How Voice And Audio Have Become The New ‘Touch’

Augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and the voice-first revolution have the potential to redefine how fans discover and experience music, as well as related brand experiences — and this shift is happening today, not in the distant future.

But according to Susan Panico, SVP of strategic solutions at Pandora, what marketers really need to focus on is how human intelligence can scale artificial intelligence — not the other way around.

“[Marketers] have to remember that there isn’t really a more personal geo-location than [someone’s] home, right?” Panico said. “And as more people adopt a connected home devices, it’s really important for marketers to think about that you’re in a very intimate environment.”

GeoMarketing: We all like to play with VR headsets, but what have you seen at CES that’s really affecting your business at Pandora? And, in a broader sense, what do marketers then need to know about these trends?

Susan Panico: One of the biggest trends isn’t even really a trend — it’s here and now: Voice. We’re really seeing everything being controlled with voice, and audio becoming the new touch.

And, for Pandora, we’re now on 2,000 connected devices because we want to make sure that people can get their music wherever they are. We’ve also seen tremendous growth in [listening] on voice activated speakers: We have 300 percent year-over-year growth there.

But what becomes really interesting is — when you think about all those buzz words of AR, and AI — for us it’s a lot more about human intelligence, and how that human intelligence can scale artificial intelligence.

And the implication of all of this as a marketer is, well, I don’t think that there’s any more personal geo-location than your home. Right? And as more people adopt a connected home devices, it’s really important for marketers to think about that you’re in a very intimate environment.

There’s a lot of co-listening opportunity, and the way that you speak to people has to be very authentic and very natural, and it becomes a lot more important to think about “what’s your sonic identity?” What’s the sound of the brand? What’s the voice that you’re going to use to talk to? Just think about the things that you do in your home, or apartment — you don’t want that experience to be jarring. You don’t want someone shouting to you like you’re on the radio, and you want something that’s a lot more contextual, connected, authentic, and natural.

So it’s interesting because so many marketers think about what their visual representation is, and now they really need to start thinking about their sonic representation.

You’ve been evolving a bit at Pandora. What trends do you see in how people are listening to their music, and how has that changed since Pandora launched? What are you thinking about in terms of taking the company forward?

What’s really interesting is that we sit on about a billion data points a day. Not only do we get people’s age, and zip code, and that sort of data through registration, but they’re persistently logged in all the time — so we’re able to see and match that behavior. Also, what’s become really interesting [determining] the ideal time to serve an ad.

No two Pandora stations are alike, right? My station wouldn’t be the same as your station because of how you thumb up and thumb down. And what we’ve seen from an advertiser or brand standpoint is that when you interrupt that listening experience is just as important as what the actual message is itself.

All that data and  intelligence that we’ve taken around serving up the next perfect song that is going fit what you’re wanting to listen to is just as important when it comes to when and how you serve up the ad.

For example, a lot of young people, younger millennials, they take a lot of time to settle into what they want to listen to. They’re changing stations around; you don’t want to interrupt them during that time. Whereas people like myself, who are the Gen X side, they know exactly what they want to listen to.

So, all of that science informs what we do. It’s not about just the data points; it’s about the human on the other side.

What kind of ads or brand experiences on Pandora have been most successful or compelling, in your mind?

Well, audio is the primary media platform that we use, of course, but one thing that we’ve seen that’s been really interesting over last year is this idea of value exchange. A lot of brands giving the gift of an experience, or of some kind of value, in exchange for time spent listening. And what we’ve seen is that in exchange for watching a 15 second ad ,or interacting with an ad, that you can give an hour of uninterrupted listening, you can give more skips — and then, with our premium access, is you could get on-demand tracks in a free experience.

That’s been a really powerful platform for us, particularly with multi-tiered service that we have for all sorts of listeners.

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White Label Reputation Management – Next Step to Huge Profits

Looking for a way to easily add another revenue stream to your business while providing a new suite of valuable services to your clients? White label reputation management software lets your business deliver more services and take all the credit while an established platform, with expert support, provides the service. If you are a digital marketer or agency with clients, it’s the next logical step in the quest to do less work and make more money.

How does this sound?

Your business could be earning monthly recurring income while providing the reputation management solution your clients need to build and monitor their online reputation.

By using a white label reputation management solution, you get everything you need to introduce and maximize a new income stream that benefits your clients and your bottom line.

But… let’s back up and clarify what “white label” means.

What is a White Label Service?

A white-label service is a product or software as a service (SaaS) from a third-party that you purchase, rebrand with your own branding or company name, and then resell as your product. Specifically, here we are talking about white-labeling the Reputation Loop reputation management software, making it look like a service run by your business or agency and selling that service to your clients.

White Label Reputation Management

White labeling reputation management has immediate and long-term benefits

Offer an additional valuable resource to your clients

Expand your current service offerings and meet existing client demand for reputation management. With a new service, you will also increase client retention and draw in new clients who are looking for more full-service options.

Your clients will benefit from the ability to:

  • engage with their customers through automated email and text
  • gather feedback, address issues, and make improvements
  • encourage customers to leave reviews where they matter most
  • monitor review sites to quickly respond to negative reviews
  • monitor business directories for accuracy and consistency
  • rank higher in search engine results by building a 5 Star online reputation

Adding a steady income stream without the massive investment of developing a new product

White labeling an established reputation management software allows you to offer new and necessary services to your clients without diverting time and manpower towards researching, developing and deploying a new product.

