It’s no surprise that marketing online is on the rise. Today people are researching online before buying offline and most offline purchases are a result of such searches. Monitoring your online presence is an important part of building your business and your company’s reputation. How are you ranking online? How is your reputation? Are your efforts returning results? We took a look at what the experts say the latest trends in search engine marketing are for 2013 and we have broken them up in easy to use chunks for you work into your internet marketing.
Let’s face it; if there is one thing we know about the Internet, it’s that it’s constantly changing. There was a time when just shifting the words on your website could totally change how you got found…not anymore. There are many more tools available to us than ever before making diversifying your marketing not just smart but critical. Focusing on one method of online marketing puts you in danger of leaving you empty handed if the tide shifts.
This year, try some new ways to get your marketing message out. Are you spending all your time on social media? Try sending out some press releases. Have you been working to get links to your site? What about a small paid campaign on Google Adwords or Facebook? Monitoring your efforts for greater return and longevity in more than one avenue will directly show you which avenues are effective. Today more and more marketing strategies are getting results and it is important to see what is effective for your business. Bottom line: always be testing out new ways to market!
How you can do it:
- Mash up your content – creating fresh, moving content keeps your website crawled by search engines. Take that fresh content, and integrate it with other tools (some call this “re-purposing” your content). Write a press release, then put it on your blog, post it all over your social media, and then send it out to the media. Have a tutorial or how-to? Write it up as an article, share the pictures on Pinterest, and then make a video out of it. The ideas are endless!
- Amp up your social media – search terms apply to social media sites as well, keep your accounts active, updated, and social; no one likes to visit an inactive social media site
- Try out some paid marketing if you aren’t already - budget for paid marketing and monitor your success. Paid marketing WILL get people to your site, but you keep them there with great information. As you focus your efforts on paid, keep in mind that re-targeting ads also gets results.
- Utilize the distribution of Press Releases – press releases give you exposure to many outlets you might not have otherwise been able to reach. Distribute your next one on PRWeb.com and monitor your results. News articles are not dead.
- Monitor your Search Engine Optimization efforts – If you don’t have a monitoring tool like Google Analytics, how will you know where to focus your efforts? Monitor what pages people visit, how long they stay on your site, and adjust your content accordingly.
7.96% of all web traffic in the U.S. is mobile traffic – Pingdom. If that wasn’t enough, mobile makes up for about 20% of search traffic according to Google. If your site isn’t mobile optimized, consider losing your visitors fast–because chances are; they’re looking for fast information. In a study by Equation Research “What Users Want from Mobile“, it is pointed out that 74% of mobile users will wait only 5 seconds for the mobile page to load before abandoning it, and according to Facebook, 488 million users regularly use Facebook mobile.
How you can do it:
- Responsive web design – responsive web design allows your website to be seen on mobile, desktops and tablets – in a smaller, mobile-optimized format that is easy to navigate and read.
- Make sure your phone number is “clickable” on phones and tablets – when people visit your website on a phone they like to be able to click your phone number or address so they can contact you more easily, make sure your phone number and address are in txt, not an img.
- Don’t over-visualize – flashy websites might be appealing on a big screen but when you are looking for information quick, skip the imagery and get right to business.
- Skip the sound – though we’re not a huge fan of loud music on websites to begin with, leaving it on your mobile version might frighten the mobile user trying to do a search discreetly, especially if they have the ringer turned up.
- Only present useful information – if your website is jam-packed with information and resources, consider skipping some of the excess information in your mobile version and provide only the useful information on the go.
Content optimization vs. SEO
I read a tweet the other day from @___Mansfield that said: “Step aside SEO! You need to think about CMO now http://geeklesstech.com/step-aside-seo-you-need-to-think-about-cmo-now/ ….” Though it certainly has shifted, in our opinion CMO (Content Marketing Optimization) is, and should have always been a part of Search Engine Optimization. No one is going to write your website for you, and if you are using borrowed content, Google will know. Content is your way to keep your website living and breathing – something Google spiders love to crawl.
How you can do it:
- Focus on content; rankings and conversion will follow – Google loves websites that people love. Provide useful, informative, and exciting content to get people frequenting your website as a go-to source. The more people visit the site, the more relevance your website will have online.
