- 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.
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.
- For B2B marketers, Instagram Stories may not seem the most obvious medium for content creation, but it can be a very effective one.
- B2B brands are able to generate 20x more engagement on Instagram compared to LinkedIn.
- Digital Marketing Strategist, Sumeet Anand details on six ways B2B marketers can use Instagram Stories for lead generation with examples from Salesforce, Oracle, Hubspot, Slack, and more.
Instagram is the hottest new social media channel for B2B marketing. In fact, a study found that B2B brands are able to generate 20x more engagement on Instagram compared to LinkedIn. Sounds great, right? One of the best parts about Instagram is it gives you the ability to publish Stories along with posts. Over 500 million Instagram users view and post Instagram Stories on the app every day. With such popularity, it’s evident that users like this feature to view content. What’s more, is that one in three of the most viewed Instagram Stories is from businesses.
For B2B marketers, it may not seem the most obvious medium for content creation, but it can be a very effective one. For the uninitiated, Instagram Stories disappear in 24 hours. Think of it as a dashboard where you can add GIFs, photos, and videos that add brand and business value.
While your content doesn’t stay on the platform for long, it gets displayed prominently at the top of the users’ feed amplifying the chances of viewing and engaging with your brand.
Instagram Stories are very versatile. You can use them to promote your latest products or simply share an inspirational quote. That’s one of the biggest “whys?” Instagram Stories can be a great tool for marketing. If you are not using them to promote your brand, it’s time to get started now.
How to use Instagram Stories to generate more B2B leads
In this section, let’s discuss different ways in which you can leverage Instagram Stories for B2B lead generation.
To give you a better understanding of its practical usage, we’ve also included real-life examples from B2B companies.
1. Publish share-worthy content
The first part of the B2B marketing funnel is about creating brand awareness. You don’t directly try to sell your services or products to a cold lead. The first step to get them interested is to initiate a conversation about your niche or industry.
That’s where Instagram Stories come into the picture. You can publish share-worthy content that educates your audience or is interesting. If you have your own blog, you can also promote your latest posts in your Instagram Stories.
Salesforce uses this strategy to promote their posts and engage prospective leads. As you can see in the screenshot below, Instagram users can swipe to get redirected to their blog.
There’s all about getting more website traffic.
But what about lead generation?
On the website, there is a prominent CTA at the end of the blog post. So, Salesforce uses Instagram Stories to get more leads indirectly. It’s a quick entry into the sales funnel.
The actual process of lead generation and conversion happens on the website.
In other words, Instagram Stories provides a great window of opportunity for you to boost your traffic and get more leads.
Don’t miss out.
Not just blog posts, you can also share other resources like case studies, podcast episodes, and webinars via Instagram Stories. Since Stories stay on your profile for only 24 hours, they are great for such short-term promotional activities.
The best part?
Instagram provides different Stickers that you can use to make the promotion more exciting. For instance, Vancouver-based software company, Unbounce used the countdown Sticker to create buzz about their new report.
To get users interested, they also provide a sneak peek into the findings in the next series of Stories.
Here is a screenshot:
You can use a specialized Instagram Story maker tool with templates to make visually appealing designs without spending too much time or effort.
2. Conduct an Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) session
B2B buyers value brands that are transparent with them.
If you are willing to share knowledge and provide them guidance, you can expect them to tune in. In an effort to build an authentic relationship with your prospects, you can host an Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) session.
It can help you build brand awareness and boost your lead generation efforts. In addition to this, it can also establish your brand as a leader in your industry.
To get the maximum leads, you can invite an influencer or an expert. When they host an AMA on your Instagram Stories, you can attract their followers as well.This way, you can boost your reach and get more leads.
Don’t have the budget for it? There is still a way around it. Take inspiration from HubSpot’s Instagram Stories.
They conducted AMA sessions with their employees, including social media video editor, blogging manager, email and growth manager, and others. Each of them shared what they do and shared tips for others.
This is also a great strategy to get more engagement.
And anyone who has an understanding of the B2B marketing funnel knows that it paves the way for conversion.
3. Showcase your latest products
If you’re launching a new product or are adding new features to your product, announce it via an Instagram Story. It can help you create some buzz and inform your audience about what’s on offer.
Furthermore, you can actually demonstrate what users can do with the new product or feature. Such content can be educational as well as entertaining.
