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Social Media Marketing for Business

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Amy Winer

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March 29, 2017

5 Main Types of Blog Traffic (And How to Improve Them)

March 29, 2017 | By | 2 Comments">2 Comments

Unlike when you’re driving, traffic is something you want when you’re starting a blog. Traffic measures the number of people who are visiting your site and where they are coming from. Today’s connected world allows people to access your site from a wide variety of avenues. They won’t always type it directly into the search bar. Sometimes they’ll come from social media or from Google, or from another site entirely.

5 Main Types of Blog Traffic (And How to Improve Them)

If your blog is a beating heart, then traffic is the blood that flows through its veins. This is how you bring people into your brand, convert them into paying customers, and engage with them as well. Traffic is everything, but not all traffic is created equal.

Let’s take a look at the five main types of traffic you can expect to get to your site, and how you can improve upon and harness them.

1. Direct Traffic

This first type of traffic is about as simple as it gets. This is the type of traffic that occurs when someone types your URL into their web browser and comes directly to your site. You won’t have a lot of this at the beginning, but if you promote your blog everywhere, you’ll soon find that people come directly to you.

This type of traffic can be improved upon with the right promotions and brand building. It comes with time as people get to know your brand and it appears at the top of their mind when they are searching for similar products or services. Most likely, these will be visitors who have been to your site before and who had a great experience.

2. Organic Search

Organic search is the currency of search engine optimization (SEO). This is the traffic you watch to see how your optimization efforts are going and measure progress against. Improving your organic search is something you can easily do with the proper strategies in place.

Here are some of my top strategies for improving your SEO (and your organic search traffic) quickly:

  • Install Yoast SEO if you’re using WordPress (it’s free!)
  • Use tools like io to find and target long-tail keywords (more than 2 words in the phrase).
  • Approach your content with the goal of providing in-depth information and value. Write for people, not search engines.
  • Look to your competition for topic ideas and focus on things your audience is talking about.
  • Build backlinks from other sites by guest posting and partnering with influencers

These are just some of the ways you can increase your organic traffic. Google has literally hundreds of factors they take into account when ranking websites, so every little bit counts.

3. Social Media

Our next type of traffic comes from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. People may have clicked an ad, or they could have followed one of your posts to your site. Either way, if you’re seeing this then you’re doing something right with your social media marketing.

Improving this type of traffic comes from exercising control. Don’t try to be everywhere all the time on social media platforms. Choose the ones that your audience is most active on and focus your efforts there.

Another way to improve this traffic is to boost or promote posts that tend to perform well. Facebook, for example, offers this at a starting price of just $5.

4. Referral Traffic

Referral traffic is what happens when someone clicks a link on another website that leads to your own. Known as backlinks, these are a huge SEO strategy and a clear sign to Google that people see you as an authority.

Referral traffic is improved upon by earning new backlinks for your site. The best way to do this, beyond creating great content, is to write guest posts on other sites. Many other blogs in your niche most likely accept guest posts and will offer you a link back to your site within it.

This will help you build avenues back to your site, which will in turn generate referral traffic.

5. Paid Traffic

Finally, there’s always the option to make an investment. Whether this is in the form of ads on social media or a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign, there are ways to leverage capital in the interest of bring people to your site.

A great example would be to run a sweepstakes or contest on your site. This would generate huge amounts of buzz around your brand and give you the opportunity to welcome countless new people to your online community.

Improving this type of traffic is done through research and targeted campaigns that utilize data about your audience to make the best decisions and reach the right people.

Final Thoughts

Traffic is incredibly important, but it’s arguably more important that you understand and leverage the various types of traffic that come into your site. This will help you target the right kinds of people and ultimately get more from each visitor.

How do you prioritize and improve your traffic? Let us know in the comments!

This article was originally written by Amy Winer for the Votigo blog

Jennifer Livingston

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March 8, 2017

How to Engage Your Customers Using Social Media

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Ever since its emergence into the marketplace over ten years ago, social media continues to be a force to be reckoned with on a global scale. It has completely changed the way people communicate, share their lives and stay in touch with current events. It’s also created an avenue for many people to work and build businesses within. Another way social media has changed the world is through marketing. It’s another medium that businesses can use to effectively engage with their customers. If you’re a business owner who wants to learn more about how to keep a pulse on your customers through social media, consider implementing the following strategies.


