Savvy and sophisticated: Meet China’s evolving car buyers

Savvy and sophisticated: Meet China’s evolving car buyers
Our 2017 survey of Chinese auto consumers shows they’re demanding more from carmakers. How can companies keep up with shifts in this must-win market?
Our 2017 survey of Chinese auto consumers shows they’re demanding more from carmakers. How can companies keep up with shifts in this must-win market?
Source: McKinsey

Savvy and sophisticated: Meet China’s evolving car buyers

595: Transcending Either-Or Decision Making

595: Transcending Either-Or Decision Making
Jennifer Riel, an adjunct professor at the Rotman School of Management, presents a model way to solve problems: integrative thinking. It’s taking the best from two inadequate options to come up with a successful solution. She gives examples from the film industry to show how CEOs have put the process to work. Riel is the co-author, along with Roger Martin, of the book “Creating Great Choices: A Leader’s Guide to Integrative Thinking.”
Jennifer Riel, an adjunct professor at the Rotman School of Management, presents a model way to solve problems: integrative thinking. It’s taking the best from two inadequate options to come up with a successful solution. She gives examples from the film industry to show how CEOs have put the process to work. Riel is the co-author, along with Roger Martin, of the book “Creating Great Choices: A Leader’s Guide to Integrative Thinking.”
Source: Ideacast

595: Transcending Either-Or Decision Making

How to Kick Your Email List Building out of a Plateau

How to Kick Your Email List Building out of a Plateau
Every business owner eventually experiences growth stagnation. It can happen with sales. And it can happen with your email list. I’ve been there. You feel stumped. Your email list isn’t growing. What can you possibly do to kick yourself out of this rut? Well, the exciting news is, you’ve got several options. Some of them are a fresh take on conventional list-building strategies. Others require you to think outside the box. In this article, I’ll…

Every business owner eventually experiences growth stagnation.

It can happen with sales. And it can happen with your email list.

I’ve been there.

You feel stumped.

Your email list isn’t growing.

What can you possibly do to kick yourself out of this rut?

Well, the exciting news is, you’ve got several options.

Some of them are a fresh take on conventional list-building strategies. Others require you to think outside the box.

In this article, I’ll lay out the most effective techniques for you. You’ll walk away with a step-by-step plan to ramp up your email list.

Before we get into these strategies, I’ve got some crucial advice.

It is imperative that you block and tackle.

What does that mean?

When you’re trying to overcome a period of stagnation in business, it’s important that you put all your energy towards getting out of that rut.

Block a 30-60 day window on your schedule, and tackle only list building during that period.

Nothing else.

Building an email list is fundamental to the success of your business.

The relationship you’ll nurture with your subscribers will determine the revenue-generating power of your business.

In fact, the average email marketer sees a 94% return on investment.

Email Marketing Keep It Clean The Importance of Email List Hygiene Infographic MarketingProfs Article

The strategies you’ll learn in this article will allow you to put your list building on autopilot. It means the time you take to focus on this one thing will be time well spent.

Let’s jump in.

1. Discover your lead magnet opportunities

It doesn’t matter what list-building strategy you’re using. It doesn’t matter which audience you’re targeting.

All list-building roads lead to your lead magnet.

Nobody will give you their email address without receiving an attractive offer in return.

Like this:

Smart Blogger

With that said, the first step is to pick out incentives your target audience would want.

Put these steps into action to determine what that is.

Step #1: What does your audience want?

Think about the ultimate result. If you double-down on their biggest pain point, this won’t be difficult to come up with.

Step #2: What is your overarching solution to helping them get what they want?

Think about the big picture.

For example, if you’re a business coach, your ultimate goal may be to get your clients to bring in more sales and greater profits.

Step #3: What are the small steps required to deliver that ultimate solution?

In keeping with the example above, the small steps can be:

  • build an email list
  • have a content marketing plan
  • launch a product
  • set up evergreen sales funnels
  • hire a virtual assistant

Your best free content lies in these small steps.

It will help you create an offer your audience wants. It will also ensure you give away something that will give them an immediate win.

This is super important for lead magnets.

You want subscribers to consume the content, implement it, and achieve a positive result.

