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.
Brand Marketing Strategy
A lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of forgoing brand marketing and branding strategy during the early stages of their startup’s development and set-up. Most business owners tend to focus more on the product, and even though what you’re selling is important, the image you’ll be selling is even more so.
This is why defining your brand identity at the beginning of your startup efforts is crucial for the survival of your business.
Why? Keep on reading to find out!
Why is branding important for your startup?
Establishing an identity should be your first step.
One of the main reasons you should start brand marketing early on is because this is the only way to establish an identity for your business. And that doesn’t just mean creating a logo design fit for your company, some social media pages, and a quick website. Your branding will involve much more than just your name and a few designs. It’s your organization’s whole personality.
This is why it’s critical for you to choose a brand identity that represents your values as a startup makes you relatable to your audience. Having a precise vision of what your startup should be will save you a lot of time, money, and heartache.
Don’t forget to give your audience what they want
Good branding will also help you influence your audience, and turn them from viewers to customers. Most importantly, branding is great for customer retention, because it’s always cheaper to make your customers loyal than to look for new ones.
Startup branding is also a great way to inspire your audience and create an emotional bond with them. In the end, no matter how good or innovative your idea is, if you can’t require loyal customers, your business will most likely not be a success.
Early branding ensures that your marketing strategy will promote engagement and inspire loyalty towards your products and/or services.
How about the competition?
Brand marketing will also set you apart from the competition. A brand is more than just a name and an image, and it is strong enough to offer your company a competitive advantage, especially if your market is nearly saturated and there are a thousand more other companies that offer the same products and services.
A quick summary
To summarize, early branding in the startup business has many advantages, the most important being:
- Creating an identity for your company
- Giving your direction, marketing-wise
- Making your business memorable
So, how do you work on your branding strategy when you’ve just started your business? Here are a few tips you might want to follow.
1- Get to know your market.
This should be a crucial part of your branding strategy because there is no way your brand will be successful without learning about your market of choice. You need to be able to pinpoint who your customers are, where you belong in your market, and how your services and products compare to those of your competitors.
One of the first decisions you should take is to choose who you want your audience and loyal customers to be. Create concise user and buyer personas and learn how you can communicate and bond with them. The best companies are, after all, the ones who know how to please their customers.
Focus on a niche, and you’ll be able to make a faster impact. How to recognize your niche? Easy, since it’s based on what you’re selling. Your services and products should be able to focus on an existing problem and be the perfect solution for it.
As an example, here is an answer to these two questions with The Puff Cuff company:
- What is their niche?
Answer: people with naturally thick, textured hair
- What problem do their products provide a solution for?
Answer: Styling thick curly hair is always difficult and problematic, which is why the company created the PuffCuff Hair Clamp, “a tool that makes it easy to achieve stylish looks without putting stress on curly hair or causing pain”.
2 – Learn more about the competition.
Even the most famous brands in the world can be at a disadvantage. This is why when you’re starting a new business, one of the first steps you need to take is learning more about your competition. You’ll need to work harder than the brands that are already established, so make sure to do it in a smart way.
Studying the competition offers quite a few advantages, the most important being:
- The ability to determine whether or not there is a gap in the market that you can fill,
- and how you can make yourself different from what’s already in the market.
This brings us to our next point…
3 – Make yourself different.
We know it hurts to read this, but your product alone is not enough to make you look good, no matter how incredible or genius it is. The only way you’ll be able to differentiate yourself from the rest of your market is by good branding.
For example, the brand Supreme is one of the world’s most desirable brand, and it stands out because of its exclusive, cool, underground image.
Separate yourself from the herd by having a unique voice and image. This is how your audience will remember you.
4 – Create the image you want to relay to your audience.
Finally, once you’ve done your research and identified the character you want your company to have, you should work on the image you will relay to your audience. A lot of variables go into a company’s image, especially a startup. From designing the perfect logo to your tone of voice to the typography you use to your color scheme, all these elements come into play to create your brand’s identity.
Also, remember that you can’t do everything alone. Especially for startups, using the services of experts are the best way to make sure you’re creating the perfect brand for your business. It might be expensive, but it is the single best thing you can invest in this early in the game.
Brand marketing is more than just coming up with a business name and creating a cool logo. It’s a whole strategy that should be well-studied and defined because it’s the one thing that will make you shine in an oversaturated market.
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.
Where should you invest your online marketing dollars? Tracking online marketing efforts isn’t an easy task. Results aren’t immediately noticeable for some campaigns, and building a brand name adds value to your company in ways other than strictly monetary.
Influencer marketing utilizes people online with an established fan base and voice to get the word out about your products and company. However, influencer campaigns tend to offer a slow build toward name recognition rather than fast results. Ongoing investment and working with multiple influencers works best for most businesses.
There are eight key reasons your business should invest in influencer marketing.
1. Reach More Millennials
The millennial generation is one of the largest generations since the baby boomers, and they are now a vast buying block. About 70 percent of millennials tell surveyors the recommendations of their peers influence their purchase decisions. In a sea of businesses and online advertising, standing out to a marketing-savvy demographic isn’t easy, but your brand can still reach millennials where they live via social media influencers.
2. Keep up With Competitors
As more marketers realize the value of influencer marketing, your competitors get on the bandwagon. Remaining competitive requires embracing the same types of marketing but also thinking outside the box.
Work with influencers your competitors aren’t already working with. Think about who has similar audiences to yours, develop relationships with them and reach out for partnerships. The idea behind influencer marketing is creating a mutually beneficial relationship. Your audience should be a gain for the influencer and vice versa.
Lululemon Athletica teamed up with well-known names and micro-influencers to get the word out about its brand. In the screenshot above, professional surfer Malia Manuel shows off her Lululemon gear as she holds a yoga pose. Posts such as this give customers a reason to visit Lululemon’s website or Instagram page.
3. Grow Your Social Following
When an influencer mentions your brand, you gain access to their followers. While not all will respond to a campaign, some will. You’ll gain likes, followers and shares each time you work with an influencer on a campaign, and try out this auto likes instagram free trial to increase your brand.
Another way of engaging with influencers on social media is by commenting on their posts and sharing their content with your followers. Make sure your comments aren’t spammy but are related to the post at hand and add value to the conversation. Folks interested in the topic may find your comment interesting and click on your profile to learn more about you.
4. Create Instant Trust
New brands sometimes have a difficult time building trust with new customers. You don’t have a proven track record and users have no real reason to trust you and your customer service. However, they may already trust the influencer, who does have a proven record of only recommending the best products and services in the industry. Getting a recommendation from an influencer people already trust lends credibility to your brand.
