Is there another site copying your content and passing it off as their own? Try out Google’s in-content search operator.
Find out if someone is plagiarizing you by copying a unique quote or phrase from your own online content and entering it into Google Search like this:
intext:”quote or phrase”
If sites other than yours are showing up at the top with an exact or near-exact match, then there’s a problem.
QUESTION: What are some of the most effective digital marketing channels for small businesses today?
ANSWER: All small businesses should invest into these four staples:
1. Website SEO and Organic Marketing
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving your website’s organic (aka not paid) search engine rankings. Not only does solid SEO get you visibility online, but it is also proven to win customers. According to research from Google, roughly half of customers who search for local businesses from their mobile devices end up making purchases the very same day!
2. Content and Brand Asset Development
Want more brand and website visibility? Start by creating high-quality content and visual assets. Branded content includes everything from expert website copy and useful blog posts to insightful videos and eye-catching infographics. Creating valuable digital content will add trust and value to the brand long term.
3. Social Media
Small businesses must have a social media presence. Social platforms are a great way to connect with your customers directly. If you’re just getting started, remember that less is more. Stick to the platforms your customers are using the most. Share valuable content, but also identify and engage with key influencers in your space.
The goal is to get other pages to share your content, but before you can do that, you must spend some time building relationships.
4. Email Marketing
Often overlooked, email marketing is still a great tactic for small and large businesses alike. Grow your list organically by offering valuable information in exchange for an email address. You can also run contests, host a quiz or offer a monthly newsletter. But remember: No one wants to be spammed.
Instead of promotional-only content, offer valuable information to your subscribers, such as industry news, how-to guides, tips and other helpful advice.
The more avenues you have to receive a payment from a current or prospective client, the better.
Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.
Many marketers are quick to tout the power of social media. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram provide quick and easy avenues for engaging our customers. When it comes to building a brand, there are few better outlets than social media. Facebook has roughly 1.7 billion users, according to Statista, and it’s hard to compete with that kind of reach.
While Snapchatting and tweeting may seem like best way to attract new clientele, one area where social media lags is measurable returns in the form of sales. Social media helps indirectly: It starts and drives conversions to get people in your industry thinking about your niche.
Email marketing, however, is often where you turn those visitors into customers. If social media gets your customers in the door, email marketing is responsible for making them loyalists.
On this Halloween, let’s investigate the claims of email marketing’s supposed death.
The Case for Email
Social media is undoubtedly a marketing revolution, but there’s a reason we keep turning to email: According to research from Campaign Monitor, every $1 spent on email marketing yields $8 in return.
And while we may twist our hands trying to compose the perfect viral status update, the same research shows email does more than simply edge out the competition when it comes to acquiring new customers. It squashes it. Email is actually 40 times more effective at gaining paying customers than social media.
Why, then, do we spend the bulk of our efforts perfecting our social media campaigns? It may be the result of several misunderstandings we have about modern email marketing.
Email Marketing Myths and Truths
Marketers sometimes shy away from email because it suffers from two common misconceptions:
They think email marketing is spam.
They think it’s too “old school.”
Yet, statistics say otherwise. Consider the following:
Everyone Uses Email
Millennials are often a group we try to engage due to their massive buying power. They’re also the group most likely to check their emails in bed (70 percent), in the bathroom (57 percent), and in the car (27 percent), according to Adobe. Some other compelling facts about email:
Gmail alone has more than 1 billion users, with more than 90 million users who access their account(s) from a mobile device.
Ninety-one percent of all consumers report checking their email daily.
Worldwide, there are 4.3 billion email accounts sending 196 billion emails each day.
Email Drives Lead Conversions
Statistically, email is more likely to create paying and repeat customers. Email marketing was responsible for the most Black Friday transactions in 2015. Nearly a quarter of those sales originated from the marketing channel, according to Custora (source since removed).
These Black Friday sales facts are especially important when we consider:
Nearly 90 percent of marketers say email is responsible for most of their lead generation.
Email marketing ROI can be as high as 4,300 percent.
More than three-fourths of consumers say they prefer marketing-related communication to be over email.
Clearly, email is still relevant. Making it work for you is simply a matter of sending the right email, to the right person, at the right time.
Crafting the Perfect Email
Your email marketing campaign can be streamlined into four steps:
Find your audience
Segment your contacts
Pick the right time to click “send”
Turn that lead into a customer
It sounds simple enough, but it will require some legwork on your part.
Find Your Audience
We obviously want to know whom we’re marketing to, and you likely already have an idea of who your brand attracts. But marketers sometimes fall into the “Field of Dreams” approach: “If you build it, they will come.”
