Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important element of an online presence today. Using it to your advantage will improve your Internet visibility, ensure a regular stream of customers to your online business and deliver a positive return on your investment by enhancing your reach.
Like all important things in life, it’s not always an easy skill to master. People often end up spending valuable resources with no noticeable improvement in their search engine rankings. That’s why it’s always worthwhile to engage the skills of a Digital Business consultant.
If you use SEO to attract online visitors, (and you should), the infographic below from SEO Tribunal will help you focus your efforts in the right direction.
There is a brief history of search engines and Google algorithm evolution, followed by some of the most important current and future trends in the search ecosystem.
For instance, did you know that almost 80% of search engine users focus only on organic results while ignoring paid ads completely? Or that even a 500-millisecond delay in connection speed can result in up to 8% decrease in visitor engagement?
The infographic has some very practical advice to improve your Google search rankings too. This includes tips like improving content quality, using relevant images and creating customized experiences for visitors.
SEO for local business, which is one of the biggest trends in this field along with the move towards mobile searches, gets special focus here. Mobile devices are projected to influence US$ 1.4 trillion in local sales by 2021. If you want a slice of this pie, you can’t do without the information on key trends and local ranking factors the infographic has collected for you.
All this information is neatly wrapped up by data on 2018’s top influencers, best SEO tools and companies dominating Google search results worldwide.
Email marketing is considered to be one of the best marketing solutions that a company can turn to. Its basic advantage is that it is cost-effective while also being one of the best methods to reach out to a huge number of people.
However, it is not as simple as it seems. 99Firms presents below some of the many hacks and tricks that need to be done right to get the best results.
Let’s take a look at some statistics regarding email content and email formatting.
Emails written at a reading level comparable to a 3rd-grade student are more likely to get a reply by 36%.
The response rate for emails which consist of 50-125 words is above 50%, as that length in considered the best for emails.
An email with a plain text has a 25% higher open rate than HTML.
More than 60% of email clients block images by default.
The fact that emails which contain between 1 and 3 questions have a 50% bigger chance of getting a reply means that you should always ask your customers for an opinion, and not just focus on the product.
Another important thing is to use a short plain text note coming from a real person on your team. This makes your customers feel comfortable since they’re receiving the email from a real human and not a bot.
Take a look at the infographic below to find out more about email marketing optimization tricks and hacks.
In today’s world, the use of mobile devices is so much widespread that businesses are taking advantage of this fact to reach various people. According the infographic provided by AppGeeks, users spend 59% of their online time on mobile devices and just 41% on desktop computers.
The number of active smartphone users has surpassed the one billion mark and, according to research, people check their phones 80 times on average within 24 hours. This, in turn, gives marketers an excellent opportunity for advertising.
The best thing about mobile marketing is that it offers various ways for brands to market themselves through the use of SMS, emails, apps, QR codes, push notifications, Bluetooth, location-based services, in-game marketing, and mobile site redirection.
As a business owner, you can opt to use any of these tools depending on the objective of your campaign, just like how big brands successfully use them.
For instance, Tao Nightclub used a mobile marketing campaign to send out a text offer to its subscribers, which led to an 11% redemption rate and $1,770 in additional admission fees.
Nissan used an interactive video in 2014 to get people to learn more about the features of the cars on sale by tap touching the screen. This campaign helped the company to accomplish a 78% completion rate and a 93% engagement rate.
As for Topshop, it decided to add a new mobile layer to its site, which resulted in a 4% increase in the number of items added to the basket and also, the search bar it added led to a 5.8% increase in CR.
To gain more insights from other businesses on how to successfully use mobile marketing, check out this infographic, from appgeeks.org.
Getting the most and paying the least for it, is a top priority for them.
With so much information available to digital consumers, SMART companies leverage psychological persuasion as part of the engagement and conversion strategy.
Neuromarketing describesthemix of traditional and modern methods used to exploit the irrational decisions we all make when purchasing. It leverages colour perception, the human desire to fit in, snag a bargain and avoid loss.
Consider implementing the following tactics to get the most from your digital marketing spend, today.
Think about the last time someone did something kind for you. You thought immediately about returning the favour – that’s reciprocity.
It began when Caveman A fashioned the tools that allowed Caveman B to hunt Dilongs. Cavewoman C maintained the fire that allowed them to cook the meat. Cavewoman D knew which berries made a palatable, non-poisonous accompaniment.
