Gregory Ware Digital Marketing Blog

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  • May 22, 17

    “Be useful. Be different. Be consistent.” 

    These are the markers DigitasLBi Chief Strategy Officer, Fern Miller, puts down as her starting points for differentiating her agency brand. And this advice comes following her first-hand experience of being the client on her own agency’s brand.

    In a talk for The Art of New Business on the topic of differentiating your agency through a planning approach, here were some of her other key takeout’s:

    It’s Terrifyingly Rewarding to Take Care of Your own Brand

    But it is worth it.

    Your own brands’ behaviour is important, and not simply because competition for agency services is higher than ever, but because the relationship between building your agency brand and the growth of your agency is more than a casual one.

    Clients are looking for people to build their brands with them. And the first place they rightly look is the brands of those they are willing to entrust with theirs.

    Start With Culture

    This is an industry with a high churn rate. And that churn is expensive. But culture is the biggest defence against it.

    Culture is a powerful thing, particularly when you don’t have a physical product to sell, and what you are selling is your people. Culture grows. Culture can’t be defeated. And it can be a driver of new business success – because not only is it a unifier for the agency, but clients feel an attachment to it as their agency brand too.

    Develop Your Positioning

    All great brands have great strategy at their heart, and tell great stories around that strategy. Why would your own agency brand be any different?

    Fern advocated for the need to always agitate around your core proposition to ensure it is right, working and competitive, and an anecdote she shared from being the marketeer of the DigitasLBi brand showed just that:

    The merger of two separate agencies, LBi and Digitas, required a new logo for the newly created DigitasLBi entity – that was a unicorn, as a confident symbol to represent ‘a quest for digital mastery’. But over time it became unidentifiable at a global level and they needed to unify what it meant to people at a local level.

    The outcome was each office getting its own custom unicorn. From the expected (a unicorn on a bike for Amsterdam) to the unexpected (a Robocop unicorn for Detroit), they added meaning to a positioning. This wasn’t just a redesign; this was a global story merging with local, cultural relevance to give the DigitasLBi network something to stand for and rally round.

    It is powerful narratives like these that separate great from good brands, and in this case, agencies.

    Make Your own Content

    DigitasLBi embarked on a host of no-ordinary ways to show what they were about through their content.

    A massive agency rave with hundreds of people pledging devotion to creativity and tech. They had Buzzfeed, Guardian Labs, Facebook Atlas, Mondeo Bank, Gay Star News, Mashable, Unilad and Contagious speak at an event program held in their basement. They were the first agency to sponsor the first Digital Pride. And they showed they were thinking about what their clients wanted with a change to the client-agency dinner party model by inviting the families of their clients to a family-day showing them all sorts of tech, and how to make stuff.

    In terms of how this approach rewarded them, they won 2 Lions, a Grand Prix at the BIMAS, Digiday’s European agency of the year, Campaign APAC’s digital network of the year and shortlisted for Campaign’s UK Digital Innovation agency of the year.

    No Time Like the Present

    While we feel a lot of love for your own brand, doing work on it can be terrifying, and it is easy to get lost in dependent behaviour of being distracted elsewhere.

    But none of these are good habits. And all impede new business. Planning on your own brand for it to be differentiated is a modern tool to grow your agency. 

    So…

    ”Be useful. Be different. Be consistent.” 

    The Art of New Business breakfast talk series exploring modern ways to grow an agency are running throughout 2017. So if winning new business and the growth is even a blip on your agency radar then secure yourself a ticket to the next event and discover some of these fascinating insights for yourself. 


    Author:

    Dan Cunningham is an Account Director at sports marketing agency, Dark Horses. In a set-up unique from the rest of the sport marketing world, Dark Horses is co-owned by the advertising agency, Lucky Generals, and is a new breed of sports marketing agency that believes the moment you see yourself as the favourite, you’ve lost the race.


  • May 22, 17

    When I get a job interview, there’s a lot to prepare. I diligently research the company and my interviewers, pore over Glassdoor interview questions, and print out copies of my resume and portfolio.

    When I interview someone else, it’s easier to prepare. I don’t have to put together the perfect outfit, I don’t have to worry about how to find the restroom, and at the end of the day, I don’t have to worry about if I got the job or not.

    A quick Google Search for job interview questions brings up some of the most common asks you might have already answered 20 times over the course of your career. They’re popular, but that doesn’t mean they’re good questions. In fact, they could be hurting your chances of the candidate accepting an offer.

    Nobody wants to feel stressed out, put on the spot, or tricked during a job interview. After all, you wouldn’t want to experience that in your day-to-day job, so why do we demand it of candidates?

    Be mindful of the different personality types, cultures, and backgrounds that are applying for open roles at your company, and consider retiring some of the more common interview questions in your arsenal. Instead, try these alternatives that might give you more helpful information about the candidate — without making them feel awkward in the process.

    10 Job Interview Questions to Stop Asking (and What to Ask Instead)

    1) What can you tell me about yourself?

    You might be surprised to see such a traditional interview question at the top of our list, but it’s not as great of an opener as you might think. In fact, from the candidate’s perspective, it might tell them that you haven’t read their résumé, browsed their portfolio, or checked out their LinkedIn profile. Candidates don’t want to brief you on their entire job history during the short time they have to make a first impression — they want to have a conversation.

