Why Your Business Needs Its Own Website

Even if your company is locally-based and relies on foot traffic, it’s still a good idea to create your own website to reflect your new business venture. We’re living in a time now when most people search for companies and services on the internet before looking anywhere else. Decades ago, it was easy to open a phone book or ask friends about their experiences, but the internet has allowed people the chance to find great companies with viable real-person testimonials. This is why it’s crucial that you create a website for your own company in order to bring in more revenue and new clientele.

Importance of Establishing an Online Presence

One of the main benefits to establishing an online presence for your business is that you’re going to attract more customers. People who wouldn’t otherwise know that you’re in business will find you on the internet and might consider using your services. You can also improve upon your customer service using the internet because you’ll be able to answer reviews, comments and inquiries in a quick and efficient manner.

Choosing a Domain Name and Registering It

marketing online for local businessesFirst, you’ll need to think of a good domain name for your company that will attract clients and visitors to your site. Next, you’ll want to click here to learn more about domain registration in order to buy the domain name legally so that no one else has access to it. It might be a good idea to go with a name that reflects your company’s title or the type of services that you’re offering. Keep in mind that you will need to pay a monthly or annual fee in order to keep the domain in your name.

Buying Hosting

Along with registering your domain name and publishing it online, you’ll need to buy a hosting package to publish your site onto the worldwide web. Without hosting, you won’t have space to upload files and images to the internet and will only have a domain name that isn’t able to do anything. There are a ton of hosting sites available to choose from, so be sure to compare a variety of them before making your final decision. You will need to pay a monthly fee to keep the hosting account active and your site published online.

How to Successfully Run a Website

Running a successful website means that you need to put the time and work into getting it known through marketing and advertising campaigns. You will also need to integrate search engine optimization into each page to rank higher on popular search engines. You can hire outside companies to do this type of marketing for you, but keep in mind that you’ll pay a fee for their services. Once your site takes off, you’ll still need to put the effort into maintaining it so that you don’t lose visitors and instead continue to grow your business’s online presence from the ground, up.

Read Full Article Here: Why Your Business Needs Its Own Website

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Digital Marketing News: Mobile Beats Desktop, YouTube Stories, Facebook for Kids?

Top Women Influencers in Tech

TopRank Marketing has partnered with Onalytica for the Women in Tech: Hot Topics and Influencers List for 2018. The list features influencers in the categories of Artificial Intelligence, FinTech, Blockchain, BigData, IoT, EdTech, MarTech, InsurTech, Virtual Reality, and Cyber Security. Onalytica Blog

Study: 80% Of Brands Plan To Boost Video Spending In 2018. Of course Facebook and Google dominate video advertising with Facebook accounting for 39%, and Google’s YouTube, 27% of digital video ad spend. The cost of producing targeted high-quality videos is prohibitive, and many marketers rely on agencies to create the ads. MediaPost

Facebook tests tool to make it easier for businesses to send message blasts on Messenger. Facebook is internally testing a tool called Messenger Broadcast that businesses would be able to use to send message blasts to people who had conversed with their accounts on Messenger. Of course that wouldn’t work of Messenger is down (see above).  MarketingLand

Black Friday Twitter engagements totaled nearly 785M. Black Friday-related terms and hashtags on Twitter had a total message volume of 1,982,019 and a potential reach of 27.5 billion. “potential”, ha! What’s interesting is that 63% of the messaging came from mobile devices and 37% from the web. MarketingDive

Email Generates $1.6 Billion On Cyber Monday (But Search Rocked It). Cyber Monday was the largest online sales day in history with sales increasing to $6.59 billion. Mobile continues to grow as an integral component of retail marketing, as revenue driven by smartphones reached a record $1.59 billion. Search was crowned the overall winner of the shopping bonanza with 41.7% of online sales. . MediaPost

YouTube is testing its own version of Stories. YouTube announced it’s rolling out the Community tab to all creators with more than 10,000 subscribers as well as a new feature called “reels”, which is like Instagram or Snapchat Stories. Reels allow creators to stitch together short videos shot from their mobile devices and add things like filters, music and text. Engadget

