There are multiple factors that can affect the decision of a customer when making a purchase. A common approach for many is to ask their friends for recommendations or to conduct their research online.
Since buying online has become easier and faster than ever before, the internet often does a lot of the selling for a brand. This can have a major impact on whether or not a customer makes a purchase.
The reality is that the best sales representatives and marketers of a company are not the sole providers of sales. Existing customers also play a large role. According to experts, customers trust the recommendations of friends and family over any other type of online advertising from a brand. When there are no trusted recommendations, researchers found that more than 80% of consumers relied on online reviews instead.
For a business to keep up with the competitive, online-first market, they need to get their happy customers sharing positive reviews of their experiences. The good news is that most customers are happy to help. A majority of customers who were asked for a review were willing.
The real question is how does one get their customers to write these amazing reviews that help close deals? How do you ensure that customers are satisfied and happy enough to supply the positive reviews needed?
Below are 5 tactics that can help companies obtain great customer reviews:
1. Optimize the Content
Reviews can appear unsolicited from both satisfied and dissatisfied customers on third-party websites. When people are on your site, however, it’s best to ensure that they can easily leave reviews there.
Optimizing your website, social profiles, emails, and even blog posts can provide people with an easy way to write reviews. This includes:
- Installing website badges to quickly direct visitors to your Facebook, Amazon, and Yelp pages.
- Optimizing the website for mobile devices to accommodate users who arrive while performing searches on their phones.
- Keeping requests short if asking for customer reviews via email.
2. Provide Incentives
Customers value their time, so it’s important to ensure that brands are giving them reasons to leave a review.
Providing them with incentives can make customers want to provide their feedback. These incentives can come in the form of coupons or discount codes. Brands can also encourage entries to a contest to win gift cards or even cash.
3. Meet Customers in the Middle
Avoid emailing customers to ask them to leave a positive review on third-party channels like Yelp. Rather, you should ensure that your request matches the avenue where you want your customers to provide their reviews.
When deciding to send out an email to ask customers for reviews, ensure that the email has direct links to the exact place where you want them to leave their honest feedback. For example, brands that wish to obtain reviews on Facebook should request via Facebook Messenger. When asking for customer reviews from different platforms, it’s essential to make the request as integrated as possible. One of how this can be done is by linking to a Yelp page via the email signature.
4. Respond To All Reviews
No one is perfect, and mistakes can happen despite the effort made. Nothing can stop a customer from leaving a disappointing one-star review on your website, Facebook page, Google My Business, or Yelp listing.
Despite this, brands should always take their time to respond thoughtfully to these customers without being defensive. The best thing you can do in this scenario is to attempt to work out a resolution. This may even benefit the business in the long run.
Customers are humans too, and the idea of a compassionate and empathetic customer service team from a brand can have a positive effect. This will eventually lead to an increase in total reviews, especially good feedback.
5. Share Positive Reviews From the Past
When a company begins receiving positive feedback from its customers, it can keep the momentum up by highlighting and sharing the reviews with others. Doing so can inspire new customers in following the act and leaving great reviews themselves.
On TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google, and other review websites, it’s possible for business owners to pin specific reviews that are helpful. This is similar to upvoting, which can move reviews further up on the website so that more users can see them.
Ensure that you periodically do this for positive reviews so that the brand page consistently highlights the top feedback.
Another way is to share positive reviews via your social media channels to open up this option for the audience there. It’s possible to format positive feedback as quotes on Instagram or reshare positive reviews on your Facebook page for followers to see.
Social proof is one of the best marketing tactics available today. This means that if customers can see other people sharing positive reviews, there’s a higher probability of them doing the same.
Aside from securing new reviews from customers, companies should also spend time promoting positive feedback across their social media channels.
The Bottom Line
No matter the type of business you own, the truth is that online reviews have a huge impact on bringing in more customers.
To start gathering customer feedback at scale, the best approach is to incorporate it slowly into your business process. This begins with having an active strategy for customer service and online reputation. Brands can use templates and ask existing, happy customers for their reviews.
The more positive reviews that a business has, the more trustworthy they appear in the industry. This in turn creates trust in potential customers who discover the brand online.
This is also why companies should not shy away from simply asking their customers for a review. You can make it easy for people to provide positive feedback by asking at the right time and right place.
Google Analytics has become an all-in-one tool that businesses worldwide require to ensure that their online efforts aren’t wasted. Considering that just about every company in today’s world now has an online presence, firms will need a reliable and effective strategy to acquire new customers — one such strategy is to get their businesses online and directly in their target audience’s faces.
However, building a website alone isn’t merely enough. You also need to ensure that it is performing as it should and that your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts are bearing fruits. Barring that, you’ll pretty much be spending so much money without getting much in terms of results.
To help with all of this, we have Google Analytics — a tool that provides insights into how your website performs online. They say, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” When it comes to SEO, measurement and insights will go a long way in determining overall success.
It’s easy for you to look into your SEO efforts and believe that keyword ranking alone is the most critical metric. After all, the more keywords you have, the higher the chances of getting traffic. However, solely focusing on your keywords won’t give you a holistic view of your SEO efforts and what it does to the organization.
By going more in-depth, you can understand what truly matters — organic keyword searches and how they lead to business profits. Gaining this understanding is what Google Analytics offers you.
So, how do you know whether you’re doing SEO right? How can you get Google Analytics to help show you the insights you need? What do you have to focus on? We’ll look into these below.
First Things First: Have Goals
You can’t know how well you’re performing in business if you don’t have objectives and goals. So, for your SEO efforts, do the same thing.
What do you want your SEO efforts to achieve? Are you looking to improve site visits alone? Do you want to use SEO for increasing sales? Whatever it is you plan to do, make it explicit and let it be known. It will help in shaping your work and letting you know whether you’re still on track.
Engage the Custom Segment Section
For a long time, the Custom Segment feature has been the primary part of Google Analytics. It is especially popular because it extends your target audience’s details and helps you gain even more insights and information about the people who make up your market.
All you need to do is enable the Google Analytics SEO dashboard and monitor all SEO results. The SEO dashboard will showcase reports that track data from several sources and channels towards your site. Some of the data it provides include:
- When users visit your site and how long they stayed
- The pages the user visited, from the landing page to the moment they left the site
- The device that the user used when logging on to your site
- Which of your goals was achieved
Often the data that this section provides will be instrumental in helping you understand the nature of your traffic and the people who visit your site. You can also gain insights into some of their activities and use those to make better decisions.
Measuring SEO Traffic Quality
Measuring quality isn’t an exact science — especially when it comes to SEO. Some believe it to be subjective, while others don’t. However, even many people who think that you can measure traffic quality tend to stop at the search metric.
In truth, there are better ways to measure your SEO tariff quality. The most common tool is the Assisted Conversions report. With this report, you can set a date range and compare the traffic you got within that range with the previous method. Eventually, you’re left with a periodic comparison of conversions that you get from search directly. In the event of checking multiple visits to your site, you can also see the conversions where search helped out.
With this report, you can easily check for improvements or declines in your search traffic quality. If you find that conversions from search are decreasing, but your overall search traffic is growing steadily, you can easily see that the traffic coming from search isn’t of the highest quality.
Simultaneously, if you start focusing on a more refined set of keywords and see that conversions from search traffic are growing, you can easily see an improvement in SEO traffic.
To use the Assisted Conversions report, simply go to the “Conversions” section. Click on “Multi-Channel Funnels,” and you’ll see “Assisted Conversions.”
Focus on Site Loading Speed
Loading speed is critical when it comes to building a site. In fact, your site shouldn’t load for over five seconds. If loading takes too long, visitors will skip the site entirely.
Considering that it is a critical aspect of SEO, you will need to focus on site speed and optimize it. Monitor the metric across different platforms and keep it at its optimal levels. This way, visitors can engage with your site pages and improve conversion rates.
Google has a Speed Analyzer Tool that you can use to test your site’s speed. You can monitor the metric on Google Analytics to find more details.
Consider Your Best-Performing Pages
One of the best ways to replicate results and know where you stand will be to consider some of your best-performing pages across the board. With this data, you can essentially replicate the same components that these pages have and use them to optimize the views on your least-performing ages.
Essentially, look through your top pages every month and optimize them for the following:
- Readability and user intent
- Freshness (essentially, update their content if the need arises)
The truth is that some pages will perform better than others. So, you can easily get what works for the big hitters and use them to improve the conversions and views of the least-performing pages. It’s that simple.
It’s important that business owners and entrepreneurs know the value of setting up great landing pages to drive up conversions. When it comes down to the essentials of online businesses, having an optimized landing page is often right at the top of the priority list. But what exactly is a landing page, and how does it affect the success of a website?
How Landing Pages Work
A landing page is a web page created specifically to drive conversions. They’re a great way to capture the information of visitors to your site in exchange for an eBook, template, video, or any other company offer that you may have available. You can also use the gathered information to schedule a demo, meeting, or over-the-phone consultation to convert these people into paying customers.
The primary role of a landing page is to collect information through a form on the page. Be careful, however, not to mistake a landing page for any web page that has a web form, as that’s not the case. Take a blog post for example. A blog post might have a form that encourages readers to subscribe, but its primary goal is still to educate rather than convert.
A landing page’s sole purpose is to convert. The conversion path for landing pages is relatively linear and straightforward. Visitors fill in a form and automatically become warm leads. The leads then receive emails containing more information about the service or product that you’re offering. Some businesses choose to direct their potential customers to a “Thank You” page where they can access even more information.
In terms of digital marketing, setting up landing pages is not the end goal. Landing pages should be optimized to make sure that you’re getting mileage out of them. Having an impactful landing page strategy in place can often result in a 30-40% lead conversion.
You don’t want all of your site visitors with different needs and intents wading through your general information-rich home page. If you’re creating dedicated landing pages that closely align with a customer’s individual needs, you’ll have a much greater chance of capturing their information and converting them into customers. With the right landing page, you can attract customers to the specific type of service or product that you’re offering.
