Book Review: All Marketers Are Liars – Seth Godin

Seth Godin is my go to person on the internet when it comes to reading good stuff, especially about marketing. Because in Marketing it’s NOT always about what’s right or wrong/ good or bad/ black or white, but what really INSPIRES you! While I have been reading his blogs (since forever) that touch upon a myriad of topics, this is a first time I have read one of his books interestingly named “All Marketers Are Liars”.

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Now I guess my reflex retort to a statement like this would be “hey…you watch your tongue!” because for a marketer (this is an assumption…it could just be me) this is just below the belt. So, when you see a marketing bestseller by a marketing guru called “All Marketers Are Liars” you are bound to be intrigued and thus begins a successful story telling which BTW is what this book is all about.

Who should read this book?

  • Marketing professionals who are grappling in the dark with hackneyed marketing stunts that doesn’t interest their target customers anymore.
  • People who want to start marketing with a fresh perspective on a clean slate.
  • People seeking an explanation to why Marketers are NOT liars (like me)

Key Takeaways:

  • Marketers are a special kind of liars. Marketers lie to consumers because consumers demand it. Marketers tell the stories, and consumers believe them.
  • A great story is true. Not true because it’s factual, but true because it’s consistent and authentic. Great stories are trusted. Trust is the scarcest resource we’ve got left. As a result, no marketer succeeds in telling a story unless he has earned the credibility to tell that story.
  • A marketer can spend plenty on promoting a product, but unless consumers are actively engaged in believing the story, nothing happens.
  • Marketers are not liars; they are just story tellers. Consumers are liars who tell them stories they believe in. Successful marketers are just the providers of stories that consumers choose to believe.
  • There are only two things that separate success from failure in most organizations today:
    • Invent stuff worth talking about.
    • Tell stories about what you’ve invented

 

“Great stories are subtle.

Great stories happen fast.

Great stories don’t appeal to logic, but they often appeal to our senses.

Great stories are rarely aimed at everyone.

Great stories don’t contradict themselves.

And most of all, great stories agree with our worldview.”

This book serves the purpose… it makes you believe in the storytelling mechanism, in telling people what they already know but want to hear from you. Surely marketing is much more than a creating a make believe concept for consumers to get on-board but at the very crux of it…yes, people will ask what’s your story!

https://www.amazon.com/All-Marketers-are-Liars-Works/dp/1591845335 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Customer Loyalty- Retain Your Valuable Customers

Loyal customers are the biggest asset any brand can have. Yes, one needs to grow their customer base, add new markets and target groups…but that one bunch of “we love you for what you are” customers will always be special for more than one reasons;

  1. They share an emotional connection with your brand
  2. They are more than happy satisfied customers, they are your brand evangelists
  3. They are willing to spend more on your brand

Customer loyalty programs highly interest me as a marketer who is trying to woo customers for our brand. I came across this amazing read which truly is an ultimate guide for professionals.

Customer Loyalty: The Ultimate Guide

What Is Customer Loyalty?

Customer loyalty reflects a customer’s willingness to buy from or work with a brand again and again, and it’s the result of a positive customer experience, customer satisfaction, and the value of the products or services the customer gets from the transaction.

 

 

 

#5 Things Your New Website Should have and #5 Things It Shouldn’t

This post should begin like a horror movie….

BASED ON TRUE EVENTS

That’s all the effort i’m going to make to jazz up the post intro because i have used most of my time on the title 😛

OK, cut to chase! lately I have been directly, indirectly, passively and aggressively involved in building content for some websites. So, I can safely say that this post is based on my experience and thorough study of what a good website should and should not contain in terms of CONTENT. Now to lay the foundation correct, in this post I’m talking only about the content components which includes written, pictorial and visual form of information on your website. A website though contains many other factors like being device adaptive, SEO friendly and responsive but I will refrain from including these factors in this post. So here we go…

Your Website SHOULD Have:

#1 YOUR STORY

Now why would you say things like “to know more about us check our website www…” It’s not just a catch phrase. If you want people to know about you on your website, please tell them! I strongly feel that sections like About US, Our Story, Vision, Mission don’t get much attention (content wise) and end up being a drab part of the website that only has innovative adjectives to describe the business, company and leadership. But if you think of it, this part of your website is like a whiteboard where you can tell your story to the world in the most engaging way possible!

So don’t just use words…use keywords (all relevant ones), include real images ( not models) that prove your story and walk them through your journey using videos.