    Instead, ask a question based on what stood out to you most from their resume and application. Show the candidate you’re taking them seriously and want to learn more about them, beyond what’s on paper.

    2) Why are you leaving your current job?

    This question could lead to an awkward answer that doesn’t cast the candidate in their best light. The answer could be highly personal, and it isn’t that helpful for learning more about the candidate.

    Instead, ask them about their favorite part and biggest challenge of their current role. You’ll learn more about their priorities, dealbreakers, and culture fit — without the conversation becoming too negative.

    3) What’s the project you’re most proud of?

    It’s useful to learn what projects a candidate enjoys working on most, but you could take this question further by asking something broader. 

    Instead, ask them to talk about how they produced a piece of work with multiple different teams. The answer will reveal how they work dynamically and as a project manager — useful traits for most marketing and sales teams.

    4) What’s your biggest weakness?

    Simply put, it’s presumptuous to assume that you understand what a candidate’s perceived weaknesses are. The answer could exclude candidates from other cultures or industries who aren’t familiar with yours, and it puts candidates in a negative state of mind.

    Instead, ask them to describe a challenge they faced in a role and how they handled it. The answer will teach you more about their problem-solving skills, without putting them in the awkward position of personal self-reflection.

    5) What’s your five-year career plan?

    HubSpot Inbound Recruiting Manager Hannah Fleishman has made more inclusive hiring her mission, and she suggests replacing this interview question. “It can be a loaded question, especially for women, professionals who are thinking of starting a family, and even aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a company one day.”

    Instead, Fleishman suggests asking candidates a more specific question: “How does this role fit into your long-term career plans?” The answer will give you the information you’re really looking for — if the role and your organization present opportunities for them to grow.

    6) What makes you passionate about your work?

    Candidates don’t have to be passionate to be successful in a role. Sure, it helps — but passion is such a subjective topic, it’s not necessary for a job interview.

    Instead, ask them what makes them passionate about a company. The answer will tell you about their culture priorities and if they’ll fit with the larger team they’ll be working with.

    7) Are you a team player?

    Generally speaking, we advise against asking yes or no questions. Open-ended questions are more conversational and will give you more information about the candidate.

    When it comes to this question, the answer is valuable, but a candidate is unlikely to self-identify as an individual worker. Likewise, your company probably doesn’t have any roles that are completely solitary — everyone has to attend meetings or work on campaigns at some point.

    Instead, ask the candidate what their ideal team dynamic is. You’ll get the same answer you’re looking for — if they work well with others — while allowing them to elaborate on their preferred working environment.

    8) How many people do you think flew out of JFK Airport last year?

    Brain teasers might be entertaining to ask — and they might teach you a thing or two about a candidate’s problem-solving abilities — but brain teasing questions like this one create too much stress for the candidate. They’re usually ridiculously hard to solve and put the candidate on the spot — without revealing a ton of helpful information.

    Instead, ask the candidate how they’d solve a problem that’s common on your team. The answer will be more useful, and it won’t take the candidate by surprise.

    9) Sell me this pen.

    If you’re hiring for a sales role, you should know: “Sell me this pen” has become such a frequently-asked question, it can be easily answered in a quick Google search before the interview. It might not give you the candidate’s true selling abilities — something you need to know before investing time and resources in training them.

    Instead, ask them how they would handle a common roadblock your sales team faces. The answer will prove if they’ve done their research, and it will give you an idea of their persuasion skills if they were on a call. 

    10) What’s your salary history?

    Fleishman also suggests avoiding questions or discussions of salary or benefits until an offer has been extended to the candidate. “Salary history shouldn’t determine what a candidate’s offer package is,” she says. “This question can actually discriminate against minorities who are more likely to be under-compensated compared to their peers — which is why cities in New York and Massachusetts have banned it from interviews.”

    Instead, scratch this question altogether from your list altogether.

    The interview is only one piece of the puzzle for the candidate, but by asking more thoughtfully-phrased questions, you could be doing yourself and the candidate a favor. For more recruiting and hiring ideas for your next open marketing position, download our free ebook.

    What’s a common job interview question you wish would be retired? Share with us in the comments below.


  • May 22, 17

    “Being a B2B marketer is a piece of cake,” said no one, ever. “A real walk in the park. Easy-peasy.”

    The truth is, no marketer has it easy — but sometimes, it seems like B2B marketers have it especially tough. Their work doesn’t always get the same kind of spotlight that B2C marketing might, especially when it comes to things like word-of-mouth. Industry figures reflect this: Only 30% of B2B marketers say their organizations are effective at content marketing, for example.

    But that’s not to say being a B2B marketer has to be tremendously difficult. And there’s no reason why it can’t be fun, too. It seems like much of that success exists in marketing to the customer — not entirely unlike account-based marketing. That’s the philosophy behind Koyne’s 2017 State of Customer Marketing Report:

    Customer marketing is not just renewal or repeat purchase efforts, but the complete set of activities undertaken by a company following a customer’s purchase of products and services in order to help those customers be successful and productive, as well as advocate for the company.”

