Online Reviews Help the SEO of Your Website for These 4 Reasons
There are many points in favour of online reviews and one of them is that it improves the SEO of your page.
In this article, we will reveal all they can do for you and all the opportunities you are missing if you don’t have a customer review system on your website.
How do customer reviews help the SEO of my website?
1. Unique and updated content
Firstly, the opinions of clients are an inexhaustible source of unique content that is constantly updated. Live and unique content, two concepts that Google loves and which will make you rank higher than other websites. Maintaining an internal blog and publishing entries of interest is very useful and advisable to improve the positioning of your page, as well as to work on the descriptions of the products we offer through our website.
Although if we stop here we will not be differentiating much from what more and more people (if not almost all) are putting into practice. Customer opinions are the cheapest marketing tool. Your clients will write for free, so forget about spending money on content generators, writers, editors and SEO strategists.
2. Increase online reputation
In a recent study by BrightLocal, 93% of respondents answered that online reviews had helped them to decide on a purchase and to assess whether that business is trustworthy or not (BrightLocal, 2017).
Without quality online opinions in e-commerce, it is practically impossible to face repercussions on the internet, when building a powerful brand and a prosperous business. Unless you are Marks & Spencer Group, you can only benefit from customer reviews. Of course, a smart approach is to integrate this online review service into your online store.
Focus first on them and then on the rest of the online marketing efforts. Consumers value the opinions of other customers much more than any descriptions about the products made by the Company.
In fact, according to a survey of US mom Internet users, customer reviews are 12 times more significant than descriptions that come from manufacturers because they are testimonies of real experiences. (eMarketer, February 2010)
There are many ways to maximize exposure. One can be through review sites. For instance, if you are looking to be seen for tech deals, first do a search on Google for tech deals. Next step is to list your product via a review on those directories that appear.
3. Increase the percentage of clicks
When someone is looking for a product or service on the internet, they want to solve their inquiries as fast and simply as possible.
Therefore, have your customers’ evaluations with review stars (Rich Snippets) appear on your product page. Proven to work, they will increase the number of clicks considerably. Why? Because they will find accurate representations of the product in the form of answers to their questions (without the need for customer service), real customer opinions and maybe even pictures.
Look at the following image and decide which one of these products would you click to open?
The products are the same and the prices are similar, but only one includes reviews, in this case, 200 of them. If someone is interested in knowing more about the product or is just trying to find the best deal, the review section is a great place. Interested potential customers will visit those with them first.
In review sections often there is information that might be important to customers or just held back product details, that the manufacturer didn’t share or think was important. Ultimately, the online customer is unable to inspect the product first hand nor do they have service personnel to ask.
4. Client reviews are not considered by Google as duplicated content
You may think that if a single opinion from a client that has bought different products, appears in each of them, you can be penalized by Google for duplicating content. But you can stay calm, that is not so. Every product review gets mixed with others every time your clients share their experiences. Therefore each product in your store will have different comments relations than the other products.
Get good visibility by leveraging the power of these opinions in desire campaigns, in social networks and PPC campaigns. Increase online reputation while you continue working to offer a good product and online service.
You can try using a client review collector such as revi to let your customers do some of the selling for you. Customers have more power than ever in the success or failure of online marketing. It is better to have them on your side.
Now you know that it is not necessary to do a significant marketing investment to attract more customers to your site. Whether if you have an online or an offline store you can take advantage of your shoppers’ power on the internet. Implement an online reviews system and let your clients do the selling for you.
As a Social Communicator and Digital Marketing specialist, Lina is responsible for content creation and introducing revi.io to the UK market and help businesses harness the power of client reviews to drastically increase sales.
8 Tips for Low-Cost Facebook Marketing
Facebook has been the dominant social media platform on the internet for the past 10 years. In fact in some countries, it is essentially the internet. With everyone being a part of the platform, it only makes sense that most businesses would take advantage via Facebook marketing for their services or products on the site.
But most often, they do not know how to do Facebook marketing on Facebook, more so how to do so at low cost. With that said, here are some tips for leveraging Facebook to increase your business’ online presence and generate website traffic for increased sales.
1. Think of your brand, and be consistent with it
Facebook marketing whether low-cost or a premium campaign will always fail if your business or product does not have a brand. People are constantly barraged by content from friends and other businesses in Facebook, so a brand is the easiest way to imprint an idea to users in the most effective way. And it doesn’t have to be expensive; brandings are more than fancy colours and designs. They can be a way you interact with customers online like how Wendy’s interacts with its users on Twitter, or the reputation of your products similar to Big Baller Brand which sells shoes online.
More importantly, when your brand starts generating buzz, you’ll have to make sure the same service or reputation is given to new customers. Facebook might be a big place, but the buzz about the new player in the game is easy to spread in the platform. Having a brand will make Facebook marketing exponentially more manageable for everyone when using the platform.
2. Leverage on Facebook groups
Groups are an underrated feature when doing Facebook marketing in the site. They are mostly free communities in social media and can be a leverage in promoting your business to a specific group of users with shared traits and interests. If your business is into homemade geeky merchandise, for example, you can join in Facebook groups catering to geeky or nerdy interests where you can promote your product and generate sales.
In the same way, it applies if your business is into cooking and food delivery, where various Facebook groups that are centric to ‘foodie’ interests are available in the thousands. Through leveraging groups, any small business can do Facebook marketing without spending on sponsored posts to reach a wider audience. More importantly, Facebook groups tend to generate higher engagement than sponsored posts. This means it’s possible to get an active user base which can be converted easily into sales revenue.
3. Your Facebook friends are your first influencers
Most large companies use influencer marketing to promote their products on Facebook. Small companies, however, do not have the same luxury, but instead have an even better advantage: their Facebook friends. Facebook is designed to connect to both users and content of similar interests easily. And with Facebook’s algorithms recently modified to cater more towards content shared by your friends rather than pages, asking your pals to signal-boost your posts in the site has never been more important.
