Monthly Archives: April 2016

7 Online Marketing Tips for Making the Most of Your Time

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Effort Time Money Blue Dice Representing The Ingredients For making the most out of your online marketingNobody wants to waste their time, and EVERYONE likes to get the most out of their dollar.  Enter in the cliché, “time is money,” and you’ve got what every marketer, business owner, manager, salesman, real estate agent (did we miss anyone?) strives for: to make the most out of your time, efforts—and your online marketing dollar.

Know who you’re talking to.

If you want to make the most out of your time and efforts, take the number one rule of marketing to heart: know your audience. You’re not going to get the most out of your online marketing if you don’t know the customer you have to deliver to. Create a buyer persona of your “typical” customer, and use it to craft an online marketing plan that targets your audience.

Establish a good foundation: your website.

We don’t care how many internet marketing tricks you employ, or how big your marketing budget is.  If you don’t have a good website with solid content, call-to-actions, and images, your marketing is going to end up a big goose egg.  The reason?  One of the primary goals of online marketing is to drive traffic to your website.  Even with a stellar content marketing strategy, wonderful content, and exceptional social media marketing efforts, if you don’t create an excellent customer experience on your website, your customers are going to be repelled by your horrible company website.  If you don’t have time to craft a good, solid website, outsource your website work to the experts.

Invest in the basics: content marketing, social media, and SEO.

Now that you’ve got a well-built website, don’t expect your customers to just magically flock to your URL.  Craft a website promotion plan that includes content marketing (helpful articles, videos, etc.) to help your customers (our favorite question from a customer, “what the heck is a blog?”-more here) and your website search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing to interact with your customers (note: not to sell to them), and SEO technology that gets your website in front of your customers (more about the benefits of SEO here).

Make it a team effort.

Too many times we’ve seen marketing fall on one person, and that one person is operating in a bubble.  No one else on staff mentions the company’s social media channels, website, or online marketing channels.  Make your online marketing a team effort; ask other team members to spread the word while interacting with customers, during meetings with clients, and with vendors during day-to-day operations.  These small efforts won’t take any more of their time, but it will pay dividends.  Likewise, make sure they are not just pushing the information out, but are pulling information for your online marketing efforts back in.  Information like commonly asked questions, new products that could solve customer problems, and stories from the field are invaluable for your content marketing and social media marketing efforts.

Don’t try to be on every social media channel.

We know this seems counter-intuitive, but you don’t have to be everywhere to get optimal social media marketing results.  What you do have to be is strategic.  Choose the social media channel or channels where your customers are (check out social media demographics here); for example, if you are a bridal shop, use a female-dominated social media site such as Pinterest and a site utilized by a younger demographic like Instagram.  Time is precious; make the most of your social media marketing efforts by investing in a social media site that fits your customer demographic.

Use scheduling tools so you can be strategic.

To make the most of your time and execute a solid social media plan, sign up for a scheduling tool, such as Hootsuite and Buffer that can save you time. Don’t schedule too far ahead of time so you can stay on top of trending topics, and be flexible with your plan when needed. Share relevant content from other sources and links to your original content (content marketing).

Deliver excellent customer service.

Customers do it every day: interact with brands on social media, comment on their posts, post reviews, and voice complaints.  When they do, deliver the same excellent customer service you do in person (here’s how).  Use a REAL tone, not a canned response—and do it quickly.  Customers expect you to respond within hours (if not minutes) of their post, so be timely.  Your customers will appreciate your efforts—and you can be confident that you got the most out of your marketing efforts.

What is Local SEO?

local seo map with map pointsSearch engine optimization is one of the most valuable tools in any business’ online marketing tool chest.  Ironically, the businesses that need it the most often aren’t using it, thanks to common SEO myths.  To be fair, SEO and local brick-and-mortar business is not a connection most business owners make, probably because SEO is often thought of as an online marketing tool only large e-commerce companies use.  The truth is that search engine optimization, especially local SEO, is a match made in heaven for businesses that rely on local customers—and local website traffic.

The ‘What’ of Local SEO

To start, here’s a clear definition of SEO: search engine optimization is the process of creating a website optimal for search engines. SEO is always evolving with technology and user behavior, but right now there are three general basics of optimizing your website (find other ways here):

  • Creating regular, quality, user-friendly content users want to read.
  • Using search engine optimization tactics on your website such as writing strong, accurate headlines and excellent content on each page.
  • Optimizing your website with content focused around keyword phrases your customers search for—-and with information they want to read.

Those are the generalizations of basic SEO (you can find more information about SEO terminology here).  Generally, think of local SEO with this scenario: your pipe has burst.  Water is flooding your house, and you need a local plumber NOW.  So you go to the modern phone book, a search engine.  And what do you expect? A list of local plumbers that can fix your pipe so your house isn’t flooded, right?  Local SEO optimizes a plumber’s website so his or her business website is at the top of the listings.

The ‘Why’ of Local SEO

Believe it or not, a beautiful, mobile, and user-friendly website is not enough. “There,” you think, “I’ve invested in this website. Customers come and find me!” Unfortunately that’s not how it works—though there are ways to drive traffic to and optimize your website naturally. Customers have a ton of online options, and studies have shown that they make more than 60% of their purchasing decision online.  That’s where local SEO comes in.  Local SEO can get you at the top of search engine listings in towns and cities within a 10, 20, or 50 mile radius. Even if you don’t sell products online, or have any interest in e-commerce, integrating search engine optimization is a smart marketing strategy because online is where people today are looking for products, services and information (and don’t get us started on the effect of mobile devices on search traffic). Statistics back this trend up:

More and more, American consumers are looking to the internet to find local solutions and information. If you’re not online, you’re not on their radar. With more than 90% of users turning to search engines for information, local SEO technology—like KD Interactive’s (shameless self promotion here)—can get your business website in organic search engine listings using keywords your audience searches for.

