One Step Ahead of the Game

shutterstock_143719747 (1).jpg

 

The goal is to never go out of business, right? But how do you ensure your company stays in the black? Sure, it may take blood, sweat, and tears, but the to ensure you don’t go under to notice market trends and be willing and able to flow with them.

“I wake up every morning and think about how I can put myself out of business,” says Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia. What Vaynerchuk means is that every day he puts himself in his competitor’s shoes and thinks, “How could VaynerMedia be put out of business?” And the answer is simple really, be one step ahead of the game which is possible by performing a market trend analysis.

According to Marketing Strategy, book one in the SMstudy® Guide series, “A market trend analysis is an analysis of past and current market behavior and dominant patterns of the market and consumers. An important aspect of conducting a trend analysis for an organization is to obtain insight into the market scenario, consumer preferences, and the macroeconomic environment.”

Vaynerchuk stated that companies such as Uber and Airbnb should never have even been created. Not because there was no market for them, there was and we all know it, but because taxi and hotel companies should have capitalized on the market shift first before Uber and Airbnb has the chance to swoop in and snatch up a healthy chunk of their respective markets. By performing a market trend analysis, companies such as Hilton and Yellow Cab would have seen where the market was headed and could have predicted and evolved with the market.

Taxi companies blame Uber for putting their companies out of business, but they failed to do what Vaynerchuk does every day —look for trends in the market and adapt to them.

Jon Nordmark, co-founder of iterate, singled out the online retailer Amazon as a good example of an innovative company that has evolved with the continuing development of technology. Not only have they surpassed other American online retailers by sixfold as of 2015, but they have also nudging into Fedex’s turf thanks to their Amazon Prime delivery options.

Since its Inception, Amazon has become complete lifestyle. It is a one-stop-shop for not only retail items, but they have also moved up to number eight on Forbes “The World’s Most Innovative Companies” list due to Echo, a wireless speaker and voice command service first launched in 2015.

Echo has it all: it plays music, answer questions, orders pizza from Domino’s, manages home security devices and air conditioning through voice control and will even request an Uber. Summing up Echo, CNET stated, “The Echo may be the closest thing we’ll have to a Star Trek computer at home.”

It may be nice for a company to feel comfortable, but it can lead to complacency. Instead companies should be looking forward to what is coming next. You never know if and when some college student in San Francisco might create the next best thing that fits just right in this evolving market and an existing company might miss its chance!

For more interesting articles visit SMstudy.com

Sources:

Forbes, “The World’s Most Innovative Companies,” 2015. http://www.forbes.com/innovative-companies/list/3/#tab:rank

Gary Vaynerchuk, “Uber and Airbnb Never Should Have Happened the Way They Did,” May 13, 2016. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/uber-airbnb-never-should-have-happened-way-did-gary-vaynerchuk?trk=hp-feed-article-title-channel-add

Jon Nordmark, “Amazon Ecosytem Lock-In = Prime + Echo+ 2lemetry,” May 12, 2016. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/amazon-ecosystem-lock-in-prime-echo-jon-nordmark?trk=prof-post

Catching an Academic Wave with VMEdu

shutterstock_103520741.png

 

It’s not like riding a Tsunami.

But it is exciting, exhilarating and breath-taking to get in early on one of the disruptions that are rapidly reshaping the world we swim in.

Disruptions that wipe the landscape clear are dramatic and threatening. And they are rare. Disruptive inventions and practices in business and industry happen gradually; so gradually, in fact, that they often seem inevitable. This is a point bestselling author Hugh Howey made in a recent article about the state of publishing: “All manner of publishing has been greatly disrupted, but it’s often hard to see because what has changed is what’s now missing from our lives. And these missing things have not disappeared all at once. Rather, it’s been a gradual vanishing.”[1]

The world of publishing—which Howey says includes such products as encyclopedias, maps, those liner notes in albums and CDs, how-to books, instructions enclosed in products, newspapers, magazines and novels—provides an excellent example of the disruption that is now going on in education and training.

