5 Tips to Choosing Your Winning Business Domain Name

Making a great first impression starts with your domain name.

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Back Rub, Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo, DrivUrSelf, Research in Motion, Sound of Music.

Wonder if these big brands had been as successful if they hadn’t chosen to go by Google, Sony, Hertz Rent-A-Car, Blackberry or Best Buy?

Unquestionably, the name of your company is the face of your brand. It’s the first thing your audience sees or hears about you, so choosing a business name that catches their attention and evokes credibility is paramount.

And in our competitive world today, your name online is what matters as much as it does offline. So, it’s critical to take the time to do your research before choosing your company’s domain name. Consider these following five tips to help you find the winning one:

  1. Pick your domain name BEFORE you register your business 

Or do it as soon as possible. Whether you’re scribbling ideas on a napkin, in the early stages of development or a year away from launching a website, register your domain name and hold onto it until you’re ready.

  1. Be open to all options

Be flexible, because you may be surprised at what you’ll find! Evaluate options such as:

  • Localized (bestbakeryinlondon.com)
  • Keyword (consumersafeawards.com)
  • Phrase (keepdreamingup.net)

Just try it. You’ll probably be amazed at what you’ll come up with when your creative juices start flowing!

  1. Assess your long-term goals 

Avoid settling. Or thinking, “Once we make it big, I’ll get the domain name I really want.” Take the time now to create a domain name that doesn’t limit you and can scale as your business grows, especially if you’re looking to branch out in the future.

For example, incorporating the state you do business in makes great sense if you want to stay localized, but will this work if you want to expand overseas? Should you promote the main product you’re selling now, when you may have additional products or services in the future?

  1. Choose your domain extension carefully 

What’s to the right of the dot IS as important as what’s to the left. So be mindful of today’s domain extension du jour. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be trendy, so why not focus on creating that to the left of the dot? And then anchor it with a TLD (top-level domain) that’s tried, tested and trusted, such as a .com or a .net.

  1. Use a domain name suggestion tool

To overcome a creative block, try a domain name suggestion service like NameStudio. Quick and easy to use, NameStudio helps you brainstorm with ease, providing unique and relevant domain name suggestions that help you stand out from the crowd and resonate with your target audience.

You can try NameStudio here.

Bottom line: You only have one shot to make a great first impression. And when you’re online, it starts with your domain name. So don’t treat it as an afterthought. Spend the necessary time it takes to create a winning domain name that will help build your great brand.

Any company, product and service names and logos referenced herein are property of their respective owners and are for identification purposes only. Use of these names and logos does not imply endorsement.

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SMX Advanced 2018 Session Recap: Storytelling with Social Ads that Sell

Contributor Joe Martinez recaps a session of rock-star paid social media marketers sharing how you can use social media to engage, entertain and motivate readers through the sales funnel.

The post SMX Advanced 2018 Session Recap: Storytelling with Social Ads that Sell appeared first on Marketing Land.

SMX Advanced attendees were treated to a rock-star lineup of paid social media marketers. Our presenters spoke to the crowd about how we should be using social media to engage users, move them down the funnel and give them the message they want to hear to increase brand interest.

Here’s a recap from the three speakers on the Storytelling With Social Ads That Sell session panel.

Jeff Ferguson

Jeff Ferguson was first up.

To set up the presentation, he went over a great analogy of creating cocktails. The difference between a Manhattan cocktail and a martini is one ingredient. The difference between a martini and a Gibson is one ingredient.

The message here is that sometimes all you have to do is change one little thing to get something new and amazing. The same idea can be applied to marketing. Maybe one little difference in your ad copy or one little way we tell a story can make a big impact on your campaigns.

Typically, we write content, and it sits there. Maybe we’ll promote it on social media, but many people don’t see these stories we spend a lot of time on. Let’s take our client’s information and use it appropriately for each stage of the content marketing funnel. Jeff then went on to show examples of how he utilizes this approach.

High funnel. For one client who focuses on meal kits for people with serious health concerns, Jeff and his team asked themselves:

  • What kind of post is a great introduction?
  • What posts can help get users into our funnel?

