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Generating The Spark For Memorable Virtual Experiences

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/Now more than ever, marketers are competing for customers’ attention. With many professionals working from home, not only are you up against the internet, but you are angling for time in the midst of your customers’ workloads, emails, children, pets, laundry and whatever else is going on in their lives.

 The potential for distraction is everywhere. So the primary goal needs to be getting and keeping your customer engaged, with limited time to achieve that.

I call this sustained engagement goal as “generating the spark” — creating an experience for a user that will ignite a lasting memory. But how do we transform traditional sales models into truly engaging, digital, interactive experiences that create a spark? Here are a few tips.

Brevity Is Your Friend

Traditionally, B2B companies focus on lots of details. In a first engagement, especially a digital one, the visitor needs to be able to connect very quickly to the value you provide. It’s critical to start with the digestibility of the message — an easy-to-understand story that shows logical progression. Don’t get caught up in the particulars at first. Remember that the minutia, which you may find important, probably doesn’t apply in your first interaction. Your goal is to get customers to return, so they can ask more detailed questions during the second engagement in their buyer journey. 

Find Your Inner B2C

When we think of a virtual “connection,” we think of connecting with other people, not with content. But we make emotional connections with content, as well. The key ingredient to establishing a connection with content is creativity. 

Traditionally, B2B marketers are on the conservative side when it comes to their content and customer engagement strategies. B2B buyers want to be entertained in the same way they are by consumer-focused marketing. B2B organizations can set themselves apart from the competition by embracing bold expression over the same old, conservative methods.

Bring Your Customer Into Virtual Environments 

If you want your product to be remembered, you need to bring your buyer somewhere that will evoke emotion and feelings of connection. I like to categorize a virtual experience into three scenarios:

  1. Real, but impossible: Take your audience somewhere that exists in the real world but is not accessible because of physics. For example, if you are talking to the power of a processor or technical product specifications, you could drop your guest onto a motherboard or the working mechanism of a complicated device. This change of perspective transforms their perception of the products you sell, demonstrating unique value to the customer.  
  2. The real world: You can recreate any place, but you have to know why you’re recreating it. The sky’s the limit in the virtual world and you can create a space that is widely inaccessible to the average person like an oil rig or medical laboratory.
  3. It’s OK to be abstract: Sometimes the value of a product or service can be conceptual, and that’s fine. This is an opportunity to place a user in a more creative or artistic space. If we can create a visually appealing environment — one that uses color, shape and captivating user interfaces in dynamic ways — the experience can elicit a visceral reaction, one that will create a lasting impression. 

Creating the application environment is just the beginning of “generating the spark” for a buyer. As we move forward in this crazy new world, it will get increasingly more important to relate to users in creative and meaningful ways.


 As Associate Director of Creative Services / Mixed Reality Experience Strategist at Kaon Interactive, Howard’s role is to innovate user interaction and engagement for applications for Fortune 500 companies. Howard’s passion for interactivity has helped Kaon’s customers tell complex stories while creating emotional connections and exciting their audiences.



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Marketing Strategies

Key Insights: Amazon search-scape and factors motivating consumers

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30-second summary:

  • Our previous key insights clearly established that Amazon and Amazon’s Prime Day are elements of ecommerce businesses can’t miss.
  • A quick look at the global Amazon search-scape – “Corona keywords” vs “Non-corona keywords”.
  • What makes primary or shared decision-makers of households hit “buy now” while shopping online?
  • A segmented view of Millenials, Gen Z, Gen X, and baby boomers’ ecommerce influential factors
  • How word of mouth is the most powerful agent vs celebrities and influencers, and more.

Our previous key insights clearly established that Amazon and Amazon’s Prime Day are elements of ecommerce businesses can’t miss. This week we take you through what the global Amazon search-scape looks like and the prerequisites to ensure you can create more micro-moments that influence a sale. 

The Amazon search-scape corona vs non-corona related searches

Remazing, a full-service agency, tracked the Top 10/Top 100 Amazon keyword searches across USA, DE, UK, FR, IT, ES markets from Feb to August using Amazon Brand Analytics. Here’s how the countries’ Amazon search-scape looks stacked up from highest to lowest “corona-related keywords”. The Corona-related search basically surrounded disinfectants, masks, gloves, soap, and toilet paper.

