How to Use LinkedIn Native Video

Do you want more video views from LinkedIn? Wondering how uploading native video can help? Using the mobile app to record and share original, autoplay video directly on LinkedIn can boost views and engagement for your content. In this article, you’ll discover how to upload and share native video on LinkedIn via the mobile app.

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Own Your Errors and Do Not Fauxpologize

Own Your Errors and Do Not Fauxpologize

You can’t fix a problem that’s already happened. You don’t have a time machine. But every time you make a mistake, you have complete and total control over what happens next.

Yet, time and again, when businesses mess up, their leaders blow it when it’s time to ask for forgiveness.

And we WANT to forgive. We’re a forgiving society in every regard and respect. Which is why it’s puzzling and frustrating that so many people seem to have an Apology Allergy that takes a bad situation and makes it worse.

Of course, in recent months, the classic apology allergy example is United Airlines. When airport police officers forcibly drag a passenger from your aircraft, you should apologize fast and without equivocation. Instead, United first blamed the passenger. Then, after they were pilloried in social media and beyond, they offered a feeble apology and admitted the flight had been overbooked.

When the crowd still wasn’t buying it, United’s chief executive released a formal apology to passengers who sat through the experience. Several equally embarrassing missteps later, United executives had an epiphany (thanks to boycotting customers and partners). In a final statement, the company took “full responsibility” for a situation it admitted shouldn’t have happened in the first place. It took them days to apologize right.

Don’t Fauxpologize

When an angry mob is marching your way, the natural reaction is to either run away or fight back. It’s understandable. But shouldn’t CEOs know better? Some CEOs might avoid apologizing out of fear that their words might appear to be a legal admission of guilt, but that’s a gross oversimplification of the law. Any prosecutor worth her salt knows proving liability involves more than holding up an “I apologize wholeheartedly” tweet in front of a judge.

If you or your CEO enjoys conflict, you could always decide to argue instead of apologizing. This might sound like a worse option than simply saying nothing, but it happens all the time. Denis Grisak, the founder of Garadget, decided to retaliate after a customer left negative reviews of his company online. Grisak opted to sever the angry customer’s server connection, meaning the customer was effectively unable to open his garage door. Not a good plan.

A Satisfactory Sorry

As bad as United’s apology was, it’s certainly not endemic to their industry, as competitor Southwest Airlines is a particularly sound example of how to apologize the right way.

In 2016, a technology failure left thousands of Southwest flights—and paying customers—grounded. Instead of hiding its head in the sand or trying to deflect the blame, Southwest executives faced the complaints directly by using Facebook Live. It might seem like a gamble, but the live broadcast notched more than 800,000 views and received nearly nine times more likes than angry emojis.

Elon Musk is also a great case study in how to apologize well. A Tesla driver who was upset about the wait time to charge his vehicle tweeted at Musk, and the Tesla CEO offered a direct response within 20 minutes. The apology didn’t stop there, as six days later Tesla developed a system to streamline the long lines plaguing some of its charging stations.

In less than a week, Musk made a major change that benefits countless Tesla customers. He helped himself and his company come across as accountable and open to consumer feedback.

Apologies Create Advocacy

Customer service and efforts to remedy mistakes are powerful tools to create devoted brand advocates. Customers are more likely to do business with companies that can solve their problems, and they’re incredibly loyal to those companies.

My research with Edison Research for my book, Hug Your Haters, found that ignoring irate customers reduces loyalty and advocacy by up to 50 percent. At the same time, addressing these issues promotes loyalty and advocacy by as much as 25 percent. Even if you aren’t able to completely solve their problems, these customers will be more faithful to your company simply because you responded and were genuinely sorry.

Stop looking for ways to not apologize or to pass blame or to half-heartedly say you’re sorry. If you screwed up, own it. It’s amazing how far that goes in creating customer loyalty.

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5 Tips to Help Show ROI from Local SEO

Posted by JoyHawkins

Earlier this year, when I was first writing my advanced local SEO training, I reached out to some users who work for local SEO agencies and asked them what they’d like more training on. The biggest topic I got as a result was related to tracking and reporting value to small business owners.

