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Business Life

Consumers search online, buy offline

What most marketers still don’t fully appreciate is that most online research results in an offline purchase. This is the dominant use case now for non-informational searches: a user on a smartphone looking for a product or service, where the transaction or fulfillment is offline.”

Google Maps the dominant local search tool (Search Engine Land)

This is absolutely how I shop. For example: I’m doing a lot of housework this week, so I keep checking the Home Depot and Canadian Tire sites to browse their inventory.

If I see something I need, I’ll add it to my shopping list, and then pop up to the shops to buy everything in one go.

If I’m looking for a new local store to buy from, I’ll check Google Maps for business-level information: where they’re located, what their hours are, the reviews, and if they have it, a link to their site. Ditto for restaurants.

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Business Tech

Sorry, Google doesn’t want to send search traffic to you.

“Broadly, I believe the narrative for web marketers is clear. The largest source of traffic on the web — free and paid — is becoming a walled garden, intent on not only keeping people on its own properties, but competing directly with those that helped it become a dominant, monopoly power.

If you’re a marketer or a business that relies on Google, there’s still tons of opportunity left (at least in most sectors; sorry Expedia, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and anyone trying to compete against YouTube). But to stay ahead, you need plans for how to diversify your traffic sources, how to grow branded demand outside of search, and how to earn value from zero-click searches. Like global warming, it’s the inevitable future whether we like it or not.”

Google in 2020 (SparkToro)

Google’s been making these moves for a while but it’s more blatant than ever.

I’m not angry at Google about any of this. They have a right to do what they want with their platform. And I’m sure it really does create a better experience for average Google users.

So, as marketers, we need to adjust accordingly.

Free traffic from Google was never going to last. They’re the 21st century equivalent of a 20th century broadcaster or publisher. They own the attention. Advertisers pay to get a small piece of it.

This is another one of the reasons that I’m bullish on community, newsletters, original content, et al. Brands need to start producing things worth subscribing to, joining, and sharing with others.

Categories
Business

Scammy “online entrepreneurs” and their collateral damage

Assuming because someone makes a living online that they’re frauds or scammers is ridiculous. Of course there are some, but there are also some amazing folks who do stellar work and provide real value for a price. Selling isn’t spamming. We’re not evil simply because we’re trying to make a living online if we take into consideration our customers and audiences. Most huge companies never do this. Most huge companies don’t have the human touch smaller businesses do, and yet we still seem to be getting punished.”

The enemy (Paul Jarvis)

I feel for Paul. His work is thoughtful and mindful. He’s so far removed from the online entrepreneur hustler archetype it’s hard to imagine someone lumping him in with that crowd.

But that crowd is big. And noisy. And filling your Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube with endless ads. You know the ones — about how they’ve made so much money with their easy-to-follow blueprint and, if you sign up now, for only $99/$199/$499, you too can make tons of money by following their same blueprint.

I’m just here in my garage marketing to marketers about selling marketing to marketers to make more money…

And it goes on and on and on. It’s a damn shame. Entrepreneurship is legitimate. But scammers and posers ruin it. To the point that “make money online” is almost a punchline, despite it being the dominant industry of our time. (Facebook? Amazon? Netflix? Google? Microsoft? That’s some sweet, sweet internet money, y’all.)

So, to quote Paul once again: Selling isn’t spamming. It’s not evil to try and make a living online, if you take into consideration your customers and audiences.

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Business

The blurring line between UGC and branded content

“Gen Z kids have never known a world where their private browsing data wasn’t commodified. They’ve grown up surrounded by brands tweeting memes, partnering with influencers, and angling to profit off their attention. That’s probably why they’re no less likely to share content if it was produced by a corporation, or if it has a promotional or advertisement bent. The line between UGC and branded content has gotten blurry.

The Latest Insights on Gen Z (Contently)

When marketers talk about UGC and working with micro-influencers, are we talking about the online equivalent of street teams? From the Wikipedia entry:

“The now ubiquitous “street team” model was originally developed by urban record labels […] labels found it affordable and highly effective bridge to their target audience that did not require the traditional outlets found in print, radio, television mediums and elusive large scale record distribution deals.”

Rally a bunch of fans together and give them an incentive to promote a product they already like or use. It’s like a refer-a-friend program with kickbacks.

Of course Gen Z is going to be all over that. Heck, I’d be all over that if I was a teen looking to make some money on the side.

Categories
Business Tech

The value of local biz websites for SEO

“Far from it being the case that websites have become obsolete, they are the firmest bedrock for maintaining free local SERP visibility amidst an increasing scarcity of opportunities.”

Why Local Businesses Will Need Websites More than Ever in 2019 (Moz)

Small businesses need websites. The website is a single “source of truth” that they control. Everything else they do online — Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business — should point back to it.

I’m biased of course — I work at GoDaddy, we sell a website builder, and we sell WordPress hosting — but I was an advocate of getting local businesses online long before I joined GoDaddy. It’s why got into web development as a career.

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Business Community Tech

Facebook isn’t a community

There’s no such thing as a 2.2BN+ “community” — as the company prefers to refer to its globe-spanning user-base. So quite how the massive diversity of Facebook users can be meaningfully represented by the views of a last resort case review body with as few as 11 members has not yet been made clear.”

Meet Facebook’s latest fake (TechCrunch)

Facebook talks about community but they outsource moderation. In turn, there’s no room for nuance or subjectivity in their content policies, but that’s exactly how a community governs itself.

Facebook — sorry, FACEBOOK — isn’t a community. It’s a database marketing platform. It’s a behemoth repository of personal information with a handful of apps running on top of it to gather more information for the database.

Are FB’s apps useful? Absolutely. But the app users aren’t customers and they sure aren’t a community. FACEBOOK’s advertisers are their customers and, arguably, more of a “community” than the users.

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Business

Mascot design in Japan

“On mascot design in Japan: “Furry, funny, and extremely cute, yuru-chara may be designed to make you laugh, but creating them is serious business; the design, production, and licensing of mascots generates the country billions of yen in revenue each year.””

Make It Cuter (Adobe 99U)

Categories
Business

Post-publish: Reshare, repost, remix

“The idea behind this is simple: Once you press publish on a piece of content there are three things you can do with it to drive optimal results: reshare it, repost it or remix it. Each of these techniques should make up a portion of your distribution engine for every asset you create.”

Content distribution processes (Ross Simmonds)

Emphasis mine. And I agree.

We spend so much time creating the original “thing” — the blog post, the video, the newsletter, the book, the podcast, the presentation, the workshop — and we just let it languish.

So, what if, instead of creating another thing, we do more with what we have?

I’ve talked about this before. I even did a talk on it at PodCamp Toronto this year. Pulling from that, the idea was to get five unique pieces of content out of a single blog post:

  • A written post
  • Visuals
  • Presentation
  • Video
  • Podcast 

Yet, despite riffing on this idea way back in February, I haven’t really put it into practice this year. I’m still chasing new content and new topics.

Guess that’s something else to add to my goals for 2020. 🙂

Categories
Business Community

Bookstagramming

“All this bookstagramming has led to a thriving space for book lovers on social media, and that’s been a good thing for independent bookstores too — because it plays to their key strength: creating community.”

Instagram is helping save the indie bookstore (Vox)
Categories
Business Tech

The context of search queries

“Knowing that a term is informational only gets you so far. If you miss that the content desired by that query demands a list you could be creating long-form content that won’t satisfy intent and, therefore, is unlikely to rank well.”

Query Syntax (AJ Kohn)

Understand what people want when they enter a search query, lest you waste time on creating things that don’t solve for what they need.