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8 Clever Neuromarketing Examples That Worked For The Top Brands

Have you ever wondered why you see sedan cars pull up impressive stunts at high speeds in ads when in reality you can never peak it above 80?

Why do you think Maggi opted for a bright yellow packaging & consequently sells more than any other instant noodles?

Mere coincidence?

Why do McDonald’s and Burger King troll each other every day?

Why does Horlicks promises to make you tall even when the phenomenon is purely biological?

Every brand named here have achieved marketing success by striking the right chords with our brains. They triumphed by playing with our emotions, studying our reactions with gadgets & displayed their products accordingly to boost sales.

I agree that all these may seem like science fiction or highly unethical to you, but believe it or not, this concept has been around since the 1990s & is famously known as Neuromarketing.

What’s that now? Let me break it down for you.


Neuromarketing Definition – What is it?

When you combine neurosciences with marketing, you get neuromarketing.

Technically speaking, it’s a form of marketing that scans & images our brain’s reactions to various parameters of a product which then helps in designing the innumerable marketing elements.

For instance, Nestle concluded that selling Maggi in a bright yellow package & splashing the words “2-minute noodles” will increase the product’s sales & it did. Compare it to Knorr or ITC, we always tend to pick up the yellow because our brains react positively to the vibrant packaging.

So, the obvious question that follows the Neuromarketing definition is – how do people read our brains?

Well, we are still far away from actual “mind-reading” but there are technologies that can detect our brain’s reaction & decode what it means. Currently, two techniques are majorly used:

  1. FMRI – Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging that detects brain   activity according to blood flow & gives us access to deeper parts of the   brain.

   2. EEG – Electroencephalogram, where we are to put electrodes on our              heads to detect electrical signals in response to the external  world.

Companies bring in consenting people to read their reactions to the products & hence the design or ad we see. Although the concept may seem futuristic, it is massively in play today & brands are increasingly recognising the effectiveness of neuromarketing.

To give you a clearer picture (and open your eyes to a whole new world), let me discuss a few Neuromarketing examples where the top companies have, time & again, employed this technique to catch our attention.

Every technique has a scientific reason & every strategy will make sense.

So, let me do the hard work of explaining things while you sit back (definitely relax) & read on.

Neuromarketing Examples – 8 Clever Techniques that Work

 

1) Packaging Colour and Text – Lay’s redesign of chips packet

Application of Neuromarketing for packaging design is not confined to Nestle only. Almost all big brands take input from their Neuromarketing team & devise their marketing strategies accordingly.

Another big example is Lay’s chips, the one which you may have also noticed, where it shifted from glossy packets to a matte finish.

Frito lay applied the EEG technique to find out that human brains responded negatively to the glossy packaging that it had previously maintained but received appreciations for matte packets.

They changed their packaging within a month & we still buy Lay’s irrespective of what the trolls say.

Chips Ahoy also followed a similar suit with a similar successful response.

2) Humour is always appreciated – Cheetos’ washing machine prank

 

 

 

Chips brand Cheetos brought in a group of people, fitted them with EEG machines & made them watch one of their ads that the brand intended to use for marketing. The advertisement clip showed a nice lady empty a packet of Cheetos into her friend’s washing machine which was full of whites.

None of the test people verbally accepted that they enjoyed the ad, in fear of appearing cruel to others, but EEG scans showed that all of them actually received the ad well.

A bit of humour (prank in this case) always works.

PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, BMW and Mercedes, KFC and McDonalds, you will always find them fighting in ads when they may not be sworn enemies in real life.

Humour triggers the right parts of the brain & definitely boosts sales.

3) Speed preferred over Security – How Android annihilated Blackberry

Neuromarketing examples where the customers are more concerned about speed than security talk highly of PayPal’s marketing technique.

The brand used EEG to find out that people’s minds responded positively when they were shown that PayPal is fast, than it did when the ad was highlighting security.

It seems we are less concerned about our money being safe!

Google followed a similar process in a market dominated by Blackberry. Android phones highlighted the speed of the software that made the posh black phones go extinct.

This is the very reason why you will see rockets and planes in advertisements while brands rarely opt for the unfortunate turtles.

4) Eye gaze is important – Johnson & Johnson & the Baby Boom

Neuromarketing research over the years has shown that we are attracted to baby faces and immediately look at a billboard with a baby in it. And if the baby happens to point in a particular direction, we will and definitely will look there without hesitation.

This is why when you hear the name “Johnson & Johnson”, their baby products come to your mind first when they sell a whole lot of other things as well.

Babies draw so much eye-gaze that even Smirnoff, the famous vodka brand (information for the uninitiated), uses a baby in a devil attire.

Even Heinz shows a baby eating ketchup, which should never be the case, but it does the trick with us.

Our brains react to babies and brands are applying that to marketing.

5) Rewards and Punishments – The Cashback system of Paytm

Paytm came into existence amidst the popular banking system but reaped success due to its brilliant marketing strategies. From day 1, the brand vigorously promoted its cashback offers where you get money by spending money.

We all like rewards for our actions & neuromarketing case studies have shown it as an effective marketing strategy.

Contrary to rewards, punishments work to a similar extent as well.

Games like Splinter Cell or PUBG have gained famed solely based on the fact that your character is killed if you make a mistake.

Highlighting rewards & punishments while marketing a product have worked for the top brands & more companies are looking into more giveaways.

6) The FEAR of Missing Out – Limited Edition Ferraris

Did it ever occur to you? Why are there limited-edition Ferraris?

If a car is selling like hotcake, why not continue its production?

Well, the Ferrari sold like hotcake in the first place because its production will stop soon. When you declare that a certain product/offer is available only for a certain amount of time, the fear of not being able to obtain the product finds the customers & they act in panic.

