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Keep Your Focus on the Business Priorities That Matter Most

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At the start of each new year, CEOs are often asked about their top business priorities. While tactical details may change by the week in a dynamic global economy, I have found that our business success comes back to three main things: strategy, operations, and people.

Getting those three priorities right is anything but simple, of course, especially amid ever-changing market conditions, regulatory restrictions, and customer expectations. Add to those the generational shift happening in technology, as companies move their operations to the cloud, and there’s plenty to challenge any business leader.

1. Getting the strategy right. Let’s define strategy as a company’s vision and high-level plan for achieving profitable growth and a strong competitive position. Let’s also acknowledge that this strategy might not be popular when you first spell it out.

A vibrant business strategy gets your company to a market position others either didn’t see or follows a path that matches its unique strengths. A decade or so ago, Oracle made the strategic decision to move to the cloud, all-in, by rewriting the company’s applications, database, and other key products specifically for that platform. That strategy entailed expanding R&D spending from about $3.7 billion a year to close to $6 billion at its peak, which necessarily cut into earnings in the short term. In the long run, however, it has positioned the company to take market share, as we’ve moved ahead of competitors with cloud products that are more modern, easier to manage and update, and more cost-efficient.

People may complain that you’re boring if you don’t come out with a shiny new strategy every year or two. But strategy, by definition, provides a long-term view.

2. Getting the operating model right. Globalization, non-stop digital innovation, and a range of other factors have heightened the pressure on business leaders to regularly evaluate and update their company’s operating model—how it delivers value to customers.

Among the operational questions I’m asking: What are our company’s core strengths? Are our product development, sales, marketing, finance, HR, and other teams organized in such a way to maximize those strengths? Does our company culture enhance them? Are our IT systems keeping pace with the needs of our people and the demands of our processes? How does our company generate new ideas and innovations, and how does it retire old processes and products?

One operational change our team made recently involved Oracle’s sales structure. Instead of organizing our cloud application salespeople just by geographic territory, we created territories that are competitor-oriented. For example, one territory consists only of hospitals and other healthcare customers of a particular on-premises ERP software vendor. The rationale: We want our salesperson to intimately understand the shortcomings of that one competitor and the needs and challenges of its customers as they consider moving to the cloud.

3. Getting the best people. Of all the challenges business leaders face, I believe none is more critical than attracting, cultivating, and retaining talented people. Among the many obstacles: Declining birth rates are starting to shrink the global labor pool; not enough college students are majoring in the STEM subjects; and more than 20% of those who do major in STEM at US colleges and universities are from other countries, so most of them are forced to leave the US after they graduate because of outdated visa regulations.

It’s my job, working with HR leadership, to create the programs, incentives, and culture that make our company a destination employer.

At Oracle, we made the decision five or six years ago to stop relying on talent poached from other companies and, instead, we got back to what most companies used to do decades ago: Attract talented young people, many of them right from college campuses, and invest in their development. We’ve since spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the recruiters, training programs and tools, and hub facilities to make that happen. Today, some of those hires are moving into management positions at our company.

Our industry is going through a time of accelerating change, and I’m sure you’re feeling the same about your business. New cloud-based technology options such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the autonomous database are rewriting the rules for all businesses. Thinking of those and other choices through the lens of strategy, operations, and people will help make this period of unrelenting change more manageable.

https://blogs.oracle.com/keep-your-focus-on-the-business-priorities-that-matter-most

Oracle vs. SAP: What You Need to Know

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By Charles Homs, Oracle Vice President, Competitive Intelligence

In its 2018 fourth-quarter earnings announcement, SAP told investors that the company would take a $1 billion restructuring charge in 2019, shedding about 4,400 jobs worldwide. According to Reuters, “key indicators showed signs of weakness in the fourth quarter, with growth in new cloud bookings slowing to 23 percent from 37 percent in the third quarter.”

This comes as no surprise to longtime SAP watchers like me. Recent news coverage has not been flattering. The German magazine AutomotiveIT published a list of recent project failures among SAP customers:

“Elwis,” an SAP project carried out by the German discounter Lidl, is the most recent example of a large-scale installation that failed spectacularly. Before halting the project in August, Lidl had been trying to introduce a new inventory management system using SAP for seven years. Experts estimate that more than 500 million euros were sunk into the project. Lidl had wanted the SAP system to support its growth initiatives, especially in the US. But it abruptly pulled the plug. In an internal letter to its employees, Lidl said: “The strategic goals that were originally defined for the project can no longer be achieved at an acceptable expense.”

