Writing came easy for you in school. The teacher would give you a list of topics to choose from. All you had to do was pick one and write about it. 

Now you have a business and you’re well aware of how important content marketing is to generate interest in your products and services. 

The question is what topics will you write about? 

What’s In A Topic?

Let’s say you own a business that sells gardening supplies and plants. As an expert, you can easily fill out a spreadsheet of topics for your blog. 

You decide to write about fertilizers because that’s what your business is focused on now – stocking up on organic fertilizers that help plants thrive when grown inside the home. 

It only takes you an hour to finish the blog. After a thorough review, you upload the blog on your website and excitedly share it on social media. 

Hours turned to days and your blog has only gotten 3 likes, no shares, and according to your page’s analytics, the post didn’t drive traffic to your website. 

What could have gone wrong? You’re thinking:

“Indoor plants are grown in soil and don’t get the same nutrients as plants grown outdoors. They need to be fertilized to stay healthier and to live longer.”

While you’re correct, maybe your readers don’t find the information important because:

  • Many grow their plants outdoors. 
  • Many are aware of the importance of organic fertilizer.
  • Fertilizer is used sparingly; usually just once a month per year and only during the growing season. 

Perhaps your followers are mostly growers of succulents – plants that are durable and can survive the worst soil conditions without the need for fertilizer. 

The number one rule in creating content is to choose topics that interest your audience, not you. 

Search remains one of the most popular activities on the Internet. Nearly 75% of Internet users are launching queries through search engines and social media. Only instant messaging and email are ahead of search. 

Keep in mind that social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are search engines. 

No matter how well-written, professionally researched, and expertly explained your content is, it won’t be appreciated because the majority of your audience won’t get to read it. 

Why? Because they’re not interested enough to search for it on the Internet. 

As a corollary to rule #1, when creating online content, you are writing for your audience and not for yourself. 

For your content to be searched, there must be interest in it. Thus, the first step in creating content is to find high-ranking topics that interest your audience. 

How To Find High Ranking Topics For Your Content

To be clear, the tips we share in this article aren’t just for finding high-ranking topics to write about. You can apply these tips to all forms of content and not just blogs. 

In fact, it’s better to have a diverse content marketing strategy – one that includes different channels such as videos, images, e-books, and infographics to deliver your content. 

Now let’s begin with tip #1 which is often overlooked by content creators.

1. Have a Plan

The chicken had a purpose that made it want to cross the road and go to the other side. Perhaps the chicken wanted to reunite with its chicks, forage for food, or go back to the farm. 

We’re lucky that we’re not chickens and don’t act on instinct. We’re rational and have been gifted with a thought process that allows us to articulate ideas and turn them into a course of action – a plan. 

When you don’t have a plan, your content marketing strategy might end up like the chicken that didn’t see the car speeding from the right side of the road. 

What’s the purpose of your content marketing strategy?

  • To drive more website traffic?
  • To build your reputation as an expert?
  • To create awareness about your products and services?
  • To generate more leads?
  • To move up the search rankings?
  • To strengthen your business brand?

Your purpose sets the direction of your content marketing strategy. Having a plan organizes the necessary steps you need to take in order to achieve your goals and objectives. 

Yes, you can have multiple goals. 

For example, it follows that if you’re successful in driving more traffic to your website, you improve your chances of climbing up the search rankings. Likewise, more website traffic creates greater opportunities to convert interest into sales. 

Thus, you might want to create a blog post on a high-ranking topic that exceeds 2,000 words. According to an updated study by Hubspot, the ideal blog post length to drive traffic to your website is between 2,100 to 2,400 words. 

You can complement the blog post with a strong Call-to-Action (CTA). 

The types of content you create and the topics they’re about will help you attain these different goals. 

2. Do Keyword Research

We recently wrote a blog on how to do Keyword Research on a budget. You can read it here

As we mentioned throughout that article, it’s not enough to write good content. It must be optimized. Without optimizing your content, it can’t be found on the Internet. 

Optimization makes good content great. 

But keyword research is more than just an optimization tool. It can be used to find high-ranking topics on the Internet. 

Once you have compiled a list of high-ranking keywords with Google Keywords Planner, the next step is to run a Google search. Type in one of the keywords and run a search query. 

Within seconds, Google will present its Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that organizes the most viewed URLs for that specific keyword. Remember that 75% of Internet users never scroll past the first page. 

Also, 25% of Internet users will click on the first URL that appears on the SERP. Does it mean that it’s the best resource? No, it might only mean that it meets the criteria of Google’s search algorithm. 

The important takeaway is that its topic is specifically what your audience is looking for. 

At the very least, by reviewing the top 5 URLs that appear on the SERP, you’ll have good ideas on what topics are of interest to your audience.

3. Use Answer the Public

Have you ever wondered what your audience is thinking about? Wonder no longer and visit AnswerThePublic

AnswerThePublic is an online tool that aggregates the most popular searches on Google and the other search engines. It goes through more than 3 billion daily searches and compiles the topics that Internet users are looking for every day. 

The results are phrased as how, why, when, who, and what which makes it easier for you to create a spreadsheet of possible topics. You might say that AnswerThePublic is the answer to writer’s block!

4. Engage Your Followers

If you want to know what topics your audience wants to read about or view, why not just go straight to them and ask? 

Engaging your followers has many benefits:

  • Humanizes your business; gives it a personality that your followers can interact with.
  • Boosts your customer support service by addressing complaints and issues right away.
  • Helps establish long-term and sustainable relationships with your followers and customers because engagement done at the personal level makes them feel important and a crucial part of your value chain. 

There are different ways you can engage with your followers and find out which topics interest them.

  • Post the question on your page, “What do you guys want to read about? Please let us know.” A post as simple and direct as that will get your comment section active.
  • Review the comments section and respond to as many followers as possible. Take note of which articles or posts generated the highest levels of engagement and what most of the questions and inquiries were about.
  • Create a survey. This is a more formal approach compared to just simply posting a question on your page. You can create a survey and present it with a link to a Google Sheet file or as a link to a form on your website. 

Always mention the purpose of the survey. Add a CTA to encourage more followers to participate. 

5. Consult Your Analytics

If you’ve been posting content but aren’t getting the desired results, the clues to why your strategy has been underperforming can be found in your social media and website analytics. 

  • Find out which types of content have the highest levels of engagement.
  • Find out the types of content that have the lowest levels of engagement.
  • Find out which pages have the lowest bounce rate.
  • Create an Audience Profile by identifying the demographics of your followers.
  • Check which social media posts resulted in website visits.

Analytics gives you a guide on how to approach content creation. You’ll have an idea of the topics that appear to interest your audience the most. It doesn’t mean that you’ll focus on those types of topics but at the very least, you’ll have an idea of where to start. 

6. Check Your Competitors

Your competitors are also a good source of high-ranking topics for your content. For sure, they’ve done their research on which topics to write about. Visit their social media pages and review the types of content that have been posted.

  • What topics are covered by their posts?
  • What are their videos about?
  • What is the length of the top-performing blogs?
  • Which topics are generating the highest level of engagement?
  • How are the followers commenting?
  • How does your competitor respond to the comments? 
  • What social media platforms are your competitors using?

If you have a SEMRush account, you can extract the keywords your competitors used to create their content. 

Don’t just review one competitor. Try to visit the social media pages and websites of your top 5 competitors to get a more comprehensive view of the topics they’re writing about. 

Conclusion

When we create content for our clients, our team does the following types of research:

  • Topic Research
  • Keyword Research
  • Title Research
  • Market/Industry Research

All of these types of research contribute to creating high-quality content for your audience. Chances are your competitors are conducting topic research. The attention shifts to which one can deliver content with the highest quality. As long as you cover all the bases, you’ll be able to achieve your marketing goals.

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues. And if you’re interested, we can create content for you. By delegating content creation to Mountaintop Web Design, you can spend more time managing the core functions of your business. 

Leave content creation to us! Let’s book time to talk and we’ll get you started right away.

WebsiteStandOut

If you want your content to be king, you have to do keyword research, otherwise, it might end up as a pauper on the Internet. Unless your content includes the right keywords, it won’t matter if you got Christianne Amanpour to write your business blog, no one will read it because the search engines won’t be able to find it. 

In this article, we’ll teach you how to do keyword research on your own without having to spend a cent. Learning how to search for keywords is worth your time because the effort will yield dividends for your SEO strategy,

What Is Keyword Research?

“Keyword research for free”

“How to do keyword research for free”

“Free keyword research delivers best results”

These are examples of keywords – search terms, words, and phrases that you might have used to find our article. 

When you type in these words on the query box and click “enter” to launch the search, the search engine’s web crawlers come out and look for content that contains these keywords. 

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process of optimizing content or making it searchable on the Internet and keywords are the foundation of an SEO strategy. 

During their search, the web crawlers are evaluating content for factors such as types of keywords used, keyword density, and how they were embedded within the article. 

In under a second, the web crawlers will retrieve several web pages that summarize URLs that contain these keywords. 

Whether you’re the user or the web page writer, what you care about is the results on the first page. That’s the page that draws 88% of Internet traffic for searches on those keywords. More importantly, the top 3 URLs account for 55.2% of all clicks with the number 1 position garnering a whopping 28.5% of the traffic. 

How did these articles land on the first page? The answer is keyword research. 

To be clear, keyword research won’t be enough to land you in the top 3, more so the number 1 position on the SERP. There’s a lot more work to be done to beat the rest of the competition for the top 3 slots. 

However, to get to the first page, doing keyword research can help your content land in the top 10. 

After our roundabout explanation on how keywords work, we can define keyword research as:

The process of finding the most searched keywords that are relevant to a topic and analyzing how the data can be used to create optimized content and achieve business and marketing goals.

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

As you read, keyword research is important because having the right keywords in your content will help it get found by the search engines’ web crawlers. 

For this article, the original working title was: 

“How To Do Keyword Research That Delivers Results But Won’t Cost A Cent”.

After we did the preliminary keyword research, we changed the working title to the current one:

“How To Do Free Keyword Research For SEO That Delivers Results For Your Business”.

Why? Because our keyword research yielded the following results:

  • SEO – 100k to 1M monthly searches
  • Free – 100k to 1M monthly searches
  • Business – 100k to 1M monthly searches
  • Keyword research – 1k to 10k monthly searches
  • Free keyword tool – 1k to 10k monthly searches

We set Google Keyword Planner to target the population of the United States of America. The results showed that a lot of Americans are interested in learning about SEO and are searching for content about business. Also, many look for free stuff – and why not?

Although the number of monthly searches for “keyword research” and “free keyword tool” was underwhelming, we still wanted to write this article for you – our readers. 

The low number of monthly searches tells us that Americans prefer to outsource keyword research or might feel intimidated by the thought of learning it. 

We revised the title to include the high volume keywords “SEO”, “free”, and “business” to give the low search volume keywords “keyword research” a boost. 

This way, we can get discovered for search results on “SEO for business”, “free SEO for business”, and similar variations. A person who sees “keyword research” might just think:

“Free keyword research that delivers results for my business? I’m in!”

Another thing you should know about keyword research is that it gives you a snapshot of human behavior – how Internet users think, what they’re interested in, and what their concerns are. 

One of the keyword research tools discussed here is Google Trends. It has been used to correctly predict the winner of the US presidential elections since 2004. 

That’s how powerful of a tool keyword research is for your SEO strategy. It can fine-tune it to a point that your targeting efforts will become laser-sharp. Your content will land on the screens of those with the highest probability of patronizing your business. 

Step 1: Top 5 Free Keyword Research Tools You Can Use

The most common reason why entrepreneurs prefer to outsource keyword research is that the monthly subscription to some of these keyword research tools can be quite expensive. 

Yes, these services have a “Free” option but the main features are watered down so that you’ll be compelled to pay a monthly subscription to get more value from your efforts. 

The free keyword research tools on this list have some of their most useful features intact. If you don’t want to outsource keyword research, you can effectively optimize your content with the use of these tools. 

1. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a good keyword research tool to start out with if you’re a beginner. It has a user-friendly interface, a good number of valuable features, and all you need to get access is a Gmail account. 