My clients will often forward me reports from their prior SEO company, expressing that they have no idea what they were getting for their money. Some of the most common complaints I see with these reports are:

  • Too much use of marketing lingo (“Bounce Rate,” “CTR,” etc.)
  • Way too much data
  • No representation of what impact the work done had on the business itself (did it get them more customers?)

If a small business owner is giving you hundreds or thousands of dollars every month, how do you prove to them they’re getting value from it? There’s a lot to dig into with this topic — I included a full six pages on it in my training. Today I wanted to share some of the most successful tips that I use with my own clients.

1. Stop sending automated Google Analytics reports

If the goal is to show the customer what they’re getting from their investment, you probably won’t achieve it by simply sending them an Analytics report each month. Google Analytics is a powerful tool, but it only looks awesome to you because you’re a marketer. Over the past year, I’ve looked at many monthly reports that made my head spin — it’s just too much data. The average SMB isn’t going to be able to look at those reports and figure out how their bounce rate decreasing somehow means you’re doing a great job at SEO.

2. Make conversions the focus of your report

What does the business owner care about? Hint: it’s not how you increased the ranking for one of their 50 tracked keywords this month. No, what they care about is how much additional business you drove to their business. This should be the focus of the report you send them. Small business call conversions

3. Use dynamic number insertion to track calls

If you’re not already doing this, you’re really killing your ability to show value. I don’t have a single SEO or SEM client that isn’t using call tracking. I use Call Tracking Metrics, but CallRail is another one that works well, too. This allows you to see the sources of incoming calls. Unlike slapping a call tracking number on your website, dynamic number insertion won’t mess up NAP consistency.

The bonus here is that you can set up these calls as goals in Google Analytics. Using the Landing Page report, you can see which pages on the site were responsible for getting that call. Instead of saying, “Hey customer, a few months ago I created this awesome page of content for you,” you can say “Hey customer, a few months ago, I added this page to your site and as a result, it’s got you 5 more calls.”
Conversion goal completion in Google Analytics

4. Estimate revenue

I remember sitting in a session a couple years ago when Dev Basu from Powered by Search told me about this tactic. I had a lightbulb moment, wondering why the heck I didn’t think to do this before.

The concept is simple: Ask the client what the average lifetime value of their customer is. Next, ask them what their average closing ratio is on Internet leads. Take those numbers and, based on the number of conversions, you can calculate their estimated revenue.

Formula: Lifetime Value of a Customer x Closing Ratio (%) x Number of Conversions = Estimated Revenue

Bonus tip: Take this a step further and show them that for every dollar they pay you, you make them $X. Obviously, if the lifetime value of the customer is high, these numbers look a lot better. For example, an attorney could look like this:Example monthly ROI for an attorneyWhereas an insurance agent would look like this:
Example monthly ROI for an insurance agent

5. Show before/after screenshots, not a ranking tracker.

I seriously love ranking trackers. I spend a ton of time every week looking at reports in Bright Local for my clients. However, I really believe ranking trackers are best used for marketers, not business owners. How many times have you had a client call you freaking out because they noticed a drop in ranking for one keyword? I chose to help stop this trend by not including ranking reports in my monthly reporting and have never regretted that decision.

Instead, if I want to highlight a significant ranking increase that happened as a result of SEO, I can do that by showing the business owner a visual — something they will actually understand. This is where I use Bright Local’s screenshots; I can see historically how a SERP used to look versus how it looks now.

At the end of the day, to show ROI you need to think like a business owner, not a marketer. If your goals match the goals of the business owner (which is usually to increase calls), make sure that’s what you’re conveying in your monthly reporting.

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5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Can Help Your Brand Grow

5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Can Help Your Brand Grow

Why has AI become one of the most popular topics among marketers? Because it makes our lives easier.

And then there’s the next question: How can it help?

We’re facing an invasive amount of information, and we need to be able to process the huge chunks of data now available to us and make the best use of them. Yet, in most cases, we are at a loss, and the only easy way is to go by intuition alone. Does it work? Once in a thousand years, sure. Or perhaps it does, but the results are far from where you had aimed.

That’s where AI comes into play.

Several years ago, when I heard or saw the phrase “artificial intelligence,” I thought it was crazy how many people believed in that nonsense. I never expected I’d be so wrong.

