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Four steps to create an engagement-based conversion channel

Advancing technology and increasing web literacy are turning a “linear” customer journey into an increasingly fragmented one. Here are four steps to creating an engagement-based conversion funnel to overcome this growing marketing challenge.

The web is changing fast creating new challenges to online businesses. Until recently, marketers were able to clearly map out the customer’s journey that would take web users from click through to a landing page to completing a sale.

These days, the buying journey is much more complicated and fragmented. Customers are equipped with many more devices and much better knowledge of their options than just a few short years ago.

Thanks to social media, various devices, and smarter digital advertising, it is no longer easy to guide the customer through the buying process. One of the well-publicized examples of the new buying behavior is one consumer’s path to buying a car that consisted of more than 900 digital interactions including searches, visits, video views, and clicks.

So how to still convert site visitors into buyers when they have so many options to consider? Here’s one strategy you can use:

Step 1: Create an engagement asset

Let’s face it: Around 90% of your current site audience is not ready to buy from you just yet.

Your site visitors may be at a research phase or they may lack trust in a new brand or they may have been looking for an entirely different solution.

Whatever the case is: We are lucky if we convert 5% of our site visitors into actual customers.

What about the 95% of the traffic that we have built?

That’s where the idea of secondary products come in – We need to engage our site visitors first before trying to sell to them again. This secondary asset needs to combine the following criteria:

  • It needs to be free or freemium (to make it an easy sell)
  • It needs to complement our primary product (to naturally lead many of these engaged users into buying it)
  • And more importantly, it needs to rank in Google (and hopefully generate visibility from alternative assets) to ultimately become a top-of-the-channel lead generator, not just an engagement channel. That’s where this overall asset will really pay off.

Examples of these secondary marketing assets are everywhere. Under Armour has MyFitnessPal app that funnels health-minded users into buying fitness gear. American Express has been engaging business owners with their secondary Open Forum community. In our own industry, both Ahrefs and Moz offer SEO toolbars that forever tie browser users to their sites:

Creating engagement based conversions through assets by providing SEO tools

 

The good news is, creating a secondary asset should neither be expensive nor time-consuming. Chances are, you already have assets that can be expanded into a solid product of its own.

Content re-packaging is the first step I’d consider here. That’s what I personally did turning my text articles into videos (and back) to put together comprehensive multi-format video courses and create additional assets to create an omnichannel marketing strategy.

For smaller businesses with tighter budgets, here are a couple of tools allowing you to easily and affordably create an engagement asset.

Build Fire is an easy app maker allowing you to put together mobile apps to support your marketing assets. You can use a handy visual editor to add content and design your apps and use a variety of engagement tools including push notifications and drip campaigns.

Build Fire

 

Kajabi is a solid and affordable platform that allows anyone to create online courses and landing pages with no technical knowledge required. It supports freemium and multi-tier pricing models and offers lots of engagement tools, from in-course surveys to email automation to efficiently interact with your users.

Kajabi

Kajabi offers many marketing automation features built into the platform, but perhaps the most useful is what the company calls “Pipelines,” which are essentially multichannel automation workflows for turning your landing pages, email drips and pitch messages into powerful funnels. In addition, Kajabi’s “Pipeline Blueprints” are pre-built pipeline templates, which you can tweak and customize for your liking, depending on the use case, whether it’s a product launch, a webinar invitation or a timely sales promotion.

Step 2: Integrate your engagement asset into your content marketing campaign

Obviously you don’t want your engagement asset to distract your site users from buying your primary users, so promoting it through your major landing pages is not a very good idea. Your content-based pages (for example, blogs) are a great place to market your engagement asset, especially if you align your content marketing assets with your engagement asset.

Hubspot is a great example of using their blog to engage, rather than to sell right away. You’ll seldom see a CTA buy their software inside their articles. Instead, they build context around their freebies and invite readers to become part of their community:

How Hubspot integrates content to build engagement based conversion channels

 

The idea is that your CTA should match the reader’s intent and hopefully tie them to your brand (either through an email optin or “by taking your brand home”for exampleinstalling an app or joining your community which brings longer-term commitment).

