You should develop marketplace strategies, not open marketplaces indiscriminately

A marketplace is hip! Marketplaces are today’s Tamagotchi. Everyone is playing around with it. Unfortunately, unlike the Tamagotchi, merchants cannot restart if the game goes wrong. 

Marketplaces are all the rage: after Real and the Hitmeister takeover, Karstadt struck Hood. And DPD cooperates as the exclusive service provider with Buyerzon, a completely unknown marketplace. The marketplace fever seems to be taking hold. Even if it is generally to be welcomed that the importance of a marketplace strategy has arrived in the industry, it should become clear that a marketplace strategy does not necessarily require its own marketplace. Especially not a full-range supplier who simply has everything in its range and so would have to be an Amazon or Ebay competitor in terms of positioning.

Not everyone needs a marketplace

A certain size is necessary to operate a marketplace. For many traders, including larger traders, it can make more sense to use existing marketplaces. Marketplaces need huge assortments right from the start, many dealers and must have a large reach. As well as processes and manpower to support the dealers.

These are, among other things, reasons why Real with Hitmeister and Karstadt with Hood have bought complete marketplaces. With Hood.de, however, the last marketplace with a noteworthy reach is gone, for other marketplace interested parties all that remains is to rebuild. And anyone who still wants to open a marketplace today needs extremely long breath.

Full-range supplier, the Amazon clones

Opening a marketplace that positions itself as a generalist is extremely difficult. The last successful new opening is likely to be Siroop.ch in Switzerland. Who benefit from the special features of the Swiss market, which is still very self-contained compared to the domestic market.

Establishing a new generalist or full-range supplier who simply sells everything is much more difficult on the German or European market. Most recently, the Swedish marketplace Fyndiq could tell a thing or two about it, who withdrew from Germany because the business wasn’t worth it. An enormous advertising power in the direction of the end customer and retailer is necessary to reach a profitable threshold. That requires large, two- to three-digit million amounts as investments.

Marketplace strategy: Unique selling points are necessary

It can make more sense to set up a marketplace with a clear unique selling point, a special focus such as Mytoys is currently planning , which focuses completely on the family as the target group. It is much more promising to prove product range competence in a category and to target advertising budgets specifically to specific target groups than to actually want to compete with Amazon in full .

“David and Goliath” have no place in a marketplace strategy

For smaller retailers, a marketplace strategy is always about two things: Firstly, to moderately expand their own range in their own shop and, with cooperation partners, to open up new sources of revenue in completely new ways with services, services or content. And secondly, about the intelligent use of existing marketplaces such as Amazon, Ebay, Otto, Real or Rakuten.

Whatever retailers do, it doesn’t always have to be an attack on Amazon. You don’t always have to play “David against Goliath”. These images are quickly evoked in media reporting, always with a positive connotation. According to the motto “someone is finally doing something”. Yes, namely nonsense. In contrast to the Bible, such arguments do not end with a victorious slingshot. Traders prefer to look for an intelligent way to use the large marketplaces for themselves, even if that involves risks. Today’s customer reality dictates that.

Marketplace strategy does not mean “Let’s do it like Amazon” or “Let’s attack Amazon”, nor does it necessarily mean “We have to have a marketplace”, it means for your own company to find the best possible way to deal with the new world of platform economy.

Online Reputation Management: Upkeep is your best defense

The first impression shouldn’t go bad. This is not only the case in real life, but also in the digital world. But what can you do when search queries only display undesired content and attack your own online reputation?

The Bettina Wulff case and the discussion that started on the search suggestions displayed by Google, the so-called autocomplete or suggest function, showed which waves the topic of online reputation can make in public and not only affect companies. If you entered the name of the wife of the former Federal President in the search bar, this was supplemented by various attributions, all of which put Ms. Wulff in a bad light – which she finally took legal action against. After a long discussion, Google has now deleted a few search results.

True or not, her case is not unusual. What appears on the first page of the Google search results quickly puts you in a certain drawer. The searcher forms his own opinion on the basis of this content, which in most cases only reproduces a minimal section of the information available on the Internet. And it is not uncommon for this information to arise not from facts, but from attributions from untrustworthy sources.

Care Product Online Reputation: Companies and People

More and more companies and people are recognizing the scope of this opinion-forming, or the value that the most prominent search results have. Google is the number one information platform on the Internet and is used by countless users as a decision-making aid before buying a product or using a service. The turnover of a company is therefore directly and significantly related to its online reputation, as the company Biesalski & Company was able to determine in its “ Serviceplan Corporate Reputation ” from this year. Critical voices on the first page of search results are a deterrent and leave the searcher with considerable doubts about the quality of a product or the seriousness of a company.

The reputation on the internet is therefore an extremely valuable asset that must be carefully maintained, protected or built up. And this is exactly where reputation management comes in. Many companies have already developed a higher sensitivity for the subject than was the case a year or two ago. It is now becoming more and more evident at the decision-making level that one’s own online reputation has a direct impact on day-to-day business – this applies to the local locksmith as well as to the internationally established stock exchange company.

Oust negative entries from prominent positions

Online reputation management is usually about displacing unwanted content and pages from prominent positions in Google search results. Such a deletion is only possible if you can convince the portal operator to take the corresponding article or comment offline himself. And that only works in the rarest of cases.

First and foremost, there is a comprehensive situation analysis in the context of which certain questions are investigated: Where exactly is the undesired content? How strong are the respective portals? What positive or neutral content already exists about the company? Which pages and content are suitable for optimization? Where exactly is there still need for action? Which channels can providers use? The situation analysis shows how big the effort will be and what specific measures can be used to restore the online reputation.

SEO as a measure

Existing positive content can be used or new content created to suppress negative content. To improve the ranking of the individual pages, typical SEO measures are used, which can be ascribed to either on-page or off-page optimization. The aim of the work on the onpage is to optimize the website in such a way that the web crawlers can index it completely and the search algorithms of the search engines classify the content of the site as particularly relevant.