The first thing you do is to set the geographic coverage of the search. Then, type in keywords in the search query box. 

Don’t worry about entering the wrong keywords. Google Keyword Planner will refine your search. Pretend you’re looking for information about a topic you’re interested in and type in the keywords you would use to launch the search.

Within seconds, Google Keyword Planner will retrieve a spreadsheet detailing the monthly search volume of the keywords you entered plus the level of competition and other popularly used keywords.

Google Keyword Planner will also give you a list of suggested keywords. Add the ones that interest you and run another search.

2. Google Search Console

If you have a website, Google Search Console should be included in your keyword research toolbox. 

Google Search Console will give you suggestions on how to improve existing content by providing you with data about what your target audience is searching for and the keywords they use to land on your site. 

You’ll get data on the number of impressions, click-through rates, and click volume. 

For example, you wrote a blog “How to Lose Weight Days”. Google Search Console might retrieve the following keywords people used to find your content:

  • Lose weight no diet
  • Weight loss no cardio
  • Lose weight fast 10 days
  • Safe weight loss fast

Let’s assume that “lose weight no diet” came out on top of the list or ranked #1, then you should write an article about losing weight without having to go on a diet. 

The title could be:

“Lose Weight Fast In 10 Days – No Diet!”

Integrate the keywords “lose weight”, “lose weight fast”, and “no diet” as well as other high-ranking ones from the list into your new blog.

3. Google Trends

We don’t recommend using Google Trends to win a bet for the next US President.

However, it’s an excellent free keyword tool for identifying recent keywords that haven’t been around long enough to generate a high volume of searches but trends show they might be ones to watch out for in the future. 

Google Trends will also help you qualify keywords that have a high number of monthly searches and see if these are worth using.

For example, if “lose weight no diet” generated 100k searches per month but Google Trends’ charts show the interest in the topic is waning, it might not be worth using the keywords in your content. 

The same thing can be applied to low ranking, low search volume keywords. If Google Trends’ charts show there’s potential for those keywords to grow in popularity over the next few months, go ahead and add them to your content.

4. SEMRush

SEMRush is an excellent tool for extracting the specific keywords used by the top-ranking web pages. 

All you have to do is to type in the URL that’s in the #1 position of the SERP in the query box of SEMRush. Then, click “Enter”. 

SEMRush will go to work and within a few seconds, you’ll be presented with a spreadsheet of keywords extracted from the URL. You can see the monthly volume of searches of the keywords your competitors are using. 

Our only complaint with the free version of SEMRush is that it will only extract 10 keywords from the URL.  As we will explain later, SEMRush is the perfect partner for Google Keyword Planner. These 2 keyword research tools can become your 1-2 SEO punch.

5. KeywordTool.io

It can be a challenge trying to figure out what keywords to search for, especially long-tail keywords. 

Long-tail keywords are phrases that Internet users type into the query box to come up with more specific searches. For example, if you’re looking for Italian food, instead of typing “italian food”, you might enter the following long-tail keywords:

  • Italian food restaurant near me
  • Best italian food pasta
  • Healthy italian food gluten free
  • Low fat italian food near me

KeywordTool.io uses Google Autocomplete to generate the long-tail keywords used to search for information via Google, Yahoo, Bing, and social media sites such as YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, plus e-Commerce platforms like Amazon and eBay.

The free version of KeywordTool.io will only generate 5 long-tail keywords but it will provide you with hundreds of suggestions related to your search.

Step 2: Run A Google Search

Now that you have a spreadsheet of the high-volume keywords, the next step is to run a Google search.

Simply type in the keyword in the query box and launch a search. Google will present you with the top URLs that use that particular keyword. 

Click the URL of the web page in the #1 position. Read it and take note of how the keyword was used as well as identify other words and phrases that were frequently repeated in the article. Repeat the process up to the URL in the 3rd or 5th position in the SERP. 

You’ll have a good idea of:

  • The topics your target audience are looking for.
  • The high-ranking topics your competitors are writing about.
  • The tone used to write the article.
  • Other keywords and how they were used in the article. 

You can use Google Keyword Planner to find high-volume keywords for your Google search query. Then use SEMRush to extract the specific keywords used by your competitors in their respective articles. 

Using both Google Keyword Planner and SEMRush will give you a sharper and more focused approach to extracting the best keywords for your SEO strategy. 

Again, the free version of SEMRush will give you only 10 keywords. If you’re committed to a long-term content marketing process for SEO, we suggest that you outsource content optimization to a third party.

Usually, third-party content creators have a monthly subscription to SEMRush and other keyword research tools. Oftentimes, the cost of the subscription is factored into their rates. It becomes affordable because the cost is distributed to the other clients.

Conclusion

Keyword Research takes time and patience to do. It can also be tricky! 

For example, when you’re using a long-tail keyword, it must be written as-is. Otherwise, the search crawl bot might not find it. 

How can you use a long-tail keyword such as “lose weight free no diet” in a sentence without getting flagged for wrong grammar? There are tactics you can use to get around this – but that will be the subject of another blog! 

Or why not outsource content writing to Mountaintop Web Design and let us do the keyword research and create your optimized blogs? You can spend more time managing the day-to-day functions of your business while we write content for you. 

If interested give us a call or drop us an email and let’s get started!

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

WebsiteStandOut

One reason why email marketing generates high ROI is that it gets your content directly in the inbox of your target audience. The newsletter is the primary type of content for an email marketing campaign. 

There’s a high probability of your newsletter getting read because its recipient voluntarily signed up for a subscription. Thus, to ensure the success of your email marketing campaign, you must get more people to subscribe to your newsletter. 

While other online entrepreneurs are staring blankly at their computer screens wondering how to bump up their number of subscribers, we’re here to give you 9 proven ways to get your newsletters to more inboxes. 

9 Winning Ways To Get More Newsletter Subscribers

To be clear, we don’t want you to build just a list. We want you to build a list of subscribers who are genuinely interested in your products and have the highest probability of becoming paying customers. 

Your efforts might have resulted in a massive number of subscribers – but if they don’t convert into sales, what then is the value of that list?

Our 9 tips below will help you build a list of newsletter subscribers who look forward to your content and are ready to buy your products or services. 

1. Make Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse

People are checking their emails multiple times a day. The inbox can be crammed with so many emails that they spend time filtering it of useless information. 

If you’re going to convince someone to give up his email, you have to make it worth his time and come up with an offer he can’t refuse. 

Here are a few examples of offers that will turn you into “The Godfather of Subscriptions”:

  • Offer generous discounts
  • Giveaway free stuff
  • Give free consultation sessions
  • Provide limited-time-only access to premium services or content
  • Inform site visitors of special subscriber-only benefits 
  • Create special one-time offers for first-time subscribers
  • Unlock gated content

Remember, you can’t make money without spending money. 

Sometimes you’ll have to give up assets such as e-books, modules, consultation time, or compromise profit margins in the case of product discounts and freebies to get something valuable from your audience. 

2. Keep the Signup Process As Simple As Possible

If you want to ask for a site visitor’s email address, then just ask for his email address. 

Simple as that. 

Don’t make your guest jump through hoops after he’s expressed interest in giving you his email address. Don’t ask for his full name, last name, middle initial, phone number, residence, and especially birth date. 

Just require the site visitor to enter his email address in your newsletter subscription box. 

Also, the signup box must be highly visible. Here are our recommended locations for a signup box on a webpage:

  • At the conclusion of a post
  • Top of the sidebar
  • Footer
  • Top header

If you’re employing buttons as part of the design, choose brighter colors or variations of hues. To be sure, run a beta test on the location of the signup button and its color.

3. Ask Your Subscribers for Help

There’s no harm in asking for help – even from your subscribers. Include a request in your newsletter for the subscriber to forward your content to other people in their contacts list. 

Keep it short and sweet; don’t demand anything. Remember, you’re asking for their help. 

You might also want to consider incentivizing your subscriber with giveaways, special discounts, and referral points for every successful signup.

For example:

“Thank you for being a part of my community! If you enjoyed my content so far, please feel free to spread the word to your friends and family. All you have to do is to share this email with them.

“As my way of saying ‘thanks’, I’ll give you 50% off your next purchase. Just type in the code below.”

The worst-case scenario is that they won’t do anything. The best-case scenario is that they’ll help you get more signups to grow your business.

4. Personalize Your Subscriptions

As we mentioned earlier, people check their emails multiple times a day. Just because they do, it doesn’t mean that they enjoy doing it. Sometimes email notifications can be bothersome.

When offering newsletter subscriptions, give the subscriber a measure of control by presenting personalized options:

  • Standard Subscription – 4 newsletters per week
  • Light Subscription – 1 newsletter per week
  • Extra-Light Subscription – 1 newsletter per month

Trust us when we say that the subscriber will appreciate you for giving him these options. It shows that you understand how he values his time and that you wouldn’t want him to be inconvenienced by more emails. 

Another benefit of these personalized subscription packages is that the risk of recipients unsubscribing to your newsletter will be much lower.

5. Write Amazing Content – Consistently

It won’t matter if our tips help you generate a thousand more subscribers if your content isn’t consistently good. 

People will unsubscribe if they find your content not useful, uninformative, uninteresting, and poorly written. It will be seen as a nuisance instead of having value.

This is why it’s important to segment your email list. Don’t write and send the same newsletters to everyone because your subscribers don’t have the same interests or concerns. 

The challenge of writing consistently amazing content is that it requires a lot of time. A newsletter is a short piece of content that only averages around 300 words. But it still needs to be properly researched, written, and formatted for your subscribers. 

Even if you’re a good writer, a better option would be to outsource content writing to a third party. 

We do content writing for our clients and they’ve found that this decision allowed them to be more productive with their time. They can work on the day-to-day needs of their business while being assured of quality content every time. 
You can check out our blogs here. We can also create ebooks, product reviews, guide books, web page copy, marketing copy, and of course, newsletters.

6. Utilize Your Social Media Platforms

Checking their social media is a must-do in the daily agenda of over 4 billion people. If you have less than a thousand followers on your business page, don’t worry because as long as you stay active, your content will land on the screens of over a thousand people. 

You can find out how many people saw your content in the Audience Reach metric. If your Engagement metric is 10% of the total Audience Reach- you’re in a good spot!

This is why you should utilize social media as a platform to get more newsletter subscribers. You just have to do 3 things:

  • Add a Call-to-Action (CTA) that specifically instructs the reader to sign up for your newsletter. 
  • Include a link to a web page that has the signup link or to a specially-designed signup page. 
  • Write great content all the time. 

Here’s an example of a CTA for your newsletter subscription:

“We hope you enjoyed this article. To get more of our amazing content, click this link and subscribe to our newsletter.”

Think about it. 

If you have an Audience Reach of 5,000 with 10% Engagement, then you have a pool of 500 people who might be interested in signing up for your newsletter. A success rate of 2% still gives you 10 new subscribers on your email list. 

7. Add Newsletter Signup Pop-ups 

You might have come across websites whereby as you’re about to leave, a CTA pops up on the screen. These pop-ups are designed to keep you on the page longer and designed to elicit a desired emotion that compels you to take action. 

The pop-ups are sometimes called “Exit-Intent” pop-ups and they do work! 

Add a newsletter signup that pops up on the visitor’s screen as he’s about to leave. He might not be clicking out of your site but just switching to another tab. For example, maybe he wants to check his email or continue working on a project. 

The newsletter pop-up can be written with a humorous twist:

“Ouch! That’s page abandonment! Give us another chance. Here’s a free ebook if you sign up for our monthly newsletter.”

The design should be good as well. With a humorous copy, keep the design of the pop-up vibrant and cheerful. Use bright colors, animated characters, and dynamic font styles. 

8. Highlight Your Testimonials

Testimonials are powerful tools that can influence consumers’ decisions. Reach out to your long-time subscribers and ask them if they’re willing to give a testimonial about your newsletters. 

Again, don’t be afraid to ask. Running a successful business means maintaining good relationships with your customers. 

The worst thing that can happen is they say ‘No”.  You can mitigate the risk of rejection by throwing in a freebie or a discount in exchange for a testimonial. After all, you’re going to use the testimonials to generate a list that can potentially earn you more money. Consider the freebie or discount as a cost of producing sales.

