There was a time that “local SEO”—optimizing your content according to a specific location, using keywords such as “drycleaners Los Angeles” or “dentist Miami”—was perceived as something done exclusively by bricks-and-mortars retailers. After all, using local SEO narrowed the audience to only people in that specific location.
However, the truth is that local SEO is important even to online retailers. Why is that?
Well, simple: your customers live in cities, right? If you can target your content according to that specific city, it’s easier to give them what they need.
Let’s take, for example, an online clothes retailer. The retailer sells both winter and summer clothes. To hit the winter-wear audience in the Northern United States, they can use local SEO for New England, Chicago, Seattle, and so on. But people living in the Southern United States will start wearing summer clothes long before their northern counterparts do, so a local SEO campaign targeting Phoenix, Miami, Los Angeles, and Houston will enable the clothes retailer to start selling summer clothes before the sale of winter clothes ends.
Google loves local businesses, and actually does more to promote them than global or national businesses. The search engine is designed to bring up local results first, especially if the keyword searched includes the location. A search for “laundromat in Glendale” will usually bring up the Glendale-specific locations, and farther down the list will be the retailers that belong to larger chains. It’s Google’s way of promoting local business and delivering the best tailored results.
Google also tries to give the most specific results according to the person searching. Your Google history will give the search engine information on the sort of information you’re looking for, according to your location and other data. If there is a business that offers what you’re looking for in the place you want it, Google is going to make sure you see it.
Proximity-based searches are more common with mobile commerce as well. Look at Uber, the app that searches for the closest vehicle to your desired location. Or Tinder, which tries to find matches nearest to you. Local SEO will be important for mobile searches as well, as Google has tried to make the searches as location-specific as possible.
Local SEO is no longer useful just for brick-and-mortar retailers. Even online retailers should endeavor to include local SEO when and where relevant. It may lead to much better engagement and reach in the specific cities where you want to find your target demographic.
The word “brand” is usually used to refer to a company or line of products, but it actually goes beyond that. A company’s brand is the perception people have of that company. For example, thanks to Apple’s branding efforts, we all know that Apple products are sleek, cutting edge, and innovative (even if they don’t always live up to the hype) or that Nike is the brand for athletes (even if other brands have better products).
Your personal brand is the world’s perception of who you are. Building a personal brand is the best way to influence the people around you: employers, coworkers, employees, customers, supplies, even your competitors. By creating a personal brand, you control the narrative and help people perceive you the way YOU want them to.
What is the most important aspect of who you are and what you do? What is the “mantra” that drives your product or service? Think about what matters most to you, and that is the heart and soul of your brand.
Tugging on someone’s heartstrings is the best way to get them on your side. You need to think about how you make your product/service/persona to make people feel, and how you want them to perceive you. The emotional appeal of your brand is what will set you apart.
What is it that you are offering to people? What do you have that makes you unique from others? Why do you stand out from the crowd? This goes beyond just the skills, products, or services you have to offer, but it includes your personality, character, and passions.
How would you describe yourself? Are you an artist, a leader, a strategist, or a team player? What words can you use to endear yourself to others emotionally? Think about the things about you that appeal most to others, and use that in your creation of your personal brand. Be a “passionate creator” or a “willing assistant” or an “enthusiastic leader”.
Your personal brand should be distilled to one or two simple concepts. Don’t try to be everything to everyone, but find your niche and make it work. Narrow the scope of your brand to a simple concept that everyone can relate to. The simpler the idea of you and your brand, the more easily people will be able to relate to it.
In the end, your personal brand is how the world will perceive you. It’s best if you can control the narrative and help people to see you the RIGHT way.
Have you ever heard the expression “Content is king?” It’s one that has become very popular in the last decade, especially with the drastic shift in advertising and marketing caused by social media and the internet.
Once, your best means of reaching people was via billboards, TV ads, radio spots, and newspaper ads. Now, the most time and cost-effective methods of marketing is using the internet (social media, company website, etc.).
The internet is designed to be an information superhighway, where people can access anything they want in a matter of seconds. Search engines provide relevant results for millions of searches every day. Guess what those results are? 9 times out of 10, they’re articles, blog posts, and content posted on websites.
If you want to get people to visit your website and find out more about your business, you MUST create content that is relevant, valuable, and consistent. Content allows you to establish yourself as an authority, which increases the likelihood people will seek you out for answers and help. Regular content posting also keeps you in the forefront of potential customers’ minds. If they keep seeing your content when they’re looking for advice or help with a problem, they’ll end up thinking of you when they need your business.
