Posted in Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media

5 Top local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tips to put your business on the map to success.

Having a robust local search marketing strategy, can support businesses reach new customers who are searching for location-specific services and products?

What is Local Search Marketing?

Local search marketing is the method of optimising your owned properties to generate traffic from location based searching. Customers are everywhere, in different locations, on various devices, and consuming different types of content. Thus, local search marketing is the art and science of ranking well in local search results.

According to Go Global, nearly half of searches on google are for local products and services. This means as a local business your search marketing strategy should be good so you are found every time on local searches. Showing up in local search is essential to your success, so let me expatiate on some local SEO tips that will support your business to be found on search results.

  1. Optimise your Uniform Resource Locator (URL), tags and Content

Your URL, title tags, headers, meta tags and content should mostly include your city or region and the target keyword of the page they describe. This shows Google what geographical location the page is relevant to and what content is on the page. This also helps google index your page adequately.

  1. Get listed on relevant review sites

Most customer’s decision-making are influenced by online reviews nowadays. How many times do you read reviews from website like feefo, amazon or eBay on a seller before making a purchase when it’s your first time? I can confidently assure you must online customers do this and this is why ecommerce website have loads on reviews to Review sites for SEOguarantee and reassure customers of their service and product offering. According to MOZ, online reviews make up 10% of how Google decides to rank your website page. This makes your presence on major review website very important. Below are some useful review website you should try and get your business listed on:

  • Yelp
  • Yellow Pages
  • Foursquare
  • Google+ Local
  • TripAdvisor
  • Yahoo Local
  1. Monitor your keywords rankings for local searches

Tracking your ranking on keywords search volume, device, result type and preferred URL at top of searches in each geographic location is quiet relevant to your business success in search results. In addition, create of form page segments and keyword categories so you can examine your data and isolate any ranking or performance drops or spikes so you can spot issues, opportunities, and seasonal changes.

This can be done be using a combination of SEO tools online that can help you do this if you are a search marketing expert. If not, it’s best to ask and have that conversation with your search-marketing agency you are using.

  1. Get listed on Google My Business

Get your business hours, phone number, and directions on Google Search and Maps — with Google My Business. Make sure your business info is accurate when customers search for you online. Is it the right address and website listed online?

Google My Business

Local searchers are primarily looking for a business’s address and location, and this free tool enables you to put your NAP (name, address and phone number) and other business information on Google Search and Maps – so make sure this is up to date.

Once you get verified through Google they will either call or send you a letter through the postal business address registered online.

  1. Make use of Schema Markup

Schema markup is code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website to help the search engines return further helpful results for users.

Below is an example of a local business that has markup on its event schedule page. The SERP entry looks like this:

Schema Markup

The schema markup told the search engine result page (SERP) to display a schedule of upcoming hotel events. This is useful information for the user and exceptionally helpful. In reality, Schema tells search engines what your data means, not just, what it says.

In conclusion, It’s not enough to stay on top of your Google My Business listing alone. As a business, you need to make sure your contact and location information is updated and consistent across your website, social media pages, review sites and directory listings as well. So make it a point update your NAP (name, address and phone numbers) plus make them consistent across all channels.

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Posted in Digital Marketing, Email Marketing

Top 5 Email Marketing Best Practices for A/B Testing

A/B Split Testing

In case you are not a digital or email marketing specialist – A/B testing also known as split testing, compares two versions of the same campaign on a certain channel. These channels include, but are not limited to:

  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Emails
  • Mobile Apps
  • Landing Pages
  • Digital Advertisements

In reality, A/B testing increases customer engagement, improves campaign effectiveness, and enlightens marketers about audience preferences. By evaluating the behaviours of buyers, A/B testing reveals what truly appeals to them. In doing so, it also advances consumer engagement, campaign effectiveness and marketer expertise.

Here are the 5 top best practices for testing and improving your email marketing strategy:

  1. Keep it simple. Testing simple elements like subject lines, from first name/last name and email copy. It is less time consuming testing these and being creative with simple test is the way forward for success.
  2. Standardise email send times. When running any split test, be sure to normalise your email broadcast times. Changes in the timing of just 30 minutes can significantly change the results of your test. Therefore, making sure email is broadcast together at an optimal time for your audience is key.
  3. Pick your sample sizes wisely. If your sample size is not significant enough, you may end up choosing a winner without actually having one. By best practice, it’s advisable to have at least 1,000 observations for any test. For example, when running a subject line test, you need at least 1,000 opens per email to get the statistical significance. If you can’t find significance, you would need to run the test again and aggregate the data.
  4. Best to test one element at a time. As a good rule of thumb, testing one variable at a time is the best way to go unlike having the thought that testing various elements would have more impact and to drive improvement. This is a big No No! By testing one variable at a time, measuring the results, and rolling out the winners into your new emails over time is the best way to driving improvement in your email marketing strategy.
  5. Check your test results. There are likely to be some test results that makes no sense at all. The finest, most engaging email might not be the cutest or your favourite but trust the data and your email results will be awesome!

I hope this blog has helped give you some split testing ideas as well as a foundation for how to test and measure your email results.

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Posted in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Digital Marketing, Latest Blog

5 Key Trends in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for 2017

Customer relationship management (CRM) refers to the art of managing the organisation’s relationship with the customers and prospective clients. In simple terms, CRM includes various strategies and techniques to maintain a healthy relationship with an organisation’s existing as well as potential customers. It is essential Organisations ensure customers are satisfied with their products and services for higher customer retention in the long-run. A satisfied customer brings ten new customers with them, where a dissatisfied customer takes away ten customers along with them as well.

1. Content is Still King 

Many organisations (big and small) still struggle with managing their websites and keeping it fresh with new and relevant content. They also often fail to meet Google’s Quality Score guidelines, which power Google’s AdWords. Customers are now much more sophisticated which means that brands (organisations) need content that is interesting and relevant on all platforms, in order to make that emotional and rational connection that is necessary for engagement. Consumers expect educative, in-depth information and they want it now, which many brands struggle to keep up.

content-is-king

For this reason, marketers are creating shareable content and microsites to highlight products and promotions, but also deliver targeted messages around relevant topics to support the buying stages of the customer.

Some brands are finding that content can be four times more effective than a traditional marketing campaign and therefore are geared towards digital content channels.

2. Customer Service and Meeting Customer Experience

According to google now, the customer’s life is being divided by Micro-moments and this occur when people reflexively turn to a device – increasingly a smartphone – to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped. With all this is the digital space organisations/brands now need to preside at all the possible touch points of the customer journey and optimise what works best for their business.

Customer Service and Customer Experience

According to McKinsey, 70% of a customer’s buying experience is based on how the customer feels they are treated and with word of mouth, being a power tool for your brand – meeting customer expectation with a good customer service would lead to customer loyalty plus referral business.

The key to satisfying the empowered customer is offering a holistic experience across all company touch points and developing the infrastructure that allows for knowledge sharing and smart communication is essential. Most smart organisations will streamline or eliminate the transactional parts of the customer experience that they think don’t add to the customer experience, they just get in the way.

Although, customer loyalty is directly correlated to the customer’s brand experience having trustworthy personal interactions both before and after a purchase has been made will be the number one priority of all customer-facing companies.

Marketing campaign strategies using engaging content creation, loyalty programs and gamification will continue to play an integral role in the customer experience development, but so will initiatives that enable a holistic experience.

3. Geo-location Technology

Geo-location is the identification or estimation of the real-world geographic location of an object, such as a radar source, mobile phone, or Internet-connected computer terminal.

Customers near or in digital kiosks can now receive geo-targeted messages and offers on their mobile devices – thanks to geomarketing. Various brands online can now, via mobile phone signals, track customer movements around and within a store location. Some smart online retailers can even identify repeat shoppers and keep a record of them in store behaviour on file.

Geomarketing and targeting

With web beacon technology, it is now possible to push messages to consumers whenever online brands think they are relevant to their consumers based on their behavioural history of activity they hold.

4. Personalisation and Customisation

In order to get the attention and good engagement of your customer, brands/organisations would need to know more about their customers and use that insight to talk, engage and interact with them more often and more meaningfully in new and innovative ways (example mobile, dynamic content, apps, blogs and social media). Having static websites with no refreshed content often would no longer be enough; they need to be social, inspirational, and personal.

Personalisation and Customisation

For example, the use of recipients’ real names in email messages is crucial now. The days of “Dear friend,” and “Hi Customer” are all obnoxious greetings for your email communications. Getting a prospects or lead’s name is one of the easiest piece of lead intelligence to gather for a customer journey. If they filled out a data capture form, at the very least, you got their name and email address, right? If not, you probably shouldn’t be emailing them.Most email service providers have the capability to enable you to customise your email messages with the recipient’s first name, so why not take advantage of it! Like it or not, 2017 is going to be up close and personal.