#2 CLARITY & FRESHNESS 

At times there could be a lot of things that you might want to tell your visitors like how you are different, what special offering you have, latest promotions, the new mobile app you just launched and so on… Having all details inside your world wide web identity does make sense but a clear distribution of content is a must so that your consumer is not lost in the clutter. Always include a site map that charts out the website’s contents for clear and easy navigation for the user.

Using fresh content in a variety of formats like a mix of text, infographic, image transitions and videos can cut the redundancy and monotone of content heavy websites making it an easy experience for the visitors.

#3 CALL TO ACTION

Loading your website with data and no proper call to action will end up making it an online repository of information that people can at best refer to. If you want people to use your website and use it regularly then add one click actions that they can take to get what they want! start by providing different means to contact you like phone, email, instant chat, contact form, etc. Invite them to join you social media community to be up to date with your offerings. Be proactive and lead them to the next actions by giving reminders, directions, multiple options and support services.

This obvious component of a website is not always obvious for developers who are masters of the subject. If possible, know from a sample of your target audience if the call to actions are clear, simple to understand and not misleading before going live.

#4  VISITOR’S FEEDBACK

The process of developing and finalizing a website can be overwhelming and so its completion might seem like a good riddance at first. But no! do not consider your website as a state-of-the-art creation that does not have a scope for improvement. The best part of websites with friendly content management systems is that you can change the content, images, videos, articles as seem fit even after your website is live. So why not change it basis your visitors’ feedback?! It is highly advisable to take a quick feedback from your users before they exit the website to be sure of their experience. It is also an effective way of making an otherwise static website more interactive and engaging.

#5 ORIGINALITY

This definitely does not deserve the last position here but I want this point to remain out there for us to ponder. There is no substitute to original content on your website! because you can only add value with original, authentic and helpful content that your users can rely on and look forward to. If they welcome your content…then you have arrived. Even in this context, content takes into account not only what you write but what everything that else that supports your writing like visuals. Include pictures from your life, work, pass time depending on the theme and purpose of the website to connect with people.

Refrain from using stock images with models who reside on multiple websites representing different things. Such attempts hamper the trust of your users even if the rest of your content is original. Use of videos to make your content personal and provide a gateway for users to know you better and relate.

 

Your Website SHOULD NOT Have:

#1 DEAD LINKS

This is borderline offensive you know…alluring someone successfully to take interest in your content and promising them a lot more at a click of the mouse only to show them – THE PAGE DOES NOT EXIST – really? Make sure your links exist and lead somewhere helpful. Having dead links can be frustrating for your users and can leave them with a bad experience on your website.

#2 DISTRACTIONS

There is text loaded….there is cluttered information and then there are distractions on website. Imagine sliding banners, flash screens, pop up screens, auto chats, audio offers, auto-play  videos all happening at the same time on your website. It will surely scare your user and the instant reaction will be to close the tab and move on. It is OK to have a variety of content on your website but try to emphasize on one or two at most at one time.

#3 DATED INFORMATION

Always be sure that the information being shared on your website is correct and up to date including the contact details, address, team members and news updates. Correct information is the cornerstone of authentic content on your website which the users can not only believe in but also rely on. Not updating the correct contact number or office address will not only reduce the users trust factor but can also hamper the business significantly.

#4 NO CAPTION IMAGES

Highly recommend including captions to the images that go on your website. This does not just make it easy for the visitors to related the images to the text but also believe in those images as real and conveying a message. When using pictures to tell a story with timeline always add the year and date if possible to showcase the legacy of your business or company.

#5 REPEAT CONTENT

This happens all the time and I’ve figured out why! The latest website templates and designs are more like an assembly of placeholders for your content. It definitely makes it easier for us to chose the right slot for the right information but then the situation comes when you are out of content and the slots are empty. And we commit the crime of repeating the same content to fill the empty spaces and justify it as repeat “visibility”.

2 things though – repeat content is more likely to spoil user experience and you can get rid of the extra spaces! customized templates allow enough moderation to use only what you want and remove the rest.

Hope this article is helpful. Let me know your thoughts and happy to learn more about websites 😀

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most expensive keywords google adwords – WordStream

Since the vast majority of Google’s profits come from AdWords advertisingthese high CPC keyword categories are responsible for a large part of Google’s profits. The results of our research are illustrated in an infographic of the most expensive keywords.

