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As any entrepreneur could tell you, the business world moves quickly. In a fast-paced, tech-driven world, investing in the right technology can set your company up for success. Some small business owners worry that the latest tech will be too expensive. However, that’s not always the case. Some technologies are well worth the cost when you consider the end result, and others are mandatory investments to keep your business safe and legal.
Here are some tech investments that could save your business time, effort, and money in the long run:
Today, digital marketing is a major component of any successful marketing campaign. Consumers and businesses spend an enormous amount of time online, so it's important to have a marketing plan to connect with them in this arena. So with numerous digital marketing tools available, how do you choose the most effective ones for your business? No matter what type of business you have, the marketing tools below will be extremely beneficial to your company.
Message Match Your Domain Name
The number one rule of opening a brick-and-mortar business is "location, location, location," and your website is no different. Experts agree that an easy-to-remember domain name is critical for the success of your online presence. Just like the outside of a traditional business, your domain name is the first thing customers will see. A name that is not precise, or does not relate, can make a bad first impression and turn customers away. A concise domain name with specific keywords is also critical for search engine optimization (SEO) and brand-name recognition. Your domain name should also be easy to read, type, and pronounce. It is important to avoid hyphens and numbers. When creating your name, think long-term because your name will define your company for the present and future.
Choose the Right Hosting Platform
Choosing the right hosting platform can make or break your business. WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and Shopify are all easy to use and require no special skills to start and manage your site. You simply register for an account, and the technical skills are handles for you. Wix is considered the best website builder, but its vast selection can be overwhelming. Also, your website theme can't be changed once you publish it. Squarespace is ideal for creative businesses and has beautiful templates. The drawbacks are the platform can be difficult to use at first and the plans can be expensive. WordPress has unlimited customization and access to a wide variety of third-party plug-ins. The cons are that coding skills are required and you have to set up your own web hosting. Shopify is considered the top e-commerce platform and allows multi-channel selling on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. The drawbacks are that monthly fees can be expensive with apps, and transaction fees are charged for alternative payment methods. While doing it yourself can save you money, it can be very time consuming and requires coding knowledge. A professional designer will simplify the website-building process.
Content is King
It is important to remember that quality content always starts with the reader. Your goal is to add content to your site that will benefit your customers and your company. The key is to keep their attention and keep them coming back for more. When delivering content, Google evaluates expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness, or E-A-T. Simply stuffing your content with keywords in hopes of high rankings can do more harm than good. You can get ideas for content based on your industry, customer feedback, by monitoring customer behavior or doing research. Ideas include checklists, how-to articles, buying guides, and listicles. Your most important attention-grabbing content should be placed at the top of your page (above the fold) to ensure that customers will read it and hopefully scroll down for more.
Starting a social media marketing plan can be overwhelming for a small business, but it is a crucial tool for businesses of all sizes. The majority of people use social media, and it's one of the best ways to connect with current and potential customers. Before you jump into social media marketing, it is important to have a plan and to define your audience. Two of the best ways to attract customers through social media is by paid advertisements and quality content.
Keyword research is very important in any search marketing campaign. Monitoring and adding keywords to your content has numerous benefits, including driving more traffic to your website and giving you a better understanding of marketing conditions. Basic keyword research involves checking out the competition and using keyword research tools. Many of these are inexpensive or free.
Remarketing involves advertising to people you have established connections with. This could be people from your social media sites, email database, or visitors to your website. This is a great way to gain new customers.
When you ask people to sign up for things such as newsletters or bulletins, it is important to thank them immediately to show them that they are valued. It can also help build a trusting relationship, which can lead to new customers.
The digital marketing tools above are critical to the success of businesses of all sizes. They will help improve branding, drive more traffic to your site, and build relationships with your customers.
Good SEO Begets Good SEO
Getting started with SEO can be slow, but good SEO eventually creates a cycle that reinforces itself. When your website rank improves, more visitors will find your pages in search results. With more visitors arriving at and staying on your pages, you will rank higher. With high rank and wider exposure to your high-value content, more sites will link to your pages. This increases your domain authority and credibility, which further improves your website rank. And so on.
