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21 Digital Marketing Tools You Need When Starting a Business

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21 digital marketing tools you need when starting a business

Did you know there are more than 30 million small businesses in the United States alone?

With a number like this, small business owners need a competitive edge. If you are building a business, chances are you’re looking for ways to get your leg up on the competition. To accomplish this, you’ll need a good marketing strategy and access to the best digital marketing tools.

In this post, I’m going to outline 21 digital marketing tools you need when starting a business. You may be familiar with a marketing tool or two in here; others might be new to you.

From simplifying your social media marketing efforts and project management to finding freelancers, each of these tools will help you get the competitive edge you’re after.

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Are you ready to grow your business with digital marketing?

Then let’s begin.

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Get this: email marketing is used by eight out of ten marketers.

This isn’t something you should wait on. Instead, you should implement an email marketing strategy on day one.

With more than 12 million customers, MailChimp has claimed its spot as one of the top email marketing providers and digital marketing tools in the world.

While there are alternatives, this tool remains one of the best, for many reasons:

  • History dating back to 2001, well before most companies began using email marketing
  • Self-service support options, ensuring that you can quickly find answers to all of your questions
  • Free plan for those with less than 2,000 subscribers and those who don’t send more than 12,000 emails per month

When starting a business, it’s not likely that you will have more than 2,000 subscribers. For this reason, you can get started with MailChimp early using the tool for free as you get your feet wet with email marketing and then move to a paid plan as you scale.

mailchimp digital marketing tool

When it comes to marketing, sales, and CRM software, HubSpot has become one of the top players.

For the sake of this post, let’s focus on its marketing software solutions. The company has this to say about this digital marketing tool:

From attracting visitors to closing customers, HubSpot brings your entire marketing funnel together.

You know just how important it is for your marketing funnel to be in good working order. With this software, you have access to tools that help with:

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  • blogging
  • SEO
  • social Media
  • website
  • lead management
  • landing pages
  • calls-to-action
  • marketing automation
  • email
  • analytics

There is no stone left unturned, when you rely on HubSpot’s all-in-one marketing software.That’s why it’s a top choice for those who are starting a business.

With everything you need in one place, you don’t have to pull yourself in many different directions. This will help you to find success in the early days and help you as you grow.

hubspot digital marketing tool

Trello is a digital marketing tool that helps you to manage projects and stay on the same page as your team–a sound digital marketing practice if you want to save time and frustration.

For example, you can share blog posts on Trello before you publish them. This gives others on your team the opportunity to review the post, weigh in with their thoughts and make changes that could strengthen the piece before it goes live.

In the past, before the days of Trello and similar programs, email was the best way to collaborate with your team. While this is still helpful, to a certain degree, it can lead to confusion, missed messages, and frustration.

trello digital marketing tools

With Trello, everything related to your online marketing strategy can be shared in the same place. It only takes a few minutes to set up a board. Even better, you can quickly invite your entire staff, all of whom can jump in on the action without delay.

Trello isn’t the only digital marketing tool of its kind, but it’s, by far, one of the best. When it comes to collaborating with others regarding marketing tasks, this tool is hard to beat.

hootsuite digial marketing tools

Social media plays a big part in the success of any company, regardless of size, age, or industry. In fact, I’d argue that social media marketing is a must to thrive in this digital era.

Digital marketing tools like Hootsuite allow you to schedule social media posts in advance, thus saving you loads of time.

Hootsuite offers tons of features to help you grow your business. For example, you can:

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  • Identify influencers for your marketing team and leads for your sales team
  • Reply to comments and mentions through the dashboard–there’s no reason to visit each individual platform
  • Take advantage of pre-written responses
  • Schedule posts when your audience is most active (even if you’re asleep!)

Social media marketing is not as difficult as it sounds, especially when you rely on tools like Hootsuite. With this particular tool, you can schedule and manage social media profiles for more than 30 platforms.

Imagine doing this by hand, without a central dashboard to guide you. It would be enough to frustrate even the most experienced entrepreneur, let alone a new business owner. Let Hootsuite take over like the social media marketing manager it is.

As one of the top free tools from Google, Analytics should be part of your digital marketing strategy from the very start. In fact, I’d argue it’s one of the most powerful digital marketing tools out there.

It only takes a couple of minutes to add the Analytics code to your website, giving you the ability to track every action by every visitor.

This is considered by many to be nothing more than a traffic tool, but it can actually have a big impact on your marketing strategy, if you know what you’re doing.

Take, for example, the ability to see where your traffic comes from:

google analytics digital marketing tools

Maybe you realize that a particular social media campaign is driving tons of traffic to your website. With this data, you can adjust your future strategy, in an attempt to capture the same results.

Or, maybe you find that a particular set of keywords is doing wonders for your organic traffic. Again, you can turn your attention to these keywords, ensuring that you keep these in mind as you create content down the road.