Where Does Google Make Its Money? [ infographic ]

Read through: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2011/07/18/most-expensive-keywords-google-adwords 

Merchandising Basics for Beginners

The genesis of this post is a long-standing debate with my colleague on a topic that can be safely put as “Marketing Vs Merchandising”.  To begin with, I feel  that there cannot be a debate/discussion on Marketing “Vs” Merchandising because the latter is a very important subset of the former which also consists of several arenas including pricing, promotion and sales lead generation. If I were to present an analogy, consider marketing division as a human body and the different marketing functions as its organs that operate on their own to keep the human body up and alive! so you see now a debate on kidney Vs Human body is kinda ridiculous.

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who is the brain you ask?! well…most often it is the marketing head of the company 😀

But the best part of any discussion is the information exchange that happens (sometimes to win a pointless argument) and this time I got to learn about the merchandising basics that will help you close the gap between marketing, sales and operations that sadly work in silos in most organizations!

Merchandising is defined as the act of promoting the sale of goods, especially by their presentation in retail outlets. The keyword here is presentation. Not to sound shallow, but the presentation of products, goods, services, offers, sales reps, furniture and displays inside your store is a testimony for the standard of your store.

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So watch out for these merchandising basics to make your store look like picture 2:

#1 STORE LAYOUT 

Spending a lot of time with the store layout to figure out the most optimum store setup is highly recommended in the case of new outlets. 3D layout and dry runs should be done before you actually start setting up the store units. This step can make or break the entire shopping experience in your store for the customers. During the dry runs where you approach the store from the eyes of the customer…figure out the high visibility areas, congestion areas, navigation challenges, placement zones which would be best for the store.

store layout
example of store layout for a pharmacy

the grades A,B and C in the payout are a part of the “Visibility Grading”. A being the most visible areas followed by B and C. Again, this here is the final layout which was finalized after a lot of permutation & combination of the display unit arrangements.

#2 MERCHANDISING SEGMENTS

Merchandising segments are defined to maintain the uniformity or uniqueness of each product category and hence maintain the overall look and feel of the store. merchandising segments are also mean to make the in-store shopping experience of the customer a lot more convenient. Let’s continue with the pharmacy example…so there will be broad product categories like skin care, hair care, feminine care, eye care, OTC medicines, vitamin supplements, baby care , etc. For a merchandiser it is very important to different each of these product categories in a visible manner so that the customer knows exactly where to find what.

Also, each merchandised segment should be have a line of connectivity for the customers to move from one product category to another without even realizing it. so having wall units for skin care, hair care & feminine care in a continuous line will make more sense than skin care, baby care & vitamins.

#3 STORE DISPLAY 

It is what it means! make your store look good…for which all the efforts are being made. But here are some sub points that will simplify your understanding of the display in a store:

  • Counter display – Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) should be displayed at the counter. The area of the counter display is graded as a high end visibility area in the store and are meant for handy products that might slip out of a customer’s shopping list. e.g chewing gums, candies, hand sanitizers, wipes and so on.
  • Free Standing Display Unit (FSDU) – or a Floor Stand is an integral part of  store display.  Utilizing floor display in a correct manner not only increases the likelihood of impulse purchase but also the willingness of shoppers to switch between brands.
  • Window Display – It is important to keep window display area tidy at all times as this signifies your store reputation. Do not stock up products in front of the window display as it portrays a disorganized viewpoint of the store. But window display is crucial for promotion material to entice the customers.

#4 LEVEL PLACEMENT 

There are few important things to consider when placing products on the shelves, such as:

  • Placing your most profitable items at eye level
  • Placing products for children and pregnant women at eye level
  • Placing your popular or targeted products in between eye and knee level of visibility

#5 PLANOGRAMS 

Once you have decided which products are to be placed on which shelves basis the best visibility plan, it is important to consider how the products have to be arranged on the shelves too. A planogram is a visual diagram, or drawing, that provides details on the placement of every product in a retail store. These schematics not only present a flow chart for the particular merchandise departments within a store layout but also show which aisle and on what shelf an item is located.

while I have tried to superficially touch upon the basic merchandising practices, there is a lot more that goes into making a store look flawless and customer friendly. But these pointers will definitely lay a strong foundation in your learning about merchandising and will surely make your views count in “merchandising Vs. marketing” discussion 😛

 

 

 

 

 

Step-by-step guide to keyword research for any business: 3 minute read

“One should be able to control and manipulate experiences with an informed and intelligent mind” – Sylvia Plath 

This quote should be every content marketer’s motto and it surely fits well in the context of this article. Research (which is often considered the lackluster part of marketing) is the key for businesses to make informed and intelligent content for their target audience. with the advent of SEO, we can now peep into the minds of consumers and see what they are searching for in your niche. And it is exciting times for businesses, to say the least, to stay informed and develop content that will definitely NOT go unnoticed.