If you use my re-packaging tactic, you’ll create enough content to both create an engagement asset and write public articles to supplement it. For example, when creating a video tutorial, you can:

  • Expand and structure your script to create a text tutorial to publish on your blog (and funnel your blog readers into enrolling with your course)
  • Turn your article into a PDF document for your existing students to download (and follow along as they watch your video).
  • Create quick video takeaways to publish on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to build brand awareness (as well as convince those viewers to join your course too).

Building an effective context around your engagement asset is key to getting its rank in Google and turning those readers into your site members (and ultimately brand advocates).

To help you out, here’s a trick on building an actionable context around your CTA: Text Optimizer has a separate section showing “Action concepts”.

Text Optimizer

 

Use these suggestions to find inspiration in writing your calls-to-action as well as creating context leading people into clicking it.

Step 3: Use artificial intelligence to market your engagement asset

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are taking the marketing industry by storm. From smart product recommendations (that guess what you need before you realize you do) to advanced chatbots that instantly and independently help your customers solve their problems – online marketing is being disrupted by smart technology.

Content marketing is no exception. You can use self-learning software to point your blog readers to your engagement asset exactly when they are ready to engage.

Alter is a smart recommendation engine that can help you set up your engagement channel. You can customize its settings to invite your site readers to become your students or download your asset. For example, you can try and engage people who spent some time reading your article:

Using AI to build engagement driven conversion channels alter

 

Additionally, you can use chatbot software to suggest your engagement asset to users whenever they are asking for more information. Mobile Monkey can help set up the process:

Mobile Monkey

 

[Here’s how Mobile Monkey can get your visitors sign up to your webinar, for example]

Step 4: Use retargeting to turn engaged users into actual buyers

Finally, how to turn those engaged users into your customers, outside of your newly created engagement asset (they may have downloaded or joined). Re-targeting is your answer. You can use retargeting or the custom audience option on Facebook to serve your primary product ads to those who visited your engagement asset landing page or joined your membership site:

Using Facebook custom audience option to build engagement based conversion

 

You can also use re-engage those engaged users on your own site with Finteza that allows to set up a retargeting campaign to serve custom ads to those who downloaded your asset or installed your app:

Using Finteza to re-engage users

 

[Read more about Finteza retargeting here]

Conclusion: Turning your site visitors into customers

With higher competition and advancing technology, buying journeys have become much more complicated and fragmented. This article offers a way to put it somewhat under control: Engage your site users first and then turn them into customers later.

Apart from creating an alternative conversion funnel, this approach has more benefits, including building brand loyalty (those engaged users know your brand well prior to buying) and creating more marketing channels (those engagement assets can become lead generators by bringing in additional visibility from search engines and social media platforms).

Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on twitter @seosmarty

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Government Officials Urge Facebook to Create Encryption Backdoor

In most cases, two plus two equals four. It’s simple math. The same is true of encryption. Devices and services are either protected by strong encryption or they’re not. There is no in-between.

In spite of that, the UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, joined U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in an open letter urging Facebook to essentially create a backdoor in their end-to-end encryption.

On the one hand, the government officials offer lip service to the need for strong encryption:

“We support strong encryption, which is used by billions of people every day for services such as banking, commerce, and communications. We also respect promises made by technology companies to protect users’ data. Law abiding citizens have a legitimate expectation that their privacy will be protected.”

However, those statements are undermined by what follows:

“Companies should not deliberately design their systems to preclude any form of access to content, even for preventing or investigating the most serious crimes.”

Unfortunately these statements, and others like them, demonstrate a dangerous lack of understanding about how encryption works or, for that matter, how basic math—the foundation of all encryption—works. Experts the world over have warned about the catastrophic dangers of creating backdoors in encryption here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here and here (PDF).

