How To Use Digital Marketing To Grow Your Business

How To Use Digital Marketing To Grow Your Business

Research shows that 95% of small businesses owners plan to increase their digital marketing spend this year.

Are you one of them?

If so, you’re taking a major step in the right direction. The digital marketing software sphere alone will skyrocket to $105.28 billion by 2028, signaling that more business leaders than ever before plan to invest in the tools and technologies required to put their company top of mind.

Today, we’re taking a look at the importance of digital marketing from a competitive and performance standpoint to grow your business. Why does it matter and what does it mean for the future of your enterprise?

Let’s get started!

Boosting Your Online Visibility

In the past, the only way to drive traffic to your store was to create physical signage. You’d spend the money, do the work, and hope that passersby would notice and direct their foot traffic your way.

Now, both e-commerce retailers and brick-and-mortar retailers alike are turning to the internet to deliver outreach messages right to the customers they need.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, online sales outpaced general merchandise stores for the first time this year. What’s driving this shift in market share?

Today’s buyers are hopping online to buy everything from their weekly groceries to their Friday night movie rental. In fact, even if they’re determined to buy an item in-store, 82% will still conduct online research, first!

Simply put, having an active internet presence is necessary to survive in today’s competitive business market. If you bring all of your core functions, including your marketing campaigns, into the digital sphere, the number of eyes you can get on your content jumps from your local patrons to a global online community.

grow your business

Create Customer Connections

Did you know that 70% of shoppers who feel a connection to your brand will spend twice as much on your business? One of the major digital marketing benefits is that it allows you to create personal connections with your online followers.

This is especially true if your digital marketing efforts stretch across the major social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Here, you can share blog posts, advertise upcoming promotions and product releases, and spark conversations with your target audience.

Another benefit of staying active on these channels?

They give you a direct link to the opinions and preferences of the buyers your business wants. When you connect in this way, you establish an organic and natural connection that feels more authentic than gimmicky sales tactics.

As only 52% of consumers around the globe trust businesses, these genuine networking opportunities are gold.

Establish Thought Leadership

Want to boost your brand credibility, grow your online following and improve your bottom line? In today’s competitive marketplace, this kind of growth requires thought leadership.

You might be the best in your industry niche, with state-of-the-art products, services, and ideas. However, unless you’re sharing this knowledge with the people who need to hear it, your efforts could fall flat.

This is where digital marketing comes in.

The top way to establish your company as a thought leader in its space is to create digital content that meets the following criteria:

  • Relevant
  • Helpful
  • Interesting
  • Timely
  • Shareable
  • Actionable

Regardless of your sector, you have something valuable and new to bring to the conversation, so it’s time to say it!

Create a blog, record a podcast, write an e-book or develop an entire online course around the knowledge that you want to share. Some material, such as blogs, can be free while you might charge customers a fee to download longer-form content.

Appeal to Mobile Users

grow your business

An effective digital marketing strategy incorporates website optimization tactics to ensure that all content looks as great on a smartphone as it does on a laptop. When you take into account load time, typography, image size, touchability and more, you can help deliver a seamless user experience across any device.

Research shows that 72% of people will access the internet using only their smartphone by 2025. If your marketing collateral is responsive, quick to load, and visually dynamic across any screen, you’ll capture their attention, even when they’re on-the-go.

Create a Brand Presence

Digital marketing allows you to carve out your own corner of the internet. For your brand, this means that you can create cohesive touchpoints all around the web that tie your story together. At the same time, you also offer your customers the opportunity to add their own pages to the tale.

From your social media accounts and blog posts to your virtual checkouts and web pages, every online element can tie back to your brand, showcasing your logo, font, verbiage, and more.

In this way, you can create a memorable, unified brand image that’s critical for customer recall. Then, when someone uses your service or buys your product, they can hop online and tell others about it.

From the glowing reviews to the negative ones, all kinds of client feedback can help fuel your business forward. Studies show that 84% of people actually trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family members, so it’s important to give your audience a voice. This is free advertising you couldn’t get without the power of digital marketing.

Leverage SEO to Improve Rank

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a major facet of digital marketing. In short, this is the collection of tools and best practices that help your website rank as high as possible on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

In years past, adding a couple of keywords to your site was the extent of a successful SEO strategy. Now, however, SEO requirements are more complex than ever before, and forward-thinking companies require sophisticated tools and technologies to keep them on track.

While valuable content and keywords are still relevant, a modern SEO strategy takes into account other factors, including:

  • Your audience and industry
  • User intent
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Crawling
  • Mobile SEO
  • Technical SEO
  • Indexing
  • Linking

Knowledge of SEO can make a major difference in the success of your digital marketing efforts. This is why it pays to partner with an SEO expert who can show you where your website currently stands and help you get it where it needs to be.

