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Monthly Archives: January 2020

Social Spotlight: REI’s #OptOutside and How a Campaign Becomes a Movement

Welcome to the Social Spotlight, where we dive deep into what we love about a brand’s approach to a specific social campaign. From strategy Read more...

This post Social Spotlight: REI’s #OptOutside and How a Campaign Becomes a Movement originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Experiential Content

Colorful round gems image.

Colorful round gems image.

Experiential content will help drive 2020’s digital agenda, and savvy B2B marketers should take notice.

Experiential is a word with subtly differing meanings depending on which setting it’s used in, however at the core of each definition is the fact that it all boils down to experiences.

Experiential content makes us a central part of a story, and not just a passive subject receiving a one-way brand message.

Experiential B2B Word Cloud Image

Use of experiential content has grown over the past several years as online technologies have reached a level capable delivering vibrant and engaging motion and sounds alongside clickable, swipable, and all other manner of interactivity to put you front and center.

TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden recently mentioned experiential content in his annual list of the top ten B2B digital marketing trends for 2020.

[bctt tweet="“Visual, experiential content that is easy to find and satisfies business buyer’s needs to be informed, entertained and inspired will continue to be areas of focus.”  @LeeOdden" username="toprank"]

With 98 percent of consumers more likely to make a purchase after an experience (Limelight), and 77 percent having chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that delivers a personalized service or experience (Forrester), why haven’t more B2B marketers begun to use experiential content?

Experiential Content’s Advantages

In a seemingly million-message-a-minute online world, experiential content offers a number of advantages.

It removes us from all other messaging, if only for a short while, and allows us to enter a world under our own control, where we can interact as we see fit, learning or buying at our own pace, all while creating a story that intertwines us with brand information and messaging.

In 2020 experiential content comes in many forms, no longer limited to just the real-world selfie booths and similar elements of the past, with just a few examples listed here:

  • Virtual Reality (VR)
  • Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Cloud-Based Digital Assets from Ceros and Other Platforms
  • Quizzes and Polls
  • Interactive Flipbooks and eBooks

In a way online gaming has been leading the way for decades when it comes to digital experiential content, and only recently have brands and marketers started to bring this power to B2B advertising campaigns.

An example of experiential content comes in the form of our Break Free of Boring B2B Guide, featuring interactive insight from a variety of B2B marketing industry influencers. Click here to enter the full-screen experience.



Experiential Marketing Embraces Digital Storytelling

Experiential content is also intertwined with both storytelling and customer experience (CX), together forming an extremely powerful triptych of B2B marketing strategy.

As a key component of experiential content, storytelling becomes even more personal and memorable when you’re a key part of the messaging experience a brand is sharing, and being remembered is more important — as well as more difficult — today than ever, which is why forward-thinking B2B marketers are utilizing experiential tactics in their 2020 tool-kits.

The importance of storytelling in the customer journey has become less of a secret in the past five years, as marketing experts and the data to back up the fact have combined to make brand storytelling a trend for the decade ahead.

[bctt tweet="“Experiential content’s role in powerful storytelling will be an increasing theme among B2B marketers looking to drive next-generation brand efforts.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"]

Experiential Marketing Embraces Great CX

The other key element of experiential content — CX — appears to offer an ideal match, combining to form two important facets of successful B2B marketing.

What better way to deliver a stellar customer experience than by creating memorable brand storytelling using experiential content?

Two years ago we saw the rise of real-world physical pop-ups from the likes of 29Rooms achieving considerable success on Instagram and other social media platforms, however a shift to creating these worlds virtually online as immersive experiential content has taken place in 2019 and into 2020.

Experiential content also appears in WARC’s recently-released ninth-annual marketers report for 2020, which places it alongside purpose and product as three of the most important elements needed for brands to achieve greater success this year.

Some marketers and brands are pulling back from an over-investment in technology that has taken a certain amount of focus away from creativity, the same report’s survey data shows.

