Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena http://networkingbizz.com Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena Fri, 02 Nov 2018 18:34:00 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 Four E-Commerce SEO Trends To Prepare For In 2019 http://networkingbizz.com/four-e-commerce-seo-trends-prepare-2019/ http://networkingbizz.com/four-e-commerce-seo-trends-prepare-2019/#respond Fri, 02 Nov 2018 18:34:00 +0000 http://networkingbizz.com/?p=8065 Tech giants like Google and Facebook continue to invest time, money and energy into the development of their algorithms. As a result, search engine optimization (SEO) trends and marketing tactics are constantly changing. Meanwhile, e-commerce businesses that already have SEO marketing strategies in place need to also adapt to these changes if they want to […]

The post Four E-Commerce SEO Trends To Prepare For In 2019 appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>

Tech giants like Google and Facebook continue to invest time, money and energy into the development of their algorithms. As a result, search engine optimization (SEO) trends and marketing tactics are constantly changing.

Meanwhile, e-commerce businesses that already have SEO marketing strategies in place need to also adapt to these changes if they want to remain relevant and dominate their respective markets. Make one SEO mistake, and you could set your business back significantly.

That’s why it’s important to maintain a firm grasp on the latest e-commerce SEO trends as they emerge and leverage them so you can start 2019 at the top.

1. Voice Search

While most people were still sleeping on voice technology, trailblazers like Gary VaynerchU.K., owner of VaynerMedia and author of Crushing It! (highly recommended read), were already advising business owners to hop on these platforms.

If you’re one of the lucky few who listened and became an early adopter, then you’re probably starting to reap the benefits. Alexa, Siri and Cortana are fast becoming an indelible part of our daily experience, as you can now interact with them on your phone, in your car and at home.

You can apply the 24/7 access this technology gives you to your customers by using smart SEO tactics. Start by working on optimizing your questions. When you use voice search, most searches are in the form of questions, not disconnected phrases. For instance, rather than saying “winter jackets Toronto,” most users will search “Where can I find a winter wear store in Toronto?” Therefore, it is essential to structure your website content in such a way that it answers your potential customers’ questions, incorporates trigger words (e.g., how, what, best, etc.) and avoids flatly feeding in keywords.

In a voice-search-dominated world, one of the most important things will be obtaining the featured snippet spot (or position zero). For Google, the snippet is the zero-result, and it places it higher than any other search result in a query. To further optimize your content for featured snippets, remember to include the most relevant keywords in the page URL, title and H1 tag. When using voice search, people tend to place a query in the way they speak in their day-to-day life. Google shows that about 70% of voice searches are in a natural language, unlike the keywords people usually type in.

2. Brand-Building And Conversions

For a business-oriented e-commerce site owner, I believe conversions trump rankings every time. That’s because while rankings are great at attracting traffic, conversions are what put money on the table.

Link-building has always been an essential aspect of any e-commerce store owner’s SEO marketing arsenal — and it still is. The only difference is that, moving forward, it will focus more on creating brand-building relationships with website owners and bloggers that are in your niche. Link-building should be done not only for SEO purposes but also to get referral traffic, which increases the overall traffic of the website.

As author and entrepreneur Tony Robbins once said, “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the quality of your relationships,” and in this case, we can substitute the word “business” for “life” By forming strategic partnerships with similar entities, you can boost your brand profile and generate even more links. You may also want to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) technology to run your link-building campaigns.

3. User Experience

Google has always emphasized the value of user experience (UX). The ranking algorithm allots precedence to websites that are speedy, coherent and simple to operate. Research shows that websites with more than three seconds of loading time lose out on 40% of their website visitors.

Even if it isn’t a matter of internet speed, a fast-loading website with a confusing layout or user interface will end up losing visitors. They will simply bounce without wasting their time. This is why the readability of your website is so important. Content that is difficult to understand and mechanically filled with keywords is less likely to see returning visitors. But a good user experience extends the time a user spends on the website.

The focus should be on the user at all times. Therefore, it is pivotal to provide a consistent and flawless user experience for desktop and mobile. The number of searches on mobile devices has become significantly high and will only keep on growing. So, websites need to be optimized for use across all devices.

4. Website Security

These days, users aren’t likely to waste their time visiting a website that doesn’t have an HTTPS, or a green “secure” sign before the address. To most consumers on the web, HTTPS means that the website is safe enough to enter and share sensitive information, like banking details, at the checkout page.

Plus, Google rewards safe websites with good rankings and better visibility on the search engine results page, which gives e-commerce site owners a better chance of reaping rewards from their SEO strategies. Fortunately, there are many detailed guides available on how to migrate your website from HTTP to HTTPS to provide a safe browsing experience for your visitors.

The year 2018 bought us quite a few developments on the SEO front, and e-commerce business owners will do well to follow these trends if they want to finish strong this year. These trends can also give companies an added edge by the time 2019 arrives, which is right around the corner.

The post Four E-Commerce SEO Trends To Prepare For In 2019 appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>
http://networkingbizz.com/four-e-commerce-seo-trends-prepare-2019/feed/ 0
Should I Outsource My Social Media? http://networkingbizz.com/outsource-social-media/ http://networkingbizz.com/outsource-social-media/#respond Fri, 26 Oct 2018 20:27:11 +0000 http://networkingbizz.com/?p=8053 With every other Instagram star being a social media guru these days, it’s common for businesses to ask themselves whether they should look into outsourcing their social media efforts. The day-to-day tasks of running a business are generally enough for the average CEO, causing social media marketing to fall short on the priority calendar. Social media marketing […]

The post Should I Outsource My Social Media? appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>

With every other Instagram star being a social media guru these days, it’s common for businesses to ask themselves whether they should look into outsourcing their social media efforts.

The day-to-day tasks of running a business are generally enough for the average CEO, causing social media marketing to fall short on the priority calendar.

Social media marketing is its own beast and requires a special attention and level of creativity. Frankly, it isn’t for everyone.

If you’re going back and forth on whether to outsource your social media marketing, ask yourself the following questions first.

1. How Much Time Do I Have to Devote to Managing Social Media?

Time is the biggest reason businesses look to outsourcing their social media.

Social media isn’t just about scheduling posts.

You actually have to invest time in:

  • Tracking your brand mentions on social media.
  • Monitoring the conversations that are happening.
  • Trying new growth hack methods.
  • Responding immediately to any inquiries.

All of this needs to happen 24/7, too.

To say social media management can be done by setting aside 1-2 hours a week is really quite hilarious.

The time you invest in managing your brand’s social pages and image can’t be categorized into a lump one or few hour time periods. It is something that requires constant attention and generally in small intervals.

