Lessons from leaders: A data-driven approach helps deliver engaging, relevant messages

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As marketers, we know how important it is to understand our customers and reach them at just the right moment. We also know that consumers have more control of their digital environments than ever — and that they expect us to consistently make recommendations in line with their interests, personalities, and behaviors.1 So how can we regularly communicate in a relevant way with all of our customers?

According to our new report on MIT Sloan Management Review, success starts with a strategy that’s backed by data. In the report, The Data-Driven Transformation, we speak with marketing leaders from Bayer, Tapestry Inc. (the parent brand for Coach, kate spade new york, and Stuart Weitzman), and Sprint. They open up with first-hand insights about transforming their teams to be more efficient, accurate, and agile. Here’s a few key insights from the research — and some words of wisdom from these top analytics pros.

Move toward a unified technology stack — and educate as you go

A recent study by the Association of National Advertisers showed that top marketing performers are the same companies that spend the most money on marketing technology.2 In many ways, their investments are paying off, but for those still using separate solutions for separate channels, there’s greater potential. Unifying their tech under a single, shared system could bring fuller, more tailored consumer insights — not to mention an easier way to evaluate what’s working and what’s not.

Jeff Rasp, director of digital strategy for Bayer’s Consumer Health division, did just that, helping reimagine his team’s approach to data. He oversaw the creation of a new marketing insights platform to consolidate data under a single customer ID, and also helped build the company’s first attribution model to evaluate their success.

Assemble teams with the analytics skills to uncover actionable insights

To deliver the right messages at the right times, marketing organizations need data scientists, mobile developers, and other data professionals. For Rob Roy, chief digital officer at Sprint, that meant building a new in-house analytics team to take operations over from external partners.

“We needed to get the right people who know how to build the architecture to house all the data,” Roy explains.

Once he found them, Sprint worked to integrate data across channels — from web and social media to retail and display — allowing the team more advanced customer segmentation capabilities.

Encourage collaboration across teams

A recent McKinsey study showed that 51% of top-performing marketers were part of a networked organization — one where cross-functional teams come together as needed. Parinaz Vahabzadeh, VP of global data labs at Tapestry, is one leader who’s made sure her team collaborates as a single unit.

“Our mandate is to democratize the data,” explains Vahabzadeh. “As a small, centralized team, we need to find ways to focus on the most impactful projects and also enable the broader teams to run analytics independently.”

Find out more

Want the full stories behind how these three brands are reimagining what they can do with data to reach their customers in relevant ways? Download the full report to learn more.

1-2 MIT SMR Custom Studio/Google, “The Data Driven Transformation,” January 2018

February 23rd 2018 Uncategorized

Test and Build for Mobile with Google Optimize

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From buying new shoes to booking weekend getaways, mobile can make life more convenient for consumers — and create big wins for marketers. While 40% of consumers will leave a web page that takes longer than three seconds to load, 89% of people are likely to recommend a brand after a positive brand experience on mobile.1 That’s why getting your mobile site in shape is more important than ever.

To create the seamless and responsive mobile site that consumers expect, you need the right tools, like Google Optimize. Optimize makes it easy to test different elements of your site to find the winning combination for the best mobile site possible. Now it’s even easier with our new responsive visual editor – and be sure to read on and learn how two of our clients found mobile success with Optimize 360, our enterprise version.

New! Preview your mobile site on any screen size 

While almost everyone has a mobile device, there are so many variations and screen sizes that it’s hard to take a one-size-fits-all approach to optimizing your mobile site. Now, once you’ve created your test page, you can use the new responsive editor to immediately preview what it looks like on any screen size. Or, if you want to see how it appears on a specific device, like a Nexus 7 or iPad, we’ve added more devices that you can select to preview. Learn more about the visual editor here.

Turn ideas to tests quickly 

The responsive visual editor in Optimize is just one solution to help marketers succeed on mobile. Our enterprise version, Optimize 360, makes it easy to make improvements to mobile sites efficiently and rapidly.

Dutch airline carrier Transavia Airlines turned to Optimize 360 to try out different ideas on its mobile site. In fact, the team runs about 10 A/B tests each month on the site, all without having to spend significant time or effort. And the best part? Time spent on analyzing the success of site tests has fallen by 50%. This allows Transavia to focus more on testing to improve its mobile site. Learn more in the full case study.

The path to mobile excellence starts with the customer journey 

Need some help determining what should test on your mobile site? Google Analytics 360 is a great place to start. You’ll be able to analyze any customer interaction, from search to checkout, to figure out which points of your purchase process need help. Then, once you’ve determined where your site needs work, using Optimize 360 to take action is simple, since it’s natively integrated with Analytics 360.

This is exactly how fashion retailer Mango used Analytics 360 and Optimize 360 to tackle its mobile site: After discovering that mobile visits to its online store had skyrocketed 50% year over year, Mango decided to dig a little deeper. In Analytics 360 Mango discovered that while many consumers browsed product listing pages, few were taking the next step to add products to their shopping cart. To reduce steps to checkout, Mango used Optimize 360 to include an “Add” button to product listing pages. This increased the number of users adding products to their carts by 49%. Find out more in the full case study.

Ready to optimize your own mobile site? 

Start testing new mobile experiences with the responsive visual editor in Optimize. This update is one that can help marketers do more on mobile — because whether it’s changing a button or fine-tuning a homepage with quick A/B tests, we’ve learned that small tweaks can make a big impact.

And, if you haven’t already, sign up for a free Optimize account and give it a try.

1 Google / Purchased: “How Brand Experiences Inspire Consumer Action” April 2017. US Smartphone Owners 18+ = 2010, Brand Experiences = 17,726.

February 21st 2018 Mobile

The SEO Essentials Every Small Business Should Know

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business owners

As a small business owner, do you need SEO? And what is SEO? This article will attempt to answer these questions so you have a clearer idea of what it is all about.

And you can decide if it is for you and your business!

Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, is the activity dedicated to boosting a website’s search engine rankings in order to gain more organic traffic to that site. As the higher and more often you appear in search results, the more traffic you get. And potentially the more customers as well!

The top of Google search results shows snippets and links to sites and pages considered authoritative and relevant to the query the user entered in the search box. Authority and relevance are mostly measured by analyzing the content a site has to offer as well as the quality the Web pages linking to it.

Google likes to promote authority sites at the top of their results in order to provide a better user experience for the people looking for any kind of information.

Hence it is the webmaster’s job to create relevant informative posts related to the topic at hand, that can become authority pages; of course this involves writing useful content. Over time, Google will pick up authority signals and provide a sustainable and robust ranking for a well-optimized site with great content that users love.

SEO is a broad topic, but it can be broken down into two main categories: on-page and off-page optimization. To help you understand these techniques, here are some essentials features of each of these aspects.

On-Page Optimization

This is a part of SEO that covers everything on your site that is within your control. It commonly refers to optimizing individual pages, in particular the content.

Content

You probably know by now that “content is king,” and that it serves two purposes. One, it tells your visitor what your niche is and what products or service you are offering. Two, it shows Google what your site is all about. Here are four important factors to remember when you are building your web content.

a. Produce Content for Your Customers

Although some techniques can boost your rankings immediately, not all of them are acceptable to Google. If you get caught by the google algorithm, your site can get penalized and lose all the credibility and hard work you have poured onto it.

There is also the likelihood that you will never recover from the penalty imposed on your site. Examples of things to avoid are article spinning and keyword stuffing. These are outdated techniques that may work for a while but can get you into big trouble later on.

b. Use Keyword Variations

Keywords or key phrases are critical to Google. They help the search engines understand what your content is all about. Since you know your business better than anyone else, you need to make use of keyword variation to describe your niche, products or services.

Just make sure to stay away from similar phrases as your page may appear to be stuffed with keywords. Google is smart enough to know that “house painter” and “house painting” mean the same thing. Just pick your keyword variations and naturally insert them into your content.

c. Take Advantage of the Titles and Heading

A single piece of content can only have one title, but it can have multiple headings and subheadings. The most important among these three is the title as it is the one that shows up in the Google search results. It should contain your primary keyword and make it compelling enough to attract visitors. Headings and subheadings are there to help your readers organize their thoughts while reading your content.

d. Tailor the Page URL

You may find that your default page URL is based on the title of your post. Most content management systems like WordPress use your title post as the default page URL. If you find that your post utilizes an alphanumeric URL, make sure to edit it and use your title instead. This is not just better for your rankings, but it also increases the chance of your URL link getting clicked by the user.

Add Your Name, Address and Contact Details

Your name, address and contact details should be displayed on every page of your website. The easiest way to set this up is to place the details in the footer. If you operate in multiple locations, you need to have a different page for every address and contact details.

It is vital that Google knows you have different branches in various places as Google searches nowadays are geo-located. To take this concept to another level, you can use a schema markup. It is another subject in SEO that allows you to label your content in a way that Google knows precisely what it means and what it is for.

working on online marketing

Off-Page Optimization

Now that the essentials about what you need to do on your website are covered, it is time to look at off-page optimization to help your site position well in the SERPs. To improve your rankings, you need to work on relevant links, your social media presence and citations.

Getting Relevant Backlinks

Backlinks are essential in boosting your rankings. Whenever a reputable site links to one of your pages, some of their link power transfers to your site, thereby help improve your rankings. However, some link building strategies can hurt your rankings. There have been numerous strategies years ago that are no longer acceptable today.

The best way to identify a good link is when it is created naturally. But these types of links take time to obtain, so you have to take matters into your own hands. One way of doing it is by writing guest posts.

Do not waste your time submitting guest posts to different websites. Only write for sites in your niche. As you build your guest post portfolio, you can begin applying to more reputable sites with good domain authority. Sites like these are the most powerful when it comes to link juice transfers.

When guest posting, you will be provided an author byline where you can link your blog and social media accounts at the bottom of the page. Other link building techniques you can use are infographics submission, blog commenting, posting in niche forums and ressource pages.

Social Media Presence

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest are the raging social channels you want to appear on right now. These channels have engaging users that you can potentially attract to your own business. Therefore, it is essential that you claim your brand name on these major sites regardless of the amount of time you spend on it.

There are two reasons why you should set up your own account on these social media. First, it helps Google further identify what your brand is all about. Second, having these signals gives you the opportunity to gain more quality backlinks.

Citations

Websites such as Manta, Yell, Foursquare, and Yelp are trusted business directories where you can list your site. In some cases, you can also acquire a backlink from them. Signing up for these citation sites is especially beneficial for helping your site show up on the map listings that are on some local searches.

Getting ahead of the competition is not easy. But if you study and execute the suggestions listed above, you will surely find your site gaining more traffic sooner than later.

If you belong to a highly competitive industry, implementing these primary measures will not be enough to propel you further up. This is where proper services from the experts come in to help you out.

February 12th 2018 SEO