From going Homeless to building a Brand!

Its been over 2 months I haven’t posted anything on my blog. The last two months were quiet eventful. First of all, I was left homeless for a week or two due to a fire in my building and for the very first time, I realized how long it takes to recover from such unfortunate events. However, complaining aside, I am thankful I escaped the fire safe without any kind of physical harm to myself.

Due to this, I wasn’t able to give my business proper time for almost a month. Luckily, thanks to my awesome team, everything was taken care of whilst I handled my situation, except the fact that I couldn’t write anything for you guys for a while. After recovering from the fire accident I began working towards one of my old projects, which I started 3 years ago in partnership with miss rocker. The project is what we are going to discuss today.

I have a habit of continuously buying good domains that interest me or spark me with potential. Normally I buy at least 2,3 domains a month and the majority of them I never use and they are just left sitting with my domain registrar or expire after a year or so. During similar adventures I bought a domain www.dubaiblog.biz.

One of the reasons I bought this domain is myself and Miss Rocker are very passionate about Dubai and wanted to share our experience of relocating business here. The original idea was to help investors establish their companies in Dubai and assist them with the visa, and company registration procedure. To summarize, we bought the dubaiblog.biz, generated a few leads, made a few sales and then eventually we lost interest and this seemed to be the reason it failed! During this time, we bought another domain www.dxbblog.ae where we could share our experience about Dubai and basically document things and create guides related to Dubai, etc. This was a very interesting topic for me and Miss Rocker as well as our passion for Dubai, we started to generate a passion to make this blog something big, we knew where it was headed.

In September 2014 we attended Adsimillis Meetup and learned about a travel blogger Clelia Mattana and looked through her blog Keep Calm And Travel. From there we picked up some awesome tips and decided to keep our blog’s topic mainly travel and to keep the purpose of the blog as a place where people can learn about Dubai. This included; What hotels to stay, what places to visit and what activities to participate. In fact, we wanted to create a blog where we can tell people what they can do in Dubai to make their holiday memorable and also to provide information to UAE residents about how they can spend their holidays locally.

We also stick by the rule that we will only provide first hand information to our readers, which means write and discuss places, services or hotels which we have personally visited and stayed in to give our readers a better prospective, rather than multiple random reviews.

We have been working on this project slowly, as for us this project is more of a hobby than a way to make money. I must admit we have been going with a really slowly pace. So far we have reviewed a couple of hotels in the UAE and the United Kingdom and also other services /activities, (Mostly free of cost and we were invited by hotels and the tourism services providers to review their services). We also participated in two travel industry exhibitions so far World Travel Market and Arabian Travel Market. Recently I visited Arabian Travel Market .

360° Image by IMG World's At Arabian Travel Market 2016

360° Image by IMG World’s At Arabian Travel Market 2016

World Travel Market was our first event we participated in so we couldn’t do much except learning more about the industry. However, Arabian Travel Market was a huge success.

After getting such an awesome response from these conferences, and learning so much, I have decided to work on Dubai Blog and build its brand. So now me and my partner miss rocker are going to make it a successful brand, I thought it would be a great idea to also document and build a case study for you guys.

Firstly, the gains from the latest travel exhibition, we were not only able to get some good business from different travel companies, but also we talked with different tourism boards from different countries about collaborations. I hope we will be able to secure something with at least 2 of the countries. Also we have secured some lead generation deals with some luxury tourism related companies and my company would be their only authorized lead generation partners. With not much competition in the region, and niches, I hope this will prove to be a great success for us and we would be able to make some good revenue from lead generation campaigns and we will get an opportunity to learn more about the travel niche!

This was just a little intro about the project Dubai Blog, I will try to keep updating you with its progress at least once a month and also post about other topics as well! Do not fear! KJ is back!

Focusing Your Digital Advertising on Top Ten Smartphone Apps of 2015

When planning a mobile marketing strategy you need to make sure that any ads or posts that you make are going to be seen by as many people as possible.  While there is an almost endless list of apps and mobile ad networks that you can use to get your message out in front of an audience, it is important to make sure that you focus a significant amount of effort on the biggest players in the game.

