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How do you decide which piece of content to create? What’s your strategy in choosing the type of approach to implement with each piece of content? How do you make sure your content marketing strategy is a success?

If these questions keep you up at night, you’re in the right place. In today’s article, we’re going to discuss the one major factor that can provide all the answers and more: data. We’ll talk about the impact data has on content marketing strategies and why it’s crucial that you start using it today.

How does data fit with content marketing?

There’s no denying that marketers need the data provided by specialized platforms, such as Google Analytics (GA). However, most content creators fail to see its capabilities because they’re more inclined to believe that the creative side doesn’t mix well with the analytical side.

Furthermore, when marketers do use the platform, they don’t exploit its full potential. The data is mostly used to measure content effectiveness after it has been created, published, and promoted via a campaign. But the reports, graphs, and other tools offered by the platform can also be used to understand the type of content that should be created for a specific audience.

This means that, with the right data, you have the chance to create laser-focused content strategies that will deliver the expected results. 

Creating the best content strategy

There was a time when the idea of content strategy was foreign to both creators and marketers. For creators, the idea of documenting and planning their content ideas throughout a time interval based on data analysis was outrageous. Instead, they would rather base their content creation decisions on “gut instinct”, current trends, and what they thought the audience might like.

While being in constant contact with a certain audience and overall experience do factor in and add value, there’s no way of knowing which piece of content will bring the most traffic and engagement. Furthermore, without data, it’s difficult to know why the audience is reacting to a specific piece, so you can replicate the success.

Data helps creators focus on specific audiences, creating content that attracts and engages readers. Without it, most content is created with the intent of reaching the largest possible audience, which is never successful and leads to a waste of time and resources.  

So, a data-driven approach can have a powerful impact on the type of content you create, how you create it, and how you promote it. Among others, the right data will:

  • Pinpoint the target audience
  • Channel-specific preferences
  • Provide the possibility that a piece of content may attract sales
  • Indicate the most relevant topics to approach

But let’s take a closer look at how and why data is essential for the best content strategy:

Insight into your target audience

Analytics offer valuable insight into what your audience is thinking and how they feel about your content (expressed through metrics such as traffic, time on page, bounce rate, and so on). Furthermore, if you analyze the trends set by pre-existing customers, you get access to information such as location, age, profession, needs and wants, pain points, and more.

Once you get a hold of these data points, it’s easy to understand what the people consuming your content want and like. You can also learn where they hang out online and who they’re most likely to be influenced by.

Quick note: this information alone provides plenty of content ideas that are relevant to your audience. It also offers collaboration ideas by providing you with a list of influencers that may become your campaign supporters.

Another aspect you need to follow is social media effectiveness. GA can pinpoint the best channel to use by analyzing income traffic from social media and whether the audience is converting into customers.

The same goes for general traffic, where the data can tell you who is leaving your site and why, how many people are actually engaged by the content, and what people prefer doing when they visit your pages.

Making the right decisions

What would you do if you knew for sure which pages are less engaging for the audience? You would probably work on bringing them up to speed by comparing them with the successful pages and improving the content they deliver.

Well, a data-driven content marketing strategy can give you exactly that. By analyzing metrics such as time spent on page and setting conversion goals, GA lets you know the level of engagement generated by each page on your site.

The best advantage of using data to shape your content strategy stands in the fact that you know the impact of each decision you make. If you want to drop an underperforming social media channel in order to focus your efforts on the most engaging ones, you can do so without wondering ‘what if?’. On the other hand, if you want to boost engagement on a page that’s lagging, you will know the steps to take and in what order.

Data-driven content marketing is the best way to make sure you’re making the right decisions, without involving any guesswork or ‘gut feeling’.

One step further

GA can only offer a prescriptive analysis because it collects data based on past events. This means that you need to have a base of users or customers and existing content in order to receive insight. Once received, it’s your job to make predictions and try to understand what works.

But there are predictive platforms that can reduce the marketer’s or creator’s brain effort by forecasting future results. This means that platforms such as 40Nuggets and Parse.ly can help you know the content that is most likely to work even before you decide to write it.

Goal achievement and content marketing ROI

The main purpose of content marketing is to get people to spend time and/or money on your creation. If this doesn’t happen, the content doesn’t convert, and you don’t achieve your marketing goals. But how can you know the status of your goals?

Luckily, GA has an entire section dedicated to goal tracking that lets users know if the audience is engaged enough to take action.

As you know, goals can be anything from driving awareness to increasing sales, which means they can be quite tricky to define. Still, due to GA’s ingenuity, you have the possibility to not only define goals but also identify the steps a user needs to take in order to consider the goal completed. This way, you can easily identify bottleneck areas or steps that make the process more difficult.

Finally, all this work on understanding the audience, setting goals, and creating content that converts is for the final purpose of lifting ROI. And with the right kind of data, lifting ROI is nothing more than a repetitive process of planning, creating, measuring, and optimizing.

You plan and create your content based on data that comes from the market, you measure the results provided by the new content using the metrics we discussed, and then you optimize the process based on the results. This way, you have the chance to refine your content marketing strategy to a point where it becomes difficult to make mistakes.

If you’re looking to expand your business and want an advertising campaign that delivers, it’s time you looked at LinkedIn advertising.

On LinkedIn, you get access to customers on the world’s biggest business stage. Whether you’re looking to increase sales, build a brand, or attract more leads, LinkedIn is an ideal option for your business. Here’s why.

In 2017, LinkedIn announced that it had over 500 million registered users in 200 countries; it has a reported user goal of 3 billion users. Each month, there are 106 million unique users and 40% of users check LinkedIn daily.

