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5 Psychological Tricks to Use in Your Marketing Campaigns (and Why They Work)

Marketing is a deeply psychological field.

In essence, you’re trying to alter the psychological state of another human – creating some kind of motivation for them to engage with your brand, company or product.

Despite this, we don’t tend to look at the key psychological drivers behind the marketing we do – we’ve got some ideas that have either worked in the past or worked for someone else, so we’ll implement those.

By following this route we come to understand ‘what’ works – but often not ‘why’ it works. When you discover the ‘why’, you get to play around with your marketing, with less chance of reducing the effectiveness of your message – and a deep understanding of how you can tie your products of services to deeply rooted psychological motivations in your potential customers.

Check out these 5 psychological tricks that could very well improve your marketing efforts…

#1 – Create fear

When you think about using fear in marketing you could be forgiven for thinking of it as a blunt instrument that only the most susceptible customers will be drawn by – but you’d be wrong.

Fear comes in many shapes and sizes – and while some medical companies might be able to lever a ‘if you don’t use this product your life is at risk’ – that’s not going to work for many other industries.

So, instead, we need to lever a different kind of fear – usually either fear that someone will miss an opportunity, or fear that they’re not going to know as much as the person next to them.

This all might sound contrived, I mean, how dangerous is it if someone doesn’t use your product? Well, if you’ve got a real belief in what you’re selling this could be a genuine concern. Is someone going to die if they don’t use your web design company? Highly unlikely – but if you strongly believe that you do your job better than the next person, then could your customers be missing out on their full brand potential without you onside? Yes, they could.

Establishing your product, for example, lets say you offer pool services such as willshapools.com, the knowledge you hold or the service you provide as absolute ‘musts’ for any self-respecting customer, and you create an air that they’re not getting the most out of life unless they take the action you’re suggesting…

#2 – Create a new position

You can’t control what your competitors are doing with their branding – but you can look at what they’re not doing – then make it work for you.

Here’s an example:

Car 1 is stylish, versatile, affordable and spacious – so when a competitor tries to bring Car 2 comes to market they’re in for a tough time vs. the established value of Car 1. Instead of going head to head on those selling points, they find their own selling point; safety.

“Car 2 – for when your family’s safety matters”

Now, of course your family’s safety matters – so you wouldn’t want to be seen making a choice that suggests it doesn’t.

With just a few words your product establishes its own unique selling point and diminishes the selling points of the competitor – you’ve repositioned your competitor in your customer’s heads as the brand that doesn’t care about your family’s safety – making them an obvious second choice.

This tactic works because, in general, we like to be seen to be making choices that establish us as agreeing with popular opinion, if we don’t, we face rejection – and no one likes rejection.

#3 – Display (the right amount of) confidence

Confidence is a balance, offer too much and you come across as being insincere and not credible – too little and customers are going to see you as second best (or worse)

Product comparisons are a great way of establishing a solid display of confidence in your product – and you’ll notice it’s not uncommon to see pages on brand’s webpages with titles that follow a format like:

“Our product vs. competitor vs. competitor”

Now, who in their right mind would compare their product to a superior competitor? The answer is clear – no one – but is it really that simple?

Well, no it’s not, because it’s all about perception rather than reality. You wouldn’t pick a fight unless you were in with a chance of winning right? Perhaps you would if you felt the pre-fight PR was going to be enough to notch up a win – and you definitely would if the fight never really happened as a result of your great PR.

People do not expect you to pick fights you won’t win – so when you do, they’ll assume you, your product or your service is capable of the win – and they’ll spend accordingly.

#4 – Familiarity breeds friendship

This is a quick and simple tip based on some fairly simple psychology.

The more times we see something, the more we believe it to be true – even if we have no evidence that this is the case. You might not know your next-door neighbour, but studies show you’re more likely to trust that person than you would a random person in the street.

People like familiarity. It’s why irritating TV advertisements work. Make your message, brand, product or service a frequent feature in their social media and they’ll trust you more than the next company…

#5 – Give to receive

Ever wondered why a waiter sits a mint on top of your bill when you’ve eaten in a restaurant?

It’s all about our desire to be seen a gracious. Studies show that you’re far more likely to tip (and increase your tip) if you’ve been given something you perceive to be free-of-charge – even if it’s just a mint.

The good news is, we don’t have to deliver mints to potential customers to win their favour, instead, we can simply offer them something digital – like an interesting piece of content or a discount code.