Nielsen has just released their latest report that lists the top ten smartphone apps of 2015 based on average unique users.  This is an important report whether you’re in the app marketing industry or you’re just trying to get your ads displayed where they will be seen by the largest number of people possible.

smartphone app report

You can see in the above chart from Nielsen that Facebook and Google owned apps are dominating this list.  In fact, other than #9 and 10 which are run by Apple, there are no other companies involved.  This this may seem like a bad thing at first, it can actually make marketing a little easier for the average person.

If you want to get in front of the millions of users that are accessing these apps each day, all you have to do is run ads on either the Google ad network, the Facebook ad network or both.  When you do this you can take advantage of their advanced targeted options as well, which will help you to not only get your ads displayed but also ensure they are shown to the right people.

Also included in this report is that the total smartphone use in the US has reached 80% of adults.  This is a 2% uptick over the September report from ComScore.  It seems that this saturation level is starting to level out, which is not surprising at all.  The fact that it is growing at all is really quite impressive.  In the report you will see that 53% of smartphone users are on Android devices, and 43% on iOS devices.  Three percent are using a Windows phone and .7% are still on BlackBerry smartphones.

This report is widely seen as the most accurate and effective on this topic available.  The data is gathered from a monthly survey of 30,000 mobile subscribers in the US.  They also gather data from a measurement app installed on about 9000 users handsets (with their permission of course). You can see the full report from Nielsen HERE.

Consumers Don’t Trust Online Video Ads

While I much prefer writing positive news about the online marketing industry, it is important to share ‘bad’ news as well.  According to a recent Nielsen study, most consumers don’t trust online video ads.  This is compared to 63% of consumers who say that they do trust ads that they see on television.  The survey asked over 30,000 consumers in 60 countries earlier this year.

The survey looked at a variety of different marketing methods to see which ones were the most effective.  Not surprisingly, word of mouth recommendations from friends or family ranked at the top with 80% trust levels.

They looked at other online advertising options as well.  The following is the full breakdown of how much people trusted any type of online ad:

  • Online Video Ads – 48% Trust
  • Online Search Ads – 47% Trust
  • Online Social Ads – 46% Trust
  • Online Mobile ads – 43% Trust

This is an interesting problem.  Most marketers look at the biggest challenge being getting their ads seen and clicked on.  According to this study, however, building trust may be an even more important task.  If people don’t trust what they are seeing, they are much less likely to make a purchase, even if they do click on the ad.

When you step back and think about it, there is no surprise about these results.  Most people don’t believe what they see on the internet because of the fact that there is so much false information out there.  It has almost become a joke in everyday conversation where people will make outrageous claims and then back it up by saying, ‘well, I read it on the Internet so it must be true.’

On top of this general lack in trust for online ads, you need to keep in mind that people are generally skeptical of advertisements in general.  Ads on TV have 63% trust, which is much higher than online, but still fairly low in the overall scheme of things.

As marketers it will be more important than ever to try to find ways to show ads that will not only grab the attention of viewers, but also help them to take that leap of faith.  Obviously this should start with always running an honest business and earning the trust of consumers over time.  Beyond that, however, there doesn’t seem to be any established strategy.

Take some time to think about how you can build trust with your customers and you’ll likely start seeing your conversion rates improve.

Most Demand Skill for Digital Marketers? Affiliate Marketing

Smart Insights recently published a study that covered a variety of things related to digital marketing.  One of the most interesting aspects of the study when they asked which skill they would most like to improve over the course of the next year.  The #1 answer was affiliate marketing, which got 40% of the total respondents saying they were looking to improve on that skill.

The full breakdown of results is visible in this chart:

Desired Skills Chart

As you can see there were a number of popular skills that marketers were hoping to improve.  Mobile marketing with 39% is certainly no surprise and SEO at 36% makes sense too.  Digital strategy and integrated planning is somewhat of a vague response but I can see how people would select that as well.

Given how easy it is to hire graphic designers these days I was surprised to read that this option rated as high as it did at 27%.  Most people it seems are either good at this already or are happy to pay a professional to take care of it for them.

Copywriting is near the bottom at 22%, which makes sense in that most people who need it either know that they want to do it themselves and have put in the effort to learn or know that they don’t enjoy that type of work so they have hired someone else to do it for them.