That’s a lot of users at your fingertips, and they’re all there with a similar goal in mind – gaining access to business and career-related information. They aren’t looking for funny pictures of cats or videos of human stunts. They are there to read relevant information, so if you provide that information, they are also more likely to share it.

That means it’s the right time for you to add a LinkedIn advertising campaign to your online strategy. If you’re new to advertising, or you already have success on Facebook, Twitter or Google, we can help you with your LinkedIn ad campaign. So let’s take an in-depth look at how to set up LinkedIn ads.

Why LinkedIn Advertising

If you’re still debating whether to invest in LinkedIn advertising, here are a few more reasons.

If you’re looking for a B2B reach, LinkedIn is the perfect fit. Most of its users are there for business and networking, so you will be targeting professionals. LinkedIn gives you a quick and effective way to reach users in the business community.

LinkedIn also has a high conversion rate, in large part because its advertising allows for laser-focused targeting. You can also create different versions of an ad during a campaign and track which ad performs best. You can then eliminate low-performing ads, which in turn will improve conversion and help the return on your advertising investment.

Advertising Options

With LinkedIn, you have two options for advertising:

  • Use Campaign Manager for a self-serve solution to do several types of ads;
  • Use account-managed advertising, in which you partner with a dedicated LinkedIn team.

With Campaign Manager, you’re in charge. You set a budget, choose from options like clicks or impressions, and have the option to halt your ads at any time. Campaign Manager is an all-in-one platform that supports several advertising formats.

You can also opt for account-managed LinkedIn advertising. With this choice, a dedicated team works with you through the LinkedIn Marketing Partner Program. Through LinkedIn, you choose from a community of LinkedIn-approved technology and service providers. This will help you save time from doing the work yourself.

Types of Ads

LinkedIn offers a variety of advertising formats, with different advantages to each format.

Let’s take a quick look at each type of advertisement.

Sponsored Content: your posts will appear in users’ feeds with their other updates. This is a great option because it gives you the ability to expand your audience by advertising outside the followers you already have. It also reaches users on multiple types of devices. It appears directly in news feeds so it doesn’t look like an advertisement and it tends to get more attention and better results. You also get to establish your budget and choose from a cost-per-impression or cost-per-click.

Sponsored InMail: your content is delivered directly to your audiences’ LinkedIn mailboxes, making this a more personal message than other options. Messages will only be delivered when members are active on LinkedIn. This means you don’t have to worry about spam blockers or undelivered messages. However, this option is recommended for those businesses with higher advertising budgets, as it is a higher cost option.

Text Ads: your posts appear off to the side of the page. They are intended to drive customers to your site as a self-service, pay-per-click campaign. They are good for a business on a tight budget as you establish your budget and only pay for clicks or impressions. You can also target your audience.

Dynamic Ads: your ads are targeted to a specific audience using customer data. With this option, you select an audience to target based on skills and interests. Then a personalized message is created. Dynamic ads are a great option for growing your company’s follower count, as clients have the option to follow you with one click.

Display Ads: your ads are targeted to a preferred audience, with a guarantee that your message will reach them. You pre-purchase impressions and the ads appear on users’ pages in an unobtrusive way. This is good for raising brand awareness but is a more expensive option.

Video Ads: Your ads tell a story using video. The popularity in video has exploded for consumers and is now happening for B2B use.

How To Do It

Now that we’ve looked at the why and what of LinkedIn advertising, let’s get to the how. Let’s assume you’re managing your advertising campaign on your own and will be using Campaign Manager to set up, run and analyze the campaign.

Using Campaign Manager

To start, set up your account with Campaign Manager. This is where you will be managing your LinkedIn advertising. It has multiple features, such as:

  • A detailed breakdown of actions taken as a result of your campaign, including likes, shares, clicks, follows and comments.
  • Details on the demographics of the LinkedIn members who engage with your ads.
  • Visual reporting that displays data related to your search and filter settings, allowing for specific reporting.

Setting up an account is simple:

  • Sign in to your LinkedIn account.
  • Click the Work icon at the top of the homepage and choose Advertise.
  • Select Create ad.
  • Select which type of advertisement you want to run, with an option to choose Learn More to see a description and image for each advertisement type.
  • Choose and enter a new ad account name in the Account Name field. This name can be changed.
  • Select the currency to be used for billing.
  • If you want, choose to link a Company or Showcase page.

Note: You don’t have to link a Company page unless you choose a Sponsored Content campaign. It is recommended that you build a quality company page for those customers who want to learn more about your company.

Create Your Ads

Once you have an account set up in Campaign Manager, you can create and manage ad campaigns by choosing options such as Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, Text Ads, or a mix. Simply choose the Create Campaign button, choose your option, and create your ads.

Campaign Manager assists you in creating the advertisements, with lots of helpful tips to guide the way. You will be able to choose your target audience language, or select a call-to-action option, for instance, for Sponsored Content ads.

The next step is to specify your options for directing ads to the people you want to target, such as by location, job functions, company names, demographics, and other similar filters. You have the ability to save those choices to create a template that you can then use the next time you’re creating a campaign.

Next up is establishing your budget. There are options here such as cost-per-click, cost-per-impressions, and cost-per-send. With cost-per-send, you pay only for messages received for sponsored InMail ads. For cost-per-click and cost-per-impressions, you establish a limit for your daily spend as well as a bid price, which spells out the maximum you will pay per click or impression. You also select start and end dates for the campaign.

