How Marketers Can Create Binge-Worthy Content Experiences

How Marketers Can Create Binge-Worthy Content Experiences

Move over, baseball. America’s new national pastime is binge-watching.

Ask your friends what they did over the weekend, and several will probably admit to burning through several seasons of Game of Thrones. Streaming platforms, such as Netflix and Hulu, revolutionized the way people consume TV shows. Society’s changing behavior has caused the likes of HBO to embrace the trend, allowing audiences to binge on Girls, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and True Detective.

When Twin Peaks was reborn on Showtime in May, the premium TV network aired the first two episodes but offered the first four new installments of David Lynch’s venerated series early on its streaming service. Showtime reported its single biggest day of user sign-ups thanks to the buzz surrounding the show, with the reboot drawing 1.7 million viewers across Showtime’s various platforms.

The binge-watching phenomenon has taught cable networks and digital content providers important lessons about customer preferences. The behavioral shift also offers invaluable insights for savvy marketers about messaging, storytelling, and customer delight.

What We Know About Binging

Netflix and Hulu have achieved success in the streaming world by creating truly customer-centric experiences. Whether people are commuting to work or lounging in bed, the services enable them to watch their favorite TV shows for hours at a time. Instead of waiting several months to see how a cliffhanger is resolved, users can immerse themselves in different universes to their hearts’ content. It doesn’t get much more customer-centric than that.

Whether people are conducting research at work or decompressing with entertainment at home, they like to really dig into the task at hand. Binge-watching capitalizes on this desire, offering an efficient way to get a lot done in a single sitting (or spread out over multiple sessions, if that’s a better fit). Marketers can cater to these preferences by creating content experiences that allow audiences to take as deep a dive as they want.

In a B2B situation, this might include a video series, articles, ebooks, case studies, or infographics—essentially a range of valuable materials that give customers a deep understanding of the problem they’re looking to solve, the ways it can be solved, and how you can help them do that. Prospective B2B customers crave as much information as possible before they make a decision. To this end, binge behavior can satisfy even the most persnickety prospect.

Bingeable content experiences also cater to how B2B decision-makers operate. A single 800-word article isn’t going to cut it for someone researching new software solutions, but you can make it easier on them by providing plenty of content to digest.

Content consumption patterns can also help you track prospects as they move toward a purchase. If you notice a flurry of activity from one potential customer, it likely indicates that he or she is nearing the next stage in the buying journey. Spotting this behavior pattern and being able to react to it can help you help a prospect become your ideal customer.

This is where content personalization can play a big role. By triggering the next appropriate content experience, you can help facilitate and feed the urge to binge.

Spinning a Yarn

If you want people to binge your content, you need to tell a compelling story. Each chapter should build on the previous installment, inspiring people to further their own hero’s journey. Here are a few ways to bring binge-watching’s benefits to your organization.

1. Establish themes that speak to your customers’ needs.

Great stories begin with a mission, and content strategy is no different. What need are you trying to fulfill for your audience? What experiences are you trying to create?

Showtime’s decision to release several Twin Peaks episodes early to subscribers was a brilliant move because it capitalized on the buzz surrounding the series and addressed the audience’s penchant for binge-watching. Giving subscribers the chance to go deeper into the series at their leisure addressed audience desires for viewing flexibility. Identify your audience’s core needs, and craft your strategy around those needs rather than your own service or brand.

2. Respond to your audience’s content preferences.

When Netflix opted to release entire seasons of House of Cards at once rather than in weekly installments, the company showed a keen understanding of how to keep people engaged. Instead of insisting people return to the service to watch a new episode each week, the company empowered users to keep going while they were already in a content-consumption mindset. This approach allows people to watch at their own pace and caters to the binge-watching crowd.

Pay attention to your own audience’s preferences. You might release content on a schedule that works for your team, but consider how people might consume your articles and videos if it were up to them. A recent DemandGen report found that 88 percent of respondents are overwhelmed by the amount of available content, and 71 percent said they want content that’s easier to access. You can eliminate friction in content consumption and draw prospects further into your brand experience by personalizing content that appeals to their particular interests (more on that later).

3. Create storylines that lead to the next step.

It goes without saying that your content must be valuable, but it should also have a purpose. In the same way a strong narrative guides viewers toward an ultimate resolution, your content should naturally steer potential customers toward your desired action. Don’t hit people over the head with calls to action, but make sure each piece you publish corresponds to a subsequent step and overarching goal.

