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Key Resources to Keep Your Professional New Year’s Resolutions in Check

Professional New Years Resolutions Resources

Summary: Setting professional goals that will help you become better at what you do everyday is, after all, the whole point. Challenging ourselves to becoming more productive, creative and happier at work is essential to any team’s success.

Here we are: two weeks into a shiny new decade and – if history proves correct – some of you are already struggling with those infamous New Year’s resolutions. According to research on this, only 8% of those who make a list of resolutions success. (Yikes!) But no judgement here. We’re all guilty. Sometimes life happens and old habits are tough to break.

The thing that struck me recently is the kind of resolutions most people talk about. We’ve all heard the usual M.O. when it comes to resolutions: “This year, I will save more money…exercise more…quit smoking…learn a new hobby…etc.” These are all great personal objectives. And if you’re successful with hitting your personal self-care goals, then more power to you.

But lately, around the office, I’ve noticed the New Year’s resolutions are a buzz with a refreshing entrepreneurial edge to them. And I love it. Professional resolutions are so much more exciting to me, simply because of the network and support group you have amongst colleagues, mentors, and even your clients. And setting professional goals that will help you become better at what you do everyday is, after all, the whole point. Challenging ourselves to becoming more productive, creative and happier at work is essential to any team’s success.

I’m going talk about three of the most popular resolutions floating around our office to give you an idea of what you could add to your own business’ professional resolutions. I’ll also dive into some supplementary resources that my colleagues and I have used, which, hopefully, will help you (and us) become a part of that elusive 8%.

podcasts

1. “I will listen to more work-related podcasts (not just True Crime ones)”

Whether you’re looking to be a better marketer or looking for inspiration for launching a new business, podcasts offer up a great avenue to learning something new. And it’s truly as easy as accessing Spotify during your subway commute into work, driving to your next client meeting, or grabbing your afternoon espresso. Podcasts fit into a busy life and will put you into the right frame of mind to conquer your professional goals. And the nice things about podcasts is that there’s something for everyone. Those seeking motivation, expert tips, or even a moment of mid-day zen will find something useful. Bonus: with podcasts you don’t have to listen to the episodes in order.

A few helpful resources:

  • The Charged Life with Brendan Bouchard –  Bouchard is a high performance expert and a New York Times bestselling author who focuses on tapping into your motivational drive. It’s great for a quick Monday morning boost to get ready for the week ahead.
  • The #AskGaryVee Show – Thought leader Gary Vaynerchuk dives into topics like entrepreneurship, business management, leadership and millennialism. Tune in for both practical and inspirational know-how about creating the career you always wanted. You’ll find his perspective interesting since he’s actually only taken 3 vacations in his whole life!
  • The Growth Show with Hubspot – Hubspot CMO, Kipp Bodnar, and VP of Marketing, Meghan Keaney Anderson, discuss all things related to business growth from an organizational and cultural perspective. Explore how teams at Google, Apple and Twitter have changed the way they handle team management.
  • Entrepreneur.com 10 Podcast Recommendations –  Deep Patel from Entrepreneur.com recently shared 10 of his recommendations all of which focus on success stories, lessons and challenges from other entrepreneurs like Tony Robbins, and Tim Ferriss. I haven’t had the chance to tune into all of these yet, but a few of them will definitely get added to my list.

2. “I will keep up-to-date with Google’s every move”

google analytics

This is a tough one to make, but doable. Since Google’s algorithm changes more times than a baby’s diaper, this resolution is actually an annual must-have for any marketer, small business owner, or solo-preneur. These algorithm updates are helping searchers find the most useful content out there and you want it to come from you! So keeping up with Google’s changes is the place to start.

A few helpful resources:

  • The Beginner’s Guide to SEO – This is one of our favorites from the folks at Moz. It’s all about making your site search-friendly on Google (or any other search engine for that matter). While Google is working on their nest algorithm update, newcomers should always start with SEO education.
  • Why You Need to Care About On-SERP SEO – ‘No-click searches’ took the SERPS by storm this year, which changed the game for marketers. This is a huge Google development you need to continue to watch closely this year.
  • Google in 2020: From Everyone’s Search Engine to Everyone’s Competitor – Rand Fishkin from SparkToro (and formally MOZ) is a favorite source of ours around here for all things SEO. Keep an eye on Rand, and you inevitably keep an eye on Google. Check out this latest presentation on how Google is expected to change the web landscape this year.
  • Google – Sometimes you just gotta go straight to the horse’s mouth. Google’s team covers major updates and answers important questions directly on their blog

3. “I will learn a new programming language”

learn programming language

High five to all of you who’ve made this resolution this year. No one can ever tell you that you’re scared of a challenge! Marketers ready to jump on this one already know that having at least a basic handle on a few programming languages is an excellent way to enhance your marketing toolkit. Even just being familiar with coding can help open up doors for customized solutions, creating cooler email campaigns, executing better A/B testing, automating GoogleAds, and – naturally – working with tech partners much easier. 

