The world of marketing is a rather strange beast. For centuries business owners around the world have utilized many different marketing methods to pull in potential customers. Between them all, there seems to be a common component missing throughout, and that’s the education about your product, service or trade.
Being an expert
Teaching and sharing knowledge is the future of marketing. It allows us as business owners to play the role of “expert in our field” and helps us proceed towards a sale at the same time. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that people buy from people they know, like and trust. What does that mean? It means that we should be teaching our customers, building relationships and offering them valuable tools, info, and experiences with our brands. This pulls people into our circles, creates a following, and ultimately positions them towards the sale that we’re aimed towards.
Sharing Our Knowledge
So how do we position ourselves as an “expert in our field”? We do so by teaching and sharing with our customers. When you teach people, It becomes so much more valuable for you and your business as they begin to develop a much higher level of trust. This is at the fundamental core of building trust with your customers. For example, if you own a restaurant, teach people about eating healthy. Blog about what it’s like to own a restaurant. Give away free recipes for amazing dishes. Offer cooking tips and new dinner ideas.
You can do this through several different marketing outlets including:
- Email Newsletters
- Facebook Posts
- SMS Marketing Campaings
- Twitter Posts
- Blog Articles
- Pinterest Boards
The possibilities are endless and should be geared specifically towards your target audience. The important thing is that these all position you and your business as subject matter experts and builds an amazing amount of rapport at the same time.
Forgetting Your Competition
Traditionally, some businesses are rather nervous about teaching and sharing for fear that they’ll be giving away secrets to their competitors. The reality is that you can’t really worry about them. They’re not going away, and they’re too busy to be watching your every step. You should be aware of them but cannot be discouraged about progression for fear that they’ll steal your ideas and secrets.
Teaching and sharing breaks down that invisible barrier that stands between the salesperson and the customer, allowing the connection with your customers to grow stronger than ever before. Not only does it position you and your company as the expert, but it helps you establish a long lasting relationship with your customers. This automatically earns their trust and will bring can them into your circle on a more permanent basis.
You will find that adding a solid layer of education as a core component of your marketing mix will greatly increase your company’s number of followers and overall level of trust with each of them. When that level of trust reaches a certain point, not only will you earn that sale you’re looking for but will have gained a new lifelong customer in the process.
Matt Baglia is the CEO of SlickText.com, a leader in the SMS marketing industry. They provide businesses and organizations all over the United States with an easy and affordable platform for sending targeted, opt-in text message marketing.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.com
Author: Innovation Excellence
The UC Berkeley Startup Competition proudly welcomed Guy Kawasaki to the Haas School of Business. Kawasaki, former chief evangelist of Apple and co-founder of Garage Technology Ventures, explained the top ten mistakes that entrepreneurs make. His talk covered all stages of a startup from inception to exit.
Social media websites like Facebook and LinkedIn always rank well for businesses. The content you are posting on your social media networks also has an impact on your overall ranking strategy. Your individual activity on social media networks and how it relates to your website ranking is referred to as “social signals.”
What can be confusing is understanding the impact of an individual post to your website ranking. While speaking at the social and search conference Pubcon in New Orleans this week several industry experts established some guidelines for improving your social signals.
Don’t write boring content. Krista Neher, CEO of Boot Camp Digital, gave this simple advice. She said take an extra two minutes to purposely improve every piece of content you are going to publish. This goes for tweets, posts, blogs and any other content. Too often businesses are in such a hurry to get content out they are missing the opportunity to create better content that has a higher chance of getting shared or engaged with.
Shares on Facebook matter most. Alison Zarrella, author of The Facebook Marketing Book, shared that on Facebook shares are best, followed by comments and lastly likes. She recommends that you avoid over publishing promotional offers and links to your website. When you are going to publish a promotional offer try to add in valuable content to your user base. Create content to accompany your offer that would be easy to share. If the content will make the user look informed or funny they are more likely to share it with their friends.
How people search is changing. Even though we cannot easily measure direct effects of posting on social media to your overall website ranking everything is moving toward social signals. This makes sense since the search engines are attempting to deliver search results that matter most to the users. Justin Sanger, former CEO of Local Search, explained that marketers need to stop building links and start focusing on the fact that search engines are trying to mimic human behavior. If you want to go to restaurant and your friend gives you a suggestion you are likely to go there. So obviously getting networks of people to talk about you will eventually dominate search results. And this is best accomplished on social media networks.
Jabez LeBret is the author of the Amazon No. 1 bestselling law office marketing book How to Turn Clicks Into Clients. As a partner at Get Noticed Get Found, a legal marketing agency, over the last nine years he has delivered over 800 keynote addresses in six countries. His main area of expertise is managing Gen Y in the workplace, advanced Facebook strategies, LinkedIn strategies, Google+, SEO, local directory optimization, and online marketing.
Author: Bryson Meunier
Clearly I’ve broken my own resolution when it comes to not talking about responsive Web design, as I’ve done so for the past two months. This month, I’m taking a break so I can focus on resolution #1: giving more tactical advice on how to do mobile SEO well. Today’s column will focus on mobile SEO tips for m-commerce and retail — the topic of a webinar I’m doing this month for Mobile Commerce Daily.
