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Abishek GM (Kev)

How Startups Can Leverage Social Commerce

How Startups Can Leverage Social Commerce

By | E Commerce Business News

Be it a D2C eCommerce brand or home-based startup, social media makes high-impact marketing campaigns possible on a shoestring budget. Social commerce is the implementation of social media to increase a business’s presence through recommendations, collaborations and networking. According to Statista, the social-commerce market is projected to reach $84.2 billion by 2024 in the U.S. alone. With a well-informed strategy, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest can be ideal for introducing and communicating your brand and organically amplifying visibility.

Satisfying your target audience

Consistently creating content and communicating its value proposition to your target audience is paramount. Strong marketing teams incorporate design thinking into social commerce, leveraging a content strategy that aligns with those findings. The process begins with creating a blueprint for people, age groups and enthusiasts who would be interested in the brand’s offering.social selling

User empathy

We then move to user empathy, which involves finding out the user’s actual needs, usually through primary research and directly reaching out to prospective customers. The goal is to modify the brand’s offerings to target these pain points and fill in the gap that competitors couldn’t address.

Presenting genuine customer reviews is another effective strategy that has the potential to convert viewers into buyers. Modern consumers are too savvy to be seduced by traditional static commercials. Audiences seek answers to their queries, and dynamic creatives displaying reviews by satisfied customers or essential FAQs go a long way in increasing sales.

Focus on enhancing user engagement

social engagementEven for small businesses, having a platform that provides relevant content is vital to ensure that viewers spend longer durations on your site. Content can be in the form of blogs, videos, interviews or even newsletters that showcase your brand and have added information on the latest trends, statistics and industry experts’ insights.

Regular social media updates act as a constant reminder of what your organization has to offer. Not only does it draw attention to your brand, but being active also increases the chances of your content being put before others, thus giving you an edge against the competition.

Influencer marketing

social-commerceAccording to a 2019 survey by Influencer Marketing Hub, brands made $5.20 for each dollar spent on influencer marketing. Influencers usually directly influence the purchasing behavior of the audience, which readily increases visibility and sales. Their endorsements and posts grab more attention than other channels, and 40% of consumers claim having purchased something after seeing it on Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

Small businesses can also collaborate with similar brands to jointly market their products in a potential win-win situation. According to Google, when Estée Lauder created a co-marketing campaign with a top U.S. retailer, the average ad click share rose by 70%.

Campaigns with a social impact

Social commerce is not limited to direct product placements and direct marketing. It’s also an effective way to garner indirect interest through viral campaigns that generate social impact. Procter & Gamble, a multinational consumer goods corporation, drove the conversation around racial bias in the United States with “The Look” their social campaign.

Hammad Rahman, chief executive officer of Nikah Forever, an online matrimony portal, explains how his company “ran a signature campaign to cut expenditure on excessive marriage spending, which went viral and increased our social presence significantly.”

Personalization to increase brand recall

A touch of personalization never fails to deliver, and small businesses are particularly well-positioned to crafting products that can suit every individual customer. Something as trivial as a handwritten note to customers can go a long way in connecting personally and helping them get involved in promoting your brand.

Social media has a power like never before. The internet-savvy generation has given rise to a world of learning, developing and socializing that transcends boundaries. Even with rising competition, there are still innumerable opportunities for growth thanks to the corresponding rise in social commerce.

How to Use Content to Generate a Steady Flow of Leads

How to Use Content to Generate a Steady Flow of Leads

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

If you are tired of hearing you must produce content to compete in the world of marketing today, Below are the complete system for turning content into leads.

Here’s the system in 3 steps

  • Create a list of just 6 of the most useful content ideas for your ideal customer
  • Build a lead generating content upgrade for each piece
  • Start promoting each piece in advertising and social media

That’s it – execute on this over the next six months, and you’ll start generating leads.

Step 1 – What content should you produce?

Total-Content System. This is simply an approach that allows you to plan, delegate, curate, create, collaborate, repurpose and get far more out of every piece of content you produce. Once your system is in place, it will build momentum with each passing month and begin to multiply in value to your organization.

This is the approach we are going to take to develop your key content.

Through your knowledge and by using keyword tools like Google Keyword Tool or Wordtracker, develop a list of core content topics and assign one to each month for the next six months.

Each theme should be a substantial topic related to your business or industry and represent an important keyword search term. It might be helpful to think about it as a book. Each month might represent a chapter in what will ultimately make up an important body of work by the end of this year.

You can also designate terms that you know you would like to rank higher for, but currently, have little or no content that leads people online or off to you.

Step 2: Create Some Content Upgrades

content marketingThe notion of getting someone to your website, landing page or content of some sort and enticing them to exchange their email address and other contact information to get something they are looking for is pretty much standard marketing fare these days.

The idea of bait for lead capture has certainly evolved, though. There was a time when all you needed was a lead capture form and message that asked people to sign up to capture an email, but then people got very tired of all the email this generated.

Smart marketers realized that they needed to offer something valuable in exchange – an ebook, webinar or free trial of some sort.

Even so, visitors started getting harder to convert as more and more sites featured pop-up, slide in and scrolling calls to sign up and download.

Today, and who knows how long really, marketers have tapped the seemingly insatiable hunger for useful, actionable, educational content and are employing highly targeted “content upgrades” to effectively convert visiting traffic to lead funnels like never before.

The basic idea behind a content upgrade is this – Write a really great, useful blog post and then when people show up to read it offer them an “upgrade” to the content in the form of a checklist, video, or case study relevant to the topic in exchange for content details.

Step 3: Developing content upgrades

One of the quickest ways to identify great candidates for immediate content upgrade opportunities is to look through your analytics and find your most popular content today and consider ways to personalize a content upgrade for these posts.

Another great ploy is to use a tool like BuzzSumo to identify some of the most shared content online based on the keyword phrases that relate to your business or ideal client.

My guess is you can easily identify a post that is getting tons of shares that you might be able to both up the game on and create a content upgrade for.

7 Common Mistakes Businesses Make With Facebook Advertising

7 Common Mistakes Businesses Make With Facebook Advertising

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

Facebook advertising, when done correctly, can be a major asset to your marketing efforts. Facebook offers businesses a wide variety of advertising options to choose from, and with a network of billions of users, it provides the potential to reach tons of prospects.

However, there are a lot of moving parts that go into creating and maintaining successful Facebook advertising campaigns. If you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of the platform, it’s possible to fall into some pretty common traps. Here are some of the mistakes that I see businesses making time and again on the platform, and what you can do to avoid them.

1. Setting Wishy-Washy Goals

mistakes 1Facebook advertising is a single tactic within your broader marketing strategy. But that doesn’t mean you can be less-than-intentional about the choices you make when designing your campaigns.

It’s not enough to just create posts promoting your business and hope that some generic good will come of it. You need to set specific goals for each and every advertising campaign you undertake. If you’re promoting the launch of a new product, set a goal to sell X number of units. If your campaign is designed to drive traffic to your website, set a goal to increase CTR by X percentage points.

By starting with a clear goal in mind, your messaging within the campaign will be stronger and more targeted. Plus, you’ll know which metrics you should be keeping an eye on and will know exactly how you’ll define success at the end of the campaign.

2. Selecting the Incorrect Ad Type

digital adsOnce you’ve set goals for your campaign, it’s time to select the type of ad you want to run. Facebook offers businesses a wide variety of choices, and the various ad types can help you achieve all sorts of goals—from greater exposure for your brand to more conversions to facilitating offer claims.

Fortunately, Facebook makes it easy for marketers to determine what each ad is designed to do. Don’t try to get creative or reinvent the wheel in this step; go with the ad type that Facebook says best aligns with your goals.

3. Sticking to Only One Medium

If you’ve ever sat on Facebook and scrolled through your newsfeed, you know how easy it is for that content to simply become a blur. That’s why you need to do something unique to stand out from the personal posts, articles, and other ads filling up users’ feeds.

Facebook suggests that you keep text to a minimum on your images (ideally less than 20 percent). Include images that are bright, arresting, and are aligned with your brand’s tone. Go beyond still images and think about including video content.

But most importantly, mix things up. Even if you’re creating fascinating, engaging video ads, they’ll begin to feel stale after a while if that’s all you ever do. Mix up your media in order to keep viewers on their toes and eager to see what comes next from you.

4. Targeting Improperly

Target audiencesFacebook advertising targeting allows you to identify the desired audience for your ads. This keeps you from wasting your ad spend on people who would never realistically be interested in your business, but proper targeting is a tricky balancing act.

Make your audience too narrow, and Facebook will be unable to deliver your ad. However, make your audience too broad, and there will be lots of people who are not viable prospects seeing your ads.

The other mistake that marketers make is targeting the wrong audience. You might think you understand who wants to see your advertising, but unless you’re using your existing customers as a guide, you could be making some critical targeting mistakes and aiming your ad spend at the wrong group.

Take the time to analyze the demographics and actions of your current audience. You can even go so far as to send your existing customers a survey, asking them about their profile and lifestyle. Facebook even provides the option for you to create lookalike audiences for your advertising. By uploading a list of your existing customers, Facebook can then analyze that group for common attributes and target similar audiences.

5. Duplicating Efforts

Facebook is great at identifying their users who are most likely to want to see your advertising. Unfortunately, that sometimes means that people who are already familiar with your brand and who have converted on their own become the target of your Facebook advertising.

This is, of course, a waste of your time and budget. If they’ve already signed up for your newsletter, there’s no need to advertise said newsletter to them again! This is where the use of custom audiences comes in. Pull a list of all of your prospects or customers who have already taken the action you’re hoping to drive with the advertising and create a custom audience that excludes these people from seeing your ads. Not only does this save you money, it also keeps you from annoying those who have already said yes to your brand.

6. Letting Ads Go Stale

Even the best of Facebook ads begin to lose their luster after a few weeks. Users scroll past the same images and type time and again, and they eventually begin to gloss over the content. That’s why it’s critical for marketers to keep refreshing their ads on the platform. Changing up images, altering the text, and otherwise making the content appear fresh and new to the viewers is the way to get your brand noticed all over again.

7. Forgetting About Facebook Pixel

Facebook Pixel is a line of code that you insert into your website in order to track customer behavior on your website that happens as a result of your advertising efforts. This provides you with measurable data, so that you know if your ads achieved the desired results. This data can also help to inform your future marketing efforts. When you understand what was successful and what didn’t work so well in a given campaign, you can make changes to amplify the successes and pivot from the failures in the future.

There are a lot of moving parts for marketers to wrap their heads around when it comes to Facebook advertising. Understanding some of the most common mistakes businesses make can help you get more bang for your advertising buck and create content that stands out in a crowded newsfeed.

The State of Video Marketing in 2021

The State of Video Marketing in 2021

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

It’s well established that video has been one of the breakout trends in the marketing world for the past decade.

But how is that assertion standing up to the twists and turns of a global pandemic?

The challenges — and changes — brought about by this most surreal year have affected us all.

Our research suggests:

Video remains a key priority for marketers with usage and spend both, overall, increasing slightly throughout 2020, and plans to increase again in the next 12 months.

The pandemic has impacted the video marketing landscape in contrasting ways – while video is generally seen as a more necessary tool by both marketers and consumers, many have seen budgets restricted and plans shelved.

The pandemic has overwhelmingly increased the amount of online video people watch.

Marketers feel more positive about the return on investment offered by video than ever, as it continues to strongly influence traffic, leads, sales, and audience understanding.

Consumers continue to use video as an integral part of their journey with brands, and are excited to see even more video content in the year ahead.

The key findings

86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, up slightly from 85% in 2019.

What’s more, 93% of marketers who use video say that it’s an important part of their marketing strategy — an increase from 92% in 2020, making this the highest percentage of any year since 2015.

Pandemic Impact

Business financingLet’s begin with the fact that 91% of marketers feel the pandemic has made video more important for brands.

A fairly considerable 40% of video marketers said their plans to create video were affected by the events of the last year — with around 74% of these saying they were more likely to use video, and 26% saying it was less likely.

Around 60% of video marketers say they expect their budget to be affected for 2021, with around 70% of those people expecting a higher video marketing budget, and the other 30% expecting it to be lower.

68% of consumers say the pandemic has impacted the amount of video content they’ve watched online, with the overwhelming majority (96%) saying this has increased.

Looking forward

customerAll the signs suggest that usage and spend are on course to continue their growth in 2021.

More than 99% of current video marketers told us they’ll continue using video in 2021, and 96% plan to increase or maintain their spend (again, up slightly from 95% last year.)

What’s more, from the people who told us they don’t currently use video, 69% told us they expect to start in 2020. (This is 10% higher than last year’s figure of 59%.)

The net result of this is that we can all expect to see more noise and competition for audience attention in the coming 12 months.

Of course, while this is a challenge, it isn’t an insurmountable one. It simply raises the bar in terms of content quality. Video needs to be well-planned, and very well-executed.

The big opportunities

You’d be forgiven for looking at these numbers and feeling that video might be on the verge of reaching saturation point. Most of the data around usage, spend, and consumer opinion are in the 80s and 90s — where they’ve held, consistently, for a number of years.

But the good news is that there still seems to be underutilized opportunities for marketers to explore around video.

Unsurprisingly, YouTube and Facebook are the most widely used platforms among video marketers — used by 87% and 70%, respectively.

But some of the lesser-used video tactics also seem to be reaping real results for video marketers.

Most notably, perhaps given global events and an increased desire for remote connection, 2020 seems to have been the year of the webinar. In 2019, just 46% used webinars — but in 2020, this rose significantly to 62%.

What’s more, an overwhelming 91% of webinar marketers say they’ve been a success, making it the most effective video marketing channel of all those listed.

To Sum Up

The events of 2020 did, and are doing, little to slow the rise of video.

In many ways, with people being isolated in their homes, and some teams working with less budgeting and resources than pre-pandemic, the demand (and consumption) of video has been accelerated.

Video looks set to continue its ten-year overnight success story into the coming decade. These stats paint a picture of a media type that’s almost universally popular among both marketers and their audiences, helping achieve a number of incredibly important goals.

7 Ways Machine Learning Can Enhance Marketing

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

Exploiting the immense potential of artificial intelligence to excel in business is no longer a far-fetched pipe dream. Many companies have already discovered this, and as technology advances at a rapid rate, it’s clear now that machine learning and marketing go hand-in-hand.

In this age, to do one without the other is a mistake no business can afford, not if they want to remain competitive.

Data insights are more valuable than ever before, enabling for better customer engagement. It comes as no surprise that there is an increased reliance on data. Gartner research projects that more than 75% of companies will invest in big data in the next two years.

For businesses today, being able to anticipate customer behavior is key to optimizing marketing campaigns. In this article, we’ll explore just how machine learning can help companies improve and enhance their marketing efforts.

1. Enhance Customer Experience

Studies indicate, that 57% of major executives believe this is the area where machine learning can be most beneficial.

Machine learning can improve the customer’s online shopping experience in many ways, such as:

  • Guide the buying journey, making personalized product recommendations to help the customer find what they want;
  • Ensure your online store never runs out of stock, or provides alternatives if stock is low; and
  • Provide customers with a 24-hour support service

The rising popularity of drop shipping in the past decade has paved the way for many e-commerce companies and solo entrepreneurs to put machine learning to good use in improving the customer experience.

2. Create New Revenue Streams

Digital marketing in the modern era is all about data. Due to the huge amounts of data available, it’s increasingly common to see marketing become the priority for many companies, as it has a direct link to increasing revenue.

The retail giant, Amazon, has harnessed the power of machine learning quite unlike any other, with 35% of their annual revenue generated through personalized product recommendations.

Their cloud computing service, Amazon Web Services (AWS), provides opportunities for other companies to benefit from AI by using data insights to tailor their services to the customers’ needs. This in turn, will allow Amazon to gain additional revenue streams in innovative, new market areas.

This so-called marketing prophecy is something that many marketers have been working towards for years before machine learning came to the fore. With data insights in hand, decision-makers have much more insight and ability to predict what customers want, before they even are aware they want it.

3. Develop More Products and Services

In the digital age, people have quickly become accustomed to shopping in innovative and streamlined ways. As a result, their expectations are higher.

This provides more opportunity for companies to tailor their marketing specifically for the niche groups in their industry, or even with their own customer base.

Many businesses are already well on their way in this regard, developing new products and services based on the findings from machine learning software.

4. Content Optimization

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are often mentioned in the same breath, but there is a significant difference. Machine learning doesn’t try to outsmart and usurp human intellect. Instead, it focuses on analyzing problems and processes and finding a way to optimize them.

A popular way that many marketers practice this is through A/B testing.

Whether it’s email subject lines, Facebook ad graphics, or an article headline, A/B tests allow marketing departments to try out various options and garner the results to determine which connects best with the audience.

This method of using machine learning in marketing proves valuable with segmented marketing campaigns. Companies can use the feedback to provide more targeted content, ultimately collaborating with machines to optimize content and services.

Possibly the best example of this is Google Rank Brain. Its ability to learn from the searcher intent has made the search engine giant an incredibly efficient service, consistently improving in the accuracy of its results depending on the context of each query.

5. Improve Personalization

People want brands to care about them. So much so, that 52% of customers are likely to switch brands if they don’t feel a company is making enough effort to personalize their messaging.

Amazon’s aforementioned success with e-commerce personalization is built upon machine learning. They harvest the huge reams of data on their customer’s online behaviors, interests, and past purchases to tailor the online shopping experience.

Everything from the emails to the product offers is personalized, along with every touchpoint in the buying journey.

It may seem somewhat ironic, but machine learning helps to create a more human experience.

E-commerce personalization makes customers feel more important, with the experience carefully crafted to cater to their needs and interests.

This helps breed loyalty. Customers will trust a brand that makes them feel like they are being listened to. Research indicates that 44% of customers will return to make future purchases after having a personalized shopping experience.

6. Reduce ‘Marketing Waste’

When it comes to marketing, it is incredibly useful to have a system that can quickly identify trends and actions in real-time, and then respond accordingly without any human input. This ability to “learn” on the go is what makes machine learning so important in marketing today, and in the years to come.

In the past, many marketers launched advertising campaigns on little more than guesswork. Without truly knowing their audience, a lot of money was wasted on ads or promotional efforts that didn’t resonate with their target customers.

Machine learning eliminates this marketing waste.

Taking a scattershot approach to marketing in the digital age is not only unnecessary but mere folly. Machine learning takes the guesswork out of the process, allowing marketers to reach their audience with content and product offers that stand the best chance of engagement – and ultimately, conversions.

7. Chatbots Engage Customers

An increasingly common sight on many modern websites is the friendly chatbot that pops up in the bottom corner of the screen, offering assistance or advice soon after a visitor arrives on the site.

Machine learning is fundamental to the success of chatbots, as it allows the chatbots to continually learn from interaction with visitors, collecting data and interpreting it to provide more accurate answers over time.

Not only will chatbots inevitably phase out human virtual assistants in time, but they provide companies with the means of revolutionizing marketing activities.

We can already see how machine learning is being used in many different industries today, from helping to calculate risk in financial companies, to providing personalized healthcare through the Internet of Things (IoT).

With the insights that machine learning provides, businesses can tailor their marketing efforts, providing a better service for their customers, and ultimately, delivers a more personalized experience. This will help to build a loyal audience that trusts your brand and will come back to purchase more products and services.

In the end, this is great news for the bottom line of any business. With more optimized content and astute analysis of the data insights available to them, companies who use machine learning in their marketing strategy stand to gain a lot going forward.

When it comes to digital transformation, there is no doubt machine learning and AI are already massively important to the future of business.

5 Ways to Develop a Better Customer Experience with Content Intelligence

By | Online Entrepreneur News

1. Deliver actionable insights based on customer data.

local business link buildingTo develop more effective content strategies that help you better engage with your customers, you need to have better insights. Utilizing artificial intelligence gives marketers the ability to pull in more sources of customer data that can give your business actionable insights to fuel overall content strategy.

You may think that the analytic tool set you use now are providing this information. However, these tools have their limitations and are not able to provide a comprehensive analysis of what customers are responding to, whether positively or negatively. Additionally, most analytic tools today are unable to give you actionable insight on how to develop a marketing strategy that is designed to heighten engagement at different stages of the buyer’s journey.

The use of artificial intelligence can provide you with more precise, data-driven customer insights to help build a more effective marketing strategy.

2. Enhance customer personas.

marketing PR strategyAs the demand for more personalized experiences increases, you need to know a lot more about who you’re engaging. While you might think that you’re successfully targeting the audience who are your ideal customers, you could be ignoring another audience segments that would be greatly interested in your products and services.

Marketers need modern intelligence-based tools to deliver on those insights, giving you the ability to develop customer personas that are more comprehensive. As a result, artificial intelligence can conversion through the funnel leading to revenue growth and greater lifetime value. If you’re able to effectively reach customers not included in your original target audience, you gain the ability to start developing messaging that opens the door for more engagement among new segments.

3. Create highly personalized content for the buyer’s journey.

Actionable insights lead to an increased ability to write content that will increase customer engagement and encourage conversions at different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Utilizing content intelligence platforms can inform you about the types of content channels that are moving your prospects and customers to conversions, at varying stages. With that knowledge, you can focus your efforts on producing more of that type of content for each of your audience segments.

Additionally, artificial intelligence can provide actionable insights about what you’re missing as part of that formula, whether it’s a mix of videos, tutorials, social media posts, downloadable ebooks, webinars or other content

By having this information you can eliminate wasted efforts on content that was produced based on your gut instincts. It can help you establish the right themes for each stage of the buyer’s journey.

4. Maximize reach through the right channels at the right times.

Trying to figure out when and where to place, distribute and promote your content can be another challenging area you face as a marketer. Timing and placements can make the difference between a successful campaign and a stagnant one. To say the least.

Content promotion through the lens of artificial intelligence can check the performance of your content based on the channels you’re currently using and the timing of your delivery. This information will help you be confident that you’re reaching your audience at the right time on the right channels.

5. Compare performance with the competition.

In business, it’s always a good idea to know how you stack up. It’s even more advantageous to get an understanding of what competing brands are doing to engage with customers and prospects.

Using AI to power today’s content intelligence platforms can give Marketers insights on how competitors are outperforming you with their messaging, communications and content strategies. That type of information can give you the ability to be more competitive with your messaging, promotions and other aspects of your content marketing strategy.

In short, as customers become more accustomed to highly personalized experiences from brands, the ability to keep up will become essential. Yesterday’s marketing technology isn’t enough. Sophisticated marketers need modern intelligence and toolsets to deliver the actionable insights to follow through with a content strategy that is more effective in delivering on expected client experience.

7 Ways to Use a Growth Hacking Marketing Approach to Skyrocket Results

7 Ways to Use a Growth Hacking Marketing Approach to Skyrocket Results

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

1. Not Being Afraid of Big, Bold Changes, Risks or Failure

RiskIf you want big results, you need to be willing to take big risks. I’m not saying your marketing organization should be run like the wild west. Order and consistency is key to building a foundation for sustainable growth. But being super conservative all the time is not going to open the growth hacking flood gates.

Sometimes it takes a little calculated chaos and willingness to step out of your comfort zone in order to make real progress.

Learn from your mistakes, try not to make the same ones twice. But you need to be prepared to fail. Again. And again.

In my opinion, it’s not about making change for the sake of change, and just throwing absolutely everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. The big risks you take should be justified by a strong hypothesis, data, or analysis. And occasionally, you just have to trust your gut.

As they say, if you play with fire at some point you’re bound to get burned. But hey, that’s the price you pay for the chance of creating a spark that could ignite an organization.

Of course, you’ll hopefully be testing and monitoring every experiment, so you will always be able to quantify and minimize the damage.

2. The Google 10X Mindset

GoogleGoogle CEO Larry Page is famous for his philosophy that instead of focusing on ideas that can grow a business 10%, focus on the ones could grow a business 10x.

Sure, this mindset can be viewed as extreme, and perhaps not attainable or realistic from a goal-setting standpoint in many cases.

But in general, I think it’s good to at least keep that 10X in the back of your mind.

Whether the goal be revenue, leads, conversion rates, or whatever KPI you are trying to impact, if you’re always keeping your eyes open for those 10X ideas and opportunities, and taking a step back every once and a while to scan the big picture for them, at least you’re giving yourself a chance to spot any bottle-rocket opportunities that may appear.

3. Cultivating a Culture of Testing to Drive Innovation

Ability to identify and understand important problems, and the levers and variables with potential to impact results and outcomes. Steady and organic flow of ideas in an open environment that allows those ideas to integrate and evolve

Constant experimentation and testing of hypotheses to enable constant learning and improvement
Getting a team into “test-mode” and encouraging a steady idea flow isn’t always easy, but in my experience, often #1 is the key to success for #2 and #3, and can be a greater challenge for a team.

For example, let’s say your team is all gung-ho about A/B testing and is peppering the wall with a million ideas. WOOP! That’s super awesome. In growth hacking marketing, I think you need a balance of both incremental and “revolutionary” tests. But you’re certainly not going to get rocket ship level growth with just the incremental one

4. The 1920s Paris Cafe: Establishing an Idea Incubator

Ideas belong on the wall, but not all of them will stick (and that’s OK.) Many ideas you throw out there probably aren’t going to stick right away (or at all), and it’s important to create an environment where people feel comfortable with that and do not take it personally.

Start with a problem. Whenever possible, make sure to start with a specific problem first. Be careful to avoid people coming up with ideas for solutions to problems that don’t exist or aren’t a priority. This wastes time, of which we have little to gamble with when in growth hacking marketing mode.

Focus and prioritization. It’s also important to make sure ideation stays aligned with key goals, objectives and problems, that new ideas are being prioritized and weighed against existing initiatives and commitments, and you’re not trying to focus in too many different areas at once. This could be overwhelming for both employees and employers if you’re being drafted into too many areas at once. To organize any goals or objectives that your business has set in an effective way, and in a system that is easy to understand, incorporating OKR software from somewhere like Profit, can help you to clearly establish the goals that you have set yourself in an efficient manner, so they can be successfully achieved. It could help to make a difference.

Clarity on ideas versus action items. Whenever you are talking about ideas, make sure it is clear to everyone involved that they are just ideas until they become formally designated as action items.

5. Knowing When to Press the Abort or Reset Buttons

Whether it be an experiment, project, strategy, process, team, anything – there are going to be times when something just isn’t working for a while, or you find yourself going too far down the wrong path, or see a more lucrative alternative path to long-term success.

When these things happen, you have to be open to the idea of aborting the mission, or just pressing reset and starting from scratch.

