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Tag: Strategies

Master Your Bid Strategies In Google Search Ads 360

April 8, 2021 No Comments

SA 360 has features that aren’t available in standard Google Ads accounts or are more sophisticated. Bid strategies are one feature that makes SA 360 so powerful.

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Google Is Retiring tCPA and tROAS Bidding Strategies

March 10, 2021 No Comments

Google is retiring Target CPA and Target ROAS bidding strategies, instead layering a tCPA and tROAS threshold with Maximize Conversions and Maximize Conversions Value respectively.

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4 Best YouTube Retargeting Strategies that Work in 2021

February 25, 2021 No Comments

90% of people discover new products and brands on YouTube. It’s the 2nd largest social network with over 2 billion users and 1 billion hours of daily viewing.

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Four marketing strategies to increase app store downloads and engagement

January 23, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • App marketing is intensely competitive. There are limited channels to market your app but millions of apps to compete with. It’s important to maximize every opportunity.
  • Like SEO, App Store Optimization involves keyword research and optimization. App developers have limited space for their keywords and much competition to face. Hence, precision is highly necessary.
  • App ads on Facebook are unlike other types of ads. You need Facebook SDK, in addition to the ads manager, to properly track app downloads and engagement.
  • Rewards should turn your app users into customers. When done right, incentives can generate social proof and viral loops.
  • There is ASO but there’s also app SEO. Content formats such as blogs, podcasts, and newsletters can make your app website/landing page gain higher rankings on search engines.

Your app is competing for visibility with 1.82 million other apps if it’s on Apple’s App Store, or 2.7 million apps if it’s on Google’s Play Store. That’s tremendous competition. 

Marketing your app almost seems a lost cause. But while making your app stand out is indeed a daunting undertaking, it is possible, as long as you apply the right strategies. 

Effective app marketing involves identifying key types of channels for discovery and engagement (app stores, social media, search engines, and in the app itself) and targeting your audience. 

1. App store optimization/landing page optimization 

Newcomers make up only 8% of apps listed on the App and Play store top charts, going by Adjust’s App Trends 2020 Report. Considering that the app store is your app’s main chance, by far, at organic discovery, it need not be said that your App Store Optimization (ASO) must be on point. 

ASO is to apps what SEO is to websites. And both have their similarities, especially in the on-page/off-page strategy dichotomy. And like SEO, ASO begins with improving visibility. 

The first tip to achieve this is to use an attractive name and logo. Those two are the first things users see when they find your app. But before then, you have to make sure people can find it, right? And not just anyone – the right people, your target audience. 

When optimizing your app store listing, what factors must you consider, keeping in mind that app indexing differs between stores?

  • App Name/Title: feature relevant keywords to enable the app store algorithm to properly identify and categorize your app. You have 50 characters for this on Play Store while Apple’s App Store also includes a subtitle, for keywords that don’t fit the main title.

App store optimization tips - Work on the title

  • Apple, unlike Google, allows developers to input specific keywords in a private field on its App Store. For Google, you have a short description field (80 characters) and a long description page (4000 characters) which are both public. 
  • Include keywords that are relevant to your app and which accurately describe its features, functionalities, and benefits.

That is as much as you can influence your app’s rankings. Other factors, beyond your direct influence, include reviews and ratings, download and uninstall rates, app updates, etc. 

2. Facebook ads strategy 

ASO has its place and you can’t rely on app stores entirely for app discovery. Not if you’re not a big-name brand. Your marketing strategy should tilt more towards the paid, discussed below. As Christian Eckhardt of Customlytics says,

“The likelihood of a user going to a store to browse or discover new apps has declined significantly, compared to the early days of the stores.”

By creating a page on Facebook for your app, you can run ads with custom call-to-actions to gain publicity for your app and increase downloads. Facebook Ad Manager allows you to set an objective for your app: whether you are targeting app installs or app engagement (traffic). Facebook Ads offer a competitive ROI with an average cost-per-install rate of $ 1.8, compared to Twitter’s $ 2.53 and Instagram’s $ 2.23. 

CPI using Facebook ads

To run ads for your Facebook app,

  • First, set up Facebook SDK. This is necessary to optimize your app for mobile ads, though you can still run ads for unregistered apps using the app store URL. 
  • Continue setup in the Ads Manager, where you select your target audience, budget, bid, creative format, and other options. 

  • Finally, continually measure your ad performance, track engagement data, and gain analytics insights using Facebook SDK and within the Ad manager.

Measuring ad performance that adds to your app store downloads

3. Use a rewards system 

This is a strategy that helps you to convert your app users into marketers. Of course, this assumes that you have an app that delivers value to its users. The next step would be to incentivize app engagement. 

In-app rewards that can facilitate engagement include unlockable customization options, discounts, push notifications, in-app currency (points, coins, etc.), vouchers, and other freebies Many apps (especially games) already feature these. But here, motivation is important. What kind of behavior does/should the reward system encourage?

  1. Retention 
  2. Publicity
  3. Reviews

Beyond app retention, your in-app incentives should encourage actions that publicize your app. For instance, you can offer a discount or some other benefit to people who share the app or refer users (using referral codes). We know this works since old research by Google showed that people find new apps through friends and family than by any other means. Likewise, incentivize app users to rate and write reviews of your app on the store. Apart from promoting the goodwill of an app, positive reviews drive up app store optimization rankings, increasing the visibility of your app.

But app retention is important too. Only 32% of users would return to an app at least eleven times, a six-point reduction from last year’s rate. And app stores consider high uninstall rates as signs of a low-quality app. Such an app would get lower rankings and may even be removed from the store eventually. Incentives keep people using the app and create viral loops.

4. Content marketing strategy 

Search engines are a great place to gain publicity for your app. Think about it. Someone hears how great your app is and immediately searches the name, only to find scanty or no relevant results at all. You need a creative and consistent content marketing strategy to convert search engine users. 

You can use a blog to highlight the benefits of your app, inform users of updates, and teach them how to maximize the features of the app. If businesses that blog gain 126% more leads than those that don’t, why not apps? The popular investing app Robinhood’s marketing strategy features a blog where they teach people the basics of investing and finance.

