Why It’s Important to keep your Business Website updated for Local SEO

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Local SEO 2019: How to keep your business website updated

Google’s efforts to improve their local SEO has been met with positive results during the past year, with numerous businesses benefiting from the increased traffic and online presence. In turn, more and more websites have been optimized to keep up with the trend.

With this in mind, optimizing your local SEO effort is crucial for the growth of both your business and your online presence. With e-commerce and social media impacting the online marketplace greatly, businesses have become even more competitive than before. Here are some tips and techniques that can help your business’ local SEO.

Regularly update your website

A study conducted by Blue Fountain recently has shown that customers would think of a brandless when its website has not been updated. Personally, I’ve seen numerous cases of this in the past when looking for brands and products. Going to a website of a brand that you want to inquire or make a purchase and seeing that products and key information is outdated or missing will surely hurt your traffic.

It is best to keep your website content and design updated on a regular basis, as users would be able to see new products and announcements after visiting. Blogs are a great way to reach a wider audience, as you can provide them with beneficial information while promoting your brand at the same time.

Optimize loading speed and mobile-friendliness

Loading speed and mobile compatibility are two other factors that you have to keep in mind, as more and more users make online purchases through their smartphones. It is best to optimize text and image viewability for the best user experience. Slow loading speeds will make you lose customers, who might take a look at your competitors instead. Those crucial few seconds can affect a purchase and making sure everything works smoothly would give you an edge over the competition.

Social Media is key

Restaurant Social Media

Social media marketing has been the key to success for a lot of businesses in the past few years, with viral campaigns becoming the driving factor to more sales and revenue. Along with being present in Google Business listings, having a solid following on Facebook and Instagram also brings in more traffic.

Influencer marketing is also another strategy that can positively impact your business, as having someone with a significant social media following talk about your brand is another effective way of bringing in more customers. Social media has become one of the most powerful internet platforms and knowing how to utilize is another ingredient for success.

Take advantage of search queries

Search queries allow you to see how users search for your business, giving you a better idea of your searchability and online presence. This has been one of the best Google My Business features, as having this amount of search information helps you optimize your content, information, and products.

This also adds another layer to your keyword research strategy as well, as you now have search data from actual users who have looked at your business. This allows you to craft better keywords that have good volume and difficulty scores. Comparing GMB search queries with keyword research tools and Ahrefs and KWFinder is also an effective approach that would give you keywords that can rank well.

Enable Messaging

Google My Business Messaging

Instant messaging has been one of the most important innovations of the past decade, as it allows a faster and more efficient way of communication. One of the most recent Google My Business updates was the ability for users to directly send a message to you. Being able to quickly respond to customer inquiries and concerns has proven to provide a positive impact on businesses, as it improves customer trust and brand image.

While this feature is still only available on mobile, it is a handy feature to have, as you can respond to messages on the fly, allowing more potential to create sales for your business.

Provide answers to questions

Along with the ability to respond to messages instantly, providing answers to questions asked on Google is another way of boosting your traffic. More and more users are now using long-tail, question-based, and exact keyword searches, and its rise can be attributed to voice search through the use of AI assistants.

Regular keywords are still important and valuable for your SEO strategy, but providing answers using your content would help you tap into more users and bolster your search traffic and presence even more. Search is becoming more varied and versatile these past few years, and this strategy is something that would bode well for your future.

Key Takeaway

Local SEO is on a rise. As more local brands move their services online, it is important to get an edge over the competition. These tips and strategies will surely help boost your business, allowing you to grow your online presence steadily.

If you have questions and inquiries about local SEO and SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

Why It’s Important to keep your Business Website updated for Local SEO was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Use this Research-backed Landing Page Template for Your Next Offer Page

After running thousands of a/b tests across hundreds of different companies in our research services program, we’ve seen significant patterns emerge. These patterns have led to some helpful tools like our conversion heuristic and our design of experiments planning method.

But they have also led to several page templates we use regularly to achieve wins inside of companies in every industry and of every business model.

Landing Page Template

One page that is generally consistent in almost any business is the main offer page for a product or service. This “landing page,” as it is often called, accounts for the main idea behind the offer.

After thousands of a/b tests, we’ve meticulously put together a template that draws from a meta-analysis of these tests. We examined the patterns common among most landing page tests we’ve run that have achieved a business result. What we found was a series of common denominators that we then integrated into our offer page template.

We’ve also added explanations into the template on how to conform it to meet your own marketing needs. For example:

Headline and Sub-Headline

An online interaction with a prospect is like a conversation with a potential love interest. You hopefully do not begin the conversation with, “I am available for dates. Here is my number. Call me.” That is too vague and offers no reason to actually call — also it is rude.

You need a pick-up line that clearly communicates your value proposition and a sub-headline that further delineates that value proposition and how this page helps the prospect obtain that value.

Image

If your page is going to include an image, which is worth a test, the image must be instantly recognizable and reinforce the value proposition raised in the headline and sub-headline.

It must not tax the prospect’s mental faculties trying to make sense of the image. You do not want to slow down their cognitive momentum.

Primary Information Column

This is where your main body copy goes, including some easy-to-scan bullet points. You want the reader to be able to skim through this copy and pick out the main details they need to come to an informed purchase decision.

It is one column because multiple columns of vital information disperse attention and confuse. One column creates simplicity and velocity toward the call-to-action.

One Emphasized Call-to-Action

The call-to-action should emphasize in the actual wording the value proposition of the offer. In other words, “Get Instant Access Now” is preferable to “Click Here.”

There should not be multiple equally weighted calls-to-action because this forces the prospect to weigh the options, which decreases momentum and often stalls purchase intent.

Supporting Content

The primary information column will not suffice for some prospects. They will want more information before coming to a decision.

For these prospects, you can include additional information below the call-to-action. Supporting content can also include elements like testimonials, trust logos and additional copy and images.

Also, if you would like to get the other funnel-specific page templates we’ve put together along with a few case studies and explanation for how we conducted our research, you can download the complete PDF here.

The templates also include the following:

  • The case studies these templates draw upon
  • A walk-through of each template explaining how to use every element
  • An overview of the methodology behind each template so you can iterate and make them fit your own marketing needs

landing page templates

Please let us know in the comments if you find it helpful or if you see any way to improve it.

You might also like …

Landing Page Optimization on-demand certification course

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Landing Page Optimization: Free worksheet to help you balance segmentation and resources

 

 

Use this Research-backed Landing Page Template for Your Next Offer Page was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Press Packs: Getting on the good side of journalists

In our creative link-building campaigns, the role of a designer at Distilled extends beyond that of just designing the campaign page itself. Among the list of our other responsibilities, a lesser-known task on our to-do list is creating and compiling a press pack of assets.

Why send press packs?

Press packs contain the visual material our Outreach & PR specialists send out to journalists as part of the pitching process. Journalists are busy people, so the more ready-to-use material we can offer, the more they’ll consider covering and writing about the campaign.

We recommend sharing press packs using something like a Dropbox folder link with very clear file names and a sensible folder structure. This means you can link out to the pack instead of sending large email attachments, which are rarely welcomed. You’ll soon understand how the folder size racks up when you take into account all that’s included.

What should a press pack contain?

