About Paul Gregg

Paul heads up [g]commerce and The SEO Company, and is responsible for the overall management. Paul's experience extends from various roles in sales management for large domestic and international publishing firms, as well as global digital marketing companies.

Internet Marketing Tips for the Small Business Owner: Website Design Elements that Will Make or Break Your Conversion Rate

Internet Marketing Tips for the Small Business Owner: Website Design Elements that Will Make or Break Your Conversion Rate

When we meet with clients for the first time, more often than not, they’re frustrated because their sites don’t convert. They’ve got a web presence but are learning that it’s no longer enough to simply be online with the digital version of a business’ brochure. As marketing consultants, my colleagues and I often discover the same set of website design issues–conversion rate killers–that are responsible for the low number of leads and/or sales the clients are attracting.

Internet marketing may be ever-evolving, but what remains the same is that a site that’s not converting is a liability, not an asset. If you own a small business and are looking for clues as to what it is that could be preventing your site’s visitors from taking action, take a look at the following:

Clutter Kills Conversions: An Internet Marketing No-Brainer

You’d be surprised to learn just how many business owners are shocked when we tell them it’s the clutter on their website that’s preventing them from converting more of their site visitors. Really? You’re surprised that the 12 images, five buttons, six paragraphs of text, nine navigation links and side bar brimming with more post titles than there are verses in the bible, just on the home page, turns people off?!

No amount of internet marketing is going to save your site when people are overwhelmed by the amount of ‘stuff’ you’ve got crammed onto your web pages.  Visitors, in fear of getting lost and never getting out, will just skip over your content and exit about as fast as they entered.

Instead, consider this:

  • Conversions Require White Space:  Researchers found that people actually read more slowly when there’s more white space on a page…
  • Keep side bars neat and tidy, with ads (if applicable) at the top of the side bar, and a small summary of your recent posts, or reserve this area for straightforward navigation.

Font: Direct Attention without being Obnoxious

This is not an excerpt from Web Marketing for Dummies: the type and size of the font you use can help or hinder your conversion rate. Seem pretty basic? Tell that to the loads of business owners out there who are still using ridiculously hard to read fonts because they think it looks cool. This is another area where it’s best to keep it simple.

That being said, don’t be afraid to highlight important bodies of text or calls to action with a larger font or even bold. Both can be very effective ways to guide site visitors further down your conversion funnel.

Format and Speed:

I know that in our internet marketing business, this is one bit of advice we’ve offered (maybe ‘pleaded’ is a better word),  again and again: You DO Need a Mobile Site. To compete online today, and that means converting website visitors into your customers, you’ve got to make your site more user-friendly for the growing number of people using their mobile devices to search for goods and services.

Adding to this, if  your site is slow, it’s not just going to frustrate the people who discover your site while searching from their smart phones. Even the people sitting in front of their laptops, not going anywhere, are going to give up. Waiting for web pages to load is annoying and one of the biggest conversion killers there is. No amount of web marketing will save your site from high bounce rates if it loads slowly.

Convince Your Visitors

A site that lacks testimonials or social media icons will always have more difficulty converting visitors. When people have proof that someone before them has used your services or purchased your product and can attest to your authority, they will always be more willing to look at your business more closely, sign-up for your newsletter, buy your product, or feel motivated to contact you for more information.

Now is the time to make the necessary adjustments to your site so that it can perform the way one should. While these basic web marketing strategies will get you started, deeper analysis of your site and the way people behave when on your site will give you an even more accurate idea of how your site must change if you want to improve conversions.

Contact a team of marketing consultants to learn how tools like heat maps will reveal the key to getting more leads and sales, online. Call The SEO Company on 1300 88 55 57 for more information.

How Does the 80/20 Rule Figure Into Your Web Strategy?

How Does the 80/20 Rule Figure Into Your Web Strategy?

Few people in business haven’t heard of Pareto’s Law or the 80/20 Rule, whereby 80% of the results come from a mere 20% of the causes. While the exact percentages may not always be 80 and 20, the differences between them is what’s important. 90 and 10, for example, would demonstrate the same observation, namely that a portion of causes or actions produce the majority of the outcomes.

It’s really quite amazing to think that when you apply this rule to your business and start to break things down, you can quite accurately predict the outcome for just about anything you do. It also becomes a highly valuable guide for where and how to direct your energy and resources, something from which every small business owner can benefit.

If your business has an online presence and you’re working to refine the web strategy that will bring more traffic to your site and customers to your door, the 80/20 Rule can help focus your attention on the aspects of your strategy that will deliver results in the way of new clients and sales.

