5 Marketing Tools You Should Be Utilizing

The right tools can make all the difference for a marketer and their clients. Check out these tools you should be using:

A/B Testing

A/B testing tools are used to run experiments to help companies make informed, data-driven decisions. Track and measure metrics you decide on and get valuable insight to actions customers are taking on your site. For example, test the wording of your call to action. Does one phrase significantly outperform the other and lead to more conversions? Optimizely is a great tool for any and all A/B tests you can think of.

 

abtest

Call Tracking

Call tracking tools, such as DialogTech, give valuable insight into where calls originate from. Track your inbound calls back to the source, whether it be specific ads, keyword searches, social media, or offline campaigns using unique phone numbers. The ability to track and compare multiple channels allows marketers to make informed decisions about where to spend their marketing dollars. With some tools, you can also track leads through the sales cycle by integrating with Salesforce or your CRM tool.

Web Crawler

Web crawlers, used to spider websites links, images, CSS, script and apps from an SEO perspective, give key vision to onsite performance. They can provide key data (url, inlinks, SERP snippet, etc) and report on response codes, redirects, page titles and meta description among other useful information. The SEO Spider tool from Screaming Frog is an excellent tool for analyzing sites, especially large ones, where going through each page is simply too time consuming. Screaming Frog makes it easy to export any data you find useful to work with outside the program.

Social Media

Social media tools, such as Hootsuite and Buffer, which are used to schedule and execute social posts across multiple social sites can be one of the most valuable tools you have. They allow you to manage social outreach and engage with followers from one single dashboard. One of the best things about these tools is the ability to schedule multiple social posts, across all your social accounts, in one sitting. This means I can plan and schedule my social posts for a week or a month and put my mind at ease as the platform will take care of the rest. Some, such as Hootsuite, also provide social analytics and a browser extension which allows you to quickly share content from around the web.

Keyword Tracking

Tracking performance of the keywords you’re targeting is absolutely essential. Moz has a great keyword tool that allows you to track national or local keyword rankings, see keyword difficulty, and view rankings over time. Keyword tools help you save time and choose where to focus SEO efforts.

All seem a bit daunting? Contact our team of specialist and let us help you maximize your marketing efforts.

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Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update

Bigger than panda. Bigger than penguin. The new Google algorithm change will have a greater impact than prior updates.  The April 21st update will reward mobile friendly sites in ranking on mobile search results. The new algorithm will include app indexing and mobile-friendly usability factors. According to Google, “users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” A few takeaways:

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Mobile Rankings Only

  • To be clear, this update will only affect mobile search results, not desktop. The change will impact mobile search rankings in all languages worldwide, using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. Think of it as favoring mobile friendly sites versus demoting non-friendly ones. Nonetheless, if your website, landing pages, or blog are not optimized for mobile, this is a great incentive to make the move. Not sure where you fall on the mobile readiness scale? Not to worry because the wonderful folks at Google have you covered. Check out this tool to get a quick assessment of your site and the impact the new algorithm will have on it.

Having a Mobile App

  • Google has also announced that apps that are indexed through App Indexing will begin to rank higher in mobile search. You must be a signed-in user and have the app installed on your mobile device for this to take affect. This app portion of the update has already started and is currently active.

Google’s Goal

  • What it all really comes down to is better user experience on mobile devices. Giving searches exactly what they’re looking for with the least amount of resistance. As the number of mobile searchers increases, it’s important they feel that they’re getting the best results and are not trying to view sites that are not optimized to be seen on a phone.

So, only one question remains, are you mobile friendly? If not, check out our responsive design services and contact us today.

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5 Email Marketing Tactics You Need To Start Using Today

Email marketing is a valuable tool in any marketer’s belt, but are you using it effectively? Take a look at these 5 useful tactics to get the most out of your email marketing:

download1.  Format for Mobile

53% of all email opens now occur on mobile devices, according to statistics from email marketing firm Litmus. That number has drastically risen over the past several years and shows no signs of slowing down. Can you afford for over 50% of your subscribers to trash an email because it looks funky on their phone? Odds are, you’d prefer this wasn’t the case, so make sure your emails are formatted to look great no matter what device they’re viewed on. Enlarge fonts, have a prominent, ‘tappable’ call to action, and cut to the chase. In other words, make it easy for those on your email list to read and navigate your emails.