This is especially true for brands that have large followings and receive question after question through their social pages.

For those smaller to medium-sized businesses who argue, “Well, I don’t have tons of followers, so I just post and I’m good,” I hate to break it to you, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

If anything, the brands that have smaller followings have even more work cut out for them as they try to grow their followers organically and through paid methods. Talk about overtime. 

There are tons of excellent growth hacking methods to get your follower count as high as Nike, but to execute those methods it takes lots and lots of time and energy.

Social media isn’t a one and done type of strategy. You need to continually be optimizing your followers and be social online.

2. Do I Know How to Be Social Online?

Social media isn’t an excuse to hide behind a computer and not actually talk to anyone. You still need to talk to your followers.

There’s truly an art to being a social butterfly online, and not everyone has the knack. Let’s be honest with ourselves.

If you just really don’t have the energy, creativity, or will to be a virtual social butterfly, don’t be.

If you have the time, there are tons of resources to teach you how to connect with people virtually and become this type of butterfly for your brand.

Maybe you do have the time and want to learn how to connect with your demographic socially, go for it!

One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give you though is to know your audience.

If your audience is just as introverted as you are they’ll most likely continue that introverting in how they communicate online.

Instead of being on flashy social media pages like Instagram or Snapchat they may be hiding in forums or casually browsing Pinterest.

Wherever they may be mimic your customer, go where they are, talk like they talk, create content they’re comfortable with. Don’t be an extrovert in an introverts world.

If the idea of this is making you cringe, it would be best for you to outsource your social media to an agency who has done work for another business within your industry.

This is someone who knows how to talk to be a virtual social butterfly to your audience.

3. Have I Established My Brand Voice? If So, How Unique Is It?

Brand voice is everything on social media.

Spy on Any Website’s Analytics Account
See their sales and how they get them, in real time. Insights you were never meant to see.

Again, know your audience but also know your brand before you even try to connect with your audience.

  • Are your posts funny and sarcastic?
  • Do they only have calls to action and demands?
  • Are you capitalizing on every big news story?
  • Or are you more of a DIY mom who has a 10-year old blog?

All of those voices are entirely different. Though most agencies will, not all agencies are great at mimicking your brand voice.

The first step here is to get your brand voice down. Once you have it, never lose it!

Then, document everything you possibly can about this voice.

  • What words should this voice use?
  • Which ones should it avoid at all costs and never ever ever ever use?
  • Who are other companies who have a similar brand voice?

The more you document, the more you’ll see if this is something you can trust in another brands hands to help manage for you or if you should hold onto this baby yourself.

After all, you’re the one who created it.

In short:

  • If you have a well-documented brand voice, a good social media agency will be able to send you example copies for your approval until you feel at ease that they get it.
  • If you’re still trying to find your brand voice and are at the beginning stages of this strategy, now isn’t exactly the best time to outsource your social media management.
  • If you’re going to outsource anything, hire a social media consultant to help define your brand voice for social media and then take it from there.

4. Do I Have Content or Do I Need Content?

One way to do social media is to be completely hands off and let a social media agency do all of the work for you, which can even include creating the content to share.

If you have your own content to share, I’m not saying it’s a deal breaker and you should just suck it up and manage social media yourself.

What I’m saying is that if you’re struggling to figure out which type of content to produce, or if you should reshare that ebook from three years ago, it’s worth outsourcing your content production to a professional.

This professional is going to need a good debrief about your business, how and why it operates, who it’s ideal and actual customers are, and what kind of content materials you already have.

From there, outsourcing content may be the best move for your business.

You can still manage the social media in-house but without the worries of trying to figure out what kind of content your followers actually want to see.

5. Can I Afford to Outsource?

Social media agencies, independent contractors, and content creators all come at entirely different price ranges.

Sometimes, their price ranges are less expensive than your in-house social media manager. Other times not so much.

Outsourcing social media could cost anywhere from $500 to tens of thousands of dollars a month, all depending upon the following factors:

  • What kind of outsourcing: Freelance (least expensive), agency (middle), or enterprise (highest)
  • What the monthly deliverables are: More posts and content creation = higher price
  • How long the contract length is: Longer contracts = price cuts
  • Social media tool subscriptions: Sometimes agencies require you to have your own account
  • Social media advertising: Because organic is no longer good enough

Let’s not forget about the time it takes for you to email back and forth, edit, approve and review reports.

Here’s a look at everything that comes with in-house costs of social media management:

  • Employees (salary, benefits, etc.).
  • Social media tool subscriptions.
  • Content creation.
  • Social media advertising.
  • Strategy development and measurement (time and tools).

If you go the freelancer route, you’re certainly saving money on those benefit coverages, but it may not always be the right path. You’re still looking at investing:

  • Your management time.
  • Your communication time.
  • Content creation.
  • Social media advertising.

6. What Should I Do?

So, which one is right for you?

It depends on tons of different goals and factors, most of which we hashed out above.

To put it simply, if you’re already head over heels with to-do lists and the idea of carving out extra time to do another task is making your other eye twitch, do yourself a favor and outsource. It will be the least time-invested resource.

Though, don’t forget, it will still require a bit of your time and movement in your budget.

  • Freelance = Lots of communication, editing, approvals, and then double-checking ROI.
  • Agency = A bit of time initially and then mostly hands-off.
  • Enterprise = Read our monthly reports and go “Oh” and “Ah.”

If you have the time, budget, and experience to create an in-house team or become one, then do so.

Managing your brand’s social media presence in-house has far more pros than cons.

The post Should I Outsource My Social Media? appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>
http://networkingbizz.com/outsource-social-media/feed/ 0
The Top 10 Email Marketing Mistakes to Stop Making http://networkingbizz.com/top-10-email-marketing-mistakes-stop-making/ http://networkingbizz.com/top-10-email-marketing-mistakes-stop-making/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 20:18:45 +0000 http://networkingbizz.com/?p=8035 Email marketing has the potential to generate unmatched ROI for your business, but figuring out how to optimize your strategy isn’t always easy. There are lots of moving parts to keep track of, from tools and campaigns to analytics and testing. All of these separate parts must come together somehow to make your email marketing […]

The post The Top 10 Email Marketing Mistakes to Stop Making appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>

Email marketing has the potential to generate unmatched ROI for your business, but figuring out how to optimize your strategy isn’t always easy. There are lots of moving parts to keep track of, from tools and campaigns to analytics and testing.

All of these separate parts must come together somehow to make your email marketing work. That said, there are a few common obstacles that often stand in the way of getting your best results from email.

To help you keep track of some common pitfalls, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 email marketing mistakes that are costing your company revenue.

