Back to Top

My Summer with Hanapin Marketing

Looking for an internship program? Read about an intern’s experience with client services at Hanapin Marketing!

Read more at PPCHero.com

Reblogged 8 hours ago from feedproxy.google.com

How Agencies Can Prove the Value of Engagement to Clients

It doesn’t matter what city you live in, the size of the agency you work for or the piece of business you work on—sooner or later your client will ask the one question known to make even the most seasoned social media marketer wince: “What’s the value of engagement?”

Of course, methodologies already exist to quantify attribution to harder metrics, like web traffic and lead generation on social. But what if your client is a brand that doesn’t focus on B2B sales, e-commerce or another neatly quantifiable objective? How can agencies effectively prove the value of social media engagement to clients?

Setting the Record Straight

The thing is, proving the value of engagement will never be about tying a clear, quantifiable dollar sign to likes, comments, shares, DMs or @mentions. There’s too much ambiguity in that pursuit to satisfy any of your stakeholders. Engagement is more about building and maintaining the relevancy of a brand in the mind of its social community. Luckily, there are some pretty great ways to do just that that your client will see value in.

Don’t hang your S.O.W. hat on this, but your engagement efforts just might be rewarded with an uptick in site visits (🙌 ). Socialbakers conducted a study that found a direct correlation between Facebook engagement and site visits. Top of mind, it seems, can equal tip of finger.

Engage the Community, Build the Brand, Prove the Value

Time to get down to the fun stuff. Here are three ways you can prove in no uncertain terms, the value of engagement to your clients.

1. Social Customer Care

Social customer inquiries may appear as a comment on a post or they may be stand alone as posts to your page or @mentions. Both are engagement. Jay Baer of Convince and Convert claims that “social media customer service is the new marketing” and we’re apt to agree. Why? Because nearly every initial interaction on social is public facing. It’s a “spectator sport,” as Baer puts it. That means that when you provide outstanding customer service on social you get more than just the benefit of preventing a lost customer, you get to reinforce the brand’s commitment to the customer in the eyes of every person who saw the comment, post or tweet.

The formula for successful social customer service is pretty easy. Reply quickly, empathize, go the distance in making the customer happy (this separates the wheat from the chaff in business) and close the loop on the social post. Pro tip: If you need to turbocharge your customer care efforts on Twitter, try automating individual workflows with a bot builder.

Lastly, prove the value of social customer service by documenting each case and then review your results each month with your client. Results vary by industry and social platform, but with a smart strategy and a little digital elbow grease you’ll be showing your client how Twitter “decreases cost per customer care resolution by 80%” compared to other customer service channels.

2. Get Real Feedback from Brand Advocates

Where else beside social can you find an audience willing to provide feedback about a product or business honestly and without compensation? 70% of brand advocates recommend at least 5 products per year to their friends and family, so it stands to reason that they would just as well want to share their opinions about your client’s brand with you.

Why not give them that opportunity? Start by collaborating with your client to figure out what pieces of feedback you’d like get from the brand advocates. Then turn the comment section of a social post or a Twitter chat into an open focus group with a strong call to action. Don’t be afraid of honest criticism. That’s the point. Actively respond and thank the community members for their responses. If you have some great brand swag, now would be the time to give it out.

The cool part about this tactic is that it can be used to add a layer of anecdotal insight to a product feasibility study or focus group. Plus, no matter how you use the response data, you’ve now succeeded in giving your biggest advocates a level of ownership over the brand that will likely deepen their affinity. Hello, word of mouth, it’s great to see you again.

3. Gather Insight on Engagement Through Social Listening

You’re posting engaging content, providing great social customer care and getting honest feedback from your advocates. You’re in the engagement trenches and loving every second of it. That’s awesome, but it’s time to take a step back and listen.

What you want to do now is use social listening to get a macro view of how consumers are engaging with your client’s brand. As D.C.-based consulting agency, Clutch, put it, “Think of the data collected through social listening as crowd-sourced research about your industry and customer base.” This is the forest to the previous bullet’s trees.

Three areas to focus are:

Sentiment-based terms used in conjunction with brand keywords. By utilizing custom keyword search queries and trend visualizations, you can identify areas of need when they matter most. Are you seeing a trend of ‘frustration’ terms around your client’s product? Address the issue on social and make clear the intention to fix it. Is there a positive keyword that sticks out? Good, highlight that strength in a post and watch the love roll in.

Side-by-side engagement trends by channel. What strengths do you see emerging for your client’s channels? Is Facebook the place for conversations while Twitter is for pass along? Maybe one channel is becoming the go-to for brand advocates while the other is plodding along. Use this information to optimize your content and engagement strategy. Engagement in, smarter strategy out.

Competitive analysis. Clients love this one. Show your client how their brand’s engagement stacks up against its top three competitors. Crushing them? Value proven. Lagging behind a bit? Give your tactical recommendations for how you plan to improve. Use our Ultimate Guide to Social Media Competitive Analysis to set yourself up for success.

Now that you’re on your way to becoming a master at proving the value of engagement, just remember that everything discussed above will take trial and error to dial in. It’s part of the multi-faceted, slow burn upside that is social media marketing. Take your time and tackle one piece at a time. As a British statesman once wrote, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” With any luck your client will feel the same way.

This post How Agencies Can Prove the Value of Engagement to Clients originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 12 hours ago from feedproxy.google.com

The 15 best Google Chrome extensions for SEO

Google Chrome has taken a dominant position as the world’s favorite desktop browser, with almost 60% market share and rising.

Its central role among Google’s vast suite of digital software and hardware has driven this growth, but users also love how customizable the browser is.

It can be dauntingly customizable, in fact. With tens of thousands of extensions available, finding the few that will aid you on a daily basis is an all-consuming endeavor. In one store, you can find everything from Nicholas Page (an extension that turns any page Nicholas Cage-themed) to a variety of income tax calculators.

