Take Your App to the Next Level with These Simple Strategies

photo credit: photopin
photo credit: photopin

Building a mobile app for your business to provide utility, extend your brand or generate leads is a great step towards addressing your customer’s move to mobile and apps. Like large retailers and media properties have discovered, you have likely found that mobile users are your best customers and an extremely valuable asset.

The opportunity then is in acquiring new users and keeping them engaged with your app and business.

Mobile app marketing and promotion is different than marketing on the web and social media, but there are simple steps you can take to build a long-term competitive advantage in the mobile space while providing an immediate impact on app user acquisition and retention.

Acquiring Mobile Users

Americans now spend more time on their mobile device (and apps specifically) than on the web or watching TV.  The growth in the amount time watching video, listening to audio and reading digitally is almost entirely driven by mobile apps.

The most common way users discover and install new mobile apps is by searching the app stores – most commonly Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

With over 1.5 million apps listed in each of these app stores, visibility presents a huge challenge for app publishers.

The foundation of any mobile app marketing plan should be app store optimization, the process of optimizing an app listing for visibility in app store search and increasing the conversion of app store views to installs and active users.

How the App Stores Index an App

In order to understand where to start optimizing an app, it’s important to know how the app stores work. For the app stores to provide relevant results for those searching their stores, Apple and Google need to both index an app and determine its ranking for a specific search.

The app listing plays a large role in how an app is indexed and ranked in the app stores. How well an app converts app listing views into users, its ratings and reviews and how many times users are opening and using the app all have a significant impact on where the app ranks in the app store search results.

While a publisher cannot artificially influence ratings and reviews, app opens and other performance metrics, the publisher has direct control of what goes in an app listing.

Focus on Features

Apple and Google have different fields for their app store listings and have different restrictions and requirements, all of which affects app indexation. For example, Apple indexes an app based on what’s in an app’s name and keyword bank. Google Play indexes an app based on an app’s title, short description and full description.

Whether it is the app name and keywords field for Apple, or the app title and descriptions fields for Google Play, use valuable app listing space for communicating the app’s most differentiating or important features. Across both app stores, 80% of user search is features-based phrases.

An app’s listing space is limited, so it is important to use the words and phrases your target market is using to search in either app store.

Since app store search is so different than web search, working with an app store intelligence partner that uses app store data and ideally focus groups will help you determine the specific words and phrases being used by your target audience.

Aim For Relevant Coverage

What words and phrases your app is indexed for significantly impacts conversion. Using the limited space in the app store listing fields for overly broad phrases will likely result in low conversions as users find a more suitable app in the search results.

Instead, aim for comprehensive coverage of extremely relevant search words and phrases. Relevance leads to better conversions which signals to Apple and Google that your app is a good result for the search term, pushing you up the rankings for that search.

Optimize Creative Elements for Conversion

Once the app is optimized for relevant search traffic, the biggest contributor to conversion is the app creative elements: App icon, screenshots and app preview or promo video.

Google provides a multivariate tool for their store, helping publishers test which icon, screenshots or order of screenshots converts live traffic best.  Apple does not offer an equivalent tool.

To test a wider range of design ideas without impacting live app results, focus groups can provide insights to help improve conversion as well. Focus group feedback includes not only quantitative data but also qualitative – what was confusing, what was good or other specific impressions from test subjects.

Without proper testing of your app’s creative, your app’s live app store listing could leave you without the downloads you want. Rigorously test your apps’ creative and carry over important keywords in your apps’ keywords or description to ensure that your app is appealing to your target audience.

Add Metadata To In-App Content

In late 2015, both Apple and Google announced support for indexing in-app content for their contextual search tools (Spotlight and Google Now), as well as for web search where there is web and app parity (same content on the web and in the app).

Adding metadata in an app’s content, or deep-linking, can be viewed as a re-engagement tool. When a user performs a web or Spotlight search, indexed content from installed apps are returned at the top of search results.

This simplest example is a scenario where a user has a recipe app installed, then searches the web or Spotlight for a taco recipe. If the recipe app has tagged their in-app content, the taco recipe from “inside” the app will appear at the top of the search results.