    Sounds good — but what does that look like? What are some of the best ways for B2B marketers to execute customer marketing, and why? To answer that question, Digital Marketing Philippines pulled some of the most interesting data from Koyne’s report and compiled it into the infographic below. Read on to learn more.






     


  • May 22, 17

    No other B2C industry has thrived on Instagram quite like the fashion industry.

    Between their carefully curated photos, expertly targeted ads, and decisive adoption of Instagram Stories, fashion and beauty brands have become masters of consumer engagement on the visual content platform. And brands from any industry could learn a thing or two from these inspirational feeds. 

    Back in 2015, business intelligence firm L2 found that fashion and beauty brands were growing their community size and engagement rates on Instagram at a rapid rate. 



    Source:
    Digiday

    The L2 report also found that among fashion and beauty brands, Instagram had firmly become the social media platform of choice — far outranking Facebook and Twitter.



    Source:
    L2

    In 2017, the industry’s love affair with Instagram isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Digiday recently checked in with a number of fashion and beauty social media insiders at SXSW’s Decoded Fashion and Create & Cultivate events, confirming that Instagram remains a top priority in their digital marketing strategies.

    “Instagram is always a priority for us,” Rosi Sanchez, a social media strategist at Fossil, told Digiday. “We have more reach and a larger new follower group there, so it leads to more conversions. Until we get to 1.5 million or 2 million followers, it’s going to be our number one priority.”

    Fossil isn’t alone. Social media strategists from more established brands like L’Oréal USA, Shopbop, and Murad also indicated that Instagram was their top social media priority for the foreseeable future.

    Brands from any industry looking to level up their visual storytelling chops should keep a close eye on fashion brands for inspiration. To help get you started, we’ve compiled a list of 15 fashion accounts — both big and small — who are crushing the Instagram game. Take a look below, and start planning your next big Instagram push. For a deeper dive on how to build a presence on Instagram, check out our complete guide to Instagram marketing

    15 Fashion Brands to Follow on Instagram

    1) Everlane @everlane

    While Everlane’s account has no shortage of beautiful product imagery, they also feature photos of their customers wearing Everlane clothes, inspiring travel photography, and tips on food and art destinations in different cities around the world. 

      
     

    2) Nike @nike

    The behemoth athletic brand has enthusiastically embraced video content, and can be regularly found sharing clips with their impressive 7.1 million follows on Instagram. Their feed features a motivational mix of professional athletes and regular, everyday fitness enthusiasts. 

      
     

    3) Teva @teva

    Teva’s Instagram feed is perfect proof that it’s possible to give your brand a modern update without losing the spirit of what made you successful in the first place. Their feed includes customer-generated photos of their sandals out in the wild, as well as sleek product shots highlighting their new styles. 

      
     

    4) Zara @zara

    Zara has made a name for itself by emulating the marketing of more expensive, luxury brands, and their Instagram feed is no exception. Their account looks like a high-fashion magazine, with professional editorial shots of their men’s and women’s styles.

      
     

    5) Fossil @fossil

    If you like photos of neatly organized items, then Fossil’s Instagram is definitely for you. The accessories brand curates an impressive feed of food, fashion, and celebrity influencers like Kristen Bell. 

      
     

    6) Kate Spade @katespadeny

    Despite being a well-established label, Kate Spade’s Instagram has a distinct personal touch that sets it apart from similar brands. Their social media manager shares daily outfit pictures, snaps from around New York, and behind-the-scenes shots of the design process at the Kate Spade studio.

      
     

    7) Fjällräven @fjallravenofficial

    The Instagram feed for Swedish outdoor apparel brand Fjällräven is less about their products, and more about the adventurous spirit that has defined the company for almost 60 years. 

      
     

    8) Madewell @madewell

    Apparel brand Madewell is known for their relaxed, classic styles, and their Instagram clearly reflects this aesthetic. With bright, sunny images of their latest products and collaborations with brands like Vans, their feed is a fashion lover’s delight. 

      
     

    9) The Row @therow

    Another account that focuses less on their products and more on visual inspiration, The Row features vintage photos of art, architecture, and fashion — only occasionally sharing images of their actual products. 

      
     

    10) Asos @asos

    British online fashion and beauty retailer Asos keeps their feed updated regularly with colorful and bold product images and editorial snaps from their latest campaigns. 

      
     

    11) Aerie @aerie

    Scrolling through Aerie’s Instagram feed is like taking a tropical beach getaway. The lingerie and bathing suit brand has been applauded for their commitment to unretouched photos in their print ads, and they continue the effort on their Instagram account by celebrating a diverse range of women and body-positive messages. 

      
     

    12) Eileen Fisher @eileenfisherny

    Eileen Fisher keeps the emphasis on their quality materials and environmentally friendly production processes Instagram presence. By featuring images of women from all walks of life, they prove that style is truly ageless. 

      
     

    13) Anthropologie @anthropologie

    With colorful close-ups of their brightly patterned styles, Anthropologie’s feed is a visual smorgasbord of inspiration. We especially love the travel shots featuring their clothes around the world. 

      
     

    14) Girlfriend Collective @girlfriendcollective

    This leggings startup has yet to even officially launch a full collection of clothing, but they already boast an impressive 60.2k followers on Instagram. Thanks to a free leggings promotion they advertised earlier this year on Instagram and Facebook, the brand has enjoyed explosive social media growth. Their feed keeps customers engaged with stunning product photography of their minimal styles, and screencaps from inspirational movies.

