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Maximizing local SEO: Five tactics to enhance visibility without breaking the bank

May 20, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • With Google frequently changing its search engine algorithm in recent times in a bid to reduce the organic reach of most businesses so they can invest more in Ads, what are the options left for your small business in this period?
  • According to GoGulf, 46% of all Google searches are of people searching for local information, and 86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps.
  • If Local SEO is that effective, what is it, and why should your business rely on it?
  • In this article, I will examine basic things that still work like adding your business to online directories, building backlinks, developing local content targeted at your local audience, incorporating titles and meta description tags, and the use of targeted keywords.

SEO changes all the time. That’s why you need to update your SEO strategies regularly to remain visible. 

According to this article, 72% of consumers visit a store within 5 miles after doing a local search. This shows how powerful local SEO can be. If you can make your business visible such that your business appears in the search results when a potential customer searches for a product and service, there is a 72% chance they’ll drop by your business.

But what is local SEO? Local SEO involves the optimization of your online presence in order to improve your chances of being discovered by people who make local searches. Think of it as your traditional SEO, but with the inclusion of geography in it. In other words, it’s you trying to attract more business from local searches.

In this article, you’ll learn five local SEO tactics that will help you skyrocket your visibility without breaking the bank. 

1. Be strategic about your title and meta description tags

When you search for something on Google’s search engine, you’ll see millions of results competing for your attention. The only way you can tell if the search result has what you’re looking for is the title and the description you see immediately after the title.

Many business owners take the title of their blog posts and meta descriptions for granted. You need to start seeing the title and the description as a way you can “sell” your page to a potential visitor of your page. 

A useful tool that will help you optimize your title and description is Yoast SEO. It’ll be able to test how good your title and description are. 

Deliberately include the location of your business in your blog post titles. For example, let’s assume you sell wine and your potential client is looking for the best New York wine, you’d be doing yourself a great service by including the words “New York” in the title and the description.

Local SEO example New York wine

Source: Google Search

2. Optimize your Google My Business account

You know how you’ll search for a pizza place on your phone and Google will show you a list of pizza places near you? That’s made possible by using Google My Business. Google My Business (GMB) is a tool used to manage your online presence across Google, including Google Search and Google Maps.

You’ll find it shocking that 56% of local businesses haven’t claimed their Google My Business listings. So don’t sleep on this tip.

If you haven’t claimed your GMB listing then make sure you do so. But don’t just claim your GMB listing and forget all about it. Optimize your GMB by filling in your Google My Business Profile, choosing the relevant category, and including images. This will not only help your potential customer find you, but it will also give them some information about your business and thus influence their decision to stop by your business.

3. Create local content

According to GoGulf, 46% of all Google searches are of people searching for local information. So how do you harness that attention so as to get your target audience to know about your business?

Creating local content that will be of interest to your target audience makes you the local authority for your industry. By local content, I mean the creation of content that is targeted to your local audience. This will require you to be strategic with keywords.

So as a florist, instead of creating content on the best flowers to give your wife, think of the best flowers your customer can give their wife in Florida. That way you’re specifically addressing those in Florida and those who come across your article see you as the go-to florist in Florida. 

4. Get inbound links to raise the domain authority

As beneficial as it is to create local content for your own website, Moz revealed that link signals are an important local search ranking factor that will help enhance your visibility as shown in the diagram below. 

Link signals include inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, and linking domain quantity. All this helps to raise the domain authority as this helps increase your local search rankings.  

To improve your link signals you should also guest post local content on other websites as well. Create valuable local resources that your target audience will love.

As you guest post and refer people to the blog on your business website, you’re acquiring inbound links to raise your domain authority. Those will help you with your SEO and increase your chances of being visible on Google when the people within your geographical location search for things related to your business. 

5. Add your business to online directories

Why stop at just adding your business on only one directory when there are so many directories out there. Adding your business to as many online directories (especially local ones) as you can possibly find will increase your chances of being found online. It will be time-consuming but it’s worth it. 

Online business directories like Binge Places for Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Angie’s List, and Trip Advisor will make you more visible to those who need your services locally. And to add to that, getting listed on these sites will make you earn backlinks from them which will help build your domain authority and increase your ranking on Google’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERP), therefore increasing your organic reach.

What you need to take note of is that the information on your business on other directories is the same as that on your GMB. This consistency will help with your rankings. 

Ready to maximize local SEO?

Over time Google has tweaked its search engine algorithm to reduce the organic reach of businesses so as to direct their attention to investing in ads. As a small business that has limited resources, investing in ads may seem like a long shot.

If Google’s reducing your ability to organically reach your target audience, then what’s the next available option for you? Local SEO can give you the needed exposure to your target audience organically and at little or no cost.

The good news is that applying the steps above will put you ahead of other local businesses scrambling for their customers’ attention on the most coveted first page of Google search.

Now that you’ve got the tips how did you would you say you’ve fared with your local SEO?

The post Maximizing local SEO: Five tactics to enhance visibility without breaking the bank appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Five ways to get more product exposure with high powered influencers

May 19, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • With marketers and brands alike losing trust in traditional advertising, alternative promotional channels need to be used and the numbers stack up in favour of influencer marketing as the solution for product exposure.
  • We’ll examine the concept of high powered influencers and case study successful influencer promotions.
  • What is influencer marketing and why should your brand rely on it?
  • To adequately take advantage of influencer marketing we’ll go through the best ways to partner with influencers and understudy partnerships that worked and why such collaborations succeeded.

How do you generate brand awareness and product exposure without traditional advertising? Influencers. 

These days trust in advertising is the lowest it has ever been, and for this reason, you need to look beyond regular promotional methods.

stats on product advertising

Source

Influencer marketing can foster goodwill towards your product. But more than that, high-powered influencers can boost traffic, engagement, and awareness. 

Because of how tough it is to get product exposure, you’d want the satisfaction of achieving the feat all by yourself, right? Not just to prove people who had doubts about your ability wrong, but for that feeling of accomplishment that you succeeded alone. It’s truly an enticing thought most entrepreneurs can’t resist. 

Dictating the game and calling the shots is great and all. But at certain stages of your business, you need a helping hand. Your reach has limits. 

By connecting forces with people who have identical goals to yours, you gain their reach and create a symbiotic relationship for mutual growth and potential audience maximization. Your brand and product’s exposure is paramount, and by engaging, interacting and intriguing your target audience alongside individuals with similar ambitions, the possibilities are endless. 

With that said, let’s proceed. 

What are high powered influencers? 

An influencer is someone who turns the heads of your target audience. A person with a social presence so powerful that they can put your product in front of thousands to millions of consumers. 

A great example is Subaru’s #MeetAnOwner campaign that used influencers videos to promote its new Impreza with the objective to pull in millennial buyers. One of such videos was Dan Graham, a new YouTube influencer with over five million subscribers using a slip and slide to leap off a 500-foot cliff.

#MeetAnOwner - High powered influencers

While there were no mentions of the facts and figures that make the car great. It simply focused on the emotional aspect of consumers, which was the thrill of adventure consumers would associate with the car as a result of the influencer promoting it.

Influencers majorly achieve such goals as Dan did via social media platforms, which is where they showcase their influence.

But you need to ensure that your chosen influencer is the right fit for your product or brand. 

You may come across a person with millions of followers, but if their goals aren’t identical to yours – for example, using a hip hop artist to recommend your new software – a boost in engagement isn’t a possibility. Defining context is the most crucial aspect you can focus on when choosing an influencer, so ensure that’s the pillar of your decisions. 

Why use an influencer? 

1. Increase in credibility

Influencers increase your brand’s credibility, which naturally extends to your product. By collaborating with people who already have credibility in the industry, you boost your own. 

Sun Peaks, a ski resort, experienced this. In order to raise awareness about their various winter attractions, they involved Instagram influencer and Canada’s leading adventure photographer Callum Snape. 

With amazing Instagram stories, images and short Facebook videos he drove over 200,000 people to Sun Peaks landing pages. Which sparked a huge interest for Sun Peaks from their target audience. 

