Tag Archives: Marketing Strategy

To App or Not to App: Should You Put More Resources into a Mobile Site or Mobile App?

Mobile Site Or Mobile App - Eminent SEO

“There’s an app for that.”

There’s an app for almost anything now. And this might be a problem.

If your business is ready to ramp up its online and mobile marketing, it may be enticing to jump into the app game. But, before you do that, let’s temper that excitement a bit and take a hard look at exactly the market you’d be getting into.

Smartphone usage continues to climb, but the app craze of the early 2010s appears to have died down to an extent. That’s not to say smartphone users aren’t still loading up their hard drives with apps and that some businesses aren’t excelling on the app front, but your company should be cautious before making the leap into the marketplace.

An alternative to entering the app field is to upgrade your existing website’s mobile experience. In a recent blog post, we explained the rationale and logistics of making a website mobile-friendly. Now, we’ll look at what’s worth more of your time and resources in 2016: a mobile app or your mobile site?

The Mobile Web Landscape

Mobile traffic and search queries began overtaking their desktop counterparts in 2014. It’s worth noting that desktop traffic continuously grew from 1990 to about 2010 and has since leveled off, although it remains consistent.

So, while internet usage via desktop has remained steady over the last few years, mobile web traffic is on a meteoric rise. When comparing mobile web browser traffic to app traffic, mobile websites are seeing more than 2 times the number of unique visitors, according to a 2015 Morgan Stanley report.

However, loyalties to mobile websites aren’t as strong as they are for apps, and that’s both a good and a bad thing for the mobile internet. Smartphone users spend a great amount of time in their apps – 87 percent of their total time on a smartphone, to be exact, according to a 2015 comScore report. This means individual sessions in an app are usually much, much longer than they are on a specific mobile website.

The Mobile App Landscape

Phone Apps - Eminent SEOAlthough mobile apps comprise most of the time we spend on our smartphones, a majority of users aren’t just seeking out the latest and freshest apps to download. Here are some sobering facts to keep in mind as you consider jumping into the app market:

  • Separate reports from Forrester Research and Nielsen over the last couple of years have found that while smartphone owners use an average of about 25 different apps each month, only their top five apps (which differs by person) are getting a lot of love – more than 80 percent of a user’s total time in any app, in fact.
  • As of late 2014, according to Forrester Research, users spent a disproportionately high amount of time in the five following apps: Facebook, YouTube, Maps, Pandora and Gmail. You may have noticed that Google owns three of those properties.
  • The app market is only seeing serious download activity from the top 7 percent of all smartphone owners who download and use apps. This small demographic of serial app downloaders is actually responsible for 50 percent of all download activities.
  • A strong majority (65.5 percent) of smartphone users don’t download a single app over the course of a month, according to a 2014 comScore report. Of those who do make a download within a month’s time, most are only adding 1-3 apps in that span.
  • According to Forrester, social media and communication (WhatsApp, etc.) apps consume 21 percent of all smartphone minutes, not counting phone calls and text messaging. Gaming, streaming video, news, weather, music and sports apps also take up large chunks of smartphone owners’ time.
  • Apps tend to keep much of their traffic contained. This means that smartphone users are generally more hesitant to click a link and leave an app than they would be when on a mobile site, or even the desktop version of a site.

Analyzing Mobile Apps vs. The Mobile Web

You may have seen that apps beat the mobile web by a landslide when it comes to what takes up a user’s time on a smartphone. However, you also learned that mobile websites see much more traffic as a whole than apps do.

There is a quasi-monopoly on the app market. Google and Facebook mobile programs are dominating the competition. Other apps have found success, but they don’t account for nearly the amount of usage that Google and Facebook properties do.

On the other hand, the mobile web seems to be fostering healthier competition. Mobile web users appear to spread their attention over a wider range of properties, and they’re more likely to find a site they’ve never visited before.

Mobile web looks like the clear winner here going forward, but before we discuss how you can get a leg up on the competition with your mobile website, let’s look at a couple of cases where an app might still be worth your time.

Where a Mobile App Would Make Sense

If you run a small local business or a B2B type of company, putting your money and time into an app this year will likely be a waste of resources.

However, for certain businesses, a mobile app could be a great way to extend the experience for someone who has interacted with the company before. This means that the individual has walked into your store or is well acquainted with your website.

A mobile app could enhance the experience a customer has already had with your business. For example, many sandwich and coffee shops have moved from punch cards to an online app when tracking customers’ visits. It’s a sensible upgrade, and very helpful to the customer, when done right.

Schlotzsky’s Lotz4Me app records how many sandwiches you have eaten until you’ve earned a free one, and you can use the app to see the sandwich chain’s menu and all locations.

Schlotzskys Lotz4Me - Eminent SEO

The app also features company news and offers, some of which can get pushed to alert your phone. Mobile websites lack the latter capability. As you might imagine, some of the information from the company’s website (locations, menu and even news) has been repurposed to fit in the app, but it all helps build a better experience than simply seeing how close you are to a free sandwich.

Apps such as these are a logical extension of a business’s normal offerings, whether they usually take place online or face-to-face. A supplemental asset like this helps lead to more purchases down the road, while also building more loyalty to and appreciation of the specific company.

The national sandwich chain example might not be the best one if you own a restaurant or other type of local business with only one physical location. Asking your customers to download an app when you only have one locale might be a stretch, but perhaps you now have a few ideas on what makes for an effective app for the average business.

SaaS Success

It’s worth mentioning that software as a service (SaaS) companies can excel on the app platform, too. If they can get their product in an app form to work as well as their desktop version, then it’s a win for them and their customers. Even so, you’ll notice that this situation still only applies to users who have had prior experience with the company behind the app.

Apps aren’t generally a great way for an existing brand to grow its audience. Users either download your app because they’ve done business with you in some other setting, or they just never even find out or care about your app. The average smartphone user isn’t scrolling through Google Play or the App Store just looking for another app to download. Many have phone storage limitations to worry about, anyway.

If you do go the app route, you may not put up Facebook- or Google-like numbers, but you can still find success on the platform if you’re able to create a worthwhile experience – one that differs from your website – for your existing customer base.

Making Your Mobile Site Competitive

Eminent SEO Mobile ScreenshotCreating a mobile app only works in specific circumstances, so if those conditions don’t apply to your business, take the resources you were going to put into an app this year and direct them toward your website.

This starts with infusing your website with responsive design. How to test your site’s responsiveness and how to get started on making it mobile-friendly were previously covered in one of our recent blog posts. See here.

Having a mobile-friendly site helps with search engine rankings, and it helps you better compete on the mobile web, where many big opportunities await. From there, it’s all about employing the best SEO practices and keeping your site replenished with plenty of appetizing, worthwhile content.

Instead of spending time having a developer create an app, go back and evaluate how your site looks and functions on various screen sizes. What needs to be present? What can be condensed or hidden? Your content team should get together with your developer and make sure your site is providing the best possible user experience on devices of all sizes.

And finally, your site’s pages need to load fast. Even a 2-second delay can make all the difference between a bounce from your site and a conversion. Google’s PageSpeed Insights will let you know if any pages on your site load slowly and what you can do to speed them up.

Google PageSpeed Insights - ESEO

Speeding Up Your Website

Here are some quick steps you can take to get your website running more smoothly and quickly, especially on mobile devices:

  • Reduce scripts and move them to the bottom of the page.
  • Mitigate the number of plugins your site utilizes. Deactivate and delete any plugins you no longer need.
  • Compress entire pages with tools like Gzip.
  • Enable browser caching, which benefits return visitors.
  • Crop your images to the exact size they’ll be displayed in a desktop browser. Remove any image comments in the file. Reduce the color depth of all images to 150 dpi or lower. Never use BMP or TIFF files.
  • Make sure you don’t have pages using more than one external CSS style sheet. To see if you have more than one external style sheet on any given page, use this tool.
  • If you have any elements that load slowly but are must-haves, consider moving them well below the fold, so at least the top of the page loads quickly.