- Blog about it. – if you have an interesting product you want people to know about, share it with the world. You don’t have to be a blogger to blog, simply be an expert in your field with a thing or two to say about your product or service. Fresh keyword-rich content will get Google scanning your site for relevance, and relevant information will boost your site’s reputation. If you don’t have a blog, consider getting one. It takes much less effort than you think.
- Make content strategy a crucial part of your business – an aimed content-management plan will set you apart as an expert in your field. According to HiveFire, 82% of B2B marketers now utilize content marketing as a strategy in their marketing efforts–because it works.
- Provide custom content – it may be useful in your brainstorming efforts to find ideas online, but it is crucial to not only set yourself apart as THE source in your field, but one who is providing custom content that isn’t already out there yet. Fear the cookie-cutter blogs and write the content that you would like to read.
Connecting with current customers
As a business owner, it can be hard to find that balance between taking care of your current customers and finding new ones, but at the end of the day it is much more difficult to get a new customer than it is to do repeat business with an existing customer. Many people forget that online marketing isn’t just about getting new customers, it’s also about staying connected with the ones you already have, and some online tools do an incredible job helping you connect.
How you can do it:
- Email marketing is still critical – using services like Mailchimp and Constant Contact, are great tools to distributing your email campaign, monthly press release, or newsletter. Keep an email opt-in form at the counter in your place of business so you can collect emails from the people who would benefit from your information. Consider putting a “newsletter signup” form on your website too.
- Ask for reviews – It’s as simple as that; ask and you will receive. If you are running your business they way it should be run and delivering on your customer service, there is no reason to not ask for those reviews. Reviews whether bad, good, or neutral, help your rankings (though the better ones hold more weight). Encourage your customers to post a review on Google or Yelp, or even have them post reviews directly on your website.
- Employ a referral system – referrals can be one of the best sources of new business. Offer clients a perk when they refer new customers.
- Connect with your clients and other businesses on social media – connecting with your current customers via social media gives you access to their interests and friends as well. When they share your information, think about how many of their friends see it too. Connecting with other businesses is important as well because potential and current clients like to see that you are involved in the business and local community.
- Take advantage of social networking – supporting other businesses and networking groups not only gets your name out, but it puts a face to the business. Spending all of your time and efforts online will not be very fruitful if you don’t put forward a face that people can recognize and trust.
Taking your Social Media to the next level
Social media is taking the world by storm. According to TechCrunch, people socialize 40% more on social media sites than they do offline. Though this may be a scary statistic, it’s important to know that it is a growing avenue for advertisement and can boost your rankings if it is used right. Some businesses only use social media platforms to get their business found online, but there are many different tactics that can get your brand moving on social media sites, and when more than 1 million websites have integrated with Facebook in various ways, it’s important to pay attention.
How you can do it:
- Use visuals and media – the general rule of thumb is to keep your posts and Tweets short, sweet, and to the point. The trick is to provide compelling information in that short space. Using media and visuals give you a higher chance of being seen especially on Facebook. If you have a YouTube channel, share your videos on Facebook and watch the engagement.
- Integrate your social media – an easy way to get your website found online is by making it social. Add social media buttons to your website and integrate them with your Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, G+ and Pinterest accounts, check out “Get More Website Traffic in 7 Minutes with Social Sharing“. On your blog posts and pages that you think are sharable, add social share buttons to get people advertising for you.
- Try social media marketing -“Social marketing” like Facebook ads cost less than PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing on Google, Yahoo and Bing, and give bigger return. Utilizing “Promoted Posts” on Facebook directly increased one of our clients likes by 50% and even generated them more leads.
- Automate your posts – if you don’t have time to spend 30 minutes a day with your social media, that’s okay. Sites like http://bufferapp.com/ allow you to schedule Tweets and Facebook posts days, weeks, and months in advance.
- Monitor your success – on Facebook, once you gain 30 followers, you are given Facebook statistics to see the interaction and “likes” on your page. We recently started using Sprout Social, which allows you to connect several different accounts including your Linked in, to monitor stats and analytics.
The thought of online marketing can seem overwhelming, but when broken down, it is more palpable. Take time to optimize the content on your website and to keep new content flowing and you will begin to see results. Recognize the search trends people are leaning towards and make sure your website is a reflection of those trends.
As always, if you don’t want to do it yourself, we specialize in getting you found online. Click here or give us a call at 520-664-2324.
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