Articles by: Raul Harman
Inbound marketing is a set of marketing tactics and techniques concentrated on utilizing content relevant strategies to current and prospective purchasers and then pulling them toward a business and its products.
A dominant characteristic of it is that inbound marketing isn’t just one tool, one technique or even a single campaign. Rather, it is a group of on-going activities that, when completed successfully, create highly visible scalable revenue driver.
In recent years, there was a big shift in consumer behavior. Almost 80% of Americans shop online, and the rest of the world will soon follow. People purchase things through their smartphones more and more. Such trends mean that the eCommerce world is becoming more accessible, faster, and takes place over a broader variety of platforms and devices. The final conclusion is that inbound marketing is the one marketing approach that empowers eCommerce businesses to scale engagement with prospective and current consumers. The goals of inbound marketing include:
- Increased number of visitors.
- Bigger lifetime value.
- Increased average order value.
- Increased conversion rates.
Want to know how to plan your inbound marketing strategy? Read on and find out!
Set up your website
Selling anything online start with a place to sell it – your eCommerce website. If you are going with bare essentials, you can sell from marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, or Etsy. Here, all that you will need is to create a profile. Their only disadvantage is that you won’t be able to accurately track conversions and build your own brand.
For high-quality hosted eCommerce platforms, you can use Shopify, Wix, Weebly or Squarespace. Other than that, you can set up your own eCommerce website with WooCommerce or WordPress.
All aforementioned options can give you a nice technical foundation with quick, easy setup. They will also enable you to incorporate a customized design – “theme”. Themes enable you to have a website that looks good and acts fast, while you don’t have to spend months of effort and large sums of money on building them.
Developing a store on an already established platform allows you to implement a unique and easy-to-build design.
Organic search and search engine optimization
While there is a broad range of paid traffic, a successful SEO strategy is always a pure win. Yet, most website owners fail to realize the sheer amount of traffic that Google organic search can create. It just needs to execute in the right context.
Google processes over 63 thousand searches per second on a daily basis. For the majority of queries, most of the clicks go to organic results. Everyone knows that AdWords campaigns for commercial keywords are quite costly. That’s a price you don’t have to pay when you rank in the organic results.
SEO consists of three parts.
Part one – Technical SEO. This one is all about ensuring that search engine bots/web crawlers crawl through and index your website appropriately. About not having numerous duplicate contents. If you choose a platform like Shopify or a self-hosted store with WordPress, these problems will be already solved for you. Different platforms may still need an SEO technical audit.
Part two – Optimization and on-page content. Here, it all about targeting the right keywords and making sure that your website is created in a coherent way that search engines and users visiting your website understand. Its crucial components are keyword research, keyword mapping, title tags, and meta descriptions. For an eCommerce website, you can create different pieces of content that will bring visitors, like purchasing guides, How To’s, Product comparison or Category pages.
Part three- Off-page factors. In this part, we need to get a link, while understanding that not all links are equal. Black-hat tactics, like purchasing links will actually harm your SEO efforts. High-quality links placed on websites with authority or that are popular are a dominant factor for increased visibility in search results.
If SEO has its place in inbound marketing for eCommerce, social media platforms stand in its close proximity. These platforms are a part of the initial phase where you’re attracting people to your website and convert them into leads. You get to talk to millions of people, without needing to pay a dime, and even if you want to work with affiliate sites you can find the best Affiliate marketing strategies 2020 in this site online.
Besides attracting new people, social media are an excellent way of promoting your brand, interacting with any potential customers online, and most importantly, building your brand’s authority. Another way of building a brand’s credibility is through using phone systems for small businesses.
Almost every human on this planet has a habit of calling a company whenever they have an issue or a question for it. A big part of your inbound marketing strategy is creating an image of your business that says – I’m reliable, I have credible information you can trust.
Although social media experts try to make it all sound like rocket science, it actually isn’t that hard. Know where your audience is. You don’t have to omnipresent on just about every social media platform. Concise and direct interactions are where the magic happens and you build relationships with your audience.
Choose a single or two that will impact your audience, sales, links and brand awareness. Automate other profiles to save time and set up alerts to “listen” when not actively participating.
Now you need to create high-quality concentrated pages to receive sales. In addition to your About page, Home page, and Privacy page, you will need landing pages.
Landing pages aren’t complex – they are just places where visitors can land and make a purchase. Nobody cares about or even looks at your homepage. A homepage is for people who already know your business and are just navigating around.
Landing pages are for potential or returning visitors to land on and convert. Before creating all other website pages, you will need to develop focused landing pages that sell a single or all of these things:
- Offer specific – Such pages are about the product info. They might be just a product page, but also a category or specific landing page for a bundle. The end-goal here is selling to people at the very bottom of the marketing funnel – where customers are most likely to convert.
- Persona specific – That is all about the product benefits to those that you sell them to. Again, they might be a product page, a category page or a specific landing page for a bundle.
In conclusion. Remember that every part of this strategy needs to be measured, interpreted and analyzed in order to increase its effectiveness. There are numerous ways to gather reports and filter your visitor data. Google analytics is one of the ways, that lets you combine data into a single-screen layout that show the varying degrees of visitor marketing data and depth of the sales funnel.
Omnichannel Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses
As technology keeps evolving, the line between the online and offline world is beginning to blur. Namely, with the rise of social media, automation tools, and AI, your customers have become more demanding and tech-savvy. They now expect you to provide them with real-time feedback and services.
Still, just building your brand presence across a plentitude of channels won’t help you increase user experience. Namely, Google’s statistics claim that 85% of online buyers begin their purchase on one device or channel and finish it on another.
That is why you need to focus on integrating your marketing and customer support channels into a seamless, omnichannel experience people can rely on whenever they want.
The Importance of Collaboration between Marketing and Sales Teams
Just like it was mentioned above, omnichannel marketing integrates multiple channels (both online and offline) you use to communicate with your consumers. By uniting the strengths of each marketing platform and channel, you will increase the consistency of your brand messaging.
Now, building the omnichannel marketing strategy is a complex procedure that requires the collaboration between your organization’s different departments, including marketing, sales, product, and customer support teams.
Your first goal is to ensure that everyone knows the goals of an omnichannel approach to marketing. Speak with employees, from project managers to junior customer satisfaction representatives to help them understand the purpose of this customer-centric approach. They need to know how their actions impact customers and what they should do to collaborate more proactively.
Build your Strategy on Accurate Data
A solid omnichannel marketing strategy is based on understanding a customer. Collect customer information and feedback from multiple resources to learn more about your customers’ needs, demands, and problems. Observe their behaviors – their purchasing habits, social media discussions, user profiles, interactions with a customer support team, chatbots, and CRM software.
Based on the data you collect, you should segment your audiences into groups. This is the only way to understand their buyer journeys and be able to personalize them. For example, if someone is at the top of the sales funnel, you shouldn’t send them bottom-funnel messages. Instead, you need to familiarize them with your brand and gradually guide them towards making a purchase.
Create a Cohesive Online-to-Offline Marketing Tactic
You need to centralize your branding, marketing, and customer support channels to provide a consistent omnichannel experience. It’s good that businesses are starting to see the importance of omnichannel customer experiences. According to the Target Marketing report, over 75% of them claim that this is an important, fairly important, or very important part of their online presence.
First, Provide a Cohesive Multi-Channel Customer Experience Online
For starters, prioritize the importance of customer experience. Make it easier for them to find you online, learn more about you, and buy from you.
Build a visually-appealing and highly responsive website that provides seamless customer experiences, irrespective of the device they use.
Then, leverage the power of social networks. Use social media monitoring tools to stay on top of your customers’ conversations and take part in them actively.
Implement AI technologies like chatbots. Chatbots are becoming the nerve center of any successful on-demand marketing strategy. They let your customers ask questions, stay on top of your brand news, browse products, and make purchases all from a single platform.
At the heart of any solid omnichannel marketing technology stack is CRM that helps you record each buyer journey, track your customers’ purchasing habits, and personalize your services in the future.
Then, Integrate Online Marketing Tactics with Offline Ones
Traditional marketing still matters. Statistics show that 40% of consumers are still influenced by offline ads when making online purchases.
Sure, when I say “offline,” I don’t necessarily mean TV ads, magazine ads, business cards, or billboards. For example, using promotional printing is one of the oldest and yet most effective brand promotion tactics. According to the Advertising Specialty Institute, 86% of consumers memorize brands that gift them a shirt or a cap. This is a great way to increase your brand awareness and turn your prospect audiences into paying customers.
Directly mailed catalogs are one of the most effective offline marketing effort with a high open and response rate. Research shows that 54% of customers want to get printed catalogs in their mail, while 56% of consumers that responded to direct mail also visited the brand’s offline or online store.
So, how to integrate online and offline marketing?
There are numerous ways to do so and here are some of them:
- Use QR codes
Quick Response codes are a kind of barcodes, containing details about your business that can be read on mobile devices. Namely, you can use them on different offline marketing materials, such as business cards, flyers, direct mail, product packaging, storefronts – any type of printed materials you use to promote your brand.
