Tag Archive | "goals"

How to Build Daily Habits that Support Your Goals

Last month, I wrote about how a goal-oriented approach to using technology can help you become more focused and productive. Using that guidance, I’ve now broken negative habits and built new ones that support my goals. Want to know how I changed my relationship with screens in ways I used to only dream about? Before
Read More…

The post How to Build Daily Habits that Support Your Goals appeared first on Copyblogger.


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SearchCap: Google Express search promo, SEO goals & search pictures

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google Express search promo, SEO goals & search pictures appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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Practical Tips to Move You Toward Your Content Marketing Goals

Practical Tips to Move You Toward Your Content Marketing Goals

This week is all about good, old-fashioned pragmatism. It’s about the specific tactics you can use to start getting the results you’re looking for — sooner rather than later.

On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman gave us some suggestions on timing when you want to approach that busy influencer with your killer idea or humble request.

On Tuesday, Jerod Morris let us know about the launch of Sites, a new podcast that helps you build the website you need to reach your goals.

And on Wednesday, I outlined specific steps you can take to gain momentum when no one knows who you are (yet). Your “1,000 True Fans” aren’t going to show up overnight, but there is a path you can take to get to them.

Over on Copyblogger FM, I talked about the “killer and the poet” — and what to do if you need a little boost in one of those two roles.

And … did we mention the new Sites podcast? I’m rather partial to the one that Jerod recorded based on my Digital Sharecropping post. ”</p

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Be Intentional about Your Content & SEO Goals or Face Certain Failure – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

We’re seeing more and more companies investing in content marketing, and that’s a great thing. Many of them, however, are putting less thought than they should into the specific goals behind the content they produce. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand covers examples of goals for targeting different kinds of people, from those who merely stumbled upon your site to those who are strongly considering becoming customers.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

Be Intentional about Your Content & SEO Goals or Face Certain Failure

Video transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about being intentional about the content investments that you make. Now this is particularly important because otherwise it can lead to doom.

I got to organize the Foundry CEO Summit last week in Boulder, Colorado. I’m not sure when you are watching this. It might be several weeks ago now. But in any case, I’m talking with a bunch of CEOs and we have a number of discussion topics. One of the discussion topics, which was my personal favorite, one of the ones I was moderating was the top of funnel customer acquisition.

So I’m talking with a lot of these CEOs, B2B and B2C CEOs, about their content marketing efforts. Virtually everyone is investing in content marketing or thinking about it, which is awesome because it is very powerful. But many of them are investing in it somewhat unintentionally, or they haven’t talked with their CMOs and their marketing teams about precisely what that content is.

So we pulled up a couple of blogs from some of the participants. I’m kind of looking through like, “I’m not sure that there’s a strategic initiative behind all of the content that’s being produced.” That can be hugely helpful, and that’s true both for the content side of it and for the SEO side of it.

Many of the folks who are watching Whiteboard Friday undoubtedly are really deep into the tactics and the SEO side. So this video is for your managers, for your bosses, for you to help them understand how to choose content investments and what to expect from different kinds of investments.

Let me show you what I mean. Different kinds of content exist to target people at different sections of their experience with your site: at the consideration phase, where they’re close to buying, this is really for people who are thinking about buying your product; at the discovery phase for people who are just learning about your product or company; and at the viral or super broad content phase, where you’re not even necessarily trying to attract an audience that might buy from you, you’re doing other kinds of things.

So I’m going to try and walk through each of these. I’m actually going to start with the one that’s closest to the conversion process or the conversion point in that process.

So let’s imagine that I’m going to be the marketer at GeekDesk. GeekDesk sells these great sit-stand desks. I have one at home. I have one here at Moz. I love them to death because I stand up and work. I have sciatica in my left leg that I’ve had for many years, and I’ve been trying to work on that. One of the things I did is switch to a sit-stand desk. I actually almost never put it in sit mode anymore. I’m standing all the time. But in any case, GeekDesk makes great ones, ones that I really like.

So if I’m working at GeekDesk, my consideration phase content might be things like the models page, the models of all the different GeekDesks that I can buy. It might be a page on the advantages of the GeekDesk preset heights. GeekDesk has these little settings. I can push one, two, three, four, and it’ll go to different heights. I have one at home where I can push it to two, and it will go to the height for Geraldine so she can work at my desk. Then I press one, and it goes to my height. Then I press three, I haven’t pre-programmed three or four yet. But in any case, maybe if Elijah comes over, I’ll set one for you.

It might be “GeekDesk warranty and return policy,” or “sit-stand desks from GeekDesk.” These are kind of product-centric things. My content goals here are product awareness and conversion. I’m trying to get people to know about the products that I offer and to convert them to buyers.

This is really about information for those potential buyers. So my audience, naturally, is going to be customers, potential customers, and maybe also some media that’s already planning to write about me, which is why I want to have things like great photography and probably some testimonial quotes and all that kind of stuff.

The SEO targets for these types of pages are going to be my branded keywords — certainly things like “GeekDesk” and “GeekDesk desks” and whatever the models that I’ve got are — and then non-branded keywords that are directly, exactly tied to the products that my customers are going to perform when they search. These are things like sit-stand desks or adjustable height desks. That’s what this stuff is targeting.

This is very classic, very old-school kind of SEO and almost not even in the realm really of content marketing. These are just kind of product-focused pages. You should have plenty of these on your site, but they don’t always have overlap with these other things, and this is where I think the challenge comes into play.

Discovery phase content is really different. This is content like benefits of standing desks. That’s a little broader than GeekDesk. That’s kind of weird. Why would I write about that instead of benefits of GeekDesk? Well, I’m trying to attract a bigger audience. 99% of the content that you’ll ever see me present or write about is not why you should use Moz tools. That’s intentional. I don’t like promoting our stuff all that much. In fact, I’m kind of allergic to it, which has its own challenges.

