Tag: eMarketing

4 Ways Small Businesses Can Master Marketing

4 Ways Small Businesses Can Master Marketing

One of the first hurdles a small business owner faces is getting the word out about her new business. Or, if the business is established, growing the business and attracting new customers. At the heart of driving sales is marketing. For business owners without marketing experience, this can seem overwhelming. The good news is there is a lot a small business owner can do to market a business easily and efficiently.

1. Define your unique value proposition (UVP).

The first step in marketing a business effectively is understanding your capabilities and the white space your business is filling in your industry.

Inevitably, you will face competition, so take the time to outline what sets you apart from your competitors. Become as informed as possible on your industry. Sign up for industry newsletters; read relevant trade publications; and consider participating in industry events. This will allow you to identify trends, and stay up-to-date with important news. It will also help you identify your competitors. Take a close look at what they are doing and how they present themselves to potential customers.

Then determine who your target customers are and what they want. This is important – one of the biggest small business marketing pitfalls is to assume you know your customer without doing research.

Clearly identify the service you are providing and the problem you are solving for your target customers. This will help you define your UVP – the unique benefit you are providing for your customers.

You’re not trying to sell to everyone, which is a good thing. Your goal is to clearly define who you are targeting, why they want your product and how best to reach them. Once you know that, your job is to consistently execute your marketing plan.

2. Maximize your online presence.

Armed with a clear understanding of your business and its industry, it’s time to market it to potential customers.

While there are many marketing channels to consider, typically the most efficient and cost-effective are online.

Take time to audit your online presence. An easy place to start is your website. Make sure the website design is consistent with your brand and that the site is easy for customers to navigate, and find the information they’re looking for.

If it’s appropriate for your business, make it easy for customers to sign up for a mailing list. This will enable you to build a database of customers, who give you permission to reach out to them regularly with product updates, interesting news or coupons.

In addition to listing your products or services, consider adding a blog to your website to provide tips and product or service updates to customers.

Beyond your own website, be sure to build your presence on and spend time managing review sites, like Yelp and Angie’s List. These help validate your business and can boost sales. You can even share good customer reviews on your website.

Whether you’re communicating via your website, a blog, an email, a third party review site or social media, be sure to keep a consistent voice. Every customer touchpoint is an opportunity to build your brand.

3. Start a conversation.

Social media channels are a low-cost way to get the word out about your business and build relationships with your target audience.

Choose a channel, which your customers are already on. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn serve very different purposes, so be smart in your choices, and think about the kind of content you like to post. Using platforms specific to your business makes it easy for customers to find and interact with your business online.

When it comes to posting on social media, consistency is key.

Create a schedule to ensure you are posting regularly so your audience knows to expect content. For example, plan for three posts a week, which you can draft in advance.

In order to keep content dynamic, take a three-prong approach:

  1. Talk about yourself and your business,
  2. Talk about your customers,
  3. And talk about your industry.

Share updates about what’s happening at your business, such as a new shipment you’ve received or a peek behind the scenes. Be sure to thank your customers, and engage them through questions.

Finally, share interesting news articles, and invite your social media followers to share their thoughts. In all social media posts, make sure you’re authentic and realistic so your audience can connect with you.

4. Consider paid content.

The paid aspects of social media can also be a great way to boost your business’ profile, and get in front of new customers.

For instance, you can target the exact type of customer you are looking to attract with advertising through Facebook and LinkedIn campaigns, based on the information individuals have shared on their profiles.

If you have the ability to incorporate this tailored approach into your budget and cash flow, it is an option worth exploring to supplement your free social media efforts. Sometimes a small campaign can make a big difference.

Regardless of size, every business owner can use the tools available to market their business successfully. Small business owners can be their own CMO, even without a marketing background, by developing a keen awareness of their industry landscape, building out their social media presence and developing their brand identity.

Source: entrepreneur.com

Social Media Strategy Goal

Social Media Strategy Goal

Do You have a Social Media Strategy Goal?

