Online Marketing

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Online marketing has opened up marketing avenues for businesses. Every year new technologies appear making it easier for companies to target and market to their potential customers. The Internet has changed the face of how a business communicates, tells its brand story and obtains new business. From the tried and true SEO and Email marketing to AI and PPC, is your business keeping up?

 

Top 5 Online Marketing Trends in 2018

 

  1. AI – Artificial Intelligence & Chatbots – Chatbots aren’t new in the world of digital marketing; however big improvements have been made. In 2018 more and more businesses jumped on board the chatbot bandwagon. Generally, most brands are using AI for customer service.
  2. Stories – Storytelling took on a new form in 2018. Social Media ‘stories’ grew in popularity. Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube all have their own version of stories, generally designed for a user to share moments of their day. Because stories generally disappear after a certain amount of time, stories play on our ‘fear of missing out’.  FOMO means that followers, fans and consumers will be eager to consume your content before it goes away.
  3. Video – Video is a fantastic tool in your online marketing tool belt? Why? People love videos. It’s an easy way for people to consume information. This increased engagement in your content can work wonders for your SEO and marketing campaigns.
  4. Voice Search – People still head to search engines such as Google to find products, services and information. Now, with more and more homes getting ‘smart-assist’ devices, along with Bluetooth enabled devices, voice queries are a growing trend. Ensuring your website is found how people are searching was a key trend in 2018 that will continue to grow next year.
  5. Personalization – It might seem a bit creepy, but brands and businesses have the ability to monitor your digital footprint through your cookies. When a brand can leverage this data to provide you with personalized content (whether in an ad, email or website content) you are more likely to convert. It’s like when those shoes you’ve been coveting online suddenly start following you around the Internet. Or, when you spent some time on a website devouring a piece of content and next time you visit they serve you something similar.

 

As we head into 2019, one thing remains clear. Good content that provides visitors with what they’re looking for is key. This helps with search engine positioning, digital marketing and social media. When you can layer your efforts and cover the digital landscape your brand is poised for success.

I know that you want to see results from your website project.  And I know it can be disappointing when you don’t start getting results soon after you have launched the website.  It is natural to want to give up on the whole idea and conclude, “You can’t get leads for your business from the Internet”.

That’s fair, because you really should expect results from any advertising.  If it doesn’t work, you should stop using that promotion.

But there is another aspect of Internet marketing that you should consider.

I’m not trying to convince you of anything but, as a businessman, I know you have been asking yourself one question since the day you started and will continue to ask the same question for as long as you are in business.  I chose to be in this business with the same question in my mind.

Every businessman is always asking:  “How can I grow my business?”

When you boil it down, there are only two options:

  1. Referrals – When you start out you don’t have much of a budget so you somehow find a few clients to get started with, treat your clients like gold, and hope they will recommend their friends and family to help you grow.
  2. Advertising – At some point, every business person finds that referrals don’t grow the business fast enough and there are never really enough referrals to make a good living.

After struggling to make a living for a while, every businessperson turns to advertising to try to achieve the success they see others achieving in the same business.

Advertising sounds like a great idea, but pretty quickly you find out that it is easy to blow away thousands of dollars with little or nothing to show for it.

Even the cheapest of advertising can cost $1,000 to $2,000, with no guarantee of return.  In most cases, even after you spend the money you may never see any results.

I have clients in the roofing and driveway paving business that spend $20,000 to $30,000 at a time on a flyer campaign, four or five times a year to get a handful of new clients each time.  I asked them “How much do you spend, on average, to get a client?”

The answer was, “Well, over $500 … You never know if you will get any clients even after all the money has been spent.” 

Every single business person is in the same situation.  They spend a bunch of money and “hope” they will get clients.  Sometimes it works, many times it doesn’t.

This is where the Internet comes in.

In a scenario where every little magazine and promotional flyer requires a minimum of $500 to $2,500 with no promise of returns, what can a small businessperson do to grow his or her business without going broke?

Until the Internet came around, there was never a good answer to this question.

On the Internet, you can spend $500 to $1,000 per month and you will attract qualified prospects to view your proposition.

Every month that you promote your business online, you get more and more qualified prospects viewing your business.  Some of these people start picking up the phone and calling you.  Your business grows with new clients from the Internet and from the referrals they send you.

On the Internet, the longer you continue to promote, the more exposure you get for the same small budget of $500 to $1000 per month.

There is no other advertising medium that builds and builds your reach, the longer you keep advertising like SEO can.

If you decide to stop promoting your website, you will still face the same question, “How do I grow my business?”  You will have the same options you always did:  spend, spend, spend on advertising that produces little or no results.

