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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Posted in Football, Latest Blog

Wenger plays down Stoke City ‘History’. We’ve got it covered……

Arsenal and Stoke City
                                           History of Arsenal and Stoke City physical games

Thank God the international break is over and now we can all enjoy the Barclays Premier League this weekend. The transfer window has closed and new arrivals are settling in at their new clubs. But just how will the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Antony Martial take to life in the Premier League this season? Your guess is as good as mine…

As an Arsenal fan, I am a bit worried we have still not won at home yet and looking forward to the game against Stoke city this afternoon.

Arsene Wenger insists there is no bad blood between Arsenal and Stoke despite there being “history” between the two clubs in recent years. This afternoon’s encounter is the 12th meeting since midfielder Aaron Ramsey broke his leg after a horrendous challenge by Ryan Shawcross during a Premier League encounter in February 2010.

Ryan Shawcross was sent off that day and booed by Arsenal supporters ever since. The centre-back will miss the clash at Emirates Stadium after undergoing spinal surgery in pre-season but the contest will still have an edge to it with each side viewed as the aesthetic converse of the other. But we need to remember Stoke have never beaten Arsenals at the Emirates, although, last season’s game – Stoke played better than the Gunners and still lost that game.

According to Wenger “They have always had good teams and overall when we go to Stoke they are always specially motivated against us. There is history a little bit because of what happened and overall lit was always very difficult for us.

“For me there was never bad blood, it was just a game that was always very difficult for us to play. But I always focus on playing football and trying to get my team to play as well as we can.”

Arsenals have not yet won at home this season after losing on the opening day to West Ham (2-0) before being held goalless by Liverpool. The Gunners away form has been 100% though as they have won both matches on the road – at Crystal Palace and Newcastle.  Wenger is urging his side to replicate that form in front of their own supporters who pay the most expensive tickets to have good and entertaining football.

Ibrahim Afellay and Charlie Adam will be missing this afternoon’s game through suspensions, having been sent off last week – so I have got to go for an Arsenal win at home. I am therefore predicting a 3-0 win for the Gunners to get to second gear at home. I personally think Stoke look too open in midfield with the departure of Steven N’Zonzi to Sevilla and Arsenal would dominate and pick their pockets all day this afternoon in an open game at the Emirates.

Posted in Latest Blog, Social Media

How a photo from Social Media raised thousands? #BuyPens

Even if you want to avoid social media you can’t. It’s pervasiveness and power to reach global audiences instantly creates dramatic impacts. On Tuesday 25th August, $80,000  was raised in just half an hour after a picture of a refugee seemingly trying to sell pens on a street in Beirut with his daughter slumped over one shoulder was widely shared on twitter.

Abdul's social media photo

It all started when Gissur Simonarson (an activist from Oslo- Norway), posted a photo last Tuesday of a father selling pens on the streets of Beirut as he cradled his sleeping daughter, he struck a chord with more than 6,000 followers. But with a boost from social media, an anonymous pen seller in Beirut, Lebanon became a Syrian refugee success story. It was a terribly emotional picture, as I saw the look in Abdul’s face and just the way he holds the pens out, as if those pens are everything he has in the world – shocking isn’t it? Within hours, requests poured in from around the world to help the merchant in the photo. But Simonarson did not know who the man was or who took the photograph. That’s where social media came in, with the activists asking others to help. Simonarson, finally did locate the anonymous pen seller with #BuyPens.

After being inundated with requests to help the man, Simonarson announced he was going to try and find him. He launched a Twitter account named #BuyPens and was contacted within 30 minutes by someone who saw the man every day around his house. Twenty-four hours later, the man and his daughter were identified as Abdul, a single father with two children, and his daughter Reem, who is four. Would you ignore the power of social media then? Your guess is as good as mine. Whenever used effectively, it can be a powerful tool ……

“When Abdul heard the amount, he just broke down and started crying,” Simonarson says, “He was so thankful and he kept saying thank you for all your generosity.” Abdul says he can finally send his two children to school with the money. The 35-year-old, who once worked at a chocolate factory before war broke out in his native Syria, also says he wants to help other refugees with the donated money.

Lets help Abdul on twitter

In the end, we now know how social media did find the Syrian refugee (Abdul Halim Attar) and help provide the dad of two with a new start going forward. Thank you to everyone who helped put a smile on the face of Reem and her father. You have all helped to accomplish something with this case.