Our brain shows us the bright side & we make the purchase.

Starbuck’s policy of selling its coffee for Rs.100 for a day or McDonalds’ happy meal toys for a month, all are Neuromarketing examples of creating the fear to lose.

Brands may extend the offer later, but setting a deadline initially boosts sales like crazy.

So, the next time you see such an ad, trust me you won’t analyse the situation. You will make the purchase.

7) Hippocampal Headlines – Patron Tequila’s jumbled words

The tequila brand attracted quite a bit of attention by writing “Practice Makes Patron” on its billboards.

The company tweaked the well-known phrase about practice (practice makes perfect), substituted “perfect” with its brand name (notice the smartness?), all of which awakened our hippocampus – the part of the brain master in comparing.

People immediately joined the dots & the ad stayed in their minds.

No matter who says what, catchy headlines still rule the marketing industry.

You connect with Tinder when you read “Great Expectations” under it or Apple with “Think Different”. Our brains love it when the normalcy is broken & we simply can’t think about any other brand.

Neuromarketing research has established this & soon you will see more wordplay.

8) Anchoring Tendencies – Flipkart’s approach to the Budget Tension

Now, which family isn’t losing their sleep over their monthly budget?!

And Flipkart has managed to make Virat Kohli talk on this very issue for promoting its “Big Billion Days”. Budget may not be an issue for Kohli, but it is for us & Flipkart makes sure that we hear that piece of information first.

This process of Neuromarketing is known as anchoring tendency where our judgement is influenced by the first thing we hear.

Neuromarketing examples on this line are visible everywhere whether its Dhoni promoting Dream 11 or Priyanka Chopra advertising asthma pills.

The trick is to make sure that the first statement resonates with the audience and addresses their daily issues.

The past, the present & the future 

While neuromarketing has always been employed as a marketing technique, it is now gaining scientific validation.

These neuromarketing examples go on to show that the top players of every industry are investing in its research and application. Just like any other, the concept will soon become deep-rooted in our marketing strategies & brands will play with our emotions even more.

Till then, sip your coffee & enjoy marketing!

8 Epic Conversion Optimization Tips That Will Boost Your Rankings

8 Epic Conversion Optimization Tips That Will Boost Your Rankings

Yes! You can optimize for your site’s conversion rate and “Guesswork” will not do the trick. We all want to sell our products or increase our email list but placing a button where it looks good is hardly the solution. Just like any other marketing strategy, converting your visitors requires work and every corner of your website matters. You need to research, analyze your audience and run tests to find out the optimum conversion optimization strategy which will ensure that your users are doing exactly what you want them to do.

But before moving on to the EPIC conversion optimization tips that I have compiled for you, let us try to understand the term conversion rate optimization (CRO) better. I have seen a lot of dilemmas going around and it only seems fit that I take some time to clear out a few pointers.

Conversion Rate Optimization – the true meaning

If a user fulfills your website’s purpose, only then can you consider it as a “conversion”. The meaning is very different from what it is used for in PPC where the rate is measured by the number of visitors coming to your site from organic results. In CRO, the count begins when a user is already on your website and does something that will benefit your business.

Take Amazon for example. The purpose of their website is to sell a product. So, if a user just scans through their pages and leaves without making a purchase, it is not a conversion. Similarly, if you run a blog and your aim is to grow your email list, you have a successful conversion only when someone signs up, not when she merely visits and leaves. So, optimizing for CRO is very different than tweaking your website for SEO or PPC.

Again, with CRO, you can intend to fulfill 2 types of conversion:

  1. Macro – wherein a user actually buys a product or requests a quote.
  2. Micro – where a user can add a product to the cart or subscribe to something.

A micro-conversion will ultimately lead to a macro-conversion and you must take care of both while framing your conversion rate optimization tactics. In short, identify why you are running your website and what is it that you actually want, and only then sit down to optimize your page for maximum conversion.

With that sorted, we are now ready for the promised conversion optimization tips that will help you not only to convert a lot of your users but also boost your rank. While many may argue that there’s hardly any connection between CRO and ranking, I believe that one strongly affects the other. Without any further delay, let us begin!

8 Epic Conversion Optimization Tips

1) Not everyone can be your target audience

target audience and demographics

This will require some subjective analysis from your part to understand which specific section of the audience you will be targeting. Not every visitor will convert and optimizing for all is a complete waste of your resources. Moz, being a software company, agrees that most of their audience is technically sound and they maintain their content to suit that standard. Similarly, if your site is intended for a very specific niche, your conversion rate optimization ideas shouldn’t include a design for the masses.

Think like your visitors and provide exactly what they want. No amount of data from analytics can give you an insight into human minds. You must take your time to perform qualitative research and have a website structure that is sure to convert.

2) Give something First, only then expect a return

girl using social media on laptop

To put it simply, a visitor to your website shouldn’t be greeted with a popup to enter her email or a button to buy your product. Will you like it if you are asked to provide your credit card details as soon as you enter a store? Save the conversion step for the last and allow your visitors to look around. Give them the option to choose an action, never ever force the issue.

If you are providing solid content through your blog, place the subscription tab at the end of each post. The headline should go like, “Liked this post? Subscribe to Get Regular Updates”. This way, you are guiding the users to the next step after they are done reading and have presented them with quality content before asking for their emails. Similarly, offer a free trial of your product to give them an awesome experience or show some testimonials before the “Request Quote” button.

3) Use Analytics to collect data

report of performance metrics

And no matter how many of these conversion optimization tips you employ, at the end of the day, you will have to use some analytics to see what all are working. The behavior section in Google Analytics can provide some valuable insights. Under “Site Content”, you can visit the “Landing Pages” section to see where users are arriving at your site and the “Exit Pages” give you an idea from the places they are leaving.