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Google Analytics isn’t one of those digital marketing tools you can ignore. Installing this early on is a key decision, in regards to your digital marketing strategy. The data you can collect is extremely valuable.

The tagline of this digital marketing tool says it all:

Track, analyze and optimize your digital marketing performance. See what’s working and what’s not, across all campaigns, mobile and web.

It’s good that you want to spend so much time on digital marketing in the early days of your business. But, do you really want to make decisions that aren’t having an impact?

You need to track and analyze every move that you make, as this is the only way to focus on the tactics that are providing the best return on investment (ROI).

With KISSmetrics, you can easily see what’s working and what’s not, across all of your campaigns.

Take, for example, its Analytics products. With a funnel report, you can see if there are any “leaks” in your business. Here’s a screenshot of what to expect:

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kissmetrics digital marketing tool

Starting at $120/month, KISSmetrics isn’t the cheapest digital marketing tool on this list. Even so, it’s one that you’ll want to think about, as your business gets up and running.

With a variety of products at your fingertips, the insights you receive will be invaluable to your company’s growth.

digital marketing tool follower wonk

Do you plan on spending a lot of time on social media marketing?

While this is a great way to engage your audience and send traffic to your website, it’ll only work in your favor if you have a solid plan in place.

Tools, such as Followerwonk, are designed to help you improve your social media marketing strategy, such as by digging into your Twitter analytics data.

I included this digital marketing tool on the list for two reasons: it’s easy to use and it’s extremely effective.

Followerwonk breaks down its service into three distinct categories:

  • Find: Use the tool to search Twitter bios and compare accounts.
  • Analyze: Breakdown your follower list by bio, location, who they follow, and many other criteria.
  • Optimize: match your strategy to follower gains and losses, to understand what type of content performs best.

The only downside of Followerwonk is that it can’t be used with other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. However, if you have big plans for Twitter, this is a digital marketing tool you should use often.

Even though you may not use it on a daily basis, it can come in handy from time to time. After all, it’s imperative that you understand your audience.

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follower wonk digital marketing tools

If WordPress is your content management system (CMS) of choice, you shouldn’t hesitate to install the All in One SEO Pack plugin.

A big part of your digital marketing strategy should be based around search engine optimization (SEO) and this digital marketing tool will ensure that you always make good decisions regarding your content and its appeal to search engines.

Some of the top features of the plugin include:

  • XML Sitemap support
  • Advanced Canonical URLs
  • Automatic generation of META tags
  • Compatible with most other plugins
  • Automatically notifies major search engines, including Google and Bing, of any site changes

Even though all of these features are exciting, it’s something else that has made it one of the most popular WordPress plugins of all time: its ease of use.

Here’s a screenshot, showing a small portion of the tool’s back end:

digital marketing tool AIOSEO

You don’t have to make many decisions in order to get started. And, if you’re ever confused as to what you should be doing, there is help to be had. All you have to do is click the “?” symbol and you’re provided with more information and advice.

The All in One SEO Pack plugin has more than a million active installs. You won’t have to look far to find competitors, but there’s a reason why so many people use this digital marketing tool.

Not only is it free and simple, but it’s results can’t be denied. It will definitely help your website from an SEO perspective, which is something all new businesses need.

BuzzSumo is a big deal for people who need to learn more about their market.

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When you start a business, it’s safe to say you know a thing or two about your industry and primary competitors. But, once you dig around more, you’ll find that there is tons of data you can use to your advantage.

If you want to better understand your competition or if you want to learn what type of content performs best with search engines and your audience, you don’t need any other digital marketing tool by your side.

A BuzzSumo search results page looks something like this:

digital marketing tools buzzsumo

Additionally, there is high level data associated with each result:

digital marketing tools buzzsumo

This information can come in handy at many times, such as when you are creating content for your blog.

Why guess as to what is performing best in your niche? You can use BuzzSumo to answer this question with 100 percent accuracy.

With this search, you see that the top result has approximately 20k social shares. You now know what to strive for, if you want to achieve the same level of success.

As a big fan of BuzzSumo, this is a ditial marketing tool that I use on a regular basis. Even if you don’t do much with the data at first, each search will help you to better understand your competition and target audience.

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crazy egg digital marketing tool

Do you ever find yourself asking this question: what’s working and what’s not about my website?

This is where Crazy Egg can step in and provide assistance.

There are two keys here:

  • You can use Crazy Egg to make website changes that generate better results.
  • You don’t need much, if any, IT help to get started.

When you’re new to your business, you don’t want to spend countless hours dealing with IT issues. Unfortunately, this often happens when it comes to split testing. Unless you use Crazy Egg, of course.