You hopefully won’t have to press it often, but in the world of growth hacking marketing, there’s no time to waste when there is action to be taken.

6. Taking an Agile Marketing Approach

For growth hacking marketing teams whose approach is centered around rapid change, adaptibility, and experimentation, the ability for the organization to stay flexible and nimble is a must.

More traditional, “waterfall” methodologies that favor rigid, long-term planning simply won’t work to support a growth hacking marketing style.

Rather, the practice of agile marketing, with the advantages of focusing on executing rapid, short-term, iterative work cycles called “sprints,” is an ideal format for a growth hacking marketing team.

Taking a look at the 7 core values of the agile marketing manifesto, it’s easy to see how perfectly these align with the growth hacker marketer mentality and approach.

7. The Long-Term Innovation Plateau: Overcoming the Internal Status Quo

Fast forward a couple of years. Your growth hacking marketing team and organization has been running on full cylinders for while. All the critical pieces and moving parts are in place, effective systems, processes, programs and strategies well-established, evolved and “perfected.” Most of the kinks have been worked out and rough edges smoothed. You’ve had many failures and successes and lessons learned along the way. Made tons of incremental optimizations. Your hacking experiments and innovative ideas have lead to big results. You’ve achieved a baseline of predictable, sustainable growth.

And now you are starting to see the innovation beginning to level off.

First of all, if that is the case, it might be time to revisit a Larry Page-esque 10X mindset to rally the team. There is always more room for innovation and improvement. It’s impossible for a digital marketer or team to ever be finished.

Second, now that we’ve finally gotten to this place, and this certain way of doing things has worked for us for a while, things can start to get set in stone and become common practice, standard operating procedure. “The way we do things.”

In other words, we’ve created our own internal status quo.

Any challengers or newcomers with prying questions or ideas, are often met with a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude.

After all, it took a lot of hard work and smart people to get to this point, and many complex problems that have been thought through and solved.

As the protector of the status quo, you have every right and reason to defend the existing “way of things” you have in place. You’ve put in the sweat, blood and tears, learned the painful lessons first hand, seen what has worked and what hasn’t, and experienced the evolution of how we got to now.

So when your internal status quo is challenged, often you may be correct in defending the current approach. Maybe you’ll be right in saying it ain’t broken. You probably will be a lot of the time.

But then again, it might not be broken, but maybe it’s starting to crack. Maybe it has been for a while. Maybe your solution had only been a temporary fix. Maybe, just maybe, there had been a better way to approach it all along that you just hadn’t thought of. Maybe there’s a way to improve results 10X again. Maybe it’s time to press the reset button.

8 Ways Local Businesses Can Get Started with Link Building

8 Ways Local Businesses Can Get Started with Link Building

By | seo advice for business

Link building has been, and remains to be, an important factor for local search traffic, and it’s not nearly as intimidating to get done as it may seem. Consider getting started with link building through the 8 methods below.

1. Conduct keyword research

keywordsI use keyword research across various aspects of my marketing, but for link building specifically, I use it to help me understand my audience’s intent when they go out looking for something that I could help them with. It gives me an understanding of what their problems and challenges are and often provides actual questions that they are typing into search engines.

From there, I can come up with shareable content ideas (more on this later) that I should produce as well as the platforms and businesses I should be interacting with to get in front of my audience. This, in turn, increases the number of links driving back to my site.

2. Focus on creating high-quality content

social video marketingContent is air. Your marketing simply won’t survive without it, and link building is no different. People link to things worth sharing, so if you want to get a lot of shares, you need to create useful content that is valuable to your audience.

This content needs to be educational and informative for your audience and should establish thought leadership. Feel free to be creative with this content, it doesn’t just need to be your standard blog posts, ebooks, or white papers. Other ideas include:

  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics
  • How-to guides

Consider adding a local focus to some of the content you create to really capture your chances of backlinks from other local businesses.

While creating content is a necessity, you don’t always need to reinvent the wheel. Consider repurposing content you already have. You can also take a look at your competitors’ content that’s performing well and think of ways to make it better.

In addition to improving existing content, consider sharing content with your audience that was created by others. By doing this, you’ll increase your odds of them sharing your content naturally.

Lastly, creating the content alone isn’t usually enough to generate links back to your site. You must promote the content in channels where your audience hangs out. Find out what social media channels they’re on, what forums they visit, etc.

3. Be a guest

blogGuest posting is still a great link building tool, but it should be done by networking, not spamming. If when writing a guest post, your only intent for writing it is to get links directing back to your site, then you’re probably not going to get much value out of it.

Additionally, consider becoming a guest on a podcast.

4. Leverage strategic and local partnerships

Forming partnerships with local businesses and organizations can be a great opportunity to get backlinks from their websites. These should be local strategic partners that you can refer your customers to when they are in need of something you don’t provide. A great way to supplement this activity is to make sure that you and your local partners are linking to and sharing each other’s content.

If you’ve produced a great piece of content, let them share it with their networks as well, and vice versa. Additionally, consider writing testimonials for your partners and don’t forget to include a link back to your site in the review.

5. Get involved in your community

local business link buildingConsider sponsoring local events in your community to help you get links from the event’s sponsorship page as this can be extremely effective for local SEO. Most of these local organizations have a website and get news coverage leading to higher authority local websites.

In addition to sponsoring events, you can host your own as well and generate links through promotional press releases, social media posts, partner newsletters, and so on.

6. Network

Link building today is very similar to how you would do effective networking. My best advice for getting links is by meeting real people and promoting their content. When you employee effective networking techniques, both online and off, you’ll start to see real link building results.

7. Get added to local citations and directories

If you haven’t already done this, make sure your website is listed in local citations and directories.

Getting your business on Google My Business, Yelp, and local sites like your chamber of commerce or alumni directories, is extremely important in getting backlinks to your site. Just make sure that your name, address, and phone number are consistent across the board to avoid confusion. Use a tool like MozLocal or Yext to get started in the right direction.

8. Pay attention to your competition

relationshipIt’s a well-established SEO practice to go after the links that might be helping your competition rank in search engine results pages.

Conduct a few searches on the keyword phrases and terms (from your keyword research) that are important to your business. Once you find a handful of competitors, use a tool, like Ahrefs, to get a list of sites linking back to your competition. Use this to see if you can figure out an angle to get a link of your own.

There’s no way around it, link building does take time and effort, but done correctly, the hours put into it will be well worth it.

Simple Ways to Get More From the Content You’ve Already Written

Simple Ways to Get More From the Content You’ve Already Written

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

Content marketing plays a critical role in pretty much every business in every industry even more so today. If you’ve been in business for a while, you probably have a stockpile of content that you’ve created over the years.

As content ages, it starts to collect dust — it’s out of date, tactics change, it’s buried deep in the archives, and it’s not doing anything for your business. Not only can repurposed content increase your traffic 300%, but it’s an easy way to get more ROI out of what you already have.

If you want to save time on content creation and draw new traffic to your site, do these 7 things.

1. Add New Information to Evergreen Content

Web based LearningSome content never goes out of style. Many businesses have created foundational content that provides readers in-depth information on their industry, and this content can continue to be useful for years. But just like anything that’s getting up there in years, it sometimes needs a refresh to regain some of its old sparkle.

Refreshing content and republishing anew, with an acknowledgement that it’s been updated to reflect the latest on the given topic, is one of the quickest and easiest ways to repurpose your old content. This allows you to hang onto any goodwill that particular link has garnered in terms of ranking over the years, while introducing it to a whole new audience and allowing it to generate even better standing in search results.

2. Incorporate Media into Existing Posts

blogBlog posts can get boring after a while. Reading through one after the other demands a lot of focus from your audience, and today’s consumers are looking for new ways to engage with content.

Video has become hugely popular of late and can add a lot of visual interest to existing pages. Plus, if someone’s unable to read through an entire blog post, they may have the time to watch a quick video that provides a summary of the information in the post.

You can incorporate other forms of media, too. Infographics are a fun, eye-catching way to repurpose your content.

3. Turn Video Content into a Blog Post

video creationCreating content takes a lot of time. You need to put together a thoughtful strategy and build your content calendar around that. Then there’s the process of actually making the content itself. Blogging involves research and revision; video and podcasting means you need to adopt production skills and be able to edit video and audio.

If you go through all the trouble of creating content in the first place, why not get as much mileage out of it as possible?

You can even take it a step further by using the audio from that video and transform it into a podcast episode. Suddenly, your one piece of content has multiplied into three. And that provides more opportunities for you to reach your audience through the medium that works best for them.

4. Create Social Media Friendly Content

Social mediaSocial media is a vital channel for businesses of all sizes. You can take content you already have, and repurpose it in different ways for social as long as it aligns with your overall social media strategy.

Your existing blog posts are packed with social media gold. Pulling snippets from your blog posts are a great way to quickly develop social media friendly content AND drive traffic back to your website. You can do things like:

  • Make a twitter thread pulling important points from a blog post
  • Create micro-blogs on Instagram by sharing snippets from in-depth blog posts

5. Transcribe Your Podcast

Developing content, recording, and editing a podcast episode takes time. Instead of only utilizing the audio, why not transcribe your podcast episode and turn it into a SEO-rich blog post. People consume content differently. By offering a written version of your show, you’ll reach more people because you offer content that can suit multiple people’s preferences.

6. Assemble Hub Pages

Most businesses have their content scattered here, there, and everywhere. There are videos and podcast episodes on various pages on their website and hosted on external platforms. Their blog posts are so numerous they could rival the National Archives. But the content is scattered, so it’s not actually serving a purpose.

If you want to get the most out of this content, you need to organize it around hub pages. I’ve described hub pages as your own mini-Wikipedia on your website. You start by identifying a broad topic that’s of interest to your readers.

For local business owners, this repository of information is a gold mine. Rather than having to search through our thousands of pieces of content, the most relevant ones are organized nicely for them in the hub page’s table of contents. Suddenly, this page becomes a go-to resource. Visitors return again and again to go deeper in depth on the topic, and share the posts with their colleagues. Search engines take note of this behavior. They realize that the content is useful, and suddenly our hub page moves up the SERPs.

When done correctly, hub pages can get your local business ranking on the first page of results for relevant search terms. And you achieve that strong ranking by repurposing and reorganizing existing content, rather than having to start from scratch.

7. Compile Blog Posts into an e-Book

If you have a series of blog posts around the same topic, you can create a new piece of content by compiling them into an e-Book to use as a lead magnet. You can use each blog post as a chapter of your e-Book, make the content in each blog post a little meatier, and write an introduction and conclusion. Then, you can use a free tool like Canva to compile these posts together. This e-Book is a great way to help you build your email list and reach more people with the content you already have.

Creating content takes a lot of time and work. Repurposing your existing content allows you to get the greatest benefit from that investment. Not only does repurposing give it a new life and introduce it to a new audience, it can also help you boost your SEO standing and grow your reach even further.

7 Small Business Trends that Arrived Just in Time for 2021

7 Small Business Trends that Arrived Just in Time for 2021

By | Digital Marketing & Google News, Online Entrepreneur News

1) Paying attention becomes a survival mechanism

Business financingIn 2021, as in most years, businesses will thrive and survive due to many factors, but next year those who best discover the shift of the moment will be more equipped to evolve with their customers.

2020 showed us just how fast everything could change and simultaneously how fast we can respond and then change and re-respond. This is the commercial version of present moment mindfulness, I suppose.

Expect fear to be feeling number one for most of the year. Tune your strategic thinking to finding ways to be the light in the dark.

2) Everything gets smaller

income small businessFrom a practical standpoint, we’ve already seen this. Conferences, meetings, gatherings of any sort contracted, and we will all need to relearn how to gather again, no matter how much we think we crave it.

This trend will be driven by people’s desire for something that feels more personal than the market’s design to get smaller.

Design, a true barometer of change, has already moved in this direction. Take note of the larger headline fonts, muted color splashes of retro illustrations, and more white space on web pages.

Smaller also means less complex, and you can expect that to play out in a large dollop of nostalgia. Visions of families riding around their neighborhoods on bikes during 2020 sparked an emotional desire for simplicity.

3) AI gets practical

AIAlmost every trend article you encounter this year will talk about AI in some fashion. While I mention it here as a trend, I do so for some of the practical things it now brings rather than the futuristic promise of the technology it implies.

Look in 2021 for a host of tools, services, and websites aimed at making writing easier. Tools like HeadLime and MarketMuse will change how content is created.

AI applications can already write an article based on a handful of fed keywords. Now, is this award-winning prose? Well, no, but is that blog post you paid someone $15 to write near as good as AI – probably not. AI writers can get you 80% of the way there, and then you, the brilliant content strategist that you are, can spend your energy on making it sparkle and getting it read by others.

This will shake up the content creation, social posting, and freelance industries dramatically.

4) Talent investment is back in style

small businessMost large businesses understand the competitive nature of attracting and retaining their best people. Therefore, they often invest heavily in recruiting and employee branding initiatives.

Small businesses rarely can afford outlandish perks to attract talent, but one trend that I think will grow in small business is talent development.

Even if revenue is down and budgets are tight, I predict that small business owners will see the wisdom of creating training and mentoring opportunities to level-up, develop, and, let’s face it, send a clear signal that their people are an important piece of their success.

This has always been an important topic, but I think we’ll see a return to a fundamental commitment to employee engagement around things like profit and skill development that will not be limited to big biz only.

If you have training for skills, mindset, and even personal development, small business is a great target market right now.

5) Video gets personal again

video creationI said this last year, so that’s the again part.

Video will continue to grow as a content medium and act as a bridge to a couple of other trends. Most notably, the acts of paying attention and getting smaller.

I think video, think of it as asynchronous virtual content, will take another big leap and bounce from the Zoom screens we are in front of to the more personal 1 to 1 platforms for sales, technical support even as a form of commenting and collaborating.

Expect the use of tools such as Loom and BombBomb to continue to grow. I mean, face it, who wants to read that 4 paragraph email when they can close their eyes and click play.

6) UX and SEO get attached at the hip

A few years ago, it was fashionable to talk about the marriage of content and SEO. Now that content is basically online air; it’s sort of passe to talk about the concept as two.

digital marketing servicesBut there’s a newish player making waves this year – UX or user experience. UX isn’t really new as a concept. I mean, navigation and content structure are UX. So is site speed and security. However, with its mobile-first point of view, Google is going to raise the SEO bar another notch next year.

7) Coaching ranks swell

During 2020 some people found that corporate jobs weren’t so stable or fun anymore. Some were laid off and started that coaching or consulting business they had longed to start, while others took the pause as a moment to reconsider their life path in general.

My final prediction is that the number of people who decide to start coaching businesses and those who decide now is the time to get a coach will explode next year.

I think 2021 will be a year of recovery and personal development and, in some cases, one of changing priorities.

This crystal ball stuff is fun, but more than anything, stay curious this coming year, and you may indeed discover a new and exciting chapter in business and life because the only thing that I know for certain is that change is gonna keep coming.

Why Digital Marketing Disappoints a Lot of Small Businesses

Why Digital Marketing Disappoints a Lot of Small Businesses?

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

It’s not uncommon to see Small Businesses & SMEs complaining that digital marketing doesn’t work. And when you look closely they are doing the least valuable work against their very high expectations. One SEO intern and One Facebook, the Instagram poster isn’t a digital marketing plan. And it’s silly that we have to re-emphasize this in times when the digital marketing technology has evolved so much, but it is happening. People are doing it. Getting a customer is the highest possible results of a digital marketing plan, or of any sort of marketing for that reason. Everyone is after this particular outcome, regardless of the size of the business. Giants companies & brands deploy larger marketing agencies and professionals in their team for “a sell”, and even a small startup guy try to do his own marketing stuff to get “a sale” again. Both have a different set of resources but the same goal.

Marketing Needs Money

But the better version of this statement is that marketing at different stages needs a different set of resources and different strategic approaches.

Uninformed Attitude

holiday ecommerceUninformed decisions are the bad decisions because they are totally based out of your own limited information or bias. Having a full-time business to run is itself exhausting, and leaves you with less bandwidth to explore the new technology evolutions in marketing. So literally never let your limited information plays against you. And the way to go is to ask for help.

Recency Effect

The recency effect is when your future decisions are highly influenced by your fears & experiences from your past decisions. This is one the most dangerous growth hindering effects on humans because to grow you need to see things from a fresh perspective. You need to see the positive possibilities and not the negative ones. You need to embrace the uncertainty, and move on.

Dictating

Expect no masterpiece from someone whom you are dictating. He’ll be as good as your orders. Steve Jobs said “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people so that they can tell us what to do.”

You may want to engage the social media influencers, but these influencers are aware that people consider them as influencers, and are willing to pay. So when they might have actively helped a giant brand by talking about it enthusiastically on their page, they may not be interested in talking about your product if you aren’t paying. Even if an influencer has recently talked about a large market leader brand, he would prefer to avoid any small time product because it devalues his brand equity.

Progressive Strategy

The idea of progressive strategy comes from the gym. Lifting the 25KG dumbbells on your first day of gym won’t get you biceps, but lifting the right weight according to your current condition, capacity & circumstances will surely get your biceps. Not as huge as of a pro-lifer but surely you’ll gain more than what you started with. That’s the progressive strategy. Identify the most realistic numbers that you want to achieve (“as many customers as possible” isn’t a strategy), and then design a totally customized digital marketing plan for your business. Sometimes an effective marketing strategy is doing just one thing first and doing it right. Not every business needs 10 channels to build an impressive ROI. Each & every business can go digital if you plan it mindfully, tactfully, and realistically. Not every business needs to go to Facebook.

False Sense of ROI

local SEOROI is one of the least understood terms at the scale of small businesses & startups. Its better you measure your ROI in two phases ie. Macro, and Micro. Sales, Orders, Customers comes under Macro ROI of a digital campaign. Direct website visitors, email subscribers, blog readership, social media audience size, social media engagement, onsite content engagement metrics comes under Micro ROI. Strong Macros comes from Strong Micros, and not the other way. This simple realization will give you many reasons to analyze why digital marketing isn’t working for your business. So if you are planning a Facebook ad campaign for mailing list subscriber acquisitions, there is no point of judging it for any different outcome.

Fluidity

If you don’t allow your marketing team to experiments, to be vulnerable to test new ideas, or you don’t have the risk bandwidth, your progress will be slower than your expectations. And there is no way out. No one can help.

Breaking the Conversion Chain

A Sale comes from the Awareness > Engagement > Try > Buy > Recommend > Repeat Buy chain. If you break this order, expect no good results. Many small businesses refrain from awareness building digital marketing campaigns, considering its a waste of marketing money. Will you buy something from a brand that you don’t know or don’t trust? Then why do you want people to buy from you before establishing a rapport? Will you buy your supplies from a totally new vendor who has come out of a vacuum, and you have no prior knowledge about him? Will you buy a movie ticket if you don’t know about the star cast? Will you buy a cosmetic product, if you never heard of the brand? But you expect your customers to do exactly that. Why?

Brand awareness building doesn’t mean wasting money. It means building your brand within your means, in your own way. Above in this story, that if you plan for progressive growth, design your marketing goals in stages, and don’t copy what big brands are doing, you can build much better branding results for your small business. And it is time tested advice.

Removing Gatekeepers From Your Marketing

Removing Gatekeepers From Your Marketing

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

Every marketer has run into one of these roadblocks before:

  • They wanted to create an ads audience off of recently closed lost deals, but didn’t have access to the customer data in their CRM.
  • They needed to change some of the copy on their homepage, but their developers couldn’t fit it into their next sprint.
  • They needed a quick graphic to illustrate a point they were making in a blog post, but their design team was wrapped up in other projects.

transparent-employeeIn these scenarios, marketers aren’t held back by a lack of good ideas. Instead, marketers are struggling with gatekeepers.

Gatekeepers are unnecessary areas of friction within your growth machine that prevent marketers from providing customers with the best experience possible.

Gatekeepers can be anything from unusable data that’s spread across different tools, to a CMS or design solution that’s powerful but requires technical expertise to use.

When marketers encounter a gatekeeper, the customer experience inevitably suffers.

When trying to provide your customers with an amazing experience, nothing is more important than your website. But when asked who is responsible for keeping a website up to date, many marketers pointed to their IT team as owners of their company’s site.

This is a classic example of gatekeepers inserting unnecessary friction into your marketing. Your IT team isn’t goaled on generating leads, or how customers perceive your brand — so when marketers approach them with an update that needs to be made to their website, it isn’t prioritized.

Inevitably, your customers’ experience suffers. Imagine if your IT team owned your email marketing, or your social media accounts — how might your customer experience suffer as a result?

Marketers at growing companies need to be the owner of their organization’s growth machine. This used to be a given, but as customer journeys have gotten more complex, so have the systems we use to reach our customers.

Today’s fastest growing companies are doing three things:

  • They’re leveraging customer data across all their marketing channels.
  • They’re optimizing their marketing efforts by leveraging comprehensive reporting.
  • They’re putting marketers in the driver’s seat — removing gatekeepers at every turn so they can act quickly and decisively to best serve their customers.

The need for a clear owner of your business’ growth machine has only been heightened by the global pandemic. As external factors force leaders to pivot quickly at a time where collaboration and strategic planning is more difficult than ever before, gatekeepers cannot be tolerated.

3 Kinds of Social Media Marketing You Shouldn't Ignore

3 Kinds of Social Media Marketing You Shouldn’t Ignore

By | Social Media News

Social media marketing is about much more than likes and shares. Today’s social media landscape extends well beyond posting a thought or meme and hoping it takes off with your audience. These three kinds of social media marketing should be on your radar if you want to stay current and competitive.

Influencer Marketing

influencer marketingInfluencer marketing is the use of other experts in your industry who already have a sizable audience that respects and trusts them. Regardless of what industry you’re in, there are likely other people in your field who have a more established reputation and audience. Maybe they have larger social followings, are published authors or are a mainstream media celebrity. These are people you can learn from, and it would be particularly valuable to have a relationship with them.

Of course, the obvious benefit to you is that when someone like that shares something you’ve written to their followers, you reach a vastly wider audience. You can’t expect that an influencer will share your latest blog post unless you already have a relationship in place — one where they’ve come to recognize your expertise and look forward to seeing your new content, just like the rest of your readers do.

Social media can be a great equalizer, particularly on Twitter and Instagram, where you can follow anyone you want. Simply find the influencers in your niche, follow them and begin to engage with them naturally. You know — like a real human being who isn’t a stalker.

Reply or comment on posts that interest you, and share posts you think your own audience would be interested in. If the influencer is blogging, become an active reader and engage with them on their blog with insightful comments and questions. That will get you on their radar.

The next step is to begin to include them in your own content by quoting them, linking to their blog posts or including them in roundups, where you ask their opinion on a topic and publish opinions from a group of influencers. Or you could do a live video interview. Instead of being on someone else’s video, broadcast your own and invite a key influencer to be your guest. It’s more work on your part to organize and promote, but it’s also a tremendous opportunity for content creation.

Dark Social Media

social sharingOne area you can’t measure, but that should be on your radar, is dark social media. This refers to all the ways people can share your content with other people without your knowledge. Examples include emails, text messages and direct social messages. In each of these cases, someone decided to share your content with one or more people, but they did so in a way that couldn’t be accurately measured or recorded.

While it’s unfortunate that you’re unable to track the impact of dark social media, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. In fact, you should make it as easy as possible for people to share your work this way if they want to. For instance, consider putting email buttons on all your blog posts. Or, better yet, just make sure that your social sharing buttons include an “Other” button that links to email, texting apps like WhatsApp and whatever other choices someone might want to take advantage of.

Within your email newsletters, include social sharing buttons and an invitation to share the newsletter via email along with a note that says, “Did someone email you this newsletter? Make sure you don’t miss another by subscribing yourself.” And make sure all your blog posts have a strong call to action to either read another post, head over to a landing page or at least sign up for your email list so that you can further capture some of those dark social readers.

Paid Social Media

social media contentFinally, you should strongly consider incorporating paid social media in your marketing strategy. Every social platform now offers the ability to promote posts, allowing them to be seen by far more people than your existing follower base. But be careful. It’s easy to run up costs without seeing a real ROI. Make sure that you’re using the best platform for your business, targeting the right audience and sending that targeted traffic to the best possible content.

So let’s bring this back to your latest piece of content: Think about who you’re targeting with it. Is there a particular network where they’re more likely to be active? Frankly, one of the least expensive platforms to advertise on is Facebook. It also has the best targeting and sports the largest global user base. So that’s probably a good place to start. But do give Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram due consideration.

3 Important Marketing Strategies You Shouldn't Ignore in 2021

3 Important Marketing Strategies You Shouldn’t Ignore in 2021

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

2021 is going to be a year where more people will use the internet for their day-to-day needs. This isn’t just because of advancing technology, but mainly because of the pandemic. It has changed the way people live, how business works, and the habits of consumers who are actively shifting their preferences.

For example, in the US, over $8 billion was spent online in November on food delivery and groceries. Shoppers are placing more orders online because of grocery store restrictions, convenience, and familiarity. It is critical for brands and businesses to have the right digital marketing strategies in place. Consumers have shown they are open to new options when these options are clearly communicated.

With all these new, emerging trends and restrictions, entrepreneurs might forget the basics. There is a delicate balance of keeping marketing strategies cutting-edge but simple so they touch on all the fundamental principles.

Here are three strategies you could include in your marketing plan for the upcoming year.

Always have a good PR strategy

marketing PR strategyFor any brand, publicity is absolutely critical. Branding isn’t just about having sufficient online visibility but confirming your excellent reputation and media attention. Being creative with your digital marketing can take your business a long way. As Mr Richard Branson says, “A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.”

Having a PR and media marketing strategy will uphold your brand’s online reputation and displays confidence to your customers and partners.

Get innovative

marketing strategiesWith the overwhelming omnipresence of the internet, many try to promote their brand online; therefore, entrepreneurs need to become creative and innovative when marketing their business. Michael Matthews created a way for entrepreneurs in the music industry to leverage everyone’s love of music; information regarding radio airplay is priceless for anyone seeking to build their music brand. Radio airplay tracking is the perfect tool for any individual or company in the music industry to expand and reinforce its audience.

As technology becomes more prevalent in our lives, new techniques exploit the opportunities presented. You can achieve sustainable growth for your business and develop a clear mission to combat the ultra-competitive marketplace.

Don’t Forget Local Marketing

Local marketingLocal marketing builds long-lasting business relationships with people in your surrounding area, giving you excellent brand exposure at minimum cost.

