Tag Archive | "Relationships"

3 Powerful Strategies for Pain-Free Client Relationships

When you’re a freelancer, your clients impact everything. Who you choose to work with (and how you choose to work…

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SearchCap: AMP data, agency relationships & hip hop Doodles

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

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Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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8 Calls to Action that Initiate New Relationships with Customers and Collaborators

"Viral content may feed your ego, but it doesn’t necessarily feed your business." – Stefanie Flaxman

I know. I know. I know.

“Viral” is an actual term people use to describe wildly popular content that has spread across a variety of distribution channels, landing in our Twitter feeds, Apple News updates, text messages, and emails from Uncle Sue.

But I still don’t like the word.

When “going viral” is a goal for a piece of content, it puts me a little on edge.

Viral content may feed your ego, but it doesn’t necessarily feed your business.

Business success without “going viral”

I understand it’s frustrating if no one knows about your products or services. That’s why you want a lot of people to see your work.

But sustainable success stems from your dedication to produce one great line at a time and consistently publish your content. One article/podcast episode/video is not going to change everything.

Plus:

Many smart content moves have nothing to do with a piece of content “going viral” and don’t depend on a massive amount of views.

So, stop putting pressure on yourself. “Viral” doesn’t need to be your goal.

Let’s talk about what you can do right now to initiate new relationships with the customers and collaborators who will help build your business.

1. Ask for comments and suggestions

I always talk about crafting a thoughtful presentation, but individual pieces of content are not definitive articles on a topic — nor should they be.

While you want to thoroughly express your message, an exhaustive guide that tries to tackle the subject from every angle is tedious to read. It’s also futile — there’s always going to be some other point of view you didn’t consider.

Instead, publish your useful material and invite your audience to contribute their thoughts.

For example, my article last week about proofreading pointers didn’t explain every possible proofreading technique. I provided the top three tips I frequently use, and then readers added the methods that work for them in the comments.

The content opened up a discussion that encouraged people to participate. Readers, viewers, and listeners who become personally invested in your content are the ones who stick around and want to hear more from you over time.

2. Spark new social media conversations

When you optimize your content for social media sites, you don’t just increase your chances of getting clicks to your website from your existing followers.

Interesting conversations about your content on social media will attract people who have never come across your work before.

This is good, old-fashioned word of mouth that happens organically after you’ve done something remarkable.

And rather than just blatantly promoting a piece of content, see how you can initiate meaningful interactions that draw people back to your website to find out more.

For example, an intriguing photo on Instagram could spark comments, shares, and likes, as well as prompt viewers to read the blog post or listen to the podcast episode that gives the photo context.

3. Pull in audiences from different platforms

I regularly drool over the short and entertaining food-preparation videos on the AnarchistKitchen YouTube channel.

But do you know what the videos don’t provide?

The recipes for the mouth-watering food.

To get the recipes, you have to go to their blog. The videos capture the attention of people who may have not otherwise known about their website (like me).

Next week, Jerod is going to talk more about ways to distribute your best ideas on different platforms.

4. Offer a shareable summary

No one wants to be that person who bores all their friends with their latest obsession — whether it’s a blog, book, or beverage.

But the desire to share something new that you love is understandable.

So, how do we convert our friends in a non-pushy way?

It’s a lot easier if you have a sample of a blog, book, or beverage recipe that others can browse on their own terms rather than hearing all the benefits from you.

Content marketers can create mini packages for their audience members to share with their friends.

For example, you could offer a beautiful PDF as a free download that summarizes who your site is for and how you help them, with some snippets of particularly useful advice. You’d then encourage your visitors to share the PDF rather than just share your website link.

It’s a more direct way to show what you’re all about, rather than hope a first-time visitor immediately clicks on the most engaging parts of your website.

5. Take the first step

Let’s say you meet someone in person, talk about a potential business collaboration, and exchange contact information.

What if you took the first step needed to make that collaboration happen before you contact them?

You could write the guest blog post for their site that you mentioned, outline a podcast interview, or draft the budget for the video series you discussed.

The work that you perform upfront could be the push the project needs to get off the ground faster, so consider initiating it rather than merely sending a follow-up email with pleasantries or questions.

6. Build your email list when you host live events

Live events don’t have to be elaborate, expensive productions.

I’m talking about having a booth at a local fair, giving a seminar at a bookstore, or teaching a workshop at a community center.

Or maybe live events, such as yoga classes, are your business.

People who have terrific experiences will want to know how to keep in contact with you so they don’t miss anything else you offer.

Encourage your guests, visitors, or students to sign up for your email list.

I’m very (very, very) picky about where I share my email address. The only time I have signed up to be on an email list in recent history was after I had such a great time at an event that I wanted to keep in touch with the organizer.

7. Describe your products or services

If you’re not sure when to mention your business in a piece of content, ask yourself:

Would someone who benefits from this free content get even more help with one of my products or services?

Then you can find ways to show how your paid solution would be a good fit for your reader.

