Your Marketing and Design Reading for The Weekend

It's hard to believe the summer is winding to a close. But that's even more reason to get the latest marketing news and trends in an easy-to-digest way. I hope this post helps you wrap up the work week with some new info so you can go off to the park, the pool or the party.

Google SERPs Dump 5.5% of Organic First Page ListingsWoman with Glasses Reading Tablet

You may not have noticed, but Google has reduced the usual ten search listings to just seven on more than 18% of Google searches. Sometime around August 12th to 14th, the number of results with fewer than ten organic search listings went from 2% to over 18%. This is the equivalent of eliminating 5.5% of all first page organic listings!

Based on experiments, the author concluded that keyword searches with organic sitelinks (branded/navigational searches) appear to be showing seven or fewer organic listings versus the expected ten. If you are one of those businesses who were in positions eight, nine or ten and now find your listing on the dreaded page two of search results for important keywords, what are your options?

  • You could try to drive more links and shares to that page to improve the rankings (no small task).
  • You can spend more on AdWords on that keyword

Costs per click have been falling and, to grow their business by 25% this year, Google needs to get 24 billion more clicks on their ads. Many of us are going to have to increase spending.

Visual Marketing is Here--5 Ways You Can Use It to Sell Your Ideas

As much as I love writing copy, it seems like now we need to eliminate most or all written words and present all our content in cool infographics or funny cartoons (Thank goodness we have Mel Fernandez on our marketing team to translate Kriti and my ideas to designs).

This blog offers suggestions on how to better interact with audiences with visuals that will engage them.

  • Use team pictures: viewers like to see the people that work behind the scenes to deliver the products and services they buy. Social media is all about humanizing the brands we deal with after all! We frequently use photos of our team on Facebook, but I'll have to remember to bring images of the Affinity Express team into our blog as well.
  • Help people to remember your product and look different: this makes a lot of sense when you are trying to differentiate your company and products. If all your competitors use straightforward product images to promote their chocolates, can you use images of people at different scenes to illustrate how your chocolates make customers feel transported?
  • Show your product in a real world context: eliminate the possibility prospects can't envision themselves using your product and show them what real customers just like them are doing. Testimonials come alive when you have photos to reinforce the benefits in an instant.
  • Get media coverage with great visuals: screen shots, standard product images and head shots are boring. If your news is accompanied by a different or better way to convey the message visually, the odds are better it will be picked up by bloggers and other media.
  • Display pain points with a fun analogy: there's no faster way to communicate you get what drives prospects crazy or their biggest challenges. We used this tactic in a PowerPoint presentation to demonstrate that we not only understand the many disparate systems and administrative tasks required to offer a full suite of digital marketing services to advertisers, we streamline for clients with one workflow for all products.

How to Make Awesome YouTube Videos for Your Small Business

I was glad to read this post on creating videos for small businesses because the case has been made that video is highly-effective. However, knowing this information doesn't make it work for you--it's nice to have a little guidance. The post tells us that videos should be: highly-educational/informative, sincere and fun. Fortunately, it delves in deeper with more specific recommendations:

  • Start with a preview (i.e., tell 'em what you're going to tell them)
  • Display website information (the phone number, call to action, etc., as most people don't watch the entire video)
  • Use pop-up text (to clarify, add details and reinforce points)
  • Add humor
  • Involve customers (see the point about visual marketing above)
  • Integrate still shots and slow motion (varying the pace enables people absorb the content better)

I would add to this advice that you should think carefully about the right length of your video, as people buying a new pair of pants need less information than those buying an accounting system. Regardless of the subject, we all have short attention spans these days, so I think shorter videos are better.

One of our current projects is editing the footage we shot at our production facilities. In doing so, we thought about all the questions potential clients and employees could ask about Affinity Express and tried to have a brief, 20-second video to address them. So far, we've created product shots where people can look over the shoulders of our team members to see them design websites, mobile ads and Facebook pages. We also have interviews with employees and Human Resources personnel offering insight into our culture, training, social responsibility and more. Rather than cover every topic in exhaustive detail, we're trying to educate and encourage prospects to contact us and learn more.

An important point for our project was that we did not use scripts. This is how we kept the content sincere, as this post suggested, because we didn't tell anyone what to say or how to say it.

Four "New Marketing Skills You'd Better Learn Quick

The perspective of this article makes a lot of sense: people who stepped out of marketing for the past few years would barely recognize the roles they are now facing. To cope, they need to quickly learn the following skills:

  1. Funnel math and revenue performance management: ultimately, we all need to close business and have to work backward from the number of leads it takes to win a deal to determine how we spend our time and budgets.
  2. Social lead generation and buying signal mining: monitor what your prospects are saying on social media and become a resource for them. If you provide value, "the social web is the greatest source of ongoing free leads ever seen."
  3. SEO and inbound marketing fundamentals: although the rules change daily (see Google item above!), there are basics that remain consistent. That means publishing great content and securing inbound links that validate the quality of that content.
  4. Lead management/nurture workflow development: most of our buyers don't make their move immediately and need to be nurtured over time. Various tools and systems can be effective, but it is most important to have a strategy to address how purchases are made and what tactics will be used throughout the relationship with prospects.

10 Ways to Make Your Leads Totally Hate Your Guts

Building on the last of point on acquiring new marketing skills, here's a good selection of things you should not do. From 1) "make it virtually impossible for leads to get their hands on your offer," to 10) "negotiate like a total sleeze ball," I thoroughly enjoyed this post.

We've all experienced poorly designed landing pages that make you feel like an idiot for not being able to find whatever it is that you need to click. I tried to download a research report for Ken Swanson this week and, after I filled out the form, nothing happened. So I filled it in again. Then I tried to contact the company (a very well-known and respected authority). No response. A few hours later, I reloaded the site, completed the form and got the download. Still haven't heard from the company though.

The post also mentions: 2) "clogging up prospects' in-box" and 3) "clogging it up with totally irrelevant content." While I'm thinking about it, I want to say thanks for all those emails I keep getting about box seats to upcoming sporting events . . .  that are not even in my city!

As for 5) "follow up at a leisurely pace," I'm always impressed when my phone rings or I get an email minutes after submitting a request online. This happened recently when I requested a demo of a crowdsourced approach to search engine marketing.

I'm also down with 7) "alternately, you could just follow up like an insane person." People get one strike with me. If I told you I'm investigating something I might implement in six months, I don't want to hear from you next week.

On that note, enjoy your weekend and have a terrific week! Don't forget to share any of your sources for insightful marketing advice.


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