Here are the 5 best practices to follow when it comes to optimizing landing pages in order to increase conversion:
Apply the 5-Second Rule
People have short attention spans. Our brains are hardwired to pay attention to only the things that benefit us. This is also one of the truths that you should incorporate into every marketing strategy: people don’t want to waste too much time and energy comprehending the content. Consumers want information to be quick, ready, and bite-sized.
When it comes to landing pages, you should clearly state what you provide, how your service will benefit the customer, and what they need to do in five seconds or less. If you fail to do so, your chances of converting your leads decrease, and you run the risk of them exiting your landing page instead.
Keep your visitors focused. Make sure that all of the information they need is above the fold. Your value proposition and CTA must be located right at the top of the page.
Use Short and Creative Videos
Most business owners don’t want anything to do with videos. However, videos can provide an excellent opportunity to connect with your site visitors on a deeper level. This particular medium can be utilized to increase session durations on your website. The more that people interact with you, the likelier you can get them to opt-in or buy what you sell.
Feature a video that has a runtime of 60 seconds at the maximum. In this crucial 60 seconds, you must establish the problem you’re looking to solve and how your customers can benefit from using your solution. Emphasize what would happen if your visitors don’t go with your solution.
Make sure that the short video tells the story of your customers’ transformation. What happened when they tried out your product? How much happier are they now? The video must end with a clear call to action. We prefer to use the same CTA within the page for uniformity and to avoid confusion.
Testimonials or case studies of real people who have already tried out your products and services lend credibility to your landing page. They signify that what you offer can walk the talk. Just like a good referral, people trust positive reviews. Featuring some could benefit your landing page enormously.
While videos are the best when it comes to forging an emotional connection with your audience, you can also use text-based content. With prior consent, we often include real photos of our customers for authenticity.
Remember the customer transformation we mentioned above? Using testimonials and case studies to drive the point further helps to nudge your potential leads down the conversion funnel. Don’t make your testimonials overly lengthy. Make sure to tell the transformation story in just a few sentences.
Clarify Your Value Proposition
At first glance, your landing page must explain what value your service or product offers to your site visitors right away. If your landing page has too many convoluted messages crammed into it, people will immediately click away and go elsewhere.
Visitors must immediately know what it is you do and what’s in it for them. Conversion happens when the value proposition deeply resonates with your audience. We’ve learned that if you’re not solving a problem your audience faces, they won’t feel the need to buy into your solution.
Address your target market’s needs. Break down the reasons why they should prefer your business over others. Once you determine these aspects, incorporate them into your copy. Strong copy entices your audience into converting as leads. Remember, copy and value proposition go hand in hand when it comes to influencing conversion rates.
Use a Strong Call to Action
A CTA tells your audience what to do and where they need to click, sign up, or leave their email address. Your CTA button must be prominent on your landing page. We’ve proven that visually distinct CTAs generate more success in helping you reach your marketing objectives.
Use contrasting colors to get the attention of your audience. Most landing pages take the typical route of using an orange CTA button against a generic blue backdrop. We encourage clients to create their landing pages using their brand colors and with a contrasting color for their CTAs.
We often use commonly understood, action-oriented words to invoke a quick reaction. People don’t want to spend too much time figuring out where to go. Make it easier for them through your copy and design.
The best CTAs use simple, short words to boost conversion in landing pages.
Landing pages are crucial when it comes to solidifying and supplementing your digital marketing campaigns. You could have a significant amount of site traffic, but this doesn’t automatically mean leads if you don’t optimize the pages for conversions as well.
Follow the above tips, and you’re on your way to creating a useful landing page that’s going to perform strongly and convert better.
Social media connects our world in a way that no one has ever seen before. Revolutions, social movements, and critical political discussions are constantly happening on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For small businesses and entrepreneurs, social media has become the great equalizer. It gives access to the same marketing tools that big companies utilize for themselves.
Having a solid marketing plan enables you to use vital social media channels to help you reach your business goals. There are, however, common social media mistakes that even the most successful of companies tend to make at times. Here are some of them:
Ignoring Customers’ Social Media Habits
Using social media is not just about making customers understand your business. In fact, it’s the other way around. Your primary goal should be to make customers feel seen and understood. It’s not about you. It’s about your customers.
If you dabble in social media without even an inkling of your customers’ online behavior, your marketing plan is already doomed from the get-go.
As digital marketers, our first task is to get to know our clients’ target market intimately. The first step is to identify social media usage statistics. What social media platforms do the target audience use? How are they using them? What makes these platforms appealing to our market? What kind of content do they typically consume? When are they most active?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you’ll find that formulating a strategic plan has become a lot easier. If your users tend to be active from 7 pm onwards, you must post content during that period. If they engage more with videos, it’s logical that your content must be geared more toward video content. If they spend more time on Facebook, you might want to put more effort into your Facebook page and cut back on Instagram or other social media platforms.
Use this information and incorporate it into the decision making process. Having a clear idea of where your target users are and how they behave saves you time and money in regards to marketing experiments. Leverage the knowledge to your business’ advantage.
No Solid Content Strategy
Some businesses might regard social media as an easy platform to leverage, therefore not allotting the much-needed resources for it. These companies often tend to generate lots of mediocre content, post non-stop, and wear everybody out.
