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Ways to Increase Customer Satisfaction and Brand Loyalty

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Ways to Increase Customer Satisfaction and Brand Loyalty

Customer Satisfaction is the key to the success of any business. When customers get satisfied and happy with the experience they are provided, they become the most powerful marketing tool for your business. Satisfied customers make more repurchases and give you more business.

On top of that, they share their positive experience with other people, which impacts the market. Researches suggest that 74% of the customers agree that word of mouth is an important factor influencing their purchase decisions. In this way, satisfied customers create a bond with you and your business, and they become loyal to your brand.

This article will explore what Customer Satisfaction is, What is Brand Loyalty, how it is essential, and how you can grow customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

What is Customer Satisfaction and Brand Loyalty?

Customer Satisfaction is the degree of happiness and fulfillment of the customers with the products, services, and overall experience provided by an organization or seller.

When customers are fully satisfied with their experience with the products and services, they make repeat purchases. When repeated multiple times, it builds a relationship between the sellers and the brand, and the customers become loyal to the brand. This trustworthy relationship creates Brand Loyalty.

Brand Loyalty is a pattern of consumer behavior in which customers choose a particular brand over its competitors to buy products and services. It describes the positive relationship between a customer and a seller brand wherein the customer trusts the brand over any other brand.

But why do loyal customers trust a brand so much? This trust is built up by continuous positive experiences with that brand. So we can say that Customer Satisfaction is the key to creating Brand Loyalty.

Let’s understand why Brand Loyalty is vital for your business to grow.

Why is Brand Loyalty Important?

Brand Loyalty is crucial for the growth of any business. According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of the business comes from 20% of customers. These customers are none other than happy and loyal customers. It would not be wrong to say that a bunch of loyal customers can become a reason for the success of any organization or brand.

Let’s understand more about the importance of Brand Loyalty by exploring its benefits.

Benefits of Brand Loyalty

  1. It gives a Competitive Edge for the business
  2. It does marketing through word of mouth
  3. It helps in better customer retention
  4. It increases goodwill and brand recognition
  5. It helps to make more revenue

Let’s learn more about these benefits of brand loyalty.

1. It gives a Competitive Edge for the business

In today’s market, every organization and brand is doing their best to market their products and services, and customers are also trying new products and services. But when you are able to generate Brand Loyalty with the satisfaction you provide to your customers, you will gain a competitive edge in the market, and your customers will not easily get attracted to your competitors.  

2. It does marketing through word of mouth

Word of mouth is a significant factor that determines your sales. Loyal customers not only make repurchases but also attract more customers through their positive word of mouth, and it affects the buyer’s decisions. Research suggests that around 88% of the customers trust the brand that their friends and family recommend.

3. It helps in better customer retention

It is almost five times costlier to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one. Customers’ brand loyalty retains them to stay longer with your brand and not switch to your competitors. Because of your loyal relationship with them, loyal customers are less likely to switch to your competitors. Even if they face some issues, they directly approach you or share feedback to get it resolved rather than just switching to another brand.

4. It increases goodwill and brand recognition

With customers staying for long and spreading good word of mouth about your business, brand loyalty increases your goodwill in the market. People start to recognize your brand which ultimately attracts more customers into the business.

5. It helps to make more revenue

Loyal customers make repurchases and give more revenue in their entire customer life cycle. Moreover, they are the most efficient source of marketing for any brand. When customers recommend your brand to their friends and family, they bring more customers into your business. Both these factors ultimately generate more revenue and profits for your business.

Let’s explore some examples of successful brands in generating brand loyalty.

Successful Examples of Brand Loyalty

1. Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime is a yearly paid subscription program that provides additional services to its users like the 2-day shipping of Amazon products and streamlining capabilities through Prime Video. The subscription with an annual fee proved to be successful for the brand. Researches suggest that prime members make on an average 24 orders per year, which is double compared to non-prime members.

When we talk about Revenue, researchers say that Prime members spend around $1300 per annum on the website, whereas non-prime members spend around $700 per annum.

2. Sephora

Sephora is a perfect example of going out of the box and providing unique experiences to the customers for delivering the next level of satisfaction that they can’t get through discounts alone. The multinational company based in France has 3000 brands offering beauty products like tools, nail color, lotions, and cosmetics.

Its loyalty program, Beauty Insider, provides access to a community of like-minded people to interact with each other and talk about the topics they love. They also get exclusive experiences like meeting brand founders, looking behind the scenes at how their favorite products are made, and participating in beauty events and shows. The initiative proved successful, with 35 million members being part of the program.

