What Holiday Specials are Best for Your Customers?

online promotions

Can you believe it’s December already? If you haven’t already, it’s time to think about some seasonal specials that can help bring more customers to your business during this Christmas season. Depending on the different retail forecasts you look at, online sales are expected to rise up to 15%. What are you doing to prepare your online store for the surge of shoppers? Here are a few online promotions to think about:

Free shipping: Free shipping is enticing for customers who don’t want to actually go out to get their shopping done. Online stores also offer more variety in products than those that can be found in stores. You can encourage shoppers with free shipping after a minimum purchase of a set dollar amount.

Reward loyalty: From frozen yogurt to car washes, many businesses are taking advantage of punch cards that reward multiple visits. This doesn’t just apply to chain stores or big businesses. I visited my local jewelry for a battery replacement and was happy to find that he was giving out cards that offered 1 free replacement after 10 replacements.

BOGO: Also known as ‘buy one, get one free’ or ‘buy one, get one half off’. Customers love to see the word “free” and this will encourage them to look at other options to qualify for this special.

You can get more ideas from Stamps.com’s analysis of last year’s shopping season.


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Does Your Content Marketing Measure Up?

content marketingWhat is content marketing? In broad terms, it applies to all forms of marketing involving sharing engaging content that is meant to be useful for your target customers. When you hear this term used nowadays, it means more than just using words – like on a traditional blog or website.

Different Types of Content Marketing

Nowadays, content marketing applies across social media, video marketing, press releases, public appearances, and more. In the end, the goal is to tell a story about your brand and influence potential customers to convert. Without over-complicating things, it’s a content marketing is a simple strategy to make your products and services attractive to the right consumer base.

Counting Clicks and Shares

In terms of social media, people are always wanting to know how to accurately and effectively measure these metrics. Earlier this month, Twitter revealed that they are developing Twitter Web Analytics, which should be extremely helpful to small businesses.

But like other forms of content marketing, you can’t measure and analyze social media by just using one metric. Because your business may use social media in a different way, you have to consider different factors than just say “clicks”. While this is good place to start, you have to dig deeper than that. Looking at how many users are sharing your content and tools such as PostRank can help give you that insight.

As an e-commerce business, you might take the approach of tracking sales before and after advertising coupons or deals on social media networks. Whatever form of content marketing you choose for your next campaign, you can also check the progress you’ve made on certain keywords in search engine rankings.

Notice here, there is no magic way to give you the answers you need when it comes to analyzing the effectiveness of your content marketing. The concept of these metrics is simple, but when it boils down to it many people just don’t have the time or man power to track them. It all comes down to putting in consistent work and constant monitoring of results to see what needs to be changed. As a business, this might sound like a lot of work – because it is. Remember, our Los Angeles SEO consultants are always here if you have any questions or need any help!

7 Blog Topic Ideas for Your Small Business

How was everyone’s Labor Day weekend?

Getting back from a looong weekend can be hard, especially when it comes to thinking of new blog topics for your business. If you start to feel tired about blogging about your business, chances are that your readers will feel it too. There are only so many ways to keep content fresh, meaning blog topics and the format that you use. Don’t worry, your business has more to work with than you think!

  1. Use different media – Slideshows, podcasts, videos, and Twitter chat transcriptions can all serve as a great alternative to a “normal” blog post.
  2. Show your audience how a recent event is related to your industry. Discussing current news can help increase the social media shareability of your blog post.
  3. Case studies: Highlight a successful client and show the problems you helped them overcame.
  4. Linking out and name dropping too much is never a good thing. But you can always come up with a small list industry-specific blogs that you keep up with.
  5. Debunk a  widely believed and incorrect myth within your industry
  6. Showcase your staff or have an employee spotlight. You can also go on to explain how your business is different from competitors.
  7. Talk about what you love about your business. While you’re at it, you can also talk about things that you don’t like so much. The key is to tie it into a positive at the end. For example, sure the social media industry is always changing which can be confusing, but on the up side, you’re always learning new things.

Business blogging doesn’t always have to just focus on your products/services. No one likes a straight up sales pitch and blogging is not meant to be that way. Thinking of these other ideas will help bring more readers to your blog and website so that. If those topics don’t do it for you, feel free to brainstorm some more until you’ve found the right one that you can elaborate on.

Is It Possible to Have Too Much Content?

Believe it or not, there IS such a thing as having too much content (and we’re talking about onsite content here). Effective SEO strategies are linked with quality content but people may often mistake that for just adding more content. Notice how quality gets left behind?

This is becoming more clear as Google Panda updates are rolling out. The goal is to weed out pages that are not helpful to consumers. So, how do you explain this to a client who wants 50 pages of content put up simultaneously?

Content, Search Engines and Customers

Dumping a ton of content in a single move looks suspicious to search engines because they are aware of many things: the quality of your content, the potential of its usefulness and in the end, it helps them uncover your motive (black hat or white hat SEO). I think that making this move gives off a hint that this is a one time thing and that your site won’t be updated frequently.