Somewhere in between those two extremes, there are hundreds of SEO-themed extensions, some much more useful than others.

There is a little bit of a learning curve to using some SEO Chrome extensions, but once they become habit, they will save plenty of time in the long run.

Therefore, within this list we have distilled this down to the 15 extensions that will simply make you more effective at the core areas of SEO.

Chrome extensions for a quick site review

SimilarWeb

The SimilarWeb extension is a great place to start with a quick site analysis. It provides a broader view of a website beyond just SEO, taking into account all traffic sources. The extension does this by analyzing clickstream data from thousands of internet service providers, SimilarWeb’s own web crawlers, and their clients’ data.

As a result of these calculations, you can get reasonably reliable stats on a brand’s audience demographics, how much they spend on paid media, and which countries their traffic comes from.

All of these factors affect SEO, of course, so this provides invaluable insight when analyzing a brand’s digital presence. The Chrome extension is free, but a paid account does give access to a more complete data set.

MozBar

We couldn’t really have an SEO Chrome extensions list without including MozBar. As an all-in-one tool for a quick SEO site overview, MozBar is still the best on the market. Once a user is logged into their Moz community account (it’s free to sign up, for those that haven’t opened an account), MozBar springs into action on websites and search engine results pages.

It contains an extensive list of analyses, covering technical SEO, on-site content, social media engagement, and backlinks. MozBar can cause sites to load a little more slowly, however, so it’s best to enable it only when you need to assess a website’s SEO metrics.

Impactana

Impactana is a content marketing toolbar that offers the social media analysis you would expect, displaying share counts for each page on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, et al.

Where it stands apart from the competition is in its use of proprietary metrics to calculate the ‘Impact’ and ‘Buzz’ of each piece of content. These metrics incorporate user engagement signals to assess not just whether content has been shared, but whether people have interacted with it too. As such, it makes for a great starting point when analyzing the effectiveness of a competitor’s content marketing campaigns.

Chrome extensions for technical SEO

User agent switcher

In this mobile-first age, we need to make sure we are optimizing for a variety of screen sizes and device types. That’s pretty hard to do with just a desktop to hand, unless you have a user agent switcher downloaded.

This extension will give you the option to view web pages as they would appear on a wide variety of devices and operating systems. It’s an essential extension for developers, but it’s very useful for anyone conducting SEO analysis too.

Scraper

Quite often, we need to pull elements from a range of individual pages or websites for large-scale analysis. There are a few different ways of doing this, such as using IMPORTXML code to pull structured data from websites into Google Sheets or Excel.

The Scraper Chrome extension speeds up this process, using the XPath query language to export HTML data elements from a page, along with similar data from across the website.

It take a little getting used to, but there is a handy step-by-step guide here. Once you get accustomed to how Scraper functions, it saves a lot of time during any technical SEO audits.

META SEO Inspector

If we want to understand how a search engine crawls and indexes our websites (and presumably, we all do), we need to get to grips with metadata. META SEO Inspector goes beyond the narrow, SEO-focused definition of metadata as the ‘meta’ tags defined within the HTML source code.

The extension also facilitates analysis of XFN tags, canonical tags, and various microformats. It is also updated quite regularly to stay abreast of any amendments or additions to Google’s best practice guidelines.

Tag Assistant

This Chrome extension from Google isn’t the most glamorous tool on our list, but it is one of the most useful. Tag Assistant acts as a trouble-shooter, verifying the installation of Google tags such as those used for Google Analytics and Remarketing.

The ability to record sessions and analyze the implementation of tracking tags through user journeys is perhaps Tag Assistant’s main USP. It gives the extension a lot of potential for frequent use, beyond the occasional spot checks to verify if tags are implemented correctly or not.

Page Load Time

As we discussed in a recent article, speed is of the utmost importance as Google continues to prepare its mobile-first index.

Page Load Time helps SEO keep an eye on this essential ranking factor, without being obtrusive in the way that other Chrome Extensions can be. Every time a page loads, it highlights the amount of time it took in seconds.

Users can then click on the extension’s icon to see a breakdown of the elements required to load the page’s content. For quick insights into page speed, it makes for the perfect starting point.

Chrome extensions for on-site content analysis

Page Analytics

Many of the entries on our list focus on assessing competitors, but this Google extension allows you to view data from your Google Analytics account while you browse your website(s). Once a user is logged into GA, they can view metrics from their account in real time by opening the extension.

The metrics available in this snapshot include bounce rate, unique page views, and average time on page. With the increasing prominence of user engagement factors in a RankBrain-driven Google search ecosystem, this extension is a very handy way to keep an eye on how each individual page is performing without visiting the Google Analytics platform.

Keywords Everywhere

Some things never change in SEO. We still need to understand which search queries our target audience uses, but gaining access to accurate search volumes has grown increasingly difficult. The Keywords Everywhere extension doesn’t quite solve this riddle entirely, but it goes some way towards providing a bit of clarity.

By pulling data from Google Keyword Planner, Google Search Console, and UberSuggest, the extension displays approximate search volumes within results pages. From there, SEO professionals can start to consider for which queries they want to optimize their content.

This extension shouldn’t be used in isolation to conduct larger keyword research tasks, but it has enough handy features to make it a worthwhile addition.

Spark Content Optimizer

This extension is ideal for getting different teams to incorporate SEO into their daily routines. Everyone from copywriters to developers can benefit from Spark, a Chrome add-on that scans content to assess how comprehensively it covers a topic and how well it makes use of popular search queries.

This can be a tricky area of SEO, as we want to provide a search engine with clear signals about our content, but also need to tread carefully to avoid stuffing in keywords to the detriment of content quality. Spark provides some hints without being overbearing, making it a worthy addition to any SEO armory.