The consumer’s conclusion was simple – “If Callum Snape loves it, then it’s got to be great. ” 

Callum Snape - High powered influencers

2. Influencers add a new perspective 

Do you know that feeling? The one where you write or talk about the same topic repeatedly, and at some point, you feel redundant. 

Repeating the same thing you’ve always said, to relay the same information from a fresh perspective, and a different sound. 

That’s tough, but if you bring in someone else to speak on the same subject, they’ll have something new to offer. People vary. Each person’s life choices and experiences give them a worldview different from yours, even if they’re in the same industry. 

FIJI water knew this, so they teamed up with influencer Danielle Bernstein and her trainer Eric Johnson.  

FIJI water example of influencer marketing

The idea was to expose their product to their target audience in a subtle way and from a fresh perspective. 

Now, in the post-Bernstein promoted her own brand Bernstein but she reminded her followers about the importance of staying hydrated and included FIJI water bottles. 

This took the attention of forced placements off FIJI water since the post was about promoting her brand. The result was that it appeared to the audience as a reflective recommendation to stay hydrated rather than a promotion of FIJI water.

With high powered influencers, you can present your product from a fresh perspective to your target audience consistently.

3. Influencers offer massive exposure 

In the business world, it’s all about giving and receiving. You scratch my back I scratch yours.  It’s a system that you can’t override because it’s powerful. 

Think about it. Why would a guest blogger pen down a post on your page?  It isn’t because they love your brand so much, they just want to help. All actions in business are for personal intentions. They do it to get access to a bigger audience. Yours.

And in exchange, they pull their audience to your doorstep, and it’s a win-win situation for everyone. With influencers, that’s what you achieve.

Tom’s of Maine, for instance, is a brand that makes toiletries using natural ingredients only. To build exposure for their products, they decided to have influencers compel their followers to make posts about Tom’s of Maine products for a chance to win a gift package. 

The strategy initiated a snowball effect that got across to 4.4 million people in three months of the campaign.

Tom's of Maine - example of high powered influencers

Some high-powered influencers have followings in millions, and a single recommendation of your product can drive an unbelievable number of leads and conversions to your offer. 

They have traffic, exposure, and influence, and you have the cash. So you make a trade, everyone’s happy.

How to find relevant, high powered influencers?

1. Google search for Instagram influencers

A simple Google search can reveal individuals influential in your niche on Instagram. Input a related keyword and pick the top posts. Find out who’s behind them, learn about them, and then reach out. 

You can use the search keyword code: site: platform.com “k followers” niche.

Googl e search for Instagram influencers

2. Buzzsumo

This is such a great tool for locating influencers. All you need to do is enter your keyword or niche related phrase in the search. 

For instance, if your product is a content marketing tool. Type in the keyword “content marketing”, and you’ll see a bunch of buzzing posts will pop up. 

Buzzsumo example

Look up the persons behind the posts. Check out their social media profiles and followership. If they match up with the influencer type you’re gunning for, reach out to them. 

Best ways to partner with high powered influencers 

1. Run a referral program

Remember when we mentioned that the business world is all about mutual benefits? Well, referral programs are a perfect demonstration of that principle. 

During Airbnb’s expansion to Asia for example, a single influencer’s referrals resulted in 5000 signups and hundreds of bookings in the campaign’s first month.  

 

Offer influencers a nice payout, discount or relevant product for them throwing you a few hundred thousand customers isn’t a bad idea. Influencers invested an immense amount of time and effort into gaining those followers and desire to receive rewards for it. 

There are a bunch of tools for automating your referral program, you just need to set and forget. You can even find quality influencers via these tools as they reveal people that are part of your program and are driving the highest traffic to your brand. 

A referral program offers influencers a solid incentive to link people to your brand. The importance of this is even though a top influencer had an excellent experience with your product, without an active nudge they’d most likely not reference your product. And you may never know that someone with such an influence loves your brand. 

2. Gift them

Seen an influencer you like? Perhaps you’ve found that they have a similar passion and you’re convinced they’ll be all in with your brand or product. 

By sending them a product gift, they can test out your product and create exposure by sharing it with their followers. It’d be a good approach to drop them a message before sending over your product to them, as they may not be willing to tell the world about your generosity as you think without a nudge. 

Here’s a great example of what the influencer’s product exposure post would look like: 

Example post of high powered influencers

3. Freebies giveaways contest

The idea behind this is like giving gifts, but instead of giving your product to the blogger themselves with the aim of them promoting it, the blogger runs a contest with your product targeted at the audience. 

It’s a lot more direct in terms of the market of approach. As the influencer’s audience fights for an opportunity to win your product, it spurs a desire to have your offer before they’ve even gotten it. That’s a priceless effect to have on potential customers. 

Check this example out:

Freebies give away contest

Keep in mind that this method works great with influencers who own a blog, as the stats show that 90% of bloggers love to engage their audience in contests. So it might be easier getting a blogger to agree to this method. 

4. Run influencer events

There’s no greater way to empower and educate your Influencer about your product than to host an event that allows you to interact with them in-person.  

Sure you can send the influencer a box of your products and request that they feature it in their subsequent post. But imagine the depth of insight and content they could come up with if you invited them to where you make the magic happen.  

For example, if you run a makeup brand, you can invite beauty/makeup influencers to an event where you show them how everything comes together. You allow them to get their hands involved in the making procedures and walk them through the entire process. 

This is what ecommerce mattress brand Casper did. They got in touch with various Canine influencers that had a combined following of 3.5 million dog lovers to promote their new product for dogs. 

Casper's Pupperazzi campaign

Source 

The influencers were invited to a lunch party in New York, with “pupperazzi”, a green carpet and lots of food. The results were phenomenal. Different positive perspectives of their product at a go and 3.5 million people reached with ease.

You may have to include travel expenses into your budget, depending on your brand’s location. But the result is giving the influencer the ability to produce brilliant imagery that represents everything good about your product.  

It allows the influencer to communicate your product to the audience in the most elaborate way possible. 

5. Social media posts

Instagram sits high on this approach and is an excellent place to locate influencers to partner with. But ensure that you find users that not only have large followings but engagements proportionate to their follower size. The danger signs should go off if you come across an account with 300,000 followers, but only 12 likes per post. 

When you identify the best influencer for you, create a campaign that delivers multiple posts that appeal to various aspects of your target audience. With that approach, one post is bound to stick. You can ask them to try out your product and take a video or snapshot showing the features of your product. 

6. Blogger review

If done right, your influencer’s blog posts can rank on the top search results. Blog posts are an excellent way to boost product exposure. 

Partner with powerful influential bloggers known for their credibility and trustworthiness. You could send them a free product or pay them in exchange for crafting a blog post with an honest review of your offer.  

For example, if a web user is searching for “golf gloves” on Google, your influencers post could show up on the search results and as they visit the page, you’ve got a limitless flow of potential leads

Conclusion 

Influencer marketing is powerful in driving product exposure. You just need to find the right influencers and build a solid relationship with them. Try out various methods, track your performance, and determine the right approach for your brand. 

Raul Galera is the Partner Manager at ReferralCandy, an app that helps ecommerce stores run customer referral programs, boosting their word-of-mouth sales.

The post Five ways to get more product exposure with high powered influencers appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Five digital marketing tips for freelancers

May 9, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Freelancers are responsible for handling every aspect of their business to see growth – and digital marketing helps boost business growth. 
  • Your freelancing career involves marketing yourself while also handling client relationships. For different stages of the client journey, you need to stay organized, send relevant emails, and think creatively about what you have to offer.
  • Digital marketing opens opportunities for you to market your freelance business with the best possible website content, start new client relationships, reassure clients about their worries, and send personalized, automated emails at each stage of your client relationships.  

Freelancers have to execute work for their clients, but they also need to promote their business to get new clients. Digital marketing can be a powerful way to grow a business, but it’s also an additional skill set that not all freelancers practice.  