Conclusion

Although Google has begun indexing content from mobile apps  meaning it can show up in the search results, mobile web still appears to be the clear winner when it comes to where you should invest your marketing dollars in 2016. It behooves you to put your focus into competing on the mobile SERPs (search engine results pages) rather than in the App Store or Google Play.

If users aren’t as loyal to individual websites as they are to their top five apps, that means there’s a good chance they’ll eventually turn their attention to your site and see what you have to offer them. You’ll have a better chance on that front than you will with trying to woo new customers in the app marketplace.

There are some instances where an app makes sense, as mentioned earlier, but in most cases, mobile web appears to be the way to go.

To get help from a team that can make your website mobile-friendly and more competitive in the world of mobile search, talk to the Eminent SEO team. Just call 800.871.4130.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

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Top 7 SEO Tricks and Lessons We Learned as a Team in 2015

What We Learned In SEO In 2015 - ESEO

New Year’s Day has come and gone, and the month of January has almost disappeared before our eyes here at the offices of Eminent SEO. But, before we preview digital marketing and SEO developments to look out for in 2016 on our blog, I want to take a look back at the skills we picked up and the lessons we learned as a team last year.

Google hardly stayed static in 2015, so we had to consistently adjust to keep up at every turn. Therefore, at the end of 2015, the strategies we employed and our methods of execution on behalf of our clients were quite different than they were a year prior. The evolution of Eminent SEO was even further showcased in 2015 by our expansion as a team and ensuing move into a larger office space.

After doing a quick survey around the office, I’ve arrived at the top seven SEO tricks, skills, lessons, etc. we learned in 2015 (in no particular order), along with an explanation of how each item made us stronger as a team and better benefited our beloved clients:

1. Local Search Optimization

We found local search rankings to be increasingly important in 2015, especially considering the nature of our clients. Google now localizes search for most users anyway, so it’s best to pay attention to what residents in a target market are searching. Even businesses with a national audience should still make sure their online local info is in order. What this entails is clearing up any inconsistencies with a business’s name, address and phone number across all online listings, as well as creating more listings in local and even national online directories.

In some cases, we would even use pay-per-click campaigns to test keywords in a client’s geographic area to see what’s working. Once we figured out the answer, we would implement that keyword onto the client’s site as part of their longer-term organic marketing strategy.

To learn more about how to dominate local search, see this blog post we published last May.

2. Adding Schema Markup

Related to local search optimization is adding schema markup to a website. This has to do with code that doesn’t show up on the front end of a website but that tells Google precise data that could show up in the local map or even in the “knowledge graph” of the search engine.

Schema markup helps with local search by telling Google exactly where your business is on the map. This means that if a user searches for a certain product or type of service and uses the map to find businesses in their area, your company’s name and location could show up because you fed Google the right information.

Eminent SEO Google Map

Not only can you get the company’s logo or a custom photo to show up in Google Maps, but you can also use schema to tell the search engine exactly what kind of business you are. When you take out the guesswork for Google, it will know where to rank you in organic search better and when to show your location on the map for certain search terms.

3. Tailoring User Experience to Search

In 2015, we gained a better understanding of what engages users on a website, so we tailored our content delivery accordingly. We fine-tuned our landing page optimization practices by thinking like a consumer would when finding our clients’ content in search and clicking through.

We realized that if we could build content around what users are expecting to see and learn after landing on one of our clients’ pages from search, then we could keep them on the page and site longer. These “long clicks” routinely elicit better search results and higher chances of making a conversion.

4. Better Storytelling

Online storytelling became a big trend among marketers in 2015, and we started incorporating it on behalf of our clients for better engagement. This manifested in the forms of video and other interactive content, some of it coming from the use of newer digital tools.

Basically, if you’re a B2B company or a no-frills B2C entity, you should do more than continually make a sales pitch online. You’ve got to offer content that users find personally valuable and that costs them nothing, whether it’s entertaining or informative.

Storytelling in all its forms helps accomplish this. To learn about some tools that will help you boost your online storytelling efforts, see this recent blog post.

5. Marketing to Millennials

Last year, most businesses stopped deriding millennials and decided to center their marketing efforts on this group instead. Millennials are poised to become the top age group online, and they make up a good chunk of the workforce now. They also boast considerable buying power, especially since the economy is getting better and more of them are finding viable jobs.

Advertisers understand that the later you get in life, the more loyal you will be to certain brands and products. Millennials aren’t generally as set in their ways, so they’re usually more easily persuaded into buying from a brand they haven’t tried before.

In 2015, our team started focusing more of our efforts on appealing to millennials, whether on clients’ social profiles or websites. Undoubtedly, we’ll keep this initiative going in 2016.

6. Quality over Quantity

You’re probably seeing the title of this header and asking, “Quality over quantity in what area?” The answer is in many areas. We found that one quality backlink from a highly authoritative website can do more for a client’s search rankings than a bunch of backlinks from mediocre sites.

Likewise, one rock-solid page that summarizes a number of a client’s services can often generate more traffic than breaking the services down into individual pages. Also, writing one great, in-depth blog post will usually do better than separating some of the ideas into their own smaller posts. One outstanding social media post can often gain more likes, shares, comments, etc. than a dozen or so run-of-the-mill posts combined. You get the idea.

A stronger commitment to quality over quantity is why we’ve introduced new services like Authority Content Marketing (evergreen, in-depth content that’s designed to earn shares and backlinks). It’s also why we’ve placed a newfound focus on each of our client’s website architecture, including how each site’s navigation makes for a better user experience.

7. Clearer, Customized Reporting

Custom Reporting - Eminent SEOA client won’t stick around forever if we can’t provide proof that their website is moving them in the right direction, or if they don’t understand the numbers we’re reporting to them. We’ve always done full monthly reporting for all of our clients, but it used to be somewhat of a one-size-fits-all approach.

Last year, we realized that reporting that way doesn’t work for all clients. This is why we introduced customized, more in-depth monthly reports. Each industry is going to call for a different type of report because their goals are different, and the way their potential customers search is different. Many of our clients gauge success by the number of phone leads their website has generated, but others measure conversions by the number of online shopping cart sales, such as in the case of ecommerce clients.

In almost all cases, we had positive news to report monthly to our clients, but some of them had trouble seeing that because of the way we framed the data. Therefore, we’ve customized our reporting methods by client, collecting the right data for long-term success.

Looking Ahead Through 2016

Now that we’ve recapped what we learned last year, here are some marketing trends we’re keeping our eyes on in 2016:

  • Video and video ads will evolve dramatically, such as a shift toward the vertical format, which works better with today’s heavy smartphone usage.
  • Google will continue to index more content from mobile apps, so more companies might jump into that arena.
  • Mobile traffic will take over and dominate desktop.
  • Virtual reality will continue to emerge.
  • Wearable technology will pave new ground.
  • Google will continue to de-value thin content and place stronger emphasis on high-quality backlinks.

If you’re looking to stay on top of the ever-evolving standards for digital content and search engine optimization, Eminent SEO is ready to help keep your business ahead of the competition. Whether you need a whole new website or just more compelling content, Eminent SEO has a full range of services for your digital needs, with custom monthly reporting available to tell you which of your online assets are making progress.

