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Why SEO Still Matters for Your Entire Digital Marketing Strategy

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How SEO Works in Digital Marketing


Search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral part of digital marketing.

SEO helps with brand discoverability. When done right, SEO can create the most consistent and by far the highest-quality traffic source which doesn’t require on-going maintenance.

Yet, SEO is usually the most isolated part of the marketing. Whether it is an in-house team or a third-party service that’s delivering your SEO campaigns, it usually exists on its own without really communicating goals, progress, or results to the whole company.

This creates silos that can lead to poor results and even reputation crises.

How does SEO work in digital marketing and how can a business make it work better?

What is SEO?

SEO is a collection of tactics (content, technical, link building, even website security and usability) that ensures that your website is easy to understand for search engines.

Basically, it ensures a machine knows that your page will be easy to find to a human being who is looking to solve a related problem.

Search engine traffic is one of the highest-quality traffic for many reasons:

  • Unlike PPC (paid) traffic, it doesn’t require an ongoing investment to keep coming
  • Unlike social media traffic,  it doesn’t require an ongoing work to keep coming
  • Unlike social media traffic, you are not interrupting people’s browsing. Instead you give them what they were actually searching for.

In other words, it is consistent and it converts well. No other digital marketing tactic beats that.

Apart from driving direct traffic, search engine optimization helps build brand awareness by increasing your brand’s organic findability.

Keep Your Whole Team Aware of Why SEO is Important

The great thing about today is that everyone understands the value of ranking high on Google! Sadly, however, many folks only know that they “need SEO” without having really understood what that means. 

SEO these days is too hard for a digital marketer to do alone. Many SEOs find themselves in situations where an executive will simply come down and go “Why are we not ranking well for ‘dingwobble’?” 

Keep working hard with teams for them to understand how they contribute to the SEO process:

  • Product Marketers who are responsible for the business, personas and messaging understand that SEO is critical to driving the bottom line revenue numbers they are looking at. Part of the persona developing process should be the development of the “digital persona” – what websites and search terms are these people looking for? This helps the product marketer when it comes time to develop messaging, as that is going to be critical for developing the content, so the right search terms better be there!
  • Field Marketers responsible for the campaigns need to know how SEO fits within their campaign, how it in fact is core to our demand generation, and how to make sure to keep the campaigns integrated.
  • Marketing Communications is creating the content, so SEO should very well be top of mind for them, as the content itself will be critical in impacting how successful SEO will be.
  • But that’s not all! Often, other groups are creating content (Press Releases, Blog Posts, Presentations, etc.) that also end up on the web and impact SEO. Whether it’s Corporate Communications, Investor Relations or even Legal teams, working with them is critical.
  • IT manages the infrastructure and can be very critical to the technical aspects of SEO.
  • Sales and customer support teams are at the forefront of marketing talking to your future and current customers, so they need to be involved in the SEO strategy. Creating relevant content goes beyond keywords. It needs to address real problems and answer actual people’s questions, and your client-facing teams will be your best source of inspiration here.  
  • Executives also care! While they can’t often influence the day-to-day of SEO, they will care a lot about the bottom line, to which SEO contributes.

Educating all of these people about SEO helps empower them, as well as position yourself, the SEO, as the subject matter expert who is not just someone back-office who gives very little visibility into the black box of SEO, but someone who is actively educating and contributing to the organization’s success.

Review and discuss common KPIs early and often to make sure everyone knows what victory looks like to the team.

Additionally, SEO should be a solid part of any project launch as it impacts every stage of product positioning. From choosing a business name to choosing a website builder, your initial efforts should be driven by SEO best practices.

What is the key to SEO success in a constantly changing environment?

As a practitioner of SEO, I believe that you need to look to ensure you are looking at both developing yourself in both depth and breadth of knowledge. A key danger in the name of being informed or being a part of the SEO community is spending all your time debating tactics and practices rather than testing them. 

Additionally, SEOs as with all employees need to look outside their field to stretch and learn how to be more well rounded. This could mean learning to code, or educating yourself in some other area of the business you work for.  This will expose you to ideas others may not have.

