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Facebook to test new business discovery features in US News Feed

April 17, 2021 No Comments

Facebook announced this morning it will begin testing a new experience for discovering businesses in its News Feed in the U.S. When live, users tap on topics they’re interested in underneath posts and ads in their News Feed in order to explore related content from businesses. The change comes at a time when Facebook has been arguing how Apple’s App Tracking Transparency update will impact its small business customers — a claim many have dismissed as misleading, but nevertheless led some mom and pop shops to express concern about the impacts to their ad targeting capabilities, as a result. This new test is an example of how easily Facebook can tweak its News Feed to build out more data on its users, if needed.

The company suggests users may see the change under posts and ads from businesses selling beauty products, fitness or clothing, among other things.

The idea here is that Facebook would direct users to related businesses through a News Feed feature, when they take a specific action to discover related content. This, in turn, could help Facebook create a new set of data on its users, in terms of which users clicked to see more, and what sort of businesses they engaged with, among other things. Over time, it could turn this feature into an ad unit, if desired, where businesses could pay for higher placement.

“People already discover businesses while scrolling through News Feed, and this will make it easier to discover and consider new businesses they might not have found on their own,” the company noted in a brief announcement.

Facebook didn’t detail its further plans with the test, but said as it learned from how users interacted with the feature, it will expand the experience to more people and businesses.

Image Credits: Facebook

Along with news of the test, Facebook said it will roll out more tools for business owners this month, including the ability to create, publish and schedule Stories to both Facebook and Instagram; make changes and edits to Scheduled Posts; and soon, create and manage Facebook Photos and Albums from Facebook’s Business Suite. It will also soon add the ability to create and save Facebook and Instagram posts as drafts from the Business Suite mobile app.

Related to the business updates, Facebook updated features across ad products focused on connecting businesses with customer leads, including Lead Ads, Call Ads and Click to Messenger Lead Generations.

Facebook earlier this year announced a new Facebook Page experience that gave businesses the ability to engage on the social network with their business profile for things like posting, commenting and liking, and access to their own, dedicated News Feed. And it had removed the Like button in favor of focusing on Followers.

It is not a coincidence that Facebook is touting its tools for small businesses at a time when there’s concern — much of it loudly shouted by Facebook itself — that its platform could be less useful to small business owners in the near future, when ad targeting capabilities become less precise as users vote “no” when Facebook’s iOS app asks if it can track them.

Mobile – TechCrunch


Grover raises $71M to grow its consumer electronics subscription business

April 15, 2021 No Comments

A startup tapping into the concept of the circular economy, where people don’t buy items outright but pay an incremental amount to use them temporarily, has raised some funding to scale its business in Europe and beyond. Grover, a Berlin-based startup that runs a subscription model where people can for set fees rent out consumer electronics like computers, smart phones, games consoles and scooters, has picked up €60 million ($ 71 million).

The funding is coming in the form of €45 million in equity and €15 million in venture debt.

The company, which as of September last year had 100,000 subscriptions and now has around 150,000, said it aims to triple subscriptions to 450,000 by the end of 2021. It will be using the funds to expand to more markets — both to grow its business in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands (where it’s already operating) and to launch in Spain and the U.S. — and to add more product categories into the mix, including health and fitness devices, consumer robots and smart appliances.

And, it plans to invest in more innovation around its rental services. These have seen a new wave of interest in particular in the past year of pandemic life, which has put a strain on many people’s finances; definitely made it harder to plan for anything, including what gadgets you might need one week or the next; and turned the focus for many people on consuming less, and getting more mileage out of what they and others already have.

“Now more than ever, consumers value convenience, flexibility and sustainability when they shop for and use products. This is especially true when it comes to technology and all of the possibilities that it has to offer — whether that’s productivity, fun, or staying in touch with our loved ones,” said Michael Cassau, CEO and founder of Grover, in a statement. “The fresh funding allows us to bring these possibilities to even more people across the world. It enables us to double down on creating an unparalleled customer experience for our subscribers, and to push the boundaries of the most innovative ways for people and businesses to access and enjoy technology. The strong support from our investors confirms not only the important value our service brings to people, but also Grover’s vast growth potential. We’re still just scratching the surface of a €1 trillion global market.”

JMS Capital-Everglen led the Series B equity round, with participation also from Viola Fintech, Assurant Growth, existing investors coparion, Augmentum Fintech, Circularity Capital, Seedcamp and Samsung Next, and unnamed founders and angel investors from Europe and North America, among others. Kreos Capital issued the debt.

Samsung is a strategic investor: Together with Grover it launched a subscription service in December that currently covers select models from its S21 series, among other devices, such as the Tab S7, Galaxy A models, and with plans to introduce wearables, smart home devices, TVs, notebooks and more into the Grover fold. “Samsung powered by Grover,” as it’s called, started in Germany, so one plan may be to use some of this investment to roll that out to other markets.

The funding is coming on the heels of a year when Berlin-based Grover said its business grew 2.5x (that is, 150%). Its most recent annual report noted that it had 100,000 active users as of September of last year, renting out 18,000 smartphones, 6,000 pairs of AirPods and more than 1,300 electric scooters in that period. It also said that in the most recent fiscal year, it posted net revenues of about $ 43 million, with $ 71 million in annual recurring revenue, and tipping into profitability on an EBITDA basis.

It raised €250 million ($ 297 million) in debt just before the start of the pandemic, and previously to that also raised a Series A of $ 44 million in 2018, and $ 48 million in 2019 in a combination of equity and debt in a pre-Series B. It’s not disclosing its valuation.

The company’s service falls into a wider category of startups building services around the subscription economy model, which has touched asset-intensive categories like cars, but also much lighter, internet-only consumables like music and video streaming.

Indeed, Grover has been regularly referred to as the “Netflix for gadgets,” in part a reference to the latter company’s history starting out by sending out physical DVDs to people’s homes (which they returned when finished to get other films, under a subscription model).

Similar to cars and films, there is definitely an argument to be made for owning gadgets on a subscription. The pricier that items become — and the more of them there are battling for a share of consumers’ wallets against many of the other things that they can spend money to own or use — the less likely it is that people will be completely happy to fork out money or build in financing to own them, not least because the value of a gadget typically depreciates the minute a consumer does make the purchase.

At the same time, more consumers are subscribing, and often paying electronically, to services that they use regularly: Whether it’s a Prime subscription, or Spotify, the idea with Grover — and others that are building subscriptions around physical assets — is to adopt the friction-light model of subscribing to a service and apply it to physical goods.

And for retailers, it’s another alternative to offer customers — alongside buying outright, using credit or offering by-now-pay-later or other kinds of financing in order to close a deal. Shopping cart abandonment, and competition for shoppers online, are very real prospects, so anything to catch incremental wins is a win. And if they are working in a premium (cost-per-month of use, say) to give customers possession of the gadget in question, if they manage to secure enough business this way, it actually might prove to be even more lucrative than outright sales, especially if the maintenance of those goods is offloaded to a third party like Grover.

Although some people have regularly been wary of the idea of used consumer electronics, or other used goods, that has been shifting. There have been a number of companies seeing strong growth in the last year on the back of helping consumers resell their own items. This has been helped in part by buyers being more focused on spending less (and sellers maybe earning back some money in the process), but also being keen to reduce their own footprints in the world by using items that are already out in circulation. In Europe alone, last week, Brighton-based MPB raised nearly $ 70 million for its used-camera equipment marketplace. Other recent deals have included used-goods marketplace Wallapop in Spain raising $ 191 million and clothing-focused Vestiaire Collective raising $ 216 million.

What is interesting here is — whether it’s a sign of the times, or because Grover might have cracked the subscription model for gadgets — the company seems to be progressing in an area that has definitely seen some fits and bumps over the years.

Lumoid out of the U.S. also focused on renting out tech gear, but, despite finding some traction and inking a deal with big box retailer Best Buy, it failed to raise the funding it needed to run its service and eventually shut down. It’s also not alone in trying to tackle the market. Others in the same space include Tryatec and Wonder, which seems to be focused more on trying out technology from startups.