Chrome extensions for backlink analysis

Link Research Tools

This toolbar from Link Research Tools overlays backlink data as users search and browse. It’s great for getting a quick look at a site’s backlink profile, although it does require a paid account to gain access to some of LRT’s more advanced features.

Much is the same fashion as MozBar, the LRT toolbar overlays backlink data onto search engine results pages too. This is very beneficial for taking a backlink-based look at why particular sites perform well for a keyword.

LinkMiner

LinkMiner is probably the best Chrome extension for identifying broken links. Once activated, it will highlight the number of outbound links on any page, highlighting in green those that are active, and in red those that are broken. It makes for an easy way to share issues with the development team and get links fixed.

Through its integration with a range of indices (including Ahrefs, Majestic, and Moz), it also creates a simple overview of the ratio of inbound to outbound links on each page.

Majestic Backlink Analyzer

Majestic remains one of the heavyweight SEO software packages, and this Chrome extension provides much of its functionality without having to visit a separate URL.

The Backlink Analyzer provides insight into the quantity and quality of backlinks pointing to any page, along with their topical relevance to the source material. Majestic’s index is larger than Moz’s, so this makes it a more robust reference point when conducting backlink analysis. You will require a paid Majestic subscription to avail of these benefits, however.

Buzzmarker

Engaging with influencers can be a fantastic way to gain relevant, authoritative backlinks. Nonetheless, as anyone who has worked in this field will know, the pursuit of those all-important backlinks can bring with it a lot of time-intensive, manual work.

This extension from outreach platform BuzzStream aims to simplify the outreach process. It helps with prospecting, by highlighting key social media metrics on a potential partner’s website. It also makes it easier to bookmark influencers and add them into the main BuzzStream platform.

Once more, this will require a paid BuzzStream account, but if you already have an account, then downloading this extension should be a no-brainer.

Reblogged 14 hours ago from searchenginewatch.com

How to escape Google’s filter bubble

For some people the personalization of their news apps and other content feeds online is a manual, conscious decision.

They want to be displayed certain topics due to their interests, which is completely understandable. Cut through the noise by making sure that you get given what you want.

For a lot of us, though, while personalization can make the considerable amount of time we spend scrolling through social feeds more entertaining, most of the automated personalization we encounter on a day-to-day basis is not necessarily requested – and is wider spread than one might initially think.

In a Ted talk, Eli Pariser discussed what he called the ‘filter bubble’. For those who have never heard of the filter bubble, it is a similar theory to that of ‘echo chambers’. Essentially, the focus of providing and consuming content that is closely aligned to your preferences results in the creation of a bubble or chamber, restricting your view of the wider picture.

As our internet ecosystem has evolved, we have shared increasing amounts of personal data with services we use every day, from social networks to search engines. They then use this data to tailor the content they provide us with to what they think will be most appealing, engaging or relevant. Google in particular has gradually increased the extent with which it tailors results to the user with innovations like Hummingbird and RankBrain, the inclusion of social results in search, and semantic search.

To many users this personalization of search results is helpful and convenient, but an increasing number of users are disturbed by the extent to which the sites they encounter are being shaped by forces outside of their control. If you are one of them, you may be wondering: How can you stop this from happening? How do you escape the filter bubble?

In this article, we are going to look at ways in which you can partially escape Google’s filter bubble, as well as how SEOs can penetrate it to make sure their sites are surfaced to as wide an audience as possible.

How do you escape Google’s filter bubble?

Disclaimer: If you want to be completely free of Google’s filter bubble, the only real way is to stop using Google. Know this, though – the rest of your treasured social feeds and news outlets will be no different, and who would want to stop using Google?

Do what you can to hide from the Big G

You can always log out of Gmail, delete your search history/browser cache and use an incognito browser (to prevent a level of browser caching). Again, though, you will not be completely free.

The filter bubble is not just specific to personal activity online; it also takes into personal factors that are not dictated by the individual such as device and location. You are also potentially not free of Google’s own internal bias, shown by their recent fine from the EU.

The outlook appears to be pretty bleak, huh? Well not entirely. Escaping Google’s filter bubble (and to an extent, all other platforms’ bubbles) is less about attempting to erase your internet history or privacy settings, and more about simply being aware of the bubble.

Awareness is critical

Take it upon yourself to find different sources and take an objective view. Let’s face it: echo chambers were around long before Google and Facebook. Newspapers have spent decades reporting the news with their own bias – you only need look at the differences in how The Independent and the Daily Mail provide commentary for the goings on in the world to see this in action.

Depending on how conspiracy theory-led you are, you could argue that this pushing of agendas comes straight from the top at a government level. The point is that the most powerful tool for escaping Google’s filter bubble is one’s own awareness of the situation. If you are researching important information, don’t take everything as gospel and verse. Research, utilize multiple sources, and try to look at the situation objectively.

All of us are culprits, including myself. We use a single news app because it is the easy option, thus our echo chambers are somewhat self-inflicted. That is not to say that we should necessarily start to use Ask Jeeves, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo.

The point is that we should look deeper than the first results, and utilize alternate sources to investigate key topics.

How can SEOs penetrate Google’s filter bubble?

Whichever side of the fence you are when it comes to the personalization of content and its effect on our ability to have complete access to information, the Google filter bubble presents a predicament to SEOs and marketers alike.

Compared with the deeper moral arguments surrounding the Google filter bubble, it may seem somewhat trivial to discuss how SEOs can flog more of their wares via Google. However, the filter bubble has a real impact on both consumers’ lives and companies.

So how as SEOs do we penetrate it?

How specific are target search terms?

We did a test in the office here with three different individuals off two different devices each (mobile with wifi turned off, and laptop), all logged in to their Gmail accounts. We tested both broad and more specific search terms, and were not displayed different results.

This is not to say that the filter bubble does not exist, but it did get us thinking. Pariser’s Ted talk used the example of two individuals searching for ‘Egypt’ and being returned very different results. The issue here? Egypt is an incredibly broad search term and whilst SEOs may look to target ‘broader’ search terms within their strategy, the majority will have a very different view of ‘broad’ when compared with searching for ‘Egypt’.

