Category : Mobile Marketing

Google Mobile Penalty

How to Get Ready for Google’s Mobile Annihilation

Google announced back in August 2016 that it will begin to devalue web pages in mobile search with intrusive interstitials as of January 10, 2017. Going forward, Google recommends using interstitials on mobile pages that only take up a “reasonable” amount of screen space.

Here is an example of what Google considers to be “intrusive”:

Google gave site owners plenty of time to prepare for the update, but in case you have not yet done so, I have rounded up 10 pieces of expert advice that will ensure your web pages are not affected by this penalty.

How to Avoid Google’s Mobile Interstitials Penalty.
Advice from Google.
The first piece of advice comes from none other than Google itself. Here’s how Google defines the penalty:.

” To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”.
Takeaway: Content on the pages you have indexed in mobile search must be readily available when a user clicks through to the page from Google.

Be Honest With Yourself: Do Your Pop-Ups Serve a Purpose?
Ben Silverman from Brafton Marketing shares this advice:

” The easiest way to avoid the mobile interstitial and pop-up penalty is to think like Google, whose main objective is to make the internet more accessible, browsable, intuitive and honest, especially for mobile browsers. This means there are some exceptions to Google’s pop-up policy: If yours serves a real, honest purpose, chances are you’ll be okay.”.
Takeaway: Some pop-ups are still acceptable if they are either required by law, such as age verification, or if they don’t detract from the main content on the page, such as a small banner at the top.

Hiding Content With Ads is Now Against Google Guidelines.
The Verge shares this advice:

” For the most part, Google is targeting overlays that gray out the content beneath them to prevent you from reading a website, either for a few seconds or until you find and very carefully tap a little X to dismiss them.”.
Takeaway: Publishers may not be happy about this, but ads that are displayed over top of the main content are no longer acceptable. This includes ads that appear when you land on a page, as well as ads that appear as you scroll down a page. There should be no barrier preventing a user from reading content on the page at any time.

Ad Publishers Need to Adapt and Look Into New Strategies.
HubSpot’s Senior Product Marketing Manager, Marcus Andrews, shares this advice:

” … if they haven’t done so already, marketers solve for mobile SEO. The pain that comes with changing a revenue model is inevitable, but shorter-term– and businesses that rely on advertiser dollars, should figure out ways to make money that doesn’t totally disrupt the mobile user experience.”.
Takeaway: Removing revenue-generating interstitials might hurt at first, but losing organic search traffic could hurt even more. Site owners must adapt and look for non-intrusive ways to generate revenue.

Develop a Content Marketing Strategy for Generating Revenue.
Sitepoint shares this advice:

” The consistent creation and distribution of relevant content attracts users without beating them with a hard-sell stick. Use content– including blog posts, round-ups, guides, videos, infographics, and more– to educate audiences and guide them through the buying process.”.
Takeaway: Since the goal of Google’s interstitials penalty is to make content more accessible, use that to your advantage. Develop a content marketing strategy to sell users on your products and services, rather than intrusive pop-up ads.

Mobile-Friendly Label is Being Removed for All Sites, But Being Mobile-Friendly Still Matters.
Syed Balkhi of OptinMonster shares this advice:

” The first part of the announcement that a lot of journalists skipped over is that the “mobile-friendly” label that Google is currently displaying in search results will be removed for everyone on January 10, 2017 … Since over 85% of all pages in mobile search results now meet the criteria, they will be removing the label for everyone.”.
Takeaway: Google will no longer consider pages with intrusive interstitials as being mobile-friendly, but don’t panic once you don’t see the “mobile-friendly” label next to your content in search results. The label is being removed for everyone, although being mobile friendly is still as important as it has ever been.

Intrusive Interstitials Not Allowed on Mobile, But Desktop is Still OK.
Icegram shares this advice:

” Use display targeting rules in your popup/ interstitial program, and show them only on desktop/ larger screens. Don’t use pop-ups and interstitials on mobile. Instead use smaller messages like banners, inlines or slide ins.”.
Takeaway: You don’t have to remove intrusive pop-up ads and interstitials altogether, you only need to remove them on mobile pages. They can still be displayed on desktop browsers without incurring any kind of penalty.

Check Your WordPress Plugins.
Sarah Gooding of WP Tavern shares this advice:

” WordPress users who use plugins to display pop-up messages, whether it’s for coupons, membership offers, promotions, or another form of advertising, will want to carefully review Google’s size guidelines or consider a different approach for reaching visitors.”.
Takeaway: If you use WordPress plugins to display interstitials, staying in compliance with Google’s new guidelines may be as simple as adjusting sizes using the plugin settings. Remember, keep them small and non-obtrusive. Content should be the main focus of the page.

Interstitials Triggered by Exit Intent Are Still Allowed.
Google’s John Mueller shared this advice when asked if the penalty would apply to pages with an interstitial triggered on exit intent:.

What we’re looking for is really interstitials that show up on the interaction between the search click and going through the page and seeing the content. That’s kind of the place we’re looking for those interstitials.
Takeaway: Interstitials triggered by exit intent are perfectly fine. Google is only targeting interstitials that appear when a user lands on a page.

Page-to-Page Interstitials Will Not Be Penalized.

Takeaway: Google is not looking to penalize all pages with interstitials, only the ones which searchers can land on from search results. It’s still OK to display an interstitial when a user navigates from one of your pages to another.

Conclusion.
Google is always looking for new ways to improve the search experience. There are both positive and negative aspects to this update– site owners just have to keep rolling with Google’s proverbial punches.

Marketing Automation Image

How to Organize Your Content for After a Holiday, Before

So, it’s the week after Christmas…

At the moment, you’re probably frantically following up on emails and organizing the rest of your week to MAYBE get out early on Friday (New Year’s Eve)…

Well, you’re not alone!

