GMF Internet Marketing Blogs

San Antonio Web Design, SEO and Social Media tips and advice from Global Market Force.

Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

social media planThese days, most businesses understand that social media is an important part of online marketing. It’s a great opportunity to connect with your audience and fantastic for brand exposure. Of course, it’s still a relatively new game, which means many brands are still experimenting with different tactics.

The issue with social media is that if you make a mistake, there could be thousands or even millions of people that watch you do it. Here is how to overcome some of the most common social media marketing pitfalls.

Not Having a Strategy

In order to deliver an effective message to your audience, you need to have a social media strategy in place. Often, companies waste valuable time and energy on social media because they don’t have a clear strategy in place.

Before you start blindly posting across various social media platforms, take the time to come up with a plan that will best work for your business. You want to make sure that you set yourself realistic goals and put the money or necessary resources aside to commit to the plan.

You should think about having a distinct social media voice, developing a policy in line with your brand, setting up a social media calendar and outlining your goals. A social media marketing expert will be able to help you with each of these steps in order to maximize success.

Not Committing to the Plan

Setting up a basic social media account is relatively simple. The problem is that many businesses take that first step of setting up an account and then don’t commit to a proper plan.

The issue with having an inactive account is that it creates a worse impression than not having one at all. You don’t want potential customers to find you on Twitter, only to see that the last time you posted an update was over a year ago.

While it may be frustrating if you don’t see instant results, don’t let that defeat you. You need to think about the long-term gains. If something isn’t working, then improve performance by looking at competitors, analyzing metrics, and adapting to your audience.

Posting at the Wrong Times

In order to succeed in the world of social media marketing, you need to do more than understand your target audience. You need to carefully analyse when they are most active in order to ensure that your posts are seen.

With so many people and businesses constantly sharing updates, posts can quickly become lost in a users’ feed. The last thing you want to do it lessen your chances of being spotted, by posting when your customers are fast asleep.

Wasting Time on the Wrong Platforms

It’s easy to assume that the more social media platforms you are on, the more people you can reach. The thing to remember is that each platform serves a different purpose and caters to a unique set of users.

Not only do you want to carefully select those platforms that are most likely to include your target market, but you should also devise a unique strategy for each platform you use. What works on Twitter, might not work on Facebook or Instagram.

You want to get the best return on your investment, so focus your time and energy on the platforms that will allow you to reach your target customers. There is no point throwing away money on the wrong set of users.

Boring Your Audience

The one thing you want to avoid is to lose the audience that you have worked so hard to attract in the first place. That is why it is crucial to have the right strategy in place and set clear goals for your business.

Make the effort to engage with your audience and be very careful about what is being posted at all times. Try and showcase your personality, without coming off as too self-promotional. Think about your audience, their likes, and try to engage them in interesting conversation.

You are facing tough competition on social media sites, so you don’t want to end up annoying your audience. Try and find the right balance to avoid irritating your customers by posting too frequently, or becoming invisible by not posting enough. Take the time to figure out what is working for your brand and stick to it.

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Direct Traffic To Your Website With Local SEO

website trafficWhen it comes to searching for a local business, more and more people are turning to the Internet. Gone are the days of reaching for the Yellow Pages to find the nearest dry cleaner or plumber. These days, you need customers to be able to find your business online.

Over half of the customers reaching your website come from search engines, which makes local search engine optimization (SEO) that much more important. While algorithms are regularly updated and SEO undergoes several changes, there are a few fundamental ideas you can apply to your website to achieve local success.

Attractive Web Design

Getting customers to your website is one thing, but once they land on your page, you want to keep them there. The best place to start with your digital marketing efforts is with the website itself.

Remember, you aren't just trying to sell a product or service here; you are trying to convince these customers to buy from your company specifically. That is why you want to make sure that once they land on your homepage, they will have a positive visual experience.

Of course, it's not all about looks. Customers should be able to quickly find what they are looking for with intuitive navigation. Users expect clear navigation nowadays and don't have the time to waste in trying to figure out how your website works.

Mobile-Friendly

One of the reasons that people search for local businesses online is that it is so convenient. Even if you are on the go, you simply take out your phone and type in what you are looking for.

With so many people using their mobile devices to search for your business, the last thing you want is to have an outdated website that is not mobile-friendly. It's not just about being mobile friendly, but it's also about being consumer friendly.

