Tag : digital

Financial Services & Digital Marketing: 4 Trends to Start Now

Customer retention in financial services consumers are demanding more targeted, relevant, and personalized communications from their favorite brands. This isn’t exactly a new development, as it’s been the case for the past several years. What’s notable about this ongoing trend is that increasingly, consumers are coming to expect this same level of personalization from companies in every vertical– and that includes the financial services sector.

The shift towards highly personalized communications coupled with increased competition, including competition from 2.0-era services (think peer-to-peer lending shaking up the traditional lending market), and the continued evolution of technology are the key drivers of marketing trends in financial services. Let’s take a look at a few of the major trends shaping the financial services marketing outlook for 2016.

1. CUSTOMER RETENTION AND LOYALTY TOP MARKETING PRIORITIES FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES
Every interaction with a prospect or customer has the potential to be either an opportunity to earn customer loyalty or an opportunity for your competition to sneak in the back door and capture your customer’s interest. According to the Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Research study published in July 2015, customers are buying more products and services from financial companies– but not necessarily from their current providers. Consumers cite competitive pricing (39 percent), high quality customer service (34 percent), and good value for their money (32 percent) as the key drivers behind switching to another financial institution.

” For banks considering the question of how to keep their customers from switching to other providers, we found that first-contact resolution is the key. Of the consumers who switched to another provider due to poor service, more than 80 percent said they could have been retained if their issue had been resolved on their first contact with the bank,” according to Accenture.

What this means, in a nutshell, is that financial services organizations have to step up their game in order to earn and retain customer loyalty. The recipe for gaining customer loyalty is excellent service (e.g., prompt resolution of any issues) coupled with substantial value. That doesn’t mean your products have to be cheaper than the rest; it means that your customers have to feel like they’re getting more out of their relationship with you than they ‘d get by working with one of your competitors.

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2. CONTENT MARKETING IS THE FINANCIAL SERVICES VALUE FUEL
With content being the primary driver of basically everything in the universe (well, at least most marketing initiatives), content marketing is one of the easiest ways for financial services companies to deliver more value to consumers. Yet, according to Financial Content Marketing: The State of Play, 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets, Trends, a report from Dianomi, less than two percent of financial services companies deemed their content marketing efforts highly effective, but 90 percent saw content marketing as an important area of growth for the following 12 months.

Content marketing in the financial services sector isn’t about sales. In fact, just 13 percent of survey respondents reported sales as a focus of their content marketing efforts. “Rather, financial services companies are taking a more wide-ranging approach: the most common objectives are brand awareness and thought leadership, both cited by 71% of those polled. Customer retention/loyalty was a close third, cited by 69%.”.

(Related Resource: Digitally Speaking – “Plain English” Online Marketing Resource & Training Library)

3. DIGITAL MARKETING MEETS CONSUMERS WHERE THEY CONDUCT BUSINESS.

Digital marketing trends in financial services a few years ago, some schools of thought were of the mindset that marketing channels like social media were pretty much a waste of time for financial services companies. After all, banking is boring, right? But here’s the thing: Consumers are conducting financial business digitally, so it makes sense to reach and engage those audiences on the same channels that they’re embracing to conduct transactions.

A quick look at StatisticBrain reveals just how prevalent digital is in the financial services world: 69 million Americans bank online, with 81 percent of those who manage household finances banking online at least once in the past 12 months. More than half (56%) paid at least one bill online in the past month, and 90 percent have used a mobile device to check their account balance or a recent transaction in the last month.

With the increased emphasis on quality content, providing value through digital marketing initiatives is a natural progression that meets consumers where they’re already conducting day-to-day business. CMO reports that, “Financial marketers are pivoting to digital because they are seeing diminishing returns and poor audience engagement in traditional advertising channels. Seventy-seven percent believe high-impact ads can breakthrough as much as TV/print ads. Sixty-seven percent say digital is more efficient, believing that it costs less to reach targeted consumers online than off.” For financial services companies embracing the power of digital, opportunities abound.

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(Related Resource: Digitally Speaking – “Plain English” Online Marketing Resource & Training Library)

4. PERSONALIZATION IS THE KEY TO GAINING CONSUMER TRUST.

The other trends impacting the financial services industry (increasing competition from market disruptors, decreasing consumer loyalty, etc.) point to the importance of personalization in financial services marketing as we move into 2016. It’s critical for financial services organizations to embrace Big Data to gain an in-depth understanding of their consumers’ behavior, attitudes, and needs in order to respond in real-time with relevant, targeted messaging.

” This kind of customer-first strategy is no longer optional. Gartner reported that 89 percent of companies plan to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience by 2016,” explains PixelMedia. “The other side of the coin is that a firm without a customer-first marketing strategy will lose out to more responsive competitors with lower overhead. This new breed of financial service providers, many with no physical locations, are engaging customers with targeted messages and more creative financial offerings.”.

Financial services companies are being forced to meet their digital consumers in the digital world. In 2016, keeping pace with the speed of digital means better customer acquisition and retention, factors that no financial services organization can afford to lose in today’s highly competitive environment.

 

To Your Success!

Alex, MPeMG

 

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5 Ways Financial Companies Boost Marketing Success

The “Financial Game” is littered with all kinds of firms claiming to do something different than the other. So as you can imagine, it’s pretty easy to get lost in the mix. Being that MatchPLUS eMarketing Group(MPeMG) deals with many financial firms as clients, we came across this article while doing some customer work & thought we’d share a few tips on how to separate yourself from the pack.

5 Ways Financial Companies Boost Marketing Success

James Daniels | April 1, 2016 | Video Email Marketing | No Comments

Financial companies benefit from having the right online marketing strategies in place. If you own a financial company, continue reading for five ways to boost your marketing techniques to increase profits.

1. Refine Your Email Marketing Strategy

Email marketing is a great way to connect with customers with whom you’ve already worked, as well as promote yourself to potentially new customers who are interested in what you have to offer them.

To make the most of your email marketing campaign, you should only email those people who have given you permission to do so. They may have signed up for your email list via social media or your website, for example. A good rule of thumb is: “Never send unsolicited emails.” 

21 Proven Conversion Tricks with eMail Marketing

Your emails should also be personalized with the recipient’s name, should be sent from an individual email address, should be formatted simply, and signed by the individual sender. Finally, include a strong call to action and references to current events, as well as helpful and relevant information that your recipients will appreciate. You also want to include a video in your email, as that has proven to increase engagement with viewers.

2. Advertise on Social Media Through Video

Many companies today are taking advantage of the opportunity to advertise products and services affordably on social media websites , from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

As a financial business, you can use social media video ads to target the audience that will be most interested in seeing your ads. This means that you make every dollar you spend on your video ad campaign work to your advantage. Video is one of the best ways to advertise to social media users, and is likely to result in many more likes and shares than a standard text based ad.

5 Steps To Build & Star In Your Own Video Marketing

3. Connect with People on Social Media

Another way that you can use social media to promote your financial company is by connecting with users who have addressed you directly or have mentioned you in a hashtag, whether they have positive or negative things to say about your company.

If you are a company that often has reviews from customers, reaching out to people who have complaints will give you the chance to make things right and salvage the relationship. Plus, this looks really good because it proves you care about your customers’ feelings.

Social Media Marketing 101 - Membership Site Graphic

4. Start a Blog and Use SEO

In addition to creating a website that’s attractive, functional, uncluttered, and easy to navigate, you should also set up a blog that you can fill with useful and relevant information that your customers would be interested in reading. This content should be helpful for learning about the industry, new ideas to help their business, and how your products and services can help them achieve their goals.

Establishing yourself as an expert in your field, and providing valuable information for free in this manner, entices more customers to want to work with you and trust you. Just be sure that you incorporate the latest SEO strategies throughout your website copy and blog so your site will rank high in search engine results.

5. Advertise Locally

Local websites, including directories of local businesses, can help put your brand in front of more people who would be searching for companies like yours. Therefore, focus your advertising on local customers, who need your help. This could help get more customers through your door.

So while you think about finding and investing in the right insurance to protect your company and financial business assets from companies as www.bizinsure.com, you can also watch it grow by boosting your marketing strategies on a consistent basis using intelligent marketing techniques.Local SEO - Membership Site Image

James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.