We would bet that the data would show a less powerful filter as the searches become more and more specific, especially for more traditional transactional search terms harbored by SEOs.

Penetrating the bubble

One of the main issues of the filter bubble for SEOs is that it takes users down a self-fulfilling path: the more you engage with a certain website or topic, the more likely you are to be shown similar information. As such, penetrating the filter bubble is the number one priority.

A constant improvement in your site’s authority will help prevent your website being shut out of people’s filter bubbles, but alternate marketing channels should also be utilized:

Social media

Capitalize on highly shareable content to expand your degrees of separation and drive traffic to your website. You will be competing against each social platform’s own version of the filter bubble, but this is somewhat mitigated by the ability to share content.

Paid search and social

If the bubbles are proving too strong to penetrate, incorporating paid search (Adwords) and social media advertising will give you a foot in the door for new prospective customers.

Email

Direct mail is often shunned by those of us that are dedicated to the Inbound Methodology but is another effective way of driving action from consumers. Use behavioural automation to take your campaigns to the next level and drive action.

Trust in the process

Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater here; what we are saying is nothing new. Trusting in the quality of your campaign and ensuring that you diversify the marketing channels that you employ should be part of the agenda regardless of filter bubbles. It might require a revisit of some of your core pillars but this is something that should be completed time to time anyway.

Really understand your buyer personas – these are the individuals who will become customers. Dig deeper into their drivers and satisfy their queries, questions and concerns. As always, value for the user is at the forefront of what we as SEOs should be providing.

Diversity of content and link building – again, no surprises here. Spread the net a little wider and assess how diverse the content is that you are providing. Is it too specific to a certain buyer persona and therefore somewhat neglecting other (also valuable) prospects?

Furthermore, high quality link building can gain you exposure on relevant sites, therefore widening the net further.

Keep people coming back

All of the above is great for your SEO campaign but don’t neglect the need to keep people coming back. The continual improvement of your user experience and a higher percentage of returning visitors will ensure that your users are furthering their own self-fulfilling Google filter bubble prophecy.

Combine this this with a widening diversity of content, and you put your website in a great place to mitigate the effects of the filter bubble.

 

If you enjoyed this article, check out some of our other pieces on similar topics:

Reblogged 14 hours ago from searchenginewatch.com

5 Marketing Experts Share Their Top Email Writing Tips

email writing tips

You know those emails you’re actually excited to see in your inbox?

Wouldn’t it be awesome to know how you could write emails like that for your own business?

Well, good news! We asked five marketing experts to share their best email writing tips for increasing engagement.

Now, you can boost your email performance with some pointers from the pros. Here are the top tips from top writers:

Try asking questions in your subject line

Amy Schmittauer, Savvy Sexy Social, YouTuber and Author

“I often use my emails to connect my viewers to the latest videos I’ve shared, but the subject line is the critical space that determines whether or not the email gets opened.

I’ve been excited to see high opens and click-throughs on emails that promoted videos based on the customization of the subject line, often with a question that they really wanted to answer about themselves. Question marks in subject lines can be a powerful move.”

[bctt tweet=”“The subject line determines whether or not the #email gets opened.” -@Schmittastic” username=”aweber”]

Here’s an example of how Amy used a question in one of her subject lines:

Key takeaways: Relate with the reader: address the questions they’ve been asking!

But remember that every audience is different

Michael Port, Heroic Public Speaking, Author and Marketing Consultant

“Check patterns to see which emails your audience opens (and which ones get clicks). Currently, the ones with practical advice tend to outweigh any shock value or wit. And so that’s how we connect with our audience (while consistently testing to see if/when the pattern changes).”

[bctt tweet=”“Check patterns to see which emails your audience opens.” -@MichaelPort ” username=”aweber”]

Your own audience is different from other people’s audiences. So test to see what works for your own subscribers!

Key takeaways: Test, test, test!

Add a human touch

John McIntyre, McMethod, Copywriter and Marketing Consultant

Telling a simple story from your own life about something you struggled with is one of the best ways to connect with your audience. Granted, this won’t be appropriate for every type of business, but if you have a personality-focused business like I do, it can work wonders. Tell people about how you almost died once, or your worst fear, or what makes you uncomfortable.

You’ll know if you’re doing it right if you’re feeling really uncomfortable. The more uncomfortable you feel about revealing something about yourself, the better the email (in most cases).”

[bctt tweet=”“Tell people about how you almost died once, or your worst fear.” – @JohnMcIntyre_ #EmailMarketing” username=”aweber”]

Catch your audience’s attention and engage them with an interesting story at the beginning of your email. Once you have them hooked, they’ll be more likely to read the rest of your email.

Below is a portion of an email that John sent to his subscribers to engage and connect:

Key takeaways: Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and, well, human!

Build community in your emails

John Corcoran, Smart Business Revolution, Business Advisor

“A couple of months ago, I sent an email saying, ‘I want to introduce members of my community to one another. I’m going to put together a blog post where I’ll share your website and your business. So send me an email with your website, what line of work you’re in, the name your business and your contact info and I’ll draft up a blog post, and share it. And you can do business together or refer business to one another.’

I just got the most tremendous response back: incredibly high engagement and open rates and people emailing me back saying they were crying when they read it. They couldn’t believe the generosity to it.

And anyone can do this. You can do this even if you’re just building your email list now. Go to your Linkedin connections, email clients or past clients. And just say, ‘Hey, I want to help you out by getting more traffic to your website.'”

How can you replicate this? Let’s say you’re a food blogger. Put a sign up form on your blog, and try sending this community-building email to that list.

Key takeaways: Be a friend. Offer the help and advice your subscribers have been seeking!