We’ll take all we’ve learned in 2015 and apply it for the benefit of your company. Just call 800.871.4130 today to learn more and get started.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

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How to Market During the Holidays: 2015 Edition

Market During The Holidays - Eminent SEO

If your company is going about its marketing efforts this holiday season in the same manner as it does the rest of the year, you’re doing it wrong. Not only are shoppers in a frenzy searching for presents for loved ones, but there are several days during the season that are designed to encourage consumers to open up their wallets.

If you’re the owner of a business or at the helm of a marketing team, you’re about to receive several ideas on how to tap into the holiday spending craze and make your company’s products or services stand out. Before we get to those suggestions, let’s rewind a bit and take a look at just how big the holiday season is when it comes to how much money is being tossed around.

Looking Back at the 2014 and Previous Holiday Seasons

Marketing and retail experts now consider the holiday shopping season to stretch from before Halloween to after New Year’s Day. In fact, an estimated 30 percent of shoppers begin their search for holiday presents before Halloween. However, when it comes to measuring retail dollars during the holiday season, the standard window is from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31.

Analytics firm comScore has been keeping a very close eye on U.S. holiday spending in recent years. In 2014, comScore found the total amount in retail sales during November and December was $838.9 billion, about 3.5 percent growth over the previous holiday season. Shoppers are expected to drop $885.7 billion during 2015’s holiday season, which would be a jump of about 5.7 percent from the same time frame in 2014.

Holiday Transactions via Desktop

To the surprise of almost no one, online sales are on the rise during the holiday season – although transactions at brick-and-mortar stores are still significant. In 2014, consumers spent just under $70 billion online during the holiday season. That was up almost $10 billion over the holiday period in 2013.

Shoppers used their home or work desktop computers to spend $53.3 billion during the 2014 holiday season.

The following chart illustrates the steady growth in desktop holiday transactions since 2010:

When you look at the hottest days for holiday purchases via desktop in 2014, all but one of the top 10 days fell in December. Cyber Monday won the individual day battle for the fifth straight year, according to comScore. The day after Cyber Monday (sometimes called Cyber Tuesday) came in second. Black Friday finished in just fourth place, one spot behind Green Monday (a term coined by eBay for a day that is one week after Cyber Monday).

The 2015 holiday season will have a bit of a wrinkle, however. As two of the hottest online shopping days should fall in November. Cyber Monday lands on Nov. 30 this year, with Black Friday coming on Nov. 27.

Mobile Holiday Season Sales

As you’re probably well aware, consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with making a purchase with just a couple of button presses on their mobile devices. According to an IBM report, mobiles sales constituted more than 22 percent of all online transactions during the holiday season in 2014. That was a jump of about 27 percent over the 2013 holiday period. Mobile holiday season sales are projected to surpass $36 billion in 2015 and skyrocket to more than $60 billion by 2019.

As you can see, it is ever so critical to make sure your business’s website is mobile-friendly. Every online asset that belongs to your company needs to be optimized for mobile. If some assets aren’t, you need to get somebody on the job, pronto. Don’t let your website sit with clunky mobile navigation and slow-loading pages this holiday season. That will ensure you miss out on your proper share of the billions of dollars that get poured into online purchases this time of the year.

Your Holiday Season Marketing Strategy

Now’s the time to bring your holiday-themed products to the forefront. If you don’t have any holiday-themed items, dig into your numbers and see which types of products or services tended to be more popular last holiday season. People are ready to spend money this time of the year, so you and your team have to prepare a consistent blitz on every channel available to you, including social media, email, digital ads and more.

Shoppers love specials, so now’s the time to mark down prices of your some of your products or services, and then you have to let online users know about it. At the very least, plan to slash some of your prices on the major spending days, such as Cyber Monday and Black Friday. You should have all promotions for those two days pinpointed at least the week before Black Friday, and be ready to send midnight emails on the day of those two shopping holidays. It’s also helpful to tease your promotions with an email or two starting exactly one week before Black Friday.

As for your website, you should benefit greatly from creating a dedicated landing page of holiday content, including the items that either pertain to the holidays or are going to be on discount during this time. You also might want to consider adding site-wide holiday design accents to show your celebration of the season, with sidebar or horizontal banners that take your visitors to either your holiday landing page or certain holiday-themed products or services. You may even want add holiday language to the meta data of certain pages on your site, specifically the ones of products or services that you’re really pushing during the season.

‘Tis the Season to not be Stingy

Shoppers are dropping some big bucks during the holiday season, so your business should too as you market during the holidays, especially if you’re trying to reel in some of those ready-to-spend consumers. Even if you’re not one to throw money at Facebook and Twitter ads, you’re definitely going to want to try it on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and perhaps a few of the other top shopping days listed above. Make it clear what good or service you have on special, and be sure to stress the urgency of the promotion.

If you want to go even further, set up pay-per-click campaigns through Google AdWords that lead to certain pages on your website (especially if you’ve created a holiday landing page). Banner display ads are also worth exploring, particularly if you have a talented graphic designer on staff who can deliver creatives that pertain to specific promotions you’re running during the season.

But What if I’m a Service Company?

If your company doesn’t offer tangible products and instead provides business-to-business and/or business-to-consumer services, it’s still possible to tap into the holiday shopping craze, even if you don’t have any offerings that directly apply to the season. If you’ve analyzed your sales over last year’s holiday season and even the ones before that, then you should arrive at a specific set of services that you want to feature and even mark down this time around.

Consider offering a gift card (even if it’s digital only) on your website. Even if a few of your website visitors during the holiday season decide they don’t need your services, they may have someone in mind that does. Thus, a gift card will come in handy. You may also want to look into going through an eCommerce marketplace like Groupon in order to offer one of your targeted services at an enticing rate to a large audience of consumers. On the days of the major shopping bursts, you obviously don’t have to promise your services on the same day, but you can lock in customers at a discounted rate for service you’ll provide later.

As a service provider, you might have to be a little more creative than retail stores and eCommerce sites are during the holiday season, but there’s no reason why your sales can’t spike during these two months in comparison to the rest of year. A focused marketing effort will put your company on the path to holiday success.

Don’t Stop at Christmas

As mentioned before, the holiday season doesn’t really stop once Christmas Day passes. Keep up your marketing push not only through New Year’s Day, which falls on a Friday in 2016, but through the weekend that follows. Use social media and email to stress that time is running out on select goods and services at special holiday rates.

You now know the hottest holiday shopping days, and hopefully you now have some ideas in mind on how you draw consumers to your business this season. Ultimately, your marketing plan will succeed if you understand, “What products or services do I have that will appeal to buyers this holiday season,” and “How can I best direct attention to these offerings.” It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, but hopefully you’ll figure out which tactics work best for your business. Best of luck to you and your team on making this holiday season shine brightest of all!

Need Help?

Do the suggested steps to succeed during holidays seem outside of your team’s capabilities internally? Eminent SEO can help your company excel this holiday season through our wide range of digital services, including custom email and social media campaigns, website improvements, mobile upgrades, landing page creation and more.

To find out more or get started today, just call: 800.871.4130.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

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5 Signs of When to Stop or Redirect a Struggling Online Marketing Campaign

Struggling Online Marketing Campaign - Eminent SEO

Sometimes, the best-laid plans simply go awry.

This phenomenon is fairly common in the sometimes unpredictable world of marketing. Although businesses can measure most of their marketing efforts like never before, part of the process remains artful, especially in the planning stages.

Every marketing campaign comes with some degree of a chance for failure. Sometimes, the reasons why they failed are obvious. In other cases, the reasons are hard to pinpoint. The answer could be the campaign simply didn’t get a foothold in the public’s consciousness, whether due to timing or other external circumstances.

If your team is currently putting forth an online marketing campaign — such as pay-per-click, email or search engine optimization — here are five signs that it may be time to pull in the reins on the project, or at least hand over the responsibilities to an experienced marketing firm.

