The benefit of the doubt

The benefit of the doubt

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Doubt is corrosive.

Someone faced with doubt rarely brings her best self to the table. Doubt undermines confidence, it casts aspersions, it assumes untruths.

Yes, of course you need to qualify your leads. And yes, we know that you need to protect against risk and to not waste your time.

But… if you’re going to spend five minutes or five hours with someone, what happens if you begin with, "the benefit of confidence" instead? What if you begin by believing, by seeking to understand, by rooting for the other person to share their best stories, their vision and their hopes?

Perhaps you can manipulate someone by scowling, by negging, by putting on airs. But if you do that, you end up with people who have been manipulated, who are wounded and not ready to soar.

The problem with qualifying leads is that all the obvious ones are already taken.

The challenge with assuming that someone is completely imperfect is that you’ll almost certainly be right. 

There’s plenty of room for doubt later, isn’t there?

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June 27, 2016 at 08:49PM

7 Essential Content Marketing Lessons From Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Fridays

7 Essential Content Marketing Lessons From Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Fridays

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content-marketing-lessons-rand-fishkin

As a marketer, SEO can seem overwhelming, but you know it’s critical for your content marketing. A lot of changes are taking place in that industry, and it can be challenging to stay up to date.

Lucky for us, we have Rand Fishkin and his popular Whiteboard Friday on Moz. If you aren’t familiar with the Whiteboard Friday series, I highly suggest you check out these gems. Not only will you learn a lot, but these are a fantastic example of how consistent, exceptional content can build an audience.

Regardless of whether you are new to this series or a regular, here are my favorite Whiteboard Friday moments for content marketers.

How can I create content that will rise above the noise?

Rand has a name for that exceptional content we all want to publish: “10x content.”

“What is 10x content?” Rand explains:

We can’t just say, ‘Hey, I want to be as good as the top 10 people in the search results for this particular keyword term or phrase.’ We have to say, ‘How can I create something 10 times better than what any of these folks are currently doing?’ That’s how we stand out.

Luckily, Rand offers many solid ideas in How to Create 10x Content. He first explains the criteria for 10x content — and how it should make the reader feel — then offers four steps to create it.

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Even if you cover a widely discussed topic, don’t give up hope. Find your unique way to cover it — to offer something no one else has.

How do I create a metrics dashboard?

What you measure is what you’re able to improve.


What you measure is what you’re able to improve says @randfish #contentmarketing #roi
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I love that quote from Rand from his Whiteboard Friday, How to Build The Right Traffic Metrics Dashboard.

We all know that we should only collect data that we plan to take action on, but are we systematic about this? Or are various teams collecting different data — or even the same data?

Every team can benefit from creating a metrics dashboard to get everyone on the same page and stop redundant reporting.

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As Rand explains, this dashboard needs to be customized for your needs, but it is a great framework if you are struggling with what metrics to collect.

  • Awareness
    • Social mentions, followers, and fans
    • Press and brand mentions
    • Referring links
  • First visits
  • Returning visits

What old-school SEO techniques should I no longer use?

If you are like many marketers I know, you understand the basics of SEO and have some general practices you adhere to in an effort to appease the search engine gods. Yes, you know you should write for humans instead of search engines, but what else should you do, specifically?

In this popular Whiteboard Friday, 8 Old School SEO Practices that Are No Longer Effective, Rand walks through some things you may still be doing that don’t serve you well.

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For instance:

  • Write your meta descriptions so they appeal to readers — and draw them in — instead of stuffing the descriptions with keywords.
  • Use one page to target several related keywords.
  • Have one robust domain that covers various, related topics instead of several that each cover one niche.

Write meta descriptions so they appeal to readers instead of keyword stuffing says @randfish #SEO
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This one is definitely worth a listen if you want to give your SEO practices a spring cleaning and get more from your efforts.


Have 1 domain that covers various, related topics instead of several that each cover one says @randfish #SEO
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HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:
Excel at SEO With This 15-Point Plan

What should you do when the wrong page ranks for a keyword?

This is a challenge we have faced at CMI, and apparently it’s something that is crazy common.