For example, a locksmith might write an article about what to do if your key breaks off in your lock.

The content could outline steps to fix the problem, but many people who find it are going to need immediate help. The company should include a call to action so local searchers know how to get in contact with a locksmith who can help them.

You won’t necessarily mention your products or services in every piece of content you create, but you also can’t assume your audience knows you offer something they need. Potential customers need to be absolutely clear how they can move forward with what you have to offer.

8. Provide a special recipe

Content that makes an impact on someone’s life is the type that gets shared.

As Sonia has said:

“Make your advertising too valuable to throw away.”

Use tutorial content to educate your prospects about specific ways to use your product. They’ll be empowered to apply what they learn to get the results they desire.

I was recently reminded of this technique when I bought a package of rosemary that said “Try the recipe inside!”

If I make the rosemary roasted potatoes from the package and share the food with dinner guests, they could potentially ask for the recipe and buy that brand of rosemary as well.

What do you think about viral content?

Let us know how you form individual connections with potential customers or collaborators.

Is “going viral” a major goal (or secret wish) every time you publish content?

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How to Build Relationships with Online Influencers (Without the Awkward)

"There is only one reason you should initiate a relationship with a content publisher — you genuinely enjoy their work." – Sonia Simone

We’ve been telling you there’s no great secret to search optimization, but that’s kind of a lie, isn’t it?

There is one not-so-secret ingredient that makes SEO work. It also makes social sharing work. Referrals, too.

I won’t be mysterious about it — it’s links. Links make the web go around. They’re why it’s called a web in the first place.

When good websites link to you, those links are votes of confidence. Get enough votes and you win.

The hard part? Getting enough of the right links, from the right people. To do that, you need two things:

  1. Great stuff to link to
  2. Relationships with solid web publishers

We hammer you endlessly with advice on #1. Today I’m going to talk a little bit about #2.

The most valuable asset you have

When you’re online, publishing content and interacting with your fellow humans, you develop a collection of what we can call assets.

You have a website, hopefully on your own domain. You probably have some social media accounts. An email list is invaluable. You might have a blog or a podcast or a YouTube channel.

But there’s one asset that’s more valuable than any of those — your reputation.

Do people know who you are? And if they do, do they want to spend more time with you?

If the answer to either question is largely No, you have a problem.

Reputations are built with content, but maintained with relationships. If you publish good work and you are a good, honorable, and trustworthy human being, your reputation will grow.

But before you can have relationships, you have to get connected in the first place.

Who are your content crushes?

There is only one reason you should initiate a relationship with a content publisher — you genuinely enjoy their work.

Don’t try to connect with web publishers because they have giant audiences or massive influence. Connect with the ones you have a “content crush” on — the ones building something you find exciting and juicy.

Some of these folks will probably have large audiences, because exciting work tends to attract a crowd. Some will have tiny audiences. Some have sites that are growing. Some have sites that are more active or less active.

You’re not going to try to become these folks. That would be weird and insulting. But you might try to find a place for yourself in their ecosystem.

What is it about their work that turns you on? Is it their values? Their approach to the topic? Their voice? Some combination of all of those?

When you take in a lot of exciting work, your own work becomes more exciting. Not because you’re copying, but because you’re inspired by different approaches to your subject.

Don’t suck up — just be nice

If your content crushes are decent human beings, they’re going to be a bit weirded out if you immediately head over to their site and start “squeeing all over your shoes,” to use Pace Smith’s fine phrase.

People who make content share all of the insecurities, preoccupations, and problems any of us have. Good people don’t like to be treated like deities.

So instead of making your content crushes into gods, geek out with them over your topic.

The subjects we write about make dandy subjects for good conversations. Talk about their post structure, the visual detail of those YouTube tutorials, or the epic over-the-topness of that last rant.

When you talk about the work, it’s interesting. When you talk about the topic, it’s engaging. When you talk about how awesome and amazing and godlike the person is, it’s just awkward.

We’ve all done the awkward squee thing. I certainly have. Try not to be embarrassed about what you might have done in the past — just move forward with a different approach in mind.

Find teachers

One thing about our content crushes is that a lot of them teach, either part-time or full-time.

Maybe they’re running a workshop or speaking at a conference. You won’t be able to make every one, but I bet you can make one or two a year. Meeting people in real life makes an impression that can’t be duplicated online, as much as I might love my cozy digital reality.

But we’re digital denizens, and online connections are an important part of how we connect. See if your content crush offers online classes somewhere. If they do, try to attend. You’ll get a much closer look at why their work looks like it does … and it can be a great place to share your own experience, to polish your craft, and maybe even show off a little.

Seek social playgrounds

As a writer, I admire the evocative, nimble, and hilarious writing of Gary Shteyngart.

I also admire Salman Rushdie’s multilayered verbal embroidery.

And one memorable afternoon on Twitter, I got to watch the pair of them play a game of writing handball, tossing tweets back and forth in a dizzying rush, playing with language at a sublime level.

