Example of location on Facebook

Selecting your location

Location targeting lets you select your audience within a custom radius from the following locations:

  • Country
  • County or region
  • City
  • DMA®*
  • Postcode
  • Business address

*DMA® (Designated Market Area) regions are the geographic areas in the US in which local television viewing is measured by Nielsen.

Refining your audience

Audiences can be refined based on which audience would be most interested in your business. The choices for audiences within a location are:

  • (Default) Everyone in this location. People whose current city on their Facebook profile is that location, as well as anyone determined to be in that location via mobile device.
  • People who live in this location. People whose current city from their Facebook profile is within that location.This is also validated by IP address and their Facebook friends’ stated locations.
  • Recently in this location. People whose most recent location is the selected area, as determined only via mobile device.This includes people who live there or who may be travelling there.
  • People travelling in this location.People whose most recent location is the selected area, as determined via mobile device, and are greater than 100 miles from their stated home location from their Facebook profiles.

Improving our user experience

HowTo Reduce Your Website's Bounce Rate & Increase Conversions, simple tactic, Digital Marketing Tip no#18 ✅Be sure to subscribe for our 101 digital marketing tips to sky rocket your online marketing campaigns,➡️ Subscribe by liking our page here – https://lnkd.in/evSjjB9➡️ Download your cheatsheet here – https://bit.ly/2qNzEWr

Posted by Ngalinda-MrMarketing.ie on Thursday, May 10, 2018

So, what is “user experience”?

The International Organization for Standardization defines user experience as “a person’s perceptions and response resulting from the use and/or anticipated use of a product, system or service. In which, user experience is a consequence of brand image, presentation, functionality, system performance, interactive behavior and assistive capabilities of the interactive system, the user’s internal and physical state resulting from prior experiences, attitudes, skills and personality, and the context of use.”

5 secrets to improve your user experience and increase conversion rate:

Secret #1 — Remote user testing

User testing has allowed companies such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft to improve their users’ experiences, create a better product/service and increase conversions. Some benefits of remote user testing are:

  • Affordable and quick. We need feedback, now! We need to know what works and what doesn’t , in real time. Remote user testing allows for quick feedback by eliminating the need for a specific location, complicated equipment and additional people to conduct the test. As there are less people and less equipment involved in remote user testing, the cost of conducting a test drops dramatically.
  • Eliminates the need for a lab. Due to the lower number of resources needed to conduct a test, remote user testing can be conducted in the participant’s natural environment, e.g. their home, eliminating the need for a lab. Conducting a test in the participant’s natural environment has been shown to generate greater feedback as the participant is comfortable in their surroundings.
  • Allows for greater diversity in testing e.g. choice of demographics. Testing is remote, allowing your users from around the world to contribute their thoughts and opinions on their user experience. Testing with a remote service also allows users to sign-up from anywhere in the world, giving you access to a greater range of demographics, including: age groups, income differentiation, language spoken.

By conducting remote user testing, you’ll discover the ‘how’ behind your user’s actions, the ‘why’ behind their thoughts and opinions. By obtaining this insight, you’ll be able to make necessary changes to your site which in turn will improve conversions.

Secret #2 — Conduct Phone Interviews

User interviews can be a great way to extract information from your users and really understand the ‘why’ behind a user’s actions. Whenever possible, interview people who have just crossed your finish line e.g. if you charge for your product, the finish line is the moment people start paying.

People who have recently switched to you have the emotional memory of the process they took to choose you — that’s exactly what you’re looking for, the “switching moment” insight. When people sign-up to your product/website, it’s an expression of hope — they’re opening themselves up to the possibility that the way they’ve been doing things hasn’t been so hot. “This new product will help me do it better!”

Conducting phone interviews allows you to gain the context behind your user’s intent. From this insight, you’ll be able to optimize your user onboarding and in turn, increase conversions.

Check out this great article from the Interaction Design Foundation on how to conduct phone interviews.

Secret #3 — Educate your users

How does educating my users improve user experiences and increase conversions?

Users are constantly seeking the right information and need it at the right time e.g. being presented with similar blog posts after the user has read a blog post. Is that educating or conversion? Both! As Jeremy Smith puts it: “education is the process of reducing user anxiety, enhancing user trust, and proving the value of a product in the mind of the user.”

Educate users on your landing pages. A user needs to know about the product, its value, benefit, purpose — try and take the ‘what’s in for me’ when writing this kind of copy. The best way to persuade a user is to educate them. Knowledge empowers users to act, to change behaviour, to change attitudes. Ensure you produce quality content to empower the user.

Secret #4 — Onboarding

In order to achieve successful onboarding you have to ensure your users reach their “success moments”. The only way to achieve these “success moments” is to know what success looks like for your customer/user — what is it that they want to achieve with your website/product?

Each new sign-up, user etc, has a definition of success, it’s your job to ensure they feel they’re on the path to achieving this goal. So, here are some low hanging fruit for achieving great user onboarding:

  1. Understand the different roles your product is being used for. You may have a project management tool, but people use your platform to improve productivity or get better at remote working. These problems are solved through the lens of project management, but there are plenty more use cases for your product. Get to know them all.
  2. Understand what success looks like for each of these roles. People aren’t using your website/tool/product etc just for the sake of it. They’re using it to get promoted, or to prove their worth, or to rally a team behind a common problem. A simple step step here is to ask new signups what they’re trying to achieve with your product — you’ll be amazed how many onboarding changes you’ll want to make instantly
  3. Design paths guiding them through the features that help them achieve success. Once you know the end goal(s) of your target users, you can design a flow to guide them to it. This ultimately comes from asking your users, what do they want to achieve?
  4. Communicate with users to help them get there. Sadly, most communication during trials are badly targeted e.g. “time since sign-up”. Just because it’s been seven days doesn’t mean users have done anything useful. Activity matters, usage matters. Understand where the user is, where they’re going, and direct them accordingly to help them get there.
  5. Have an early warning system for new users. Most products wait until a customer cancels, or fails to convert and then we send, “How can we get you back?” messages. That’s like waiting for divorce papers before checking how your spouse is doing. Instead, know what failure looks like and start the conversation before it’s too late.

Secret #5–404s, the right way

The developers and engineers at your business know what URLs your website has, but users don’t. Users will be sure to find URLs from your website that are non-existent, leaving them with a 404 page with no clear direction on where to go next — worse case scenario, they exit the page. For SaaS companies, this can increase churn rate and in turn increase CPA.

Improve the user experience by giving clear direction to where you want the user to navigate next to.

Take Spotify’s 404 page.

You can see, with a bit of copy and some clear links to other pages, the user can be directed to the right area of your website. Perhaps look into your Google Analytics data to see how many users reach a 404 page and where they navigate to next…can you increase your conversions with a better user experience on your 404 pages?

Understanding User Behavior with Google Analytics

Google Analytics Simple tactic, Digital Marketing Tip no#19 ✅

Do You Have A Website?Are You Spending Money To Advertise Your Business Online? ✅If you've answered yes to the questions above, then you will love today's money saving marketing tip.How To Understanding Your Website's Performance So That You Can Increase Your Conversions & Avoid Wasting Money With Online Advertising!So in today's marketing tip no#19, we go through how to login to Google Analytics, how to focus on what's important in order to finding out how people are navigating your website, what's causing someone to leave, how to improve this so that you can get the best return from your marketing spend!What Important Information Should You Focus On When Reviewing Your Website's Google Analytic Report? Simple tactic, Digital Marketing Tip no#19 ✅Be sure to subscribe for our 101 digital marketing tips to sky rocket your online marketing campaigns,➡️ Subscribe by liking our page here – https://lnkd.in/evSjjB9➡️ Download your cheatsheet here – https://bit.ly/2qNzEWr

Posted by Ngalinda-MrMarketing.ie on Friday, May 11, 2018

The more you know about your users, the better equipped you’ll be to make smart choices about your website, mobile app, or SaaS (software as a service) application development investments. Measure what matters, from download and first use through usage, purchases, and loyalty. Google Analytics helps you capture and understand user behavior in most kinds of applications, including mobile apps (iOS and Android), web and SaaS applications, and IOT (internet of things) devices.

With minimal instrumentation, Google Analytics provides many pieces of information to help you understand the behavior of users as they interact with your site or application. Standard metrics include the number of users interacting with your application, the number of sessions those users create, and the screens or web pages that they visit.