A press pack should contain:

  1. Static embed of the campaign: This is the visual introduction to the piece. It acts as an image link, so make sure this is the best visual for showing your work off. If this isn’t supplied, journalists may resort to hacking together a few screenshots which tend not to do the piece much justice. Creating these usually requires design time to chop and change the content slightly. For example, you may only want to show a select part of the campaign and add an ‘Explore more’ button to encourage click-throughs. There’s no hard and fast rule, it just depends on the nature of the piece. But to give you an idea, here are some examples:

  1. Images used within the piece: If your piece is very visual and contains photographic content, include these in the press pack too. For example, for our recent piece for Admiral, journalists were given all the photographs included in the piece, so they could pick and choose which to include in their write up. In fact, one journalist came back to us and asked for the images to be resized specifically to suit their publication’s needs, which we did. Being flexible and accommodating is always important to get on their good side. A word of warning though: be careful about checking image licensing. In this case, it wasn’t an issue because all photographs were commissioned and paid for, and participants signed a release of their work. However, if you found material online, you may not have the right to freely use,  share and distribute the images (more on this in the next section).
  2. Bonus relevant images: If your piece doesn’t include any photography or standalone visual assets, you may want to consider compiling some that are relevant to the story. For example, for the 50 Tech Friendly Airlines piece we provided general pictures of passengers on planes, as well as photographs of the top five techy airlines.
  3. Social sharing images: Although as the name suggests, these images are for sharing on social platforms, you may as well include these in the press pack as you’ve already created them. Often they can be seen as more ‘general purpose’ anyway, especially if what you have is a standard-size Opengraph sharing image, for example:
  4. Exclusive images: On several occasions, some publications have come back to us asking for some sort of exclusive content. So when commissioning photos or images, think about getting a handful more than what you need for the project, to specifically hold back for the top-tier publications that would appreciate the exclusivity. Just remember not to include them in the general press pack that gets sent out to everyone!
  5. Press release graphs: For surveys or data-led campaigns, we often produce custom graphs and tables to include in the press release. We always provide journalists with high-res images of all graphs and tables to mitigate against lo-res, illegible screenshots! By equipping them with these assets, we can improve the look of the end result coverage.

Want more advice like this in your inbox? Join the monthly newsletter.

How to source images for press packs?

As mentioned above, the job of compiling press packs usually falls to a designer, particularly for creating any embed and social images. However almost anyone else can share the task in sourcing bonus relevant images. The key thing is to make sure anything provided in a press pack allows journalists the right to freely distribute. Here are various methods I use for image sourcing, in order of preference:

  1. Public domain stock sites: My preferred places to look for stock photography that fit the bill are Pixabay or Unsplash because all the photos featured on these sites are licensed for free commercial and personal use in the public domain (also known as CC0 licensed). However, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, then you can broaden your search with…
  2. Creative Commons search tool: This CC tool is simple to use and can be used to find images which are suitable for commercial use (provided the right checkbox is ticked below the search area). A couple of things to bear in mind:

    1. Only CC0 material is free to use without needing to give credit. You will need to attribute all other images, for example in a spreadsheet format, and you should make clear when sending the press pack that the journalist will also need to follow the correct attribution rules.  

    2. Sometimes images can be wrongly mislabelled as being copyright-free. Where possible, always try to get to the source of the photo, e.g. the original Flickr post,  to double check. There have been cases in the past where we have directly contacted Flickr users about their copyrighted photos and they have granted us special permission to use.
  3. Paid stock sites: Sometimes we have to dish out some cash for the right photo. Whether it’s through the standard stock-giants, like Shutterstock and iStock, or the slightly more niche and, dare I say, more tasteful platforms like Stocksy, the standard licenses typically only cover you for single-use only and does not cover distribution, i.e. journalists using them in a write up, even if it’s related to the campaign. We either won’t directly share these in the press pack, or share but place them in a separate folder labelled ‘purchase required’. Some publications will have subscription plans with certain stock sites so it’s always worth mentioning.

To wrap up…

I hope this comes in handy for your upcoming projects. If you have any questions or additional suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or via Twitter.

Press Packs: Getting on the good side of journalists was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

When is Redirection bad for your SEO strategy?

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When is Redirection bad for your SEO?

One of the most common issues that you can find on any website is error pages. This can occur for various reasons, such as servers getting bogged down due to high traffic, also known as a 500 Error, or page requests that cannot be found in your website, which is a 404 Error.

For the latter, 404 Errors make up a significant percentage of all web page errors. Whether it be a small or a well-established website, there will always be a chance that users would encounter this on a regular basis. These kinds of error pages not only hamper the user experience but is also bad for your SEO. The best way to solve these error pages is through 301 redirects, which helps lead users into the right place.

While doing 301 redirects is a handy solution that ensures you wouldn’t lose PageRank, there are times when it could actually cause a negative impact. Here’s what you need to know about the possible negative effects of redirection.

Effect on Loading Speed

The main goal of redirection is to help lead users into content they intended to see, or to pages with related or updated content. This is a common practice on websites that have gone through a revamp or are looking to streamline their content to optimize their performance. Redirection not only affects the user experience and traffic to your content but having a large number of redirected links can cause your loading speed to slow down to a certain extent.

With loading speed as an important ranking factor in both desktop and mobile, those few seconds truly matter, as taking just a few moments longer might cause you to lose precious traffic. While redirection aims to help users access your content, having a lot of them can cause your website to have slower loading speeds. While having to redirect pages is challenging to avoid, is it best to ensure that you are still able to optimize your loading speed using methods like AMP integration and caching tools which would surely help your rankings.

Redirect links on landing pages is another issue that must be avoided as much as possible, this can have a negative effect on your traffic, along with the process of completing a conversion. Along with landing pages, redirecting most of your web pages to your home page is also a practice that is not encouraged, as it will only confuse Google, and lose some of your hard-earned traffic from the content that will be redirected. Instead, the better approach is to redirect them to related content, which allows the new page to have a better chance of growing their traffic.

Redirection Chain

While having multiple pages getting redirected can be a regular occurrence to certain websites, there are instances in which redirect chains would be created. A redirect chain happens when the primary URL and the target URL have more than one redirect link. Redirect chains can happen for various reasons, with content and website updates being the most common ones.

While 301 redirects would still be able to retain their PageRank, having a redirect chain will affect GoogleBot’s ability to crawl into your website. If the redirect chain reaches to around 4-5 links, GoogleBot would less likely crawl the latter pages, and in some cases, not crawl the page at all. Link value can also be devalued due to long redirect chains, with each subsequent redirect losing a significant percentage.

If you have long redirect chains in your website, the best practice is to begin cleaning them up as soon as possible, even more so for older web pages that have been redirected in the past, which can hamper the traffic of older content. Optimizing this process would bring in positive changes to your traffic and search rankings, and ensure that GoogleBot would be able to crawl each page evenly while making sure there’s enough link value.

Key Takeaway

While redirection is a process that helps users and retains much of your PageRank, having an excessive or disorganized set of redirects can negatively affect page performance, and affect how GoogleBot crawls into your website. Knowing when or when not to use the right form of redirection is crucial for your SEO success.

If you have questions or inquiries about redirection or SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

When is Redirection bad for your SEO strategy? was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

The Beginners Guide To Understanding Google Adsense Vs. Google Ads (AdWords)

Paid Search

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January of 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Google has countless products geared towards advertising online and also making money with advertising on your own website.

In this post, we will cover two big products / services that Google offers in this space:

Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) and Google AdSense.

We will cover the differences, the benefits of each, and how they work.

Feel free to jump to a section below.

How Google Ads (AdWords) Works: Paying to Advertise Your Business on Google

Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, is an advertising platform built for any type of business with an online or brick and mortar presence (or both).

On Google Ads, businesses can create an account and advertise their business online through multiple different channels:

  1. Google searches
  2. Google Shopping
  3. Partner websites (Google Display Network)
  4. YouTube

And more.

Are you a business looking to get more website traffic, increase sales, increase store visits, or get more phone calls to your business?

Google Ads is a great place to do that.