Expand Through E-mail Marketing

In a world of flashier and more tech-savvy measures, e-mail marketing still holds incredible power. However, sticking with the old method of blasting your latest blog post to your list of subscribers won’t cut it anymore.

grow your business

Advanced digital marketing platforms allow you to customize this outreach approach to improve conversion rates and draw more traffic to your site. Some strategies you can implement include:

  • Personalizing your messages
  • Segmenting your subscribers
  • Sending mobile-friendly emails
  • Automating campaigns
  • Testing copy, buttons, and designs

Email subscriber management tools and services can help you transition from your current email marketing system onto a more effective and modern platform, such as MailChimp, without interrupting your subscribers.

Analyze Your Campaign Efforts

Do you want to measure how successful your last marketing campaign was? Do you need metrics to track and patterns to analyze so you can make sure your next one is the most effective yet? Paper-based modeling methods are antiquated and limited in scope, which can hinder and stall decision-making efforts.

Digital marketing software, on the other hand, allows you a valuable and in-depth look at key performance metrics.

Regardless of whether you’re running an email marketing campaign, analyzing website visits, measuring site traffic or tracking customer service response times, you need insight into the numbers that matter. And, it’s smart to have these numbers as soon as possible. This way, you can take action before your cart abandonment rates skyrocket or your SERP position dips.

Leverage the Power and Importance of Digital Marketing To Grow Your Business

You’ve put the hours into growing your business, developing your projects and fine-tuning your management approach. Now, it’s time to make sure everyone else knows your name.

Traditional marketing strategies that worked years ago could render your company irrelevant or even obsolete today. That’s why you can’t overlook or overemphasize the importance of digital marketing to grow your business. From email marketing lists to SEO strategies and social media campaigns, there is no limit to the steps you can implement.

Want a little help as you unroll your new outreach plan? That’s where we come in.

We’re experts in this space, with years of experience helping clients make the most of their media strategies. From website development and email subscriber management to social media analysis and publishing services, we do it all.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business grow. In the meantime, check out our free e-book on marketing strategies for business success!

 

Kiva Impact Report: Uplifting Entrepreneurs $100 at a Time

Kiva Impact Report: Uplifting Entrepreneurs $100 at a Time

A woman approached me as I was preparing for my lessons for the day. I was in Kairi, a rural village in Kenya, teaching some basic business skills classes to members of a microfinance group.

She introduced herself as Alice.

In our class the day before, I taught a lesson on managing money in a small business. I used a fictional business owner named Alice to illustrate the importance of keeping business money and personal money separate.

Alice was her real name, and she told me that today she is a “new Alice” after my lesson. She continued, “No more will I be the old Alice who is not wise with her money!”

It was at that moment I realized the power of what we were doing. (You can read more about this experience and more in The Unlikely Missionary: From Pew-Warmer to Poverty-Fighter.)

I’ve been a huge fan of microfinance ever since.

And that’s why I’ve made it an initiative of ours to support microfinance projects this year. Our goal is to help provide opportunities for small business owners, especially in underserved areas.

We’re working through Kiva, a top-rated charity who bridges the gap between people and entrepreneurs around the world. Kiva’s mission is “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.”

After six months of working on this project, this is our first Kiva Impact Report.

Empowering Entrepreneurs Globally

The best thing about microfinance is that it isn’t about donating free money to people. These are small loans designed to enable an entrepreneur to grow their business. This allows small business owners to not only provide for their families, but many of them also create jobs in their communities.

In our efforts this year, we’ve supported microloans for people like:

  • Osterman in Columbia (pictured above) – As a farmer, he used the loan to hire local laborers to help him build drainage canals for better irrigation for his crops. His loan is currently 13% repaid.
  • Shoyra in Tajikistan (below, left) – Her loan was used to buy a sewing machine and start a new business sewing women’s clothing. Her loan is currently 21% repaid.
  • Wilmer in Ecuador (below, right) – He owns a taxi, and his loan helped him do maintenance and change the tires on his taxi. He also got additional business training to go with the loan. His loan is already 73% repaid.

Each of these entrepreneurs has dreams, not unlike my own, to grow a business so they can better support their families. Many are working to improve their homes and pay for education for their children (something often taken for granted in a country where we have free public education).

Every one of these microloans gets them one step closer to fulfilling their goals and dreams.