The Deutsche Post, Germany’s national postal service, has also had to write off expenditures in the half-billion-euro range in recent years. It wanted to optimize its business processes and supply chains [in its existing SAP environment]. The SAP project was ultimately canceled.

An indemnity payment to US energy company National Grid came to about $70 million after a fruitless attempt to replace an existing legacy application with SAP.

Source: AutomotiveIT, Jan. 2, 2019

And SAP’s issues don’t end there. The media coverage of failed or troubled SAP projects reads like a “who’s who” of the business world: Under Armour, the BBCTargetAurizonDuPontMillerCoors, and many more. The US Army, an existing SAP customer, wrote in a recent RFI: “The Government will entertain options to incrementally reduce its dependence on SAP as well as non-SAP options in order to avoid a costly upgrade to the SAP S4/HANA platform.”

The message is clear: SAP has become too costly, too complex, and too big a security risk.

What SAP is Selling

There is much confusion in the market over what, exactly, SAP is selling, and why customers should invest in it. Launched in 2015, S/4HANA is SAP’s new flagship ERP. It comes in two flavors:

1. S/4HANA Public Cloud. This is available only for professional services firms and component manufacturers. It appears to have a limited subset of functionality compared to the private cloud version.

2. S/4HANA Private Cloud. Available for all other industries, this is the full-featured version. It is essentially an SAP product hosted in SAP data centers, instead of on the customer’s premises. As a result, the delivery model of the software—including customizations and lengthy upgrades—is practically the same as what most customers currently face with their SAP legacy products. S/4HANA Private Cloud lacks the regular updates that come with a public cloud; upgrades remain lengthy, painful and expensive, and require significant downtime.

Custom ERP code, in particular, was called out in the AutomotiveIT story:

On average, each SAP system is thought to contain about 2 million lines of individualized code. Only the customer ultimately takes responsibility for it, not SAP. An analysis of more than 370 customer systems showed that there is one security gap per 1,000 lines of code within their programming. In other words, the average SAP system has about 2,000 security gaps, each of which is capable of compromising the system.

And upgrading to a new ERP—as anyone who’s ever done it can tell you—is a long, painful and expensive project.Since this is custom code, written by the customer or a paid consultant, SAP takes no responsibility for patching or maintaining it. The customer must bear this burden, which is one of the main reasons that a “lift and shift” option is not significantly cheaper than hosting ERP on premises.

To add to the complexity, an upgrade to S/4HANA entails moving to the HANA database. Many SAP customers complain that the move to a new database is not only disruptive and without business merits, but the HANA license alone is excessively pricey.

Many SAP customers currently run Oracle Database and are happy with it. They see no compelling reason to move. Credit Suisse wrote: “People running massive SAP applications on Oracle are staying with Oracle—after looking at SAP HANA. Not seeing migration to any non-Oracle database.” (Source: Credit Suisse, “Overnight Success 40 Years in the Making”, Oct. 6, 2017)

Get All the ERP You Need in the Cloud

If you, like many SAP customers, see a database migration as expensive and unnecessary, it’s time to look at the Oracle Cloud suite. Oracle ERP CloudOracle EPM Cloud, and Oracle SCM Cloud offer a comprehensive set of applications to run your finances and supply chain; you can even add HR and customer experience. All of these cloud applications run on Oracle Database using a single data model, reducing complexity and giving you a clearer view of the data that matters to your business.

Unlike SAP’s public cloud, the Oracle Cloud offers a complete suite with full functionality across industries. Since it’s a public cloud, there is no custom code, significantly reducing the risk of security breaches. It also costs much less to maintain, since Oracle takes care of all the patching and updates. And it offers continuous innovation, with Oracle rolling out new capabilities in its cloud applications once a quarter. No more waiting years between upgrades.

Machine Learning Made Simple with Oracle

One of the most significant innovations available in Oracle Cloud is machine learning. Many software vendors make machine learning complicated, selling a development platform (such as SAP’s Leonardo) that the customer must use to build their own ML apps, or deploy an ML toolkit, which only data scientists and IT would know how to use. Oracle takes a different approach, embedding ML directly into its cloud applications. For example, the machine learning capabilities in Oracle ERP Cloud can recommend potential discount rates to offer suppliers:

In this example, Oracle ERP Cloud recommends three different options, letting the user decide the best one for the situation. Machine learning in Oracle Cloud:

  • Helps users make the right decisions
  • Provides context to users to make the information more understandable
  • Uncovers patterns and shows exceptions
  • Uses company and third-party data (price of commodity, return on equity, credit scores, etc.) to make recommendations

Oracle is also embedding digital assistants, the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain into its cloud applications for even more uses—such as helping employees file expense reports, tracking and tracing goods and services, and monitoring the condition of goods across the supply chain.