The big question indeed is not just whether Grover will find more of a market for its rental/subscription model, but also whether it has cracked those economics around all of the supply chain management, shipping and receiving goods, reconditioning or repairing when needed, and simply keeping strong customer service throughout all of that. As we’ve seen many times, a good idea on one level can prove extremely challenging to execute on another.

Gadgets – TechCrunch


It’s time to abandon business intelligence tools

March 20, 2021 No Comments

Organizations spend ungodly amounts of money — millions of dollars — on business intelligence (BI) tools. Yet, adoption rates are still below 30%. Why is this the case? Because BI has failed businesses.

Logi Analytics’ 2021 State of Analytics: Why Users Demand Better survey showed that knowledge workers spend more than five hours a day in analytics, and more than 99% consider analytics very to extremely valuable when making critical decisions. Unfortunately, many are dissatisfied with their current tools due to the loss of productivity, multiple “sources of truth,” and the lack of integration with their current tools and systems.

A gap exists between the functionalities provided by current BI and data discovery tools and what users want and need.

Throughout my career, I’ve spoken with many executives who wonder why BI continues to fail them, especially when data discovery tools like Qlik and Tableau have gained such momentum. The reality is, these tools are great for a very limited set of use cases among a limited audience of users — and the adoption rates reflect that reality.

Data discovery applications allow analysts to link with data sources and perform self-service analysis, but still come with major pitfalls. Lack of self-service customization, the inability to integrate into workflows with other applications, and an overall lack of flexibility seriously impacts the ability for most users (who aren’t data analysts) to derive meaningful information from these tools.

BI platforms and data discovery applications are supposed to launch insight into action, informing decisions at every level of the organization. But many are instead left with costly investments that actually create inefficiencies, hinder workflows and exclude the vast majority of employees who could benefit from those operational insights. Now that’s what I like to call a lack of ROI.

Business leaders across a variety of industries — including “legacy” sectors like manufacturing, healthcare and financial services — are demanding better and, in my opinion, they should have gotten it long ago.

It’s time to abandon BI — at least as we currently know it.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years about why traditional BI platforms and newer tools like data discovery applications fail and what I’ve gathered from companies that moved away from them.

The inefficiency breakdown is killing your company

Traditional BI platforms and data discovery applications require users to exit their workflow to attempt data collection. And, as you can guess, stalling teams in the middle of their workflow creates massive inefficiencies. Instead of having the data you need to make a decision readily available to you, instead, you have to exit the application, enter another application, secure the data and then reenter the original application.

According to the 2021 State of Analytics report, 99% of knowledge workers had to spend additional time searching for information they couldn’t easily locate in their analytics solution.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


A small business’ step-by-step guide to dominating local search in 2021

February 14, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Optimizing a small business for local search is a powerful way to boost local traffic and increase sales.
  • With the large majority of web users actively seeking products/services in their vicinity, building local leads is essential.
  • Joseph Dyson offers a step-by-step guide to improving local visibility for small businesses.
  • He focuses on the importance of Google My Business, keyword research and implementation, internal and external links, reviews, and more.

Do you want your business to appear in the top local search results on Google? Do you want to attract high-quality traffic that helps you boost sales and grow your business in the long run? Do you want to achieve and sustain target KPIs?

If you answered these questions in the affirmative, you may want to optimize your business for local search if you haven’t already.

An astounding 80% of all local searches on mobile phones result in a transaction.

While you may have created a winning social media marketing strategy and revamped your brand identity, the work doesn’t end there. In fact, it only begins. With the competition becoming increasingly cut-throat each day, standing out among the crowd has become more important than ever—especially for small businesses that are struggling to navigate the digital marketing learning curve during the ongoing pandemic.

To make things easier without compromising efficacy, you need to start off on the right foot by focusing on local SEO.

We’ll break down the basics and offer a step-by-step guide to dominating local search in 2020 so your business can hit the ground running.

What is local SEO and why does it matter?

Local SEO is the process of optimizing your business to improve its visibility in local search results on Google.

Why does this matter? Because local consumers are actively looking for products/services close to them.

If you run a small business, it’s very likely that you operate within a certain area, i.e. a specific city or state. If you fail to optimize your business for local search, you’ll attract generic leads that aren’t capable of making a transaction because of geographical constraints. You’ll also reduce your chances of appearing in the top local search results each time someone runs a “near me” or “close to me” search.

Instead of appearing in the Google 3-Pack (attached below for reference), your business will show up on the eighth, ninth, or 30th SERP.

And while earning a not-so-favorable spot among Google search results may not sound too bad, the large majority of web users never scroll past the first SERP.

So what do you do? You optimize your business for local search.

We’ve rounded up some of the most effective local SEO strategies for small businesses in 2021 to help you get started.

Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing

Leveraging Google My Business is a surefire way to give your business a much-needed visibility boost. The popular platform allows businesses to drive local traffic by creating and maintaining a strong online presence on Google Search and Google Maps.

As you share relevant information about your business, Google will effectively crawl, index, and rank your business.

The outcome? Improved local rankings.

Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing to maximize your chances of appearing in the Google 3-Pack.

We suggest sharing the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Business Hours
  • High-Quality Photos and Videos
  • Categories
  • Description
  • Website
  • Reviews
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Attributes and Amenities

Google’s algorithm determines the legitimacy of a business by checking for consistency across the board. For instance, if your business hours are inconsistent across multiple platforms, your business will not be perceived as credible or reliable.

Even the slightest deviation can lower your chances of appearing in the Google 3-Pack.

Ensure consistency to dominate local search and increase the visitor-to-lead conversion rate.

In addition, keep your listing updated by sharing fresh content and interacting with customers through Google My Business Messages.

Become a pro at keyword research

Keyword research is undeniably the crème de la crème of local search. If done right, the process can help your content stand out among the massive pool of competition.

Why should you use keywords in the first place?

Let’s break it down.

If you own a small salon in Los Angeles, most people looking for salon services will search for very specific phrases like “salons in Los Angeles” or “best hair stylists in Los Angeles.” These keywords are a set of industry-specific and location-specific phrases that help customers find what they’re looking for.

If you want your products/services to appear in the top local search results, you have to incorporate these phrases into your content to give users exactly what they’re looking for.

Use Google’s Keyword Planner to find local industry-relevant keywords. It’s important to note that keywords are constantly evolving based on current trends, events, and news. So while you may have assiduously compiled a list of the most relevant keywords, it’s unlikely that they’ll dominate search engines within a few months.

Stay at the top of your game by actively researching and re-researching keywords. You can also use third-party tools based on your preference.

If you’re unsure about how to incorporate keywords based on regional trends, use Google Trends to discover what’s trending.

Use actionable on-page SEO techniques

On-page SEO is the process of optimizing web pages to boost rankings and attract high-quality local traffic.

How does this work? As you focus on specific on-page optimization factors, your website will become more visible on the web.

These factors include:

  • Title Tag: The title/topic of each page
  • Meta Description Tags: A short description that summarizes the content
  • Robots Meta Tag: A piece of code that helps web crawlers determine which pages on the site should be indexed
  • URL: The web address of a specific page
  • Header Tags: Headings that add structure to a page, for example, H1, H2, and H3
  • Image Alt Tags/Alt Text: Short and clear description of an image
  • Canonical Tags: An HTML link tag that helps crawlers prioritize the main page instead of indexing duplicate page URLs

Each time you create new content, incorporate high-volume keywords in the aforementioned on-page optimization factors, especially the title tag, meta description, URL, and header. This will help you attract local traffic and make your website more search-friendly.

Leverage internal and external links

Focusing on your website’s link structure is a great way to optimize your business for local search.

Internal links are hyperlinks that take readers to content or products/services on your own website. Here’s an example to help make things a bit clearer. If you’re writing a new blog for your website and hyperlink an old infographic on your own domain, this will qualify as an internal link. Of course, you can link any type of content, including blogs, articles, press releases, infographics, videos, product pages, service pages, etc.

