Back to Top

Tag Archives: marketing

economic-turn-seo

Why Businesses Turn To SEO In All Economic Climates

Updated on by

Learn how and why SEO helps businesses in all types of economic turns. Read how SEO adds value across your business today and in the future.

Consumer needs and behaviors can change dramatically depending on the current economic climate.

However, one thing always remains consistent: They always turn to SEO to help them survive and thrive.

In fact, savvy businesses can capitalize on this opportunity by recognizing that shift (turn) and adapting their content strategies to accommodate the need.

SEO insights are a great place to find the most current trends in consumer behavior and intent.

Compared to traditional and expensive media, the conventional wisdom of holding back on your marketing budget – particularly for SEO – is a short-sighted strategy that erodes your brand presence over time.

If you want to be positioned for growth during the recovery that inevitably follows a downturn or recession, the prediction stage is exactly the time to invest in SEO.

According to Gartner’s latest State of Marketing Budget And Strategy Survey 2022, SEO is top of mind for all “unpaid” channels.

Here are some of my thoughts on why.

Consumers Search In All Economic Conditions

Yes, consumer needs and behaviors can change dramatically depending on the current economic climate.

But they don’t cease, or disappear, altogether.

Your customers may have greater concerns about the household budget and display a reduced commercial intent as a result. Perhaps they’re just not in the market to buy.

They will be again one day, though.

Sales is a cycle; while some markets have demand dips, others see rises.

For some, it could be time for them to learn, plan, and educate themselves on their options.

SEO Is A Long Game & The Rules Are Constantly Changing

You cannot simply pause your SEO – well, you can, but it would mean an awful lot of catching up when you “turned it on” again.

Google’s algorithms are constantly changing and updating as the search engine strives to better meet the needs of its users.

Rather than cutting back, tough economic times are when you can focus on and invest in improving user experience, resolving persistent technical issues, and speeding up your site.

These objectives may have been lower on marketing’s priority list when times were good and sales were plenty.

At other times, however, you might find it makes sense to reconsider ad spending due to your audience’s potentially lower commercial intent in search.

In that case, you could reallocate a portion of the budget, ensuring SEO intent data and channels such as pay per click (PPC) are working.

You should also focus on technical SEO and your website journey and performance.

Experiences will matter and help you convert opportunities – opportunities that you can’t afford to miss before competitors grab them.

  • This is also a good time to audit existing content and find new opportunities to rank on different keyword terms. Update content, cluster content by topic, identify content gaps, and update calls to action (CTAs) to ensure a more cohesive journey for customers.
  • For example, if you’ve published product reviews in the past, you’ll want to revisit those. Google’s product review update targeting low-quality reviews rolled out in 2022, and it’s even more important to ensure that content is top quality.

SEO Can Drive Wins In The Short, Mid, And Long-Term

A robust SEO program forms a solid foundation for your entire web presence. But it can also help your business stay agile and responsive to rapidly-changing conditions.

Economic uncertainty might call for quick action to find marketing efficiencies.

It also helps protect the brand from external threats or move on to surfacing opportunities.

In these conditions, SEO data is imperative for keeping a finger on the market pulse.

However, activating the insights gleaned from that data is a critical next step:

  • It won’t do you much good to know that market share is shrinking and one product type is trending if you lack the resources to plan and execute campaigns around that product.
  • Prioritizing SEO by ensuring it has a stable budget and executive support keeps your resources and team in a position to act.

Remember when the initial pandemic scare shut down much of the world’s economy?

The informational needs of consumers exploded, and service delivery models changed almost overnight.

The companies that were able to quickly update their Google Business Profile listings with current hours of operation, the availability of curbside pickup and online ordering, etc., became the first movers.

The demand for SEO rose to an all-time high.

Not only did this translate to business won, but those companies were also able to instill a sense of stability and calm among consumers in an otherwise tumultuous time.

Brand Protection Is Essential At All Times

Consumer behavior can be unpredictable, fragmented, and even irrational during times of uncertainty.

SEO helps the brand actively listen to audiences, triage issues, and combat negative brand sentiment in real-time.

As mentioned earlier, your SEO insights are a key source of this business intelligence.

  • What are consumers searching for, and how is that evolving?
  • What do those queries tell you about the commercial or other types of intent driving search activity?
  • How are people behaving in search and on your site, and what new opportunities does that present?

Online reviews are another rich source of insight and potential liabilities if not managed correctly.

Google is clear: Businesses must respond to searcher reviews, messages, and questions as quickly as possible.

Your company’s review profile – average star rating, review volume, and recency – can impact your local rankings, too.

It’s essential that you have in place:

  • Technology to monitor reviews across all platforms relevant to your business.
  • A triage system so that serious complaints are escalated to the right person for quick intervention.
  • Policies for review response. Templates that can be personalized depending on review content can help here.

Depending on your industry, economic uncertainty might bring a greater volume of reviews. Having this foundation in place will enable you to add resources and scale up as needed.

Brand protection should come from your content team, as well.

If you’re in the financial services industry, for example, you might find that your customer base has a lot of questions about how the current conditions impact them and their families.

They may have questions and concerns about employment, taxes, stimulus, or support programs that weren’t top of mind before.

Your business can not only serve as a thought leader but deliver real, valuable solutions for customers that will win their trust and loyalty for the long term.

Ecommerce, retail, and travel brands will look for insights and trends on demand volatility and category fluctuations in goods, products, and services.

Understanding these trends early on will help content teams create and target accordingly.

You’ll need a content team skilled in producing for these opportunities, crafting targeted content, and who can utilize technologies for optimizing and promoting it for maximum impact across all of the platforms where your audience is found online.

As a bonus, this program can help you outrank any competitor (or perhaps negative content about the brand) with positive stories and helpful content instead.

Conclusion

Whether markets are high or low, SEO team talents are needed most to find new opportunities, combat immediate threats, and lay the foundation for a successful recovery.

The role of business intelligence is critical to understanding the environment in which you’re currently working.

Organizations that “put it on pause” can damage the investments you’ve already made and leave you struggling to catch up with more forward-looking competitors.

SEO can have the effect of leveling out the peaks and troughs.

The data it produces is about as close to the real-time voice of customers as you’re going to get.

Compared to other channels, it is not just the most cost-effective; it also drives incremental value across your whole business.

