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The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand
Original Post: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Quicksprout/~3/1nrajjnZmEQ/ My parents like to tell a story from my childhood. When I was a toddler they would put me in the backseat of the car in child’s car seat when they would take me somewhere like to the store or to a friend’s house. When we would drive down the highway, I would see golden arches through the car window and yell, “Donald’s!” Now, I was only two or three years old at the time. I wasn’t old enough to read. I could barely see high enough to see through the car window. But when I saw those arches it meant something to me. My parents would sometimes take me to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal. I would associate the burger and fries with the golden arches. That is branding. A brand is anything—a symbol, design, name, sound, reputation, emotion, employees, tone, and much more—that separates one thing from another. In the case of McDonald’s, the golden arches became part of the brand. Those arches separate their product from all other fast food restaurants and they’re a recognizable symbol even with kids. Branding on a business-level is common, but today branding is becoming just as important on a personal level. After all, you might work for a business that works with other businesses, but it’s people working with people and that’s what makes business relationships valuable. Why should you build your personal brand? Building a recognizable personal brand opens professional opportunities. Creating a vision for your future and implementing that vision can lead to: A better job Better contacts and clients for your company Industry recognition And more If you’re looking for a better job, you want your potential boss at your ideal company to associate your personal brand with something that she needs on her team. If you’re looking to grow the sales for a company, you want potential clients to associate your personal brand with a feeling of trust and long-term success and satisfaction. This guide will take your through all the steps you need to take to create a your unique personal brand. In today’s job market and entrepreneurial landscape, there is no room for being another face in the crowd. You have to separate yourself from the competition. You have to be more appealing to your target audience and you can achieve it by creating a recognizable personal brand. Not Everything In This Guide Will Apply To You This is an advanced guide to building your personal brand. There is a lot of information covering many different steps you can take to build your personal brand. However, not everything in this guide needs to be followed to reach your goals. Not everything in the guide applies to everyone so if you notice something that doesn’t fit your vision or your goals it’s okay. The purpose of this guide is to cover as much as possible about the process of building a personal brand. In the final chapter, we discuss why it’s important to be yourself. You can take the information here as a guide, but use the information in your own way. Follow steps exactly or use certain information and create your own steps for finding success. Expert Roundup: Quotes From Successful & Influential Individuals For this guide we wanted to include quotes from well-known individuals in the online world. These are people that have been the reason for the success of some of the most successful brands in the world. They know what it takes to succeed and that includes their feelings on building a personal brand. We asked three questions: What one action, decision, or choice has had the single biggest impact in the growth of your personal brand? If you were building an online presence from scratch today, what 3 things would you consider to provide the biggest ROI on your time and money? For those looking to create a strong online brand, which 3 online influencers would you recommend they follow? Throughout this guide you’ll find the answers along with actionable steps you can take to follow the advice of these experts. How To Create Your Personal Brand Vision Businesses create vision and mission statements. Creating a personal brand begins much the same way by creating a personal vision. Only you can determine how you want your life to unfold. You can’t control every aspect of your life, but you can create a long-term vision and develop steps to achieve that vision. Your life’s vision should include how you see yourself in 10, 20 and even 50 years. Consider the elements in life that would make you happy—a family, a beach house, a challenging corporate job? There are no right or wrong answers and in this chapter we’ll guide you through the steps necessary to create your personal vision. Create Personal Brand Vision How To Define Your Target Audience Once you have your vision, it’s time to determine who your target audience is. Most professionals are selling something to someone. If you’re looking for a job, you’re selling yourself to a potential employer. If you want to start your own business, you’re selling yourself to potential clients. But your target audience goes beyond an employer and customer. You’re looking to build a community of people—employers, peers, influencers, etc.—who can all be assets in different ways. In this chapter, we’ll show you how to define your target audience. Knowing the exact person you’re selling to makes it easier for you to communicate your brand message. Define Your Target Audience How To Build Up Your Online And Offline Assets Thee are a number of assets that require attention when you’re building your personal brand. You’ll need to secure domain names and websites to help control your personal brand on search. You’ll need to secure social media accounts to control your personal brand on social networks. And you’ll need to know how to build these assets so you can build your overall network. In this chapter, we’ll go over the most important online and offline assets for building your personal brand and give you step-by-step instructions for securing and building each up with a strong community. Build Up Your Online And Offline Assets How To Build Your Brand Through Outreach When you start building your personal brand it’s difficult to get exposure. It’s necessary to get exposure in the places where your target audience is spending time. In this chapter, we’re going to explain how you can gain exposure through earned media, advertising and a few other strategies. Following the steps in this chapter will give you formulas for creating content that is appealing to your target audience while establishing you as an authority. How To Build Your Brand Through Outreach How To Get Free Press Coverage Another way to gain exposure is to get free press coverage. There are a number of tools that make it easy to build connections with journalists, bloggers and moderators. Building these relationships and understanding what the press wants gives you the power to get free press. How To Get Free Press Coverage How To Connect With Mentors One key to success is continued learning. Even the smartest people in the world can become smarter and more skilled in certain aspects of life. Mentors are great assets for professionals looking to build a personal brand. You can learn how they became success or how they view the world and use the strategies to build your own success. In this chapter, we’ll show you how to find mentors and how to approach them so they will help you with your personal brand. How To Connect With Mentors How To Monitor Your Brand Once you’ve established what you want personal brand to be and you’re working to grow it you’ll need to monitor the growth and the perception. It’s important to see how your target audience associates you with your industry and how they feel about you in general. In this chapter, we’ll share monitoring tools with you and we’ll show you how to use those tools so you know what your audience thinks about you. How To Monitor Your Brand Be Yourself Because Everyone Else Is Taken We’re going to close the guide with an important chapter on being unique. You want to take influence from others including your mentors, but it’s important that you be yourself. That’s how you’ll separate yourself from the competition. In this chapter we’ll give you steps for further identifying why you’re different and how to embrace differences to attract people to you in a positive way. Be Yourself Because Everyone Else Is Taken Are you ready to build your personal brand?