Michael Horn, in a piece on Forbes.com, described the disruption this way: “Much of the growth of online learning isn’t just in accredited higher education institutions, but in unaccredited institutions that are hired to do a similar ‘job’ as that of many accredited higher education institutions—advance adult learners in their career pathways. These organizations don’t need accreditation per se though, as they will ultimately develop their reputations from the success of their students with employers.” He cites research done in this regard by Michelle R. Weise and Clayton M. Christensen of the Christensen Institute.

Horn’s suggestion is that schools of higher learning should enhance their online presences and offerings. He gives examples of partnerships that colleges, universities, corporate entities and training organizations can make as a way of turning his suggestion into a reality. One of the companies facilitating this disruption in education and professional training is VMEdu, Inc. This company has a global reach with more than 750 partners in its VMEdu Authorized Training Partner network. It is expanding this with the launch of its VMEdu Authorized Content Partners (V.A.C.P.) program.

In discussing the digital disruption of the publishing industry, Howey says, “In just about every measurable way, these have been great developments.” The V.A.C.P. program brings an enhanced Learning Management System (LMS) and other great developments arising from disruptive innovations in adult education and training to any organization that has created courses related to any field of adult learning in any language; or is already using another LMS to host their courses.

The V.A.C.P. program enables content providers—educational institutions, training companies and those with an expertise worth sharing—the ability to launch courses on their own websites for free, get their own mobile app, sell their courses to the VMEdu Partner Network, offer Sales and Marketing courses on SMstudy, and efficiently track student progress.

Looking at the changes in publishing, Howey says, “It’s difficult to find anything to complain about with this transition, unless you are a middleman who no longer provides a service commensurable with your cost. This is an important point, the act of offering a service that matches your cost.” Educational providers and trainers are very familiar with the costs of some of their products. Student loan debt in America is almost infamous. VMEdu says, “There is no cost associated with creating or uploading your courses, and zero licensing fees.”

The same goes for certain mobile apps for partner courses: “VMEdu will take care of all expenses related to creating, maintaining and upgrading your mobile apps—you pay only $1 per student per month for every student accessing your courses through the mobile app.” This is an example of where the company earns its income.

Last year, Amazon paid out over $140,000,000 to authors in its Kindle Unlimited program. That doesn’t count the dollars paid for book sales,” says Howey. The disruption of traditional publishing is enabling those who create the works to share a much larger portion of the revenues they generate. Through VMEdu’s cloud-based LMS, the same is happening for adult and professional education providers.

For those considering an educational venture into the new cloud-based ocean of opportunity, come on in; the water is fine.

Surf the VMEdu website and learn more about its V.A.C.P. program: Benefits of Becoming a V.A.C.P.

[1] Howey, Hugh. (2/2/16) “The State of the Industry.” The Wayfinder. Retrieved on 2/3/16 from http://www.hughhowey.com/the-state-of-the-industry/

The Rise of Organic Advertising on Snapchat

how-to-succeed-on-snapchat-eric-dahan

There are 83 million Millennials. That is 83 million young adults that were born in the early 80s to late 90s, and 71 percent of those young adults check their social media websites every day. It only makes sense that companies have moved to social media when it comes to advertising their brands.

Snapchat, a company born in 2011, is now worth 18 billion dollars. So, ask the question. Go ahead. How did they do it? They learned how to monetize their product. Snapchat Discover is part of the latest app update. It provides companies with the ability to market their brand on the Stories menu. This not only eliminates the restriction of only being able to reach the people that personally follow a company but also costs 100 dollars CPM or cost per mille. For those who have no idea what that means, that is 100 dollars per 1,000 views. You can imagine how fast the money is being raked in when you consider there are 100 million daily active Snapchat users and the number is rapidly growing.

As fantastic as the new Snapchat Discover is, it doesn’t really assist companies that are not able to fork out large sums of money to reach the masses. Companies such as The Coca-Cola Company have figured out how to overcome this issue by handing the metaphorical reins over to Snapchat Influencer, Harris Markowitz. Snapchat Influencers are just your average Joes that have accumulated millions of followers by utilizing the app to it’s potential. The Coca-Cola Company partnered with Harris Markowitz to organically advertise their brand.

Markowitz has been providing weekly exclusive content for their Snapchat Story by, “reflecting the company’s set mission: to refresh the world, to inspire moments of optimism and happiness, and to create value and make a difference. The Snapchat stories Coca-Cola creates refresh the organic advertisement world within the app by meeting all of their company missions in a creative way,” said Julian Gamboa, Lead Course Assistant at the University of California, Berkeley.

