Articles Archive - August 2017
Is your business struggling to stay afloat in an overcrowded industry? Has fierce competition impeded your company's ability to move to the next level? What if there was a way to make your competition irrelevant? A way to have the market all to yourself? This is exactly what Blue Ocean Strategy is all about – creating an uncontested market where your business can thrive.
Sound too good to be true? Not for the numerous successful businesses that have already made their way to the top of a market all to themselves.
Red Ocean Versus Blue Ocean
Nearly all businesses today find themselves swimming in a Red Ocean. In other words, they are competing in an aggressive market with many sharks all trying to capture as many fish as possible. While the demand may be high, the ability to capture even a fraction of that demand is nearly impossible.
The Blue Ocean market, on the other hand, doesn't just remove the competition, it makes it irrelevant. This means that your company offers goods and/or services that are so unique that there are no competitors. Instead, you have a wide-open blue ocean with no sharks, but plenty of fish.
Why a Blue Ocean Strategy?
W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne developed the Blue Ocean Strategy after analyzing a hundred years' worth of strategic moves in more than 30 different industries. While this dynamic strategy is being used in more and more industries, Kim points out that "Our study shows that Blue Ocean Strategy is particularly needed when supply exceeds demand in a market." This makes sense because once a market becomes saturated, it is extremely difficult to achieve and maintain success.
There are two main ways for a company to create a Blue Ocean Strategy. The first way is to start an entirely new industry, such as Apple did when it started iTunes, which served as the first online music pay-per-service platform. The second way is to develop a specific good or service out of the existing market, such as when Ford began mass-producing the Model T. At the time, there were plenty of car manufacturers, but they all created custom car designs for wealthy consumers rather than catering to the everyday consumer. Ford made cars more affordable to working families and expanded into a completely new market.
How to Implement a Blue Ocean Strategy
Kim and Mauborgne created a platform to make it easier for business to develop their own Blue Ocean Strategy. They state that the process starts by looking at the buyer's value from a different angle by using the "Four Action Framework" points.
- Raise – the need to identify which buyer's value factors should be raised higher than the current industry standards.
- Eliminate – the need to identify which buyer's value factors are competed for heavily in the market and should therefore be eliminated.
- Reduce – the need to identify which buyer's value factors should be set lower than the current industry standards.
- Create – the need to identify which buyer's value factors have never been introduced into the market, but should and can be created.
These steps will force you to take a closer look at what factors really matter and what factors you are simply doing due to market demand and competition. It enables you to restructure how you determine buyers' value – to see the bigger picture – and to identify how to make your business not just stand out from the rest, but pull away into your own, untested market.
When heading into the Blue Ocean market, you need a new type of marketing strategy that speaks directly to the consumer. Your marketing strategy should focus more on explaining why the consumer needs your goods and/or services versus fighting for dominance over your competitors. That's why you need a marketing firm like Coredeca that understands the unique demands needed to be successful in a Blue Ocean Market.
"Content is king" has long been the SEO mantra. While content might still be king, it is much like today's real life kings — an important part of their countries, but no longer fully in charge. As you move into 2018, start prioritizing the local, mobile and social aspects of your marketing strategy.
Over the past several years, search engines have been increasingly been pushing verified local businesses to the top of search results. Instead of looking for keywords like "Italian restaurant Miami," they use actual addresses to display the businesses closest to the searcher. These local businesses are displayed above traditional keyword-based search results.
To take advantage, you'll need to sign up for search directories such as Google My Business. For lesser-known search engines, as well as the humans trying to find you, be sure your address is prominently displayed on your website.
Sixty percent of searches are now conducted on mobile devices, with even higher percentages in localized categories, such as restaurants. As consumers increasingly switch to smartphones and tablets, Apple is even rumored to be considering ending production of personal laptops and pushing non-business users towards iPads.
This means two things for your business. First, if you want to reach the majority of consumers, your website needs to work on mobile devices. Second, if your website doesn't work on mobile devices, it may be penalized by search engines who want to display usable results to their searchers no matter what device they're using. Simply put, having a mobile version of your website is no longer optional.
The extent to which social media directly boosts SEO is debatable, but one thing is clear — a strong social presence can boost your business. Social media both provides a way for you to connect with your customers and for your customers to market your business for you.
Today, people share every moments of their lives, from "checking in" to restaurants to tweeting photos of their meals. Make it easy for customers to spread the word by having highly visible social share buttons throughout your website, and give them more content to share by advertising your deals and special events through your social platforms.
To learn more about how to build your social, mobile and local strategy to grow your business into 2018 and beyond, schedule a free consultation with a Coredeca marketing consultant today.