RESPOND TO COMMENTS

Customer engagement isn’t a one-sided dialogue. In many ways, you’ll need to treat social media the same way as face-to-face interactions. If you told someone you like their blouse and they heard you, but remained silent, you wouldn’t want much to do with them anymore. As your company posts pictures, videos and tweets, there will be at least one person who responds. Don’t ignore that person’s comment even if it’s a comment as simple as “I love this!” If you have more comments than you can realistically respond to, just click the like button and pick a few to respond to. However, when you’re just starting out, chances are you’ll only have a few comments. Respond to them all. It’ll make a big difference.


RE-POST GOOD-LOOKING CONTENT THAT’S TAGGED

When someone takes a picture using your product and raves about it, consider this a free form of marketing and repost it to your page. When you repost it to your page, take a screenshot and upload it. Don’t use the repost apps that leave the watermark at the bottom. You’ll want your page to be visually consistent and clean. It’s also great to look up hashtags that are associated with your brand. If you see good-looking pictures highlighting your product, click ‘like’ and let your customers know you see that they purchased your product and you appreciate it. When customers get the notification, this excites them to share and become more engaged eventually.


ENCOURAGE THE USE OF HASHTAGS

Hashtags are the best way for your audience to find you. If you’d like to build a brand, you’ll need to remain intentional about creating language that will keep you connected to your fans. If your company sells lipstick, consider placing the hashtag on the tube or the packaging. Make sure your customers know where to find you.


ASK QUESTIONS

Once you have a good amount of people following your brand online, it’s a good idea to ask questions. It’s helps to get a good understanding of what your users are in need of. When your company remains the solution to your customers’ problems, you’ll stay in business. So, don’t be afraid to ask. For example, if your company built a YouTube channel surrounding your content, ask your viewers to comment below with their answers to a particular question you have. Use captioning services on your videos to leave an email address and other information so they can contact your company. Make sure to reiterate that you’d love to hear from them.


POST CONSISTENTLY

It’s hard to engage with your customers if you’re not there. According to HootSuite.com, the number of users on social media was up to 2.8 Billion by the end of 2016. Because this number is so high, it makes no sense for companies to be missing in action. Always remain engaged and aware of what’s going on. It’s also extremely important to post content on a consistent basis. Create a schedule so that your fans knows when to find you. When it comes to social media, consistency has a tendency to breed credibility.


Overall, the process of using social media is constantly changing. Now, more platforms are including live options to compete with Periscope. As platforms add different features to stay relevant and innovative, your learning curve will continue to change. As long as you remain visible and use these tactics, your users will chime in and stay plugged into what your company is producing.

Lucy Adams

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March 6, 2017

How to Increase Brand Awareness on Instagram

March 6, 2017 | By | One Comment">One Comment

According to statistics, the number of monthly active users on Instagram increased from 500 million in June 2016 up to 600 million in December 2016. Billions of likes appear every hour! Undoubtedly, Instagram has become one of the greatest promotion tools.

But how to use it for the maximum benefit of your business? How to present your brand in the best light? Follow the tips below, and you’ll be able to integrate your advertising campaign into this social platform smoothly and successfully.

 

#1 Set the Right Account Settings

  • First of all, create a business account named the same as your company. Choose something that’s most associated with the brand to convey its core purpose and values.
  • Fill the profile: add some information about your company, upload a beautiful branded image (ideally, the logo) and put a link to the official website.
  • Integrate your account with Facebook, set up the automatic integration of Instagram photos to Facebook to increase the number of reposts. Companies such as Mercedes-Benz gain much more likes using cross-posting.

#2 Advertise

  • Come up with a unique brand strategy. Share the idea of your organization with people and focus the content around it.
  • Use hashtags. The top-10 most popular hashtags in 2017 are:
    • #followme
    • #fashion
    • #happy
    • #me
    • #cute
    • #beautiful
    • #tbt
    • #photooftheday
    • #instagood
    • #love

Although there’s no restriction on the number of characters (unlike Twitter), hashtags that are too long, as well as an overuse of hashtags looks unnatural and can scare visitors. Apply up to 7 hashtags to each photo, not more, including the name of the brand.