However, there is a much better way to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks and you can ring in the New Year without a worry in the world!

You’re about to read about some HIGHLY effective ways to organize your content following a Holiday so that you can rest easy knowing that your boss or customers are taken care of. How?

A content strategy AND automation.

What’s that?

Automation is basically defined as your business activities being programmed to be distributed at a given time in the future without you needing to be present. Of course, there are varying forms of automation, however, this is a very simple explanation.

And a content strategy or calendar is a tool that you use to organize what content is to be distributed on a certain day, week, etc.

Social media platforms like Facebook or email marketing platforms like MailChimp give us the opportunity to schedule posts that can be broadcasted in the future like for the rest of the week or two weeks, or whatever the period of time may be. 

Let’s say that you’re in charge of social media marketing for your business and you are taking a few extra days off after the Holiday, but your job still needs to get done. You have a ton of posts or emails (if you’re in charge of email marketing, etc.) that need to go out immediately following the Holiday and you’re not there…what do you do??

Try this…

Take a few hours prior to the Holiday and decide what content needs to be distributed on which day. Once you have decided on your Facebook content strategy, head over to Facebook (or whichever social media platform and/or your email marketing tool like Constant Contact) and begin pre-programming your content! (How to use Facebook Scheduling Tool)

This will obviously make your life considerably easier AND your business (or company that you work for) will run smoothly, even in your absence!

Automation is here and it’s the future. It allows us to be more productive while giving us more time to do more for our business or company that we work for.

Either way, you’re going to look pretty darn good to your boss or clients 🙂

 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Alex, MPeMG

Co-Founder & CMO

www.MPeMG.com

 

Push Notifications WITHOUT an App??

Hey There!

I want to thank you for engaging with the Push Notification program! You will not be disappointed.

If you have a smart phone, tablet, and/or computer, you will have the ability to receive push notifications!

Now, you’re probably wondering, “What is a push notification?”

Great question…

Simply put, a Push Notification is an “alert” that a business owner or service provider sends out to their audience when they want to share new content or a sale of sorts.

Traditionally, if you wanted to use Push Notifications to reach out to your lists, you HAD to have a developer build you an app. We’ve all seen and used apps, however, what most people don’t know is that an app can run up a bill of $6,000 – $10,000!! That’s a big price tag.

We know that adapting to the Digital Marketing space is imperative to any business who wants to continue to achieve growth! After all, there isn’t a business on the planet that would refuse growth and more revenue, right?

Having said all that, we thought to ourselves, there’s got to be another way to harness this amazing tool and not have to spend thousands on app development!

Well, luckily, we were able to design a Push Notification platform without the need of an app! You read that correctly. And I will gladly give you the fun details in this document.

So without further ado, enjoy reading about our Push Notification system hack!

What Is a “POP” Notification & How Does It Work?

A “POP” Notification (or Push Notification) is a small pop-up that appears on the user’s computer desktop screen or on their mobile device. This notice will contain a title, a short message, and a link to follow.

Push Notification Image

These particular notifications appear above just down from the top of the user’s phone, but it could appear anywhere on a desktop, usually in a corner.

We wanted to incorporate the desktop side of the market because it opens up another 41% of prospects for businesses. Think about it, where do we spend the majority of our day between 8 & 5? Mostly in front of a computer screen! So, we decided to design code to implement for businesses to reach desktop users as well!

Unlike other forms of messaging, push notifications deliver an immediate prompt for the user to take action, and this notice appears right on their mobile device/desktop regardless of whether or not their browser is open.

A few weeks ago, the folks at Kahuna released some great data showing that up to 60% of users opt-out of push notifications. Now they’re releasing some new data on the click-through rates of push notifications, showing the differences between app categories and breaking down the reasons why some apps are so much stronger than others. They were gracious enough to share this data for the first time, as a guest post  on here – you can get in touch with the author, Alli Brian or Adam Marchick, Kahuna’s CEO.

The best apps know how to use push notifications to their advantage. They’ve figure out how to make their service part of their users’ daily routine, and they leverage push as a vehicle to do this.

Recent data from Kahuna reveals that push engagement rates vary widely across industries – utility and financial services apps seeing the highest performance, and retail and social experiencing the worst. Here’s a comprehensive look at the state of push engagement rates, as well as a roadmap for getting back on track if your app is trailing behind.

Here’s the data:

  • User engagement with these notifications (when appropriately timed) can be off the charts – as high as 80% increase!
  • Kahuna data reveals that customizing delivery time based on user preference results is an average conversion uplift of 384%.
  • Restaurants & retail are seeing a bump of over 37% in revenue once Push Notifications are properly implemented says, MailChimp.
  • Complex & invasive opt-in forms for IN-APP Push Notifications can increase opt-OUT rates by up to 40%…however, LOOKY does not operate within the structure of an app! Lucky you!
  • Because “POP” Notifications are on mobile and desktop, your “open rate” is always 100%! Before LOOKY, the best open rate for another digital marketing platform was email marketing at 44%.

To help you see the HUGE value of Push or POP Notifications, we wanted to give you a run down of engagement rates from other forms of Digital Marketing platforms:

Email Marketing

Email Marketing is the most widely used medium online. And statistically, is boasts a 44 to 1 ROI on every email sent, if programed properly.  So, we send emails to our customer list, advertising products and services, and ask our readers to take action.

While this method is “tried-and-true,” there are a few problems

with email as a method for getting our audience to take action.

There is often a few hours between when your customer receives the email

and when they act on it, not to mention that the average individual receives over 144 emails per day! I, personally, see twice that amount in just one day. So, you can imagine how some emails that you send out may get lost in the shuffle.