Content marketing is important for customers, as it’s a “soft sell” tactic. By delivering consistent value through your articles, blog posts, and other content, you slowly convince customers to take advantage of your product or service. In this modern day and age, most people prefer the soft sell than the in-your-face “Buy or try my product/service!”
Content marketing also matters to search engines. When people do a search for a problem or question related to your business’ product or service, you want your content to be as highly ranked as possible. The higher the ranking, the greater the chance of a search engine user clicking on your website and reading the article or post. Content allows you to take advantage of people’s desire for more information and knowledge, yet still entice them into buying your product or trying your service.
Content marketing also allows you to build a relationship with your customer. You provide them with daily or weekly solutions and answers to their problems and questions, and that endears them to you. That positive association in their mind will make them think of you next time they need your product or service. Once again, it’s about the “soft sell”.
The internet can be a highly useful tool to promote your business, but you have to learn how to do it right. Providing regular content is the key to being a smart internet marketer!
You’d be amazed by how many people use social media incorrectly. They post content that tries to hit “everyone”, without any sort of targeting or strategy to reach the demographic best-suited for their product. If you’re serious about using social media to reach your target market, you can’t just post whatever springs to mind. You need to come up with a plan, targeted content that is visually appealing, and learn the ins and outs of the various forms of social media marketing. That is the only way you’re going to read that audience!
Here’s what you need to know:
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube all offer access to a different target audience. Pinterest is more popular among women, Facebook is more commonly used by businesses, and Twitter is the short-form social media for busy people on the go. Understanding what each platform offers—mainly in the demographics that frequently use the platform—is the first step toward using your social media effectively.
Learn how using the right hashtags can make your Twitter posts more engaging and reach a broader audience. Learn how Facebook Ads effectively help you to put your published content in front of the right people. Learn what sort of YouTube videos are most effective for promoting your content. The more you learn about the platform, the more easily you’ll be able to plan the marketing strategy.
Sticking with just one social media network isn’t going to get you the results you want. You need to learn to use multiple networks, and learn how they can cross-promote each other. Twitter posts can be automatically posted to Facebook and vice versa, or short YouTube videos can make your Facebook feed more engaging. Instagram photos will do well on Facebook and Twitter. Learn at least three or four of the primary social networks, and you’ll have a better reach!
The primary purpose of your content is to get people to stop what they’re doing and focus on what you have to say/share. Your content needs to be visually appealing, offer entertainment or real value, but most important of all get people engaged. Ask a question, offer advice that’s likely to be shared, or solicit your readers’ opinions. The more people engage with your posts, the more likely they will be to engage with the posts marketing and selling your product or service.
Your social media followers want to feel they’re getting something special for their interaction with you. Offer them discounts, special deals, or coupons as a reward for their engagement. This offers them value, which in turn increases future engagement.
If you’ve ever talked to a web developer, they will no doubt have harped on the importance of building a mobile-friendly website. You may have no idea why it matters, but they certainly believe it’s important. But why? What makes a mobile-friendly website so vital for the success of your business, product, or service?
Here’s the truth: more and more people are using their phones to shop. You can still go to your local store and buy goods, but your phone is useful for calling a cab (Uber), staying in touch with friends (social media), ordering dinners to go (Grubhub), finding good places to go and activities to do (TripAdvisor), even booking flights and hotels (AirBNB, Expedia, etc.). 55% of consumer shopping time in 2014 was spent on phones, while only 45% was spent on computer. That means more people are buying using their phones. If you have a product to sell, your customer are probably most likely searching for it on their phone.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t directly sell products; the average person spends more time surfing the internet on their phone than they do on their laptop. If you succeed at driving them to your website (where they can find out more about your product or service), you want them to stick around to find out more. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, they’re all but guaranteed to click away and go to another website that IS mobile-friendly. Your customers—both current and potential future customers—expect you to make their life easier. A mobile-friendly website is one that is “easier” for them to use.
As mentioned above, most web-surfers are likely to leave your website if it’s not mobile-friendly. But here’s something you might not know: Google may also penalize your website for not having a mobile-friendly design. Google may display it when someone is searching from their PC, but not when searching from a phone. Given that 55% of web surfers are using their phone, you could end up losing a huge chunk of business because you don’t have a mobile-friendly site. You want Google to drive as many clients to your website as possible, which means building a site that is compatible with mobile devices.
