Saturday, December 21, 2013

When you are a newbie in blogging, where to start from & what is important to know

Inbound marketing has gained a lot of attention because it simply can help a company earn attention and create an audience especially when it is done in the right way.

In comparison with outbound marketing, the essence of inbound marketing doesn’t interrupt someone’s flow of activity in order to get attention. There is no pushing to make a specific person become interested in what you are offering to him which usually happens with cold calling, pop-ups, pop-unders, etc. 

Inbound marketing is all about earning attention organically, without interrupting anyone’s activity or workflow.

In order to find your audience on the web you should be well familiar with the family of inbound marketing techniques and strategies:

What's included in inbound marketing

As you can see blogging is also a part of the inbound marketing strategies. 

The purposes to create company blogs and do blogging are to drive more organic traffic to your website, position your brand, increase your SEO, improve your customer relations and attract more of them especially with word-of-mouth advertising.

When you are a newbie in blogging, what is important to know?

1.      Choose a proper platform to manage your content (Content management system):

WordPress is a good choice to create your company blog with.
It is pretty understandable, absolutely manageable for people with no technical background and it's free.
In addition, it has hundreds of themes to choose from and can be customized in the way you want your blog to look like.

Another option for your blog content platform is Blogger
Blogger is also a free platform for managing content. Posts published with Blogger are indexed almost instantaneously. 
Compared to WordPress, Blogger does not provide abundance of ready-to-use templates to choose from. However, the option here is to develop your own template and apply it.

2.      Layout & Design

When you choose the content platform, the second step you should take, is setting up the layout and design of your blog. 
Keep in mind that just publishing an article will not bring quality leads to your company website. What will happen to those leads if the layout of your blog is not set properly?
Take this for granted if you want, but disordered sidebars, archives and blog posts frames will not bring you the result you wish.

Another thing you should consider is that it is necessary to keep your blog alive
Blogs without published articles and posts during the last few months do not make a good impression.

Be active, write as much as you can. There are thousands of topics you can choose from. However, if you want to achieve good results, better write about the problems your customers face and cope with. 
Write about the questions they have especially such kind of questions that your own customers and prospects ask you and your team.

3.      Develop unique style of writing

When your blog layout is already set, you should choose your style of writing and exposing ideas.
In order to attract readers and followers, you have to be original in your writings. Do not create posts just to publish some content.
Instead, get involved in the issue you are writing about. The themes you write about and the posts you publish have to be educational, to give information or to be at least funny. It is important to remember that no one likes to waste time reading something which does not bring value.

4.       Be social

The last newbie step you should take and not at least at all, is to make your company blog social. 
To do that, you should connect your blog with all social media platforms your business is being presented on. Give your readers an option to become your followers by sharing your content on Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. 
Be social, it matters!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Something more to consider about Google AdSense network

It’s not surprisingly to anyone that Google has recently stopped providing the keyword data from organic search. The step Google has made had impact on many companies especially these with smaller marketing budgets. And one of the possible explanations about the motive hidden behind that action could be that Google wants from us to advertise more.

We cannot say that with 100% certainty but still it is a fact that in some cases the percentage of not provided organic keyword data has reached even 100%!

Another thing we can say for sure is that this will affect SEO agencies and marketers. Now their job will be more challenging having in mind that it will be harder to create a content based on a specific group of keywords when it’s impossible to track the results which follow after content marketing.

However, Google still provides keyword data from paid search which is good to know.

Another thing marketers have to consider concerns Google AdSense network
Displaying ads with relevant content on our websites is an opportunity to earn from clicks and impressions. A large number of websites decided to get involved in the AdSense network relying on the fact that this would be also a way to generate leads.

Why is it important to know Google AdSense quite well?

First of all, when you advertise through Google AdWords, Google does not have a fixed price for a particular keyword. Because of the competition, one announces a price and from that point bidding starts. The person who bids the highest price may influence on the amount of traffic his ads receive, as well as the ROI they generate. It is right to think that the campaign you manage in your Google AdWords account is likely to receive more traffic if you make your bids higher but you also will spend more money. 
On the other hand, with lower bids, it is more likely to achieve some improvement in the campaign's ROI but in this way it will also get fewer clicks and conversions.

Another aspect to consider is on which websites your ads appear
Most of the website owners do not have a clue about that. It happens sometimes that an ad from one online shop can be seen on another fully competitive website.