In any case, this is targeting an audience that I am trying to reach who will learn from me. So I might write things like why sitting at a desk might significantly harm your health or companies that have moved to standing desks. I’d have a list of them, and I have some testimonials from companies that have moved to standing desks. They don’t even have to be on my product. I’m just trying to sell more of the idea and get people engaged with things that might potentially tie to my business. How to be healthy at work, which is even broader.

So these content goals are a little different. I’m trying to create awareness of the company. I just want people to know that GeekDesk exists. So if they come and they consume this content, even if they never become buyers, at least they will know and have heard of us. That’s important as well.

Remember television commercial advertisers pay millions and millions of dollars just to get people to know that they exist. That’s creating those brand impressions, and after more and more brand impressions, especially over a given time frame, you are more likely to know that brand, more likely to trust them, conversion rates go up, all those kinds of things.

I’m also trying to create awareness of the issues. I sometimes don’t even care if you remember that that great piece of content about how to be healthy at work came from GeekDesk. All I care is that you remember that standing at work is probably healthier for you than sitting. That’s what I hope to spread. That’s the virality that I hope to create there. I want to help people so that they trust, remember, and know me in the future. These are the goals around discovery phase content.

That audience can be potential customers, but there’s probably a much broader audience with demographic or psychographic overlap with my customers. That can be a group that’s tremendously larger, and some small percentage of them might someday be customers or customer targets. This is probably also people like media, influencers, and potential amplifiers. This may be a secondary piece, but certainly I hope to reach some of those.

The SEO targets are going to be the informational searches that these types of folks will perform and broad keywords around my products. This is not my personal products, but any of the types of products that I offer. This also includes broad keywords around my customers’ interests. That might be “health at work,” that might be “health at home,” that might be broadly dealing with issues like the leg issue that I’ve got, like sciatica stuff. It can be much broader than just what my product helps solve.

Then there’s a third one. These two I think get conflated more than anything else. This is more the viral, super broad content. This is stuff like, “Scientific studies show that work will kill you. Here’s how.” Wow. That sounds a little scary, but it also sounds like something that my aunt would post on Facebook.

“Work setups at Facebook versus Google versus Microsoft.” I would probably take a look at that article. I want to see what the different photographs are and how they differ, especially if they are the same across all of them. That would surprise me. But I want to know why they have uniqueness there.

“The start-up world’s geekiest desk setup.” That’s going to be visual content that’s going to be sailing across the Web. I definitely want to see that.

“An interactive work setup pricing calculator.” That is super useful, very broad. When you think about the relationship of this to who’s going to be in my potential customer set, that relationship is pretty small. Let’s imagine that this is the Venn diagram of that with my actual customer base. It’s a really tiny little overlap right there. It’s a heart-shaped Venn diagram. I don’t know why that is. It’s because I love you.

The content goals around this are that I want to grow that broad awareness, just like I did with my informational content. I want to attract links. So few folks, especially outside of SEOs and content marketers, really understand this. What happens here is I’m going to attract links with this broad or more viral focused content, and those links will actually help all of this content rank better. This is the rising tide of domain authority that lifts all of the ships, all of the pages on the domain and their potential ranking ability. That’s why you see folks investing in this regularly to boost up the ranking potential of these.

That being said, as we’ve talked about in a previous Whiteboard Friday, Google is doing a lot more domain association and keyword level domain association. So if you do the “problems with abusing alcohol” and that happens to go viral on your site, that probably won’t actually help you rank for any of this stuff because it is completely outside the topic model of what all of these things are about. You want to be at least somewhat tangentially related in a semantic way.

Finally, I want to reach an audience outside of my targets for potential serendipity. What do I mean by that? I’m talking about I want to reach someone who has no interest in sitting and standing desks, but might be an investor for me or a supplier for me or a business development partner. They might be someone who happens to tell someone who happens to tell another someone, that long line of serendipity that can happen through connections. That’s what this viral content is about.

So the audience is really not just specific influencers or customers, but anyone who might influence potential customers. It’s a big, broad group. It’s not just these people in here. It’s these people who influence them and those people who influence them. It’s a big, broad group.

Then I’m really looking for a link likely audience with this kind of content. I want to find people who can amplify, people who can socially share, people who can link directly through a blog, through press and media, through resources pages, that kind of stuff.

So my SEO targets might be really broad keywords that have the potential to reach those amplifiers. Sometimes — I know this is weird for me to say — it is okay to have none at all, no keyword target at all. I can imagine a lot of viral content that doesn’t necessarily overlap with a specific keyword search but that has the potential to earn a lot of links and reach influencers. Thus, you kind of go, “Well, let’s turn off the SEO on this one and just at least make it nicely indexable and make the links point to all the right places back throughout here so that I’m bumping up their potential visibility.”

This fits into the question of: What type of content strategy am I doing? Why am I investing in this particular piece? Before you create a piece of content or pitch a piece of content to your manager, your CMO, your CEO, you should make sure you know which one it is. It is so important to do that, because otherwise they’ll judge this content by this ROI and this content by these expectations. That’s just not going to work. They’re going to look at their viral content and go, “I don’t see any conversions coming from this. That was a waste.”

That’s not what it was about. You have to create the right expectations for each kind of content in which you are going to be investing.

All right everyone, I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. We will see you again next week. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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How to Convert a Client’s Goals into Reportable Metrics – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by DiTomaso

Metrics are really only effective markers of business success if they’re measuring your progress toward your organization’s goals. How, though, do we make the leap from goals to reportable metrics? In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Dana DiTomaso (a partner at Kick Point and a MozCon 2014 speaker!) walks us through that process.

Want to see more from Dana? You can watch her presentation “Prove Your Value” from
MozCon 2014 for free.
(If you’re looking to turn turn the marketing learning volume up to 11, you can purchase all of the MozCon presentations on that page!)

