Saturday, December 16, 2017

Branding | Marketing | Social Media | SEO

Improve Your Personal Brand’s Social Networks for SEO with These Tips

Search engine marketing and social media work together in building visibility online, which is a change from the older traditional methods of link building and keyword usage. Social media, in particular, is a large influence in the way people look for information, which is driven by conversations and phrases. Google’s latest algorithm reflects this and influences the way personal brands publish content.

Has your brand’s website ranking seen a decline? There are new methods you can use that can attract readers, and improve your placement on search engines. In order to be successful, you need to be aware of the latest trends in marketing.

Today’s social-driven SEO methods differ from those in the past, which means that in-depth and original articles are now in favor for readers. Here are a few ways that will help you improve your following online.

Online Search: SEO

SEO 2018: 15 Rules for Dominating Online Search Results

Seems like yesterday that I was writing about SEO in 2017. Now, 2018 is near. Are the rules changing much? Sort of. But, the fundamentals are staying the same. You still can't game the system. You can't take shortcuts or cut corners. If you want to absolutely crush the SEO game in 2018, you need to put in the work.

The truth? Understanding search engine optimization takes time. With hundreds of rules to Google's algorithm, it's no wonder it's so confusing. But, to stay ahead of the proverbial curve with SEO in 2018, you simply need to put in the time and the effort to deliver real value. Not try use shady tactics. No. Real value.

What exactly does that mean? Well, in order to properly convey the underlying rules to you, let's start with a story. Let's pretend you just opened up a new business and you walk into a bank. You sit down with the banker and explain your fantastic business model. You even show him a dazzling business plan.

SEO | Machine Learning | Google

SEO & Machine Learning: Adapting To Google's New Realities

Machine learning has been on the horizon for a couple of years, but only a few SEO professionals have been paying close attention. Most SEOs opt for tried-and-true on-page and off-page optimization methods, as machine learning is still in its infancy and has not yet fundamentally changed the SEO landscape. As time goes on, however, SEOs who choose to turn a blind eye to machine learning will definitely be left behind. It is beyond doubt that the impact of machine learning algorithms on a site’s visibility in search will only increase.

In the not-too-distant future, you may notice your clients’ sites experiencing massive ups and downs in Google ranking. Your first guess might be that the search giant has released a new algorithm update. And while that may be the case, erratic drops in SERPs and traffic could possibly be related to Google’s efforts to implement machine learning, in order to rank sites more efficiently. It is time for SEO professionals to admit that their role and goals will have to evolve over the next couple of years. We had best be prepared for the upcoming revolution, and figure out what we can do to adapt to the new realities of search. But first let’s clarify what machine learning actually is.

According to Wikipedia, “Machine learning is a field of computer science that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.” Basically, being a subfield of artificial intelligence, machine learning teaches machines to perform activities that require human intelligence. Though machine learning has been around as a distinct field of computer science since the 1990s, its heyday only began in the 2010s, when corporations such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple started collecting dozens of terabytes of data about their customers.

Big data is key to the massive advances that machine learning as a field has experienced since the 2010s. The more data fed to AI algorithms, the more they can be taught to complete specific actions. More data means more variety for AI.

SEO, Marketing Tools

Win Big with Custom SEO & Marketing Tools

SEO and digital marketing are not monolithic. So why should your reporting be?
It’s time to bring data reporting out of the Stone Age.

With each passing day, website optimization and online marketing become more diverse, and as a result more complex.

You can forget trying to get the whole picture from a single dataset. That’s so 2017.
With the new year right around the corner, why not get the full scoop with cross-dataset custom analysis? Experience the data revolution with the full-on insights that come from tracking correlations from multiple data sources on a graph that is the definition of versatile.

SEO - Prep For 2108

Your 2018 Technical SEO Checklist

Keeping up with Google's algorithms is a full-time job. In the past year it's cracked down on ad-heavy content (Fred), shaken up local search results (Possum), and completely changed how websites are indexed (mobile-first indexing).

