Why B2C Content Is a Monster That’ll Gut Your Acquisition

Source: https://postfunnel.com/why-b2c-content-is-a-monster-thatll-gut-your-acquisition/

Across the B2C landscape, content production is exploding. Every brand on every medium wants to stake its claim. Blogging is up. Social is up. Video, email, and podcasting are up. And of course, so is investment.

More from PostFunnel on B2C Marketing:

4 Key Differences Between B2C and B2B Retention Marketing
Take a Step Back to Build the Ultimate Content Marketing Checklist
How B2C Health & Wellness Brands Use Webinars to Deliver Value to Customers

According to Content Marketing Institute’s latest report, 86% of B2C companies use content marketing. What’s more, over half plan to increase their budgets in 2019 and 56% say they’re going to spend it on creation.

Here’s the problem: despite the claims that their content is “extremely” (3%), “very” (25%), or “moderately” (54%) successful, only a third of those same companies have a documented strategy – and the majority do not measure the ROI of content marketing efforts.

Ironically, the fundamental failure of B2C content is precisely where most brands invest … in more.

Feeding the Monster: Content for the Sake of Content

Today’s B2C approach to content is an age-old problem set loose by cheap consumption and the internet’s ethereal heartbeat. Back in 1913, Leslie’s Illustrated Week Newspaper ran a cartoon entitled “The Fool Who Feeds the Monster.” It illustrated big business’s symbiotic and precarious relationship to the press. In 2012’s Trust Me I’m Lying, Ryan Holiday reimagined the metaphor and applied it to online media.

“The Times,” Holiday wrote, “has to fill a newspaper only once per day. A cable news channel has to fill twenty-four hours of programming 365 days a year. But blogs have to fill an infinite amount of space. The site that covers the most stuff wins.”

While no B2C company defines itself foremost as a publisher, nearly all have imbibed this ethos. That two-thirds lack a documented strategy only intensifies the problem. In fact, if a company’s documented strategy is driven by time-bound publishing quotas — as most are — that’s not a strategy. That’s content for the sake of content: feeding the monster.

For creators, the danger is two-fold. First, burnout. The grueling cycle of article after article, video after video, robs creators of their creative spirit. It’s a grind that inevitably lowers content quality and guts ROI. Second, when the only identifiable goal is to “post ____ times a day,” it divorces job performance from legitimate results. Rather than improve traffic, email signups, and sales, success becomes a slave to the calendar.

For brands, the consequences are even worse.

Starving Amidst the Feast: Less Is So Much More

Take written content as a test case. The power of words lies in their ability to (1) tell stories, (2) help readers solve problems, and (3) create an audience whose affinity extends beyond products and purchases.

All that, however, hinges on discoverability. If a page goes live and Google doesn’t rank it, does it make a sound? Nope. Nor will it produce top-of-funnel results. Why not?

Because for informational queries that drive acquisition, content will always outrank products.

For instance, Google’s page-one results for a lucrative CPG phrase like “how to apply eyeliner” doesn’t contain a single product. Instead, it opens with a series of YouTube videos in what’s referred to as “position zero” or the “featured snippet,” followed by how-to articles. Of those onsite articles, only two are by cosmetic manufacturers — Into the Gloss (Glossier) and Maybelline:

Where are all the other major brands? Don’t they create articles on applying eyeliner?

Of course, they do. Tons of them. And that’s exactly the problem.

The best way to illustrate this is by Googling “site:insertdomain.com” — which limits search queries to whichever domain you insert. Doing so with the keywords “how to apply eyeliner” for Covergirl, Estée Lauder, Maybelline, and Into the Gloss reveals a striking disparity:

  • Covergirl: 1,440 results
  • Estée Lauder: 1,570 results
  • Maybelline: 702 results
  • Into the Gloss: 313 results

Even more telling is the relative domain authority (DA) of the above examples:

  • Covergirl: DA 71
  • Estée Lauder: DA 76
  • Maybelline: DA 75
  • Into the Gloss: DA 69

In other words, less content, lower domain authority… higher rank.

The question is, why does Into the Gloss come out on top? Certainly, many factors may be at play, but the chief cause seems to be cannibalization: different URLs on the same domain competing for the same keywords.

Going back to the last screenshots, notice how ruthlessly focused Into the Gloss’s A Cheater’s Guide to Applying Eyeliner is compared to the other brands, particularly its title and URL: /how-to-apply-eyeliner. Interestingly, the rest of Into the Gloss’s eyeliner content contains synonyms for “apply” — like “tips,” “tutorials,” and “how to do” — or long-tail variations.

As another test, take “right shoe size.” This time, four brands appear on page one of Google:

  • com: position 2
  • Wiivvit: position 4
  • The Shoe Mart: position 6
  • Running Warehouse: position 7

Given Shoes.com’s pride of place let’s compare its total onsite results for “right shoe size” — along with domain authority — with Zappos and Nike:

  • Zappos: 71,300 results (DA 84)
  • Nike: 21,900 results (DA 89)
  • com: 8,930 results (DA 71)

Again, lower domain authority, less content related to the query… higher rank.

Lastly, does “less is more” also apply to videos? Absolutely.

A branded video search for “Sephora how to apply eyeliner” — whose YouTube video occupies Google’s featured snippet — and “Covergirl how to apply eyeliner” vividly displays the difference.

Sephora’s video results (on the left) contain just one appearance of the word “apply.” Covergirl’s contains the word 13 times on page one alone:

Naturally, Sephora hosts more than one eyeliner tutorial on YouTube. But by limiting the use of “apply,” it essentially informs Google, YouTube, and the real humans looking for help on this subject: “If you need to know how to apply eyeliner, this video and this video alone will give you exactly what you need.”