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

Video transcription

Hi, I’m 
Dana DiTomaso. I work at Kick Point, which is a digital marketing agency in Edmonton. I presented at MozCon 2014 this year, talking about reporting and how people love it so much and how you can make your reporting better.

One of the slides in my presentation that people had a lot of questions about afterwards was what you see behind me. This is not my handwriting. It’s much better than my handwriting. Left-handers and whiteboards don’t mix. One of the things that we wanted to talk in this slide was you can take a goal that the client gives you and drill it down to what you report on in the actual report. The reason why you do this is that you can report on basically everything. That’s one of our super powers as a digital marketer. Because of that, it means that you’re able to take what the client says are their business goals and turn it into things that you actually report on. Because you’re able to do this for a client, they’re much more likely to like you, keep paying their bills, keep you around, last company fired when all the contractor budgets get cut, those sorts of things.

We find that reporting to clients goals proves your value much more strongly than anything else you could possibly do, including delivering great results, to be honest. Clients appreciate honesty, and they appreciate it when you are able to say, “This is what we’re doing to meet your goals. This is the work and here’s how it all fits together.” You’ll have an easier time selling what it is that you do. The client’s going to be happy, you’re going to be happy, everybody’s happy.

Let’s start with how this works. The idea here is you take the client’s goal. When we start with a client, we say to them, “What are your business goals for this year and next year? Give us all your goals.” They often say, “Oh, no marketing company has ever asked for this before,” which is kind of crazy. So start asking your clients for these goals. Again, that’s already a competitive differentiator, and this is before the client has even signed on with us. This is in the proposal meeting. After you’ve done your research, you can come back to the client and say, “Here’s how we’re going to break down your goals into the strategy that we’re going to execute on once you sign on the nice dotted line and give us a check.”

I find that definitely doing that research part is an important part of our proposal process. It might be an important part of yours. What we really like to focus on is making that sure we understand all the pieces of how the client’s project is going to fit together before we tell them how much it’s going to be to execute on it. Because of that, not all clients are like, “Oh I have to pay you money, and then I have to pay you money again.” They are kind of confused, but at the same time you have a way better grasp of what’s going to happen. There are no nasty surprises like, “Oh, you paid a company to black hat link building for you. Well, that’s great.” Then you’re going to have to revise your estimate, etc., etc., etc.

Doing this goal setting as a part of the research process, before you quote on the actual piece, is crucial. If a client doesn’t agree to it, we actually don’t work with them as a client. I know it means that you get less business, but at the same time you get way better business. Clients who are invested in this process are awesome clients.

Back to the goals, this is a real goal from one of our clients — increase gross sales to $ 17.5 million in 2014. For this client, to set some context, they have recently cancelled all of their print. They weren’t doing any radio or TV. It was just print advertising. They have gone strictly digital. What they’re going to get leads in now is word-of-mouth, referral, being known in the industry, and digital marketing. Great, so now we have this goal.

The question is: How do we track that goal? What do we need to find out in order to make sure we’re delivering on that goal? That gets broken down into KPIs, key performance indicators. That’s gross sales, average sale size, and average time to close sale. That’s the three things we need from the client. Because we communicate to this client at the very beginning, we can then set up a process to say, “Okay, so when it’s report time at the end of the month, this is the kind of stuff that we need from you.” The client is ready, able to deliver it right away. It’s not a huge turnaround time on the reports.

The next thing is tactics. Of course, there are way more tactics than this. This is kind of a broad overview of the tactics that you think about. This includes things like link building or content marketing or outreach or anything like that. What we’re looking at right now is: How are we going to deliver, and how are we going to deliver on our end? What is the stuff we’re thinking about when we actually do stuff like content marketing?

So this helps to sharpen your focus to say, “All right, we’re going to right a blog post about how our client is really awesome at environmental sustainability,” for example. Then we know that we need to make sure that we’re setting up lead tracking and lead scoring and that there’s a nice call-to-action at the end of that content piece, because we need to make sure that it turns into leads, and blah, blah, blah.

A couple of tactics, use lead tracking to determine the percentage of lead sources per industry and their source. For this client, they want to sell more to specific industries, so we want to make sure that we’re tracking that on the form. There is a drop-down on the form, but also people hate self-reporting. They’re really bad at it. They often pick “other” or “I don’t want to tell you” or they just don’t fill out the form. If you can remove that and then try to get the industry in some other way, either through demographic information. For example, once you get your email address, you can look it up. If it’s a client with a low volume of leads, that can be really effective or some other method, and then you can remove that from the form. That helps improve your close rate.

Lead scoring to identify high close rate, fast closing leads and their source. What we want to know is not just how many leads did you get, but what were the best leads. Which ones closed the fastest? Which ones gave you the most money? Let’s get more of these. We want to find out their source so we can say, “Wow, that referral campaign we did was really amazing. Let’s make sure we do more of that.” That’s the tactics.

Next is metrics. This is what are we going to pull out of Google Analytics or whatever reporting method you’re using. For example, this could also be a social goal that’s related strictly to social media, such as improving share of voice in your industry. In that case, you would look at different metrics like the share of voice. You would look at mentions. There’s lots of different stuff that you can look at. For this case, we’re looking at lead form fills and specifically the multi-attribution model. I want to take a minute to talk about that. I think that by default, of course, Google Analytics reports on the click before the last click attribution model. What we want to report on is all the different steps that went into that. Annie Cushing had a great quote about this, “Reporting on last click attribution in 2014 is like buying a football team and only paying the players who score.” If you only report on last-attribution modeling, the problem is that you are shortchanging yourself. Often, for example, organic traffic is very high up the funnel. We want to make sure that we’re getting credit for every touch point that the client makes before they fill out that form.

The first time you present multi-attribution modeling to a client, if you aren’t doing it already, and if you’re not doing it already, then start. I know it takes a little bit of work with customer reporting and stuff, but it’s totally worth it. You usually have to sit down and explain to the client. I have used Annie’s quote. It works really great to explain how this stuff works. Just sit down with them and show them and actually open up Google Analytics and take them through the model. Say, “Look at all these different paths. Isn’t this crazy? Did you know somebody visited your website 78 times before they filled out form?”