After seeing and living through many different marketing programs, my conclusion is this:

SEO is by far the cheapest way to promote your business and get new clients.

When I start promoting a website, there is usually little or no traffic.  After a two or three months they start getting several hundred qualified prospects coming to their website every month. And frankly, this is just the beginning.

In the next six months the traffic builds and builds with the plan I implement.

I have a client where last month he got four people who filled out his website’s contact form.  I bet a few people phoned him as well, but they didn’t mention his website.  I also bet a few people saw where he was on the map on his website and stopped in without telling him they saw his address on the website.

How many clients will it take for you to break even with spending $500 to $1,000 per month?

If you got 10 new clients in the next 12 months would that cover your advertising expenses and more?  In my opinion you should be able to get 10+ new clients every month once the online marketing campaign matures.

Over time, a properly SEO’d website gains “Equity”.  It produces more and more business for you.

As you consider your options for “How do I grow my business?” I hope you will keep these points in mind.

I can help your business grow… slowly at first, and then faster and faster and faster as your website builds “Equity”.

If you feel that you want to work with me and 1st on the List, I would be happy to evaluate your situation.  If it looks like we can do something for you, we’ll let you know.  For some businesses Internet marketing on its own is just not enough. You may have to combine Internet marketing with other techniques to get good results.

The first evaluation is free.  Most people get a lot of value from the investigation we do initially.  Give us a call today at 1-888-262-6687 and let’s get your business growing!

Recently Econsultancy and Adobe asked over 6,000 marketing, digital and e-commerce professionals around the world the question,

“What is the marketers’ single most exciting opportunity for 2015?”

Over 1 in 5 (22%) responded “Customer Experience”.

What’s so great about customer experience? Many believe that it defines your brand.

What is Customer Experience?

Customer experience is all about the interactions a person has with your brand. There are various ways to measure customer experience including their overall experience with your brand, likelihood to continue to use your products or services or likelihood to recommend you to others.

Online marketing and web design can get caught up in user experience which is just one component of customer experience. We often focus on simple question such as How do people interact with the website and What experience do they receive from that interaction? 

The deeper questions to ask are ones such as how does a user’s experience on your website affect their overall impression of your brand and How does it affect their opinion when they visit one of your offices or receive their product order in the mail?

SEO and “Customer Experience Optimization”

Over the last couple years a large component of SEO has come to focus on customer experience and knowing how to optimize not only your website but to optimize all the online touch points a customer may have with your brand. Easy SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing, buying backlinks or rewriting articles that used to work five years ago are no longer on the table. Successful SEO is all about promoting your brand and building a positive customer experience, through aspects such as content quality and sociability. A successful SEO Strategy focuses on optimizing for the user first while staying within Google’s quality guidelines.

How to Improve Online Customer Experience

Here are some quick ways you can work on improving customer experience through your website:

  • Make your brand interesting and write with personality.
  • Understand the needs of your visitors and why they are on your website. How can you help solve their problem and meet their needs?
  • Make sure your business’ contact information is clearly posted on the site. It is a best practice to have your phone number in the top header and full address in the footer so that it is accessible no matter what page a visitor is on.
  • If you run an e-Commerce website make sure your shopping cart and checkout runs seamlessly.
  • Write interesting email auto-responders, such as when someone completes a contact form on your website or requests a quote. Tell the person when they should expect a response and make sure they understand the next steps in the process.
  • Write informative FAQ pages to give customers immediate answers to their questions.
  • Never underestimate the importance of page speed – your customers want to access your products, services and contact information quickly. Pages or images that take a long time to load slow your visitors down and take up more of their time than necessary.
  • Make your website awesome for all devices. Make sure your website sizes properly on small mobile devices and has links that are easy to click with a finger. Don’t let a non mobile-friendly website upset your visitor before they’ve had a chance to experience all the great things about your brand.
  • Keep contact forms short and simple. Only ask for the information you need and no more. This makes it easy and quick for your customers to fill out.
  • Double check that your business information (including phone number, address and hours) are correctly posted across the Internet including Google Plus. Your Google Plus page, whether you’ve claimed and edited it or not, often shows up when someone searches for your brand. A potential customer who sees wrong hours listed in Google and shows up to your store after you’ve closed for the night could be very upset and may never come back.
  • Take the time to read the online reviews about your business. Learn from any negative truth in the reviews (Is your staff really rude? Do you have unreasonably long wait times?) At the same time, take a minute or two to personally respond to customers who had less than great experiences and offer to make it right.