These new technologies are not just for data scientists. Every user and business can benefit from them. AutomotiveIT quotes Oracle Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison: “Machine learning permits the automatic creation of business transactions, the triggering of ordering processes, or the automatic payment of supplier invoices—all without human error.” Ellison continued: “No ERP system is as high-performing as our [ERP Cloud] suite.”

Best Practices Evolve with Constant Innovation

Additionally, Oracle Cloud applications are built on best practices, which continue to evolve using machine learning. A typical business process, such as closing the books at the end of every month, might involve eight distinct steps. In the near future, as ML automates more tasks and learns from previous interactions, the number of steps might be compressed to three. Such an evolution in best practices is simply not possible with a static, hosted ERP system.

AutomotiveIT concludes, “Oracle clearly has the edge with its wide-ranging cloud initiative in the area of ERP.”

With a true cloud suite, updated regularly, infused with the latest technologies and built on evolving best practices, Oracle offers a cloud ERP that can help you future-proof your business. It just might be the last ERP upgrade you’ll ever do.

 
https://blogs.oracle.com/oracle-vs-sap%3A-what-you-need-to-know-v2

5 Database Management Predictions for 2019

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With the release of 18c and Oracle Autonomous Database, 2018 has been an incredible year for the database. 

So what's happening in 2019? Here are five database predictions:

1. Database Maintenance Automation Will Accelerate

Many routine database management tasks have already been automated in the last few years. In future years, traditional, on-premises databases will be competing against cloud-native deployments. And increasingly, those cloud-native deployments will be autonomous databases with hands-free database management.

So what does this mean? 

Responsibilities will evolve to less involvement of the physical environment and the actual database, but more involvement with managing and making use of the data. As it gets simpler to manage data, data itself will become more valuable as it becomes easier to use. This will be an exciting time as careers advance and adjust to the changing landscape. You can already see that today, with the popularity of jobs such as data scientist and data engineer. 

2. Database Security Will Become Ever More Important

Big surprise, right? Or maybe not. Unfortunately, we hear the headlines about security breaches all the time. Threats to security will become more common as other players realize the value of data and how they can turn it to their own advantage. And when we say more common, we mean it. A recent Oracle Threat Report predicts the number of security events will increase 100-fold by 2025.

It’s simply no longer possible for humans to detect, correlate, analyze, and then address all threats in a timely manner. So what can IT professionals do about this? Many of them are turning to autonomous solutions. Autonomous monitoring and auditing can identify many issues and threats against the database. It can monitor cloud service settings, notify DBAs of changes, and prevent configuration drift by allowing IT pros to restore approved settings at any time.

When you have an Autonomous Database that uses machine learning to detect threats and stop them, it’s just easier to rely on the security experts at Oracle while you explore ways to extract more value from data to help drive better business outcomes.

3. Standards for Database Reliability, Availability, and Performance Will Go Up

Database reliability, availability, and performance have always been important and in 2019, they’ll continue to be so. Autonomous data management will take those capabilities to the next level. For example, the machine learning capabilities of Autonomous Database can automatically patch systems the moment vulnerabilities are discovered. Autonomous data management will improve uptime and also boost security.

This means that standards will get higher. In the past, we’ve sometimes been able to get away with blaming human error. But that excuse doesn’t really pass muster anymore when there’s an autonomous option.

However, even though software patches are applied automatically in the background and all actions are audited, DBAs will still have to monitor the unified audit trail logs and perform actions accordingly if necessary.

4. The Volume of Data Will Continue Exploding

With data growth—well, we’ve all seen the countless charts and graphs detailing the explosion of data from social media and video and IoT and thousands of other sources that weren’t common even 10 years ago.

That size of data isn’t a major factor when considering the productivity of DBAs, but it does matter when you think about the number of instances and variety of database brands and versions.

This is something that increasingly, DBAs are going to have to think about—how will they manage all of this data in an efficient way? It’ll be a strong factor for moving to the cloud, because most cloud databases can be provisioned in 40 minutes or fewer, versus weeks using the old on-premises methods.

5. Database Provisioning Will Become Even More Automated

In today’s world, 95 percent of DBAs still manually create and update databases. But automated database provisioning is becoming more popular as it improves with each new iteration. With the performance-tuning dimension that Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse already brings, and new automatic indexing features for the Autonomous Database, automated database provisioning will become even easier for DBAs.