Posting a public post about your services or product and asking friends on Facebook to share it is still an underappreciated but time-tested way of marketing your products online at no cost. More so, potential consumers would rather listen to friends or family when trying out a new product or service than any other online influencer. This makes it a more effective method of Facebook marketing that will build your business network gradually.
4. Take advantage of Facebook page features
Facebook pages do more than merely making your business look legitimate. They also include several features that can be taken advantage by users. For example, if your business page is under the category of “local business” “company” or “organization,” your page may be eligible for a verification badge. These badges only make sure that your business is authentic, but it also adds much to branding that makes it easier to gain consumer trust.
This can be done by going to the Page Verification in your settings menu, where you’re asked to add your phone number, country, and language. You can also include your website link in the page so that it will quickly show when users visit your page. Moreover, the call-to-action feature of Facebook pages means that you can include a readily accessible button when users visit your page, to which it can be designed to instantly direct users to either a landing page, a video, or so on.
5. Be creative with content, post images and videos as often
Visuals rather than monotonous text attract most users on Facebook. This is at the core of Facebook marketing, so your products or services should be as visually appealing as possible. For images, expensive photo shoots are no longer necessary especially with smartphone cameras becoming better at taking photos per year. There are various free tips online which you can access how to handle smartphones when taking decent pictures of products or goods. This can be used as helpful skills in promoting products on your page.
If you feel the need to be a bit more creative, free editing sites such as Canva can be used to make simple infographics that are beginner-friendly without the need to learn photoshop. Videos can also be utilized using smartphones to take short snippets of the product or service you’re selling. So long as the video looks decent, users will not mind your novice skills in video taking as they may become curious about your service or product if it’s within their interest.
6. Use your Facebook page as a funnel, take advantage of backlinking
Including links in your posts is still an acceptable form of Facebook marketing, and there’s a way to make it less “spam-looking.” If you have a website or a blog, ensure that it has a meta caption with a short title and description. This means that when you share the link from your blog or website, Facebook would automatically feature the meta caption. Feel free to delete the original link in the post after, as the featured post will suffice as a backlink to your site.
But if you need to feature your link in one of your posts, use a URL shortener like Bitly. That way, your links would look visually palatable in your post and online users won’t mistake it for spam. Feel free to experiment in ordering the right text structure and links for your posts. Make sure that your captions are short enough that your users won’t feel bored reading it, and practice writing witty captions that can convince your users to click your links.
7. Don’t ignore Facebook live and stories
Facebook live and stories are relatively new features on the platform. However, they are garnering more uses and are becoming even more important as a feature on Facebook. Facebook live videos are also usually prioritized, and using it will often pop up in the notification of your followers as soon as you start using it. Facebook Live can be a useful tool for your special promotions that can be leveraged by your businesses. They are also helpful when your enterprises hold special events particularly during the holidays, which can promote greater engagement among your followers.
Facebook stories are also useful mainly since they appear at the very top of the Facebook app. Most users in the social media site tend to check Facebook stories during their spare time, and the tool is one of the few places in the site that’s forgivable to spam a bit your content. Try experimenting with both Facebook Live and stories, and improve upon your practice as you go along. There’s no harm trying since these tools are free to use for everyone.
8. Cross-share posts between Facebook and Instagram
Ever since Facebook bought Instagram, the social media giant has done everything to make it convenient for cross-platforming content. Instagram has been growing more rapidly than Facebook, so it would be unwise to ignore the said app. Feel free to connect your page to Instagram under the settings in the app. From settings, tap “linked accounts” and select your Facebook account.
That way, sharing photos will be more convenient as they would be shown on both platforms. Even stories can be cross-platformed, so making stories is also convenient and would make your branding more consistent. By linking your Facebook to Instagram, you get the opportunity to expand your potential client base to users who may not be as active in Facebook but are very much engaged in Instagram.
Facebook marketing has become more important than ever. With 2 billion users, the platform provides a highway for small businesses to grow their customer base at little to no cost. We live in an age where businesses need to be online savvy in order to connect with customers and generate sales. Luckily, Facebook makes that convenient for everyone. And even better, it’s offered to us for free.
Kyle Bacsal (born 1996) is a freelance researcher and a content writer. Her interests revolve around contemporary sociology, cutting-edge technology, and journals on the algorithmic rise of computing. She is a current contributor to Your Last Host blogs and contents.
Use This SEO Checklist Before You Hit Publish
If you love blogging and have lots to write about, it is important you know that what could attract a good traffic for your blog posts without which writing blogs might lose its charm for you. When it comes to having a great website traffic for your blog, creating good content is very important, but so is having good SEO.
Without a good SEO, you might even find it difficult to achieve online visibility for your blog posts. So once you have finished writing a blog article, just follow this simple SEO checklist before you hit the publish button.
1. Create an attractive and searchable blog title
If you want your blog to appear on the top search engine results, then one of the best ways to do it is to make an attractive and searchable blog title. While creating a blog title, ensure that you include the popular keywords or phrase that people might actually use to search for the content your blog article is about.
What you can do is enter your blog title into Google search engine and go at the bottom of the search results where you will be able to find the ‘related searches.’ See if you can use any of the related searches phrases for your blog title. Also, try to keep the title below or up to 60 characters and match the blog URL with the title by adding dashes between every word.
2. Do not forget to add the main image representing the blog content
Getting a right image with the blog article can make a really big impression on the readers. Add at least one main picture in your article. Aside from the main image, you can add more pictures based on how many words you have used in writing the blog. When you add an image, mention the source of it. Also, add proper alt tags to each of them.
3. Write a smart Meta description
Meta description can be described as the small description of the webpage content that is displayed by search engines and social network sites under your blog post title. Lack of a proper Meta description means that the search engine will pick up the first few sentences of your blog article which might not make a very good impression on the online users. So write a short and effective Meta description for your blog post. The Meta description should be under 160 characters.