You can post the testimonials on your homepage or you can create a post specifically about them and share it on your social media pages.

 9. Come Up With A Compelling CTA

A recurring message in this article is to not be afraid to ask your customers of site visitors for assistance. Let’s take that message a step further. 

Don’t be afraid to tell the site visitor or customer what to do next. 

Someone comes across your content. What do you want him to do next? You have no idea if he enjoyed your content or not. Take the chance that he did and tell him – no – instruct him to sign up for your newsletter. 

You might be pleasantly surprised that he’ll do as you commanded. Remember, readers want to be guided on your website. If he enjoyed the content, why would he decline? Signing up for a newsletter makes it easier for him to receive your content.

The key to coming up with a compelling CTA is to be straightforward and upfront about what you want the site visitor to do. For this reason, your CTA must be direct and forceful. 

If your CTA is weak and opens the possibility of the site visitor making another choice, then he won’t sign up. 

Conclusion

Believe it or not, these 9 tips are just a sampling of techniques and tactics that you can do to get more newsletter signups. 

We have other tricks up our sleeve and if you’re interested in finding out what these are, give us a call or drop us an email. Let’s schedule a quick 30-minute call and talk about your business and how we can help you get more high-quality leads. 

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your friends and family. Better yet, sign up for our newsletter!

WebsiteStandOut

The most basic definition of digital marketing is that it’s the process of promoting brands and businesses on the Internet through the use of various digital online channels, tools, and techniques. 

Thus, if you’re posting blogs on your website and sharing them with followers of your social media platforms, you’re practicing digital marketing. 

Does that mean then that everyone who can blog and has social media platforms is a digital marketer? 

In the literal sense – yes. But if you want to get hired by companies as a professional digital marketer or become one who can deliver the desired results, you must have the right skills for the job. 

To be good at a skill requires the proper education, training, patience, and of course, constant repetition through practical application.

This is most especially true in 2022.

How The 2020 Lockdown Changed Digital Marketing For 2022 – And Beyond

More and more economies have started to open up since the initial lockdown in 2020. 

Governments are encouraging businesses to require their employees to report back to the office and follow regular working hours. Schools are slowly opening their classrooms to students and resuming face-to-face instruction. 

These developments appear to be strong signs that the worst of the pandemic is behind us and we’re back to the old normal. 

However, the pandemic did more than just shut down economies. It created a seismic shift in our behavior. 

The lockdown gave people time to reflect on what their priorities are in life. It also initiated a purposeful move to explore opportunities on the Internet. 

Businesses began the process of migrating operations online. People who found themselves unemployed temporarily or whatnot crossed over to the Internet and joined the millions of self-employed freelancers, virtual assistants, and work-from-home professionals from around the world. 

For the past year, the news has been inundated with reports on “The Great Resignation” – employees resigning in record numbers for 2 reasons. 

One, the fear of getting COVID-19 continues to linger. And two, the realization that they can earn and save more as remote workers. Likewise, they get to spend more time with family. 

The shift in business modeling and career planning resulted in a greater demand for digital marketing because market opportunities are now on the Internet. 

Top 10 Digital Marketing Skills You Need In Your Toolbox In 2022

Writing blogs and posting them on your social media platforms won’t be enough because you’re competing with more online content now than ever before. To capitalize on these opportunities, you must have the right skills in your Digital Marketing toolbox. 

1. Search Engine Optimization

Every day, 7 billion people – or 89% of the world’s population – are searching for information on the Internet. And there are billions of content to choose from. How can you increase the chances of your content being found? 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a technique used to make your content more searchable on the Internet. You can compare learning optimization to learning a skill in Martial Arts. 

For example, a front kick would be applied differently in Karate compared to Tae Kwon Do. The technique and delivery are different because the intent is different. 

The use of keywords is one of the cornerstones of SEO but its application isn’t as cut and dry as using only the high-ranking keywords. Depending on your intent, you might have to consider other factors as well such as the level of competition and frequency of use. 

And the use of keywords is just one strategy in SEO. There are other strategies that can be used to enhance your visibility on the Internet – link building, technical SEO, internal linking – to name a few. 

The bottom line is that people are searching on the Internet today more than ever. Acquiring mad skills in SEO will help propel your digital marketing efforts past 2022 and beyond.

2. Video Marketing

Facebook launched “FB Live” and “FB Stories”, the same as Instagram which recently introduced “Reels”. Short-form video platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok have continued to grow in popularity. 

Then, of course, there’s YouTube where more than 4 million videos are streamed every day. 

Video marketing is a great way to build your business brand because the content is absorbed much faster than text. You process content with your eyes and ears. Collectively, the entire experience can trigger an emotional response that can result in the desired outcome. 

If your smartphone camera produces great quality video, you don’t have to invest in expensive equipment. All you need is a good storyboard to plan a video that shares your story with the audience.

3. Content Writing

Have you ever come across an article that came out on top of Google’s search ranking that featured writing so atrocious that it felt like chewing on a piece of ice when you have a toothache?

Learning SEO is one thing, writing amazing content is another. 

You still have to continually hone your writing skills by consistently producing content that’s:

  • Informative
  • Useful
  • Fresh or Unique
  • Accurate
  • Engaging

Content has to be well-researched. A blog needs at least one link to a reputable resource. It would be better to have your content link to multiple sources as long as these links are credible. 

What else do you need to keep in mind when writing great content?

  • Write for mobile devices. Look at how we created this blog post – short paragraphs, short sentences, and a lot of white spaces. Why? Structuring the blog this way makes it easier to read while scrolling on a smaller screen.
  • No errors in spelling and grammar. The ultimate deal-killer. Nothing kills your brand more than misspelled words and poor grammar. Review your content before publishing them. Don’t take chances. Run them under spelling/grammar checker software.
  • Add high-resolution images. Good-looking images will make the viewer stop and pay attention to your content – as long as they are relevant. 

So how do you become a better writer? Practice, practice, practice. Even when you don’t have anything to write – WRITE. 

4. Email Marketing

Email Marketing remains a Digital Marketing strategy that generates one of the highest ROI – US$42 per every US$1 spent. 

With email marketing, you need to use a reliable automated service such as Mailchimp or Hubspot to run your campaigns. However, you still need to develop the proper skills to ensure its success.

What skills are these?

  • Knowing how to segment your audience.
  • Creating an accurate buyer’s persona. 
  • Writing personalized emails and newsletters that specifically target the interests of your audience. 

We go back to the previous skill – Content Writing. It goes hand-in-hand with Email Marketing.

5. Social Media Marketing

Of the 7 billion people on the Internet on a daily basis, 4.62 billion of them, or 58.4% are on social media. 

Because of its sheer size and vast reach, social media marketing should be part of your digital marketing strategy. 

However, just because you post on Facebook every day, that doesn’t make you a skilled social media marketer. 

What are some of the things you need to know about social media marketing?

  • Each social media platform attracts a different audience and therefore, has a culture that caters to the needs and interests of the community.
  • Matters such as post length, time of posting, frequency of posting, and type of content must be considered.
  • You have to know which focus or interest groups you should join and how to behave once your application is accepted. 
  • Learn how to engage properly with your audience. This skill has to do with mindset. Not all comments or views expressed about your business will be positive. How you handle negative or unfavorable comments will determine the growth of your social media presence. 

You don’t have to sign up on every social media platform. Choose 2 platforms – maybe 3 at the most, to build your brand. The fewer the platforms, the easier it is to manage your social media strategy.

6. Knowledge and Interpretation of Analytics

The old saying in business is that “strategy follows numbers, not the other way around.”

The biggest advantage of digital marketing is that it gives you access to data about your campaigns. You’ll see how your posts are performing; if they’re driving traffic to your website and which ones are generating the highest levels of engagement. 

You’ll learn all about your audience – who are they? Where are they from? How did they get to my page? You’ll have enough data to build a reliable Buyer’s Persona. 

All of this data comprise analytics and they give you an empirical basis for devising strategies or improving the performance of current campaigns. But to get the most out of analytics, you must know how to analyze and interpret them. 

The good news is that it’s not hard to be proficient in reviewing analytics. You just need practice. 

What we do at Mountaintop is to guide our clients through their analytics. We prepare a report, take them through it point-per-point, and encourage feedback. Over time, our client becomes more comfortable in interpreting his data – analyzing the information is almost second nature. 

7. Automation Technology

Automation technology is getting more popular as businesses look for ways to streamline costs and maintain consistency in certain functions. 

Robots, A.I, and Machine Learning technologies don’t have to take days off or get sick. They just have to be regularly monitored and maintained. You can have processes such as chat support run 24/7 without blowing up your payroll. 

Complex industries such as Oil and Gas have slowly opened their processes to automation and capitalize on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT). 

You can have data transmitted from the source via smartphones, laptops, and tablets to secured, cloud-based databases in seconds and have the information available to key officers who can use these to make important decisions. 

Drones have made it possible to collect data from places where conditions could be hazardous and present threats to humans. 

Learning all about Automation Technologies will give you a better understanding of what innovations you need to fine-tune costs and improve business efficiency.

The next three items on our list are soft skills or the ideal behavioral attributes a digital marketer must possess to be successful in 2022. 

8. Project Management

A digital marketer doesn’t work alone. He needs a team of specialists behind him to handle the different aspects of the campaign. Typically, a digital marketing team is composed of the following professionals:

  • Web Designer/Developer
  • Content Writer
  • SEO Practitioner
  • Graphic Artist

The Digital Marketer is the Project Manager and is responsible for having the campaign meet its goals and deliver the desired outcomes. Project management is a skill that requires:

  • Business Acumen
  • Knowledge of Finance/Budget Management
  • Having an organized approach to work
  • Personnel Management 
  • Willingness to advance/update learning

As competition for views on the Internet becomes tighter in 2022, digital marketers must sharpen the skills needed for managing projects. 

9. Creative Thinking

With so much information available on the Internet, consumer tastes and preferences can change right away. Yesterday’s trends could become passe today. Analytics could get influenced by these changes and affect your current strategy. 

In addition, the uncertainties created by the post-lockdown shift have made the business landscape more volatile and unpredictable. Problems can arise that can throw a curveball to your business objectives. 

For digital marketers, critical thinking becomes an important skill to learn in 2022 given the abrupt changes in behavior. If data becomes ambiguous, you might have to resort to creative, out-of-the-box thinking to get you out of the bind. 

It’s possible that you have to test unique ideas for content that aren’t supported by data but by intuition. When innovation becomes limited, creative thinking allows you to draw from another source – inspiration. 

 10. Communication

Communication in digital marketing isn’t just about effectively collaborating with your team members. It’s essential to get the right message across to your target audience. 

Successful messaging is a key component of digital marketing. You identified your target audience. The focus now shifts to delivering the message they need – the content that provides the solutions and answers they have been searching for. 

To communicate effectively, you must be both an intent listener and an articulate speaker. Listen to your audience and objectively view their comments, opinions, and suggestions. 

Articulate your message carefully to make sure that it’s impactful and helpful. With consistency, you’ll be able to build trust and loyalty with your audience. 

Conclusion

It would be great if you had all of these top 10 skills available at your disposal. But it’s not realistic to become truly proficient in a skill until you’ve spent time learning the fundamentals and applying theories into practice. 

For example, it’s not realistic to expect to become an effective content writer whose blogs consistently drive inbound traffic to websites and whose web copy converts leads into sales. 

Sometimes it takes years to become a proficient content writer. 

Sure, you can put in the hours honing your craft but this could be time best spent in managing the day-to-day aspects of your business – the ones that add dollars and cents to your bank account.

Your best option is to outsource digital marketing to an experienced agency such as Mountaintop Web Design. 

Our proof can be found in the high-performing websites we’ve designed, developed, and managed for clients and on the content we’ve published on our website such as this one. 

UpCity has cited our blogs as the best in digital marketing.

Allow us to take the digital marketing workload out of your hands. Give us a call and we’ll schedule you for a quick 30-minute free consultation to find out what’s best for your business. 