The tool is packed with features, such as:

  • heatmaps and mouse recording
  • analysis and reporting
  • platforms and integrations
  • targeting and personalization
  • research and user feedback

A tool that helps you understand what your website visitors like and don’t like, so you can maximize your sales and leads, means that you have to give Crazy Egg a try. It’s one of those digital marketing tools that you don’t know you need, until you use it one time.

ubersuggest marketing tool for starting a business

Not only is keyword research a challenging task, but it can also get expensive with the price of premium keyword research tools. Your typical free software won’t offer you much but UberSuggest isn’t your typical free software.

Digital Marketing Tools You Need When Starting a Business ubersuggest screen shot

As a whole, this digital marketing tool is easy for beginners because the dashboard is simple to navigate so you can quickly find the data you want. You’ll start by entering a root keyword or domain that you want to research. You get up to three free searches per day on the free version and you can upgrade to a paid software as well.

UberSuggest provides useful keyword information such as total search volume, difficulty, and paid difficulty if you’re thinking of running an ad campaign around that keyword.

digital marketing tools for starting a business ubersuggest keyword ideas

As you work your way down you’ll see historical data that will show you how that keyword has trended over time. This is helpful for determining seasonal keywords or ones that are popular now but may die off over time.

You also get keyword ideas and suggestions that are relevant to the one you’re searching for so you can update older content or develop a content marketing plan.

Overall, UberSuggest is an amazing free keyword research tool that is a great choice for beginners and has enough value as a paid tool for those who are scaling as well.

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digital marketing tools for starting a business cofounders lab

CoFoundersLab is a great digital marketing tool for small businesses that are growing but need a little help to take things to the next level. It uses AI to help you find a cofounder, additional member, or advisor based on a certain set of criteria.

The best digital marketing tools make life easier. CoFoundersLab intends on helping to create a large ecosystem of business owners, entrepreneurs, consultants, and advisors so it’s that much easier to find whatever you need at the current stage in your business.

For example, you can search for someone with a specific skill and find them instantly without having to post on job boards, conduct interviews, and do onboarding. If you’re looking for an SEO content creator, you’ll simply fill out that set of criteria and be instantly connected to someone who can fill that role.

It’s similar to other freelancing platforms out there, but what separates CoFoundersLab is you can find someone who is on the same level. If you’re looking for someone to financially back your business or simply support you equally in your venture, this might be the place to do it.

adobe sign digital marketing tools for starting a business

When it comes to must-have digital marketing tools, Adobe Sign more than makes the cut. It’s a cloud-based e-signature service that helps you use less paper, save time, and get signatures using an automated signature system. You can send documents, sign, and manage the whole process via desktop or mobile device.

There are also integrations to keep records of all the signatures you’ve received so you can reference back if you lose something important.

This simple but useful tool solves a major problem that a lot of businesses have. More and more people are working remotely and may not have access to printers and scanners. This creates delays in your workflow and can frustrate customers if you’re unable to get them what they want because you’re waiting on signatures and approvals.

Adobe Sign is also usable from anywhere on any device. Someone can be on their way to a meeting in the car and sign on their mobile device using their fingertip. No need to print anything, scan, fax, anything. It’s completely digital, safe, and secure.

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dropbox digital marketing tools

DropBox is an essential piece of the modern digital business. It allows all the working pieces of your business to come together in one place to eliminate clutter and save time looking for things.

Organization is the key to a successful business, and downloading and sharing files simply doesn’t cut it anymore. With people working from home, you can’t have everyone downloading personal company files onto their computers, misplacing them, or potentially abusing them.

DropBox prevents this from happening by being a totally cloud-based document sharing platform that allows you to set permission levels so certain people can only see what they need to.

You can also connect other tools like Slack and Zoom to DropBox so you have everything in one place. All company data stays in one place so it’s organized, safe, and accounted for.

If you’re still manually downloading files to your computer, attaching them to emails, and sending them off into space, you’ll find DropBox is a much more efficient and safer way to keep track of documents and document sharing in your business.

digital marketing tools to start a business google products

I don’t know where I would be without the full line of Gmail products. There used to be a time when we’d create pieces of content in Word platform, download it, and then attach it to an email and send it off.

The next person would mark it up with notes and adjustments, send it back, and the process would start over.

Thankfully, those days are long gone.

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With Google Docs and Sheets, you can share documents in real-time and actually mark them up with the writer looking at them so you can see what they’re doing. There’s a chat feature and a suggestion area, too where you can ask questions and provide responses as to why a certain adjustment was made.

There’s a level of security and protection here, as well. Different permission levels ranging from “view” to “edit” give you complete control over your documents. If you’re sending a document off as a reference to something, you might not want that person to make any changes to it without making a copy for themselves, the Gmail Suite of products can do that.