1. When You’ve Given it Sufficient Time

It takes a certain amount of patience with online marketing campaigns. Rarely are they fruitful right off the bat. You’ve got to give every piece of the campaign time to coalesce. In the case of SEO campaigns, for example, you may have to wait at least sixth months before you start seeing results.

Before you launch any online campaign, have a time-frame in mind for when you’ll draw down if the effort isn’t paying off. Once you hit that deadline, you should know if it’s worth letting the campaign play out for a little longer or if that’s when it’s time to call the troops home. Just be sure not to abort the mission before you’ve really given it enough time to show signs of success. By the same token, don’t be too proud to call a campaign off if it’s readily apparent that it’s just not going to provide the returns necessary to sustain itself.

2. When Your Adjustments Aren’t Moving the Needle

Even for campaigns that take longer to pay off, you should know fairly soon after launch if the effort is receiving some degree of reception and if it’s on track to succeed. You should know this because of the abundance of digital tools at your disposal to evaluate various aspects of the online campaign.

So, before giving up on the effort, try to make any necessary tweaks to the approach. For example, this could mean using different imagery or a different tone in the copy. Or, maybe you’re targeting the wrong keyword. Also, you can try doing A/B testing to see which variation is getting more traction. If you’ve made adjustments to the best of your ability but the campaign still isn’t significantly getting off the ground, that’s when there would be little shame in calling an end to the whole effort.

Before the campaign reaches the breaking point, you may want to give serious consideration to contacting a business-to-business marketing agency. Yes, it will be more money poured into the project, but the experts you hire should be able to turn the tide on the campaign, as they’ll likely have resources and expertise that goes beyond what you have internally. If you go this route, give the agency your full confidence and ask for frequent updates and key performance indicators.

3. When Your Execution Can’t Get any Better

Similar to making adjustments, if you and your team have all put forth their best efforts and the campaign is still floundering, then it may be time to throw up your hands and move on to the next project. Just make sure you’ve allowed sufficient time for each employee involved in the campaign to perform his or her relevant duties. You may even have to hire new talent internally for this initiative or delegate additional tasks to current employees after launch. If you’ve done all this and the online campaign is still in neutral, then there’s simply a problem with the campaign, and not necessarily with you or your staff. If you identified the issues early on but you and your team still can’t seem to get the campaign to break even, despite everybody’s best effort, this might be the point where you seek help from an outside marketing firm.

4. When You’re Consistently Seeing Negative ROI

One of the areas you want to keep your eye on throughout the campaign is the return on investment. Basically, is the amount of money you’re putting into the campaign equal to or less than what you’re seeing in sales and new customers?

It’s not uncommon to be in the red the first few weeks after launch. After all, investments are often expensive and are rarely recovered quickly. However, if the campaign has been active for several months and is consistently yielding negative ROI on measured intervals of your choosing, you should put a stop to it before it drains your business irreparably.

What if the campaign is in the black but falling well short of expectations? Keep it going, period. It may hugely pay off down the road. Even if it doesn’t, at least it’s eliciting a positive net ROI for your business. If this is happening with your online campaign and you’re still thinking about getting help from a marketing firm, a well-qualified team should be able to take what you have and provide a major boost, reaping sizable rewards for everyone involved.

5. When Other Strategies Are Succeeding

If you have other campaigns and business strategies in place that are succeeding, then it makes sense to ditch the one lagging behind. After all, why keep throwing good money after bad? Something to keep your head up about is if you have several other strategies that are “winning,” then it means your business model is solid. Unless you’ve created a PR nightmare for your company with an unsuccessful online campaign, then have no remorse about calling for an end to an initiative that isn’t working out. It happens to the best of companies.

Final Word

Just because one campaign falls short of the mark doesn’t mean your entire business is doomed. Maybe you patterned the online marketing campaign after what you saw another company do. However, what works for one business isn’t guaranteed for the next.

Don’t beat yourself up for one failed campaign. Collect yourself, get back to what you know your company does well, and build upon those strengths.

A Different Direction

If you have an online marketing campaign that is struggling but that you still think has a chance to thrive, you can turn to Eminent SEO for direction or to hand over the duties involved in the project. Our talented team has powered hundreds of successful online marketing campaigns (SEO, PPC, social media, link acquisition, and more) for clients all over the U.S., starting either from scratch or mid-campaign. We know how to address areas of need, plus we always provide full KPI (key performance indicators) reports to keep you in the loop on the latest results of the campaign. If you’re ready for help or you just want to learn more, call Eminent SEO today: 1-800-871-4130.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

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Understanding the Future of SEO: What to Expect in 2016 and Beyond

Understanding the Future of SEO

Search is an ever-changing landscape of different variables that quantify what makes a website strong enough to rank. As we approach the end of 2015, some of us may be wondering what to expect in 2016 for SEO. My team had the opportunity to attend the Pubcon event in Vegas recently, and I’m happy to share what we learned in terms of the future of SEO.

A lot of businesses owners are still behind the times and are really going to feel it this coming year. If your business has yet to implement a responsive design, semantic markup, and a website that speaks to users, now is the time to implement those things. Otherwise, wait and fail because the future of search isn’t about the older demographic, but millennials and how they’re buying.

Focus on Mobile or Fail

We need to start looking at mobile optimization first since mobile search has finally reached a tipping point and has surpassed desktop search. Because of that, there are now mobile-specified algorithms that focus on mobile location and providing fewer results to the mobile user, but more qualified results than ever before.

As business owners and marketers, mobile optimization strategies need to speak to the mobile audience. This encompasses mobile voice search, mobile website design, mobile apps, and mobile website usability.

Mobile Effect for the Future of SEO

Optimizing for Mobile Voice Search

Traditionally, websites have been optimized for important key phrases because that’s how users would use a search engine. Now, with mobile voice search services such as Siri and Google Voice, users are approaching search in a different way. Google’s Hummingbird update directly speaks to voice search users, which allows the search engines to interpret full questions.

Instead of only optimizing websites with important keywords, start thinking about your audience and what questions they may be asking when your product or service will provide the solution. Simply adding a FAQs section to your website that answers these questions with well-researched answers would help optimize the site for voice search.

Optimizing Mobile App Traffic Sources

Since millennials are using their phones for more than just texting and searching Google, we need to be forward thinking when it comes to how they are searching within other apps. Social apps alone are a huge data source for search. Think about Pinterest. Have you searched for recipes on Pinterest? It has become its very own search engine. Therefore, businesses need to be optimized on social apps as well.

Optimizing Your Website for Mobile Users

When designing and optimizing a website, mobile design needs to be the first thought, since it’s where the majority of your traffic is going to come from. If it hasn’t happened already, it inevitably will happen soon. Optimizing the following website considerations will help provide a better mobile user experience:

  • Optimize website speed times.
  • Javascript, CSS, and image files should not be blocked from search engines.
  • Use Schema.org structured data to enhance the rich snippets for mobile.
  • Prevent the usage of pop-ups.
  • DO NOT use any Flash, since mobile devices cannot read Flash.
  • Make sure buttons and navigation are designed for big, fat fingers.
  • Localize your footer with the correct Name, Address, and Phone Number for local search.
  • Make sure the content reads well on mobile by optimizing headers and calls to action.

Use Responsive Design

Responsive design allows your website to scale to fit all devices seamlessly. There are still certain tweaks that need to be made to make sure the content is optimized correctly for mobile, but the website is pretty much the same on mobile as desktop, whereas mobile-specific sites may only show mobile users selected areas of your website, not the entirety of the site.

Mobile Optimization

Include Schema Markup in Your On-Page SEO Strategy

Schema markup can enhance your presence in the search engine results by telling search engines exactly what your data means. When search engines understand what the data means, they can provide valuable rich snippets of your content right in the SERPs.

There are different schema markup types available for different content types, including: local, restaurants, products, reviews, recipes, ratings, events, articles, apps, and more. Implementing schema markup will help increase your website CTR, which can lead to higher rankings. We’ll talk more about that later. Take advantage of Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to determine what schema to use for your site.

Optimize Content for Long Clicks

A valuable metric which I’m sure is overlooked by many is the average time on site and whether a user is bouncing off a specific page right away. Long clicks influence rankings, which was once a speculation but now is reality, per Rand Fishkin at Pubcon.

Answering Your Users’ Direct Questions

This can be done by having an interactive website with user-engaging content that walks visitors through the funnel, page by page. This also goes back to optimizing for voice search. Having a solution to a problem will help keep visitors on your site and engaged with your content longer. Directly speaking to your audience with your content is CRUCIAL!

Social Platform Sharing and Headline Optimization

How else can long clicks be established besides from the search results? Social signals can also be a huge advocate for creating long clicks on your blog posts and website content offers. For so long, we’ve been focused on the amount of shares, when in reality, it’s the amount of long clicks your content receives from social that will be the breadwinner in achieving higher rankings for that article you spent so much time on.

To do this, your headlines must match your content and be straight to the point. That way, users aren’t surprised when they click on your article to find that it is completely irrelevant to the title, causing them to bounce off.

Storytelling with Your Content

Instead of writing some plain, boring product description, use storytelling to explain that specific product and how it can relate to your consumer. Ask yourself this, if your content was removed from the web, would anyone miss it?

Be Creative with Your Link Building Strategies

In a recent blog post, we spoke about how you can create valuable content that will increase backlinks. This is the future of link building and what every site needs to have in order for high quality sites to link back to you. Other ways to generate quality backlinks include:

  • Scraping competitor backlinks, sorting out low quality sites and going after high quality sites.
  • Crawling competitor sites to find broken links. Now look at the links pointing to that page and outreach to those sites with your page that’s not broken.
  • Discovering new sites by utilizing Twitter and other social platforms in your niche.
  • Creating infographics that speak to your audience and share them until they go viral. Once your infographic goes viral, you will see the backlinks increase.
  • Creating content on your site that speaks directly to a site you would like a link from.

Data, Data, Data: You Gotta Have It

The final important SEO factor for the future and now is accumulating as much data as you possibly can. At Pubcon, we learned that “data is the new oil.” It’s that important.

Data Capturing for Marketing

So, what kind of data should you be collecting? All of it.

Audience-Specific Data

Data-driven marketing starts with understanding the consumer and audience. Collecting this information up front is crucial to the content strategy, since you’ll want to know whether to tailor content to a specific gender, age group, geographic area, etc. Develop your ideal buyer persona based on current audience data, which can be collected from social platforms and Google Analytics.

Identify Patterns in Data Sets

Patterns tell a story with the data. There are different types of data that can provide different patterns. For example, when running a crawl report on your website, look for patterns in page types. Start by collecting the page data via crawl, identify footprints, and then sort/filter/pivot by page type. Page types can include: blog posts, archive pages, static pages, paginated comments, attachment pages, etc.

Once filtered, what do you see as the majority page type? If there’s a huge amount of a certain page type over all the other page types, chances are something is off technically with the site. You probably wouldn’t know that existed without identifying the pattern.

Other SEO patterns to be keep a lookout for may include:

  • On-page link to content ratios
  • Footer links with exact match keywords
  • Off-site anchor text exact match percentages
  • Duplicate pages and content

Use Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics

Understanding your audience can be two-fold: the buyer and the learner. In order to understand their separate ways of navigating through your site, you must use custom dimensions in Google Analytics. Once you’ve tagged a visitor as a buyer or learner, you will be able to identify patterns in how each user follows the funnel. This data is extremely important because you can better optimize for each audience, which will help increase your conversions.

Takeaways

In order to keep up with SEO, you must have these big factors in play. SEO is NOT dead, nor will it ever be dead. It’s just gotten a lot more complex. Basically if your website isn’t mobile friendly, has minimal content for users, and you’re not tracking your success, you will eventually fail. You can’t have a SEO plan without any of these factors in play. We’ll leave it with this closing quote from Pubcon:

“SEO success is adaptation. Data is critical to growth.” – Duane Forrester from Bing

If you’re overwhelmed by what goes into SEO today, don’t be. We are here to help. Give us a call.

Eminent SEO Max Swag Pubcon 2015

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That Lay Out The Foundation For Any Online Marketing

Lacey Chic

Account Manager at Eminent SEO - Passionate About Digital Marketing. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, and learning.

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The Differing Strategies of B2C and B2B Sales and Marketing

Differences Between B2B And B2C Companies - ESEO
A sale is a sale. You may have different ways of getting there, but as long as you make the intended sale, the means of getting there hardly matter, right?

Well, if you’d like to consistently make more of those sales, understanding your target market and the best strategies to employ are going to be imperative. First of all, are you hoping to sell a specific product or service to another business, or is your product for mass consumption? In other words, are you in a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) organization?

If you’re not sure, you’d better figure it out pretty quickly. But, you probably do know, so let’s get deeper into the differences between the two outlooks. Keep reading to find out how the strategies of B2B and B2C companies differ when it comes to marketing and ultimately making a sale.

The Target Markets of B2C and B2B Companies

B2B-oriented companies usually boast a specific offering or set of offerings, and, therefore, they tend to have a narrow, highly targeted audience. For example, a company that produces large medical machinery will likely target hospitals and perhaps some private practices. There’s no reason a business of this sort would market to individual consumers, who would have no need for these appliances at home.

B2C businesses, however, usually market to a large audience of individual consumers. While there are ways to home in on a more-focused audience, these companies generally have to market in a way that has mass appeal. Some companies design products with a specific end user in mind, while others churn out products that are really for anybody and everybody. Whichever type of business it is, it’s all about making that sale and keeping revenue coming in.

The Logical Vs. Emotional Appeal

Although B2B and B2C companies both want to offer a product that solves a customer’s problem, the paths they take to get there are often very dissimilar. When it comes to B2B sales, companies generally make a logical appeal to try to sell to other businesses. These organizations put more time into building relationships and providing educational resources, hoping those efforts will elicit a sale. B2B firms tend to offer products or services that are more complex and expensive than what B2C companies provide, but the former group must spend more time educating prospective clients how the product can help their business.

A prime example of how to market a B2B business is the social media agency Social Quant, which actually focuses exclusively on Twitter. Many businesses are on Twitter, but many businesses don’t know how to use Twitter, especially when it comes to building a high-quality following. That’s where Social Quant comes in.

The Twitter-focused agency doesn’t spend all of its time making a pitch for its services, though. Its blog posts and eBooks offer innumerable tips on how to use Twitter, which any user (business or individual) can benefit from. Ultimately, Social Quant is educating the public and building up a certain level of trust that will eventually lead to a few businesses inquiring about social media help. The company’s useful advice is available to anyone, but when it comes time to who’s going to pay their bills, it’s other businesses who have taken the relationship one step further.

Meanwhile, B2C businesses generally don’t spend as much time schmoozing a client and building a relationship prior to the initial sale. Instead, the marketing departments of B2C companies often make an emotional appeal to consumers, hoping that their products provide some kind of instant gratification to the buyer. Building a relationship in this case consists of offering a trustworthy product that consumers buy over and over, or on which they stock up at one time. B2C companies need to focus on providing great customer service, concise education and special deals so they can flourish and earn repeat business.

Check out the emotional appeal and attention-grabbing strategies at work in a commercial released earlier this year by a B2C company, Hefty.