As data grows and the need for data-driven analytics increases, DBAs will need to help businesses get data faster to meet business demands. 

What do you see for data management in 2019, and what are you most excited about?

For us, it’s witnessing how machine learning combined with a modern, automated database is going to revolutionize the way we use data. 2018 has been a groundbreaking year for Oracle, and we’re looking forward to seeing more of the same in 2019.

If you want to try out the world’s most groundbreaking database technology, sign up for a free trial of Oracle Autonomous Database today or read the walkthrough of how Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse works.

And to read through the other database management predictions with quotes from top DBAs, download the full ebook, “Database Management Predictions 2019.”

 

 

https://blogs.oracle.com/5-database-management-predictions-for-2019

Deliberate Innovation

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Artificial intelligence, digital assistants, and machine learning and are hot topics everywhere, including in HR departments. But buzz doesn’t necessarily equal benefits—the human capital management (HCM) professionals I speak to are asking important questions about these technologies. They want to know, “How can we be sure these digital innovations will help us manage talent more effectively and support our enterprise’s larger business goals?”

We’ve come up with a twofold answer. First, look at the HCM capabilities that are available today and at those that may come in the year ahead. Second, assess the specific ways these capabilities can transform core HR processes.

Machine Assist

For example, consider how AI and machine learning can function as natural tools for increasing efficiency. In 2018 Oracle introduced digital assistants powered by these technologies to help current employees answer common HR questions, such as how much vacation time they’ve accrued. Quick answers through digital assistants make employees feel they’re receiving a high degree of personal service while also freeing the HR staff to use its expertise in ways that are more impactful for the business.

Oracle is now looking at the next step: Digital assistants that don’t just respond to questions but also proactively deliver important information. For example, if someone gets shut out of a popular training class, a digital assistant may automatically find a related class and offer help in registering.

Similarly, AI and machine learning support Oracle’s latest tools for determining best-fit job candidates, which we recently introduced as part of Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud. The tools go beyond just using traditional matching technology to link talent profiles with open requisitions. As with succession management, AI analyzes the characteristics of the organization’s most successful people to identify similar individuals based on these qualities.

Oracle is now exploring how this approach might improve succession management. Often, companies see the top succession candidates as those with the longest tenure or who stand next in line. But those individuals may not always be the best choices. Perhaps a junior-level employee offers a more valuable skill set. We’re looking into how emerging technologies could help identify people with superior leadership skills, a demonstrated ability to innovate, or expertise important to a specific business unit.

AI could do this by analyzing data about all the people who have been successful in similar positions to find common professional experiences, personality traits called out in performance reviews, and academic backgrounds that would point to success in the new role. These candidates could then be placed in career development programs that ensure that they’re ready to move up when an opening occurs.

Incremental Moves

These areas show the promise of new technology for HR, but gauging its value for an individual organization requires careful analysis. First, consider the enterprise’s overall business strategy and look for ways that HR process improvements can further those goals.

Second, pick an area for piloting new technology where there’s an opportunity for a quick win. When people become comfortable with the technology, managers can then expand the assistant’s capabilities.

By thinking about these three areas—business processes, quick wins, and expanding the capabilities of assistants and other innovations—HR executives increase the odds that innovation will transform their organization.

Gretchen Alarcon is group vice president for Human Capital Management strategy at Oracle.

https://blogs.oracle.com/deliberate-innovation-in-hcm

Deliberate Innovation

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By Gretchen Alarcon

Artificial intelligence, digital assistants, and machine learning and are hot topics everywhere, including in HR departments. But buzz doesn’t necessarily equal benefits—the human capital management (HCM) professionals I speak to are asking important questions about these technologies. They want to know, “How can we be sure these digital innovations will help us manage talent more effectively and support our enterprise’s larger business goals?”

We’ve come up with a twofold answer. First, look at the HCM capabilities that are available today and at those that may come in the year ahead. Second, assess the specific ways these capabilities can transform core HR processes.

Machine Assist

For example, consider how AI and machine learning can function as natural tools for increasing efficiency. In 2018 Oracle introduced digital assistants powered by these technologies to help current employees answer common HR questions, such as how much vacation time they’ve accrued. Quick answers through digital assistants make employees feel they’re receiving a high degree of personal service while also freeing the HR staff to use its expertise in ways that are more impactful for the business.

Oracle is now looking at the next step: Digital assistants that don’t just respond to questions but also proactively deliver important information. For example, if someone gets shut out of a popular training class, a digital assistant may automatically find a related class and offer help in registering.