While doing the budget, be sure to include the option for conversion tracking by adding the Insight Tag. This will give you details on the people who interact with your ads. With this, you can track the user’s specific actions to measure such as installs, downloads, sign-ups, and purchases.

Measuring Success

Campaign Manager also provides metrics on numbers of impressions, clicks and spend for your campaign, as well as “social actions,” which shows you how members are interacting with the content. All this detail will help you measure and optimize your campaign.

Here’s a sample of the measurements you can track and evaluate to maximize your return on investment:

  • Number of clicks on links in your ad;
  • Number of impressions or times people saw your ad;
  • Click-through rate, or the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions;
  • Average engagement, or the total number of paid and free clicks divided by impressions. Engagements include social actions such as likes, comments, or shares;
  • Conversions, or the number of times someone took an action after clicking on or seeing your ad;
  • Conversion rate, or how often your ad results in a conversion on your website;
  • Cost per conversion, or spend on advertising divided by conversions;
  • Leads, or the number of leads generated by your ads.
  • Cost per lead or advertisement spends divided by leads.

Using this detail, you can analyze campaigns as they’re running and make adjustments. For instance, if you have one ad that has a low click-through rate, you may want to pause that campaign and devote more resources to the more successful campaign.

Final Thoughts

Now you know the basics of a LinkedIn advertising campaign, including the “why,” “what” and “how.”

Remember when creating a LinkedIn campaign, it’s important to follow best practices for engagement with customers on any platform. Tell people what’s in it for them, write personalized content, and use relevant images to enhance your advertisement.

Test your ads frequently by measuring what works best and replicating that formula, then use Campaign Manager to measure and improve the return on investment for your ad campaign.

With these tips in mind, your LinkedIn advertising campaign should be a success for your business.

If you run an online business, one of your top priorities is getting potential customers to find you.

To do that, you’ve probably already followed all the guidelines, suggestions, and rules to optimize the results of your business in search engines.

You should be good to go, right?

Not so fast.

Along comes voice search, a rapidly growing way that users are searching online.

Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and the rise of AI assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s Bixby, voice search is now a dominant method of searching the Internet.

Here’s the deal:

A person who lives in Mytown used to type in a traditional search on the browser of their computer or phone, things like “Mytown shoe stores,” or “Mytown shoes.”

Now, that same user will call out: “Hey Alexa, where’s the best place to buy shoes in Mytown?”

Or hold the button on their iPhone and say, “Hey Siri, where can I get great shoes in Mytown?”

Besides the convenience of speaking instead of typing, this kind of search almost becomes a conversation between the user and the smartphone, tablet, or virtual household assistant.

As a result, this usage continues to grow, and this type of search is soon to become the standard.

So let’s look at the six ways voice search will impact SEO, and what you can do about it.

1. Get used to the fact voice search is the new normal

It’s true that this is yet another change in SEO that requires a new strategy and some new tactics for you and your business.

But it’s also true that voice search will not be going away. The effort you expend on adapting your online business to voice search will pay dividends immediately and into the future.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be other possible adjustments along the way, but changes you make for voice search will serve you well. In fact, Forbes predicts that as soon as the year 2020, half of all online searches will be made through voice search.

Think about it.

Most of us can speak a lot faster than we can type. The novelty of intelligent personal assistants like Alexa will soon be more than a novelty. They are becoming a convenient and valuable addition to our lives.

And companies like Amazon and Google are invested in making the assistants even more valuable, so in turn they want to make voice search work as effectively as possible. That increased effectiveness of voice search will only drive faster adoption of personal assistants.

2. Mobile friendly is an absolute necessity

If you haven’t already optimized your site for mobile, the time has come to make it your Number 1 priority.

Your site has to be responsive to mobile devices. It can’t take too long to load, and it can’t look weird when it does load, or people will leave or “bounce.” If your bounce rate is high and stays high too long, your search rankings will fall drastically.

The need for a mobile-friendly site is important for many reasons, but even more important for voice search. For instance, people use voice search while driving, utilizing their smartphone.

Take a look at your site to ensure it works well on smartphones and mobile devices, then make all the necessary adjustments to improve user experience, for example:

  • Make sure your site loads quickly.
  • Make sure files are compressed, and images are optimized.
  • Make sure you use web caching to increase page speed.
  • And any other tactics that speed up your site, just as with non-voice search SEO tactics.

3. Local listings are vital

A large majority of voice search is for local businesses, including business directories and local reviews. You need to be sure your business is included in both. In fact, directories and review sites are almost like their own search engines.

To address this, make sure you have an optimized Google My Business listing that’s as comprehensive as possible. Think photos, reviews, and responses to customer comments.

The same holds true for your product page on Amazon if you own an e-commerce business. Utilize your keywords within your product descriptions.

Depending on the nature of your business, be sure you have a presence on third-party review sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor, which some search assistants use to supplement their queries.

Don’t be afraid to ask customers for reviews, and make sure you respond.

And ensure the essential business information, like name, address, and phone number, are the same on each site.

4. Your name or brand must be easy to say

If you’ve already named and branded your business, this could be a difficult one to change. But it may be worth it.

Here’s the kicker:

When a customer asks a question of their assistant or smartphone, the assistant reads back the top result.

For instance, using our example, the assistant would say:

“According to MyTown Shoe Store…” or “We found this information on MyTown Shoe Store…”

Having a name that can be spoken by a virtual assistant will become even more important to brand awareness. The business name must be easily understood, easily pronounced, and easy to remember.