The first experts and co-operative societies were created!
How to Implement Reciprocity
Reciprocity is known to be a powerful sales motivator. Last time you received a free sample of food, it was accompanied by directions as to where you could purchase the full product.
The free sample gesture was an attempt to begin the reciprocity cycle where you return the favour with a purchase.
Free and trial versions of software are made available hoping to achieve a sale in the future.
Word of mouth remains one of the most powerful referral engines. Delivering exceptional service triggers referrals naturally, but don’t be shy about asking existing your customers for new leads.
You can incentivise the referral with a future discount or cash back for the referer. This increases the lifetime value of the existing customer and continues the reciprocity cycle.
The father of advertising, David Ogilvy, stated, “What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it.”
Certain motivating words have been used in marketing for decades now – the simple reason is they work!
Some like “Exclusive Offer” and “Limited Availability” appeal to our FOMO. Cialdini called this kind of persuasion, The Scarcity Principle. People place greater value on objects when they are framed around exclusivity and scarcity.
“Free Trial Period,” “Guaranteed” and “No Obligation” help allay consumer fears of being ripped off.
How to Implement Power Words
Your business needs to develop and articulate its unique selling proposition. A Digital Business Consultant can help with this and the power words to use in your marketing copy.
Consider running limited time offers.
Use countdown timers to add urgency to discounts or special offers.
Offer a free, no-obligation trial period and present the offering as a gift to invoke reciprocity.
Such is the apathy that occurs when we offer our clients too many choices. When it comes to offering choices, the sweet spot seems to be 3 to 6.
Those yellow discounted price tags in the same
aisle are an exception. They immediately appeal
to my visual importance with their percentage-off
Avoiding choice overload is beneficial to the business as well. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, your Digital Business Consultant will help you develop your ideal buyer personas. These are the fictional representations of the group of customers you should aggressively target.
Rationalising products or services will narrow your focus and avoid wasted marketing efforts on people who will never purchase from you. You also become an expert when you own the niche!
How to Avoid Choice Overload
In the discovery phase of the buyer’s journey, avoid complicated pricing and feature offerings.
Use pricing tables to present features in an interesting manner. Position a particular offering that will serve your customers needs the best and maximise the return to your business.
Concentrate marketing efforts around portraying yourself as an expert. This informative kind of marketing is received better than a hard sell. Ogilvy also said, “The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be.”
Get help to ensure your business presents a contemporary presence. Deliver design consistency across your website and social media profiles. People hate confusion and mixed messaging. Failing to deliver on brand consistency will make you look disorganised and unreliable.
Keep your website design fresh and on trend with new content in a blog format. Google loves new material.
Develop a long-lasting relationship with your Digital Business Consultant. Take them up on digital maintenance plans. They’ll be more willing to do minor FOC modifications and offer future discounts to clients with whom they have a long-term relationship.
Conduct regular audits of your social reach strategies. Be prepared to ditch poorly performing platforms and be open to emerging ones and new integrations. Just don’t put all your efforts into the one digital channel. Your competitors may swoop into that space and steal the search rankings you’ve worked hard to achieve.
Acting in a way in which the majority of others behave, is a protective mechanism. It establishes social norms and helps us fit-in.
80% of people believe testimonials they read on a website. Social proof in the form of testimonials protects us from loss.
If you deliver consistent, exceptional service, a constant supply of positive reviews will be your greatest asset. Keep updating these reviews to reflect innovation or diversification in your business – that’s an expertthing as well.
Monitor and respond to positive and negative reviews on your Google+ page. Keep the reciprocity cycle turning with a message of thanks for positive reviews. A throwback to an earlier time would be to send a handwritten message in the mail. This is much more personal than a DM!
How to Use Social Proof
You don’t have to dedicate 10 web pages to testimonials. Choice overload suggests 2 to 6 testimonials will suffice.
We’re all attracted to shiny objects. If you’re a member of a professional society, eg CPA or Master Builder, make sure to display these affiliations on your site.
Maybe you’ve won “Best in Class” industry awards – show them off.
Personalisation is about delivering relevant and timely marketing messaging to your customers. It can aid their understanding, make it easier for them to do something or provide value.
The cloud computing power of Customer Relationship Management software like Salesforce and Pipedrive, make omnichannel customer engagement a breeze. Automation features deliver appropriate messaging based on where the customer sits in your sales funnel.
