Saturday, November 11, 2017

Social Media Tips - Customer Experience

4 Steps to Enhancing the Customer Experience with Social Media

Social media has been the “buzz” in marketing practically since its inception. And while your business should absolutely be utilizing these channels as an integral part of your marketing strategy, it’s time to move past thinking about your social media pages and handles solely in terms of marketing with the goal of customer acquisition.

You need to use social media to enhance your customers’ experiences with your brand. It’s time to delight.

Set the stage: Engage your customers, don’t bombard them

While some less savvy companies might think of their social media accounts as a publisher of free ads, this is not the case, thanks to the ever-declining reach of organic social content. Besides, no one is delighted by an endless deluge of promotional materials, after which you might find people tuning you out, and probably, unfollowing you.

When creating a content calendar, you need to consider what your social media followers likely expect to get out of following you. They probably want to hear about sales and promotions; maybe they like to find out about new products the moment they launch; or they might be interested in news from your industry.

In addition to occasional sales messages, you should be showcasing your culture and creating a conversational environment where customers feel welcome to provide feedback. Ask for their opinions. Instagram’s new poll feature in Instagram Stories (aka Snapchat 2.0) is a prime example of a fun way to engage your customers in a genuine way while learning about their likes or dislikes.

Pro tip: To add a poll to your Story, use the “Poll” sticker from the stickers menu. Here you can enter a question and two response options. When users view your story and respond, they see which option is in the lead. Story creators can later view respondents by viewing the Story and swiping up.

Dealing with customer service inquiries and feedback

Consumers are increasingly making their purchase decisions online — from researching, browsing and purchasing goods and services all the way through use of the product or service. It follows that they’re also taking their customer service inquiries online. If they bought from you online, it’s all the more likely that they’ll expect to engage with you online post-purchase.

For retail stores, customers have no quicker, easier way to connect than through social media. And when they do contact retailers through Facebook, Twitter or some other platform, they’ll likely do it publicly. This comes with its own set of challenges. But marketers of businesses that sell products or services online should consider it first and foremost an opportunity.

You now have the chance to showcase your customer service and delight a customer publicly. Of course, that also means the stakes are raised. Below are four key tips for dealing with customer service inquiries and feedback through social media.

How to Pick Your First SEO Keywords

One of the best ways to grow a business is through search engine optimization (SEO), the process of making changes to increase a website’s likelihood of being ranked for relevant searches within Google and other search engines.

Keywords are a critical component of the strategy; optimizing your site for specific ones gives you the power to control which searches you rank for (and therefore who your target audience is). Accordingly, adjusting your keyword distribution gives you power to change your campaign over time.

To be successful, you need to start by picking the right keywords. Over time, you’ll gather data that helps you determine which of your keywords are most successful, and which ones need more work -- but how do you pick the right initial set of keywords?

Technical SEO - Beginner's Guide

19 technical SEO facts for beginners

Technical SEO is an awesome field. There are so many little nuances to it that make it exciting, and its practitioners are required to have excellent problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

In this article, I cover some fun technical SEO facts. While they might not impress your date at a dinner party, they will beef up your technical SEO knowledge — and they could help you in making your website rank better in search results.

Let’s dive into the list.

1. Page speed matters

Most think of slow load times as a nuisance for users, but its consequences go further than that. Page speed has long been a search ranking factor, and Google has even said that it may soon use mobile page speed as a factor in mobile search rankings. (Of course, your audience will appreciate faster page load times, too.)

Many have used Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to get an analysis of their site speed and recommendations for improvement. For those looking to improve mobile site performance specifically, Google has a new page speed tool out that is mobile-focused. This tool will check the page load time, test your mobile site on a 3G connection, evaluate mobile usability and more.

2. Robots.txt files are case-sensitive and must be placed in a site’s main directory

The file must be named in all lower case (robots.txt) in order to be recognized. Additionally, crawlers only look in one place when they search for a robots.txt file: the site’s main directory. If they don’t find it there, oftentimes they’ll simply continue to crawl, assuming there is no such file.

3. Crawlers can’t always access infinite scroll

And if crawlers can’t access it, the page may not rank.

When using infinite scroll for your site, make sure that there is a paginated series of pages in addition to the one long scroll. Make sure you implement replaceState/pushState on the infinite scroll page. This is a fun little optimization that most web developers are not aware of, so make sure to check your infinite scroll for  rel=”next” and rel=”prev“ in the code.

4. Google doesn’t care how you structure your sitemap

As long as it’s XML, you can structure your sitemap however you’d like — category breakdown and overall structure is up to you and won’t affect how Google crawls your site.

5. The noarchive tag will not hurt your Google rankings

This tag will keep Google from showing the cached version of a page in its search results, but it won’t negatively affect that page’s overall ranking.

Internet Marketing - Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality

How Technological Evolution is Changing the Landscape of Internet Marketing

Businesses are constantly adapting to the fast-paced change in the way they operate, given the evolution of technology. With the power of progressive technologies like augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and of course with the insurmountable amount of data, marketers can do anything, from immersive targeting to desirable selling.

It was an amazing shift for me from only writing and publishing content to taking efforts towards marketing them online. Though it seemed like a radical turn around, I managed to scrupulously lay the path. It came as a shocker when, with no fiscal investment (we didn’t have Adwords or any other fancy marketing tool back then), and just dull websites, businesses were able to convince and convert their clients.

How? Thereafter, content led the conversion process.

Peek into the Future of Online Marketing

Online marketing is on the verge of imploding and giving rise to an entirely different business model. With the number of emerging technologies, the online marketing is making a quick shift from contextual marketing to immersive marketing. For instance, the inclusion of social media to our interaction stream has changed the way we stay connected with each other in our daily life, since everything is accessible from our phones.