Your Online Strategy & the 80/20 Rule

Now, I don’t mean to say that all the time and effort you’ve put in hasn’t been worth it, but 20% of your existing online strategy, whether it includes SEO or any form of web marketing, is generating 80% of the business you receive from the web. It can be a bit frustrating to think that such a small piece of the pie is what’s giving you the biggest result, but instead of getting angry, look at it this way:

The key to a successful web strategy is to determine what that effective 20% consists of, focus more of your attention on those tasks and  less on the whopping 80% that isn’t really pulling its weight.

The Social Media Example

Like I said, what’s so beneficial about the 80/20 Rule is that you can apply it to every facet of your online strategy. Take social media, for instance; Interacting with followers through various social media channels is crucial to success online, but if you’re doing too much of what’s not working and too little of what actually generates leads and sales, what’s the point?

Well, how do you interact with prospective customers through social media? By sharing content. Using the 80/20 Rule, think about the content you share. You and I know you’re not sharing content because you’ve got loads of extra time to interact socially online, but that’s why people (your prospects) are on sites like Facebook and Twitter–to be social. While you may be interacting just to popularise your brand and to demonstrate that you are an authority in your industry, if 80% of the content you share on a social network is a total sales pitch, you’re going to do little more than tick people off. Instead, make your content a healthy 80% informative and only 20% sales pitch and see where that takes you.

Determining Which Facet of Your Web Strategy Deserves the Most Attention

So, knowing that 20% of the pages on your site bring you 80% of your leads and sales or that 20% of the web marketing you do is responsible for 80% of your results, you need to determine which specific pages and tactics are worthy of more of your time and energy. Tracking and analysing results is the best way to execute and constantly refine a web strategy that’s capable of taking your business to the next level online. There are many sophisticated tools available that you can use to monitor your traffic, rankings, conversions and much more. Heat maps, for instance, will show you where it is that site visitors are actually clicking, and which pages or sections of content they skip over all together.

If you’d like to know how the 80/20 Rule can be used to guide your web marketing efforts, including content creation, social media signalling and more, call The SEO Company on 1300 88 55 57. Together, we’ll design and implement a web strategy that’s more of an equation for achieving success and less of a shot in the dark.

Mobile Still Not a Part of Your Web Strategy? You’re Almost Out of Time…

Mobile Still Not a Part of Your Web Strategy? You’re Almost Out of Time…

For all you heel-draggers who still consider mobile-friendliness to be an optional add-on for a website, it’s time to pick up the pace and bring your site up to speed or risk losing business.

Google’s Matt Cutts recently told listeners at a search marketing expo that it would not surprise him if this were the year when the number of searches performed via mobile devices would be greater than the number of searches done at desktops. Mobile-friendliness is a topic we’ve broached, time and time again, with our clients. Knowing this day would come, we knew a web strategy without mobile compatibility would fail to compete, going forward. To be honest, I’m a little surprised that we’re already at that point. It’s time to fish or cut bait.

Re-working your online strategy so that your site is mobile-friendly requires you to get inside the head of your user, appealing to how they think and act when searching from a smart phone or tablet. Design your strategy with these points in mind:

A Good Online Strategy for Mobile is to Keep it Simple

When it comes to designing a mobile-friendly version of your site, pages with simple and straightforward layouts will always be more effective than those that are heavy on content, pictures and so on. Remember, mobile allows users to surf the web while they’re on-the-go, so on average, the amount of time they will want to spend on a site is less than a desktop user. This being the case, your web strategy should include the following:

  • Keep images to a minimum
  • Use bullet points and short paragraphs that users can quickly scan for the information they need
  •  Use different colours or bold to draw attention to important text or areas of your mobile site
  • Reduce the number of text links on the page
  • Don’t use long forms; no user is going to fill out field after field of information while they’re on the bus or at a coffee shop
  • Mobile sites that load slowly only frustrate users and lead to higher bounce rates, as do sites where you can’t see from one side of the page to the other without having to scroll
  • Focus on including the content you want and need the user to see, aesthetics are secondary

Keywords and Your Mobile Strategy

Just like the amount of time a mobile user will spend perusing your site is shorter than a desktop user, mobile users also tend to use shorter keyword terms in their searches. This means that as you design the online strategy for your mobile site, include keyword terms carefully researched and selected for their mobile search relevance. Also, don’t forget that a growing number of mobile users are turning to voice search instead of typing in their queries. The keyword terms used in voice search tend to be formulated as questions, so take this into account when researching the terms you’ll include in your web strategy.