AM Navigator’s CEO, Geno Prussakov said that, “Continued research and reports put out by IAB and Affiliate Window, the efforts of Performance Marketing Insights, Affiliate Management Days, and others – it is good to see it all, finally, yield fruit.”  He went on to say, “Affiliate marketer’s seat at the table and affiliate market’s place in advertisers’ digital marketing strategies has been overlooked for way to long.  It is refreshing to see that marketers, finally, realize the importance of the ‘skill’ of doing affiliate marketing.”

The study also found that digital marketers believe that their skills were strong in strategy & integrated planning (52%) as well as customer service (48%), only 13% said that they were already strong with affiliate marketing.  This makes it clear that not only are marketers missing this key skill, they recognize just how important it is and want to take steps to improve it.

While the study does not go into any detail on how these digital marketers are planning on learning about affiliate marketing, it is certainly a good sign for the digital marketing world in general.  Affiliate marketing has been getting more and more popular for many businesses, and with the continued success there will be a larger demand for this type of skill going forward.

Native Ads Often Seen as Better than Real Content?

In a recent survey conducted by Contently it was found that native ads are often seen in a better light than actual content on a site.  Native ads are sponsored content where the owner of a site gets paid to publish something about a product, service or company.  The content is made to appear similar to other content on the site so that it adds a level of trust and authenticity.  Due to regulations and business practices, however, native ads need to have some sort of disclaimer in or around them to let people know that they are advertisements.

Even with this disclaimer, however, many readers mistake native ads for real content.  The survey was given to 509 consumers.  In the survey they were asked to review a brand sponsored piece of content in either The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Onion, BuzzFeed or Forbes. In addition, they read an actual article that was published in Fortune.

Once done, they were asked to say whether the piece was an ad or an article. In all but two of the samples the readers thought that the native ad was actually a real article.  The results were as follows:

  • New York Times – 29% Ad, 71% Article
  • Wall Street Journal – 20% Ad, 80% Article
  • Atlantic – 53% Ad, 47% Article
  • The Onion – 71% Ad, 29% Article
  • BuzzFeed – 29% Ad, 71% Article
  • Forbes – 35% Ad, 65% Article
  • Fortune – 31% Ad, 69% Article (note that this one was actually a real article)

As you can see, even in The Onion, 29% of people still thought that the native ad was a real article and that is the lowest rating of the bunch.  For other publications a large majority of readers were thinking that native ads were actually real articles.  In some cases they thought this at rates higher than the actual real article published in Fortune.

This is an important study for several reasons.  First, regulatory organizations like the FTC and others may look at this information and decide that more needs to be done to let people know when they are viewing an ad.  It has been a while since updates to the disclaimers on these types of ads were made, so it may be time for some changes (or at least the regulatory agencies may think that).

Second, and more importantly for marketers, it shows that native ads are an extremely effective way to put a message out to potential customers.  When customers read them they think it is real content written by the site.  This lends the ad additional trust and influence, which can lead to more sales, improved reputation and better recognition.

Using native ads is well known to be effective, but with the results of this survey it seems they are even better than most people have thought in the past.  If you’re not using native ads as part of your overall marketing strategy already, it might be time to do so.

New Study Provides Insight on Content Marketing Strategies

All affiliate marketers know (or at least should know) the power of good content marketing strategies.  The right content can attract thousands of viewers and generate significant sales.  Bad content, on the other hand, can actually repel users and cause a business to have some very serious problems.  Not everyone, however, likes the same types of content and they don’t all like consuming it in the same way.

That’s why a new study by Buzzstream was recently conducted where they looked at some of the content consumption habits of people of a diverse set of ages.  When broken up by generation (Millennials, Generation x and baby boomers) it is easy to see that some things work well across all ages, while others don’t.  If you know the age of your target audience, you can use this information to dramatically improve the results of any content marketing campaign.

Types of Content

The study looked at a wide range of different types of content and how different generations liked them.  The different options were blog articles, images, comments, eBooks, audio books, quizzes, webinars, slide shares, white papers, memes, flip books, case studies, and reviews.