4. Make right use of popular keywords and their variations
Keywords are one of the most important factors in SEO. But, many times, the new bloggers make the mistake of using too many keywords in their article which results a poor user experience. To resolve this problem, instead of stuffing the article with too many keywords, write in your usual style and make sure that you add different variations of the main keywords in your article.
You can look for related searches terms in Google. It would be a lot more effective if you add keywords in the first sentence of the blog. If it doesn’t fit, you can add the keywords in the first or second paragraph.
5. Interlinking with other blog posts or articles
When you write a new blog post, you can add the links of your other posts within it, and it can help you increase the website traffic or page-views of other posts on your blog and reduce the bounce rate. You can add at least 1-2 links to your previous articles.
You might find it difficult to do it at first, but with each post, it will become easier to write more content and interlink them with other articles. It would also be better if those links opened in new tabs.
6. Preview the post
Now once you have completed your blog article, before pushing the publish button do a preview test of the article and see how it looks on your blog. Check all the links you have added and check the images and formatting of the article.
Once it is done, press the publish button and get your article online for others to read and share.
James Tredwell is a Technical SEO in a leading mobile app development company which provide best ios app development and Android app development services.
How to Use Website Cookies to Track Your Visitors?
Did you ever wish if you could understand the preferences and interests of your target customers so you could refine your strategies and improve your business?
Well, the internet and web technologies offer unlimited opportunities to track people and store data about them. You can use it to your advantage.
The best way to understand the preferences and interests of your users is by using cookies. It’s not the one you would eat with milk. This is website cookies. It gives you immense possibilities to store the interests, online history and behaviour. You can use this information to provide messages to the users tailored to their personality.
What is a cookie?
A cookie is a small file in the local computer of a user which is dropped by a website during the first visit. This file collects information about the interactions of the user with the website. This data can be used to dynamically present relevant contents when the user visits that website again. The relevancy is decided based on previous interactions.
Types of cookies
Session Cookies: Cookies that collect data about the activities performed by a user during a single session. A session cookie is deleted at the end of the session, so the data is not stored for future visits.
Persistent Cookies: The data on the cookie is stored in the computer of the user, and it is used during the future visits. This kind of cookies has an expiry date set to it, so it is expired after a date in the future. The users can also delete the cookies if they want. Apart from that, browsers will automatically delete cookies when the browser is closed if it is in the incognito mode.
Third-party Cookies: When users visit a website, the website may also set persistent cookies on behalf of other websites. The first website requests a small file from the third-party websites so the first website can set cookies for the other websites.
How does a cookie work?
All you need to do is a drop a tag which is a snippet of code on your website. This tag will drop cookies on to the browsers of your website visitors, so their online behaviour can be tracked. Google Remarketing Tag is one of the popular tools to add tags to the websites.
The cookie in the browser gives a unique identification number and begins to collect data from the activities in a browser. Remember, a cookie doesn’t collect any personal details like name, address, or email ids. They only collect the information about the websites and web pages a user visits.
As far as a business is concerned, this data is highly valuable because it helps businesses to understand the preferences of their prospects.
What can cookies do for you?
Cookies help website owners to understand the preferences of their website visitors and serve content accordingly.
One of the popular usages of the cookie during its initial stages was saving the preferred language of website visitors. Websites with multiple languages used cookies to store the preferred language of a visitor in a small document among the visitor’s browser file and use this information to serve the content later when the user open that particular website again.
Here is an example of this:
You have visited www.xyz.com which is a blog on travel supporting English, (Española) Spanish and French languages. The default language of the blog is in English, but you want to use the French version of the website.
When you open the www.xyx.com blog for the first time, the default language was in English. You have the option to choose French or Spanish if you want and you choose the French version and begin to read.
When you open the blog again in the future, the French version may automatically load in your browser. The website has dropped a cookie in your browser during your first visit and stored your preferred language. When you access the website again, the website looks for the cookie in your browser, and if it finds the cookie, it reads it and uses the data to serve the content based on that.
Remember, the cookies are stored in the computers of the users so a user can delete the cookie if they want.
There might be hundreds of cookies in a computer dropped by different websites, but a website can only access the cookie that it has dropped on to the website.
Benefits of using cookies
A cookie can store many different kinds of information about the browsing or online behaviour of your website visitors. All you need to do is drop the cookie file on to the browser of the users, and it will automatically collect the data for you.
The cookie can contain:
- The time the visitor visited your website
- The items the visitor added to their shopping cart
- The links the user clicked on your website
Now you have learned we can store a variety of data from a user can be stored. Now we can look into how this data can be used for our advantage.
How to utilize cookie
There are many different ways you can utilize the data you have collected through the cookies. You can dynamically generate content on your web pages depending on the data from the cookies associated with a user.
In e-commerce websites, you can create a section for the recommended products where you can dynamically list items based on the previous purchase history, product searches in the website and the items in the cart.
The same principle can also be used in news websites and blogs. The websites can suggest new more stories or articles based on the interest of the user.
Show relevant ads
You can use the cookies to show relevant ads or modal pop-ups to the users based on their interest. This will help you to increase the click-through rate of your ads and pop-ups and improve conversion rate.
Show Different Email Opt-in Forms for New and Returning Visitors.
Sometimes, you may want to show different email opt-in forms to your visitors depending on if the visitor is a new or returning visitor.
You can do that only with the help of a cookie. It will help you to identify if the visitor is new or not. You don’t have to worry about setting up the cookies and displaying the opt-ins based on that because it can be easily done using OptinMonster.
Facebook pixel is a shortcode that you can put on your website so you can keep track of the conversions from Facebook ads and remarket your Facebook ads to the users who have already taken some actions on your website.
The remarketing allows you to target your Facebook ads to people who have already visited your websites. So, they are more likely to respond to your ads because they have already expressed interest in you.
Apart from that, Facebook Pixel will also help us to create a lookalike audience who are similar to the users who have already visited your website.