A customer downloads the retailer’s mobile app and opts in. The business then knows a customer’s location at any given time. Push notifications are sent to that customer promoting products when they are within a certain range or instore.
Digital loyalty cards, personalized offers, and speedy checkouts are just a few of the other offerings available with this technology. Financial barriers to entry are tumbling so this is a viable option for smaller business now as well.
ECommerce personalises visitors experience by displaying suggestions based on purchase history.
Youtube and Netflix use your history to make suggestions.
How to Implement Personalisation
As part of a total digital solution, your Digital Business Consultant can data mine important insights about your customers’ behaviour. Your existing CRM, pixel tracking, and analytics plugins are just some of the tools they’ll use.
Consider investing in an email campaign and drip feed ongoing, relevant knowledge to those who opt-in. You maintain brand awareness when they hear from you regularly as well.
8. “Use Video”
Consumption of video content is exploding. The stats speak for themselves.
95% of people will watch an explainer video to learn more about you if you provide one.
81% of people will be convinced to buy from you after watching that video.
How to Use Video:
Write a script
Create a Youtube channel
Grab your phone
A 30-second introduction video to your business is better than no video at all!
Google owns Youtube and gives it preference in search engine rankings
Make video an ongoing part of your digital strategy
9. “Use The Reject-Then-Retreat Method”
A sales rep recently gave me a quote of $17,000 for a Tesla Powerwall. While I admire Elon Musk for his innovation and entrepreneurship, I don’t admire him that much!
He immediately retreated to a less featured, $8500 solution when I told him $17,000 was not an option.
The same principle is employed by a new car salesman. When viewed in the context of a $30,000 new car purchase, additions like $2000 leather interior, $1200 paint protection and $800 driver assist technology, seem small in comparison to the actual vehicle cost.
Interestingly, salespeople never start by trying to sell you these features. Once you’re emotionally invested in the purchase, then the upsell comes!
In a lesson for all business and services, both examples led with the most expensive option first.
When a customer sees the willingness to come down in price from a high starting level it’s viewed more favourably than the other way around. Think traditional upsells – I always resist them!
How to Use The Reject-Then-Retreat Method
Used wisely, this can be a very effective conversion technique. Just make sure the initial offering is reasonable.
If you run an E-commerce store, customers should be shown cheaper items to compliment or accessorise their purchase as they’re about to check out.
10. “Tell A Story”
Stories have been part of human evolution. We started telling stories before we learned how to write.
Scientists have studied the brains of people invested in a story. Oxytocin, the same hormone that helps mother and newborn form a bond, is released. It makes us more caring!
When you’re engrossed in a (good) movie, oxytocin is again at work helping you form a connection with the characters. It’s also the reason going to the movies is good for your relationship. You’re building a connection with your partner based on the similar experience of the plight of the characters.
How to Implement StoryTelling
Any reputable Digital Business Consultancy will factor in a discovery phase of your operations.
You don’t have the budgets of multi-billion dollar companies like Nike and Coca-Cola, so they’ll help craft a narrative that tells your business’s unique story.
This is the kicker though – the business motivation, what your brand stands for and the market need you address is about the customer, not you.
If you can craft a great story, oxytocin will be surging in your business prospects.
There is the question as to whetheremploying these tactics is ethicalgiven their persuasive success?
The consumer today is well-educated. They are empowered like never before because of digitisation. New levels of opportunity, customer experience, and connectedness, are the result of digitisation and these will only continue to expand.
It’s difficult to build a business with a single marketing tactic. A recent report suggests up to 20% of ROI is lost when adopting a single channel approach. An integrated Omnichannel approach makes it more likely a potential customer will encounter your message across multiple platforms and times.
The approach begins with your website.
#1: Your website is the “always-on” embodiment of your business. Integrated correctly, it collects leads and can help turn customers into brand advocates. Given 80% of people research a company or service online before purchase, can you afford not to add a digital face to your business?
#2: The financial barriers to digital entry continue to tumble! While we suggest you engage a Digital Business Consultant, an online presence with a relatively small initial outlay, is possible for any size business. Having a website is now a necessity, rather than a luxury. You can deliver your unique message to a much wider, digital audience. And besides…your competitors are executing on their digital strategy as you read this!
#3: Developing your unique value helps to position your company or service in the expert category. If you’re a handy writer, there’s an opportunity to share your expertise. It’s cheap and easy to get help in this area though if you’re not an accomplished writer.