A few helpful resources:

  • Programming 101 for Marketers – Kapost shared this comprehensive list of which languages might be the most helpful for marketers. From Javascript to Python, they dive into practical benefits of each. There are far more than the ones mentioned here, but it’s a decent place to start.
  • Intro to Python from Moz – Python is a hot topic in the marketing world lately and this recent Whiteboard Friday talks about how it can automate tasks, discover keyword opportunities, scrape websites and more. Plus, the episode has a cute little python named Pumpkin to get you into the mood. (Personally, I would have named the python Monty).
  • 10 Free Classes to Learn to Code (If You Have Absolutely No Idea Where to Start) – Here’s a rundown of free classes to start with on resources like Codecademy, Udemy and Skillshare. Learning to code can be intimidating to jump into, so the gratis route can do wonders for alleviating the pressure.

No matter what you choose to work on improving this year, remember there are other professionals out there tackling the same goals as you. Share resources, celebrate milestones, and ask for help if you need it. Often, it’s in your network that you will find the most motivation to reach your target.

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

How to Generate More Sales Leads

With the advancements in A.I. tech and increased demand for customer personalization, your lead generation strategies will need updating in 2020. With our extensive knowledge and expertise, we can guide you on the right path in this new year.

Whenever we meet with a business to discuss their digital marketing strategy, they usually tell us they need two things – more leads, and more sales.

We have gotten really good at generating both of these things for our clients and can do the same for you.

LET’S GET STARTED

Mobile-Sales-Leads

Ready to Grow Your Business?

We take the time to understand your organization and customers, and then build a strategy that is aligned and capable of delivering remarkable results.

persona-presentation

Find the right prospective customers

You need to make sure your sales pipeline remains strong. Our experienced team will walk you through the process of generating awareness for your products and services, so your leads are more likely to become customers.

people-engaged-phone-outdoor

Capitalize on the digital economy

Take advantage of an exponentially larger customer base while managing your business growth using technologically advanced sales and marketing automation techniques.

Speak with a WSI Expert today

As we enter a new decade, we want your business to be at the top of its game. Stop scratching your heads and hand over your marketing stumbling blocks to the experts.

Our certified WSI Digital Marketing Experts and Agencies are pioneers in their field, and would love to sit down with you (for free) to discuss your current marketing activities – what’s working, what isn’t, and what you could be doing better!

Want to Get In Touch?

We take the time to understand your organization and customers, and then build a strategy that is aligned and capable of delivering remarkable results.

We look forward to chatting!

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

Winning Spree for WSI Continues! Three New Wins at 2019 WMA

Summary: WSI’s winning ways continue in the 2019 WMA MobileWebAwards Competition after capturing 3 best-in-industry mobile web design recognitions.

WSI just can’t stop winning!

I’m proud to announce that WSI has received three Web Marketing Association MobileWebAwards in this year’s competition, which includes recognition for Best Consulting Mobile WebsiteBest Entertainment Mobile Website and Best Restaurant Mobile Website.

The WMA MobileWebAwards recognizes excellence in the explosive growth and creativity in the mobile web space. The competition judges all aspects of mobile web and app development and considers different criteria like creativity, impact, design, content, interactivity, ease of use, and use of the medium when determining winners. The WMA, also hosts the premier annual website award competition in which WSI captured 15 WebAwards and was named Top Agency for 2019.

Here is a showcase of WSI’s three 2019 WMA MobileWebAward winners. Click on each to view the award winning site, and switch to your mobile device to see why they were recognized for excellence in mobile web design:

WSI World

for Best Consulting Mobile Website

WSI Marketing Team

Slide3

 

Illuminate Hollywood

for Best Entertainment Mobile Website

Slide1

 

Downtown Joe’s Brewery and Restaurant

for Best Restaurant Mobile Website

Slide2

This is exciting news for the entire WSI network across the world. Congratulations to our winners and the individuals involved in their incredible work! Your efforts strengthen the WSI brand and showcase the importance of having a strong mobile web presence.

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

7 Year-End To-Dos That Everyone Forgets About

To-Do-List
Summary: In the spirit of sharing, I am going to quickly run through some simple to-dos that could be helpful to your own team’s year-end checklist. Who knows – maybe your future selves will thank you later.

We are so close to the holiday break that I can pretty much taste the eggnog. For most professionals, end-of-the-year tasks have been in full swing for several weeks now. Many of us are powering through this holiday homestretch until the usual festivities mandate we celebrate with friends and family and/or get some much needed R&R. I, for one, have no shame in saying that I’m looking forward to some downtime for the holidays!

But, until then, businesses everywhere are BUSY:
the year’s budget, revenue and profits are in review…
tax documents are being prepped…
holiday sales and promotions are launching…
next year’s strategies are in deep development…
new editorial calendars are being formed…
performance reviews are getting scheduled…
technology vendor contracts are getting renewed…
annual holiday greetings are being sent…
the list goes on and it’s an exhaustive one.