Using content marketing to make your app more visible and valuable in the audience's eyes

But there is more to blogging than just posting articles. You need to research keywords to find the ones that will help you convert the most. That’s what enables search engines to effectively rank your blog posts. 

In addition, content marketing is not limited to blogging. You may also take advantage of newsletters, podcasts, and YouTube videos, as Robinhood does. Called ‘Robinhood Snacks’, it delivers a daily newsletter with financial news to subscribers (irrespective of whether they use the app or not) and breaks down business stories via podcasts as well. 

Content marketing is broader though. You also need backlinks to rank. And that means getting your app featured on ‘top apps’ listings, external reviews, guest article mentions, all of which should contain backlinks to your landing page. Of course, it need not be mentioned anymore that you need a highly-engaging landing page with a clear call-to-action that takes visitors to the app’s store page.

A simple content marketing checklist for app optimization will look like the following:

  • Research ideas that are related to your app and relevant to your audience. 
  • Craft topics from these ideas and develop engaging content around them. 
  • Use mediums that your audience uses the most. For instance, podcasts are a great idea if you are targeting millennials. 
  • Feel free to repurpose content. Your blog post can be repurposed into a YouTube video. You can transcribe a podcast interview and convert it into an article, etc. 
  • Always include a call-to-action 

Conclusion

If you implement the strategies discussed above, you can rest assured of steady app growth. However, the most important factor is that the app is indeed valuable. The best apps are those that advertise themselves. But virality does not happen overnight. Its the result of the consistent application of the right strategies.

Guy Sheetrit is the CEO of Over The Top SEO, an award-winning marketing agency that provides customized SEO marketing solutions for ecommerce, local, and Fortune 500 companies. He can be found on Twitter @guysheetrit.

The post Four marketing strategies to increase app store downloads and engagement appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Four expert digital marketing strategies to convert bottom-funnel prospects

January 15, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • To convert bottom-funnel prospects, must combine data-backed remarketing with product experience demonstrations, exclusive offers, and relevant upsell opportunities. The first one determines who you should target while the rest three explain how to target them.
  • Dynamic remarketing on (Facebook and Google) allow you to target prospects who have previously visited your website or app with a call-to-action to make an immediate purchase.
  • Product demos, customer reviews, testimonials, etc. work best when they are personalized, showing how your product can help a prospect overcome similar problems that they may be facing.
  • Use special offers and discounts as last-minute nudges to convert prospects.
  • Pre-purchase cross-selling/upselling can work well if you apply non-aggressive strategies.

The toughest prospects lie at the bottom of the marketing funnel. The lowest rung is the stage where prospects take the action of conversion. That makes it a hot battleground. At that stage, the prospect is already aware of all their options. Marketing to them is a matter of conviction, giving the last nudge that leads them to make a purchase decision in your favor. There are no sales if you can’t convert bottom-funnel prospects.

Conversion funnel diagram

Source: Pixabay

The further down the funnel a customer goes, the more you should position your product as the utmost solution that they need. For this, you must combine remarketing with product experience demonstrations, exclusive offers, and relevant upsell opportunities. The first one determines who you should target while the rest three explain how to target them. 

1. Remarketing/Retargeting ads 

The entire idea behind remarketing is to recapture the interest of brand-aware sales prospects and convert them the next time around. It’s the perfect BOFU strategy, and it works best for ecommerce stores. It’s not as easy as it seems, though. BOFU remarketing should aim at straightforward conversion and not just to make the prospects learn more

For instance, if you have an ecommerce site, your retargeting strategy could include a call-to-action with a direct link to check out (if the prospect already has products in their cart) or to quickly add products to their cart (if they had previously only browsed your store). Those are called dynamic ads by Facebook (or dynamic remarketing by Google) and used by many ecommerce stores to display ads that include products that people have viewed on their website or app. 

Digital marketing strategies to convert bottom-funnel prospects - Retarget ads Facebook model

Source: Facebook Dynamic Ads formats

When setting up remarketing ads with Google Display Network or Facebook Ads Manager, you can set goals based on actions you want customers to take, such as buying on your website or calling your business directly (customers may require support to complete a purchase, particularly in B2B marketing). 

2. Demonstrate implementation

The BOFU is your ultimate chance to argue your case for your product and show, not just why it’s better than its competitors, but primarily how it can help the prospect. 

In displaying testimonials and video demos, personalization remains sacrosanct. Show each prospect a review or a demo that matches their particular needs. This works best if you have previously collected some information about the prospect (at the TOFU and MOFU stages). 

If your product addresses customers across multiple industries, for instance, display industry-specific use cases, demos, customer stories, and reviews. A prospect will be more encouraged to convert when they see how your product has helped other people who had similar needs to theirs. You must show them. 

Digital marketing strategies to convert bottom-funnel prospects - Demonstrate implementation

Source: A Hubstaff demo video runs on its landing page

Mind you, demonstrating implementation for B2B products is not limited to content. It can also come as an offer for consultation. Consultations allow you to collect valuable data and understand your prospective customer while also giving you a direct chance to break down how your product helps them solve their specific problems in a way that online ads can’t.

3. Offer a discount or special offer

BOFU marketing aims to make a prospect at the decision stage one irresistible offer that tilts the balance of their conviction towards your product. Special offers can help you achieve this. For instance, offering free delivery or free installation when your competitors charge for the same service may win you many more customers/clients than otherwise.

Customers love discounts. According to the 2020 Valassis Consumer Intel Report, 60% of customers claim that coupons lead them to try new products while 53% admit that coupons can make them choose a brand they would typically not patronize. More so, 72% prioritize saving money by using coupons/discounts. 

Digital marketing strategies to convert bottom-funnel prospects - Offer discounts and special offers - Example Valassis

Source: Valassis

While incentivizing prospects to make a purchase is perhaps the most common strategy, it’s not always effective. Especially during times like the holiday season when there is no shortage of discounts. You need a distinct plan to get ahead and convert bottom-funnel prospects. 