Of course, these items take some time to execute, however, getting them implemented into your marketing strategy early would be very wise. Believe it or not, the digital world is still in its infancy. We hope that you start seeing some success with these tips from James, however, if you’re having a hard time figuring them out or implementing them, relief is just a click away: Digitally Speaking – All of your Digital Marketing answers and needs in one convenient spot each month!

See You Inside!

Alex, MPeMG

Co-Founder & CMO

www.MPeMG.com

(412) 374-1558

7 HELPFUL Hacks to Gain More Email Subscribers

We caught this blog post from SEJ (Search Engine Journal) and thought it would benefit you in a BIG way!! Enjoy!

-Alex, MPeMG

7 Simple Yet Effective Ways to Get Email Subscribers

By: Dev Sharma

What are your email subscription rates looking like?

Don’t be afraid to check. I know it’s not exactly a great feeling to see your numbers have fallen, but every website hits a rough patch.

The goal, however, is to consistently gain more email subscribers. But you don’t have all the time in the world to implement complicated list building schemes.

How about starting small and implementing some simple yet effective ways to get more email subscribers? That way, you’ll still be able to spend most of your time on day-to-day business activities, while also knowing that your email list is in good hands.

Note: Since some of the strategies I mention can only be accomplished via a plugin, make sure you don’t end up using too many plugins.

1. Setup Exit-Intent Popups

Exit popups are the ones that show up when you’re about to leave a site (it relies on cursor movement). Now, there are dozens of plugins available that allow you to set up exit popups. Some of the popular ones are OptinMonster, Thrive Leads, and SumoME. I use OptinMonster, since I’m also using it for other purposes (more on that later).

Exit intent popups work well, but they don’t work as well as normal popups. The key here is to test. Test what is working and what’s not. Personally, I’ve found normal popups work better, but exit-intent solutions are useful for showing exclusive deals or something similar, when the user is about to leave.

deal

I recently set up an exit-intent popup that shows a discount code when someone goes to leave the site. It’s a win-win situation for both user and site owner because as a site owner you get a new subscriber, and the user gets a discount on the product they are about to purchase.

Quick Note, the popup was created using Canva and OptinMonster.

2. Format Your Posts Properly

Formatting is easily the most effective way to improve your conversion rates. If you’re not spending time on formatting your blog posts properly, you run the risk of people ignoring your posts or not generating any comments or social shares. I’ve been there. I published posts which were in-depth but weren’t formatted properly.

The result: not enough traction, comments, or links to drive any leads or rank well in Google.

Amazingly, Gael Breton from AuthorityHacker was able to increase traffic to one of his site’s by 9,275% by simply re-formatting the post.

Here are some quick tips to get started:

  1. Proofread: Always proofread and edit your blog posts before publishing, use tools such as Grammarly and PaperRater to check for spelling and grammar mistakes.
  2. Bucket Brigades: Using short phrases that entice your readers to keep on reading.
  3. Content Builders: Using content building plugins such as Thrive Content Builder by ThriveThemes.

3. Add Coupons Section

According to a study done by Eric Graham from ConversionDoctor, he found that having a coupon code field on the checkout page can result in users abandoning the site to search in Google for the coupon code. And for bloggers like you and me, we need to capitalize on the coupon codes. For those of you who use WordPress to power their sites, you can easily add a coupon area using Custom Post Types and Taxonomies.

Alternatively, you can use a WordPress plugin such as CoupineWP, which I developed.

Now, how do you increase email subscribers with that?:

  • Step 1: Create a new post / page and write a description of it.
  • Step 2: Setup an exit-intent popup with a coupon, so when the user is about to leave the post a nice little opt-in form pops up asking her for an email in exchange for the exclusive coupon code.

4. Content Upgrades

content-upgrade-760x409121

Content upgrades have become quite popular lately, so much that people have started building exclusive plugins for them.

The whole content upgrade thing started when Brian Dean first wrote about it on his blog. Since then many site owners have implemented this with great success. I’ve also started experimenting with it lately and seeing some good results. You can also use the same popup as an exit-intent for capturing visitors who a.) haven’t subscribed to your list and b.) are about to leave your site.

It could easily help you reduce bounce rate and increase page views. Here are some popular content upgrade plugins:

  • Content Upgrades Pro: As the name suggests, it’s a simple plugin that allows you to set up content upgrades. It costs $37 for a single site and is $77 for multiple sites.
  • LeadPages: LeadPages is more than just a content upgrade plugin, since it comes with a ton of unique features such as LeadDigits for capturing email addresses and phone numbers through SMS text messaging. Also, LeadLinks prompts subscribers to join your list, sublist, or even subscribe to a webinar with a single click.
  • Thrive Leads: This is another great plugin that comes with a whole lot of features including content upgrades. It could easily be the most complete list building solution out there.

5. Give the User Full Control of What They Get and When They Get It

One of the reasons people are less likely to sign up for your email newsletter is because they don’t want to be inundated with yet another influx of marketing messages. Sure, your content may stand out compared to what they already have landing in their inbox, but a problem arises due to junk mail every consumer has received.

The same goes for folks who unsubscribe from your email list. There often comes a time when users simply need to get rid of some of the content that lands in their inbox, and if you send out too many emails, or emails that aren’t relevant, your list may not make the cut.

Therefore, it’s wise to give the user full control of what they receive and when they receive it. Consider offering a few check boxes during your signup process and allow them to choose if they’d like weekly or daily emails. You may also specify the types of content being sent out, allowing them to choose between, say, blog updates and funny quotes.

Finally, many users find it tedious when you ask them why they’re leaving your email newsletter list. Although you may find the feedback informative, why not try to keep them around if your only plan is to annoy the unsubscribers?

Instead of asking why they are leaving, present alternative subscription options. For example, you could ask if they would rather receive emails on a monthly basis, as opposed to a weekly basis.

6. Place the Email Signup Form After Your Blog Content

We’ve all seen this in action, but it’s not always the first thing you think of when collecting more email addresses. If your blog is active, you should be taking advantage of it completely. After all, what’s the point of generating free content if it’s not going to lead to search engine boosts, affiliate clicks, or email subscriptions?

The catch with this is that you generally need to find a WordPress theme that offers a widget area right underneath the blog post. This way, any signup form can be placed into the widget and replicated underneath every single blog post.

If you don’t have that functionality on your current theme, you can simply use a WordPress plugin, such as Optin Forms.

7. Grab Visitor Attention by Implementing an Interactive Bar

email

Sometimes a popup box is too annoying. Sometimes people don’t notice a signup widget in the sidebar. It all depends on your audience, but many companies and blogs have noticed that A/B testing favors a simple bar at the top of the homepage.

This top bar generally states a quick line about why it’s beneficial to subscribe to an email list. It doesn’t take up too much space, and people can quickly type in their email address without going to a completely new page. The other cool thing is that many of the top bar plugins and services allow for customization, sliding to other bars and alternative links that lead to sales and landing pages.

Here are some of the services that offer bars for improving your email subscriptions:

Conclusion

Now that you’ve seen some simple yet effective ways to get more email subscribers, feel free to bookmark and go through the list to optimize your website. Start by considering an exit-intent popup, and go all the way to implementing an interactive bar at the top of the homepage.

There are thousands of ways to improve your email subscription rates, but hopefully these quick techniques can boost your rates in a short period. If you have any other suggestions for list building, please drop a line in the comments section below.

 

Email marketing still has the BEST ROI in the marketing right now – 44 to 1. That’s huge! Take some of these ideas and try implementing them into your own business. If you do not participate in eMail marketing yet, YOU SHOULD 🙂 However, if you don’t know where to start, we’d love to lend a hand! Visit www.MPeMG.com to get started OR give us a call (We answer our own phones :)) (412) 374-1558!!

 

To Higher Profits,

Alex

MatchPLUS eMarketing Group, LLC

Co-Founder & CMO

www.MPeMG.com

5 Marketing Hacks to Shake Things Up

It’s funny, as long as I’ve been building this company, there are always a few questions that people notoriously as me. Which is REALLY good for you because there’s a good chance that you have the same or a similar question.