But it’s a to-do list that many teams, of all shapes and sizes, tackle every single year. Good or bad, most of us are simply used to it. December to-do lists come naturally as a tool for tying up loose ends before venturing into the next year, full of new challenges and opportunities.

december-to-dos

So, I realize everyone is insanely busy at the moment. And adding extra tasks to your to-dos does not sound like the most fun idea. But, as our team tackled our own checklist this month, I realized that there are some additional, fairly easy to-dos that some might not regularly think about during the holidays.

In the spirit of sharing, I am going to quickly run through some simple to-dos that could be helpful to your own team’s year-end checklist. Who knows – maybe your future selves will thank you later.

1. Backup Your Files In Multiple Places

I’m talking to you, smaller teams! Maybe you don’t have an IT department who has a handle on backing up all your important files on the daily. This is an important task that can protect you from the heartbreaking disaster of losing digital files to damage, theft, or unexpected events like floods! (Ask anyone on our team about the infamous Server Room Flood of ‘12! Luckily we backed up. #welaughaboutitnow). Use external hard drives or the cloud to backup important business documents and client files. Always better safe than sorry.

2. Plan Next Year’s Courses and Conferences

Q4 likely consisted of you and your team developing your first campaigns and editorial calendar of the New Year. So now that those details are ironed out, you might have a pretty good idea of when you’ll be available to attend important industry conferences or complete that online course you’ve been eyeing. Be purposeful in your personal and professional growth by adding this to your to-dos.

3. Assign Someone to Fill In While You’re Away

If you’re taking a few extra days this season to rest and recharge away from work life, you can still be mindful of those left back at the office. Now I know it might be unrealistic to dump all your responsibilities on a team member, but having a simple contact in place in the event of an emergency is enough to keep everyone at ease.

4. Set Boundaries by Automating Communications

Even the most successful brands set healthy boundaries over the holiday season in order to let their teams truly recharge. And since it’s often unthinkable to leave clients or customers in the dark over the holidays, consider leveraging easy tools like your email autoresponder, web forms or a web chatbot. These are simple ways to keep important lines of communication open with your audience without sacrificing your holiday.

5. Prep Your Devices for Vacation

Depending on the nature of your work, you might have to be available to colleagues or customers over the holidays. Short of lugging around your laptop and charger to every holiday gathering you go to, you can streamline some office tasks by downloading important work apps to your smartphone. Think: email client apps, calendar apps (eg. Outlook), communication apps (eg. Slack), or prototyping apps (eg. InVision). Working remotely sans laptop is possible!

6. Snooze Notifications

This might sound counterintuitive to #5 up there, but time away from the office is equally important to gearing up for the New Year ahead. Customize those app settings so only the most urgent messages get through. Create your personal balance between enjoying the holidays and being available to your colleagues when it’s totally necessary.

7. Outsource To-Dos (If You Have To!)

If there’s one thing at risk during the holiday rush, it’s your sanity. Personal and professional to-dos are at their height at the end of the year and this stress can do a number to your productivity as well as your health. If your team simply doesn’t have the cycles to complete that crucial last project or launch that final campaign, then get some specialists on the job. Outsourcing to specialists to tackle the tasks you are struggling with, lets you focus your energy elsewhere and check everything else off of your year-end to-do list.

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

The Future of Marketing: 5 Predictions for 2020

future-predictions

Summary: One of the annual traditions we have is our yearly predictions for what’s to come on the marketing front. This dates back to 2014 and it’s a chance for us to analyze past trends, anticipate the future of our crazy industry and – if we’re on point – prepare accordingly.

December is always so bittersweet, what with the holidays and the realization that another year has come and gone. This year, we’re all forging ahead into the next decade (sounds weird to call it the ‘20s!) and I for one, am excited for what is around the corner. I hope you and yours have a wonderful start to 2020.

One of the annual traditions we have around here is our yearly predictions for what’s to come on the marketing front. This tradition dates back to 2014 and it’s a chance for us to analyze past trends, anticipate the future of our crazy industry and – if we’re on point – prepare accordingly. Sometimes we’re way off and other times, we hit the nail right on the head.

Here’s the grading scheme we created for the original post in 2014:

  • Oracle (+2) – when we’re so right it’s like we channeled that nice lady from The Matrix
  • Oracle In-Training (+1) – we didn’t quite see the whole picture, but hey, we still saw the future
  • Clear As Mud (0) – we weren’t right, but we weren’t wrong, either
  • Just A Bit Outside (-1) – we tried to paint the corner of the plate, but the ump didn’t give us the call
  • Swing And A Miss (-2) – like a batter who expects fastball and gets a curve, we weren’t close

Before we jump into the predictions for 2020, let’s take a look at how we did in 2019:

#1: Google Searches Resulting in “Zero Clicks” Will Increase (Again)

Grade: +2

We start off with an easy win. There is no doubt the number of “Zero Click” searches will rise again in 2020, just as it has in each of the last three years. In case you need a refresher, a “Zero Click” search is one that results in zero websites receiving a visit via a clickthrough on the SERP.

Rand wrote a great data-backed post over on his SparkToro blog, but here’s all you need to know:

Google-search-CTR-2016-2019

Make no mistake, this is not fun news for digital marketers. What it means is that companies and marketers need to address what’s clearly happening – Google becoming more of a competitor to all of us – rather than hoping it goes away. As you’ll see later in the post, the idea of “Zero Click” searches will once again be a theme in 2020.

#2: On-SERP SEO Becomes a Term and a Tactic

Grade: +1

It’s a bit of a challenge to find clear data on this one, but there is enough circumstantial evidence to suggest we were on the right track with the prediction and deserve partial marks. Afterall, one of the ways to combat the issue of Google actively lowering the number of referrals the SERPs send is to do better on-SERP SEO.

Also consider these findings from a 2019 Google ranking factors report, also conducted by Rand and the SparkToro team:

trends-impacting-seo-2019

The #1 and #3 trends are an even stronger indication that brands and marketers maybe should have been worrying about on-SERP SEO in 2019.

#3: Game-Changing Influencer Marketing Tools Make a Big Splash

Grade: 0

This one is murky enough for us to take a 0, but we weren’t wrong. Posts like this and this do suggest the appetite for influencer marketing tools is growing. The main issue with our prediction is we were eagerly anticipating SparkToro’s launch in 2019 and that didn’t happen. Here’s to the big launch happening in 2020!

#4: Marketers Realize the Importance of Optimizing Content for Voice Search

Grade: +1

In 2019, we wrote a post about how voice search will change the digital marketing landscape. Is that enough evidence for us to take a win? Given that one of Google’s major algorithm updates in 2019 – BERT, which we also wrote about – was mainly focused on NLP and voice search, we think so.

#5: Video Content Grows in Popularity (Again)

Grade: +2

We certainly had conviction in last year’s predictions, because we also blogged about video marketing in 2019. If that isn’t enough, consider these two stats:

  • According to HubSpot, 81% of businesses used video as a marketing tool in 2019, which was up from 63% over the last year
  • Cisco study found that by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic – 15 times higher than it was in 2017

Seems like enough for the full two points!

Final Score: +6

You know what this means! While we fell one point short of 2018’s record-setting batch of predictions, we achieved enough success in 2019 to keep this rolling for another year.


Forward and onward. Now, let’s take a look at this year’s predictions for what’s to come in 2020:

#1: Zero-Click Searches Are Going to Continue to Take Over

If you saw this repeat prediction coming, you’ve been paying attention. Unfortunately for marketers, ad and organic clicks are steadily on the decline and we’re going to keep a close eye on this one over the course of the next year. Over the next 12 months, we’re expecting marketers to focus on optimizing their web content on Google’s own properties (YouTube, Maps, Images, Knowledge Panels, etc) in an attempt to offset any negative impact to their traffic.

#2: It’s Time to Consider Other Communication Channels (Besides Email) As Key Conversion Points

We’re not saying email is going extinct though! So don’t take this prediction to mean that you can stop cleaning and optimizing your lists. Rather, the communication avenues have become so much more diverse in recent years that marketers and companies will need to leverage alternative channels in order to keep a competitive edge. We’re expecting to see a lot more brands connect and engage with customers through solutions like chatbots, Whatsapp, and Instagram. Let’s see how this helps companies make meaningful relationships and drive engagement with their audiences.

#3: Software Vendors WIll Focus on Customer Data Compliance

With the increasing international demand for stronger personal data protection and well-known regulations like GDPR and CCPA, marketing software vendors will focus on compliance as a primary service. Marketing teams, IT departments, as well as customers, will rely heavily on their tech vendors to adapt to the changing regulatory landscape. Subsequently, those vendors who don’t tout compliance as a prime service, will no-doubt lose market share.

#4: Influencer Marketing Will Continue to Soar

But we’re not talking about the “celebrity” influencers who have millions of followers! This year, watch to see brands turn to people with a smaller social media following as influencers who other people trust. Considering that over 90% trust other consumer recommendations along with this prediction that influencer marketing spend could reach $10 billion this year, we think we’ll be scoring ourselves pretty high for this one next year.

#5: Alternate Search Engines (NOT Bing or Yahoo) Will Come Out of the Woodwork

We’re not going as far as saying that alternate search engines will start competing with Google; Google will still continue to be the juggernaut it is. However, given the impact of zero-click effects (see #1 above) and the increasing concern over data privacy, privacy-focused search engines might have room to carve out a niche in 2020. DuckDuckGo is one example of this and they’ve catered to privacy-minded searchers with their tagline “the search engine that doesn’t track you” because “search engines don’t need to track users to make money.” It will be interesting to see how this one pans out among marketers and consumers in the New Year.


And that concludes the predictions for 2020! All of us at WSI are looking forward to what the New Year brings and we definitely plan on keeping a close eye on our predictions as well as the game-changing innovations that lay ahead.

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

Expert Roundup: How Is BERT Impacting Search?

Google-Search
Summary: The kicker with this algorithm update is that you can’t really optimize for it. So if your business is executing a content marketing strategy, BERT seems a little jarring.

Lately you might have heard or read a lot of marketing chatter about some dude named Bert. And while I would love to regale you with a tale about a quirky, yet lovable gentleman from the South, I can’t. This particular Bert is actually Google’s BERT – their recently released search algorithm that appears to have some businesses nervous about their SEO strategies…arguably with good reason.