It takes discipline to maintain this sort of focus, but in a world drowning in content, such discipline is handsomely rewarded.

What’s a B2C Brand to Do?

The glaring exception is social media, where no one escapes the monster. You can, however, do more with less by filling your content pipeline with user-generated content (UGC), micro-influencers, and loyalty or referral programs that reward brand ambassadors for social sharing.

In all other cases, use these three steps to guide you:

First, ensure your B2C content strategy is a genuine strategy. Jettison your allegiances to publishing quotas and instead set a clear objective governed by key results like ranking, traffic, email list growth, and sales. Second, identify the 10-20 keywords that matter most. Third, ruthlessly cull your existing content for those keywords.

In most cases, this culling process means consolidating your most relevant and high-quality content into (1) a single pillar page to rule them all and (2) long-tail pages as needed. Everything else should either be 301 redirected or un-indexed.

Structure your tactical approach with a clear hierarchy both for search engines and, more importantly, for users. Going back to “how to apply eyeliner,” this would look something like:

  1. domain.com/how-to-apply-eyeliner
  2. domain.com/how-to-apply-eyeliner/beginners
  3. domain.com/how-to-apply-eyeliner/mistakes
  4. domain.com/how-to-apply-eyeliner/tips-tricks-hacks
  5. domain.com/how-to-apply-eyeliner/liquid
  6. domain.com/how-to-apply-eyeliner/winged

B2C content is a powerful thing – but only if you can kill the monster named “too much.”

The post Why B2C Content Is a Monster That’ll Gut Your Acquisition appeared first on Post Funnel.

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Opted for an In-House CRM? Here’s What You Should Know

Source: https://postfunnel.com/opted-for-an-in-house-crm-heres-what-you-should-know/

No matter your industry, products, services, or target audience, one thing’s certain:

Forging an authentic and personal relationship with your customers is essential by today’s standards.

More from PostFunnel on CRM:
How is Your Organizational Structure Harming Customer-Centricity?
Building the Ideal CRM Team From Scratch
Can Your CRM Predict the Future?

As your following grows larger, it becomes more difficult to manage individual relationships without the use of technology; this is where customer relationship management (CRM) software comes in.  91% of companies with ten or more employees use CRM software of some kind and of those that use a CRM, 64% say doing so is “impactful” or “very impactful” to their business in some way. Specifically, improvements include:

  • Sales and productivity
  • Conversion rates
  • Customer satisfaction and retention

It’s no wonder then, that the CRM software industry continues to grow.

(Source)

There are many CRM tools on the market today—each with their own unique features, functions, and use cases. With so many options to choose from, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want an on-premise or cloud-based option. As we’ll discuss throughout this article, your choice can have far-reaching implications for your business.

During the past decade, many companies have opted for cloud-based CRMs—while the number of businesses choosing on-premise options has decreased. This isn’t to say that on-premise CRMs are going the way of the dinosaur, though. Take a look at this chart from SelectHub:

While only 2% of the companies surveyed say they’d always opt for on-premise software, more than one-third of respondents say “it depends.”

Ultimately, there’s no “best” option, here: the ideal fit for a given company depends on their circumstances, needs, and overall goals. So, despite the trending shift toward cloud-based CRM software, don’t discount your in-house options without considering how it could benefit your business. We discuss six key factors to consider before choosing an in-house CRM solution for your company.

Let’s dive in.

In-House CRMs: The Downsides

Accessibility Issues

On-premise CRM software is installed directly onto the machines, so you can only access your on-premise CRM via machines it’s installed on. Cloud-based CRMs aren’t installed on your devices at all. Rather, the software runs on the provider’s servers and is accessible on any internet-ready device. In a more traditional organization (i.e., where all employees work under the same roof, work the same hours, etc.), this might not be a major issue. For teams that work remotely, don’t have set hours, and/or operate from various locations throughout the week, however, it could pose some problems.

There are a few potential workarounds that can allow you to get some functionality out of your on-premise CRM when not physically present. As explained on Microsoft Dynamics 365’s blog, potential fixes include:

  • Using a VPN to access your servers and CRM remotely
  • Using an in-house CRM that offers mobile functionality
  • Using an in-house CRM that allows read-only access to your CRM when offline

If remote accessibility is a major factor for your organization, you might want to think twice before committing to an in-house CRM.

Consumption of Resources

Another major factor when considering CRMs is in the amount of time, money, and energy your team will need to invest in your on-premise technology. Let’s break down these figures into the upfront investments you’ll need to make and the ongoing costs of running an on-premise CRM.

First, you’ll need to purchase a software license for each device you’ll be installing the CRM on; the more machines you plan on using, the more expensive the initial cost. Add in the software price tag, and it’s no small fee. In comparison, cloud-based CRM companies typically operate via subscription model—so the charged amount is spread out over time. Another potential upfront cost is server installations and hardware updates. You’ll need to ensure your servers have the bandwidth to handle the increase in data, and that your current hardware can run the CRM software to its full capacity. If these things aren’t in place, your setup costs could end up being much higher than anticipated.

There are also ongoing costs with on-premise CRMs that don’t occur in cloud-based versions. For one thing, you’re responsible for the maintenance and security of your servers; failure in this area could cause your sensitive data to become open for attack. Similarly, if the machines you use for CRM fail in any way, this could lead to major downtime for certain team members (not to mention the cost of purchasing a new machine).

You’ll also likely encounter charges for software updates. Unlike cloud-based solutions (which include software updates in the ongoing subscription fees), on-premise CRM providers typically update their software annually—and require customers to purchase the upgraded version upon release. While you might not need to upgrade your software annually, factor in this added cost at least every couple years.

