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4 Steps for Effective Customer Acquisition in the Digital Era

It’s no secret that acquiring new customers is difficult. While most companies work to derive as much value as possible from existing customers–which they should—your business will have a tough time reaching its growth goals if new customers are never brought into the fold. In the digital era, customer interactions occur online, and in shorter, more frequent stints, rather than the longer in-person, but less frequent, interactions of old. Likewise, traditional marketing meant focusing on customer segmentation and campaign performance measurement. That no longer works. Instead, the focus needs to be on individual preferences and intentions. Not doing so can lead to missed opportunities. There are several factors to consider in your customer acquisition strategy, and they all come down to an explicit focus on the customer: details such as understanding how (and why) individuals interact with each channel differently, recognizing how to leverage multi-channel data to connect with the right customers at the right time, and respecting that customers want to be treated as individuals. To win the battle for new customers, companies must continuously leverage digital technologies to attract new customers and connect in a relevant, meaningful way based on the prospect’s individual preferences. Here are four key steps to acquire new customers in the digital era. 1. End the Siloes  Your business can’t be effective with your consumer interactions if you’re working with data that is in siloes. Marketing teams must know and understand information around sales calls, online behavior, marketing program feedback, etc., to make the most of each marketing campaign and next best offer. These make up an ongoing cycle of events that contribute to a personalized understanding of the prospect or consumer. Having a holistic, real-time view is the only way to be relevant and effective in your marketing efforts. 2. Detect Opportunities Pinpointing new opportunities at the prospecting stage will allow your teams to allocate resources in the areas that will have the most impact. Signals of intent – like multiple visits to your website – need to be merged and used during the acquisition process as quickly as possible. Typical prospect journeys will become visible and can be mapped to other prospects, all the while improving acquisition. You want to be able to compare past activities of the customers you have acquired and apply those behavioral patterns to new prospects to gain a better understanding of predictive behavior. This can help you make the right offers to transition the prospect into a customer. 3. Turn Insight into Action  Detecting an opportunity is not enough on its own to improve customer acquisition; you need to process that opportunity as quickly as possible and use the most appropriate channel to connect with that prospect while the opportunity is still there. That process can be a call by the sales team, but it can also be a digital interaction – an email, online banner offer or other digital conversation, depending on the profile of that customer. The key is delivering the right message that will resonate with that particular prospect based on the behavioral, contextual data mentioned above. 4. Test Multiple Strategies  If you’re in a rut, it’s beneficial to engage prospects with different marketing messages and track response rates to learn what’s working and what’s not. Being able to track and change based on individual behavior patterns will allow you to improve your customer acquisition tactics. Delivering the right message via the right channel at just the right time is crucial, so despite the number of ways in which we can reach prospects, if we haven’t carefully considered what it is they want or need, or how they want to hear that message, we likely won’t get very far. Instead, companies that embrace a customer-centric approach include customer-focused concepts in their entire makeup. “Personal,” “thoughtful,” “anytime, “anywhere” – these are requirements for growth in the digital era and impacting the customer acquisition process. It may take some trial and error, but a successful acquisition strategy is all about committing to better understanding your customer—at all stages of engagement and via a variety of digital channels—and building personalized relationships with each. Source: http://customerthink.com/4-steps-for-effective-customer-acquisition-in-the-digital-era/

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7 Predictions For The Shape Of Content Marketing In 2020

