Why Every Local Business Should Be Blogging

Inbound Clicks Through The Roof

Inbound Clicks Will Blow Up

There are plenty of intangible and potential benefits related to blogging, but the hard data is where things are most remarkable. Organizations that begin blogging see a 97 percent boost in inbound links.

These links add Search engine optimization value to the website itself, and visitors from other sites could easily become paying customers. When other websites start seeing a blog as a valuable source of information, they will start linking directly to it.

44786901 - girl hands with laptop and cup of coffee on a wooden tableImproves Overall SEO

While inbound links certainly do great things for SEO, blogging in general accomplishes so much more. In fact, blogs that received no inbound links at all would still improve a site’s SEO. This is because more pages are available to be indexed, and online searchers are more likely to come across them. Internal linking between pages on the same webpage can also help in this endeavor.

Strengthen Other Digital Marketing Forms

Blogging can also do wonderful things for a company’s other forms of marketing. By embedding videos directly into blogs, for example, the view count on the video will go up in addition to getting more eyes on it. Blogging also gives local corporations the opportunity to post original content on their social media pages that actually results in superior traffic to the main site.

Although some organizations still treat it as such, blogging is not an option for local business owners. It may be possible to get by without it, but it puts a brand at a distinct disadvantage. The benefits of blogging are countless, but the aforementioned three should be enough to make its importance totally obvious.

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3 Content Marketing Suggestions That Lead to Results

Upload Customer Testimonial Videos On the Internet

Build Listicles

Just because you create great content does not always mean people will click on it. After all, for every one “How to Skin a Flounder” blog a tackle shop creates, there are thousands more already listed on Google. Instead of the typical “how to,” take a moment to produce a list and include the number of steps in the title. “5 Ways to Tie a Bow” will always get more attention than “How to Tie a Tie.”

42149686 - beauty teenage girl photographer sitting over white backgroundUse Photographs in Everything

Any local business owner who posts photos to Facebook knows that visuals are a form of content marketing. Social media sharing, however, really should not be where this ends. Numerous case studies show that simply utilizing images within blogs and articles can greatly increase the traffic to that piece.

It is actually difficult to put a set number on how many added clicks you will get through the use of images. This is because most research is in the form of case studies, and every little bit of content is different. There is no doubt, though, that fantastic images can sometimes make even a bad blog jump off the page.

Design Customer Testimonial Videos

Video is one of the toughest forms of content marketing for many small business owners. Typically, this is because it is hard to come up with ideas. One tried and tested practice, though, is to create customer testimonial videos. These pieces of content will show people that you are capable of getting the job done. Even better is the fact that the featured customer will share the video almost everywhere.

There are countless content marketing ideas that have been proven to pay off. The aforementioned are only the tip of the iceberg, but they are certainly a good start.

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How Can Facebook Dark Posts Help Out Firms?

Newsfeed Clutter Dramatically Reduced

Target Specific Audiences

Facebook dark posts don’t show up on a page’s feed. Instead, they are only shown to a unique audience that the social media manager selects. While showing fewer people a post might seem counter-intuitive, it actually is smart when you consider the differing tastes of your audience.

39525407 - polish singer during her showA rock band influenced by Pantera and Aerosmith, for example, could draw in fans of both of those bands. Of course, an “If you like Pantera” ad would not do much for Aerosmith fans. So by using dark posts to target different audiences independently, a small business can appeal to each of their prospective clients on their own level.

Decreases Clutter on Newsfeed

Since not everything will appeal to every customer, many will feel bombarded when a page they follow starts posting things they have no interest in. Dark posts make this preventable. Instead of tossing up something that will only appeal to some and potentially clutter others’ newsfeeds, content can be targeted to those who actually care.

Solicit Feedback That Is Actually Beneficial

If an agency is hoping to get feedback on a new product or service, they can reach out to their Facebook fans. Unfortunately, not every follower is right for the job, and this could result in a business owner having to sift through hundreds of candidates just to find 20 who fit the bill. With dark posts, a service can seek feedback from specific audiences by targeting keywords and interests. This makes for a powerful way to solicit feedback.

Many local business owners haven’t heard of Facebook dark posts, and this is hindering them from what they can do on the social media giant. Once they figure out how to effectively use the tool, though, there is little that cannot be done with it.