3. Domino’s

Domino’s is a brand of pizzas and is among the top fast-food chain around the globe. Domino’s has developed a good base of loyal customers that prefer Domino’s pizzas over any other brand. It is an excellent example of providing personalized experiences. It offers personalized pizza recipes and so many topping options for the customers, among which they can choose the flavor of toppings as per their taste.

Moreover, it operates in many countries and takes care of the needs and cultures of different countries. Separate menus are available with Domino’s in different countries.

4. WhatsApp

WhatsApp is an online communication platform that enables its users to communicate through messaging, voice calls, and video calls across the globe. WhatsApp is an easy-to-use application. The Brand Loyalty of WhatsApp is ever-increasing, and there is no other competitor at the moment who can give competition to Whatsapp in the market. It has now become a part of many people’s lives around the world.

5. Starbucks

Starbucks is a popular coffee giant. It launched an app-based loyalty program named ‘My Starbucks Rewards’. The app is very easy to use, and the customers can quickly load money into their accounts through the app. This app allows the customers to place orders, track them, and collect them from their nearest Starbucks branch.

They also get ‘stars’ with every order, which they can redeem afterward for free drinks and other edible items. The loyalty programs proved successful, connecting around 23.4 million members using it.

Now, let’s explore some great ways to increase Customer Satisfaction and Brand Loyalty.

Ways to Increase Customer Satisfaction and Brand Loyalty

  1. Establish Clear Goals and Values
  2. Maintain Transparency
  3. Live to your Commitments
  4. Delight Your Customers
  5. Be Expert in Matters
  6. Focus on providing Exceptional Customer Service
  7. Provide Welcoming Experiences
  8. Provide Personalized Experiences
  9. Adopt Omnichannel Approach
  10. .Maintain Consistency for older Clients
  11. Focus on Empowering Employees
  12. Go beyond your rules to support the customers
  13. Collect Customer Feedback
  14. Admit where you are Wrong
  15. Respond and Take Action on Feedback
  16. Reward Customer Loyalty

Let’s learn more about these tricks and understand how you can use them to increase Customer Satisfaction and Brand Loyalty.

1. Establish Clear Goals and Values

Identify and establish clear goals and values of your company and display them in your vision statement and slogans. Be clear on the objective of your organization and the purpose it serves for the customers, and be firm on them. Your values should not be just a philosophy to write for your customers. Instead, they must be practically implemented, and the customers should feel it.

For instance, if your vision is to provide pure and healthy edible products to consumers, you must be firm about it and never compromise on the quality and purity of your products. If you follow your values and vision honestly and firmly, the customers will trust you more than any other brand and become loyal to your brand, even if they have to pay a higher price.

2. Maintain Transparency

Maintain transparency in what you do and what you can provide to your customers. If you are a small business, never pretend to be a big one. Show honestly what you are and what you can serve. Be transparent about your processes, about the quality of your products, your services, and whichever way you can be. The more transparent and honest you are, the more strongly your customers trust you and the more likely they are to become loyal to your brand.

3. Live to your Commitments

Never make fake promises to your customers, and when you make commitments, live up to them. Do as much as to satisfy your customers, but learn to say No when you cannot do what the customers want rather than making fake promises. And once you or one of your agents have committed, go out of the way to fulfill it even if you have to bear a slight loss for it. Remember, losses can be recovered, but customers’ trust cannot.

4. Delight Your Customers

One of the best ways to boost Customer Satisfaction and loyalty is to exceed customers’ expectations. When you provide to the customers more than they expect, they feel special, and their experiences become amazing. To delight your customers, you can give them free gifts, discount coupons, or complimentary services. You can also prepare what customers can need in the future and provide them on time. All these small things that exceed customers’ expectations make them delighted and boost their loyalty to the brand.

5. Be Expert in Matters

You must be an expert for the customers in matters of concern. Be available for your customers to resolve their queries and issues. Build such authority in your area that there is no such issue or query that you and your support agents can’t resolve.

Make available content for your customers like help articles, podcasts, videos about certain problems that they may face. And if this can’t help, your customer support agents must be able to help the customers at the right time. These things help build trust among the customers about your knowledge and experience, and they would prefer your brand over others.

6. Focus on providing Exceptional Customer Service

Customer Service is one of the most critical determinants of Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty. Researches suggest that 96% of global customers agree that customer service is a crucial factor determining their loyalty to the brand. So always focus more on providing outstanding customer service if you want to win the customers.