This is where content marketing is invaluable. Who are you most likely to favour? A company who’s consistently providing you with great and valuable content? Or a company who offer you nothing other than the bare-bones service? Studies show that we almost always opt for the company that’s been dishing out value – we don’t want to appear ungrateful after all…

 

7 Tips to Choose the Right SEO Keywords

Content is the king of SEO. Without quality content, your website will suffer in Google rankings. Based on a study conducted by Marketing Profs, 72% of businesses believe that content creation is the most effective SEO tactic. In addition, businesses find an increase in their blog traffic up to 2,000% through quality content.

The basic unit of content is the keyword. To run a successful SEO campaign, you need to use the right keywords.

How do we choose the SEO keywords?

Follow these seven tips!

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Search for keywords

Now that you’re on Google, try searching for the best keywords for your niche. There are dozens of free SEO keyword generator tools that will help you determine the right keywords to include in your content. Further, there are tools that can count how much specific keywords or phrases are searched within a day. The most popular choices for marketers are Google Keyword Planner, KWFinder, Moz’s Keyword Explorer, and SEMrush.

List related words

Basically, you have a specific niche or field – business, fashion, fitness, marketing, or Hollywood, for example. List down terms and phrases that are related to your niche. For example in ‘marketing’, you can have related terms including ‘seo’, ‘market’, ‘pr’, ‘advertisement’, brand’, etc.

 

Be the searcher

Put your feet on the shoes of the searchers. If you want to look for the products and services your business offers, what will you search? Think like the consumer and write all potential keywords and phrases that are most likely to be searched on Google and other search engines.

 

Localize keywords

86% of consumers use Google to look for a business within a certain locality. Thus, it is important that you optimize your content for local searches. Make sure that you include some local keywords, including address, products, people, and other keywords that may relate to the locality.

 

Use long tail keywords

In performing SEO and PPC campaigns, experts suggest using long tail keywords or more specific keywords. For example, if you are selling organic makeup online, the keywords ‘organic’ and ‘makeup’ would be weak keywords. It is important to specify your content. Instead, use ‘buy organic makeup online’ to make it more exact and specific.

 

Repeat keywords

It can also help your content if you repeat strong keywords. But remember, quality is always more important than quantity. Do not overuse keywords for the sake of putting keywords in your content. The goal is to include keywords that sound very natural in the content. For example, if you are selling animal food products, you can repeat the keyword ‘food’ repetitively like ‘cat food, dog food, bird food, and fish food’.

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Search other websites

Lastly, you can open the website of your competition. The goal is not to duplicate their content, but to check what keywords they use on their landing pages and blog posts. Also, you can do a quick search and check if their websites appear on top of the search engine results.

We hope this article helps you. Good luck!

6 Strategies to Run a Successful AdWords Campaign

Most internet users now want instant results especially in looking for products and services. According to Bright Local, 98% of searchers choose the business website that appears on the first page of the search engine results. This is a great challenge for businesses to double their search engine marketing efforts to rank on top of the results.

But apart from SEO, AdWords is changing the game. Many businesses today invest in Google AdWords to effortlessly dominate the search engine results.

But how do you run a successful AdWords campaign? Let us help you!

 

Optimize landing pages

The primary goal of running an AdWords campaign is to make a sale, not just a click. You can tell if your PPC campaign is successful if it drives qualified leads to a landing page. The role of the landing page is to convert prospects into paying customers. With this, you need to optimize your landing pages for PPC conversions by packing the message of your ads.

 

Use negative keywords

Only in AdWords where you utilize the negative keywords to run a successful PPC campaign. AdWords allow you to specify the keywords that are not related or a good fit for your products and services. Through this, you can prevent your ad from displaying on the negative keywords.

 

Identify the right keyword

Just like SEO, you need to identify the right keywords in AdWords. Basically, PPC campaign relies on user intent through keywords. There are different strategies to determine the right keywords. First, you can use broad terms, including its synonyms. You can also specify phrases enclosed in quotation marks. Lastly, you can use free tools that provide you the best keywords for various niches.

 

Take advantage of ad extensions

You should also include ad extensions in your AdWords campaign. Adding extensions can increase your potential of being clicked by customers. As a matter of fact, Google found out that campaigns with at least one ad extension get an increase in click-through-rate up to 15%. Basically, Google automatically creates the extension for you. On the other hand, you can customize it.

 

Invest in certain keywords

What’s good with AdWords is that it allows you to appropriate bigger budget on strong keywords. After identifying the keywords, assess which of them are the strongest. It is best if you spend time testing those keywords. After getting the results, dedicate the majority of your budget to these keywords to successfully run your campaign.

 

Optimize for mobile

AdWords has a feature that allows you to bid separately on smartphones, mobile devices, and computers. In running your PPC campaign, don’t forget to prioritize mobile searches. As we all know, mobile searches have already outnumbered desktop searches. This means, more and more consumers are on their smartphones than their computers. It is strategic to invest in mobile AdWords.