Use unique hashtags for different advertising campaigns. For example, if you have decided to hold a photo contest, a special hashtag for that event may look like #[your_brand_name]photocontest.

Include common hashtags. For example, if you own a coffee shop, add tags like #coffee, #latte, etc. However, popular hashtags are a bit tricky: a lot of people use them so that you can’t move to the top until your photos get at least a few thousand likes a day.

Keep track of new and relevant hashtags. Look for users who use your brand name as a hashtag, and try to set the feedback. Keep track of all mentions on Facebook and Twitter. Respond quickly to ensure a good and long-term relationship with customers.

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#3 Take Care of Your Clients and Interact with Them

  • Show your followers how much you appreciate them. Share the best photos of your subscribers. For example, Starbucks, one of the most successful brands on Instagram, every few weeks publishes one of the followers’ works that depicts the company’s products.
  • Use @ for references. People love when you treat them personally. Use @ if the image is related to a famous person. If the pic is really interesting, you may get a repost and, as a consequence, additional followers.
  • Add some excitement using Photoshop, Diptic or Photoshake. Short videos will diversify your content strategy. For example, you may show users how to use one of your products.
  • Create a fascinating brand story. Beautiful photos and videos that convey the basic principles and values of your company will work for you.
  • Give some insights. Share the photos of your employees who stand behind the success of your brand. Something from behind the scenes is always highly appreciated. Stay closer to people! For instance, you can publish funny, entertaining videos from corporate events or share photos which can’t be found in other social networks.
  • Prepare the audience for a great event. If you’re going to release something to the market, announce it exclusively on Instagram. For example, on the day of the premiere, upload a video on how the staff prepares for the official part, not disclosing what’s at the core of it.
  • Do not keep silence. Questions give rise to debates – ask for the readers’ opinion about recent posts or images. For example, if you are the owner of a clothing store, you may ask what kind of shoes would suit the jeans from the new collection of your brand. Create a hashtag by which followers would be able to post pictures on the topic.
  • Ask users to come up with a caption for an image. Publish an unusual photo of one of your products and announce a competition for the best caption (and do not forget to reward the winner!).
  • Use crowdsourcing. Ask users to publish photos that show the role of the brand in their lives. This will help you to understand the target audience and will be useful for further research aimed at the development of your business.
  • Use geotagging to target local users. Place QR codes on Instagram so that users will be able to get discounts.
  • Regularly update your profile, regardless of the number of subscribers. Decide on the frequency and time of publications, taking into account analytics. The most “engaged” time on Instagram shifts from day to day: On Monday, for example, it’s from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.; on Friday – 1 a.m. and 8 p.m. are the sweetest hours.

Instagram is one of the most developing business instruments, so each and every aspiring entrepreneur should take it into account as a brand strategy platform.

Whether you like it or not, Instagram is too large for a business to ignore! I wish you all the best in your aspirations!

This article was written by contributing author Lucy Adams, a Buzz Essay writer. 

Sharon Conwell

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February 22, 2017

10 Content Secrets Every Marketer Needs to Know

February 22, 2017 | By | One Comment">One Comment

 

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While following all the tips and tricks in the world can vastly improve your chances of reaching a wide audience, the truth is that nothing can beat regular and original content. While analytics and SEO are all important, the content is what your potential customers and clients actually see. It’s the content that needs to keep your reader engaged, and the content that needs to be so great people like it, share it, and respond to any calls to action. This list includes 10 tips for killer content that will keep your readers interested, and help you effectively market yourself on your business channels.

1.      Hire Editors Online

As the online presence of most businesses is becoming increasingly time consuming, many successful businesses hire external experts in content writing or proofreading in order to keep on top of the work. If you’re in charge of the day-to-day running of a business, then it’s unlikely you’ll be able to devote enough time to produce scintillating content, share it across multiple platforms, and engage with your audience. A lot of businesses prefer old-fashioned means and post a detailed job advertisement on a site like Upwork or Freelancer, where they can interview candidates and, and enjoy an open channel of communication with who they’re working with. Many other businesses, however, prefer the efficacy offered by simply selecting the services they want, as is the case with UK Writings. While these sites are home to writing experts, which is ideal for content or editing, similar services are also offered by Scripted, which are focused on business marketing.