Discount pricing is not just about throwing offers around indiscriminately. It requires careful strategizing. To make discounting successful, you need to know the kind of special offers that work for your audience best. A/B testing comes in handy here. It can help you determine if free shipping works better than, say, a 10 percent discount or a freebie for your audience. 

4. Pre-purchase cross-selling or upselling

It seems counterintuitive to offer a prospect an additional (even more expensive) item when they are not yet convinced to purchase the main product. Marketers usually wait until a lead is converted before upselling to them. Pre-purchase cross-sells/upsells are tricky, which is why many marketers avoid them, you don’t want to scare off an already convinced customer by asking them to shell out more money for an expensive addition. On ecommerce websites, pre-purchase cross-sells/upsells are usually displayed on the product page, cart page, or checkout page. 

Doing it right requires tact. Pre-purchase cross-sell/upsell opportunities must be:

  • Relevant – They work best with complementary products.
  • Easy to turn down – You want to appear as non-aggressive as possible to avoid turning your prospects off.
  • Easy to accept – When a prospect is only one click away from conversion, extending the process may make you lose the prospect. Ecommerce companies are now opting for one-click upsells that add no extra step to the purchase journey.

See the examples below. Both are cross-selling/upselling offers for relevant products. While the first one elongates the purchase process but makes declining very easy, the second one is more optimized with its one-click checkout options either way.

Digital marketing strategies to convert bottom-funnel prospects - Custom pop ups on check out

Source: DigiSmoothie

Source: Zipify

Conclusion

Creativity matters more than intensity when you aim to convert bottom-funnel prospects. It’s all about the nudge. That’s the time to make use of all the information you have gathered about the prospect throughout their customer journey to determine what moves them. Perhaps a 5% discount would work for a certain class of your audience, while another demographic must be convinced via video demos. It all boils down to the type of product you are offering and the type of audience you are trying to convert.

Guy Sheetrit is the CEO of Over The Top SEO, an award-winning marketing agency that provides customized SEO marketing solutions for ecommerce, local, and Fortune 500 companies. He can be found on Twitter @guysheetrit.

The post Four expert digital marketing strategies to convert bottom-funnel prospects appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Five strategies to promote your business using LinkedIn Stories

December 31, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • LinkedIn Stories feature allows you to create a video that runs no longer than 20 seconds and host it on your profile.
  • The format will help kickstart conversations and nurture the relationships that are core to everything that happens on LinkedIn.
  • These are a good way for brands to share a behind-the-scenes peek into their business’ professional moments.
  • The feature is expected to promote business content in an area whose netizens are purely composed of professionals, thus helping users build relationships with followers.
  • The feature has been rolled out in select countries, with plans to introduce it to a new country every week or so.

Did you know that more than 500 million people watch an Instagram Story every day, and over one-third of those videos are business-related? In a fresh respite for professionals and businesses who would until now take recourse to Instagram to publicize their business, LinkedIn stories have arrived to help professionals share their on-the-fly moments. Much like Instagram Stories, the LinkedIn Stories feature allows you to create a video that runs no longer than 20 seconds and host it on your profile. Once the “story” has been uploaded, it will be accessible by people for an entire day before it goes away.

According to LinkedIn, the feature was a long time coming. Pete Davies, the head of Consumer Products at LinkedIn, was quoted remarking about the usefulness of the feature as “…stories spread for a good reason: they offer a lightweight, fun way to share an update without it having to be perfect or attached to your profile forever.”

But, first things first. Should you even use Instagram stories? More importantly, what are they, and are they any different than the mainstream story feature from other popular social networking platforms?

In a word, yes. Through LinkedIn Stories, you will have a great opportunity to demonstrate your brand from a different angle and interact with your audience in a way they’re familiar with. 

What are LinkedIn Stories?

The LinkedIn Stories feature is a format that allows you to display and share specific content with your audience through an image slideshow or 20-second that is available for 24 hours before it is automatically gone. The video or the image slideshow disappears after a full day since it was posted.

This feature is, in essence, the same as the ones that exist on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, and has more or less the same functions. Users can add stickers, ask questions (AMA), place text overlays, use @mention to credit, or introduce other LinkedIn accounts.

Thus far, the LinkedIn Stories feature has been rolled out in select members and pages in the countries of the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, and Australia. Although, if you are itching to have a go at LinkedIn Stories, sit tight. According to LinkedIn, the feature will be rolled out to one new country every few weeks.

LinkedIn Stories example

However, the talking point here really is LinkedIn’s shift stories and how emblematic it is of social media’s evolution since the inception of a certain Facebook called centralized news feed in 2006. Today, stories have become the norm, and profile users opt to share their “in the moment” experience rather than devoting themselves to a binding feed post.

stat on Instagram stories

Source: Later.com

This aligns with the fad observed with Instagram over the course of the last few years, with an increasing number of people posting more stories and fewer feeds. This was confirmed by a recent study by Later, where influencers were found to now post 33% fewer feeds than they used to in 2016.

So, what meaning does this hold for businesses?

Put simply, this feature will offer a novel, temporary way to share information with your professionally-associated followers (LinkedIn connects). And while it might feel challenging to carve a name for your brand in a bustling online space, there are a host of elements you can peruse to morph a seemingly daunting prospect into a creative new opportunity to further your business objectives.

Benefits of LinkedIn Stories

We already know that, while belonging to different channels, the stories feature is essentially the same as the last one’s. What distinguishes LinkedIn stories the primary difference (and draw) of LinkedIn Stories is the business context.

Now, rather than using the feature to share lifestyle tips with relatives and friends, brands and marketers may share their stories with peers and future prospects. This material may be highly promotional.

Studies show that stories are gradually turning into the new favorite and preferred way to access material on social media channels. However, that is not to suggest that stories will fully replace the LinkedIn feed post. But, providing the stories features offers users the ability to broaden the scope of their LinkedIn content and reach a wider target audience.