Plus, everything syncs with your Google Calendar. If you’re talking in an email about setting up a call in three days, you can instantly set that appointment on your calendar and you’ll receive reminders across all your devices.

odesk work digital marketing tools

oDeskWork is a freelancer platform that connects you with the right virtual assistant or freelancer to support your business. At some point, every business needs to start hiring. No matter what business you’re in, to grow and scale, you need a support system because you can’t do everything.

This is where digital marketing tools like oDeskWork come into play. You can upload current projects that you need completed, browse profiles, and start communicating with potential candidates.

The platform also offers payment protection, so you ensure you get the services you anticipated. Payments are only released to the freelancer when you’re satisfied with the work they completed.

oDeskWork has experts and freelancers in all different kinds of niches including digital marketing, virtual assisting, transcribing, proofreading, writing, editing, SEO, WordPress, and more.

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upwork digital marketing tools

Upwork is a freelancer platform that connects you with qualified candidates who can help your business grow, making it a must-have digital marketing tool. What I like most about Upwork is the transparency you get and the fact that you can see all types of work that the freelancers have completed.

For example, if you’re browsing for someone to build you a WordPress website, you wouldn’t hire someone without first seeing what type of work they do, right?

The platform will show you examples of their work, their job success rating, a description of their skills, their rate per hour, as well as any badges they’ve earned for continuous performance.

When you’re searching for tools for digital marketing agencies, the last thing you need is to waste time with people who can’t deliver. Upwork ensures that doesn’t happen with their escrow protection as well. None of the money you pay for a job will be released until you are happy with it.

I also find that Upwork is a great place to find long-term working relationships with freelancers that you can use on an ongoing basis versus a one-off job.

fivver digital marketing tools

I like to think of Fiverr as Upwork’s little brother. When you’re looking to create long-term working relationships and hire someone who can really provide you with a premium service, you should turn to Upwork.

Sometimes though, you’re just looking for a quick job that someone can turn around fast for an affordable price. For example, if you need someone to do up a quick logo for an affiliate site for five dollars, Fiverr is the way to go.

One thing I really like about Fiverr is you can quickly sift through freelancers using the search feature. Type in the service you’re interested in, and you’ll find information such as overall rating and average starting cost.

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Fiverr also provides certain freelancers with titles like “top-rated seller” and “level 2 seller.” These will help you determine what level of experience you’re looking for in the job you need to be completed. The best digital marketing tools offer this kind of trust.

This tool is best for one-off jobs that are lower budget and not as difficult, but I wouldn’t recommend hiring off Fiverr for anything too involved such as link building or content creation.

omnifocus digital marketing tool

Need to stay on task? This digital marketing tool can help.

OmniFocus is a task management tool that helps you manage all your operations in one place. You can keep track of everything that’s going on all from your browser or mobile device.

You can tag certain projects, assign them to the individual you want to complete them, and set due dates so you can lay out your week in the most productive way possible. As work comes in, you can assign support workers to handle the task and close it out when it’s complete.

One of my favorite things about OmniFocus is the forecast feature where you can get an overall snapshot of what you have coming up in the future including recurring tasks that might only happen once per quarter, bi-annually, or even every few years. This ensures that no one forgets anything.

The main downside is that this tool is only available for Apple users at this point. For all the Windows and Android people out there, you’ll have to go with something else like Trello or ClickUp for now.

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zoom digital marketing tool

We all know Zoom as the video conferencing software used to bring people together no matter where they are on the planet. We’re all facing our own unique remote working situation but we still need to connect sometimes and Zoom allows that to happen. The best digital marketing tools help bring businesses together.

You can share your screen, draw on the screen, record meetings, and invite others to join in as well. Zoom offers free video conferencing for up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes.

If you’re holding a one-on-one meeting that runs longer than 40 minutes, I’ve found in the past that Zoom will often extend the meeting for free with no time limit.

toggle digital marketing tool

Toggl helps bring this list of digital marketing tools together. For all the work you’re doing, freelancers you’re managing, and documents you’re sharing; you need to have an idea of how long everything takes.

This tool does that with time tracking, reporting, and project planning. You can use Toggl to get an accurate representation of how long a task or project will take so you can know how many resources you need to allot for next time.

Toggl offers a few different tools for time tracking, project planning, and candidate-screening so it’s an all-inclusive tool for businesses that manage a remote team.

Conclusion

Starting or growing a business isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming, either.

The first step is to create a strong digital marketing strategy–one that incorporates social media marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, and consistent, valuable content that truly speaks to your audience.

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Ensuring your business succeeds means using the right digital marketing tools at the right time. It’s my hope that this list will help you in your digital marketing efforts and bring you the success you seek.

Would you add any other tools to this list? Did you use any of these as you launched your small business? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

While many brands talk about focusing on the customer, few do it. Less than a quarter (24%) of global brands are mapping customer behavior and sentiment, according to Braze’s 2024 Customer Engagement Review. What’s worse, only 6% apply customer insights to their product and brand approach.