Use social media to connect

Amy Schmittauer, Savvy Sexy Social, YouTuber and Author

“I absolutely love including my Twitter handle or a Click to Tweet link in emails so that people take action in a social environment with me based on the conversation we have through email.

For instance, on the confirmation page for joining my email list, there is a Click to Tweet that is automatically drafted for them to say hello as a new email member through Twitter.”

[bctt tweet=”“I absolutely love including my Twitter handle or a Click to Tweet link in emails ” -@Schmittastic” username=”aweber”]

To do this, head over to Click to Tweet’s website. Just type in your copy and use the custom generated link as the hyperlink in your email!

Key takeaways: Don’t just build community within the emails themselves reach to new platforms!

Don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they’re thinking

John McIntyre, McMethod, Copywriter and Marketing Consultant

John’s most important welcome email trick?

“I ask one simple question (What is your most important questions related to X?). Over time, the hundreds or thousands of responses to that question have become a wealth of knowledge and data about my market. I can go into my email account at any moment and look for that email, and spend hours scrolling through the responses.

Everyone knows they should do more surveys and ask their market questions more often. But we rarely get around to doing it.

That’s what’s great about asking a question like this in your welcome email. You’re collecting data on autopilot, assuming you continue getting people to join the email list.”

[bctt tweet=”Ask questions in your welcome #email. “You’re collecting data on autopilot,” -@JohnMcintyre_” username=”aweber”]

There are two simple ways to ask questions in your emails: ask subscribers to respond directly to your email or direct subscribers to a survey link.

In the example below, we ask for feedback on our What to Write in Your Emails course using a link to a survey:

Key takeaways: Ask your subscribers questions early on. This way, you’ll ride the wave of new-subscriber excitement, and can benefit from the higher engagement that welcome emails see.

Remember the goal of your promotional email

Michael Port, Heroic Public Speaking, Author and Marketing Consultant

“An unscientific 80 percent of all of our email promotion stresses the specifics of what our audience will gain out of a program or opportunity – something that will make them want to click.

Email promotion is the lifeline of our business. Sometimes the entire purpose of an email is to get the reader to click to go to the webpage where the sale can occur. After all, the job of the email is to get potential buyers to click. The job of the web page is to get them to buy. Don’t confuse the two.”

[bctt tweet=”“Email promotion is the lifeline of our #business.” -@MichaelPort” username=”aweber”]

Key takeaways: Make your emails work hard for you, but remember that they don’t do all of the work.

Don’t leave your list hanging

Addy Saucedo, The Podcast Planner, Podcaster and Speaker

“A key to growing and keeping an audience is the speed of implementation.”

Make sure you constantly nurture your list and deliver in a timely manner. In order to keep your current audience happy and reach new people as well, always work to deliver value.

[bctt tweet=”“A key to growing and keeping an audience is the speed of implementation.” -@PodcastPlanner” username=”aweber”]

Key takeaways: Work effectively and efficiently.

Want more expert writing tips?

The content experts at AWeber have compiled their best email writing advice and more than 45 email copy templates into our What to Write in Your Emails guide and course. All expert-approved.  Get it for free now.

Happy writing!

The post 5 Marketing Experts Share Their Top Email Writing Tips appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

Reblogged 14 hours ago from blog.aweber.com

#SocialSkim: Facebook and Instagram Redesign, Amazon's Spark vs. Instagram and Pinterest: 10 Stories This Week

This week: Facebook, Instagram aim for engagement with redesigns; all about Amazon’s Spark social platform; LinkedIn’s smart share options, a court case it lost, and its native video; Apple pushes original shows; much more! Read the full article at MarketingProfs

Reblogged 16 hours ago from www.marketingprofs.com

User Authentication For Web And iOS Apps With AWS Cognito (Part 1)




 



 


Developers and organizations alike are looking for a way to have more agility with mobile solutions. There is a desire to decrease the time from idea to test. As a developer, I often run up against one hurdle that can slow down the initial build of a mobile hypothesis: user management.

User Authentication For Web And iOS Apps With AWS Cognito (Part 1)

Over the years, I have built at least three user management systems from scratch. Much of the approach can be based on a boilerplate, but there are always a few key items that need to be customized for a particular client. This is enough of a concern that an entire category of user management, authentication and authorization services have sprung up to meet this need. Services like Auth0 have entire solutions based on user and identity management that developers can integrate with.

The post User Authentication For Web And iOS Apps With AWS Cognito (Part 1) appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

Reblogged 19 hours ago from www.smashingmagazine.com

Web Development Reading List: Announcing Changes, A Design Kit, DNA Malware, And Why Meaning Is An Advantage




 



 


You might have noticed it already: in the past few weeks you might have missed Anselm’s Web Development Reading List issues here on SmashingMag. No worries, from now on, we’ll switch to collecting the most important news of each month in one handy, monthly summary for you. If you’d like to continue reading Anselm’s weekly reading list (and we encourage you to!), you can still do so via email, on wdrl.info or via RSS. — Editorial Team

Web Development Reading List

Hello again! I’ll continue publishing this resource and am grateful for everyone who supports my ongoing work. And to celebrate the last weekly edition, I found a lot of great articles for you: Biohacking news that sound like science fiction, advances in deep learning with JavaScript, and a lot more. Happy reading!

The post Web Development Reading List: Announcing Changes, A Design Kit, DNA Malware, And Why Meaning Is An Advantage appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

Reblogged 19 hours ago from www.smashingmagazine.com

How to Automate Your Client KPI Reporting Process: The 11 Step Guide

Picture this: it’s the end of the month, and some poor soul at your agency needs to put together the monthly marketing report for each client.

He or she embarks on this mind-numbing journey by logging into every digital marketing service you use, copying the key data points, and entering them into your clunky marketing KPI spreadsheet.

For other metrics that are too complicated to duplicate in a spreadsheet, they cut and paste graphs from different software into powerpoint, and try to craft a cohesive story even though each graph’s format is different. Finally, it gets pdf’d and sent over to the account manager who forwards it along to the client or presents it live.