How does this help? As web users interact with your content, they’re more likely to engage with the internal links. This, in turn, helps Google determine the relevance of your internal pages and rank them accordingly.

If you’re already ahead of the game, you can link location-specific keywords, thereby organically improving your website’s visibility for local search. These factors collectively play a big role in ensuring your business climbs local SERPs and maintains a strong online presence.

External links work in a similar manner. If an external (third-party) website links to your content or products/services, this qualifies as an external link, also known as a backlink.

For instance, if an established website like Forbes links to a value-added blog you wrote a few months ago, you’ll earn a high-quality backlink. As a plethora of potential customers is redirected to your website, you’ll reap the benefits of high traffic for your local business.

High-quality backlinks from websites with a high domain authority (great rankings on SERPs) help Google determine the validity and reputability of a business.

If a considerable number of established businesses are hyperlinking to your content, it’s very likely that you’re producing engaging, informative, and impactful content.

Google’s reward system is quick on its toes. Their algorithm will immediately process the information and make sure your business gradually climbs SERPs. If you were stuck on the 15th SERP, you could climb a few pages.

Of course, if you continue to produce winning content and earn quality backlinks, you’ll manage to break into the first search page.

How should you use internal links?

  • Create more content so it’s easier to include internal links in new content
  • Check the domain authority of pre-existing content to use internal links accordingly (for example, link to popular content more frequently)

How should you increase external links?

  • Write high-quality and engaging guest blogs
  • Leverage broken link building
  • Convert unlinked mentions into backlinks
  • Collaborate with non-competitor businesses in your industry to build quality backlinks
  • Repurpose and syndicate content
  • Offer to write authentic testimonials for other businesses in return for a backlink

Optimization isn’t enough, create high-quality local content

Optimization isn’t the be-all and end-all of content marketing. If you haven’t produced high-quality content in the first place, it’s unlikely that optimization will help you get any further.

The best way to dominate local search is to strike the perfect balance between optimization and quality. Losing sight of either one of the two could end up doing more damage than good.

Create impactful content around local events, trends, movements, and news.

For instance, find a way to incorporate popular holidays like the 4th of July into your content plan. If you sell pool accessories, you could create a blog titled “Five Tips for Having a Lockdown-Friendly Fourth of July Party This Weekend.” One of the tips could include having a family pool party and ordering fun pool accessories online.

Building these connections will go a long way in helping your business become a familiar sight in local search results.

Of course, don’t forget to incorporate location-specific keywords to make sure you attract high-quality leads that can easily buy your products/services.

Request and respond to reviews to climb SERPs

Reviews are a gold mine when it comes to improving visibility for local search.

A whopping 53% of Americans carefully read product/service ratings and reviews to guide their shopping experience.  In fact, 15% of the ranking factors for the Google 3-Pack comprise review signals.

If you run a local search, you’ll notice that each business in the Google 3-Pack includes a plethora of positive reviews.

Here’s an example:

Google doesn’t want to take any risks. The entire point of the Google 3-Pack is to display the top businesses for a specific search. The factors used to determine whether a business should appear in the Google 3-Pack include NAP consistency, relevance, reputability, experience, and—you guessed it—reviews.

If your business has a great review rating and flattering reviews, you’re very likely to earn a spot in the Google 3-Pack.

But how should you generate positive reviews? The most obvious way is to offer excellent products/services and ensure great customer service.

But there’s a little more than meets the eye.

Here are some expert strategies to increase positive reviews for your business:

  • Use Google My Business to encourage your customers to share reviews
  • Request reviews from customers who recently invested in your products/services by sending a short, individualized, and engaging email
  • Use social media to encourage customers to share their feedback
  • Create a testimonials page on your website and include a short form that allows customers to share their experience with your products/services

Actively respond to positive reviews to encourage customers to share reviews in the future. In addition, take correctional measures to make it up to your customers who leave negative reviews. If done right, you can end up turning a bad experience into a good one.

If you’ve been struggling to give your business the boost it deserves, implementing these strategies will go a long way in turning things around.

Closely monitor your progress using Google My Business Insights and additional tracking platforms to determine where you stand and realign strategies accordingly. Ensure consistency to view concrete results in local search rankings and traffic.

We also recommend keeping up with your competition to develop an edge as a small business with relatively less experience. Go over their strategies and replicate certain aspects that seem relevant.

As you develop a holistic local SEO strategy, your business will begin to reach milestones and gear up for long-term growth.

Conclusion

Local SEO is undeniably one of the most powerful weapons in the digital marketing arsenal for small businesses. Polishing these skills can help a business actively climb SERPs for local search and build a wide audience that continues to grow organically.

While implementing local SEO strategies may seem challenging at first, it’s less complex than many small businesses think. The right tools, resources, and expertise can make the process much easier.

Incorporate these strategies into your current marketing campaign to get started. If you have any concerns, feel free to connect with an expert. Good luck!

Joseph Dyson is a renowned content marketing manager at Search Berg. He offers expert small business SEO services and has headed various local SEO campaigns over the years.

The post A small business’ step-by-step guide to dominating local search in 2021 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


The business value of SEO in 2021: From revenue generation to reputation and retention

January 28, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • SEO is without a doubt the most cost-effective channel for enterprises today.
  • SEO also adds incremental value in a number of different ways.
  • It helps maintain brand equity, helps inform product and sales.
  • SEO can also be used as a PR channel and vice-versa.
  • From consumer behavior trends to market and demand volatility, search behavior can provide the data businesses need to understand market drivers and pivot in real-time.
  • SEO adds value by providing a model for continuous digital improvement of the user (customer) online experience.

Those within the industry understand that the inclusion of SEO as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy is an absolute. But while we recognize that SEO holds the keys to digital success – from the insights and context it provides, to the optimization of content it can deliver – we sometimes overlook the additional business value of SEO.

The power of doing SEO now cannot be understated. As the most cost-effective channel for enterprises today, SEO also adds incremental value in a number of ways. In this article, we’ll consider just seven ways of them.

1. Brand awareness

Some tend to think about SEO primarily in terms of rankings and traffic. While both are great ways to measure the success of your SEO strategy, limiting yourself to those metrics alone can miss the wider value provided by a first-page result – whether it converts to click through or not.

Every search returns pages of results, and each time your product, service, or brand appears on page one of those results you create an impression. Those impressions are fundamental to brand awareness, which is the extent to which consumers recognize your brand, your product, or service.

In an endless sea of options, brand awareness is the first step in the marketing and sales funnel. Whether you’re promoting a new product or focused on retention, recall and recognition are key. SEO presents an opportunity to build brand awareness with every search.

In creating your SEO strategy, you will have ensured your site is easy to navigate, simple to search, accessible, and – critically – credible. Landing your business on the first page of results not only increases visibility but also means you’re more likely perceived as a leader in your industry.

2. PR and reputation

The shift from print media to digital has exponentially expanded your company’s potential audience. Online publications often have much higher readerships than traditional media outlets, and as such digital public relations support increased visibility of your brand.

Understanding that both online and traditional print publications leverage industry experts as content contributors, as step one in your PR and reputation strategy you’ll want to ensure you’re visible to be considered an expert in your local area and/or your industry.

Once in the virtual domain as an expert, your credibility continues to grow and has an incremental impact with each piece of coverage. News publications tend to have high domain authority, as links continue to be one of the most important ranking factors for search engines, each and every media mention further optimizes your searchability with a multiplier effect that continually increases your credibility. and visibility.

3. Consumer and market insights

Throughout the ongoing global pandemic, we’ve seen incredible shifts in consumer behavior worldwide. As consumers continue to re-evaluate everything from their careers to lifestyles and demand more from the brands they choose to buy from, seeking meaning in their purchasing, the insights SEO can provide offer incredible value. From consumer behavior trends to market and demand volatility, search behavior can provide the data businesses need to understand market drivers and pivot in real-time.

Using SEO results and search patterns, combined with the right strategic thinking, can lead to continuous improvement across a number of departments.

Consider content strategy, for example. Marketers know that high-quality content is critical to sales strategies, but what makes for success depends on the needs and wants of users. Understanding user search patterns can help to inform desirable content throughout the buying stages, ultimately leading to better conversation rates.