When crafting your content, focus on quality over quantity. More doesn’t always mean better—even when you’re creating binge-worthy materials. Consider BBC’s Sherlock, which offers three 90-minute episodes each season but has become a darling of the binge-watching world. Don’t constrain yourself with external factors such as time and format. Decide what format will best serve your audience, and use that as your guide.

4. Personalize your content.

Personalization is a huge driver in the rise of binge-watching. Viewers can curate lists of their favorite TV shows and movies, using rating systems to teach their preferences to content providers. They can also rewatch past seasons to satiate their appetites while they await new episodes. That’s how Netflix kept people engaged when it began to offer hit shows like Mad Men and The Walking Dead. Easy access to the entire run of each series was essential to the user experience.

The ideal content experience is one that adapts as customers become more mature in their understanding of the problem they’re looking to solve. If someone lands on your site while researching a specific topic, you might suggest they check out a beginner’s guide or an interesting tutorial series to provide them with some background. Once you’ve created a solid foundation, you can start to build on that personalized content experience.

Focus on content personalization to facilitate binge consumption and create your ideal customer.
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5. Leave them wanting more.

Providing bingeable content is a great way to enhance your brand experience and your relationship with audience members. That said, you don’t want to simply release a great series or ebook and then rely on the original content to carry engagement. Plan follow-up content so you can draw people back to your site in the weeks after that big launch.

You could also offer a few installments upfront and then spread out future releases to sustain interest. Hulu employed this strategy with The Handmaid’s Tale by offering the first several episodes at launch before it transitioned to a weekly release schedule. This approach gives people a chance to consider how the story develops each week, building anticipation for the next chapter.

Binge-watching has drastically changed the way the entertainment industry operates. Companies that want to take advantage of our propensity to binge must deliver innovative, high-quality content on a regular basis. These lessons hold true for marketers, who can use content-driven experiences and content personalization to facilitate binge consumption and create their ideal customer. In the words of the Content Marketing Institute’s Robert Rose, deliver “the right value, to the right audience, in their time.”

Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from Jay Baer at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.

How to Build Valuable Relationships with Twitter

How to Build Valuable Relationships with Twitter

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. The internet has changed a lot, but not that.

Okay, what you know is also important. But, today we’re going to talk about “who you know” and how to connect with people on Twitter.

The advantages of relationship building on Twitter are huge. Connect with new prospects and customers, develop partnerships to grow your business, surround yourself with like-minded people you can learn from and grow with, the possibilities are endless.

But how do you strategically build relationships on Twitter?

In this post, I’ll go over how to build a relevant following, how to make it easy for people to find you, and how to deepen relationships on Twitter.

Ready? Let’s get to it…

Follow First to Make Connections

If you’re first starting out or having trouble making connections on Twitter, consider a follow-first strategy.

How to Create a Snapchat Geofilter on Your Phone

Want to design Snapchat geofilters on the go? Have you seen the Snapchat in-app geofilter creation tool? In this article, you’ll discover how to easily create and purchase custom Snapchat geofilters from within the mobile app. #1: Design Your Snapchat On-Demand Geofilter To get started creating your geofilter, open the Snapchat app. From the camera

This post How to Create a Snapchat Geofilter on Your Phone first appeared on .
– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

A Beginner’s Guide to Marketing Automation

Posted by Angela_Petteys

To say marketing automation is a complex subject is putting it mildly. On the surface it seems simple enough, but once you get just a little bit deeper into it, it’s overwhelming. Even if you work with marketing automation on a daily basis, it can be hard to describe.

When used correctly, marketing automation can be useful in helping sales and marketing teams do their jobs more effectively so they can reach their goals. But there are also a lot of misunderstandings about what marketing automation is and isn’t. Let’s try to get a better understanding of what marketing automation is and how it can potentially help a business.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is the use of software to deliver personalized messages to customers and leads. The software allows you to create a dynamic series of messages to send to your contacts. The message a person receives is decided by factors you specify, like what their spending habits are, where they are in the buying process, and past interactions they’ve had with your site.

Delivering content that’s tailored to a person’s needs and interests helps build stronger relationships which, in turn, can help increase conversions and revenue. Marketing automation can help you accomplish all these things while streamlining your operations at the same time.

In the broad scope of things, marketing automation incorporates several different aspects of marketing and business development, including email marketing, content development, conversion rate optimization, and lead generation.

The benefits of using marketing automation

By far, one of the biggest benefits of marketing automation is that it helps sales and marketing teams work more efficiently. People love personalized content; sending out personalized emails generates six times more revenue than sending non-personalized emails. But manually sending out customized messages to contacts simply isn’t practical. Marketing automation platforms handle the mundane and repetitive work that goes into delivering personalized content, giving sales and marketing professionals more time to focus on things that are more interesting and challenging.