The last one was an open letter to the White House by civil organizations, companies, trade associations and a myriad of security and policy experts. These are individuals from such varied backgrounds that they rarely agree on anything. Yet the one thing they all agree on is that there is simply no way to create backdoors in encryption without fundamentally weakening said encryption. It simply can’t be done. There is no way to create a backdoor for the “good guys” to get into the phones, computers and tablets of the “bad guys” without the “bad guys” using those same backdoors to get into the devices of the “good guys.”

At this point in the debate, people who want backdoors usually fall back to complaining about how strong encryption is making it possible for bad actors to “go dark,” using encryption to protect their activities from prying eyes. Therefore, the argument goes, the tech companies should be forced to make a backdoor in the interest of the greater good.

By that logic, however, safe makers should be required to create a backdoor to every safe they manufacture in the event that whoever purchases it tries using it for nefarious purposes. Similarly, paper shredder makers should be forced to make shredders that can take the strips of shredded paper and recombine them into their original form. Otherwise, someone might use a shredder to destroy documents to cover illegal activity.

What’s interesting about both of those examples is that, even without the manufacturers’ assistance, it’s possible to crack into a safe, as well as sort through strips of shredded paper and reconstruct documents. Is it a pleasant experience? No—but it’s possible.

Similarly, even without backdoors in encryption, with enough computing power it is possible to break encryption or find ways to circumvent it. In the wake of the San Bernardino case, after the FBI tried to force Apple to unlock the perpetrator’s iPhone, the FBI was able to find a company that succeeded in unlocking the phone. Was it pleasant? No—but it was possible.

Sometimes convenience for a few—in this case law enforcement—must take a back seat to the safety of the many. In other words, two plus two must equal four, unless a person doesn’t believe in basic math principles. Then two plus two equals five, or 13, or 127,309 or…

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FAQ, HowTo, and Q&A: Using New Schema Types to Create Interactive Rich Results

Posted by LilyRayNYC

Structured data (Schema markup) is a powerful tool SEOs can use to efficiently deliver the most important information on our webpages to search engines. When applied effectively across all relevant entities, Schema markup provides significant opportunities to improve a website’s SEO performance by helping search engines to better understand its content.

While Schema.org is continuously expanding and refining its documentation, Google updates its list of supported features that are eligible to be displayed as rich organic results far less frequently. When they happen, these updates are exciting because they give marketers new ways to affect how their organic listings appear in Google’s search results. To make things even more interesting, some of this year’s new Schema types offer the unique opportunity for marketers to use Schema to drive clicks to more than one page on their site through just one organic listing.

Three new Schema types worth focusing on are FAQ, HowTo, and Q&A Schema, all of which present great opportunities to improve organic search traffic with eye-catching, real estate-grabbing listing features. By strategically implementing these Schema types across eligible page content, marketers can dramatically increase their pages’ visibility in the search results for targeted keywords — especially on mobile devices.

Pro tip: When rolling out new Schema, use the Rich Results Testing Tool to see how your Schema can appear in Google’s search results. Google Search Console also offers reporting on FAQ, HowTo, and Q&A Schema along with other Schema types in its Rich Results Status Report.

FAQ Schema

According to Google, FAQ Schema can be used on any page that contains a list of questions and answers on any particular topic. That means FAQ Schema doesn’t have to be reserved only for company FAQ pages; you can create a “frequently asked questions” resource on any topic and use the Schema to indicate that the content is structured as an FAQ.

FAQ Schema is a particularly exciting new Schema type due to how much real estate it can capture in the organic listings. Marking up your FAQ content can create rich results that absolutely dominate the SERP, with the potential to take up a huge amount of vertical space compared to other listings. See the below example on mobile:

Like all Schema, the FAQ content must be a 100 percent match to the content displayed on the page, and displaying different content in your Schema than what is displayed on the page can result in a manual action. Google also requires that the content marked up with FAQ Schema is not used for advertising purposes.