As a business owner, you can open a free Google Ads account and begin creating ads that you want to show up on a Google search engine results page (SERP):

An example of businesses that are using Google Ads to advertise their products and services to searchers.

As you begin to setup your campaign, the Google Ads system will help you choose relevant keywords so that you’re making the right decision about where your ads are going to be placed on that SERP.

Using tools within the Google Ads platform, you can conduct research on keywords that are relevant to your products and services:

Google tries hard to make sure that your ads are placed in front of relevant users, or users who are searching for something similar to what you are offering.

Although setting up your Google Ads account is free, actually creating and running a campaign is not. You set your own budget and can decide how much you want to pay based on either CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or PPC (pay per click).

With advertising on Google, you have two different networks to choose from, both giving unique advertising options.

Let’s dive into both.

Google’s Search Network

The most common form of advertising on Google is on the search network. The search network is Google’s search engine, where you can advertise your products or services by targeting specific keywords.

For example, when someone uses Google to search for a plumber, you can advertise for your business to show up:

These ads are written and created by real businesses. The businesses displaying their ads for this keyword are paying every time a searcher clicks on their ads.

Depending on what keywords you decide to write ads for, you will pay different costs.

The Google search network also contains other advertising options besides just searches on the Google engine.

It also includes the ability to advertise on Google Shopping, Google’s ad-based ecommerce network. For instance, if you search for basketball shoes, you will see the following in Google:

These are search network ads using the Google Shopping advertising option. If you sell products and goods online, Google Shopping is a great place to buy ads to advertise your product.

If you have a local business, the search network also allows advertisers to pay for Google Maps listings:

The search network has many different advertising options and ways to reach customers, but the principles remain the same:

You are paying Google to advertise and showcase your business.

On top of the search network, Google also has the Display Network.

Google’s Display Network

Google’s display network allows advertisers to showcase their business on sites like YouTube, Blogger, Gmail, and thousands of partnering websites under the Google Network.

For example, you can create video advertisements and place them on YouTube to capture traffic and attention:

Or, you can run ads directly in Gmail to reach new audiences:

With the display network, you are paying for ads that are more visual in nature, rather than basic text ads on the search network that target keyword searches.

With display ads, you are using audiences that you can customize with tons of data like demographics, interests, income, and more.

Paying for Google Ads gives you countless tools and ways to reach existing or brand new audiences to grow your business.

You can set a schedule to make sure that the ad only runs until you reach a certain success rate or run out of money on that particular campaign. It’s completely up to you to manage and track your results through this Google Ads account/service.

The bottom line with Google Ads is: you are an advertiser who has to pay money to showcase your business on Google’s search and display networks.

You do not get paid to advertise on Google, this is a very common misconception. So, how do you make money? Let’s take a look.

How You Make Money on Google Ads

Using Google Ads, you have to spend money to make money.

Paying for ads obviously costs money, so how do you make a return?

By convincing the people to which you are advertising to buy what you are selling!

It’s as simple as that. Google Ads requires some creativity in ad creation (writing) and targeting (picking the right audiences) to generate a return.

When someone clicks on your ad, you pay money for that click:

Then, your goal is to either get them to directly purchase a product on your website, or fill out an informational form with their email and phone number, allowing you to contact them for free down the line, getting them to become a customer:

You make money on Google Ads by turning advertising clicks (that you pay for) into customers that pay you!

Still have questions? Check out the FAQ below where we answer common questions and misconceptions of Google Ads.

Google Ads FAQ / Misconceptions

  • Are Google Ads Free? No, Google Ads require a budget to pay for advertisements to showcase your business. They are not free and cost money based on clicks and impressions.
  • Do Google Ads Show on My Website? No, Google Ads can be shown on the Search Network (Google search) or Display Network (websites, YouTube, and more).
  • How Do You Reach New Audiences on Google Ads? With Google Ads, you can reach new audiences by targeting new search keywords, like “plumber near me,” or creating audiences on the display network by demographics and interests, like “new parents aged 25-35.”
  • What Is the Difference Between SEO and Google Ads? SEO, or search engine optimization, focuses on optimizing your website for organic (free) traffic. Google Ads is pay per click marketing, where you pay for traffic.
  • How Long Does it Take to Make Money on Google Ads? Making money on Google Ads all depends on how long it takes you to setup an ad campaign. If you dedicate a few days to setting up Google Ads, you can turn a profit in just a few days or weeks!
  • Which is Better, Google Ads or AdSense? Neither is better, but both can be used at the same time to grow your business and revenue! If your main goal is to get more customers, Google Ads is your best bet. If you just want to monetize existing traffic to your website, Google AdSense is great.

How Google AdSense Works: Getting Paid to Run Ads on Your Own Website

With over two million users, Google AdSense is a system that Google uses to distribute ads that are found in Google Ads—this includes the ads you’ve created in Google Ads as well as other ads not related to your company.

Google AdSense is a way to monetize your existing website to make more money.

In other words, people are creating new campaigns on Google Ads everyday, and they want those shown to a relevant audience. Sometimes this means being put on a relevant website as opposed to a SERP — otherwise known as Display Network advertising, which we covered above!

For example, this is how Google AdSense ads work. You allow Google to place ads on your website from other companies using Google Ads:

The ads highlighted above don’t cost you money, but in turn, make you money.

An easy way to look at AdSense is to think about yourself as someone who owns a website (as opposed to someone who created a paid campaign, like you think about when discussing Google Ads).

As a publisher, you can earn money by displaying Google ads on your website. It’s free to use, and it works in a few simple steps:

  1. Sign up here and submit your website to Google AdSense.
  2. Google will evaluate your site and approve you as a publisher.
  3. They then give you a code you can use on your website to display relevant ads on your actual website.
  4. You then decide where you want to put the code and subsequently show the ads on your particular site.

Google will then start to put relevant ads created in Google Ads in the space that you choose. The advertisers will bid on having their ad shown on your website, and Google will display the highest bidder.

With Google AdSense, you have total control over what ads do and don’t show on your website, ensuring you aren’t promoting anything negative, dangerous, or explicit:

This enables you to make more money by selecting targeted ads that relate to your audience.

Since only the highest paying advertisements go live on your site, you aren’t spamming or annoying customers with countless ads, but rather, minimal ads that have a bigger impact.

So, how exactly are you making money from this?

How You Make Money on Google AdSense

Google AdSense is extremely simple in nature.

First, you select which type of ad you want to display on your website.

Next, you choose where you want that given ad format to display on your site. This can be multiple locations, like a banner ad or a sidebar ad, as shown below:

Then, using the AdSense dashboard you select or deselect ads that you want and don’t want to display.

Lastly, you get paid directly by Google for impressions (how many people have seen the ad) and direct clicks!

With AdSense, you make money by allowing ads to run on your website.

Google AdSense FAQ / Misconceptions

  • Does Google AdSense Cost Money? No! In fact, Google AdSense is a great way to monetize your website and make money without spending a dime. On AdSense, you allow other advertisers to place their ads on your website, making profit from impressions and clicks.
  • Is Google AdSense Spammy? Not at all. With AdSense, you control what ads display on your website and how many, preventing spam and ensuring the most relevant content for your audience.
  • What is Google AdSense Best Used For? Google AdSense is best for making money on your website without selling a product or service. If you just want to make money on your traffic, AdSense is perfect.

Conclusion

Google Ads (AdWords) allows businesses to signup and create an ad to be displayed by Google on relevant SERPs and content pages.

Google Ads is meant for businesses who want to pay to advertise their product or service on the Google network, like a Google search or on partner websites.

Google AdSense flips the script. Instead of paying Google to showcase your business, Google will run ads on your website and give you a cut of the profit made from it.

