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Google Search algorithm watching; Friday’s daily brief

Make sure not to miss the new more visual changes in Microsoft Bing Search, the new Google My Business reports and the Google Ads mobile app notifications.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

What Marketers Need to Know About YouTube Shorts

Did you know that the first video published on YouTube was only 18-seconds long?

Since launching in 2005, the video giant’s founders have learned time and time again that content doesn’t need to be long to engage audiences.

Now, following a five-month beta test — as well as the success of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and other viral video platforms — YouTube will soon roll out a global short-form video feature of its own.

YouTube Shorts — a YouTube app feature that rivals TikTok and Instagram Reels — began its first round of testing in India last September. The beta feature enables users to see and create 15-second videos with musical overlays.

Even in its most basic beta form, the Shorts feature has already seen solid performance in India. In late February, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced that videos on the India-based Shorts player receive 3.5 billion cumulative daily views.

When You Can Access YouTube Shorts

YouTube users — at least in the U.S. — could see Shorts appear any day now.

A recent post from YouTube’s Chief Product Officer Niel Mohan mentioned that Shorts is expected to be released in the U.S. in March.

While there’s no word on a global launch yet, Pichai recently told the press, “We are looking forward to expanding Shorts to more countries this year.”

As the full launch of YouTube Shorts inches closer, marketers are likely wondering how they’ll take advantage of this video feature, what the final platform will look like, if it will have similar virality to TikTok, and how it could help brands better engage with YouTube’s more than 2 billion active users.

The truth is, as short-form video platforms grow more and more popular, it’s hard to know which will rise above the others. And, because the YouTube Shorts could evolve between now and its official launch, we can’t fully predict what using it will be like.

However, because YouTube already houses millions of hours of branded content, YouTube Shorts could be worth your time — especially if you already have a video strategy on the platform.

Below, I’ll walk through the basics ofYouTube Shorts, and what opportunities it could provide for marketers upon its official launch.

When explaining why YouTube decided to launch Shorts, a blog post from the tech giant read, “Every month, 2 billion viewers come to YouTube to laugh, learn and connect. Creators have built entire businesses on YouTube, and we want to enable the next generation of mobile creators to also grow a community on YouTube with Shorts.”

“User-generated short videos were born on YouTube starting with our first upload, a short 18-second video called ‘Me at the zoo.’ As technology advances, creators and artists can now take advantage of the incredible power of smartphones to easily create and publish high-quality content wherever they are in the world,” the YouTube post added. “People can be entertained and informed by bite-sized content in the spare minutes of the day. — That’s why we’re excited to announce that we are building YouTube Shorts.”

What YouTube Shorts Could Look Like

YouTube Shorts is currently in beta form, as YouTube plans to add more features in the coming months. While we don’t know what Shorts will look like for certain when it launches globally, I dug up screenshots of the Indian beta feature to help marketers envision the potential user experience.  

Creating YouTube Shorts

When Shorts is available, creators will likely be able to produce them by going to their home screen, tapping the “+” icon on the lower navigation, and selecting “Create a Short” from the menu that appears. Below is a screenshot from YouTube:

Where YouTube Shorts will appear in YouTube app

Image Source

When you tap Create, the Shorts creation interface will be similar to that of Instagram Stories in that it opens to a camera screen that allows you to:

  • Record segments of a 15-second clip or a full 15-second video.
  • Upload pre-created content from a camera roll.
  • Film a “short” with back or front-facing cameras.
  • Adjust video speed.
  • Set a recording timer.
  • Pick sounds for musical overlays.

While YouTube says it plans to expand on the features shown above, here’s a quick screenshot of what the platform looks like at the moment:

Youtube Shorts Record screen

Image Source

Watching YouTube Shorts

Before the Shorts beta test, YouTube had already been testing a section of its site where shorter videos were placed. While Shorts doesn’t seem to have a dedicated spot on the YouTube homepage for beta testers yet, videos could show up under the “Short videos” shelf shown in the screenshot below:

Short video area of YouTube app

When watching a Short, viewers in India can tap icons on the bottom of the screen to “Like,” “Dislike,” or comment on the video. If they enjoy what they see, they can also tap the “SUBSCRIBE” button in the upper left corner next to the YouTube channel icon to follow the video creator.

YouTube Shorts video player

Image Source

After a viewer finishes a Short, they can swipe their finger to see a feed of more Shorts from other creators. This seems quite similar to the vertical video feeds you’ll see on TikTok.

What Makes YouTube Shorts Different from Its Competitors

As a marketer, seeing every social media platform launch Stories or short-form video features might be overwhelming. And, now that so many have come out, you might be asking yourself, “Will YouTube Shorts provide more opportunities than Instagram Reels or TikTok?”

Well, we still don’t know yet. However, we think YouTube Shorts will be worth watching. Here are a few reasons why.

1. Short-form creators could see a bigger reach.

While Gen Z users flooded TikTok, causing its astounding early growth, YouTube, the second largest website globally, will launch Shorts to more than 2 billion monthly active users.

Rather than wondering, “Will YouTube Shorts get awareness?”, you can ask yourself, “How do I tap into YouTube’s huge audience with Shorts?”

According to Nelson Chacon, HubSpot’s Principal YouTube Content Strategist, you’ll want to know which segment of YouTube’s huge audience you’ll want to market to before producing Shorts — or any other YouTube video for that matter. Additionally, if you have a solid subscriber list, you’ll want to continue to create content that’s still relevant to them — even if it’s shorter-form.