Most email service providers have the capability to enable you to customise your email messages with the recipient’s first name, so why not take advantage of it! Like it or not, 2017 is going to be up close and personal.

5.Omnichannel Approach

Omnichannel is defined as an approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar store. Those companies that understand that the brand’s offline dynamism needs to be recreated online – that sense of discovery, inspiration and entertainment – will be the companies that survive and benefit substantially.


Omnichannel marketing

Mobile marketing is mainstream now and will continue to grow and dominate the digital landscape. Mobile will now need to be put as central and pivotal to the omnichannel journey. Encouraged by Facebook, we will see more on-demand services brought to messenger platforms. As mobile apps are the primary way people access social media. Start deliberation with mobile and progress the design up to larger screens, implementing strategies that touch the consumer’s browsing and buying journey. This includes arming the floor sales force with mobile technology to check inventory, place orders or make a sale and you would be laughing with your sales figures….

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Posted in Digital Marketing, Email Marketing, Marketing

6 Proven Tactics to Adopt to Increase Your Email Open Rate in 2017

Email marketing has evolved rapidly alongside the technological growth that has occurred throughout the 21st century. Email marketing specialist in various organisations spend a lot of time thinking about how to increase their email open rates during campaigns.

After broadcasting every email you send, you eagerly check your reports and take a look at your open rate results. Have they improved or worsen? Do some of your customers open your emails more than others? Was your subject line the best it could be for that campaign? These are the major post-mortem marketers normally engage in after dispatching an email campaign.

Data driven marketing has come to stay with most modern email software’s providing business intelligence /analytic’s from device used to access the email, which email domain produced best open rate etc.

Below are 6 proven best practice steps to follow to improve email open rate this year:

1. Keep your customer engaged and offer them something of value

Whenever your customers have the impression your brand send them interesting, engaging emails, open rates will definitely be high. If you are sending information that doesn’t resonate, it promotional all the time – customers send your emails to junk or unsubscribe. Sending high-quality email less frequently is one of the best ways to keep open rates high.

customer-enagement-email-open-blog2. Use mobile responsive email templates

If your brand’s email messages don’t read well on mobile devices, then you’re in trouble. It is estimated that 74 percent of smartphone owners use their phone to access their emails, and mobile now represents 51 percent of all email opens. When your emails display well on mobile, you will see an improvement in your open rates, in addition to enjoying higher engagement and more clicks.

3. Make sure your contact list is up to date

How often do email specialist/marketers go through their contact database to make sure email address issues are resolved? When was the last time you sent out an “update profile form” to make sure you are targeting and reaching the right audience with the most up to date email address?

According to Constant Contact, email address domains like Comcast and Verizon tend to have higher open rates compared to account from Hotmail and Yahoo. Finding the time to get your contact database organised and looking at  opportunities to resolve any issues on hard and soft bounces are quiet crucial to keeping your list updated and working towards a higher open rate for your email campaigns.

 4. Segment your mailing list

Segmenting your email database based on audience interest and behaviour is one of the most effective ways to increase your open rate and ROI in email marketing. Campaigns sent to customers with more personalised content is likely to result in good open rates on average.

email-segmentation-blog

The whole point of segmentation is to provide more relevant content to your email recipients at all times of the buying cycle. To achieve this, you would need to take steps to craft more targeted campaigns taking into account your database list based on (geography, age, gender, persona, organisation type,  job function, industry, level of education,  purchase interest, buying frequency, purchase history etc.) and also lead data, and trigger events that help customize your email campaigns further.

5. Adoption of real-time personalisation

email-personalisation

Using first or last name approach to get attention and a good open rate is no longer the best work to keep your customers engaged anymore. To get the best from email personalisation, much emphasis needs to be placed on real-time marketing. That is being customer centric and making the customer centre of every touch point. With brands understanding their prospect/customer needs, place, situation and daily habits, content can be tailored in the best possible way during the day, week or month to get the best value and engagement from your customers.

An email recipient receiving a marketing promotion content at the right moment is likely to be engaged and take the right call to action rather that generic content  that is not tailored to the customers past behaviour.