Offpage optimization, on the other hand, deals with the environment of a website, with the focus primarily on generating backlinks. The more links lead to a website, the more trust Google places on this site and the higher it is listed in the search results for the relevant keywords.

Online PR is the basis: press releases and interviews

But which channels are available to the providers? What options can they use to combat the problem? A basic distinction can be made between publishing and creating new content. As far as publications are concerned, one could write a press release and try to position it on relevant sites.

Another possibility would be to place an interview with a managing director, for example about company goals. Writing and publishing texts goes in the direction of online public relations and is a tried and tested means of establishing positive content online and strengthening a certain brand. The keyword density in the texts plays an important role.

Reputation management in the social web

When it comes to creating new content, two measures are particularly useful: social media and microsites. Company pages on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Co. are not only ideal for customer communication, but also for suppressing unwanted web presences. It is important that the respective profiles are updated regularly, since the topicality also affects the ranking of the websites.

In addition, companies should only post high-quality content that also offers added value for the reader. In the best case, the user is addressed directly, which can quickly lead to a lively discussion. It is also possible to point out events or promotions as well as to run a competition, which may even be shared by individual users on their own pin board and thus achieve a particularly high reach.

You should also secure the corresponding vanity URLs, for example facebook.com/companyname, in good time. All existing company pages on social networks then link to your own website, because there is no more relevant linker domain than your own homepage. The topic relevance factor is crucial for the Google algorithm. The search engine ideally honors corresponding links with a better ranking.

Increase visibility with microsites

Microsites are independent web presences that are primarily intended to fulfill two tasks in the area of ​​online reputation management: They increase the visibility of a company or a brand on the Internet and are ideal for suppressing negative content. The sites are usually not as extensive and general as the official website, but rather focus on a specific area or topic. In the case of a wine trade, it would be possible to create a separate microsite for each location. It would also be possible to have a blog on the subject of wine, on which relevant articles appear regularly.

Companies should only entrust the programming of microsites to specialists, as there are a large number of on-page factors that affect the subsequent ranking of the respective page: type of headings, internal link structure, meta descriptions, title tags, directory and file names , Graphics and keyword density. Incidentally, working on a company’s existing websites also includes their on-page optimization. It is important to analyze in detail where improvements can be made on a technical and content level. Once these have been implemented, the pages will almost certainly jump up on Google.

Active reputation management is required

Negative content in Google search results can result in significant economic damage. For this reason, your own online reputation should always be protected and maintained. This does not distinguish it from the general reputation of the company, only it often spreads faster and easier. Actors should be aware of their reputation on the Internet and its importance at all times and ideally not only act in a crisis situation. Reputation management can also be carried out preventively by creating or strengthening your own web presence. This makes it more difficult for any negative news to get far ahead in the Google search results and jeopardize an already established positive first impression.

Facebook hashtags – why they’re good for businesses

It has been known since yesterday evening that hashtags are being rolled out bit by bit on Facebook. So far, only a few users have been able to use the new feature. In addition, the small keywords will only be available via the web browser . Even if the hashtag feature looks like a little gimmick at first glance, it has many great advantages for the user, not least for companies and thus for Facebook itself.

Facebook hashtags as a community tool

First and foremost, you can use hashtags to set certain topics and trends and make them available in compressed form. Many site operators have already made use of this on Twitter and Google+, showing those interested in a brand campaign the way to specific content. For example , if you wanted to be forwarded to articles, spots or opinions on the real beauty campaign from the cosmetics brand Dove, you could search under #realbeauty and found what you were looking for. Nike created the hashtag #makeitcount for its FuelBand and, last but not least, sent the wonderfully beautiful web video about Max Joseph’s product on Twitter and Google+. Entire communities often crowd around such campaign hashtags – similar to company pages on social networks.

In this respect, Jens Wiese has not exaggerated when he writes on allfacebook.de : “The introduction of hashtags is as important for Facebook as the introduction of the Facebook pages recently.” -Pages so far a great idea. However, if you only found one campaign interesting, you had to choose either the complete program of the fan page or nothing at all. Some companies have occasionally set up their own pages for campaigns, but there is often the risk that the respective pages will simply be orphaned at some point as soon as the marketing campaign is over. An example here is the “Giro sucht Hero”-Fanpage of the Sparkasse referred: 164,000 fans were acquired in a few months and then dropped at the end of the campaign by not communicating anything about it. Unfortunately a bit disadvantageous for the brand and, last but not least, for those interested.

Hashtags can be used to generate feedback even after a campaign has ended. For example, when the community that has gathered around the product takes care of the content itself. Fans can still read tweets on Twitter about the FuelBand or Real Beauty campaign every day. Funnily enough, you are also confronted with updates on the Sparkasse campaign. Brands can finally use this potential on Facebook – where there are potentially over a billion users.

Facebook hashtags for targeted advertising

Hashtags are also particularly exciting when it comes to advertising for companies. The principle in the context of advertisements is not that new here either. Topic targeting has been relevant in ad tools since August 2011. Here it is possible to assign the advertising to a higher-level topic with the help of a hashtag. With the hashtag feature for users, you can now guarantee even more specific spending and maybe even run real-time campaigns like on Twitter in the near future. In other words, if someone uses a certain hashtag, they can be given a corresponding product at the edge of the page at the same time – theoretically even in the news feed itself, if the principle is extended to sponsored posts. Advertisements on trending topics could also be placed. In addition, Facebook is working on a hashtag insights tool,

Crowdsourcing: This is how you implement the new co-economy in your company

Digital technologies, infrastructures and ecosystems enable new forms of collaboration. This has consequences for creative processes such as innovative project and product development. Companies and freelancers can already help shape this new co-economy.