Mobile Ad Spend Surpasses Desktop Spend. Mobile is now the world’s second-largest ad medium expected to reach $98.3bn in 2017, representing almost a quarter (23%) of worldwide advertising expenditure. WARC

There are now 25M active business profiles on Instagram. It looks like my favorite network for personal use is finally growing up into the business world. Instagram also says that more than 80 percent of Instagram accounts follow a business, with 200 million users visiting a business profile every day.  TechCrunch

New Facebook App for Children Ignites Debate Among Families. While there is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, known as Coppa, that requires services aimed at children to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting information, how long before kids figure out how to “hack” that permission? I’m not a fan of this at all.  New York Times

CMO Ad Spend 2018

63% of B2B marketers currently buy advertising programmatically. Not only are B2B marketers combining programmatic and data to drive their ad buying and audience targeting, they’re also turning to data to drive their integrated marketing campaigns. In fact, almost 80 percent of respondents said they either use or want to use a solution that integrates ad tech and mar tech. Dun & Bradstreet (client)

Google is testing an answers carousel within the search results snippets. Even less reason to click through: Google has started testing and potentially rolling out a new feature in search that shows a carousel with a list of answers directly within the search results snippets. Search Engine Land

2018 Digital Marketing Plans Survey Summary Report. Highlights include: Social media marketing, content marketing and the marketing technology that drives these tactics, are most effective marketing tactics. The most critical challenge to the success of a digital marketing plan is data quality and 93% of digital marketing budgets will increase in 2018, with 41% increasing significantly. Ascend2

Content is the No. 1 contributor to an overall good event experience for IT buyers. Four out of five IT buyers say they are more likely to visit a booth if they have heard of, read about, or connected with an exhibitor before an event. This is why conference ebooks make so much sense! MarketingProfs

Global AR & VR revenues to grow from $4.1 billion in 2016 to $79.4 billion in 2021. ARtillry Intelligence has devised a disciplined and non-biased revenue forecast for AR & VR, segmented into their product areas: enterprise AR/VR and consumer AR/VR. From Pokémon Go to applications in manufacturing and design, it looks like the AR & VR space is coming in to its own. ARtillry

Sprout Social Acquires Social Analytics Firm Simply Measured. The social analytics market is expected to grow to $9.54 billion by 2022 and with Simply Measured full-funnel analytics, Sprout Social is certainly moving in the right direction to capitalize on that growth. Sprout Social Blog

On the Lighter Side

Facebook Messenger Went Down Globally and Everyone Freaked Out.  On Tuesday this week thousands of users reporting problems according to the Down Detector website, which logs reports of online service failures. Of course when one network is down, users flock to another to complain. In this case hundreds of users flocked to Twitter to vent their frustration. Fortune

Instagram adds content warnings for koala selfies. If you click on an offending hashtag like #koalaselfie, #lionselfie #koalahugs or #tigerpet, a new warning will pop up. “You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behavior to animals or the environment,” the warning reads. CNN Tech

TopRank Marketing in the News

  • Ashley Zeckman – Why Brands Should See Ideas Everywhere (podcast) – Brand Driven Digital
  • Ashley Zeckman – Revolutionary Females in Marketing to Follow on Twitter – Devrix
  • Rachel Miller – 35+ Most Influential Women Leading B2B Marketing Technology – Data Captive Blog
  • Rachel Miller – Women in Martech: Hot Topics and Influencers List – Onalytica Blog
  • Rachel Miller & Lee Odden – Top 100 Social Media and Marketing Influencers – Digital Scouting
  • Lee Odden – 2018 Predictions on the Future of Customer Experience – Adobe CMO.com
  • Lee Odden – How to Apply Influencer Marketing Principles and Boost Your Sales – LinkedIn Sales Solutions Blog (client)
  • Lee Odden – LinkedIn Presents: The Future of Advertising Agencies (video) – LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog (client)

What was the top digital marketing news story for you this week?

Be sure to stay tuned until next week when we’ll be sharing all new marketing news stories. Also check out the full video summary with Tiffani and Josh on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.