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New Report Shows Marketing Power of Pinterest

Most local business owners have recognized that social media marketing is an essential aspect to a promotional strategy. Unfortunately, many of these budding entrepreneurs focus only on Facebook and Twitter. Other sites, such as Instagram and Pinterest, are largely ignored. A new study on the effectiveness of Promoted Pins on Pinterest, however, shows this could be a huge mistake.

42130751_sEffectiveness of Promoted Pins

Pinterest is trying to make headway in the social media world, and its focus on images certainly sets it apart from other websites. While the site comes nowhere close to Facebook’s huge reach, it did recently surpass the 100 million monthly user threshold. If that’s not enough to bring businesses to Pinterest, their newly released study could be.

While measuring in-store sales for over two dozen businesses, the site found that Promoted Pin campaigns drove “5x more incremental in-store sales per impression” when compared against other types of online advertising.

Targeting The Right Demographics

While this study undoubtedly paints Pinterest in a great light when it comes to advertising, it’s important to recognize the demographics that the site reels in. Close to 40 percent of Pinterest users make at least $100K a year.

Some business owners may see this as an opportunity to appeal to a wealthy demographic, and in some cases, it may well be. But if a product or service obviously isn’t geared to these upper-class individuals, advertising on Pinterest may be a waste.

What Comes Next?

Pinterest recently started making business relationships with analysis companies in an effort to better understand the effectiveness of Promoted Pins, so their research is far from over. Many companies may have begun to bring in revenue through online purchases, but local businesses are often still focused on converting online interest into offline sales.

Even for companies that wouldn’t do well advertising on Pinterest, this is all still great news. It’s showing just how important it’s become to measure offline success through online marketing endeavors. “Online-to-offline measurement,” as it’s called, has exploded over recent years, and businesses gain access to new tools of calculating this success every day.

So whether Pinterest is ideal for a specific business or not, their research is undoubtedly shining light on essential marketing analytics.

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What Facebook Changes Could Mean for Marketers

As of last count, there were over 40 million small businesses utilizing an exclusive Facebook page. The main point of these pages is to market a business, so when the social media giant makes changes, there can be huge ripple effects. As it turns out, there are currently some changes on the horizon that local business owners should be tracking.

42179335_sAre Right-Rail Ads Leaving?

Whenever users are on the desktop version of Facebook, they’re presented with ads along the right side of the page from paying businesses. This provides companies with an opportunity to reach out to targeted demographics in an effort to bring in new clients.

Recently, though, it came to light that Facebook was doing a full overhaul of its desktop site. Screenshots released show that these changes will make the buttons at the top of a business page more prominent, but the image also had one glaring absence: no right-rail ads.

Will Ad Absence Affect Marketing?

Some business owners may be wondering what this potential change means for their company. Fortunately, they may see little to no effect. After all, over half of Facebook’s users only access the site via mobile device – not desktop. Even better is the fact that over 90 percent of the site’s users access the mobile site monthly.

What It All Means

It’s important to note that no official change has yet to be announced. The site could have simply taken ads out temporarily to make more room for cover photos. If this does occur, though, business owners should remember that their ads will still receive huge reach considering the site’s mobile presence.

Additionally, Facebook ads could simply be repositioned on each page. They might not be as visually appealing to start with, but as with all Facebook changes, businesses and users eventually come to accept the updates. If these changes come to fruition, local business owners should avoid falling victim to clickbait stories attempting to instill fear.

Facebook is a remarkable tool for any business who wants to increase their online or offline revenue. While it may have started off as a place for friends, the site is now focused on revenue and shareholders. This means any changes they make will have businesses in mind, so don’t worry too much about the potential for this change.

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Crushing Your Competition with Content Marketing

Over 75 percent of business-to-business (B2B) marketers plan on increasing the amount of content marketing they do in 2016. With these types of numbers, it’s obvious that people have finally figured out that content is king. If you’re to outshine your competition, this is one key area you must beat them in, and the following tips can help you pull that off.

16128657_sPerform Competitor Reconnaissance

While the stated goal of content marketing is to get noticed by consumers, we all know the real endgame is beating the competition. As it turns out, you can do this by “stalking” your local competition. Content marketing is special in the fact that it’s fully viewable by the public, so you’ll be able to see everything your competition does.