WARC Survey Image

Indeed, among the survey’s respondents — almost 800 global client and agency-side executives — one of the top elements comprising experiential content, VR and AR, was seen as being one of the most important emerging technologies in 2020.

Another big part of experiential content is online video, a near-unanimous selection on most top marketing trend lists, as it continues to receive the type of swift growth in ad spend dollars that has helped make online video a big success for Instagram, YouTube, and increasingly TikTok.

Over 80 percent of marketers plan to increase spending for online video in 2020, with 33 percent planning to boost spending on TikTok this year, according to the WARC survey. In the U.S. alone digital video spedning is expected to increase by over 31 percent in 2020, to $5 billion. (Winterberry Group)

[bctt tweet="“Being creative while retaining consistency of brand is key to unlocking the benefits of brand-building: from forging emotional attachments, to driving long-term brand equity and sales influences.” — Simon Cook  @Cannes_Lions" username="toprank"]

Cloud-based experiential content platform Ceros offers both an overview guide and an on-demand webinar for learning more about the technology, and offers up their own take on just what the term means.

“Experiential content is digital content that is purposefully designed to create an immersive experience for its consumers through some combination of interactions, animations, embedded media, and storytelling. It encourages active participation in an effort to form memorable, emotional connections between the consumer and the brand or creator,” Ceros notes.

[bctt tweet="“Experiential content makes us a central part of a story, and not just a passive subject receiving a one-way brand message.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"]

Bake More Experiential Goodness Into Your B2B Efforts For 2020

via GIPHY

We’ve looked at what experiential content is, explored a few examples of how B2B brands are using it successfully, and showed how it is likely to see growing adoption in 2020 and beyond.

It takes considerable time, effort, and resources to implement a standout experiential content campaign, which is why many brands turn to a dedicated agency.

TopRank Marketing had the honor of being named by Forrester as the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in its “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America, Q1 2019” report.”

Finally, here are several additional related resources we've put together to help you build your own interactive content:

Looking to learn even more about B2B marketing? Tune in to two free upcoming webinars with our CEO Lee Odden, with complete details here.

The post What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Experiential Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Use Short Videos to Turn Prospects Into Customers

Are you struggling to move people from being familiar with you to buying from you? Wondering how to create short videos to help guide people to purchasing? In this article, you’ll learn how to create short, cost-effective videos to help convince people to purchase your product or service. Why Use Short, Fact-Based Video? According to […]

The post How to Use Short Videos to Turn Prospects Into Customers appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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2019 Sprout Partner Value Awards are here!

Each year, we have the honor of recognizing our top agency partners by awarding Sprout Partner Value Awards in five different categories.  While this Read more...

This post 2019 Sprout Partner Value Awards are here! originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Break Free B2B Series: Emily Thompson on the Power of Content Marketing in Health Care

Break Free B2B Interview with Emily Thompson

Break Free B2B Interview with Emily Thompson

Trust is the linchpin of modern marketing. It plays a crucial role in every vertical, industry, or niche. But nowhere is trust a more essential crux than in health care, where the personal stakes are immense.

“We're in an industry where, you know, it's serious,” says Emily Thompson in her interview for Break Free B2B. “This is about people's health and well being, and a lot of times people get very nervous — they're scared, they're sick.”

As a Boston-based freelance writer and content strategist who primarily focuses on the health care sector, where she has worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from startups to enterprise, Emily acutely understands the impactful nuances of messaging. She says seeing things from the other side — as a first-time mother who frequently sought information online — helped her develop a more empathetic view.

She incorporates this into her craft, creating patient-focused copy designed to build trust and confidence, and offers valuable insight for B2B marketers everywhere. In the interview, she shares some tactics and techniques that are being used effectively in her industry to achieve this rapport, from smartphone apps to user-generated content to data-driven personalization and beyond. 

[bctt tweet="Research says that 93 million Americans have searched for a health-related topic online. So If we know people are going online, we have to be there too. @BosCreativeCopy #HealthcareMarketing #BreakFreeB2B" username="toprank"]

Watch my conversation with Emily below, and let her experiences and perspectives help guide you toward building healthier relationships with your B2B customers. 