4. Content and cross channel activation

Of course, we can’t consider content strategy without addressing cross-channel activation. Integrating and activating content across marketing channels – from video to email to verticals and beyond – allows you to reach your customers in the places they are. It acts as the starting point for the personalization we know consumers crave.

By implementing optimized content in an integrated approach that covers everything from paid search to social, an intelligent content framework supports strong organic search success while fulfilling consumer curiosity by ensuring that content is optimized not just for one channel, but for all channels.

The business value of SEO in 2021 - Research showing content cross channel activation

Source: BrightEdge SEO Platform Research

Smart content is optimized from the point of creation and ready to activate across channels. The key to successful cross channel activation is a true understanding of customer intent, targeting customers with the detail they want and need, when they need it, and optimizing to ensure visibility.

5. Customer experience and retention

The hallmarks of a good digital experience are key components in the assessment search engines perform when considering whether your site is the best result to showcase. From usability to the relevance of content and simple search functionality, Google wants to see that your site and content are the best answer.

SEO adds value by providing a model for continuous improvement of the user (customer) online experience. Add to that the personalization facilitated by SEO and you’ve got yourself the basis of a top-notch customer experience.

As customers across the globe are craving more personalized experiences, successful businesses are looking at the customer experience holistically – and SEO is a great tool to support the complete customer view. Providing a package of integrated tools and features, SEO insights are an opportunity to take digital strategy from the page to the personal by leveraging data to deliver personalized experiences to customers in real-time.

6. Offline and local

Consumers leverage online research to inform their offline activities, as we well know. Mining SEO insights informs offline and local campaigns, as well.

From a service perspective, from comments to questions online, what consumers want to know in the digital space can lead to conversation starters in the physical space. Arm your customer service representatives with these insights for more meaningful in-person engagements, ultimately deepening the customer relationship.

Informing an in-store experience with SEO insights doesn’t end with sales training. In understanding search terms that returned no results, your buyers are presented with items your customers want you to offer, providing opportunities for new product lines and/or diversification in your services.

7. Revenue and lead generation

Customer acquisition can be costly. We know that inbound strategies are the most effective, and that SEO is a key source of leads. Rather than investing countless hours in outbound marketing strategies, drawing in customers with the information they need – when they need it – as they research and review throughout their buying journey provides a cost-effective avenue of lead generation.

Whether B2B or B2C, revenue grows when the right content is delivered to the right customer, at the right time. Optimizing online content across channels can generate more traffic, more conversions, and thus provide more revenue.

In short, having the right SEO strategy can bring success well beyond the digital space. Understand that set-it-and-forget-it is a strategy doomed to fail. Committing to monitoring and activating SEO insights in as near to real-time as possible gives organizations the opportunity to meet customers and prospects where and when they’re most receptive to your messaging.

From sales to service and loyalty, when supported by the right insights there are almost endless opportunities for companies to reap the value of SEO.

Jim Yu is the founder and CEO of BrightEdge, the leading enterprise SEO and content performance platform.

The post The business value of SEO in 2021: From revenue generation to reputation and retention appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Five strategies to promote your business using LinkedIn Stories

January 2, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • LinkedIn Stories feature allows you to create a video that runs no longer than 20 seconds and host it on your profile.
  • The format will help kickstart conversations and nurture the relationships that are core to everything that happens on LinkedIn.
  • These are a good way for brands to share a behind-the-scenes peek into their business’ professional moments.
  • The feature is expected to promote business content in an area whose netizens are purely composed of professionals, thus helping users build relationships with followers.
  • The feature has been rolled out in select countries, with plans to introduce it to a new country every week or so.

Did you know that more than 500 million people watch an Instagram Story every day, and over one-third of those videos are business-related? In a fresh respite for professionals and businesses who would until now take recourse to Instagram to publicize their business, LinkedIn stories have arrived to help professionals share their on-the-fly moments. Much like Instagram Stories, the LinkedIn Stories feature allows you to create a video that runs no longer than 20 seconds and host it on your profile. Once the “story” has been uploaded, it will be accessible by people for an entire day before it goes away.

According to LinkedIn, the feature was a long time coming. Pete Davies, the head of Consumer Products at LinkedIn, was quoted remarking about the usefulness of the feature as “…stories spread for a good reason: they offer a lightweight, fun way to share an update without it having to be perfect or attached to your profile forever.”

But, first things first. Should you even use Instagram stories? More importantly, what are they, and are they any different than the mainstream story feature from other popular social networking platforms?

In a word, yes. Through LinkedIn Stories, you will have a great opportunity to demonstrate your brand from a different angle and interact with your audience in a way they’re familiar with. 

What are LinkedIn Stories?

The LinkedIn Stories feature is a format that allows you to display and share specific content with your audience through an image slideshow or 20-second that is available for 24 hours before it is automatically gone. The video or the image slideshow disappears after a full day since it was posted.

This feature is, in essence, the same as the ones that exist on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, and has more or less the same functions. Users can add stickers, ask questions (AMA), place text overlays, use @mention to credit, or introduce other LinkedIn accounts.

Thus far, the LinkedIn Stories feature has been rolled out in select members and pages in the countries of the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, and Australia. Although, if you are itching to have a go at LinkedIn Stories, sit tight. According to LinkedIn, the feature will be rolled out to one new country every few weeks.

LinkedIn Stories example

However, the talking point here really is LinkedIn’s shift stories and how emblematic it is of social media’s evolution since the inception of a certain Facebook called centralized news feed in 2006. Today, stories have become the norm, and profile users opt to share their “in the moment” experience rather than devoting themselves to a binding feed post.

stat on Instagram stories

Source: Later.com

This aligns with the fad observed with Instagram over the course of the last few years, with an increasing number of people posting more stories and fewer feeds. This was confirmed by a recent study by Later, where influencers were found to now post 33% fewer feeds than they used to in 2016.

So, what meaning does this hold for businesses?

Put simply, this feature will offer a novel, temporary way to share information with your professionally-associated followers (LinkedIn connects). And while it might feel challenging to carve a name for your brand in a bustling online space, there are a host of elements you can peruse to morph a seemingly daunting prospect into a creative new opportunity to further your business objectives.

Benefits of LinkedIn Stories

We already know that, while belonging to different channels, the stories feature is essentially the same as the last one’s. What distinguishes LinkedIn stories the primary difference (and draw) of LinkedIn Stories is the business context.

Now, rather than using the feature to share lifestyle tips with relatives and friends, brands and marketers may share their stories with peers and future prospects. This material may be highly promotional.

Studies show that stories are gradually turning into the new favorite and preferred way to access material on social media channels. However, that is not to suggest that stories will fully replace the LinkedIn feed post. But, providing the stories features offers users the ability to broaden the scope of their LinkedIn content and reach a wider target audience.

This highly offbeat style of material promotion also enables LinkedIn users to provide a deeper insight into the people behind the business. This is especially helpful for company owners, entrepreneurs, and businessmen who want to capitalize on that trust factor with prospective customers and future clients.

LinkedIn Stories offer the most powerful opportunity for interaction. In a recent study, it was revealed that as many as 25% of Instagrammers swipe up when they come across a branded post. With LinkedIn Stories, the same feature and thought process will be replicated on a channel that is completely dedicated to business networking.

However, it’s important to note that while your stories might not directly result in a sale, you are promoting your brand and creating an air of awareness about it. What’s infinitely more exciting is that this promotion will make you come across people that you can talk to directly to open the doors to better opportunities.

Take Instagram, for instance. As many as 50% of businesses over the world make at least one story every month that promotes their brand or product. And this is where the low hanging fruit becomes apparent. Armed with the right strategy, you can make use of a fantastic opportunity in the form of LinkedIn Stories to generate a buzz around your brand.

Five strategies to promote your business through LinkedIn Stories

At first sight, the stories feature, regardless of the channel it belongs to, seems like something that is entirely dedicated to the consumer: they are informal and sate the hankering for instant gratification. But, if you were to look at it a little closer, you would see how this feature can help B2B companies connect with each other on a deeper level to build engaging relationships.