Your subscribers know your channel for its content and Youtube, as a platform, works best with consistency,” Chacon says.

For example, if you regularly create long-form content related to your product or industry and find that it engages your audiences, Chacon notes that you can use Shorts to create “quick tutorials” or “step-by-step videos” around those content topics.

2. Brands in most industries could leverage Shorts.

Because TikTok has a somewhat niche user-base filled with younger consumers, some types of brands, such as B2B companies, might have a harder time growing awareness there. While YouTube shares similar popularity with young adults, the content on its huge platform is so vast that it brings in people from all sorts of age groups, countries, industries, and niches.

Ultimately, there’s a video for everyone on YouTube. With Shorts, more brands will be able to engage with audiences from a much wider range of audience targets.

For example, while a B2B brand might have difficulty connecting with Gen Z consumers on TikTok, they might be able to connect with professionals looking for industry-related content on Shorts. Similarly, if you target older generations, such as Gen X, your short-form content might get more engagement on YouTube than TikTok.

3. YouTube Shorts could be less vulnerable than other viral platforms.

This summer and throughout the fall of 2020, TikTok was threatened with bans and censorship regulations.

Why is this concerning? If you’re a marketer who spends time mastering content strategies on a social media app, a ban or regulation of that app could mean that the content you’ve worked so hard on might never be seen.

However, because YouTube’s one of the oldest and most successful online platforms, and it’s owned by the publicly-traded Alphabet, it might be seen as more trustworthy to governments around that world than viral apps that provide less public data security information — like TikTok.

4. Shorts could provide long-term benefits.

While Instagram Stories and Reels content to expire by default after 24 hours, some YouTube Shorts beta testers say Shorts don’t disappear from YouTube — which could help grow long-term YouTube awareness.

For example, if a person who prefers short-form content stumbles upon your YouTube page, they can see all of your short videos, rather than only being able to access your longer content. Or, if someone’s in a rush and searching for a quick how-to video related to something you’ve filmed, they might find and watch your short videos on that topic — even if you published them months ago.

How to Prepare for YouTube Shorts

While we aren’t sure when Shorts will launch, it’s not too early to consider how you could implement it into your social media or video marketing strategy. Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind.

  • Optimize Short YouTube Videos: Chacon says global creators should begin to add, “#shorts” to descriptions of videos that are 60 seconds or less. Although YouTube hasn’t launched Shorts globally, this hashtag still increases the chances of short videos appearing “on the Shorts shelf of the app.”
  • Identify Short-Form Topics: Are there any topics your team creates content around that could be distilled into a few quick tips, steps, or data points? If so, you might be able to repurpose this information by creating a Short.
  • Audit Your Short-Form Videos: Have you created Instagram Reels, TikTok’s, or other social media videos that would only need a few light tweaks to engage your YouTube audience? If so, you could test them on Shorts when the platform launches.

To learn more about YouTube Marketing, check out our Ultimate Guide — or download the free resource below.

Click me

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.hubspot.com

In Support of PLR

Private Label Rights, or PLR as it’s most often called in our industry, is a term that is laden with connotations these days. If you’re reading this article, chances are good that you already know what PLR is, so I’m not going to talk about what it is or about the general benefits of using […]

Reblogged 1 year ago from www.ericstips.com

6 ways social media analysts drive business growth

Every day, your customers spend time scrolling, clicking, talking and creating on social media. The near-nonstop use of social media translates to endless amounts of social data for marketers to use. And yet, only 23% of marketers use their social data to measure ROI and 16% use it for competitive insights.

The data and insights available through social media can—and should—drive an entire business forward. But social data is only powerful if you can harness, analyze and apply it, which is why more businesses are increasingly hiring social media analysts.

Whether you have an in-house social team, offer social media management at your agency or outsource social, a social media analyst is a valuable player to have on your team.

What is a social media analyst?

A social media analyst is someone who continually assesses your brand’s owned data, campaign and content performance and social listening data, and translates it all into actionable business recommendations.

The fundamentals of their role include:

  • Comfort with social media analytics tools to report on critical KPIs
  • Problem-solving to support overall social performance and achieve goals
  • Understanding social platforms and how each of them uniquely impacts audience behavior and content performance
  • Recognizing how social data can grow every aspect of their business and helping others see social differently

Often businesses will lump social media data analysis into other social media and community manager roles. By adding an analyst to your social media team and giving them most of the data-related responsibilities, people in those other roles can get back the bandwidth they need to do what they do best—engaging audiences, creating innovative content, providing customer care and more.

It is true that every social media marketer should have a basic understanding of key performance indicators (KPIs), reporting and goal tracking, but not all of us are numbers people. Social media analysts are. Data is what they do best.

Those are the basics of any social media analyst’s job description, but the analysts who really go above and beyond help drive business growth in these six ways.

1. They bring data to back up decisions

There are so many moving parts in every social strategy, and you want to have confidence that your strategy will work. A social media analyst can ensure the numbers are there to back up your decisions.

Analysts track how your content, engagement and publishing strategies are doing. But they don’t just wait for results and then report back: they actively track data as it happens. In doing so, they’ve always got a finger on the pulse and insights to contribute to content, digital, social and other marketing strategies. Ultimately, they can help others do their jobs better.

Let’s say a content creator wanted to understand which types of artwork and images they should start, stop or continue creating. The social data analyst would bring forward owned data that validates or challenges assumptions about what works. They don’t just say, “people like GIFs.” They test variables, find patterns in your performance data, highlight specific examples and contribute their historical knowledge on the reception of content to the table. Then, they follow up on their recommendations and keep a close eye on the data, so if things don’t go as predicted, they’re ready to adjust, refine and make new recommendations.