User data in Google Analytics is captured using either first-party cookies, randomly generated IDs, or an SDK for mobile apps. On websites and SaaS applications, users can opt-out from Analytics by installing a browser add-on, and within mobile apps, they can change their settings to opt-out (if supported by  the mobile app).

With additional instrumentation, you can gain an even richer understanding of how people interact with individual application screens or pages on a website. You can also add further instrumentation to capture more detailed interactions where needed using event tracking for granular interactions like those with video players, downloads, form submission, etc. You can also measure the number of important business actions that users complete (called Goal Conversions), as well as ecommerce transactions and purchases.

Measurement planning

Every business should create a measurement plan to guide their analytics implementation. This helps you focus on the data related to your business-measurement needs. Collecting every user interaction can create a data set that is too large and difficult to analyze.

Your measurement plan should define:

  • Your overall business objectives
  • The strategies and tactics that support the overall business objectives
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your strategies and tactics
  • Segments to better understand what drives success — this includes segmenting your marketing activities and your most valuable users
  • Targets for each KPI to understand if your business is reaching its goals

To gather this information, take the time to discuss your business objectives with those people in your organization that will be using the data. This might include product designers, marketers, and others that make business decisions. Remember, you want to understand the critical pieces of information that will help people understand the performance of their business. Document their answers and create a simple measurement plan.

Now, let’s discuss some of the most important features that you can use to better measure user behavior.

Goals

Goals measure how effectively your application or website supports your business objectives. A goal represents a completed activity, called a conversion, that contributes to the success of your business. Examples of goals include purchase transactions (for an ecommerce business), game-level completions (for a mobile gaming app), submitting a “contact me” form (for a marketing or lead generation site), or using a specific feature within your SaaS application.

Defining goals is a fundamental component of any digital analytics measurement plan. Having properly configured goals allows Analytics to provide you with critical information to better understand if users are completing the behaviors you want them to complete. Without this information, it’s almost impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of your online business.

Enhanced Ecommerce

Enhanced Ecommerce tracking allows you to measure the number of transactions and the revenue that your website or mobile app generates. Enhanced Ecommerce tracking helps you understand user behavior across the user’s entire online shopping experience including: product impressions, product clicks, viewing product details, adding a product to a shopping cart, initiating the checkout process, transactions, and refunds.

We have some great resources for implementing Enhanced Ecommerce on your website, including a demo store running the new Enhanced Ecommerce scripts, so that you can see this great resource in action.

Event Tracking

Events are user interactions that are tracked independently from a web-page load or screen load. You can use events to track interactions within application screens or web pages. Events are commonly used in mobile apps to understand how users share content with other users, how they use the app’s search function, and when they select specific pieces of content. Events are commonly used on websites to track file downloads, content shares, and gadget interactions. Events are extremely flexible and let you collect the data you need to better understand user behavior.

Custom Dimensions & Metrics

Custom dimensions and custom metrics are like default dimensions and metrics in your Analytics account, except you create them yourself! You can use them to collect and analyze data that Analytics doesn’t automatically collect. For example, you might use a custom dimension to collect the user’s level in a mobile-app game. Or, if you’re a publisher, you might use a custom dimension to collect the user’s subscription level. Custom dimensions and metrics let you combine Analytics data with non-Analytics data, providing deeper insights into user behavior.

Reporting

Now that we’ve discussed some of the most common implementation customizations, let’s look at the actual data. Below are a number of analysis techniques that can help you gain insights into user behavior.

Active Users

Like any business, you want to keep track of the level of user interest. If the numbers are consistently in line with your expectations, you’ve found your sweet spot.

If the numbers are below expectations, reevaluate your marketing efforts to see whether you’re targeting the appropriate audiences, and whether your ads are winning auctions. You can also look for any negative press or social content that might affect traffic. Even if all the marketing and social buzz are positive, you may be creating technical hurdles for your users with your site or app design.

In cases where you have a lot of 1-Day Active Users but the numbers drop off for longer term users, that can signal things like problems with a new release, or that initial enthusiasm isn’t translating into long-term engagement. For example, many users might be downloading an app but finding that it doesn’t meet a need they have or that it doesn’t capture their interest.

Cohorts

A very common way to measure user engagement is through a technique called cohort analysis. A cohort is a group of users who share a common characteristic. For example, all users with the same Acquisition Date (or first use) belong to the same cohort. The Cohort Analysis report lets you isolate and analyze cohort behavior.

Cohort analysis helps you understand the behavior of component groups of users apart from your user population as a whole. For example, you can use cohort analysis to:

  • Examine individual cohorts to gauge response to short-term marketing efforts like emails or notifications to users.
  • See how the behavior and performance of individual groups of users changes day to day, week to week, and month to month, relative to when you acquired those users.
  • Organize users into groups based on shared characteristics such as Acquisition Date, and then examine the behavior of those groups according to metrics like User Retention or Revenue.

Understanding the point at which users tend to disengage (for example, initiate fewer sessions, view fewer pages, generate less revenue) can help you identify two things:

  • Common points of attrition that might be easily remedied
  • The rate at which you need to acquire new users to compensate for unavoidable attrition

Behavior Flow Report

The Behavior Flow report visualizes the paths users traveled from one screen, page or event to the next. This report can help you discover what content keeps users engaged with your site. The Behavior Flow report can also help identify potential content or usability issues.

Use the Behavior Flow report to investigate how engaged users are with your content and to identify potential content issues. The Behavior Flow can answer questions like:

  • Is there an event that is always triggered first? Does it lead users to more events or other behaviors?
  • Are there paths through your mobile app or site that are more popular than others, and if so, are those the paths that you want users to follow?
  • Did users go right from product pages to checkout without any additional shopping?

Event reporting

Event reports organize your events into Category, Action, and Label. The specific categories, actions and labels that the reports display reflect the taxonomy that you have created in your event tracking code. For example, to track interactions with your video player, you might set up the following categories, actions, and labels:

  • Category: “Videos: Instructional”, “Videos: Music”
  • Action: “Play”, “Stop”, “Pause”
  • Label: “Dance music video”, “Getting started with Google Analytics”

Custom Dimension & Metric reporting

Once you have configured and collected custom dimensions and metrics, they become available via the user reporting interface. Custom dimensions and metrics are available in custom reports, and are available for use with advanced segments. Custom dimensions can also be used as secondary dimensions in standard reports.

For example, you might use custom dimensions and metrics to learn about player behavior in a gaming app. Using custom dimensions, you could create new groupings of hits, sessions, and users. Additionally, you might want to sell extra features to enhance the user experience, such as “powerups”. You could use an extra field to measure the strength of each powerup that users purchased. This way, you’d be able to determine if certain powerup strengths were more popular than others. Using custom dimensions and metrics in this way would allow you to answer questions like:

  • How many times are easy levels played versus medium or hard levels?
  • How many levels are played for each day in a 3-day free trial?
  • How many levels are played by users in the trial versus users who have paid for the game?

Conclusion

As a business, it’s critical to understand how people use your applications, including mobile apps (iOS and Android), web and SaaS applications, and IOT (internet of things) devices. Understanding user behavior helps you improve the user experience, refine features and content, and build a product that is useful to your users. Google Analytics can help you measure user behavior, find insights about usage, and drive real change that improves the user experience and your business performance.

15 Tips to Speed Up Your Website

  1. a) Server

Choosing suitable hosting for your venture is the first step in starting a website. Hosting with a professional configuration can be of big help. Here you can find some good tips about choosing hosting.

  1. Leverage browser caching

“Expires headers tell the browser whether a resource on a website needs to be requested from the source or if it can be fetched from the browser’s cache. When you set an expires header for a resource, such as all jpeg images, the browser will store those resources in its cache. The next time the visitor comes back to the page it will load faster, as the browser will already have those images available,” says CJ Patrick in a nice article about how to use expire headers to set caching: Expires Headers for SEO

Unfortunately, it seems that SEOmoz doesn’t use expiration for stylesheets and images.