How to add the code for creating cookies on a WordPress website
You can set up cookies and track users quickly on WordPress websites compared to websites built on other CMS platforms. When it comes to pure HTML or PHP website, setting up the cookies is a time-consuming process.
So, we will discuss how to set up cookies on WordPress websites.
There are two different ways you can set up the tracking code on WordPress websites. The first method is pasting the tracking code on to the WordPress files directly. The second method is the easiest way of adding the code on to the website using plugins.
Manually add tracking code
Depending on the tracking code, the place to paste the code may be the header, footer or body of the web pages.
You can access the required file on your WordPress dashboard by going to Appearance menu and the Editor sub-menu.
There you can see a section called Theme Files on the right side where you can find the required file to add the tracking code.
You need to be very careful when you do it manually. It is always recommended to copy the existing code in the file and save it somewhere before you edit it the file. So you can use it if you make errors in the code and the website doesn’t work.
Add tracking code using plugins
The Tracking Code Manager plugin for the WordPress is the best way to add any tracking code on any WordPress files. It has an extremely user-friendly and intuitive UI to add the tracking code and choose on what kind pages and posts the code needs to be implemented.
Tracking your website visitors using a tracking code which will create cookies on the visitor’s website helps you serve personalized content to your website visitors. While this helps website visitors to get more relevant content, it also allows businesses to target prospective customers based on their interests, preferences and many other factors.
Adding the tracking code and keeping track of the users and taking actions based on that is not a difficult job at all. You can do it by yourself even if you don’t have the technical expertise in web development.
Venkatesh is the Founder & Web developer at Spidergems, a web design and development company in India. His extensive knowledge in web technologies coupled with the expertise in digital marketing has made the company a reliable digital partner for business of all sizes across India.
How to Optimise Restaurants for Local Search
When it comes to the massive $799 billion restaurant industry, optimising your restaurant for local search is absolutely essential for your business’ discovery and growth. Due to the steady increase in the number of restaurants across the country (1 million and counting), local competition is now a bigger threat than ever before.
The demands of consumers have also become more imposing on the business – people expect to find exactly the kind of restaurant that they’re looking for, at the exact moment that they’re looking for it, and they’re turning to local, ‘near me’ searches to do it.
If your restaurant is not optimised for local search, then it probably won’t show up when a potential customer in the locality searches for ‘restaurants near me’, which means that you’ll be missing out on tons of customers. You don’t have to take my word for it, just take a look at these stats.
- As of 2017, the restaurant industry comprised 48% of the family food dollar.
- 51% of diners go out to eat more than once a week.
- ‘Restaurants near me’ remains the top searched phrase on weekends.
- 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84% trust these reviews as they would a personal recommendation.
These stats clearly highlight the importance of local SEO for your restaurant. Now that we’ve established that, let’s address the more important question – how do you optimise your restaurant for local search?
Well, here are 4 things you can do:
1. Get listed on all major online directories
This is local SEO 101 and has to be the highest priority in your checklist. In order to show up on local searches, your restaurant has to be listed online. For instance, let’s take a look at the search results for the phrase ‘restaurants in Phoenix, Arizona’.
The first thing that you see right after the ads is Google’s Local Pack, which shows the top three highest rated restaurants in the vicinity. Scroll down further, you will see collated listings from review sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp.
Looking at these results, it’s clear as day that there are two basic things that businesses – not just restaurants – need to do before they go ahead with optimising their SEO. First and foremost, you need to make sure that your restaurant is listed in Google My Business, and that your GMB listing is up to date with NAP, business hours, services, and rich data. Without a GMB listing, your restaurant is not going to show up in the most widely used search engine, which is the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve.
Secondly, you need to list your restaurant across all the major third-party review sites. This includes sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Foursquare, Yellow Pages, Facebook, Bing, and Zomato. Not only does this help your restaurant get discovered locally, these listings also double up as structured citations for your business, helping you rank better organically.
Getting your restaurant listed on all these directories and review sites can prove to be an extensive, time-consuming task. Hence, we recommend automating this process using an online tool such as Synup.
2. Google posts & quick URLs
Now that you’ve got your restaurant listed on GMB, it’s time to optimise that listing in order to increase exposure and user engagement directly on SERPs. This is best done through the use of Google Posts and quick URLs. Let’s take a look at this one by one.
Google Posts are a great way to advertise your products and services, and also to drive engagement at the same time. These posts appear on your restaurant’s knowledge graph, and you can have multiple posts simultaneously. This is what they look like.
Basically, there are four types of posts that you can publish using this feature: What’s New, Event, Offer, and Product. This is especially useful for restaurants to showcase their special dishes, spread word about that special event in your restaurant, and put up special offers. You can also add CTAs to these posts, promoting your audience to actively engage with your restaurant. You can check out this article for more information on using Google Posts.
Quick URLs also appear on your business’ knowledge graph and can be used to link out to your restaurant’s menu, reservations page, daily specials, events, etc., and they appear as such.
This is also aimed at providing a better user experience with your restaurant via your online listings. Remember, how well users engage with your restaurant’s online presence also factors into how well you rank organically in SERPs.
3. Local schema markup
Now we move on from your business listings to your actual website. We’re assuming that, as a restaurant owner, you have a pretty good website set up for your business. In case you haven’t, then you might want to get on that as soon as possible.
Here’s the reason we place so much emphasis on having a website for your business, it not only helps communicate what you are as a brand to your audience, but it also gives you a chance to improve the local SEO of your restaurant’s online presence. How do you ask? Enter Local Schema.
Local schema is basically just snippets of frontend code that you add to your website’s HTML structure. This helps search engines such as Google and Bing understand your website better, and index them accordingly. This also boosts your SEO and helps you rank better organically.
When it comes to local SEO, Schema can be used to include your restaurant’s address, geolocation, menu, social profiles, and other local info to be displayed directly on the SERPs. Here are a couple of examples of how that would look like.
