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 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.

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

5 Important Ways To Improve Your Landing Page And Convert Customers

Landing Page Main Image

In digital marketing, a landing page is a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine optimised search result or an online advertisement. In practical terms, it’s every businesses online store window and centre of all inbound leads generation efforts and the link back to every campaign that is being executed or live.

Most businesses online put a lot of time and money in driving business to the landing pages through email offers, pay per click advertising, social media ads, search engine marketing campaigns with the aim of enhancing the effectiveness of their advertisement. With return on investment being key in every Marcoms department budget for cutting edge organisation now, neglecting and not refreshing your advertising landing pages could lead to bad returns for your advertising spend. Ignoring this could lead to high bounce rates and a lower conversion rate.

How many times have you clicked through an ad, specific to your needs and found yourself on a page that has no relevance to the link? What action did you take? Leave…off course! By spending time designing appropriate landing pages, tracking results, using data analytics to improve conversion, and consistently conducting tests along the way, companies will be able to create a more positive user experience and convert targeted traffic into qualified leads for maximum revenue.

Mobile Friendly image

Here are 5 easy tips that you can use to start converting more web traffic to qualified leads:

  1. Think Mobile Friendly and Be Responsive – With mobile devices now holding one third of all Internet traffic flow, businesses can no longer ignore the importance of designing mobile friendly landing pages. Customers are constantly on the move now and viewing content on their mobile devices (tablets, smart phones)
  2. Consistent Messaging and a Clear Call to Action – Make sure there is consistent messaging throughout the click-through process for the web user. The Call-to-action should be consistent from your online ad campaign to the landing page. The visitor wants to know what they will receive when they take the action you are pushing them towards. For example, if you are after capturing their data information by offering a free downloadable PDF document as bait, then make it clear – once they fill out their details they should receive the PDF momentarily. This builds trust between you and your customers, from the beginning of the process as they understand what you are asking them to do. Please avoid any hidden nasty surprises.
  3. Attention Grabbing Subject lines with Motivations – Having a click-worthy subject line is important in capturing early interest and engaging web visitors, encouraging them to continue reading and learn more is vital. Just like newspapers and magazines, the headline needs to be relevant and a teaser for what the content is going to include. Descriptive enough that the viewer will understand that it is relevant to them but still a little intriguing that it creates overall interest.
  4. Customer Testimonials and Reviews – Customer reviews are a great way of building trust and establishing your integrity as a brand. Another way of getting across your companies achievements and successes is highlighting current customer testimonials about your product/service or solution with how it has benefited other users.
  5. Build Trust and Reassure your Customers – often the traffic you have generated from your ad campaigns are unfamiliar with your brand sometimes but have reacted to your content. Including any recognisable industry awards, certifications, associated partners clearly on your landing page does help to reassure visitors of your credibility as a trusted brand.

Lastly, it is also important to have some value proposition, features and benefits somewhere on your landing page briefly being mindful of too much text as it makes the page too heavy.

Posted in Business, Latest Blog, Social Media, Technology

The Volkswagen Scandal – A Mucky Business

volkswagen image

Volkswagen’s reputation is now on the line for misleading the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The automotive German car maker manipulated emissions data to make their cars appear more eco-friendly than they actually are….a shocking revelation? The scandal was realised on September 18th, when America’s EPA revealed that several diesel-engined VW’s and Audis had a software switched NOx-controlling technology on only when faced with the highly predictable sort of demands seen under testing conditions. NOx-emissions limit for a fleet of cars is 0.07 grams per mile (0.04g/km) and under normal conditions the VW cars were 40 times over the limit.

Volkswagen was ordered to recall around half a million cars in America to fix the software issue. On September 22nd Volkswagen admitted that 11 million vehicles worldwide has the same problem and needed to be recalled to fix the ‘’noticeable deviation’’.

What is consequence for Volkswagen Brand Reputation?

For the company this may result in a huge fine amounting to over $18 billion (£11.6 billion). What’s more, the VW’s brand core values – reliability and efficiency – are now tarnished, with Martin Winterkorn, VW Group CEO, admitting to “breaking the trust of (our) customers and the public.”

More than 3 million people die prematurely each year from outdoor pollution and without action deaths will double by 2050. This staggering revelation just shows how vital clean air is to the public’s health, and how Volkswagen’s unethical practises as a corporate brand are not to be taken lightly.

How is this going to affect UK motorist?

With 482,000 cars sold and a maximum fine of $37,500 per vehicle under the clean air act, the Department of Justice could in theory fine VW $18 billion. In practise this fine seems lot less severe as this is not the first time it has happened in the automobile industry. General Motors, ignoring problems with ignition switches that directly claimed 124 lives and got punished with a fine of $900 million in the US last month. In 2014 Toyota was fined $1.2billion when it had to settle a criminal investigation into its handling of unintended acceleration problems that resulted in 8.1 million cars being recalled.  I do not know the reason why most scandals are first spotted in the USA as it looks like with all the red tapes and regulations in the EU, none of these countries have the balls to enforce such emission problems within the region.