Yes, it will likely cost more to create a customized theme that is responsive to mobile and desktop users. In the end, however, it will benefit you—both in terms of customer ease of use and search engine compatibility.
Marketing is all about putting your message in front of the right people in the right way. Thanks to social media, that has become easier than ever. If used correctly, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and all the other social media platforms will allow you to engage directly with your target demographic.
First off, social media is where people go to relax and distract themselves from work. It already has a positive association in their minds, meaning the things they see while on social media will also tend to have that positive connotation. If your marketing campaign appeals to them, inspires them, or catches their interest, they’re far more likely to engage with it than they would while surfing the internet for education or information.
Social media also provides you with a surprising amount of information on who people are. Facebook, for example, compiles not just names, but also locations, interests, ages, likes and dislikes, and so much more. You’ll be able to use the social media profiles to target the right people with the right message. If you use the platforms’ various paid options, you’ll tap into their compiled databases to ensure your marketing campaigns are targeted at the customers most likely to be receptive to your message.
Social media gives you a much broader reach than you’d get from other sources. While Google’s SEO rankings are dependent largely in inbound links to your website, it does take into account links from social media. The more people post links to your page or content, the higher your SEO ranking. However, that also increases your visibility on those social media platforms and increases your authority.
People are always looking for new and interesting, content that educates, entertains, and gets them thinking. If you approach content creation with that mindset, you’ll find that the images, videos, and articles you post to social media have much better engagement. The more people engage with and share your content, the more you are perceived as an authority. This in turn increases the chance that people will seek you out when they have a question they need answered or a problem they want solved. Your reputation as an authority is worth gold!
Social media also allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s trending, popular, and of interest to your target demographic. If you “join in the conversation” with your marketing and content, you become relevant and trending as well. You’ll find that social media enables you to stay current with the times in a way classic content marketing never could!
Twitter is so much more than “just another social media platform”. It’s actually one of the best platforms to use for business, as it offers a broader yet more targeted reach than any other social media network. With 300+ million users and 500 million Tweets sent per day, it’s a small business’ most valuable tool for expanding your audience.
Why is that?
You can find your competitor brands on Twitter, and the last thing you want is to be left behind!
All you have to do is type up your message in 140 characters and hit the Tweet button. You can share info about a new product, offer a discount, or announce big changes easily.
To get hundreds or even thousands more people to see your content, all you have to do is use the right hashtags. Hashtags increase the visibility of your post beyond your immediate network. If used correctly, they can help you reach a much broader audience than you ever could on your own.
Any business that isn’t on at least Twitter and Facebook are “behind” and “antiquated”. To stay relevant and modern, you need to be using social media networks—even if you don’t master them, at least use them!
Want to find out what’s “in” or trending? Use Twitter Search to help you find out what people are saying about a certain topic. Get in on the conversation or create content that makes you relevant. It’s a great way to ensure you stay in touch with the world around you.
You can talk to anyone in the world just by tweeting to them. There are no limits on reach, so you may find a broad range of opportunities you’d never have found otherwise. All you have to do is keep your eyes open and think creatively.
Instead of spamming your social media with useless content, Twitter enables you to start a two-way dialogue with people. You can make jokes, share interesting content, or talk to people directly. You’ll find it will help you to refine your brand and message!
If used correctly, Twitter can be your most effective tool for engaging with your customers and followers. Be smart with your Twitter use, and it will help you to improve your brand and message.
Go on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram around the holidays and you’ll find nearly every brand and company making a holiday-themed post to try to capitalize on the special day. Why is that? What is it about the holidays that’s so special?
Holidays are a time of year people look forward to. They want to relax on Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, Christmas, New Year, etc. Holidays have a positive mental association in their mind. A smart brand will take advantage of that association and link it to their product or service. A holiday-themed post shows that you are relevant (you create fresh, up to date content), but it also creates that positive association in your viewers’ minds. After all, if you’re as happy as they are about the holiday, you’re no longer a faceless company—you’re an individual like them who is interested in the same things.
There’s a certain emotional appeal to holiday-themed social media posts. People tend to be happier than average on holidays, and each holiday has its own emotional touchpoints. Labor Day is all about hard-working people. Earth Day is about protecting the planet. Christmas is about family. Using those emotional touchpoints in your social media post can help you to connect emotionally with your viewers.
You’ll find that using social media for holiday posts can also foster a sense of community. You can offer a holiday-themed deal to your customers, or simply ask a question to engage them. Use your post to encourage engagement and connection. Remind them what’s important for the holiday and ask them to share the things that matter most. The more interactive the post, the better.