Ability to focus on your core business while increasing revenue

Launching and supporting a new service can be incredibly time-consuming, but not if you are white-labeling an established reputation management platform. Grow your customer base and increase revenue without diverting resources like sales and admin from your core business.

Access to the technology and expertise of the white label provider

As a white label reputation management reseller you customize the entire platform with your own branding and URL and have full access to our platform.

Reputation Loop supplies a full suite of marketing materials and training for our white label resellers to get up and running quickly. These include professional sales videos, powerpoint presentations, flyers, postcards, business cards, email scripts, phone scripts, and traffic strategies.

Grow and enhance your reputation with branded services

Offering a service that your business has white-labeled as your own branded solution means you retain the perceived value of that service without having to give credit to another brand. That means clients stay with you for this service instead of going to the source and handling their own reputation management.

Agencies and Digital Marketers Love Reputation Loop

White Label Reputation Management Review

Reputation Loop Review Game Changer

Reputation Loop Review Easy to Use2

White Label Reputation Management Review 5 Star

White Label Our Reputation Management Software Platform

Grow your business and increase revenue by offering a valuable solution that helps your clients by white labeling reputation management services. Reputation Loop has aggressive pricing with deep discounts so you can grow your business quick and easy. As an agency or reseller, you can use Reputation Loop’s white label reseller package and provide this multi-million dollar software as your own.

INTERESTED? Learn how easy it is to add a white label reputation management platform to your list of services.

 

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How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |

2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post White Label Reputation Management – Next Step to Huge Profits appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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The Majority Of Amazon And Google Smart Speaker Owners Will Buy Another

Over two-thirds of consumers who currently own an Amazon Echo or Google Home plan to buy another device in the next six months — and 75 percent of Amazon Echo owners and 69 percent of Google Home owners will purchase the same brand again, according to new research from Strategy Analytics.

This degree of loyalty may suggest that consumers are highly satisfied with the voice-activated devices they’ve chosen — or it could be simply a “recognition that the technical platforms are different and that switching would involve unwanted complexity,” the report states. But in either case, these findings indicate substantial consumer loyalty to one brand alone.

Loyalty Lock-In

These findings provide two important takeaways for marketers: First, that the first device a consumer purchases and brings into their home is highly likely to set up a long term relationship that won’t be easily penetrated — something that’s key for Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and any other upstarts to keep in mind.

And, more importantly, marketers need to gain a deeper understanding of which consumers are flocking to which platforms — and how they can reach them.

Think about it: If there are “Amazon Alexa” households that rely only on Amazon devices versus Google Home households, marketers need to understand who these consumers are — and if there are any notable patterns, demographic or otherwise, in terms of which people are choosing which devices at the outset.

If, for example, a greater number of Millennial parents are proven to have purchased an Amazon Echo, it might make more sense for a company like Pampers to build out an Alexa skill first, rather than a Google Home skill. Essentially, as voice-activated smart speakers continue to proliferate, marketers need to improve their use of them as a conversational tool — and that starts with understanding who is loyal to which devices and when they use them.

In any case, it does pay for marketers to focus their attentions on commuting with consumers via the “big four” platforms: “The early runners in the fast-growing smart speaker market look set to dominate for some time,” said David Mercer, author of the report. “High customer satisfaction levels and the possibility of platform ‘lock-in’ will make it challenging for competitor platforms to carve out significant market share in the near term.”

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Amazon’s Dave Isbitski: With Voice-Enabled ‘Everything,’ Brands Must Get Back To Conversational Basics

With the rise of machine learning and cloud computing to fuel innovation, natural language conversations with AI have become an everyday reality — but even voice-activated intelligent assistants become a major factor in consumers lives, brands’ sense of how to approach them as a marketing vehicle is still in its infancy.

But “every industry can [add] value based on just having a conversation,” explains Dave Isbitski, Chief Evangelist for Alexa and Echo at Amazon. And while the technology that consumers are using to power nearly every aspect of their lives has indeed evolved, “it’s still almost like what’s old is new. We’re going to back to just having a conversation.”

Following a keynote at Yext’s ONWARD conference in November entitled Voice-Enabled Everything, Isbitski talked to GeoMarketing about the reality of marketing through conversation — and the next phase of the mass transition to voice. (Full disclosure: Yext owns GeoMarketing. More details on our relationship here.)

GeoMarketing: Amazon Echo products and the Alexa assistant have become so mainstream. But do brands have a sense of how to approach using Alexa as a marketing vehicle? What’s the top question that you get from brands about how they should use Alexa as opposed to just what people are used to (i.e., text and type)?

 Dave Isbitski: The bigger question that most brands are asking themselves, and that everybody’s coming to, is, “What does it mean to be conversational?”

In terms of digital marketing, we’ve had technology, we’ve had these screens, for a long time. But now, it’s almost like what’s old is new. We’re going to back to just having a conversation. And so, a lot of brands have conversations with customers through their support centers. But those calls sometimes have a tendency to show what the technology couldn’t solve.