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A Facebook voice assistant may have buy-in from marketers – but will users want it?
Original Post: http://feeds.marketingland.com/~r/mktingland/~3/h2QSlXUEaFU/a-facebook-voice-assistant-may-have-buy-in-from-marketers-but-will-users-want-it-259692 Facebook may be working on a voice assistant, coinciding with the company's decision to drop the price of its Portal voice chat device by 50 percent. Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.
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Build Audience Connections with Content Marketing
Original Post: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Quicksprout/~3/iVC7DtW71wo/ You’ve heard the term tossed around a million times. Content marketing. The phrase seems simple enough, but what exactly is it? Content marketing is just what it sounds like. It’s the process of engaging and growing your customer base through high quality content. Content marketing is an investment. It’s part of a larger marketing framework. It requires strategic insight. It targets users across the entire conversion funnel. It should be held accountable to a standard set of success metrics. Content marketing is NOT social media, an intern’s job, or limited to a company blog. Like any other marketing practice, it requires commitment to systems and standards. It should be held accountable to measurable results. Now that consumers are totally in control of the buying process, you are seeing enterprise brands working to adapt to that. The whole movement to get found in search, or drive online leads or create business opportunities with social media starts and ends with a content marketing strategy. In order for any of that to work, enterprise brands have to have something meaningful to say that, in some way, links to their marketing and business objectives. Joe Pulizzi, Founder and CEO at The Content Marketing Institute via The Content Strategist Content Marketing Is a Relationship-Building Tool Content marketing is more than just the creation and distribution of content. It’s a tool that, when executed properly, positions your brand as an influencer. Content marketing is the art of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a target audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action. The Content Marketing Institute It starts with storytelling around the concepts that your customers value most. Good storytelling can feel challenging, especially if you’re a marketer or business owner who comes from a sales background. With content marketing, you absolutely cannot and should not sell. Rather than pitching your services upfront, focus on driving awareness about your brand and thought leadership in your area of expertise. Think about moving prospects through the conversion funnel. Sales will happen as a natural byproduct of this relationship that you’re building with your customers and prospects. Take a look at Qualcomm’s Spark platform as an example. This enterprise company is creating innovating content to keep readers engaged. And what aren’t they doing? Selling. Rather than producing content from a team of marketers, the company hires journalists, business leaders, and tech bloggers. To the best extent possible, the brand tries to remove itself from the equation. They don’t talk about themselves. Instead, they cover topics that their audiences truly care about. Focus on More than Just Blogging Content marketing is more than just writing. There are a variety of channels that your brand can leverage to connect with prospective customers. These include: Videos These can be entertaining or educational videos produced on behalf of your brand. Focus on a specific topic that is related to your product or service. Dollar Shave Club, a Santa Monica startup, was able to kickstart its user acquisition through the production of a hilarious video. It went viral and generated over 12,000 user sign-ups within days of launching. Videos can range in cost from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. If you are looking to produce a video and need a quote, check out SmartShoot. Content Portals & Microsites These are content hubs designed to engage and educate audiences about topics that they care about. Qualcomm Spark is one example of a content portal. For another example, check out LearnVest’s Life and Money platform, a resource committed to educating consumers about their personal finance choices. This content portal collects stories and actionable tactics from people learning to make the most of their money. Articles for content portals tend to cost $200-$1,000 to produce. Ebooks These are longer-pieces of content, designed for the purpose of education. These can be self-published through Amazon or hosted on your website. For a great example, check out the 2013 Careers Guide from Wealthfront. Wealthfront is investment management software that provides online financial advice. So why do careers matter? Because young professionals have money to invest too. The company’s leadership team consists of highly seasoned Silicon Valley entrepreneurs (they helped to build LinkedIn). They understand how to navigate Silicon Valley better than anyone. Clarity, a platform that connects advice seekers with experienced business leaders and subject matter experts, recently produced an e-book with stories on entrepreneurship. The resource, “Straight Up Startup Advices” shares stories on starting, growing, and launching a business. This topic make sense for Clarity’s audience of business leaders and new entrepreneurs. Depending on length, Ebooks cost between $1,000 and $10,000 to write. Hiring a designer to supplement the writing can also cost up to $10,000 or more. Infographics These are storytelling tools and visual representations of data. Infographics are focused on a general topic like The Biggest Tax Dodgers in History or The Good and Bad Habits of Smart People. The key is to tell your story visually. Break down complex information into a simple, easy-to-follow form. Here is an infographic (about infographics) from Customer Magnetism. Depending on the level of sophistication, Infographics cost between $1,000 and $5,000 to produce. Expect to pay between $500 and several thousand dollars for promotion and distribution. Online (or in person) Classes One way to build a relationship with your audience is to teach a class in your area of expertise. You can teach this class through e-mail, videos hosted on your website, or in your physical store. Online platforms like Udemy also provide resources to help you produce, host, share, and monetize your videos. Here are some examples: QuickSprout offers a free course to help website owners boost their traffic: Erica Swallow, a startup PR expert, teachers a class in her area of expertise (via Udemy): Onboardly teaches a class on acquiring customers through blogging: Ritika teaches and co-teaches in-person