What a pain in the keister.

But your client needs to know what you’re doing with their money. All those grueling hours are necessary … right?

Most agencies see this type of manual reporting as a necessity, but, unforunately, the process is usually a negative experience for everyone involved:

  • The account manager probably spent 4-5 hours creating the client’s presentation.
  • As a result, your agency wasted hundreds of dollars making a report that’s hard to analyze.
  • The client has a hard time understanding how your services contributed to their business.

As you can see, a monthly metrics spreadsheet and powerpoint presentation is more hassle than it’s worth. It’s not a viable solution.

You need to stop the madness!

If you’re still cutting and pasting data and graphs into spreadsheets and presentation decks, there’s a better way. It’s called client KPI reporting automation.

To step up your analytics and reporting game, you need to automate the busy work. Leveraging a process that can gather data for you will allow more time for analysis and less time on data collection.

Fortunately, there are now a number of automated reporting tools in the market. And regardless of the one you choose and the digital services you provide, your rollout strategy will still be similar.

Read on to learn the 11 steps for automating your client’s KPI reporting.

Step 1) Identify your clients’ most important marketing tools.

Make a list of digital marketing services across all client accounts. Then, decide which services and software hold the most crucial data for your agency’s and clients’ success.

For example, if you offer inbound marketing services, you’ll probably need to track data from HubSpot Marketing, HubSpot CRM, Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, and Adwords.

Since most agencies use a wide variety of tools, you probably won’t find an automated reporting software that pulls data from all your services in every single clients’ marketing stack. But you should be able to find one that covers about 80% of their tools.

Step 2) Choose a client reporting tool that integrates deeply with your key services.

After talking to hundreds of digital agencies about reporting tools, we’ve found there’s no perfect solution. The biggest issues? Being able to report the key metrics your clients need.

With the boom in marketing and sales software, no single dashboard can pull all the data from every known system. But you should look for a tool that allows you to pull a variety of metrics from the services you use.

For example, if you use HubSpot, there’s a big difference between a reporting tool that pulls 145+ metrics from HubSpot versus one that pulls just 11.

You need to be really careful here.

If a business intelligence software vendor doesn’t offer a full-feature trial that showcases its reporting capabilities, stay away.

A free trial can also help you gauge the software’s user experience. Some of these tools can be really hard to setup and use.

There are even tools that require developers, data analysts, and marketing wizards for it to work. That’d be a tall order for anyone to fill, especially if you work at a small agency.

Here’s a list of important criteria to look for in a reporting automation tool:

  • Do they automatically import data from your marketing software or do you have to figure out how to upload your data?
  • Do they offer standard reporting templates for the tools you use?
  • How easily can you build custom reports?
  • How often do they refresh the data? Hourly? Daily?
  • Do they offer special pricing for agencies?
  • Can you brand the reports with your or your clients’ colors and logos? Can you change the domain name where your reports will be hosted?
  • Do you need the tool to spit out a monthly report or offer real-time reporting, or both?
  • Can you add your interpretations and recommendations next to the data?
  • Do you want to view the data on your desktop, a TV in your offices, and your mobile phone? How will your clients prefer to view the data?
  • Can you create separate accounts for each client?
  • How long does it take to fully set up a new client account?

I also recommend using B2B software review sites like AlternativeTo, Capterra, and G2 Crowd to add on to your list of criteria.

Step 3) Make sure you and your client agree upon the most important KPIs.

If you haven’t had an in-depth conversation with your clients on the KPIs that drive their business, now is the time. You do not want to build out a series of reports that get ignored.

We recommend starting with their revenue goals and working backwards.

This conversation should be an interview with the client. Start it by saying, “We’re revamping our reporting processes to be more focused on what’s really important.” This is a good time to show that you’re putting in the extra effort to drive their business forward.

And by pursuing top-line revenue goals first, your clients will always look forward to seeing your reporting results.

Step 4) Make sure your reporting tool pulls the metrics you need.

This can’t be stressed enough.

Imagine you want to increase your client’s leads from organic traffic. Think about all the metrics you need to track to support this goal. That list might include metrics from a Google Analytics segment for organic traffic, combined with contacts generated from search, which is measured by a smart list or a lifecycle stage from HubSpot.

To really show your client progress, you should also report search data from MOZ, SEMRush, or Google Search Console.

Now, think about if your chosen reporting tool can pull all these metrics?

Your client may not be an expert in digital marketing terminology, so it depends on you to determine the metrics you pull.

You should list out all the client’s KPIs, and form a hypothesis around the specific metrics you need from each service. This does not need to be presented to the client, but it will help you create a set of reporting templates that you can reuse with different clients.

AutomateClientReportingIntegrations.png

Step 5) Create standardized reports you can use for multiple clients.

Be careful of creating customized reports for each of your clients. Creating templates that are reusable across a group of clients is a lot more efficient. You only have to build one and then you can reuse it as many times as you want.

Every time you create a new template, ask yourself, “What other clients could benefit from looking at their data this way?”

You can keep this process simple by grouping your clients based on their reporting needs and serving a customized template to each group.

Usually, agencies show their clients top-of-the-funnel results first, then drill down further. If your client just needs reporting, though, stick to a high-level overview. If they need a deeper dive, go more in-depth.

AutomateClientReportingGroups.png

Step 6) Design metric-specific visualizations for each dashboard.

Most reporting tools offer a selection of data visualizations like a number block, a line chart, a gauge chart, or a table. It’s crucial to choose the best way to visualize your data.

For example, marketers should use a funnel or pipeline visualization to analyze a marketing and sales funnel.

You should also think about how to categorize specific data. For example, you might want to group a line chart of keywords Google’s Top 3 from SEMrush, organic search traffic from Google Analytics, and leads from search from HubSpot onto one dashboard.