A while ago, JC Penney launched ‘Santa Tags.’ Namely, a customer could wrap their present into a wrapping paper that has a QR code on it. Once they scanned the code, recipients could hear a personalized message a gift giver recorded.
- Launch ‘to be continued’ campaigns
In other words, your goal is to spark your audience’s interest in your brand. For example, you could create a strong narrative in a form of a TV ad, radio ad, magazine article, or billboard to inspire users to visit your website to learn more about you. Always include QR codes and links to make it easier to find you online.
- Digitize customers’ offline experiences
Why not create an app and let them reload their card both in-store and online? That is exactly what Starbucks does. When you’re in line waiting to get your pumpkin spice latte and you see you don’t have enough money, you can simply reload your balance through your app instantly.
Disney also takes the omnichannel approach very seriously. They’ve created a tool that can serve as a hotel room key, food ordering software, and a photo storage platform.
- Implement near-field technologies
Just like their mere name says, near-field technologies provide contactless communication between a mobile device and another compatible device. You could use it to increase in-store customer experiences.
This is what Timberland does. Namely, they provide each shopper with a tablet they can press against the chip to find all product details they need. Moreover, as consumers keep searching for different kinds of items, the personalization tool on the tablet will recognize their needs and offer personalized product recommendations.
Over to You
Omnichannel marketing gives you the opportunity to provide seamless user experiences, regardless of the channel your customer use. You just need to implement it according to the needs of your brand and audiences.
Hope these tips will help!
Determining Your Marketing Budget
Every business, no matter if it’s a startup, a small business or a large enterprise, has difficulties setting aside a budget for anything, let alone marketing. The main reason is that you can never truly predict the exact amount of funds you’ll need to invest in something important.
Costs may vary and unexpected expenses may arise practically anywhere. Therefore, you can estimate a best-case-scenario budget and set aside a bit more than you’ve planned just in case. But what about the digital marketing landscape today?
In 2019, digital marketing is as dynamic as it ever was. Technological and market trends still shape consumer behavior, which in turn influences how marketers develop their strategies, as well as their campaigns.
All of these activities can have an impact on your marketing budget. So figuring out how much and where to invest when it comes to marketing in 2019 may be a daunting task. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can determine how much should you budget for marketing this year.
How much do companies spend on marketing?
If you’re trying to answer the question of how much to spend on marketing, the answer is always “It depends”. Your goals may differ from other companies on the market, which means you may need to budget more or less on marketing efforts alone.
You can compare how much other companies spend on marketing, on average, in order to gain an approximate estimation of how much you should budget. As an example, here’s average spending of companies on marketing in 2018.
Marketing budget as a percentage of a company’s budget:
- B2B product – 9.2%
- B2B service – 8.9%
- B2C product – 16.0%
- B2C service – 14.9%
Marketing spending as a percentage of a company’s revenue:
- B2B product – 6.3%
- B2B service – 6.9%
- B2C product – 9.6%
- B2C service – 11.8%
Invest in marketing research
Marketing research should be one of the most vital factors in your budgeting efforts. Research can help you determine the audience’s preference, needs and expectations, as well as the trends they’re currently following.
In addition, you can determine which marketing channels are best suited to your campaigns, as well as decide whether to consider both digital and traditional marketing in your campaign. Aside from all that, you can conduct a competitive analysis to determine which marketing efforts your competitors opt for and how much they’re investing in their strategies.
Your marketing budget depends on the approach you’ll implement, and research can help you develop such an approach. Even research requires investment, so it may be a good idea to keep the research budget separate from the marketing budget. That way you can clear out any confusion regarding spending and allow research to guide you in developing a budget for your marketing efforts.
Keep the cash flow positive
As mentioned before, digital marketing is quite a dynamic landscape. Things may change sooner than you think and they may change quite often. In such cases, additional and unexpected costs are quite common.
You may have to pour funds out of other business operations to make up for marketing costs that exceed your budget. That being said, it’s very important to maintain a positive cash flow in order to avoid a negative impact on your bottom line. There are various ways you can maintain a positive cash flow, such as by reducing operational or overhead expenses.
Moreover, you can consider various debtor finance options, they can help you manage your accounts receivable and thus help you maintain a positive cash flow. The fact of the matter is that it’s always better to have good financial health when unexpected expenses arise than it is to go into unnecessary debt to cover such expenses.
Consider return on investment (ROI)
Marketing efforts will eventually yield some kind of a return on investment. How much and how long that will take depends on the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. That begs the question of where to invest, in the first place. Again, that depends on your goals and what you want to achieve with your marketing efforts.
As an example, you should consider both digital and traditional marketing methods. In 2018, the majority of companies invested 42% of their marketing budget to online efforts. Digital marketing is oversaturated these days which leaves traditional marketing with untapped potential for ROI. In addition, consider both inbound and outbound marketing.
Inbound marketing, such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), PPC (Pay-Per-Click) and social media may be more efficient at tracking ROI because you can use metrics to measure results from owned and earned media. On the other hand, outbound marketing, such as called call, trade shows and email promotions may be high-cost-low-gain efforts in some cases, but they may prove effective if your goals align with such methods.
Determining how much to budget for your marketing efforts can be a daunting task. However, if you make an effort to research relevant information, as well as leverage data from your previous marketing budgets, you’ll be able to set aside enough funds for your marketing efforts in 2019.
Ecommerce keeps flourishing. Research predicts that it will reach $4.88 trillion by 2021.
This sounds impressive, but what does this mean for you as an online retailer?
Well, the growth of ecommerce means greater competition. So, to stay relevant in the fierce SERPs, you need to invest in a solid SEO strategy and keep revising it to see what works or doesn’t work. To increase your rankings and gain users’ trust, you cannot afford to make any mistakes.
Here are a few common SEO oversights you should avoid.
Building a Website with Difficult Navigation
As an ecommerce website, you have thousands of pages to manage.
For instance, google site:amazon.com and you will see that there are 167,000,000 results. Even though Amazon is not an example of the most beautiful website in the world, you must admit that it’s easy to navigate.
Once you visit their site, the first thing you will notice is the intuitive search bar that even lets you browse products by different departments. A search bar is an inevitable element on any user-friendly ecommerce website, as it gives customers an opportunity to find the desired product faster and finalize the purchase.
Each product category has lots of filters, helping you refine your search by featured brands, packaging options, average product review, price, seller, availability, and so forth.
Their menu bar is also divided into sections that are further branching into more specific categories. The majority of your customers (especially those that haven’t made the buying decision) will use your menu to familiarize themselves with different products and compare them. Precisely because of that, you first need to write informative and descriptive menu labels that will help visitors find a product faster.
You should also simplify your menu and reduce the number of menu items to improve user experiences. Too many options can be overwhelming, distracting a customer from what they’re looking for. Simpler menus are also important for your SEO efforts.
Namely, those pages you link to are passing some SEO value. Therefore, if you’re linking to less relevant pages instead of focusing on the most significant ones, you won’t be able to maximize your traffic. Logically, your goal is to increase the exposure of those pages relevant to your customers.
Not Targeting the Right Keywords
Many online retailers forget what their priorities are when conducting keyword research. Namely, they spend too much time looking for popular search phrases relevant to their products that they forget to focus on search intent. Namely, your goal is to understand your searchers’ needs and know what kind of result they expect to see when they google a certain keyword.
This is particularly important now that voice search is exploding. Statistics say that 41% of adults perform at least one voice search each day, while this number is expected to jump to 50% by 2020. This is one of the numerous trends impacting the way we optimize our ecommerce sites.
First, voice search triggers the growth of local SEO. For example, 22% of customers perform voice search to find locally-relevant businesses. So, let’s say you’re targeting the Gold Coast market. In this case, including local keywords containing “Gold Coast,” creating local content around these keywords, and building links on local sites will increase your rankings and help you generate more qualified leads.
With the rise of voice search, you don’t have to spam your content with exact-match keywords anymore. Voice searchers use natural language and conversational phrases when interacting with search engines. For example, instead of typing “gold coast shoes online” into the search box, they will ask something like “What is the best online shoe store in Gold Coast?” You get how this works.
This is why you should start combining traditional keyword research tools with some additional resources like Q&A sites, social networks, or forums to understand your customers’ needs and expectations. Consulting SEO agency from Gold Coast may also be a wise move. As they understand your local market, they will help you align your keyword optimization and off-page SEO tactics with search intent.
Not Creating Authentic Content for Product Pages
One of the most common mistakes online retailers make is simply copying product descriptions from the manufacturer’s site to their product pages. This is bad for your online presence for a few reasons.
First, by simply copying content instead of creating your own, you’re missing out on an opportunity to stand out and emphasize the benefits of buying from you. Original product descriptions are highly engaging and persuasive, building trust with your customers and having them complete the purchase faster.
Second, search engines won’t be able to differentiate your content from the one on similar sites, which may impact your rankings and overall page visibility. Google won’t have a reason to index your content if it already exists on similar sites.