They are often horrified, but also a little confused, as we all are about user behavior on the Internet. I find that it’s important to show the client this so that they understand and they get a real appreciation of all the different pieces that come in together. There’s very rarely a, “I clicked on your ad. I filled out a form.” That’s not necessarily a transaction that happens a lot, especially in the B2B space, which is where this client is.

Make sure that you’re using multi-attribution in all your reporting, that you’re explaining it, and that you’re giving credit where credit is due, even if it isn’t something that you particularly did. Let’s say you’re not responsible for email marketing. That’s a client. Email marketing can be a really important channel, drives lots of leads. No, you didn’t do it, but report on it. The client is going to appreciate that. Make sure you use the multi-attribution model.

In the report itself, now we know these are the metrics you’re going to report on: number of leads; attribute leads to channels, this is really important; and attribute high value leads to channels. This is the golden thing that’s going to be able to tell us what is really working well for this client and what we need to focus on in the future.

Then, of course, that rolls all the way back up to this goal again. By putting all the pieces together, you can become incredibly valuable to your clients. They appreciate honest, accurate reporting. They appreciate reporting that relates back to their business goals, so then when it comes time for your client’s boss to ask questions about why they’re paying all that money to the digital marketing agency, they can come back and say, “Look what they did to hit those goals.” That should help you out with reporting. Thanks.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Setting Goals (Not Tools) as the Foundation of Your Marketing – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by MackenzieFogelson

With new tools introduced so regularly, it’s easy for marketers to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out which ones are most effective for their own work. That focus, though, shifts our attention from what really matters: setting the right goals for our companies. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Mackenzie Fogelson walks us through the five-stage process she uses to make sure her team’s attention is on what really matters.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

Video Transcription

Hey there, Moz community! I’m so excited to be here with you today. I wanted to share something with you that has been really powerful for the businesses we’ve been working with in the last year or so about building community. It’s a concept that we call “goals not tools,” and it works in this pyramid format where you start with your goals, you move on to KPIs, you develop a strategy, you execute that strategy, and then you analyze your data. And this is something that has been really powerful and helped businesses really grow. So I’m going to walk you through it here.

We start down at the bottom with goals. So the deal with goals is that you want to make sure that you’re setting goals for your entire business, not just for SEO or social media or content marketing, because you’re trying to grow your whole business. So keep your focus there. Then once you develop your goals, and those goals might be to improve customer communication or you want to become a thought leader. Whatever your goal is, that’s where you’re going to set it.

Then you move on to determining what your key performance indicators are and what you’re going to use to actually measure the fact that you may or may not be reaching your goals. So in terms of KPIs, it’s really going to depend on your business. When we determine KPIs with companies, we sit down and we have that discussion with them before we develop the strategy, and that helps us to have a very authentic and realistic discussion about expectations and how this is all going to work and what kind of data they’re expecting to see so that we’re proving that we’re actually making a difference in their business.

So once you’ve determined those KPIs, then you move on to developing a creative strategy, a creative way to meet those goals and to measure it the way you’ve determined in your KPIs. So this is your detailed roadmap, and it’s two to three months at a time. A lot of companies will go for maybe 12 months and try to get that high level overview of where they’re going for the year, and that’s fine. Just make sure that you’re not detailing out everything that you’re doing for the next year because it makes it harder to be agile. So we’d recommend two- to-three month iterations at a time. Go through, test things, and see how that works.

During your strategy development you’re also going to select the tools that you’re going to use. Maybe it’s Facebook, maybe it’s SEO, maybe it’s content marketing, maybe it’s email marketing, PPC. There’s all kinds of tools that could be used, and they don’t all have to be digital. So you just need to be creative and determine what you need to plan out so that you can reach the goals that you’ve set.

Then once you’ve got your strategy developed, that’s really some of the hardest part until you get to execution. Then you’re actually doing all the work. You need to be consistent. You need to make sure that you’re staying focused and following that strategy that you’ve set. You also want to test things because you want as much data as possible so that you can determine if things are working or not. So make sure that during execution there are going to be things that come up, emergent things, shiny things, exciting things. So what you’ll have to do is weigh whether those things wait for the next iteration in two to three months, or whether you deviate your plan and you integrate those at the time that they come up.

So once you’re through execution, then really what you’re doing is analyzing that data that you’ve collected. You’re trying to determine: Should we spend more time on something? Should we pull something? Should we determine if something else needs to completely change our plans so that we’re making sure that we’re adding value? So analysis is probably the most important part because you’re always going to want to be looking at the data.

So in this whole process, what we always do is try to make sure that we’re focusing on two questions, and the most important one is: Where can we add more value? So always be thinking about what you’re doing, and if you can’t answer the value question, you know, “Why are we doing this? Does this provide value for our customers or something internal that you’re working on? If you can’t answer that question, it’s probably not something valuable, and you don’t need to spend your time on it. Go somewhere else where you’re adding the value.

Then the last question is where you can make the biggest difference in your business, because that’s what this is all about is growing your business. So if you stay focused on goals, not tools, it’s going to be really easy to do that.

Thanks for having me today, Moz. Hope I helped you out. Let me know in the questions if you need any assistance.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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3 Reasons a “Mobile First” Philosophy is Critical to Achieving Your Business Goals

Image of Metro Theme by StudioPress

At the 1961 Masters Tournament, Arnold Palmer held a one stroke lead over Gary Player as he walked off the 18th tee.  On the trip up the fairway he allowed himself to talk to a friend who congratulated Palmer on his win.

Even though Palmer knew he needed to concentrate on finishing the hole, he couldn’t help but think about the green jacket that would soon be on his shoulders.

Palmer bogeyed the hole and lost the Masters by one stroke to Player.

Too often we know exactly the right path to take (and the right decisions to make), but fail to follow through for one reason or another.

What does this have to do with mobile responsive design?

Every day new studies and statistics are reporting …

For most of us, I think the message has been heard loud and clear.

Mobile is the future (and present)

Mobile is obviously a very big part of the present and future web, and if your business is not utilizing (or preparing to utilize) a mobile strategy that works, you can expect a swift demise into obscurity.

Developers, designers and content creators are realizing the power of a “mobile first” philosophy, and they’re finding enormous benefits coming their way

My websites run faster developing Mobile First. I have recoded websites responsively and mobile first and have often times reduced my load time by 30-40%.

My clients understand content priority and visual hierarchy easier and better. They can all relate to the frustration of not getting the content they want on their mobile browsers and I can easily use this frustration to convince them to reconsider the desktop experience.

My wireframing has gone faster. Since the clients now know which information is more important to them and their users, I can take that and turn it into larger screen wireframe with them that they understand.

So if mobile is so important and intent on world domination, shouldn’t we be thinking differently how we build our websites and produce our content?

If the world is making this shift that favors mobile devices over desktop stations, it would make sense that we prioritize our efforts with the mobile audience in mind.

This was made abundantly clear to me after reading Luke Wroblewski’s book which is aptly titled, Mobile First.

The premise of Luke’s writing is that we should be thinking about the mobile user first, not only because we’ll reap the rewards of mobile growth today, but it will also prepare us for the explosive growth that is predicted in the future.

Additionally, adopting a mobile first philosophy will force us to focus and prioritize due to the constraints of mobile devices, and it will allow us to deliver innovative experiences using new capabilities available to mobile as they come online.

1. A mobile first philosophy taps into current growth and prepares you for the future

Wroblewski recently wrote up an astonishing comparison on his site.

On an average day (as of this writing), approximately 371,000 babies are born, while over half a million iOS devices are sold. And …

700,000 Android devices are activated. 200,000 Nokia devices are used for the first time and 143,000 Blackberry smartphones make their way into a new user’s hands.

This brings the total of smartphones entering the World per day to about 1.45M devices, compared to 317,124 human births.

And that’s not all …

Other statistics in his book are even more convincing for developing a mobile first philosophy, because they show that not only are people buying mobile devices, but audiences are actually interacting with web sites through a mobile device.

People are not playing Angry Birds and using Facebook all the time.  They’re visiting content-rich websites.

Yelp is a very popular review service and if you would look at their traffic numbers you would see that only 7% of their total audience uses their mobile products.  Without any further investigation, you’d be tempted to scoff and declare that the time for mobile just isn’t here. But if you delve a little deeper, you find that that those 7% are responsible for 35% of their all of their searches across all of their products.

Another example given is that of the real estate service Zillow. Wroblewski points out that Zillow’s customers are viewing active real estate listings 45% more often from mobile devices, compared to their desktop site.

Now just so you don’t think that this philosophy is just for service related sites, one study revealed that the average smartphone user visits up to 25 websites a day and the the top 50% of those sites account for less than half of all mobile visits.

So, its very likely your site is part of this mobile growth phenomenon as well.

2. A mobile first philosophy forces you to focus on what’s important

Even though the mobile landscape has evolved immensely the past few years, the environment in which it exists still holds many constraints as to what’s possible in development and design.

But like any good creator will tell you, constraints foster creativity and problem solving.

In his book, Wroblewski identifies several constraints that are currently in place for mobile devices that can actually enhance a user’s mobile experience … including screen size and the performance of the mobile device.

The smaller screen sizes available to a mobile devices force designers to eliminate the irrelevant and unhelpful aspects of their design.

Too often, companies want to fill up every available pixel and ultimately end up with a cluttered site that’s hard to navigate and use.

But when developing for a mobile device, the loss of screen real estate forces the design and development teams to focus on what’s really important because there isn’t room for any element that has questionable value.

Wroblewski rightly points out that in order to run your business effectively you really need to understand your customers and your business. When you design for a mobile device first it forces you to get to that point.

As illustrated in the book Southwest Airlines is perfect example. On their full website they have a ton of advertisements, calls to action, and a number of links that the vast majority of users don’t need.

On their mobile app Southwest makes the decision to focus in on exactly what their customer’s need. They provide a clean and easy way to interact with the services they provide.

This laser-like focus keeps the user engaged, happy and coming back.

In addition to screen size, the performance of a user’s mobile network has a significant impact on how they interact with web sites. What this means is that anything that can be done to eliminate performance issues should be done.

Again, this forces the designer and developer to consider what their users really need. If large images and robust javascript libraries are taken out of the equation, we’re not forced to compromise, but to innovate and focus on what’s truly important.

3. Embracing a mobile first philosophy allows use of new capabilities

Wroblewski makes his final point by stating:

The natural constraints of mobile devices, networks, and usage patterns help focus and simplify mobile experiences. But designing for mobile isn’t just about embracing limitations — it’s also about extending what you can do.

People use their mobile devices everywhere. Because of that, new opportunities are available to meet the needs of users.

A prime example is location detection. A mobile device can more accurately pinpoint a user’s exact location than a desktop computer, and can be used to deliver relevant information about their specific location or surroundings.

Just the other day I wanted to rent a game from Redbox but didn’t want to drive around to each location to find out where it was.  Using their mobile website, Redbox quickly pinpointed my location and gave me a list of the closest kiosks that had the game I wanted to rent.

Rather than giving me a list of all the places in the greater area that I had to mine for data, Redbox using a mobile first philosophy did the work for me, based on location data it acquired.

Along with using new capabilities available today, a mobile first philosophy allows you to position yourself to be on the cutting edge of upcoming trends that will be used in mobile devices, like NFC, intelligent awareness, and whatever other new tools coming down the road that haven’t even been dreamed up yet.

So where do we go from here?

First, read Luke’s book.