If you are interested in original article by Lemuel Park you can find it here

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | Leave a reply

Google Business Profile Video Verification Best Practices

Updated on by

Learn what you must show in the video if you get the Google Business Profile Video Verification Option. Here’s how to do it, step-by-step.

Verification is an important step in properly setting up a Google Business Profile (GBP).

Before your GBP will become visible to the public and you can do all the fun things with your profile – like creating posts, responding to reviews, updating your profile, and more – you must first verify it.

Verification NeededScreenshot from Google Business Profile, August 2022

When a business (i.e., merchant) sets up a Google Business Profile, Google offers a method (or sometimes several ways) to verify the profile.

This verification process helps Google ensure that the business is a real and legitimate business that is eligible for a GBP and meets Google’s guidelines for representing your business on Google.

In an ideal world, Google would actually visit each and every location with a GBP to make sure the business is real and meets all guidelines.

But that, obviously, is not possible.

One of the ways Google can verify a business is through video verification. Video verification is the next best thing to actually visiting a business.

It’s almost like a “digital in-person” check-in on the business.

The video allows Google to actually see the company and more details about the business.

Google’s video verification method tries to authenticate and confirm legitimate businesses and (hopefully) weed out spammy and fake listings that could inundate the Local Pack, Local Finder, and Google Maps and confuse or hurt consumers.

Various Verification Methods

As mentioned, Google provides several ways to verify your business.

It’s important to note that Google decides which verification method a merchant must use to verify its GBP.

Businesses do not get to choose the method of verification – Google picks the verification method for them.

Verification by postcards with PIN numbers used to be the typical method of GBP verification.

But this seems to be changing, and businesses are receiving other ways to verify their Business Profiles.

In February 2022, verifying businesses by postcards sent in the mail was listed first when Google outlined the verification process.

Google Help Document - Postcard VerificationScreenshot from Google, February 2022

However, by July 2022, verification via postcard was bumped down to last on the verification methods list:

Verification MethodsScreenshot from Google, July 2022

This might be a signal that Google is moving towards other ways to verify GBPs, and that merchants should be prepared to verify their listings in ways other than just postcards – like phone, text, email, live video call, and video recording verification.

Why Video Verification?

Google is trying hard to ensure that the GBPs set up are legitimate businesses meeting Google’s guidelines.

With the video verification process, Google is trying to garner the following information:

  • Existence: Is this a genuine/real business? Does it exist?
  • Geographic location: Is the business located where the Business Profile says it is located? (It isn’t easy to film a video of a bookstore in New York City and pretend that it’s a bookstore in London.)
  • User integrity: Is this an authentic company? Is it a real merchant? Google is trying to determine if someone is attempting to commit fraud.
  • Affiliation: Is this merchant actually associated with the business? Do they have the authority to represent the business?

When businesses submit video evidence that proves and shows these things, Google operators can review the video to determine if the evidence presented is strong enough to verify that the business is located where it says it is, performs the work it claims it does, and more.

What Is The Google Business Profile Video Verification Process?

Google offers numerous ways for businesses to verify their GBP, but Google decides which way (or ways) each merchant must verify.

As a business owner, you must verify via the method Google chooses for you.

However, if you absolutely cannot verify via the method offered, you can reach out to the Google Business Profile Support team and see if they can provide you with another way to verify your GBP. An example of this would be if you are asked to verify via text and you only have a landline.

When you get to the verification process, you may be asked to perform the video verification process.

Verify Via VideoScreenshot from Google Business Profile, July 2022

To go through the video verification process, you’ll need a mobile device with a camera.

If you get this verification option, it’s important that you understand the rationale for the video verification.

You should know what needs to be included in the video, so the Google operator reviewing it is convinced that your company exists and does what it says it does. The operator must also be convinced the person taking the video is associated with the business.

They will also want to verify that the geographical location matches the location of the business as listed in its GBP.

It’s also important to follow the on-screen instructions and plan everything out before you start recording the video. Since the video must be done in one continuous video, planning ahead is crucial!

In the video verification process, Google asks the business owner (or someone with authority to represent the business) to create a short, continuous video that provides evidence that the business is an actual, legitimate business.

The video should be short and to the point.

Each video is manually reviewed by a Google employee and is meant to simulate an in-person visit to the business.

Google doesn’t ask you to share anything sensitive – like people’s faces or documents that contain confidential information.

These videos are kept private and are only used for verification purposes.

Don’t worry; It will never be published and can be deleted anytime.

Planning Your Video For Business Profile Video Verification

Before you actually shoot your video, you should plan out what you are going to show in the video, who will be in it, and who will record it.

Next, you’ll want to ensure you cover the items necessary to convince Google that your business is legitimate.

Here are the types of things you want to be sure to show in your video.

Keep in mind that these items do not have to be shown in any particular order – they just all must be shown in the video to prove that your business is real.

Show That Your Business Exists

For this part of the video, you need to show proof that your business exists, where it is located geographically, and other items that prove it’s a legitimate business.

Get verified with videoScreenshot from Google Business Profile, August 2022

It’s important to show the exterior and interior of your company’s building in the video.

If you’re a storefront business, you must show the outside of the building, as well as the permanent signage on the exterior and any signage/branding inside the building.

Also include the location, relevant street signs, and other nearby businesses, so Google can get an idea of where you’re geographically located.

Don’t show unmarked roads or land – that will not help Google establish your location.

Showing your outdoor signage is a must if you have a storefront location (i.e., a storefront location is when local customers visit your place of business, you have permanent signage, and you must have employees staffed at the business location during stated business hours.)

Permanent signage is a requirement for storefront businesses. Vinyl banners or other temporary signs do not count as permanent signage.

If you do not have permanent signage, you do not qualify as a storefront.

Pan your video next door and across the street to show the businesses nearby so Google can double-check with Google Maps and Streetview to ensure that your business is located where you claim it is.

Show surrounding businessesImage from author, August 2022

It’s also vital to walk into your building and show the inside of your company so Google sees that it’s a legitimate business – and not just empty rooms.

Any time you can show your company’s branding on the walls – like in the lobby or entryway – it’s great to show those types of things in the video.

If you work in an office building with multiple floors and many businesses, be sure to show the office building’s business directory pointing out your company’s listing and suite number.