12.      Brush Up On Your Writing Skills

Sloppy content is bad content. When marketing yourself online, it’s important to project yourself in the best possible light, and appear professional and reliable at all times. You should be making your audience believe that you’re the person offering the best products or services, and that they can trust you to deliver. It is impossible to make this kind of impression with poorly written content, littered with spelling and grammar errors. Some guides are available to improve your writing though, such as those offered by Australian Help. Full courses in writing are available with Academized. As your content should be at least 2000 words in order to fuel your SEO, you can monitor this with Easy Word Count, and avoid any accusations of plagiarism or unoriginal content by using Cite It In to reference your sources.

3.      Vary Your Content

While blog posts are an amazing way to promote your business, they’re not the only way. Many people will not have time to read articles multiple times a day, and so shorter snappier posts can also be effective. Images are always shareable across social media, as are gifs and infographics. Interactive content such as polls can also be a great way to mix up your posts.

4.      Post Frequently

While there may have been a time when posting once or twice a week was sufficient, it is now essential to post updates throughout the day, every day. Studies currently show that posting between 5 and 10 times a day is optimum for Twitter, and up to four times a day is best for Facebook. To see results, you will need to post as often as you can, or you will see your audience drop.

5.      Use A Conversational Tone

When you’re selling or marketing in person, the last thing you want to do is be standoffish, or boring. The same goes for online marketing – you shouldn’t be writing lengthy essays, instead you should be writing as if you’re talking to a friend. This establishes rapport, and keeps your reader engaged. A great way to implement this in your writing is to use questions throughout the text, as it feels like a two-way conversation.

6.      Spend Time On Headlines

A good headline is how you stand out from thousands of other blogs and websites – it’s important to make sure yours will hook your reader in. Try to optimize for search and socials.

7.      Make Sure You’re Mobile Friendly

If your content isn’t available over mobile devices, then it will be completely lost, overlooked, and forgotten about. Your content needs to be as accessible as possible. You can use special tools like Google’s Mobile-friendly Test.

8.      Keep Promoting Yourself

You should spend as much time promoting your content around the web as you do writing it. While sharing your posts to social media is a start, there are plenty of other avenues to explore too. This includes sending your content to other bloggers and websites, emailing businesses, and sending direct questions out over twitter.

9.      Promote Your Content

Screenshot 2017-02-21 09.56.07Promotional content is a great way to extend your audience, drive more traffic to your site, and engage with your existing clients. Your value is increased as you are offering them something, maybe for free, and they will like you more for it. Votigo is a really easy-to-use platform that will allow you to create custom contests & sweepstakes to add to your content strategy.

10. Be Patient!

It can take some time to see the results from blogging and online marketing. This means that you’ll be blogging and posting updates daily, even when you don’t feel like you’re getting anything in return. You will, just not immediately. Giving up in the first weeks or months definitely won’t get you the results you want – so stick to your strategy in order to succeed.

Overall, generating original content takes time, effort, and energy. However, when consistently uploaded and promoted, the returns can be amazing for your business.

Andrew Gazdecki

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February 14, 2017

7 Content Types That Will Optimize Your Conversion Rate

February 14, 2017 | By | One Comment">One Comment

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If there was a personified version of click bait, it would be a sleazy car salesman who swears that the 170,000 mile, dented up Toyota was only driven once a week on Sundays. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t stand liars and that is exactly what happens when businesses use compelling headlines to promote awful content. No, I don’t want to click through 38 slides to read four sentences. You just lost a sale and earned yourself a blood feud. Thanks, click bait.

 We’ve all seen terrible content, and from a business perspective, it is detrimental – not simply useless. Poor content can have a measurable, negative effect on search engine rankings, followers (I’ve unsubscribed to several websites for posting garbage), and a business’s reputation. Just like a used car salesman, poor content screams ‘scam’ (and probably smells like cigarettes too).

 Quality content provides value to an audience. It doesn’t feel like advertising, and though it might have a marketing purpose, it comes across as genuine. One of the best metrics to determine the opinion of your content is to look into your conversion and click through rates (CTR). It will let you know the percentage of people who land on your site and make it all the way to the end of your online process. The end result is traditionally measured by the number of those who make a purchase, but it can also be measured by those who are moved into the next stage of your marketing funnel, like signing up for your email.