Conclusion

Success in the App Store and Google Play store stems from understanding your target audience, validating that your product and its feature set are what those users are looking for, and then ensuring that you have visibility to that audience.  Building a consistent “story” through your app metadata and creative that clearly makes your target audience understand that you have the solution to their problem is what separates winners from losers.

There is a huge amount of competition in the App Store and Google Play and end users need to instantly see whatever they searched for when your listing appears.  This is achieved by leveraging accurate data and observing the behavior of users browsing your app listing to iterate your positioning in a positive way at every available opportunity.

Dave BellDave Bell is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gummicube. In this role, Dave is responsible for overseeing the business strategy for the company, driving growth and market development. Dave is a pioneer of the mobile entertainment industry with more than 15 years of experience publishing, marketing, and distributing mobile applications and games across carrier, direct to consumer and app store channels.

5 Browser Extensions to Excel your SEO

photo credit: Pixabay
photo credit: Pixabay

As a digital marketer, you live and breathe search engine optimisation (SEO). With every headline you write and every image you choose, you’re always thinking about how you could further optimise your content to boost it up in search engine results pages (SERP). You’re constantly updating your company’s social media profiles, and you’ve gone over your company’s website three times, rearranging page titles and inserting keywords to make them all more search-engine friendly.

But what if you had help from your browser?

These days, browsers are more than just tools for accessing the internet. Now you can use them to give your SEO a boost and stay ahead of your competition – higher placements in SERPs and better keyword choices.

Looking to up your SEO game? Here are five browser extensions to excel your SEO. Choose the one that’s best for you and get to work!

1. MozBar

This SEO toolbar is a digital marketer’s best friend. Available for both Firefox and Google Chrome users, MozBar allows you to access SEO data from whatever page you’re currently on.

With it, you can see a web page’s title tag, metric robots and alt tags and take a peek at the page’s link profile, which will help you assess how strong or weak its backlinks are. It will also give you a MozRank and help you monitor Facebook and Google+ activity.

The toolbar will also help you assess keyword difficulty – a vital tool in the search engine game. Just type in the words you want to assess, and MozBar will give you a full report. With a subscription, you can run up to 400 reports per day.

Recently, the creators of MozBar released their third version and brought on some great upgrades, including:

  • Updated interface
  • Identical interfaces on Chrome and Firefox
  • Faster
  • Highlight Links, Page Analysis, Help and Settings pages can all be accessed from the toolbar

2. PageRank

Have you ever made any big changes to your company’s website and wondered if it did anything for the site’s SEO rankings? With Google PageRank, you can get immediate answers regarding your page’s ranking in search results.

This simple extension is available for most browsers and gives you answers fast. It pulls from the Google Toolbar. Since the data comes directly from Google, you can be certain that it’s accurate and updated.

If there’s one thing that can be said about PageRank, it’s that it’s fast and easy to use. Though it may not perform as many functions as MozBar, PageRank stays on task with its one job, and it does it well.

photo credit: Pixabay
photo credit: Pixabay

3. Email Hunter

As any B2B digital marketer knows, guest blogging is a great way to connect with potential clients through platforms other than your website and social media accounts. It expands your company’s reach and helps improve its brand recognition.

One of the most challenging parts of guest blogging is finding out who to pitch to. When approaching a new blog, you want to make a good impression by addressing the right person and send your pitch to them so as to lessen your chances of your email getting lost in someone’s inbox.

Enter Email Hunter. This handy browser extension allows you to easily search through a company domain name to find contacts. The tool will pull from websites to find emails matching that company domain that are frequently posted – usually media contacts, This will help you find exactly who to pitch to and where to send your pitch.

4. NoDoFollow/NoFollow

Though the practice of good backlinks is often overshadowed by other important SEO practices, having good backlinks to your website pages continues to be an important factor in your SEO.

In general, there are two types of backlinks you should be concerned with:

Follow: Links that help boost your page’s SEO.

No Follow: Links that don’t help a page’s rankings.

Just because a link is a No Follow link doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad link. Some PR firms won’t count as Do Follow links, but they will help readers get to your site, so don’t rule them out altogether.