As you can see, using local Schema markup not only helps search engines understand your business better and present it in the most relevant searches, it can also be used to display essential info directly to searchers. This is another step in streamlining user engagement, and as we mentioned before, it definitely helps with your local organic ranking.
4. Generate & respond to reviews
As evidenced by the stats we went through at the beginning of this article, reviews are one of the most important things a potential customer looks at, before deciding to engage with a local business. And given the amount of trust that is placed on these online reviews, it’s high time you started focusing on generating more positive reviews and using them as a means to engage with your customers.
Now even though soliciting reviews is frowned upon, you can still use visual cues, such as stickers and QR codes like the ones shown below to encourage customers to review your restaurant.
However, your responsibility does not end with just generating reviews for your restaurant. You also need to make sure that you keep working on bettering your online reputation, by responding to these reviews, regardless of whether they are positive or negative.
If you receive a positive review, make sure that you thank the customer, and let them know that they’re always welcome at your restaurant. If you’re addressing a negative review, focus on trying to understand the customer’s pain points, and look for ways to fix them. Either way, work towards building a rapport and eventually a mutually beneficial relationship with your customers.
And there you go! These four tips, if used properly, can help you optimise your restaurant for local search while increasing your list of loyal customers and promoters. If you’re still having trouble optimising your restaurant’s local SEO, here’s a checklist that you can follow to get it just right.
Emotion vs Data-Driven Marketing: How to Find the Perfect Balance?
Faced with increasing complexity, mounting online noise, and shifting consumer preferences, marketers have pulled one powerful ace up their sleeve: emotional marketing. This tactic revolves around conjuring images in the instinctive, subconscious part of the human brain and influencing behaviour based on emotional responses.
The tricky part, though, is that marketing soaked in emotions must not be one-dimensional. To really hit the mark, marketer act as a part artist and part scientists. But, does this mean equal part? Well, it is hard to say, but one thing is certain. Planning and executing a multi-faceted strategy is no longer optional: it is an absolute must.
Power of the story
Modern consumers are spoilt for choice and they have a limited amount of cognitive attention and money to spare. Brands across industry sectors are well-aware of this reality and some of them have already demonstrated the power of driving engagement through emotional storytelling. They do not hesitate to invest hefty resources into creating narratives that draw people in.
Take the example of Apple. The corporate giant captured imagination using a simple design that oozes modern sophistication. Moreover, it invited people to take part in something bigger, a lifestyle movement and technological revolution. And here lies to the gist of it: consumers were given a chance to satisfy the most basic emotional need, the one of belonging.
This is just another proof that humans are social animals. They trust word-of-mouth recommendations, buckle under peer pressure, and harbour Fear of Missing out (FOMO). On booming social media hubs, brands basically say: “Hey, trust us because many others already do”. They also back good causes and show social responsibility in order to cultivate loyalty. All of this builds social proof, a testament to the brand’s credibility and authority.
Striking a chord
Another common thread used to weave marketing campaigns comes in the form of universal stories. They foster a sense of connection because people can easily translate them into their own experience—this process is called neural coupling. Moreover, when in presence of such emotionally-charged marketing, we receive a rush of dopamine in the brain, which induces a sense of pleasure.
That is why content marketing is such a powerful weapon for piercing through the noise and reaching a wide audience. It seems that the type of content that resonates the most with consumers is the one that has a linear, story-like structure. And this does not apply only to articles and videos. Studies have found that the vast majority of consumers (92%) even expects ads to feel like a story.
Furthermore, the experience of brands like Netflix has shown that pictures featuring people’s faces showing complex emotions attract more clicks than pictures without any people. Princeton psychologists assert that first impressions are formed within a second and images fit here perfectly because they can be processed way faster (60x) than text.
Search for the Holy Grail
What we tend to overlook, however, is that these highly-effective, emotionally-powered strategies and campaigns were not a mere reflection of marketers’ empathy or gut instinct. They have a lot to do with the emotional intelligence of the brand, but consumer data as well. Namely, big data has reshaped the world of modern marketing. Everything is online and plays out in real-time, which means we can measure and analyze it.
Like it or not, we are all swimming the endless ocean of data and the key to success is to harness only the useful bits and pieces from it. Emotional sentiments are certainly one of the most vital elements that should be targeted with data and analytics tools. Data scientists and multidisciplinary teams are employed to fish for them and then marketers come into play, formulating killer strategies.
The main problem is that our instruments are still lacking when it comes to picking up emotions, natural language, and ambiguous contexts. Then again, we are also getting closer to these goals by the day. We already have platforms for predicting consumer behaviour in real-time, via sophisticated signal processing and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).
You could say that we live in the era of clinical research, where deciphering the language opens the gates to the Holy Grail of marketing, understanding human emotions. To be more precise, marketers have to figure out not only what customers think, but how they think as well. It is also of the utmost importance to understand that emotions act as perceptual filters that drive everyday habits and decisions.
For good measure
Of course, analyzing emotions is always a bit more complex than processing numbers. Therefore, the best approach is to identify the most relevant attributes and cluster them along the lines of micro-segmentation. Advanced mathematical algorithms can be used to gauge future purchase decisions, predict consumer lifetime value, and maximize overall marketing ROI. There are also other ways to gather data, such as on-page chat and NPS surveys.
At last, social media, with its unparalleled reach and immediacy, provides another channel for funnelling emotional layers into your data systems. So, recognize when the time to transition from numeric demographics buckets to psychographics is. Like it or not, you need to pull data from both quantitative and qualitative end of the spectrum, across numerous points of contact with between consumers and your brand.
Note that it might make sense to tilt the balance sometimes, but be careful when walking on this slippery slope. Overly emotional messages can come across as cheesy and patronizing, and data-backed campaigns may appear cold and impersonal. To make it more complicated, you have to avoid landmines along the ways, such as privacy concerns.