This highly offbeat style of material promotion also enables LinkedIn users to provide a deeper insight into the people behind the business. This is especially helpful for company owners, entrepreneurs, and businessmen who want to capitalize on that trust factor with prospective customers and future clients.

LinkedIn Stories offer the most powerful opportunity for interaction. In a recent study, it was revealed that as many as 25% of Instagrammers swipe up when they come across a branded post. With LinkedIn Stories, the same feature and thought process will be replicated on a channel that is completely dedicated to business networking.

However, it’s important to note that while your stories might not directly result in a sale, you are promoting your brand and creating an air of awareness about it. What’s infinitely more exciting is that this promotion will make you come across people that you can talk to directly to open the doors to better opportunities.

Take Instagram, for instance. As many as 50% of businesses over the world make at least one story every month that promotes their brand or product. And this is where the low hanging fruit becomes apparent. Armed with the right strategy, you can make use of a fantastic opportunity in the form of LinkedIn Stories to generate a buzz around your brand.

Five strategies to promote your business through LinkedIn Stories

At first sight, the stories feature, regardless of the channel it belongs to, seems like something that is entirely dedicated to the consumer: they are informal and sate the hankering for instant gratification. But, if you were to look at it a little closer, you would see how this feature can help B2B companies connect with each other on a deeper level to build engaging relationships.

If you are already familiar with the inner workings of the stories feature on other networking platforms, you won’t find it difficult to shift base to LinkedIn Stories for business-related purposes after it has been made available to everyone. Listed below are five ways you can use it for your business when the time comes.

1. Share real-time activities

LinkedIn Stories have a limited life span, making them ideal for communicating less refined, off-the-cuff material right in real-time.

Sharing real-time event updates is also a great strategy, mostly because events are a significant source of leads for many businesses, and 85% of them consider interpersonal meetings central to their marketing plan. LinkedIn Stories let your followers view excerpts of events from a first-person perspective.

From enterprise-wide announcements to award ceremonies, sharing snippets of events in the form of live stories is a tremendously useful way to showcase the goings-on at your company.

This is also an incredible way to generate an extra buzz around your brand. Consider requesting event coordinators and speakers to share short sounds of information about a new product or feature or possibly even feature a BTS look of any extra details in store!

2. Share customer testimonial stories

Irrespective of the generation you are from, the odds are that you trust people’s advice more than any other form of content marketing. This is what makes testimonials and user reviews such a powerful tool for marketing.

With the millennial generation soon climbing up the organizational ladder and becoming decision-makers, they will be searching for goods and services that have demonstrated that they can make professional work easier. They will look for vendors that have the products with the features that they desire, so filming your satisfied customers and posting a short clip on LinkedIn in the form of a story might just be the perfect way to catch their attention.

3. Share business tips and updates

Stories are the perfect way to generate demand. Your most loyal supporters are going to see your story. If you post something about your brand, tease the new features of a product, or make something exclusively available on LinkedIn, they will share it with others. Talk about word of mouth!

4. Share trending news or announcements

If you are among the privileged few brands who have gotten to use the LinkedIn Stories feature first, the chances are that you will get a massive amount of additional airtime with your LinkedIn followers.

Keeping that in mind, it may be a sensible move to use this new forum to post all your essential brand news.

5. Host corporate Q&As

Much like Instagram Stories, the stories feature on LinkedIn is the perfect way to show what goes on behind the scenes and gives you the chance to share the more humane side of your business.

By hosting a pep talk or a Q&A session on LinkedIn stories, you can show the people that make up your brand. Not only is it another great way to share your brand story, but it is also helpful when it comes to creating brand loyalty.

In order to gain more questions for your Q&A session, you can request your followers to submit questions to you in advance. This can be done either through direct messaging or via a conventional LinkedIn feed post.

The do(s) and don’t(s) of LinkedIn Stories

Begin your story strategy with a positive growth mindset. LinkedIn Stories are not simply a means of communicating; they present a powerful tool for promoting interaction, learning about your audience, and improving the business.

Do spend time building a strategy

Consider how short bits of information better suit the brand’s wider content marketing strategy.

Which kind of subjects and press do your followers enjoy? Do you produce new content only for stories or reuse them from other platforms?

Don’t spend time behind perfecting every story

Note that stories are only available for 24 hours after you publish them. Moreover, stories that appear too organized and designed sort of miss the mark. Stories are supposed to feel random, so try to have the same mentality as you do when you post Instagram or Facebook stories.

Do relate to followers

People desire real connections from businesses. Let your brand persona shine a little and share more about yourself. It’s the perfect way to strengthen your brand’s mission, vision, and values.

Don’t be too casual

It’s really easy to let go and get caught up in the moment, which could prompt you to post something regretful when you know it’s going to disappear in 24 hours. Consider creating some boundaries for your stories dedicated to your brand.

Conclusion

If you’re communicating job openings or are releasing a commodity, capitalizing on this latest platform to reach out to a wider audience is certainly a smart move. If Instagram Stories are anything to go by, the first adopters of this feature will put themselves ahead in the race to improved brand awareness.

Aayush Gupta is Sr. Manager, Brand & Marketing at Uplers. He likes to stay on his toes when it comes to marketing and doing things worth risk-taking. He loves traveling and exploring local cuisines. In his free time reading books with coffee is all he wants.

The post Five strategies to promote your business using LinkedIn Stories appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Top strategies behind link building success

November 17, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Link building starts from on-page SEO
  • Get your on-page SEO right by working on pillar and cluster pages
  • Blend your on-page success with off-page SEO strategies
  • Link building is not about the quantity 
  • Create a 12-month plan to maximize your off-page SEO success

SEO is more important than ever. As online usage is increasing and consumers’ heads are turning to online purchases, it’s vital to have a strong search presence for your business. Your ranking and authority will determine whether you’ll get more visits from prospective customers. Link building can help you build your ranking and authority by earning valuable links.

Quality is crucial that’s why you need to aim for relevant content that will make your earned link more important.

So how do you get started with off-page SEO?

NO-BS have earned more than 50,000 contextual links after working with 5,000 websites for link building so they launched a helpful guide on how to build a strong off-page SEO strategy.

