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Product Showcase: Brand Ambassador

Continuing our series of product showcases that started with the recently launched AccurateAppraisals.com, today we’re going to take a look at Brand Ambassador, and the potential to help build a profitable network of online influencers.

A brand ambassador represents your brand in a positive way and provides a more consumer-centric view of the products or services in question.

Anyone who can do that for your company is worth their weight in gold.

In an era where people are prone to mistrust regular advertising, these messages seem to come from people just like them – regular people that they follow on social media and have opinions that they trust.

Potentially, anyone could fill this role for your company – a fan, a customer, a social media influencer, and anyone else who can spread the positive word about your company or products.

Of course, not all of them provide the same value to your company. And many of them may still need a little more incentive to become an active ambassador.

That is where Brand Ambassador comes in.

Brand ambassadors, like any other resource, can be hard to manage. And, if you’ve been building a community of ambassadors by sponsoring their work in the form of free products or other compensation, you need to make sure they are providing some real value in return.

In the world of social media, this is especially important. You need to know who is posting about you and to make sure the content the ambassadors are creating actually supports your brand.

We are talking about Brand Ambassador in this context because they have documented instances in which companies have been able to drive a 40% increase in sales in three months.

This product gives companies the ability to:

  • Manage the existing ambassador base to improve the quantity and quality of content creation and maintain commitment through better communication tools.
  • Obtain reliable up-to-date data on their ambassadors’ daily activity by centralizing all content and measuring impressions, engagement, and exposure generated.
  • Scale and empower their ambassador network to drive sales through referral codes that track clicks and conversions. This also means they can create custom ambassador incentive programs.

This software is designed to incentivize current paid influencers to join the platform by making it easier for them to create content across all social media channels. The entire process is quite simple. It goes a little like this:

  1. Invite your customers, friends, and followers to be a part of a community of Brand Ambassadors.
  2. Communicate directly with them so you can keep them involved with any campaigns, promotions, and any other important events.
  3. Analyze the results through the metrics that are tracked in the system. It gives the brand the ability to measure and understand the amount of influence a social media push (and each individual ambassador and influencer) really has.

Influencer marketing can have a huge impact on your brand. To show exactly how much, Brand Ambassador shared a case study with us in which it took just 4 months for a brand’s network to grow exponentially. In those few months, their network was able to generate more than 3k posts, earning more than 500k likes, and 25k comments. They calculate that the visibility grew to nearly 8.5 million impressions in a single month of activity.

Is It for You?

The right influencers can have a huge impact on your brand perception, the question is how much value is each one contributing.

This platform is designed to help you manage your influencers and motivate your advocates (and potentially provide rewards for their activities). You can expand and utilize user-generated content to leverage the power of these online personalities.

Brand Ambassador is offering an effective tool to help brands communicate with their influencers and ambassadors.

We’ve discussed before how important a network of influencers can be in the modern marketing world, but many people don’t know where to even start. Sure, to some extent, a good ambassador community will form naturally, but if you go about it the wrong way, you could hinder your efforts before you get things rolling.

This tool may be what you need to kickstart your community growth.

The post Product Showcase: Brand Ambassador appeared first on SEO.com.

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Part 1: Grow Your Business and Leads With SEO

This is a 2 part series written in conjunction with Aktify.

Part 2: How To Revive Dead Leads To Increase Business Growth

Growing one’s business and leads are two of the top goals of every businessperson. Lead growth and business growth go hand-in-hand. You won’t get one without the other. Many business owners, particularly start-ups think business and lead growth begin with the salespeople making phone calls. This view of building a business is outdated and unsuccessful.

While the good old telemarketing phone calls are still around, most communication happens online. Computers and smartphones grant people 24/7 access to information and each other. If your sales team isn’t complimenting their phone calling with online communication via email, social media and SEO, you won’t be growing your business or number of leads well any time soon.

The acronym SEO in the last sentence may have caught your attention. What does search engine optimization have to do with leads and growing one’s business? In short, a whole lot.

With the readily accessibility to the Internet, users expect to find information and answers to their questions immediately. Websites provide the content containing this information users are hurriedly looking for. However, there are millions of websites out there on the Internet and not all of them appear in search results. Only the ones deemed most relevant and credible appear. After all a user is in a hurry to get specific information so they don’t want to waste their time reading irrelevant website content.