Running a PPC campaign is really challenging. But if you get the procedure right, you can achieve your marketing goals and hit that business success.

7 Tricks to Building an Awesome Brand Identity

We live in world where a sea of infinite colours competes to catch our eye. We do not need to emphasize how much information is available out there with additional volumes of fresh content generated on a daily basis.

What is a brand? It is the heart of your company and the reason you exist. It is what drives your bottom line and makes the difference between being profitable or declaring a loss. Of course, you will want to report on the successful side and create profits.

As competition is only growing, brand management is how a company differentiates its portfolio of products and services. You have to carve your place in the market and create an identity that resonates positively you’re your audience. Defining a brand’s identity is the first and most critical component of the branding narrative.

As the first touch point between you and your customer, the nature and design of your brand’s visual identity will strongly influence his purchase decision.

What is a brand identity? Ultimately, it is how your target market sees your portfolio of product and services. It is the unsaid, emotional connect invoked when a prospect interacts with your brand.

To create a long term purchase cycle, it is essential to instil a powerful degree of brand loyalty within your customer first. This is done only when your brand becomes your customer’s friend. Remember that in this day and age, you will have about twenty seconds to convey your message and why your brand should be the choice of preference in its category of service.

A visual brand identity is much more than your logo from LogoOrbit, your colours and your font. It is an amalgamation of strategy, communication design, and targeted marketing that gets the message across.

In order to create an awesome visual brand identity, we recommend implementing the following seven tricks:

Follow Thy 3 Ps

As a marketing professional or student, you should know that the 3 Ps of branding are the Bible of the marketing world: purpose, potential and promise. 

Purpose: To let your product commence its transformational journey into a brand, you must know what its characteristics are and what problems it can provide solutions to. Drawing up a list of its benefits and features will shed a lot of clarity on whom your target market should be and what kind of value proposition you can offer. 

Potential: If you are a relatively new player to the market, then it is vital that you appraise the future growth and profit potential of the brand in question. You do not want to plug in investment resources unconditionally without some analysis on potential expected returns. You may also want to factor in a timeline. 

Promise: A brand’s essence is based on the promise it makes to its users. The integrated communication plan of a fairness cream may play on Indian society’s desire to remain lightskinned. It may “promise” that after a certain number of applications, your skin will become fairer.

Making false promises may fool your prospective client base once or even twice-but a third time, your client will definitely search for other solutions or take her case to your competitors. Hence, it is essential that you do not overpromise and underdeliver. 

Know Thy Audience

If you segment your target audience before you begin thinking brand colours and logo designs, then that illustrates that you know what you are doing. As potential gateway keepers of consumer knowledge, smart marketers will incorporate any key findings into their visual brand designs. You can build your customer profiles by dividing your audience base upon a multitude of variables such as location, income, age, gender, profession, level of education and much more. 

Be Consistent

Imagine your colleague is a bit of a flake in a professional capacity. He skips a deadline here, is late for a meeting or he may have too many inexplicable absences. Would you delegate an essential project to him? Would you want to work with him as part of your team? Would you recommend him to someone else given that its your name on the line?

Be honest, you probably would not want to work for such a character-you would need someone reliable and someone whom you can count on. Similarly, consumers will desire a brand that is consistent in terms of quality, price strategy, and availability. The same principle is applied to visual design as it facilitates brand recognition and recall.  4. Keep it Simple

As discussed earlier in this article, you only have twenty seconds to make an impression on your viewer or reader. Hence, it is essential to keep your brand’s identity simple yet stunning. After all, you wish to add value to the customer’s life, not augment the volume of clutter that already exists in it. 

Use a Fetching Font

Typography can convey subliminal messages that develop and shape your brand’s personality. The kind of font you will select will determine what kind of imprint it will leave on your prospect (whether positive or negative). 

Colours are Everything

We all adore rainbows, but you do not want to employ a seven colour spectrum (or more) in your visual brand identity. After all, it is all about breaking through that endless clutter of data. Each colour owns its own psychological properties and represents different emotions. For instance, blue signifies trust. This would explain why banks such as Barclays and Citibank utilize the rich hues of blue as part of their brand identity. Colours such as red symbolize passion, lust and boldness. It is often utilized in brands that have a more daring streak.