1. Not including a call-to-action

Are you creating email campaigns and not telling your subscribers what to do with the information you give them?

If so, you’re missing the point of creating a campaign in the first place – to reach a particular goal. If your emails don’t help you move toward that goal, they’re pretty much pointless. They’re a waste of time and resources.

Luckily, it’s easy to optimize your emails to accomplish whatever you want to achieve. You can increase your website traffic, convert subscribers to leads, increase purchases, or get people to download your new ebook.

All it takes is persuasive email copy along with an effective call-to-action!

You can also think of a call-to-action as a clear goal for that particular email. Just ask yourself: what do you want subscribers to do with the content in the marketing message? That should be your call-to-action (CTA).

For instance, in this email from Chatbooks, the goal is to get customers to make a purchase. The company has a coupon code to help spur people to this action, so they used that enticement as the CTA text (“Save 20% Today!”).

2. Not using email list segmentation

If you’re not segmenting your email list, you’re missing out on an easy way to send more personalized emails to each subset of your subscribers.

For example, maybe a subset of your subscribers uses your service far more than others. Maybe you have a different subset of casual or beginning users, too. If you send the same emails to both groups, you’ll risk alienating them both with messaging that’s too broad and doesn’t resonate with their interests.

By contrast, if you send each group personalized emails, you can speak to them on deeper, targeted levels, which may equal more action from them on your CTAs.

3. Not writing your emails for the reader

Are your emails focused on your readers, or are they focused on you, your business, and your goals?

If you’re in the latter camp, you’re making one of the biggest marketing mistakes: forgetting your audience.

This is a big problem because your audience doesn’t care about things that don’t involve them. They want to know what’s in it for them, and if you don’t spell it out, they’ll lose interest.

4. Not automating emails based on user habits

According to BigCommerce, email automation is one of the most effective methods for email marketing. It helps you engage with customers at exactly the right moment when they’ll be most receptive to your marketing.

Here’s how it works: if you want to send new subscribers to your newsletter a welcome email or a series of emails, you create one email campaign designed to introduce them to your website and your best content or products. The email is triggered once the requirements are met (in this case, whenever someone new signs up for your email list).

In this vein, you can create all kinds of automated email campaigns. You set the criteria for the trigger, and when those criteria are met, the prospect will receive a targeted, personalized email at the exact right time. Less work for your team, more reward for the entire company.

And, according to data from Statista, personalized marketing is what users crave. 90% of respondents to an April 2017 marketing survey said they find personalized messages either “very appealing” or “somewhat appealing”.

5. Not creating engaging email subject lines

It’s easy to neglect your email subject lines after spending time and resources crafting a beautiful email. After all, you’ve optimized the content for results and subscribed to all the best practices for email marketing, so you’re sure to see results, right?

If you neglect your subject lines, you could lose out on critical opens, which means your subscribers will never even see, read, or interact with your emails, regardless of how well they’re designed.

That’s bad for your email marketing because it means a wasted budget and wasted time. Instead, take the time to craft compelling email subject lines so your messages are irresistible from the very moment they hit your readers’ inboxes.

A few good tips include:

  • Keeping it short and sweet
  • Eliminating filler words
  • Putting the most important keywords at the beginning
  • Staying clear and simple

6. Not optimizing for mobile users

Mobile internet traffic accounts for over half of all internet traffic, according to StatCounter. That number surpasses traffic from desktop computers and tablets.

In other words, if you’re not optimizing your email marketing for mobile users, your messages will render poorly and not work on the majority of their devices. Not only are your subscribers likely to delete your email then and there, but they are also less likely to open your next one.

7. Not including text (or Alt Text)

If your email campaigns consist of nothing but images, you have a problem.

It’s this simple: lots of email users have their images turned off, which means they won’t automatically load in their browser. If your email is all images without text, the user won’t see a thing, and they’ll move on.

8. Not sending emails strategically

How often do your subscribers want to hear from you? Not asking this question is yet another major email marketing mistake.

Turns out, sending emails strategically isn’t about guesswork. It’s about paying attention to your target audience and segments, listening to their preferences, and offering options that cater to them.

For example, many brands offer a preference center for their list subscribers, allowing users to determine how frequently they receive emails. Once you start collecting this data, you can easily break your list into segments and use automation to follow-through, delivering exactly what your customers want.

9. Not cleaning up your subscriber list

The size of your email list doesn’t matter as much as how many of those people are truly interested and engaged in what you have to tell them. If your list is bloated because you have a big percentage of inactive subscribers, that doesn’t help your bottom line.

What does help your bottom line? Active, engaged, interested subscribers.

To that end, it’s a good idea to clean up your list every now and then. Think of it as “cleaning house.” When you prune your list and remove those who aren’t engaging with your emails, you’ll be left with the true fans of your brand and a much more powerful tool for marketing.

10. Not A/B testing your emails

Number 10 in our list of the top 10 email marketing mistakes: not A/B testing your emails.

Testing your emails is one of the simplest ways to gather data about your audience’s preferences. Once you know what designs, images, text, and CTAs are most appealing to your readers – you can build on this knowledge to create even more powerful, compelling, and exciting emails.

The post The Top 10 Email Marketing Mistakes to Stop Making appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>
http://networkingbizz.com/top-10-email-marketing-mistakes-stop-making/feed/ 0
How to thrive within the fast-paced SEO environment http://networkingbizz.com/thrive-within-fast-paced-seo-environment/ http://networkingbizz.com/thrive-within-fast-paced-seo-environment/#respond Fri, 12 Oct 2018 21:08:21 +0000 http://networkingbizz.com/?p=8027 One of the best things about the search space is that it’s hard. We are constantly working to keep our finger on the pulse, experiment with new ideas, and drive results. It’s why I love it. At the same time, because it’s hard and because it’s constantly evolving, no matter how long you’ve been doing […]

The post How to thrive within the fast-paced SEO environment appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>

One of the best things about the search space is that it’s hard. We are constantly working to keep our finger on the pulse, experiment with new ideas, and drive results. It’s why I love it.

At the same time, because it’s hard and because it’s constantly evolving, no matter how long you’ve been doing it, you are bound to make mistakes. In fact, search “SEO mistakes” and you’ll find about 18 million other people who agree.

I have made any number of mistakes in the past years and while I’m not going to list them out line by line (we don’t have that kind of time), I do think there’s value in discussing what we can do to avoid some of the more common ones. Let’s jump in.

1. Always track changes

It’s an age-old tale; someone in an organization (the client, the dev team, the CEO) decides to make an update to the site without communicating it. Pages are gone or moved, content has been changed, and even worse, you didn’t notice it until a few weeks later when traffic was gone and rankings had tanked.