Using Kiva as a Tool To Support Microfinance

The best way I can describe what Kiva does is that it’s kind of like a Kickstarter for microloans to entrepreneurs in poverty-stricken areas around the world. (Kiva is actually older, but I know the reference would make sense.)

Their website allows you to search for borrowers by region, business sector, and/or other attributes you may want to target.

Each borrower has a profile page telling you about the loan, the story of the borrower, why the loan is special, and several other details. A loan can be for any amount, and lenders can chip in for as little as $25.

The idea is that many of us can throw in what we can to fund that entrepreneur. Together we fund the loan, and repayments are distributed back to each of us when the borrower makes their payments each month.

When that money is repaid, we can then turn it around and lend it to another entrepreneur. That means $100 initial investment can end up having a far greater impact over time as it continues to get reinvested.

Business Supporting Business

At the beginning of 2019, we started allocating $100 from each new qualified small business client who started working with us towards a microloan. So for each business client starting a new website development project or using us for our ongoing SEO services, we would make the contribution toward a business through Kiva.

As a growing business, our heart is to leverage some of our profits to support other growing businesses around the world.

Once we’ve selected an entrepreneur to fund through Kiva, we also notify the new client about what we’ve done in honor of them. Some have also joined our team on Kiva to further support a borrower (the same one, or another one they find on their own).

Focus on Poverty-Stricken Areas

While there is need everywhere, our focus so far has been on places where the communities are under-served, families are often displaced, and where poverty means that there simply isn’t an opportunity to provide the basics.

So far this year, out of 12 loans funded by Team Fistbump, all 12 are in different countries across South/Central America, Africa, and Asia.

kiva impact

While we may fund additional loans in countries we’ve already supported, our goal is to spread the love as much as we can around the world.

The Importance of Social Responsibility (and Gratitude)

There are two main reasons this is an important initiative for us this year, social responsibility and gratitude.

First, we’re driven by a desire to care for our fellow human being. This desire is rooted in our faith in God, and the Bible’s call for us to help those who have a need. As I’ve been out on missions trips around the world, I see lots of need.

So we’re using what we have to help others… not with a handout, but a hand-up.

Second, it’s about gratitude. As the founder of Fistbump Media, I’ve directly experienced what running a small business can do to provide for my family. I have a great deal of respect for others around the world who are chasing their dreams with a desire to provide well for their families.

And we’re grateful to all of the clients who have been there for us. So this is one way we can say thank you and pay forward what we’ve been given.

Our Kiva Impact Report for the First Half of 2019

In the first six months of 2019, we’ve added 8 new small business clients who have met the qualifying threshold. So that’s $800 that we’ve invested into loans so far.

With a few other small loans from team members and clients, plus a little repayment money reinvested in new loans, our total impact is $1,000 worth of microloans.

You can view the full Kiva Impact Report for Team Fistbump here:

kiva impact report

We expect the impact to grow more rapidly through the rest of the year as we continue to reinvest repayments and bring on more new small business clients. Additionally, we’d love to invite you to join the team and help us help even more people…

Final Thoughts (and an Invitation)

The impact so far has been exciting to watch! I look forward to every opportunity I get to send over another $100, or reinvest repayments from existing loans. It reminds me of conversations I’ve had with business owners on some of my missions trips when they share what kind of impact the loans have for them. It’s life-changing.

And while we’ll continue to invest as the opportunities arise, you can join us in this work too! It’s super easy…

  1. Join our team on Kiva.
  2. Find a borrower you’d like to support (through the Lend menu).
  3. At checkout, set the team assignment drop-down to Team Fistbump.

Let’s go change the world! #fistbump

4 Fundamentals of a Successful Blog Layout

4 Fundamentals of a Successful Blog Layout

Blogging is just writing some stuff, right? Wrong. Blogging is the foundation of a great content strategy. And with it being THAT (yes, THAT) important, getting the blog layout right is crucial. The layout can be the deciding factor for a reader to take your B2C (or B2B) relationship to the next level.

Your business may not be your blog, but your blog is definitely your business. So you’ll want to make sure that your posts are sending the right message, and fulfilling their purpose.

In this article, we’ll break down four major components of a successful blog layout that will catch attention, guide the reader’s eye, create an effortless read, and have a lasting benefit to both parties. The four components are:

  • Headline
  • Visuals
  • Body
  • Summary and CTA (call-to-action)

1 – Headline

blog layout, headline

Your title is your first impression. In fact, it may be the most important part of the blog layout. Will they or won’t they continue further?

You want your title to be eye-catching and informative. CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer quantifies that by looking at word balance, scannability, and sentiment.