If you’re starting to realize that the time to bring your online presence up to speed with a mobile-friendly site is now, before you start to lose business to your competitors, you’re right. While using the above points as a framework for your web strategy will get you off to a good start, you may want to consider speaking with some experts who can help you design, build and test the mobile site that will put you in the best possible position to capitalise on the growing trend that is mobile search.

For more on this or any other web strategy query, call The SEO Company at 1300 88 55 57.

Is Your Web Strategy Failing to Generate New Business? Conversion Rate Optimisation is What’s Missing

Is Your Web Strategy Failing to Generate New Business? Conversion Rate Optimisation is What’s Missing

You know your landing page isn’t converting enough of your visitors into paying customers. Is it the style of writing you use? Your call to action? The colours or layout of the text and pictures? You need to make a change, but how do you know which changes will bring you the results you need and which ones will only produce fewer conversions than you’re receiving now?

Changing the content and/or layout on a website can be risky business, that is if you’re making those changes blindly. But, maintaining the look and functionality of a site that’s under-performing isn’t wise either. Your web strategy needs to include Conversion Rate Optimisation with tactics designed around concrete proof for what works–not shots in the dark.

Making Conversion Rate Optimisation a Driving Force of Your Online Strategy

If your site is failing to bring you new business, what’s the point in having an online presence? In many instances, when we start working with new clients, we see websites that function more like online brochures and less like lead and sales generation tools. With sites like these, a client’s decision to begin conversion rate optimisation can be the turning point in their online strategy.

What are some of the aspects of a site that should be analysed and potentially re-worked?

  • Calls to Action (CTA): your wording and the position of the CTA on the page matter, as well as the effectiveness of CTA buttons. Nine times out of 10, CTA buttons convert more effectively than CTA text links.
  • Headlines: are they clear? Do they entice people to read further down the page?
  • Contact Information: is your company phone number big and bold, right where customers can see it?
  • Colours: highlight a CTA, like a Buy Now Button, by making it a colour that will really ‘pop’ on the page.
  • Pictures: people are more trusting of companies when they can see the real live people who work there. Consider switching out the stock photos on your site for images of your employees, hard at work.
  • Live Chat: if this isn’t already a part of your web strategy, it should be. It’s easy to use and helps convert those site visitors who are less likely to pick up the phone to ask a question.
  • Include Client Testimonials: proudly display testimonials from your previous customers. Testimonials show new site visitors you’ve got a product or service that’s worthy of their money.

Now that you know some of the things you could change to improve your site’s conversion rate, discover how it is that you can make changes without taking the sort of trial and error approach that could cost you conversions, not boost them.

What is Split Testing?

Also referred to as A/B testing, split testing is a proven web strategy whereby, with the help of a special tool, you can split your site’s traffic between two different versions of a page and then measure which page is more effective when it comes to converting that traffic into new leads and sales.

So, for instance, if you suspect that your landing page’s lack of conversions is due to a weak CTA, you could create two new versions of this page, each with a different CTA. Then, the tool would split your traffic between the two versions and allow you to see and measure the effectiveness of one CTA over the other.

Improve Your Web Strategy the Right Way–Hire Experts to Help

You can, of course, do this testing on your own, but that will require time and a certain know-how that you may not have. Many digital marketing companies now offer split testing services as a part of a conversion rate optimisation package. The SEO Company, for instance, uses split testing on clients’ sites, in addition to other valuable conversion rate optimisation tools like heat maps, to measure a site’s effectiveness and to help a client design a web strategy that converts more site visitors into customers.

If you’re ready to improve your web strategy so that it’s capable of making you money, call us on 1300 88 55 57 to learn more about our Conversion Rate Optimisation services.

Duplicate Content Can Derail Search Engine Optimisation–Here’s How

Duplicate Content Can Derail Search Engine Optimisation–Here’s How

When providing services that include search engine optimisation and internet marketing, you find websites that are in different states of need. What one site requires to be more conducive to successful search marketing will be different from the next.

Duplicate content is something we find fairly regularly on clients’ websites, and although having the same copy in more than one place (URL) isn’t an offense that’s going to get you punished by the web’s equivalent of the firing squad, it does have the potential to derail you from achieving the high rankings and improved traffic you’re working toward with search engine optimisation. Because of this, we always recommend that our clients avoid duplicate content on their sites.