This is where SEO, or search engine optimization, comes in. Behind every search query typed in by a user, a Google SEO or search engine robot indexes and collects data from every website published on the web. Spiders crawl websites looking for keywords that match or are related to the words used in a user’s search query. The search engine robot uses a formula to then rank certain webpages in the search results that are seen by the user.

In search engine marketing, ranking is important. Every internet marketing company strives to get their own website and the websites of their clients to the coveted #1 search result position.

Why is ranking important? Well, going back to the previous points of 24/7 Internet access and people’s expectations for immediate answers and information, the first handful of search results will be read while those on the following pages will likely be ignored. After all, who is going to click through multiple websites when their time is precious and short?

It is only through implementing  a good online marketing with SEO optimization of one’s website that there is a greater chance of your website receiving one of these top rankings and thereby increased website visitors and possible leads and customers.

SEO not only brings more traffic to your website, but it also attracts quality leads who are interested in your brand, product or service.

Start tracking your keyword rankings with a serp ranking tool to monitor the results of your SEO efforts.

If search engine optimization is a foreign concept for you, it can be overwhelming as to know where to start and what to do. Here are some simple SEO tactics you can start to implement in order to catch the attention of search engine robots and gain a higher, more visible search results ranking:

  • Utilize Keywords

An excellent starting point for an SEO strategy is the implementation of keywords. When you set up an account with Google Search Console, you  can access a handy keyword tool where you can find which industry or niche specific keywords, keyword phrases and keyword groupings to target and implement throughout the content on your website. When determining which keywords to target, look for ones with lower search volume, but high monthly searches.  Those with lower search volumes mean they aren’t as competitive so your company has a better chance of ranking for them.

You may be tempted to go after broad, short keywords and phrases, but so will everyone else. When you decide to target long-tailed keywords (keywords or keyword phrases that contain more words that are also more specific), your website’s chances of getting ranked increase and the people who find and visit your site will be more likely to be interested in your product or service.

  • Write Good Meta Descriptions

The meta description is the one or two line blurb that appears under the clickable web page heading. It gives a brief description of what that specific page is about. The length of the meta description has been lengthened  from 160 to 300 characters. Meta descriptions longer than this are truncated, which is something to avoid. Meta descriptions are to be short and concise. They are also prime places to insert some of your targeted keywords. When writing meta descriptions, think of the web user and the questions he or she may be asking when they are conducting a search. Let your meta description be your answer to one of their questions.

  • Make Your Website Mobile Responsive

More people now browse the Internet on their smartphones than on a desktop or laptop computer. You likely have noticed the difference in screen size between a smartphone and a computer. Websites that aren’t mobile responsive will fit the screen size of a desktop or laptop computer, but won’t shrink to fit the small screen of a smartphone. The result is an ugly, hard to navigate website when a user uses his or her smartphone.

Search engines, like Google don’t like unhappy Internet users and since mobile responsiveness is a big deal  for user experience that it is now a ranking factor in its search ranking algorithm.

By having a website that is mobile friendly you not only satisfy search engines and possibly get a boost in search results rankings, but you’ll also give your site visitors a pleasant experience.

  • Get Active on Google Business Listings

Google My Business (GMB) is a great way for local businesses to get listed online. With GMB, businesses are listed on Google maps with directions, a summary of the company’s products and services, the company’s address, telephone, hours of operation, pictures, reviews and a link to the company’s website.

To take advantage of GMB, one must “claim” their business. The provided business summary section is another prime place for inserting keywords. Here, however, try and implement local keyword phrases like “hair salon in X city.”

Reviews are also crucial. Aim to generate as many positive reviews as you can. With people conducting more business transactions online without interacting with the company, reviews are an invaluable way to gauge whether someone should work with a company or make a purchase from a business. Online users making their first purchase from a business will automatically read reviews about the company first.

  • Regularly Produce Quality, Optimized Content

While it is great to include keywords in the URLs, titles, meta descriptions and images used on each page of your website, a blog where one regularly publishes fresh, informative content is the sweet spot to implement keywords. Search engines also look for fresh, new content that would provide users with useful information that they are looking for. Blog posts provide users with relevant, informative, interesting content as well as places where you can implement keywords and links. Consistent blogging also shows web users and search engines that you’re a credible  and reputable source of information which goes a long way in boosting your website’s search results ranking.

Your blogs should be written in a way that is easy to read and understand and be free of spelling, grammar and punctuation errors and contain a call to action or some form of engagement with the reader. When blogging, some things to be aware of include link bait and buying, keyword stuffing and plagiarism. Only insert relevant links from other credible websites into your blog posts, don’t excessively use the same targeted keywords and make sure your blog content is 100% unique and original. Website visitors and search engines will thank you.

  • Share Your Wealth of Knowledge Through Guest Posting

With guest posting, you write a blog post which is then published on another website. This is a great way for your blog content to get more exposure and more visits to your website. If your blog post is published on a reputable site within your industry, the credibility and reputation of your own website will get a boost which will catch the attention of search engines who in turn may reward your website with a higher search results ranking.

Ideally, guest posting should go two ways where you agree to publish someone else’s blog post on your site in exchange for them posting your blog post on their website. This is the best, and most ethical way to exchange links as well.

  • Improve Your Website’s Speed

Web users expect to get what they’re looking for almost immediately. They are not going to sit around and wait a minute or two for a website to load. Instead, they will immediately go to another website. Site speed is also a factor search engine robots use in awarding search results rankings. Some ways to improve the loading speed of your website include allowing caching, compressing the size of images and videos, remove unnecessary plugins and scripts and have a reliable web host.

  • Optimize Your Images

While most visitors to your website will have no problem seeing your images, those who are blind as well as search engines will be unable to view them. Search engines are computers and only read text and numbers. Blind visitors can have a description of the image read to them. To make it possible for everyone, including search engines to “see” your website images, an ALT tag is used. These are brief descriptions of a few words telling what the image depicts. It is a good idea to implement keywords in the ALT descriptions. With keyword rich ALT descriptions, your  website will appear more relevant to search engines.

Implementing SEO onto your company’s website can greatly grow your business and leads. It can be tedious and take time to see an improvement in search results page listing rank. The algorithm, or formula used by search results robots change frequently so it is important to constantly monitor your website’s SEO tactics and to continually adjust them.

While the basic search engine optimization tactics make for a good foundation and are easy to implement, it can be a challenge to keep it up. SEO isn’t a “one and done” thing. It requires constant maintenance and adjustments over multiple years. For many small and medium sized businesses, this can be more than what they can handle while also trying to manage the day-to-day operations of their businesses. As a result, many choose to hire an experienced, outside digital marketing company to handle and oversee their website’s SEO.

If you’re in this latter group and need help with your website’s SEO, be sure to check us out at SEO.com. We are an SEO company made of experienced internet marketers in the areas of web development, PPC, SEO, social media marketing, remarketing and content marketing. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how they can help your website’s SEO generate more leads and grow your business.

SEO can help grow your business by attracting leads to your website. Once the leads are obtained, the sales team must take them through your sales funnel to convert them into paying customers. Some leads, however, become stagnant, or dead. These dead leads, however can be revived through products and services that help with sales funnel management like those by Aktify. SEO combined with platforms to revive dead leads like Aktify can help your business grow by leaps and bounds.

Part 2: How To Revive Dead Leads To Increase Business Growth

The post Part 1: Grow Your Business and Leads With SEO appeared first on SEO.com.

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Low-budget branding for small businesses

Over the years, we’ve written quite a few articles about branding. Branding is about getting people to relate to your company and products. It’s also about trying to make your brand synonymous with a certain product or service. This can be a lengthy and hard project. It can potentially cost you all of your revenue. It’s no wonder that branding is often associated with investing lots of money in marketing and promotion. However, for a lot of small business owners, the investment in branding will have to be made with a relatively small budget. 

You might be a local bakery with 10 employees, or a local industrial company employing up to 500 people. These all can be qualified as ‘small business’. All have the same main goal when they start: the need to establish a name in their field of expertise. There are multiple ways to do this, without a huge budget. In this post, I’ll share my thoughts on how to go about your own low-budget branding.