2.  Automation

Email automation is an amazing thing. Automatically send emails to the right people, at the right time, with content unique to their interests. How about an email with a special offer on a subscriber’s birthday? What about a renewal reminder when a contract or subscription is coming to an end? Automating the process means you have time focus on other parts of your business. The opportunities are endless and the benefits significant when it comes to email automation.

3.  Growth During Purchase

Growing your email list is a continuous task, but it doesn’t have to be a burden. One of the most effective tactics (for ecommerce sites) for growing your list is targeting customers making purchases. You’re most likely already getting an email address during the checkout process, so you’re not asking customers to do anything extra to sign up. A simple check box to sign up for a newsletter or receive promotions is all you need. Easy and effective. You should, however, be mindful of the customer experience. The last thing you want is a frustrated customer who can’t proceed through checkout because they haven’t subscribed.

4.  Test, Test, Test

As is the norm for most things, different strategies tend to work for different companies. Test what works best for you and your customers. How long (or short) is the most effective subject line for your subscribers? What’s the ideal send time to garner the most opens? The best day? Pit two strategies against each other and let the numbers do the talking. Experimentation can lead to amazing discoveries and help you maximize the potential of your campaigns.

5.  Re-Engage

Conduct a re-engagement campaign to trigger subscribers who have been inactive for some time. You may have a massive email list but how many of those people are active and devoted? Over time, interest tends to wane. Not to worry, because you can re-ignite that initial signup spark. Remind subscribers why they were initially attracted to your organization and re-acquaint them with your brand.

Have a go with these email marketing tips or contact our team of email experts to get started on the path to email greatness today.

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Setting D.U.M.B. Goals In 2015

Have you been setting S.M.A.R.T. objectives for your business for the last 10 years and feel that you’re not getting the explosive growth you were planning on? Maybe your company has seen steady growth and profits, but you still feel you’re missing that special edge that sets you completely apart from your competition. Perhaps you have an edge, but your brand has stagnated and your team is less motivated? Setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound goals allows you to achieve milestones and complete tasks that you already know can be accomplished. What about the goals you don’t think you can accomplish? Goals like 500% growth year over year or applying your current business model to a totally different market?

Don’t think it is possible? What about putting a man on the moon? Sailing across an entire ocean with nothing but a handful of wind-propelled boats? We’re not just talking about getting our keywords to the number one position in Google folks. We’re talking about big dreams, ambitious stretch goals that rally your customers and your employees to your cause. Watch the video below that explains what D.U.M.B. goals are and some ways in which you can use them to take your business (or life) to an incredible new level.

Now that you’ve watched the video, here is our interpretation of DUMB goals and some ways in which you can apply them to your business.

D. Dream-driven (destiny-driven):

  • Think of a goal that is way outside the box. Totally unexpected and far from what those around you are doing.
  • What is your business dream? What is your personal ambition?
  • Think of something amazing you can create.
  • Example: Bill and Melinda Gates’ goal is to eradicate malaria worldwide.

U. Uplifting:

  • Make your goal attractive, important, and compelling.
  • Phrase your goal in such a way that you are fired up and excited to achieve it.
  • Focus on the positives rather than the negatives.
  • Example: Instead of phrasing your goal as “We are going to improve customer retention by 50% this year.” Phrase it as “Our awesome account and customer service reps are going to provide such an amazing experience to each individual client that not only will retention improve 50% this year, but we’ll grow our business an additional 50% via word of mouth referrals from existing clients.”

M. Method-friendly (map):

  • What set of practices can you create around a goal that will make it easier to achieve?
  • Break it down to monthly, weekly or daily objectives that you repeat over and over again.
  • Create a roadmap that turns a seemingly impossible goal into something attainable.
  • Examples:
    • Twice a month you will meet with a business coach or mentor to discuss your D.U.M.B. goal.
    • 4 hours a week you allow employees to set aside whatever else they are working on to allocate time to the D.U.M.B. goal.
    • 30 minutes every week day you work on your goal.

B. Behavior-driven:

  • Triggers set up around your behaviors to help you achieve your goals.
  • Example: Every morning when you get into the office, have each employee (yourself included) allocate 30 minutes toward your big goal. This could be as little as 5 minutes or as much as several hours, but repetition of your set of practices is crucial in achieving your dream.

Not sure where to start with your D.U.M.B. goal? Contact our team of marketing specialists to help jump-start the process. Keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound goals! S.M.A.R.T. objectives are excellent tools for keeping your day to day processes, operations and objectives on task. Whether you are looking to redefine your dreams or need help working on the day to day projects, our team is ready and willing to help with a variety of your business and marketing needs. Contact us today!

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Coming January 2015: Less Organic Reach for Promotional Posts via Facebook

Facebook recently announced that starting in January 2015, Facebook pages promotional posts will have a harder time making an appearance on newsfeeds organically. Facebook surveyed hundreds of thousands of people and found that users wanted to see more relevant content and less promotional content from brands. In this blog post, we will go into more detail about what Facebook’s announcement said, how it will affect you and what our recommendations are for 2015.

What Facebook Said:

Here is what users DO NOT want to see posted by brands on their newsfeeds:

1.)  Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app

2.)  Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context

3.)  Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Examples provided by Facebook are as follows:

facebook spammy posts

Businesses will no longer be allowed to create promotional posts such as examples provided in the picture.

In the release, Facebook states that pages who “post promotional creative should expect to their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.”

How Updates Will Effect Businesses & Next Steps:

This means that it is not recommended to push products, services, apps or contests within your brand page posts. If you would like to promote products, services or a contest, similar to a newspaper or magazine, it would be best to “buy your space,” meaning purchase an ad.

Pages still matter as they are an extension of your brand identity and you should continue to utilize your brand page to stay in front of your audience. This will change content strategies for some businesses, however, we currently do not recommend pushing promotional content in social posts. This further proves the need for high-quality content that is relevant to what your customers are looking for. This content should provide value.

As mentioned in a post via Marketing Land, “The News Feed is more a discussion among friends and your challenge as a brand is to get people to talk about your brand for you. Use your page as a testing ground to see what gets people going and do more (or a better job) of that thing.”

To maintain relevancy naturally on Facebook we recommend the following:

  • Create visual content such as photos, videos & infographics. 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. This content is easy to digest and easy to share for your users.
  • Create content that helps solve a problem, dive into an issue, explain a process, etc.
    • These can be in the form of a white paper, blog posts, brochures, e-books, webinars, case studies, pod casts, etc.

If you would like to promote your business on Facebook we recommend testing the following strategies:

 

retargeting on facebook

Retargeting is a highly recommended option for businesses.

  •  Retargeting using AdRoll
  • In-depth targeting by utilizing the data collected on your users. You can create ads by:
  • Using demographic data to hone audiences
  • Segmenting interests to lower ad costs
  • Incorporating behavior for high conversions

This announcement hasn’t changed the game tremendously, but businesses need to be much more strategic and have time to devote in creating these types of high quality pieces of content. In addition, there will more than likely be a surge in Facebook advertising, which also means businesses need to have a strategic plan in place to reach their customers while balancing a positive ROI.

Comment below if you have any questions or contact a social media marketing specialist today.

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5 Reasons Your Local Business Isn’t Being Found in Google

It’s incredibly important for local business to be ‘findable’ in search engines – particularly Google, since it’s the default search engine on many mobile devices and has the largest overall market share. In today’s world, if you’re not visible on Google, you’re almost non-existent. Something a lot of local businesses struggle with is ranking well in Google for keywords relevant to their products or services. Luckily, you’ve stumbled across this blog, whether by chance, or maybe you were looking for answers to your problem.