2. They bring the team together

Analysts also actively bring people together to share their insights, not waiting for others to come to them. They invite strategists, creatives, community managers, paid media specialists and other stakeholders to the table. And in these meetings, it’s a social media analyst’s role to share data in a way everyone can understand. They don’t just share numbers, they tell a story, share visualizations and cater to all learning styles.

For instance, if an analyst were to say, “In February, our top engagement types on Twitter were likes, up by 9.5% month-over-month, and link clicks, up by 15% month-over-month. Replies however were down to 137 for the month.” That might not mean much to a visual learner or a person who isn’t as familiar with your benchmarks. Fortunately, tools like Sprout Social have automated data visualizations, so analysts can show how engagements break down, rather than just tell.

3. They don’t just share what’s happening, they analyze why

 It’s not enough to share raw numbers or qualitative data and say, “it is what it is.” The best social analysts also investigate the why.

Let’s say your content has hit a plateau and social engagement is down month-over-month. Analysts put on their detective cap and go to work. Using analytics tools like Sprout Social, they look back at historical performance, take note of any anomalies and look into specific variables that might be impacting engagement metrics.

They might take specific actions such as looking at sentiment toward your brand and how it’s changed over time. If it’s dwindled or dropped drastically, analysts can dig deeper to review negative messages and find more detailed information that might tell you why your content is underperforming.

sentiment analysis through social media is a great example of improving ux for marketers

4. They can predict outcomes

So much of social media marketing is about planning content calendars and looking forward. But how can you confidently plan for the next three to six months when things are constantly changing? The answer is social data.

With social data, analysts can turn hunches into real and actionable ideas. They take note of recurring patterns, analyze relevant listening data, evaluate the content types that consistently engage your audience and track the way content performance varies across channels over time.

With this information, you can create more targeted content for your audience, apply collective insights to larger marketing campaigns and even surface invaluable product feedback.

5. They don’t just focus on their own brand

To understand your own brand health, you need to benchmark your social performance and presence against top competitors in your industry.

Competitive analysis is a critical skill for analysts. It helps them give you deeper insight into what strategies work in your industry, how products and services are differentiated, where there are gaps in your content and how you need to adjust to stand out from the competition.

Analysts can manually review competitors on social use competitor reports and listening tools in Sprout to simplify the process.

Analysts will also scour industry trend reports, data reports from social channels and internal customer data to backup your social data. Then, on top of that, they leverage social listening data to add an extra layer of cultural context—a benefit that social media uniquely provides.

Once analysts have the data, they should share their findings far and wide, so teams across their org can leverage that competitive analysis to create new or improved products, campaigns or creative assets.

6. They help you manage a crisis

 Social media analysis is not just useful for retrospective reporting but can also drive proactive decision-making—which is essential during a crisis.

For example, analysts at Indiana University (IU) used Sprout’s Premium Analytics to manage an unfolding crisis. When a Twitter account with half a million followers unearthed some insensitive Tweets from a tenured IU professor, the social team set up a Listening Topic to track data like the volume and reach of conversations happening around the issue.

Their social team was able to then provide insight into the progression of the crisis, the social narrative, inflection points and what caused them. With this data, the team came to leadership with recommendations about what actions to take. And their leaders listened.

Within almost 24 hours of when the issue really escalated, IU’s provost released a statement, staked out IU’s position condemning the professor’s Tweets and mitigated the crisis, thanks to the analysis and intelligence on the social team.

Build an all-star team that sees social data differently

Deeper data analysis can break social out of the marketing silo and impact every area of your business. So, if you’re able to add a social analyst to your social team, seize the opportunity. But if you’re still working as a social team of one, embrace the skills and habits of an analyst to become a more well-rounded, influential marketer. And if you need more powerful tools to get the job done, Sprout Social has you covered.

Want to learn more about getting the most out of your social data? Download this guide on 40 of the best ways to use social media data you might have overlooked.

This post 6 ways social media analysts drive business growth originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feedproxy.google.com

How to use data for content curation

With growing competition, the best way for your brand to stand out on social media is through engagement. And for that, you need content. In fact, according to the Sprout Social Index™, 40% of consumers believe that memorable content makes a brand’s social best in class. And creativity is the top reason why a brand’s social presence stands out.

With online conversations and trends moving quickly, it can be challenging to stay up to date with trends or posting original content frequently enough to stay visible in followers’ feeds.

That’s where content curation comes in. It helps you keep your feed fresh and engaging without stressing to create new content every time.

In this guide, we show you how to use data to curate content for social media and share posts that resonate with your audience.

What is content curation?

Content curation is the process of finding content that your audience would love from multiple sources and strategically sharing it through a variety of channels. So rather than creating only original content, you’ll share and credit others’ content as well.

An example of curating content would be gathering several blog posts about social media marketing and using them in a roundup post or newsletter for your readers.

But curating content for social media is a bit more straightforward. Find the content you want to share (think: social mentions) and add it to your social media calendar. So you may Retweet posts from influential industry names in the industry or you could even share user-generated photos on your Instagram Stories, with permission of the original content creator.

For SEMrush, its social media curation strategy involves sharing insightful and relevant blog posts from reputable names in the industry. Here’s an example of a Tweet in which the company shares a Crazy Egg blog post:

Why curate content?