Oh yeah, I fangirled. (Quietly.)

Social media sites make marvelous playgrounds for creative folks. Lots of writers love the compression and immediacy of Twitter. Visual artists naturally make homes on Pinterest and Instagram, but don’t overlook a more niche playground like Sktchy.

And good old Facebook has thriving groups for nearly any endeavor you can think of, from Activism to Zentangle.

Where do your content crushes go to play? You can go there, too. Often, you can even play in the same sandbox. Maybe you’ll make a connection with your content crush, and maybe you won’t. Either way, you’ll expand your ecosystem and find other rich relationships.

Which brings us to an important point:

An ecosystem is not made of two people

“Be kind to everyone on the way up; you’ll meet the same people on the way down.” – playwright Wilson Mizner

If you have a secret fantasy of you and your content crush sailing off into the sunset together, I won’t judge you. We’ve all been there.

But trying to connect only with that person, and ignoring everyone else in the room, is obnoxious. As you work on building relationships with your content crushes, you’re also building relationships with all the other folks in the ecosystem — and that’s often where you find the greatest value.

  • You’re connecting with their support teams. (Do not underestimate the value of this.)
  • You’re connecting with other students.
  • You’re connecting with the other writers or experts they work with.

Maybe you aren’t a brilliant expert in your own right … yet. That’s fine. Getting really good at your chosen content form is a matter of lots of deliberate practice.

Working (and playing) within a creative ecosystem makes that practice a lot more deliberate, and a lot more inspired. And as you grow, you’ll meet other folks to share your obsessions with. The relationships with those folks are part of your wealth.

Avoid these relationship killers

I would think all of these would go without saying, but … I have to tell you, people surprise me every day.

Relationships take time to build, but they can collapse in an instant. Wise relationship habits will help you keep the friendships that you form.

  • If someone in your ecosystem does something that bugs you, bring it up with them privately rather than bitching about it on Twitter.
  • Also avoid “Vaguebooking” — complaining on Facebook without naming names.
  • When you do get the chance to work with folks, meet your deadlines and keep your promises.
  • Don’t offer other sites second-rate work. Publish excellent material, everywhere you publish.
  • Don’t gossip. Trust me, it always, always gets back to the person you’re trashing.
  • If you do or say something that isn’t great (it happens), be brave, own up to it, and do what you can to make it right. Hiding from your mistakes just makes them worse.

You already know all of this, I’m sure, but reminders can be useful. :)

Circling back to SEO

So — now that you have a rich ecosystem of friends, acquaintances, and connections who are publishing content about your subject, you’ll just email them 10 or 15 times a week asking for links, right?

Yeah, you know that’s not the answer.

I don’t think you have to wait around hoping your content masterpiece will get noticed. But not everything you create is a masterpiece, either.

It’s fine to let your ecosystem know what you’re working on. It’s fine to point people to your content, as long as that isn’t all you do. You don’t want to be a self-promotional bore, but you also don’t want to be so polite that no one has the faintest idea what you do. Keep it balanced.

Remember, relationships are wonderful, but they’re just one side of the equation. If you don’t have something on your own site that’s truly worth linking to, you won’t get good links.

No one understands how to do this quite like Copyblogger’s founder, Brian Clark. And he’s going to be writing more specifically about exactly that on Monday. So stay tuned …

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Jordan Gray: How This Writer Turned His Passion For Relationships Into A $100,000+ A Year Online Blogging Business, Selling Digital Courses And Books On Amazon 

[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] You’re going to be amazed as you listen to this interview with Jordan Gray, to hear how technically un-savvy he was, yet built a fantastic online business despite the technological handicap. Jordan is a relationships coach. He…

The post Jordan Gray: How This Writer Turned His Passion For Relationships Into A $ 100,000+ A Year Online Blogging Business, Selling Digital Courses And Books On Amazon  appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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Jordan Gray: How This Writer Turned His Passion For Relationships Into A $100,000+ A Year Online Blogging Business, Selling Digital Courses And Books On Amazon 

[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] You’re going to be amazed as you listen to this interview with Jordan Gray, to hear how technically un-savvy he was, yet built a fantastic online business despite the technological handicap. Jordan is a relationships coach. He…

The post Jordan Gray: How This Writer Turned His Passion For Relationships Into A $ 100,000+ A Year Online Blogging Business, Selling Digital Courses And Books On Amazon  appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

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The 6-Step Process to Building Better Relationships With a Data-Driven Approach to Outreach

golden retriever puppy running alongside an English bulldog

Outreach is the art of connecting with bloggers or authors and building relationships through social media, email, or other online channels.

It’s a subject near and dear to my heart.

Earlier this year, I spoke about this topic at Authority Intensive, sharing the insights I learned while down in the trenches — building outreach teams from scratch, and seeing them lose opportunities to gain substantial visibility because of a lack of data-driven research and improper targeting.

