People-based marketing – what is that? And isn’t that what all marketing should be? Isn’t the entire marketing industry already concentrated on people – their needs, wants and individual behavior characteristics? Well, you’d be surprised! Stick with us to find out!
The importance of anchor text with respect to a linking strategy cannot be overstated.
Anchor text is the blue, underlined, clickable text which takes you from the search engine page to the web page you want to go to (and it points to). There have been many controversies over the importance of this little blue line, but Google has expressed its intention of reducing its effects on SEO. Until that happens, it is key to make ample use of all it has to offer.
Backlinks are a huge part of the search engine algorithm. When initiating a linking campaign, it is vital that external sites link using the appropriate keywords and terms in the anchor text.
Almost always, linking candidates will use the company name as anchor text. This does not provide any type of description of the target company’s products or services. Sure, it may be great for branding purposes, but it isn’t usually needed. In most cases, companies already rank very high (if not first) for searches that incorporate their brand.
Here is an example using fictional company “Acme Plumbing Supplies”:
Most people will link simply using the term “Acme”. This is all right, but it does not describe the company’s products or services, nor does it provide any context. By adding the word “plumbing” or term “plumbing supplies” (i.e. “Acme Plumbing” or “Acme Plumbing Supplies”), you may be able to drive additional traffic that may not have otherwise attained the corporate site.
Well, plainly speaking, you will simply have added relevant content to the link in question, Google recognized that and your site was ranked higher than before.
You actually don’t have to load your site with keywords pertaining to your business for it to be highly ranked by the search engines. All you have to do is put the right keyword (the one that best describes what you do, what you sell, what you offer) in the right place, and that is in anchor text!
But be subtle about it, for Christ’s sake!
If you put only one exact key word into the anchor text, it will be glaringly obvious what you are doing, and you don’t want that. What you need to do is disguise it in natural text – don’t just throw a bunch of words that have something to do with your business in one place, but write a full sentence that a human being can actually read and understand (don’t worry, the algorithms will, too). Once you do this right, they can do their job.
If you need our help in the SEO department, contact us and we will chat with you about it for free!
SEO is not an exact science. This becomes apparent when trying to incorporate both SEO and branding into a strategy. This process is finicky, to say the least.
On the one side, SEO deals with the placement of keywords and phrases.
On the other side, branding deals with company loyalty and culture. Incorporating both sides dilutes the prominence of both. But eliminating one or the other may not meet all strategic and marketing goals.
Once again, it should be emphasized that SEO is a series of guidelines rather than an exact science. Having said that, the following recommendation can be used to satisfy both sides of the equation.
In general, keywords and phrases (i.e. SEO) should remain the focus of any early-stage company while the incorporation of company branding should appear later in the evolution.
The reasoning is pretty straightforward. At first, no one knows the name of your company, but perhaps they are searching for your products or services. In other words, you want to target keywords and phrases that focus on your offering rather than your company.
For example, when you first open a restaurant, it is unnecessary focusing on your future customers to know the name of your brand, without familiarizing them with the food and drinks you are actually offering them. Since they haven’t actually heard of you yet, and associate nothing with your “brand”, you must make use of SEO. Your dishes and beverages will be your keywords, pictures and videos of the ingredients and your kitchen and restaurant areas a way to show what you have to offer instead of just telling. Once people are attracted to the bits and pieces of your business that you market to them, you start building loyalty and credibility, and correspondingly branding becomes more important.
It’s at this point that you may want to incorporate corporate messaging to strengthen the relationship with customers and instill trust in your brand. If you strive to be the leading restaurateur in your town, you must have a review section where the customers you have drawn leave comments about the food and drink quality, about the service, about the atmosphere… Brand image will be very important to you, so a comment section will give you valuable feedback on how you are perceived. You can even start a blog on your website page, detailing certain aspects of your workdays. Your workers can write it. You can also develop a close relationship with your customers on social media, since you can inform them about novelties introduced just for them and they will give you their stamp of approval (if you do your job properly).
One final thought about branding: If a searcher types in the name of your company, they are likely to find your website anyway. This is mostly due to anchor text and backlinks. Therefore, optimizing for the company name is rather insignificant in most cases. What you must concentrate on is defining the way people see you, the way they remember your products and services even if they don’t know your website address. Once you build a reputation, your name will come as a search engine result because Google values quality marketing content above all (as you can read in one of our previous blog posts).
If you are unsure of how to do that, call us and we will chat with you about it!
You can build a website for free.
But if you want it not to look generic, a single template customization will typically cost you at least $300 while there is no top limit.