Not only are customers more likely to abandon your website in favor of a mobile-friendly alternative, but since it is one of Google's search placement factors in their algorithm, it will also help you from an SEO perspective.

Local Optimization

When you are optimizing your website for SEO purposes, you need to go that one step further for a local business. You need to ensure that your landing pages are optimized specifically for local search.

If you serve more than one geographic, then you need to take this into consideration. The last thing you want to do is lose out on customers because you didn’t cater to that specific localized audience. These pages also need to be easily found by the search engines, so think about content and things like title tags and XML sitemaps.

An SEO expert will be able to provide you with the right keywords, tag descriptions, links to relevant niches and websites, and other factors that will help your website to get found more easily.

Relevant Content Strategy

Local SEO requires a different content strategy than your average SEO marketing campaign. Remember, you are not competing against the whole world here; your aim is to stand out from the local competition.

That is why your content strategy needs to be focused on local SEO. If you are a single location brick and mortar business, then you may be best off creating a page for each service or product you have available.

On the other hand, if you are a multi-location service area business, then you will probably also want to create a page for each physical location or each zone you serve outside of your hometown.

Having a separate landing page for each location may be the best option to ensure that customers from every part can locate your business. You don't want to simply replicate the same page over and over again with a different location. Content marketing rules still apply, and you should aim for unique content on each page.

Your individual content strategy will depend on a number of different factors, including your business model. Additional local content could include things like testimonials, local news updates, blog posts with tips for specific geographic audiences, or locally optimized videos and images.

Citations

Following Google's Pigeon update, citations have become that much more important for a local business. Getting listed on an external listing service is an excellent way to help boost local SEO performance for your website.

Just like backlinks are important for traditional SEO, citations are vital for local businesses. They contribute to strengthening the connection between your business and the area in which you operate or serve.

Aside from using the popular external listing services, such as Yahoo! Local, Yellow Pages, and Manta, you should also keep an eye out for local directories and those relevant to your niche.

Using citations is a great way of helping to build credibility within the search engines. Of course, consistency is crucial in this case, and you will also want to make sure that each citation is properly optimized. You don't want to forget about keywords and diversifying the content for each of your citations.

Get the Help of an Expert

When it comes to local SEO, there are many things you need to get right. While some things may appear relatively straightforward, you don’t want to lose out on key opportunities by missing out vital steps.

Everything you do should be optimized in order to attract the right audience. A local SEO expert will be able to help you set up your online properties in a way that will maximize return on investment.

Even the smallest details, such as how you format your address on a citation, can affect the ranking of your business. These small issues are what make SEO that much more complicated than it often appears.

Online marketing firms will have the most up to date knowledge on any changes in Google’s algorithm, so you don’t have to worry about staying in the know. Simply leave it to the professionals, so that you can turn your attention to other equally important aspects of your business.

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How To Use Content Marketing To Engage With Customers

content marketingContent is what helps drive visitors to your website or blog, converts prospects into loyal customers and is often relied upon to make purchasing decisions. Of course, in order to succeed, you don’t want to just create content for the sake of it. You need to make sure you are creating content that will purposefully drive engagement.

Engaging content can be used to educate customers and move them through the sales cycle. It should speak to their interests, their problems, concerns and needs. It should not be an overt sales pitch, but rather add value to the shopping experience, to encourage customers to return.

We take a look at some of the things you can do to create content that will help you to engage with your customers.

Create a Plan

It is easy enough to say you are going to create great content, but we all know how easy it is for life to get in the way. If you want to accomplish your content marketing goals, you need to start out with a plan.

Creating a content calendar will help you to stay on top of your long term goals and stop you from getting distracted by all the other things going on in your life and your business.

Loyal readers will be coming back for more, but you need to be able to deliver your content on time, or they may turn elsewhere. Be sure to schedule in time that will allow you to focus on your content and always make sure you put quality over quantity.

Create Consistency

This is particularly important if you have a team of writers working on your content. You need to make sure that the content you put out there is consistent with your brand, right from the copy down to the design. Maintaining a consistent feel throughout your online and print materials will help to establish trust between you and your customers.

Create a connection

To really engage with your customers, you want to create a connection. Shoppers are more likely to buy from a company when they experience an emotional or personal connection. You can help to bring your brand alive by sharing your story on your About Us page.