To help you judge a Do Follow from a Nofollow, there’s the NoDoFollow/NoFollow browser extension that highlights and categorises all the links on your page. Good links are highlighted in blue while poor ones are highlighted in red. This is an easy way to root out poor links – especially if you’ve previously bought backlinks from a questionable source.

5. Ghostery

Quite a few extensions exist that help you detect tracking codes on other websites, and there are plenty of reasons why this particular type of extension is immensely useful.

Ghostery gives you quick and easy access to each and every code and pixel a website is using, from Google Analytics to Facebook Custom Audiences.

For SEO specifically, Ghostery’s easy functionality allows you to turn tracking codes off and on to test which ones could be affecting the site speed.

SEO can seem like an uphill battle. From every good keyword you target, there’s always one out there that’s better, and even when you think you have good backlinks, not all of them are actually helping you.

These browser extensions can help you in your battle and get you ahead of the SEO game. Use them daily to keep track of your pages and see your SEO game rise to new heights.

Michael BirdMike Bird is a co-founder of revenue performance agency, Social Garden. Social Garden specialises in data-driven lead generation & marketing automation to grow companies’ revenue in the finance, property and education verticals in Australia.

The Best Way to Do SEO is NOT to Do SEO

Matt Steffen
photo credit: Matt Steffen

The goal of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has always been to get your website ranked at the top of search engines like Google. After all, this is where you stand the greatest chance of your target market finding you online.

As a result, volumes of books, terabytes of blogs, and years worth of presentations have proclaimed the true word of what it takes to get ranked at the top of Google. This guidance has all been contained under the marvelously complex umbrella of SEO.

Fortunately, due to spam hunters such as Google’s Matt Cutts, the deliberate practice of SEO no longer works the way it once did, when companies like J.C. Penny could manipulate search engines through unscrupulous tactics in the interest of increasing sales and shutting down the competition.

Now, I’m not saying the practice of SEO is necessarily unscrupulous. In fact, a lot of what groups like Search Engine Land preach is ethical strategies and tactics aimed at increasing online visibility.

However, if your content is valuable to your target market, why should you have to resort to either ethical or unethical tactics for them to find it?

And that’s where our journey today begins – being able to do SEO without actually doing or thinking about SEO.

You see, one of the biggest problems in doing “SEO” is you’re totally focusing on SEO, not your customer or how your website fits into their lives.

When you should be thinking about what keeps your customers up at night, you’re wondering which keywords they’re typing. When you should be worrying about how to situate your brand in their mind space, you’re worrying about how much traffic you gained last month.

The bottom line is you shouldn’t even be thinking about site volume, keywords or rankings, you should only be focused on your customer. Now, come on, let’s have some fun!

1. Don’t Research Keywords, Research Problems

Whether you’re a political campaign, non-profit, law firm or circus, your target market has problems that are relevant to your organization and your products/services. After all, that’s why you’re in business, right?

As a result, many of them will be searching online for solutions to these problems.

Your goal is not to worry about what ‘keywords’ they may type into search engines to solve these problems, but rather, to create content that will solve these problems with regard to your products/services.

As powerful as tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner is, they can’t replicate the thoughts and behaviors of your target market no matter how much data is fed into them.

Nevertheless, several thousand “SEO drones” will be running to the Keyword Planner each month to guide their SEO strategy to get ranked to increase visibility. After all, that’s a unique tactic no one else is using, right…?

I’ll tell you what a unique marketing tactic is in 2016: Learning about your customers and what makes them tick.

I always felt that if you want to learn about your market, always start with your best customers because they most closely meet the profile of the people you hope to serve.

The best way to develop content that will serve your customers most effectively is simply to ask them “what kinds of content will serve you the best?” Not too hard, is it?

For example, start with questions like:

What led you to buy my products/services, and why?

What kind of research did you do to find my company?

What are you favorite Social Media pages, and why?

What sorts of things would you like to see on my website that would entertain and inform you?

Do you have any other problems my company could solve, but currently doesn’t?

Asking your customers questions like this will ensure you stay tuned into how to reach future customers, while reminding you why you’re in business in the first place.

And that brings me to number two…

2. Real Stuff Really Matters

All too often I find businesspeople chained to their computers, typing away at content they think will increase their visibility to their market online.

