Many businesses struggle to grow, regardless of their outstanding customer service. There are many key areas in which these small businesses can improve upon which will undoubtedly take their company and image to the next level; some of the important ones are listed below.
Marketers for all kinds of companies are starting to see their competitors’ faces on the Google search pages next to the results, and it’s making all the difference. Studies show that having a photo next to your search result improves clickthrough rates by, at times, up to 400 percent. It adds credibility to your personal and professional brand, and it adds something aesthetic to the search result to make it stand out from the others.
“But what kind of nebulous spells are they casting to get their photos there?” you might ask. Google has actually made this process much easier than it used to be, and now incorporates Google Plus and a few other quick tasks to get it done.
So you want your photo appearing next to your blog post and/or webpage results?
Here is the step-by-step walkthrough.
1. Create a Google Plus profile
The entire process hinges upon your having a Google Plus profile, so if you don’t have one, set one up real quick. A few things to remember:
- Your Google Plus profile photo must match the one that appears on your website bio
- When filling out your profile, add a link to your website to the “Contributor To” field
2. Create a bio page on your website
This can be a simple page that includes your photo, a brief bio and a link to your Google Plus profile.
3. For blog pages, place a byline with a link to the bio page on every post
A link over your name that points to a bio page gives Google’s crawlers more information about you, and helps provide a well-rounded batch of author information for better indexing.
4. Place the below code in the body content of the HTML (before or after the post)
<a title="Author Name" rel="author" href="https://plus.google.com/example-profile"></a>
<a title="Author Name" rel="publisher" href="https://plus.google.com/example-profile"></a>
For certain CMS, like Drupal or WordPress, it’s much easier to modify the theme and inject the above code into the body content, but, if necessary, you can manually place the code into the body text whenever you create a new page.
And that should do it. Give it a few days, post a new page and see if it works. Also, there is no guarantee that every post will include author information on the rankings page.
Thanks for tuning back in for part two of 10 Secrets to Leading a Successful Marketing Campaign. For those of you who missed the first part of this blog series, please click here to read part one.
6. Know What a Client is Worth to Your Company
During the launch meeting of every campaign we ask our client “how much is the average client worth to your company?” When we do get an answer, we then follow up with a calculation to determine how many leads and sales need to be generated every month to ensure that the campaign is profitable.
Whether you use a marketing agency or not, as a marketer, you must know how much a new client is worth. Otherwise, you will not be able to make informed decisions on how to spend your marketing budget.
For instance, if the keyword “buy print materials” has a cost per acquisition (CPA) of $100, you may dismiss the keyword at first. However, if you’re able to establish that the average client is worth $1,000 in profit, then you would more then likely rethink spending $100 to acquire that client.
7. Leverage Great Tools
Utilizing tools can help you organize your efforts, analyze data, make you more efficient, and your marketing campaigns more effective.
Here is a list of a few of my favorites:
Google Webmaster Tools
SEO Site Tools Chrome Plugin
SEOMoz Chrome Plugin
Open Site Explorer
What are some of your favorite marketing tools?
8. Create Phenomenal Collateral
By now you know your clients and what makes them tick. Begin producing marketing collateral on a regular basis that addresses your potential client’s needs and desires.
Don’t limit yourself to producing one form of collateral. Some clients may prefer the written word, but others may prefer video blogs, webinars, or interactive demos.
If your company does not have a blog, get one. It opens doors for meaningful conversation, new relationships, and opportunities. Blogs help your company demonstrate its expertise. Blogging should not be optional, make it a mandatory company activity.
Few things are more powerful then a gleaming client testimonial. Create testimonials and case studies detailing your clients’ experiences with your company. Set aside a budget to film customers talking about their experience with your company. Not only are whitepapers fantastic link bait, they are also a great way to prove your knowledge and gather contact information.
9. Nurture Your Leads
In today’s tough economy, buyers are more fickle then they have in the past. Lead nurturing using marketing automation platforms is critical to creating relationships with potential clients.
A good lead nurturing campaign decreases the total number of man-hours needed to create a sale. They also increase your conversion rate for all of your Internet marketing efforts by continually engaging with a potential client and tracking the client’s engagement with your company.