Not only does marketing automation make it easier to deliver messages, it makes it easier to figure out where people are in the conversion process. Marketing automation programs typically have a lead scoring feature which helps users quickly identify which leads are the most sales-ready.

One of the most common reasons why businesses consider using marketing automation in the first place is because they want to improve their conversion rates and revenues. Marketing automation is a way to encourage customers to stay engaged longer, making it more likely they’ll stick around long enough to convert. On average, companies that use marketing automation have 53% higher conversion rates and an annual revenue growth rate 3.1% higher compared to companies that don’t.

For products and services with longer conversion cycles, marketing automation can also help speed up the process. In one example cited by VentureHarbour, Thomson Reuters was able to reduce their conversion time by 72% by using marketing automation software.

What applications are there for marketing automation?

While marketing automation has several different applications, email messaging and lead generation/nurturing are among the most common.

Yes, email is still relevant as a marketing tool. While it’s easy to say things like “Everybody’s on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram,” it’s simply not true. However, most Internet users do have at least one email address. Email inboxes also tend to move at a slower pace than social media feeds, giving you the best chance at making a direct connection with your contacts. There’s a multitude of ways marketing automation can be used with email:

  • Welcome messages
  • Product retargeting
  • Abandoned cart reminders
  • Personalized product recommendations

And that’s just to name a few.

Many companies use marketing automation to solicit feedback from their contacts, regardless if they’ve converted or not. Whether it’s by sending out surveys or asking people to send comments directly to them, the information they garner can be extremely valuable in guiding changes that will help improve their revenues in the long run.

Given that personalized emails generate so much more revenue than non-personalized emails, marketing automation can be an effective way to nurture your leads. According to Marketo, about 50% of leads in any system are not ready to buy and nearly 80% of all new leads will never become sales. With marketing automation, the goal is to give people something of value when they need it most so that they’re more likely to convert. Effective lead nurturing generates 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost. Nurtured leads also tend to make larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.

Marketing automation platforms are also often commonly used to manage social media campaigns, create landing pages, and conduct ongoing A/B testing.

B2B vs. B2C marketing automation

Businesses of all sizes can potentially benefit from marketing automation, but whether a business has a B2B or B2C model is going to have an impact on the type of messaging used in their campaigns. While both types of businesses would have the main goals of improving conversions and revenue, there are differences in how they’ll reach that goal.

B2B sales

B2B sales tend to have longer conversion cycles than B2C sales and often involve products or services that require a more long-term commitment. (Of course, there are some exceptions.) Because of this, B2B messaging has a greater emphasis on long-form content like whitepapers, case studies, and e-books. When major purchases are being considered for a business, multiple people are often involved in the decision-making process, so it’s not always a matter of winning over one person like it is with B2C sales. It’s important for the business with something to sell to establish themselves as an authority in their industry — offering in-depth informational content is a great way to do that.

B2C sales

Since B2C sales move at a faster pace, the content used in their messaging is typically much simpler. For example, Sephora customers aren’t going to be interested in long case studies about a product, but they might appreciate a 30-second video demonstrating how to use a product instead. For B2C companies, the focus tends to be more on brand building and giving customers reasons to come back, so their messaging typically includes things like abandoned shopping cart reminders, personalized product recommendations, and offers tailored to specific types of customers.

Key concepts

Although many different aspects of marketing and business development come together in marketing automation, the whole process is ultimately driven by a few core concepts.

Conversion funnels

A conversion funnel is the process a person takes toward becoming a customer. Now that it’s so easy to find product reviews and shop around, a lot of people don’t just buy things from the first place they see it for sale. Marketing automation is a way to keep people engaged so they’re more likely to convert.

The conversion funnel can be broken down into a few basic stages:

  • Awareness: The customer initially becomes aware of a company, product, or service. It’s too soon for a person to want to make any decisions, but a business has made its way onto their radar.
  • Interest: Not everyone who is aware of a business/product/service is going to have a need for it. At this point, those who are interested will start becoming more engaged by doing things like requesting a quote, signing up for a free trial, following a business on social media, looking for reviews, or reading blog posts and other content on a company’s site.
  • Consideration: By now, a person is familiar enough with a business to know they like what’s being offered. They’re not quite ready to make a decision, but a business is in the running.
  • Action: This is the point where a person decides to convert. You’ve won them over and they’re ready to do business with you.

