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Social Media Integration

5 Instant, Effective, and Affordable Ways to Boost Your Online Marketing

By | Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Integration, Website Design and Development | No Comments

Contrary to popular belief – and what some of our competitors might tell you – getting better online marketing results doesn’t have to involve designing and launching a brand-new website.

There are times when you should take that step, of course, but it can sometimes be just as smart (and a whole lot more cost-effective) to make small and immediate improvements to the website you have. For some business owners and managers, making inexpensive tweaks might be the only choice if budgets are tight.

A lot of web designers don’t like to admit this, but there are little things you can do to boost the effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns that don’t require a lot in terms of effort or money. They won’t save you if you have a bad website, but they can go a long way towards helping you get more returns from a good one that just has a few issues.

To put it a different way, sometimes it’s better to put new tires and a fresh windshield on the car you have rather than trading it in at the dealership. The same thing can apply to business web design. Making a huge investment into a brand-new layout isn’t always the answer, particularly in the short term.

With that in mind, let’s look at five effective, affordable, and nearly-instant ways you can boost your online marketing results…

Audit current website#1 Audit Your Business Website

Imagine if you could have a simple report that told you exactly what was going on with your business website at any time. It would give you statistics about visitors and traffic sources, along with insights into which pages and content categories were most popular. It would also evaluate technical factors like web page loading speed, quality of your internal links, and even your current search engine positioning.

What we’ve just described is referred to as a website audit. Getting one doesn’t take long and won’t cost you very much. What you get in return is valuable information about the way your web presence is seen by search engine spiders and used by real-world prospects.

Business owners are often astonished by the things we can learn during a website audit. For instance, we could discover that they have broken links preventing the flow of traffic from one page to another, or that a landing page isn’t functioning correctly and leaves potential customers at a dead end. We might learn there are duplicate content issues causing Google to ignore certain pages, or that visitors are leaving before the company’s content displays at all.

Auditing a website isn’t just about picking up on problems, either. By better understanding who you have coming to your pages and studying their actions, you can spot opportunities you didn’t know existed. You may discover that some products or subjects are attention-grabbers, while certain offers just aren’t pulling in the kind of responses they were designed for.

It’s the combination of web analytics with technical testing and creative evaluation that makes a website audit so valuable. It gives the business owner the chance to see a “big picture” view of their online strategy that’s difficult to obtain in any other way. Most importantly, it can point the way towards small, simple, and inexpensive course corrections that let you get more from your existing website without having to pay for a redesign.

upgrade website hosting

#2 Upgrade Your Web Hosting

How much do you know about your web hosting package? If the answer is “not much,” you aren’t alone. Most business owners are barely aware of how their websites are stored and delivered.

It’s not hard to understand why: an entrepreneur or manager will normally choose the cheapest option when it comes to web hosting because they don’t really understand the choices. They want their pages to be on the internet, and any plan will allow for that. So, they assume a standard “small business package” is the smart choice.

However, there are a lot of reasons to pay a little extra for premium web hosting. That’s because better hosting comes with several performance and security-related benefits.

One of the easiest to understand is faster website loading. With premium web hosting, you get dedicated server space on newer equipment. That means your website is going to load faster than it would if it were stored on an older crowded server with hundreds of other websites.

There are also lots of online security features that come with better web hosting. For example, you’ll likely get access to automatic daily backups and real-time traffic monitoring. That way, if someone tries to hack into your website, someone will be watching. And, you’ll have extra copies of all your content ready to use if there is a problem.

SSL connections, which are included or available with good web hosting, are increasingly important. These allow for encrypted transfers of data between your website and a user. They have been used by banks and online retailers for years, but businesses are beginning to integrate SSL functionality into their sites as well because Google prefers it. That means you could protect yourself from hackers and thieves while gaining a search visibility advantage over your competitors.

These are just a few of the things you get with better web hosting, and they are all available at a cost of just a few dollars per day. Take that into consideration and it’s easy to see why upgrading your web hosting can give a big boost to your online marketing campaigns without taking much from your budget.

#3 Add Local Keywords to Your Website

Search engine optimization is often thought of as being tedious, intensive, and requiring big up-front investments of time and money. All of those things can be true, particularly if you’re trying to take on lots of nationally-known companies in your market or industry.