I’ll send an email out at 4pm, but most of the opens will occur between 6pm and 9pm. If I were sending out a time-sensitive message that I needed my audience to act on right now, most of them will miss this window!

Then there is also the matter of deliverability. Many emails simply do not make it to the customer’s primary inbox. Some will end up in the spam folder and how often do you personally check the spam folder? The end result is a missed message, and no action by your reader.

Email Marketing is a fantastic source of online marketing, however, if not done properly, you’re in for a long customer process!

Social Media

This is a very effective relationship building tool; however for time sensitive calls-to-action, Social media is an extremely poor solution unless you have cash in your marketing budget to put behind paid traffic solutions like AdWords or Facebook Ads.

While the audience tends to spend a lot of time on these platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram,) most of them are not in a “buying mode.” Why? Because the rule of thumb (determined by social algorithms) is to share content 80% of the time and only sell 20% of the time. This way, your audience won’t unfollow you, but they see you as a credible source that they rely on for information.

And you should know that these social media platforms have terrible response rates. You’re often looking at somewhere south of a 1% response from your audience (However, it will be slightly more if you are engaging with any sort of paid traffic solution).

Social Media will best serve as your brand-building / reputation management platform, having a dialogue with them, rather than a notification or prompt for a call to action that will have a higher response rate.

SMS / MMS Marketing

I love SMS and have built quite an offline business servicing local restaurants & bars with SMS marketing. The reason this works is because most SMS will be read and addressed in the first couple of minutes after the message arrives on the audience’s device. VERY effective, right??

The problem is the limited way a person can follow-through on the action you ask them to take in a text message. There is no convenient way to act on an SMS / MMS in a timely fashion. Think about it. You send a promotional text message when the user is driving, or happens to be at work. If the action you’re asking them to take involves buying something, they are not going to pull off to the side of the road to make the transaction.

That user has to go back and take action on the message later. SMS is good for an in-the-moment prompt; like something that notifies the user, but it can’t ask them to take action during a moment in time.

A weekend long sale is a great example for SMS or MMS marketing because its a prolonged time allotment so that the user have time to plan around that notification.

Mobile Push Notifications (Different from our system)

Push notices are a powerful tool for reaching your mobile audience. It is an instant alert that pops up on the device’s screen, and sits in the notification tray of the device until cleared or takes the immediate action.

I’ve also done Push campaigns for my food service and nightlife clients and they delivered great response rates; however, you can typically only reach one audience – mobile users. Push notifications do not allow you to target your desktop users, which are about half of your audience, especially if they are at work like we mentioned earlier.

Desktop Notifications

So now that we’ve gone over the other notification mediums, what have you learned?

Well, we know that email is a great method, but can only target people who are available to act immediately on your message, providing they receive that message. And we see social media as more of a relationship management tool due to extremely low response rates. SMS has incredible uses and benefits, but doesn’t allow an easy way for the user to follow upon your offer. Likewise, Push messages affect only mobile users, require the user to be free to act, and ignores almost 50% of any audience.

Small Businesses Tend To Ignore 50% Of Their Audience When Using Digital Marketing Tactics

This gap is filled by using Desktop Notifications because it targets the users who are able to act right this second. It requires an Opt-in action, so it reduces complaints and qualifies our audience as someone who is interested. Having an interest is the first step you need your audience to take. These notices also allow the user to follow up on your offers, and it reaches 100% of the interested audience if they are available.

And get this:

Nobody in the mainstream sphere of offline marketing and online promotions are using desktop notification. This means that the environment for this medium is way less noisy than the others you and I discussed earlier.

It is a less crowded space, so notifications for your offer (or your client projects) can stand out in a sea of emails, text messages, and social media posts.

Put simply, desktop notifications drive traffic to your website projects and promotions in a creative and refreshing way.

And get this, too!

Business owners love a novel solution when they see it. The tired sales pitches of social media managers and SEO “wizards” is all noise to the business owner who has become deaf to these over-used tactics and offers.

Pro Tip: Novelty is a curiosity magnet. The power of novelty cannot be over-stated. Novelty can get people interested in things they normally would not have considered. This gives you the chance to hook them into a sales pitch, handle their objections, and make a sale.

Come at an audience with a fresh new solution with some real benefits (I’ll go over these in the sales pitch section) and you’ll earn yourself a client, customer, or sale.

Desktop notifications can drive web site traffic to your blog, and drive sales for your online products. They can be used to drive traffic to review videos that sell affiliate or white label products. They also drive customers to a business’ website or even compel the reader to walk through the front door of that business.

The uses of these notifications are practically endless. Any project that requires an audience to act now will benefit from them.

You have to understand that many of the businesses that would buy a Web Push service cannot afford nor have an interest in mobile applications.

We’re targeting companies that have an aversion to these mobile apps, and instead offering Web Push as a much more obtainable and practical solution.

If you are interested in increasing your audience engagement, while maintaining a FAIR cost, we are looking to engage with you as well! We whole heartedly believe in the power of this platform and encourage you to implement this process in your business ASAP!

We only have 25 slots left for this engagement engine so we would not recommend waiting…

Talk Soon!

Google Local Ads

What You Need to Know About Google Ads Coming to the “Local Pack”

We all know that mobile searches…well, mobile everything is certainly making waves, however, local searches are growing 50 percent faster than mobile searches overall.

Which is a really good development for small and local business. Whether you’re an eCommerce operation or you’re a brick & mortar business, local optimization can be crucial to your growth for the near future.

Important Local SEO review:

Now, why are we telling you this? Well, if you’re new to the local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) realm, having your business optimized on a local scale can mean more business faster & more easily than traditional SEO that may bring your consumers from all over who are searching for your terms or what your business does.