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5 Outdated Content Marketing Tactics (And What to Do Instead)

Can I interest anyone in an iPhone? No, not the iPhone 8 or X. I’m talking about this bad boy:

No takers? But it has a 320X480 pixel screen, 128 Mb of RAM, and a single 2-megapixel camera! Back in 2007, this was the hottest phone on the market. People lined up in front of stores just to get their hands on one.

You get the point: State of the art quickly becomes laughably outdated. What used to thrill a consumer’s soul is now something we wouldn’t give a toddler to play with.

That kind of obsolescence isn’t limited to the tech industry, of course. The cycle from next-big-thing to the dustbin is even faster in online content. Yet many content marketers are using tactics that, while they once worked, are now as outdated as that original iPhone. What’s worse, some of us are still in the flip-phone stage.

If you’re using any of the following content marketing tactics, it’s time for an upgrade. Here’s what doesn’t work, why it doesn’t, and what you should try instead.

Ditch These Outdated Content Marketing Tactics

1. Broad and Shallow Content

Content used to be about sheer bulk rather than quality. Search engines prioritized sites that had a lot of keyword-rich (more on that later) content. Whether that content was actually useful didn’t matter. So writers churned out blog posts like they were getting paid by the word – and sometimes, we actually were.

But search engines have gotten smarter, and our content needs to get smarter, too. Pride of place in the SERP goes to content that actually serves a purpose for an audience. Shallow content gets few clicks, low time on page, and high bounce rates. All of these factors push your content down to the hinterlands of Google’s Page 2 (or lower).

What to Do Instead: Content can no longer be a commodity, churned out in a word factory. We need handcrafted artisan content. It takes longer to create, but you don’t have to make as much of it, either. Focus your resources on a few pillar pieces that deliver real value. Content that inspires readers to spend time on the page, explore further, and share with others will beat commodity content every day of the week. 

 

2. Single Keyword Stuffing

In the days of bulk content, a sure-fire way to get search engines’ attention was stuffing in keywords wherever they would fit. Keywords were stuffed in every header, every paragraph, multiple times in a sentence, and then in invisible text at the bottom of the page for good measure. It didn’t add anything useful to the content—in fact, it actively made the content worse – but it helped get eyeballs to your site.

Now, though, you’re likely to get the opposite effect from keyword stuffing. Google actively recognizes spammy keyword usage and moves that content down in the SERP.

What to Do Instead: Don’t focus on a single keyword. Start with a topic for which there is proven search demand. Then create a keyword group of similar terms, related topics, and long-tail derivatives. Use your keyword group to inform your content outline. Then, as you write your comprehensive, best-answer content, you will naturally include the relevant terms without stuffing them in. That way, you’re optimizing for humans and search engines alike.

3. Clickbait Headlines

Never has a tactic been so maligned and so effective as clickbait headlines were a few years ago. “7 of the Coolest Kazoos in the UK – Number 5 Will Shock You!” “They Said He Couldn’t Play His Kazoo at School – You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!” Sites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed drove millions of views with these headlines, and marketers were quick to pick up on the trend.

The problem is, if everything is “shocking,” “mind-blowing,” or “brain-melting,” nothing is. Readers caught wise to the hyperbole and stopped clicking through. Upworthy is still around, but has a fraction of the audience. Buzzfeed is still going strong, but only because they ditched the breathless headlines and focused on great content.

What to Do Instead: Offer a clear benefit to the reader in your title. Don’t promise a life-changing, unbelievable experience – promise to meet a specific need, and make sure you fulfill that promise.

4. Focusing on Bottom of Funnel Content

One of content marketers’ biggest challenges is proving how their content contributes to a purchase decision. So it makes sense that, historically, we’ve concentrated efforts on content designed to close a deal. That is, content that’s more, “Why Our Kazoos Are the Best,” rather than “Why Kazoos Are a Vital Part of an Orchestra,” or even, “Our 10 Favorite Kazoo Players.”

It’s true that bottom of funnel content is easier to tie to revenue. But without top of funnel content, you won’t have an established audience for the bottom of funnel stuff. You can talk about how great your product is out the kazoo, but who’s going to read it?