Wait a minute, isn’t it only 2017? You’re right, and 2017 is shaping up to be a big year for content marketing, but as fast as technology develops, it still takes a few years for trends to really take form. Google Glass seemed like a big deal at the time—until it wasn’t, and smart watches never grew to become the market dominators they were once forecasted to be. At the same time, I remember seeing the flurry of posts calling for the death of SEO at the arrival of the Panda and Penguin updates, which played a major role in shaping SEO (but never came close to killing it). So rather than taking a stab at the immediate repercussions and developments that may tweak your content marketing strategy this year, I want to look further into the future, where these trends and technologies will have had more time to manifest, so you can prepare for the bigger disruptions to come: 1. Augmented reality interactions. Augmented reality had a big year in 2016, with Oculus Rift, Pokemon Go, and the announcement of Snapchat Spectacles (among other tech developments). But it’s still not popular or widespread enough for it to be categorized as a viable medium for content marketing. But now, all doubts about the technology’s future have been squashed, and brands will be racing to be among the first to leverage this new medium for their own purposes, whether that’s interactive advertising or new experiences for in-person customers. 2. A reshaping of SEO. Unless you’ve been centering your business on an Amazon store or a similar eCommerce platform, most of your SEO efforts revolve around your website. This seems both intuitive and obvious; search engine results pages (SERPs) are basically giant lists of web pages, so the more visibility you get there, the better. However, we’re starting to see different kinds of entries in SERPs, and less exposure for websites in general. Knowledge Graph entries and rich answers are replacing traditional site entries, apps (including streaming app content) are rising in relevance, and of course, our digital assistants are parroting answers to us, eliminating the need to review an SERP. As these trends develop, users will still rely on search, but they’ll use it in entirely new ways—and the importance of website-specific optimization will begin to decline in favor of things like app SEO and optimization for rich answers. 3. Live video dominance. Live video’s popularity isn’t exactly a secret, but there’s one thing holding it back from being a dominant form of content on the web: participation. Live videos, when available, attract a lot of user attention, but not enough brands have jumped on the trend. Part of this is due to the amount of planning necessary for a “successful” feed, and mobile data plans and Wi-Fi reliability may also enter into the equation. But by 2020, my guess is live video will stabilize as an available means of communication, and we’ll see it in higher demand and in more places—including search results. 4. A native advertising surge. People hate advertisements. They’re tired of being bombarded with ad messages, they don’t like the idea of being persuaded, and they resent the big businesses that are trying to take their money. That’s why native advertising, which I view as a hybrid of traditional advertising and content marketing, is likely to constitute the majority of ad revenue online by 2020. Even traditional forms of advertising will work harder to “blend in” with the type of content that users expect to see in a given medium. 5. Content length extremes. Currently, there’s a wide range of different-length content that can become popular. Short, medium, and long posts all have advantages and disadvantages, with long posts attracting more links, and short posts spreading faster and requiring less investment. By 2020, I imagine we’ll see more polarization toward content extremes; people who want deep, long content will want the deepest, longest content they can find, while anyone who wants a fast read will only consume content in bite-sized chunks. This will force most content marketers to rethink their direction, optimizing for one style over the other. 6. Higher social value. We’ll also see a spike in the social value associated with the content we produce and share. Authorship is currently important, and influencer marketing yields fantastic results, but as corporate distrust grows and internet accessibility widens, it’s going to be even more important to know—personally—who you’re getting your content from. Individual personalities are going to make or break brands, and the value of a post can increase exponentially based on who writes or shares it. 7. Personal device interactions. Voice search has exploded in popularity over the past five years or so, mostly because algorithms became good enough to actually understand what we’re saying. But we’re now starting to interact with our devices in new and uncharted ways; we’re having real, back-and-forth conversations with them, eliminating the need for screen-based or type-based interactions. By 2020, I believe this will give rise to new types of content that aren’t screen-based; podcasts are an interesting start, but in the future, more conversational, interactive forms of content will be in demand. Though some of these predictions are speculative, the majority of them are end-game visions of trends that have already begun. If you have a good rhythm, it’s a good idea to maintain it; there’s no use scrapping your strategy and rebuilding from scratch for concepts that are only now coming into fruition. Still, it pays to think ahead; the most successful content marketers tend to be the ones who beat their competitors to market, so there’s definitely a value in early adoption. Source: www.forbes.com

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Using Advertising Landing Pages to Nurture Customers