The following is a brief explanation of how duplicate content can affect a search engine optimisation campaign, and specifically, why it’s best not to have the same copy in more than one place on your website, or to even include large sections of text from another’s site (even if referenced properly), on your own website.

Duplicate Content & Search Marketing

Last July, Google’s Matt Cutts said duplicate content won’t get your website penalised unless the content is spammy. By ‘spammy,’ he meant stuffed with keywords, for instance. The problem duplicate content presents is that it forces search engines like Google to choose which URL they rank.  Search engines want to provide their customers (searchers) with the best possible experience, and they don’t think that search results where the same information can be found at more than one URL will satisfy searchers.

Let me break it down for you:

  • Your goal is to achieve the highest rankings possible through search engine optimisation
  • You have the same copy in more than one place on your website, or your site contains a body of text which you have copied and pasted from another website (even if you cited it properly)
  • When Google and other search engines find copy that is the same, they choose which URL they think is the original source for the text and rank that page in their results for specific keyword terms

Where this isn’t compatible with your overall goal for search engine optimisation is that Google doesn’t know which URL they should reward with rankings for the trust, authority and relevance the content exhibits; should it all go to one URL or be split between the two? If you took the time to write content so that it would rank well and bring new visitors to your page, why risk diverting traffic someplace else, right?

Duplicate Content that’s Unavoidable

Sometimes, there will be places on a website where duplicate content is unavoidable. Your site’s ‘Terms and Conditions’ policy could appear in more than one place, for instance. In these cases, our search marketing team would canonicalize the duplicate content with a 301 redirect. SAY WHAT?! This is precisely the sort of instance where working with a professional search engine optimisation company, who knows how to make your website as compatible for search marketing success as possible, is a worthwhile business move.

So even if Matt Cutts says your site will be ‘safe’ as long as you don’t publish spammy duplicate content, we think it’s best to avoid having multiple versions of the same text, all together. When it comes to search engine optimisation, the difference between what’s ‘safe’ and what’s ‘smart’ is high rankings and big traffic.

For more on this or any other search marketing query, call The SEO Company on 1300 88 55 57.

These Common Search Engine Marketing Misconceptions are Holding Your Business Back

These Common Search Engine Marketing Misconceptions are Holding Your Business Back

When I meet with clients for the first time, it’s always interesting to hear what it is that they think they should or should not be doing to rank well and succeed online. Often, what these business owners think is important to search marketing and their online presence is based on such outdated information that they’d never get anywhere if they were to put it into practise or continue to use these strategies.

It makes sense that few business owners would be at all up to speed on the latest trends and best practises for web marketing. They’re busy enough trying to keep up with what’s changing in their own industries, it would be impossible to stay on top of Google’s daily rule-changing. This is precisely why it’s imperative for business owners to hire professionals to manage their search marketing.

Especially among local business owners, there are a series of common search engine marketing misconceptions floating about. Unless these misconceptions are identified and the search marketing practises that are based on these myths are discarded, organisations risk missing out on valuable business.

The following is just a handful of the many search engine marketing misconceptions you yourself may still believe to be relevant:

1) All I need is a ‘quick fix’ of SEO

Whether it’s the owner of a long-standing business who has just decided to do something about their search rankings, or someone launching a new company, I hear this one all the time: “I just want to do search marketing for a couple of months, until I get some rankings, and then I’m going to stop.” Let me put it to you this way, the terms ‘search engine marketing’ and ‘short-term’ are like oil and water; they just don’t mix.

Because Google changes the game each and every single day, the rankings you achieve in just a couple of months from doing search marketing will never last. You could rank on page one for a couple of terms one day and then not rank in the top 10 pages of search rankings the next. Plus, if you consider the level of competition in your market, or if you’re a newcomer to the industry, it becomes even more evident that you need long-term web marketing to give you a solid leg-up in the rankings.

2) Mobile-friendliness isn’t necessary for search engine marketing because my target customer doesn’t use a smart phone

I don’t care if you sell a solution for cleaning dentures, your site has to be mobile-friendly if you want to compete on the web today. The number of smart phone users in the world grows every day. Heck, grey-haired grannies are face timing with their grandkids via their iPhones, right now. Search engine marketing without a plan to optimise for mobile is just plain stupid. Google knows it too, and in an effort to provide their customers (search users) with the best possible experience, the search engine now penalises those who aren’t mobile-friendly by burying their sites in the search rankings.