Content is king, but great digital marketers know that quality content beats any other type of content. Quality content takes the what, where, and when into account.
Make sure that your posts provide value to your customers. Don’t just post anything for the sake of posting. Each piece of content must serve a purpose, may it be to educate, inform, or entertain. Use Buzzsumo or Social Blade. These tools can help you research what it is that your customers care about. Understand where their interests are. From there, you can brainstorm relevant content that has higher chances of engaging audiences.
Post only once or twice a day to avoid people seeing your brand too often and getting tired of it. If you update your accounts too much, you run the risk of people getting desensitized and straight up ignoring you. Stories and live updates are great social media activities, but you must limit your status updates to once or twice a day to ensure quality and create anticipation.
Leverage your video content. Facebook, YouTube, and yes, even LinkedIn’s algorithms are friendly when it comes to videos. They want users to stay longer, and videos are an effective way to achieve that. Videos get twice as much engagement and views compared to other mediums.
Disregarding Your Audience
Think of it this way. You’re a shop owner that sells plants. A customer walks in and browses the store. They notice a rare indoor plant that’s usually hard to take care of. They proceed to compliment you for taking such good care of it. Do you stand there and not answer them? Of course not. You smile, engage them with small talk, and perhaps, you might even score a sale.
Social media is called social for a reason. It’s a two-way street. Meeting customers halfway is the best practice. We have noticed that some companies with exciting products don’t engage with their audience. Even though they have quality services to offer and superb content, their posts are not gaining much traction. They only receive a comment or two. This is because these clients are missing a vital piece of connection with the people.
Likes, views, and comments will naturally come in if you put out a friendly persona that anyone feels they can talk to. Even if it’s just a simple “thank you” message, having a nice “You’re welcome. We hope you enjoy our services!” reply could make all the difference.
People respond to people. If they feel that your brand is someone they can relate to and even respect, it will put you right ahead of the competition.
A general rule of thumb is to treat people on social media as if they’re right in front of you. Having a strong and genuine connection with your community is always good for the business.
Not Understanding the Difference Between Search and Social
We’re giving it to you straight. Social media is a different beast from search engines like Google and Bing. You must understand the mentality of why people go on social media and why they go to search engines. People go to search engines with a need, while people typically go on social media to kill time.
We socialize with our family and friends, watch videos, and consume articles on social media about things that matter to us. People aren’t necessarily going to social media with their credit cards in hand.
Unlike search engines, pushy or hard-sell posts don’t generally do well on social media. People aren’t looking to buy anything there. If you keep pushing the same direct response, infomercial-type posts to your audience, you might be on the wrong platform. If you’re looking to sell a product that is where a national SEO campaign can come handy. Social media is great for brand awareness and engagement.
Seek to engage customers by having content that serves to educate, entertain, and inform them.
Being Afraid to ask for Help
Let’s look at the statistics. Facebook influences more than half of all online and offline consumer purchases. Pinterest accounts for 25% of all retail website traffic. 80% of millennials check Twitter at least once daily, and Snapchat reaches 41% of all 18-34-year-olds in the United States. Social media is inescapable.
With so many options available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and put off from crafting a comprehensive social media plan. People usually end up posting content that doesn’t help them get to where they need to be.
Learn to reach out and ask for help. Whether it’s in the form of buying a book, taking online courses, or even hiring a marketing agency, entrepreneurs must actively learn how to utilize social media to help their business grow and become successful. Achieving virality is not just about luck. It’s about understanding the algorithm and learning how to play with it.
The Bottom Line
Our everyday lives heavily involve social media. When we wake up in the morning, the first thing we do is check our phones. We spend hours scrolling through our news feed, taking in information left and right. Social media marketing is an essential tool that you can implement if you want your business to thrive.
Our agency offers top-notch social media marketing services that can help build your brand’s credibility. We have launched hundreds of successful social media marketing campaigns that helped local businesses boost their brand performance online.
If you’re looking to grow your presence online, contact us today. We’re happy to help out!
Start a Successful Social Media Campaign
Running social media pages is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase brand awareness, enhance customer experience, and boost sales. No matter how big or small your company is, social media marketing can help you achieve your digital marketing goals.
As digital marketing experts, businesses often ask us for tips on how to improve their social media pages. Read on for six steps to effective social media marketing.
Step 1: Clearly Define Your Target Market
This advice is straight out of basic marketing classes, but many business owners forget about this step. We highly recommend clearly defining your target market before attempting to run several social media sites.
Defining the target market involves knowing your potential customers’ age, location, gender, interests, and digital habits. Here are some interesting facts about how Americans’ age affects their social media preferences:
- Sixty-nine percent of American adults have a Facebook account, and 75% of them visit the site once a day.
- Seventy-three percent of American adults use YouTube.
- Thirty-seven percent of American adults have an Instagram account.
- Smaller percentages of adults use Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Whatsapp.
- The top social media site for American teens is YouTube, with an 85% usage rate.
- Instagram and Snapchat are the top two and three social media sites for teens, with 72% and 69% usage rate.
- Fifty percent of American teens still use Facebook.
Choosing social media platforms for your business entails knowing your target market. As you can see in the numbers above, markets have different digital marketing habits. If you are targeting adults, use Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram instead of Snapchat or TikTok.
Additionally, Facebook Custom Audience settings can help you target your potential clients based on where they are in the sales funnel. You can create distinct ads for top, middle, and bottom-funnel clients. Using this feature is a powerful tool that lets you customize your strategies to fit your customers’ preferences.
Step 2: Set Goals
The next step in boosting your digital presence is setting social media goals. Set SMART objectives — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. We suggest using similar social media goals:
- Increase Instagram followers by 1,000 per month for the year.
- Grow monthly site traffic from social media by 20%.
- Generate 50 new leads per week.
- Increase sales from Facebook by 10% versus last year.
Another goal you can have is to optimize your social media pages to strengthen your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. It’s not easy to measure, but surveys reveal that half of the companies failing at their SEO attempts don’t integrate their SEO and social media efforts.
Once you’ve set goals, you can adjust your budgets and techniques accordingly.
Step 3: Analyze Your Competition
The third step on our list of social media tips is creating a competitive analysis of your rivals’ social media efforts.
Employ the best practices you observe, and find their weaknesses. Through your competitive social analysis, you should observe the following:
- Preferred platforms
- Posting frequency
- Effective campaigns
- Consumer feedback
Use your research to make your social media sites stand out.
Step 4: Practice Content Marketing
The dictionary definition of content marketing is creating and sharing online material such as videos and blogs intended to stimulate interest in products or services. Content marketing suggests using high-quality posts that don’t always explicitly promote your products or services.
Using quality content can help you attract and retain visitors that you can eventually turn into customers. However, 60% of companies have difficulty consistently creating content, and 65% struggle to produce engaging content.
Lego uses content marketing well. Its YouTube Channel has over 11.4 million subscribers, and they gain access to Lego creations, campaigns, fan features, and more. Lego shares the YouTube videos in its Facebook and Instagram channels, with a combined 20.7 million followers. These videos often get tens of thousands of social media views and shares.
Of course, it takes a while to build a digital presence as relevant as Lego’s. The point is, your content should bring value to your page. Instead of always posting about your products or services, you can post about recipes, fun facts, beauty hacks, infographics, and other compelling content.
Step 5: Create a Social Media Plan
Step number five is creating a social media plan with goals, a content plan, and a calendar. We’ve already discussed goals and ideal content, so let’s talk about your calendar. Your weekly calendar should always be a combination of functional, thematic, and valuable posts.
Here’s a guide on how often to post on social media sites. To summarize:
- At a minimum, businesses should post on their Facebook pages three times per week. Anything more than once per day is too much for this platform. We recommend posting between 1–4 PM.
- For Twitter, you can post anywhere between 3–30 times per day. The most popular Twitter accounts tweet around 23 times a day.
- For Instagram, once a day is ideal. Three times per week is acceptable. Remember to choose the ideal Instagram sizes and use appropriate hashtags. Avoid posting photos or videos on your home page in quick succession.
Step 6: Measure and Analyze Your Results
The last step in creating an effective social media plan is to measure and analyze your results and compare them to your objectives. Here are some things you can measure:
- Volume: Find out how many people are talking about your brand. You can count brand mentions, hashtags, and tags.
- Reach: Measure how many people have seen your content. Doing so can help you determine your potential audience size. Reach has three classifications.
- Organic reach is the number of people who saw your post in their feed.
- Viral reach is the number of people who saw your post from social sharing.
- Paid reach is the number of people who saw your post through a paid social media ad.
- Engagement: Measure how many actions your post received. This measure includes comments, likes, and shares on Facebook. On Twitter, this translates to replies and retweets.
Enhance Your Social Media Presence
Enhancing your social media presence is one of the most cost-effective methods you can use to boost your digital presence. Work on your social media presence to unlock your company’s full earning potential. Contact us at SEO Locale if you’re looking for an agency to help your business grow digitally.
2021 New Year’s Resolutions For Businesses
The year 2020 was a year filled with change and uncertainty. We saw many businesses shut down or downsize due to the effect of the global pandemic. It has been hard for many, but we saw that there was always room for opportunity.
Some trends, methods, and businesses flourished last year and have set the tone for 2021.
What Happened In 2020?
Due to the threat of the coronavirus, many industries slowed down, and some even shut down. Airline travel was almost nonexistent. Prices also lowered for many industries, including retail, causing them to lose profit because demand was also too low.
Businesses that have relied on foot traffic took the biggest hit. Those that could not adapt to an online or safety-focused model were ones that lost the most.
Our clients saw improvement with their SEO as we pivoted for their business. Staying on top of the changes when the pandemic hit.
2 Client Digital Marketing Pivot Examples:
There was light in the midst of the chaos and darkness, though. Ecommerce had one of its best years, with most people turning to online shopping as the budget for travel and events converted.
Computers and home office accessories also jumped in prices due to high demand. Everyone was working from home. Companies also realized that there are ways to function even in unusual conditions.