Finally, you may even get penalized. If your product descriptions are the same or similar to the content that already appears on another website, Google will observe it as duplicate content. Assuming that you’re trying to play the algorithm, it will penalize you.
Not Using Schema Markup on your Product Pages
Google is getting smarter each day, but it’s still unable to understand non-textual pieces of content. This is where schema markup steps in. We can define it as a language Google crawlers understand and use to get the information about your content. With its help, you will be able to explain the purpose of your content, including your email, phone numbers, price data, product types, ratings, descriptions, reviews, and so forth.
In other words, schema markup is a great way to get your content indexed and ranked higher in the SERPs. Above all, it gives you the opportunity to appear in featured snippets and put your products in front of the right customers. As such, it can have a massive influence on your organic rankings, clicks, and even conversions.
Not Increasing User Experience
You cannot expect to have a poorly-performing website and yet boost conversions. Only by making your visitors happy and building trust with them will you be able to turn them into paying customers. And, here are a few steps to take:
- Make your website responsive. We’re living in the mobile-first era, when providing outstanding, cross-channel user experiences should be your priority. Simplify your checkout forms and ensure all links work from mobile devices. Also, pay attention to how your content looks and feels on mobile devices.
- Invest in an SSL certificate. Google has started marking sites with HTTP as “not secure.” No matter how sophisticated your encryption tactics are, if you don’t have an SSL certificate to back you up, your customers will still see this warning. Unsurprisingly, this may make your ecommerce site less professional, impacting the time people spend on your website, as well as their engagement and conversions.
- Add security badges. Apart from HTTPS and mobile-friendly forms, security badges are an important element of the checkout process. They prove that your customers’ data is safe with you, inspiring them to choose you over competitors.
- Boost your website speed. If your site doesn’t load in less than 3 seconds, most of your customers will kick it without taking the desired action. So, to speed things up, compress your images, invest in the right CDN, minimize overly complex animations, minify the website code, and find a reliable host to ensure your site loads fast.
Not Inspiring User-Generated Content
Awesome website performance, gorgeous product photos, and high-quality descriptions are important, but they’re not enough to convert a visitor into a customer.
Did you know that most of your customers don’t trust branded content? Instead, 84% of them rely on online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
This is exactly why you should allow customer reviews and ratings on your site. You shouldn’t be worried about negative user reviews hurting your brad reputation. Namely, some recent statistics say that product pages with diverse ratings drive more sales than those with stellar ratings only. This is also an amazing opportunity for you to provide exceptional customer support, help them fix specific problems, and turn them into satisfied users.
Asking loyal customers to write testimonials and publishing them strategically on your homepage or product pages is also an amazing way to demonstrate your trustworthiness. To make these testimonials even more relatable, include a customer’s photo, as well as their full name and even a job title.
Sure, just like with the content you create for your product pages or blog, you also ensure that these reviews are accurate and helpful. For example, you could let users rate peer comments according to their relevance. Amazon has introduced the amazing option that allows users to sort reviews by “the most helpful” ratings.
Over to You
If you’re making some of the abovementioned mistakes, don’t be desperate. I’m sure I’ve never landed on an ecommerce site that has no SEO issues. Your goal is to identify the main problems in your SEO strategy and stop wasting money on them. This is how you will improve your online presence gradually and I hope these tips will help you.
Using SEO to Improve Your Online Reputation
The search engine optimization game is constantly evolving and changing with the algorithms. While this powerful digital marketing method has been used for years as a way to rank websites higher in the SERPs and boost the visibility of websites in the eyes of the online audience, in recent years it has become an integral part of online reputation management. Quite simply, SEO helps your website rank higher, but more importantly in the modern business world, it can help your brand stand out as a powerful authority figure.
There is no denying that websites that rank higher have the potential to score a 20% CTR average, but imagine click-through rates on a website that not only ranks high in the SERPs but also holds a coveted position as one of the leading and most recognizable brands in the field. With all of this in mind, here are the five ways you can use SEO to manage and improve your online reputation.
Brand dissemination and community engagement
The modern consumer is a peculiar being. Highly inquisitive and curious, with a smartphone in their hand and an account on every relevant platform on the web, they will stop at nothing to find out who you are and where your true intentions may lie. In other words, the modern consumer does their research before deciding on a brand, and this research will mostly take place on social media.
Keep in mind that not only are potential customers researching your entire online presence, but that Google’s spiders are doing the same thing. This means that you need to disseminate your brand across the online world and provide all of the necessary information on every relevant platform that could help your rank higher and score positive reviews.
The better the reviews and the higher the engagement with your followers, the better your online reputation will become. With it comes better ranking and a prominent position in your industry. To initiate this snowball effect, make sure you’re:
- Present on every relevant platform.
- Providing detailed information about the company.
- Listing your products and services.
- Posting quality content regularly.
- Engaging with your audience in meaningful conversations and discussions.
- Answering questions and resolving community problems efficiently and effectively.
- Commenting on relevant topics other than your own to associate your brand with the solution.
Creating stellar content across the board
If digital marketers can agree on one thing, it’s that quality content has a significant impact on rankings, and that there is no excuse for posting subpar pieces with poor keyword integration on the web. If you want to make it big in the online world, you need to go above and beyond with your content creation, and it all begins with elevating the proverbial bar. Remember, only stellar content will make it into the top three listings on Google.
However, content creation is not just about answering a problem or integrating keywords – nowadays it’s also about organic brand implementation and storytelling. You need to immerse your readers into the topic in order to boost engagement, shareability, mentions, and of course, minimize your bounce rate. Combining stellar content with careful keyword and brand name integration will deem you worthy in the eyes of Google, and secure a top spot in the SERPs.
Building local authority with market-specific SEO
Another crucial element of authority and a stellar reputation in the digital realm is market-specific SEO. Focusing on local SEO can help your business stand out in your specific marketplace. This is an effective strategy for individual franchise outlets, local businesses catering to a single market, and even global brands who want to ensure brand consistency across the board. New York City is a prime example of the effectiveness of local SEO, as standing out in this bustling beehive has been a pain point for entrepreneurs and business leaders for years.
New York is a highly-competitive area, so it only stands to reason that an agency offering New York SEO services includes comprehensive strategies that use localized keywords to rank the brand higher in its niche and the local marketplace. This will allow the brand to rank higher in the local SERPs, boost brand awareness in the community, and build a more trustworthy relationship with the local demographic.
Emphasizing the video content form
Search engine optimization in its latest form ventures beyond written content and into the realm of video creation. With Google putting emphasis on brands that produce quality videos and integrate relevant keywords into video titles and descriptions, it only stands to reason that you should step up your videography game. Producing content in video form is an excellent way to improve audience engagement and disseminate your content on video platforms such as YouTube and the likes.
As the number of views rises over time, so will the video’s ranking in the SERPs. In turn, you will raise brand awareness and thus your online reputation – provided that your videos are as good as your blogs. Another factor you should take into consideration is how brand-audience communication can impact your rankings. Make it a priority to answer comments on your videos and inspire conversations for Google to take notice.
Mentioning your brand name with relevant keywords
On a last note, it’s important to acknowledge the power of positive association and repetition. Your brand name should appear in every post you publish, no matter the form, no matter the topic. This builds awareness and solidifies your brand in the minds of the consumers.
Combine your brand name with your most relevant keywords, and you have yourself a recipe for success when it comes to getting on Google’s good side. Associating the content with your brand will tell the algorithm that there is a relevant connection between the two, which will in turn improve your ranking and portray you as the authority brand in your niche.
SEO is the name of the digital marketing game, and it’s not likely that its importance for your long-term success will diminish any time in the foreseeable future. That said, SEO is also an ever-evolving science and art form, so it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends and utilize the best practices to build your online reputation.
Nowadays, many companies leverage search engine optimization (SEO) in order to boost their visibility and exposure online. In the modern competitive landscape, SEO has become mandatory rather than just optional, especially if your company wants to outrun numerous competitors on the market. However, as beneficial as SEO is, there’s no denying the fact that it’s a time-consuming process that requires a lot of dedication.
As a matter of fact, it takes a bit of time before SEO starts to show viable results and companies must constantly monitor as well as improve their efforts. During that process, there are a lot of tasks that are repetitive and even mundane. These tasks can take a lot of your time but fortunately, they can be automated in order to streamline your SEO strategies and practices. That being said, here are a few of the key SEO activities you should automate to save both time and resources for your campaigns.
Keywords play a vital role in your SEO campaign. They are words or phrases your company ranks for in order to improve visibility online, thus allowing your consumers to find you more easily. Companies rank for keywords that are relevant for both their business and their customer intent.
What’s more, companies oftentimes change their keyword strategy based on a keyword’s performance and its ranking on SERPs (Search Engine Rankings Page). Therefore, you must always be up-to-date with how a keyword or keywords your company has opted for is performing.
However, search engines such as Google change and update their algorithms regularly. That’s why you must constantly adjust your SEO efforts in order to ensure good rankings for your keywords. You can automate this process and get weekly updates about keyword performance. That way, you can make more strategic decisions and adjust your campaign if need be.