Across all age groups everyone liked to consume content in blog articles the most followed by images, comments and eBooks.  This shows that age doesn’t have too much influence on how people like to consume their content, which may surprise some.  On the opposite end, all three generations least liked reading white papers.  Baby boomers liked slideshares second least while the other two generations put webinars in second place.  You can see the full breakdown here, provided by BuzzStream:

Content Generation 1

Length of Content

The next area that was looked at was the length of the content.  Here too the three generations had a lot in common, but not everything.  For all three groups, content that was about 300 words in length was ideal.  Baby boomers seemed to be much less picky about length than the other two generations though, as can be seen here:

Content Generation 2

Time Spent Consuming Content

The final area that the study looked at was how much time people in different generations are spending consuming content.  Of course, the longer they are on a page the more opportunity there is for them to make a purchase, sign up for your list, or take some other action you want them to. About 25% of baby boomers spend 20+ hours per week engaged with online content.  This is quite a bit more than many would expect, and more than other generations.  Both generation x and millennials have about 22% of people spending 20+ hours on content.  You can see the full chart on this here:

Content Generation 3

As you can see, while there are a lot of similarities in how different generations are consuming content, the differences are quite important too.  Taking this type of information into account when planning your content strategy can help you to improve your engagement rate with your sites quite significantly.

Zero SEO Budget for 79% of Marketers

A new report was recently published from Hotwire that surveyed 300 senior decision makers at some significant companies.  The study looked at how companies are budgeting their marketing dollars for their businesses.  The most surprising statistic is that 79% of all the marketers surveyed reported that they don’t budget any money at all for their SEO efforts.

Given the fact that it is hard to go more than a few minutes without hearing about how important SEO can be for effective marketing, this came as something of a surprise.  The report suggests that most marketers are spending their budgets on paid advertising such as display ads and PPC.

The reasoning often given for this is that paid advertising is much more predictable.  Most companies, especially those that have larger marketing budgets, like to have a predictable return on investment for their marketing dollars.  With proper analysis, most companies can confidently predict that for every X amount of dollars they spend on paid digital marketing they will make Y dollars back.  This can leave very little room for a less predictable item like SEO.

Problems with SEO

When you look at SEO from a simple budgeting point of view, there are several reasons why many marketers are hesitant to invest in this area.  The following are some key issues that need to be overcome in order to justify spending money on SEO:

  • Long Term Investment – No matter what the latest so called SEO expert says, you can’t have effective SEO done in just a few days or even weeks. SEO is a long term game and can take weeks or months to get any real results.
  • Constantly Changing – Even if you invest money into SEO today, Google or the other search engines can make a change tomorrow that will render your efforts ineffective. This is why it is so important to only focus on ‘white hat’ SEO strategies no matter how effective the latest SEO fad seems to be.
  • Questionable SEO Industry – The SEO industry is filled with people who claim to be experts but are really little more than people who are looking to make a quick buck. You can see this on sites like Fiverr and others where everyone claims to be able to produce high quality results almost overnight.

Is SEO worth the Investment

This study really brings into question whether or not it is a good investment to spend money on SEO.  Clearly most marketers who responded to this survey do not think that it is.  When done properly, however, it can produce some very lucrative long term results that anyone would be happy to have.  As a marketer, it is your job to evaluate whether or not these long term results can justify investing your marketing budget into this area.  Personally I think the long term benefits of proper SEO warrants at least a modest investment into this area

New Report Finds Click-to-Call Commerce Generating $1 Trillion Annually

A new report has recently been released from Marchex that looked at millions of calls made to businesses as well as analyzing ad-spending data from Google.  They also looked at call growth projections from BIA/Kelsey.  The report suggests that click-to-call commerce is generating over $1 trillion each year, and the number is going to grow.

Of course, this is a combined total for both ad based click to call and normal click to call found on most businesses websites.  Other reports estimate that ad based click to call is at about $4 billion annually at this point, with that amount set to grow in the coming years.

To put some of these numbers in some perspective, the total US GDP is $18 trillion, so this report is claiming that at least one out of every $18 generated in the entire US economy is triggered, at least in some form, from a click-to-call transaction.  This is obviously a massive amount of money, and not something any type of marketer should ignore.

Every day, millions of people will look up a business on their phone to gather information. From there, they often tap the phone number to give them a call to either further learn more about the product or service or to actually make a purchase.  A very simple example of this would be going to a local pizza shop’s website and then tapping their phone number to order your pie.