Setting up a lead nurturing campaign can be a daunting task considering the total number of man hours, but once it is up and running smoothly, you will save your company significant amounts of time.
The success of your lead nurturing campaign relies entirely on your ability to create phenomenal collateral. Ensure that you invest enough time and effort into the creation and review process so that your potential clients are blown away by their experience. Additionally, don’t skimp on promoting your own collateral because it doesn’t do anyone any good if there isn’t any viewership.
10. Analyze Your Data and Take Action
Are you using a CRM that integrates with your Web Analytics and can report exactly how much revenue has been generated from your Pay-Per-Click, E-mail Marketing, and Search Engine Optimization campaigns? If the answer is no, then you are not tracking enough data and will not be able to make data-driven decisions.
Make sure that you are regularly reviewing and analyzing data to find trends in your data. If a particular marketing campaign is generating more revenue then another, you should try and understand why that is happening. Market frugally; do not spend money if it is not producing bottom line results.
What commonalities have you noticed between successful marketing campaigns? Is there any particular “secret” that you have found to be most helpful for you in the past?
Aidan Foster -- responsive design expert, creator of ResponsiveDesign.ca and owner of Foster Interactive -- brings some web design insight to the Volacci blog. Follow @ResponsivDesign on twitter, or join the LinkedIn Group
A New Relationship Between People & The Mobile Web
People have become extremely connected to their mobile devices. There’s this lasting stereotype that mobile surfing happens when traveling to and from work but usage statistics show a very different story. C-level executives and C-level high school students have something in common: They’re addicted to their mobile devices and they’re increasingly using them to socialize, shop, and for casual entertainment at all hours of the day. By 2015 half the traffic on the Internet is expected to be on mobile devices.
Mobile Matters Right Now – A Few Telling facts.
66% of US smartphone owners use their phone to aid shopping
If your site is B2C, then your customers are both shopping online and using their phones when they’re in physical stores to look up facts, read reviews, and do price comparisons. If your site doesn’t work well for these shoppers, you lose the opportunity to influence their purchasing decision, or to build loyalty by providing a great customer experience.
78% of C-level executives under the age of 40 are “comfortable making business-related purchases on a mobile device.”
From the top down, business has embraced mobile web. Executives own multiple kinds of devices and they’re using them to help guide their strategic decisions both during the work day and after hours.
Most Websites Have Terrible Usability on Mobile Devices.
Jakob Nielsen published a study on how well people are able to perform specific tasks on the web. For example, “You're in a store considering purchasing a Kodak Z-1000 for $200. See if there’s a better price online at deals.com” On the desktop 84% of people succeeded in this task, but for people using smartphones visiting “desktop only” designed sites, they only succeeded 58% of the time. If you’re offering the same camera for $170, you may have just lost a sale.
“Pinch and Zoom” functionality makes desktop websites usable on a smartphone – but just barely. If your audience is motivated, they can probably find the information they’re looking for but that doesn’t make for a good experience and they might not appreciate you “making them work for it.”
“Mobile Friendly” is Both a Challenge and an Opportunity.
Forward thinking businesses are presented with an opportunity to fill the void of mobile-friendly sites in their markets. We tend to avoid slow and cluttered websites on our desktops because there are many easier and faster alternatives. On the mobile web our desire for simplicity and ease of use is no different – It’s just that there’s not many mobile-friendly sites out there. Look at the examples of industries who universally provided “experts only” products like the early PC market. Then look at companies who provided “easy to use” alternatives like Apple. Whose shoes would you like to wear?
Want a Great Mobile Experience? – Use Responsive Web Design
Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a way of making a single site highly functional on every kind of device-- from desktops to smartphones to tablets. It uses universally supported technology common to all modern mobile & desktop web browsers, and there are simple techniques supporting older browsers as well.
Different Layouts for Different Sized Screens.
A responsive website is able to shift its layout to fit different sized screens. You present the same basic text content to all devices, but use “media queries” to send different CSS to a specific device based on the screen size. This allows you to optimize the layout for a broad category of devices like smartphones, tablets, and desktops. Images, video, and other media scale so they can fit in these various layouts.
Here’s how one of our pages appears on 3 different devices -- Desktop, a Blackberry Playbook, and the iPhone
On the desktop layout there’s a sub-menu on the left, and 2 columns of resource links on the right.
On the smaller screen of the Playbook, the menu is compressed horizontally. Notice how the text for some buttons is now on 2 lines. The resource links appear in a single tall column.
On the iPhone, the resources links remain in a single column, but the sub-menu has now moved from the left side to the top of the layout.
Play around with Responsive Design on one of the below websites. Try it on both your iPhone and computer.
Stay tuned for Volacci's new website, which will be designed in Responsive Design in Drupal, of course. It will be launched in summer 2012. We'll keep you updated!
Having been involved on many marketing campaigns, I have found that there are commonalities between all successful marketing campaigns. While this list could be much larger, I limited it to 10 then decided to split the original blog post into two for the sake of brevity. I attempted to organize these tips in sequential order so that it is more logical. Without further ado, let’s start with number one.
1. Know Your Target Market
When I say know your target market, I don’t mean what their names are, but know what makes them tick.
What motivates your target market? Do they have an innate need for recognition and respect? Are they highly motivated and A-Type personalities? Now tie that in with their demographics. Are they 20-somethings? Are they Baby Boomers? Technophiles? Do they have a large amount of purchasing power? Own a home? Have a family? What is important to them? What do they do to relax?
Create a document that describes your target market and distribute it amongst your co-workers. Ensure that they understand the importance of knowing the company’s target market and incorporate this knowledge into everything that they produce that is customer facing.
2. Address Your Client’s Needs
Now that you know your target market, review your product or service. Does every aspect of that product help satisfy your target market? Does every official piece of communication from your company somehow address your client’s needs and gives them a warm, fuzzy feeling?
If not, take a step back and rethink your strategy. Your client’s are your biggest piece of “marketing collateral” and if they’re not having an amazing experience, then they’re not going to refer your company to their friends and family.
3. Write a Marketing Plan
A great marketing campaign starts with a great plan, though the planning stage is frequently overlooked. If you’re not sure where to start, Volacci offers a free Internet marketing plan template.
After writing your marketing plan, make sure that you get buy-in from all parties. Ensure that they know what parts of the plan that they are responsible for. Finally, prepare for deviations to your plan. No matter how much time and effort that you put into your plan there will be changes that you could not predict.
4. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
The idiom holds true in marketing as well as most things in life. All too often I see companies unwilling to commit to multiple forms of marketing. Instead, they put all of their proverbial eggs in one basket and commit only to SEO or PPC, for example. That’s like saying I am going to take my life savings and invest only in General Motors. It may serve me well for awhile, but when the auto industry hits a funk, you’re up the creek without a paddle (excuse the abuse of idioms).
As important as it is to diversify your stock portfolio, it is equally important to diversify your marketing efforts. Fully commit to all of your marketing efforts, to ensure that you are giving yourself the best opportunity to create success.
5. Set Goals and Track Progress
After you have finished your marketing plan, set weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals for you and your team for every aspect of your campaign. You cannot do it alone. Make sure that your team is comprised of people you can trust and depend on. Delegate the work that needs to be done between your team based on their individual strengths. Have someone who is a whiz with PowerPoint? Put them in charge of creating the PowerPoint template for your new sales presentations.
Hold your team accountable for progress. Create 15-minute weekly standup meetings that are basically a round-robin of the progress that has been made with a particular campaign.
Click here to read the part two of this blog.
iMeet's Steve Miller presents his bi-weekly installment on the Volacci blog.
Shopping around for a webinar and web conferencing service that fits your company’s needs can be a chore. With dozens of products all claiming to be the best, it can be tough to differentiate the good from the wannabes. Plus, who wants to test 50 different online meeting services?
To help you sift through the clutter, we’ve identified the five needs of every webinar and online meeting, and the web conferencing feature that meets the need.
Internet marketing doesn’t have one single path to profitability, but in our years of doing marketing for companies that span dozens of industries, we have discovered some specific marketing myths that have evolved our approach to Internet marketing. Not only that, but they've allowed us to save our clients lots of time and money along the way.