Regardless of your marketing efforts, if you can’t deliver and keep your customers happy, it’s a whole other story. Ultimately, it’s customer satisfaction that will make your business a success. Be sincere and honest with your business. It’s best to be realistic with your promises and always do your best. Keeping customers happy pays for itself.

8 Proven Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Online Store

8 Proven Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Online Store

By | E Commerce Business News

In 2020, online sales are soaring across the board. Because of that, new eCommerce companies are popping up all of the time. But how do you stay on top of the pack and set your business up for success in this increasingly competitive marketplace? One of the main things you’ll need to do is work on driving traffic to your online store.

ecommerceWhether you’ve just launched or you’ve been around for a while, everyone is looking for ways to increase eCommerce traffic and ultimately get customers to purchase their products. From social media to SEO, working with influencers and more, these proven ways will surely drive traffic to your online store. But before you get started on trying to figure out how to get traffic to your website, here are a few things to consider in order to make sure your site is ready to turn increased traffic into increased sales.

Organize your site with an uncomplicated structure and clear CTAs. Make sure shoppers can easily navigate your site to find what they’re looking for. If your product catalog is not directly on your site’s homepage, add a prominent “Shop Now” or “Start Shopping” button that leads customers there.

Make it clear what you offer. Have you ever visited an online store and had to wander around before you really understood what the product was that they were selling? Don’t make that mistake. Make it clear on your homepage what services you provide.

Remember that photography is king. We’re living in a visual age. High-quality product photography is a must so customers can see exactly what they’re getting. In fact, 83% of US smartphone users said product photography is “very” and “extremely” influential to their purchasing decisions.

OK, now you’re ready to get started on increasing your website traffic and converting it into more sales.

01. Attract Customers with a Sales Campaign

Managing salesWhen shopping online, do you immediately click the “sales” tab to find the best prices, or is that just us? By creating the right sales campaign, visitors will come running to your website looking for a good deal. Whether that campaign is planned just in time for the next holiday season or for no particular reason, people will respond.

To get you started, here are some campaign ideas you can implement:

  • Offer a competition or giveaway
  • Create a coupon available on your website only
  • Create a sense of urgency: Flash sale, Free shipping or Upcoming sale
  • Buy one, get one deals

02. Target Your Audience on Facebook

facebook marketingDid you know that 75 percent of consumers turn to Facebook before making a purchase? That’s reason enough to be active on today’s most popular social network. Plus, it’s one more way for customers to hear from you and stay up-to-date on your business’s news. The following methods will help you utilize this social network to the fullest.

  • Create a Facebook page
  • Run Facebook ads
  • Integrate Facebook shop

03. Use Instagram’s Many Features

Depending on your business, Instagram can be a huge asset for increasing traffic to your website. Use it to cultivate your brand and to give people a look into how your product is developed and how your store is run. Let your customers fall in love with your business and with you.

  • Optimize your Instagram bio
  • Use Instagram stories
  • Integrate Instagram with your site

04. Lean into Email Marketing

Although email marketing may sound outdated in the world of TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram, this marketing channel actually boasts the highest return on investment (ROI) of all, with an average of $40 earned for every dollar spent. As one of the most successful ways to direct your customers to your online store, it’s definitely worth implementing. Plus, it’s completely free, so what do you have to lose?

05. SEO Optimize Your Site

local SEOYour potential audience is already searching Google for products like yours anyways. You just need to find a way to be one of the first online stores that they see in the search results. The way to get your business to be featured prominently in Google’s search results is through a process called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Keep in mind that even when SEO efforts are done correctly, landing a seat on page one results can take time, so you’ll need to be patient.

06. Utilize Content Marketing

If you’re a newer company trying to compete with bigger brands or if you’re trying to increase your brand recognition, a great way to grow your website traffic is through content marketing.

Content marketing refers to any content your business creates that offers valuable, relevant, and engaging information that’ll attract your targeted audience to your online store and your brand. The immediate goal isn’t necessarily to get them to buy, but to stimulate interest in your products and to present your business as an authority within your field.

Some of the most common forms include blogs, videos, and infographics.

07. Engage with Influencers

customerStepping out of your network into someone else’s is a great way to gain traffic to your site by expanding your reach to a whole new audience. Like guest blogging, working with social media influencers is an outreach marketing tactic that does just this for your reach. Influencers are those that have established high credibility in their industry as trend-setters, with a large following of users (typically on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube). Consumers tend to take their advice seriously – especially when it comes to their shopping experiences – since it’s usually honest, relatable, and unbiased.

It’s also possible to create an affiliate program to automate the process, allowing you to work with a large number of influencers in the most efficient manner. These efforts usually lead to them discussing your product in their Instagram stories, or tagging you in a post, both of which are excellent ways to drive traffic to your online store.

08. Advertise on Google

Whereas with SEO, you garner traffic organically, here you pay Google to show your site to your target audience. Each click you receive due to their ads costs a specific amount depending on the keywords you’re targeting, which is why they’re called PPC (paid-per-click) ads. You’ll need to budget a bit more money for this method, but the results can be significant.

Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2021

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

1. No-Click Searches also Known as Featured Snippet

business planGenerally, when you have a question, you type your question into Google, hit enter, and click on the article that best answers your question or gives you the information you need.

Sometimes though, the answer is suggested to you in a paragraph at the top of the result page. These boxes, called Position Zero in search engine results, often come with an image and all the information you were looking for displayed in an easy to distinguish box. You have the answer you need, so you don’t need to click on an article. This is what’s called a no-click search. Google and other search engines provide these to help people find answers quickly and keep people on their website (and off of yours).

Being the subject of a no-click search means you’re halfway there — people are interested in what you have to say. Your next step is to attract them to your site for more of what you have to offer.

2. Google Verified Listings for Local SEO

Local-SEO 2For businesses that operate on a local level, such as a plumbing company or a veterinary clinic, your Google My Business listing provides valuable information and helps establish your geographical location.

Having a geographically-defined service area with Google My Business listing aids in showing up for “near me” searches. It also lets customers learn more about your business within Google Search results. At a glance your potential customer can see your open hours, address, and star rating left by other users.

In order to make sure the information displayed is correct, you should verify your Google business listing and keep information up to date. The benefits of verifying your business are:

3. Voice Search

voice assistantsVoice-activated digital assistants continue to be huge sellers, and let’s be realistic – some households talk to Alexa, Siri, or Cortana more than they speak to family members. The popularity of voice search both at home and on our phones has led to one of the most significant shifts in using keywords.

4. Visual Search

Instead of typing a description into Google, users can now upload an image and get information about an item just from a picture. If they’re uploading a plant photo, the search returns species information, while a landmark image will return historical data. When a user searches a product, it returns similar products and where to buy them. Google Lens, Pinterest Lens, and related search tools turn a user’s camera into a search bar.

5. Online Reviews

Online reviews can make or break your business’s ability to attract new customers or clients. While any company can talk up their products or services, other consumers can provide real, unbiased reviews. Having many reviews from verified sources can make your business stand out from the competition and start building trust before they even click on your website.

6. Automated & Smart Bidding in Google Ads

To get the best possible results from a Google Ads campaign, Ads specialists analyze every piece of data and continuously tweak and adjust keywords, bids, and ad phrasing. While this obsessive attention to detail gets results, it’s exhausting. A business owner trying to run a campaign may become completely overwhelmed and end up failing.

Enter automated bidding strategies. These allow Google to use machine learning to analyze the tremendous amount of data it has on its users to adjust your bids in real-time. Ads specialists can embrace automated strategies while still being in complete control. Automated bidding isn’t anything new – Smart Bidding made its debut in 2016 – but most business owners aren’t aware of what it is or what it does.

It’s important to note that there are still plenty of human strategies involved in optimizing PPC performance.

7. Influencer Marketing

An influencer is someone that people trust in a specific field, such as professional athletes, scientists, and even successful dog trainers. These people have a following online to promote their business, services, or message, and influencer marketing is tapping into these communities that are often large, active, and very loyal to the influencer they follow. Some examples are paying a local chef to post about using produce from your organic, urban farm, or sending your new sneakers to a basketball player to wear in pictures they post.

Building Positive Customer Relationships

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

Since customer relations considers all of your customer interactions, there are a lot of factors that can influence a customer relationship. When building positive customer relations, organizations need to take a company-wide approach that’s focused on promoting customer success. To do that, here are three key factors that any business should consider when pursuing positive customer relations.

1. Invest in employee training.

transparent-employeeA great customer experience comes not only from the product being sold but also from the employees who interact with the customer. Your reps must be highly skilled in their trade and motivated by quickly solving customer problems.

Customer service training may include developing some of the “soft” skills such as improving active listening, developing a professional communication style, and how to solve problems efficiently in your organizational framework.

While you might expect your reps to have these skills when you bring them on, continual training helps align the entire team to your organization’s brand standards, policies, and procedures, resulting in a more consistent experience across the board.

2. Create a fulfilling workplace for your customer service reps.

customer care repRichard Branson of Virgin Airlines famously said, “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” This seems intuitive: If a customer service rep is having a bad enough day that the customer perceives this, it can change the tone of the experience.

Studies have also shown that happy workers are also 13% more productive, and in the service world, productive reps and quicker resolution times lead to higher rates of customer satisfaction.

3. Improve first call resolution rate.

86% of customers will pay more for a better experience, and great customer experiences are becoming the norm in today’s marketplace. One of the metrics to look at when creating a frictionless service model is first-call resolution (FCR). FCR refers to the percentage of calls that get resolved with no follow-up or additional touchpoints needed.

It’s a critical metric that improves satisfaction (no one wants to call multiple times about one issue, and more calls equate to more frustration) and your team’s internal efficiency. The more calls that are resolved completely, the less your system is taxed by call volume.

Your service and support teams should be equipped and enabled to handle the majority of issues that customers present.

4. Leverage software to increase efficiency.

efficiencySpeaking of enablement, companies faced with higher volumes of support and service cases should consider adopting customer service tools to help manage customer relations. Adding a help desk software can significantly help customer service, support, and success teams monitor interactions with customers over time. Tools like a customer relationship manager, or CRM, can help your team expand its bandwidth and create satisfying experiences for every person that interacts with your business.

5. Create opportunities for self-service.

You may not have the bandwidth to provide on-demand one-to-one support at all hours of the day. Ensure that you’re providing the tools for your customers to get help when they need it, even without the help of a rep.

Chat bots can help disseminate information and guide website visitors to the right areas on your website. Knowledge bases can address some of the most common questions customers have.

Even though some customers will prefer calling in, these simple steps can address the problems of your more self-sufficient customers and increase satisfaction by continuing to solve problems on demand.

6. Be accessible.

That isn’t to say that you should replace reps with self-service solutions altogether. To provide an excellent customer experience, your service and support teams need to be readily available to help. A Microsoft survey revealed that over a third of consumers reported that their biggest complaint with a company is not being able to get help from an agent when needed to.

While it helps to have things like self-service help desks, your team still needs to be there when the customer has a problem. Technology can help ease some of the stress for your customer service team, but it can never recreate the memorable experience that a live rep can provide. This human interaction is crucial to creating a meaningful relationship between a company and its customers.

7. Show appreciation.

customerPart of creating a great customer experience is providing small moments of delight where you exceed their expectations. This is particularly important as our culture is shifting away from brand loyalty and more toward loyalty to the brands that provide the best experience. Consider rewarding your best customers with a loyalty program or other small token of your appreciation.

8. Measure and improve customer satisfaction.

Making your customers happy doesn’t have to be an intangible effort. Ask for feedback from your customers and develop a system for measuring that feedback. This could be in the form of customer satisfaction surveys and NPS scores.

If you do, also ensure that you’re committed to acting on the feedback you receive. As you see scores improve and feedback get better, you know you’re on the right track.

9. Create a customer-first culture.

Companies that want to create positive customer relations need to install a customer-centric culture into the organization. This culture has to be focused on customer success as well as creating long-term solutions for every customer. Companies can do this by creating a customer journey map that outlines the buyer’s journey for a target consumer. Employees will be more motivated to help customers as they can see exactly where they play a role in the customer’s success. It also helps to hire a customer relations executive who can lead the development of customer relationships.

Meet Lui De Luna Digital Marketer & Entrepreneur

Meet Lui De Luna | Digital Marketer & Entrepreneur

By | Networking Bizz News

Our CEO has been featured on another article brought to you by Voyager LA, Check out some insights into Networking Bizz Digital and what Lui thinks about Risk-taking. Its a quick and easy ready you will definitely enjoy it!

Meet Lui De Luna | Digital Marketer & Entrepreneur

LuiDeLunaWe had the good fortune of connecting with Lui De Luna and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lui, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking

There is no large reward without taking risks. Same as that famous saying by Ronald Reagan “The future doesn’t belong to the light-hearted. It belongs to the brave.” I remember being stuck in class and impatiently looking at the clock to leave since all my time was sucked into starting my very first business. My first risk was moving out of my house when I was 16, my second big risk was dropping out of Junior year of college. There were times when risk had me eating out of the dollar menu of McDonald’s for weeks with only $150 in my bank account and many bills due. But looking back that risk truly built my character and defined who I became. To be an Entrepreneur is to be immune to all the fears that come from risk, in fact, the act of “risking” is sort of like weight training or cardio training. Eventually, you build your “risk muscle” to the point of being immune to all the fears that come from risk. I strongly believe risk, is a necessary rite of passage for all entrepreneurs. Now there are many different kinds of Entrepreneurs, Those that have everything handed to them on a silver platter and are encouraged to take risks since there are no repercussions. But the ones that truly change the world are the ones that do it out of necessity. Necessity is the mother of invention, and necessity always comes with risks, But necessity can also change the world and impact it in ways we never imagined. I have always known that without risk I would not have my business, I would not be so Entrepreneurial and look at problems from a business perspective. Risk led me to my passion which is Digital Marketing. In fact, risk led me to be ahead of the curve in many aspects. And risk helped me to discover that I was not about the 9-5 daily rat race. To me, risk was a necessary obstacle to obtain the life that I wanted, something more than the high paying corporate desk job that I ended up taking for 1 year after a business failure, I convinced myself that the risk of not receiving a steady salary paycheck was less than the reward of owning a successful business. No matter what, I always longed to be a master of my own destiny. And to be a master of your own destiny comes with many risks but many rewards.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?

My business’s name is Networking Bizz Digital. This started as an idea back in 2009 but was not initiated until 2016. We specialize in a few managed digital advertising services such as Google Campaign Management, Search Engine Optimization, Web, and Ecommerce Development. What sets us apart is our method of communication and the involvement of clients. We strive to involve clients every step of the way to gain active feedback. We also love the results we get for our clients, that is why we have a very low client turnover rate. Networking Bizz Digital is an accumulation of all the knowledge I have gained throughout the years working for many different clients across many different verticals.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Since COVID began we started to spend more time in nature, away from all those nasty WIFI and radio signals bombarding your brain frequencies. If someone was visiting from outside the city I would definitely take them to Isabella Lake, they have these awesome Hot Springs that look like naturally formed Hot Spas, as well as beautiful hikes in the Sequoia National Forest. For food, I’ve never had a particular go to place, but there are many places that have awesome food, such as Banana Bay in Rowland Heights, or just a good quick In-N-Out takeout is good enough for me.

I want to give a shoutout to my wife Janet. She has always stood by me, no matter how tough things get. She always believes in me and also my capacity to get things done.

  • Website: https://networkingbizz.com
  • Instagram: instagram.com/cool_geekin
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/netbizzdigital/
  • Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/networking-bizz-digital-marketing-pasadena-pasadena-2

 

How To Create Effective Calls-To-Action

How To Create Effective Calls-To-Action

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

How often do you start out reading an article on a website or blog, only to find yourself inadvertently signing up for a webinar or viewing a product demonstration? Like a moth to a flame, an intelligently placed call-to-action catches our attention and encourages us to take action.

call to actionSo what exactly is a call-to-action (CTA)? A call-to-action is simply a hyperlinked image or snippet of text that prompts us do something. By clicking through, we are taken to a landing page where we provide some personal information to receive what has been offered in the CTA.

Why Are CTAs so important?

CTAs are a crucial piece of the internet marketing puzzle, and if done right, they subtly but effectively guide your blog, social media, or website visitors through the sales cycle and increase leads and conversion rates. By creating multiple calls-to-action, distributing them across your site, and optimizing them, you are well on your way to increased landing page traffic.

CTAs are often used for:

  • Subscribing to newsletters.
  • Downloading free eBooks, whitepapers, or other content.
  • Viewing videos and product demonstrations
  • Signing up for free trials
  • Registering for webinars
  • Purchasing services/products

How Do I Decide Where to Place a Call-to-Action?

PPC Call to ActionsGenerally, you will want to choose several CTAs that appear at different stages of the sales cycle. Hubspot recommends placing at least three CTAs on your home page and at least one on each page of your site. However, there is one place you do NOT want to include a call-to-action: your landing page. In this instance, try to remove anything (images, links, CTAs, navigation) that will distract your visitor!

When deciding where to place your CTA, put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Where do they go when they reach your site? What are your most popular offers? Consider placing a call-to-action in these areas. If you aren’t sure, take a look at your analytics. By looking at visitor behavior data, you can predict what your perspective customers might be interested in seeing based on the pages they visit on the site.

Consider including a CTA on the confirmation page that appears after your visitor signs up for a product or service. This call-to-action should be a related service that your viewer might find helpful. For example, if you run a candy shop and someone has signed up for your newsletter, you might include a CTA on the thank you page for gift ideas that leads them to a product page where they can view and order candy gift boxes.

Perhaps you have an event, such as a webinar or special contest, coming up. You can include a CTA on your home page or other popular page that links directly to a registration page for your promotion or upcoming event.

How to Create a CTA

There are several options available for creating CTA buttons and boxes.

  • 1. Hire a professional graphic designer to create your CTAs.
  • 2. Create them yourself using Microsoft PowerPoint or Word, Adobe Photoshop, or other similar products. There are many great YouTube videos and other online resources that can walk you through the process, regardless of the program you are using.
  • 3. Another option for creating CTA buttons is Canva. This is a great website that offers many free options to create ads, social media images, call-to-action-buttons, and so much more.

Your calls-to-action can greatly enhance your internet marketing efforts, guide your visitors to all-important landing pages, and increase customer conversion rates and profits.

5 Tips for Harnessing Social Media to Scale Your Online Business

5 Tips for Harnessing Social Media to Scale Your Online Business

By | E Commerce Business News

Social media has become a quintessential element in today’s marketing mix. Approximately 3.5 billion people were active on the multitude of platforms in 2020 alone. Moreover, 54 per cent of social browsers are there searching for products.

It’s easy to see how harnessing social media is essential to ensuring rapid and sustainable growth.

1. Building out a strong presence

customer-target-audienceIn today’s day and age, potential clients would probably visit your social media profiles before visiting your website.

Invest time and resources in building your social media handles as well. Design a compelling logo for your brand or business, and take time to create a unique website. In the digital world, it’s all about portraying your brand effectively. Take it one step at a time, and build your digital presence gradually.

2. Focus your efforts and diversify

There is such a diverse range of social media platforms to choose from; it’s challenging to know which ones to focus on for the most effective results.

Build your Facebook and Instagram handles to begin with. Depending on the nature of your business, look at leveraging other platforms, too. If you’re into art, try Pinterest. Do you often share more video-based content? Perhaps building a YouTube channel for your brand would make sense. Having a strong and varied social media presence makes your business look more credible.

3. Create powerful content

social video marketingThough it may seem obvious, crafting compelling content is no easy task. Your content echoes your brand identity. It’s critical that it be striking, relevant to your audience and add value. Instead of static images, post videos of your products, latest offerings and other services. Ensure that there is a personal touch. Put up posts of yourself talking about your services or sharing useful information with your audience. Figure out what people are liking or responding to and build on that for the long haul.

4. Build a niche for your brand

Every business and brand has an area where they should strive to be an absolute authority. However, today’s marketplace is an extremely competitive one, and standing out from the crowd can be tricky.

If you have any qualifications, specialization, or degrees that help bolster your niche, let your audience know. Share informative content and DIY videos, or spend time building an attractive website that details your services. With a focused approach, clients will have more faith in you and your services, and thus growth will follow.

5. Engage your audience

Social Media EngagementYou can host Q&As, create interactive polls, post quirky stories, respond to customer queries and listen to customer feedback. Clients can often help you understand your shortcomings, and so you can work at solving those challenges. Build a stellar bond with your audience, and growth is inevitable.

The world is going digital, and there are no two ways about it. Those that embrace change and adapt are the ones who will survive. Understanding and effectively leveraging social media can help you scale your business and take a quantum leap in terms of rapid growth.

6 Tips for Acquiring More Google Reviews

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

In the past, local businesses could largely rely on foot traffic and word of mouth to grow their brand. Nowadays, however, most customers begin their search for businesses online — even when they’re looking for something in their local area.

Local business searches can be highly influential. According to data from HubSpot, 72 percent of consumers visit a store within five miles of their location after conducting a local search.

While there are many factors that can influence a customer’s decision to buy from you after doing a Google search, few are more influential than reviews. User reviews build trust and credibility, serving as the modern-day word of mouth. The more reviews a local business can get, the more influential it will appear in search results. Here are a half-dozen tips to get you started.

1. Claim your Google My Business profile

Google My BusinessIf you haven’t already done so, you need to claim your Google My Business profile. This profile is completely free and gives you total control over the listing for your store that shows up on Google searches.

Claiming your profile allows you to update basic information such as your address, business hours and link to your website. You can also upload photos of your store. Filling out this basic profile information tells users that this is an official profile, which makes customers more likely to leave a review.

2. Send email reminders

email-marketingMost customers aren’t going to leave a review right after they order a product from your website or after they finish a transaction in-store. They need to fully experience the product or service before they feel comfortable leaving a review. This is part of the reason why Metacritic recently changed its review policy for video games, making it so players can only leave reviews after a game has been released for 36 hours and they have truly experienced it.

For a local business, it’s best to send an email reminder a few days or a week after the completion of the transaction. You don’t need to have online checkout to collect email addresses, either. Smart in-store checkout devices offer the option to send digital receipts to a customer’s email, which you can use later to request a review.

3. Share positive reviews on other outlets

People like to know that their opinions have been heard.

Curating positive reviews to be featured on your website or social media profiles will provide powerful social proof for customers who don’t discover you through a Google search. This ensures that all potential customers are exposed to positive word of mouth.

4. Use physical reminders for digital reviews

You’re not always going to be able to collect email addresses to remind customers to leave their feedback. However, using some old-school methods can still help you collect more reviews.

For example, contractors and service companies often leave business cards after completing work for a client. Alongside your business card and any other paperwork you leave (such as warranty information), consider adding a Google review card. This card could provide a link and brief instructions for leaving an online review. Remind customers that sharing their experience helps others.

5. Respond to current reviews

Regardless of whether you get a good or bad review, it is important to respond to the Google reviews that you do receive. A Harvard Business Review analysis of hotel reviews on Google found that locations that responded to customer comments received 12 percent more reviews, while also increasing their rating by 0.12 stars.

Be careful when responding to negative reviews, however. Look at this as an opportunity to learn and grow your business. Offer to help the customer and make things right, rather than try to argue with them. A Moz analysis determined that many customers view their reviews as living documents and are willing to change their negative reviews if the business attempts to rectify the situation.

6. Go above and beyond

Social Media EngagementThe internet tends to amplify extreme experiences. As a result, most of the people who are going to leave reviews for your business are those who were completely blown away by your service or those who were extremely disappointed in it.

Consistently going above and beyond what customers expect and truly wowing them with your service will motivate them to leave glowing reviews on Google. It will get them to come back to you in the future, building the kind of loyalty every local business needs to thrive.

The days when people would go through the phone book to find a local business are long gone. For many, the internet is the first place they go, in large part because of the transparency provided by online reviews. As you increase the number of reviews your business receives on Google, you will strengthen your digital reputation and get even more customers.

 

How To Prepare Your Business For An Unbreakable 2021

How To Prepare Your Business For An Unbreakable 2021

By | Networking Bizz News

SEOliumLet’s all agree on one thing that grew significantly in 2020…

It’s online sales.

If you haven’t noticed already, online shopping has gone up drastically since the global pandemic.

Do you know what this means?

It means if your business isn’t optimized to fit your audience online properly…

You could be leaving a lot of sales on the table.

Even if COVID is over and things go back to “normal”…

Online shopping will most likely stay the same, and if not, will increase even more.

So the days of having customers walk in and out of your shop are over…

Because most of your customers are building the habit of shopping online right now.

SEOlium RankAnd what you need to do as a business owner is to hop on this trend before it’s too late.

One way you can get ahead of your competition is to digitalize your business.

You might need to get on social media…

You might need to start advertising online…

You might need to redesign your website.

And if keeping up with the latest technology overwhelms you…

It’s better to leverage a professional that can do it all for you.

Because you’ll be seeing double, triple, or even quadruple the ROI.

If you don’t know where to find someone you can trust…

We always recommend you evaluate their credible sources to check for their authority.

Take Networking Bizz, for example…

This year, we made it to Top 3 in SEOlium list of Top Website Design and SEO Agency in Pasadena.

And we couldn’t have done it without our client’s trust in us.

We’ve built some websites from the ground up and redesigned outdated ones to fit a more modern look.

If that’s something you’re looking for in your business…

We highly recommend you book a free consultation call with us.

That way, we can help you build an unbreakable business in 2021.

So if you’re interested, feel free to give us a call at (213) 792-4577

The Best Business Blogs Every Entrepreneur Should Be Reading

The Best Business Blogs Every Entrepreneur Should Be Reading

By | Online Entrepreneur News

On the internet, an endless source of industry insights, news and tips are at your fingertips – but how do you know which are worth reading? Here are the top business blogs every entrepreneur should stay on top of.

1. Mashable

mashableWith a mix of breaking news, thought-provoking opinion pieces and a small dose of memes and internet humor, Mashable (particularly Mashable Business) is a one-stop shop for any online entrepreneur. We check it every morning to get our daily dose of what’s trending in the digital world. Just try not to let yourself get distracted by all the fun “watercooler” type pieces in the sidebar – stick to the business portion of the blog.

2. Fast Company

Fast-CompanyNot only is Fast Company’s blog incredibly visually appealing, it’s also mentally appealing. Its creative, compelling articles and case studies are wonderful ways to learn about entrepreneurship, design, technology trends, industry influencers, and so much more.