More and more creative people are communicating their concepts and ideas openly instead of closing themselves off behind closed doors. This is accompanied by the request to participate in the generation of ideas, implementation or financing if you are interested. The web finally makes it possible: At least since the sociologist Manuel Castell put forward his thesis “Rise of Network Society”, we have understood a society and economic structure primarily as a network with decentralized value creation processes and global access to resources such as work, knowledge and capital – but also their bundling and redistribution with regard to supply and demand. In order to understand this new, digital social order, one has to understand the underlying mechanisms and motivations. The “Wikinomics” approach of management professor Don Tapscott plays a role here, but so does the knowledgeable use of the technical infrastructures.

Collaborative value creation

[metabox keyword = “crowdsourcing“] The co-economy primarily drives common goals: the successful implementation of projects, the desire to be able to help design products, or the advantages of a shared and thus expanded knowledge and creative pool. However, the collaborative approach does not exclude economic interests. Often collaborative processes even conserve resources and are therefore more efficient than self-sufficient approaches. On the one hand, the co-economies can be used within the company: for example, as an idea or forecast exchange, where the wisdom of the many helps to weigh and make strategic decisions; on the other hand, in the form of cooperation with other companies, customers or, in general, an expanded community of like-minded people. The latter are mostly online marketplaces where companies advertise creative concepts or other digital services (globally). The consensus: Those who are open to exchange learn and promote innovations. He reaches a wide target group with his product or concern and finds supporters in the implementation and financing of his ideas. Nevertheless, the co-economy is not a sure-fire success, but needs to be controlled. The hierarchies are distributed differently, but tasks and content still have to be curated. The basic infrastructure includes corresponding online networks and tools such as (digital) payment services. Without these technical requirements with correspondingly good usability, open collaboration is only possible to a limited extent – or at least not to the extent that is available today. on which companies advertise creative concepts or other digital services (globally). The consensus: those who are open to exchange learn and promote innovations. He reaches a wide target group with his product or concern and finds supporters in the implementation and financing of his ideas. Nevertheless, the co-economy is not a sure-fire success, but needs to be controlled. The hierarchies are distributed differently, but tasks and content still have to be curated. The basic infrastructure includes appropriate online networks and tools such as (digital) payment services. Without these technical requirements with correspondingly good usability, open collaboration is only possible to a limited extent – or at least not to the extent that is available today. on which companies advertise creative concepts or other digital services (globally). The consensus: those who are open to exchange learn and promote innovations. He reaches a wide target group with his product or concern and finds supporters in the implementation and financing of his ideas. Nevertheless, the co-economy is not a sure-fire success, but needs to be controlled. The hierarchies are distributed differently, but tasks and content still have to be curated. The basic infrastructure includes corresponding online networks and tools such as (digital) payment services. Without these technical requirements with correspondingly good usability, open collaboration is only possible to a limited extent – or at least not to the extent that is available today.

Marketplaces, creative portals, innovation platforms

In addition to crowdsourcing marketplaces such as99designs *  (for logos or web design) and oDesk  (for all types of creative services) or creative portals such as Jovoto  , there are above all innovation platforms such as Quirky  or UnserAllerthat promote a new type of collaborative creation: Here people develop ideas for products, product variants or improvements together. This co-creation is a strategic approach in which users create new services, products or ideas as part of a collaborative process (via the corresponding online platform). This has resulted in a fundamental paradigm shift in the relationship between client and customer as well as company and customer, but also in classic value creation. The community is driven by intrinsic motives such as the prospect of reputation, fun or interest in the product. Or extrinsic remuneration, such as an advertised prize money for the best designs. While on the crowdsourcing marketplaces creatives offer their services in an open infrastructure for hourly rates, fixed amounts or in the form of pitches, companies on the innovation platforms also use closed contests to treat designs more discreetly and thus in accordance with the group. In all cases, the rights to the drafts only change hands after confirmation by both parties, whereby the structures of the platform cover the handling (e.g. payment). In the case of open idea platforms, the companies must also ensure external community management (controlled by the company or an agency) in order to motivate the participants and ensure prompt feedback on the suggestions. Companies also use closed contests for their innovation platforms in order to treat drafts more discreetly and thus in accordance with the group. In all cases, the rights to the drafts only change hands after confirmation by both parties, whereby the structures of the platform cover the handling (e.g. payment). In the case of open idea platforms, the companies must also ensure external community management (controlled by the company or an agency) in order to motivate the participants and ensure prompt feedback on the suggestions. Companies also use closed contests for their innovation platforms in order to treat drafts more discreetly and thus in accordance with the group. In all cases, the rights to the drafts only change hands after confirmation by both parties, whereby the structures of the platform cover the handling (e.g. payment). In the case of open idea platforms, the companies must also ensure external community management (controlled by the company or an agency) in order to motivate the participants and ensure prompt feedback on the suggestions.

Implementation and requirements: Multi-stage review process

If you want to successfully implement such an online community, you should follow a few rules when building and operating the platform. The founder of the platform UnserAller Catharina van Delden, for example, relies on a project structure in several phases and a multi-stage review process. In their view, the proposal and coordination phases should always run separately. Ideally, invisible pre-voting limits the number of suggestions in the review and thus guarantees a minimum quality. The community has the last word, but the manufacturer can ensure the strategy and production fit. “Every project should be structured like a good brainstorming session. At the beginning, ideas are spun wildly and only then narrowed down, ”explains Catharina van Delden. “The biggest mistake in crowdsourcing product development is voting without prior review. It then inevitably appears as if the manufacturer is putting itself above the community, ”says van Delden. UnserAller relies primarily on good sorting algorithms that organize the display of ideas during the proposal phase. Every idea should have an equal chance of finding supporters in the proposal phase. In addition, a good mix of new things as well as exciting and good suggestions must always appear on the first page. It is recommended that the moderator summarize similar or identical ideas during the review or split suggestions. Finally, you need a closed area for elaboration: after the winner has been determined, the community dialogue should not stop. So it would make sense To let the winners participate in how their ideas actually flow into the product concept. At UnserAller, for example, this works via a closed project in which all winners of a phase can have a say.

Collaboration and co-working: online meets workspace

Models that connect online communities with physical workspaces take a slightly different approach – such as the co-working network  Seats2meet  from the Netherlands. The business model is based on the “social currency” – that is, the knowledge, skills and contacts – that the freelancers involved bring into the community. The deal is: registration on the online platform for free workspace, coffee and lunch. This lively creative community thus attracts companies that pay for the use of the infrastructure. In the US, a similar project was initiated by former Second Life founder and advocate of virtual worlds and currencies, Philip Rosedale. Who for his work  club is registered in San Francisco, has access to a mapping system that lists requests and offers: from print design to courier rides to Spanish courses. In addition, there is another platform called  Worklist . It is an open developer network that brings startups and programmers together. With these different elements, Rosedale wants to redefine the future of work, in the virtual and the physical world.

Conclusion: a new management style is required

These developments are one of the biggest changes of our time for many corporate areas – but especially for innovative project and product development – and require a completely new management style that knows and takes into account the collaborative value creation processes and new infrastructures as well as the needs of the associated community.

Positive effect of collaborative work requirement
Flexible access to ideas, work and capital Transparency, simplicity and good usability of the platforms
Better use of resources Adequate system for fair, targeted remuneration
Extended creative pool with a view of the bigger picture Clarification and protection of intellectual property
Greater creative freedom for individuals More individual responsibility and motivation

Basically, the individuals of the co-economy work more self-organized and responsible than ever before. Nevertheless, they need functioning infrastructures that allow them to work more flexibly in terms of time and space. Ultimately, this development also demands a lot from companies. Because flat hierarchies are by no means synonymous with less responsibility. On the contrary: With the disruption of previous work processes, the complexity of process control increases dramatically. All those involved have to position themselves in these new digital technologies, infrastructures and ecosystems and help shape new processes as well as possible.

Social media monitoring: 2 good reasons and 8 tools that should convince you

Brands should react to their customers’ conversations online. We present eight social media monitoring tools that can be used to follow discussions.

What is social media monitoring – and why is it important?

Social media monitoring lets you know what your customers think of you.

Social media monitoring is all about getting an overview of the signals on the internet about your own brand – about new company-relevant topics, customer opinions about your own company, products or services and the competition. For this purpose, certain key words can be set and tracked with the help of tools, which inform about ongoing conversations in the network.

In contrast to a social media analysis, social media monitoring is carried out continuously, for example in order to be promptly informed about problematic posts. In this way, those responsible can set up automatic notifications – also known as “Alerts” – in order, for example, to identify and intercept emerging crisis situations in good time.

But social media monitoring does not only have to serve to avoid shitstorms. It is also important that community managers see when, for example, an influencer speaks up. Praise can also be received – even if it is simply a simple “Thank you!” Maintaining relationships is another important reason why social media monitoring is fundamentally worthwhile.

Over the years, a market has developed that supports companies with a variety of tools for social media monitoring – some for free, some for a fee. At this point we give a brief overview of the most important protagonists.

8 popular social media monitoring tools at a glance

Know what customers are talking about. Social media monitoring tools help to keep track of conversations online.

1. Hootsuite

Anyone using Hootsuite for the first time could quickly get the impression that it is a pure analytics tool. It is primarily used to schedule and distribute content in social networks and, among other things, provides coverage statistics.

But there’s more to the Hootsuite. Twitter and Facebook mentions, for example, can also be followed via individual streams, which community managers can answer from within the program. The Hootsuite is available in both a free and paid version from 19 euros per month.

2. Brandwatch

Even Luxury watches can derive both analyzes and pursue discussions on the social web. What is special about the tool is its excellent coverage of various forums, news sites and blogs.

The Brandwatch tool is considered one of the most comprehensive on the market and is used by numerous companies such as Sky and Whole Foods. According to the company, it accesses over 80 million sources. Brandwatch can be tested for free for seven days and is then subject to a charge. The price is 600 euros per month.

3. Echobot

Echobot is a monitoring tool for social as well as classic media. PR departments can also use it to manage addresses and send their own press releases to a mailing list.

The service is also recommendable because of its German location. Echobot advertises that it is subject to German data protection guidelines and thus special standards. Echobot can be tested free of charge. The basic version of the Montoring offer then costs 299 euros per month.

4. Radarly

Also Radarly is incredibly large – from analysis options through to influencer spotting a complete CRM offering.

For people who want to concentrate solely on social media monitoring, Radarly could also be too extensive, because the range of functions has its price: the starter package alone costs 480 euros. But if you want a solution for everything, you should test the tool.

5. Audiense

Until  recently, Audiense was still called Social Bro and is limited to monitoring in the Twitter cosmos. The tool offers in-depth analyzes, competitor comparisons and real-time monitoring at a high level. In addition, followers can be divided into finely scalable criteria.

This includes, for example, the number of followers, the ratio between the number of followers and friends (important to filter out influencers, for example) or the number of tweets during a certain time (important to track down dead accounts). Social Bro is available for free.

6. Talkwalker

Also Talk Walker is popular and can compete on the features loosely with Brand Watch. The tool also collects content from forums, blogs, news sites, Twitter, Facebook and other major social networks. In addition, Talkwalker can also be used to identify newly discussed topics, which is helpful, among other things, when conceptualists want to set up a real-time marketing campaign. The tool comes in a free free version and paid versions. The basic version costs 500 euros.