Let’s look at the takeaways.

Content created in partnership with NO-BS.

Start with your on-page strategy

You can’t work on your off-page strategy without building your on-page SEO strategy first.

Your site should be optimized for the best results so that you make the most of the links that you’ll learn.

Thus, you should prioritize working on quality content, target keywords, page speed, mobile optimization, and metadata among others.

User experience is very important. You can’t rank high on SERPs without providing the best experience to all users.

Here are a few ideas to get started with on-page SEO.

Create pillar and cluster pages

The pillar and cluster model was first introduced by HubSpot several years ago. It’s an extremely helpful way to organize your content based on the main themes and topics to make your SEO strategy more structured.

For example, if you’re working for a branding agency, a pillar page could be about ‘brand building’ and a cluster article could be ‘5 tips to be authentic when building your brand’

Think of the pillar pages that define your business and start organizing your current content based on clusters that fit in the pillar pages.

Working on the pillar and cluster pages can help you both with on-page and off-page SEO as you are building your authority through relevant content.

Build themed link funnels

Once you work on your pillars, it’s time to build your themed link funnels.

Link funnels can help you build topical authority starting from your pillars and moving it up to your conversion pages. It’s the best way to link your on-page and off-page strategy to get the best results out of them.

Now it’s time to build different tiers of your links that you can also use in your future content.

First of all, start by building your pillar pages. Think of the main themes that define your site’s content. Your pillar pages should be the pages that you ultimately want to lead everyone to.

It’s the page that will bring everyone closer to any sort of conversion. You can include testimonials, social proof, details of your services, etc.

The next step is to work on your content clusters.

Your content clusters should be pages that are somehow relevant to your pillar page. They are not as broad as your pillar page but they still have a connection to it.

All your content clusters should link to your pillar page.

Your links should be in two to three tiers to help you organize your content and they should be somehow linked back to your cluster page.

This is a useful strategy to blend on-page and off-page optimization.

Once you have your themed links ready, start exploring new ways to diversify your content and your links.

Work on the anchors, experiment with different types of content and always make sure you create unique content.

Now it’s time to improve your off-page SEO strategy.

Create a 12-month off-page strategy

The best way to build your off-page strategy is to work on a 12-month plan. You have more chances to be successful once you document your strategy.

NOBS have created a template with some examples of content and ideas on how to use the spreadsheet.

Here are a few of the ideas to consider.

Identify your top keywords

Start by identifying your most important keywords. You should sort them out in clusters as part of your on-page strategy.

Add each keyword to a pillar and explore the keyword difficulty for each one of them.

Come up with blog ideas for your pillar pages

Work on blog title ideas that could match your pillar pages. This way you are creating the URL for each page.

Add more topics to the relevant pillar to make it easier when creating new clusters.

Create a plan for your links

Set up a plan for the content you’ll create for the pillar pages. There’s no need to create all your posts at once! Expand your plan to the tier 1 and tier 2 links for each of your clusters.

Don’t make your strategy too complicated, you can focus on one cluster at a time and less competitive keywords.

Pay attention to the anchor text

Be careful with your anchor text. Make sure that the text you choose is relevant to the link you use on each cluster article.

You don’t need to aim for exact-match keywords, it’s better for the link to be naturally placed in the text.

Track the links you’ve earned

Keep track of the number of links that you’ve earned. It makes it easier for you and your team to keep track of your progress.

There’s no need to aim for large volume links at once. It’s better to start gradually with 1-2 links per month.

To find out more about the tactics to boost your off-page strategy, download the guide ‘How to design a strong off-page SEO strategy’ here.

The post Top strategies behind link building success appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Four digital marketing strategies to prepare for a wild holiday season

November 13, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Ecommerce has become an increasingly important element of any business, but it is more important than ever going into the 2020 holiday season.
  • With the plethora of brands vying for ad space online, companies must make the most of their marketing budgets by adjusting their digital strategies.
  • Socium Media CEO Owen Loft offers four tips for breaking through the noise to get in front of your customers and boost sales this holiday season.

Retailers already set up for online sales had an immediate advantage, but others quickly fell behind. Instead of reaping profits from consumers who have chosen to shop from home, retailers without online infrastructures have missed out on booming sales opportunities. Online shopping was already trending upward before the pandemic, but the pandemic pushed the shift from physical to ecommerce ahead by five years.

Businesses cannot afford to overlook digital. But one question remains: How can they bolster their online presence and get in front of their target customers in the current landscape?

Holiday season 2020: A perfect storm of competition

Reaching customers who have flocked online has become more challenging (not to mention costly) as large retailers take control of valuable advertising space. And big-box stores aren’t the only ones driving up the cost of digital advertising — political candidates have sunk more than three billion dollars into campaign advertising this year.

Major retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart are taking more online-centric approaches to holiday shopping this year. Many have already announced that they will keep their physical stores closed on Thanksgiving. Some will even remain closed on Black Friday or offer limited shopping hours, pushing customers to stay home and shop online.

With the coronavirus pandemic stretching into the fourth quarter of 2020, major elections, and the holiday season, marketers have major competition for valuable online ad space.

Revamp your digital marketing strategy to reach customers at home

To break through the noise and make the most of your marketing budget in the current environment, you must adjust your digital marketing strategies. Here’s how:

1. Prepare for the early rush

In years past, Black Friday signaled the start of holiday shopping. This year, however, Amazon’s annual Prime Day — typically held in the summer — was rescheduled to early October due to the pandemic. Some experts predict this will be the starting point for holiday shopping in 2020, which amounts to roughly an extra month and a half of holiday-related advertising and deals.

Another reason for the early start? Getting ahead of anticipated shipping delays. Some businesses already have felt the coronavirus-related strain on deliveries; pair that with additional demand, and customers will probably start shopping early to make sure their gifts arrive on time for the holidays. It will be more important than ever to start your holiday marketing efforts early. You’ll also want to communicate shipping cut-off dates clearly on your website so customers can plan their purchases accordingly.