So not only do these snaps reach the followers of The Coca-Cola Company, but every single one of Markowitz’s 5 million followers has the opportunity to enjoy the engaging and entertaining Snap Story. By hiring Markowitz, The Coca-Cola Company went from promoting their brand to the few that have chosen to follow the company to having the brand viewed by millions of users virtually overnight. Other companies such as Taco Bell and Mashable have also jumped on the organic advertising bandwagon by partnering with Snapchat Influencers.

Partnering with an influencer on social media almost tricks viewers into thinking they watching their favorite Snapchat star’s Story and in the digital marketing world we like to call this native advertisement. According to Digital Marketing, book 3 in theSMstudy® Guide, “native advertising is a form of online advertising that blends in with its surroundings. The objective is to promote a company’s product or service in a way that is ‘native’ to the platform in which the message appears. Native ads are promotional pieces that are attempting to look like the material to which they are adjacent.”

The going rate for partnering with Snapchat influences varies as much as their online personalities, but there are best practices when it comes to negotiating a mutually beneficial agreement. Most influencers accept a flat fee. It simplifies the process for everyone and it is helpful for the allocation of funds months in advance (if need be). As Snapchat charges cost per mille, so do influences. For the most part. Influencers have also been known to ask for a percentage of the sale rather than flat compensation, as well as free products or services.

According to Ad Week, “Snapchat splits revenue with the media companies for ads on Discover channels, and those sponsorships can cost as much as $75,000 a day, say marketing execs. In other cases, brands like McDonald’s cough up as much as $750,000 for daily official sponsorships.”

Companies like Boost Insider aids brands in finding the right influencer for them at the right budget. You can partner with an influencer for as little as 200 dollars, but, again, this number does depend on the amount of followers the influencer has. For small business, hiring an influencer is not out of the cards, it will drastically improve the way you organically use Snapchat and give you the fun of going native.

For more interesting articles about sales and marketing, visit www.smstudy.com

 

Channel Performance Measurement: A Close Overview

Corporate-Sales-Channels-[Converted].png

 

Channel performance measurement is a key activity when a sales organization employs different types of channel partners. In more complex multi-channel structures, it becomes even more important due to the number of people, processes, and roles involved. The performance of a channel can be measured across multiple dimensions. The parameters that are measured usually are effectiveness, efficiency, productivity, equity and profitability of the channel.

The various channels have different purposes in the value chain; however, each task needs to support the overall corporate goals. As the number of channel partners increases, it is difficult to ensure that the channel partners are performing their specific roles as effectively as required. For example, the goal of a business might be to increase the number of strategic accounts. However, in order to gather maximum possible commission, channel partners might be engaged in getting the maximum number of accounts possible with total disregard towards prioritizing the acquisition of strategic accounts. It is therefore important to audit the channel partners and incentivize them for activities that are aligned with the corporate goals. The channel performance should also be judged on the ability to fulfill given tasks. A few carefully chosen metrics can give a good indication of the performance of each channel.

The channel performance measurement is primarily a four-step process.

  1. Define the Sales Objectives
  2. Determine Channel Performance Metrics
  3. Set Channel Partner Targets
  4. Manage Channel Performance

 

1. Define Sales Objectives

The first step in channel performance measurement is to define the sales objectives for the company. These objectives are outlined and discussed in sales meetings to ensure a shared understanding between members of the marketing and sales teams.

2. Determine Channel Performance Metrics

Evaluating the performance of a distribution channel depends largely on the agreed upon performance metrics. Choosing the right number and type of performance metrics can help to monitor and improve the performance of channel partners. These metrics provide an understanding of how well the channel partner is doing in reaching its performance targets.

Though it is possible to evaluate a channel on hundreds of performance metrics, this would make reporting and analysis of the performance a cumbersome job. When determining channel performance metrics, a key performance driver, such as sales or units sold, should be chosen to identify and measure the most important tasks. A series of performance metrics are then decided based on the key performance driver.

