Growth Hacking for customer attraction, advocacy and attribution
digital, seo, social media, strategy

3 Focus Areas for Growth Marketing: Attraction, Advocate & Attribution

Philip Kotler, the “The Father of Modern Day Marketing,” coined the phrase Marketing 4.0 in his book Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital (co-authored with Hermawan Kartajaya and Iwan Setiawan). The premise purports that modern consumers are confronted by by alternatives at every turn and have increasingly less time and attention to devote to a brand. As such, the consumer of tomorrow is being shaped by an increasing sub-culture splintering, a shift in marketplace power dynamics, and the paradoxes wrought by connectivity.

Essentially, Kotler makes the argument that marketers need to “stand up, get their attention, and deliver the message [consumers] want to hear.”

If we break that down, we have certain fundamentals of Marketing 4.0:

  • The consumer as the center of everything
  • Data at the center of all strategy
  • Transparency in strategies is more critical than ever
  • Consumer communication being genuine, relevant and constant
  • To gain trust, marketers must focus on social, economic and environmental commitment
  • Marketers need to listen and have a proactive attitude

With Marketing 4.0, marketers must finesse the power of technology while presenting a “human” face to their brand or service.

Marketing 4.0 acknowledges that consumers will continue to have offline interactions with brands and companies, even as we move towards a more digitally-centric world. Therefore, marketers need to be positioned to engage prospects and established customers alike with multi or omni-channel initiatives across a variety of mediums—and they must do this while being genuine, relevant and human. This is the art of Attraction Marketing, which I will go into more detail below.

Another assumption within Marketing 4.0 is the understanding that a multi-channel marketing strategy means consumers will continue to have engagements with a brand after making a purchase. Marketers therefore need to not only perfect their upper funnel touchpoints, but should understand the impact that a negative interaction can have post-sale. In other words, customer loyalty is precarious in a world where transparency and relevancy can have a significant impact on a brand’s perception.

With Marketing 4.0, consumers want to have a say in a brand’s direction and success.

Marketing 4.0 also introduces the concept of the consumer (customer) community. Gone are the days when you saw an ad on television for laundry soap, then at the store you selected that brand without giving another thought to the purchase. Consumers, especially millennials and those of Generation Z, who are not only the most tech-saavy but skeptical group of shoppers in history, desire to be more involved with the brands with which they choose to engage. They seek to have a direct influence on a brand’s social, environmental and development direction while connecting and sharing their experiences with other consumers. To facilitate these interactions and holistically grow a brand in Marketing 4.0, marketers need to embrace models that support Advocate Marketing, which I will cover later in this post.

With Marketing 4.0, marketers need to understand the impact each dollar has for acquisition, activation and retention in order to profitably scale.

As marketers ramp up their commitments to include more multi and omni-channel initiatives in an attempt to broaden appeal to a very woke consumer, the ability to scale and grow is contingent upon a deep understanding of ROI (return on investment) for each strategic outlay. This is where Marketing Attribution comes into play—the art of evaluating each and every marketing touchpoint a consumer may have on their path to purchase. That is also covered in more detail below.

Attraction Marketing

Attraction marketing is all about getting consumers to purchase something without being told to do so. It’s showing consumers the desirability of the product through valuable information focused on features, usability and unique differentiation, so that the buyer makes the purchasing decision without any prompts to do so from the brand or company. Since attraction marketing sets your brand apart from competitors by focusing marketing efforts on what makes your product or service a more attractive option, it can be a powerful strategy to create awareness, activation and brand loyalty.

The key to success with attraction marketing is having a thorough understanding of your targeted audience, where they can be found and their pain points. Once those are defined, the draw to the brand or service comes in the form of educational content that creates credibility and authenticity while dispensing with the “salesy” messaging.

It’s also vital to put a human connection to your brand. People want to connect with people, not faceless brands. Think of ways that you can incorporate your product developers or other internal users into your messaging, or for an even stronger attraction strategy, utilize user-generated content such as reviews and stories to engage your audience.

Inbound marketing is the perfect vehicle for attraction marketing and is something that can keep traffic coming long after the initial investment in the content and delivery. That being said, I suggest that you focus your primary efforts on search engine optimization, making sure your content is laden with relevant keywords that will compete and perform well for contextual searches. Once you’re optimized, you can share the content in social, email and native ads.