On top of the game
To find your way around, you can always follow what today’s top digital agencies are doing. They know very well that emotionally-driven marketing needs to be complemented with relevant data. Blue Fountain Media is one of the U.S, agencies making waves with useful blog posts that highlight useful data and teach about their craft. It delights the audience with helpful blog posts, articles on content mastery, unique infographics and videos that educate.
In Australia, two trends with the biggest estimated commercial impact are precisely content marketing and big data, followed by machine learning and artificial intelligence. Similarly to US, long-form, insightful articles and well-crafted infographics are among the most shared types of content. Not surprisingly, marketers in the Land Down Under are also raving about the impact of structured data on voice search, which is growing exponentially.
The key takeaway is to opt for a healthy mixture of entertaining and informative and to keep up the pace with industry trends. Ultimately, your marketing strategy has to use the rich metrics and pertinent data for proper targeting and occasional fine-tuning. At the same time, you must deliver a creative touch and tap into emotions. Thus, it is time to uncover your human face behind the corporate anonymity and sales pitches.
The best of both worlds
As it turns out, emotion and data-driven marketing are not worlds apart. Thanks to timeless workings of the human brain and latest marvels of modern tech, they are becoming more and more intertwined. So, the million dollar question is how to strike a fine balance and to find the sweet spot over and over again.
Well, emotions will always play a vital role in the decision-making process of modern buyers. For brands, it is a puzzle that has to be cracked in order to sway people. That being said, making decisions guided by intuition is not an option anymore. So, be mindful of raw data and embrace a cross-channel and departmental approach. Generate your campaigns with greater confidence and increase conversion and engagement rates using an intricate data-emotion amalgam.
Increase Engagement and Improve Sales with Personality Quizzes
As a marketer or business owner, one of your core marketing objectives is to increase engagement with your users. Naturally, you are always willing to explore new strategies and ideas with digital marketing that help you gain more eyeballs and traction.
While this sounds good it definitely isn’t easy as your competitors are trying the same strategies to attract the same set of customers. Hence the success of your digital marketing campaign rests on trying out-of-the-box strategies where competition is low and opportunities are immense. Personality quizzes are surely one of the best ways to achieve this.
Personality quiz – the secret weapon to success
Online quizzes are attractive and they generate an intuitive desire to get involved. You would have surely participated in such quizzes in the past. The pattern is simple – there are questions followed by a choice of answers one among which is correct. Pick an answer and you know if you have selected the correct one before going to the next.
Personality quizzes take this to another level as they help businesses gather knowledge about the personality traits of the user. You will derive information that can help you target the user in a personalized way. One of the major distinctive factors in this quizzes is the fact that there are no right or wrong answers and it is all dependent on a user’s personal tastes, likings and belief. For example:
Which colour gown would you like to wear at your prom?
How to make a personality quiz?
As we have stated above personality quizzes are created to understand the personality traits of an individual and use this knowledge to run more targeted campaigns. The idea here is to segregate users based on their likes and beliefs. Here let us take you through a step up step guide how to make personality quizzes.
Step 1: Create outcomes
There are no correct or incorrect answers here you can attach scores or points to personality quizzes as you can with knowledge-based quiz. Hence at the end of the quiz, you will have to segregate the users based on outcomes. Since these outcomes are directly linked to your marketing efforts you must start with outcomes first and then move onto the questions. For instance, if you are planning to sell laptops on your online store you can create the following outcomes –
- User is a business executive
- User is a gamer
- User likes spending time on Internet
Step 2: Frame the questions
Once you have determined the outcome of your personality quiz you need to frame questions which are related to the outcome. So for targeting laptop users here are few sample questions:
What do you mostly use the laptop for?
a) Professional work
c) Internet browsing
Which free gift would you like to redeem with your laptop?
a) Antivirus Pack
b) Wireless Game Controller
c) External Wireless Card
What is your most important concern while buying a laptop?
If you carefully look at the questions you would note that different users are likely to choose different answers but there is a pattern to the answers based on the outcomes we have determined in the previous step.
Step 3: Prepare the logic
You have determined the outcomes and framed the questions. Now you have to set the logic to segregate the users based on their response. If you creatively align the questions to the outcomes you would be able to segregate the users based on their buying needs. Here let us set the logic for the quiz based on the above example:
- When users answer A maximum number of times redirect them to Business Laptop page
- When users answer B maximum number of times redirect them to Gaming Laptop page
- When users answer C maximum number of times redirect them to Budget Laptop page
Step 4: Work on call to action
The last step in creating a personality quiz is to work on Call to Action. You have to offer users some incentives to be able to convert these leads into sales. Taking the above example you can offer additional discounts or freebies to the user who lands on the specific pages.
You can also encourage them to share these pages within their network in lieu of additional services and gifts on your store. Doing so you will be able to grow your quiz virally and engage more users.
Keeping outcomes positive
While this may be an easy example of the personality quiz you must bear in mind that when it comes to personality traits users have both negative and positive traits. Since you are using this quiz for marketing purpose you need to always work on positive outcomes.
For instance, if the user is looking for budget laptops you shouldn’t discourage them or try and push for your premium range of products. When users feel happy about arriving at an outcome they are likely to share it within their network. If the outcomes are negative in any manner you kill your chances of going viral with the quiz.
Benefits of personality quiz
Personality quizzes have emerged as one of the most rewarding digital marketing strategies. They offer many benefits to your brand including –
- Lead Generation – Since these quizzes are engaging you will be able to increase engagement with your existing customers as well as new ones
- Segregate Leads – You will be able to segregate the leads based on the users’ likes and aspirations and this allows you to run a targeted campaign
- Viral Campaign – If your outcomes are positive and creative, users are likely to share the results in their network and this creates the chance of your quiz going viral.
- Brand Promotion – Personality quizzes can increase engagement with your target users’ manifold and this helps in increasing brand recognition which will help you in the long run.