3. Forbes: Entrepreneurs

Forbes describes itself as “a leading source for reliable business news and financial information” and Forbes’ Entrepreneurs section is a leading source for reliable business news and financial information for – you guessed it – entrepreneurs and small business owners. Once you get past the annoying pop-up screens, their blog has some top-quality content.

4. TechCrunch

This fun site is all about tracking startups, new technologies, internet products and, of course, breaking news in the tech and business worlds. TechCrunch is especially valuable to entrepreneurs in the gadget & technology space, or anyone enthusiastic about those topics. They also launch exciting events throughout the year.

5. VentureBeat

Priding itself on capturing the latest news in disruptive technology and written by a team of experienced journalists, VentureBeat is a great resource for all things tech. It’s particularly good for providing perspective on how the latest industry developments affect your life and business. It doesn’t focus on any particular industry, and is great for almost any entrepreneur or small business owner.

6. Chris Brogan

Chris is another author and writer who holds a high level of expertise in marketing and frequently speaks on social media. Thanks to his very conversational writer’s voice and unique opinions, his blog is a delight. He also posts a fair number of selfies.

7. Duct Tape Marketing

Everyone knows that duct tape is super useful in almost any situation, and the Duct Tape Marketing blog is no different. Enjoy guest posts from all sorts of business and marketing experts, as well as a big library of free ebooks.

8. Marketing Profs: Small Business

Marketing Profs is an industry leader when it comes to marketing blogs, and their small business section is particularly useful for any entrepreneur. If you’re looking for SMB tips, tricks and success strategies, this is the blog for you.

With these resources on your side, keeping up-to-date in the world of business will be a snap.

How Important Are Backlinks for SEO

How Important Are Backlinks for SEO?

By | Networking Bizz News

The main determining factor is if the links are seen as natural vs. paid or a deliberate attempt at trying to get backlinks.

Natural links include:

  • Companies that link to their other brands in their own footers or in their main navigation to switch between stores.
  • If you’re an authority and a blogger has a list of resources and other reading in their sidebar.
  • When you’re producing a ton of photo content and the website uses your work across numerous posts.
  • As you do something newsworthy and media companies, bloggers, and publications mention, source or feature you for it.

Unnatural

  • Providing databases and feeds to sell products on other sites that link to your site.
  • Having bloggers or publishers create a store without “sponsored” or “nofollow” attributes on their links.
  • Banner ads – run of site, category, etc., because they are paid placements.
  • Widgets, feeds, and badges with keyword-rich backlinks.
  • Widgets, feeds, and badges that are clearly marketing ploys and not something exclusive or real.
  • If the site is part of a PBN (private blog network) regardless if you paid or earned the links.
  • Using scholarships and other gimmicks.
  • Leaving comments on blogs, in forums, or on community websites.
  • Keyword-rich links to category pages or products that you do not manufacture.
  • Anything that isn’t clearly earned by merit.

Are Backlinks Important for SEO?

  • Yes, backlinks are 100% important for SEO. But it is not a numbers game.
  • Backlinks are only one of the signals a search engine uses.
  • The entire purpose of a search engine is to show a person searching the most relevant response, formatted in the best way possible to and in the fastest and most accessible way.
  • That could be a paragraph or list of text, a video, images, or mixed media. This is equally if not more important than backlinks.

Why a Site with Less Backlinks Outranks a Site with More

how to get backlinksTo answer the question about why a site with fewer links will outrank a site with a ton, or how to get your website with a few links to outrank one with a few hundred thousand you need to look at what a link is.

Before we had smartphones, schema, and concepts like E-A-T, the search engines needed a way to determine the trust of a website and a specific page within that website.

Backlinks were one of these trust factors, specifically PageRank with Google.

Now that PageRank doesn’t exist (at least as we knew it back then), we have other ways to help build the trust and authority of our website.

If your website and the page in particular meet these trust and authority signals, you may now have the ability to compete with the website and webpages that have more links.

You can build trust by have licensed and credible people in the niche create or sign off on your content.

Just because someone is your CEO does not mean they are credible or established. That is one of the hardest pills for an executive to swallow.

  • Source the content to the author and relevant sources using links and schema.
  • Have a solid internal linking structure that provides more explanations for concepts or resources mentioned in your content.
  • Ensure your website is secure.
  • Provide a better explanation of the concept, formulate an easier way to purchase, or have better formatting that is easier to digest.
  • Be as ADA-compliant as possible
  • Have lightning-fast load times so people on mobile devices and slow connections can access your content.

Properly structure your content using:

  • local SEOHeader tags.
  • Clear titles.
  • Properly named images.
  • The formatting of sections into tables, lists, paragraphs, etc.
  • Add proper schema to define what is on the page and in each section.
  • Use proper site structure and make sure your most important pages are being referenced when it is natural.
  • Check your Core Web Vitals now that search engines like Google are doubling down including cumulative layout shift (CLS).

Yes, quality backlinks will help you rank more easily than merit alone.

3 Google Ads Strategies to Drive More Sales this Holiday Season

3 Google Ads Strategies to Drive More Sales this Holiday Season

By | E Commerce Business News

With the end of this strange and challenging year fast approaching, it’s vital to bring your brand online to capture holiday demand. So what’s the best way to take advantage of Google Ads?

The following campaign types are just a few of the strategies Google Ads offers that make it easier for potential customers to find your products and business details in their exact moments of need or inspiration – or let them complete their purchase with you right on Google. You can run all three at the same time, or just focus on one, in which case we recommend starting with Shopping ads.

1. Find your next customer with Shopping ads.

75% of shoppers surveyed say that in the last week they’ve used a Google product in the past week to help with their shopping. Google Shopping ads help merchants to reach these shoppers across YouTube, Gmail, Search and the Google Display Network. Shopping ads feature an image of your product, plus a name, price, brand, and more. More descriptive ads give buyers a strong sense of your products and produce better sales leads.

Your business might also qualify for free listings on Google, which give your products additional exposure at no extra cost. According to internal Google data, both ads and free listings on the Shopping tab have produced a 50+ percent increase in clicks and a 100+ percent increase in impressions on average, with small- to medium-sized merchants seeing the largest share of these increases.

Before you create Shopping ads, you’ll need to assemble a product feed in Google Merchant Center: that’s a list of products to advertise, with relevant info and images for each one.

A useful variation on this is the Smart Shopping campaign. This kind of campaign combines your existing product feed with Google’s machine learning, letting the system test different combinations of the image and text you provide until it finds the most successful variations. To help you get the best value from each ad, Google also automates ad placement and adjustments to reach your best customers and get the best results.

2. Get discovered with Search campaigns.

Social Media EngagementWith Google Search campaigns, your ads show up alongside search results when people are looking for the products or services you offer. Running ads can supplement your normal listings on the search results page and boost your visibility.

Search campaigns are targeted to the actions you’d like customers to take, whether that’s clicking a link or making a purchase, and aimed at specific marketing goals. This goal should reflect whatever you’re trying to achieve – leads, sales, web traffic and so on. In addition, each campaign has settings options like location, devices, and language, which let you filter your intended audience. You’ll also need to set your budget and a bid strategy.

After choosing your settings, you can create ad groups. These are bundles of keywords, related to important search terms, as well as the ads that they will trigger. For example, you might choose keywords like T-shirt, sweatshirt, hoodie as one ad group for your clothing company, while shoes, sneakers, boots could be another. Once you’ve established your keyword groupings, you can build tailored ads that reflect the theme of each ad group.

3. Introduce your brand during normal daily activities.

Social mediaMost shoppers are constantly on the lookout for new ideas or discoveries. And they tend to act fast when they find one. In fact, when they encounter a product that meets their needs, 85% of online consumers will take action on it within 24 hours.

But where do these discoveries happen? Often in a customer’s everyday environment, especially on their favorite feeds like YouTube watch lists, the Gmail promotions tab, and Google Discover itself, a news and information service used by millions. Ads in such locations can tap into a customer’s purchase intentions without the need for a deliberate search query, so they work great alongside Search and Shopping campaigns, helping to inspire new audiences to find your products.

Discovery campaigns have similar settings to Search and Shopping ads, including a primary marketing goal and your target audiences. You can let Google help you build strong campaigns by providing creative assets that it transforms into native ads.

Always use your highest quality images – for example, those that have already performed well on social media – and if you can, provide a good range of pictures, descriptions, and headlines to cover all your bases. Once again, machine learning is your friend: the system will experiment with different combinations to find the ads that get the best outcome.

6 Highly Profitable Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

6 Highly Profitable Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

Most small businesses, especially the new businesses, are working with a limited marketing budget. And they have to maximize this marketing budget while still competing with larger companies for their target audience’s attention. So how do you stay competitive in the digital marketing place while working within a strict budget?

Unfortunately, there is no one magic marketing strategy for small businesses. However, there are a handful of marketing strategies for small businesses that have proven to get the most bang for their buck, so to speak. These marketing tactics allow you to do a lot more with a smaller budget because they provide a high return on investment, no matter what industry your business is in.

Here are just a few of the top marketing strategies for small businesses along with some advice on how to use them to grow your company:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

search engine optimizationSearch engine optimization, or SEO, is one of the most important marketing strategies for small businesses. SEO is the process of optimizing your site structure and content to make it easier for search engines to crawl or “read.”

By making small changes to your site and developing relevant content that is keyword rich, you can work to rank higher on the search engine results page. The higher you rank on Google, the more opportunities you will have to drive new traffic to your web pages.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is at the center of most marketing strategies for small businesses. Content marketing is the process of creating and publishing quality content that is relevant to your target audience and provides some time of value for readers or viewers. The key to developing great content marketing is knowing what your audience cares about most, including their greatest challenges, needs, and desires.

In the end, content marketing provides an attractive return on investment for any brand because you can continue to share and promote content long after the original piece is published.

PPC Advertising

PPC, or pay-per-click, advertising is a type of online ad model that allows small businesses to display their ads to people searching online for relevant products and services.

Pay-per-click works just like it sounds – you pay each time a consumer clicks on your ad content.

Though Facebook and other ad platforms use the pay-per-click model, we are going to focus on PPC ads that are displayed on Google and other search engines.

Facebook Advertising

facebook marketingAccording to Facebook, there are 2 million small to medium-sized businesses advertising on this social media platform.

And that should come as no surprise given that Facebook ads are one of the most effective and least expensive marketing tools to advertise your products to nearly any niche audience.

No matter what industry you are in or who your target market is, there’s a good chance that you can reach your target buyers on Facebook.

One of the greatest advantages of Facebook ads are the sophisticated targeting features. While other ad platforms may have you guessing as to who is really seeing your ads, Facebook helps you narrow down your audience so that only relevant consumers can see your ad content. The platform allows you to target your audience based on a number of characteristics including location, age, gender, online behavior, and other factors.

Social Media Marketing

The first step in developing a social media marketing strategy for your small business is choosing which channels to spend your time on. You want to consider both which social media platforms your target audience uses most often as well as which social media channels provide the advantages that can help you reach and engage your audience.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the best marketing strategies for small businesses. Most consumers are not going to purchase from your brand the first time they visit your site. That’s why it’s important to find ways to keep in touch with these consumers after they leave. Once you have captured your visitors’ contact information, you can nurture these leads. And email marketing is a great strategy for lead nurturing.

Email newsletters are also a great way to stay on top of your customers’ minds while letting them know about your latest promotions.

Start Using these Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses Today

Just because you have a small marketing budget, doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of these powerful and profitable marketing strategies for small businesses.

8 Ways to Boost Holiday eCommerce Revenues

8 Ways to Boost Holiday eCommerce Revenues

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

The holiday season is a time when shoppers are in a happy mood, looking for gifts for their loved ones and shopping around for great deals and products. People browsing online have a sure buying intent. They are looking for gift ideas and great deals, and with good reason, as there are festive sales galore and the competition is high.

You might need to do a lot of restructuring, designing, analysis and re-targeting, but we guarantee these 8 tips will boost your e-commerce sales during the holidays.

1 – Optimize all strategies for mobile visitors

People are neck deep in chores and errands before the long holiday break. Mobile shopping is a convenient solution to holiday shopping for people who are always on the go.

Ensure that your site is compatible on different mobile devices. Customers must have the ease of scrolling down on their mobile phones without the site distorting.

This means extra work for your developers, but it will play a major deciding factor in consumers staying on your website or moving to an easier and mobile friendly one.

2 – Calls to action

People shopping online before the holidays have an intent to make a purchase. Everyone is shopping for Christmas gifts for their family or friends. People tend to look around to find the best deals.

That’s why it is important to include compelling calls to action (CTAs) on your product pages. Consumers are in a rush, and CTAs are the best way to help them make a quick decision before they move to another e-commerce site.

3 – Visitors don’t like waiting

A 2-second page load time is what consumers have the patience for in today’s digital age. During the festive season, when online shoppers are hard-pressed for time, their patience runs out quickly, and the last thing an e-commerce company can afford is to turn away a confirmed sale due to slow page load time.

Consumers who are not hung on brand loyalty will switch over to another site if your store takes more than 2-3 seconds to load. You will not only lose customers, but the higher bounce rate will eventually hurt your S.E.O, negatively affecting your page rankings in the long run.

4 – Don’t forget the specials

Give out discounts like ‘10% or 25% off if you shop today!’ These discounts could be on a single product or a buy one get one free offer that entices customers to buy.

Free delivery is another way to keep customers hooked and make a dash to buy more items than they originally intended.

5 – Recover abandoned carts with festive special discounts

The holiday season is a great time to recover abandoned carts. Re-target shoppers who did not complete their purchase with discounts or deals on the products in their abandoned carts. That may just be the incentive they need to complete the transaction.

6 – Give landing pages a complete festive makeover

Gift christmasA well-designed site with great products will not only bring in more customers but will also result in higher sales conversions. Design your landing pages with festive elements to attract customers.

7 – Use email marketing to promote your holiday content

Holiday promotions are a great way to drive both traffic and sales. People are on the look-out for gifts and deals. Send them emails about the discounts and promotions on your e-commerce store.

Design catchy emails with festive colors and elements that entice the reader to open them. Offer deals that will further push them to click on the link to your website and shop right away.

8 – Create blog entries with search-friendly titles

holiday ecommerceBlogs are great ways to drive traffic to your website and help customers make product choices during the holiday season.

Catchy blog titles like ‘5 Christmas gifts that can make your folks back home smile’ or ‘Great gifts don’t always have to come in big boxes’ or ‘Great gifts come in small packages too’ will grab the attention of buyers searching for gift options.

Research trending topics on social media, use the right keywords and optimize your e-commerce S.E.O to draw holiday traffic.

Conclusion

Dashing to e-commerce stores during the festive season is the easiest way to shop for loved ones. It is also an opportunity for online sellers to strategize and target customers who have a 100 per cent buying intent. Buyers are in a joyous mood, and this is the time when e-commerce store owners cannot use the same old formula to grab a consumer’s attention, especially when the market is flooded with discounts and sales. It would be sacrilegious of e-commerce businesses to not target this huge segment of confirmed buyers.

6 YouTube Tips To Improve Search Results

6 YouTube Tips To Improve Search Results

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

Back in 2006, Google bought a little website by the name of YouTube for the bargain price of $1.65 billion. Since then, YouTube has become, in effect, the internet’s second most popular search engine. No matter how it happened, YouTube’s rise is clearly our new reality.

Make Great Content

You can easily improve your Video content just by following some simple guidelines. A cheap clip-on microphone, compatible with every phone on the market, will immediately elevate your videos’ quality.

Utilize Closed Captioning

YouTube offers automatic captioning, but you should upload a verbatim transcript whenever you can. This will provide a better user experience for anyone who relies on closed captions. Heck, even people who don’t rely on closed captions often use them, especially if they’re using YouTube to learn something. Captions allow users to get the information without turning up the volume on their phones or computers.

Not only is providing captions the friendly, neighborly thing to do, but it can also help your SEO, too. YouTube indexes all of the words contained in your uploaded transcript, which is like getting the milk and the cow for free.

Use The Appropriate Ad Format

influencer marketingThe variety of ads you can implement on YouTube include 6-Second Bumpers, Pre-Roll Ads, and In-Stream. Are you looking for awareness and brand recognition? Deploy some 6-Second Bumpers. Do you want clicks and conversions? Then you’re probably in the market for Pre-Roll ads. They can’t be skipped and run 15-20 seconds in length. Do you have a 30-second commercial that you want to repurpose? Think about using that for an In-Stream ad. If you want to see all of these in action, just open YouTube and search for something. You’ll see it all.

Target Precisely

While it’s a bit tongue in cheek to describe YouTube as the second biggest search engine, it does still have the world’s biggest search engine powering it. They inform each other, too, so what’s good for one is often good for the other. You should leverage that enormous YouTube/Google data network through targeting. Target and find your desired audience using the options for gender, parental status, and personal interests. Narrow down your video placements by searching for specific channels that would be of interest to your ideal viewers. If you find that one type of audience is responding better to your message than another, you can always re-target. That’s the beauty of digital marketing.

Use An End Screen

Social Media EngagementYou’ve made some great content, added closed captions, and targeted the appropriate viewers. Now you should reinforce your brand and inspire your viewers to take their next action. Use the end card as a digital signpost, directing your viewers to their next destination–a landing page with more info and a form to fill, or a product listing or external website, or even a link to your YouTube channel with more videos.

Support Your Efforts

YouTube is great for extending your brand and driving conversions. However, a multi-faceted strategy embracing many platforms is going to open the door to more success. Use multiple ad types on YouTube, and experiment with your targeting options. Consider running companion campaigns in Microsoft Bing and Google Ads while leveraging your common keywords and targeting wins across every platform you use.

7 Financial Planning Tips for Small Business Owners

7 Financial Planning Tips for Small Business Owners

By | E Commerce Business News

The life of a business owner is a long and crowded road. Required activities, such as developing customer relationships, handling employee issues and managing cash flow, are time-consuming tasks, but necessary to keep the operation running smoothly.

Unfortunately, business owners often neglect their personal financial goals. It’s more common for owners to put off planning for their financial future until later in life, when “things settle down” or there is more clarity about what the business can reasonably achieve.

1. Managing Cash and Debt Levels

costThese tasks are of the utmost importance for “young businesses” that are just getting off the ground. External demands on a business owner’s financing situation are endless, so it is critical to monitor expenses and conserve dollars to finance the operation.

2. Paying Yourself

Business owners often pay themselves very little in the way of salary — partially due to the reasons I mentioned above, and also due to the need to minimize personal payroll and income taxes. While these actions can be a big help at tax time, they can be roadblocks to helping business owners accumulate savings for retirement or other goals.

3. Diversifying Your Assets

As you save and invest money for the future, ensure that it is properly diversified and compatible with the amount of risk you are willing to bear. Don’t fall prey to “market timing.” Determine an investment policy and execute it in a disciplined way; then, spend most of your time and effort on managing your business.

4. Managing Risk

Venture capitalBeyond their monetary investments, it’s essential for business owners to establish protection for their families. Life insurance and buy-sell agreements, which deal with the buyout of a deceased partner of the business, can safeguard your survivors in the event of your death. Also, disability insurance may be advisable.

5. Planning for Succession

It’s important to keep the issue of succession planning in mind. Getting the most out of your business or real estate investment later on can help guide your personal wealth management decisions after you’ve left the helm.

6. Arranging Your Estate

Regardless of age, business owners should meet with a qualified attorney and estate-planning specialist to ensure that their goals and wishes are properly accounted for, including plans for business assets. Younger business owners don’t always feel that estate planning is necessary; but failing to make a plan could put their business and family at risk. At a minimum, business owners should have an updated will that contains instructions on how their assets should be distributed, which may or may not include business assets.

7. Choosing a Financial Advisor or Financial Planner

Most business owners would benefit from the guidance and assistance of an appropriate advisor. However, it’s important to ask the following questions:

– Is he or she an expert in wealth management, as it relates to business owners?

– Does the advisor have a fiduciary responsibility to put their clients first, with no compensatory conflicts of interest?

Financial advisors are not created equal; some aren’t held to a fiduciary standard of care. Registered investment advisors (RIAs) comply with the standards listed above, and are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or their state. For more information, consult the Financial Planning Association (FPA)’s website.

With some luck and a lot of hard work, you can overcome challenges within your business and take steps toward future growth. But don’t forget to get on track — and stay on track — to achieving your personal financial goals.

 

Video Marketing

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Video Marketing Strategy

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

Video marketing is the leading form of marketing today, and it’s like if you’re not making videos, you’d be left in the dust. Brands are catching up and are now using videos as their main form of marketing. Reports show that marketers who use video grow revenues 49% faster than non-video users.

The heavy demand for video only makes sense because it creates a deeper connection with your customers. It’s different from text because your audience gets to see your mannerism, tone of voice, and surroundings. It creates an intimate connection with them that builds trust in them and makes them like you.

And as a business, this is what you should strive for because, as Simon Sinek said: “We don’t do business with companies. We do business with people.” Connecting to your customers individually is how you win in marketing. And video marketing is a sure way to get you there. That said, here are six ways to strengthen your video marketing strategy.

Identify your target audience

  • customersIt’s not just about making videos; it’s about reaching the right people — your ideal people. Yes, everyone wants to make a viral video, but will they get people to convert?
  • This is why the target audience is important. By identifying your target audience, you can now focus on the people who need what you offer. How do you identify your target audience for your video marketing?
  • Find out their demographics (gender, age, location, language, income bracket, education)
  • What are you trying to achieve with the video? Is it for brand awareness, sales, nurture leads, or generate leads?
  • What channels would they consume their videos?

Every business aims to have a positive ROI, but no business will get this if the right people aren’t coming to them. So, when you can pinpoint who your target audience is and go after them, the process becomes easier.

Who will create the video?

Should you use your in-house team or outsource? Not many small businesses have the capital to incur filming equipment and pay an in-house video production team. The only logical step will be to hire a video marketing agency to do the work for you.

By hiring a video production agency, you get access to top talent, save yourself from equipment costs, and you can scale quickly.

Tell your brand story

There’s no point in creating video content if you don’t tell your story. Video content allows you to be more expressive, so you shouldn’t hold back.

Storytelling takes the connection you both have to another level. It’s like going out on a date with your audience individually and sharing your experiences with them. But what exact stories can you share? Storytelling takes many forms. Here are some things you can share:

  • An Inspirational message that captures positive feelings in them
  • Customer success stories
  • A personal experience
  • Show the behind-the-scenes of a process.
  • A trend that’s going on
  • A data-driven account of facts

Spotify is one company that leveraged data to tell stories. In 2017, they dropped a “how students listen” content that highlighted how students from different colleges and universities listen to music in the US. This attempt naturally got people talking, and it’s the brand awareness every brand seeks.

Optimize your videos

The point of optimizing your videos is because every platform has its rules. So, to scale on these platforms, you need to understand the rules and play by them.

It’s best to keep things short for social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). Then for Youtube, you’re free to make it longer and target it accordingly. So, to improve the SEO of your videos, you can follow these tips.

  • Do your keyword research.
  • Keep your titles short — below 60 characters.
  • Add links to your website.
  • Include tags for the various keywords
  • Optimize your videos for mobile users

Add Subtitles

video creationSubtitles improve your video’s accessibility, engagement, and SEO. With subtitles, you can reach on-the-go people, deaf people, and people who don’t understand the language the video was produced in.

A study found out that viewers were 80 percent more likely to watch a video to the end when there are subtitles. And this is what everyone wants because the longer people can watch your video, the higher their chances will convert. Facebook says adding captions to your video can boost view time by 12 percent.

Platforms like Youtube and Vimeo add captions for you, but it’s not always reliable. This is why it’s necessary to get your video production team to add them to the videos. This way, it’s more accurate.

Promote on the right channels

Every marketing collateral aims to reach out to find new business for you. With your videos, you must promote your videos on the right channels to get the desired results.

To back up this claim, Simon Brisk, the CEO of the digital marketing company, ClickIntelligence said, “The beauty of video content is that it not only offers a more visually appealing type of content, but it allows your business to reach out to more customers and expand your online presence.” And using the right channels helps you achieve these. So, how do you select the right channels for your video marketing?

The most effective video marketing channels are Youtube, search engines, blogs, emails, and social media. But you have to select a channel based on your target audience user-behavior and demographics.

Always include a call to action

What’s the point of marketing if you’re not turning them into leads or paying customers? Yes, using the videos to create awareness is great but what’s even better is the conversion.

Customers need a nudge, and a call-to-action provides that nudge. It directs them on what to do and also motivates them to do what you’ve asked. So how do you leverage your call-to-action to get people to take action?

  • Use a CTA at the beginning of the video.
  • Suggest a video related to the one they just watched
  • Use a lead magnet to get their information (free ebook or free trial)
  • Please direct them to a landing page or your website
  • Make sure the CTA is easy to find and click.

 

What You Can Do to Improve Your Customer Support

By | E Commerce Business News

Implementing a strong customer support system isn’t difficult, though. By empowering customers to solve their own problems and setting up organized ways of managing more complex requests, you can ensure that you never leave a customer with an unsolved problem.

Once you have a system in place, maintaining excellent customer support is simple. These tips will help you set up a strong foundation for your support team so you can approach customer problems in an organized and efficient manner.

1. Provide Resources to Help Customers Solve Problems on Their Own

A hands-on approach is valuable in many customer support situations. However, sometimes it’s better to just get out of the way. Enabling customers to solve their own problems lets them troubleshoot simple issues quickly, while freeing up your time to deal with complex problems.

Supplying a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page is an easy, user-friendly way to accomplish this. By listing common problems and their solutions on your website, you make support highly accessible. Adding an FAQ link to your site’s menu will ensure the page is easy to find, too.

A blog is another helpful resource for customers. While your FAQ page may have limited space, a blog provides an opportunity to address concerns at length in individual articles. Plus, you can tackle slightly more complex problems than those on your FAQ page.

2. Automate Your Support Requests to Generate Timely Responses

Web based LearningFast responses are integral to customers’ opinions of your support team. No one wants to wait hours for an answer to their question. In some cases, such as security issues, a customer may require immediate help in order to prevent serious problems for their own clients or business.

Automating aspects of your support team can provide instant responses to some support requests. For example, you could set up triggered emails directing customers to your FAQ page, or support forums whenever they submit a contact form to your support team.

You could also utilize a chatbot, which you can configure to guide customers through common issues. This will provide more interactive support than your FAQ page or blog, but still enable customers to address problems without direct help from you.

3. Utilize a Ticketing System to Address Customer Concerns Efficiently

Unfortunately, not all customer problems will be simple issues they can solve alone or with a chatbot’s guidance. For more complex or advanced support requests, you’ll need to get more directly involved to determine the source of the problem, provide a solution, and explain how to prevent it from happening again.