CoSchedule suggests that the word balance should fall into these four categories:

  • Common words – These should account for 20-30% of your headline and are the building blocks of your title.
  • Uncommon words – These are the words that create the substance in your title, and should only take up 10-20%. They are extremely important for content.
  • Emotional words – 10-15% of your words should create an emotional response, this increases CTR (click-thru rate).
  • Power words – These words are the cherry on top. They show readers can trust you and prompts them to take action.

CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer also rates scannability by taking length, first and last words, keywords and even gives you a web search preview. These can be great tools to help you see what your reader will see and adjust accordingly.

2 – Images

blog layout, images

How can you use imagery to lock the reader’s eyes and keep them scrolling? There are a few ways to do this:

  • Use an infographic. Users are looking for information, why not give them a little snippet of your topic and dive deeper “below the fold” in the blog/article?
  • People. People can create an emotional connection and give a headstart on how your post is going to make you feel. People will also be drawn to where the eyes are looking in the picture so make sure you have something important in their eye line.
  • Show them how it’s done. Insert a screenshot of the actionable step you are looking for. If they see how it is done or how easy it is they will be more likely to do it themselves.

You want to make sure your images are strategic so stay away from random pictures of inanimate objects and use visuals that will inform them, create an emotional connection, and bring their eyes to your main points. Just be careful, use images that are approved for public use. ProBlogger has some great guidance on how to find and use images legally.

3 – Body

blog layout, body

How many times have you gone to an article and skimmed just to find the information you need and left because you just saw a wall of words? Probably a lot, and your readers are no different. Let’s look at two helpful elements for the body of your blog layout:

TLDR; (too long, didn’t read)

From your subtitle to your images, there are a few ways to use this to your advantage.

  • Your subtitle should be a one to two sentence summary of your post.  
  • Under your image, you can bullet point your main points so they know what they will find before they scroll.
  • Bold headlines and important sentences to create clean and concise readability.
  • Add some pattern interrupt to the page with larger type and an option to share.
  • Summarize the article with your call to action so even if they don’t read the whole article they will opt-in to learn more.

Visuals

We discussed images and how they can draw the reader in your blog layout. These next visual elements keep the eyes moving down the page smoothly to increase session duration and engagement.

  • Bolding elements like headlines, bullets, and keywords can neatly break up text and help you reiterate the importance of the text.
  • Bullets segment individual ideas so the “skimmers” know where to stop and find information vs. seeing a wall of text and bouncing.
  • White Space is crucial for readability. I am going to be really cliche here, but less really is more with this one. By that, I mean less hustle and bustle going on as you scroll will benefit you more than trying to fit every bit of information to fill spaces on the page. Just don’t go too hard on the white space or your page will look incomplete.

4 – Summary and CTA

blog layout, summary

If you laid it all out in the beginning and your formatting is well done, you shouldn’t need a summary because they will have already gotten what they needed from your article throughout.

What you do want is a quick call to action whether you want to get them excited to see you in their inbox, or follow you on social, you want to make it clear, concise, and easy to do.

Limit your social icons to three, send them over to your site via a link to increase your referral traffic, or get them to opt-in to your emails. You can use these call to actions to increase different metrics but that is a whole different topic!

Final Thoughts on Blog Layout

The most important thing to think about when putting together your blog post is the reader experience. And that means thinking about the structure, and not just the words on the page. Providing a great user experience will improve engagement levels on your site, which is exactly what you want.

With blog layout and technical structure being so important, you may also want to scan your site for any technical issues. Use our (completely) free webpage audit tool to see how well you score. This doesn’t scan the layout, but it will give you a good idea of the technical strengths and weaknesses of your page.

Now, over to you… what are some of the best practices you’ve seen in blog posts that you read? What are some key takeaways that you can use to improve your blog layout right now?

blog layout, complete

The Most Epic SEO Guide For Competitive Small Business Owners

The Most Epic SEO Guide For Competitive Small Business Owners

You own a small business and you have a million things on your plate. Read on to learn everything you need to know about SEO in our ultimate SEO kickstart guide.

When Scott Paxton entered a competition to see who could get their new website to the front of Google the fastest, he decided to look at what his competitors were doing.

What he learned can help you take charge of where your business ranks in the top search engine result pages (SERPs).

You want to rank first for your industry on Google…but you don’t have the time or money to spend hours trying out different strategies…how do you get great SERP results without blowing your whole budget?

This guide will walk you through how to use SEO for small business. Stop wondering why you aren’t ranking as high as you want and get a free site audit now!

seo audit, local seo

Is SEO for Small Business Worth It?

You love your business and nothing excites you more than waking up to help it grow every day.

But your website and all its subdomains aren’t popping up on the first page of Google.