Consumers are turning back to normal Amazon searches with non-corona keywords rising as the months progressed.

What’s motivating consumers to buy online

With so many dynamics, getting the pulse of what makes the consumer tick has become tougher. Retail marketing technology company Bluecore and market research firm Dynata surveyed 1,005 U.S. online shoppers to understand consumer behavior and fundamental changes going into Q4 and beyond. The consumers surveyed were the primary or shared decision-makers in their households.  

The most impactful channels for customer acquisition were: 

  1. Word of mouth
  2. Online ads
  3. Influencers
  4. Emails
  5. Pop up stores
  6. Celebrities
  7. OOH (out of home) ads 

Factors that impact purchase decisions - Amazon search-scape

In fact, word of mouth is the most effective method for existing brands as well as while consumers chose to buy from a new brand.

Contrary to popular belief, celebrities and influencers aren’t great agents for prompting people to buy your products/services.

Further segmentation of channels and their influence on different age groups

Female and male decision-makers less than 45 years old were most influenced by these channels:

  1. Word of mouth
  2. Online ads
  3. Emails

However, 45+ year-olds were least influenced in totality with word of mouth impacting only 59% of their buying decision, followed by online ads at 30%, and email at 40%.

Incentives consumers appreciate while buying online

A deal or no-deal moment can be the factor that hits or rewards your retail business’ bottom line on the internet. How do you create more such moments that can influence your prospective customers to hit the “buy now” button? Bluecore’s research listed the most compelling incentives that drive customers online:

  1. Free shipping (61%)
  2. Discounts (27%)
  3. Membership benefits (6%)
  4. Referral rewards (5%)

Incentives online buyers find compelling - Amazon search-scape

A closer look at the statistics revealed insights about which incentive appeals which age range more. While free shipping is a universally loved factor, there’s a complete contradiction between what excites baby boomers vs millennials. 

To help you create your mix of the age-appropriate selling pitch, here are details on each of them. For instance, a combination of discount offers and free shipping can amplify your chances of making sales to millennials and Gen X’s counterparts in the 35 to 44 year age range.

Baby boomers’ buying decisions were most impacted by:

  1. Free shipping (79%)
  2. Discounts (18%)
  3. Membership benefits (3%)

Whereas, referral rewards did not excite baby boomers at all.

Gen X’s buying decisions were most impacted by:

  1. Free shipping (74%)
  2. Discounts (19%)
  3. Membership benefits and referral rewards (3% each)

Interestingly, Gen X’s counterparts in the 35 to 44 year age range were impacted by each of these factors which can be credited to the current world scenario and financial strains this particular age group face.

Gen Z’s buying decisions were most impacted by:

  1. Free shipping (52%)
  2. Discounts (37%)
  3. Membership benefits and referral rewards (5% each)

Millennial’s buying decisions were most impacted by:

  1. Free shipping (57%)
  2. Discounts (29%)
  3. Membership benefits (8%)
  4. Referral rewards (6%)

Age range wise view

ClickZ readers’ choice for the week

Readers have continued to engage with our key insights to uncover ecommerce strategies for the holiday shopping season, the bright side of the death of third-party cookies, and how AR applications are reshaping business.

  1. Key Insights: Retail giants closed on Thanksgiving 2020, ecommerce set to see the biggest shopping season
  2. Why marketing will improve thanks to the death of third-party cookies
  3. Augmented reality examples: 10 industries using AR to reshape business

The post Key Insights: Amazon search-scape and factors motivating consumers appeared first on ClickZ.



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Marketing Strategies

How to make your website ADA-compliant and win at SEO

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30-second summary:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990 does now include mobile apps and websites.
  • An ADA-compliant website helps more people than those covered by ADA.
  • There are many SEO benefits such as increased visibility on google image searches, and featured snippets.
  • Co-founder of Ally digital media, Abhishek Shah says, “Responsive websites help with ADA compliance and further improve your website’s overall search presence.”
  • The four best ways to make your website ADA-compliant with a clear outline of its ADA as well as SEO benefits.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990 does now include mobile apps and websites. Specifically, Title III of the ADA has taken an official stand on how websites should be accessible for disabled users. However, when you look at what’s necessary to make a website ADA-compliant, you will see that these also will help improve your site’s SEO.