Like a rose is a rose is a rose, your brand is your brand is your brand. Think of it like this. Your brand is like a delicate flower. It is something you’ve cared for, cultivated, and grown into an entity that represents everything you, your team, and company wishes to share with the world. That’s why you’re proud of your brand, and why it’s upsetting when it goes unnoticed. There are many ways to draw attention to your brand and one of the best is to utilize landing pages. Landing pages make a lasting first impression and are ideally suited to creating powerful, personalized ads that fully convey all the awesomeness that is your brand. An advertising landing page politely ushers your potential customers the duration of the customer journey, so it’s crucial to recognize that every promotion or ad needs its own landing page. In this post, we’re going to examine how good advertising landing pages move potential customers through each step of the buying cycle and help your brand get the attention you know it deserves. What is an advertising landing page? An advertising landing page is a standalone web page that visitors are brought to from various forms of advertising channels. Advertising landing pages are designed to convince visitors to convert on a specific offer (to buy a product, download an ebook, register for a webinar, etc.) by using persuasive elements like compelling headlines, benefit-oriented copy, engaging media, and customer testimonials. Advertising landing pages can, and should, be utilized throughout the marketing funnel to make the buyer’s journey meaningful and effective. How are brands using advertising landing pages at each stage of the buyer's journey? Brands are using advertising landing pages at each stage of the marketing funnel to optimize the buyer’s journey. This practice provides brands with the ability to raise brand awareness, drive traffic, and increase sales. Take a look below at how content fits into the buyer’s journey at each stage. These are not exclusive to their respective stage, but are often bucketed this way: Let’s briefly review each stage of the marketing funnel, and examine how brands are using advertising landing pages to achieve success throughout the buyer’s journey. We’ll also discuss elements that should be A/B tested in order to potentially achieve better results. Keep in mind, for shorter pages, we’ve shown the entire page. However, for longer pages, we only displayed above the fold. You may need to click through to each page to see some of the points we discuss. Also, ome brands may be A/B tested their page with an alternate version than is displayed below. In the awareness stage The awareness stage is the beginning of the buyer’s journey; before someone knows anything about your brand. The prospect knows that they have an issue, and that the issue needs a solution but they don’t have any idea how they’re going to solve the issue. In the awareness stage, landing page advertising is typically for educational, editorial, and expert content, analyst and research reports, tip lists, ebooks, white papers, and blog subscriptions. Boldchat Boldchat is one brand that uses an advertising landing page in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. The following AdWords ad and landing page was found by searching the term “improve user experience” and is used to generate playbook downloads: What the page does well: The headline is attention-grabbing, both aesthetically and with the compelling copy. Numerical statistics about customer experience help persuade prospects to download the playbook to learn more about how they can improve their own customer engagement. The image gives prospects a preview of what they’ll receive by downloading the playbook. Bullet points with personalized copy let prospects know what they’ll learn from the playbook and how it will benefit them. The “Start chat” button on the right side of the page allows prospects to contact the customer service team without exiting the page. What could be changed or A/B tested: Exit links (the company logo and social links) could reduce conversion rates by providing prospects with a way off the page before downloading the playbook. 7 form fields is a bit high for a landing page in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. At this stage of the game, the company shouldn’t need so much information. The CTA button copy is vague and unpersuasive. Something more exciting and benefit-oriented like, “Get Engaged!” would likely persuade more prospects to convert. Adding white space around the most important elements, like the headline, form, and CTA button, would make them more attention-grabbing, and make the page look more organized. Analogous colors (red, orange, and yellow) make it so that no one color stands out too much. Changing the color of, say, the CTA button would make it “pop” off the page more. Too much variation in font style, size, and color makes the page look messy and difficult to comprehend. Akamai Akamai uses this AdWords ad and landing page (found by searching the phrase “page speed issues”) in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey to generate free report downloads: What the page does well: Using “Free” in the headline is smart since people are more likely to redeem free offers than paid offers. The click-to-play video is informative, and is only 1-minute long, so it won’t bore prospects or prevent them from watching due to lengthiness. The encapsulated form serves as an implicit visual cue, drawing attention to the form so that prospects are more likely to complete it. Bullet points tell prospects what their report will contain, adding an element of persuasion to the offer. What could be changed or A/B tested: Too many form fields may deter prospects from completing the form. All of the requested information isn’t necessary in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. The CTA button copy could be improved. There is nothing engaging or convincing about “Submit.” Something more personal and descriptive like, “Send my report now!” may result in more leads. The CTA button color could be changed to a more contrasting color in order to make it stand out on the page. Exit links (company logo, navigation in the footer, etc.) give prospects a chance to leave the page before converting on the offer. The video advertises other videos at the end of it, which also increases the chance that prospects will leave before submitting their request for the report. Adding testimonials from customers who have already received the report would likely help to persuade others to convert on the offer as well. In the consideration stage The consideration stage is where the prospect begins to research all of his or her available solutions in the marketplace, and they have identified your company as a possible solution to