When you have a large number of requests coming in, customers can get lost in the shuffle. Using a ticketing system enables you to organize messages from customers, collaborate with your team on solutions, and ensure you don’t lose or forget any requests.

For businesses with WordPress sites, there are several ticketing system plugins you can look into.

4. Offer Support on Multiple Channels to Make It Easy to Find Help

email marketingYour customers likely have different preferred methods of contacting you. While some will be comfortable filling out a form on your site or sending an email, others may want to reach you by phone. Still others may find social media the best line of communication.

It’s important for your support team to be accessible, and offering support via multiple channels can help. The first step is making sure your contact page includes thorough information, such as your phone number, email, social media links, and a contact form.

You can also get your support team involved with your Twitter account to respond to customer tweets, and set up a customer support system on Facebook. You might even consider a live chat option for your website. It will provide the immediacy of a chatbot, but enable customers to get help on more difficult issues.

5. Fix Recurring Problems to Minimize the Need for Support Requests

chatbotWhile customers will appreciate your well-organized and efficient support team, they’d still prefer not to have to use it. Support can increase customer satisfaction, but so can getting things right the first time.

If you’ve set up an FAQ page or a chatbot, you’ve already identified some of your most common problems. Searching for permanent solutions to those issues that prevent customers from having to deal with them at all can give your satisfaction ratings a boost.

Your ticketing system can also help you target recurring issues to address. By determining the source of your customers’ concerns, you can identify larger problems at work in your technology and address them, sometimes fixing multiple problems at once.

Conclusion

Customer support plays a major role in determining how your customers feel about your brand, and if they want to remain loyal to it. By building an efficient and effective support system, you can solve customers’ problems with ease and make them feel heard and appreciated.

8 Best Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

8 Best Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

Whether you have just started a small consulting business, run a local consignment shop, or opened a café, you are constantly looking for ways to attract business without breaking the bank. Here are the best strategies, digital and off-line, to market your business while ultimately saving you money!

1. Set a Goal and a Budget

The first step to marketing is defining your end-game and strategizing your budget. The first question consultants ask those big, bad corporations going through restructuring is, “What do you want?” This is when you need to decide what is important to you; do you want to extend your reach or maximize local exposure? Are you looking for brand awareness or conversions?

2. Pay to Play

costAs I learned with my first lemonade stand, you have to spend money to earn money. Online marketing is the same way—if you want to make a positive impact, you are going to have to spend some of your budget on paid search ads, display ads, social ads, etc. It can be intimidating. Especially when your head is spinning with questions; how to get started, how much it costs, how to know if Facebook Ads or AdWords even work. Whether you tackle this yourself or hire someone else to help, it can be so worth it!

Why do I need to pay for Facebook Ads, you ask? Due to some Facebook trickery, unpaid views on Facebook posts may be as low as 1% of your audience.

If you’re using AdWords, see if it’s working.

Use a cost calculator to see what you could get out of a small Facebook ads budget.

3. Capitalize on Google’s Local Offerings

ecommerceAs the most widely used search engine, Google has a surplus of offerings that can help your small business. As part of an initiative that started in 2015, Google ran Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map in order to get local businesses online. According to BCG Report, The Connected World, businesses that have an online presence grow 40% faster than those that don’t. If you missed the boat, now is time to hop on the bandwagon!

By creating a Google My Business account, you can take control of the information about your business, such as hours of operation, address, phone number and website. Now, with the new local search ads, your business can appear on the Google Maps app or website.

4. Publish a Blog

brand strategyBlogging is not only fun (think of all the time you can now justify spending on memes), it is one of the best marketing strategies for exposure and branding. Your company blog is where you should demonstrate to potential customers and fans that you’re an expert in your field and are dependent upon for guidance and advice.

Anything from award announcements, project completions, hitting big milestones or preaching about your business savvy is fair game here.

5. Do Keyword Research for SEO

keywordsIf you have no idea what SEO is, you’re in good company. Search engine optimization is a series of tactics used by marketers to obtain higher placements on the search results pages of Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engines in order to increase visits to their website. The good news? It’s free! The bad news? It’s tricky.

It can take a long time to start seeing results from your SEO strategies, but it pays off in the long run. One of the easiest things you can do now to increase your search engine traffic over time is keyword research.

As a smaller or newer business, you’ll find it hard to compete with bigger, more established brands for rankings on very competitive keywords, so it’s best to start with long-tail keywords, which are more specific and less competitive.

6: Network, Leverage Local

Be active on LinkedIn! This is a great way to find others in your industry, join chat groups and forums for advice or event invites. Book a booth at a town fair. Sponsor a few recreational sports teams in the area to place your logo on the back of a shirt. Have a local magazine or newspaper run an advertisement, maybe even with a discount “if you mention this ad”. Host your own event! Invite your community to an open house or lunch and learn session.

Another route to take is volunteering! Have your co-workers get together to help a local cause (offering a day off for volunteering sounds good to me). Do good and help your business.

7. Survey, Listen, Learn

Look for feedback, because the best companies are constantly improving. After completing a service, ask your customer to comment on their experience. Offer a discount to email subscribers who complete a survey, or have printed surveys and pens on hand at your store—if you’re fancy, have a customer complete a survey on her phone or tablet to get a discount before purchasing. The feedback is great in two part; it can inform on your business’ best practices and result in some handy testimonials, and highlight the areas that need improvement.

8. Revisit Your Landing Pages

If you’re doing any kind of advertising or email marketing, your landing pages are where the rubber meets the road – where people who are interested in your offerings decide to “convert” into a lead or a customer or not. The landing page design can have a huge impact on your conversion rates—A study in 2014 that showed the best advertisers achieve conversion rates of 10% or more on their landing pages.

5 Social Media Mistakes that Marketers Must Avoid

5 Social Media Mistakes that Marketers Must Avoid

By | Social Media News

Mistakes happen, unfortunately. That is a nearly unavoidable part of life. However, there are steps we can take to avoid making certain mistakes… especially in social media marketing. It offers huge benefits to brands and is an extremely advantageous tool to add to any wider marketing strategy. In today’s world, if your business isn’t on social media in some capacity, you’re already two steps behind your competitors.

That being said, if not done correctly, social media marketing can have a negative impact on a brand. There are a number of common mistakes that many brands make on social media that will be hampering their social media strategy. Below are five of the most common social media mistakes that marketers must avoid.

1. Blanket sharing on each platform

brand awarenessTreating each social media platform in the same way is a common mistake that many brands will make. Every social media platform has its own set of guidelines that need to be considered when posting, additionally, each algorithm is unique to each platform. As a result sharing the exact same post on all social networks is setting you up for failure.

We understand that time and resources can be limited, and as a result, sharing the same post on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc can save a lot of time. However this means each platform isn’t being used to its full potential. For example, on Twitter, there is a character limit so posts need to be short and straight to the point. Whereas on LinkedIn you have more to work with and can be more descriptive in your posts.

2. Incomplete profiles

Social mediaIn my opinion, this is one of the worst things a brand can do on social media. Taking the time to fill out all the relevant information on your page shows potential customers that you are willing to put in time and effort, and you’re taking social media seriously.

I draw from personal experience: If I come across a social media account that is only half complete, I’ll be clicking off it very quickly. A lot of potential customers will use social media as a way to get in touch with a brand, and if your account doesn’t provide that kind of basic information you’re going to lose these customers.

One of the best ways to think about social media is an extension of your website. Imagine going onto a brand’s site to find it has been half completed and is missing information. What image does that portray?

3. Neglecting the importance of engagement

Social Media EngagementA lot of brands will think that simply posting on social media is enough, but it isn’t. Success on social media is all about engaging and being active on the platform. The more active an account is, and the more they are engaging with others, the more likely their posts will perform well.

In addition to impacting engagement, staying active on social media is important for building a relationship with your audience. If your customers need a quick response it’s common for them to take to social media to get in touch with a brand. Therefore, it’s good practice to ensure you are staying on top of comments and messages, and to try to reply as quickly as possible. This can be difficult as your accounts and following grow, but can be easily maintained using a social media management tool.

It’s called social media for a reason, the idea is to be social. Think of these channels as a place to build relationships with your customers, as opposed to a pure sales platform.

4. Only sharing internal content

social media contentLinking back to the previous point, a common mistake a lot of social media marketers will make is to solely share their own content. While of course, it’s important to drive users back to your site, if you want to grow your account you need to be sharing external content.

The main benefit of this is when you are sharing someone’s content it gives you the opportunity to tag them in the post. Hopefully, they will then see they have been tagged and potentially engage with the post by liking, sharing, retweeting, etc. Their audience will then see they have engaged with the post, further increasing its reach.

5. Lack of planning

This is potentially the most common social media marketers’ mistake. It can be easy to overlook the importance of planning and think you can just post an update as and when. Poor planning can make social media marketing a huge waste of time and money.

Before starting a social media campaign it’s important to set goals, work out a budget, and have a plan of action for how to achieve these goals. Social media marketing should be approached in the same way as any other marketing campaign and requires adequate planning to understand how success will be measured and the resources required to reach your goals.

These are just a few of the common mistakes many marketers will make when using social media. Ultimately, a social media marketing campaign is unique to each brand and should be tailored around the goals they have laid out.

5 Benefits of Influencer Marketing For Your Small Business

5 Benefits of Influencer Marketing For Your Small Business

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

Influencer marketing is perhaps more effective now than ever. It’s great for using social media to engage with your audience and tap into valued third-party credibility. And even though you may not have a ton of marketing budget right now, it’s more cost-effective and reliable than other similar tactics.

Let’s dive into some more benefits to using influencer marketing so you can determine if you should make this marketing strategy a priority for your small business.

1. Reach Highly Specific Audience Directly

customer-target-audienceForty-nine percent of customers rely on the recommendations of influencers to make a purchase decision. Tapping into that presents a huge opportunity for your brand to increase sales and reach the right people.

There are influencers for every industry and niche out there — fashion, fitness, DIY, makeup, home decor, and yes, even marketing. As a result, they amass followers interested in these same things, followers who are looking for someone to advise them, make suggestions for them, and tell them what products work.

When you partner with a particular influencer in your industry or niche, not only do you have a direct line to the people they influence, but you also have a direct line to people highly interested in your product or service. You can cut out all the noise and directly reach your specific audience looking to make purchases.

2. Cut Through the Noise

Typical digital marketing ads can seem abrasive and annoying, which is why most internet users can block ads or request that they not be shown certain ads. While this is great for online users, it’s detrimental to the advertisers. It means that even if a customer would be interested in your product, they might never see it because they’re overloaded with content, or their blocker of choice kicked it out of sight.

But, if an influencer they follow discusses your product, they’ll be curious. Seventy-four percent of customers on social media trust the opinion of their networks, which includes influencers, to guide their purchase decisions. So, if they are already choosing to follow this influencer, and if this influencer loves a particular product, consumers know it’s worth checking out.

It may go without saying, but you can’t just partner with any influencer. It’s important to forge partnerships strategically and make sure your product aligns well with your chosen influencer’s audience, style, and brand.

3. Boost Engagement

mobile advertisingGetting people on social media to stop, look at your post, like it, leave a comment, and – miracle of all miracles – share it is hard.

It pays to tie your product to a life your customers aspire to. Traditionally, companies did this through advertisements. Just watch any car commercial, and you’ll see a handsome adventurer roaming the countryside or perfume ads that almost always include a glamorous woman traipsing around town. Today, you don’t have to come up with stories to capture your audience. There are people on social media already living this story, and if you play it right, your product can seamlessly tie into that.

Take GoPro. Instead of filming short commercials about adventurers, the company found real adventurers, gave them a GoPro, and told them to upload their good times. Naturally, these influencers shared this with their networks, who envisioned themselves recording their own adventures with the same device.

Now, you may not be able to afford to hire a bunch of uber-popular influencers, but that doesn’t mean you have to rule out influencer marketing, period. Think about how you can get people to talk about your product for free (i.e., contests or calls for user-generated content) or consider hiring micro-influencers who may not have a million followers, but who have cultivated a network of people who trust them and would use your product.

4. Build Brand Authenticity

Trust takes time to build, and for small businesses, time runs out much faster than it does for other companies. However, ensuring your consumers see your small business as authentic is the best way to fast-track building trust.

Remember when I mentioned the importance of partnering with the right influencer? Well, when you try to force your product or service endorsement by partnering with an influencer who doesn’t align with your industry, your audience base will see right through it. They’ll notice how inauthentic the influencer’s endorsement is, and it will make them no longer trust the influencer, as well as your brand or product.

By thoughtfully working with influencers who align with your brand, you can absorb some of the trust they’ve built with their followers. Doing so will help build third-party credibility and long-lasting trust with a consumer base looking for resources like you.

5. Reap a Return on Marketing Investment

Plugging money into marketing and not seeing an increase in sales simply sucks. Fortunately, influencer marketing is a very effective strategy. For every dollar brands spend on influencer marketing, they see a return of $5.78.

Small businesses simply do not have the budget to try strategy after strategy, hoping one reaps the benefits they’re looking for. Instead of shooting in the dark, try a strategy that’s proven to give you substantial return, even if it requires a little bit more on the front-end. And if you’re still concerned about what it may cost upfront, try spreading out your influencer marketing strategy so that you’re doing one partnership a quarter, or one or two a year. With promised ROI, it’s totally worth seeing what this strategy can do for your small business.

Influencer marketing is effective, affordable, and ultimately worth the investment. By turning some of your casual online surfing into purposeful influencer research, you’ll find effective brand ambassadors and spokespeople in no time. Are you ready to give it a try?

 

Link Building for SEO_Strategies Work in 2020

Link Building for SEO: Strategies Work in 2020

By | seo advice for business

What is Link Building?

Link building is a key part of any successful SEO strategy that involves getting other websites to link to yours. A simple hyperlink from one site to another. It is also agreed by many that it is one of the hardest parts of ranking a website, whilst one of the most rewarding when you get it right.

Not familiar with how links work?

Website speedWhen website A links to website B, it s a strong hint to Google’s algorithm that it deserves to rank higher for relevant keywords, and you might hear these referred to as inbound links, backlinks, external links, or, quite simply, just links.

You can think of links from other websites like votes.

The more high quality links that point to your website (and form part of your backlink profile), the higher you should rank on Google, and, therefore, the higher level of organic traffic you should receive.

However, links aren’t all created equal, and some can even cause your website to decrease in visibility, something that we will cover shortly.

There are many different tactics that you can use to build links, some easier to execute than others, and knowing where to get started can sometimes be difficult, especially when you are aware that some can do more harm than good.

Why is Link Building Important For SEO?

Link building takes time and effort. There is no hiding from that fact.

It is also hard to get right, meaning that those who can successfully execute tactics to build better links than their competitors typically see significant growth in organic traffic and revenue.

And that is why you need to understand why links are so important and should account for a considerable portion of your SEO campaigns’ resources.

We delved deep into the importance of link building for SEO in our guide to backlinks, which you should check out for a detailed introduction to the what and the why behind this key pillar of any successful campaign.

However, the main reasons why you need to make sure you are placing a strong focus on link building as an SEO are:

  • You will rank higher on Google and other search engines.
  • Google will find new pages on your site faster.
  • You’ll enjoy increased credibility and trustworthiness as a business.
  • You could benefit from targeted referral traffic.
  • You can’t ignore link building, and you need to make sure you are rolling out tactics that give you a competitive advantage, something that we will show you how to do in this guide.

Here are some of the key components that you need to focus on that make up a great link building strategy to help you understand what a great link profile looks like.

1. Contextual Links

Links on a page that are more likely to be clicked are typically those that hold the most value and can have the biggest impact on rankings and the way that Google measures the value of a link is with PageRank, and its ‘reasonable surfer model’ parent indicates that different features associated with links change how this flows.

Contextual links, those placed in the body of a web page’s content as opposed to the footer or sidebar, as an example, are typically higher quality links and are key to a successful strategy.

2. A High Percentage of ‘Followed’ Links

Not all links pass PageRank and impact a site’s rankings.

Links can have different attributes applied, with the main ones you need to know to be nofollow, sponsored, and UGC links.

If a link is referred to as a ‘followed’ link (or sometimes, a ‘dofollow’ link – even though this is technically not the right terminology), it means that there are no attributes in place that prevent PageRank from being passed and a great link profile should contain a high percentage of these, so long as they come from quality sources.

3. Editorially Placed Links

Editorially placed links are simply those that exist because a third-party has taken the decision to add a link from their website to yours, rather than because of payment, some other incentive, or that you were the one responsible for placing it and did so to increase your rankings.

The most effective links are editorially placed, and Google themselves highlight in their guidelines that links that don’t fall under this categorization can be deemed unnatural.

4. A Focus on Links From Unique Referring Domains

A great link profile will see links coming from a higher number of unique referring domains rather than the same few time and time again.

A successful strategy should always place a focus upon tactics that will see a link building campaign earn links from new domains that have never linked before to increase the number of unique linking domains.

5. A Strong Topical Relevance

Links should be from websites and content that is closely related to your own site’s topic, and this is another great example of ensuring that you are not just building any links, but rather the right ones.

Remember that links originally existed on the web to navigate a user from page A to page B, and on this assumption, why would a link take you to something that wasn’t topically related? It doesn’t make sense, does it? So be sure to follow this stance with your link building efforts.

6. A Natural Anchor Text Mix

Anchor text is the text used to link from one page to another.

Naturally, when linking to a website, you would likely reference the brand name, the article title, or perhaps even just use ‘click here’ or similar.

That said, Google’s algorithm utilizes anchor text as an indication of what a page is about and, therefore, it can influence rankings.

However, Google’s guidelines clearly state that optimized anchor text (using your main target keywords or commercial terms) is a violation of their guidelines, and excessive use of this is a known contributor towards both manual actions and algorithmic filters being applied.

Your link profile should contain a natural mix, with no obvious spike of links using optimized anchor text.

No one ever said that link building was easy because it is not, and the tactics that you should be using continue to evolve. But we hope that by having a whole host of approaches at hand, you can ensure you are building a diverse link profile and maximizing opportunities that come from all different angles.

6 ways to boost your local SEO strategy

6 ways to boost your local SEO strategy

By | seo advice for business

How to boost your local SEO strategy and improve your local search ranking. There are plenty of aspects to this, so let’s focus on the most critical ones:

1. Claim and optimize your GMB listing

GMB or Google My Business is essentially the most critical part of your local SEO strategy. This tool from Google allows you to create free business listings. And according to Moz, it’s one of the top factors that Google will consider when ranking businesses in organic local search and snack pack results.

To start, go to the Google My Business website to claim or create your listing.

Graphic from Google’s page to claim your GMB listing

You need to provide the following details for your GMB listing:

  • Your full and correct business name
  • Your physical store/office address
  • Your exact location on a map
  • Your business category
  • Your phone number and website

Once your listing goes live, you’ll need to verify it usually through a phone call or via postcard. Here’s how to optimize Google My Business after verification:

Upload photos of your business. This could be photos of the inside your store/office or even around the premises.

  • Provide your business hours.
  • Provide additional categories that may be relevant to your business.
  • Provide additional phone numbers if available.

You can further optimize your GMB profile by sharing business updates and fresh content regularly. This helps you connect with your customers on a deeper level in addition to boosting your visibility in local searches.

2. Keep mobile in mind

With smartphones now being a part of our daily lives, it’s only natural that a lot of people will be using their phones to search for local information and businesses. Uberall commissioned a study, which found that 82% of respondents had used their mobile devices to conduct a “near me” search. This proves just how much people are using their phones for local search.

So it’s crucial that you cater to these searchers by optimizing your website for mobile screens. Create a mobile-friendly website so mobile visitors have no trouble navigating it or finding the information they need.

Don’t forget to add click-to-call buttons on your site and on your GMB listing. This could make a huge difference because 60% of mobile users have contacted a business directly from search results.

3. Collect plenty of customer reviews

According to the Moz study cited earlier, review signals also play a critical role in your local search and snack pack ranking. So having plenty of authentic reviews, particularly positive ones, could work wonders to boost your visibility in local search in addition to enhancing your reputation. That means you need to work towards collecting more authentic customer reviews for your business.

Maintain your focus on sites where Google would expect businesses to have reviews. So in addition to your website and your GMB listing, it’ll also collect reviews from consumer directories and social media. That means you should focus on collecting reviews for Facebook, Yelp, Thumbtack, Foursquare, Angie’s List, etc. depending on which ones are relevant to your business.

4. Focus on local link building

According to Moz, link signals such as linking domain authority and quantity are among the top factors that influence your ranking in local searches and snack pack results. So just like with regular SEO, local SEO also requires link building to boost your link profile. However, the linking domains should be more relevant to your target location.

That means you should target authority websites in your target region. This could be anything from licensing bureaus and trade associations to the Chamber of Commerce or even .edu sites.

Partnerships, scholarships, guest posting, etc. could be excellent ways to gain valuable backlinks from local sites.

5. Ensure NAP/citation consistency

Moz also found that Google considers citation signals such as citation volume and NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency in local search results. This means your information should be on major citation websites; besides GMB, think Bing Maps, Yelp and Facebook. Focus on directories that have higher domain authority than on smaller listing directories.

More importantly, make sure your business NAP is consistent across all platforms and websites. Look out for any misspellings, address and phone number discrepancies, duplicate listings and resolve them to improve your local SEO.

6. Make the most of social listening

Social MediaSocial listening may have primarily served as a source for marketing insights, but it has many benefits beyond that. It could even help fuel your local SEO strategy if you know which insights to look out for and how to make the most of them.

Use social listening to find out what people in your target location are saying – whether it’s about your business or in general. You could even use it to collect information about audience interests, priorities and so on. Then make the most of these insights to find out how you can make changes to your strategy or even to your products and services.

Additionally, your social listening efforts could also help you understand what types of local content your target audience might be looking for. You could then build a robust local content strategy to fit those needs. Plus, you might even be able to uncover long-tail keywords to use in your content optimization strategy.

Tips for Creating Amazing Facebook Landing Pages

Tips for Creating Amazing Facebook Landing Pages

By | Social Media News

What Is a Facebook Landing Page?

landing pagesA Facebook landing page is a dedicated page designed to convert visitors from a specific pay-per-click Facebook ad.

These landing pages are different from other pages because they’re tailor-made to complement your Facebook ad. They continue the story—the hook, the design, the call to action that was introduced to the reader as they scrolled through their Facebook newsfeed.

Years ago, Facebook offered landing pages within their own platform. These allowed businesses to gate their content for Facebook likes, but they haven’t been available since 2014.

Why Do I Need Landing Pages for My Facebook Ads?

Everyone’s Facebook newsfeed is unique. The content and pages you like, the friends you’re connected to, the groups you’re joined—these things all influence the way your newsfeed populates. Because prospects’ newsfeeds are personalized and the ads they see are highly targeted, your Facebook landing page needs to be tightly aligned with your ad if it’s going to be successful.

Here are some other reasons that having dedicated landing pages for each Facebook ad is good practice:

Potential customers need more information

Scrollers, readers, and browsers on Facebook need extra nurturing to go from ad click to purchase. These potential customers are in the brand awareness phase. To convert on your page, they’ll wanna see specific information related to whatever got them to click on the ad in the first place. A focused Facebook landing page—with concise info and a consistent message—is the best way to turn them into customers.

Mobile users are distracted users

People don’t log into Facebook for in-depth reading and focused learning. They’re filling time, or just picking up their phone for a quick check-in. And because 94% of Facebook ad revenue is from a mobile device, you should assume everyone who sees your ad only has five minutes or less to make a purchase.

That’s why you need to make it as easy as possible to go from Facebook ad to landing page call to action. Every navigation obstacle or confusing message risks losing your prospect’s attention and having them move on to something else.

Homepages are slow and overwhelming

Homepages are great for solution-aware prospects looking for specific information, but they can be overwhelming for visitors from social media. (Just think of all the distractions: nav bars, calls to action, lists of products and features.) A MECLABS study found that 44% of clicks generated by B2B companies send readers to a homepage and not a dedicated landing page. That’s a lot of businesses that aren’t optimizing for conversions.

An average visitor won’t wait more than three seconds for a page to load. Most websites are heavy with images, scripts, and other elements that make them slower than an optimized landing page. When you send your Facebook ad traffic to your homepage, you’re probably losing more customers than you realize.

How Do I Create a High-Converting Facebook Landing Page?

We’ve got a quick-reference list of Facebook landing page best practices below, but there are two things you really wanna keep in mind as you start building your page:

Know your audience

customersIt’s no secret that Facebook has amazing targeting capabilities, but you won’t be able to take advantage of them if you don’t know anything about your ideal prospects.

Keep it consistent

When writing for a Facebook landing page, remember to keep the messaging consistent between your ad and your landing page. Marketers might think that repeating copy is repetitive, but it can help reinforce your message to prospects and reassure them they’re in the right place after they click.

Facebook advertising campaigns should be designed around the intent of the user. However, following the guidelines above, and landing page best practices in general, will help you increase conversion rates and provide a better experience for users interacting with your brand on Facebook.

5 Ways To Promote Your Business for Free

5 Ways To Promote Your Business for Free

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

Every business owner wants to put their products or services in front of their potential customers. However, most of the traditional ways cost money and not everyone can buy TV ADs when they are just starting up the business. Don’t worry as its still possible to successfully promote your business without spending a lot of money.

1. Optimize Your Website For Search Engines

website popWhat is the first thing that people do when they are planning to buy something? Well, they search for that product or service on Google. First they try to collect as much information as they can about the product and then they search for vendors who sell that product. So, if your website is not appearing in Google search, that means you virtually do not exist.

How can we fix this? Easy way to is to hire someone who can optimize your website for search engine but even in that case you need to be aware of the process, otherwise you might end up getting penalized by Google. So if you think you need extra help from an agency… Why not just let Networking Bizz handle all your marketing matters? We’re confident about helping your business grow in 2020! So if you would like a free consultation from us today… You can reach us at +1(213) 792-4577. Talk to you soon 🙂

2. List On Google My Business

RestaurantGoogle is making search personal and now displays results that are tailored for your location. For example, if you search for a McDonalds, it will show you the one in your city with a map. So, it has almost become mandatory for a business to get listed on Google Local.

Google has made it easy to add & manage your location on map. You can also manage your Google Plus profile from the same place. Just head over to Google My Business and claim your listing. If you don’t have a physical shop, you can even add your office location and give details about your business.