On-page SEO audit
On-page or on-site SEO is a crucial activity for your campaign. You must regularly audit your website and ensure that all elements are SEO friendly. That way, you help both search engines and users better understand the context and the content on your website’s pages.
However, checking for problems on your website can be quite a daunting task. It may take you days to identify issues, and even then you may not find all of them. Luckily, automation can help you find all issues quite effectively. However, you must rectify the problems on your own. Nevertheless, it will still save you a lot of time. Here’s what automation can help you find.
- Broken or missing internal links
- Duplicate content
- Missing title tags
- Missing meta descriptions
- Unfriendly URLs
- 404 errors
- Redirects, and so on
Tracking the progress of your SEO activities and campaigns is vital. Companies oftentimes track metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to evaluate the performance of their campaigns and determine whether or not their efforts are bearing fruit. SEO activities drive various results you must track in order to determine if your efforts require improvements or not.
Going through the information from numerous metrics can be time-consuming. However, with automation, you can get regular SEO reports that will portray the whole picture. You can automate any analytic report and have it ready in a moment’s notice. This task is essential because you can have reports ready for yourself, shareholders, clients or upper management whenever they’re needed.
The link profile for your SEO strategy is one of the most important factors. According to Google, content and high-quality backlinks share the first place as being the most important ranking factors. Backlinks you create on relevant and reputable sources help build your visibility and exposure, as well as help improve your website’s domain authority.
Backlinks are also the key source that drives traffic to your website. That’s why it’s important to track your backlinks and monitor their performance. However, there are numerous backlinks to check through manually. That’s where automation comes in handy. You can automate backlink tracking and get updates about various factors, such as:
- The number of backlinks pointing towards your website
- The number of dofollow and nofollow links
- The most valuable backlinks
- Domain and page authority of websites
- Link status
- Trust and citation flow
One of the more important activities in SEO is competitive analysis. Your main competitors in SEO aren’t the companies who compete against you in the market but those who outrank you on search engines. Keeping an eye on competitors is vital for the success of your own strategies.
However, the point of a competitive analysis isn’t to copy your main competitors but instead, to identify gaps that can be exploited in order to gain a competitive advantage.
By automating competitive research and analysis, you can be updated about your competitors’ SEO strategies and efforts without wasting time to do it manually. That way, you’ll always have vital information regarding competitor backlink strategy, content creation and publishing, keyword rankings and so on.
Automation in SEO can greatly help your company save time and resources on mundane yet necessary tasks. That way, you can focus more on improving your own campaigns and your efforts instead of falling behind.
The franchising business model has grown in popularity over the years. From 1983 to 1993 the number of franchisors, i.e. companies that sell licenses or rights to third parties that enables them to operate under a trademark or a brand name, grew in numbers from 1,887 to 2,900 in the U.S. alone. This has created an increased employment rate of 56% (from 5.6 million to 8 million). In other words, a franchising business model has proven to be an efficient and successful concept even today.
However, a franchisor cannot guarantee the success of their franchise any more than a personal fitness trainer can guarantee positive results for their clients. As a matter of fact, a franchisor can provide proper help and support but ultimately it’s up to the franchise owners to ensure their business success. In addition, the success rate of the franchises depends mostly on the franchise system a franchisor has implemented. That being said, here are a few of the best predictors of a franchisor’s success.
As you may already know, a franchise is an already developed business model supported by a trademark or brand. Franchisor companies leverage this method, in order to expand their business to other locations and other markets to distribute their goods or services through licensing agreements with entrepreneurs who will work under their brand’s name. However, selecting candidates for a franchise business is a difficult task that cannot be accomplished without a well-developed plan.
The first step is to create a disclosure document known as the Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (UFOC) or simply the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). This document helps outline a franchising business plan, as well as select the right candidates for the franchise owners. For instance, here are a few elements that should be included in this document:
- Detailed information about the franchisor’s business, identity and background of their principals.
- The fees franchisors are obligated to pay.
- The terms and conditions of running a franchise
- Franchisor support, such as training, operating plans, marketing strategies etc.
The franchisor’s system survival success largely depends on their expansion strategy and their willingness to share knowledge with their newly-formed franchise businesses. However, being able to compete against other businesses is also a major factor for franchisor’s success in the market. Therefore, a few of the major predictors of success are a franchisor’s ability to properly identify disruptive or competitive threats and develop a strategy that will protect the brand against them. Also, a franchisor’s ability to create a unique business model, which competitors won’t be able to copy.
In addition, a franchisor’s ability to ensure that their products, services, unique proposition, delivery methods and other factors will have value even in the future. Moreover, the ability of a franchisor to ensure that their franchises have the resources required to compete against their competitors on the market. That being said, proper competitive analysis and strategy are crucial predictors of franchisor’s success.
A franchisor has already established their brand name and presence. The reputation of that brand has a major influence on the market, on the customers and most importantly on other franchises. If a franchisor’s brand reputation isn’t favorable, their franchises will suffer the consequences of that reputation, as well as vice versa. Therefore, it’s crucial for success that franchisor’s work on improving their brand reputation by improving their brand identity and also improving their brand image.
The way customers perceive a franchisor’s brand and the emotional connection they establish with that brand is a key factor in success. That’s why many franchisors implement strategies that will help their franchises have a positive impact on the local economy, as well as a local community. Regardless o the fact that each franchise shares the reputation with the franchisor, it’s still important for individual franchises to have a positive reputation of their own.
One of the most important predictors of success is the franchisor/franchisee relationship. This predictor mostly depends on a franchisor’s leadership and their ability to inspire franchises to follow. Even though franchises are legally bound by a contract to follow specific rules and strategies outlined in the franchisor’s business plan, it doesn’t mean that they’ll do it right or that it will guarantee their success. That’s why it’s up to the franchisor to take the initiative and encourage their franchises to stick to the proven strategies. That includes a few key elements.
- A franchisor’s ability to consult franchises on a potential opportunity.
- Leveraging leadership skills to convince franchises that a potential opportunity is in fact worthwhile.
- Creating a leadership and management teams that will capitalize on new opportunities, as well as scale properly.
- Helping franchises establish a good presence in their local markets by providing counsel and resources.
If franchises cannot rely on or see the value in franchisor’s decisions, then the entire system is in jeopardy and at high risk of failure.
Just like any other business model, franchising has no secret recipe that will guarantee its success. However, franchisors carry a lot of responsibility for their franchises and they must guide them properly, in order to ensure that the system will not only function but also succeed in the long-run.
Every 21st-century business hell-bent on making a name for itself in the competitive marketplace needs a strong marketing plan. There is no way around it, if you’re not online and utilizing the power of digital marketing to reach audiences across the globe, then you’re not doing a very good job as a business leader to begin with. Quite simply, if you don’t have a marketing plan, you might as well close shop.
Contrary to popular belief, though, a marketing plan is not just a pamphlet and a few Facebook posts telling people to visit your website – actually, it shouldn’t be that either. A comprehensive marketing strategy will require thorough planning and preparation and the use of creative thinking, meticulous research, and exact execution in terms of SEO and social media. Here’s what you need to know.
It all begins with a compelling brand
Branding is the first step towards a successful future in the business world on all fronts. That includes your marketing efforts. If marketing is the means to an end, i.e. disseminating your stories and reaching the hearts and minds of your demographic, then your brand is the story and visuals that will separate you from the rest of the competition. This is why building a brand should be your first priority.
You can start by crafting a set of values that will serve as the foundation on which you can create compelling visuals, messages, and eventually, stories that will carry your brand across the digital realm. But wait, before you start throwing clichés like “quality” or “innovation” around like biscuits at a dog party, just understand that the customer doesn’t care.
Really, you’re a modern brand, and quality and innovation are kind of expected of you. No, a truly inspiring brand identity boasts a set of values that people can relate to, and eventually become a part of on a deeper, meaningful level. So, focus on the emotional response you can get from your demographic rather than run-of-the-mill catchphrases that will quickly dissipate into the unknown.
Research the market like a pro
Market research is another crucial element of a winning marketing plan. After all, if you don’t research the demographic and your competition, you’re really just shooting in the dark and the only thing that’s bound to take a hit is your own reputation. Instead of throwing a wide net and hoping for the best, focus on the following steps:
- Market segmentation. The needs of your existing customers and your potential customers are not the same, and that means that they should fall into particular segments. You can segment your demographics in order to discover and address their needs better than the competition.
- Targeting and positioning. Identifying the needs of your demographics will allow you to tailor your product offering accordingly, and thus appeal to your most lucrative prospects. Be sure to match your strengths to the needs of your customers for a direct hit.
- Researching the competition. It’s pretty self-explanatory – find the top brands in your niche, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and try to improve on their offering.
- Define your ideal promotional tactics. There are numerous ways you can advertise in the online and offline realms, and you will need to invest in the right channels so be sure to find out where your ideal customers reside – it’s probably social media, though.
Budget your marketing strategy wisely
One of the most important elements of a winning marketing plan is finance management. Quite simply, marketing is expensive, and oftentimes entrepreneurs will take money out of their personal budgets and risk their own livelihood just to set a marketing plan into motion and get the word out – but that’s a risky move that might cost you way more than the initial investment.