SEO Bolsters Your Business Reputation
Getting to the first page can give you a sense of accomplishment (and maybe even power), but it does more than that. Potential customers trust companies that rank high in Google searches. If a customer can’t find a business on the first page of Google, they usually think there is something wrong with the business. SEO boosts your ranking in search engines, as well as your reputation as a credible source, keeping you at the forefront of the minds of your target audience.
SEO Makes Other Businesses Take Notice
Customers aren’t the only ones who notice when you rank on the first page in Google searches. Other businesses do too. If your content is good enough, you just might get backlinks to your pages from other complementary businesses—furthering your exposure and increasing your brand awareness.
It’s easy to get referrals from customers who already know about your business. But there’s something better than that: referrals from other businesses who have customers of their own! The bigger the referrer, the bigger the buzz about your business!
SEO Rewards Hard Work
You put a lot of work into your small business, especially in producing content. Get that content out there and amplifying your marketing efforts through SEO! The better your SEO, the more traffic to your website and the more data you have to show for your hard work. It’s rewarding to see how your optimization efforts are working.
SEO Equips You for Further Improvement
The more of your target audience you can get to your website, the more meaningful data you will have to work with. Key insights (such as which pages get the most visits, which calls to action are most effective, which landing pages convert highest, and the demographics of your visitors) will inform your content strategy moving forward and help you to refine your marketing efforts down to only those that are worth your time. SEO helps drive visitors to your website that will help you to continuously improve.
Considering SEO Help For Your Small Business?
SEO leads to sustained results and is incredibly rewarding, but it is one of those jobs that need to be done right. It can be difficult, as a small business owner, to find the time to put these tactics into place, let alone figure out what those tactics are to begin with. In this case, it may be best to get professional help to ensure you reap all of the benefits SEO has to offer. In this section, we’re going to teach you how to find, vet, and hire a professional SEO service provider for your small business.
Benefits of Professional SEO Help
As the world of online business continues to grow, so too will the competitive landscape, making SEO more important than ever. Below, we’ve outlined some of the top benefits professional SEO services can provide, particularly to small business owners.
1. Save Time
Because SEO is so in-depth and in a constant state of change, it can quickly become a second full-time job, which you simply don’t have time for. This is where professional SEO services come into the picture. By hiring an SEO service provider, you no longer have to worry about reading article after article covering Google’s most recent update. That means you have more time to focus on the crucial aspects of your business that keep everything moving smoothly.
2. Fast-Track Better Results
Just because you think your website is perfect in every way doesn’t mean that’s the case. Hiring a professional SEO service provider will provide you with an objective second set of eyes that can quickly identify what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. Rather than having to learn to the hard way all by yourself over the course of months or years, SEO service providers can identify and correct problems quickly.
Once your website has been cleaned up and all critical issues corrected, the results should begin speaking for themselves.
3. Tools & Knowledge
Professional SEO service providers are equipped with expert-level knowledge and cutting-edge tools. Together, these give SEO professionals a unique edge when analyzing your website for various factors that affect your overall ranking ability. On the other hand, if you decided to take this on all by yourself, you would not only have to purchase each of the tools and service subscriptions, but you’d also have to learn how to get the most out of each.
Save yourself the headache and time by letting an SEO professional do all of this for you.
While they will do the legwork for you, a good SEO service provider will keep you informed. You will gain knowledge and perhaps even obtain tools to carry out SEO practices on your own and make informed decisions in the future.
What to Look For in an SEO Service Provider
When starting your search for the perfect SEO agency, it can be overwhelming. To help you navigate the hundreds of companies that all claim to be the “best”, we’ve compiled a short list of key considerations.
1. Don’t Always Trust the #1 Ranked Agency
Sure, you could make the argument that they must really know what they’re doing since they made it to the first spot, but in doing so, you also run the risk of passing over the true top performers. Professional SEO service providers that are genuinely awesome at what they do don’t need to spend time ranking for highly competitive keywords. The bulk of their business comes from referrals and they’re always in high demand, regardless of where they rank in search engines.