Some of the common ways to employ attraction marketing are:

  • Blogs
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Ebooks
  • Videos/Livestreams
  • Newsletters
  • Surveys
  • Online classes
  • In-person classes

And, you don’t always have to start from scratch with content. One of the easiest strategies is to repurpose content that you have already created by either converting it to another format or updating it with new content, imagery or linking. Once you do so, you will want to make sure you have resubmitted the renewed content to Google and the other search engines for fresh indexing.

Pactimo, an online retailer of cycling clothing, created a page addressing why someone would choose bib shorts as opposed to those without the straps (Why Cycling Bib Shorts? Padded Bib Bike Shorts Explained). The page falls into into the number one position on Google for searches for “cycling bib shorts,” organically introducing the brand to hundreds of potential new customers per week. Because the page not only has relevant information to the topic, but engages with links to more information, premium products and a $250 prize drawing, it has become a source for new customers.

Use relevant blog content to attract new customers organically. This builds credibility and leads to a higher activation rate.
Answering a question like why wear bib shorts has proven to be a source for many new customers for Pactimo.


Advocate Marketing

We have all experienced word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing. Let’s say you’re at a party or get-together with friends and a recent purchase comes up. Someone might tell a story of a great buying experience or the incredible efficacy of the product, which leads you to imagine making a similar purchase. My wife and I bought a robotic vacuum cleaner. Every time someone came over to our house we raved how incredible it was—even going as far as using the app to launch it around the room so they could see it in action. Two of our friends have since bought the same brand.

Word-of-mouth recommendations are one of the key contributors to advocacy marketing.
Word-of-mouth recommendations prove to be one of the best sources for new customers.


Statistics show 92% of consumers trust WOM marketing recommendations over all other types of marketing, and future customers who were referred by other existing customers have a 37% higher retention rate.

Advocacy marketing is act of exciting and equipping your customers to generate buzz around your brand through social mentions, reviews, and word-of-mouth marketing. It’s the art of making the product or buying experience so good that customers feel compelled to share. When that occurs, a brand advocate has become one of your most high-value brand assets for growing awareness and loyalty. They will not only spend more than the average customer, but they’re also passionately-versed on your brand and products, making them a fantastic source and reference for new customer leads. On average, brands with a strong loyalty, rewards or ambassador program see a 650% ROI for every dollar invested in advocacy marketing.

Since advocacy marketing is extremely cost-effective with the potential for high-yields through customer acquisition, retention and reengagement, it is a growth hacking must.

Here are a few of the key components of successful advocate marketing:

  • Provide an excellent product or service
  • Deliver unforgettable brand experiences
  • Operate with a consumer-first mentality
  • Make it easy for consumers to advocate for your brand or service
  • Actively seek new advocates

Attribution Marketing

As discussed, multi and omni-channel marketing is a highly effective way to attract, engage and activate customers. But, it also means the funnel is anything but linear. A typical customer may encounter your brand or service across a multitude of touchpoints before actually making a purchase. For example, was it the blog post you shared on Facebook that brought the new customer to your ecommerce site? Or was it a cool photo of a customer using your product that you posted to Instagram? Maybe it was all the work you’ve done to SEO your product features infographic page. These are important questions you’ll need to answer if you want to determine ROI and scale or when determining CAC (customer acquisition cost).

With attribution, marketers can determine which channels and messages had the greatest impact on the decision to convert. It’s a reporting strategy that allows marketers and sales teams to see the impact that a specific marketing strategy had toward a goal, usually a purchase or sale. For example, if marketers want to see how a blog post or social media strategy impacted sales, they might use marketing attribution techniques.

Heap.io, one of the leaders in marketing attribution describes it like this:

Unlike legacy attribution (like Adobe or Google) which focus on just channels, Heap’s behavioral attribution ties in every user action, like opening emails, reading blog posts, or watching videos. As customers switch from web to phone to email, Heap ties together all that behavior into a single, accurate identity. Finally, marketers can accurately see how behavior influences conversion.

With something like Heap, marketers have access to multi-touch attribution reports allowing marketers to pinpoint the exact channel or initiative that led to a funnel goal or sale. This information can help to make better-informed decisions about future channel decisions, strategy initiatives or investments.

