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#GrowthBeat 2014 highlights: Facebook, 7-Eleven, & Eventbrite on 21st century digital marketing


Growth hacking your results


Facebook may have one billion + users but if you're living in the U.S.A, you're not exactly top of mind. “India is the single, most important country for growth,” said Alex Schultz, VP of Growth, Facebook yesterday at VentureBeat's 2014 GrowthBeat conference.

Facebook hit a wall back in 2007. It was no longer growing its existing user base. Schultz said there were a number of reasons for why that happened, in particular, because the social networking platform was no longer able to ramp up new users, getting them each to find 10 new friends in 14 days, which is considered a significant benchmark for any social networking app.

Alex was part of the original growth team at Facebook. He worked on a number of tasks, including the company's SEO products and optimizing email campaigns. In 2007, Facebook was still only available as an English-only social networking platform. Competitors like MySpace had already made itself available in multiple foreign languages. Facebook immediately set out to concentrate its resources on attracting the non-English speaking audiences.

“There's a very fine line between removing friction and tricking users” – Alex Schultz, Facebook growth market #GrowthBeat

— Dylan Tweney (@dylan20) August 6, 2014

India became ground-zero as Facebook it set out to translate (and continues to translate) the nation's near 800 languages. Hindi is the world's 4th most widely spoken language in the world today. Facebook has worked hard at translating not only Hindi but more than 80 other languages spoken in India. This includes the top three languages spoken, including Hindi, British English, and Indian English. Schultz made it clear that Facebook is no longer focused on squeezing new users out of the United States but instead has tasked itself to make the world more open and connected, which is why the company still has a growth team.


7-ElevenGood news, Slurpee and Taquito fans! The folks at 7-Eleven have heard you loud and clear…via mobile! Since the convenience food chain transitioned to its mobile app, it has received nearly 14,000 comments in less than a month, which is more than what it typically gets in a whole year with an 800 line, according to Michael Debnar, the leader of 7-Eleven's Innovation Team. “When a company says it's mobile-first and mobile-only, we are mobile first and mobile-only,” said Debnar at GrowthBeat. Debnar also announced that in six month's time, 7-Eleven would be introducing new delivery networks allowing customers to stay in their cars while getting their products.

Backstage at #growthbeat getting ready to chat with 7-11 and @Medallia. Man I need a Big Gulp.

— Ina Fried (@inafried) August 6, 2014

Digital is important, and according to Debnar, the chain has 65% smart phone penetration with 18 to 35 year old males being the targeted demographic. Debnar said 7-Eleven no longer considers itself a traditional company. He even compared 7-Eleven to Uber. “I'm a huge fan of two-sided marketplaces. You have on the one side a bunch of cars, and you have on the other side a bunch of people who need a car, and they are the glue,” said Debnar. 7-Eleven has nearly 8,500 stores in the United States and for Debnar, “the chain can be that glue for a lot of things.”

Technorati @ GrowthBeat 2014

7-Eleven is working on taking a page from various startups. It created an investment channel called 7-Ventures that launched back in 2013. It has invested in customer loyalty startup, Belly, and KeyMe, a digital locksmith startup. “7-Eleven has Amazon lockers in various stores, including KeyMe services. We can become this two-sided marketplace because we have a box that's everywhere and we can connect people who need stuff from these companies and services, “ said Debnar. 7-Eleven is exploring new categories for development and if it can align itself with complimentary disruptive services, it will do so. For Debnar that means investing in more experimental food and beverage startups.


The Eventbrite team one day made a useful discovery. It realized that users of the app who attend events also organize events. The company is now working to get users who purchase tickets to understand that they too should throw events on Eventbrite, according to Evenbrite's senior director of marketing for user growth, Brian Rothenberg.

Rothenberg told marketers at this year's GrowthBeat 2014 that his company is unique in its approach to growth – combining product and marketing under one umbrella. More than 58 million people have purchased tickets via EventBrite.