7. 247 degree connect

Also 247GRAD Connect provides an access to the latest mentions of predetermined keywords in news portals, blogs, forums and on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. In addition, the program also offers a content planner and a clear analytics function. 247GRAD Connect is a German tool. Those interested can test it for 30 days. The test phase ends automatically and is non-binding.

8. Buffer Respond

Buffer Respond is also brand new on the market . So far, the tool could only be used to plan and distribute content on the social web. Since last year, however, it has also been possible to answer user queries on Twitter and to run brand monitoring in the microblog. The basic version is available free of charge.

Social Media Toolbox: 17+ useful tools, apps and plugins that make your everyday life easier

Social media professionals watch out! In this list we have listed other little helpers that enrich your everyday work. Regardless of whether it is about planning and researching content or about services that help with networking. Also take a look at the article “Social media toolbox: 17+ useful tools, apps and plugins that make your everyday life easier” .

Higher, faster, further: 7 tips for scalable content marketing

Content is an effective means of increasing sales, but how do you scale efficient content marketing ? The following seven tips will help with this mammoth task.

1. Automate the topic research

Researching the subject is complex and time-consuming, writes Tampon. He therefore uses some services that speed up the process. First and foremost is “ If this, than that ” (IFTTT). Tampon couples the web service with the RSS feeds of important blogs and can be used to send current articles via email. In this way, they can keep an eye on which topics are currently relevant and find inspiration for their own content.

Another web service for this task is Buzzsumo . Tampon uses its filter to filter out the most shared contributions from the relevant industries, he writes in his article. But the comments of interested readers also regularly contain topic ideas, says Tampon. To export all comments, he uses the WordPress plug-in ” Comment Contact Exporter ” from Seer Interactive.

Tampon also mentions the “ Content Discovery Scraper List ” as a final recommendation . With the help of the topics generated in this way, he always finds “quick inspiration”. Although the list is in English, it can be translated quickly.

2. Find a co-author

For larger projects such as an e-book, Tampon recommends working with a suitable co-author. This not only leads to better content, but also to a greater reach.

3. Share content in multiple formats

Transferring existing content to new formats is relatively cheap but effective. Perfect for small campaigns. For this purpose, marketers convert a presentation into a blog post and a video, for example, and thereby increase their reach despite relatively little effort.

But that’s not all. Tampon recommends converting the most popular and successful posts into pages. They would usually rank better and, above all, permanently. In order to select the appropriate contributions, website operators should consider the number of visitors, shares and links, explains Tampon.

4. Write guest posts regularly

Guest posts not only serve the reputation and link building, but also the reach. Those who regularly write for other websites are slowly bringing their visitors to their own platform. It is only important to give them clear incentives to do so. Tampon also has some tips for beginners:

  • Start writing for websites that are already linking to your site. Its operators are more likely to agree to such requests. Tampon recommends thanking them first for their support (e.g. links or shares) and then asking whether there is a fundamental interest in regular guest contributions.
  • Publish enough quality content on your website. You can then better link your own subpages in your guest posts, a big step towards good rankings.
  • Only write for strong websites. According to Tampon, a good criterion for selection is, for example, the domain authority of the Moz Toolbar.

5. Develop a strong content team

For more content, more authors are needed in the long term. According to Tampon, clear guidelines and instructions are needed in this context. Only they guarantee uniform communication in the long term. A contribution on this topic that is well worth reading can be found at Distilled .

6. Optimize your content

It pays to optimize your own content for both users and search engines. Tampon gives the following tips on this, but also refers to the classic on-page tactics .

  • Use terms that are related to the industry to increase the chance of rankings in the longtail.
  • Use longer text phrases for internal links. This increases the click rate, says Tampon.
  • If possible, always link relevant posts from your own website to guest posts.

7. Invest in marketing your content

Marketing is responsible for 50 percent of your website’s success, according to Tampon. So use all your options, but especially the inbound channels. Tampon considers marketing via email to be particularly important. It can be combined well with classic content marketing, he emphasizes.

Inbound Marketing: An Introduction to Future Marketing

Inbound marketing turns classic marketing on its head: Instead of creating the first contact of potential customers with advertising , it is about drawing attention to yourself through high-quality content on the web. Classic advertising is only used in a later step. That sounds unusual, but it is viewed by many experts as the future of marketing.

Advertising has been the focus of all
marketing activities for as long as there was marketing. However, the acceptance and thus attention of advertising has
decreased in the past decades due to its mass, which affects
us every day . Nowadays one speaks of
an “advertising blindness”: Everything that smells like advertising in the first contact
automatically activates an advertising filter for many people. That is why it will become more and more important to emotionally charge brands and products in advance via content , before promoting a
further strengthening of the brand or the conclusion. Only then can advertising regain acceptance and
attention. The focus is on the emotional content
and initiates the first customer contact, not the advertising . This is exactly what inbound marketing is all about. After thought leaders such as Seth Godin and others / see source reference 3) laid the foundation, the term was first used in Germany in 2012 by SEOmoz founder Rand Fishkin at the SMX in Munich .

What is inbound marketing?

If you consider the term inbound marketing as a counterpart to outbound marketing, you would have to include all non-classic advertising measures (“below-the-line marketing”) both online and offline. However, Hubspot’s definition of inbound marketing (see source reference 5), which only takes online instruments into account, seems to be gaining ground. Inbound marketing, based on the Hubspot definition, includes the following (online) marketing instruments:

  • Content creation
  • Blogging
  • Public Relations (PR)
  • Social media or word-of-mouth marketing
  • Search engine marketing (SEO and SEA if necessary)
  • Landing page optimization or conversion optimization
  • Email Marketing
  • Web analysis
  • Customer Relationship Management

Inbound marketing: this is how it works

The individual phases of the inbound marketing process are divided into the following phases:

1. Inspire

In this phase it is important to create helpful and / or emotional content for the respective target group. These should be search engine-optimized and appropriately prepared for the target group, and they should be easily shared via social networks. The spreading of the content (“seeding”) can also be accelerated by targeting selected opinion leaders and distributing them via your own social media channels.

