Posts Tagged ‘marketing’
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
Monday, May 6th, 2013
Image courtesy of patpitchaya/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
The right keywords for your brand and company are the foundation of a successful search engine optimisation strategy. If you’re just starting SEO at your business, or if it is time to revamp your current strategy and reassess the way you do things, choosing keywords is a vital step in the process.
Brainstorm Keywords that are Relevant to Your Brand
Start by brainstorming a list of keywords that are associated with your brand. Your list could be quite long, since it will include very general words as well as more specific words that reflect your business, what you do, your products and your services. Remember that the point of brainstorming is to come up with as many ideas as possible, so don’t hesitate when building this list.
Put Yourself in Your Markets’ Shoes
Now, consider your markets and think about what kinds of words they may use when they conduct searches. Think about words people would use if they were specifically looking for your business and words they might use if they are looking for the kinds of products and services you offer. This part of the process requires you to think differently, since you are likely very used to thinking about your business from an insider’s point of view.
Check Your Analytics
If you already have a website or blog with analytics, check to see what kinds of search terms are bringing people to your website. As you look at this list, add keywords you haven’t already thought of to your list of potential keywords.
Narrow Down Your List
At this point you likely have a nice long list of potential keywords. You probably have more than you need or that you can realistically target. Go back down your list and cross off the keywords that are extremely general and highlight the ones that you think will bring the best results. You may want to keep the words your audience is already using to find your website and words that are more unique to your specific business.
Add Long Tail Keywords
Examine the remaining keywords and add long tail keywords wherever possible. Long tail keywords are key phrases that make a more general keyword more specific. For example, a general keyword would be “printing services” long tail keywords would be “London printing services,” “affordable banner printing services,” or “sign printing services in London.”
Research Search Volume and Competition
Use a tool like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to decide which keywords you should target. Search for the keywords you have on your narrowed-down list and look at how many people search for the term and how competitive it is, or how hard it is to rank for the keyword. Google’s tool allows you to see related search terms, which can help you add more targeted keywords to your list.
When you finalize your keywords, keep in mind that you may have a few different categories of keywords to target. You may want to try to rank your product page for one keyword, and your home page for another keyword. You may also decide to use different keywords for different link-building and SEO techniques.
Many businesses want to know how many keywords they should target, but the answer to this question will be unique to each business and its goals and industry. Every business and every campaign will require a different amount of keywords. Also keep in mind that as your campaign develops and you begin ranking for certain words, or as your business changes, your list of keywords will also likely need to change.
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
Image courtesy of Jason Howie/Flickr.
If your business doesn’t use social media marketing or if it is not using it very successfully, it can be overwhelming to try to build an online presence. Some businesses are tempted to start using all social media channels available, only to find that their efforts aren’t paying off.
By strategically implementing a social media marketing plan, you can make sure you are using the channels available to you to their fullest potential and reaching your target market with the correct message.
Prioritize Social Media Networks
Not all social media networks lend themselves to all businesses. It’s very likely that there are two or three networks that are better for your business than others. Consider your business goals, where your target market is likely to be, and what kinds of messages you want to send through social media. Then, prioritize social networks starting with the ones that are most likely to help you reach your goals.
Start Small and Focused
Start with the first few networks on your prioritized list. Set up complete and optimised profiles for these accounts, post to them often, build a following and engage with other users. You should also promote these accounts on your website and blog and through other marketing channels as appropriate.
The idea here is to build very strong accounts on a few networks and to get very good at using them for social media marketing.
Translate Your Tactics
Once you start to see results from a few social media channels, you can branch out and begin to use others, using some of the same tactics you’ve already practiced. Of course, each channel will require slightly different tactics, but the things you’ve learned about how your company, target market and social media work together can help you be successful on new social networks.
Follow Your Market
As you decide with additional channels to add to your strategy, follow your market. Remember that where your market is and where your business has an online presence need to be the same. For example, just because you build a very strong presence on LinkedIn, that doesn’t mean that you will be able to reach your target market if it is more likely to use a service like Twitter.
Slowly Build a Larger Presence
The businesses that are the most successful on social media slowly build a presence, rather than spread all their resources too thin. By focusing on just a few channels to begin with, and then slowly joining other networks and expanding your social media marketing efforts, your business will gain more from social media. Businesses that try to take on too much in the beginning may have a lot of social media accounts, but they generally don’t have a very strong presence in any of them, meaning none of their accounts are especially valuable in helping them reach their goals.
