Technology that allows marketing and sales departments to create, deploy, and automate online marketing campaigns and sales activities that increase revenue and maximize efficiency.
Technology that allows marketing and sales departments to create, deploy, and automate online marketing campaigns and sales activities that increase revenue and maximize efficiency.
The holiday season is officially behind us! Your holiday marketing is done for 2016, the holiday shopping discounts have passed, and you’re counting down the days until next year’s holiday fun fest.
Now that you know how to expertly pull together my favorite Google Analytics reports for the holidays, you could take your marketing one step further and perfect your holiday marketing calendar-planning skills. My marketing calendar (and free template!) gives you a handful of global and national honored holidays along with some other quirky holidays that might spark a little personality in your brand.
If you haven’t started planning for 2017 yet, now is the time to start, whether it’s the Facebook ads whisking your customers away to somewhere tropical during summertime, heading to Snapchat for an Oscar-winning filter for awards season, or just ramping up your evergreen content for daily brand happenings.
If used correctly, my marketing calendar can be amazingly entertaining– and drive ROI.
To help maximize your 2017 holiday marketing goals, I’ve also put together a list of every holiday in 2017 you’ll want to have on your radar. You already have the basics like evergreen content, so think about the stuff you “need” (want) that you might not have done in the past. From a Valentine’s Day Deal to an LBGTQ event, this article will give you the 2017 marketing calendar ho-ho-hook up.
4 Elements of an ROI-Driving Marketing Calendar
Of course, every marketer has their definition of what makes a marketing calendar great. That’s what makes every year so fun. For me, a great marketing calendar:
-Is a tool that drives sales
-Has a campaign you are proud to be a part of
-Champions its customers year-round
-Raises the bar for next year
-One business I admire that surpasses all marketing efforts year-after-year is Whole Foods. Not only do they listen to their customers (they launched their rewards program to help reduce prices), but they offer personalized products year round (like these holiday chocolate bars perfect for my binge-watching of holiday movies).
Binge-watching w/ chocolate bars to rewards programs, @WholeFoods is an example of marketing done right.
3 Questions Every Marketer Should Ask Themselves Before Building a Calendar
1. Is the holiday relevant to my brand?
Only choose holidays that will fulfill your end goal.
2. Can I focus on one holiday at a time?
You don’t want your customers to feel like you’re interrogating them. If you want quality engagement, you need to give consumers time.
3. Is there a theme relevant to my brand every month?
If you can choose a theme for every month, you can narrow down the holiday marketing you want your brand to participate in.
Trends keep life interesting. It’s always fun to see what sticks, and what fades away. Some recent trends garnering excitement include:
1. Juicing– not like apple or grape, but really green juice that looks like you scraped it off of a fish tank. I’ve heard if you start juicing, you will become totally awesome, 10 years younger, and gain IQ points.
Buzzfeed quizzes– which 80’s rock star are you? Which font are you ?! Comic Sans! … Um, just kidding.
3. Frozen (that song).
4. Game of Thrones– channeling Daenerys Targaryen in meetings just feels good.
If you’re in marketing, a “trend” you’ve probably heard about is marketing automation. What if it’s a trend, like juicing?
In a nutshell, what does marketing automation do, and why should you care? I first purchased marketing automation (TPNI Engage, specifically) while working at an another company several years ago.
Why Marketing Automation is More than a Trend
Scalability— Whether you are a startup company with a marketing team of one, or a larger enterprise, you always want to optimize your efficiency. Using TPNI Engage, you can clone whole programs (email, landing pages, etc.) so your team is not setting up programs from scratch each time, while still acheiving massive scale with your leads and sales…passively!
Closed-end reporting was the main reason I investigated marketing automation in the first place. In my current role, I use TPNI Engage daily to evaluate marketing programs and their performance.
I also look at which content assets perform best per program or channel. I check out first-touch and multi-touch pipeline-to-cost, so I know which programs and channels are best for creating a pipeline for the respective investment.
With marketing automation, I greatly improve the likelihood of providing qualified leads at the right time to my sales organization. I have the ability to use lead scoring (put simply, lead scoring assigns points based on desired demographics and behaviors). At my last company, I selected TPNI Engage because of how effectively I could measure campaigns and channels.
Communicating in a personal way– No one likes receiving an email that seems impersonal, ill-timed, or just completely irrelevant. Using marketing automation, you can use behavioral filters to target your audience or trigger messages based on behavior.
Through TPNI Engage’s nurturing capabilities, I can also easily schedule content to activate or deactivate (for example, I don’t want people to receive an analyst report that’s more than a year old, so I can set an end date for that asset). Automation allows me to communicate in a personal way.
Running programs across multiple channels– Lastly, many of us are using multiple channels to communicate with our audiences. With automation, I have the ability to run a multi-channel campaign (for example, I could run social, email, web, and direct mail programs, all within the platform) and I can measure each channel, but then I can also measure the entire effort.
Using marketing automation, I can scale a sophisticated program that involves multi-channel elements on email, social, and direct mail. I can easily 1) set up the entire program quickly, and 2) ask critical questions, which are immediately addressed.
I know most of you are busy, so I hope my perspective helps you understand why marketing automation can help your business– it can do a lot more then “send emails”. If you’re interested in learning more about marketing automation, our Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation is a good place to start.