If you have any professional tools that you use, marketing materials, or company branding, be sure to show those in the video as well.

If you’re a Service Area Business (SAB), you will need to show any tools of the trade that you use to perform your work for clients in the video.

For instance, if you are a solar company, you should show the solar panels you install, any installation equipment you use, branded trucks, ladders, any heavy equipment you use, tools of the trade that you have stored, etc.

Are you a lawn care company? Show all your lawnmowing equipment, trimmers, leaf blowers, etc. (The average Joe at home won’t have 10 commercial lawnmowers, for instance – but you do!)

It’s also vital to show your service vehicles with the branding on them. (A video showing a plain white van will not be acceptable.)

So, ensure that your service vehicles are branded with your company name and logo and are seen clearly in the video.

Show Geographic Location

Google wants to know that your business is located where your GBP says it is located. The Google operator needs to be convinced that the company in the video is in the same geographical location as in Google Maps.

If you’re a storefront business, you can show street signs near your business, pan over, and show adjacent companies near your company. However, showing Google a vacant lot where your business should be will not instill confidence that you are a legitimate business.

Show street signsImage by author, August 2022

If you operate your SAB out of your home, show the street signs, your home with your street number on it, your mailbox, and any other things that prove your address.

One way to prove you have a real business is by showing items in the video that only a real business like yours would have.

Get verified with video steps

For example, showing a generic software application on your computer screen will not convince Google that you’re a legitimate business.

Show professional software and your setup

However, if your company uses specific software to operate your business, like if you’re an accountant and you use professional accounting software, you’re a veterinarian and you use software specifically developed for vets’ offices, or you’re a digital marketer or design firm that creates videos or podcasts for clients using a tool like Camtasia, then showing that software on your computer screen and your audio/video setup in the video would help prove to Google that you are legit.

Camtasia ScreenshotScreenshot from Camtasia, August 2022

If you’re a Service Area Business, showing your work van with equipment in the back of the truck in the video is very helpful and useful for the Google operator as they are reviewing your video to determine the legitimacy of your company.

Affiliation: Is The Merchant Real?

For this part of the video, you need to prove that the company is real and that the merchant is actually affiliated with the company and has the authority to represent the business.

That’s why it’s so important that the person in the video is either the owner or manager.

Get verified with video stepsScreenshot of Google Business Profile, July 2022

If you have a storefront business, in the video, you need to show that you have access to employee-only locations or sections of the business.

For instance, show you opening the store/business using a key, operating the cash register, using the POS system, going into an area of the business where customers or the general public aren’t allowed, etc.

This part of the video aims to show that the person is either the owner or an authorized person who has authority over the location.

Showing the person unlocking the business door is a very important item to show in the video.

Unlocking DoorImage by author, August 2022

You also want to go to places in your business where the general public is not allowed.

For instance, if you own a restaurant, customers are not allowed to be behind the counter near the cash register or take out food. Showing this in the video is a great proof of management.

If you have a business license, liquor license, or any other official/legal document hanging on the wall, zoom in on it. This is especially important if the document shows your business name and address as shown on your Google Business Profile. (Ideally, everything should match!)

If you operate a Service Area Business, you will need to show access to any industry-specific software, open up your branded vehicle and show the equipment or tools you use to perform the jobs you do. You can also show your team performing a job at a customer’s site using the tools-of-the-trade.

Branded vehicle showing equipmentImage by author, August 2022

If you’re a SAB and run your business out of your home or out of a building that is used for storage and not accessible to customers, also take a video of the outside of the building, show the nearby street signs, and the number on the building.

Be sure to take a video of you unlocking the door.

You can also show close-ups of any business licenses, Secretary of State documents, LLC or incorporation docs, or any other official documents that prove your company’s name and address.

Just zoom in on the documents so Google can see them. Again, the business name and address must match what’s on your Google Business Profile.

Note: If you get the video verification option and are not ready to do the video at that moment, no worries! You can complete the verification step when you’re able to – like in a day or so after you’ve had time to plan out what you’ll show in the video.

Completing The Video Verification Process

When you’re taking the video, it’s okay to put these items in whichever order makes sense for your particular situation – just make sure you cover all of the necessary requirements.

Remember, the video must be one continuous video. It cannot be recorded somewhere else and then uploaded.

The video must be created using the Google Business Profile video verification process.

If you started creating your Google Business Profile on a desktop computer, when you get to the video verification step, you will see a QR code that you can scan with your mobile device.

This allows you to continue the video verification process on your mobile device – like a smartphone or tablet with a camera. Just make sure you’re signed in with your Google Business Profile email address on your mobile device.

Scan CodeScreenshot from Google Business Profile, July 2022

When you’re ready to start recording your video, tap Start Recording.

Start Recording

And then, follow the steps to record your video.

Get verified with videoScreenshot of Google Business Profile, July 2022

After you have recorded the video, tap Stop Recording. The merchant can then choose to finish onboarding on a desktop or your mobile device. (Finishing on your mobile device is probably the simplest choice.)

Click the “Upload Video” button.

Since the video is all created in the app, you don’t have to worry about how large the video file size is. (Whew!)

Upload your videoScreenshot of Google Business Profile, July 2022

Then click Done.

After you submit your video, it can take up to five days until the Google Business Profile support team reviews your video. Do not delete the video until it’s been reviewed and you’ve received the notification that your Business Profile has been verified.

If, for some reason, the video verification method didn’t work, you will see the “Get Verified” button in your Google Business Profile. You can then try a different way to verify your profile.

Once you’re done with your video, you can delete the video if you want to.

To delete the video, follow these steps:

  • On Google Search, go to your Business Profile. Learn how to find your profile.
  • At the top right, click More (the three dots) Advanced settings > Video uploads > Delete videos.

Then you’re done! You’re now able to continue optimizing your Google Business Profile and engage with your potential customers!

Video Verification: A Better Way

Even though video verification may seem more cumbersome, it’s a much better way for Google to see whether or not a business is real – or not.

This will hopefully cut down on the spam profiles we see on Google.

What are your thoughts on Google Business Profile Video Verification?

If you are interested in original article by Sherry Bonelli you can find it here

local-marketing

13 Local Marketing Strategies That Work

Updated on by

Want your brand or offering to be found by local audiences? Here are 13 great tips for local marketing strategies and tactics that work.