Tell audiences your story in a way they can relate to and think about what would appeal to your target audience. You can even include staff profiles that you feel shoppers may identify with. Putting a face to your brand makes the shopping experience more personal and helps to create a valuable connection that can foster long-term relationships.

Create Appealing Content

These days, there is so much content out there that you need to make an extra effort to stand out from the crowd. People tend to have a short attention span, so you don’t want to make your content a challenge to read.

Make your content more appealing by using compelling images, breaking your writing up into short paragraphs, and making sure your site employs a responsive design, so it is readable across all platforms.

These may seem like simple steps to take, but visual elements can make a huge difference to your content by helping to break up large chunks of text, and giving your readers visual context to your writing, thus increasing page visits. These small changes can make all the difference to getting your customers to engage with your content.

Include a Call to Action

Calls-to-action (CTAs) help to encourage your customers to take a particular action or user journey and are key for generating sales. You should always make sure you include a call to action in all of your content, whether you’re sending out emails, posting a press release or updating your social media.

Before you post your content, take the time to consider the audience engagement that should follow. You should think about what stage of the buying cycle your reader would be in by the time they reach your content. This will have a big impact on the type of call-to-action you should use. The more relevant the CTA, the more likely you can turn them into a paying customer.

Try to create a compelling CTA by using snappy language. That means staying away from standard phrases such as ‘submit’ or ‘click here.’ Set yourself apart from your competitors and use copy that will grab your reader’s attention. Just remember, you reader’s attention span will be limited, so try to keep your CTA short and sweet.

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4 Tips to Boost Your Email Marketing Strategy

email marketingWith the breakthrough of social media, mobile marketing, and search engine optimization, email marketing tends to take a backseat. This targeted form of marketing allows you to control exactly who sees your emails, making it easy to customize your message for each customer and thus foster a higher conversion rate.

It is one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing and offers you an easy way to consistently engage with consumers and prospects. If you haven’t already considered email marketing for your business, now is the time.

We take a look at four ways you can boost your email marketing strategy to increase open and click-through rates.

Find Your Optimal Sending Time

If you want to boost engagement and improve click rates, then you need to work out your best sending time. Unfortunately, there is no one best time to send out your email campaigns. Optimal send times vary by day of the week, industry and even specific subscriber lists.

Generally, people tend to favor sending out newsletters on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with Tuesday possibly being the best day for you to send your emails. In terms of times of the day, you may want to avoid mornings, as highest email open rates are actually in the afternoon and evening.

However, you really want to go that step further and find out what works for your audience. In order to do so and find the very best time for optimal opens and clicks, you need to do some testing. A/B test your send times to see what works for you.

Create an Email Content Calendar

Once you have worked out optimal send times, you will want to make sure that you can consistently deliver your emails each week or month. Sticking to a schedule will help you to avoid spamming your subscribers with too many emails.

Mapping out your content will also help you to plan for sales, holidays and specials dates, so you don’t end up rushing these key marketing opportunities. It will get you in the habit of sending out emails consistently, which subscribers will appreciate.

Planning out a campaign in advance is essentially about creating a system, and the great thing about that is that it can easily be measured, monitored and modified in order to create your desired outcomes. It will help to keep your team organized and give them enough time to write and refine your email copies before hitting send.

Create Contextual Emails

The great thing about email marketing is that it allows you to segment your subscribers so you can create targeted campaigns. Contextual email marketing is all about creating helpful content for your subscribers and sending it out at the right time.

The aim is to improve engagement and create interactions that your consumers will actually care about as soon as they open your email. The best way to do this is to craft a more personalized experience.

There are various ways to make your emails more personalized for your subscribers, including sending out emails based on interests, geographical location, and whether or not they’re already customers. This will help you to filter out irrelevant subscribers that would not appreciate receiving that type of content.

To create these emails, you will need to include the necessary fields in your sign up form and then filter your audience once you create your email campaign. You can ask them what kind of content they’re most interested in receiving, find out if they are already a customer or anything else that would be relevant to your industry.

Think About Mobile

With more and more people using mobile devices to read their emails, you need to make sure that you take mobile into account when formulating your email marketing strategy. It is estimated that over half of all emails opened occurred on a smart phone.

While you may think this means creating mobile friendly emails, it is best to use responsive email templates. These will respond to the device that it is being read on, so that if your email is opened on a desktop it is still readable.