When it comes to building your brand, creating a compelling website, and generally marketing yourself online, what are the best ways to get started?  

Here are five digital marketing tips for freelancers.  

1. Focus on these four important website pages

As a freelancer, your website is one of your most essential tools. One of the reasons that people trust businesses is because of what they have on their website. 

And no website is complete without these four most important pages: 

  • The homepage 
  • The “About me” page 
  • The portfolio and work experience page 
  • The “Contact me” page 

Your website is the easiest and most direct way for a prospective client to learn about who you are, your skills, and how to work with you in the same successful way previous clients have.  

The homepage is where you should include your value proposition, and proof, like a client testimonial – of how working with you helps people see their desired results. A website visitor leaves a page within 10-20 seconds of arriving. However, a web page with a clear and immediate value proposition is known to keep web visitors on a page longer – long enough to (hopefully) convert them into clients.  

The “About me” page is where you show people what kind of a person your clients will work with – and that’s important to them. A report by BBMG states that 73% of people care about the company, not just the product or service when making a purchase. People want to buy from people. Authentic, similar, and likeable people.  

The portfolio and work experience page is where you can show off your best work. Clients often want to see a sample of the work that they’re going to get, to see if your style matches what they’re looking for. This page is that sample. 

The “Contact me” page is key. This is where people can hire you, so it’s a great place to answer any outstanding questions — to lay out the next steps and reiterate your value proposition. It’s also a good place to collect important information, like the budget, from people who contact you. 

You can have all other types of pages on your site. But start by getting these four right. 

2. Create an online course 

According to a Stratistics MRC report, the global elearning market is projected to account for over $ 275 billion by 2022 (which is way up from the $ 165 billion accounted for in 2015). 

Creating an online course can feel like a lot of work, but it’s become easier than ever to sell your expertise. Online platforms like Thinkific or Podia give freelancers the tools they need to productize their experience — and potentially introduce some recurring income. 

When it comes to creating your course, keep a running list of the questions you get most often from your clients. Which projects come your way the most often? What information do you wish all your clients understood? 

Each of those questions can serve as the backbone for a new course — and most technology platforms will give you more ideas about how exactly you can package your product to sell.  

It takes an up-front investment to get an online course off the ground, but once you launch you can create a revenue stream that isn’t hourly or project-based billing (and expands beyond selling your time directly). 

You can host online courses on your website or through another platform, and you can promote courses via social media posts, paid advertising, and segmented emails.  

3. Create a client onboarding checklist 

When you have a new client, your first step is not to immediately start work on their project.  

Up until now, you and your new client have talked about things like your skills, the types of projects they have in mind, and the cost you agreed on for your services. You made a general plan for your work together. Now is the time when you put the plan in motion. 

A client onboarding process can make sure that everyone is on the same page. More importantly, onboarding is where you show new clients what you can do.  

As you begin work with a new client, you can upsell them on an online course, gated content, and other helpful resources. And as you start, it helps to have an onboarding checklist to keep track of each necessary step to sustain productive client relationships.  

A client onboarding checklist includes steps like

  • Send an automated welcome email with details about what to expect next 
  • Send an invoice email for the first half of payment 
  • Set up a shared project management tool for project progress visibility 

The structure is an important part of any relationship – and especially your client relationships. You can’t expect clients to follow your lead on a project if they don’t know what path they are walking. Clearly lay out a client onboarding process for yourself and use a checklist to stay on track.  

4. Address these three most common client objections 

Any prospective client is going to have questions for you – and they are also going to come ready with reasons why working with you won’t work out. 

But you have to remember – they are talking to you because they need your help. When common client objections arise, it’s up to you to be able to handle them. 

You can use your digital marketing to handle client objections before they even reach you. Your website copy, blog content, social media posts, and emails can all showcase how you deal with your clients’ problems. 

For example, a prospective client who is worried about the cost of hiring a freelancer may respond positively to website copy that says, “Pricing is month to month with no contracts, no extra fees, and no hidden gimmicks”. 

When you are directly dealing with a client through emails and phone calls, being prepared with a list of objections and your responses can help with them over 

Three common client objections you can encounter are

  1. It’s too expensive: Instead of leading with price, focus on the value and benefits of your service. Circle back to what the client gets with your offering, and the problems or pain points it solves.  
  2. You don’t understand my business: Respond with curiosity instead of getting defensive. Agree with them and let it be known that you want to learn about their business, then ask them to tell you about it. 
  3. I don’t have the time or resources for this right now: Instead of asking them when the best time to talk later is, ask them what time and resources they DO have right now. This helps you learn what support you can offer them in the meantime.  

Some clients might be worried that hiring you is too expensive. Instead of a reply that defends your pricing, focus on the value and benefits of your offering. Circle back to what the client gets with your offering, and the problems or pain points it solves.  

5. Send automated follow-up and thank you emails to clients 

Throughout a client relationship, certain emails are required. During a project, you should send multiple check-in emails. After a project is done, you should still keep in contact with clients through follow-up and thank you emails. 

Follow-up emails can go to past clients that you want to work with again. In many email marketing platforms, you can find customizable follow-up email templates to cut down on communication time for you.   

When you have a new client, it’s important to build on your existing relationship and keep communication open. Sending a personal thank you note after you complete a client’s first project shows that you care. 

Personalized, thoughtful communication is the root of good customer experiences – and a big reason why clients continue to work with businesses. However, it can sound like a lot of time-consuming work to send out all of the necessary types of emails to clients. Automation exists to help you send every email you need without extra work from you.  

Nucleus found that marketing automation improved business productivity by an average of 20%. It can help you track and maintain communication with your clients. You should use marketing automation to send a thank-you email to first-time clients and follow-up emails to past clients.  

I hope freelancers everywhere can benefit from these tips and other free resources for freelancers. Manage clients, promote your freelance brand, and grow your business by taking hold of your marketing strategy.

Lauren Minning is a Content Marketing Specialist at ActiveCampaign.

The post Five digital marketing tips for freelancers appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Five ways a CRM system improves SEO results

April 21, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • When you look at what all a CRM system does for you, it lines up perfectly with the goals of an effective SEO strategy. The two should go hand-in-hand, working together to make each other more successful.
  • Right from initiating surveys to getting insights from customer data for hyper-targeted content creation, there’s a lot that a CRM can offer that will add value to your SEO strategy.
  • Customer experience too is intricately linked to the heart of how SEO works. When people search for keywords or phrases, they’re trying to find answers to questions and other information to satisfy a need.
  • Don’t underestimate the impact a CRM system can have on your SEO. Five ways your CRM can help you get better results with SEO.

The beauty and bane of SEO is that it’s a richly diverse topic. There are so many avenues to explore and angles to consider. In a previous article, we looked at how different inter-organizational collaborations can boost your SEO implementation and improve your results. Part of this article was dedicated to collaborations with customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Although we touched on some of the benefits of CRM systems for SEO teams, it’s worth diving a bit deeper. When you look at what all a CRM system does for you, it lines up perfectly with the goals of an effective SEO strategy. The two should go hand-in-hand, working together to make each other more successful.

Here are five ways your CRM system can help you get better results with SEO.

1. Getting on the same page

When you’re using a CRM system, you have the opportunity to continuously learn from your customers. You can use this opportunity to find out more about their pain points, what they’re searching for, and what they’re purchasing. This information can then be passed over to the relevant part of your company to deal with it.

Through a CRM system, you can issue surveys, ask questions, and record information given by your existing customers and leads. With a more complete picture of customer data you can create localized content, adjust the timing of certain SEO campaigns to match buying habits, and highlight features of your products or services with keywords that address customer pain points.

Here is what Daniel Liddle – SEO Growth Strategist at Green Park Content says,

“Getting that crucial customer behaviour information from CRM systems is the best way to refine the intent and behaviour of your leads. With more and more CRMs incorporating machine learning into their software such as Microsoft’s Dynamic365 and Salesforce, sentiment analysis and forecasting is becoming a lot easier to report on and also making that data actionable in order to drive sales. And, that’s the key point, there’s elements of information that’s more ‘nice to know’ but you really want to be looking and building on actionable data which a lot of software companies are driving towards doing this autonomously.”