As much as you’ve heard about how small business SEO can help bring in new customers, you just don’t want to bother trudging through educational resources on the subject.

One easy place to start is with a SEO score. You’ll get an easy to read SEO report sent right to your inbox.

This is a great place to start if SEO seems like a daunting subject. It will show you everything you could be doing to rank higher for your keywords.

Let’s take a look at what else can help your rankings.

SEO Then and Now

In the early days of SEO, volume was all that mattered. Google wasn’t as savvy to spam and other black hat tactics as they are now.

seo guide, seo kickstart guide, small buisness seo

Today, Google prizes quality over quantity. That means having great content that solves your audience’s problems will always put you ahead of your competitors.

Everyone tells you that you need great content. Sure, that’s easy to say, but how do you consistently produce great content that your readers love?

Good question. Every business using digital media in the world wonders that, so you’re not alone.

Start by creating your content strategy. Having a strategy helps eliminate the possibility of creating the wrong kind of content for your customers.

Plan Ahead

A content strategy should answer each of the following questions:

  • What is the content about?
  • How will it be displayed? Which social media outlets, websites, etc.
  • Who will you need to hire to produce the content?
  • Who will make decisions about which content is produced?

Often times marketers fall short of completing the real goal behind SEO. To get more sales. Just ranking higher for certain keywords will undoubtedly bring more traffic to your site, but if you’re attracting the wrong visitors your efforts are in vain.

How well you do at matching your customers to content that solves their problems determines your reputation with Google.

“I Have a Reputation with Google?”

Yes, Google ranks websites by how trustworthy they are. Everything from how long visitors spend on your page to whether they scroll through and read everything are factors in your reputation.

seo guide, seo kickstart guide, small business seo

Small business online reputation management relies on several factors to help pages rank higher than their competitors.

→ Put Mobile First

On January 10th, 2017 Google made an official announcement that the future is now.

For years smartphones were the future of media consumption. Businesses knew eventually they’d need to optimize for mobile, but Google’s update set a firm date.

By now, if your site isn’t easy to bring up on a smartphone, there’s no way you’re going to make it to the top of the SERPs.

So what makes a website suitable for mobile devices? One of Google’s most recent beefs with the mobile user experience (UX) is intrusive interstitials.

→ Bad Pop-Ups

You know those pop-up ads that ask you to subscribe or buy something and don’t let you see the content until you comply?

Or even worse, when you do comply and the pop-up is unresponsive, making the whole site useless.

seo guide

These are what Google considers “intrusive interstitials”. Keep in mind that only ads that hurt the user experience by either crashing the site or creating a paywall are intrusive.

That’s because Google aims to serve the searcher, not the business. Think about when you’re searching for something.

How much time have you wasted clicking on links that looked promising only to be led to a paywall?

It sucks and Google knows it.

Fix Technical Issues

Often times entrepreneurs will focus on how their website looks without testing to make sure all the features and links work.

→ Loading Speed

Research shows that 53% of people will leave a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.  That’s bad news given that the average loading time of a mobile page hovers around 22 seconds.

Complicated graphics or videos can cause your site to lag too much, ultimately losing your potential leads.

→ Broken Links

Make sure every link on your site is functional. Broken links hurt your online reputation and make your whole site look unprofessional.

→ Canonical Link Elements

Canonical link elements tell search engines which page of duplicate content should be shown.  You probably have several duplicates of content pages from your own site and don’t even know it.

That’s because duplication can happen due to something as small as opening a new user session. Often times a single instance URL is issued when each visitor comes to your page.

Forgetting to use canonical link elements can result in the wrong page being pushed up the SERPs.

“Would I Do This If Search Engines Didn’t Exist?”

Is the exact question Google says to ask yourself before modifying your site. It’s tempting to cater to search engines because they bring in so many of your customers.

But it’s important to keep in mind that you share the same goal as Google, to better serve your customers.

So look at Google as more of a partner than a landlord. One way to prove to Google your site is trustworthy while still providing tremendous value to the end user is through backlinks.

Backlinks are when other websites link back to your content.

How to Get Backlinks

Before we talk about how to get backlinks, let’s talk about how not to get them.

This is just as vital because black hat tactics like link schemes can result in penalties that will make your site harder to find than Timbuktu with a blindfold on.

seo guide

→Original Content

Original content reigns supreme within Google and other search engines. Unique opinions and commentary on content from other sources is still considered original.

But content scraped from other sites with nothing of value added to the user experience will earn you a penalty fast.

A great way to get other sites to take notice of your content (and link to it) is to create a resource center.