It also needs to be spelled in a way that allows the assistant to pronounce it correctly. Puns or cute plays on words may not be advisable in the world of voice search.

5. Content needs to sound like your customers talk

It’s not enough anymore to have content that’s filled with keywords. Content needs to be in a format that makes sense to customers.

That means thinking like a customer. There are a variety of ways to find that out:

Check social media to see how customers talk about your business.

If you have a customer service department, track what kind of questions they get from customers, right down to the exact wording.

If you have a sales team, check with them for questions and comments they receive.

Monitor reviews of your business to learn how customers talk about your business, what questions they may have, and what positive facets they highlight about your business.

All of these sources will provide language for you to use when creating content on your site.

This wording can be used in Frequently Asked Questions pages, in blog posts, in product descriptions, and more. Be sure to include mention of your location to optimize local search.

6. Content has to address questions

Voice search is much more conversational than traditional typed search queries.

As a result, your content should include conversational question words such as who, what, where, when, why, and how.

There are a few ways to do this.

Check the top results for a Google search and see how the featured snippets are written. They help people learn something, or do something, or find something. And because there are several on a page, you don’t have to rank #1 to be found.

Your keyword research will help you find questions and answer them in your site content. This is good for regular search and voice search.

You can then put a question in a header tag and answer it, making it easy for Siri, Google and other assistants to find it and read it. You can also address this by having a frequently asked questions page.

Including bulleted lists is also a great way to appear in a featured snippet.

Final Thoughts

It may seem like the world of SEO is changing so often that you spend most of your resources ensuring your business is found in search engine results.

But with the rapid increase of voice search, and the fact it’s here to stay, this kind of effort into SEO is well worth it.

After all, coming back to our example, when a potential customer asks:

“Hey Alexa, where’s the best place to buy shoes in Mytown?”

Or  

“Hey Siri, where can I get great shoes in Mytown?”

You want to be sure the answer is your business.

Data Science has recently become one of the most talked-about technologies in the 21st Century. While many people may decide that they want to become a data scientist, it’s a buzzword that many of them may not truly understand

Wikipedia defines Data Science as “a multidisciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms, and systems to extract knowledge and insights from structured and unstructured data.” In other words, Data Science is a buzzword that uses scientific methods to find solutions to common everyday problems.

Data Science as a career is about extracting both structured and unstructured data. The roots can be based on statistics, mathematics, and even computer science. Data are then broken down into manageable pieces. These pieces are analyzed, visualized, managed, and then stored. Eventually, the data are passed on to companies so their management can use it to make accurate, long-range, data-driven decisions.

Data Science is one of the most sought-after jobs in today’s employment market. There are large numbers of positions available in many different industries. Employers are eager and willing to pay employees very lucrative salaries to bring in qualified applicants who can help them be successful in their businesses.

In this article, we will cover some of the pros and cons about choosing Data Science as a profession. Our goal is to provide you with as many of the necessary insights as possible so you can decide for yourself whether it should be your future career.

The Pros

Data science has created a huge impact on practically all 21st Century industries. The demand is huge. Experts say that the data analytics market will evolve to be at least 1/3 of the global IT market in the next few years.

1. Plenty of Opportunities

Both large and small businesses and organizations are looking for new employees with two objectives:

  • They must be able to synthesize data, and
  • They should then be able to communicate their findings in ways that will help their company make the right decisions.

 2. Career Growth

There is a tremendous shortage of data scientists at all levels of the employment chain. The IT industry is constantly on the verge of change. Many middle-level managers and professionals now find their career growth is stagnant. Data Science is their best option to overcome many of the downturns of career stagnation.

Among the biggest trends of data analysis today are in the banking and e-commerce sectors. Data analysis will continue to be needed in the marketplace creating secured jobs for future data scientists.

3. Excellent Pay

Data Science is one of the highest paying jobs in the business world today. Average salaries can exceed $100,000 a year. Annual pay hikes have recently been 50 percent higher than most other IT professions. Salary trends for data science professionals nearly ensure positive and exponential growth.

4. Work Options

Data scientists can work nearly anywhere in the world and in almost any industry or domain. Jobs available range from financial services to marketing and sales, health care, pharmaceuticals, consulting firms, and the retail industry. There are data scientist positions available with the government and non-governmental organizations.

5. Experience is not a Factor

The field of Data Science is so new that many organizations have not yet decided on how to construct the correct experience profile. This provides a great opportunity for IT professionals to up-skill and learn data science in a new field.

6. Lack of Competition

There is currently a shortage of data scientists since the field itself is relatively new.  The experience gap between entry-level data scientists and experienced professionals is only a few years. This provides an enormous opportunity for career growth.

7.  Ease of Job Hunting

Data scientists are in higher demand than ever before. There is also a shortage of skilled professionals in the market. This situation makes it relatively easy to search for jobs in the data science domain.

8. Training Options

There are numerous training options available for students to study data science. The different modes include training online, classroom, and even self-paced videos. University degrees are available in both postgraduate and masters programs.

The Cons

Even though Data Science can be a very lucrative career option, a few disadvantages do exist. Here are some of the limitations:

1. The Definition is Blurred

Because Data Science is so new, in some cases it may not have achieved a fully-understood definition. Some employers can have trouble writing down the exact meaning of what a Data Scientist is.

The specific role of a Data Scientist often depends on the field that the company specializes in. While some may describe Data Science as the paradigm of Science, some critics consider it a simple re-branding of Statistics.

2. Mastering Data Science is Difficult

Data Science is actually a mixture of several different fields. It stems from Statistics, Mathematics, and Computer Science. It’s almost impossible to master each of these fields and be an expert in every one of them.

