Tag Archive | "Loyalty"

Digital Marketing News: 3.3B Global Social Users, Facebook’s Loyalty Prediction AI, & More

Digital Around The World Q2 2018 Chart

Report: Social media use is increasing despite privacy fears
3.3 billion people worldwide use social media, an increase of some 100 million over the first three months of 2018, according to new report data from Hootsuite and We Are Social, despite a spate of recent privacy fears surrounding Facebook and other social companies. The Next Web

Google posts $ 31.1B in total revenue, beats top- and bottom-line expectations
Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent firm, posted better than expected revenue results, with almost $ 27 billion in advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2018, beating both Wall Street and analyst predictions and continuing year-over-year increases. MarTech Today

Facebook’s secret ‘Loyalty Prediction’ ad tool anticipates future user behavior & purchases
Advertisers using Facebook will be able to utilize an artificial intelligence (AI) service tool to anticipate user behaviors and likely purchases, according to reports citing leaked information about the firm’s loyalty prediction ad utility. Marketing Land

Study: Majority reject ads on smart speakers
Most people don’t want advertising delivered through virtual assistants, smart speakers, or voice search results, according to new survey data examining screenless searching, however nearly 40 percent of respondents were open to receiving only relevant ads. Search Engine Land

Reddit to grow its 75-person brand partnerships team by 50 percent to woo advertisers
Reddit plans to increase its brand partnership team by 50 percent in an effort to boost its brand-friendliness and attract more ad spend to the sixth most visited site globally. DigiDay

Google Confirms Algorithm Update Released on April 16th
Google has confirmed the latest of its now-routine broad core search algorithm updates designed to boost SERP quality and relevance. Search Engine Journal

Pinterest redesigns business profile pages with monthly viewer counts
Pinterest’s one million businesses will have access to monthly viewer pin counts after rolling out a revised and updated business profile page that also includes several display enhancements. Marketing Land

Ads.txt has gained adoption, but 19 percent of advertisers still haven’t heard of it
Robot.txt-like Ads.txt server-side whitelist from the Interactive Advertising Bureau Tech Lab has made gains in recognition and implementation, yet adoption hurdles remain. DigiDay

‘You’re seeing the lightbulb go off’: Amazon’s ad business is appealing to more buyers
As marketers have shown increased interest in advertising with Amazon, the company’s ad products have become pricier, according to report data from Merkle. DigiDay

Facebook gives creators new ways to monetize videos, while pushing more users to Watch
Facebook’s Watch tab has played an increasing role in the company’s video advertising strategy, along with several recent enhancements for video creators. Marketing Land

73 percent of Internet users purchased a product or service online in the past month.

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Marketoonist 5 stages of data privacy grief

A lighthearted look at the five stages of data privacy grief, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Google Maps is Now Using Fast Food Locations as Reference Points — Search Engine Journal

Iconic ‘MAD’ Magazine Relaunches, ‘DCist’ Plans Return — MediaPost

Why So Many People Make Their Password ‘Dragon’ — Wired

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Interview: Lee Odden on the Rise and Success of Influencer Marketing — Brand24
  • Lee Odden — Video Interview: AQ’s Blog & Grill — AQ’s Blog & Grill YouTube
  • Lee Odden and LinkedIn (client) — Making the Case for Employee Advocacy: A Pocket Guide — LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
  • TopRank Marketing & Cherwell (client) — How to Guarantee Content Shares from Influencers — Onalytica
  • Ashley Zeckman — 82 Experts Share Their Favorite Influencer Marketing Tips to Increase Exposure — ShaneBarker.com
  • Lee Odden — Connecting in meaningful ways: What nonprofits and small businesses can learn from the YouToo Social Media Conference — DotOrgSolutions

Please join us once more next week, when we’ll share an exciting new array of the latest marketing news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.


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Digital Marketing News: 3.3B Global Social Users, Facebook’s Loyalty Prediction AI, & More | http://www.toprankblog.com

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5 Ways to Build Customer Loyalty for Your eCommerce Business

A decade or so ago, most businesses develop relationships and loyalty with their customers based on one-on-one and personalized interactions between the company owner or the staff. These days, most transactions occur online. However, customer loyalty remains a key component to the success of any business.