      
     

    15) J.Crew @jcrew

    J.Crew has mastered the art of follower engagement on Instagram. With daily-updated Stories and regular contests to select new styles for clothes and accessories, their vibrant feed keeps customers inspired and interested.

      
     

    What fashion brands do you follow on Instagram? Let us know in the comments.

    Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.


  • May 22, 17

    Posted by MiriamEllis

    My father, a hale and hearty gentleman in his seventies, simply won’t dine at a new restaurant these days before he checks its reviews on his cell phone. Your 23-year-old nephew, who travels around the country for his job as a college sports writer, has devoted 233 hours of his young life to writing 932 reviews on Yelp (932 reviews x @15 minutes per review).

    Yes, our local SEO industry knows that my dad and your nephew need to find accurate NAP on local business listings to actually find and get to business locations. This is what makes our historic focus on citation data management totally reasonable. But reviews are what help a business to be chosen. Phil Rozek kindly highlighted a comment of mine as being among the most insightful on the Local Search Ranking Factors 2017 survey:

    “If I could drive home one topic in 2017 for local business owners, it would surround everything relating to reviews. This would include rating, consumer sentiment, velocity, authenticity, and owner responses, both on third-party platforms and native website reviews/testimonials pages. The influence of reviews is enormous; I have come to see them as almost as powerful as the NAP on your citations. NAP must be accurate for rankings and consumer direction, but reviews sell.”

    I’d like to take a few moments here to dive deeper into that list of review elements. It’s my hope that this post is one you can take to your clients, team or boss to urge creative and financial allocations for a review management campaign that reflects the central importance of this special form of marketing.

    Ratings: At-a-glance consumer impressions and impactful rankings filter

    Whether they’re stars or circles, the majority of rating icons send a 1–5 point signal to consumers that can be instantly understood. This symbol system has been around since at least the 1820s; it’s deeply ingrained in all our brains as a judgement of value.

    So, when a modern Internet user is making a snap decision, like where to grab a taco, the food truck with 5 Yelp stars is automatically going to look more appealing than the one with only 2. Ratings can also catch the eye when Schema (or Google serendipity) causes them to appear within organic SERPs or knowledge panels.

    All of the above is well-understood, but while the exact impact of high star ratings on local pack rankings has long been speculative (it’s only factor #24 in this year’s Local Search Ranking Factors), we may have just reached a new day with Google. The ability to filter local finder results by rating has been around for some time, but in May, Google began testing the application of a “highly rated” snippet on hotel rankings in the local packs. Meanwhile, searches with the format of “best X in city” (e.g. best burrito in Dallas) appear to be defaulting to local results made up of businesses that have earned a minimum average of 4 stars. It’s early days yet, but totally safe for us to assume that Google is paying increased attention to numeric ratings as indicators of relevance.

    Because we’re now reaching the point from which we can comfortably speculate that high ratings will tend to start correlating more frequently with high local rankings, it’s imperative for local businesses to view low ratings as the serious impediments to growth that they truly are. Big brands, in particular, must stop ignoring low star ratings, or they may find themselves not only having to close multiple store locations, but also, to be on the losing end of competing for rankings for their open stores when smaller competitors surpass their standards of cleanliness, quality, and employee behavior.

    Consumer sentiment: The local business story your customers are writing for you

    Here is a randomly chosen Google 3-pack result when searching just for “tacos” in a small city in the San Francisco Bay Area:

    We’ve just been talking about ratings, and you can look at a result like this to get that instant gut feeling about the 4-star-rated eateries vs. the 2-star place. Now, let’s open the book on business #3 and see precisely what kind of story its consumers are writing. This is the first step towards doing a professional review audit for any business whose troubling reviews may point to future closure if problems aren’t fixed. A full audit would look at all relevant review platforms, but we’ll be brief here and just look at Google and Yelp and sort negative sentiments by type:

    It’s easy to ding fast food chains. Their business model isn’t commonly associated with fine dining or the kind of high wages that tend to promote employee excellence. In some ways, I think of them as extreme examples. Yet, they serve as good teaching models for how even the most modest-quality offerings create certain expectations in the minds of consumers, and when those basic expectations aren’t met, it’s enough of a story for consumers to share in the form of reviews.

    This particular restaurant location has an obvious problem with slow service, orders being filled incorrectly, and employees who have not been trained to represent the brand in a knowledgeable, friendly, or accessible manner. Maybe a business you are auditing has pain points surrounding outdated fixtures or low standards of cleanliness.

    Whatever the case, when the incoming consumer turns to the review world, their eyes scan the story as it scrolls down their screen. Repeat mentions of a particular negative issue can create enough of a theme to turn the potential customer away. One survey says only 13% of people will choose a business that has wound up with a 1–2 star rating based on poor reviews. Who can afford to let the other 87% of consumers go elsewhere?

    There are 20 restaurants showing up in Google’s local finder for my “tacos” search, highlighted above. Taco Bell is managing to hold the #3 spot in the local pack right now, perhaps due to brand authority. My question is, what happens next, particularly if Google is going to amplify ratings and review sentiment in the overall local ranking mix? Will this chain location continue to beat out 4-star restaurants with 100+ positive reviews, or will it slip down as consumers continue to chronicle specific and unresolved issues?