their problem. As the prospect’s research becomes more in depth, he or she learns more about your knowledge, professionalism, authority, and trustworthiness and they are able to narrow down their list of potential choices. Advertising landing pages in the consideration stage offer content like webinars, free samples, guides, webcasts, and podcasts. LinkedIn Here is a LinkedIn PPC ad discovered by searching “marketing software guide”: Upon clicking the ad, I was brought to this landing page that LinkedIn uses in their consideration stage to persuade prospects to download their B2B Marketing Guide: What the page does well: Message matching is used with the ad and the landing page, as both advertise $50 in ad credits. Bullet points with bold font make it easy for prospects to find out what they’ll be getting and learning about with the guide. The auto fill feature on the form makes it faster and easier for prospects to complete it, increasing the chances that they will. Although having two of the same button seems like a mistake. What could be changed or A/B tested: The CTA button copy, “Download Now,” is vague. Something more engaging and enticing like, “Get the guide and $50 now!” may produce more leads. The CTA button color could be changed to a more attention-grabbing color (one that’s not used elsewhere on the page). Iconography with links to other landing pages is unnecessary and potentially decreases the conversion rate on this page. Instead of including the links on this page, each offer should have its own ad campaign and its own landing page. Exit links (company logo, header and footer navigations, social links) provide prospects a way off the page before downloading the guide. Adding customer testimonials from those who have already downloaded the guide and had success with it would likely convince others to download it as well. ReadyTalk Upon conducting a Google search for the phrase “content marketing webinar,” I came across this AdWords ad and landing page from ReadyTalk, encouraging prospects to sign up for their webinar: What the page does well: The image of the man adds a human element to the page, making the offer more relatable and enticing for prospects. Minimal copy is good, but adding personalized wording like “you” and “my” would be even better. The arrow above the form acts as a directional cue, telling prospects that there’s more to see beyond this landing page. The one-field form is fast and easy for prospects to complete, increasing their chances of doing so. No exit links (aside from the second CTA button mentioned below) means more prospects will stay on the page long enough to convert on the offer. What could be changed or A/B tested: “Webinars for the Customer Journey” at the very top of the page is the exact same phrase as the headline, making it distracting and unnecessary. The CTA button copy is as vague as it gets. “Submit” doesn’t say anything about the offer and likely doesn’t entice many visitors to convert. The CTA button color doesn’t stand out as much as it could, because green is used elsewhere on the page. Changing it to a more contrasting color like orange would likely draw more attention and result in more leads. The second CTA button at the bottom of the page should be removed. Since this is a completely different offer, it should have its own landing page. Adding trust signals and/or social proof (customer testimonials, company badges, etc.) would make prospects more comfortable and compelled to watch the webinar. In the decision stage The decision stage is what it all boils down to; where customers are made or prospects are lost. Up until this point of the buyer’s journey, your lead has been creating a list of potential brands to use as the solution to their problem - and now it’s time for them to make their decision based on what they’ve learned about you so far. During this make-or-break stage, advertising landing page offers include trials, demos, consultations, quotes, coupons, and vendor/product comparisons. Falcon Google isn’t the only advertising channel used to send prospects to landing pages. Here is a Sponsored Post on Facebook that Falcon uses to drive traffic to their landing page offering a demo: What the page does well: Cooperative CTA buttons all the way down the page give prospects ample chances to convert on the offer. When visitors click any of the buttons, they are brought to the bottom of the page to complete the form. Social proof throughout the page (company logos and customer testimonials) likely convinces others to request the demo, leading them to believe that if everyone else finds so much success with this company, then they will too. Bullet points and images to describe the main components of the software makes the page more engaging and easier for prospects to comprehend. What could be changed or A/B tested: The hyperlinked company logo may serve as a distraction, taking visitors off the page before getting the chance to convert. The CTA buttons don’t catch your eye or make visitors want to click. Most of them are the same color as their background, and even the blue ones don’t contrast as well as they could. “Free” demo is not mentioned until the very end of the page. Highlighting that the demo is free at the top will result in more customers because prospects will spend more time browsing the page and seeing the product benefits. The page is aesthetically pleasing. It appears professional and branded, it’s well-organized, includes sufficient white space, and follows the Z-Pattern layout all the way down. Missouri Table & Chair This is a Promoted Post on LinkedIn from Missouri Table & Chair: When prospects click on the Promoted Post, they are directed to this advertising landing page that the company uses in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey to encourage visitors to sign up for a free consultation: What the page does well: Trust seals directly beneath the form make it likely that prospects will feel comfortable converting on the offer. This is important since the company did not include a privacy policy link. The frame around the lead capture form helps to draw attention to it. The autofill function likely increases conversion rates, because it makes it easier and faster for prospects to complete the form. What could be changed or A/B tested: The company logo is hyperlinked, giving visitors an immediate way off the page before converting. Lack of copy likely leaves prospects wondering why they should convert on this offer. The CTA button copy is bland. Making it more benefit-centered and exciting, such as, “Schedule my free consult now!” would likely result in more customers. No privacy policy could deter prospects from giving their personal information because they don't know where it could end up. Source: https://instapage.com/blog/advertising-landing-pages