So another question brands should be asking: “What’s actually working with my technology today?”

What I start to see is brands will have everyone at the table. It will be, “What kind of calls are we getting from customers in our support center? What are we hearing that’s actually working? What are our reviews in our mobile app – what do people like about our mobile app?”

After that, the questions become, “What do we want to provide? What’s in our specific industry? Where can you do value?”

Because, every industry can do value based on just having a conversation.

What other trends are influencing brands in this new era of artificial intelligent-powered marketing and assistants?

The other thing that I’ve seen is chatbots. Brands who have done chatbots have started to reach that state where they can be more informal with a customer, versus trying to go through what I call “on-ramps.”

You have these on-ramps: “This is how you get to ask a question,” versus “Ask a question,” which a chatbot will give you.

If a brand has started with chatbots, and they’ve experienced that informal conversation, and they’ve seen that customer questions get resolved — which usually, they do — you start to see that expanding their marketing strategy.

Then voice conversation is a smoother transition. What you’re doing is, you’re creating this contract of the types of questions that are going to be asked.

How so?

You can take that data you have from your chatbot. Sometimes the training questions are the same. We have that at Amazon, we have Lex, which is a service through AWS. [Amazon Lex is an AWS service for building conversational interfaces into applications using voice and text].

In fact, with Lex, you can actually take the utterances and intents you’ve built, and create an Alexa skill.

What other issues are brands having to deal with in the transition to voice?

When I was talking about the on-ramps, the worst thing you can do, and I have seen this happen, is to say, “We’ve got a mobile app, this is the parameters through my service that my mobile app calls, therefore I’m going to ask those as questions.”

That’s not conversation. People will know that right away. They’re like, “This is just a back and forth, this is the IVR system. I might as well just hit the buttons on the keyboard. That’s not how conversation works.

You spend most of the time thinking about having a conversation with your customer. So, I guess the bigger question that you’re asking is more about, “What’s the starting point for this?”

Because there are over 25,000 skills, what I tell a lot of people is, “If you’re thinking you’re going to do a finance skill, for example, we’ll see what Amazon customers are saying in reviews, because there’s real data there.” You know what your customers are telling you.

But if you’re looking for voice experience, we share all that in reviews, so you could actually go through, and you could data-mine all that and say, “You know what, I consistently see people are saying this. This one’s got four stars.”

All of that is publicly available. And we saw that in the mobile space, too. If you were going to enter an area, you looked at what was getting to the top of the charts. and the question was always, “How could you create more value on top of that?” And that’s what every brand constantly has to consider.

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Putting Customer Reviews to Work in 2018 – Build a Better Reputation

As 2017 fades we find that consumers are relying more and more on social proof such as online reviews to make their buying decisions. You know how important your online reputation is for growing your business, that’s why we’re going to show you how to leverage your online reviews to show customers you are the right choice, right now.

Customer Reviews are Even More Important in 2018

Positive Customer Reviews Influence Buying Stats

Nearly all consumers (90%) look at online reviews when making buying decisions. All the creative marketing and advertisements your money can buy won’t persuade a customer if you don’t have a stellar reputation online where consumers research their purchases.

Putting your reviews and star ratings where people can see them on your website and review sites is a valuable source of highly-effective marketing generated by your customers and trusted by your consumers.

Reviews also give you the customer feedback you need to improve your customers’ experience.  A recent study by Temkin Group showed that companies that are focused on customer experience have more than a 16% advantage over competitors in willingness to buy, reluctance to switch brands and likelihood to recommend.

Get Recent Customer Reviews Online More Often

Consumers are researching to find the best services and products, relying on online reviews and ratings to help guide them. With the explosion of mobile web searching and increased development of review apps, consumers are making their spending decisions on-the-go and faster than ever.

Here’s How to Get More Positive Reviews Online More Often

  1. Have a great service/product and provide excellent customer service. No business is perfect, but if you give your best, customers will recognize it. In appreciation, many will leave a great review where they would have otherwise not reviewed at all. Make a great first impression, follow through on your promises and customers will want to share that experience with other people. 
  2. Make it easy for customers to complete and submit reviews. Keep the review process short and easy. Provide star rating systems and enable comment functions on your websites. Provide links or clickable images directly to your pages on the popular review sites they are accustomed to using such as Google and Yelp. Remember to provide a few options for where they can leave a review for better conversion.
  3. Make your presence known while monitoring and moderating review channels. Pay close attention to the sites you want your customers to review your business on and ensure a prompt response to issues or problems to handle any negative reviews. Make sure your business is listed on any third-party sites your customers might be visiting. This also applies to major social media sites, as younger demographics tend to voice their opinions on their preferred social media networks.
  4. Ask for a review and send reminders if you have the customers email address. Some business owners are embarrassed to ask for a review but as the saying goes, “closed mouths don’t get fed.” Be honest and say you are trying to grow your online exposure and reviews really help other customers find your business so it would mean a lot if they could take a minute to leave a review.
  5. Time your review request promptly after the service or purchase. Your best chance of getting feedback from people is right after the transaction. The longer you wait, the completion rates for reviews quickly declines. If your business captures emails, this is the best way to connect with customers immediately to request a review.