Consider IBM, Google, Facebook, Tesla, Lenovo, Coca Cola, Adidas, Starbucks, Amazon, Microsoft, and Uber. What do they have in common? It’s simple: All of them have started using AI in their marketing strategy. Here are a few of the most vivid examples of how AI is helping brands grow.

Tesla, Lenovo, Adidas, Starbucks, and more have all started using AI in their marketing strategy
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1. AI and Digital Advertising

We’ve all heard a lot about programmatic advertising, as well as about cognitive advertising based on advanced algorithms helping with demand and supply optimization. Prepare to start hearing more about AI advertising, as well.

We used to make ads ourselves, and many of us still do, but now, why bother? Let AI make ads for you. That’s exactly what Coca Cola and Quartz, partnered with DigitasLBi Hewlett Packard Enterprise, decided to do. They’re poised to win the market over with this win-win. IBM Watson has become the most empowering tool for any business, and still more companies are using AI to boost sales.

Look at Albert, Harley-Davidson’s AI-driven platform for marketing.

Harley-Davidson AI Albert

Albert helped increase sales leads by 2,930 percent and saved time and effort for Harley-Davidson’s marketers. Besides the numerous outstanding features Albert has to offer, it’s making ads really outstanding and influential. Albert improved ad wording when it discovered calls to action with the word “call” performed almost 450 percent better than those with the word “buy.” The improvement was obvious.

2. AI and Customer Service

After “advertising,” “personalization” is the first word we hear when talking about AI in marketing. Brands are clamoring to make personalized experiences a standard of their marketing plans. However, you’ll never achieve utopian personalized customer service without AI.

Personalization presupposes strong communication. No brand can dedicate a personal human assistant to each customer when it comes to purchase assistance. Here come AI personal shop assistants and chatbots that replace human beings in the communication chain.

Brands are already making the shopping experience more interactive with AI. It can not only give product recommendations, but also analyze what your customers will like more and, faster than any human, and create an engaging and entertaining contact.

Take Starbucks and its virtual barista that allows customers to place orders by tapping a button and communicating with the personal assistant. Or look at American Eagle’s Aerie chatbot. The brand attracted more users with Aerie than with all their other social media channels combined. The fun, quiz-like interaction helped the brand win audiences over.

Aerie chatbot

3. AI and SEO

The most important thing to remember about AI in SEO is the power of voice search. Voice search technologies like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa have forever changed search queries. Now, question words like “how,” “where,” “what,” “who,” “when,” “why,” “close,” and “nearby” have all become query triggers. It’s why we’re now facing the need to change our keyword planning strategy as well.

You can also take advantage of AI in your content marketing, where AI is almost obligatory for saving precious time. That doesn’t mean content spinning or paraphrasing tools for spammers—it’s something more sophisticated. We’re talking automatically generated content, customized news feeds, and predictive intelligence.

I began using Office 365’s AI-based Editor to get the most out of my freelance writers at Essay Dune. This AI product is vital for me and a must for my colleagues. I analyzed 60 articles scheduled for my blog, 30 of which were written by the same freelancers without the Editor. The other half were written with the Editor. 37 percent of the first half contained minor mistakes, but only nine percent of the articles that used the Editor had mistakes.

4. AI and Augmented Reality

The Pokémon Go obsession showed that augmented reality (AR) rules the mainstream. AR has already become an inherent part of our lives, and virtual reality (VR) glasses, virtual desktops, Google’s Tilt brush, and many more tools and toys are selling themselves on the net. Lenovo’s New Glass C200 combined AI and AR in a very smart way. In the near future, we’ll have a chance to make purchases in VR environments as well.

5. AI and Website Design

If you’re a designer, you already know about AI website design and how the Grid works. The Grid is called the website of the future, and perhaps it is—the website that designs itself without any human help deserves respect. Likewise, AI technology in website design has boosted Cosabella’s sales by 35.6 percent. And that’s only the beginning—we’re only at the starting line of a tremendously promising adventure in marketing and design.

Elon Musk once said, “We’re going to have the choice of either being left behind and being effectively useless or like a pet—you know, like a house cat or something—or eventually figuring out some way to be symbiotic and merge with AI.”