2. Leverage your email lists

With major events converging at once — COVID-19, the 2020 election, and the holidays — consumers will be bombarded with ads across the internet. Considering this perfect storm, it might be easier to reach your target customers in their inboxes. And if they subscribe to your business’s emails, it means they’ve had positive experiences and trust your brand. They’ll be more likely to order from you, a known quantity, rather than the thousands of other retailers jockeying for their attention.

3. Highlight gift-able items in your ads

Some items in your business’s inventory simply won’t wrap well, while others are practically made to be gifted. Analyze your inventory and determine which products would fit in a gift guide for your business.

To do this, harness the data you already have. Which products are popular with your customers? What were your top sellers during the 2019 holiday season? You should also research consumer trends to see what up-and-coming products will be popular this year, which will allow you to highlight them in your marketing.

Once you’re armed with that knowledge, make sure you have adequate inventory of those products — even if those items aren’t your typical bestsellers — and plan your marketing strategy around them. With high-quality images and video and updated ad copy ready to go, those products are sure to fly off the shelves.

4. Be flexible

While online shopping is by no means new, ecommerce in the time of COVID-19 is unprecedented. Retailers — even major ones — can’t predict how consumers will behave this year. With a slew of retailers staying closed during the traditional holiday shopping times, some consumers may shift to ecommerce for everything. Others may decide to play the waiting game in hopes that physical stores reopen before the holiday season kicks into gear.

Because it’s impossible to know precisely what consumers will do, your tried-and-true marketing methods may not work. If you don’t already, prepare some contingency marketing plans in case you need to pivot quickly and try a new strategy to reach your customers.

Ecommerce has steadily become an important part of business, but this year it is absolutely critical. With a veritable trifecta of competition due to the pandemic, election, and holiday season, marketers must reassess their digital marketing strategies to ensure they can reach customers and boost sales.

Owen Loft is Co-founder of Socium Media, a performance-focused digital marketing agency specializing in paid search, paid social, and SEO. He can be found on LinkedIn.

The post Four digital marketing strategies to prepare for a wild holiday season appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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CEO’s take on emerging industry trends and strategies: Q&A with Moz’s Sarah Bird

October 20, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Hyperlocal SEO will help struggling communities salvage their local businesses.
  • Moz surveyed over 1,400 local business marketers and more than half said they plan to implement Google’s new features to support COVID-19 affected businesses.
  • Five under-rated yet crucial parameters marketers need to stay on top of.
  • Sarah Bird’s special tips to optimize audience engagement at various marketing touchpoints.
  • The best things you can do for landing pages is….?
  • Dive in for these golden nuggets and a lot more.

2020 has hit the reset button for the world in many ways adding more wheels to digital marketers’ and brands’ “car of struggles” for success. SEO is somewhat looked at as a game of Russian roulette where you win some and you lose some, and COVID-19 hasn’t made this any easier. To help you hit bull’s eye and add an extra push to your digital strategies, we caught up with Moz’s CEO, Sarah Bird to uncover emerging trends in the search scape, SEO, audience behaviors, and more!

Sarah Bird Q&A on emerging SEO and industry trends 2020
Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz

Q. What technologies, tools, and audience behaviors do you see shape up as 2020 progresses. If you were to draw a line between the temporary and ones that are here to stay, what would it be? 

Sarah Bird: Hyperlocal search has been important for years. 2020 has only increased its merit.

COVID-19 has made active local business listings management more vital than ever before. Communities struggling to keep themselves supplied and cared for in changed conditions must depend on the internet as a crucial resource, and when business listings can quickly communicate to them what’s available, where, when, and how, that’s truly important.

With Google rolling out new features that allow business owners to share updates about curbside pickup, home delivery, or special hours for vulnerable populations directly on their listings, customers can access convenient information with a simple search. We surveyed over 1,400 local business marketers and more than half said they plan to implement such services permanently. Aside from being absolutely necessary this year, businesses recognize that the investment in ecommerce should not simply be for the short-term, but should be able to accommodate their business and customers in the long-term.

Q. If you were to pick the hero of Moz’s local and international SEO strategy for the rest of 2020, what would it be? 

Sarah Bird: Reputation management will be crucial for local SEO strategy during 2020. We offer reputation management features through Moz Local that we urge users to leverage. 

Some of the most valuable features of Moz Local at this time are review alerts that allow you to quickly facilitate complaint resolution and response rating for quality control. During hectic times, customers are more emotional — this can either work for or against you. Should you receive a poor review during this time, it’s imperative that you respond quickly and empathetically.

Moz Local also offers a sentiment analysis feature that shows the most commonly used words for each of your star ratings. This can be useful in deciphering exactly what customers are finding important during this time.

Q. What five under-rated yet crucial parameters do marketers need to stay on top of to ensure that their brand has positively influenced their customers/target audiences?

  1. Keywords: Understanding your own keywords and those of your competitors ensures marketers have a plan in place to secure visibility on a brand’s offerings or content. 
  2. External links: These are an important source of ranking power in a SERP.
  3. Differentiation: Framing content correctly is key to reaching target audiences. Sometimes that means presenting contrarian ideas, as described by Caroline Forsey of HubSpot. 
  4. Omnichannel communication: Not all of your readers are going to read and engage via laptop or mobile, but be sure to consider how SEO is involved in your social media strategy.
  5. Outcome alignment: SEO goals don’t always have to focus on clicks. Ensure your marketing team is aligned on how content or a topic should be engaged, as it could mean that your ideal outcome is answering your customer’s question directly within the SERP. 

Q. What are the best ways to use entities that can leverage BERT, add more dimensions to keyword strategy, content, and the overall digital presence? 

Sarah Bird: I don’t encourage SEOs or marketers to optimize for BERT. There are too many variables to develop an effective strategy toward this model.

Instead, marketers should continue the focus on the overarching goal of creating excellent content that holistically understands and meets the intent of users. This is no small feat and requires an intense understanding of your business, your audience, and how the two intertwine. Creating world-class content that’s data-driven, timely, and empathetic to the audience will prove to be far more effective than focusing on this specific component of an algorithmic change from Google.