Then, start to think creatively about how you can implement a mobile strategy with your content. Of course, a smart and simple way to lay down a firm mobile foundation for your site and business is by using one of our many mobile responsive Genesis child themes.

Don’t rest on past success, ignoring the reality of the present and future.

If you’re not embracing a mobile first philosophy with your content online, you’re already being left behind …

About the Author: Josh Byers is a media specialist for Copyblogger Media. He’s a husband, father, follower of Jesus, and Broncos fan. A good day is filled with Coke Zero, the NBA, potatoes, Mario, serial tv, books, and too many Apple products. Get more from Josh on Twitter and Google+.

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How to Find the Keywords that Work for Your Content Marketing Goals

Image of Satellite Array

When you do keyword research, you’re working to discover the actual words your customers use when they search for information about your content topic.

Smart keyword research will let you uncover great information about your audience — how they search, how they speak, and how they think.

Accurate keyword research helps you optimize your website for the search engines, and it also allows you to shape your content strategy. So it’s vitally important that you use smart tactics to help you do your research in a fast, efficient way.

Hopefully at this point, you’ve conducted some initial discovery sessions using the steps in my previous post on keyword research. You’ve chosen some initial keywords to look into, started to examine particular characteristics of those keywords in search stats, and you’ve started a list of closely related words and phrases that you can add to your initial list of target keywords.

Now, we need to take this process one step further.

Once you’re done with your initial keyword research, you’ll need to dig a little further in your investigations. You’ll want to see whether a phrase is trending up or down (over a certain period of time) and how your phrases are being discussed in social media communities.

This post covers the second half of my No-Stress Keyword Research System, including tips on searching for trends, looking at social media conversations, and discovering which of your competitors are ranking well for your targeted keywords.

Let’s get down to business.

Tools for spotting keyword trends

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of target keywords, it’s time to uncover some broader information about them. You need to get your hands on trending information, so you can find out if your keyword is trending up or trending down over time.

Here’s why it’s critical that you find out this information — you don’t want to pick a keyword, optimize your entire site for it, hang all your hopes and dreams on it — then discover that the popularity of searches for that word have been trending down for two years (and at the current rate, searches for that word will die out to practically nothing within a year or two).

You want keywords that are not only popular, but have been steadily popular for months (or years). And you want keywords that have a good outlook for the upcoming months and years.

To find out the whether your keywords are headed up or down in popularity, you can use Google Trends. This lesser-known tool allows you to see how often certain keywords have been queried over a specific period of time. 

Google Trends even allows you to put in several keywords at a time, and runs a comparison of those keywords for you, so you choose the one that is the best fit for your and your business.

Run your possible keywords through the Google Trends tool, and take a good look through the data. Are your keywords trending up over time? Or trending down? If they are trending up, is this likely to be a short burst of interest in the topic, or does the topic have some staying power?

If you’re a Scribe user, this data is already built into your Keyword Research tool — just click on the Google Trends tab to view data on a particular keyword’s popularity over time.

Use trending information to eliminate some of your keywords and narrow down your target list, then move on to the next step.

Research your keywords in social networks

Your next step is discovering what social communities need and want, and how people talk about your topic when they’re having conversations with family and friends.

You will need to approach keyword research on social media networks slightly differently than you do for search — because users of search and social networks don’t necessarily use exactly the same language.

When people use search engines, they are generally looking for an answer to a specific question. Users on social networking sites are there to talk, share ideas, and interact with other users.

You can use social networking search tools to find out the answers to your burning questions about how people use your keywords in everyday conversations.

  • How are people actually using your keywords and phrases in their conversations?
  • What questions are they asking?
  • Are they speaking negatively or positively about your topic?
  • Are people using different language in their online networking communication, and if they are, do you want to change your target keywords to reflect the new language?

Repeat these questions over and over to yourself in the midst of your research, and they’ll take you further along the path to finding the right keywords.

Keyword research tools for social networks

I’ll give you a few of my favorite tools for social search here.

But the social networking world is changing so quickly that I encourage you to do your own research and find the tools that work best for you.

Twitter’s built-in search tool is one of the best in the biz. You can use their Advanced Search tools to look for anything you want (and include/exclude things like retweets, etc. so you only see the data that is really useful to you).

You can also try tools like Monitter and Topsy, both well-known Twitter search helpers.

Dashboard Twitter tools like HootSuite and Tweetdeck also let you set up streams for particular keywords to help you continuously monitor the Twitter conversation on your topic.

Google+ has a great built-in search function, too. Use the search box at the top of any Google+ screen to run an initial search, then filter your results for groups of people or geographical location using the dropdown menus on the search results page.

Searching on Facebook is trickier than some of other social networks, but it does have a limited search function. Run your search using the search box at the top of any Facebook page (click the magnifying glass to run your search and bypass Facebook’s annoying habit of just serving up some random Page it wants you to see.) On the search results page, click on “Public Posts” to view the public conversation about your topic.

There are some great all-in-one search tools for social media, too. For one-stop shopping, try Kurrently or 48ers.

Of course, I highly recommend you check out Scribe. Our customers have easy-to-use social networking research built right into the Social Research tool, so you can look at search and social network research on your targeted keyword all in one place.

Check out your competition

At this point, after researching your initial lists using search and social networking tools, you’ve probably got a short, well-thought-out list of words you’d like to target for your website.

It’s not a bad idea to run your final list through the biggest search engines to see who is ranking for those terms. Google is a necessity, of course, but try Bing and Yahoo, too.

Check out the top three rankings for each search terms, and add notes about those sites to your research list.

Check out my article in this series on competitive research for more information on scoping out your competition.

Pick the winner(s)

It’s the moment of truth. You need to take a deep breath and decide on a few primary keywords that you’re going to target.

You can make an educated decision — based on all your keyword research — on what keywords you want your site to rank for. Write them down, put them above your desk, and then start the process of optimizing your site for those keywords.