Similar to Super Bowl commercials, the concept of this ad has just a faint connection to the product being peddled, but Hefty has successfully grabbed the viewer’s full attention while helping build brand recognition. They’re probably hoping that you’ll equate the quality of the commercial to the quality of their products. This type of ad should appeal to a wide age range, as well. Next time you’re in the grocery store, you may just opt to buy some Hefty plastic cups over those ubiquitous red Solo cups, and Hefty’s hilarious commercial may have something to do with it, overtly or subliminally.

Differing Sales Cycles

As a rule of thumb, B2C companies operate on a short sales cycle. They need to catch a consumer’s eye and perhaps provide a quick bit of education prior to the point of purchase. Additionally, if they want repeat buyers, they’d better offer a product that the customer enjoys. For example, if a company makes an all-natural food products that sits on a shelf in the store next to similar items, that company needs to have packaging and even some quick literature (such as, “Why is all-natural better?”) that piques the buyer’s interest. Most consumers make purchases from B2C-oriented companies every week, even daily, and many of them are made with little prior research, if not on a whim.

On the other hand, B2B organizations operate on a long sales cycle, sometimes taking several months before turning a lead into a sale. In these situations, businesses have to be vigilant in nurturing a relationship through the entirety of the sales cycle, building brand loyalty along the way. From initial engagement to the point of purchase, B2B companies need to continually educate and hold a lead’s interest, making sure the prospect doesn’t develop cold feet or disillusionment with the process prior to the final sell.

In Conclusion

No matter if you work in a B2B or B2C company, you must start to develop an idea on your ideal buyer, how long it typically takes to make the sale and what motivates the buyer to purchase from you. There is some crossover between the two types of companies, and some businesses do a little bit of both (selling to individual consumers and other businesses), but any organization ultimately will thrive if it understands its audience and figures out how to market to them accordingly. For any skilled marketer making a job move, the transition from a B2B firm to a B2C company (or vice-versa) probably shouldn’t be too difficult, but there certainly are separate techniques to master, and it’s best to know the differences ahead of time.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

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Why Your Website Needs a Custom Marketing Strategy

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Custom Marketing Strategy by Eminent SEO

Because of what we do, our team gets a lot of requests for prepackaged website solutions. We understand that individuals and companies looking for website marketing are often unsure of exactly what they need and how much it should cost, which is why it might seem like the best approach is to review existing packages and their pricing. However, we feel differently. Our issue with pre-made packages is they are cookie cutter and don’t necessarily work for everyone.

Here Are 5 Reasons Why Your Website Needs A Custom Marketing Strategy

1. Your Industry, Products, Services, Company and Geographical Locations Are Unique

Each industry is represented differently on-line. For example, some industries have a stronger online presence than others, causing unique levels of difficultly per vertical. The same can be said for specific products and services. If you happen to offer a nationwide service, such as website design, for example, you are going to be competing with a lot more websites than say someone who offers a local service like AC repair to only a few nearby cities.

Because there are so many unique variables in the make-up of your company, a custom approach to marketing is the only thing that makes sense. You don’t want to be underdoing it OR overdoing it. You need a professional marketer to assess your needs based off of how you are and who your competitors are so they can make a realistic suggestion for your needs specifically.

2. Your Website History Is Unique

Your current website and its online history plays a huge role in determining what your marketing approach should be. A new website, for example, is going to have to work a lot harder to build a foundation for organic marketing than an older, more established site.

A professional marketer should evaluate your website history, including things like: age of the domain, number of existing indexed pages, number of existing backlinks, current domain authority, website crawlability, etc. This ensures all important and existing foundational website elements are being considered when determining what type of marketing approach you should take.

3. Your Marketing History Is Unique

Similar to your website history, assessing your marketing history is equally important. If your website is old but you’re new to online marketing, you have to approach organic marketing like you are a new site. On the other hand, if you are an older site with a long history with organic marketing, you can be a lot more aggressive in your approach.

Before we create a custom marketing proposal for a new prospect we always look at their organic marketing history. We specifically look at things like: what methods of marketing you deployed previously, what you are currently doing to market your site/brand, what types of backlinks your website has (as well as how many and the associated anchor text used), what social platforms are in place that can be leveraged, etc. If we find something is wrong or done poorly we know we need to address those issues before we begin marketing, otherwise your marketing dollars might be spent in vain.

4. Your Budget Is Unique

Let’s face it, not everyone has the budget to do everything they need or want to do for their business. If you come in with a smaller budget but we determine your website needs more than you can afford in order to be successful, we aren’t going to simply sell you a package in your price range. That only sets you AND us up for failure.

Instead, skilled marketers should be able to assess everything that needs to be done and then, if budget is limited, prioritize the “to-do” list. We work with our clients to create short term and long term strategies in the form of monthly phases that allow us to work on the priority list one month at a time without blowing the budget.

5. Your In-house Team Is Unique

A website needs a lot of work in addition to the marketing in order to ensure continued visibility and conversions. For example, Google won’t value and rank a site that has server issues, duplicate or outdated content, broken links, etc. On that same note, users won’t trust your site if when they visit, the content is poorly written, the design is out of date, the pages take too long to load, etc.

If you already have a team in-house that manages the technical elements, writes content, manages social media, etc. then your custom strategy can be built with that in mind. However, if we find that your team can’t handle the website work or you simply don’t have the bandwidth or know-how to complete the work, we can build these important management and maintenance services into your custom proposal.

The Nutshell:

You, your business, your website, your products and services, your budget and your team are unique! Shouldn’t your website marketing strategies ALSO be unique?

Let us help you develop a custom approach to your organic marketing campaigns. We will get to know you, your business and specific needs and then, after auditing your website and marketing history, we can provide you with a solid plan that will produce a real ROI.

Is there any other way?

Learn more about our Custom Marketing Strategies here… or just pick up the phone and call us to get started: 800.871.4130.

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing work in 2005. I'm a {very} busy mom of 4 and 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 love coffee, wine, food and other people who enjoy the adventure of seeking out the best places to eat and drink. In my free time (what's that?) you'll most likely find me studying philosophy and spirituality, cooking for my family or relaxing with a nice glass of wine, a funny movie and the people I love.

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Inbound Marketing: The Most Effective B2B Marketing Solution

In order to continuing growing your B2B business, you need quality leads. Many businesses may be thinking “Yeah, if only it were that easy.” We’re with you on that. It’s not fast and it’s not easy. It takes a team of professionals who are proficient in the different areas of inbound marketing to really see results.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

inbound marketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inbound marketing, a coined phrase from HubSpot, is the process of attracting the right visitors, converting those visitors into qualified leads, nurturing those leads into customers, and retaining ongoing customers. In other words: Attract, Convert, Nurture, Delight.

Inbound marketing pulls customers into conversation via SEO, social media, blogging, and email marketing. Whereas the old techniques of marketing known as outbound marketing, interrupts customers into seeing your product or service. This comes in various forms including: TV ads, print materials, cold calling, pop up advertising, banner advertising, and more.

The Benefits of Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing for B2B Companies

I could go on about the benefits of inbound vs. outbound, but I’ll keep it straight to the point.

Benefit 1: Build Long-Term Relationships

business relationships

Your content is the face of your business with inbound marketing. It’s what attracts those potential customers to seeing your brand and website. Your content is also the piece that’s going to convert, nurture, and retain your customers. Content = communication.

Just because a potential buyer doesn’t immediately call to purchase your product or service, doesn’t mean they aren’t researching you. In most cases, businesses are going to research you before making initial contact. They will follow your social profiles, read your blogs, and hopefully sign up for your newsletter. To justify it, you need content to build these relationships and stay in front your prospects. They will think of your brand as a trusted resource if you’re pushing out quality stuff. That’s ultimately what builds business relationships today.

With the outbound marketing techniques, the goal isn’t to build relationships. The goal is to get the most visibility possible without keeping your ideal audience in mind. See how costs can add up quickly here? This leads us into the cost comparison.

Benefit 2: More Cost Effective

Per Hubspot, the average cost per lead is 61% lower with inbound marketing than outbound.

cost per lead

If you’ve ever done any form of advertising, you know how expensive it can be. But why spend all the money when you can create better results for less? That’s a question I’m sure a lot of marketers are asking their clients.

Benefit 3: Marketing Provides Value to the End Consumer

With B2B inbound marketing, the ideal way to getting those clients is by educating them. Showing them the value in your product or service through your content. This can be done with eBooks, white papers, webinars, and speaking conferences. The goal is to get your ideal client to understand your product or service and how it will directly benefit them as a consumer.

With outbound marketing, there isn’t much education done by marketers. The goal here is creating ads that will stand out over their competition. Creativity is the core strategy for ad visibility.

How to Use Inbound Marketing to Quantify Leads into Customers

Let’s break it down. When employing inbound marketing to generate B2B leads, you get a much higher return on your investment. And here’s what you need:

A Properly Optimized Website

This is the first and most IMPORTANT part to your inbound marketing strategy. Your website should be set up to where unique visitors can easily understand what their next steps are. When a visitor lands on a page from the search results, it needs to be relevant. It then needs to provide a call to action (CTA) leading the visitor down a path to ultimately meet their end goal. See our Landing Page Optimization Checklist to learn more.

Identify Your Target Audience

This is also known as developing your ideal buyer persona. Age, gender, geographic, industry, etc. Who is that person? When you’re developing your content strategy, it’s important to know who that is. That way you can tailor your content voice toward your buyer persona.

Solid Keyword Research and SEO Strategy

Keywords are the backbone of your content strategy. Ultimately the goal is to have more visibility in the search results to attract the RIGHT visitors, right? This is done with identifying keywords that are going to convert visitors into leads. Make sure your website and content marketing is making the most of these keywords.

Set Goals

set goals

In order to know if your inbound marketing strategy is successful, you need to set realistic goals. Goals that are attainable would include percentage increases like: conversion rate, visitor to lead, lead to customer, traffic increases, etc. Set milestones and expectations for your client and team.

Concrete Content Marketing and Social Media Strategy

With B2B marketing, you want to be known as the leader in your industry and raise awareness. To do so, you need a solid content marketing and social media strategy to get that content visible. Create editorial calendars that include eBook topics, blog topics, social topics, and focus keywords. This will help you stay on task with your content.

content marketing

Blog frequency should be at least once per week, ideally twice per week with valuable content. Topic ideas should stem from frequently asked questions, keywords, industry news, etc. Each blog should have a final CTA and this is where eBooks and other resources strongly come into play.

When you’re attracting visitors via blog posts, the best CTA for B2B, is another related resource. Ideally you want this resource to have a landing page where they fill out their information. Related sources like eBooks, white papers, webinar signups, newsletter signups, etc. can help keep those qualified visitors engaged on your site. This will lead to an increased volume of leads and increased visitor duration.

Social media is so important! Yes, even for B2B marketing. Specifically, LinkedIn which is a lead generating machine for B2B marketing. You want to be posting AT LEAST 20 times per month because it’ll increase the overall visibility of your company page by posting more frequently. If you don’t have a huge following, promote posts that are important such as your eBooks and blog posts. This can help increase engagement which also increases your content and profile visibility. Make sure you’re targeting your buyer persona when engaging and posting here.

Email Marketing and Marketing Automation

This is the final piece to the puzzle. Now that you’ve done the work to attract the right leads with your SEO, content marketing, and social media, you need to convert them and retain them. Email marketing and marketing automation play a huge role in this.

Here’s how it works. Someone fills out the form for an eBook on your website or blog. Upon request, you send an automated email with the link to the eBook and a friendly welcome. Now that you know what this lead is interested in (based off the content), you can gear your email marketing to be targeted to their needs. For instance, the lead downloads an eBook about “What a Website Needs to Be SEO Friendly”. You’re not going to email them about social media. You’re going to continue sending emails with case studies, webinars, other eBooks that are related to website design and SEO. This is what keeps them engaged and where marketing automation is so crucial because you’re staying in front of the potential buyer.

After a series of engagement has occurred, then it’s time to email them personally and ask to set up a call to go over their needs. If they accept, that’s a qualified lead that should now begin going through your sales process. Click here for tips on Effectively Selling SEO.

Why This is the Most Effective B2B Marketing Solution

In terms of B2B marketing, the ultimate goal is building relationships. Whether that’s with other companies or individuals with specialties, you need to know people to get the business. One of the best ways to get to know new people is by engaging with them on the internet. There’s only so many people you can meet in your city at a conference… With the internet, you can pinpoint your target demographic, connect with knowledgeable individuals, and educate them without pushing them to buy your product or service. Pulling them into conversation instead of bombarding them with cold calls and annoying ads is how you get people’s attention in today’s world.

Inbound marketing is effective for small and large businesses. It’s where technology, creativity, and knowledge come together. Those powers can go a long way and help effectively build your brand and quantify leads online.

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Lacey Chic

Account Manager at Eminent SEO - Passionate About Digital Marketing. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, and learning.

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What You Need to Know About Keyword Research

Is keyword research still necessary?KeywordResearch_graphic

This has become an increasingly popular question over the last two years in the online marketing space. Google has made a lot of changes to their data displays and algorithms, making SEO’s and business owners wonder the same thing – “Is my keyword strategy still relevant?”

 

 

 

Here’s a breakdown of some of the changes that impact organic search and keyword data collecting:

1) (not provided) appears in Google Analytics, which Google did in order to “protect” users’ private search data from being viewed by businesses for marketing purposes.

300 Visits – Keyword NOT PROVIDED? WTF!?!

2) Increased focus on local search results – Search from a certain geographic location for a particular service, and you’ll get one set of results. Search from another, and you’ll get different results. Of course this is a sensible change – if you search for “water damage restoration,” you probably want a local company, not one 1,000 miles away.

My IP is in Mesa Arizona – Notice most of the results: paid, organic and local (maps) are all specific to my surrounding area.

3) Personalized search – If you’re signed in to a Google account and you search, results from people within your Google+ circles, or results from previous sessions, appear much higher in the search results.

Hey! I know these guys!

4) Social media now plays a much more important role in your search rankings. The more followers, and especially the more shares you get, the stronger your rankings in the search engines.

WHOA! No wonder they are ranking so well!

These 4 factors appear to make keyword research a bit less relevant to your overall strategy, but the right way to look at keyword research is that it’s less straightforward than it was a few years ago – but still just as critical to the success of your internet marketing campaigns!

“So, Why Do Keyword Research? Can’t I Just Pick My Important Terms?”

Google still uses keywords to serve up sites and ads, and organic search still accounts for the majority of traffic to a properly optimized website. Google has to incorporate keywords into their algorithms because that is what searchers use to find what they’re looking for.

Also, f you are trying to rank for a specific keyword and/or target a specific keyword in your organic or paid advertisements, you have to optimize your website for that keyword. Google looks at the page the link or the ad points to. If the keyword isn’t specific to the page it’s pointing to, you are likely not going to achieve a high quality score for that key term. So, clearly your keyword research and strategy is key for on-page optimization reasons (as well as off site SEO – such as content and link building).

Issues with Selecting Keywords

Problem 1: One problem we often encounter when determining the target keyword strategy for a client is that businesses call their products and services one thing, while searchers may call them another. (Hey, not everyone is as technical as you, okay?)