  1. Enable Keep-Alive

“A Keep-Alive signal is often sent at predefined intervals and plays an important role on the Internet. After a signal is sent, if no reply is received, the link is assumed to be down and future data will be routed via another path until the link is up again,”

In fact, HTTP Keep-Alive allows TCP connections to stay alive and it helps reducing the latency for subsequent requests. So contact your hosting provider and tell them to think twice about this! Most hosting companies disable this feature, (including SEOmoz’s host) because it’s an optional feature (whenever it transfers less than 60 bytes per request).

  1. Enable gzip compression

* Image by betterexplained.com

“Gzip is the most popular and effective compression method currently available and generally reduces the response size by about 70%. Approximately 90% of today’s Internet traffic travels through browsers that claim to support gzip,”

Gzipping reduces the size of the HTTP response and helps to reduce response time. It’s an easy way to reduce page weight. You can enable it by adding the following code to your .htaccess file:

# compress text, html, javascript, css, xml:
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript
# Or, compress certain file types by extension:
<files *.html>
SetOutputFilter DEFLATE
</files>

Or, use the following PHP code at the top of your HTML/PHP file:

<?php if (substr_count($_SERVER[‘HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING’], ‘gzip’)) ob_start(“ob_gzhandler”); else ob_start(); ?>

Or, simply use plugins for your CMS (like the WP HTTP Compression plugin for WordPress).

SEOmoz uses gzip. However, some external javascripts (AdRoll, Simpli and CloudFront) could reduce transfer size more than 60% by using gzip.

  1. Make landing page redirects cacheable

Mobile pages redirect users to a different URL, (for example www.seomoz.org to m.seomoz.org) so making a cacheable redirect can speed up page load time for the next time visitors try to load site. Use a 302 redirect with a cache lifetime of one day. It should include a Vary: User-Agent as well as a Cache-Control: private. This way, only those visitors from mobile devices will redirect.

Since SEOmoz doesn’t support any specific mobile version, it can’t have this problem (someone should take care of the bad behavior of SEOmoz’s website on mobile devices)!

  1. Use a CDN

A content delivery network (CDN) is a collection of web servers distributed across multiple locations to deliver content more efficiently to users. The server selected for delivering content to a specific user is typically based on a measure of network proximity. For example, the server with the fewest network hops or the server with the quickest response time is chosen. As you can see in the above image, it loads from different servers, based on the visitor’s region. You can compare CDN hosting with standard web hosting here.

It seems that SEOmoz uses Amazon CloudFront for this functionality and I’ve tried MAXCDN, It’s awesome, too. You can manage your caches and lots of other useful tools in one WordPress using W3 Total Cache.

  1. b) Content elements

Since you don’t have total access to your server, content elements are the most important things that you can manipulate. Let’s start with the most obvious weakness of SEOmoz:

  1. Minimize redirects

Sometimes to indicate the new location of a URL, track clicks, connect different parts of a site together or reserve multiple domains, you need to redirect the browser from one URL to another. Redirects trigger an extra HTTP request and add latency. Only keep redirects which are technically necessary and you can’t find any other solution for it. These are Google’s recommendations:

  • Never reference URLs in your pages that are known to redirect to other URLs. Your application needs to have a way of updating URL references whenever resources change their location.
  • Never require more than one redirect to get to a given resource. For instance, if C is the target page, and there are two different start points, A and B, both A and B should redirect directly to C; A should never redirect intermediately to B.
  • Minimize the number of extra domains that issue redirects but don’t actually serve content. Sometimes there is a temptation to redirect from multiple domains in order to reserve name space and catch incorrect user input (misspelled/mistyped URLs). However, if you train users into thinking they can reach your site from multiple URLs, you can wind up in a costly cycle of buying up new domains just to stop cybersquatters from taking over every variant of your name.

This image shows what happens when your browser tries to load SEOmoz.org:

As you can see, the greatest latency is the result of some external redirect chains. SEOmoz is using about 20 redirect chains that slow down the load time about 3000 milliseconds.

  1. Remove query strings from static resources

You can’t cache a link with a “?” in its URL even if a Cache-control: public header is present. The question mark acts the same as Ctrl+F5. Use query strings for dynamic resources only. SEOmoz is using two dynamic URLs with “?” because of using KISSmetrics, but 2-3 queries are reasonable 😉

  1. Specify a character set

Specify a character set in HTTP headers to speed up browser rendering. This is done by adding a simple piece of code into your header:

<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=utf-8″>

Note: Some CMSs use functions for character set (like WordPress with <?phpbloginfo(‘charset’); ?>). I suggest that if you are sure about your character set, write it instead of using PHP functions. It helps to minimize request size, so try to use HTML instead of PHP everywhere that is possible.

  1. Minify your codes

Removing HTML comments, CDATA sections, whitespaces and empty elements will decrease your page size, reduce network latency and speed up load time.

You can use simple online tools like Will Peavyminifier, and if you are using WordPress, Autoptimizecan optimize and compress your codes and it supports CDN as well. By the way, SEOmoz could save 620B by compressing its HTML.

  1. Avoid bad requests

Broken links result in 404/410 errors. These cause wasteful requests. Fix your broken URLs (pay special attention to images). Use online broken link checker or use WordPress link checker for free. You can also read about Xenu Link Sleuth and Screaming Frog tools at SEOmoz that can be really helpful.

6.Serve resources from a consistent URL

It’s best to share Google’s recommendation:

“For resources that are shared across multiple pages, make sure that each reference to the same resource uses an identical URL. If a resource is shared by multiple pages/sites that link to each other, but are hosted on different domains or hostnames, it’s better to serve the file from a single hostname than to re-serve it from the hostname of each parent document. In this case, the caching benefits may outweigh the DNS lookup overhead. For example, if both mysite.example.com and yoursite.example.com use the same JS file, and mysite.example.com links to yoursite.example.com(which will require a DNS lookup anyway), it makes sense to just serve the JS file from mysite.example.com. In this way, the file is likely to already be in the browser cache when the user goes to yoursite.example.com.”

  1. Reduce DNS lookups

DNS lookups take a meaningful amount of time to look up the IP address for a hostname. The browser cannot do anything until the lookup is complete. Reducing the number of unique hostnames may increase response times. Just look at how a DNS lookup can take about 3 seconds of load time in SEOmoz. You can measure yours, by using Pingdom Tools. I do want to mention that when I re-tested the homepage of SEOmoz.org from a server in Dallas, it showed better results than it did before I started writing this article.

Note: Sprite your images. This means put images that are loading every page of your site together to reduce your DNS lookups. SEOmoz combined lots of its images into one, like this sprite image. You can find more information on SpriteMe

  1. c) CSS, JS and Images
  2. Specify image dimensions

Your browser begins to render a page before images are loaded. Specifying image dimensions helps it to wrap around non-replaceable elements. If no dimensions are specified, your browser will reflow once the images are downloaded. In order to do that in <img> elements, use height and width tags specifications.

Note: Don’t use dimensions to scale images on the fly — the user will still be downloading the original file size, even if the image doesn’t take up as much space on the screen.

  1. Optimize images

Images can contain extra comments and use useless colors. Keeping image sizes to a minimum is a big help for users on slow connections. Try to save in JPEG format. You can use a CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+S shortcut to save an optimized image in Adobe Photoshop, use Yahoo! Smush.it, or if you are using WordPress, you can install the WP Smush.it plugin.

SEOmoz could save more than 50KB by optimizing images on the main page, particularly those in the slider.

  1. Put CSS at the top and JS at the bottom

Putting stylelsheets in the document head of the page prohibits progressive rendering, so browsers will block rendering to avoid having to redraw elements of the page. In most of cases, users will face a white page until the page is loaded completely. This also helps you to make a standard web page according to W3 standards. And, put your javascript code at the bottom of the page for the same reason.

There are of other ways to speed up a web page, but I have tried to write about the most important ones which even professional bloggers (like SEOmoz) can sometimes overlook. Of course, site speed is not the main goal but even an ideal website with a bad load time will find it hard to achieve success. Run the fastest website you can in order to reach your goals faster.

20 Types of Evergreen Content that Produce Lasting Results for Your Business

What is evergreen content?

Evergreen content — like the name implies — is timeless.

These special resources are in-depth examinations of a problem, solution, trend, or topic. They can help your audience find tons of information on a subject that interests them, which adds value to your blog.

For example, Copyblogger used their original evergreen content to create a content library that produced historic results for the site. Visitors can register for a free My Copyblogger membership to get easy access to all of these materials.