To summarize:

Google Ads = paying money to advertise on Google.

Google AdSense = allowing Google to place ads on your website and pay you for it.

Do you have any questions regarding Google Ads versus AdSense?

Have you found that using both together has helped your advertising? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.

The Beginners Guide To Understanding Google Adsense Vs. Google Ads (AdWords) was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Content Strategy Tips to Improve your SEO in 2019

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Content Strategy Tips to Improve your SEO in 2019

The past two Google Algorithm updates have shown what Google wants SEO companies and professionals to focus on: quality content. Content marketing has remained a very important element in driving more traffic into websites, with blogs allowing users to discover new content and services through search.

With this in mind, it is imperative that websites should follow Google’s E-A-T requirements when it comes to content. With numerous websites experiencing traffic drops, making sure that your articles follow the right guidelines would help keep your rankings steady and growing. This makes having a quality content strategy essential in improving your search rankings. Here are some content strategy tips you can use that would surely help your website’s SEO this 2019.

Understand Voice Search

The emergence of voice search saw more long-tail and exact-match keywords appearing in SERPs, with queries from AI assistants making up a huge portion of it. This adds another dimension to how we search, as AI assistants recognize questions and commands rather than conventional keywords when conducting their search process.

This makes question-based inquiries more effective, as voice search users commonly ask what, where, how, who, when, and why questions when using their assistants. Crafting articles to cater to these questions would prove to be very beneficial for your traffic, and provide quality content that Google is looking for. As AI assistants become more widespread, creating content that they can find will bring a positive impact on your long-term SEO strategy.

Focus on what your audience needs

Quality content is also purpose-driven content, as users would benefit from the new knowledge that they will acquire and apply. The best way to formulate these kinds of content is to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and analyze how they search for what they need on the internet.

Keyword research tools like Ahrefs give a good glimpse of how people search for your content by looking at related search terms and content that users use on a regular basis. The most successful blogs address the needs of their audience and having the ability to understand how they search will provide the best results that would constantly drive traffic.

Create readable and accessible content

One of the biggest challenges about writing SEO articles that cater to both newcomers and professionals is finding the right balance of making it accessible for the former, while still providing enough depth for the latter. Having too much jargon can alienate a large portion of the audience, making your content confusing and challenging to understand.

One of the best ways to strike this balance is to provide clear explanations while maintaining the flow of your content consistent. Quality content has to be clear, properly-structured, readable, and informative at the same time. Accessibility helps to provide a wider audience reach, and having the right balance would prove to provide the best kinds of content.

Quality links

Contrary to various sources, link building is still one of the most effective SEO strategies that can drive high amounts of traffic to any website. Links help build online presence and authority while providing the same to the site being linked to. Adding quality links to content is the same as citing sources in a research article, providing additional information from reputable sources.

Building links through guest posting have been one of the most popular strategies in a long time and continue to provide good results. While voice search, featured snippets, and zero-click search results are continuing to become more prevalent in SERPs, having a good link building strategy still provides highly impactful results that are surely worth the effort.

Explore and experiment

One of the most constant things in SEO is experimentation, and it has led to numerous innovations and new discoveries that have helped drive our industry forward. This is even more so when creating content, as there are many ways to capture your audience and a wide variety of information that you can utilize. While experimentation can also bring about negative results, these can be used as learning blocks and create positive results that innovate your approach.

Investing time to experiment is valuable, as it pushes you to try harder and test the limits of how you can create and market your content, and achieve more success.

Key Takeaway

Quality content not only drives traffic but provides something very useful in return. These tips allow you to adapt and adjust to the ever-changing SEO landscape, and drive more traffic that would help you get to the top of search rankings.

If you have questions about content marketing and SEO, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

Content Strategy Tips to Improve your SEO in 2019 was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Crucial SEO and Conversion Metrics You Need to Track in 2019 and Beyond

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Crucial SEO and Conversion Metrics You Need to Track in 2019 and Beyond

Search continues to evolve, and this 2019, new updates, services, and tools aim to continue its optimization. With mobile and voice search having more impact than before, optimization on these platforms continues to be one of the main concerns in the world of SEO.

Along with mobile and voice, conversion rate optimization remains a constant metric to watch, as it is key to generating sales and revenue to any business website. Tracking this data helps you get an idea of how successful your efforts and strategies are, and also showing how to improve them as well. 2019 is another year that brings in big changes to SEO, and here are the key metrics that you should keep track this year, and maybe even beyond.

Subscriber Size and User Retention

One of the best ways to drive more traffic to your website content is by having a steady and growing subscriber base. Subscription keeps users regularly informed that new content has been released by a website, thus bringing in traffic. Subscription helps user retention grow, which plays a huge part in traffic growth. Some of the biggest websites utilize their subscription base very well, which has helped them establish their online presence, thanks in large part to their loyal user base.

Email and social media marketing are two great ways to grow your subscription base, as you can create sizeable campaigns that will help you gain more users. We have covered this in previous articles, and it is worth taking a look at them again to see how to create them successfully. While establishing a user base takes a lot of time and quality content to accomplish, it is a long-term investment worth making that will surely pay dividends in the end.

Mobile Search Ranking

Mobile search is constantly growing over the past year, with more people using mobile internet, and with the increasing popularity of voice search. In fact, there are cases in which mobile traffic constitutes half of the overall traffic of certain websites, which is something that would not be as common a few years ago.

This makes mobile optimization a must if you haven’t done it yet, as it makes your website accessible for different kinds of mobile devices, without sacrificing content and other features, which were some of the more persistent issues in the past. With search engines like Google incorporating voice search, mobile search rankings are crucial to track how users find your website and find the best search terms that would generate more traffic.

Page Loading Speed

The Google Speed update during July 2018 made mobile loading speed a ranking factor, which led to numerous websites optimizing accordingly. With this in mind, each second truly counts, as it makes a huge difference in the user experience. A few extra seconds can hamper the experience, and lead to users moving on to other websites, which no website owner would want.

Google Lighthouse and the PageSpeed Insights tool allows you to check loading speed and find any issue that is affecting loading speed. AMP is also another time-saver, as it creates fast loading pages. With increasing internet speed, having a website that performs well makes a huge difference in creating the best user experience.

Conversion Rate

A conversion rate is one of the most important SEO metrics to track, as this is one of your main goals when generating revenue to your website. A good conversion rate shows that you have a website that is optimized well, making sure that users would be guided to the right pages. The key to a good conversion rate is quality content that enables users to take actionable steps and starting the buyer’s journey. The user experience is crucial, as a conversion might be hampered by factors such as broken links and misleading images.

Landing page optimization would make sure that these elements would function properly and help guide users into the buyer’s journey. Conversion rate has always been a crucial SEO metric, and it remains in 2019.

Device Used

With search becoming bigger on mobile, it is important to keep track what kind of device is being used to view your website. This would help if pages within your website need to be optimized to make it flexible for multiple platforms. You can also use this metric to see how many of your email. subscribers view your content through different platforms as well.

Tracking this metric also helps push the need for AMP and Responsive Design on your website, which has become a primary need for every website aiming to achieve good search rankings. Since we’re handling different websites, we get to see a wide variety of data that show how different types of users prefer to view content. Upon viewing the data we have at hand, we can say that mobile is growing much larger month after month.

The main tool to track this metric is Google Analytics, which provides data to view desktop, mobile, and tablet user numbers. You can also view the device that was being used as well, which is additional data that might come in handy when targeting certain audiences. Mobile looks to play a huge part in the future of SEO and tracking this metric would bode well for your website.