As a manager of people, success is really about diversity of expertise. Who you hire and the kind of people you hire will be far more valuable than much of what people invest in with regards to SEO programs. You have to have people who can roll with the punches and develop a skill for self-management and personal growth. 

Finally, I think knowing what your real goals are in having an SEO program are the key to long term success. The reality is you may get more traffic, but if that traffic is not from qualified leads and generates real revenue then the benefit may be very little. Having well defined goals and metrics will also help you avoid chasing algorithm changes and focus on the big picture.

Conclusion

SEO is the most essential long-term digital marketing strategy but to make it really effective, you need a knowledge team that is well-integrated into the company’s life. Good luck!

Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty is the brand NINJA at Internet Marketing Ninjas as well as the founder of numerous startups including MyBlogGuest, MyBlogU, ViralContentBee, TwChat and many more.

Ann Smarty has been an online marketing consultant for 10 years providing high-quality digital marketing consulting through her services and courses (both free and paid).

Ann Smarty’s content marketing ideas have been featured in NYtimes, Mashable, Entrepreneur, Search Engine Land and many more. She is known for her indepth tool reviews, innovative content marketing advice and actionable digital marketing ideas.



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4 Reasons to Use Chatbots as part of your Digital Marketing Strategy

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4 Reasons to Use Chatbots as part of your Digital Marketing Strategy


Scan the leading websites in your industry – whatever your industry – and you’ll be struck by the ubiquity of chatbots.

Even five years ago, these automated tools were regarded as having a fairly niche set of uses, and were seen as so expensive and complicated that only the biggest brands were able to use them. But in the space of five short years, that’s all changed. Chatbots are now an incredibly important tool for businesses, and can be added to your customer-facing portals very easily.

Alongside the widespread adoption of these tools has also come an increasing recognition from customers: as we’ve previously pointed out, approximately 47% of customers are now open to shopping for items using a chatbot, and many now find them invaluable for searching for products.

This is not the only use of chatbots, however. Incorporating them into your digital marketing strategy has a number of key advantages, from increased lead generation to the ability to generate instant feedback on product ideas. In this article, we’ll take a look at four of these advantages, and show you how chatbots can improve the efficacy of your digital marketing.

1 – Lead generation

When it comes to generating leads, chatbots have a huge advantage over their human “colleagues” – they don’t have to sleep. This means that they can interact with customers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and can do so in real time. This means that potential customers don’t have to send an enquiry form, and wait for a response from one of your employees. Instead, you can offer them instant, tailored advice on your products.

That might sound like a small extra service to offer your customers, but research indicates that the impact it can have on your sales is enormous. Surveys indicate that about 64% of consumers see 24-hour service as the biggest benefit of chatbots.

These stats have led to a corresponding increase in the use of chatbots across a wide range of industries, and in many circumstances chatbots have been given high levels of responsibility in the sales process. Research shows that by 2019, over half of all companies were using automation for part of their businesses processes.

2 – Instant feedback

Another important advantage of integrating chatbots into your digital marketing campaigns is that they can be used to quickly and efficiently elicit feedback from your customers, and intelligently respond to these suggestions.

This is not a commonly mentioned advantage of chatbots, because many brands still see them mainly as a tool that requires data to function, rather than one that can be used as a source of business intelligence. It’s true that training chatbots to respond to customer queries normally requires large datasets, but there are other ways of using them that don’t require this level of technical infrastructure and knowledge.

A good example of this is the campaign that was run by Absolut Vodka in 2018. This marketing campaign, as reported by entrepreneur, used a chatbot to interact with potential customers over Facebook messenger. The purpose of this outreach was partially to perform a survey on the most popular vodka-based cocktails among Absolut’s customer base. However, the technique also led to a x2 conversion increase via Facebook messenger, and allowed Absolut to open another way to interact with their key customers.

3 – Data acquisition

Take the approach we’ve mentioned above to its logical extreme, and you’ll see that chatbots can actually be an incredibly useful and effective way of collecting data from your customers.