“At the end of the day, a lot of companies operate based on their structure and not how the consumer interacts with them,” Mariam Asmar, VP of strategic consulting, told MarTech. “And while some companies have done a great job of reorienting that, with roles like the chief customer officer, there are many more that still don’t. Cross-channel doesn’t exist because there are still all these silos. But the customer doesn’t care about your silos. The customer doesn’t see silos. They see a brand.”

Half of all marketers report either depending on multiple, siloed point solutions to cobble together a multi-channel experience manually (33%); or primarily relying on single-channel solutions (17%).  Only 30% have access to a single customer engagement platform capable of creating personalized, seamless experiences across channels. This is a huge problem when it comes to cross-channel, personalization.

The persistence of silos

The persistence of data silos despite decades of explanation about the problems they cause, surprised Asmar the most.

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Screenshot 2024 02 27 140015
Source: Braze 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review

“Why are we still talking about this?” she said to MarTech. “One of the themes I see in the report is we’re still getting caught up on some of the same stumbling blocks as before.”

She said silos are indicative of teams working on different goals and “the only way that gets unsolved is if a leader comes in and aligns people towards some of those goals.”

These silos also hinder the use of AI, something 99% of respondents said they were already doing. The top uses of AI by marketers are:

  • Generating creative ideas (48%).
  • Automating repetitive tasks (47%).
  • Optimizing strategies in real-time (47%).
  • Enhancing data analysis (47%).
  • Powering predictive analytics (45%).
  • Personalizing campaigns (44%). 

Despite the high usage numbers, less than half of marketers have any interest in exploring AI’s potential to enhance customer engagement. Asmar believes there are two main reasons for this. First is that many people like the systems they know and understand. The other reason is a lack of training on the part of companies.

Dig deeper: 5 ways CRMs are leveraging AI to automate marketing today

“I think about when I was in advertising and everybody switched to social media,” she told MarTech. “Companies acted like ‘Well, all the marketers will just figure out social media.’ You can’t do that because whenever you’re teaching somebody how to do something new there’s always a level of training them up, even though they’re apps that we use every day, as people using them as a business and how they apply, how we get impact from them.”

The good news is that brands are setting the stage for the data agility they need.

  • 50% export performance feedback to business intelligence platforms to generate advanced analytics.
  • 48% sync performance with insights generated by other platforms in the business.

Also worth noting: Marketers say these are the four main obstacles to creativity and strategy:  

  • Emphasis on KPIs inherently inhibits a focus on creativity (42%).
  • Too much time spent on business-as-usual execution and tasks (42%).
  • Lack of technology to execute creative ideas, (41%).
  • Hard to demonstrate ROI impact of creativity (40%).
Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952

Methodology

The 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review (registration required) is based on insights from 1,900 VP+ marketing decision-makers across 14 countries in three global regions: The Americas (Brazil, Mexico, and the US), APAC (Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea), and EMEA (France, Germany, Spain, the UAE, and the UK).

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MARKETING

Crafting Effortless Sales Through ‘Wow’ Moments in Experience Marketing

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Crafting Effortless Sales Through 'Wow' Moments in Experience Marketing

Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing

In an era where consumers are bombarded with endless choices and digital noise, standing out as a brand is more challenging than ever. Enter experience marketing – a strategy that transcends traditional advertising by focusing on creating immersive, memorable interactions. This innovative approach leverages the elements of surprise, delight, and reciprocity to forge strong emotional connections with customers, making the sale of your core product feel effortless. But how can businesses implement this strategy effectively? This guide delves into the art of crafting ‘wow’ moments that captivate audiences and transform customer engagement.

The Basics of Experience Marketing

Experience marketing is an evolved form of marketing that focuses on creating meaningful interactions with customers, aiming to elicit strong emotional responses that lead to brand loyalty and advocacy. Unlike conventional marketing, which often prioritizes product promotion, experience marketing centers on the customer’s holistic journey with the brand, creating a narrative that resonates on a personal level.

In today’s competitive market, experience marketing is not just beneficial; it’s essential. It differentiates your brand in a crowded marketplace, elevating your offerings beyond mere commodities to become integral parts of your customers’ lives. Through memorable experiences, you not only attract attention but also foster a community of loyal customers who are more likely to return and recommend your brand to others.

Principles of Experience Marketing

At the heart of experience marketing lie several key principles:

  • Emotional Connection: Crafting campaigns that touch on human emotions, from joy to surprise, creating memorable moments that customers are eager to share.
  • Customer-Centricity: Putting the customer’s needs and desires at the forefront of every marketing strategy, ensuring that each interaction adds value and enhances their experience with the brand.
  • Immersive Experiences: Utilizing technology and storytelling to create immersive experiences that captivate customers, making your brand a living part of their world.
  • Engagement Across Touchpoints: Ensuring consistent, engaging experiences across all customer touchpoints, from digital platforms to physical stores.