Now that you have an idea of what your audience will benefit from, it’s time to create something concrete.

2. Create your free incentives to attract your ideal audience

I’ll cut to the chase.

Four strategies work exceptionally well.

Strategy #1: Pick out your top performing posts and create content upgrades.

Content upgrades are quickly becoming the gold standard for list building.

Brian Dean boosted his conversions by 785% using content upgrades.

How To Boost Conversions by 785 in One Day The Content Upgrade

Here is how to do that:

  1. Go through your analytics.
  2. Select the blog posts that have gotten the most traffic and engagement.
  3. Create an incentive specific to that piece of content.

Let’s say you write a post “How to Write Blog Posts That Rank on Google’s First Page.”

You can create an “SEO checklist” as a content upgrade and place it within your blog post.

Here’s an example:

6 Step Sales funnel we used to make 220 750 from our online course

The chances of someone signing up to receive this upgrade? Sky high.

It adds to the value of your post as it gives readers a valuable resource to implement what you just discussed.

Strategy #2: Create a brand-specific lead magnet

This is an incentive that stands on its own.

It’s not tied to any piece of content, and it should have a mass appeal.

I don’t mean that it must be geared towards everyone on the Internet. But people in your target market should be attracted by your brand-specific free offer.

Here are some examples:

  • an email course
  • a challenge
  • a resource library
  • an ultimate guide
  • a Facebook group or other online community
  • a content series, e.g., a video series or a blog post series
  • a toolkit

Strategy #3: Create a lead magnet that prepares your customer for a purchase

Most people talk about the first two strategies. But many leave out the most important one.

You must have a lead magnet that is connected to your premium offers.

This applies to a physical product, a service, or an informational product.

This type of a lead magnet is often (not always) smaller and quick to consume. This way, you give subscribers an appetite for your paid product.

For physical products and software, it’s easy to come up with an incentive. You can give away a coupon code, a free trial, etc.

Like Curology does:

Curology Custom Acne Treatment

Here’s a good rule of thumb for info-products and services:

  • your free content can give away the “Why” and the “What”
  • your paid content can be geared towards the “How”

Let’s look at an example from Jeff Walker.

He offers a premium program that helps entrepreneurs launch a product.

It’s called Product Launch Formula.

Home Jeff Walker

His free incentive is a “Launch workshop,” which is directly tied to his paid product.

And that’s what I mean by preparing your customer for a purchase.

This is a smart way to build a warm list of potential buyers.

Strategy #4: Create a promotional lead magnet

The last technique is to run a promotion.

This is where you use a giveaway to accelerate your list building.

When you implement this well, it works wonders. But I’ll admit: it isn’t my favorite strategy.

Why?

For one, it isn’t evergreen.

This isn’t something you can set and forget.

You run your promotion for a particular period. During that time, you have to market your giveaway aggressively and manage it closely.

After your promotion has run its course, that’s it. It has no use to you anymore.

Here’s my advice:

  • run giveaways sparingly;
  • make sure you can execute them well because promotions can easily flop;
  • give away something that closely aligns with your premium offers.

Which of these four strategies should you focus on?

All of them.

The days of one lead magnet are gone.

Of course, you don’t have to create all of them at once. That takes time.

But aim to have each of these types of incentives in your arsenal.

3. Design your website to convert

You’ve come up with your lead magnet ideas, and you’ve created them.

Now what?

It’s time to ensure your website visitors have every opportunity to grab these free resources.

This is not about designing your site from scratch or spending big bucks on web design.

You simply want to ensure that your web traffic is directed to your incentives.

A few tweaks will do the trick.

Here are my recommendations.

1. Place your brand-specific lead magnet above the fold of your website

Above the fold is the upper half of a website page.

It’s that section that a web visitor sees without having to scroll down.

The premise is simple.

You have a few seconds to grab your visitors’ attention. If your primary goal is to collect leads, the first thing users should see is an opportunity to sign up to your email list.

Here’s an example from Blogging Wizard:

Blogging Wizard Discover Actionable Blogging Tips You Can Use

Here’s another example:

Done For You Funnel Service AutoGrow co

2. Create high-converting landing pages for your lead magnets

Every standalone lead magnet needs a landing page. (This rule doesn’t apply to content upgrades.)