3) Social isn’t a must for search marketing

Just like the old ‘my clients don’t search from smart phones’ excuse, business owners often claim they don’t need to do social because their customers aren’t in Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Even if you’re partly right, social media is a necessary component of every web marketing campaign today. Here’s why: whenever you share content with your followers or connections, comment on someone else’s work, or network, you’re building the authority you need to show Google you and your business are major players in your industry. Social benefits your search engine marketing efforts because every little bit you do contributes to the good impression you need to make on Google in order to get ranked, but it also benefits conversions, by demonstrating to potential customers that you know you’re stuff, inside and out.

4) A bad review will affect my rankings!

Just because someone didn’t like the burrito you served them doesn’t mean you’re going to see a downward shift in your search rankings. In fact, even a bad review can benefit your business because it demonstrates to those who read it that you are, in fact, a real company. Business owners often panic when they read a negative review, and instead should consider the criticism as a clue for how to improve their offering. Many have gone to the extent of posting fake perfect reviews, which is a major no-no and could get you penalised if you’re found out.

Instead, encourage people to review or rate your business online. The more reviews you have that are positive, the less likely one or two negative reviews is going to make an impression on prospective customers.

Maybe you, too, are still using some of the above misconceptions or myths as an excuse to drag your heels on getting serious about search engine marketing. Putting your trust in a team of search marketing experts who eat, sleep and breathe SEO is the best way to guarantee your success online.

Get in the game and we’ll bring you and your site up to speed and in-line with what works online today. Call The SEO Company on 1300 88 55 57 to learn more.

Google’s Gone and Done It; Guest Blogging as a Search Engine Optimisation Tactic is Dead

Google’s Gone and Done It; Guest Blogging as a Search Engine Optimisation Tactic is Dead

In the not-so-distant past, guest blogging was widely used and encouraged by search marketing and online marketing experts. While it was considered somewhat of an honour to be the ‘special guest’ on another site’s blog, guest blogging was also a rather effective search engine optimisation tactic whereby you could write a post for someone else and build a quality link back to your website.

Of course, Google wouldn’t like us to blatantly say this was a search engine optimisation strategy, but when legitimately good quality content was posted on another’s site, a link to the author’s site was like a token of appreciation, which simultaneously benefited their search marketing.

But, overtime, people started to use and abuse guest blogging and it increasingly became yet another medium for spam marketing, a practice viewed as a major no-no by any search engine optimisation team that’s worth its weight. Eventually, people started imbedding spammy links in guest posts on others’ blogs or gave up writing the posts all together and just offered cold hard cash to take advantage of another’s page rank. And, as it always does, Google noticed. Really, the writing has been on the wall for some time.

It’s a shame some bad apples have nearly torched guest blogging as a way for the rest of us to gain credibility in our markets and niches, something which only benefits the marketing we do online. Notice I said ‘nearly torched,’ because this doesn’t mean any guest blogging you do will have detrimental effects for your marketing campaign. As Google’s Matt Cutts said, the search engine’s webspam team will further scrutinise guest blogging going forward, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still use this marketing tactic as a way to popularise your brand and demonstrate your authority through quality content–in fact, you should.

Here’s how to approach guest blogging, going forward:

  • Never offer another site money to be their guest blogger and don’t accept similar offers from others. You’ve probably received emails from spammers wanting to be your guest blogger in the past–just don’t accept guest blogging offers from strangers!
  • If you do decide to accept a guest blog post, be wary of the author. If it’s someone you know well and trust, their opinion or knowledge could be of benefit to your site and add value, something which is a must for sound online marketing, today. Look for opportunities to be a guest blogger for reputable sites, whose owners are your colleagues, friends, etc.

In a nutshell, reserve your guest blogging as a way to provide expert insight on the topics you know best and you’ll be fine. If you’d like to learn more about Google-approved guest blogging or how regular blogging for your own site will benefit any marketing and search engine optimisation you do, call us on 1300 88 55 57.

Dominate Local Search Marketing while Stepping-Up Social Media Efforts & Improving Your Website’s Overall Visibility

Dominate Local Search Marketing while Stepping-Up Social Media Efforts & Improving Your Website’s Overall Visibility

What if you could kill a few birds with one stone by stepping-up your local search marketing efforts? I don’t know many local businesses who aren’t interested in saving time and/or money, and the following shows you how to take care of three search marketing tasks in an efficient and effective manner. Take note of these local search marketing tips, implement them and position yourself to be the local business customers find first.

Start by Optimising Your Website for Local Search Marketing

While moving your site up the search rankings for any search terms may give you the visibility you think you want, ranking well for local search is what you need. After all, it’s those local people who are searching for the goods and services your business sells who will be the most likely to visit your location and buy.