If you’re not using Google Analytics, or have only dabbled in it but aren’t using it to its full potential, you are missing out on a great way to boost the success of your business. Many businesses don’t even have any analytics in place to measure their website traffic, which means they're missing out on a great opportunity to learn about their visitors and increase their sales. Here is why Google Analytics is so important, as well as some pointers on how you can get started using it today.
Using Google Analytics to Measure Website Success
If you have a business website or blog, then you need Google Analytics. It can answer tons of different questions for you, including:
- How many people visit your site
- Where your visitors live
- What pages are most popular
- How much time visitors spend on your site
- Where your visitors are coming from
- What marketing emails are working best
- How many visitors convert into customers
- Is your website running fast enough
- Is your website good enough for mobile users
Using Google Analytics is free and super easy. You just have to create a Google Analytics account. You can do so using your Google account or by creating a new one specifically for Analytics. If you do connect it to an existing account, just be sure that it is yours and not someone who could potentially leave the business. Otherwise, all your data may walk away with them.
Google will ask you to fill out information about your account, including your time zone, industry category and more. It will also walk you through sharing Google Analytics. Then you can install your Google Analytics tracking code. You have to keep this on every page on your website. Depending on which platform you are using, you can find tutorials that explain how to do this.
Once your tracking code is installed, you can configure your Goals setting in Analytics. Just go to the Admin link at the top of your Analytics page and scroll down to the Goals tab under the View column. You can set up personal goals that track the information that’s most important to you. This could be the number of visitors who click to download a file or fill out a contact form. You can even attach a dollar value to a goal if it has one. You can also create up to 20 goals for your business. These should be goals that are super important to your business, such as purchases or milestones that will likely lead to sales.
Integrating Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is a free tool you can use to easily add and update website tags. You can use this for conversion tracking, general site analytics and more. That way you don’t have to maintain each code snippets in your source files on your site. To set it up on the web, go to tagmanager.google.com and create an account. Create a container for your site within that account and add the container snippet to your site.
Using Search Console
Search Console is a webmaster tool that can help you create and maintain Google-friendly websites and mobile apps. Once you add your site, you can analyze clicks from Google Search - this shows you how many people are clicking on various links after they have searched a certain word or phrase. You can get alerts for critical errors or issues on your site so you can address them immediately. And you can test whether Google can successfully understand your content or if it could be better optimized.
The site search is another handy tool that Google provides. If you have a search box on your site, go to the Google Analytics Admin menu and back to the View column. Click on View Settings and scroll down to Site Settings. Switch that from Off to On. Then head to your site and conduct a search for any term and hit enter. Look at the site URL that pops up to see if it has an “s” or “q” as the query parameter. Enter the corresponding parameter back on the Site Settings page and click Save. Now you can have a record of all the terms people are searching for on your site in order to gain a better understanding of what your visitors are trying to find.
Event tracking within Google Analytics is a way to get an alert when a specific event occurs. This could be something like a drastic spark or drop in the number of users or sessions, goal conversions or whatever other metrics you are interested in tracking. For instance, if you send out an email blast, you can track to see if it brings in a spike in visitors or not. You can receive these tracking reports daily, weekly or monthly depending on how you plan to use them.
Behavior reports give you information about how your content is performing. The Behavior Flow tracks a visitor’s journey through your site. You can learn what brought visitors to you, what sections of the website they were drawn to and which area they were looking at when they left. For instance, maybe they came to your blog from another website, then looked at your About Us page and then at your Services page. It’s a great way to identify the most well-performing content on your site, as well as potential problem areas. To set these up, go to your Reporting Tab and head to Behavior and then Behavior Flow.
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Hopefully, these tips will help you start implementing Google Analytics in your marketing strategy right away.
Having a well-defined brand standards document is key to building and maintaining and strong brand. This document is the hub of your brand, providing standards for how you communicate across all channels. It ensures that both your internal team and external partners are communicating for you, and that their message is consistent. Here are five steps to creating your own brand guidelines.
1. Define Your Visual Identity
Your visual identity is the most memorable part of your brand, and it should be treated with integrity. In your brand guide, define the following:
- Logo treatment: This includes how your logo appears against a variety of colors, size restrictions, manipulations to avoid and so on.
- Color palette: This includes colors, gradients and shades that are acceptable.
- Photo treatment: This includes what should be featured in photos, how photos should be edited, etc.
- Iconography and illustration styling: This includes any specifications on graphic and line art treatment.
Using the same visual family across all print and digital media will help your brand become more memorable as your target audiences interact with it across different marketing channels.
2. Define Your Written Identity
Often times, different people will write blogs, website content, email marketing campaigns and social media posts. They should all be speaking with the same voice. Document the details of that voice in your guide and ensure all content meets those standards. In your brand guide, include your brand's:
- Positioning statement: What sets you apart from the competition.