Therefore, I figured, why leave you in the dark any longer. Below are 5 solutions to the top 5 Digital Marketing inquiries:

1.) How to Setup a Podcast

Podcasts are easy to use and fairly easy to set up! They are great to spread your message to over 1.3 billion registered podcasts members at any given time. Whether your audience is driving to work or taking their morning shower, they are more likely to listen to your message when you have an official podcast channel! Give it a shot, what do you have to lose?

 

2.) Publish a Book

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Writing your own book IMMEDIATELY gives you authority in your market and, more importantly, over you competitors! Today, eMarketing publishers can assist you to not only FAST TRACK your project’s publishing track, but they can also help you WRITE the entire book in several weeks as opposed to YEARS. Not to mention the Best Seller or #1 Best Seller status!

 

3.) Add a Lead Capture Component to your Product Pages

Statistically, if your website is not properly structured, over 90% over visitors WILL NOT RETURN! As harsh as that sounds, it’s the truth! A Lead Capture component is a PERFECT credibility builder and here’s why! When you place an “LC” structure on your website, your visitors will see that you want to engage with them further, whether it be sharing info or selling a great low cost offer. Most would say, “People don’t want to give me their email…” If they didn’t want to, they wouldn’t have searched for your services in the first place. You can have this “LC” structure redirected to your email list for FREE marketing from now until the end of time! Keep your customers close and updated! If you’re not sure how to get it structured and coded to your website, send us a message or give us a call (412) 374-1558!

 

4.) Don’t Be Afraid to Help Out & Make It Count

Corporate-Philanthropy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving back is an important part of business. Many misinterpret the saying, “I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine,” to be simply for greed. Well, when you look at it from a community giving platform, you’re much more likely to gain interested and motivated prospects because they respect that you are an ethical company and care about the very customers that you service. Remember, it doesn’t take much to give back…try having your company volunteer their time for a good cause. It feels good to lend a hand.

 

5.)  Don’t Overlook a 44 – 1 ROI…eMail Marketing 

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If you were able to have a marketing piece that produced 44 interest or motivated purchasers for every 1 time that you broadcasted your message, would you hop on that medium immediately? Well YEAH! Who wouldn’t? Email marketing produces an amazing response when done properly, these are some tips to keep your lists fresh and responsive!

 

Well, these are the answers to the top 5 questions that you ask about Digital Marketing and your business. Digital Marketing isn’t going anywhere soon so you might want to brush up on the language with the links/images/videos above 😉

 

Happy Marketing!

Alex, CMO & Co-Founder

MatchPLUS eMarketing Group, LLC

www.MPeMG.com

(412) 374-1558

[SECRET] We answer our own phones, don’t hesitate to call!

eLearning; The Next Bubble

If there’s something that is quite certain about the future, it’s the rise of eLearning. Nowadays we see new online learning options popping out every month and traditional classroom environments are more eager than ever to incorporate new technologies into their curricula. The category of eLearning is itself susceptible to various trends and fashions, so it’s only a question of time before we see completely new methodologies and strategies emerge from this powerful field. What’s in store for the innovative eLearning methods in 2016? Here are key trends to watch for next year.

7 Key eLearning Trends For 2016

AutomationAutomation
Numerous education experts predict that 2016 will be the year when automation will finally become a crucial aspect of both content creation and processing. It’s most likely that content providers will use an increasing number of automated solutions to create new courses and learning materials, saving the time and money involved in conventional processes.

Augmented Learning
This is another area under intense development– it’s very likely that by 2016, augmented reality devices ranging from Apple Watch to Google Glass will become a common element of our everyday realities. Augmented learning offers a great value in adapting environments to the learner when it comes to learning. This is a solution for which the market is predicted to grow very fast, reaching a smashing number of 200 million users in just 3 years! 2015 will definitely pave the way to an increased use of augmented reality in eLearning, culminating in its widespread use in 2016. In eLearning, learners will be able to access augmented environments by means of QR codes or mobile technologies like Apple Watch or Google Glass. This kind of learning will primarily engage learners with action-based functionalities in real life conducted by means of GPS tracking, as well as with courses developed by Oculus Rift.

Big Data
Big data is big everywhere– including eLearning. It’s clear that every year we’ll have more and more data to process, and learning centers will use tools made especially for big data analytics to make sense of the user-generated information. Only those tools will be able to analyze a heap of data produced during one semester and deliver valuable and meaningful conclusions abut user performance or course content optimization. Big data analytics will help learning providers to better understand the learning process itself– by tracking learner and group patters and performing a thorough feedback analysis, they’ll be able to offer full course personalization and compile a comprehensive ROI report for learning. The promises held by big data analytics for eLearning are very impressive and will become more important than ever in 2016.

Going for cloud
The use of cloud is on the rise– in every sector, including eLearning. Enterprises are willing to embrace the functionality, comfort and security of the cloud– even though many people still think that it’s not a good idea to keep data on public servers, those attitudes are slowly weaning. The eLearning market trends and forecast report predicts the use of cloud-based authoring tools and learning platforms to grow by 9 % in the US– each year counting from 2013. This essentially means that by 2016, eLearning users will benefit from established cloud technologies assisting their learning process in many different ways.Cloud Based Image

Gamification
This is a key trend for 2016. Gamification is today a major trend that most of us are still waiting to explode– especially on the e-learning scene. Experts agree that applying game dynamics onto non-gaming contexts brings really great results– most importantly, in motivating people to achieve their goals. This feature can be easily applied to learning and eLearning environments. Gamification offers a potential strategy for improving user engagement with learning materials– some experts claim that the technique can boost learner’s motivation to a smashing 90 % recall rate. It’s quite simple. They will automatically improve their chances at remembering it once learners assume an active role in knowledge reception.

mLearning
This trend clearly follows the general rise of mobile technologies all over the world. Together with the increased use of mobile devices will emerge an interest in mLearning. Some industry experts expect mobile learning to dominate the e-learning market some day– even if this prediction sounds a little extreme, you should consider the fact that mobile is actually expected to dominate many other areas too. In short, maybe there’s a ring of truth to it after all. What exactly is mLearning and what will be its consequences? Using mLearning technologies, learners will have all the wealth of knowledge accessible at all times and places. They will benefit from contextual learning achieved through micro-location technologies (like QR codes, GPS and other) that will return learning into its context– also allowing for a much better use of augmented reality.

eLearning Needs ImagePersonalization
All those trends point to this key insight– the growth of personalization on all levels of eLearning. Once we’ll be able to analyze big chunks of data, we’ll see e-learning becoming more personalized than ever and addressing the needs, preferences and requirements of individuals rather than groups. All aspects of learning ranging from pedagogy and learning environments to learning tools and course curricula will be tailored to motivate, engage and inspire learners to achieve better results in a shorter time frame. It’s clear that 2016 will be a revolutionary year for eLearning. It will be more about developing a personalized approach to learning– by adjusting the pace of instruction, leveraging student interests, letting learners to choose their own leaning path and adjusting content presentation by choosing text, images or videos, instructors will be able to deliver their coursework in more efficient ways. eLearning will become a great source of revenue as well. Experts predict that revenues from eLearning solutions in the US are expected to reach a smashing $27.1 billion by 2016.
It’s very likely that in 2016, eLearning will completely change our approach to instruction, knowledge management and learning methodologies.

2015  paved the way to an increased use of augmented reality in eLearning, culminating in its widespread use in 2016. The promises held by big data analytics for eLearning are very impressive and will become more important than ever in 2016.

The eLearning market trends and forecast report predicts the use of cloud-based authoring tools and learning platforms to grow by 9 % in the US– each year counting from 2013. It’s clear that 2016 will be a revolutionary year for eLearning. Experts predict that revenues from eLearning solutions in the US are expected to reach a smashing $27.1 billion by 2016.

To Higher Profits in Your Business!

Alex, MPeMG

Co-Founder & CMO

www.MPeMG.com

(412) 374-1558

 

The Perfect Google Cocktail

We found a great post for proper SEO “Cocktail” parts, enjoy!

Cheat sheet: Google’s 13 top ranking factors

A step-by-step recipe to ranking in Google’s top

It’s no secret that a top Google ranking is made up of over 200 ingredients, or “ranking signals”. And while it may be useful to know what all those ingredients are, the original recipe is an incredibly time-consuming (and a little depressing) read. It’s unreasonably vague in terms of proportions, and it just doesn’t seem doable if you try to follow it line by line. With the news about another Google update or algorithm change rolling out every other week, how can anyone keep up, ever?