3. Set Channel Partner Targets

After overall sales objectives are defined, it is important to assign specific targets to each of the channel partners to ensure they are in alignment with the overall objectives. Properly set targets provide a benchmark to measure channel success, monitor performance, and take corrective action to meet expectations. Each channel partner has a specific role towards fulfilling the overall sales objectives. Performance targets should be set to reflect the channel partner’s contribution to the overall objectives

4. Manage Channel Performance

This is the final step in channel performance measurement. It uses the agreed upon goals, assigned performance targets, and identified performance metrics to manage channel performance on an on-going basis and to identify the performance shortfalls of the channel partners. During this step, management gains an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each channel. Management can then take corrective action to ensure efficient performance of the channel.

The success of a channel and its efficiency are determined by the efficiency of channel intermediaries in delivering goods and services to customers and the quality of services offered in the process. Developing a comprehensive marketing plan that provides clear and concise direction about marketing activities and strategy is critical to the organization’s success.

To learn more about Channel Performance Measurement, visit www.SMstudy.com

A Ninety-two-year-old, a Value Proposition and SMstudy

Heart-necklace-in-woman-hands.jpg

 

“Leaders are teachers and good team members,” according to product designer Barbara Beskind.

“If you can help those who are under you maximize their greatest potential, you’re a successful leader,” Beskind told interviewer Sarah Bielecki for a story on the Stanford Engineering website.[i]

And this could lead someone to ask, “how does Beskind rate an article in Stanford Engineering’s blog pages, and why should I care?” In sales and marketing terms this question is asking about Beskind’s unique value proposition.  In a way, everyone determines the value proposition of everything they offer to others.

A value proposition is “a business or marketing statement that summarizes why a consumer should buy a product or use a service. This statement should convince a potential consumer that one particular product or service will add more value or better solve a problem than other similar offerings.”[ii] For Bielecki, journalists and blog writers, this question comes into play when we find a source to quote—Why should the reader (our consumers) accept what I am telling them? What value does this expert or authority add to the information I want to share?

Bielecki answered this question by providing Beskind’s “bona fides” or credentials, telling her readers that at the age of 89 Beskind wrote to David Kelly, CEO of IDEO, “offering to help IDEO design for aging and low-vision populations.” Kelly soon hired her, and Bielecki spoke with her three years later, when she was 92 years-old, adding that “Prior to her career at IDEO, Beskind served in the U.S. Army for 20 years as an occupational therapist. She retired as a major in 1966 and went on to found the Princeton Center for Learning Disorders, the first independent private practice in occupational therapy in the United States”—all in all, a unique and beneficial value proposition when discussing the difference between a leader and a manager.

For businesses, the value proposition isn’t about sourcing, it’s about strategy. “Marketing strategy is one of the most crucial Aspects of Sales and Marketing,” according to Marketing Strategy, book three of the SMstudy® Guide,[iii] “It defines a product or brand’s unique value proposition, target markets, and the specific strategies to be used to connect with defined audiences.”

There are many ways for businesses to determine a value proposition—what is the value of the problem being solved, the need being met or the revenue to be earned? An additional approach to complete the value picture is to look at one’s competition. “Competitive positioning tools help a company explore how it can differentiate its product or service offerings in order to create a value proposition for those products or services in the market,” says the SMstudy® Guide. And creating a differentiated competitive position “helps the company maintain focus on each product and its value proposition while developing the key elements of its marketing mix, pricing, and distribution strategy.”

Like the journalist selling the idea that a 92-year-old product designer has something to say about developing leadership, a company has a lot to gain by defining and clearly articulating its value, “when a product’s price, value proposition, and positioning are optimally aligned, a company is in a position to maximize revenues and profits.” And that’s a valuable proposition for any business.

For more information on sales and marketing, visit smstudy.com

What Did You Do When You Were Supposed to be Sleeping?

woman-in-bed-eyes-opened.jpg

 

Sleep Cycle is an app that tracks your sleep cycle. Seems pretty simple, but looks can be deceiving. In November of 2015, just a few short months ago, the app was released to the public and the vote is in. Everyone loves it.

So, here’s what you do. First, download the app. Before you go to sleep set the alarm programmed in the app and the sleep cycle device will activate. Place your phone screen side down on your nightstand, plug in your charger, and, hopefully, have a great night of sleep.

