Top Marketing Articles of the Week – May 8, 2014

Here are the most valuable marketing related articles I’ve read in the past week:

1. It’s All About the Experience

By Mitch Joel

“User experience is rarely made up in an organization with bulked up creative services coupled with the technology team. It’s a field unto itself, and it continues to become a much more critical part of digital’s backbone.”

User experience. As more and more brands become mere commodities, forced to compete on price – smart business owners are looking for ways to both survive and flourish. If technological innovation makes it harder and harder to compete on product differentiation, having a unique user experience becomes more and more important.

If you have trouble answering “How can I make my product or service unique and different from my competitors?” try asking “How can I make the every customer touchpoint with my company memorable and pleasureable for my customers?”

Read article.

2. Free Local SEO Education for Businesses on a Shoestring Budget

By Miriam Ellis

“Like any good website, a strong local business website will feature sensible architecture, clear navigation and great content. Stretch your shoestring budget to cover the purchase of a domain name and basic annual hosting from a reliable provider. WordPress currently offers nearly 2500 free themes you can play around with to design the best site you are capable of building at your current budget. Your website is your most important Internet asset, so it deserves all the skill and time you can invest in it.”

Since every small business is on a shoestring budget this is a timely introduction to local search marketing. In the future I’ll map out different stages of website ownership based on your current budget and needs.

Read article.

3. How to Decrease Your Bounce Rate

By Neil Patel

“If you don’t have much time to focus on decreasing your bounce rate, first look to see where you are in comparison to other sites in your space. For example, the infographic above shows that blogs typically have a bounce rate of 70% to 98%, and e-commerce sites have a bounce rate between 20% to 40%.”

Decreasing bounce rates is one of the best site optimizations you can make.

The above link goes to an infographic. Here are the main takeaways:

  • Attract the right visitors
  • Enchance usability
  • Use good layout
  • Speed up pageload
  • Provide good content

Read article.

4. Why People Buy. Factors that Influence Purchasing Decisions

By Hubspot (Anum Hussain)

“The way people buy products and services online has dramatically changed over the years — and these days, the customer has more power than ever. To understand more about what influences today’s customer, the folks at BigCommerce analyzed a range of ecommerce sites to give us a broader understanding of what people value when shopping online.”

Here are the top 8 takeaways from this infographic:

  1. The top factor driving purchasing decision (56%) is product quality.
  2. The most important store features driving purchasing decision (80%) is competitive pricing.
  3. 62% of shoppers research big-ticket items in-store before buying online.
  4. 9 out of 10 say they watch videos about the tech products they may buy.
  5. 54% of shoppers are smartphone owners, and 76% of smartphone owners use them while shopping.
  6. 81% say posts from their friends directly influenced their purchasing decision.
  7. 30% are most likely to respond to brand offers when they have been reposted by a friend.
  8. 44% of people are most likely to engage with branded content that contains pictures; video content is close behind at 40%.

Read article.

5. The Panda Patent: Brand Mentions Are the Future of Link Building

By Simon Penson

“The piece we are really interested in right now is the information around measuring site authority and relevance using a ratio of links and mentions, or ‘implied links.'”

This article talks about a patent that highlights Google’s continuing plan to move away from the heavy influence of links and diversity their algorithm more.

I don’t mind more search signals and signals tied to doing real business building so this is good news. And for more confirmation there is this recent Matt Cuts video where he says that says that links will lose their value and more natural language processing will be used.

Implied links have been discussed in local search for a number of years now, it is interesting to see Google discussing it more openly now. I will be quite happy when links have been devalued more and there is only incentive to build links for traffic and relationships.

Read article.

6. Tell a Four Word Story

By Medium (James Buckhouse)

“There’s no better way to force a conversation about what your team values than to write your four-word story.”

Medium gets two spots on this weeks list because they write about stories a lot and I’ve been thinking about business storytelling a lot lately.

Here’s an overview of their 5 step process:

  1. Brainstorm all the words you can think of that relate to your company.
  2. Get rid of the ones that don’t really fit then organize the remaining words into related groups.
  3. For each group pick one word that best fits the meaning of the entire group.
  4. Pick 4 words and order them in a sentence-like format.
  5. Test the result and see if it fits your brand, your mission and your point of difference.

Your exercise after reading this article should be to come up with a four word story for your business.

My story for this blog is “Helping businesses communicate smarter.”

Read article.

7. Four Types of Business Stories

By Medium (James Buckhouse)

“Your business needs four different types of stories, each with a very different function. Learn how to write all four.”

Tied in with the above article from Medium, this one continues the story theme.

Be able to tell each of these stories in elevator speechs (one sentence) or four word stories as needed – you often don’t have a lot of time to get attention these days.

As a bonus, read these other two articles from Medium as well.

Read article.

8. How to Rank in Google

By Kaiser the Sage (Jason Acidre)

“So in this post, I’ll walk you through the methods I’ve implemented over the past several months to rank for a search term that I haven’t optimized using traditional on-site optimization and link building techniques.”

This article is a great case study that ties in with the brand mentions article above.

Read article.

9. Escape Google With These 12 Alternatives

By Search Engine Watch (Chuck Price)

“As concerns over the de facto monopoly status of Google continue to grow, I’m reminded of the great philosopher Herman Cain and his infamous line ‘blame yourself’.”

What would happen to your business if you got zero traffic from the search engine monopoly Google starting tomorrow? Would you be able to survive?

Learn about the Google alternatives for your own use. I use DuckDuckGo as my main personal search engine, although I use all major search engines to keep ‘in the loop’.

Search engine traffic should be like investments – if you currently get most of your search engine traffic from Google, try diversifying. Pretend Google will not send you anymore traffic and try getting traffic from Bing, Blekko and DuckDuckGo at a minimum.

Read article.

10. Using QR Codes to Track Marketing Campaigns

By Search Engine Journal (Jayson DeMers)

“Used correctly, QR codes offer a cool way for marketers to grab audiences’ attention and target them with optimized advertising.”

Personally I’ve not found QR codes to be that useful, but I currently work in an industry that has lots of older workers.

If you are planning to use QR codes or currently using them, this is a great look at how to use them better.

Read article.

What Did I Miss?

I’m always on the lookout for great articles. Did you find any this week that I might have missed? If so, let me know in the comments section.

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