Ultimately, customer experience is about building a bond with people who visit your website. The customer experience is everything and can determine your future success.
What kind of bond are you forming with your visitors?

It’s every business owner’s worst nightmare.

Wake up to find that a disgruntled customer has written a terrible Google or Yelp review of their recent experience at your restaurant, salon, office or store. Their words are harsh and blown out of proportion.

But what can you do about bad reviews on Yelp? And should you really worry about one bad review on Yelp or Google+? When do these bad reviews start having a negative impact on how potential customers perceive you? What average star rating will start turning people away?

A recent study by Bright Local asked the question, “What average star rating is too LOW for you to consider using a local business?”

  • 4 star rating = 92% of users will use this local business.
  • 3 star rating = 72% of users will use this local business.
  • 2 star rating = 27% of users will use this local business.
  • 1 star rating = 13% of users will use this local business.

The good news is you don’t need a squeaky clean, 4/4 or 5/5 star rating profile on Yelp or Google+ to attract new customers. The study shows us that people are a little forgiving and can overlook a few bad reviews that may drop your star rating by one point. Most are comfortable using a business with a 3/4 star rating.

Here are a few ideas to help protect yourself against bad customer reviews on Yelp before they happen:

  • Make sure you ask your loyal customers to write a review for you so there are more positive than negative reviews.
  • Be sure to respond to any bad Yelp reviews to show others that you care and are genuine about providing a good experience for everyone; your desire to make things right can go a long way. Here’s some advice from Yelp on Responding to Reviews.
  • Learn from bad reviews – is there an underlying theme in your reviews? Does food take too long? Is everyone complaining about your receptionist? Perhaps it’s time to take action and correct any truth there may be to the bad reviews.

We’ve also written a few other articles about Customer Reviews with more detailed advice:

Do you need help with some online reputation management? Give us a call at 1-888-262-6687!

Tired of wearing three, four or maybe even five different hats at once?

As a small business owner you have probably experienced the precarious juggling act of being your own Sales Team, Website Developer, Social Media Guru, Advertiser and Business CEO. It’s exhausting!

But it is often what you need to do in order to control your spending and stretch your marketing budget just a little further. You simply can’t afford the luxury that many big box retailers and corporations can to hire a large marketing team to keep pace with constantly changing consumer trends.

Which of the following marketing hats do you currently wear and how well do you wear each one? As you read through each we challenge you to consider:

  • Is your time more valuable spent elsewhere?
  • Would hiring someone more experienced lower total your cost and increase your ROI better than for you to do it on your own?
  • If you increase your marketing spend, what type of benefit (or ROI) would you stand to gain?

Marketing Director (aka The Leader)

A leader who can translate the big picture and business objectives into marketing strategies that can be executed by the organization and successfully drive revenue. This person is responsible for the tactical planning and execution of marketing campaigns that align the goals of the company with the sales process and the products and services offered

Vice President of Marketing (The Voice)

The voice of public relations and champion of the business. Able to highlight the company’s best attributes, keep a close eye on the competition and focus on making the business superior through analyzing trends, setting prices, finding new ways to promote and brand the company; write and distribute press releases and act as a spokesperson.

Business Development Manager (The Builder)

Builds the business through promoting the company name in the industry, develops competitive advantage through product enhancement and a comprehensive sales plan. Knows and develops everything and every direction in the business

Marketing Manager (The Doer)

Finds and develops customer bases (leads) for the company product and services. Designs and implements the company marketing plan, including public relations, such as bringing media attention to newsworthy activities, writes and disseminates press releases.

Marketing Analyst (The Researcher)

Researches target demographics, provides information and insights regarding customers, markets, competitors and campaign effectiveness to measure business performance. Must be knowledgeable with mail, email, Internet, print and social media campaigns

Social Media Specialist (The Messenger)

The Super Messenger supporting the marketing plans developed and interacts with the public through social media with engaging, memorable and relevant content in every man speak.

Marketing Coordinator (The Organizer)

The Organizer that pulls together the ideas into a cohesive marketing strategy and creates the outlets for the plan to come to life. The events coordinator of the marketing process

Marketing Assistant (The Helper)

The one who arranges interviews, writes the press releases, monitors the coverage of the product or service on the media, writes ad copy, takes photographs or films video, creates informational brochures, company newsletters and websites and generally takes care of business.

When do you find time to get down to the business of doing business?

There are only so many hours in a day.

There is only so much one person can do before something has to give.

As a smart business owner you’ll understand that your focus must be on running your business and at times must seek help to manage the other aspects.