Local Customer Reviews StatsShow Customer Reviews on Your Website

Showcasing reviews on your website not only helps you acquire new customers by detailing what your users love about your business. Displaying a steady flow of recent reviews also factors into showing up higher in search engine results because Google likes fresh content.

Build Trust in Your Business

Letting website visitors see what your customers think about your products and services increases transparency. With so much advertising and marketing forced on us, consumers look for transparency to know who to trust. When your business demonstrates they have nothing to hide, buyers are more open to listening to your message of why you’re the best choice.

Increase Engagement for Higher Conversion Rates

Customers want to see reviews. When they get to look at those reviews to see those reviews on your site, they are more engaged and stay on your website longer. When users stay on your site longer your conversion rates go up. Give your website users what they want by giving them the recent reviews they are looking for.

Keep Fresh Reviews Continuously Posting Online

According to Search Engine Land, 69% of consumers think reviews older than three months are no longer relevant. A Vendasta list of stats on customer reviews shows around 44% of consumers say a review is only relevant if it was written within the last month.

Additionally, how recent and how many reviews are found factor into the reviews algorithm Google uses to rank websites. Businesses that keep a steady stream reviews keep credibility with both consumers and search engines.

Learn How to Leverage Online Reviews to Grow Your Business

Prioritize the process of reputation management to save time, gather more five-star reviews, and gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are building and protecting a positive online reputation.

If you’d like to learn more about online reputation and automated customized review management, you can click through Reputation Loop’s features and blog.

When you know how powerful good reviews are in bringing new customers and increasing exposure, you’ll find that allocating a part of your marketing budget to the professional management of customer reviews through services like Reputation Loop is an easy decision.

 

Free Demo RepLoop

USE THESE FREE GUIDES FROM REPUTATIONLOOP.COM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |

2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post Putting Customer Reviews to Work in 2018 – Build a Better Reputation appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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2018 Local SEO Strategy Planning Using 2017 Lessons Learned

As another whirlwind year comes to a close let’s take a look at what changed in Local SEO in 2017, the lessons we learned, and how we can use that information to create a winning 2018 Local SEO strategy.

With the number of changes that happened in search engine optimization, especially on the local level, there are new factors to take into account when planning for more effective Local SEO in 2018.

Local businesses owners won’t need to make significant changes, as traditional local SEO tactics are still useful. However, businesses that recognize and capitalize on new and better ways to optimize for local search are the ones who will rank above competitors in key local search results.

2017 Local SEO Lessons Learned & 2018 Local SEO Strategy Planning

Take advantage of the opportunity to grow your business using lessons learned from Local SEO in 2017 to build a better 2018 Local SEO strategy.

2017 Local SEO Ranking Factors

Many Business Aren’t Optimizing for Local Search or Doing It Wrong

As we worked through 2017, small and local businesses became increasingly aware of the importance of showing up in local search results, and the colossal impact ranking high in search and map results had on earning more revenue and growing their business. Though business increased their local marketing budgets, they still lagged on using location data to optimize their product and services web pages for search.

Ranking low in search results, or not ranking at all makes a business invisible.  That means no new customers, no growth, and a declining customer base who has or will find another business on their next search.  The winners in 2017 were businesses who knew how to use location data, business listings, and reviews to let search users know that they were close by, open for business, and loved in their community.

ADD TO YOUR LOCAL SEO STRATEGY:

Location data such as city, address, neighborhood, and landmarks should be consistently and accurately be a focus of all on-site and off-site local search optimization activities. 

The first priority for showing up in local and map search results is to optimize your Google My Business Listing by filling it out in its entirety, adding photos with your location in the tags, and getting continuous positive reviews posted to your Google listing. 

When a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) are inconsistent on different online directories search engines, don’t want to use that business in results and possibly give their search users bad information.  That means your business won’t rank in local searches if your business listings are inaccurate.  Ensure your business listings are accurate, consistent and everywhere they need to be.

Online Reputation Isn’t Solely Under Your Control

Your business’s online reputation isn’t solely under your control; this is probably why they call it Reputation Management and not Reputation Control. Your “brand” and the perception of your business is no longer made up of the marketing messages you create internally. With the dozens of platforms available for customers to review and rate your business with ease, you have to MANAGE what is said and displayed about your business.

2018 Local SEO Reviews Important

One customer can turn a five-star reputation into a low-rated nightmare.  With the influence of user-generated content and social proof becoming stronger and stronger as more people rely on internet searches to do research and make buying decisions, businesses need to understand the importance of having a positive and persuasive online presence.

ADD TO YOUR LOCAL SEO STRATEGY:

Reputation Management has to be a part of your local SEO strategy going forward.  Ensure you have a Reputation Management process in place that gathers feedback from customers, handles negative experiences before customers hit review sites, and pushes your happiest customers to leave reviews on sites that matter most to your business.

Reviews are a high ranking factor for local search and also factor into appearing in the local pack on Google results pages, right below those top ads.

2018 Local SEO Mobile Searches

Mobile Smartphone and Tablet Users are Increasing – and They Demand Mobile Friendly Experiences

You’ll remember the big fuss around “Mobileggedon 2017” and how the world was going to end if you didn’t have a mobile-friendly website.  Websites that didn’t join the mobile-friendly movement were given fair warning that Google would not continue to rank their clunky websites as mobile search engine use grew to be more than 50% of all users.

As mobile use continues to grow, especially in local searches, mobile-friendly sites dominate search results.  Businesses who cater to local mobile audiences with their SEO efforts are also reaping the rewards of marketing focused on literally “being where your customers are.”

2018 Local SEO Mobile Offers

ADD TO YOUR LOCAL SEO STRATEGY:

We’ll work on the safe assumption that almost every single one of your customers have a smartphone (or 5) in their household.  Go beyond mobile-friendly and make your website an ever-mobile-loving marketing tool.  Optimize all aspects of your website for a pleasant experience for people on their smartphones looking to spend money today.  While you’re at it save some trees and figure out a cost-effective way to add digital coupons for mobile users to your POS system.

Planning your 2018 Local SEO Strategy

Traditional search engine optimization techniques are still going to work for your business in 2018.  But as SEO evolves, especially with local searches, there are multiple opportunities to increase search traffic and get your business in front of paying customers with organic search results, map search results, local packs, searches on review sites, and even paid ads.

As you develop your 2018 marketing plans and budget, take time to reflect not only on the lessons learned in 2017 across the local SEO landscape but also weigh and measure the effectiveness of your business’s search optimization activities over the past year.

  • What worked?
  • What didn’t?
  • Which activities gave you the greatest push in raising your local search ranking?
  • What is the top-ranked local competition in your industry doing that you aren’t?

Use this information to plan out a 2018 Local SEO strategy that puts your business at the top of local search results where new customers are going to find a highly rated service or product they want to do business with.

 

Free Demo RepLoop

USE THESE FREE GUIDES FROM REPUTATIONLOOP.COM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |

2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post 2018 Local SEO Strategy Planning Using 2017 Lessons Learned appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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Location’s and Mobile’s Year in Review: 7 Marketing Moments that Shaped 2017

Mobile marketing is moving forward, always forward, tracking alongside the expansion of technology as the consumers’ first — and increasingly only — choice when it comes to how they experience and interact with every industry, from retail to automotive and beyond.

In the home, on the move, in stores, this year was marked by the domination of mobile marketing and by the continued rise of emerging interfaces such as augmented reality. Looking back at 2017, the list below highlights key points within this evolution — each example counts as evidence that we live in an increasingly mobile-to-offline world.

  1. A year for identifying new location-contextual opportunities. From at-home research to across-the-day moments, mobile and location data are about relevance and personalized moments. This is not just a retail opportunity. Automotive dealers, for example, spend more than $600 per car in advertising, the National Automobile Dealers Association reported in 2017. Roughly $400 of that amount is being spent on advertising channels — including TV, radio, and newspapers — that feature virtually no targeting (as we understand digital targeting, in 2017), and that leave out location data’s window onto context, relevancy, and anticipatory inspiration. As the year closes, aging notions of on-lot conquesting are poised to be replaced by other meaningful mobile moments; proximity-only strategies now represent limited models of ad spend in the M2O world.
  1. Apple’s ARKit earned powerful adopters. Augmented-reality got a boost this year when IKEA, a longtime adopter of consumer-friendly 3D-image technology, took a remarkable lead with its AR-focused Place, quickly embracing Apple’s ARKit in the process. The app allows consumers to combine shopping with the realities of their location — viewing furniture at true scale in their homes. Meanwhile, monitoring social media, the company noticed that consumers were complaining about the lack of a search feature for Place, and so they added one, deploying a new version in five days. Innovation plus responsiveness gave IKEA a 2017 mobile-marketing win.
  1. AR developers didn’t unveil a post-Pokémon follow-up, but AR did make retail inroads. Rather than a next-generation follow-up on 2016’s Pokémon GO success, what we saw was a push for incremental AR solutions — testing and deployment that largely depended on answering consumers’ wants and needs. See the IKEA instance, above, for example, and there was also this hail-Mary effort by Toys R Us to bring consumers back to stores. Meanwhile, the augmented-reality story in 2017 further expanded to different kinds of hardware altogether. As Venture Beat reported, the automobile driver’s cabin is newly poised to become automotive’s canvas for an entirely different kind of mobile AR space.
  1. Apple drew a (blue) line between mobile users and unchecked location-data practices. The iOS 11 blue bar for location lit up the conversation around consumer location-data access. The net outcome was a consumer boon, with Cupertino’s later revision — user opt-in will mitigate the blue bar requirement for selected apps — making the experience even more palatable for consumers that know the apps they love. In all cases, the core of Apple’s move means flagging battery-drain offenders and potentially unscrupulous data collectors.
  1. Mobile-ad spend increased (and the duopoly won’t claim all of it). Adweek reported this year that as much as 70 percent of digital-ad spend ended up on mobile’s side. That’s amazing news, even if it comes with the caveat that 60 percent of that spend ended up in the coffers of Google and Facebook. For the rest of us, for mobile-marketing’s innovators and leaders, there is still so much to claim — if the stats are accurate, some 40 percent of mobile-ad spend remains for the taking. Tomorrow’s leading organizations will grasp their share of it next year and in the years to come. Bottom line, the M2O landscape has room for us all.
  1. Amazon made moves to claim market share. Marketing Week sees Amazon growing its global digital ad revenue into a $2.84 billion business by 2019. Mobile is part of its play: “They have a search engine, a programmatic stack, premium content and one of the top five apps,” Kristin Lemkau, chief marketing officer at JPMorgan Chase, told Business Insider. In 2017, Amazon made inroads to retail experiences and customer touch points as well: partnerships like the one it forged with Kohl’s — the brick-and-mortar started taking Amazon returns in 2017 — stand to drive meaningful conversions (customers make new purchases about half the time during a return), and they stand as strong arguments for partner-brands to put more digital-ad spend in Amazon’s pockets as these relationships develop.
  1. And, we learned, fully realized mobile creative is not abbreviated TV. An important mobile story emerged as Dove took a TV spot, cut it down to about three seconds, and ended up with a social-media emergency. The spot, in its shortened format, left out critical elements of context — in effect, one of the images in the mobile version appeared to be racist. Moral of the story? You need to create for mobile; you can’t simply trim a TV spot and assume you’ve retained your message. Mobile consumers are super-aware of context and they are always alert to moments they can share — and sharing means outrage as well.