The UK government has now launched a programme to test a range of diesel cars which could lead to testing other types of emissions, such as carbon dioxide (CO2). Should in case it turns out that your car is affected, there are a couple of ways this may impact on you as vehicle excise duty (VED) is based on CO2 emissions. This can result in cost implication for British motorist meaning, you may end up forking out more for your road tax.

vw-tdi-emissions

Are cars being recalled?

Volkswagen is a brand that holds its corporate value really high, and it’s a go-to manufacturer when it comes to buying an efficient and reliable car – a known fact about country of origin effect planted in the minds of consumers in marketing. However, this may no longer be the case with consumers now having doubts about such great brands. According to the CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Michael Horn, “We have totally screwed up”.  Now drivers may start thinking twice before buying a VW motor. I wonder what they would be doing to all their marketing materials such as datasheet and brochures – which had value preposition of efficiency, reliability and environmentally friendly cars as content? Your guess would be as good as mine….

With Volkswagen operation temporally ceased in the USA until all affected cars are recalled and fixed to guarantee accurate results, this is going to impact the company’s sales largely as thousands of Golf, Passat, Jetta and Beetle models are involved. This scandal has paved the way for authorities to also investigate other brands that fall under the Volkswagen Group umbrella, such as Audi, Skoda, Lamborghini, SEAT and Porsche as they might also have falsified emissions data. According to Greg Archer, clean vehicles manager for the European Federation for Transport and Environment, says “Exactly the same technology is used in Europe as it is in the US, and tens of millions of cars have been sold since 2009.” The European Commission has launched their own investigation and will also look at existing data provided by the EPA. This means that potentially millions of cars on British roads might have to be recalled and fixed to meet emissions standards.

MOT_Approved_Test_Image

Will VW owners fail MOT’s if they ignore recall in the UK?

According to Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport select committee is considering plans to change MOT tests if people fail to respond to Volkswagen’s recall in wake of diesel emissions scandal. Volkswagen owners who ignore the recall of their vehicles following the diesel emissions scandal could fail their MOTs under plans being considered by ministers in parliament.  He told MPs that if there is a “wider problem” and people fail to return their vehicles he will consider changing MOT tests to ensure that “cars are operating legally and correctly”.

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

Social Media Round-up for October – What’s new for Facebook?

facebook latest updatesFacebook

More than 1 billion people logged on to Facebook 2.39% on Monday 27th August 2015, marking the first time the social media giant had surpassed 1 billion users in a single day. According to the founder Mark Zuckerberg profile page “On Monday, 1 in 7 people on Earth used Facebook to connect with their friends and family,” the entrepreneur wrote.

As ever, nothing has stood still with this social media giant, with July seeing a big focus on video. It has announced that actions on videos will now count towards News Feed rankings, with key indicators such as users turning sound on or making a video full screen taken as showing interest in the content, even if it is not subsequently liked.

Secret videos for publishers have also been announced, which “give Page owners the ability to upload videos that are accessible only via a direct URL, but which are not searchable for people on Facebook. This is useful for publishers who want to host videos on Facebook, embed them on third-party sites or share them with anyone who has the Uniform Resource Locator (URL), without posting them anywhere else on Facebook.”

Facebook has also launched an enhanced video upload process and library, to give more control over how videos are organised and shared. It is also testing the idea of floating videos which pop out of your feed but continue playing as you scroll, as well as a watch later button.

There is also a new videos tab in page insights, giving users an easy and quick way to check video performance and Facebook has also given advertisers the option of only being charged once videos are viewed for over 10 seconds, instead of immediately.

“Liking” on Facebook is about to get interesting……. with new ‘reactions’ emotions – Are you ready!

Facebook would be rolling out several emotions you will be able to use soon – (Thumb fans, don’t despair, that’s not going anywhere). These reactions will let users express love, laughter, happiness, shock, sadness and anger going forward.

How is this going to work?

This functionality would work by hovering or long-pressing the Like button and selecting the relevant emoji that you want to put in your message. The status will then count how many likes, loves, angers, etc. you’ve had.

According to Mark Zuckerberg, the social network was finally working on a “dislike button” after years of calls from loyal users. At the time, he said he wanted people to be able to show empathy, but not to put down other people’s posts.

Facebook’s chief product officer, Chris Cox assured users the new “expressive like button” is being rolled out in a test run starting in Ireland and Spain. “As you can see, it’s not a ‘dislike’ button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly.”

According to Chris Cox, the social networking site studied the comments and reactions most commonly expressed across Facebook before coming up with what he calls an “elegant and fun” design around them.

The company has assured it users it hopes to roll the feature out to everyone soon.

Follow @gmfrem on twitter, gmfrem on Word Press. Thank you!