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

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You’ve been blogging for months but the results have been underwhelming. There’s traffic to your website but you haven’t converted interest into sales. You’re frustrated because it takes 2-4 hours to write these blogs and you’re not generating income for your efforts. 

And that’s why you decided to click on our article. 

First off, you’re on the right track. Over the years, the numbers supporting the effectiveness of blogging in helping businesses achieve their goals have remained consistent. 

Second, you’re not alone. 70 million blogs are posted every month. 73% of Internet users spend part of their online time reading blogs. There are other content creators such as yourself who allocate 3.5 hours on a given day working on a blog they hope would deliver the desired results. 

Thus, your blog will be competing with other blogs for the attention of the Internet. Before you can think about writing a blog that rings the checkout counter, you have to think about writing a blog that triggers interest first. 

Top 10 Tips On Writing Blogs That Convert Interest Into Sales

In this article, we’ll teach you how to write a blog that attracts the attention of your target audience and triggers interest in your business that converts into sales on your website.

Before you get down to the business of writing a blog, find out who you’re writing it for.

1. Target Your Audience

Let’s assume you’re selling pesticide products, who will you direct your marketing strategies to? Are you going to run a shotgun approach and blast content to consumers who need pest control management?

That could be everyone but without a focused, targeted marketing approach, your efforts could end up hitting no one. The market for pest control products covers a wide demographic that includes households, businesses, and service providers.

To find out who your audience is, you need to conduct research.

Review your website and social media analytics. Identify and list down the key demographics based on data:

  • Predominant gender
  • Age group
  • Income bracket
  • Occupation
  • Designation 
  • Location
  • Most popular blog post
  • Most viewed topics
  • Blogs with the highest engagement levels
  • Blogs that generated the longest screen time
  • Blogs that compelled backlinks

From these pieces of information, you can have a better understanding of what your audience is interested in; what topics they’re looking for, their common concerns, and the types of blogs they prefer to read. 

2. Optimize Your Blogs

Now that you know who to target your content to, you have to make sure they can find them by optimizing your blogs.

Optimizing means making your blogs readily searchable and easy to find by the search bots. A simple optimization strategy is to embed your content with high-ranking keywords. 

Keywords are the most commonly-used words or phrases used by people when performing a search query. 

Therefore, before writing a blog, you must do keyword research. We’ll write an article on how to do keyword research but in the meantime, you can try out some of the best keyword research tools we recommended by clicking this link.

Once you have a spreadsheet of the best keywords for your topic, strategically place them on your blog by following these simple rules:

  • The main keyword must be found in the title.
  • The main keyword must be found within the first paragraph; preferably in the first sentence. 
  • The main keyword must appear in the body and the conclusion of the article.
  • The recommended keyword density is 2% of the total word count.
  • Choose 2 to 3 supporting keywords. 

3. Create Compelling Titles

Even if your target audience found your blog, it doesn’t mean they will click on it. A big reason why Internet users abandon the search before reading the blog is that the title isn’t compelling enough. 

Here are our suggestions on how to create blog titles that will entice your readers to click on your content:

  • The “How-To” Headline – “How to Cook Scrambled Eggs Without Frying”
  • The Listicle – “Top 10 Ways to Burn Body Fat – No Diet Required”
  • The Personal Experience – “How I Overcame My Fear of Failure”
  • The Learning Experience – “7 Skills I Learned Living With a Remote Tribe”
  • The Question Title – “What Do Smart People Eat for Breakfast?”
  • The Negative Title – “Common Mistakes When Choosing Business Partners”

Keyword research will help you pinpoint the topics and titles that your audience is popularly searching for.




4. The Opening Paragraph Must Hook the Reader

If your blog title successfully compelled the reader to click your URL, the opening paragraph must capture him hook, line, and sinker. 

Studies have shown that a person only spends 27 seconds reading a blog. Of the 27 seconds, the first 15 seconds lets him know if the content is interesting enough to continue reading. 

So how do you write an opening paragraph that hooks the reader? Check out our tried and tested tips below:

  • State their problem – “Are you getting frustrated trying all of these popular diet programs that don’t deliver results?”
  • Discuss their situation – “You’ve been blogging for months but the results have been underwhelming.” Our introductory paragraph!
  • Explain why they should read your blog – “If you’re having a hard time getting funding for your business – stick around! We’ll show you 5 easy ways to secure much-needed capital without having to deal with banks.”

Keep your opening paragraph short. The general rule is to use no more than 100 words for your opening paragraph. Again, make sure the main keyword is in there. 

5. Write for Mobile Devices

More than 50% of online traffic comes from mobile devices, particularly smartphones. For this reason, when you write blogs, make sure they’re easily viewed on smaller screens. 

If you’re reading this blog from a smartphone, you’ll notice the following characteristics:

  • The paragraphs are short; usually 2-3 sentences per paragraph. 
  • The sentences are short; around 20-25 words per sentence.
  • There are many white spaces on the blog. 
  • We use headers to categorize each discussion point. 

We formatted the blog this way to make it more scrollable on smartphones. Can you imagine if all of the paragraphs were tightly bunched together? Or if a paragraph has more than 5 sentences that average 40 words each? 

The web page would look crowded; the letters packed tightly and might make the blog harder to read. The white spaces open up the web page and add breaks or pauses between paragraphs. 

Headers define the discussion point for the next section and help organize the content in your blog. 

You can look at some of the most popular blogs on the Internet such as from Neil Patel or Copyblogger. They feature short paragraphs, have a lot of open spaces, and use headers. Not only are the blogs informative but they’re an easy read.

6. Add Internal Links

Adding an internal link is an SEO technique where you hyperlink a word or phrase to another reference page on your website. 

We did this in #2 “Optimize Your Blogs” when we attached a link to a blog we wrote about the best keyword research tools on the Internet.

This is an effective technique to get readers to explore your website content further. You create an opportunity for visitors to read your other blogs and hopefully consider you as a valuable resource. 

Make sure to update the information on your blogs. They have to be current in order to be useful to readers. If you’re still linking to data from 5 years ago, there could be new information by now.

7. Come Up With a Definitive CTA

The reader loves your content and is convinced that you’re the real deal. What do you want him to do next? This is your chance to get him on board as a customer, follower, or subscriber. 

A Call-to-Action or CTA is a command that you give the reader. Having a powerful CTA is crucial in converting interest into sales. The biggest mistake a blogger makes when creating CTAs is coming up with a weak one; a CTA that comes across as indecisive and without enthusiasm. 

In our blogs, we usually end it with an encouraging invitation:

“Give us a call or drop us an email. We’ll give you a free 30-minute consultation and get your digital marketing campaign off and running.”

This is what a weak CTA reads like:

“If you’d like, give us a call or perhaps drop an email. Let’s chat and figure out how to set up your digital marketing campaign.” 

When writing a CTA, think of grabbing the reader by his shirt collar and telling him to act NOW. A reader who’s quite impressed with your blog won’t hesitate to do as you’ve asked. 

A CTA doesn’t have to be situated at the blog. In fact, we recommend that you put a CTA in the middle of your content. To learn how to write an effective CTA, click on this link NOW.

8. Incorporate Exit Campaigns

Have you ever come across a blog that you scrolled for a few seconds and as you’re about to click out or go to another window, a pop-up like this shows up on your screen?

“Ouch That’s abandonment! Why not stick around and avail of a 50% discount on your first month’s subscription? Just give us your email address and click ‘I Accept’”

Exit campaigns are a great way to connect with your site visitors. A well-written pop-up can trigger emotions that might compel the visitor to consider your offer. 

We recommend exit campaigns for e-Commerce sites. For example, if a shopper abandons his cart at the checkout counter, we’ll have a built-in feature that automatically transmits an email to him. The email could read like this:

“Hi! We noticed that you left some items on your cart. How can we help you with your purchase? Perhaps a 10% discount can convince you to give us another try. Just click on this link and we’ll take care of the rest.”

We’ll complement the email with a nice image that’s relevant to the message. Cart abandonment emails have a high conversion rate of 18.64%.

9. Run Activity Notifications Round-the-Clock

You might have been exploring an e-Commerce site and noticed pop-ups appear every few seconds. These pop-ups read:

“Paul from Archuleta just purchased a pair of ski boots.”

“Sandra from El Paso recently bought a 1-liter insulated water bottle.”

“Andy from Kiowa just purchased a pair of long-range binoculars.”

These are round-the-clock notifications that present social proof of people actually purchasing products from the website. As short snippets of information, people can quickly read them and get enticed to buy on the spot.

You can also run round-the-clock activity notifications to get website visitors to sign up for your newsletter or to avail of special promotions. 

 10. Minimize Sales-y Content

The most effective blogs are the ones that provide useful information the readers can use to solve problems. 

If your business sells a product or service that provides the solution, pitching a sale into the blog once in a while isn’t bad. But posting content that frequently pushes a sale will put off the reader. 

A study conducted by Kentico Software showed that incorporating a blog with a sales pitch can diminish the credibility of the brand by 29%. 

Creating blogs with sales-y content might compromise audience loyalty. Instead of viewing your blogs as information that provides useful content, they’ll see them as generic marketing copy that serves only your interest and not theirs. 

Conclusion

The numbers about blogging have remained consistent over the last decade: It works. 

Blogging delivers results but you need to do it properly. As you’ve just read, there’s more to blogging than just turning ideas into content. There’s a process involved and strategies to consider in order to maximize the benefits of blogging. 

Follow the 10 tips we discussed in this article and create blogs that will help convert interest into sales. 

To save time, you can outsource blogging to our team of content writers. We have experience in content optimization and keyword research. Give us a call and let’s schedule a 30-minute consultation free of charge. 

And if you enjoyed this blog, feel free to share it with your community.

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Consumers regard social media platforms as valuable sources of information for making educated buying decisions. A study by GlobalWebIndex revealed that 71% of consumers’ decisions on buying a product or not are influenced by what they read on social media. Likewise, 54% of consumers use social media to conduct research on products and services. 

The data doesn’t suggest that investing time and resources in a social media marketing strategy is a guaranteed home run. Choosing the social media network for your business isn’t a game of darts whereby regardless of how and where you throw, you’ll hit the bullseye. 

Consumer Demographics – What Are They And Why They Are important

The keyword in social media is “Social”. These networks cater to communities composed of people with similar interests, tastes, preferences, and behavioral attributes. They gravitate towards a particular social network based on how the platform is built up and promoted. 

Therefore, these communities don’t function in the same way. The behaviors and practices are influenced by the consumer demographics that are predominant in the community. 

Consumer demographics are the characteristics and qualities of the people that comprise the followers or audience. Demographics can be categorized and organized into the following:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Income Level
  • Education Level
  • Employment Status
  • Career
  • Location
  • Marital Status
  • Number of Children
  • Hobbies and Interests

Why is it important to learn what your consumer demographics are? 

There are 4 reasons why you need to invest time and resources into uncovering the characteristics of your consumers.

  1. Create an Accurate Buyer’s Profile
  2. Efficient and Precise Customer Segmentation
  3. Initiate Personalized Customer Interactions or Engagements
  4. Keep Track of Changing Behaviors and Consumption Patterns

When you have an accurate Buyer’s Profile, you’ll have a better understanding of who your customers are. Segmenting your customers into categories will enable you to come up with a more efficient email marketing strategy. 

Of course, knowing who your customers are will help you develop a deeper, more personalized relationship with them and validate perceived changes in behaviors and consumption patterns. 

Collectively, by identifying consumer demographics, you’ll be able to efficiently manage your marketing budget and allocate more resources to strategies that deliver the desired results. 

You’ll know which social media platforms to use, the types of content to post, and how to interact with your audience in order to achieve your marketing goals. 

The Top Social Media Platforms And Their Consumer Demographics

Did you ever wonder why the “Gym Fails” video that generated hundreds of likes and shares on Facebook came and went on LinkedIn with hardly a whimper? You might have even gotten negative comments from community members from the fitness industry. 

The result will be the same if you post business content with heavy industry jargon and statistics on Facebook. You might not get negative comments but the majority of people in your community will scroll past them. 

The reason is that Facebook and LinkedIn cater to different consumer demographics and agendas. 