Here are a few reasons why content curation makes sense for your overall marketing efforts:

  • Enhance your brand-customer relationship – Social media content curation gives you the opportunity to share user-generated content (UGC). This allows you to put your customers in the spotlight and enhance your relationship with them. According to the Sprout Social Index™ XVI: Above and Beyond, 41% of marketers plan on using more UGC in 2021.
  • Highlight your products in context – Through content curation, you can use UGC to highlight how your products look or perform in the real world. This puts your products in context and helps reduce buyer anxiety.
  • Build value and trust with your audience – When you curate content for social media, you typically want to focus on content that adds the most value to your audience. This not only helps you build brand value with your audience, it also helps you win their trust as they see that you’re putting their needs first.
  • Add variety to standard marketing content – Curated content on social media also helps to add some variety to your standard marketing content. So you can keep your feed fresh and varied to engage your audience.
  • Build relationships with influencers – When you curate social media content, you might even share content from influential names in the industry. When you reach out to work with them on sharing their content, you’ll be able to strengthen your relationship with these influencers.

How to curate content based on data

While content curation solves a lot of problems, it comes with its own set of challenges. One of the main challenges is in finding content that would resonate with your target audience. And the best way to solve this is by looking at the data.

Fifty-six percent of social marketers use social data to gain a better understanding of their target audience. And 49% are already using it to inform their creative content.

Similarly, you need to use data to understand your audience, what they like and what resonates with them. This can then inform your social media content curation efforts. The following content curation tools can help you uncover valuable data that could inform your content strategy:

1. Sprout Social

Sprout’s own social media publishing solution comes with robust content curation features to find relevant and engaging posts to share with your social media audience.

The Find Content tool crawls through social media platforms to discover the most shared content across major social networks. It then uses a matching algorithm to assign the article to the most relevant category so you can find highly-relevant, highly-shared content to share on social media.

Screenshot of Sprout Social's Find Content tool

You can send these articles to Compose in Sprout and schedule them for publishing. Or you can use these as inspiration for your original content and backlink to the source.

Similarly, under the Feeds tab in Sprout, you can search your Twitter Feed and Instagram Hashtags you’re tracking for content as well. It should be emphasized that each social network has their own guidelines for social sharing and content curation, so be sure you check these before you repost.

2. BuzzSumo

You can also use dedicated content curation tools such as BuzzSumo to search for highly relevant and popular content for your feed. This platform allows you to search for popular content on a particular topic or keyword. Or if you want to share content from a specific website, you can also search for the top-performing content within that domain.

Screenshot of an active feed of the BuzzSumo platform

This is a great way to find trending topics and content that your audience will love. You could either share the content directly or use it as inspiration for your social media content strategy.

3. Feedly

Feedly is another excellent option for data-fueled content curation. It uses AI content curation software to filter top-performing content based on the topics and trends that matter to you. This gives you a personalized feed prioritizing the most reliable and relevant sources.

It doesn’t just analyze data but identifies the most insightful pieces of content. This makes it easier to narrow down on the most relevant content that would resonate with your target audience.

Screenshot of Feedly's feed of business articles

Steps to curate content for social media

Now that you have the right tools for content curation, follow the steps below to start the process:

Step 1. Decide how frequently to curate

Curating content for social media is a great way to share fresh content with your followers. But before you start sharing and reposting content, find out the ideal ratio of original and curated content for your social media. This will probably vary by network. For instance, Twitter might call for more content curation than Facebook.

According to a Curata study, the ideal content marketing mix is:

  • 65% originally created content
  • 25% curated content
  • 10% syndicated content

Again, it might be wise to experiment with different ratios to see what works best for you.

Step 2. Look at your social media metrics

Which of your content is getting the most engagement? Looking at your social media metrics can help you determine which type of content resonates with your audience. Is your audience reacting more strongly to video over photos? Or did a specific campaign’s imagery have the biggest impact? Depending on your social media goals, your impressions and engagement data will help guide the content you share.

Sprout’s Engagement Report and Post Performance Reports can provide the insights that you need to determine how much of your social media content should be curated content.

Screenshot of Sprout Social's Cross Channel Post Performance Reports

 

Step 3. Find relevant content

Next, find content relevant to your industry or your brand. This will help you take an organized approach when looking for content to curate.

We highlighted this earlier, but curated images of your product or brand in context is always a good way to use UGC.

A good place to start searching for relevant content is through social mentions and relevant hashtags. You’ll find that your brand is mentioned by many people, and your options for UGC content are endless. Just be sure what you wish to reshare is aligned with your brand’s voice.

On that same note, testimonials and reviews, such as Tweets, are great to share across your social media profiles too.

Especially when it comes to original art and photography, reach out to those individuals and ask for permission to report on your profile, as good practice and in good faith.

Step 4. Publish and analyze

Finally it’s time to publish the content you’ve curated. Make sure to personalize each post with your brand take on the topic and in your brand voice. And be strategic when you fit these posts into your brand’s existing publishing calendar. Sprinkle them in with your marketing content for variety in your feed.

Once you start publishing your curated social media content, be sure to analyze its performance. See what’s working and what isn’t so you can fine-tune your content curation efforts.

Get to curating

You’re all set to start curating content for social media to build better relationships and boost engagements. Make the most of the tips and tools given above to fuel your content curation efforts. Through thoughtful data metrics and understanding your audience, you can include curated content alongside your original work as well. To learn more about customer behavior and social marketers’ strategies, download your copy of the Sprout Social Index™.

This post How to use data for content curation originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feedproxy.google.com

February 2021 Updates to Paid Media Platforms

In this monthly post, we bring you the latest news and changes from all of the major ad platforms.