Define and communicate brand values

Branding with a limited budget starts with defining your company’s and your brand’s values. You need to think about what you, as a brand, want to communicate to the world. Doing this yourself won’t cost you, provided you are capable of doing this yourself. In fact, it’s a pretty hard task, when you think of it. It’s about your mission, the things that make your brand into your brand. Brand values relate to Cialdini’s seventh principle, Unity.

My favorite example illustrating unity: outdoor brands like Patagonia and The North Face, which make you feel included in their business ‘family’. “We are all alike, share the same values.” By being able to relate to these brands and their values, we are more enticed to buy their products. It’s a brand for us, outdoor people.

Take some time to define your brand values. That way, you’re able to communicate your main message in a clear and consistent way. It makes your marketing all the easier. You’ll be able to create brand ambassadors, even on a budget.

Come up with a proper tagline

Once you have defined your brand values, it’s time to summarize them all into one single tagline. For example, WordPress’ mission is to “democratize publishing“. In your tagline, you formulate your values and make sure your added value for the customer, user or visitor is also reflected. Again, be consistent. If you set a tagline, your actions and products should relate to that tagline, actually, even be based upon it. It summarizes your business.

Rethink your logo

Having a great logo is essential. When designing that logo, you’ll have to keep in mind that it’s probably something you’ll have for years. It’s the main thing – besides yourself – that will trigger (brand) recognition. It’s not that you can never change your logo, but don’t ‘just’ add a logo. Think about how it stands out from other logos, for instance on a local sponsor board.

Design that logo, print it, stick it on your fridge for a week or so, and see if there’s anything about it that starts to annoy you. If so, it’s back to the drawing board. Feel like you don’t relate to it in terms of business values or even personality? Back to the drawing board. When talking about low-budget branding, designing a great logo is probably your most expensive task.

Online low-budget branding

The online world is a great place to work on your low-budget branding. You need to establish a name in your field of expertise, and the surplus of social media can facilitate that by giving you a free platform.

Social media

I do a lot of local networking, because I really like the city we live in, and the huge variety of entrepreneurs that work in our hometown Wijchen. During network meetings, one of the phrases I often hear is: “Social media just takes me too much time”. To be honest, it might be wise to change your mindset about the costs and start seeing the revenue social media can bring you. It really is the easiest and probably one of the cheapest ways to promote your brand. Basically, the only cost is time investment (depending on how aggressively you want to use the medium). It may take a while before you find a strategy and/or platform that works, so give it some time and don’t just throw in the towel!

Read more: Social media for small business owners »

Share your expertise

You can use Twitter to stay in touch with like-minded business owners. Discover the huge number of Facebook groups in your area, and/or in your field of expertise. Bond with people that share the same values. Feel free to answer questions in your field of business and do this with confidence. Position yourself as the go-to company for these questions. Help people that way and create brand ambassadors. You really have to put some effort into establishing your position. It won’t happen overnight.

A bit of an extreme example: before Yoast became a business, Joost was already sharing content/expertise and our open source software. He engaged actively in forum and social media discussions about WordPress and SEO. Commenting on other people’s blogs. Time before revenue: 8 years. I’m not saying you need to wait eight years before making money with your passion. But I do think that you should be able to write, comment and take a stand in topics that matter to you from the start.

Make yourself visible

Eventually, it all comes back to business values. Everything you communicate should reflect these values. It’ll give you guidelines and will make sure your message is delivered in the same way, always. Low-budget branding is about just that: making yourself visible, in a consistent way.

Keep reading: The ultimate guide to small business SEO »

The post Low-budget branding for small businesses appeared first on Yoast.

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Spring Clean Your Website

Spring is often associated with a fresh, new, clean start and a renewed sense of life. For many, this getting rid of the old and in with the new takes on the form of spring cleaning.  While you may be thinking about the house, why not think of refreshing and reviving your business’ website?  After all, your website is your business’ presence online and is the first interaction customers have with your company.

Does your website accurately display your company’s character, personality and culture? Is it current and up to date?

Like your home, you may acquire a different taste in décor and choose to go beyond cleaning to overhauling a room’s look. Spring is a great time to do the same for your business website.