If your focus is on local buyers, however, optimizing your website for search on Google and Bing is relatively straightforward and incredibly inexpensive. That’s because search engine programmers are working hard to match buyers with businesses and vendors in their own cities and neighborhoods. You have a built-in “home-field advantage” that you can either take advantage of or ignore.

How do you maximize your local search visibility? It all starts with adding geographic keywords to webpage titles, headings, and links.

For instance, a business like ours might make sure phrases like “Providence small business web design” appear in prominent places throughout the site. They might also include a state or province, or even a specific neighborhood. That way, Google’s search spiders can see where the company is located and direct searchers who are nearby and looking for the same type
of business.

Other easy and very inexpensive ways to attract local customers to your website involve adding maps and driving directions to your website or creating specific pages for each office or location you operate. These serve as further guides to your place in the geographic world and help you to stand out to customers who live and work nearby or happen to be passing through.

The amazing thing about optimizing a business website for local searches that it’s not just simple and affordable but can pay huge dividends in a relatively short amount of time. That’s because Google is continually re-indexing its search results, particularly with regards to queries for local shops, vendors, and retailers. Search programmers know small businesses open and close all the time, so they make it easy to update rankings on a weekly basis.

The upshot to all of this is that you can spend very little time and money and suddenly make your company more visible to dozens or hundreds of local buyers every week.

Online Review Management#4 Gather Strong Online Reviews

According to a survey by Forbes magazine, 90% of us check out online reviews before making a purchase, appointment, or even a visit to a retail store.

This statistic seems to surprise some business owners, but I’m not sure it should. After all, stop and think about the way you shop for products, restaurants, or service providers. Don’t you go online to see whether others have been happy with their purchase? You probably do, and so do your customers.

Recognizing the importance of online reviews is crucial because they can make or break sales opportunities before they have even developed. In other words, someone who sees bad feedback (or no feedback) about your business might decide not to call or stop by. If that happens, you won’t even be aware that you lost a sale in the first place.

Conversely, if prospects go online and see all kinds of fantastic things written about your business, your service, or the value of your products, they are far more likely to give you a try. More than that, they’ll start a new business relationship with the assumption that they are going to be pleased later.

Because this is such a profound difference, you should be taking great care to monitor and grow your online reputation. However, updating your business profiles on Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google Business, and numerous industry websites are local business directories would take a lot of time. Luckily, there are faster and more convenient ways to do things.

A good web designer can set you up on an affordable reputation management plan that costs less than a round of coffee for the office. Using intuitive and automated tools, you can be alerted every time someone leaves a new review for your business. You can also send links to new and existing customers who are happy to share testimonials on their favorite sites so it only takes them seconds to complete a review.

Often, the strength of your online reviews will determine whether you ever meet a new customer or not. Isn’t it worth a few dollars a month to ensure buyers are getting the right impression of your business?

Social Media Marketing Calendar#5 Create a Content Calendar

You are undoubtedly aware by now that new content feeds your blog, attracts search engine visitors, and drives your social media marketing campaigns. Google will come back to your site more often if you have lots of new pages or updates, and Facebook’s engagement formula is built to reward content producers.

At the same time, most small business owners don’t post nearly as much as they should online. Usually, it’s because they think coming up with material for their blog or social accounts has to require hours spent in front of a keyboard or a big budget for creative services.

You don’t need either one. Instead, you just need a basic content calendar that helps you to organize your thoughts and efforts.

Your content calendar can be as simple as a handwritten list, or a page on a spreadsheet. It just needs to include a list of upcoming themes, events, or topics your customers would care about. This could be a holiday, a new product rollout, a seminar, or something completely different.

For each item on your calendar, you add the appropriate content piece (like a short blog post, a series of tweets, etc.) that should be used to reinforce the theme. Suddenly, you have the blueprint for a working plan. If you decide to create your own content you aren’t starting from scratch, and if you hire someone they can charge you less because they know what you’re trying to accomplish.

No matter how you go about it, creating content is one of the most inexpensive ways to promote your business over the internet. Every time you produce a new article or visual, you give searchers a reason to visit your site and social followers something to share and pay attention to. By putting a content calendar into place, you organize your own thoughts and remove the biggest stumbling blocks to the writing and designing process.