Truly effective outreach is based upon deep research, relationship-building skills, and a fundamental understanding of SEO

To form the relationships you want, you need to customize each outreach campaign.

Unfortunately, outreach campaigns often fail when content marketers only perform surface-level research.

Here are six essential tips for conducting thorough outreach research that creates a foundation for ongoing, strong relationships.

1. Review outreach fundamentals

Data-driven research helps you identify relationships that are mutually beneficial.

There are several consistent, fundamental components of outreach execution:

  • Time
  • Data
  • Conversations
  • Relationship Maintenance
  • Value-Add

But one element is especially easy to neglect: Using data to hyper-target potential relationships.

When you perform outreach correctly, you form a mutually beneficial relationship.

2. Assess your value-add

The first question you should ask yourself when working on outreach is: “What’s your value-add?”

Notice the phrase “your value-add” rather than “their value-add.” This slight mental shift is an extremely important part of outreach.

You need to offer valuable information, including, but not limited to:

  • Original data and studies. Provide proprietary industry or consumer data, or studies in the form of stand-alone content.
  • Unique expertise. How can you help through Q&A sessions, live blogging, interviews, etc?
  • Exclusive resources. To appeal to a publisher or blogger, offer an information page that complements their research or interests.
  • Supplementary help. To initiate a relationship, present the assets you can contribute other than content.

3. Identify potential relationships

I heard somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. I find it extremely comforting that we’re so closely connected.

But building meaningful connections is not easy. You have to find the right six people to make the right connections.

Some teams fail because they search Google to find relevant publishers or bloggers — that’s basically busy work.

The best place to start is with the actual data from your website or your client’s website. Review:

  • Backlinks and mentions. Backlinks help you find authors or publishers who have covered you in the past. Mentions reveal discussions about your brand.
  • Competitors’ backlinks. Take advantage of tools like Majestic SEO to dig through their backlinks and mentions. Since you have similar audiences, use these sources to create a list of publishers or bloggers to contact.

Once you have a list of author and publisher websites, you should also mine:

  • Backlinks of the publishers’ websites. This will help you identify who shares their content.
  • Backlinks of those backlinks. This will help you identify their extended audience.
  • Authority metrics on the publications. Determine domain authority, citation trust, and citation flow scores of both small and large websites to help you decide who to work with.

The goal at this point is to make a large list that you can whittle down with the tools listed at the end of this post.

4. Learn about authors

Notice I wrote “authors” — not publishers, not the editorial staff. Authors.

Since you’re going to build relationships with authors, take time to understand them. Find out:

  • Who are they?
  • Where are they from?
  • Where did they go to school?
  • Where do they write?
  • What topics do they love to cover?
  • What are their interests outside of their industries?
  • Are they active on one particular network over another?
  • What are their temperaments?
  • What topics or brands do they love or hate?
  • How well does their content perform socially and organically?

In the screenshot below, I’ve pulled an example that shows basic data about an author who writes for The Next Web. You see URLs of posts he wrote for the specific publication, social metrics, and organic metrics, such as number of referring domains and backlinks.

Author Data Example

The data gives an overall view of whether or not the content performed well, or if specific topics resonated with the audience. Next, I usually check out comment engagement.

There are multiple tools that you can use to aggregate this information. BuzzSumo has quickly become my favorite tool because it allows you to view metrics and segment your search by types of content, specific authors, or URLs.

BuzzSumo Search

BuzzSumo also allows you to view metrics about other posts from that author, and SharedCount is a tool that quickly pulls social metrics. I use Majestic SEO to pull backlinks and referring domains.

BuzzSumo Authors

5. Make your cold market warm

Relationships always start out cold, but that doesn’t mean they can’t quickly become lukewarm with a little bit of effort.

You can find ways to genuinely connect with different authors, even if you don’t have any type of potential collaboration in mind.

Focus on building relationships that are both personal and professional:

  • Connect through social networks and blog post comments.
  • Share their content that you find interesting.
  • Talk about non-business topics.
  • Meet in real life at a conference or event — just make plans ahead of time so you are not relying on happenstance.

6. Drive success

Once you collaborate on a project with a particular author or publisher, your job isn’t done. Contribute to the success of the content.

Different techniques and strategies depend on individual situations, but here are a few examples.

Share across relevant networks

Find specific communities interested in the content produced from your collaboration. Do you know other authors who may want to share the content?

An author may find it useful to reference your research in an upcoming blog post or in a round-up post she shares with her audience or email list.

Paid social

You can boost a post on Facebook after you share the link. It’s inexpensive, and it helps get more eyeballs on the post, which can also result in more shares or organic links. 

Below is a screenshot of an example from one of my own previous local campaigns.

Facebook Boost Example

Discuss future collaborations

Suggest other ways you may be able to contribute content. When you provide unique value as an expert on a topic, you help the author with his or her editorial calendar.