2. Let Reviews & References do the Talking
Companies that like to brag about their SEO skills and the “secret sauce” without having reviews and references to back it up should be avoided. Top performing SEO agencies will have a laundry list of testimonials, detailed reviews, and references that are happy to share their experience. These are the companies you want to be adding to your shortlist.
3. See if They Specialize in Anything
As attractive as it may seem to go with the company that does it all, you’ll find your money is best spent on an agency that specializes in a particular industry or service. Trying to be the best at everything SEO related is a tall order that very few can deliver on. Really dig into the service providers your considering and see if they have the expertise that applies directly to your industry or problem areas.
How Do I SEO My Website?SEO is about aligning your website with search engines. You both have the same goal: to provide valuable information to searchers when they need it. While the ultimate goal of SEO is to increase organic traffic to your website, the actions you take to achieve that occur both on and off of your website.
On-page SEO efforts are geared at the “crawlability” and usability of the pages on your website. They involve the parts of your website that get seen by the public and get read by search engines. On-page SEO has to do with:
• Page Content: Its relevance to the keywords it’s targeting, the quality of the content, its usefulness to users
• Page Experience: How engaging is the page, does it get readers to stay and click to other pages, is it intuitive
• Page Structure: Title tags, headers, image tags, meta descriptions are all complete and contain keywords you are targeting
Off-page SEO factors involve the backend elements that play into the experience of your webpages. They include
• Site performance: URL structure, internal links, load speed, responsiveness (renders and functions on any device or screen size)
• Backlinks: Links to your site from other trusted sites
• Domain authority: How long your website has been around, how trusted it is by Google
SEO isn’t a single tool or process. It’s not a series of tricks (like keyword stuffing) or secrets (like link trading) you can use to fool search engines. It’s also not a series of shortcuts that allow you to buy your way to the top of the search results. As search engines become more sophisticated, they get better at returning real results instead of low-quality articles stuffed with keywords or supported by cheap backlinks.
Search engines now actually penalize these techniques and reward content that is truly geared for helping users.
None of these tactics will achieve sustainable results and all of them will hurt your trustworthiness to both Google and its users. For more specific help with improving your SEO, check out this page: How to Improve SEO: Tips for Ranking on Google.
How Does SEO Help My Business?
Still not sure if you want to make the investment into SEO? Many small business owners do not think that SEO strategies apply to them. Either they see it as too complicated, or they think their brick-and-mortar business can’t benefit from search engines. Both are untrue. SEO is essential to local businesses and a marketing strategy well worth your time.
- Improves Visibility
Consumers rely on search engines to get answers to questions, learn more about products and services, and to find and compare businesses. Even if a customer is already familiar with your business name, they are likely to type that into a search box rather than type your domain into the address bar. At the very least, then, you’ll want to make sure searchers can find your site when they’re looking for you.
- Increases Website Traffic
If you provide valuable information and make it easy for search engines to find and organize it, they will reward you with higher rankings. This increased exposure means more visitors to your pages.
-Generates Qualified Leads
SEO is a great targeting tool. Since search engines return results to users who are actively searching for a particular term or phrase, getting to the top of that stack means you’re providing information to the people who want it most, when they want it. This means that the people arriving at your site through search are interested in buying and more likely to convert.
Is Free Advertising
Unlike paid methods, you aren’t paying to get information in front of people who might not be interested at the time. You are connecting your business with an active audience who is searching for what you have to offer. It’s free advertising on Google and beyond!
Ultimately Leads to More Clients
Improving your SEO allows your business to get found online by potential customers, which increases qualified traffic to your website and to your store. The more qualified traffic you’re getting, the more leads you can convert into customers. In addition, Google search results nowadays also enable consumers to engage with businesses directly from the results pages, making engagement and conversion even more seamless.
Need help with your SEO? Let us know and we can explain what and how you can achieve your online lead generation goals!