classes via General Assembly: Both Michael’s (an art supply store) and Lululemon (women’s running and yoga gear) host in-store events: Webinars One valuable way to build your audience is to host a webinar: an online version of a seminar. These can be free to low-cost. The beauty of webinars is that they are scalable to accommodate as many people as you want, from anywhere in the world. KISSmetrics frequently hosts webinars to help customers and prospects develop their website analytics strategies. Typically, the cost of your webinar will be the software you use to host it (unless you want to hire an expert to come give the presentation). GoToWebinar and Mezzanine let you host and record webinars. When well-executed, all forms of content are valuable, so don’t feel pressured to drop $100K on an enterprise microsite if you don’t have the budget handy. Remember that ROI is contingent on your brand’s comfort level to spend. Whatever you do, do it well. There is always room to produce more content as your company grows. Content Marketing Can Be a Major Referral Traffic Driver KISSmetrics, CrazyEgg, and QuickSprout have always built their organic search traffic through content marketing. It’s inexpensive and provides fast results. Through blogging and creating infographics, KISSmetrics was able to to get over 100,000 monthly organic visitors in less than a year. Same with QuickSprout — Google drives close to 100,000 per month to the blog. CrazyEgg has been going through a similar process. It is a great tool for improving the conversion of a website. We launched our blog, The Daily Egg, during the first week of November 2011, so the blog is only over one year old. In our first year, we had half a million visitors. Traffic growth has been on average 10 to 15 percent month over month, and subscriber growth really picked up at the six month mark. Russ Henneberry, former Blog Manager at CrazyEgg via The Content Strategist Here are some key lessons learned from the three websites: Be detailed and consistent. Short blog posts tend to get fewer links than longer pieces of content. Don’t feel pressured to churn out massive amounts of content each day. Prioritize quality over quantity. Make content digestible by using visuals. Information overload is the norm online. Make information as simple to digest as possible, and your readers will love you… which means that they’ll share your content. Be consistent. If you can’t publish content on a regular basis, it will be tough to get ROI. Make sure that you publish regularly. Write awesome headlines. If your headlines are boring, nobody will want to read your content. You need to be compelling, edgy, and speak to your audience’s exact needs. Your headlines are the first chance to make a strong first impression.On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of your post, explains CopyBlogger.Headlines should be short, sweet, and enticing. Make Content a Part of the Referral Traffic Ecosystem Production is only 20% of the content marketing formula. The rest is distribution. In addition to creating high-quality content, you need to make an active effort to recruit eyeballs. One way to bring visitors to your website is through email marketing. If you have a blog, make sure that there is a clear place for users to sign up to be a part of your email list. If you publish an ebook? Same thing. Collect leads. Make sign-ups the first step to download. When you publish a new blog post, video, or ebook, tell your subscribers about it. Send them an email every time a new story is produced. Don’t worry about turning this into a promotional newsletter. Make it a short, attention-grabbing, and compelling personal note. Here is how it’s done for QuickSprout: Here is how LearnVest does it: Some General Tips: Title your emails with compelling headlines, which can be titles of your newest or most compelling blog posts. Be extremely personal and personable. Make it clear that there are real people on the other sides of your company’s computer screens. Don’t be spammy about your emails. Let your users know how often you’ll be emailing them when they opt-in to your mailing list. Send emails once or twice a week, max! Monitor unsubscribe rates closely. Use these numbers to guide how often you should send your emails. Once your subscriber list is large enough, A/B test subject headlines on a portion of your subscribers to see which inspire the most opens. An important metric to monitor are open rates (the proportion of emails opened compared to the number sent.) But we’ll talk about email marketing again later in chapter 8. Whatever you do, don’t try to sell! One of the core purposes of content marketing is to build a community around your brand. Marketers and business leaders get that. But for some reason, brands feel like all of the content needs to come from them. That’s the wrong approach to your content marketing. You should only produce a portion of your content in-house. Hire writers and content producers. Here’s why: Professional writers and subject matter experts frequently have their own audiences. Reputable writers will help you kickstart or amplify your audiences. Professional writers tend to work with multiple clients. Smart writers will cross-promote posts between clients. Great writers leave footprints all over the web. People want to learn from their peers in the community. If your CEO uses your company blog like a megaphone to blast corporate messaging, you’ll instantly scare your readers away. Hire writers to neutralize your sales pitch. Writers can write faster than you can. You don’t have time to spend hours on a blog post that your writers can knock out in an hour. Spend your time building your product, and leave it to your freelancers to produce greatw content. Take a look at some of the most popular blogs on the Internet. Typically, these folks will collect insight from multiple writers. This is the approach that KISSmetrics and CrazyEgg have taken. It’s an invaluable way to amplify your network and build a community around your brand — leverage the community that others have build around their own brands. (Here is a screenshot from the Unbounce Blog. Look how many shares they’ve received! These are all guest writers who are in no-way affiliated with Unbounce as employees.) Success Metrics to Watch Content marketing is valuable for connecting with users at all stages of the conversion funnel. Make sure that you’re monitoring the right metrics to optimize your content marketing program’s performance: Engagement These metrics quantify the relationship you’re building with your prospects and customers. Pay attention to the following metrics to capture this important concept: Pageviews: The total number of pages viewed on your website in a given time period. Average visit duration: How long visitors are spending on your site. Return visits: The number of total visits from users who have visited