Author: Bonnie Harris

Affinio delivers behavioral marketing intelligence  “Market to people, not demographics.” That’s the premise behind Affinio marketing intelligence software. Understanding an audience’s interests and passions allows marketers to develop data-driven content that will resonate and generate interaction. Identifying the best channels to distribute and promote this content helps maximize its impact. Easy to explain yet notoriously difficult to accomplish, yet Affinio seems to help marketers execute this combination with more precision. It all starts with a report, currently generated using data from either a Twitter or Pinterest account. It’s apparent that Affinio relies on extremely heavy data processing to generate results and the data is intelligently displayed. Mousing over a particular piece of data offers a concise description of its significance, making it relatively easy to get acquainted with the various components of the software. Reports are divided into five sections; overview, members, interest, content, and monitor. The entire audience, in this case Twitter followers of @waxgirl333, is divided into eight different segments or tribes, based on interest and connectivity. The five sections previously mentioned apply both at a general level and for individual tribes. That allows you to drill down and see the same type of information at the lower level. This is great if you wish to target the interests of a particular group of followers. However, in this case we’ll use Affinio to take a bird’s eye view Overview Here we can see how tribes are connected, which ones are most active on Twitter, have shared interests and their degree of interconnectivity. Shared interests within a tribe is a percentage from 0 to 100 (higher is better) that helps pinpoint tribes that share common interests,  ideal for creating pieces of content aimed at those with specific interests. Interconnectivity is a percentage score where a higher number indicates a greater likelihood that people within the tribe know and follow each other. If you’re looking to network with your audience, focusing on tribes with high shared interest and interconnectivity is probably the most efficient route. Members The Members section provides a deeper understanding of some basic audience characteristics. It’s divided into six different subsections; profiles, locations, most liked, most retweeted, engagement and stream.

Profiles- This section shows images for the top 100 most relevant members to give you an idea of how they represent themselves visually. The top bio keywords this audience uses to describe themselves are also provided in a chart with bars that let you simultaneously see how other tribes use this term. The top categories of audience members and the devices they use to tweet from are also provided. Three different types of graphs are available for this data.

[caption id="attachment_12561" align="alignright" width="300"]ecommerce design Designer's desk with responsive web design concept.[/caption] The things that make a website great are somewhat debatable, but they all seem to fall under three categories: attributes, technology and organization. Under these three large umbrellas, there is a lot of room for creativity, passion and fun, all of which are important to get the consumer to click on the buy button.

Attributes of Great Design

The look and feel of a website is dependent on the attributes used. Content, typeface and color all fall under this category. There is a lot of distance between the viewer’s first look at your site and the actual purchase of your product. Although the quality of your products is important, it will take some time before the product is the item that your customers share across social media. Great writing and engaging pictures will draw in an audience from which to develop a marketing base. If you are not a brilliant writer, hire a freelancer to do it for you. Since you are selling a product online, images are one of your most important attributes. Your product pictures need to be high-quality, high-resolution images that are responsive to the device and needs of the user. You also need to be able to zoom, rotate and overlay pictures. If you are going to throw some money into your web design, put it towards your photography budget.

Technology That Works for You

Summer seems like it should be a slower time, and so I thought I would write about a skill that we all need to add more of - patience. Many people struggle with entrepreneurial impatience.  And that's not always a bad thing. It's often our sense of urgency that drives business growth in the first place, right? Plus, I think that part of the psychological makeup of many entrepreneurs is a minor case of ADD, or in my case, ADHD with an emphasis on the H. Renowned psychiatrist Dr. Dale Archer even called it an entrepreneur's "superpower" in a 2014 Forbes article.  Whether or not you have a diagnosis of ADD, impatience can often be fatal, particularly where marketing is concerned. entrepreneurial impatience We often try something once, or for a short time, and when there are no immediate results says “Well that doesn’t work.” It’s like lifting weights one day and expecting a tricep cut to develop overnight. I’m not suggesting that we all go out and spend a bajillion dollars on advertising. But I do think that in order for promotional tactics to work you have to learn to wait a bit. Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if maybe your own sense of urgency has turned into a bad case of entrepreneurial impatience: 

customer experienceGetting your content to resonate with your audience depends to a large extent on the customer experience, in other words their journey to making a purchase. Prospects in the early stages of research have different needs than those that are closer to making a decision. Creating content that gets noticed isn’t just about finding the right keywords. Although some content marketers place a significant amount of emphasis on the search for high-volume keywords, that approach is short-sighted. Top-of-the-funnel generic keywords are bound to have greater search volume than those used for specific situations. For example, there will be more searches for “productivity widgets” than “productivity widget integration ISO 9000.” Yet, there may be a strategic reason for creating more content that addresses the needs of those lower volume searches. More on that in a moment. Despite all the "fancy" customer experience stuff out there, people always have and always will follow five basic steps; problem resolution, information gathering, solution evaluation, purchase, post-purchase behavior. The names may have changed, but the song remains the same. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, people experience problems, look for solutions, figure out their best alternative, buy what they believe is the right choice, and engage in some sort of post-purchase interaction. [Tweet "Stop chasing keywords and align your content with the customer experience. "] Stop chasing keywords and align your content with the customer experience. Google handles trillions of searches per year and a good portion them are unique. If you can’t guess those keywords or their search volume, it’s tough to execute a keyword-oriented content strategy efficiently. However, if you are empathetic to your customer and their experience, creating content that meets their needs is far easier. Let’s borrow a concept from the world of growth hackers and startups.