Creating evergreen content does require additional time and money, but it’s worth those investments … if you want to rank higher in search engines, drive traffic for years, and help your audience find exactly what they need.

So, do you want to discover what types of evergreen content you could create — with more examples detailing exactly what success looks like?

Well, that’s what this post contains: 20 different evergreen content types, tips on how to make yours stand out, and examples all along the way.

Evergreen data and case studies

Original research and data-driven posts are evergreen gold. Likewise, case studies help show off your expertise by promoting real-world results that attract new prospects.

  1. Your own original research

Investing in your own original research is hard, but that’s why it’s at the top of this list. Primary research is unique, exclusive, and — therefore — powerful.

While you might not have the resources of Forrester or Mary Meeker, that doesn’t mean you can’t go mining on your own.

Andy Crestodina does this every year through a simple Google Form for his blogger research survey.

  1. “Every flippin’ stat” collection

If you can’t create your own research, the next best thing is to collect stats. This can’t be an exercise in brevity though.

Instead, get exhaustive by assembling 100 or more data points from across your industry. Then either add original commentary that helps your audience make use of the stats or design an infographic to accompany and simplify the content.

  1. “Deep dive for success” case study

Case studies are a great two-for-one:

  1. You get to show off your expertise.
  2. You get to tell a story. And everybody loves a good story.

Neil Patel’s How to Write a Perfect Case Study That Attracts High Paying Clientsdoes both brilliantly. On top of that, it gets pretty meta: it’s a case-study guide that is a case study itself.

  1. “What went wrong” case study

Even more than success, failure is an effective teacher.

In fact, people often connect with our failures far more than our successes. Failure humanizes us. It evokes empathy and builds trust.

So, muster up the courage to get honest about your biggest flop. In Case Study: 18 Tips to Destroy Your Own Webinar, Emily Hunt takes this track, revealing mistakes and pointing out lessons at every turn.

  1. One shocking stat and its consequences

Another creative way to present data is to go small … really, really, really small.

Pick one shocking stat and build an entire article or ebook around it. Explain the stat’s backstory and draw out all the applications you can.

For instance, this article is essentially a response to the problem of content overload and how to overcome those two million blog posts that get published day after day … after day.

Evergreen how-to guides

By breaking down a timeless issue into bite-sized steps, you educate your visitors and provide genuine value. The key is to solve a real problem with a real solution.

For evergreen content, ask yourself:

What hell am I saving my reader from and what heaven will I deliver them unto?

  1. How-to for beginners

According to Chip and Dan Heath: “Once we know something … it becomes difficult for us to share our knowledge with others.” Because of this, true beginner guides are few and far between.

For a model, check out How to Write First Blog Post (16,000-word Guide +63 Expert Tips) by Michael Pozdnev. It combines emotion, a free ebook, and advice all centeredaround taking your very first step into the world of blogging.

  1. How-to for advanced users

In many ways, advanced guides are easier to write than beginner guides. Why? Because you and your reader already share expertise and a common, technical language.

But how do you say something genuinely unique and deliver on your promise?

Jason Quey’s The Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing starts with data and a bit of groundwork. Then the content reveals Jason’s own templates along with high-level insights from other thought leaders in the space.

  1. How-to checklist

The challenge of producing both beginner and advanced guides is how to present a lot of information. Three thousand or more words on any topic is hard to take in.

Enter the checklist. Checklists can stand alone or be added to how-to posts as downloads or content upgrades.

Whichever method you choose, the non-negotiable principle is this: boil it down.

Copyblogger’s Ultimate Copy Checklist ends with a black-and-white poster that helps you easily work through all 51 questions from the article itself.

  1. How to do something over time

In addition to “do this now” advice, showing your reader how to accomplish long-term goals is vital. You can do this by breaking down your steps into days, weeks, months, or even an entire year.

How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar for a Year walks visitors through five steps to persevere at social media marketing by moving from the big picture — complete with spreadsheet examples — right down to individual posts.

  1. How to pick the best product

Explaining how to pick the best product is a dangerous evergreen gambit. Most guides come across as transparently self-promotional.

To avoid that, make your product tutorial about teaching: provide definitions, collect advice from industry experts, and present impartial reviews from third-party sites.

While they certainly sell their own security software, Heimdal Security’s How to Find the Best Antivirus, the Ultimate Guide nails this tight-rope walk on every front.

Evergreen lists

To help readers navigate through all the content on the web, compile the very best information on a topic and create a list that’s easy to follow. Include detailed commentary that serves your specific niche.

  1. Ideas and resources

Creativity is a fickle thing. Sometimes the muse strikes without warning, but rarely does she arrive exactly when we need her most.

Bringing ideas and resources together turns the creative lights back on. Check out Henneke’s 35 Blogging Tips to Woo Readers and Win Business.

  1. Best free and paid tools

Regardless of your niche, there are plenty of tools that help people be more productive and profitable.

But to be evergreen, you have to do more than just list them.

To make tool lists shine, try tutorials with screenshots, videos, tips on how to get started, usage hacks, and insightful commentary detailing pros and cons.

Set a periodic reminder in your editorial calendar to keep these posts up-to-date.

  1. Top influencers in a specific niche

Most influencer lists are pretty superficial. Even on well-known media sites, they often aren’t more than surface-level comments taken directly from each name’s most prominent social media profile.

To stand out, connect your influencer list to practical applications and get original contributions. At the risk of sounding self-serving, that’s exactly what I did in 50 Best Social Media Tools From 50 Most Influential Marketers Online, which combines this approach with a tool list.

  1. Best books for a specific goal or niche

I love books. And I love lists. Turns out, so does the internet. Best-book lists are always a popular topic.

However, just like many of the other examples in this post, you can’t throw together blurbs from the back cover and call it good.

Dig in. Summarize each book. Call attention to its best lessons. Drop outstanding quotes into Click to Tweet boxes. Or even ask industry experts to share their favorite choices like The 10 Top Copywriting Books from the Top 10 Online Copywriters does with names like Brian Clark, Joanna Wiebe, and Demian Farnworth.

  1. Common mistakes in a specific niche

Every industry has its seven deadly sins. Some have more like 10 or 20. Outlining these common mistakes — and providing tips on avoiding and overcoming them — is evergreen paydirt.

As a model, consider Henneke’s 11 Common Blogging Mistakes that Waste Your Audience’s Time. True to her engaging and winsome form, Henneke presents a bite-sized breakdown of each issue and easy-to-follow corrections.

For an even more exhaustive example, check out Shanelle Mullin’s post on ConversionXL, Google Analytics Health Check: Is Your Configuration Broken?

Evergreen encyclopedic content

You can create evergreen content around the history of your niche or product by building a glossary or producing an exhaustive “everything you need to know” post.

  1. History of a topic or product

History doesn’t have to be boring. And it doesn’t just attract the “nerds” of your industry. However, it does have to be either visually or pragmatically engaging.

Beth Hayden and RafalTomal’s A History of Social Media [Infographic] has both of those two ingredients.

They kick things off with a secret — “There’s nothing new about ‘social media’ …” — and proceed to dispel that myth with a beautifully illustrated timeline.

  1. Single-greatest tip roundup

It might seem like the old-school “what’s the best tip for blogging?” roundup has been done to death, but that doesn’t mean single-tip roundups can’t shine.

Ask an original, niche-specific question and present the answers creatively.

Case in point, Venngage’s 46 Expert Tips For Creating Addictive Content. “Addictive” content is far more enticing than “good” content, and it’s packaged as a post, ebook, and infographic.

As if that wasn’t enough, each and every tip is boiled down to a memorable and Tweetable nugget for easy sharing and retention.

  1. Best or worst practices for a specific goal

Similar to the how-to guides above, best-or-worst-practice lists aim to add value by solving problems. Think of them as catch-alls, built on data and backed by examples.

While best-practice lists are low-hanging evergreen fruit, worst-practice lists give you the opportunity to be just as valuable — and have a lot more fun.

Beth Hayden combines both ideas in 7 Deadly Sins and 7 Virtues of Email Marketing.

  1. Complete glossary of a niche or topic

Dictionary entries aren’t the sexiest type of content, but they are link-building dynamite.

Check out Copyblogger’s epic Content Marketing Glossary. The downloadable PDF, extensive cross-linking, and videos throughout make it compelling.