I am giving you here a link from where you can see a random list of websites included in Google AdSense network. The list is created by Built With and it will ask you to create an account in order to have access to the data.

As it starts to seem, advertising on Google is not as simple as we wished to be. If we dig deeper, another question of importance will emerge.

Do we know how many places for ads on one particular website included in AdSense has? 

I do not think so. Therefore, if we have two advertising campaigns to manage at the same time, what guarantees us that our ads do not compete between themselves leading to the surprising idea that actually we are competing with our own budgets?

Possible ways to handle these issues might be:

  •         Based on that, decide whether it is more rational to manage only one campaign for a period of time and then the others, if possible according to the specific case you want to advertise

Advertising on Google AdWords and AdSense requires deeper understanding of how it should be done. As we already described, there a few minor aspects that should be well considered.

The importance to be “fast & furious” in the E-commerce world

Have you ever considered that the interest of a web visitor in the product or service range of an online store or so called prospect interest is extremely short?

Thanks to the abundance of online stores flooding the Internet space or because of any other reason, web visitors, including you and me, are looking at bunches of sources of information before finally making a purchase or even only taking a decision to buy.

Due to the existing multiplicity of effective tools for generating leads and traffic such as advertising campaigns, PR, SEO (SEM), etc., a web visitor lands on your website. He looks through pages providing information about different products and services and if interested, he fills up the contact form and sends his request about a price, delivery, possible discounts and anything else he might be interested in to know.

The worst case would be, if the particular lead closes your website and goes on looking at other competitive websites until he makes his request for more information again.

Few are the cases of today's practice, in which the purchase is done during the first lead’s visit. I do not mean that such situations do not exist. But I do say they occur rarely.

Most of the time, prospects want to educate themselves about the company reputation first, about its attitude towards clients and reliability of the services the company provides. Prospects search for feedback from others who have already bought from the specific online store.

To build strong positive assessment in the minds of potential clients contributes to their belief in the quality of the products and services the company offers. After you achieve to create this impression, then the next step can be taken which again does not include purchasing itself.

Usually a prospect sends his question or request to check if he will be treated with the appropriate attention and care and to see whether what he is searching for will be provided to him in a way that makes him feel content.

How exactly important is it to be fast in our responses? When it comes to E-commerce, is speed the thing that will distinguish us from the big competition game out there?

The time for answering a specific customer question has a great impact on attracting potential customers. The very nature of E-commerce is different from the usual buying and selling process in an ordinary physical store. In the Internet space, there is an access to anything. The possibilities to satisfy needs are endless.

To respond in a similar situation, as they say "in a heartbeat", will only increase the likelihood of attracting visitors and converting them in our customers. If it takes us more time to respond, then it is quite possible to lose the lead to competitors and to forget about this lead’s interest in our products.

According to an online survey made amongst more than 2 000 companies, around 40% of the companies that took part usually respond to a potential customer request within an hour and around 17% of them respond within a day.

However, the survey shows that the average speed of responding was more than 40 hours! What a loss!

Speed ​​is a way to distinguish ourselves from the competitors, especially in today's competitive market, in which each individual customer is vital for the business.

Meeting and satisfying the needs and interests of clients is a point of paramount significance for the key success and development of each company. Rapidresponsiveness and well-timed reaction of the company leave in prospects’ mind a good impression and also increases the probability that this specific prospect will come to decision to buy and at later stage to make a purchase exactly from our online store.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Without Prospect Engagement, You Are Failing!

Customer Insights-Put the puzzle pieces in order

Successful customer engagement means successfully achieving customer trust in the company you manage. When it's done in the right way, it brings credibility in your services or products offered on the market.

Trust should be the highest or at least amongst the highest aims of a company since no one buys a product from an questionable or unreliable source.

Moreover, building strong and long-term trust and credibility in your company through prospect engagement should exist in your business development plan as a high priority for the progress of your company. Just because without, you are simply failing.

Looking back in time, many entrepreneurs say that ignoring the importance of these two aspects, leads to bankruptcy and failure.

Especially when the company is in the very beginning, it is essential to be focused on the ways how to engage well with your customers. How can you promote or sell something when you are not aware of your customers' needs and wishes?

Let me just tell you that it's not possible!

The great use of customer knowledge and data are recognized even better in the first stage of engaging. It's the moment when a visitor lands on your website. It's the first interaction he has with it.