Error Pages

One of the most hampering experiences that can happen on a website is when you encounter an error page, which means that you can’t navigate further and access content. Whenever you encounter these pages on your website, it is best to act fast and have it fixed as soon as possible.

Tools like Screaming Frog allow you to crawl over all pages in your website, which helps you find any error page that requires redirection. A good practice would be to have your website crawled on a weekly basis to ensure that any error page would be resolved immediately.

Key Takeaway

There are many metrics and factors that can affect the success of an SEO and conversion strategy, and keeping track of these metrics makes sure that you achieve the most success this 2019, and prepare your website for new and upcoming updates.

If you have questions and inquiries about SEO, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

Crucial SEO and Conversion Metrics You Need to Track in 2019 and Beyond was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Trying out the new Google Search Console URL Inspection Tool Update

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Trying out the new Google Search Console URL Inspection Tool Update

Google started 2019 with a new algorithm update that impacted a wide variety of websites and caused fluctuations in search rankings. This update was only the beginning of Google’s 2019, as another update has been rolled out in one of their most popular search tools.

The Google Search Console is one of the most effective website tracking tools around, allowing users the ability to monitor multiple websites, track web pages that need attention, and assess website impressions and performance. The best part about this tool is that it’s free to use, which makes the job of tracking websites much easier. The latest update that has been launched is for the tool’s URL inspection tool, which has now been expanded to include more detailed information about the websites that you are tracking. Here’s a look at the new update, and how to access it.

URL Inspection

Enter URL

To take a look at the new features, all you have to do is to click on the URL Inspection Tool and enter the URL of the webpage that you want to take a look at.

View Crawled Page

After waiting for the URL to load, you can now click on the View Crawled Page button to see the data. If you are doing a Live Test of the Webpage, you can do the same thing by clicking on the View Tested Page.

You can view three sections after clicking on this, namely the HTML, A screenshot of the web page, and a third section that allows you to view HTTP Response, Page resources, and JavaScript console messages.

HTML Page

The HTML section is pretty straightforward, allowing you to view the web page code, which can help you track various page elements like H1 tags and tracking codes.

Screenshot

Next is the screenshot, which shows you how the web page looked like when it was crawled by Google. This comes in handy as any problems with the page, such as images not loading and unresponsive media can be instantly seen.

HTTP Response

The third section contains three other details. With the first being the HTTP Response, which shows you if the website is responding and loading accordingly.

Page Reousrces

The next section is Page Resources, which shows you which resources are loading and not. This is important when checking any issues within the page, which can affect the user experience.

JavaScript Console Messages

Lastly, the final section is JavaScript Console Messages, which shows you a list of messages that can be stacked traced to look for any issues.

Overall, these features make Google Search Console an even more effective tool, as this additional information allows users to be able to have a better assessment of their websites, which will allow better performance that would optimize the user experience.

Key Takeaway

The Google Search Console is one of the best SEO tools around, and this new update makes things much better by adding useful new features that will benefit every user.

If you have questions and inquiries about Google Search Console or SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

Trying out the new Google Search Console URL Inspection Tool Update was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Franchise Marketing: Emerging Brands Guide on How to Grow Successfully

Guide

Franchise marketing sounds easy in theory, but it’s actually very difficult in practice.

Franchises have to produce marketing game plans at multiple levels to succeed:

Both at the overall business level and for individual franchises.

This means potentially straddling multiple diverse markets in local areas.

That’s why we developed the franchise marketing guide for emerging brands.

Using this guide, you will be able to get a full understanding of franchise marketing, how to bring your strategy digital, and how to create a marketing plan to grow your business.

What is Franchise Marketing?

Franchise marketing is a complex, two-fold definition. With franchise marketing, there are two distinct factors that you have to take into account.

  1. Marketing your business to get new franchisees
  2. Separately marketing those existing and new franchise locations in their local area

For instance, McDonald’s has to develop a plan to get franchisees to establish. But that’s not all. They then have to produce marketing content for each new franchisee to attract customers to dine there.

With franchise marketing, you will need a digital (and offline) strategy for both your corporate company and each franchise under your corporate umbrella.

This means crafting different market strategies for various local areas where competition can vary dramatically as well as population sizes, actual business locations, etc.

According to data from Wayne State University and professor Timothy Bates, out of 20,500 businesses studied, 65% of franchises survived after four years.

Compare that to independent businesses which see 72% survival rates after four years. In the retail space, it’s even more grim for franchisees: 61.3% survival rates vs 73.1% for independently owned businesses.

These survival rates signify a need for better, stable marketing plans that transcend beyond just the corporation and into each franchisee location. This is where things get tricky: how can you differentiate between corporate marketing and local franchise marketing?

This is what we will show you in this guide. So, where do you start? By analyzing the local competition.

How to do Competitor Research (Know the Competition)

Before jumping into a marketing game plan and hitting the ground running, you will need to do competitor research. And this goes for both your corporate plan and individual franchisee plans.

Chances are, you’re not the only corporate entity in your space. Everything from fast food to plumbing to auto shops have competition. At the corporate level, you will need to assess who your top competitors are, what they are producing, and how they attract both customers and franchisee interest.

At the franchisee level, you will need to assess competition in their local region and who you will be competing with for business.

Thankfully, you can kill two birds with one stone here.

In just a few easy steps, you can conduct basic competitor research for your corporate franchise  and franchisee locations.

The key areas you want to assess here are:

  1. Who your direct competitors are
  2. Where they have franchise locations in relation to your franchisees
  3. What marketing efforts they are using to promote the brand as a whole

First up, you will want to find your direct competitors. To do this, you can head to Google or even Google Maps and look for franchise companies near your corporate location or HQ.

For instance, searching for other pest control companies in your area:

As you will quickly notice, some household names pop up: Terminix, Orkin, etc.

If you recognize business names, they could be franchise companies operating under the corporate brand name.

These will be your competitors at both the corporate and franchisee level.

Compile a list in a spreadsheet and save it for later.

Next you will want to compare each of these competitors on your list to individual locations for your franchisees.

For instance, if you have a franchisee located just outside of Nashville, examine if those same corporate competitors have locations here too. Chances are, you will uncover more data on competitors by doing so.

Adding them to the list, you should have a large list of potential competition. The last step is marketing research:

What are your competitors doing to market their business? What social media platforms are they on? How often do they post on them? What content do they publish on social media? Are they using Google Ads? Do they have a blog where they write content?

All of these questions will play a role in what you focus on in your marketing plan. For example, if your competitors aren’t blogging, that’s a huge opportunity for you. If they are dominating social media, you will have to put more stock into social to establish your own presence.

Research the following factors and rank them from importance to decide where you will start to target:

  • Social media: note how often they publish, how engaged their following is, and what type of content they post.
  • Blogging: How often do they blog? What is the content about?
  • Customer service: What channels do they use for service? Compare those to your current service offerings.
  • Paid advertising: Do they advertise on Google Ads? Conduct a search for their brand to see if they show for paid ads.
  • Local SEO: local marketing is how well you are ranking for local searches in your niche. What local keywords or PPC campaigns are they running? How is their Google My Business Profile? What local events are they sponsoring?
  • Offline marketing:  What offline marketing tactics are they using? Direct mail? Booths? Fliers? Billboards? Radio? Conventions? Sponsoring local events?

After you have compiled all of this data in a spreadsheet, you should have a clear picture of what the competition is doing. This serves a dual purpose:

  1. It tells you what the baseline of your marketing has to be to remain competitive in the market.
  2. It shows you areas that your competition isn’t succeeding with, giving you direct chances to take market share in that area.

Now, let’s identify a target audience before hitting the ground running!