Some elements such as title tags, heading structure, alt text, and responsive design are things all websites should include. By ensuring these are done properly and in an ADA-compliant way will maximize your website’s effectiveness.

How ADA accessibility prioritization benefits everyone

Ensuring your website complies with the ADA helps you serve a larger audience and gives a boost to your search engine rankings. This is because most of the necessary components of making your website ADA compliant feed directly into SEO best practices.

After all, the whole point is to make your website easier to view, understand, and navigate. What business doesn’t want all that for their website?

Four ways an ADA-compliant website helps improve your SEO

Here are 4 ADA-compliant must-haves (in no particular order) that will help improve your SEO. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it is a good place to start.

1. Title tags help screen searches and readers

Title tags are very basic SEO. They let the reader, and search engines, know what the page is about. A title tag doesn’t show up on your website. Rather, it appears on the results page of a search engine, and the tab at the top of your web browser.

SEO benefits

Title tags, while basic SEO, are very important. This tag needs to match your user’s intent. For example, when someone googles “best phone” the phrase best phone (or a variation like “best smartphone”) will appear in the title tag.

Writing a title that accurately reflects what the page is about is the best way to get found and clicked on. It’s why a title tag should be specific: “The best Android phones for 2020” is far better than “Why you will want to buy one of these phones.”

ADA benefits

For those who need screen readers to help them use a computer, a specific title tag such as the above example is much more user-friendly. So, it is vital the title tag accurately reflects the page content.

The accessibility guidelines say the title should be “The best Android phones for 2020” instead of “Why you will want to buy one of these phones.”

2. Descriptive alt text

Alt text is not the same thing as a caption. A caption is visible usually beneath an image. Whereas alt text is not visible on the front end of the site. The alt text is a written alternative to a page’s visual elements. This includes: .jpegs, .pngs, and .gifs. the alt text is a description of an image that lives in the backend of the site.

SEO benefits

Alt text lets search engines know the subject matter of an image. It also helps search engines to better understand the page. Additionally, if you want images to show up in Google, then writing descriptive alt text is a must-have.

ADA benefits

For web users with visual impairment using screen readers, descriptive alt text is read aloud. This helps a visually impaired reader get a better sense of what’s going on, on any given page.

A useful descriptive alt text might be: “woman at café with laptop drinking coffee” 

A useless alt text would be: “SEO tips for freelancers | Get more clients with SEO | Writing your way to success with SEO”

3. Responsive design

Responsive design has been around since 2012/2013 in one form or another. But it means more than just your website being able to adapt to whichever screen size it finds itself on.

It’s about where your logo sits, how easy is your site to navigate, how easy is it to read, and how quickly does it load?

SEO benefits

Websites that offer good, functional user experience rank better in search results. User experience isn’t just one ranking factor but an umbrella term for quite a few. Google has said that a site that takes longer than three seconds to load on a mobile site will rank higher.

How easy content is to read (and how useful it is) is also an important ranking factor.

ADA benefits

Good responsive design puts the user first. It starts from the premise that a website needs to be easy to look at, easy to navigate, and be easy to understand.

This is why you need legible text for the visually impaired. As well as quick load times for people with slow internet. And straightforward navigation to make it easy for people to get around your website.

4. Proper heading (and subheading) structure

Headings (which show up in the code as <h1> or <h2> or <h3> etc.) define your content’s hierarchy. These headings (and subheadings) work along similar lines to when you wrote essays in school.

Proper heading structure:

  • Goes in order: a h3 doesn’t go directly after a h1.
  • Describes the copy beneath it.
  • Follows a sequence: if your h2 is “4 ways…” then the h3s would be each of those points.

SEO benefits

When your writing is clearly structured it is easier to read, and easier to follow. It’s also easier for Google to crawl your content and understand what is the most important (starting with h1, and so on).

Good header structure can also your content appear in the featured snippets in the search engine results page (SERPs).