They found out the meal kit company had a lot of fantastic blog posts which were just sitting on the website with no major traffic. These posts, when finally promoted, led to a lot of user engagement, which was a win. They got the users to notice the brand and introduce them to the funnel.

Mid-funnel. Typically, this is where we see remarketing start to come in. We’re showing ads to users who are already familiar with our brand, even though it may be out of the corner of their eye. Focus the content on:

  • Testimonials.
  • Product comparisons.
  • Demonstrations
  • Before-and-after examples.

Consider using audiences of second touch, proven performers, content downloaders and engaged views from the high-funnel approach to keep moving those users along.

Low funnel. This is where we want to be more aggressive in asking for the sale. By the time users are at the bottom of the funnel, we start to really push the offer-driven message. By this point, they’ve seen your brand message at least two or three times, so it’s OK to start asking for the sale.

Going beyond the conversion. It’s typical in marketing to focus on the same thing, so we lose touch with everything. Not only do we want to get the sale, but we want to get those users to come back. We all should care about customer success. Jeff and his team like to look at the entire customer journey and see where they can come in and help out.

The problem with email after the journey is that email open rates are pretty bad, pretty horrible. We’re talking about a 21.8 percent average open rate. If other marketing channels had that type of success rate, we’d all be fired, right?

Customer match is a better option than email to take the user farther down the road. Take the user story farther down the road to keep feeding those users new stories until we hit your end goal.

Deciding what to communicate. Keeping in mind the same meal kit client mentioned earlier, audience exposure had a much better result over email. Jeff’s team found out that people who picked their own meals stayed on longer with the program. So they took the updated list of those specific users every week and showed new ads to this customer match audience.

Email rate was 56 percent. Audience exposure for search/social campaigns was 80 percent. The efforts increased meal selections by 50 percent and reduced churn by 20 percent.

Remember, none of these changes are big. Storytelling is about helping a prospect through the entire marketing funnel.

Presentation deck: Social Media Storytelling by Jeff Ferguson

Michelle Morgan

Next up was Michelle Morgan from Clix Marketing, who talked about bringing people back into the funnel.

When looking at a basic funnel, we typically see four steps:

As B2B marketers, our goal should be to turn the stereotypical “funnel” into a shape that makes it easier for users to slide down. How do we do this? Michelle breaks it down.

Make users come back happy. One of the worst things we can do to try and move users along the funnel is crappy remarketing.

For example, let’s say you were trying to get users to download a white paper in your initial campaign. What if they don’t convert off the white paper? Don’t remarket to users who didn’t visit the confirmation page for the past 90 days. Break the audiences down into lower cookie durations. Change your CTA as the time decay flows. Have a firm CTA in the initial 30 days, but soften it after 90 days. Test this same strategy with your offers, too. Try different content (e-book vs. white paper) to see if that makes a difference.

Moving down the funnel. If you’re not doing lead scoring, you’re missing out. Michelle had some great examples of creating a point system with a set threshold to move users down your strategy. Come up with a system where the user maintains a certain “worth” during an agreed upon time duration to know which audience the user actually belongs to, and how they should be marketed.

Push users to new content they may not have seen before. Also, move users away from content they have already seen to avoid annoying people with the same message over and over. For users with too low a score, depending on your scoring system, create new lists and re-engage through other marketing channels.

Closing the deal. Win back stalled opportunities with specialized messaging. Sometimes people are deep in the funnel but get stuck for some reasons we can’t easily understand. LinkedIn Sponsored InMail is great. Users only see one ad in their InMail once every 45 days, so you don’t have to worry about bugging users.

Using the LinkedIn ad, offer something they can’t get anywhere else.

Act like a sales rep and work within your customer relationship management (CRM) system. Don’t stop at contacts, look at business targeting. People leave companies all the time, so target the business on LinkedIn, which will be far more accurate than any company targeting on Facebook.

The story is for users. Keep the users’ end goal in mind instead of your own. It’s okay to pick an emotion so your ads don’t seem stuffy. Graphics are great for content, while real-world images are better suited for non-content.