But SEO bartenders have their tricks of the trade. The thing is, the 200+ ingredients in Google’s recipe aren’t all equally important. In the cheat sheet below, you’ll find 13 top ranking signals that we’ve seen make the biggest impact on Google rankings ourselves, from over 10 years of experience in the industry. Read on to find out which SEO factors carry the most weight, and get quick how-tos on mixing yourself the ultimate Google mojito. Optimize responsibly! 😉

Equipment

Here are the tools you’ll need to measure and optimize for the top 13 ranking signals in this guide.


1. SEO PowerSuite

In the how-tos, we’ve used SEO PowerSuite to illustrate the steps. All features described below are available in the toolkit’s free version; mind that to save your project data, you’d need a Pro or Enterprise license.

Download free Order license


2. Google Search Console

3. Copyscape

Links (1.5 oz)

1. Link quality

The talk about link quality has been on for years, and most SEO-ers agree it remains the strongest ranking signal for Google. While high quality links can boost your site’s link score (and therefore rankings), lower quality backlinks can get your site penalized (and even out of the SERPs completely).

For the latter not to happen, make sure you run regular link audits so you can spot any dangerous links early and have them removed in time.

How to check Launch SEO PowerSuite’s SEO SpyGlass and create a project for your site. Once the app has collected the list of your site’s backlinks, select all those links and clickUpdate Factors. Navigate to the Link penalty risks tab and click on the header of the Penalty Risk column (this will sort the links by penalty risk). All links with a penalty risk above 30% are worth looking into — these can potentially be low quality links. All links with a penalty risk over 60% need your immediate attention as they are the ones that might get your link score below Google’s low quality threshold, and have your site penalized as a result.

How to improve If you have just a few links that appear spammy or come from a low quality resource, it’s best to reach out to the site owner asking them to take down the link.

If you don’t hear back from them, or if you’ve got a substantial number of low quality links, disavowing them is your best option. Disavowing is basically telling Google to discard that link (or linking domain) when evaluating your link profile. To disavow backlinks, you’d need to put up a disavow file following certain syntax and formatting rules, and upload the file to Google Search Console.

You can create a disavow file right in SEO SpyGlass in a few clicks. To do that, select the links you’d like to disavow, right-click the selection, and hit Disavow backlinks. Most of the time, you’d want to disavow links on the domain level; so make sure you select Entire domainunder Disavow mode. Then, go to Preferences -> Disavow/Blacklist backlinks and hit Export to save the disavow file to your computer, and upload it to Google Search Console.

2. Number of links and linking domains

A few years ago, link count was perhaps the major quality signal for Google. Over time, the search engine learnt to identify the so-called link schemes, or low quality links created solely for the purpose of obtaining higher rankings. Since then, it’s often said that quality comes before quantity for Google — but this is in fact only partly true. The number of links and linking domains still has a massive impact on your ranking potential; it’s just that you can’t afford to have any spammy links in your profile anymore.

In several of its patents, Google suggests that a site’s overall link score (arguably the biggest ranking signal) is made up by individual quality scores passed on to it by every incoming link. That literally means that more links will result in a higher score — as long as they aren’t low quality links, of course.

It’s also important to note that links coming from the same domain (especially site-wide links) carry little weight; Google will often only count one of those links when evaluating your link profile.

Checking on your top SEO competitors’ link profiles is a good starting point to understand what kind of link scores you are competing against, and how much work is required for you to catch up.

How to check In SEO SpyGlass, along with a project for your own site, create up to 4 projects for your major SEO competitors, one by one.

Go to the Projects Comparison module to see how your and your competitors’ link profiles compate. Total Backlinks and Total Linking Domains should give you a good idea on how much improvement your link profile may need, quantity-wise.

How to improve To find quality link prospects and start building new links, launch SEO PowerSuite’s recently revamped LinkAssistant. Create a project and click Look for prospects, selecting a search method you’d like to use (you can repeat the process for as many methods as you like). Once you’ve done with prospect research, you should have a list of potential link partners in your project along with their email addresses for outreach.

To pick the most reputable, high quality prospects, go to the Ranking factors tab, select the prospects you’ve just found, and click Update -> Update ranking factors to get all kinds of quality stats (Alexa rank, Google PageRank, Page and Domain Authority, social signals, etc.) on the link opportunities you’ve found.

When you’ve singled out top prospects, you can reach out to them right from LinkAssistant. Right-click a contact (or several contacts, if you’ll be sending them a similar message), and click Send email to selected prospects. In your email, feel free to either put up a message of your own or use some of the ready-made email templates, depending on the link building technique you’re using. You can check for replies and manage your correspondence with prospects in the Email module. Once you start to acquire links, remember to verify and manage them in Prospects under the Backlinks tab.

3. Link relevance and diversity

In general, you want your links to be coming from pages whose topic is similar to that of the page you’re optimizing. But how can Google identify relevance, exactly? Primarily, from the backlink’s anchor text. The title of the backlink page can also help to tell what the page is about, although it is a much weaker signal than anchor text.

The concept of relevance is tightly linked to that of diversity. While your backlinks are expected to be semantically relevant to the topic of your page, it’s important to note that too similar anchor texts can get your under Google’s Penguin penalty.

Understandably, there’s no universally right ratio of different kinds of anchor text in your link profile. However, below you can find some averages to give you an idea of what a natural link profile typically looks like.

But just as it is with about anything in SEO, it’s best to rely on the link profiles of your top ranking competitors instead of the vague overall averages.

How to check In the SEO SpyGlass project you created for your own site, go to Backlinks profile -> Summary for a breakdown of the most commonly used anchors (and keywords within those anchors). Do the same for the projects you’ve created for your top ranking competitors to spot areas for improvement in terms of your links’ anchors.

How to improve To change your current links’ anchors, you’d need to reach out to webmasters that link to your site and ask them to make the change. To speed up the process, you can export your links from SEO SpyGlass by going to File -> Export, and then import them to LinkAssistant in another click through File -> Import.

Now, select the backlinks you’ve imported and hit Update -> Get Contact Email. This way, you’ll be able to reach out to webmasters right from LinkAssistant and ask them to make any changes to the links’ anchor text (or contact them regarding any other matter). Once they’ve made the changes you asked for, you can easily verify the links and see what’s changed by clicking the Verfiy button.

On-page SEO (0.75 oz)

4. Keywords in title and meta description

Your page’s title tag remains the strongest relevancy signal to Google. Make sure to include your keywords or terms semantically related to them in your title; the closer these terms are to the beginning of your title tag, the better.

The meta description generally carries less weight for search engines in terms of relevance. However, using your keywords in the description is still a good practice and can also result in a minor ranking boost for the terms you are targeting.

How to check In SEO PowerSuite’s Website Auditor, create a project for your site and go to the Content Analysis module. Select the page you’re optimizing and enter your keywords (it’s a good idea to type in several terms, including synomyms and close variations of your major keyword). Once the analysis is complete, take a look at Keywords in title and Keywords in meta description to make sure these tags include your target keywords. Click on one of those factors for a closer view, and switch between the Competitiors tab for some inspiration from your 10 top ranking competitors, and the Recommendation tab for SEO best practices.

How to improve To edit your title and meta description, navigate to Content Analysis -> Content Editor in WebSite Auditor and switch to the Title & Meta tags tab. Here, you can type your new title and description right in, with a real-time Google snippet preview below. Feel free to try several options and see how they’ll look in SERPs.

When you’re done optimizing your page, hit Save page to save the upload-ready HTML file to your hard drive.

5. Duplicate titles & descriptions

Having duplicate title and meta description tags across several pages can result in Googleonly picking one of these pages to display in SERPs. To make sure none of your pages compete in search results against each other, remember to create a unique title and meta description for each one.

How to improve To check for duplication issues across your site, go to the Site Auditmodule in WebSite Auditor and locate Duplicate titles and Duplicate meta descriptions under the On-page section of SEO factors. If there is any duplication in place, you’ll see a list of problem pages on the right.