If you are already familiar with the inner workings of the stories feature on other networking platforms, you won’t find it difficult to shift base to LinkedIn Stories for business-related purposes after it has been made available to everyone. Listed below are five ways you can use it for your business when the time comes.

1. Share real-time activities

LinkedIn Stories have a limited life span, making them ideal for communicating less refined, off-the-cuff material right in real-time.

Sharing real-time event updates is also a great strategy, mostly because events are a significant source of leads for many businesses, and 85% of them consider interpersonal meetings central to their marketing plan. LinkedIn Stories let your followers view excerpts of events from a first-person perspective.

From enterprise-wide announcements to award ceremonies, sharing snippets of events in the form of live stories is a tremendously useful way to showcase the goings-on at your company.

This is also an incredible way to generate an extra buzz around your brand. Consider requesting event coordinators and speakers to share short sounds of information about a new product or feature or possibly even feature a BTS look of any extra details in store!

2. Share customer testimonial stories

Irrespective of the generation you are from, the odds are that you trust people’s advice more than any other form of content marketing. This is what makes testimonials and user reviews such a powerful tool for marketing.

With the millennial generation soon climbing up the organizational ladder and becoming decision-makers, they will be searching for goods and services that have demonstrated that they can make professional work easier. They will look for vendors that have the products with the features that they desire, so filming your satisfied customers and posting a short clip on LinkedIn in the form of a story might just be the perfect way to catch their attention.

3. Share business tips and updates

Stories are the perfect way to generate demand. Your most loyal supporters are going to see your story. If you post something about your brand, tease the new features of a product, or make something exclusively available on LinkedIn, they will share it with others. Talk about word of mouth!

4. Share trending news or announcements

If you are among the privileged few brands who have gotten to use the LinkedIn Stories feature first, the chances are that you will get a massive amount of additional airtime with your LinkedIn followers.

Keeping that in mind, it may be a sensible move to use this new forum to post all your essential brand news.

5. Host corporate Q&As

Much like Instagram Stories, the stories feature on LinkedIn is the perfect way to show what goes on behind the scenes and gives you the chance to share the more humane side of your business.

By hosting a pep talk or a Q&A session on LinkedIn stories, you can show the people that make up your brand. Not only is it another great way to share your brand story, but it is also helpful when it comes to creating brand loyalty.

In order to gain more questions for your Q&A session, you can request your followers to submit questions to you in advance. This can be done either through direct messaging or via a conventional LinkedIn feed post.

The do(s) and don’t(s) of LinkedIn Stories

Begin your story strategy with a positive growth mindset. LinkedIn Stories are not simply a means of communicating; they present a powerful tool for promoting interaction, learning about your audience, and improving the business.

Do spend time building a strategy

Consider how short bits of information better suit the brand’s wider content marketing strategy.

Which kind of subjects and press do your followers enjoy? Do you produce new content only for stories or reuse them from other platforms?

Don’t spend time behind perfecting every story

Note that stories are only available for 24 hours after you publish them. Moreover, stories that appear too organized and designed sort of miss the mark. Stories are supposed to feel random, so try to have the same mentality as you do when you post Instagram or Facebook stories.

Do relate to followers

People desire real connections from businesses. Let your brand persona shine a little and share more about yourself. It’s the perfect way to strengthen your brand’s mission, vision, and values.

Don’t be too casual

It’s really easy to let go and get caught up in the moment, which could prompt you to post something regretful when you know it’s going to disappear in 24 hours. Consider creating some boundaries for your stories dedicated to your brand.

Conclusion

If you’re communicating job openings or are releasing a commodity, capitalizing on this latest platform to reach out to a wider audience is certainly a smart move. If Instagram Stories are anything to go by, the first adopters of this feature will put themselves ahead in the race to improved brand awareness.

Aayush Gupta is Sr. Manager, Brand & Marketing at Uplers. He likes to stay on his toes when it comes to marketing and doing things worth risk-taking. He loves traveling and exploring local cuisines. In his free time reading books with coffee is all he wants.

The post Five strategies to promote your business using LinkedIn Stories appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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How C-suite derives business value from social media: Q&A with Hootsuite’s VP of Corporate Marketing, Henk Campher

December 28, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The pandemic drove people inside their homes and onto social media like never before.
  • Hootsuite has closely been monitoring the changing behaviors of consumers online since the beginning of 2020.
  • We caught up with Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing and Head of Social Impact at Hootsuite, to help you derive a cream level perspective for your digital strategies.
  • Know how CMOs can find value in SMM efforts, conduct market analysis, and run social media campaigns that actually succeed in the eyes of top management.

From learning banana bread recipes to connecting with loved ones, hunting jobs, and now shopping holiday gifts, the pandemic drove people inside their homes and onto social media like never before. 2020 has shown us how people have resorted to Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn. While Hootsuite has closely been monitoring the changing behaviors of consumers online, we caught up with Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing and Head of Social Impact at Hootsuite, to help you derive a cream level perspective for your digital strategies.

Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing and Head of Social Impact at Hootsuite - Q&AQ. Paid ads have their own cons like reduced page reach, how do you maintain an upward graph for organic page reach and boost relationships, engagement, and direct sales?

Henk Campher: Never take a one-size-fits-all approach to social media marketing, especially with organic content. To reach a large audience, organic posts need to be optimized. To do this, you need to understand the platform and audience you are optimizing for. Start by focusing on the platforms that make the most sense for your business. For example, if you’re a B2B company, you may find the most value on LinkedIn or Twitter whereas a B2C company may gravitate towards Snapchat, Instagram, or TikTok to reach a younger crowd. 

If you want organic content to perform well on social media, create engaging and personalized content that is fitting for the platform you are using. Give people a reason to follow and engage with your social posts. To better understand what content resonates with your audience, start by using social listening tools—at Hootsuite, we integrate directly with Brandwatch so our customers can navigate social intelligence capabilities directly from their dashboard.

Case study:

Securian Financial, a Hootsuite financial services customer, was able to leverage social listening to determine that their key demographics shifted away from complaining about quarantine to sharing positive content around being connected. What arose was Life Balance Remix, a UGC campaign encouraging people to share content that highlighted their “new normal” and garnered thousands of participants with over 2.5 million campaign impressions across Twitter and Instagram. 

Beyond creating the right content for the right platform, it’s essential to connect with people. Show your audience the human side of your brand. You can do this by lifting up your employees on social media and sharing their stories or connecting with the wider community through an employee advocacy tool, like Hootsuite’s Amplify tool. If you want to boost engagement on posts, ask your audience relevant and interesting questions. This is also a great opportunity to learn about what interests them. If you focus on value and creating the right content, you’ll be able to successfully develop relationships with your audience, boost engagement, and drive sales.

Q. What are the top social media metrics that can help CMOs see direct value in marketers’ social media marketing efforts?

Henk Campher: For both B2C and B2B brands, the key to successful social measurement is to keep your metrics simple. Trust classic cross-platform metrics like return-on-ad spend and lifetime value, as these measures also tie directly to your organization’s business goals. Once you choose the content you think will resonate with your audience, test your ideas to identify which posts generate the most engagement, shares, and impressions, and do this for each social platform. Continue to test, learn, and optimize. But when it comes to measuring your efforts on social, it is important to keep your business objectives in mind and develop KPIs that match the overall goals and expectations of your organization. Metrics such as impressions and reach should be analyzed consciously.

If your goal is to build brand awareness, focus on overall engagement and how long visitors are staying on your website. This will help evaluate if your content isn’t just “content-for-content-sake” but is actually resonating with your audience and driving conversions. 

Q. What are the typical touchpoints/aspects marketers must include in their social media campaigns to reflect value for the brand and meet CMO expectations?

Henk Campher: One of the most important aspects of a social media campaign is social listening. A robust social listening tool allows you access to real-time insights into consumer sentiment, shifting trends, and competitive intelligence. These insights are key to helping a brand better understand how consumers feel about a campaign and what they want from your brand.  