Start by targeting the right list of keyword terms, some of which include the names of the places in your local service area, and optimising your site’s title tags, meta descriptions and content with those terms. It’s not enough to slap ‘Brisbane’ on the end of a long-tail keyword term and call it a day, either. You need to target location-specific keyword terms that have buyer’s intent. When you write about your local area, you’ll not only be providing content that resonates with your local customers, but the keyword optimisation will give your local search marketing efforts a boost, as well.

Don’t forget to include your local address and phone number on every page of your site; the easier it is for people to find you, the more likely they are to visit. Plus, it conveys to Google that you are one of the local businesses their customers want to find through search.

Local Businesses with Profiles in Local Directories Get Found

I know, this is a dead horse I’ve flogged repeatedly, but I can’t stress it enough: Local businesses that want to do wonders for their local search marketing need to create and claim listings for their companies in local directories. To rank well in these directories, complete your profiles, use your keyword terms and ensure your business’ address and phone number are consistent with the information provided on your website and across every other listing on the web. Share pictures and videos and encourage people to write reviews of your goods and services. Just like social media, this local search strategy gives your business the credibility it needs to succeed online.

Don’t Underestimate the Good Social Media Signalling Can Do for Your Local Search Marketing

Having a strong presence in social media goes hand in hand with great rankings in local search. The more content you share, questions you answer, followers you have and buzz you create around your business in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like, the more likely yours will be the business Google chooses to display up top in search results. Be sure to share any business news or updates your local followers may find interesting, especially information on the in-store promotions and sales local customers will want to get in on.

Other Local Search Marketing Tips for Local Businesses

  • Responding to good and negative reviews in local directories gives your business more credibility
  • Search results for media sites almost always rank at the top. Create some business buzz the local media will want to cover and get a leg-up in the rankings. Invite food critics to your restaurant, host a special event for charity or anything else that will get your business a media mention
  • Quality link-building from the content you share with your followers in social media sites to your website will also help catch Google’s attention

With the popularity of mobile search growing by leaps and bounds every day, local businesses have really got to step-up their game on the local search marketing front or get left in the dust. Attract and convert more of the local business you need with a web presence that’s optimised and properly executed for local search.

To learn more about becoming an authority in your local market, call us on 1300 88 55 57.

Before You Lose Another Lead or Sale, Master the Art of Headline Writing

Before You Lose Another Lead or Sale, Master the Art of Headline Writing

If, after reading the above headline, you find yourself feeling a bit panicked, that was my intention.

Most people know they’ve got to produce quality content to compete on the internet, today. But, what often happens is they fail to convince others that what they’ve produced is worthy of a read because they slap lame headlines on their work or use even less-interesting social signals to advertise their content.

This is where the headline’s true weight becomes apparent. It’s the bait, a statement that either entices others to take action, moving them one step closer to becoming your customers, or ensures the time and even money you invest producing content for internet marketing purposes is wasted.

Regardless of your business’ niche, you need to write the type of headlines and social media signals (headlines by a different name) that get people clicking. Piquing curiosity, generating interest, panic or excitement should be the goal for any and every Tweet, status update or article headline you write from here on out.

Headlines for Content & Social Media Signalling

Right now, one of the most effective strategies in internet marketing is to use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn to get more leads and sales. But this is no secret and your Tweets, post headlines and updates will have to compete with the thousands, maybe even millions, of other short snippets of text floating about on the internet and vying for the attention of your niche’s pool of prospects. How can you write the sort of headlines that make statements big enough to dominate in a digital world? What are the top tips for marketing effectively in as little as 140 characters? I’ll tell you!

By putting the following tips and ideas into practice, you can vastly improve click-through rates and push your internet prospects further down your conversion funnel. To generate more leads and sales, you’ve not only got to get people to your site, but you’ve got to encourage them to stay a while. When you write headlines, Tweets and status updates with the level of persuasiveness typically only commanded by marketing geniuses, your internet prospects won’t be able to ignore the buzz you create and will be looking for more!

Writing Powerful Headlines is Efficient Marketing

As internet marketing specialists, clients often tell us that writing isn’t their forté, nor is it something to which they can dedicate a heck of a lot of time. I get it, your plate is already full. That’s why it’s so important to learn the type of marketing skills that can bring your business more of the traffic it needs with as little time and effort invested as possible. Marketing doesn’t get much more efficient than being able to drive more customers to your site or door with a powerful headline.