Creating great content might organically draw people to your brand, but is it attracting the people you want to be your customers?
Understanding your target audience requires some introspection. Ask yourself questions such as:
What problems do we solve?
Who are our current customers? What are they like?
Who is our competition?
What do we do that our competitors don’t?
Answering these questions helps determine who is going to read your content, as well as why they should choose your product or service over that of your competitors.
Segment Your Contacts
Why is segmenting so important? Research from HubSpot suggests targeted emails received 62 percent more clicks than non-segmented ones.
If you’re in the B2B community, you should segment by:
Type of company
Alternatively, you can choose to segment by role: function, seniority, department.
If you’re selling directly to the consumer, use that marketing intelligence. Social media data and SEO search terms will help you segment your contact list. Remember, your email list naturally decays by about 25 percent each year, according to HubSpot, so continually pursue campaigns to keep it fresh and to add subscribers.
Pick the Right Time to Click ‘Send’
Timing is everything, and email marketing is no exception. Sending the right content at the right time is a matter of finding the opportune spot in your targeted buyer’s journey. Here are some examples:
In the awareness stage, you’re nurturing leads. Let potential customers see the value in your product or services with free tools, eBooks, videos or SlideShares.
If a potential customer is already familiar with your brand, you need to let them know what makes you better than the competition. Add links in your emails to white papers, webinars, case studies, or reviews from third parties.
Why should a customer choose you, for the first time or once again? Offer free trial information, demos, price quotes or ROI reports.
Turn that Lead into a Customer
Lead nurturing is simple: It’s the process by which you cultivate a relationship with a potential customer so they’ll choose you when they’re ready. According to data from HubSpot, nearly three-fourths of B2B leads aren’t sales ready. Most of your prospects require nurturing, so create emails that add value.
The Importance of Mobile
If your email marketing campaign isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re far behind the curve. A 2015 survey by BlueHornet (source since removed) found emails that aren’t optimized for mobile will fail: More than 80 percent of recipients hit delete, and another 30 percent unsubscribe.
On the other hand, 63 percent of consumers report more interest in buying a product when it looks good on their mobile device.
Since 2011, the number of email opens on mobile devices has increased by 30 percent. In fact, nearly 60 percent of adults report checking their email first thing in the morning – in bed, or over a cup of coffee.
We no longer live in a world where we sit down at our desktop to read through emails. Everything we do is on the run, so emails must be optimized for mobile and easy to digest.
Video and Images Improve Click Rates
Consumers are more likely to interact with emails that contain images and video. According to Emma Email Marketing, adding a video can increase your click rate by 300 percent. While 35 percent of users report they prefer text in their emails, the majority (65 percent) state they prefer emails to contain mostly images. Therefore, make your emails all the more attractive by including one or both of these elements.
Personalization Is the Watchword
Want to get a prospect to open your email? The key is personalization. Consumers expect to be referred to by their first names: It shows a brand knows exactly who they are. It also helps if you send an email from a real person, not a general company name.
Research shows that personalization can help improve click rates by 26 percent. Consumers also expect to receive personalized content. It’s what makes segmentation so important.
Campaign Monitor reports that almost 75 percent of consumers feel frustrated when they receive content that doesn’t appear to be relevant to their interests. This is why three-fourths of all enterprises invested in personalized messaging in 2015. Also, personalization can reportedly lead to a 760 percent increase in ROI.
Email Isn’t Dead
Email is, and should continue to be, an essential part of your inbound marketing strategy. The right personalized email turns prospects into leads, and leads into customers.
Successful email campaigns address the right audience at the right time in their buying journey. Optimizing for mobile, as we’ve seen, can also make the difference between a sale and a deletion.
Don’t underestimate the power of email in your marketing campaign. While social media is important for creating brand awareness, emails net paying customers.
Not sure where to begin? Eminent SEO can help you with your email marketing strategy and content. Click to learn more about our Email Marketing Services.
We’ve all probably done it: sent an email that we’ve like to have back. Whether it’s because we hit “reply all” on accident or wrote some things in the heat of the moment that we regret soon after, many emails have reached the wrong eyeballs since the advent of the online service.
Google has been working to give people a way out of a regrettable email send, and this week it became a reality for all Gmail users. Several news outlets reported that Gmail’s “Undo Send” has become an official feature of the web mailing service. NDTV Gadgets pointed out that the feature actually was announced six years ago, but that it was parked under the Labs section of Gmail, meaning Google employees had been testing it out but weren’t ready to promote it to the “General” section under Settings.