Why? Well, the kicker with this algorithm update is that you can’t really optimize for it. (Pausing now for collective gasp). So if your business is currently executing a content marketing strategy and you’re used to having marketers like us constantly advise you to optimize for your keywords, BERT – understandably – seems a little jarring.

Yes, it’s probably going to take time getting used to BERT’s impact on the results pages, but all it truly means is that search is becoming smarter. More intuitive. More searcher-friendly.

Today, I want to briefly introduce Google’s BERT for those of you who haven’t heard much about it yet. And then I’m going to jump into an expert roundup from some of the biggest players in the search marketing world.

What the Heck is Google BERT?

If you’ve already read up on BERT, go ahead and skip this section. For the rest of you, meet Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers – ultimately shortened to BERT. It’s Google’s neural network-based technique for natural language processing (or NLP). In other words, BERT can essentially help computers grasp language almost the way humans do – with nuance and context. And because of that deeper understanding of language, BERT can be used to match search queries with much more relevant results.

Let’s look at this example from Google’s blog: a search for “do estheticians stand a lot at work,” is translated differently by Google post-BERT. Before, Google has admitted that it would have matched the term “stand-alone” with “stand” in the query. Now, the BERT models can  “understand that ‘stand’ is related to the concept of the physical demands of a job, and displays a more useful response.” (Source) Simply put, BERT helps Google place more importance on the word “stand” in the context of the search query.

BERT-search-query-example

Another interesting example shows how BERT can also affect Google’s featured snippets. This search query for “parking on a hill with no curb” illustrates Google showing a much more relevant featured snippet on the results page. Pre-BERT, Google would have simply ignored the word “no” in the query with no comprehension of its importance to the entire sentence. 

bert-traveler-example-feature-snippet

Kinda cool, right? Google has described this algorithm update as “one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of Search.” So even though you can’t necessarily optimize for BERT specifically, I strongly recommend you do not ignore it!

Let’s take a look at what some of our peers in the digital space are saying about BERT.

Content Creators: Don’t Change What You’re Doing!

Our friends at the Content Marketing Institute highlight a key difference in the BERT update: it’s not sending the SEO world into chaos or causing widespread website traffic to suddenly plummet the way that algorithm updates have in the past! Because this update aims to help users search more naturally, those of you who already create natural copy can just keep doing what you’re doing! If you’ve been writing content for users, you essentially have nothing to worry about. Be less rigid in your formulaic keyword density (but don’t totally disregard it) and stay focused on writing conversationally and naturally.

Analyze Your Visitors’ User Intent

Now that you understand how BERT essentially works, apply this knowledge to your web data analysis and adapt accordingly. One of the more noticeable negative effects seen after the BERT rollout was a drop in organic search traffic. Jason Wilson, SEO pro at Better Collective, underlines the importance of optimizing for user intent. “It’s now more important than ever. Analyze the results Google serves for your search term, and produce (better) content around that query.”

Review and identify which pages or search terms aren’t performing as well post-BERT, analyze competing sites that are ranking for those terms, and tweak your content accordingly. Using your data to identify low-hanging fruit is an easy way to ensure you’re aligning strategies to BERT.

Don’t Forget About Bing!

Everyone’s talking about Google, but Search Engine Land recently pointed out that the often-forgotten search engine Bing has been applying BERT since April. That pre-dates Google’s update by six months! What’s more, is that Microsoft has rolled out the transformer models to every Bing query globally. (At the moment, for Google, BERT affects only one in 10 searches in English in the U.S.). Improvements like this underline Bing’s viability as a competing platform for both organic and paid campaigns; simply put – don’t rule out Bing in your digital strategy!

Keep Calm and Don’t Over-Hype BERT!

It’s a pretty huge step for Search overall, but NLP and machine learning still have a long way to go as far as language and context comprehension like humans. At a recent Whiteboard Friday, Moz shared an interesting research paper titled “What BERT Can’t Do” by Allyson Ettinger, a Natural Language Processing researcher and professor at the University of Chicago. One cool takeaway is that BERT isn’t great at understanding negation or what things are not. The example below shows how it lacks common sense knowledge in its search prediction in negation context (what a robin is VS. what a robin is not). Seriously fascinating and we should all keep an eye on where this technology could be heading.

BERT-Negation-Diagnostics-MOZ

Anytime a big change rolls out from anywhere in the digital marketing space, one of the key exercises we always try to do is explore and research what other marketing authorities are saying. Reviewing, researching and knowledge sharing is one of the best ways to stay on top of an industry that’s in constant flux. If you’re learning from or discovering new challenges in light of BERT or NLP technology in general, we’d love to hear about it!

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

The Anatomy of a Full-Service Social Media Team (Part 2)

Digtial Marketing Team
Summary: There’s no secret combination or magic number of how many designers, curators or analysts to add to a Social Media Department. There are many ways to build your team, which will be unique to your company’s budget, goals, industry and capacity for training.