Ideally, after a person converts once, they’ll be so happy with their decision that they become a repeat customer. But as people move through the conversion funnel, whether they do it once or several times, some of them will always drop out at each level. On average, only 1–5 % of people who enter a conversion funnel actually convert. When people drop out, it’s known as churn, and while some churn is inevitable, marketing automation can help reduce it. By understanding the needs and interests of people at each stage of the conversion funnel, you’re better able to keep them engaged by providing them with the type of content they’re most interested in.

For example, let’s say a company installs vinyl windows and they advertise heavily in the local media. At any given time, a large percentage of the thousands of people who see their ads won’t take any action after seeing one because they either don’t need new windows or because they live in a rental property. No amount of additional messaging will win those people over. But since replacing windows can be very expensive, the people who actually do need them typically spend time doing research to make sure they choose the right type of window and get the best price. If this company were to send additional information about vinyl windows to the people who contact them to get an estimate, they may be able to convince more people to convert.

Feedback loops and metrics

One of the basic laws of physics is that for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. A very similar concept also applies in the world of marketing automation, and it’s known as a feedback loop. When you send a message to a person, the recipient will have some kind of reaction to it, even if that reaction is to do nothing at all. That reaction is part of your feedback loop and you’ll need to pay attention to your metrics to get an idea of what those reactions are.

Feedback loops and metrics are a reflection of how effective your marketing automation strategy is. Whether a person converts, clicks through to your site, ignores the message, flags it as spam, or unsubscribes from your list, that tells you something about how the recipient felt about your message.

When you look at your metrics, you’ll ideally want to see high open rates, clickthrough rates, and maybe even some forwards, since those are signs your content is engaging, valuable, and not annoying to your contacts. Some unsubscribes and abuse reports are inevitable, especially since a lot of people get confused about the difference between the two. But don’t ignore those metrics just because they’re not what you want to see. An increasing number of either could be a sign your strategy is too aggressive and needs to be reworked.

User flow

While conversion funnels refer to the process taken toward converting, user flow refers to the series of pages a person visits before taking an action.

When you have traffic coming to your site from different sources like PPC ads, social media, and email messages, you want to direct users to pages that will make it easy for them to take the action you want them to take, whether it’s buying something, signing up for a free trial, or joining an email list.

You also have to keep in mind that people often have different needs depending on how they arrive at a page, so you’ll want to do your best to make sure people are being taken to a page that would appeal to them. For example, if a person is directly taken to a product page after doing a search for a long-tail keyword, that’s fine since they’re clearly looking for something specific and are more likely to be ready to convert. But someone who clicks on a PPC ad and fills out a form on a landing page is probably going to want more information before they make any decisions, so it’s not time to give them a hard sell.


Workflows are where the automation part of marketing automation comes into play. Your workflow is the series of triggers you create to deliver messages. Creating a workflow involves taking yourself through the entire process and asking yourself, “If this happens, what should happen next?”

Workflows can consist of many different triggers, such as how long it’s been since a person has taken an action, interactions you’ve had with a person, or actions they’ve previously taken on your site. Some types of workflows commonly used by retailers include sending discount codes to customers who haven’t made any purchases in a while, reminding people to review products after they’ve had some time to enjoy their purchase, and sending reminders to people who have recently added items to their cart without actually making a purchase.

Important steps in creating a marketing automation strategy1. Define your goals

This might seem like an obvious point to make, but before you do anything else, you need to decide exactly what you want marketing automation to help you achieve so you can plan your strategy accordingly. Are you trying to generate more leads? Working to build up business from return customers? Trying to boost sales during an off season? Each of those goals is going to require a different strategy, so it’s important to understand exactly what your main objectives are.

2. Identify who to target

Of course it’s important to understand the needs of your customers at all points of the conversion process. But depending on what your main goals are, your time and energy may be best spent focusing on people who are at a specific point of the process. For instance, if you’re not really having a problem with lead generation but you want more people to convert, your time and energy would be better spent focusing on the middle and lower parts of the conversion funnel.

3. Map user flows

By using marketing automation, you’re trying to get people to take some kind of action. Mapping user flow is a way to visualize the steps people need to go through to be able to take that action.

Depending on the way a person arrives at your site, some people might need more information than others before they’re willing to take that action. You don’t want to make people go through more steps than are necessary to do something, but you don’t want to hit people with a hard sell too soon, either. By using state diagrams to map user flows, as recommended by Peep Laja of ConversionXL, you’ll see exactly how people are arriving at a page and how many steps it takes for them to take the desired action.