Social media management tool, Buffer used this strategy to promote their new app, Remix. Here is a screenshot from their Instagram profile:
As you can see, they have introduced the app casually. In a series of Stories that follow it, they have explained via images and videos how users it works.
They demonstrate how users can share content posted on one social media platform to another one seamlessly with the app. Through such engaging Stories, they provide a quick step-by-step tutorial on how to use the app.
Wondering how it is a great strategy to drive leads?
After all, they aren’t driving any website traffic. For that matter, they don’t even have a powerful call-to-action phrase on these Instagram Stories. There isn’t a special offer included either.
So, how is this strategy relevant for B2B lead generation?
As it turns out, providing exposure to your products and services is a top-of-the-marketing funnel. When people know more about your services and products, they are likely to check out your site. This, in turn, can get them to opt-in, and finally make a purchase.
The point being, it can help you with lead nurturing. In a nutshell, it is a baby step in the right direction.
4. Conduct quizzes
Another cool way to engage your audience and get them interested is to host quizzes and polls in Instagram Stories. Using the Quiz and Polls Sticker in Stories, you can find out what your audience is looking for.
For those who are in the brand awareness stage of the marketing funnel, it can be a great way to lead them onto the next stage.
It can get them to engage with you.
For this, it is a good idea to ask questions that are broadly related to your niche or target audience.
For example, US-based computer technology company, Oracle offers cloud applications. They also have special products related to Java. To spread awareness about them, they created the following quiz:
As you can see, they are trying to define the scope of their target audience in a very organic manner. Since it is provided in the form of a question, there is some participation required from the reader. This, in turn, makes it more engaging.
In addition to this, you can also use the “Question” sticker in Instagram Stories to ask for feedback. Video marketing software company, Wistia, asked their followers what would make it easy for them to create videos.
They even received multiple replies from their audience which they showcased on their Stories.
Here is a screenshot:
All in all, it shows how they are willing to lend a listening ear. At the same time, they get engagement and can also attract more leads.
5. Showcase customer feedback
One of the biggest concerns for B2B buyers is whether their purchase will be worth the money they are investing.
It’s a valid concern.
Since they are investing a lot of money, it’s understandable that they want to be sure about it. As a B2B marketer, it is your job to win their trust and showcase the value that you can provide them.
In all of this, where do Instagram Stories come into the picture?
It’s simple — They provide you a great platform to provide social proof to your audience. You can showcase testimonials on Instagram Stories.
Positive reviews or words of affirmation from past customers can go a long way in getting more leads and conversions.
Email marketing software program GetResponse showcased testimonials on their Stories. To make sure that it stays on their profile, they saved it as a “Highlight.”
Here is a screenshot of one such testimonial:
In the long-term, this strategy can help you build your credibility and win more customers. The best part is you don’t need to put in a lot of effort to share testimonials via Stories.
In the above example from getResponse, they have used text. But you can experiment and share audio and video testimonials as well.
Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Business communication platform, Slack takes this a step further. In the Highlight, “Slack Stories” on their profile, they share testimonials as well as links to case studies to showcase how their platform is making a difference to businesses.
6. Show your support for a social cause
Marketing doesn’t have to solely be about showcasing your products. It’s also about showcasing your brand values. Don’t shy away from taking a stand on a social issue that aligns with what your brand and audience believe in. In fact, during the 2020 holiday season, Mastercard shared that 75% of consumers intend to prefer shopping from businesses that share their personal values.
There are two benefits to this. It showcases that your brand has a human side to it, has personality, and cares about social causes.
Social media management solution, Sprout Social published a series of Instagram Stories on their platform supporting the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
They even shared resources for anyone who wanted to reach out for help.
Bonus tip: Track insights from your Instagram Stories
For lead generation, it is recommended that you experiment with different types of Instagram Stories. Quizzes, AMA sessions, polls, and more — give it all a try! To find out what resonates with your audience, make it a point to regularly check insights for your Instagram Stories.
To view the stats for a Story that is live on your Instagram profile, you can follow these steps:
- Go to the published Story
- Swipe up to see insights for your Instagram Story
- Tap on the icon that looks like a chart.
Instagram also allows you to view insights for your previously published Stories.