Read more at PPCHero.com

Reblogged 1 year ago from feedproxy.google.com

2021 Will be the year brands make winning experiences out of remote interactions

30-second summary:

  • In line with last year’s changes, customers’ behaviors and expectations have also evolved dramatically over the past year
  • 31 percent of customers are more likely to purchase online in 2021 than they were just a year prior
  • Cutting through the clutter and creating meaningful experiences for valued customers will be a priority for brands
  • Donna Tuths, Chief Transformation and Innovation Officer at Sutherland foresees four key trends playing out in 2021

2020 has forced brands to completely transform the way they operate in the wake of the pandemic, and it is evident that some of the changes we are experiencing will be permanent. Brand relationships that were once defined by visiting stores or face-to-face conversations with salespeople are now being reimagined as remote interactions. Mandatory physical distancing around the world, coupled with the rise of digital connectivity, has resulted in many brands transitioning from brick-and-mortar to online.

In line with this change, customers’ behaviors and expectations have also evolved dramatically over the past year. For instance, consumers were 31 percent more likely to purchase online in 2021 than they were just a year prior.

While online or remote interactions are not an entirely new concept, the challenge brands face is cutting through the clutter and creating meaningful experiences for their valued customers. Here are the four key trends I foresee playing out in 2021 to make that a reality.

Customer care will shift to a business driver

Marketers are taking notice. In the battlefield of experience, remote interactions with customers have become key. With the vast majority of them now taking place in the contact center, companies have come to recognize these interactions are gold. With the omnichannel capabilities available today, marketers have terabytes of data generated every day by their interactions with their customers that could be mined to hyper-personalized interactions, wow their customers, and make every contact count.

Investments in employee experience will have a greater impact on customer experience than ever before

Happy employees equal happy customers. The more brands invest in the employee experience, the more the customer benefits. AI-enabled tools used for recruiting can turn the power of data into creating a perfect match between their target consumers and the people they entrust to interact with them day in and day out. Furthermore, AI-enabled tools can enable those humans to provide the support that is frictionless, with less effort.  

This year will take brands much closer to getting the human-machine balance right

Rather than replacing humans, machines are elevating what humans do, giving them powers that reach beyond space and time. This delivers benefits to consumers and employees alike. While humans are busy interacting with customers, AI-enabled bots trained on sentiment data analysis and more can scour chat, email, and other channels to identify customers that need help and fast.

2021 may be the year AI-enabled marketing explodes

This would literally give the term “marketing automation” a new meaning. With huge amounts of interaction data available to many companies and advances in machine learning, brands could see next-generation, real-time, AI-enabled marketing where signals are detected and hyper-personalized messages and offers are instantly dispatched without nary a marketer or marketing operations person lifting a finger.

2021: A renewed focus on creating winning experiences

For brands to be more intentional about creating winning experiences across their multiple customer touchpoints, they need to improve on the way they leverage data, deploy aiding technologies and empower their employees to drive these interactions.

It is only by striking the right balance between the three that brands can deliver the kinds of experiences that ensure success in driving increased consumer delight and loyalty.

Donna Tuths is Chief Transformation and Innovation Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Sutherland.

The post 2021 Will be the year brands make winning experiences out of remote interactions appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Reblogged 1 year ago from www.searchenginewatch.com

14 Powerful Tactics to Improve Your Email Click-Through Rates

People spend a lot of time worrying about their email open rates, but there’s another email metric that’s just as important — click-through rates.

Click-through rates reveal how many subscribers clicked a link in an email, as well as how many times they clicked it. 

What is a good email click-through rate?

This is a tricky question to answer. Email marketing benchmarks vary widely among industries, business size, audiences, and more. 

To better understand small business email marketing benchmarks, we conducted research asking survey respondents to self-report their click-through rates. Here’s what we found. 

What are average email click-through rates?

While it’s nice to get an idea of how your metrics stack up against others’, I would encourage you to change the way you view email marketing benchmarks. 

Rather than comparing your click-through rates to other businesses’ rates, keep an eye on how your rates improve over time. You’ll learn a lot more about your particular audience by focusing on your own data. 

After all, it’s true that ‘comparison is the thief of joy.’

But, you should know that low click-through rates can tank a product launch, hurt your website traffic, and make your email strategy ineffective.

Want to make sure this doesn’t happen? Try these 14 ways to optimize your emails and get more clicks. 

How to improve email click through rates

1. Stick to one call to action per email

When you’re creating an email, it may be tempting to include multiple calls to action (CTA) in the hopes that your subscribers will respond to at least one of the offers in an email. After all, the more options you provide, the more likely they’ll engage with one of them, right?

Well, not exactly. In fact, this can hurt your click rates rather than help them.

Too many links can distract and overwhelm your subscribers, decreasing click-through rates in your emails. To get optimal click through rates, include one call to action in your emails to focus your subscribers on taking a single action.

In fact, Whirlpool was able to increase their click through rates by 42 percent after limiting their CTA to just one.

In the email below from EOFire, there is one clear call to action and no question of what the subscriber is supposed to do – join the class.

stick to one call to action for higher click-through rates

2. Segment your emails

Different people have different interests. So do your email subscribers.

If you send the wrong people on your list an offer they’re not interested in, your click through rates will most likely plummet.

For higher click-through rates, segment your subscribers and send tailored emails based on their interests. You’ll see better click through rates when you send the right offer to the right person.