Picture Your Audience & Speak to them Directly

When coming up with effective headlines, it’s crucial to first determine who your audience is and to then write in a way that will relate to them. Working in internet marketing, for instance, the type of people who typically read my work are small business owners on the hunt for marketing strategies they can easily implement and that will bring them business on and off of the internet. Knowing this, every time I draft a blog post, a how-to, Tweet or update, I aim to write it in a way that will resonate with this specific group of people.

Here are some tactics to keep in mind so that appealing to those most likely to read your content or visit your site becomes a little more automatic:

Consider the Tone and Purpose of the Platform You Use. If , for instance, you’re writing an article you want to share with your connections in LinkedIn, you will use a tone that’s different from a post or status update you’d make in Facebook. People use LinkedIn for specific purposes and what they’re looking for is likely very different from those who stumble upon your post in Facebook or those who read your Tweets.

If you’re doing some marketing for your photography e-zine, for example, you might try to attract the attention of new subscribers through Facebook and Twitter, and advertisers or contributors via LinkedIn. Considering this example, business owners looking to do some advertising might be skeptical of the publication’s professionalism or credibility if you try to create too much hype, while getting people who share your passion for photography excited about your e-zine in Facebook could be exactly the way to generate interest and get them clicking.

Speak to their Pain Points. No matter who it is or where you’re writing, people have pains they’re looking to cure, wants to satisfy or itches to scratch. Instead of beating around the bush, get straight to the point and write what they want to hear, right in the headline.

Just think about how direct you need to be in a Tweet to get a person to click the accompanying link. It’s not enough to say ‘New supplement for weight loss;’ few people are going to feel any type of urgency from that statement and fewer still will probably want to click a link to learn more. A statement like ‘Lose 10 lbs in 2 weeks. Proven supplement on sale now,’ is more likely to entice those frustrated by their weight and discouraged by the amount of time it takes to see results or the cost of some weight-loss products. By no means should you lie to your prospects, but instead, highlight exactly what it is that they’re looking for.

Consider this:

1) Present what it is that’s going to interest or help your reader

2) Give the impression that they need to act now or risk missing out on a big opportunity

3) Highlight what’s different about what you offer

4) Be clear and as detailed as possible

 Other Effective Tips for Writing Headlines that Command Attention

  • Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Question to Entice: Posing your headline or statement as a question is a great way to focus your marketing on those you want and need to enter your conversion funnel. ‘Need Reliable Commercial Cleaners? 30 Years Experience & Hundreds of Satisfied Clients,’ speaks to those searching for a cleaning crew they can trust, while ‘Worried about termites? Pre-Purchase Inspections give Peace of Mind,’ presents what could be a valuable solution for home buyers.

Being able to write persuasive headlines is a valuable internet marketing skill, but it’s not one that’s easily mastered over night. It takes practice and patience but will pay off in a big way. When you invest 20 hours researching and writing an eBook that you know will be highly useful to your prospects and could be just the proof you need to convince them that you’re the authority in your industry, you’ll want to ensure the headline you use to market your piece in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or on your blog is the sort of ‘carrot’ that’s capable of delivering results.

Knowing when to ask for help is also something you’ll need to master if succeeding online is what you intend to do. Luckily, I know of some digital marketing experts you can call on for assistance :) 1300 88 55 57.

More on Why You Should Tailor Your Web Marketing to Protect what Matters Most

More on Why You Should Tailor Your Web Marketing to Protect what Matters Most

Your brand’s reputation is everything, online. When a person who doesn’t know your business stumbles across a mention of your brand on the web, for good or ill, an impression is made. When marketing on the web, two main goals should drive your efforts:

1) Present your business in the best and biggest way possible through the things you can control, such as the information you provide on your website or your social media presence

2) Monitor for the negative reviews and comments people make about your business, on the web, and mitigate their effects

Last week, I shared some suggestions for how your business can handle bad press. I realise, though, that I’d put the cart in front of the horse by not first discussing why brand reputation is so important and just how easily it can be destroyed on the web.

This being the case, I want to talk a little about the importance of protecting your brand’s reputation and how you can go about doing so with some proven web marketing tactics. Having a presence on the web but failing to manage your brand’s reputation is a disaster waiting to happen. With the rate at which people surf the web via mobile devices, failing to maintain a positive brand reputation through sound digital marketing is like pouring petrol on a fire.

The following is not only meant to give you some web marketing ideas that you can start to implement, straight away, but I hope it will also demonstrate the seriousness with which you should treat the act of protecting your brand’s reputation on the web.