A person with a background in Statistics will not usually be able to master Computer Science on short notice to become proficient in Data Science. In such an ever-changing dynamic field, employees may need to continue to study different avenues of Data Science.

3. Extensive Domain Knowledge

Another disadvantage of Data Science is that it depends on Domain Knowledge. A person with a background in Computer Science and Statistics can have difficulty solving an intricate Data Science problem without the proper background.

The same is true for someone working in the health-care industry. If they are analyzing genomic sequences, they need to have some knowledge of genetics in addition to molecular biology. This gives the data scientist the capability to properly assist the company. But, if they have a different background, it’s difficult for them to be effective in a completely different industry.

4. Unexpected Results

When a data scientist analyzes data to aid their employer to make decisions, the data can often yield arbitrary or even unexpected results that don’t apply to the employer’s situation. This can also happen when management doesn’t understand how to apply the data or when they are unable to properly utilize their current resources.

5. Data Privacy

When data scientists help companies make decisions, the data provided may intrude on the privacy of their customers. If a client’s personal data are visible to the company, data leaks can occur during the discovery process. This lapse in security can be a major concern for many industries.

Conclusion

While the field of data science may have many lucrative advantages as a career choice, there can be some disadvantages. Data Science is a promising, high-paying, and revolutionary field. It is also continuing to evolve and may take many more years for the student to gain proficiency.

We hope that by weighing the information we’ve provided, you will be able to make the right choice about whether or not Data Science should be your career choice. A professional in the 21st Century, with the analytical skills of a data scientist, should be able to master the ocean of Big Data in the 21st Century. If they do, they will likely become a vital asset to any business or organization, boosting the company’s business interests and their own career.

Until the early 21st Century, most of the data we used in business was structured and small in size. Business decisions were made by analyzing data using simple age-old business intelligence tools.  Books, journals, and even going to the public library were some of the ways we did research.

Google changed that paradigm by introducing web-based search. Google could effectively find almost all the necessary parts we needed to analyze problems and to make successful decisions. Then things got complicated.

Data in most traditional systems had previously been structured and easy to digest. Now, more and more of the data we work with is either semi-structured or unstructured. Some researchers say that by as soon as 2020, more than 80% of the data we work with will be completely unstructured.

Data Analytics solves this problem. Data Analytics organizes data with the simple design objective of finding answers that will help a business make the right evidence-backed decisions. No longer does it make any difference whether the data is structured or unstructured.

Today, analysts and data scientists can process all the data they need in mere seconds. By using powerful computing systems that were unheard of only a few years ago, the data can be sifted through and organized in whatever ways necessary to discover trends or correlations to help a business solve whatever problems it has. The result is that these data-driven insights can transform a business and give it a huge competitive advantage.

What is Data Analytics?

Data analytics takes basic data and transforms it into manageable segments that a business can use to solve problems. Whether the data is manually analyzed or done by an automated analytics application, data analysis always begins with a question and then examines the applicable data to find answers.

Every operational task and customer interaction in a business generates valuable data. Analyzing that data can help a business make better decisions and uncover helpful insights that can be so enormously beneficial that they have the power to transform a business.

Companies that embrace data analytics not have the ability to outperform their competition but to continually exceed expectations. Data analytics helps them drive business decisions, from operations, marketing, and even the products they create. Every aspect of a business will show benefits.

The potential of your data can now go beyond simply making good business decisions. You can find insights about your business or customers that can actually reshape your approach and potentially lead to tremendous growth.

Organizations that were born in the digital age were built around their IT platforms. All their business processes are IT-driven and powered by the data they have carefully collected. Every decision and every action they make is based on how they process their customer and user data sets.

However, not all organizations were born digital. Most traditional organizations will have various degrees of IT sophistication, but the question is, how can they transform themselves into a totally digitized business organization? The answer is through data analytics.

Analyzing your Data

But data analytics is worthless until it is processed, analyzed, and is capable of answering your questions. In today’s world, every business has access to data. To have a competitive advantage, companies must be able to turn their data-driven insights into ideas and decisions. These can transform their business and drive their future growth.

  • The first step in implementing data analytics into your business is to set a clear business objective. Once you have established your goals, it will be a lot easier to understand and ask the questions you will need to use the data to find answers.
  • The second step is that once you know your objective, and what you want to discover, look in your technology applications to find the best available data and metrics to analyze. You should already be collecting transactional data, so it’s now time to put it to use.
  • The third step is to use a tool to analyze your data. Historically this was done with a highly-trained statistics analyst. But today, technology has changed the rules of the game. Now, every business, no matter how big it is, has the ability to get concrete answers from their data. If your business doesn’t have an IT team, use a self-service analytics tool that’s specially designed to go through your data and find answers to your questions.
  • The fourth step requires you to make a decision based on the data analysis. By this time, you should have all the information you need to make a decision or take corrective action. Your ability to interpret the resulting data, and act properly on the insights, will be key to setting you apart from the competition.

Interpreting your Analysis

There are three basic questions you should ask yourself in interpreting your analysis of the data you’ve created.

  1. Is the conclusion complete enough to answer your questions?
  2. Are all objections covered?
  3. Does the analysis give you enough insights to make tangible changes in your business?

Digital organizations are much more agile than ones that continue to be traditional. They are always testing innovations in real-life conditions and crunching data so they can stay ahead of the game. Once a feature is complete, they go and live with it to measure how effective it is. If it doesn’t yield the results they expect, they pull back and revert to a previous version, remove the option they changed, and try something else.