Tip #1: Make Pages Accessible To Mobile Searchers
This tip may seem like a no-brainer in a world where at least 25% of all search traffic comes from mobile devices and 90% of consumers use multiple screens sequentially before making a conversion; but unfortunately, many have still failed to get with the program.
In Q2 2011, PureOxygen Mobile did a study of the top 75 retail brands in the 2012 IR 300 and found that only 19% of them served mobile content to smartphones. Even worse — more than 30% of them redirected all mobile traffic to the site’s home page.
You can do better. Yes, providing unique mobile content can be a key differentiator for your business (depending on your users); but, you have to crawl before you can walk.
Serving mobile users the same information and services as those using desktop computers or tablet devices (a concept known as “One Web“) is important; it creates a consistent brand message and ensures that searchers who find a page on your site will be able to find some equivalent version of that page on a mobile device.
Responsive Web design and adaptive content are popular solutions, but they are not the only ones. Platforms like Moovweb, for example, unify content across all versions of a site, while allowing for a more customized mobile experience.
Apps have seen a resurgence in popularity recently (see Flurry and Nielsen’s study on time spent in apps); but, if you don’t have an accessible mobile site first, then you’re not going to be visible in Google search for most queries. Having an app is great, but not at the cost of sacrificing valuable mobile Web traffic.
If you’re a retailer, and you still serve desktop pages to mobile users or only have a mobile app, you may not be in business for long. Remember, we live in a world where more than 25% of total search traffic comes from mobile devices, and mobile devices are one of many that consumers use before making a conversion.
Tip #2: Be Careful When Selecting Mobile Platforms
Long-time readers of my column should know that I don’t often recommend the platforms that so many large brands select to make their content mobile-friendly. These platforms are often cheap, and you get what you pay for. (See the problems Staples and Mercedes had with their mobile sites, for example.)
Many of these platforms create duplicate content and/or have major search usability issues that prevent them from being indexed in search results.
Some platforms are better than others, of course. When looking for a partner to help take your site mobile, make sure they can answer “yes” to the following questions. If they can’t, look elsewhere:
- Does your platform add tracking parameters to the URL or host the site in two places, which might create duplicate content issues?
- If dynamic serving is used, can you serve the vary HTTP header to Googlebot? And if mobile URLs are used, can you implement switchboard tags with the platform?
- Does the platform allow you to make content changes for each device, based on keyword research?
Tip #3: Foreground Local Information If Applicable
Not all m-commerce providers have a local presence; but, if you do, you should know that mobile searchers often want information on local stores.
Retail searchers are more likely to be looking for local information, according to Google, who said the single most important retail task for mobile users is getting directions to or operating hours for a local store.
In fact, if we look at a large retailer like Sports Authority — which I think does a good job of aligning search intent with content — you can see that the searches with a high mobile volume are largely location searches.
Searches for Sports Authority locations index high on mobile devices.
By making it easy for all searchers to find a location near them, Sports Authority is also making it as easy as possible for mobile searchers to find what they’re most likely to be looking for.
The first thing mobile visitors to m.sportsauthority.com see is the store locator.
All retailers with a local presence should take note.
Tip #4: Regardless Of Mobile Configuration Strategy, Follow Google’s Guidelines
This is applicable to everyone, but especially to complex retail sites that may be using multiple platforms to provide content: follow Google’s guidelines for smartphone and/or feature phone sites. There are a few complex e-commerce sites that are responsive, like Curry’s (UK retailer), but most of them are not.
In fact, of the 11 retailers in the SEMRush top 100 sites, none of them are responsive. Eight of them actually use mobile URLs, and one uses dynamic serving. I don’t know whether responsive design makes sense for their users and their business (it may not), but if they do want to create a dedicated mobile site, they should at least implement bidirectional annotations. As of this writing, none of them have.
Naturally, these sites wouldn’t be among the top 100 if they were bad at SEO — but think about how much better they could be doing if they helped Google properly recognize and distribute their mobile content. It’s really not that difficult, as Google has detailed instructions on how to implement. Recently, Google even published a list of common mistakes in smartphone sites, complete with tips on how to avoid these errors.
Tip #5: Make Price Comparison & Buying Easy On Mobile Devices
As a new homeowner, I’ve recently found myself shopping quite a bit on my smartphone, including what’s known as “showrooming,” or using a mobile device in-store to find the best price and compare features. And, I’m not alone on this — according to a recent Harris Poll, 43% of Americans engage in showrooming. Google has said that on average 2% of mobile searchers search in-store, but that figure doubles in the Shopping category.
Some businesses, like Sears, are actually encouraging showrooming on their mobile sites by providing mobile searchers with a price scanner which allows them to compare prices of items they’re looking at to items for sale at Sears.
Sears’ mobile site includes a price scanner so that shoppers can easily compare prices in-store.