Of course, the types of businesses that this applies to is nearly endless.  People might click to call an auto dealership in order to make an appointment with a salesmen.  They may click to call a ticket broker to get seats to a big game.  When you really take a step back and look at all the ways people are using their mobile devices to browse to a website and then make a call, the $1 trillion number seems much more realistic.

Not surprisingly, some business types do better with click to call than others.  The report found that a auto dealers, for example, have about 38% of their total calls made to get information about a product, and 20% are looking to make an appointment.  A further 15% end up hanging up before speaking to someone at the dealership.  Plumbers have a higher rate of appointments being made at 25%, and 26% are just general inquiries.   The report goes through many industries to look at how well they are doing with different types of calls.

One of the biggest worries is that an estimated one in five calls are abandoned by potential customers because of issues related to poor customer service.  This could be long hold times or complicated call trees or any number of other things.

As marketers, click to call can potentially make a huge impact on the overall business.  Whether you’re using click to call ads to generate sales, or you simply have a phone number listed on your site to provide support or sales assistance, this report proves that it is absolutely essential to include this type of lead when planning your overall business strategy.

You can see the full report HERE.

Harnessing Visual Communication is Essential for Your Business

When it comes to digital marketing, there is no doubt that marketers need to be working hard to keep up with the latest trends.  Most people will be well aware that customers want to consume their information in a more visual way than ever before.  Things like infographics, pictures, and videos are able to hold people’s attention much more effectively than long written articles.

A recent study found that 80% of all college educated people are spending their time browsing content rather than actually reading it completely.  In addition, many people are just looking at headlines on articles and not consuming everything that the article has to offer.

Whether this is a good thing or not, marketers will need to work to provide content in the way that people want it.  Learning how to optimize your marketing efforts to this visual consumption is very important.  WebDAM has taken an extensive amount of information that supports the idea that humans are consuming data differently than ever before, and combined it into a very effective infographic, which you can see below.

infographic

Written Content is Still Essential

Of course, written content is still the best way to provide detailed information or explain things that can’t necessarily translate effectively into an image.  On top of that, most visual content will need something written about it to give the proper context.  So, as marketers it is becoming very important to be able to properly use both written and visual content.

While it will certainly take some adjusting, it will be well worth the effort.  You’ll find that your visitors are spending much more time on your site, and will trust what you have to say more because you are providing it to them in a way that they prefer.  Even if you don’t completely convert your content to being visual, the more images, videos and other visual content you can include the better your marketing efforts will be.

Headlines Essential to Driving Traffic from Search & Social

While it might not be surprising to many, the headline of a story is the most important factor when attempting to drive traffic to it from either social sites or search engines.  This is according to a new study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.  The study analyzed the habits of 20,000 people in 12 different countries and learned a lot of important information.  The following are some of the key points that are covered in the study, and how they can be used by marketers.

Headlines More Important for Search than Social

While a good headline is essential for a successful story no matter where it is published, the study found that it is significantly more important when people see it on search results compared to social media.  For search results, the study showed that more than 50% of people in each country (well more than 50% in some countries) said that the headline was the most important factor when determining which stories they click on.  For social, on the other hand, that number dropped to an average of 37% for most countries, with the highest being just under 50% in Ireland.

Other Factors that Encourage Clicks

The other factors that were ranked were ‘content that comes from a site I know and trust’ which was the second most popular option and ‘content that comes from a person I know and trust.’  For search, not surprisingly, content that comes from a person I know and trust only got a few percentage of the people.  On social, however, it was nearly 25% in most countries.  This is, of course, because people see their friends and family sharing a post so they assume it is going to be interesting or engaging.

For search, having a site that is from a trusted site that people recognize is far more important than having a site that comes from people they trust.  In most cases, Google and the other search engines will rank trusted and/or recognizable sites such as well known news sites, YouTube, WikiPedia and things like that.  For marketers, building a brand can help drive traffic by building trust in the brand name.  Of course, that takes time.

Using Proper Headlines

While it may be obvious that using great headlines is essential to driving the most traffic you can, it isn’t always as easy as people would like.  Figuring out what types of headlines work best for your specific site or product can be difficult.  Some things are proven to drive traffic, but they don’t convert very well.  On the other hand, some types of headlines may not get as much traffic but will convert at higher rates because of the fact that it attracts more motivated buyers.