Several months from now, we may not be drinking green juice or watching Game of Thrones, but I for one will still be using marketing automation (while eating locally sourced kale chips … justing kidding).
If you’re in marketing, a “trend” you’ve probably heard about is marketing automation. I first purchased marketing automation (TPNI Engage, specifically) while working at an another company several years ago. With marketing automation, I greatly improve the likelihood of providing qualified leads at the right time to my sales organization. Using marketing automation, you can use behavioral filters to target your audience or trigger messages based on behavior.
Using marketing automation, I can scale a sophisticated program that involves multi-channel elements on email, social, and direct mail.
If you want to learn how to achieve MASSIVE scale in your business through Marketing Automation, please sign up for our Marketing Automation webinar where we will walk you through the crucial components & steps needed to be securing passive leads & sales!
Optimizing off-site content
Optimizing the content living outside of your website is not always easy to do. If you use a persona-based strategy, be sure to optimize content based on who you believe will be reading it and engaging with it in each specific channel.
What is off-site content?
Let’s start with a very obvious question for anyone who is new to the game or perhaps knows it under a different name. What is off-site content? The quick answer is any content you own, control or have earned which is not published or living on your existing website.
You can use much of your existing keyword research for your digital marketing strategy and apply it as suited to off-site content. You may also want to do some additional keyword research specifically for each channel, such as determining popular hashtags in to include in your Twitter posts.
When marketers think of SEO, their initial thoughts probably revolve around on-site content and their website in general. While every organization is aware of life beyond their own site, they may not always be thinking about how to best optimize their digital presence in those spaces.
Off-site content can also help to build brand awareness with new audiences. When done with a proper distribution strategy in mind, these audiences can be developed in alignment with your desired target market.
Off-site content can also improve the authority of your on-site content by increasing content frequency and reach. Off-site content can be an excellent source of referral traffic and authoritative backlinks.
Several digital marketing studies point to the new reality of the customer journey, 60 to 90 percent of which occurs outside of your brand’s website. Consumers are relying on review sites, social networks and influencers to inform their buying decisions. You need to ensure your brand is visible in these places, via organic search or otherwise.
Why should you care about off-site content?
The first reason you should care about off-site content is Google’s stated goal of diversifying search results so as not to include content from the same domain on Page One. With this in mind, brands can only benefit from owning or earning optimized content on other authoritative domains, thereby increasing their chances of being discovered in the top search results.
It could be content you’ve initiated but do not own, such as content created via influencers, press releases distributed through third-party sites or client case studies published on client websites. Off-site content can also include content you did not initiate and don’t own, such as third-party reviews.
Social – Yes, social media is actually a BIG part of SEO!
You will also want to optimize your content to be found within the search feature of each social network. Content in each should be titled, described and tagged with appropriate keywords and hashtags to ensure maximum discoverability.
Social media posts are increasingly showing up in Google SERPs, as well as those of other search engines, so optimizing them has become vitally important. You ideally want to try to optimize them just as you would any blog post or page on your website.
Don’t be afraid of off-site content ranking greater than your on-site pages. Some companies view any outranking content as competitive, but in reality, you’re only competing against yourself. Those pages and posts simply drive a different customer journey and strengthen your brand image and awareness in the process.
When combining the performance of off-site content with the corresponding landing pages of your site, try using conversion path metrics to understand further opportunities for off-site optimization along the way.
What is off-site content? Off-site content can take a number of different forms. It could be content you’ve initiated but do not own, such as content created via influencers, press releases distributed through third-party sites or client case studies published on client websites. Off-site content can also include content you did not initiate and don’t own, such as third-party reviews.
Treat your influencers like an extension of your marketing team. The majority of influencers are very professional and are open to working with brands to get the most life out of the content for everyone involved.
Tracking off-site content for SEO
Be sure to track all ranking content relevant to your brand. This includes any of the content you own, both on-site or offsite, as well as the stuff you don’t own. Any URLs containing content about your organization should be on your radar for how they are performing in search.
Gain visibility into off-site content with smart URLs
As mentioned in our previous post, smart URLs (unique links containing additional data for tracking purposes) can help provide in-depth insights into engagement with your off-site content. By tracking this content in search and using smart URLs within the content and in distribution, you can gain full insight into not only which content is ranking, but also which content is driving interaction with your audience.
Don’t be afraid of off-site content ranking greater than your on-site pages.
Many organizations try, but that only stands to dilute the sincerity of the content and true strength of the message. You can also provide them images with optimized file names and, of course, trackable links to the content you are wanting them to help promote and build authority for.
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.
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%.”.
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.
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!
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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.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
Co-Founder & CMO
We caught this blog post from SEJ (Search Engine Journal) and thought it would benefit you in a BIG way!! Enjoy!
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.
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.
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.
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:
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?:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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,
MatchPLUS eMarketing Group, LLC
Co-Founder & CMO
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
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
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
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 😉
Alex, CMO & Co-Founder
MatchPLUS eMarketing Group, LLC
[SECRET] We answer our own phones, don’t hesitate to call!
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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We found a great post for proper SEO “Cocktail” parts, enjoy!
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! 😉
Here are the tools you’ll need to measure and optimize for the top 13 ranking signals in this guide.
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.
2. Google Search Console
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When you’re done optimizing your page, hit Save page to save the upload-ready HTML file to your hard drive.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
Special Thanks to: Link-Assistant.com