Different retailers have different priorities when it comes to their marketing budgets, but the most valuable brands – Amazon and Apple – are banking on search.

We all know Amazon is the undisputed king of ecommerce. From November 2014 to November 2015, the company raked in more than $71 billion in online sales, which is more than Walmart, Apple, Macy’s, The Home Depot, Best Buy, Costco, Target, Gap Inc., Williams-Sonoma, Sears and Kohl’s sold. Combined.

What is Amazon doing that the others aren’t?

According to Fractl, a Florida-based content marketing agency which analyzed the marketing spend of these massive retailers, search gets the lion’s share of Amazon’s budget. During that year period, the ecommerce giant spent $8 million on TV and radio, a number that sounds very high in isolation. However, Amazon spent $54 million on print and $1.35 billion on search.


Among the other retailers, only Apple – called the most valuable brand in the world last year – and Etsy prioritize search to such a degree. Apple spent far more on TV and outdoor advertising than Amazon, though search still made up 86 percent of its spend. Search was an even higher percentage for Etsy: 91 percent, with 1.39 million going to search and $90,000 to other digital channels.

The Etsy finding was the most interesting to Lillian Podlog, project manager at Fractl, who noted that Etsy doesn’t have the same juggernaut status as Apple and Amazon.

“With Amazon and Apple, you can ask what came first, their success or where they put their marketing dollars. Maybe at this point, they can do anything, but Etsy has the same tactic and if you look at organic search rankings, it’s doing really well,” she says.

Etsy saw among the highest ROI in the study. For every $1 spent on marketing, the online marketplace saw $1,600 in sales. Additionally, Etsy, along with Apple and Amazon, had a disproportionately high SEMrush rankings compared with the others, which means they saw higher organic traffic.

That’s a common correlation among the brands analyzed by Fractl. Most of those with larger search spends have higher SEMrush rankings.

“So many people use ad blockers, so many people have blindness to display ads. Investing in search, whether its paid or building your SEO, requires you to really think about what kind of content you’re putting on the Internet that would appeal to users and boost your SEO,” says Podlog. “It requires you to be more thoughtful and considerate about what the customer really wants.”

Among the only exceptions to that rule are Williams-Sonoma and The Home Depot. Digital makes up 51 percent of sales – and 57 percent of the marketing budget – for the former. Nearly a quarter of that budget goes to search, but Williams-Sonoma still doesn’t rank particularly high. On the other hand, The Home Depot does, despite only spending 11 percent on search, instead prioritizing TV and radio. 


Where do some of the other major players put their money?

Best Buy puts the majority of its dollars in TV and digital, favoring network channels and display advertising over cable and search.

Costco, on the other hand, largely eschews TV. Instead, the warehouse retailer allocates 57 percent of its marketing dollars to display and nearly all the rest to magazines and newspapers.
Macy’s is another one with a heavy print focus. The brand spends $16 million on display and $32 million on search, which sounds like a lot of money, but is just a drop in the bucket by comparison. Macy’s spends 5.5 times as much on TV and more than 8 times as much on print. 

macys-spend“Macy’s is one of those companies that has an established name and an established consumer base, but if it wants to take some of Amazon’s chunk of online retail, it has to invest more in those other channels,” says Podlog. “Macy’s has been around for so long, but I personally think that unless it changes the shape of its spending, it’s going to suffer.”

Nordstrom’s priority is similarly on print – $27 million on magazines, compared with $6 million on search, $4 million on display, $5 million on TV and $2 million on outdoor – but the strategy is a bit different from that of Macy’s. While Macy’s spends most of its money on newspapers, Nordstrom goes for magazines, a medium that meshes better with the brand’s luxury focus.

Netflix, despite being heralded as one of the premier digital disruptors, doesn’t spend nearly as much money on digital advertising as one would assume. The streaming giant spends $1 million each on display and online video, and $17 million on TV with a particularly heavy focus on network. It makes to sense to Podlog, who points out that “people are watching TV, they’re not on Netflix.”

Target’s marketing budget is probably the most balanced. The retailer spends 46 on TV, 22 on print and 28 percent on digital. The majority of that digital spend is allocated to search, but $23 million is still set aside for online video. 

Source:  https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/06/06/where-do-the-biggest-brands-spend-their-marketing-dollars/ 

SEO is a long-term strategy


You have to work hard to develop a body of highly optimized content for readers, and then you have to make efforts off-site to prove the relevance and authority of your website to search engines.


For the impatient marketer just starting out with their SEO strategy, the task can seem less than worthwhile. If this sounds familiar – and you need some quick SEO wins – this blog post is for you.