 Below are 7 types of content that will optimize your conversion rates. By effectively integrating these into your website and blog, you will have the framework to provide value, entertain your audience, and in the process, convert some of those leads into customers.

CONTENT FOR READERS

Interactive Quizzes

CTR:                            12%-28% (Boombox)

Conversion Rate:        9.94% (WordStream)

Quizzes are a great way to engage an audience because they require active participation. If you really want to see this type of content excel, it should be linked to some extremely popular fandom within society. An example or this could be, “The Hardest Harry Potter Quiz in Existence,” and would work well with a business that focuses in the entertainment industry. Try to tailor the content to your niche so you receive quality leads.

Quizzes do well at generating likes and followers, but this doesn’t pay the bills. In order to really capitalize on their value, you should incorporate a way for the user to opt-in to one of your email marketing lists. The conversion for this method is not about selling a product, but getting you one step closer in the process.

Surveys

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CTR:                            24.8% (The study was specifically for email surveys)

Primary Benefit:           Provides Information in Regards to your Website’s Weaknesses

While quizzes test an audience’s intelligence, they have a narrow target demographic. I’m not saying that there are only a few smart consumers, only that quizzes are most attractive to people who already have an expert-level interest in the proposed subject. Surveys can tap into these same people, but keep the doors open to wider audience. Since a survey is about opinions, there is no right answer and no barrier to engagement.

Simply running a survey like, “What are the best DIY app makers?,” and publicly tracking the results can help a technology company engage with their potential customers that are interested in learning how to create an app without any programming knowledge. It requires little effort on the part of the consumer, and in our fast-paced society, a small amount of commitment can be the deciding factor of an engagement.

Ultimately, this is more of a way to engage with your audience. If you really want to use surveys to increase your conversion rate, try to get people to answer questions about your process. If it turns out that a large portion of your potential customers are turned off by the design of your website then fixing the problem can greatly increase your conversion rate.

Personality Assessments

CTR:                            82% (Boombox)

Conversion Rate:        20% (DemandGen)

Personality assessments are one of my favorite forms of content because they can give insight about yourself and are incredibly popular among large audiences. One of the more intriguing aspects of assessments is their ability to connect others based off of shared social groups. An example is an assessment that sorts the users into the noble Houses from Game of Thrones. Once you get your results, you want to share it with your friends and this helps promote your product all over again.

Assessments provide an additional benefit to businesses because they will sort your potential customers into groups based off of their personality and interests. If used effectively, this data can be an invaluable tool to target your marketing to the subsets of your target demographic.

Blog Posts

CTR:                            1.5%-2.5% (HubSpot)

Conversion Rate:        2.35%-5.31% (Median to Top 25%)

11.45% (Top 10% of Websites)

Blog posts are the original form of content marketing and serve as the backbone for most websites. One major benefit is that they boost a website’s search engine ranking due to targeted keywords and a basis of dynamic content. The general public consumes blogs almost without realizing that they are doing it. By drawing in an audience, a well-written blog can create trust and turn an advertisement into advice. The key to a successful blog is to engage your audience on a personal level. This requires a strong, consistent voice over an extended period of time. If done well, blog posts can reliably convert impressions into sales since your audience already trusts your opinions.

 

CONTENT FOR VIEWERS

Infographics

CTR:                            26% (Brafton)

Conversion Rate:        11% (Brafton)

Infographics had lived in print media for years but have only recently begun making an impact in the digital world. The key to infographics is their visual element. A business needs to catch their audience’s attention quickly and this can be accomplished through elegant design.

The design of the infographic is important to its success, but the text should not be ignored. Both need to work together in order synergize the information and to provide the most powerful experience for the intended viewer. A good graphic artist is essential to creating infographics, which mean you will either need to personally have the relevant skill set or hire someone who does.

Videos

videoCTR:                            4% (Quora)

Conversion:                 1%-8% (This seems to vary based off of the company)

Digital video is close to its traditional counterpart, but with a few nuanced differences. First, no one likes to see an advertisement when they are trying to watch something on YouTube. The on-demand nature makes the consumer irritated with interruptions. When a commercial pops up while a video is trying to load, nobody’s happy.