Instead, you should keep your personal finances in check and even search for online loans that will help you preserve your livelihood through this period by allowing you to direct cash flow towards effectuating your marketing strategy. When you do secure the finances for your marketing plan, make sure that you invest in the right channels and methods of communication instead of wasting money on dead-ends.
Focus on crafting SEO-friendly content
SEO is the name of the digital marketing game, and if your entire online presence is not properly optimized, then you’re missing out. In fact, you might not even be on the online map. Rising from the abyss that is the second page of Google is not an easy task, but there is nothing that a little top-quality content can’t fix. Focus on:
- Crafting compelling content with the reader’s needs in mind.
- Crafting SEO-friendly content that will appeal to search engine algorithms.
- Crafting in-depth, data-driven content that will give real value to the reader.
- Being a storyteller and shifting focus from your products to resolving real problems your audience might be experiencing.
A parting word or two
Marketing is the driving force behind the success of every modern business, and it should be the essential part of your growth strategy. With these crucial steps in mind, you should have no problem rising to the top of the proverbial ladder, and ensuring long-term success for your brand in the competitive marketplace.
Nowadays, every business needs to have a functional website. Websites have become the face of companies and online consumers visit those pages to shop, get informed or educate themselves. That being said, businesses must meet consumer demands, expectations and needs when it comes to website browsing and experience. However, in order to do that, they must first ensure their company websites are visible, accessible and easily findable online. One of the best ways to improve website visibility in the online world is search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is a cost-effective marketing campaign that helps websites rank high on search engines, such as Google. Still, online market is overcrowded and highly competitive. So much in fact, that SEO is now mandatory for businesses instead of just optional. Without SEO, you have no chances of becoming visible online and you’ll only be overshadowed by your competitors. Also, SEO demands constant work to produce viable results, mainly because search engines oftentimes change the rules, as well as make modifications to their algorithms. Therefore, here’s a complete SEO checklist for website owners.
Important SEO aspects
To better understand SEO, you have to understand its aspects. SEO consists of three main categories: technical SEO, on-site SEO and off-site SEO. These activities help you improve your website’s visibility, authority, credibility and awareness online, among other things. Each category serves a specific purpose of helping both your audience and search engines understand your website and the content you produce.
Technical SEO focuses on the functionality of your website. On-site SEO focuses on optimizing your content and pages for search engines. Off-site SEO focuses on activates outside your website that help boost your reputation and trustworthiness. The more effort you place in optimizing your website, the higher rankings it will achieve.
As mentioned before, technical SEO focuses on the functionality and performance of your website. Website elements, such as speed, user-friendliness, responsiveness, security and so on, all influence customer satisfaction, which is one of the primary factors for search engine rankings.
Speed is crucial for bot your website and your consumers. The main reason is that literally no one today can tolerate slow loading web pages. In fact, 67% of consumers will abandon your website if it takes more than two seconds to load.
In addition, 47% of mobile users will abandon the pages if they do not load in three seconds or less. That being said, website speed is a crucial ranking factor, because search engines will penalize you for having a sluggish website. And, the reason they do that is that you’re unable to provide a seamless customer experience on your website, due to it being too slow.
Focusing on mobile users is more important than ever. As a matter of fact, mobile traffic has already surpassed that of desktop, which means that not having a mobile-friendly website is a career suicide these days. Fortunately, you no longer have to maintain two versions of your website. Instead, implementing a responsive design that can adapt to any device and screen size will satisfy all your customers.
Modern consumers are much savvier than they used to be, which means cybersecurity is one of their top concerns. Lacking proper security measures results in ranking penalty from search engines and guarantees that your customers won’t be satisfied with you. Implementing security measures is therefore essential for modern websites. For example, an SSL/TLS certificate is a good way to secure your website and ensure good ranking factors for your website.
On-site SEO are activities with a purpose of optimizing content and web pages on your website to be more SEO friendly. In other words, helping search engines understand the context and the content of your website and its pages. Search engines crawl your website and leverage information they’ve obtained to properly index and display it on search results.
Keywords are an essential aspect of SEO. When it comes to On-site SEO, keywords help match the content on your pages and posts with user intent. In other words, you must rank for keywords your audience most commonly uses when searching for something online.
Keywords must be researched carefully, so that you ensure your efforts are well-placed. If you have difficulties managing this on your own, you can look for the best search agency that can help you out with this task. That way, you’ll ensure that your website is well-ranked and relevant to your audience.
Content is king in the marketing world. Content on your website needs to be excellent and relevant, in order to engage your consumers properly. Content will help inform, educate and even entertain your audience while on your website. That’s why you must optimize it properly and ensure search engines can adequately display it on their results.
Titles, URLs, Metadata
Optimizing pages is important for SEO. Each page, post and piece of information must be optimized properly so that both search engines and your audience can understand it well. For example, include keywords in title tags for your posts so that it can match user intent.
Also, restructure your URLs to help search engines understand the content of your pages. In addition, include detailed information in Metadata descriptions to help your audience understand what your pages are about. Optimizing pages and their elements is essential for SEO and ranking well on search engines.
Off-site SEO are your activities outside your website. Promoting content on other sources serves a purpose of building credibility, domain authority and reputation for your website. Search engines reward websites with good off-site SEO with high rankings. The main reason is that search engines favor websites with good relevance and credibility.
Link building is an SEO activity of creating high-quality inbound links for your website. In short, the content you publish contains a backlink that leads back to your website. You accomplish this by guest posting your content on other relevant and reputable sources, such as other blogs and websites. In fact, backlinks share the first place with content as being the most important ranking factor on Google. The more quality backlinks you have, the higher your rank on search engines.
Even though SEO isn’t directly involved with social media, search engines do prefer websites whose content is popular on social media networks. Likes, shares, tweets and others make your content popular and influence user engagement, which means search engines are more likely to recommend content on their results that is viral on social media. Sharing your content on your own social media pages is a good way to start. You can also leverage influencers to further promote your content and create a much-needed buzz for your posts.
SEO requires a lot of effort, time and dedication before it starts showing viable results. A lot of web owners simply give up before that happens. However, SEO can vastly increase not just your website’s visibility and awareness, but also boost your organic website traffic. In other words, investing in SEO can greatly payoff if you’re willing to make an effort and wait for the results to start showing.
How to Increase Your Web Presence: 4 Strategies
Nowadays, most businesses operate online. That being said, operating in the digital world means that you must have a well-established presence on the web. The main reason is that the market is overcrowded with various other companies that are competing for their customers and their spot on the market. That’s why you need to find a way to stand out. However, even though businesses operate in the digital world, not every company has a good online presence.
Just because your business is out there, it doesn’t mean that people will notice it or become interested for that matter. Building a web presence means that you must make your company recognizable online and known to your audience. Otherwise, you’ll soon be outrun by your competitors. Building online presence takes time and effort. There are various strategies you can implement, but you must plan ahead and determine which strategies are best for your business. Therefore, here are a few powerful strategies to increase your web presence.
Build an awesome website
Websites are the core of every modern business. Without a good website, you have no hopes of developing your business further or increasing your web presence. The main reason is that websites are the face of companies. Your leads will eventually visit your website to browse through your company information, as well as your products or services. If you cannot provide an exceptional experience for your website visitors, you can be sure that they’ll abandon your pages and move elsewhere.
Online consumers have certain needs and expectations when it comes to browsing company websites. In other words, your website must be fast, responsive, easy to navigate, user friendly and safe, among other things. Being able to meet consumer expectations won’t just guarantee their satisfaction. Moreover, satisfied customers will more likely recommend you to friends and family, as well as give out referrals to other consumers. That way, your web presence will experience an increase, thanks to the satisfaction of your customers.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a cost-effective marketing strategy that can help you improve your presence online. Not only that, but it can also help you boost your visibility, credibility and exposure in the online world. SEO helps you optimize your website so that it ranks high on search engines, such as Google. Ranking for the right keywords helps your website appear on the first page of search results. That way, your website becomes more accessible and easily findable by your audience.
In addition, content marketing, guest posting and link building are also excellent SEO activities that can help you increase your web presence. However, consulting with an SEO company may be a good idea if you have difficulties effectively leveraging such activities. In addition, SEO takes time before it starts showing viable results and it requires constant improvements because search engine algorithms oftentimes change. That’s why it’s important not to give up on SEO, because sooner or later, you’ll start seeing the benefits of your efforts.
Build presence on social media
One of the best ways to increase your web presence is through social media platforms. The main reason is that social media allows you to directly communicate with your target audience, while you effectively build awareness for your business in the meantime. Actively engaging in conversations with your audience on social media allows you to establish more personal relationships with them. After all, the more familiar people are with your business, the better your presence and visibility will be.
However, when building presence on social media, it’s important to determine which social media channels your audience prefers. That way, you can focus on networks that have value to your business, instead of wasting resources on building presence on every social network out there. In addition, you can leverage influencer marketing to gain more publicity and exposure. That way, you’ll increase your web presence by having an influencer supporting your business on social media.