Amazon also has an app that works similarly, but I like the fact that this functionality is available on a website so that it can be linked to and shared. All link equity eventually helps the main domain become more visible in search.
Following the above five tips will make life easier for mobile searchers and ultimately ensure your success as a marketer doing retail or mobile commerce optimization.
Next month, I’ll be resolution-friendly once again, talking case studies that demonstrate mobile SEO success. If you have a great one, reach out, and I may publish it with your permission.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.
Author: By Daniel Zeevi on Apr 08, 2013
Social media is one of the most effective ways for you and your business to get more traffic and generate new leads. Having a presence on all the major networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is a necessity these days for any business. But what tools are the social media gurus actually using to manage these multiple accounts?
HootSuite is the most popular social media management tool for people and businesses to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks like Facebook and Twitter from one web-based dashboard. Hootsuite has become an essential tool for managing social media, tracking conversations and measuring campaign results via the web or mobile devices. Hootsuite offers a free, pro and enterprise solution for managing unlimited social profiles, enhanced analytics, advanced message scheduling, Google Analytics and Facebook insights integration.
Buffer is a smart and easy way to schedule content across social media. Think of Buffer like a virtual queue you can use to fill with content and then stagger posting times throughout the day. This lets you keep to a consistent social media schedule all week long without worrying about micro-managing the delivery times. The Bufferapp also provides analytics about the engagement and reach of your posts.
What’s the difference between Hootsuite and Bufferapp?
Hootsuite provides a more complete solution that allows you to schedule updates and monitor conversations, whereas Buffer isn’t a dashboard that shows you other people’s content. However, Bufferapp has superior scheduling flexibility over Hootsuite because you can designate very specific scheduling times and change patterns throughout the week. Hootsuite recently introduced an autoschedule feature that automatically designates a scheduling time based on a projected best time to post. This can be effective to use, but doesn’t have the same flexibility as Buffer since you don’t really know when a post will be scheduled till after doing so.
What’s the right solution for you? Many people use both Hootsuite (to listen) and Bufferapp (to schedule), including me, and it really depends on your posting needs. In my opinion though, if Hootsuite we’re to introduce more scheduling options this could spell trouble for Buffer! But then again, Buffer could be working on some cool new dashboard that would rival Hootsuite’s offering, time will only tell.
SocialOomph is a neat web tool that provides a host of free and paid productivity enhancements for social media. You can do a lot with the site which includes functions for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plurk and your blog. There are a ton of useful Twitter features like scheduling tweets, tracking keyword, viewing mentions and retweets, DM inbox cleanup, auto-follow and auto-DM features for new followers. Social Oomph will auto-follow any new follower of yours on Twitter if you like, which could save you a ton of time if you normally like to reciprocate follows. Social Oomph is so effective at increasing social media productivity that I use the site every day but haven’t had any reason to actually log in there since last year!
Tweetdeck is a web and desktop solution to monitor and manage your Twitter feeds with powerful filters to focus on what matters. You can also schedule tweets and stay up to date with notification alerts for new tweets. Tweetdeck, who was purchased by Twitter, is available for Chrome browsers, as well as Windows and Mac desktops. Recently they closed down their mobile apps to re-shift focus on the web and desktop platforms.
Tweepi is a unique management tool for Twitter that lets you flush unfollowers, cleanup inactives, reciprocate following and follow interesting new tweeps! The pro version allows you to do bulk follow/unfollow actions of up to 200 users at a time making it a pretty powerful tool for Twitter management.
Social Flow is an interesting business solution to watch real-time conversation on social media in order to predict the best times for publishing content to capture peak attention from target audiences. Some major publishers use Social Flow which includes National Geographic, Mashable, The Economist and The Washington Post to name a few. Social Flow offers a full suite of services that looks to expand audience engagement and increase revenue per customer. In addition to its Cadence and Crescendo precision products, SocialFlow conducts an analysis of social signals to help identify where marketers should spend money on Promoted Tweets, Promoted Posts and Sponsored Stories, extending the reach and engagement for Twitter and Facebook paid strategies.
Sproutsocial is a powerful management and engagement platform for social business. Sprout Social offers a single stream inbox designed to help you never miss a message, and tools to seamlessly post, colloborate and schedule messages to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The platform also has monitoring tools and rich analytics to help you visualize important metrics.
SocialBro helps businesses learn how to better target and engage with their audience on Twitter. It provides tools to browse your community and identify key influencers, determine when the best time to tweet is, track engagement and analyze your competitors. Socialbro analyzes the timelines of your followers to generate a report showing you when the optimal time to tweet is that would reach the maximum amount of followers for more retweets and replies.
Crowdbooster offers a set of no-nonsense social media analytics with suggestions and resources to boost your online engagement. The platform provides at-a-glance analytics, recommendations for engagement and timing, audience insights and content scheduling to optimize delivery.
Argyle social is social media management tool for savvy B2B marketing. It allows you to merge social data with sales and marketing numbers to identify and engage with more prospects, qualify and quantify better leads and build stronger relationships with social media actions.
So what’s your favorite social media management tool?