Where to Find Gmail’s ‘Undo Send’
You can find the “Undo Send” feature in the browser version of Gmail by pressing on the sprocket in the upper right-hand corner and clicking on Settings. “Undo Send” is the 10th item down on the list, and you’re going to have to click a box to enable it. From there, you can choose a buffer window of anywhere between 5 and 30 seconds before each email is officially shipped off. After you’ve sent an email and if you want to cancel it, you’ll see an option popping up on the screen asking you if you’d like to undo your latest outgoing message.
Now, you not able to pull an email out of a recipient’s inbox once it’s been delivered, but with the “Undo Send” feature enabled, you are able to give yourself a second chance to really think about whether the email should be sent in the first place and if you sent it to the right people. If only this feature were more pervasive years ago, then we wouldn’t have such reason to laugh about the erroneous “reply all” send, as was the subject of this memorable commercial that ran during the Super Bowl in 2011.
Why the ‘Undo Send’ Feature is Significant
Gmail is undoubtedly a leader in the world of free email services. Gmail leapfrogged Hotmail in 2012 for the most active monthly users among email providers, and the Google creation hasn’t looked back since. Hotmail, however, still has a slight lead for the most people worldwide searching for it, as Tech Times reported last September. Nonetheless, the industry looks to Gmail when it comes to email features, and with the “Undo Send” option’s rise to prominence, you can bet other email services are going to follow suit.
It’s worth noting that the office worker seen in the Bridgestone Tires commercial above was likely using an email service like Microsoft Outlook to send out the email in question. If only there were a way to recall it, huh? But, wait, Microsoft Outlook does have a similar, yet more roundabout way to rescind emails: You have to basically set up a delay period on all of your outgoing messages, and then you can go into your outbox and trash any email that you don’t want to be delivered. HowToGeek.com pointed out a long-winded way to set up the defer option in Outlook 2010, which will work similarly in the 2013 version. Even so, Outlook’s defer option is a far cry from the ease of Gmail’s “Undo Send” feature.
Even though “Undo Send” feels like it should have been around at least a decade ago – on any halfway decent email provider – there’s still a ways to go before the function is mainstream. Hopefully, other services will follow Gmail’s lead and implement their own easy-to-use versions of the feature, and then we’ll all have a second chance to undo any damage done by pressing “reply all” accidentally.
Do you have any funny stories about instantly regretting sending an email? Let us know in the comments below.
“The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%.” (Source)
So, now that opens up the question of why businesses only want their marketing budget spent on acquiring NEW customers. Why not focus a portion of your marketing spend to nurture your existing customers? Every business should focus at least a portion of their marketing budget to have former/existing customers become second, third, or even ongoing buyers of their product or service.
Email marketing and social media work together to create effective return customers when done right. If you have already accumulated a good amount of customers over the years and kept their information – you have the ability to reach out to those same customers in the hopes that they will buy from you again.. Staying in front of your customers is extremely important and showing them appreciation for being a customer is equally important. Here’s how to utilize these two marketing techniques to increase those repeat customers:
Stay in Front of Your Customers with Social Media
Social media can be a great way to connect with your audience and customers on a regular basis. By telling your story and giving out exclusive offers you will keep your audience, as well as past customers, influenced by your brand. Here’s how to have your customers think of your business first when they need a product or service you offer again:
Make Sure Your Customers Know You Have a Social Presence
To do this, you can put social links in your email signature. Maybe even send out a welcome email or regular newsletter to encourage them to follow your business on social media. A little blurb about exclusive deals and offers isn’t a bad idea here.
Establish Trust with Your Social Followers
You don’t want to spam your audience with a million offers a week. You want to strategically build trust which then helps build your overall brand. Building trust can be done by sharing company achievements/awards, employee stories and pictures, and useful information for your customers, such as industry news.
Promote Your Lead Generating Resources
This means landing pages that will capture customer data. If you see the same customer wanting to learn more information, they may be interested in purchasing a second time. Encourage this by sending them a follow up email asking them if they need any help. Don’t forget to thank them again for being a valued customer.
Nurture Customers with Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most effective techniques for generating repeat business with an extremely high ROI. According to Experian, for every $1 spent approximately $44.25 is the average return on investment. Talk about generating repeat business on a budget! Definitely doable with email marketing.
Email marketing is the gateway to nurturing those past customers into becoming on-going or repeat customers with personalization techniques. Personalizing your emails makes customers feel all warm and fuzzy inside because they feel they’re personally valued. Win, Win
Create Separate Email List for Previous Customers
The best way to mass-target your former customers is by separating out your email lists. This way you can personalize your emails and specifically thank former clients for being a customer! While thanking them, link to some featured products or services. You want to push for that second purchase and remind them why they chose to purchase from you in the first place.