ADA benefits

For users who have limited reading comprehension or cognitive impairments, clear and direct headings make it easier to read. Headings and subheadings let a reader know what’s worth reading and what’s worth skipping over.

And just like a reader skips heading, so too can a screen reader. Which only reinforces the need for a strong, clear heading structure.

An example of a website that has both good SEO and is ADA compliant is Enviro Safety Products. When you review this site you will see it ticks all the boxes, and provides the user a seamless, friendly experience.

Source: Enviro Safety Products

How making your website ADA compliant will help you win at SEO

By applying all the necessary ADA compliant elements to your website, you are helping the one in four Americans with a disability use your website. Additionally, you will also greatly enhance your website’s SEO.

If you would like to know more about how making your website ADA compliant will help you win at SEO, you can throw questions in the comments section below.

Abhishek Shah is the co-founder of Ally Digital Media, a leading voice in digital media and marketing. He advocates for evidence-based marketing strategies to fuel the businesses. He can be found on Twitter @abiishek.

The post How to make your website ADA-compliant and win at SEO appeared first on Search Engine Watch.



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Marketing Strategies

Home Depot says 'no' to usual Black Friday, another sign brands must adapt

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My alarm went off around 7 a.m., and my feet hit the floor faster than they ever did on a weekday. I counted the cash I had saved from babysitting jobs one more time and put it in my purse, along with a list of presents I wanted to buy for my family for Christmas. 

My aunt was coming to pick me up, and I couldn’t wait. I was about to experience the rush of Black Friday shopping.

This was 20 years ago and though my interest in Black Friday shopping has dwindled significantly as I’ve gotten older, a part of me is still sad that this experience is yet another that will be different this year. Most people won’t be waking up early and rushing to stores, which has caused many brands to reconsider their Black Friday strategy.

🔎 Related: Google says 2020 Black Friday, Cyber Monday will be different

That’s why, recently, Home Depot announced it would be the latest big brand to not participating in the annual one-day discount tradition.

Don’t panic, they’re not doing away with the holiday savings entirely. They’re simply forgoing the usual single-day mad-dash of savings. Instead of a single day of discounts, Home Depot is offering two months of discounts. 

Two. Months. Now, this is something I can get on board with.

The retailer said, “it decided to ‘reinvent’ Black Friday this year in order to reduce stress for consumers who typically rush to stores in droves to grab the best deals.”

The deals will be available both in stores and online, but Home Depot is also offering exclusive early access to discounts for its mobile app users. In addition, Home Depot will be closed on Thanksgiving day — something many brands are also doing.

Now is the time to rethink your holiday strategy

Given that this is unlikely the last brand we’ll see this kind of announcement from — and with  so many people unwilling and unable to shop in person — what will holiday shopping look like this year?

A survey released in June by Google notes:

“…more than a third of U.S. shoppers who normally shop in store for Black Friday say they won’t this year. And half of U.S. shoppers say the pandemic will affect how they’ll shop for the holidays this year.”

As with everything in 2020, it’s time retailers and marketers pivot their holiday sales strategy in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

What can you learn from Home Depot, even if you’re not a brick-and-mortar store?

This year has been all about thinking creatively and adapting. Many are saying this is the death of Black Friday. However, I think it’s simply another opportunity to adjust to your buyers’ purchasing habits.

Neil Saunders, retail analyst and managing director at GlobalData Retail explains

“Black Friday has definitely transitioned more into a digital affair in the past five years. The focal point is not that single day anymore. It’s an event spread out over several days.”

Home Depot is adapting. Instead of forging through with a plan they have done in years past, they’re changing the way they sell because their buyers are changing the way they buy.

By providing two months worth of discounts, they open themselves up to earn even more than they would have in a single day. 

Personally, I love online shopping and look forward to seeing how retailers shift gears to be even more digital this season. Companies who embrace change will thrive this holiday season. If we’ve learned anything over the last six months, it’s that you have to continue to adapt to survive. 

So, how will you adapt? Now is the time to start thinking about your answer, as we look ahead to 2021, with uncertainty still very much a part of our lives… as consumers, and digital marketers and business leaders.





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