→ Resource Center

A resource center, like this one, is the perfect way to build backlinks. No one likes being sold to. It’s why we fast forward or skip commercials whenever we can.

But a source for high quality, fresh content that answers your readers’ questions will have them begging for more.

And yes, your resource center should be totally, 100% free. Think of your resource center as a first date with a potential customer.

You want them to see the expertise and skills you have to offer. You don’t try and sell to every visitor right away the same way you wouldn’t propose to every stranger walking into Starbucks after you.

The less sales-oriented your resource page is, the better. This isn’t a buyer’s guide. Don’t try and upsell or link to products. Provide only the information readers are looking for.

It might seem counterintuitive not to focus on sales here, but remember we have a reputation to uphold with Google.

The more time reader’s spend on our pages the higher they’ll rank. A resource page builds your credibility as an expert in your industry.

How Social Media and Content Marketing Work Together

Social media is a double-edged sword when it comes to content marketing.

It democratizes content creation but it can also be more demanding than your typical marketing strategy.

That’s because not only do you speak to your users on social media, but they speak to you.

→ User-Generated Content

Taking advantage of user-generated content like customers using your branded hashtags is an important part of making your social media campaign a success.

Responding to comments and DMs also go along way in ranking your social media pages higher in SERPs.

→ Keep It Share Worthy

Social media is all about sharing. Sharing something that makes you laugh, cry, or angry is what makes social media so addicting.

It’s not like traditional media that talks at you. It’s your best friend sending you something that made them crack up.

It’s your mom sending you something that made her go, “awww!”

Always ask yourself, “would I share this on my personal profile,” before posting something on your business profiles.

Customer Research

Marketers used to go on nothing more than trial and error. Not anymore. We have more data than ever to base our marketing decisions on.

A website audit report is a good place to start. You’ll get a look at what’s working (and what’s not) with keywords your visitors might be using to find you. You can focus on those subjects and remove irrelevant content that may be holding you back.

Facebook’s targeting metrics are arguably the most advanced of any tech company. You can find everything from keywords your customers are searching for to what their favorite band is.

A pet supply store might target the keyword “black cat” on Halloween, which would probably create a short term surge in traffic.

But most people searching for the term “black cat” are not going to be interested in pet food.

Know who your customer is before trying to connect with them.

seo guide

Keyword Research

One of the best ways to do keyword research is with an in-depth keyword analysis. These are great because you get an instant critique of your keyword usage.

If you’re not ranking well, don’t worry! That’s the whole point of the audit. Improving your SEO strategy starts with fixing what’s broken.

If your site is lacking in keywords there is a lot of help. Content creation and backlinks are what will get you to the top of the SERPs. You can outsource a lot of this time-consuming work to a service like this.

You Can Start to See Results in Less Time Than You Think

So what did Scott Paxton learn while racing to rank his website?

Every top search result led to a subdomain of their homepage. Your homepage should act as a directory that hosts all your valuable unique content.

That’s because we want to provide value above all else. Backlinks and keywords create the language we use to communicate with Google.

But content is what speaks to our customers.

No one wants to do business with a faceless corporation. SEO and content marketing set you up to be an industry leader by humanizing your business.

To start ranking higher and attracting more customers, get a free site audit and start optimizing your page immediately! If you still need help with your SEO strategy we can help with everything from designing your website to creating a solid network of backlinks.

Stop ignoring your SEO strategy while your competitors thrive. Read this article now about what happens behind the scenes of a site audit.

seo audit, local seo

How To Become a Social Media Influencer [10 Simple Tips]

How To Become a Social Media Influencer [10 Simple Tips]

social media influencer

How much time do you spend on social media every day? How many social media accounts do you have? I guess both answers will be something like “too much”.

And it’s really never enough for us. Do you think social media are a kind of addictive? I can’t prove that for sure, but I am 100% positive about the fact that wise merchants can use this social media obsession to their benefit.

Well, you are here, reading this article, which means you would like to become an influencer on social media or boost your influence there.

I am going to give you 10 simple tips that will help to make up your mind.

By the way, what do you think is the most precious on social media? From my viewpoint, it’s the fact that people view and read your posts because they are interested in them.

Social media don’t work like annoying television, radio or newspaper ads.

Ok, it’s quite understandable that if you want to grow your influence, you need to nurture your followers. I advise you establish yourself as an expert in your business niche and it doesn’t matter whether you are a social media professional or not.

Please keep in mind that social media influence is not the thing you do once in a lifetime. It can be compared to growing a plant which needs constant care. It is a rather long process and you should be ready to invest your time in building the desired influence.