The best social media campaigns also have specific goals in mind and are purpose-driven. You must understand the customer segment you’re trying to reach through a specific campaign. To achieve this, create profiles or personas for your core constituencies that integrate data and insights from marketing channels (including social) and CRM. Understanding how, where, and when to engage with your constituents requires a clear picture of their motivations and their needs.

Another important aspect is social data integration. Our ‘Social Transformation Report uncovered that only 10% of marketers feel they have mature practices around integrating social data into enterprise systems like Adobe, Microsoft, Marketo, or Salesforce. However, according to our ‘2021 Social Trends Report, 85% of organizations that integrate social data into their other systems have the confidence to accurately quantify the ROI of social media. While data integration is a complex process, a much more accessible entry point that can help marketers better connect social engagement to customer identity and measurable ROI is integrating paid and organic social media activity.  We found that mature organizations with completely integrated paid and organic social strategies are 32% more confident in quantifying the ROI of social media. 

Q. How important is it for any brand to have involvement in social matters and social investments?

Henk Campher: The most successful brands this year didn’t put themselves front and center of the conversation—they decided to listen instead. After taking the time to listen, brands must find creative and empathetic ways of adding value to the conversation instead of trying to lead it. Brands should stay true to their identities and their audience by asking:

  • “What is my role?”
  • “What conversations make sense for me to weigh in on and why?”
  • “How can social media contribute to my business objectives?”

Having a voice in important conversations is powerful for a brand. However, if a brand is posting about topics that don’t align with the brand’s personality and identity, customers will notice. As a wealth of different conversations are taking place across social media at all times, it’s important to create a blueprint for how to comment on a conversation, if at all. 

Q. What methods can CMOs implement to use social media like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for effective market analysis?

Henk Campher: There are various tried-and-true methods CMOs can implement when using social media platforms for market analysis. Before you begin your analysis, always have a clear goal in mind. It’s important to look at what exactly you want to analyze whether it’s your brand, product, or competitors. Doing a quantitative content analysis by assessing the engagement rate of your social posts can give companies an idea of if a message or product is resonating with your followers. Social listening is another incredibly powerful tool for analysis. Through social listening, you can zero in on how people are talking about your brand.  It’s also important to not be shy. Be empowered as a brand to implement tactics like polls and surveys on social to get in touch with customers and glean informative insights into how your audience is thinking about your brand. 

Q. How would you push an online event that involves employee referral on social media for a maximum turnaround?

Henk Campher: Develop an effective social media strategy in advance and provide your employees with the right resources and tools to promote the event. You can do this by crafting the content and social platform guidelines in advance so it is easy for employees to spread the word on social media. At Hootsuite our Amplify tool allows brands to extend their social reach and increase employee engagement. Using platforms that are suited for employee advocacy will garner the most successful results. 

Q. What are your expert tips on the most effective ways to run a social media campaign, especially during the holiday season 2020?

Henk Campher: The holidays are a great opportunity for brands to increase engagement and drive sales on social media. Here are my four tips to create an effective social media campaign and stand out from the competition: 

  1. Tweak your social media posting schedule to accommodate changing workdays or times. B2B businesses often have higher engagement rates during the day, as employees are leaving early and working less in the evening. B2C companies generally have a better reach when it’s not during typical work hours. 
  2. Continue to curate content over the holidays, even if there might be a downturn of activity on social channels across the board. If you go quiet on social, your customers will notice. 
  3. Maintain community engagement as relationships, connections and engagement are key to any successful social media campaign. Always respond to customer issues or comments promptly.
  4. The holidays are a great time to showcase the ‘human’ side of your business. Take advantage of platforms like Instagram to showcase the company, employees, and interact with the community at large. 

Q. What are the most common mistakes you see brands making in their social media pushes?

Henk Campher: The most common mistake brands make is thinking of social media merely as a broadcast medium. With nearly three billion people on Facebook every month, more than one million on Instagram, and hundreds of millions more on Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, and Snapchat, it’s tempting to think that way. While social media started with organic posts and later turned to paid social advertising, brands should never lose sight of social media’s core value: establishing and maintaining relationships. Take the time to invest in relationship building, as this helps brands build strong bonds with their audiences and boost customer loyalty, which ultimately benefits their business. Rather than pump out promotional content, take the time to establish your brand’s personality, and connect with customers by taking on an empathetic “human-first” approach.

How is your brand making the most of social media marketing this holiday season? Are there challenges you’re facing with regards to creating value from a board room perspective? Feel free to share your thoughts on our interview, drop a comment!

The post How C-suite derives business value from social media: Q&A with Hootsuite’s VP of Corporate Marketing, Henk Campher appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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How questionnaires can help you evolve your product or business

December 23, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Customers are at the heart of brand success and customer feedback is a leading resource that you should never take for granted.
  • While it is true that there is a lot of useful information that can be collected without customer intervention, things like questionnaires are no less important.
  • The more you talk to your clients, the more valuable information you obtain, the easier it is to address consumer needs.
  • Zakhar Yung shares a comprehensive guide to make the most of customer feedback for business growth and development.

Customers are at the heart of brand success. Brands do their best to meet and exceed consumer needs, ensure their satisfaction and encourage people to come back. With evolving technological advances, companies not only encounter strong competition but also get more sophisticated ways of collecting customer data to tailor their services.

While it is true that there is a lot of useful information that can be collected without customer intervention, things like questionnaires are no less important. By letting people tell you more about their experience, asking them what is it they still lack, or encouraging them to share their thoughts, you establish meaningful connections and get extra information to satisfy their needs. And with convenient ways of importing and storing data (through Google Sheets integration, for example), running feedback analysis has become even faster.

Why is customer feedback important?

Consumer feedback includes all the information that people share about the brand, its products, and services. Every issue they have, every insight they give, every input they make is valuable. Such feedback encourages further improvements and empowers future business changes.

Customer feedback is a leading resource for growth and should never be taken for granted. All the comments people leave on the company’s social media channels, especially the negative ones, serve as a trigger for implementing changes and really understanding clients’ needs.

How does a questionnaire help a business?

The more you talk to your clients, the more valuable information you obtain, the easier it is to address consumer needs. Moreover, your company will only benefit from questionnaires as there are tons of advantages you receive by implementing them.

1. Provide better UX

With so many web design trends entering the market, it is important to think not only about how the website looks but also how functional it is in terms of user experience. While the sites are usually tested by a qualified team, users tend to notice more. If they happen to find something that doesn’t work or is inconvenient, it is not a bad thing. They can contribute and share their feedback. You should encourage site visitors to leave their comments and tell you more about their experience with the website. Such an approach helps you to build connections with potential clients and improve their user experience.

Using questionnaires to improve customer satisfaction - Customer Satisfaction Survey

2. Establish social influence

Customers have become more conscious. No one is blindly buying a piece of cloth online unless there are at least several positive reviews stating the item is worth its money. Testimonial pages work great when it comes to giving new consumers the needed proof and persuading them to purchase from you. You can use those comments that people leave on social media, through contact forms, or directly on the site. All of the feedback helps to understand your target audience, how they view your services and address their queries faster and more efficiently.

Using questionnaires to improve customer satisfaction - Customer Reviews

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3. Evolve your products

Whenever you are ready to expand and add new and updated products, the first and foremost is asking your clients what they want. Is there anything they lack? Are there products that they wish to buy from you but need to purchase from competitors because your brand doesn’t offer it yet? 

Meeting additional customer needs is no less important than satisfying the current ones. Create a separate questionnaire where people can share their ideas and suggestions or make a comparison chart with possible products to see which one is more important and awaited. In the end, you might be surprised by the results. Sometimes, the products you think will do great might come up to be an absolute waste of money as your current customers just don’t need them.

Using questionnaires to improve customer satisfaction - Instagram Polls

Image source

4. Develop better consumer service

Consumers report issues on a daily basis. They use contact forms, emails, telephone lines, and chatbots whenever they need a quick response. The truth is that not all brands are ready to provide solid support and leave many consumer comments and complaints unattended. Analyzing what people say will help you provide enhanced customer service. Looking at all of the submitted forms and complaints, you can find a certain pattern or an issue that happens more often than other ones. You can then use it to add more information on the case in a FAQ section or an automated live chat. Moreover, you can educate your support team to ensure they know how to address such complaints.