How to improve If you discover duplicate titles or descriptions across your site, you can edit them right in your WebSite Auditor project, just like you did when optimizing these tags for your keywords. Go to Content Analysis -> Content Editor, add one of the pages duplication occurs on, and in the Title & Meta tags tab, type in a new version of your title and meta description. Preview your Google snippet right below, and when you’re happy with the way your title and description looks, hit Save page and go on to upload it to your site.

6. Keywords in copy

While it’s undoubtedly true that Google is shifting towards semantic search, that doesn’t mean it’s shifting away from keywords. Far from it. Including your target keyword in your page’s body text, especially in the beginning of the copy and in the heading tags, is a strong relevance signal to Google. Remember that your H1 tag holds the most SEO weight out of all heading tags.

How to check In Content Analysis -> Page Audit in WebSite Auditor, take a look at theBody section of on-page factors on the left. Specifically, pay attention to Keywords in body andKeywords in H1.
How to improve To edit your page’s copy, go to Content Analysis -> Content Editor and feel free to make changes to your content right in the right-hand view. As you do that, you’ll see the on-page factors on the left recalculate in real time so you know right away when you’ve reached your keyword goals.

If your page does not have an H1 tag, or if you can’t tell where it is, click Edit source. Locate your H1 (to do it quickly, hit Ctrl + F and run a search for “<h1”) and edit it right in the page’s source code, like you would in an HTML editor. If the search returns no results, you can create an H1 tag in this view. It’s generally recommended to put your header tag right above the page’s main content, preferably at the top of the <body> tag. To create your H1, simply type <h1>Any text you want to put in your header</h1> at the beginning of the page’s body.

If you’re looking to optimize the page even further, and if your content is long enough to be using multiple headings, repeat the process above for your H2-H6 tags. However, make sure you don’t overuse the same keywords to avoid keyword stuffing; instead, think of related topics with the same user intent behind them.

7. Content length

In its search quality guidelines, Google mentions the length of content as an important criterion for the page’s quality — and therefore its rankings. Clearly, there’s no ideal content length you should aim for; still, the SEO world is full of misconceptions like “longer content ranks better” and “your copy should be over 2,000 characters long to rank in top 10”. These assumptions do have their ground, but it’s important to understand that the elusive “ideal content length” may vary a lot from niche to niche. For a realistic reference on the right size for your content, it’s best to look at pages that already rank well for the keywords you’re targeting.

How to check In WebSite Auditor’s Content Analysis module, look at Word count in body.When analyzing your page, WebSite Auditor also looked at the top 10 ranking pages for the keyword you specified, and determined an optimal word count range for your page’s content based on this data. If your page’s content falls within this range, you’ll see a green Correctsign next to this factor.

How to improve If your page’s content length is outside the recommended limits, you can edit it right in WebSite Auditor’s Content Editor module. As you type, keep an eye on theWord count in body factor on the left so you can tell when you’ve reached the recommended word count. When you’re done editing, hit Save page to save the newly optimized version of your page to your hard drive, ready for upload.

8. Unique content

Not surprisingly, your content has to be original to rank well in Google. It doesn’t even matter much what your site is about — starting from blog posts and on to e-commerce product pages, you need to bring unqiue value to the table if you are aiming for top rankings. In fact, plagiarized copy and duplicate product descriptions can well get you penalized by Google’sPanda update.

But are you totally safe if you haven’t been stealing anyone’s writing and put up all the content on your site yourself? Not necessarily. The trick is, Google may not always be able to identify the original if it’s given two instances of very similar content. And yes, that means being stolen from can sometimes get you in trouble, too.

How to check In Copyscape or any other plagiarism checker, enter your page’s URL. The tool will come up with other web resources that have very similar content.
How to improve If you spot anyone using your content on their sites without your permission, contact the webmaster immedately asking them to remove the copy, or use Google’s content removal form, indicating clearly why you are requesting the copied content to be removed, and specifying the link to the original.

Technical site factors (0.5 oz)

9. Page speed

Google has officially confirmed that it uses page speed in its ranking algorithm. Page speed can also influence your SEO indirectly, as search engines will likely crawl fewer pages if your site is slow due to the allocated crawl budget. This, in turn, could negatively affect your site’s indexation.

Load time can have a massive impact on user experience, too. Slower pages tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average time on page. Research shows a 1-second delay in page load time can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

So what’s the page speed you should aim for? Google’s mentioned they expect pages to load in 2 seconds or less.

How to check In WebSite Auditor’s Content Analysis module, take a look at the Page speed (Desktop) factors on the left. Under this section, you’ll see the exact list of speed-related factors Google’s looking for in webpages, according to their PageSpeed Insights.
How to improve You’d want to concentrate on any factor under the Page speed section that has an Error or Warning status. The ones with an Info status have less weight but offer room for imrpovement, too. Click on any of the factors you’d like to improve on for how-to-fix tips.

If there’re any Uncompressed images or Unminified resources found on your page, jump to theRecommendation tab for a ready-made compressed version of your images and JS/CSS. Follow the link to download the lighter version of those, and feel free to upload them to your site right away.

10. Mobile friendliness

With over half of Google searches coming from mobile devices, Google’s increasing focus on improving mobile search results is only fair. From a nice-to-have, mobile friendliness has turned into a must — if your page isn’t optimized for mobile devices, it’s likely to bediscarded from mobile search results completely.

How to check To check if your page passes Google’s mobile friendly test, go to Content Analysis -> Page Audit in WebSite Auditor. Locate Page usability (Mobile) on the list of on-page factors on the left. Clicking on Mobile friendly will show you what your page looks like on mobile devices.

The factors in the Page usability (Mobile) section are the exact features Google believes mobile-friendly pages should have, according to Google Developers’ PageSpeed Insights, so you’ll want all of them to be marked with a green Correct sign.

How to improve If your page is mobile friendly overall, but some factors under Page usability (Mobile) are not marked with a green Correct sign, click on each of those for a detailed description and how-to-fix advice. Whichever factor you’re looking at, you’ll get straightforward steps on tackling the issue quickly.

If your page isn’t mobile friendly altogether, there isn’t a better time to optimize for mobile than now. While there’s a bunch of options available, responsive design is perhaps the simplest and most widely used solution — and it’s the one Google recommends, too. If you use WordPress (or any CMS, really), choosing a responsive template for your site is about all it takes.

You’re in for more work if your site is HTML-coded with no CMS in place. However, there’s a bunch of documentation available on adapting responsive design for web developers. It might take a bit of work to get every aspect right, but it’s an investment that’ll definitely keep paying off increasingly.

11. Sitemap

Okay, strictly speaking, having a sitemap is not a ranking factor — as in, it won’t actually help your site rank higher. But an XML sitemap will help Google spider your site, and make sure it can index your pages quickly and easily. It is the simplest and most effective way to tell Google what pages your site includes.

How to check Go to Site Audit in WebSite Auditor and click the .xml sitemap factor to see if your sitemap is in place and configured correctly.

How to improve Go to the Pages module and click on the Sitemap button. Review the list of pages that’ll be included in your sitemap (if you want any of them excluded, just uncheck the respective boxes) and click Next. Choose whether you’d like to save the sitemap locally on your hard drive to manually add it to your site, or upload it via FTP right away.

User Experience & Trust (1.5 oz)

12. Click-through rate

Numerous patents filed by Google along with real-life experements show that SERP click-through rates can have a massive impact on rankings. A click-through rate, or CTR, is a ratio of the number of times a given search listing was clicked on to the number of times it was displayed to searchers.

For every query, Google expects a CTR in a certain range for each of the listings (e.g. for branded keywords, the CTR of No.1 result is around 50%; for non-branded queries, the top result gets around 33% of clicks). If a given listing gets a CTR that is seriously above (or below) that range, Google can re-rank the result accordingly.

How to check The first thing you’d want to do is check your snippets’ current click-through rates. To do that, log in to Google Search Console and go to the Search Analytics report. Select Clicks, Impressions, CTR, and Position to be displayed.

While CTR values for different positions in Google SERPs can vary depending on the type of the query, on average, you can expect at least 30% of clicks for a No.1 result, 15% for a No.2 result, and 10% for a No.3 result.

If the CTR for some of your listings is seriously below these averages, these could be the problem listings you’d want to focus on in the first place.

