These posts are published in our quarterly newsletter.

John Stone from Revenue Architects asked me this question over lunch. The answer I gave him got me thinking about a conversation I had at a conference a few years back.

I was approached by a business executive who asked me what is the difference between usability and user experience. My answer: Here’s the big difference, user experience is all about ROI (Return on Investment).

Integrated Digital Strategy

Source: RevenuePerform.com

The start of any good user experience begins with a clear business goal. Whether it is a mobile app, website, or even a physical product a good user experience fulfills that need. Start by asking yourselves the hard questions – What do I want my users to do? What do I want them to accomplish? What is the call to action? Given that end goal, a good user experience optimizes the path and flow that they will need to take.

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sw_selectionA lot of businesses who use Constant Contact or Mailchimp or a similar app for email marketing are now recognizing limitations for expand digital and email marketing and more automated inbound programs. To address the selection of a new email service provider (ESP) or marketing automation solution is not easy. It is critical to understand business needs especially when there are different business areas involved. Some business areas may want to run their own campaigns from sales using a CRM like salesforce or MS dynamics or SugarCRM. Others may expect marketing to run campaigns and hand over qualified leads or flow them directly into the CRM. Without  considering longer term strategic direction and the needs of each business group, the choices are not fully clear and this makes a confident selection more challenging.

A further challenge is that today’s revenue technologies are evolving rapidly, and solutions range from email marketing point solutions to integrated marketing automation. As the industry consolidates and new entrants emerge, there is increased importance on ensuring that any solution will fit into a longer term ‘revenue technology ecosystem’.

We are often asked us whether a Marketing Automation solution should be considered over an ESP. While many of the capabilities of a marketing automation system can be found in ESP, Web analytics, and website CMS solutions, marketing automation systems offer additional levels of integration by combining features in a single product. This brings additional capability, including:

  • Behavior / known visitor tracking by maintaining a profile of website visitors and other activities of individuals. While Web analytics products capture page and session statistics, they do not link these to known individual identities. Marketing Automation houses the contact databases and links website visits. This helps inform lead scoring and prioritization.
  • Lead Scoring with website visits, downloads and other behaviors help to build a score to measure the quality of a lead or prospect. Priority leads can be provided to sales departments with greater levels of intelligence. Scores can include attributes (title, company, location, etc.) and behaviors (email responses, Web forms completed, pages viewed, etc.).
  • CRM integration and data exchange. A two-way exchange of contact, campaign and lead information between the marketing automation system and CRM or CIF systems are critical for master data management and intelligent contact and lead management. These capabilities help to ensure that marketing and sales are working from the same information.

OS2

To address these questions and ensure that the process fully considers business and technical requirements, you can use a selection process that reflects both short term and longer term business needs. An objective solution selection process uses an iterative and traceable process to move from requirements through to final selection:

  1. Identifying requirements including key business and technical dimensions
  2. Collaborating to establish the right criteria upon which to evaluate options
  3. Developing a long and short list of potential solutions based on key criteria
  4. Supporting the solution evaluation by engaging vendors where appropriate and applying industry experience, market insight and technical expertise
  5. Identifying a short list and supporting the due diligence process as required.

Want to learn more and get a selection checklist for Marketing Automation? Sign up here.

Of all the digital marketing disciplines, nothing keeps a marketer on their toes quite like Google. Google’s recent algorithm updates gave us the cutely titled Panda and Penguin updates, but don’t let the names fool you – they meant business. Those two penalized poor content and spammy links; cleaning house if you will. I’ll take a look at Google’s new algorithm update called Hummingbird and also look at two other significant SEO trends to carefully consider in your search engine marketing plan for 2014.

Humming to Google’s New Tune?

The truth is, this update appears less overtly dangerous than the previous algorithm updates, as if you have been doing well in search engines with honest content marketing, then you are probably no worse off right now. The challenge though, is keeping up with websites and marketers that are paying attention to Hummingbird’s perceived impact.

Here are 3 key points to consider:

  1. The usefulness of your content;

  2. The speed if your site;

  3. The user experience for mobile devices;

Around this point of providing ‘useful’ content, you blog is a key tool in providing ‘answers’ to searcher’s questions. The old tactic of optimizing your meta data around primary keyword phrases still holds true, but try to avoid keyword obsessing; the search engines are smart enough to understand context in the rest of your content much better these days.

