While many SEO efforts and other types of marketing strategies are focused solely on a company’s search rank on Google, there may be other websites to consider for a more effective campaign. Google is traditionally thought of, especially in the marketing world, as the most common place for people to input their search terms. Although the Google market share is currently at 63.8 percent, other search engines like Bing at 33.5 percent are now being considered a competitive threat. Even if the majority of your marketing efforts center on Google, it might be useful to consider competitors as another place to become more visible online.
Looking at Threats to Google
Even though Google may seem like the one and only place that people search for the information they are looking for, the company has to consider competitors like Bing and Yahoo because they have a similar format. However, in spite of the existence of these other search websites Google’s most significant competitor is actually Amazon. People are beginning to go to Amazon for product searches much more often than they do on Google. Another major competitor is Apple because they support ad blocking that prevents content from loading and especially ads from Google’s Double Click for Publishers and Double Click Ad Exchange which is a major blow to their revenue. Facebook is also broadly known as a significant competitor to Google because it is more effective at driving traffic to a website through a news cycle. Competition for Google can even come in the form of messaging and texting as people simply ask their friends instead of performing a search.
When considering Google’s competitors and the threat that they may pose to the major search engine, it can be an opportunity for marketers to expand their strategies. Instead of focusing all SEO efforts on Google, marketers can begin to develop a campaign for scaling their sales on Amazon and targeting results from product searches. With the ad blockers that Apple has created now harming Google, it might be a good strategy to incorporate native advertising as a way to promote on the web. Facebook advertising is also a very important aspect of marketing with the amount of referral traffic it can produce to other websites. Other social media websites can be incorporated as well but Facebook represents a significant platform to pay attention to. Since messaging and recommendations from friends are also a threat to search engines, think about building your brand so that you become a company that people will suggest as a solution. Google may be at the core of most marketing strategies, but branching out and diversifying to its competitors can help build a more effective campaign that reaches a wider range of customers.
Most marketers are aware of the value of incorporating mobile engagement in their advertising strategies but unfortunately many are struggling to get the results that they want. Some issues with mobile engagement are a result of bad habits that are failing to get the type of interaction that marketing companies want from their customers. Here are some of the problems that could be contributing to a lack of success with mobile marketing.
1) Spamming Users
Most mobile users view notifications as a distraction and many marketers may make the mistake of “spamming” their customers with too much information. You should be strategic about using push notifications instead of sending every user updates. If you try to personalize notifications based on user behavior you will most likely see better open rates and retain more customers. When sending a push notification you should first think about the audience and the behavior it best fits with so that you are not simply sending out another annoying distraction.
2)Taking Advantage of Personal Data
For the most part, customers are okay with companies using their personal information but only as a way to create a more personalized experience for them. They expect an app to apply their personal preferences and factor their location into the content or messages sent. On the other hand, marketers can sometimes cross the line and use the personal information in a way that betrays the trust of their customers. While personalization is important, privacy needs to be respected at all times for a better relationship with your customers.
3) Focusing on the Wrong Metrics
Marketers know the importance of data and getting marketing efforts tracked, analyzed, adjusted or even abandoned based on results. In some cases, the data that marketers focus on is discrete campaign results that miss the true impact of the broader implications. Focusing too much on short-term metrics can be a mistake even if they seem promising. It is a better idea to understand the importance of lifetime value and observe the ripple effects of an engagement campaign beyond the short-term.
4) Using Only an App
Utilizing apps can be a great benefit to you since they are where your most loyal customers interact with your brand. However, the mobile experience now involves so much more including widgets, push notifications, email, remarketing and the mobile web. These all represent mobile engagement opportunities that marketers should consider instead of focusing solely on an app. Remarketing could mean targeting existing customers on social media sites like Facebook based on how they have engaged with you. Data insights about app users’ behavior, interests and preferences can help guide you on the best mobile opportunities to incorporate.