Since becoming a prominent marketing strategy, Local optimization has become extremely competitive.

For example, when a consumer would search for a product or service, but inserted a geo-tag along with the rest of the search, Google’s algorithm would see that as you trying to find goods and services closest to you and therefore, you were scouring the local market closest to you that would be able to facilitate your need on a local scale.

Now that we think about it, who wouldn’t want to search for their desired outcome locally, right? It just makes sense.

Well, Google thought so as well. So, after adding the geo-tag, Google would bring up what they called the “7-Pack” into your search results, where you would have the top 7 LOCAL goods or service providers to fulfill your need. Sounds amazing, right? By just being semi-locally optimized, you may only have to compete with 6 other local providers for that sale. You’re probably thinking, that’s a heck of a lot easier than on a national scale (as with some traditional SEO strategies).

Google 3-Pack Ads

 

As we all know Google wants to make life as easy as possible for the consumer, however, they also cut local businesses a break to! When conducting a local search, consumers would be supplied with only 3 search results now or the “3-Pack.” Sounds even too good to be true to local businesses, right? In a sense, yes, however, now Google is saying that you must be as locally optimized possible for us to place you in the “3-Pack” of local search.

So, the local optimization craze was boosted even further, however, recently, there has been a HUGE change…

Google Ads to Local Pack

On June 21st, at the SMX Advanced Local Workshop, Google confirmed that ads are coming to the Local Pack. The timing and precise appearance/placement are to be determined.

During the pre-conference Workshop, Google’s Global Product Lead for Local Ads, Ali Turhan, discussed some of the new AdWords features as they pertain to local. Among them, he showed a screen shot (below), which Joy Hawkins tweeted, but which is not officially authorized for distribution at this point.

First Look At Google Ads to 3-Pack

The image (above) showed a smartphone featuring a local 3-pack. The top listing was an ad, followed by two organic listings. Turhan said that this had been shown at Google’s Performance Summit in San Francisco several weeks ago. However, the announcement had not been part of any of the keynotes.

Turhan, who did an extensive Q&A with the audience, explained that Google was still testing, and the ultimate result might be different from what he showed. Accordingly, it’s possible (though Turhan didn’t say this) that there might be a Local Pack ad and three organic listings. However, that wasn’t what the screen shot reflected.

For the top Local Pack listing to be an ad is obviously a major development, especially in a local-mobile search context.

Google has experimented with ads in Google Maps off and on for years. But in the “mobile first” era, it’s getting much more serious about ads on Maps.

Among a number of announcements coming out of Google’s Performance Summit today, the company is introducing the “next generation of local search ads” on Google and Google Maps (apps and mobile web). The company is also bringing what it calls more “branded and customized experiences” for marketers to Google Maps.

Recently, it began showing ads in the Local Finder. Now, the company is introducing “promoted pins” or “promoted locations” on Maps (below). Users will see branded pins along their route or nearby. It’s worth noting that Mapquest has done this for quite a few years.

Google's Promoted Pins

Marketers will need to use location extensions to appear in promoted pins. Google also says it’s still testing and experimenting with formats, so we’re likely to see an evolution of this over time.

New-look local pages will also offer new features and customization.

Businesses will be able to include a range of content types, as appropriate to their category.

  • For example, retailers can include local product inventory (provided they have an inventory feed going to Google). Marketers can also include promotions and discounts to encourage store visits.

Indeed, the purpose of these ads is to drive offline foot traffic and conversions, which Google says are outpacing e-commerce transactions for many marketers. To capture and illustrate that phenomenon, Google discussed its AdWords Store Visits, which has to date only been available to large brands and retailers. The company says that it has “measured over 1 billion store visits globally” in the two years since the introduction of Store Visits.

During the Performance Summit, Google’s AdWords VP, Jerry Dischler, indicated that the company was seeking to greatly expand availability of Store Visits data, including to small businesses over time. He said, however, that was a more challenging proposition and probably would require a “hardware solution” (e.g., beacons) because of challenges with accuracy and scale.

It’s very much in Google’s interest to make online-to-offline metrics available to as many marketers as possible. In a case study presented during a press briefing on Monday, Dischler said that Nissan in the UK found, though Store Visits, that “six percent of mobile ad clicks result in a trip to a dealership, delivering an estimated 25x return on investment.”

While Google has offered a wide range of different “local as a percent of overall mobile search” metrics in the past, the company said that local searches on mobile devices are growing 50 percent faster than mobile searches overall.

Financial Services & Digital Marketing: 4 Trends to Start Now

Customer retention in financial services consumers are demanding more targeted, relevant, and personalized communications from their favorite brands. This isn’t exactly a new development, as it’s been the case for the past several years. What’s notable about this ongoing trend is that increasingly, consumers are coming to expect this same level of personalization from companies in every vertical– and that includes the financial services sector.

The shift towards highly personalized communications coupled with increased competition, including competition from 2.0-era services (think peer-to-peer lending shaking up the traditional lending market), and the continued evolution of technology are the key drivers of marketing trends in financial services. Let’s take a look at a few of the major trends shaping the financial services marketing outlook for 2016.

1. CUSTOMER RETENTION AND LOYALTY TOP MARKETING PRIORITIES FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES
Every interaction with a prospect or customer has the potential to be either an opportunity to earn customer loyalty or an opportunity for your competition to sneak in the back door and capture your customer’s interest. According to the Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Research study published in July 2015, customers are buying more products and services from financial companies– but not necessarily from their current providers. Consumers cite competitive pricing (39 percent), high quality customer service (34 percent), and good value for their money (32 percent) as the key drivers behind switching to another financial institution.