5 Reasons Your Local Business Isn't Being Found in Google

  1. You’re not optimizing for mobile – Mobile search is huge, and getting huger. Desktops are quickly approaching obsolescence. People are on-the-go more and more. In fact, a recent study shows that 56% of mobile searches have local intent. Additionally, Google has directly stated that they give preference to mobile friendly sites in rankings; i.e., all other things equal between you and your competition’s site, if you have a responsive website, you’ll rank higher.
  2. On-page signals aren’t sending the right signals – Is your website’s meta data set to the CMS defaults? Are they unique on each page? Are they stuffed with every possible variation of keyword? Would a human be confused by the verbiage used? If you answered ‘yes’ to any/all of these questions, you’ve got some work to do. Each pages should have unique meta data, as in don’t copy the same text throughout the site. Product or service pages should have specific, relevant page titles, <h> tags, and meta description. You should also mention, via meta data, the location of your business. Here’s an example: Bad page title- “New York City Pizzeria |
    Pizza in New York City | Pizzeria NYC | New York Pizza | Pizza Pies in New York City | New York’s Best Pizza”. Kind of beating it to a pulp right? Here’s what it should look like- “NYC Pizzeria | New York’s Best Pizza”. It’s simple, it fits in the character limit for the Google search result, and it doesn’t look like it was automatically generated by a bot.
  3. Lack of citations and NAP consistency – This should go without saying, but you need to have a Google My Business listing, and it needs to be verified and have all the correct information. And while we’re talking about having correct information, all of your citations (you should be listed on every reputable ‘listing’ site you can find) should have the same information in terms of your business Name, Address and Phone Number, as well as other details about your business like hours of operation, parking info, and anything else that might be relevant. There’s a great post by another BEMer on all the recent changes with Google Listings.
  4. Reviews – This one is tough, a lot of local business owners are afraid to open up the gates of the review world because they don’t want any negative feedback out there. Yes, you are probably going to get some negative feedback, no business is perfect, but it’s all in how you handle it. If you respond (and handle it properly and professionally) to a negative review in a digital setting like that and it’s out there to see, they’re much more likely to do business with you than if you had just ignored the complaint or responded defensively. Of course you’ll also need to encourage your regular customers to give you reviews, but be careful about how you do this, it’s against Google’s guidelines to offer incentives to customers for a review. More often than not, a simple “Hey, next time your on the web, would you mind reviewing us on Google”. You can make this easier by offering up a vanity URL that takes users directly to the review site similar to what we’ve done with this URL: http://www.dedona.com/review – it redirects over to the review page, but it’s familiar enough, simple to remember, and easy include on print media.
  5. Links – Citations and links are very similar, and most citations will provide a link to your site, but you also need to have other links out there. Local based blogs, businesses across town you might partner with for special events, that organization your restaurant catered for last month, really anything you can think of. When your looking for sites that should link to yours, the question you should ask yourself is “Does this link make sense?” If you were a user on that other site and clicked a link to your site, would you have found it helpful, or would you have wondered why the link even existed? For example, remember a while back when ‘Rick Rolling’ was a thing, linking out to the video below with a different link anchor text….it didn’t make any sense for those links to be there and just frustrated people. For examples of relevant links that are helpful to the customer, look at the in-content links earlier in this post.

If you’ve been missing the mark on any or all of these items, don’t worry, you’re definitely not the only one…..and now you know how to fix your Google visibility problem! Drop a line in the comments if you have questions or comments about any of the items mentioned above. Cheers, and happy local-optimizing!

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Optimizing Your Google Shopping Campaigns for the Holidays

google shoppingWith only weeks to go before the big holiday rush, if you haven’t already optimized your product listing ads you may already be behind your competition. Not sure what you should be doing this year to outperform the other advertisers in your market? Below we’ve outlined a selection of both basic and more advanced tactics to increase impressions, click thrus and conversions.

Not Time Consuming And Recommended:

  • Enable enhanced CPC in your campaign settings to allow Google to increase your ad bids up to 30% higher based on products that historically convert better. This will improve your impression share over time for product ads that are more likely to result in a sale.
  • Did you know you can add negative keywords for PLAs just like you can for search network ads? Evaluate the keywords your users are currently searching for your product ads and incorporate negative keywords to improve impression quality.