3. Create a sense of urgency

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is real, and eliciting this feeling in your subscribers can influence them to click on your calls to action right away.

If you have an offer that ends soon or a limited number of spots at a webinar, for example, you can create a sense of urgency by adding words like “now” or “today” to your emails.

We can tell you first hand that creating a sense of urgency works, because it worked on me.

Indoor plant seller Bloomscape retired some of their more popular plants. I couldn’t miss out on an opportunity to scoop up some favorites. 

get more clicks by using urgency

4. Personalize your emails

Have you ever received an email that didn’t apply to you at all? This kind of email may leave you feeling like a nobody on a huge list of email subscribers. And this feeling of alienation doesn’t encourage you to click.

Instead, when your subscribers receive an email for you, they should feel like you are addressing them alone. Truly personalized emails will feel like something written just for you. That kind of connection leads to higher click through rates.

Here are a few simple ways you can personalize your emails:

  • Include your subscriber’s name in your email. While this technique isn’t fresh, it can be effective. Instead of adding subscribers’ names at the beginning of an email, try adding them in the middle or at the end.
  • On your email sign up form, ask for information about your subscribers’ interests. Then, send segmented emails based on their responses.
  • Collect your subscribers’ birth dates on your sign up form and send them a celebratory email on their birthday.
  • Send a re-engagement email to people who haven’t opened an email from you in a while. Ask for feedback and see if they are still interested in receiving your messages.
  • Send emails tailored to what you know about your subscribers. What did they buy from you recently? Do you have something similar they may like? Send an email with a suggestion.

5. Create mobile-optimized emails

Eighty five percent of users access email from their phones.

And that means if your emails are difficult to read on a phone, there’s probably a huge percentage of your subscribers who aren’t getting the best experience and are most likely not clicking on your emails.

To make sure your emails are easy to read from any device, use email templates that are mobile responsive instead of mobile-friendly.

Mobile responsive emails are easier to read on both desktops and mobile devices, because text, images and buttons automatically adjust to fit the screen size. Additionally, multi-column email layouts adjust to single columns on mobile devices, and content is easy to access with both a mouse and a touchscreen.

Mobile friendly emails, on the other hand, scale down to fit the size of the screen, but don’t adjust layouts or fonts.

See how this mobile-friendly email below is difficult to read because the double-column layout makes the images, fonts and headlines too small?screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-11-39-45-am

Compare that to this mobile-responsive email below, where fonts and images are resized for the small screen and double columns turned to single columns:

mobile responsive images

If you’re not an email designer and have no idea how to make an email responsive, fear not! Many email service providers (like AWeber) provide mobile-responsive email templates for their customers.

6. Include colorful, clickable HTML buttons

One of the simplest ways to improve click-through rates is to ensure your subscribers know where to click. While plain text calls to action work for some people, a big button with a contrasting color immediately draws attention and can significantly improve click-through rates.

If you’re adding a button to your email, there are a few reasons why you’ll want to use an HTML button rather than an image button:

  1. An HTML button can be responsive, which means it’ll resize for people on different devices.
  2. Images in emails may not display for certain subscribers. And if your call to action doesn’t display as a result, click-through rates will tank.
  3. Email load times will be faster with fewer images in your emails.

You can code your own HTML button, or rely on your email service provider’s drag-and-drop editor (which will usually allow you to add customizable HTML buttons).

7. Don’t over complicate your email design

Complex isn’t always better, and this is often the case with email design. Avoid overwhelming your subscribers with an overabundance of images, icons or different fonts. Not only does this make for a disharmonious email, it’ll also take attention away from the content of your email and your call to action.

This beautiful, yet simple email from You Need a Budget incorporates a clean font, one image that works with the content of the email and a clear call-to-action button:

Clear CTA for click through rates
Photo courtesy of Really Good Emails

8. Use action-oriented CTA copy

Your email call to action copy should encourage people to take a specific action. Instead of using a generic call to action like “click here,” use verbs that describe the action you want subscribers to take, such as:

  • Shop
  • Learn
  • Get
  • Grab
  • Submit
  • Send
  • Start
  • Try
  • Reserve
  • Take
  • View
  • See
  • Watch
  • Read

By doing so, you’ll frame the subscriber experience in a way that influences them to want to take action.

9. Pique their curiosity

“The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind is curiosity.” – Edmund Burke

Everyone has been curious about something at one point in their lives. And when a person is curious about something, they are inclined to resolve their curiosity.

Fortunately, you can also leverage curiosity in your email copy to encourage people to click-through on your emails.

Birchbox, for example, does this in the email below by offering a free mystery prize with a purchase. To find out what they would get, they need to click on the call-to-action button.

Free prize to increase clicks

Hopefully the prize is a good one, but at least it gets the click!

10. Include social proof

Believe it or not, people like to do what other people do. When they notice multiple people or a famous person doing something, they’re more likely to want to do it themselves. 

This is called social proof, which is a phenomenon where people are persuaded to take an action by seeing that other people have taken that action before them—and have seen success as a result of that action.

You can use social proof in your email content to encourage people to click through your calls to action. Bite does just that in the email below. By showing off how customers use their product and sharing their success stories, they tap into the power of social proof.

Social proof to increase click through rates
Photo courtesy of Really Good Emails

11. Write engaging headlines

If you use a headline in your email content, it will be the first thing your subscriber sees when they open your message.

A good headline quickly grabs your subscriber’s attention, engages them and gets them to read the rest of your email. And when subscribers read your email content, they become more likely to take action – which makes headlines pretty darn important.