Last time I jumped on here, we looked at what a realistic social media team of today should be comprised of. To recap, it is not a good idea to stick an entire social media strategy on one junior Marketing Coordinator. Not unless you want your social strategy to accomplish the bare minimum, hinder your ROI, while ultimately burning out your coordinator. Simply put, a full strategy deserves a full team.

A few weeks ago, the first group of professionals recommended for a full-service social media strategy team included:

  1. A Social Media Manager
  2. A Social Media Content Creator/Curator
  3. A Social Media Advertiser
  4. A Community Manager

Let’s dive into a few more integral roles that would impact your brand’s social team.

5) The Graphic Designer/Video Editor

I already talked about the content creator/curator you’ll likely need as part of your team; this particular role is very similar, but with full focus placed on visual content. So just as the content creator’s copywriting will represent your brand voice, the graphic designer will oversee your brand image. It’s important that this individual adapts alongside the ever-evolving video marketing landscape as well as the constant changes in design trends. (Google is a great example of a team who constantly tweaks their visual image). This is critical for keeping your social presence current and eye-catching.

Adobe creative cloud computer

Skills: Naturally, this team member should be pretty well versed in social media practices and tactics; it’s vital he/she understands how visual communication has an important role to play in the social world. Experience in the main design tools and software is key. I recommend looking for training in current design tools like those included in the Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Muse, Animate…the list goes on!). We usually prefer to also review portfolios for visual communication roles like this one; it is a great way to assess a skill like their attention to detail.

Main Responsibilities: 

  • Produces and edits visual content as it aligns to the content calendar and creative briefs
  • Develops graphic assets to accompany social content and advertisements
  • Oversees brand consistency in all visual assets
  • Produces images, illustrations, logos, videos and animations
  • Stays up-to-date on evolving design trends and new tools or software
  • Collaborates with the Content Creator/Curator, Social Media Advertiser and Community Manager to ensure cohesive brand representation

6) The Social Media Influencer Manager

This particular role is one of the newest professional positions to join many large marketing teams. It actually stems from the hugely profitable trend of collaborating with industry influencers. Your Social Influencer Manager will oversee your company’s relationship with influencers in your industry and ensure these influencers’ social content align with your own brand’s vision, values and objectives.

Skills: First and foremost, it’s imperative that your Social Media Influencer Manager understands your industry as well as your brand values inside and out. A full, bird’s eye view enables this role to make valuable connections and build meaningful relationships with your influencers as well as your target audience. That said, you will want someone who has strong relationship building skills and even stronger communication skills. A great candidate will be consider themselves an expert in social marketing and have the know-how to manage several projects at once.

Main Responsibilities: 

  • Defines and manages influencer activities and campaigns
  • Researches competitors, key influencers and trends in your industry
  • Aims to align influencer campaigns to overall social media content calendar
  • Creates timely content for influencers
  • Monitors content shared by influencers to ensure brand alignment
  • Collaborates with Content Creator/Curator, Social Media Advertiser and Community Manager to ensure cohesive brand representation

7) The Social Media Analyst

Well you had to know this one was coming. I encourage every team to include at least one analyst; this is the individual who will provide insights that will define your direction. Note, this particular analyst doesn’t necessarily need to be passionate about social media per se. Instead, their interests are in working with stats and data while understanding how social media impacts the business (and vice versa).

Skills: In order to manage the dashboards and organize the data, your analyst should have knowledge of the social media management tools that the rest of your team will be using. Obviously, strong analytical skills come into play for this role; the ability to provide reports and essentially translate it for stakeholders is important for keeping everyone on the same page.

Main Responsibilities: 

  • Maintains reporting dashboards on regular basis
  • Prepares, analyzes and presents key findings to stakeholders and team members
  • Provides daily recommendations for team activities to ensure goals are met (eg: sales, awareness, reach etc)
  • Actively studies and stays up-to-date on trends, tools and platforms
  • Collaborates with the whole Social Media Team

I hope this gives you a deeper view into what roles your own team might be lacking. Remember, these are just the basic, core roles to consider. There’s no secret combination or magic number of how many designers, curators or analysts to add to a Social Media Department. There are many ways to build your team, which will be unique to your company’s budget, goals, industry, capacity for training, etc.

Plus, considering the rapid growth and digital advancements made on a daily basis, flexibility is your best friend. For all we know, I’ll be back in a few months talking about brand new roles you might want on your marketing team.

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

How to Launch Profitable Chatbots for Clients: 5 Chat Marketing Tools and Tactics for Agencies

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Chatbots for business are a relatively new form of marketing tech. They’re also completely underutilized.

Translation: Competitive advantage for your agency to differentiate, expand and charge more.

(Wondering “What is a marketing bot?” ← I invite you to start there.)

Naturally, brands and their agencies need to keep up with the latest tech driving business value; the global chatbot market is expected to continue growing exponentially over the next four years. (Additional revenue in the billions of dollars!)

Chatbots are also incredibly profitable as an agency marketing service. An agency that provides chatbot services differentiates itself from an agency that does not. This attracts new leads and helps sign up new customers.