50 Floor utilizes the help of a well-known influencer on the landing page of its website. Richard Karn is famous for his role as the handyman Al on “Home Improvement.” When site visitors see his smiling face, they immediately think of high-quality work ethic and home improvement. Finding a recognized and trusted influencer lends credibility to your brand name.
5. Find Influencers Easily
Figuring out who to contact at a print magazine and how to create the right resolution and size ad is a grueling task for someone new to the advertising game. However, finding an influencer is as simple as researching a topic and seeing who is talking about that trend on social media. You can see at a glance which accounts have a decent following.
Pay attention to how many people interact on their profile pages and not just how many followers they have, as some people have a lot of bot followers. Are their users engaging when they post content? Pay particular attention to any branded posts they put up and how their followers react. Getting attention from 3,000 highly targeted and engaged users is preferable to little attention from a million followers.
6. Gain Sells
A powerful influencer mentions your product and the orders roll in. While influencer marketing isn’t always fast, there are times when it is. A recommendation to take advantage of a special offer works well, especially if the audience trusts the influencer has their best interests at heart. Working with such an influencer increases your sales.
One example of a company utilizing an influencer to sell a product is Glossybox working with YouTube influencers. It created videos of the influencers opening its monthly subscription boxes and then using those products. The conversions from a Revfluence campaign were phenomenal, with 150,000 views and $3,000 in monthly sales — for far more than a single month.
7. Create Unique Content
One of the biggest challenges for small businesses is creating content regularly. However, working with influencers gives you content to share on your social media sites and even on your website. Influencers create reviews, videos, short posts, photos and more.
The cost of hiring a professional writer and photographer is far more than the cost of bringing on an influencer who also creates this type of content. A smart marketing mix is splitting your budget between influencers and unique content.
8. Add a Fresh Perspective
Figuring out ways of marketing your products isn’t easy. Over time, ideas grow stale, and you need something fresh and cutting-edge. Influencers brainstorm ideas with you because they know what their audience responds best to. The way they see your brand may be slightly different than the way you see it. Their unique viewpoint allows them to showcase you in a new light with a fresh audience.
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective tools you have for increasing brand awareness. Approach it as you would any other type of marketing endeavor. Do your research, study the competition and create a plan. Keep in mind that the best results often take time, but don’t rule out immediate benefits, either. Look for ongoing partnership opportunities that expand the reach of your brand and add fresh ideas to your business.
Due to the information revolution, marketing strategies are rapidly changing. What was in trend a couple of months ago, now is passé. With that along, ways of using the same marketing tools are constantly changing. Just a couple of years ago financial investment in commercials was at its peak – millions were invested in advertisement videos. Nobody could predict that social media would become so crucial in the marketing world.
it is not easy to keep up with all the trends that are going viral. Here are the most creative ways in which you should use social media if you want your business to keep up with hot trends.
1. Collaborate With Another Brand
This is a great way of gaining new followers and exposing yourself to a different audience. The only point of partnering with another brand is to choose not a competitor, but a brand with only a slightly different target audience. That way both parties will widen the audience and benefit from the collab.
2. Use The User-Generated Content (UGC)
The pressure of constantly creating good quality content for your social media and website can be a nightmare. Why on earth then you would not use and share the content your followers and fans are literally providing you with. You can make different Instagram campaigns asking your audience to engage and post a photo with certain hashtags. It can be anything from asking a simple question, to selfie with your brand’s product. Also, keep in mind that people will always believe more in your brand’s service if they see other people besides you enjoying it as well.
3. Giveaway Time!
Did anyone ever say no to free stuff? People love getting things for free. Giveaways and contests are a great way of getting new followers and UGC that you then share on your social media. Conditions of contests and giveaways are usually consisted of liking or following your account, and maybe posting a picture or writing a comment on a certain subject. Either way. it is a fun way of engaging your audience with your brand.
4. Hop on Hot Trends Wagon
Unlike before, when you only had to think about selling the product, now you have to think about sharing ideas, lifestyles, and humor with your audience. That is why it is super important to stay on track about trending topics and state your opinion here and there. Before you do that, you should be aware of a couple of things. First is that you have to completely understand the trend, and why people are buzzing about it. And second, make sure that it is relevant to your service/product in some, at least vague way. Adding something valuable to the topic will bring you more integrity, and respect from your audience. Plus you will earn some new ones as well. Keep in mind that keeping up with all the different trends and topics is a full-time job. If you want to do it right. It was never a better time to outsource this task to professional managers of social media, than today. Having an advantage of being a remote job, you can even choose experienced social media agency based in Sydney. Location does not matter.
5. Include Behind The Scenes
There is no better way of your audience getting to know your brand in depth, than by letting them see who is behind your products and posts. It is a more intimate strategy that builds trust and creates deeper, more personal relationships with your users. It helps them see your team and working environment in the right spotlight. You can share photos of your team working, having a break, team building… Or even short videos including funny moments with your coworkers.
6. Create Educational Videos
Good How-to video has never been left unshared. These videos are very eye-catchy, as they are visually appealing and the audience can learn something new from them. Most shareable contents are usually regarding crafts, hacks, and cooking. Try to find a topic that is in some connection to your product or service and that will at the same time be attractive to the audience. It will help you grow your followers and build trust in the knowledge that stands behind your brand.
7. Let Influencer Borrow Your Social Media
This is another creative strategy of using your social media. Basically, you are collaborating with a relevant influencer and letting them post on your behalf on social media for a certain period of time. This creative strategy brings your brand a fresh perspective and adds new faces to your followers. People are identifying with other people much easier than they do with brands. Allowing this takeover, influencer’s audience will be exposed to your brand, and vice-versa.
If you have not already, start implementing these social media marketing strategies. Invest your time in searching for the most effective marketing strategies, and make sure to keep up with the newest social media marketing trends.
Marketing Strategies for Freelance Designers
If your success as a freelance designer only depended on your talent and work ethic, you’d have an endless stream of clients. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Instead, you have to master the combined arts of marketing and promotion. You have two overarching goals. Establish name recognition. Connect with the clients that you want to work with. Here are seven strategies that you can employ.