Resolutions For 2021
We don’t need to put a lot of focus on 2020. The best thing we can do about it is look ahead to decide what we can do for this year. If you’re looking for some resolutions for your business, here are some ideas to help you start moving forward.
Prepare For The Resurgence
People are hungry for a return to a normal state of living. They want to catch up on the time they lost in 2020.
Many analysts believe that people will be more open to using their money for goods and services this year. This is especially true since they haven’t been able to do many things in the past year. With vaccine distribution underway, we may be closer to a virus-free future.
Every recession opens the door for a new boom in all markets and industries. The last major recession occurred from 2007 to 2009, when both the housing and oil industries collapsed. After it ended, economies and various markets returned to their pre-recession form in the span of two to four years.
Keep your customers informed of how you are operating. Pivot for the changes ahead.
The question is if you’ll be ready once this resurgence hits. Here are some ways to prepare for it:
- Create goals and objectives for 2021
- Do competitive SEO research to expand your local or national reach
- Prepare your marketing plan for the year ahead
- Look for beneficial partnerships and build relationships within your community
- Update any outdated content or processes you may have
- Update your website with a clear message of how you are operating
- Create a new web design if you have not done this recently
- Try new things (social media, update logo/brand)
- Nurture your current or previous customers with email marketing
New trends will occur as the year progresses. By staying flexible and relevant, you will not only survive this year, but you can flourish in it.
Consider how a focus on safety and health paved the way for safety-focused products to thrive. Even before the pandemic, businesses had to adapt to each new change they face in their respective industries.
For example, the pandemic brought about a more work-from-home environment. Many companies realized that they don’t need to pay expensive upkeep for office space and materials. If you are functioning well with this current setup, why not continue with it for a while?
Stay Positive And Optimistic
Despite what many consider one of the worst years for business, the global economy is still on track. Many business leaders believe that the world will be back on track by the second quarter of this year. If inoculation occurs by the middle to the end of this year, then we only have a few months left before it happens.
If you remain positive and optimistic, you can see areas of action to take advantage of this year. Not only that, but your attitude will also influence and drive other members of your team. Stop focusing on what has happened and see what you can take advantage of this year.
Get Creative with Digital Marketing
It always pays to think outside the box and approach problems with a different perspective. One of the ways to do that is to learn something new. Figure out ways to present your company in the community or increase your online presence with creative digital marketing techniques.
You can take an online course and commit yourself to learn a skill. Not only will it add value to you, but it can also give you a different take on how to approach your business.
The skill doesn’t even have to be directly related. You could be learning a new language or having music lessons and still get something out of it. New experiences allow you to meet new people who can turn out to be new colleagues or customers.
Give Yourself Time To Rest
As business owners, we are always thinking. We are thinking of ways to survive and to thrive. Entrepreneurship can be demanding, and it can take a toll on us. You may not feel it physically, but your mental and emotional state could have suffered a lot the past year.
Take some time to rest and relax. Set your mind on other things for a while. Here are a few things you can do:
- Read an interesting book
- Listen to audiobooks or podcasts
- Start a journal
- Become involved in meditation or yoga
It’s Time To Make Plans And Set Goals
Every step you commit towards a better 2021 is a step that will affect your business from now on. Put your plans on paper and set goals that define what direction you want to fulfill this year.
Don’t forget to relax and enjoy each moment along the way. We’re always looking at the big picture, but looking at the end of the line will not benefit you if you still have many things in front of you.
Take things one step at a time. 2021 will be the start for many business owners to move forward. If you stay true to your New Year’s resolutions, you can enter a very different 2022. This year has promise, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on taking advantage of it just because the previous year didn’t work as well as you wanted to.
Search engine optimization improves your online visibility, increasing your chances of gaining customers. When you are marketing, you’re actively promoting your products and services. By implementing SEO in your marketing, you allow this promotion to reach a wider audience.
Starting off with SEO you need to understand what type of digital marketing you’ll need for your audience. Will you need to setup a local SEO campaign? Maybe a national SEO campaign? Or a hybrid campaign that has the benefits of local and national SEO combined.
The Benefits of an SEO Focused Marketing Plan
According to studies, over 62% of consumers turn to search engines when they want to discover new products, services, or businesses. This is a large pool of potential buyers we can tap into if we implement SEO best practices. Optimized marketing leads to your business appearing at the forefront of consumers’ searches.
Each rank you increase in search engine results translates to more traffic. It is one of the most affordable marketing methods because most techniques that improve search engine rank positioning (SERP) are reachable. You can market your business to the exact people looking for your services rather than blindly firing your marketing materials into the crowd. With high intent keywords you can find the people looking for your product or service.
You can measure, adjust, and improve SEO. Being aware of SEO in your marketing puts you a step ahead of the competition. If you maintain your website or campaign’s SEO, you will remain a popular option even when competition becomes tighter. You can use an agency to help you maintain your rankings or use SEO tools out there to keep you ahead of your game in SEO. Keep in mind that the first option for any search always gathers 20.5% of all clicks.
Examples of Effective SEO Marketing Methods
There are many ways to improve marketing by using SEO. Let’s tackle two ways you can apply immediately.