Carousel ads let the person pick the story or let your customers tell the actual story with testimonials.

Presentation deck: Back to the Funnel: Winning Back B2B Users in Social

Susan Wenograd

Last but not least was Susan Wenograd.

“The Princess Bride” fans rejoiced when Susan mentioned she was going to show why Inigo Montoya is the perfect storyteller, and how he can help your business. Many brands think all storytelling is going to be great. They assume every story they tell is going to surprise and delight their audience. We see many brands tell stories that only talk about themselves and assume users are going to want to buy just based on a brand story.

Ask the user to find out (without asking). Think about what Inigo would do if you asked him a question, and he’d start rambling on about a bunch of facts just like a feature-based ad. Susan had a client who was running a lot of feature-based ads showcasing what the product does, the technology behind it and so on. Very stat-based, right?

Average click-through rate (CTR) for these ads was 1.2 percent. When looking at the assets the client had, Susan noticed users always seemed to be skeptical initially. Once the users found out about how great the product was, they had no problem admitting they were wrong. Susan asked, “Why weren’t we running this in the ad copy?” She ditched all the benefits-and-features ad copy and used a customer-made video echoing her discoveries.

The story-based ad copy quantifies belonging to a community. CTR doubled and helped inform how to improve more than just ads. The new approach also informed how to improve landing page design.

Use what’s memorable and don’t fight it. Do you remember the name of the six-fingered man in “The Princess Bride?” Of course you don’t, you just remember that he’s the six-fingered man. (His name is Count Rogen, in case you really wanted to know).

Brands feel they know what story to tell, but people will be the ones to dictate what story you should be telling.

Consumers control the story, not the brand. Find out what people are searching for and use that in your marketing. Consider creating new landing pages that actually speak to what your users are calling your products or services. Then use those landing page visits as the proper page to create Facebook audiences and then lookalike audiences for a better higher-funnel strategy.

Sometimes, you just can’t run. In a different strategy, Susan had a client who was the face of a new company, while also being well-known from his previous company. Even though the client wanted to separate himself from the old company, he was the six-fingered man. He was the story. They started making “helpful tip” webisodes featuring Susan’s client to leverage his notoriety. Instead of running video views, they tried post engagements after seeing people were naturally engaging due to the story content.

CPMs went from over $5.00 to under $3.90. They focused on the story versus what the company does and saw results improve.

Our brains are crushed with information daily. Ask Inigo Montoya who he is, and he’ll tell you over and over and over:

Hello. I am Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

It may be repetitive, but fans of the movies know the quote by heart because they’ve heard it so many times. In marketing, it’s okay for storytelling to repeat the same information more than once. Why? Check this out.

We have to repeat the story, and more importantly, repeat it in multiple places. This type of thinking is going to be extremely important when no one is searching for your brand or products. Susan said it best: “The only way to expand search is to expand the people who will search for your brand.” When you tell your brand story long enough, your language will become your customers’.

Presentation deck: The Inigo Montoya Guide to Storytelling in Paid Social

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Attention + intensity: Tips for navigating the new age of media strategy

Contributor Mark Williams says marketers must evolve the metrics they monitor to keep up with the changing media-consumption environment.

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As marketers and brands have seen, the prevalence of digital video has transformed how consumers access media and content.

Essentially, video is not the future, it’s the “now”.

According to Cisco, global IP video traffic will represent 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic by 2021, up from 73 percent in 2016. Consumers no longer want to read about a brand  — they want to visualize it.

In 2018 and beyond, we’ll see a big shift from before, when advertisers were looking to buy reach and frequency with traditional media, to now, where advertisers will want to capitalize on intensity through the maximum amount of reach and frequency. In a post-pivot-to-video world, it’s time to change your video and media strategy, especially how you measure it.

To tackle all of the changes and innovations in media and digital marketing within the past few years, and especially to gear you up for the further integration of video, here are three tips for navigating the new age of media strategy.