Conclusion

With the full advent of Marketing 4.0 and the move towards a more digitally-centric world, marketers need to be positioned to engage, acquire and retain customers through multi or omni-channel initiatives across a variety of mediums. Attraction Marketing is the perfect method to reach these new prospects in an authentic, credible manner, where sales come holistically as customers become drawn to the brand and product features. Advocacy Marketing is the strategy that activates these customers as brand loyalists who will spread the word about the products and services. Not only will the more intimate relationship drive up LTV (lifetime value) with the advocates, but it supercharges the referred customers buying power as well. Measuring results and knowing when to scale or abandon initiatives should be measured with a multi-touch Attribution Marketing tool. This allows for an accurate study of ROI and campaign analysis where anticipated CAC can be used for predictive scaling.

I hope you found this helpful, and wish you luck in your growth hacking!

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Laptop with SEO strategy
seo, strategy

SEO Strategy Development – Determining the Target Audience

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. In general, the higher a webpage is ranked on the search engine results page (SERP), and more frequently a site appears, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image, local, video, academic, news and industry-specific vertical search engines.

As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines, and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website will most likely entail editing content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Optimizing also involves incorporating elements from the overall digital marketing strategy to take advantage of social awareness, develop inbound linking strategy, and/or to create topic relevance and authority.

In order to develop a comprehensive SEO strategy, one needs to do a lot of homework, and it isn’t all just keyword research. It’s also extremely important to take time to know and understand a site’s target audience.

TARGET AUDIENCE ANALYSIS

Many times SEO consultants or agencies will jump right into Google Analytics or Google Adwords and start throwing together list of keywords without taking the time to either reconfirm or develop a target audience profile. I personally think this is a flawed approach. Understanding a site’s audience is probably one of the most important things that can be done to develop a targeted and successful SEO strategy.

Knowing the audience means not only being able to predict their search patterns, but capitalizing on all of the ways they can be reached through digital marketing. And many of those mediums will need to be optimized for effectiveness as well (i.e., social media, affiliate marketing, online advertising).

Continue reading

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Woman on laptop examining SEO results
blogging, seo

SEO For a Business Blog

One excellent way to increase both brand awareness and traffic to a site is deploying a business blog. It allows a company to demonstrate expertise in a field, engage existing and potential customers in thought provoking discussions and serves as an avenue for traffic to find your business website.

Probably the biggest challenge any company has with a blog is keeping it loaded with fresh content. I can say from experience, the only real way to succeed at that is to include blogging in employee job descriptions. Make sure they are not only responsible for producing content, but are also incentivized to produce a lot of (good) content.

Once you’ve taken that approach…BAM!…you have your content and everything should be looking up.

However, an equally challenging aspect of successful blogging is getting traffic. And that means being search engine optimized (SEO) with bait that Google should be eager to gobble up.

Here’s a couple quick tips and tricks that will help you optimize your business blog for search:

1. Don’t Forget Keywords

This is the first failure point of a business blog. Everyone is so happy to have content, they forget to include appropriate keywords, and every post is an opportunity to get noticed by Google for a new group of keywords.

Choosing the right keywords could be a whole discussion unto itself, but the easiest way to approach this is thinking long-tail. Long-tail means using keywords and keyword phrases that are less vague and more specific. For example, if I am a law office, I will get more (ready to convert) traffic if I utilize keyword phrases like “choosing a family lawyer” or “family law legal services.”   While this approach may bring in less traffic in general, the traffic I do get will be looking for a family law firm–my area of expertise.

2. Backlinks – the Seal of Approval

Google loves backlinks. It’s like people writing a letter of recommendation for your site and having a whole bunch of high quality, relevant sites linking back to your page telling Google that your blog is also high quality. The key here is, high quality. You don’t want miscellaneous and irrelevant sites linking to your blog. You want, as the saying goes, “to marry up.”

One way to easily accomplish this backlink challenge is to visit relevant blogs and websites and post something in their forum or comments section. Make sure you can include a link to your blog, and make sure to post a useful comment. If you just write any old thing or post garbage your comment will most likely never get approved or caught up in a comment filter (like the one used on this site).

3. Include the Social Buttons

Don’t forget to include the Facebook and Twitter buttons. It makes it super easy for people to share (or like) your page and those links from Facebook back to your site actually play a big role in how sites are prioritized by Google.