What to Do Instead: Most of your audience is going to be in the early stages of the decision-making process. To strike the right content marketing balance, use the funnel image as your guide – create the majority of your content for top of funnel, a little less for mid-funnel, and less still for the very bottom. Then make sure each piece of content has a next step that leads the reader further down the funnel. Or kazoo.

 

5.  “Viral” Content

There’s a potent high to having a piece of content go viral. Millions of impressions, thousands of shares, maybe even local news coverage, all organic and all free – it’s definitely intoxicating. When viral videos cracked the mainstream consciousness, marketers went chasing that high. And some of us are still trying to catch it.

As I’ve said before, viral is not a content marketing strategy. It’s a pleasant but unpredictable side effect of good content, and it’s ultimately irrelevant to your goals. How many of those millions of viewers are interested in your product? And how many just want to laugh at a dog playing a kazoo?

What to Do Instead: Don’t aim your content at the broadest possible audience and hope it goes viral. Focus on your most relevant audience and make a strategic plan to reach them. We use an integrated marketing approach that includes:

  • Best-answer, comprehensive content with SEO built in
  • Influencer co-creation for amplification
  • Social media amplification
  • Paid, highly targeted advertising

Get with the Now

The original iPhone was a technological marvel in 2007. Now, you’ll find it in a museum of technology, or on eBay as a “classic collector’s item.” But you won’t find it in anyone’s hip pocket.

Make sure your marketing stays up-to-date: Ditch outdated tactics like shallow, product-focused content and upgrade to valuable, customer-focused content, strategically planned and amplified.

Need help getting to the next generation of content marketing? We’re here for you.


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5 Ways Influencer Marketing Drives Performance Across the Customer Lifecycle

Influencer Marketing Customer Lifecycle

Much of what we hear about influencer marketing is centered around reach and engagement objectives. This is not unlike the early days of social media marketing programs where platform capabilities and user behaviors created a perfect storm for connection and interaction.

Fast forward to today and we’ve certainly learned that social media is not a silo of communication, but more of a universal truth when it comes to where people spend their time to discover, consume and interact with content.

Influence brings that same universal truth in terms of something that affects us all. From a marketing context, influence is the ability to affect action and since virtually every person with a phone is empowered to publish, everyone has some degree of influence.

So where does that broader view lead us when developing an influencer content marketing strategy that’s optimized to attract, engage and convert? To help answer that question and extend optimization to retention and advocacy, here are 5 states during the customer journey and how influencer marketing can play a part for better results.


“The opportunity for consumer engagement spans the entire journey and influencers can play an important role in each moment of truth.” @BrianSolis
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Attract

Contribution inspires promotion. The obvious value here is that working with influencers on content can inspire promotion of the content collaborated on. Reaching the audience of an influencer with content that is relevant and credible can be incredibly valuable for brands that want to attract hard-to-reach customers.

Follow the leader advocacy. Influencers that are advocates often inspire other influencers and customers to advocate for the brand as well. This can be architected with contests where the content with the most social engagement wins, but basic follow the leader behavior in an organic way is effective too.

Retargeting influencer interest. When followers of an influencer that the brand co-created content with match a customer profile, marketers can retarget those followers who have interacted with the influencer content with more context than a buyer simply visiting random websites.

blockchain influencers SAP
A great B2B example of an Attract approach to influencer co-creation is this interactive experience for SAP Leonardo (client).  32 influencers contributing their expertise on topics ranging from artificial intelligence to blockchain technologies. With over 1.8 million impressions and 100% influencer share rate, this content collaboration project exceeded reach expectations.

Engage

Creator talent drives interaction. In the B2C world, creators are plentiful and by creators I mean people will great media creation skills AND the charisma to attract an engaged audience. Creators can bring unique talent to the planning, creation and promotion of content that brings a fresh perspective and higher engagement to an otherwise tired marketing mix.

Authenticity drives engagement. When microinfluencers also represent the customer that a brand is working to engage, the authenticity and voice of the customer that they bring to content collaboration can result in more content interaction and sharing.