For the email below, MailCharts used the subject line “Are your subscribers annoyed??” and then followed it up with the headline “You don’t know, do you?”

How to increase click-through rates

By linking the headline to the subject line, it guides the subscriber to continue reading through the rest of the content. You’ll also notice MailCharts does a good job of raising curiosity, which gives readers even more of a reason to continue reading and click the call-to-action button.

12. Use video

People love videos. They’re engaging, easy to follow, and often fun to watch. Plus, if people are in your videos, you can build relationships that written words often can’t.

While video doesn’t play in all inboxes, the inclusion of a thumbnail image of your video and a play button can boost click through rates tremendously. In fact, Wistia increased their email click through rates by 300 percent by incorporating videos in their emails.

Bonus tip: You can also try using GIFs in your emails to add motion to your emails and boost click-through rates.

13. Cater to what your audience likes

If one of your emails had an insanely high click through rate, it’s apparent that your subscribers liked what you did in that email. So, do it again.

Your audience should be your main barometer for what is working in your email strategy and influence the content and design elements you include.

Do you see high click through rates when you send short emails or long emails? Does your audience click more when there’s an image or video? Does a certain kind of content lead to higher clicks?

Take a look at your past emails and see which ones got the highest click through rates.

Then, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Have two (or three) ideas for one email? Split test them. See which version of the email wins and do it again. 

14. Feature the right images

Images in your emails can be a powerful way to grab the attention of your subscribers and convince them to click. However, you need to use the right images.

Email images should add meaning, support the content of your email or help make a relevant point. Additionally, you should use alt text in case your images don’t display.

Check out the header image in the email below, which serves multiple purposes:

image in an email
Photo courtesy of Really Good Emails

There are a few things that work well here.

  1. It summarizes the content of the email briefly and immediately, giving the reader everything they need to know in the space of a few seconds.
  2. The image supports the content of the email and provides additional meaning.
  3. Finally, it includes a call-to-action button, which encourages people to click on the email.

For the subscriber who skims or doesn’t read the email content, this image does it all. It catches their attention, tells them about the offer and gives them a place to click.

Related: How to Create Amazing Photos for Your Emails on Zero Budget

Bonus: 3 Ways to Increase Click Through Rates That Have Nothing to Do with Email Content

Believe it or not, you can set the stage for high email click-through rates without touching your email content. Here’s how.

1. Set expectations before people subscribe to your email list. 

To set a good foundation for your emails (and help your engagement rates start off on the right foot), you’ll want to make sure subscribers know what they’re signing up for before they give you their email address.

Whether it’s a monthly newsletter, weekly do-it-yourself tips or seasonal exclusive offers, being upfront about the kind of emails readers will receive helps attract the right people to your list. Plus, it sets expectations as to what you’ll be sending them – as a result, there shouldn’t be any unwanted surprises.

As you set expectations in your sign up form, however, do note that it’s just as important that the content in your email lives up to the promise you made. Why? Because your emails are more likely to be marked as spam if you say you’ll send one thing and deliver another.

2. Experiment with the frequency and timing of your emails.

Depending on your target audience and the content they prefer, the frequency and timing of your messages could vary greatly.

For most businesses, a weekly email newsletter is a great place to start. Eventually, you can increase the frequency of your emails to promote your product, share content or break your newsletter into smaller chunks. Or, ask your subscribers what cadence they prefer.

Try experimenting with time frames to figure out when your audience is most likely to read your email. For example, if business people are your target audience, you may get the best results if you email them during work hours. However, some people only have time to check their emails during lunch or when they first wake up. 

You can use analytics to determine when people are most likely to open your emails and plan your campaign accordingly.

3. Spend extra time crafting a subject line.

Strong subject lines impact click through rates just as much as open rates. Your email could contain the best content ever, but no one will read it if your subject line is weak.

Most people skim through their inbox, so make sure your subject line is short and punchy. 

Adding a special offer, asking a question, or emphasizing a sense of urgency, for example, can all be effective ways to create a compelling subject line.

Of course click through rates are important, but open rates and other forms of email engagement can contribute to your email marketing success. Make sure you track your email engagement metrics to learn what works for your unique audience.

Go get yourself a sick amount of clicks.

Try these tactics with your subscribers and see what increases click-through rates. Tell us what worked in the comments below!

(You’ll need an email marketing platform to apply what you learn in this post. Try AWeber’s easy-to-use email platform for free.)

Additional reporting by Liz Willits and Monica Montesa

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Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.aweber.com

75 Open-Worthy Subject Line Ideas

75 Open-Worthy Subject Line Ideas

They say don’t judge an email by its subject line, but let’s be honest: We’re always keeping an eye out for the best of the best. After all, the subject line is the first impression your message has on its recipients and can help you improve your opens and clicks.

That’s a lot of pressure for a seemingly short line of text.

While there is no secret to the perfect subject line, there are a few words and phrases that can help get more eyes on your emails.

Create a sense of urgency in your subject line

Getting people to take action from your email can be difficult. There’s a lot that goes into getting more opens and clicks. Creating a sense of urgency is one of those things that can have a big impact on whether or not your email gets read.

Here are some examples to get you started:

1. Back in stock, so don’t miss out

2. This is your *last chance* to shop our sale

3. Tick, tock! 30% off sale ends soon!

4. Going once, going twice…

5. Members get first dibs.

6. We couldn’t wait ‘til Friday!

7. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

8. You might want to hurry

9. A little (limited-time-only) present

10. Available for 24 hours only

Related: Your Guide to Writing the World’s Best Email Subject Lines

Have a strong call-to-action

When it comes down to getting your emails opened, experiential verbs (like “celebrate” and “love”) perform better than functional verbs (like “spend” and “grab”). That’s not to say these words won’t work – it’s really all about context.