Start with Your Business Plan
Many people see a business plan as a tool for launching a small business, or something they must create to attract investors. It’s also very useful for setting the foundation of your marketing strategy. In your business plan, you will identify:
- Your Target Audience
- The Specific Products and Services You Offer
- Your Market
- The Factors That Differentiate You from Other Graphic Designers
Create a Portfolio
Your next step will be to create a portfolio of the design work you’ve done. Refer back to your business plan. You should certainly share a wide variety of work samples, but focus on the kind of work that sets you apart, and that appeals to your target customer.
Don’t worry if you haven’t done a significant amount of paid work. It’s more important that you showcase quality work that clearly demonstrates your skill set. There’s nothing wrong with including student or personal projects in your portfolio.
Establish an Online Presence
Once you’ve selected the items you’re going to include in your portfolio, it’s time to begin building an online presence. This includes creating a website and getting active on social media.
All of your other marketing efforts will focus mostly on getting people to your website, landing pages, and social pages. These are the places where you’ll make sells, introduce the details of your products and services, and develop relationships with customers and potential clients.
Keep in mind that your profession is going to lead to very high standards when it comes to your website. Other freelancers may be able to get away with a website they build from a free template. Your website is going to reflect on your professional capabilities. Everything from your choice of font, layouts, color schemes, and images really needs to be on point.
Your web content also needs to be extraordinarily professional. If you’re more artist than writer, you might want to source some professional services and tools such as:
- White Smoke – A helpful spelling and grammar checking utility
- Rewarded Essays – A copywriting and editing service with an excellent reputation
- Grammarly – A grammar checking utility that works as an app or plugin
- Google Docs – Keep your web content documents organized in one place you can access anywhere.
- GrabMyEssay – Another reputable source of professional content writing services
Reach out via Email
You can begin working on a solid email marketing campaign right from the start. In fact, you should. For every dollar spent on email marketing there’s an average ROI of 32 dollars.
It’s easy enough to get started. You can begin collecting email addresses with a simple form on your website. Later, you can adopt a more comprehensive email marketing solution that includes email templates, an autoresponder, and other advanced features.
Share your Work and Your Insights
Used correctly, your social media sites can become a goldmine of customer engagement and promotional opportunities. Some of this can include direct promotional content. Just keep in mind that the key to successful social media marketing is in building relationships and establishing thought leadership. The best way to do this is by creating and sharing relevant content.
If you haven’t started blogging, now is a good time. Share your expertise and insights about graphic design techniques, industry trends, even your experiences as a freelancer. Anticipate questions your target audience may have, and challenges they face that relate to your profession. Then create and share content that addresses their needs. To keep your writing at a professional level, try Hemingway, Hot Essay Service, and Power Thesaurus.
Target Long Tail Keywords
SEO is the process of making your website, social media, and content easy to find on Google and other search engines. Keywords are an important part of this. When your content contains the words and phrases that people who need your services enter into search engines, your website and other content will filter to the top of search results.
The problem is that two or three-word keywords tend to lead to very generic search results. That’s no way to get found by members of your target audience. Instead, focus on long tail keywords. These are longer, more detailed phrases that make it more likely that you’ll get the attention of people who are interested in the specific services that you have to offer.
For example, the phrase ‘Graphic Design’ is likely to return a very large, very generic list of search results. As a freelancer, you’re not likely to make the front page. Now, imagine that the search keywords are, ‘Graphic Design in Cook County’ or ‘Graphic Design for WordPress’. That narrows down the field significantly.
Use Client Testimonials and Referrals
Neightan White, a content marketing expert at Supreme Dissertations says, “Anything you say about your own talents and capabilities will always pale in comparison to the word of a satisfied client. This is why it’s imperative to identify clients that you’ve really impressed and ask them for a testimonial or recommendation.”
When you get positive feedback, use it to your advantage. Share testimonials on social media, your landing pages, and your website. This is a great way to build trust and thought leadership. Referrals are extremely valuable in building up your business through word of mouth.
If you can master the art of marketing and promotion, and combine that with your superb graphic design skills, you have an excellent chance of establishing a solid client base. This will lead to your ongoing success as a freelancer.
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.
Hey Designers, one of our most popular posts is about Top Social Media Hashtags for Designers. We thought we’d continue to shed light on this topic, this time focusing on the best hashtags for creative business owners. We hope that these hashtags enable you to expand your audience. You deserve it!
Now onto the hashtags…
Top Social Media Hashtags for Creative Business Owners
Use a mix of broad and specific hashtags.
Posts with broader hashtags like #Art and #Design will compete with millions of others.
Specific hashtags like #WatercolorArt will afford your post the opportunity to stick around longer.
Are you following your favorite influencers on Twitter and Instagram?
Take tips from them on which hashtags they are using!
Question: How many hashtags should I use?
TrackMaven did a study, and found that posts with nine hashtags received the highest engagement.
Instagram allows the most hashtags, at 30. It’s best to use minimal hashtags on Twitter due to the
Consider coming up with a hashtag that is specific to your company.
Some examples from companies here in Cleveland are Destination Cleveland’s #thisiscle
and Townhall’s #TownhallorNowhere. Keep clearly using your brand hashtag and your customers just
may join in on the action, too.
9 Marketing Myths
When it comes to marketing, you’ll hear a lot of different advice. One expert will say to always do A, while another expert says to never do A. At the end of the day, you have to take in all the advice you read and hear and figure out what works for you as a small-business owner.
One study showed that around 70 percent of marketers are not handling the era of big data well and a mere 3 percent said their data was aligned with their marketing efforts. One of the reasons marketing and business goals aren’t aligned may have to do with the many marketing myths business owners face.
Here are nine marketing myths you shouldn’t believe and what you should do instead:
1. The ROI of Inbound Marketing Isn’t Measurable
You may have heard that it’s impossible to measure the ROI of inbound marketing, but it’s actually quite easy to track analytics and see where your traffic comes from. If you seek leads from sources such as social media, they have their own analytics to show you which ads are most effective.
In fact, marketing teams who used automation software and checked analytics a few times a week saw 20 percent more ROI than those who didn’t. Instead of assuming you can’t control inbound marketing, stay on top of your results. Study what works and what doesn’t to convert browsers into leads.
2. It’s Impossible to Set Specific Goals
You might think it’s impossible to set specific marketing goals, because you never know how a campaign might go, but this simply isn’t true. Those who set goals are 429 percent more likely to find success, and top marketers document the processes they use and determine which ones are successful and which ones aren’t.
Instead of avoiding goals until you see how successful a campaign is, set specific goals for what you want to achieve and then figure out how to get there.