your website before. Bounce rate: The percentage of users who visit your website and then immediately leave. Average pages viewed per visit: The number of website pages viewed, on average, in a given time period. Virality This concept captures the influence, distribution, and reach of your content. It’s an indicator of whether audiences find value in what you produce. The following metrics will help you quantify this concept: Social media shares: Shares through social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest give your content a higher probability of gaining visibility. Unique visitors: The total number of distinct visitors who come your website in a given time period. Leads and Conversions A marketer’s most important job is to drive leads and conversions. Content marketing should align with these goals. Leads: The number of leads that can be directly and indirectly attributable to content marketing. Conversions: The number of sales / orders that funnel in through your content. Sign-ups and inquiries: The number of people who express interest in doing business with your organization after consuming a piece (or multiple pieces of) content. It is important to understand how leads are interacting with your brand throughout the purchase funnel. Depending on your company and business model, it usually takes a series of steps to ultimately convert into a lead or paying customer. Content marketing should help your customers through this purchase funnel. The process should be emotionally engaging, fun, and frictionless. Revenue How much of your bottom line does your content program drive? To measure this, you need to be able to connect your sales to your content marketing efforts. Recurring Revenue: Quantify the revenue that your content program drives over a specified time interval. Look for the percentage of revenue derived from content marketing as well as revenue from tangentially related marketing efforts. Lifetime value & Customer acquisition costs How much does it cost to acquire each user through content marketing? On average, how much value will customers drive over a lifetime? These metrics will help you craft an intelligent budget for your content marketing strategy — to make sure that you’re ROI positive and not losing money from your investment. Content Marketing Through Webinars: Unbounce’s Story Unbounce is an example that we’ve featured throughout this guide, but in case you’ve missed the discussion — they’re an awesome company and are generating phenomenal thought leadership in the marketing community. Their company specializes in software that helps marketers create high-performing landing pages without web designers or IT. Not to mention, they have a strong content marketing presence with high quality writers and passionate readers. They were wonderful enough to submit a case study for us about their recent “Unwebinar.” Here is a breakdown from Unbounce’s Director of Marketing, Georgiana Laudi. What was the problem that Unbounce’s webinar was trying to solve? Ritika Unbounce launched its multi-client and multi-user capabilities last fall. Within a couple of weeks it became obvious that some of our customers weren’t sure how best to use the new features and that communication on our website wasn’t doing enough to show the value. Up to our necks with typical startup fury, Ryan (Director of Customer Success) and I set out to find a solution, we called them “Unwebinars”. It was the first time we’d ever hosted a live online event (even though in marketing, we’d been guests on quite a few webinars). It was an experiment to say the least. We decided not to limit attendance to customers, giving non-customers a peak inside Unbounce. This MVP version wouldn’t last long though. Georgiana What were your goals? Ritika The goal of the first Unwebinar was 2-fold, 1) Communicate what was new (multi-user and multi-client capability) and 2) Gather feedback which would help us do a better job with our product, with our customers and communicating to leads. And, since we knew people less familiar with Unbounce would attend, we wanted to briefly introduce ourselves as well. Georgiana What important steps did you take? Ritika We built a fort of sleeping bags, stuck a desk in the middle with 2 mics and 3 computers (one for Ryan, one for Rick our CEO, and one for me to moderate). We put up a landing page (duh) and signed up for the de facto standard, GoToWebinar. We then sent an email to our customers and leads and also pushed out invites through our social channels. We then nervously held the 30 minute webinar, and proceeded to high-five on a job well done. Anyone who has ever held a webinar knows though, the work does not end there. We then converted the recording and slides, gathered a list of resources that came up during the recording, and sent out our follow-up email, also asking for feedback. Emails and tweets were overwhelmingly positive, throw in some more high-fives, and we were off to plan our next one. Georgiana What was the outcome? Ritika Throughout the Q&A, it quickly became obvious that attendees had tons of questions about landing pages and A/B testing itself. We knew we had to switch things up; We were now going to focus on content to help marketers be more effective, primarily and almost entirely. We knew there was a place for demoing Unbounce itself, but marketers were desperate for tactical advice, so we set out to be as useful as possible. Georgiana At any point, did you need to change directions? Why or why not? Ritika By our 2nd Unwebinar, we’d convinced stage/camera/audio shy Oli Gardner (Mr. Landing Page) that his knowledge was in high demand in this format too (Oli launched our blog and writes 90% of our ebooks). It worked, Oli and Ryan not only answered peoples’ questions about Landing Page Optimization, but were pretty entertaining too. Feedback again, was overwhelmingly positive. We’d found our winning Unwebinar format; Invite experts (like Anna Sawyer, Joanna Weibe, Chris Goward, Peep Laja) to come and talk about topics related to conversion rate optimization and give attendees a platform to ask questions in real-time. We still do demo Unbounce after every webinar, but now we give people fair warning and they’re welcome to opt-out. Much to our delight, about ? of attendees stick around for it. Even better, as a result of our Unwebinars being more content focused, our Customer Success team continue to offer super useful weekly demos for people wanting to learn more about Unbounce itself. Georgiana What were some key takeaways that you learned? Ritika Our first webinar made it really obvious that while there is a place for demoing our product, marketers are hungry for great content and actionable learning. Here’s how our registration and attendance have looked since we started: Webinar Topiac Landing Page Registration GoToWebinar Attendees Anable Steps to Client Management in Unbounce 190 50 Landing