Rothenberg said Eventbrite gets more than 20 million unique visitors a month. Working with both his product and user experience teams, he's trying to determine where in the product can the company message that people organizing events can also purchase tickets.

Hey, marketers! Find that one, key growth driver. @eventbrite #GrowthBeat #marketing — Engagor (@engagor) August 6, 2014

In directing his analytics teams to review people's usage patterns, Rothenberg made the observation that once a person attends one event, they could very well attend another. “That piece of data helped us use better targeted trigger emails once a person has attended two or more events,” said Rothenberg.

When it comes to strategies that drive engagement, social remains a big player. Eventbrite's social email outreach has 40% open rates, and their click to purchase rate is 5%, which is also impressive for an ecommerce company. Rothenberg didn't abandon more old-fashioned ways of marketing to people. “We're even testing outbound phone calls. When behavior deviates from past behavior, we can still reach out to them.”

Eventbrite will be sure to continue tinkering with its marketing success as it now boasts a 1 billion evaluation. Be on the lookout for that IPO.

Technorati's Travis Wright leading a GrowthBeat panel.

Technorati's Travis Wright leading a GrowthBeat panel.

The post #GrowthBeat 2014 highlights: Facebook, 7-Eleven, & Eventbrite on 21st century digital marketing appeared first on Technorati.

By |August 7th, 2014|Social Media|3 Comments

7 creative ways to improve your content marketing strategy


Since you're probably familiar with content marketing, it's time to focus on making your blogging, email marketing and social media efforts cut through the noise. That may sound difficult considering the competition and the massive amount of content flying around everyday, but if you think just a bit outside the box, you'll be on your way in improving your content marketing strategy in no time.

1. Follow the 80-20 Rule

Before you can begin rolling a content marketing strategy, you need to know exactly what kind of content to create and how to promote it. This idea phase is kind of a big deal too – apply the Pareto principle and you'll realize that an effective content marketing strategy relies on 80% of a successful idea and 20% in the execution.

This means that you need to generate killer ideas from the get-go. Where do you get these ideas? Well, they're essentially everywhere. They're in books (like from Edward de Bono), over coffee with a colleague/mentor, in what's trending around the world and even from previous campaigns from other niches (here's an Old Spice parody from First Round).


2. Let's Get Visual

You've probably heard that visual imagery and videos are the big thing right now. After all, who doesn't enjoy a pretty picture or hysterical video? But, there's just a little bit more to using visual imagery.

On top of compelling photos, have some fun and create memes, photobombs, employees having fun or even before & after images. Other unique images would be cartoons, comics and of course infographics. If you want to include videos, then consider conducting interviews, capturing live events or streaming/posting a presentation/webinar.

Besides capitalizing on imagery, you're providing your audience with a variety of content that they can take something away from. Keep in mind that it was discovered by MarketingProfs / CMI that the brands who are effective at content marketing use 14 different ways in creating content. So offer a variety of content.

3. Recycle

Believe it or not, there are multiple ways to recycle your content. For example, if you have popular YouTube video, you could simply convert that content into an infographic for people to share on Facebook. You could also share a timeless blog over and over again on Twitter by grabbing the Revive Old Posts plugin for WordPress. We do this a lot with our customers content to help their keep up their content strategy.

Another way to recycle content is by expanding on previous pieces of content that earned you a lot of traffic. For example, if you wrote a blog post about “10 Things You Didn't Know About Pepperoni,” then you could write a follow-up like “10 More Things You Didn't Know About Pepperoni.”

4. Don't Follow The Pack

If everyone in your industry are busy creating and sharing the same content, then how do you expect to stand apart from competitors? Take a look around and see what's going in your niche. If everyone is sharing pictures of kittens using their products, then make an informative infographic for your product. In other words, don't merely follow the pack. Do something different that makes you stand-out.