When you wake up in the morning, the app provides you with a line graph that depicts how many hours you were in bed and how your sleep varied throughout the night from awake, sleep, and deep sleep.

I tried out the app for the first time last night and it appears as if I am a champion sleeper, but I moved 1,267 times. I am a champion sleeper that thrashes.

But that’s not all! The trends tab on the app is available to premium members, and it provides you with several different charts that display sleep quality, what time you went to bed, the amount of time in bed, and what time you woke up at for the week. It also gives you a percentage in regards to sleep quality. Did you sleep poorly because you ate dinner too late? Or did you wake up refreshed because you hit the gym the day before? The app will tell you. It also lets you know if your sleep quality was affected by air pressure, weather, or if you are a thrasher like me.

You get all of this information for a large fee of 83 cents a month (This is not a typo).

Sales and marketing professionals can learn a thing or two from Sleep Cycle. We, as people, are fascinated about sleep. We can’t study our own sleep patterns, considering we are sleeping, so it was all too fascinating to find out that I sleep the majority of my night in a deep sleep. I would have never known that. That’s how they get us in. It’s all a marketing ploy. And then for just 83 cents a month I can not only learn how I sleep, but I will learn how I can sleep better. Who doesn’t want to know that?

83 cents a month is nothing for us fortunate enough to be living in a first world country. We see the advantages for the app, sign up, and never unsubscribe because it is only 83 cents, even though we never use the app anymore and it has been long forgotten. And the money is just rolling in for Sleep Cycle.

(Applause for Sleep Cycle)

So what did they do right? First of all, it is a very big gamble to charge such a low monthly fee. But according to Marketing Strategy, book one in the SMstudy® Guide, it was a very calculated move with the help of secondary marketing research. “Secondary marketing research involves the use of content and information that is currently available within the company or in the market through primary research that has already been conducted and is readily obtainable through company reports, trade journals, industry publications, and/or the Internet.”

The very popular Fitbit will track your sleep, but it can cost upwards of 200 dollars. Fitbit sold nearly 11 million devices last year, so the market was there. From looking at information that was right at their fingertips, Sleep Cycle was able to build a sales and marketing plan that was destined to succeed.

I was pulled in by a marketing ploy and I didn’t even see it. That’s how you know a company is doing its job well. I look forward to going to sleep tonight, I have a competitive streak, so I want to beat last night’s amazing performance.

Give it a try, you know you want to.

For more information and resources about sales and marketing visit SMstudy.com

 

Importance of understanding and evaluating Digital Marketing Channels

Digital-Marketing-Channel-[Converted].png

 

When creating an online presence, one of the initial steps for an organization is to determine the targets as defined by the Marketing Strategy and then explore the various digital marketing channels available to achieve those targets. Organizations typically market their products or services to targeted audiences that differ in demographics such as age, sex, education, marital status, geography, and income. Implementing digital marketing tactics allows a company to target very specific audiences and measure each tactic effectively.

Given the volatile nature of the online world, new channels are emerging with greater frequency, and audiences are continuously exploring new sources of online content—digital marketers must regularly assess and reassess digital marketing channels for their effectiveness. To identify the most effective marketing channels for an organization’s products or services, marketers spend a considerable amount of time and effort identifying and understanding the dynamics of all available digital marketing channels and evaluating these channels relative to their company’s overall organizational goals and objectives.

The digital marketing team analyzes the Internet behavior patterns of its target audience and identifies all possible online media that are used by those consumers being targeted. It observes macro trends that might impact the way in which the organization markets and sells a product or service to consumers. As a result of this process, the organization gains a better understanding of the digital landscape and learns how it can develop and implement its marketing strategies to be effective.

A company must understand the pros and cons of each digital marketing channel as well as the situations in which a channel is most effective or ineffective. For example, when a company wants to promote an important achievement or milestone, the use of social media forums is a good option because of the possibility of a viral effect and mass exposure, which may raise awareness of the company. When promoting a discount offer, the use of e-mail marketing is beneficial because of the fast results it can bring. On the other hand, if the company wants to inform customers about an expected delay in service (e.g., due to a scheduled routine maintenance, delay due some unavoidable circumstances), it is usually enough for the company to use e-mail or their website to notify customers, rather than initiating a social media update. Negative comments often spread faster in social media leading to loss of brand value and image. Therefore, understanding different channels is important in order to evaluate their usefulness.