3. You Can’t Buy Their Love
You may have heard that promotional products don’t work. People who want something free will take your products and you’ll not get any return from it. However, people tend to view a brand more favorably if they receive an eco-friendly or made-in-America product. About 85 percent of consumers remember a brand that gave them apparel, such as a T-shirt or hat.
Promotional products do work. The key is finding the item your customers will keep and display proudly. This turns the customer into a walking billboard for your brand.
4. Local Businesses Don’t Need Online Marketing
If you run a small mom-and-pop shop, you may assume your online presence doesn’t really matter. After all, most of your business is foot traffic, right? Not having an online presence, even for a small local business, is a mistake.
About 30 percent of all mobile searches tie to a location, and around 28 percent of searches for something near the person turn into a purchase. Instead of ignoring your online presence, figure out where your target audience spends their time and reach out to them via social media.
5. All Millennials Think Alike
Millennials often get a bad rap for being self-absorbed and broke. While they have faced some challenges generations before them may not have, today’s millennials are simply savvy with their money. They also can’t all be pigeonholed into a single description.
Instead of assuming you can create a blanket marketing campaign that covers all millennials, take the time to get to know your customers on a personal level. Understand they are each unique and must be marketed to as individuals.
6. Mobile Readiness Doesn’t Matter
Mobile internet traffic is about 51.2 percent, and some users only access the web via their mobile devices. As more people purchase smartphones and wireless networks adopt 5G and faster mobile internet service, expect to see the percentage of mobile users creep up even higher.
Mobile readiness matters, and Google even penalizes your site for not being friendly to smaller screens. Instead of ignoring your mobile presences, embrace the small screen.
7. Email Marketing Is Dead
Some business owners think email marketing isn’t a wise investment of time and resources. Thanks to loads of spam, people just delete any email that lands in their inbox, don’t they? The truth is that email has a high ROI compared to other forms of marketing. You just have to take the time to get the tone and the offers right.
About 77 percent of consumers prefer email as the No. 1 method of communication by 68 percent over the next nearest method. An email list also belongs to you rather than being controlled by a social media platform. If you aren’t building an online mailing list, you should.
8. Get on All Social Media Platforms
Myth No. 8 says you need to have a presence on as many social media platforms as possible. If you’re going to post on one, you might as well post on them all. However, each platform is a bit different in tone and audience, so a post you created for Facebook may not translate well on LinkedIn.
A presence on social media takes time and resources. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, choose the social media site that attracts your typical customer type. You can always expand into other platforms later.
9. Every Lead Is Valuable
This myth states you need to just collect leads. However, this isn’t true. A good lead is someone who is right in your target audience and most likely to purchase your product or service. Simply gathering names is a waste of time and money.
Instead, narrow down your focus so you attract only those people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer. If a lead will never buy your product, then it isn’t worth your time.
Overcoming Marketing Myths
Whether the myths you’re following are from other marketing experts or personal truths you’ve adopted over time, spend a few minutes thinking through which ones are accurate and which ones should be ignored. With a little foresight, your marketing will rise to the next level and you’ll avoid the pitfalls other marketers disappear into.
One of the most valuable assets you can build as a business owner is a mailing list. Unlike followers on social media or traffic from a search engine, a mailing list is under your direct control. You can reach out to those leads anytime, and because you spend the time to reach a specific target audience, they will be highly receptive leads as well.
Investing in email marketing pays off. Every $1 spent on email marketing results in $44 in average profit. Building your online mailing list is something that takes your business to a new level and keeps it growing.
There are several ways to gain more subscribers. Here are nine ideas to get you started.
1. Use the Right Color
The color you use for your call-to-action (CTA) buttons truly does matter. While some studies show red buttons grab more attention, other studies show blue or green ones do. The truth is more likely that the contrast of the button against the background is what matters most.
You should choose a color and shade that make the button stand out and grab the reader’s attention from the minute they land on your page. The key is to draw the eye to the CTA in the first place. Otherwise, your visitors might miss it.
2. Keep Your Signup Form Short
Your signup form should be short and straightforward, so users only have to fill in an email address and click to subscribe. If you make the form too long, you risk losing users who don’t have the time or patience to fill in lengthy information sheets. Some people may not want to give up private details, either.
Another idea is to allow an option to add a newsletter signup anytime the user is already filling in their email address. If they are in the middle of contacting you, you need a checkbox on your comment form that allows them to subscribe to your newsletter. If they order something, add an option to sign up for the newsletter there, too.
Nerd Fitness keeps the form to sign up for their mailing list short and to the point. They only ask you to enter your email address, have the option to share which gender you identify as and then click on the CTA, which reads “Free Stuff! Count me in!” Signing up truly couldn’t be easier.
3. Place Your CTA in the Best Spot
Knowing where to put your CTA for maximum impact helps you gain or lose potential subscribers. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to CTA placement. While some people say to place the CTA above the fold, others say to put it at the bottom of the information about what you have to offer.
If the content of your newsletter is obvious, putting a CTA above the fold will grab the reader’s eye. However, if it requires a bit more explanation to entice people to subscribe, you may need to place it a bit further down the page.
4. Offer Incentives
Offer incentives to people for signing up for your newsletter. These can be coupons, letting them know about specials as things go on sale or deals that are exclusively for your newsletter subscribers. Offering this type of incentive is often the only enticement people need to share their email address with you.
A bonus of this type of CTA is that if they want deals, they are likely already interested in what you have to offer. You’ll build a mailing list that is not only hungry for what you have to offer, but also highly targeted.
Wing Tactical uses an incentive of receiving discounts to get people to sign up for their mailing list. Note how their CTA button is in the large, red horizontal bar at the bottom of the page. The words “get exclusive deals” are in large, bold print, and then they clarify with slightly smaller text that reads, “when you sign up for our email list.”
5. Make It Big Enough
Is your CTA button so small it is easy to overlook? Remember, you want to grab your site visitors’ attention. While you don’t want to be obnoxious and fill the entire page with your button, you do want to make it stand out from other elements on the page and large enough to spot easily.
Remember that some people will come to your page specifically to get an offer or sign up for your newsletter. These people don’t want to hunt for your CTA to sign up for your mailing list. Make it easy for them to find it in mere seconds and take action.
6. Pose a Question
Another way to snag site visitors is to pose a question that guides them to the answer you’d like them to choose, which is to sign up for your newsletter. Consumers are pretty savvy these days. There are thousands of free newsletters, so to entice them to subscribe to yours, you need to stand out from the crowd.