Fortunately, there are a ton of tools that can help in this endeavor. BuzzSumo, for instance, will show you the content that’s performing best on your competitors’ sites. SEMrush, on the other hand, will show you the keywords they are ranking. This means you’ll know what’s working for your competition, and you can work to mimic those successful strategies.

Focus on What Consumers Are Asking

A huge mistake in content marketing is thinking that just because something is industry-specific, consumers will want to read it. In reality, consumers only want actionable content. Find out the questions they’re asking and create content based on that. Have multiple customers asked how to do a specific task on your social media page this week? Create an article or video to answer the question. That’s how you get noticed.

Understand Upcoming Trends

As with any other area of running a business, there are trends you must keep up with in content marketing. The aforementioned reconnaissance tools can show what’s working best for your competitors, but they won’t show you what’s working best tomorrow, next week, or next month.

Follow thought influencers in your industry on social media and stay abreast of marketing news released by sites like Forbes and the New York Times. If you’ve done this already, you know that user-controlled content aggregation and social media “Instant Articles” will have a huge effect on content marketing in 2016. Whatever you do, stay caught up.

Being successful at content marketing is a process. It takes time and effort if it’s to pay off. By understanding the best ways to utilize the tool, you can rest assured that you’ll give your competitors a run for their money.

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Local Marketing Trends To Know In 2016

When it comes to running a small business, local marketing is the most vital aspect of becoming successful. After all, how can you hope to branch out if you can’t even appeal to your neighbors? This means it’s essential to keep your local marketing strategy up-to-date, and knowing these trends for 2016 can help you do just that.

38677431_sMarketing Competition Becomes Brutal

If you ran the only industry-specific business in a community, you wouldn’t have to worry about competitors. Unfortunately, this usually isn’t the case, and if your competition is upping their game, it’s essential for you to do so as well.

A recent report found that a full 84 percent of local businesses plan on increasing marketing spending in 2016. This means there’s a very good chance your competitors will be doing so as well. If your business is to stay competitive, you’re going to need to improve your local marketing in 2016.

Integration to Mobile-Friendly Websites Will Be Complete

Most companies that don’t already have mobile-friendly websites will make the move in 2016. Those that already recognized the necessity of doing so will also increase spending in the mobile arena. The majority of online searchers will immediately leave a website if it’s not mobile-friendly, so if you haven’t already made the move, just know that all of your competition will likely have done so by 2017.

Mobile Payments Become Marketable Feature

You’ve more than likely been to at least one store where customers can pay with their mobile devices. In 2016, this will become much more widespread. A full 15 percent of purchases at Starbucks already take place like this, and as is the case with any trending technology, having mobile payment capabilities will become a marketable feature in your local area. It’s just another advantage you can have over your competition, so definitely consider the investment.

Staying up to date on marketing trends is essential for any company, but for small businesses local trends are where it’s at. If you prepare yourself for what 2016 has to offer, you just might have a very successful year ahead of you.

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Learn to Utilize Different Video Platforms

By 2018, it is predicted that nearly 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic will come directly from online video. Currently, this number sits at 57 percent, so it’s obvious how important video marketing is even today. Fortunately, local businesses can look at the video successes and failures of the past to make their 2016 video marketing strategy effective.

35933759_sUtilize Interactive Videos

Virtual reality will play a huge role in video marketing in 2016, and this is seen by the fact that Google shipped out 5 million Cardboard virtual reality units already. For local businesses that have to worry about offline as much as online marketing, though, this can be a tad expensive.

Fortunately, interactive videos can be just as appealing to consumers. Create videos that provide two simple decision buttons at the end, and record a different video outcome for each. This gets consumers involved and interested.

Don’t Take Thumbnails Lightly

When uploading marketing videos to YouTube, users have the option of choosing a thumbnail. By failing to do so or uploading an unimpressive image, businesses are giving up a great marketing opportunity. These thumbnails are the first thing people will see when searching for a video, and if they don’t stand out, consumers will usually just move on. Don’t take this chance.YouTube has long been the dominant video sharing platform on the internet, and marketers had to create their strategies based on how the video giant worked. And since billions of video views pour into the site daily, there really was no room to complain.