Impacts on click-through rate

There is some risk involved with implementing this Schema: if the content is too informational in nature, it can create a situation where users to get the answers they need entirely within the search results. This is exactly what happened when we first rolled out FAQ Schema for one of our clients at Path Interactive — impressions to the page surged, but clicks fell just as quickly.

This conundrum led to us discover the single most exciting feature of FAQ Schema: The fact that Google supports links and other HTML within the answers. Look for opportunities within your FAQ answers to link to other relevant pages on your site, and you can use FAQ Schema to drive organic users to more than one page on your website. This is a great way to use informational content to drive users to your product or service pages.

Note that this tactic should be done within reason: The links to other pages should actually provide value to the user, and they must also be added to the page content so the Schema code is a 100 percent match with the content on the page. Check out my other detailed article on implementing FAQ Schema, which includes recommendations around tagging links in FAQ answers so you can monitor how the links are performing, and for distinguishing clicks to the FAQ links from your other organic listings.

HowTo Schema

HowTo Schema is another new Schema type that can be used to enhance articles containing instructions on “how to” do something. Like FAQ Schema, Google lays out certain content requirements about what can and can’t be marked up with HowTo Schema, including:

  • Not marking up offensive, violent or explicit content
  • The entire content of each “step” must be marked up
  • Not using HowTo markup to advertise a product
  • Including relevant images, as well as materials and tools used to complete the task
  • HowTo should not be used for Recipes, which have their own Schema

Unfortunately, unlike FAQ Schema, the text included within each HowTo step is not linkable. However, the individual steps themselves can become links to an anchor on your page that corresponds to each step in the process, if you include anchored links and images in your HowTo markup.

HowTo has two visual layouts:

Image source: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/how-to

One layout includes image thumbnails for each step in the process. With this layout, users can click on each step and be taken directly to that step on your page. Anchored (#) links also appear separately in Google Search Console, so you can track impressions and clicks to each step in your HowTo process.

Image source: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/how-to

The second HowTo layout uses accordions to display the steps.

One added benefit of HowTo Schema is its voice search potential: properly marked up HowTo content is eligible to be read aloud by Google Assistant devices. When voice searchers ask their Google Assistants for help with a task that is best answered with a “how to” guide, content marked up with HowTo Schema will be more likely to be read aloud as the answer.

Like FAQ Schema, HowTo markup presents pros and cons for marketers. Given that the rich result takes up so much space in the SERP, it’s a great way to make your listing stand out compared to competing results. However, if users can get all the information they need from your marked-up content within the search results, it may result in fewer clicks going to your website, which coincides with Google’s rise in no-click searches.

In rolling out HowTo markup, it’s important to monitor the impact the Schema has on your impressions, clicks, and rankings for the page, to make sure the Schema is producing positive results for your business. For publishers whose sites rely on ad revenue, the potential loss in click-through-rate might not be worth the enhanced appearance of HowTo markup in the search results.

Does HowTo markup earn featured snippets for “how to” queries?

Given that virtually every “How To” query generates a Featured Snippet result, I wanted to see whether there was any correlation between implementing HowTo Schema and earning Featured Snippets. I conducted an analysis of 420 URLs currently ranking in Featured Snippets for common “how to” queries, and only 3 these pages are currently using HowTo markup. While this Schema type is still relatively new, it doesn’t appear to be the case that using HowTo markup is a prerequisite for earning the Featured Snippet for “how to” queries.

Q&A Schema

Q&A Schema is another new Schema type used for pages that contain a question and a way for users to submit answers to that question. The Q&A Schema should be applied only on pages that have one question as the main focus on the page — not a variety of different questions. In its documentation, Google also distinguishes between Q&A and FAQ markup: If users are not able to add their own answers to the question, FAQ markup should be used instead.

Q&A Schema is great for forums or other online message boards where users can ask a question and the community can submit answers, such as the Moz Q&A Forum.

Google strongly recommends that Q&A Schema include a URL that links directly to each individual answer to improve user experience. As with HowTo Schema, this can be done using anchor (#) links, which can then be monitored individually in Google Search Console.