While most SEO efforts now focus on producing high-quality content and then amplifying that content through social media, companies should also consider ways to prioritize their SEO content in order to get the best results. SEO needs to be both relevant and useful, which can help give you some guidelines in terms of how to prioritize. Content should usually be prioritized based on intent, striking distance, search volume and conversion metrics so that you know it is going to be effective content that will engage customers. Before you start prioritizing you should first consider and define your goals so you can create a plan for your SEO content. If one of your goals is increasing traffic you need to look at your website analytics and ranking tools to get an idea of what opportunities you have to drive traffic with your existing assets. You can look at “striking distance” keywords which rank of page two of major search engines. Moving these keywords to page one can help boost both traffic and revenue especially if they have a lot of volume and transactional intent.
Finding and Filling in Gaps
Once you define your goals and find striking distance keywords you can then look at your existing content. Reviewing your content and performing a gap analysis can help you determine if there are any gaps you need to fill in so that your content is effective at every stage of the buyer’s journey. While you need to appear in search results for high-converting keywords it is also valuable to be visible in SERPs throughout the research phase for buyers so that your brand is present and on their mind. You can also look at your competitors and see where they have no presence so you can fill in gaps there by building content in those areas. It can also be helpful to communicate with other departments so that you know of any important content initiatives that need to be optimized or prioritized by intent and search volume.
Promoting Content through Social
Once you have prioritized and created your content you need to focus on promoting it through social media. High-quality and engaging content should be shared on social media platforms which will attract more social endorsements and links and ultimately improve your visibility in search engine results pages. You can also promote priority content through paid social which can help improve your results and can be relatively inexpensive. All your efforts to promote can help make your most important content more visible and drive more traffic to your site. Although the first step in an effective SEO campaign is creating great content, prioritizing and then amplifying your content is what will really create the results that you want.
In the past, computers were only capable of performing functions they were programmed to do and they had to be dictated each move through a rule-based program. Now technology has evolved to the point where marketers are able to use systems that employ something called “machine learning” which uses algorithms to figure out patterns in data. A machine learning system uses a pattern-matching model that is initially set up and then matches incoming data against the model. If the match is off then the system can adjust the factors shaping the model until it recognizes the actual pattern. What this means for marketers is that machine learning systems can produce useful insights and recommendations on how to achieve certain goals or answer specific questions.
Machine learning can be used to analyze user behavior and figure out which strategies work for achieving certain goals. The platform can create a model for what appears to work based on what you are looking for from customers. For example if you wanted to find out what causes customers to unsubscribe from your email newsletter you could use the platform to analyze data and find out the number of emails you can send to certain types of customers before they unsubscribe. You can also use machine learning to help you figure out how to generate better content for emails, web pages and other marketing material. Some platforms can find new prospects that resemble your most responsive customers and advertise to them through the method that will work best.
An Important Trend
Because machine learning platforms can provide valuable recommendations on how marketers can reach goals and improve their results, it is now a growing trend in the world of digital advertising. Experts suggest that within two to five years most platforms will be able not only to find patterns but also adapt to new situations and challenges. The belief is also that within a year there will be a dramatic increase in the number of marketing applications that employ machine learning tactics. While a machine may not be able to make all the marketing decisions that are important to maintaining a successful brand, a platform that understands customer patterns and can predict their behavior is invaluable to advertisers.
Marketing online can come from a combination of different sources but one of the most important platforms is social media. Many companies are still struggling to get the most out of their social media campaigns because it can be difficult to stand out with so many competitors trying to get the attention of customers. For businesses that are less savvy about social media they may feel that their posts are not effectively engaging customers. With so many social media channels available and so many ways to market it can be hard to develop the right campaign that gets the results that you want. However, there are certain strategies and tools to consider that may help improve your success in social media marketing.
Strategies for Twitter and Facebook
In terms of social media websites, twitter and Facebook are two of the key platforms to communicate and stay in touch with customers. Twitter is something that works best if you keep up with it often and are constantly connecting with your followers. It can be a good idea to use Twitter as a way to send a thank you every time your company is mentioned and respond to questions as quickly as possible, often in the same day. Facebook is a way to post content that is longer than Twitter but it is still best to keep posts simple and ask questions instead of making statements to increase interaction. Utilizing Facebook ads is also a great method for reaching more people and increasing your followers.