If a user lands at a page and leaves from the very same page, then it is a low performing page. You can compare them with the high performing ones to find out what all are wrong and how can you improve its performance. At times, users leave because they don’t know what to do at the end due to missing CTA and analytics can help you to identify such glitches.

4) Visuals and Images hold a Massive Key

bluehost website home page

The most obvious point among all the conversion rate optimization tips, but so very easy to go wrong. It’s not about stuffing your page with attractive pictures but using the right one to improve your CRO. I really like Bluehost’s welcome banner which almost always looks like this:

A clear image that tells you the whole story. Now imagine the same picture by replacing the girl with her laptop with a very common picture that you see daily. Say a suited man with his arms folded or a woman jumping in joy. It wouldn’t have had the same effect as it has now.

So, don’t go for any random picture just for the sake of having visuals. Really make it fit the surrounding purpose. Images can portray your thoughts stronger and the right ones can work wonders.

5) Slow websites will kill the whole purpose

website loading preloader

A study conducted by the Aberdeen Group brought out a statistic where they showed that if your website takes 1 second longer to load, you will lose 11% of your net page views, 16% of your customers will be dissatisfied and 7% less CRO. People wait for a maximum of 2-3 seconds for a website to load completely and if your page is taking 8, you can very well imagine the consequences.

Hence, while talking about conversion optimization tips, I simply cannot leave page speed out of the equation. Do everything in your power to make your site fast. Always assume that the internet is slow and design your page to fit that criterion. Reduce image sizes, turn off video auto play or eliminate a few JavaScript from your landing page. Your visitors are not patient and it’s about time you respect that.

6) Too much Color will spoil the Broth

variation of different colors

It’s somewhat similar to “too much going on” and a very important pointer in this list of conversion optimization tips. I agree that bright colors on your website make it look attractive but a random selection can make it appear highly unprofessional. To select the right match, understand your brand’s theme, the type of audience you attract and the psychology of every shade. Here is a color guide from Forbes that may help you to decide.

Then again, you may not want to put the same color everywhere. If your whole website is based on a blue theme, you can use a red or a green for your call-to-action button. Maintain a decent contrast that will be in sync with your audience and use the one that seems the most persuasive.

7) Keep things nice and clean

professional looking website page designs

Sometimes, when we become unnecessarily obsessed with converting our visitors, we tend to overstuff our landing page with everything we can think of. Texts, images, buttons, videos – anything that our audience may like, we tend to include them in our conversion rate optimization techniques. Trust me, it doesn’t work. The last thing you want your users to feel is that there’s too much going on in your website. They will simply leave never to come back again.

Strike a balance of all. Guide your users through the conversion process and display only those that are absolutely necessary. No one likes huge blocks of text and you should try not to say everything about the product or your brand. Short and crisp are the way to go and if your visitors feel comfortable staying on your site, chances of conversion will increase.

8) Develop Trust and really work for it

people shaking hands in a room

Going by Moz’s opinion on CRO, visitors will only give you their personal details when they can completely trust you. A website that doesn’t show “Secure” in the URL bar or the homepage playing shady ads are red flags for your audience and your overall conversion rate will take some big hits. If you want the users to convert, make them feel smart and safe.

Online Influencer John Rampton feels that a piece of great content goes a long way to build trust. AWeber believes that delivering what you promise will create trust. If you are offering something free, make sure that the quality is comparable to your paid product and only then can you expect a successful conversion.

And there you go!

I believe that you are now properly equipped to boost your rankings with these conversion optimization tips. Every strategy is unique to a particular website and you may have to tweak a few things to suit your needs. If visitors are turning up, make sure you find ways to make them convert and that will take your brand to new heights.

Feel free to share any tips you’d like to add in the comments section below. Tell us what all worked out for you. Good Luck!

Yes! You can optimize for your site’s conversion rate and “Guesswork” will not do the trick. We all want to sell our products or increase our email list but placing a button where it looks good is hardly the solution. Just like any other marketing strategy, converting your visitors requires work and every corner of your website matters. You need to research, analyze your audience and run tests to find out the optimum conversion optimization strategy which will ensure that your users are doing exactly what you want them to do.

But before moving on to the EPIC conversion optimization tips that I have compiled for you, let us try to understand the term conversion rate optimization (CRO) better. I have seen a lot of dilemmas going around and it only seems fit that I take some time to clear out a few pointers.

Conversion Rate Optimization – the true meaning

If a user fulfills your website’s purpose, only then can you consider it as a “conversion”. The meaning is very different from what it is used for in PPC where the rate is measured by the number of visitors coming to your site from organic results. In CRO, the count begins when a user is already on your website and does something that will benefit your business.

Take Amazon for example. The purpose of their website is to sell a product. So, if a user just scans through their pages and leaves without making a purchase, it is not a conversion. Similarly, if you run a blog and your aim is to grow your email list, you have a successful conversion only when someone signs up, not when she merely visits and leaves. So, optimizing for CRO is very different than tweaking your website for SEO or PPC.

Again, with CRO, you can intend to fulfill 2 types of conversion:

  1. Macro – wherein a user actually buys a product or requests a quote.
  2. Micro – where a user can add a product to the cart or subscribe to something.

A micro-conversion will ultimately lead to a macro-conversion and you must take care of both while framing your conversion rate optimization tactics. In short, identify why you are running your website and what is it that you actually want, and only then sit down to optimize your page for maximum conversion.