If done right, a holiday-themed post can be highly shareable and buzzworthy. A well-crafted post has beautiful visuals related to the holiday, an emotional message, and an interesting call to action. It can be something as simple as “Tell a family member you love them on X holiday” or something more complex like “Bring attention to a social injustice on X holiday”. Anything can go viral if it has the right message, hook, and visual. A good call to action can encourage people to purchase or click on something they normally wouldn’t, especially when paired with the other components.
Don’t worry about hitting EVERY holiday in the year! Find a holiday that is “on brand” with your product or service, and focus on just that one. Create awesome, engaging, funny, and emotional content for that holiday and hit it hard. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, start using more and more holidays to drive interest in your brand.
Creating quality content takes A LOT of hard work! Whether you hire a copywriter or do all the work yourself, it’s still an investment to create content to post to your website, blog, or social media platforms. Even harder is creating quality content that is unique, interesting, and hits the right marketing notes without being too “pushy” or “salesy”.
Here’s one tool a lot of people don’t tap into crowdsourcing. Instead of hiring out, you can use your readers to generate content to share. Instead of using your own one-way content, user-generated content encourages a two-way discussion that helps readers to feel more engaged with your brand. That engagement is what will lead to much better customer loyalty in the long run.
To encourage your users to create content:
Offer an incentive
Establish clear guidelines that are easy to follow
Be appreciative of anyone who produces content for you
Encourage regular contributions
Give your members independence
It takes time to get that user-generated content flowing in, but once you have it, you’ll find it’s highly effective for building a community.
Best of all, the user-generated content is marketing material that will appeal to other readers in a way that you never could. Think about it: why do so many companies use testimonials on their products or services? Instead of saying “Our product is this”, they use real-life people saying, “I love this product for X reasons!” Users are more likely to take the word of fellow users than that of the manufacturers trying to sell the product. (Why else do you think product reviews are prized so highly?)
The user-generated content will do the marketing for you. After all, it will show other users that you have a community that is engaged and interacting. Every piece of user-generated content—be it fan art, memes, photo collections, articles, or social media posts—showcases your product or service, but without your needing to put your spin on it. It’s a way of subtly marketing, one that doesn’t involve you.
The more you can encourage your users to generate content, the better. You should include it in your monthly marketing plans and find ways to promote the production of this content by your users. Have a “standing offer” that provides a discount or special deal every time your users produce something of value for you. Over time, you’ll find that it can be one of the best ways to generate quality content that appeals to a broader range of people—all without your needing to spend a single cent!
People don’t like being told to buy products, but they often want to buy products that their “idols” or “heroes” wear. When they see their favorite celebrity, athlete, TV personality, or talk show host wearing or using a product, they immediately want to give it a try.
Big brands have learned the value of “influencer marketing” and give away hundreds of thousands of dollars in free products to “the right people”. All the influencer has to do is mention the product or brand, and their dedicated followers will go out and buy it. It’s a subtle form of marketing, one that can lead to very high returns if done right.
The question is: is influencer marketing right for your business? Here are a few elements to consider when evaluating influencer marketing:
Is your product something that people would want to a) try out, and b) buy because they saw it on their favorite influencer’s social media profile? You wouldn’t use influencer marketing to promote a cutting edge sump pump, but you may find it useful for cosmetics, beauty products, clothes, shoes, accessories, vehicles, and other “showy” products.
You wouldn’t reach out to Kylie Jenner with the request to promote your testosterone supplement, and you certainly wouldn’t want Michael Jordan to talk about erectile dysfunction medications. It’s all about finding the right influencer, the one whose personal brand would enhance and be enhanced by your product. A relationship with the right influencer can be worth its weight in gold, but the wrong influencer or pairing can lead to a lot of money wasted.
In most cases, you will be reaching out to influencers and asking them to feature your product. However, if you have a product or company that is quickly growing, they may reach out to you. Both are viable options. It’s always nice to be contacted by an influencer, but you need to be prepared to invest in reaching out to them.
When working with any influencer, you always need to consider their reach and influence. Do they have thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of followers? Do they actually sell the products they showcase? Can they deliver sales or raise product awareness effectively? Always consider the influencer’s real reach and audience before signing any deals.
The truth is that influencer marketing, if done right, can be a very effective way to grow your business and extend your reach. Ask yourself the questions above to ensure you’re going about it correctly.