Digital Photography School poses the simple question, “Ready to take better photos?” to make site visitors think. Since the natural answer to such a question is yes, they then explain you can receive free weekly tips and tutorials and provide a box for your email address and a button that says “Let’s go!”
7. Tie the Newsletter to Your Site
Newsletter readers tend to spend 80 percent more time on a website than non-subscribers. A big reason for this is likely because you are speaking to a highly targeted group of people who are already interested in what you have to offer. However, meshing the site and your newsletter in some areas can interest people in signing up.
At some point, you’ve likely seen a CTA that says something along the lines of “never miss another post” or “get updates when we post new content.” These types of CTAs remind the reader they don’t want to miss what you have to offer.
8. Hold Their Attention
Don’t forget the copy around your CTA is equally important as the button. You must attract the reader’s attention in a fun or exciting way. They see dozens of ads in a typical day. If you don’t stand out, why would they even bother? Tell them what they have to gain and do it in a way that will make them sit up and take notice.
Look at Campaign Monitor’s customer Flume and the way they entice people to subscribe. They show how they kept Flume’s email subscribers interested and in the know. Then, they offer to help you “build an email like this.”
9. Add More White Space
Filling your page with information is tempting. However, sometimes you need to reduce the noise and allow the user to home in on your CTA offer. Do some A/B testing and remove a bit of the clutter around your CTA button. You’ll likely see an increase in conversions.
Adding white space isn’t always easy, but more than likely, there are elements on your page you can easily do away with. Use heat maps to help you find which areas of your page visitors linger on, and which ones can go.
Better CTAs will bring you more subscribers, but you also need to understand how to convert those subscribers once they’re a part of your mailing list. No matter what type of business you run, CTAs help you make that initial contact with site visitors and convert them into raving fans.
Your company mission statement shapes everything you do as a business owner. It sets the tone for how you grow, how you treat customers and what you value most as a business owner and a person. Taking the time to create a mission statement that will stand the test of time and work even years after your opening day is a good investment of time.
One study found there is a positive correlation between mission statements and performance. However, the overall impact of how a mission statement influences a brand is almost impossible to measure. There are some important factors to consider as you create your mission statement and how to show off that mission to consumers.
1. Figure Out Your Company’s Purpose
Why did you want to start your company in the first place? Once you know your purpose, it’s much easier to write a mission statement. If your goal is to help people in your community by providing a solution to the problem, this should play into your mission statement.
Your mission statement should explain the “what,” “who” and “how” of your company. What does your company do, who does it and how do you serve the community? Answering these simple questions is a great place to start with a mission statement.
Watts of Love’s mission statement reads, “Watts of Love is a global solar lighting nonprofit bringing people the power to raise themselves out of the darkness of poverty.” Note how the statement tells what Watts of Love is (global solar lighting), who they are (a nonprofit) and what they do for the world (bring people the power to raise themselves out of the darkness of poverty). Everything they do will reflect back to that statement.
2. Highlight Your Mission Statement
There are more factors to consider as you create a strong mission statement, but before you finish the statement, you should also consider how you’ll utilize it. If you plan to use it online and offline, then you’ll want to ensure it’s concise enough for print advertising.
Think through places you’ll use the statement, such as social media channels as well as your own website. Does the statement fit or can you break it down into smaller points? Highlight your mission anytime you get a chance. It will also keep you focused as a business owner on your ultimate purpose.
3. Help the World
One way to figure out your mission is to figure out how your company helps the world. While it is typically obvious how a nonprofit helps those in need, it may not be as readily obvious if you run a for-profit business.
This is your opportunity to find a way to tap into what you’re most passionate about. Some companies choose to take on a cause and donate a portion of their proceeds while others focus on how their very product or service helps others.
Take a look at how Mercy Corps works up a mission statement that highlights how they help the world. Their statement reads, “Alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.” That’s a pretty strong focus on how they help the world at large by alleviating the suffering of poverty and oppression. How do you help the world with your business?
4. Study Other Mission Statements
One of the best ways to figure out your mission statement is to study the statements of other companies. Check out the missions of both large non-profits and for-profits. What do you like about their mission statements and what could be better? Take notes on which statements you like the best and why.
Once you’ve studied other statements and have a series of notes, take the time to study what you liked and didn’t like. Really break sentences apart and look at the elements in the sentence. Do they match what you know about — as well as who, how, when and why?
5. Write a Rough Draft
Your next step should be to come up with a rough mission statement. Answer the questions about what your company is, who you are and how you help the world, or at least your customers. You may need some help brainstorming here. Pull in friends, family and other business owners and ask for their views of what your business does and why you do it.
Once you have some ideas, begin to play around with the words until you have a few mission statements you somewhat like. This is your rough draft that you can build on — more on that in a minute — and use to create something polished and well-honed.
Google’s mission statement reads, “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” They go into more detail on their About page and explain that they want to make information accessible to everyone around the world. It’s simple, but they clearly show how they are making the world better for those seeking information.
6. Deepen Your Mission
Once you have gone through the steps to come up with a few rough mission statements, spend some time thinking about which one truly defines you as a company. Once you’ve developed your mission, take time each quarter to study how well you’re delivering on that mission and figure out ways to better meet your mission goals.
Are you communicating your mission to your customers and your employees? The best way to be successful in delivering your mission is to get everyone on board with it.
The Importance of Knowing Your Purpose
While the values of your company are separate from the mission, the two are intricately entwined. Your values shape your overall mission and your mission statement reminds you — and the public — of those values. Putting your mission statement in writing is a good way to redirect your focus when you veer off the path you set for yourself in the beginning.
Influencer Marketing: Growing Your Brand
The era of micro-influencers is here. With the proven efficiency of the influencer campaigns in reaching the highest possible engagement numbers, no wonder that every day you see more and more people in your Instagram feed posting the pictures with more or less tangible involvement of various products.
It’s in the human nature to share the knowledge, as well as to seek advice. The marketers who satisfied both cravings by bringing influencer marketing to life were geniuses. The most exciting part, though, is when marketing geniuses collaborate with the gifted artists and top talents. That’s when a love child of advertising and art is born.
How brands co-create their content with influencers
When inquiring the influencers with a brief, the brand marketers usually opt for one of the three options.
- Brand generated content
- Co-created content
- Influencer generated content
First is the most restricted option, and last is the most flexible (yet, marketers still check it before publication to avoid the risks).
As for the co-created approach, this content usually follows loose brand guidelines, but other than that influencer is free to interpret the product in a way that he or she finds most suitable for their feed, valuable for their followers, and natural for their creative self-expression.