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Identify and Locate Your Target Audience

Identifying your target audience is key for multiple reasons. Without a clearly defined target audience, you will struggle to communicate value that resonates with your customer base.

For instance, if you are a retail franchise selling clothes for millennial business workers but you are reaching CEO’s in their 50s and 60s, you won’t be selling much product.

Identifying your target audience and locating them is critical. If you place your business in the wrong location, it could be far out of the way and inconvenient for your target market.

For instance, you wouldn’t want to buy land in the suburbs if your business was catering to people living in populated city areas.

If you don’t currently have much of an online presence, you can craft a few distinct factors to identify and locate your ideal targets:

  • Demographics: Age range, genders, etc.
  • Income: average income / disposable income
  • Pain points: what your average customer has trouble with that you can fix or provide
  • Online or offline: where your target market is most receptive
  • General locations: geographic locations where your target market is densely populated

If you already have an online presence, use tools like Facebook’s audience insights to analyze your current audience for marketing campaigns.

This data can be found on the Facebook Business Manager. Essentially, these insights will give you data on who engages with your Facebook business page the most, signifying their interests and other demographic data that can help you build a target market:

Factors like location and job title will help you build local connections and personas for different target markets.

This becomes especially critical when building a marketing plan for each individual franchisee.

Once you have a clear-cut audience nailed down for your franchise and franchisees, it’s time to focus on branding.

Create A Marketing Plan

In 2016, here at HigherVisibility, we conducted a “Franchise Industry Marketing Survey” in which nearly 2,000 franchise businesses and professionals were contacted to provide feedback.

In this study, we found some shocking results on the state of franchise marketing.

According to survey results, traditional marketing channels that are mostly offline were not delivering the results that franchises were looking for:

Only 39.47% of those surveyed said that their direct marketing efforts were paying off.

The majority said they weren’t, and nearly 20% said they weren’t sure.

This allude to multiple issues with the current state of franchise marketing:

  1. Too much of it is focused on offline tactics, leaving online marketing on the back burner and halting growth
  2. The disconnect between offline marketing tactics (like direct mail, etc) and tracking data

In this section, we will help you craft a digital marketing presence that helps your franchise get found and perfect your offline presence to accurately track data.

Let’s get started.

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Craft Your Digital Presence

Digital marketing isn’t just for online-only businesses or tech companies.

According to Google’s research, 80% of consumers (or 4 out of every 5 people) use search engines to find local information on businesses:

(Image Source)

Crafting a strong digital presence is critical to meeting the needs of common user behavior.

Nowadays, everyone heads to Google before doing any sort of business with a company. To meet these needs, you have to create an online presence that attracts, delights, and converts searchers into paying customers.

Here are a few key marketing tactics to focus on when building your digital footprint.


Website / Content Development

Building out your corporate website is a given. But just how do you do it?

How do you create a website for your business that attracts qualified customers time and time again?

There are two distinctive routes you can take with franchise marketing and websites:

  1. Building out a single, corporate website with company information and a business location finder to help people locate a franchise near them
  2. Build out websites for each individual franchisee.

The most common setup is the first option, which we will discuss here. We highly recommend NOT building out new websites for each individual franchisee.

Selecting the first choice, you can build up your corporate website with valuable content, videos, and information for customers (and those looking to franchise) without competing against yourself.

Setting up websites for every franchisee can lead to competition issues for similar content ideas and keyword searches. I.e, duplicate content issues and competing against your own franchisees.

For instance, both the franchisor and franchisee would be competing for articles about DIY bed bug treatments.

This can lead to burdensome maintenance and even penalty issues with Google.

So, where do you start? By creating content. Content is king for growing your business and brand.

No matter what industry you are in, people will be looking for helpful content in that space.

According to HubSpot data, companies in both the B2B and B2C realms get the most website traffic by blogging more often:

(Image Source)

In fact, consumer facing brands generate more leads, sales, and brand awareness by implementing a blog to their website:

(Image Source)

Posting 11 or more times per month will generate far more leads than not posting or just posting a few times.

What do you post?

To generate ideas, look at common keywords that your customers are searching for.

If you have Google Analytics established, you can look at the on-site search report for starter ideas. This report shows what people are searching for directly on your site:

You can quickly turn these into information blog posts on your website.

Using Google as a resource, you can find suggestions and commonly searched questions in your space. To do so, start typing a general question that your customers likely have. Sticking with the pest control theme, a common search would be, “best ways to treat bed bugs.”

In the results, you will see a “People also ask” box, giving you additional topics that you can write about for your website:

At the bottom of the search results page, use the related searches section to capture even more topic ideas:

Repeat this process for any topic that you can think of (or any topic in your on-site search report)!

Set goals for your content strategy:

  • How often you want to publish new content
  • What topics you want to cover
  • How in-depth your content will be in length and topic coverage

Steps for franchisors: Develop your corporate website with content on a consistent basis. If you are looking to enable franchisees to create and scale their own content marketing efforts, produce materials to guide them:

  • Logos / assets to use
  • Topics to cover (and what not to cover)
  • Guidelines: how long the content should be, what it should accomplish

Establishing set rules will make the hand-off  process of marketing materials to franchisees easier, without tons of back and forth or miscommunication.  A great place to store this information is a private company knowledge base software where your franchisees can access the info and follow tutorials on how to use it properly. For instance, Asana’s knowledge base:

Steps for franchisees: if your franchisor allows you to produce your own content for business growth, request materials from them on guidelines and rules to follow. Utilize a knowledge base for improvement and growth. This will help to ensure that your branding remains consistent across all channels and franchisees.


Local SEO

Local search engine optimization is one of (if not the most) important facets of franchise marketing.

When someone searches on Google for a local business, you need your franchisee’s locations to display immediately.

If they don’t, the odds of them getting the sale and securing business drop dramatically.

And that impacts both the franchisor and the franchisee for income and growth.

A great start to Local SEO is optimizing your local business profile to display key information for browsing users:

When a search is conducted, each franchise location should show up with key information and a direct map location.

Information like business hours, address, reviews, phone numbers, appointment scheduling, questions and answers, photos, and more. These should all be available for each franchisee location based on a user’s local search.

All of this information can be inputted and updated on Google My Business, where listings can be created for each franchised location.

Depending on how you structure it, you can give control to each local business listing to the franchisee, or control it at the corporate level.

But local SEO is far more than just a Google My Business profile.

More areas to assess are:

  1. Local on-page optimization: areas like schema markup for local searches, local keyword research, and local content marketing.
  2. Local event outreach: contacting and supporting local events to improve direct marketing
  3. Local link building: generating links from local companies strategically to help more local customers find your business. This can mean industry citations, business listing links, and more.

If you control it at the corporate level, you can hire someone that knows local SEO, avoiding potential complications of teaching SEO to franchisees. This circumvents potential disasters and can help you consistently rank for local searches. In doing so, you can control all of the information and updating each listing regularly.

If you give control to each franchisee, ensure that you give them proper materials and documents to help them with the setup process. Don’t throw them into the weeds and expect a masterpiece. Make sure to consistently follow up with each franchisee to keep the profile updated, respond to reviews, and make sure information is correct.


Paid Search

Paid search, also known as pay-per-click marketing, is creating paid advertisements that show up on Google searches or display partner websites.

For instance, those ads you see when searching for a product or business type:

These ads are a great way to boost brand visibility for both your corporate business and local franchises, not to mention generating direct sales and leads for the franchise.

Again, depending on how you want to structure the control of advertising, you can do it all from a single corporate account on Google Ads, or allowing each franchisee to manage their own advertising.

If you choose the latter, we recommend never letting a franchisee manage their own advertising fully.