Publish amazing content
Content can easily increase your web presence and help you position yourself as an industry expert. Good content is widely accepted by online consumers and it’s always a good way to deliver value to audiences, while gaining recognition in return. However, you must focus on relevancy and quality of your content. The more relevant and useful your content is, the more impact it will have.
That’s why it’s important to ensure that your content is authoritative, informative, educational and entertaining. Otherwise, it won’t yield the results you need to increase your web presence. If you’re not a well-versed writer or you feel preoccupied with some other aspects of your online marketing strategy, you should consider outsourcing your content to an outside agency. They have both the knowledge and the tools needed to create a solid content creation and promotion plan for you and tailor it to your goals. Remember, only impeccable content can go viral and take your marketing efforts to the next level.
Building and improving your online presence requires a lot of dedication and effort. Not everything you do will get you the positive publicity you need to make your business famous. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and develop a good strategy that will increase your web presence in the best way possible.
In the modern business world, it’s very important that companies leverage creative and innovative strategies to drive their goals. Also, it’s important to be fast at making the right moves and decisions, in order to gain a competitive advantage. Thanks to the technology and its innovations, marketers today are able to leverage automation to achieve what’s needed on the market.
Marketing automation can be a very powerful tool that can boost your business and help it grow further, but only if you use it properly. That means that you need a good strategy, so that marketing automation can be as efficient as you need it to be. With the right approach, automating marketing processes can not only improve your efforts, but also save you time and money in the long-run. Here are a few ways marketing automation can make you invincible.
Ways to Use Marketing Automation to Improve Your Efforts:
Identifies good leads
Using marketing automations software can help you identify the right opportunities for your business. Marketing automaton can tap into your website traffic and analytics, in order to identify the best leads for your marketing campaigns. With the help from software, you can also categorize leads, based on the interest and willingness to make a purchase.
Equipped with valuable information about leads from marketing automation, you’ll know what type of messages to tailor to give your leads a push towards converting into customers. That way, you’ll be able to make sales and capitalize on the most valuable leads, while you devise a strategy to nurture other leads who are not yet ready to make a decision.
Improve your targeted messaging
Marketing automation allows you to leverage data about your target audience, in order to tailor more customized and personal messages, as well as offers for your products and services. That being said, you can leverage automation to send out these messages at the right moments during every potential customers buying journey. What’s more, you won’t miss out on any leads, due to the lack of time or resources for a manual search.
Marketing automation can target each and every lead you have and influence them to make a purchase. With the right strategy in place, you can vastly improve your targeted messaging, as well as your lead generation and conversion rate. By sending out the right messages at the right time, you’re able to secure audiences interest and their engagement. As a matter of fact, 68.5% of marketers have stated that the biggest benefit of marketing automation is improved targeted messaging.
Helps gather feedback
Building relationships with your target audience is key to having loyal and engaged customers. Marketing automation collects information about your audience and can help you identify customers that are most engaged. You can leverage that information to further strengthen your relationships with such customers and ensure that you can successfully retain them. Not only that, but you can ask your trusted customers for their opinions in order to leverage their feedback to further boost your efforts.
For instance, offer your audience a chance to partake in paid surveys online. That way, you’ll give them something of value in exchange for their honest feedback. Using that feedback to improve your business won’t just make your efforts more effective, but your customers will appreciate the fact that you listen to what they have to say as well.
Saves both money and time
Marketers know how demanding, but still important, mundane tasks really are. These tasks require constant attention and they repeat themselves each day. For example, sending out emails, responding to emails, social media posting, commenting and responding are just a few of the mundane tasks you have to attend to every day. What’s more, it takes a lot of time and resources to complete such tasks manually. However, with marketing automation, you can streamline the entire process and make it far more seamless.
You can automate the majority of processes in your social media and email campaigns, which can save you a lot of time and money along the way. Still, you can’t allow yourself to rely on automation too much, especially for your social media activities. The main reason is that sometimes your audience requires a personal response and not an automated one. If you don’t take time to respond to your customer’s comments or questions, they will most likely become aggravated.
Marketing automation allows you to stay in touch with your customers, in order to ensure they’ll be interested in repeat business. A simple follow-up “thank you” email after a purchase is oftentimes enough to retain customers. You can even include a special promotion or a discount in follow-up messages to further improve customer’s interest. Moreover, you can also use automated messages to gain information.
For example, automated messages can remind your customers about abandoned carts. You can even ask for feedback as to why they’ve abandoned it in the first place. If there’s an issue that drives your customers to abandon their shopping carts on your website, you can use that information to improve your check out process. Marketing automation will keep you informed about what your customers are experiencing, as well as help you guarantee their engagement through well-crafted messages.
Modern technology can in many ways help various businesses grow and develop on the market. Marketing automation is one of the best examples of such technology. Not only will you be able to seize better opportunities with automated marketing, but you’ll also be able to drive better results and ensure that your customers have the best experience possible with your business.
5 Tips to Help Create Your Social Media Branding Strategy
Every platform you use allows you to access a certain set of resources. This means that with your social media branding strategy, even with the same message you used a myriad of times before and the same brand image you want to create, you will still be forced to adjust to certain situational factors. When starting your online brand from scratch and planning for the long run, you might want to keep this in mind and include this decision-making process while creating a social media branding strategy. This will also help you manage and maintain it for years to come, which is yet another huge boon to your digital marketing effort. Here are several tips you might find useful here.
1. Start from your profile
Regardless if it’s your own account (in a case where you want to invest heavily in personal branding) or an official account of your business, you need to learn how to set up a profile that promotes your corporate values, as well as some of the best characteristics of your company.
For instance, on Twitter, it’s vital to find the right handle and learn how to write an outstanding bio, while on Instagram, your profile picture will be the key. Bio is also relevant on Instagram, although it’s nowhere near as valuable on Twitter. Facebook gives you the cover feature which, due to its dominant size, gets precedence over your profile picture. Needless to say, this is also something applicable to YouTube. Ideally, you would find a way to integrate them into a single homogenous unity.
Finally, when it comes to LinkedIn, this platform requires by far the most diligence. The closest comparison of making your LinkedIn page (even branded one) would be to make a parallel with making a personal resume.
2. Picking the right platform
The next thing you should understand is that in 2018, you need to be omnipresent on social media. You need to have profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat and even Pinterest. On the other hand, it is impossible to assume that you can achieve the same level of content-commitment on all of these platforms, which is why you should learn how to assign priorities.
For instance, the female audience is more oriented towards Pinterest, while they are also a majority on Facebook and most other networks. The teen audience usually gravitates towards Snapchat, while they also use Instagram considerably more than Facebook. Overall, by picking the demographic-appropriate platform and setting it as your main priority, you will make your overall efforts much more cost- and effort-effective.
3. Abandoning one-size-fits-all principle
As you might have noticed, there are no specific examples of what to do or what not to do so far on this list. This is mostly because generalization and one-size-fits-all solutions often backfire when it comes to branding. What’s appropriate for one business can be ineffective or even counter-effective for other. What’s ideal for one market, may sound offensive do other. In other words, you need to learn all the basic principles of social media branding, without adopting prejudices or myths about 100 percent effective or ineffective techniques.
For instance, the greatest problem starts when a nonprofit organization tries to implement methods used in e-commerce branding. To avoid this confusion and counterproductive mindset, try to look for branding experts specializing in nonprofit marketing.
4. Set the tone
The reason why social media marketing is so effective is due to the fact that you get a privilege of communicating with people on a personal level. In other words, regardless if you’re a company or an individual, they will use that little information they have about you in order to make out your characteristics. What you need is for these to be in agreement with the message you aim to send.
This can be achieved by setting your tone and voice and being consistent. If you aim to use humor in your post, try to keep it in the same style all the time. Being a skeptic and being a pun lover don’t really go hand in hand, although both of these styles can be appropriate on separate occasions. As for the attitude, writing style and opinions you represent on some hot or recurring topics, this is also something you need to figure out early on. Showing even the slightest discrepancy here can testify about internal inconsistency.
5. The format counts
Another thing you should figure out as soon as possible is your preferred format or, even more accurately, the preferred format of your target demographic. The written word may be seen as evergreen, yet, with the current attention span of the online populace, this might not be the most effective outreach method. This is why you should probably turn towards video creation and podcasting. Videos alone are a powerful social media format, seeing as how there’s a statistic that claims that about 100 million hours of videos get seen on Facebook every single day.
At the end of the day, even with the best of guides, you still have a lot of tough choices to make, some of which will affect the future of your entire business. This is why it’s so important that your decisions are based on facts, data and actionable information instead of gut feeling or someone else’s experience.
Your Website Marketing Strategy:
Modern businesses simply need a working and well-designed website to operate. Consumers nowadays rely on the Internet to do their research and their shopping. In order to be available to their customers, online businesses need a website to promote themselves, as well as their products and services. However, simply having a website isn’t nearly enough to attract visitors or convert them into customers, for that matter.