Creating a strong social media presence that brings rewards takes time. It will take strategy to reach your target market and then build a following and to build accounts that will help your business reach its goals, grow and be successful.
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
Image courtesy of Chris Blakeley/Flickr.
According to the Content Marketing Association, 82 percent of consumers like reading content from businesses when it is relevant. In general terms, relevant content is content that speaks to your audience. It is content that provides helpful information and is applicable to your target market.
Marketing experts often tout the importance of relevance in content marketing and search engine optimisation plans, but how do you discover what “relevant” means for your company?
Study Your Audience
The best way to find out what is relevant for your market is to study it. Learn about its demographics, its needs, its tendencies and what influences it. You can use market research your business already has or you can do new, content-specific research. When you understand what makes your audience tick, you can develop content that is relevant.
Know Your Place and Fill a Need
Once you have a strong understanding of your target market, understand where you fit in. The place you hold in your potential customers’ eyes will depend on what kind of business you have. For example, if you sell an online video streaming service, you fill an entertainment need. Or, if you are a healthcare company, you fill an informational and health need.
Your business probably already strives to meet the needs of its market, so carry that same strategy over to your content marketing campaigns. However, keep in mind that the need you fill with your content may be slightly different than the need you fill as a business.
One excellent way to find out how you can deliver what your market wants is to do research. Surveys and focus groups can give you a good understanding of what your market wants and can direct your content marketing planning.
Get Creative with Your Content
Not every audience needs another article or another YouTube video. When you understand what your audience needs, be wiling to creatively fill that need. For example, maybe you have an audience that doesn’t have time to read long articles. Visual content may be more useful for that audience.
Providing relevant content is not just about the themes or the message in your content, it is about creating content that is accessible to your market.
Stay on Message
Content that is based on a well-researched message rarely fails. You can make sure your content is relevant to your brand’s audience by sticking to one message. This will avoid confusion and will allow your content to resonate with the audience as you fill its need.
Avoid Unnecessary Content
Content that is created just for the sake of content is an enormous waste of time. When you use content marketing, it can be tempting to try to produce content in mass, just to get the job done. However, this strategy rarely works and is a waste of time and money. Instead, make sure every piece of content you produce will fill one of your market’s needs.
Relevant content can help you build an online presence and better reach your audience. If you provide content that fills a need and sends your business’ message, you will have a much more successful content marketing campaign.
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Creating websites that are optimised for mobile use is a current marketing trend, and for good reason. More and more people are browsing the Internet from their smartphones, meaning the small screen is an excellent place to reach your target market.
One of the most popular smartphone uses is accessing social media. Fast mobile browsers and various apps make it possible for people to reach out to their friends, post pictures and status updates, and connect with your business, all from the palm of their hand.
Making your social media marketing campaign mobile-friendly is relatively easy, considering the number of social media apps that already format social media sites for a small screen. But, there are still some things you can do to make your campaign more effectively reach a mobile audience.
Use Mobile-Ready Apps and Landing Pages
If you use Facebook apps, make sure they are mobile ready. If a user accesses your app from the Facebook app, and lands on an app that is not optimised for his screen, he’ll likely exit the app.
Likewise, make sure your landing pages are mobile optimised for the same reason. Any page you send social media followers to should be mobile friendly, whether that’s your own site or a landing page.
Keep it Simple and Short
People who access social media from their smartphones are usually on the go. They don’t have a lot of time to read long posts or follow complicated directions. Your social media posts should be short and to the point and your campaign should be designed with this in mind.
Another benefit to keeping things short is that short messages and campaigns are often more memorable than long, complicated ones.
Use the Mobile Aspect to Your Advantage
Since mobile social media use is so popular, you can integrate the mobile aspect into your campaign. Smartphones and apps make it easy to make things like check-ins, photo contests and QR codes a major part of your campaign. You can make mobile work for you by creating a campaign that utilizes the fact that your market is on the move.
Enhancing your social media marketing campaigns by making them accessible to mobile audiences can make your strategy even more effective. Using mobile-friendly apps and landing pages, keeping your messaging short and using the fact that your audience is on the go to your advantage are simple ways you can start mobile optimising your campaign now.
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Snickers has launched a new search ad campaign that relies on people misspelling words in their Google searches. The company purchased Google ads for misspelled terms so when a searcher enters one into the search bar, he or she will see the Snickers’ ad.
According to Mashable, Snickers’ bought about 25,000 terms for the campaign. When one is typed into the Google search bar, the user sees an ad that states: “Oh Deer. Its Hard to Spel When Your Hungry. If You Keap Making Typing Mistakes, Grab Yourself a Snickers Fast.” The ads direct users to YoureNotYouWhenYoureHungry.com.
To determine which words to purchase, Snickers’ applied an algorithm to a list of 500 commonly searched terms to create a list of more than 25,000 misspelled versions of the words.
The clever campaign depends on the hundreds of thousands of typos in search terms used every day. It also brings the brand to the front page of more search terms, which may not all be directly related to the candy bar.
It’s reported that the strategy has successfully placed ads in front of about 500,000 people in just three days. The company also says that this audience represents Snickers’ target market.
Google’s Search Ads
If you’re not familiar with Google’s search ads, they are essentially a way to tie ads to search terms. A business can purchase certain keywords that will trigger their ad displays in a users’ search results. Google offers several types of search ad extensions, such as comparison ads and media ads. Businesses can even display products and their address through product and location extensions.
Usually, a business will purchase keywords its target market is likely to search for. Keywords that are products, services, needs and phrases that include locations are all conducive to this type of marketing. The idea behind search ads is that if a person is searching for terms related to a specific business, he is more likely to become a customer when he sees a related search ad and clicks through to the company’s site.
When someone searches for one of 25,000 misspelled words, a Snickers ad, like this appears. Image source.
Will it Work?
A video released by the company explains that the campaign is intended to target bored office workers who may miss social media ads if their office has blocked the sites. Of course, these aren’t the only people that are likely to see the ads.
The idea is relatively simple but it could bring huge results. All things considered, it’s hard to imagine what kinds of search terms a company like Snickers’ would want to target when buying Google Ads. Words like “candy UK” or “chocolate UK” are very broad, and one has to wonder if ads associated with those terms would be effective. It could also be the case that Snickers has already purchased more relevant keywords, and this campaign is meant to be an additional search marketing effort.
With this campaign, Snickers is able to reach a very large audience in a short amount of time. According to its claims, it’s also able to reach its target market. While this type of campaign wouldn’t work for many companies, Snickers may have found a unique tactic that could help the company reach more people through search marketing, increasing its revenue.
Monday, April 29th, 2013
Image courtesy of Widjaya Ivan/Flickr.
Google Plus is an excellent content marketing tool from both a social networking and search engine optimisation perspective. The growing user base allows you to get your message in front of a bigger audience that can also help you share your content. From the beginning, it became clear that Google was going to use Google Plus to help it determine where a page appears in search results. You can leverage these benefits by using Google Plus wisely.
If you haven’t already set up Google Authorship for your blog, you’re missing out. Google Authorship links your blog posts to your picture and profile, links all of your content together and ranks pages linked to your name higher. Have you ever noticed a Google search result with someone’s name and picture next to it? This is Authorship in action.
Enabling Authorship on your blog links your Google Plus profile to your content, so when one of your posts appears in search results, your name and picture will be next to it. This is a great branding opportunity, and it also helps with SEO efforts, since Google ranks Authored content higher than other content.
Another benefit of Google Authorship is the related content listing. When someone stumbles across one of your blog posts on a page of search results, he may also see links to other content written by you. This can help you build your brand and increase traffic to your content.
Google favors legitimate content, and it uses Google Authorship as one way to differentiate between genuine content and spammy content. Using Google Authorship will help your page rank higher as Google recognizes it as natural, high-quality content.
Build a Google Plus Audience
Just like any other social network, the audience you build on Google Plus can help you gain more traffic, which can increase your page rank. When you have a large, engaged audience that clicks on the posts you share and that passes your content on to their connections, you’ll start to see results. You can grow your audience by using hashtags and participating in Google Plus communities.
Depending on your business, you could even start your own Google Plus community to create another channel you can use to reach your target market and communicate with it on a regular basis.
Use Links and Keywords Wisely
Google Plus allows businesses to use links in their about section, an opportunity you should take advantage of. Of course, these links are very helpful for your audience, but they can also boost your rankings. Use keywords as the anchor text for links that go to your website, but make sure your content is still people-friendly and doesn’t look spammy or forced.
Your keywords should also be used in your Google Plus posts, so that your posts will appear in search results when your connections search for those keywords, thanks to Google’s Social Search.
Google Plus is a growing social network with an added advantage: it very directly impacts search results. You can optimise your content marketing tactics by using Google Plus features to gain more traffic and better search rankings.
Friday, April 26th, 2013
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
There are lots of well-known search engine optimisation tips for blogging. You know that you need to use keywords, share your blog posts, and build links to them. However, have you ever considered why blogging is such a vital part of an SEO strategy?
Blogs House Fresh Content
It’s no secret that search engines love new content. Websites that are regularly updated with new content are crawled more often, which means they often earn higher page ranks and appear higher in search results than other sites. Blogging is one of the easiest ways to make sure your site always has fresh content.
Blogs Drive Traffic
The amount of traffic a website receives is one factor that determines what kind of page rank it has. Interesting, controversial, insightful and helpful blog posts can drive traffic to your site. If you share your posts through social media accounts, RSS feeds, press releases, email marketing campaigns and newsletters, more people will visit your website.
Blogs Help with Off Site Link Building
Link building is an essential part of SEO and more recently, natural links are becoming more valued by search engines. Your blog can help you build natural links to your site as people share your posts across social media and other websites and blogs.
Blogs are a Place for Internal Link Building
It’s incredibly easy to link from your blog posts to some of your previous posts or site pages. Internal links are a powerful SEO tool that you can put to use every time you write a blog post. Add anchor texts that are keywords and you’ll see even more benefits.
Blog Post URLs are Easy to Crawl
The easier your site’s URLs are to crawl, the easier it will be to gain rankings. Most blogs have basic, understandable URL structures that make it easy for search engines to crawl and rank your site. Each time you write a blog post you are adding content that search engines can easily crawl.
Blogs Create Site Activity
The level of activity on your blog can influence your search rankings. Sites that have more comments and user interaction usually rank higher than those that do not. You can use your blog to build a community around your site that encourages people to link to and comment on your blog posts.
The ability to earn higher search engine rankings is one of the biggest benefits of maintaining a company blog. To make the most of these benefits, create an attractive blog with unique and interesting content. Then, use a content calendar, internal linking strategy and social media strategy that helps you leverage each post.
Thursday, April 25th, 2013
Measuring social media can be difficult. How do you know how all those posts, shares, tweets and “likes” are impacting your bottom line? While there are lots of ways you can estimate the affect your social media marketing has on your business, one recent study claims to have found the dollar value of each Facebook “like”: $174.17.
The study, by Syncapse, researched how 2,000 Facebook users’ “likes” impacted 20 major brands. It took into account brand loyalty, page recommendations, product spending, media value, brand affinity and acquisition cost. Interestingly, the $174.17 value is a 28 percent increase from the value reported from the same study in 2010.
Syncapse also found that people who “liked” a business on Facebook spent $116 more, per year, on the brand than those who did not “like” it. People who “like” a company on Facebook spent 43 percent more in that company’s industry than those who do not “like” the company. The research also revealed that when a Facebook user believes his or her opinion shapes a brand he or she is more likely to react positively on social media.
How You can get the Most Value for Your “Likes”
So what does this research mean for your company? How can you get the most out of your Facebook “likes?” Perhaps most obviously, the study means your business could see more sales if it is able to attract more Facebook “likes.” Of course, this isn’t the only factor that will help boost your sales, but the research shows that people who “like” your business on Facebook are likely to spend more money on your brand than those who don’t. You could also benefit from “likes” at other companies in your industry.
One of the most important factors in Facebook marketing success is finding the right market. If you are able to find your potential customers and encourage them to “like” your page, this study suggests you will see a change in your sales.
Image courtesy of GOIABA – JOHANNES FUCHS/Flickr.
Getting more Facebook fans can sound easier than it is. To successfully build an audience, your business needs to post interesting and useful information. Social media users are already overwhelmed by posts, pictures and marketing noise, and if you don’t have a good reason for people to follow your brand, they probably won’t.
As the study suggests, showing your social media followers that you value their opinions is extremely important. This strategy can help you gain a loyal following and build a positive reputation. Listening to your market can involve reaching out to potential customers, responding to posts on your social media accounts and asking for your followers’ opinions. Remember, if you do ask for your fans’ opinions, be ready to show your market how you are listening. Even if you aren’t able to implement every suggestion, find other ways to let your audience know you are listing and take their comments seriously.
Facebook, with its huge audience and long list of features, can be a very powerful marketing tool. When you know how to reach your market and make them feel valued, your Facebook marketing can have a direct impact on your business’ bottom line.
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
Image courtesy of tungphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Has it been a while since you’ve read the about sections on your social media accounts? When was the last time you changed your profile picture? Business social media accounts need a spring-cleaning every year so they continue to be useful in your digital marketing efforts.