For any one piece of content (blog post, article, etc.) , you want to pick one primary keyword to target.

For your entire site, pick three or four that will be your targeted keywords.

Need help optimizing your articles and website for those keywords? Check out our free report, How to Create Compelling Copy That Ranks Well in the Search Engines.

Go get ‘em, detective

Keyword research doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and it doesn’t have to be painful.

If you use the steps I’ve outlined here, keyword research (both in search and in social networks) is fairly straightforward.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at this point, here’s the breakdown:

  1. Choose a few possible keywords to start your research
  2. Determine the popularity and competition score of each of your keywords
  3. Discover (and research) other related keywords
  4. Check the trending data on your keyword (is it trending up or down over time?)
  5. Do some research on how your keyword is being used in the conversations that are happening on social networks
  6. Take a deep breath, look at your final research results, and choose the keyword(s) you want to target for your site

That’s it!

Now it’s your turn to go through the steps of this keyword research process for your particular topic. Whether you’re writing about kickboxing, guinea pig care, dental hygiene, or professional organizing, this keyword research process can work for you, with just a little work, patience, and skill.

Our content research series continues …

This post is part five of my series on how to do effective keyword research as a content marketer. If you missed any of the previous articles in this series, you can read them right here:

  1. Research Ain’t Easy (But it’s Necessary)
  2. A 6-Step Content Marketing Research Process
  3. Become a Content Marketing Secret Agent with Competitive Intelligence
  4. A 3-Step Process for Painless Keyword Research

To get the full series, watch for future posts here on Copyblogger. If you’re not already subscribed, sign up to get new posts delivered straight to your inbox.

About the Author: Beth Hayden is a Senior Staff Writer for Copyblogger Media. Get more from Beth on Twitter and Pinterest.

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Email Marketing: The 5 goals of a successful program

Tweet As we build the content for MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013 in Las Vegas, we are focusing on the five key goals of successful email marketing programs. We are also including the two elements necessary to optimize these goals – measuring and testing. So in today’s MarketingSherpa blog post, we’ll provide some suggested reading and [...]
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Why Emotion-Based Writing is Crucial to Your Business Goals

Image of Comedy and Tragedy Theatrical Masks

Allow me to tell you two stories.

One is about a person who — through tragic accident — had part of his brain destroyed, leading to revelatory advances in psychology and brain research.

The other, about a stout, whiskered man who thinks sound decisions can come only from a cool head.

Do emotions affect our decisions? Do cool heads truly prevail when faced with choices?

And who cares? What does all this have to do the art and craft of copywriting and content creation?

Let’s find out …

Sound decisions without emotions … really?

One story begins in an ill-shaped conference room — wide at one end, narrow at the other — with a concrete floor and about a dozen halogen lamps hanging from the ceiling. Down the center of the room is a long black conference table.

Around that table sits the CIO, VP of IT, a program manager, two project managers, the marketing manager, an art director, three designers, an editor, a proofreader, several people I didn’t know, and me.

We were all gathered to kick off a bi-annual drive to focus attention on the organization’s humanitarian division. The campaign decision makers included an executive and two of his assistants.

The executive was short, stout, with large eyes, sandy hair and whiskers, wide but pleasing mouth, fine teeth. He was frank, but warm-hearted.

My job was to present rough creative and copy. The concept was simple: It spoke about the plight of poor children in the global south — the design amplified that emotion. Could the reader spare $ 50 to build a well in Sri Lanka? Feed a child in South Africa for a month?

This was content marketing designed to produce an action. We were eager to test it. But the division executive wanted nothing to do with it.

He said he never wants to feel like he is being forced to make a decision. He didn’t want to “feel” when he gave. He just wanted it to be a logical financial decision.

Fat chance.

The American Crowbar Case

Cavendish, Vermont. September 13, 1848. Phineas Gage, a 25-year old railroad construction foreman is leading a group who’s blasting rock through a bend for the Rutland & Burlington Railroad.

Gage is setting a blast. It’s a procedure he’s performed countless times: drill a hole, pour blasting powder down the hole, slide in a fuse and cover with sand.

Tamp the sand with an iron rod. Light the fuse. Run.

The sand is crucial. It keeps the explosion from going straight up the hole, maximizing the horizontal blast. But it also protects the blasting powder from the iron rod when tamped.

No one is sure why, but Gage forgot to add sand. He went to tamp the powder, created a spark when his rod struck the rock — and the powder exploded.

The rod pierced and passed through Gage’s head, landing over 80 feet away. The amazing thing is that Gage survived with no more than a damaged left eye.

But he would never be the same man again.

The surprising meaning of “Somatic Hypothesis Marker”

The doctor who treated his wounds observed that Gage’s personality had changed. He was “no longer Gage.” Once shrewd, smart and energetic, he became restless, lustful and fond of foul language.

He became an instant curiosity sitting in Barnum’s American Museum. But scientists found him curious, too.

These days Gage’s case, “The American Crowbar Case,” is a textbook fixture in neurology and psychology. It’s thought to have launched (or at least reinforced) the idea of functional specialization in the human brain — the idea that certain parts of the brain control different functions of the body (language, memory or motor skills).

There have been some noted abuses of Gage’s story, but Antonio Damasio, in his book Descartes’ Error, renders a fair telling of the story as an introduction to his idea of “somatic hypothesis markers.”

In English “somatic hypothesis markers” means this:

Emotions are a critical component to decision making.

Contrary to what many believe, emotions don’t get in the way of making wise, rational decisions. In fact, Damasio and many others make the point that without emotions, we are incapable of being rational, let alone pulling the trigger on even the simplest of decisions.

He’s got the studies to prove it.

Why this sad story is significant

During his work as a neuroscience professor Damasio observed patients with brain damage (bilateral lesions of the VM cortex, to be exact) struggle severely with making personal and social decisions.