It’s important to understand that online consumers, being more tech-savvy lately, have specific criteria when it comes to purchasing decisions and choosing a specific company to do business with. That’s why it’s important to develop and design a website that will not only meet the expectations of online consumers but, at times, even exceed them. That way, you can use website marketing to increase your conversion rates. Here’s the ultimate website marketing strategy for increasing conversations.
Conduct some thorough research
Before you get started on improving your website, it’s a good practice to do some research first. After all, you need an awesome design and functionality to impress your customers and there’s no better way of achieving that than learning what your customers want in the first place. Make sure that you do some market research. Identify which are the latest trends your audience is following and also try to understand what influences their purchasing decisions when shopping online.
That way, you’ll have a better understanding of your customers’ preferences and what drives them to make purchases. Also, don’t hesitate to spy a bit on your competitors. Check out how they utilize website marketing and how well it performs among their customers. That way, you’ll learn if your competition is missing out on something important that will improve customer engagement and experience, so that you can use that advantage to improve your website.
Analyze your website
Once you’ve completed your research, it’s time to check your website to determine how well it can perform and meet customer expectations in its current state. Analyze your website to determine if there’s any need to improve your current design, functionality and content strategy. The most important factor you must take into consideration is user experience and satisfaction. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and determine whether you’d make a purchase on your website based on the state it’s currently in.
Moreover, check if your website is fast enough to match customer needs. Is it easy to navigate, is it user-friendly and responsive? What about mobile users, will they be satisfied as well? Another important factor to consider is the content on your website. Check to see if the content is good enough to drive engagement with your customers. You can also opt for cPanel hosting if you need to have more personal control of your website’s content and other functionality aspects.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a cost-effective and highly efficient marketing strategy for your website. SEO helps your website rank high on search engines by ranking for specific keywords related to your business. That way, when customers type in those keywords in their browsers, your website may end up on the first page of their search results. This is excellent for building your online visibility and reputation. Aside from becoming more visible and easily findable by your customers, your website’s credibility and authority will improve as well.
However, SEO takes a bit of time before it shows any actionable results and this marketing strategy requires you to constantly update your website and activities. That means you’ll need to be consistent when performing activities such as on-site, off-site and technical SEO. Moreover, activities, such as link building and guest blogging will also help build your website’s authority and drive more qualified and organic traffic to your website.
Build your online presence
Your website won’t do you much good, no matter how awesome it is, if no one knows about it. That’s why it’s important to build your online presence and awareness. The best way to start things off is on social media platforms. Make sure you focus on social media networks your target audience is present on, so that you don’t waste time and resources building your presence everywhere.
Once you’ve identified the right networks, you can engage with your target audience and start building more personal relationships with them. You can also post relevant and entertaining content to build engagement with your audience. Make sure you’re consistent and, over time, your social following will grow. This will help you drive more qualified leads back to your website, through personalized promotions and custom offers.
Utilize email marketing
Email is still one of the most effective ways of generating leads and converting them to customers. It is also a great way to lead prospects down your sales funnel, in order to help them convert to customers. Moreover, you can use email to send out carefully designed and personalized messages to leads who are still having second thoughts about visiting your website. As a matter of fact, email can be 40 times more effective at generating leads than Twitter and Facebook combined.
Make sure you use email segmentation that will help you categorize leads based on importance, preference, and other criteria. That way, you can involve more personalization for specific groups of people, in order to encourage them to visit your website and make purchases. In addition, email segmentation can yield a 14.32% increase in open rate and 100.95% in click-through rate. Using email to convince potential customers to check out your website is very effective. Alongside social media, your email marketing will improve your website traffic and conversion rates.
Websites are the most essential aspects of every modern business. Not only is the website the face of your business but it’s also the main place where your customers can browse through your goods and make purchases. That’s why it’s important to have an excellent design for your website. That way, you can meet the expectations and needs of your customers, by offering them a seamless experience and satisfaction.
With the rise of the web, people’s approach to making purchases has changed significantly. They are now aware of how important they are to small businesses trying to survive in such a competitive marketplace. And, in return for their loyalty, they expect you to provide them with the exceptional buying experience and they won’t accept anything less than that.
Your customers not interested in your products only. Namely, they want to know the story behind your brand, as well. They expect you to answer their questions fast, connect with them on social networks, and create relevant and interesting content. They don’t want to waste their time, either. If your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, they will abandon it and look for your competitors. The same goes for your navigation, mobile-friendliness, content, and the overall visual appeal of your site.
Given all these facts, here is how you should do digital marketing in 2018.
Prepare for the Google Mobile-First Index
If you haven’t heard yet that Google has finally rolled out their mobile-first index, then you’re living under a rock. This has become one of the hottest news in the digital marketing sphere, but what does it actually mean? From now on, Google will focus on the mobile version of your site when indexing it.
So, make sure you optimize your site for mobile searchers. After all, 60% of all web searches are done via mobile devices. Make your keywords longer and more conversational to optimize them for voice search. Use Google’s AMPs to speed up your site significantly. Your navigation should be simpler, while all important elements of your website should be above the fold. For additional information, take a look at what Google says about preparing your site for the mobile-first index.
Do you know that an average U.S. household participates in about 29 loyalty programs? They love them for different reasons- some join these programs to save money, while others want to receive a reward for their loyalty. For some, the availability of rewards programs is the major factor that determines whether they will buy from you or not.
Now, loyalty programs vary and you need to choose the option that works for your target audience. You could give them points or vouchers that can be later redeemed at your stores or offer them exclusive deals for every purchase or referral they make. However, recent studies point out that people have labeled financial rewards or highly targeted incentives far more enticing. So, to make customized loyalty programs, you could offer personalized visa gift cards, with your customers’ names on them or even organize a contest and let them win your premium products.
Focus on User-Generated Content
Let’s face it- people trust other customers more than you. According to the Local Customer Review Survey, 85% of them trust online reviews as much as their friends, while 73% of them will trust your business more if your customers’ reviews are positive.
In light of statistics like this, it’s obvious that user-generated content (UGC) is one of those tactics you simply cannot allow to ignore. After all, it’s your customers that sell your products today.
Use your social networks to invite people to share their own videos of your products or services.
Boost the visibility of this content by sharing it regularly and creating dedicated hashtags.
Most importantly, you need to know what works for each of the social networks you use. Share live stories and videos on Facebook, post photos on Twitter, while the user-generated content your Instagram account could be the combination of these forms of UGC.
Use Social Networks to Offer Instant Feedback
In the past, your communication with your customers was based on phone calls and emails. However, the times have changed and, today, your communication channels cannot be observed in isolation. All instant messaging apps, video conferencing tools, social networks, email providers, and telemarketing strategies are highly intertwined, creating what we call the omnichannel approach to communication.
Today, your customers can move from one device to another uninterruptedly. They can find your phone number on your site and call you instantly, not having to switch between different apps. They can scan your QR code that will lead them to the piece of content they want to read or a product they want to buy. They can stumble upon your business on social networks, read the reviews, ask questions, and follow the link to your site to learn more about you.
If you’re too busy answering your customers’ messages regularly, then hire someone to do so for you. Even better, use a chatbot. Even this is still a pretty new concept, chatbots are predicted to revolutionize the digital marketing industry in 2018. Namely, these AI-powered tools have become smarter and more intuitive. They will provide your customers with relevant, real-time feedback and, at the same time, do all repetitive and time-consuming tasks for you.
You can use social media monitoring tools to keep track of your brand or product mentions. Whenever someone mentions you, you’ll get notified. This is called social listening and it’s immensely important in providing your customers with real-time customers services and collecting their feedback.
Create Interactive Content
Gone are the days when you could write a 1000-word blog post and generate a bunch of links, shares, and comments. We’re living in the era of augmented reality and people expect your content to surprise and excite them. So, update your content strategy with interactive content, the one your customers can actively participate in, such as polls and quizzes. Don’t forget about visual content, especially videos, as they’re expected to account for 82% of the total internet traffic by 2020.
Tell your Customers a Story
You’re not doing content marketing for SEO purposes solely. You’re creating your content for your customers. And, to engage them and get them emotionally involved, each article you write needs to have a good story to back it.
That’s what storytelling is about.
Namely, 92% of people emphasized that they expect all major brands to create ads that feel like stories. Stories share a real-life experience, add the human element to your brand promotion, and evoke nostalgia and empathy. Most importantly, as they don’t seem overly promotional, they will take your relationship with your customers to a completely new, more personal level.
Over to You
Digital marketing is not about promoting your business and ranking higher on Google. It’s also about building and nurturing strong relationships with your target audience. That’s exactly what will set you apart from a sea of businesses similar to yours.
Hope these tips help!
How To Get To Number 1 On Google Using SEO
When looking for a business in your vicinity that will sell you a perfect toy for your kids’ birthday or fix your favorite pair of shoes, where do you find it?
You search for it online, I suppose.
And, your customers will do the same.
Namely, studies show that 50% of the consumers that conduct local searches via mobile visit the store within a day.
This is exactly why you need to make your store more visible to your potential customers. And, to do so, you need to invest in a solid SEO strategy.