4. Segment and rate your leads

It’s important to remember that not all leads are necessarily equal in terms of quality. Your database of contacts is inevitably going to be a mix of people who are on the verge of buying, people who are still researching their options, and people who probably won’t convert, so it’s not possible to create broad messages that will somehow appeal to all of those types of people. Rating your leads helps you figure out exactly who needs further nurturing and who is ready to be handed over to a sales team.

The interactions a person has had with your content and the actions they’ve taken on your site can be a reflection of how ready they are to convert. A person who has viewed a pricing page is most likely going to be closer to buying than someone who has simply read a blog post on a site. A person who has visited a site multiple times over the course of a few weeks is clearly more interested than someone who has only visited once or twice in the past year. Marketing automation software lets you assign values to certain actions and interactions so that it can calculate a score for that lead.

Marketing automation also lets you segment your database of contacts to a very high degree so you can deliver messages to very specific types of people. For example, when working with a B2B business, a marketer might want to target messages to people with certain job titles who work at businesses of a certain size. With B2C sales, a retailer might want to segment their lists to give special offers to people who have spent a certain amount of money with the company or send product recommendations to people who live in certain locations.

Building and maintaining a contact database

There’s no easy way around it: Building a high-quality database of contacts takes time. Marketing automation should come into play once you already have a fairly sizeable database of contacts to work with, but you will need to keep adding new names to that database on a regular basis.

One of the most effective ways to build a database of highly qualified contacts is by creating informative content. Blog content is great for providing high-level information, and it helps businesses build trust and establish themselves as an authority in their field. On the other hand, things like whitepapers and e-books are best for attracting people who want more in-depth information on a subject and are more inclined to be interested in what a business is offering, which is why those types of content are usually gated. With gated content, a person’s contact information is essentially the price of accessing the content.

For businesses that offer a service, free trials are an excellent way to get contact information since the people who sign up for them are obviously interested in what’s being offered.

Just say “no” to purchased lists

Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to buy a list of contacts. Purchased lists may give you a quick boost up front, but they’ll work against you in the long run.

First of all, high-quality lists of contacts aren’t for sale. The kinds of lists you can buy or rent are typically full of invalid and abandoned email addresses. Even if a person actually does see your message, they likely either won’t be interested or will be skeptical about doing business with a company they’re not familiar with.

If you were to start sending messages to a list full of contacts of questionable quality, you’ll most likely end up with high bounce rates, lots of unsubscriptions, low open rates, and a whole lot of abuse reports. Email service providers pay attention to those sorts of metrics and if they start seeing them on a regular basis, they’ll view you as a spammer, which will only make it harder for you to get your message to more qualified leads once you have them.

Best practices for marketing automation messagingGet to the point

Make your point quickly and make it clear. We all have a limited amount of time each day and one thing people have little patience for is long messages. People just want to know what’s in it for them. How would your product or service solve their problem? What’s unique about what you’re offering?

Keep it active

By implementing marketing automation strategies, you’re trying to keep people engaged. Therefore, your messages should be written in an active tone and encourage recipients to take some kind of action, whether it’s downloading a whitepaper, reading a blog post, watching a video, or making a purchase.

Remember where people are in the process

Don’t forget that some types of content will be more appealing than others depending on where a person is in the conversion funnel. People who are just starting to learn more about a company or product are not going to be happy if they get hit with a hard sell, but highly promotional content could potentially be effective on someone further down in the conversion funnel.

Avoid looking spammy

When used correctly, marketing automation is not spam — we’ll talk more about why that is in just a little bit. But don’t give your contacts the wrong impression. Certain things will always look spammy, such as typing in all capital letters, overusing the color red, and using too many links in the body of the message. If you’re going to use symbols in your subject lines or messages, don’t use too many of them. Avoid using words known to trigger spam filters.

If you’re unfamiliar with the CAN-SPAM Act, take some time to learn about what it means for your campaign. Subject lines need to be accurate and not misleading. Companies that send marketing messages through email need to provide a physical mailing address. (PO box addresses are allowed.) You also need to provide an unsubscribe option in all messages and make sure all opt-out requests are honored as soon as possible.

Hone your list

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to contact lists. One of the key goals for marketing automation is to get your message to precisely the right people. Pay close attention to your metrics so you know who your most qualified leads are and get rid of the ones who aren’t responding anymore. You’re better off with a smaller list of highly qualified leads than with a large list of contacts who don’t care. If it’s been months since a person last opened a message from you, just remove them from your list and focus more on the leads who are more interested.