Local business owners must now realize, though, that there’s dissension in the video ranks. Facebook now makes it easy for users to directly upload videos to the site. With this in mind, business owners must decide which videos work best for which platform and build their strategy around this knowledge.

Video killed the radio star long ago, and no other medium seems ready to dethrone online video just yet. Because of this, the above strategies can go a long way in making 2016 a success.

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Twitter Mistakes Local Businesses Must Avoid In 2016

Local business owners must use every marketing tool at their disposal to overcome local and national competitors. This means focusing as much on social media as any other strategy, and as Twitter surpassed 305 million monthly users in 2015, it’s obvious the social media world is ripe for effective marketing in 2016. Of course, this is only the case if the following Twitter marketing mistakes are avoided.

43251639 - wind up bird eats lettersAlways Use Hashtags

If something is tweeted without any hashtags, it is likely that only a company’s current followers will see it. When these hashtags are included, though, anyone searching for a specific topic could come across the message. Up to two hashtags will increase engagement by 21 percent. Anything over that could result in a reduction in interaction.

Be Smart About Trending Topics

Many small business marketers schedule out their marketing tweets in advance and never look back. After all, it’s nice not having to spend all day on Twitter. It’s important to remember, though, that trending topics can get a company serious attention.

This is why tossing out a few tweets related to hot topics every day is essential. Don’t jump on every bandwagon, though; make sure the trends can somehow be related to the company. Hopping on a Twitter tag just because it’s trending can look quite tacky.

Misuse of Mentioning People

Tweeting content out to industry thought leaders and celebrities is a great way to potentially make a tweet go viral. Unfortunately, some marketers hide the message from their followers when doing this. A tweet that begins with a mention (i.e. @ThisGuy) will only be shown to the mutual followers a business shares with “ThisGuy.” By including the mention in the middle of the tweet, however, it’s ensured that a company’s fans will all see the message even if they don’t follow “ThisGuy.”

Twitter may never be the social media giant that Facebook is, but it has undoubtedly surpassed all expectations. The site provides an entirely different social media experience, and in essence, a completely different type of marketing can be implemented there. If marketers change anything about their Twitter presence in 2016, it should be to avoid the aforementioned mistakes.

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Marketing Lessons Taken From Yard Sales

Many people’s first real marketing experiences took place when hanging up “Yard Sale” signs with our parents on Saturday mornings. For small business owners, marketing strategies have definitely evolved past this. Of course, it’s imperative to not forget lessons learned from the past, and there’s a few things that yard sales can teach everyone about marketing.

11775183_sStorytelling is Essential to the Sale

Although watching shows like Pawn Stars and American Pickers has reminded us that storytelling is essential, we actually already knew that from days at the yard sale. After all, there’s a million turquoise vases in the world, but that one passed down from your grandmother after fleeing Germany during the war? That’s a special one.

Storytelling is just as important for local businesses. Consumers see upwards of 5,000 marketing messages a day. Make yours special by telling how a product helped a local citizen or how your company gave back to the community. Whatever it takes, tell a good story.

Offline Marketing Can Be As Important As Online

In the Age of the Internet, people now announce their yard sales a week in advance via Facebook sales groups and Craigslist ads. But when you get into the neighborhood, trust that you’ll see a few “Garage Sale” signs on street posts as well.

This is because, no matter how important online marketing becomes, offline isn’t going anywhere. Whether it’s showing up to trade shows, sponsoring a local baseball team or putting an attention-grabbing billboard on the interstate, offline marketing still pays off.

Trust Is Paramount

When consumers go to a clothing, electronics or any other store, they usually know that they can get a refund if they’re not satisfied with a product. This isn’t the case at yard sales. When someone buys that cell phone charger, they usually walk away knowing that, if it doesn’t work, they’re out of luck.

Don’t think, though, that having a return policy establishes trust. In fact, trust could go out the window if something has to be returned. Strive to keep a good reputation online through reputation management as well as you do offline through in-store customer service. Trust is essential in any business relationship.

While Craigslist is often the extent of the marketing we do for yard sales, it doesn’t mean other lessons weren’t learned from these events. Remember this when you’re crafting your marketing strategies.

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