Remember: long tail keyword searches make up 70% of all search engine queries.

For maximum impact, focus on adding new content that explicitly answers user questions, including “how to” blog posts, FAQs, and process tutorials. Your blog can help provide answers to some of these ‘how to’ questions and attract natural links and get picked up by press outlets – who often have a high domain authority – and can direct a high volume of traffic back to your website.

Mobile Device SEO

For mobile optimization these items are critical to ensure a quality mobile user experience, which keeps your bounce rate down – in turn – helping your search rankings on mobile devices.

  • Use Finger Touch Friendly Navigation

  • Disable Pop-up On Mobile

  • Don’t Use Flash Content

  • Scroll-to-Sections Speed up Navigation

  • Keep the number of videos to a page to a minimum

  • Compress images and combine CSS files

  • Use responsive design unless a traditional mobile site suits your content

What Is Structured Data and Schema Markup?

As with the importance of mobile SEO – its best friend is local SEO.

For many small online businesses and social media novices this has proved tricky to navigate while Google+ (which merged with Google Places) has evolved itself. Common mistakes are creating multiple profiles, confusing a personal account with a business one and generally not filling out all the information.

Structured Data and Schema Markup may not sound much fun either, but its function is to create a common vocabulary for describing the data on the web. Using the right expertise to implement, it allows search engines to display important information, such as hours, testimonials, reviews, menus and blog authorship.

You can find the Structured Data Markup Helper here.

You may be more familiar with Google Authorship by sight if not by name. It displays the blog authors Google+ profile picture potentially leading to greater exposure, traffic; especially if the person is an expert.

A combination of your Google+ business page and Schema, means that Google will pull in reviews and other schema information from your business and display it with your business’ Google+ page in search results.ert in the local community or industry.

A one-two punch for improving your local search results and satisfying your mobile device users, both of which will provide the proverbial nectar to Hummingbirds buzzing around your content.

Learn more about how Revenue Architects can take your SEO goals to the next level for 2014.

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The team from Revenue Architects wishes you and your family a happy holiday season.

Our thoughts are with those less fortunate including the people of Syria, North Korea and the Philippines along with fellow Americans who need support.  We know how lucky we are and are thankful to have the ability to spend some time this holiday with loved ones and reflect on what we have accomplished with our clients in 2013.

Cobbler's Children

Thank you for helping to make this another great year for Revenue Architects.

We kicked off a range new client relationships, updated our branding and messaging, and continued our work delivering strategic revenue programs. We focus on integrated sales and marketing and building what we call a ‘revenue architecture‘ –  agile, iterative and integrated design and execution of revenue strategies, revenue systems and revenue programs. We work with industries that manage a considered or complex sale, including B2B, financial services including wealth management and insurance as well as complex B2C products.

We are very optimistic about 2014 and see continued growth in our wealth management practice, working with leading asset managers and their engagement with intermediaries. Our B2B practice is growing with a deeper focus on complex sales and marketing. We are also expanding our body of work in Marketing Automation and CRM consulting –  helping orchestrate the business change programs that are critical to capture customer value.

Of course, the intensity of our client work has taken some of our attention away from our own integrated marketing programs. So, one of  our new year’s resolutions is to expand our capacity and re-focus our own team marketing activities. We also will look for leading new marketing professionals to join our effort.

Our clients focusing on their own integrated marketing programs:

  • Defining new strategies to differentiate and capture customer value
  • Bringing together revenue technologies of CRM, Marketing Automation and Social Media into an integrated closed-loop system.
  • Executing more systematic and integrated marketing programs – tying together marketing and sales.

As we enter 2014, the team at Revenue Architects sends along our best wishes to you and your loved ones for health and happiness and as you enter 2014. We also hope your revenue architecture helps you fuel the growth you seek!

 

(Image Source: https://www.elytradesign.com/news-article/elytra-re-design )

 

This post is for fun, but as I write it I can’t help but see parallels between fishing for “bones” and inbound marketing. The equipment, tactics, strategies and execution needed to catch a bonefish are similar to those required for effective marketing.

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