As the Beeketing blog explained, it’s more expensive to gain new customers than to retain current ones. A company has to spend a lot of time, effort and resources to find new clients. It’s far easier and more profitable to just keep existing customers satisfied, happy and loyal. As a matter of fact, keeping customers happy and returning can boost profitability by up to 75%.

But how does one build customer loyalty? Here are five tactics an eCommerce business can use:

1. Sell Good Quality ProductsImage result for quality

You can’t expect to garner customer loyalty if the customer’s first experience with a purchased product is one of disappointment. This is why it’s imperative that you sell good quality products. If the item, software, or downloadable content you’re selling is poorly made, your customers will not come back. They might also hurt the business further by leaving bad reviews. Conversely, delivering a well-made product will ensure repeat business and develop loyal customers.

2. Provide Great Customer Service

Aside from offering high-quality products, providing good customer service is another vital way for an eCommerce business to develop and encourage customer loyalty. A 2011 survey conducted by American Express revealed that 8 out of 10 customers would not patronize a business anymore after one bad customer service experience.

Providing good customer service isn’t necessarily hard or expensive. There are also several options open to companies, like incorporating a live chat to make it easier for customers to reach someone. Self-service options can also make it simpler for clients to troubleshoot common problems or find answers to frequently asked question. Interacting on social media and offering flexible return and exchange plans can also keep clients returning.

3. Be a Logistics MasterImage result for logistics

Much like the two previous examples, fast and reliable shipping service also strengthens customer loyalty. This is particularly true for eCommerce businesses as they have to master logistics like shipping packages safely, quickly and cheaply to their customers. This also means having a clear concept of how to pack products properly, finding the best courier and service for a specific shipment, and setting realistic expectations with the client. Remember, good products bought at fair prices that arrive promptly or when they’re expected will go a long way to earning customer loyalty.

4. Develop a Fun and Relevant Rewards or Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are an effective but surprising underutilized marketing tactic. Make your customers feel important and valued by offering rewards for their continued engagement. This can be in form of major discounts, free gifts, or instant or early access to exclusive sales. Personalizing the promotions you give loyal customers will also make them feel important and give the impression that the company is taking care of them.

More and more companies are also opting for fun and gamified rewards programs that allow the customers to participate. For instance, a coupon app can give customers access to special deals and promotions while encouraging them to earn badges by looking for deals on particular products. Aside from making it more fun, it also creates interest for the product and could even tap into the customer’s social media network.

5. Offer Useful and Entertaining ContentImage result for useful content

Another way to boost customer value and loyalty is via content marketing. Studies indicate that retail sites that made use of content marketing could have six times better conversion rates than those sites that do not. However, the trick is to make sure that the content, copy, and marketing actions are informative, entertaining, and engaging. One prime example is the weekly digital magazine of fashion house, Mr. Porter. The articles are often about the company’s products but they also include topics that deal with health, fashion, food and the arts.

Think about the various ways your customers interact with your company. Make sure they have a positive experience every step of the way and they will keep coming back for more. More importantly, your loyal customers might even tell their friends about your business.

[Featured image via Flickr.com]

The post 5 Ways to Build Customer Loyalty for Your eCommerce Business appeared first on WebProNews.


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Building Brand Value & Customer Loyalty: Videos from MozTalk in Philly

Posted by Danielle_Launders

[Estimated read time: 3 minutes]

In April, we hopped on a plane to go visit our friends in the City of Brotherly Love to share an evening of learning, networking, and, of course, eating, for our latest MozTalk. Wait, what’s a MozTalk, you ask? Well, let me tell you! MozTalks are after-work events, featuring two-four speakers, focusing on topics relevant to online marketing. These one-night events are a way to engage and share ideas amongst the community, meet old friends and new (that’s you!), and learn great tips from some brilliant minds. Oh, did I mention there is food and some awesome swag? Yes, let’s not forget the most important parts.