What not to do

Relationships are delicate, so I’m going to arm you with several crucial tips to make sure you keep your relationships strong:

Don’t ask for multiple links

Some authors work for publications that have strict guidelines regarding links in content or author bios. Be respectful of that. Links should provide extra value and, of course, be relevant to the content.

Don’t cut off communication

Avoid a “said it and forget it” relationship. Remember what I said about building a personal and professional relationship. Treat it as such, and don’t neglect or end a relationship after a promise has been delivered.

Don’t offer multiple publishers the same article

This should be self-explanatory, especially if you promised exclusive content. Be careful not to break trust.

Don’t assume you know their audience

If there’s anything authors or publications hate, it’s having an outside party claim that their own content is perfect for a publication’s audience. If appropriate, reference other posts on their website that are similar to your proposed topic, but make sure you let them decide whether or not it’s the right fit.

Tool recommendations

I am a tool freak. I use a lot of them.

For the sake of not overwhelming you, I’ll share some of the key tools I use when putting together outreach research:

  • Majestic SEO — backlinks, backlink volume and metrics, mentions, and topical exploration.
  • NerdyData — a source code search engine that is limited without a paid subscription, but fun for sleuthing backlinks and mentions.
  • Open Site Explorer — backlink and mention exploration tools.
  • SharedCount — a free way to pull social metrics on bulk URLs.
  • BuzzSumo — social metrics for content and author sleuthing.
  • BuzzStream — an outlet for relationship building and PR.
  • Meshfire — tracks conversations and recommends who to follow and engage with to broaden your social relationships and opportunities.

[Editor's note: And don't forget, Scribe allows you to do in-depth keyword and social research right from the comfort of your WordPress dashboard.]

As a bonus, I’ve also put together an outreach research spreadsheet you can duplicate. 

It’s not an extensive tracking system, but it’s a great starting place that you can customize as you perform your own outreach research.

Over to you …

Have your current outreach techniques produced successes or failures?

How do you ensure that your relationships are mutually beneficial?

Let’s go over to Google+ and continue the discussion!

Editor’s note: If you found this post useful, we recommend that you also check out 5 Ways Listening to Community Data Can Expand Your Content Marketing Strategy by Shannon Byrne.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Douglas Sprott.

About the Author: Selena’s (caffeine induced) data-driven research and diverse execution experience allows her to create custom organic search strategies to help clients reach their goals. You can find her speaking at conferences, training, advising businesses, or focusing on SEO strategy consulting, content strategy, and social activation for events with her company, Orthris. You can contact her through her personal website, or via @selenavidya on Twitter.

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Why Savvy Marketers Build Affiliate Relationships with Bloggers

Having bloggers on your marketing team can keep your content flowing, but there are limits to their reach in terms audience perception.

Watch this interview from the MarketingSherpa Media Center at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition with Carolyn Kmet, Chief Marketing Officer, All Inclusive Marketing, to learn more about how recruiting bloggers as affiliates can expose your brand to fresh new audiences.

MarketingSherpa Blog

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Mobile App Marketing, App Retention, and Building Real Customer Relationships

Posted by robiganguly

Mobile app growth is stunning (and changing your business)

As I shared in a prior post about inbound marketing for mobile, the growth of the app ecosystem is simply extraordinary. A few weeks ago we learned that total app store downloads have eclipsed 100 billion with no signs of slowing down. The tremendous growth in this ecosystem is a testament to something that every marketer needs to understand:

Your customers are all moving to mobile.

Whether it’s the mobile web or mobile apps (the chart below tells us it’s all mobile apps these days), the evidence that consumers are flocking to their mobile devices is overwhelming. As a marketer, our first task is to find where our audience is and where it’s going.

Today, the answer to both questions is increasingly: mobile.

Mobile’s unique properties present us with a new set of marketing opportunities — new ways to learn about and connect with our potential customers. To name a few:

  • Because your mobile customers are treating their phones like extensions of themselves (check out this recent Pew Internet study), they have invited us into a more personal and immersive aspect of their lives.

  • This new dynamic means that we, as marketers, can develop truly deep connections with our customers through digital channels.

  • The kinds of relationships we have been able to foster in person are now possible through software.

This very personal device has a downside

There are some meaningful challenges to the mobile app channel, however. The market for apps is already extremely crowded. The quality bar continues to rise rapidly and the era of the “get rich quick” apps has long since passed.

Because consumers download so many apps on a regular basis, they’re very used to abandoning your software and maybe even deleting it. As a result, the largest problem in the mobile app ecosystem is really app retention. Within 3 months, over 3/4 of your customer base is gone, never to be seen again.

The Mobile App Retention problem is massive - most customers are gone in 90 days

With average pay-per-install prices costing over $ 1.50, the shape of this retention curve is really disheartening to app marketers. It means that a lot of installs are going wasted and customers aren’t really happy (one huge reason why mobile app tracking rules).

In thinking through this problem and working with thousands of app publishers, we’ve come to realize that there’s a simple equation behind each and every business in the mobile app space. We find that it’s a helpful way of understanding how to grow and build your business. Understanding the math of the app business helps marketers, product managers and mobile business owners prioritize their investments in order to grow their business.

The Math of the App Business: a powerful equation for breaking down your core app business drivers

In today’s mobile environment, many marketers are myopically focused on the installation number. While that input is important and a very strong reason to invest in a proper App Store SEO strategy, our equation clarifies that it is but one of three crucial components. App marketers need to be more focused on:

So, how do you grow your app’s retention?

As the CEO of a mobile app feedback and engagement company, I get to talk to a lot of mobile teams about the problems they face on the retention and monetization side of the business. There are several key ways in which innovators are increasing mobile retention and driving meaningful business results.

Analytics and iteration

Many app publishers are working with analytics packages from Google, Flurry, Kontagent, or New Relic in order to better understand their customers’ behavior inside the app. By creating various events to track specific actions taken and watching the breadcrumbs of data left behind from consumer interactions, app publishers are able to get a much better sense of what happens once they’ve launched their app. Using that data helps identify places of popularity and places of exit. Using analytics to drive iteration on the product is a helpful piece of growing your retention numbers.

Consumer Engagement

Consumer engagement is a phrase that’s used often these days but that requires more specificity in order to truly be helpful to app marketers. Engaging with your customers helps you make a product that will drive better retention, higher customer satisfaction and inform your product roadmap. In the mobile app world, there are 3 important ways in which you can connect with your customers:

  1. Feedback: Listening to your customers and making it incredibly easy for them to give you feedback is a must-have for every app. There are people who are willing to look for a way to talk with you and tell you what they like, what they’d like improved and what is causing confusion already. These are your most engaged customers. Embracing and empowering them drives their investment in your app and company even higher.

  2. Customer research: Every company with an app has a built-in audience of customers to conduct research with and learn from. Tapping into that audience for specific research (i.e. Did this product feature land as we expected it to? What are the demographics of our audience?) is an important engagement mechanism that often informs the product, marketing, and executive teams at the same time as involving customers in the betterment of the product. These involved customers tend to stick around a lot longer.

  3. Targeted and personalized communications: Because mobile is such a personal experience, the old methods of communicating with customers (email blasts to your list, direct mail to everyone, advertising spend to find your audience) are not nearly as useful. More importantly, in the face of the tactics others are using, they make your brand look a bit clueless. Instead, it’s possible to communicate with your mobile customers based upon the actions they take, the groups that they fall into and the questions they ask of you. Using intelligent in-app communications to generate conversations and follow-up in a personalized manner allow your brand to deliver a 1:1 experience for every consumer, which brings them back to your app on a regular basis.

Interested in more specific resources about driving retention?

We’ve scratched the surface about the retention problem and how to address it, but there’s a lot more in the way of resources out there for mobile marketers. Here are a few that are helpful and specific:

Retention’s downstream impacts:

In addition to driving up the retention aspect of the app business equation, increased retention actually fuels two significant long-term benefits, illustrating how interconnected each of these components are:

Boosting downloads

When apps increase their retention, their overall audience grows. As a result of the growth in their audience they end up with better app store performance because their larger, happier customer base is more likely to talk about them and share great ratings and reviews in the app store. In addition, the larger, more engaged audience is more likely to spread the word with their friends about the app. A more engaged, larger audience proves to be a significant engine for organic download growth.

Understanding your customers better

In order to drive higher retention, marketers need to understand their customers better and develop better relationships with them. The side effect of the work required in order to get to know customers better is that you understand the language that customers use and the things that customers care about most. Using that understanding to shape your further marketing efforts can yield significant increases in efficacy because you’re using customers’ language instead of your own. Very few things are as powerful as speaking to someone in their own words.

The deeper goal: meaningful customer relationships

Ultimately, mobile marketers should be focused on developing long-term value for their clients and brands. Through the mobile channel’s unparalleled ability to deliver a personal experience and the opportunity to be with a customer everywhere they go, the notion of lifetime value (LTV) has become even more important. As inbound marketers, many of us have felt first-hand the effects of measuring traffic sources and understanding that the most relevant, invested, interested customers are our most profitable customers. We are past the days of trying to acquire every customer possible and have moved on to doing much more value-oriented great marketing, marketing which invites our customers into an ongoing conversation that is more give and take and less broadcast and pray.

When you create meaningful relationships with customers, customers see your company as a more human organization, one capable of listening and learning. Along with this more personal perception comes a more robust public image — consumers give your company leeway and understand that you will make mistakes along the way. Developing organizational tolerance for mistakes extends to your customer base: a deeper understanding of the people behind the app helps you keep your base of supporters on board when you make mistakes.

Because of the mobile device’s always on, “five minutes of use at a time” paradigm, it’s incredibly important to try and become a habit of some sort for your consumers. By putting a personal face and voice to your communications with customers, you’re more likely to earn that habitual usage of your app, resulting in outstanding performance.

Finally, a bonus: presenting the case

We know that as marketers many of you struggle to make the case for new initiatives, investments and strategies inside of your organization. Often the question of where to put resources comes down to an analysis of cost/benefit or, put another way, ROI. As we’ve worked with a number of companies where this has been an important piece of the puzzle, we’ve created a simple sample equation you can use to highlight the benefits of investing in customer retention and happiness.

In this example, we’re making very conservative assumptions about the impacts on installs and retention and not even assuming any impact on ARPU. Many businesses find that their happiest customers spend 1000% or more of the average consumer, so this is a place where a lot of ROI is uncovered over time as well.

Feel free to borrow it for your own purposes, we hope it’ll help you grow your business and be more successful.

Finally, please let me know in the comments if you have other tips for making the case for customer engagement and retention or if you’ve employed other tactics that I haven’t mentioned.

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Using Twitter for Link Relationships – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by RuthBurr

Link building outreach can be really difficult and unpleasant. I've always hated the tactic of emailing site owners and asking for links; it feels awkward, doesn't work very well, and requires a lot of time and effort. One of my favorite things about our modern world is that with social media, it's possible to form real relationships with people you don't already know. By the time you ask for a link or a share, you're not just some creeper just emailing out of the blue asking for a favor; you're viewed a friend whom they trust to provide value and not spam them.

I recently spoke at PubCon Las Vegas about my tactics for finding link targets online and building relationships with them using my favorite social media platform, Twitter. This is a strategy that I've been able to use in the past to completely replace sending "link ask" emails. For my very first-ever Whiteboard Friday, I want to share these tactics and the tools I use to do them with you! This is a strategy that takes some time and effort to set up and execute, but it can result in a set of social connections you can use to get links and promote your content again and again. Please pardon my occasional coughing – cold season has really hit the Mozplex hard this year.

Video Transcription

"Howdy SEOmoz fans. My name is Ruth Burr, and I'm the Lead SEO here at SEOmoz. Today is my first Whiteboard Friday. Today we are going to talk about using Twitter to build relationships for links. This is my favorite link building tactic, and it something that I recently talked about at Pubcon 2012. I wanted to share it with our awesome community as well. So here we go.

Some caveats for using this strategy before we get started. This is not a strategy that is going to work unless you are already creating and have a strategy around good content. Content is still king, and this strategy is only going to work if you are creating unique, compelling, sharable content. There's a ton of other resources out there, including on SEOmoz about how to do that. So we're not going to talk about that today.

Second of all, it's important to be real and to be realistic. What that means is that you're not going to have a lot of success with this tactic if you're starting out with a brand new Twitter account with no followers, or if you tweeting in a style that's very corporate. You really want to have an established account that you've got an existing voice for that can be conversational, because what you are really looking for here is to make friends almost. You're building real relationships with real people.

The other part of being realistic is to be realistic when we are talking about selecting our link target. So, no matter how many times you tweet @
Barack Obama, you're probably not going to get a link from Whitehouse.gov. That's okay, but it's important to be realistic if you want this strategy to work.

So caveats in place, let's get started. So the first think that we're going to want to do when we're thinking about a Twitter focused link building strategy is still the fact that what we want is links. Some social strategies are more focused around shares or around finding influencers. If we want to do that, that's great. It's not a bad thing, but really we want to focus on building relationships with people who can publish content somewhere and give you a link.

So we start out actually just doing that same sort of link prospecting that you're probably pretty used to right now. You go into OSE. You look at your backlinks. You look at your competitor's backlinks. You look at sites that are similar to yours that you want links from, maybe look at who linked to them. You get a list of websites. That's a great first step.

From there, what I really like to do is visit each of those sites and see if they have a blog role or a list of their favorite sites, because those are really great targets if you want to build relationships with people. They're basically saying to you, "Here are some sites where my attention already is. Here are some people that if you talk to them, I'm going to know." You can be like, "Oh, you know them? I love them." It really can build credibility. Plus a lot of those sites are also going to be good link targets in and of themselves.

So I like to use a tool called Multi Links. It's free. It's a Firefox plug-
in. It's great. What that allows you to do is highlight any section of a page, and it will copy the links within the highlighted section to your clipboard so then you can just easily paste them into Microsoft Excel or Google Docs or whatever spreadsheet program you might want to use.

So now you've got this great list of sites that link and sites you want links from. From there, you just have to get their Twitter handles. Most websites now have Twitter information in their Contact Us. You can either take a day and just go through manually, or if you have like an intern, maybe that is something he or she could do.

What I've done in the past is just build a simple PHP scraper, which will find the Twitter.com links that contain their handles and just scrape those out. But if you're not the scraper building kind, which not everybody is, you can also just do it manually. It takes some time, but we're investing. We're investing in strategies for the future. So that's step one of finding your targets, is you found websites, and then you found the Twitter handles that go with those websites.