- Tone of voice: Should it be thought-leading and confident, friendly and approachable, or witty and dry?
- Elevator pitch: How you clearly define your brand in two or three memorable sentences.
- Key marketing messages: These are the features and benefits that make your brand different.
- Target audiences and personas: This includes who you're targeting, their problems, what they care about and how you help.
- Copyright or legal information
3. Share Your Brand Guidelines
These guidelines are useless unless they're in the hands of everyone communicating for your company. Distribute this guide to internal marketing, communications teams and external marketing consultant partners to ensure consistency. Consider distributing them as PDFs or printed documents to ensure content can't be changed. Don't make it so difficult to access that those without technical training have trouble locating it regularly.
Not holding your internal and external teams to strong brand standards can lead to inconsistencies and losses in brand equity. Ensure you have brand guidelines in place and review your communications channels to be sure they're followed regularly.
The world is a dynamic place these days. In an environment where consumers are inundated with information at all hours and from every possible direction, businesses must be precise and deliberate with their marketing efforts. Companies need to communicate with their customer bases in the most efficient and effective way possible, or else their message and voice run the risk of blending into the background noise of a typical consumer’s life.
To best engage your audience in such a crowded, noisy and often chaotic marketplace, it is absolutely crucial for your organization to embrace and implement a digital marketing strategy that caters to your specific needs. A busy world requires a level of precision to your message, as well as its distribution, to truly engage the modern consumer. Otherwise, generating the conversions to sales and marketing ROI becomes difficult without a comprehensive digital strategy.
Find Your Audience
One of the many challenges is simply finding the best path for your message and voice to follow. The digital age, despite the many efficiencies and conveniences it provides your customers, has also created a significantly splintered landscape. Between organic search, SMS, email, social media and seemingly countless other channels, marrying your marketing to the most impactful distribution method is absolutely critical in developing an effective sales funnel.
Your marketing needs to reach your customers in the digital places they frequent and, just as importantly, at the most opportune times. Even the most effective email campaign will fail to generate true audience engagement if social media outlets are the better way to appeal to them. Likewise, a PPC strategy will fall on deaf ears if SEO is a more effective driver to sales. Your digital strategy needs to be deliberate, coordinated and precise to engage.
Content Is King
Given the variety of digital assets available within a digital campaign, ranging from white papers and blog posts to infographics and video, integrating the most impactful content is just as important as using the right channels.
With the pervasiveness of smartphones throughout society, your digital strategy should also include content that is specifically designed to engage through a mobile device. Successful digital assets are more likely to be shared throughout customer contacts and social media, significantly enhancing their power and your marketing reach.
Reaching your consumers can be a challenge in this dynamic, digital world, but it is in no way impossible. At Coredeca, our expertise in digital marketing strategies can give your company’s message the reach and impact it needs to prosper in such a fast, competitive environment. Your business and brand will appreciate the difference Coredeca can make.
Search engine optimization, or S.E.O., has been around since the earliest days of the internet. Since its inception, it has undergone endless re-inventions. This is largely due to the fact that the effectiveness of S.E.O. relies heavily upon the algorithms and practices adopted by search engines themselves.
Each year, however, bloggers, businesses and marketers express concerns over the future of S.E.O. Many have even claimed that the practice will become extinct in just a few years, yet S.E.O. has nevertheless continued to prove its relevance. Certainly, though, S.E.O. will continue to reinvent itself over the years, leaving many curious about what S.E.O. will consist of 10 years from now.
The most popular saying in relation to online marketing as a whole in recent years has been “content is king.” Simply put, this means that content must be engaging, informative and well-written. While online content, for S.E.O. purposes, first began as a mere carrier for keyword stuffing, the focus has shifted to the quality of the content and the organic use of keywords as a whole. This trend will continue into the next decade, with long-form content written by subject matter experts becoming increasingly popular.
Subject Matter vs. Keywords
Keywords are one of the most important factors in search engine optimization, and this has remained true since the beginning of the practice. In the last few years, more focus has been placed on subject matter over keywords. Ten years from now, it is likely that keywords and subject matter will play an equal role in ranking on the search engine results page. This means that content must aim to include relevant keywords while also addressing the questions related to the keywords utilized.
Another emerging component of S.E.O. is the utilization of local keywords. This trend, while already gaining popularity, will continue with new and better practices incorporated to improve local search results. Similarly, it is likely that local S.E.O. techniques will be paired with other technologies, including augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
Artificial Intelligence is still a fairly new concept in the practical world. New technologies, however, are beginning to place more focus on incorporating such technologies. In 10 years, it is likely there will be a number of devices that harbor A.I. capabilities and are utilized in everyday life. In turn, S.E.O. will adapt its methods in efforts to become relevant to searches performed with these devices.