The key in today’s business world is not to always get things 100% right, but to fail quickly, and then be able to change course so you can always stay ahead of the game.

If you have an eCommerce business, you’re always looking for ways to increase profits, maintain quality relationships with your customers, and gain new customers.

It can seem like a never-ending job, but there are ways to make it easier, and save time. Marketing tasks continue to be easier to automate, saving you time and money. And there are ways to do that without alienating customers.

After all, your customers are likely savvy enough that they’re used to conducting business online, including via email. Emails, newsletters and blog links are commonplace, and email marketing is now the way many of us conduct our shopping, gather our news, and get inspired. This means bug implications for you and your eCommerce business.

Automated workflows can help you achieve the following:

  • Maximize your marketing budget.
  • Boost conversions.
  • Increase repeat purchases.
  • Augment the lifetime value of each customer.

So let’s look at the 6 best marketing automation workflows for eCommerce.

1. Onboarding Customers With A Welcome Email Campaign

One of the easiest and most effective automated workflows is a welcome email. It’s essential that you have a successful welcome email campaign.

Think about it.

When a customer signs up to receive an email, they expect to receive it and are motivated to read it, so these emails are likely to have the highest open rate.

Automate the process to send an email as soon as the customer signs up, providing them the information they need. You’ve now given yourself a compelling way to engage new customers and show value to them. This will have an impact on ROI, as these emails are most likely to be clicked on and opened.

Important things to consider in your welcome email campaign:

  • This is an introduction to your brand, an opportunity to make a great first impression, and a chance to make the customer feel part of a “tribe.”
  • This is an occasion when you can showcase your top picks or best product categories. You can also provide relevant content to showcase your business as a leader in the industry.
  • Include information on the frequency of emails, so customers know what to expect.
  • If you want, this is also a chance to promote your presence on social media channels like Twitter or Instagram.
  • You can highlight any specials, and provide details on shipping or return policies, to invite the customer to buy. The “reward” of a discount for signing up is a powerful incentive to make that first purchase.
  • Be sure to include a call to action to visit your online store.

2. Post Purchase Campaign

Automating an email following a purchase is another powerful opportunity to connect with your customers.

While many would think that a “thank you for purchasing” message is enough to include in such an email, this is an opportunity to connect more deeply with customers. This is a chance to increase the lifetime value derived from that customer. It’s also a chance to showcase your brand and build loyalty.

Here are some additional messages to consider when you automate a post-purchase email:

  • Thank customers for purchasing (we didn’t say not to include this!).
  • Confirm that payment was processed.
  • Include any information on shipping times.
  • Make additional product recommendations (“Since you bought X, you may be interested in Y”).
  • Ask customers to share their purchase on social media, by including a “share” button.
  • Include visuals of your brand. Make your store memorable.

3. Abandoned Cart Recovery Automation

Another easy and powerful automation is abandoned cart recovery.

Here’s how it works.

Let’s say a customer visits your online store and places an item in the cart. They leave the site before completing the purchase. You automate a process by which they receive an email to remind them of the product and encourage them to return and purchase it.

After all, they’ve already thought about making a purchase. They may have abandoned the cart for reasons completely unrelated to your product, like a distraction or a web crash.

In order to be successful, you’ll need to gather the customer email early in the purchasing process. The reminder email can be triggered at a set time frame, such as 24 hours, with another reminder several days later. You can include photos and descriptions of the item. You can even consider a bonus discount if the purchase is completed in a set timeframe.

You can also think about highlighting special aspects of your eCommerce store, such as:

  • Your shipping costs – or offer free shipping if the customer spends a certain amount of money.
  • Your returns policy.
  • Your warranty.

Be sure to set up an automation that lets you know if the customer has returned to the store, such as a thank you page that appears if they do make a purchase. Then automate a process that sends another message if they don’t visit the store and buy.

You can even consider running a retargeting advertising campaign, along with the email campaign, that will be sure to reach customers who are considering making a purchase.

4. Qualifying Leads 

Not all customers are created equal, and it’s important you understand that. In the world of eCommerce, you never get to meet your customers, so you want to understand them too.

Some customers will be regular purchasers, and others may sign up for emails and never look at them. Understanding the differences in customers allows you to focus your resources in different ways. For instance, you may choose to focus on loyal customers, or you may decide to focus efforts on winning back disengaged customers.

The way to get to know your customers is through qualifying leads, with certain criteria like customer engagement. Lead qualification lets you qualify your leads based on different criteria, such as their engagement. Best of all, it can be done automatically.

But before you can start, you need to develop a tagging and scoring plan. You can then assign tags and scores to your leads based on the actions they take. It could be something as simple as opening your email, visiting your product page, or making a purchase.

Points are assigned to customers based on their actions, and automated emails can be triggered based on those points.

For instance, you can establish a threshold of points based on purchases. Customers who make several purchases, and achieve the threshold of points, can receive an automated email with an offer for a discount, free shipping, or another variation on a loyalty program.

5. Win Back Campaign Automation

You’ll always have customers who engaged with you at the outset. The relationship started out rosy. They signed up. They read your welcome email. They may be even made an initial purchase.

Then, they became disengaged.

A win-back campaign is one way to attempt to re-engage customers. Using an automated workflow as discussed under “qualifying leads” allows you to identify those customers and follow up to try to win them back.

You can do that by providing them with an enticing offer in an email. You can also give them the option to “click” to continue to receive emails, to change their preferences to receive fewer emails, or to unsubscribe if they don’t want to receive any emails. Being genuine with your customers is never a bad thing.