And nobody wants to be left behind. That’s a clear-cut rule of our brains.

Do you believe AI can become a must in the digital world? Have you tried to use AI in your marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments.

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5 Best Practices to Sustain Your Employee Advocacy Program

5 Best Practices to Sustain Your Employee Advocacy Program

Brands always rely on ‘word of mouth marketing’ and customer referrals to increase their market share. With the advent of social media and digital technologies, your employees are becoming the marketing engine of your business. They hang out in different social media channels and share updates to build their personal brand. Organizations today shouldn’t miss out this incredible opportunity to transform their employees into trusted brand advocates. In today’s digital world, employee advocacy is becoming an important component of online marketing strategy. Modern marketers are embracing this new marketing communication channel to improve their earned media presence online.

Employees are the most trusted of all other key stakeholders in the company. Here are 5 best practices to nurture your employee advocacy program:

1. Make Employee Engagement a Priority

During the planning phase of implementing employee advocacy program, involve human resources professionals to devise an actionable internal communication strategy.

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How to Create Snapchat Ads in Snapchat Ad Manager

Wondering how to advertise on Snapchat? Have you explored the Snapchat Ad Manager? Businesses of all sizes can create Snap ads with the platform’s self-serve Ad Manager tool. In this article, you’ll discover how to create an ad with Snapchat Ad Manager. Set Up a Snapchat Advertising Account Before you can start advertising on Snapchat,

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SEO Above the Funnel: Getting More Traffic When You Can’t Rank Any Higher

Posted by Tom.Capper

Normally, as SEOs, we follow a deceptively simple process. We identify how people are searching for our product, then we build or optimize pages or websites to match searcher intent, we make sure Google can find, understand, and trust it, and we wait for the waves of delicious traffic to roll in.

It’s not always that simple, though. What if we have the right pages, but just can’t rank any higher? What if we’re already satisfying all of the search volume that’s relevant to our product, but the business demands growth? What if there is no search volume relevant to our product?

What would you do, for example, if you were asked to increase organic traffic to the books section on Amazon? Or property search traffic to Rightmove (UK) or Zillow (US)? Or Netflix, before anyone knew that true online streaming services existed?

In this post, I’m going to briefly outline four simple tactics for building your relevant organic traffic by increasing the overall size of the market, rather than by trying to rank higher. And none of them require building a single link, or making any changes to your existing pages.

1. Conquer neighboring territories

This is a business tactic as well as an SEO one, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for reasonably uncompetitive verticals adjacent to your own. You have an advantage in these, because you already have a brand, a strong domain, a website to build upon, and so forth. New startups trying to make headway in these spaces will struggle to compete with a fairly low-effort execution on your part, if you judge it well.

Start by ideating related products. For example, if you’re a property listings site, you might look at:

  • Home insurance
  • Home valuation
  • Flat-sharing listings
  • Area guides

Once you’ve outlined your list (it’s probably longer than my example), you can do your basic keyword research, and take a look at the existing ranking pages. This is a bit like identifying keyword opportunities, except you’re looking at the core landing pages of a whole vertical — look at their Domain Authorities, their branded search volumes, the quality of their landing pages, the extent to which they’ve done basic SEO, and ask whether you could do better.

In the example above, you might find that home insurance is well served by fairly strong financial services or comparison sites, but flat-sharing is a weak vertical dominated by a few fairly young and poorly executed sites. That’s your opportunity.

To minimize your risk, you can start with a minimal viable version — perhaps just a single landing page or a white-labeled product. If it does well, you know it merits further investment.

You’ve already established a trusted brand, with a strong website, which users are already engaging in — if you can extend your services and provide good user experiences in other areas, you can beat other, smaller brands in those spaces.

2. Welcome the intimidated

Depending on your vertical, there may be an untapped opportunity among potential customers who don’t understand or feel comfortable with the product. For example, if you sell laptops, many potential customers may be wary of buying a laptop online or without professional advice. This might cause them not to buy, or to buy a cheaper product to reduce the riskiness.

A “best laptops under £500,” or “lightest laptops,” or “best laptops for gaming” page could encourage people to spend more, or to buy online when they might otherwise have bought in a store. Pages like this can be simple feature comparisons, or semi-editorial, but it’s important that they don’t feel like a sales or up-sell function (even though that’s what the “expert” in the store would be!).