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Posted in Social Media

7 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search enginesSearch engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most powerful ways you can market your business website on-line, it has the power to increase site traffic and improve your coverage in the search engines. If executed perfectly, it would lead to increased volumes of leads, sales and customers.

SEO is a difficult skill to master and in the modern world of Google dominance, the science of SEO needs to be done correctly if you are to succeed and be ahead of the game. One big mistake and Google may penalise your website, possibly destroying your business in the process.

With Google continually changing its algorithm in search results, search engine professionals in the industry have to keep a close eye on the daily rumours, discussions and bulletins to be abreast with current trends. This blog looks at the common SEO mistakes that marketers don’t realise might be hindering them from being found on google search for their business.

  1. Keyword Stuffing (Being too keyword-centric)

Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords in an attempt to manipulate a website’s ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose). Gone are the days, businesses were told to stuff their website content with as many keywords as possible. This would show Google that your website was about these topics and in turn your rankings would get a little boast. SEO today is very different ball game. Google’s algorithm has become too clever, recognising sneaking tactics and now websites with unnatural keyword densities are gifted with a Panda penalty. While keywords are still relevant to SEO, Google are searching for context and understanding, and so are your audience. Keyword stuffing is also associated with increased bounce rates on your website, with readers spending less time on your content pages just because they don’t make sense to their searches.

  1. Low quality content

Every digital professional is aware now ‘Content is King’. Search engines nowadays love fresh and good content that is relevant to your website and therefore businesses are putting a huge emphasis to produce regular content but the old ‘quality over quantity’ phrase has never been more prominent than ever. Just updating your website because you need to meet your blog post KPI’s or increase your web pages is a “Big No” and counterproductive. Google’s Panda will be paying your website a little visit and hitting you with a ranking penalty.

To have a copywriter check through thousands or millions of pages is a time consuming task and even then it’s hard to know whether the changes you make are to the right pages. It’s crucial to spend time creating helpful content that your audience will appreciate and make sure you proofread your content for spelling mistakes and poor use of grammar. Creating great and appealing content can be quite time consuming which is why most businesses are referring to content strategies and digital agencies for their SEO services currently.

  1. Neglect title tags at your own peril

Ask any search engine optimization professional and they will tell you that without a doubt one of the big 3 SEO must do is the title tag. Title tags are weighted as part of your overall SEO score and they provide a chance to plug particular keywords and your company name. A title tag is an HTML tag with text describing a specific web page but is not displayed on the actual webpage and therefore getting it right does go a long way.

The common mistakes involve using the same tags for different pages or putting the company name at the beginning of each tag. Title tags should be unique and representative of each web page and while it is perfectly fine to include the company brand in the title tag, much emphasis should go to the topic of the page.

Duplicate Content Image     4. Duplicate content

Duplicate content is content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. When there are multiple pieces of identical content on a webpage, it is difficult for search engines to decide which version is more relevant to a given search query. How does a search engine know which of your duplicate content to index?

To provide the best search experience, search engines will rarely show multiple duplicate pieces of content and thus, are forced to choose which version is most likely to be the original or best. Websites with duplicate content present, site owners suffer rankings and traffic losses, and search engines provide less relevant results.

5. Poor backlink profile

The main difference between good and bad backlinks is the quality of the website they are on. Sometimes bad backlinks are easy to find, sometimes you do have to check the website itself to see if and why the backlink can have a negative impact on your website. Inbound links are very much important as part of a websites ranking signal.

While it might be easier to get a large volume of links from link exchanges, low quality directories, these link building methods have become highly discouraged and will probably earn you a penalty from Google’s very strict Penguin. Best way is to focus on natural link opportunities.

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6. Neglecting your Social Media presence.

Social Media is a great tool that has still not made much use in local SEO efforts. Apparently, your social media presence also affects your search engine rankings now. When a brand is able to get their social media page going in a big way, it will be a direct indicator of the rise in popularity of your business and therefore will generate more traffic for your website and bring a corresponding rise in its search rankings. One good thing about social media is, – it’s free and a powerful tool for businesses if used effectively to optimise their content.

  social media square 7. Not updating business and contact information in local search listings

If you are listed on all the important local directories like Yelp and Google+ but you do not bother to update your information, this negligence will affect your business in the long run. All your web pages should contain up-to-date contact information of your business location, product information and services you offer without doubt. The consequences of not doing so may hit your credibility as a business and may lead to you dropping a few places in search engine results (the exact opposite of what you want with your local SEO efforts).