Methods for collecting feedback

Obtaining feedback is not rocket science. There is a wide range of channels that are great when it comes to communicating with clients and asking their opinion. Is there a single one that works better than others? No, but there can be one that best fits the needs of a particular brand and its customers. One company can receive most of the clients’ feedback through Instagram while another company prefers email surveys. It depends on where your clients are and which channel they prefer when it comes to addressing their needs.

1. Consumer surveys

There exist short surveys and long questionnaires that both work on the right occasion. You can place a pop-up question on the web page for those who are browsing it, or you can go with more traditional, long surveys with multiple questions. The latter is usually placed after people purchase something from the site or sign up for a newsletter.

Using questionnaires to improve customer satisfaction - Netfix Questionnaire example

Image Source

Qualaroo tool works great for single-question surveys, while SurveyKing can be leveraged to create more sophisticated surveys with multiple questions. There are more tools to explore, like Survey Gizmo or Qualtrics that allow companies to yield dynamic insights.

To ensure people participate in a questionnaire, questions should be thoughtful, open-ended, and easy to understand. They should help you meet your goals and better address clients’ needs and preferences. Rating scales should be consistent and clear.

2. Email surveys

With email still being one of the preferred means of communication, companies can use it to send more personalized surveys and create a one-on-one vibe. However, in order to encourage people to share their thoughts, you need to ensure they are heard and acknowledged. Phrases like “We’d love to hear your feedback”, “Tell us how we did today”, or “We appreciate our loyal customers and want to do even better. Tell us about your current experience” will persuade more people to participate in a questionnaire.

Feedback Request Email

Image source

Once consumers complete the survey, make sure to send them an automated reply, acknowledging it and thanking them for their time and effort.

3. Usability tests

Checking usability is a way of gathering consumer feedback and finding out what else there is to improve. You can get insights on different things, from a website to newly launched products and updated services.

If you have finished and released a new version of the website, inform your clients via email, asking them to share their thoughts afterward. Otherwise, you can insert a pop-up on the site with an encouraging note: “Welcome to our new and updated website. We are dying to hear what you think of it.”

On another note, when implementing a new service or introducing a new product, make sure to collect enough feedback as well. Offer to send free samples for customers to try it out. If it is a new feature, make it free and ask people to test it out. The more reviews you receive, the better the end product.

4. Customer interviews

Some companies practice direct communication with their clients. Brand representatives reach out first, initiating a friendly conversation, asking simple questions, getting people’s thoughts, and trying to know their consumers. Who told you that the one and only reason for initiating a conversation lies in resolving complaints?

Such customer interviews can provide useful insights and help brands understand their consumers better. You can start a conversation with those consumers who have recently completed a purchase or updated their yearly subscription. They will appreciate such attention and feel welcomed and valued.

Customer interviews might be a tough thing to accomplish due to a large number of consumers but are absolutely worth the hassle.

5. Social media interaction

As most people nowadays are extremely tech-savvy, social media has become a go-to place in terms of reviews, comments, and feedback. With so many people using Facebook and Instagram 24/7, there is no better place to grow your brand’s presence, establish your influence, and collect valuable data.

Using Facebook Reviews to communicate and understand your customers

People can leave direct comments, use hashtags, or mention the brand when they write a new post. Social channels are adapting and there are now built-in polls, surveys, and automated questionnaires. Many brands use Instagram stories to communicate with people, ask questions, and share their feedback. Such an approach allows them to reach more potential clients and gather more from a large number of people.

6. On-site analytics

To know how clients interact with a brand, and whether their website experience is pleasant enough is possible without asking direct questions. It is possible to see whether people visit certain pages, what is the average time on a page, and how good the bounce rate is with the help of analytics.

Using questionnaires to improve customer satisfaction - Refer to on-site analytics

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Leveraging analytics helps you improve user on-site experience, change your messaging, and understand what resonates with potential clients and what doesn’t.

7. Instant feedback

You can combine analytics and surveys and gain even more information. Clients’ feedback can be collected without asking any questions.

If you have some useful content (how-to guides, tips and tricks, industry statistics, etc.) that you consider helpful for site visitors, you can place it on the page and see whether people click to read more or just ignore it. You can also add a question to find out whether the information is useful or not. In case you get more negative answers and zero clicks, there is a need to reconsider the types of content you offer.

Analyzing every answer you get and every comment you receive, you can ask the site users to share their thoughts and ideas on the topics that will be interesting for them to read.

Questions to ask a customer to determine their needs

While we have already discussed different methods for collecting consumer feedback, we still haven’t covered those questions to include in a questionnaire. They will differ depending on when you want to ask them: before or after the purchase, or when people have already received their products.

When you plan to send the first survey to new visitors who have just subscribed to your newsletter, consider the below questions:

  • Tell us about those products you are interested in.
  • What are certain types of goods you want to find?
  • What is the occasion (if any)?
  • Did you manage to find the things you were initially looking for?
  • How easy it is to navigate the site and search for goods?
  • Are there things you didn’t manage to find?

Once people complete their first purchase, you can share some additional questions:

  • Were there any difficulties when you placed an order?
  • Which delivery method do you prefer?
  • Which payment method is the most convenient for you?

To find out whether people are satisfied with ordered goods or services, follow up after a few days via email or any other preferred channel:

  • Are you happy with the purchase?
  • How was the delivery service?
  • Would you like to share some comments or suggestions?

Depending on the nature of offered goods and services, companies can tailor questions and make them more product-related. If it is software, there will be more questions about usability, speed, features, and upgrades. If we are talking about makeup, there will be more questions about skin types, allergies, and color preferences.

But the only thing remains unchanged, the more you know about your clients and what they expect from the brand, the more tailored and customer-oriented your services will be.

Conclusion

Questionnaires not only help to evolve your company but also to build meaningful connections with the clients. When you know enough about your consumers, things they love, and products they lack, you can further develop and improve, build social influence, and provide enhanced customer service.

You can create on-site surveys, share questionnaires via email, or leverage social media to interact with people and gather their insights. Website analytics is also a great way of collecting data and understanding what really works and what doesn’t.

Test different surveys, create a list of diverse questions, aligning them with the company’s goals to help you meet and exceed consumer expectations.

Zakhar Yung is a technical content writer at Coupler.io, a product by Railsware that allows users to import data into Google Sheets from different data sources.

The post How questionnaires can help you evolve your product or business appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Does changing your business phone number affect SEO?

November 4, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Although a business phone number isn’t as tough on your SEO as a complete rebrand, changing it can have an impact on your SEO.
  • Preserving NAP consistency should be your primary goal when changing your phone number.
  • Your marketing strategy can help make the transition easier for your customers, too, as you can notify them of the change ahead of time.
  • The key goal in addition to retaining your ranking should be to not lose the trust of your customers by changing your information – hence the need to approach the process carefully.

Much like all other aspects of digital marketing and brand positioning, SEO is a constantly changing game. With so many moving pieces and evolving trends, it’s no wonder that brands aren’t quite certain which decisions will negatively impact their SEO, and which ones are safe enough to make. 

One day, it seems that one kind of behavior is perfectly fine, while the next Google will penalize it because they’ve implemented algorithm changes. Add customer expectations into the mix, and it gets even more difficult to figure out just what’s worth the effort, and what should be left alone. 

When it comes to your business details, including your name, address, and phone number (neatly packed into the notion of NAP information), change can be good. After all, entire companies have successfully rebranded without a hitch. However, changing a single piece of information such as your phone number can change the entire customer journey if not done right.

Here, we’ll tackle a few essential steps in the process to keep in mind, so that your phone number shift doesn’t impact your ranking or your brand perception negatively. 

NAP it in the bud

Local search is a vital component of your overall SEO strategy, all the more so when you’re running a strictly local business with a physical presence, such as a pastry shop, a car repair facility, or a beauty salon. Your foot traffic heavily depends on your customers’ ability to find correct information online when they search for your services.

If they stumble upon an outdated number, they’ll call the next business in their search results with solid reviews and forget that you exist. Simply put, consistency matters. Google doesn’t want to disappoint its users, so it penalizes businesses with inconsistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) information across the internet. As soon as your directories, your website and other online listings don’t show your actual phone number, your ranking will suffer.

The remedy is fairly simple. If you have decided to change your phone number or your entire communications system, for that matter, you should take the time to revise all your local business listings and directories where your company pops up. 

NAP consistency is a vital ranking factor that can either plummet your business in the eyes of search engines, or it can help you reach those topmost desirable spots in the SERPs. So, while changing your business phone number might not be a cause for worry on its own, how you distribute it will greatly matter in local rankings. 

Take care of your call tracking

Some businesses steer clear of call tracking simply because they aren’t sure how to go about it, afraid to damage their SEO in the process. Even more importantly with regards to call tracking, every business needs to adhere to those key legal requirements, such as the EU’s GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, to make sure their customers’ sensitive information is safe. But when the time comes to move from outdated landlines and change your numbers or merge them, you can also reap the benefits of this potentially SEO-beneficial process.

Wanting to unify and improve their communication systems, companies are switching to digital phone solutions such as voice over internet protocol (or VoIP for short). There are many perks of such a transition for call tracking, smarter customer support, and better customer engagement, all of which can support your SEO efforts in the long run. As you learn about VoIP and its many applications, you’ll be able to make the most of your phone-based interactions with your customers to serve your brand reputation, but also your ranking.

In addition to having more business phone numbers at your disposal if you need them, you should know that VoIP platforms come with other useful features such as call analytics, recording, emailing, and texting. Collecting all of that data and implementing SEO-safe call tracking with the help of Dynamic Number Insertion both work in favor of your SEO.

Building and preserving customer trust

When done right, changing your business phone number can be a seamless process that doesn’t do any damage to your ranking. However, it’s important to remember the reason for the ranking in the first place: search engines want to give users the best, most trustworthy results first and above all other available options online. In doing so, they reward businesses that accurately portray themselves online, and contact information is a vital component of that representation.

The basic premise goes as follows: if a customer calls you and gets a notification that the number no longer exists, they lose trust in your brand. Google and other search engines recognize that lack of trust and thus push other businesses above yours, with accurate and verified contact details available. In a sense, it’s customer trust that drives search engine ranking. 

Research has confirmed this, as 80% of surveyed respondents in BrightLocal research have stated that they would lose trust in a business with incorrect and inconsistent contact details. If you’ve decided to change your phone number, making sure it’s consistently represented across all of your digital outlets is the key piece of your SEO puzzle: to preserve customer trust and thus to preserve your ranking. 

Notifying the customer in time

Thankfully, you can make sure that your customers have the correct information in a few simple ways. If you’ve taken care of all of your business directory listings, your social media pages, messaging app presence, and your website, you can use your marketing strategy to get the word out. 

Your subscribers and return customers will want to know that your business has changed a vital piece of information. Just like you don’t want them to spend an hour going to an old address of your café only to discover a weird-looking shop for plumbing supplies, you want to have your new number added to their contacts list.

You can use your weekly/monthly newsletter to notify them of the switch, post a social media update letting customers know the new number they can reach you on, and post a little announcement on your website, too, especially if you gain plenty of call traffic from all of these outlets.

Changing a business phone number can be a simple process in itself, but its impact on your business will not be unless you prepare properly. Taking care of all the business registers where your company is listed paired with implementing search engine-approved tracking tactics as well as customer engagement will be more than enough to help you through the process. 

Emma Worden is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. You can find Emma on @EmmaRWorden.

The post Does changing your business phone number affect SEO? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Why behavior analysis is important online business

September 25, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • A typical consumer now owns an average of 3.6 devices which means a person’s journey may start from a laptop and end on a mobile or a tablet.
  • In the ecommerce business, the cart abandonment rate is the thing that haunts most of the business owners.
  • Developing analytical skills can help you better manage these obstacles.
  • MD of SEO Discovery shares a guide to help you understand Cohort Analysis and Behavior Analysis to eliminate roadblocks and improve engagement.

In today’s digital age, the customer journey is getting complex day by day and if you are doing online business then it’s vital to understand your customer journey. A typical consumer now owns an average of 3.6 devices which means a person’s journey may start from a laptop and end on a mobile or a tablet.

In the ecommerce business, the cart abandonment rate is the thing that haunts most of the business owners. According to Statista, 88.05 percent of online shopping orders were abandoned in March 2020 worldwide, which means over 88% of people added selected products into the cart and left without buying for various reasons. This is a massive business opportunity loss for ecommerce players.

Developing analytical skills can help you better manage these obstacles. Without adequate knowledge of analytics, your marketing won’t work because you won’t know what worked and what didn’t work. All the marketing suits come with analytics tools to help perceive the behavior, engagement metrics, and demographics of the visitors coming to a website. The most common web analytics tools are Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Kiss Metrics, and Mixpanel. They generally come with the following features and capabilities:

  • Real-time analytics
  • Mobile analytics
  • Attribution modeling
  • Segmentation
  • Ecommerce tracking
  • Funnel analysis
  • Cohort analysis
  • Cross-device tracking
  • In-page analytics (Session recording, click tracking, heatmaps)
  • Goal conversion tracking
  • Event tracking
  • A/B testing

Every feature has its own data sets which can be compared to help you make informed decisions. Today we are going to understand Cohort Analysis and Behavior Analysis to eliminate roadblocks and improve engagement.

What is a Cohort Analysis and why is it important?

Cohort analysis is a subset of users grouped by shared characteristics. It simply allows you to compare the behavior and metrics of different cohorts over time.

Cohort Analysis Example – Finding Engagement Drop

Let’s suppose you have an online food ordering website/app and using acquisition date (when users started their first sessions) cohorts you can find out when in the customer lifecycle your users tend to drop off.

Cohort table for behavior analysis

The best way for visualizing this data is to chart out the retention curve, portraying retention over time.

Cohort Curve - Behavior analysis

This retention curve clearly reflects the most important insight – around 75% of the users stop using the website after the first day. We can see a downfall in the engagement. Hence, it’s evident to improve the overall experience and abet customers through daily offers/coupons to boosting retention.

Cohort Analysis Comparison – Organic vs Direct

The below cohort analysis indicates that organic traffic has a better retention rate than direct.

Cohort - Organic vs Direct - Behavior analysis

 

Visitor behavior analysis and its importance

It’s a process of tracking user behavior on a website and there are some great tools in the market that give accurate information. Tools like Hotjar, MouseFlow, Crazy Egg record visitor sessions to see how visitors are navigating on the website. They also offer click tracking and heatmaps to analyze the most engaging and ignored (skipped) elements on a page.

Screenshot - Mouseflow - Understanding visitors' behavior analysis

If you look at the above heatmap, you would notice that no one bothered to click on “PORTFOLIO” in the top menu, which means people aren’t interested in see the portfolio. Maybe we have to replace it with something more interesting (like Case Studies, Achievements, and more) which grabs a visitor’s attention. These kinds of insights help you add/remove elements to improve page engagement.

Using filters, you can further segment your audience to dig deep and pull out actionable insights, see those filter below:

Screenshot - Mouseflow_Filters

In Google Analytics, behavior flow gives you a visual presentation of how people are navigating on your website. You can apply segments to get a deeper view of their behavior and it also enables you to apply different dimensions on top of these segments to get actionable insights.

 GA Behaviour Flow

The power of these analytical tools lies in the fact that it allows you to view which customers leave and what’s making them leave your website/app – so that you can fix it. You can also hire a professional digital marketing agency that can help you find these hurdles and remove them to enhance your overall engagement.

Mandeep Singh is the MD of SEO Discovery. He’s mission is to provide affordable digital marketing services to startups and SMEs. He’s an official member of Forbes Agency Council. You can find him on LinkedIn.

The post Why behavior analysis is important online business appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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