 6. Data driven marketing is key going forward

According to the Direct marketing association 42% of email specialist think data was their biggest obstacle  to personalised emails and therefore as essential for marketers to really get that business intelligence and strategy right. Data-driven marketing refers to the marketing insights and decisions that arise from the analysis of data about or from consumers. This is in plain terms, the principle of delivering a personalised customer experience with the intelligence from a customer point of view of a brand.

data-driven-marketing-gmfrem

Therefore, brands that are really taking advantage of data and working collaboratively with their teams to deliver insightful and relevant product/service to the customer in real time get the best engagement and valuable result for their brand.

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Posted in Social Media

How to ensure Social Media Goals Solve Challenges facing your business?

Social Media Icons

Social media was often seen as the outcast of the marketing communication department —the place where most interns started their careers and brands could say random things with little to no repercussions. But times have changed in recent times and the industry has evolved to it matured state.

It’s true, social media is still a wonderful platform for brands to have a little fun, but it also has a real and measurable impact on businesses bottom line going forward. Thus, social media can no longer be ignored or taken for granted as it has become a very powerful digital marketing tool. It has become a crucial part of brand’s business strategy in many industries.

To ensure that your social media marketing campaigns contribute to your brand’s greater business objectives, I have put together a checklist to make sure you are compliant and doing things alright…

 

Social Media Channels for brands

What are your Social Media Goals as a business? ­

  • Increase and raise brand awareness ­
  • Improve customer service and retention
  • Drive and grow website traffic
  • Gather quality leads
  • Source job candidates

Goals image

Goal setting is essential for all marketing and business strategies – this is no different from social media as well.  If you are doing this for the first time for your brand or company it can be difficult with resources, guidance and what the objectives should be used. As guide, I have highlighted some of the challenges you need to consider:

  • Has your website traffic dipped?
  • Is customer loyalty and retention level low?
  • Do you need to do a better job of building a positive brand reputation?
  • Do you just need to make people aware that your product exists?

Having a smart social media marketing campaign can help address each of these questions. Prove your social media team’s worth by tackling them head on.

How to overcome a low website challenge for your brand?

In the digital age we are, 85% of customers go online to research about product or service before making a purchase. A brand’s website, therefore, is one of its most important marketing tools. Low website traffic can mean fewer customers and lower revenue for your business. To combat this challenge, your social team should focus its goals on creating URL’s (Uniform Resource Locator) directly to the website (either they are from your own social posts or influencers). Website URL’s to useful content, subpages and company images to position your website and your brand as a useful resource rather than just another component in the corporate world. Such website traffic should increase leads and, in the long run, revenues for your brand.

Social Media Role for Brands

What to do to overcome decreasing Customer Retention Levels?

According to The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), it costs 7 to 10 times more to acquire a customer than to retain one. To keep your customers around, use social as a tool to support, communicate and engage. Keeping a good social engaging relationship with your customers should translate into a better perception and cordial relationship with your brand. As you develop a strong social bond, customers will be more likely to stick with your brand time and time again.

How do you improve poor customer service for your brand?

Savvy Customers turn to social to engage with businesses day in and day out. Therefore, it is important for your brand to be ready to help customers on any channel or touch point of the customer journey they can contact you through. Adequately equip your social media team with the tools, education and authority to respond to customer questions and issues. By doing do, you will be prepared to respond to your customers in a timely and accurate way, regardless of how they reach out to you.

Social Media and Brand Awareness
Raise Awareness of Your Brand

 How to overcome the challenge of weak Brand Awareness?

Social media allows you to reach a broader customer base. But honing and perfecting that message takes brain power and time. To create authentic and lasting brand awareness, avoid over promotional messaging; instead, focus on creating meaningful and engaging content as well as a strong brand personality through your social channels. Identify relevant hashtags and industry influencers you can engage with, and tap into those resources to extend your brand’s overall awareness to your customer base.

In a nutshell, do not fool yourself into believing that social media is completely free marketing. Your time is valuable, especially if you are just starting up or you are a small business. Out-of-focus efforts spent on social media can quickly become a huge time sink for your brand and business strategy.

Posted in Digital Marketing, Direct Mail, Latest Blog, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media

5 Reasons to Integrate Direct Mail and Digital Marketing

Business mailing lists still rank among the most customizable and therefore most effective methods for messaging an audience of potential customers. Direct mail may not necessarily be the cheapest, but cheap marketing doesn’t always make for a great customer engagement and brand reputation.

