Category: Martech

Martech

Assessing Virtual Reality as a Viable Marketing Strategy

No one likes to read papers anymore. They are considered by many to be a waste of time, energy, and money in today’s era of lightning-fast media. Why should you wait for the early morning newspaper when you can simply swipe your smartphone screen and get updated without having to get out of bed?

This is a groundbreaking change in consumer behavior which is being felt across the wide commercial sphere. Sensing this transition in public taste, marketers have decided to alter their promotional techniques, shifting from old-school tactics to technologically-incorporated strategies.

One such strategy is the use of virtual reality (VR).

People love watching videos online. It’s now something we can do at any place and at any time. Now imagine if we could interact with the video content as well. This brings us back to virtual reality.

VR is a computer-generated simulation which imitates reality and enables users to actually physically interact with the artificially created visual scenario. It’s nothing short of a thrill ride, which you as a marketer can easily monetize.

The main question then becomes: is VR the new marketing vehicle? If so, will it work? 

All about the Immersion

Looking at an image of new sports equipment is one thing. Getting the chance to virtually engage with the equipment in order to test it out is an experience of a whole other level. Which one do you think would attract more leads? The second option, obviously. Why? Because it builds a much more immersive and interactive connection with the product. And it is only possible because of virtual reality.

Potential Adoptions

Businesses are continuously looking for new ways to entice young people and to convert consumers into clients. To do so, they tend to rely on social media marketing, email marketing, and content marketing. But all of this is already being done by their competitors.

So how can they stand out and get an extra advantage? By changing their groove and adopting a new innovative technology, like virtual reality, into their strategies.

In what potential sectors can VR benefit the conversion rate and bring in profits? Take a look at the following industries which can possibly implement the VR advertising strategy:

  • Travel: With VR, people can experience luxurious flights over the Atlantic Ocean and into the heart of the sunset, the best an airline has to offer, right from the comfort of their home. Or they can travel to exotic places in an artificial simulation as a part of a travel agency’s ad campaign. How cool would that be!?
  • Real Estate: Virtual reality takes traditional home viewing to a whole new level. Now, you can check out new estates and get virtual tours of properties, even ones under construction, by simply wearing a VR headset and interacting with the sellers’ avatar. Imagine, seeing the house of your dreams in VR even before its creation! In addition to this, and speaking safety-wise, you can also check out the most optimal spots for installing your wireless home security cameras, where they won’t jut out and ruin the outlook of your home.
  • Retail: People love to shop, but they can’t practically travel to a foreign market just to buy that perfect pair of sneakers, can they? So what can they do? Visit the store in VR right from their plushy armchair, and then buy whatever they like using a simple hand or head gesture. Revolutionary, right?
  • Education: Reading up on concepts in books gets boring after a while, doesn’t it? What if you could walk through the lives of famous scientists and virtually see them at their work, or visit famous landmarks right from the classroom using VR? Wouldn’t this sort of learning experience stay with you forever?
  • Music: Watching a music video is all well and good. But being able to participate and interact with the video in virtual reality is a totally phenomenal experience for users. They’d be more than willing to buy such a track using their Xfinity deals, wouldn’t they?

Gear Restriction:

Although virtual reality sounds quite promising to many businesses, there are many who are still reluctant to adopt it. Why? The main reason is the equipment hassle and cost. It is still quite cumbersome to set up, even though it provides an out-of-this-world experience.

Thus, VR gives people a preliminary choice. It allows them to virtually test a product before buying it. To expand their experiential scale. To achieve the impossible using this technology.

Though it is still in its developmental stages, it seems to modify the sphere of marketing tenfold and projects it into a progressive future.

Martech

4 Key Areas that Affect Engagement in Marketing Videos

It is important that your marketing videos are able to engage viewers and keep them watching while encouraging them to respond to it in some way or other.

While videos are naturally more engaging than most other types of content, there are still a few areas that can make a huge difference in their engagement.

Assuming you’d like to create more engaging marketing videos, there are 4 key areas that you should focus on:

Video duration

People tend to have short attention spans nowadays, and the longer a video is the more likely viewers are to stop watching. As such if you want to retain and engage viewers, it is important that you optimize the video duration.

The ‘best’ duration for engagement will vary depending on your platform and target market. Generally it is best to keep it under a minute, and sometimes even under 30 seconds for some social media platforms.