The best approach would be to have a franchisee to pay into an ad fund that a franchise council determines how to allocate. The danger with this strategy is quality and consistency of the advertising.

For best performance, it’s likely that you will want to manage it in-house at the corporate level or through preferred vendors, as managing it is a full-time job and isn’t easy for beginners.

For promoting your corporate business, focus on brand awareness and keywords that aren’t local. For instance:

  • Best termite company
  • Bed bug removal

For advertising for franchisees, you will want to target local keywords to capture a local audience:

  • Best termite company in [location 1]
  • Bed bug removal [location 1]

In doing so, you also want to set a target radius for advertising in each local area to ensure you are capturing local business.


Social Media

Social media is a great way to build favorable brand awareness in your local markets, and even generate direct sales.

According to the latest research, consumers are 71% more likely to buy from your company if they have a good social media interaction / experience.

(Image Source)

Social media can be used for anything from talking directly with customers, solving support issues, driving sales or leads, or just creating great posts that engage your target market.

For your franchisees, this is one channel that is very easy to run. But like others, it needs maintenance, consistency, and branding.

When developing social media for your franchise and franchisees, be sure to nail the following:

  • Scheduling: Set out a clear schedule for your franchisees to follow. Be sure to tell them how many times they should post per week (we recommend at least once a day of high quality content). Help them get setup on a scheduling tool like Buffer to do the posts in advance and make sure they stay on track.
  • Branding: Supply them with the right branding materials, like images and logos that they can use as profile pictures.
  • Tone: Educate franchisees on the tone that the social profile should craft. The key with franchising is consistency. You want all franchises to communicate the same information.
  • Guidelines: Be sure to list what is off limits and guide them on every step from scheduling to posting to responding to customers.

On the Facebook Business Manager, your corporate franchise can manage all Facebook pages using the locations feature:

Each franchisee will have their own Facebook page linked to the location. This makes it easy for you to keep track of each franchise and the efforts they make to improve social media.

On social media, you can also take advantage of Facebook advertising to drive leads and sales.

For example, running ad campaigns to local markets for coupons and discounts:

Or use lead-form ads on Facebook to drive new consultations and quotes:

Facebook advertising is a fantastic way to grow direct revenue and should be utilized heavily for your franchise and franchisees.


Establish Re-marketing and Generate Email Lists

Re-marketing is the marketing strategy of sending further marketing messages to people who have engaged with your site or messaging before.

For instance, let’s say that someone heads to Google and searches for “termite company near me.”

They find your website and click to it, exploring the options you offer. They decide not to buy anything today, so they leave.

You can’t email them just yet, since they didn’t provide any of that information. Instead, you need re-marketing.

Re-marketing allows you to display marketing messages to those users based on what pages they visit on your website, or even engagements from social media.

In doing so, you can attempt to get their email and contact info.

Re-marketing can easily be set up directly in Google Ads via the Audience Manager.

For re-marketing ads, you want to focus on acquiring leads for your business and for franchisees.

One goal here is to collect email contact info that your franchisees can use to build their businesses. Another could be to re-target people that failed to fill out a lead form, bringing them back to hopefully get them to convert next time.

Focus your advertisements on high quality content, like reports, videos, social media content, and more:

Once you have collected (or helped to collect) contacts, you can guide your franchisees on how to send good email marketing campaigns.

One great example of an email campaign is from a franchise business is Potbelly:

Keeping the tone neutral, they focus on offering discounts and deals to their customers via email. Providing helpful links at the top, like Order Now and Find a Shop, customers will be able to locate their local franchise and use the coupon.

To keep things consistent, develop templates for your franchises for various email marketing goals:

  • Promoting general coupons and discounts
  • Announcing events
  • Big changes to store hours or offerings

Developing these templates in advance, your franchisees will have consistent messaging and a template to turn to for creating great email campaigns that reflect positively on the brand as a whole.

Don’t Neglect an Offline Marketing Presence

Online marketing is supremely effective for just about any business and any business goal.

But that doesn’t mean you should drop traditional efforts, especially if they are already doing well.

Here are a few offline marketing methods you can establish for your franchise and franchisees to utilize for business growth.


Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing is still a valuable tactic for most businesses. Latest data shows that over 100 million adults in the United States purchased from direct mail catalogs in 2016 alone.

(Image Source)

Direct mail can be a great tool for delivering coupons and incentives or even more information to customers.

Direct mail can also help you to up-sell existing customers and continue their loyalty.

Postcards, fliers, and coupons are easy to generate at scale, too.


Radio and Television

Radio and TV ads are still immensely popular, but can be much more costly than most online and offline marketing tactic, not to mention harder to attribute ROI to.

Direct mail is very cheap to run, whereas radio spots can cost from $200 to $5,000 weekly.

TV advertising is always going to be more expensive.

If you have just begun franchising, consider putting these formats on the back burner for now.


Outdoor advertising

Outdoor advertising, like billboards and posters, are another solid offline marketing channel to encourage your franchisees to use.

(Image Source)

Depending on where your franchise locations are, billboards and posters can drive tons of local traffic, as well as people passing through the local area.

If you decide to proceed, be sure to give your franchisees the proper materials to create billboard ads, like logos, creative, and more.

Try tailoring the creative to each individual location to personalize the messaging if possible.


Grassroots Marketing Tactics

Grassroots marketing tactics should be your go-to offline marketing tactic.

Grassroots marketing usually involves referrals, participation in local community events, hosting events, raising money for local communities / charities, and sponsoring events.

No matter where your franchise or franchisees are located, you will be able to find local events to host or sponsor.

For instance, Great Clips’ corporate franchise hosts career events to find new potential managers and franchise owners.

And their individual franchise locations often host events in local areas or support local causes:

(Image Source)

This dual-approach provides business growth opportunities for your franchise and franchise owners.


Establish a Loyalty / Rewards Program

Loyalty and rewards programs are a fantastic way to keep customers coming back to your business locations.

According to recent studies, 66.3% of consumers will shop at your store if you have a loyalty rewards app.

Plus, loyal customers spend 66% more with a business over their customer lifespan.

Potbelly is a great example again of using loyalty and rewards to keep customers dining with them:

Using their mobile app, your purchases go straight into your profile, helping to build rewards for future free items.

Pro tip for loyalty programs: reward customers with smaller rewards, faster. The biggest complaint in regards to loyalty programs is that it takes far too long to get rewards.

Similarly, Chick-Fil-A has a mobile application rewards program to incentivize repeat business.

With rewards programs, you can run them directly at the corporate level too, making it an easy addition that franchisees can benefit from without worrying about training them to run it!

Developing a rewards program also helps you sell your franchises to potential owners, as it’s a great marketing tool that can help them increase sales and grow the business.

Next Steps

Franchise marketing is much more complex than marketing a single business.

You have both a corporate business to brand and market, as well as individual franchisees that need customers.

Navigating both without capsizing one is tricky. It is much easier if you lay the foundation for this early, rather than implementing brand new systems of marketing later on.

But using local marketing both offline and online, you can produce powerful campaigns that distinguish between the two.

The next steps are to craft your very own Franchise Marketing Game plan.

Thankfully for you, we’ve developed a franchise marketing template that you can download and put to work instantly.

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Franchise Marketing: Emerging Brands Guide on How to Grow Successfully was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Conversion Optimization: Eight considerations to take into account when A/B testing in mobile

I’m writing this article on a laptop computer at my desk. And in your marketing department or agency, you likely do most of your work on a computer as well.

This can cause a serious disconnect with your customers as you design A/B tests.

Because more than half (52.4% according to Statista) of global internet traffic comes from a mobile device.