Or you could display follower and comment counts from different social services like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube in another dashboard.

This is the beauty of reporting tools: you can batch data from multiple services and compare them to each other. However, as an agency it’s your job, to formulate your reports in a clear way. Be careful not to overload your client with complex metrics.

With automated reporting, weekly, monthly, and annual numbers are always available and you’ll be able to introduce all kinds of metrics that might confuse your clients.

Remember, if the client can’t understand your data, you must present it in a simpler way.

Step 7) Roll out your reports internally.

Before you roll out your marketing reports to clients, show them to your account managers and service team. Some agencies make their account managers build reports. However, we’ve found agencies are much more successful when one of their team members builds out reports and then sends them to the account managers for review.

Even though you should standardize your reports as much as possible, each client report requires some customization. Your account managers will most likely know what your client wants to see, so letting them approve the reports is crucial.

Step 8) Position automated reporting as a benefit for your clients.

Automated reporting saves you time, which might be the primary reason why you’re implementing it. Your clients also benefit from your ability to reallocate saved time towards analyzing and improving their numbers.

You shouldn’t position its value proposition this way, though. Position it in a way that will help them understand how automate reporting directly benefits their business, rather than describing how benefiting yourself will benefit them too.

A way you can do this is by positioning to clients as “real time reporting. Why is this effective? Being able to instantly access their campaign’s performance data is a benefit to them. And by transitioning to real-time reporting, they can:

  • Monitor their results more closely.
  • Ensure you’re achieving daily progress towards goals.
  • Adapt your plan more frequently based on what’s working.
  • Catch any issues (like getting zero clicks from a PPC campaign you just set up) before they affect the sales funnel.

For more advanced clients who have larger traffic and lead volume, you can also position your new reporting process as a launching pad for more in-depth analysis of their marketing and sales funnels.

Since you can analyze new data more consistently, you can teach all your employees (and clients) how to identify new opportunities for improvement from the data you already have or by using new tools.

If you’re going to position it this way, make sure you can follow through on your promise. Consider proactively rolling out a new report to every client each month — like a “report of the month” update.

Lastly, you can position your new reporting system as a better way to visualize data. Often times, agencies use a mix of KPI spreadsheets and cut-and-paste graphs from multiple tools, so each graph has its own color scheme, x and y-axis, terminology, and formatting.

Scanning a deck with 30 unique graphs is cognitively draining for your client. Consistent visualization makes it easy for your clients to understand and draw conclusions from your reports.

By using a centralized tool to view all your data, you can also synchronize data from different services to different time periods, as you can see below.

Dashboard-2.png

Step 9) Determine a plan to regularly share results.

Your reporting strategy should aim to update your clients, not overwhelm them with every little thing that happens over the month.

If your client is pretty new to online marketing and doesn’t have a lot of marketing assets, anything more than a monthly review would inundate them. But if your clients have a large amount of traffic, leads, or ad budget, a daily review might be the right call.

Most tools allow you to set up different reporting timeframes:

  • Real-time or Daily: In addition to reviewing your data on your desktop or wall-mounted TVs, if your reporting tool has a mobile app, email or Slack notifications, you can send automated updates more frequently to internal team members and/or clients.
  • Weekly: Weekly updates can also be mobile or email-based. Use this to make sure you’re not falling too far behind any monthly goals you’ve set.
  • Monthly: This is your full monthly report. Use it for analysis, making recommendations, and interpreting your data.
  • Quarterly: Use this report to propose new, big initiatives. Recap the progress from the last 3 months (or longer) and show your client how you can deliver even more value if they invest more in your agency.

Step 10) Figure out which devices each client uses to view their reports.

Some of your clients will be more excited about automated reporting than others. If they’re very data-driven, you can display their reports on an office TV. Or, you can allow clients to view reports on their smartphones. This allows them to constantly monitor their data wherever they go.

We actually know of one agency who purchases a TV for their clients and actually hangs it up on their CEO’s wall.

Other clients might want you to do all the analysis and prefer only monthly updates. In that case, just send them a URL to their report, tell them to bookmark it, and continue your monthly meeting cadence.

Step 11) Set concrete goals with your clients.

We’ve spoken with many agencies that set goals in the sales process but don’t revisit them with the client until contract renewal time.

As a result, month six rolls around and neither the client nor the agency remembers what goal they set or why they set it. Don’t risk losing a client because you either found out you never actually hit the goal or the original goal became unimportant to them.

Set goals inside your visualization tool, so that it plots your current performance against your goals.

By entering your goals into your reporting software, it becomes significantly easier to review your progress during monthly meetings and adapt the goal or monthly plan with clear agreement between you and your client.

Goals superimposed over performance data provides a monthly reference point. If you’re consistently hitting goals, you’re much more likely to upsell clients on new services or more of your current work. But, if your outstanding overachievement isn’t clear and obvious, it’s a lot harder to retain business.

You can also use goals to hold your client’s sales team accountable too. You could be generating a ton of demand for your client, but without concrete goals, a dip in sales will likely get you the axe first and not their sales team.

Closing Thoughts

With the crap-work eliminated, your agency can spend more time combing through your client’s data for growth opportunities, impress them with careful analysis and data-driven recommendations, and become the trusted partners you aim to be.

Ultimately, automated reporting will help your agency retain clients, upsell them, and boost employee satisfaction.

Reblogged 19 hours ago from blog.hubspot.com

8 Writing Tips I Wish I Knew Before I Started Blogging

I wrote my first blog post two summers ago. And I wish I could erase it from the internet. Reading it is like looking at my middle school Facebook pictures — it’s almost too cringe-inducing.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, though. I had just finished my freshman year of college, and the last paper I wrote was about the Odyssey. I didn’t know what I was doing.

But after completing several content marketing internships and taking classes like business writing, electronic journalism, and creative writing, I’ve learned how to write for an audience. Blogging is almost second nature to me now.