To sum up, personality quizzes are one of the most effective ways of marketing a brand. They generate more traction with the users and also help in increasing sales.
Mark Gill is a writer and marketing expert. He specializes in interactive content and spends most of his time online looking out for new things and implementing the best possible solutions for his work.
10 Influencer Marketing Strategies to Skyrocket Your Brand
Consumers today have stopped paying attention to the traditional ways of marketing. Celebrities mouthing scripts in ads are ignored. Consumers instead opt to receive the messages from the influencers they follow on social media. They are more influenced by their opinions.
Influencer marketing has arrived in a big way. Endorsements from influencers can make a big impact. Brands and marketers know this and therefore are keen on using influencer marketing strategies to reach their goals. Let’s have a look at the influencer marketing strategies you can use.
1. Provide discount codes
This strategy of influencer marketing is oriented towards driving sales. Brands provide discount codes to influencers they collaborate with. These codes are then passed on to the fans and followers of the influencers. Followers are gently nudged to make purchase and they use the codes. Brands get much-needed brand awareness and conversions.
2. Create and publish blog posts
Every brand worth its salt must invest in creating and publishing blogs. Blogs help you develop the relationship with existing and potential customers. It gives you ample space to describe your product and services. You can collaborate with other influential bloggers and enable them to talk about your products and services. Sites should also try to get backlinks to the posts they publish so that they rank in google and drive traffic.
3. Increasing brand mentions
If you want the world to know about your brand, you need to make sure the name of your brand keeps popping up routinely on the social networking sites. You need to interact more with the influencers. The more people see, discuss, comment, reference the name of your brand, the more you gain.
4. Giveaway promotions
Giveaway promotions draw big attention. You can collaborate with influencers and have weekly or monthly giveaways. Influencers can help you promote the giveaways. Your customers who sit on the fence too would love a chance to experience the product. There is a lot of engagement and brand awareness as a result of giveaway promotions.
5. Ambassador programs
When brands see merit in collaborating with an influencer for the long term they try to involve them in their ambassador programs. Influencers as ambassadors become the face of the brand and they co-create the content and publish it on social accounts. Ambassadors work on increasing traffic, launching products, creating brand awareness and more.
6. Organize events
The way you plan and promote your events can have a big impact on your brand. You can rope in influencers to promote and cover the details of the event. This will create plenty of excitement and buzz in real time. You need to plan for proper media coverage too. Having influencers at the event will get you the right attention.
7. Takeover of social accounts
This strategy involves handing over the social media accounts of your brands to influencers who have the right expertise and have big number of followers. Brands gain by having uniquely crafted quality content on their timelines. They also have the attention of the loyal followers. Influencers gain reach and use the platform to share their expertise.
8. Guest posting
You can make a list of influential bloggers and try to pitch your posts to them as a guest. The posts need to be unique and useful. Guest posts help you build your authority. They help with visibility and help increase website traffic.
9. Free products
You can reach out to influencers who are interested in reviewing your products and services for their followers. You can provide them with free products and services in return for their authentic opinions and creative content. These influencers love to showcase and talk about useful products. You get publicity for the products and much-needed brand awareness and visibility.
10. Set up challenges for influencers
When a number of influencers compete for a prize the brand associated with it gets a huge boost in visibility. There is a lot of engagement around the challenge. Followers are interested in the fact that the influencers they love to follow are competing and they root for them. The brand gains followers, reach and visibility.
These are some of the influencer marketing strategies brands must use to see effective results. The following gifographic from Grin discusses these strategies with excellent examples. Have a look!
5 Ways to Measure Your Digital Marketing Efforts
Every business wants to establish their digital marketing presence. Regardless of the size, location and type of business, businesses are actively and inactively promoting using the digital means, via social media, their own website, or through blogs.
And once these businesses discover the means to measure their efforts – successful or not, they sure would want to discover ways to improve their efforts and actively engage in the digital marketing world. But, it takes more knowledge than knowing what metrics to use because your business should have its own standards and way to measure your digital marketing efforts’ success.
Step 1: Know your Business Objectives
Why would you want to spend time on digital marketing efforts?
This should be your first question. If your brick and mortar business is doing well and if you’re above the line marketing efforts are working well, why would you want to be here? If your answer to any of the following is, “Yes”, then you are on the right track:
a. Lead generation
b. Brand awareness
c. Business expansion or transition (brick and mortar to click and order or brick and mortar + click and order)
d. Customer service platform
Where do I want to be?
Basically, any business can use any type of digital marketing platform they prefer but each platform has its strengths and weaknesses. Check out which one works best for you:
1. Social media
If you want to increase brand awareness, then social media is your business’ buddy. This is where everything viral happens. If you think you have a killer and engaging content and you have plenty of time to do it, then go social!
2. Email marketing
If you want to keep your clients up to date with your business and future promotions and personalize it based on your previous transactions and encourage retention, then email marketing is the best tool for you. This time-saving and environment-friendly strategy is highly-measurable and gives you a lot of room for flexibility.
3. Internet Marketing (Search Engine Optimization and Search Marketing)
If you feel like there is a high demand for your products or brand and you have established a generous amount of information to answer your online customers’ questions, then go live with a website and website content. But never, ever go live empty handed or you will lose them. You may choose between organically growing your traffic and growing it by paid search.
Answering these questions can help you get started on strategizing your campaigns and understanding the results you want to get.
Step 2: Set Targets and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your Business Objectives
This is the tricky part, most people think that whatever standard metrics are set by other companies for themselves, it should also apply to their businesses. That is not always the case. Digital marketing is a series of trial and testing to arrive at your own key performance indicators or KPIs.
Setting your targets and KPIs can actually come hand in hand with identifying your business objectives. If you have established your digital presence, check out your social media first. Are you happy with the number of engagements your posts are getting?
How many Likes, Comments and Shares are there? Are their interactions that would likely translate to business? Where is your audience from? What can you offer them in the future?