3. Use The Power Of Social Media

Social MediaTo start with, you should create profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. This will not only help you get more customers but you can engage them and get quality feedback from them about your products or services. ProfitBooks’ Twitter & FaceBook page alone amounts for 20% of our total traffic.

Frequency of your posts is the key here. If you post regularly, you will gain popularity and loyal subscribers who can convert to your customers at a later stage. You can share your business updates or news related to your industry.

Ideally you should post twice a week on Facebook and 3-4 times a day on Twitter.

4. Attend Networking Events/Meetups

Events/Expos/Meetups are the great places to expand your network and find new customers. Just search for “business events in (your city)” and Google with come up with list of upcoming events. Most of these events are free and attract customers as well as distributors/resellers/consultants.

Slowly, you will start to realize that people attend these events just to meet other people and the people you will meet there can turn into your customer. I had met one person in one these events and now that guy is our distributor.

5. Showcase Your Product on YouTube

mobile advertisingDid you know that over 4 billion videos are played on YouTube daily? This number is growing every passing day. So, it makes a whole lot of sense to upload a video about your product or service right away! Best part is, this video will appear in search results as well giving your product more visibility.

For products, a short 2 minute demo will work great and in case of service, you can record a testimonial by a client and upload it.

Conclusion

There can be more than just 5 free ways of promoting your business. All you have to do is to think out of the box and be creative. Some of the tactics mentioned above will yield results instantly and some of them might take it weeks of months before you start seeing results.

How To Improve Your eCommerce SEO Strategy

How To Improve Your eCommerce SEO Strategy

By | E Commerce Business News

Improve your organic search rankings and increase website traffic, brand awareness and conversion with these eCommerce S.E.O strategies:

1. Reduce Load Time

local SEOFast load times aren’t just essential for a great user experience – they also significantly impact search rankings. In our experience, 100-200s of milliseconds load time is a solid benchmark.

Although there are many ways to improve site speed, image compression can typically make an immediate impact. We also recommend checking Google Tag Manager or other eCommerce S.E.O tools to take inventory of active scripts on your site. If the list starts to look more like a novel, you might want to remove excess calls that may be slowing down your site.

2. Optimize For Mobile

If your site isn’t mobile optimized, you’re at a serious search disadvantage. Evolving user habits make responsive design essential from both an S.E.O and user experience perspective.

If you’re looking to take things a step further, Google’s AMP format can further optimize mobile experiences by reducing load time and improving mobile search rank. HubSpot has a great tool called Website Grader that has Viewports configured and can check if your site is mobile responsive.

3. Resolve Site Errors

Keep your site clean by continually monitoring Google Search Console (formally known as Google Webmaster tools). Site errors may include broken links, indexed 404 pages or errors in sitemap files to name a few. Although not all errors are created equal, resolving them improves Google’s ability to index your site and can positively affect search rankings.

4. Enable Canonical Tags

Canonicalization, also known as canonical tagging, tells search engines that a page URL actually represents a default master page. This is especially useful when you have pages with more than one URL.

5. Add Customer Reviews

customer care repSearch engines treat customer reviews as new website content and engagement, which are all factors that influence rankings. Improve your eCommerce S.E.O strategy by adding customer reviews to significantly improve the user experience by adding third-part credibility to your business.

6. Use Markup to Enable Rich Snippets and Knowledge Graphs

As an e-tailer, you can give search engines detailed product information to display – such as price, availability, and review ratings – right on the search page. Google and other search engines are aggressively rolling out new formats for search results.

Sites that get featured in the Rich Snippets and Knowledge Graphs are now the first place where visitors tend to click. Getting featured in this part of SERP will help attract clicks and, ultimately, more visitors to your page. Use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to see if your pages are properly using Schema.org markup formatting.

S.E.O is just one important part of the inbound marketing methodology.

5 Essential Marketing Concepts You Should Know

5 Essential Marketing Concepts You Should Know

By | Online Entrepreneur News

In marketing, businesses will design strategies that satisfy customers’ needs, increase sales, maximize profit and beat their competition. That is a nice truth and statement, but many might ask, “what philosophy is the best for a company in setting marketing strategies?”

Well, in this article we will discuss 5 different concepts of marketing that each have a specific function in a holistic marketing strategy.

The Production Concept

The production concept is the most operations-oriented than any of the other marketing concepts on this list. It speaks to the human truth that we prefer products that are easily available and inexpensive.

The basic idea of this concept is that businesses will want to produce widely cheap products in maximum volumes to maximize profitability and scale. Businesses assume that consumers are primarily interested in product availability and low prices while customer’s needs might not be fully addressed.

Such an approach is probably most effective when a business operates in very high growth markets or where the potential for economies of scale is significant.

The Product Concept

The product concept is not so much about the production and business output but focuses more on the customer. Potential customers favor products that offer quality, performance, or innovative features. This marketing concept believes in potential customers and how their brand loyalty is closely tied to options of products, the quality of those products and the benefits they get from the product and the business they invest in.

This is seen most commonly with our obsession with Apple products and looking forward to their new gadgets and features upon launch!

In this marketing concept, businesses will concentrate on making superior products and improving them over time. The problem is many businesses do not balance the need for a product all while realizing what the marketing needs. There is a fine line between focusing on the customer and still defining your role and leadership in the industry.

The Selling Concept

The selling concept is the bread and butter of marketing efforts as it believes that people will not buy enough of a business’s product so businesses need to persuade them to do so.

This concept puts a lot of power into the hands of a business who has a whole plan to effectively stimulate more buying with its potential customers. A lot of the time we also see this action used when a business has to deal with overcapacity and needing to sell what they make rather than what the market needs or wants.

The Marketing Concept

The marketing concept is the concept of competition. It is a marketing concept that believes that the success of a business depends on the marketing efforts that deliver a better value proposition than its competitors.

This concept focuses on the needs and wants of target marketing as well as delivering value better than its competition. Through marketing, it’s your goal to be the preferred option compared to your competitors. Competitive advantage is key!

The Societal Marketing Concept

relationshipThe societal marketing concept is the most progressive and modern-day applicable marketing mindset to have. It is a marketing concept that believes in giving back to society by producing better products that help the world be a better place.

This orientation arose as some questioned whether marketing and businesses are addressing the massive problems society has like environmental deterioration, resource shortages, population growth, poverty, and social disruption.

Conclusion

All of these marketing concept mindsets can help you achieve organizational goals depending on if you understand the needs and wants of your target market while delivering quality products people prefer.

Under the marketing concept, customer focus and value are the routes to achieve sales and profits.

The marketing concept is a customer-centered “sense and responds” philosophy. The job is not to find the right customers for your product but to find the right products for your customers.

6 Places To Advertise That Aren’t Google or Facebook

6 Places To Advertise That Aren’t Google or Facebook

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

You want to increase the amount of traffic coming to your site, solidifying your place in your industry and generating brand awareness. You might also want to boost leads, sales, and customer retention. Knowing that pay-per-click advertising is an excellent option for all of this, you decide to set up some ad campaigns.

The next question you need to answer is what advertising platforms you want to use.

Most people default to Google Ads and Facebook Ads. These are extraordinary options and they’re popular for a number of solid reasons, including having tons of customizable options, advanced features, and plenty of reach.

While these standard PPC platforms are incredible options that can definitely yield results, however, they definitely aren’t all that’s out there. There are a large number of other paid advertising options out there that can offer all of the benefits you’re looking for: brand awareness, brand lift, leads, sales, site traffic, and customer retention.

In this post, we’re going to give you a full look of some of the best “alternative” advertising solutions, discussing 6 places that you’re not advertising but probably should.

1. Reddit

Reddit Ads have been around for awhile, but they don’t get a ton of attention.

These ads work like your standard discovery ads. You use targeting and/or retargeting options in attempt to show your ad (which greatly resembles a standard reddit post with just a small note identifying it as an ad) to the right audience.

While Reddit isn’t a platform that’s overwhelmingly receptive to brands posing as users in attempt to promote their own content, the users do accept official sponsored advertising. And when the ad is relevant not only to them but to the subreddit they’re browsing, they’re even happy to click.

Reddit’s audience skews male, with 69% of users being male and only 31% female, but there’s an opportunity to reach users based on their interests and the content that they’re excited about.

You can have your ad shown to users with certain interests, demographics, and locations. You can also choose to have your ad show in certain communities, or “subreddits.” An ad for invoicing software, for example, could hit it out of the park in a subreddit like “small business.”

Reddit simply requires an image and ad copy in the form of a post title for your creatives, which you may already have from advertising on other platforms. This makes it easy to get started, and a few quick tests can help you assess if the platform is a decent fit for you.

2. Snapchat

It feels like it’s been a little while since Snapchat was all front and center stage, right? Instagram Stories did admittedly snatch up some of Snapchat’s glory (and user base), and TikTok has now become the biggest focus for younger generations wanting to create fun, quirky, fleeting content.

Snapchat Ads, however, is still an option to consider using if you have a young-ish audience (think Millennials and younger).

Snapchat’s self-serve platform is easy to use, and will greatly resemble other social ad campaign creation options that you may be familiar with. It still has decent reach, too, allowing you to reach up to 36% of the US population.

Snapchat’s ads are fun, quirky, and incredibly valuable for brand awareness opportunities. You can show short image or video ads, but you can also create sponsored lenses and geofilters, too.

This is a platform where the creative, goofy content can be celebrated, and it’s a great way to connect with new users in a fun way.

3. Outbrain

Outbrain isn’t connected to a social media platform, and unlike all the other alternative advertising options on this list, it doesn’t allow you to reach users of their own site.

Instead, Outbrain will show your content in a seamless way on high-authority, credible third-party sites. Think CNN, BCC, and more—trusted sites with large, engaged readerships. It’s a form of native advertising, which often uses context and relevance to drive results.

The idea behind Outbrain is that you’ll show article-styled content (not necessarily just products or services) when users are already reading articles on someone else’s site. Since they’ve already sitting down and reading an article all the way through, it means that they’re an engaged audience and likely in a physical and mental space to read another.

4. Spotify

There’s a good chance that you’re already familiar with Spotify, at least as a user. Spotify is an audible streaming platform, where users can listen to music, podcasts, comedians, and more. They can do this for free in exchange for hearing a few ads.

Spotify’s ad platform is wide-reaching, and it’s well-received by its user base. Users on Spotify are actually a little more receptive to ads than they might be on other platforms, and a chunk even gain respect for brands who choose to advertise on the platform, which is a win-win.

If you’re worried about creating voice-over audio ads for the platform, you don’t need to worry about that either. Spotify has a free program that allows you to create a script, and they’ll do the rest from there. You can approve the ad before it runs, making sure it captures everything you wanted it to.

Spotify advertising is accessible and has some great targeting options, and minimum ad spend starts at only $250. It’s definitely a platform that brands should consider using, especially considering that there are over 141 million free subscribers.

5. Pandora

Like Spotify, Pandora is one of the OG streaming platforms, and they’re still going strong today with over 63.1 billion users. Pandora’s ad platform can help you connect with them in a number of different ways.

Pandora offers display image ads, audio ads, and video ads. Image ads are the most affordable, but video ads can still be worthwhile even at the most expensive end of the range, costing up to $25 per 1,000 views.

One incredible advantage of Pandora’s ads is that they’re only going to be displayed when users are most likely to be receptive. Image ads are only displayed when the user is actively looking at the app’s dashboard, for example, increasing the likelihood of ad results

There are a lot of incredible ad formats with this platform, so take a look here and see if something is a good fit for your business.

6. Quora

This is a platform that can be really valuable, but it’s one of those places that you’re not advertising on statistically.

Quora is an incredibly popular question-and-answer site, and it’s got over 300 million unique monthly visitors. People are spending a chunk of time on the site asking, answering, and reading questions.

Quora’s self-serve ad system allows you to reach these visitors using targeting options to increase the relevance of your ad. You can show ads promoting your legal firm, for example, to users who are actively looking for lawyers with specialities that you offer.

This relevance is incredibly powerful, and it can even be used to almost answer or address the original asking question if you get lucky. These ads are placed over or within answers, giving them that seamless appeal and increasing visibility.

Conclusion

Choosing the right advertising platform to invest ad spend in is an important decision. Keep in mind, though, that while many platforms do have minimum ad spend requirements, you can still walk away from a platform if a relatively small test doesn’t seem to indicate that it would be right for you.

Best case scenario, you find a great new platform that works well for you, giving you a new channel that you can use to connect to new customers. Worst case, you chewed up a relatively small amount of ad spend to learn more about where you do want to invest your funds.

Keep in mind, too, that you don’t need to choose only one of these ad systems when running your campaigns. You can divide up your ad spend, allocating different amounts to different channels. You can add these options on to what you may already be doing with Google or Facebook Ads, and incorporate more than one channel at a time.

 

Facebook Marketing Tips For Every Small Business

Facebook Marketing For Tips Every Small Business

By | Social Media News

Facebook Marketing has completely revolutionized the way small businesses are able to advertise their goods and services. This game-changing platform allows you to reach hundreds of thousands – potentially even millions of people, for a price that suits your budget and needs. Of course, creating a Facebook marketing campaign can be daunting for small business owners.

1. Target the right audience

customersThe very first thing you should do when creating a campaign is get a good understanding of who you are advertising to. Facebook allows you to send out your ads to people based on a number of different demographic variables, including their age, location, interests and more. A highly targeted ad will focus in on your preferred audience and increase the likelihood of success in the long-term.

2.Provide accurate, useful information

When people scroll past your ad on their computer or smart device, they should be able to get a good understanding of what your selling and how it will be useful to them within seconds. Ideally, your ad should link to a webpage with really useful, highly tailored information that will convert the audience into paying customers.

3. Encourage discussion

People respond to other people’s interests. An ad with a number of shares, likes, and comments will stand out far more than one that no one interacts with. Encourage your audience to tag their friends, share the post or comment on their experiences with the product and you are bound to see an even greater reaction from your wider audience.

4. Test different ads

customer-target-audienceLike most marketing campaigns, Facebook advertising includes an element of trial and error. It’s a process of figuring out what your target audience responds best to, and what types of content they simply don’t engage with well at all. A great way to figure this out is to create multiple ads – for example, a video and a link to a webpage – and test them to see which works out better for conversion and engagement purposes. After a little bit of testing, you will have a great idea of what is the best way forward for your campaign.

5. Budget wisely

The great thing about Facebook advertising is not only that it’s inexpensive to use, but you can actually see how many people your budget will reach over a set number of days. Often, it’s best to start off with a mid-range budget and work up from there, so you can see what type of engagement you will get for your money. That way, if you decide to go in a different direction for your campaign, you haven’t blown a huge amount of cash with little in return.

6. Know your competitors

Seeing what your competitors are doing – and what they’re not doing – is a great way to help you determine the right path for your campaign. We all know that setting your brand apart from the pack is essential to ensuring your audience remembers you, and social media is like an open book in that regard. Do a competitor analysis every now and then to see how you’re stacking up, and what you might need to do differently in order to get in front.

7. Create compelling videos

video marketingVideo content is easier than ever to create and can really help your brand take its marketing to the next level. Smartphone cameras offer high-quality video capabilities and inexpensive apps can help you string together different photos, music, and clips in a matter of minutes. Just remember to keep them short, sweet and full of interesting information so you can maximise engagement.

8. Always use a Call-To-Action

Call-To-Actions are the cornerstone of all successful content because it gives your audience clear directions on what to do and where to go next. Your CTA should be short, punchy and to the point, and must be easy for people to follow and find amongst your ad. Remember, your audience wants to get as much information as possible in a short amount of time.

9. Pay attention to analytics

Facebook Marketing offers a truly impressive range of analytics free of charge. This allows you to take a good look at what is working for you, what isn’t and what demographics your customers are largely made up of. You should regularly check your analytic information to ensure you’re executing the best campaign for your needs.

10. Keep it fresh

Recycling the same ad over and over on Facebook – no matter how well it worked the first time – is a big no-no. You should keep your campaigns fresh and new, so people stay engaged every time they see them. If one ad seems to be working wonders, simply follow the same strategy next time but with a different set of content

Steps to B2B Social Media Marketing Success

By | Social Media News

Social media has always been seen as the playground for B2C companies. While it’s true that many of the top brands leveraging social media operate in the B2C segment, it doesn’t mean that B2B companies don’t have a place in the social media arena.

Social MediaThere are companies of all sizes that have already tasted success with B2B social media marketing, and continue to grow as a result of tapping into the major social networks for more customers.

The problem that many B2B companies often face is: a lack of knowledge and an awareness of social media. Many of them still believe social media is not for them, which is costing them sales. Or they don’t have the right staff/resources to run their social media campaigns. That’s where our social media experts at NetworkingBizz Marketing come in. Contact us today if you’d like to get started.

Getting great results with B2B social media marketing is not rocket science. In fact, it can be as effective as B2C social media marketing, as long as the fundamental goals are not ignored.

Below we’ve outlined three steps that are crucial to create a profitable B2B social media marketing campaign.

Step 1: Define Your Marketing Objectives

Without defining the right objectives, you’ll find it difficult to make your B2B social media marketing campaign profitable. Why? Because your return on investment depends on setting marketing goals that contribute to your company’s overall growth.

Having measurable goals that are relevant to your big or small business will help you create a winning B2B social media marketing strategy. You need to ensure that each goal you set is smart and measurable in nature so that gauging success becomes simpler, and more scientific. Venngage does an excellent job outlining how to do this in your social media plan.

Generate Targeted Leads:

If you’re a business that thinks long-term, and if you truly want to get a healthy ROI from social media, then your top priority could be about generating new, quality leads. Above all, each lead that you generate via social media gives you the confidence and direction to gain even more leads in the future.

Studies have shown that any businesses (B2B or B2C) that uses social media to generate leads can be in the position to earn 24% more revenue. Whether you choose to use LinkedIn for generating leads or Twitter, depends on the kind of business you are running and where your audience tends to hang out the most.

Build Your Brand

Your social media optimization efforts can make a positive impact on your company’s brand development. Being on a social network such as LinkedIn is not enough to enhance your brand. Your business needs to be active when it comes to protecting its reputation and giving away value. One wrong step on social media can diminish your brand’s value.

Offer Better Customer Service

Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are great for improving your customer service and give better value to your B2B customers. Social media gives you the opportunity to see how your customers are interacting with your content and what they’re talking about your brand. By taking the right steps, many customer problems can be resolved without having them escalated further.

Step 2: Identify Your Target Audience

customer-target-audienceSocial media is made up of diverse people, so not everybody is going to be interested in the content you share. Which is why it’s important to reach out to an audience that connects to you and your content. You want businesses who pay attention and listen to your advice. Being in the B2B segment, this not only helps you build a list of followers, but also lets you create real authority and a positive brand in your niche.

Identifying your target audience is the first step to sharing information with businesses who have interest in your area of expertise and possibly have goals that connect to your product or service. If you manage to build a relationship with an audience that shares the same level of passion about your industry, then the updates you share with them will get even more exposure.

  • Know Your Priorities
  • Analyze Your Competitors
  • Decide on What Content to Share
  • Create and Assign Personas

Step 3: Choose the Right Social Media Platform

social media facebook twitter instagramEvery social media network is different. And the people that use it have different interests and priorities. When your B2B company experiments with social media marketing, it’s important to understand the importance of selecting the right social media platform.

Your social media efforts need to be directed in the right direction because unlike a B2C company that deals with end customers, you work with companies and businesses. Which makes your choice of social media platform a crucial part of your B2B social media marketing strategy.

B2B Social Media Marketing

Many B2B marketers have tested and analyzed social media platforms to find out what works best for their B2B brand. Why? Because finding out the best social media platform is essential to your business’s success.

We have worked with both, Facebook ads and LinkedIn ads, and have found Facebook to be a more viable B2B advertising solution.

The reason being simple: Facebook ads are likely to be cheaper than LinkedIn ads in terms of cost per click. For example, you could spend $5 per click on LinkedIn that would cost you $1 or less per click on Facebook. And the quality of the lead would be the same. It’s a no-brainer.

Even though LinkedIn is a pure B2B channel (one of the reasons it’s more expensive), Facebook ads can help you get similar results. Why? Because Facebook has two billion monthly active users. And there is every chance that your B2B audience logs into Facebook as much as they do on LinkedIn, if not more.

 

5 Key Benefits of SEO for Small Businesses

5 Key Benefits of SEO for Small Businesses

By | seo advice for business

SEO helps small business owners create fast, robust, and user-friendly websites that rank higher in search engines, which in turn helps bring more qualified potential customers to their sites and eventually increases conversion rates.

SEO also helps build brand awareness for your business as search engine users are more likely to trust a site that are on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs) than brands who are not.

If you’re a small business owner, you should utilise SEO to build a strong web presence and bypass your competitions to gain new customers for your business and take it to the next level.

Here are the top 5 KEY benefits of SEO for small businesses:

1. User-Friendly Websites

web designSEO will help small business owners create a faster, smoother, and user-friendlier website. Although most people still hang on to the old definition of SEO, thinking that it is only about optimising for the search engines, however, today SEO is also about improving user experience too.

Well-structured, clean, and uncluttered websites compel a casual visitor to stay longer, thereby decreasing bounce rate and increasing page views. Similarly, highly relevant content (sales pages and blog articles) keeps you readers happy as they are more likely to solves answer their questions, solve their pressing issues and helps them find exactly what they’re looking for on your site.

On-page SEO, if done properly, makes your users happy, which makes search engines happy too as they love to serve high-quality information to their users.

2. Bring in MORE Customers

customersLet’s face it, one of the main reasons for having a website is to stand out from your competition and increase your customer base. Otherwise, why invest 1,000s of dollars on marketing, right? Businesses that have an SEO optimised website bring MORE customers and grow as twice as fast than businesses who do not have one.

SEO is probably the most efficient and affordable marketing strategy that exists today. Moreover, it will only bring in customers who are actively seeking to find your product or service!

If you’re willing to spend few hours of time, energy, and a small amount of money, SEO will help brings “targeted” traffic to your website, and eventually more customers to your business than any other marketing tactics you’ll ever use.

3. Better Conversion Rates

SEO-optimised websites loads faster, are easy to read and surf, and will display properly in almost all types of devices, including mobile and tablets. Websites that are easy to read and navigate are more likely to grab and hold attention from your readers or visitors – i.e. they’re more likely to become your loyal customers, subscribers, and returning visitors.

4. Build Brand Awareness

brand awarenessOne of the benefits of getting higher rankings on the SERPs is building brand awareness. When your sites appear on the first page of major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, your potential customers are more likely to trust your brand when they search for a particular term rather than other brands that don’t have a strong web presence.

That is why small businesses that want to build better brand awareness (either locally or expanding nationally) must invest in SEO and start gaining top rankings for the KEY terms related to their business. We’re not in the 90s anymore; search engines now play a significant role in making or breaking your brand.

5. Bypass Competition

Let’s take an example of two businesses that are in the same industry, selling similar products, at similar prices. One of them has an optimised website while the other has a non-optimised website. Considering everything is else is equal, which company do you think will attract more customers to their website from local searches? Which company will likely grow faster and become more successful?

Search engines and SEO are very powerful. If your competitors are doing SEO marketing, simply you must ask yourself why you haven’t invested in such a strategy yet too.

How to Train Your SEO Team A Step-By-Step Guide

How to Train Your SEO Team: A Step-By-Step Guide

By | seo advice for business

Learn how to start an effective and easy-to-expand SEO training program for onboarding new team members and improving the skills of your existing team.

If you’re a solo SEO professional, then training is easy.

The only thing needed is your commitment to learning new things on a regular basis.

customer-target-audienceHowever, as soon as you hire one more person to help with your SEO efforts, you have a team, and transferrable training becomes a necessity.

And if you’re managing an SEO team for an enterprise site but have no system set up for training your team, you’re already in trouble.

Because you already have plenty to do as a busy SEO professional, your training program needs to be:

  • Easy to implement.
  • Scalable as your teams and site needs grow.
  • This guide will give you a way to start an effective and easy-to-expand training program for onboarding new team members and improving the skills of your existing team.
  • Why You Need an SEO Training Program

Over the course of my career in several different agencies and now with a major SEO platform, I’ve observed that many SEO teams – even some at the biggest brands in the world – don’t have systematic training programs.

SEO professionals are already so busy that setting up a training program is just one more task.

It’s also harder to link to the things on which they will be evaluated.

So why should SEO team managers invest in building a training program?

It’s because:

Success in SEO is directly proportional to not only the skills but the knowledge of the SEO practitioners.

SEO changes rapidly – your team needs to be kept up to date.

A programmatic approach to training ensures uniformity of knowledge and standard procedures across your team.

You’re almost certainly doing training anyway, just not efficiently.

In short, training your SEO team is not optional.

Here’s how to build an efficient and effective SEO training program while still having time to actually do SEO.

Step 1: Outline Training Essentials

employee trainingBefore you start creating or implementing an SEO training program, you need a plan to make sure you’ve covered all the essentials in a logical order.

At this point, your plan doesn’t need to be more than an outline.

Simply map out all the elements of SEO and your organization’s approach to it that you consider must-know for your team.

I want to emphasize that your plan should include both SEO knowledge, as well as your unique philosophy and standard operating procedures.

The latter should not be skipped because how your team does SEO is just as important as what they do.

What that outline contains will vary from one SEO manager to another, but here’s an example of a suggested course outline:

Introduction to SEO: Necessary only if you are hiring newbies or those less-experienced at doing SEO for your team.

Understanding success: What does successful SEO look like for your organization? What are your chief goals?

Fundamentals of SEO:

  • Keyword and topic research
  • Content planning
  • On-page and technical SEO
  • SEO audits
  • Site structure
  • Links (external and internal)
  • Standard operating procedures

Regular workflows: Operations that are carried out regularly, such as reporting, rank analyzing, site health monitoring, etc.

As you develop your training program you can flesh out the details of that outline more.

Step 2: Decide Your Training Medium

Web based LearningThere are many different ways you can present your training to your team. Which is best will depend on your own style and how you think your team learns best. Here are some options.

Live Sessions

This is close to the traditional classroom approach. Set up a schedule of regular team meetings devoted to training, either in person or remote by video conferencing. As the manager (and presumably most experienced SEO pro on your team), you’ll probably lead most of the early sessions.

Over time, it is wise to assign sessions to other team members. This lessens your burden and also serves as a great learning experience for others since the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. Keep each session tightly focused on one main point. People remember only a fraction of what they hear, so don’t try to cram too much into any one lesson. If you use a deck to present each lesson, be sure to send it out to the team afterward for future reference or designate a central location where the decks are available for everyone.

Record each session.