You’ll find that with chatbots capturing leads from web traffic and Facebook ads, you’re providing better performance for clients than ever before. The automated nature of chatbots makes interactions with customers easy, fast, and it gets results.

Getting positive results and growing your agency will mean that you can expand retainers with existing clients, offering even more profit and pushing your total revenue even higher.

Now that you’ve seen why you need to be using chatbots in your marketing, let’s go over key tools and tactics to bring chatbot services to life at your agency.

Tools and Tactics to Produce Chatbots at Your Agency

Step 1: Sign up for MobileMonkeyIt’s the chatbot building platform that we’ll use to create chatbots marketing campaigns for your agency and clients.

1. Chatbot Templates

Templates make it easy to create a bot to start with. You customize bot templates to your client and can even clone chatbots you make to use your tailored bots for new clients.

When you’re ready to load up one of MobileMonkey’s chatbot templates, consider the one-minute lead generation bot template. This is a simple bot that’s sole purpose is to collect leads.

Put this bot on your clients website to:

  • Greet visitors
  • Collect emails/phone numbers
  • Find out what they’re looking for
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Then you send that info to yourself in an email, or automatically send that data to your client’s sales team or into their CRM — whatever workflow makes sense for the business.

This simple bot converts website and Facebook traffic into a growing lead list. You’ll have a bottom-line driving metric to report to clients alongside website traffic or ad CPA: new leads captured!

You can see the chatbot template library from “Templates” in MobileMonkey’s left-nav and pick the 1-min Lead Gen Bot.

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For in-depth info on chatbots for lead generation, there’s your guide.

2. Website Chatbot Widget

With the simple lead gen bot launched and customized, you want it to be visible to interact with on the client’s website.

People love chat options for their questions and customer service. In fact, when given a choice between phone, email, and chat for this purpose, more customers choose chat than phone or email.

That’s because chat is easy and fast. Customers get quick answers to their questions or receive the service they need faster than dealing with phone operator menus or waiting for email responses.

You can add the MobileMonkey chatbot to a website a couple ways:

  1. chatbot for website installed with Google Tag Manager or a similar service
  2. WordPress chatbot plugin

Adding a chatbot widget to your website opens up automation potential that will greatly benefit your marketing agency.

Chatbots provide 24/7 instant response to questions and engagement. That means no wait times and happier customers!

Chatbots are also far cheaper than compensating a live staff. That means more profit for your agency.

And MOST IMPORTANTLY: Everyone who messages the business from the website chat widget instantly becomes a captured lead that you can send follow up messaging to.

Instead of anonymous website traffic, you’re growing a list of contacts that last.

3. Facebook Post Autoresponder Comment Guards

This next chatbot tactic grows your contact list by turning your engaged Facebook fans into Messenger contacts for free. It’s also a really cool way to make a Facebook post interactive.

Get ready to add Facebook comment guards to your marketing vocabulary.

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A comment guard is essentially a Facebook post autoresponder – when you implement the comment guard on a post, those who comment on the post get an automatic message from a Messenger chatbot.

Comment guards are so simple and quick to create that you can create a new one each week and build your contact list faster than you ever thought possible.

From Facebook tools in the left-nav go to FB Comment Guards:

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  1. Choose the post you want to add the comment guard to (or choose to guard all your unguarded posts at once).
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  1. Write the text you want to act as the chatbot autoresponder when someone comments on the Facebook post.
  2. Then pick the follow-up chatbot dialogue that will send after the user responds.

You’ll also have the option to pick a frequency cap, how often someone can receive this message if they comment on the post more than once (for example, only send this autoresponder once an hour, once a day, and so on).

Facebook post autoresponders are useful because those commenting on your posts are already engaged with a brand. Comment guards just turn Page fans into captured leads you can send follow-up messaging to! For free!

4. Facebook Click-to-Messenger Ads

Want to blow your clients’ minds with an ad that has lower CPAs and higher conversion rate?

Use Facebook click-to-Messenger ads with a MobileMonkey chatbot as the click-through.

While you’re probably used to running ads that send a user to your client’s website landing page where the average website conversion rate is 4%.

Instead, a click-to-Messenger ad directs the user to the chatbot where 100% of users who reply to the bot are captured as a lead.

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The ad is created in Facebook Ads Manager as usual, but with the Messages objective. This way, when users click the button to “Get Started” or “Send Message” they are greeted by an automated message in Facebook Messenger.

To set this up, create the ad in Facebook Ads Manager, selecting the audience, budget, placements. Then go into MobileMonkey and create your chatbot.

Head to Facebook Ads in MobileMonkey to finish the click-to-Messenger ad setup:

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Here’s where we set up the immediate bot reply a user gets after clicking the CTA button on the ad:

  • Add an image (optional)
  • Write a quick question to ask the user
  • Provide a quick reply button that the user can easily tap to respond to the bot, then connect that response the bot dialogue you created above.

Experience a click-to-Messenger ad in action for yourself here. As soon as you respond to the bot, your lead info is captured!

Your clients will love the lead generation upgrade.