With that sorted, we are now ready for the promised conversion optimization tips that will help you not only to convert a lot of your users but also boost your rank. While many may argue that there’s hardly any connection between CRO and ranking, I believe that one strongly affects the other. Without any further delay, let us begin!

8 Epic Conversion Optimization Tips

1) Not everyone can be your target audience

target audience and demographics

This will require some subjective analysis from your part to understand which specific section of the audience you will be targeting. Not every visitor will convert and optimizing for all is a complete waste of your resources. Moz, being a software company, agrees that most of their audience is technically sound and they maintain their content to suit that standard. Similarly, if your site is intended for a very specific niche, your conversion rate optimization ideas shouldn’t include a design for the masses.

Think like your visitors and provide exactly what they want. No amount of data from analytics can give you an insight into human minds. You must take your time to perform qualitative research and have a website structure that is sure to convert.

2) Give something First, only then expect a return

girl using social media on laptop

To put it simply, a visitor to your website shouldn’t be greeted with a popup to enter her email or a button to buy your product. Will you like it if you are asked to provide your credit card details as soon as you enter a store? Save the conversion step for the last and allow your visitors to look around. Give them the option to choose an action, never ever force the issue.

If you are providing solid content through your blog, place the subscription tab at the end of each post. The headline should go like, “Liked this post? Subscribe to Get Regular Updates”. This way, you are guiding the users to the next step after they are done reading and have presented them with quality content before asking for their emails. Similarly, offer a free trial of your product to give them an awesome experience or show some testimonials before the “Request Quote” button.

3) Use Analytics to collect data

report of performance metrics

And no matter how many of these conversion optimization tips you employ, at the end of the day, you will have to use some analytics to see what all are working. The behavior section in Google Analytics can provide some valuable insights. Under “Site Content”, you can visit the “Landing Pages” section to see where users are arriving at your site and the “Exit Pages” give you an idea from the places they are leaving.

If a user lands at a page and leaves from the very same page, then it is a low performing page. You can compare them with the high performing ones to find out what all are wrong and how can you improve its performance. At times, users leave because they don’t know what to do at the end due to missing CTA and analytics can help you to identify such glitches.

4) Visuals and Images hold a Massive Key

bluehost website home page

The most obvious point among all the conversion rate optimization tips, but so very easy to go wrong. It’s not about stuffing your page with attractive pictures but using the right one to improve your CRO. I really like Bluehost’s welcome banner which almost always looks like this:

A clear image that tells you the whole story. Now imagine the same picture by replacing the girl with her laptop with a very common picture that you see daily. Say a suited man with his arms folded or a woman jumping in joy. It wouldn’t have had the same effect as it has now.

So, don’t go for any random picture just for the sake of having visuals. Really make it fit the surrounding purpose. Images can portray your thoughts stronger and the right ones can work wonders.

5) Slow websites will kill the whole purpose

website loading preloader

A study conducted by the Aberdeen Group brought out a statistic where they showed that if your website takes 1 second longer to load, you will lose 11% of your net page views, 16% of your customers will be dissatisfied and 7% less CRO. People wait for a maximum of 2-3 seconds for a website to load completely and if your page is taking 8, you can very well imagine the consequences.

Hence, while talking about conversion optimization tips, I simply cannot leave page speed out of the equation. Do everything in your power to make your site fast. Always assume that the internet is slow and design your page to fit that criterion. Reduce image sizes, turn off video auto play or eliminate a few JavaScript from your landing page. Your visitors are not patient and it’s about time you respect that.

6) Too much Color will spoil the Broth

variation of different colors

It’s somewhat similar to “too much going on” and a very important pointer in this list of conversion optimization tips. I agree that bright colors on your website make it look attractive but a random selection can make it appear highly unprofessional. To select the right match, understand your brand’s theme, the type of audience you attract and the psychology of every shade. Here is a color guide from Forbes that may help you to decide.

Then again, you may not want to put the same color everywhere. If your whole website is based on a blue theme, you can use a red or a green for your call-to-action button. Maintain a decent contrast that will be in sync with your audience and use the one that seems the most persuasive.

7) Keep things nice and clean

professional looking website page designs

Sometimes, when we become unnecessarily obsessed with converting our visitors, we tend to overstuff our landing page with everything we can think of. Texts, images, buttons, videos – anything that our audience may like, we tend to include them in our conversion rate optimization techniques. Trust me, it doesn’t work. The last thing you want your users to feel is that there’s too much going on in your website. They will simply leave never to come back again.

Strike a balance of all. Guide your users through the conversion process and display only those that are absolutely necessary. No one likes huge blocks of text and you should try not to say everything about the product or your brand. Short and crisp are the way to go and if your visitors feel comfortable staying on your site, chances of conversion will increase.

8) Develop Trust and really work for it

people shaking hands in a room

Going by Moz’s opinion on CRO, visitors will only give you their personal details when they can completely trust you. A website that doesn’t show “Secure” in the URL bar or the homepage playing shady ads are red flags for your audience and your overall conversion rate will take some big hits. If you want the users to convert, make them feel smart and safe.

Online Influencer John Rampton feels that a piece of great content goes a long way to build trust. AWeber believes that delivering what you promise will create trust. If you are offering something free, make sure that the quality is comparable to your paid product and only then can you expect a successful conversion.

And there you go!

I believe that you are now properly equipped to boost your rankings with these conversion optimization tips. Every strategy is unique to a particular website and you may have to tweak a few things to suit your needs. If visitors are turning up, make sure you find ways to make them convert and that will take your brand to new heights.

Feel free to share any tips you’d like to add in the comments section below. Tell us what all worked out for you. Good Luck!