To learn more about digital marketing channels, visit SMstudy.com

Identifying Competition: An Essential Element of Marketing

competition-increased-[Converted].jpg

 

All industries are growing at a rapid pace with emergence of more and more companies. For a company to exist in this race, it needs to mark its presence and grow at the same time. Knowing competition for a company and accordingly positioning the products is something businesses are concerned with today.

Listing Competitors

To get a clear idea of the differentiated positioning the company needs to identify its potential competitors. A thorough analysis of the competitive products, their features, strengths and operational excellence would give the company a clear picture of the market operations and the trends. Understanding the value proposition provide companies a sustainable competitive advantage which can be utilized in attracting customers from the competitors.

In the process of identifying competitors the company should consider the product, substitutes, technological challenges, new entrants, old established brands. Future competitor analysis also plays an important role in creating a brand presence in the market for a product.

How to Identify Competition?

With the help of senior management direction and insights the company can have a better picture of the competition in the market existing for its products and services. Also from the market research reports and information published by the competitors help in identifying the details of the competitors and their ways of operation.

In order to understand the competitor in the market for a particular product the several analysis are to be carried out such as future competitive analysis, marketing research and meetings and discussions with industry leaders and experts. Understanding the emerging technologies, new entrants and actively scanning the industry gives a complete idea of the competitors and their structure and functioning. A SWOT analysis of the available list of competitors also gives a fair idea of the trends the competitors following and can help in improvising the products of the company and expand the customer base.

Every business that we see today is part of one or the either industry. With the moving pace and increasing consumer demand the business are expanding. Competition is something which has always been there and shall exist till ever. To find a way out and present the product in a better way in comparison to the competitor’s product is every business’s requirement and they should be focused towards it. Identifying competition empowers the business and gives scope for improvement, which enables it to prosper.

How Information Finds You: Hyper-relevant Content Marketing

PeakContent.png

 

 

This (in)famous declaration was made by an anonymous college student in 2008 during a focus group conducted by Jane Buckingham, founder of the market research company Intelligence Group.

Since 2008, this remark has made the rounds. It’s been quoted and discussed in both media and marketing worlds. It’s even been cited by the New York Times. And if you have to ask why, you haven’t been paying attention. This statement, which seems like a throw away (let’s be honest) has proven to be the number one guiding principle in both media dissemination and marketing in the new digital age.

As Joshua Benton remarked in a recent piece for NiemanLab, “If the news is that important, it will find me. I can’t tell you how many conferences, how many symposia, how many gatherings of worthies I’ve been at where some version of that line has been tossed around.”

It’s true! I’d heard it mentioned during a class on 21st-century journalism in 2009. At the time, old time journos scoffed at the student’s “laziness” or “lack of interest” in the wider world. But today, no one scoffs at the idea of providing valuable, relevant content, served up directly to viewers through the various social media channels. This is now the expectation. If it’s important, it will find you.

Marketers, like the media, have adapted. And one of the methods hyped over the last few years is content marketing. But with massive quantities of information bombarding us daily, we are reaching what is referred to as “Peak Content” or “the point at which this glut of things to read, watch and listen to becomes completely unsustainable,” according to author Kevin Anderson in 2014.

With Peak Content looming and with the understanding that a story (or content) MUST be important enough to reach the reader/viewer, successful marketers are turning to extra relevant, extra valuable content that will cut through the fracas. As this happens, the question then becomes “what’s relevant?”

Relevance often depends on individual circumstances and numerous other factors that may be at play at any moment in a person’s life. But there are some general assumptions that can be made. For example, most people will be thinking about breakfast in the morning. Or, if someone is awake late at night, information on insomnia might be something they’d like to see.

Enter the hyper-relevant content marketing plan, predicted by some to be a major social media marketing trend in 2016. Hyper-relevant content marketing takes into consideration the season, time of day or other societal factors that may be affecting a person’s need for a specific type of information.

One such marketer, Amanda Todorovich, manager of Digital Engagement for Cleveland Clinic, is achieving major success producing hyper-relevant content by fine-tuning her organization’s marketing to maintain “evergreen” value for everyone and then offering it wisely within marketing channels.