Video as content is much more effective at converting potential customers than a blatant advertisement. The videos should be focused on entertaining or educating your audience. Use demonstration videos to give your audience a taste of your products, and the visual element can quickly result in a sale. Again, the video shouldn’t be focused on making a sale but rather convincing your audience that the video’s content is valuable.

Contests and Giveaways

CTR:                            5% (ConversionXL)

Conversion Rate:        31% (ConversionXL)

This whole content category straddles the line between text, visual and pure idea. In order to catch an audience’s attention, a strong promotional image is needed and it should almost always show the prize. This allows the audience to instantly see what they could win and in turn elicits an emotional response of desire. Because they want the prize, they are willing to provide the information that you ask for. Contests (and sweepstakes) are also a great way to grow your email marketing lists, which can be used as the basis for future marketing efforts.

ONE LAST THOUGHT

Just because you implement some of the above methods does not mean you are automatically going to generate awesome content. Also, these various forms require specific skills that many people don’t have. Don’t worry if you are not using every single one in your business. In some instances, it is more powerful to be an authority in one sphere (let’s say it is YouTube) and use the other forms to push people to your premium content.

 I hope you enjoyed the read, because I had a blast writing it. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. You do not have to do this alone. Finally, if anyone in charge of a click bait site reads this, please end the slideshows. Like I said, they probably smell like cigarettes.

Kristen Vanstrom

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February 6, 2017

5 Ways to Make the Most of Facebook Lead Ads

February 6, 2017 | By | No Comments">No Comments

Untitled design (30)If you keep up with Facebook’s ever changing and growing ad platform, you may have noticed the Lead Ads option. Instead of sending potential sign-ups to a landing page and then hoping they follow through to fill out your opt-in form, you can collect their information right within Facebook. As a marketer, I’m thrilled about this new convenience.

Here’s how you get started.

  • Hit Create Ad.
  • Then click Collect Leads for Your Business.
  • Create your audience. The most important thing? Choosing specific targeting based on interests.
  • Set a small daily budget. I recommend $10 to start.  Then, once the ad starts performing, you can scale accordingly. If you invest less than this, you might not see get an accurate representation of the ad performance.

Step 1: Create your lead ads form.

Keep it as simple as possible. For example, if you don’t need location information, then don’t ask for it. Only collect the bare minimum. If someone clicks on your form, and is hit with a bunch of fill-in-the-blanks, they’ll exit without submitting their information.

For example, let’s say you’re trying to grow your text marketing list. You definitely want to collect first name and phone number; at the bare minimum.

When setting up your lead ads form, Facebook also requires the inclusion of a privacy policy. This helps new sign-ups feel secure in submitting their information.

Step 2: Assign a relevant post-submission landing page.

Where do you want your sign-ups to go after submitting their information? Maybe you want to send them right to a sales funnel; in hopes of making a small sale. Or, maybe you just to direct them to a blog post packed with tons of helpful content. While you have their attention, make the most of this interaction.

Step 3: Choose an applicable graphic.

In my personal experience, editorial images yield the highest performance, as they give the user something to relate to. If people aren’t familiar with your company, using a branded image will do no good. People just won’t recognize the image, and will therefore keep scrolling. Because the Lead Ads charge based on impressions, this will skyrocket your cost per lead. The more your lead costs; the less money you make on the interaction. However; if chosen correctly, the lifestyle aspect of an editorial will capture more attention and lead to more sign-ups.

Step 4: Get right to the point with an irresistible headline.

Offering a bonus in exchange for information? Make that very clear. Don’t beat around the bush, as this could reduce the amount of interest in your ad. For example, let’s say you’re offering one free 30-minute consultation for all new opt-ins. For your ad headline, use something like “First 50 Sign-Ups Get a Free Consultation!” The first 50 portion creates a sense of urgency, while the word “free” always catches the attention of a potential opt-in.

Step 5: Set up an autoresponder series for all new sign-ups.

When it comes to marketing and customer relationship management, you always want to get the most bang for your buck. Don’t just collect an email address or telephone number and then call it a day. You want to build a relationship with this lead. Nurture each sign-up by taking them through a welcome series.

In this series, be sure to include the following.