Everyone that is serious about growing their business and establishing themselves as a top brand is today actively involved in search engine optimization. For enterprises that have always thought that having a website was reason enough to boast of their online presence, a wake-up call was long sounded. Numbers do not lie, and for top-rated sites, it is a whole new level of operation that they would do anything to maintain as they grow their market supremacy. Nonetheless, it has never been a better time to tap to what has proven to be more than a promise but a dream that can be lived by any enterprise.
All suggestions and questions as to whether search engine optimization is dead are misinterpreted facts which simply fail to acknowledge the fact that the marketing technique has tremendously advanced. One of the primary reasons why SEO is not dead is because every day there are more and more internet users who are after quality content. Search engines are built to work for the favor of the billions of active internet users who rely on the platforms for instant access to information. This translates to the reality that no business can ever hide from that quality content rules and is the most efficient way to attaining their marketing goals.
In the past, SEO was all about desktop websites as it was the one place where everyone would go when looking for a product, service, or objective information. Times have changed, and today the primary mode of accessing the internet is through smartphones which account for an average of 69% of the total time spent online. Essentially this means that a company that has mobile abilities will automatically gain a competitive advantage as they have direct access to the largest and most active market segment.
To avoid locking out such a massive percentage of the market, any business that is thinking about search engine optimization must equally include in their plans having a mobile-friendly website. Back to facts backed by statistics, another factor why embracing the change is fundamental is that no visitor will have second thoughts when it comes avoiding a website that will not load in a smartphone. This decision is made instantly, and within a couple of seconds as page-speed ranks as the determining factor for anyone browsing the internet. If the immediate competitor has taken the right measures in having a mobile-optimized site, it requires no magic to know where all those prospective clients would all be going to each time.
At a time when mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches, the only one on the losing end is a business that fails to keep up with the current trends. Search engine algorithms have also been upgraded to take to account mobile optimization as one of the factors that determine the ranking on the search engine result pages. Google’s mobile-first indexing is a game-changer which is rightfully intended to ensure that all visitors to the platform have a smooth experience regardless of the device used. Once all the steps are taken to give all visitors a platform is practical, search engine optimization gets to have the impacts desired.
For any business looking to get found online, SEO is crucial, and let’s face it, if you’re not looking to get found online, you’re not looking to get found at all. The digital world is where your customers are, and it is there that you need to stand out to them and stand apart from competitors.
Many small business owners feel they don’t need SEO because they obtain most of their business through word of mouth referrals. Although word of mouth marketing is an effective way to bring in business and build up your reputation, it’s not a scalable way to grow your business. Search engine optimization, on the other hand, is.
Read on to understand more about why it’s so important, how it works, and how it helps small businesses like yours.
What is SEO?
Many business owners see search engine optimization (SEO) as a mystery, an enigma that only those with inside knowledge can solve. The truth is, SEO is an important part of any marketing strategy, and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s a combination of efforts put into place to help search engines like Google find and trust your business website, organize the information you’re publishing, and present it to users searching for it.
Even though you are optimizing for search engines, search engines build their ranking algorithms around user behavior, so at the end of the day, you are optimizing for end users as well.
One of the most common ways to find information on the internet is to use a search engine. Users will enter a search term or question (also known as a keyword) into Google. Then, using a complex algorithm, Google will return what it has identified are the most appropriate and useful results.
This is different than browsing a news site or scrolling through social media looking for information. Googlers are actively looking for a specific answer or doing consumer research, which you should keep in mind when creating your website content.
The search engines (i.e. Google) people use to find information are essential because they return prioritized results for users. Google’s “spiders” are constantly crawling the web, recording everything they find in a database (or index). When you perform a search, Google is actually returning results from its index rather than the live internet.
The important thing to remember is that all search engines use specific criteria for ranking results. They look at factors like keyword density and meta tags to understand what your pages are about. Also, they keep track of which pages are linking to your content, and they use that information (along with other factors) to determine what page has the most authority.
In order for your potential customers to find you via a Google search, you need to rank high on Google; particularly, on the first page; ideally, in the top few results. That’s why you need to optimize your content for search engines. Hence the term “search engine optimization.”