Along with the presentation decks, these recordings become the basis of an ongoing training program that new hires can work through on their own. In fact, that’s a big advantage of the live session approach: you’re building a reusable training library as you go, rather than having to build an entire course in advance.

Online Course

If you’re a bit more ambitious, you could make use of an LMS (Learning Management System) to build a self-guided course of lessons available online. The advantages of this approach are it’s easier to create more structured lessons and to update them as needed. Also, learning can be self-paced with little further use of your time.

Disadvantages include:

  • A big time investment in upfront work to design the course.
  • A lack of interaction with learners.

Step 3: Start a Regular Training Schedule

No matter which of the methods above you decide to employ, I highly recommend setting up a schedule for the training course and requiring your team to stick to it. Otherwise it’s far too easy for the normal busyness of everyday SEO to cause procrastination and delay of training completion.

A session or lesson per week is probably sufficient for the live sessions approach. For the online course or existing documentation approaches, set a series of deadlines, but allow the students to self-pace within those deadlines.

Step 4: Establish Evaluation & Accountability

While not absolutely necessary, having some mechanism for evaluation and accountability will help increase the effectiveness of your training program. There are several approaches you can take.

Tests & Quizzes

This is the most traditional approach. I suggest using non-graded quizzes immediately after each lesson to help reinforce and correct learning, with periodic tests to establish how much the learning has stuck.

Advantage: Immediate feedback and relatively easy to set up.

Disadvantage: Unless very well designed, tests do not always correlate with real-world applicable knowledge.

Projects

Design either simulated or “real world” projects where the student has to demonstrate application of the lesson.

For example, after a keyword research lesson the student has to find ten new keywords a site should be targeting and explain why.

Advantage: Intensely practical.

Disadvantage: A lot of work to set up and evaluate.

corporateWork Monitoring

For some period of time after a given lesson, monitor the work of the team mate that relates to the lesson and look for signs of implementation of the principles learned. Be sure to meet with the student periodically for feedback.

Advantage: Totally real-world demonstration of actual learning.

Disadvantage: Time consuming and less quantitative than other methods.

Wrapping Up

Whichever evaluation method you choose, make sure your approach is toward reinforcing learning, not a “gotcha” to find out who did poorly.

Place the emphasis on practical application, not just memorization of vocabulary and facts.

Be sure to have a plan to follow up on learning and reinforce where necessary.

Make the training and its effective application a part of an employees regular review process.

 

The Ultimate SEO Checklist for Your Ecommerce Store

The Ultimate SEO Checklist for Your Ecommerce Store

By | E Commerce Business News

Got an online shop and want more traffic? If so, you need to get good at SEO—and we’re here to help with this SEO checklist.

SEO can scare a lot of online shop owners at first who just want to sell their goods and thrive, but it’s a vital part of any online retailer’s success because it:

  • Makes your store more visible on Google
  • Increases traffic
  • Boosts conversions

The thing is that SEO can be complex and time-consuming. As a store owner, you’ve already got a million balls to juggle, which is why this article is here to simplify everything for you with the ultimate SEO checklist for your online shop.

SEO Checklist 1: Site Speed

Website speedGoogle takes into consideration site speed when ranking your website. If your pages take too long to load, it won’t rank very well. This is probably because a high bounce rate damages your place in the SERPs, and a slow loading website is one of the prime reasons for a skyscraper of a bounce rate. When your site takes too long to load, your visitors will bail and head elsewhere.

But there’s more to it than that. These visitors—who might have turned into long-term loyal customers—are so turned off by your slow loading website that they won’t return.

It gets worse, too. Around 40% of online shoppers will tell their friends about a bad online shopping experience, which includes a store that took way too long to load.

A slow-loading website bumps you down the SERPs, kills conversions, and kills potential long-term relationships with customers. It needs addressing as soon as possible because if your bounce rate is abnormally high, this could be the reason.

Run your website through Google’s site speed tester to see how fast or slow it’s loading. If it’s too long, take a look at this checklist of problems:

  • Images are too large
  • Content isn’t compressed
  • Script references are at the top as opposed to the bottom
  • Lots of HTTP requests
  • Web pages are not cached
  • Lots of 301 redirects

SEO Checklist 2: Voice Search

voice assistantsVoice search is the future of SEO, but it’s also the present.

In fact, 40% of millennials have already started using it.

All businesses need to rethink their content marketing strategy so that they start optimizing their website for SEO. And this most certainly includes online stores.

The biggest thing to bear in mind about voice search SEO is that search queries look different than they do when typed. When people search for a product via voice search, they generally:

  • Ask a question
  • Use natural language
  • Use long-tail keywords

As well as helping you rank better, voice search can also help your store rank so well that it ends up as a featured snippet. What’s a featured snippet? A featured snippet is position zero, which is the top ranking in the SERPs. In other words, it comes before position 1.

To further double-down on voice search, include an FAQ page on your website. This will allow you to answer more questions that your customers are asking via voice search.

SEO Checklist 3: Keyword Research

keywordsAdmit it—you knew this was coming at some point.

Perhaps you’ve already dabbled with keyword research but found yourself banging your head against a brick wall. After all, fitting keywords into content for other blogs sounds easy, but how on earth do you go about fitting them into content for an ecommerce website?

Google’s Keyword research tool is hardly going to help you here because your products are probably not going to show up. For that reason, I suggest that you use Ubersuggest instead, as it will help you find specific keywords that are targeted at the specific products in your store.

Again, searching for long-tail keywords in the ecommerce isn’t always easy, but a handy thing to do is check on your biggest rival of all, Amazon.

Amazon does SEO very well. They’re rich in data that allows them to predict what people are searching for the most.

Try it. Head over to Amazon and type in a broad keyword related to one of your products.

The problem is that Google starts ranking both pages for the exact same keyword. Not only will you lose credibility for both, but the one that was converting best—the one where all the “money” was—might end up performing worse than the other one. Not cool.

SEO Checklist 4: Discover User Intent

customer-target-audienceSEO has changed a lot over the years, and one of the biggest trends for 2018 is user intent.

It’s so important that you understand user intent. If you don’t, all those keywords you’ve researched and are implementing could be for nothing.

SEO Checklist 5: Title Tags

Title tags are really important for ecommerce stores but what’s key here is that you don’t use the same title tags for your product pages. Instead, you should be using unique tags for each product page. This will take a bit of time to redo if you’ve already duplicated your tags, but it’s an essential part of our SEO checklist.

The problem you might run into is creating unique title tags for product pages from the same manufacturer, but even this is a hurdle that can be overcome. How? Try using key phrases instead of keywords.

SEO Checklist 6: Make Your Store Mobile-Friendly

Mobile usage overtook desktop for the first time in 2016, and Google has already launched the “mobile-first indexing of the Web,” but some ecommerce store owners are still not getting it: Mobile is different to desktop and until you make your store mobile-friendly, you’ll be losing a LOT of customers.

Google now indexes the mobile version of sites when it can, and this helps it to determine where the website should rank in both the mobile and desktop SERPs.

This means that info about the mobile version of your site—such as meta tags, structured data, and page speed—will determine where you rank. Previously, it was info about your desktop site that decided this, so the change from Google is pretty big news.

Google has, of course, implemented this change because of the rapid rise of mobile usage—especially among shoppers. Shoppers now want an omnichannel shopping experience; they want to be able to switch between devices at will and they expect their data to remain the same across all channels.

To make your website mobile-ready, here are some tips:

  • Avoid software such as Flash
  • Make sure your text is easy to read. Don’t make people zoom just to read a product page
  • Place links at a good distance from one another. If you don’t do this, it’s going to be hard for users to click the right link

Also, take a look at both the mobile and desktop versions of your site and compare them side by side. Is the mobile version of your site just as easy to navigate as the desktop version or do you need to make a few changes?

It’s important to note that if your website isn’t mobile-ready, visitors will quickly leave. This will cause your bounce rate to rocket, which can harm your rankings.

SEO Checklist 7: Meta Descriptions

GoogleLastly, meta descriptions. Google has actually extended the limit that a meta description needs to be for perfect optimization (it used to be 160 characters and now it’s 230) and you need to fill that space with a short, keyword-rich snippet that summarizes what a particular page is all about.

A meta description can contain your main keyword and a secondary keyword, and it must also include a compelling call-to-action. What is it that you want people to do?

Conclusion

This is the ultimate SEO checklist for your online shop. Refer back to it all the time because SEO is constantly changing and your strategy needs to be tweaked often. Do the right things, and you should be well on your way up the SERPs.

5 Steps for Running the Perfect Microinfluencer Campaign

5 Steps for Running the Perfect Microinfluencer Campaign

By | Social Media News

It doesn’t matter how great your product is if no one knows about it. That’s why every business owner needs to adapt a marketing strategy early on. However, if you’re a one-person show and have a limited marketing budget, you need to be strategic with where you invest your energy and money. There are many great marketing tools available for small businesses, but one we definitely recommend considering is influencer marketing.

Being an influencer is so much more than posting cool photos and stories.

Social MediaSocial media influencers are people who have the ability to affect the purchasing decision of others by promoting or recommending products.

Regardless of the number of followers, what’s common for many influencers is that they’re authentic, credible, and have a loyal fan-base. Influencers are seen as an authentic alternative to traditional advertising tactics. That’s why collaboration with an influencer is a great way for brands of any size to drive engagement, boost brand awareness, and reach new audiences.

Influencers with smaller audiences are more likely to respond to each comment and create a more personal connection with every follower. This makes the influencer appear as an online friend, rather than an unapproachable public figure. With incredibly loyal follower bases, microinfluencers can help support goals above and beyond simply driving brand awareness.

Brands can also leverage multiple microinfluencers at once to share more voices rather than spending their whole influencer budget on one celebrity. Glossier, the makeup brand beloved by millennials, turned to their own fanbase of highly engaged followers and commenters to become their most powerful brand ambassadors.

The most effective influencer relationships happen when brands have a clear idea of their goals and partner with the right influencers for results-driven, strategic campaigns.

Interested in working with microinfluencers? We’ll walk you through creating your campaign step by step.

Step 1: Define your campaign goals

digital marketing servicesFor any influencer campaign, it’s important to define your goals from the beginning and communicate them clearly to your potential partner. Microinfluencers typically have a niche following and are highly trusted by their audience, so their recommendations carry a lot of weight. They are highly effective for getting more interactions, boosting engagement, and increasing conversions. If you’re just focusing on one of these goals or a combination, microinfluencers are the way to go.

If you want more interactions on one of your specific brand channels, you need to determine your baseline on that account and what percent increase you want to see. The average engagement rate varies by platform and by industry; for Instagram, the average engagement rate is 1.60%.

If your goal is to drive more sales, you need to figure out if you’re going to focus on a hero product, a new product, or a bundle and then set your goals accordingly.

When you want to drive more conversions, figure out what call-to-action is your focus when defining your campaign.

Step 2: Find the right microinfluencers

influencer marketingOnce you’ve established your campaign goals, you now need to do the research on which influencer can help you reach them.

Finding influencers that are a fit for your brand and campaign takes research and vetting. If you know who your target audience is and their demographics, you already have a blueprint for finding your perfect influencers. Depending on your budget, you can search for influencers yourself or use an influencer marketing platform or agency. Influencer marketing platforms offer a range of solutions and prices—from self-serve tools to more robust resources like the Pixlee platform. Influencer marketing agencies can step in to manage the process end-to-end, from discovering potential partners to vetting them and running the campaigns.

How and where to find an influencer for your campaign

An important question to answer as you start looking for the partner: which social media platform does your target demographic use the most? Decide on one channel and look for the influencer there.

Instagram is a classic for influencer marketing, but it’s worth looking into other channels too. YouTube will be perfect if you create a lot of video content for your brand. While TikTok is a relatively new platform, it’s growing quickly and gaining popularity among millennials; business-to-consumer campaigns could be potentially very effective there.

Step 3: Build relationships

relationshipReaching out to influencers is more than just shooting off an email template asking if they want to partner with you. When researching potential influencers, you’re not only evaluating them—you’re also getting to know them. It’s crucial to communicate clear expectations early in the conversation. This goes double for payment considerations.

Many influencers will have predetermined rates they use when partnering with brands. If that’s not provided upfront, ask the potential partner what they typically charge. If you plan to request product reviews and promotion in exchange for free products, state that as soon as possible. Remember—influencers are professionals! While microinfluencers are usually a more cost-effective option, don’t expect anything for free.

Step 4: Start creating content

content marketingOne of the reasons for the boom in influencer marketing is because the content they create is so impactful; 93% of consumers are influenced by UGC when they’re making a purchase decision. User-generated content is effective because it’s authentic and customers relate to it more than branded content.

Partnering with influencers to create UGC is at the core of every influencer campaign. Most of the posts shared by influencers as part of a sponsored campaign will include a hashtag to differentiate it from their usual posts. You can search these hashtags on social media to see examples of sponsored posts from other businesses and brands.

Depending on your campaign strategy, you may be focusing on pictures, videos, or written content like blog posts or reviews. Whatever type of content you want, be sure to communicate that clearly to the influencer so everyone’s on the same page.

Step 5: Track results

google analyticsWhen it comes to marketing campaigns, it’s all about impact. Likes and comments are really exciting—especially if you start racking them up early in a campaign. But, the real metrics you need to focus on are measuring the return on your investment. There are several ways to track influencer campaign performance beyond engagement metrics, especially if you’re focusing on conversions and sales.

  • Include unique hashtags in your influencer campaigns to make it easy to identify and collect posts from a specific campaign.
  • Give influencers links with unique URLs so you can track the referrals to your site. One way to do this is by adding UTM parameters to your links. Google Analytics offers a guide on UTM links that you can use to get started for free!
  • Use discount codes for each campaign and/or influencer to measure the sales that are generated.
  • Request performance reports from your influencers’ social media accounts to get a full picture of how your campaign is doing. Many influencers have business accounts for their social media and can pull native reports from the platform to provide data on daily and weekly reach, impressions, and demographics.
  • Once your campaigns are up and running, it’s important to keep an eye on the metrics so that you can adjust if necessary.
  • Schedule regular check-ins with your influencers to follow the campaign progress and provide any support they may need.
  • Check to see if the influencer is getting any questions in the comment section about your brand or product in case you need to clarify anything.
  • Communicate with your influencers if it seems like you’re not getting the results you want since they know their followers best.

Once the campaign ends, set up a call with your influencer to determine how the campaign performed against your goals, what the results were, and how you both felt about the partnership. Ask them if they have any advice for future campaigns or ideas for unique ways to engage with their followers. If you’re interested in working with the influencer long term, consider sending them a thank you gift to help strengthen the relationship.

Finally

Many people think influencers have to be celebrities or have hundreds of thousands of followers, but, as we learned, they’re not the only influencers out there. Microinfluencers may have fewer followers, but don’t underestimate their power—with highly engaged, extremely loyal follower bases, microinfluencers can help spur engagement and increase conversions.

By planning a goal-driven campaign and working with the best-fit influencers for your brand, you can run effective influencer campaigns with measurable results!

Mobile Advertising and Marketing

Mobile Advertising and Marketing

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

Everyone and their grandmother now proudly flaunt a mobile phone, so it comes as no surprise that mobile advertising is one of the most effective methods of reaching your target customer base. In fact, mobile marketing has already surpassed desktop advertising, and the mobile advertising market is projected to exceed $200 billion globally this year alone.1 That being said, this form of advertising has several notable differences from more traditional forms of marketing such as print, email, and social media. Below, we dive into what mobile marketing is, how to effectively use it, and what results can be achieved:

What is Mobile Advertising?

mobile advertisingMobile advertising, in its simplest form, is advertising that is optimized to be viewed on a mobile screen. It may be presented through a text/SMS, as a banner advertisement on a mobile site, or as a pop-up within a downloaded mobile app (these are referred to as in-app advertisements).

Since phones are so widely used, as well as social media applications, mobile advertising is an incredibly accessible marketing medium. Companies appreciate the ease in delivery of their marketing campaigns, and the speed in which their ads are viewed by the end user.

Typically, this form of advertising is highly targeted, based on demographics, browsing history, and geography. For this reason, you’ll sometimes notice that a mobile advertisement will appear while you’re standing in close proximity to the store . This particular location-based marketing is referred to as geo-targeted advertising and can help companies learn more about the preferences and spending habits of their customer base, and further, allows them the capability of personalizing advertising to their audience. Customers can like, follow, or communicate with the brand via social media platforms; this ability to engage with the consumer in creative ways not only leaves a more lasting impression, but helps to develop increased brand loyalty among their target audience.

What are the Types of Mobile Advertising?

As we mentioned above, mobile advertising can come in many different forms, with the most commonly used being Banner Advertising, Video Advertising, Gamification Advertising, Interstitial Advertising, and Native Ads. Here is a quick overview of each of the top forms of mobile advertising, and where you can expect to see them within your mobile platform:

Banner advertising

These were the first form of mobile advertising to be widely used. They typically appear on a webpage or mobile app as a “banner” or block of visuals and text, intended to redirect the reader to the advertiser’s page. While this may be classified as the “old school” format of mobile advertising, they are still widely used and in-demand due to their cost-effective nature.

Video advertising

Mobile video advertising consists of product videos, tutorials, or brand commercials that have been optimized for the mobile user experience. Successful mobile video advertisements are simple, short, visually captivating and include a call to action – the conversion rate of video advertising is high as it provides the full visual experience for viewers. So high, in fact, that 84% of people admit to having purchased a product or service after watching a video.

Interstitial advertising

This is just a technical way to describe a simple concept: ads placed strategically at transition points within games or apps. These ads will appear as short videos, clips, or a full screen image, generally while you’re climbing to the next level or phase of your game, or as you’re navigating through the pages of a site. Since interstitial ads tend to cover the whole screen, this allows more freedom for the advertiser to include larger images and a louder, more obvious call to action.

Native ads

Native ads are designed to not interrupt the user experience, but rather blend into the natural environment of the app, and therefore cannot be blocked or minimized. The design features of the advertisement mimic the look and feel of the host page. A great example of this is Facebook and Instagram ads, which tend to blend in as you scroll through your feed. While the visuals are still intended to catch your eye, the call to action is generally more subtle. Since Native Ads are more muted, they aren’t perceived as direct marketing by many users, which can help boost brand loyalty.

Studies have shown that the conversion rates of mobile advertising now outweigh desktop or tablet-targeted advertising. With more than 5 billion mobile users worldwide, this is one advertising medium you can’t afford to NOT tap into!

What is Customer Experience And Why You Need to Prioritize It

What is Customer Experience And Why You Need to Prioritize It

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

Customer experience is the reputation you have with your customers.

It can be great, okay, or downright bad—and each experience will impact your business in some way. Great customer experiences give you the hockey stick growth that you dream about. Okay, customer experiences make it hard, but not impossible to get customers to buy more products. But bad customer experiences can pull your business down like a sinking ship in the ocean.

Every business knows that customer experience is crucial to their success, but few know how to actually make the customer experience a part of their foundation.

In comparison, it’s easy to put together a marketing strategy because it’s way more straightforward… write good copy and show it to the right people. Customer experiences are a lot less tangible—is a great customer experience defined by free products and services, great content, one-on-one coaching, the list goes on forever…

Let’s break down what different customer experiences look like.

What is Customer Experience?

customer experienceCustomer experience, in its simplest definition, is the experience your customers have with your brand. It’s the email funnel that leads them to the sale and then keeps delivering more information to them once they’ve bought the product.

A customer buying an eCommerce product continues through the customer experience when they receive their transaction email, delivery status email, package delivered email, and the leave a review email.

These are the places where you can overdeliver and create a memorable customer experience, the kind of experience that builds a tighter bond between your brand and your customer.

Here’s the thing—your marketing strategy doesn’t stop as soon as someone unboxes your product or signs up to work with your company. If anything, it should ramp up.

Think of all the work you put in to move these people through the Customer Value Journey, from cold leads to piping hot leads to landing the sale. Instead of focusing on the next round of people who might buy from you, put some of that focus on the ones who already have.

Then, take a look at the difference in your business.

Why You Need to Prioritize It

customer-target-audienceIt’s obvious that you want to prioritize customer experience if you have competition—whoever delivers the better experience is going to win the customer and their return. This is an easy perspective to view your business world through.

Another easy perspective is realizing that Google is now prioritizing customer experience in its search ranking. SEOs around the world are figuring out how to create the *chef’s kiss* customer experience that makes their content better than the others ranking for the same keywords.

What’s not obvious is that customer experience can save you money. It’s tempting to bring in new customers, give them their product, and immediately look back toward your funnel to see how you can get more customers. But, what about the loyal customers who just bought from you—are you nurturing that relationship?

These are the people who put their hand up and said, “Yep, I love what you’re doing. Here, I’d like to give you my money in return for your product/service and I’m really excited about it.” Have you caught them in their state of excitement and over-delivered on an experience that makes them turn into raving fans of your brand?

If you haven’t done this yet, don’t worry. You have plenty of time (and options), but let’s get you started as soon as possible. Having a better customer experience is going to boost the value of your customers.

We call this Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and you can work your business around this metric by seeing how much an average customer spends on your products/services. Your CLV can be calculated by taking the Average Order Value and multiplying it by the Average Purchase Frequency. This is your CLV.

customer-lifetime-valueAnd here’s the thing about CLVs—they’re easier to double than conversion rates. You’re probably tempted to figure out how you can double your conversion rate on your next campaign, but this is hard. Like, really hard. Impossible, no. Hard, yes.

Do you know what’s so much easier? Doubling your average cart value (how much somebody spends in a single purchase). All you have to do is create bundles or introduce an ultra-high-ticket offer that’s 10x your current Average Order Value.

Your customer experience is the reputation you have with your customers. They’ll love your brand if you put time and attention into giving them the best possible experience they could have with you—but they’ll also notice if you don’t put that attention in.

Prioritize your customer experience to make your customers happy, Google happy, and your finances happy… because happy customers buy more products. It’s just a fact of business.

 

Steps for an effective Instagram strategy in 2020

By | Social Media News

More and more brands are incorporating Instagram strategies into their marketing plans, and it leads to business growth! Videos, gifts, and photos are driving high engagement rates.

While visuals are infused in the majority of our social communications – be it a quick selfie or the latest pet videos, there’s no denying that this rise in visual content flooding the social networks is remarkably prominent on Instagram.

Focusing your social media marketing strategy mostly on Instagram seems the way to go, as 71% of all US businesses are already using the platform.

1. Start with a compelling Instagram profile

Your Instagram business profile should be nothing like your personal Instagram account. And it is best that “you” appear rarely (if not at all) on the Instagram business page. It’s not about you, it’s about the story of your brand.

To create a compelling profile, you must start by doing a little market research to see what the public is interested in.

2. Craft An Attractive Bio

An Instagram business bio should prompt a customer into taking action while showcasing the personality of the company at the same time.

The bio needs to be interesting and informative at the same time. It should be able to hook followers. You need to convince Instagram users that adding you to their Instagram will enhance the content and value of their feeds.

3. Link To Your Site

website popIt is only in the Instagram bio that you can place a clickable link, so make the most of it. Provide the link to your site on the space that lies directly underneath the description (on the top part of the Instagram page).

Including your website, link is crucial to your Instagram marketing strategy. Make sure your URL is readable, as opposed to a series of random characters.

Make your business easy to find by tagging your location

It’s important that your business remains accessible both online and offline.

4. Respect your brand identity

You should be able to figure out your company’s brand identity. Majority of your Instagram feed aesthetic will be based on the brand identity.

The reason why Instagram has become so huge is that it builds a global social network by connecting people via visual elements alone, making it a powerful medium of capturing and sustaining people’s attention.

Include the tone and personality of your brand in the feeds. Add the brand value, and play on the tone of your brand. And, most importantly, be honest and human.

Writing long, irrelevant content is one one of the biggest Instagram mistakes you can make.

5. Focus on the target audience

Target AudienceCater to your target audience without making any compromise on your brand identity. Know that the Instagram feed primarily aims at current and potential customers.

Find out what about your product or brand attracts your target audience. And reflect this in the Instagram feed.

Don’t compromise on the quality of your posts and messages and use this platform to bring your audience closer through conversations on shared values and visions.

6. Research your competitors’ strategies

You can study your competitors and get a feel of what they are promoting on Instagram.

Are they relying on user-generated content for their products or services? What type of content are they publishing on Instagram? How often? What’s their hashtag strategy?

Gain new insights on what competitors are doing and new ways to improve your own marketing strategy.

7. Be creative with your Instagram captions

Creative and fresh Instagram captions are the key to attracting customers, but it is not easy to caption your image or videos all the time.

Timing matters a lot in business. Instead of rushing, you need to take time to caption the image to captivate your audience. Don’t forget that users will probably spend only a few seconds to view your picture before moving on to the next one.

Add value to your text instead of quantifying it. You can use your creativity to make the image more engaging. Don’t be dry, but take on a conversational tone if need be. Instagram users hate formality.

8. Use strategic hashtags

Hashtags are used in Instagram for users to track the content they are looking for. You need to use your hashtags strategically so that more users can find your posts during their search.

Incorporate as few as 2-8 hashtags in each post.
Opt for hashtags that are commonly and frequently searched for.
To implement your brand in a local area, opt for location-based hashtags.

9. Create awesome Instagram Stories

Stories are the most popular feature on Instagram.

If you can tie narratives with the brand identity then they will automatically make your audience connect with you emotionally, and add meaning to the content you are posting.

Stories that you tell significantly contribute towards the creation of brand loyalty. But at the same time your Instagram feeds should reflect the purpose and image of your company (and brand) as it will create uniformity.

Make the most out of your Instagram Stories!

10. Get your audience’s input with polls in your stories

Lookalike Audience FacebookSome of the new Stories features can help bend the bridge between you and your audience., and one of them is definitely the poll feature.

People have become increasingly tired of the hard sell approach, so tailoring messages to their needs and interests is more important than ever.

And the simple way to do so is by simply asking them, with the help of polls. Ask for opinions by posting clear and stright-forward questions.

This can help you improve products while making your audience feel directly connected to your business.

11. Work with influencers that connect to your brand

Since we’re talking about brand ambassadors, it’s also important to mention the incredible reach of Instagram influencers.

Working with an Instagram influencer can grow your following exponentially and can bring overnight success to any Instagram campaign successful.

But there’s a catch. You have to pick the right influencer for your brand. Someone that identifies with your values and bring over like-minded people to your page.

12. Be aware of your most engaging Instagram posts

Always check the data to see what kind of Instagram content is most interesting for your audience.