visual marketersWe live in a visually dominated world. It’s rare to see any content appear on the web without a visual complement. Whether it’s a 140 character tweet or a five page white paper, content gets shared more often when accompanied by an image. Visual marketers know this. They also know that you don't have to be a Photoshop wizard to win big with visual marketing. No surprise that this rising interest in visual presentation has been accompanied by an increase in the number of related applications. From this large universe, we’ve selected a number of tools that cover a wide variety of uses in B2B marketing including image creation, presentation, editing and optimization.

Canva

This simple yet powerful design tool enables visual marketers to quickly create decent-looking visual content. Creating online promotional material for blog posts is straightforward as there are dozens of templates already sized for popular social media platforms. Producing offline marketing collateral like event flyers, business cards and postcards is also a snap. Versatility and ease of use are two reasons that makes this product particularly appealing.

Placeit

Placeit lets visual marketers quickly create product mockups. Provide a screenshot or URL of your site and this app creates a mockup on a variety of desktop and mobile devices. As of this writing there are dozens of devices and hundreds of shots from which to choose. Posters, banners and packaging mockups are also available, saving time when pitching offline concepts.

Visme

Visme is a tool for creating presentations, infographics, reports, web content, product presentations and wireframes. Create interactive presentations in your browser, share them on social media, embed them on your website, view them on any device or download for presentation offline.

DataHero

DataHero helps visual marketers take complicated data, make sense out of it, and create stunning and informative visuals. Design beautiful charts and dashboards from your data, export them in a variety of formats and use them in your PowerPoint, or any other presentation. DataHero connects to a number of leading cloud services, decodes your data, combines it across any service (even spreadsheets), and recommends appropriate visuals. You can accomplish all this without waiting for IT provide you with insight.

Venngage

niche networksAccording to conventional wisdom, Twitter is dead, LinkedIn is the place for B2B marketing, and the rest is just filler. As discovered in our recent post, “Finding the Right B2B Social Network For Your Business,” things aren’t always as simple as they appear. A small and highly engaged audience can turn out to be significantly more profitable than one that is large yet indifferent. It might be time to consider throwing niche networks into your marketing mix. It’s not only about size, nor is it just about engagement. It’s the combination of the two that brings the greatest reward. While a high degree of attention is focused on the major social networks, a 2015 survey by Pew Research Center revealed that Internet users are moving away from big social networks, and towards simpler and more refined mobile based apps. This may well signal the beginning of fragmentation in the social media landscape. Marketers using social media platforms have a tough time. It’s hard to know whether a new platform is going to break out into the mainstream or disappear into oblivion, taking with it all that effort spent gaining traction on the channel. Then there are the constant algorithm changes and the significant impact they cause. Social media success is often fleeting. As a network matures, organic reach significantly drops until the only choice left is paying to play. This is no accident, but rather an event created through design. Social networks are for-profit corporations that, once they have a sufficient audience, naturally want to start seeing a profit. The reality is that all good things come to an end, so you need to continually test and refine your marketing approach. One strategy worth exploring is incorporating niche networks into your overall marketing program. There are two things you need to consider for this technique to work. First, you’ll need to create a process to research and identify promising social media platforms, test them and scale your activities should initial results prove favorable. Second, you’ll want to have some form of risk management in place. You don’t want to spend a major portion of your marketing resources on one platform only to see it die an agonizing death. You want to keep testing different niche networks until you find one that works and then double down on the winner. Eventually, the channel will become saturated, and you’ll have to repeat the process yet again. This is a simple strategy, yet very challenging to execute. You are faced with constant algorithm changes and the learning demands of new and evolving platforms. In this environment, a T-shaped skill set and the ability to adapt quickly to change will be highly valued assets. It will definitely require a high level of commitment. But your social media niche marketing process will give you a substantial competitive advantage. While others lament over declining organic reach or desperately seek salvation on another popular platform, you’ll be executing your find, test, and scale strategy. Just rinse and repeat. Nevertheless, there remains a serious drawback with social media marketing on any platform. Your audience doesn’t belong to you. In fact, you’re renting it. You’re playing in someone else’s ballpark. It’s their game and their rules. One day you could find yourself shut out with no recourse available. It’s a risk every social media marketer takes, but it doesn’t make it any easier. However, there is another possibility: