Monthly Archives: October 2016

How Your Customers Can Sell Your Products For You

By | Marketing | No Comments

Consumers have outsmarted many marketers by learning not to trust perfect, fake images they see online.  Nowadays, that is not always enough to cut it in order to sell a product. Your customers, however, as amateur as they may be, know exactly what it takes to sell a product.  They want to see their peers purchasing and using the same things prior to making a purchase.  When people come across content that is customer-generated, the average order value actually increases by 10%. According to BI Intelligence, there is a 78% increase in conversion rates when consumers interact with customer-generated content as well as a 75% lift in revenue per website visitor.

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Why is this so?  Well, first off, images are powerful.  Nice images attract attention.  When consumers see images of other people wearing a certain product, they can actually imagine what it will look like in person (a watch, for example).  They also get the message that other people are interested enough in actually purchasing the product and that the product is real.  It is not a generated image used to sell a product, and then when the product arrives looks completely different.

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Social media is a great place for e-commerce.  Facebook users upload 350 million photos every single day; now that’s a statistic to take advantage of. Your customers will do a whole lot better of a job selling your products than your marketing team and sales reps do, because people trust their peers over the brand. Chubbies, for example, is an e-commerce brand that uses real customers on their Facebook page to promote their products via images and product descriptions.  They have 1.47 million likes!

engaged-trafficInstagram brings the most traffic of all of the social media sites.  While there are a few challenges on the platform, there is a vital commerce tool that allows you to get the best consumer-generated content while also recognizing rights management, moderation, shoppable feeds, and photo discovery.

In conclusion, it is important to recognize the power of images generated by your very own customer base.  When shopping online, there is a lack of face-to-face interaction.  When customers can see their peers using, liking, and promoting products, it helps them to build trust with various brands. Online marketing is quickly evolving into visual marketing. Because of this, Instagram for retailers and businesses is absolutely exploding. If you don’t have an Instagram account yet, now is the time to make one and implement visual marketing into your sales process.

How to Generate Quality Leads from Social Media

By | Social Media Marketing | No Comments

Social media is used widely by brands in order to generate awareness by letting people know who you are and what you do.

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In addition to this, however, it can actually be used to generate quality leads and drive up your sales numbers. Want to know how?

    • Make Your Landing Pages Social. Normal landing pages yield a straightforward process and will drive people towards your conversion goal.  If someone were to be interested in the offer, with these normal landing pages they would have no way of sharing them with other likeminded individuals.  If the landing pages were social, however, this wouldn’t be the case.  In order to make your landing page more social, you can add an option button in order to share the page or to post the update to a social media site.  You can also allow visitors to leave comments which will increase social proof.  By making your landing pages social, you will be able to reach an even greater audience with only the click of a button.

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    • Route Social Media Users to Your Blog. Having a blog can be a great way to spread more information about your brand and thus convert even more sales. The question often arises, however, how do I get people to my blog?  Use social media to promote these specific blog posts.  Such downloads and special offers will get these people to your blog.  In order to do this, use visual content that will attract more people.  Also make sure to keep your updates short and to the point.  If it’s too lengthy, people will get bored and turn away.  Save the longer stuff for the actual blog post. Lastly, use relevant hashtags!

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    • Create Separate Social Media Accounts on One Platform. While many businesses create a separate social media account on each platform, it is also useful to create several accounts within a single platform. This is done in order to focus on different tasks.  One account may be specifically for driving conversion through content where another one may be specialized to focus on branding alone.

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  • Run Competitions. People like contests! This is an exciting way to engage people and attract new potential customers.  No one says no to a free prize. Make sure your prize does relate to your business, however, in order to avoid obtaining a bunch of low-quality leads.

Improving your Small Business SEO

By | Marketing, SEO | No Comments

Small business owners can sometimes tend to have trouble effectively implementing their SEO. In addition to taking care of business and customer needs, you have to manage your website and marketing on top of all of that.  It can be quite overwhelming.

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In this article we will discuss simple ways that a small business owner can improve their SEO all on their own.

Realistically Manage Your Expectations

It’s important that you are realistic about what you can handle and what you simply cannot. Try to aim for very specific keywords, rather than general, high-end keywords.  Do not get frustrated with yourself if you aren’t ranking number one on the search engine results pages.  You most likely cannot compete with massive companies that have millions of dollars to pour into marketing.