You can spend a lot of time on Social Media, creating materials, giveaways, interesting posts, promotions all in an effort to attract new customers or maybe just to get likes and followers.

But if you really want Social Media to work for you and you are serious about Social Media as a way to achieve your what you want, then you need to have a goal. Having a goal will focus you on how you measure your success and then how you optimise your social media efforts.

Based on your goal it may become obvious that certain Social Media platforms are not going to work for you, or that you need to be across multiple platforms to create the exposure and direct them where you want them to go. You may find that certain images, messages, words, videos, have more impact than others with your target audience.

Start with one or two and see how it can potentially focus your message and maybe even reduce your efforts.

Social Media Strategy Goal

How do you measure success

How do you measure success

There is a success in social media when you achieve more follower, like, shares, reach, impressions, mentions, reads and clicks. All of this means your brand, product or profile is getting more exposure on the internet. More exposure normally means more business.

So to measure your success in terms of the actual dollars is a little different. If you are using advertising there is the amount you spend to get the new customers. If you are just using posts, videos, images, SEO and blogs there is still a cost for the time and effort involved. In this image are some of the measure you can use.

Measure dollar success

How to Use Facebook Analytics for Your Website 

How to Use Facebook Analytics for Your Website 

Learn about implementing Facebook analytics on your website. Like any good analytics platform, there are many layers of information available. Once you have Facebook analytics installed on your website you are able to use the data for Facebook advertising. With this level of data, your advertising campaigns can be targeted toward the increasing number of people who are using Social Media search to find products and service.

This article is a good guide for getting Facebook analytics setup, using it to collect specific information and an overview of the reporting you can receive.

earn about implementing Facebook analytics on your website. Like any good analytics platform, there are many layers of information available. Once you have Facebook analytics installed on your website you are able to use the data for Facebook advertising. With this level of data, your advertising campaigns can be targeted toward the increasing number of people who are using Social Media search to find products and service.

This article is a good guide for getting Facebook analytics setup, using it to collect specific information and an overview of the reporting you can receive.

Source: How to Use Facebook Analytics for Your Website : Social Media Examiner

5 Ways You Should Be Using Social Media as Your Top PR Platform

5 Ways You Should Be Using Social Media as Your Top PR Platform

Social media helps PR fulfill a more nuanced role by helping with relationship management, identifying brand threats, and engaging influencers.

Back in the day, public relations professionals would give a statement on air, release it in print, or publish it online. Social media has disrupted the field, making public relations a faster-paced and more delicate matter.

We need only look to our Commander in Chief to know that a social platform like Twitter can now serve as the primary channel for a business, brand or celebrity to release official information about itself. The lesson here is clear. Businesses that fail to use social media to manage their reputations may not only lose reach in the digital world, but may not even be noticed amid all the noise. For PR purposes, few modern mediums pack the same punch as social media. Here’s how professionals are now using social platforms as their primary option for managing information about a client or company.

The Evolution of Public Relations

Before digitalization, public relations professionals primarily engaged with the public after a major change. They announced new offerings, minimized reputation damage, and reacted to industry changes as the face of the organization. With the blossoming of social media, that’s evolved. Now many public relations professionals play a much more nuanced role. They may proactively engage in reputation management activities, counsel leadership, and identify potential problems in a business’s relationship with the public.

Social media eliminates the walls between members of the public and a brand, shortens the time a company has to react to relevant stories, and blurs the line between marketing and public relations. Often, public relations’ and marketing professionals’ roles overlap on social media.

Crafting and maintaining a positive public appearance requires a balance of engaging content and a careful awareness and reaction to public opinions. For brand reasoning, explanations, and crisis response, modern public relations professionals may look to social media as the first line of defense in an increasingly connected world.