7. Provide Welcoming Experiences

‘First Impression is the Last Impression’ – the quote relates perfectly to welcoming your customers. When we talk about welcoming the customers, we do not refer particularly to the Hotels and Hospitality industry. We are referring to every industry. When the customers approach you even at the first stage of the customer journey, when they are just deciding on which brand they should choose, then also you must provide welcoming experiences to the customers.

Deal with them with complete courtesy and try to understand their requirements. Even if they do not choose you, don’t show your frustration to them. Instead, tell them that they are always welcome. These things create a very positive impression on your customers and potential customers. Moreover, when they become your customers, always welcome them whenever they come with a problem and provide solutions to them in a friendly way to satisfy them.

8. Provide Personalized Experiences

Personalization is a great way to build a good relationship with your customers and boost their satisfaction and loyalty. Studies suggest that around 80% of the customers prefer to buy from those companies that offer personalized experiences and solutions to the customers. When you provide tailored products and services to the customers, you build a personal relationship with them. This gives them immense satisfaction as they get exactly what they require and build loyalty towards your business.

9. Adopt Omnichannel Approach

One of the most effective ways to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty is being omnipresent. This means that you should be available for the customers on multiple channels. Nowadays, people use a variety of channels for different purposes. The key is to serve them through the channel they prefer. For this, you have to be present on multiple channels, whether it is payment options, support, or anything where the customers need to contact you.

10. Maintain Consistency for older Clients

Companies focus on attracting new clients and giving them new offers to prompt them to do business with them. But at the same time, if you ignore the older clients, it will not be suitable for your business. Remember that existing customers are your primary stakeholders and give you a lot of business. Research suggests that 65% of the business comes from the existing customers only. So you must take care that you consistently provide amazing experiences to your existing clients in order to retain them and get continuous business from them.

If you give exciting offers to your new customers or potential customers but charge high prices from your existing customers, it’s like penalizing them for loyalty. Instead, ensure that you provide them with more benefits than you offer to the new clients.

11. Focus on Empowering Employees

To provide excellent Customer Satisfaction to your customers, it is necessary to empower your employees so that they can serve your customers well. Firstly, ensure employee satisfaction because satisfied employees are more engaged towards the organization’s work.  

Secondly, provide them with the necessary training they need so that they can serve the customers better. If a customer asks a query, they must be able to respond at the moment and resolve customers’ queries and concerns.

And most importantly, they must have some authority to make minor decisions like giving a small discount, waiving off late fees if it’s not too late, applying an offer whose validity has just finished a day ago, etc. When customers make such requests, and your employees entertain them without going into the long process of obtaining approval from their seniors, it increases customers’ satisfaction and makes them more loyal to your brand.  

12. Go beyond your rules to support the customers

It’s good to follow your policies and stay firm in your values, but remember that rules are made for people, and it’s better to break them sometimes. For instance, you are in a service-based industry, and you have a customer who always makes his payment on time. But in one instance, he forgets to make the payment, and a late fee is applied to his bills. He requests you to waive off the late fee, as this was the first time delay and that too a minimal delay.

Now, even if, according to the policies, you can charge a late fee, it will be much better if you entertain his request and waive off the late fee from his bills. Going beyond the rules in such instances will enhance customer satisfaction and increase their loyalty to your brand.

13. Collect Customer Feedback

Customer Feedback is crucial for every business to collect. With Customer Feedback only, you get to know how customers perceive their experience with your products and services. It helps you understand what customers expect from you and what you should do to live up to their expectations.

Getting this vital information enables you to serve your customers well and in the way they want to be served. By getting feedback, you can make your action plans, improve your products and services, and do the right thing to satisfy your customers. Use good Customer Feedback Software to share Customer Satisfaction Surveys with your customers to collect their feedback, measure satisfaction, and improve Customer Experience.

14. Admit where you are Wrong

There is nothing more frustrating for the customers when they make a complaint, give valid logic where you were wrong, but you don’t admit your mistake. This turns them down and creates a poor experience for them. Researches suggest that 32% of the customers would leave the brand they once loved with just one instance of a poor experience.

So even if an experience is gone wrong, admit your mistake, apologize to the customers, and do whatever it takes to improve their experience. Never argue with the customers, especially when the fault is at your end.

15. Respond and Take Action on Feedback

The worst thing you can do with Customer Feedback is to do nothing with it. Collecting feedback and not doing anything with it makes the entire effort of collecting it go useless. So always respond to Customer Feedback and take the necessary actions required.

Thank the happy customers, ask the customers what you can do to improve their experiences, apologize to the unhappy customers, take actions to improve their experience, and close the feedback loop effectively. When you take action on Customer Feedback to improve Customer Experience and tell them what you have done to improve their experience, it gives a very positive feeling to them and can even change negative feedback into a positive one.  