Break Free B2B Interview with Emily Thompson


If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 03:46 - The emerging focus of content marketing in health care
  • 07:05 - Big data in health care marketing
  • 09:42 - Responsible data usage and personalization in health care marketing
  • 12:35 - Leveraging traditional and emerging channels in health care marketing
  • 13:42 - Counterproductive mindsets in health care marketing
  • 16:14 - User generated content in health care
  • 19:55 - Challenges that span across industries
  • 22:17 - Rising demands from patients for digital 24/7 access

Nick: Can content marketing build trust in the patient care continuum?

Emily: That's really what, to me, content marketing is all about. It's building trust with the consumer, whether that's a patient or a referring physician. And, I think that … when an organization can deliver strong content that helps inform people, it only builds that trust. And if you think about the patients that are watching, often they're frightened, they're overwhelmed, they don't know where to go. And so there's just a lot of opportunity in health care for marketers to really rely on content to help them build that trust.

When an organization can deliver strong content that helps inform people, it only builds that trust. @BosCreativeCopy #BreakFreeB2B #ContentMarketing #healthcare

Nick: Transparency is key in managing health care data. How else can marketers benefit the health care system? 

Emily: I think it comes down to messaging too, and if you make sure that your content is ultimately really helpful to the consumer. So, for example, I was on these apps [after giving birth to my son], and I was being served up a toy that might work for my son in his age and developmentally where he was at. Or food — we were struggling with a type of formula or milk that would be good for him. 

Ultimately, people just want information that's helpful to them. It helps calm them down whether they're nervous about their health information or they’re, you know, a new mom. It's hard to be frustrated when an app is using information about myself that is ultimately benefiting me, helping me out.

Nick: Is there anything that stands out to you as a real opportunity for marketers, and specifically those who are working in the B2B space, to break free of something that might be inhibiting them?

Emily: Yeah. Break free from fear. I think that health care can be a very conservative market. And, you know, to be fair, there are reasons for that. We're in an industry where, you know, it's serious. This is about people's health and well being, and a lot of times people get very nervous — they're scared, they're sick.

But I think that isn't a reason to hold back from trying new things. I think that especially with digital, it's very easy today to try a new type of message, or a new type of way of communicating to someone. Let's say you never blogged before, why not try a blog? Let's say you never did email marketing, why not try it? Or a new type of message? 

The worst that can happen is you measure it, you learn from it, and you try something new. I think that often, as health care marketers, we can get stuck in the same way of doing things. And, a lot of times it's a little too safe.

[bctt tweet="As health care marketers, we can get stuck in the same way of doing things. The worst that can happen is you measure it, you learn from it, and you try something new. @BosCreativeCopy #BreakFreeB2B #ContentMarketing #healthcare" username="toprank"]

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:

If you're hungry for more insight and advice on the state of trust in marketing, check out our Trust Factors series:

The post Break Free B2B Series: Emily Thompson on the Power of Content Marketing in Health Care appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Onboard Social Media Marketing Clients: A Checklist for Consultants

Do you manage social media for other businesses? Wondering how to request the assets and information you need to do your job? In this article, you’ll discover a checklist for onboarding new clients so you have what you need to manage their social media marketing effectively. Why a Social Media Marketing Onboarding Process Is Important […]

The post How to Onboard Social Media Marketing Clients: A Checklist for Consultants appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Top 10 B2B Digital Marketing Trends in 2020

The post Top 10 B2B Digital Marketing Trends in 2020 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Recover a Suspended Facebook Ads Account

Did Facebook suspend your Facebook ads account? Wondering how to appeal the decision and get your ads up and running again? In this article, you’ll find out how to submit an appeal to get your Facebook advertising account reactivated. Facebook Ads Account Suspension: Two Red Flags You’re going along your merry way, crushing your Facebook […]

The post How to Recover a Suspended Facebook Ads Account appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Favicon SEO

Google recently copied their mobile result layout over to desktop search results. The three big pieces which changed as part of that update were

  • URLs: In many cases Google will now show breadcrumbs in the search results rather than showing the full URL. The layout no longer differentiates between HTTP and HTTPS. And the URLs shifted from an easily visible green color to a much easier to miss black.
  • Favicons: All listings now show a favicon next to them.
  • Ad labeling: ad labeling is in the same spot as favicons are for organic search results, but the ad labels are a black which sort of blends in to the URL line. Over time expect the black ad label to become a lighter color in a way that parallels how Google made ad background colors lighter over time.