Similarly, AI and machine learning support Oracle’s latest tools for determining best-fit job candidates, which we recently introduced as part of Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud. The tools go beyond just using traditional matching technology to link talent profiles with open requisitions. As with succession management, AI analyzes the characteristics of the organization’s most successful people to identify similar individuals based on these qualities.

Oracle is now exploring how this approach might improve succession management. Often, companies see the top succession candidates as those with the longest tenure or who stand next in line. But those individuals may not always be the best choices. Perhaps a junior-level employee offers a more valuable skill set. We’re looking into how emerging technologies could help identify people with superior leadership skills, a demonstrated ability to innovate, or expertise important to a specific business unit.

AI could do this by analyzing data about all the people who have been successful in similar positions to find common professional experiences, personality traits called out in performance reviews, and academic backgrounds that would point to success in the new role. These candidates could then be placed in career development programs that ensure that they’re ready to move up when an opening occurs.

Incremental Moves

These areas show the promise of new technology for HR, but gauging its value for an individual organization requires careful analysis. First, consider the enterprise’s overall business strategy and look for ways that HR process improvements can further those goals.

Second, pick an area for piloting new technology where there’s an opportunity for a quick win. When people become comfortable with the technology, managers can then expand the assistant’s capabilities.

By thinking about these three areas—business processes, quick wins, and expanding the capabilities of assistants and other innovations—HR executives increase the odds that innovation will transform their organization.

Gretchen Alarcon is group vice president for Human Capital Management strategy at Oracle.

https://blogs.oracle.com/deliberate-innovation-v2

How to Build Backlinks in Less Than 1 Hour

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backlinks

I have a question for you…

How do you build links?

If I had to bet, chances are you spend little to no time on link building.

Why? Because it’s hard.

But why should link building be hard?

Most parts of SEO are much simpler and cost-effective.

For example, if you want to write content… you just go and write it.

It may not be great content, but nothing is stopping you starting, learning, and improving.

On the other hand, if you want to build links, where would you start?

That’s a bit tricky because link tools cost money… and a lot of money if you are just starting out.

But that’s going to change in 30 days with your help!

Link building made simple

As you may know, I released a new version of Ubersuggest a few weeks ago. And with your help, I want to roll out a free link tool.

Here’s what I am thinking and, before I roll it out, I want to get your feedback.

So, with the new Ubersuggest, I made it where you can put in a URL.

Let’s say I’m your competitor… neilpatel.com.

You would head over to Ubersuggest and just put in neilpatel.com

You’ll end up with a report that looks something like this:

ubersuggest

Now, the most useful part of the tool (and this is where I want to integrate link building) is the top pages.

It shows you the pages on your competitors’ sites that are the most popular.

The way most SEOs grow their traffic is by finding out what’s working for their competitor and then copying them or, even better, one-upping them.

So if you were competing with me, you could see all of my most popular pages based on Google traffic.

top pages

You can even click on “view all” under the Est. Visits column to see all of the keywords that are driving traffic to my site.

top keywords pages

I know this report isn’t perfect, but it gives you a really good idea of what you should be targeting if you want more traffic.

Because if something is working for your competitors, it will probably work for you.

But there is one big issue… if you just write similar content to your competition, there is no guarantee that you will beat them. Unless you build more links than them.

So on that same report, I was thinking about adding a drop-down that breaks down the exact links that drive traffic to each specific URL.

It would look something like this:

backlink data

I know the data is fake and junk, but hopefully it gives you an idea of what I am thinking.

This one report will allow you to see who is linking to your competitor’s most popular pages, the anchor text they are using, when the link was last seen, and even the authority (page score) of the backlink.

Now, before you give me feedback on this report, there is one more report I’m thinking about launching within the next 30 days.

Backlinks

For those of you who are advanced SEOs, I was thinking about making it super easy to see who links to you as well as your competition.

I want to start off with something basic so I can get you this report/feature within 30 days.

It would look something like this:

backlink report

You’ll be able to see the authority of the page or a domain, the total number of backlinks, how many nofollow links, referring domains, and even referring IPs.

If you want to get granular, you can, by just looking at new links or lost links or even one link per domain.

And of course you can see all the details of the link, such as title, URL, anchor text, authority, if the link was a text link or an image link, and when the link was last seen.

If you want to drill down further, the filters will allow you to do that.

backlink filters

Once you have the data looking the way you want, you’ll be able to easily export the data.

Conclusion

The whole purpose of this tool would be to make link building easier for you. You’ll be able to type in any URL, find out who links out to them, and easily hit them up and ask for them to link to your site.