Here are a few local SEO techniques that will help you lift your rankings in the SERPs and drive more traffic to your site.
Write SEO-friendly and Unique Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
On-page SEO is immensely important for your ranking. The idea behind it is simple- once you do your keyword research and find all relevant phrases you want to rank for, you need to optimize your page elements for them.
And your title and meta descriptions are a brilliant starting point. These are HTML elements that get displayed in search results and tell both search engines and your customers what your webpage is about.
Writing these tags is considered pure art. In today’s highly competitive landscape, where there are numerous businesses similar to yours, optimizing their sites just like you, you need to stand out. Otherwise, you won’t engage your potential customers and your click-through rate will suffer.
Now that Google’s main search results are is 600px wide, every character you write is precious. You need to make sure your text won’t be cut off. Even though this may not be that dangerous for your SEO, it does look extremely unprofessional and unappealing. So, your text needs to be concise and, at the same time, informative.
- Your title tag should be approximately 50-60 characters long, while your meta description should be between 160 and 200 characters.
- To reach your local customers, add the name of the city or the area your business serves (SEO agency Chicago, Chicago SEO agency, etc.).
- Focus on implementing just one targeted keyword to both your title tag and meta description. Your aim is to place it close to the beginning of the tag.
Optimize your Site to Make It User-Friendly and Crawlable
To drive more traffic, convert customers, and jump to the first page of Google, your site needs to be impeccable. First, it needs to be user-friendly and easy-to-navigate. Second, its structure should allow Googlebot to crawl and index it effortlessly.
Apart from writing sweet title and meta description tags, here are some other elements of your website you should definitely optimize:
- Your domain name needs to be short, meaningful, easy-to-remember, and unique. Just like your business’ name, your domain name needs to be brandable. To make sure no one steals your branding idea, you could even consider completing your company registration, business name registration, and domain registration at once.
- The 2016 Google’s report highlights that 30% of all mobile searches is related to a company’s location. So, optimizing your site for mobile searchers is inevitable and it means adding easy-to-spot CTAs, making your forms simple to click on and fill in, boosting your site’s load speed, and making your phone number easily clickable.
- Add a map to help your customers find you.
- Show your most prominent customers’ testimonials. It’s not a secret that customers trust each other more than brands.
- Use Schema for local businesses to tell search engines what your site is about and showing that it is a local business and not a huge corporation.
- Make sure your NAP (your name, address, phone number) is prominent and correct.
Produce Quality Local Content to Earn Links
In today’s era of sophisticated Google’s algorithms and their initiative to penalize every spammy and unnatural SEO practice, earning links is directly related to creating top-quality content. It is what makes you authoritative and sets you apart from your rivals.
Start a blog
Start with building a blog on your site’s domain.
When optimizing your posts for search engines, ensure you implement local city and neighborhood information. To make your reach a bit wider, you should also include neighboring places and unofficial terms local customers use.
If there are any local news and events relevant to your business, elaborate them in your articles. This form of information is not only extremely valuable to your SEO, but also to your sites’ authority.
If you participate in charity events, sponsor any teams, or support any organizations relevant to what you do, make sure you let your customers know about it.
Most importantly, never focus on writing about your business. Instead, make your content insightful, engaging, and highly informative.
Sooner or later, people will start to see the value of your content and link to it naturally. And, as you already know, backlinks are the most prominent localized organic-ranking factor.
We all know that link building is the basis of every powerful SEO strategy. According to Moz’s research, link signals are the most significant localized ranking factor.
So, to boost your rankings, you need to have a detailed link building strategy.
Here are a few techniques you may want to try out:
- Start with publishing on relevant sites in your niche.
- Mention influential people in your niche in your piece of content and ask them to share it on their blog or social networks.
- Leave insightful comments on authoritative sites and blogs. Don’t overstuff your comments with links. Instead, aim to provide their followers with relevant information and answers.
- Find broken links on important blogs in your niche and offer your content as a relevant replacement.
A recent research shows that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, while 7 out of 10 will review your business, if asked.
The reason why people love reviews is that they tell them honestly if you’re good as you say you are.
So, the first thing you need to do is check your reviews.
If you have anything less than four or five stars on all major review sites, well, that’s bad.
Your poor ratings will drive your target audience off, triggering the drop in your brand authority and revenue.
On the other hand, by boosting your score by just one star, you will skyrocket your cash flow by 10%.
Now, getting reviews requires a long-term strategy you’ll have to stick to for the life of your company.
Once you receive negative reviews (You will. Everyone does.), make sure you remain professional while answering them. Also, use them to improve your business and provide your customers with impeccable products or services.
Now, where to get reviewed?
- Amazon Customer Reviews
- Angie’s List
- Better Business Bureau
Pro tip: When asking your customers for reviews, don’t ask for too many of them. A huge inflow of positive reviews may seem suspicious and may get you removed from some of these platforms.
Over to You
The number of your competitors is constantly rising. Precisely because of this, the only way to reach the first page in the SERPs is to invest heavily in local SEO. It will not only help you boost your rankings and traffic, but also turn your leads into conversions and boost your brand’s authority.
In today’s hyperconnected world, building a reputable brand is more difficult than ever. Maybe there was a time in the past when you could entirely control your brand’s development, but today, that’s not possible.
With the rise of the internet, word of mouth has become more powerful than ever. Coming in a form of blog comments, Google business reviews, social media likes, shares, and comments, your customers’ opinions of your brand shape its authority and trustworthiness.
However, this isn’t something you should be afraid of.
On the contrary, you can leverage this rising phenomenon, to see how your target audience really feels about you and tailor your approach to their expectations.
Here are a few reputation marketing strategies your customers will love.
Collect Feedback Regularly
Today’s tech-savvy customers are aware of how important they are to you. To buy from you, they expect you to provide them an outstanding user experience. And, it doesn’t matter if they are satisfied with what you have to offer or not, they will share their opinion on your brand online. They will rate your services, review your products on social networks, or even write a blog post about them.
Precisely because of that, you should go out there and try to collect their feedback on your own.
Here is how:
- Offer effective live chat support. It helps you get closer to your customers. You will be able to understand what the major challenges they come across when visiting your site are. Once you help them solve these problems, you can ask them for feedback in a form of a few simple questions.
- Add a dedicated feedback form to your website. Just make sure it’s not too long or confusing.
- Call your customers to see what they think of you.
- Use social media monitoring tools to check your brand and product mentions on social networks.
- You can also track your brand mentions on other sites with tools like BuzzSumo, Google Alerts, etc.
- Ask for feedback when a user wants to abandon a shopping cart.
Prove your Trustworthiness
If you’re new in the industry, many people will feel reluctant to do business with you. And, the reason behind that is pretty logical- they’re afraid that you won’t be able to deliver the project successfully. So, to grab their attention and prove that there is nothing to worry about, you need to give them something valuable.
For example, you can get a performance bond, a guarantee by a bonding company that all your tasks will be completed per the specifications of the contract. The only difference between performance bonds and the insurance is that the bonding company doesn’t simply write a check if you fail to do your job. On the contrary, they hire new contractors or even complete the project on their own.
Once you get a surety bond, you should let your clients know about it. Post this information on both your website and social networks, assuring them that they will see their money back if you fail to reach an agreement.
You could also offer free return shipping. Adweek emphasizes that 68% of shoppers believe that this is very important.
Offer Social Proof
You need to show your customers why they should trust you and here is how to do so:
- Use customer testimonials on your site.
- Seek influencer endorsements.
- Inspire your customers to rate and review your products and services. According to the Adweek’s infographic mentioned above, 49% of customers believe that product reviews on a website are important.
- Share your business’ milestones, such as reaching a certain number of customers.
- Show your existing customer base. To prove how reliable you are, highlight which reputable companies have worked with you.
- Add trust seals to your checkout page to boost your sales.
Create Valuable Content
Content marketing is the nerve center of your digital marketing strategy. It helps you implement your keywords organically, boost your rankings, and become visible to your target audience. Above all, the more quality content you write, the more appreciated you will be in your industry.
And, when I say „quality,“ I mean an industry-specific, original, educative, intriguing, and highly interactive piece of content. This approach helps you establish yourself as an authority in your niche and grow your customer base fast.
What you need to keep in mind is that, with the rise of VR technologies, writing articles is not enough to spark your target audience’s curiosity. You need to upgrade your content strategy, by making your content more engaging.
Here are a few types of content that may work for you:
- Case studies
- Gifs and memes
- Ephemeral content on social networks, such as live stories
Monitor your Reputation Continuously
Even though building solid online reputation is complex, these techniques may be your optimal starting point.
But, always keep in mind that your hard work doesn’t end here.
Marketing trends are constantly changing. Things that were hot yesterday may be completely irrelevant today.
This is why you need to keep track of your online reputation constantly.
Stay on top of the latest industry trends, collect your customers’ feedback regularly, and tailor your approach to them.
This is how you will manage to boost user experience, earn quality referrals, and even turn your leads into loyal customers.
Hope this helps!