This is even more pertinent the more potentially research intensive the purchase is. For example, Crucial have done amazingly for years with their “system scanner,” linked to prominently on their homepage, which identifies potential upgrades and gives less savvy users confidence in their purchase.

Guaranteed compatible!

If this seems like too much effort, the outdoor retailer Snow and Rock don’t have the best website in the world, but they have taken a simpler approach in linking to buying guides from certain product pages — for example, this guide on how to pick a pair of walking boots.

Can you spot scenarios where users abandon in your funnels because of fear or complexity, or where they shift their spend to offline competitors? If you can make them feel safe and supported, you might be able to change their buying behavior.

3. Whip up some fervor

At the opposite end of the spectrum, you have enthusiasts who know your vertical like the back of their hand, but could be incited to treat themselves a little more. I’ve been really impressed recently by a couple of American automotive listings sites doing this really well.

The first is Autotrader.com, who have hired well-known automotive columnist Doug Demuro from Jalopnik.com to produce videos and articles for their enthusiast news section. These articles and videos talk about the nerdy quirks of some of the most obscure and interesting used cars that have been listed on the site, and it’s not uncommon for videos on Doug’s YouTube channel — which mention Autotrader.com and feature cars you could buy on Autotrader.com — to get well into 7-figure viewing counts.

These are essentially adverts for Autotrader.com’s products, but I and hundreds of thousands of others watch them religiously. What’s more, the resulting videos and articles stand to rank for the types of queries that curious enthusiasts may search for, turning informational queries into buying intent, as well as building brand awareness. I actually think Autotrader.com could do even better at this with a little SEO 101 (editorial titles don’t need to be your actual title tag, guys), but it’s already a great tactic.

Another similar site doing this really well is Bringatrailer.com. Their approach is really simple — whenever they get a particularly rare or interesting car listed, they post it on Facebook.

These are super low-effort posts about used cars, but if you take a step back, Bring a Trailer are doing something outrageous. They’re posting links to their product pages on Facebook a dozen or more times a day, and getting 3-figure reaction counts. Some of the lesson here is “have great product pages,” or “exist in an enthusiast-rich vertical,” and I realize that this tactic isn’t strictly SEO. But it is doing a lot of things that we as SEOs try to do (build awareness, search volume, links…), and it’s doing so by successfully matching informational or entertainment intents with transactional pages.

When consumers engage with a brand emotionally or even socially, then you’re more likely to be top-of-mind when they’re ready to purchase — but they’re also more likely to purchase if they’re seeing and thinking about your products, services, and sector in their feed.

4. Tell people your vertical exists

I won’t cover this one in too much detail, because there’s already an excellent Whiteboard Friday on the subject. The key point, however, is that sometimes it’s not just that customers are intimidated by your product. They may never have heard of it. In these cases, you need to appear where they’re looking using demographic targeting, carefully researched editorial sections, or branded content.

What about you, though?

How do you go about drumming up demand in your vertical? Tell me all about it in the comments below.

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How to Effectively Use Infographics in Your Blog

How to Effectively Use Infographics in Your Blog

With millions of articles being published each day, bloggers need to be extra creative when it comes to their marketing strategy. A modest budget will help you to launch display ad or video marketing campaigns. But for cash-strapped marketers, investing in visual content like infographics can be the best step forward.

Not only are infographics affordable, they are also incredibly effective in capturing the attention of your target audience. They can also help get your point across by visually presenting data-driven information.

However, merely adding infographics into your content mix will not magically carry your brand all the way to the top. It doesn’t matter if you publish top-notch infographics on a consistent basis. To maximize your success with them, here are the top 5 strategies you need to consider:

1.  Make Social Sharing Easier

Statistics show that infographics are 3x more shareable than any other form of content in social media.

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How to Integrate Facebook Messenger Bots With Facebook Live

Want more leads and conversions from your Facebook Live videos? Did you know using a chatbot can boost your results? Integrating Messenger bots with your Facebook Live broadcasts makes it easy for viewers to sign up for and receive your offers. In this article, you’ll discover how to create a Facebook Messenger bot that generates

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