How to improve First and foremost, please do not try to artificially inflate your listing’s CTR (such as by using bots to manipulate clicks). Google’s very good at detecting such behavior, and uses safeguards so that no spam and noise get in the way.

So the only way to make your listing earn actual clicks from real users is to make it appealing and click-worthy. As you remember, you can edit and preview your Google snippet in Content Analysis -> Content Editor in WebSite Auditor, under the Title & Meta tags tab.

As you compose your title and description, make sure they clearly communicate the value of clicking through to your page to searchers. If appropriate, use a call to action and instead of simply describing what your page is about, address the searcher directly, and inform them about the benefits of navigating to your page, choosing your product, and so on.

Once you’re happy with your snippet, hit Save page to save the upload-ready HTML file to your hard drive.

13. Social signals

The discussion on whether or not social signals affect rankings directly is ongoing, and some real-life experiments seem to prove it’s causation, not correlation. Or is it? Google’s never confirmed it, but one thing we do know for sure is that pages with more social shares rank better. Period.

How to check In your WebSite Auditor project, go to the Popularity in social media tab in the Pages module for social share counts for every page of your site, including Twitter mentions, Facebook popularity, Google +1s, LinkedIn shares, Pinterest pins, and more.

How to improve The very first thing to do to make your content shareable in the first place is, of course, adding the social media buttons to your page. For WordPress sites, there’s a selection of ready-made plugins available that let you do just that. For sites that don’t use a CMS, you can get ready-made HTML code for the social buttons here.

Now that you’ve got the necessary prerequisites in place, you’ve got to think about distributing your content for maximum exposure. Whatever your promotion strategy is (email marketing, social media marketing, or influencer outreach), remember that you need content that is truly unique and useful to be successful. If you’re only starting out at social media, here’s a great guide on social content promotion that can also help SEO and brand awareness.

One last thing…

Apparently, the best way to understand which of the signals above are making the biggest impact in your niche is to try them yourself and track progress. One great way of doing that is using SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker to monitor your Google rankings, and document the SEO changes you make with Rank Tracker’s Events. To do that, open your Rank Tracker project. Go to Preferences -> Events and click Add. Briefly describe the event and set a date for it. On the progress graph in Rank Tracker, you will now easily see how your SEO changes are affecting your rankings, and which ones have bigger impact than others.

 


That’s it! Now you’re all set to go into the real world of SEO and optimize for Google’s most important ranking factors. The best part is, you only need one toolkit to do that: grab your free version of SEO PowerSuite or get a fully featured paid copy, and go rock it! Oh, and please don’t forget to share the results you achieve in the comments below.

 

Here’s to your success,

Alex, MPeMG

www.MPeMG.com

(412) 374-1558

 

Special Thanks to: Link-Assistant.com

Easy Answers to Digital Marketing Questions

WHAT EXACTLY IS DIGITAL MARKETING AS OPPOSED TO REGULAR MARKETING?
Digital marketing is pretty much anything that’s online or web-based: PPC, SEO, email, web design, etc. Traditional Digital Marketing across multiple channelsmarketing is still seen as those offline marketing activities: print, direct mail, radio, TV, etc

  •  The two types are definitely converging, but many agencies may only offer one or the other.

WHAT ‘S IT LIKE WORKING WITH AN AGENCY?
This is obviously different based on the Agency you’re working with. At a lot of marketing companies you’ll be given an Account Manager who will be your single point of contact.

  • We’re a little different in that we’re small (As many companies prefer it, not for lack of cost, but for more focused service and quality) so the people who you work with and communicate with will be the same people actually doing the work as well.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA SHOULD I BE DOING?Social Media Image
This is a biggie. People want to know what the social media secret sauce is. The truth is, I don’t have it, and either do the droves of social media experts, thought leaders, and influencers.

  • Your social media strategy needs to align with your business strategy, and until I understand that better I can’t tell you how to do social media.
  • Do you want to focus on customer service? Content marketing? Lead generation? Like any marketing undertaking, your social media goals should align with your business goals.

DO I NEED SEO?
It depends what “kind” of SEO we’re talking about. Traditional SEO (on/off page optimization, link building, etc.) has evolved to also include SOCO SEO– Social and Content.

  • The new SEO includes the traditional optimization and link building tactics, as well as fresh, valuable, and shareable Content, as well as the marketing of your brand and content using Social Media.
  • Do we feel that businesses benefit from and need this type of SEO? Yes I do.

I TRIED GOOGLE ADWORDS BUT IT WAS A WASTE OF MONEY, COULD YOU DO BETTER?
This is always a loaded question. To get the best results from Paid Traffic (PPC, CPM, etc.), you need the 3 “E’s”: Expertise, Experience, Effort.

You need the training and expertise, a certain amount of experience, and a lot of time and effort to be able to produce successful PPC results. Most businesses that fail with PPC usually lack in at least two of these things.

  • Is this something you can do for me? Yes, we have Certified Paid Traffic experts on staff.

HOW DO YOU GET A LOT OF TWITTER FOLLOWERS?
Again this is something where there is no secret sauce. It’s about writing and curating valuable content, being a strategic follower, and building relationships.

  • I can’t stress enough how important it is to build quality relationships with your followers AND others in your community — There is a specific reason.Twitter hashtag Image

SHOULD I BE USING HUBSPOT?
Marketing automation tools like Hubspot are not a panacea. Yes, they can automate email drip campaigns, let you create landing pages, and help track leads and optimize your website.

VERY IMPORTANT – But they’re not tools that automate your marketing.

  • You still need people to write and design emails, run split and multivariate tests, and use analytics to make intelligent marketing decisions.

***In other words, they’re tools that should complement your marketing team, not the other way around***

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I UPDATE MY WEBSITE?
For 99 % of companies, their website is their top salesperson. It’s where prospects go for more information on your company, to learn more about your services and products, to contact your company, and possibly to make a purchase.

  • And just like you invest a lot in your top salesperson, you should also invest in keeping your website (and it’s content) in tip-top-highly-converting-shape.

CAN I AFFORD A DIGITAL AGENCY LIKE MatchPLUS eMarketing Group?
Agencies come in all shapes and sizes, and serve clients in all shapes and sizes. It is our firm belief that ALL businesses deserve to GROW with the changing times & tactics, therefore, within reason, we make our services affordable for ANY budget that you may have!!

Digital marketing deals with pretty much anything that’s online or web-based: Paid Traffic, SEO, email, web design, etc. Traditional marketing is still seen as those offline marketing activities: print, direct mail, radio, TV, etc — That very important to understand coming away from reading this blog piece!

Writing a book is a big deal - frustrated babyPeople want to know what the social media secret sauce is. Content marketing? Like any marketing undertaking, your social media goals should align with your business goals. However, we are able to run a full Digital Presence audit of each business to tell the EXACTLY what they need to do with their digital platforms & how to speak to their audience…not just on social media, but on ALL of the platforms that your business needs to utilize to grow your business!

 

We are always here to help and would invite you to accept your FREE 20 minute consultation with us! Just call (412) 374-1558 or shoot us a message and we can get started! No harm in calling…it’s FREE!

 

To Your Higher Profits,

Alex, MPeMG

Co-Founder & CMO

www.MPeMG.com

How to Master Valentine’s Day – Business Edition

SWEETHEARTS(R) UNVEILS MODERN WAYS TO SAY "I LOVE YOU."   (PRNewsFoto/New England Confectionery Company)

SWEETHEARTS(R) UNVEILS MODERN WAYS TO SAY “I LOVE YOU.” (PRNewsFoto/New England Confectionery Company)

For any business, regardless of industry, integrating themes from relevant holidays into your marketing efforts provides a unique opportunity to reach your target audience in a creative way – ideally generating sales as a result. With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, you can really stand out among the competition and engage with your audience differently than other businesses and their normal, day-to-day marketing strategy. Even if you don’t sell jewelry or flowers, you can still use effective marketing tactics to leverage success from this widely celebrated holiday.

With any holiday-related campaign, there are three core ways that you can approaHow tch your audience – social media, email marketing, or a microsite designed for your campaign. All three campaign channels should have consistent messaging but be specific to the nature of each, and can be used in tandem with one another or on their own to get your business measurable results.