The reports won’t take more than 10 seconds to load… so finding opportunities won’t be difficult. Crafting emails and doing the outreach will be the hard part.

I know this won’t automate all of your the link building efforts, but it will make the process easier and much more efficient for you.

So, what do you think, should I release this feature within the next 30 days?

And if you think I should do it, what other features would you want me to release?

Oh, and the link data would be fresh and updated daily.

The post How to Build Backlinks in Less Than 1 Hour appeared first on Neil Patel.

17 Hidden Facebook Marketing Tools That Will Increase Your Engagement by 154%

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facebook

Facebook engagement is easier and more valuable than you ever imagined.

I found this out the hard way.

At one point, I was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a month on Facebook Ads.

Sure, I was getting some huge successes. But I was also wasting a ton of money.

For example, I once spent $400,000 on Facebook fan page likes.

I still feel dumb for that one…

The engagement just wasn’t there. I had a large number of fans but very little actual engagement.

I had no idea that hidden tools within Facebook’s apps, extensions, insights, tactics, and bots that could have made my Facebook ad spend 80 times more effective.

Facebook marketing is like an iceberg. Most people see the top part — Facebook ads. They spend their entire time optimizing that little bit of potential.

The real power is underneath. It’s hidden.

And that’s why I created this list.

I want you to know exactly what those hidden Facebook marketing tools are and how you can increase your engagement by 154% as I did.

Now before we get started, for the first few hidden tools you need Mobile Monkey to utilize all of the tactics (it’s free). In addition to that, some of the hidden tools that I’ll uncover are within Facebook… you just don’t know about them. 😉

Hidden Tool #1: Facebook Messenger Marketing

Okay, I’m starting out with a big, broad one.

It’s hiding in plain sight: Facebook Messenger marketing.

For some reason, not very many marketers are taking advantage of Messenger marketing, even though it’s the hottest opportunity in digital marketing today.

What does this mean for you? It means that you can gain first mover’s advantage.

Using Facebook Messenger for marketing is as simple as it sounds… you send messages to customers on Facebook Messenger.

What makes this channel different from other marketing methods like email marketing is the results.

Where else can you get engagement results like that?

I don’t know of any, and I’ve done quite a bit of online marketing.

The best way to get started with Facebook Messenger marketing is with MobileMonkey.

MobileMonkey is a powerful chatbot builder that I use personally. Chatbots are essential for scoring sky-high open rates, CTRs, and conversion rates.

And best of all, it’s free.

Hidden Tool #2: Comment Guard (Private Reply via Messenger)

A comment guard is a Facebook Messenger marketing feature that allows you to add new contacts to your contact list when they comment on your Facebook post.

It’s like a magic elixir for engagement.

It works like this.

  1. You post something on Facebook as usual.
  2. People comment on your post.
  3. Anyone who comments on the post gets your automatic private reply in Messenger.
  4. When they engage with this reply, they are added to your Facebook Messenger contact list.

The mobile screenshot below displays exactly what happens.

Someone comments on the post, and they immediately receive a Messenger message.

Imagine this. You post something on your Facebook page that has high engagement potential… a meme, a quiz, a contest, a question, whatever. All the comments that you rack up aren’t just comments anymore, they’re warm leads.

You’ll need to use MobileMonkey in order to pull this off, but it’s really easy.

  1. Just click the “FB comment guard” button using the MobileMonkey app.
  2. Create an autoresponder message.
  3. Point them to your Messenger chat landing page.
  4. Add the comment guard to your selected Facebook post.

Hidden Tool #3: Click to Messenger Ads

A Click-to-Messenger Ad is a normal Facebook ad with a twist. Instead of sending people to a landing page, you send them to a Facebook Messenger bot sequence.

It looks like this:

Once the person starts that Facebook Messenger sequence, they are a lead. And that’s when a chatbot takes over to bring them down the conversion funnel.

For example, you could have your chatbot ask users questions, and send them offers that they’re interested in.

It can be hard to manually respond to thousands of message inquiries. Instead, you can direct those chat sessions derived from your Messenger Ads directly to a MobileMonkey chatbot, which can ask qualifying questions and engage users at scale.

Check out this article, for step by step instructions on leveraging this ad unit

Hidden Tool #4: Chat Blaster

Chat blasting is a powerful method for getting your message in front of your entire Facebook Messenger list in minutes.

I’ve managed chat blasting campaigns that scored a 96.9% open rates in just sixty minutes.

With MobileMonkey you can schedule chat blasts, bulk send, develop interactive Messenger sequences, create special offers, and anything else that helps your marketing.

To start, just click “Chat Blaster” in the app.