Complement your own glossary likewise to bring it to life.

  1. Everything you need to know about a niche or topic

Our final example is easily the most daunting.

Words like “definitive” and “ultimate” get tossed around a lot. And while the luster is wearing off, the need for all-in-one content hasn’t gone anywhere.

Lawn Care: The Ultimate Guide should be in the content marketing hall of fame.

After an opening quote from Michael Pollan — “A lawn is nature under totalitarian rule” — the rest of the article works through the complete history of lawn care, definitions of key terms, best and worst practices, and a host of visuals.

Oh, and how perfect is it to end a post on evergreen content with a lawn care guide? That’s just icing on the cake.

8 Powerful Reasons You Need to Use Video Marketing

  1. Video Boosts Conversions and Sales

First things first. Videos can make you some serious money. Adding a product video on your landing page can increase conversions by 80%. And Treepodia team has made it sure that video works well regardless of the category in which you deploy it.

Video can also lead directly to sales. Studies show that 74% of users who watched an explainer-video about a product subsequently bought it. So better start crafting your exciting product videos now!

If you think about it, the effectiveness of video is not even that surprising. After all, vision is our most dominant sense. Most information transmitted to our brain is visual. So if already pictures can boost engagement massively, imagine what moving pictures can do to your business.

How to Make a Cool Animated Video for Free

Step by Step Guide Showing you How to Make an Animated Promo Video in 1hour. We will do this by remaking a popular, Master Card Commercial. You know the ones, “Hotdog $5, 2 Seats near the dugout $150, Spending an afternoon with your son, Priceless”. With Over 2,700 Students and 4.5 Star Rating this is one of the Best Courses on Making Animated Promo Videos!

 

 

 

  1. Video Shows Great ROI

To get you even more excited, 83% of businesses say that video provides good return on investment. Even though video production is not yet the easiest nor cheapest task, it pays off big time. Besides, online video editing tools are constantly improving and becoming more affordable. And even your smartphone can make pretty decent videos already.

Another good news is that your videos don’t have to be perfect. It’s the content that matters! Latest research shows that users are mostly put off by videos that don’t explain the product or service clearly enough. Low quality and poor design didn’t matter nearly as much. So it’s fair to say that video is like pizza – when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good!

  1. Video Builds Trust

Trust is the foundation of conversions and sales. But building trust should be a goal on its own. The whole concept of content marketing is based on trust and creating long-term relationships. Stop selling and let the people come to you by providing them interesting and useful information. I couldn’t have said it better than Mark Schaefer, the Executive Director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions:

The new era demands a focus on ignition, not just content, on trust, not just traffic, and on the elite people in your audience who are spreading and advocating your content.

Video does it all. Video content is likely to engage us and ignite emotions. And when we talk about elite people in the audience, YouTubers have become the most powerful social media figure to promote your brand. So, if you are serious about content marketing, you must be serious about video, too.

Promotional videos can foster trust as well. Some consumers are still skeptical about buying products and services on the internet because they fear fraud and cheating. But effective marketing videos present your products in a conversational form. That creates a sense of individual approach which is why 57% of consumers say that videos gave them more confidence to purchase online.

  1. Google Loves Videos

Videos allow you to increase the time spent by visitors on your site. Thus, longer exposure builds trust and signals search engines that your site has good content. Moovly gives us whopping statistics: You’re 53 times more likely show up first on Google if you have a video embedded on your website. Since Google now owns YouTube, there has been a significant increase in how much videos affect your search engine rank.

Make sure to optimize your videos on Youtube for SEO. Write interesting titles and descriptions. Add a link back to your website, products, and services. Give potential customers the way to take the next step. And explore the world of interactive videos, to encourage actions even more.

  1. Video Appeals to Mobile Users

Video and mobile go hand in hand. 90% of consumers watch videos on their mobile. From Q3 of 2013, mobile video views have grown more than 233 percent. YouTube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% every year. Since people like to watch videos on the go, and the number of smartphone users is growing, your video audience keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Also, Google tells us that smartphone users are twice as likely than TV viewers and 1.4 times more likely as desktop viewers to feel a sense of personal connection to brands that show video content or ads on their devices.

That being said, brands need to be sensitive to the personal experience people have on their smartphones. For example, give them a better choice in the video content they consume.

  1. Video Marketing Can Explain Everything

Are you launching a new product or a service? Create a video to show how it works. 98% of users say they’ve watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service. That is why 45% of businesses who use video marketing said that they have an explainer video on their home page. Of those businesses, 83% said that their homepage explainer video was effective.

Trying to explain a difficult concept? Create animated videos. Animation can bring concepts to life that no text or live video can. Besides, boring talking heads are not enough anymore to break through the clutter. Animated videos are a perfect combination of entertainment, nostalgia, and simplicity. And they work.

Make sure you use a process that will get you results. Use these 20 pre-production steps to make your video content stand out from the rest. Check out the essential tips and examples of best practices on how to make a product demo video.

  1. Video Engages Even the Laziest Buyers

Video is a great tool for learning, but it’s also super easy to consume. Today’s life is too busy to have time to read long product descriptions or dig deep into services. The modern customer wants to see the product in action. Video preference is one of the most important driving forces of using video in your content marketing.

Video marketing can capture a wide audience, and it works on many levels. Even the laziest ones. Make sure you target not only to the eyes but also to the ears of the potential client. Your competitive advantage gets double power!

  1. Video Encourages Social Shares

In the 8th annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report Michael Stelzner stated that 60% of the social marketers used video content in 2015 and 73% of the total respondents planned to use it in 2016. And they sure did.

Social networks also encourage video content with their new features. Facebook has launched 3600 Video, Live Video, and Lifestage (A Video-Centric App for Teenagers). Instagram put in place 60-Second Videos & Instagram Stories, Twitter has Periscope. And YouTube is the second most popular social network in the world.

However, in a social media context, video marketers must remember that people share emotions, not facts. 76% of users say they would share a branded video with their friends if it was entertaining. So create fun entertaining videos to encourage social shares. Emotions are not exactly ROI but social shares can increase traffic to your site, and you can take it from there.

How to optimize your URLs?

1# URLs must be readable by everyone

Both readers and search engines must be capable of reading your URL. Search engines as readers, read your URLs words to know what the page is going to be about. That’s why you should not use dynamically generated URLs and customize them in order to provide full comprehension of your content and target.
Example: if you are an ecommerce shop selling black leather jacket you should write the dedicated page URL this way:

http://yourdomain.com/black-leather-jacket and not this way:
http://yourdomain.com/index.php?=5754225=t44=?p=987

2# Organize your content

The way an URL is written bring information on its importance. In fact, search engines regard web pages in root folder as a top content that should be prioritized over other ones. That’s why you need to categorize your URLs in order to clearly determine and show to search engines which URL should get a little boost in the SERPs.
Example: http://yourdomain.com/specific-keyword will get more authority than http://yourdomain.com/category/specific-keyword and more than http://yourdomain.com/category/subcategory/specific-keyword

3# Do not use capital

Capital letter can confuse search engines and readers as it can make it more difficult to understand.

4# Prefer hyphens to underscores

If you want to optimize your URL then the way you separate words does matter. Actually, Google robots are set up to read hyphens and not underscores. If you want to have a chance to get ranked, then you have to apply this rule.
Example: http://yourdomain.com/red-couch
and not http://yourdomain.com/red_couch

5# Add your mobile URLs to a sitemap

This is a good way to inform search engines which web pages are mobile friendly and which one are not. Those first ones seems to rank higher in the SERPs since the Google mobile update. Even if some experts say that responsive URLs do not not need to be included to a sitemap, it is safer to do so.

6# Include your target keyword

Try your best to include your primary keyword in your URLs. Even if in most cases it can’t be done on your homepage, focus on integrating your target keyword related to your product or category pages.

7# Block unsafe URLs with robots.txt

Bad URLs can get you penalized by search engines if they index duplicate URLs for example or other unoptimized URLs. For instance, you can have features creating filters on your website generating dynamic and duplicated URLs. You can thus block those extra URLs using robots.txt.