Get Feedback

The vitality of customer feedback cannot be stressed enough. The awesome thing about social media is that it provides a direct, two-way link to your target market. Engage with them and simply just talk to them by asking what kind of visual images and content they would like to see displayed on your page. Getting them to partake ownership will reinforce their own belief

6 SEO Trends To Watch Out For This 2018

As we have just entered 2018, it’s time to think about what’s ahead for marketing, especially in search engine optimization. SEO has two decades of proven reliability in helping businesses increase their visibility on search engines. Further, SEO will continue to be relevant as long as the internet exists. Thus, your efforts before will count for today and for the future. But of course, Google and other search engines have unexpected changes in their algorithms. In 2018, here are the top SEO trends that are expected to dominate the year:

 

The Rise of Voice Search

Last year, 20% of all searches are made through voice. The rise of smartphone technology has paved the way for the use of voice search. By 2020, it is expected that 50% of all searches will be voice searches, says comScore. With this emerging trend, SEO marketers are studying on the changes of the keywords. They try to re-strategize their content to match voice searches.

 

Relationship (Link) Building

Link building has always been a part of search engine optimization. This year, it is not just about links, but relationships. Today, there are dozens of blogging communities that promote members to help each other in achieving their marketing goals. One way is to provide healthy links for each other through guest posting.

 

Redesigned SERP

Search engine results pages constantly change in terms of design and elements. In 2018, it will feature local packs, knowledge panels and featured snippets. It will be a challenge for SEO marketers to compete with the new elements in the SERP. Although there is nothing great to worry about as all your SEO efforts will still be honored by Google. But you have to be critical in tracking your rankings within these features.

 

Instant Answer

In connection with the preceding item, Google also provides instant or quick answers to searchers. In this case, they extract snippets from reliable sites and resources. So if someone searches “What is Diabetes?” Google will provide a quick answer. Being chosen by Google is a big thing. Basically, you just need to work more on your SEO efforts.

 

Mobile Marketing

With the rise of smartphone technology, there will be a rise in mobile searches. As a matter of fact, 75% of consumers use their mobile to purchase products and services. With this, businesses are innovating their strategies to keep up with the mobile trends. According to Salesforce, almost 70% of the companies have integrated mobile marketing into their overall marketing strategy.

 

Visual Search

Apart from voice search, it is also expected that users will search the web through images and photos. This means no keywords, just visual content. This is indeed a challenge for SEO marketers. In developing your content, we recommend you use rich visuals that are perfectly engaging. Moreover, brands should focus on optimizing their visual content for SEO purposes.

Among these trends, what are you preparing the most for? Share us your thoughts.

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Infographic by: lianacms.com

Local SEO Trends To Watch In 2018

If you want to maintain your edge online, it’s important not to sink into complacency when it comes to the traffic your site receives. While it might be getting loads of traffic today, there is no guarantee that this traffic won’t be diverted tomorrow.

For this post, we had a chance to sit down with Tobias Gillberg who has a Miami SEO company, and according to Tobias there are the trends we should be looking out for in 2018! 

The Year of the Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants like Siri are nothing new. What is new is that voice searches have been made easier across a range of different browsers. That, and the advent of technology like the Amazon Echo, means that “Google it” takes on a whole new dimension.

Around one in five searches already are voice-based rather than typed out. If you want your website to remain relevant, you need to take cognizance of the fact.

This means incorporating more long-tail keywords and ensuring that the language that you use more closely matches that of your target audience.

So, let’s say that you have a gas station in Los Angeles. When drafting your content, you would refer to it as a gas station. The owner of a gas station in Johannesburg in South Africa, however, would use the term “petrol station” instead.

Think of the search terms your audience might use and incorporate those.

Link Building

At one stage in time, you could link your site to just about any other website, and this would help to improve its credibility in the eyes of a search engine. Now the search engines have become more sophisticated. They evaluate the sites that you are linked to and also how relevant they are to your site.

When it comes to link building in 2018, therefore, you need to be more discerning about the sites that link to yours. This means looking for quality sites to link to and ensuring that these sites are relevant to your own.

If there is no real value in linking to the site, or if they do not help your site to build credibility, don’t link to them.

Part of what will be important in 2018 is to start looking at guest blogs. The credibility of the blog will also come into question here so be sure that the blogger is not one that will come across as having questionable links. Your site’s reputation could suffer if you choose the wrong blogger.

A Better User Experience

Google will also be evaluating sites in respect of the user experience that they deliver. This means that you could be penalized or having a site that takes longer to load, or one that is confusing for the user.

How does Google measure this type of thing? By seeing how long the average user spends on your site. If they spend less than thirty seconds on the site, Google will “think” one of two things – either the content wasn’t relevant, or the site was too difficult to navigate.

In either instance, Google will assume that the user experience was bad and so mark your site down.

They will also consider how adaptable the site design is when it comes to different devices. A site that can be as easily used on a mobile phone as it can be used on a laptop will score higher points than one that does not.

Featured Snippets

Featured snippets can be highly important when it comes to building page rank. For these to be successfully featured on Google, you will need to ensure that the content meets the standards Google has set in this area.