“We are trying to put content in front of people at the right time,” Todorovich said. “We try to marry the best times of day on each channel with the best content and what people are using those channels for. Not everything gets posted on every channel we’re on.”

By assessing the relevance and value of the content being used within a marketing strategy and utilizing the channels as well as season or time of day effectively, a marketer can be sure to hit the target more directly and at the same time find they’ve contributed something of genuine value to the online community.

For more resources and information on sales and marketing visit www.SMstudy.com

Sources:

Peak Content: The collapse of the attention economy, Kevin Anderson. Jan. 4, 2016. ehttp://www.themediabriefing.com/article/peak-content-the-collapse-of-the-attention-economy

“If the news is that important, it’ll find me.” But what determines if it’s important?, Joshua Benton, Feb. 20, 2014. http://www.niemanlab.org/2014/02/if-the-news-is-that-important-itll-find-me-but-what-determines-if-its-important/

Behind the Scenes of the Cleveland Clinic’s Content Marketing Strategy, Brianne Carlon Rush, Dec. 2, 2014. http://www.kunocreative.com/blog/cleveland-clinics-content-marketing-strategy

Reach New Heights with Your SEO: 2016 Trends and SMstudy Guidance

SEO.png

 

There are, on average, 12 billion web searches conducted in the United States EACH month. This ginormous figure highlights (and underscores) the importance of where your online content appears in search engine results and what can be done to improve a site’s ranking on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, etc.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of modifying online content to improve its “searchability”. The SMstudy Guide®, Digital Marketing book describes SEO as an optimization of a website through editing, tagging or coding pages in order to improve online traffic.

The book states, “The objective is to ensure that the site appears in search engine results for the keywords that are most relevant to the business. SEO also involves removing any barriers that would prevent search engines from indexing the site, as well as promoting the site to increase the number of backlinks or inbound links.”

Since its rise to prominence in 2010, Search Engine Optimization has been evolving at a brisk clip and 2016 will be no exception. As we close out the first month of the new  year, two important SEO trends are beginning to come into focus.

Trend #1

In 2016, the lines will blur (even more) between social media content and traditional web content. As social media content is now being indexed by the search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing, the chances of social media content coming up in search engine results has greatly increased. This is good news for marketers, but it will require greater focus on incorporating SEO best practices into social media marketing.

Brian Honigman, CEO of Honigman Media explains “Today, links are mainly achieved through developing original content that is in turn, shared across social media. Links to your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and other social networks help the search engines understand what websites are credible and should be ranked for what keyword phrases.”
Trend #2

Consider these two statistics regarding mobile use:

1. Four out of five consumers use smartphones to shop.

2. 70% of mobile searches result in an online action (such as a purchase).

With the continued increase of smartphone use, it’s no surprise that the latest Google algorithm update nudges mobile-friendly sites to the top of its search results. This is a clear indication that focusing on optimizing mobile content is now just as important as optimizing web content.

In more general terms, SMstudy’s Digital Marketing suggests optimizing website responsiveness to ensure easy viewing on mobile devices. The book goes on to suggest, “Maintain a separate mobile site since mobile users prefer websites in which content can be consumed on a smaller screen and on the go; provide only relevant content: and maintain a light mobile site to ensure faster loading the mobile site.”

For more articles on sales and marketing, visit smstudy.com

Sources

SMstudy Guide, Digital Marketing, pgs. 77-78.

“Eight Ways Social Media Affects SEO”, Brian Honigman, Sept. 11, 2013. http://blog.sumall.com/journal/8-ways-social-media-affects-seo.html#ixzz3yTSPgOWt.

“From Brick-and-Mortar to Mobile Click-and-Order: Which Retailers are Carving Out Space in the M-Commerce Market?”, Sarah Radwanick
Lead Corporate Marketing Manager, Sept. 19, 2012. http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Press-Releases/2012/9/Retailers-Carving-Out-Space-in-the-M-Commerce-Market.

“70% of mobile searches result in an online action…within one hour”, Ahmed Ahmed, Dec. 20, 2012. http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/70-mobile-searches-lead-action-within-1-hour-infographic.

“Search Engine Optimization Stats,” Hubspot.com, http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics.