2017 is the defining year for your business

There are several things going on in the marketing world that you as a business owner need to realize.

Over the past 5 years the web has moved at lightening speeds and many small businesses are having a really hard time fully understanding the impact it is having on their businesses.

I am amazed at how many small businesses in Maine do not even have a website at this point. I am not sure what they are thinking. Maybe they have enough business or maybe they think people still use the yellow pages and a phone book. I am sure there are still a few of those phone books kicking around, but it has been a long long time since most of the world has bothered with that.

So how is 2017 going to be a defining year for your business?

You are either going to fully embrace and realize that everything is moving to the mobile world. Mobile search surpassed desktop and tablet searches long ago. Google is moving to a mobile first search engine and if your site is not mobile optimized then sorry but there is a high probability that your competitions website is mobile responsive and will be shown before your site. This also includes those sites that have the m.websites as well. Those sites are not what google is looking for. You must have a responsive mobile website now.

Google is all about user experience and that means to you the business owner, having a website that displays beautifully on a mobile device. This is no longer an option, it is a requirement. If your text on your site is hard to read, then you have a problem.

mobile websites is not just about it fitting on a phone, it must be readable as well

Do You Have An Email Marketing Strategy Plan For 2017?

Developing an email marketing strategy plan for 2017 may be one of the wisest moves you can make for your business. Email marketing has been around for a while and it is still highly effective as a marketing strategy for building your business.

So what does an email marketing strategy include?

  1. A Lead capture system on your website
  2. An Autoresponder
  3. A lead magnet

There are many email marketing companies out there that offer the first 2. If you have not invested in these for your business then make 2017 the year you invest in a good email marketing system for your business. The payoff for this will more then cover the cost to set this up.

Here is a wonderful graphic that lays out what an email marketing strategy plan looks likeemail marketing strategy plan looks like this

When you invest with an email marketing company, most of the components that make up your strategy are incorporated into the purchase when you get started with email marketing.

By capturing visitors coming to your website, you make the most of any advertising you do. It can be expensive and time consuming to drive traffic to your website. You don’t want to waste it, which is why you must have a plan to at the very least capture their email address. This gives you the ability to follow up with not just one person at a time, but everyone on your list at one time.

I’ll give you an example of how powerful this is. One of my clients has a small perfume business and she had not set up any system to follow up with her previous customers through email. After working with her and building a database of her current customers into a email system, we designed a campaign that was made up of 3 emails to go out to her previous customers. This was just a small list of 170 people as most of her business came locally from doing craft shows. So after getting all her customers into the database, we set up a special offer for all her customers where she gave them a one time 30% special. This was a great deal for her customers and they were very excited to get her offer. I helped her craft the email and within a hour we had a nice email set up. We sent this out and planned on 2 follow ups over the promotional period of 10 days.  The result? She did over $1600.00 in sales. From one small list and one campaign. This was in October of 2016.

So does having an email marketing strategy plan still work?

The answer is a resounding YES!!!

If you have not done email marketing before and are not sure how to get started please contact us today and we can guide you through this process.

Looking ahead to 2017 and Email marketing

You must consider most people are reading their emails on Mobile devices today and moving forward into 2017

This trend is continuing to grow at record paces as just about everyone over the age of 5 has a smart phone. Make sure whatever company you decide to handle your email marketing that you can create templates and emails that are mobile friendly. If your email does not look good on a mobile device, then there is  a good chance your response to it will suffer. The best way to go about this to always send yourself a test email and look at it on various devices especially a mobile phone.

List Segmentation.

A great part of using an email marketing system, is most offer the ability to segment lists. You may have a list of people who just visited your site and signed up for a newsletter. They may not have ever purchased anything, but they were interested enough to sign up to your newsletter. This list you could set up through automation so they receive a series of emails from you in which your goal is to get them to purchase your product, membership or whatever you are offering on your site.

You can also segment list based on actions they have taken. So, if someone who is on the newsletter list decided to purchase your product, they are now a buyer and they would be moved onto your buyer list. With a good email marketing system, this is very possible and will drive your decisions on what to send each list based on actions they have taken on your site.

One of the advantages of having a professional email system is the ability to send out what is called email drip campaigns. What this means is typically a series of emails that are designed ahead of time and they go out to everyone on the list over a course of several days or weeks.

Personalize each email and capture their name when signing up.

I highly recommend catching more than an email when someone visits your site. The reason is most email marketing systems allows you to put in a tag such as {name} which will go into your database of email leads and grab the name of the person. This allows for a much more personalized experience for the end user and should be implemented.

Tracking your email marketing

email marketing tracking as part of your email marketing strategy

One of the huge advantages of having a professional email marketing system is it allows you to track everything. You can quickly see if all the emails were delivered, how many people opened them and how many people clicked on the link you have inside the email.

This data can drive future decisions about your email content. If not many people opened the email, then you need to craft a better subject line and see if that increases open rates. If people opened them, but did not click on the link then there are other issues to look at. Maybe the content wasn’t relevant. Maybe the email was too long. Maybe there was not a good enough incentive to get them to click on the link. There are many marketing tactics that can be deployed and tracked within email which makes it a fabulous marketing tool.