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Survey: mobile devices eclipse PC usage and, in a surprise, drive more conversions

Fluent poll of 2,773 US adults asked about a range of mobile usage patterns. Many industry insiders expect mobile commerce to eclipse PC-based sales in the relatively near future. A new online survey from Fluent argues that may already be starting to happen. The recent survey of 2,773 US adults affirmed other data showing that the bulk of consumers now spend much more time with their mobile devices than PCs. But the survey also reflected more transactions on smartphones than the PC — a surprise. Over the past year, which device would you say you spent the majority of your time using? According to Fluent’s data, the majority of these users’ online purchases are happening on mobile devices — by more than two to one. This is a seemingly contrarian finding that goes against the bulk of other data I’ve seen, which shows higher mobile traffic but lower (than PC) transactions. I asked Fluent to comment on this finding and they have yet to respond. At a minimum, this data can be seen as something of a leading indicator that mobile will overtake the PC for transactions; the only question is when. Among mobile transactions, slightly more were reported to have been made on apps than mobile sites, but just barely (51 to 49 percent). Slicing the data by age, gender and operating system yielded some interesting differences however: Women are more likely than men to shop on mobile websites Men make the majority of their smartphone purchases in apps Americans 18 – 34 are much more likely to shop on mobile apps; those over 45 are more likely to make purchases on mobile websites Android users are more likely to shop on mobile apps; iOS users on mobile websites Push marketing was also shown to be an effective driver of mobile transactions. Nearly 21 percent of Fluent survey respondents said that they had made a smartphone purchase after receiving a promotional email. This compares with 18 percent and 17 percent who did so after receiving a text or mobile push notification (respectively). According to third-party data, roughly three-fourths of email is now read on mobile phones. If corresponding landing pages and mobile sites aren’t optimized for mobile users the data above suggest that marketers and retailers are losing potentially meaningful revenue. In addition, these mobile users said that they would be more likely to shop on smartphones with “easier navigation” and “increased speed” and to some degree “enhanced security.” Older users were more interested in security and younger people were generally more interested in faster and simpler user experiences. The report offers a bunch of additional data about mobile app category usage and gaming. However the significant marketing takeaways are the following: Mobile commerce may overtake e-commerce on the PC sooner than we think Mobile app and site improvements can have a material impact on mobile transactions Push marketing on mobile devices can drive meaningful sales, with email being the most effective (and twith the added benefit of being cross-platform) Source: http://marketingland.com/survey-mobile-devices-eclipse-pc-usage-surprise-drive-conversions-204128

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What 2016 meant for Tech in Europe

Despite the slowdown of the US VC investments, 2016 was a tremendous year for our dearly beloved EU Tech Scene. For you, we analysed at the several thousand of funding rounds that occurred last year (according to Crunchbase Data), below is what you need to know: $11 Billion were invested in EU Tech startups, 45% (in amount) at a VC stage (round<$25M) 55% at a more PE stage (round >$25M) UK remains the leading ecosystem although is currently experiencing a slow down because of Brexit, especially on VC stage rounds France has overtaken Germany, in terms of VC funding. Looking at H2 2016, this trend is massive We strongly believe that the Tech EU boom will continue in 2017 Methodological note : we manually excluded every non-tech/digital companies and non-PE/VC/Seed/Angel rounds (which for instance represented several hundreds million $ just for France) As we anticipated in our post of the spring of 2016, the slowdown in the US had no bearing on European tech funding rounds. It’s like winter didn’t come for us :) Looking at the distribution of fundings among the main EU countries, here is what it looks like : In $ Billion But as the UK is a more mature ecosystem, with more large/PE rounds, to draw a comparison between countries we need to take only VC rounds (funding < $25M) into account. In $ Billion Although Britain is still leading, looking at the quarterly figures, the impact of Brexit is clear. France has slightly overtaken Germany because of a huge acceleration on H2 (+36% compared to H1). In $ Million Here is the distribution among the main EU Tech Hubs: In $ Million, excluding >$25M rounds So the year 2016 wasn’t so bad after all… But how about 2017? If we exclude the uncertain situation in the UK (and also the risks of politics outside Europe), all lights are green. Here is why : First and foremost (and what seems to me the very most important things), Tech startups are attractive for talent and many students want either to join a startup or to start their own business. First time Entrepreneurs are more and more skilled and experienced. They start looking at entrepreneurship early + education in school is more and more adapted for those who want to start their business. Money to support and to scale game changing ideas is here. Lots of new VC funds were raised this year both by new and existing teams. The tech investment business model has now been proven in Europe too, with lots of huge exits these last few months. Our own deal flow index -the Q1 and Q2 2017 next fundings- largely reflects this surge (please note that here it’s a 12 month moving average allowing us to remove seasonality) : For these few reasons why we strongly believe that the current entrepreneurial spring for tech in Europe will remain during the next quarters. Last but not least we wish you all an amazing year 2017, full of hope and self-fulfillment ! This article was co-written by Eric Gossart, Léa Verdillon, Sébastien Le Roy and Kevin Bonte from Serena Capital Team. Here is the slidehare of the study. Source: https://blog.serenacapital.com/what-2016-meant-for-tech-in-europe-abf7dc5050f1#.1duoxcar0

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