If you decide to run list-building ads, you’ll need this asset. If you want to direct your social media traffic to your lead magnet, it will also come in handy.

Let’s talk about the anatomy of a solid landing page. It needs to have:

  • a primary headline
  • a secondary headline or subheading
  • a descriptive statement
  • benefits in bullet points
  • an image of your lead magnet
  • minimal form fields (two fields maximum)
  • a call to action
  • social proof (if you have it)
  • a snippet about you and an image (optional)

I know. Most landing pages don’t include all these elements.

That’s why they don’t work.

I recommend including everything listed above, but if you have to choose, the first seven will do the job.

3. Every time you run a promotion, feature it above the fold

When you decide to run list-building promos, you need to capitalize on that prime real estate.

As I referenced earlier, giveaways require lots of marketing. The more exposure you can get, the more successful you will be.

Just replace whatever is above your fold at the moment with something related to your promotion.

Like in this example:

Giveaway TechnoBuffalo

4. Include opt-in forms in three to seven different places on your site

Apart from landing pages and feature boxes above the fold, you need to have opt-in forms elsewhere on your site.

Why three to seven?

Well, two is not enough to get the job done.

In marketing, there’s this rule that says prospects need to hear your message seven times before it sticks.

Only then will they take action.

I’ve analyzed several of the top sites in various niches. They all have many opt-in forms in that range.

I don’t know what your results will be. You can test it.

In any event, one thing is for sure: the more opportunities you have for web visitors to opt in to your email list, the faster it will grow.

And that’s what you want.

Here are some ideas where you can place these additional opt-ins:

  • within your blog posts
  • in your sidebar
  • in popups
  • on your About page
  • in your main navigation
  • in your footer

4. Keep creating high-value content on a consistent basis

At this point, you’ll start seeing an improvement.

Why am I so sure?

If you create lead magnets your audience wants and optimize your site for conversions, you’re achieving two things.

First, you have a foundation to scale your list building efforts.

Second, you are capitalizing on the traffic you’re already receiving.

That combination alone will make a difference. But let’s see how you can ramp it up.

Content is crucial at this stage.

There are three types of content I recommend.

1. High-value blog posts with content upgrades

In the second step, we talked about the importance of blog posts with content upgrades.

However, you were working with existing content.

You have to keep publishing valuable posts on a weekly basis. If you can create a content upgrade for each article, definitely do that.

What’s the ideal publishing frequency?

That depends on your niche and your audience.

I’ll tell you one thing.

You don’t need to post daily. Consistency is what matters.

One post a week is enough to see results with your list building.

2. Webinars

You may have noticed webinars are in vogue these days.

And with good reason.

It’s a fresh way to deliver value to your audience.

It’s especially powerful for list building because it’s gated content. People have to sign up to your email list to attend.

Here’s the thing though.

Webinars are a strategy into itself. It takes preparation, the right tools, and robust marketing to make it a success.

But it’s worth it.

Webinars typically run about 60 minutes. It means you’ll need lots of content to work with.

The great news?

This content is typically evergreen and can be repurposed into blog posts or social media posts.

3. Social media content

There’s no better source of free traffic than your social media profiles.

I recommend focusing on one main platform where your audience hangs out.

Post consistently. Build an engaged community. And direct that social traffic to your main site.

Conclusion

There’s no dancing around this fact: email list building is central to the success of an online business.

Make it a priority.

Periods of slow growth are commonplace and shouldn’t be a problem. What matters is what you do to get yourself out of the lull.

When it comes to increasing the number of your subscribers, you aren’t short on options.

Follow the strategies I’ve laid out in this article.

If you implement them, you’ll start seeing an increase in your email list sign-ups almost immediately.

Which list-building strategies have worked the best for you?


Source: quicksprout

How to Kick Your Email List Building out of a Plateau

What drives student performance in Latin America?

What drives student performance in Latin America?
Our analysis of OECD PISA results from the region offers five findings on student mindsets, teaching practices, technology, instructional hours, and early childhood education.
Our analysis of OECD PISA results from the region offers five findings on student mindsets, teaching practices, technology, instructional hours, and early childhood education.
Source: McKinsey

What drives student performance in Latin America?

