Social Media and Search Engine Rankings

What’s your strategy?   We don’t want to sound like a broken record, but if you’re not currently implementing or planning your social media strategy, then you may as well just forget about trying to improve your organic search rankings.  And in light of Search Engine updates to and greater prioritization on social signals, you’ve probably just descended a further few rungs down the SERPs listings. To improve their user experience and bring a greater focus to key items of interest, Search Engines, like Bing, have refreshed their News section to now feature the main stories that are trending on both Facebook and Twitter.  As we all struggle to overcome our ever-growing array of news feeds, Bing is helping us to eliminate the background noise and hone in on the day’s hot topics. How to embrace the connection between social media and search engine rankings? User engagement is increasingly being relied upon to achieve certain strategic marketing objectives, in particular: Improve brand awareness Highlight your competitive advantage Drive your product strategy Provide product/service endorsements Boost prospect conversions Social media gives a voice to your silent majority (i.e. customers) and provides them with a platform.  The onus is on you, the business, to direct the conversation and engage your customers to generate positive and thought-provoking responses. Whether you prefer to keep it brief on Twitter, post images on Instagram or conduct a poll on Facebook, keeping abreast of your marketplace and sharing company developments, Social Media is a critical aspect to your online marketing strategy.   Why not use this opportunity to shout about a new product enhancement, or significant corporate milestone or some favorable media coverage you recently received?  Better yet,  use Social Media to create brand loyalty and awareness.  Modern business has evolved and conventional transaction based models no longer can guarantee success.  Social marketing leverages the strength of the community empowering them to be your greatest supporters.  This is marketing at its finest, subtle yet extremely relevant. Keep it fresh and constant As with any type of online content, it can become stale very quickly and should be updated on a regular basis.  Ideally, this offers you the best of both worlds – to participate in a conversation or be perceived as a thought-leader and bring a new topic to the table. Use a variety of social media platforms to increase your brand visibility and ensure that your target audience (both existing and prospective clients) and industry pundits know that you are having a positive influence on the evolution of your industry. Bing is not the first data aggregator and others may follow suit to improve their user experience and ensure content is more relevant, targeted and timely.  Social media needs to be considered an integral part of your online marketing strategy to boost your client engagement and promote a positive brand reputation. Needless to say, Content is king!...

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Email Marketing Tips for- Improving your inbox deliverability and avoid Spamhaus

    Email marketing is one of the most popular and time-proven means of communicating with your clients or prospects.  Delivering a timely, relevant and informative message is an extremely cost-effective way to enhance your customer support initiatives or to progress the sales dialog in the buying cycle.  This enables the sender to dispatch highly targeted and personalized content that will engage the recipient and elevate their brand experience with your organization. In an effort to further protect individuals’ privacy and reduce unsolicited communications, the industry has been steadily tightening regulations on email delivery to build their commercial whitelists.  Many ISPs are actively making their spam filters more rigorous to keep blacklisted IP addresses from their users’ inboxes. Internal measures Most companies maintain either a CRM system (like Salesforce) or a marketing automation tool (such as Constant Contact, CheetahMail or Eloqua) to perform their bulk emailing activities.  Ideally the System Administrator will actively seek email marketing tips on a regular basis to optimize their campaigns. The first step in executing a campaign is to upload data lists of active clients or prospects.  These individuals can only be contacted if they have given their express permission to your organization, i.e. they have opted-in.  Proof of this permission needs to be recorded and stored in your database for future reference.  Building your list from scratch is often the safest way to begin your user dialog, simply by creating a form or initial email message requesting their consent to receive marketing communications from your organization. Regular updates should also be made to ensure the integrity and accuracy of your email lists, in addition to adhering to general email marketing best practices.  Each communication needs to contain a simple “unsubscribe” link, and is a mandatory feature of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.  Such requests must be recorded against the user’s database file and be honored within 10 days.  The Act further goes on to stipulate that the contents must be accurate and relevant, and the message must contain a legitimate physical address of the sender. Monitoring your brand Your email tool should have the capability to provide you with accurate reporting whereby you can easily identify trouble spots, such as undeliverability to a specific domain.  A quick communication with your client should rectify the problem and ensure that you are added to their organization’s list of approved senders. Alternatively, many providers of email marketing services  have now added blacklist monitoring to their product offerings.  For a monthly fee, they will review your IP addresses against the leading blacklists and alert you of any suspicious activity for your further investigations.  These companies maintain relationships with the major ISPs and can keep you updated on regulatory changes. Keeping your brand reputation and achieving commercial whitelist status is imperative to building lasting relationships with your audience and realizing your growth objectives.  By establishing a process to manage your in-house databases and analyze the performance of your email campaigns, you can stay clean and avoid the wrath of...