Page Optimization with Oli Gardner 476 178 Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About AdWords with Anna Sawyer 1021 471 Copywriting for Conversion with Joanna Weibe 2282 627 A/B Testing Essentials with Michael Aagaard 1938 449 Designing for Conversion with Oli Gardner 2523 589 Multiply Your Conversion Rates with Chris Goward 2066 426 10 Landing Page Mistakes and How to Fix Them with Peep Laja 3265 610 Not only were our webinars themselves improving but we started to do what we do best, test dedicated landing pages. Through our integration with Zapier, on our 2nd webinar we were able to use Unbounce landing pages for our registration pages. Not only are they prettier than the standard stark format of GoToWebinar, we’re able to test to see which messaging works best, all while sending registrants directly through to GTW automatically. It was a game changer. Conversion rates on our registration pages have gone from 26% on our 2nd webinar to 65% on our latest, that’s an increase of 150%! Speaking of our latest, this month’s Unwebinar is with Rand Fishkin, he’s gonna talk about Big Picture CRO and we couldn’t be more excited to have him. Georgiana Key Takeaways Content marketing is more than just blogging. Get creative about the types of content you’re producing. Hold your content marketing program accountable by monitoring success through metrics that translate into revenue for your company. Focus on engagement, not self-promotion. Write about topics that your readers care about, and don’t be overly promotional about your brand. Let sales be a natural byproduct of your content marketing strategy. Integrate your content marketing with a bigger-picture marketing strategy. Focus on moving customers and prospects through your sales conversion funnel. Make the experience fun, engaging, and frictionless for them. Prioritize relationships above transactions. Be relentless about quality. Your content should be amazing. Readers won’t care about a sub-par experience, as there is plenty of other content out there.
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The Psychology Of Pricing
Original Post: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Quicksprout/~3/c7SM2fWtr6Y/ If you’re running a business or marketing team, you’re probably focused on three key metrics: cost, revenue, and profit (or margin). Your goal is always to minimize costs while maximizing revenues. You may even work with a finance leader to set aggressive growth goals for your company. For many business leaders, pricing is something practical. You choose numbers that will pay employee salaries and keep the lights on. You pick numbers that will be extremely competitive with the market — after all, it’s your buyers that will keep your company afloat. There’s a key dimension to pricing, however, that your business may be missing. You guessed it — it’s buyer psychology. Pricing is a concept that transcends profit margins. It’s also a marketing tactic that can help your business boost sales volume. When you think about pricing, you need to focus on more than what will cover your company’s operating expenses and pay the bills. You need to choose numbers that will compel your audiences to buy. This post will teach you how. Emphasize Value & ROI Above Cost Instead of showing prospects what they should expect to spend, show them what they are going earn. As a marketer, you’re well aware that costs are always relative to outcome. Instead of fixating on how your product delivers the best rates in the industry, communicate something more — that your product comes with unbeatable results. Bidsketch, a company that sells proposal templates to agencies and freelancers, exemplifies this idea. The company empowers its subscribers to create professional looking proposals in minutes — a process that would otherwise take solopreneurs hours (sometimes days). The company does a great job communicating the ROI of its product: time saved and dollars earned. Business owners are well-aware that time is more valuable than money. The company, on its home page, shares a testimonial from one client who was able to cut down proposal time from 3 hours to 45 minutes. Bidsketch also advertises that its subscribers will be able to cut their proposal creation time in half. Collectively, Bidsketch customers have been able to generate $261M+ in new projects — indicating that clients are able to achieve significant results (new business) in less time. Now come the tough question — how much does this cost? The homepage clearly explains the benefits and value of using Bidsketch, but how much of a commitment is necessary to get started? $29 per month. A smart business owner will immediately jump to do a quick cost-benefit analysis: Let’s say that on average, it takes 3 hours to complete a proposal. Anyone who runs (or works for) a business can approximate how much their time is worth. For clarity’s sake, let’s approximate this number to be $100/hour. Using Bidsketch, you will be able to draft proposals in an hour and a half instead of 3, which means that the cost of creating a proposal will be $150 instead of $300. When you spend $29 to use Bidsketch, you’ll generate an incremental $121. Is the $29 cost worth it? Absolutely. In fact, it’s a no brainer. Cost is always relative, in the eye of the beholder. Communicate ROI first — before cost becomes a consideration. If you’re able to communicate results in terms of a clear value proposition, your costs will look much less expensive. Let’s say that Bidsketch took an entirely different approach to marketing and didn’t communicate a clear value proposition on its home page — a $29 monthly spend would look much bigger. Small business owners and entrepreneurs are notoriously frugal. They are frequently living off their savings and pouring their investments into their business. Why spend $29 on a Bidsketch subscription when you could put the funding towards your AdWords campaigns (or grocery bills), instead? All of a sudden, cost becomes a major consideration. “It’s Miller Time” For a company selling beer, this type of slogan might come off as somewhat of an odd choice. But according to new research which advocates the benefits of “selling time” over money, it may be a perfect choice. “Because a person’s experience with a product tends to foster feelings of personal connection with it, referring to time typically leads to more favorable attitudes—and to more purchases”. So says Jennifer Aaker, the General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Why would selling experience (or time spent) with a product work so much better in some instances than discussing the products favorable price? Aaker noted that many (around 48% of those analyzed) advertisements included a reference to time, noting that many marketers seem to innately understand the importance of time to a consumer. Unfortunately, very little in the way of actual studies