8# Canonicalize your URLs

Some pages can sometimes create duplicate content when they are dynamic pages with filters for instance. The way to prevent this action, is to use canonical URLs. This tag can be used if you want a specific URL to become the preferred one even if other ones direct to the same content. In this case, you need to add a rel=”canonical” link element in the head of any pages with the same content.
Example: <link rel=”canonical” href=”http://yourdomain.com/red-couch” />
Also, you should set up your URL preferred domain. Actually, search engines perceives www, https, non www, etc as different websites and then will categorize this content as duplicate.
Another way to avoid duplicates is to set up your dynamic parameters and tell search engines when they should ignore those parameters. It can be the case with pagination or session ID.

9# Don’t forget 301 redirect for broken URLs

If you need to change a page URL for any reason, do not forget to inform search engines its new location. Actually, there are chances that search engines have indexed that page. You don’t want to lose link juice from a well ranked page so that’s why you need to implement 301 redirect on the old URL place to notify Google bots your new URL destination.

10# Add a favicon

Even if they do not have a direct SEO impact on your rankings, favicons have a lot of advantages. This little icon next to your URL in browser helps better recognize your website brand. It is also easier to your website in bookmarks. It thus will help to develop your brand visibility

<input class=”elInput elHeadlineCheckbox required1 garlic-auto-save” name=”custom_type” data-type=”extra” data-custom-type=”accepted_terms” value=”false” data-required=”yes” type=”checkbox”>

The Buyers Journey

Consumers are moving outside the marketing funnel by changing the way they research and buy products. Here’s how marketers should respond to the new customer journey.

If marketing has one goal, it’s to reach consumers at the moments that most influence their decisions. That’s why consumer electronics companies make sure not only that customers see their televisions in stores but also that those televisions display vivid high-definition pictures. It’s why Amazon.com, a decade ago, began offering targeted product recommendations to consumers already logged in and ready to buy. And it explains P&G’s decision, long ago, to produce radio and then TV programs to reach the audiences most likely to buy its products—hence, the term “soap opera.”

Marketing has always sought those moments, or touch points, when consumers are open to influence. For years, touch points have been understood through the metaphor of a “funnel”—consumers start with a number of potential brands in mind (the wide end of the funnel), marketing is then directed at them as they methodically reduce that number and move through the funnel, and at the end they emerge with the one brand they chose to purchase (Exhibit 1). But today, the funnel concept fails to capture all the touch points and key buying factors resulting from the explosion of product choices and digital channels, coupled with the emergence of an increasingly discerning, well-informed consumer. A more sophisticated approach is required to help marketers navigate this environment, which is less linear and more complicated than the funnel suggests. We call this approach the consumer decision journey. Our thinking is applicable to any geographic market that has different kinds of media, Internet access, and wide product choice, including big cities in emerging markets such as China and India.

Exhibit 1

In the traditional funnel metaphor, consumers start with a set of potential brands and methodically reduce that number to make a purchase.

We developed this approach by examining the purchase decisions of almost 20,000 consumers across five industries and three continents. Our research showed that the proliferation of media and products requires marketers to find new ways to get their brands included in the initial-consideration set that consumers develop as they begin their decision journey. We also found that because of the shift away from one-way communication—from marketers to consumers—toward a two-way conversation, marketers need a more systematic way to satisfy customer demands and manage word-of-mouth. In addition, the research identified two different types of customer loyalty, challenging companies to reinvigorate their loyalty programs and the way they manage the customer experience.

Finally, the research reinforced our belief in the importance not only of aligning all elements of marketing—strategy, spending, channel management, and message—with the journey that consumers undertake when they make purchasing decisions but also of integrating those elements across the organization. When marketers understand this journey and direct their spending and messaging to the moments of maximum influence, they stand a much greater chance of reaching consumers in the right place at the right time with the right message.

How consumers make decisions

Every day, people form impressions of brands from touch points such as advertisements, news reports, conversations with family and friends, and product experiences. Unless consumers are actively shopping, much of that exposure appears wasted. But what happens when something triggers the impulse to buy? Those accumulated impressions then become crucial because they shape the initial-consideration set: the small number of brands consumers regard at the outset as potential purchasing options.

The funnel analogy suggests that consumers systematically narrow the initial-consideration set as they weigh options, make decisions, and buy products. Then, the postsale phase becomes a trial period determining consumer loyalty to brands and the likelihood of buying their products again. Marketers have been taught to “push” marketing toward consumers at each stage of the funnel process to influence their behavior. But our qualitative and quantitative research in the automobile, skin care, insurance, consumer electronics, and mobile-telecom industries shows that something quite different now occurs.

Actually, the decision-making process is a more circular journey, with four primary phases representing potential battlegrounds where marketers can win or lose: initial consideration; active evaluation, or the process of researching potential purchases; closure, when consumers buy brands; and postpurchase, when consumers experience them (Exhibit 2). The funnel metaphor does help a good deal—for example, by providing a way to understand the strength of a brand compared with its competitors at different stages, highlighting the bottlenecks that stall adoption, and making it possible to focus on different aspects of the marketing challenge. Nonetheless, we found that in three areas profound changes in the way consumers make buying decisions called for a new approach.

Exhibit 2

The decision-making process is now a circular journey with four phases: initial consideration; active evaluation, or the process of researching potential purchases; closure, when consumers buy brands; and postpurchase, when consumers experience them.

Brand consideration

Imagine that a consumer has decided to buy a car. As with most kinds of products, the consumer will immediately be able to name an initial-consideration set of brands to purchase. In our qualitative research, consumers told us that the fragmenting of media and the proliferation of products have actually made them reduce the number of brands they consider at the outset. Faced with a plethora of choices and communications, consumers tend to fall back on the limited set of brands that have made it through the wilderness of messages. Brand awareness matters: brands in the initial-consideration set can be up to three times more likely to be purchased eventually than brands that aren’t in it.

Not all is lost for brands excluded from this first stage, however. Contrary to the funnel metaphor, the number of brands under consideration during the active-evaluation phase may now actually expand rather than narrow as consumers seek information and shop a category. Brands may “interrupt” the decision-making process by entering into consideration and even force the exit of rivals. The number of brands added in later stages differs by industry: our research showed that people actively evaluating personal computers added an average of 1 brand to their initial-consideration set of 1.7, while automobile shoppers added 2.2 to their initial set of 3.8 (Exhibit 3). This change in behavior creates opportunities for marketers by adding touch points when brands can make an impact. Brands already under consideration can no longer take that status for granted.

Exhibit 3

The number of brands added for consideration in different stages differs by industry.

Empowered consumers

The second profound change is that outreach of consumers to marketers has become dramatically more important than marketers’ outreach to consumers. Marketing used to be driven by companies; “pushed” on consumers through traditional advertising, direct marketing, sponsorships, and other channels. At each point in the funnel, as consumers whittled down their brand options, marketers would attempt to sway their decisions. This imprecise approach often failed to reach the right consumers at the right time.

In today’s decision journey, consumer-driven marketing is increasingly important as customers seize control of the process and actively “pull” information helpful to them. Our research found that two-thirds of the touch points during the active-evaluation phase involve consumer-driven marketing activities, such as Internet reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family, as well as in-store interactions and recollections of past experiences. A third of the touch points involve company-driven marketing (Exhibit 4). Traditional marketing remains important, but the change in the way consumers make decisions means that marketers must move aggressively beyond purely push-style communication and learn to influence consumer-driven touch points, such as word-of-mouth and Internet information sites.

Exhibit 4

Two-thirds of the touch points during the active-evaluation phase involve consumer-driven activities such as Internet reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family.

The experience of US automobile manufacturers shows why marketers must master these new touch points. Companies like Chrysler and GM have long focused on using strong sales incentives and in-dealer programs to win during the active-evaluation and moment-of-purchase phases. These companies have been fighting the wrong battle: the real challenges for them are the initial-consideration and postpurchase phases, which Asian brands such as Toyota Motor and Honda dominate with their brand strength and product quality. Positive experiences with Asian vehicles have made purchasers loyal to them, and that in turn generates positive word-of-mouth that increases the likelihood of their making it into the initial-consideration set. Not even constant sales incentives by US manufacturers can overcome this virtuous cycle.

Two types of loyalty

When consumers reach a decision at the moment of purchase, the marketer’s work has just begun: the postpurchase experience shapes their opinion for every subsequent decision in the category, so the journey is an ongoing cycle. More than 60 percent of consumers of facial skin care products, for example, go online to conduct further research after the purchase—a touch point unimaginable when the funnel was conceived.

Although the need to provide an after-sales experience that inspires loyalty and therefore repeat purchases isn’t new, not all loyalty is equal in today’s increasingly competitive, complex world. Of consumers who profess loyalty to a brand, some are active loyalists, who not only stick with it but also recommend it. Others are passive loyalists who, whether from laziness or confusion caused by the dizzying array of choices, stay with a brand without being committed to it. Despite their claims of allegiance, passive consumers are open to messages from competitors who give them a reason to switch.

Take the automotive-insurance industry, in which most companies have a large base of seemingly loyal customers who renew every year. Our research found as much as a sixfold difference in the ratio of active to passive loyalists among major brands, so companies have opportunities to interrupt the loyalty loop. The US insurers GEICO and Progressive are doing just that, snaring the passively loyal customers of other companies by making comparison shopping and switching easy. They are giving consumers reasons to leave, not excuses to stay.

All marketers should make expanding the base of active loyalists a priority, and to do so they must focus their spending on the new touch points. That will require entirely new marketing efforts, not just investments in Internet sites and efforts to drive word-of-mouth or a renewed commitment to customer satisfaction.

Aligning marketing with the consumer decision journey

Developing a deep knowledge of how consumers make decisions is the first step. For most marketers, the difficult part is focusing strategies and spending on the most influential touch points. In some cases, the marketing effort’s direction must change, perhaps from focusing brand advertising on the initial-consideration phase to developing Internet properties that help consumers gain a better understanding of the brand when they actively evaluate it. Other marketers may need to retool their loyalty programs by focusing on active rather than passive loyalists or to spend money on in-store activities or word-of-mouth programs. The increasing complexity of the consumer decision journey will force virtually all companies to adopt new ways of measuring consumer attitudes, brand performance, and the effectiveness of marketing expenditures across the whole process.

Without such a realignment of spending, marketers face two risks. First, they could waste money: at a time when revenue growth is critical and funding tight, advertising and other investments will be less effective because consumers aren’t getting the right information at the right time. Second, marketers could seem out of touch—for instance, by trying to push products on customers rather than providing them with the information, support, and experience they want to reach decisions themselves.

Four kinds of activities can help marketers address the new realities of the consumer decision journey.

Prioritize objectives and spending

In the past, most marketers consciously chose to focus on either end of the marketing funnel—building awareness or generating loyalty among current customers. Our research reveals a need to be much more specific about the touch points used to influence consumers as they move through initial consideration to active evaluation to closure. By looking just at the traditional marketing funnel’s front or back end, companies could miss exciting opportunities not only to focus investments on the most important points of the decision journey but also to target the right customers.

In the skin care industry, for example, we found that some brands are much stronger in the initial-consideration phase than in active evaluation or closure. For them, our research suggests a need to shift focus from overall brand positioning—already powerful enough to ensure that they get considered—to efforts that make consumers act or to investments in packaging and in-store activities targeted at the moment of purchase.

Tailor messaging

For some companies, new messaging is required to win in whatever part of the consumer journey offers the greatest revenue opportunity. A general message cutting across all stages may have to be replaced by one addressing weaknesses at a specific point, such as initial consideration or active evaluation.

Take the automotive industry. A number of brands in it could grow if consumers took them into consideration. Hyundai, the South Korean car manufacturer, tackled precisely this problem by adopting a marketing campaign built around protecting consumers financially by allowing them to return their vehicles if they lose their jobs. This provocative message, tied to something very real for Americans, became a major factor in helping Hyundai break into the initial-consideration set of many new consumers. In a poor automotive market, the company’s market share is growing.

Invest in consumer-driven marketing

To look beyond funnel-inspired push marketing, companies must invest in vehicles that let marketers interact with consumers as they learn about brands. The epicenter of consumer-driven marketing is the Internet, crucial during the active-evaluation phase as consumers seek information, reviews, and recommendations. Strong performance at this point in the decision journey requires a mind-set shift from buying media to developing properties that attract consumers: digital assets such as Web sites about products, programs to foster word-of-mouth, and systems that customize advertising by viewing the context and the consumer. Many organizations face the difficult and, at times, risky venture of shifting money to fundamentally new properties, much as P&G invested to gain radio exposure in the 1930s and television exposure in the 1950s.

Broadband connectivity, for example, lets marketers provide rich applications to consumers learning about products. Simple, dynamic tools that help consumers decide which products make sense for them are now essential elements of an online arsenal. American Express’s card finder and Ford’s car configurator, for example, rapidly and visually sort options with each click, making life easier for consumers at every stage of the decision journey. Marketers can influence online word-of-mouth by using tools that spot online conversations about brands, analyze what’s being said, and allow marketers to post their own comments.

Finally, content-management systems and online targeting engines let marketers create hundreds of variations on an advertisement, taking into account the context where it appears, the past behavior of viewers, and a real-time inventory of what an organization needs to promote. For instance, many airlines manage and relentlessly optimize thousands of combinations of offers, prices, creative content, and formats to ensure that potential travelers see the most relevant opportunities. Digital marketing has long promised this kind of targeting. Now we finally have the tools to make it more accurate and to manage it cost effectively.

Win the in-store battle

Our research found that one consequence of the new world of marketing complexity is that more consumers hold off their final purchase decision until they’re in a store. Merchandising and packaging have therefore become very important selling factors, a point that’s not widely understood. Consumers want to look at a product in action and are highly influenced by the visual dimension: up to 40 percent of them change their minds because of something they see, learn, or do at this point—say, packaging, placement, or interactions with salespeople.

In skin care, for example, some brands that are fairly unlikely to be in a consumer’s initial-consideration set nonetheless win at the point of purchase with attractive packages and on-shelf messaging. Such elements have now become essential selling tools because consumers of these products are still in play when they enter a store. That’s also true in some consumer electronics segments, which explains those impressive rows of high-definition TVs in stores.

Sometimes it takes a combination of approaches—great packaging, a favorable shelf position, forceful fixtures, informative signage—to attract consumers who enter a store with a strong attachment to their initial-consideration set. Our research shows that in-store touch points provide a significant opportunity for other brands.

Integrating all customer-facing activities

In many companies, different parts of the organization undertake specific customer-facing activities—including informational Web sites, PR, and loyalty programs. Funding is opaque. A number of executives are responsible for each element, and they don’t coordinate their work or even communicate. These activities must be integrated and given appropriate leadership.

The necessary changes are profound. A comprehensive view of all customer-facing activities is as important for business unit heads as for CEOs and chief marketing officers. But the full scope of the consumer decision journey goes beyond the traditional role of CMOs, who in many companies focus on brand building, advertisements, and perhaps market research. These responsibilities aren’t going away. What’s now required of CMOs is a broader role that realigns marketing with the current realities of consumer decision making, intensifies efforts to shape the public profiles of companies, and builds new marketing capabilities.

Consider the range of skills needed to manage the customer experience in the automotive-insurance industry, in which some companies have many passive loyalists who can be pried away by rivals. Increasing the percentage of active loyalists requires not only integrating customer-facing activities into the marketing organization but also more subtle forms of organizational cooperation. These include identifying active loyalists through customer research, as well as understanding what drives that loyalty and how to harness it with word-of-mouth programs. Companies need an integrated, organization-wide “voice of the customer,” with skills from advertising to public relations, product development, market research, and data management. It’s hard but necessary to unify these activities, and the CMO is the natural candidate to do so.

Marketers have long been aware of profound changes in the way consumers research and buy products. Yet a failure to change the focus of marketing to match that evolution has undermined the core goal of reaching customers at the moments that most influence their purchases. The shift in consumer decision making means that marketers need to adjust their spending and to view the change not as a loss of power over consumers but as an opportunity to be in the right place at the right time, giving them the information and support they need to make the right decisions.

Ask a marketer or business owner what they’d like most in the world, and they’ll probably tell you “more customers.” What often comes after customers on a business’ wish list? More traffic to their site. There are many ways you can increase traffic on your website, and in today’s post, we’re going to look at 25 of them, including several ways to boost site traffic for FREE.

Advertise

This one is so obvious, we’re going to look at it first. Paid search, social media advertising and display advertising are all excellent ways of attracting visitors, building your brand and getting your site in front of people. Adjust your paid strategies to suit your goals – do you just want more traffic, or are you looking to increase conversions, too? Each paid channel has its pros and cons, so think carefully about your objectives before you reach for your credit card.