If you are providing the option to “unsubscribe,” be sure to include the option to follow you on social media so that you can still stay in touch with them if they decide to unsubscribe. While you may lose some people from your customer email list, it’s better for you to have a “clean” list with those customers that want to be engaged with you.

6. Think Beyond Sales

Automated emails don’t just have to be about generating sales. Creating brand loyalty can happen with emails that cover different kinds of topics, and keep your customers engaged with your brand on a different level.

Here are some ideas.

Showcase your business as a leader in your industry by sharing “thought leadership” articles. For instance, if you produce re-usable shopping bags, articles on the environmental damage caused by single-use plastic bags will be of interest to your customers.

Share exclusive information on new product launches. You can even provide loyal customers with an option to pre-buy before other customers have the chance to purchase.

Invite customers to review your products. People generally like to share their opinions, and by gathering reviews from happy customers, you are providing valuable information to potential new customers.

Final Thoughts

Running an eCommerce business presents some unique challenges compared to bricks and mortar stores. In-person shopping gives you the opportunity to get to know customers face-to-face or to have mechanisms to interact with them when they visit your store.

But eCommerce also provides great opportunities to connect with customers in other ways. With the explosion in popularity of online shopping, your customers are increasingly willing and able to interact with you electronically.

Automated workflows can support your marketing efforts, in turn increasing the profits for your eCommerce business. Our 6 best automation workflows will set your business in the right direction.

When you start out with a new business, naturally you have high hopes for it. Who doesn’t want to become and authority within their industry? You know that it’s possible, but knowing how to go about it can be another matter entirely.

For most industries, there’s cut throat competition. The online world is buzzing, and whatever you’re doing, someone else is probably doing it too. So how do you elevate yourself to the lofty position of authority you crave? Even when people think they have an idea of how to become an authority, it often fails.

The point of building authority is to build trust in your business. Without trust, you don’t have much of a business anyway. It simply makes sense to aim for the top.

Here are a few pointers that should give you best chance of making your brand an authority:

Make yourself fully available on social media

One of the first things your customers will want to know is that you’re ready and waiting to interact with them. Your online presence should be prolific; your social media channels regularly active and your products and services easy to locate.

This applies in particular to Facebook. No entrepreneur should ever dream of setting out without a Facebook page for the business – it’s one of the first things your customers will seek out.

Know your target audience

You should first be fully aware of who your target audience is. This way, when you start to pay for advertising (and pay you must) you’ll be reaching the right people. Facebook has an effective advertising platform – when you know what you’re doing. Not everything must be paid for, however:

Create and interact with groups

You can create groups of your own that are relevant to your target audience, and post in other groups that share related content. The latter should be done in a strategic and ‘non-spammy’ way, of course; neither should it violate the terms of the groups. Group members consistently receive notifications, which doesn’t happen much via pages unless you pay.

Make sure you join in other discussions within the groups to get your face and knowledge noticed. Technically you’re doing admins a favour by responding on their behalf… provided your information isn’t controversial.

However you’re spreading your own content, make sure it is done consistently. The content must be highly relevant for your target audience, and delivered in an engaging way. Once that engagement comes your way, you have to be there to respond. This is how people begin to trust you.

Get your face known

The moment you put a face to a name, people start to feel that they know you. It’s a subconscious thing, but it does build trust. A photo won’t really cut it; video is the way. Nobody is saying it’s easy, and it might take practice before you feel confident.

Regardless, it’s entirely necessary. It’s all about the video these days, and if you’re not doing it, your customers will be engaging with someone who will. The good news is that once you have a following for your videos, people will be much more inclined to read your content.

If you’re not a natural public speaker, make a script or at least a few bullet points you can refer to. Use your current content as a guide if you don’t have too many fresh ideas. Don’t put notes on your desk as you’ll need to keep glancing down – that’s incredibly obvious to viewers. Place it on your screen if possible – that way you’ll appear to be looking at the camera and you should get to avoid watching your own (distracting) face.

Once you feel more confident, going live is even better. People love to engage in real time, and it speaks of a whole new level of confidence. From a marketing point of view, it’s a win-win. You don’t even need to pay for it.

Guest post on relevant websites

Today it’s all about being a guest. If you can get yourself invited into a current authority’s domain somehow, you’ll automatically be trusted by their audiences.  Connecting with popular bloggers and site owners and getting your content onto their channels will dramatically expand your reach.

How will you find these sites? Search ‘write for us’ plus your industry, and see what comes up. Lots of people welcome guest posts; after all it keeps their site content fresh with minimal effort. Obviously you’re going to have some competition, so make sure you have some high quality content available to demonstrate your worth. Before long, you should be receiving invitations.

Don’t forget to aim for podcasts and YouTube collaborations too. If you can get publicly interviewed, all the better.

A few more pointers

Other things to keep in mind are that it pays to be confident. You never want to come across as desperate; so no chasing, no spamming and no bartering. If you know your value, others will too.

What’s more, you should develop a unique and memorable communication style… one that helps people to recognise you. Coming across as confident, honest, straight-talking and highly informative is crucial.

Lastly, do what you say you’re going to do – in a timely manner. Exceed people’s expectations and you’re already one step ahead. Make sure you don’t do it too cheaply, either. If you value your time, products and services, so will everyone else. The same works in reverse.

That’s about it. Embrace these tactics, apply some consistency and discipline, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the authority in your field.

Is developing a great product or providing excellent customer service enough to stand out in a competitive business landscape?

No.