Social Media Campaigns
An excellent social presence is imperative to the growth of your brand. With more and more users active across all platforms of social media, any holiday provides you with another chance to provide incredible value to your audience, in a creative, fun way. As you begin planning your social campaign, the overarching focus should be to optimize all of your social media profiles for Valentine’s Day in whatever ways you can.
Imagery is one of the most important aspects to get right– and is also one of the most effective ways to optimize your profiles for Valentine’s Day. Facebook is an obvious choice for a lot of brands when it comes to a social campaign.

V-The messaging on your social platforms must have strong calls-to-action, or your campaign won’t be effective. That being said, it should be done tastefully. Whatever action you want the user to take, it must be identifiable and clear, but not cost your brand’s integrity in the process. Typically, in social campaigns you want users to share your posts so that it reaches a wider audience, however users won’t share content that they don’t enjoy. You need to think about what would interest your target audience, and give them good reason to share content. For Valentine’s Day, a prize giveaway is a relatively simply way to encourage social interaction if you’re a B2C. If you’re a B2B you may want to offer exclusive discount pricing for the holiday and promote it through social.

It’s proven that content most frequently shared utilizes humor or statistics to engage users. Think about that concept and find a way that you can relate it back to your brand while still maintaining the Valentine’s Day spirit. It could be a funny joke about the holiday, or even a statistic about how many people really don’t enjoy the holiday. If you try to get in the mindset of your audience, you’ll have a better understanding as to what kind of content they would want to see on their news feed, and in return what type of content they would most likely share.

Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing campaigns are a proven way to foster engagement with your audience because of the ability to creatively target users in their inbox – according to eMarketer, 36 % of US internet users check their email at least a few times a day. This kind of campaign also provides concrete insights as to what was effective or ineffective with your audience because you can easily monitor open rates, click through rates, and how they behave once they are onsite. Based on findings at the end of one campaign, you may decide to change a certain layout, design element or messaging.

For a Valentine’s Day email, your general layout should be original with some sort of interactive elements built in. Whether you want to embed games, animations, or personalize the message for your users, you need to have something creative that will spark interest. For our Valentine’s Day campaign, we’re using candy hearts and Valentine’s Day branding while still including our standard logo and navigation elements to catch attention while still creating something unique.Valentine's Day EMail Marketing Image

You also need to think about where your call-to-action button will fit in with your email layout– it is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of an email campaign. The CTAs should be bold and stand out in the email so that users can find the buttons without hesitation. Additionally, they should be visually attractive while still fitting in with the overall branding and theme of your email. You don’t want a CTA that is the complete opposite of typical design elements.

The timing of your emails is critical to the success of the campaign. You should always consider when your typical distribution is for your regularly scheduled emails so that you aren’t bombarding users from the same list with a Valentine’s Day email a few minutes after they received another email about a new product. If you are B2B and using your campaign to continue fostering relationships with clients, the best option is to send out the email that day.

Microsite Campaigns.
To further reinforce the campaign message, developing a separate landing page or microsite to take users to is an effective approach at boosting engagement and business growth. A separate microsite gives you the freedom to really showcase some creativity and craft content that is fitting with your brand, but also specifically geared towards Valentine’s Day.

Your landing page for a particular campaign should be connected to your other campaign channels. After seeing a post on social, or in their inbox, users should be able to seamlessly switch over to the landing page by clicking a button. Having all aspects of the campaign mirrored off one another, and integrated will help to strengthen your overall message as users switch from one platform to the next. Your social media campaign and email marketing campaign should be responsible for capturing the interest of your users, and then directing them to your microsite for additional value that you have to offer.

When users visit your micro-site or landing page, it should have the same messaging that they initially saw, providing confidence that users are on the correct page, and can tell there is a noticeable, consistent brand presence. This separate site is your opportunity to really amplify any design elements that you want to be related to Valentine’s Day. Whatever your products or services may be, they need to have a special twist for the holiday and be really “dressed up.”.

In terms of SEO value, a holiday page can offer a lot for your brand. Timely events always draw impressive amounts of organic traffic because the holiday is on people’s minds and they are actively searching for it. Long term, year after year, if you have a good campaign, when the holiday rolls around again, it will continue to rank well when people search for the subject, and the page will help generate leads as long as you consistently are updating it.

Creating a Cohesive Valentine’s Day Campaign.
Overall the most important concept to understand is that using a combination of all three approaches creatively, and planning in advance is going to contribute heavily to your success. Building a consistent presence through all of your platforms will further your campaign’s effectiveness and will build credibility for your brand in the eyes of your target audience.

Additionally, using an analytics program to monitor and track where traffic is coming from as a result of your campaign efforts is critical to measuring your success. You want to be able to determine where your traffic came from– otherwise you won’t be able to gauge what you should enhance for future campaigns. You can easily define which words or images were most effective and provided the best conversion rates, and use that as a guiding factor will Starbucks Share the love campaignhelp you build future campaigns.

Email marketing campaigns are a proven way to foster engagement with your audience because of the ability to creatively target users in their inbox – according to eMarketer, 36 % of US internet users check their email at least a few times a day. For our Valentine’s Day campaign, we’re using candy hearts and Valentine’s Day branding while still including our standard logo and navigation elements to catch attention while still creating something unique.

If you are B2B and using your campaign to continue fostering relationships with clients, the best option is to send out the email that day.

Your landing page for a particular campaign should be connected to your other campaign channels. Your social media campaign and email marketing campaign should be responsible for capturing the interest of your users, and then directing them to your microsite for additional value that you have to offer.

 

We’d love to assist you with any of your Online Marketing campaigns! Just shoot us a message here OR give us a call (412) 374-1558!

Here’s to your NEW business relationships!

Alex, MPeMG

Co-Founder & CMO

Why Do I Need Online Reputation Management?

Why Do I Need Reputation Management-You’ve spent years building your business. You’ve invested time, sweat, and tears. You’ve missed dance recitals and soccer games as you’ve toiled to create it. You finally feel as though you can relax … until the day when the phone calls stop, the new customers vanish, and you can’t understand why.

You’re still providing excellent service and your existing customers love you, but your business is struggling. You learn from an existing customer that your company has some very negative reviews posted online. It dawns on you that your online reputation is presenting a twisted perception of reality that is really killing your business.

Sound like the plot of a B-movie drama? It’s true for hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses across the country.

Local Business Reviews = Reputation
What people say about your company online has become the single most important reflection of your company’s skill, quality, and reliability. It doesn’t matter if you’re a dentist, a plastic surgeon, a carpet cleaner, or a painter. In Nielsen’s most recent Global Trust in Advertising study, 70 % of global consumers indicated they trust online reviews from strangers when making purchasing decisions.

Improving Your Reputation is Your # 1 Marketing Priority
Your number one marketing priority should be developing a 5-star online reputation. Why? All your other marketing efforts, whether they be online such as SEO, social media, PPC, or offline such as direct mail, magazines, radio, or TV, will ultimately lead the consumer to learn more about you online. There, your less than sterling or non-existent reputation drives them away.

Most business owners fail to realize is that what consumers want is information that will help them feel confident they’re making the best, most well-reasoned purchase. Today, quite a bit of that confidence comes in the form of online reviews reflecting others’ experiences.

The 3Rs and 2Qs of Local Reviews and Reputation
When it comes to taking an active role in developing, building, and protecting your online reputation, you need to keep five points in mind:

Range— While it might seem as though getting a few positive reviews on Google+ or Yelp is all that’s needed, we advocate a wide-ranging approach to online review management. Just visit this Facebook page, We Hate Yelp, or read this thread on Google, and you’ll understand why. Your business is too important to you and your loved ones to let its success be dictated by one or two companies with no vested interest.
Real— Make sure real client reviews are getting posted. It’s tempting to game the system and pen some glowing reviews, however, it’s not only unethical, you’ll undoubtedly get caught, and that can have some unintended consequences.
Recent— It appears that more recent reviews weigh more heavily by the search engines in terms of ranking. For this reason alone, creating a steady stream of new, positive reviews makes sense. Additionally, the fact that more recent reviews pack more powerful social proof with potential customers than older reviews, and you simply must put systems in place to continually gather reviews.
Quantity— Ask yourself: If one dentist has 25 reviews with a 4-star average and the next best has one 5-star review, who are you going to call? Reliability is proven with consistency, particularly where reviews are concerned.
Quality— This one is pretty obvious: The higher your reviews, the better your status will be– within reason. A business with nothing but 5-star ratings can look suspicious but, in general, the more favorable your reviews, the better.
Make Reviews Part of a Comprehensive Reputation Marketing Strategy
While review and reputation building arguably may be the single most important online marketing tactic for local businesses in 2013 and beyond, the most successful businesses won’t stop there. Since reviews are most prominently displayed in conjunction with the hyper-local maps of search engines, they don’t generate many leads outsidePoor Online Reputation Reveiws Image this area.