Understanding Your Audience

Before diving into the intricacies of crafting ‘wow’ moments, it’s crucial to understand who you’re creating these moments for. Identifying your audience’s pain points and desires is the first step in tailoring experiences that truly resonate.

1709033181 544 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing1709033181 544 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing

This involves deep market research, customer interviews, and leveraging data analytics to paint a comprehensive picture of your target demographic. By understanding the journey your customers are on, you can design touchpoints that not only meet but exceed their expectations.

  • Identifying Pain Points and Desires: Use surveys, social media listening, and customer feedback to gather insights. What frustrates your customers about your industry? What do they wish for more than anything else? These insights will guide your efforts to create experiences that truly resonate.
  • Mapping the Customer Journey: Visualize every step a customer takes from discovering your brand to making a purchase and beyond. This map will highlight critical touchpoints where you can introduce ‘wow’ moments that transform the customer experience.

Developing Your Experience Marketing Strategy

With a clear understanding of your audience, it’s time to build the framework of your experience marketing strategy. This involves setting clear objectives, identifying key customer touchpoints, and conceptualizing the experiences you want to create.

  • Setting Objectives: Define what you aim to achieve with your experience marketing efforts. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, boosting sales, or improving customer retention, having clear goals will shape your approach and help measure success.
  • Strategic Touchpoint Identification: List all the potential touchpoints where customers interact with your brand, from social media to in-store experiences. Consider every stage of the customer journey and look for opportunities to enhance these interactions.

Enhancing Customer Experiences with Surprise, Delight, and Reciprocity

This section is where the magic happens. By integrating the elements of surprise, delight, and reciprocity, you can elevate ordinary customer interactions into unforgettable experiences.

1709033181 790 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing1709033181 790 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing
  • Incorporating Surprise and Delight: Go beyond what’s expected. This could be as simple as a personalized thank-you note with each purchase or as elaborate as a surprise gift for loyal customers. The key is to create moments that feel special and unexpected.
  • Applying the Principle of Reciprocity: When customers receive something of value, they’re naturally inclined to give something back. This can be leveraged by offering helpful resources, exceptional service, or customer appreciation events. Such gestures encourage loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.
  • Examples and Case Studies: Highlight real-world examples of brands that have successfully implemented these strategies. Analyze what they did, why it worked, and how it impacted their relationship with customers.

Best Practices for Experience Marketing

To ensure your experience marketing strategy is as effective as possible, it’s important to adhere to some best practices.

  • Personalization at Scale: Leverage data and technology to personalize experiences without losing efficiency. Tailored experiences make customers feel valued and understood.
  • Using Technology to Enhance Experiences: From augmented reality (AR) to mobile apps, technology offers myriad ways to create immersive experiences that surprise and engage customers.
  • Measuring Success: Utilize analytics tools to track the success of your experience marketing initiatives. Key performance indicators (KPIs) could include engagement rates, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction scores.

Section 5: Overcoming Common Challenges

Even the best-laid plans can encounter obstacles. This section addresses common challenges in experience marketing and how to overcome them.

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  • Budget Constraints: Learn how to create impactful experiences without breaking the bank. It’s about creativity, not just expenditure.
  • Maintaining Consistency: Ensuring a consistent brand experience across all touchpoints can be daunting. Develop a comprehensive brand guideline and train your team accordingly.
  • Staying Ahead of Trends: The digital landscape is ever-changing. Stay informed about the latest trends in experience marketing and be ready to adapt your strategy as necessary.

The Path to Effortless Sales

By creating memorable experiences that resonate on a personal level, you make the path to purchase not just easy but natural. When customers feel connected to your brand, appreciated, and valued, making a sale becomes a byproduct of your relationship with them. Experience marketing, when done right, transforms transactions into interactions, customers into advocates, and products into passions.

Now is the time to reassess your marketing strategy. Are you just selling a product, or are you providing an unforgettable experience? Dive into the world of experience marketing and start creating those ‘wow’ moments that will not only distinguish your brand but also make sales feel effortless.


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The Current State of Google’s Search Generative Experience [What It Means for SEO in 2024]

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The Current State of Google's Search Generative Experience [What It Means for SEO in 2024]

SEO enthusiasts, known for naming algorithm updates after animals and embracing melodrama, find themselves in a landscape where the “adapt or die” mantra prevails. So when Google announced the launch of its Search Generative Experience (SGE) in May of 2023 at Google/IO, you can imagine the reaction was immense.

Although SGE has the potential to be a truly transformative force in the landscape, we’re still waiting for SGE to move out of the Google Labs Sandbox and integrate into standard search results. 