Today, you must cultivate a relationship with your audience. You must address their problems and answer their questions whenever necessary. To be successful in today’s ever-changing business environment, you must have a solid content marketing strategy.

In this guide, you will discover five simple content marketing tips to stand out in a sea of competitors.

Research high-value topics

Creating content that your audience finds valuable and engaging will help you gain their attention, and eventually, their trust. By creating or choosing the right content to produce and distribute, you can drive traffic, improve brand awareness, and boost sales.

Here are a few ideas for your research endeavors:

  • Look for topics that your audience is interested in
  • Find topics with less competition
  • Select topics that perform well on various networks
  • Pick old content that you can repurpose

Think of your audience’s pain points, ones which you can address through your content. Then list all the topics you can think of. From there, you can start researching on each topic. Check out its search volume, as well as its value.

Let’s use a specific example. Let’s say you sell bicycles. There are several ways you can research and generate topics for your content:

  • Questions customers ask about your bicycles, including questions directed to customer support. Content ideas arising from this research could include brake maintenance, what to do if you get a flat tire, or best accessories for your bicycle.
  • Think of topics that would interest customers who like cycling, such as travel itineraries for cycling trips, best cycling trails or top workouts for cyclists.
  • Use a tool like ContentGenie, which can generate ideas for you. For $50, you can get 10 topics generated by the “Genie,” which searches for related keywords for your topic and calculates the competition & trends.

Remember these three simple steps when you’re doing your research:

  • Collect your data: Using your preferred keyword marketing tool, determine whether each topic you listed is relevant and valuable. You can do that by identifying the number of people who find the topic or keywords useful or important. Also, find out if other competitors are writing about the topics on your list as well.
  • Pick your priorities: On a spreadsheet, enter all the data you’ve gathered. From there, you can easily determine which topics you wish to prioritize. As mentioned, you can work on topics with high potential reach. You may also select the ones with less competition.
  • Narrow down your list: Think of your overall marketing strategy. What do you intend to achieve through your content? Once you have your answer, you can remove items from the list that you believe won’t help achieve your goal.

Establish a unique voice

Having a clear, defined brand voice lets you stand out in highly saturated markets. It encourages consumers to pick your business over the competition.

Here are a few questions to help you determine your brand voice:

  • What are your core brand values?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Think of your brand as a person: what would it be like to hang out with him or her?
  • How does your brand relate to your audience?

Dollar Shave Club was once a small startup that blew to epic proportions after they dropped their first marketing video, which showcased their playful and witty personality. Within 90 days of uploading their content, they racked up around 5 million views.

Great storytelling was crucial to their success. They also had more room to establish a well-defined voice as they took advantage of video content, which is now more popular than it was seven years ago. What’s more, they knew exactly how to reach out to their audience.

Your brand voice can change depending on your target audience, products, as well as your marketing tactics. As your business continues to evolve, your brand voice can evolve with it. In an ever-changing landscape, you must be ready to reshape your brand whenever necessary.

Engage your audience

Publishing high-value content won’t be enough to keep your audience interested. To retain their attention, you must nurture a relationship with your audience. Take the time to reach out to the people who follow your brand, and engage them in discussions.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Put your audience first: As already mentioned, you must create content that your audience will find relevant and valuable. It should address their problems and contain actionable insights.
  • Use social media: Sharing your content on your preferred social media platforms enables you to interact with your audience in real-time. Reaching out to your audience through these channels lets you address any pressing issues, answer their questions, and get to know them more.
  • Add a call-to-action: Whether you do videos or blogs, adding a call-to-action to your content lets you start conversations with your audience. For instance, you can invite them to submit questions, or at the very least, react to your content.

Promote user-generated content

A simple way to keep content fresh and exciting is to promote user-generated content. Think of it as digital word-of-mouth marketing. It’s an excellent way to turn prospective consumers into paying customers. Better yet, it’s free.

Sharing your consumers’ experience with your products or services on your online channels can influence the purchasing decisions of many prospects. In doing so, you can engage with your audience and make them feel appreciated and more connected to your brand.

Consumers trust user-generated content because it’s authentic and credible. According to Photoslurp, user-generated photos are five times more likely to generate a conversion compared to professional content.

Here are other stats you might want to know about:

GoPro has arguably the best user-generated content marketing strategy today. For that reason, GoPro is one of the most recognizable brands around the world. Using their audience’s content for advertisement has allowed them to gain the attention of a generation that loves travel and values experiences over material possessions.

Always ask permission from other creators before using their content to promote your brand and your products.

Choose the right social media channels

Whether you run an online business or a traditional brick-and-mortar store, social media is critical to your business’ success. There’s a ton of platforms out there, but only a few networks are vital to business.

Here are five of the most popular platforms today:

  • Facebook. Since the platform has a massive and diverse audience, it’s the perfect place to share your content. Facebook is ideal for businesses whose target audience are aged 25-34, as it’s the largest demographic on the platform.
  • Instagram. People aged 18-29 are the largest demographic on the network, which is perfect for creative brands aiming to reach consumers under 30.
  • YouTube. This is the go-to platform for video content. With YouTube, you can reach your target audiences as well as earn revenue from your content.
  • Twitter. Any business will benefit from starting a Twitter channel, as it allows them to provide their audience with excellent customer support.
  • LinkedIn. For B2B companies, LinkedIn is your best shot at gaining the attention of professionals and industry leaders worldwide.

While these social media platforms do have built-in analytics, it’s even better to use more sophisticated tools like Pyramid Analytics to measure your content’s impact and determine how you should improve.