There’s only so much content that customers can digest without being completely bored or disinterested. As a consumer, when was the last time you sat down and made time to read more than a handful of pages on a website?

Consistency and Quality over Quantity

The next time someone urges you to add massive amounts of content at once, it’s important to let them know why it’s not a good idea. (And no, it’s not because you’re looking for an excuse to not do work!) SEO content strategy requires a consistent schedule and more does not mean that you will rank any better. If anything, posting too much content that is not useful to users can actually hurt your rankings nowadays.

How Will You Be Using Google Plus?

Facebook vs Google

In the battle of the giants, which one will reign supreme? Like vs Plus is a site where you can show your brand loyalty and cast your vote. After all, you can’t both Like and +1 everything, right?

Even if you’re tired of hearing so much on Google +, it’s important to stay connected so that you can adapt in the fast paced world of social media marketing. Here are some more ways you can use Google +:

– Chris Brogan shows us that we can blog with Google +. This basically consists of sharing a video/picture or some other media content and quickly following up in your own post with comments and links.

– Since business profiles are not allowed yet, you can take this opportunity to be innovative and show a personal side. Creating a personal profile associated with your business will allow you to socialize in a niche community and showcase your expertise.

– In a way, Google Circles reminds me of communities and groups on LinkedIn. Creating and organizing different Circles will allow you to network with different groups of people without worrying about keeping matters separate. (For example: connecting with clients, partners, employees, and friendly competitors… frenemies, anyone?)

– Watch out for Google Sparks. This is a section where you can receive personalized news articles and other information based on your interests. I see where SEOs can use this feature to their advantage by utilizing the right keywords.

Google + is more extensive than other social media platforms right now but it doesn’t necessarily mean that users have the time and knowledge to use them all. Let’s just see where all this potential can take us – after all, we’re talking about something that’s less than 3 weeks old!

What Ice Cream Flavor Would Your Blog Be?

nullMmm mint chocolate chip, vanilla or even… bacon? Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching too much of the Food Channel, but have you ever thought of your blog in terms of ice cream? The types of different  flavors are countless and customer demand is limitless!

People learn and like things through experience, so you can maximize user experience by giving your customer what they really want. When visitors come to your website or blog, you don’t want them to be bored by just a one dimensional site. You know the ones I’m talking about, just text to no end for the sake of having content. That would be very vanilla

What are some things that make your blog stand out? Is it your knowledge of hot industry topics? Infographics, user polls, personal stories or interaction with readers? Ultimately, these are the things that will help you establish credibility in your community and industry so that users will come to you when they need a product/service you provide.

Nowadays, people are interested in something new that will really catch their attention. This is where social media and video marketing come into play. Think of these as the sprinkles and tasty toppings that go well with your ice cream blog. You don’t want this content to overpower your blog, but just enough to make your content a little more interesting.

And everyone likes free samples! So of course, you can do the same with your content – whitepapers, downloads and email newsletters are a great way to entice your customers so that they come back for more of the real thing.

It’s amazing how you can make sugar, ice and milk turn into something that’s so much more. Like ice cream, blogs are a great thing. So, when it comes to your blog, don’t just think of it as a blob of words. Mix it up with different components of content to make it a blog that people actually want to read!

Why Should Businesses Blog?

blog

For most people blogging can be seen as an enjoyable way to showcase your creativity. But what about businesses? Is there really a point in business blogging? The answer is, YES – of course!

Blogging is great for your business and you an also express your brand in an unlimited platform. Before all the fancy social media sites were available, blogging was it and nowadays, it’s still the foundation of social sharing. If you’re still  not convinced of the power of blogging, hopefully these reasons will help convince you otherwise!

  1. Attract local customers – If you have a small business, it’s important to be connected to the neighborhood, events and its people. If you’re part of your city/town’s Chamber of Commerce, you can extend your local efforts when blogging. Whether you’re focusing on promoting local business, participating in family events, volunteering for notable causes or just sharing fun company events, blogging  will help give your brand a personal touch. The upside is that you’ll be able to promote this content on multiple social networking sites so that the SEO power doesn’t stop just at your blog.
  2. Dominate the competition – As a small business, you can use blogging to set yourself apart from the competition. Relevant and regular blogging will help if your competitors aren’t blogging (or blogging consistently as you do). Use geographic key terms to get that edge and over time, this permanent asset can bring your site more traffic.
  3. Showcase your knowledge – Learning is a big part of blogging. When you write useful information that’s intended to help others, it also benefits your business. It can reinforce what you already know in your area of expertise, as well as learn more about other things and what your peers are doing.
  4. Serves as a reminder. Forcing yourself to blog can be a pain if you don’t have the time. Ultimately, blogging is a great way to remind customers that you’re still around and that you’re still relevant. Blogging keeps you on your toes and also serves a great self-reminder as to why you’re still in business!

If you can handle blogging in house, more power to you! There are also outside help that can assist with your SEO  efforts. Contact us if you’re interested in how blogging and keyword advertising can help your business grow.

The Many Faces of Social Media

When you think about the purpose of social media, what first comes to your mind? Nowadays, I don’t think there’s one “right” answer because social media is useful in so many ways. Let’s take a look at the different faces of social media:

The microblogger – When Twitter first came out, it was all about microblogging this and microblogging that. Today, Facebook, Tumblr, and LinkedIn are amongst the many that have their very own microblogging service. If you don’t have enough time devoted to blogging, this is an excellent alternative.

The customer service representative – Another great thing about social media is that you can keep tabs on what customers are saying about your brand and respond quickly. Did you know that customers can skip the waiting (and awful hold music) by tweeting their problems? Time Warner Cable, for example, has a team of staff members solely for this purpose.

The salesperson – The immediacy and wide audience of social media sites give you the ability to promote your business 24/7. Sort of like a salesperson who never sleeps and isn’t as annoying. Well, maybe. Even though social media sites give you the opportunity to self promote, it doesn’t mean that you should overuse and abuse it.

The promotion team – Customers love to be appreciated as much as they like good deals. This is where your social media strategy can focus on promotions. From coupons to contests, this is the best way to drum up some good publicity and create customer interest in your brand.

The social butterfly – Sometimes, social media is just that – social. Have you ever wondered why trending topics on Twitter seem so random? It’s because it’s a result of some tedious, strategic marketing plan but rather, an organic outcome of what happens when people communicate together online. Savvy businesses are the ones who use this to their advantage and join in the most-talked about conversations.

In the end, social media doesn’t necessarily have to play all these roles for your business. There’s a lot of room for flexibility and growth so that you can find out which suits you best. Which one do you think is most important and why?

4 Reasons Social Media Just Isn’t Working for You

social media failMany people think that social media is a cure-all to their business woes. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. If you’re  struggling with social media efforts, it doesn’t mean that you should give up. But rather, take the time to look at some top reasons why it might not be working out for you:

  1. You think social media can replace blogging and SEO content.
    As I’d like to think of it, a little blogging can go along way. While a little time spent on social media isn’t very effective. Your SEO content is a permanent asset that will help you as the days/weeks/years go by while the timely for social media is very time-sensitive and more fleeting. Take a look at how they can work together instead of choosing one over the other.
  2. You don’t have enough time and lack management.
    The briefness and spontaneity of social media updates make it seem so “easy”. But, for social media to be most effective, you need to involve as many people/departments as possible. From sales, web designers, writers to your CEO, it’s important to have a coordinated view of your social media plan and goals.
  3. You don’t know where to go.
    Social media news and usage can often mean information overload. Instead of trying to diversify and being everywhere halfheartedly at once, why not try a few platforms and specialize?
  4. You might need to reevaluate your business model.
    As the sayings go, you can’t put lipstick on a pig. You can’t make a racehorse out of a donkey and you can’t polish a… well, you get the point. If you have problems with your business and are looking at social media as a way to put a superficial spin on it, chances are that it won’t work – for long anyways.

The best thing about social media is its potential to amplify your online presence. Trying things out for yourself and experimenting doesn’t hurt and you can always learn from your mistakes and successes. It also helps that you can take a good look at what your competitors are and aren’t doing as you try your hand at the social media game.

What’s the Point of Your Blog?

More, please.What does successful blogging mean to you?

If you have a blog, chances are there are many reasons that motivate you. Whether you like to provide helpful information, bring more visitors to your website or just like blogging as a creative outlet, there are many ways that you can improve your blog.

One thing’s for sure, you need to approach it as if it’s more than just content for search engines. Here are some things that I try to keep in mind:

  1. Expand on what you know best. Have you ever wondered why how-to and troubleshooting articles are so popular? People link and share these posts because they appreciate specific details and even narratives.
  2. Link to your content and other blog posts. Don’t treat a blog post as if it’s just a single entity. Your posts should be interconnected and relevant. This will also be helpful for readers looking for more information and help increase the amount of time they spend on your site or blog.
  3. Practice makes perfect, so be persistent. Blogging isn’t just a one shot deal. The work doesn’t after your fingers leave the keyboard. If you feel like you haven’t quite reached the  sweet spot as a blogger, it never hurts to try again. In fact, more helpful content can only help your business.
  4. What’s the point or call to action? At the end of the day, you want to leave a lasting message whether it’s getting the reader to call, continue reading, share the post with others or just comment. Like a story, an effective blog posts needs a beginning, middle and end that brings everything together.

Blogging and even micro-blogging are becoming more important to your business and online presence. What’s the point of your blog and what do you think you need to work on?