They had trouble planning their day, let alone their future. They struggled with choosing friends and activities. They could calculate clearly, but couldn’t make up their minds about what to wear, where to go or when to eat … let alone giving to charity.

Why tell this sad story? What is the possible significance of such a bizarre tale? The answer is simple.

If you’re a copywriter, then — by default — you should write to the emotions of your readers. You need to know the proper appeals to use in order to gain attention, stoke interest and push for action.

This starts with knowing who your reader is. And appealing to his fears and hopes. Tapping into his beliefs and painting a picture of the world he or she wants to live in.

The 4 emotional appeals you need to master

From that platform, you can begin to build a proper appeal. The appeal is the reason you give the reader to buy. And the appeal is almost always expressed in the headline. (I’ll discuss this in greater detail below.)

John Caples, in his book Tested Advertising Methods (a must-read for any copywriter), says that all effective advertising boils down to an effective appeal. Here are the top four:

  • Love – This covers the entire gamut of love, from friendship to lust. We don’t want to be lonely. We want our children to love us. We want to get married. We want to look good. Think Men’s Health or Beautiful People.
  • Greed – We want to win the lottery, buy the fastest motorcycle, or throw the best parties. We want to retire early or send our children to the best schools. We want to dominate every opponent on the tennis court or become the smartest guy on campus. This is Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week or Forbes.
  • Fear – We fear getting laid off, dying or losing a child. We fear the government taking away our rights, our employers pushing us around, or a spouse leaving us. We fear failure. Think Stansberry & Associates or divorce lawyers.
  • Duty or Honor – We feel an obligation to our spouse, children, and parents. To our country, company, or community. To the poverty-stricken, widowed, and orphaned. Think Army or life insurance.

Naturally, these appeals overlap. And here’s what they might look like in the world of advertising:

  • Make more money
  • Save more money
  • Secure a better retirement — sooner rather than later
  • Lose weight
  • Conquer depression
  • Secure health care
  • Get promoted
  • Outshine your competition (or neighbor)
  • Grab fame and attention
  • Enjoy life
  • Reduce chores
  • Gain more leisure
  • Maximize comfort
  • Get free from worry
  • Nab a bargain
  • Belong to the popular club

In truth, it all boils down to this: eliminating anxiety.

Give the reader the sense that you will bring him peace (financial, future, relational, future, security) … that you’ll solve his problems that keep him up at night … that you will give him a good night’s sleep … and you will win his attention.

This is what happens when you fall in love with the human condition.

What this means for copywriters

You’re in the advertising trenches. Doing the dirty work. Here’s what that should look like:

  • Capture the prospect’s attention – Nothing happens unless something in your copy makes the prospect stop long enough to pay attention to what you say next. And it starts with the headline.
  • Maintain interest – Keep the copy focused on the prospect, on what he or she will get out of using your product or service
  • Move the prospect to positive action – Unless enough prospects are turned into customers, your copy has failed, no matter what.

What this means for content marketers

You’re in the war room. Maps and charts spread out before you. Here’s what your decision making should look like:

  • Evaluate your content strategy – On a macro level you must evaluate how every piece of content is designed to stop prospects — according to the goal of each particular piece of content. And don’t forget the universal connection of each piece of content: each piece is a chapter in the never-ending story of your product, company, service, or idea. It must all fit together.
  • Maintain interest – Keep the content funnel focused on the prospect, on what he or she will get out of reading and sharing your content. Segment if necessary. And diversify the format.
  • Hire the right people – Great content begins with a great team — exceptional creators and passionate subject matter experts. If you can find those qualities in the same person, don’t hesitate to nab him or her.

What this means for analytic gurus

You’re with the databases and the dashboards. You’re looking for what works and what doesn’t work. Here’s what emotional decision making means to you.

  • What are you testing and why? – Claude Hopkins started it with Scientific Advertising — the concept of using the scientific method to create advertising (create a hypothesis, test and record results). The tools available to measure the effectiveness of your content are legion. It can overwhelm even the mightiest of number-crunching beasts. But we can’t forget to connect the dots. To ask the why.
  • Challenge everything – Accept nothing as true until you’ve tested it. Then …
  • Build a knowledge bank – Document successes and failures. Never invent the wheel more than twice.
  • Treat every ad as an ongoing test – Challenge sacred cows (even if they were proven the year before). Learn from every test.

My favorite copywriting formula

Let me close with one of my favorite formulas for writing copy: the four Ps.

  • Promise – This is your headline. This is where you get their attention by communicating a promise that speaks to them. You are hitting a pain point — you’re making an appeal. You’re making it worth their time. You’re promising to solve meaningful problems. And you are making it emotional.
  • Paint the picture – Show them what their life will look like if you fulfill the promise you made in the headline. Tell a story of someone who got the raise they wanted because they listened to your advice. Tell a story of the active life someone now lives because of the weight they lost due to your program. Show them what their own future would look like, if they listen to you.
  • Provide proof – The two principles above deal in emotion. Proof trades in logic. You are going to help validate their feelings with evidence. You are going to provide numbers, statistics and testimonials.
  • Push – You’ve satisfied both reason and emotion. You gave them both what they wanted. Now your reader can make a sound decision based upon the information before him. He can decide if what you have to offer fits into his life and goals.

To see this formula in action check out my article Gimpy Web Copy? Use This 4-step Formula to Make it Killer.

Your turn …

So here’s the moral of story: if the stout man with whiskers ever ran into the Phineas Gage, he might have to re-evaluate his beliefs about decision making.

Not because a one-eyed man and his iron bar would threaten him. But because the evidence that emotion is a critical component of decision making is definitive.

We all need emotions to make decision. And we (content marketers) need emotions to persuade people.

So, have you run into anyone with a resistance to emotional copy? How did you handle it? And what are your feelings about emotions in the art of persuasion?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share below.

About the Author: Demian Farnworth is a freelance writer who hustles the finer points of web copy at the blog The CopyBot. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

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