2. Nurturing SEO leads

SEO gets people to your content, but what happens next? If you don’t get enough engagement on your pages or response from your calls to action (CTAs), even your SEO will suffer over time. You have to follow up with leads generated by your SEO efforts so that you can turn them from page visitors to conversions.

CRM can help you guide your overall SEO strategy. If you integrate SEO efforts into your CRM system, you’ll get an idea of whether your SEO is bringing the right types of people to your pages, how many conversions you’re generating, and what brought people there in the first place. All of this means better SEO with measurable results that matter to your bottom line. Traffic and page views are great, but it’s better to get less general traffic if that means more conversions.

3. Providing consistency

Using a CRM system, you can ensure that your whole organization is on the same page. No matter how small or large your operation is, consistency in marketing and customer-facing strategies matters. CRM helps you stay organized to present the same central message across all platforms.

The more you talk about a certain subject, the more your authority on the subject increases. Building authority on a topic is great for SEO, as your content will have an advantage in the rankings if your focus stays consistent. You’ll be able to build a stronger link profile, get more social media mentions, and post more relevant content that your audience loves.

Growing that authority requires company-wide efforts to produce a consistently good experience that’s relevant to your audience and fulfils their needs. CRM helps you stay on track and get everyone on board from different parts of the organization.

For instance, Mario Peshev, CEO of DevriX, relies on their in-house CRM tool for gathering case studies in a consistent manner:

“Our retainer contracts are long-term and we revise our accomplishments two to four times per year. Having our customer portfolio in one place enables us to review the progress to date, leverage a case study template, and prepare drafts for new PR opportunities or updating existing success stories delivered for our clients.”

4. SEO and customer experience

The entire point of a CRM system is to improve the customer experience your company offers, from the beginning of the sales funnel to after-sales services and everything in between. By improving your customer experience, you can also boost your SEO.

Customer experience is intricately linked to the heart of how SEO works. When people search for keywords or phrases, they’re trying to find answers to questions and other information to satisfy a need. If you know what your customers want and need, you can better tailor your content and keywords to address those needs.

To give a good customer experience you first have to know your customers. Take that information and apply it to SEO. Using the data about your existing customers, you can target your SEO efforts on a more realistic market of people that share the needs and wants of your existing customer base. Since you know these types of people already use your products or services, it’s a good idea to market to similar people as well.

Better, more targeted content means lower bounce rates, more organic traffic, and higher engagement with your CTA. Your SEO efforts can only benefit from relevant content that addresses what people really want to know.

5. Improving third-party reviews

Speaking of customer experience, SEO is also partially impacted by outside mentions of your company. Specifically, third-party review sites like Google My Business, Yelp, and Travel Advisor hold a lot of weight. If you are listed on these sites with a solid number of reviews (most of which are positive), you’ll do better in SEO than if you’re unlisted with fake reviews, no reviews, or poor reviews.

If you’re doing your CRM work right, you should end up with more satisfied customers. These are the guys who are going to be leaving the reviews for you. It’s a long-term strategy, but by focusing more on a great customer experience that leaves more people satisfied with what you provide, you will naturally end up with more positive reviews. You can even prompt people to leave reviews if you’re confident that more people will be happy rather than disappointed.

CRMs do a lot for your business if you use it right. If you’re using one already or considering adopting the use of one, think about the bigger picture of everything you can do with it. Don’t underestimate the impact a CRM system can have on your SEO. Get ahead of your competition in the ranking using every tool at your disposal.

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Search specialist shares five ways to adapt your search strategy in uncertain times

March 28, 2020 No Comments

The events of the last few weeks have had a dramatic effect on millions of people’s lives. Uncertainty over health, childcare, work, food and the wellbeing of loved ones has dominated all of our thinking over the past few days.

Not only has it changed the way we’re shopping and interacting with others, an expert at online search specialist Epiphany, Paul Norris, has looked at how it has impacted what users are turning to the internet for and advises how businesses can adapt their search strategy during this tricky time.

The Prime Minister’s speech on 13th March 2020 served as a catalyst for many to search for “working from home essentials” with searches such as computer chairs increasing by 185%.

As a nation, we also considered our options for emergency deliveries, including “wine delivery” services, which nearly tripled in just one week.

search strategy and trends in tricky times

As people’s searches change to reflect new (increasingly home-based and socially distant) situations, it’s important that marketers adapt to the shifts in search behavior.

Here are a few ways to navigate the next few weeks and to prepare for when we emerge from the current situation:

1. Identify and capitalize on emerging trends

Monitor your search query reports closely – look for increased use of convenience and supply modifiers as availability and fulfillment is valued more. Searches containing “near me” have started to fall as queries for “online” services have increased.

If your business offers quick deliveries (and can still fulfill them), ensure it’s prominent in messaging, listings and on-site. Searches for next and same-day delivery will only continue to grow.

2. Listen to your visitors – use your site search reports and Hotjar polls

Your on-site search function is an absolute gold mine in times like these – demand and behavioral changes from your visitors are picked up directly. Use the Site Search report in GA (found under “Behaviour” on the left-hand side) as a listening board.

closely monitor site search reports to effectively work on your search strategy

Surface the most-searched-for products and services on relevant high traffic pages. Rethink, test and measure your carousels and other key product and service listing elements where relevant. Enabling Hotjar (or similar) polls can also enable you to get more specific insight.

3. Shift budget into investment channels

If you’re pulling back on sales activation because demand is dropping, look to move that budget and resource into a medium and longer-term activity that will pay dividends when demand picks up. With the previous points in mind, conduct a meta-data review and weave more highly valued services such as next day delivery into titles and descriptions. Has content taken a back seat? There are some definite benefits to content strategy, planning, and creation with the headspace you’re afforded when working from home.

4. Bypass dev queues and do what you can from your CMS

Prioritizing your activity in a busy dev queue can be difficult at the best of times. If dev time is booked up because the team is completely promo and sales activation focused, do what you can. Are you able to edit content and optimize existing pages in the CMS? Can you create new landing pages in your CMS without tech intervention? If so, now is the time to utilize those capabilities.

5. Maximize performance where demand is strong

Identify where demand remains strong (or has even picked up) and do what you can to capture and convert it. Your top landing pages and product reports are a good first port of call and can provide you with some quick wins. Segmenting and analyzing site performance by product/area/service (depending on your sector) can help you identify and capitalize on bigger emerging trends. If you’re a retailer, think about splitting out essential and non-essential products.

Paul Norris is Senior Strategist & Head of London Operations at Epiphany.

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Five tips to establish a successful content creation process

March 13, 2020 No Comments

In this digital age where around 90% of all digital marketers use content marketing, there is no shortage of content that is flowing around, even in niches you probably never heard of.

Unfortunately, a big chunk of that content is a spammy mess that exists only to build a link, promote things we do not need, and push an agenda that doesn’t care about facts.

Despite all of that, there is always room for more quality content that can put your business on the map. To do that effectively, you need two things – consistency and a strategic approach to content creation.

Why should you have a consistent content publishing schedule?

If you are pumping out mediocre content on a regular basis to try and “trick” Google into favoring you over other domains, you are probably wasting your time. That’s if you want to listen to Google’s own John Mueller.

Now, here’s why this discussion doesn’t really matter. On one side, there is a whole list of stronger search ranking factors to focus on. On the other hand, even if publishing frequency doesn’t directly affect your rankings, there are plenty of other reasons you want to be consistent with your content creation and publishing process.

Some do it because they want to run a newsletter, others simply want to keep their blog fresh and have something to share on their social channels. However, most marketers that look to run content consistently are those who want to grow their businesses with content marketing.

For them, creating consistent content with a purpose is not an option, it’s a necessity. In continuation of this article, we’ll take a look at five tips on how to do exactly that.  