Curious about our current take on SGE and its potential impact on SEO in the future? Read on for more.

Decoding Google’s Defensive Move

In response to potential threats from competitors like ChatGPT, Bing, TikTok, Reddit, and Amazon, Google introduced SGE as a defensive maneuver. However, its initial beta release raised questions about its readiness and global deployment.

ChatGPT provided an existential threat that had the potential to eat into Google’s market share. When Bing started incorporating it into its search results, it was one of the most significant wins for Bing in a decade. In combination with threats from TikTok, Reddit, and Amazon, we see a more fractured search landscape less dominated by Google. Upon its launch, the expectation was that Google would push its SGE solution globally, impact most queries, and massively shake up organic search results and strategies to improve organic visibility.

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Now, industry leaders are starting to question if Google is better off leaving SGE in the testing ground in Google labs. According to Google’s recent update, it appears that SGE will remain an opt-in experience in Google Labs (for at least the short term). If SGE was released, there could be a fundamental reset in understanding SEO. Everything from organic traffic to optimization tactics to tracking tools would need adjustments for the new experience. Therefore, the prospect of SGE staying in Google Labs is comforting if not entirely reliable. 

The ever-present option is that Google can change its mind at any point and push SGE out broadly as part of its standard search experience. For this reason, we see value in learning from our observations with SGE and continuing to stay on top of the experience.

SGE User Experience and Operational Challenges

If you’ve signed up for search labs and have been experimenting with SGE for a while, you know firsthand there are various issues that Google should address before rolling it out broadly to the public.

At a high level, these issues fall into two broad categories including user experience issues and operational issues.

Below are some significant issues we’ve come across, with Google making notable progress in addressing certain ones, while others still require improvement:

  • Load time – Too many AI-generated answers take longer to load than a user is willing to wait. Google recommends less than a 3-second load time to meet expectations. They’ll need to figure out how to consistently return results quickly if they want to see a higher adoption rate.
  • Layout – The SGE layout is massive. We believe any major rollout will be more streamlined to make it a less intrusive experience for users and allow more visibility for ads, and if we’re lucky, organic results. Unfortunately, there is still a decent chance that organic results will move below the fold, especially on mobile devices. Recently, Google has incorporated more results where users are prompted to generate the AI result if they’d like to see it. The hope is Google makes this the default in the event of a broad rollout where users can generate an AI result if they want one instead of assuming that’s what a user would like to see. 
  • Redundancy – The AI result duplicates features from the map pack and quick answer results. 
  • Attribution – Due to user feedback, Google includes sources on several of their AI-powered overviews where you can see relevant web pages if there is an arrow next to the result. Currently, the best way to appear as one of these relevant pages is to be one of the top-ranked results, which is convenient from an optimization standpoint. Changes to how attribution and sourcing are handled could heavily impact organic strategies. 

 

On the operational side, Google also faces significant hurdles to making SGE a viable product for its traditional search product. The biggest obstacle appears to be making the cost associated with the technology worth the business outcomes it provides. If this was a necessary investment to maintain market share, Google might be willing to eat the cost, but if their current position is relatively stable, Google doesn’t have much of an incentive to take on the additional cost burden of heavily leveraging generative AI while also presumably taking a hit to their ad revenue. Especially since slow user adoption doesn’t indicate this is something users are demanding at the moment.

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While the current experience of SGE is including ads above the generative results now, the earliest iterations didn’t heavily feature sponsored ads. While they are now included, the current SGE layout would still significantly disrupt the ad experience we’re used to. During the Google I/O announcement, they made a statement to reassure advertisers they would be mindful of maintaining a distinct ad experience in search.  

“In this new generative experience, Search ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page. And we’ll continue to uphold our commitment to ads transparency and making sure ads are distinguishable from organic search results” – Elizabeth Reid, VP, Search at Google

Google is trying to thread a delicate needle here of staying on the cutting edge with their search features, while trying not to upset their advertisers and needlessly hinder their own revenue stream. Roger Montti details more of the operational issues in a recent article digging into the surprising reasons SGE is stuck in Google Labs.

He lists three big problems that need to be solved before SGE will be integrated into the foreground of search:

  1. Large Language Models being inadequate as an information retrieval system
  2. The inefficiency and cost of transformer architecture
  3. Hallucinating (providing inaccurate answers)

 

Until SGE provides more user value and checks more boxes on the business sense side, the traditional search experience is here to stay. Unfortunately, we don’t know when or if Google will ever feel confident they’ve addressed all of these concerns, so we’ll need to stay prepared for change.