Know Your Niche

Understand your niche in and out, knowing what people would search for in order to land on your site.  For example, if you are a local dry cleaning company, opt for keywords like “best dry cleaners Lansing” instead of “where to find a good dry cleaner”.  The specific keywords will draw people in to your specific niche.

Mid-Tail Keywords

It’s important not to go too overboard when coming up with specific keywords for your niche.  If your keywords are too long, you will only yield maybe one to two people per day to your site.  Instead of “gymnastics clothing that wears well in the washing machine near Chicago”, try “team gymnastics clothing in Chicago”.

Use Online Platforms

One of the main ways that local businesses can communicate with their audience is through social media.  Use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Don’t forget to maintain them! Update people with useful information, any promotions you are running, and anything new that happens to your business (such as a location change).  Offer for people to share their experiences and reward them for tagging you or ‘checking-in’.  This is only going to spread the word faster about your business and what you have to offer.

Use Offline Platforms

In addition to the world wide web, you can also advertise in the local newspaper. You might believe that newspapers are a thing of the past, but local news companies are actually a great way to get your information out there.  Anything that you have that is newsworthy, make sure you reach out to a local publication source in order to spread the news.

Is Facebook Becoming the Next Review Platform?

By | Marketing, Reviews for SEO, Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized | No Comments

Facebook has recently added a new feature (because what platform isn’t constantly adding new features) that allows you to post reviews at places you have checked in. It looks a little something like this:

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What happens is, once you have ‘checked in’ to a location on Facebook, you will receive a notification from Facebook 24 hours later asking you to review and share the place you visited.

Why do people check in anyways?

People typically do this because they want others around them to know what they are up to.  After all, you seem a lot cooler to your friends if you are front row at a Coldplay concert rather than on your couch watching another Netflix series. People check-in to show off their latest meal and let people know what restaurant they should eat at next.  They even check-in to places like hospitals in order to let others know they have a sick relative or friend.  This can alert people to send support. All in all, people like to share what they are up to with others, and checkin in on Facebook is a great way to accomplish this.

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The problem with Yelp.

There are few people, awarded elite status by Yelp, that use the site often to seek and leave helpful information.  Most people only use Yelp to seek information, not to actually leave it unless it is a negative review. Because of this, they have an average rating of 3 stars for most businesses.  This leaves the scale to be grossly inaccurate, as people are receiving far more negative feed back than positive.

e4fcdb706f26100581e210145edef087Facebook can fill that void.

Nearly everyone utilizes the Facebook platform.  People use it to post exciting information about their lives, let friends and family know what’s new, seek out information about their friends and family, get useful information on things to do and places to go, advertise their businesses, and so forth.  When you receive a notification that goes directly into your feed, even if you are super busy, you can easily leave a quick review for others to see.  Facebook can fill the void Yelp has left of finding only negative reviews with the ability to reach so many more people than Yelp can.  In order to leave a review, you do not even have to write anything.  All you have to do is click the number of stars and move on with your day.  This incentivizes many people to use it.

Leading Visitors to Your Best Website Content

By | Content Marketing, SEO | No Comments

So many website owners get so caught up in focusing on backlinks, that they completely neglect internal links.  There is a whole strategic world behind internal links that should not be overlooked. Focusing here can actually generate even more traffic to your website. In order to have a strong search engine optimization strategy, focus both on back links and internal links.  Having good links does several things: enables visitors to navigate throughout the entire website rather than just the home page, helps people to be able to easily share information that is found deep within your site, and builds good paths for search engine bots or spiders to find your content as easily as possible.  As you know, the easier it is for people and search engines to navigate through your site, the higher your rankings will appear on SERPs.

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The purpose of internal links is to successfully guide people and search engines throughout the site to specific content.  Think of links like a winding path in a forest, the forest being your website.  People can actually land on your site from anywhere: about section, services page, a blog post, or contact information found on an online directory.  When there are proper internal links, people can access the content they want to see in a quick and easy fashion.  Internal links will often lead people to additional details on a product, to a blog post with associated content information, or a page deeper within the website that is hidden from the main page.