For this, you can follow the steps mentioned below:
- Go to your Instagram profile
- Click on the menu icon given in the top right corner
- Tap on the icon for the Insights menu
Checking the insights for Instagram Stories can help you determine the kind of content that is doing well on your profile. Based on that, you can come up with more Instagram Stories and refine your marketing efforts.
Instagram Stories offer a lot of opportunities for B2B marketers to build brand awareness and generate leads. Not all of the above-mentioned strategies may help you get leads directly, but they can help you move prospective leads along the funnel.
For the best results, you should use a mix of these strategies. Also, keep in mind that social media marketing requires patience. So, do not expect immediate results! It’s one of the B2B trends to watch out for.
Do you have any questions about generating B2B leads using Instagram Stories? Please feel free to ask questions in the comments section.
The post B2B lead generation using Instagram Stories: Six tips with examples appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
A case study on how one paid media marketer set up successful competitor campaigns to help a brand drive more high-value leads.
Read more at PPCHero.com
Need to resize a video for IGTV? Add subtitles for Twitter? Throw in sound effects for YouTube? Or collage it with other clips for the Instagram feed? Kapwing lets you do all that and more for free from a mobile browser or website. This scrappy new startup is building the vertical video era’s creative suite full of editing tools for every occasion.
Pronounced “Ka-pwing,” like the sound of a ricocheted bullet, the company was founded by two former Google Image Search staffers. Now after six months of quiet bootstrapping, it’s announcing a $ 1.7 million seed round led by Kleiner Perkins.
Kapwing hopes to rapidly adapt to shifting memescape and its fragmented media formats, seizing on opportunities like creators needing to turn their long-form landscape videos vertical for Instagram’s recently launched IGTV. The free version slaps a Kapwing.com watermark on all its exports for virality, but users can pay $ 20 a month to remove it.
While sites like Imgur and Imgflip offer lightweight tools for static memes and GIFs, “the tools and community for doing that for video are kinda inaccessible,” says co-founder and CEO Julia Enthoven. “You have something you install on your computer with fancy hardware. You should able to create and riff off of people,” even if you just have your phone, she tells me. Indeed, 100,000 users are already getting crafty with Kapwing.
“We want to make these really relevant trending formats so anyone can jump in,” Enthoven declares. “Down the line, we want to make a destination for consuming that content.”
Enthoven and Eric Lu both worked at Google Image Search in the lauded Associate Product Manager (APM) program that’s minted many future founders for companies like Quip, Asana and Polyvore. But after two years, they noticed a big gap in the creative ecosystem. Enthoven explains that “The idea came from using outdated tools for making the types of videos people want to make for social media — short-form, snackable video you record with your phone. It’s so difficult to make those kinds of videos in today’s editors.”
So the pair of 25-year-olds left in September to start Kapwing. They named it after their favorite sound effect from the Calvin & Hobbes comics when the make-believe tiger would deflect toy gunshots from his best pal. “It’s an onomatopoeia, and that’s sort of cool because video is all about movement and sound.”
After starting with a meme editor for slapping text above and below images, Kapwing saw a sudden growth spurt as creators raced to convert landscape videos for vertical IGTV. Now it has a wide range of tools, with more planned.
The current selection includes:
- Meme Maker
- Multi-Video Montage Maker
- Video Collage
- Video Filters
- Image To Video Converter
- Add Overlaid Text To Video
- Add Music To Video With MP3 Uploads
- Resize Video
- Reverse Video
- Loop Video
- Trim Video
- Mute Video
- Stop Motion Maker
- Sound Effects Maker
Kapwing definitely has some annoying shortcomings. There’s an 80mb limit on uploads, so don’t expect to be messing with much 4K videos or especially long clips. You can’t subtitle a GIF, and the meme maker flipped vertical photos sideways without warning. It also lacks some of the slick tools that Snapchat has developed, like a magic eraser for Photoshopping stuff out and a background changer, or the automatic themed video editing found in products like Google Photos.
The No. 1 thing it needs is a selective cropping tool. Instead of letting you manually move the vertical frame around inside a landscape video so you always catch the action, it just grabs the center. That left me staring at blank space between myself and an interview subject when I uploaded this burger robot startup video. It’s something apps like RotateNFlip and Flixup already offer. Hopefully the funding that also comes from Shasta, Shrug Capital, Sinai, Village Global, and ZhenFund will let it tackle some of these troubles.