Experts Chime in on Search Generative Experience

Our team has been actively engaging with SGE, here’s a closer look at their thoughts and opinions on the experience so far:

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“With SGE still in its early stages, I’ve noticed consistent changes in how the generative results are produced and weaved naturally into the SERPs. Because of this, I feel it is imperative to stay on top of these on-going changes to ensure we can continue to educate our clients on what to expect when SGE is officially incorporated into our everyday lives. Although an official launch date is currently unknown, I believe proactively testing various prompt types and recording our learnings is important to prepare our clients for this next evolution of Google search.” – Jon Pagano, SEO Sr. Specialist at Tinuiti

“It’s been exciting to watch SGE grow through different variations over the last year, but like other AI solutions its potential still outweighs its functionality and usefulness. What’s interesting to see is that SGE doesn’t just cite its sources of information, but also provides an enhanced preview of each webpage referenced. This presents a unique organic opportunity where previously untouchable top 10 rankings are far more accessible to the average website. Time will tell what the top ranking factors for SGE are, but verifiable content with strong E-E-A-T signals will be imperative. –Kate Fischer, SEO Specialist at Tinuiti

“Traditionally, AI tools were very good at analytical tasks. With the rise of ChatGPT, users can have long-form, multi-question conversations not yet available in search results. When, not if, released, Google’s Generative Experience will transform how we view AI and search. Because there are so many unknowns, some of the most impactful ways we prepare our clients are to discover and develop SEO strategies that AI tools can’t directly disrupt, like mid to low funnel content.” – Brandon Miller, SEO Specialist at Tinuiti

“SGE is going to make a huge impact on the ecommerce industry by changing the way users interact with the search results. Improved shopping experience will allow users to compare products, price match, and read reviews in order to make it quicker and easier for a user to find the best deals and purchase. Although this leads to more competitive results, it also improves organic visibility and expands our product reach. It is more important than ever to ensure all elements of a page are uniquely and specifically optimized for search. With the SGE updates expected to continue to impact search results, the best way to stay ahead is by focusing on strong user focused content and detailed product page optimizations.”  – Kellie Daley, SEO Sr. Specialist at Tinuiti

Navigating the Clash of Trends

One of the most interesting aspects of the generative AI trend in search is that it appears to be in direct opposition to other recent trends.

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One of the ways Google has historically evaluated the efficacy of its search ranking systems is through the manual review of quality raters. In their quality rater guidelines, raters were instructed to review for things like expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT) in results to determine if Google results are providing users the information they deserve. 

In 2022, Google updated their search guidelines to include another ‘e’ in the form of experience (EEAT). In their words, Google wanted to better assess if the content a user was consuming was created by someone with, “a degree of experience, such as with actual use of a product, having actually visited a place or communicating what a person has experienced. There are some situations where really what you value most is content produced by someone who has firsthand, life experience on the topic at hand.” 

Generative AI results, while cutting-edge technology and wildly impressive in some cases, stand in direct opposition to the principles of E-E-A-T. That’s not to say that there’s no room for both in search, but Google will have to determine what it thinks users value more between these competing trends. The slow adoption of SGE could be an indication that a preference for human experience, expertise, authority, and trust is winning round one in this fight. 

Along these lines, Google is also diversifying its search results to cater to the format in which users get their information. This takes the form of their Perspectives Filter. Also announced at Google I/O 2023, the perspectives filter incorporates more video, image, and discussion board posts from places like TikTok, YouTube, Reddit, and Quora. Once again, this trend shows the emphasis and value searchers place on experience and perspective. Users value individual experience over the impersonal conveyance of information. AI will never have these two things, even if it can provide a convincing imitation.

The current iteration of SGE seems to go too far in dismissing these trends in favor of generative AI. It’s an interesting challenge Google faces. If they don’t determine the prevailing trend correctly, veering too far in one direction can push more market share to ChatGPT or platforms like YouTube and TikTok.

Final Thoughts

The range of outcomes remains broad and fascinating for SGE. We can see this developing in different ways, and prognostication offers little value, but it’s invaluable to know the potential outcomes and prepare for as many of them as possible.

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It’s critical that you or your search agency be interacting and experimenting with SGE because:

  • The format and results will most likely continue to see significant changes
  • This space moves quickly and it’s easy to fall behind
  • Google may fix all of the issues with SGE and decide to push it live, changing the landscape of search overnight
  • SGE experiments could inform other AI elements incorporated into the search experience

 

Ultimately, optimizing for the specific SGE experience we see now is less important because we know it will inevitably continue changing. We see more value in recognizing the trends and problems Google is trying to solve with this technology. With how quickly this space moves, any specifics mentioned in this article could be outdated in a week. That’s why focusing on intention and process is important at this stage of the game.

By understanding the future needs and wants SGE is attempting to address, we can help you future-proof your search strategies as much as possible. To some extent we’re always at the whims of the algorithm, but by maintaining a user-centric approach, you can make your customers happy, regardless of how they find you.

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