Engine spiders or bots are able to easily find content in your site through internal links.  The links create a sort of web in which the spiders can crawl around and navigate through. Once these bots and spiders find the content, it will then be added into a huge database.  When people make search inquiries, the spiders and bots will have quick access to the relevant content, thanks to your web of internal links.

In order to make sure your site is optimizing itself through internal link building, there are a few things you should do.  First off, you should test your site with a free tool called Open Site Explorer.  This will give you a good understanding of the current link structure in your site already.  Second, make sure all of your pages on your website have a link to another page within your site, no pages left behind! Finally, make sure you create links that are from relevant anchor text. Anchor text is keyword rich and will keep spiders from having to do more work than they signed up for.

Debunking the Common Myths of Social Media

By | Social Media Marketing | No Comments

In the world of online marketing and SEO, the rules are ever changing. For example, Google is constantly changing, ad blockers are found all over the place, Twitter has changed its rules, and chatbots are becoming increasingly popular. Because of these changes, many marketers become fearful.  Not know what is going to happen next can be scary, and can also make people want to hold onto what is ‘known’, even if they might be myths.  This holds true especially around social media, as the world of social media is changing before our eyes.

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Let’s take a look at some of these myths.

Social Media is Totally Free

There was once a time in which brands could connect with their consumers in an organic fashion through their social media pages, but it was never 100% free. Back when people were totally winning in the social department, they were also spending copious amount of time and manpower.  Time is money, and that definitely came at a price. Once brands caught up with this method, social media became congested enough that paid opportunities arose.  This type of content overtook viral in order to avoid changing algorithms and traffic.  Because of this, even more myths arose.

Social Media Cannot be Measured

This is absolutely a myth, as there are programs that enable social media to be measured.  You can use native platform’s analytics, automation, organic measurement, and community management.

Social Media will not Convert Users into Buyers

Yes, indeed it does.  Brands first gather information on consumer’s purchasing habits as well as their searches.  They then conduct advertisement specifically towards this exact audience. By the time your ad reaches them, they are already aligned with your brand in some fashion as you know they are already interested in what you have to offer (services or products). As long as you are truly listening to your audience and tailoring your marketing accordingly, social media advertisement will absolutely convert users into buyers.

My Consumers Are Not Social

Although there are some people who are not utilizing social media, the number is very small. Anyone who has some sort of device: computer, tablet, or smartphone, is looking or playing on one of the platforms. 1.7 billion people use Facebook, 313 million people use Twitter, and 500 million people use Instagram.

You Need to be Present on all Platforms

This just is not true.  Although you don’t need to be everywhere, however, you do need to be where your consumers are.

The Future of SEO

By | SEO, SEO Strategies | No Comments

SEO has come a long way recently, moving from focusing on only keywords, content, and link-building to focusing on brand building and influencing search queries. This is a much more inclusive approach and goes far beyond simple link-building and creating content around a pile of keywords.  Do not get us wrong, we understand that these are essential building blocks in successful SEO.

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However, as time evolves we are noticing a trend in SEO that will make up its future.  Here are some of the pillars of the future of SEO:

  1. RankBrain. RainkBrain is an algorithm update done by Google.  It is highly misunderstood, even though it is the third most significant ranking factor within the Google algorithm.  Although there are disputes amongst marketers regarding RankBrain and what it does and doesn’t do, there are several ideas about what RankBrain does not do that are agreed upon.  RankBrain does not do any acting on your back link profile, neither does it act on your click through rate or quality content. What it does do is help Google’s algorithm to better understand search queries and then match them to relevant content.
  2. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Google conducted an AMP project back in February of this year. The results from this project were integrated into Google’s search results in the form of ‘Top Stories’. These stories appeared in carousel format on mobile devices.  In August, Google started displaying links to these same AMP pages in the main organic search results list. Now, even if there are relevant app pages, mobile devices will be directed towards AMP pages when conducting searches.
  3. Knowledge Graph. Google’s Knowledge Graph was introduced back in 2012 and it is their way of organizing information and making it universally accessible.  In a nutshell, search engine results gathered from a wide variety of sources are organized.  For a brand manager, such as an Indianapolis SEO expert, this means that they are looking to control the queries, conversation, and impression that people have of them.
  4. Real-Time, Integrated Penalty Filters. This refers to Penguin, which was also integrated into Google’s algorithm. Data on your SERP is updated and refreshed every time Google re-crawls and indexes them. This helps search results to constantly fight spam.