Make sure to read up on how to write posts that get noticed…and shared. Here are a couple resources on that topic:

The Key to Writing Blog Posts That Get Noticed

5 Tips to Write Blog Posts

4. Design with Clicks in Mind

People don’t think the design of their site will have a direct impact on SEO, but it does. Multi-layer sites with deep dig navigation are going to perform much worse than sites where content is limited to three levels or less. Always think of the 3 click rule — from the home page it should be 3 clicks or less to get to the lowest content. It is also extremely important to use a lot of internal links, that is, links to other pages within your site. This not only creates a better customer experience, as they can easily navigate to additional relevant information or similar topics, but it helps Google find pages on your site that might have been overlooked.

5. Clean House and Keep it Clean

Never post duplicate content on your blog. When your site has duplicate content there’s a giant risk that Google may not only display one page of similar content, but might even skip your content altogether. For best results, rewrite duplicate content to make pages truly different from each other. And keep it that way. Always.

6. Don’t Worry…Be Happy

If you are reading this before starting a business blog, you’re in a good position. Follow these tips and you will be on good footing for business blogging success.

If you already have a blog, and it has a ton of content, then you have some work ahead of you. Take it a day at a time as it’s just not possible to employ all of these tactics at once. Start with step #5 and work backwards. Clean up the duplicates, redesign and get those social buttons on there. Then, if it’s feasible, edit your content for proper keyword placement.

Following these tips for your business blog will take time and some concentrated effort, but if you include SEO in your overall blogging strategy it’ll become second nature after awhile. Plus, you should soon see a jump in traffic from Google (or the other search engines).

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personal branding, seo

Why & How to SEO Your Resume

Did you know that in a majority of cases where you are applying for a job online that your resume is being stored into a searchable database…and it’s not being sent to a human being for perusal? That’s right. Things are different now. Instead of sifting through hundreds or thousands of resumes, recruiters search the database…for relevant keywords…and pluck out the best matches. They are keyword searching resumes.

Just the same as how you use Google to find a website, recruiters are using search tools to find the most qualified applicants in their database. What that could mean for you is lost opportunities, even if you have a great resume, excellence skills, and the exact experience they are seeking. You still run the risk of failing to float to the top of the pile.

While search engine optimizing (SEO) your resume is easy, it’s not as simple as loading it up with a whole bunch of keywords from the job description. There’s a big difference between general search engines and specialized search engines. What recruiters use on the backend of applications like Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Resources or SaaS solutions like Taleo is a specialized search engine, and specialized search engines look for keywords that show up in the right places…not just anywhere.

Think of it this way: If a recruiter is looking for an experienced marketing professional, she is probably going to search the pool of resumes for something like “Marketing Director.” The results will include those resumes where “marketing” and “director” appear in job titles for recently held positions. Resumes where both words appear, but are not together or in job titles, are not going to end up in top search results.

What that means is, optimizing your resume for searches is not about throwing in every keyword you can think of, but about creating relevant copy, with relevant keywords, that address relevant experience. It goes back to the golden rule of SEO, whether for a website or a resume, Relevancy Is King. If you use applicable keywords in a relevant fashion, there’s no reason why your resume shouldn’t pop to the top.

Therefore, selecting keywords is extremely important, and rewriting your resume to be more applicable to each job or job type is assuredly de rigueur.

If you are submitting your resume as a PDF there’s an additional step you can take to optimize for SEO and it’s making sure not to overlook the file’s metadata.

Metadata is just another way to say “descriptive” data that is embedded into the file that helps explain the contents further for proper classification. It’s not unlike the cataloging data used in your college library that allowed you to easily find Plato’s Republic for your poli sci term paper (is that an exaggerated example or what?!), comprised of author’s name, book title, subject matter and synopsis.

You can easily add metadata to your resume PDF.

Go to File > Properties and fill in the following fields:

  1. Title – This could be the single most important element of your PDF document properties. In almost every case, the title is used on the search engine results page. If you don’t write a title the file name is used by default, and that isn’t going to make anyone very interested in you.
  2. Author – You can use your name here.
  3. Subject – The subject serves as the meta description for your PDF document. This is the second most important element. Write something that is relevant and descriptive. Use your keywords, but do over do it.
  4. Keywords –  Use your relevant keywords here. Filling this space up with all sorts of trash is only going to hurt you.
There is an Additional Metadata button, but it really just allows you the opportunity to enter copyright information. That is not necessary when it comes to a resume.
I hope that helps. Don’t forget the golden rule of SEO (see above if you have already) and happy job hunting.
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seo

15 SEO Exerts to Follow on Twitter

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an ever-changing psuedo-science based on confusing algorithms that are routinely updated by the omnipotent Google. Trying to stay on top of what’s new and how it effects our daily lives is a full-time job.