had been done to back this up. In their first experiment addressing this, Aaker and her co-author Cassie Mogilner set up, of all things, a lemonade stand using two 6-year olds (so it would appear legitimate). In this experiment, the lemonade sold could be purchased for $1-$3 (customer selected) and a sign was used to advertise the stand. The 3 separate signs to advertise the lemonade were as follows: The first said, “Spend a little time and enjoy C&D’s lemonade” The second said, “Spend a little money and enjoy C&D’s lemonade” The third said, “Enjoy C&D’s lemonade” (neutral sign) Even with this lemonade example the results were apparent. The sign stressing time attracted twice as many people, who were willing to pay twice as much. To further drive this point home, a second study done with college students (and iPods) was conducted. This time, only two questions were asked: “How much money have you spent on your iPod?” “How much time have you spent on your iPod?” Not surprisingly considering the last study, students asked about time demonstrated far more favorable opinions of their iPods than those asked about money. The researchers thought that: One explanation is that our relationship with time is much more personal than our relationship with money. “Ultimately, time is a more scarce resource — once it’s gone, it’s gone — and therefore more meaningful to us”, says Mogilner. “How we spend our time says so much more about who we are than does how we spend our money”. Aaker and her colleague were not done yet, however. Determined to test whether or not all references to money would lead to a more negative output (due to the participant being reminded of how much they spent on a product), they conducted a similar experiment at a concert. This time, the “cost” was actually time, as the concert was free, but people had to “spend” time in line to get the good seats. The two questions asked by the researchers in this scenario were: “How much time will you have spent to see the concert today?” “How much money will you have spent to see the concert today?” The results? Even in an instance like this, where time was the resource being spent, asking about time increased favorable opinions toward the concert. Not only that, people who stood in line the longest, or the people who incurred the most “cost”, actually rated their satisfaction with the concert the highest. “Even though waiting is presumably a bad thing, it somehow made people concentrate on the overall experience”, says Aaker. So what’s the deal here? Marketers need to start being aware of the meaning that their products bring to the lives of their customers before they start focusing their marketing efforts. And one more thing to think about… The study notes that the one exception seems to be any products consumers might buy for prestige value. If you aren’t in the line of selling sports cars or tailored made suits, you most likely won’t have to deal with this, but the point remains: “With such ‘prestige’ purchases, consumers feel that possessing the products reflect important aspects of themselves, and get more satisfaction from merely owning the product rather than spending time with it”, says Mogilner. Factor these considerations of the important of time next time you go about pricing your product, and you’ll see that catering to consumer’s most precious resource, their time, can be more persuasive than even the most drastic of price reductions. Be Wary Of Comparative Pricing You walk into a drugstore to buy a bottle of Ibuprofen. You’re faced with two options — the first, a major pharma brand and the second, a generic. The generic is 30% cheaper than its retail equivalent. Why not save a few dollars? The problem with comparative pricing is that it isn’t as foolproof as marketers think. Consumers’ perceptions of products may be swayed in a few different ways. According to Itamar Simonson, consumers won’t always go for the cheapest. They may go for the consumer brand, which seems like a ‘less risky’ choice. Or, consumers may avoid making a purchase altogether. New research from Stanford points out that unintended consequences may result from asking customers to compare prices. This study analyzes the effect of implicit and explicit comparisons to arrive to this conclusion. Implicit comparisons occur when a customer takes the initiative to compare two or more products. Conversely, explicit comparisons are those that are specifically stated or brought up by the marketer or advertiser. To test the effects of comparative advertising, Simonson and Dholakia set up two trials. The first involved selling CDs on eBay. The researchers listed (for sale) a number of top-selling albums in CD format, such as “The Wall” by Pink Floyd (hey, not too bad of taste either ;)). The cost of the CD’s put up for sale always started at $1.99. They then “framed” these auctions in two very distinct ways. The first way had the CD ‘flanked’ with two additional copies (of the same CD) that had a starting bid of $0.99. The second had the original CD flanked with two copies starting at $6.99. The results seemed clear: The CDs flanked with the more expensive options ($6.99) consistently ended up fetching higher prices than the CDs next to the $0.99 offerings. “We didn’t tell people to make a comparison; they did it on their own”, said Simonson. “And when people make these kinds of comparisons on their own, they are very influential”. In order to test the effects of explicitly telling the consumers to compare, the researchers re-did the experiment with the same settings, only this time they outright asked consumers to compare the $1.99 CD with the other offerings. The results of this showed that when explicitly stated to compare, prices of the adjacent CDs became statistically irrelevant to what the bids were on the middle disc. Additionally, buyers became much more cautious and risk averse in their purchasing of the CDs: “The mere fact that we had asked them to make a comparison caused them to fear that they were being tricked in some way”, said Simonson. The results were that people became more timid in every aspect imaginable: fewer bids, longer time on their first bid, and less of a likelihood to participate in multiple auctions. “Marketers need to be aware that comparative selling, although it can be very powerful, is not without its risks”. Think about that the next time you directly compare your offering to your competitors. Instead, you might better benefit from highlighting unique strengths and placing an emphasis on time saved over money saved… Avoid Option Overload Pricing is a discipline where art meets science. On the one hand, you want to empower your customers with tons of information. You want to be flexible, and you want to offer ‘premium’ packages. But here’s the thing — when it comes to pricing, less is more. As Unbounce’s Oli Gardner puts it: Consumers constantly face “analysis paralysis, where