Not to mention the costs of effective copy and further maintenance.
So, it may or may not be expensive, but it’s a must for any business today.
If you are a small business owner, you surely already have a website, but it most probably doesn’t work as well as it could.
Maybe it looks good but doesn’t sell.
Maybe it doesn’t even look good. (And good doesn’t mean fancy.)
Maybe people find it fast but bounce faster. Or, maybe they remain there for a certain amount of time, but somehow omit to click on those crucial buttons that for you mean the difference between growing a lavish garden full of fruit and investing in a wasteland.
There are a number of reasons for failure. Your website is not just a virtual storefront. It’s a communication panel where you get to talk to the prospects and they get to click in response. Or not.
A modern website should make for a great combination of verbal and visual elements. All of which should work together to entice the reader to do something you want. Your goal is their action.
That’s why we decided to single out six most common reasons websites fail to do their job.
1) It doesn’t capture attention in an instant
Yes, the attention span of an average website visitor is short, and even goldfish concentrate longer yadda yadda. You know the drill, so we won’t repeat it.
It’s common knowledge that it takes just a few seconds for a visitor to estimate whether they’re in the right place or not. Tribute Media says that the first thing visitors have in mind is what the website is about.
We kind of disagree with that.
Before the interest phase, there comes attention phase. The AIDA (Attention – Interest – Desire – Action) principle works here well. So, you have to grab the visitor by the sleeve, and only then (if they are still there) make them understand what it is all about.
Yes, as a visitor, I know that I am looking to buy an instrument, for example. But there’s always a chance something might get me started even if it isn’t just the right thing. Think about how often you’ve spent dozens of minutes on a web page with a topic that you aren’t even interested in. Just because they made it sound and look compelling.
Just to be completely clear, of course, you aren’t aiming for those who happen to stumble upon your website. They aren’t really your prospects. That’s why websites are keyword optimized. But we’re talking about pre-judgment here. Before the visitor has even decided if that’s what they were looking for or not, you have to attract them and keep them there for a little while longer.
2) It lacks focus
Am I at the right address?
This is the second question that crosses the visitor’s mind during those few seconds.
It makes the difference between clicking the X and staying there to browse some more.
It’s about relevance.
The website copy and imagery need to be ultra-specific, intuitive and clear so that there isn’t any doubt what it’s all about. There’s this term “above the fold” that is borrowed from traditional, print journalism. It’s the portion of the page that a visitor sees first, without having to scroll down. It should contain all the vital information, neatly organized in an appropriate manner.
The visitor should be positive about a few things:
What the website is about. If you are a music store, it should be clear whether you sell music albums or instruments, or if you are a production label, or an antique shop that sells gramophones and LPs.
What she’s supposed to do. That is, what is the key functionality of the website. Is it selling a product, or getting them to subscribe to your mailing list by entering their information to get a free resource? Is it raising brand awareness by getting them to follow you on social media? All of these goals should have their place on your website. But their positioning is vital, as well as which one you intend to show first.
3) It’s about you, not me
Yes, it’s your website, but you are not supposed to be the center of it.
The Earth revolves around the Sun. They used to kill people who claimed it, but today it’s the only acceptable way of viewing things. Similarly, in today’s world products and services revolve around me as a customer, and not you as a seller.
It’s not just about showing me you care about me. I have my mom for that. I need you to answer my needs and prove that your product is the one in the sea of products that is worthy of my coin. So, don’t start by telling me how awesome you are. (There is a time and place for it, and it’s called testimonials. Back to it later.)
It’s like having a date. You don’t put yourself in the center of the conversation. Of course, the aim is to present yourself in the most appealing manner, but bragging from the beginning won’t help you do that.
4) It misrepresents your brand
The website is a mirror of your business and general culture and I’m sure as hell that you don’t like to look in the mirror while wearing shabby pajamas. Let alone to let others look at you.
Dress accordingly, mind the minutiae, and don’t let anything look sloppy. If there are photos, they have to be high-resolution and yet, not sluggish because of it. If there’s a background video, it better be shot professionally.
Having a video autoplay or any kind of music or sound is an out-of-date technique and many people dislike it. The reasons are obvious: you can’t presume people will like your choice of music. After all, I know that I have run away from a bunch of websites just because a song started playing and it was easier for me to hit X than to scroll and look for the stop button.
Unless, of course, you are that example of a music store. Then it’s somehow logical and tolerable to have an appropriate ambient.
