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Marketing 101: What is a lightbox?

August 4th, 2017
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Lightboxes are controversial. It’s a website element that is basically the “West Side Story” of marketing — you’re either for them or against them. Sides are chosen, co-workers torn apart.

We went through this ourselves at MarketingSherpa. Hopefully, you noticed but were not incredibly annoyed that we feature a lightbox on our site. It appears to first-time visitors after they’ve been on a page for 10 seconds.

As with most, our lightbox is a website overlay that encourages visitors to sign up for our newsletters. Admittedly, we have received one complaint about them that was emailed to our customer service department. So, in response, we looked at the numbers.

Numbers don’t lie, and our numbers say that people use this lightbox. We get quite a few sign-ups to our newsletter with this tactic, and we’re not alone.

I went through our case study library to see what other information we had about marketers’ interactions with lightboxes and what they had found when testing them.

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Inbound Marketing: How to bust out of your social media growth plateau

August 3rd, 2017
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You know how people chat in the office kitchen about hitting a plateau in their diet and exercise routine? Probably the most likely offender is Linda from HR.

Sometimes that can happen with social media too — you’re on a steady diet of energizing engagement, and then all of a sudden, you can’t get ahead. My co-worker, who runs our social media, and I were just commiserating about how these frustrating plateaus can come out of nowhere — one week, it’s three followers more, the next, it’s four followers less.

As with your exercise habits, the answer to a social media plateau is most likely a change in routine.

If you don’t mind me saying so, mining MarketingSherpa’s content or signing up for our inbound newsletter for ideas is a good place to start. It worked for us, after all.

It doesn’t have to be with us though, of course. Do some searching. Check out different websites or even other businesses’ social media accounts to see what your peers are doing.

However, with my intimate knowledge of our extensive library of content, allow me to guide you to some that might be of assistance for this query.

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Marketing 101: What is pogo sticking?

July 21st, 2017
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Pogo sticking is, sadly, not all fun and games. In fact, for marketers it’s one of the most annoying scourges of the search engine marketing world.

Essentially, pogo sticking is when a user searches, clicks on a result, and almost immediately (within five seconds) clicks back to the search result page. The implication of this is obvious — they didn’t find what they were looking for, which indicates it wasn’t a relevant result.

It’s important to note the difference between a bounce rate and pogo sticking because, while they are related, they are not the same. A bounce rate is where a high percentage of visitors visit a single page of a website. It’s not always bad, maybe they found what they were looking for on Page 1, or bookmarked it for later.

Pogo sticking is always bad, and Google will strike down almighty punishment. Read more…

Time to Move On: Three email marketing habits your customers are sick of seeing

July 19th, 2017
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Habits are strong, and the biggest part of their hold over us is that we don’t often recognize them. Sometimes, our worst habits need to be pointed out in order for us to summon up the will to actually change them.

Email marketers have a lot of these small habits that have built up over the years. We use so-called “best practices” so often that we run them into the ground, forgetting to actually test to see if these habits are helpful or harmful.

Read below to see if these three habits are ones that you need to break.

Habit #1. Tricky subject lines

Every marketer is looking for that new hook that is going to catch a subscriber’s attention the second before your carefully crafted email is tossed into the trash.

That can get old for subscribers though. When you’re constantly changing up your subject-line strategy to find that hook, what you usually end up losing is clarity.

There’s something to be said for people knowing what they’re going to get when they open up your email. I’ve fallen prey to my fair share of tricky or “clever” subject lines, and when I realize what has happened, I feel … well, tricked.

For example, once I got onto the list for an online wine club, which was essentially a millennial twist on a wine-of-the-month club.

I never actually signed up or ordered anything, but about once every two weeks, I would get an email letting me know I had some kind of free something-or-other waiting for me; I’ve unlocked some fantastic new deal.

It always came “directly” from a person (we’re all email marketing friends here; we know that the chances that person actually, totally wrote that email are at best 50/50 — it’s a friendly trick to make you forget it’s a company) and their name would rotate between about three different senders.

The subject lines were always wildly different, and clearly they were experimenting to see what would finally grab my latent attention.

That’s fine. And actually, it’s not a bad tactic to test and see what works on unmotivated subscribers, especially if, like this company, you’re sending an email about the same thing over and over again.

Then one day, I got this email in my inbox — it grabbed my attention, and without thinking, I actually clicked.

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Marketing 101: What is link juice?

July 14th, 2017
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Link juice is a valuable commodity in the search engine optimization world — and it doesn’t come easy. It’s a strategy game that gets more out of less and rewards marketers who prioritize value.

For the uninitiated, link juice is marketing jargon that is used to explain the power (i.e., relevance) that external links can give to another webpage. Based on various factors, the amount of “juice” your website gets from an external link can be a little or a lot.

According to the almighty Google, the search engine’s algorithm determines which pages have the best information for a query on a subject, mostly by other prominent websites linking to the page.

Basically, link juice is a quality, not a quantity game.

The more high quality pages that link back to your page, the juicier it will be — which translates into a higher ranking on Google.

A page is considered high quality if it meets the following criteria: indexable by search engines, swimming in link juice itself, independent or unpaid, has linked to you and only five others (not five hundred), and, lastly, the link has relevant, keyword-optimized anchor text.

How can I get more link juice for my website?

In the game of link juice, either you win — or you die.

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B2B Marketing: Using behavioral data to create a customer-centric website

July 12th, 2017
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“DLT is a value-added reseller. We work with the public sector, pairing some of the leading technologies and software solutions in the industry and helping to deliver those into the public sector,” said Tom Mahoney, Director, Marketing Operations, DLT.

The company helps to eliminate the obstacles to getting cutting-edge products and services into the hands of the government employees who need to be using it.

In the spirit of eliminating obstacles, DLT decided to do just that with its own customer experience by optimizing the company’s website and content.

When looking at the website, Mahoney said he and his team asked themselves, “Was it performing for us, was it delivering the message we wanted to deliver and was it easy to use?”

Mahoney pointed out that if the website isn’t working for you as a marketer, then it is definitely not going to work for your customers.

“We couldn’t even find or access the type of content that we wanted to be seeing, and we had built it,” he said. “We had to take stock of that, step back and ask ourselves what the website is meant to do and how can we make the experience a little more optimal?”

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Marketing 101: What is taxonomy?

July 7th, 2017
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Janine Silva, Director of Email Marketing and Integrated Marketing, Investopedia, used the term, “taxonomy,” many times as she described her team’s behavioral marketing efforts in a recent case study.

It made me realize that even with as many marketers as I’ve spoken to and interviewed, this term marked a gap in my knowledge. What does taxonomy really mean in our field?

As Janine’s case study explores, taxonomy is vital to breathing life into journey-based marketing. According to Merriam Webster, taxonomy is the “orderly classification of plants and animals according to their presumed natural relationships.”

Obviously, marketing’s adoption of the term isn’t too far off from that. When putting together personas, or any kind of personalized marketing system, it’s setting up the structure and process by which people are going to be categorized. Read more…

Social Media Marketing: Should I include paid influencers in my marketing spend?

July 6th, 2017
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It’s almost unusual these days to make a purchase before quickly checking online to look at stars, comments and blogger reviews.

A whole industry has sprung up out of our consumer need for secondary validation before each swipe of our credit card or “Confirm Purchase” click.

The people behind it are called, generally, paid influencers. They make capital for their blogs and vlogs from companies by reviewing, vouching for, or generally promoting products to their audience.

While traditional celebrities of various degrees of fame participate in this, microinfluencers, as they’re also known as, are general defined as untraditional celebrities. They’re individuals who work in their category, or are truly knowledgeable, passionate and authentic within it, to be seen as a trusted source of buying recommendations.

A MarketingSherpa chart article that covers this topic, featuring a 2016 study by Experticity, an influencer marketing company, in collaboration with Keller Fay Group and Dr. Jonah Berger, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, discovered that 82% of people are willing to follow an influencer’s recommendation, over the 73% who would follow the average customer’s.

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Marketing 101: What is a hamburger menu?

June 30th, 2017
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There are no dumb questions, only dumb marketers who don’t bother to ask. That’s why we’ve decided to begin publishing quick, snackable posts that will help you expertly navigate any project, no matter what team you’re working with.

Today’s term is one you might encounter when working with your dev or design teams, and it has a particularly delicious moniker: the hamburger menu.

It’s something you’ve seen a thousand times before, and now you’re cocking your head thinking, “Huh. That DOES kind of look like a hamburger.”

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Marketing Career: How to grow your personal brand in three steps

June 23rd, 2017
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It can be difficult to think about yourself as an entity, or as something to market. When making the decision to build your personal brand, it’s important to focus on a few defined key points.

Your personal brand is a clear expression of your own value proposition, and you should be able to articulate it as clearly as you would for your own company.

Focus on how you bring and create value and find different ways to capitalize on that. I’ll discuss three of them below.

Step #1. Find your medium, and be yourself 

The upside of every human not being a unique, special flower is that there are bound to be a ton of people out there like you, who are interested in the same things you are. Maybe they’re even interested in what you have to say on those topics.

If you’re a great writer, try penning a post on a platform like LinkedIn that can help you gain notoriety (the good kind) among your professional peers. It’s supremely easy to post, and it surprises me that more marketers don’t take advantage.

You see that “Write an article” button at the top of your LinkedIn homepage? Click it, and you’re sent right to an easy article posting page.

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