SEO can be complex and takes time, but the key takeaway so far is that if you want to rank your business higher on Google, you need to make sure that:
• Search engines can find you
• They can tell what your web pages are about
• They believe your page/site has authority and credibility for the content you’re promoting
At Nielsen’s Consumer 360 Conference, speakers and attendees discussed the attributes, inclinations, and behaviors various consumer groups in the U.S. In a session titled “Marketing that Matters,” three unique consumer groups were identified and analyzed to provide a fresh perspective on the opportunities these segments represent for marketers.
BABY BOOMERSBaby Boomers—Americans born between 1946 and 1964—number 80 million, and have long been the most marketing-friendly consumers in the country’s history. Their sheer number has amplified their impact and transformed every product category they have embraced. Today, boomers are rapidly growing out of the 18-49 cohort -- long thought to be a sweet spot for marketers -- but this generation is simply too big, valuable, and important for marketers to revert to the traditional “cut-off” at age 49.
Instead, they remain important as ever to the success of marketers and brands. Today, the 50+ age group consists of almost 100 million consumers, and by 2030, it will grow another 34 percent.
Today, boomers account for nearly $230 billion in sales for consumer packaged goods (about half of total sales), and in five years, they will control a full 70 percent disposable income in the U.S. They will continue to dominate spending, yet advertising dollars are being funneled elsewhere.
“Whatever the reasons for this divide, it’s a missed opportunity,” said Beth Brady, Nielsen’s leader for marketing effectiveness.
MEDIA MOMS Today’s moms in America direct most of American family spending, but are harder to reach via media and marketing than in decades past.
Moms with children under six watch less TV overall than the general population, but fit in their favorite programs by watching two more hours of time-shifted TV per month than the adult population generally. But mom is clearly not a couch potato; she’s often multitasking while consuming TV content. On any given day, 67 percent of moms use the internet while watching TV simultaneously.
With busy lives, it’s no surprise that moms are early tech adopters, always open to new technology that may make them more efficient. Tablets are quickly becoming one of mom’s favorite media devices. About a quarter of moms with tablets use them while watching TV several times a week.
Smartphones, meanwhile, still play a big role in many aspects of moms’ lives, and they are quickly becoming an important venue for moms and their shopping. More than 20 percent of moms with children are experimenting with mobile shopping.
“These moms are showing a propensity to engage in commerce-related activity on their phones, whether price-checking, searching, or pure financial transactions,” said Jessica Hogue, a senior vice president of client solutions at Nielsen.
POLARIZED CONSUMERS Much attention of late has been paid to increasing income disparity in the United States. Lower income consumers—those who earn less than $30,000 per year—are a growing segment and now represent about 30 percent of the country’s population. While these consumers, not shockingly, spend less overall than average, they collectively represent a big part of the country’s total spend and are expected to grow in the future.
This segment of consumers engages with media across all screens. In fact, they spend more time online than other income groups, averaging more than nine hours a month on Facebook and streaming more online video than other consumers as well. Lower income consumers also watch more TV than other consumers and are particularly accessible via daytime television.
Take a moment and look at the above image. Do you see some terms you may recognize? Some that you have never seen before?
As a Digital Marketing Agency, we are required to not only know what these terms and acronyms are, but we have to know how to utilize them, access them, optimize them, and research what we don't know about them.
I will point out a few of these and help explain them below.
Every day we get calls from companies inquiring about how to best engage the mobile consumer. The biggest things we see on the websites we evaluate is that when browsing on a PC, the main value selling point is generally easily found and stated. But on a mobile device, it takes a user many more valuable seconds and minutes to actually figure out if they are in the right place. This is bad for business. Why? Keep Reading
Simply put, digital marketing is getting your company, brand and products or services into the hands/eyeballs of a person who is on a computer, tablet, phone or other digital device.
Why is it important for business owners to have a good digital marketing system in place? Well, ask your self...When was the last time you went to the yellow pages or newspaper when you needed something?
Times have changed.
Baytech Companies is a digital marketing agency and has been designing great looking mobile friendly and profitable websites and developing new leads and business for our clients for over a decade.
We know HOW to make your business money using effective digital marketing solutions.
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