5. Hot Lead Alert Email Notifications

So you’ve got a Facebook Messenger bot funnel set up, generating new contacts to qualify at the top of funnel.

You built your chatbot, added a widget to your website, created a comment guard and even curated a click-to-Messenger ad, all to promote engagement and get more leads.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know when those potential leads are surfacing?

You can, with a Facebook Messenger Email Notification.

With this email notification, you’ll get an email alert whenever there’s a hot lead talking to your chatbot. You can decide if you want the notification when the lead fills out a form, asks to talk to a human, or when the lead is on a specific page of your website that indicates that they are a high-value lead (or, more simply, ready to convert).

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The email alerts will notify you that you have the potential to convert a lead into a customer!

Chatbot Marketing Tactics Activated. Agency Sales Strategies Ahead!

You’re now equipped with 5 tools and tactics to easily integrate chatbots into your marketing methods.

With these powerful yet simple tools, your agency will stand out from the rest, attracting new clients and building lasting relationships.

Get to building chatbot marketing workflows and you’ll be growing lead lists with exponential power in no time.

Next, you’ll want to start selling bots to your current clients and your prospects.

For more on that, join me for a free training webinar on sales strategies for chatbot marketing services.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

WSI Wins WMA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Web Development

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Summary: For Groupe Chevalley, the new website designed by Gabor Markus from WSI is a true winner, winning Outstanding Achievement in Web Development at the 2019 WMAs.

Winning Website Designed for Groupe Chevalley, Geneva-Based Car Dealership

If there is an industry that comes close to the internet marketing industry in terms of the speed at which technology changes, it’s probably automotive. Car manufacturers are constantly innovating and upgrading their models. Consequently, buyers are highly enthusiastic and diligent about doing their research. Of course, the biggest chunk of research happens online. It’s only to be expected that car dealerships must stay on top of their game to stand out and beat the competition online. That is exactly what Groupe Chevalley, a leading car dealership in Geneva aimed for, and they turned to Gabor Markus, their local WSI Digital Marketing Consultant.

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Gabor and his WSI team designed a new website for Groupe Chevalley that not only exceeded the client’s expectations but also went on to win the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Web Development at the 2019 WMA WebAwards.

The WMA WebAwards is an international competition organized every year by the Web Marketing Association. Winners define the latest standards and benchmarks in web design and development for others to follow and further improve upon. A dominant player in the competition since 2007, WSI has an excellent track record and performs exceedingly well each year. 2019 has seen the organization win its 100th award in this competition.

Groupe Chevalley’s Wishlist for their New Website

As an established car dealership, Groupe Chevalley sells high end car brands. Not surprisingly, they were seeking a web development partner of the highest caliber and settled on WSI to serve their needs:

  • The main mission of the dealership is to sell new cars for 14 different brands across the market, including Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and the luxurious Bugatti.
  • The client wanted to ease access for its clients to book test drives and service appointments.
  • Chevalley also wanted to provide the latest innovations and promotions in a transparent and clear manner.
  • They wanted to increase their positioning in organic search to attract more visitors to their website.

In talking with Gabor and his team, the client decided to choose the full suite of WSI digital marketing services including:

  • High converting paid search and social campaigns
  • Writing optimized content for their website and social channels
  • Fully automated inbound campaigns
  • Building an excellent website to bring higher conversion rates

WSI Geneva in Overdrive and Racing to the Finish Line!

The biggest challenge with this project was a seamless integration of a third-party API where all the new and used cars are listed. The WSI team was able to meet the challenge, among others, and the results were outstanding. Within the first year after launching the new website, the dealership saw a 24.6% increase in organic traffic for their target market. The company also saw a 43% increase in conversions.

More than satisfied with their new website, Groupe Chevalley’s spokesperson, Olivier Evain spoke highly of Gabor and his team, “The WSI team has been particularly responsive and efficient in the design and implementation of our new website. When we hired them for this project, we had two main issues. On the one hand, our old site had become unstable and we needed to refresh our site within a particularly short period of time; as little as two months, to be precise. On the other hand, our old site had been designed mainly for aesthetic reasons and fell short in terms of functionality. The new site required a complete redesign focusing on simplicity, convenience and the overall user experience, in order to generate more sales of products and services. We didn’t need another virtual showcase; we needed a website that would bring more customers and conversions. Rethinking the design and implementing it within such a tight timeframe was a real challenge, which Gabor and his team from WSI met very successfully.

Gabor Markus is thrilled that his WSI team won this prestigious award. He says, “Working on the website development project for Groupe Chevalley was an exciting but also a very challenging task. We had very little time and a big ask from the client. The car dealership industry has some very high-quality websites and we had to do better than what is already out there. Working closely with our suppliers and associates in the WSI global network, we were able to deliver what the client wanted, on time, within their budget. Winning an award for this achievement is gratifying but more than that, it gives us the confidence that we truly are leaders in the industry. Without a doubt, we are ready and eager to take on bigger, even more challenging projects for clients across Switzerland and the rest of the world.

Check out all our 2019 WMA award winning projects from WSI here.

To speak to a WSI expert in your region, contact us today.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.