Misconceptions about marketing automationIt’s impersonal

When done correctly, marketing automation can and should feel personal. In all fairness, it’s easy to understand how people get the wrong impression here — after all, the word “automation” is usually associated with things like computerization and robots. But for a marketing automation strategy to be successful, there needs to be a human touch behind it. Marketing automation simply makes it easier for you to get your message out there. It’s up to you to come up with content that will appeal to people and to create the strategy for getting it out there.

It’s spam

We all know how obnoxious spam is — marketers included. Marketers also understand how ineffective it is. While spam is an unsolicited message promoting something irrelevant to the vast majority of its recipients, the goal of marketing automation is to deliver highly relevant messages to users who clearly express an interest in it.

Unlike spam, marketing automation also frequently involves non-promotional content. Marketing automation messages absolutely can be promotional in nature, but ultimately, the goal is to foster positive relationships by offering something of value — and that doesn’t always involve a hard sell.

You can set it and forget it

This is another case where the word “automation” can give the wrong impression. When you think of something being automated, it’s easy to think you can just set it up, sit back, and let it run on its own. In reality, marketing automation is anything but a hands-off process. Marketing automation needs constant attention and refinement to make sure it’s as successful as possible. Many people use the A/B testing functionality of marketing automation software to run ongoing tests to see which sorts of content, subject lines, design variations, and CTAs people best respond to.

It’s just email marketing

Email is a significant part of marketing automation, but marketing automation isn’t just a new name for email marketing.

First of all, the types of messages involved in basic email marketing and marketing automation are distinctly different. When most people think of email marketing, they’re thinking of broad email blasts that go out to an entire list of contacts, but that’s just what you’re trying to avoid doing with marketing..

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3 Surefire Ways to Engage Your Customers and Boost Your Bottom Line [Webinars of the Week]

3 Surefire Ways to Engage Your Customers and Boost Your Bottom Line

Marketing, at its core, is focused on delivering wow-worthy customer experiences—or at least it should be. From your prospect’s initial engagement with your brand on social or through a piece of content to the moment they decide to buy, it’s a marketer’s job to create killer experiences that help usher them along in their buyer’s journey.

Next week, I’m cooking up three different webinars chock-full of surefire ways—from breathing new life into your social strategy to leveraging data and analytics—to engage your customers (and prospective customers) in order to boost your bottom line. Join me for one or all of these live events where I’ll be sharing actionable advice, case studies, and plenty of dad jokes about how to turn your customer’s experience into revenue.

How to Get 3,150% More Traffic Back to Your Content With a Killer Social Strategy

Has your web traffic slowed to more of a crawl than LA’s 405 at rush hour? This high-action, fast-paced webinar is the solution. I’ll kick things off by exploring what makes customers click, share, and like on social—and then we’ll help you figure out how to turn that motivation into the right kind of messaging to drive social media traffic back to your content.

I’ll be joined by Nathan Ellering of CoSchedule on Tuesday, July 25 at 2:00pm ET / 11:00am PT to discuss how you can get over 3,000% (yes, really) more traffic to your website with the help of some well-played social media moves.

6 Ways to Turn Customer Service Into a Revenue Machine

When you bolster your customer service, you have the capacity to elevate your revenue potential as well. Hear just how award-winning companies have already done it and different ways you can do it, too.

I’m getting together with customer service platform Gladly on Wednesday, July 26 at 2:00pm ET / 11:00am PT for an interactive webinar. (It’s not like The Escape Room, it’s like a Q&A where we troubleshoot your customer service woes.)

Personalization Strategies That Work

Customers hit up to 15 touchpoints before they choose to make a purchase. If you don’t know how to meet them in those moments, closing a sale can begin to feel a little bit like a game of chance. But with cognitive technology, you can leverage insights that surface unique customer interests and overall buying habits, in order to deliver a highly personalized experience that eliminates the guesswork and lands deals.

On Thursday, July 27, connect with IBM subject matter expert Anitha Gopinathan and me at 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT as we unpack how data can help you personalize your marketing efforts to reach more customers in the right place and at the right time.

Three webinars. Three ways to get your hands dirty in your customer’s buying journey. Hope to see you on one, two, or all three of these sessions (all are free, and all will be recorded for replay purposes if you register).

Disrupt the Customer Experience or Disappear

Disrupt the Customer Experience or Disappear

I’m often in Panera Bread restaurants. Usually, I’m there meeting with prospects or those in my network. On one such occasion, my appointment arrived early and selected a table near the front door.