How Public Relations Professionals Use Social Media

Social media can help public relations professionals meet their goals or it can hinder the reputation management process, depending on the situation. Some of the most common ways public relations teams use social media include:

  1. To find influencers – Influencers give brands a voice they could never use on their own. Social media influencers have massive digital followings that brands can tap into to promote offerings and protect reputations. When public relations professionals create relationships between brands and influencers, they’re really adding another line of both promotion and defense the brand can use to its advantage.
  2. To identify brand threats – Social listening gives professionals the power to understand the public’s opinion before it turns into a trending topic. They can proactively find and address online threats and possibly prevent a major brand reputation crisis. To think like a public relations expert, consider using one of the dozens of social listening tools out there to understand what social media users really think.
  3. To influence journalist’s stories – The public can actually see PR professionals on social media when they address a crisis, but many work behind the scenes to shape a brand’s image. When a trending topic arises, journalists often put their ear to social media to see what people are saying. Public relations professionals will often join that online discussion in order to influence journalists to present a certain angle. PR pros may not always end up seeing the published story they’d like, but they can still use social media as a tool to keep their angle in the public eye.
  4. To swiftly react to negative press – Social media is one of the first places people look for a brand’s reaction to a negative claim. Public relations professionals may use a company account to craft and publish an immediate response and to direct the public to another medium for more information. Social media gives public relations professionals immediate access to a large, attentive audience.
  5. To make announcements – Word travels fast on Twitter, so public relations professionals often use the platform to announce awards, product launches, and company updates. With captivating short snippets and links, professionals can reach a much wider audience via social media than traditional forums.

Social media is a natural fit for public relations and one of many tools businesses can use to protect and promote their reputations. When public relations and marketing teams combine their efforts on social media, brands often enjoy immediate positive results.

Think Like a Public Relations Professional on Social Media

Regardless of professional public relations support, all businesses can use their social media accounts to help manage public opinion. Don’t wait for others to create stories about your brand. Create interest with some public relations influencing tactics. Create flattering and engaging stories about your brand, react to other large stories, and react publicly to negative comments. Think like a public relations expert and create content like a marketer on social media to boost your reputation and earn new followers.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

Source: 5 Ways You Should Be Using Social Media as Your Top PR Platform | Inc.com

5 Tips on Creating a Killer Facebook Ad Campaign

5 Tips on Creating a Killer Facebook Ad Campaign

 

While just about every social-networking platform now has its own fully integrated advertising system, Facebook still reigns supreme in terms of features, insights and audience. As a business, that means Facebook is the ideal place to start. But unfortunately, just because Facebook is a great platform for advertising doesn’t mean all brands use it effectively. Many end up wasting money and throwing resources down the drain, because they have no strategy or don’t understand how to use it. Hopefully that’s not you. All it takes to succeed is a little knowledge of how Facebook advertising works and what some of the best practices are.

Here are my five tips for creating a killer Facebook ad campaign:

1. Mine audience insights.

Facebook’s Audience Insights is one of the best tools you have at your disposal. It essentially allows you to learn about specific audiences before risking your budget or targeting them. It works by mining available Facebook data and showing you exactly who your target market is, based on people who already like your page.

Instead of taking a shot in the dark, you now know exactly which users are likely to follow through with your ad’s call-to-action. It saves a lot of time and money, allowing you to focus on the quality of the ad and avoid wasting time on targeting.

2. Create unique ad sets for each audience.

One of the neatest features of Facebook’s advertising platform is that you can create separate ad sets for unique audiences. In other words, you can create two different ads and deliver them to two completely unique audiences. Or you can create the same exact ad and send it to two different audiences. Ultimately, the result is better targeting.

For example, let’s say you’re a retailer that sells kitchen supplies. Maybe you have a really awesome new stainless steel mixing bowl that you’re trying to market to two different groups. Instead of delivering the same ad to everyone, you can create two unique ads and deliver them to two distinct target markets. The first ad could be targeted towards professional chefs, whereas the second one may be focused on stay-at-home moms who like quality chef-grade kitchen supplies. The two ads will be completely different, despite the fact that the same item is being pushed.

3. Accompany ads with landing pages.

Very rarely should you connect an ad to your website or product page without first pushing visitors through a landing page. Landing pages allow you to maximize your Facebook advertising efforts by educating users before asking them to buy.

Landing pages make sense because Facebook advertising isn’t cheap. You’re going to spend money on your clicks and you want each one to count. Simply sending them to a basic website or product page without any clear direction of what they need to do is a waste of money.

4. Use striking imagery

You’ll hear people teach entire courses on how to write Facebook ad copy, but for some reason, the same amount of attention isn’t given to the images used in these ads. This is unfortunate, since visual content is far more influential than textual content.

“You don’t have to use a shot of your business, product or service,” says Nicolas Gremion of Free-eBooks.net. “Rather use a (relevant if possible) image that will catch people’s eyes and have them read your ad.” Facebook tells you that you can’t use images that contain more than 20 percent words, so it’s clear that images are designed to grab attention, not display a message. Take advantage of this valuable real estate within your ad.

5. Establish a bid strategy and budget

Finally, it’s critically important that you set a bid strategy and budget. Otherwise you’ll end up spending way more than you intended. Thankfully, Facebook makes this easy by allowing you to use what’s known as Optimized CPM.

With this tool, you’re essentially giving Facebook the permission to bid for ad space based on the constraints and goals you provide. This generally allows you to maximize your budget and avoid overspending. Until you get an idea of how much ad space costs and how to allocate your budget, it’s best to let Facebook take care of this aspect of your campaign.

Putting it all together

Creating a killer Facebook ad campaign is all about understanding the platform and utilizing the features you have at your disposal. While you certainly need to think about the ad itself, you have to start with the platform you’re using. Once you determine who you’re targeting and how much you’re willing to spend, you can then focus on the finer details.

Using these five tips, you should be able to get started and experience some initial success. As always, remember that Facebook is constantly changing its advertising platform, so stay on top of any new developments and apply them accordingly.

Source: Create a killer Facebook campaign

7 Simple High-ROI SEO Tactics for 2017

7 Simple High-ROI SEO Tactics for 2017

SEO is changing so often that it can be hard to decide what you should be focusing on. So let’s go over 9 simple SEO tactics for 2017 that will skyrocket your web traffic.

1) Cross-Link to Your Own Pages

If you go to QuickSprout, or NeilPatel, you’ll notice that Neil links to other blog posts in the sidebar.

QuickSprout Guides

If you link to your most popular pages using keywords that you want to get ranked for, like “online marketing” or “digital marketing,” you start climbing the rankings. It sometimes takes six months to a year, but you rank really well.

On Google, Neil ranks number one and two (Quick Sprout and Neil Patel) for “online marketing.” Just think about how competitive that keyword is. And you know how many links he has been manually building to those guides? Zero. All he’s doing is making sure that he links to those pages on every single one of his blog posts.

2) Featured Snippets

You’ll notice that when you Google something now, there’s a box that pops up with a quick answer. This is called a featured snippet, and it shows up now before the first search result. We’re still not entirely sure how to rank into the featured snippet, but a lot of research has gone into this.

Google featured snippet

Moz did a really good post on this called Ranking #0. Basically, you want to make sure you’re using your H1 header tags properly, followed by a short snippet that describes what you’re writing about. For example, let’s say your H1 header title is What is Digital Marketing? Right after, you should explain what digital marketing is in a snippet.

If you do that, Google (which is getting a lot better at machine learning) will detect that your page has a great definition for this common keyword question phrase, and will start linking to you in the featured snippet for that keyword phrase.

Moz tested this with one of their own pages on domain authority. They were #1 in SERPs, but another agency took the #0 featured snippet spot from them. So Moz rewrote their H1 header and snippet for that page, and suddenly they were ranking for the snippet, too. They took away that spot from their competitor agency.

If you already have the #1 spot, ranking for the featured snippet may not seem like a big deal, but the data shows otherwise:

Ranking #0 in the SERPs can increase your click-through rates anywhere from 33-100%.CLICK TO TWEET

3) Optimize Title Tags

Let’s hypothetically say that you have the number one spot, and you worked hard for it by creating excellent content. Now let’s say a competitor creates a new page and starts ranking at #2, but their content isn’t as good. If everyone starts skipping the #1 result (your page) and they start clicking on the #2 result, what does this tell Google?