Video Marketing and YouTube
Data shows us that YouTube is the second most popular website on the internet, accounting for two billion active monthly users. It is the second most popular search engine, and many people prefer to view video content over text. Videos catch people’s attention. They are also one of the most shared types of media on social networking websites.
Of course, you can’t just make videos and expect to gain traffic. You need proper implementation of SEO to get noticed. Once you start getting noticed, your traffic will only go up from there. Here are some steps you can apply to your video content:
- Create an engaging and clickable SEO friendly title using relevant keywords.
- Create a short blog post on your video description, describing your content in detail. It helps YouTube categorize your video.
- Use an enticing thumbnail to optimize your video
- Create playlists to entice users to watch more of your content
One way to improve your credibility and connect with your audience is by focusing on your content marketing.
Longer content that helps users and collates information is valuable online. If you create comprehensive and updated content, people are likely to use you as a reference. The more people refer to you, the more you connect to your intended audience.
Build A Strong Marketing Plan
SEO is a great tool that can help enhance all your marketing efforts. The benefits are cumulative as each step you improve on SEO creates an online foothold for your business. More people will be able to see and connect with you, building your brand. SEO is efficient, and you should always apply it to your marketing plans.
Work With An Agency – That Can Get You Results
You can see in our video above we got our client Cupid’s Box the results of a lifetime in 2020 compared to his year in 2019.
+2,022.18% Increase in Revenue via Google Organic.
+3,419.69% Increase in New Users via Google Organic.
-91.39% Decrease in Google Pay Per Click (Saved ~$55,000) to make 75.25% more revenue!
Need Help Building a SEO Marketing Plan for Your Business?
SEO Locale knows how to create a custom SEO marketing plan that will be right for your business. It isn’t a cookie cutter plan that is created for all. Let us do the heavy lifting and show you how you can be successful with the correct SEO marketing plan.
Contact us if you are looking to hire an SEO agency to help grow your business online.
COVID Makes E-Commerce and Digital Marketing More Important Than Ever
No one would have been able to predict the catastrophic economic turmoil that many businesses went through in 2020. Thanks to the Coronavirus, 2020 saw the closure of many brick-and-mortar buildings. Unable to transition to an e-commerce platform, these businesses were among many of the casualties of the pandemic. Yet those who were able to make the transition noticed that it brought with it many changes in how e-commerce performs, particularly where Google is concerned. Here is how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted e-commerce and paid search in 2020.
E-Commerce Grew Exponentially
Unable to perform business in their own buildings, many small businesses were forced to transition to an e-commerce service. While this meant that some merely needed to open an online store, others made the switch to a complete e-commerce business structure. Those who made the transition saw that they were able to keep their business afloat, even as spending briefly stagnated.
Yet consumers, thanks to stimulus packages, were still willing to spend their paychecks on essential and other services. Small businesses that made the switch outlived their competitors who did not adapt to the changes brought on by the pandemic.
In particular, those businesses that implemented the winning strategies to bring themselves high on a SERP saw their profits increase. Those strategies consistently revolved around:
- Digital marketing
- Social media integration
- SEO performance
- Emphasis on user experience
Google and Bing Encourage Small Business Shopping with Local Shopping Ads
Both Google and Bing did their part in bringing awareness to local businesses that offered curbside pick-up by implementing new ads. In various places, consumers were able to see local stores that offered the products they needed through curbside pick-up. Even Google Maps introduced new optimized ads to help bring awareness to local businesses.
Bing introduced visual search to their product listings. This was done in the hopes of consumers discovering products easily and making comparisons between prices and product descriptions even easier.
Social media platforms also included e-commerce. Pinterest added a Shop category that allows consumers to purchase goods based on pins. Facebook launched Shops which allows businesses to create an online storefront. Online shops are able to be integrated both on Facebook and on Instagram.
Artificial Intelligence is More Present in Ad Development and Usage
Machine learning has played a key part in the development of ads for Google. Google made a few changes for the automation of ads that emphasize the idea that artificial intelligence will continue to play an important role in ads in the future.
Some of the key areas where automation played a part are:
- Discovery feed
- Search terms visibility
Automation and machine learning for audiences have allowed advertisers to target predictive audiences more easily. Using information based on churn probability and past purchases, the data advertisers receive can help them create more impactful campaigns.
Google released Discovery ads from testing and monetized them. Spanning across Gmail, YouTube, and Discover, Google can now boast a combined audience of 2.9 billion users.
Yet Google has also made it more difficult to know what keywords are working in your company’s favor. It seems to be pushing everyone to a zero-keyword future. While they will still release information about certain keywords that see a significant amount of usage, they did not disclose what that significant number would be. This change can make it difficult for companies to know if their SEO campaign is working or not.
Lack of Ad Support for Small and Medium Businesses
Google made a misstep when it announced that it would not be supporting ad rep support for small and medium businesses. It also changed its Google Partner eligibility requirements. However, they did roll out $340 million in ad credits to small and medium businesses to help them transition to an e-commerce platform in the wake of the pandemic.
Need help with your digital marketing or national SEO campaign feel free to reach out to us.