This means providing high-quality content and consistent information. The better the snippet that the visitor sees in the results, the more likely they are to click through to your website. Make sure that the content is relevant and expertly drafted for best results.

Getting this right can pay high dividends for SEO purposes. Making sure that Google picks up the right snippets is essential. Try having a Frequently Asked Question section so that Google can zone in on the right content.

Getting Mobile Ready

Companies have been focusing on making sure that their sites look good on a desktop or laptop and then adjust that template so that it works on mobile as well. The focus should now be reversed, however.

Phones offer an easy and convenient way to access the web and are becoming more popular than computers when it comes to searches. Companies that harness this trend are the ones that will be able to maintain their edge.

People want to be able to get information easily while they are out and about. This means that mobile searches will become ever more important.

Visual Searching

People want to find the easiest possible way to conduct searches. What is easier than snapping a picture on your phone and running a search based on that picture?

While some e-commerce sites like AliExpress have had this option for a few years now, it is starting to gain popularity with search engines like Google and social media sites like Pinterest as well.

This means incorporating visual content that is rich and engaging.

Machine Learning and AI

Artificial intelligence has vastly changed the way that we do things already. Google filling in the search terms for you based on what you have typed is one area where machine learning already comes into play.
Search engines will be better able to work out which sites are truly credible and which ones are using artificial SEO-boosting techniques.

That’s why it has become more important than ever to focus on the quality of the content that you provide. Remember this golden rule – if you wouldn’t be interested in the content provided, why would it be useful to potential clients? Provide something that you might pay money for instead of rubbish.

2018 looks set to become an interesting year for those in the SEO game. SEO is evolving, and so it is essential for businesses to start evolving their strategies in line with the changes. Focusing on gaining high quality, organic traffic is going to become more important than ever before.

UI/UX Trends We Can Expect to See in 2018

Just as there will be a series of web design trends making their presence known in 2018, there will also be a series of trends in relation to the user interface and user experience.

We had a chance to sit down with the awesome team at Internet Creation who are one of the leading web design agencies based in Edinburgh over the holidays and have a chat over what their predictions are for 2018.

Usability Will Overpower Ego

The web design process can be akin to an artist painting a picture, in that designers love tweaking a website so it looks the best it can. However, there could be instances where the process is focused on a little too much, which means that visitors to the website may be a little perplexed as to how they should navigate the website.

As such, 2018 will see more focus on the accessibility of the site, as opposed to animating every pixel just because we can. 

More Collaboration

There will have been times when a sole designer has had a good idea for a website and ran with it, and came up with some truly remarkable results. However, this doesn’t undervalue the power of teamwork, and how brainstorming can bring more ideas to the table.

Web designers in 2018 will be working in teams and offering different ideas, much in the same way a team of engineers would work. Collaboration will be major focus in 2018, regardless of whether coding is involved or not.

Ethics Will Be at the Forefront of Design

It’s obvious how the Internet is evolving, but what may not always be obvious is the type of person using the Internet. While a specific website may be ideal for the majority, there will be times when you have to account for other users.

This means ensuring that you’re catering for all types of visitors, and offering other solutions should text not be the first port-of-call for some.

Different people learn in different ways, so ensuring that you’re offering as much information as you can, while ensuring it’s easy to absorb will be a key element of 2018.

This includes ensuring there are no grammatical errors and ensuring that navigation is clear. Designers should also be ensuring that any content listed isn’t in breach of any copyright.

Design Will Contribute Towards Social Change

While the power of words has been prominent for some time when it comes to social change, 2018 will see website design play its part. Website designers will see more aesthetics will help towards tackling unsavoury issues, acting as a toolset that will influence more change.

Advanced Tools Means More Designers

It’s a common misconception that website designer need to be able to code. While it’s something website designer should be striving towards, more advanced tools mean people are able to express their creative flair and become part of the design process.

As such, the role of a designer will become less isolated, which can actually contribute towards a more streamlined design process.

Future Design Will React to The Environment

The way we interact with the Internet has changed for many reasons. As well as being able to access the Internet will mobile, we can also interact with virtual environments and check it to local businesses. This will continue as a trend into 2018, with future designs being integrated into a more digital world.

This could be in the form of context-driven UI, or websites that respond to hardware sensors. Making use of the evolving environment will ensure that web designers are making full use of the capabilities available to them.

Use of Biometrics

While biometrics isn’t a new technology, it is becoming more accessible to web designers. In 2018, more designers will be making use of biometrics in relation to identity management and authentication management purposes.

The security that the technology can offer both users means that biometric technology eliminates the needs for a traditional login. Biometric technology will instil the use of facial recognition, voice or iris scans.