If you find this happening to you, then you need to optimize your title tags. Everyone looks at title tags, but most of the time they’re only thinking about keywords. Sure, you should research your keywords, but if your title tag isn’t appealing and people don’t want to click on it, you aren’t going to rank well.

But if you’re getting more clicks than everyone else around you in rankings, Google will keep moving you up—until someone else outperforms you with their click-through rate because they have a better title tag.

How do you make your title tag really appealing? By thinking like a human. Ask yourself, “What would someone want to read and click on?” For example, when I search the keyword “SEO,” one of the most popular sites that comes up is Search Engine Land.

It’s not because they have the most links, it’s because their title tag is so simple: “What Is SEO?” It gets more clicks than something like “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO” or “The Advanced Guide to SEO” or “SEO Made Simple.” People love Googling for “what is…” and that works especially well with complex terms. So a beautiful title tag that entices clicks can skyrocket your rankings.

4) Page Scrape

Another excellent SEO tactic you can use, that kind of piggybacks on click-through rates, is second order page scraping. Go into Google Search Console and look for the keywords you’re ranking for. Let’s say you’re ranking on page two of SERPs, for example, and you’re on the cusp of getting to page one. You’re aiming for that top 5 ranking so you can have a higher click-through rate and drive more traffic.

In order to do that, go to Google Search Console and make a spreadsheet with rankings where you’re ranked in positions #10-20. With that, you have that list and you can start using Neil’s tactics for building links and cross linking. And as I’ve said before, you should always work on improving your titles. Write better meta descriptions, too. See if you can drive click-through rates higher as well.

One of my friends who’s been working with enterprise SEO says that Google likes to audition you. The idea is that, if you’re getting higher click-through rates while you’re going through the “audition,” you’re going to be able to get onto page one. I can’t say conclusively that I have a lot of data around it, but I’ve tested it myself and I think it is worth testing.

5) Write Epic Content (2,000+ Words)

If you check out the Single Grain blog, you’ll notice that I have a lot of blog posts that are very long—2,000 words or more, even 4,000-6,000 words long. Why? Because the more keywords you have on a page, the more long-tail terms you’ll rank for. You don’t need to shove in keywords or rank for anything specific—this is just a common sense equation:

More words in your blog post = more things Google can end up ranking you for.CLICK TO TWEET

SerpIQ did a study on this showing that webpages that rank in the top 10 results have at least 2,000 words. So if you can write detailed, lengthier content, you’re much more likely to get more search traffic. You don’t want to just shove in words purely for fluff so you can meet the minimum two thousand word count, though—you want to take the time to write really good, thorough content that gives people value.

6) Transcribe Videos

If you’re producing more and more videos, make sure you’re transcribing them. Rev is pretty cheap and very reliable; it’s just $1 per minute. Why do you want to transcribe your videos? Because search engines can’t crawl videos yet—but they can crawl text. Transcribing your videos will go a long way towards helping you rank higher.

Transcribe your videos

It should also be pointed out that transcribing these videos helps boost SEO, but turning them into edited blog posts is even better. Perhaps it goes without saying, but Google will crawl and rank a properly formatted, readable blog post that you’re promoting on social more than just a video with an unedited transcript.

7) Optimize Images

And finally, another tactic that I love leveraging is optimizing images. Google can’t crawl videos, but it can crawl images to an extent. Remember—Google has a tab just for images. If you’re in the consumer-based, B2C world, using alt tags or long description tags and actually naming your image files (not image01.jpg) will greatly increase the chance that your images show up higher in results.

Google’s even integrating images within text-based search these days. So, if you can optimize your image file names and use proper alt tags plus proper keywords for the page on your website where the image appears, you’ll start ranking really well, and you’ll be getting tons and tons of visitors.

Naming is not the only way to optimize images.

The reality is, file size matters more than you think. Files consume lot of space in your web directory.

The file size correlates to a bunch of factors. The first being the file format or extension. The most common image file extensions are JPEG, PNG, BMP, and TIFF and the list goes on. These file formats vary either by picture quality or size. Higher resolution means larger files. Lower resolution means smaller files. If you decide to trade image quality for file size, you might be losing to other sites because their site loads faster with smaller size images.

Let’s talk a bit about the tools that will help you optimize images without compromising quality.

Kraken.io is one tool that’ll help you achieve image optimization. Remember your ultimate goal here is to load your site faster.

By this, you can hit two birds with one stone. Your user is happy, and Google is happy. So they’ll rank you higher. Yes, one of 200 matrices of Google is the longer it takes your site to load, the lower your ranking.

Using this, you can hit two birds with one stone. Your user is happy and Google is happy to rank you higher.

8) Performance Test

Now that you have taken all measures to optimize your images, you still need to test your website for other anomalies.

Testing isn’t just loading the website on your work/home laptop from hi-speed internet. Not all users have access to hi-speed internet with iPhone 7 plus or a Surface Pro.

As a matter of fact, the latest statistics show that 60% of search comes from mobile devices. So your user may be viewing the website from a cheap android phone connected to 3G/2G network.

Google calculates your site speed based on load time of all users put together. Remember… it’s all about delivering exceptional user experience. And that’s what Google ranks you on. Work with your developers on testing your website exhaustively on multiple desktop, mobile, tablets. Automated load testing is the key to achieve this. It’s easier if you have developer who has experience with automated tools like Browserstack or Selenium.

Browserstack:

Browserstack is an automated testing company. They provide a pretty easy and free tool called Screenshots that allows you to test a URL in more than 1000 browsers (old and new versions together) including Safari, Chrome, IE, Edge, Firefox and more.

Here is a quick test in 3 browsers on three different operative systems:

Note: Free plan is limited to 100 screenshots.

Don’t sweat if you don’t know which browser versions, operating systems, or devices to test. Next, I have two more web development tools that tell you the good and bad aspects of the websites.

Don’t be intimidated by the term ‘web development’. All you have to do is enter a url to run a test against a website. Let me show you a sample of the results from Yslow and PageSpeed Insights:

YSlow:

From the screenshot above, you’ll find the general metrics that YSlow grades you on. When it comes to fixing all the lower graded metrics, this tool gives an easy to understand solution without any technical jargon that a non-technical person should be able to fix.

PageSpeed Insights:

This tool was developed by Google that gives you a score based on performance on mobile and desktop devices.

Enter the URL and click “Analyze”:

Here is a screenshot of mobile and desktop results:

The list under ‘Possible Optimizations’ is you should be concerned about. Each item is followed by a ‘Show how to fix’ link, which is pretty convenient.

It should be pretty obvious that YSlow looks more user friendly for a non-technical person. Their grading system makes it easy to interpret the results than PageSpeed. PageSpeed gives two separate scores for mobile and desktop devices.

The links to how to fix all the bad stuff are very helpful to raise the score of your website.

9) Think Mobile First

As mentioned earlier, this is the age of mobile first.

60% of the search is performed from a mobile device. You want to cater to this user group. Mobile first doesn’t mean you need a native mobile app. You can design a single website to target both mobile and desktop users simultaneously. Such a website design is called Responsive design.

Responsive design isn’t as taxing as it sounds. All you need is to select the right mobile template and the right framework. If you have a very old website which doesn’t conform to the principles of responsive design, you’ll be better off building a website from scratch than redoing the whole website.

You can find tons of responsive design templates here.

You may not realize this but millennials, being mostly mobile users, are gradually drifting to voice search from text search.

Voice search is more conversational, you need content that answers all what, why, when and where questions.  This can be done by adding FAQs page to your site or writing posts that answer these questions.

Another way to achieve the same, is with longer tail keywords. Answer these questions specifically and use respective keywords that aim to answer a user’s specific question.

Source: Single Grain