For the SEO or Web Development portion of your marketing we’re a great place to start!

  • We can help fill many of the above positions for that extra help in attracting visitors and generating new leads from your website.
  • We will work with you to develop your ideas and goals with knowledgeable SEO Consultants at reasonable monthly rates.
  • We will help you measure your website health, monthly growth and find solutions to problems as they arise.
  • We will work with you to pull your ideas together into a cohesive marketing strategy, creating new outlets that expand your reach.

Give our Small Business SEO Consultants a call at 888-262-6687 or send us an email at contact@1stonthelist.ca. We’ll be glad to share our ideas and expertise to help you become more efficient at managing your marketing hats!

During financial difficulties, the first thing businesses typically cut back is their marketing budget.

While seemingly a logical step, the reality is that continued marketing during a recession can mean the difference between long term success and failure.

In the past several weeks we have been bombarded with updates on the current economic outlook. Intensified stress in the credit markets, falling equity, increased unemployment, and a completely destabilized stock market.

With each news update the economic situation looks increasingly grim. Already the typical consumer has “tightened their belts” because of a lack of confidence in the economy; budgets are being lowered on both personal and business levels.

“Recession” is the term being used to describe the present economy and there have already been whispers of “Depression”.

While no one is “immune” during a recession, often it is the smaller businesses (local retailers and services professionals) that tend to suffer the most mainly because of their “lack” of marketing.

Faced with the current economic crisis, far too many smaller companies are adopting the “wait and see” approach yet, from a marketing perspective (based on historical data) this is a mistake.

When the economy is good and sales are plentiful, losing a few sales is something that can usually be tolerated affordably. It is during an economic downturn when one simply cannot afford to lose sales that as a business, you have the greatest opportunity for online marketing success.

Only a finite number of sales can be made at any given time. For every dollar in sales you make, it means your competitor is not only losing that sale to you but they can’t replace that lost revenue.

Therefore for every dollar in sales you gain, you move ahead of your competition by a factor of 2.

And, since many of your competitors are cutting their online marketing budgets during a recession, your opportunities for marketing successfully are compounded. Because of marketing (or the lack of marketing) the gap between a successful business and an unsuccessful one widens considerably during a recession. There is historical evidence to back this up.

Looking back at the Great Depression we are able to see some solid advantages to maintaining or increasing marketing strategies during a recession. Companies that maintained their marketing budget, increased in visibility significantly compared to their competitors who slid out of public sight.

This knowledge indicates that a recession actually presents the opportunity to move your company ahead of your competition in ways that would otherwise be unobtainable.

John Quelch on http://www.businessweek.com predicted the current economic situation.

Six months earlier, Quelch stated: “This is not the time to cut advertising. It is well documented that brands that increase advertising during a recession, when competitors are cutting back, can improve market share and return on investment at lower cost than during good economic times.”

Dave Chase with iMedia Connection did some research using data provided by Rod Polasky with archaeolink.com. In his article he covers in more detail the impact on advertising and the accompanying rise and fall of businesses during the great depression.

I encourage everyone to read Dave’s article for some fascinating history on some very recognizable Brand names who owe their success in part at least, to marketing during the Great Depression.

The facts presented show people do not stop spending during a recession; they just spend more time looking for a better deal. If you are not visible to your online customers, then your competitor will make the sale. A sale you cannot afford to lose.

While the rules stay the same for marketing during a recession today, the actual strategies have changed significantly.

When people research for better deals, they tend to research online nowadays, since it’s much easier than reading junk mail flyers or browsing through phonebooks, catalogs, newspapers or magazines.
In a time when your competitors have already started cutting their online marketing budget don’t miss your greatest opportunity.

If you are planning on delaying search engine optimization, or planning on cutting back on your marketing budget, take note of such names as H.P., Disney, Kellogs & Microsoft; all underdogs who previously took advantage of their Recession Opportunity…and they remain on top to this day.

Market wisely…but market you must.

Now is the opportunity to step up and be seen. Now is your opportunity to take sales away from your competitor and solidify your business as a leader in your industry for the future.

A major part of search engine optimization (SEO) is content development.

Since the search engine robots only read text, it’s crucial to have good relevant content that supports your website’s main keyword phrases.

The more relevant your content is to a search query, the better your chances that the search engines will rank your pages well within the search engine listing results.

But once you have the rankings and website visibility you need to attract a lot of visitor traffic, your web page content will also need to motivate the visitor to take action and buy your product or service. Therefore when developing your web page content keep in mind that there are two main types of content you will want to create; supportive copy and marketing copy.