It all comes down to two questions:

Does your organization have the capacity to deal with all these costs (both monetary and otherwise) without breaking the bank?

And does the positive impact from the on-premise option make these initial and ongoing costs worth the investment?

Problems with Scaling

If you want to do more with your on-premise CRM, it’s going to cost you. If you add new members to your team, you’ll need to purchase additional licenses; if you evolve your customer-facing processes and require additional features from your CRM, you’ll likely need to upgrade your software to the latest version. Or, you may discover your CRM doesn’t fit your needs after scaling. In these cases, your choice of CRM may actually hold you back from scaling altogether until you land on a viable solution.

If your company is in the midst of growing or has the potential to grow well beyond where you currently stand, strongly consider a cloud-based solution.

On-Premise CRM Benefits: Customizability and Control

In spite of all the downsides and potential pitfalls we mentioned, there are two main reasons you should consider going the on-premise route: customizability and control.

Regarding customizability, most quality on-premise providers nowadays will design, develop, and tailor their CRM to the needs and purposes of a specific customer (e.g., your company). In contrast, cloud-based services, are typically offered in tiers aimed at companies that fit a certain persona, and aren’t nearly as tailored as their on-premise counterpart.

As on-premise providers tailor their software to your individual needs, you’ll receive exactly what you need from in-house CRM. With cloud-based services, you might have to upgrade to a higher tier to gain access to additional features—even if you have no use for most of the other features included.

The other main upside to in-house CRMs is that you maintain control of everything. Perhaps the best way to explain why this is beneficial is to explain how little control you’d have when using a cloud-based solution.

When using a cloud-based CRM, your data is held by the CRM provider on their servers. While the providers can maintain and keep your data secure, you’ll need to trust that they’ll follow through in this regard. It’s also worth mentioning that your provider’s servers may experience unanticipated downtime from time to time—inhibiting you from accessing your CRM until they resolve the issue.

When on-premise, your team will manage any ongoing maintenance. In exchange for the extra effort and investment, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your servers, as well as your customers’ private information, are in the good hands of your team.

The Verdict

There’s no clear-cut answer for which option to choose. It depends on your organization’s needs and preferences—as well as your capacity and bandwidth. If you’re looking for a simple CRM that’s easy to implement and can grow with your company, you probably want to head the cloud-based route. But, if you’re looking to invest heavily into CRM-related initiatives—and you know exactly what you hope to get out of doing so—consider checking out more robust in-house options.

The post Opted for an In-House CRM? Here’s What You Should Know appeared first on Post Funnel.

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What Is A Screenless Webinar?

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheWebinarBlog/~3/MPfawYamgjk/thewebinarblog~What-Is-A-Screenless-Webinar.html

Joe Hyland of ON24 recently wrote an article about “The Screenless Internet.” He focused on meeting marketing challenges as the public begins to untether themselves from looking at computer screens and rely more upon mobile voice-activated and voice-response systems.

What he didn’t address was how that’s going to affect webinar and webcast practices and platforms, which is a big part of ON24’s business. That’s a question I’m willing to have a go at.

First we need to examine Mr. Hyland’s premise. I don’t know of any scientific studies, but my personal anecdotal impressions align with his. I hardly ever manage a client webinar now where I don’t get a question from an attendee asking how they can just dial in and listen by phone, as they are traveling or out of reach of good internet service. It’s certainly early days in this trend, but I predict it will continue to grow. Just look at the explosive growth in the popularity of audio-only podcasts and automated voice assistants as a bellwether.

Meanwhile, webinar software vendors are largely going in the opposite direction. Their messaging tends to be “all video, all the time.” The last Webex interface design change was very obviously designed to facilitate the use of full-screen video for participants. Zoom has become a darling of the investment community with its concentration on video collaboration. And so on, right down the line.

The Technical Factors

Two technical factors are important to understand in this discussion: Products that used to rely exclusively on a locally-installed program (examples include Webex and GoToWebinar) now offer and prioritize no-download web access to meetings. And the adoption of HTML5 and WebRTC as an audio/video communication backbone has imposed a buffered lag time on the A/V stream. In other words, participants may see and hear presenters 10-30 seconds after the presenter has spoken. In both cases, it becomes ever more difficult to coordinate visual imagery on a computer screen with telephone-connected audio. I know of several vendors who now mandate that participants must present and listen via computer audio, with no option for phone access.

And although most webinar platforms now offer a mobile app for smartphone connection, these have inevitable limitations due to smaller screen sizes. Visual information may be difficult to see. Interactive functionality such as polling and chat usually replaces the content display. And in most cases, presenting from a mobile device is still prohibited or discouraged by the webinar vendor.

Now, I am no luddite. I’m all for the option to employ high-tech videoconferencing when desired. Dedicated videoconference rooms with installed hardware can be amazing. And using video-enabled web conferencing solutions can be an excellent ad hoc, low cost way to achieve similar collaboration between individuals or teams. The videophone promise is finally being realized, a mere 140 years after it was proposed and 80 years after its first public implementation.

The Human Factors

We have to acknowledge the harsh realities of the practical world. Video eats up a ton of bandwidth. And broadband, hardwired internet connections are vanishing faster than the endangered black-footed ferret. I work with guest presenters every week of the year. No matter how hard I emphasize the importance of a good stable setup for a video presentation, they show up with a laptop computer and wonder why they don’t look and sound very good using the internal microphone and built-in webcam transmitting over a shared Wi-Fi internet connection hosting dozens or hundreds of other simultaneous users. They sit in front of bright windows with their faces in shadow, shot from a desk with the camera staring into their nostrils. They read their scripts, not maintaining eye contact with the audience.