This technique is still in its infancy, but is already showing great promise. The idea is simple enough – since a chatbot (if correctly trained and used) can potentially interact with a huge number of customers simultaneously, it makes sense to use these bots to collect information on your customers, even if all this involves is a simple question about their habits.

This information can be used for a variety of purposes. First and foremost, chatbots asking customers to rate their experience, and to collect suggestions on how your sales process can be improved, can instantly help you to improve the efficacy of your customer service offering. Information like this can also be used to inform your SEO process, by providing a finer-grained analysis of how customers arrived at your site.

The potential applications of these data go way beyond on-site marketing, though. They can be used, in other words, to inform all of your marketing channels, including arguably the most important – email.

According to Ottawa-based software developer and online marketer Gary Stevens of Hosting Canada, email remains the most effective marketing channel today, stating “Despite some outcries to the contrary, email is far from dead and is, according to all statistics and expert predictions, actually gaining traction as a marketing modality, making it more important than ever before that you have the right systems in place to ensure you aren’t leaving any money on the table.”

And last but definitely not least, this information can be fed back into your chatbot itself, and used to train it to respond more effectively, and in a more sophisticated way, to your customers. In this way, using your chatbots to collect data is essentially a way of getting them to train themselves.

4 – Building a relationship

Finally, it’s worth recognizing that when used correctly, chatbots can work in parallel with human marketers towards the most important goal of all – building a truly engaged relationship with your customers.

This is often forgotten about, because many brands still see chatbot development frameworks as a way of automating away human marketers and customer service staff. This, however, is the wrong approach – instead of seeing chatbots as an automated replacement for humans, marketers should see them as an efficiency tool. Chatbots, ultimately, can save your human marketers time that they can then spend working on more useful tasks.

Taking this approach can provide real advantages to brands. This is because it’s not just your marketing team who will applaud you for making their jobs easier – your customers will also value the more streamlined purchase process that chatbots can provide.

Examples of this kind of approach can be found in many industries, but perhaps the most prominent is Pizza Hut’s chatbot. This tool is primarily focused on providing a friendly interface for customers making online purchases. However, as part of this service it also collects information on customers, and remembers it to speed up the checkout process for future purchases.

Automate your marketing

If, after running through the advantages above, you are ready to take your first step into the exciting world of chatbots, you now have plenty of options available to you.  There are a few solutions that provide ready-to-use chatbots requiring very little in the way of training.

These can be a great solution for new companies, or those who are relatively new to the world of advanced digital marketing and want to super-charge their data acquisition process. Just remember, whichever approach you take, that chatbots are there to help your marketing staff, not replace them.



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New AR advertising experience from Emodo’s partnership with 8th Wall

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New AR advertising experience from Emodo's partnership with 8th Wall


Ericsson’s mobile ad technology business, Emodo, today announced a partnership with web-based augmented reality (WebAR) company 8th Wall to establish an end-to-end WebAR advertising solution. This solution aims at providing agencies and brands the ability to create and distribute WebAR ad campaigns.

This end-to-end solution introduces new embeddable AR ad types, as well as giving advertisers the capability to place WebAR content inside ad units directly alongside publisher content. The 8th Wall-powered WebAR ad experiences are distributed through Emodo’s ad supply chain and audience targeting solutions.

Read more: Marketers look to upgrade their 3D digital experiences as the metaverse approaches

8th Wall’s WebAR experiences work in-browser, without requiring an app to download. They can be viewed on iOS and Android phones, desktop computers and AR or VR headsets. The embeddable AR ads enable viewers to experience the ad directly on the publisher’s page. It uses 8th Wall’s Inline AR capability, and is a unique ad format to 8th Wall and Emodo.

Why we care. Marketers want to use technology that is widely adopted and adaptable, which is what Emodo promises with this new partnership. With all the talk about VR experiences and the metaverse in recent months, it’s useful to step back and consider how experience has improved using all kinds of 3D imaging and augmented techniques, from virtual try-on to OOH digital billboards.