First few seconds

During the first few seconds of a video, viewers will decide whether to keep watching – which makes them extremely important. Typically that decision takes place in the first 8 to 10 seconds, though it can sometimes be a bit more than that.

At the end of the day, however, that means you have a very short timeframe during which you should do your utmost to interest viewers by outlining what your video is about and highlighting its benefits.

Emotions

Have you noticed that funny, inspirational, or even controversial videos tend to have high levels of engagement? That is because people are more likely to watch and respond to videos that trigger emotions, and you should attempt to do the same.

Provoking an emotional response to a video can be tricky, but it is one of the reasons why storytelling can help to frame the video, make viewers feel connected with the subject, and emotionally invested.

Call to action

The call to action in marketing videos is particularly important in terms of engagement because it is what you’ll use to encourage viewers to perform certain actions. Try to make sure your call to action is strong, and gives viewers a good reason why they should perform the action by letting them know how it will benefit them.

Be sure to take into account these 4 areas during the planning stage, and also make sure that you record high-quality footage that looks good. If you want a way to create impressive marketing videos, you should try using Movavi Screen Capture Studio. It will let you capture video from your screen as well as other sources, and you can edit it using it too.

With the built-in editor in Movavi Screen Capture Studio, you can compile marketing videos, enhance their quality, apply special effects, add captions, include background music, and much more. In short by the time you’re done you should end up with an impressive-looking marketing video that is more likely to attract attention and engage viewers – especially if you focused on the areas listed above.

Martech

Is Marketing Automation Right For You? 3 Questions You Need To Ask

If you’re in marketing, there’s a good chance you’ve heard some buzz about ‘marketing automation’. For the past five-plus years it seems like most marketers (and sales reps for that matter) have been dazzled by the concept. And for good reason — it’s intended to make marketing and sales efforts easier and more impactful.

For almost everyone else, the term is probably somewhat familiar but also quite vague.

If that sounds like you, here’s the (very condensed) scoop:

Marketing automation is the use of software to automate repetitive marketing actions (like social media scheduling and campaign emails) with the goal of making those actions easier.

Should You Do It?

While marketing automation continues to gain even greater traction — pushed along by smarter and smarter technology — it’s important to note that it isn’t for everyone.

On the plus side, marketing automation can provide enormous gains in scalability and ROI. But it can also minimize your impact elsewhere by consuming too much of your efforts, or worse yet, damage your customer relations if executed poorly.

So, before you start setting up your marketing automation system, take a run-through this decision checklist:

Marketing Automation Decision Checklist

#1 “You Have the (Automation) Dream, but Do You Have the Team?”

Do you have the people and cash? Sure, automation is meant to make your life easier, but you still need actual humans to put into action.

Be reasonable in what you and your team can put into action. Perhaps automating every single marketing task isn’t reasonable, but a few are. Look at your big time-consumers (perhaps a webinar or event email list) and look for tools that can help you automate that one task.

Also remember that many automation tools require a subscription fee. Shop around and find the tools that are best suited to your needs and budget.

#2 “Show Me the… Lists!”

Do you have enough leads for segmentation? A small lead list will make it impossible to create segmentation for your automation programs. As a result, the same small group of leads will be the recipient of every single marketing automation you send out.

(Spoiler alert: bombarding your leads with email after automated email will quickly earn you a spot on their spam list).

So, rather than investing in automation just yet, spend your time building up that lead base. Once you reach a base that’s large enough to segment by customer persona you’ll be ready to put those automation efforts into action.

#3 “You Say You Know Me and but Do You Really Know Me?”

Do you understand your customer base? According to Microsoft, customers are exposed to as many as 600 messages every day (in the form of emails, ads, text messaging and so on). For brands, having the right messaging is therefore critical to getting noticed within this sea of noise.

But getting that messaging right means you need to know a bit about your customers in the first place. Remember, customers expect personalized experiences these days, and customized messaging is a huge part of that experience. One thing that could help you with that is a customer service software.

Tailored messaging that speaks to your customer’s needs and journey will get noticed. Boilerplate, one-size-fits-all content — well, you can guess how that’ll do.

If you don’t know enough about your customers in order to create authentic messaging in your automation efforts, your best bet is to hold off until you do.