If you’re hoping that more traffic to your site will also result in more sales, you’ll need to target high commercial intent keywords as part of your paid search strategies. Yes, competition for these search terms can be fierce (and expensive), but the payoffs can be worth it.

Get Social

It’s not enough to produce great content and hope that people find it – you have to be proactive. One of the best ways to increase traffic to your website is to use social media channels to promote your content. Twitter is ideal for short, snappy (and tempting) links, whereas Google+ promotion can help your site show up in personalized search results and seems especially effective in B2B niches. If you’re a B2C product company, you might find great traction with image-heavy social sites like Pinterest and Instagram. Here’s more advice on making the most of social media marketing.

Mix It Up

There is no magic formula for content marketing success, despite what some would have you believe. For this reason, vary the length and format of your content to make it as appealing as possible to different kinds of readers. Intersperse shorter, news-based blog posts with long-form content as well as video, infographics and data-driven pieces for maximum impact.

Write Irresistible Headlines

Headlines are one of the most important parts of your content. Without a compelling headline, even the most comprehensive blog post will go unread. Master the art of headline writing. For example, the writers at BuzzFeed and Upworthy often write upward of twenty different headlines before finally settling on the one that will drive the most traffic, so think carefully about your headline before you hit “publish.”

Pay Attention to On-Page SEO

Think SEO is dead? Think again. Optimizing your content for search engines is still a valuable and worthwhile practice. Are you making the most of image alt text? Are you creating internal links to new content? What about meta descriptions? Optimizing for on-page SEO doesn’t have to take ages, and it could help boost your organic traffic.

Target Long-Tail Keywords

Got your high commercial intent keyword bases covered? Then it’s time to target long-tail keywords, too. Long-tail keywords account for a majority of web searches, meaning that if you’re not targeting them as part of your paid search or SEO efforts, you’re missing out.

Invite Others to Guest Blog on Your Site

Guest blogging is a two-way street. In addition to posting content to other blogs, invite people in your niche to blog on your own site. They’re likely to share and link to their guest article, which could bring new readers to your site. Just be sure that you only post high-quality, original content without spammy links, because Google is cracking way down on low-quality guest blogging.

Go After Referral Traffic

Rather than trying to persuade other sites to link back to you (a tedious and time-intensive process), create content that just begs to be linked to.

When Larry wrote about the kick in the proverbial teeth that eBay took from Google’s Panda update, we managed to secure a link from Ars Technica in the Editor’s Pick section alongside links to The New York Times and National Geographic. Not too shabby – and neither was the resulting spike in referral traffic. Learn what types of links send lots of referral traffic, and how to get them, in this post.

Post Content to LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become much more than a means of finding another job. The world’s largest professional social network is now a valuable publishing platform in its own right, which means you should be posting content to LinkedIn on a regular basis. Doing so can boost traffic to your site, as well as increase your profile within your industry – especially if you have a moderate to large following.

Implement Schema Microdata

Implementing schema (or another microdata format) won’t necessarily increase traffic to your website on its own, but it will make it easier for search engine bots to find and index your pages. Another benefit of using schema for SEO is that it can result in better rich site snippets, which can improve click-through rates.

Link Internally

The strength of your link profile isn’t solely determined by how many sites link back to you – it can also be affected by your internal linking structure. When creating and publishing content, be sure to keep an eye out for opportunities for internal links. This not only helps with SEO, but also results in a better, more useful experience for the user – the cornerstone of increasing traffic to your website.

Interview Industry Thought Leaders

Think interviews are only for the big leaguers? You’d be amazed how many people will be willing to talk to you if you just ask them. Send out emails requesting an interview to thought leaders in your industry, and publish the interviews on your blog. Not only will the name recognition boost your credibility and increase traffic to your website, the interviewee will probably share the content too, further expanding its reach.

Don’t Neglect Email Marketing

So many businesses are focused on attracting new customers through content marketing that they forget about more traditional methods. Email marketing can be a powerful tool, and even a moderately successful email blast can result in a significant uptick in traffic. Just be careful not to bombard people with relentless emails about every single update in your business. Also, don’t overlook the power of word-of-mouth marketing, especially from people who are already enjoying your products or services. A friendly email reminder about a new service or product can help you boost your traffic, too.

Make Sure Your Site is Responsive

The days when internet browsing was done exclusively on desktop PCs are long gone. Today, more people than ever before are using mobile devices to access the web, and if you force your visitors to pinch and scroll their way around your site, you’re basically telling them to go elsewhere. Ensure that your website is accessible and comfortably viewable across a range of devices, including smaller smartphones.

Make Sure Your Site is Fast

Ever found yourself waiting thirty seconds for a webpage to load? Me neither. If your site takes forever to load, your bounce rate will be sky high. Make sure that your pages are as technically optimized as possible, including image file sizes, page structure and the functionality of third-party plugins. The faster your site loads, the better.

Foster a Sense of Community

People want to speak their minds and weigh in on subjects they feel passionately about, so building a community into your site is a great way to start a conversation and increase traffic to your website. Implement a robust commenting system through third-party solutions such as Facebook comments or Disqus, or create a dedicated forum where visitors can ask questions. Don’t forget to manage your community to ensure that minimum standards of decorum are met, however.

Make Yourself Heard in Comment Sections

You probably visit at least a few sites that are relevant to your business on a regular basis, so why not join the conversation? Commenting doesn’t necessarily provide an immediate boost to referral traffic right away, but making a name for yourself by providing insightful, thought-provoking comments on industry blogs and sites is a great way to get your name out there – which can subsequently result in driving more traffic to your own site. Just remember that, as with guest posting, quality and relevance are key – you should be engaging with other people in your niche, not dropping spam links on unrelated websites.

Examine Your Analytics Data

Google Analytics is an invaluable source of data on just about every conceivable aspect of your site, from your most popular pages to visitor demographics. Keep a close eye on your Analytics data, and use this information to inform your promotional and content strategies. Pay attention to what posts and pages are proving the most popular. Inspect visitor data to see how, where and when your site traffic is coming from.

Get Active on Social Media

It’s not enough to just share content through social channels – you need to actively participate in the community, too. Got a Twitter account? Then join in group discussions with relevant hashtags. Is your audience leaving comments on your Facebook posts? Answer questions and engage with your readers. Nothing turns people off quicker than using social media as a broadcast channel – use social media as it was intended and actually interact with your fans.

Submit Your Content to Aggregator Sites

Firstly, a disclaimer – don’t spam Reddit and other similar sites hoping to “hit the jackpot” of referral traffic, because it’s not going to happen. Members of communities like Reddit are extraordinarily savvy to spam disguised as legitimate links, but every now and again, it doesn’t hurt to submit links that these audiences will find genuinely useful. Choose a relevant subreddit, submit your content, then watch the traffic pour in.

Incorporate Video into Your Content Strategy

Text-based content is all well and good, but video can be a valuable asset in both attracting new visitors and making your site more engaging. Data shows that information retention is significantly higher for visual material than it is for text, meaning that video marketing is an excellent way to grab – and hold – your audience’s attention, and boost traffic to your website at the same time.

Research the Competition

If you haven’t used software like BuzzSumo to check out what your competitors are up to, you’re at a huge disadvantage. These services aggregate the social performance of specific sites and content to provide you with an at-a-glance view of what topics are resonating with readers and, most importantly, making the rounds on social media. Find out what people are reading (and talking about), and emulate that kind of content to bring traffic to your website.

Host Webinars

People love to learn, and webinars are an excellent way to impart your wisdom to your eagerly waiting audience. Combined with an effective social promotion campaign, webinars are a great way to increase traffic to your website. Send out an email a week or so ahead of time, as well as a “last chance to register” reminder the day before the webinar. Make sure to archive the presentation for later viewing, and promote your webinars widely through social media. If you’re wondering how to do a webinar, click the link for some tips.

Attend Conferences

Whatever industry you’re in, chances are there are at least one or two major conventions and conferences that are relevant to your business. Attending these events is a good idea – speaking at them is even better. Even a halfway decent speaking engagement is an excellent way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and gain significant exposure for your site.

Well, that just about does it for today’s post. If you’ve got your own tips for increasing traffic to your website, I’d love to hear them.