Take a look at the new innovative technologies we will soon get exposed to. They certainly are going to take the burden off our shoulders by revolutionising the way the online marketing works right now.

Influencer Marketing - Entrepreneur Strategy

3 Keys to Success With Influencer Marketing

A quick Google Trends Search and you'll quickly see that the search for "Influencer Marketing" has skyrocketed over the last five years. Rightfully so, as Entrepreneur contributor Daniel Newman pointed out in 2015, and several studies have proved: Influencer marketing is the fastest growing and most cost-effective channel.

But for every success story, there's a dozen other nightmare stories of influencers who've mishandled their responsibilities and botched their marketing strategies along the way. Case in point, a celebrity influencer who neglectfully forgot to remove the copy from their post. If you’ve ever hired an influencer and didn’t see a return on your investment, don’t worry you’re not alone. In an ideal world, you’d hire a Michael Jordan or David Beckham for your company, and products would start flying off of the shelves.

The reality is that influencer marketing is significantly more complex than that. Even though you’re paying for access to a specific audience, that audience is still a consumer market that you need to use a strategic approach with -- and adopt an entrepreneurial mindset.

Digital Marketing Trends | Social Media, Search Engines

7 Digital Marketing Marketing Trends You Can’t Afford to Ignore

“I would have written you a shorter letter but I didn’t have the time.”

This quote attributed to many different sources sums up what we are facing in this now very complex world. But keeping it simple and short takes time and effort. Distilling the complex into something that makes sense in one sentence or even a six second video is an art form that is to be treasured.

But as marketers that is what you are confronted with. Increasing complexity. It is just one of the trends that will impact your business in the years ahead.

We also need the right tools, platforms and technology to help us scale the huge amounts of data and noise that now confront us online. Here are 7 digital marketing trends that you need to keep your eye on.

1. Increasing Complexity

Tech is largely to blame for making marketing complex. But it’s also the answer. Making sense of tons of data, always on marketing and the many forms of splintered media is something tech platforms do well.

Right alongside that sits different categories of complex. Facebook advertising is a discipline on its own that requires focus. Then add the dark science of “Search Engine Optimisation” and understanding the many moving parts that require mastery.

The types of media we need to master includes live streaming, Facebook videos and GIFS and Infographics. Then you need to master marketing automation and artificial intelligence tools and platforms.

2. Marketing Technology

Marketing technology (sometimes called Martech) is continuing to grow. According to Venture Beat there has been over $134 billion invested in this category in startups in just 5 years. In 2018 IDC is predicting that CMO’s will spend $32 billion on buying and implementing Martech solutions.

But the category has 3 core categories. B2B marketing, B2C marketing and advertising technology. It should not be seen as one size fits all.

According to Ajay Agarwal in an article on TechCrunch there is an interesting divide between spending on marketing versus sales between B2B and B2C. B2B companies spend much more on their front end sales than on marketing at a ratio of 10:1. B2C spends a lot more on marketing than sales with an inverse ratio of 10:1.

Maybe we will expect to see Salesforce dominate B2B marketing tech as it is the dominant sales tool for B2B globally.
He sees the key trend and opportunity as one in which a B2C marketing company can create a B2C system of record from the start of the customer journey to sale.

3. The Rise and Rise of Algorithms

The beauty at the the birth of social media networks was their simplicity. They flowed past you unfiltered.

Twitter was a distilled stream of unfettered consciousness. Facebook was a flowing page of diverse ideas and people. And some sat outside your tent of ideas and interests.

But things have changed.

The need to make money from the platforms meant that algorithms needed to be programmed to ensure that the social networks could start to monetise their distribution. The organic reach that initially excited marketers, writers and entrepreneurs has been dialled back.

Also the volume of data has also exploded in the last 10 years driven by the two obsessive technologies of social media and smartphones. To make sense of that as finite humans means we need help from the machines. And they run on algorithms.

Web Design - Marketing, Branding Strategy, Conversions

The Impact of Web Design on Marketing, Branding and Conversions

Most business owners agree that high-quality web design is essential for their business. But when asked exactly why it’s important, only a few could provide an adequate answer. Web design isn’t all about aesthetics. There’s no use to adding all the bells and whistles to your site if it fails to work toward your goal of attracting customers and increasing sales. The main problem is that many decide to compartmentalize the process, hiring an agency for web design and another one for marketing.

Taking a Comprehensive Approach

The traditional approach of hiring different agencies for various aspects of the website is no longer effective. Instead, it’s better to take a more comprehensive approach. Web design must now be deeply incorporated into your inbound marketing and branding strategy. If you employ three agencies for web design, SEO, and branding, it’s nearly impossible to have them work in cohesion and help you inch closer toward your business goals.

Your Design Matters, and so Does Your Content

As a business owner, you’ll do yourself a favor by building a website that resonates with your target audience. Several studies suggest that online users cite web design elements as among the top factors they consider when deciding whether to trust a website or not. Most users share the same red flags to watch out for including busy layouts, pop-up ads, boring web design, slow page load times, and small print.

Next to these design elements, content is the biggest factors considered by visitors. You’ve probably heard countless times that content is king. However, you need to deliver effective content while engaging the attention of your customers. Doing this through traditional text alone proves challenging. Adding certain design elements to your site can give them more reason to stay and consume your content.

Improving Your Branding Strategy

Each year, Google seems to add more weight to branding in the search algorithm. Always keep in mind that your website should serve as an extension of your brand. If you have a physical store, make sure that the characteristic branding elements remain consistent including the logo, colors, and font. Even your style of communicating with customers should be the same across all online marketing platforms you use. This gives your business more credibility, which could have a huge impact on increasing sales.