Last Thoughts

Marketing automation can be a powerful ROI tool, but it isn’t right for everyone. Before diving in, be sure to fully evaluate where you’re at in terms of resources and lead base. And don’t be afraid to start small. Not every marketing task has to be automated straight out of the gate. Have fun and good luck!

About the Author: Dean Ara
Dean is the Principal and co-founder of Total Product Marketing — a B2B marketing agency specializing in channel marketing, positioning, and branding for technology clients.

Martech

Understanding The Voice Search and Its SEO Value

In the past, voice search was that one feature that everyone knew about but no one actually used. Well, recently Google decided that it was a time for its remodel, which made them invest some serious work in its improvement. As a result, nowadays over 55 percent of the teen populace and 41 percent of adults use this feature on a daily basis. It is expected that by the year 2020 about half of all searches will be conducted in this way. Because of this, it is more than clear that voice search and its SEO value are no longer to be underestimated and here are a couple of things you need to learn about them.

1.    Voice search is mobile friendly

It isn’t by accident that 2015 was the year of the major turnover when it comes to the voice search. You see, this was the year on which Google officially announced that the number of mobile inquiries officially surpassed the number of searches made from PCs. Needless to say, voice search is much more mobile friendly than the traditional search box typing, seeing as how it gives you a hand free option and reduces the chance of making a typo on the tiny smartphone screen. Google executives probably knew just how important this feature is and what they would risk if one of their competitors was to surpass them in this field.

2.    Long-tail keywords

One of the reasons why voice search was so inefficient in the past was due to the fact that it tried to interpret the phonology of words without taking broader context into consideration. Because of this, the value of long-tail keywords becomes more than apparent, seeing as how long-tail keywords always have broader context attached to it. Just by adding a single proposition next to the keyword in question, you are giving the search engine something to use in their interpretation of the phrase.

Now, according to experts behind a reputable SEO company, the major difference between the use of a long-tail keyword is in the traditional search and a voice search. For instance, when people type, they commonly omit proper suffixes and even propositions. The reason why they do this is to save time. However, with voice search, such practice would seem quite unnatural, which makes voice-search-oriented keywords much more grammatical. In other words, these keywords are usually in the form in which they would be in a real conversation.

3.    Location-based inquiries

When it comes to voice searches, a lot of people use them when they need something answered as quickly as possible, preferably on the run. In other words, they usually want to know where they can eat, buy or rent a room. Because of this, it might be wise to focus a bit more on local listings. Similarly, to the situation with long-tail keywords, the location of the person asking the question might also be able to give a broader context. One more thing, listing your phone number and address is also something used in Google’s ranking efforts of your page.

Apart from this, the geographical location of your business matters as well, especially if you are doing SEO in a non-English speaking country. You see, the region you are in might give away the language that is used. Interestingly enough, this could even help out the tourists around any mispronunciation they might make. Therefore, such practice usually works out in everyone’s interest.

4.    Scannable pages

Another important thing you need to take into consideration is the fact that successful voice-search isn’t where your story ends, quite the opposite. Imagine a person who can’t be bothered to type in a simple three-words-long question in the search box. Now ask yourself the following question – would this person be willing to go through the wall of text in order to find the answer they are looking for? The answer to this question isn’t one that is hard to reach.

Therefore, you need to make sure your content is skim- or scan-friendly. What this means is that it needs to be such that a person accessing it has an easy way of discerning all the valuable information in a matter of seconds. You see, the time one spends on your website isn’t such an important metric here and, although 3000 words long blog posts are all the rage at the moment, this is not a practice you should adhere to in a voice search SEO.

Another thing you should do is make sure that your content is touch friendly. You see, most people will simply try to scroll through the page in order to find the information they need and it is your job to make this as simple for them as possible. This means leaving enough whitespace to make the layout scroll-friendly and making clickable elements transparent enough that they can be easily avoided.

In conclusion

At the end of the day, new SEO trends appear and reemerge every day, however, this upset represents something that deserves your full and undivided attention since it is a game-changer. Getting the grip on voice search SEO requires that some of the most experienced digital marketers abruptly change the way they look at the algorithm, which is always a difficult thing to do. Just try to remember the example with long-tail keywords and you will get the full picture. On the other hand, with the ever-growing popularity of the voice search option, they might soon not have a say in the matter.

Martech

The Future of Marketing: Machine Learning & Ultra-Personalization

A few years ago, everyone was raving about robots and their ability to perform extraordinary tasks with ease; back then, it did seem very futuristic.

Artificial intelligence, nowadays, however, is no longer a novelty. In fact, the use of AI — a system that allows machines to perform the same tasks a human would — is now very common.

How is Machine Learning the Future of Marketing?

One aspect of AI, machine learning, has the capacity to learn and adapt to enhance its performance. A number of companies have already adopted machine learning in their processes to improve their profits and increase customer interaction. Some companies use it to drive sales, others use it for customer support, while still others use it in their marketing campaigns.

Machine learning can also help you analyze brands and get a deeper understanding of what your customers need.

Demandbase, for example, conducted a study recently that saw 80% of all marketing executives believe that AI will revolutionize the way we approach marketing by 2020. Seems a bit soonish, given that only 10% of marketers are using AI today.

If majority of the companies surveyed agree that artificial intelligence will only continue to advance in the coming years, why aren’t more of them investing in it now? Indeed, why wait until everybody is doing it when you can take advantage of the value AI provides to companies?

The integration of artificial intelligence in the marketing industry will provide marketers with a wide range of benefits from improved decision-making to seamless campaign optimization.

AI will also help marketers run more efficient campaigns using machine learning tools. The most exciting feature regarding machine learning, however, is how it allows for personalization in marketing.

Why Do We Care about Personalization?

Conversion is crucial for any online business. The more visitors are turned into buyers, the more your profits will increase. The Content Marketing Institute reports that highly personalized website experiences deliver better conversion rate optimization.

Machine learning is indeed reinventing all existing products ranging from YouTube to Google Maps and providing users with new experiences. Google Assistant is the best example of personalization regarding machine learning. This innovation not only suggests websites that are similar to your preferences but also uses speech recognition to help you get a better handle on the real world.

Personalization is key to standing out in an industry that keeps getting more and more competitive by the day. With it, companies can keep up with the billions of platforms and search engines that are used by millions of users on a daily basis.  

The Benefits of Ultra-Personalization with Machine Learning

AirBnB provides a great example of how you can ultra-personalize with machine learning to not only better your service but also increase your profits. It has grown exponentially over the past few years thanks to its ability to personalize booking services using machine learning.

Machine learning helps AirBnB manage over 3 million listings and more than 200 million guests by processing data at a faster rate. It also aids company directors in making better decisions for their guests.

For example, AirBnB notes guest preferences regarding price, location, and amenities, among others, to aid in providing the company with an idea of what a particular guest wants. As such, guests get the best packages, and the company saves time while gaining a deeper insight of the locations they should include in their App.

Embracing this innovation in its early stages allowed AirBnB to branch out to ventures such as concierge services, tours, and restaurant bookings, just to mention a few.

Eliminate Marketing’s Imprecise Nature

With machine learning, marketers no longer have to throw campaign seeds on vast acres of fertile soil and wait for them to take root. Machine learning has enabled them to analyze customer behaviors and suggest the products that will most likely capture their attention. The trial and error methods of the past are not only time consuming but also bear less fruit when it comes to conversion rates compared to machine learning.

An owner of a boutique yoga studio, for example, can now view ads speaking directly to and about their business as opposed to general announcements regarding fitness website builders.  AI empowers companies to precisely target the right customers with the right products with unsurmounted efficiency.   

Say the Right Thing to the Right Audience

Just as explained above with personalized campaigns, machine learning also enables marketers to craft taglines, slogans, and marketing messages precisely as opposed to using feelings or hunches. It not only helps marketers craft what to say to the audience but also shows the expected reaction. Platforms such as Twitter have been used by marketers to monitor chatter and gather responses regarding a particular service or product.

As such, copywriters and brand specialists can tweak ads in real time to respond to trending replies or comments, enabling them to surface the right message.

Give Customers What They Want Before They Need It

Trends and consistent purchase patterns have helped thousands of companies forecast demand for a long time. However, machine learning does one better by giving customers what they want before they even know they want the product or service.

While they will still be suggestions, the information presented will be concrete. Take for example the Family Hub™ Refrigerator by Samsung. It not only keeps track of your food levels using three cameras and AI, but it also recommends recipes based on the ingredients on-hand.