As a final note about 2017, we may well look back on this year as a tipping point — a moment when the mobile data-privacy equation went internal. In two cases, with Three Square Market implanting RFID chips in 50 employees’ hands — part of an IoT program at the company — and with the FDA’s approval of an ingestible sensor pill that can track medication from a patient’s insides, the doorway to a new era of data-collection and policy complexities crept open.

The above examples show that mobile marketing strengthened, evolved, and approached the threshold of exciting new steps in 2017. As we ramp-up for 2018, the work we’ve accomplished will fuel the industry’s success in the months to come. Happy new year, mobile marketing — you’ve never looked better.

*As Chief Marketing Officer, Julie Bernard leads Verve’s brand strategy, marketing, analytics and creative services. Julie was previously SVP of Omnichannel Customer Strategy, data science, loyalty, and marketing technology at Macy’s, where she was recognized as a customer-centric leader implementing data-driven approaches for strategic growth, including award-winning personalized communications at scale, first-of-a-kind loyalty programs, and modern media attribution techniques.  Bernard previously held executive leadership positions at Saks Fifth Avenue and XRoads Solutions Group, a boutique retail consultancy.

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Holiday Local SEO To Do List – Get Found Fast This Season

It’s that time of year when everything is centered around your holiday plans.  That includes how to best market your business to local customers looking to spend vast amounts of money not only to give gifts but to make any part of the hectic season easier, faster and more pleasant.  If your business can meet the needs and solve the problems of holiday shoppers, you need to get seen in local search results. Make sure you’re getting found first with this Holiday Local SEO to Do List.

Your Holiday Local SEO To Do List

[  ] Check Business Listings in Local Directories

First thing on your Holiday Local SEO to do list: Make sure your business listings are live, accurate, and consistent across local business directories.  Be sure to include Google My Business, review sites, and social networks locals use to find your business. Managing and monitoring your business listings year around is essential, but especially around the holidays where traffic is high, and hours change, you don’t want any potential customer having difficulty reaching you.

Accurate Business Listings Reputation Loop

Inaccurate, duplicate, out of date, or differently spelled business listings can lead to a long list of problems for search users such as:

  • Not finding your business in search
  • Driving to a wrong address
  • Calling a disconnected number
  • Showing up when you’re closed because you didn’t update holiday hours
  • Location pins in the wrong place on navigation maps

Avoid all of these problems by updating your local listings with holiday hours and verifying that your Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) are correct and the same across all networks. Don’t stop in the New Year though – make sure you are monitoring and managing your business listings throughout the year.

[  ] Update Your Holiday Hours on Local Online Listings and Your Website

Many businesses change their hours over the holidays. Look at the hours on your listing and make sure they are set for your holiday hours. Updating your hours on various days over the holidays may seem like a lot of work as you change but mobile search users are given this information when they are looking for somewhere to spend money.

This is especially important for Google My Business accounts. Navigating with Google Maps, and selecting a business that Google believes is closed or closing soon, you will be asked if you still want to go to this location even though it is closed or closing within the hour. Don’t lose customers because you have wrong hours listed. While you are at it, update your payment options if they have changed to avoid disappointing paying customers.

[  ] Calendar Google Posts to Highlight Your Specials and Events

Google My Business introduced Google Posts as a way to share fresh content with people who find your business through Google Search.  This new Google My Business feature lets you create posts with content you want to be displayed to customers when they find your business on Google.  Most businesses aren’t doing this yet, so here is just one area where the Holiday Local SEO to do list gives you massive leverage over the competition.

Google My Business doesn’t allow you to schedule out your posts, and they only stay live for a week to keep the content fresh.  You should create a calendar where you can pre-write and schedule your Google Post to make sure you always have something showing in search results for your business name. Publish your events, products, and services directly to Google Search in the Knowledge Panel and Maps to let search users know what is going on with your business right now.

HOLIDAY LOCAL SEO TO DO LIST GOOGLE POSTS

Promote your sales, holiday hours, specials and events with Google Posts.  You can learn about Google Posts and how to leverage them for your business here on the Reputation Loop blog.