2. Interaction

In this phase, interaction should be encouraged that enables direct or indirect dialogue. At the latest when this phase is over, the online marketing specialist Karl Kratz says: “Welcome to the system” .

3. Graduation

The aim here is to turn interested parties into customers through dialogue or advice.

4. Loyalty / upselling

In the course of the fourth phase, the process basically starts all over again: The customer is inspired again by additional content and, of course, high-quality products or services and is convinced that he has made the right choice.

Define intermediate goals

Measurable intermediate goals should be defined for the individual phases. A long stay, low bounce rate, subscription to the feed, a tweet, like or share as well as a link through another website speak for a certain enthusiasm. This would have achieved the goal for phase one.

An entry in the newsletter, a new Facebook fan or even a request via a contact form by email or telephone complete the second phase of the interaction. From now on – if possible – more or less personalized communication can take place, for example via a CRM system.

Content creation

Everything starts with quality content. Sufficient time should flow into the planning before the actual content creation begins. The focus here is on target group identification and analysis.

The following questions need to be answered:

  • Which intermediate and main goals should be achieved?
  • Which target group (s) should be addressed?
  • What is interested in and what information is the respective target group looking for or what is linked?
  • How and in which process phase should the respective target group be addressed?

The question of the goals is important, since it can be used to record the success of the action and the achievement of the respective process stage of the interested party.

Which target group you want to address is determined, for example, on the basis of the group’s motivation to share content and / or the degree of networking. If backlinks are the main goal, the target group must be selected very precisely: The focus is on people who, through their familiarity, cause many new links (“linkerati”). If it is primarily about the social buzz that is to be generated, one can spread a lot “broader” when selecting and addressing target groups, since a lot of people are members of Facebook, Twitter and Co. In addition, it should be considered which process phase the potential customer is currently in. What is his level of knowledge? Is he doing research or does he already know what he wants? Was there already contact with the interested party? If so, in what way?

Seeding

So-called seeding is used to distribute the content adapted to the respective target group. This can be done via passive seeding, such as publishing the content on your own blog, providing social media buttons and RSS feeds, on-page SEO such as WDF * IDF-oriented texts and internal links, your own social media Media channels and newsletters. The focus here is solely on the attractiveness of the content in order to create a word-of-mouth effect (mouth-to-mouth propaganda).

Another option is active seeding. PR attempts to address opinion leaders directly and, if necessary, to use paid advertising such as search engine advertising (SEA) to place the content on non-company platforms. If it concerns target groups whose contact details are already available, they can be addressed directly for active seeding. This also applies to prospects and customers who are already in the downstream process phases.

Turn prospects into customers

Especially when the interaction phase has been concluded with a lead in the form of a specific request, there seems to be an interest and basic trust in the offer. The task now is to build on this trust. In addition, the advertising filter has been removed from the potential customer so that he is more receptive to advertising.

The final phase is the only stage in the inbound marketing process in which you should actively approach the potential customer, as he is already emotionalized in relation to the brand. This can be done through sales or advice by email or phone. This also applies to the use of classic push advertising such as display advertising, TV spots or print ads.

Turn customers into promoters

If you have been able to win the prospect as a customer, the obligation is fulfilled. But that does not mean lying on your lazy skin now. The customer has placed their trust in you. Now it is time to prove that he made the right choice. The customer has to be delighted again. However, this is a little easier than in the first process stage because the trust has already been won. The customer is open to the information and may respond by promoting the content or recommending it. In addition, in the best case scenario, the customer is now registered in their own information system via newsletters, the Facebook fan page, RSS feed, Twitter, etc. and can thus be reached for the upselling process – regardless of paid measures or channels to which there is no direct administrative access .

The all-purpose marketing weapon?

The content and inbound marketing hype is in full swing, but inbound marketing is not applicable across the board for every company and business model. Above all, the inbound marketing principle must be firmly integrated across departments in the company and lived daily. In many companies, this requires long-term rethinking and radical restructuring. In addition, over the years a large number of new marketing channels and sometimes very complex new marketing disciplines have been added that require a high degree of specialization (including SEO, SEA, web analysis or related areas such as conversion optimization). The trick is to identify the methods that are relevant for the respective project and to use competencies in the areas of creation,

A major task will be to relate the individual marketing measures to each other and to record the contribution of each individual measure to the overall project. Getting to grips with these amounts of data and interpreting them will give the job description of the marketing analyst new weight (keyword: big data), as every marketing discipline has so far cooked its own soup.

Niche SEO: How to Optimize Videos, Products, and More

For some years now, search engines have been integrating relevant results from their niche search engines into the results of web search. The search results are expanded to include relevant multimedia elements such as images, videos or PDFs. Google calls this “Universal Search”. Special content types such as news, products or yellow pages are also displayed. If companies optimize these special media for the vertical niche search engines, they can generate additional traffic via the universal results.

There are a variety of search engines out there, Google’s web search is just one. There are also niche search engines which, as vertical search engines, cover special areas such as individual media types, industries or services. The three major search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo! offer vertical searches. In addition to web searches, Google also conducts vertical searches in the areas of video, news articles, products, images, places, scientific publications and books, among other things.

Universal Search: vertical search results in one place

With the launch of “Universal Search” in May 2007, Google integrated relevant results of its vertical searches into the search results page. The web search – previously actually a niche search engine exclusively for websites – is now becoming a universal search. The term “Universal Search” refers specifically to Google, while the terms “Blended Search” or “Enhanced Results” also refer to other search engines.

With the Enhanced Results, Google and other search engines are expanding their text results with multidimensional content from other media types. These include videos, images or PDFs. On the other hand, they summarize special content types and industries. This is the case with news, shopping results, yellow pages or the more recent hotel and flight searches.

