Courtney Eckerle

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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Courtney Eckerle

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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Courtney Eckerle

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…

Courtney Eckerle

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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Courtney Eckerle

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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Courtney Eckerle

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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Daniel Burstein

Quick Analysis: Amazon could have bought any food retailer. Why Whole Foods? And how should retailers react?

June 16th, 2017
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Much of the buzz about Amazon’s agreement to buy Whole Foods has focused around the new physical distribution channel, especially for fresh food, that Amazon will now be able to leverage. And bricks-and-mortar retailers — especially grocers — are woefully behind in the use of technology in commerce. Of course.

But if that was the case, Amazon could have bought any retailer. Why Whole Foods specifically? Why a company that was likely more focused on the Amazon rain forest than Amazon.com until today?

Whole Foods Market is a high-touch, decadent customer experience company. Amazon is a low-touch, high-efficiency company. This is not a natural fit. It would have been more of a natural fit for Amazon to start experimenting with a regional, low-price-oriented supermarket like Southeastern Grocers (sure, they wouldn’t get the instant national presence, but they would acquire a large testing lab to optimize the business model).

While Amazon acquired Zappos, Soap.com, Diapers.com, etc. — it is not a particularly acquisitive company. And while much news has been made about a hedge fund’s involvement, this acquisition doesn’t reek of financial engineering like so many other M&A deals have.

So what data are we missing that Amazon has?

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Courtney Eckerle

Insta-famous: 4 quick tips on how to build your brand’s Instagram profile

June 16th, 2017
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Instagram is a great space for marketers. Brands and friends are freely intermixed, and the platform has a light, fun vibe, and there is an emphasis on creativity.

This is a space where, when done correctly, you can be counted among your followers’ favorites. They’ll look forward to your brand’s posts, or click to view your stories, more than any of their real-life friends.

Read these four tips to get a jump on how to take your brand to another level on Instagram and get in with the platform’s cool kids — some of whom are actually giving these tips.

Tip #1. Interact with other brand Instagram accounts

After BBC Earth and 500px discovered a natural overlap between their two communities, they decided to shake things up and offer Instagram followers a different perspective.

500px users are a full range of photographers, from those just starting out to professionals. BBC Earth has a photographer following as the natural history brand for the British Broadcasting Corporation.

They created an opportunity to bring each other’s content to a wider audience in a week-long “Instagram takeover.” The two brands posted content for each other for a week, bringing each other’s community and conversations with them.

“We saw this Instagram opportunity as a way to show off our community to the world, in particular [to] the 500px community of really highly skilled photographers,” said Kara Segedin, Community Executive, BBC Earth.

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Daniel Burstein

4 Lessons About B2B Inbound Marketing from a Sunday Morning in the Coffee Shop

June 6th, 2017
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I was in Starbucks the other day, and in walks an older gentleman. I couldn’t help but notice that people kept focusing on him and chatting him up — in line, while waiting for a drink, etc.

I could overhear the conversations a bit, so I asked someone sitting near me, “Was that guy in the NFL or something?” He responded, “Yeah, that’s Rocky Rochester. He was defensive tackle for the New York Jets in Super Bowl III.”

He happens to sit by me, and we strike up a conversation. He notices I’m wearing a Hofstra shirt, and he says, “Hey, we used to practice there.” Then, when I notice his Super Bowl ring on his finger and mention it, he does something that simply shocks me.

He just hands it to me. So, I’m sitting there, holding a ring from Super Bowl III. The Super Bowl of Super Bowls. Broadway Joe. The Guarantee.

I share this story because inbound marketing was on the top of my mind in that coffee shop on Sunday morning — we were putting the finishing touches on the MarketingSherpa Inbound Marketing for B2B Quick Guide  — and I realized this story was the perfect analogy for effective inbound marketing. Often, we get so focused on data and metrics, technology and automation that we overlook everyday human interactions like this.

However, normal human interactions are what we should be trying to emulate with our marketing, especially inbound marketing.

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Daniel Burstein

The Radical Idea: Customer-first marketing prioritizes customer experience over upsells

June 2nd, 2017
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I stopped by Barnes & Noble on Sunday, early enough that our open-air mall — St. Johns Town Center — was nice and quiet.

It was a more pleasant experience than simply buying on Amazon.com. Got Starbucks for my daughter and hung out with her in the café. Purchased a Harry Potter book for her. Bought myself those chunky Sunday editions of The Florida Times-Union and The New York Times.

It was a more pleasant experience than Amazon.com…until I got to the cashier. Because that’s when I got hit by the dreaded upsell.

In this latest edition of The Radical Idea on the MarketingSherpa Blog, here’s my op-ed about ideas for revisiting your checkout process as well as adding humanity to customer touchpoints, using my recent experience at Barnes & Noble as an example.

First: The argument for the verbal upsell

Anytime I see something in the world that I think needs a radical change, I always try to put myself in the shoes of the other party involved. It’s all too easy for an outsider to look at something and point out faults, falsely assuming the other party is simply being foolish.

However, people and corporations tend to be rational actors, doing what they perceive to be in their best interests based on the incentives placed before them. Even the people behind Nigerian email scams are rational actors. I’m not defending the practice at all. I’m just saying, the best way to institute change is to understand where the other party is coming from — not merely assume they are foolish and wrong. And then identify a possible knowledge gap they may not realize.

So, before I disagree with the way Barnes & Noble handles upsells in store, let me acknowledge why they might have instituted this practice. When I tweeted to the brand that this wasn’t the best customer experience, the response they tweeted back stated, “We ask booksellers to mention the benefits of Membership, in a professional manner. We appreciate your feedback.”

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