Using Images and Content to Engage Followers
When posting on social media, whatever platform you are using it is helpful to include images as often as possible. Photos and also animation through GIFs are more likely to attract attention to your post and make people stop browsing to look at a visual image. Images and videos can also work well with your efforts in SEO optimization. While an image can bring them in, you also need great content accompanying it to keep the customer’s attention. You need to provide content that will make people want to click through because it has sparked their interest. Keep your target audience in mind as you create content and think about what they are looking for from you. If you create something that provides an answer to some of their questions then they are more likely to read through your content.
Community and Inspirational Campaigns
A good social media strategy means more than having a lot of followers but instead building a community. If your posts have a lot of personality and humor or are entertaining to your followers then you are more likely to see interaction. It is important to converse directly with the people interacting with your posts so that it feels like a two way communication every time you respond. Finally, your social media efforts should include cross-channel campaigns that include an emotional or inspirational component that will get people more involved. Use powerful stories that will engage followers and get them to stand behind your brand.
Having a website that works well on mobile phones is a key strategy in modern internet marketing no matter what your goals are with your campaign. If you are looking to redesign for a more mobile-friendly site there are a lot of things to consider before you dive in. For one thing you will need to choose between responsive web design and behavioral web design or BWD. Using a BWD or an active web design allows you to employ a step by step design process using analytics data and testing. If you are looking to do a full website redesign BWD is a good choice because you will have a six to twelve month redesign cycle and it will give you the best odds of success. Once you make a choice about redesign methods you can start the process and figure out the best plan for completing the task.
Value Proposition and Calls to Action
When in the process of a redesign it is important to keep your old website around so you will have the opportunity to test some things before you make the final move. As you work on redesign you can do some A/B tests on your existing site so you ca see the difference on your new site. Some questions to ask yourself when testing are what is working on your current site and what is not working. You need to test out your value proposition which is basically the combination of copy, images and offers that inform the visitor that they are in the right place for what they are looking for. Using the right language to communicate key information as well as powerful images can help connect with your visitors as soon as they reach the site. Your mobile site should also have calls to action with the right kind of language that will convince them to move to the next step. Test calls to action in exit-intent popovers, entrance popovers, and scroll triggered overlays can be carried over to the new site.
Building Trust in Your Brand
Your mobile site should offer visitors information about return policies to help you handle risk reversal. Visitors often fear that they might purchase the wrong product or get spammed after filling out a form. You need to build trust among your visitors and strategically place brand logos and symbols on your mobile site so that consumers know who you are. You can also place logos of other trusted brands if your company is a member of an association or you carry certain certifications that people might recognize. Your mobile design should include an effective landing page that stands apart from the main site and is well-designed for high conversion rates. For each new decision you make about your mobile site you should test any suggestions on your current site to make sure they will work with the redesign.
When producing advertisements businesses always need to create more than just something people will be interested enough to read. Especially in the world of internet marketing when consumers are bombarded with digital ads that they’ve essentially learned to ignore in many cases. With so much content, and the tendency to use multiple devices or multi-task with different media it is harder than ever for ads to have an impact on online consumers. Ads need to be something people will see, read, and remember but the ultimate goal in breaking through with digital ads is to create something that people will also seek and share. While it can be hard to plan an ad that will be viral, there are certain strategies to keep in mind that could help facilitate a more successful, sharable advertisement.
Engaging Consumers with Insights and Stories
Advertisements that are going to breakthrough to viewers and become seek and share ads need to have a number of different qualities. One aspect of a great ad is having insights that can provide a new story and transform the viewer’s thinking to a different viewpoint. An effective insight will surprise the viewer and tell them something that changes their mind or understanding of themselves by really having an impact. Insights can be created by looking for and identifying connections between the past and present, finding contradictions or inconsistencies in behavior or beliefs in the market and looking for effective ideas that were created in creative desperation. Another important aspect of a breakthrough ad is the story that it tells. People find meaning in stories and they can help us to understand our world through universal truths. Creating a story that people relate to on a personal level but also one that has a natural connection to your brand is a key strategy to focus on.