The ‘Proof’ of Local SEO

SEO Computer Key In BlueSearch engine optimization technology is one of the most effective online marketing tools for businesses looking to attract local customers. One of our clients, a local print company, was positioned at the top of search engines just a week after utilizing our SEO technology. Their results were localized, with their company showing up in cities and towns search results within 30 miles of their location, including a major metropolitan area. They also invested in content marketing to keep their site content updated and give their customers value, yielding long-term results; their printing firm has remained at the top of the major search engines since launch. Better search engine results have meant more digital exposure for their business, and stronger opportunity for online conversions.

Another client, a flooring company, saw their website traffic double in just four months because of search engine optimization. In 30 days, their unique visits increased 122% and hit an impressive increase of 200%. Website traffic is just a number unless you can convert those visits to customer interest. The flooring company receives form submissions every week from potential customers, with 60% of those visits stemming from their search engine optimization package. If you want to tap into that same local search engine technology to get results for your company, read our blog post about SEO terminology or see it in action.

How to choose a reliable local SEO provider

We’re not going to lie to you:  there are a lot of SEO providers who make promises they can’t back up.  Choose a quality local SEO provider that meet these criteria:

  • Years of experience in technology.  A good SEO company keeps up-to-date with information about search engine ranking signals, such as page loading speed, links, etc.  SEO is always evolving, and a quality company isn’t stuck in yesterday’s technology.
  • Doesn’t use seedy SEO tactics.  If you hear words like, “cloaking” or “keyword stuffing,” alarm bells should go off in your head.  Black hat SEO tactics can get your website penalized so stay away from any company that even suggests it.
  • Can back their promises up.  Because search engines are always striving to personalize search results, you can’t just go to your computer and see the results of your SEO efforts.  Choose a company that can give you reports detailing your local SEO results.
  • Make online marketing recommendations beyond your website.  A good SEO company can make online marketing recommendations beyond your website, such as content marketing and social media marketing.

If you need any more information about local SEO, don’t be afraid to contact us.  Local SEO is our focus, and we can answer any questions you might have.

What makes a good, quality blog post?

blog at center of targetMarketers throw the term “good, quality content” around in content marketing conversations and articles because it’s the center of a solid online marketing strategy—and flippantly, like it’s the easiest thing to achieve (you just write a great post, right? ha!).  Most often, that content is written for a blog, one of the most common content marketing tactics in online marketing today.  But what actually classifies a blog post as good, quality content?

This is where we issue a disclaimer: there is no hard-and-fast rule for a great blog post.  Just as everyone is looking for a different version of the “perfect house,” when house hunting, the same goes for a blog post.  That being said, there are some basic elements that should be included in every good, quality blog post.

Relevant Subject

Start every blog post with a subject and a goal—and know that both might change as you write.  That’s fine as long as you write a post with purpose.  Choose a subject that fits your target audience; for good content marketing ideas, use common questions from your customers, hot industry topics, calendar or seasonal ideas, or related search engine query phrases (we’ve given you a few content marketing ideas in a recent post).

With regards to search engines, a good blog post with keyword phrases is worth its weight in gold.  However, keep your posts human-focused, not keyword-focused.  The days of keyword stuffing are over; the top search engine optimization experts deliver optimized content for humans and search engines.  Don’t hesitate to use their expertise to get quality content for your blog—and to keep getting quality content on a regular basis (the key to content marketing success); we’ve said it before: there’s no shame or blame in outsourcing.

Strong Headline

A strong headline grabs your readers’ attention (higher click through rates!) and a good intro keeps them reading. A good headline draws a reader into the post and is TRUTHFUL. Avoid click bait headlines; you may see an increase in traffic, but you’ll also see an increase in bounce rates. Good headlines include questions (How can I fix this?), lists (5 Ways to fix your problem), or strong words (5 Horrible Mistakes You’re Making Fixing Your Problem).

(Good) Images

We never publish a blog post without an image, and there’s a good reason why.  Images enhance a blog post, giving the piece an essential visual element and breaking up a big block of text.  When choosing a good image, be selective; your image should be high quality, relevant, and free to use (no stealing…you can’t use just any image you find on the internet).  Note the first criteria listed: high quality.  The days of posting a blog post with a sub-par image are over.

“Teacher-Approved” Content Your Audience Can Read

Write a blog post your high school English teacher can be proud of: with proper grammar, perfect spelling, and correct sentence structure.  Any mistakes or typos are an instant turn-off to readers.  Don’t just write; edit and re-edit until your blog post is ready to be published error-free.

Call to Action

Once your audience is done reading, what do you want them to do?  Make this crystal clear when you write, and realize that the answer is not always “buy our product!!!”  A call to action can be “for more information…,” “get regular updates,” or “learn more…”  The goal of content marketing is to build trust.  You’re not going to build trust if every blog post is a screaming, high pressure sales pitch.

Share Buttons

What good is a quality blog post if it can’t be shared?  Make it easy for your audience to share your blog post via social media and email—and that you set a strong promotion plan so your content is read.  After all, you don’t want to write a good, quality blog post only to have it end up like the proverbial tree in the forest that fell with no one around to hear it.