1. Do the groundwork

What does it mean to create quality content? I believe most of us know how to intuitively recognize it, but some would have trouble coming up with a clear definition. 

Here is a snapshot from the guidelines we share with all of our writers that represent how we look at quality content:

Writing to the right audience and solving their problems with actionable advice is hard to do if you only have a vague idea of who you are targeting. That’s why it is crucial to properly research your target audience. Go to Quora and Reddit, visit niche forums, run surveys among existing customers and subscribers, follow top blogs in your niche, analyze your competitors.

If you’re planning to create content consistently, it pays to know both big and small problems your target audience is running into on a regular basis.

If you do extensive research, you should have a substantive list of issues to cover. However, not all of those issues are worth covering on your blog. Creating personalized content is great, but spending 20 hours on a piece that solves an issue exactly three people have is just not worth it.

This is where keyword research comes into play. Using tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, Ubersuggest, and even Google Trends is a great way to find out what is the scope of the issues you identified and which are, subsequently, worth covering.

If you’re a start-up looking to grow through content marketing efforts, keyword research and target audience analysis are the foundation to build upon. For brands with an already active blog, they can expand this preparation step by also doing content audit and content gap analysis.

2. Create content with a purpose

I do not know about you, but we like to publish content with a certain goal in mind. In an ideal situation, content should satisfy the following criteria:

  1. It talks about a real problem your target audience has
  2. It can be optimized around a keyword with a worthwhile monthly search volume
  3. It aims to generate brand awareness, nurture gathered leads or has another specific purpose listed below

Now, there are only so many content pieces that will be able to check all three boxes, and that’s just fine. Since you plan to create content consistently, you will have to branch out anyway at some point. The trick is not branching out too far. Always look that your content satisfies at least two of the stated criteria.

One example of content with a purpose that satisfies “only” two criteria (but is still worth creating) is content for nurturing your hard-earned leads.

Depending on who you ask, the sales funnel can have between three and six phases. For the purpose of this example, we can hold on to the version with four that is on the illustration above.

Let’s assume that, during your audience research, you defined four different target audience personas you want to cover. Let’s also assume that you decided to create two different pieces of content for every persona at every stage of the funnel.

This leads us to four personas x four funnel stages x two content pieces for each = 32 content pieces! 

Some of those 32 pieces will not bring you any organic traffic but they will be an integral part of your email sequences, your Facebook funnels and/or any other strategy that uses content for lead nurturing. 

3. Plan three months in advance

The key point of this section is planning ahead, the number of months is up for discussion. If you have enough resources and the ability to stick to the schedule, you can plan six months ahead or more. For many businesses, however, that is not necessary.

For example, we push out one to three content pieces each month and our average time to produce a piece (involves keyword research, outline, writing, polishing, custom images, promotion plans, SEO optimization) is about three weeks (but keep in mind that people don’t work on the content every day).

Considering our available resources, time to produce a single piece, and the number of pieces we publish each month, planning two months ahead is enough to keep everything on track. By “keeping everything on track” I mean ensuring we never end up in a situation where: 

  • We do not have anything to publish because a single article got delayed
  • We do not have resources to schedule in an additional content piece that shares important company news or discusses nig industry trends/news that just popped up  

As you scale up those numbers, you should look to plan three-plus months ahead, especially if you are doing a lot of research, round-ups, longer video content, and interactive content. 

These types of content pieces are more likely to get delayed and increase your average production time, which means they should be scheduled well in advance.

4. Watch what you outsource

At some point, you might wish to scale content production or realize that you just don’t have enough resources to create content consistently on your own. While outsourcing can work well when done properly, if you are working with the wrong people, it will waste you a ton of time you don’t have. 

To anyone that looks to outsource part of their content creation process, here are two important tips:

A. Do not be satisfied with mediocre talent

Even if it takes a long time, run job posts until you find people that meet all of your requirements. Otherwise, you will spend more time reviewing and editing the content than you would spend on creating it yourself in the first place. So if a platform like Upwork fails you, run paid adds on another one like ProBlogger or similar platforms until you find a good match.

B. Give the advantage to people with actual experience in your niche

There are many people out there that can write pretty well. A chunk of those has good research skills and can create a decent piece on almost any topic. However, there usually aren’t that many people with a lot of personal experience that can actually give actionable advice.

I put a lot of value in personal experience because of one thing – authenticity. If the only thing you have to say is just a rehash of what other people said, you are not bringing anything new to the table and it limits the ability to provide actionable tips. That will undoubtedly be reflected in the reduced engagement of your content pieces. 

Since we are talking about outsourcing, I’d also like to point out that there are some content types that I would recommend producing internally whenever possible such as:

  • Pieces that describe a step-by-step process of how your service/product works
  • Pieces that contain a lot of screenshots/videos/graphics that have to be produced internally
  • Very specific pieces where you have to give the freelancer so many details you’re better of doing it yourself

I’m not saying that there aren’t amazing freelancers out there who can cover even promotional pieces to the level you need them to, but I am saying that they are hard to find and small business owners can rarely afford them.

5. Don’t discard guest contributors

Many blogs decide not to publish content from guest contributors because they believe that the average quality of the pieces that are sent over does not justify the time you need to put into managing the whole process. 

While that is true to a certain extent, there are ways to streamline the process to actually be cost-effective. I know that because we have implemented it on our blog. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Setup “write for us page” that outlines what kind of content you are looking for. 
  2. Create a guest contribution form people need to apply through and include it somewhere on the write for us page. You can reply only to people you want to work with which eliminates a lot of unnecessary email communication. 
  3. Create detailed writing guidelines that you send to every guest author. 
  4. Do not be afraid to say “no”. Do not waste time on contributors that do not match your requirements or do not respect your guidelines.

Using questions like the ones you can see on the screenshot below, you will be able to filter out bad submissions fairly quickly. 

If you want to take this a step further, you can even prepare content briefs. For example, guest authors that apply to our blog and are open to writing on a topic we suggest, get a list of primary and secondary keywords to orient their posts around and a list of major sections the article should discuss. 

As long as you have a reasonable linking policy and at least a moderate site authority, good pitches will come. Why not use them to help you push out content more consistently?

Ensuring content quality

One thing that tends to suffers when you put focus on volume is content quality. That is natural, but it can be easily avoided.

The best way to enforce consistent content quality is to set up detailed guidelines (and stick to them). These rules include (but are not limited to):

  • Tone of voice
  • Target audience
  • Linking policy for outgoing links 
  • Formatting guidelines
  • Visual guidelines and the use of rich content
  • Focus on examples and actionable advice

The above guidelines allow you to run every piece through a simple checklist and see if anything needs to be improved before the content goes live. 

When all of this is done as a part of a strong content marketing strategy, it is going to make you happy, it is going to make your customers happy, and it is going to make your bottom line very happy.

Dario Supan is a content strategist and editor at Point Visible, a marketing agency providing custom outreach and link building service.

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Five social media trends that are shaping 2020

March 11, 2020 No Comments

Every year the social media marketing community turns into fortune tellers — we collectively try to predict what trends, features, and innovations will take place in the upcoming year. Of course, trying to predict social media trends is much more trustworthy than fortune-telling even if you’re using astrology as a framework for that. 

Most social media predictions stand on the existing trends and research, which makes them highly likely to actually be accurate. It’s a common truth that social media platforms are constantly changing, they come up with new features, change algorithms, review their respective policies, and it all affects the way we do marketing on social. But it’s not like these changes come out of nowhere — they are all the results of social media company’s vision and business model or external circumstances. 

To identify trends that will dominate social media this year we need to consider all of these internal and external circumstances. And that’s exactly what I did to make up this list of five major trends that will be prominent in 2020. In addition to simply describing what to expect in 2020, I also give some recommendations on how to use these trends to your brand’s advantage.

1. Let data analysis lead your strategy

Social media trends using data for social listening

 

Source: Screenshot from social listening tool, Awario

Knowledge is power, and social media companies want to empower their users and brands, or rather attract more investments. That’s why they are giving social media managers more and more access to insights and data analytics. Facebook is constantly expanding Creator Studio’s and Facebook Insights’ functionality, Twitter is adding more insights to Media Studio, and Pinterest is adding Pinterest Trends to inform brands on user behavior. 