How to pick the right influencer for your product
When you’re looking for the influencers to start your content co-creation process, apply this checklist. It’ll help you to pick the ones who will not only represent your brand but also add the unexpected zing that your audience will love. Your perfect co-creating influencer:
- Has an audience you’d love to gain exposure to
- Has a tone of content that syncs with yours
- Creates content you like
- Creates content that your audience would like
- Good at content format you struggle with (like video or stories)
- Strong on a social platform you’d like to get a better grip of
By choosing the right people and giving them wide-open, inspiring, clear guidelines, you might very well end up with the spectacular materials that you could never imagine for your brand. Below are several examples when the co-creating collabs between the products and influencers went incredibly right.
Velwe (93K followers) x Maven Watches
Minimalist influencer from Ukraine Velwe is quite picky about the lifestyle brands to feature in his feed. Sleek Maven watches caught his attention.
“I saw their watches, I loved the stylistics. After assessing the brand positioning I fetched some references and reached out telling that I have an idea with two girls. The brand was really eager to collaborate right away”, – says the influencer.
The collab resulted in deeply intimate, subtle and touching monochrome portrait series. Just one Instagram post brought young Hong Kong brand recognition and engagement from thousands of European minimalism lovers.
Chef Jacques LaMerde (143K followers) x Sonic Drive-in
To drive attention to their new smoothies during the Coachella event, Sonic Drive-in collaborated with the chef influencer Jacques LaMerde known for his exquisite presentation skills. The bright visuals were the eye-catcher of the campaign, enhanced with a geo-targeted delivery option and freebies-for-hashtag incentive. The campaign generated over 26K likes and increased the number of Sonic account followers from 118K to 129K – quite a neat leap for one month.
8thdamon (156K followers) x Huawei
8thdamon specializes in stunning Photoshop creations. His space-themed intricate stylistics became a perfect background for the new Huawei smartphones promotion. Definitely a step forward from the unpacking videos and flat lay still-lifes.
Zach King (21.7mln followers) x Target
For their Easter promotion in 2017, Target ordered several promo posts from two influencers. The famous Digital Magician Zach King joined popular NYC instamom Naomi Davis aka @taza (who is an always-on brand ambassador for Target). Not only the collab brought this lovely video to life but also resulted in mindblowing 953,000 likes & 5,000 comments on Zach’s video and 11,000 likes & 88 comments on Taza’s two posts.
Laetitia Modine (95K followers) x Issey Miyake
An influencer campaign launched by Issey Miyake aimed to recruit Millennials who share brand’s approach to design. As the key opinion leaders were mobilized, the brand asked them to get inspired by Issey Miyake’s key attributes of nature, minimalism, and architecture. Laetitia Modine, an Italian photographer, did the perfect job producing a visual that could work as a print ad for the brand right away.
Thismintymoment (164K followers) x Issey Miyake
Minh Ty, engaged in the same campaign, came up with even more stunning photo edit, taking the product to larger-than-life dimension. Together with the previous example, this case study illustrates how one brand can get a whole variety of treatments from different artists, while still keeping in-line with the essential brand attributes.
Designbyaikonik (91,9K followers) x Nespresso
Flatlay guru Designbyaikonik created this shot for the Nespresso brand. Nailing a different angle from what is usually done for the beverages, Nespresso tapped into areas less discovered – in this case, the flatlay stylistics – to broaden their audience and attract new customers. Best comment: “You make coffee look sexy!”
Studio DIY (382K followers) x Chevrolet
Chevrolet focuses on mommy bloggers as the perfect representatives of their biggest target audience. Smart move, considering that this type of influencers has the greatest engagement rates and trust levels from their readers. Moreover, a creative mommy Kelly Mindell behind the Studio DIY account brought Chevy some extra value by staging a shot so vibrant it could be used for a billboard ad right away.
Studio DIY (382K followers) x FreixenetUSA
Chevrolet wasn’t the only one noticing Kelly’s talent. Her another collaboration with FreixenetUSA is crazy, funny, and fizzy – just like the drink itself. Be cautious, though. Influencers able to tweak their personality to fit different brands as good as Kelly does are a rare find. Here’s an advice: check out the chosen influencer’s feed carefully to see if their previous collabs make a good company for your product.
Matthew Crawford (335K followers) x Netflix
Netflix developed a mix-n-match campaign for their show “Santa Clara Diet”. Next to the billboards with celebrity Drew Barrymore, healthy lifestyle influencers were disrupting social media with controversial shots featuring blood and human body parts. This shot by Matthew Crawford was a particularly great contribution, fetching over 25K likes. No wonder the campaign brought the show follower growth of 34% in first four weeks.
Life_mirroring (7K followers) x Sudio
You know a good product placement when you don’t see it. The only thing that gave away the commercial background of this shot by was the fact that it was featured on the Sudio page. Lesson learned – don’t stop influencers from experimenting with your product application – it can bring an emotional jackpot!
Walids (46K followers) x Starbucks
Starbucks had been leveraging on user-generated content for forever now. No wonder they switched to influencer-generated content as soon as it was on the market. Brand’s usual feed is made of photos of the warm and friendly atmosphere inside their cafes. Collaborations like this one, in turn, let Starbucks represent their more sophisticated, design-centered side.
Macenzo (426K followers) x Hamburg ElbPhilarmonie
Who says influencers are for beauty products only? A brand new concert hall in Hamburg organized an international instameet for the architecture photographers before its opening. One of them, Macenzo (first-time comer to Hamburg) grabbed just the right fresh emotion of the new ElbPhilarmonie on this balanced geometrical cityscape shot.
Ricardo Cavolo (158K followers) x Alexander McQueen
When amazing mural artist Ricardo Cavolo published collaboration with the Alexander McQueen on his Instagram, the most popular comment was “Where can I find this?” What’s interesting is that his audience can hardly afford McQueen garments. But a custom scarf was exactly the product to get artist’s followers hooked, and not scared off.
Marylou Faure (48K followers) x ASOS
So whenever your brand is using the services from a designer, director or a photographer, make sure to leverage this partnership through a social media collaboration. Here you can see how ASOS got a perfect shout-out. A designer worked on a t-shirt design for them, and it happened so that she had 48 thousand followers needing to wear a t-shirt every day. Straightforward? Yes. Efficient? You bet.