This refrigerator can even organize your family eating schedule and notify you when you need to visit the grocery store. Amazon and Alibaba, as well as thousands of other industry leaders, are employing the same technique with wonderful results.

Conclusion

Machine learning tools will not only add ultra-personalization to your marketing experience but will also better your interaction with your clientele. A general message for everyone is no longer an option for marketers; in this age of artificial intelligence, an ultra-personalized experience is vital in making your customers feel valued and understood.

Guest Author: David Kosmayer is CEO and Founder of Bookmark, an AI-powered website builder disrupting the web design industry. David created his first company at 22 just coming out of college. Marketing Extensions Inc., an online affiliate and marketing agency, was born from the basement of his parent’s home. This company grew under his leadership into a 55-person team, topping $60M in revenue in less than a decade. David is highly focused, dedicated and passionate about building successful companies.

Martech

Ways Of Identifying And Preventing Bad SEO

In today’s world of online marketing and the outlandish amount of visibility it provides, it can be easy to fall into the trap of just dabbling in SEO and thinking it will pay for itself in a matter of days. The truth of the matter is that all and any work that gets put into SEO can end up becoming a problem in three seconds flat. Without constant monitoring, all the work we put into optimizing our site can go down the proverbial drain and actually do more harm than good. This is why it is imperative to familiarize ourselves with common problems and learn how to deal with them.

Spotting The Problem

Before jumping the gun, it’s important that we’re aware of the areas that tend to be problematic and are able to spot them. The first and obvious way to notice bad SEO is the sudden drop in traffic, the other would be a warning from Google themselves. If your site has grown an abundance of broken links, spamming or content milling, rest assured that you will be warned. The same goes for keywords they tend to fluctuate and should be monitored at all times to adjust to the market. And, the most malicious of all – fake link removal requests. Simply put, someone is trying to trick you into removing quality links from your site, tanking it in the process.

Perform Regular Link Audits

This will be your first line of defense, checking your links on a regular basis will help prevent future headaches. It can get tedious, but safety should always be our primary concern. By performing regular audits, your business will have enough time to adjust to any problems that might occur and to deal with them effectively without impacting your SEO ranking. Otherwise, we expose ourselves to that awkward “boss conversation” when Google decides to give as a little one-on-one. Link audits only work if they’re carried out constantly, if you get an unnatural link warning – it’s already too late.

Monitor Site Speed

As one might be aware, a site’s speed directly influences its SEO ranking. Keeping an eye on said speed should be on top of the priority list to ensure smooth sailing. Any changes in site speed should be looked into thoroughly to determine the culprit. If lucky, it will be a fluke or something you can mend. If not, if nothing can be found, then the site might have fallen victim to a practice called forceful crawling. This malicious tactic essentially overloads your server which can even lead to crashes. This is a giant red flag and contact your webmaster right away to figure out what’s going on and find the culprits.

Look Into Webmaster Email Alerts

When setting up everything with our Google overlords, there is a nifty little option called Email Alerts. This little option is easy to set up and gives site owners a real-time notification every time something out of the ordinary happens. These include malware and spyware attacks, any kind of server side problem or any penalty from Google themselves. Aside from the last one, all the others provide owners with enough time to act on these threats accordingly instead of finding out about them two months later when they already see a drop in their rating.

Root Out Content Scraping

One of the biggest no-nos of Google’s ranking policy is the spreading of duplicate content. With this being such a glaring issue, it is extremely important to hunt down duplicate content and have it taken down right away. There are a number of tools like Copyscape or businesses like Websitesthatsell SEO Company that specialize in these kinds of cases. Another option is to file DMCA and be extremely thorough with the details. After all, this site is a business, there is no reason to pull any punches when faced with attacks like these that could literally capsize everything – hit them where it hurts.

Rinse and repeat

Now that these are out of the way, remember to do this often. Everything online is in a state of perpetual fluctuation, there is no telling what tomorrow might bring. This is why constant overwatch is mandatory to keep a business afloat, both for good and bad SEO. It’s a never-ending fight, or if you’re more of a Greek mythology person, it’s the equivalent of Sisyphus pushing his boulder up the hill. However high we may rise, the world will always try to pull us down, and it’s up to us to see whether we’ll buckle under the pressure or soldier through it like our main man Sisyphus.