Q. Tips to optimize audience engagement at marketing touchpoints like emails, landing pages, and social media?

Sarah Bird: Each of these touchpoints are important for a business’s SEO strategy. These aren’t tactics that can be tacked on — they all have a powerful impact. 

Email marketing delivers some of the highest ROI, generating $ 38 for every $ 1 spent. When it comes to emails, call-to-actions must be clear. Consider which landing pages you’re sending people to and whether they’re appropriate to improve bounce rates.

Social shares of a brand’s content have a high correlation to ranking (as described by our own Cyrus Shepard.) As with everything in SEO, a focus should be put on the keywords used as well as the medium of the content being put out and whether or not it’s optimized.

High-converting landing pages may lead to high bounce rates, which could negatively impact SEO. Rand Fishkin actually addressed this exact issue in a Whiteboard Friday. The best things you can do for landing pages is – focus on high-conversion long-tail keywords and to provide keyword-based content.

Feel free to share your thoughts on our interview and the emerging trends, drop a comment!

The post CEO’s take on emerging industry trends and strategies: Q&A with Moz’s Sarah Bird appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Five content promotion strategies SaaS marketers should implement today

September 1, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Having a promotion plan is a key component of a successful content marketing strategy.
  • There’s more to effective promotion than just sharing articles on social media. Your promotion strategy has to be tactical if you want to cut through the noise.
  • The best way to maximize the number of people that see your content is to promote and distribute it across various channels.
  • Directive’s Content Writer, Izabelle Hundrev, shares five creative content promotions strategies that SaaS marketers can use to cut through the noise in an overpopulated industry.

What’s the point of creating content if no one sees it? There isn’t one.

That’s why promoting and distributing content is equally as important as writing it. Without a solid promotional strategy, even the most original and compelling piece of content has the potential to fall flat. 

When looking at the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry specifically, space is becoming increasingly crowded. No matter what audience or niche your business serves, there’s a good chance there’s already content out there that’s covering the topics you’re trying to target. 

Software marketers must think outside-the-box if they want their content to stand out and connect with audiences.

In this article, I’ll share five simple and effective promotional strategies that are guaranteed to get more of the right eyes on your content. 

Five easy-to-implement content promotion strategies

Ultimately, the goal of content marketing is to drive traffic, generate leads, and grow revenue. 

You can spend countless hours crafting the “best”, most comprehensive resource on the web. However, if that article just sits on your site with no traffic or engagement, then it’s not really making much of an impact toward your bottom line.

To have a powerful content marketing strategy that meets your target audience, you must build out a robust promotion plan that extends across multiple channels.

Let’s get started. 

1. Social media

Social media is likely the first place your mind goes when you think of promotion.

It’s no secret that social networks are a simple way to get eyes on your content – and fast. The downside is that everybody knows this, and therefore, everyone’s already doing it. 

To make your content stand out on social, you have to get creative.

The power of multimedia

Social feeds are crowded. 

Think about how quickly you scroll through your Twitter or Facebook feed. Brands have to go the extra mile to make their posts stand out and entice the right people to stop scrolling. One of the simplest ways to do this through multimedia.

When building out a content promotion plan, strategize what graphics, GIFs, or videos could accompany your social post. 

This could be as simple as sharing a funny GIF that relates to the article or creating a video testimonial to share alongside a brand new case study. Users are much more likely to engage with your posts if you incorporate an element of entertainment or creativity to capture their attention.

Here’s an example of a graphic that incorporates a quote:

Five content promotion strategies Saas marketers: social media


Source: Gong

This post is eye-catching and features a quote to further pique the viewers’ interest. It also ties in a real person’s photo, showing a personal touch.

In a study done by Buzzsumo, the data shows Facebook posts with images get 2.3x more engagement. This isn’t just unique to Facebook either. According to Brandwatch, tweets with images receive 18% more click-throughs and 89% more likes.

As a reader, you’re naturally more inclined to stop scrolling and pay attention if there’s a compelling piece of multimedia to draw you in.

“One more time for the people in the back”

There’s no reason why you can’t share content on social media more than once, as long as it’s done correctly. 

The most important thing to keep in mind when re-distributing old content is to offer variety. Switch up the copy each time you re-post. One easy way to do this is by highlighting different pieces of the article in your posts. 

For example, let’s say the first time you shared the article you included a quote from the piece in the social copy. Next time you share it, include a different quote, or maybe a compelling statistic or graphic instead. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different platforms either. If you primarily share content on Twitter and LinkedIn, try sharing the same piece of content on Facebook or Instagram with different visuals. 

I’m harping a lot on variety here, but there’s a fine line between resharing content with added value, and just resharing for the sake of it. You don’t want your social media feeds to be filled with stale, recycled material. Nowadays, social media users can easily spot a brand account that’s lazy with their posts.

The primary focus of your social media accounts should be on highlighting new content pieces. However, it’s generally OK to sprinkle a few old ones into the mix as long as there’s something new and compelling being offered to the viewer. 

It takes a village to find the essential balance 

While we don’t know for sure what factors trigger different social media posts to appear on users’ feeds, we do know that engagement helps. This means every like, share, and comment can help to boost a post’s reach and impressions.  

There’s no guarantee that other users will engage with your posts, but you can encourage your coworkers and other internal employees to help the posts’ awareness. 

After all, your fellow employees are an extension of your brand. Each of them has their own unique social network of followers that could benefit from seeing your content.

You don’t want this to feel like just another work-related task. It can be easy to forget that not everyone is a naturally-gifted copywriter that feels confident sharing and posting. Aim to make it simple for others in your organization to get active on social media. 

For example, when you’re gearing up for a big promotional launch, create a cheat sheet of pre-written social copy and send over several variations that fit different channels. 

People have the option to use the copy you wrote or they can lean on it for inspiration. Doing small things like this can help to lessen some of the friction that comes along with asking others to engage with your posts.