Try to Accumulate Customer Data
I know it can be hard to do this part, but try. If you have information such as product purchase date, birthdays, etc. you can send anniversary style emails, such as the anniversary of when they first purchased from you. Did you follow up and ask for a review or testimonials? This is a great time to do so to get some useful feedback. Also, birthdays are a great time to email your customer and send a Happy Birthday card with a special discount. This will get them into your store and they may possibly order more products from you with their exclusive discount code.
Personalize Your Subject Lines
If you’re targeting a former customer, personalize it in the subject line with their name. This increases the chances of your email being opened by roughly 22%. Or, use other compelling text, such as “We Miss You, So We Have a Special Offer for You!” This can be tested, just try various compelling subject lines and track which ones get the best open rates.
Monitor the Behavior of Your Customer Email List Carefully
In order for you to understand what type of content is valuable to your customers, you should be monitoring their behavior through your email campaign tools and your website analytics. Is the content you’re sending them providing them value? In order to tell, look and see if they’ve clicked on links to specific landing pages in your analytics. How long did they stay on that page? What’s the bounce rate look like? Those are some valuable key performance indicators that will help you to know if your content is gaining the attention of your users.
Another key indicator you can use is the data of your past customers, for example look to see when the last time they purchased from you was. For past customers that haven’t purchased from you in over 3 months, send them an email blast with an exclusive offer. Monitor the conversion rates for this to see if your offer was valuable. If so, make this a primary campaign you can utilize every 3 months for past customers to get them back in the door.
As you can see, both social media and email marketing are great ways to generate repeat business. You need the social media to stay in front of your customers, but you need the email marketing to nurture those customers and turn them into repeat customers. Building a trusted relationship is the goal with both marketing techniques. Former customers trust your business more when they have a memorable experience and feel valued. On-going customer communication also encourages your former or current customers to become public supporters of your brand and recommend your product or service to their friends on social media – opening even more doors for an expanding customer base.
John Wanamaker came up with one of the greatest business quotes ever in my opinion, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Back in the day there were only a few big advertising methods, print/newspapers, TV, radio and catalogues or direct mail.
While receiving a Montgomery Ward or Sears Catalog was not the sexiest form of advertising they were one of the early adopters of “direct response media.” Eventually these catalog type of operations transformed into direct mail and direct response marketing, mostly through print.
Over the decades however direct response media has certainly grown and expanded in to other types of media especially the internet and all things electronic like e-mail. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why direct mail eventually surpassed TV in media dollars spent on advertising, it surpassed it because it is measurable on a much more granular level than TV. You can customize the “media” to individual consumers, 1:1 marketing.
With multiple different measurement points or multiple variables (think multivariate testing) we can finely tune the offer, finely tune the customer profile who we are sending the offer to, finely tune the tracking of the responses and when we do this we can ultimately know what works and what does not work.
Knowing what our customers like and don’t like allow us to determine where we need to spend our advertising dollars. Like Wanamaker implied, he wanted to spend his advertising dollars on the half that generated the results for him.
If you are reading this you are probably familiar with cookies and website tracking with unique visitors, basically we know who you are and where you have been…..but we don’t know who you are when you visit us from a website search query for the first time. We have to take a few guesses and ask the user to register on the site or sign up for our newsletter or take some other specific form of unique identifier direct response trackable action.
Sprint.com is taking direct response media to a whole new level by asking the user who they are by category before they enter the site. Actually when they enter the site they are entering 4 different customized sites, 1 for each type of visitor:
Just Browsing Sprint.com
The opening message says: “Welcome let us know a little bit more about you so we can help you better.”
This is direct response media on steroids. There is not a better opening to a business….period. The guy who wrote this is nothing short of genius. Tell us who you are (which gives the business the ability to direct target the customer or non-customer and whether they are personal or business) and oh by the way it is for YOUR (customer) benefit if you tell us who you are.
In this Sprint.com example it only shows the “on-page” direct response example but there are literally dozens of other direct response opportunities that they can deploy after the users come into the website. As a direct response website consultant I would make sure that they are collecting e-mail addresses for continuity programs. I would make sure they get their cell phone numbers for SMS Text promotions. I would add a drip campaign sequence to collect all of their unique identification information so we can consistently provide them with multi-channel communications. This about adding them as fans to Facebook and followers on Twitter the points of contact are endless.