” For banks considering the question of how to keep their customers from switching to other providers, we found that first-contact resolution is the key. Of the consumers who switched to another provider due to poor service, more than 80 percent said they could have been retained if their issue had been resolved on their first contact with the bank,” according to Accenture.

What this means, in a nutshell, is that financial services organizations have to step up their game in order to earn and retain customer loyalty. The recipe for gaining customer loyalty is excellent service (e.g., prompt resolution of any issues) coupled with substantial value. That doesn’t mean your products have to be cheaper than the rest; it means that your customers have to feel like they’re getting more out of their relationship with you than they ‘d get by working with one of your competitors.

CRM Image

2. CONTENT MARKETING IS THE FINANCIAL SERVICES VALUE FUEL
With content being the primary driver of basically everything in the universe (well, at least most marketing initiatives), content marketing is one of the easiest ways for financial services companies to deliver more value to consumers. Yet, according to Financial Content Marketing: The State of Play, 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets, Trends, a report from Dianomi, less than two percent of financial services companies deemed their content marketing efforts highly effective, but 90 percent saw content marketing as an important area of growth for the following 12 months.

Content marketing in the financial services sector isn’t about sales. In fact, just 13 percent of survey respondents reported sales as a focus of their content marketing efforts. “Rather, financial services companies are taking a more wide-ranging approach: the most common objectives are brand awareness and thought leadership, both cited by 71% of those polled. Customer retention/loyalty was a close third, cited by 69%.”.

(Related Resource: Digitally Speaking – “Plain English” Online Marketing Resource & Training Library)

3. DIGITAL MARKETING MEETS CONSUMERS WHERE THEY CONDUCT BUSINESS.

Digital marketing trends in financial services a few years ago, some schools of thought were of the mindset that marketing channels like social media were pretty much a waste of time for financial services companies. After all, banking is boring, right? But here’s the thing: Consumers are conducting financial business digitally, so it makes sense to reach and engage those audiences on the same channels that they’re embracing to conduct transactions.

A quick look at StatisticBrain reveals just how prevalent digital is in the financial services world: 69 million Americans bank online, with 81 percent of those who manage household finances banking online at least once in the past 12 months. More than half (56%) paid at least one bill online in the past month, and 90 percent have used a mobile device to check their account balance or a recent transaction in the last month.

With the increased emphasis on quality content, providing value through digital marketing initiatives is a natural progression that meets consumers where they’re already conducting day-to-day business. CMO reports that, “Financial marketers are pivoting to digital because they are seeing diminishing returns and poor audience engagement in traditional advertising channels. Seventy-seven percent believe high-impact ads can breakthrough as much as TV/print ads. Sixty-seven percent say digital is more efficient, believing that it costs less to reach targeted consumers online than off.” For financial services companies embracing the power of digital, opportunities abound.

digital-marketing phone image

(Related Resource: Digitally Speaking – “Plain English” Online Marketing Resource & Training Library)

4. PERSONALIZATION IS THE KEY TO GAINING CONSUMER TRUST.

The other trends impacting the financial services industry (increasing competition from market disruptors, decreasing consumer loyalty, etc.) point to the importance of personalization in financial services marketing as we move into 2016. It’s critical for financial services organizations to embrace Big Data to gain an in-depth understanding of their consumers’ behavior, attitudes, and needs in order to respond in real-time with relevant, targeted messaging.

” This kind of customer-first strategy is no longer optional. Gartner reported that 89 percent of companies plan to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience by 2016,” explains PixelMedia. “The other side of the coin is that a firm without a customer-first marketing strategy will lose out to more responsive competitors with lower overhead. This new breed of financial service providers, many with no physical locations, are engaging customers with targeted messages and more creative financial offerings.”.

Financial services companies are being forced to meet their digital consumers in the digital world. In 2016, keeping pace with the speed of digital means better customer acquisition and retention, factors that no financial services organization can afford to lose in today’s highly competitive environment.

 

To Your Success!

Alex, MPeMG

 

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Access 26 Million Prospects With Snapchat

If you’re not already familiar with Snapchat, you should get acquainted. Snapchat is a mobile photo-messaging app that allows users to take photos and short videos that remain viewable to recipients for approximately 10 seconds; after that, the “Snap” disappears into the dark tubes of the interwebs, never to be seen again.

Snapchat demographic stats

To expand its services, Snapchat has added live text, chat and video calls between contacts, which has helped increase use of the application among younger audiences. Just check out these stats:

Snapchat has roughly 26 million users in the United States

77 percent of college students use Snapchat daily

58 percent of college students would be likely to purchase a brand’s product or service if they received a coupon on Snapchat

That’s a huge audience of potential customers. If you’re not already using the app as part of your own marketing strategy in 2016, you should be. Check out this guide to help you get started:

Highlight special events.
If you’re hosting or taking part in live events (grand openings, anniversaries, trade shows, charity events, etc.), then Snapchat is a great tool to leverage. It gives your audience members direct access to your live event, no matter where they are.

The NBA used snapchat in this manner during draft picks, All-Star games and finals. During the 2014 All-Star Game, the Association launched its brand on Snapchat, where fans were able to get up close and personal with players during the game. They also got tight Snaps of the game’s Slam Dunk Contest.

Tease new products to your fans.
Some brands still worry that social use can be self-destructive and lead to a host of problems with managing user engagement. But others are jumping in, because marketers can make a serious impact with product launches using apps like Snapchat.

Snapchat is an ideal opportunity to start teasing out videos and pictures of new products. Because these images last a few seconds, you can expect a fair amount of buzz and chatter to surge around your new offering.

Pull back the curtain.
Snapchat can also be used to take your followers beyond raw products and services so you can engage the community more. Take them behind the scenes to show off your company. Have fun, and use the caption and drawing tools within Snapchat to show off your personality and corporate culture. This is a great opportunity to show your fans how different your brand is from your competitors’.

Best Seller Red Carpet Image

If you want to mix it up behind the scenes, rotate control of your Snapchat account among trusted employees. Give them each control of it for a day or so. This adds a great deal of variety and flavor that your fans will enjoy. Just be sure to set some guidelines to keep “bad stuff” from popping up.

Keep it Disney.
Snapchat is about as casual as social media platforms can get. Your followers aren’t interested in corporate stuffiness– they’re looking for color, action and fun. Give it to them.

At the same time, you still need to maintain some professionalism due to the nature of the audience. Snapchat followers are younger: according to Snapchat, the average user age group is 12-34. That means “keeping it Disney” with content that is clearly for a general audience.

Tell a story.
Videos in any medium should be kept short and snappy, and that’s certainly true with Snapchat. Regardless of the medium, your audience is out there looking for brief content to digest while in line, sitting in class or on a short break at work. Feed them brief content and they’ll gobble it up.

Snapchat works because the videos you take are limited to 10 seconds. Take that and run with it, because you can make multiple video clips and string them together to tell a story that your followers can go through all at once when they have the time.

Push the incentives
Here’s where Snapchat can get you real foot traffic if you own a physical business: incentives. Incentives are a classic marketing strategy, and have become an expected staple within social media. Businesses often host giveaways and sweepstakes asking fans to like, retweet, share and comment for a chance to win something big.

Snapchat can be used the same way. In fact, an impressive 58% of college students stated they were more likely to buy from a company if they received a coupon via Snapchat.

Just Snap It

So can Snapchat actually drive customers to your business or to your website? The answer is absolutely “yes.” If you haven’t started using Snapchat as part of your marketing strategy, you’re definitely missing out on the opportunity to connect with relevant members of your target audience.

Talk Soon!

Alex, MPeMG

Co-Founder & CMO

MatchPLUS eMarketing Group, LLC

(412) 374-1558

Check Out Our NEW “Plain English” Online Marketing Resource & Training Library!

DSHub Updated Ad Creative 4-20 (2)

Your Reaction Says It All

Facebook Reactions - ZuckerbergWhile the “Like” button on Facebook has traditionally been a quick and fun way to respond to a post, the truth is that it’s not always appropriate. “Liking” certain posts– say, the news of a pet’s death or a post about global warming– just feels wrong. Thankfully, starting today, that’s about to change.

The social network has just announced a brand new feature called Reactions (which we’ve already heard about a few times), which is essentially an extension of the Like button. Now, in addition to the thumbs-up Like we’re all familiar with, there’s Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry. Love is signified by a heart symbol while the rest are animated emoji.

To see them, simply press and hold on the Reactions button– it’s where the thumbs-up Like button is currently– select which one you want, and release. If the post has a slew of different reactions to it, you’ll see a summary of the three most frequent reaction icons. On the other end, the person receiving them will get notifications saying someone “reacted” to the post.

“People come to Facebook and share all kinds of things,” says Sammi Krug, the product manager behind Reactions. “And we kept hearing feedback from people that there wasn’t an easy way to express empathy for these different kinds of posts.” Zuckerberg in particular took the user feedback to heart and pulled a bunch of people together to start work on a solution about a year or so ago.

From there, the team did a ton of research– from conducting surveys to analysis of the most popular stickers– to figure out just what reactions to add. When they whittled it down to about six, Facebook then began testing it– you can see we saw a sneak peek of Reactions as early as last October– in about seven different countries.

That’s one of the reasons Reactions is launching with just five additional icons instead of the original six that we saw in October. The rest, however, proved to be popular enough, with Love being the most popular out of all the new Reactions (The Like button, however, still reigned supreme).

Does that mean we’re stuck with the six or so Reactions we have now? “Once this actually rolls out, we’ll learn more about how people use the feature,” says Krug.

output_X9sagTReactions will roll out globally starting today on iOS, Android, the desktop as well as the mobile browser. You’ll start to see the change occur over the next couple of days, though bear in mind that you do need to be on the latest version of the Facebook app to get the feature.

Still, we had to ask, why isn’t there a “dislike” button? “It would have been too binary,” says Krug. “This way, though, you’ll have more ways to express yourself. That’s the goal.”

The social network has just announced a brand new feature called Reactions (which we’ve already heard about a few times), which is essentially an extension of the Like button. To see them, simply press and hold on the Reactions button– it’s where the thumbs-up Like button is currently– select which one you want, and release. If the post has a slew of different reactions to it, you’ll see a summary of the three most frequent reaction icons.”People come to Facebook and share all kinds of things,” says Sammi Krug, the product manager behind Reactions. The rest, however, proved to be popular enough, with Love being the most popular out of all the new Reactions (The Like button, however, still reigned supreme).

 

Catch You Later!

Alex, MPeMG

www.MPeMG.com

(412) 374-1558

Pssst, we answer our own phones!!

Special Thanks to: Wired

 

 

 

eLearning; The Next Bubble

If there’s something that is quite certain about the future, it’s the rise of eLearning. Nowadays we see new online learning options popping out every month and traditional classroom environments are more eager than ever to incorporate new technologies into their curricula. The category of eLearning is itself susceptible to various trends and fashions, so it’s only a question of time before we see completely new methodologies and strategies emerge from this powerful field. What’s in store for the innovative eLearning methods in 2016? Here are key trends to watch for next year.

7 Key eLearning Trends For 2016

AutomationAutomation
Numerous education experts predict that 2016 will be the year when automation will finally become a crucial aspect of both content creation and processing. It’s most likely that content providers will use an increasing number of automated solutions to create new courses and learning materials, saving the time and money involved in conventional processes.

Augmented Learning
This is another area under intense development– it’s very likely that by 2016, augmented reality devices ranging from Apple Watch to Google Glass will become a common element of our everyday realities. Augmented learning offers a great value in adapting environments to the learner when it comes to learning. This is a solution for which the market is predicted to grow very fast, reaching a smashing number of 200 million users in just 3 years! 2015 will definitely pave the way to an increased use of augmented reality in eLearning, culminating in its widespread use in 2016. In eLearning, learners will be able to access augmented environments by means of QR codes or mobile technologies like Apple Watch or Google Glass. This kind of learning will primarily engage learners with action-based functionalities in real life conducted by means of GPS tracking, as well as with courses developed by Oculus Rift.

Big Data
Big data is big everywhere– including eLearning. It’s clear that every year we’ll have more and more data to process, and learning centers will use tools made especially for big data analytics to make sense of the user-generated information. Only those tools will be able to analyze a heap of data produced during one semester and deliver valuable and meaningful conclusions abut user performance or course content optimization. Big data analytics will help learning providers to better understand the learning process itself– by tracking learner and group patters and performing a thorough feedback analysis, they’ll be able to offer full course personalization and compile a comprehensive ROI report for learning. The promises held by big data analytics for eLearning are very impressive and will become more important than ever in 2016.

Going for cloud
The use of cloud is on the rise– in every sector, including eLearning. Enterprises are willing to embrace the functionality, comfort and security of the cloud– even though many people still think that it’s not a good idea to keep data on public servers, those attitudes are slowly weaning. The eLearning market trends and forecast report predicts the use of cloud-based authoring tools and learning platforms to grow by 9 % in the US– each year counting from 2013. This essentially means that by 2016, eLearning users will benefit from established cloud technologies assisting their learning process in many different ways.Cloud Based Image

Gamification
This is a key trend for 2016. Gamification is today a major trend that most of us are still waiting to explode– especially on the e-learning scene. Experts agree that applying game dynamics onto non-gaming contexts brings really great results– most importantly, in motivating people to achieve their goals. This feature can be easily applied to learning and eLearning environments. Gamification offers a potential strategy for improving user engagement with learning materials– some experts claim that the technique can boost learner’s motivation to a smashing 90 % recall rate. It’s quite simple. They will automatically improve their chances at remembering it once learners assume an active role in knowledge reception.

mLearning
This trend clearly follows the general rise of mobile technologies all over the world. Together with the increased use of mobile devices will emerge an interest in mLearning. Some industry experts expect mobile learning to dominate the e-learning market some day– even if this prediction sounds a little extreme, you should consider the fact that mobile is actually expected to dominate many other areas too. In short, maybe there’s a ring of truth to it after all. What exactly is mLearning and what will be its consequences? Using mLearning technologies, learners will have all the wealth of knowledge accessible at all times and places. They will benefit from contextual learning achieved through micro-location technologies (like QR codes, GPS and other) that will return learning into its context– also allowing for a much better use of augmented reality.

eLearning Needs ImagePersonalization
All those trends point to this key insight– the growth of personalization on all levels of eLearning. Once we’ll be able to analyze big chunks of data, we’ll see e-learning becoming more personalized than ever and addressing the needs, preferences and requirements of individuals rather than groups. All aspects of learning ranging from pedagogy and learning environments to learning tools and course curricula will be tailored to motivate, engage and inspire learners to achieve better results in a shorter time frame. It’s clear that 2016 will be a revolutionary year for eLearning. It will be more about developing a personalized approach to learning– by adjusting the pace of instruction, leveraging student interests, letting learners to choose their own leaning path and adjusting content presentation by choosing text, images or videos, instructors will be able to deliver their coursework in more efficient ways. eLearning will become a great source of revenue as well. Experts predict that revenues from eLearning solutions in the US are expected to reach a smashing $27.1 billion by 2016.
It’s very likely that in 2016, eLearning will completely change our approach to instruction, knowledge management and learning methodologies.

2015  paved the way to an increased use of augmented reality in eLearning, culminating in its widespread use in 2016. The promises held by big data analytics for eLearning are very impressive and will become more important than ever in 2016.

The eLearning market trends and forecast report predicts the use of cloud-based authoring tools and learning platforms to grow by 9 % in the US– each year counting from 2013. It’s clear that 2016 will be a revolutionary year for eLearning. Experts predict that revenues from eLearning solutions in the US are expected to reach a smashing $27.1 billion by 2016.

To Higher Profits in Your Business!

Alex, MPeMG

Co-Founder & CMO

www.MPeMG.com

(412) 374-1558

 

Why Text Messaging Marketing Is Essential

Text messaging marketing involves sending text messages to mobile users who have opted-in to your mobile subscriber list. The basic premise is to remind consumers your company exists, which leads to repeat sales and customer loyalty.Mobile App Explosion Image

Mobile phone users keep their phones near them at all times and they love to receive and send text messages. The key to text messaging marketing involves providing a discount, a free item, or something else that the consumer finds valuable.

But how does text message marketing actually help small business owners?

Here are 5 of the top benefits a text message marketing campaign can bring:

1. Get Instant Sign-Ups From Customers

Text message marketing is a great way to establish an instant connection with your customers and potential customers. By getting consumers to opt-in to your mobile list, you now have permission to communicate with them via text messages to offer coupons, content, and information.

2. Consumers WANT What You’re Offering

By opting-in to your list, consumers are giving you their permission to stay in touch. Studies show that many consumers want to receive special offers on their mobile devices from the businesses they like doing business with.

Just make sure your messages are useful, timely, and valuable in order to keep unsubscribes down.

Digital Assistant Image3. Text Messages are Opened and Read Instantly

Consumers today love to text! Approximately 95% of text messages are opened and read; better yet, these messages are instantly delivered. They are also quick, concise, and easy to read.

So they’re the perfect way to really get in front of your target audience.

4. You Can Say a Lot With a Little

Text messages do not have to be long to achieve their desired result. In fact, your messages can only contain 160 characters if you want to fit everything within one text message.  Furthermore, consumers today like to receive short, quick messages due to their busy lives – so keep them short and simple for the best results.

5. Text Message Marketing is Cost-Effective

Text messaging is quick, easy, and concise. Even better, it is also cost-effective compared to direct mail since no paper or postage costs are used in their transmission.

Furthermore, the cost to send text messages is very minimal – in fact, it’s just a fraction of traditional marketing costs.

As you can see, text message marketing is a great way to grow your local business and keep your customers coming back to do business with you.

To Higher Profits!

Alex, MPeMG

Co-Founder & CMO

(412) 374-1558

[We actually answer our OWN phones!]

Check out MORE from MatchPLUS eMarketing Group, LLC!

Easy Answers to Digital Marketing Questions

WHAT EXACTLY IS DIGITAL MARKETING AS OPPOSED TO REGULAR MARKETING?
Digital marketing is pretty much anything that’s online or web-based: PPC, SEO, email, web design, etc. Traditional Digital Marketing across multiple channelsmarketing is still seen as those offline marketing activities: print, direct mail, radio, TV, etc

  •  The two types are definitely converging, but many agencies may only offer one or the other.

WHAT ‘S IT LIKE WORKING WITH AN AGENCY?
This is obviously different based on the Agency you’re working with. At a lot of marketing companies you’ll be given an Account Manager who will be your single point of contact.

  • We’re a little different in that we’re small (As many companies prefer it, not for lack of cost, but for more focused service and quality) so the people who you work with and communicate with will be the same people actually doing the work as well.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA SHOULD I BE DOING?Social Media Image
This is a biggie. People want to know what the social media secret sauce is. The truth is, I don’t have it, and either do the droves of social media experts, thought leaders, and influencers.

  • Your social media strategy needs to align with your business strategy, and until I understand that better I can’t tell you how to do social media.
  • Do you want to focus on customer service? Content marketing? Lead generation? Like any marketing undertaking, your social media goals should align with your business goals.

DO I NEED SEO?
It depends what “kind” of SEO we’re talking about. Traditional SEO (on/off page optimization, link building, etc.) has evolved to also include SOCO SEO– Social and Content.

  • The new SEO includes the traditional optimization and link building tactics, as well as fresh, valuable, and shareable Content, as well as the marketing of your brand and content using Social Media.
  • Do we feel that businesses benefit from and need this type of SEO? Yes I do.

I TRIED GOOGLE ADWORDS BUT IT WAS A WASTE OF MONEY, COULD YOU DO BETTER?
This is always a loaded question. To get the best results from Paid Traffic (PPC, CPM, etc.), you need the 3 “E’s”: Expertise, Experience, Effort.

You need the training and expertise, a certain amount of experience, and a lot of time and effort to be able to produce successful PPC results. Most businesses that fail with PPC usually lack in at least two of these things.

  • Is this something you can do for me? Yes, we have Certified Paid Traffic experts on staff.

HOW DO YOU GET A LOT OF TWITTER FOLLOWERS?
Again this is something where there is no secret sauce. It’s about writing and curating valuable content, being a strategic follower, and building relationships.

  • I can’t stress enough how important it is to build quality relationships with your followers AND others in your community — There is a specific reason.Twitter hashtag Image

SHOULD I BE USING HUBSPOT?
Marketing automation tools like Hubspot are not a panacea. Yes, they can automate email drip campaigns, let you create landing pages, and help track leads and optimize your website.

VERY IMPORTANT – But they’re not tools that automate your marketing.

  • You still need people to write and design emails, run split and multivariate tests, and use analytics to make intelligent marketing decisions.

***In other words, they’re tools that should complement your marketing team, not the other way around***

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I UPDATE MY WEBSITE?
For 99 % of companies, their website is their top salesperson. It’s where prospects go for more information on your company, to learn more about your services and products, to contact your company, and possibly to make a purchase.

  • And just like you invest a lot in your top salesperson, you should also invest in keeping your website (and it’s content) in tip-top-highly-converting-shape.

CAN I AFFORD A DIGITAL AGENCY LIKE MatchPLUS eMarketing Group?
Agencies come in all shapes and sizes, and serve clients in all shapes and sizes. It is our firm belief that ALL businesses deserve to GROW with the changing times & tactics, therefore, within reason, we make our services affordable for ANY budget that you may have!!

Digital marketing deals with pretty much anything that’s online or web-based: Paid Traffic, SEO, email, web design, etc. Traditional marketing is still seen as those offline marketing activities: print, direct mail, radio, TV, etc — That very important to understand coming away from reading this blog piece!

Writing a book is a big deal - frustrated babyPeople want to know what the social media secret sauce is. Content marketing? Like any marketing undertaking, your social media goals should align with your business goals. However, we are able to run a full Digital Presence audit of each business to tell the EXACTLY what they need to do with their digital platforms & how to speak to their audience…not just on social media, but on ALL of the platforms that your business needs to utilize to grow your business!

 

We are always here to help and would invite you to accept your FREE 20 minute consultation with us! Just call (412) 374-1558 or shoot us a message and we can get started! No harm in calling…it’s FREE!

 

To Your Higher Profits,

Alex, MPeMG

Co-Founder & CMO

www.MPeMG.com

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