If you forgot to tend to your technical SEO while you were busy surviving Google algorithm updates, I could hardly blame you. Fortunately, there's no time like the present to double-check your site health and conduct an SEO audit.

This checklist will run you through all the technical SEO fundamentals you need in place in the year ahead.

1. Install essential tools

Your ability to improve your SEO hinges on your tools' ability to find and fix technical problems. Here are the absolute essentials you'll need:
  • Google Analytics: Track website traffic and gain insight into your visitors.
  • Google Search Console: Measure site performance and errors. If you're targeting US markets, you might also want to sign up for Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • Yoast SEO plugin (if you're using WordPress): Optimize your content, metadata, sitemap, keywords, and more(must have for WordPress sites).
  • An SEO auditing tool: I'll be using my tool, WebSite Auditor.
Those tools are the absolute bare minimum for improving your technical SEO.

Content Marketing | SEO

How Content Marketing Plays Into SEO (and Vice Versa)

Content and SEO go together so well, it seems almost frivolous to talk about them separately. However, there still seem to be a wide variety of businesses and even marketing experts that believe these silos don’t really have a lot in common. After all, an Altimeter study cited by Curata found that 30 percent of marketers don’t have a consistent or integrated strategy, meaning that they have siloed their different areas of marketing.

This can hinder productivity, communication, and improvement. When marketers have worked together on an integrated strategy, the majority of content creators have cited SEO as one of the aspects of marketing that has had the biggest impact on their organization’s bottom line. Below are some of the ways that content and SEO influence one another to create better content, search visibility, and an overall more effective online presence.

Good Content = Better Search Visibility

As search engines continue to refine their algorithms for indexing and displaying content in its search results, the need for high quality content to display for user searches has become even more crucial. As more and more content is created each day, the only way to stand out amongst those who create useless content is to focus on creating high quality, useful content that gives users what they are looking for. Yoast lays out its case for why the quality of content affects SEO. Its main points are this:

1. It provides better user comprehension, e.g. it gives them what they are looking for

2. It lowers the bounce rate, which is something search engines monitor

3. It creates more trust in the website, which may lead to more inbound links and return traffic, both of which are relevant to SEO

4. It leads to more social media shares, which some SEOs believe has some sort of impact on search (though search engines haven’t directly confirmed this correlation as of now).

In addition, making sure your past content is still useful to the reader has SEO benefits as well. Because of Google’s “freshness” ranking factor, updating content to make sure it’s as relevant and up-to-date as possible has long-term SEO benefits. SEOs have long known about Google’s interest in the dates of content. It was first introduced in 2003 with Google’s patent on information retrieval based on date. Then, in 2011, more information came out about the “freshness” ranking factor as part of the algorithm and how content recency affects content’s place in search engine result pages (SERPs).

SEO - Data Driven, Marketing

A balanced approach to data-driven SEO

We have nearly unlimited access to information and data. For search marketers, this can be a blessing or a curse. It’s very easy to get sucked into the never-ending pool of data — but this rarely, if ever, benefits our work. So how do we protect ourselves from information overload?

Futurologist Alvin Toffler predicted in 1970 that the rapidly increasing amounts of information produced would eventually cause people problems. More than a few times, I’ve found myself overwhelmed and overloaded with information, and my guess is that you have also experienced this phenomenon.

If you take your SEO seriously, then you understand the necessity of tracking your efforts — after all, data is at the core of good SEO.

SEO Strategy | SEO Tips

Four Reasons Why You Need To Customize Your SEO Strategy

The Google Webmaster Rater Quality Guidelines make it clear that each web page must have a purpose. The guidelines go so far as to instruct raters to mark pages with no clear purpose as “low quality." For some, their website is an online portal to express feelings, opinions, hobbies and personal experiences. Business owners and entrepreneurs are not granted that luxury.