Display depending on the type of search query

Which vertical search results Google integrates into Universal Search depends primarily on how closely they match the user’s intention of the search query. If a user is looking for instructions and explanations, videos or pictures are often found. If Google recognizes a regional reference, local search results are displayed . But the assignments are not always that clear. It is therefore advisable for website operators to check the potential of their universal search displays for the relevant keywords and to match them with the intention of the search query.

In December 2012, according to the Universal Search study by searchmetrics on Google, seven out of ten keywords led to a universal search result. The overlays of videos come first, followed by the results of the image search. Instead, shopping results, maps, and news are displayed less frequently.

Universal search types and their optimization

Universal Search is created by Google displaying various results from its niche search engines in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Positions). In order to be listed as a website in the extended results, good rankings in the vertical search engines are necessary. Only then does Google take the results into account when displaying the enhanced results. Website operators should therefore optimize the individual media types for their website accordingly .

Videos

Videos make up a large proportion of the advanced results. Search phrases in the context of previews, reviews, tutorials, instructions, tests or explanations lead to video results. Queries related to music or films also very often show video previews.

To optimize videos for Google video search , Google itself gives some advice . The main thing is to make it easier for Google to understand the content of the video. Ideally, there should only be one video on each page. Content that refers to the content of the video, suitable titles and awards via markups help Google to classify the video. A suitable preview image appeals primarily to the searcher. Where the video is hosted is also crucial for optimization. If a video is hosted on YouTube, Google is more likely to show it on Universal Search via the YouTube link. If your own website is the goal, it is therefore more advantageous to host the video on your own server.

photos

Google also frequently shows images on Universal Search. This can be within the web results or in the information box of the Knowledge Graph. The Knowledge Graph, introduced in 2012, bundles the most important facts in a central location, especially for informative inquiries (see figure).

When optimizing images, it is also important to convey the content and relevance of an image to Google. The ALT attribute, the image file name or the incoming links are important for this. The content in the immediate vicinity of the image also signals to Google which content can be found in the image. Images should therefore, at best, always be surrounded by content and not be in the sidebar.

Places / Local Results

Around five to ten percent of the keywords lead to Google Places entries. These are particularly important for regional providers and in the context of local SEO. A distinction can be made here between pure Places displays and the displays of organic hits with linked Places profiles. Using the search phrase “Keyword + Location” or the location determined, Google decides for which region it outputs the industry results as pure blocks of location overlays linked to Google Maps.

First, companies should claim and confirm their Google Places entry for optimization. By choosing the right business fields and providing an informative description, Google can better classify the business type. The ratings on Google Places and other connected rating portals also influence the ranking [8]. In addition, companies can optimize their own website for Places. The company name, the location and the industry should be used in the title, in the meta description and in the content. A focus should also be placed on this data in the off-page area. However, it is important to pay attention to naturalness and the correct use of the brand .

Shopping

Google Shopping is the vertical search engine for physical products. Google receives the data for the products by means of a feed via Google Merchant (formerly: Base), which the shops send to the search engine. In February 2013, Google switched this search to a paid model in the form of Product Listing Ads (PLA). This means that companies have to pay for the clicks on the displayed products, which Google does with a link to AdWords.

In order to increase the display for Google Shopping, on the one hand, optimization through AdWords is necessary. This includes bid optimizations. The product data from the Google Merchant Feed determine whether Google shows the advertisements with product information. This is why the content of this feed must also be prepared. This depends on the product names, the categorization and the description.

This information should also cover the long tail and individual product specifics as well as common terms that users use to search for the product. It is also important to ensure that it is complete and up to date. In contrast to other ad formats with AdWords, only this data leads to a display. Keywords do not affect delivery in the SERPs.

Universal Search Opportunities for Websites and Businesses

Google draws attention to vertical searches with the advanced results. Website operators also benefit from this type of listing. By contrasting web search results, users also look at those results more often. With the display of additional content types, websites can achieve a multiple listing. This increases their presence on the search results page. Companies that publish these media in particular also have the opportunity to attract attention and traffic away from the pure niche search engines.

The possibilities of individual advanced results depend in part on the type of business. Services that, like the Places entries, focus on individual industries, limit competition to the specified area and thus increase the chance of being displayed. Even in highly competitive web search areas, the vertical results form a niche in which websites can be specifically positioned. Individual extensions such as book searches, shopping or news already specifically limit the products offered. The shopping search is particularly suitable for e-commerce companies. News displays, on the other hand, bring valuable traffic, especially for news sites and magazines.

 

Email marketing: 8 tips to get your emails read

Which factors determine the click strength of an email? And which age groups are particularly interested in newsletters? A new study on the subject of email marketing answers these and similar questions.

E-Mail Marketing: Study examines usage behavior in relation to electronic mail

For a new study, 1,000 English-speaking e-mail users over 21 were asked about their e-mail behavior. In addition, several hundred million emails from HubSpot and Litmus customers were evaluated. The study gives us an interesting insight into the behavior of users of different ages and income groups. In some cases the responses were also broken down according to the gender of the respondents.

For example, women are less likely to use special e-mail accounts that are only there to keep commercial offers away from the owner’s actual e-mail account. Even if the difference is a little less than 10 percent, companies whose customers consist mainly of women have, at least in theory, a higher chance that their emails will be read.

Email marketing: Men tend to use special email addresses to protect their actual account from advertising.

Regardless of the age or gender of the recipient, however, many people use filters so that they don’t even have to see unwanted advertising in their inbox. This applies most to the age group between 18 and 29 years. Here the rate is 63 percent. However, at 49 percent, it is still comparatively high even among users over 60 years of age.