Like no prophet is acceptable in his own country, no company message can impact purchase decision as massively as the words from someone other than the brand. Instead of spending money on making one-sided communication materials, it’s much more impactful to co-create with influencers and offer the whole variety of views to your audience.
Pick the influencers with highest quality content and give them a freedom to create. Unleash your brand’s potential. You’ll be impressed.
Mobile devices became an important part of people’s private lives, but the increasing usage of smartphones also forced companies to invest in this segment of the business. Mobile browsing already makes more than half of Internet usage globally, which is why 61% of marketers use responsive web design as part of their mobile SEO strategy.
If you want to build a sustainable and long-term business, you have to embrace the same concept and optimize a website for the mobile experience. In this post, we will show you the best mobile SEO rules you need to remember making an app design, for this using resources online such as Boston Bill SEO Agency could be really helpful for this.
Simple Design and Clear CTA
A mobile user interface is relatively small, so you need to create a simple design to avoid confusion. Make a small display adding relevant information only. This means you have to reduce and shorten menu items and also highlight CTA links or buttons. It’s the only way to ensure easy navigation through the user interface, allowing visitors to engage with your content.
Mind the Keywords
Regardless of the device, keywords represent an essence of SEO. Your content needs to fulfill basic keyword principles to be discovered by search engines:
- Keyword rich text: Make sure to add enough keywords and theme-related phrases to the content. Online tools and services like aussiewritings.com can help you write content that satisfies state-of-the-art SEO standards.
- Add keywords to titles: Each title must contain a primary keyword near the beginning to boost the SEO potential of your posts.
- Images: Write keyword-based image descriptions to enable search engines to recognize the visual content.
Design for Big Fingers
It may sound strange, but you have to pay attention to this detail as well. It would be perfect if everybody had thin and gentle fingers, but in reality you must design apps that work well for people with big and wide fingers, thumbs in particular. Doing so, you don’t chase away a large portion of visitors who don’t feel comfortable with app design.
Page Load Speed
Page load speed is paramount for mobile optimization. Traditional websites have been designed to fit the needs of laptops and desktop computers, so they underperform on mobile devices. Most users give up opening a website if they have to wait for more than 3 seconds, which means that you must dedicate extra attention to mobile performance. In order to avoid this issue, we suggest you test load speed on all devices before launching a site.
Create Landing Pages
As a serious business, you will probably run a lot of marketing campaigns to expand the base of customers. But you can’t keep adding new elements to the existing pages, so you should create a special landing page for each one of your campaigns. This helps you to keep all pages simple and minimalistic, but also appealing enough for the users to take action.
Mobile pop-ups recently became one of the search engine’s biggest enemies. Bearing in mind the size of the user interface, Google realized that intrusive pop-ups make the situation even worse. That’s why they decided to knock down the ranking of all websites that use this kind of advertising. The only thing you are allowed to use is age check or similar forms.
Limited Forms and Inputs
Pop-ups are not the only problematic element in the mobile design. Although not forbidden, registration forms and similar inputs will burden your app in case you don’t position them properly. You should not add more than one form on any given page, but even then you should try to save space by limiting the size of those inputs.
Compress Multimedia Content
Multimedia features such as videos or audio content can drastically slow down website performance, especially its mobile version. For this reason, you should create shorter videos or podcasts and compress them to make the least impact possible. It’s even better if you can avoid this kind of content, but if not – make sure to optimize it for the mobile experience.
Test on All Devices
The user interface looks different on different devices. Display size varies from smartphone to smartphone, while data processing depends on the software version. It can distort content and make it useless, so you have to test performance on all devices. Once the analysis is over, you can officially publish your mobile app.
Mobile usage drastically increased in the last decade, opening a brand new marketing battlefield for modern companies. Today, it is impossible to build a successful business without a good smartphone app. In this post, we showed you the best mobile SEO rules you need to remember making an app design.
Did you already implement these tactics? Which one plays the most important role in your business?
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!
Your client’s website may be aesthetically-pleasing and ranking on top positions, but does it provide a good user experience?
This is one of the things that digital marketing agencies need to understand and an important task that any white label service provider needs to fulfill. You can’t get away with simply making a website attractive. Your client’s website needs to serve the purpose of their visitors, create an emotional connection when they interact with it, and take them on the journey from being someone who’s simply browsing the website to becoming a customer. And if you’ve done it right, visitors will return to it. More visitors can lead to more business for your clients, and this means plus points for your agency. That’s what a great user experience is all about.
The moment customers lose interest in your client’s website is the moment you should start thinking about changing things up. Not only in how the site looks, but in how it makes visitors feel. Everything you do to be successful in your online marketing efforts must focus on your users. To do that, here are a few things you need to understand first:
User Experience is not All About Usability
“My website has a two-step sign up process that’s easy for visitors to use; therefore my website has a great user experience.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
It’s common for some to think that making it easier for visitors to navigate a website means having a great user experience. But here’s what you need to know about user experience: usability is not equal to user experience. It’s one aspect that affects the entirety of user experience.
To fit usability into user experience, you need to answer the following:
- Is it easy for visitors to familiarize themselves with the website the first time they land on it?
- Can users move through the sequence of actions seamlessly?
- Is it easy for visitors to achieve their goals by using the website?
- Does the website prompt user recall the next time visitors use it?
If your answer to these questions is “No”, you need to analyze the website’s usability and fine-tune it to provide a better user experience.
Don’t Just Focus on SEO
Because search engines know when you do.
One of the things Google believes to be true is you have to “focus on the user and all else will follow.” And this is why the old ways of SEO—stuffing a page with as many keywords as possible—won’t work anymore. Google knows when you’re just in it for the rankings, not for the users.
This doesn’t mean you’re going to abandon SEO altogether. You still need to optimize your client’s website to be found by customers.
When I say that you don’t only focus on SEO, what I mean is you should focus on an SEO strategy that marries well with user experience. At the end of the day, you need a strategy that brings results and will make your clients happy.
A solid SEO and user experience strategy focuses on: who the target users are, what motivates them to interact with the site, and what their intentions are (or what they hope to accomplish on the site).
1. Knowing who the users are
SEO allows you to drive traffic to a website. But, here’s the catch: you don’t just drive any traffic. You need qualified traffic. How do you go about this? By better familiarizing yourself with who the target users are.
In fact, knowing your users is not just an important step in SEO and user experience design—it provides you with a springboard for your entire digital marketing strategy. You start knowing who your users are by identifying the following:
- Site usage patterns: Do users have a pattern they follow when they visit your client’s site? Hotjar allows you to check for a pattern that users take when they’re on a website. By knowing this, you can configure your client’s website to match user interaction.