16. Reward Customer Loyalty

Reward your loyal customers for being loyal to your brand. Ways of rewarding can vary. It can range from giving a small additional discount to running a full-fledged loyalty program to benefit your customers. Ensure that whatever you do actually benefits your customers and rewards their Customer Loyalty, and it’s not just for the sake of just having a loyalty program.

Conclusion

Customer Satisfaction and Brand Loyalty are necessary for any business to survive and grow and they are both interrelated to each other. Without satisfying the customers, no business can survive, and to be successful, every business must have some loyal customers. When you are able to satisfy your customers, it generates Brand Loyalty in them. Then they choose you again and again, and eventually become your loyal customers. Loyal customers not only make repurchases but also attract more customers with their positive reviews and word of mouth.

So to make your business successful, you must always focus on providing maximum satisfaction to your customers and creating great customer experiences. You should collect customer feedback, work on it to improve customer experience and always encourage customers’ Brand Loyalty by rewarding your loyal customers.


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How To Build a Communication and Implementation Plan

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How To Build a Communication and Implementation Plan

You learn about a C-suite decision that will have a transformative impact on your content marketing team. Perhaps, the announcement included one or more of these directives:

  • “We must produce more content and manage multi-platform distribution with greater agility. We plan to add ChatGPT to our editorial capabilities and implement a headless CMS.”
  • “We’re updating our three-year business strategy and need all teams to align their operations around achieving a new set of goals.”
  • “We’ve been acquired. We will be merging many of our business units and will need to relaunch our website so we can tell a more unified story.”

Or maybe it’s another substantive shift in strategy or operations. As a content team leader, whether excited or terrified, you must get your team on board and ensure the initiative succeeds.

Transformational changes are nearly impossible to implement without a clear plan that communicates the desired destination, the motivation to pursue it, and the path to reach it.

Jenny Magic, marketing strategist and professional coach, shares how to do that in a Content Marketing World presentation she co-developed with Melissa Breker.

You can watch the conversation (beginning at 2:30-minute mark) or scroll down to read her recommendations to gather support, clear obstacles, and keep efforts moving in the right direction.

5 sabotages that disrupt transformational changes

Every organization has unique conditions and challenges, but Jenny points out five common barriers that prevent the successful adoption of new priorities and practices:

  • Forced change. When workers don’t understand or agree with the change, they won’t invest in the process, especially if it requires a lot of effort or a long-term investment.
  • Misaligned goals. You can’t sell a change that benefits the company if employees don’t see how it helps them reach their personal or professional goals.
  • Group-speak. Your team may nod in agreement when the CEO says, “We’re all going to do this together, right?” But that enthusiasm might not hold when the boss’ eyes are no longer on them.
  • Rushed process. Team members already overwhelmed with responsibilities don’t give new tasks top priority. Jenny says if you can’t take something off their plate, communicate they won’t be pressured to rush it through.
  • Lack of team alignment. Everyone must be on the same page regarding the direction, intention, and actions required. Without this alignment, tasks fall through the cracks, and all the hard work may not lead to achieving the goal.

Forced change, group-speak, rushed processes can all disrupt transformational changes, says @JennyLMagic via @joderama @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For your change mission to succeed, your communications plan should account for how you’ll address (or avoid) these obstacles. These details will minimize the friction, lack of participation, and flagging enthusiasm you could have experienced during implementation.


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Plan for the transformation journey

Jenny shares a three-part approach she uses to help her consultancy clients get big ideas off the drawing board, onto team members’ priority lists, and into the marketplace.

1. Establish the destination: What’s changing, why, and what’s involved

To get your team to join the journey of change, they need to know where they’re going. Create a change summary to help with that. The simple map summarizes the relevant details about the change, the phases of implementation, and the benefits gained when the goal is reached.

First, identify the most critical details to communicate. Answer these questions:

  • What’s the nature of the change? What is being done differently, and what does that mean for the business and team? What isn’t changing that might be the stability anchor?
  • Why is it happening? Why does the organization think this change is critical? Why is now the right time to do this?
  • Who’s involved? Who will the change affect? What will they be expected to do? What about their roles, processes, and priorities? Why would they want to participate, and why might they be reluctant?
  • When will it happen? Will the change occur all at once or gradually? What happens at each stage, and which ones will require the content marketing team’s involvement?
  • What are the expected results? What is the organization looking to achieve? What benefits or advantages will it bring? What will the company and team see when the goal is reached?

With these answers, you can build a change summary to share in stakeholder and team member conversations. Any spreadsheet or presentation tool will do, though you can create a template based on the document Jenny uses for her client engagements (below).

The summary of what’s changing appears at the top of the page and details of the most critical elements appear below it. Bulleted notes detail what to expect with each element and the benefits for the business and your team. Lastly, a general timeline outlines each project phase.

2. Load up the crew: Gather support and communicate benefits

To achieve the change goal, all players must agree to travel together and move in the same direction. “If our team is not aligned on where the heck we’re going, there’s literally no chance we’re going to get there,” Jenny says.

Team members who immediately see the value in the initiative might follow your lead without question. But some key players may need a little more convincing. Jenny offers a few ideas to get them on board.

Enlist the support of an active, visible sponsor: Social media shows putting the right influencer behind your pitch can move minds. The same goes for pushing through a big change within an organization. Research from Prosci finds projects with an extremely effective sponsor met or exceeded objectives more than twice as often as those with a very ineffective sponsor.

If you have the support of senior team leaders and high-profile company personnel, ask for their help socializing the change to others. They might seed relevant information in their newsletters and other content they share internally or help shape your change activities and messaging to improve their appeal.

Translate organizational goals into personal motivations: Some team members may reluctantly participate because they perceive an impact on their role. For example, workers may think the added work will strain their already demanding schedules. Others may be skeptical because of negative experiences with similar changes in the past or disbelief that the change might benefit them.

A series of stakeholder conversations can help identify the significant concerns and disconnects that might prevent them from engaging. They also can reveal specific challenges and motivations that you can address with more resonant and appealing messaging.

Translate organizational goals into personal motivations so team members can see how they’ll benefit, says @JennyLMagic via @joderama @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Some marketing tools you use to influence an audience can help you facilitate those conversations. For example, Jenny says, personas can surface critical insights about who may be impacted by the change and what it might take to nurture them onto the path.

Her personas checklist includes these questions:

  • Who’s leading the change? Do any key sponsors directly relate to the persona’s role?
  • Will this persona be impacted more or less than others?
  • Will they need information more frequently or in greater detail?
  • What reactions will they have?
  • How will you approach training for this persona? What support will be provided?
  • At what phase of the change will they be most affected?

Jenny also recommends using your marketing communication and engagement tools. For example, the simple tracking sheet she developed (below) can help visualize the audience, delivery formats and channels, optimal messages, and approval and final sign-off requirements to mention in your stakeholder discussions.

Choose the right messenger – and a customized message: Sometimes, a disconnect occurs not because of the message but because of the message’s deliverer. For example, employees expect to hear about significant corporate initiatives from executives and senior leaders. But for changes impacting their day-to-day responsibilities, they may prefer to hear from a manager or supervisor who understands their role.

Other times, preventing a disconnect could require tailoring the message to the team’s needs. Jenny suggests focusing on the direct benefits once the initiative is activated. “Consider how it might help them further their career, address something they’re struggling with, or offer an opportunity to explore an area they’re passionate about,” Jenny says.  

Surface hidden issues with confidential interviews: Valid concerns can remain hidden, especially for team members who are reluctant to voice their objections in team meetings. Working one-on-one with a neutral or external moderator – someone with no stake in the decision for change – might help them open up.

Ensure they know the confidential interview results will be aggregated so no individual responses will be identified. “It’s really helpful to get that confessional energy,” Jenny says. “It can help you surface individual reservations, causes of their reluctance, and personal motivations. “

A confidential one-on-one interview with an external moderator can help surface concerns from reluctant team members, says @JennyLMagic via @joderama @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Jenny shares in her checklist (below) some preliminary questions for a moderator to assess during a confidential interview:

  • How does the individual feel about the change?
  • Is it the right change?
  • Is it the right time?
  • Is it supported enough to succeed?
  • What risks do they predict?
  • Do they have ideas about how we could reduce obstacles and challenges?
  • What lessons from past change efforts can they share with us?
  • Could they become a change champion?

The process can fuel opportunities to shift messaging, positioning, or delivery approach to help the outliers see how the change can benefit them and get them more excited about participating. Jenny says it can also reveal valid concerns that need to be solved so they don’t hinder progress.

3. Hit the road: Position and prepare your team for success

Big changes are always risky. They disrupt the status quo, and if they involve multiple teams and business functions, some changes may feel like a win for some at the expense of others.

Taking a few extra steps before executing your plans can keep those issues from diverting the goal or leaving any team members stranded along the way. “This is where we establish commitment and accountability and think about what could go wrong and how we’re going to deal with it,” Jenny says.