Facebook Ads Geared Towards In-Store Sales

By | Marketing, Social Media Marketing | No Comments

Although online shopping is the direction we are headed, in-store shopping still accounts for most company’s profits.  In the second quarter of 2016, 92.5% of revenue in the entire US was due to retail sales in the storefront.  Social media, primarily Facebook, has been looking into how they can use their ads to push more people into brick-and-mortar locations.  Maz Sharafi, the director at Facebook of monetization product marketing says: “For us solving for this mobile-to-store challenge is one of the biggest and most important opportunities for us to be spending our mindshare on.”.

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In order for Facebook to obtain ad budgets from brick-and-mortar retailers, they have introduced a new marketing campaign.  The ad format highlights which products are available at nearby stores, and is geared towards nearby folks.  The goal of this is to bring the most likely of individuals into these locations and thus increase sales.  For example, an Indianapolis SEO company would pay Facebook to run ads for products in nearby Indianapolis storefronts to people specifically in Indianapolis. The first companies to test the new marketing campaign (called Dynamic Ads for Retail) ran by Facebook were Abercrombie & Fitch, Macy’s, Argos, Williams-Sonoma, and Target.

Facebook has an original e-commerce geared Dynamic Ad format that has been mixed with its Local Awareness format to create the Dynamic Ad for Retail format.  In addition to companies being able to showcase specific products, they can also use a carousel similar to a slideshow to show what is actually inside of nearby stores, distance to the stores, and store-specific pricing (as pricing can change from one location to the next).  These ads can also include maps on how to get to the store as well as contact information such as phone and fax numbers, email address, etc.  Retailers are also required to update the information provided by Facebook to ensure accuracy.

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The ads displayed by Facebook will have links to the product on the specific retailer’s website.  People will also be able to bookmark the ads so that similar products at nearby locations can be suggested.  This ability will rely heavily on the retailers updating and attaching category tags.

The biggest change through all of this is that Facebook is the one making the decision on who will see the ads rather than retailers telling Facebook who they think should see the ads.  Facebook will obtain this information from people who allow Facebook to access their location, showing them who is most likely to visit what store.  People are able to opt out of this in their settings.  This new marketing campaign will be available within the next few months and be limited to specific retail brands.

Facebook Messenger Makes a Huge Change

By | Marketing, Social Media Marketing | No Comments

This past Monday, Facebook Messenger made a huge change that will positively impact your Indianapolis SEO.  Facebook Messenger now makes it easier for companies to sell products via Messenger bots by adding a buy button.  You can actually purchase products without leaving Facebook Messenger.  This is convenient for consumers and allows companies to gain more business by directing people from Facebook Ads to Messenger bots.

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Before this change, in order to make a purchase, you had to click on a button in a Messenger’s bot that took you completely out of Messenger and onto the company’s website.  From there you would be directed to enter your payment and shipping information. If this information was already stored in your Facebook Messenger to send and receive money from friends, then having to leave the app and enter in all of the information again would be highly annoying.  Facebook understood this frustration and made the necessary changes to not only make it easier for consumers to purchase from Messenger bots, but also for companies to increase their sales with the new bots tools.

To further your Indianapolis SEO, your brand can now ad links to your Facebook ads that will direct people to your Messenger bots. This feature can be used for a ‘Messenger only sale’ using a discount code found in the Facebook ad. Your brand can also improve the way you display your products in Messenger. In addition to showing image thumbnails, you can load a custom web page that will take up almost the entire screen or only part of the screen in order for people to still feel like they are in Messenger. These web pages are called webviews and can be personalized. Not only will people be able to purchase items right within Messenger, but companies can remember which products people viewed in order to follow up on them or suggest new ones.

In addition to these new changes, companies can use bots that present consumers with keyboard-hiding, button only bots.  This will make it far easier for people to bot their exact location, select colors for an item they are considering, or to pick out one particular product in a row of images. People can also share ‘message bubbles’, or direct message with their friends on Facebook Messenger. The bot will be displayed to your friends the exact same way, making it easier for them to make an immediate purchase.