities, you have the businesses, and then you have the recent college grads. Which of those audiences are you going to target through Twitter, or is it all of them?

Michele: It’s all of them and it’s something that we actually discussed at G2 Crowd and did a little bit of testing on whether the value of having multiple Twitter handles and multiple channels versus just one brand of channel. We came to the conclusion at G2 Crowd — and I’m using sort of that experience here at Parker Dewey — that one is better.

Michele: I think a lot of that’s based on the fact that it’s moving really fast. People are going to follow hashtags and follow conversations that they’re interested in and tune out the rest that they’re not interested in.

I think, again, ultimately if you are that multifaceted platform, you should show that you’ve got multiple audiences that you’re engaging with on an ongoing basis.

Michele: We’re planning to do the same thing with Parker Dewey. We just had this discussion the other day, “Should we split it up into different channels”? I said, “No. Let’s learn from the past and save a step”.

Kathleen: Are you going to do the same thing for your other platforms too, like Facebook for example? Are you going to have one presence?

Michele: Yep. That’s easier for me right now.

Kathleen: Yeah, that’s for sure.

Michele: But, you know, again, it all depends on the targeting and the message. I trust that my audiences knows what’s for them and what’s not, and by the same token, if it’s not for them it’s also not harmful to learn about what those audiences are doing and learning.

Kathleen: I feel like I talk to a lot of companies that have that exact challenge.

In fact, we have a client right now that has that exact challenge that is serving extremely different audiences. They have a product/service that they sell where they’re basically connecting photographers with companies. They’ve been struggling with, “do we create a different presence for the photographers versus the companies”? It is a discussion that is had in many places.

Michele: Personally, I think if your company’s that facilitator then you need to be the expert in both those audiences. Again, having one unifying channel shows that expertise. I think you should definitely select targeted content for each, but-

Kathleen: Yeah. Well, there’s probably also something to be said for, like if I’m a college student and I’m looking for great opportunities, there’s something to be said for me going on to your social media presence and seeing that the amazing businesses that I might want to work for are already in your orbit, you know? The businesses seeing that there some great colleges and universities that are a part of your community. I think that there’s a legitimizer there you can capitalize on.

Michele: Absolutely. Yeah. For sure.

Kathleen: Cool. I always like having conversations like this where marketers have entered a new role and a couple of my guests have been like this because, it’s almost like you get a do over. Not that you need one. But you do — you get all the lessons of the past and you get to say, “Okay, I’m starting fresh. What am I goning to pull in with me?”

Kathleen: It’s neat to hear that those are the things you’re pulling in with you.

Michele: I’m excited. I love it. It was a hard choice to leave G2 Crowd. They’re doing amazing things, but as I said in the beginning, I’m passionate about this. I’m passionate about those topics, so I was really excited to join and everyday is a new adventure.

The other flip side of that is everything I do is going to have some results and that’s a fun place to be as well.

Kathleen: Yeah, and it’s interesting that you say that because I have this conversation a lot with different folks on my team, because we’re growing really quickly.

There are some people who are only happy in a very start up-y environment where they get to get their hands messy in a lot of different pots, and then there are some people who really like the larger company and having a very defined scope of work and set of responsibilities, and that’s okay.

You just have to know what’s going to get you jazzed everyday to get out of bed.

Michele: I’ve learned I’m gonna be stressed no matter what I’m doing. It’s my personality. I’m a problem solver so if there’s not problems, I find one and I solve it.  

Kathleen: It would be boring if there no problems.

Well, I want to make sure we don’t end without me asking you the two questions that I love to ask my guests.

The first one — and I’m really curious to hear what you’re gonna say in this one because especially having come from a place like G2 Crowd and having seen so many different companies and how they go to market — company or individual, who do you think is doing inbound marketing really well right now?

Michele: So, you already mentioned her, but a big big shout out to Nikki Nixon from FlipmyFunnel. G2 Crowd was an early sponsor of that. As far as I know, it all started as a road trip for Terminus and how many of us have done a road trip before? But she and her team really built it into a community. I just think they did such a great job and were able to really help marketers learn to segment better and become more efficient.

Michele: Locally, there’s a company called Active Campaign, and they’re trying to do something very similar and they’re just using Meetup to organize all Chicago marketers. I’m missing it. I think it’s tonight or next week so I can’t go to the most recent one, but they’ve really hit the nail on the head of doing topics that are top of mind to marketers here in Chicago and I’m excited to see them branch that out to other cities as well.

Kathleen: Ooh, I’ll have to check out what they’re doing. Meetup is such a great resource that I think as marketers we overlook a lot.

Michele: Absolutely.

Kathleen: But I know I used to have a lot of clients in the software space, like Dell resellers for example, and they got tons of results out of sponsoring different Meetups and things like that. So, there’s some little nuggets in there that are gold.

Michele: Yeah.

Kathleen: The other question is, with things changing so quickly in the world of digital marketing particularly, how do you stay up to date? How do you educate yourself?

Michele: The past three years that I was at G2 Crowd, for better or worse, I think I attended every single marketing conference at least once. I’ll say some of my favorites would be Content Marketing World I think is a really good one, B2B Marketing Forum for martech but only if you’re a nerd and I am a nerd because they really focus on numbers and oh yeah, there were even a couple of sessions that I was like, “Whoa, you’re getting real granular there”.

Kathleen: You mean like a data nerd? Somebody who wants to dig into the-

Michele: Yeah. I prefer face to face learning personally. At the same time, I’m always reading. I’m reading constantly, but there’s something about that face to face and you learn from someone but then you also have those great side conversations. You start getting your ideas flowing, you write it down, you email your coworker who’s still at their desk. I love it. I get a lot out of it.

Kathleen: You’re always reading. Do you have a favorite book or blog?

Michele: My inbox is so full all the time, I don’t actually know how I pick, just whatever subject line gets my attention.

Kathleen: That’s the importance of the email subject line.

Michele: Yep.

Kathleen: Great. Well, this has been fun and I can’t wait to test out a survey. Now you’ve got me inspired to do that.

Michele: Not too long, but do it. Go for it.

Kathleen: Yeah, definitely. Well, thank you for joining me. If somebody has a question or wants to learn more about Parker Dewey, how can they find you online?

Michele: ParkerDewey.com. I’m testing out all kinds of stuff so they can actually probably chat with me depending what page they go to.

Kathleen: Perfect. That’s great. Well, thanks again, and if you are listening and you found value in this interview, I would appreciate it if you would consider giving the podcast a review on iTunes or Stitcher or whatever platform you listen on. If you know somebody doing kick ass inbound marketing work, please tweet me @WorkMommyWork because I would love to interview them.

Thanks, Michele.

Michele: Thank you. Bye.

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