This is a virtual epidemic I see more and more, as the power of social media, webinars and email have trumped networking events, seminars and mailboxes.

While many compete online to be louder than the noise their competitors are making, my advice is to do the opposite, and take a break from all the online marketing.

I know that sounds self-defeating and certainly counter-productive for an online marketer. However, you’ll find that while most of your competitors are fighting to get external links, you’ll be one of the only representatives in your industry at a local networking meeting downtown. Or, the only speaker at a seminar your competitors were too busy working online to attend. Or, you’ll be the only person in your industry doing a local event for charity that gets into all of the local press.

The point is, if you’re doing real stuff that real people will appreciate in the real world, you can really be sure it will drive people to search for you online, rather than the keywords and phrases you used to worry about.

That brings me to #3…

3. You Become What They “Search” For

When the famous car maker, Henry Ford, was once asked why he was in business, he claimed he wanted to make a vehicle the everyday man could afford.

You see, before Henry Ford, only the wealthy could afford to own an automobile.

Today, nearly every American has a vehicle, and can drive in no small part thanks to Henry Ford. My question to you is: What’s your vision?

The world of SEO tends to be very reactive. This is because it is mainly focused on activities around people’s typical behavior online.

If Henry Ford had worried about what people wanted, they probably would have said ‘faster horses.’

Instead, Ford built a market around what he believed would benefit people, and not the other way around.

So my question to you is: How do you see yourself improving the world around you?

A couple years back I was coaching an expert on battling racism how best to attract new clients looking to eliminate racism in their organizations. While he was considering what they might be searching for online, my advice was to create his own vocabulary around what he thought the problems were, and how to solve them.

As a result, he was quickly able to create a few phrases that he felt would benefit people looking to address their organization’s issues with racism.

He didn’t worry about “ranking” on Google for terms he thought his target market might be typing; instead, he produced a series of videos that featured his terms, and how they could improve his potential customer’s life.

The point is, you too can create and coin phrases, ideas and “keywords” that your target market will search out to solve their problems.

At the end of the day, if you’re really focused on solving your market’s problems, and bringing value into their lives, Google will rank you at the top of their search engine, and not because you did “SEO”, but because you did SEV (Search Engine Value). There you go – that can be your first phrase!

Matt Steffen

Matt Steffen was listed by Forbes as the “#1 Consultant who avoids the B.S.” He specializes in marketing strategy, and has conducted marketing consulting for over 300 organizations (businesses, universities, political campaigns, law firms, consultants and non-profit organizations), including several Fortune 1000 companies.

Facebook Lead Ads: How to create them and what’s their value to your business?

In the digitally active and mobile-centric world we live in, it is convenient and unavoidable to use mobile phones for business. Mobile phone remains one of the most efficient ways to directly interact with potential customers. Signing up for offers, newsletters and other content from websites required consumers to fill lengthy forms, a process that’s quite cumbersome particularly if it’s being done on a phone.  Of course, optimizing your business for local search results can open doors for new customers. However, Facebook’s massive reach can help you convert more.

A few months ago, Facebook came up with an innovative solution known as Facebook lead ads. It provides a quick and safe way to receive marketing material like newsletters, contests, events, quotes and offers straight to the mobile phone. This new feature has made signing up for business-related information easier for users.

What is Facebook Lead Ads and How Does It Work?

Facebook lead ads are a new marketing tool meant for generating leads via the mobile phone. Upon clicking the call-to-action, the user is redirected to a form with prefilled fields such as the user’s name, sex, email id, and much more, provided this contact information is already shared on Facebook. With such automatically populated contact information, the process of filling up a sign-up form becomes easier.

In fact, a customer can complete the whole process in just two taps:  

  1. First tap: Click and open an ad
  2. Second tap: Submit the pre-filled form

Lead Ads are big on privacy. Advertisers who want to use lead ads cannot do so without uploading their company’s privacy policy into every ad they create.

Furthermore, people who are interested in your advert can access it without having to leave Facebook, without interrupting their other Facebook-related activities. Such interruptions, incidentally, have been one of the major factors why most adverts fail to convert.  