5. Tick Everyone Off

This doesn't mean calling your customers names or bad-mouthing competitors. What it means is being able to create content that gets under the skin of viewers. Why? Because it's an extremely powerful trigger. So, let's say you're in the financial industry. One idea would be to create an infographic or list that highlighted the worst financial scams within the last year.

Another way to do this is by creating a common enemy. Remember that iconic “1984” from Apple? It made PC's the enemy. Apple used the same tactic years later with the “I'm a PC” ads.

Just as you would in a bar, however, stay away from politics, race, and religion as they are topics which you will never win.

6. Hire a Copywriter

Just because you have a brilliant idea doesn't mean that you're going to be able to create incredible content. Copywriters do this for a living. They know how to write attention-grabbing headlines, press releases, ads, page descriptions, SEO and content that establishes you as an industry leader.

Until you've mastered the art of copywriting, it's probably in your best interest to hire a pro. In fact, check out HubSpot's list of “10 Companies That Totally Nail Copywriting” to give you a better understanding of how important this is for your content marketing strategy.

7. Have Plenty of Tools in the Shed

Throughout every stage of your content marketing strategy you'll need lots of tools to develop, execute, share and analyze your content. Here are some tools that may have gotten overlooked.

  • Ubersuggest – Helps with keyword suggestions for blog posts, PPC campaigns.
  • Toluna – Creates surveys or polls so that you data and feedback for future content.
  • Trello – Helps keep you and your team organized.
  • – This tool helps you to remember to follow-up with loyal customers.
  • Linkdex – A powerful tool that will make you more visible in your niche.
  • SEO Engine – Higher end tool that helps you know exactly how to scale SEO with data.
  • Rapportive – This neat app allows you to view social profiles and location all from within Gmail.
  • SocialBro/EdgeRank – These can help you find the best times to reach your niche on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Followerwonk – Can assist you in finding influencers in your field.
  • Outbrain – One of many locations where you can share content.
  • Moz Pro – You'll need an arsenal of tools to measure, track and analyze your content online. Moz is a solid one-stop shopping destination for these tools.

What other tools have you found that help you grow your business online?

The post 7 creative ways to improve your content marketing strategy appeared first on Technorati.

By |August 5th, 2014|Social Media|0 Comments

ESRI UC 2014: Notes from the floor [#esriuc2014]

TouchShare_Attack Density vs. IED activity

This ESRI Conference was just amazing, it was very difficult to slow down and look at the vendors closely, so many of them were so interesting, but for you dear reader, no effort is too great, so I took the time to smell the roses and see what the scope of this conference was. I thought since it was a GIS conference, I would clock how much I walked the vendor show in a day. 3.1 miles!

If ESRI could make them cheaply enough, a pedometer would be a cool item to add to the conference bag, but I digress.

There's an unbelievable amount of things you can do with this GIS data. The thing to keep in mind going in, is that this isn't like a static Google Map (although a lot of companies will overlay data on to Google Earth). This is GPS location coordinate data that you can then use to render a map. The military applications were the most fun to check out, although they probably have the least amount of generic use.

One example I saw was from TouchShare, a leader in geospatial collaborative solutions. Their are multiple layers to their software stack.

The first thing you notice is that you can share a screen, so you have these giant touch tables that you can easily navigate and apply lenses to, or draw on, that will remind you of a show like 24. You could, in real time, have a command center going and people out in the field, on a map, where you are feeding data to it, like enemy deployments, and redraw the soldiers incursion map.

The “lenses” allow you to have a layer view that you can drag over an area, say for example a map of IED explosions, if you don't care about the whole map, but a particular area, the lens will just show those IED marks in the area it is active. You can overlay different lenses to intersect datasets in a geographic region, so in the IED example, you could have a Poppy Field lens overlay it (or even just activate both for the entire map), and then look for a high frequency of IED attacks that is geographically close to a Poppy Field under the assumption that terrorists are protecting an income source. It can then pull up biographic data of known terrorists that are known to be in that area.

In a similar vein was in the law enforcement community. I saw an example from Snaptrends that was almost scary. They provide real-time, location-based social intelligence.

Their SaaS software identifies relevant, open/public social media content within a specific geography to enable organizations to more effectively: Prevent, Identify, Respond to and Investigate crimes, threats and emergencies. you can see icons popping up on the map of people sending a Tweet or posting on Facebook (assuming geotagging is enabled), as well as cross reference in the police report data. So for example, suddenly you see a bunch of tweets popping up on a corner, you can click on them and see what they are, could be a bunch of people taking pictures of a fight or something.

That can tie in to the police report data to see what kind of incident is getting reported. You can start to know about events before they get reported, verging on Minority Report style crime divisions. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that.stmapping

What I found most useful however, was the application within government infrastructure, especially in smaller to medium size cities that typically have smaller budgets and are more cost conscious (the larger ones should be, but don't seem to be). The ability to track and monitor assets and predict maintenance schedules was sweet. You can also interface with your citizenry to report information back to you. For example, if there's a dead animal in the road that needs to be picked up, or you are walking at night and see massive overwatering or a broken sprinkler.

Speaking of watering, with all the various water shortages, especially here in California, we are constantly talking about conservation, but if you look at the waste in landscape watering, you can see huge potential for savings, but no one bothers to do it. The three main players I saw in this space were Trimble, Cityworks and Cartegraph, the latter seeming to be the most recent entry in this market and the former two have a co-opertition relationship.

There is a lot going on in this space and it all starts with getting an inventory of your city's assets. This is streets, lights, sprinklers, parks, sidewalks, fire hydrants; what you have and where it is located. You need to inspect the condition of your assets, set their value, assess their performance, at what point do they fail, and at what point it makes more sense to repair or to replace the asset. Once you have everything in place, then you are able to really manage your work and do predictive analysis. If you've got an item that is failing now and it turns out the same item, like a fire hydrant, is due to be replaced around the corner in a month, you might as well consolidate the work and have it done at the same time. It is less expensive to make a single trip than multiple trips, so you start to reduce costs.

What I really like is tying this in with a service like SeeClickFix that allows citizens to report non-emergency items in a city, like broken sprinklers, a street light that is out, dangerous sidewalk cracks,dead animal in the street, that kind of thing. These should go in to the cities intake system where you could let some items get automatically routed to service tickets or maybe they are reviewed before they are routed.

It is a great way for a city to make things easier for their citizens, they don't need to know which entity manages which asset. Maybe there is an HOA for the landscape watering, or the county manages the traffic signals and the city does the street sweeping. If the city took it on themselves to do the routing, then the citizens can just make the reports.

The possibilities for automation, improving responsiveness and cutting costs are really very exciting, at least to me. ESRI has a huge array of developer options as well, pretty much any modern language and platform you care to name, even scripting languages like Python. The array of options is just massive. One thing that struck me is the responsiveness of all these vendors parsing through what has to be massive amounts of data.IMAG0777

I ran across one of the old product reviews I'd written about 25 years ago, and I was gushing at the amazing performance of *only* taking 15 minutes to churn through 20,000 lines of source code, just crazy. The “at a glance' guide for the conference was over 80 pages. There were so many breakout sessions and tutorials that I had to just focus on the vendor floor. ESRI even went so far as to make the tables in some of the areas whiteboards, so you could brainstorm while you were sitting and chatting, I saw a good number of tables with ideas on them, I just had no idea what they were talking about.

To wrap up all too soon, you gotta check out this Twitter page:

Geoawesomeness  geoawesomeness  on Twitter

I was ready to grab 20 pictures off of it for this story, but then I thought about it and the important take away is that just about all data that occurs is being stored, the challenge for these vendors is primarily finding interesting, useful and innovative ways to provide it to you. A little out of the box thinking and you'll be surprised at what you can accomplish.

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By |July 22nd, 2014|Social Media|2 Comments

10 steps to launching the worst membership site on the planet


How to launch the worst membership site

Membership sites are kind of popular nowadays. Probably due to the fact that they are great money making machines (when done right).

Picture the following scenario. Let's say you have an information product that you want to sell. You can either:

  1. Sell it right away (for $100, or perhaps better make it $97 – the go-to price mark for every digital product), or
  2. Offer it as a membership program, where you share one piece of the puzzle every week for $50 monthly. And the whole program takes four months to complete, for example.

The second approach will earn you $200 in total (unless your product is of poor quality and people will unsubscribe sooner), and you'll also get a list of users to whom you can offer your future products.

This is just one benefit behind membership sites.

But hold on!

This post is not about the light side of the force at all.

On the contrary, I actually want to show you the 10 steps to launching the worst membership site on the planet.

Why? I'm doing it just as a way to warn you about making some more (or less) common mistakes.

1. Going with a standard WordPress site

Now, a quick disclaimer. I have nothing against WordPress sites, or using WordPress for everything possible.

So if you want to launch your membership site on WordPress, and you have some cool plugins to pull this off (likeWishList Member), a support solution implemented on the back end, a tested way of managing all your precious content, then fine, you'll do a great job.

If your idea of a membership site is to just password protect some posts and then send the password to your subscribers through email then sorry, this doesn't really cut it.

And it doesn't cut it for one main reason. You're probably pitching your membership site as the best thing ever, featuring some best content ever (which is a fine marketing method, by the way). But if what someone gets after signing up is just a simple WordPress site with a bunch of password protected posts, they won't feel very special at all.

2. No one on the support team

The need to have some support mechanism in place is one of the main drawbacks of launching a membership site.

Support is not something mandatory if you just have a one-off product on your offer. Especially if it's an information product. I mean, what's the worst that could happen with it? The only scenario possible is that someone might think the product is of low quality and request a refund.

But a membership site can experience some more problems. For instance: people will lose their login info, won't be able to access your data using their 1990s' mobile phone, will want to change their billing information, their email, or anything else.

What's my Pottermore Login again?…J.K. Rowling Just Posted A New Harry Potter Short Story via @flashboy

— Ashlea (@AKobukowski) July 8, 2014

This makes it clear that a good membership site needs some kind of a support platform, otherwiseyour reputation will suffer. Period.

3. Automatic content

The point of a membership site is to deliver top quality content that can't be seen elsewhere. That's why someone needs to become a member in order to get it, and why they have to pay a fee to do so.

Some people, however, decide to make their membership site content mainly blog-driven. This means that the majority of the content comes from a blog that's available for free to everyone, and only like 1/3 or 1/4 of the content is the actual exclusive premium content.

Image credit:

This is a trick used mainly by people who desperately want to launch a membership site, yet don't have enough premium content to do it properly, so they turn tosending updates automatically.

In a nutshell: Don't do this. It's not cool. Focus on exclusive content instead.

4. Filler content

Automatic content is publishing stuff that can be found elsewhere for free. Filler content is publishing stuff that can't be found anywhere else, but it's as useful as a stab in the kidney.

@bcaudill I think lots of people do it bc they're lacking content and need filler. And filler becomes so painfully obvious.

— Alex (@northstoryCA) July 8, 2014

It's just meant to fill out the schedule and make it seem like there's much going on. If you think that no one will ever notice, you will be surprised when your subscribers decide to vote with their wallets and simply leave. The nature of the problem is the same as with automatic content – not enough real premium content.

5. Mainly promotion-driven content

Yet another example of bad content practices.

This is something commonly seen in various email newsletters. You know, the case when someone sends you one content email, and nine promotional ones just after that. Don't do the same thing with your membership site.


A much better balance to opt for is nine content-heavy updates for every promotional update. After all, your membership site can be a great marketing tool, which you can use to launch other projects. Which brings me to:

6. Not using your membership as a launchpad for other things

Membership sites can be great on multiple levels. Obviously, the membership itself makes you money and grows your business, but there's so much more you can do apart from that.