Thankfully, these 15 experts have made it their lifelong passion…and they regularly share what they’ve learned with the rest of us mere mortals.

  1. Matt Cutts – usually the first one to announce Google search engine updates, algorithm changes and things of the kind.
  2. Barry Schwartz – founder of Search Engine Roundtable, an influential SEO blog that’s frequently updated. His posts are brief and to-the-case so you won’t need too much time.
  3. Bill Slawski – one of the most influential SEOs in the industry who specializes in Google patents.
  4. Danny Sullivan – a major personality in SEO news industry, he’s been sharing his wisdom since 1995.
  5. Aleyda Solis – specializing in international SEO, she shares her experience very eagerly
  6. Dan Petrovic – writes brief but very practice-oriented posts and analyzes SERPs fluctuations with help of Algoroo, free service developed by his company Dejan SEO.
  7. Jon Cooper – extremely good at creative link-building with online courses for those who are not so confident in this sphere.
  8. Mark Traphagen – never misses an SEO conference and shares the knowledge he gets there with the world.
  9. Julie Joyce – one of the first female specialists in SEO, working in the industry since 2002, she has a solid technical background.
  10. Darren Rowse – a blogger by trade, but his SEO advice is really helpful and inspirational.
  11. Brian Clark – was the guru for content marketing, even before it got its name.
  12. Kristi Hines – freelancer for influential magazines such as Social Media Examiner, Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Journal, Unbounce and KISSmetrics.
  13. Mike Blumenthal – runs an advanced blog devoted to Google Places and Local Search, he clearly understands the minor differences.
  14. Tadeusz Szewczyk – an SEO who believes in direct traffic, traffic from Social Media and other referral traffic. He banned Google to see how well his blog could perform without the all-powerful, and he’s never regretted it.
  15. Robert Scoble – the best resource for recent news, changes, sensations, and development in tech world.
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business, marketing, seo

Google Maps Goes Indoors – Will This Impact Local SEO?

Google has announced that they have begun mapping indoor spaces, namely places like airports and malls. Starting this past Tuesday (November 29th) indoor mapping is available in the palm of your hands, helping you, as Google says, “determine where you are, what floor you’re on, and where to go indoors.”

Check out their promotional video:

To make this happen, Google has partnered with some of the largest retailers, airports and transit stations in the United States and Japan. You can see the full list of partners on their help center. At present, it includes nearly 20 airports, as well as several Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Home Depots and Ikeas around the USA. Shopping malls that are currently participating include the Mall of America in Minnesota, Vallco Shopping mall in Cupertino, CA and Eagle Rock Plaza in Los Angeles, CA.

Google is also encouraging people to upload floor plans of their buildings and locations, and that raises the question:

Will businesses that participate in the indoor mapping project get a foot up in search engine optimization (SEO), especially when it come to business listings in Google Places?

Ranking well for local queries is essential for local businesses to gain an advantage over competitors. As more and more people are turning to the web to shop locally, and using mobile devices to do so, it seems inevitable that inclusion in the indoor mapping project would contribute to an advantageous placement during local searches.

After all, it strengthens the accuracy of information about a particular business (and it’s exact location) and Google has always said that the most important thing for them is providing relevant and accurate data. That is, in theory, what the tweaking of their algorithms has always sought to do…to create the most relevant search matches.

So, while it is cool that you can find your way around an airport without having to find a directory, as a marketer and business consultant, I plan to advise clients located in malls or airports, or who have multiple floors in large buildings, to participate as soon as possible. It just might be the extra thing that puts you a notch above your competitors. And for companies, organizations or universities with sprawling campuses, I can’t imagine they wouldn’t be chomping at the bit to get involved…the advantages of participating are practically innumerable!

There’s still plenty of time though. It’s still the early stages. Indoor mapping is an exclusive service for Android operating systems.

But it’s only a matter of time before iPhone users will have access too.

And we all know…this is going to be big!

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