How the Internet of Things will reshape future production systems

How the Internet of Things will reshape future production systems
Rich data, ubiquitous connectivity, and real-time communication are changing the way companies work. For leaders, that transformation will extend much further than the machines on the factory floor.
Rich data, ubiquitous connectivity, and real-time communication are changing the way companies work. For leaders, that transformation will extend much further than the machines on the factory floor.
Source: McKinsey

How the Internet of Things will reshape future production systems

How a digital factory can transform company culture

How a digital factory can transform company culture
Companies are beginning to use digital factories as incubators of more agile ways of working, often filtering the best attributes of the factory culture back to the larger organization.
Companies are beginning to use digital factories as incubators of more agile ways of working, often filtering the best attributes of the factory culture back to the larger organization.
Source: McKinsey

How a digital factory can transform company culture

How to Vet a New Marketing Channel in 3 Days or Less

How to Vet a New Marketing Channel in 3 Days or Less
I get this question a lot. “What marketing channel should I focus on?” There are many make or break decisions in business. This is one of them. The thing is, I can’t give you a cut and dry answer. The nature of your business matters. So does the audience that you wish to target. What I will do instead is give you a method for figuring this out for yourself. If you’re starting a new…

I get this question a lot.

“What marketing channel should I focus on?”

There are many make or break decisions in business. This is one of them.

The thing is, I can’t give you a cut and dry answer.

The nature of your business matters. So does the audience that you wish to target.

What I will do instead is give you a method for figuring this out for yourself.

If you’re starting a new business, this decision is critical. Focusing on the wrong marketing channel can set you back months and maybe even years.

If you’re expanding into a new market, selecting the wrong channel can also have massive ramifications.

You’d be putting your existing operations at risk for a new channel that may not pan out.

Just take a look at all the challenges that marketers have to overcome.

top marketing challenges jpg 1 320 783 pixels

You can imagine that each channel comes with a unique set of difficulties.

This speaks to the importance of vetting your marketing plan before you set it in motion.

There’s just too much at stake.

In this article, I’ll show you how you can evaluate your options and narrow down on the best choice quickly.

You don’t need more than three days to get this done.

But first, I have a bit of wisdom to share.

Resist the urge to diversify

You know that voice in your head that says you need to be everywhere at once?

That fear of missing out if you don’t at least try everything?

It’s a diversion. Resist it.

It is imperative that you focus on one marketing channel.

At least in the beginning.

It’s going to shortchange your success if you spread yourself thin.

Here’s why.

  • You’ll have less impact. If you’re focusing on several channels, it means you’re not doing everything you can to excel in any one of them.
  • It will cost you more. Testing and thriving with a multichannel approach costs way more than you may be willing to spend. If you want an organic and cost-effective approach, stick to one channel.
  • You’ll never actually know where your strength lies. Jumping from channel to channel means you won’t truly know the impact of one particular strategy on your business.
  • You’ll remain at the heels of your competitors. That’s not where you want to be, is it? You want to be ahead, and the way to do that is to establish dominance in your market.

Now, don’t misunderstand me.

I’m not saying that you should go all in on one channel and forget the rest.

But multichannel marketing is complex. Only 30% of marketers are confident that they can deliver on such a strategy.

The Importance of Multichannel Marketing Infographic

That’s not a lot.

So what I’m advocating for is starting from a position of dominance.

Put your energy into one strategy until it succeeds. Then, piggyback on that success to achieve wins in other areas.

Does that make sense?

The steps in this article will be geared towards helping you place a bullseye on the ONE channel that will serve you best.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s begin.

Step #1: Know your options

The first thing you want to do is brainstorm all your possible options.

This isn’t something that you have to materialize out of thin air.

There are dozens of ways that you can connect with your target audience and spread your message.

Better yet, each channel has several subsets that you can zone in on.

Here’s a good representation:

How Does Digital Marketing Work Common SEO Questions

Many of these overlap. Some have even morphed into each other.

It can get confusing, quickly.

For example, some people consider SEO to be one marketing channel.