If you’re just starting out with blogging and struggling to produce something you’re truly proud of, don’t get discouraged. You don’t need to enroll in a bunch of writing classes or join a content marketing team to become a good blogger (although it certainly doesn’t hurt). You can hone your writing skills online — and this blog post can be one of your bookmarkable resources.

Listed below are eight essential writing tips I’ve gleaned from all my classes and content marketing experience. Check them out to learn how to engage your audience with clear, concise, and compelling content — and make me even more embarrassed about the first blog post I ever wrote.

8 Essential Writing Tips for Crafting Clear, Concise, and Compelling Content

1) Trim the fat.

The more unnecessary words your trim from your writing, the easier it is to understand. Concise writing is lean. And readers can zip through it with little effort. To sharpen your writing, follow the four pointers below:

  • Avoid linking verb phrases like “Sam was writing about his van.” “Sam wrote about his van.” sounds more forceful. Linking verbs have a passive effect, which is why they can’t pack much of a punch.
  • Change prepositional phrases like “The decision of the board was final.” to “The board’s decision was final.” Prepositional phrases make sentences longer and harder to follow.
  • When a noun ends in -tion, change the noun to a verb. For example, “They will collaborate to create a new style guide.” sounds cleaner than “They will collaborate in the creation of a new style guide.”
  • Reduce verb phrases like “The results are suggestive to the fact that on-page SEO still works.” to simple verb phrases like “The results suggest that on-page SEO still works.” The latter sounds much smoother.

2) One sentence should only cover one idea.

A clear sentence that’s easy to understand covers one main idea. But sometimes writers focus too much on sounding smart rather than conveying information in a simple way. This can lead to complex sentences that confuse readers.

You must remember your readers don’t care about your writing prowess. They want to quickly understand the solutions to their own problems, and simple sentences can fulfill that need.

Use the Hemingway App to gauge whether your sentences are bold and clear.

3) Sentences don’t live in isolation.

If you want to craft a compelling sentence, you need to account for its surrounding sentences first. Using the same word in consecutive sentences or covering similar ideas in two different sentences is redundant. To create a more stimulating experience for your readers, vary your language and cut repeat information.

Use Power Thesaurus to replace overused words with dynamic synonyms.

4) Vary sentence length and structure.

I saw a graphic called “How to Write” on Twitter about a year ago, and it took my writing skills to the next level. Take a look.

How to Write.jpg

Humans crave variety. And just like how short, medium, and long sentences complement each other, simple and compound sentences complement each other too.

Your writing becomes repetitive and boring when your sentences have the same structure or length. Diverse sentences make your writing pleasant to read.

5) Scrap the cliches.

Would it be cliche to begin this paragraph with a cliche? I thought so. That’s why I didn’t do it. Cliches sap your content’s originality.

People use these phrases so much that they lose their true meaning. Some studies even claim that figures of speech like “hungry as a horse” or buzzwords like “leverage” can’t activate the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for experiencing emotions. They’re too stale to impact you.

A good way to test cliches is by asking yourself if you’ve heard the term before. If so, aim to express your idea in a new, fresh way. You can also nix cliches by filtering your content through a cliche finder tool.

6) Appeal to the senses.

Good fiction writers can make their readers experience the stories they write. By using concrete details that appeal to their reader’s senses, they can paint vivid pictures with only words.

Skeptical? Well, in a 2012 study at Emory University, researchers monitored participants’ brain activity when they read metaphors involving texture. Metaphors like “He had leathery hands,” lit up their sensory cortex, which is responsible for perceiving texture through touch. When they read a similar phrase like “he had strong hands,” their sensory cortex didn’t activate.

“Leathery” is a concrete detail that appeals to touch. And it places readers into the exact scene the writer described. Metaphors and similes also help people visualize things by comparing a concrete picture with an abstract idea.

Business writing definitely differs from creative writing, but you can still harness the power of sensory language in your blog posts. If your readers can see, hear, touch, smell, or taste your ideas, then they’ll be hooked on your content.

Having trouble grasping this concept? Here are some examples:

  • Visual: “You immediately glue your eyes to the skip button’s countdown clock and wait … until those lingering seconds finally slug by.” – Can you see how long this ad is?
  • Auditory: “But the 20 pen slips below were so hilarious and shocking that my laughter pierced through all my colleagues’ noise-canceling headphones.” – Can you hear his obnoxious laugh?
  • Touch: “Let your well-formatted paragraphs put her attention in a guillotine hold.” – Can you feel how captivated she is?”
  • Smell and taste: “Turn bland writing into zesty sound bites.” – How strong was that quip’s flavor?

7) Let things go.

When you write an elegant paragraph or sentence, your inner author latches onto it. But even if it doesn’t fit within the scope of your content, you still might try to force it in there. You can get too attached to let it go.

Paragraphs or sentences that don’t deepen your readers’ understanding of the topic, provide new information, or spark interest in the next section are just fluff. And all fluff does is muddle your writing.

Instead of building around fluff, strip it away and start something new from scratch. Abandoning beautiful writing is always hard, but if it doesn’t provide value to your readers, let it go.

8) Take a break.

Have you ever reread your final draft so much that you can’t determine whether it’s Neil Patel good or high school essay bad? You can even convince yourself that a lousy draft looks great if you’ve worked on it for long enough.

Before you submit your final draft, it’s crucial to walk away from it. Forgetting about your work will help you develop fresh editing eyes that can discover overlooked errors and new creative opportunities.

Eddie Shleyner, copywriter and content marketer at Workforce Software, follows “The Rule of 12” when he edits his blog posts. After writing his final draft, he walks away for 12 hours. Then he makes his final round of edits, where he always finds a mistake or a better way to polish his copy.

What writing tips do you find useful? Let us know on Twitter!

Reblogged 19 hours ago from blog.hubspot.com