Finding the right balance can take some experimentation and learning about your target customers.  This is well worth the effort and over time will allow you to write high quality headlines for your posts, videos and other types of content.  If you are interested in seeing the full study from Reuters, you can see it HERE.

How to track list building campaigns with CPVLAB

Hey guys i hope you all are doing well, As you know these days i am focusing more on building lists instead of sending direct traffic to the advertisers instead i am now building lists so i can educate my prospects about the products i promote first and then send them to the advertisers as this helps to achieve high conversion rates and also generate more quality leads and sales as well.

I have been in touch in many list builders and affiliates who wanted to know how to setup CPVLAB so they can track their  opt-ins and list building campaigns they are running on paid traffic sources, So i decided to make this post  to help all of those people who want to get started with paid traffic +  list building .list building tracking

First things first i am going to use Following tools and services in this article .

Optimize Press If you are on budget you can check out Squeeze Matic
CPVLAB
Aweber

First of all lets have a look at how our demo campaign is structured .

 

Visitor lands on squeeze page  , Visitor signs up to opt-in form  and is taken to thank you page where he is pre educated about the product or service and once he is ready visitor clicks on offer link and is sent to affiliate offer . Here is the diagram of whole process
cpvlab campaign

Step1 : Campaign creation on CPVLAB

First of all we will select the campaign type on cpvlab which in this case is Lead Capture campaign type and then elect your traffic source (like i have chosen Lead Impact PPV network here) Give campaign a name and also choose thank you page tracking (if using thank you page like we are doing here )

cpvlab campaign setup

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Step2:Setting up landing pages

In step two you need to insert the URLs of the squeeze page you will use under the landing pages for the campaign: option .
Simply give a name to the campaign and also add the squeeze Page URL. If you want to split test between more then one squeeze pages you can do so by adding more squeeze pages as well.  Once done Add the thank you page details under After Opt-In option and add give a name to the thank you page as well as insert URL of the Thank You Page as well.. Again if you want to rotate between thank you pages you can do so by adding more thank you pages. The last thing you need to do for Step 2 is to add your affiliate offer link , again you will have to give it a name add your affiliate url add offer payout and you are done .. now the last step you need to do is to give a unique id to all pages including offer as well and press equal sign to set the percentage of the traffic each page will get (in case if you are split testing otherwise it will give 100% traffic to your squeeze and thank you pages as well as to the offer as well.

Cpvlab camapign set up split testing

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Step3: Setting up tracking codes

This step is mostly about copying tracking codes from the CPVLAB and pasting them on your squeeze page and placing links on Thank You Page . SO to start off first of all we will have to add the tracking code to the squeeze page, From CPVLAB you will find code under Step 2: Add Code to Level 1 Landing Pages and Step 2b (optional): Add Code to Level 1 LPs to track direct traffic Step to b is optional however it is better to do that as it will redirect your visitors to the thank you page and offer in case you get traffic from other sources as well ,

CPVLAB Tracking Code

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To add that code onto Optimize press we will go on squeeze page edit it with live editor,  Click on page settings  (on upper right side as shown in image below) and then Where it says Other scripts under that box  we will add both codes there as shown in images below .

CPVLAB Tracking setup

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CPVLAB Tracking setup

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Now once this is done now we need to set CPVLAB redirect link on Aweber which will automatically redirect prospects to thank you page once users have Opted In. For that you will have to pick link from step 3 and paste it on aweber Sign Up forms > Settings > and under Thank You Page: you can also add same URL under Already Subscribed Page: as well.

cpvlab links

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cpvlab aweber settings

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The last thing you need to do is to get the link from step 4 where it says Edit Links (when a thank you page is used) and add it on the call to action button which will take visitors to the offer on the thank you page .

CPV LAB Affiliate link That`s all you need to do now you can get the Campaign UR from CPVLAB and start sending traffic to it through any of the paid traffic source you want  you can also ask your advertises to place your conversion pixels on their pages to track conversions as well .. Let me know if you have any questions ir suggestions by making comment below . Also please do not forget to share this post with your friends . 🙂