5) You don’t appear trustworthy
According to the Bright Local’s Consumer Review Survey 2016, 84% people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Total strangers are presumed to be a reliable source of information because, obviously, they don’t have a reason to lie.
So, if you don’t have any kind of content that would verify and validate the quality of your product or service, acquire it now.
Ask your previous clients to give you testimonials – either written or video (of course, a video would be awesome). You can even use Google reviews for this purpose if you have a local business. Case studies are great if you have some more information.
Just let it be genuine because faking it is not only unethical but also quite easy to spot.
6) The checkout process is complicated
If you have an E-commerce store, you have to be extremely careful not to overcomplicate things for the buyers.
Shopping cart abandonment rate stats are appalling, all because shipping costs are too big, or the checkout process too difficult.
Don’t demand too much information in the form they have to fill. There’s hardly anything as annoying as having to type my company name, job title, ex-girlfriend’s pet’s name, shoe size (unless you sell shoes), etc. Even if you need some of those fields for your marketing purposes, make them non-obligatory.
When talking about websites, it’s vital to remember one thing that we tend to forget all too often.
People don’t buy because they have money, nor do they refrain from buying if they lack money. It isn’t about what they need.
People buy because they want to buy.
Purchasing decisions happen in the reasonable part of our brains, but they are conceived below it. Desire dances its way to the wallet, leaving the need to wait patiently in the line of priorities.
So, let your website appeal to the visitors’ wants and needs, in that order.
Does your website perform well? If not, call us and we’ll help. If yes, let us know and we’ll admire it together.
Imagine a product that all of us use. And by all of us, I mean literally every single person on planet Earth with access to clean water and other household utilities. The first thing that came to my mind was, as silly as it might sound – toilet paper.
Absolutely all of us need it and running out of your toilet paper supply is a nightmare in the making. You don’t think much when you’re buying it either, right? Or, do you?
In that long toilet paper aisle in your local supermarket is a section with that particular brand that you almost regularly choose every time, but have you ever wondered why? Quality, price and other features aside, it’s all about marketing. “Well – duh” – you might say, – “Of course it is, you are running a marketing blog, for crying out loud.” And to that, I say – not so fast my young padawan.
*This is what clever product design looks like
Let’s get analytical for a second here. On a subconscious level, our brains are wired to process hundreds of pieces of information and make numerous decisions in split seconds. We, of course, are not aware of the majority of them, but trust me, unless you are a toilet paper aficionado, your random choice of the toilet paper make might not be so random after all. This is exactly where marketing comes into play. Or, to be precise, marketing for boring industries.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that all of us should use the same brand by the same maker just because their ads feature cute, fluffy puppies and giggling babies. The point is that no business is too boring for social media, with the right marketing strategy of course.
Whether you are the owner of a small business that might be classified as not particularly interesting or a confused marketer whose job is to come up with engaging content ideas for, let’s say, a stapler, these tips are something you might want to try for yourself. So, let’s plunge in.
1. Humor pays off (and by humor, we mean bizarreness)
Now, most of you have probably already seen the #SquattyPotty Youtube video commercial, and for those of you who haven’t, it is time for you to crawl from underneath whatever rock you’ve been hiding under and witness one of the downright most wacky marketing moves out there.
* The toilet theme that has been happening here is totally unintentional if we might add.
How do you sell a freakin’ pooping stool? Sure, you can try and get all sciency and explain how and why it’s beneficial to have one, OR, you can just go on and introduce a hairy medieval prince and a googly-eyed unicorn that poops ice cream. We are pretty sure some kind of psychedelics were involved in the making of this video.
All jokes and ridiculousness aside, a leap of more than 500% in online sales turned once a home-based business into an internet sensation and their CEO Bobby Edwards into a happy man. In this case, an almost crazy-bold move proved to be a smart one.
This is exactly what your business might be lacking.
Let’s go back to our toilet paper story from the beginning of the article. There are not many differences between brands and prices are somewhat in the same close range, too. It’s the way brands present themselves that catches our attention and convinces us to choose one above all others.
In order to decide whether you should use a humorous approach, you should make sure you absolutely, 130% understand both your product/service and your audience.
There’s a thin line between tasteful and tacky, so a wrong campaign or strategy can bring you more harm than good. If your friends consider your humor a bit offensive and they mentioned it to you on more than a few occasions, maybe you should hand it over to your colleague or cousin. If on the other hand, you deem yourself the witty troll who always has something funny to say, then this approach is made for you.
Be it funny posts on social media or amusing YT videos, people will most certainly react, and even though a portion of them will not buy your product or use your service, they will indirectly spread brand awareness to those who will, and that’s what matters the most.