The Elimination of the “Hamburger Menu”

The use of hamburger menus has been positive in the past, with it gaining traction with a series of online users. However, it has been found that the elimination of these drop-down menus can actually increase website’s click ration by 30 percent. The changes have already been made by some industry powerhouses, such as Spotify and YouTube.

Although this mainly applies to apps, it’s worth remembering that mobile websites needs to act in much the same way. It’s already evident how a website should be able to conform to a device, so instilling this change can make the user-experience more satisfying.

Customised Cinemographs

When it comes to imagery website for a website, do you opt for video or static images? While static images take up less room, the pull of a video can’t be underestimated. This is where cinemographs come into play.

Essentially a combination of a video and photograph, cinemographs will allow website designer to create the illusion of a moving photographs, without them being a hindrance on bandwidth

While the aesthetics of a website continue to evolve, so does the expectations of users, which means that the user experience is ever evolving, and missing a trend could make all the difference as to how relevant a website is when completed.

Local Website Rankings 2018 – All You Need to Know

With 2018 just around the corner, it’s time to begin thinking about your new year’s resolutions. Perhaps you want to get in better shape, or maybe you’d like to start a new hobby. If you own a website, your resolution could be to improve your local website rankings. Lucky for you, it’s easier than you might think. You see, search engine rankings are determined by an algorithm that’s looking for specific criteria. By using local SEO, you can ensure that your website is ranked highly on search engines in targeted locations that are key to your business.

So, what can you do to improve your local website ranking?

1. Create a Google My Business page.

This is the first and most important thing you can do in order to improve your local SEO. You want to fill in as much detail as you can when you’re filling in this page. The more information, the more engaging the page will be, and thus the more attention it will receive. Details like your business’ contact information, opening hours and address will really assist with Google optimizing the information on a local level. Another key box to fill in is the one asking you to pick what category your company falls into. Not only will this help customers identify exactly what your business does, it’s also super helpful for the Google bots. For example, if you own a restaurant, choosing this category means you will rank on searches for ‘restaurant’ in your area, rather than solely appearing when someone searches for the name of your venue. Choose a selection of high-res pictures to support the page, too.

To create (or later edit) your My Business page, you will need to verify that you have permission to do so. This will either involve:

  • An email being sent to the email account you have registered with the My Business details.
  • A verification code sent via automated message to your mobile phone.
  • A postcard sent to your listed address.

2. Build citations to your website.

Once your Google My Business page is up and running, it’s time to add some NAP citations. NAP stands for name, address and phone number. Sometime people add extra letters to the acronym to denote the importance of factors like your website URL, but ultimately the initial three letters are the most important. Search engines use NAP citations to determine your authority online. Essentially, the more records of your business exist online, the more search engines will see it as a relevant site to suggest to web users.

NAP citations are also great because:

  • Citation signals account for 13% of ranking factors.
  • The NAP directories are a great way for people to find you, when they’re not using search engines like Google.
  • These directories will also rank on Google, so you’re essentially doubling your SEO reach.

Depending on the purpose of your business, you’ll want to focus your NAP citations differently. You’ll either want to focus on directory citations for your business category, or by location. However, one thing to always remember when setting up NAP citations is to ensure that your details are consistent across all websites. According to Myles Anderson, a columnist for Search Engine Land, inconsistent citations are the top issue for local SEO rankings. There are certain auditing services you can use to check this for you such as Citations Builder who offer various local citation building services.

3. Be present on authority websites.

Rather than setting up a profile for your business on every website under the sun, you can streamline your work by appealing to authority websites. These are websites that receive high SEO rankings of their own, which will further improve your own local website ranking. To find the best websites for you to post on, search online for the top citation sources in your country. Some of them may not be relevant to your business, but the majority will be sites that you can use. Before you start, set up a spreadsheet to organize the results, based on their relevance to your business, and the influence each one has. Some of these sites may involve participation to merit you being mentioned. If a local university gets lots of traffic, why not sponsor an event or have a pop-up shop on campus? Do any local bloggers have a big following? If so, you could send them a product for free, in exchange for a review and advertising space on their site. Make sure to send company announcements to the local newspaper, too.

4. Get reviews.

Although it may take a bit of time to have a significant number of reviews of your business online, this can make a great deal of difference to your local SEO ranking. It will also make your business seem more legitimate and trustworthy to new customers. In fact, the Local Consumer Review Survey for 2017 found that 97% of consumers read reviews for local businesses online in 2017. What’s more, a whopping 87% said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Rather than waiting for reviews to appear on their own, you can spur customers along. If you have a regular crowd of customers who have posted reviews on other websites, it’s worth asking them first if they can leave a review on your Google My Business page. Once you have a couple of reviews under your belt, other customers will be much more inclined to do the same. Why not put up signs around the premises asking visitors to do so, or even have the cashier ask customers to leave a review if they’ve had a positive experience. Online, you can drive people to review your site by adding a request for reviews to your website, and mentioning it in your email signature. You’ll need to always keep an eye on your reviews, in case a bad one sneaks through the cracks. Make sure to personally respond and try and find a solution to their issue, and they may be inclined to change their review.

What is PPC and why is it important for business growth?

If you’re starting a business or hoping to grow your current business you’re likely to be inundated with helpful suggestions about which direction to move in.

From one angle you’ll hear that the future is all about search engine optimisation – from another angle it’ll seem like establishing your brand should be priority number one, then another person will tell you… well, you get the picture.

In this world of frugal start-ups people often forget to talk about pay-per-click (PPC) advertising – so we’ll explain what it is, how it works – and most importantly, what it might mean to your growing business.

What is PPC?

Pay-per-click advertising is one particular model of online advertising in which advertisers only pay for the instances when a platform user actually clicks on their advert.

For example:

You search for Atlas Ceramics stock it on Google, the results that are returned are displayed on what’s commonly known as a SERP – or ‘search engine results page’ – and in this example, the people who appear at the top of the ‘organic’ listing will be people who are paying a huge amount of money to SEO experts to keep them there.

However, you’ll also notice there are 3 or 4 listings that appear above those organic results – you’ll see they have ‘Ad’ in green next to the URL that’s displayed beneath the company name and site title/page title. The companies have paid for this listing to appear where it does – almost always on a PPC basis.

How does it work?

So, if you pay per click – how do search engines decide what gets those top spots?

Well, generally with an auction. Google will look at how many people are looking to pay for advertising the relates to a specific set of keywords or phrases and if more than one person’s asking – an auction is triggered.

You’ll make a per-click bid on the keyword or phrase you like the look of – but, as Google is user experience driven, it’s not as simple as just making the highest bid. Google will also want to know how relevant the ad is that you’re planning on placing – so a highly relevant ad with a lower bid will often beat a less relevant ad with a higher monetary offering per click.

Now, the final PPC price you pay depends on a host of factors that relates to the other people who were bidding and the perceived quality score of your advert – but generally speaking you’ll pay a little less than your maximum bid – and from there, it’s all about the clicks…

Why is PPC important for your business?

PPC advertising can get you places that would take tremendous amounts of SEO or social media work to equal – hence, it’s a fairly unique and important part of your marketing plan – but what can it actually offer you in real terms?

PPC offers quick market traction

Establishing a name and reputation in your marketing place is where having an awesome brand comes into play. That said, your brand could be the most awesome there is – but if no one’s using your product or experiencing all the exceptional underpinning principles, it’s not worth the paper or iPad it’s written on.

As such, PPC gives you a chance to push to the front of whichever queue you desire – and when you’re there, you can focus on establishing rolling out that awesome product and brand.

PPC works to your budget

By now you’ve probably thought long and hard about your conversion rates – whether or not you’ve actually established any yet.

PPC gives you complete control over the spending part of the conversion funnel you’re working on – start heading toward your daily, weekly or monthly limit? No problem, you can step off the gas. Alternatively, if you like the way things are going, you can bump your spend and watch the converting traffic do the same.

PPC offers data, data and more data

You know people tell you that there’s no such thing as a mistake – only lessons to be learned? Well, PPC offers the best kind of lessons, whether you’re flying or making mistakes; data.

Every keyword and click that comes out of your budget has information about its performance that comes packaged in with the price – and this information lets you track what you’re doing, test new approaches and tighten the screw on things that are performing well.

What’s more, this is done in virtually real time – so when the market talks, you can respond.

Now, realistically (unless you’re in a seriously big money marketplace) you’re not going to be responding to the minute to minute changes of the market – instead, you’re going to be tweaking until you find something that works well. A word of advice though – keep track of everything you do, you’ll start to paint a bigger picture when you’re laying data over your calendar and marketing strategy.

PPC can be in the right place at the right time

If your site’s conversion rates are better when you’ve got real people in the office picking up phones or replying to emails and chat windows, then you can make PPC suit you and your audience’s requirements by optimising for the most appropriate times.

That said, it’s not just time that you can optimise for – start seeing location or device trends and you can adjust your PPC strategy to suit – once again, building masses of data in the meantime.

The bigger PPC picture

PPC doesn’t offer a marketing solution as such, instead, it’s a method that’s going to help you test the effectiveness of some keywords and audiences so you’ve got some red hot data to be working with on your longer term SEO plans.

In the short term though, PPC offers probably the quickest solution to the void that makes up marketing data for most new and small businesses – and it’s especially ideal if you’re planning some time-sensitive launch offers.