People who log into Facebook are leaning towards the social aspect of the platform. They want to see what their friends and family are up to; what the latest developments are in their lives, how they’re feeling, and what they have planned for the rest of the day. 

In contrast, people who log into LinkedIn are looking for opportunities to further their careers or businesses. They might network for new contacts, engage with specific people in their community to offer business proposals or post content that’s crafted to enhance their value proposition to potential employers.

Can you use Facebook for business and LinkedIn for socializing? Yes, but the approaches will be different. And this is why it’s important to uncover and understand the demographics of the consumers in the top social media platforms.

Let’s begin with the biggest and most popular social media platform on the Internet.

Facebook

Facebook Key Demographics:

  • Number of Monthly Active Users – 2.74 Billion
  • Percentage of users over the age of 12 – 63%
  • Number of users aged 13 to 17 – 109 million
  • Largest age demographic – 24 to 35 years old (26.3%)
  • Distribution of users by gender – Male (56%), Female (44%)
  • Fastest growing age demographic – 55 years and older; 46% of those aged 65 and older prefer Facebook
  • Percentage of global audience, Europe – 40%
  • Percentage of global audience, Asia – 39%
  • Percentage of English-speaking users – 56%
  • Percentage of mobile-only users – 79%
  • Time of day preferred by users – 12:00 pm

What do Facebook’s consumer demographics mean?

Despite all of the bad press and the deluge of criticisms from multiple fronts, Facebook remains a crucial component of your social media marketing strategy because of its voluminous number of users in the United States and around the world. 

Reports of Facebook’s deletion in the smartphones of teenagers were grossly exaggerated. Facebook with 109 million users aged 13 to 17 has maintained its superiority in this demographic over Tiktok (78.7 million), Snapchat (71 million), and Instagram (56 million). 

The predominantly young age demographic of Facebook makes it the ideal social media network to market and promote mobile devices, video games, consoles, exercise equipment, snacks, shoes, and fashion apparel.

Facebook is an excellent social media platform for businesses that sell products targeted toward boomers such as vitamins, health supplements, books, skincare products, appliances, household goods, wine, and pricey food items like cheese.

Because of its massive global reach, if your business wants to offer your products and services to other countries, Facebook is the social media platform for you. 

The fastest-growing countries for Facebook users are the Philippines, India, and Indonesia. 

If your business is looking to outsource services in order to lower costs, you can shift your recruiting activities to these countries to get qualified talent. The Philippines and India are in the Top 5 list of best countries for outsourcing.

Lastly, if you’re thinking about paid advertising, include Facebook as one of your channels. 

The social media network’s ad revenues were higher by 22% in 2020 which is proof that marketers greatly valued the site’s large number of users during the time of the pandemic. 

Instagram

Instagram Key Demographics

  • Number of monthly active users: 1 Billion
  • Largest age group demographic: 25 to 33 years old (33.1%)
  • Age groups that log on multiple times per day: 18 to 24 years old (67%), 25 to 34 years old (60%), and 35 to 44 years old (49%).
  • Distribution of users by gender: Male (43%), Female (57%)
  • Percentage of users who follow brands: 90%
  • Potential audience reach of ads: 1.16 Billion
  • Number of users who tap on product tags per month: 90 Million
  • Percentage of people who use Instagram to follow an interest: 91%
  • Top 5 interests followed on Instagram: Travel (45%), Music (44%), and Food and Drink (43%).

What do Instagram’s consumer demographics mean?

Instagram has grown to become the second-largest social media platform after its owner, Facebook. It caters to a younger demographic – 18 to 34 years old – but has fallen behind Tiktok as the preferred social media platform of teens. 

However, there are reports that show 11% of Instagram users in the U.S belong to the 9 to 11 years old demographic which goes against the minimum age requirement set by the platform at 13 years old. 

More women use Instagram than men in the United States but not in its second-biggest market, India, where only 28% of women are on the network. An interesting study by We Are Social revealed that more than 50% of women in India aren’t aware of Instagram. 

Unlike Facebook, Instagram isn’t popular with boomers. Only 8% of users aged 65 and over are on Instagram. 

Instagram is a must-be-at social media platform for businesses in the food retail, travel, fashion, technology, fashion, and beauty industries. 

A big reason why these businesses can hit a home run on Instagram is that you can showcase your products and services via high-quality videos and images. Target your content toward the younger generation and it would be a good idea to sign up influencers to build your brand.

YouTube

YouTube Key Demographics:

  • Number of Monthly Active Users – 2 Billion
  • Largest age demographic – 15 to 25 years old (77%)
  • Second largest age demographic – 45 to 64 years old (70%)
  • Percentage of male Internet users that go to YouTube – 72%
  • Percentage of female Internet users that go to YouTube – 72%
  • Total number of hours of video content viewed daily – 1 Billion hours
  • YouTube rank as the preferred channel for sharing video content – 2nd; Facebook is #1.
  • Ad revenues generated by YouTube in 2021 – US$5.6 Billion.
  • Top 3 popular types of videos – Vlogs/Commentary, Product Reviews, and Tutorials.
  • Most streamed topics – Gaming, exercise, and learning new skills such as cooking and home repair.

What do YouTube’s consumer demographics mean?

YouTube was acquired by Google in 2006. These are 2 of the largest search engines on the Internet. Posting content on YouTube will guarantee you a wide audience reach. 

As you can see from the age and gender demographics, everyone loves YouTube. Your baby brother to your Grandpa will surely go to YouTube if they’re on the Internet. 

Many entrepreneurs, influencers, and celebrities were discovered on YouTube. The popularity of video-based content has leveled the playing field such that you don’t have to be a big brand to be successful on YouTube. 

You just need to create and post high-quality, engaging, and compelling content on a consistent basis. 

Here are a few good examples of video content ideas:

  • Restaurant/Food Business – Recipes; how to prepare/cook special dishes.
  • Travel – Top 10 best destinations for summer vacation.
  • Music – Tutorials on how to play popular songs in your genre.
  • Business – How to find clients.
  • Fitness – Exercise guides or workout tips. 
  • Fashion and Makeup – Tips on accessorizing

The ad revenues of YouTube continue to grow. This is one of the best social media platforms to run your PPC or Pay-Per-Click campaigns. 

What’s important in YouTube is to identify your audience and produce content that targets their interests. Your content must be useful and offer great value for your viewers.  

Tiktok

Tiktok Key Demographics

  • Number of monthly active users: 100 Million
  • Largest age group demographic: 18 to 24 years old
  • Distribution of users per gender: Male (41%), Female (59%)
  • Average time spent on Tiktok per month: 21.5 hours
  • Number of countries that allow Tiktok: 200
  • Percentage of Americans that know Tiktok: 89%
  • Most popular type of content on Tiktok: Fun and entertaining
  • Most viewed type of videos: Music
  • Percentage of Generation X’ers on TikTok: 25%
  • Percentage of Boomers on Tiktok: 4.1%

What do Tiktok’s consumer demographics mean?

Tiktok continues to defy its critics. The social media platform’s growth to 100 Million monthly active users is proof that it will continue to be a top destination choice on the Internet. 

Its market primarily caters to the younger generation or those aged 18 to 34 years old accounting for 52.6% of its users. Likewise, there are significantly more females on Tiktok than males. Not surprisingly, Tiktok isn’t patronized by the older generation.

Because Tiktok isn’t widely received abroad, particularly in Asia where it’s banned in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Armenia, and Indonesia, marketing your products and services to international markets through this platform might not be a feasible option. 

Who is Tiktok for?

If your business offers products and services that cater to a younger generation, promote them on Tiktok. Among the most popularly viewed products on Tiktok are cosmetics, home care items, makeup organizers, sleep masks, hairdryers, facial cleansing products, travel mugs, and coffee mugs. 

Use short videos that run under 30 seconds. It’s very important to get the message across during the first 6 seconds of the video and to capitalize on emotional triggers. This means creating scripts that viewers can relate to or touch an emotional chord. 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn Key Demographics

  • Number of LinkedIn users worldwide: 738 Million
  • Number of monthly active users: 310 Million
  • Largest age group demographic: 46 to 55 years old
  • Distribution of users by gender: Male (51%), Female (49%)
  • Percentage of LinkedIn users outside the US: 74%
  • Percentage of users that access LinkedIn monthly: 63%
  • Number of companies that use LinkedIn: 30 Million+
  • The average annual income of LinkedIn users: US$75,000
  • Percentage of LinkedIn users that are part of upper management: 45%
  • Percentage of LinkedIn users with a college degree: 50%

In contrast to the previous social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok – LinkedIn caters to the older generation. 

As you’ve just read, almost half of the users of LinkedIn hold upper management positions. There are also 61 million users of LinkedIn who are senior-level decision-makers in big companies. These factors contribute to the high average annual income of LinkedIn users. 

LinkedIn is a social media platform that functions more as a networking site for people looking for opportunities to find jobs, clients for their business, end-users for their products or services, and strategic partnerships. 

This is a great platform for sharing your experience, knowledge, and expertise in the industry. LinkedIn has a built-in blogging platform that you can use to create content and share with your community.

Join interest groups and participate in discussions. Look for LinkedIn members who might be interested in hiring your services or exploring the possibility of a business engagement. 

Conclusion

How many social media platforms should you sign up for? It depends on your business goals and the availability of manpower. Tracking the progress of your social media marketing campaign is difficult if you have multiple channels to oversee. 

We recommend starting out with a maximum of 2 social media platforms. Get a feel of the network and run off a few campaigns. Assess the performance and evaluate the results from each platform. 

Choose the social media platform that best fits your buyer’s profile or audience persona. It’s better to have 1-2 social media platforms that deliver the desired results than have 5-6 channels that are constantly underperforming. 

If you need assistance in getting your social media marketing strategy off the ground, give us a call and we’ll get you started right away. 

And if you found this article informative, please go ahead and share it with your friends and family.

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The usual advice for starting a business is to identify a market with high consumer demand and provide a product or service for it. You might gain traction and generate sales for the first few months but eventually, sales start to wane and you find yourself struggling to stay afloat. 

Certainly, there are reasons behind the decline in sales. The clues lie with your end-users. Did they shift to another brand? Is there still market demand? Did my customers find something wrong with our product? 

These questions and more can be answered by keeping track of consumer behavior.

What Is Consumer Behavior?

Consumer behavior is the set of actions and decisions that a consumer follows before buying products or services for personal use. The process of comparing brands, patronizing one over others, and ultimately, buying an item is influenced by a pattern of behaviors. 

Long before the Internet became widely available and prior to the explosion of social media in the consciousness of the consumer, our buying decisions were predominantly influenced by paid ads, word of mouth, and celebrity endorsement. 

Now that 62% of the world’s population has access to the Internet and 57.6% of Internet users on social media on a daily basis, consumers have become more discerning about the brands they patronize. 

Companies can no longer get away with flashy ads with superstar endorsers and unverified claims of delivering excellent customer satisfaction and unrivaled results. 

Consumers have access to a Pandora’s box of information to learn everything about a product, service, and the company itself.  

These sources of information are available at a click of a mouse. Within seconds, a consumer can compare products, get detailed information about their components, find reviews, articles on their pros and cons, and opinions from other end-users. 

Why Is It Important To Keep Track Of Consumer Behavior?

Imagine this scenario.

Your customer sees an ad from your competitor on Facebook. He clicks on the ad and he lands on your competitor’s website. Immediately, he’s taken on a grand tour of the company’s products and services. 

As he’s browsing through a particular product, a pop-up appears offering a discount as a first-time customer PLUS a money-back guarantee if he’s not satisfied. The offer is hard to resist and your customer decides to make the purchase. 

That’s all your competitor needs to get your customer – one opportunity to try the company’s product. 

8 Ways To Track Consumer Behavior

A person who was once loyal to a brand can easily be swayed to jump ship and climb aboard another brand. Keeping track of consumer behavior is all about maintaining constant communication. 

If you’re not aware of how your customers are interacting online, your brand could be the sinking ship instead of the cruise liner that’s taking on new passengers. 

The good news is that you have access to the same sources of information as consumers AND there are tools at your disposal that you can use to keep track of consumer behavior. 

1. Review Your Website and Social Media Analytics

The first places you go to in order to uncover possible changes in the behavior of your customers are your website and social media pages. Retrieve their analytics and gain insights into how they’re behaving while on your website and social media platforms. 

  • Which pages are generating the most traffic?
  • Which blogs are getting more views and higher levels of engagement? 
  • What are the demographics of your audience?
  • Where are your followers located?
  • How do the majority of site visitors access your site and platforms?
  • What is the cart abandonment rate?
  • Which CTAs are performing the best? 
  • Which posts are getting the most likes, shares, and comments? 
  • Who among your community members is actively engaging with your posts?
  • What is your average response time to messages?
  • Are you consistently gaining followers? 
  • Are you growing your Audience Reach?

Analyze the changes in numbers. Take note of the pages and posts that are lagging behind. Identify the products that aren’t moving or are experiencing the highest rate of cart abandonment. 

Reach out to the most active community members and most frequent buyers and invite them to join a focus group. Get their ideas and suggestions on how to improve your products and services as well as their opinions on buying behavior and industry trends.

2. Perform Keyword Research

One of the most effective ways to track consumer behavior is to perform Keyword Research. When an Internet user launches a query, he enters search terms either as a word or phrase into the search box. 

These search terms are also called keywords which are words or phrases that define the parameters of the search. 

For example, if you want to search for a white cotton shirt you could enter the keywords “white cotton shirt for sale”. If you want to localize the search, you could add a geo keyword such as “white cotton shirt for sale denver co”. 

Performing keyword research will help you keep track of what consumers are searching for in your industry. 

To start out with, open an account with Google Keyword Planner. All you need to open an account is a Gmail account.

  • Type in 9 keywords in your industry. Don’t worry about the accuracy of the words or phrases you chose. Google Keyword Planner will smooth out the search terms for you.
  • Identify the regions where you want to focus the keyword research on. For example, if you’re targeting global sales from key markets, you can designate the search location for the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. 
  • Once you’ve confirmed the keywords, Google Keyword Planner will retrieve all the relevant keywords from the regions that you identified. 
  • Google Keyword Planner will suggest keywords. Replace the keywords with low search volumes with the ones suggested by Google Keyword Planner and run another search. 
  • Copy one of the high-ranking, high-volume keywords and paste them on a Google search box and run an inquiry. 
  • Repeat the process for at least 5 high-volume keywords.

The SERP will give you a list of URLs of topics related to the high-ranking keywords that consumers are actively searching for. Click on these URLs to learn more about the topics your customers are interested in.

3. Engage Your Followers on Social Media

Social media has become such a powerful tool for business development because the social aspect of the platform gives your enterprise a sense of humanness. The definition of business as a “living, breathing entity” has become truer with the inclusion of social media. 

Through the use of social media, your business has the means to engage with your followers and customers. Take full advantage of this avenue and learn more about consumer behavior.

  • Respond to Comments 

When your followers post comments on your website or social media, they just want to be heard. Your customers want to feel valued and appreciated as members of your value chain and not just as sources of income.

The same is true for those who post negative comments. Don’t feel antagonized. Instead, use it as an opportunity to win back a disgruntled customer. 

Tell the commenter that you will send him a Private Message (PM) to discuss his opinions further. 

  • Solicit Their Opinions  

Did you just launch your new chicken sandwich? Even if the sales numbers are good, don’t sit on your laurels and get complacent. Find out how you can make it better by soliciting the opinions of your audience. 

You can do this by simply posting an image of the chicken sandwich with a lead-in copy that says:

“Thank you! Sales have been awesome! But what do you REALLY think about our Chicken Sandwich? We ain’t chicken and we welcome ALL comments, opinions, and suggestions.” 

Another way is to keep track of the people who purchased your chicken sandwich and send them a personalized message. 

For example, at the checkout counter, ask the customer who has the chicken sandwich in tow to give his email address in exchange for a 20% discount on his next purchase. 

After 1 day, email your customer a survey form about his experience with your chicken sandwich.

  • Invite Them to Post Reviews 

Inviting your customers to post reviews on your website and social media pages do 2 good things for your business. 

One, it shows you’re so confident about the quality of your products and services that you’re fine with the idea of opening your business to criticism. Two, it tells your customers that their opinions matter. 

Of course, there’s a risk of the bad reviews overwhelming the good reviews. Understand that it’s not realistic to expect everyone to love your product. If this happens, inform your customers you’ve taken their opinions to heart and that you’ll improve the quality of your product. 

4. Conduct Tests and Publish the Results 

Do you remember 10 years ago when Domino’s Pizza CEO Patrick Doyle publicly lambasted their pizza and described it as having the same taste as cardboard?

CEO Doyle did the unthinkable after consumer taste tests proved the pizza chain’s customers had issues with the taste. Doyle promised his customers that the company was committed to improving the quality and taste of its pizzas. 

The gamble paid off. The customers rallied around Domino’s Pizza and followed up on the company’s promise of improving quality and taste. Within a few years, Domino’s found itself on top of the pizza food chain.

Customers are the best Quality Assurance officers. They won’t pull back their punches when you ask them their opinions because they want to have a better experience with your product. 

Once you publish the result of the test, there’s no backing out. It’s been made public and the market will hold you accountable for doing good on your commitment. 

5. Send Personalized Emails 

Check your CRM system and find out who among your customers hasn’t made a repeat purchase. Once you have a list of customers who haven’t bought from your store after the first purchase, send them a personalized email. 

Here’s an example:

“Hi Mr. Samuels, 

I hope things are going well with you. 

I decided to reach out and ask how your experience was at our store and if you’re satisfied with (Name of Product). If you have questions, concerns, or issues with (Name of Product), please feel free to let me know. 

We’re committed to giving you the best customer experience every time you shop at our store.

Your inputs are well appreciated!

Thank you.

Sincerely yours, “

Sending personalized emails will make your customer feel special and there’s a good chance that he’ll respond. 

Remember that regardless of how the customer responds, always view these interactions as opportunities to build strong relationships. For sure, you’ll get inputs that will help you develop a better understanding of how your customers feel or think about your products. 

6. Register Your Business In Online Search Directories

We recently wrote about the benefits of registering your business in online search directories. You can read the article by clicking on this link.

When your business is registered on an online search directory, your customers can leave reviews or comments about your products. Customers can also rate your service from 1 to 5 stars. 

Getting listed in a search directory is a great way of engaging with your customers. Whether you receive a 1-star rating or a 5-star rating, take the time to reach out to the customer who reviewed your business. 

You’ll find out what they like the best – and least – about your product or service. You’ll get valuable insights on how to make your product better and show potential customers that you’re constantly looking for ways to improve customer experience.

7. Conduct Competitor Analysis 

When business is sluggish, it’s easy to blame the economy. But what if your competitors have a different opinion? 

Maybe you’re correct in assuming the economy has something to do with your poor business numbers. But that means customers have become more discerning when it comes to making their buying decisions. 

If your business is tanking and your competitors are growing, find out why by conducting a competitor analysis.

  • Run a survey that tests your customers’ familiarity with competing brands. 
  • Check the websites and social media pages of your competitors and determine how their followers are interacting with the brand and how their products are received by their customers. 
  • Join community forums and ask their opinions about your products as well as your competitors’. 
  • Do a Google search on your main competitors; read product reviews and collect data on how customers rate their products. 
  • Buy a few of your competitors’ products; run tests on them and objectively analyze how your products stack up with theirs. 

Determine the strengths and weaknesses of your products against your competitors and assess if changes have to be made. 

8. Use QR Codes

Quick Response or QR codes are the scannable images that are presented on checkout counters, social media pages, and websites. These QR Codes are sometimes called barcodes and contain information about a product. 

During the pandemic, more businesses used QR codes at their checkout counters to maintain social distancing. 

To pay for the product, the customer will have to first download a digital wallet app that’s compatible with the QR code. The customer will use the built-in scanner to scan the QR code to facilitate the purchase of the product. 

QR Codes can also be designed to collect buying information such as the location of the customer, frequency of repeat purchases, and types of products purchased. 

You can also use the QR code to run special discounts and promotions. You’ll see how your customers respond to a variety of advertisements. 

Conclusion

If there’s a single valuable lesson we learned from the pandemic it is how one event can drastically change consumers’ purchasing habits

There was greater demand for e-Commerce, delivery services, the availability of customer support, and more detailed information about a  businesses’ products. Likewise, there was a palpable shift to buying items that were considered “necessities” such as health supplements, exercise equipment, and clothes. 

Businesses that didn’t take the time to see what their customers were up to during the pandemic wouldn’t know how to adjust their marketing and sales strategies and adapt to the changing consumer landscape. 

Stay on top of what your customers are doing by implementing our strategies for tracking consumer behavior. You can’t allow yourself to get complacent just because business is good. 

Things can change without warning. If you’re not prepared to implement the necessary courses of action when business starts to head south, your competitors may end up benefiting from your lack of foresight. 

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community. 

If you want to learn more about consumer behavior and how to track it accurately, give us a call or drop us an email. Let’s set a free 30-minute planning session on how we can get your business ready against uncertainty. 

WebsiteStandOut

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a process that continually evolves and gives businesses the ability to adapt to changes in consumer behavior, industry trends, and technological innovations. 

However, as SEO evolves so do the applications of its various techniques. For example, blogs perform better when the keyword density is low. But product guides and other sales-type content might deliver better results when the ratio of keywords to total word count is higher. 

Regardless of the application, here are 6 SEO techniques that have remained consistent in producing the desired outcome in a digital marketing strategy.

1. Run a Technical SEO Audit on Your Website

If you’re having guests over, you want to make sure every room in your home is clean and in order. You plan the menu and the entertainment ahead of time. By preparing for your event, you can be assured that your guests will leave your home happy. They’ll be sharing their experience with their other friends. 

It’s the same thing with your website. Before you launch your digital marketing strategy, you want to make sure that your website is ready to receive visitors. You want them to have a great experience they can share with their community. 

The first step to giving your digital marketing strategy a boost is to run a technical audit on your website. And we can do this for you. 

Here’s a shortlist of what our Technical SEO audit covers:

  • Website download speed
  • Improve website’s level of mobile responsiveness
  • Scan for crawl errors
  • Fix broken internal and external links
  • Removal of duplicate content
  • Optimized text and images

That was just a snippet of what we at Mountaintop Web Design can do for you. Once we’ve completed our audit, then we can proceed with implementing the improvements and necessary changes. 

By the time your digital marketing campaign hits full stride, your website will be ready to receive guests. We can assure you that they’ll be back and they might bring some friends with them.

2. Produce High-Quality Optimized Content

People search for content every day. Billions of websites try to comply by putting out millions of content on a daily basis. But not all content can be found or have value to the reader. 

It’s not enough to produce high-quality content. Likewise, it’s not enough to produce optimized content. You have to do both. 

Quality content is content that’s useful to the reader. It must provide the answers he’s looking for and the information must be correct and updated. Furthermore, the content must be presented properly – well organized, easy to read, and without errors in spelling and grammar. 

But to be found, it must be optimized with the right keywords and links that can make it searchable to the search engines. 

Here are 10 tips on how to make quality content that can be found on the Internet.

  • Find out what your audience wants to read about through surveys, social media engagement, and email newsletters.
  • Create a list of high-ranking keywords for the subject matter by using online tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, or Ubersuggest. 
  • Pick out the keywords that you plan to use for your content. The main keyword should appear in the title, the first sentence of the first paragraph, the body, and the conclusion of the article. 
  • Select 4-5 supporting or secondary keywords. Depending on the total word count, each secondary keyword should be used at least once. 
  • Use the main keyword for the title tag, meta tag, image tag, and description tag. 
  • Keep the sentences short – 20 to 25 words per sentence is ideal. 
  • Keep the paragraphs short – 3-4 sentences per paragraph is ideal. Shorter paragraphs create more white space on the page and make your content easier to read while scrolling. 
  • Start out with an outline of the topic. 
  • Be prepared to go through 3-4 drafts of the content before finalizing it. 
  • Pass your content through quality assurance software such as Copyscape (Uniqueness), Grammarly (Spelling and Grammar), and Readable (readability of your content). 