Of course, it’s not just about using the right templates. You need to consider the user and how they operate on a mobile device. Try to keep your content, as well as your subject lines, nice and short. If you want your subscribers to open and read your emails, brevity is key.

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The Importance of SEO for Your Small Business

search engine optimizationSearch engine optimization (SEO) can substantially boost the traffic to your website and increase your business by ensuring your site appears high on the list of results from any search engine. The use of search engines by customers browsing online has become more prevalent than ever before, meaning that maximizing the number of visitors to your site is increasingly important to remain current, particularly if you are a boutique or small business.

SEO uses a variety of different strategies to help draw more attention to your website, business, and products by analyzing the content and inserting specific keywords that are highly searched for. Using these keywords in tags, descriptions, and page content will help search engines to recognize your site and direct users to the services you offer.

Higher Ranking

Being at the top of the results for popular search engines like Google will compel more people to click on the link to your business and browse your products to find what they are looking for. Small businesses will benefit from optimization to help get your website onto the first page of a search engine's results, as many online customers will not take the time to scroll through multiple pages, often leaving them with a choice of the bigger brands that are already well known.

As a small business, it can be difficult to compete with already successful brands that many people will be inclined to visit, as they are already aware of their online presence. By undergoing search engine optimization, the brand awareness of your business will increase, putting you in a better position to begin competing at a higher level with some of the more established sites.

SEO can significantly improve your Internet marketing campaign, using subtle techniques to attract new consumers who may express interest in buying your products. A more optimized site can result in more click throughs, increasing the potential followers or subscribers to your site, which will also increase sales.

Much like a traditional marketing strategy, which relies on publicity through magazines and adverts, optimization markets your small business to appear online in the areas that will allow your brand to be noticed. As a smaller business, your site may not attract many customers that go straight to the website, meaning optimization will help bring unique visitors that have discovered you through the use of a search engine.

Social Media

A successful SEO campaign can also benefit your social media exposure. Social media is a vital tool in modern E-commerce, building a relationship and rapport with your customers to ensure a loyal client base. Social media users are more likely to take an interest in companies with higher rankings on well-known search engines, as it suggests a level of credibility and trust that customers are looking for when shopping, particularly if they are going to use social media platforms to share these businesses with their friends. More optimized sites are more likely to gain attention on social media platforms - including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - giving their posts more likes, follows and shares, which in turn increases the company's online awareness.

Optimizing your online marketing techniques will also enhance the chances of your site being saved or bookmarked, showing that customers value your business and see it as worthy of revisiting and buying from. This is especially useful for a small business that relies on returning customers and word of mouth promotion, whether that is online or in person.

All brands are now optimizing their content to rank higher in search engines, for both the entire site in general and for particular products and pages. This means that larger and more established companies are also using this form of online marketing. That fact makes it even more important for small businesses to take advantage of optimization, which will add credibility and visibility to your website. An online presence is a priority for all companies in today's market and can transform a small business into a successful brand by utilizing the options for optimization.

Customer Insight

Alongside much-needed visibility and credibility, optimizing your small business website for increased search engine traffic can also provide a unique and useful insight into your clients. The information you gain from using analytical tools - such as Google Analytics, which can track and assess your SEO data - will help you determine your target market. You will be able to evaluate the locations of your customers, how and what they search, users browsing data, the technology they are using to search and the most popular time for browsing.

This information will help you target your core client base, using specialized content, products, emails and social media posts, which will all work to increase traffic and sales numbers. Using your website optimization to address your target users will help your online presence to evolve and attract a larger customer base.

By focusing on your primary audience, you can also make your site much more user-friendly, helping it to work faster and more efficiently on all devices. A more welcoming and easy to navigate site creates a better user experience, resulting in better reviews and higher ratings from both clients and online search engines.

Exposure

A small business is continually growing, so your online marketing strategy needs to be constantly developing. Larger brands often lead the industry, meaning the marketing of your products and your products themselves must work harder to keep up and consistently evolve.

By optimizing your site and analyzing the results of your strategies, you can make sure your businesses stays up to date with the changes in the industry and the algorithms used to rank content by the search engines. Your small business will receive more exposure than just using the traditional marketing techniques, to build an online presence that becomes more visible in the long term, consistently drawing in new customers while retaining current users.

Using a search engine optimization strategy will greatly benefit all businesses and have a vital impact on a small company that requires a hard working online presence to be successful in today's fast-paced and competitive market.

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