Using Purpose To Define A Marketing Message

It is no longer enough to have your website’s purpose defined as “the place where we get leads.” (Unfortunately, for many of the consulting conversations we have, this is where their marketing plan begins and ends.)
The purpose of a web page must match the users’ needs. By reverse-engineering your potential clients’ needs, you can customize each web page to solve those needs and position your business in their minds as the top choice for future solutions. This focus on purpose needs to be the new core of every SEO campaign.

The Competition Has Become Tougher

We live in a time where most people rely on the internet for everything. People Google anything that comes to mind. In fact, they use major search engines for reviews before shopping online or offline. With this in mind, most businesses rely on an effective SEO strategy to influence the behavior of potential customers. This has forced even the most relaxed small business owner to have at least a modicum of SEO knowledge.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Social Media Tips - Customer Experience

4 Steps to Enhancing the Customer Experience with Social Media

Social media has been the “buzz” in marketing practically since its inception. And while your business should absolutely be utilizing these channels as an integral part of your marketing strategy, it’s time to move past thinking about your social media pages and handles solely in terms of marketing with the goal of customer acquisition.

You need to use social media to enhance your customers’ experiences with your brand. It’s time to delight.

Set the stage: Engage your customers, don’t bombard them

While some less savvy companies might think of their social media accounts as a publisher of free ads, this is not the case, thanks to the ever-declining reach of organic social content. Besides, no one is delighted by an endless deluge of promotional materials, after which you might find people tuning you out, and probably, unfollowing you.

When creating a content calendar, you need to consider what your social media followers likely expect to get out of following you. They probably want to hear about sales and promotions; maybe they like to find out about new products the moment they launch; or they might be interested in news from your industry.

In addition to occasional sales messages, you should be showcasing your culture and creating a conversational environment where customers feel welcome to provide feedback. Ask for their opinions. Instagram’s new poll feature in Instagram Stories (aka Snapchat 2.0) is a prime example of a fun way to engage your customers in a genuine way while learning about their likes or dislikes.

Pro tip: To add a poll to your Story, use the “Poll” sticker from the stickers menu. Here you can enter a question and two response options. When users view your story and respond, they see which option is in the lead. Story creators can later view respondents by viewing the Story and swiping up.

Dealing with customer service inquiries and feedback

Consumers are increasingly making their purchase decisions online — from researching, browsing and purchasing goods and services all the way through use of the product or service. It follows that they’re also taking their customer service inquiries online. If they bought from you online, it’s all the more likely that they’ll expect to engage with you online post-purchase.

For retail stores, customers have no quicker, easier way to connect than through social media. And when they do contact retailers through Facebook, Twitter or some other platform, they’ll likely do it publicly. This comes with its own set of challenges. But marketers of businesses that sell products or services online should consider it first and foremost an opportunity.

You now have the chance to showcase your customer service and delight a customer publicly. Of course, that also means the stakes are raised. Below are four key tips for dealing with customer service inquiries and feedback through social media.

How to Pick Your First SEO Keywords

One of the best ways to grow a business is through search engine optimization (SEO), the process of making changes to increase a website’s likelihood of being ranked for relevant searches within Google and other search engines.

Keywords are a critical component of the strategy; optimizing your site for specific ones gives you the power to control which searches you rank for (and therefore who your target audience is). Accordingly, adjusting your keyword distribution gives you power to change your campaign over time.

To be successful, you need to start by picking the right keywords. Over time, you’ll gather data that helps you determine which of your keywords are most successful, and which ones need more work -- but how do you pick the right initial set of keywords?

Technical SEO - Beginner's Guide

19 technical SEO facts for beginners

Technical SEO is an awesome field. There are so many little nuances to it that make it exciting, and its practitioners are required to have excellent problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

In this article, I cover some fun technical SEO facts. While they might not impress your date at a dinner party, they will beef up your technical SEO knowledge — and they could help you in making your website rank better in search results.

Let’s dive into the list.

1. Page speed matters

Most think of slow load times as a nuisance for users, but its consequences go further than that. Page speed has long been a search ranking factor, and Google has even said that it may soon use mobile page speed as a factor in mobile search rankings. (Of course, your audience will appreciate faster page load times, too.)