So, I interviewed Rebecca Strally, Director of Optimization and Design, and Todd Barrow, Director of Application Development, for tips on what considerations you should make for mobile devices when you’re planning and rolling out your tests. Rebecca and Todd are my colleagues here at MECLABS Institute (parent research organization of MarketingExperiments).

Consideration #1: Amount of mobile traffic and conversions

Just because half of global traffic is from mobile devices doesn’t mean half of your site’s traffic is from mobile devices. It could be considerably less. Or more.

Not to mention, traffic is far from the only consideration. “You might get only 30% of traffic from mobile but 60% of conversions, for example. Don’t just look at traffic. Understand the true impact of mobile on your KPIs,” Rebecca said.

Consideration #2: Mobile first when designing responsive

Even if mobile is a minority of your traffic and/or conversions, Rebecca recommends you think mobile first. For two reasons.

First, many companies measure KPIs (key performance indicators) in the aggregate, so underperformance on mobile could torpedo your whole test if you’re not careful. Not because the hypothesis didn’t work, but because you didn’t translate it well for mobile.

Second, it’s easier to go from simpler to more complex with your treatments. And mobile’s smaller form factor necessitates simplicity.

“Desktop is wide and shallow. Mobile is tall and thin. For some treatments, that can really affect how value is communicated.”  — Rebecca Strally

“Desktop is wide and shallow. Mobile is tall and thin. For some treatments, that can really affect how value is communicated,” she said.

Rebecca gave an example of a test that was planned on desktop first for a travel website. There were three boxes with value claims, and a wizard below it. On desktop, visitors could quickly see and use the wizard. The boxes offered supporting value.

But on mobile, the responsive design stacked the boxes shifting the wizard far down the page. “We had to go back to the drawing board. We didn’t have to change the hypothesis, but we had to change how it was executed on mobile,” Rebecca said.

Consideration #3: Unique impacts of mobile on what you’re testing

A smartphone isn’t just a smaller computer. It’s an entirely different device that offers different functionality. So, it’s important to consider how that functionality might affect conversions and to keep mobile-specific functionality in mind when designing tests that will be experienced by customers on both platforms — desktop and mobile.

Some examples include:

  • With the prevalence of digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, forms and credit card info is more likely to prefill. This could reduce friction in a mobile experience, and make the checkout process quicker. So while some experiences might require more value on desktop to help keep the customer’s momentum moving through the checkout process, including that value on mobile could actually slow down an otherwise friction-lite experience.
  • To speed load time and save data, customers are more likely to use ad blockers that can block popups and hosted forms. If those popups and forms contain critical information, visitors may assume your site is having a problem and not realize they are blocking this information. This may require clearly providing text explaining about the form or providing an alternative way to get the information, a step that may not be necessary on desktop.
  • Customers are touching and swiping, not typing and clicking. So information and navigation requests need to be kept simpler and lighter than on desktop.
  • Visitors can click to call. You may want to test making a phone call a more prominent call to action in mobile, while on desktop that same CTA may induce too much friction and anxiety.
  • Location services are more commonly used, providing the opportunity to better tap into customer motivation by customizing offers and information in real time and more prominently featuring brick-and-mortar related calls to action, as opposed to desktop, which is in a static location, and the user may be interested in obtaining more information before acting (which may require leaving their current location).
  • Users are accustomed to app-based experiences, so the functionality of the landing page may be more important on mobile than it is on desktop.

Consideration #4: The device may not be the only thing that’s different

“Is mobile a segment or device?” Rebecca pondered in my office.

She expanded on that thought, “Do we treat mobile like it is the same audience with the same motivations, expected actions, etc., but just on a different physical device? Or should we be treating those on mobile like a completely different segment/audience of traffic because their motivations, expected actions, etc., are different?”

She gave an example of working with a company her team was performing research services for. On this company’s website, younger people were visiting on mobile while older people were visiting on desktop. “It’s wasn’t just about a phone, it was a different collection of human beings,” she said.

Consideration #5: QA to avoid validity threats

When you’re engaged in conversion optimization testing, don’t overlook the need for quality assurance (QA) testing. If a treatment doesn’t render correctly on a mobile device, it could be that the technical difficulty is causing the change in results, not the changes you made to the treatment. If you are unaware of this, it will mislead you about the effectiveness of your changes.

This is a validity threat known as instrumentation effect.

Here are some of the devices our developers use for QAing.

(side note: That isn’t a stock photo. It’s an actual picture by Senior Designer James White. When I said it looked too much like a stock image, Associate Director of Design Lauren Leonard suggested I let the readers know “we let the designers get involved, and they got super excited about it.”)

 

“If your audience are heavy users of Safari on iPhone, then check on the actual device. Don’t rely on an emulator.”   — Todd Barrow

“Know your audience. If your audience are heavy users of Safari on iPhone, then check on the actual device. Don’t rely on an emulator. It’s rare, but depending on what you’re doing, there are things that won’t show up as a problem in an emulator. Understand what your traffic uses and QA your mobile landing pages on the actual physical devices for the top 80%,” Todd advised.

Consideration #6: The customer’s mindset

Customers may go to the same exact landing page with a very different intent when they’re coming from mobile. For example, Rebecca recounted an experiment with an auto repair chain. For store location pages, desktop visitors tended to look for coupons or more info on services. But mobile visitors just wanted to make a quick call.

“Where is the customer in the thought sequence? Mobile can do better with instant gratification campaigns related to brick-and-mortar products and services,” she said.

Consideration #7: Screen sizes and devices are not the same things

Most analytics platforms give you an opportunity to monitor your metrics based on device types, like desktop, mobile and tablet. They likely also give you the opportunity to get metrics on screen resolutions (like 1366×768 or 1920×1080).

Just keep in mind, people aren’t always viewing your websites at the size of their screen. You only know the size of the monitor not the size of the browser.

“The user could be recorded as a full-size desktop resolution, but only be viewing in a shrunken window, which may be shrunk down enough to see the tablet experience or even phone experience,” Todd said. “Bottom line is you can’t assume the screen resolutions reported in the analytics platform is actually what they were viewing the page at.”

Consideration #8: Make sure your tracking is set up correctly

Mobile can present a few unique challenges for tracking your results through your analytics and testing platforms. So make sure your tracking is set up correctly before you launch the test.

For example, if you’re using a tag control manager and tagging things through it based on CSS properties, if the page shifts at different breakpoints that change the page structure, you could have an issue.

“If you’re tagging a button based on its page location at the bottom right, but then it gets relocated on mobile, make sure you’re accounting for that,” Todd advised.

Also, understand how the data is being communicated. “Because Google Tag Manager and Google Optimize are asynchronous, you can get mismatched data if you don’t follow the best practices,” Todd said.

“If you see in your data that the control has twice as many hits as the treatment, there is a high probability you’ve implemented something in a way that didn’t account for the way asynchronous tags work.”                  —Todd Barrow

Todd provided a hard-coded page view as an example. “Something to watch for when doing redirect testing … a tracking pixel could fire before the page loads and does the split. If you see in your data that the control has twice as many hits as the treatment, there is a high probability you’ve implemented something in a way that didn’t account for the way asynchronous tags work. This is really common,” Todd said.

“If you know that’s going to happen, you can segment the data to clean it,” he said.

Related Resources

Free Mobile Conversion Micro Class from MECLABS Institute

Mobile Marketing: What a 34% increase in conversion rate can teach you about optimizing for video

Mobile Marketing: Optimizing the evolving landscape of mobile email marketing

Mobile Conversion Optimization Research Services: Get better mobile results from deeper customer understanding

Conversion Optimization: Eight considerations to take into account when A/B testing in mobile was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing