Online Marketing News: Millennials Love UGC, Voice Search and Goodbye Vine

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How Millennials and Baby Boomers Consume User-Generated Content [Infographic]
47% of millennials trust user-generated content, vs. 36% of their baby boomer counterparts. However, each generation shared a relative distrust of content created by brands. This infographic shows the generation gap of UGC. HubSpot

Survey: 60 percent of voice users want more answers and fewer search results
People who use voice search — the majority of whom prefer to do so in private vs. public — use it because it’s fast, doesn’t require reading, and gives you fewer answers to sort through. What does voice search mean for the future of search marketing? Search Engine Land

What Content Creators Need to Know About Twitter Relaunching Vine as Vine Camera
On January 18th, Twitter officially shut down Vine. In its place, Twitter launched Vine Camera, an app that can be used in place of Vine with similar features that works with Twitter. Good news — Vine users can still access their videos from Vine, but the comments and likes will be gone. AdWeek

Facebook Continues to Evolve Facebook Live, Announces New Tools
Facebook live has announced the release of several new tools for the video streaming service: Permissions to go live as a page, video insights for profiles, video permalinks for pages and cross promotion opportunities for previously recorded live videos. Social Media Today

86% of U.S. Adults Aged 18-29 Are Social Media Users (Report)
69% of adults in the US use social media. 86% of adults between 18 and 29 use social media, 80% of adults aged 30-49 use social media, and that number falls for 64% for adults aged 50-64. The lowest rate of adoption, perhaps unsurprisingly, belongs to the 65+ crowd, with only 34% using social media. SocialTimes

Introducing ad groups for more control over your Pinterest campaigns
Pinterest reports: Starting this month, we’re rolling out an update to the way your Pinterest ad campaigns are structured. Previously, Pinterest ad campaigns had two elements: the campaign itself and the Promoted Pins within it. We’re upgrading this structure to include ad groups.” Pinterest

Will Artificial Intelligence Have a Major Impact on B2B Marketing?
Some 80% of B2B marketing executives say AI will have a significant impact on their marketing efforts in the next five years, but most admit that they do not have a firm understanding of artificial intelligence technology. MarketingProfs

Publishers see short-form video views on Facebook cut in half
Digiday reports: Publishers are finding short-form video viewing figures on Facebook have plummeted as more content creators battle for space in the news feed. Over six months ago a well-performing video from The Sun would fetch 250,000 views; now it’s lucky to get over 100,000.” Digiday

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more online marketing news. Have something to share? Sound off in the comments or Tweet to @toprank.

The post Online Marketing News: Millennials Love UGC, Voice Search and Goodbye Vine appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

January 20th 2017 Online Marketing

Would You Rather: 6 Ways to Tell if Your Digital Marketing Agency is the Right Fit

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Today’s increasingly competitive landscape requires that marketers focus on activities that will have the biggest impact in order to capture and keep the attention of potential customers. With over 200 million people utilizing ad blocking technology, it’s clear that an integrated digital marketing strategy has to be implemented in order to reach target customers.

To develop and execute a successful marketing program, many brands large and small  look to digital marketing agencies to help guide their strategy and execution to maximize the impact of their efforts. However, as most of you have discovered at some point, those agency relationships don’t always work out as you anticipate. Once the wooing stage has passed, you may find that you have more work and results aren’t meeting expectations.

Part of the issue is that you may not be exactly sure what you’re looking for in an agency partner. To help you on this journey, we’ve outlined some key characteristics that you should look for in an agency partner, as well as a way for you to select what preferences are most important to you. We all know the “Would you Rather” game where as hard as it may be, you have to pick one option that stands out to you the most. There are no right or wrong answers, simply your preferences that can be used to determine if your agency is meeting your needs.

#1 – Integrity

An essential part of any business (or personal) relationship is that it is built on a foundation of trust. A lack of trust makes for a shaky foundation that lead to miscommunication and ultimately end the relationship.

You have to expect that your agency will share the good news, and the tough news with you in a way that helps you make decisions to evolve your approach to digital marketing. As it relates to your agency relationship, which situation would you prefer?

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

#2 – Stellar Communication

Good communication isn’t just based on frequency, it’s also the type of communication that can have an impact (positively or negatively) on your relationship.

We have found that each of our clients will have a slightly different preference for how, when and what we communicate but at the core it’s all the same: make sure that all essential information is shared in a timely manner. What is your communication preference?

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

#3 – Understanding

Time needs to be invested by your agency  in order to understand your marketing needs, preferences, brand voice and more. Additionally, there will be times that you’re working under a series of tight deadlines, spending time in meetings or are otherwise preoccupied. And it’s important that your agency be understanding of these different factors and work with you to help make sure things stay on track.

In working with different agencies, you may find that some strictly stay on course with the  timeline while others want to experiment based on the overall performance of the program. Which is more important to you?

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

#4 – Creativity

There are so many opportunities to be creative with your marketing, no matter what industry you’re in. Everything from marketing strategy to content direction and asset design all play a part in the creativity of a program.

Because of the sheer amount of competition for the attention of your customers, finding creative ways to stand-out in a sea of brands is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. When it comes to creativity, what is your preference?

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

#5 – Focus on Results

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised! In the same way that you as marketers are held to a series of goals and business objectives to show success, your agency should be held at the same (or a higher) standard.

While it’s true that many factors will impact the success of your marketing and there will be times where results ebb and flow, a steady focus on results and the ability to correct the course when needed is incredibly important. When you look at the nature of your business and how you’d like to see your marketing perform, which situation below is more attractive?

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

#6 – Striving for Excellence

Working with an agency that constantly strives to innovate and get you the most bang for your marketing buck might not be a fit for everyone. What? How could that be?

When you work with an agency partner that strives for excellence, that means that they will likely push boundaries and the status quo which is sometimes out of your comfort zone. While these partners should absolutely maintain professionalism at all times, there may be some difficult conversations that you need to have. In the grand scheme of things, what does excellence mean to you?

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

Would You Rather…

My hope is that you may have learned something about your marketing preferences that you didn’t know before. The next step in your journey is to assess your current solution and see if your agency is helping you reach your goals, or not hitting the mark.

If you find that your current digital marketing agency is not aligned with your needs, we’d love to chat! Contact TopRank Marketing today for a consultation about your marketing priorities.


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January 19th 2017 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: Search Ranking Factors, 2017 Digital Trends & New Mid-Roll Ads

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The Most Important Google Search Rank Factors [Infographic]
Search rankings are a key consideration for many aspects of a digital marketing strategy — and the ever-changing nature of search algorithms doesn’t necessarily make it easy to determine where the most impact can be made. This infographic spells out the top 20 most important Google search rank factors. MarketingProfs

Edelman Digital’s 2017 Trends Report
Edelman released their annual digital trends report and things are looking good for virtual and augmented reality, as well as programmatic digital ad spend. What else will be trending this year? The 50 page report has all the details. Edelman

Facebook is Going to Start Showing Ads in the Middle of its Videos and Sharing the Money with Publishers
Facebook will be showing ads in the middle of publisher videos and giving half of that revenue to the publishers whose content is showing the ad. The videos need to be over 90 seconds long, and the ads will show after 20 seconds of viewing. Recode

Google Confirms Rolling out the Mobile Intrusive Interstitials Penalty
On Monday, Google confirmed their penalty for sites which show intrusive interstitials on mobile pages. The penalized interstitials include popups that cover the page’s main content, standalone interstitials you have to dismiss to view content, and layouts where above the fold content appears to be a standalone interstitial with the page’s content underneath the fold. Search Engine Land

Instagram Will Show Ads to the 150 Million People Viewing Stories Daily
Instagram will begin showing video and photo ads in their Stories feature while users are swiping from one Story to the next. These ads will be powered by Facebook’s ad network, and are only shown when users go directly from one story to another. Marketing Land

Snapchat Is Testing New Ad Features to Improve Ecommerce and Lead-Gen Marketing
AdWeek reports that Snapchat is releasing two new features directed at ecommerce and lead gen — deep-linking and auto-fill: “For Snap Ads, which is the platform’s between-stories video offering, consumers can swipe up and tap a link to be taken out of Snapchat and directly into a new app—to a playlist in a music app, or a product page in an ecommerce app.” AdWeek

72% Of Marketers Say Data Analysis More Important Than Social Media Skills
“A new report by ad-tech provider Blue Venn finds that 72% of marketers consider data analysis more important than social media skills,” reports MediaPost. Other notable stats: 27% of marketers hand over data analysis to IT departments and 80% of large enterprises find data analysis to be a vital skill. MediaPost

71% Plan to Spend More on Digital Marketing Activities in 2017 [DATA]
According to a recent poll by Search Engine Journal, 71% of people surveyed planned to spend more on their digital marketing activities in 2017, while 14% plan to spend less, and 15% plan to spend around the same. This means an increase in digital marketing investments is likely in 2017. Search Engine Journal

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

I’ll be back with more marketing news for you next week. For your daily dose of marketing goodies, follow @toprank on Twitter.

The post Online Marketing News: Search Ranking Factors, 2017 Digital Trends & New Mid-Roll Ads appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

January 13th 2017 Online Marketing

Cracking the Code: 3 Steps to Building Influence with Content Marketing

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Stories like Indiana Jones, The Goonies and Sherlock Holmes have all taught us a very important (and sometimes frustrating) life lesson: If you want to find the artifact/treasure/bad guy, you have to crack the code!

Even with all of the information available to us as marketers today, there is still so much mystery surrounding the “perfect” combination for content marketing success. Additionally, thousands of variables and quickly evolving customer habits add complexity to content planning and execution.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret. I can help you crack the code to building influence with content marketing! How? There are three essential steps to building influence with content and this post contains a “map” of each element. While the exact code might be slightly different from one company to the next, these steps can help you identify the key elements you need to deploy a successful and impactful content program.

Identify Audience Needs

The sheer number of options available today have enabled consumers to become much more selective about which brands they interact with online. There is another cause and effect to this influx of options: consumers are overwhelmed.

To truly capture and keep the attention of current or potential customers, brands must identify who their customers are, what they care about and who influences them. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to attract and engage different members of your audience. Preferences will vary on everything from content types to topics and goals.

Who Are Your Best Customers?

To better reach these different audience members, focus on identifying key traits of your current ideal customers. Once you’ve uncovered that information, you can develop customer profiles or personas which can serve as a guide for your content strategy.

3 Ways to Uncover What Customers Care About

Access to your customers will vary greatly based on your industry and offerings. Three simple ways to uncover customer needs include:

  1. Asking Customers Directly: surveys, social polls, customer calls
  2. Review Analytics: content types, key phrases
  3. Keyword Research: uncover top questions customers are asking online

Circle of Influence

The last piece to identifying audience needs is developing an understanding of who influences them. For example, if your target profile is a Director of Marketing, you will want to research the different types of people that influence their decisions. Below is an example of how this might look:

Including influencers in your content provides a great opportunity to maximize exposure and build credibility. The information that you uncover about who influences your audience can be used to determine which influencers will have the most impact on your audience.

Develop Content Based on Identified Needs

Once you’ve developed customer profiles, you can begin planning the details of your content creation. For each profile, it’s important to create content that meets the needs of every stage in the buying cycle. By following an attract, engage, convert model, you can ensure that you have content for that customer at every stage.

When building a model to optimize across the sales cycle be sure to include:

  • The channel that the content will publish on.
  • What keywords/phrases will be incorporated into the content.
  • Which devices the content should be optimized for.
  • Content topics that map to the different stages.

Test Different Content Types

Different segments of your audience will have specific preferences on the types of content that they want to engage with. Even with little resources and budget, it’s important to test different content types to appeal to your audience.

TopRank Marketing has published a list of 30 different content marketing tactics that includes definitions, pros/cons as well as some great examples from other brands to get you started.

Create A Content Brief

Every larger piece of content (eBooks, white papers, research reports) should include a project brief. A detailed brief will serve as a guide for the project and help ensure that your team stays aligned with the objective of the content.

Your brief should include things like:

  • Identifying who the content is for.
  • Detailing the problem that this content solves for the reader.
  • A clear directive of what the reader should do next.
  • Goals and details of how success will be measured.

Maximize Content Impact

At the end of the day, we need to be intensely focused on developing, publishing and promoting content that has a maximum impact on our audience and on our marketing goals. The difference between good and great content can be summarized by a few different characteristics.

Incorporate Storytelling Into Content

Stories help create a connection between the content and the reader. While it may take some extra effort, adding a storytelling element to your content has many benefits including:

  • Creating a shared experience.
  • Helping readers develop an emotional connection to the message.
  • Differentiating you from your competitors.
  • Assigning meaning to the content.

Visual content & creative storytelling create an emotional connection with buyers. @leeodden
Click To Tweet

Additionally, a great story is very sharable which can help increase the exposure of your content. Sometimes the simple addition of a widely recognized metaphor can be just the extra boost that your content needs to make it more interesting and enticing for your audience.

Content Should Be Visual

Compelling visuals alongside great storytelling makes for a killer content combination! Because of the amount of information available, consumers eyes can quickly begin to glaze over when they’re faced with a wall of endless content.

Be sure to include creative visuals that compliment different types of content. Below is an example of a blog post that included “horror stories” from top content experts. Based on the experiences that they shared, our team was able to develop a series of horror movie “posters” to compliment the content.

Content Amplification

Every piece of content should have an amplification plan to maximize impact. Some best practices for content amplification include:

  • Develop compelling visuals to encourage social share.
  • Create unique messaging for each social platform.
  • Encourage employees to amplify your content.
  • If you worked with influencers, develop messages for them to share.

Take These Steps to Build Influence with Content

Truly cracking the code takes time, testing and iterations of your approach. However, you can use the three steps above to build a solid foundation that will speak to the needs of your audience, solve their pain points and maximize content efforts.

If you’re interested in learning more about how TopRank Marketing can help you build influence with your audience through content marketing, contact us today for a consultation!

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Cracking the Code: 3 Steps to Building Influence with Content Marketing |

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January 12th 2017 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: Content for Millennials & Boomers, Top Data Trends & PPC for Research

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Infographic: How Millennials and Baby Boomers Consume User-Generated Content
Content and recommendations from other consumers are generally considered more trustworthy than content coming from a brand. This infographic lends more credibility to that idea. Although Boomers and Millennials consume content differently, they have one key preference in common: 76% of consumers believe that content shared by average people is more honest than advertising from brands. AdWeek

The Top Three Data Trends of 2016
Ad Age discusses the top three data trends of 2016: The customer ID movement, growth in data sharing and the location data tracking boom. What’s the common thread? Collecting more data to enable greater personalization for the consumer, and to foster a better understanding of your audience, were keys strategic elements of 2016. Ad Age

Goodbye Google Keyword Planner, Hello Keyword Research Using PPC
Now that Google is taking away free full access to the Google keyword planner, MarketingProfs proposes conducting keyword research via a small PPC campaign rather than investing in a paid keyword research tool? Sound crazy? It makes more sense than you may think. MarketingProfs

Amazon launches Digital Day, a new sales holiday for digital products
According to Marketing Land, “The first Digital Day will be a 24 hour event held tomorrow, Friday December 30th and is marketed like a Black Friday for anything digital. These offerings include games, books, TV shows, apps, music and more. Some of the marketed deals include: 80% off of video games, 50% off of movies & TV and 75% off of digital comics.” Marketing Land

LinkedIn Changes: What Marketers Need to Know
LinkedIn has made changes to improve the way you find new contacts, interact with connections, and write posts. The homepage has a new, cleaner look — and what was the ‘Profile’ section is now the ‘Me’ section, where you can go to edit your profile, privacy settings and more. Social Media Examiner

Don’t Get Too Excited Just Yet About Retailers’ Merry Holiday Sales
eMarketer reports: “Retailers, which typically close their fiscal fourth quarter end of this month or early next month, are expected to see their critical holiday quarter profit decline 1.9% on average, according to Retail Metrics [...] In fact, 53 retailers, or about half of the group tracked, are expected to see lower fourth-quarter profits.” eMarketer

Google Has 5 of the Top 10 Apps in 2016, According to Nielsen Rankings [REPORT]
5 of the top 10 downloaded apps in 2016 were owned by Google: YouTube, Google Maps, Google Search, Google Play and Gmail. Google continues to be a leader on the mobile front, and of the 88% of US mobile subscribers that use smartphones, 53% are using the Android operating system. How will the Google Pixel shape these trends? Search Engine Journal

2017 Digital Marketing Plans [Report]
Ascend2 reports: “While nearly one-third (31%) describe the success of their digital marketing as “best-in-class” compared to competitors, a total of 23% still consider their organizations’ efforts unsuccessful.” 63% of respondents said brand websites are one of the most effective channels for their 2017 digital marketing plan, 52% say email is one of the most effective channels, 49% say social media and 31% listed organic search. Ascend2

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more top online marketing news. Have something to share? Sound off in the comments or Tweet to @toprank.

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Online Marketing News: Content for Millennials & Boomers, Top Data Trends & PPC for Research appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

January 6th 2017 Online Marketing

26 Essential Digital Marketing Statistics to Make Your Marketing Pop in 2017

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My new favorite joke about the New Year:

“I want to start a gym called Resolutions. The first two weeks it will have fitness trainers, workout equipment, everything. Then on January 15th, we turn the whole thing into a bar.”

I love that joke because it hints at an unfortunate reality: Only 64% of people keep their resolution past one month. At six months, less than half of us stay resolved.

Many marketers are starting out the New Year with resolutions. We want to know our audiences better, take control of our data, use content more effectively, and more. Statistically, only 46% of us have a chance at beating the status quo.

It takes more than willpower to make a resolution stick. You need a well-informed, strategic plan.

To help you reach your goals in 2017, use these statistics to guide you.

Mobile Marketing

  1. 84 percent of mobile advertisers believe they’re providing a positive experience. Less than half of consumers report their experience was positive. (Unlockd)
  1. We have reached the mobile tipping point: All new data consumption is coming from mobile (TechCrunch).
  1. Over a third of email subscribers read their newsletters exclusively on mobile devices (Informz).
  1. 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site after a negative experience. 40% will go to a competitor’s site (MicKinsey & Company).

Influencer Marketing

  1. Marketers receive an average of $6.85 in earned media value for every $1 spent on influencer marketing (AdWeek).
  1. Over 80% of marketing and communication professionals expect to begin an influencer marketing campaign within the year. (eMarketer).
  1. Influencer campaigns have proven effective for over 80% of marketers who have tried them (eMarketer).
  1. Customers acquired through word-of-mouth (such as influencer marketing) are retained at a 37% higher rate than those acquired through other means (Deloitte).

Social Media Marketing

  1. When social media is part of their buyer’s journey, customers tend to convert at a 129% higher rate. They are also four times as likely to spend significantly more than those without a social component (Deloitte).
  1. Reading or writing social media reviews and comments will influence the shopping behavior of 67% of consumers (PwC).
  1. The average internet user spends nearly two hours browsing social media networks daily (Telegraph UK).
  1. On average, brands only respond to only one out of eight social messages in 72 hours or fewer (Sprout Social).

Content Marketing

  1. 73% of surveyed consumers found that content with a strong personality helps in forming loyal relationships (Econsultancy).
  1. Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to realize a positive ROI (Socialemedia).
  1. 61% of the most successful content marketers have a documented strategy, while only 2% of the least successful have one (CMI).
  1. 85% of the most successful deliver content consistently (CMI).
  1. 87% of the most successful say they are able to quickly adjust their content marketing strategy (CMI).

Email Marketing

  1. Email marketing was the top channel for increase in digital marketing spend over the last year, with 61% of marketers increasing their investment (Relevate).
  1. Personalized email messages improve click-through rates and conversions by over 10% (Aberdeen).
  1. The average CTR for email marketing across industries is 3.2% (IBM).
  2. Last year, the average ROI for email campaigns was 4,300% (Copyblogger).
  1. 55% of all emails are opened on mobile devices (emailmonday).

General Digital Marketing

  1. By 2019, video will account for 80% of global internet traffic, and 85% in the US (Cisco).
  1. The average CTR of display ads is .06% (HubSpot).
  1. The CTR for native ads is more than double regular display ads: .33% for mobile, .16% desktop (Business Insider).
  1. Users who are retargeted to are 70% more likely to convert (HubSpot).

Stay Resolved in 2017

These statistics can help you see a clear way forward into the New Year. The biggest takeaway may be that traditional digital marketing’s effectiveness is waning: without retargeting, display and banner ads just don’t compel like they used to. Mobile, email, influencer and content marketing are all vital parts of a successful marketing strategy, each promising a better ROI than traditional PPC alone.

Keeping a New Year’s resolution is tough, but armed with the right information and the will to succeed, you can be prepared to rock 2017. Subscribe to the TopRank Tips Newsletter and our team can help you along the way.

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26 Essential Digital Marketing Statistics to Make Your Marketing Pop in 2017 |

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January 4th 2017 Online Marketing

20 Tips to Help You Become A More Effective & Focused Marketer in 2017

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The holiday season has officially ended and while some of us are still taking down our trees and packing away ornaments, 2017 is well upon us.

The break that the vast majority of marketers get at the end of the year helps us start the new year refreshed, replenished and ready to create some kickass marketing programs.

This year, instead of focusing on being productive, let’s change our approach to becoming more effective in our marketing. Truly effective people are not just focused on getting as many things done as possible. Instead, time needs to be spent prioritizing, pushing boundaries and finding ways to enjoy what you do for an extended period of time.

Start this year off right creating small, healthy habits that will ward away the mid-year slump that often rears it’s early head as early as quarter one. The tips below will help you stay focused long past the first quarter of the year.


# 1 – Always Have A Plan

Without a plan to help guide your actions for the year, it will be incredibly difficult to tell how you performed. If you haven’t already, sit down and document your digital marketing strategy which should include (at minimum) the following attributes:

  • Marketing Objectives and Goals
  • Marketing Tactics
  • How You’ll Measure Success
  • Checkpoints Along the Way


#2 – Prioritize What You Want to Accomplish

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “your eyes are bigger than your stomach”. The same applies to looking at all of the delicious marketing morsels that you want to accomplish for the year. If you try to tackle all of them at once, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed.

Instead, prioritize your most impactful marketing tasks first. If you aren’t sure what those are, reference your plan.


#3 – Tackle Your Big Rocks Early in the Day

A looming deadline or project will make even the most sophisticated marketer worry. Don’t let elephant tasks consume you all day. Instead, tackle your big tasks early in the day so they don’t loom over your head. By getting these out of the way quickly, you’ll feel more relaxed the rest of the day.


#4 – Learn to Say No

Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. Sometimes it’s necessary for you to accomplish everything that you have planned. When you receive a request, put it through the following filter:

  1. Does this task fit within my plan?
  2. Will it help me increase the impact of my work?
  3. What else would need to move out in order to accommodate this request?

Having a documented marketing plan will make it much easier to make decisions about whether or not a request should be completed.


#5 – Focus on one Task at a Time

We all multi-task. Some of us even brag about how good at it we are. But the truth is, multi-tasking is not a healthy and effective way to approach your marketing responsibilities. Instead, when you’re outlining what you have to accomplish for the day, focus on one item at a time and don’t move on to the next until you’ve completed that task.


#6 – Remove Outside Distractions

I sometimes think that I am my own biggest distraction. My mind starts to wander, I start looking at something on my phone or chatting with another teammate and then I realize 20 minutes of time have passed. Help eliminate distractions for yourself by:

  • Disconnect: Turn off your email and put away your electronics so you can focus on the task at hand.
  • Physically Move: If you find that you can’t quite focus where you are sitting, try a different spot or a quiet room for awhile.


#7 – Make Meetings Count

One of the qualities that I have always enjoyed about the way we run meetings at TopRank Marketing is our focus on outcomes. To ensure that a meeting is productive, make sure that you start each meeting with a defined agenda and objective, then conclude the meeting with detailed action items for each person that attended.


#8 – Find Your Time of Day Groove

The most productive part of the day will vary depending on the individual. Personally, I like to get into work early and knock out my large tasks before anyone else is in the office. If your job is flexible, feel free to test some different work hours to see which suits you best.


#9 – Create Efficiencies with Technology

There is literally a tool for everything today. You might find that you’re wasting time on tasks that could be shortened, or even eliminated with the right technology.


#10 – Make Time for Education

Because our industry evolves so quickly, it’s essential that all of us make the time to continue our education. Fortunately for you, there are a lot of options available today that make it easy to learn, even on-the-go. Try listening to podcasts on your way to and from work, or setting aside time in your day to research different trends and topics that you can apply to your own work and share with the rest of your team.


#11 – Love Your Workspace

We spend most of our waking hours at our desks. If you invest a little time and money into making your workspace something that delights you, you’ll find that it has a much more calming effect than you may realize.


#12 – Block off Time on Your Calendar

If you have large projects or just need some uninterrupted time, block off parts of your calendar so that other team members know not to schedule meetings or distract you during those hours. Fewer interruptions will lead to more effective and focused work time.


#13 – Create Short Sprint Goals for Maximum Impact

Sometimes you’ll be working on campaigns or projects that span multiple months. Seeing the fruits of your labor can take a while and it’s important to show marketing impact frequently. To achieve that, try setting some short-term goals and develop a plan for gaining some incremental wins along the way to delight your customers or leadership team.


#14 – Know Your Strengths & Ask for Help

The sign of a mature marketer is that they understand both their strengths and weaknesses. While we should play to our strengths and strive to improve our weaknesses, it’s also important to be on the lookout for other team members that possess skills that you don’t. When it makes sense, ask for their help or even job shadow them to pick up replicable tips for improving.


#15 – Make Time for Projects That Spark Your Creativity

Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a marketing rut, which is why it’s essential to MAKE time for creativity and testing. By allowing for some “slush” time that you dedicate to trying new things, it’ll keep you engaged in your work and possibly lead to some great new ideas.


#16 – Let the Data Be Your Guide

Often times when marketers “go with their gut” it is based on years of experience. However, as much as we’d all like to think we have it figured out, it’s important to let the data lead our decisions. If you “feel” really great about a program but it’s not performing, take some time to dig into the data and find out why. That way you will have enough forewarning to adapt your strategy and get your program back on the right track.


#17 – Be Realistic

There are only so many hours in a day and only so much impact one marketer can make. I’m an idealist, I’d like to think that I can accomplish all 15 things on my list for the day, but I quickly find that things start to roll over and that leaves me with a feeling of failure. Instead, take a long hard look at what you want to accomplish and what it will take to get that done.


#18 – Find Ways to Collaborate

There is the old expression “if you’re not growing you’re dying” which is especially true in an industry like marketing. In addition to educating yourself on a regular basis, it’s essential to tap into the smarts and expertise of the people around you. Everyone brings something different to the table and you’d might be surprised at what you can learn.


#19 – Create a Central Location to Store Ideas

If you don’t document inspiration right when you find it, chances are that it will quickly become lost. Find a central place like notes or Evernote to store different ideas for marketing campaigns, tactics and more that you can add to and reference quickly.


#20 – Take Care of Yourself: Sleep, Exercise, Nutrition

Your general health and wellbeing can significantly impact your work. So, make sure that you get the proper amount of sleep, exercise and healthy foods to keep you energized and focused to accomplish everything that is before you in 2017!

Three Cheers for a More Effective & Focused 2017!

Competition for consumers will only increase in the coming year and in order to level up your marketing, it’s important that you focus on marketing impact for the coming year.

What focus methods have you found work best for you as a marketer?


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January 3rd 2017 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: Siri vs. Google Assistant, Periscope 360 Video & Amazon Tests Product Listing Ads

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class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-21693" src="" alt="" width="600" height="466" srcset=" 600w, 300w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" />

Infographic: Google Assistant vs. Siri: Which is the Best Smartphone AI? />
style="font-weight: 400;">Artificial Intelligence is not a thing of the future, it has become something that we rely on daily. Today’s smartphones are equipped with the latest in personal assistants, but they are not all created equal. See which one has the features that you’re looking for. href="" > style="font-weight: 400;">Search Engine Journal

src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen">

Periscope Launches Live 360 Video Broadcasting />
style="font-weight: 400;">Twitter’s Periscope is another in a long line of social networks enabling 360 video on their platform. As of today, everyone can view 360 videos but only a select group of partners can publish. What could this mean for your video marketing strategy in 2017? href=""> style="font-weight: 400;">Marketing Land

Amazon Begins Testing Product Listing Ads on Adwords />
style="font-weight: 400;">Google’s Product Search used to be based on organic results. Now it is entirely a pay-to-play advertising tactic. Since Google made the switch in 2012, Amazon has been nowhere to be found. Until now. See how Amazon’s re-entry into PLA could impact other businesses. href="" > style="font-weight: 400;">Search Engine Land

How Tolerant Are Online Video Viewers of Buffering & Ads? />
style="font-weight: 400;">Over 75% of adults in the US and UK watch videos weekly. Not surprisingly, Millennials make up a large share of these viewers. A recent report from MarketingCharts found that younger viewers tend to be more open to ads in online video than other adults. Read on to find out what else the study uncovered. href="" > style="font-weight: 400;">MarketingCharts

href="" > class="alignnone size-full wp-image-21694" src="" alt="" width="600" height="200" srcset=" 600w, 300w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" />

Digital Ad Market Soars 20% in Q3, Approaches $18 Billion />
style="font-weight: 400;">Digital ad spend in Q3 of 2016 marks the highest spend in Q3 in history with just over $17 billion. This spend is a 20% increase from Q3 of 2016. As the online landscape becomes increasingly competitive, augmenting organic activity with paid will become a necessity. href="" > style="font-weight: 400;">MediaPost

Domino’s Made A ‘Wipeable’ Adult Onsie />
style="font-weight: 400;">Pizza chain giant Domino’s wanted to help their consumers prepare for a day of recovery after the new year holiday. To help ease the pain, they developed a wipeable onsie that can withstand even the greasiest piece of pizza. Additionally, Domino’s is donating all proceeds from the sales of the onsies to charities such as the Teenage Cancer Trust. href="" > style="font-weight: 400;">AdWeek

Backlash Erupts After Hunt’s Marketing Blunder />
style="font-weight: 400;">Over the past few years health conscious consumers have begun rejecting products with genetically modified organisms or GMOs. To appeal to this audience, Hunt released a series of messages and videos claiming “You won’t find a single genetically modified tomato among our vines”. The problem? No tomatoes (from any vine) contain GMOs. This blunder has caused major backlash for the ketchup king. href="" > style="font-weight: 400;">Forbes

style="font-weight: 400;">Have a Safe & Happy New Year!

style="font-weight: 400;">Thank you to each of our readers (and watchers) that have tuned in each week for our online marketing news round up. We hope you all have a great new year and we can’t wait to see you again in 2017!


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December 30th 2016 Online Marketing

Facebook Advertising: How to Get More for Your Budget

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class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-21677" src="" alt="facebook-advertising" width="600" height="350" srcset=" 600w, 300w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" />

Gather around, children, and let me tell you a story of Facebook advertising in the long-forgotten year of 2012. In that gilded age, whenever your page posted an update, up to 20% of your followers would see it in their feeds organically.

It was a simpler time. A gentler time. And a time when Facebook took in a lot less revenue from advertisers.

Then in 2016, organic reach fell off the cliff (Or was it pushed?), sinking to as low as 2% of a page’s followers.

The moral of the story is: If you want to reach a sizable audience on Facebook now, you’re going to have to pay. But as our friends (and clients) over at LinkedIn Marketing say, “Organic is good. Paid is better.”

Why settle for the audience that happens to wander by? Why settle for the audience Facebook thinks wants to hear from you? With a little investment, you can bring in an audience that is perfect for your offer. And you can keep refining your targeting over time to get even more out of your budget.

Here’s how to get the most out of your sponsored content on Facebook.

Zero In on Your Audience

Most people who use Facebook entrust the site with an astonishing array of personal information. I’m not talking names, addresses or phone numbers (though plenty of people surrender that info as well)). We’re talking what businesses they frequent, what public figures they admire, what pop culture they like, and more. As a marketer, all of that information is at your fingertips.

You can start to build your targeted segment based on demographics like age, occupation, and education. Then take it to the next level with interest and behavior-based filters.

Say you’re selling a self-help book. You might pick an audience that also likes Tony Robbins and has visited other self-help websites, for example. That means filtering by Interest (pages and categories people have liked on Facebook) and by Behavior (actions taken on and off Facebook). Here’s an example of what Behaviors look like in Facebook Ads Manager:

class="size-full wp-image-21673 alignnone" src="" alt="behaviors" width="458" height="241" srcset=" 458w, 300w" sizes="(max-width: 458px) 100vw, 458px" />

Create a Lead Capture Page

Once you have defined your audience, it’s time to create a page that will compel a click. This is the landing page your ad will lead to—it needs to close the deal for people who already clicked from Facebook.

Start with an asset that is worth trading some contact information for. Offer real data-based, demand-based, substantial href="">best answer content. Then set up your landing page with:

  • A brief headline (60 characters or less!) with a statement of benefit
  • An inviting image (can’t go wrong with happy people)
  • A little proof (testimonial quote or stats)
  • A big, friendly CTA button with custom text (“Get your guide” vs. “Download”)

Create your Ad

You can either design your landing page or your ad first. Whichever order you do it in, your landing page should look as much like your ad (or vice versa) as possible. Use the same fonts, same verbiage, same image. There should be no doubt in your customer’s mind that they’ve come to the right place when they click through.

Be sure to follow Facebook’s href="" >advertising policies, and to keep your copy short and to the point. Research shows that posts with href="" >80 characters or fewer get far more engagement than wordier posts. Up to 66% more engagement, in fact. So be brief!

It’s important to create a few versions of the ad for A/B testing. Test variations in the headline, copy, and image.

Create a Trackable Conversion

In order for you to track the effectiveness of your ad, Facebook needs to know what happens to visitors after they leave Facebook to visit your site. Adding a href="" >Facebook Pixel to your pages makes that possible. It’s a little piece of code that tracks behavior of traffic from your ads to pages you specify, making it easy to attribute conversions and retarget ads (more on that later).

Once you create the pixel and add it to your pages, you can create event code to put on a specific page. Place the code on your thank you page (after the visitor has filled out our lead form) and you can use it to track conversions:

class="size-full wp-image-21674 alignnone" src="" alt="Facebook Advertising Conversions" width="458" height="271" srcset=" 458w, 300w" sizes="(max-width: 458px) 100vw, 458px" />

Here’s Facebook’s guide to href="" >creating a conversion in the Ads Manager.

Run Multiple Variants of Your Ad

Always run a few variants of your ad at the same time, so you have data to evaluate performance. In addition to testing variations on the ad copy and visual, test variant audiences. Take advantage of the thousands of targeting options to try a few different sets and see what hits. You can always turn off the underperformers and focus your budget on what works.

Analyze & Optimize

As you run your campaigns, keep a close eye on your analytics. Facebook’s Ads Manager has some pretty robust reporting abilities, especially with your pixel and conversion properly configured:

class="size-full wp-image-21675 alignnone" src="" alt="facebook-ads-manager" width="650" height="342" />

You will be able to see your CTR, break down the clicks by demographic, and see your cost per click (CPC) at a glance. Use all this information to refine your campaigns—switch off the ones that aren’t performing and try new variants, while boosting the variants that perform the best.

Retarget & Lookalike

Not everyone who clicks through is going to complete your conversion goal, of course. That’s why href="">retargeting is so important. Retargeting means making a custom audience on Facebook of people who have visited your website (tracked by your pixel), and using that data to serve ads to them again until they convert.

For extra bonus points—by which I mean, a larger relevant audience and more conversions—select the “lookalike audience” option for your retargeting. In addition to traffic that has visited your site, Facebook’s algorithms will serve the ad to people with similar demographics and interests to your website traffic.

Book Only the Most Relevant Faces

Even with the most compelling content, it’s hard to get organic reach on Facebook. Of course, any traffic is better than none—and if the content’s good, it has a chance of getting shared and amplified over time. So don’t discount organic entirely. But it’s definitely time to start thinking of Facebook primarily as a paid platform, and to take full advantage of its potential.


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December 28th 2016 Facebook, Online Marketing, Social Media

Lucky 13 – Happy Birthday to TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog!

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Happy 13th Birthday TopRank Marketing Blog

We have a lot to celebrate this time of year and I feel incredibly lucky that TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog gets to celebrate yet another blog birthday.

Happy Lucky 13 Birthday Online Marketing Blog!

And thank you to Ashley Zeckman for doing a great job managing our blog in 2016!

I have a confession: Starting a blog in 2003 was just another “thing” to explore for its marketing value, not some ephiphany-inspired marketing journey. The inspiration came from a drive to reach more people with fewer resources in a meaningful way. Could blogging be the solution?

In fact, the creation of TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog followed several other search marketing focused blogs that launched the same year including Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Journal and SEO Book. Two of those three are still going pretty strong with daily posts and large readerships.

But it didn’t take long to realize that the useful content published through blogging was opening up doors for our business. Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement.

A million plus reasons. This year we’ve attracted just under 1.5 million visitors to our blog and search has led the way. 56% of our visitors come from search and much of the rest from direct and social networks. Our blog has been included on many top marketing blog lists with a growing network of 300,000+ across our social networks. We’ve attracted amazing talent, super smart clients and great partners – all thanks to the great blogging contributions from Ashley, Josh, Caitlin, Tiffany, Kevin, Knute and Jolina from our team.

Thank you back! Beyond the acolades, rankings and such – some of the most meaningful feedback I get is when people approach me and say they’ve been following our blog through their career or after starting a business and how much it has helped them. What makes that feedback meaningful isn’t just the “warm fuzzy”, it’s seeing our strategy pay off: That the combination of content we create along with real world experiences will be instrumental for growing our business.

Content is Social and Social is Influential. Today, creating content through blogging is as social of an activity for us as it is a way to provide ultility. We’ve connected with an incredible community of marketing industry influencers through content delivered as blog posts in addition to candidates, partners and clients. These connections have evolved into relationships and more.

Slow Down and Ramp Up. In 2016 I took a backseat to creating content on our blog to focus on other areas of our business and methods of advancing our thought leadership. In my place, Ashley Zeckman has stepped up and published 3 times as many posts as I have. She’s also developed internal and external relationships for regular contributions and co-creation that have added a lot of value for our readers.

Social and Influencer Marketing Dominate Our Topics. It’s amazing what happens when you develop a strategy, create a corresponding editorial plan and follow through. I’m only half being snarky with that comment. We published a lot more content around social media marketing since that is what people are interested in (and it’s an area of our business). In fact, our most popular post in terms of traffic for 2016 was 9 Social Media Marketing Trends That Could Make or Break Your Business in 2017.

Side note: Out of the top 10 most popular (traffic) posts for the year, only 1 was actually published in 2016. Evergreen content FTW!

We also published a lot more content about influencer marketing as a result of a decision to advance our thought leadership in this fast-growing area of our business. We were engaged by 3 Fortune 100 companies in 4th Quarter alone for influencer content programs and that trend is not going to slow down in 2017 at all. In part, this is thanks to the useful and thought leadership content around influencer marketing being published on the blog.

Of course we’ll continue to cover all our staple topics that are most relevant to the practical areas of our consulting: Content Marketing, SEO, Social, Influencer Marketing. I also think we’ll evolve the fun Friday news videos that Tiffani and Josh do every week and do more video overall. I know our long time readers are thinking, “What took you so long?”.

Besides kudos to Ashley, our excellent blogging team deserves a lot of thanks. To give you an idea of the great work they’ve been doing, here are some of their most popular posts:

Ashley Zeckman
314 career blog posts
69 posts in 2016
Most popular post of 2016:
50 Influential Women in Digital Marketing: North Stars & Rising Stars (5,600 social shares/engagement)

Josh Nite
61 career blog posts
48 posts in 2016
Most popular post of 2016:
Content Marketing: Answer These 4 Questions in the First 15 Seconds (2,400 social shares/engagement)

Caitlin Burgess
56 career blog posts
52 posts in 2016
Most popular post of 2016:
7 Tips for Making Your Brand More “Likeable” on Social Media (2,600 social shares/engagement)

Tiffani Allen
47 career blog posts
47 posts in 2016
Most popular post of 2016:
Online Marketing News: Snapchat Unicorns, Periscope Moderation and Instagram Business (292 social shares/engagement)

Lee Odden
2514 career blog posts
24 posts in 2016 (I can’t believe it either – time to get back to blogging in 2017)
Most popular post of 2016:
50 Social Media Marketing Influencers to Follow (6,100 social shares/engagement)

Kevin Cotch
10 career blog posts
10 posts in 2016
Most popular post of 2016:
Understanding the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on SEO (1,800 social shares/engagement)

Knute Sands
7 career blog posts
7 posts in 2016
Most popular post of 2016:
Easy-as-Pie Guide to Content Planning (1,600 social shares/engagement)

Jolina Pettice
75 career blog posts
2 posts in 2016
Most popular post of 2016:
3 Great Storytelling Tips for Compelling Customers (1,100 social shares/engagement)

We all contribute to your success. The rest of the team at TopRank Marketing contributes to our blog indirectly, by sharing insights, research and data as well as sharing the resulting blog posts to their social networks. Blogging is truly a team effort at TopRank Marketing and I think the end product really shows the impact of our collective wisdom and collaboration.

Going forward. There’s a lot more I could share about this blog in celebration of our 13th blog birthday, but I think the overall focus here is that it’s important to experiment, but to do so with a vision or some long term goal in mind. If I wasn’t driven to persist with blogging during my first year despite no visitors, no engagement all with a substantial amount of of time invested, this blog would not have survived. Without that early survival, our young business would not have achieved the amazing momentum we have now, or laid the groundwork for being able to attract the team that runs blog now an into 2017. Persistence with vision (and ongoing optimization) pays off!

Our community rocks! I am immensely appreciative of the support our community has provided in return to the useful content our team publishes on TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog. I appreciate the contributions that super busy industry influencers and friends from Ann Handley to Joe Pulizzi to Mike Stelzner and many more continue to make to help make our content great. Also, a huge thanks to major brand executives from the U.S., UK and broader Europe that have contributed to our blog with their insights this past year.  Your investment in time makes this blog a better resource for us all. Thank you!

Thank you to our team, our clients and our community for helping celebrate our blog birthday today: Lucky 13!

Seasons Greetings!

Here are some warm wishes from our team to yours.

May your marketing programs be successful,
to make your holiday season less stressful.

May your customers be joyful and content,
because of the great campaigns you sent.

May your hearts be full and your season merry,
so that you start 2017 refreshed and not wary.

Thank you for being a part of our community.

The Team at TopRank Marketing

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December 24th 2016 Online Marketing