Digital Marketing Through Automation

When it comes to social media nearly everyone falls in one of two extreme camps. You either love it or you hate it so much you would rather someone else do it for you. For this reason, many marketers love Marketing Automation for the capabilities of that it has. Results which automation brings to the table have been proven for years now that and this trend isn’t decreasing. So, what is Digital Marketing Automation?

Any software that is used to automate portions of your social media marketing action is marketing automation. This type of software is intended to reduce repetitious digital tasks such as email and social media actions. Thus freeing up time and energy to be used for other tasks. With the use of Marketing Automation, you gain the ability to run campaigns on several platforms at once. Such as Email, Social media as well as phone campaigns. It uses your CRM to combine insight-focused capabilities, as well as web analytics and other systems to provide you with powerful lead options.  

Why do You Need It?
In the realm of marketing management, speed is king in many regards. If slow tedious portions of your business can be automated, it frees your time allowing you opportunities to engage with your customers more often. These types of engagements can potentially result in new leads and sales. You can then plug these leads into your automated system for email alerts and automated social media campaigns, thus growing your customer base.  

Additionally, with good automation tools, marketers are further able to tailor target customers purchasing profiles. This tailored experience will have the added benefit of higher qualified prospective customers spending more time on your website. The longer that they spend on your site, the more data will that you can use to discover more leads and customers in an ongoing cycle.

This information is key to targeted relevant promotions on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. These platforms only focus on relevant new content, making your need for good marketing automation software even more important. The need for a strong CRM database is more important than ever before.

Where do I Start?

Do not be overwhelmed. Start small and see how much automation benefits you and you will be ready to take it to the next level in no time. Build a solid small campaign or two. This smaller scale will allow you to see the things marketing automation does well. As your list of contacts grows, build bigger campaigns to further build your target customer base.

One of the most popular email marketing platforms is Mailchimp. Once you start assembling a database of contacts, you can use this to start a regular stream of content marketing to your audience. You can also use features like welcome messages, birthday messages and notifications of abandoned shopping carts to keep your audience engaged for longer.

Craft an enticing Landing Page
Once you have a customer base built you want to craft a page that will hold your audience for as much time as possible. This must be done in an appealing way, taking in consideration things such as quality content relevant to your audience and a good user experience. Walls of text are a quick way to have your potential patrons clicking over to other sites. Poor developer practices and slow loading pages and poor graphic design choices will also turn your visitors away.

Focus on content that is is build around short paragraphs, bullet points and encouraging short pieces of content that will convince them to fill out forums and sign up for notifications via email and social media. All of your content should be shareable so your consumers can spread the word of your company for you – make sure you include social media share icons and links to your profiles.

You must be sure that once your customers have given you their email that you do not abuse this. You need to focus on finding a pace that your automated systems will send out notifications frequently enough to draw your customers back to your page. At the same time as not to contact them too often and drive them away from your notifications.

Automated calling lists should be treated much like your email list as well. The last thing you want is your customers blocking your incoming calls or sending your emails to the junk folder.
A key to maintaining this contact with your consumers is to do everything you can to make the interaction feel personal. Tailored content will go a long way to repeat customers. This kind of focus on your customers will build loyalty and go a long way to retain your customer base.

Customer Retention is Essential
In the coming years, we will see a stronger embrace of customer retention. This loyalty combined with regular social interaction with your audience will begin cultivate micro-influencers out of all of your happy customers. This will grow your automated marketing files further increasing your brand.  

Marketing automation software today can do most of the marketing heavy lifting for you. This can change the way you engage with your customers. You will have the ability to gather much better quality leads as well as freeing you up from tedium of everyday social media activity and enable you to spend the time being the face of your brand.

Local SEO Basics: Location and Reviews

In today’s digital market, SEO strategies for increasing local searches involve many factors. Since over 80 percent of today’s potential buyers begin their search for products, goods and services online, how your local site manages the functions of location and reviews are two of the most critical of these factors.

Increasing Local Visibility
Customers need to find you in order to spend money with you. In the case of businesses with multiple locations, the importance of maintaining a website (ar web page, at least) for each individual location should not be underestimated. Here are some key SEO basics for ensuring shoppers are able to easily navigate to your business location.

Is Your Google My Business Profile Accurate?
To ensure you’re deriving the most benefit from Google products like Maps and Search, you need to populate your profile with accurate and up-to-date data. Make certain your name, as listed in your profile, is your exact business name and not some combination of name and keyword. The same goes for your business address and phone number and for your website URL. Fill out the entire profile. Choose the correct categories. Be consistent from one location to another.

Are You Providing Good Local Content?
This can be as simple as creating pages for such topics as customer testimonials or local news. A blog for each location can be worth its weight in gold if you are telling customers your story in an engaging and personal way.  Don’t hesitate to link to some of the clients and businesses with whom you work closely. Don’t forget to include images and video wherever applicable.

Which Leads Us to Reviews
Your reputation is everything. Promoting positive and honest customer reviews will allow your location to stand out and be noticed amongst all of your competition in your particular digital marketing environment. Whether you’re being rated by stars or some other rating icon, the mental signal the 1-5 point rating standard makes is universally understood. To assume potential customers are not checking out your ratings when they navigate to your location is a miscalculation you don’t want to make. Here are three key concerns when it comes to how you manage your reviews.

Be Honest
Set honest criteria and accept the honest feedback it elicits. Be ethical and authentic. Negative ratings and comments can be a signal that you may need to make some adjustments in your business plan. No matter what, don’t be tempted to write your own countervailing review as there are Google’s own algorithms that may detect it.

Be Timely
In any given time frame you want to receive enough reviews so everyone knows you’re still in business, but not so many that they begin to stack up and appear outdated. Remember, over 70 percent of shoppers don’t take a review older than several months as seriously as they do the one that was written today.

Be Proactive
As the owner of your business, don’t hesitate to address your customer’s positive feedback as well as their concerns and negative comments. It’s your chance to proactively tell your side of the story. Do so in a professional and dignified manner, letting them know of the solutions you’ve come up with to address their concerns. In the process you’ll come across in a way that may overcome any negative with a positive affirmation.

When it comes to SEO basics, the properly understood functions of location and reviews are a vital key in growing your business.

Top 10 Landing Page Trends in 2017

As people spend increasingly more time online, the ability to raise conversion rates is more important than ever before. One of the most effective assets in today’s digital marketer’s tool belt is still a landing page. We have previously looked at key elements to creating a great landing page as well as some common mistakes to look out for when building one. If you’re looking to keep apace of what is new and trendy in digital marketing design, read on for 10 bite-size, top landing page trends of 2017.

  1. Engagement Bots

You’ve probably seen one of these: automatic “chats” that open, with a friendly person offering to help or answer questions. These are a great way to engage website visitors.

  1. Diagonal or Wavy Layout

Instead of typical horizontal and vertical layout of images and text, many designers are opting for a more dynamic look, splaying their text and pictures on a diagonal or wavy layout. This type of layout can help you stand out more and effectively directing the visitor’s eye around the page.

  1. Contextual Video

These are videos that play in the background of the page, where you would expect an image to be, behind whatever text is present on the landing page. It’s eye-catching and allows the web designer to display more content.

  1. Mobile-Specific Pages

With more people viewing the web on their mobile devices, having a landing page that functions and is the right size for a smaller screen is crucial!

  1. Longer Landing Pages

These allow for more space for CTAs and allow companies to include more details about options as well.

  1. No or Buried Navigation Bar

Eliminating the navigation bar allows the whole screen to be devoted to a CTA. An “upside-down” landing page, where the navigation bar is at the bottom, forces the visitor to engage with the site.

  1. Social Media Targeted Pages

These are landing pages devoted to the click-throughs from social media posts or advertisements. They are often simple and mimic the style of the advertisement.

  1. Mobile App Downloads

Using a landing page that contains a link to download the company’s mobile app works well as a CTA, as well as offering something useful to the visitor right from the beginning.

  1. Welcome Mats

These are screens that pop up, usually asking you to subscribe to an email list or newsletter, promising special content or a free ebook in order to entice the visitor to enter their address, this collecting precious lead generation details for your business.

  1. Images and Illustrations

Illustrations tend to look quirkier and more unique than photos, which helps companies uniquely brand themselves, especially if they’re hoping to appear fun and approachable. Stock imagery is also losing out in favor of custom photography.

Of course, there are many other landing page designs that are becoming popular, but these are some of the top ones! Hopefully this has helped and inspired you for your next website or landing page design.

9 Easy Ways to Make Great Content

Great written content doesn’t happen by accident: it is a conscious choice. Search engines and users have gotten far more savvy about what is pure digital marketing and content that entertains, informs, and inspires. Smart marketing means getting your content right if you expect to build the business and brand that you need to succeed. Here are 9 easy ways to start making great content:

  1. Be Original

Don’t copy other’s digital content. Google (and the general public) take a dim view of this, and they have meted out some harsh punishments in the past. Smart marketing software can help you avoid accidental plagiarism as well, so make sure you run checks on all content before posting. Two simple rules to keep in mind:

  • If you hire content copywriters, you will get what you pay for.
  • Don’t post for the sake of posting. It is better to post less often and say more than to put up any content you can dish out fast.
  1. Strong Headlines Matter

A couple quick statistics for this rule:

  • 80% of users read headlines
  • Only 20% read the remainder of your content

You need to experiment with headlines and subheadings that grab attention without getting lumped in with ‘clickbait’. Look at the top trending headlines and see what they are doing right. It never hurts to learn from better headline writers. Headline writing plays a major role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), so make sure your keyword game is on point.

  1. Content Needs to Demand Action

Always include a call to action for your reader somewhere in your content. If you don’t demand they do something, that content (and also your brand and image) are going to fade quickly from their memory.

  1. Be the Expert

Make sure you establish yourself as a trusted expert voice online. People search for answers on Google, not questions.

  1. Verify Your Sources

This helps stop the spread of ignorance and gullibility! Verify your sources and information that you cite in your content. Be a responsible publisher and make sure you have the best facts available that can be verified.

  1. Make Them Think, Make Them Learn

All your content needs to be focused on providing new and engaging information that allows your readers to educate themselves.

  1. Use Images and Video

You aren’t going to see many click throughs to your content without well-curated images or relevant video content.

  1. Keep it Short, Stay on Target

Don’t write meandering reflective journal entries, write content people want to read. That means content full of answers, not questions that need answering.

  1. Update Consistently

Set a posting schedule and stick to it. More importantly, make sure you are posting during peak viewing time for most users (i.e. morning coffee break, lunchtime, after work, etc.).

Master these techniques, and you will soon see your SEO efforts begin to drive your content marketing game over the top. Search rankings will rise, and your online reputation will start to gel according to the quality of your content. Remember, without original content you cannot achieve your branding goals. Start generating that high-quality content, and success is sure to follow.

Effective Email Marketing in 10 Simple Steps

Email marketing is a fast and convenient method to convey promotions, tips, messages and updates to your audience that have opted in to receive these notifications. This method of marketing has proven to be so successful and easily abused that the word “Spam” became a household word. With the tremendous abuse of email by spammers, email clients have built better and better filters to catch incoming spam.

Today the basics of building an email marketing campaign are much the same as in years past. Let’s go over ten basic steps that will help you get an email marketing campaign off the ground successfully.

Build a Mailing List
Assemble a list of Email addresses from scratch or by importing existing contacts that you wish to direct your marketing plan at. Ensure that all the contacts on the list have given you permission to send these subscribers email.

Chose an Email Provider
Take the time to look at several of the available marketing email providers and chose the one that is best for your needs.

Grow your Mailing list
Add simple Opt-In options on your relevant pages indicating newsletters and special offers that will attract more sign-ups.

Provide Value
With so many brands that provide newsletters you must ensure that your email has a purpose as well as a focused message. If your reader can not find something to identify with in they will lose interest quickly.

Use a Simple Design
In the era of mobile devices, much of our email content is taken in by phone. Often most emails are glanced at before they are read. A simple layout with an awesome headline will have better results than cluttered emails.

Use Copywriters
Having strong writing that will keep your readers engaged and entertained is vital. If this is not your strong suit it is highly recommended that you seek out a writer.

Use Strong Subject Lines
You can have excellent copy in your marketing email and if you do not have a strong subject line it is likely your email will never be opened. Steer away of spam words that will get your email tossed straight into the junk mail folder.

Timing is Everything
Understanding there are good and bad times to send your emails. Emails that are likely to arrive when your reader’s inbox is likely full are far more likely not to be read. 10 a.m. is considered to be the best time to send out your emails.

Make use of analytics to track and follow your campaign to check click-through rates, conversion rates, open rates and deliverability.

Adjust and Improve
Refine your approach as you dial in your subject and style to maximise and grow your reader base.

For a far more in-depth look at ten marketing steps give this excellent blog a read:

The Simple Small Business Owner’s Guide to Marketing Acronyms

There are a lot of acronyms that you probably already use on a daily basis but there are also some digital marketing acronyms that you might not be as familiar with. However, it can be really helpful to understand these acronyms. The following are some of the top acronyms you might need to know.

This stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action and it is a list of events that one should try to do in order to get customers to interact.

This is Application Program Interface which is a set of rules that help to build software.

Business to Business which refers to companies that only sell to other businesses.

Business to consumer when companies typically only sell to other businesses.

A backlink is using a link from a different website on your own website.

Content Management System which is a type of software that you can use to organise and edit and publish content, usually used in reference to the back end of a website.

Cost Per Action has to do with the online marketing strategy where a business is charged each time based on an action.

Cost Per Click is the advertising methodology where the advertiser is charged depending on the number of clicks by a visitor (for example, visitors clicking on your Google advertisement).

Cost Per Thousand is when the advertiser is charged based on every thousand impressions.

Conversion Rate is the number of people that take action beyond what you originally asked of them.

Customer Relationship Management is a strategy used for interacting and communicating with different customers or leads.

Call to Action is a word or a phrase that tells people what you want them to do on your website or in an email.

Google Analytics which helps give you statistics regarding website traffic.

Hyper Text Markup Language which is the code that is used to create web pages.

Page views are the number of times that somebody will visit your web page.

Return on Investment is how successful your campaign is and the amount you expect to profit minus whatever the campaign cost you.

A retweet is a reposted or a forwarded message on Twitter that comes from another user.

Search Engine Optimization is the process of using content and specific keywords to help increase your search results on Google when customers search for them.

User-Generated Content can be a wide range of different media that is created exclusively by the users.

Unique Visitor which is a distinct visitor to the website that will only be counted once no matter how many times they actually visit.

While this list is not a comprehensive list of all marketing acronyms, these are some of the most popular terms that you should know and will most likely encounter on a regular basis.

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