It goes a bit like this: You are thrilled that your site comes up in search results … but the page isn’t ideal (let’s just say it doesn’t put your best foot forward or it isn’t as relevant for that search as you would like it to be).

Rand’s Whiteboard Friday, What to Do When the Wrong Page Ranks for Your Keyword(s), walks you through the four steps to take:

  1. Figure out why you are having the issue.
  2. Create a relevant page or make a relevant page even more relevant.
  3. Degrade the page that is ranking and redirect internal pages to the relevant page.
  4. Consider a 301 redirect (if the page is not essential for other search terms).

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What should I do to optimize each of my pages?

Not surprisingly, there is not a simple answer — and no simple checklist to follow — but Rand shares eight principles in this Whiteboard Friday, On-Page SEO in 2016: The 8 Principles for Success.

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This Whiteboard Friday is an essential read for anyone working on your blog or website. As Rand explains, not only are you trying to get the page to rank, but you are also trying to get the user to stay once they are there to signal it as high-quality content. He reviews essentials such as:

How many internal and external links should I have?

Do you want to include links to other things on your website but wonder how many you should have? Should you include just a few more links to the page to drive people deeper into your website?

Rand explains:

Internal links that tend to perform the best . . . tend to be the ones that drive real traffic, and they sort of continue a visitor’s journey.


Internal links that perform the best & drive traffic continue a visitor’s journey says @randfishkin #SEO
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Should I focus on keywords or topics?

This is a conversation our editorial team has had: Should we optimize for keyword or topic? Rand handles this question in Can SEOs Stop Worrying About Keywords and Just Focus on Topics?

The classic mode of thinking is to create a list of keywords and then create pages to address them. However, the issue is that similar words (think: content curation vs. content curator) would need the same information, so some people create different pages for each keyword even though the intent is the same.

A newer approach is to focus on broader concepts and topics instead of the keywords. You see this all the time with the proliferation of ultimate guides that set out to answer all of the questions you may have on a topic. While there may not appear to be a downside to this — and this super-awesome piece of content may be widely shared — chances are that it won’t rank well because it covers so many topics.

What is a marketer to do?

Rand suggests a hybrid approach that uses a combination of keywords and topics.

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HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:
A Nutshell Guide to Proper Keyword Research

Back over to you. What are your favorite Whiteboard Fridays?

Don’t miss Rand Fishkin, the Wizard of Moz, when he shares his great insight and practical tips at Content Marketing World Sept. 6-9. Register today and use code BLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

The post 7 Essential Content Marketing Lessons From Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Fridays appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.

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June 25, 2016 at 10:23PM

Five Steps to Service Recovery and Complaint-Handling Success [Infographic]

Five Steps to Service Recovery and Complaint-Handling Success [Infographic]

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No business is perfect, and sometimes a product or service fails. So, what should you do when your customers have a complaint about it?

Here’s a look at the five-step recovery process, according to the LIFT Edge infographic.

First, make it easy for your customers to complain. Yes, you read that correctly.

By doing so, "You get an opportunity to recover from the failure and save the customer," states the infographic. "Second, a convenient process has a positive impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty beyond the remedy you offer."

A fair process means you assume responsibility, quickly resolve the problem, and require only a few interactions.

To find out more about how to handle complaints and get back on your customers’ good side, tap or click on the infographic.

Veronica Jarski is the Opinions editor and a senior writer at MarketingProfs. She can be reached at veronicaj@marketingprofs.com.

Twitter: @Veronica_Jarski

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June 25, 2016 at 03:51AM

7 AdWords Extensions You Should Utilize to Improve PPC Conversion Rate

7 AdWords Extensions You Should Utilize to Improve PPC Conversion Rate

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Google_AdWords_Guide_PPC-1.jpgEvery AdWords advertiser wants more relevant clicks on their ads. The more relevant the click, the higher the chance that a visitor will convert into a lead and possibly a customer! If you’re looking to improve your PPC conversion rates by increasing your qualified clicks, one way to do this is to attach Ad Extensions on your AdWords campaigns.