Step two we're actually going to do the same thing, but in reverse. We're going to use Followerwonk. Yay Followerwonk, which you should all have subscriptions to with your SEOmoz Pro account. It's the best tool. I used it before SEOmoz bought it. So there.

What you're going to do is look for your target. So Followerwonk allows you to search for people's Twitter bios based on keywords. So maybe you're looking for architects. Maybe you're specifically looking for architects who live in New York. You can search on their keywords. You can search locations. But again, because what we're looking for here is publishers, we want to make sure that we're only looking at profiles that have a URL associated with the profile.

A really easy way to do that is to just put .com and nothing else in the URL box when you're searching on Followerwonk. That will bring back any account with your keywords that have a .com URL. You can do the same with
.org or .net if you want .net links. Whatever you want to do, but that's a really great way to bring back a broad selection of people, most of whom will probably have some kind of publishing power associated with that site, or know somebody who does.

You can also take your initial list from step one and plug it into Followerwonk's compare and contrast function, which will allow you to see who are the people who follow Profile A as opposed to Profile B as opposed to Profile C. People who follow those people are probably good people to target as well.

An even better set of targets are the people that all of these people also follow. Again, they all follow Barack Obama. Barack Obama is not going to link to you. It's okay. You're still special. But again, be realistic. You can pull up a whole extra list of Twitter handles, and that would be your target.

So now you're going to put them into Twitter. You're going to create a private list so nobody else knows that you are like, "This is my link target list." Make sure that's private.

Now it's time to actually talk to them and build relationships. Again, this is something that is going to take time. It's not going to happen overnight. So this is something you should be doing in conjunction with your other link building and content building strategies, but over time it can be really successful.

So you're going to talk to them. Just start talking to people every day. Some things that you might say to them, you could share their stuff. You want them to share your stuff, start by sharing their stuff, because sharing is caring.

You could also say, "Hey, you're really great." Don't just say, "Hey
@RuthBurr, you're really great." I'm going to be like, "Hey." Instead, while you're sharing my stuff, maybe say, "Awesome post from @RuthBurr, very insightful." Then I'll see that and I am like, "Oh, I'm insightful. I like you." That's what you want. Compliments are good. People like to feel important. They like to feel special. They like to feel cool.

A really great tactic for this, and this is something that can also inform your content strategy is to answer a question. So every day when you're doing your tweets, you can look in your special link target list, and just do a quick search for question words – who, what, where, when, why, is there, why isn't there – and spend some time answering questions if you can.

Again, what you really are trying to say is you're trying to provide some value. You're trying to build a good relationship. Make them think that you're cool. So if you have a good answer to a question, provide it. If you know of a resource that they're asking for, provide it. If no such resource exists, "Hey, I've got a great content idea for you. Why don't you create that resource." Now when they're like, "Why isn't there a guide for pet owners who are also gluten free," you can be like, "There is. I've created it. It's right here. There you go."

Number four, one of my favorite things to do is to introduce people to other people. You can be like, "Hey so-and-so, do you know this guy? He's awesome and I think you guys would really like each other." A suggestion that seems totally altruistic, all you're trying to do is connect people to other people. People might make a new friend or get a new resource or make a new contact, and they get something out of it. Again, you're reinforcing the idea that you are somebody who's providing value online.

You're doing all of this stuff and over time you want to track who are the people who are responding to this. Who are the people saying, "Hey, thanks for sharing," or, "That was a great tip"? Over time you are really going start to figure out who are the people who are responding that you're actually building a relationship with? Who are the people that are not picking up what you're putting down? If they are not picking up what you're putting down, take them out of the list, stop targeting them, move on.

Now you've spent some time building relationships. You can discreetly and tastefully ask them to share your content. We're not talking about carpet bombing your entire list one day with, "Hey, check out my new infographic."
But when you create a piece of content that you think some of your Twitter relationships would like say, "Hey check this out, I think you would like it." Don't say, "Please link." Don't say, "Hey could you link to me."
That's creepy. People don't like it unless they're your really good friends.

Instead try, "Hey, check this out. Thought you'd like this. See what you think." People if they like it, if you're creating good content, you make them aware of it, and they naturally share it especially because you've already planted the seeds in their minds that what you're providing is valuable.

Now this all sounds like it's going to take a lot of time, and this part does take a lot of time. This is the part that you really invest a couple of days in. But this part can be done in just 15 minutes or half an hour a day. All you do is go online, go on Twitter for 15 minutes. Spend five minutes replying to stuff, five minutes retweeting and sharing other people's stuff, and five minutes talking about your own stuff.

When you do that, it's really easy, and you get a nice variety. Don't do it at the same time every day, because people tend to use Twitter the same time every day. If you mix up the times that you're doing it, you're going to target more of your overall list. You don't have to talk to everybody every day. Just try to talk to some people. Try to get to everybody once a week. Whatever feels natural. Just talk to some people every day, and over time you'll build these relationships. Then when you create your really great pieces of content, you have people you can ask to share, check it out, link to it, and you get links and shares and friends.

Thank you."

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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