Image source: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/qapage

Blending Schema types

Another exciting new development with these new Schema types is the opportunity to blend multiple types of Schema that generate rich results on the same page. FAQ Schema in particular works as a great supplement to other Schema types, such as Product or Professional Service, which can generate stars, review counts, or other attributes in the SERP. Below is an example of how these combined Schema types can look on mobile:

If it makes sense for your content, it may be worth testing adding FAQ or HowTo markup to pages that already have other Schema types that generate rich results. It’s possible that Google will display multiple rich result types at once for certain queries, or it could change the rich appearance of your listing depending on the query. This could potentially lead to a big increase in the click-through-rate given how much space these mixed results take up in the SERP.

Note: there is no guarantee Google will always display blended Schema types the way it currently does for websites who have already done this implementation. Google is always changing how it displays rich results, so it’s important to test this on your own pages and see what Google chooses to display.

Risks involved with implementing Schema

It would be irresponsible to write about using Schema without including a warning about the potential risks involved. For one, Google maintains specific criteria about how Schema should be used, and misusing the markup (whether intentionally or not) can result in a structured data manual action. A common way this occurs is when the JSON-LD code includes information that is not visible for users on the page.

Secondly, it can be tempting to implement Schema markup without thoroughly thinking through the impact it can have on the click-through-rate of the page. It is possible that Schema markup can result in such a positive user experience within the SERP, that it can actually cause a decline in click-through-rate and less traffic to your site (as users get all the information they need within the search results). These considerations require that marketers think strategically about whether and how to implement Schema to ensure they are not only complying with Google’s guidelines but also using Schema in a way that will provide meaningful results for their websites.

Lastly, it is possible that Google will update its quality guidelines around how rich results are displayed if they find that these new Schema types are leading to spam or low-quality results.

Avoid misusing Schema, or it’s possible Google might take away these fantastic opportunities to enhance our organic listings in the future.

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Create a Marketing Strategy That’s Not Annoying, Says Bombora VP

“It’s really about customer experience,” says Nirosha Methananda, VP of Marketing at Bombora. “I think that is something fundamental to marketing. I feel like we have gone down this path of almost over automating and having to constantly pounce on people without necessarily being conscious and mindful of what their experience is on the other end. From my experience, it’s leading to me switching off and ignoring messages. I’m sure I’m not the only one. That’s basically why I’m passionate about creating a marketing strategy that’s not annoying.”

Nirosha Methananda, Vice President of Marketing at Bombora, discusses the challenges of marketing without annoying your potential customers by bombarding them with marketing messages in an interview with Logan Lyles on the B2B Growth Podcast:

Marketing Is Really About the Customer Experience

As a B2B marketer, I get marketed to a lot. It’s something that I have increasingly noticed and I’m probably not the only one. That’s just becoming part of the experience in terms of being inundated with different messaging and different calls and this, that, and the other. Use this, do this, buy this, whatever it is. It’s really not a great experience. It doesn’t necessarily provide value. Marketers are so busy as it is, and I know that is applicable across the board with everyone we are marketing to. Being able to cut through the noise and having an understanding of all these different things is very challenging. 

Having on top of it being inundated with this constant flow of messaging like meet me, meet me, meet me, is not very helpful. That’s one of the things that I’m passionate about. It’s really about customer experience. I think that is something fundamental to marketing. I feel like we have gone down this path of almost over automating and having to constantly pounce on people without necessarily being conscious and mindful of what their experience is on the other end. From my experience, it’s leading to me switching off and ignoring messages. I’m sure I’m not the only one. 

Create a Marketing Strategy That’s Not Annoying

It also leads to this annoyance and irritation which leads to distrust of brands and that’s not great for this industry. From a customer perspective those bad experiences, unfortunately, more than good experiences, they stay with you for longer and you remember that. Another thing that we don’t necessarily think of is that it’s wasteful. It’s wasteful of time and it’s wasteful of money especially for marketing and sales where money is a precious resource. It’s not something to be wasted. That’s basically why I’m passionate about creating a marketing strategy that’s not annoying.