This year we are likely to see more ways to access user trends on different platforms and tap into this data for marketing and social media research. At the same time, due to trend number three on this list, brands might have to change the way they used to do social media marketing, especially with targeted advertising. There are ethical and unethical ways to use data, and the upcoming year will probably be the time to rethink these terms. That may encourage brands to get more involved in the research of the publicly available data with the help of social listening, for example.

How to be on-trend

  • Make sure your social media strategy is based on insights gained through data research, not a blind guess. Use the insights provided by platforms like Facebook and Instagram Insights, Twitter Analytics, and so on to find what content performs best, when you should post, and what resonates with your audience. Your KPIs should respond to your goals – if you are raising brand awareness, pay attention to the number of followers, if you’re focusing on community building, keep track of the engagement metrics. 
  • Collect and analyze publicly available data, this is the most ethical way to conduct marketing research without invading anyone’s privacy. Social monitoring and listening tools such as Awario or Brandwatch break down the sentiment, reach, demographics, and user behavior trends behind any phenomenon you want to research on social media. 

2. Make your communication more private

Making social media more private

In 2019 Mark Zuckerberg claimed that “the future is private”. This was a surprising turn of events for the company which started out as a service to meet people and connect strangers. Facebook’s CEO announced that from now own the platform will prioritize ways to build and sustain smaller communities and tet-a-tet communication meaning more focus on Groups and Messenger as well as WhatsApp. And it’s not just Facebook, social media apps have been introducing more privacy-driven features lately including Instagram’s “Close Friends” list, various updates to DMs functionality for Twitter and Instagram, more ways for brands to manage social messaging. With the upcoming redesign of Facebook feed (expected to be fully rolled out in Q1 and the new ability to limit replies to your tweets, it’s obvious that 2020 will be the year of private social media. 

The turn to private communication is, of course, motivated by user behavior. People simply got much more into messaging their friends and interacting in small interest-based communities. Social media companies took notice of that and are now giving people what they want. However, taking into consideration how many privacy scandals we had in the last couple of years, it’s easy to imagine that the turn to privacy was also prompted by the intent to improve ones’ reputation, especially when we are talking about Facebook. 

How to be on-trend

  • If you don’t have a Facebook group for your customers yet, it’s high time you start one. 
  • Use the “Close Friends” list on your Instagram account to share exclusive content with your most engaged followers. 
  • Go beyond the big three by looking into smaller communities on Reddit and Quora for better opportunities to engage with the audience.

3. Take up more social responsibility

Taking up more social responsibility will be a social media trend

Source: Twitter

This will probably be the most prominent theme in the news coverage of social media companies for 2020. Once again, it’s not a new trend — the pressure to sort out the issues with spamming, misinformation, manipulation of the algorithm, and the social media impact on users’ mental health has been there for a while. 

In 2020 we can expect more regulations on ads, more sophisticated algorithms for discovering spammers and bots, and more ways for users to control what they are seeing on the timeline. In 2019 we saw some actions taken not just by the platforms themselves but also by the state — there were several court cases around creating fake engagement and selling followers and likes that could become precedents for creating legislation around this matter. 

Both Facebook and Twitter CEOs publicly stated that the ultimate framework for dealing with misleading ads and handling users’ data should come from the governmental actors and independent expert committees, not the social media companies. California Consumer Privacy Act is the first attempt at such legislation. This will certainly affect the way brands advertise on social and conduct marketing research (see trend number one).

Social media companies also face a bigger challenge – how to avoid locking people in their own social media bubbles and creating echo-chambers that skew their view of the world? Admittedly, this is a broader challenge for our society in general. However, we can’t ignore the fact that social media contributes to exacerbating the political and social divide between people, and it might be the time for platforms to rethink the core functionality and algorithms behind them.

Another area where social media companies are encouraged to take on more responsibility is mental health. By now it is obvious (and confirmed by research) that social media can have a negative effect on users’ self-esteem and mental health, especially among teenagers, and social media companies need to take notice of that. Some platforms have already made steps in the right direction by informing users about how much time they are spending on the app. The next big change will concern vanity metrics (see below). In 2020, it’s expected that there will be more platform regulations that aim to protect users from abuse and bullying and more ways for users to filter the information they don’t want to consume.

How to be on-trend

  • Make sure your ads comply with the platform regulations.
  • Discard sketchy growth hacks such as buying followers or using third-party tools for follow-unfollow tactics in favor of genuine engagement and community building.
  • To make interactions with your audience actually genuine, understand when those interactions are welcome. The best way to start engaging with people on the internet is by commenting and replying to their public posts: and of course, your comments should be meaningful and relevant. You can find people and posts to engage through social media monitoring — simply monitor keywords and phrases appropriate for your niche.
  • Use social listening, competitor and hashtag research to find accounts related to your niche and engage them in the comments. Offer your expertise or start conversations discussing relevant topics. 

4. Focus less on vanity metrics

Less focus on vanity metrics
This trend is partly related to the previous one. In 2019, we saw several experiments around hiding vanity metrics, mainly like count, on Facebook and Instagram. Twitter’s CEO has also been vocal about his desire to move away from vanity metrics. Moreover, both Instagram and Twitter have slightly tweaked their design to put less emphasis on the number of followers an account has. The rejection of like count is probably motivated both by moral and practical reasons, comparing your number of likes to someone else’s is proven to damage one’s self-esteem.

Hiding vanity metrics from anyone could eliminate the pressure of competition people feel and make social media less stressful. Instagram has also revealed that during the tests they discovered that discarding like count leads to more content on the platform and that’s what any social media company wants. 

That’s the logical outcome of the previous point, if people feel less pressure to get the most likes, they will feel more at ease with posting. All in all, prepare to say goodbye to like counts in 2020.

How to be on-trend

  • For social media managers, discarding vanity metrics means new ways of doing competitor and influencer research. You can use Facebook’s native functionality (Brand Collabs Manager, Insights) or social media analytics tools to compare your brand with your competitors or find and evaluate influencers relevant to your niche. 
  • Track the number of followers, engagement rate, and ads placed on Facebook through “Pages to Watch” and “Ad Library”.
  • Use social listening to compare your social media Share of Voice with your competitors.

Share of voice of top 10 UK universities calculated

Source: Screenshot from social listening tool, Awario

5. Try TikTok

Social media trends - try TikTok advertising

In 2019 TikTok became one of the most downloaded apps in the app store. The swift rise of the social media app drew a lot of attention from social media marketers, and will surely draw even more attention this year. The greatest thing about TikTok is its feed algorithm which allows you to reach a significant number of users right from the get-go, without having to gain followers for a long time. 

The platform is tailored for viral content: easy sharing, trends, and challenges enable you to easily create videos with a huge potential reach. Moreover, the platform is constantly developing its business capabilities, just recently TikTok rolled out the ability to run ads on the platform for everyone. 

TikTok is the app to keep an eye on, as it is one of the fastest-growing social media networks, it surely has bigger plans for the upcoming year.

How to be on-trend

  • If you’re not TikTok yet, create an account right now.
  • See what trends could be useful for your industry, check out what your competitors are doing, examine the latest trends. A lot of TikTok’s content is focused on viral songs, dance challenges, and certain editing techniques. So you should research those if you want to create popular content.
  • Try advertising on TikTok! TikTok Ads is not the only way to promote your product, you can also partner up with TikTok creators to reach new audiences.  

In conclusion

Social media trends don’t just pop out of nowhere and it’s not difficult to predict what will happen in the upcoming year. However, knowing something is only half the battle — you need to actually adjust your social media strategy to the ever-changing circumstances to get the best results. 