- First click habit: What’s the first thing they click when they land on the site? If users are able to complete one task after the other from that first click alone, you can discern that pattern and identify more opportunities from it.
2. Identifying their intent and optimizing for it
A sound SEO and user experience strategy is not just about making a website rank, but actually getting users to click. And you do this by identifying the intent behind a user’s query. After all, what good will it do if your client’s site is ranking but isn’t aligned with the intent of their target users?
How do you identify and optimize for user intent?
- Top queries: If you haven’t dived into Search Console, now’s the time to do it. Looking at the top queries that your client’s site is getting allows you to understand what their target audience is searching for. Once you have a better grasp of this, you can start tweaking on-site elements (well-written headings, CTAs, and Meta tags) to match user intent.
- Content: As user experience is all about making visitors feel good about the website, having content that speaks to the intent of users is crucial. Think of it this way: when a user clicks on a link and finds that your content doesn’t match their expectations, you’re bound to lose them right from the start. Just like Rand Fishkin said, content that addresses the needs of users shouldn’t get buried under tons of content that’s talking about something completely different from what they’re looking for.
- Segmented landing pages: You can’t direct a user intending to purchase to an informational page, and you can’t direct a user looking for information to a checkout page—that simply breaks the funnel. When you’re optimizing for user intent, be mindful of where you’re directing users in the website.
The User Experience Journey Doesn’t Always Start from One Point
Most websites are designed with user experience starting at the homepage, and that’s where the problem lies. A user’s initial entry point isn’t always the homepage. If you’ve designed the user experience journey in a way that only caters to the homepage, you’re missing tons of opportunities.
This is where your creativity comes in. You need to map the flow and think of the different ways that will lead users to their goals. Combine what you’ve learned previously – who the target users are and what are their intentions. Using this as a guide, you can then determine the following:
- Where they come from (can be through organic search results, banner ads, emails, etc.)
- Where they will land on the website
- What processes are needed to fulfill their goals
By mapping out the user experience flow, you can fix what’s broken in the funnel and create a solid framework that offers maximum conversions.
Why do we optimize for the best user experience? We go back to the statement: everything you do for your online marketing efforts should focus on the user. It’s not all about the brand, but what users expect from that brand. And brands have the responsibility to meet those expectations. At the end of it, the “me, me, me” strategy isn’t going to cut it if your clients are seeking more attention from their audience.
The social proof of testimonials lends a lot of credibility to your brand. It also allows people who might not be familiar with the work you do to see that you have happy customers. When it comes to content marketing, customer testimonials and case studies are considered the most effective forms of content. In fact, 89 percent of marketers indicate that testimonials are a necessary part of their overall content strategy.
You’ve probably already learned that testimonials are an effective way to reach new customers from the minute they land on your website. However, there are many different ways to implement testimonials into your content strategy. Here are the best types of testimonials and what they bring to your business model:
Taking the time to feature a customer does a couple of things for your brand. First, it helps you get to know your target audience better, which in turn will allow you to perfect your marketing to this demographic. Second, it shows potential customers you have satisfied customers who are already using your product or service.
Your first step is to recruit customers to interview. One easy way to do this is to choose customers who’ve written a positive review recently. Ask them if they’d be willing to be interviewed about their experience. However, don’t overlook customers who’ve complained, but whose issues have been resolved. Your ability and willingness to strive for perfection can be a powerful testimony.
Software AG offers an in-depth look at some of its customers. For example, it tells the story of how a Chinese automaker utilizes its business software platform, how one retailer uses it to build a model for customer success and how it has simplified data-reporting for another company.
2. High-Profile Testimonials
When you think about sharing a high-profile testimonial on your website, your first thought might be using an influencer or a celebrity to tout your brand. While a high-profile testimonial can certainly encompass those elements, another way to show you are an up-and-coming brand is by using big-name companies for this purpose. As a result, you’ll gain the halo effect, where a big name makes the things they endorse look better.
Take a look at your client list. Choose your top five clients as far as how well known they are. As your company grows and you gain new, bigger clients, you can revamp this testimonial list from time to time. One creative way to use this method is to do a case study of how you’ve helped said company and then take snippets to show this to the reader, such as how a campaign helped XYZ Co. increase its conversions by 1,500 percent.
If you aren’t already using video testimonials, this is something you can easily add to your brand to better engage your site visitors or your followers on social media. About 78 percent of people online watch videos every week. Creating a video testimonial does a number of positive things for your brand, such as forming a better emotional connection with your readers and lending a sense of credibility to your marketing efforts.
Hubble features software with real-time reporting that allows for data visualization and integration. It features a video of its customers describing how they personally use Hubble and the benefits. The video features people from different industries to show how flexible the software is.
4. Social Media Posts
If you plan to share testimonials on social media, there are a couple of options. First, you could reach out to customers with a large following and simply ask them to give your company a shout-out. This is likely the most effective way to add a testimonial, because it looks more organic. About 80 percent of Americans look for a recommendation from someone they know before making a purchase.
Your other option is to add short snippets and combine them with a photo of the customer or the product to encourage shares and retweets of the post. If your customer is online, it is also a good idea to tag them in the post.
You don’t have to use a long testimonial in every instance. Creating blocks of quoted text that highlight a small part of what your business does is a smart tactic. You can pull these from a larger testimonial or case studies, or you can simply ask your customers to give you a short, one-line review.
Today’s average person is extremely busy. They might have 10 minutes on the train to work to glance at your website or social media page. If you provide them with snippets of information that can be quickly scanned, then the testimonial is likely to stick with them.
Vanderbilt University’s MBA program does a good job of highlighting students and professors who make the program memorable. Note the short snippet from one of its students who earned an MBA. This allows potential students to see what the program did for someone similar to them.
Reviews are a form of testimonial if you think about it. They highlight a customer and what that customer thinks about the product or service. The last time you booked a hotel, what did you do first? More than likely, you checked out the online reviews. Make it easy for your customers to review your product by adding a review form to your website or sending a push on social media asking for their feedback. You can then pull short quotes from these reviews to highlight elsewhere as testimonials.
Best Types of Testimonials
Companies that were centered on the customer were around 60 percent more profitable than companies without this focus. The benefits to your brand are that you’ll lend credibility to your claims, show you are focused on the customer and reach new customers you otherwise might not have found. Take the time to make testimonials a part of your marketing plan and you’re certain to see positive results.