Unfortunately, as much as we communicate, as much as we try to stay involved, situations like this are bound to occur. The best thing to do is to prepare. Here’s how.

Set up change alerts

Tools like SEORadar or VisualPing will notify you when changes are made to a site. Whether it’s on-page or in the code, you will get an alert and immediately be able to see where the change occurred. For larger e-commerce sites where changes are made frequently, a tool like SEORadar will allow you to choose the types of changes you want to be notified about. A good feature considering none of us want to be bombarded with useless emails.

Keep a changelog

We use a combination of Basecamp and Google Drive to ensure we can easily find existing recommendations. After all, if a page is accidentally removed or you need to revert content or tagging, finding the approved content becomes pretty important. Even more importantly, if a site tanks, it’s good to be able to see what drove it.

A few things we do to stay organized:

  • Shared Changelog. For a number of clients, we keep a shared changelog with the dev team. This way we know the when, what, and where of site updates.
  • Analytics Annotations. When an update is released, recommendations are implemented, or a big announcement is made (ex: mobile indexing), make an annotation in your analytics platform. A year from now, when you are pulling data and wondering what happened, you’ll have it right in front of you. Annotations can be lifesavers.
  • Closeout messages. For example, if a page was updated, make a note in the original message, noting the date of the change and the URL. Record keeping FTW!! (Check out Recordit.com for the best free onscreen recording software ever- you’ll thank us later!)

2. Clean data = Good data

You spent hours creating a report. The results look good. You’re showing value. And just when it’s time to present the report to the team, you hear:

“Does this include login traffic?”

or

“We actually switched to a new profile.”

or

“We need to take out traffic from X.”

Make sure you’re using the right data from the start. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a project when one team has been using one data point and another team a different one. And you’d be surprised by the number of reports I’ve had to redo because we had the wrong information or the client wanted certain data points removed.

At the same time as you sync up with your team and the client, make sure your analytics is set up properly from the start – is tracking on all pages? Is sub-domain tracking set up? Are the correct goal URLs set up? Is event tracking working properly?

One of the biggest challenges we have in SEO is showing value and we rely on analytics data to help us. Without the right data in place, our challenge becomes even greater.

3. Knowledge is power

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again and again…there is a lack of education in the marketing space when it comes to SEO. Not only that, but the value of SEO is still being questioned.

Here’s the thing – while it’s changing, it’s not changing fast enough and we can’t get mad because someone doesn’t understand the value of what we are doing or understand everything that’s involved in the process. More importantly, we have to be able to explain things in a way that matters to the stakeholders. Here’s how:

Know Your Audience

How we talk to the PR team is different than how we talk to the Dev team and certainly different than how we talk to the CMO. Guess what? The CMO probably doesn’t care about the type of redirect you are recommending. What they do care about is the impact it has on the overall business.

Know who it is you are talking to, what their knowledge is, and what they care about. If you are unsure, ask ahead of time. During our initial discovery, we not only ask questions related to SEO but also get backgrounds on the people we will be working with.

  • What is their role?
  • What are their goals?
  • Have they worked with an SEO team in the past?

This type of information can be really helpful.

Avoid the SEO bubble

Last week I was providing a recommendation on duplicate content. The client set up a sub-domain and a sub-folder containing the same information. As I started to explain the way search engines index pages, I realized they didn’t care and they didn’t need to know that information. What they needed to know was the result and why it was important we fix it.

Look, we spend hours of our lives analyzing Google, so I get why we want to share our knowledge. The thing is, it doesn’t always matter. Sometimes we have to step out of our SEO bubble and talk like regular humans.

4. Don’t forget the customer

One of the case studies I used involved lots of content, huge increases in traffic and rankings, and an unhappy client.

See, it turned out that while we were building an amazing portfolio of content that was driving people to the site, we were actually building an amazing portfolio of top to medium funnel content. We weren’t focused on conversions and we weren’t focused on existing customers. Fail!

As search marketers, it’s so easy to forget what it is we are trying to do. There’s so much pressure to improve results and improve a position that we often forget why we are doing it in the first place…sales.

5. There’s more than one way

Can we all just agree there’s often more than one right way? That yes, maybe this way worked great for you but this other way worked great for someone else. Perhaps SEO has a lot of intricacies and nuances and is often specific to a site or industry or platform. Maybe?

I am harping on this a bit but the reason is that we often get too caught up in the “this has to be done a certain way” mentality. We get on calls with developers and tell them the way we want it done. We fight battles over meta tag lengths or how a title tag should be written. Come on.

To be a good SEO means being able to compromise and figure out how to make things work even if it’s not the way you would’ve done it. We have to pick our battles and push for the things that really matter. And remember, just because Google says jump, doesn’t mean you have to jump.

The post How to thrive within the fast-paced SEO environment appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>
http://networkingbizz.com/thrive-within-fast-paced-seo-environment/feed/ 0
Why voice assistants will drive e-commerce http://networkingbizz.com/voice-assistants-will-drive-e-commerce/ http://networkingbizz.com/voice-assistants-will-drive-e-commerce/#respond Fri, 05 Oct 2018 20:21:26 +0000 http://networkingbizz.com/?p=8019 Here’s why voice assistants will drive e-commerce forward for the foreseeable future, and what we should expect from the leading tech companies that are pioneering the innovations, making this all possible. Voice assistants aren’t some mythical, on-the-cusps of reality innovation set to reshape our everyday lives any minute now. They’re already surrounding us today, having become […]

The post Why voice assistants will drive e-commerce appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>

Here’s why voice assistants will drive e-commerce forward for the foreseeable future, and what we should expect from the leading tech companies that are pioneering the innovations, making this all possible.

Voice assistants aren’t some mythical, on-the-cusps of reality innovation set to reshape our everyday lives any minute now. They’re already surrounding us today, having become a commonplace appearance in the living rooms, businesses, and entertainment venues enjoyed by millions of consumers.

Whether you’re relying on Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, or perhaps even Microsoft’s Cortana or another voice assistant, there’s a solid chance you’ve already relied on the services of one of these audible aides in the recent past. This trend is only going to grow more commonplace in the near future if investments in the tech driving it forward are anything to go by.

Look at the colossal sums of cash that Amazon is funneling towards Alexa, for instance, and you’ll realize just how seriously today’s leading companies are taking voice assistants. The company recently announced a startup fund of some $100 million, which envisions an Alexa-filed future where voice assistants are available anywhere you turn, ready and eager to help you solve your problems or make your next purchase.

Soon, everyone everywhere will have at least limited access to a voice assistant, whether they’re in the public or private spheres of life.

The implications of this phenomenon for e-commerce can’t be overstated. By and large, tomorrow’s e-commerce market will be driven by voice assistants who help moms and dads finish their grocery shopping while simultaneously enabling businesses to make more efficient and profitable acquisitions of major resources.

This shouldn’t be particularly surprising; after all, we knew as early as 2012 that Siri, who was then still in her infancy as a voice assistant, would eventually be used as a tool for online shopping. Nobody ever dared to imagine the scope that e-commerce would rise to take on, however, nor consider the implications of having virtual assistants with easy access to our wallets following us everywhere we go.

One of the most lucrative ways that e-commerce operations will cash in on voice assistants will be through targeted advertisements, which today are but a mere nuisance, but will tomorrow dominate the market more than ever before.

Voice assistants are rapidly becoming more advanced, capable of fielding a wider array of questions than ever before, and may soon be playing ads over their speakers even if they’re in your living room. Whether or not consumers will revolt when this becomes commonplace remains to be seen, but thus far the digital age has guaranteed that advertisements and sponsored content are A-Okay with most customers as long as they don’t disrupt their digital experiences.

Major corporations like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are laboring tirelessly to construct a global economy built around voice commands, with every intention of hooking as many consumers as possible on their addicting products. This makes shopping not only easier but now almost a fun novelty.

Parents will soon be teaching their children about money, spending habits, and grocery purchasing by helping their tiny-tots shout out purchasing orders to the smart-speaker in their living room or kitchen. Teachers and university professors, too, will come to rely on these assistants in the classroom when teaching economic principles from A to Z.

All of these factors point towards a future where e-commerce is driven by the rise of voice assistants more than anything else. Alexa and Siri, today are merely helpful handlers who guide us from one location to another or provide us with timely weather updates, will soon become veritable digital accountants who manage wide swathes of our financial activities.

Forget small e-commerce operations like pawning off apparel or selling groceries through Alexa; soon, it won’t be far-fetched to authenticate the purchasing of shares in a major company or the acquisition or a major competitor through voice-controlled assistants.

The future of e-commerce is rapidly approaching and it’s going to be dominated by voice assistants. Driven more by consumers flocking to these wondrous products than anything else, the trend of voice assistants becoming a pivotal aspect of the e-commerce industry is soon going to grow so big that it will be impossible not to notice it.

The post Why voice assistants will drive e-commerce appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>
http://networkingbizz.com/voice-assistants-will-drive-e-commerce/feed/ 0
Facebook’s new in-stream video ad solutions target most engaged viewers http://networkingbizz.com/facebooks-new-stream-video-ad-solutions-target-engaged-viewers/ http://networkingbizz.com/facebooks-new-stream-video-ad-solutions-target-engaged-viewers/#respond Fri, 28 Sep 2018 19:49:49 +0000 http://networkingbizz.com/?p=8012 Facebook’s new in-stream video ad solutions target most engaged viewers Dive Brief: Facebook has two new in-stream ad solutions: In-Stream Reserve and In-Stream Categories, the company announced in a blog post. With In-Stream Reserve, ad placements are purchased in advance and served to Nielsen-verified in-target audiences so advertisers can reach viewers watching video from the most […]

The post Facebook’s new in-stream video ad solutions target most engaged viewers appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>

Facebook’s new in-stream video ad solutions target most engaged viewers

ad solutions

Dive Brief:

  • Facebook has two new in-stream ad solutions: In-Stream Reserve and In-Stream Categories, the company announced in a blog post. With In-Stream Reserve, ad placements are purchased in advance and served to Nielsen-verified in-target audiences so advertisers can reach viewers watching video from the most engaging, highest-quality publishers and creators. Through In-Stream Reserve Categories, advertisers choose content packages tied to categories, like sports, fashion/beauty and entertainment, and purchase them like In-Stream Reserve ads.
  • More than 70% of In-Stream ads on Facebook are viewed to completion, and most viewers have the sound turned on, according to the blog post. Facebook says it is testing ways for marketers to advertise in just one Facebook show or be a show’s exclusive advertiser with some of its Watch shows, like “Ball in the Family,” Returning the Favor” and “Red Table Talk.”
  • Facebook is also introducing ThruPlay, which gives advertisers the ability to optimize and pay only for ads watched to completion or for at least 15 seconds. ThruPlay is available for all video ad placements, including in-stream, stories and feed, on Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network. The new tool is available in Ads Manager now for auction and reach and frequency buying, and will be rolled out for all advertisers worldwide over the next few weeks.

Dive Insight:

Facebook recognizes that its users have varied video-watching habits, which range from short clips to longer viewing sessions, and is trying to give video ad buyers more choices as a result. The new video ad tools are aimed at helping marketers tailor their campaigns according to usage patterns and could encourage marketers to increase their investment on the platform. The news comes at a time when a number of platforms are ramping up their video content. While Facebook is still one of two dominating forces in digital advertising, with this news the company appears to also be emphasizing how it’s listening and responding to the needs and preferences of marketers and viewers at a time when it is under a lot of scrutiny for its business practices following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and amid a broader reckoning around social media’s potentially negative influence on consumers and society.

Marketers want more options for choosing where their ads appear, according to Facebook. The new In-Stream Reserve ads are best-suited for premium online video and TV buyers, with campaigns targeting audience segments that are difficult to reach, like younger viewers, and light viewers. In-stream ads appear only in videos meeting Facebook’s Content Guidelines for Monetization.

The new solutions appear to have been informed by video consumption habits outlined by Facebook last month. For example, in-stream ads longer than 15 seconds had a higher abandon rate, and this led Facebook to limit in-stream ads to 15 seconds and to place them only in video content at least three minutes long. The addition of ThruPlay will help marketers reach viewers who watch the entire ad.

Facebook draws 46% of all video ads created, and the share jumps to 74% when Instagram video ads are factored in, according to Clinch research. The platform is likely looking to grow that share by introducing new video services recently. In August, Facebook made its video platform Watch available globally and said it would expand its Ad Breaks program to help partners monetize their video campaigns.

The post Facebook’s new in-stream video ad solutions target most engaged viewers appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>
http://networkingbizz.com/facebooks-new-stream-video-ad-solutions-target-engaged-viewers/feed/ 0
The 5 Best Digital Marketing Tools for Understanding Your Customers http://networkingbizz.com/5-best-digital-marketing-tools-understanding-customers/ http://networkingbizz.com/5-best-digital-marketing-tools-understanding-customers/#respond Fri, 14 Sep 2018 17:21:23 +0000 http://networkingbizz.com/?p=7994 The 5 Best Digital Marketing Tools for Understanding Your Customers The best marketers are those who actually talk to their customers. Here are 5 tools to help you do that. According to a report by Econsultancy and IBM, 33 percent of top marketers surveyed said that having the right technologies for data collection and analysis is key to […]

The post The 5 Best Digital Marketing Tools for Understanding Your Customers appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>

The 5 Best Digital Marketing Tools for Understanding Your Customers

The best marketers are those who actually talk to their customers. Here are 5 tools to help you do that.
digital marketing

According to a report by Econsultancy and IBM, 33 percent of top marketers surveyed said that having the right technologies for data collection and analysis is key to understanding your customers.

And, here, technology deserves some credit. Because, today, there is so much rich data available about your customers. They leave a trail all over social media, on search engines and across the internet. But to access that data, you have to have the right tools.

Here are my top five digital marketing tools that you could use, too, to better understand your customers:

1. SurveyMonkey

If you want to know more about your customers, the best thing you can do is talk to them directly. But if a face-to-face meeting isn’t an option, a survey is the next best thing. With SurveyMonkey, you can craft a survey to gauge your customers’ opinions about your products and brand as a whole.

SurveyMonkey gives you the ability to engage with your customers directly and get their feedback on how you can improve. Make sure you ask open-ended questions so your customers can respond with their own answers. You’ll gain valuable insights from what they tell you, which you can then act upon to improve your brand.

2. Google Analytics

If there’s just one tool from this list you decide to use, it should be this one. Google Analytics is a powerhouse analytics tool that can track the traffic coming to your website and the performance of each web page.

Google Analytics gives you insight into how your customers are interacting with your brand. Is there one page on your website that’s resonating the most? What type of content is attracting the most visitors? By answering these questions, you can learn about customers’ likes, dislikes and preferences.

With Google Analytics, you can also find out information like how long visitors spend on your website, their geographic distribution and where they originated from before they landed on your site. And the best part about Google Analytics? It’s free to use!

3. Google Trends

What people type into Google can tell you a lot about their needs. Let’s say I’m looking for someone to walk my dog: I’d probably search for “dog walkers” in my area. And if you’re the owner of a dog walking service, you’d probably be interested in my search.

With Google Trends, you can identify and learn about the search terms your potential customers are using. The tool tells you how popular certain search queries are and how their popularity has changed over time. For instance, if people search for “dog walkers” more in the wintertime, you could plan ahead if you’re the one with the dog-walking business.

Google Trends also allows you to see related search terms and topics, which could reveal new opportunities for your business.

4. Hootsuite

According to eMarketer, nearly a third of the world’s population uses social media regularly. And these days, social media isn’t just for connecting with friends — it’s also for connecting with businesses.

Your business probably already has a social media presence; at least it should. But how often do you pay attention to what people are saying about your brand on social media?

With a social media listening tool like Hootsuite, you can manage your social networks all in one place and track mentions of your brand. You can set up feeds for mentions of your company’s name, your competitors and your industry in general. This way, you can tap into the relevant conversations your customers are having and learn from them.

5. Salesforce

According to HubSpot, 40 percent of salespeople are using informal means, such as Microsoft Excel or Outlook, to store lead and customer data. With that data stored in insufficient tools and in multiple places, it’s easy for things to get disorganized and even be lost.

A cloud-based system like Salesforce, however, allows you to manage all of your customer data in one place. You can store contact information and notes on your interactions with customers, and even send emails from the platform.

Related: 5 Helpful Content Tools and Sources for Digital Marketers

With Salesforce, you can ensure that all of the information you gather about your customers is stored together. This allows you to see the whole picture and have a clear and thorough understanding of your customers.

The post The 5 Best Digital Marketing Tools for Understanding Your Customers appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>
http://networkingbizz.com/5-best-digital-marketing-tools-understanding-customers/feed/ 0
Networking Bizz Ranked Among the Top SEO Agencies in Los Angeles http://networkingbizz.com/networking-bizz-ranked-among-top-seo-agencies-los-angeles/ http://networkingbizz.com/networking-bizz-ranked-among-top-seo-agencies-los-angeles/#respond Fri, 07 Sep 2018 16:36:16 +0000 http://networkingbizz.com/?p=7981 Networking Bizz Ranked Among the Top SEO Agencies in Los Angeles   At Networking Bizz, we successfully build brands, always having our clients’ best interest in mind. We’re committed to finding the best possible ways for our clients to engage with their customers and get the highest possible ROI along the way.   Our team […]

The post Networking Bizz Ranked Among the Top SEO Agencies in Los Angeles appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>

Networking Bizz Ranked Among the Top SEO Agencies in Los Angeles

networking bizz

 

At Networking Bizz, we successfully build brands, always having our clients’ best interest in mind. We’re committed to finding the best possible ways for our clients to engage with their customers and get the highest possible ROI along the way.

 

Our team of highly proficient creatives successfully combines strategy, innovative ideas, and experience to offer compelling, winning digital solutions and deliver measurable results that exceed all expectations. Specifically, we excel in on-page and off-page SEO and PPC and we have a track record in increasing search engine rankings to prove it.

 

We’re honored that our hard work has been recognized by SEO Tribunal. On their list highlighting the best SEO agencies in Los Angeles, Networking Bizz has been ranked among the best.

 

 

SEO Tribunal Ranking

 

Aiming to become the best resource for business to find the right SEO agency, SEO Tribunal is employing a specific evaluation method to weed out the scam SEO companies and offer only the best ones to their readers.

 

Their in-depth ranking process when choosing the best SEO agencies includes a number of factors, both quantitative and qualitative. The focus is on assessing companies’ project management methods, techniques, and performance, but also on evaluating client references, case studies, and testimonials.

 

We are proud to say that our company has met SEO Tribunal’s criteria and got its place among the best SEO companies in LA. We’re also excited about what’s yet to come and we look forward to continuing our presence on SEO Tribunal’s list. If you want to help our goal, leave a review for our company at SEO Tribunal.

 

 

The post Networking Bizz Ranked Among the Top SEO Agencies in Los Angeles appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>
http://networkingbizz.com/networking-bizz-ranked-among-top-seo-agencies-los-angeles/feed/ 0
Lessons From Netflix About Content Marketing http://networkingbizz.com/lessons-from-netflix-about-content-marketing/ http://networkingbizz.com/lessons-from-netflix-about-content-marketing/#respond Fri, 31 Aug 2018 17:11:22 +0000 http://networkingbizz.com/?p=7973 Lessons From Netflix About Content Marketing Netflix didn’t become the most popular streaming video subscription service by accident. Clearly, it hired smart people to run its analytics, content strategy and customer-experience initiatives to grow its subscription base, all the while reducing churn and cancellations. This media services provider has also mastered the use of social media to gain attention for its shows (sometimes controversially […]

The post Lessons From Netflix About Content Marketing appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>

Lessons From Netflix About Content Marketing

netflix

Netflix didn’t become the most popular streaming video subscription service by accident. Clearly, it hired smart people to run its analytics, content strategy and customer-experience initiatives to grow its subscription base, all the while reducing churn and cancellations.

This media services provider has also mastered the use of social media to gain attention for its shows (sometimes controversially so) and connect with fans.

But before getting to five social media marketing takeaways from Netflix that entrepreneurs can use to expand their brands’ presence, consider some important numbers about the media giant’s place among what’s sometimes called FANG  (FANG being the acronym for the four high-performing technology stocks: Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google.)

These are the numbers that have transformed Netflix into a video-streaming juggernaut:

  • As of July,17, Netflix had more than 130 million paying subscribers, according to Statista. It added over 7.5 million new subscribers between Q4 2017 and Q1 in 2018.
  • Amazon Prime, Netflix’s closest streaming competitor, has only 100 million subscribers.
  • In just one quarter, Netflix added half as many new subscribers as another streaming competitor, Hulu, has total subscribers (pretty incredible).
  • Netflix has made a growth push into new markets: It has customers streaming and watching content in over 190 countries.

Along the way, Netflix has pushed the envelope and made some controversial moves. Its original series 13 Reasons Why was boycotted and slammed by reviewers for what they said romanticized suicide and depression. Then, last December, Netflix generated negative publicity with its Big Brother-esque creepy Christmas movie tweet in which it shared detailed information about its customers’ viewing habits, while cruelly poking fun at 53 people who watched a Christmas movie 18 days in a row.

Let’s not forget the company’s price-hike scandal of 2016, after it had promised certain customers lifetime subscriptions. The result: lawsuits and nearly 500,000 cancellations.

Perhaps the company’s biggest controversy was the ban it issued against people who wanted to use location-masking software such as virtual private networks (VPN) to stream content from the app.

The Netflix VPN ban caused quite a few customers to call for a ban, via social media, and say they were deleting their accounts. People use VPNs to access content that isn’t available or hasn’t launched in their region from Netflix. And while Netflix has tried quite hard to enforce the ban, according to data from the site The Best VPN, around 70 percent of VPNs have found ways to bypass the Netflix ban. The company is still fighting this.

At the same time, the company’s growth and success despite these backlash events and scandals has been impressive:

  • Since 2015, over 30 million subscibers have been logging-in and streaming the service using VPNs or other location-masking software, according to The Guardian.
  • Since enacting the price hike and VPN ban, regardless of the associated uproar, Netflix has added over 40 million new paying monthlty subscribers.

So, you may be wondering, what does Netflix do differently to achieve these kinds of results? What is the special sauce or secret to this growth?  Aside from the fairly obvious factors, such as its having built a useful and popular (some say addictive) product, and constantly reinvested its profits into creating new content and licensing deals, the company has mastered marketing to what I consider a genius level.

And its investment in social media is a big part of those marketing strategies. Accordingly, while you may not be in media, here five things your company can learn from Netflix about marketing across social media channels:

1. Even great social media will not save a crappy product.

Besides maybe Google or Facebook, Netflix has made it through more scandals than most companies. The events I’ve described have brought a barrage of litigation, loss of subscribers and discontent among portion of its customer base. Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings, known for taking risks, hasn’t been fazed by the backlash.

In a 2016 earnings call he called the protestors of the VPN  “a very small but quite vocal minority” and called the scenario “really inconsequential to us, as you can see from our Q1 results.”

Of course, marketing approach is one thing; then there’s the actual product. Recently, Digital Trends conducted an in-depth comparison of the streaming service providers and Netflix came out on top, winning in five out of seven categories (price, content library, supported devices, ease of use and video quality).

This confirmed Netflix’s position ahead of its competitors in terms of subscribers looking for binge-worthy content. Even though recent data has suggested that 80 percent of Netflix viewership comes from licensed movies and TV content, original breakout hits like Stranger Things have caught the big news headlines and accounted for the remaining 20 percent.

2. Don’t fear showing a real and authentic voice.

Netflix is a brand that shows you can make connections with an audience using an authentic voice. While some legacy brands have strict policies about interacting with followers on social channels, Netflix takes a different approach and likes to have fun by taking a more casual and playful voice.

Here are sample tweets that show this inclination in action:

#Daredevil  Season 2. All night, every night. See you in a few hours. pic.twitter.com/O1fdynSrLa

— Netflix US (@netflix) March 18, 2016

“One more episode” – You, lying straight to your own face.

— Netflix ANZ (@NetflixANZ) Aug. 5, 2017

brb changing my name to Netflib

— Netflix US (@netflix) June 11, 2018

Hey @ayenalambat! Is the birthday boy around? Chief Hopper has something to say. https://t.co/kzqP3P5fkz

— Netflix Philippines (@Netflix_PH) March 27, 2018

Apparently, the @Netflix account is positioning itself as one of its subscribers’ friends in its posting and retweets — as opposed to being like a brand trying to sell you something.

To its fanatical audience, Netflix doesn’t feel like just another huge, untouchable corporation afraid of lawsuits. If you roast Netflix, it will roast you back.

3. Social listening should be an important part of your strategy.

Ever hear of Netflix socks back in 2015? This was a project Netflix created when its data showed that many of its users were falling asleep while binge-watching a show — I’ve done it myself.

Netflix then worked with an agency called Deeplocal to cement its position as an industry innovator, and communicate to viewers that they controlled the company’s programming: It developed smart socks that used an accelerometer to detect when users fell asleep.

The technology sent a signal to the user’s TV and paused the show so that the watcher did not wake up several episodes ahead. The project was a hit and won a Shorty Award in 2016 for its creative use of technology.

The gimmick was also written about by major news sites and went viral on social — generating an average 1,175 tweets per day from over 20,000 accounts — resulting in totally 300 million social impressions.

In this way, Netflix further reinforced how innovative and cool an entertainment company it was, and is. It also showed its role in active social listening, having heard complaints from annoyed customers falling asleep during its shows and posting about it.

4. Every company cares about the numbers, but successful companies look beyond them.

Of course, marketing and social media can seem like a numbers game, and all successful brands try to interact with their audience and post regularly.

But in 2018, it takes more than just showing up on these platforms to succeed. Another key takeaway from Netflix’s approach here is its focus on quality over quantity. That means its clever and witty style on posts, how it responds and engages its audience and the quality of its tweets.

It’s pretty obvious that Netflix is not simply tweeting to meet a target.  A lot of creativity goes into these tweets, which are crafted with thorough understanding of the company’s audience. See for yourself.