For example, no matter what price point you're offering, be it $35 a month or $100 a month, there will always be people willing to pay more in order to get more.

You can capitalize on this in multiple ways. Just to list some of the more popular ideas out there (used by membership site owners):

  • Offering higher-price membership levels. For example, if your standard entry point is $X, make the next level up two times this amount. In it, include some extra exclusive content or even information coming from your own resources or your own studies. In short, make it easily two or three times as valuable as the standard membership.
  • Offering couching calls or other mentoring services. When people start seeing you as an authority figure in your niche, some of them will want to work with you up close or even want you to mentor them. You can charge good dollar per hour for such Skype calls.member7
  • Offering direct consulting services. The idea is kind of similar to the one above, but this time you're providing services geared at delivering a specific result to your client. It can be anything from teaching them how to do interior design, optimize their social media presence,tweak their SEO, and etc. The idea is to make your rate per hour high enough so it makes you happy to do this work and not treat it like a chore.
  • Offering other freelance services. There's a lot more things besides consulting that you can do directly with a client. Depending on your niche, the nature of your main membership program and your area of expertise, you can offer things like: writing services, web design, AdWords management, blog management, online promotion, and so on. Of course, the difficult part is finding the right way to structure your funnel and pitch the right services to the right people. Should you need any help with that, feel free tovisit the guys over at Bidsketch and check their proposal resources (there are templates, guides, and e-books that will get you up to speed).


  • Launching live events. This is an idea that's a bit far down the road, but hey, why not? Once you have a big following in certain areas of the country, you can try organizing an event with live workshops, presentations, group consultations and even Saturday night parties.

7. Not using different types of media

For me, and feel free to disagree, launching a simple membership program (offering just some text content) is not enough to make the project successful.

These days, the internet is chock full of different types of content and methods of delivering information.

For instance, a good membership site should utilize things like: videos, audios, webcasts, web-seminars, apps, software, templates (of something related to the content), infographics, interviews, forums, and so on. Text is simply not enough. Need a good example? Check outFizzle (probably the only honest online business training right now).


I know that it will take some time and dedication to produce all this, but it's the only way you're going to differentiate your content from all the other memberships available on the market.

8. No member's area

Member's area is probably the most common element of every quality membership site. The idea is to provideyour subscribers with a place that's kind of like a dashboard for everything going on.

That's why notifying people via email about some stuff and then sending them over to a standard WordPress post doesn't make it a membership site.

One pretty clear reason why people decide not to offer a member's area is that they don't have enough diverse content to share. Let's face it, if you only have text content, your member's area won't look very attractive.

By the way, every quality membership site solution will give you a member's area you can use to communicate with your subscribers.

9. No semi-premium content

Semi-premium content is something that can be partially accessed by anybody (available publicly).

For instance, you can make every subpage of your membership site available openly to the public, but the trick is to display only the introductions, and to follow it up with a subscription link. (In other words, using teaser content.)

That way, you get the benefit of exposing your premium content, and at the same time you're not really making it available. People who want to get the full pie still have to buy a subscription.

This is great for ranking your content on the search engines, and what follows, for getting additional subscribers who will visit you directly through your search engine listings.

10. No interaction helpers

The final item on this list. Interaction helpers are everything your subscribers can use to interact with each other and with the staff of the site – usually just you.


Having no interaction helpers is a common approach for scam membership sites – those that offer crappy overpriced content. If they enabled any sort of interaction helpers, people would simply blast them with negative reviews, complaints, and all sorts of other hateful yet honest comments. And it would all be publicly visible to every new subscriber.

So if you are in this business for real, you have to enable user interaction and make your site just a little vulnerable to the opinions people might have.

That's it for my list of things on your way to launching the worst membership site on the planet. Feel free to share, have you stumbled upon any crappy membership sites lately?

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By |July 21st, 2014|Social Media|0 Comments