In this article, I tried to demonstrate the broader trends but also shared actionable tips to implement in your work. Some of the trends that will play out in 2020 may seem like an impediment for social media marketers, you can’t use targeting, you can’t see how many likes an influencer gets, and people are getting harder to reach since they are all hanging out in private communities. But it’s actually a chance for building genuine and trusting relationships with your audience — and you can do it by using these trends to your advantage.

Aleh is the Founder and CMO at SEO PowerSuite and Awario. He can be found on Twitter at @ab80.

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Five simple content marketing trends for 2020

January 11, 2020 No Comments

How can you improve your content marketing strategy in 2020? Here are five simple and useful content marketing trends to follow in the new year.

We’ve welcomed 2020 and it’s the perfect time to start thinking of the best way to maintain a successful content marketing strategy over the next 12 months.

New channels, tactics, and trends emerge every day but the challenge is to decide on the ones that you want to include to your own strategy.

There are many posts that focus on the latest big trends and how you could revolutionize your tactics for 2020. We’ve decided to go back to basics to review how simple tactics and trends that can improve your content success.

1. Focus on the experience

It’s not enough to increase the frequency of your blogs to improve your content marketing success. In a digital world full of new content, the challenge is to stand out from your competitors.

A good way to achieve success is to focus on the experience. Your content should be relevant and informative but it should also facilitate the user experience.

Content experience is a growing term that refers to the role that sits between content marketing and UX. It’s about reviewing how you can improve your content, your website and even your strategy to ensure that your readers are spending more time on your posts.

There are many ways to improve your content experience:

  • Test the mobile version of your site
  • Aim for short paragraphs that are easy to read on mobile
  • Enhance the “readability” of your content by allowing your text to “breathe” with images and sub-headings
  • Review your loading speed
  • Aim for personalization

Not all changes require too much of your time. What’s important is to acknowledge how your team, your tools, and your processes can gear up towards improved content experiences in 2020, one step at a time.

2. Include visual data

Visual content can improve the reading experience. It can also help you get the main data to stand out. Infographics, for example, help you summarise your key points in a more visual way. They can even help you enhance the “shareability” of your post.

Visual quotes can also help you get your point across in a way that stands out to the reader. You can also include videos in your content to provide an alternative content format for your story.

Another idea that is very helpful in SaaS marketing is to include GIFs when talking about your product. It’s easier for your readers to understand what you’re referring to.

Using visual data in your content marketing can help you simplify complicated ideas and we’re seeing more brands using videos and GIFs to present their data.

Content marketing trends 2020 using story telling

Visual storytelling is growing stronger and it’s useful to experiment with different formats to find out what works best for your readers.

3. Write long-form content

There is a constant struggle on the internet to grab someone’s attention. Not everyone is spending a lot of time on a page, which pushes us to come up with new ideas of bite-sized content. This is actually a good approach in many ways but we also need to remember that long-form content is not dead.

There are many reasons to create long-form content in 2020:

  • Build trust with your readers
  • Go in-depth in the topics that you’re writing about
  • Showcase your writing style and your personality
  • Improve your SEO

Medium got popular as a platform that focuses on writing rather than distractions. You can find the content of great quality and many writers are not afraid to go in-depth in the topics that they’re covering. The Medium looked at their most successful posts to find out that the ideal blog post on their platform is around 1600 words and it takes seven minutes to read it.

 

Medium's stat showing long-form content length content marketing trends 2020

Moreover, creating long-form content is also helping your search ranking. Long-form content is helping you cover in-detail a topic that you want to serve as the authority.

Not all your posts should be too long. But it’s still a good idea to dedicate some time every month to produce a few pieces of more than 1000 words.

4. Read your content out loud

A simple method to improve your content writing in 2020 is to start reading your content out loud. It’s easy to get lost in your thoughts when writing content. What seems to be making sense to you might not necessarily do so for anyone else.

Everything you are writing should sound natural. Start creating content that feels more conversational to “hack” a more successful writing style.

Once you start applying this idea to your content marketing strategy, you start realizing that online writing should not be hard to understand. The idea is to help your readers enjoy your content in a simple and authentic way.

Reading your content out loud is pushing you to review the way you’re getting your message across. It is a practice that helps you improve your writing along with the reading experience. Next time you’re planning to create content for your customers, read it out loud before you publish it. You might be surprised by the difference it can make.

5. Make your SEO smarter

It’s time to make your search engine optimization smarter for 2020. How about being more strategic with SEO to focus on what matters?

You can start by making small changes that can have a long-term impact:

  • Stop focusing on the most popular keywords and start discovering the long-tail keywords that can help you stand out
  • Spend more time on improving your content rather than making sure that you stuff it with your focus keywords
  • Invest in the tools that can make SEO easier
  • Stop aiming for position one ranking in SERPs and explore the different ways to stand out (for example, visual ranking or featured snippets)
  • Write more conversational content to increase the chances of showing up in the featured snippets and the question boxes

What’s important is to start thinking of SEO as another element of your content marketing strategy that addresses your readers’ needs. It’s not just about ranking at the search results. The end goal should always be to deliver a great experience.

What’s next?

Not every content marketing trend should be groundbreaking. Sometimes even the simplest change can lead to great success.

Look at your existing content marketing strategy and what worked in 2019. Start exploring the areas that you want to improve on and find small wins that you can implement.

Look at these five trends as the starting point to simple changes that you can make to improve the understanding of your audience and their needs.

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Five steps to generate tons of backlinks using infographics

December 8, 2019 No Comments

Your website needs backlinks the same way plants need water. Getting sufficient backlinks consistently will allow you to flourish your website, while the lack of backlinks will slowly make it wither. 

Backlinks are still one of the most important factors that Google uses to determine website rankings. When tons of other websites link to you, Google’s algorithm will see that as a sign that you provide valuable and relevant content.

When talking about generating tons of backlinks, there’s no other tool quite as effective as infographics. 

Why infographics are so effective?

1. Humans are visual creatures

We are naturally visual learners, as we’re attracted more to visuals than text. As a result, infographics have a much higher chance of attracting readers than articles. Indeed, a study found that infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than text-only content. 

2. Easy to digest

Still connected to the previous point, people understand a text 323% better if it’s accompanied by an illustration. This applies to infographics too, which is the combination of beautiful visuals and short-written copy. Thanks to the simple and easy to read format, people can read and understand infographics faster and better. 

3. Highly shareable

Thanks to its bite-sized nature, infographics are extremely shareable because they can fit on almost any platformㅡ websites, emails, social media platforms, and even on printed advertising material such as brochures and pamphlets. Thanks to this trait, infographics are three times more likely to be shared than any other kind of content.   

Five steps to backlink generation using infographics

Now that you know what makes infographics so effective, let’s learn how to use it properly to attract tons of backlinks to grow your website. Here’s the step by step process of using infographics for link building:

1. Content creation

The first step is to obviously create the infographic. Not just an infographic, but a valuable and useful one. For starters, don’t waste your money on creating fancy and expensive infographics. Using free and affordable infographic tools and platforms are fine, as long as you can provide valuable content. 

The more valuable your infographic content is, the more likely people are going to link back. Here are a few tips on creating content that’s valuable:

  • Content that attracts the most backlinks is usually the one that contains data statistics because every marketer needs them to back up their arguments. Conduct your own research, study, or survey and then present the findings via infographic.
  • If you don’t have the time or resources to conduct your own research, you can always make a compilation of data statistics from various sources and present them as one.
  • Creating an ultimate guide about a certain topic also attracts backlinks, because when writers don’t have enough space to explain about something, they can refer to your content for a deeper take on the subject. 

2. Infographic publication and submission

After creating the infographic, publish it on your site and infographic directory sites like Pinterest or Infographic Journal. When posting on your own site, remember that page speed is an actual ranking factor. So, make sure to optimize your page speed with these free tools. 

Moreover, submitting your work on infographic directories will give you free backlinks with relatively minimum effort, though some sites will charge you a certain amount of money to publish your infographic. Here’s the complete list of infographic sharing websites compiled by SEOblog, containing over 150 sites. 