5. Find a way to encourage sharing of your content.

Another Netflix strategy for social media success is how the company makes it so natural to share its content across social media.

Aside from creating interesting content that lends itself to social sharing, Netflix makes that content easily shareable and encourages people to share it with friends.

Entrepreneur contributor Dennis Williams wrote on Entrepreneur how the company “is known to provide content that pairs well with social media, helping insert itself into everyday conversations.”

The article highlighted how Netflix had even created a landing page of funny gifs, with the title “Give your friends that extra push” to encourage sharing. Its Twitter accounts are also funny and relatable, which makes people enjoy following them.

Conclusion

Netflix takes a different approach on Instagram and Facebook, since these platforms are more visual. And, a lot of the content created for those accounts shows either interviews, actor selfies taken during filming or behind-the-scenes photos of original shows — all intended to be teaser ads and promotions.

The bottom line is that Netflix does a lot of things well, and it did not become the streaming industry leader by chance. It has a rock-solid marketing strategy that prioritizes relating to its fans and target demographic.

Startups and established businesses can learn from these takeaways and siimilarly engage their own audiences on social media. The key here is that millennials, and in fact all demographics, like brands that are fun and approachable.

The post Lessons From Netflix About Content Marketing appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>
http://networkingbizz.com/lessons-from-netflix-about-content-marketing/feed/ 0
What Darth Vader Can Teach Us About Gated Content http://networkingbizz.com/darth-vader-can-teach-us-gated-content/ http://networkingbizz.com/darth-vader-can-teach-us-gated-content/#respond Fri, 24 Aug 2018 17:44:18 +0000 http://networkingbizz.com/?p=7956 What Darth Vader Can Teach Us About Gated Content Gating content – or putting a piece of marketing behind a paywall – is a contentious issue. On the one hand, marketers are often asked to demonstrate the ROI (return on investment) of content beyond stats such as social engagement, article views, or reach. Implementing a […]

The post What Darth Vader Can Teach Us About Gated Content appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>

What Darth Vader Can Teach Us About Gated Content

gated content

Gating content – or putting a piece of marketing behind a paywall – is a contentious issue. On the one hand, marketers are often asked to demonstrate the ROI (return on investment) of content beyond stats such as social engagement, article views, or reach. Implementing a gate can add an extra layer of value.

For example, one of Unbounce’s gated content campaigns managed to achieve a conversion rate of 45% – leading to more than 23,000 leads.

On the other hand, an incorrectly implemented content gate can cause huge issues – alienating customers and sending them searching for somewhere else with ‘free’ content.

Although the subject of content gates can be very divisive in our industry they are, at heart, a strategy. Similar to any other strategy, they can succeed with the right planning and foresight. When it goes really wrong though, we can learn vital lessons about how to improve our own content gates. Just look at what happened when EA (Electronic Arts) tried to restrict access to Darth Vader.

A long time ago…in a strategy meeting far away

Although many would equate content gates to written pieces, anything which puts something behind a paywall can be considered as one. When EA announced the video game Star Wars Battlefront 2, they made the controversial decision of restricting access to ‘hero characters’, such as Darth Vader.

To play as the iconic villain, Star Wars fans would have to play the game online for 40 hours. Alternatively, they could pay extra money to speed up the process. However, this only unlocked one hero, they would have to repeat the process to gain access to the other fan favourites.

The reaction from fans was overwhelmingly negative – especially on Reddit. A representative of EA even commented on the forum stating the high unlock times were to provide a “sense of pride and accomplishment”.

That comment is the most downvoted in Reddit history.

Behold the power of this fully armed and operational PR crisis

Often internet-based anger doesn’t have many repercussions. However, this began to affect EA when fans started cancelling their pre-orders in the thousands. Eventually, the company announced they were reducing the unlock times of hero characters by 75%. Although an attempt to placate the fans, the damage was very much done.

Less than two weeks after the game’s release, EA’s stock value had declined by $3bn. Furthermore, compared with the first game released two years previous, physical game sales of Star Wars Battlefront 2 were down by 61%.

Even worse for EA, Walt Disney – which owns the Star Wars brand – weighed in on the controversy. Company executives were keen to express their “unhappiness” at how the incident “reflected on their marquee property.”

Months after the release of Star Wars Battlefront 2, EA relented. The company removed the content gate and purchasers would now only be able to pay real money for cosmetic items. Furthermore, the incident has sparked a worldwide debate about the ‘loot box’ system (where gamers pay money for additional in-game items) and some countries have even decreed the practice as illegal.

What can we learn from EA’s content gate?

This is an example in how content gates can go very wrong. However, it could have been avoided if company executives followed the main rule when deciding whether to implement one:

Understand your audience

It is vital to understand your audience before implementing a gate. As well as deciding if these people will accept it and how useful it will be to them, you must put yourself in their shoes and determine if you would adhere to the content gate yourself.

For example, I doubt EA’s executives would have been willing to play an online game for 40 hours – per character – or pay extra to get them unlocked.

As for the audience itself, this decision doesn’t work for the game’s two main customer groups:

  • Star Wars fans have grown up with the franchise. Although its legacy has led to a new generation, the average fan is a 34-year-old male. They have commitments, jobs, families. They definitely won’t want to spend 40 hours on an online game to gain access to a character.
  • In a similar fashion, generations have grown up with video games and – although a popular hobby, the average age of a gamer is 35. Again, they have commitments.

This generated such a backlash because the restrictions of the content gate weren’t compatible with the audience. Otherwise, there are two main considerations to keep in mind:

Is my content good enough for a gate?

Content gates only work if they are barring access to something truly sensational. If there is something better out there, which is free, your customers will go to that alternative.

It’s time to be honest with the finished product and decide if it deserves a gate. Just remember there is no shame if it doesn’t. It can still perform admirably as free content. Alternatively, it can be improved.

What is the purpose of my content gate?

Although EA implemented a content gate for the purposes of income generation, there are several purposes to content gates. For example, it can capture emails, focus on lead generation, or advertise other articles of interest.

Not all content gates have to be about generating income. Whichever option you decide just has to be the right fit for your audience.

As well as these, consider how a content gate fits into your wider strategy, think about what to do with sign-ups, and decide if a content gate is going to completely or partially prevent access. Just, whatever you decide to do, always consider your audience.

Otherwise, your content gate could go terribly wrong, potentially affecting your partnerships, bottom line, and customer trust.

The post What Darth Vader Can Teach Us About Gated Content appeared first on Digital Marketing , SEO, Ecommerce website design Pasadena.

]]>
http://networkingbizz.com/darth-vader-can-teach-us-gated-content/feed/ 0