Own up to what you do and don’t know: Ultimately, you can’t plan for every contingency. “You’ll lose trust rapidly if you pretend you do,” Jenny says. She offers a few communication tips to set the right expectations from the start:

  • Be clear and candid: Directly address what you do know, don’t know, and what is and isn’t possible with this change. Outline how you will communicate status updates and new information as they arise.
  • Be receptive: Don’t take resistance personally. Listen to your team’s questions and respond to their feedback with an open mind.
  • Be visible: Socialize progress across your team’s preferred communication channels, and make sure everyone knows how to reach you if they encounter a problem. You can regularly host town hall meetings, road-show presentations, or open forums to ensure everyone stays informed and has a chance to share their thoughts.

Position project requirements as opportunities and advantages: Jenny suggests exercising creative thinking to help concerned team members see the new responsibilities as a chance to benefit personally.

For example, if they need to learn additional skills to accomplish their tasks, provide in-house training or access to third-party educational tools. Position the opportunity as a chance to expand their capabilities to help them be more prepared for this change and to advance their careers in the long run.

You can also use the big change to rethink your org chart and rebalance team member responsibilities. “Every single person has work that they hate on their to-do list. I’ve found folks become more open if they’re offered an opportunity to do a task trade-off,” Jenny says.

Incentivize the journey – not just the destination: A lengthy and gradual implementation process should include incentives at regular intervals to motivate team members to stay the course.

Rewards can be specific and tangible, such as bonuses or loyalty program points. Or they can be intangible, such as shoutouts during monthly meetings or in internal newsletters. Arrange team happy hours or give comp time for extra hours worked. These appreciation efforts can make the added burden feel worthwhile.

Overcome obstacles in predictive planning: An element of science exists in the journey of change. You can’t reach your destination if the forces of resistance are stronger than the forces propelling you forward.

Jenny shares an innovation tool from a company called Gamestorming that can help quantify the balance of those forces at each phase. By working through this force-field analysis, you can take steps to ensure the winds of change will be in your favor.

An example of how it works is shown below. In the center, an illustration represents the change you want to implement – transitioning from hierarchical to more transparent hubs.

On one side, the forces of change – all the elements of the vision that characterize the importance of the change and how it works in your favor – are listed. In this example, those forces are:

  • Improve long-term revenue
  • Help meet market demand
  • Satisfies customer expectations
  • Addresses current unsustainable costs
  • Give a competitive advantage in the marketplace

On the other side, the forces of resistance – conditions and constraints that may prevent realizing the vision – are listed. In the example, these forces include:

  • Company culture
  • Time constraints
  • Viability of new tech
  • Client adoption
  • Current costs

Rank each element’s impact on the project’s success on a scale of one to five.  Then add the rankings on each side and compare the scores to see whether you have a stronger chance of success than failure and identify where efforts should be made to overcome obstacles.

Plan the journey for a smoother arrival

Convincing your team to jump aboard the organizational-change train is rarely easy. But with a clear operational plan, aligned support, and open communication, you’ll help them see the benefits of participating and get them excited to reach their destination.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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Alternative Search Engines: Why They Matter and How to Rank on Them

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Alternative Search Engines: Why They Matter and How to Rank on Them

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

12 billion, 3 billion, 1 billion. That’s the number of searches made in some of the top alternative search engines monthly.

While Google still holds more than 80% of the market share, ignoring search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo can make you lose out on relevant traffic. So don’t limit yourself to Google’s algorithm as you plan the next year’s SEO strategy.

In order to grow in the digital economy, we have to diversify our efforts. What better way to do that than by making sure that you rank on all the top search engines relevant for your audience?

Generally, there’s two reasons why your audience would choose an alternative search engine over Google: geopolitical reasons and/or privacy concerns.

As such, I’ve categorized the search engines below by global market share and by data privacy.

Top alternative search engines by global market share

When analyzing the global desktop market share of search engines throughout the last decade, there are a few small but mighty search engines that stand out. These are:

1) Bing

2) Yahoo

3) Yandex

4) DuckDuckGo

5) Baidu

These are the engines you want to give extra consideration if you intend to expand internationally. They all have their own unique search algorithms that are in many ways as complex and developed as Google’s.

Why they matter and how to rank on them

If you’re like me a few years ago, a die-hard Apple fan remarkably repulsed by Microsoft’s products (I’ve now converted to the seamless team of PC), you might think prioritizing resources to optimize content for Bing or other engines is a waste of time. What I failed to consider then, and what you might be overlooking, is geographic segmentation.

Do you want to reach the American audience using voice search? Consider Bing.

Are you expanding into China? Check out Baidu.

Each search engine matters because of its unique user types. Regardless of how small that market share might look on a global scale, if there’s regional search volume from your target audience, it’s worth the optimization.

Let’s go through them one by one.

Bing and Yahoo

Screenshot of bing.com, November 2022

Since 2018, Yahoo is exclusively powered by Bing Search. So as long as you rank in Bing, you’ll rank in Yahoo.

Bing Search, in combination with Yahoo, is without a doubt the strongest player after Google. Together, they have more than 10% of the global market share for desktop.

Now, some say that Bing’s market share will increase due to mergers and acquisitions, while others argue for its decline due to the death of Internet Explorer.

Still, all Microsoft browsers, such as Microsoft Edge Legacy and Chromium-based Microsoft Edge, have Bing as the default search engine, making Bing Search the natural choice for Microsoft product users. Yahoo, which is powered by Bing Search, is the default search engine for Mozilla’s browser Firefox, adding billions of impressions to Bing’s search results each year.

If we look at the United States alone, Microsoft sites own over 18% of the market share.

This is much due to their partnership with Amazon, where all voice-activated searches on Amazon Echo and Alexa are made with Bing Search.

Microsoft also pushes Bing further by offering easy rewards for searches and more advanced image search capabilities than Google.

Although the algorithms differ, optimizing for Bing search results is not much different than optimizing for Google. With a bit of fine tuning, it’s more than possible to come up with a strategy that allows for high rankings on both.

To rank on Bing, and thus Yahoo, make sure to do the following:

Infographic by AS Marketing, December 2022


1. List your business on Bing Places

Bing Places is the equivalent of Google My Business and is the fastest way to get your business ranking for local seo. Many even consider Bing Places to favor small business owners as Bing puts their information more prominently on display.

2. Upload an XML Sitemap using Bing’s Webmaster Tools

While the debate on how much sitemaps really do matter for Google SEO continues, uploading one with Bing’s Webmaster Tool for XML Sitemaps allows the algorithm to better categorize and manage your content, making it more visible and relevant to the search audience.

3. Match keywords in your content

Check that the exact keyword match can be found in your page titles, meta descriptions and overall content. It’s known that the impact of on-page tactics as a ranking factor is much greater in Bing than Google.

4. Keep your social media profiles up to date

Go social! Bing considers your social media presence more than any other search engine. The Webmaster Guidelines specifically states that Bing considers social signals from third-party platforms to rank your content. Bing might even extract certain information directly from your Facebook company page to your Bing Places display.

5. Use high-quality images to enhance your content

Bing’s image search is much more advanced than Google’s. If you want your landing page to rank, add high-quality design assets to showcase your offerings. If you want your blog to rank, attach too-long-to-read infographics to highlight your points. Like the one above.

Yandex

Screenshot of yandex.com, November 2022

Second to Bing is Yandex, having a total of 1.5% of the market share in global desktop search.

While it looks a lot like Google, its algorithm is different in many ways. Most prominent is the way Yandex indexes pages. Unlike Google’s almost continuous indexation, Yandex indexes pages sporadically. That means that you might have to wait around for a while before your site shows up on Yandex.

Despite this, it is still possible to rank on Yandex. You just need to have a bit more patience.

While waiting for your site to be indexed, take a look at the following:

1. Focus on tags over internal site structure

According to The Ultimate Guide to Yandex SEO, your header tag, title tag and slug are way more important than your internal site structure. In fact, it was only recently that Yandex started to support hreflang tags. Before that, Yandex only allowed the <head> hreflang implementation.

2. Consider search intent to rank

Some argue that Yandex meets search intent better than Google. The modern ICS score, which replaced the Thematic Index Citation, is determined by how relevant a site is to the query. Yandex uses its own version of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T) test to determine relevance.

3. Eliminate toxic links

Many do not know this, but Yandex was actually the first search engine to roll out a link-based algorithm. Already in 2005, 7 years before Google’s Penguin algorithm, Yandex introduced the Nepot filter, which specifically looked at the impact of toxic link exchanges and spam links.

Baidu

Screenshot of baidu.com, November 2022

With over 3 billion searches daily, Baidu is the Google of China. If you want to do business in China, it’s the place to be.

While the site is available worldwide, the site predominantly favors simplified Chinese. So before taking any other steps, hire a native speaker to help you along the way. To win at global, you have to ditch translations.

Here’s a few steps to get your content ranking.

1. Localize your keywords and content appropriately

As with all multilingual SEO, you need to work with a native language expert to ensure proper keyword localization and content optimization. If your site experiences high bounce rates, Baidu will tank your rankings immediately. As with any search experience, localization matters.

2. Position relevant content and keywords to the top of the page

Baidu favors a completely opposite layout than the Westernized one. The sooner you get to the point the better. Therefore, it is important to position your keywords as early as possible in the text and introduce all relevant content already in the top of the page to rank.

3. Obtain a verification level and get certified

By registering and paying a small fee you can obtain a verification level to improve your domain authority and rankings on Baidu. If you want to secure top ratings, you can get certified and obtain an ICP license, which is much more difficult than getting verified.

Top alternative search engines by data privacy

While most of the search engines mentioned above are tied to big corporations or political forces, global initiatives are setting the stage for more privacy-focused search engines. Among these is DuckDuckGo, the forefront runner with over 130 billion searches processed since launch.

Why they matter and how to rank on them

In many ways, the movement is a response to Google’s invasiveness on privacy. Many are fed up with how they are capitalizing on personal data and controlling the narrative with targeted search.

On a macro scale, the European Union continues to protect data privacy with strict GDPR regulations and the California Consumer Privacy Act indicates similar trends for Americans.

From a micro perspective, documentaries such as The Great Hack shine a light on how global companies monetize on personal data. As a result, privacy-safe search engines continue to rise.

If you’re working for an innovative SaaS startup, there’s a high chance your ideal customer persona is using one of these search engines.

Let’s go through how you rank on DuckDuckGo and two alternative equivalents.

DuckDuckGo

Screenshot of duckduckgo.com, November 2022

Screenshot of duckduckgo.com, November 2022

DuckDuckGo aims to make your search experience as simple and true to its cause as possible, i.e. no tracking for personalized search results and filter bubbles. Instead it uses semantic search to determine search intent for your queries from over 400 sources.

Consequently, this attracts tech-savvy experts with a lower bounce rate. Once they commit to a search, they stay.

Here’s how to optimize for it:

1. Sharpen Your User Experience

UX continues to make an impact on SEO, not to mention for DuckDuckGo. Make your content easily scannable and stay away from intrusive pop ups that harm your users’ experience and ease of navigation.

2. Focus on High-Quality Backlinks

As with any SEO, high-quality backlinks play a huge role for ranking. If you already have a solid backlink profile from your Google strategy, you should be good to go. If your backlink profile has a high level of toxicity, do some cleansing.

3. Rethink Local SEO

Since there’s no location tracking available for searches, location-specific searches such as “services near me” don’t work. If you like to rank for these types of searches, include a specific location in your keyword strategy. Otherwise, you won’t be able to optimize for local seo.

Startpage

Screenshot of startpage.com, November 2022

Startpage could be my personal favorite among the alternative search engines. It basically is Google without the tracking.

And while many consider DuckDuckGo to be the forefront runner of the privacy-focused search movement, many forget how Startpage ‘blazed the trail in 2006’. Offering a search experience without IP recording or tracking back when it was more or less unheard of. Now, it is the common denominator among all privacy-safe search engines.

So, how do you rank in Startpage? Simple. You rank in Google.

SwissCows

Screenshot of swisscows.com, November 2022

There are many more privacy-safe alternatives to search engines than the two mentioned above. Perhaps one without equal is SwissCows – a search engine that prides itself on being the only family-friendly, privacy-safe semantic search engine available on the web.

This means that any intrusive search results, like adult entertainment or offensive content, is naturally censored from the search results. At the same time, they never store any data nor track user specific information.

SwissCows SERPs bring up organic results and paid ads directly from Bing so in order to rank in SwissCows, you need to rank in Bing. Just make sure to omit any content that’s not PG-13.

What do they all have in common?

In the end, none of these alternative search engines can replace Google. As an SEO, I’ll never advise starting out with anything other than a Google strategy.

But when you are ready to branch out and extend your reach, give these alternatives a try. Analyze where your target audience hangs out and optimize thereafter.

Many of the privacy-focused search engines require little optimization as they pull their search results directly from other sources anyways. Simply do a quick check to see how you rank on each one.

And who knows, perhaps Microsoft will continue to steal more of the global search landscape. If that happens, you’ll be there — ranking in first position, ready to reap the rewards of your diversified efforts in an ever-changing search landscape.

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14 Best Screen Recorders to Use for Collaboration

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14 Best Screen Recorders to Use for Collaboration

For your team, screen recorders can be used for several reasons — from creating tutorials for your website to recording a recurring tech issue to sending your marketing team a quick note instead of an email.

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