During our conversation, I noticed customers stopping by the electronic kiosks to place their order. Then I noticed there were fewer than half the normal number of staff taking orders. Upon further scrutiny, I observed the location formerly that housed the terminals and staff had been replaced with a large area for pick up orders.

I started thinking about the contrast between the current Panera Bread business model and their former business model. Several years ago, their model was pretty simple: walk in, place your order with an employee behind their terminal, receive an electronic pager, go find your seat, retrieve your order when summoned. That was it!

Now one can order ahead, then simply stop by and pick up your food at the appropriate location skipping the line altogether.

How to Submit a DMCA Takedown Notice

Do people copy your content and post it on their site without permission? Did you know the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) can help? In this article, you’ll discover how to file a DMCA takedown notice to protect your content from plagiarists and content scrapers. What Is the DMCA and How Does It Protect Bloggers

This post How to Submit a DMCA Takedown Notice first appeared on .
– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

Optimizing Sites for Featured Snippets with Q&A Content [Case Study]

Posted by NickRebuildGroup

Ranking near the top of the SERPs for short-tail keywords in competitive business verticals can be extremely difficult. Wikipedia,, and similar sites have the market cornered on ranking at the top of search results. Even if you manage to rank in the first position, there are featured snippets, ads, map packs, and other SERP layouts that are dominating the space as well.

Because short-tail keywords have such broad search intents, it’s in the search engine’s best interest to try and answer questions directly in SERPs. That is the intent of featured snippets. If a search engine is able to answer a user’s query without them leaving the results page, they believe that delivers the best result. And the proliferation of featured snippets is only beginning. According to Search Engine Land, 19.45% of queries will display rich answers (a form of featured snippets) in Google.

A search for “what is orthodontics” in an incognito Google Chrome window displayed the following featured snippet:

orthodontics Google Search.png

This search result satisfies at least one large search intent: “What is orthodontics?” I use this as an example because my agency and I had been trying to get a client to rank for this keyword for some time. They were a dental practice with locations across the US that offered both orthodontic and general dental procedures. We had optimized their locations for their orthodontic procedures, but we wanted to get their non-localized service pages to rank as well in order to draw new patients that may be in the beginning stages of looking for a new orthodontist. But without a local qualifier, it was difficult to get the pages to rank for the short-tail searches.

After a year and change of writing, optimizing, re-writing, and re-optimizing the content — all while building links — we weren’t getting any movement with our organic rankings. It seemed that business websites were not meant to rank for these short-tail keywords. Content creators have long lamented that featured snippets don’t attribute where the content in the SERP comes from, thus leaching traffic away from the site.

We believed that rich snippets in SERPs would become more prominent — especially with mobile and voice search on the rise — and that, even without proper attribution, it would benefit our client to appear in these types of search results, especially if we were able to rank in long-tail, question-oriented searches. If we could rank in a featured snippet, where a potential consumer was asking a question about a service that we provide, it would benefit us to answer that question for them. Not only would we achieve the coveted “zero position,” we would position our client as authorities in their vertical, potentially increasing conversions.

With this in mind, we began developing the strategy that would ultimately lead us to ranking in featured snippet searches.

Q&A content

Question and answer content on websites is fairly standard. Many companies will place Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) content on their sites to help users with any questions they may have instead of answering them directly. Noting the prevalence of featured snippets in SERPs, we used the Q&A format to create new content to find out: a) could we rank for these queries? and b) would it benefit our client to rank in these queries?

Research & content creation

Using SEMRush, we conducted keyword research to find long-tail keywords with high monthly search volumes. Some of the phrases we decided to create the content around were “how long does it take to put on braces,” “how much does Invisalign cost without insurance,” and other similar queries. We also asked our client’s call team and Livechat correspondents to send us the most-asked questions they receive about orthodontics. The questions that the internal teams provided were primarily about pricing and insurance. This information was vital for our new Q&A content, as it allowed us to create answers we knew our users were looking for.

While researching current featured snippets, we gleaned that the content must emphasize the answer, not the answerer. Meaning, the content needed to be straightforward and answer the query without any marketing fluff. We ensured that our headers included the targeted keyword, along with the title tags. Once the content was created, we placed each question in the main navigation bar on the site, with each one leading to a separate landing page.

Link building

As most SEOs will tell you, backlinks are still a very important ranking factor. It was our belief that building links to our new Q&A content would be essential in ensuring that it ranked well. We built links exclusively via sites like Quora and Reddit, the idea being that these are places where people are already asking questions that we can answer as experts, while linking back to our site. In order to avoid spamming, we limited the number of links that we built per month.