How to create lead ads for your campaign

Creating lead ads is actually simple. All you need is:

  • A business page on your Facebook account categorized as “Business page”.
  • A privacy policy.
  • The image you want to share in your lead ad.

Get started

To begin, head over to the power editor.

It is interesting that there doesn’t seem to be any way of getting to power editor directly from your pages, (like through an icon) but, I have tried this method and it seems to work:

  • From within your Facebook profile, click on the down arrow on the top right-hand corner of the page, scroll down and select ‘advertise on Facebook’. This will take you directly to the ‘facebookforbusiness’ page.
  • Click on the ‘learn how’ tab, and scroll down to ‘power editor. When the page loads, click on ‘get started’ and power editor will load.

Note that if you choose the create ads option, you will not see the option for lead generation for mobile phones.

Facebook Ads

Once in power editor, you’ll see three levels, that are involved in lead ads creation: Campaigns, Adsets, and Ads.

Facebook Ads

Create campaign

 

Click ‘create campaign’ and fill in the options as follows:

  1. Create new: enter the name of your campaign and select action under buying type.
  2. Under objective, select Lead generation
  3. Type in the adset name
  4. Provide the name of your ad and click ‘create’.

Facebook Ads
Adsets

 

  1. Select the adset option in the power editor. Choose the relevant business page from your list of pages. Lead ad terms and conditions will appear. Click ‘agree’ on the T&Cs page.
  2. Set your budget, the schedule for running the lead ad and define your target audience (minimum age is 18).
  3. Set placement parameters. Placement refers to the platform where the ad will run. You can only optimize for mobile devices. Select ‘all devices’ (unless you’re targeting users who operate on a specific OS in which case you can select that OS).
  4. Under ‘optimize for’, choose ‘leads-recommended’. Also, select ‘get the most leads at the best price’.
  5. Under delivery type, select ‘standard’.

Facebook Ads

Ads

 

  1. Click on the Ads option in the power editor. A dialog box named ‘Create new form’ will appear.
  2. Name your form and select the preferred language for filling in the form. Click next.
  3. The page that loads next has name and email already selected. You can toggle the ‘show more options’ button. You also have the option of adding up to 3 custom questions. You can find categories for the questions you want to ask on the right-hand side of the lead form.
  4. Click next and a page will load, showing the summary of all the information in the preceding pages.
  5. Provide a link to your privacy policy. You can also add a disclaimer. Click next.
  6. Lastly, provide a link to your website. When users submit their forms, they will be prompted to visit your website.
  7. Click next and a preview of your form will load. Click on ‘create form’, then finally click on ‘upload changes’.

Note that in order for your ad to upload, you need to set a payment method. You can do this in the ads manager.

Facebook AdsFacebook AdsFacebook Ads

Capturing and using leads generated through Facebook lead ads

Lead ads can be integrated into CRM, making analytics faster and easier. This functionality means that businesses can assess the performance of their advert in real time and respond accordingly.

You also have the option of integrating your CRM and Facebook API or manually downloading a CSV file of your real time leads from your system.

‘Facebook pixel’ allows you to go a step further if you want to learn which of your ads actually convert.

Capturing leads without having the need to build landing pages might be the most popular aspect of Facebook’s lead ads. Another interesting aspect is that as an advertiser you don’t need to build any more assets between your offer and your ad. Lead ads can do it directly from Facebook.

Impact on mobile phone advertising

Prior to Facebook lead ads, the only option available to businesses was the use of link shares, which direct customers to a landing page. This system presented a host of user problems such as:  

  • Web pages typically load slower on mobile than desktops,
  • Some websites are optimized only for web UI, making it harder for a large form to be visible on a mobile phone screen.
  • Users had to leave their Facebook page.

This scenario will change as more businesses adopt the use of lead ads, making for a better user experience and creating better interaction between businesses and their customers. It would also reduce the amount of resources invested in generating advertising material.

Conclusion

The 2015 internet trends report released in May this year shows that as of 2014, people spend more time on their mobile phones per day (51%) than on their desktops (42%). Coupled with the fact that Facebook has a wide global reach of 1.55 billion users, it doesn’t take much to see the opportunity presented by Facebook lead ads.  