    No third-party brand controls Google, but your brand can open the book right now and make maximum use of the story your customers are constantly publishing — for free. By taking review insights as real and representative of all the customers who don’t speak up, and by actively addressing repeatedly cited issues, you could be making one of the smartest decisions in your company’s history.

    Velocity/recency: Just enough of a timely good thing

    This is one of the easiest aspects of review management to teach clients. You can sum it up in one sentence: don’t get too many reviews at once on any given platform but do get enough reviews on an ongoing basis to avoid looking like you’ve gone out of business.

    For a little more background on the first part of that statement, watch Mary Bowling describing in this LocalU video how she audited a law firm that went from zero to thirty 5-star reviews within a single month. Sudden gluts of reviews like this not only look odd to alert customers, but they can trip review platform filters, resulting in removal. Remember, reviews are a business lifetime effort, not a race. Get a few this month, a few next month, and a few the month after that. Keep going.

    The second half of the review timing paradigm relates to not running out of steam in your acquisition campaigns. One survey found that 73% of consumers don’t believe that reviews that are older than 3 months are still relevant to them, yet you will frequently encounter businesses that haven’t earned a new review in over a year. It makes you wonder if the place is still in business, or if it’s in business but is so unimpressive that no one is bothering to review it.

    While I’d argue that review recency may be more important in review-oriented industries (like restaurants) vs. those that aren’t quite as actively reviewed (like septic system servicing), the idea here is similar to that of velocity, in that you want to keep things going. Don’t run a big review acquisition campaign in January and then forget about outreach for the rest of the year. A moderate, steady pace of acquisition is ideal.

    Authenticity: Honesty is the only honest policy

    For me, this is one of the most prickly and interesting aspects of the review world. Three opposing forces meet on this playing field: business ethics, business education, and the temptations engendered by the obvious limitations of review platforms to police themselves.

    I recently began a basic audit of a family-owned restaurant for a friend of a friend. Within minutes, I realized that the family had been reviewing their own restaurant on Yelp (a glaring violation of Yelp’s policy). I felt sorry to see this, but being acquainted with the people involved (and knowing them to be quite nice!), I highly doubted they had done this out of some dark impulse to deceive the public. Rather, my guess was that they may have thought they were “getting the ball rolling” for their new business, hoping to inspire real reviews. My gut feeling was that they simply lacked the necessary education to understand that they were being dishonest with their community and how this could lead to them being publicly shamed by Yelp, if caught.

    In such a scenario, there is definitely opportunity for the marketer to offer the necessary education to describe the risks involved in tying a brand to misleading practices, highlighting how vital it is to build trust within the local community. Fake positive reviews aren’t building anything real on which a company can stake its future. Ethical business owners will catch on when you explain this in honest terms and can then begin marketing themselves in smarter ways.

    But then there’s the other side. Mike Blumenthal recently wrote of his discovery of the largest review spam network he’d ever encountered and there’s simply no way to confuse organized, global review spam with a busy small business making a wrong, novice move. Real temptation resides in this scenario, because, as Blumenthal states:

    Review spam at this scale, unencumbered by any Google enforcement, calls into question every review that Google has. Fake business listings are bad, but businesses with 20, or 50, or 150 fake reviews are worse. They deceive the searcher and the buying public and they stain every real review, every honest business, and Google.”

    When a platform like Google makes it easy to “get away with” deception, companies lacking ethics will take advantage of the opportunity. All we can do, as marketers, is to offer the education that helps ethical businesses make honest choices. We can simply pose the question:

    Is it better to fake your business’ success or to actually achieve success?

    On a final note, authenticity is a two-way street in the review world. When spammers target good businesses with fake, negative reviews, this also presents a totally false picture to the consumer public. I highly recommend reading about Whitespark’s recent successes in getting fake Google reviews removed. No guarantees here, but excellent strategic advice.

    Owner responses: Your contributions to the consumer story

    In previous Moz blog posts, I’ve highlighted the five types of Google My Business reviews and how to respond to them, and I’ve diagrammed a real-world example of how a terrible owner response can make a bad situation even worse. If the world of owner responses is somewhat new to you, I hope you’ll take a gander at both of those. Here, I’d like to focus on a specific aspect of owner responses, as it relates to the story reviews are telling about your business.

    We’ve discussed above the tremendous insight consumer sentiment can provide into a company’s pain points. Negative reviews can be a roadmap to resolving repeatedly cited problems. They are inherently valuable in this regard, and by dint of their high visibility, they carry the inherent opportunity for the business owner to make a very public showing of accountability in the form of owner responses. A business can state all it wants on its website that it offers lightning-quick service, but when reviews complain of 20-minute waits for fast food, which source do you think the average consumer will trust?

    The truth is, the hypothetical restaurant has a problem. They’re not going to be able to resolve slow service overnight. Some issues are going to require real planning and real changes to overcome. So what can the owner do in this case?