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I believe this subject is agreeable to most, but a recent discussion on an online forum made me realize that Keyword research is not always an easy actionable in the to-do list. The breaking point could lie anywhere between How to begin? to what to select? from the inundating excel sheets.

While there is no cookie cutter approach to keyword research but here is simple step-by-step guide for beginners to help ramp-up your content.

Case in Point – Zeina who is a budding interior designer has a slightly neglected blog. She wants to know what the potential customers  are searching online regarding interior designing services and use the keywords and phrases in her website content for better search engine ranking.

 

This is how she would do it…

1. Choose possible keywords to start with 

While Zeina doesn’t know what exact terms people are searching online, she can take a a guess what the searches might be like. So she decided to start with the following:

  • Interior decoration service
  • Home interior tips
  • Latest interior decoration trends
  • Office interior designing

Putting the starting keywords in a spreadsheet will help maintain the clarity and organization of the proceeding steps. With the initial step done, Zeina is good to go to the next step.

2. Determine the score of your keywords

She can use Google Keyword Tool to search about her selected keywords first. She will now evaluate her keyword choices basis the following parameters:

  • Average monthly searches – shows the average number of searches for this keyword and its close variants based on the targeting settings and date ranges that you’ve selected. You can use this information to see how popular your keywords are during different times of the year
  • Competition – shows how competitive ad placement is for a keyword, specific to the location and Search Network targeting options that you’ve selected. The level of competition – low, medium or high – is determined by the number of advertisers bidding on each keyword relative to all keywords across Google

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As you can see,three of her keywords fall in different categories of avg. monthly sales and competition. For global market topics it is essential that the average monthly search should be at least 100,000 which  means that particular topic is in high demand.Therefore she can cross off the first two keywords as they are low-volume ones. The third underlined topic is a widely searched one but is also is high competition type which means there is already a lot of content available for this and it  will be a challenge to highlight hers.

So, she should be looking for High average monthly search & low/medium competition keywords in the next step.

3. Discover other related keywords

The best part of using Google keyword planner is that it will suggest a whole of related keywords similar to your search. a thorough research of related keywords and their score is critical and is the step 3 of the process.

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After multiple words pairing, mix and matching Zeina could research 5 keywords that had high average monthly searches as well as low competition. She entered the following streamlined keywords in the spreadsheet along with the competition and search scores;

  • house decoration
  • room design
  • interior design
  • house designs
  • interior

4. Check the trending data on your keywords

Now that Zeina has shortlisted the most preferred keywords for her blog basis keyword research she can now check what the projected outlook of the shortlisted terms.

Google Trends is a free tool to research the projection. she started with “room design” and “interior design” to start comparison in Google Trends:

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clearly, interior design is a more trending search term in comparison to room design and therefore will get a better weightage. Similar comparisons of two or more keywords will provide a relative comparison of keyword importance for Zeina’s blog.

5. Keyword research in social media environment

Zeina knows that researching social media networks for the keywords is an equally important exercise to know how, when and in what context are people using these keywords in their social media conversations.

she uses twitter to search first. In her search for the keyword “house design, she realized that this term was used mostly in architectural context and involved architecture expertise rather than interior designing!

She then runs the same test in Google+ and Facebook to see more such trends on the keywords while she is noting her findings in the spreadsheet.

After these 5 simple steps, Zeina is left with a detailed research of keywords that will allow her to filter out the best ones to start with. Including a similar research on competitors can give her an added advantage to make her keyword selection competitive.

Again, keyword research is NOT a one time thing that guarantees life long success for your content. A continuous addition of relevant keywords and  keyword performance review is required to sustain the performance of Zeina’s blog.

 

Like Zeina, I hope you can also get cracking on some engaging content for your business using keyword research!

 

Digital Marketing for beginners: Tips and tricks to get you started!

Digital Marketing Tips for Beginners. Starting shouldn’t be frustrating. Inside you’ll find 7 of the hottest ways to market your brand online. Failing to follow these steps could cause disaster in your business. Start Today!

via Digital Marketing for beginners: Tips and tricks to get you started! — When Women Inspire