[  ] Promote Your Best Reviews on Social Networks and Your Website

The social media world is fast-paced and has a very short memory. Consistency is key with your profile postings and interactions if you want to keep your audience engaged. Posting your best reviews on your social media profiles puts the information consumers really want right in front of their faces.

The reviews you post are not only part of the feed seen by your connections, friends, and followers, but they are also part of your timeline. If prospects search your social media networks for your products/services by your business name or your locality, they will see these five-star reviews.

Another SEO win is when people do online research on your business name, your social media profiles are usually part of the top results. Those prospects who discover your social media profiles can also travel back as far as they want in your posts stream and see not only the smart content you’ve posted but real reviews, by real people who think everything your business does is fantastic.

social_media_shares_reputationloop

The best way to raise your social media ROI is to automate many of the tasks associated with maintaining and growing your social media presence with software that will automatically post your five-star reviews to your social media profiles on the major networks.

[  ] Have a Review Management Plan in Place to Handle Bad Reviews and Complaints Immediately

Customer Review Management is a real thing; it is vital to the success of your business. Monitoring and responding to reviews is especially crucial during the holiday season where competition for business is high, and consumers are relying on reviews to make fast purchasing decisions. A customer’s holiday spirit can deteriorate quickly during a season many people find stressful. That could lead to bad reviews for your business.

Having a Review Management Plan in place lets you leverage good reviews and handle bad reviews with equal ease.  Read “Handling Negative Reviews by Creating a Process” when you get a chance but here’s a quick tip list on how to responding to negative reviews.

Responses to negative customer reviews should:

  • Be prompt, short, and to the point
  • Customized to address the issue specifically
  • Offer an apology for the negative experience
  • Provide a resolution or improvement when possible

The Holiday Local SEO To Do List – G.S.D.

Check off this Holiday Local SEO To Do List and get off the local optimization naughty list. Maybe this is the season you get everything you wanted.  Imagine higher ranking in local search, an increased click-through-rate to your business website, more sales, and a better search engine and purchase experience for the user all wrapped up in a pretty bow just for you.

Free Demo RepLoop

USE THESE FREE GUIDES FROM REPUTATIONLOOP.COM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |

2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post Holiday Local SEO To Do List – Get Found Fast This Season appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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Small Business Saturday 2017 – How to Promote My Local Business

Small Business Saturday 2107 is fast approaching, but there is still time to get your business in front of customers.

As usual, Small Business Saturday is sandwiched between the twin retail phenomenon known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) where big brands offer deep price cuts and doorbusters.

Major retailers have obvious advantages on BFCM, but on November 25th, Small Business Saturday 2017 is the day to celebrate and support small businesses and their contributions to local communities. Small business owners and local leaders across the country join together on Small Business Saturday to encourage consumers to shop locally and benefit their own communities and neighborhoods.

Be Easy to Find and Contact

Customers in your community will be using search engines and online maps to find local businesses that are selling what they are shopping for.  Make sure your business shows up at the top of search engine and map results by optimizing your Google My Business Listing.  Try the new Google Posts feature to highlight your best deals and what’s happening in your store.

You want customers to easily find you on Small Business Saturday (and the other 364 days of the year), so it’s essential that your business name, physical address, and phone number are consistent and present on the dozens of directories and websites that feed search engines local information.

It can be a time-consuming task to take on – creating, checking and correcting your business listings – but not impossible and very necessary.  A more efficient way to ensure you are being found with correct information that puts you higher in search results is to use a low-cost Business Listing Management service that does it all for you.

Get Free Marketing Materials for Small Business Saturday 2017

As the official sponsor of Small Business Saturday, American Express is in its sixth year of promoting this event in thousands of communities across the country. Endorsed by the Small Business Administration (sba.gov), the “Shop Small” movement focuses on the brighter side of holiday shopping by promoting local merchants and encouraging people to shop within their communities.

WATCH THIS VIDEO: How to Use Free Shop Small Merchandise to Promote Your Business by American Express

Check Out the Shop Small Studio for Free Customized Marketing Materials and Tips

Celebrate customers and help attract new ones with customizable marketing materials from the Shop Small Studio.  It takes less than a minute to fill in your store name and specialty to get started.  Then you give them a name and email address your free material is downloaded to your device and a download link is sent to the email you provide.

Here are the two ways you will receive your download:

Print customizable material you can use right away like posters, event flyers, offer signage and save the dates.

Your free download includes:

⇒ Facebook cover photo and profile photo images customized with the business name you entered

Small Business Saturday 2017 Facebook Cover

⇒ 2 Social media images customized with your business name

Small Business Saturday 2017 Social Media Images

⇒ Email scripting and email header (below), as well as badges and logos you can use on your website.

Small Business Saturday 2017 Email Header

⇒ Tip sheets for your Social Media, Storefront, and Website

Small Business Saturday Social Store Web Tips

Using Social Media for Small Business Saturday 2017

Join the conversations happening on your networks around Small Business Saturday with #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat (the “official” hashtags of Small Business Saturday). Jump right into the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Small Business Saturday Hashtags:

#SmallBizSat

#SmallBizSaturday

#ShopSmall

#ShopLocal

These hashtags trends high leading up to Thanksgiving. Use this window to promote your local business on social media.  Repost popular Small Business Saturday posts, create eye-catching images of your business and products, and use the free customized logos and images you downloaded to entice customers to come spend some time and money with you on November 25th.