Economic Woes Didn’t Stop Online Shoppers
Many experts were wondering how holiday sales would turn out in the wake of the pandemic. With many stores having to change their policies due to the influx of Coronavirus cases, there was significant doubt as to how well the economy would perform. In addition to changing the physical shopping experience, experts also wondered if the economic situation would impact how much households were willing to spend.
Miraculously, statistics indicate that holiday sales did not just exceed expectations–they overcame them.
The small businesses who prepared to switch their business model with eCommerce SEO did exponentially well. We’re excited to see the consumers helping out the small businesses through tough times in 2020. These sales numbers are encouraging a ton of businesses to completely stay up with the times in terms of their digital marketing.
The Lead-Up to the Holiday Weekend
Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw a lot of trouble leading up to the holidays. Coronavirus cases continue to spike in huge cities. Businesses are forced to either close or limit the number of people in the store at a time. Due to some states having to go back down into lockdown, manufacturers had to reduce the number of products they could produce.
All of this was occurring with the fact that households are still suffering financially. Many people are still out of work. Those that are able to return find themselves either working part-time or being forced to stop as businesses are closed again and again.
Despite economic uncertainty, this did not seem to stop holiday sales.
Thanksgiving saw a significant rise in sales. However, the majority of those sales came from online sources. In fact, compared to past Thanksgiving days, this year saw an increase in online sales by 20%. The amount raked in through online stores was $5 billion.
Interestingly, half of the online transactions that took place were conducted on a smartphone.
Those retailers who offered curbside pick-up for those who ordered online sales also had a stronger conversion rate in their sales.
Black Friday saw similar growth. They had an identical increase in online sales. Consumers ended up spending $9 billion despite their financial insecurity. The number of people who used their smartphones to pay for purchases was 40% of the total consumer base.
Small Businesses Flourished
Luckily, small businesses saw a good deal of sales. Their sales increased by 500% compared to what was happening in October. That would continue into Saturday with revenue growth of 300%.
This means that small businesses that made the investment in switching to online sales and service were able to bring in substantial financial growth.
The Smartphone Angle
Perhaps one of the most interesting trends of these holiday sales is that most of them were conducted by a smartphone. This only further confirms that consumers are relying on their smartphones to purchase goods and services over other platforms. Small businesses that want to continue to engage their consumers and bring in sales need to ensure that they have a website that is mobile-friendly or design an app specifically for their company.
Switching to an eCommerce & Online Service
By making your website SEO-friendly and having a mobile site available for smartphone users, your business can have just as much success as some of the other small businesses that made the investment. Building a competitive edge in the market is important moving forward. Businesses panicked in 2020 because their “offline” sales weren’t ready to be online.
SEO Locale is a premier SEO company in Philadelphia that provides top-notch digital marketing services. We’ve been doing digital marketing for decades and can help you pivot your company to a better 2021, contact us today.
Small business owners are not given the same resources as corporations or enterprises. They are often left on their own trying to figure out how to gain an edge over one another. Google wants to help. In the wake of businesses having to shut down due to being unable to adapt to the current pandemic climate, it is vital that small business owners take advantage of the kind of advice that Google offers. Here is what small business owners can learn from the new Google Small Business Advisors Program.
Who Can Apply?
One of the aspects of their advisor’s program that Google has emphasized is that its program is for small businesses only. While they do not give a fine definition of the parameters of a small business, it likely means anywhere from a handful of employees to just under 500 workers.
If you have employees within that range, then you can likely apply for their program. As it stands, Google charges $39.99 per session.
What Will Occur During a Session
During your session, which will likely take place through a video call, you will sit down with a Google expert. You are able to tell the advisor about one or two different products that your business sells. Due to time constraints, Google does not suggest attempting to squeeze any more in. You will likely need to pay for another session in order to discuss other products that you have.
However, in the session, the advice that the advisor gives will likely be scalable. You may be able to extend it to the rest of your products.
In particular, the session is about helping your business make the most of Google’s tools and services to grow your business and bring awareness to your brands. Google has tons of programs and services that can make running a small business more profitable.
Yet not all small business owners know how to use these tools or what they even do. An advisor can show them what tools can have an impact on their business and in which way to use them.
Digital Marketing to Beat Your Competitors
One avenue that the advisor will likely discuss is digital marketing. If your small business is running to catch up to join the rest of the businesses around you online, then you have a lot of work ahead of you. To ensure your business attracts the traffic it needs to stay afloat, you need to master digital marketing.
One move that some small business owners make is to internalize digital marketing. Yet simply passing on the construction and upkeep of a website to a typical employee is not a good business move. It is unlikely that the employee has the digital marketing training and experience your company needs.
Instead, you should look for an agency that can grow your traffic for you. This includes helping your business understand SEO, Google Ads, and other forms of monetization and traffic growth that translates into sales. Our premier digital marketing agency in Philadelphia has a proven track record to help all types of businesses thrive online.
Start Growing Your Small Business Today
Learning from Google’s Small Business Advisors Program can help your small business grow and expand. If you want an agency to do the digital marketing for you, we’re here to help grow your small business. Contact SEO Locale if you are interested in any type of digital marketing.