Creating a professional business video image is hard. It’s damned hard! If you want to be respected as an expert speaker, representing yourself and your company properly on video takes serious thought, effort, and practice. Attendees are less tolerant when listening to a formal presentation than they are in a more casual collaborative video session. They notice your clothing, your background, your lighting, your audio quality, your behavior on camera… And they make snap judgments that spill over into their impression of your content in a mostly unconscious halo effect. As the conundrum is sometimes summarized, humans have a bias towards “What is beautiful is good.”

Changing Our Approach

Given all these contributing factors, should we be looking for ways to reduce reliance on video and visual elements in our presentation-oriented webinars? Not in all such webinars, certainly… There are always good and valid reasons to make use of visual elements. But in many cases, we can make life easier for our entire population of potential audience members by examining whether the visual element is actively improving the content and consumability of our message.

Is your “talking head” fixed-frame webcam image helping or hurting the impression you make on attendees? Are your slides providing support for your talk, or is your talk just a reiteration of text-heavy slides that would work better as a handout document?

Is your webinar perhaps a candidate for a different approach?

  • Distribute a document to registrants ahead of time with facts, graphs, supporting details, and key points you want to make. Tell registrants that the webinar will not restate the document, but will be their opportunity to clarify points and answer their questions.
  • Prioritize the discussion aspect of your webinar. Look for more opportunities to poll attendee opinions, priorities, understanding, and agreement. Encourage group sharing of ideas or engage with more audience questions typed in “private mode.”
  • Use slides as a dynamic agenda, organizing the discussion into clear topic areas, introducing key topic points, and showing a sense of progress towards a shared goal. A simple image and single title or text box is usually enough to communicate a framework for that part of the discussion. If someone is in audio-only mode, they can still follow the presentation without seeing the slides.

Advantages Of Audio Orientation

Organizing a webinar that is less dependent on visual content has other advantages as well:

  • Cleaning up and editing the recording gets much easier. The editor does not need to try to maintain audio and video synchronization with full-motion video of presenters. You can make more detailed small edits to remove little pauses, stutters, and vocal inconsistencies. Video edits are always more obvious to casual viewers than audio edits.
  • The content becomes easier to translate for multilingual repurposing. A graphic slide with one line of text is a snap for translation agencies to deal with. Transcripts of the vocal presentation become more self-explanatory as well, since they rely much less on “as you can see here” kinds of visual references. A translated transcription becomes easier to repurpose for expanded multicultural reach.
  • Compliance with disability access becomes easier. Non-sighted individuals have less penalty for not seeing busy slides and non-hearing individuals can review transcripts that are more self-sufficient in terms of content and context.
  • Simpler visual content automatically transfers the “expert” role back on the presenter rather than on the materials.

How Vendors Can Help

Vendors can help to make this kind of webinar easier to deliver. There are several features that would better integrate telephone and computer integration to facilitate audio-oriented webinars (Most of these are available as standalone options in one product or another, but I don’t know of any vendor who has attempted to combine them all for a complete audio-oriented solution strategy):

  • Better native phone integration – Options for presenters to be on phone or computer mikes if not using webcam. No lag between phone and computer audio channels. Provide local access numbers from as many countries as possible. Options for all attendees to listen via their choice of phone or computer. Options for hosts to allow toll-free access. Use of individual telephone PINs so the host and presenters can tell who is on the phone on each call-in line. 
  • Better management of phone attendees – An online console that allows a moderator to see and toggle functions for each call-in attendee: hand raise, hand lower, open mike, close mike, volume controls.
  • Phone polling options for single-choice polls – Allow dial-in attendees to participate in polls by punching in a number corresponding to their choice. Integrate the phone responses with computer responses to display complete audience response metrics.
  • Smartphone interaction for phone listeners – Allow attendees who call in and listen by phone to use a simultaneous smartphone login to answer in-session polls and to type questions or chat messages.
  • Podcast creation – Provide an mp3 format audio recording of a webinar session to allow easy podcast repurposing.
  • Audio transcription – Provide automated speech-to-text transcription as part of the standard webinar reports delivered after a session. Or partner with a professional transcription company to provide a low cost transcription service option for webinar recordings at a set cost per minute of recording time. Automate the delivery of the audio recording to the service and delivery of the transcription back to the host’s account so that the host doesn’t have to manage the process.

A Final Note

I want to close by reiterating that every webinar has its own sweet spot in terms of what materials are optimal to facilitate engagement, interaction, and understanding. The approaches I outline here should not be taken as the way to run every webinar. But vendors and users should both spend time thinking about whether offering audio-oriented webinar options would be a useful option.

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Asking the Experts: How to Get the Most of Facebook Ads

Source: https://postfunnel.com/asking-the-experts-how-to-get-the-most-of-your-ad-spend/

For success on Facebook, advertising marketers must follow a rigorous and consistent process when managing their campaigns. Random shots in the dark are a sure-fire way to waste money on Facebook advertising. Often, marketers are too impatient to collect the mass of data needed to make well-informed decisions, and they make changes on a whim. This haphazard approach to managing Facebook campaigns causes unpredictable results and leads to ineffective ad spend.

More from PostFunnel on Advertising:

5 Ways Burger King is Shaking Things Up with Sensational Marketing Ideas
Things Are Looking Up: The “Old School” Marketing Approach is Back
Are Banner Ads Still Worth the Marketer’s Effort?

Tim Parkin, president of Parkin Consulting, said that retargeting can be one of the most effective Facebook campaigns but that many marketers do not make use of sequenced retargeting ads. This involves creating custom audiences to show different ads to visitors over a period of time (i.e., showing a discount ad for three days before publishing a social proof video ad for the following three days).

“Not making use of sequencing in retargeting ads leads to high frequency, negative feedback, and wasted ad spend,” he said.

Additionally, simultaneously running too many ad variations for the same audience can lead to poor performance and wasted ad spend.

“Testing different ad variations is best practice, but they must be tested in a careful and valid way,” Parkin added. “Marketers often try to test too many variables at once in the hopes of expediting the process of discovering the optimal variation, but proper testing takes time.”

Tips to Save

Ollie Smith, CEO of ExpertSure, sees numerous Facebook campaign mistakes that lead to wasted money.

“One of the ways marketers chiefly waste money on Facebook is through running endless adverts. Some marketers are unaware of how frequently their ad has been shown to their target demographic, and they fail to manage the lifespan of the advert in the Ads Manager,” he said. “The net result of this is an increasingly ineffective advert costing lots of money.”

Smith has seen marketers waste quite a bit of money through text-heavy images, which are more expensive and not necessarily guaranteed to reach a greater audience.

“A select few marketers have in the past opted for the text heavy approach over with no obvious benefits gained,” he noted.

You also need to be mindful of audience overlap. While running multiple adsets on Facebook, sometimes marketers tend to create adsets with competing audiences. If the overlap is over 20%, you may end up showing the ad to the same people. This wastes a lot of money that could be spent elsewhere. Check for overlap to avoid this scenario.

Daniel Cheung, SFO specialist with Prosperity Media, said that not having a pixel installed on a site is the biggest mistake any campaign can have.

“Also, using the wrong event code to measure tangible conversions is another way to throw marketing spend away,” he said. “This is usually due to a poor understanding of the buyer’s journey and failing to use appropriate metrics to gauge the effectiveness of an ad or ad set (e.g., view content versus add-to-basket versus checkout). For brands with existing email lists, many fail to create lookalike audiences in order to achieve highly targeted reach.”

Justin Kerby, founder of Something Great, said that one of the ways he see marketers waste money on Facebook is by using the social media platform’s default audience settings.

“If you’re boosting a post, Facebook automatically opts advertisers into running ads on Instagram along with Facebook,” he said. “If your ads perform better on desktop, or your target demographic isn’t suited to Instagram, you could be throwing away up to half of your budget. Always double check to make sure you’re advertising on the platforms that get the best bang for your buck.”

Post Boosts

Jason Scott, a freelance digital marketing specialist at JCS Digital, said that one of the biggest mistakes he sees marketers make on Facebook campaigns is simply boosting posts at random.

“Quite often, the posts that are boosted will have no commercial goal and no call-to-action,” he said. “Whilst boosting posts may be a good way to get eyes on your content, I believe your money is much better spent on an ad campaign that has a legitimate business goal. This could be to drive visitors to your Facebook page in a hope to increase your audience size/engagement, or driving visitors to your website in a hope to generate sales and revenue.”

Either option, he added, will provide greater long-term ROI than a random boosted post.

Josh Reyes, marketing manager for SmarterMail, noted that the easiest way to waste money on Facebook is to use the wrong bidding strategies for a campaign goal, as all too often, marketers make a choice that’s nowhere close to the correct match – along with tracking metrics that won’t impact business goals.

“If your goal is to get some brand recognition among potential customers that haven’t heard of you, then optimizing for impressions would be a good strategy,” he said. “But if you’re running a campaign re-targeting site visitors who are close to making their next purchase but not over the line yet, it would be a massive waste of money if you weren’t optimizing for conversions.”

The post Asking the Experts: How to Get the Most of Facebook Ads appeared first on Post Funnel.

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How To Smash Your Funnel, Increase Close Rates And Shorten The Sales Cycle By Focusing On Just 12 Magic Metrics

Source: https://www.square2marketing.com/blog/how-to-smash-your-funnel-increase-close-rates-and-shorten-the-sales-cycle-by-focusing-on-just-12-magic-metrics

Here’s How To Simplify The Measurement Of Your Efforts Toward Scalable Revenue Generation

Since we published our latest book, Smash The Funnel, the response has been unexpected, to say the least. People are recognizing the challenges associated with the outdated traditional funnel and embracing today’s buyer journey metaphor, the cyclone.

But we always get similar questions from people who have read it, connected with it and want to start applying it. What should we be expecting in terms of business outcomes, and what should we be measuring if we’re using this methodology?

Great questions, and I love it when CEOs start asking their marketing and sales leaders to express their goals in terms of business outcomes, instead of campaign launches and the delivery of stuff like whitepapers and e-books.

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The 3 Best Market Strategies For The Hospitality Industry

Source: https://postfunnel.com/the-3-best-market-strategies-for-the-hospitality-industry/

The hospitality industry is facing unprecedented challenges: customer loyalty is fading, acquisition is more costly than ever, and customer data is subject to strict regulation. Meanwhile, Airbnb has surged in popularity, transforming the landscape. Fortunately, the industry isn’t out of options: niche markets present an untapped opportunity. In fact, they may define the future of hospitality.

More from PostFunnel on the Travel Industry:
5 Ways Airlines Improve Travel Experiences with Analytics
Planes, Trains, and Mobiles
“We’ve seen how manual offers tailored to the customer work better”

A niche market is a smaller segment with needs that differ from those of the larger market. The payoff of a niche strategy includes reduced competition and resource conservation. But, perhaps most importantly, it allows hotels to narrow their focus, glean expertise, and serve one group exceptionally well. No one knew this better than Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines. Southwest embraced its identity as the economy airline, serving peanuts instead of meals and eschewing first class service. Southwest targeted a niche market who wanted no frills, efficient, affordable travel, in a time when the luxury experience dominated. They are now the world’s largest low-cost carrier.

These lessons can be translated to the hospitality industry—in fact, some players have already shifted their focus to niche markets. The following are three strategies the hotel industry should pursue to hook the right niche for their business.

Adopt an Identity

Lifestyle brands like Nike offer more than a product or service: they tell a story that aligns with their customers’ identity. The hospitality industry can capitalize on this trend as well. Hotels can craft an identity that resonates with a specific community, such as foodies, art-lovers, or musicians (and those who wish they were). These hotels have taken identity marketing to its zenith.

21C Museum Hotel

This hotel hooks customers by offering the chance to “Sleep at a Museum.” They curate modern art exhibitions and at each of their hotels and offer clientele the chance to “consume global culture and connect with local communities.” For art lovers, 21C is the perfect escape.

Hotel Palomar

This Beverly Hills hotel is designed to attract filmmakers and film aficionados. Its lobby showcases a chandelier made of film lights and couches decked out with count-down pillows. It’s a haven for movie lovers—even offering movie-themed cocktails at its restaurant, the Double Take.

W Hotels “Sound Suite”

W Hotels partnered music director DJ White Shadow to design their “Sound Suites,” which are professional recording studios for musicians on the road. The W brand is sending a message that it knows music and caters to those who love it.

Tap into Fandoms

Targeting niche fandoms entails more than adopting a gimmick. For some travelers, a transformative and immersive hotel experience is the adventure of a lifetime. Some hotels have made a names designing magical experiences for their guests—chief among them, Disneyland Resorts. This strategy works best for hotels that are near an event, museum, or theme park.

Georgian House Hotel “Wizard Chambers”

This hotel, located near the Warner Brothers UK studio, offers a complete Harry Potter experience. Its rooms are designed to look like Harry Potter dormitories, equipped with wooden owls and four-poster beds. They even offer complimentary DVD rentals for those who wish to relive the magic. In the morning, they serve a “Wizard Breakfast” themed from the films.

Nickelodeon Resort “Pineapple” Suite

The Nickelodeon Resort invites guests to “rekindle their sense of play” with their Spongebob-themed Pineapple suite. This special room is designed to mirror the house of Spongebob Squarepants—complete with a life-size statue of Gary, the snail. This hotel offers a memorable experience for the entire family.

Star Wars Resort at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

This addition, which is now under development, will provide an immersive Star Wars experience for fans. Visiting families will board a starship, with every cabin offering a view of space. Guests will even be invited to dress in Star Wars–inspired attire for the duration of their stay.

Highlight Differentiators

A niche market strategy doesn’t have to involve contemporary art or animatronic characters. Often, simple features, policies, or services can make a world of difference to the right niche. A hotel may consider the clientele they already attract, then highlight or expand the features that appeal to them. For example, if a hotel sees a lot of solo female travelers, they may offer free airport transportation at night. These hospitality innovators use what makes them different.

Airbnb & Accomable

Airbnb recently purchased Accomable, an accessible travel startup. Through this partnership, they now offer detailed filters to help elderly and disabled travelers select the right space. Features such as ground floor bedrooms, shower rails, and elevators can make a major difference for guests.

Kimpton Hotels

Kimpton Hotels are boutique, luxury, and dog-friendly; making it a top choice for pet-lovers. The hotel brand even promoted this in a partnership with Nationwide Pet Insurance: they are offered a free stay as a part of Nationwide’s “Road Trip with Rover” sweepstakes.

Ashbury Hotel

The Ashbury targets solo travelers by designing activities and spaces that foster community. They have recreation areas replete with board games and ping pong tables. The hotel encourages mingling at meals and offers communal activities that help bring solo travelers together, such as yoga classes and film nights.

Own What Makes You Different

Niche markets are the future of hospitality. Niches like Star Wars, culture-junkies, and pet-lovers are all massive untapped opportunities. When hotels shift their focus and become experts at serving these select groups, they distinguish themselves in a crowded market. Hotels may tap into these niches by adopting an identity that attracts a certain clientele or by creating an immersive fan experience. Even a strategy as simple as hyping pet-friendly policies can become a differentiator and create a loyal customer base.

The post The 3 Best Market Strategies For The Hospitality Industry appeared first on Post Funnel.

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5 Ways the Shopping Experience Has Changed (And 14 Tips to Keep Up)

Source: https://postfunnel.com/5-ways-the-shopping-experience-has-changed-and-14-tips-to-keep-up/

Cultural changes, global trends, and technology have changed how consumers shop. Amazon has been conditioning its customers to expect increasingly rapid deliveries, while Netflix radically redefined the notion of ‘personalization’. As consumers’ behaviors shift, companies have no choice but to keep up with their evolving desires. 54% of consumers expect brands to implement change within six months and 29% expect it to happen within one month. This article unpacks consumers’ rising shopping expectations and drops some tips on how you can keep up.

More from PostFunnel on the future of shopping:
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Maximizing Value of Holiday Season’s Customers

1. Secondhand Shopping

Driven by the desire for newness, sustainability, and affordability, consumers are adopting new ownership models to access product. 64% of women bought secondhand products in 2018 and more than 1 in 3 Gen Z consumers will buy pre-owned clothing in 2019.

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To get in on the $24 billion secondhand market, employ the following pre-owned methods:                                                           

1. Refurbish: Strengthen your sustainability credentials and open new markets by giving consumers the option of purchasing refurbished products. Before launching a refurbishment program, ensure the durability/reparability of your products, create and maintain an efficient cleaning and repair process, and price items at a fair discounted rate.

2. Resale: A growing segment of consumers no longer buys with the intent to keep. 40% of customers now consider the resale value of an item before buying it. Tap into this shift in consumer behavior by implementing a resale component such as offering discounts in exchange for used items. Highlight your product’s resale value and partner with resale sites that carry logistics, renewal, and repair expertise.

3. Rent: In today’s sharing economy, many consumers are choosing to rent clothing. Experiment with rental services by partnering with rental sites, and offer consumers perks for purchasing your products on these sites.

As consumer attitudes toward ownership and sustainability change, it’s clear that the wardrobe of the future has few permanent items in its closet.

2. No Plastic

The harmful effects of plastic waste are impacting the way many people shop. 44% of consumers are concerned about single-use plastics and 34% are happy to switch to more sustainable alternatives. In response to the movement to reduce plastics globally, brands are rethinking how they use the material. Consider these strategies to become waste-free:

4. Plastic-Free Zones: Plastic-free stores or aisles where consumers can shop without the need for plastic packaging is a good way to reduce your plastic footprint. Lush Cosmetics recently launched a plastic packaging-free shop in the UK.

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With their recently launched #LushLabs app, customers can scan products from the shelves—using their ‘Lush Lens’ feature—and examine the ingredients without needing the plastic ‘ingredients label.’ Follow Lush’s lead and use sustainably sourced alternatives with minimal environmental impact by enabling consumers to check product information via smartphone scanning.

5. Phase Out Single-Use Plastic: Eliminate single-use plastic like plastic bags by offering reusable bags, expanding loose produce ranges, and introducing refillable format options. Encourage sustainable choices among consumers by allowing them to bring in reusable containers. Offer plastic-free options like bagless deliveries for online orders.

6. Recycle: Use recyclable packaging and remove non-recyclable plastics such as PVC and black plastics from your product range. Iceland recently announced plans to remove all plastic packaging from its private label product range by 2023. Encourage consumers to recycle plastic items by placing recycling instructions on products, providing recycling bins, and offering consumers rewards for recycling.

It’s not enough to verbally commit to reducing plastic pollution. Determine a measurable and time-bound goal for reducing plastic packaging and publish annual reports on your plastic footprint to prove you are enacting meaningful solutions.

3. Contextual Commerce

Contextual commerce is the idea that customers can buy anything, anywhere, anywhere, by clicking one button. If you’ve noticed the buy buttons on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram, this is contextual commerce at work. 58% of consumers have engaged in contextual commerce, and most would be happy to experience it again. Below are two ways brands use contextual commerce to reach consumers:

7. Social Media: Social media platforms have increasingly grown to resemble commerce tools as their eCommerce features meet consumers’ need for anytime, anywhere shopping. 81% of consumers engage in contextual commerce through social media. Use social to create awareness about your brand by engaging consumers with interactive elements such as augmented reality ads. Leverage commerce features like shoppable posts to move consumers from discovery to purchase.

Michael Kors Augmented Reality Ad

8. Smart Speakers:  Voice-activated speakers fit seamlessly into consumers’ daily routines and simplify their shopping experience. 28% of consumers who own voice-activated speakers used them to make a purchase in the past seven days. But before jumping on the voice wagon, determine that a meaningful portion of your customer base actually wants voice technology, and make sure there’s a natural connection between your brand and voice-activated tech. For more on how to use voice technology in your business, check out this post.

Apart from the above channels, contextual commerce is also taking place over platforms such as Yelp and Spotify. Find out which platforms your customers use and partner with those that have a strong payment infrastructure. 

4. Alternative Payment Methods

Though credit and debit cards remain popular payment methods, many consumers are choosing to complete their purchases with alternative payment options. Alternative payment accounts for more than half of eCommerce transaction volume. Here are three alternative payment options gaining popularity with consumers:

9. Digital Wallets Digital wallets eliminate the need for re-entering card details and allow customers to pay without worrying about the security of their data. 2.1 billion consumers are expected to use a digital wallet to conduct transactions in 2019. If you choose to feature a branded digital wallet, ensure it enhances the shopping experience, use your loyalty program to acquire users, and integrate your digital wallet into your mobile app.

10. Buy Now Pay Later: Installment-based purchasing has become an attractive payment option for consumers. 31% say they wouldn’t have made a purchase without a Buy Now Pay Later option.

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When using this strategy, create a fast and easy application process and establish interest-free payments. Help consumers keep track of their repayments via your mobile app or online account, and clearly state the terms and conditions.

11. Biometric Payment: Biometric technology presents retailers with the opportunity to improve the payment experience and eliminates the need for PINs and passwords. 86% of consumers are interested in using biometrics to make payments.

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Biometric payments are already the norm in China. 60% of Singles’ Day customers biometrics to make payments either by scanning their fingerprint or taking a selfie. While consumers are open to biometric payment methods, safety is still a natural concern. So if you’re considering this option, create strategies to keep consumer information safe and link biometrics payment with additional authentication methods.

Today’s payment landscape is being pushed forward by consumers’ quest for convenience. Adopting the right mix of alternative payment options could place you ahead of the competition in the long term.

5. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is redefining the retail experience and changing the way consumers shop. 48% of consumers are likely to shop at a retailer that utilizes augmented reality. And 100 million consumers will shop using augmented reality online and in-store by 2020. If AR is on your to-do list, use these tips to guide your AR strategy.

12. Add Value: Just because technology exists doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. So explore AR only if it’s relevant to your offering and improves the end user experience. To do this, understand customer pain points and explore how you might use the technology to solve those problems.

13. Choose the Right Solution: Select an AR solution with analytical capabilities. This will help you track consumer metrics and gain insight into how consumers engage with your installation.

14. User Experience: Improve the user experience by going hands-free. With this format, consumers don’t need to hold their phones for extended periods at eye level.  Reduce the number of steps required to complete a task and save consumers the hassle of downloading an extra app by making AR content viewable on mobile browsers.

Meet Consumers On Their Terms

To survive and thrive in today’s world, brands must constantly adjust their business methodology to embrace consumer shopping behavior. Other trends to keep an eye on include consumers’ move from materialism to simplicity, the quest for improved transparency, and the use of marketplaces (such as Amazon) over retailer websites. Monitor emerging trends by conducting competitor analysis, using social listening to engage in online conversations. Lastly, always monitor public interest surrounding new technology and how it engages with social, economic, and cultural issues.

The post 5 Ways the Shopping Experience Has Changed (And 14 Tips to Keep Up) appeared first on Post Funnel.

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Power Stepping your Way to a Full Marketing Journey: A Quick Guide

Source: https://postfunnel.com/power-stepping-your-way-to-a-full-marketing-journey-a-quick-guide/

In this digital age, having a comprehensive marketing communication stream is one of the cornerstones. It’s an essential ingredient in order to conquer customers’ hearts and win their loyalty. Taking the first steps in the digital marketing world can be extremely challenging, but it’s a very fruitful path. To succeed in this task, here are few rules of thumb to guild you on your path to a full marketing journey. This working methodology of ‘step by step’ will turn out profitable down the road.

1. Define the business’s weaknesses

The question that I get asked the most from brands in the early stages of creating a CRM funnel, is “where should we begin?”. My best answer is first to try to understand where the holes in your bucket are.

For instance, it would be great to get more new customers, but is it really worth it considering most of these new purchasers will churn immediately? Isn’t it a waste of good acquisition money? It can also be great to reactivate your churn customers by a wicked reactivation funnel, but what is your ability to retain them when they’re back? Isn’t this a waste of your time, trying to reactivate customers you can’t retain?

Mapping these holes isn’t an easy task. To better understand your business’s weaknesses, you’ll need to have an in-depth analysis, that will able you to focus on the most important areas. The optimal way to go with (although not common due to brands’ abilities) is having an industry benchmark. This kind of comparison between your brands’ stats to the entire industry may help you figure where are your low hanging fruits are. The understanding that you have a weaker area that marketing can improve can help you focus and answer the question of where to begin.

The example below demonstrates why a brand should start to focus on new customers and not on the active ones. While active customers have relatively good retention rate compare to the benchmark trend, new customers are churning faster than the industry average.

Once you find your weaknesses, you’ll be able to start focusing on the most important KPIs of your business, and to gradually expand to different areas where you’re already happy with, trying to improve them as well.

2. Search for emotional occurrences

When creating a CRM marketing funnel, you should be mindful of the basics. Look for the obvious emotional occurrences on your customers’ journeys. I’m talking about birthdays, wedding anniversaries, but not only – also registrations dates, first purchases, etc. These straight forward triggers create great opportunities to communicate with your customers. As these actions are dated is should also be easy to execute campaigns for them: Is today one of your customer’s birthday? congratulate him. Is it his first purchase? Don’t forget to say thanks.

Let’s analyze the response rate for consumers who receive a communication on an event such as any of the above, compared to a control group. Our research shows that in e-Commerce brands, customers who got communicated on their birthdays outperform those who celebrated their birthday without being acknowledged by the brand. An 85% uplift is quite striking.

The high uplift and the quick profit from the ordinary event-based campaigns is such a quick win, that it has to be the first step in building a full CRM strategy and marketing plan. The two key factors in these trigger-based campaigns are to figure what are your customers’ emotional occurrences are and to plan the way you want to address these emotions.

3. Outline your funnel

In modern marketing, one communication point is usually not enough. Our ability to create a sequence of campaigns will allow us to better achieve our goals. A funnel of campaigns is a great way to communicate several messages with the same vibe or topic and can assist once an offer or a message wasn’t effective enough.

What should guide us when planning a funnel is, of course, the objective. Unlike the common thought that ‘another purchase’ or ‘more revenue’ should always be our target, for some cases, funnels can have other objectives. Such are brand awareness, increasing the future value or even introducing our customers to other departments and offering abilities.

After setting the objective, try and break it to the number of campaigns you should execute. Think about the timing and the iterations between one message to another. Having an analysis on your existing customer-base can help you decide what should be the right order for these communications but let me tell you a little secret: Solid common sense will do the trick as well. For an analyst, that’s not an easy sentence to write.

4. The importance of the sketch

Yes. Sketching. No, we are not in an art class, and you don’t need to have any special skills here. But this is the easiest way to plan a funnel – to create a flowchart diagram. Flowcharts are an easy-to-understand tool you can share, they are easy to handle and to change.

Let’s take an example from an electronics online store, that aims to focus on new customers who just made their first purchase. Their goal is to increase these customers retention rate.

In this diagram, each box represents a criterion or a question, and each line represents the value, or the answer. Let’s assume that with the help of our analysis, we see that the average and median time from first to second purchase is one month. So? Should we shoot offers to encourage a second purchase on the first week? Or is it too soon?

Below you can find a diagram which illustrates the marketing funnel.

Aside from enabling us to get a clearer picture of our marketing strategy, the marketing diagram allows us to expand the plan through different channels, offers or any kind of customers traits. Many mature companies in terms of marketing are starting to lose their grip when having hundreds and thousands of campaigns sent daily. A

Wrap up

Any journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The most basic tip for a marketer facing the challenge of building a CRM strategy and marketing plans is to start small. In order to have a solid, understandable, and flexible marketing journeys, you have to set your fundamentals correctly and to have confidence in it. then, gradually (and unexpectedly) you’ll find yourself with a full, prospering marketing plan.

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