too many options actually result in no decision being made”. Oli Gardner expands upon this concept through a powerful analogy — the Toothpaste Trance. This is a psychological phenomenon that has, at some point, affected everyone. Here’s what happens. There is so much choice for the same product that you end up picking at things randomly. You’re overwhelmed, stop looking at products for their individual benefits and features, and start to perceive each option as ‘one in the same’. There’s a famous experiment involving supermarket jam. In 2000, researchers S.S. Inyengar and M.R. Leper conducted a study in a supermarket. The premise? Shoppers could sample the different flavors of jam that were available for purchase. The test compared the impact of varying the number of choices between 24 and 6. In the case of the 24 flavors, only 3% of those who tasted the samples went on to purchase the jam, compared to a 30% purchase rate when only 6 flavors were available. Too many options will only inhibit your customers’ ability to make a clear decision. Along those lines, your pricing tables need to avoid distractions. Pick 3-5 services in which your company truly excels. Bundle options together into these services, and present the information in 3 streamlined packages. What’s key is that you bundle your products and services into packages that make sense for your target customers. The way that you present your pricing is just as important as your actual price points. Consider the following case study from Visual Website Optimizer: BaseKit, a popular website builder, wanted to improve the performance of its pricing page. They measured success based on the number of people who visit the ‘Buy Now’ page after visiting the ‘Plans and Pricing’ page. (For follow-up studies, Visual Website Optimizer recommended that BaseKit monitor revenue as a measure of performance). The traffic directed to the pricing page is primarily paid, so it is highly targeted towards users who are interested in the product. This was the original variation of the pricing page: The variation page was designed to have brighter, bolder, and clearer pricing — along with a testimonial and more obvious currency selection. The redesigned pricing page yielded a 25% increase in conversions: The new design reached statistical significance at the 95% confidence level with 24 hours. For the entire duration of the test, the page yielded a 25% improvement. Price Vs. Value Is price a measure of value? Not necessarily, says a study conducted in 2008 by Goldstein and team. The study found that people “do not derive more enjoyment from more expensive wine” when they don’t know much the wine cost. According to another study, however, there is a clear correlation between price and perceived value. When participants were told that a wine had a high price, participants gave that wine higher ratings. The study took its analysis a step further by examining actual neurological responses to this wine tasting activity. When told that a wine was more expensive, study participants experienced higher activation in the brain regions associated with feelings of pleasantness. To some extent, consumers are letting price influence how they feel about products and services. A similar study conducted by Dan Ariely found that students who paid more for cold medicine reported feeling better than students who purchased the same medicine at a discounted price. But still, expensive is not always better. Remember that consumers are driven by a variety of budgets. Some consumers simply can’t afford more expensive products and service. While they’d love to pay more for quality, they don’t have the flexibility to make frivolous or purchases. ‘Need vs. luxury’ is one of the most foundational concepts in modern economics. The idea is simple — people will spend money on necessities like food, shelter, and clothing before spending money on luxury items like designer goods, expensive materials, and pricey cars. Some consumer are aggressive about comparing prices and finding deals that align with their wallets. But even this trend isn’t always the case. Comparison shopping is a strategy used by online retailers to outperform competitors. You may have come across comparison shopping engines like ShopStyle, Google Shopping, or PriceGrabber that make comparison shopping easy. Here’s the thing. Research suggests that ‘comparisons’ can position your products (or services) as inferior — even when the products are actually the same. Sounds confusing? Here’s one theory — comparison shopping forces consumers to let their minds wander. Inevitably, they start asking questions — why are some products prices less expensively than others? Consumers may then convince themselves that they’re getting additional value from the more expensive item. Here’s the moral of the story — there is no cookie answer to the question of whether to set prices higher or lower. Some consumer groups will be more price sensitive than others. What businesses need to do is develop an extremely focused market. Talk to your customers and run qualitative research studies to learn what your target audiences value. Build your pricing models according to what you learn. Be prepared, however — you won’t necessarily please everyone. By focusing on some customer segments, you’ll likely exclude others. And that’s fine. Tricks Of The Trade CBS News put together a great summary highlighting tricks that retailers will frequently use to convince consumers to buy. These include the following: Getting Rid of Dollar Signs According to a 2009 Cornell University study, prices marked with dollar signs are correlated with lower consumer spending levels. This particular experiment found that diners in upscale restaurants spend significantly less when menus contained the word “dollars” or the dollar symbol “$”. The reason why? We’re overloaded with information. Words and symbols are additional pieces of information for us to process. Expensive restaurants with a minimalistic approach (‘24’ vs. ‘$24’) want patrons to focus on the food instead of the price. ‘10 for $10’ You’ve seen these offers in virtually every supermarket or drugstore. Consumers are convinced that they have to buy 10 items to get the deal, so they’ll load up their shopping carts. The reality is that it’s an advertising ploy. You don’t necessarily have to buy all 10 to get the price. You can simply get 1 for $1. By advertising ‘10 for $10,’ the story is trying to get you to buy more. Per-Customer Limits You’ve probably seen this language at the supermarket too. This language creates the illusion of a product being a scarce resource. You’re instantly compelled to buy more in case the store runs out. Remember, it’s just a marketing ploy. The Power Of ‘9’ Prices ending in 9, 99, or 95 are called ‘charm prices’. Apparently, we’ve been culturally conditioned to associate 9-ending prices with discounts and better