One of the things that I like about the Chat Blaster is the ability to segment audiences. Many of the campaigns that I manage involve thousands of contacts, so I want to narrow down my contacts to just the right targets.

Creating segments is simple using MobileMonkey, which allows you to “Create Audience” with a click.

Your audience can perform self-segmentation when the chat blast sends.

Hidden Tool #5: Messenger Scan Codes

Remember QR codes? They didn’t really catch on that big, but the idea is gaining new ground with Facebook Messenger codes.

Anyone who’s on Facebook Messenger has a unique code.

  • In Messenger, tap on your profile picture in the upper right.
  • Then tap your profile picture again
  • The image that appears is your Messenger code.

From this screen, you can also scan a code.

Your Facebook page’s unique scan code is an excellent way to add people to your Messenger contact list. A person simply scans your code and they’re part of your list.

I can see applications for this at conferences, on bulletin board ads, merchandise, or even business cards.

Hidden Tool #6.  Warm Engaged Invites

One tactic that I’ve used to build my Facebook audience is by personally inviting people who have engaged with my facebook page, to become a page fan.

From your business Facebook page (desktop), find a post that has engagement.

Using this tool, you view the people who engaged with your post and can invite people to like the page.

The reason why this is valuable is that you’re able to target engaged fans. If you have a lot of Facebook fans, but not a lot of engagement, Facebook’s algorithm will punish you.

Instead, identify those people who will be engaged and manually invite them.

Hidden Tool #7: Send Personal Invites in Messenger

A similar hack is inviting your friends to like your business page, and also sending the invite in Messenger.

This is the method that I recommend since you can also personalize the message and give them two touches instead of just one.

Click on the … button on your Facebook page, then click “Invite Friends.”

Here, you can invite friends and create a personalized message. Be sure to check the box at the bottom to send the invite using Messenger.

Hidden Tool #8: Invite People to Your Facebook Group by Email

I love hacks that combine two platforms. I can leverage one of my marketing channels by combining it with another.

You can invite people to join your Facebook group by sending them an email. Obviously, you’ll need an email list to do this.

Here’s how.

From your Facebook Group page, click “members” on the left side.

From the next page, you can add email addresses and personal notes to invitees.

Currently, the only way I know how to do this is manually. If you have a large email list, it could take some time. :/

Hidden Tool #9: Competitor Ad Espionage

I’m a huge fan of ethical espionage.

In the world of SEO, it’s not that hard.

Just plug in a URL to something like RankSignals.

Boom, instantly you have intel.

And some of it is really helpful.

But with so many brands now spending millions on Facebook ads, how do you get a handle on that kind of information?

You will not be able to get your competitor’s targeting info and ad spend but you can find out where, how often, and what the competition is advertising.

Let’s say I’m the competition and you want to spy on me. First, find my Facebook page and tap the “i” button on the right side.

On this page, you can find out if the page has ever changed names, when it was created, and where the page managers are located. This can be handy intel.

Tap on “Active Ads.”

If the page is running ads, you’ll be able to see them here.

Hidden Tool #10:  Page Competition Gauge

I like to have a solid understanding of who my competition is and what they’re up to.

But how do I know who my competition is? Thankfully, Facebook’s algorithm has figured it out for me.

To use this feature, go to your Facebook Page Insights. From Insights, scroll down until you see “Pages to Watch.”

By default, Facebook shows you five potential competitors, but you can view more by clicking “See More Suggested Pages.”

When you add a competitor to your watched pages, you’ll be able to keep up with their activity, growth rates, total likes, and the frequency of their posts.

This information will help you understand how you’re doing and what you might need to change.

Hidden Tool #11: Find Where You’re Gaining Followers

It is important for you to figure out where you’re getting your followers so you can know how to get more.

One helpful way to get this information is again through Page Insights. Tap “Followers” and scroll down until you see “Where Your Page Follows Happened.”

Facebook shows you follow quantities according to five locations:

  1. On Your Page
  2. Search
  3. Uncategorized Desktop
  4. Your Posts
  5. Others

If a particular source shows large follow rates, try to reverse engineer what happened, then do it again.

Hidden Tool #12: Identify Audience Signals on Page Insights

One way that I use metrics to leverage my marketing efforts is to view my Facebook page insights, particularly the demographic information.

When viewing this information, I’m looking for strong positives — indications that my audience favors a particular demographic.

For example, this page demonstrates a strong positive for men and women between the ages of 25-44.

If you’re 21, there’s only a small chance you’re going to be interested in my page. By contrast, if you’re a 30-year old male, there is a far stronger likelihood that you will have an interest in this page.