3. Potential websites search

Besides infographic directories, you also have to aim to get your infographic published on other websites that have a similar niche to you. How? Well, you need to reach out to them. First, you need to search for the websites to reach out to. We recommend you to use tools like Ahrefs to compile tons of websites in an instant. 

It’s simple to use, just sign up, go to the “content explorer” section, type in your keyword, and then the tool will give you every web page on the internet that contains that particular keyword. For instance, if your infographic is about summer vacation, the result of the content explorer will show over 30 thousand web pages with that keyword:

Next, export those web page data and move it to Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheet to manage and curate it in an easier manner.

4. Email addresses collection

After curating the websites to see which fits to publish your infographic and which doesn’t, the next step is to collect the email addresses of people working on those websites. It could be a writer, content manager, editor or any person that’s responsible for the content of that website. 

Using tools like FindThatLead can help you collect the email because the tool has the ability to find email addresses based only on domain name and social media link (LinkedIn and Twitter only). It also allows users to verify an address to see whether it’s valid or not.

5. Email outreach campaign

With all the verified email addresses, now it’s time to do email outreach to promote your infographic. There are two ways to do it, the first one is by using automated email tools like Mailshake and the second one is by manually sending the emails one by one.

Each of the methods has its own benefits and weaknesses. Sending emails manually takes a longer time, but you’ll be able to personalize the email more. On the other hand, using automated email tools will allow you to send tons of emails in a short time, but the content of the email will be the same and generic.

Whatever your method of choice is, remember these tips to increase your email engagement and open rate:

  • Optimize it for mobile, because 46% of people open their email from mobile devices. 
  • Keep your subject line short, because shorter subject lines get much higher open rates
  • Include an emoji in your subject line if you can, because it helps you to stand out from other emails on the recipients’ inbox.
  • Personalize the email beyond just including the recipients’ names on the subject line, although it still helps to increase clickthrough rate.
  • Include a clear CTA at the end of the email, so that the audience knows what to do next.

One important thing to remember is that no one wants to publish your work for free, so you have to be prepared to give them something in return that benefits both of you. One of the widely used and most effective ways is to offer them a guest post. This way, the recipients get free content for their blogs and you gain a valuable backlink.

Conclusion

Backlinks are one of the deciding factors to determine whether you can rank first on the SERP or not. To gain backlinks only by creating valuable infographics is not enough, you also need to promote it. Manual email outreach is the way to go if you don’t want to spend a penny in generating backlinks. All you have to do is to look for potential websites, collect their email addresses, write interesting email copy and offer, and then send them one by one. If you’re still not sure how to make a proper infographic, these infographic templates could certainly help. 

Brian is a content writer of Milkwhale. He likes to write about infographic and video marketing, as well as other topics in the field of business and marketing.  

The post Five steps to generate tons of backlinks using infographics appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Top five SEO tools to generate more leads in 2020

November 28, 2019 No Comments

Lead generation via SEO is one of the best ways to improve the overall conversion rate of your website. There are several go-to SEO tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, and Google Keyword Planner that most marketers use for keyword research, competitor tracking, and SERP movements. However, this is only one side of the equation.

Once people’s organic searches have pointed them to your web pages, what’s the best way to ensure they take the next step and opt into your email list? 

Let’s take a look at the top five SEO lead generation tools and how you can use them to convert more of your site’s visitors in 2020 and ahead.

1. Hello Bar

With Hello Bar, you can convert your existing visitors into customers. You can design custom messages for your visitors and display them just at the right time.

Hello Bar sits at the top of your site, and it can be used to display irresistible offers to your visitors. You can even collect email addresses from your visitors to increase your subscriber database. Here is an example of Hello Bar in action:

Source

Besides, you can use Hello Bar to create pop-ups that collect the name and email id of your visitors. 

Pop-ups help to drive 1375% more subscribers.

An example of a Hello Bar pop-up is provided below:

SEO tool for lead generation - Hello Bar

Source

You can easily customize your headline, CTA and the overall design of the bar and the pop-up. The platform automatically chooses the best color combination for the CTAs so you don’t need to spend hours testing that. 

With Hello Bar, you can customize your message targeting by:

  • Sending holiday-related messages to visitors during the holidays. 
  • Customize your pop-up for the mobile audience as the screen size is less.
  • Customize your message based on the location of your customer. 
  • Display the pop-up during the exit-intent, just when the visitors are planning to leave your website.

2. ClickMeeting

Webinars are one of the best ways to generate leads. 

Webinars offer a dual advantage. Firstly, you can generate leads right when you run a webinar, and secondly, you can repurpose your webinar into a blog post. 

Generate leads directly via webinars

With ClickMeeting, you can run custom webinars to share product demos, conduct training sessions or run online courses. You can customize your webinar with a few clicks, and run them without worrying about the type of device and operating system. You can even stream your webinar live to Facebook or YouTube, allowing you to acquire even more leads.

But the true SEO-based lead capture power of webinars is to be found in evergreen topics that will continue to attract relevant audience members over time.

A screenshot of a social media post Description automatically generated

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On-demand webinars are one of the fastest and easiest ways to expand your lead base. 

Repurpose your webinar

Repurposing your webinar into a lengthy blog post, consisting of more than 2000 words, helps it to rank for new search queries. When your site achieves higher rankings for new keywords, it automatically maximizes your organic traffic, leading to more conversions. 

Here are some great ways to repurpose webinars to generate leads:

  • You can divide your webinar recordings into short videos of three to five minutes each and post the video on channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Add a compelling call to action, and people who watch the video are likely to reach out.
  • Turn the entire webinar into a blog post and promote it on your social networks for added visibility. Try to present the blog post in a series of steps. This helps your site to get ranked as a featured snippet.
  • Turn your webinar Q&A into a support resource page. FAQ pages offer an excellent opportunity to rank as a featured snippet. When people find answers to questions related to your business niche, they will be all the more likely to connect with your business.
  • Create a transcript of your webinar and include long-tail (especially question keywords) in it. 

3. VideoBoost

It is difficult to succeed in your lead generation efforts in 2020 without videos. 

VideoBoost is an app that lets you create trendy videos easily. It has an impressive collection of ready to use video templates and marketing copy. You can easily brand it and start generating leads for your business.

Next time when you are planning to optimize your website for the festive occasion, head over to VideoBoost and create a video for your audience using video templates for Black Friday, Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

SEO tool for lead generation - VideoBoost

 

4. vCita

vCita offers a dynamic widget that you can add to your site to convert your visitors into leads or customers. 

With vCita’s lead generation widget, you can capture leads from all the pages on your website with a floating CTA that follows the users from page to page.

The tool also lets your audience to book appointments without leaving the site. All the contact details of the visitors get stored in a built-in CRM that can be used later to trigger follow-up nurture messages via email or SMS.

The best place to start with this kind of strategy might be to identify the pages on your site with the most traffic from high-intent organic search terms rates and add the vCita widget to them. I am sure you’ll be able to notice the difference in the number of conversions happening on your site.

5. OptinMonster

OptinMonster is the most powerful conversion optimization tool in the world. It easily integrates with all the major email marketing and CRM platforms. 

One of the tricks that OptinMonster uses to generate leads is via content upgrades. With the help of content upgrade, you offer users bonus content for performing an action on your site. This action can be – joining your email list or filling out a form. 

SnackNation was able to generate 1200 new leads each month by using OptinMonster for content upgrades. 

 

With features like MonsterLinks, you can convert any image or link into a two-step opt-in process. It works on the Zeigarnik effect which states that people are more likely to complete a task if they start it. 

 

Final thoughts

SEO is all about generating relevant, and quality leads for a business. Moreover, your SEO strategy should also focus on converting the acquired leads. Both lead generation and CRO forms an integral part of a comprehensive SEO strategy. 

Start making the most with the power of the above five SEO tools to generate quality leads in 2020 and ahead. Happy marketing! 

Joydeep Bhattacharya is a digital marketing evangelist and author of the SEO Sandwitch blog.

The post Top five SEO tools to generate more leads in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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