How To Create Shareable Content? 10 Incredible Tips Just For You

How To Create Shareable Content? 10 Incredible Tips Just For You

A simple Google search on any topic will tell you the staggering number of content that is present today in the digital space. To put it into perspective, statistics show that we post almost 2 million articles on the internet every single day and if you combine that with our social media status updates and sharing media files, the amount of content is simply unimaginable. Naturally, people do not come up with 2 million new topics daily and only a few posts manage to swim to the surface. Content that people share and circulate throughout the internet.

And here comes the big question! How to create shareable content that will become the chosen one? A content that will receive engagement and earn your brand the well-deserved fame. Unfortunately, we often confuse sharable content with viral content but the truth is, you do not have to make your posts viral for it to become shareable.

So, here are 10 incredible tips just for you on creating shareable content. Bring out your notebooks and paste these on your wall. Refer to this list every time and stand out in the 2 million thick crowd.

Here we go!

#1: Involve your audience and get ideas from them

Audience listening to a lecture

Certainly, the question arises, how do you know whether your post is valuable or not? The trick to creating shareable content lies in giving your readers what they want. Post content on topics your audience wants to know about and give them the answers that they are seeking. If you remain engaged with your online community, you will get vibes of what all your followers are discussing, where are they confused and what are they searching for. Create a post on the hot topic and see your content boom.

For instance, almost every alternate week chatter goes around that Google has updated its search algorithm. Twitter goes nuts over how their sites have fallen in rank and the SEO blogs come out with posts on ways to protect its users. Among this mayhem, Gary Illyes drops in a tweet about how there’s no update and the fluctuations are normal. Imagine how many retweets Gary gets when the panic had already set in. A tweet, after all, is a content and Gary talks about what his followers are discussing. Get the idea?

#2: Target topics that are trending on Social Media

graph showing upward trends in social media

Well, this shouldn’t come across as a news. Publishing a content on trending topics increases your chances of receiving shares. If you share the post on social media with the right hashtags, people will easily find your content and spread the word. Remain active in your niche, keep a lookout and grab the opportunity when it comes. Sharing your views on such a topic establishes you as the industry expert and develops a sense of trust in your brand.

Twitter has a trending section that lets you scan through the most used hashtags. Buzzsumo also offers a tool to find the most trending topics for which its articles got the maximum shares. You can pick up topic ideas from here and frame a post that will stand out. The key is to constantly update your knowledge well and present something that harnesses the audience’s positive emotions.

#3: Add memes and make the reading fun

meme showing three frogs

Who says you always have to be professional? Take this post by Larry Kim as an example where he talks about featured snippets. The images in this blog are memes from the famous TV series Game of Thrones and it is hilarious at parts. Such content tends to stick in your memory and when you had fun reading it, you involuntarily go on to press the share button. Kim’s content is the perfect mix of information and humour, this is your example of how to create shareable content.

Similarly, I had come across another content where the author talked about black-hat and white-hat SEO with reference to Star Wars. There weren’t any memes in the post but it was engaging to the extent. Too much information can take the fun element out of your content and this is what you should avoid. Add humour here and there, be sarcastic and let your readers enjoy the read.

#4: Always tell a story through your Content

person telling a story

Have you ever seen people sharing a Wikipedia page on their Facebook profiles? What you get there is pure information and until you are doing hardcore research, you hardly enter or click on Wikipedia. The purpose of your content is also to provide information, but you can do this while conversing with your readers. Instead of constantly hitting them with facts, sound like a human and this is what makes content shareable.

Anecdotes always seem to work for me. You can also quote real-life examples from your life or something that you had read somewhere to prove a point. But try not to go overboard and fill your content with unnecessary fillers. Stick to the theme and make things interesting. Find out what your audience connects with and tell your story on those lines. If I am talking about marketing, my example will never involve elephants and ants.

#5: Place social share buttons where they are visible

different social media platforms and sites

Believe me or not but there are articles out there that are truly worth sharing but the authors miss out on the opportunity just because their social share buttons weren’t in the right places. When your readers are through with your content, that is the point when the thought of sharing comes to their mind. Now, if your social share buttons are right at the top, many may leave your page without going through the trouble of scrolling up.

Then again, some do prefer to scroll up and read the headline again. So, you must have the buttons at the top as well. I also like the way most websites encourage shares by placing a tweet button in the content body highlighting the sharable information. In simple words, do not leave your readers in the dark and expect them to figure out how to share your content. Make it easy for them by placing the icons wherever you think they might want to press share.

#6: Talk about the other side of the story

girls talking about other side of the story in office

You may not side with the majority always but post something that causes controversy. This is a smart trick on how to create shareable content. I am not talking about religious or political topics that can start a war. It can be something simple like how people are talking about email marketing is slowly losing its value. There are many who side with this opinion and this is where you can come up with a post which reads: “Is Email Marketing Truly Dying?”

It will immediately catch the eye of a lot of people. They will want to see what all you have to say and may even debate with you on certain points. Another section of the crowd will agree with you and share your content to instill some fresh air. This way, you come to the forefront by not following the crowd and posting something the audience didn’t expect. You will receive shares in appreciation of your bravery.

#7:  Hand out Rewards for your shares

handing out trophy for sharing your content

Who doesn’t like to get rewarded, right? This gives your audience a purpose to share your content and they will do it without second thoughts. At the end of the day, all you have to do is pick a winner and come up with a new prize the next time. The reward doesn’t have to be something extravagant. Maybe a discount on one of your products or free access to an eBook. Anything will do and is indeed a nice hack in creating shareable content.

Think of it like an investment. By sacrificing $50 to encourage shares, you can actually bring in more audience who can help you make 10 times of what you give in the reward. Twitter is the best medium to run reward-related sharing campaign as it is easier to keep track here. If resources permit, you may also consider handing out t-shirts and coffee mugs which are great ways to spread brand awareness as well.

#8: Listicles still rule the market

liscticles are the best way to create shareable content

Original and research-based content may be the future of content marketing, but if you are looking for creating shareable content, listicles are still the way to go. The above picture from Buzzsumo shows list-type content gets the most number of shares right after infographics and the average figure is even more than video type content. The psychology which works here is that listicles are quick to scan and read and people like spending little time.

The best answer, in my opinion, to how to create shareable content is to combine a listicle with an infographic. If you are suggesting 10 ways to do something, create an infographic with that and place it within your post. People can now share with your entire blog or opt to spread the embedded infographic around. This way, you tap into the potential of the two most shared content (according to the data chart above) and generate maximum shares.

#9: Make the content scannable and clean

clean and easy to scan content

Trust me on this, people do not share ugly looking content with huge paragraphs and no white spaces. Aesthetics play a vital role in engaging your audience and also affect their decision to share. It’s almost a primary must-follow of how to create shareable content. People love to see content that is neatly placed, with proper high definition images and fewer ads bothering them while reading. You give them a good experience and they will spread your word in return.

Also, take care of how your website is looking on a mobile screen. Keeping all the SEO aspects aside, internet users now surf more on the go and you must ensure a similar experience as your desktop version. Make sure your page loads fast, the design has an optimum finger space and your users have easy access to social share buttons. Mobile users tend to share more and such simple steps are what makes content shareable.

#10: Make your content Valuable and fill it with Information

how to create shareable content

Seriously! If you want your audience to recognize your content and share it in their profiles, take your time and give your best. A random combination of words of the greatest topic on earth will never attract attention as there is always someone else out there who is doing better than you. Research on the topic, back your viewpoints with statistics and make your readers feel that they have learned something after reading your post.

Buzzsumo in collaboration with Moz recently conducted a study on how to create shareable content and the ideal length of such content. They observed that posts more than 1000 words received more shares on social media than those that were 800 words or less. Buzzsumo also stated that its 5000+ words strong articles almost always received 10,000+ shares and higher the content size, the better is its popularity. This brought in a trend in generating long-form content which is suggestive that readers now look for information rather than a light bedtime read. Give your audience value and your content will be shared. Which brings us to the bonus tip…

Bonus Tip – Stick to the basics

You really don’t have to try to hard and complicate matters. Keep your focus in mind, be true to your audience with your content and follow these 10 incredible ways on how to create shareable content. Improvise and find out what works. Look for new ways if you have to. This is the essence of digital marketing where things are always changing and it somehow challenges your creativity. Keep writing great content and don’t forget to make them shareable.

That’s it from here now. Do drop in your views in the comment section below. Let me know what all worked for you and if you would like to add something here. Good Luck!

 

Original and Research-Based Content: The Future of Content Marketing

Original and Research-Based Content: The Future of Content Marketing

 

People can recognize bad content from a mile away now, and if you are spending time developing them, well, you are wasting it.” I still remember these words of Rand Fishkin when he was speaking about the best content marketing strategy and how should we develop content. Currently, we live in an era where information is available on every known topic and if you are rephrasing what’s already available, then my friend, you are not developing useful content.

The hard-hitting truth

Buzzsumo carried out a research to find out the recent content trends where they took 100 million sample contents into account that got posted throughout 2017. Their findings were astonishing and will give you an idea of how the whole scenario has shifted from what they were only a couple of years back.

a) Your strategy is 50% less effective

If you are following the same approach for the past three years. Finding out popular keywords, compete with your rivals by posting content or trying to rank by publishing a slightly better version of what’s available aren’t going to work anymore. If this is your best content marketing strategy, you need think more.

b) Social sharing has dropped to Half

Whatever reach, likes or shares you got back in 2015 is currently a massive 50% less. Google sends more referral traffic to websites now that social media and experts attribute this drop to the recent algorithm changes and increased competition.

c) Listicles and Clickbait Headlines have lost their effect

There was a point in time when marketers used to prefer listicles or surprise headlines to provoke social media shares. However, the era has passed now.

d) A massive increase in the volume of content

Which ultimately is leading to content saturation. Think of the number of search results Google produces for a particular keyword and where your content will land among this vast crowd. Only the authority websites enjoy all the traffic and it’s really pointless to add another drop in the vast ocean.

hard hitting truth about content

With all these in full effect, most content out there does not get the required backlinks to rank in search engines. The drop in social reach harms the traffic volume as well. The result – you go on producing content without any return and somehow formulating the best content marketing strategy is becoming an impossible task.

What’s the solution then?

“Original Research – the most powerful format for content in the current times.” to quote the Co-Founder of Orbit Media, Andy Crestodina. And to convince you even further, here’s an image from Buzzsumo again on how original and research-based content is actually beneficial for any website.

The different market-focused benefits because of original content research

Without a doubt, 92% of all the marketers have identified this as the best content marketing strategy and are focusing on publishing such research-based content in the upcoming year. Buzzsumo also observed that brands who already follow this path are likely to grow even more by the end of 2019. And the rest who have currently not started research-based content marketing yet intends to begin soon.

So, what is this original and research-based content?

As the name suggests, a form of content that you develop after you get down in the field, research on a topic that is yet untapped and present facts that are nowhere to be found. Something that Stone Temple does and its CEO (Eric Enge) defines the term in the perfect manner, “Let your data do the talking. Content-based on high-quality research and not on any personal bias”.

You can present your findings in the form of a blog, an infographic, a video and even a podcast. As long as it is presenting new data that no one else has on their website, you will have all the ingredients that the best content marketing strategy can provide.