Information from where he comes, what search phrase he has used to find your website is not only important but critical mainly because this is your chance to decide how to engage with him better. Also, it is a chance to see at what stage of the buying cycle he stands and what and how you should present what he is searching for. The right information at the right time.

Therefore, your advantage here is the understanding of the specific interests of the visitors on your website.

Nowadays, there are systems on the market that provide this essential knowledge about visitor insights. 

Sales Intelligence: Recognize the Sales Signals

Customer information is vital for your sales success and engagement. Their names, email addresses, whether they come from an advertising campaign, the keywords typed in the search bar to find your website, what goals they achieve on your site, how much time they spend there and what pages and products they have been looking at - all this can be described as their dossier about the activity they have on your site. If you still doubt this is significant knowledge, better think twice!  

You should be well familiar with your visitors just because this information gives you the power to understand what attracts them most and to lead them in the direction you want.

Being sometimes in the position of a customer, we all buy from someone who knows how to please our wishes. We trust such a salesperson and believe he will find the most suitable product or service we need and search for; we are already opened to him. Then the other part of the sales process is easy.

It is almost impossible to sell services to customers without having a deep understanding of their needs. Gaining valuable and useful knowledge about that in the beginning of the sales process is the key factor to start engaging with them in the most proper way- by communicating with them in a relevant way based on what they've been looking at and what they are interested in to know.

And this leads us to the following statement that:

Without having understanding and knowledge about your visitors from the starting point of the sales funnel, than engaging with them is a tough job to accomplish and you might be failing in building customer trust in your company.

Have in mind also that many of the sources to gather sufficient information to understand customers' behavior better, come from the customer himself. That is the main reason why websites must integrate systems for live conversations with visitors exactly in the same way as if they interact in a physical shop. Relying on live chats, you will find many information about how exactly you can satisfy this specific visitor, engage him and convert him into a loyal customer who buys from your website even after he has made his first purchase.

The obtained data about the consumer insights represents a forceful tiller in your hands. Building trust and credibility in your company goes hand by hand with engaging with your website visitors.

If you use responsibly and properly the knowledge you have about them to satisfy their needs, than engaging even when they are still just anonymous visitors, will be a successful and profitable step towards your company's growth and progress.

Stop Losing Your Marketing PPC Dollars!

Are you afraid of losing money in general? Are you afraid of losing money when it comes to your marketing budget?

Let's speak more specifically concerning PPC campaigns. I am sure that the most common response to the previous sentence which immediately comes up in your mind is: "Where on Earth does my money go?".

Maybe all of us with small exceptions have heard the phrase of John Wanamaker:
"Half my advertising is wasted, I just don't know which half."

With all the analytic tools on the market, maybe we are closer to realize exactly which half is wasted and making some progress, but it's still not possible to say with 100% certainty where our money goes.

Especially now when time flies fast as never before, to afford not to pay enough attention to the ways how to save the money set for advertising on the Internet is crucial.

In this sense, the fear of losing money, I believe, is a good thing. Just because fear makes us think not only how to handle the issues we are facing, but also to avoid them. Which is more essential than the first option, definitely.

Keeping on thinking in the same direction, can you give an optional answer to the following question:

  • How can you prevent your marketing PPC budget from being wasted?

I know that many will say it is hard to diagnose a reasonable response without knowing the exact situation it's regarding. Probably, some of you have a well-organized answer and are pretty sure about it.

However, the most appropriate reply is hidden and we are about to reveal it.

As we all know, many ways to make advertising on the Internet exist, but amongst them the primary way of advertising through PPC campaigns still remains.
Pay-per-click advertising also known as Cost-per-click is an Internet advertising model used to bring quality traffic to your website and it gives you the opportunity to see who lands on your website through clicking on a link, banner or search engine result.

One thing should be kept in mind that a successful PPC campaign goes hand by hand with properly suggested and chosen keyword. This keyword is essential for the performance of the PPC campaign you launch on the Internet and is its basis. The keyword determines the interests of the eventual prospects who click on it and better suits these interests! The keyword brings direct traffic to websites and the traffic is already well-targeted. Therefore, leads who come to your website through a PPC campaign ad are curious or interested in searching for more information about your services or products in the best cases.

  • Where does the problem start?