  • If there was an offer promised, deliver it immediately.
  • Let them know what to expect, communication wise. Will you be emailing once a week? Every day? If they know what to expect, they’re more likely to stay on your list.
  • Offer valuable information. A welcome series can also be treated like an educational funnel. Get sign ups comfortable with the language of your industry. For example, if I am promoting an info product called “How to Self Publish Your First Book in 60 Days,” I might want to use the terms ISBN, cover, paperback and manuscript in my welcome series. When you start familiarizing subscribers with the language of your industry, they will recognize an offer when it comes through.

Facebook Lead Ads provide a huge opportunity; as they simplify growing your list of contacts. Whether you’re collecting email addresses or phone numbers, this is definitely the way to go when looking to build a customer database. Once you collect this information, focus on nurturing your leads and segmenting according to predetermined factors.

When it comes to paid advertising in general, be sure to note the following rules.

  • Keep your eyes on the ROI from day one. Even if your budget is small, you need to know how your marketing dollars are performing and what kind of return you’re getting.
  • Split test different visuals, headlines, descriptions, and more. However, when testing one version against another, only test one element at a time. This prevents data from being skewed.
  • Remember, Facebook Lead Ads charge based on the number of impressions. With that said, eliminate any opportunity for unqualified views. For example, if you find that women 24-32 are responding best to your ad, tighten up your target audience.

Give Facebook Lead Ads a try for your business. It makes growing your list simple and convenient for the end user.

Trey Donaldson

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January 11, 2017

11 Ways SEO is Changing in 2017 and Beyond

January 11, 2017 | By | 2 Comments">2 Comments

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is bigger now than it has ever been. It’s also a completely different beast than it was ten years ago. It evolves and changes with every shift in Google’s algorithm, and working in the industry requires a keen eye and the ability to keep track of everything happening in the world of search.

Today, we’re going to look at 11 ways SEO is changing as we kick off 2017. As always, these are just predictions, but they are based heavily in fact. Let’s take a look!

Search engines are constantly growing and changing, but at the heart of these changes are some basic trends that we can use to inform the future of our craft as SEO experts. Below, you’ll find 11 changes that are most certainly coming in 2017. These changes will affect SEO long into the future as well..


1. Focus on Mobile & Speed

Mobile devices are now used to access the Internet more than desktops or laptops. They are the preferred method for using search engines and finding answers to questions. As a result, Google has taken notice.

Today, mobile responsive web design is a must if you want to rank well, but it also comes with another requirement: speed. Website performance is also extremely important, as Google notes a 7% reduction in conversions for every second delay.

So, what does this mean for you? It means your websites need to be fast and look great on mobile devices. Thankfully, today’s options are plentiful for both. This trend won’t be going anywhere, however, so it’s important to keep both of these things in check.


2. RankBrain and Machine Learning

Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that is able to learn and grow on its own as an algorithm. Google’s RankBrain is a type of machine learning that, according to Google, is able to “see a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with and make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the results accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries.”

For SEO, this means that Google’s algorithm is becoming more and more human. Case in point: keywords won’t be enough going forward. That doesn’t mean keywords are dead, but it does mean that we should look beyond them.

Our keywords should inform the topics we choose and the approach we take. We need to identify search intent and understand why a person is searching for those particular keywords instead of just placing them in the text and calling it a day.


3. Personal Branding

When it comes to trust, people would much rather deal with another human being that buy from a faceless corporation. A study done by DKNewMedia found that 32% of online consumers trust a stranger’s opinion on forums or blogs more than branded advertisements and marketing campaigns.

Trust is everything in business. Without it, not even the greatest SEO can convince someone to buy. Instead of focusing on your business as a whole, consider creating a network of personal brands. For example, when I’m marketing my new blog, I don’t start by shouting out the name from the rooftops. Instead, I market myself. I tell people who I am, a little about me, and why I’m in the business of blogging.

From an SEO standpoint, this type of personal branding is great for when you’re building links and raising your TrustRank.


4. User Experience is Everything

Google’s in love with the user experience. As a service, they want to showcase websites that provide quality content and a pleasant experience overall. Like anything else involving SEO, if Google loves it, we love it.

Using metrics like bounce rates, CTR, and the average time on a page, we can see how satisfied users are with their time on a site. Tiny tweaks like improving your website’s speed and design functionality will go a long way towards SEO moving forward.