Emodo’s focus on mobile ads, along with 8th Wall’s app-free experience, gives marketers the opportunity to deliver a tech-forward AR ad to consumers who are out in the world, or in-store, close to a point of sale.


About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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Building Your Brand Identity – A Complete Guide

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Building Your Brand Identity - A Complete Guide


What is the single most important thing every business must do?

We bet millions of thoughts are going through your mind, so let us answer the questions right now: A company has to build a unique brand identity in order to succeed. This is the only chance you have to distinguish your organization from competitors and grow your business steadily and long-term.

But how do you build a brand identity?

Well, this question has more than one answer as it requires a fair share of planning and strategic thinking to come up with a memorable brand identity. Our job is to help you with that, so here’s a complete guide on how to build a brand identity.

The Basics of the Concept

The sheer phrase ‘brand identity’ may sound obvious and self-explanatory, but it is actually vague and convoluted.

There are many definitions of the concept, but we like the one claiming that the brand identity is a set of ideas and features that a company wants people to connect in their minds with its products or brand. It is a broad explanation, but that’s just because brand identity is a broad phenomenon. Here are the major components of brand identity:

  • Logos, color schemes, fonts
  • Visual templates and graphic design
  • Images and iconography
  • Data visualization patterns
  • Videos materials, GIFs, animations, and illustrations
  • Content writing style

But the sum of all elements is not enough to make a great brand identity. On the contrary, it also needs to fulfill certain criteria in order to reach the desired level of quality.

Jake Gardner, a web designer at the best essay writing service, explains that brand identity has to be specific and different than competitors’ brand identities: “It also needs to be appealing and memorable because you want customers to remember it quickly. Besides that, it must be simple enough for different kinds of designers to apply it to their products.”

Practical Tips to Build the Brand Identity

Building a brand identity is obviously complicated, but it gets a lot easier if follow a few basic rules in a step by step manner. Here are the most important tasks on your to-do list:

1. See where you are right now

If you are about to launch a totally new company, you can skip step one. But most companies don’t think about brand-building from day one, so they need to reconsider it somewhere along the way. For this reason, it all starts with a question: What is the current status of the brand identity?

Our advice is to analyze the opinions of your employees, business partners, and clients in order to figure out how they perceive your company. This helps you distinguish between the pros and cons of the existing brand identity.

2. Make a plan

Now you know how all parties involved in the process see your business, but what is your point of view? How do you want people to perceive the brand?

It’s a critical step because you are the one who makes the plan and decides which way to go. This is exactly why it’s necessary to analyze the purpose of the business, its values, mission, and vision. It is also important to determine key brand messages and come up with a unique selling proposition.

3. Create a buyer persona

Who is your typical client? Is it a 15-year old girl or a retired police officer? Target groups vary significantly, so you have to create the average buyer persona and learn what really inspires this person to show interest in a brand and to take action.

4. Analyze your competitors

The next step is to analyze your competitors and see what they are doing to build a unique and memorable brand identity. Do it the same way you would analyze your own company. In other words, try and check all elements of their brand identities one by one.

The point is to pinpoint common features that you have to add to the strategy, too. On the other side, you also want to identify their weaknesses and learn how you can do better than other companies in your niche.

5. Create brand identity visuals

After everything you’ve done so far, creating brand identity visuals should be much easier for you and your team of designers. For instance, if the audience consists of young and passionate individuals, you know your visual messages need to be direct, clear, upbeat, and energetic.

The logic applies to all elements of the brand identity, but the most important thing is to make it work for the official logo, color scheme, and website.

The Bottom Line

Building a powerful brand identity is a key marketing task for every organization or company, but it’s not as simple and obvious as it may seem at first. In this post, we showed you a step by step guide on how to build a memorable brand identity. Do you think you can do it like this?

Author Bio:

Alice Jones is a full-time digital marketer and a part-time blogger from San Francisco, CA. As a member of the professional dissertation writing service, Alice is making blog posts about branding, entrepreneurship, and personal development. Besides that, she is a passionate traveler and a dedicated yoga practitioner.



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