You can reach valuable leads through local online and offline marketing.

You must develop effective local marketing strategies to build your brand authority and attract more customers.

A digital marketing strategy is essential, regardless of whether you are starting a new business or already have one.

Digital and social media marketing are the most crucial parts of marketing a local business since, according to Google, “83% of U.S. shoppers who visited a store in the last week say they used online search before going into a store.”

We’ll cover some of the online marketing tactics and strategies we’ve used with great success in reaching a local audience.

Great Local Marketing Strategies For This Year

1. Optimize For Local Search

Through Google Business Profile (GBP), your business will appear as soon as someone searches for your business or keywords on Google.

It is free, which is awesome.

The results will feature businesses within the vicinity of the person searching and even includes your business on Google Maps.

To start, create a profile with your company name, contact details, industry, etc.

Then, verify your GBP listing.

Once verified, you can add images and a bio, upload blogs, create offers, send and receive messages, add customer reviews, and see analytics.

Plus, it is pretty easy to update, so you always have relevant info online.

You can go one step further and set the business up with a solid, local link-building strategy.

Using citation sources such as Yellowpages.com tells Google where your company is located.

Plus, GBP has a great function that allows you to set the radius on services to a specific radius, such as 10km.

It is important to add fresh content or blog posts to your GBP account regularly.

Considering that a post expires after seven days, you’ll likely need to schedule a post at least once a week. Why is this important?

GBP posts can help drive traffic and engagement.

Do you have a sale or event coming up? You can promote anything related to the business on GBP.

If you’re not confident you’ll remember to upload a blog weekly, use content scheduling apps and tools like Semrush and Hootsuite.

As far as hyper-localized visibility goes, GBP is a no-brainer.

2. Local Reviews From Local Customers

As cautious online users, the first thing people notice is often the reviews given on the GBP listing.

A positive review or testimonial can demonstrate to local customers that you are a business they can trust.

That goes a long way in moving customers through the sales funnel towards conversion or purchase.

So, how do you get reviews?

While I don’t advocate directly asking for reviews from your existing customers – and definitely not paying for reviews – there are less direct ways of reminding customers to post positive reviews.

Got negative reviews? No problem.

You can use negative reviews as a way to gather meaningful customer information.

Not only will you get insight on how you can improve products or customer experience (CX), but you can use the opportunity to turn the negative review into a positive one by reaching out to the customer and correcting the poor experience, product, or service.

3. SEO Optimize Your Website

The next step to getting your brand and product into the local market is to optimize your website for organic search.

The first and foremost way of doing that is through keyword optimization.

While a lot of this will be intuitive at first, you will soon run out of clever ideas and need to do keyword research.

Competition on short-tail keywords is fierce, and someone who’s been around longer than you is almost guaranteed to be already ranking for it.

So, focus on long-tail, geo-specific keywords.

These are ideal because people who use long tail keywords usually know what they want (they’re not tire-kickers), and they are more ready to engage.

Those who use geo-specific keywords know where they want to do business.

So, say you are a digital marketing company that provides B2B marketing services for businesses in a specific area.

It would be futile to optimize just for “marketing” or ”digital marketing.” That ship has sailed!

Rather, create pages on the site that are location-based, niche-oriented, and have long-tail keywords.

For example, you can create a page or blog called “Digital marketing for B2B Companies in California” or “How B2B companies in California can benefit from digital marketing.”

You get the picture.

That means search engine results pages (SERPs) will show results for users searching for “digital marketing companies near me.”

4. Create Localized Content

Content marketing is a big part of attracting a targeted audience, which connects to inbound marketing.

We have found that the more valuable, relevant, and consistent your content is, the more your target audience will engage with it.

But where do you start?

Create content that solves your customer’s pain points and that is evergreen.

There’s no shortcut when it comes to good content creation. Do the research, write for humans, and Google bots will love it, too.

For this, we love “how-to” blogs, whitepapers, ebooks, infographics, videos, and other long-form blogs (more than 900 words).

That way, your content will help prospective customers find your website when looking for solutions.

In this example, when the person enters a long-tail keyword, “best flowers for weddings,” Google brings ads that match the search term.

It also brings organic results. Best of all, it creates “People also ask” (PAA) questions.

These could include, “What is the average cost of flowers for a wedding?”

Why not use these as a guide for fresh content ideas?

This kind of SEO-rich, high-value content attracts new visitors to your site and establishes your brand as the leader and authority on the subject matter.

You’ll see better results for your business by integrating content marketing into your local online marketing strategy.

5. Review Your Website’s Design

The look and feel of your website are as important as the words and content that make you findable on search engines.

However, while keywords will get the visitors to your site, your design and user experience (UX) will keep them there.

Use images and videos on your website that reference your location, neighborhood, and business so that there is a recognizable reference to your localized entity.

Also, the internet is evolving as rapidly as consumers’ needs are.

So, your website that was on the bleeding edge of design when you published it five years ago probably doesn’t quite toe the mark anymore.

It might be time for a redesign.

The most important thing to safeguard on your website is your user’s experience.

The site must be easy to use, easy to navigate, and easy to understand.

6. Integrate CRM Tool

Customer relationship manager (CRM) solutions ensure we have a tighter grasp on our understanding of our customers.

Most CRMs can integrate with modern websites. But how does your website feed prospect data into the CRM?

For one, you could consider adding a pop-up on your website.

It could be an invitation to subscribe to your newsletter, view a limited promotion, or announce a new product launch.

When linked to your CRM, your lead generation landing pages will also automatically update your CRM, such as HubSpot or Salesforce.

Not only does this feed your pipeline, but it also improves first-party data and targeting and thus makes your marketing messaging that much better.

Also, localized campaigns can be launched via your CRM.

You can easily identify and segment customers and prospects by region if the data has been captured accordingly in your CRM.

Remember, the quality of data you capture is the quality of output you’ll get.

That can be used for personalized invitations to in-person events and activations, for email campaigns that are area-specific, and so on.

7. Attract Local Visitors Through Google Ads

As I’ve always said, if you want sales, you need to advertise. Google Ads is just that.

While SEO is great for local organic search, you need Google Ads and other paid media channels to support your lead generation and brand awareness campaigns.

Google Ads is a keyword-driven, pay-per-click channel that allows you to target audiences based on keywords and location (amongst other things).

Your creative copy and solutions-driven content will help capture your local market until your SEO is in full swing.

When setting up your Google Ads, implement conversion tracking – which will help you optimize your campaigns and pivot toward optimal business success.

It also aligns marketing tactics with sales goals and ultimately supports business growth.

For example, one of our clients is a health and fitness gym.

We’re only targeting people within a 10 km radius around their seven gyms through Google Ads.

This way, we get maximum return on investment (ROI) on money spent.

8. Feed The Funnel With Remarketing

Remarketing is an important element of your localized digital marketing arsenal.

That’s effective if your SEO or Google ad didn’t do the job the first time or the customer is still in the consideration phase of the buyer journey.

Remarketing supports other, more geolocation-specific tactics when considering how to strengthen your local marketing strategies.

So, if your Google Ads campaign (geolocation-limited) or your paid social campaign (likewise, demographics-oriented) sends traffic to your site, remarketing supports these by following those visitors around after the fact.

In the end, remarketing increases conversions, promotes brand awareness, and helps you stay top of mind with prospects.

9. Get The Phone Going With Google Call-Only Ads

If you rely heavily on phone calls to generate business, then Google call-only ads could prove invaluable and ideal for localized marketing.

That’s because, as with other Google products, you can target a specific demographic in your call-only ads.

It’s also a good option if you don’t have any specific landing pages simply because your product or service doesn’t need it, and a direct phone call just works better.

One downside of local online marketing may be that you will not receive all qualified calls.

10. Insist On CRO-Optimized Landing Pages For Each Campaign

Contrary to popular belief, your home page is not your landing page.

Your home page is your home page.

It is a summary of your website with many exit points to other pages, many different calls to action (CTAs) – such as “learn more” and “contact us” – and many different focuses.

A landing page has one job: conversion.

If you’re spending money on an ad campaign, you need those clicks to work hard.

To do this, you need a landing page designed specifically for that campaign, with lead-gen in mind.

So, the tried-and-trusted format is:

  • Emotive copy that includes a pain point and solution.
  • An image that evokes a feeling.
  • A CTA above the fold.
  • Below the fold, you can have your trust queues, testimonials, benefits, and so on.
  • The footer can reiterate the CTA.

That’s it.

No buttons and links that take you away from the page.

No clicks are needed to expand sections. The only click available on the page is “Buy now” or “Submit” (or whatever the desired action is).

Rinse and repeat for each campaign.

11. Leverage Social Media

Social media can be a great way to grow local brand awareness and engagement.

For one, community groups often already have all your desired customers in one place.

Remember, you need to be active on the social media channels your target audience prefers.

It might not be your local watering hole, so you need to get comfortable with using platforms like TikTok and Instagram for Gen Z and Gen Y audiences, while Facebook is great for Gen X and Boomers.

LinkedIn is ideal for B2B targeting.

Post organic content, like status updates, photos, and videos, or run ad campaigns.

Much like Google Ads, most social platforms allow you to geo-target your campaigns.

For example, if you have a brick-and-mortar location, you can focus your social media ads on reaching all people within a 10km radius of your location.

These enable super-localized and targeted marketing tactics.

12. Video Tells Your Homegrown Story

Video is now preferred over all other visual mediums by more consumers. In fact, 95% of enterprise B2B conversions are aided by video.

Keep it personal, keep it local, and direct your video content at the customer’s point of pain that you can solve.

Your video assets don’t all need to be ads. You can have testimonials and how-tos embedded into your site or published on YouTube.

Just make sure you tell a story and that – in the story – your customer is the hero, and you are simply the guide who helps them succeed.

13. Offline Activations And Events

Offline activations and events are one of our favorite ways of bolstering local marketing.

Working in conjunction with your online activities – such as email, ads, and social – this “boots on the ground” approach yields amazing results.

Take advantage of the physical proximity you have to your local customers.

Consider loyalty cards, charity sponsorships, referral programs, networking breakfasts, and other community-strengthening events.

All of these add tremendous gravitas to your brand and allow you to connect with your target audience locally.

Final Thoughts

With so many ways to be found online locally, we are confident your local target audience will discover your products and services.

Be sure to activate and be active on Google Business Profile.

Keep your website fresh and user-friendly, and remember to regularly add content (blogs).

Find communities on social media, and create ads on Google and social platforms that minutely reach your desired audience.

Find communities in real life, and create events and activities in which the local target audience can participate.

All of this contributes to brand reinforcement.

Finally, remember always to position your customer as the hero, as you solve their pain points right where they are.

If you are interested in original article by Alex Macura you can find it here

Is social media for self-promotion over? Creatives reveal their honest thoughts

Updated on by

No, you’re not imagining it. In 2022, social media increasingly sucks for sharing content and finding work. Creatives share their views on the way forward.

Have you noticed how different social media feels at the moment? More ads. More videos. More Stories and Reels. But fewer posts you want to click on. And less engagement on any content you post yourself.

Don’t worry. It’s not just you. It’s been well documented how most major social channels have recently downgraded traditional posts in favour of the Stories format pioneered by Instagram and short-form, portrait videos reminiscent of TikTok’s. But while that may be helping them sell more ads, it’s leaving creatives somewhat baffled.

“I’ve given up on Instagram,” complains freelance book cover designer Alex Kirby. “I got absolutely fed up with the lack of engagement because I ‘only’ posted photos. I wasn’t even sure it was making a difference with getting more work. And I seem to be doing okay without it.”

It’s perhaps not surprising Alex has seen a lack of involvement in his content because other creatives feel less involved in social media overall.

“The decline of interactions since the push for viral and video content has made me engage less with platforms,” says brand and print designer Matt Lamont. “Mixing posts with forced advertising has made my feed less tailored to my interests and more about me being a customer for others.”

So, how widespread are these experiences? We recently hosted a poll on Twitter and asked our followers: “How have you seen social media change since you started using it, engagement-wise? And a massive 82.1% of you replied ‘It’s got worse’, with just 7.8% saying ‘It’s got better’ and 10.1% seeing no change.

Does this mean you’re thinking of leaving social media altogether? Unhappily, 47.2% of you replied: ‘Yes, but feel I can’t’. Meanwhile, 3.3% of you say you’re definitely quitting, and 10% are just not sure. Only 39.5% are staying – which is hardly a vote of confidence in the current state of social media.

So what’s gone wrong, and how should creatives respond? Below, we reveal some thoughts, suggestions and ideas for promoting yourself and your work in 2022, as shared by the Creative Boom community. Meanwhile, you can read the full discussion on Twitter here.

1. Try different platforms

If you’ve been unhappy with your experience of social media lately, you don’t necessarily have to abandon it altogether. Many creatives have found switching platforms to be a better way forward.

Take award-winning illustrator Sravyaa. “90% of my business used to come through Instagram until this year,” she says. “But now I find that building relationships on Twitter and sharing my work on Pinterest is working best. So I’d say diversify your platforms and the type of content. Make it specific to the audience on each channel, and have a strong CTA (call to action).”

Designer Antonio Carusone has had a similar experience. “Recently, I’ve given up on Instagram,” he says. “I was posting there daily and saw little growth and engagement. The funny thing is, now that I’ve stopped, I’m growing in followers: what a weird, broken platform! Nowadays, I’m focusing instead on Twitter, where I use Typefully to plan my tweets, and I’m seeing nice results.”

Others, meanwhile, are pivoting to Facebook. “I get more orders and interaction on my Facebook business page than on Instagram, which is dire,” says jewellery designer Lindsay. “With Stories and Reels, folks just mindlessly scroll rather than interact. Maybe Facebook is doing better for me because I’m from a small community and locals know my business.”

That’s not the case, however, for illustrator Victoria Williams. “I’ve virtually given up posting to my business Facebook page,” she reports. “Engagement on Instagram has dropped way off, and it’s becoming increasingly irritating to use, as all I see are posts by people I don’t even follow. Now, I find Twitter by far the best for driving people to my Etsy.”

2. Don’t discount TikTok

Let’s not, though, avoid the elephant in the room. One of the reasons “traditional” social channels are changing so much has been the unstoppable rise of TikTok. But while the short-form video platform is best known for its young audience, lip syncing and daft dance routines, that’s not all it’s about.

An increasing number of creatives are using the platform, which now has more than a billion users, to share design and illustration tips and mini-tutorials, as well as just film their process. Right now, the most popular names include nickq83, Serena, aka Kohi Design, and @swoopnebula.

Illustrator Sarah J Coleman, aka Inkymole, is among those who’ve dipped their toe into the TikTok waters. “First, I spent some time ‘in it’, watching others, and creating rules about what I will and won’t do, what is authentic to me,” she recalls. “I’ve stuck to those rules and now have a nice little following on my channel. No dancing, no miming, no silly voices: just behind-the-scenes, work in progress and ink nerding!”

Jam and Ali, aka Hello Dodo, have been giving it a try too. “Obviously, we miss the golden days of Instagram when follows and engagement were amazing,” they say. “But these platforms weren’t built for us to market our business, so we try not to moan about them and keep showing up and having fun on our TikTok channel.”

3. Give LinkedIn a go

People don’t always think of LinkedIn as a social network, and certainly not somewhere aimed at creatives, given its ugly and confusing layout. Yet, in 2022, many are finding it useful for self-promo.

As designer and animator Neil Grunshaw puts it: “Twitter and Instagram are like busking in the hope that an A&R walks past and give you a record deal… in other words, pissing into the wind.” To him, LinkedIn is much more practical and targeted. “You’re selling to a network of professionals who may actually commission you,” he points out. However, there is a caveat. “It only works if you’ve got a network in the first place, which isn’t the case if you’ve just entered the creative industries.”

Artist and designer June Mineyama-Smithson, aka Mayumi, recently had a similar epiphany. “I started to focus on Linkedin after listening to Creative Boom’s podcast with Craig Black,” she explains. “I’d been wrongly fixated on Instagram because it’s visual, but I realised I had more meaningful connections from my agency years on Linkedin. I’m not putting too much effort into Instagram right now: it’s currently too disheartening. But when things change, I might come back.”

For others, it’s a case of using different platforms for different purposes. “I see Instagram and Twitter as a way to connect with and support other artists,” says freelance animator and illustrator Rosie Phillpot. “This can lead to recommendations: other freelancers recommend me because we’ve communicated or follow each other, and they like my work. I do the same.”

At the same time, she sees LinkedIn as a better way to connect with prospective clients. She boosts her chances in the following ways. “I ask for a recommendation at the end of a job to put on my LinkedIn profile,” she says. “I put keywords in my headline. I search ‘freelance animator’ and filter to posts to find shoutouts. And I put my website and email in my About section.”

4. Make connections outside social media

That last point highlights a broader truth: finding work via social media alone is often a hiding to nothing. There’s so much noise here that it’s easy for your message to get lost or ignored. This is why combining social media activity with old-school methods is an approach more and more are taking in 2022.

“Social media very much feels like a lottery versus the more tangible connections you can make with real-life people,” says illustrator Amy Lauren. “Even an email updating an individual person on my work has been more reliable than a flash in the pan on my social links.”

Designer Megan Vickers agrees. “Honestly, social media is a weird one in terms of engagement,” she says. “I feel like it really is a lottery because sometimes I can post the same thing on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, and they all have different levels of success. So I think moving to a place where you can control what is seen is the way forward at the moment, in terms of websites or Behance. Social media is great for promotion, but can’t be the only form of promotion.”

“With social media, we easily forget that we’re using someone else’s free offered facility,” points out printmaker and graphic designer Paul Wolterink. “It may feel satisfying and autonomous, but of course, we’re just padding out their wallets. So, I think it’s important to always have your own website, as a rock in the surf, where you are the dealer.”

In short, as we’ve said on Creative Boom for some time now, building your own platforms is important. Those may be subscriber lists, newsletters, or websites – but whatever they are, they’re yours alone, which means you’re in control. For more ideas, read our marketing guide for freelancers fed up with Instagram).

5. Revisit traditional methods

Many creatives, of course, remember when that was the only way to do it. “I use all of the social media platforms and have done since my first Facebook forays in 2008,” says Sarah J Coleman. “But before social media, I used traditional methods: postal promo, regular newsletters, a well-maintained ‘Mothership’ website, shows, cold-calling, personal projects and more.”

She still does today and for good reason. “I’ve always adapted and gone with the flow with the subtle but insistent changes in social media’s modus operandi, but never felt comfortable relying on it,” she explains. “Someone recently said building a business solely on social media is like renting an office where the rent doubles every 18 months.

“What’s always worked for me is direct newsletters. Written by me, and only me. Each one is considered. And always to a permission-based address book compiled across almost 30 years of working professionally. It’s my precious resource, and it’s constantly being updated and reviewed.”

Illustrator Ben Tallon tells a similar story. “The Instagram algorithm change served me with a great reminder that all of these platforms are not owned by us,” he recalls. “So, while I still use them, I have returned focus to my website, mailing lists, and developing relationships in a direct manner.

“I feel it’s important to only use the socials as secondary,” he adds. “Even if they bring direct business, print sales and the likes, it surely drives home the need to distil them into some offline record. As long as that’s permitted, of course.”

Neil Grunshaw concurs. “In my experience, good old-fashioned ‘referrals’ are the best way of getting new business,” he maintains. “In short, I tell the kids today to keep doing their cool shit but to have patience and play the long game. Social media can work if you’re lucky, but usually, there are no shortcuts.”

6. Ignore the algorithm

We’ll end with one final point. For decades, people have stricken to work out how to please social media algorithms. But nowadays, they’re changing so fast it’s hard to keep up. So instead, brand strategist and creative director Tom Berry offers this advice for getting the best out of social media in 2022.

“Focus on what you can control and the energy you put in,” he says. “Some things never get old, including helping people out, being a nice person, starting conversations with people and making friends.

“Give away everything you know,” he adds. “That might sound counterintuitive, but it’s really a win-win. You help people, become an expert, and grow an audience. Finally, don’t take it so seriously. It’s easy to get caught up in all the numbers and stats. And seeing your numbers turn red and go down can make you feel terrible. But everybody is just winging it, not just you. So zoom out; focus on the big picture.”

If you are interested in original article by Katy Cowan you can find it here

4 Content Marketing Strategies You Should Use in 2023

Updated on by

Sticking to a few simple rules can keep your content marketing strategy on track and your brand on top.

Online content is now a critical connection point between brands and consumers. It’s not only where many consumers first engage with your brand but where your appeal, value and industry authority are first established and reinforced.

Without an effective content marketing strategy driving your outreach, you’re missing a golden opportunity to optimize that initial connection and leverage valuable content to your full advantage. When done right, this essential digital tool can help maximize brand awareness, cultivate credibility and loyalty, expand your reach and empower growth over the long run.

But getting your content marketing efforts into the right place isn’t always so straightforward. SEO and online content best practices are constantly changing, and knowing how to create content that resonates can often feel like trying to hit a moving target.

Here are a few content marketing rules to get your strategic marketing approach focused, grow your online presence and turn your blogs, social media posts and video content into dynamic brand-building assets.

1. Start with the data

There was once a time when content marketers built blogs and social posts around what they thought customers wanted, making guesses about what would compel engagement. Fortunately, we now have a variety of helpful analytics weapons in our arsenal.

These content marketing tools provide actionable data on what your target audience is looking for and the features driving visibility, clicks and specific types of engagement. With this data at your fingertips, you can now shape your content marketing campaign around things like keywords, site traffic, post reach, bounce rate, domain authority and more, creating data-driven content better positioned to deliver results.

Analytics tools can provide a significant advantage for any content marketing team building website content, managing social media, creating emails or simply seeking a visibility boost in search engines. User-friendly analytics platforms like Ahrefs, Moz, Google Analytics, Hootsuite and HubSpot should be used to refine your content marketing to improve marketing returns and nudge past other competitors in your space.

2. Be picky where you publish

The web offers numerous platforms for posting content and getting the word out, tempting many to risk it all and publish on every outlet in sight.

But because not all content and social media platforms have the same reach, focus, or search authority, it’s essential to be more selective, at least out of the gate. Branching out and exploring your options may be effective, particularly when you’re scaling up or have a bigger budget. But when you’re starting, it’s crucial to do your research.

Learning where your audience is and what types of content they engage with is key to maxing brand visibility and getting your content where it’s most likely to have an impact. When you’ve done your homework, you can begin to shape and share each blog post and article where they’ll gain the most traction. This helps sharpen the spotlight on your brand while pushing your content marketing budget even further.

Once you have a good rhythm on a few brand-friendly platforms and a more solidified presence, you can explore other content marketing opportunities to increase reach and awareness.

3. Get creative with your content marketing

Limited digital marketing budgets and resources can make it hard to build a robust content marketing strategy that maximizes brand exposure. When times are tight but you still need a solid presence across the web, a little content marketing creativity can go a long way toward keeping your business front and center.

One common but effective way to extend the life of your content is repurposing. Knowing how to repurpose long-form blogs, articles and webpages into smaller posts and across new platforms can help squeeze more value out of your content without exhausting limited resources.

Of course, avoiding overuse and repetitiveness is critical, things that can test your followers’ patience and attention. But once you have the right content cadence, your repurposing efforts can provide much-needed traction among your audience even after the original went live.

Piggybacking on viral trends and hashtags can also be a creative way to keep your content strategy humming without the time and cost of generating long-form content from scratch. Hopping on viral topics allows you to go viral by extension, avoiding the hard work of creating a new trend while benefitting from the exposure and web traffic trending topics tend to pull in.

4. Get your audience involved

Sometimes, the best way to get the word out and build a more successful content marketing strategy is to go directly to those you’re trying to reach: the content consumer. This is also known as community marketing; generating conversations between your business, and your audience offers numerous opportunities to spread the word and create a more dynamic brand presence online.

Creating interactive content like polls and quizzes engages people and allows you to create two-way conversations with your audience, boosting brand interaction.

Requesting reviews of your products or asking customers to tag you when using your services can also be an effective way to source fresh, high-quality content that can then be promoted within your own content marketing strategy – user-generated content (UGC) that’s not only free but fosters a sense of community that lends a sense of humanity and customer credibility to your brand.

If you are interested in original article Adam Petrilli you can find it here

lessons-learned-b2b-marketer-62ced18bebc3c-sej-760x400

5 PPC Advertising Lessons From A B2B Growth Marketer

Updated on by

Getting started in PPC advertising? Bringing a new team in-house? Here are 5 lessons from my time marketing a PPC ad tech product.

As a primarily organic marketer, working for an ad tech brand has been one of the most amazing phases of my career.

When I joined Optmyzr a little over two years ago, I had no idea I would learn so much about PPC advertising in so little time.

Between our customers, my colleagues, and the paid search community that’s welcomed me with open arms, I’ve been more involved with PPC during these last two years than the rest of my career put together.

Like any smart marketer, I’ve been listening attentively and taking notes.

Between that and managing campaigns of my own, I’ve accumulated a relative wealth of PPC knowledge.

These are the five most important lessons from my time leading marketing for a bootstrapped PPC ad tech brand.

1. Treat Your Ad Budget Like Your Investment Budget

Walled gardens, monopolies, platforms – whatever you call them, the different places businesses can advertise aren’t known for playing well together.

Between low data visibility and shifting controls, true omnichannel advertising is not really a viable approach.

But, just because each platform’s campaigns are fenced in doesn’t make it a good idea to rely totally or excessively on a single ad platform:

  • New features (such as Google’s Performance Max and keyword match type changes) can throw off your entire advertising program.
  • You miss out on potential customers who either block/ignore ads on your platform or don’t use it in the first place.
  • Outside influences like market economics and regulatory changes can do anything from drive up costs to render a whole platform moot.

Between platform-side automation and increasingly demanding online audiences, it’s important to diversify your PPC mix if you haven’t already.

2. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

In the quest to spread your budget across multiple channels, don’t rush to the other extreme of investing in too many different ones.

Not only will you end up with campaigns that don’t have enough money behind them, but you may run the risk of pushing your team too hard.

Since I joined Optmyzr as the first marketing hire, we’ve grown our team at a rate that’s healthy for our revenue run rate.

No one on the team is expected to put in 60-hour weeks, own 10 different channels, or otherwise push themselves beyond their physical and mental limits.

Accordingly, we’ve approached advertising (and marketing in general) with the understanding that we don’t have the same muscle as a heavily funded organization.

For example, if your entire marketing team is three people, it’s not wise to advertise on half a dozen channels.

You’ll compromise your testing and campaign efforts, with the additional cost of other needs in marketing being neglected.

In-house teams should begin by testing everything, then switch to a 1-2-1 approach:

  • 1 primary platform that gives you the best results and demands the bulk of your budget (e.g. Google Ads across multiple inventory types).
  • 2 secondary platforms for niche audiences or objectives (e.g. YouTube to grow your video audience and Twitter to grow your mailing list).
  • 1 experimental platform to test out new ideas (e.g. running stories ads on Instagram).

Then, as you grow your team, pad out each tier from the top down.

3. Brand Matters, Even In PPC

I know a lot of PPC specialists feel otherwise, but I’ve always been a fan of branded search terms for a few reasons:

  • Already some level of intent towards your product.
  • Claim space that your competitors now can’t.
  • Room to test out different offers and messages.

Branded search traffic is cheap, easy to win, and lets you capitalize on a range of business opportunities.

I’ve used branded terms to leverage traffic surges after high-publicity events, tailor offers to specific queries (like ones including “reviews” or “pricing”), and lower customer acquisition cost by shortening the time between discovery and conversion.

4. Focus On Offer, Targeting, And Creative In That Order

I earned my marketing stripes as a creative (specifically a copywriter with an art director partner), so I’ve always placed significant value on having well-crafted ads.

But the more I’ve worked as a strategist, the more I’ve come to realize that the offer takes priority.

Offers include aspects of both messaging and positioning, and most often manifest as copywriting – be it a headline, dialogue, or voiceover.

This is what allows you to occupy a specific place in your ideal customers’ minds, and play to your unique strengths rather than your competitors’ weaknesses.

As for the creatives themselves, the longer I work in marketing, the less I expect ads to follow brand guidelines or even look like ads.

Customers get defensive the moment they feel like they’re being sold to, so pattern interrupts can be positively disarming.

I’ve seen unconventional ad formats like customer testimonial videos win battles that perfectly “on-brand” stills couldn’t.

Without a solid offer and accurate targeting, even the most gorgeous creatives will struggle to convert.

In my experience, getting these three things right is easier said than done, but essential to PPC success.

Great offers can still succeed with average creatives, complicated account structures, and less-than-perfect targeting.

It rarely goes that way for weak offers presented as attractive ads in well-built accounts and campaigns.

5. There’s More To Advertising Than Google And Meta

Both platforms offer a level of reach and variety that most advertisers have a tough time ignoring.

Google’s inventory spans search, email, YouTube, and more of the internet’s most visited properties; Meta’s network includes some of the world’s most popular apps on Facebook and Instagram.

But there’s a whole world of advertising options beyond these two networks:

  • Microsoft Ads offers a lot of the visibility and control that advertisers miss about Google.
  • Amazon is a marketplace you can’t just ignore if you retail a physical product.
  • TikTok and Snapchat are great ways to reach younger audiences.
  • Spotify lets you play with audio in a way few other digital channels allow.
  • Sponsoring a newsletter or community offers consistently higher user intent even if they aren’t strictly PPC advertising.

Several years ago, I was on a team that advertised on one channel to a limited market.

Once we exhausted the audience available on that platform, all future leads were people who had either converted in the past or been marked as closed-lost.

Moving to a second channel meant starting the work over from scratch and learning the nuances of a completely new ad platform, while delivering a quantity and quality of leads far below expectations.

The Single Most Valuable Trait In PPC And Marketing

Sometimes I remember what digital marketing and PPC advertising looked like in 2010 when I started my career, and I realize that not a single person at the time could have predicted what it looks like today.

Nearly every best practice – many of them focused on meeting targets and nothing else – has given way to ones more focused on automation, user experience, and accessibility.

If you told 2012 me that gating a blog would one day be frowned upon, he would have laughed.

With how quickly our industry changes, adaptability is the single most important trait to cultivate.

Being bonded to a single ad platform, format, technique, strategy, or mindset can stagnate your progression as a marketer without you even realizing it.

Then one day, you realize everything around you has changed and everyone but you has turned the playing field in their favor.

Across all my conversations with PPC strategists and account managers – agency and in-house – this may be the single piece of advice I hear consistently and repeatedly: Adapt or be replaced.

If you are interested in original article by Ashwin Balakrishnan you can find it here