When Google changes its algorithms, it tends to send shockwaves throughout the SEO world. Usually unexpected and always under a cloak of darkness, mystery and intrigue, algorithm changes have a way of catching site operators and owners off guard, even though they now come at greater frequencies than ever before.
While most of the changes are small in stature and are unlikely to affect your site traffic, there are a handful of changes per year that are more structural in nature. These larger, more infrequent changes to the algorithms are the ones much more likely to cause an ebb and flow in your site traffic.
If one of these changes cause your site traffic to fall, however, all is not lost. With a bit of diligence, research and patience, odds are you can find the cause of the drop and get your site traffic back up to optimal levels, allowing you to go back to doing what you do best.
Know What Google Expects from You
Although there is never a precise roadmap to navigate algorithm changes, Google doesn’t expect you to wander down the SEO highway alone and in complete darkness. In fact, while not widely publicized, Google routinely updates its webmaster’s guide to give site operators and owners a relatively succinct idea of what they deem important, relevant and beneficial.
While they aren’t completely straightforward about it, it’s safe to assume that using these updates as a guidepost will mean your site is likely playing by their rules and, thus, hitting the major attributes and characteristics they integrate into their algorithms.
Patience Is a Virtue
Once you’ve gone through the different materials Google provides, figured out what the likely issues were and fixed them, you might think the changes would take effect immediately or, at the very latest, overnight. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
While the changes you make to your site might better adhere to Google’s guidelines, it could actually take as long as a few weeks depending on how often Google crawls your site. Although that might not necessarily be fair, it certainly demonstrates the need to constantly keep up to date on any changes Google makes in their provided guidelines. If your site strays too far from them, your site is bound to experience traffic dips again.
When the next change to the search algorithm hits, it’s important to keep your wits about you and avoid thinking the end of times is near. Instead, spend some time doing your research and make sure your site is at least close to adhering to the guidelines, and your life will be much easier down the road.
For would-be businessmen and entrepreneurs of all kinds, finding the perfect niche can be a bit of a challenge. Indeed, in an age in which virtually any type of business is possible, finding the right one can be a complex feat. Nevertheless, there is an array of ways to uncover new niches for your existing or future business. That said, the following is a closer look at some of the best resources to help entrepreneurs uncover and take advantage of new business opportunities.
First and foremost, marketing consultants are highly skilled professionals who excel in the ability to understand what motivates consumers. With their unique insight, they are able to offer a variety of business suggestions that can help boost or skyrocket your business efforts. If you are struggling to come up with ideas for your business, marketing consultants can be a bit pricey but are also said to be well worth the money.
Red Ocean Strategy
Another well-known strategy with regards to business development is the red ocean strategy. Once your business is off the ground, you will inevitably face an onslaught of competitors. For this reason, many are reluctant to create businesses in certain fields as the competition is thought to be too steep and, thus, futile. However, those who use red ocean strategies employ tactics that give their business the upper hand and allow them to outperform their rivals to grab a greater share of the demand for a given product and service. A cut-throat practice, many shy away from the red ocean strategy due to its aggressive nature, but others swear by it, asserting it helps achieve serious results.
Blue Ocean Strategy
On the flip side, blue ocean strategists will help you find or create your own niche. Believing that opportunities are as vast as the ocean, blue ocean strategists are masters at unconventional business practices. Simply put, these strategies are designed to access untapped market space in order to create demand, thus giving businesses the opportunity for substantial and rapid growth. Furthermore, competition is irrelevant when using the blue ocean strategy. This is largely due to the fact that although competition will always arise, blue ocean strategists believe there is always enough opportunity to stay ahead of competitors and imitators. Using a notion known as “value innovation”, rather than focusing on competing, the company totally bypasses imitators by creating a good or service of far superior quality, which tends to totally undermine those attempting to compete. For those who are not driven off from competition, the blue ocean strategy is an excellent business strategy.
Overall, for those looking to boost or build a new business, there is an array of options available. Firstly, although a tad pricey, marketing consultants are experts with invaluable experience with regards to uncovering consumer needs, predicting market trends and the like. On the flip side, red ocean strategists thrive off competition and stop at nothing to beat the competition.
Blue ocean strategists essentially employ tactics from both marketing consultants as well as red ocean strategists. In an effort to totally bypass any potential competition, blue ocean strategists are for those who enjoy trying new things and embracing cutting edge technologies. No matter which method you choose, there are plenty of ways to uncover the perfect opportunity to take your present or future business to the next level.