A word of advice though – planning on rolling up your sleeves and tackling PPC when you’ve got a spare half hour? Think again – PPC is no beginner tool – and it’s certainly going to take you more than a few spare minutes with a coffee to get your head around. If building your marketing strategy from the ground up is the plan, talk to someone who’s got a bundle of PPC experience to get up and running quickly…

The 5 Digital Marketing Commandments.

Web 2.0 has made everyone digital marketing professionals, however there is much more than a tweet there and a share here that goes into getting your digital marketing right. Whether you run a small shop or a multinational business, digital marketing is no longer a choice, it is a necessity and you need to get it right if you’re going to stay afloat in today’s digitally driven world.

Here are 5 digital marketing commandments to follow and keep you right:

Thou Shalt Optimize Thy Website for SEO

The most important objective in your digital marketing strategy is to make sure your website is on page one. Maximum exposure is key to winning new business and reaching that number one spot on the SERPS will get you there. To gain that number one position however, you need to make sure your SEO game is on point. As a general guide, follow the basics of SEO. Make sure your website content is using the right keywords that you want to rank for, make sure the length of the content is above 350 words and make sure your H1’s, H3’s and H4’s are all being used appropriately. URL’s should be simple/shareable and make sure that your media is tagged correctly.

If you get the basics done correctly your website will naturally start to rank for the most popular keywords on your website, but seeing as though this is a cut throat digital world, you need to be a little bit more proactive with your SEO efforts. The most beneficial way to rise up through the SERPS is to increase you Domain Authority and Trust Flow. This is achieved by other websites vouching for you in the form of them embedding links in their website that points to yours. The more established the website is that is sharing your links, the higher value that link becomes and the stronger its effect has on your Authority. SEO should be at the heart of your digital strategy. Get the SEO right first, then focus on the rest.

Thou Shalt Utilise Social Media and Follow Current Trends

Social Media is arguably the most influential tool for businesses but you have to be in it to win it. Having a Facebook page and plastering it with adverts about you products just isn’t going to hack it anymore. You need to use social media as a conversation tool. Get to know your customers through it and let your customers get to know your business through it. It’s called SOCIAL Media for a reason, so get social. If it was designed to be a billboard they would have called it something else. Most of your customers are on social media more than any other internet application so make sure your business is there too. Be careful though, one of the biggest mistakes businesses make is treating all social platforms the same. Facebook is very different from Twitter in the way people use it and the way the platform operates, so make sure your communication is different too. Customise your communication to the platform it is to be posted on and you should be alright.

Thou Shalt Engage With Customers Regularly

Great, you have a base of customers who have used your business in the past, well done. Now what? You need to stay connected with your customers. To keep them coming back you need to give them a reason. Did they have a great experience the last time? If they did, remind them about it. Think your customers will like a new product or way of checking out? Tell them about it.

The easiest way to achieve all of this is to send your customers an email. Emails will educate and remind your customers about your business. Be careful though, customers can get annoyed with emails which could have a negative effect on your brand image, so instead of using a hard sell strategy with your emails, try a softer, friendly approach. Also only send emails out on a strategic basis. Sending daily emails will see your campaign end up in the spam folder faster than you can say oopsy daisies.

Top Tip: If you aren’t already, use Mail Chimp for the best free email services.

Thou Shalt Keep Thy Content Fresh

Keeping your online content updated is important for two reasons. Firstly, your customers want new information whether that be about your business offerings or other engaging content that they may be interested in. Secondly, Google likes it when you keep things fresh and new. Google is for the people and will rank websites higher when it deems a website is good for keeping customers informed with new and relevant information.

Look at ways you can add new content to your site. Possibly a blog or start a promotions page that gets updated daily, weekly or monthly. This way you customers have a reason to return to your website in the form of being updated on new material and Google will rank your site higher as it will see it being a source of updated information for consumers. This is a simple yet very important step in the grand scheme of digital marketing.

Thou Shalt Obey the Laws of Google

Google giveth and Google can easily taketh away. Google has a set of rules for SEO and other Digital Marketing activities. Seeing as though we are trying to rank in Google, that makes Google the judge, jury and executioner. One day you could be enjoying traffic form 1st page results and then the next day your website could be totally missing from the SERPS. But this should only happen if you’ve messed up and most likely intentionally done something that was against Google laws.

Make sure you are aware of the type of things that could get you executed form the Google results. Most of the time, if it feels like an easy way round something, it will most likely get you in trouble. Paying for links is an example of a big no no in the eyes of Google so do your research and see what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

It really doesn’t matter if you’re a SME selling load securing equipment or Microsoft, these commandments apply to everyone. Following these guidelines will result in a safe and strategic direction for your business to follow.

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