Google Does a Great Job of Exposing What Some Say is Bad About Your Business

No matter what kind of business you own, someone has likely written a review of your products or services or made a mention of your company, somewhere on the web. What’s great about reviews is that when someone says something good about your brand, it can be all the convincing others need that yours is the business they want. Unfortunately, when someone says something bad about you or one of your products or services, the negative review can influence others’ impressions just as quickly or as effectively, even if the comments are based on lies.

Google makes it really easy for people to see these reviews, too, as feedback or comments made on sites like Google Places, Yelp and the like are often given the top spots on page one of search results. Remember how very few people venture beyond the first page of the search results? This means that even if there are loads of good reviews on page two, the bad someone said about you on page one will be all it takes to give your brand a bad rap and people will take their business elsewhere, as a result.

Ensure the Best of Your Brand is What People Find through Web Marketing and Other Proven Strategies

So how can you ensure the dozens of glowing reviews your restaurant has received come out on top and your brand’s reputation isn’t destroyed and tonnes of web traffic lost from that one disgruntled customer who said gulls could find fresher fish out of the rubbish heap? A good SEO campaign and web marketing!

SEO Moves the ‘Good’ to the Top and Buries the Bad

With the help of an experienced SEO team, you can make sure the positive reviews that give your brand credibility and help build a great reputation for you and your business are the ones that people see, and any of the less-positive comments aren’t so blatantly obvious.

To prove that no business or brand is immune to bad press, just do a Google search of your company name. If the first page of results contains nothing but good, you’re lucky. Others may be shocked by what they find, and this is the perfect example of why staying on top of your brand’s reputation on the web is vital to your success.

Some have accused reputation management, web marketing companies and SEO teams of taking advantage of these negative review situations to sell their services. The truth is, while free tools like Google’s Me on the Web allow business owners to monitor what’s said about their company online, few have the time or the know-how to identify and effectively manage the bad press.

A Presence in Local Directories

One of the web marketing strategies far too many business owners overlook is having a presence in local directories. Yes, these directories are the same ones that give people a platform to talk smack about your company, but they’re also places where positive reviews are made. What’s more is that if the directories automatically list your business in their database, as many of them do, claiming your company listing, adding pictures and updating the text so that it’s interesting and accurate can do a lot of good for your brand’s reputation on the web. Provide more proof that you are who you say you are!

Creating a strong presence in all of the relevant local directories also gives you the opportunity to encourage satisfied customers to leave feedback, and as I touched on earlier, there’s no better way to water down the potential effect of a bad review than with lots of positives.

Do whatever it takes to get customers to leave a good review in Google Places, Yelp or any other directory. Offer 10% off your next service or even a free product. When a good review gets noticed by hundreds or thousands of others in search results, and generates greater amounts of web traffic, leads and conversions, giving away a small incentive will seem like a pretty insignificant gesture.

Video Testimonials Offer Proof they Can See

In the same way that encouraging people to write positive reviews of your business helps protect your brand’s good name, video testimonials posted in YouTube can give your business a few more checks in the right column, especially because those who are distrusting of written reviews may be better convinced when comments are made by someone they can see and hear.

Then, with SEO, video testimonials where real live people gloat about why your business is the best can be ranked at the top of the search results where everyone can see them. This is one of the most effective ways to prove to others that your business’ website is worth a look. Besides, if someone watches a video where a customer talks about all the ways you satisfied their needs, and then they read a review from someone who was a little less-thrilled by your products or services, there’s a good chance the video testimonial will still motivate them to give you a chance.

The next time a customer raves to you about all the ways you’ve helped them, ask if they’d mind having their comments recorded, even if it’s just with an iPhone.

Use Web Marketing to Spread More of what’s Good

The more people see or read about your brand that’s positive, the less likely it is that a bad review will tarnish your reputation. Use social signalling, press releases and content web visitors will find interesting and/or useful to show Google and others that your brand is a leader in the industry. Once Google picks up on the positive buzz surrounding your business, you’ll have more assurance that when people hear about or see your brand for the first time, they’re intrigued and excited to learn more, not relegating your company to their ‘don’t bother’ list.

If you own a business, concentrate your web marketing efforts on the strategies and tactics that will not only make your brand more widely known, but that will also help protect the good reputation you’ve worked so hard to build.

To learn more about how web marketing or SEO from The SEO Company will help build and maintain the type of reputation you need to succeed on and off of the web, call us at 1300 88 55 57 today.