For the vast majority of businesses serving multiple cities from a single location, reviews should be just one building block in a larger reputation marketing strategy. That strategy should employ SEO to ensure the company’s website ranks near the top in all the cities they serve for their most important buying phrases. The good news is there’s a positive, synergistic relationship between a strong review presence, well-optimized local pages, and an authoritative website.

With the dominance mobile devices display in local purchasing, companies should make sure their websites not only rank highly, but are also mobile-friendly with click-to-call, click-to-map, and other navigable engagement features. You want to remove as much friction as possible between your customer’s need and his ability to contact you.

  1. One Hidden– but Powerful– Benefit of Positive Reviews
    Clearly, your business needs to put a review-gathering, reputation marketing culture, and process in place. The investment you make will return outsized profits from the new customers you’ll attract. There is one other “hidden” benefit that an outstanding online reputation will bring: pricing power.
  2. For years, nearly every business has struggled to defend its price in a world of “me too” competitors. Imagine how easy it will be to respond to “Why should I pay more for your service?” when you can simply reply, “Have you taken a look online to see what our customers say?”.
  3. Companies need to leverage the power a 5-star reputation brings. You’ve worked hard to establish your business and sacrificed plenty along the way. Are you willing to let that hard work get flushed down the drain because of a single disgruntled customer or competitor?

Develop a system to ensure your biggest fans are louder than your biggest enemies; the payoff is worth it.

You learn from an existing customer that your company has some very negative reviews posted online. In Nielsen’s most recent Global Trust in Advertising study, 70 % of global consumers indicated they trust online reviews from strangers when making purchasing decisions.

Range— While it might seem as though getting a few positive reviews on Google+ or Yelp is all that’s needed, we advocate a wide-ranging approach to online review management. Additionally, the fact that more recent reviews pack more powerful social proof with potential customers than older reviews, and you simply must put systems in place to continually gather reviews.
For the vast majority of businesses serving multiple cities from a single location, reviews should be just one building block in a larger reputation marketing strategy.

IF you need help or you’re curious about your online reputation, contact us on our website OR call us, we LOVE to chat (412) 374-1558.

By the way, if you’re thinking that since they charge more than $2,500/month on the West Coast for this service that our price would be similar…NOPE! Our service is less than $9/day AND encompasses 4 additional lead generation services that theirs does not!! Cool, huh??

 

Here’s to Your Online Reputation!

Alex, MPeMG

www.MPeMG.com

(412)n 374-1558

(We actually answer our own phones!)

3 Reasons Wix.com Fails For Business Websites

Hey there Friends!! We saw this article and thought that it would help our readers understand why Wix.com has its place, but for businesses who want traffic, you might want to think otherwise before you invest your time and hopes into a “free” website!! ENJOY!

 

3 REASONS WIX.COM FAILS FOR BUSINESS WEBSITES

By Jessie-Lee Nichols Posted Jul 23, 2014

I have a confession to make. I HATE Wix.com!

As a professional web designer for an inbound marketing agency, I have a personal problem with a product when it sets the expectation that anyone can design and develop a website…for free no less.

Wix.com boasts that all you need to do is choose a template, input some text and then – bam! – you have a website that will get you found online.

Wrong. In so many ways. 

Designing for the web is tough. Not only must you solve various visual problems and adhere to specific client branding, but you have to rise to the challenge of making hundreds of pages, blogs and downloadable pieces of content cohesive and relevant to the user across a plethora of different devices (desktop computers, tablets, mobile phones, etc.).

Despite my less than mild attitude toward this DIY service, there are some concrete reasons that businesses should not rely on website builders like Wix.comm for their website.

1. SEO

A search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is one of the most important pieces of any website. It’s one of the first things our clients focus on, before aesthetics and before traffic analytics. The question always comes back to, “How do I rank higher?” SEO is easy to tackle when building a website in a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla,Drupal, or HubSpot. You develop your strategy and you implement it across every page, blog post and portfolio piece. It works and it’s a proven system.

With a Wix.com site, implementing an SEO strategy is nearly impossible. You do not have the ability to download an SEO boosting plugin. Instead, you simply have the on-page SEO that Wix.com offers. Yes, you can get the basics done here, but it doesn’t offer you any Search Enginge previews or any help along the way like one of our favorite SEO plugins, WordPress SEO by Yoast, does. For a tool that caters to beginners, Wix.com is really missing the mark.

Most troubling is the link structure that Wix.com employs. In every single Wix.com site URL, you will notice a # or “hashbang” which is being served through javascript, and in turn is not readable by search engines.

Major fail.

Even worse, if a user has javascript disabled on their browser then the site will not render at all. Wix.com used to be built with Flash technology (which is not compatible with most mobile devices), and while that issue has been corrected, they have opened an entirely new can of worms.

How exactly is a business supposed to get “found online” when the basic structure of the site does not allow for search engine access? If you dive deeper into Wix.com’s page structure, you find that all pages are canonical, or simply tabs of the homepage, and therefore they could never rank on their own.

With Wix.com you can build an attractive (albeit generic) website and it may be easy for you to update, but if your site isn’t search engine compatible, or potentially even viewable, how is it going to work for you?

2. SITE OWNERSHIP

Site ownership is essential for every single website. Every business should own their own web property and they should have a relationship with their web host company. A company website is just as valuable and important for you to understand and maintain as any other business asset.

Wix.com states:

“Wix does not claim any intellectual property rights over the User Submissions. However, under the Wix.comTerms of Use, you grant Wix worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such User Submissions.” 

That is scary. By signing up for Wix.com web services, you are allowing Wix.com to modify your site and your site’s content simply by agreeing to the Terms of Use.

Always have control over your website and your content. Period. End of story! 

3. MOBILE SITES

Mobile sites are the VHSs to today’s DVDs. They will eventually play the same movie, but one has a substantially more sophisticated user experience than the other. Mobile websites were cool and effective before your parents started using Facebook, but now they just don’t make any sense. In their place, responsive websites are not just the new trend, they have officially become the new standard. Having a completely seperate site for mobile users with a completely seperate editor leads to complications like two separate analytics accounts. Ugh.

Modern browsers like Google Chrome can pick up where a browsing experience leaves off on a different device. Having a totally different mobile site from your desktop site provides a user with a lot of inconsistencies and most of the time, irrelevant or unupdated information.

The biggest disadvantage I see with Wix.com in the mobile category is that you have to specify that you would like to build a mobile site and then enter into the separate editor. None of the site templates are responsive. As of 11 hours prior to writing this post, the Wix.com forums are full of posts begging developers for this feature. As the original forum post was written in January of 2013 (and I’m writing this 7 months later), it leads me to believe that there is little hope that this request will be fulfilled.

WHAT IF I AM ALREADY ON WIX.COM?

Already have a website on Wix.com? Don’t worry! You aren’t a total sitting duck. Unfortunately, you don’t have the ability to pick up your site as is and move it to a new hosting company (you don’t own your site, remember?). But, you can have your website professionally designed and implemented on a proven platform like WordPress or HubSpot (our two favorite CMS platforms). In doing so, you can even harness the SEO you have managed to build up on Wix.com by putting in place some 301 redirects.

CAN YOU HELP?

Of course! Simply get in touch with us and we will be happy to provide you with an honest evaluation of your site from a design, functionality and SEO standpoint. All three of these essentials need to be aligned for a successful website and we are more than confident that a switch to a proven CMS platform will drop your anxiety levels down a few notches and get you better business results.

Are you currently using Wix.com? How is it working for you? Let us know in the comments.

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us on our website OR by phone at (412) 374-1558!! We would love to help you build your new website or optimize your current structure!

Happy Marketing!

Alex, MPeMG

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