Here’s an eight-step SEO game plan for impatient marketers.


Step 1: Make Sure You’re Optimized for Mobile
First things first:


Is your site mobile-compatible? If not, this is one of your most important SEO tasks.

If you’re not sure, you can check right now using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test:


Mobile Friendly Test Website Screenshot




Just enter your URL and Google will tell you in seconds.


Optimizing for mobile is a really important step to get quick gains in SEO. For one, people in the US are now spending 61% of their time online using a mobile device. If someone accesses your site through mobile, and it’s not optimized, they’re much more likely to bounce, which is going to affect your results in SERPs.


And have you heard of Mobilegeddon? This is what marketers are calling Google’s April 2015 ranking algorithm update – one that was designed to boost the rank of mobile-friendly pages in search.


Step 2: Create a Site Map

If you’re already mobile-compatible, then the next step is making sure you have a sitemap.

A sitemap gives search engines detailed information about what pages are on your website, which will make it easier for them to crawl it. You can create one using XML Sitemaps for free (up to 500 pages).


XML Website Screenshot




If you use WordPress, there are simple plugins you can use to build a sitemap, such as Yoast. Otherwise, take your XML Sitemap and upload it to the root file of your site like this: /sitemap.xml.


Step 3: Get Set up With Search Console

If you haven’t already, you should sign up for Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, and verify your website.


Then you can submit your sitemap to each search engine. Here are the instructions for Google, and here are the ones for Bing.


On Search Console, just go to your dashboard, click ‘Crawl’ on the side navigation, then ‘Sitemaps.’ You’ll then see the option to ‘Add/Test Sitemap.’


Google Search Console Screenshot




Then just follow the prompts to get it set up.


Step 4: Check Your Site Speed

Now that you’re on Webmaster Tools, it’s really easy to check your site speed. In Google Analytics, click the “Reporting” tab in the top navigation.


Then, in the side toolbar, click Behavior > Site Speed > Overview to see your data.


Site Speed Menu Screenshot




Site speed is an important rank factor for SERPs, and it affects your bounce rate. People are impatient – the slower your website loads, the more likely they are to leave. In fact, 47% of consumers expect pages to load in 2 seconds or less.


Site speed also has an impact on your conversions—a 1-second loading delay can cause up to a 7% loss in conversions. This means you should do everything you can to make sure your website runs as fast as possible.


Google offers its own speed suggestions in the Site Speed drop-down menu. You can also look into different site speed fixes based on your platform (WordPress, Weebly, etc.). Here are some other common ways your content or setup can slow down your site speed.



Step 5: Make Sure Google is Crawling Your Website Properly

It’s important to make sure that Google is crawling your site properly – if it’s not, your content might not appear in search results at all.


If you’ve already submitted your sitemap to Search Console, check their Crawl Errors Report to see if they had problems crawling any of your pages. You should check back with this often as your website grows.


If you don’t already have one, create a robots.txt file in Google Analytics. If you have one already, check and make sure it’s not blocking any important URLs.


There are also many external tools to help you crawl your website, including:

Screaming Frog
SEO Chat
Webmaster World

Step 6: Check for Missing and Duplicate Data

Next, you should run your own crawler to identify any missing or duplicate data. Most of the crawling tools out there are paid, but Screaming Frog will give you a free trial for up to 500 URLs.


Here’s what you should be looking out for:


Missing ALT tags
Missing (or duplicate) meta descriptions
Missing (or duplicate) H1 and H2 tags
Duplicate pages
404 errors

Use this information to go back through and fill in any gaps in your website’s data.

Google doesn’t like websites with duplicate content, so it’s important to either block duplicate pages with your robots.txt file, or make the content unique.


Step 7: Start Optimizing for Local Search

Google is increasingly favoring locally optimized results for SERPs.

For example, if I search for “phone accessories,” Google doesn’t show me online retailers:


Google Search Screenshot for Cell Phone Accessories




Google used my IP address to highlight phone accessory options near me, before the first organic result.

So if you want some quick SEO wins, focus on local.


First, add your business to Google My Business. Add your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) and make sure the information is accurate.


Google compares your My Business NAP to your other NAP listings around the web. If there are discrepancies, it will affect your rank.


Next, you should go to the other popular search data providers and make sure your NAP is available for Google to find. Check Yelp, Bing, Yellow Pages, and other listings relevant to your industry.


You need to make sure your NAP is correct everywhere it appears. Moz Local can help you find your other listings using just your business name and zip code:


Moz Local Screenshot




For incorrect NAPs, either update it yourself or contact the website to tell them the information is wrong.


Step 8: Look for Long-Tail Keyword Opportunities

At this point, you’ve sorted out most of the technical issues that can really affect your SEO. Now, you have no choice but to move on to keyword optimization.


Still, there are some ways to get quick wins when trying to rank for keywords. The best one is looking for long-tail keywords.


Ranking for the most popular keywords in your industry can take years – or it could never happen at all – but if you find the right long-tail keywords to optimize for, you can shoot to the top of rankings.


According to Moz, a huge portion (70%) of keywords have relatively low demand.

Long-tail keywords are discovered by thinking about user intent. When your audience sits down at the search engine, what are they typing in?


For example, say I’m an online retailer of phone accessories. Ranking for keywords like “iphone case” or “screen protectors” will be difficult — you’d be going up against the biggest brands:



Google Search Screenshot for phone cases



But a lot of the time, your audience wants something specific. “Fast charge wireless charging pad” or “Galaxy Note 5 Flip Cover Case” are long-tail keywords that would have much less rank competition.


Finding good long-tail keywords is mostly about imagining user intent. Once you come up with some options, you can determine how relevant and competitive they are using Google Adwords.


If you’re searching for long-tail keywords in particular, I recommend using Keyword Tool Dominator. It uses Google autocomplete to help find relevant long-tail keywords right from search:



Keyword Tool Dominator Website Screenshot





There’s no getting around the long-haul optimization strategies if you want to get and maintain the highest rank possible. But if you’re just starting out with SEO, there are a lot of quick tricks you can use to jumpstart your efforts.

Follow the eight steps above to start your SEO game plan for impatient marketers.


Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/serps-success-seo-game-plan-impatient-marketers/158977/












This week Bing released a new tool for content publishers to get their work discovered by more readers. Bing News PubHub allows publishers to submit their news sites for distribution to Bing users. The company claims that publishers of all sizes will be able to use this tool to reach more of the Bing audience with new and interesting content.

As an argument to consider Bing News PubHub as news portal to share your content on, the company makes the following claims:

More than 20% of the US desktop search market uses Bing (this can be proven with the latest comScore numbers), which helps them get the “most comprehensive and relevant news” (difficult to back up this claim with real figures).

Millions of Windows 10 users search on Bing through Cortana, and discover content through the Outlook News Connector.

News is available in the Bing Search app, which is available on iOS and Android.

“When publishers submit their content through the Bing Publisher Network, they’ve just expanded their reach significantly, giving their stories and outlets even greater exposure.”

To get started using Bing PubHub you first need to become a verified publisher, which can be done in three steps:

Follow Bing Webmaster Guidelines, which is a set of rules similar to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
Verify that you’re the owner of the site by using Bing’s Webmaster Tools, which is dashboard similar to Google’s Search Console.

Finally, fill out the form here to submit your site for consideration
However, even after going through that entire process, your content still might not meet Bing’s criteria for submission if it does not meet the following requirements:

Newsworthiness: Content that reports on timely events and topics that are interesting to users.
Originality: Content that provides unique facts or points of view.

Authority: Identify sources, authors, and attribution of all content.
Readability: This includes creating content with correct grammar and spelling, as well as a site design that’s easy for users to navigate.

According to the Bing News Team, more updates and features are said to be on the way.

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/expand-reach-content-bing-news-pubhub/165555/

Categorized in Market Research

While there are many ways to perform market research, most businesses use one or more of five basic methods: surveys, focus groups, personal interviews, observation, and field trials. The type of data you need and how much money you’re willing to spend will determine which techniques you choose for your business.


1. Surveys



With concise and straightforward questionnaires, you can analyze a sample group that represents your target market. The larger the sample, the more reliable your results will be.

In-person surveys are one-on-one interviews typically conducted in high-traffic locations such as shopping malls. They allow you to present people with samples of products, packaging, or advertising and gather immediate feedback. In-person surveys can generate response rates of more than 90 percent, but they are costly. With the time and labor involved, the tab for an in-person survey can run as high as $100 per interview.


Telephone surveys are less expensive than in-person surveys, but costlier than mail. However, due to consumer resistance to relentless telemarketing, convincing people to participate in phone surveys has grown increasingly difficult. Telephone surveys generally yield response rates of 50 to 60 percent.
Mail surveys are a relatively inexpensive way to reach a broad audience. They’re much cheaper than in-person and phone surveys, but they only generate response rates of 3 percent to 15 percent. Despite the low return, mail surveys remain a cost-effective choice for small businesses.

Online surveys usually generate unpredictable response rates and unreliable data, because you have no control over the pool of respondents. But an online survey is a simple, inexpensive way to collect anecdotal evidence and gather customer opinions and preferences.

2. Focus groups

In focus groups, a moderator uses a scripted series of questions or topics to lead a discussion among a group of people. These sessions take place at neutral locations, usually at facilities with videotaping equipment and an observation room with one-way mirrors. A focus group usually lasts one to two hours, and it takes at least three groups to get balanced results.


3. Personal interviews 

Like focus groups, personal interviews include unstructured, open-ended questions. They usually last for about an hour and are typically recorded.

Focus groups and personal interviews provide more subjective data than surveys. The results are not statistically reliable, which means that they usually don’t represent a large enough segment of the population. Nevertheless, focus groups and interviews yield valuable insights into customer attitudes and are excellent ways to uncover issues related to new products or service development.


4. Observation

Individual responses to surveys and focus groups are sometimes at odds with people’s actual behavior. When you observe consumers in action by videotaping them in stores, at work, or at home, you can observe how they buy or use a product. This gives you a more accurate picture of customers’ usage habits and shopping patterns.


5. Field trials

Placing a new product in selected stores to test customer response under real-life selling conditions can help you make product modifications, adjust prices, or improve packaging. Small business owners should try to establish rapport with local store owners and Web sites that can help them test their products.


Source: https://www.allbusiness.com/the-five-basic-methods-of-market-research-1287-1.html



Categorized in Market Research

Let’s start with the difference between a business partner and a co-founder.

There are no real strict rules here but this is generally how I look at it. A co-founder implies that they started from the very beginning with you. Maybe you collectively came up with the idea. A business partner may be someone that joined at any time, even after the business has already been going.

Usually business partners are people involved with the business on a level that they help make major decisions, and get an equal share depending on how many partners are involved. Co-founder could be the same or could be someone that get less than an equal share depending on their exact role.

Sometimes those two roles can blend and the difference between the two is not really the point of this article, so I will be referring to both as business partner from here out.

1. Don’t become partners with a mirror image, instead find someone that compliments you

A business partner should usually be someone that can do things that you can’t. That way as a team you can tackle more things before you need to go and hire someone.

People often make the mistake of finding mirror images of themselves. I prefer to hire mirror images of myself rather than partner with them. And my business partners are people that have strengths that make up for my weaknesses, and vise versa.

There could be some exceptions in certain businesses where a mirror image of yourself might work, but in my experience that’s usually not the formula for success.

2. Weed out the lazy people that don’t want to work

When you are initially looking for a business partner, understand that a lot of people are all talk. They will talk and talk but never actually roll up their sleeves and do anything. This isn’t always a bad thing, but make sure you know what you are signing up for.

In fact, make sure you spell it out too. Generally people draft up “operating agreements” that explain the roles of each person, whether they get mutual shares or not, and what happens if things go wrong. It’s important to have this for handling disputes. You can hire a lawyer to handle this or go to a site like LawDepot.com and find one mostly pre-drafted.

I’ve encountered a lot of businesses where they didn’t realize until after they started that one of the partners was not the “hands on” type, and in a bootstrapped startup scenario that can be extremely detrimental.

Often times you need to partner with people that will do whatever it takes to succeed, and ready to roll up their sleeves. And if they don’t do anything or live up to their end of the bargain, they are out.

3. Avoid money disagreements by spelling it out ahead of time

Disputes revolving around money are usually the most common. Figure it out ahead of time exactly what the plan is there and who gets what. Make sure that everyone has to work to get paid.

Also decide on how the company plans to use it’s money to grow. Avoid partnering with people that want to pay all of their friends, unless their friends happen to be the best people for the job, and then still be weary.

Make sure to put everything in writing.

4. Be cautious when mixing business with pleasure

I would admit that most people I partner with in business are or become personal friends as well. That’s not necessarily a good thing, it can be both good and bad.

The good is that it can deepen your bond with that person and when things go well, it’s a lot more fun to be working with that person who may now be your friend.

As a friend, you may feel the urge to tell them a little bit more than you would strictly a business partner.

If there’s a dispute of any kind, it can make things messy. If you have opened up to that person about personal things going on in your life outside of business, they can often times throw them in your face later.

I’ve made that mistake many times and opened up to business partners about other things that I was involved with outside of that business, and they came back to throw them in my face.

If you are an entrepreneur that is involved in many business projects, it may not be appropriate to share everything you do with your business partner. It could create resentment or look like you aren’t focusing enough, when in reality it may not be the case at all, just their perception or fear.

5. Handle disagreements before they become major problems

Inevitability you will come to a point where you disagree on something. Having a reasonable way to handle those disagreement is vitally important.

Compromise is the name of the game here. When something is not that big of a deal for you but your partner feels adamant about going a particular direction that you may not 100% agree with but can live with, that’s when you can compromise.

The trick is ensuring that you have a business partner that mutually respects you, so that when you feel strongly about something and they don’t, then they agree to handle it your way.

6. Roles may change in time, have an understanding of what happens if a partner drops out

People lose focus and it’s not uncommon for someone to drop out and do something else instead. Sometimes entrepreneurship is not for everyone and they want to do something else or can’t take the heat of being an entrepreneur. It’s ok, not everyone is cut out for this. I don’t know anyone personally, but some people love 9-5s, having 8 bosses, daily TPS reports, and printers that don’t work to complain about to get them through the day.

The last thing you want to do is pay someone a salary or percentage if they drop out and stop working, if that wasn’t the original intended deal.

7. Having a business partner is not always the right move

Sometimes you don’t need a business partner, plain and simple. A business partner can be a great thing, but as you can see form this post, there are also a lot of things that could go wrong.

If you have enough funding, it may make more sense to start the business yourself and hire people instead. That gives you ultimate control and less potential for disputes or disagreements, since in a 1 man show you are the ultimate authority.

Conversely, if you don’t have enough funding and you need someone else to put in sweat equity with you, then a business partner might be a great idea.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Avoid partnering with a mirror image of yourself unless you have a very good reason for it.
  • Avoid lazy partners.
  • Agree on matters relating to money beforehand and make an agreement.
  • Be cautious when mixing business with pleasure.
  • Be willing to compromise and let your partner be right or do it their way sometimes. Demand mutual respect.
  • Know what happens if someone drops out or doesn’t do their end of the bargain, spell it out in writing.
  • It’s not always the right decision to take on a business partner.

Source: http://www.influencive.com/7-tips-will-help-find-perfect-business-partner-startup/

1. Don’t become partners with a mirror image, instead find someone that compliments you

Categorized in Business Research

Department store magnate John Wanamaker once said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is I don’t know which half.” Wanamaker’s conundrum vexes marketers to this day. With the exception of direct marketing, the relationship between message and consumer behavior is still maddeningly elusive.

A big problem is that conventional research tools are ill-suited to assess the impact of marketing investment on behavior, mainly because it’s nearly impossible to track all the steps from the moment someone sees an ad to the moment when they make a purchase. As a result, market researchers have had to settle for metrics like awareness and attitudes – essentially asking actual and potential customers about how they feel about a given product or advertisement–which aren’t necessarily predictive of behavior. Just because someone thinks a BMW is the best car out there doesn’t mean she’s going to buy one. On the flip side, just because someone has a low opinion of his home insurance company doesn’t mean he’s going to make the effort to switch.

While I can’t solve Wanamaker’s conundrum, I can help you make smarter decisions about how to spend your precious research dollars. Start by asking yourself the following five questions:

1. Can the question you are asking be answered by a given research methodology? Most marketers conduct research with the intent of evaluating whether or not their campaign will “work.” Often that means measuring how much of what people saw they actually understood or could recall. What they’d really like to know is whether messaging and media will translate into action–not at all the same thing.

2. Just because you can research it, is it worth finding out? It might be nice to know that the number of people who think of your financial services company as “intelligent” has increased 8.7% year over year. Then again, what if there’s no measurable link between perception of intelligence and the decision to invest in a variable annuity? When it comes to your research budget, “nice to know” is not enough.

3. Is qualitative research yielding actionable insight? Qualitative research methods such as focus groups are best suited to generating interesting ideas, not hard conclusions. A show of hands of, say, eight people around a table has a precise statistical value: zero. And yet, by the time the focus-group moderator (who, after all, wants to be hired for future projects) submits his report, there is ample talk of “most people say this” or “few people feel that.” More noise.

4. Why research when you can track instead? If John Wanamaker could have lunch with someone from our time, Sandeep Dadlani from Infosys would be near the top of his list. Dadlani is the head of the Americas business of Infosys, an information-technology services firm headquartered in Bangalore, India. Dadlani says he aims to make his customers “real-world aware.” To do that, his consultants will wire, say, a grocery store with an  invisible wireless sensor network and smart applications that run on them, allowing managers to track traffic in various parts of the store. Are shoppers stopping by an in-store display for a cough syrup? How long? Is the shelf in-stock at that moment? Are they evaluating the offer? How many of them convert and buy? The network also is designed to allow shoppers to sign up to use their mobile phones to browse the store for items in their shopping lists, recipes, coupons,etc. based on their interests and locations in the store.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/marcbabej/2014/07/10/four-ways-to-make-market-research-pay/#1908cb734393


Categorized in Market Research
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