Writing Supportive Copy

The main purpose of supportive copy is to provide information. The internet if filled with click happy visitors who want information first. Not unlike purchasing from a brick and mortar store, a person first gathers information about what they are interested in before they buy. On the Internet, it is very difficult to sell anything if you only provide a picture and a buy now button.

As a search engine marketer, I can’t begin to tell you the thousands of dollars I’ve spent on online marketing materials and SEO software all because of the good supportive copy (information) that some copy writer provided that made me feel good about making the purchase (and the fact that they didn’t provide a trial version….. you know who you are!).

The point is, I was willing to shell out $197 here, $99 there and $299 elsewhere because some copy writer did a great job in providing the information I was looking for in support of each product I eventually bought plus, they followed up with good marketing copy that convinced me to take action immediately.
I can tell you for sure however, that I would not have reached for my credit card if the web page only had a line that read, “this software is designed to help you build better websites.”  That is simply not enough to move me to make a purchase.

Writing Marketing Copy

As mentioned above, once I had all the information, the copy writer urged me to take some form of action with some good marketing copy, which is the second type of content you need to develop on your web pages.

While providing information is important, you still want the visitor to make a purchase. Marketing copy ensures that there are specific “calls to action” that actually tell the visitor you want them to do something.
A call to action could be a “buy now” button, an email address, a phone number, a link to a purchase page, etc.

Did you know that you need to tell them to do something?  Its true! Stop! Buy Now! Click Here! Order Today! Call Now!

These are important elements that say, “I’m trying to sell you something” and now would be the opportune time to order. If it is not the opportune time for them to order, then you must make it possible for them to be able to continue reading supportive information that will further convince the visitor that this is the product or service for them.

Both supportive and marketing copy content are necessary to help you in your online marketing strategy.

Building quality keyword rich content that supports the products and services you provide will help you with your organic search engine optimization campaigns. Creating shorter landing pages with strong call to actions will help you with your pay per click (PPC) marketing campaigns.

Either way, both types of content, supportive copy and marketing copy, can work together to help increase your sales and your ROI.  Without one or the other, your website and sales may suffer.

Internet marketing in Canada may be defined as any form of online marketing strategy done via the internet (or the World Wide Web) that supports a website’s marketing efforts.

Banner ads were first used in 1993 and in the one and a half decades since, many various types of internet marketing strategies have evolved including:

Banner AdvertisementsContextual Ads
E-Mail MarketingAffiliate Marketing
Social Media MarketingSocial Bookmarking
Viral MarketingPress Releases

Our Canadian internet marketing company specializes in two other forms of very popular internet marketing strategies. We provide internet marketing consulting services in;

  1. Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for top rankings in the organic search engine listings
  2. Pay Per Click (aka, Search Engine Marketing or SEM) for top rankings in the “paid” search results

Internet Marketing Reach & Purpose

Each type of internet marketing strategy will reach different internet users in various ways, all with the same purpose, to;

  • Increase web page visibility
  • Increase website exposure
  • Attract highly targeted, highly qualified web traffic
  • Bring products and services to a wider audience
  • Increase sales
  • Increase profits

Successful internet marketing campaigns are the result of careful planning to develop an internet marketing strategy that in many cases may utilize several of the internet marketing techniques outlined above. A well laid out internet marketing plan will allow you to identify your goals and track your progress accordingly.

The Evolution of Canadian Internet Marketing

The longevity of some of the early Canadian internet marketing strategies, such as banner advertisements, affiliate marketing and email marketing, are testimony to their effectiveness.

Newer internet marketing strategies have become more popular as technologies have evolved and new avenues and opportunities have opened up.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM), which can include Pay Per Click (Paid Search), Link Popularity and SEO (Organic Search Engine Optimization) among others, has grown in popularity in recent years, even though it has been a very successful internet marketing strategy used by online marketers for quite some time to compete for search traffic via the free and paid listings.

1st on the List: Internet Marketing Consultants

1st on the List Promotion Inc specializes in search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM), offering various internet marketing consulting services to help web owners achieve top rankings in the organic and paid search results.

Our professional SEO services include organic search engine optimization and pay per click internet marketing methods to drive highly qualified, highly targeted traffic to your website.

We also offer link popularity programs to improve your link building efforts and help increase your website’s link popularity. Additional internet marketing services include social media marketing, social bookmarking, search engine friendly web design and press release services, which effectively work to gain exposure while helping to obtain natural search engine rankings for your targeted keyword phrases.

To learn more about effective Canadian internet marketing strategies or any of our professional SEO services please Contact us today or call us Toll-Free at 1-888-262-6687.