#4: Integrate a Social Media strategy and now your reach is exploding! You can update your customers on new products or upgrades. Concentrate on delivering an exceptional consumer experience time after time. People will share their positive brand experiences with their followers and expand your digital reach.
The 3 certainties in life – death, taxes and change. The first 2 are becoming less certain as medical advances are adding to life expectancy and big companies exploit tax laws. Change does seem to be the one true constant. Businesses who keep up with digital change, bring value to the customer experience and will their meet competition head-on.
#1: Partner with a digital business consultant.
Many businesses have embarked on Digital Transformation. They realise an online presence is a necessity to move their business forward. For those looking for traction in the digital space, the services of a Digital Business Consultant can be invaluable. Their knowledge of web integrations helps you cater to an increasingly impatient audience.
#2: Leverage people’s obsession with mobile technology.
The average person checks their phone over one hundred times a day! Such is the attachment to digital devices, it’s argued that we are already a human-digital hybrid. Maybe this is the beginning of Elon Musk’s vision for a digitised humanity?
A steady stream of email, social media and marketing notifications hijacks attention spans. In the background, an always-on, digital hum from growing connected technology. Your brand just has to be there. Make it searchable and ready to deliver on mobile devices!
#3 Begin optimising for voice search
Two-thumb typing searches will become extinct.20 percent of mobile queries are already voice searched. In 3 years, it’s anticipated 50% of all searches will be performed without the aid of a screen.
Your potential clients are already asking their Digital Personal Assistant, (DPA), Siri, Alexa and Google to “Begin morning.”
With this command, lights switch, coffee percolates, traffic and weather updates are received. A grocery list is sent to a smartphone for a recipe search a connected refrigerator.
The next command could be, “Find me, (insert your business type here.)” Ensuring your business has a location and service-optimised digital strategy will make you searchable 24/7/365.
Your digital business consultant will develop a keyword strategy to connect direct answers to direct questions.
No longer the conjuring of science fiction writers, artificial intelligence and machine learning, will be smarter than humans.It doesn’t matter who your clients are, be assured that most will always use digital channels to search, interact, transact, share and purchase.
Retargeting can track browsing and purchase history and abandoned cart sales. The information can then be used to place your ads on other sites, keeping your digital brand in the forefront of people’s minds.
#5 Always be contactable
Digital business needs to receive email, respond to Messenger queries and website chat while maintaining a social media presence. People expect to make a connection at the very instant they have a need. It’s critical to screen, direct and respond to that need in a timely fashion.
Email marketing, Messenger chat and social media strategy are just some of the tools your business needs to integrate. You need to satisfy the immediate need when they’re ready to purchase!
And remember…it may take fifty interactions to gain someone’s attention, but one poor interaction to lose it forever! Be human, trustworthy, publish quality information and you will see positive effects from your digital marketing efforts in 2018.
The consumer controls the game and investing in tools to improve their experience, should be a no-brainer.The best promoters of your brand are engaged and satisfied customers and favourable digital reviews are like word of mouth on steroids!
There was a light bulb moment for me when I was first introduced to acronyms.SOHCAHTOAhelped me navigate the mental torture of trigonometry.BOLTSS, the six essential features of a map.
In Healthcare, (where I spent 20 years), acronyms abound to aid recall of physiological processes.
My favourite acronym though is theSMART Digital approach. It helps convey plans and timelines when developing a digital marketing strategy for clients. I liked it so much, I even called my agency Smart Reach Media.
Reachis the amplification and distribution of a message to achieve greatest digital penetration. An example of reach could be the number of unique visitors to a website each month.
SMART digital marketing is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Scaled.
At the core, any business needs to stand out from the competition and communicate aunique selling proposition.
Simple Who, What, Why and Which questions clarify the process and make itSpecific.
Who is involved? What do we want to do? Why are we doing what we are doing? Which constraints and requirements are there for the project? Goals seem more attainable when objectives like these are established early in the planning process.
There are manyMeasurables these days. Likesare important but your Bank Manager won’t take them as part of your interest repayments.
Digital Marketers analyse Click-through and Bounce Rates and use A/B split testing.
Google analytics and Facebook provide audience insights. The user experience on the website is modifiedaccordingly.
The Digital Business Consultant delivers this information in easy to understand language for the client. The data helps the marketing process for the business.
Appraising the available resources and constraints at the business level is Attainability. This is necessary to improve performance.