The study also dispels the myth that certain terms or special characters such as the dollar sign are automatically kept away from users due to common spam filters. Neither “free” nor “!” Or “$” in the subject line have any noticeable effect. In addition, there is some information in the study that should have a direct positive impact on your email campaigns. We’ll tell you what these are in the following paragraphs.

Email Marketing: 8 Tips for Successful Campaigns

1. Even if users don’t admit it, more images hurt the click rate

The study is a good example of the fact that the statements made by users do not always correspond to their actual usage behavior. Almost two-thirds of respondents said they would prefer marketing emails made up mostly of images. An analysis of usage behavior showed, however, that the click rate goes down significantly the higher the number of images.

2. The larger an image, the lower the click rate

Email marketing: The image size has an impact on the click rate.

Not only the number of images, but also the size has an influence on the click rate. The higher an image, the lower the click rate. The width, in turn, had a smaller influence on the click rate. Images should therefore tend to take up less space in the mail.

3. Users prefer HTML mail

64 percent of the surveyed users prefer HTML mail. It should be noted, however, that the same question was asked by the authors of the study back in 2011, and the results have hardly changed. Therefore, mails should still be optimized for both types of readers. The older semesters in particular still seem to prefer plain text e-mails to a large extent. It is even the preferred method from the age of 60.

4. Emails should be short and crisp

Text that is too long has a negative effect on the click rate. According to the study, the best emails were those whose content was between 300 and 500 characters long. It is therefore advisable not to annoy your own customers with texts that are too long and to get to the point quickly.

5. The subject line should also be kept short

As with the actual content of the mail, the subject line should also be kept short. Our article ” Newsletter Marketing: With Better Subject Lines for Higher Open Rates” provides further tips for better subject lines .

6. The term “newsletter” in the subject line leads to a lower click rate

According to the study, the click rate is reduced by around 30 percent if the term “newsletter” is in the subject line. The authors of the study also have an explanation for this. According to them, the word suggests that the mail was only sent because it was time for the newsletter, not because there was necessarily something new to report.

7. The sender should ideally consist of two words

The sender should consist of two words.

 

In addition to the subject line, email clients usually display the name of the sender. According to the study, it should ideally consist of two words, as this will statistically achieve the highest opening rate.

8. Optimizing e-mails for tablets is worthwhile, especially for the 30+ target group

The older the user, the lower the smartphone usage in terms of receiving e-mail. The fact that the age group from 30 to 44 years of age reads their e-mails on a tablet significantly more often than the age group from 18 to 29 years of age is probably more surprising. In fact, those up to 29 years old are the least likely to read their emails on a tablet. Optimizing e-mails on tablets is therefore primarily worthwhile for companies whose target group is 30 years or older.

Content marketing on medium: This is how you use the publishing platform

The Medium publishing platform can also be used for marketing. We’ll show you what you should pay attention to.

Medium: The Democratic Publishing Platform

Medium was founded in 2012 by two Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone. In contrast to traditional blogging platforms, Medium functions very democratically in its own way. Decisive for the success of an article is not necessarily the number of Twitter followers or whether you are constantly producing new content, but only the quality of the article.

At least in the English-speaking world, this is ensured by an editorial team. She selects the best texts and presents the articles prominently on the page. In addition, algorithms should ensure that users see the best articles. Medium not only uses the number of clicks, but also takes into account whether the article was actually read. Lurid headlines like Upworthy or Heftig.co are therefore not enough.

In addition, users can create collections on specific topics themselves, which other users can in turn follow. At this point, however, it should be noted that Medium is still a primarily English-language platform and the number of German articles is comparatively small. Nevertheless, it could also be suitable as a field of experimentation for marketeers in this country, especially since the medium should still have some growth potential.

Advantages and disadvantages: Medium as a marketing channel

A big advantage of Medium over your own blog is that you are not constantly under pressure to produce new content. If you only want to write an article occasionally without having to concentrate on your own blog in the long term, Medium is an interesting platform for you. In addition, existing articles can be republished there, which can potentially increase your readership base.

In addition, thanks to the integrated analytics service, you can not only see how many people click on your articles or favorite them, but also how many people actually read the article in full. On the other hand, of course, you have no control over the platform and must first lure readers to your page via an additional link. Which is also the reason for this that many authors publish content that they have already published elsewhere.

Medium: The publishing platform is suitable for republishing content. (Image: Medium)

Medium and Marketing: This is how you use the platform

In the following we want to show you how your medium can best be used as a marketing instrument.

Publish content from your blog on Medium

As already mentioned, there is no shame in republishing existing texts on Medium. You can either republish the whole article, or you can do it like the fader and just publish an excerpt of the text. In this way you can also attract new readers directly to your blog.

Create a collection of articles on a topic that affects your company

In addition to your own articles, you can also put together texts from other medium authors in a collection, provided the topic is related to your industry. That way you can position your brand as an industry expert.

Also publishes visual content

Medium does not have to be used for long, in-depth articles. There are many examples of medium posts that consist only of images. You could also use the site to republish an interesting infographic of yourself. Ideally, this way more people will enjoy your work. It doesn’t cost you a lot of time and effort.

Always offer your readers added value

You should never forget that Medium is all about interesting content. You can publish a press release or purely advertising articles on your blog. Nobody on Medium will care. You should always deliver added value to your readers here!

Create a collection of your own articles

If you use the medium regularly, it makes sense to create a collection that only contains your own content. Readers will find your content faster and can be kept up to date on all new articles.

Put a link on your website or blog

At the end of your article or at a suitable place in the text, you should refer to your website or blog. You could also try a call-to-action like “Follow us on Twitter” or “Wear yourselves on our mailing list” at the end of the article. Don’t forget to use a tracking link so that you can measure your success.

Recommends posts that fit your industry

Users who follow you on Medium can see which posts you recommend. Use the feature to establish yourself as an industry expert and to be perceived as a source of good content.