Time Consuming But Recommended:

  • Make sure each product is assigned to the most up-to-date and most granular product category. Google Shopping campaigns allow you to add products to pretty specific categories and will provide competitive information such as what your current impression share is as well as the recommended cost per click for a product category. You will need to run your products for a few weeks to get benchmark data on category ad costs. For more details on product categorization, visit this page on the Google Merchant Support Center.
  • Updating product names and descriptions can also take a long time. However, if you’ve noticed specific keywords through search network ads or within your own site search that have higher click thru and conversion rates, now is the time to make sure those same terms are incorporated in the product names and descriptions on your website (the names and descriptions that feed your merchant center).

olaf costume product ad search exampleTime Consuming But Not Imperative:

  • New photography featuring your products can be a game changer, especially if others in your niche are advertising on the same products at similar prices. Product photography, especially if it is better quality and shows the user more detail, has the potential to increase your click thru rates when your ad is being sized up against the competition.
  • Dynamic remarketing with PLAs allows you to remarket product ads to users who have visited a specific product or category page. For more information on dynamic remarketing visit this page in the Google Adwords Support Center.
  • Getting more granular with your location targeting will give you insights into which regions perform the best. Based on how well specific locations perform (ex: California versus Florida), you can set percentage adjustments to increase or decrease bids. We recommend starting with larger regions such as a state or province and then getting more granular over time depending on performance.

google shopping mapNot sure how to tackle all this before Thanksgiving? Give our team a call today at 336.851.0040 or email us at sales@beminteractive.com.

P.S. For those of you Olaf the Snowman lovers out there (you know who you are), here’s his hit single “In Summer”…

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Is Your Website Ready for Holiday Shoppers? 5 Things That Will Drive Customers Away

This year, the holiday season will have 26 days between Black Friday and Christmas (one more day from last year and five fewer than 2012). The (short) holiday season is upon us and as a business owner, is your website ready for what is to come? According to IBM’s 2014 Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report, this year consumers will be spending more time online during the holidays, but will be spending less time on retail sites, in part because they’re more often on mobile phones and tablets. So, how can you prepare your website for holiday shoppers? Here’s a short list of what NOT to do:

1. Don’t make it difficult to find products.

You need to guide your customers to purchase your products and not a competitors. The most important factor is to make sure the path to finding a product is as clear as possible. To do this make sure you have your site search up and running. To really make it easy for your customers, integrate with a custom search refinement tool such as Nextopia with auto-fill search results.

search refinement tools

Custom search refinement tools make it much easier for consumers to find products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Don’t disregard mobile and tablet users.

Mobile commerce will account for 33 percent of U.S. online holiday sales. In addition, 40% of last year’s Black Friday’s online shopping was on mobile. So this means you need to make sure your site is mobile and tablet friendly. If your site only renders beautifully on a desktop, you will see high bounce rates and low conversions for tablet and mobile users, which means lost revenue.

Unsure about responsive design? Check out what you ought to know about responsive design in our infographic.

3. Don’t have a confusing add to cart/check out process.

You need to make sure the process from adding a product to the cart and checking out is as seamless and easy as possible. When someone adds an item to a cart and continues shopping, there should be a shortcut at the top of the site to indicate there is something in the cart. In addition, the checkout process should be one page. There are pros and cons as marketers to having a multi-page vs. a one page checkout, but as a consumer, we all want a one page, simple checkout process.

4. Don’t have outdated images/products featured.

Unless the summer clothes are 95% off, don’t feature them on the homepage. In addition, make sure you’re not out of stock on hot ticket items or featured products. If you get someone to your website and they find that you are out of what you are marketing, they will more than likely not buy from you, or ever come back to your site for that matter.

ecommerce sold out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Don’t lack incentives.

73% of online shoppers noted unconditional free shipping as “critical” to a purchase. It is highly recommended to work out a plan to offer free shipping over $X. For example, if your average order value is around $150, offer free shipping on orders over $175 to encourage customers to add one more item to their cart to get the free shipping incentive.

To wrap up, what you need to remember is this:

  • Utilize customized search refinement tools
  • Ensure your site is ready for mobile and tablet shoppers with a responsive design
  • Make sure your add to cart button stands out and indicates when an item is added to a cart
  • Double check that your checkout process is easy and functioning
  • Feature hot ticket items on the homepage and make sure they are IN STOCK
  • Offer free shipping

With that, we wish you a happy holiday season! If you need our expertise with ecommerce design or digital marketingcontact us and we will be glad to help you optimize your site for a successful onsite shopping experience. Have follow up questions? Drop us a line in the comments section below!

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