1. Measure your audience with intensity

Rethink your approach to measurement. It’s not just about clicks and views. Viewability and reach are no longer the main indicators of success because they don’t measure how an audience is connecting with the content.

Instead, track deeper actions. Update your key performance indicators (KPIs) with different engagement metrics, such as watch time, engagements, earned metrics and follower acquisition, to track whether or not your intended audience actually viewed your message and reacted to it.

Watch time is one of the most valuable metrics to track in order to gauge whether or not audiences are actually watching your content. It’s also the most important factor for platform algorithms. If you track minutes watched, retention rate and the average percentage of those who watched through, you’ll have a better idea of how you are captivating the audience’s attention, and at what level of intensity.

Tracking engagements (e.g., likes, shares and comments) is also a key indicator of your strategy’s performance. Engagements and engagement rates indicate that fans are making a decision beyond simply watching your content. If they’re sharing, starting up a conversation, or compelled by a call to action from the content, you can measure the intensity with which your audience is consuming the material.

Also, be sure to watch your follower/subscriber acquisition. Growing a fan base is essential to the marketing efforts of advertisers, and it is important to identify what content brings in new followers so that you can focus your content strategy to consider these insights.

2. Rethink content strategy: Transform ads + make content relevant

Given the prevalence of ad blockers, it’s clear that interruptive advertising doesn’t work anymore. Instead, we’re seeing high performance through integrated brand messages. To do this, make your content relevant to your consumer.

Embed your campaign initiatives into publisher sites through partnerships to make for a smoother and natural integration of your advertising.

Consider integrating with influencers. Research conducted by Fullscreen (my employer) and MediaScience found that the percentage of viewers who would recommend a brand after watching a branded video from an influencer was 13 percent higher than the percentage for a TV ad.

Test different content strategies to see what resonates best with your audience, and for a more specific segmented analysis, A/B test different interest sets and demographics to inform your marketing plan.

3. Tailor by platform

To keep your marketing strategy specific and efficient, optimize content and advertising to reflect the platform. Utilize metadata by making campaigns that align with proper titling and tagging across all of your platforms. Keep your branding design consistent to ensure that your content is distinguishable. Ensure that your creative is designed for the specific tech specs of the platform where it will live.

Gone are the days of the one-size-fits-all approach. Facebook creative must be treated differently from Snapchat and so on. Perhaps most importantly, the creative must feel endemic to the platform — which explains why repurposed television commercials have some of the lowest engagement metrics.

Identify and maintain a consistent publishing schedule that is tailored to times when platforms reach the highest number of eyes, not only to maximize viewership and engagement but also to help consumers know when to expect your content.

Further, aim to promote circular traffic: Utilize the platforms through their available interactive elements so that you can cross-promote across all channels.

When tailoring your content for specific platforms, you also want to pay attention to how the platform is accessed.

Take a look at the platform functions, according to recent data from each platform and Statista, YouTube is accessed 50 percent of the time on mobile, whereas Facebook is at 95.1 percent and Instagram is at 100 percent.

This means that when creating content for YouTube, you should pay equal attention to mobile and desktop access, whereas Facebook and Instagram should lean more heavily toward mobile usage.

In closing

You’ll want to keep these three tips at the forefront of your digital marketing and content strategy so that you quickly adapt your brand to the changing video and media environments of today.

Remember, the overarching difference in paid media targeting online versus traditional targeting is the more refined, specific targeting of individuals, which ultimately leads to higher attention and intensity, as well as greater returns.

With all of these advancements, online media has many new metrics which you absolutely must utilize to expand your reach and retention far beyond that of traditional paid media.

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Beyond keywords: What really matters in SEO content

Going beyond keywords to write high-quality content that attracts new customers and is SEO-friendly is the way to go, says contributor Jessica Foster. Here she shares eight ways to create content that satisfies people and engines.

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Just when we thought the saying “Content is king” was gone for good, there it goes showing its sneaky little face again in the search engine optimization (SEO) world.

Bearing in mind also that “Content is queen,” it appears that content is, in fact, pretty danged important — so important that a new sub-industry has squeezed its way into the search engine world: SEO content writing.