After a year of collecting data, we can confidently say that not only were we successful in getting the site to rank for a featured snippet, but traffic to the orthodontics content increased by 46.10%, conversions from the content increased by 235%, and the conversion rate increased by 129.30%.


Organic sessions to the orthodontic Q&A content


Organic conversions from orthodontic Q&A content


Organic conversion rate from orthodontic Q&A content

The results were even more striking on mobile, where traffic increased by 91.46%, conversions increased by 322.22%, and conversion rate increased by 120.53%.


Mobile organic sessions to the orthodontic Q&A content


Mobile organic conversions from orthodontic Q&A content


Mobile organic conversion rate from orthodontic Q&A content

Measurement method

For this study we only looked at organic and mobile organic traffic. We also only looked at traffic that landed on our site via the orthodontics content (meaning we only measured users that entered the site via one of the orthodontics pages from an organic source).

Attention metrics

It should be noted that this implementation was not successful in every facet. One of the most important goals for new content is making sure that users engage with it. And at Rebuild Group, we normally measure content engagement through attention metrics: pages/session, average time on site, bounce rate, etc.

Upon collecting the data, we noticed that all attention metrics decreased year over year. Our hypothesis is that because the content is both meant to answer a question and is easily digestible, users were more likely to leave the site after their question was answered. It explains why traffic, conversions, and conversion rate increased so much year over year and attention metrics decreased.


Most important to this experiment, we were able to have our site rank in the first position — or zero position — in search results for the query “how long do you wear invisalign a day,” while also ranking on the first page (though not the first position) for other Q&A orthodontic terms.

how long do you wear invisalign a day 3:14:17.png

We started ranking in the first position for this term in mid-January, though we lost the ranking shortly thereafter. We began to consistently rank in the first position in March and are still ranked there as of this writing.

Our belief is that by simply answering the question and including the keyword in crawlable parts of the content, we were able to rank in the first position for one of our targeted Q&A phrases, resulting in a featured snippet.


Conversions were measured as the number of contact form submissions sent during sessions where a user entered the site via the orthodontic content. As mentioned above, conversions and conversion rates for all organic and mobile organic traffic increased greatly year over year. However, the effects were not seen until 9 months into the experiment.

When the traffic was measured at 90 and 180 days, organic traffic to the new content was steadily increasing overall and via mobile devices, but conversions and conversion rate had not gone up compared to the previous year. It wasn’t until 270 days in, when we first ranked in the featured snippet SERP, that conversions began to increase.


Organic traffic to the orthodontic Q&A content


Organic conversions from orthodontic Q&A content

Once we were consistently ranking in the first position for a featured snippet SERP, while also ranking on the first page of SERPs for other queries, our conversions and conversion rates began to greatly increase.

Google Home

As stated earlier, voice search is on the rise. Once we were able to rank as a featured snippet in a targeted SERP, we wanted to see if that featured snippet would affect how Google Home provided an answer to the targeted query:

*Note: This video was recorded on my phone, so the quality is not the best. You may need to turn up your volume to hear the question and answer.

As you can see, Google Home clearly attributes the answer to our client, answers the question, and then sends the user to the Home App, where the answer is again shown:


From there they can click through to the site on their mobile device:


In the end we drew a strong correlation between the implementation of the Q&A orthodontics content, ranking highly in rich snippet SERPs, and increased conversions and conversion rates. But like all things SEO, there are no definites when implementing this kind of strategy. We implemented content that drove users to a site that offered services they were looking for. Someone searching “how to boil water” is not likely looking to buy new pots and pans. Ultimately, it’s important to know what your users are looking for and cater to their searches. Once you’re able to answer their questions with simple, to-the-point content, the rest is easy.

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

What Your Brand Needs to Know about 360 Video

What Your Brand Needs to Know about 360 Video

360 Video is a video that allows the viewer to see a 360 degree view from the location that the video is recorded.  You can see the view from the top of a building and look 360 degrees around as if you were really standing on that building.

One of my favorite examples is from Red Bull.  Red Bull is a good brand to follow for cutting edge ideas.  They take us inside of a Rallycross race:

Documentary type footage is the easiest to create of all the different story genres using the 360 video.  Google has been playing with this idea of 360 imagery for years with their Google Maps product.

360 video is a form of virtual reality, also known as VR

2017 is being called the year of 360 video. I expect some will call 2018 the same thing.