Mastering Gamification – A 30-day strategy to enhance customer engagement – #business #bookreview

 

Mastering Gamification

Customer Engagement in 30 Days

Scot Harris and Kevin O’Gorman

(Impackt Publishing – Kindle, paperback)

 Gamification is now a popular buzz word in many parts of the business world. This book wisely does not try to cover every angle, but stays focused on one application: “Marketing and sales people are using gamification to improve customer loyalty and engagement, knowing that it will lead to increased profitability,” the authors write.

They emphasize that “gamifying does not mean turning your business or website into a game. As Gamification.org defines it, gamifying is:

‘The presence or addition of game-like characteristics in anything
that has not been traditionally considered a game.’

 “Take particular note of the word ‘characteristics’ in this phrase,” the authors point out . “The purpose of gamifying is not to turn something into a game, but to apply understanding and knowledge about the basic human desires we all have that make us like games to a non-gaming environment, and hopefully to improve our businesses.”

 You may not finish all of the exercises, nor follow all of the suggestions in this well-written book. Yet the well-structured, 30-day plan offered by Harris and O’Gorman still can help you think harder about your business, how customers see it and how they engage–or don’t engage–with the products or services you offer.

 Even if you operate a small enterprise where you are the entire staff, this book can offer some good ideas and useful tips that can help you make more sales and keep customers coming back.

 What the authors aim to do is help you create and “launch a long-range, ongoing, continuous process of attracting the attention of a target audience, drawing them into a social space built around you and your products or services, encouraging them to evangelize about your products or services, and instilling in them an unshakable sense of loyalty.”

 In other words, you learn how to use some gamification techniques to get customers’ attention, keep their attention, and keep them coming back for more of whatever you are selling–three major keys to long-term survival and growth in business.

Si Dunn

The Art of SEO, 2nd Ed. – Managing Search Engine Optimization – #bookreview #in

The Art of SEO, 2nd Edition: Mastering Search Engine Optimization
By Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer, Jessie Stricchiola, and Rand Fishkin
(O’Reilly,
paperback, list price $49.99; Kindle edition, list price $39.99)

If you have a business website and also use social media, you likely have been bombarded with email messages , tweets or “comments” from spammers claiming to be “SEO experts.”

The four authors of this well-regarded and useful book really are experts in the field of search engine optimization (SEO). And their hefty book frequently is considered a must-have text for learning how to make online search work in ways that will help bring more customers or clients to your website.

The new, 688-page second edition of The Art of SEO “has been completely revamped and updated from the first edition, taking into account the changes in the search engine industry and the rising influence of social media,” the authors state.

This is not a book that you can zip through 1-2-3 and check “SEO” off your to-do list. Search engine optimization is a much bigger and more complicated task than you may realize. Fortunately, this well-written, well-organized and reasonably well-illustrated book “is designed to be a complete and thorough education on search engine optimization for SEO practitioners at all levels.”

The intended audience “includes web developers, development managers, marketing people, and key business personnel.” But even if you run a one-person shop with a website that is intended to draw customers or clients, you can learn useful techniques and new strategies from The Art of SEO, 2nd Edition.  Just be prepared to study a bit. As the authors note, “[Y]ou can think of [this book] as SEO 101, SEO 102 and SEO 103.”

The book has 14 chapters:

  1. Search: Reflecting Consciousness and Connecting Commerce
  2. Search Engine Basics
  3. Determining Your SEO Objectives and Defining Your Site’s Audience
  4. First Stages of SEO
  5. Keyword Research
  6. Developing an SEO-Friendly Website
  7. Creating Link-Worthy Content and Link Marketing
  8. How Social Media and User Data Play a Role in Search Results and Rankings
  9. Optimizing for Vertical Search
  10. Tracking Results and Measuring Success
  11. Domain Changes, Post-SEO Redesigns, and Troubleshooting
  12. SEO Research and Study
  13. Build an In-House SEO Team, Outsource It, or Both?
  14. An Evolving Art Form: The Future of SEO

“Search has become integrated into the fabric of our society,” the four writers note. Worldwide, more than 158 billion searches are performed each month, and more than 5 billion searches are performed each day, they estimate.

If you want to be found more often in those searches, you definitely need to start paying closer attention to search engine optimization. And The Art of SEO, 2nd Edition can be your steady how-to guide and reference point.

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Si Dunn is a novelist, screenwriter, freelance book reviewer, and former software technical writer and software/hardware QA test specialist. He also is a former newspaper and magazine photojournalist. His latest book is Dark Signals, a Vietnam War memoir. He is the author of an e-book detective novel, Erwin’s Law, now also available in paperback, plus a novella, Jump, and several other books and short stories.

The New Rules of Marketing & PR – More how-to from David Meerman Scott – #bookreview

The New Rules of Marketing & PR (3rd Edition)
How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases & Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly
By David Meerman Scott
(John Wiley & Sons, Inc.,
paperback, list price $19.95; Kindle edition, list price $19.95)

More than a quarter million copies of this book have been purchased since it first appeared in 2007, and it has been translated into more than 25 languages. David Meerman Scott clearly has some fans and has jarred some thinking in the marketing and public relations world.

So the updated advice, examples and how-to tips in his book’s third edition may be just what you need if you are in the process of starting up a business or trying to revamp and modernize your existing marketing approaches.

The updates include new examples and ideas drawn from the author’s many sessions with audiences around the world, as well as responses to posts in his well-known marketing and leadership blog, WebInkNow.

Two timely and important new chapters also have been added.

  • “Mobile Marketing: Reaching Buyers Wherever They Are” focuses on using “location-based mobile marketing” to reach buyers via “GPS-enabled mobile applications for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, and other devices….”
  • And, “Marketing and PR in Real Time” makes the key point that “[i]f you pay attention to what’s happening in your marketplace and react instantly, you can insert yourself into stories as they unfold, generating market attention not possible if you want even a day to react.” Scott shows you how to do this.

The third edition is stronger than the previous two editions on answering “How do I get started?” For example, the book includes a new “Marketing & PR Strategy Planning Template” that is designed “to help people implement strategies for reaching buyers directly.”

Writes Scott: “I believe it’s essential to shift out of the marketer’s comfort zone of preaching about products and services….The marketing and PR strategy template is built on the same principle I use throughout this book: that understanding buyers and publishing information on the web especially for them drives action.”

The goal, he says, is to publish “valuable information” so “your content surfaces when buyers are looking for help solving their problems!”

This book likely will not be the only one you will need to help launch or modernize your marketing and public relations strategy. But David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing & PR definitely should be at the top of your list and the one you read first.

Si Dunn‘s latest book is a detective novel, Erwin’s Law. His other published works include Jump, a novella, and a book of poetry, plus several short stories, including The 7th Mars Cavalry, all available on Kindle. He is a screenwriter, a freelance book reviewer and a former technical writer and software/hardware QA test specialist.