Our most recent MozTalk focused on innovative strategies for building brand value and keeping your customers coming back. Topics ranged from human interaction through customer service to tailoring PPC ads to keep your customers coming back for more. We had a lineup of four outstanding speakers: Adam Melson from Seer Interactive, Erin McCaul from Moz, Purna Virji from Microsoft, and Wil Reynolds from Seer Interactive. Watch the presentations below for the full scoop:

Adam Melson: Branding & Revenue Wins That Ignore Traditional SEO


Top takeaways

  • Fixing broken customer experiences should be a priority; make sure to measure everything. By doing so, you may find new key opportunities to enhance the customer experience and gain loyalty.
  • Look past the basic search results; more and more people are using websites outside of Google to search, including Reddit.

Erin McCaul: Customer Engagement: Why Your Help Team Should Have a Seat at the Table


Top takeaway

  • Excellent customer service is about empathy and should be the foundation of any good brand.

Purna Virji: Clever Ways the World’s Most Valuable Brands Use PPC


Top takeaways

  • Build your brand with PPC by focusing on making the customer’s life easier, showing them that you care, and making it easy to be a loyal customer.
  • With the increase in the use of voice search, be prepared for search results with misspellings. Make sure to account for that as a brand and in PPC.
  • Utilize sitelink extensions by focusing on the stage of interest of a customer or according to the customer’s needs.

Wil Reynolds: A Modern SEO’s View on Authority vs. Trust


Top takeaway

  • Don’t confuse popularity with trust, and remember, rankings don’t equal trust or equal money.

Missed the previous talks?

Now that your brand value is at all-time high and your customers love you, it’s time to level up even more. Our first MozTalk covers Need-to-Know SEO and Making Your Blog Audience Fall in Love with Rand Fishkin and Geraldine DeRuiter, while our second MozTalk dives into 5 Years of SEO Changes and Better Goal-Setting with Rand Fishkin and Dr. Pete Meyers.

Join us for the next one!

We are excited to announce that we are headed to Denver for our next MozTalk on July 19th to learn all things content. Join us for a night full of learning, networking, and fun. Keep an eye on our Events page for more details to come, and we hope to see you there!

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


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68 percent of consumers say coupons promote loyalty

If you want to keep the same customers coming back over and over again, send them a coupon and then send them another one and another.

In “The State of Digital Coupons: How Digital Coupons Are Adapting to Mobile and Omnichannel by Forrester Consulting on behalf of RetailMeNot, we learn that coupons are still a prime motivator for both online and offline shoppers. 59% of consumers said coupons were most likely to influence their purchasing decisions. Luckily, there’s an upside to selling things for less money – customer loyalty.

Retail Me Not Coupon Loyalty
68% of consumers say coupons build brand awareness and lead to customer loyalty. Look at the chart above. The lighter the blue, the more positive the response. A large number of respondents said they were likely to tell friends about online coupons and promotion codes. 29% felt strongly that coupons led to brand loyalty and another 62% agreed to some extent.

The final question is the real kicker. More than 75% of respondents said they were more likely to pay full price for a product or service from a company that is known to offer coupons and codes.

This is all very nice, but there’s one key factor missing:

“I am MORE likely to postpone buying from a store if I know I can probably find a coupon later on.” I strongly agree!

Some sites are so known for their coupon deals, people will wait it out rather than shop without. If you’ve trained your customers to wait, you could be losing out on sales you need right now.

The flip side of the flip side, is that once they do have that coupon in hand, they’re more likely to buy things they wouldn’t have bought without the coupon.

For example, I want to buy a sweatshirt at the Disney Store online but I’m not going to pay full price and shipping! I know they always have codes and shipping deals, so I wait it out. Sure enough, here’s a code for 25% off my whole order and free shipping if I buy a park product. I wasn’t going to buy a park product but that plate is cute and it’s only $ 6 and since I’m also getting 25% off I’ll buy that mug as a gift and I like that handbag and I am saving 25%. . . before you know it, I have $ 200 worth of items in my cart when I came to buy a $ 40 sweatshirt.

This is the power of coupons and codes.

Let’s wrap up with this; though most people get their coupons by email, 31% of consumers said they use a coupon app on their smartphone or tablet to find the best deals.

What do you think? To coupon or not coupon? That is still the question.

Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion

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Setting Up 4 Key Customer Loyalty Metrics in Google Analytics

Posted by Tom.Capper

Customer loyalty is one of the strongest assets a business can have, and one that any can aim to improve. However, improvement requires iteration and testing, and iteration and testing require measurement.