Relevance is essential in all things marketing and when the influencer’s audience and the brand channel for promotion match well, then engagement is more likely to be high.

Tom's of Maine - Mavrck
An impressive B2C Engage example would have to be Tom’s of Maine that focused on micro-influencers to create and amplify content on social channels. Results per 1,000 micro-influencers activated: 6,496 likes, shares and comments; 1.7 million friends reached, 4,270 survey responses captured. You can read the full case study on the Mavrck site.

Convert

Trust motivates. Few things motivate conversion more than trust and the essence of what makes someone influential is that their community trusts them. Therefore, trusted influencers who are involved with brand content that is mid to end of funnel focused can help increase conversions.

Familiarity brings confidence. Another thing about relevance is that influencers that have a reputation for recommending products and services have developed familiarity with their audience for that behavior. Working with a new brand and talking about a topic or a product / service (with appropriate ad disclaimers) can inspire transaction.

Credibility is believability. The more credible a brand’s content is, the more likely it is to persuade and inspire action. Influencers can bring that credibility.

Modern Digital Commerce
A B2B pilot project we implemented for Oracle included a formidable 68 page ebook called the Executive’s Handbook to Modern Digital Commerce which featured influencers including Brian Solis, Stephen Monaco, Ed Cleary, Stewart Rogers and other B2B digital experts. The credibility of this ebook produced in combination with industry experts resulted in exceeding the conversion rate goal by 260%.

Retain

Bring utility to the community. Expanding the scope of who is influential to customers and community, brands can engage with influencers to participate in their community on everything from general best practices or tips to how to get the most out of the brands’ product/service.

Employees are influential too and showcasing staff in brand content can help humanize the brand with customers.

Infotain customers to stay. Engaging creators to develop useful content that is also entertaining for customers can go a long way towards retaining those customers. These can be routine communications to announcements or updates.


I think a great B2C example of Retain focused influencer content is the recent British Airways safety video featuring famous celebrities including Mr Bean (Rowan Atkinson), Gordon Ramsay, Gillian Anderson (yes, she’s British), Thandie Newton, Sir Ian McKellen and a few more. I flew BA multiple times in a short period recently and this video was definitely a watchable part of the experience for me as a customer.

Advocate

Activate advocates. Bringing it back to reach through brand advocacy, brands can expand their view of influence to customers and activate those who show brand love to support sharing the good news.

Influential customer stories are powerful. Customer testimonials alone are great. Testimonials with customers that are influential, either personally or the brand, can go a long way towards supporting advocacy efforts.

Incentivize the good news. Incentives for referrals amongst influencers can inspire advocacy, but there must be an ad disclosure if compensation has been, or could be paid for that promotion effort.


For this one, I’ll use a personal example. I am a customer of BuzzSumo and I’m also an influencer who advocates for the brand. Most of this I do organically in presentations all over the world, in articles like this, in interviews and by sharing Steve Rayson and BuzzSumo’s content through my social channels on Twitter and LinkedIn. Steve reaches out to me from time to time for quotes, to do a webinar or speak at one of his events.  I was also one of the first to cover the Brandwatch acquisition of BuzzSumo. I can’t say how much value BuzzSumo has gained from my influencer advocacy, but I’m guessing it’s very much in the black 🙂

So, instead of thinking about influencers on the day you publish that amazing content you’ve worked so hard on, consider a more strategic approach that puts influencers in a partnership position to collaborate from the start. When you map out the stages of your customer journey and the content needed to help buyers make that journey, think about how working with influencers, experts and advocates can add that special sauce to your marketing mix.

Think about how the addition of credible experts with active audience engagement can add valuable perspective, inspiration, promotion and trust for conversion to your marketing content – across the entire customer lifecycle: attract, engage, convert, retain, advocate.

Of course if you would like to explore the true benefits of when the Content Marketing World and Influencer Marketing World intersect, well, that’s what we do at TopRank Marketing. We focus mostly on B2B influencer content programs but would be happy to chat about any projects you have in mind and then point you in the right direction.


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