Techniques like this fall into UEO or user experience optimization. It’s important that you’re constantly monitoring the functionality and performance of your site, as these key metrics will have a huge effect on your user satisfaction.


5. Quality, Not Quantity

To stand out from the crowd, many experienced SEO specialists recommend long form content with tons of words, and therefore, tons of information. While this is nice, things are changing to the point where quality now matters more than how many words you have.

The rise of long-form content has left us with guides that take forever to read and even longer to write. Today’s users want their answers fast. To accommodate this need, your content strategy should seek to focus on “dense content.” This is writing that has a lot of value per word.

Cut out all the filler and focus on the hard facts. If you can say it in 500 words instead of 5,000, then do that.


6. Rich Snippets in Search Engine Results Pages

You may not use it now because you don’t think you need it, but rich snippets and schema.org markup are going to be extremely important going forward. Not only do these tags help Google better understand information on your site, but they also put you in the running for Google’s Quick Answers or Rich Card results.

Currently, rich snippets are used a lot for recipes, videos, local businesses, and reviews, but they’re going to expand to everything in 2017. Doing this now will also help Google’s RankBrain better interpret your site as well.


7. Accelerated Mobile Pages

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are versions of mobile websites that have been stripped down to their pure HTML. Since launching, these types of pages have seen speed improvements of up to 85%.

While these types of pages started out with a small focus, they are much more widespread. Even if you’re not using them, users will start to focus on speed even more after experiencing what this technology can do.

Since speed is indeed a ranking factor, using options like this can drastically improve otherwise slow-loading pages.


8. Voice Search Algorithms

As of right now, voice search isn’t taking over the world, but it has the potential to do so in 2017. With the rise of virtual assistants like Siri and Cortana, more people are becoming accustomed to using their voice for search.

To prepare for this, you should start thinking about your keywords and your targeting methods in terms of “natural language.” These are defined as normal terms you would use while speaking. They are also something Google’s RankBrain is learning to interpret and falls into the aforementioned “vague queries” we discussed.

String your otherwise separate keywords together to create a phrase you would use while normally speaking. Say you’re targeting things like action movies. Instead of focusing on a keyword like “action movies” you could use phrases like “What are the best action movies of 2016?”

A great way to test your natural language choices are to say something out loud and see if it sounds right. If it comes across as forced, then you know you need to tweak it.


9. Local SEO

Most SEO specialists focus on ranking in organic search results, but many are neglecting the power that local SEO wields. If we recall the rise of mobile searches, then it makes sense that people are doing their searching on-the-go.

Google’s own research into the subject found that 50% of consumers who made local searches visited a store that same day. Another 34% did the same thing on a computer or tablet. As mobile searches grow, so too will the need for local SEO.

So long as your business has a physical location of any kind, you can start ranking in these results. Simply follow these quick steps to get started:

  • Complete your Google My Business page
  • Include your name, address, and phone number on every page of your site
  • Use local schema markups in your HTML
  • Focus on local keywords and search phrases

10. Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are the evolution of standard keywords and offer a lot more for your content than single terms. Any keyword phrase that’s at least three words can be considered a long-tail variation.

These types of keywords are usually detailed and defined. This means that you’ll be targeting a much more focused audience with them, and you’ll have less competition. These keywords also help you understand search intent much better than a single word.

For example, if someone is searching for “star wars”, you don’t know what aspect of the series they are searching for. It could be the video games, the movies, or collectibles. By expanding your target, you can better understand the search intent.


11. The Rise of Video

Video is predicted to account for 80 percent of all traffic on the Internet by 2019. If you look at the popularity of YouTube and things like Facebook Live, you can see it happening already. For SEO, it’s also a great way to spice up your site with some unique content.

When doing this, integrate videos into your written content and be sure to include a transcript as well for people who want to read. You can also tag your videos with keywords and create a video sitemap to help search engines find these easier.

This is really easy to do. Just host the video on YouTube and embed it in your site to avoid having to store your hefty video files on your own server. As video continues to grow and become more popular, starting now will ensure you can reap the SEO benefits later.


Final Thoughts

SEO is moving in a brave new direction, and we must go with it to ensure success in the future. Consider these trends and prepare for them now, so you’re ready when the future arrives. How do you prepare for the changes that are coming to SEO? Let us know in the comments!