Traditionally, customer loyalty has been measured using customer surveys. The
Net Promoter Score, for example, is based on the question (on a scale of one to ten) “How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?”. Regularly monitoring metrics like this with any accuracy is going to get expensive (and/or annoying to customers), and is never going to be hugely meaningful, as advocacy is only one dimension of customer loyalty. Even with a wider range of questions, there’s also some risk that you end up tracking what your customers claim about their loyalty rather than their actual loyalty, although you might expect the two to be strongly correlated.

Common mistakes

Google Analytics and other similar platforms collect data that could give you more meaningful metrics for free. However, they don’t always make them completely obvious – before writing this post, I checked to be sure there weren’t any very similar ones already published, and I found some fairly dubious reoccurring recommendations. The most common of these was
using % of return visitors as a sole or primary metric for customer loyalty. If the percentage of visitors to your site who are return visitors drops, there are plenty of reasons that could be behind that besides a drop in loyalty—a large number of new visitors from a successful marketing campaign, for example. Similarly, if the absolute number of return visitors rises, this could be as easily caused by an increase in general traffic levels as by an increase in the loyalty of existing customers.

Visitor frequency is another easily misinterpreted metric; 
infrequent visits do not always indicate a lack of loyalty. If you were a loyal Mercedes customer, and never bought any car that wasn’t a new Mercedes, you wouldn’t necessarily visit their website on a weekly basis, and someone who did wouldn’t necessarily be a more loyal customer than you.

The metrics

Rather than starting with the metrics Google Analytics shows us and deciding what they mean about customer loyalty (or anything else), a better approach is to decide what metrics you want, then deciding how you can replicate them in Google Analytics.

To measure the various dimensions of (online) customer loyalty well, I felt the following metrics would make the most sense:

  • Proportion of visitors who want to hear more
  • Proportion of visitors who advocate
  • Proportion of visitors who return
  • Proportion of macro-converters who convert again

Note that a couple of these may not be what they initially seem. If your registration process contains an awkwardly worded checkbox for email signup, for example, it’s not a good measure of whether people want to hear more. Secondly, “proportion of visitors who return” is not the same as “proportion of visitors who are return visitors.”

1. Proportion of visitors who want to hear more

This is probably the simplest of the above metrics, especially if you’re already tracking newsletter signups as a micro-conversion. If you’re not, you probably should be, so see Google’s guidelines for event tracking using the
analytics.js tracking snippet or Google Tag Manager, and set your new event as a goal in Google Analytics.

2. Proportion of visitors who advocate

It’s never possible to track every public or private recommendation, but there are two main ways that customer advocacy can be measured in Google Analytics: social referrals and social interactions. Social referrals may be polluted as a customer loyalty metric by existing campaigns, but these can be segmented out if properly tracked, leaving the social acquisition channel measuring only organic referrals.

Social interactions can also be tracked in Google Analytics, although surprisingly, with the exception of Google+, tracking them does require additional code on your site. Again, this is probably worth tracking anyway, so if you aren’t already doing so, see Google’s guidelines for
analytics.js tracking snippets, or this excellent post for Google Tag Manager analytics implementations.

3. Proportion of visitors who return

As mentioned above, this isn’t the same as the proportion of visitors who are return visitors. Fortunately, Google Analytics does give us a feature to measure this.

Even though date of first session isn’t available as a dimension in reports, it can be used as a criteria for custom segments. This allows us to start building a data set for how many visitors who made their first visit in a given period have returned since.

There are a couple of caveats. First, we need to pick a sensible time period based on our frequency and recency data. Second, this data obviously takes a while to produce; I can’t tell how many of this month’s new visitors will make further visits at some point in the future.

In Distilled’s case, I chose 3 months as a sensible period within which I would expect the vast majority of loyal customers to visit the site at least once. Unfortunately, due to the 90-day limit on time periods for this segment, this required adding together the totals for two shorter periods. I was then able to compare the number of new visitors in each month with how many of those new visitors showed up again in the subsequent 3 months:

As ever with data analysis, the headline figure doesn’t tell the story. Instead, it’s something we should seek to explain. Looking at the above graph, it would be easy to conclude “Distilled’s customer loyalty has bombed recently; they suck.” However, the fluctuation in the above graph is mostly due to the enormous amount of organic traffic that’s been generated by
Hannah‘s excellent blog post 4 Types of Content Every Site Needs.

Although many new visitors who discovered the Distilled site through this blog post have returned since, the return rate is unsurprisingly lower than some of the most business-orientated pages on the site. This isn’t a bad thing—it’s what you’d expect from top-of-funnel content like blog posts—but it’s a good example of why it’s worth keeping an eye out for this sort of thing if you want to analyse these metrics. If I wanted to dig a little deeper, I might start by segmenting this data to get a more controlled view of how new visitors are reacting to Distilled’s site over time.

4. Proportion of macro-converters who convert again

While a standard Google Analytics implementation does allow you to view how many users have made multiple purchases, it doesn’t allow you to see how these fell across their sessions. Similarly, if you can see how many users have had two sessions and two goal conversions, but you can’t see whether those conversions were in different visits, it’s entirely possible that some had one accidental visit that bounced, and one visit with two different conversions (note that you cannot perform the same conversion twice in one session).

It would be possible to create custom dimensions for first (and/or second, third, etc.) purchase dates using internal data, but this is a complex and site-specific implementation. Unfortunately, for the time being, I know of no good way of documenting user conversion patterns over multiple sessions using only Google Analytics, despite the fact that it collects all the data required to do this.

Contribute

These are only my favourite customer loyalty metrics. If you have any that you’re already tracking or are unsure how to track, please explain in the comments below.

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Pandas And Loyalty

SEOs debate ranking metrics over and over, but if there’s one thing for sure, it’s that Google no longer works the same way it used to.

The fundamental shift in the past couple of years has been more emphasis on what could be characterized as engagement factors.

I became convinced that Panda is really the public face of a much deeper switch towards user engagement. While the Panda score is sitewide the engagement “penalty” or weighting effect on also occurs at the individual page. The pages or content areas that were hurt less by Panda seem to be the ones that were not also being hurt by the engagement issue.

Inbound links to a page still count, as inbound links are engagement factors. How about a keyword in the title tag? On-page text? They are certainly basic requirements, but of low importance when it comes to determining ranking. This is because the web is not short of content, so there will always likely to be on-topic content to serve against a query. Rather, Google refines in order to deliver the most relevant content.

Google does so by checking a range of metrics to see what people really think about the content Google is serving, and the oldest form of this check is an inbound link, which is a form of vote by users. Engagement metrics are just a logical extension of the same idea.

Brands appear to have an advantage, not because they fit into an arbitrary category marked “brand,” but because of signals that define them as being more relevant i.e. a brand keyword search likely results in a high number of click-thrus, and few click-backs. This factor, when combined with other metrics, such as their name in the backlink, helps define relevance.

Social signals are also playing a part, and likely measured in the same way as brands. If enough people talk about something, associate terms with it, and point to it, and users don’t click-back in sufficient number, then it’s plausible that activity results in higher relevance scores.

We don’t know for sure, of course. We can only speculate based on limited blackbox testing which will always be incomplete. However, even if some SEOs don’t accept the ranking boost that comes from engagement metrics, there’s still a sound business reason to pay attention to the main difference between brand and non-brand sites.

Loyalty

Investing In The Return

Typically, internet marketers place a lot of emphasis, and spend, on getting a new visitor to a site. They may also place emphasis on converting the buyer, using conversion optimization and other persuasion techniques.

But how much effort are they investing to ensure the visitor comes back?

Some may say ensuring the visitor comes back isn’t SEO, but in a post-Panda environment, SEO is about a lot more than the first click. As you build up brand searches, bookmarking, and word-of-mouth metrics, you’ll likely create the type of signals Google favours.

Focusing on the returning visitor also makes sense from a business point of view. Selling to existing customers – whether you’re selling a physical thing or a point of view – is cheaper than selling to a new customer.

Acquiring new customers is expensive (five to ten times the cost of retaining an existing one), and the average spend of a repeat customer is a whopping 67 percent more than a new one

So, customer loyalty pays off on a number of levels.