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 7.19.15 AMMohammad Farooq works as a Social Media Analyst. When not doing anything related to Social media, he goes backpacking around India. He regularly blogs about Travel, Movies, Political Issues and a lot of other things on his blog ReveringThoughts

 

Make your online assets exciting (even when your brand isn’t)

Feature-image
photo credit: Big Stock Photo

Marketing’s a tough gig when the brand you’re trying to get people excited about is – frankly – rather unexcitable.

Considering that nearly two-thirds of consumers have better feelings towards a company that makes custom content (plus the fact that content creation was named the most effective SEO tactic) it seems branded content is far too important to sweep under the carpet.

Here are some companies who’ve figured out how to add that ‘je ne sais quoi’ to their online assets. Read on and take notes.

Don’t ignore an overpopulated medium

You may assume that certain corners of social media have been claimed and that there’s not enough room for a company like, well, yours.

However, the brilliant thing about social media in particular, is that if you do it really well, it’s a free for all. Take Instagram – does a ‘boring’ company have any right to a visual, trendy space that’s been taken over by fashionistas and foodies?

If you approach it the right way: absolutely.

General Electric, conglomerate of energy, engineering and technology, has taken a critical eye to find an area in their operations that’s visually splendid, and in turn taken over Instagram. Their account has close to 200,000 followers and their great photographic eye has earned them a top spot in one of the most popular current social media sites.

Credit - GE Instagram

For another example, see Mailchimp’s Instagram account, which rarely features anything to do with their service but proves that even email service providers have a creative streak.

Forget being professional

Very few customers would choose an informative, fact-filled communication message over something that makes them laugh, or is intriguing, or unbelievable.

As averse as we marketers may be to allowing our product to become a joke, if you let loose – just a little – you may find a much more open audience waiting to be entertained.

The Blendtec YouTube channel has hit that incredible sweet spot – being able to demonstrate how good the Blendtec product is at its job, while having so much fun that you can’t help but watch, and watch, and watch.

Credit- Blendtec YouTube

Our favourite video (after a lengthy judging process) has to be the glowstick smoothie. Give it a watch.

Remind your audience that your expertise is invaluable

If you want to stick to what you know, then make sure that you deliver it with real impact.

The weekly email newsletters from Money Saving Expert are so packed full of information and content-rich that a reader simply couldn’t ignore their worth – a great exercise in the practice of recognising your company’s USP and making it shine.

Credit - MoneySavingExpert

Most importantly, the content they include never forgets what users will actually find useful. For example: credit card benefits aren’t particularly exciting. But a list of ways to build your credit rating with credit cards? Suddenly, some fairly dry content is going to tap into a specific market of people who are desperate to improve their financial game.

Remember: customers don’t care what you do

All marketers know that customers only care about their own needs, and so why would your company’s online asset/s reflect anything differently?

If you’re considering starting a blog, avoid self-centered content. Instead, write about something your customers need – whether it’s tips, expert advice, reviews or entertainment.

Opus Energy, an energy company primarily serving SMEs, made ‘Gift’, an online business magazine that gives readers tips dedicated to small businesses and their varied needs. With little to no mention of energy, the asset responds to the customers and is a lesson in keeping customers hooked when they don’t want to listen.

Tell your story differently

If you can’t make a written feature about your company interesting, turn it around and try telling it from an entirely different angle or with a fresh, different medium.

Burials and funeral services are an ideal example of a tough industry that can’t rely on being ‘fun’ or flippant with their content. Green Acres Woodland Burials got around this hurdle by presenting their information in easy to absorb infographic – see their visually compelling explanation of how affordable their service is.

It’s easy to read, entertaining on the eye and relies on an informative angle that gives a sense of authority. That’s a gold star for reinventing the overdone blog format.

 

Sarah-MusgroveSarah Musgrove is a digital content creator and internet-procrastinator extraordinaire. Sarah is a staff writer at B2B energy supplier, Opus Energy, and a blogger at Metro.co.uk, as well as having contributed to a variety of online and print publications. For insightful tweets (and a large amount of inane observations), follow her on Twitter here.