What Are AdWords Extensions

When doing a Google search, you might see some ads take up more space than others. This is due to AdWords Extensions that give your ads the ability to display more information, therefore “extending” the length of your ad. When I search for “pizza near me”, two ads come up for Pizza Hut & Domino’s that both include extensions. Here’s what these ads look like with and without extensions:

adextensions.jpgSee how the ads with extensions provide more information and take up more space?

Why Use AdWord Extensions

Whether your ads are dominating paid search or need a little boost, ad extensions help in a variety of ways:

1) Better Click-Through-Rates

AdWords Extensions provide additional ways for searchers to learn more about your business and to interact with your ad. Searchers can make a phone call or go directly to the service page that they’re looking for from your ad/

2) Increased Visibility

Using Ad Extensions lets your ad take up more PPC real estate, making your ads stand out from the others. Just compare the ads with and without extensions above and you’ll see that the ads with extensions look more robust and informative than those without extensions.

3) Give Relevant Information at the Right Time

If a searcher wants to see a more specific page or specific information (such as reviews), AdWords Extensions can provide just that!

4) Gives a Better User Experience

Because you are giving a searcher more information about your business and services, they’ll have a better idea of what to expect when clicking on your ads.

5) No Added Charge, But More Valuable Clicks

If a searcher calls your business from your ad or clicks to a service page, you’re charged the same amount as if they clicked on your headline. Because the searcher is getting to the page / contact method they want, these clicks are often more valuable.

Extensions You Should Be Using

Now that you know what AdWords Extensions are and why you should be using them, let’s review 7 essential extensions you should be using:

1) Sitelink Extensions

Sitelinks allow advertisers to include up to four site links with their ad. Not only does this take up more PPC real estate and stand out from the other ads, but it gives a searcher the opportunity to find the page that is most relevant for them.

Sometimes these sitelink extensions will give a quick summary of the subpage which is particularly valuable for adding more call-to-actions and descriptions of your products / services.

sitelinkextensions.jpg

2) Call Extensions

When a searcher comes across your ad (especially on a mobile device), you want to give them the option to call you. Call extensions incorporate your phone number into your ads so searchers don’t have to go to your website to find your phone number. They just click “call” and you have a conversion!

call-extension.png

3) Structured Snippets

If your business offers different types of products or services, structured snippets are a perfect way to lay these out. You can talk about different styles of products, neighborhoods you serve, types of services, etc. in structured snippets.

structuredsnippetsextension.jpg

4) Callout Extensions

Can’t find everything you want to say into two lines of Ad Copy? Use callout extensions to incorporate up to four messages in your ads. Callout extensions are great to use campaign wide so the same information appears on each ad, regardless of what your ad copy says.

If you want to let everyone know that your plumbing business has 40 years of experience, use a callout! If you want to announce your 24/7/365 customer service, use a callout! If you want a searcher to know about your speedy delivery, use a callout:

callout-extensions.jpg

5) Location Extensions

If you own a business with multiple locations, you want to be able to show the right location to the right searcher. Location extensions add your address, phone number and business hours to your ad.

With 50% of mobile users visiting stores on the same day they do a Google search (Google), having your location in your ad is critical to showing searchers how close your business is to them!

location-extension.jpg

6) Review Extensions

By using a third party to review your website, you can get feedback on your products & customer service to show up directly in your ad. Because reviews and testimonials are a large part of the decision process, having them on your ad can help a searcher make their decision much more easily.

reviews-extensions.jpg

7) Offer Extensions

One of Google’s newer extensions lets you add offers onto your ad. Not only can you offer more information about your business, but you’re incentivizing a searcher to do business with you. Instead of searching for offers in addition to searching for the right business, they can find everything in one ad!

offer-extension.png

Next Steps

Whether you’re already running an AdWords campaign or looking to improve one, try adding these AdWords Extensions. Be sure to test different wording to see which phrasing gets the most clicks!

If you’re thinking about adopting Google AdWords or would like more information on how AdWords can add value to your overall inbound marketing strategy, download this free eBook "Why Google AdWords Should Be Part of Your Inbound Marketing Strategy" today!

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June 23, 2016 at 05:36AM