Otherwise referred to as “SEO copywriting,” SEO content writing has a bad reputation for being chock-full of keywords and little else. Though this may be more of a stereotype than reality, there is something to be said for going beyond keywords to write high-quality content that attracts new customers AND is SEO-friendly.

What’s the deal with ‘high-quality’ content?

The focus is typically on “high-quality” content — a term that becomes more subjective by the minute. It leads to questions like

  • What really makes SEO content “high-quality?”
  • Is it measurable?
  • More importantly, can it be recreated again and again?

The standard formula of:

 

 

 

[Read the full article on Search Engine Land.]

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How to increase B2B form submissions through conversion testing

Contributor Abraham Nord looks at four tests that illustrate how improving the online experience can lead to dramatic increases in conversion rate and lead results.

The post How to increase B2B form submissions through conversion testing appeared first on Marketing Land.

Nearly all business-to-business (B2B) marketers are focused on increasing leads, improving lead quality and improving return on investment (ROI).

Conversion testing plays a key role in all three of these objectives. Let’s look at four tests that illustrate how improving the online experience can lead to dramatic increases in conversion rates and lead results.

We will also analyze why the tests worked so you have a better understanding of how to apply the same principles to your own unique circumstances.

Test #1: Form position and orientation

Test variations:

Hypothesis: By centering the registration form and moving it higher on the page, visitors’ eyes will more easily flow from the call-to-action (CTA) statement to the form. The benefit bullet points and asset imagery will now serve as secondary, supporting content.

Results: Variation 1 won with a 34.47 percent higher conversion rate at 92.04 percent confidence.

Conclusion: Many visitors were ready to get the downloadable asset without needing additional information. The registration process was more seamless and apparent with Variation 1, thus increasing form submissions.

Test #2: ‘Instant download’ badge

Test variations:


Hypothesis: Visitors do not like waiting for an asset to be emailed to them, especially since they often have to check their junk folder to find/receive the asset. By adding a badge indicating the asset is an “instant download,” we will eliminate this pain point, thus increasing form submissions.

Results: Variation 1 won with a 31.93 percent higher conversion rate at 91.61 percent confidence.

Conclusion: Visitors did, in fact, appreciate the straightforward and transparent approach of giving them the asset immediately. There was also no significant difference between variations in terms of the quality of emails provided.

Test #3: Tabbed content

Test variations (desktop):


Test Variations (Mobile):

Hypothesis: By including additional information about the company and organizing that content in tabs, visitors will more easily see how the downloadable asset is relevant and beneficial to them, and thus, more visitors will complete the form and convert.

Results: Mobile: Variation 1 won with a 160.28 percent higher conversion rate at 98.75 percent confidence. Desktop: Control won with a 31.13 percent higher conversion rate at 86.28 percent confidence.

Conclusion: For desktop visitors, the tabbed information was less meaningful than immediately seeing testimonials and partners (as social proof) at a glance. However, mobile visitors appreciated the additional content presented in an easy-to-digest tabbed format on the smaller screen.

Test #4: Overall look and feel

Test variations:

Hypothesis: By testing a different page layout/look, we can make the largest gains in conversion rates in the shortest amount of time. The increased visual prominence of the asset and form area will draw visitors’ eyes to the area where we want the most engagement.

Results: Variation 1 won with a 44.73 percent higher conversion rate at 88.41 percent confidence.

Conclusion: The more prominent form section and front-on view of the asset were the largest factors in Variation 1 winning. Visitors could more easily see the asset they would be receiving and more immediately understand how to get the guide. After finding a winning overall layout/look, we can test additional iterations of this page.

Improve your lead resulting via testing

These four landing page tests represent a small sampling of possible conversion rate optimization (CRO) tests available to B2B marketers. The examples showcase the importance of page layout, registration form placement and format and the information/images associated with downloadable assets.

And as Test #3 reinforced, make sure you are looking at different device types and experiences separately so you can customize and optimize the conversion rate for all of your visitors, regardless of how they come to your site.

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