The problem starts from where you are losing already dollars from your marketing PPC budget.
It might be because of intentionally made fraud clicks or just because a prospect who wants to check what he is searching for again and again keeps constantly opening your website by clicking on the PPC ad. Having in mind also that people are sometimes deceitful in their willing to be successful and number one in general, software bots are already on the market and can absolutely menace and decrease your PPC budget. What happens in the meanwhile is that your budget is being cut every single time when a click on your PPC ad occurs no matter in what way. No matter if the way it happens is profitable for your online business or not.

  • However, a solution does exist!

Prevent your PPC budget from being wasted because of fraud clicks:

  • by finding a way to determine whether a click is a fraud one or not-there is a way to determine that. And the tool is called Fraud Protector. It gives you the essential information about what part of all made clicks for a chosen period of time is fraud.

  • by finding who has made it-in most of the cases, the tool we mentioned above has this functionality. It provides you with information about referral pages visitors come from, keywords used to find the website, etc.

  • by giving him the opportunity to come to your website in a way which saves you money-a pop-up message asking for bookmarking the website could be a nice way to protect in some way your budget.

  • by having the option to ban a specific visitor from coming again-if the above doesn't work, then it is good to have the option to block him from coming again if you see that the only reason this visitor might have to land on your site is to continue cutting off your budget. Of course, we should consider this step very carefully because usually customers or visitors build a habit to find your site by typing its name in the search bar and when your ad appears, to click on it and go on looking at your web site's pages. Which, described in this way, is a good thing to have in mind.

And if all these tasks can be controlled from one place or system in a way you do not have to invest time and do it yourself, it would be just great.

Preventing and trying to save your marketing advertising budget when it comes to PPC campaigns, is not as simple as we wish to be. However, it is still possible to achieve progress and responsibly take care of the dollars we spend over the Internet. No human in the world likes losing money because of any reasons. From the other hand, everyone who starts online business prefers to gain more profit instead the other unwanted alternative.

How to Increase Customer Conversion On Your Website

"Imagining my customer conversion rate dramatically increasing on my website is far more easier than doing it in reality!"

The most common response that comes to mind when facing the challenge of raising the conversion rate of our websites. There are thousands of new, great ideas for launching online businesses born every second but end in a street with no way out. This is a delicate issue which present-day entrepreneurs are experiencing constantly. To increase your conversion rates simply means to be one step closer to succeed in increasing the return on investment of your online business.

If we spend enough time coming up with a solution, we might realize that usually the key to solve a tough and complex issue like this is hidden in small steps that should be taken to overcome it.
The goal you have to accomplish now is to boost the conversion rate of your website!
So how to achieve that?

Unsurprisingly, there is actually one slight aspect of your online business that can help you achieve progress in this direction.

And it's called "Information".

The power of information nowadays represents probably the greatest tool you can use to bring your conversion rate to higher levels. Especially, the power of information obtained at the right time!

What you must do is structure the information your visitors will be interested in consuming in an easy, proper and convenient way to access it. You have to assure yourself that your visitors will be provided with any type of knowledge, data or records they want in order to become more aware of exactly what you are offering and that it will lead them to the final decision.

When you are trying to find a way to accomplish all of this, knowledgebase, live chat and ticket support system come into play.

 "Customers appreciate obtaining the right answer, at the right time."

  • ·   What a knowledge base is used for is organizing questions, inquiries or issues your customers may have or experience supplied with the exact answers and explanations on how to handle them. This is the major reason why you should add it to your website and immediately use it. Do not ever underestimate the opportunity to receive information with just one click! Your customers need this! The information they obtain makes them feel confident in your service or product and confident in their decision to buy from you.  

  •   Ticket support systems or Help Desk and Live Chat are other powerful sources for making your conversion rate higher. You can add them to your website and rely on them any time a visitor has some more specific questions to ask. Imagine yourself looking on a website, searching for some information and a live chat window pops up asking "how can I help you." I bet you would prefer typing your question there than searching for the answer you need in that very moment. Every person would appreciate obtaining the right answer, at the right time.

Having in mind the great influence the information received at the right moment has, applying a Knowledge base, Ticket support system and Live chat on your website will undeniably help you increase your website conversion rate. In turn dramatically increasing your return on investment as well.

Nowadays in the world of online business, the environment keeps changing fast. So, you need to be able to provide your visitors the data they are searching for in order to engage with them better; convert them into customers more easily and also give them the best user experience and satisfaction with the decision they have made to come to your website.