If you have a website, which pages did they visit? How many clicked after they reached the Home Page? Did you get email sign-ups? How may be checked your website from their mobile device? What effects did these searches give your website in terms of ranking?
What is your conversion rate? These are the statistics you may want to improve on, making sure that every visit on your website will eventually lead them to sign-up to your mailing list, subscribing to your social platforms, reading the rest of your content and ends up with a purchase.
Clearly, knowing your numbers should challenge you to improve your numbers and setting a benchmark for your brand.
Step 3: Know your Target Audience
If you are a fashion brand for kids, who is your target segment? Which platforms are they likely present? This is your brand’s key to success in digital marketing. A fashion brand cannot reach a segment of teenagers, nor young professionals.
Your target is the segment a. women age 25-60, b. located within 20 kilometres from your store or broader if you have a delivery service and c. note that they normally have access to the internet, social media, emails – lunch break and after dinner. Knowing your target audience helps you devise campaigns they would be interested in and in which platforms you can best reach them.
Step 4: Choose an Analytics Tool or Platform and Set Periodic Evaluation
Knowing your analytics means being hands-on and active in your digital marketing efforts. But the level of understanding of these numbers depends on how simple or complex your digital analytics tool is.
Choosing the most user-friendly ones like Google Analytics for your website, HootSuite or SocialPilot for your social media accounts and MailChimp for your email marketing, are basic, free, yet helpful tools that will help any business owner get started.
It is also important to set an evaluation period for your digital marketing campaigns. Since you decide on consistently make content available to your audience, reviewing your analytics on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis can help you strategize your future steps.
Step 5: Implement Improvements Based on Your Assessments
Analytics and data are useless if these will not be put to use for improvement of your digital marketing processes. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses for various campaigns can help you decide which ones to pursue and which ones to try some other time.
If your data says that most of your website traffic comes from your social media, then your website must be optimized, content must be relevant and interesting and it must have means to let them opt-in for other promotions like email marketing. It will definitely create a domino effect on the rest of your digital marketing efforts.
Whether you’re a start-up or established a business, the same rules apply. Clearly understanding your objectives, setting your targets, knowing your audience, interpreting your data and improving on it are vital for your digital marketing success. And make it a habit to “always begin with the end in mind”.
Usman Raza is a freelance writer, marketing specialist at Crawford and O’Brien and co-founder of Usman Digital Media. When not working, he’s probably spending time with his family. Follow him on Facebook @usmanraza40 and Twitter @usmanintrotech.
Should Your Company Troll Its Competitors on Social Media?
Trolling seems to be an increasingly common tactic for gaining attention in a crowded marketing environment. A clever message or post directed at a competitor can get a lot of likes, shares, and retweets—Wendy’s roasts of competitor McDonalds are a popular example. But while such messages get attention, there are also many downsides to trolling. Consider the following questions and answer them carefully before trolling your competitors.
Does Trolling Fit Your Brand Image?
This is definitely the first question you should ask. Who are you and who does your brand represent? Does trolling your competitors fit with who you are as a brand? Some businesses will say yes, while others will say no. If the answer is no, then you should not troll your competitors as it’s unwise to do anything that is out of sync with your core brand principles. If the troll doesn’t fit with your brand, it will just confuse your customers and come off as inauthentic.
Does Trolling Raise the Quality and Value of Your Brand?
If trolling is in line with your brand image, the next thing you should consider is whether or not trolling will increase the quality and value of your brand. Sure, a snarky comment might get likes and shares, but how would the post affect public perception of your brand? Do you think better of a brand because it trolled its competitor?
While Wendy’s comment about McDonald’s made you laugh, did it improve your view of Wendy’s as a brand? Did it make you more likely to eat there?
Does Trolling Give Long-Term Results? Is It Worth the Commitment?
If the perception and value of the brand are top priorities, you must consider whether or not trolling increases the value of the brand in the long run. And if the gains are the only short term, are they worth the risks?
Trolling can definitely gain short-term attention, but I don’t think it improves a brand’s image over the long run. First of all, it’s hard to be clever all the time. People will expect you to one-up your last post, and that may prove to be difficult.
Plus, sassy comments tend to get old eventually. While a back and forth between brands may be entertaining at first, such exchanges have a tendency to either get stale and boring or get taken too far. Neither is good.
Also, trolling in a way that is funny and entertaining without taking it too far is an art in and of itself—one not everyone can do. Wendy’s does a great job of poking fun without coming across as mean-spirited, but I’m not sure every company can do this.
Another thing to consider is retaliation. If you are aggressive towards a competitor, expect them and their loyal customers to come after you eventually. You will likely find yourself the subject of someone else’s jokes, and then you will have to decide how to respond. In short, don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.
It’s also important to understand that those who criticise are less likely to be tolerated or forgiven when they do something wrong. If you are always trolling your competitors, you will probably not be given much slack if something goes wrong with your brand.
If you make fun of the quality of your competitor’s products, for example, you won’t be given much sympathy if your products get recalled. More than likely, your competitor’s counterattack will be relentless.
Finally, once you start being aggressive, it’s hard to step back down. If you’re going to troll, be prepared to commit.
Could Your Energy Be Better Spent Elsewhere?
Effective trolling takes a lot of work, and in most cases, that energy could be better spent elsewhere. Would building relationships with your customers be more effective in the long run than attacking your competitors? In most cases, the answer is probably yes.
While there are examples of effective trolling, the long-term success of the tactic remains to be seen. For most businesses at least, the risks probably outweigh the rewards. Carefully consider the questions above and how they apply to your brand before starting a trolling campaign. Doing so will give you a better indication of the potential pros and cons of trolling your competitors.
Matt Ramage has been marketing websites for over 20 years. He loves helping businesses improve their user experience and searchability on the Internet. Matt now heads Emarketed which is located in Los Angeles, California. They specialize in SEO, social media marketing and web development.