Take note that sometimes software makes mistakes. After going through the software, read your content again to be sure. 

Last but not least, write for your audience. Park your ego outside the office door. If you want to impress the reader, help him solve his problem. Don’t confuse him with technical jargon. 

Website.Protection.CustomersSafe

3. Stay Active On the Internet

Digital marketing allows you to reach a wider audience through the use of various Internet-based channels such as social media, online search directories, and industry-specific platforms. 

With all of these tools at your disposal, it would be a good idea to capitalize on the exposure they can give your business by staying active on the Internet.

  • Set up 2 to 3 social media accounts. Choose the platforms that best fit your type of business.
  • Post at least 3 times a week per social media channel. The focus should be on the quality of your content. 
  • Mix up the types of content that you create and post. Blogging is great but add videos, infographics, and curated articles to your content marketing strategy. 
  • Engage your followers. Respond to comments and messages within 24 hours. Don’t give generic comments. Personalize them per commenter. 
  • Reach out to other websites in your niche and propose a collaboration. For example, propose guest blogging arrangements. You can also look into the possibility of co-branding by collaborating on special joint promotions. 
  • Join interest groups on your social media platform and actively engage in the discussions. 
  • Collaborate with influencers in your industry. People become influencers once their audience hits critical mass. 

You can capitalize on the influencer’s number of followers by offering exclusive arrangements or through payment of services. 

An influencer might cost you an arm and a leg but the expense will be worth it that you could consider the payout an investment.

Deep linking is an SEO technique where you include links to your website in your content. You could be linking anchor text to other blogs as references, to the services you offer, to a specific product you sell or to any other web page that validates a statement in your content.

By implementing deep linking techniques, the visitor gets to explore your website’s other pages. If your web copy is on point, you’ll be able to create more value for the site visitor. 

Deep linking can also benefit low-ranking pages on your website because now, the search engine crawl bots can find them. Thus, if your website has a high bounce rate, deep linking to other web pages might be able to improve this metric. 

Usually, websites that have a high bounce rate are those where the home page is the top-performing page. Getting the poor-performing web pages more visible might encourage the site visitors to stay longer and explore your website further. 

5. Study Your Competitors’ SEO Strategies

If your social media metrics aren’t up to par with your competitors, don’t give up the fight. Instead, find out what they are doing. What SEO strategies are they using to get more followers to the social media pages and more traffic to their websites? 

  • If their content is consistently ranking high on the SERP, find out the keywords they’re using. A good online keyword research tool you can use is SEMRush. 

All you have to do is to attach the URL of your competitor’s web page and SEMRush will extract all of the keywords embedded in the content. 

Sometimes SEMRush will only extract a few keywords. To build a more reliable keyword list, run at least 5 high-ranking URLs through SEMRush.

  • Review the types of content that they publish. Identify the content that generates the highest level of engagement. 

List down the topics your competitors write about. Study how they craft their content – review the structure of the blogs, the length of the videos, and the images they use for infographics. 

  • Visit your competitors’ websites and study how they are designed and structured. 

Review the home page and pay special attention to the Calls-to-Action (CTA), the presence of videos or a slide feature, and the location of the functional buttons. Measure the download speed of the website. 

The objective of “spying” on your competitors is not to 100% copy what they’re doing but to pick out the strategies and techniques that might help your digital marketing campaign achieve its goal.  

6. Reuse Old Content

Have you been blogging for at least 3 months? If so, you have a treasure trove of content just waiting to be reused and still generate more traffic to your website. 

Things can change within 3 to 6 months. The information that you shared in a blog post not too long ago would not be the same a quarter of a year later. 

The cool thing about reusing old blogs is that you don’t have to spend another 3 hours on them. It’s a cost-effective way of creating content. All you have to do is update the information. 

  • Edit some of the sections of your blog to reflect the current trend and changes in audience demographics.
  • Embed your content with the current high-ranking keywords. 
  • Replace the hyperlinks with new ones that validate the updated information. 
  • Change the title or simply add “Updated for 202-”. 
  • Introduce a new lead-in to your social media post. 
  • Add new images.

Reusing old content isn’t limited to blogs. You can reuse other forms of content such as videos, infographics, product guides, e-books, web copy, and newsletters. Updated content can help drive new visitors to your website. 

Conclusion

As you’ve just read, SEO isn’t as complicated as it’s made out to be. However, it takes time to create content, keep track of analytics, and do research. For these reasons, we recommend hiring an SEO professional or a digital marketing agency to develop and implement your SEO strategy. 

If you’re interested in boosting your digital marketing strategy, give us a call or drop us an email. We can customize the SEO strategy to suit your digital marketing goals. 

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with people who are thinking of improving their digital marketing campaign. 

SEO for Your Business

The Internet has given entrepreneurs the opportunity to market and promote their businesses to a wider audience without having to leave the comforts of their home office. But what if your brick-and-mortar business is located in Denver, Colorado and the bulk of your audience is from Los Angeles, California? 

If you have a physical location of your business, you need to focus on improving your presence on local searches so you can attract the attention of consumers who can immediately patronize your shop and ring up your cash register. 

10 Ways To Help Your Business Get Found On Local Searches

People go online to search for information that can help them address pressing issues and concerns. Those people could be located within proximity of your store. Not convinced? Look at these statistics that prove the importance of having a strong local search strategy in place:

Setting up social media accounts, frequent blogging, and incorporating SEO techniques into your digital marketing campaign is a great way of getting found on the Internet – but don’t forget the people closest to your business.

1. Register Your Business in Google My Business 

Google is the largest search engine on the Internet. Its size and reach is so big that it spawned the saying “If Google sneezes, everyone catches a cold”. Thus, it stands to reason that if you’re on Google My Business, your audience will find your business. 

Here are 5 tips from the giant itself on how to get the most out of your Google My Business account:

  • Give complete information about your business (more on this later).
  • Verify the location of your business by adding it to Google Maps and Google Search.
  • Don’t forget your hours of operation.
  • Respond to reviews in a prompt and professional manner.
  • Add high-resolution, excellent-quality images to your page.

There are many online search directories and listing on their site will put more eyes on your business. But if you have to start out with one online search directory, go big and register your business in Google My Business. 

2. Give Accurate and Updated Business Information

Google’s search algorithm generates its results based on 3 factors: Prominence, Distance, and Relevance. 

  • Prominence – How popular is your business? Factors such as customer reviews, articles about your business, website ranking, and content optimization are considered by Google when evaluating the prominence of a business.
  • Distance – What is the proximity of your business from the search inquiry’s point of origin? Google will calculate the distance based on the information you provide about the location of your business.
  • Relevance – Can your business provide the products or services the consumer is looking for? Google will assess the relevance of your business from the amount of information available on your directory profile.

Therefore, it’s important to give accurate and updated information about your business in Google My Business. Writing down incorrect information will keep Google from indexing your business and identifying it as a possible destination for potential customers. 

Optimizing your content with the right keywords will also help your business get found by Google. Take some time to perform keyword research and strategically embed them on all of your content – Google My Business account, website copy, and blogs. 

3. Encourage Your Customers To Leave Reviews

The Internet has tilted the balance of power with consumers because now they can verify the authenticity of claims and compare products by looking for online reviews. 

A study conducted by BrightLocal showed that 87% of consumers use online reviews to qualify local businesses. Taking that statistic further, 94% of respondents said positive reviews will convince them to patronize the business. 

Having reviews available online sends the message to potential customers that you care about them. You aren’t averse to reviews from customers because you’re confident about the quality of your products. 

But not all customers will be proactive. Some customers will prefer to keep their opinions to themselves. 

Here are 5 tips on how to encourage your customers to leave reviews:

  • Prominently display positive reviews on your website and share them on social media. Your customers will get the hint that you want them to rate your business.
  • Make it easy for your customers to leave reviews by creating a review page on your website or online directory.
  • Incentivize reviews. For example, host a contest where a giveaway is at stake for anyone who leaves a review – positive or negative.
  • Simply ask your customers to review your business. Engage them on social media. Send them a private message. If they’re not proactive, be proactive. 
  • Respond to bad or negative reviews. You shouldn’t expect everyone to be happy with your products. People have different tastes and expectations. 

Getting a negative review is never a pleasant experience but it’s also an opportunity to enhance your reputation as an honest business owner. 

Reach out to the person who reacted negatively and get his input on how to make the experience better. 

4. Optimize Your Content With Geographic-specific Keywords

We touched on the importance of optimization briefly in #2. To optimize content means to make it more searchable or easier to find for search engines. One of the cornerstones of optimization is the use of keywords. However, for local search, you have to focus on geographic-specific keywords.

Geographic-specific keywords are also known as geo-targeting keywords or those that focus on a particular location. 

For example, if you own an auto repair shop in Troy, Michigan, geographic-specific keywords include:

  • Auto repair shop Troy MI
  • Car repair Troy MI
  • Mobile auto repair Troy MI
  • Auto repair services Troy MI

You can use this type of keyword in your blogs, video-based content, product guide, infographic, search directory, and website. However, using geo-targeting keywords can be tricky. 

The rule when using geo-targeting keywords is to keep them intact as much as possible with very few changes if any at all. You’ll be concerned about readers thinking it’s wrong grammar but there are ways to go about it. 

One tactic is to present the geo-specific keywords in the form of a question or with a comma after the keyword:

  • Are you looking for an auto repair shop in Troy MI?
  • Thinking about mobile auto repair in Troy MI?
  • Want to know where to find the best auto repair services in Troy MI? 
  • Searching for car repair in Troy MI, visitor? 

The compromise solution is to include the word “in” but not the comma between “Troy” and “MI”. Search engines aren’t particular about grammar but they are about the accuracy of the keywords. 

The more exact your keywords are to the actual search terms used, the better your chances of getting found. 

WebsiteSecurity.Protection.Monitoring

5. Register Your Business In Other Search Directories

Don’t stop at Google My Business. As we mentioned, there are other search directories where you can register your business and they can also deliver results. 

Here are 5 business directories that you can consider:

  • Yelp
  • Yellow Pages
  • Facebook
  • Angie’s List
  • Foursquare

We suggest adding just one more search directory. It might be hard to keep track of multiple directories but 2 should be manageable. Monitor the results of the new search listing. 

If the results are good and you’ve become comfortable managing 2 search listings, add one more. Follow the same procedure of assessing the performance of the new account before deciding on getting a fourth listing or not.

6. Include Local Business Schema

When a site visitor sees your webpage, his mind processes the text content, images, colors, shapes, graphics, and other design elements. How his mind arrives at a decision after processing the data on your webpage will determine whether he leaves or explores your website further. 

A search bot doesn’t view your webpage in the same way. It doesn’t process the colors, shapes, and text and instead receives binary data about your page. Thus, a search bot cannot appreciate the design and content of a webpage as a person would. 

That is, until schema or structured data was introduced. 

Schema gives the search bot the ability to read a webpage in the same way as humans do. Without getting too technical, Schema uses specific programming languages in order to enhance the properties of the content that the search bot indexed. 

When you add local business Schema or structured data, the programming language will inform the search engine of the type of business you own and its location in a manner that’s comprehensible and intelligible. 

We can help you find the local schemas that are relevant to your business and have these programmed in the backend of your website. You’ll notice that in a few weeks, your rankings will show improvement and you might be getting more visits to your physical location.

7. Blog About Your Brick-and-Mortar Location

Blogging has been proven to be a successful tool to market and promote a business. Despite the popularity of video-based content, people still take time to read blogs every day. 

Try blogging about your brick-and-mortar location. Give your audience an idea of what a typical day is like in your store. Share your best – and worst – experiences as a shop owner. Blog about the history of your store; how you got started and why you decided to offer these particular products and services. 

Create greater interest in your local store by letting people know more about it. Some of your readers might develop a sense of familiarity or connection with your store and patronize it right away. 

8. Enlist the Help of Influencers

Influencers are social media personalities who have built a massive following because people love their content. Having an influencer on your side can put more eyes on your business. 

You’ll definitely get noticed and if the influencer has a reputation for doling out excellent recommendations, you might get an immediate uptick in sales. And the ROI on Influencer Marketing is quite impressive.

According to a study called “The State of Influencer Marketing”, every US$1 spent on Influencer Marketing generated a return of US$5.78. 

Yes, an influencer might charge you an arm and a leg. But you don’t have to go to the big guns or those with millions of followers. Try to enlist the help of multiple influencers with at least 1,000 followers. 

The cost won’t be as much as a major influencer and your business will still get a good amount of exposure. 

9. Collaborate With Other Local Businesses

Collaborating with other local businesses is a form of cross-marketing strategy that can yield tremendous results for both parties. The rule is to collaborate with complementary businesses, not competing businesses.

For example, you run a bakeshop that specializes in cupcakes, muffins, donuts, and other types of products that can be enjoyed as individual pieces. Explore the possibility of collaborating with a coffee shop in the same area. 

  • Consign your products at the coffee shop. In return, the coffee shop will offer its coffee beans at your bakery. 
  • Promote each other’s businesses in your respective social media accounts. 
  • Create a special promotion that includes each businesses’ products. For example, a free sugar donut with every tall Americano or 50% discount on Arabica beans for every order of 1 dozen donuts. 
  • Place Point-of-Sale materials in each other’s store. 
  • Create a video of the collaboration and post it on social media.

Don’t forget to add geo-targeting keywords in your content and to mention the collaboration in each other’s Google My Business accounts. 

10. Post About Your Business In Social Media

Earlier we discussed the importance of blogging about your brick-and-mortar business and prior to this tip, we suggested creating videos of your collaboration with a complementary business. 

Posting these types of content on social media will not only generate more traction but it will also increase your visibility with the search engines. Here’s a key stat to keep in mind:

On average, a person is on social media 2.25 hours every day. Assuming the average person gets 8 hours of sleep, 2.25 hours accounts for 16% of his waking hours. 

Although social media isn’t a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm, it can boost the performance of your content. You can use social media posts to improve local searches simply by adding a link to your website and by incorporating geographic-specific keywords. 

Conclusion

Building an online presence is a smart business strategy that will help build an audience, enhance your reputation, and develop your brand. 

While it’s great to see your website pull in the big numbers from markets far and wide, they won’t keep your cash registers ringing in your brick-and-mortar store. The success of your physical location will depend on increasing sales from the nearby community. 

Incorporate the tips we’ve discussed in this article in order to improve your visibility in local searches. If you need more information and clarification, give us a call, and let’s set up a meeting on how to get your business on the community radar. 

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to send it to a local business owner near you. 

There’s no doubt that digital marketing delivers results. With platforms that allow you to traverse the breadth and scope of the Internet at little to no cost, digital marketing gives you the channels to reach a wider and more diverse audience. However, running a campaign is time-consuming. If you’re managing a business, it’s best to outsource digital marketing to an agency so you can allocate more time to activities that keep your checkout counter busy. 

The painful reality is that while digital marketing can deliver results, the same cannot be said for some digital marketing agencies. It might seem ironic that these agencies use their marketing and promotional expertise to oversell their abilities but turn in underwhelming outcomes. 

While no one can guarantee success that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hold the digital marketing agency accountable for falling short in its deliverables. 

The Digital Marketing Agency Sales Pitch

If you’ve been there before, skip this and go to the next section. Or you could also relive the time you attended the preliminary meeting with a digital marketing agency that gave a presentation with figures and information that seemed too good to be true. 

In fact, the Request for Proposal (RFP) was so comprehensive that it took you a week to comply. The process itself was seamless; every concern was ticked off the list. 

If you were looking for red flags, the search was abandoned after you got sold on the agency’s impressive list of clientele, testimonials, and industry-leading suite of services. 

Then, came the hook – all of these services plus expected results at the most competitive price. 

A handshake and a few signed contracts later, you come away from the meeting thinking you made the right decision and feeling that the future looks bright. 

Digital Marketing: The Reality Of Working With An Agency

However, 6 months into your digital marketing arrangement, everything seems to have unraveled. There are glaring flaws in the content, the publishing schedule isn’t met, the number of followers and engagement level isn’t growing, and an increase in website traffic is inconsequential. 

The outcomes aren’t what you expected, client meetings become more contentious, the channels of communication start to dry up, and before you know it, you’re back to square one. 

In your mind, the digital marketing arrangement with the agency was a bonafide flop. It was an investment that didn’t pay out dividends. You’ve lost faith in digital marketing and view it as a scam where agencies prowl the Internet for unsuspecting clients.

There could be truth to what you’re thinking. However, there remains another truth that’s hard to question:

Digital marketing works. It delivers results and helps grow businesses. 

A study by respected think tank McKinsey shared its findings that digital marketing can increase revenues by an average of 5% to 8% during a 12-month period and that the process has been shown to generate a five-fold increase in digital sales. 

So you were on the right track by hiring a digital marketing agency. The only thing you missed was holding the agency accountable for the results. 

How To Keep Your Digital Marketing Agency Accountable

You’re correct in assuming that the digital marketing agency shoulders the blame for the failure of the campaign to deliver the desired outcome. But you’re not 100% free of any accountability as well. 

Who made the decision to hire the agency? 

First and foremost, the digital marketing agency runs a business and generates income by signing up clients. Like other agencies, it will promote its business in a way that entices clients to hire their services. 

Since you chose this particular agency, then it means you got swayed by their presentation compared to the other agencies. That could be construed as proof of concept. 

What went wrong?

From our experience, problems between the client and the agency arise because there’s no discussion about setting expectations. You need to set expectations in order to establish the accountability of the agency. 

Step 1: Request for a Comprehensive and Highly-Detailed Scope of Work

The blame game and finger-pointing can be avoided simply by drawing up a comprehensive scope of work that’s detailed in black and white. As the client, you have a lot of ideas and questions percolating in your head. It’s the job of the agency to sort things out and organize them in the scope of work. 

What’s included in the scope of work?

Goals and Objectives –

It all starts with your goals and objectives. What do you want to accomplish from the digital marketing campaign? 

Do you want to increase inbound traffic to your website? Are you hoping to improve sales conversions? Are you prioritizing your online exposure by expanding your base of followers and enhancing your reputation as a provider of quality products and services? 

A business can have multiple goals and objectives. Of course, it’s not realistic to hit every one of them. It’s the job of the digital agency to guide you on how it plans to chart the course toward accomplishing your goals. 

Define the Targets –

Let’s assume you want to increase your number of followers to 1 million. If your current number of followers is 10,000, it won’t be realistic to expect the digital marketing strategy to hit 1 million followers in one year. 

The digital agency has the experience and the numbers to show you the realistic targets you can shoot for on the road to 1 million followers. 

If the agency has handled multiple accounts, it can share with you the experiences of clients who are in the same industry or faced similar challenges. 

Timelines –

When should you expect to hit these benchmarks? The digital agency has to establish the estimated timelines for each goal or objective. The keyword is “estimated”. 

A digital agency can project or give the best-educated guess as to when you can attain a benchmark but it cannot predict with 100% accuracy when this milestone is achieved. 

For example, if your goal is to increase inbound traffic to your website. Blogging is a proven strategy for generating website traffic but it takes time to bring up the blogging schedule from 4 posts per month to 16 posts per month. 

It takes time to develop a blogging strategy. The content writers will continually search for the top-performing keywords while the Digital Marketer will refer to analytics to fine-tune the blogging guidelines. 

Ownership of Assets –

Ownership is when things can go south pretty fast. This is especially true if the digital marketing agency was also commissioned to set up your website. 

The website, blogs, images, and other forms of digital content are your assets. Many business owners who hire a digital marketing agency are oblivious to the possibility that they might have unwittingly sold off their assets to a second party. 

You have to clarify the issue of ownership of assets with the digital agency and this should be covered by a provision in the Memorandum of Agreement. 

Services Covered –

To avoid misunderstandings, it’s important to define the services that the agency will provide. 

For example, if the digital agency was hired to create content such as blogs, videos, and infographics, the MOA must define the specifics of this arrangement. If the ownership of the assets resides with the client, then the agency should be paid for creating the content. 

Budget –

Usually, the budget or the projected cost of the agency’s digital marketing services is included in the MOA or Service Agreement (SA) and features a detailed breakdown within the provision or as an addendum. 

But to be sure that everyone’s on the same page when it comes to the budget, you can mention it in the scope of work and include an explanation that the details can be seen in the SA. 

The budget must present a detailed breakdown of the expenses. The services must be itemized and the cost calculated based on the schedule of deliverables. 

Step 2: Require the Agency to Set Up a Process Flow/System of Collaboration

After you’ve finalized the scope of work, the next step is to set up a system that makes it easy for you to keep track of the agency’s progress. You don’t have to be involved in every process. You can assign someone from your team to represent the company and be included in the agency’s process flow. 

The idea is to promote collaboration between you and the agency. Collaboration doesn’t mean that you micro-manage the agency. They are the experts and you hired them for their skills and experience. You have to let the agency do its job.

A key component of the process flow is the submission of performance reports. The schedule for submission must be included in the scope of work under “Timelines”. 

The digital marketing agency knows how to read website and social media analytics. Ask them to print out the analytics and to submit a monthly report including their analysis of how the campaign is performing.

Having a process flow in place not only allows you to monitor the progress of the campaign but you open up a channel of communication that the agency can use to relay their immediate concerns or recommendations. 

And it works both ways. Through your representative, you can relay some ideas, concerns, and suggestions that you want the agency to look into or consider. 

A good analogy would be of the right hand knowing what the left hand is doing. Trust is a quality that’s earned over time. While you don’t want to hover over the digital marketing agency, you shouldn’t be left in the dark as well.   

Step 3: Schedule Regular Meetings 

Going back to Step #2, don’t assume that the digital marketing agency’s report on your site’s and social media’s reports is the absolute truth. You must have someone on your team who is experienced and knowledgeable in reading analytics. 

It would be a good idea to schedule regular meetings with the digital marketing agency to discuss the reports and the current status of the campaign. In fact, weekly meetings might be the most ideal schedule if you can set a time for it. 

There should also be a QBR or Quarterly Business Report where the digital marketing agency will present a summary of the activities, results, improvements, and other relevant actions that were undertaken in the last 3 months. 

You must also prepare your company’s evaluation of the agency’s performance. The metrics could be different such as the ability to meet deadlines, professionalism, attention to detail, quality of deliverables, work ethics, ability to manage the budget, and client support services. 

A reliable and trustworthy digital marketing agency would welcome a performance audit from the client. If the agency you hired shows hesitancy for an audit, consider that as a major red flag. 

Conclusion  

As the old saying goes, “It takes two to tango.” An agreement is an arrangement between two parties whereby each party is accountable for delivering on his obligations. 

The fourth and final step is to hold yourself accountable. 

Yes, you’re not off the hook in the event the digital marketing campaign goes sideways. Did you deliver on your end of the agreement? 

  • Were you able to provide the information and materials needed by the agency? 
  • Were you able to answer all of the questions cascaded to you accurately and in a timely manner? 
  • Did you consistently review all of the content drafts sent to you by the agency and give your inputs within a reasonable time frame? 
  • Did you lend manpower support when the agency requested it? 
  • Did you pay the agency’s invoices on time?

A client-service provider agreement becomes effective and delivers the desired results if both parties view the arrangement not as a contract but as a relationship. 

Your digital marketing agency consists of people who have emotions. They are more inspired to do their best when the clients they work for are likewise engaged and motivated. 

As we mentioned earlier, a digital marketing agency is first and foremost, a business. The agency operates for profit. The principals signed you up for the purpose of growing their business. 

But for many, the key to sustainable success is to establish long-term relationships that are based on having a successful track record. In truth, the agency’s interest to succeed in its business lies in its ability to deliver results for your business. 

Instead of adopting a mindset of the agency working for you, work with them. Collaboration is a proven way of realizing the preferred outcome. 

If you’re thinking about promoting your business via digital marketing, give us a call and we’ll work with you in developing a step-by-step process of effective collaboration. 

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

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