As an example, our Intent Event was our first flagship event that we did last year. It was a closed event so we did have limited numbers and we were limited as to what we could do with promotion. What we did was try to have mindfulness around what we were sending out and ensuring that it was helpful. Making sure that the recipients, the people that we invited, were given all the relevant information, but there was brevity in the communication as well as encouraging them to participate without forcing them to be there. 

There was certainly some urgency around some of our communication but it wasn’t you need to attend this and this is why you must attend this. It was more about being a bit more subtle in presenting them the idea and the concept of what it was, why it would help them, and exactly the information that they needed. What that meant was not sending out multiple emails, being very controlled around it, really thinking about what the experience was before the event, to during the event, to after the event. We were really focused on the customer and making sure that all of the content and communication was educational and helpful.

Create a Marketing Strategy That’s Not Annoying, Says Bombora VP Nirosha Methananda

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How to Use the ‘Rule of Three’ to Create Engaging Content

What’s so magical about the number three? It’s no accident that the number three is pervasive throughout some of our…

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How to create landing pages that convert

Landing pages can make or break your digital marketing.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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Discovery CEO: We’re Trying To Create a Golf Netflix

In announcing a wide-ranging content deal with golf legend Tiger Woods, Discovery CEO David Zaslav says that what we’re trying to do is really create a golf Netflix. Discovery’s strategy is partnering with high profile personalities such as Tiger and Oprah and others to provide quality non-scripted programming globally. Zaslav says that they’re going to cede this whole idea of scripted, there are loads of people in that space and they’re fighting over it.

David Zaslav, Discovery president and CEO, discussed the companies “Netflix” strategy on CNBC’s Squawk Box (video below):

What We’re Trying To Do is Really Create a Golf Netflix

This is a wide-a wide-ranging partnership with the greatest golfer ever, Tiger Woods. He’s a transformational figure really. It’s a cherry on top of our golf strategy. We were in business with the PGA Tour everywhere in the world. We owned the tour globally with Jay Monahan and the PGA Tour, it’s a long-term partnership. What we’re trying to do is really create a golf Netflix, create an ecosystem where everyone in the world that loves golf can get everything they want on the phone and/or on EuroSport in Europe or on channels around the world.

It’s multifaceted and it fits our strategy. A couple of years ago we got into business with Oprah Winfrey, so we’re in business with Oprah globally. When we bought Scripps, food, HGTV, travel, people thought we bought linear channels but we bought IP. We owned food everywhere in the world, home everywhere in the world, travel everywhere in the world. We have natural history with Discovery.

We really took a big pivot four or five years ago where we went from a traditional nonfiction company to asking ourselves how do we create content that people would want if they could want anything and if they could see anything? It was a world that at that point people thought, why is Discovery getting into sports? Why they buy EuroSport? Why do they own all the cycling and all the tennis in Europe? Why did they do the Olympics?

We’re Going to Cede This Whole Idea of Scripted

We see golf, particularly with Tiger, tennis, cycling, the Olympics, food, home, and natural history. The rest of the media business is in scripted. Disney and Bob Iger, probably the best media company in the world when it comes to scripted and traditional storytelling. Tiger is really an important part of that strategy because people love golf everywhere in the world.

Think about China, two of the best players on the PGA Tour are from China. We own all the golf in China and they love Tiger. Two weeks ago we did a deal with Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper and Magnolia. Two fantastic authentic great personalities, they’re back in our family. So we’re going to cede this whole idea of scripted, there are loads of people in that space and they’re fighting over it.

For us, that’s kind of like the soccer ball on a kids game and we’re the rest of the field. If people love food content or golf I think we have a real chance. We hope that we’re where the ball is going to be. Who’s above the globe? The FANG companies, they’re so powerful because they’re above the globe. They could reach everywhere in the world. The only media company that’s truly above the globe that has IP rights everywhere in the world is Discovery.