2. Email marketing

Email newsletters are a popular marketing tactic due to their many benefits and use cases. Content Marketing Institute reports that 70% of B2B marketers use email to distribute content and 40% cite newsletters as critical to marketing success. 

It’s clear there’s inherent value in using email as a channel for content promotion. The people on your subscriber list are some of your most loyal brand advocates. Think about it — they “opted into receiving your emails. This makes your subscribers some of the best people to share your content with.

Personalization comes first

Your newsletter isn’t going to be very engaging if it’s just a roundup of the last five articles you’ve published. 

A newsletter that’s been hastily thrown together is a guaranteed one-way ticket to the unsubscribe button. When sharing content with your email subscribers, make the experience feel special and curated. Think carefully about what types of content matter most to your email list.

In the example below, take note of how the tone is really conversational and makes the reader feel like it’s a personal email from a friend or colleague, rather than a newsletter.

Five content promotion strategies Saas marketers: Personalized emailsIf you were a search marketing company and you know one-third of your audience cares about PPC, another one-third care about SEO, and one-third care about both – make sure you’re not sending the whole group PPC articles all the time. You’ll lose SEO subscribers.  

Be strategic here.

To take things a step further, segment your email list by more specific criteria. This could include location, age, or even by type of position (executive, manager, or individual contributor). Doing so allows you to serve your content to a more targeted subset of your audience. 

Give the people what they want

Email marketing metrics matter, but those numbers don’t always paint a full picture. 

To better understand how your subscribers feel about your newsletter content, ask for feedback.

You can do this by sending out a survey or investing in a widget that builds feedback into the newsletter interface. Some popular feedback platforms worth checking out include Mopinion and Usabilla.

Whichever you choose, try to make it as simple as possible for your subscribers to share how they feel about the content you’re sending to them. They signed up to receive valuable content and relevant promo offers, not constant surveys.

Your subscribers opted in to receive your emails for a reason, so make it worth their time. The more unique, meaningful, and concise your newsletter is the more traffic that gets directed back to your website and content. 

3. Online communities

There are a variety of online communities that center around creating and sharing content in a specific niche. 

The idea here is to be an active member of a community that’s relevant to your audience. For example, if your SaaS business sells marketing automation software, then you should aim to join communities that focus on related marketing disciplines such as email marketing or demand generation.

Five content promotion strategies Saas marketers: Online communities

Joining an online community allows you to directly interact with your audience while sharing your unique and relevant content with them. 

This can be tricky because it takes time to build authority among members of these communities. You don’t want to come across as overly promotional from the get-go. Instead, always make sure that your interactions are genuine and provide something of value. 

Don’t throw out links to your articles without context. Aim to make every interaction meaningful.

Here are a few suggestions for where to start:

Facebook groups

Although it may have begun as a platform solely for personal interactions, Facebook has grown to be a popular online community for professionals, too. There are hundreds of thousands of Facebook groups dedicated to different industries and niches. 

These groups frequently have thousands of members, making them a practical channel for content promotion. One example is the SaaS Revolutionaries group, which currently has 4000+ members. This group, run by SaaStock, is specifically geared towards founders, executives, and investors in the software space. 

Five content promotion strategies SaaS marketers: Facebook groups
Source: Facebook

GrowthHackers

GrowthHackers is an online community dedicated to sharing content and information related to growth hacking, user acquisition, marketing, and more. 

Articles can be posted and shared by anyone to the GrowthHackers blog. Members of the community will then upvote or downvote the content based on whether they like it or not. The pieces with the most upvotes are displayed prominently at the top of the homepage. 

This makes GrowthHackers a powerful platform for getting more eyes on your content and highlighting your brand’s industry expertise.

Five content promotion strategies SaaS marketers: GrowthHackers platform

Source: GrowthHackers

Quora

Quora is a question-and-answer website where users will go to ask and answer questions related to a variety of topics. 

As a promotion channel, Quora can be especially useful because it allows you to answer questions that are directly related to your content. 

This way, you build brand credibility, brand awareness, and are able to help out potential customers.

4. Paid advertising

While it’s true that you don’t need a massive budget to effectively promote your content, paying for content promotion does have its benefits. 

When promoting your content organically, you share a post and cross your fingers that it reaches your target audience. Through paid ads, you can pretty much guarantee it. 

Many of the big social media networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn have paid advertising offerings that come with advanced targeting features such as remarketing or lookalike audiences

These features make it easy for advertisers to deliver content to people who are most likely to click and read on it. This is especially beneficial when you’re promoting content with the purpose of generating leads, such as an e-book or whitepaper.

When combined with an organic promotional strategy, paid ads can be a big added driver of traffic and clicks.

5. Measure, measure, measure

Your content promotion strategy is only as powerful as the results it generates. 

That’s why continuously tracking the performance of your efforts is critical to making it worth your time.

When evaluating your promotional channels, here are some examples of key performance indicators (KPIs) you may want to take into account:

  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Engagement
  • Conversion rate
  • Pageviews

These metrics are typically used because they’re a direct reflection of how users are interacting and receiving your posts. 

Yes, a big part of promotion is about getting views, but it’s also about converting these views into something more valuable: clicks and leads.

It’s important to note that this list isn’t exhaustive. The KPIs you assign to your promotion strategy will be a unique reflection of your business goals, so it’s possible that your list ends up looking a bit different. 

The main takeaway here is you have to keep a close eye on performance across channels. You need to have a clear understanding of these metrics and how they relate to your overarching marketing goals. Otherwise, you can easily get lost in vanity metrics that don’t correlate to real business results. 

Concluding thoughts

An article isn’t done just because you hit the “publish” button. If you want your content to generate meaningful results, you must put in the effort to make it discoverable. 

Next time you find yourself stuck on creating the right promotion plan, revisit these strategies for inspiration. 

Izabelle Hundrev is a Chicago-based content writer at Directive. At Directive, Izabelle combines her sales hustle mentality and creative writing expertise to cover a wide variety of SaaS marketing topics and support long-term marketing strategy. Outside of work, Izabelle is passionate about all things pop culture, food, and travel.

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