But I can’t imagine a world where SEO and content marketing aren’t intertwined. You can’t do one without the other.

The same thing goes for social media and paid advertising.

They’re different channels. But there’s a convergence.

Let’s imagine you decide to focus on Facebook as your primary social media platform. It would be unwise to not experiment with Facebook Ads.

Considering that Facebook has developed one of the greatest Ad products out there, you’d be underutilizing the full power of the platform.

Marketers agree. Almost 57% plan to increase their social media ad spend.

Industry Statistics Social Media Ad Spending Set to Exceed US 35 Billion Best Digital Marketing Agency Malaysia

I say all this to make a simple point.

While you may zone in on one channel, you’ll see lots of overlap that you shouldn’t ignore.

Go where your audience takes you.

Let’s look at some of your options.

Content marketing

This is about creating and promoting material that is relevant to your target audience.

Content marketing is central.

90% of businesses market using this channel.

Content Marketing Strategy Top 12 Proven Ways You Must Follow

It means that no matter what strategy you use, content will be a part of it.

You can narrow your content down to blogging, guest blogging, podcasts, webinars, email, etc.

Social media marketing

You can use social media as your platform to get noticed, build authority, and grow a community.

You can also use it to drive traffic to your main site.

Or you can do both. It’s effective either way.

Paid advertising

Much of marketing is organic and will take time to generate results.

Paid advertising is one way to accelerate that.

The downside is, you have to pay to play.

Facebook ads, other social media ads, print ads, PPC, and direct response fall into this category.

Public relations  

PR is about building relationships and capitalizing on the optics of your business.

It can be both online and offline. Press releases, conferences, events, interviews, and sponsorships are a few examples.

As you can see, you have no shortage of options when it comes to marketing.

I’ve given an overview of the main ones, but know that you are not limited to these alone.

Step #2: Choose the channels that are aligned with your business goals

You now have an idea of what’s available to you.

It’s time to make a list of all the channels that will serve your business.

Start with your business goals.

Some marketing channels are better suited to achieve a particular goal than others.

Goal setting is a flexible thing. You can make changes as your business evolves.

This means that the marketing channel you use right now may not be viable when your business progresses.

Consider what stage your business is in and what your goal is for the next 90 days.

According to Jay Abraham, there are only three ways to grow a business:

  • Increase your number of customers
  • Increase the amount that a customer spends on a purchase
  • Increase the frequency that a customer buys from you

infographic idology 3 waysto grow your business small jpg 468 523 pixels

Your business goals should serve one of these three phases of business.

If you’re still at the first stage, your goals might be brand awareness, lead generation, and customer acquisition.

If you already have a list of buyers, your goal might be to increase sales.

What if you already have a reliable stream of sales?

There’s no such thing as too many sales, but your goal at this point might be to maximize profits and retain customers.

Here’s what most businesses are prioritizing:

20 Lead Nurturing Statistics Charts for 2017

These may or may not apply to you. Just focus on what your business needs at the moment.

This way, you don’t make goals that aren’t yet attainable.

By extension, it ensures that you don’t waste time and resources on a marketing channel that won’t serve your business well.

How do you select a channel that’s right for your business goals?

Before you even start testing, do some elimination.

I’ll give you a few examples, and you’ll have to use your judgment.

Let’s say that your goal is brand awareness.

PR, social media, content marketing, and even paid advertising can be used for this purpose.

The easy solution?

Eliminate the channels that would be less efficient.

For instance, paid advertising won’t be the most useful for brand awareness.

But for sales or lead generation? It can crush it! (If you know what you’re doing, that is).

Take a look at some of the business goals that apply to the content marketing channel. It will give you an idea of what to aim for.

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It’s also important to take into consideration what feels the most organic for your business.

If you’re selling something like hoverboards or bicycles, would blog posts serve you the best?

Likely not.

These products are lifestyle-based. You’d be better off using a visual channel that will allow you to provide an experience to potential customers.

Immediately, social media comes to mind.

Then you begin to narrow it down to Instagram or Youtube.

This is a logical process that won’t take you more than an hour to figure out.

You don’t have to find that one channel yet. Just eliminate what won’t work and rank your remaining options.