This information helps me know how, where, and upon whom to focus my marketing and advertising efforts.

Hidden Tool #13: Pull Email Addresses

I love this hack.

You know how hard it is to get people’s email address these days, right? No matter how appealing your content upgrade, asking for someone’s email address is tantamount to asking for their social security number.

With Facebook Messenger marketing, that’s no longer the case.

You can create a Facebook Messenger chatbot that asks for an individual’s email address. Then, all they do is click a button to pre-fill their address.

Facebook does all the work for you.

Here’s what the bot looks like in MobileMonkey.

As long as you set the input type as email, Facebook will know to pull the user’s email address exactly as they’ve entered it when creating a Facebook account. No typos, nothing.

This is another case of using two different channels to get information and engage your users. When you use a chatbot, it makes the process automatic and easy.

Hidden Tool #14: Pull Phone Numbers

If there’s one thing harder to get from a customer than their email address, it’s their phone number.

Again, powered by chatbots, it’s a cinch. Using input type “phone” in MobileMonkey means that you’re guaranteed to get the user’s primary phone number as they provided when and if they stored their phone number in Facebook.

It’s understandable that people are hesitant to enter their phone number on an unfamiliar platform — a contact form on your, for instance.

It’s quite a different level of comfort when they are asked for a phone number in a familiar messaging app, and Facebook automatically adds the number.

Literally, all that your contact has to do is tap their phone number.

Hidden Tool #15: Website Chat Widget

This one seems obvious, but again it’s surprising how few websites are putting the power of a website chat widget to work.

Check this out. If you go to MobileMonkey’s website, there is a chat widget on nearly every page.

If you’ve logged into Facebook Messenger on that browser, all you have to do is click and you’re introduced to a Messenger sequence with MobileMonkey.

This sequence powered by a chatbot brings you further down the funnel.

One of the unique and powerful features of this funnel is that it is self-guided. You feel as if you’re in control — making choices and selecting options.

Regardless of your choices, however, you are making deeper connections with the product and the marketing funnel.

Hidden Tool #16: Track Specific Facebook Conversions

The good thing about Facebook Ads Manager is that you have access to a ton of information.

The bad thing about Facebook Ads Manager is that you also have access to a ton of information.

Take conversions, for example.

If you’re tracking them, good for you. But which conversions are you tracking? Here are the options:

I call this one “hidden” because true conversions are essentially in Ad Manager underneath a lot of other noise.

You have to narrow down your conversion tracking to just the conversions that you need to know about.

For one of my businesses, I only focus on five types of conversions.

Everything else is useless.

I’ve written about this before when you get clarity on what to track, you’ll do a lot better at making real progress with your Facebook advertising.

Hidden Tool #17: Messenger Drip Campaigns

If you’ve been in Internet marketing for any amount of time, you know how potent a good drip campaign can be.

Imagine increasing this potency by 10x.

That’s exactly what a Facebook Messenger drip campaign can do. Again, the power is in the chatbot builder.

MobileMonkey’s drip campaign feature just takes a click to get started.

Unlike an email drip campaign which can take days or weeks to complete, a Facebook Messenger drip campaign can be completed in a matter of minutes or hours.

Plus, when you use a chatbot, the entire sequence can be interactive. You can create choices and engage the user on a far deeper level.

Conclusion

There’s way more to Facebook than meets the eye.

I have a strong sense that Facebook marketing isn’t going to decline in the next 2-4 years. It’s going to become exponentially more powerful.

There’s a reason why so many of the hidden marketing tools above focus on Facebook Messenger.

Facebook Messenger marketing has fundamentally changed the game, and it’s done so in two  areas where marketing rises or falls:

  • Interactivity or dialogue — Messenger marketing, even when powered by a bot, has a personal feel. Instead of bullhorn marketing — telling your audience to do, buy, read, visit, watch. You’re asking for their feedback and opening up a conversation.
  • Speed of engagement — Unlike the glacial speed of email marketing (like drip campaigns), Messenger marketing has a much swifter cadence. Many people have a pavlovian response to the crisp ding of their Messenger notifications. They want to see who’s sending them a personal message. This means your open rates and click through rates are shooting up.

It’s not going to last forever. Like the banner ads of decades past, Messenger marketing will lose its luster as people become accustomed to it.

By engaging Messenger marketing now, you’ll have a far stronger advantage.

What Messenger marketing tactics does your brand or business currently use?

The post 17 Hidden Facebook Marketing Tools That Will Increase Your Engagement by 154% appeared first on Neil Patel.