Evoking Emotions for Shareable Content
Another way to create breakthrough ads is to strive for content that evokes high-arousal emotions which are often more sought-after and shared by consumers. While evidence shows that positive content is usually more viral, overall it is highly emotional content that is more likely to be shared regardless of whether it evokes positive or negative emotions. Content that evokes a specific emotion characterized by arousal is more often shared by consumers because it creates a visceral reaction that moves beyond mere emotional connection. It may seem difficult to gauge if your content has the right kind of insights, story and emotional charge but using advertising research can help you tailor your digital ads for the best results. Copy-testing can provide an opportunity to optimize your advertisements in every step of the creative process. Early stage campaign testing, pretesting and in-market tracking can all provide you with a better idea of how your advertisements will land among consumers. Understanding these important strategies will help you create content and breakthrough advertisements with a lot of sharing potential.
The way that consumers search for information on the internet continues to change dramatically with all the new devices and types of technology available. While for years, searching was limited to typing in a keyword on a desktop computer the range of searching abilities has expanded into many different platforms and tools that actually change the way people search. It is important for marketers to understand how consumers’ searching behavior changes across devices and tools. Searching has evolved from typing out a few keywords into more personalized help that allows people to get more done through digital assistants like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Now. Voice searches allow people to use natural and more conversational language and digital assistants are able to adapt to user intent using context and past searches to anticipate their needs.
Information from Questions and Tone
Marketers need to understand how voice search changes their ability to reach customers because these types of search queries have different signals of intent than simply typing in a few keywords. A voice search might contain information such as intent to purchase a certain item and a consumer’s geographic location where they are looking for that particular item. The tone and addition of question words like “who, what, where, why, how and when” can be a source of rich data for marketers to have a better idea of what a customer wants. With a conversational tone, marketers can start to build user-intent models so that they better understand where a customer is coming from and where they are in their journey. They can also begin to match advertising campaigns to the right stage of user intent and also work to develop content with a more conversational tone that provides specific answers to user’s needs and their top questions.
Content for Voice Search Users
Creating content that caters to what people using voice search want to find and providing them with quick and accessible answers can improve your interactions with them. If you have content that answers specific questions your website will become a great resource. Adjusting your marketing strategies to adapt to voice search and creating content specifically designed for that type of search can help you meet the demands of potential customers and stay relevant. Search technology will continue to change and evolve the way we understand user intent and voice search is one way for marketers to see more of the context of the user experience.
A blog is a format where you can create the kind of high quality content that is going to be engaging to customers and a place to have relevant interactions with them. That’s why it is so important to make an effort to drive more traffic to your blog so that you can convert at least some of that traffic into business. There are some key strategies that can help you generate more traffic to your blog and get more interest in your content so that people continue reading and know who you are. One of the quickest and most effective ways to boost traffic is connect with other bloggers, particularly ones who are well-known.
Linking with Other Blogs
When you talk about other important bloggers who are not necessarily competitors you can start a connection with them that could link some of their traffic to yours. You should first find other bloggers that are influential in subjects closely related to yours and mention them in your blog. If you link to their blog and cite them as a source for information they might receive some traffic from your link and return the favor. Mentioning other bloggers is both good karma and also a way to make connections with influential people who could help you build traffic. Emailing them to make sure that they know you mentioned them is a good way to confirm the connection and hopefully get them to link back to your site.
Promoting Blog Posts and Optimizing Content
Another way to improve traffic for your blog is to incorporate it into your email marketing strategy. Sending out an email promoting a certain blog post that you want to get more attention can help build traffic for that post and the blog in general. You can organize different email lists so that you can promote blogs based on the topic and the interests of individual customers. Sending out an email to a broader list will not have as great an open rate as one tailored to specific interests. In addition to email marketing or social media, you can also use other sources to help promote the content on your blog such as press releases. Using a press release will carry more prestige and build authority, it could lead to more journalists contacting you and it will also give you better visibility. Aside from promotion you can also look to improve your blog post by including long-form content over 1500 words which ranks better than short content and optimize the images on your blog so that they will show up in a keyword search. The most important thing is to have good quality content that will engage readers but putting some time and effort into boosting traffic through connecting to bloggers and promoting your posts can make your blog more effective at increasing business.
Aside from your usual email marketing campaign, it is important that you also utilize a strategy called blogger outreach. The idea behind this is that a company or an individual blogger, utilizes influencers or other bloggers with a good number of followers when trying to create exposure for their post, products, and or service.
3 Simple Steps in Blogger Outreach
- Create a list of influencers/bloggers that is within your niche. To do this, you will have to use Google/Twitter search or opt for a paid tool like NinjaOutreach in order to curate your list (and do outreach as well). Remember that these influencers have to be relevant to what you are writing about. You can’t reach out to a food blogger even if they have a 100k facebook fan-base if your niche is about home improvement.
- Build a relationship with these influencers/bloggers. This is plain and easy but it takes some time to master. Subscribe to newsletter, follow on social media, comment and share their posts.
- Newsletters – Don’t subscribe but be active as well. When they send out a newsletter, be sure to read through it and maybe try to add value by sending out your thoughts to them as a response. Remember to read the post that they’ve highlighted in their email as well because if you don’t, you won’t really have anything to say but just the generic, “thank you, this helped”, and you don’t want that when trying to add a real value.
- Social Media – tweets, retweets, post, repost, these things helps you get noticed because they would know that you exist even before you reach out to them. This is giving them something without asking anything in return.
- Blog Commenting – ideally, what you want to happen is to get seen by the influencers themselves. Don’t just put in clumsy ‘awesome post, thank you’ comments, make your comment stand out. It doesn’t need to be a long narrative, it can be short but make sure that it summarizes a point that you are trying to make. How do you do this easily? Read the post before you comment and you’ll have something to say.
- Outreach. If you have done steps one and two correctly, this should be easy. The reason why this is the last step in here is because unlike in your usual email marketing campaign, going ‘cold’ on these influencers will get you nowhere. They have to know that you are there and they have to ‘know you’ firsthand before you even reach out to them and ask them a favor. They are busy people and they have tons of emails to sort through. You don’t want to be one of those emails that trashed instantly.
Consider this question before you do outreach:
- What value can I give or have given to this influencer?
If you are able to answer that on your outreach email, then you are good to go.
One of the goals of most businesses is to foster brand loyalty among customers so that you have devoted fans who will continue to choose you over your competitors. However, brand loyalty is harder to develop in the modern marketing world even with loyalty promotions and programs offering customer rewards. In recent years these types of programs have increased exponentially but a recent report shows that they may be less effective at customer retention because of the sheer volume of loyalty promotions. It may be harder than ever now to create and maintain relationships with customers who expect consistent and relevant experiences both in person and online.
Using First Party Data for Better Interactions
In order to create brand loyalty it is important to know and understand modern consumers so that you can have more positive interactions with them. Utilizing access to first party data can help you create a people-based marketing approach so that you have more personalized interactions with customers that help to develop their loyalty to your brand. One strategy for people-based marketing is to use addressable advertising that appeals to each customer’s personal interests. Instead of using traditional display ads that have a very low click-through rate, you can use ads that target known customers. Using first party data you can create addressable media that engages with customers on a more personal basis. Using display ads that target customers based on their current interests and interactions can help develop their loyalty.
Personalizing Customer Experience
Another way to use first party data to your advantage is to gather information from everywhere customers interact including email, internet, mobile apps, or from CRM and POS systems. Using all this data from different sources you can start to create a 360 degree profile for each customer so that you know more about them and can target advertisements accordingly. A more holistic view of your customer can help you more effectively deliver messages where, when and how these consumers want them to create a relevant interaction. One of the most important ways to create brand loyalty is to personalize the experience for the customer so that they keep coming back. Every interaction should be personalized to them so that they are more likely to engage and choose you over competitors every time. Your first party data provides you with valuable information that can help you develop a more personal marketing approach that wins loyalty and trust from every one of your customers.