The thing that everyone can agree on is that if you don’t ask, subscribers won’t take action. So try throwing some of these high-performing words in your next subject line:

11. Celebrate with savings!

12. Act now for friends and family savings!

13. 3 DIY Frame Hacks You Need to Try Now

14. Trust me, you need this

15. Send some. get some.

16. Don’t Let These Get Away

Related: Get Higher Open Rates with 22 of the Best Email Subject Lines

Get personal

Personalization. When it’s done right, it’s awesome! But when it’s done wrong? It can be borderline creepy. Here are a few examples of how to do it the right way:

17. Because you need this…

18. Join me for a marg, Olivia?

19. You deserve a treat

20. Special delivery for Olivia

21. The jeans you don’t have (yet)

22. It’s time for your next visit

Related: The 6 Most Common Subject Line Mistakes to Avoid

Repeat yourself

Being redundant pays off, especially when it comes to your subject line. That’s because it keeps you, the sender, top-of-mind. And being top-of-mind helps build trust, which can lead to more sales. It’s a win-win!

Try including your name or your company name in the subject line, à la these brands:

23. New and exclusive to Kaufmann Mercantile

24. The Madewell essentials

25. Did somebody say new Glossier?

26. The Giant Weekly Newsletter

27. New and Exclusive to Sephora

Related: How Long Should an Email Subject Line Be?

We don’t mean to brag, but…

Just kidding, we totally do. And that’s because adding key superlatives to your subject line can help strengthen your core message and make it more effective.

Just check out these example subject lines to see what I mean:

28. new favorite dress, hands down

29. Here’s a special treat, just for you!

30. This is big, huge, gigantic, amazing, incredible

31. Our latest styles have just arrived

32. The PERFECT Facebook Ad

33. Best of the blog

34. A little luxury at a great price

Pose a question

A question is a great way to spark some curiosity around your email, but it’s the type of question that matters. Yes or no questions perform better than open-ended questions. And don’t forget about sentiment: Questions with a negative association (like don’t or can’t) are the worst-performers.

35. What do you think?

36. Do you like prizes?

37. Can you keep a secret?

38. How could you top this?

39. Today’s the day! Are you in?

40. Best gift ever?

41. Details, please! Did you like your purchase?

Punctuation and capitalization matter

Punctuation can completely change the tone of your subject line with one simple character. And that can impact how your subscribers respond to your message. Even the lack of punctuation can change the gist of your subject, keeping things casual.

Capitalization also has the same effect. Take notes.

42. MAJOR announcement!

43. Extra 30% off sale styles (!)

44. *permission to brag*

45. It’s giveaway time again

46. T.G.I.SAAALE!

47. we’re melting

48. alert! today only

49. And the winner goes to

50. N-E-W

51. Flash. Sale. Alert.

Running a giveaway? 

People love free stuff. Make your giveaway clear right away in your subject line to maximize opens and clicks.

52. Your chance to win, inside!

53. Do you want to win $100?

54. We’re giving away a $50 credit. Find out how to win

55. Giveaway! A cozy home care package

56. I’m giving away 5 prizes today — don’t miss out!

57. What can you win today?

58. You could win this…seriously…

A warm welcome goes a long way

Not only do new subscribers expect to hear from you soon (or immediately) after joining your email list, they want to. Greet your new subscribers with a welcome email. They’ll never be more engaged with you than in the moments after signing up — so take advantage.

59. Welcome to the Away family ✈️

60. You’re in! Now let’s get started…

61. You’re all set to save!

62. Welcome to ___!

63. Kelly, to say thanks for joining, here’s a gift just for you

Follow up email subject lines

Follow up with subscribers who recently purchased from you — or those who did not. You never know why someone may have missed your message. Maybe they were busy, or the first subject line didn’t catch their attention.

All is not lost. Follow up emails are a great tool to try again — especially if you automate your email campaigns

64. Did you miss out?

65. Please review your recent purchase

66. You have questions? We have answers!

67. I’m keeping my promise

68. Do you want your $20 credit?

69. Care to share? Get $20 off.

Thank you email subject lines

Saying ‘thank you’ goes a long way. Show your appreciation and gratitude for your customers by sending an email just to say thanks. You can even throw in a special offer as a thank you gift if you want to make them feel extra special. 

70. This sale is our way of saying THANKS!

71. As our thanks: you’re getting 30% off

72. It’s our turn to give thanks 🙏

73. Thank you for shopping with us

74. How we say THANKS

75. Our thank-you treat

Try these subject lines out for yourself

We’re big proponents of trying out tricks and tactics to see what works best. While you can’t predict results by looking at how past subject lines performed, you can use them as a basis for future iteration.

Try adding some of these words and phrases in your next few subject lines and watch your open rates skyrocket.Now that you’ve seen 75 open-worthy subject lines, learn how to write better emails with our free course and guide!

Additional reporting by Olivia Dello Buono

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Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.aweber.com

Turn Your Emails to Gold: How to Increase Your Email CTR

There’s gold at the end of the rainbow when it comes to your email marketing — you just need to make sure you’re on the right track towards finding it. Email has one of the most impressive ROIs of all marketing endeavors at $38 earned for every $1 spent. That alone should be a huge…

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Reblogged 1 year ago from www.benchmarkemail.com