Ok, below you will find working tips that will help you build your social media influence. They are mostly generic, so can be used by anyone to improve their social media influence.

Have no time to read? View the infographic below, however, I recommend you to skim the entire post, it won’t take you long.

social media influencerSource: 12 Most Effective Tactics To Improve Your Social Media Presence [Infographic]

Initiate conversations

You need this to add new followers and maintain the old ones’ loyalty. Don’t invent any complicated schemes, just ask them about their daily activities. You need to have followers if you want to become popular on social media. Build your gang – add your friends, peers, and just people interested in your product/service/offer.

It’s also good to run a blog. Don’t be lazy, comment on other people’s posts. You should be accessible to your followers when they want to get in touch with you. Have real interactions with people instead of posting what you did or are going to do.

Be trendy

social media influencer

“Listen” to what people in your niche are talking about. Can you contribute to the topic? Do it! Contributing to conversations on popular topics in your field is a great way to reach out to people and add followers.

You can use your favorite SEO/marketing tool to find the most shared content in your niche. This will save you a ton of time.

As I work at Ahrefs, I surely use Ahrefs Content Explorer for the purpose.

Carry out contests, special events, and post news

People are emphatic, they like to reach out to others. They want to get involved in your life, celebrate, and do many other things with you. Hold contests and regular events to reach out to them. Don’t forget to encourage people to get involved and share the latest and the most revolutionary/funny/interesting developments at your company or in your life with them.

social media influencer

Use the power of hashtags to build contacts

Don’t underestimate the power of keywords and hashtags when you are trying to reach out to people on social media sites. Squeeze out the most out of them. See how other people are doing this and don’t be shy to learn from them. Act wisely.

All of us know that our content should be unique and original. However, other people have curious things to share. Curate the best posts and share them on your page. There is no need to overload your followers with posts. They will appreciate your creativity and careful posts choice.

Promote things you are good at

Generalists are cool guys. They are free to post everything they want. But it’s much more likely that you are running a niche business, so you can’t afford to be a generalist. What you need to do is find some specific topics that resonate with your activity and create posts on that. This way you will become an expert on a subject and people will start to trust you.

social media influencer

Measure your activity

Everybody wants to know the results of their work. You can find that out signing up with social media measurement websites like Klout or Kred. I named them because they are easy to use and provide you with good insights on what works great for you and what you are doing wrong.

Your audience can do specific inputs

Supposing you have just launched a new product or service. It’s natural that you want to get inputs on a specific issue. Ask your followers, they would love to share advice. Another benefit of such kind of activity is increasing the engagement level and adding more people to your community.

Bask in the glory of other social media influencers

Give positive feedback to the posts written by others. Do it on your wall. Mention high influencers names and this will also do you good. Add @ before the influencer’s name on Twitter, add + in front of the name on Facebook and Google+. This will also increase your social influence.

social media influencer

Make friends with your niche influencers

It’s obvious that you are not the only one working in your niche. Some of your peers may be more influential than you. Try to connect with them and establish friendly relationships. What can those people do for you? They may mention you in their posts or share your content, which is cool. You can use your favorite SEO/marketing tool, like Ahrefs Content Explorer to find influencers in your niche. It will show you what content is hot in your industry, who is writing it, and who’s sharing it.

Connect wherever possible

Don’t limit your conversations to social media networks. For instance, you can record a podcast, host chats on Google Hangout, take part in radio interviews, post videos on YouTube, etc. There are so many alternative ways to connect with people. All these will help you build your social media influence.

As you understand, my list of tips to increase social media influence is not comprehensive. The final advice is to watch other people. What are they doing? What is going right? Noticed something – try to adopt the technique.

Side note: Here is a link to awesome video SEO Tutorial: 10 Detailed Steps to Rank #1 in Google for those who are struggling for the top positions on Google ;).

I wish you the best of luck in boosting your social media influence, waiting for your additions/comments/thoughts on the blog post. And don’t forget to share it on your social media with friends and colleagues.

Cheers!

seo audit, local seo

 

What Local SEO Investments Can Do For Your Offline and Online Sales

What Local SEO Investments Can Do For Your Offline and Online Sales

online sales, local seo, e-commerce

The line between offline and online sales has become very blurred. There’s showrooming and Research Online, Pay Offline (ROPO), point of sale (POS) e-commerce systems, click and collect options— and then there’s local action-focused search to factor in.

With smartphones that keep us connected to the internet wherever we go, we always have the option of buying something in under a minute. We can search for things, place orders, and carry on with our days. Micro-moments are an ever-present danger to our wallets.

Retailers that aren’t taking advantage of this power are making a huge mistake, because it’s a huge source of revenue. Let’s look at what local SEO really involves, why Google cares about it, how you can optimize for it, and what really makes it worthwhile: ROI.

What does local SEO for online sales mean?

Before geo-targeting was an option, SEO was unfocused. The overall goal was always to get more traffic in general, reasoning that the more people visited a site, the more conversions there would be. It makes sense, and it works— but when there’s a physical location involved, your SEO requires a far more granular approach.

Because it operates through a physical location, local SEO needs to be geographical to an extent that goes beyond simply knowing what country a user is from. Consider the average Google search made from a phone in today’s world. Google won’t just parse the text; it will use the searcher’s specific locational data in combination with the specified keywords to try to find the best possible solution in that context.

Just look at the enormous increase in the use of the term “near me” in America over the course of the last 7 years. We know that we don’t need to type our current locations, so we don’t bother. We pass our tasks to Google, and it takes one look at our location data and figures out what exactly we’re talking about.

google trends, local seo, local search, near me search, online sales, e-commerce

That’s what makes it so much more important (and interesting) to optimize for.

Why Google prioritizes local SEO

Imagine that you got hungry on a night out and wanted to visit a restaurant, but you couldn’t think of what could be open at that time. Eager to eat, you could take out your phone and search for “restaurants still open right now”. Google would interpret the string, conclude (quite correctly) that you were searching specifically for restaurants in your area, and deliver results meeting your criteria.

This focus on understanding intent—recognizing what a user meant regardless of what they actually said—is a key part of local SEO. It’s all about figuring out the purpose of a search so the best results can be found, and mobile devices play into this hugely (since searches from mobile devices cumulatively comprise well over half of all web searches now).

By listing a company in response to a local query, whether as a top result or even a featured rich snippet, Google knows it is implicitly recommending the locations it lists. If you can give your business the best chance of being such a recommended location, it will benefit you hugely through increased business from mobile users ready and willing to convert.

How you can optimize for local search

Given the overwhelming importance of being picked by Google as a top result for a local search, local SEO is all about covering all the bases and jumping through every hoop provided. Google wants as much information as possible. Here are some things you can offer:

  • A Google My Business Map Listing
    Filling in Google’s My Business page is an essential component of appearing on Google Maps. Without it, you won’t be featured, and all your local SEO efforts will be ruined as Google won’t want to rank you for a local search when it isn’t even sure your business is in that area.
  • Local Content
    Your business should have a blog or at least some form of content updated semi-regularly. Use your content to write about your area and your place in it— touch upon relevant area keywords, but be sure to make it good content regardless. If you make a guide to your area, it’ll give you new ranking possibilities and further associate your business with your location (remember to share it on social media for added exposure).
  • User Reviews
    A company with no reviews appears suspicious. Even if you get glowing reviews offline, it won’t help your traffic. Encourage your customers to leave you reviews through Google+ (it’s mostly dead, but the reviewing is still of value), an external review service if you have enough customers to justify it, or (if your online store setup supports it) even a free or cheap review add-on.
  • Microdata
    While you can include reviews through microdata, it’s not all you can tag. You can point out anything you can list through Google My Business (including opening hours, holiday hours, menu link, etc.) and more, including product types, dimensions, materials, etc. Google may not want to rely on it, but for the moment it still has value.

By including as much detail as you can about what your business does, where it is, and how it operates, you can make your company a viable contender for SERP positioning when a relevant search is made.

seo audit, local seo, online sales

If you’re willing to do some PPC to get things moving, you can use Google’s Merchant Center to advertise your product listings inside results pages, plus they’re playing with a system for buying directly through search results. PPC doesn’t innately affect SEO, but if it brings in new customers who really like your site and your service, the uptick in your metrics certainly will.

The high ROI of local SEO for online sales

We still need to answer the titular question of what investment in local SEO can do for your online sales (and offline sales)… so let’s do that now since we only need one term: high ROI.

The scattergun approach of standard SEO gets strong results, but it also wastes resources for businesses with physical locations and associated restrictions. It brings in people who never intended to buy anything, traffic from overseas, and a weak return on the effort.

You don’t just catch stragglers— you catch the people who are in the right location at the right time and itching to buy something you can offer them.

While it’s challenging to track local SEO ROI sometimes, try using call tracking to segment the data. Use one number for your Google My Business listing, another for your website, and another for any other type of campaign you run.

Once you’re done, you’ll be able to narrow things down and figure out where all your sales are coming from. You’ll most likely see that your local traffic is converting at the highest rate. If it isn’t, then you’re doing something seriously wrong to push away locals and should think about your overall strategy.