    1. Whistle past the graveyard, claiming everything is actually fine now, guaranteeing further disappointed expectations and further negative reviews resulting therefrom?
    2. Be gutsy and honest, sharing exactly what realizations the business has had due to the negative reviews, what the obstacles are to fixing the problems, and what solutions the business is implementing to do their best to overcome those obstacles?

    Let’s look at this in living color:

    In yellow, the owner response is basically telling the story that the business is ignoring a legitimate complaint, and frankly, couldn’t care less. In blue, the owner has jumped right into the storyline, having the guts to take the blame, apologize, explain what happened and promise a fix — not an instant one, but a fix on the way. In the end, the narrative is going to go on with or without input from the owner, but in the blue example, the owner is taking the steering wheel into his own hands for at least part of the road trip. That initiative could save not just his franchise location, but the brand at large. Just ask Florian Huebner:

    “Over the course of 2013 customers of Yi-Ko Holding’s restaurants increasingly left public online reviews about “broken and dirty furniture,” “sleeping and indifferent staff,” and “mice running around in the kitchen.” Per the nature of a franchise system, to the typical consumer it was unclear that these problems were limited to this individual franchisee. Consequently, the Burger King brand as a whole began to deteriorate and customers reduced their consumption across all locations, leading to revenue declines of up to 33% for some other franchisees.”

    Positive news for small businesses working like mad to compete: You have more agility to put initiatives into quick action than the big brands do. Companies with 1,000 locations may let negative reviews go unanswered because they lack a clear policy or hierarchy for owner responses, but smaller enterprises can literally turn this around in a day. Just sit down at the nearest computer, claim your review profiles, and jump into the story with the goal of hearing, impressing, and keeping every single customer you can.

    Big brands: The challenge for you is larger, by dint of your size, but you’ve also likely got the infrastructure to make this task no problem. You just have to assign the right people to the job, with thoughtful guidelines for ensuring your brand is being represented in a winning way.

    NAP and reviews: The 1–2 punch combo every local business must practice

    When traveling salesman Duncan Hines first published his 1935 review guide Adventures in Good Eating, he was pioneering what we think of today as local SEO. Here is my color-coded version of his review of the business that would one day become KFC. It should look strangely familiar to every one of you who has ever tackled citation management:

    No phone number on this “citation,” of course, but then again telephones were quite a luxury in 1935. Barring that element, this simple and historic review has the core earmarks of a modern local business listing. It has location data and review data; it’s the 1–2 punch combo every local business still needs to get right today. Without the NAP, the business can’t be found. Without the sentiment, the business gives little reason to be chosen.

    Are you heading to a team meeting today? Preparing to chat with an incoming client? Make the winning combo as simple as possible, like this:

    1. We’ve got to manage our local business listings so that they’re accessible, accurate, and complete. We can automate much of this (check out Moz Local) so that we get found.
    2. We’ve got to breathe life into the listings so that they act as interactive advertisements, helping us get chosen. We can do this by earning reviews and responding to them. This is our company heartbeat — our story.

    From Duncan Hines to the digital age, there may be nothing new under the sun in marketing, but when you spend year after year looking at the sadly neglected review portions of local business listings, you realize you may have something to teach that is new news to somebody. So go for it — communicate this stuff, and good luck at your next big meeting!

    Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


  • May 19, 17

    You want a digital marketing agency that will take charge. You want a long-term partner who will continually feed your company with new opportunities. Deciding which agency to work with is never easy. There are multiple variables to consider and each one must be investigated and researched thoroughly. Here are five things to consider when working with a digital marketing agency. 

    1. Experience and Longevity

    How long has this digital marketing agency been in business and what services do they offer? Far too many agencies focus on just one part of a complete solution. They’ll redesign your website, but won’t help with digital advertising. Others will run a couple of digital campaigns but won’t optimize your landing pages to increase conversions. Still, others focus entirely on content marketing and social media and nothing else.  

    You need a digital firm that is capable of offering a total package. A single entity capable of revamping your website, and making it mobile-friendly, is one that will be far more involved in your company’s growth. Choose to work with a complete solutions provider and not a company that only wants to bill you and move on. 

    2. Hubspot Partner Accreditation

    Connection model is a HubSpot Platinum partner with several tech-savvy digital marketing professionals, ones who specialize in driving targeted traffic to websites and ones who know how to increase conversion rates with focused content. A Hubspot partnership is part of a widely-recognized program where members are well-versed in inbound marketing strategies. Members have access to the most up-to-date digital marketing approaches. The accreditation is highly valued and seen as a top-tier requirement for companies looking to grow their online reputation. Make sure your chosen partner has this all-important accreditation. 

    3. Customer-Centric Focus

    Your chosen firm should have a customer-centric focus, one where every strategy employed is customized to your market and unique customers. Avoid the firms that apply the same strategy to all customers. Your customized strategy should focus on your market, your customer segments, your buyer personas and it should include unique strategies for engaging these buyer personas through social media, email marketing, digital advertising and content marketing. 

    4. Design and a Social Media Presence

    A digital marketing agency that doesn’t have a social media presence, doesn’t have a mobile-friendly website, and doesn’t have optimized landing pages, shouldn’t be one to lecture other companies about the importance of increasing their online presence. Your chosen digital marketing agency should practice what they preach. Their website and social media reputation should be above reproach. Their website should have the type of engaging content your company would want on its own website.  

    5. Key Performance Indicators and Benchmarks

    Your digital marketing agency should agree to a predetermined set of key performance indicators (KPI) and benchmarks, one where both of you will assess your progress, define success and make adjustments – if needed. Discuss how you’ll track the performance of individual landing pages, how you’ll increase click-through-rates (CTR) on email marketing and digital advertising campaigns, and perhaps most importantly, outline how your chosen firm will reduce your costs of new business won. Defining benchmarks like key performance indicators will help you measure success or failure. 

    Define what you need and how your chosen digital firm will help you achieve your end goals. Review their reputation, ask for references and check out how they’ve built their own online reputation. It will go a long way to defining whether they’re the firm for your enterprise.  

    If you want to see how a HubSpot Platinum partner can grow your traffic, increase conversions and directly impact your bottom line, then contact us


  • May 19, 17

    A few weeks ago we released Populations, a tool to help marketing & product teams track key groups of people across their growth cycle. And just last week, our CEO Brian Kelly announced the new phase of Kissmetrics – Customer Engagement Automation (CEA).

    CEA combines our powerful behavioral analytics with engagement tools to boost acquisition and user engagement in key areas of the funnel. It’s a great choice for SaaS and e-commerce teams.

    Here’s five Populations e-commerce marketers can set up to monitor key parts of the buyer journey.

    1. First-Time Buyers

    A first time buyer is a fresh chance to gain a new repeat purchaser. The more of these coming in, the more you can convert to repeat purchasers for life. Hence, the better your business will be.

    Here’s a hypothetical Population that’s tracking first time buyers.

    This is looking at the first time buyers you’ve had in the last month. If this were your data, you’d want to keep this Population increasing – especially if you can maintain the 30%+ when compared to 90 days ago.

    You can contact each person in this Population by scrolling down and clicking this button:

    Click that and you’ll get a list of email addresses (or however you identify people). You can also use these people in a Campaign and send an email to incentivize them to repurchase:

    You can then target these people with an email offering a coupon, free shipping, new product announcement, etc. Call the campaign a success when they Purchase:

    We’ve created this video if you’d like to learn more about our Campaigns feature:

    https://fast.wistia.net/assets/external/E-v1.js

    2. One & Done Buyers

    This is one Population you’ll want to continually reduce in size.

    You can set up a Population to basically say, “show me all the people that purchased at least 6 months ago and have not purchased since.”

    Here’s an example for that Population:

    If this was your data, you’d have to compare it to the total number of purchasers you’ve had. If, for example, you’ve had 50,000 customers purchase over the lifetime of the company, you know this is really good data because only a small percentage don’t come back to purchase. On the other hand, if you’ve only had 500 total purchasers, you’d know you were in trouble with getting customers to come back and repurchase.

    3. Big Spenders

    Your big spenders are those that are the most valuable. They spend more than all your other customers. Obviously, you’ll want to retain these customers and know if you’re getting more or fewer of them.

    To get some use out of this Population, you’ll first need to have some context. You’ll need to know your average purchase value and ideally the average amount of times people purchase during a specific time period.

    Let’s say most people spend $30 on every purchase and purchase twice every 3 months.

    To find your big spenders, you’ll have to have a Kissmetrics property that records purchase amount. Once you have that, you can create a population like this:

    Let’s view that Population:

    You’re up 3 customers from 90 days ago, so we can’t complain much. If we’re also up 23% in orders compared to 90 days ago, we know we’re doing really well.

    From here, we can do the same thing we did with our first time buyers. We’ll create a Campaign and incentivize these big spenders to keep coming back to us. Get enough of these big spenders coming back, and we’ll increase our overall lifetime value per customer.

    4. Monthly Repeat Buyers

    Repeat buyers are the lifeblood of an e-commerce company. No store can survive long solely on first-time buyers. Like SaaS companies, retaining as many customers as possible is crucial.

    This shows us that it has held steady, and increased about 2% compared to 90 days ago.

    5. Browsers

    These are the lurkers, your comparison shoppers, and the ones who overthink every purchasing decision. They visit your site routinely but never seem to pull the trigger to purchasing.

    You can set a Population to say “find me all the people that have visited at least 10 times the past 30 days but have not purchased.”

    The number of people in this Population is down slightly from 90 days. This, obviously, means it’s headed in the right direction. You can decrease the number of browsers by having special offers, increasing conversion rates, lowering prices (for those that price shop) or getting more products in stock that those browsers are looking for.

    Use Populations to Track People Across the Buyer Journey

    Populations makes it easy to see how groups change over time along with the changes in your marketing activities. Identify the weak points and take action with Campaigns – all within Kissmetrics.

    If you’re already a Kissmetrics user, sign in today and Populations will be ready for you. If you’re not a user and would like to learn more about Kissmetrics, you can request a demo.

    About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is the Blog Manager for Kissmetrics.


  • May 19, 17

    If you’ve worked among designers, or are one yourself, there’s something that’s quickly observed: Designers, it seems, are often working with their headphones on.

    Much of the time, that’s the result of creative work presenting an opportunity to plug in, and tune out distractions. Whether it helps you focus, or you’re signaling to colleagues that you don’t want to be bothered, or you just think headphones look cool, many creative professionals appreciate a little welcomed background noise.

    But what’s everyone listening to? And could that auditory activity serve as a learning opportunity? 

    While listening to music on the job has been known to improve workplace performance, podcasts serve as a great way for graphic designers — and many other creative professionals — to both learn something new and get inspired as they work. But there are dozens of podcasts out there, even on design alone. So to save you some of the trouble of previewing every show, we’ve collected a list of 10 interesting design podcasts that you can start listening to, right now.

    7 of the Best Podcasts for Graphic Designers

    1) Design Matters With Debbie Millman

    iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud

    Design Matters was, according to Debbie Millman’s website, the “world’s first podcast” dedicated to design. With 281 episodes available at the time of writing this post, there’s no shortage of inspiring insights to be extracted from interviews with artists from every point on the creative spectrum.

    Listen to this podcast if:

    • You usually listen to music while you’re working, but want to learn something from a podcast instead.
    • You’re curious about the intersection of design and business.

    2) 99% Invisible

    iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud

    Serving as a “weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture,” podcast episodes from 99% Invisible don’t just scratch the surface of a dozen topics in a limited time frame. Instead, host Roman Mars uses each installation as an opportunity to dive head-first into one, single unconventional topic. Think: how the design of electricity grids, nature documentaries, and shipping containers work.

    Listen to this podcast if:

    • You’re the type of person who observes design everywhere — whether it’s during your commute or while staring at a row of condiments.
    • You want to know how every corner of design — including architecture and engineering — influence marketing aesthetics.

    3) Adventures in Design

    iTunes | libsyn | SoundCloud

    “As a department of one,” writes one iTunes reviewer of Adventures in Design, “it’s nice to hear others ‘talk shop’ and not censor themselves.” 

    Launched in 2013, this podcast is one that focuses on the projects, process, and inspirational ramblings of its talented guests — from logo design, to the struggles of finding and working with clients. And those guests? Well, they’ve ranged from hockey legends to the global creative director of an international athletic apparel brand.

    Listen to this podcast if:

    • You feel a bit isolated in your design work, and want insights from the folks who get you.
    • You work with a variety of clients and want to gain inspiration from a number of industries.

    4) The Deeply Graphic DesignCast

    iTunes

    When it comes to tangible, immediately applicable advice, the Deeply Graphic DesignCast is a go-to resource for many creative professionals. Hosted by no less than six design professionals, the content comes with a diverse set of insights from each one’s real-world experience. That makes sense — it’s the product of web consulting agency The Deep End. Judging from the broad array of episode topics, from working with subcontractors to designing a mood board, these folks have seen it all … and, they’re sharing it with the world.

    Listen to this podcast if:

    • You could stand to hear some expertise from client-facing designers.
    • You work in an agency setting and want to hear from like-minded professionals.

    5) The Accidental Creative

    iTunes | Stitcher

    One of the coolest things about The Accidental Creative is that it seems to have come about, well, by accident. It’s the product of (and hosted by) author Todd Henry — an expert, speaker, and consultant on design, architecture, and other applications of creative work in business. That content is reflected in the podcast itself, with subject matter ranging from productivity tips for creative professionals, to explaining your job to non-designers.

    Listen to this podcast if:

    • You could use the help of a creative consultant, but can’t quite pay for it yet.
    • You’re great at what you do, but want to know how to be even better.

    6) Typeradio

    iTunes | Stitcher

    It’s a bit difficult to classify exactly what Typeradio is about, and it seems that its creators wish to keep it that way. The website and production alike are no-frills, and it appears to be recorded all over the place: Moscow, Amsterdam, and via Skype, to name a few.

    Each episode seems to explore different issues experienced by designers around the world, from their work, to their interpersonal relationships at work and at home — the September 2016 episode with graphic and type designer Ilya Ruderman explores everything between his “first typographic memory,” and how his relationship with his wife influences both his routine and creative work.

    Listen to this podcast if:

    • You want to listen to something that, as one iTunes reviewer put it, “Often revelatory. Sometimes silly and irreverent. Usually very entertaining.”
    • You’re looking for audible design content that’s profoundly unpretentious.

    7) Design Story

    iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud

    Does it sometimes seem like B2C designers get to have all the fun? It doesn’t have to be that way — we know that B2B design can be just as exciting, and that both categories can draw ideas from each other.

    That’s why we love Design Story — the monthly podcast from Fulcrum, an agency that helps clients align their business policies and creative goals. And that’s what each episode does, by exploring and sharing the stories behind the point where design intersects with things that we traditionally see as leaving little room for creativity: science and leadership, for example.

    Listen to this podcast if:

    • You’re a creative designer who also wants to succeed in business — or a manager who wants to better leverage and embrace creativity.
    • You love both data and good stories, and love it when they’re combined.

    Tune In

    Got those headphones ready? Good. It’s time to start listening.

    One common thread that surfaces among all of these podcasts is their shared relatability. Each one explores the trials and tribulations of people with heavy exposure to design at work and at home, and who want to share how those experiences can benefit other creative professionals.

    So, what do you say? Let’s turn up the volume.

    What are your favorite design podcasts? Let us know in the comments.

    Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.



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