Many have used Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to get an analysis of their site speed and recommendations for improvement. For those looking to improve mobile site performance specifically, Google has a new page speed tool out that is mobile-focused. This tool will check the page load time, test your mobile site on a 3G connection, evaluate mobile usability and more.

2. Robots.txt files are case-sensitive and must be placed in a site’s main directory

The file must be named in all lower case (robots.txt) in order to be recognized. Additionally, crawlers only look in one place when they search for a robots.txt file: the site’s main directory. If they don’t find it there, oftentimes they’ll simply continue to crawl, assuming there is no such file.

3. Crawlers can’t always access infinite scroll

And if crawlers can’t access it, the page may not rank.

When using infinite scroll for your site, make sure that there is a paginated series of pages in addition to the one long scroll. Make sure you implement replaceState/pushState on the infinite scroll page. This is a fun little optimization that most web developers are not aware of, so make sure to check your infinite scroll for  rel=”next” and rel=”prev“ in the code.

4. Google doesn’t care how you structure your sitemap

As long as it’s XML, you can structure your sitemap however you’d like — category breakdown and overall structure is up to you and won’t affect how Google crawls your site.

5. The noarchive tag will not hurt your Google rankings

This tag will keep Google from showing the cached version of a page in its search results, but it won’t negatively affect that page’s overall ranking.

Internet Marketing - Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality

How Technological Evolution is Changing the Landscape of Internet Marketing

Businesses are constantly adapting to the fast-paced change in the way they operate, given the evolution of technology. With the power of progressive technologies like augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and of course with the insurmountable amount of data, marketers can do anything, from immersive targeting to desirable selling.

It was an amazing shift for me from only writing and publishing content to taking efforts towards marketing them online. Though it seemed like a radical turn around, I managed to scrupulously lay the path. It came as a shocker when, with no fiscal investment (we didn’t have Adwords or any other fancy marketing tool back then), and just dull websites, businesses were able to convince and convert their clients.

How? Thereafter, content led the conversion process.

Peek into the Future of Online Marketing

Online marketing is on the verge of imploding and giving rise to an entirely different business model. With the number of emerging technologies, the online marketing is making a quick shift from contextual marketing to immersive marketing. For instance, the inclusion of social media to our interaction stream has changed the way we stay connected with each other in our daily life, since everything is accessible from our phones.

Take a look at the new innovative technologies we will soon get exposed to. They certainly are going to take the burden off our shoulders by revolutionising the way the online marketing works right now.

Influencer Marketing - Entrepreneur Strategy

3 Keys to Success With Influencer Marketing

A quick Google Trends Search and you'll quickly see that the search for "Influencer Marketing" has skyrocketed over the last five years. Rightfully so, as Entrepreneur contributor Daniel Newman pointed out in 2015, and several studies have proved: Influencer marketing is the fastest growing and most cost-effective channel.

But for every success story, there's a dozen other nightmare stories of influencers who've mishandled their responsibilities and botched their marketing strategies along the way. Case in point, a celebrity influencer who neglectfully forgot to remove the copy from their post. If you’ve ever hired an influencer and didn’t see a return on your investment, don’t worry you’re not alone. In an ideal world, you’d hire a Michael Jordan or David Beckham for your company, and products would start flying off of the shelves.

The reality is that influencer marketing is significantly more complex than that. Even though you’re paying for access to a specific audience, that audience is still a consumer market that you need to use a strategic approach with -- and adopt an entrepreneurial mindset.

Digital Marketing Trends | Social Media, Search Engines

7 Digital Marketing Marketing Trends You Can’t Afford to Ignore

“I would have written you a shorter letter but I didn’t have the time.”

This quote attributed to many different sources sums up what we are facing in this now very complex world. But keeping it simple and short takes time and effort. Distilling the complex into something that makes sense in one sentence or even a six second video is an art form that is to be treasured.

But as marketers that is what you are confronted with. Increasing complexity. It is just one of the trends that will impact your business in the years ahead.