Backlinks: Every time someone refers to your data to write their own posts

Traffic: Increased shares in social media due to new information present

Authority: The research quality establishes you as the market expert

Ranking: Greater inbound traffic due to an enhanced reach

Lead Generation: A combined result of all the above

And this research-based content marketing strategy is applicable to all forms of businesses. The following data released by eMarketer  shows the effectiveness of original and research-based content as compared to other forms of content marketing in case of B2B companies.

Comparison of types of content created measured against their effectiveness

And if it works for B2B, then it’s no news that it will work for B2C as well. So, if you are still posting content about stuff that everyone has already written everything about, it’s about time you rethink your strategy.

Which brings us to the next big question, and probably the most important one of the lot.

How am I supposed to do it?

Without a doubt, you are now convinced that original and research-based content is the need of the hour. But it is naturally unfair if I ask you to produce data and facts at the level of Stone Temple or Buzzsumo. You may not have the resources to analyze 100 million posts, and you definitely cannot do it alone.

Producing a factual content is not that daunting as it may sound, you can jump in the ship that’s moving ahead now. Let me list a few ways by which you can include this method in your content marketing strategy and take on the big guns in this race to succeed.

 1) First, decide on what you want to research on

You may feel that I am asking you to do a herculean task here, but I am not. Even now there are untapped areas where you can research and present facts, and you need to start by finding that question that everyone is looking the answer for. Research leads to more research, and this is the way to find the topic that is still not answered.

I have found that the more I read on a particular topic, the curious I get to learn more, and that is when new ideas start coming up. For instance, everyone is currently talking about how Facebook’s reach has decreased. You can easily take one of your posts to prove this fact with data and show your audience ways to bypass the same. How are you supposed to get this idea? Research, my friend.

2) Second, tweak the existing research to form new data

There are a lot of views on a lot of stuff. You can gather all into a particular post along with your own findings. You may also consider on updating an already existing fact and presenting figures that are in sync with the current times. If your lack of resources prevents you from carrying out extensive research, improvise.

Take this list of Ultimate Digital Marketing Statistics List from HubSpot and look what the brand has done here. They have conducted a thorough research into all the available statistics on digital marketing and compiled them into a single post. You can also follow a similar approach to your content and create that one post that saves others a lot of research time. People will refer to your page and send you a link every time they pick something up from your content.

3) Third, engage your audience and use their contribution

This is one of the most straightforward methods to develop an original and research-based content, and you will probably find brands already using it. In most advertisements, almost always the starting line is, “We asked these five people to…. ” or “We invited 50 people to….”. The concept is simple. Test your findings on a live audience and present the results in your content.

It can be as simple as asking them to define a term or prove a particular theory. Continuing with our Facebook reach example, you can present your observation to a group of people online and request their feedback on the same. Convert the responses into a percentage, and that can be your new data. You researched, you analyzed and whatever you write is entirely original.

4) Fourth, keep your patience and continue posting

keep patitence and keep posting great content on your laptop
Again, in the words of Eric Enge, “Do not expect to become famous with just one research-based content. It’s a process, and you should continue to post such content without thinking of the result.” Your ulterior motive may be to promote your brand through the content and to generate leads and revenue, but that should not get reflected either in your content or the research process.

Heidi Cohen of Actionable Marketing Guide observes that making the research revenue based dilutes the very purpose of it. The data you present won’t be convincing enough, and you will lose your patience every time there’s no ROI. Do it because you owe good content to your readers and that will fulfill your need to formulate the best content marketing strategy.

Amidst all these, always keep your target audience in mind. You cannot present a B2B research to people who are actually consumers. Your post will have no effect on your readers and all that time will get wasted anyway. The entire research process must include your audience and only then can it be a job well done.

The future of Content Marketing

And there is actually no debate about it. If you are already considering original and research-based content in your content marketing strategy, you are on the right track. If not, it’s high time you do. The big brands have dedicated teams to do the market research for them. New companies are coming up just to work in this research field. There is enough evidence to point out that this is indeed the future and those who identify it, will ultimately come out as the winner.

Let me know your thoughts on this article and let us continue the conversation below. I look forward to hearing from you 🙂 .

 

7 Scams that are Cannibalizing the Digital Marketing Industry

7 Scams that are Cannibalizing the Digital Marketing Industry

The world has over 3.58 billion internet users now which makes the penetration rate stand at nearly 50%. That is, approximately half of the earth’s entire population has access to the internet and are known to be active users. Digital Marketing is nothing but advertising a product/service where people are spending most of their time and brands agree that over the next few years, nearly 75% of their net marketing budget will solely be set aside for the digital world.

And as evident to any growing industry, all the money and fame also brings along fraudulence and deception – digital marketing scams as we popularly call it. Small business owners on a tight budget, people starting their careers in digital marketing and even enterprises trying to save that extra buck are most susceptible to getting caught in such scams.

The offers are indeed alluring and who doesn’t want fast results? You get what you asked for until it all explodes. Every tactic that frauds employ ultimately cannibalizes the whole purpose digital marketing and at the end of the day, you end up losing a lot of money.
To prevent you from stepping into these, this post lists 7 most popular digital marketing scams that are doing rounds in the industry and are set to cannibalize, not only the market but also your venture.

Take note and stay away.

And let us start with the most common one:

#1: Fake Likes, Comments, and Followers

Before I call it “fake”, you must know the kind of offers you will get:

• 10K Instagram followers for this much amount of money
• 1000 Facebook Likes for this much dollars
• 20 comments on this many blogs for this amount
• “Original” Facebook or Instagram “Likes” and “Followers” at cheap rates

And so on. I have seen such posts on groups and I have received numerous emails from various services. What you must do to stay away from these is what I do with them – select all without opening the emails and permanently delete.

Now, why are they fake? None of the likes/followers/comments that you get are organic, that is from people who are really interested in your product/service. Most of them are from automated fake accounts with zero activity. What good will 10K Instagram followers do for your business if none of your posts have proper engagement?

And with the recent Facebook news feed update, this particular scam has become a joke. As I have analyzed in my blog post about Facebook’s update and how can we defend ourselves against it, 1000 likes on your Facebook page will not matter at all. Posts from brands and businesses will now be shown less in the news feed as users will find updates from their friends and family more.

Now, it’s better to use the money you would have spent for automated likes on Facebook Ads instead. This is a way more sensible investment.

#2: Digital Marketing Agencies Buying Awards or Inflating their Client list

Even big enterprises are susceptible to this digital marketing scam. As you are well aware, everything can be fabricated in 2018 to look like something they are not. Awards and client list do not portray an agency’s expertise in the field.

To give you an example, my agency has received two such award offers from a US magazine in the past year which I had sincerely declined. I could have easily accepted their offer and claimed to be an award-winning agency. I am stating this not to show you my humility but to tell you that this happens in reality.

The same thing applies when it comes to a client list. An agency may have worked for a subsidiary project for a big company and can claim them to be a major client. Many brands even fabricate testimonials from people working in non-existent firms. The best way to detect such digital marketing scams is to ask questions to the agency experts or request a strategy report. Authentic ones won’t fumble with their answers and asking for your money will be their least priority.

#3: Promise to Rank 1 in Google in a Span of 1-3 Months

This is the most hilarious of the lot! While scammers claim it is possible, a real SEO will tell you otherwise. Your website can rank 1 in Google in just 1 month only for the most absurd keywords out there that no one searches for. And even if you give your website 3 months and manage to rank for some decent phrases, the fall in rank right after will happen even faster.

You can bypass such online marketing scams by understanding how SEO really works and how it helps your business . Josh Steimle, in his article about how much time does SEO take on Forbes, explained that it takes a minimum of 6 months just to show results. He continues to say that it is better not to invest in SEO at all rather than carry it out for just 2-3 months and then quit. SEO is a process and its application does take time.

#4: Digital Marketing Institutes offering Certification Courses in every nook and corner

Not every institute that you will come across is fraudulent, but there are people who take advantage of an in-demand market. Stuffing you with theory, covering topics for the sake of completing it and claims to make you an expert in every area of digital marketing are clear signs of an institute where you will learn nothing. Again, as with any quality service, authentic training does not come cheap and generally range around $900-$1,000 for a six-month course.

Test their expertise and evaluate the amount of time they are willing to spend on a particular topic. The best way to judge an institute, in my opinion, is to see how they are marketing their own brand in the digital space. If they are following the right methods, you will probably be taught the right things as well.

#5:  Almost all Digital Marketers claiming to have a Google Certificate

I really have no doubts about the certification courses that Google provide, but it is about the people who take it. Now, Google’s assessments or more specifically the exams that you are required to pass are definitely online where only a timer ticks throughout the process. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that Google has no system to monitor who actually is taking the assessment and someone can easily hire an expert to pass the process.

The fraud gets the certificate and you end up hiring him/her based on it.This may not always be the case, but there’s really no way to find out and save yourself from such digital marketing scams. Again, a true expert will never discourage you from asking questions and this is indeed the best way to judge a person’s knowledge. Do not invest until the marketer can convince you about his/her expertise and let them decide how they want to do it.

#6: Agencies providing no-value Internships as a Cost-cutting Technique

HR of a Company – “Why should we invest so much time in training our employees? What if they learn everything from us and leave?”
CEO of the Company – “What if we don’t train them and they decide to stay?”

Agencies that hire interns for the sole purpose of shooting emails not only cannibalize their own firm but the industry as a whole. Interns do not look for money. What they want is to learn and get some hands-on experience. Hiring an intern as a cost-cutting technique is not a digital marketing fraud but not providing him/her with value in return for their time definitely is.

While judging agency’s portfolio, look in which area of online marketing they majorly work, decide where you want to gain your expertise and apply cautiously. There’s really no hurry to associate yourself with a firm. While you are on the lookout, learn about digital marketing from resources like HubSpot or Kissmetrics. The internet really does not lack articles.

#7: Service Pricing surprising lower than the Market Rates

You get what you pay for! A replica Rolex will not cost as much as the real Rolex. While you can expect them to function in the same manner, in reality, they don’t. Drawing example from SEO services, an $80-per-month package will tick all the right boxes to rank your website but only mechanically. They generally have a fixed number of parameters that they apply to all websites and show you an end-result that will make you happy. Only after a few months will you start realizing your mistake when your rank either falls or you attract a penalty.

A $260-per-month package, on the other hand, customizes SEO according to your website’s needs. These services build your site to rank and stay at the top for a solid span of time. No spammy methods, all areas covered. Even if your site’s rank starts to fall, authentic services will check the decent by all means necessary. And this concept is applicable to all fields of Digital Marketing. Do not expect a high return on your content, social media ads or even a PPC campaign if you have paid a meager amount for the service.

Use your Intuition to Stay Away.

As with any scam, you really need to use your own judgment to avoid stepping into traps. Digital Marketing is the next big thing and it is already here. If you have identified this and decided to follow it as a career or your marketing strategy, set your budget right and take time to select an authentic agency. Digital marketing scams are everywhere and it is ultimately up to you on how you opt to stay away.

Do you know of any other scams that can fit into this list? Looking forward to continuing the conversation below.

(The above article is a Guest post written by Tanmoy Sen of ClimbSERP – The SEO Blog and Consultancy)

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