Up to this point, the process has set Relevant goals to achieve short and long-term business goals.
This all needs to occur within an acceptableTime-Scaledperiod for the client. The designer needs adequate time as well to deliver their best work.
Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.” Your business will benefit from a structured development phase between you and the Digital Transformation agency.
A successful business understands it’s essential for growth to anticipate customers needs. An organisation’s website is the first point many consumers encounter a brand. It’s essential to create a lasting first impression and should incorporate 3 essential elements for the user.
We’ve identified the 3 elements as Omnichannel, navigation ease and selfishness.
The Omnichannel marketing approach provides the customer with a seamless experience. The customer can be shopping online, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar store.
Many organisations find it difficult to keep up with technology. Editing and launching across many channels in a personalised, Omnichannel manner, is time-consuming.
Partnering with a Digital Business Consultant can help to reduce technology overwhelm. They show you how and where your business should exist in the digital space.
This includes integrations with your responsive website design. They include social media presence, email and other paid marketing.
80% of people based their purchasing decision on the look of a website they visited and how easy it was to navigate.
If your website was designed 5 years ago, it’s time for a refresh!
Understanding people’s problems and providing solutions will always perform better.
Your consultant can continue to ensure your digital assets look and perform their best all the time in the future.
Nomophobia is the fear of being without one’s mobile phone…yes, it’s a real thing! 66% of people describe their smartphone as a “lifeline.” 87% of Millennials say their phone never leaves their side, day or night!
With this kind of device attachment, mobile optimised design and navigation are paramount. Neglect mobile design at your peril!
Your prospects have a penchant for tablet devices too. Some great tools exist to test views on a range of devices. Check out how your site looks on a Kindle Fire or an Asus Nexus 7!
As digital expectations accelerate, customers expect personalised experiences that assist them through to the purchase decision.
80% of people are unable to make this decision in real time unless they refer to a digital device first. Many purchasing decisions by consumers rely on consulting online reviews first.
It’s vital for the business to ask for positive testimonials. It’s as important to show how you deal with negative ones. Social Media integration is the ideal medium to show the human face of your brand. Timely replies to customer issues and relationship building are the beneficial results for all.
A successful digital marketing strategy is always trying to leverage people’s selfishness. At every point in the digital marketing cycle, people are always trying to meet a need to survive and thrive.
Impatience, need for immediate gratification and pleasure-seeking are the embodiment of this need. Google even has a name for these behaviours. It calls them, micromoments.
In 2017, people who complain, expect a reply on social media within the hour. They want the business’s sole concern to be improving their experience.
Live chat integration can reduce this wait further to almost zero and is becoming the norm. There are even free versions for fledgeling lean startups.
Need automated booking or online scheduling of your services, with multiple consultants? Your visitors will appreciate this integration into your Digital Transformation.
The services of a Digital Business Consultant can produce significant savings to any organisation. The financial benefits of outsourcing can be significant.
An appropriate and scalable platform, with integration capabilities, should be part of the initial advice you’d receive. You can save thousands in the long run and prevent having to rebuild in the future.
There are many good reasons why your Digital Business Consultant will tell you getting to page 1 of Google is a marathon and not a sprint. It’s a hyper-competitive world out there with a plethora of channels all vying for peoples attention. Experts suggest even with the right content and strategy, it can take 3 to 12 months to reach the coveted page 1 position!
We’ve curated some amazing digital facts from across the web that illustrates the struggle to gain digital attention.
Let’s Start With Raw Internet Numbers:
1. More data was created in the last two years than the previous 5,000 years of humanity. It equates to roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes a day and 90% of all data ever created.
24. 60% of U.S. online consumers have purchased as a result of reading a blogger’s recommendation. (Factbrowser)
25. A blog on a Websites can help to achieve more than 4 times the amount of indexed pages by Search Engines. The greater the number of indexed pages, the more fruitful your SEO efforts will be (U.addresstwo)
26. Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without.
27. After reading recommendations on a blog, 61% of online consumers made a purchase.
The Importance of Website Security:
28. More than 6000 computer viruses are created every month
29. 30,000 websites are hacked each day!
We Lost Without Our Smartphones:
30. 91% smartphone users say they turn to their phones for ideas in the middle of a task
31. 82% of them consult their phones before buying anything in a store.
These are just a few of the mind-boggling statistics that we’ve seen in the last year. They show how entrenched digital is and how likely it will continue to dominate every aspect of our lives.