We also need the right tools, platforms and technology to help us scale the huge amounts of data and noise that now confront us online. Here are 7 digital marketing trends that you need to keep your eye on.

1. Increasing Complexity

Tech is largely to blame for making marketing complex. But it’s also the answer. Making sense of tons of data, always on marketing and the many forms of splintered media is something tech platforms do well.

Right alongside that sits different categories of complex. Facebook advertising is a discipline on its own that requires focus. Then add the dark science of “Search Engine Optimisation” and understanding the many moving parts that require mastery.

The types of media we need to master includes live streaming, Facebook videos and GIFS and Infographics. Then you need to master marketing automation and artificial intelligence tools and platforms.

2. Marketing Technology

Marketing technology (sometimes called Martech) is continuing to grow. According to Venture Beat there has been over $134 billion invested in this category in startups in just 5 years. In 2018 IDC is predicting that CMO’s will spend $32 billion on buying and implementing Martech solutions.

But the category has 3 core categories. B2B marketing, B2C marketing and advertising technology. It should not be seen as one size fits all.

According to Ajay Agarwal in an article on TechCrunch there is an interesting divide between spending on marketing versus sales between B2B and B2C. B2B companies spend much more on their front end sales than on marketing at a ratio of 10:1. B2C spends a lot more on marketing than sales with an inverse ratio of 10:1.

Maybe we will expect to see Salesforce dominate B2B marketing tech as it is the dominant sales tool for B2B globally.
He sees the key trend and opportunity as one in which a B2C marketing company can create a B2C system of record from the start of the customer journey to sale.

3. The Rise and Rise of Algorithms

The beauty at the the birth of social media networks was their simplicity. They flowed past you unfiltered.

Twitter was a distilled stream of unfettered consciousness. Facebook was a flowing page of diverse ideas and people. And some sat outside your tent of ideas and interests.

But things have changed.

The need to make money from the platforms meant that algorithms needed to be programmed to ensure that the social networks could start to monetise their distribution. The organic reach that initially excited marketers, writers and entrepreneurs has been dialled back.

Also the volume of data has also exploded in the last 10 years driven by the two obsessive technologies of social media and smartphones. To make sense of that as finite humans means we need help from the machines. And they run on algorithms.

Web Design - Marketing, Branding Strategy, Conversions

The Impact of Web Design on Marketing, Branding and Conversions

Most business owners agree that high-quality web design is essential for their business. But when asked exactly why it’s important, only a few could provide an adequate answer. Web design isn’t all about aesthetics. There’s no use to adding all the bells and whistles to your site if it fails to work toward your goal of attracting customers and increasing sales. The main problem is that many decide to compartmentalize the process, hiring an agency for web design and another one for marketing.

Taking a Comprehensive Approach

The traditional approach of hiring different agencies for various aspects of the website is no longer effective. Instead, it’s better to take a more comprehensive approach. Web design must now be deeply incorporated into your inbound marketing and branding strategy. If you employ three agencies for web design, SEO, and branding, it’s nearly impossible to have them work in cohesion and help you inch closer toward your business goals.

Your Design Matters, and so Does Your Content

As a business owner, you’ll do yourself a favor by building a website that resonates with your target audience. Several studies suggest that online users cite web design elements as among the top factors they consider when deciding whether to trust a website or not. Most users share the same red flags to watch out for including busy layouts, pop-up ads, boring web design, slow page load times, and small print.

Next to these design elements, content is the biggest factors considered by visitors. You’ve probably heard countless times that content is king. However, you need to deliver effective content while engaging the attention of your customers. Doing this through traditional text alone proves challenging. Adding certain design elements to your site can give them more reason to stay and consume your content.

Improving Your Branding Strategy

Each year, Google seems to add more weight to branding in the search algorithm. Always keep in mind that your website should serve as an extension of your brand. If you have a physical store, make sure that the characteristic branding elements remain consistent including the logo, colors, and font. Even your style of communicating with customers should be the same across all online marketing platforms you use. This gives your business more credibility, which could have a huge impact on increasing sales.