Are You Ready to Move Your Online Marketing?

In this short guide, you’ve gotten five different low-cost, high-impact tips you can put to use today. All of them work and can make a difference in your bottom line rapidly. Best of all, none of them requires you to turn your marketing budget upside down to get started.

If you’re ready to put these ideas to good use – and kick your online marketing into a higher gear – then we invite you to contact us today to schedule a free consultation. It won’t cost you a thing, and in just 60 minutes or less our creative team can show you how to put these strategies and others to work.

Don’t waste another minute or dollar. Contact us now to set up your free meeting!

Social Media Marketing

Four Ways You Can Use Social Media to Benefit Your Business

By | Social Media Integration, Social Media Marketing | No Comments

Social Media MarketingFor many small businesses owners, social media may seem daunting and unprofitable.  After all, time is money and having a strong social media presence takes time.  However, according to the Pew Research Center, 74% of online adults are on some social media site and many consumers turn to social media when making their purchasing decisions.  As a small business owner, these are statistics you can’t afford to ignore.

Social media management may be easier than you think.  Here’s a look at how an active social media presence can benefit your business and how to best use it to your advantage:  

  1.  Build Your Brand.  One of the best ways to create brand awareness and loyalty is through social media.  Social media allows you to interact with consumers on a daily basis and gives your brand credibility.  In fact, consumers are more likely to purchase products from brands that they follow on Facebook and Twitter.  Social media also allows you to “humanize” your brand.  Businesses have their own personalities and your online presence is a reflection of that personality.  Your customers will respond more favorably if they feel as though they are interacting with an actual person, not just a company.  You can also improve your brand by looking at how your competitors are using social media.  Chances are you have a similar audience as your competition.  Find out what’s working for them and adopt similar practices.
  1.  Be Social.  There is no better way to engage with customers than through social media.  Social networking allows you to actively communicate with your followers and quickly respond to any queries, complaints, or compliments.  Having a dynamic online presence is the easiest way to receive feedback on your product and services; however, it is crucial to be accessible to your followers and actively responding to this feedback.  42% of online adults use social media as a means of seeking customer service and expect a response within 12 hours of filing a complaint.  

Social networks are also great platforms to promote any deals or offers.  The top reason why people follow businesses is for promotions and discounts and 90% of Twitter users say they follow brands to receive discounts.  Promoting deals through social media gives potential customers incentive to follow and share.

  1.  Its Free! (Well, for the most part). Getting started on the main social media platforms won’t cost you or your company anything in advertising dollars.  Social media, when used correctly, can give your business free exposure and may not take up as much time are you think.  According to a recent article from HubSpot, 84% of marketers reported increased online traffic after spending only 6 hours per week on social media.  

One common hesitation that many small businesses have is that they don’t have the time or money to spend on perfecting their online presence.  There are, however, many social media management tools to help you keep track of and schedule your posts, many of which are free to use:

  • Hootsuite.  Possibly one of the most popular and easy to use management systems, Hootsuite allows you to manage all of your platforms using one login, schedule your posts across all profiles, and track your success.  Hootsuite offers three different plans, the most basic of which is free to use and allows you to manage up to 3 profiles and set one post at a time.  Upgrading to Hootsuite Pro will cost you around $10 a month and allow you to manage up to 50 profiles and schedule 350 messages at a time.  To compare plans visit https://hootsuite.com/plans.
  • TweetDeck.  TweetDeck allows you to filter and keep track of the topics and hashtags that are relevant to your company.  It also allows you to easily schedule tweets and provides you with alerts to keep you updated on what’s trending in your field. https://about.twitter.com/products/tweetdeck.

 

  • Social Mention. One of the easiest ways to determine how many people are talking about you and what they are saying.  Simply type in your business name or related content and Social Mention links you to all of the blogs and networks who are talking about you.  It’s completely free and can be used as a great tool for businesses that are just getting started with social media.  Once you determine who is talking about you, you can then go out and engage with those users.  http://www.socialmention.com/.
  • Bitly.  Bitly is most widely known as a link-shortening tool mainly used to keep your character count down on Twitter.  However, the site has a lot more to offer and is 100% free!  Bitly can provide you with feedback, help you determine your target audience, and monitor your click through rate. https://bitly.com/pages/tour.  
  • Everypost. Everypost is available in the App Store and allows you to construct a post to send out to all of your different accounts at once.  It also has a built in feature that formats the post so that it is under the 140-character limit for Twitter.  

Social media management doesn’t have to be a full time job.  These are just a few of the free or affordable resources that are readily available.  Do your research to determine which tool works best for your business.

  1.  Increase Sales.  The purpose of any business is to bring in revenue and the basis of any marketing plan is to know your target audience.  In order to maximize sales through social media, you must first determine the sites your customers are frequenting.  You don’t want to waste your time on Instagram if your audience spends all of its time on Pinterest.  According to a recent article from Forbes, Facebook is still the best network for “business to consumer sales”.  Businesses can even sell directly from their Facebook page by downloading the Ecwid App, which allows customers to shop for items through a company’s online Facebook shop.  Social media also allows you to promote special deals that are only available to your followers and provide up to date product information.

A strong social media presence can provide exactly what your business needs.  It will help you gain exposure and customers and spark a conversation about your brand.  Social media is here to stay, so don’t wait any longer to get started!

The Simple Way This Facebook Contest is Driving a 30% Conversion Rate

By | Social Media Integration, Social Media Marketing | No Comments

If you’re reading this you’re likely interested in how to get a 30% conversion rate on your Facebook contest.

On January 17th Heyo customer and CEO of Out and About Marketing, Milena Regos, launched a Facebook contest for her client, Squaw Valley.

Squaw Valley wanted the contest to drive additional likes for the page in addition to capturing fan emails.

Over the first 11 days, the campaign has converted at over 30% and helped drive 6,975 new likes.

FB1
If you’re interested in getting more likes, capturing more emails, and driving a 30% conversion on your Facebook contests, keep reading.

Like most people, your landing pages likely convert around 2-5%. So what does Squaw Valley have that us mere mortals don’t?

Squaw Valley used the Heyo Contest Template which incorporates 3 critical features required to run a Facebook campaign that converts at 30%, like a pro :

 

1. The Incentive

Milena helped Squaw Valley choose a contest incentive that is both relevant to the brand and relevant to current events.

By giving away a pair of skis or a snowboard when the Sochi Olympic games start, Squaw Valley maximizes the potential reach of the campaign by piggy backing off current news.

As you think about incentives to use for Facebook contests you run, think about current events, geography, and your ideal customer.

 

squaw_vally2. The Urgency

When people are using Facebook, they are constantly being presented with distractions. These distractions include new friend requests, new messages, and new notifications.

At any moment, you could loose this potential visitor (and/or email conversion) to one of these distractions. Urgency is the key to driving action and conversions.

We recommend you run campaigns in 15 day increments.

When a fan lands on the Squaw Valley campaign urgency is immediately created with the countdown. If you’re wondering why your campaign isn’t converting, see if you’ve created any urgency and add the countdown if you don’t have it already.

 

3. The Viral Coefficient

Squaw Valley’s campaign feeds itself new traffic based off the simple structure of the entry process.

 

You’ll notice on the left side of the campaign, there are 4 steps fans must go through in order to enter. First users enter their email, then they are asked to click “like”. Lastly fans are asked to share and tweet the campaign.

heyo

The last 2 steps turn fans into a marketing force for Squaw Valley because fans share the contest and drive their friends to the Squaw Valley campaign as new traffic.

A quick search for #SochiDailyGiveaway on Twitter shows that fans are eagerly sharing. This is driving incredible exposure and visibility to Squaw Valley’s campaign.

Once you’ve crafted a strong incentive, created urgency, and structured your campaign so that it gets free traffic (self-sustaining), you’re well on your way to higher conversions.

You can clone the Squaw Valley campaign here by registering and using the Contest Template under premium templates.

Your Turn

Have you run a Facebook campaign like Squaw Valleys before? Tell us in the questions below.

Nathan Latka is CEO and Founder of Heyo

About the author:

Nathan Latka is CEO and Founder of Heyo, a drag and drop tool for creating Facebook apps that are mobile optimized.

You can find him on Twitter @heyo or @nathanlatka

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