deals. -William Poundstone Author of Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value and How to Take Advantage of It Also, because we read numbers from left to right, we encode a price like $7.99 as $7 — especially if we read too quickly. It’s called “left-digit effect”: We encode it in our minds before we read all the digits -Vicki Morwitz Research Professor of Marketing at the Stern School of Business at New York University and president of The Society For Consumer Psychology Head over to practically any store around (online or brick and mortar) and you’ll see prices that end in “9” everywhere. We’ve all heard of the reasons why it’s used (to make the price look lower), but does it really work? Are people really going to be effected by a $99 price point versus paying $100? As it turns out, this tactic does indeed work, and has been dubbed the use of “charm prices”. In his book Priceless, William Poundstone dissects 8 different studies on the use of charm prices, and found that, on average, they increased sales by 24% versus their nearby, ’rounded’ price points. In fact, in an experiment tested by MIT and the University of Chicago, a standard women’s clothing item was tested at the prices of $34, $39, and $44. To the researchers surprise, the item sold best at $39, even more than the cheaper $34 price. One has to wonder… is there anything that can outsell number 9? Researchers have found that sale prices, that emphasize the original price, do seem to beat out number 9 when split tested. Easy Math Humans have short attention spans. Every fraction of a second matters. We don’t have time to waste on interpreting commas and decimal places. That’s why retailers will use whole, flat numbers. Some stores will put a product on sale and show you the original price from which it was marked down. The sign might say that the original cost was $10 and now $8 instead of $7.97. That’s because ‘$7.97’ is an awkward number. Even though ‘$7.97’ is cheaper, it takes a little more time to digest and instantly calculate the savings. It’s easier to go to $8, as customers can calculate ‘$10-$8’ very quickly. Reduced Font Size Marketing professors at Clark University and The University of Connecticut found that consumers perceive sale prices to be a better value when the price is written in a small font rather than a large, bold typeface. This is something that marketers sometimes get wrong. The theory is that the human mind connects physical magnitude to numerical magnitude. Keep in mind, however, is that human eyes aren’t created equally. Small fonts, especially on a computer screen, can be tough to read. Don’t force your audiences to read, but don’t bombard them with giant text advertising your sales either. Key Takeaways Pricing is more than just numbers. Consumers are typically looking to solve a problem and relieve a key pain point. When trying to establish the ‘right’ price, speak directly to your audience’s needs and values. The solution you’re able to provide will exponentially outweigh the numbers you select. Focus on data related to consumer needs, not arbitrary numbers. Simplify the user experience as much as possible. Avoid option-overload, and keep price points close to round numbers. If incorporating a discount or price comparison with a competitor, get rid of decimal points or commas — they’re only going to confuse your audience. Remember that pricing is all about context. Some demographic groups will be more price conscious (and price sensitive) than others. Some individuals will be aggressive about saving and finding deals. Others will be more flexible about how much money they’re willing to spend. These individuals will likely prioritize their time above saving a few dollars. Your approach to pricing goes hand-in-hand with your company’s go-to-market strategy. Talk to your customers, run a survey, and conduct a qualitative study to figure out — exactly —what your customers want. Are they price sensitive or relatively flexible with their budgets? Focus on your market, and give them exactly what they need. You may exclude some consumer groups, but hey, that’s fine.
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Weekend Favs April 20
Original Post: https://ducttapemarketing.com/youtube-to-instagram-multiple-twitter-accounts-helpjuice/ Weekend Favs April 20 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week. I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road. YouTube to Instagram – Post YouTube videos quickly on Instagram. Multiple Twitter Accounts – Toggle between multiple Twitter accounts. Helpjuice – Make it easy for customers and employees to access important information about your company. These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape
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Transforming Giants
Original Post: http://youtu.be/WXwroF-x-KU
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Window shopping 2.0: How visual search is revolutionizing digital fashion retail
Original Post: http://feeds.marketingland.com/~r/mktingland/~3/cj0CaOCLEnk/window-shopping-2-0-how-visual-search-is-revolutionizing-digital-fashion-retail-259701 Brands who stand out are paying careful attention to image size and file type along with detailed product descriptions and descriptive alt-text. Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.
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How National Public Radio reinvented itself for an on-demand audience
Original Post: http://feeds.marketingland.com/~r/mktingland/~3/M9I-3TRNsEs/how-national-public-radio-reinvented-itself-for-an-on-demand-audience-259729 At MarTech West, NPR's Meg Goldthwaite highlighted how agile the news organization has become in developing different listening formats for their popular content as voice-enabled devices have grown. Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.
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Here’s how to get the most out of your marketing analytics investment
Original Post: http://feeds.marketingland.com/~r/mktingland/~3/S-iWtKW-Tb4/heres-how-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-marketing-analytics-investment-259733 Build organizational structure and develop analytics leaders who bridge data science with marketing strategy to improve your return on investment. Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.
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Digital marketers on Pinterest IPO: Get in early while costs are low, learning opportunities are high
Original Post: http://feeds.marketingland.com/~r/mktingland/~3/dW4ENM0Tdtg/digital-marketers-on-pinterest-ipo-get-in-early-while-costs-are-low-learning-opportunities-are-high-259743 January Digital CEO optimistic the company will grow exponentially if it continues to develop the right tech stack. Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.
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