One could expect this change to boost the CTR on ads while lowering the CTR on organic search results, at least up until users get used to seeing favicons and not thinking of them as being ads.

The Verge panned the SERP layout update. Some folks on Reddit hate this new layout as it is visually distracting, the contrast on the URLs is worse, and many people think the organic results are ads.

I suspect a lot of phishing sites will use subdomains patterned off the brand they are arbitraging coupled with bogus favicons to try to look authentic. I wouldn't reconstruct an existing site's structure based on the current search result layout, but if I were building a brand new site I might prefer to put it at the root instead of on www so the words were that much closer to the logo.

Google provides the following guidelines for favicons

  • Both the favicon file and the home page must be crawlable by Google (that is, they cannot be blocked to Google).
  • Your favicon should be a visual representation of your website's brand, in order to help users quickly identify your site when they scan through search results.
  • Your favicon should be a multiple of 48px square, for example: 48x48px, 96x96px, 144x144px and so on. SVG files, of course, do not have a specific size. Any valid favicon format is supported. Google will rescale your image to 16x16px for use in search results, so make sure that it looks good at that resolution. Note: do not provide a 16x16px favicon.
  • The favicon URL should be stable (don’t change the URL frequently).
  • Google will not show any favicon that it deems inappropriate, including pornography or hate symbols (for example, swastikas). If this type of imagery is discovered within a favicon, Google will replace it with a default icon.

In addition to the above, I thought it would make sense to provide a few other tips for optimizing favicons.

  • Keep your favicons consistent across sections of your site if you are trying to offer a consistent brand perception.
  • In general, less is more. 16x16 is a tiny space, so if you try to convey a lot of information inside of it, you'll likely end up creating a blob that almost nobody but you recognizes.
  • It can make sense to include the first letter from a site's name or a simplified logo widget as the favicon, but it is hard to include both in a single favicon without it looking overdone & cluttered.
  • A colored favicon on a white background generally looks better than a white icon on a colored background, as having a colored background means you are eating into some of the scarce pixel space for a border.
  • Using a square shape versus a circle gives you more surface area to work with.
  • Even if your logo has italics on it, it might make sense to avoid using italics in the favicon to make the letter look cleaner.

Here are a few favicons I like & why I like them:

  • Citigroup - manages to get the word Citi in there while looking memorable & distinctive without looking overly cluttered
  • Nerdwallet - the N makes a great use of space, the colors are sharp, and it almost feels like an arrow that is pointing right
  • Inc - the bold I with a period is strong.
  • LinkedIn - very memorable using a small part of the word from their logo & good color usage.

Some of the other memorable ones that I like include: Twitter, Amazon, eBay, Paypal, Google Play & CNBC.

Here are a few favicons I dislike & why

  • Wikipedia - the W is hard to read.
  • USAA - they included both the logo widget and the 4 letters in a tiny space.
  • Yahoo! - they used inconsistent favicons across their sites & use italics on them. Some of the favicons have the whole word Yahoo in them while the others are the Y! in italics.

If you do not have a favicon Google will show a dull globe next to your listing. Real Favicon Generator is a good tool for creating favicons in various sizes.

What favicons do you really like? Which big sites do you see that are doing it wrong?

Categories: 

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Mark Zuckerberg Lays Out Future Vision

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore Mark Zuckerberg’s latest personal challenge and what it means for marketers with special guest, Mari Smith. We’ll […]

The post Mark Zuckerberg Lays Out Future Vision appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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