Step #3: Narrow down the list by going where your audience is

You’ve got a few options.

It’s time to prioritize.

This one is easy. Find your potential customers.

A marketing channel can serve your goal, but there are many platforms you can focus on.

If your customers are not hanging out there, you’ll be wasting your time.

Note:

The point of this article is not to find you a slam dunk marketing channel right away.

That would take testing and experimentation.

The goal here is to help you validate your chosen channel. This way, you know it’s viable before you start testing it.

Here’s my best advice for finding out where the attention is.

  • SEO is a great place to start.
  • Competitive research is a must.
  • You can’t go wrong with social media.

Let’s look at each of these.

SEO

Online is where most of the magic happens.

And a majority of online interactions begin with a search engine (mostly Google).

So the first step is to evaluate the SEO landscape by searching for keywords in your industry.

You’ll find out what your audience is searching for and how often.

This is not just essential for finding out what’s happening online. Let’s say that there aren’t that many monthly searches for your keywords.

You may want to focus on an offline channel.

Or you may decide that this is a gap that you can take advantage of.

You won’t know until you do some basic keyword research.

A simple tool like the Google Keyword Planner will work.

Type in your keyword and get search volume data.

Keyword Planner Google AdWords

Competitive research

If you want to know where your customers hang out, find your competitors.

First, identify who those competitors are.

A simple google search will do the trick. The biggest players are those who rank on the first page of search.

Once you’ve got a solid list, use a tool like SimilarWeb for your research.

Enter your competitor’s website and press enter.

Quicksprout com Analytics Market Share Stats Traffic Ranking

You’ll find a range of data. Pay attention to “Traffic sources.”

Quicksprout com Analytics Market Share Stats Traffic Ranking 3

For Quick Sprout, the highest traffic source is search.

Naturally, my primary marketing channel would be SEO and blogging.

Direct is a close second, but it’s a bit trickier to figure out.

It represents the people who type in your URL directly into their search bar. It doesn’t tell you where these people first came into contact with your business.

The next step is to check out the individual breakdown of each traffic source.

You can see where referrals are coming from.

Quicksprout com Analytics Market Share Stats Traffic Ranking 4

Since SEO is my dominant traffic source, I’ll pay particular attention to my top organic keywords.

Quicksprout com Analytics Market Share Stats Traffic Ranking 2

You can also see which social media platform is the most popular. Mine is Facebook.

Quicksprout com Analytics Market Share Stats Traffic Ranking 1

Social media

I like to take social media research a bit further.

The tool to use is BuzzSumo.

Type in your competitor’s domain. You can also search for a keyword.

BuzzSumo Find the Most Shared Content and Key Influencers

You’ll see all the top performing content on the site and which social platform generated the most shares.

Using SimilarWeb, we saw that Facebook was Quick Sprout’s top platform.

BuzzSumo tells the same story.

quicksprout com Most Shared Content

If you want to take this a bit further, you can go to these individual platforms and do some sleuthing.

Check out the groups with the most members, listen in on the conversations, and a get a feel for where your audience is focusing their attention.

When you go through this process, you may find that you have 2 or 3 reliable options.

Which do you select?

I have three criteria.

Cheap. Fast. Easy.

You want to pick a channel that won’t cost you too much, if anything, to get started.

You also want a channel that doesn’t have a steep learning curve. Otherwise, you may spend too much time and money trying to figure it out.

Lastly, pick the channel that will allow you to make the most headway, quickly.

You must pick one, so use these criteria as the final litmus test.

Conclusion

Selecting a new marketing channel is a tall order.

It’s important that you take some time to validate a potential channel before you focus on it.

Marketing requires time that can easily be wasted on ineffective strategies.

It also requires cash.

It means that you’d want to see a solid return on both your time and money investment.

The surest way to secure an attractive ROI is to vet potential marketing channels first.

You can then test and double down on what’s working.

Most people don’t go through this process of validation and testing.

So as long as you keep experimenting and tweaking your strategy based on your results, you’ll have a significant advantage over competitors.

What is your most effective marketing channel?


Source: quicksprout

How to Vet a New Marketing Channel in 3 Days or Less