Beyond meme-loving teens and semi-pro creators, Kapwing has found an audience amongst school teachers. The simplicity and onscreen instructions make it well-suited for young students, and it works on Chromebooks because there’s no need to download software.
The paid version has found some traction with content marketers and sponsored creators who don’t want a distracting watermark included. That business model is always in danger of encroachment from free tools, though, so Kapwing hopes to also become a place to view the meme content it exports. That network model is more defensible if it gains a big enough audience, and could be monetized with ads. Though it will put it in competition with Imgur, Reddit and the big dogs like Instagram.
“We aspire to become a hub for consumption,” Enthoven concluded. “Consume, get an idea, and share with each other.”
As Q4 approaches, it’s crucial that you plan to capitalize on all the traffic that comes with it.
We all know how effective search is, but it’s also limited to those already in the hunt for what you’re offering.
To continue to scale, you need to effectively get in front of audiences that aren’t yet interested – but could be! – in your service/product. That’s where demand generation comes in, and marketers have more (and better) options for demand generation than ever.
As we head full-steam into Q4, here’s a list of demand generation channels, considerations of when to make use of them to expand your reach, and best practices we’ve honed across clients of all budgets.
Once rather maligned, the GDN provides a number of targeting options that allow you to leverage the thousands of data points they collect on users across the web. Among the most effective targeting options when it comes to both demand generation and direct response are:
Keyword contextual targeting
Choose your top 10-15 keywords and let Google place ads accordingly.
My strong recommendation is to start off with content-based keyword targeting first; this gives you more control over what is being targeted (websites relevant to your keywords). When you select “audience”-based keyword contextual targeting, you end up targeting a significantly larger group of users where the targeting is not only websites relevant to your keywords but also audiences who may be interested.
This gives Google a lot of power to find users – but it also opens you up to more risk. By starting out with content, you are taking a low-risk approach to GDN. As you see success and build up conversion history, feel free to experiment with audience targeting.
Based on audience behavior, Google determines users who are currently shopping for different products/categories. The feature combines search intent with display’s reach, and it’s definitely worth testing.
Custom affinity audiences
If you provide Google with competitor websites or industry-relevant domains, CAA will analyze the types of audiences visiting those sites (demographics, interests, website topics) and target audiences similar to them. I recommend that you test by starting off with your top 5 competitors.
As you build conversions – about 40+ conversions is a good benchmark – I would strongly recommend switching your bidding style to CPA optimizer and allowing Google to leverage its thousands of data points and optimize towards your target CPA. We’ve had a lot of success with this option.
The Facebook/Instagram duo offers powerful audience targeting capabilities. We’ve seen two strategies work consistently:
Make use of lookalike targeting and base your seed lists off your customers
Rather than taking your full customer list, however, segment by identifiable characteristics. I typically recommend high LTV or high AOV, or segmenting by category/type depending on the product or business. If you have a big enough seed list, start by testing a 1% audience, as those users will be most similar to your existing customers.
Use interest/behavior targeting and insights from the platform’s Audience Insights tool
Upload your top customers to Audience Insights and analyze the valuable demographic, interest-based data. Now begin building various personas of audiences you want to target (each ad set should represent a different persona).
When selecting your targeting options within Facebook, layer in demographic data from the Insights tool to make these audiences more relevant.
I recommend this fast-growing channel more for ecommerce than B2B. Remember that Pinterest is somewhat intent-driven, as users are typing in keywords to look for relevant pins. Start off with your top keyword list and test from there, and focus on strong creative that can stand out among the many other pins.
Your Pinterest creative should be eye-catching, high quality, and include compelling images of the product. Write detailed descriptions highlighting the most compelling aspects of the product and inviting users to click on ad, and leverage text overlays on your pins to help any core message stand out.
Twitter tends to perform well for B2B or more technical businesses. I recommend that you leverage lookalike targeting on your top-performing customer segments; you can also try targeting followers of certain influencers who may be core to your brand or followers of competitors in the industry.
Last general recommendation: begin leveraging these options ASAP so you can build up a retargeting audience to engage when purchase motivation is higher. Cast a wide net now, and you’ll have more fish to land in the holiday season.
Level up your ad game by using ad customizers and optimizing your geo-targets for lead generation clients, especially for an educational vertical.
Read more at PPCHero.com
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