Decide Which Accounts are Worth the Investment
You likely have several different social media accounts; but are you using all of them? Is each account benefiting your business? Hopefully you’ve been tracking your movements and successes on each social media account, but if you haven’t, go back and assess the success of each one. Social media management takes time and resources, and part of your social media spring-cleaning should include deciding which sites are worth the investment.
When you know which sites are helping your business the most, you can put more effort into those ones and slow down on, or even stop using, the others. A word of caution: be very careful if you discontinue the use of a social media channel, as you may abandon or confuse a portion of your target market.
Edit the About Section and add Keywords
The about section on your social media accounts is very important. Read your current description and make sure it accurately portrays what your business does. If it’s been a while since you’ve updated this, the goals or even services at your business may be different.
You should also use keywords in your social media biographies. Not all social media sites are crawled by search engines, but keywords can help users find you within the site.
Upload Branded Images
Some believe you shouldn’t change your social media profile picture often, to avoid brand confusion. Others believe that updating your picture periodically will keep your account fresh and prevent it from fading into the background noise of social media. Only you can decide if you should change your profile picture, but, if your picture is outdated or doesn’t fit with your current brand, it’s safe to say it could use an update.
If the accounts you are using allow for additional pictures, like Facebook’s cover photo or Twitter’s background image, make sure the ones you use speak to your brand. The colors, messaging and type of image should all enhance your business’ social media presence.
Use Every Applicable Feature
Social media sites add new features quite frequently. Look over your accounts and see if there are any features you aren’t using that you should be. If you are able to link to your other social media sites, add any accounts that are missing. Also check to make sure things like categories, business hours and URLs are all correct.
Reassess Your Strategy
Are you using your social media accounts to their fullest potential? Are you successfully reaching your markets and reaching your goals? Now is a good time to reassess your strategy, making changes where necessary to make sure your strategy is as efficient as it can be. Also keep in mind that changes in your services or traditional marketing efforts could trigger a change in your social media marketing strategy.
Spring-cleaning your social media sites can help you decide where to focus your efforts and how to best use your accounts. You can start now by updating your accounts and then making sure you are using all the features that will help you build your online presence.
Image courtesy of Charlie Trotter/Flickr.
If you’ve been tweeting for a while, and have yet to see your efforts pay off through increased traffic and sales, these tips are for you. Twitter is fast-paced, conversational tool that has the power to bring groups of people together and spread news very quickly. When you understand how to leverage its features and benefits, each of your tweets will work for your business, improving your traffic and sales numbers.
Use Hashtags to Tap into the Right Crowd
Hashtags are more than a way of categorizing tweets, they are a way of connecting to other people. When you use hashtags that relate to your business, product, or market, the followers you gain will be in your target market and will be much more likely to click on the links you share.
When you add a hashtag to a tweet, you are in essence adding your voice to a conversation. If you join the right conversations, the people tuned in will make up a valuable market of people who are potential customers.
Promote Your Site Strategically
When you tweet links to your site, do it strategically. Be careful not to overly self-promote your business, but strive to share links that are likely to help you make more sales. For example, your lead form and product pages would both be great places to send potential customers.
Tweeting links to your new, and old, blog posts can help you establish yourself as a resource and an expert in your industry, which can also help you increase your sales.
Engage with Influential People and Customers
Twitter is a more valuable tool when you use it to have conversations with other people, not just to send self-promoting tweets. Connect with other people in your industry or community that could influence your customers and engage with your market by retweeting their posts or responding to what they share.
This will help you gain a presence on the site, which will help your account be more recognizable and encourage your followers to interact with you. As your followers click on your links and converse with you, they will be more likely to visit your site and buy your product.
Write Attractive, Enticing Tweets
Writing tweets is similar to writing subject lines for email marketing campaigns. On Twitter you only have 140 characters to encourage someone to click on your link, so use your words wisely. Remember that these few words could be the only thing standing between your site and more Twitter-driven traffic.
Leaving a little room for people to add their own thoughts to your tweets, by using less than 140 characters, can encourage retweeting, which will get your message in front of a bigger audience.
Make Sharing Your Content Easy
Don’t forget to include a link to your Twitter profile on your website and to add Twitter sharing buttons to your blog posts and other content. The easier it is for your site visitors to share your content, the more likely they will be to tweet links to your website. It goes without saying that the more tweets with a link to your site, the more Twitter traffic you will get. This strategy is also a great way to involve influential people, since potential customers may be more likely to be persuaded by a friend who tweets about your content than by you.
These strategies can help you make the most of every tweet you send, so that you can use Twitter to increase traffic to your site and make more sales.