Techniques To Foster Loyalty

Return purchasers, repeat purchasers and repeat visitors can often be missed in analytics, or their importance not well understood. According to the Q2 2012 Adobe analysis, “8% of site visitors, they generated a disproportionately high 41% of site sales. What’s more, return and repeat purchasers had higher average order values and conversion rates than shoppers with no previous purchase history

One obvious technique, if you’re selling products, is to use loyalty programs. Offer points, discounts and other monetary rewards. One drawback of this approach is is that giving rewards and pricing discounts is essentially purchasing loyalty. Customers will only be “loyal” so long as they think they’re getting a bargain, so this approach works best if you’re in a position to be price competitive. Contrast this with the deeper loyalty that can be achieved through an emotional loyalty to a brand, by the likes of Apple, Google and Coke.

Fostering deeper loyalty, then, is about finding out what really matters to people, hopefully something other than price.

Take a look at Zappos. What makes customers loyal to Zappos? Customers may get better prices elsewhere, but Zappos is mostly about service. Zappos is about ease of use. Zappos is about lowering the risk of purchase by offering free returns. Zappos have identified and provided what their market really wants – high service levels and reasonable pricing – so people keep coming back.

Does anyone think the engagement metrics of Zappos would be overlooked by Google? If Zappos were not seen as relevant by Google, then there would be something badly wrong – with Google. Zappos have high brand awareness in the shoe sector, built on solving a genuine problem for visitors. They offer high service levels, which keeps people coming back, and keeps customers talking about them.

Sure, they’re a well-funded, outlier internet success, but the metrics will still apply to all verticals. The brands who engage customers the most, and continue to do so, are, by definition, most relevant.

Another thing to consider, especially if you’re a small operator competing against big players, is closely related to service. Try going over-the-top in you attentiveness to customers. Paul Graham, of Y Combinator, talks about how start-ups should go well beyond what big companies do, and the payback is increased loyalty:

But perhaps the biggest thing preventing founders from realizing how attentive they could be to their users is that they’ve never experienced such attention themselves. Their standards for customer service have been set by the companies they’ve been customers of, which are mostly big ones. Tim Cook doesn’t send you a hand-written note after you buy a laptop. He can’t. But you can. That’s one advantage of being small: you can provide a level of service no big company can

That strategy syncs with Seth Godin’s Purple Cow notion of “being remarkable” i.e do something different – good different – so people remark upon it. These days, and in the context of SEO, that translates into social media mentions and links, and brand searches, all of which will help keep the Google Gods smiling, too.

The feedback loop of high engagement will also help you refine your relevance:

Over-engaging with early users is not just a permissible technique for getting growth rolling. For most successful startups it’s a necessary part of the feedback loop that makes the product good. Making a better mousetrap is not an atomic operation. Even if you start the way most successful startups have, by building something you yourself need, the first thing you build is never quite right…..

Gamification

Gamification has got a lot of press in the last few years as a means of fostering higher levels of engagement and return visits.

The concept is called gamification – that is, implementing design concepts from games, loyalty programs, and behavioral economics, to drive user engagement”. M2 research expects that US companies alone will be spending $ 3b per year on gamification technologies and services before the end of the decade

People have natural desires to be competitive, to achieve, to gain status, closure and feel altruistic. Incorporating game features helps fulfil these desires.

And games aren’t just for kids. According to The Gamification Revolution, by Zichermann and Linder – a great read on gamification strategy, BTW – the average “gamer” in the US is a 43 year old female. Gaming is one of the few channels where levels of attention are increasing. Contrast this with content-based advertising, which is often rendered invisible by repetition.

This is not to say everything must be turned into a game. Rather, pay attention to the desires that games fulfil, and try to incorporate those aspects into your site, where appropriate. Central to the idea of gamification is orienting around the deep desires of a visitor for some form of reward and status.

The user may want to buy product X, but if they can feel a sense of achievement in doing so, they’ll be engaging at a deeper level, which could then lead to brand loyalty.

eBay, a pure web e-commerce play dealing in stuff, have a “chief engagement officer”, someone who’s job it is to tweak eBay so it becomes more-gamelike. This, in turn, drives customer engagement and loyalty. If your selling history becomes a marker of achievement and status, then how likely are you to start anew at the competition?

This is one of the reasons eBay has remained so entrenched.

Gamification has also been used as a tool for customer engagement, and for encouraging desirable website usage behaviour. Additionally, gamification is readily applicable to increasing engagement on sites built on social network services. For example, in August 2010, one site, DevHub, announced that they have increased the number of users who completed their online tasks from 10% to 80% after adding gamification elements. On the programming question-and-answer site Stack Overflow users receive points and/or badges for performing a variety of actions, including spreading links to questions and answers via Facebook and Twitter. A large number of different badges are available, and when a user’s reputation points exceed various thresholds, he or she gains additional privileges, including at the higher end, the privilege of helping to moderate the site

Gamification, in terms of the web, is relatively new. It didn’t even appear in Google Trends until 2010. But it’s not just some buzzword, it has practical application, and it can help improve ranking by boosting engagement metrics through loyalty and referrals. Loyalty marketing guru Fredrick Reichheld has claimed a strong link between customer loyalty marketing and customer referral.

Obviously, this approach is highly user-centric. Google orient around this principle, too. “Focus on the user and all else will follow.”

Google has always had the mantra of ‘focus on the user and all else will follow,’ so the company puts a significant amount of effort into researching its users. In fact, Au estimates that 30 to 40 per cent of her 200-strong worldwide user experience team is compromised of user researchers

Google fosters return visits and loyalty by giving the user what they want, and they use a lot of testing to ensure that happens. Websites that focus on keywords, but don’t give the user what they want, either due to a lack of focus, lack of depth, or by using deliberate bait-and-switch, are going against Google’s defining principles and will likely ultimately lose the SEO game.

The focus on the needs and desires of the user, both before their first click, to their return visits, should be stronger than ever.

Attention

According to Microsoft research, the average new visitor gives your site 10 seconds or less. Personally, I think ten seconds sounds somewhat generous! If a visitor makes it past 30 seconds, you’re lucky to get two minutes of their attention, in total. What does this do to your engagement metrics if Google is counting click backs, and clicks to other pages in the same domain?

And these metrics are even worse for mobile.

There’s been a lot of diversification in terms of platforms, and many users are stuck in gamified silo environments, like Facebook, so it’s getting harder and harder to attract people out of their comfort zone and to your brand.

So it’s no longer just about building brand, we also need to think about more ways to foster ongoing engagement and attention. We’ve seen that people are spending a lot of attention on games. In so doing, they have been conditioned to expect heightened rewards, stimulation and feedback as a reward for that attention.

Do you reward visitors for their attention?

If not, think about ways you can build reward and status for visitors into your site.

Sites like 99 Designs use a game to solicit engagement from suppliers as a point of differentiation for buyers. Challenges, such as “win the design” competition, delivers dozens of solutions at no extra cost to the user. The winners also receive a form of status, which is also a form of “payment” for their efforts. We could argue that this type of gamification is weighed heavily against the supplier, but there’s no doubting the heightened level of engagement and attraction for the buyer. Not only do they get multiple web design ideas for the price of one, they get to be the judge in a design version of the X-Factor.

Summary

Hopefully, this article has provided some food for thought. If we were going to measure success of loyalty and engagement campaigns, we might look at recency i.e. how long ago did the users last visit, frequency i.e. how often do they visit in a period of time, and duration i.e. when do they come, and how long do they stay. We could then map these metrics back against rankings, and look for patterns.

But even if we’re overestimating the effect of engagement on rankings, it still makes good sense from a business point of view. It costs a lot to get the first visit, but a whole lot less to keep happy visitors coming back, particularly on brand searches.

Think about ways to reward visitors for doing so.

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SEO Book

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Customer-centric Marketing: 7 triggers to engage customers and build loyalty

MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2012 keynote speaker Sally Hogshead presented her 7 Triggers of Fascination, which represent different paths or ways to fascinate your customers with your brand. Read on for a breakdown of each, with key takeaways for brands to implement.
MarketingSherpa Blog

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7 Customer Loyalty Programs That Actually Add Value

loyalty programsintermediate

According to Inc., it costs a business about 5-10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one — and on average those current customers of yours spend 67% more than a new one. So, what are you doing to keep your customers coming back to your business? If you’re like 65% of marketers, your company has implemented a loyalty program. Read the full story

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