2. Knowledge – Value – Expertise
Let’s not get too carried away now. Humor is meaningless if it lacks substance. Your fans and followers might be entertained for a short period of time, but if there isn’t anything of value you have to offer them, they won’t stick around for too long.
Knowledge is power, and by knowledge, I mean educating your fan base. Ask yourself, if I was a follower of that particular brand, what would I want to see on their page? Would I want to see more info about the product itself, the history behind it, the way it is made? Or, if I’m interested in a certain service, do I have all the info about the actual process that is behind it, the best practices, tips and tricks, etc?
These are all valid questions and concerns that a potential client or customer has. If you are a social media expert, you will, of course, know all of this, but if you are a small business owner with no prior experience, it’s easy to get confused.
So here are a few things that can help you.
For example, utilizing podcasts in your social media weekly plan could be a great way of introducing your audience to the current happenings, both in your company and in the industry as well.
Facebook groups will help you reach a bigger audience and raise engagement. You can share your posts in local and/or niche based communities, just make sure you are not going against any guidelines, and also check if the members and the group itself are active (a ‘dead’ group will just waste your time). Don’t be lazy to write a genuine caption, too!
Next, find a couple of experts in your industry and share their content. Make sure to mention them in your caption. This is especially effective on Twitter.
How-to videos and infographics are another great way of educating your audience. The great thing about them is that they can be reused in microblogging over and over on Instagram or Pinterest, for example.
Remember, even the most boring product can seem interesting if you know how to present it and if you create a demand.
“THIS IS A PHENOMENAL TIME TO BE A CURIOUS PERSON.”
-Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft
Fun story, this video popped up just as I was writing this article.
Who knew you’d need a $150 fish cleaning tool? (Newsflash: you don’t. That is unless you own a fish market/restaurant or you eat fish every day. In that case, you do you, we won’t judge.)
Anyways, hate to admit it, but it took me a solid couple of minutes to come to my senses and realize neither my mom (who accidentally saw the video over my shoulder, shrugged and continued doing whatever she was doing in the first place), nor me actually need this ridiculous gadget.
So, what’s the catch?
They took a specialized product from a very specific niche and made it look like something an ordinary human being can’t live without (something Insider is famous for, and we don’t blame them). The truth is, a skillful combination of satisfying fish cleaning short vids (or is it satisfying to me only? Don’t answer that), and short explanations, tips and pieces of info, turned, let’s be honest, a boring product into something that you never knew you needed. Which brings us to our last point:
3. Adding a personal touch
This might be the most important part, now more than ever, with markets being as big as they are and millennials taking over the economy.
Staying on top of the game is a challenge, even for big companies, such as Pepsi. Their recent ad failure showed just how important being sincere and honest in your marketing efforts actually is.
Yes, you can throw a teenage icon/fashion model/TV personality/??? into a politically charged situation alluding to current social events, cross your heart and hope for the best.
But, aside from the ad being totally pointless and meaningless, there is one thing that annoys more than anything and that is how genuinely fake it looks. In my mind at least, there isn’t a single shot in the video that doesn’t scream “WE ARE TRYING TO SELL YOU SOMETHING AND WE ARE USING PATHETIC AND EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION TO DO IT”.
Sure, many brands use this method, but not this blatantly at least. Coca-cola Christmas ads are a nice example of how to utilize emotions without looking tacky (war in the comment section in 3, 2,1, GO!)
So, how can YOU show honesty, emotion, and sincerity to your fans? Here are a couple of tips:
– If your product is boring, your employees don’t have to be, too. Showcase them on your social media channels, tell a little about them. Your fans will appreciate it and will certainly feel more connected to your brand.
– Behind the scenes, photos or videos go a long way. Like in an above-mentioned quote, people are driven by curiosity. How is your product made? How are your services performed? What is happening in your offices or headquarters?
– Take your fans on a virtual tour around your place of business (Facebook Live Video is something that you can use too).
– Contests are a great way of engaging with your fans. Showcasing their pictures with your products under relevant brand hashtags will make them feel important.
– Communicate with your fans, don’t ignore their messages and comments. Customer reviews are also important. Motivate your fans to leave a good one, but don’t delete any negative feedback either, as they’ll help you find out first hand about what your brand might be lacking and what you can improve.
Do you still think your industry is too boring to be on social media? Try utilizing some of these tips and see what happens. Remember, progress doesn’t happen overnight and you’ll have to wait a bit until you see the fruits of your labor, but it will all be worth it.