We Need to Reach All of These 4 Billion Devices

We haven’t over-invested in content because we do believe that we need to reach these four billion devices and the best way to reach that is to have stuff that people really want. This business started with cable systems around the world, then it went to satellites. The companies that have created the most value for shareholders are the global companies, because of the leverage.

What we’re saying is we think that by owning all of this global IP we can partner up very effectively. We don’t need to sell, we can we can partner up with any one of them. We can do a natural history global business with Google or Apple. We can go into business with Oprah ourselves and we can together reach every regional player in the world.

Our Bet is That We’re Completely Different Than the Rest

People fall in love with great stories and with people. If you think about the media business and the rush to Netflix, HBO, Hulu, those are all great plays. Disney buying Rupert’s company and he’s gonna build a product that looks a lot like it. If you’re sitting at home, whether you’re young or old, and you want to spend ten to fifteen dollars and get scripted series and movies there’s going to be 10 choices for that, and the movies are starting to be commoditized with the same movies are on each platform.

If you want something else, if you want to see golf or if you want to see natural history, that’s our bet. Our bet is that we’re completely different than the rest of the guys and we have superfans that have an affinity for our stuff.  Our content costs about $ 400,000 to $ 500,000 an hour, scripted is anywhere from $ 5 million to $ 10 million, so it’s a lot more expensive and it’s getting even more expensive. We have a much more efficient model, so we could actually charge less (than Netflix).

In the US we have 18 channels, so we’re the second biggest TV company in America. When you look at our 18 channels the amount that we charge for those 18 channels is less than one regional sports network. So our costs are less but we can make a lot of money even if we charge less, so that’s one of the reasons why we’re on every skinny bundle. We have great channels but we’re also not that expensive.

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Chipotle CEO Going Digital to Create a ‘Frictionless Experience’

Chipotle is moving in a digital direction, with their digital business up 48 percent over last year. The company has introduced a new app, digital lines, digital pickup shelves, and a mobile pickup window in an effort to create a “frictionless experience” for its customers, according to Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol.

Brian Niccol, Chipotle Mexican Grill CEO, discussed their digital strategy this morning on CNBC:

Chipotle App Creating a Frictionless Digital Experience

What we’re trying to do is remove any friction and get people more access and we’re having a lot of success with that. Our digital business is now up to 11 percent, which is up 48 percent over last year. What’s really exciting is we’re seeing people continue to adopt the utilization of the app and then all the new access channels that we’re creating, whether it’s these digital pick-up-shelves or delivery, we’re just getting a tremendous response from our customers.

Introducing Digital Lines and Shelves

One of the things that are really powerful for our company is we’ve got what we call a Digital Make Line and it is completely separate from the Customer Facing Line. When you come into the restaurant and you go down that Customer Facing Line if you’ve placed a digital order it doesn’t get in the way of that experience. We’re also putting in place these Digital Pickup Shelves so that when you order ahead, you literally can walk in grab your food and go, a completely frictionless experience.

Our digital line requires fewer people to run it versus the front line. The thing that’s great is what we’ve seen is this digital business is highly incremental, so the additional labor necessary to support the incremental sales it works really well for us.

Testing a New Mobile Pickup Window

We’ve got the new mobile pickup window in four restaurants right now. The way it works is you order ahead and you pick your time and then you know you literally come right by the restaurant, we’ve got a window, your food comes out the window and off you go. We’re seeing tremendous response to that and it’s in a market in Ohio and a market in Texas. We’re gonna start adding more restaurants in 2019, so you’re gonna see us building more restaurants that have the ability for that mobile pickup.

Second Lines in All 2,500 Stores in 2019

The thing that is happening right now on a broad scale basis are these second lines. We’ve digitized them, we’re in about 750 restaurants we’ll have all 2,500 restaurants done by the end of 2019. To accompany that we’re putting in these digital shelves so that literally you can skip the whole process.

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You Don’t Have to Buy Google Ads to Create a Big Company

Self-made marketing phenomena Neil Patel says that there is an alternative to buying Google Ads to grow your company. The answer he says is creating a free leader product or service that drive customers to your site for you to later upsell. Patel sees this alternative solution as a less expensive and more sustainable “growth hacking” strategy.

Neil Patel discussed this growth hacking strategy in a recent video:

You Don’t Have to Buy Google Ads to Create a Big Company

Google Ads are continually rising in cost. What if I told you I have a really cool solution that’ll give you a much better ROI in the long run than Google Ads. Today, I’m going to share with you the best alternative to Google Ads. What most people don’t realize is, you don’t have to spend money on Google Ads to create a multibillion-dollar company.

Have you heard of Dropbox? Of course, you have and the chances are it’s on your computer. Did you know that when Dropbox first came out they tried to grow by doing Google advertising? And what they found is, even though they had a product that costs around $ 5 a month, which is around $ 60 a year per customer, they were spending roughly $ 200 to $ 300 to acquire a customer from Google Ads.

Can you see how those numbers don’t work out? Not only are they spending more to acquire a customer than what they’re paying in the first year, but just because someone’s paying you $ 5 a month, doesn’t mean that $ 5 is pure profit either.

How to Leverage a Growth Hacking Strategy

So, what did Dropbox do? They leveraged growth hacking. They figured out a way to get users to come to their site and generate more customers. They did this by creating a free product or a service, and that’s a better alternative to Google Ads. If you look at Dropbox, you look at Slack, even look at Amazon, although Amazon’s not really doing free with Prime buy you get free two-day shipping.

By creating something that’s free or such an amazing offer, think of it as your carrot that you’re dangling, you’re going to get so many people over to your website that then when you upsell them into your paid products or services, it’s so much easier because they’re already using your product or service, you’ve already built that brand loyalty, that connection, that rapport with them. It’s much easier to get that upsell.

It Does Cost a Lot to Offer a Free Product or Service

And here’s what most people don’t understand; they’re like, “Whoa Nellie, if I spent all this money getting people over to my website by having a ‘free’ product or service, it’s going to cost me a lot of money,” and it does. I recently released a tool called Ubersuggest. If you look at Uber suggest, I’m spending $ 150,000 a month releasing a lot of the features you see in tools like BuzzSumo or SEMrush, for free; 150 grand a month, that’s my cost. My cost isn’t going down, it’s continually rising too.

But you know what, if I had to do paid advertising on Google to get those visitors, my estimation shows that I would be spending a bit more than $ 600,000. Do you see how giving something away for free that costs me $ 150,000 a month is much better than spending $ 600,000 a month on paid ads?

Get Creative with Your Marketing

You do not have to spend money on Google Ads to create a big business, just look at Dropbox. Leverage growth hacking, and then as you have these free tools, these free products, these free services, and it may not be the best ones out there but something that people are used to paying for, what you can do is do things like creating invite flows. Dropbox has it: you want more free space, invite more users. I can do the same thing with Ubersuggest; I don’t, but I can say “Want more free usage? Invite more members.”

You can get creative with your marketing, leverage growth hacking. Just don’t put all your money into Google Ads, and the reason I say that is not because I don’t like Google Ads. Ideally, you should be doing both. But the reason I say this is, the moment you stop Google Ads you don’t have any more traffic.

By creating something that’s free, and it doesn’t have to continually cost a ton of money, like HubSpot, they have this free email signature generator. It doesn’t cost them much money; they only spent a few thousand dollars creating it. They don’t even spend any money maintaining it each and every single month. But they found that it can drive over seven figures worth of revenue to their business per year; not too bad from one free tool.

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The Freedom Episode: How To Build A Business To Create Financial, Time And Mental Freedom

 [ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] From the day I was born I valued freedom (well I assume I did as a baby, I can’t quite be sure). As I entered university and contemplated growing into an independent adult, the kind of independence I craved most was […]

The post The Freedom Episode: How To Build A Business To Create Financial, Time And Mental Freedom appeared first on Yaro.Blog.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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