Augmented Reality | Social Media | Marketing, Advertising

How Augmented Reality Is Creating a New Target Market on Social Media

In discussing the latest and future technologies, virtual reality and augmented reality are often mentioned in the same breath. And oftentimes, they’re used interchangeably, despite all of the differences between them.

VR uses 360-degree video to move you from your current environment and into a new digital (virtual) world. On the other hand, AR transforms your current environment by adding digital information to your line of sight. VR replaces your reality, while AR enhances it.

Of the two techs, AR is expected to record more spending by 2022, and it seems to be catching on at a higher speed. 

More brands (25 percent, compared with 21 percent) are showing interest in incorporating the technology, while others are already in the game. The most recent contribution is Apple’s new iOS 11 operating system and iPhone X announcement in September.

The new software brings AR to millions of iPhone and iPad customers around the world, affirming its expected growth in the near future.

What does this mean for social media and brands?

With 37 percent of the world’s population and 60 percent of Americans now active social media users, brands understand the need for social media presence. They rely on it to advertise products and services, as well as use it for daily interaction with consumers.

But as more brands use social media in the traditional form we are all accustomed to, the big giants are slowly incorporating AR to stay ahead.

And in the process, a completely new market is being created. Since people are always looking for fast and convenient processes—which has prompted the creation of custom devices, such as Modbook pen-enabled tablets—brands can use AR ads to bring the actual products to social media users.

This way, potential customers can try out different products before making a purchase—an act that will result in more informed decisions, loyal customers and increased sales.

How can brands leverage AR on social media?

SEO | Search Engine Optimization | SEO Strategy

How SEO Impacts Your Bottom Line

For many marketers, SEO is one of the hardest tactics to grasp. First, there’s a lot of variables that go into developing an effective SEO strategy. Additionally, it can be difficult to provide insights into how your SEO efforts are truly making a positive impact for your business. 

If you’re investing time, energy, and resources toward improving your search engine rankings on important key words, here are five metrics you can monitor to measure the effectiveness of your efforts toward your bottom line: 

1. Organic Search Traffic

According to a recent study, organic search accounts for 64 percent of all website visits. Whether your current organic search traffic is higher or lower, it’s important to establish a baseline for measuring growth. As you invest in SEO, you should see the percentage of organic search traffic grow over time. 

2. Bounce Rate

One of the most important factors in SEO effectiveness is your ability to capture the attention of people who visit your website. A high bounce rate hurts your SEO efforts, because it shows your content isn’t encouraging users to explore and learn more about your business. Tweaking your website (either the content or the user experience) to improve the bounce rate is a great way to improve SEO and impact your bottom line. 

Content Marketing | SEO - How They Work Together

How Content Marketing and SEO Work Together

These days, it seems content marketing is often touted as an alternative to SEO. However, it is possible to create content that not only creates value for users, but also build and improve on SEO.

SEO used to be as easy as throwing keywords in the meta tags, and you could rank for anything, regardless of whether the content on your website matched the keywords in the meta tags. But as the web has evolved and search engines have discovered it’s important to treat their users as customers, the way you build rank has changed significantly. And the competition for that ranking has greatly increased. The problem was, most of the content out there wasn’t designed to help people looking for information – it was garbage written to game the search engines into higher ranking.

Content marketing became a way to provide the search engines with the quality content they wanted to serve to their users. It also became a way to educate your prospects about the products and services you offer, without directly being a sales pitch.

Content marketing and SEO became linked the moment we started turning to search engines to solve our problems, and the search engines started weeding out the poor content in favor of well written, informative content.

The Differences Between SEO and Content Marketing

While the two disciplines are interdependent and overlap, there are some clear differences between them.
  • SEO is a narrower discipline that is more technical in nature.
  • Content marketing is much more broad and holistic.
You must use Search Engine Optimization techniques when you implement your content marketing campaigns, or you’re setting the campaigns up for failure.

Still, there are some “experts” out there claiming that content marketing has replaced SEO – and the two are completely different. Yes, there are areas where they are different, but the idea that you don’t need SEO for content marketing is crazy – because SEO is necessary to ensure the content ranks in the first place.

You can get eyes on your content without it ranking highly in Google, thanks to social media and paid advertising, but the far better long-term pay off comes from organic traffic.

Artificial Intelligence | SEO, Search Engines, Google

Has AI changed the SEO industry for better or worse?

With Google turning to artificial intelligence to power its flagship search engine business, has the SEO industry been left in the dust? The old ways of testing and measuring are becoming antiquated, and industry insiders are scrambling to understand something new — something which is more advanced than their backgrounds typically permit.

The fact is, even Google engineers are having a hard time explaining how Google works anymore. With this in mind, is artificial intelligence changing the SEO industry for better or worse? And has Google’s once-understood algorithm become a “runaway algorithm?”

Monday, September 4, 2017

Image Search | Marketing Strategy

How To Use Image Search To Enhance Marketing Strategy

Online search is a routine practice among consumers and marketers alike.  Need some information on a product? Just "Google it": A phrase that people say as easily as they use the word “Kleenex” as a generic term for a product.

Yet advances in search algorithms are creating nuanced search options, tailored to varyious digital media.  Among those nuances is image search, with contextual tactics becoming as valuable to digital marketers as real estate to a New York City realtor. 

The latest image search innovations from Pinterest, Google, and Amazon, are aimed at helping users find relevant information through contextual association. By picking information related to images interest to the users, a visual search becomes a discovery engine for products and services, encouraging conversions as a result.

The image search landscape

Pinterest, for exampled, introduced Lens, an app feature that allows users to aim a camera at an object, and find pins and pinboards related to it.  This is a significant catalyst for consumer sales, since many Pinterest users swap images of products.

Another app, from Amazon, added a similar feature for Prime customers, called Spark.  Users view a feed of product posts and photos shared by other Prime customers. 

Customers can respond by clicking on the shopping bag icon, or interacting with people by commenting or "smiling" on their posts. The feed allows customers to learn more about products through the images that customers comment on and share, much like a social media platform.

Meanwhile, Google introduced its own features to its Image Search engine. Query results now provide navigational highlights such as text that clarifies the action you can take, and badges that indicate what sites or links are associated with the image. These highlights can direct potential customers to associated materials and aid research behind a product or service image.

Marketing Strategy - Content Marketing, Social Media

7 Ways to Correct a Failing Marketing Strategy

No entrepreneur has a perfect first marketing campaign. Even if you’re experienced as a marketer or entrepreneur, you can’t really dial things in until you have data to inform your campaign.

So let’s say you have a marketing strategy that’s, for the most part, “failing.” You aren’t seeing the results you predicted, and from what you can tell, your return on investment (ROI) is either negligible or negative. I’m going to assume that this isn’t just a gut feeling or an early reaction, either -- you’ve looked up the hard numbers, and can objectively demonstrate that your marketing strategy isn’t working the way you’d hoped.

You don’t want to abandon your strategy altogether, so what can you do to correct it?

1. Give it more time.

First, I want to acknowledge that some strategies—like SEO—take a long time to start paying off. If you’re investing in your brand image, or if you’re relying on inbound channels of traffic to bring you more customers, don’t get discouraged after only a few weeks of effort.

On the other hand, some strategies -- like PPC advertising -- should start working immediately and improve over time as you make adjustments based on the data. If you’re working on a long-term strategy, consider giving your campaign more time to develop. Otherwise, try one of the approaches below.

2. Differentiate it.

The marketing world is a competitive one, especially in popular realms like content marketing and social media. There are thousands of brands competing for your target audience’s attention, so what makes your strategy unique? If you’re saying the same things that your competitors are saying, or if your design blends in as background noise, your campaign is going to falter. Correct this by saying something unique that only your brand could say. Sometimes, it’s the only way to cut through the noise.