The third component I laid out at the beginning is what is called a lead magnet. This is something you can test out but there are many ways to develop a lead magnet. This can be a free gift, download, eBook, whitepaper, special protected content on your site….something of value that the user on your website would like to have. Typically, it is best to offer something that holds real value and you are going to give it to them in return for their name and email. People are a little more skeptical of giving out their email if they have not built a relationship with you. So, you may need to develop within your email marketing plan a way to entice them to give up their name and email. Believe me, it will be well worth it in the long run to build a big customer list that you can go back to an email anytime you desire.

Make sure you develop an email marketing strategy plan for your business if you have not already. It is a vital business asset that in today’s internet world needs to be built and nourished.

 

Building A Vital Marketing Asset

Building a vital marketing asset?

So to understand how to build a vital marketing asset we first have to define what asset are we talking about.

When I bring up the phrase marketing asset, I am referring to online aspects here.

Here is a list of potential marketing assets:

·        Emails

·        Blog Posts

·        Sales letters

·        Content on your website

·        Facebook

·        Twitter

·        LinkedIN

·        Pinterest

·        A video series

·        A membership

·        Podcasts

·        White papers

·        An App

·        Webinars

·        Shared Tips

 

This is not an all-inclusive list for potentially building a vital marketing asset. It really depends on your marketing strategy. Some assets are way more important then others. Some you can totally control some you are at the whims of Google, Facebook and other places you put your content onto.

In my eyes, the most important asset you are building is your website. You can control all the content that designed and delivered to your website. Long term your website can bring you tens of thousands of dollars each month if it has been crafted in a way that holds enough value to others who are searching you out.

When Building a Vital Marketing Asset these are a few things to keep in mind!

thinking about building a vital marketing asset

As I mentioned above, what you control is usually your most important asset. First and foremost, content creation is yours or should be mostly yours. That includes video, audio and written text. These assets should be created based on solid market research and a developed marketing content strategy. This will yield the best results long term. Through the past 10 years and all the changes that have happened one thing I learned long ago that content is King on the internet. How that content is created and distributed may have changed, but all businesses that want to rank and bank so to speak should be continually creating great content for their sites and more importantly for the people coming to your sites.

There are many other assets above that can become vital in your overall marketing. There is no question that Facebook has become a giant on the internet. People are on Facebook in huge numbers every day and it is a great place to engage and market to them. It Is handled a bit differently but it has become a place that all businesses can connect with their audience.

Depending on your business and what you are selling, a sales page can be a tremendous asset and bring your business lots of revenue. Great copywriting for a sales letter is worth it when building a vital asset for your business.

The great thing about your assets and using the internet is everything is highly measurable. I have found sometimes that testing various assets as mentioned above should not be overlooked.

I recently ran an ad for a client who runs a small automotive garage. He is in rural Maine and getting traffic to his website and business has been a bit of a challenge. However, I created a couple of videos for his business and one of them I ran a Facebook page boost for that video.  I targeted his town and 2 others around it and the results were amazing. This quickly became an asset for his business because of the reach, branding and actual business that it brought to him. Even though they were very small towns it went to prove that your audience is on Facebook and they are on their daily.

However, Facebook owns everything on their site so you need to be careful in how you build your Facebook asset. The goal should be to get them onto your main site and engaging with your business directly. When they are there, make darn sure you have a system for capturing their name and email at least. There are many ways to do this and I will cover these in another post for another day.

Perfect On Page SEO

Perfect ON-Page SEO and Creating a Perfectly Optimized Page

Ok, so Perfect On-Page seo will go a long way in getting ranked on Google. No matter what you have heard about all the alogrythems and penguin and panda blah blah blah, On page seo has remained pretty constant over the years.

So What makes a Perfect ON PAGE SEO piece of content?

Well first off, hopefully you have done your market research and you have a content marketing strategy. Most people don’t get when they are looking at on page seo that EACH piece of content you create is a separate entity on the internet.You should choose one keyword from your market research and focus solely on that word for this piece of content.

Yes it is connected to your website for sure and your content should match what your website is about. (this is another mistake many people make on their websites is straying from the main theme topic of their site) However, each content is your opportunity to write something very specific related to your content marketing strategy.

No Content marketing strategy? Then Contact us and have us help you put one together based on sound research and search marketing

So Back to Perfect On-page Seo.

With my market research data, I find out that on the internet there are 303 pieces of content on the internet with Perfect on-page seo that is in the title of the content created.Cool, as a marketing strategy I am pretty confident that I may be able to rank this piece maybe based solely on my on page seo.

So there is your first important hint. The Title of your Post is the first must have your keyword placed in the title for perfect on-page seo.

Secondly, you will want the same keyword phrase in whats called an H1 tag for the opening of your content. As you can see in my content, I have perfect on-page seo in my title of the content, and it is also right off the bat in big bold letters within the opening of the post. That is an H1 tag (heading tag)

Next up as you start putting your content together, you want to put your main keyword into the first sentence of your opening paragraph. Again that is what you will find on this piece of content.

Now, you will want to use this phrase a few more times within the content as well. Google is demanding that content be longer then the good ole days of seo. You want to aim for at least 300 words for each piece of content.

Next up is H2 tags. H stands for heading and depending of what content management system you are using, this is pretty easy to implement. An H2 tag is smaller then an H1, but it is an opportunity to re-enforce your main keyword once again. You should have the targeted keyword in your H2 tag as well.

Next up, which could of been first, is the URL that is created for this piece of content should also have the keyword phrase in it. This is controlled by (at least in wordpress) something called the permalink. Permalink is the URL that is created when you publish the content.

Example is when this is published it will be http://drnet.com/perfect-on-page-seo  The phrase I am targeting is again matching with the permalink.

Next up? Internal Linking is a critical element to boosting your overall site. If you have a good page or post related to what you are talking about then use a couple internal links to point to those pages. Example, on this post I will be using links that point to my main page about Search Marketing and also to Mobile websites.

Speaking of, if your website is not mobile responsive, it is now time to get that taken care of. Google rankings are now including mobile responsive design. Your business will be penalized if it is not mobile ready.

External Links for Perfect On-page SEO? Yes…There is so much fantastic content on the web today that it is expected that we will point to great content that is worthy to share that is related to what we are talking about.

The link in the paragraph above points to an excellent article that talks about being mobile responsive and the impact of SEO. Its a great read and correlates to exactly what I am talking about. So don’t just throw any link in there, if you want perfect on-page seo then make sure the site you links to is right on topic about what you are talking about.

Add some LSI keywords into your content. LSI are highly related terms that are important to your main keyword. To find some LSI keywords there is an excellent free tool Here

Here area a few that came up for me for the phrase perfect on-page-seo.

perfect on page seo lsi keywords

There are some interesting keywords in there to use with this content and it has given me some ideas for additional content as well including redoing this post in a on page seo checklist for 2017 🙂

Ok, so all your images you use on a post you should utilize the alt-tag attribute and make sure the keyword is within the alt image tag. Google reads this data but not the actual image so its another place to utilize the main keyword.

So there you have an almost perfect on-page seo list to create a google friendly content that Google will know exactly where to rank it on the internet. Additionally the user will be happy when they find this post because it will answer the question of how to create a perfect on-page seo piece of content.

There are a few more items but I am going to save that for another post!

.

Increasing Your Conversions

How to Improve Your Website Conversions

Most websites built are done with beautiful design, however there is not much thought we it comes to maximizing the visitors that come to your website. There are several things you can do to increase conversions of these visitors. It is well know statistically, that many people who visit a website, are there for only a few short seconds, and in those few seconds they will make up their mind if the site is worth staying at. It is critical to catch these visitors attention immediately and get them to stay on your website. The longer they are there the higher probability you will convert the visitor into a user of your site.

So what is website conversions?

I guess it is best to explain this so you can start to think about your own site and ask the question…”Is my site converting people who stop by to take some sort of action that allows you to follow up with them?”

The simplest form of converting a visitor is one that has been around a long time. It is having an optin form on your site which people will give you their name and email in return you will give them something in return. Most businesses start with a monthly newsletter form. Here is what a basic form looks like

newsletter-form-example

This is a basic way to invite people to sign up and become a user of your site. This way you now have a basic way to follow up with people who are interested in your services or products.

That being said, conversions can come in many forms and you should always be thinking about your marketing and how to increase your conversions.

A few things you can do now is to look at your website and see if there is an easy way to contact you. This should always be front and center for people who visit your website. When you look at my site here, you will see that every page you go to, my phone number and email appear at the top of the site and it follows you as you scroll. Additionally, the email and phone number are click to call. This is very important as most people are now viewing websites with a mobile phone. If you don’t have click to call, there is a high probability that they are not going to memorize your number and try to enter it into their cell phone. So make sure you have click to call and click to email to increase conversions on your website.

One last note about conversions for this post. Today google measures bounce rate as a high indicator for ranking a website. They figure if someone only stays on a website for a few seconds and leaves, then the website did not answer whatever the visitor was looking for. If the bounce rate is high, then conversion is low for you, but even worse, Google will see your site as not important enough and may drop you in your rankings based on this indicator.

How to overcome this?

Add video to your site to increase time a visitor stays on your site.

We have entered a new era and its called video marketing. People unfortunately don’t really like to read anymore, they prefer to watch a video. The statistics around this are staggering at the number of video views each and every day on youtube are huge.

This is directly from YouTubes site on statistics

  • YouTube has over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.

What this means is video is not optional anymore…you should have video on your website for a number of reasons. The home page which is typically the most visited page, should have a video. This will typically keep people on your site longer which in turn reduces your bounce rate and will typically increase conversions.

More on video and conversions will be discussed soon.

There is much more to discuss on the issue of how to increase conversions on your website. One thing you should get used to doing is making sure your web developer provides statistics about what is happening on your website. This will give you a baseline to understanding how many people visit your site monthly and how many took action.