 

RELATED READING:

Local SEO Checklist: 9 Basic Tips to Get Found in Search

Holiday Local Marketing on a Small Budget

Increase Your Small Business Holiday Profits

Local SEO for Brick and Mortar Businesses – FREE GUIDE

 

Small Business Saturday is November 25, 2017

Encourage your customers to get out and support the places they love while shopping with and for the people they love on Nov 25.  This is a chance to support local economies and celebrate the communities we live in.

Images Source: AmericanExpress.com

Free Demo RepLoop

USE THESE FREE GUIDES FROM REPUTATIONLOOP.COM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |  2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post Small Business Saturday 2017 – How to Promote My Local Business appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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Stop Thinking Content First

There are 95 million photos and videos being posted on Instagram every day, 300 hours of video content being uploaded to YouTube every minute, and 3 billion snaps created per day. It’s safe to say there’s no shortage of content which begs the question, does the world really need more?

As Creative Director for UM Studios, creating content across some of UM’s biggest brands, this may seem like a pretty radical question. On the contrary, it’s not about creating less content, it’s about making sure we are identifying the right approach that will help inform the type of content we are creating.

With so many channels and formats it’s easy to go straight to saying things like “let’s use influencers,” or “let’s create a series of long form vignettes on YouTube” or “ooh, how about 6 second videos? Those are slick!” The real challenge is identifying why we need this content to begin with. What’s the powerful insight or idea that can inform the role of content? With that said, if we’re leading with content first, we could be missing the larger point – and critical steps in between.

Upon writing this, I happened to attend an Advertising Week panel discussion called “Substance Will Be Viral” where Armando Turco, General Manager, Vox Creative, Jeannie Chu, VP Global Brand Content for American Express, and Alex Bodman, Global Creative Director for Spotify discussed this very issue.

In the session, they addressed the fact that there is a disproportionate amount of poor content to premium content and that maybe we should reevaluate both the volume of content, and its purpose in the first place. It was a serendipitous moment of “Yes! This is exactly what I’ve been taking about. I’m so relieved I’m not the only content person that thinks this.”

It was particularly insightful to hear Armando voice his frustration with the way many brands are currently briefing content publishers. Often publishers receive an RFP that focuses too much on the assets that need to be created as opposed to the idea behind it. I’m sure most content publishers or agency partners have received a brief at one time or another that sounded something like “we need one :90s video, two :30s cut downs, four :15s teasers and eight social posts, and here’s our campaign.”

This was concerning to hear considering that the primary focus of my job is to develop and identify ideas that will help inform the need for content, the type of content we should be creating, and ­­who are the right partners that can help create this content. Coming to partners with an idea that they can build off of rather than a shopping list of assets always produces better results. We have to get to a better brief and treat content partners like partners – not simply asset creators.

However, developing an integrated connections idea and identifying the need for creating content is a different process than developing a tagline or brand campaign. Sometimes content is needed to simply amplify the core campaign message, sometimes content is needed to translate the campaign idea into the voice of the audience, sometimes there’s a gap in content that needs to be filled, or sometimes content is used to demonstrate the elasticity of the idea. Taking a content first approach without considering the role it plays often falls into potential danger of becoming just a longer form version of an ad that’s less to the point.

If there are two guiding principles in the quest for content creation, the first one is to identify a powerful insight and idea that is big enough to transcend content format and work across various lengths and channels.

As Alex Bodman from Spotify said “if you have a powerful idea the content opportunities become endless.” Trying to cut down long form content into shorter formats or retrofitting content intended for broadcast into social can often be challenging, but a big idea should be able to stretch beyond traditional content formats (:60s, :30s, :15s, etc) and into new and emerging mediums (:06s, voice, experiential, etc).

The second guiding principle is to identify “what do we want the brand to do” vs. “what do we want the brand to say.” People expect more from brands than ever before and with more media channels they expect brands to be shaping culture by “doing” things not just “saying” things. With that said we need to ask ourselves “what is it that we are doing as a brand that creates rich content opportunities and stories that need to be told?”

When Spotify launched their “I’m With The Banned” campaign they could have easily just said, “Hey, let’s create a branded content series that tells stories of artists affected by the travel ban.”

If they did, I’m sure those stories would have still been compelling. Spotify however, didn’t just tell stories. They did something powerful by bringing two artists together that were affected by the travel ban from different cultural backgrounds to Canada where they could collaborate on original songs and unite their two fan bases over such a polarizing political issue.

This wasn’t just a powerful act, it was a powerful idea that manifested itself in many different content formats and media channels. Big ideas that put brands into action doesn’t just capture attention, it creates better and more authentic content.

So, is it really a question of creating better content or better ideas?

The answer is probably both but it starts with establishing a big idea that drives a clear vision for the role of content to begin with. After all, in today’s fleeting world of content abundance with a billion hours of video consumed on YouTube everyday it’s hard to remember all the content we consume on a regular basis, but powerful ideas are tough to forget.

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