It is important that you seek the advice of a professional SEO company, to help guide you on the path towards dominating your competitors.

Follow me on Twitter @gmfrem for more. Thank you!!

Posted in Football, Latest Blog, Social Media

The Evolving Science of Social Media Marketing

Social Media Objectives

According to Pricewaterhousecoopers (PWC) and Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), social media ad spends in the UK rose from £265m to £585m between 2011 and later part of 2013.  In 2014, there was a further 71% increase in social media spending. Despite this increasing trend, marketers have voiced concerns that increased spending has not been accompanied by a commensurate rise in effectiveness in social media. There are school of thoughts that believe, social media is meant for brand that their customer’s bases are web savvy or just young people – this is not actually the case. Businesses are now therefore looking beyond “like” button and started talking about return on investment as they always do on every marketing campaign.

Social media icons

Should marketers be worried their social media spend is being wasted?

I think there are a couple of things going on here. First, a lot of social media marketing has been done on blind faith. It’s often lacked an analytical backbone or a fully agreed set of key performance indicators to assess what the value is. A lot of brands have spent big money without being able to point to an exact return on their investment (ROI) – but things are changing now. Where people were chasing followers and “likes” a few years ago, they are now thinking more about getting clicks to their sites and sharing.

So what is your main social media objective as a Brand?

Previously, building up a large community social media follower’s was the main aim of brand investing and spending time on social media project. This is now beginning to change as major brand are now looking beyond driving site traffic and improving conversions using social media channels. According to Young Group and B2B marketing, some research is beginning to show a net change in traffic and also young social media. Brand website visit from their social channels have gone up by 33%, while Facebook is down 15% and YouTube 23%. Given its size, engagement metrics and the nature of its News Feed, Facebook has long been the social traffic referral leader. In July, it contributed 74% of our clients’ total social traffic, with Twitter a distant second at 16% according to the Define Media Group.

Social Media SMART Goals

What is driving this change and social media trends?

Most brand in the retail, education, travel and leisure industry are using social media as a powerful – interactive tool, educational, conversational and conversion into sales tool as this makes it much easier to do an ROI analysis looking at how such traffic converts.  With most brands having a transactional framework on their website, its smoothens the path to converting traffic and followers into revenue so a goal can be achieved at the end. This further emphasises the fact that a large community of followers is not that important anymore.

There has been a proliferation of social media channels now and this trend would keep changing and evolving over the coming years just as technology is. Around 1.6 billion people use messaging apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp as this would be growing overtime and therefore I can understand why technological firms would be making strategic acquisitions just as Facebook did to WhatsApp. Brand websites need to be deeply integrated with social networks, facilitating the easy sharing of content and making them a more friendly place to land as using social network as just a conversion tool normally back fires. The younger generation like brands that make life easier for them, not those that want a conversation and sales. They also want things that work with the technology they own and would share – say to their friends its ‘cool’.  With most people now having smartphones (74% and rising quickly), watch TV on their laptops (75%) and many will be using kindles and tablets for their studies this year (around half will own one of either in 2015/16). These are the insights marketers should look to when planning for success and to be able to get ahead of the game going forward.

The best piece of social media marketing I have seen this Year?

Thierry Henry goes back in time to prove that the Premier League is the best league in the world as part of a new advertising campaign for Sky Sports which was launched on the 17th July, 2015 at facebook.com/SkySports. As a teaser to the new 2015 premier league season, this new advert uses ground-breaking special effects and takes two-time Premier League winner Thierry back to a series of iconic moments. It starts from 1993 with him joining the celebrations of Brian Kidd and Sir Alex Ferguson (a bit of Fergie time)  when a late win over Sheffield Wednesday set Manchester United on course for a first Premier League title as part of a as part of Sky Sports’ hi-tech new advert.

Sky Sports pundit |Henry
Thierry Henry goes back in time to prove that the Premier League is the best league in the world.
As a global football icon and Sky Sports pundit Henry said: “Both as a player and now working for Sky Sports, I know what makes the Premier League the best league in the world and this advert helps explain why. It was a fascinating process to be part of, very technical with the effects used to take me back to those memorable moments. This advert has 206k likes, 22k comments and 17 million views as of this week – Incredible right?  This is where it going and the power of social media comes in. It’s not always all about self-promotion and websites now.

Which social networking sites do you think we should be watching going forward? Which do you think are on their last legs? Let me know in the comments below!

Follow me on Twitter @gmfrem for more insights, predictions, and expertise.