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Twitter Marketing Strategies in 140 Characters

When less is definitely more Just like an elevator pitch, the essence here is in delivering quality output during a very small window of opportunity.  But, when done correctly, this could be the start of a potential customer relationship and an extremely effective way to populate your sales funnel. Successful lead generation is about reaching your audience via their preferred medium and with the appropriate messaging.  In this crazy existence where the working day is filled with a barrage of physical and electronic distractions, a time-strapped professional needs bite-sized nuggets of data to educate and inform them.  The outcome could be two-fold, your company is viewed as an authoritative industry source and/or the reader contacts you for further information as a likely solutions provider. Embracing your opt-in readers Twitter marketing strategies continue to challenge organizations to keep their messaging precise, meaningful and relevant.  This captive audience have given you their express consent to communicate with them by choosing to follow you because they genuinely believe you can enrich their existence and ultimately improve their productivity and revenues.  Your audience may be existing clients, new prospects, industry media or simply the competition doing their due diligence.  Although messaging can and should be tailored to these respective groups, a sensible approach could easily incorporate macro overviews to appease all audience members. Let’s say you provide an online booking service for air flights and an announcement is made about the proposed merger of two leading airlines.  In this instance, you need to provide this information in a timely manner to your customers while also showing your media peers that you have your finger on the pulse of your industry and are responding appropriately.  Your tweet could link to the press release of the announcement, conduct a poll amongst your clients to gauge their feedback on the merger or direct readers to your blog where you discuss the implications for your industry.  With most press releases being dispatched in time for the morning coffee, your readers will be among the first to be updated as your tweet lands in their inbox as they arrive at their desks. Cost-effective medium With no incremental costs (other than staffing to reach these additional eyeballs), some companies still may not view Twitter as a serious contender to improve their branding and market awareness activities.  These may be the same people who scoffed at the advent of CRM tools and still maintain their “database” in a rolodex.  Case in point, Lady Gaga has become a worldwide phenomenon and currently has approximately 40million Twitter followers.  If we translate that into potential incremental revenue from  her music and concert sales, the figure would be jaw-dropping. Whether you’re in technology, consumer goods or professional services, you can’t afford to ignore the importance of Twitter marketing strategies and the positive benefits it could deliver for your organization.  You really need to drink this Kool Aid or suffer with dehydration while the competition kicks your proverbial butt! More to follow….Stay...

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Surviving the Google Search Updates with Local Search Marketing

Google Penguin and Panda have taken the lead as the most influential algorithm changes to hit the Google search engine. As a result, Google no longer behaves quite the way it used to pre-Penguin or pre-Panda. Strategies that were previously popular are no longer effective, including all so-called “black hat” approaches, such as keyword stuffing and other practices that focus on quantity over quality. Instead, it makes sense to use local search marketing to focus on aspects of your web presence that engage readers and lead to better conversion rates. It’s always best to target the web users who are most likely to visit your business and patronize your services, especially in light of these changes. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself from the Google search updates using local search marketing. With some care, you won’t see your search engine presence fall; and you may even find yourself in a better position than before the updates. 1.     Pay Attention to the Bounce RateGoogle pays attention to your bounce rate, which refers to whether your users pop online for five seconds, or stay for minutes or hours. The higher your bounce rate, the fewer meaningful website visits you have. This hurts your search placement significantly, so you need to avoid a high bounce rate by ensuring that your website is full of insightful, useful content that your users want to see. Here’s where local search marketing comes in—target your local clientele specifically and they will be less likely to bounce. Use mobile marketing methods such as push notifications or ad placement to target customers who are in close physical proximity. Visitors will stay on your page longer, and your search placements will benefit. Use Valid Linking to Assist Online Lead GenerationPay attention to the quality and layout of the links in your website, as this holds significant weight in search rankings after Penguin and Panda. Your website should have valid links within its pages, including a navigation bar so that visitors can easily find “About Us,” “Contact Us,” “Frequently Asked Questions” and any other pages that are relevant to their visit. If you have a blog or post articles, make sure that there are links to similar articles at the end of each post. Your goal is to keep your visitors reading, which is a significant benefit to your online lead generation—which means you’ll keep placing higher in the search results and new visitors will keep finding you. Enhance Your Customer Engagement Via the Website Make sure that your visitors and potential customers feel completely engaged every time they visit your brand on the web. Your website is all about what you can do for your customers, so show them by taking action before they become customers. Social media is a great way to enhance customer engagement and at the same time, involve your local search marketing. Include social media buttons so that your interested visitors can easily share what they’ve found, and customers can discuss their experience with their networks. Meaningful activity on your website shows in the search results—you’ll see soon enough. These are just a few ways that you can skirt the Google search updates, not by outsmarting the algorithms, but by building your online presence in a smarter way. Panda and Penguin aside, any website that takes these simple steps should see their web traffic soar and their conversion rates continue to...

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