There are some things to consider when spring cleaning your website:

 

Update Content and Information

 

Does the content of your website still embody your company’s personality and mission? Is your last blog post or “news” item from a year or two ago? Is the company contact information and personnel biographies current?

Nothing is more boring or unprofessional looking as a website that is full of outdated, incorrect information. Additionally, consider adding regular blog posts so your site. This can give your site a constant stream of fresh content that piques the interest of customers and catches the attention of search engines.

For e-commerce websites with online ordering and a catalogue of products, make sure the description for each product is correct and updated. Be sure to display current inventory, not discontinued items.

Test Out the Website’s Usability

 

Is your website easy to navigate and do all the internal links work? If not, site visitors will be quick to leave. It is also a good idea to check if your website is compatible on different devices such as phones and tablets. Also, look through all the content for grammar, spelling, punctuation errors and industry jargon. The tone and style of the content should be consistent on each webpage and should reflect the image and personality of the brand.

A website that looks nice and is easy to use increases the time visitors spend on the website, whereby increasing their chance of converting.

Give it a Fresh Look

 

Like your personal home décor preferences, your business will undergo a brand refresh to update and freshen its look to match its evolving personality. The frequency of this change can also be attributed to the preferences of a business’ targeted customers and the industry a business is in.

When undergoing a brand or website redesign, it’s a good idea to work with a professional website designer as they  know their way around the colors and font styles and sizes and their emotional and psychological effects. He or she will know which complimentary colors should be incorporated as well as the appropriate website design and layout for the look and feel of one’s brand and the personality it wants its website visitors to experience.

In addition to changing up the layout, typography and color scheme, also consider adding new photos (that are optimized) along with fresh content. Adding an events calendar and current news can also revive the appearance of a bland website.

Make Sure the Links Work

 

Outdated or broken links can can lower your business’ credible, trustworthy, professional appearance. If the internal and external links point to pages that are either outdated or no longer exist, your page’s SEO and online visibility can suffer. One should check out each link on their website frequently and regularly.

Make Sure Third Party Website Apps and Extensions Work

 

Are your company’s social media and RSS feeds properly linked and connected to your website? Are third party on-page analytics trackers up and running? Is the spam filter on your blog post comments turned on or should you disallow all commenting on old blog posts to avoid spam? If your business has an app, does it work properly? If the third party apps and extensions installed on your website  fail to work properly, you miss out on  taking the biggest online advantage you have, making your content shareable, and valuable analytics information about your website users and their behavior and interaction with your website. Without these analytics data, it is hard to assess the areas of improvement.

Evaluate and Clarify Your Site’s Call-to-Actions

 

Are the calls to action (CTA) of each page of your website obvious and clear? If it isn’t noticeable or clear, website visitors won’t know what action to take which can lead to missed conversions, purchases and e-newsletter subscriptions. When people come to your site, they not only want to quickly find the information they are looking for, but they also want to be told what to do with the information you provide.

Renew or Re-evaluate the Domain Name and Web Hosting Plan

 

It’s always a good idea to look at your website hosting plan each year as many plans require annual renewal. Did the hosting provider take care of any or all the glitches of your website? Did they provide adequate website protection? Were they responsive and easy to work with? Did prices go up or do you feel like you’re overpaying for service? Your website can’t function without a hosting provider. You need to be sure the one you choose is skilled, experienced, trustworthy, responsive and are comfortable to work with.

Similarly, yearly evaluation of your website’s domain is also a good idea. Does it clearly communicate the company’s name and targeted keywords? Is it catchy, concise and memorable? If you’re overhauling a company re-brand, will the current domain name fit the new brand identity and personality?

Spring is a great time to clean up your website and bring new life into your business. This entails ensuring that your website functions correctly, that it is easy to navigate and that the content is accurate and current. Besides being easy to use and fun to interact with, one’s website may be in need of redesign and a new look.

Whether you’re undergoing a major re-branding or simply want to make a few minor tweaks and improvements, the professionals at SEO.com can help. We are a full-service digital marketing company with professional developers, website designers, content and SEO specialists and PPC professionals. Contact us today to learn more about we can help you in your website spring cleaning.

The post Spring Clean Your Website appeared first on SEO.com.

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