Solution 1: Allow an outside team to brainstorm and throw out their own personal ideas for search. People who aren’t already familiar with your product/service are great candidates for keyword discovery. Once you have developed a list of ideas – you can then expand on them to discover all of the various ways someone might search for your products/services. Of course once you decide on a strategy and implement it, you have to give it some time and test. If one strategy doesn’t work, you can always adjust from there – it does some times take a bit of trail and error to get the strategy just right.

Problem 2: Sometimes a business wants to sell a new product or service and there is very little to no search volume for the keywords that would be relevant to this new idea. Or, the terms relevant are very broad and would possibly drive targeted traffic, but then again, maybe not… (and who has the time and money to test that theory?).

Solution 2: This problem takes a lot of creativity in your research and possibly a branding campaign to raise awareness for the new product/service. You can always start with the closest keywords to your offer and then promote your specific product/service through paid ad campaigns, social channels and viral marketing pieces

Problem 3: Other clients may be in a highly competitive space and their desired keyword phrases are so difficult it seems impossible to rank for the terms. (I mean, who can really compete with Adobe or Nike for example).

Solution 3: This is also an obstacle we can overcome – it just takes some deep keyword discovery to identify the longer-tail keyword phrases that are lesser competitive. We realize that long tail keywords generally have lower search volumes which makes them less desirable – but our experience says that long tail actually usually means “low hanging fruit”! When someone is specific in their search they are generally more apt to convert. So, although the search volume is lower, you might have better success with a long tail strategy.

The Nutshell:

The solution to all of the issues mentioned above is expert keyword discovery and research. When we do keyword research, we help you find keywords related to your products or services that you can realistically rank for within your budget. We determine how competitive your space is and how realistic it is for you to compete for specific keyword phrases. And hey, if you can’t go after your “money” keywords at first due to budget restrictions or lack of authority with Google – then we start where we can, helping you meet your short term goals while still working towards your big keywords as a long term goal.

 

A Quick Look at How Keyword Research Works

Clients often come to us and want to rank for vague terms like “kids shoes” (just a pretend example).  If you go into Google Adwords and do some quick keyword research, the following information is revealed:

  • 33,100 searches and high competition

We can never promise how long it will take to rank for short-tail keywords, but with a term like this, you’re usually looking at 6 – 12 months or more (and a lot of money) before even have a chance to rank at the top of the Goolge search engine results.

However, for a long tail term, such as “best kids basketball shoes,” there are 110 monthly searches and medium competition. Generally, with a lower number of searches like this, that means there’s less organic competition (the high competition in Adwords refers to the number of advertisers paying to display PPC ads for that keyword), and therefore you have a much better chance of ranking high for that keyword in a shorter period of time.

Of course we don’t base our suggestions off of the Google AdWords difficulty numbers alone, this just helps us narrow the list. Once we have narrowed the list down we can take the exact keywords and use other tools to better determine their organic levels of difficulty.

As mentioned above, in addiction to being easier to rank for, long-tail keywords generally lead to better conversion rates. People who enter a string of keywords as a phrase have a better idea of what they’re looking for. If they type in “kids shoes,” they are likely just doing research and aren’t quite ready to buy yet.

How Long Will Keyword Research Remain Relevant? 

This is the real question. Although Google and the other search engines are clearly moving towards personalized results, the terms used to search will still be very valuable. Google makes their money by selling paid advertisements for business owners. Business owners bid and buy ad placement based off of the keyword data. If Google doesn’t provide search data – how will their advertisers know which keywords to bid on?

Keyword research might be changing, but it’s definitely not going to die as long as Google can make money from keyword based advertisements.

What do you think?

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing work in 2005. I'm a {very} busy mom of 4 and 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 love coffee, wine, food and other people who enjoy the adventure of seeking out the best places to eat and drink. In my free time (what's that?) you'll most likely find me studying philosophy and spirituality, cooking for my family or relaxing with a nice glass of wine, a funny movie and the people I love.

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Website Analytics Audit: 5 Things You Should Know About Your Business Website

If you are considering a new marketing campaign for your business website, there are several important elements you should look at. I typically suggest using a website checklist to help you narrow down the most important elements for your needs specifically. Custom marketing strategies are essential to a successful campaign, and a custom solution can only be delivered by auditing the proper areas first.

Although it’s important to look at the bigger picture, if your budget is limited and you want to focus on the most important things first, here is a list of 5 things you should absolutely include in your website analytics audit:

1)      Where your traffic is coming from (source)

Once you understand where your traffic is coming from, you can better understand where you should be spending your marketing dollars. Sometimes that means following each conversion back to the source it came from and then generating a list of top sources to invest into because they convert the best. Google Analytics will allow you to see what percentage of your overall traffic is coming from organic search engines, referral sites, direct hits and paid search.

2)      What keywords people are using to find you

Although Google blocks a fair amount of your keyword traffic, it’s good to take a look at what keywords are driving traffic to your site. Just as you should follow your conversions back to your traffic source, you should also track your conversions back to the keyword used to find you. If you know what people are searching for, you can use those keywords more in your website optimization and off site marketing. It’s also good to know what isn’t converting so you don’t waste your budget on keywords and techniques that don’t covert.

3)      What page your traffic is landing on

When you know what keywords are leading traffic to specific pages to your site, you can focus on making those pages more optimized for conversions. By incorporating those keywords into the on-page SEO, content and calls to action, you can increase your conversions by really improving the user experience by giving them exactly what they are looking for.

4)     Top socially shared content

If you are blogging and you don’t already have social sharing built in to your posts INSTALL NOW! Your blog should be ON your website and you should track what content is getting the best visibility and social shares. If you are blogging regularly, you should be covering a number of target keywords in your content and individual post optimization. Once you see a particular type of blog getting a lot of traffic and shares, you know where you should focus more of your efforts.

5)     Conversion channel – how well your website is converting

If you have implemented a solid keyword strategy, your website is ranking but your traffic isn’t converting, there might be a problem with your website. A lot of people blame marketing but the truth is marketing can drive traffic to your site, but if  your website is outdated, not clear on what to do or hard to navigate, your visitors will try another site instead. If your website sucks, people know there are 1000’s of others to check out instead. Keep your users there by evaluating your conversion channel and developing a strategy to give the traffic exactly what they need to convert.

BONUS: Know your goals, short and long term

You’d be surprised how many SEO clients look for rankings and traffic, but they have no idea how that translates into sales and profit!

You need to understand what you can realistically expect from your marketing dollars so that your goals make sense for your budget. You should start with what you can afford and then once you reach your initial goals, reinvest so you can go after bigger ones! If you are not meeting your short term goals in the expected time frame, you might want to reevaluate what you are doing and adjust your strategies.

Final thoughts:

SEO and online marketing is all about testing. You need to develop a strategy based off of your initial research, but when you implement a strategy you have to watch it and adjust. It can take several months to get your strategy just right depending on a number of variables. Before you make major adjustments, look at how much traffic is coming in – you should ensure you have collected enough data to analyze your marketing efforts properly.

Analyze, test, analyze again, adjust – that is the KEY to a successful marketing campaign.

If you want help with a website audit, we have a range of custom audits we can perform for you…

Just call us at 1.800.871.4130 or set up a discovery call by emailing hello@eminentseo.com

Thanks and happy analyzing!

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing work in 2005. I'm a {very} busy mom of 4 and 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 love coffee, wine, food and other people who enjoy the adventure of seeking out the best places to eat and drink. In my free time (what's that?) you'll most likely find me studying philosophy and spirituality, cooking for my family or relaxing with a nice glass of wine, a funny movie and the people I love.

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