Going back to check your analytics tools and finding connections between your most successful posts is also an easy way to find out what your followers like.

Finally, think outside the box! Don’t hesitate to try out new things, but be mindful and aware of your audience’s needs. There are some things that you need to keep in mind, such as on-brand content, top-quality images, user-generated content, friendly and engaging posts, and trending topics.

The Significance of SEO in Web Design

The Significance of SEO in Web Design

By | seo advice for business

People go online to search for different types of information and this means that your company needs a strong online presence. Many users need to carry out searches before they make a purchase. Your business thus requires a website that will be ranked on the first page of search results. Websites represent companies and have the ability to determine whether or not users will be receptive to them.

Search Results

Having a website is important but in order for it to help your business become more profitable, it needs to be seen in search results whenever searches are carried out using particular keywords. This is based on the tendency of people to search according to what they are looking for, such as product or service.

Websites that do not appear on the first page of search engine results when people carry out searches can be regarded as non-existent among online users. This is why you need to ensure that your site ranks highly for specific keywords so that search engines place your site higher than several others that are related to the same keywords. SEO includes a variety of factors and plays a critical role in web design.

Value of SEO

website popWeb design and SEO work together and more web designers are choosing to integrate SEO when designing websites. It is important for business owners to be aware of how important SEO is in web design and the value it adds to the design process.

A web design that is compatible with SEO is likely to draw more traffic. A website may be attractive and dazzling but if it is not search-engine friendly, you restrict the ability of major search engines to access your content.

If your website content is not readily accessible to search engines, it will not have a high ranking in the search results. Integrating SEO appropriately in your web design includes aspects such as technology, navigation, linking and content.

Content, Keywords and Links

The content on your web pages is vital for SEO success. During the process of building your site, it is advisable for the web designer to be aware of what your business entails. This makes it possible for lists of keywords to be selected in the initial stages of development according to what users are likely to search for when looking for information that relates to the site.

Content is essential in SEO but should be used properly to avoid any unethical practices that may lower our ranking or lead to search engines penalizing your site. Strategic and meaningful placement of keywords will help you get a better ranking for your web pages in search results.

content marketingAdding keywords to content while creating the web pages will help to cut down on the time used to change content on web pages for the purpose of SEO.

Link building enables you to have links directed from other credible sites to help you achieve better search engine rankings for your website. In order for quality content and proper link building to yield the best results, web design needs to cater for SEO.

SEO is as critical as the design concepts for your website. If the site is designed while incorporating SEO, the web pages will soon start ranking higher and attracting more users through search engines. Find out how you can analyze a web design company through its portfolio here.

Search Engine Friendly Sites

Search engine optimization constitutes a range of things including content, keywords, and title tags. If you are not sure of how to implement SEO, you can consult a professional web design service that will help you create an SEO compliant site.

Search engines require relevant and original content along with suitable visual elements such as videos and images. Search engines invest a lot in bandwidth and sites that are easy to crawl through require fewer resources.
Web designers create SEO compliant sites that can be crawled faster and easier by search engines. Technology and navigation are among the factors that are considered in search engine optimization. The objective of search engines is to enhance the usability of the web.

Make sure that SEO is incorporated into your web design process right from the start. After spending a considerable amount of time, money and effort in creating your site, you need to ensure that as many as people as possible will be able to access it.

Visual Appeal and Ranking

Good web designers are aware of the importance of creating attractive sites with SEO in mind. SEO enables you to get better ranking for your site on the web. When users search for products that are available on your website, they will be able to see it as soon as they type in the keywords.

A higher ranking for your website will increase the possibility of your site getting more clicks. It is important for you to drive more traffic to your website because the people who visit your site may become your customers.

Overall Design

The design of your home page is important because it is the first impression of your website and business that your visitors get. Good web design should leave a lasting and positive impression. It is always a good idea to have a clean and clutter-free home page that will not cause your visitors to leave as soon as they log on.

Consider other aspects such as the sizes of your images, navigation, user and search engine friendliness, colors, and overall design. Responsive design is a popular concept because it involves designing for various devices. With the ongoing advancements in technology and increase in online visitors, SEO practices continue to evolve.

Conclusion

Web designers now have access to more technology and options than they did and this is evident in how advanced web designing has become. When you design a website, the user should always be a priority because this helps to determine SEO rankings. This is based on various technicalities and makes it necessary to always prioritize the end user during the design process.

Web design is beneficial for businesses, customers, and search engines when it is not complex or overwhelming. It should lead to links and content that users need while giving businesses the opportunity to reach more people.

Facebook to Impose Limits on Number of Ads

Facebook to Impose Limits on Number of Ads

By | Social Media News

Facebook has announced a new initiative around the number of ads that can be shown by Pages based on their spend size.

This new enforcement on ad limits will begin rolling out in February of next year, and continue through the summer.

Why Limit Volume?

website design

Facebook is stressing more ad volume doesn’t mean better performance.

Adding more of anything to Facebook creates the need for it optimize. But, it can actually prevent that from happening effectively. Brands may notice certain ad creatives get few, if any, impressions and may find the status stuck in the Learning Phase for awhile.

Every time an ad is shown, the algorithm builds its learnings, but more ads means each version is shown less times.

Facebook cites that 4 in 10 ads never exit the Learning Phase at all. This also means budget is being spent and taking longer (or maybe never) to optimize for winners, costing brands more money in the long run.

Volume Limits

Facebook will be bucketing each advertiser by size, into one of four groups. The size is determined by the Page and its highest spend in a given month. It is not creating the limits based on the ad account itself.

Groups are based on their spend within the past year, with a higher spend meaning a higher threshold for number of ad creatives that may run.

  • Small to medium sized Pages (advertising less than $100K in their highest spending month in the last 12 months) – 250 ads
  • Medium to large sized Pages (advertising less than $1M in their highest spending month in the last 12 months) – 1,000 ads
  • Larger Pages (advertising less than $10M in their highest spending month in the last 12 months) – 5,000 ads
  • Largest Pages (advertising $10M or more in their highest spending month in the last 12 months) – 20,000 ads

Social MediaAdvertisers will be able to view their assigned ad limit via a tool in Ads Manager called Ad Limits per Page.

If a Page has multiple ad accounts, limits can be set by person or by partner to avoid different ad accounts over-using inventory and blocking another ad account from being able to publish new ads.

Ad accounts with a limit imposed by the parent Page can see their limits in the Ad Limits per Page section, as well.

If advertisers try to launch ads that would exceed their allowed limit, they will be unable to. Removing or pausing live versions will open slots back up to publish new ads.

The ad limits are the total of what can be running at any given time. The total will include anything already running, but will also include anything that’s under review and not yet live.

Facebook cautions against creating a second Page to get around the rule for three reasons:

  • Your two pages would be competing against one another in the ad auction.
  • The algorithm will now be creating two separate sets of learnings instead of one combined master data set.
  • Brands then have to manage more than one Page, as both would be tied to their business identity.

The Push for Consolidation

adsThis continues to be another move in the drive for consolidation on the platform. Facebook consistently highlights that their ad platform optimizes a brand’s budget most effectively when it has a large data set to use.

Other recent changes to help this happen more often includes things like removing redundant or less-used targeting categories, along with Facebook’s ongoing encouragement to advertisers they make target audiences as large as possible to allow the algorithm to optimize.

In many cases, advertisers find running no targeting and just setting an optimization goal can work surprisingly well.

It isn’t clear in the announcement if there are nuances in what’s considered “one ad” for things like dynamic creative, where they’re technically one ad placement with multiple creative options that rotate.

We will continue to follow the development of this new roll-out. Their official announcement is here, and the help documentation can be found here.

This Is What Bark.com Said About Us…

By | Networking Bizz News

If you haven’t considered working with an agency for your company yet…

Here’s what you should know…

Instead of hiring someone in-house and training them for weeks…

You could rely on an agency and have them do all the professional work for you.

That way, you won’t waste time micromanaging more people…

You’ll spend a lot less paying an agency than a full-time worker…

And you’ll have more confidence in a team that already has the latest tools to help you achieve your goals faster.

For example, it’s better to rely on a website designer to build your website for you (if you don’t know a thing about websites).

When you use someone else’s expertise, you can spend time focusing on your best.

Instead of wasting time trying to figure things out on your own.

And you can ensure the quality of your website will be great since professionals will handle it.

The same goes for SEO services too…

If you don’t have the proper resources in-house to help you increase your SEO…

You should consider letting an agency take over and speed up your success.

Because the sooner you can make improvements, the more results you’ll see.

Imagine when more customers start to notice your business more because your SEO ranking increased…

That would be well worth the time and money spent for a greater ROI.

And if you’re not sure where to look for to work with the right agency…

We always recommend finding an agency that has proven they have experience in the field (and some credibility helps too).

Like Networking Bizz, our team works hard to earn our recognition.

Because we would like our clients to continue trusting us…

And we sure proved our dedication when we achieve the certificate of excellence again from Bark.

Here’s a look at how the badge looks:

Excellence

You see, Bark.com is a reputable platform where business owners can find the right agencies to work with.

And we won our award by building up our reviews, responding in time, and completing our profile so that visitors can learn more about our performance.

So if you think you need extra help from an agency instead of interviewing candidates until you find the right people to hire…

Why not just let Networking Bizz handle all your marketing matters?

We’re confident about helping your business grow in 2020!

So if you would like a free consultation from us today…

You can reach us at +1(213) 792-4577.

Talk to you soon 🙂

 

5 Reasons Your Ecommerce Store Needs a Mobile App Today

5 Reasons Your Ecommerce Store Needs a Mobile App Today

By | E Commerce Business News

Ecommerce websites and mobile commerce, or m-commerce, options aren’t an either/or situation. Both play different roles in the customer journey and cater to different audiences. What is essential is that you don’t overlook mobile experiences while designing the eCommerce strategy for your business.

According to Pew Research, 8 out of 10 Americans are online shoppers, and 51 per cent of them use mobile devices for shopping. If you aren’t leveraging mobile traffic, your business is likely missing out vital conversions even as you are reading this.

While a responsive website is an excellent starting point in your m-commerce journey, having a mobile app has distinct advantages over mobile websites. Here is a list of compelling reasons why your eCommerce business needs to go for mobile app development in addition to having a mobile-responsive website.

1. Ease of use and better user experience

user experienceEven if you have a responsive website, every time the user logs onto it, the browser would prompt the user to sign into the account to continue with the shopping. In the case of mobile apps, the user details are stored in the app and the users only have to sign in once, when they download the app.

Since the users don’t need to sign in every time they shop, the ease of use is higher and the resultant user satisfaction is also high. Mobile applications also allow the users to switch between the different tabs, making navigation and overall user experience simpler as compared to that of the website.

2. Access to phone-native features

mobile phone featuresThe phone’s native capabilities can be leveraged using mobile apps, which isn’t a possibility in the case of mobile websites. The integration of built-in smartphone components like GPS and cameras provides the user with enhanced user experience. Interactive shopping using augmented and virtual reality is an app-only feature.

Another advantage is the fact that native apps are available for offline use. While the apps do take up space on the user’s device, they can be used even when the phone is not connected to the internet, resulting in an on-the-go shopping experience for the users.

3. Using mobile apps as a marketing channel

Mobile apps give you a chance to deliver a unified omnichannel experience to the customers. Apps can allow social media integration that combines the different channels of customer engagement. The customer preferences are saved within the app, leading to tailored content being displayed to the relevant customers.

Using geofencing and push notifications sent out to the user’s device when they are in proximity of the physical stores or in case of any special offer can also result in a more engaged customer base.

4. Seamless checkout with multiple payment optionsemail marketing

Shopping-cart abandonment is the biggest issue that retail businesses face. Whether in-store or on an eCommerce platform, customers are more likely to give up on completing shopping if the checkout process seems cumbersome.

Mobile apps remove friction from the checkout process by making it interactive. The widespread popularity of mobile wallets exists only because they allow fast processing of transactions. Features such as fingerprint scanning and facial recognition help remove friction from the checkout and payment process by enabling faster authentication.

5. Incorporation of advanced tech for interactive customer experience

AIMobile apps and technology go hand-in-hand. Incorporation of augmented reality in smartphone apps is already taking place, with brands such as IKEA and Sephora spearheading the transformation. The incorporation of AR/VR in apps makes them more interactive and results in engaging customer experiences.

Apps also allow for the integration of artificial intelligence in the form of chatbots in order to facilitate the customer in searching for their preferred items and getting them through the checkout. Personalized shopping assistants that are powered by machine-learning algorithms would soon become the norm, making shopping easy and fun — as it should be.

6 Reasons Why You Need a Digital Strategy

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

One of the biggest game-changers of the past decade has been how people are consuming content. Advertising has adapted to that change by getting their products in front of people where they spend most of their time, on their screens! Space to communicate personal content and connect is now morphing into space to find out the latest news or trends as and when they unfold.

The debate about the pros and cons of digital media versus traditional media is ongoing. We might not know the answer to that question, but we do know that having a digital marketing strategy is extremely important for any new age company.

1. Measurable

brand strategyOne of the biggest advantages of digital advertising is that it’s measurable to the extent of impressions, clicks and conversions. Companies can calculate the exact return on their investment and optimize based on which platform or placement is giving them the best results. As opposed to traditional media where advertisers were throwing darts in the dark hoping their investment would yield results over a period of them

There are ways to gauge the monetary worth of traditional media but at the end of the day, it’s mostly relative and approximate. With digital media, that’s not the case. It’s specific, targeted and involves a whole lot of number crunching with which you can actually see the results in monetary terms.

2. Cost-Effective

costDigital media, unlike traditional, doesn’t demand that we pay all in advance and then wait for the results. It usually follows a pay-as-you-go model; whether you chose a pay-per-impression or clicks or conversion you only pay for what you use. Like traditional, it’s necessary to set aside a budget beforehand, but the money utilised is usually based on the model you create. It entails that you don’t pay the entire budget, but pay only in accordance to the clicks or engagements that you receive. In contrast, TV, magazine and OOH ads are notoriously expensive and unpredictable.

3. Flexible

With traditional, one can choose which medium works best for them and use slots based on that. Like what TV channel to pick or what slot on the radio to advertise in, etc. However, once the investment is made, there is little change that one can bring about in the plan since slots or channels can’t readily be interchanged in case the campaign doesn’t farewell. Digital marketing allows us to target the exact audience that we wish to get in front of and in a manner that resonates better with them. It could be with organic posts, video ads, and carousels, etc. and in case the campaigns don’t fare well, we can update, alter or entirely scrap them if need be.

4. Automatic optimisation as per platform

Smaller brands sometimes don’t have the resources to deploy on advertising and data analysis as they focus on the product. Digital marketing platforms help by optimizing the ads based on the type of people engaging with them and show the ads to only those people. That being said it is important to review your ads on a regular basis because at the end of the day no one knows your customer the way you do.

5. Gives room for creative storytelling

story tellingWith more and more digital ad formats being introduced every day, the possibilities in storytelling seem endless. Each format has a purpose on the type of storytelling you want to do. For example, Facebook offers canvas ads that allow the user to click on the ad and it is redirected to a native Facebook page with your products, videos and text that allow you to weave a story around your products. Google introduced showcase ads under shopping ads that allow different products of the same category to be clubbed together and be shown to the customer. There are other visual-based ads and text-based ads that you can test from and see which format allows you to represent your product in the most creative way.

6. Customer understanding

Never has there been a time where advertisers can get feedback on their products in a matter of clicks. Digital marketing gives room for direct interaction with the customers. Even though the ads are via the platforms, one can see how the customers are engaging, what they like or prefer over the other. This gives us a lot of scopes to understand the customer’s perspective on our campaigns and how we can improve and build on them further. With every change, we get the new insight which in turn helps us better the entire strategy.

It is important to understand that advertising moves with how consumers interact with each other and from where they get information. Traditionally consumers used magazines and newspapers, now they consume information on Google, Facebook and Instagram. It is important for advertisers to recognize these trends and tweak their advertising strategy accordingly.

Advanced tactics for SEO title tag optimization

Advanced Tactics for SEO Title Tag Optimization

By | Digital Marketing & Google News

Title tags are the clickable headline that shows up on the SERP. Dictated by an HTML element that reflects the title of a web page, these tags are designed to help search engines understand the content of the page. There are key reasons why title tags are important.

It’s the first thing someone sees when conducting a search.

People may ignore your content, they may skim over it, they may ignore your meta description, your bread crumbs. But everybody, when they do a Google search, sees your title tag as the number one decision.

Title tags are a ranking factor

content marketingTitle tags still influence click-through rate. No matter what you do, the title tag more than any other element that displays in the SERPs influences whether or not people are going to click your result.

A mix of science and psychology

Even if a title tag doesn’t help you rank, it can still be a critical touchpoint to entice people into clicking. With the right language and messaging, title tags can play into a searcher’s curiosity and answer the question

Title tags are easy to test

You can change your title tag, go to Google Search Console, recrawl, reindex the URL, and see the changes in Google search results, sometimes within minutes. From there, SEOs can examine the performance over the next few days to it had an effect. And also, if things don’t work out, you can easily change your title tag back.

Going beyond the title tag basics

For beginners in SEO, there are a few general ground rules for when you’re just starting out with title tags. We know that we only want one title per page, that the title should be relatively short – 50 to 60 characters – the title should be unique, meaning it shouldn’t be a duplicate of other titles on your site.

Other important considerations: use your target keywords (but avoid stuffing) and write compelling copy that answers the user’s query and will entice them to click through.

How to write compelling titles

Noticeable

In the below example of a Google search result for the best time to visit Europe, the title tags essentially all say the same thing. There is nothing noticeable about these results. They’re just using the keyword but there’s nothing enticing me to click. There’s nothing to differentiate one of these results from any other result.

best time to visit europePromising

When a title is promising, it tells you what you should expect when you click. It goes beyond the keyword to promise you something to satisfy an emotional need. And good titles typically offer this.

When writing title tags, SEOs should think about how to use promising language to satisfy those needs as people search. Six ways to make title tags more promising for searchers:

  • Surprise them
  • Thrill them
  • Impress them
  • Educate them
  • Reassure them
  • Help them

Relevancy

Without relevancy, the elements of ‘noticeable’ and ‘promising’ can be easily diluted.

Why Building a Personal Brand Is More Important Than Ever

Why Building a Personal Brand Is More Important Than Ever

By | Online Entrepreneur News

A personal brand allows you to build more trust between your business and colleagues and clients alike. It also boosts your reputation and motivates others to want to do business with you. Now more than ever, there is a strong need for entrepreneurs to build a personal brand.

A strong company brand is vital to your success for several reasons. We’re living in a time of unpredictability, and there’s a lot of noise and competition to cut through online. Technology and online search engines make it easier than ever for customers to research companies before making a purchase. They’re becoming more discerning in their choices and selecting companies that are seen as trustworthy and authentic.

Personal branding in detail

Personal BrandingAn effective personal brand can help you excel and reach your goals, but it also needs to manifest a positive impact on others, as well as drive business results. “Personal branding is a major part of marketing that most business owners are missing out on,” says Luke Lintz, CEO of HighKey Agency. “Your personal brand is the easiest way for you to connect to your potential customer and is the easiest way to showcase your product or brand without coming across as heavy promotion.”

You can’t achieve personal branding by publishing a flashy website or selling trendy and popular products without any sense of direction. It’s about creating and selling an experience and being able to offer quality and unique insights with a sense of authority. When you can consciously and intentionally influence public perception and consumers, you can elevate your credibility.

Benefits of building a personal brand

personal branding toolsThere are a variety of benefits that will come from you putting in the time and effort to build a personal brand. For example, you’re more visible online, which is where consumers are spending the majority of their time. It’s in your best interest to become more accessible and to engage with your online audience.

Also, the more visible you are, the greater the spotlight shines on you and your brand. Take advantage of this reality as an opportunity to transform as you learn and to flex to the ever-changing world around you. Be adaptable to how your target market is evolving and what they’re up to so that you can achieve long-lasting success. Go slow and be secure about your personal brand and what you have to offer.

Another benefit is that you’re going to be able to stand apart from the crowd when you can build a reliable personal brand. Your business vision and mission should be driven by your personalized story, including your language and tone. It should be unmatchable and allow you to stake your claim in your industry. Your messaging and actions need to be consistent with what you stand for if you’re going to create more trust with your customers. You need to be able to relate to your clients on a human level and show that you’re more than just a brand.

Building a personal brand will also help to position yourself as a thought leader. You become the gatekeeper of information that your customers want to know and learn more about. You’re on the right path when your target audience finds value in the knowledge you have to share.

Reasons why personal branding is more important than ever

personalIt’s good for business when you encourage your employees to build a strong personal brand. Your employees are representing your brand in their professional and personal lives, plus it’s a chance for your company to gain more exposure. You need everyone at your workplace to be working together to elevate your personal brand by building trust with clients and having customers view each of you as a thought leader. It’s also imperative that you’re proactive about managing your online reputation, whether you’re an employee or a company. You risk losing business and tarnishing your character if you aren’t managing it effectively.

Be patient

It’s vital to be patient and remember that building a personal brand takes time. You are unlikely to experience overnight or immediate results due to your efforts. Figure out what you want to be known for and then put measures in place to help you to achieve this goal. It’s in your best interest to be consistent and not flip-flop so that you can more quickly establish a strong personal brand. Honesty, transparency and authenticity are the key factors you need to set yourself apart and ensure that others have a desire to want to work with you now and in the future.

5 Future Ecommerce Trends of 2020

5 Future Ecommerce Trends of 2020

By | E Commerce Business News

Is your business joining the ecommerce revolution? If not, you could be missing out on the projected $4.8 trillion in retail ecommerce sales projected worldwide for 2021.

Companies embracing ecommerce marketing strategies are experiencing rapid growth. In 2017, there were 1.66 billion online buyers. This number is expected to skyrocket to 2.14 billion by 2021.

Prepare for the exciting future of ecommerce by implementing the emerging trends of 2020.

1. Personalization and Customer Engagement

customer care repCompared to traditional retail shopping, ecommerce stores lack face-to-face personal interaction. Online stores do not have a retail clerk who can recommend products based on your interests, tastes, and preferences.

To mimic this experience, ecommerce companies leverage personalization opportunities throughout the shopping journey. Much like online course providers are replacing the need for in-person teaching, ecommerce is replacing the need for in-store retail experiences.

Using personal online data such as search queries, page visits, and purchase history, brands transform their online stores to best serve the customer’s needs and interests. For instance, login to your Amazon account. You’ll find recommended products based on your past purchases, ads tailored to your search history, and marketing copy speaking directly to you. Expect more brands to follow suit as personalization technology becomes easier to integrate into ecommerce sites.

Much like personalized emails generate 6x higher transaction rates and convert better than cold emails, consumers spend 48% more when their experience is personalized. In an age where privacy is key, studies also showed 57 percent of online shoppers are comfortable with providing personal information to a brand, as long as it directly benefits their shopping experience.

Connecting your online store to a CRM like HubSpot will allow you to use your customer’s purchase and website behavior to personalize your marketing, emails, and even pages for abandoned cart nurturing, as well as upsell campaigns.

2. AI, Assistants, and Chatbots

chatbotAI assistants can handle a number of tasks typically assigned to a human, such as managing inventory or handling inquiries. These digital assistants carry out various processes, freeing up time for you to focus on other aspects of running the business.

For instance, chatbots can fulfill a number of customer service needs, from answering questions about a product to discussing a complaint. AI and chatbots also learn from customer conversations and evolve to better assist in a user’s personalized ecommerce experience.

As reported in a 2017 Statista study, 34 percent of respondents stated they would be comfortable getting answers to their questions from AI, such as a chatbot or virtual assistant, when shopping. You can easily get started yourself. Many tools like HubSpot’s Chatbot Builder allow you to create your own bot for free.

3. B2B Ecommerce Is Exploding

Top Ecommerce TrendWho said ecommerce was only for B2C brands? B2B companies are leveraging upcoming ecommerce trends, too. It’s even been projected that B2B ecommerce sales will increase worldwide to $6.6 trillion by the end of 2020.

In a survey of 500 B2B organizations, BigCommerce found that 80 percent accepted orders and payment via their website, further proving the growth of ecommerce in B2B industries moving forward.

Ecommerce personalization works wonders for B2B shoppers as well. Research found that 50 percent of B2B buyers desired personalization when searching for online suppliers with whom to build relationships.

4. Interactive Product Visualization

ProductsWe’ve all hesitated to hit the “Buy” button when shopping online. Before you enter your payment info, you begin to wonder:

“Is this product going to be exactly what I need?”

“Is this a quality product? Or, is this a knock-off?”

As a result, we have a strong need to interact with a product before we commit to a purchase. Online reviews and influencer trends aren’t enough. We want to see the product, feel it, hold it in our hands, and remove all feelings of doubt before purchasing.

While we were once satisfied with high-quality images of products, today’s technology lets us use virtual reality, 3D imaging, augmented reality, and more to interact with a product from the comfort of our laptop or smartphone.

Even ecommerce product videos have evolved to be more engaging. What was once a cheesy infomercial has transformed into an immersive, 360-degree online shopping experience.

Interactive product visualization technology seeks to bring the tangible in-store experience to online consumers and alleviate their hesitation prior to purchasing.

Converse, for example, offers customers the ability to customize their shoes online. During this process, users build their own design through turning, flipping, and zooming in on the shoe.

Prior to submitting their order, customers have full confidence they’ve built the exact shoes they desire thanks to the interactive nature of the process.

5. More Custom Retail Experiences

retail storeDid you think ecommerce was killing brick and mortar stores? If so, think again.

While many big-box stores are in fact going bankrupt, retail experiences aren’t going away – they’re just adapting to a new reality. Remember that in-person, physical product experience we just discussed? While interactive product technology, personalization, and chatbots all work to replicate that feeling online, no technology can truly replace every detail of an in-store experience.

With this in mind, brands are creating immersive retail experiences to further drive sales, hire more sales reps, and develop lasting customer relationships. For instance, Amazon is launching stores, named “4-Star,” throughout the United States. At these stores, you can interact with Amazon’s devices and top products in person. Other brands profiting from this new reality are brick and click stores, which combine a unified retail and ecommerce experience. These brands open retail stores with less square footage and employees, but a more personalized and interactive in-store visit.

With plenty of hosting providers to choose from and ecommerce platforms on the rise, companies are creating ecommerce experiences within a retail store via digital kiosks. As a user engages with the kiosk, it can perform a number of functions including providing personalized product suggestions or displaying interactive information about the product at hand.