Direct mail – in the era of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, and Amazon – may seem to the digital marketing enthusiast to be a thing of the past. Digital Ad viewability remains an issue in the digital landscape. With response rates from email marketing remaining in decline, thanks to the efforts of Gmail and other email providers’ to auto-route commercial emails to hidden areas behind the “promotional” tabs . Although Content Marketing has become the main strategy for digital marketers it remains an uphill battle in the digital environment in which the supply of content exceeds the supply of human readers (demand).

Customer Contact Touch-Point
How your customers want to be contacted?

Direct mail is however, still effective for a couple of reasons.

  1. Direct Postal Mail Gives You a True Opt-in

Using direct mail to entice your customers to visit a customised uniform resource identifier (URL) or activating an app or QR code (Quick Response Code) is an excellent way to assemble lists of truly engaged customers. Integration of postal mail campaigns with marketing automation suites and standard analytics packages is easier than ever.

  1. Digitise your Print Effort

Integrating digital tools incorporated into a direct mail campaign, can help track your customers movements as they make their decisions. For example, a QR code that leads to your app or a personalized URL that leads to a landing page, or social media account information all help you track where your customers come from, how interested they are in your products, and what information they might need to complete a purchase. Blending your direct mail and digital marketing strategies isn’t hard, either.

  1. Perfect for Local Business Branding

When mixed with a solid digital marketing campaign, direct mail can really boost local business reputation and brand awareness. Your mail pieces can grab the attention of customers in your local area and direct them to social media accounts and your brand website.

  1. Offer Exclusive Benefits – Discount or Promotion

One of the main reasons consumers indicate for subscribing to mailing lists, social media channels and newsletters for their beloved brands is their desire to keep apprised of hot new sales, deals and news, as well as receive exclusive coupons. Anticipating special offers normally keep consumers on the lookout for your direct mail. Without the initial touch from you in their mailbox, customers might never find you and remember once you have a good promotion or discount – word of mouth can be a perfect tool for your brand as well boosting searches online.

  1. Traditionally Customers still love Postcards and Physical Mail

When you send a marketing e-mail, the only chance your brand gets to catch your buyers’ eyes is the subject line and through personalisation. Most customers won’t even look at that before performing a mass delete of messages in their inbox. We all agree there is too much email content to consume on a daily basis don’t we?

With direct mail, however, recipients won’t be able to avoid seeing the message, even if only for a moment. That kind of visibility makes your direct mail much more powerful and that resonates with your customers.

At first glance, direct mail marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) have absolutely nothing in common –these are two different monsters. But if consumers don’t know to look for your brand online, your SEO doesn’t really help much in anyway, does it..? By introducing yourself through direct mail, you put your brand on prospects’ radars. Including a URL (landing page to collect enquiries) for your company, does result in search result skyrocketing high for your brand. The more relevant Google thinks your site is, the more likely you will be shown up higher in search rankings. Whether customers find your website through a Google search or by entering your direct website address, search engines give you points for relevance.

 

Posted in Digital Marketing, Latest Blog, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media

How Content Management System (CMS) can enhance Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

 

Content -Managment-SystemIt is estimated that about 75% of Internet users make judgments about a company’s credibility based on its website design. When customers can’t find your website through search engines, your content will go to waste – no matter how great or outstanding it is.

Having a good Content Management System helps manage four vital steps for search engine optimization (SEO):

  1. Uniform Resource Locator (URL) redirects: If you are re-launching a website, some of your web pages might have new URL’s. Employing 301 redirects can lead your website visitors and search engines to the new URL and preserve search engine rankings for those pages – following this step would still keep your ranking rather than drop out completely.
  2. Custom URL and page metadata: Having a CMS allows customisation of page titles, URL’s description metadata to include important keywords related to your business. By tailoring this data for the site, you can make a significant impact on search engine rankings.
  3. Extensible Markup Language (XML) Sitemap: When a website goes live, you can use a CMS to create an XML sitemap of your entire website. Having a sitemap is an essential requirement that helps search engines understands your site’s structure and content.
  4. Site Page-Load Performance: According to KISSmetrics, around 40% of website visitors leave a website that takes more than 3 secs to load. A CMS can cache static components of web pages so they will load quickly and prevent search engine penalties for slow website performance.

In conclusion, websites have become a primary space where people interact with a company or brand and therefore the success or failure of your digital marketing strategy does depend hugely on how well your websites performs in search engines.