SEO marketing

10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid

10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial to building your brand and growing your business in 2020. As the use of technology has significantly increased over the last decade, so has the use of Google’s search engine. According to Statista, in April 2020, online search engine Bing accounted for 6.25% of the global search market, while Google had a market share of 86.02%. Additionally, in 2017 Google was responsible for driving 35% of all website traffic. 

SEO best practices are constantly evolving, as is Google’s algorithm. It is essential to not only continually monitor your website SEO conversions, but also continually optimize. There are a lot of intricacies surrounding search engine optimization, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed with what best practices to use. Today, lets discuss common SEO mistakes and how to avoid them.

 

1. Not meeting search intent 

It is important that the reader achieves what they’re looking for when visiting your page. If their needs are not met, your SEO ranking will be negatively affected.  Google ranks your site based on trust & value. This trust is established by behavior that shows your visitors find what they are looking for.

 

2. Writing at a high reading level

This is something that I personally struggle with every time I write a blog. As a writer, it is easy to forget that not everyone loves long, intricately structured sentences with fancy words like you. Not everyone, meaning Google.  Ideally, Google wants to see that your page is readable to anyone who visits it. This means keeping sentences short, and using words that everyone understands.

 

3. Outdated SEO techniques 

If you’re familiar with search engine optimization already, you know just how quickly the techniques can change. Google’s algorithm is constantly changing. It is important to understand the important SEO insights as they actively change. Here is a good list of 9 SEO insights you must follow right now.

 

4. Unclear SEO goals

Just as any marketing practice, without a strategy there is no way to measure your success or reach your goals. You should establish an overall SEO strategy, as well as a strategy for individual campaign initiatives. If you’re new to building an SEO strategy, I highly recommend checking out this article by marketing expert Drew Fortin.

 

5. Ignoring conversion data

Measuring the success of your SEO is extremely important. The primary goal of your search engine is to drive traffic to your company website. More specifically, the goal is to target relevant customers. Someone who is already interested in a product or service your company provides is more likely to convert. Without measuring your conversions, you have zero ability to measure the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. Here are some helpful tools to audit and monitor your SEO.

 

6. Using only text content

If you’re new to SEO optimization, text-only content is dead. It is more important than ever to include imagery and/or video in blogs, emails, and other means of content. According to comscore, adding video to your website can increase the chance of a front page Google result (SERP) by 53 times. Video increases customer attention, therefore leading to higher engagement. This Vidyard article is a great example of the benefits of video marketing.

 

7. Not good for mobile

Over 50% of users use their phones to view websites and open emails. Google search ranking practices Mobile-first indexing, meaning that Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.  Because of the shift in web traffic being driven by mobile users, new websites (built since 2019) are indexed mobile first. Keep this in mind when building your landing pages and blogs!

 

8. Not enough attention to your headings

Headings and subheadings are important because they make your page or article easier to read; thus, increasing your SEO value. The reader should be able to find what they’re looking for quickly. Otherwise, they will leave your page. Making minor changes to the text in your headings won’t directly affect your SEO value. Rather, it is the effect on the overall structure of the page. Use headings as signposts, and the text below to describe what they’re about. Applying structure and making the page easy to read for customers will help Google understand your page better, too. 

 

9. Writing for Google & not your audience

It is easy to lose sight of the purpose of the blog article or landing page you are building and cater specifically to SEO rankings.  As important as it is to keep search engine ranking top of mind, it is essential that you write for your audience and not Google. If you’re using a platform like WordPress, I highly recommend using the Yoast SEO plugin. Once you’ve begun utilizing Yoast, write FIRST for your audience and THEN integrate the SEO optimization. Yoast will provide a detailed list of SEO suggestions, and rank your blog or landing page accordingly. Ultimately, real people are who you are trying to reach and convert into revenue, not Google (sorry, Google).

 

10. Helpful content

This is one of the strongest marketing trends for 2020. With the current state of the world and the economy, it is more important than ever to produce helpful, educational content. If you are producing something to sell to your clients, you’re going to turn away potential clients before they can even decide if they want to buy with you. Your communication should come from an empathetic and honest place. However, don’t ignore the elephant in the room. Try new + creative email campaigns geared towards providing your clients with helpful resources.

 

 

 

 

Important Email Stats You Should Know

Important Email Marketing Stats You Should Know

Email Marketing Stats You Should Know

Covid marketing trends that are here to stay

 
  

What is the current state of Email Marketing?

Let's start unpacking this question. Before the Covid-19 pandemic began, many marketers suspected that email marketing would be “dead” within a matter of a few years. However, recent trends suggest just the opposite. HubSpot research shows that 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months. In fact, the latest research from Litmus found that for every $1 spent on email marketing, the ROI is $42.

 

So, what helpful statistics can help your business navigate email marketing practices to increase your email performance, and thus your company’s ROI?

 

Since April 1, 2020, marketing email open rates have been climbing.

Additionally, companies are utilizing email marketing at a higher rate than before. These two metrics have increased in tandem. Here are some useful insights related to open rates:

 
 

Additional best practices to increase your open rates involve your subject line.

Before your customer can even read the beautiful and helpful email you’ve created, they need to feel inclined to open.  Your subject line needs to grab the attention of your audience within just a few words. 

The best part about subject lines is that they can be A/B tested. It never hurts to switch up your language, be mindful of your audience, and test different methods to see what your audience reacts to. 

  • Keep it short. Recipients are often mobile users. Keep your subject no  more than 9 words / 60 characters. (Mailchimp.com)
  • Personalization is key. Use tags to personalize your subject lines with each recipient’s name, company name, or location. Personalization is known to increase open rates for most users. (Mailchimp.com)
  • Try using emojis. 56% of brands using an emoji in their email had a higher open rate than those that did not (HubSpot.com). Try to limit your emoji use to one, and use them to supplement words rather than replace them to make sure your message is clear. (mailchimp.com)

 
 

Implement email segmentation.

Marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue. (HubSpot.com).  

What is segmentation? According to Campaign Monitor, segmentation is the division of an email list into smaller segments based on set criteria. Segmentation is a tactic used to ensure relevancy to your audience based on location, interests, purchase history, client activity, and more. 

 

Additionally, measure & analyze your list performance.

Continually monitor email performance metrics like bounce rate & unsubscribe rate.

Your bounce rate is a direct measure of your contact database and how enriched your data is. A high bounce rate would suggest that your contacts are recently active, or perhaps just aren’t updated.

A high unsubscribe rate speaks to your list and the relevancy of your email to your customer. If you’re just beginning an email campaign strategy and your clients aren’t used to receiving emails from you, make your purpose and value of the email clear to your audience. Continue to segment your lists based on the list performance results and nurture the clients who want to be included in the information you have to share.

 

Create honest, helpful content. This includes educational or resourceful content.

This is more important during this “new normal” as we’ve adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are a part of an industry that has been slow to adapt to digital marketing, this presents a large window of opportunity.

Conductor.com reports that according to their new research, consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand immediately after they read a piece of educational content.  

HubSpot Marketing Manager Henni Roini echoes this sentiment, “Only the companies and brands that create human connection are going to succeed. This is extremely true with email. You might get short term benefits from very promotional content, but honest, human, and personalized content creates a following for the long term.”

In our previous blog discussing client Relationship Management, we elaborate on how to use empathy as a tool. Your goal is to design a communication strategy that leads with empathy from an honest place.
 
 

Stay consistent and measure your success.

If you don’t have one already, implement a review process to check for broken links, grammar mistakes, etc. Make sure that you have an approval process that works efficiently. Stay consistent with send dates and times to build trust with your audience.

 

Analyze email performance across all marketing channels.

Did your team write a blog that resonated well with your audience? Perhaps you decide to extend the reach of this article by supporting it with a social media paid campaign. Assess your click through rates - perhaps the topic isn’t as relevant to your customers as you originally thought, or the segmentation wasn’t in the right direction.

The beauty of marketing is the ability to create, test, and analyze to improve your results going forward. Measure results and evolve your strategies.

 
 
 
 

Hurricane Season Preparedness

Ensuring Customers Choose You During a Crisis

Crisis Preparedness:

Ensuring Customers Choose YOU During a Crisis

Crisis preparedness comes in many shapes and sizes. Smart decisions + planning can help prevent “business casualties.” Marketing a business during a time of crisis has to first begin with a crisis management plan. Let’s examine ways in which you can develop a crisis marketing strategy to ensure that when crisis strikes, the customer chooses YOU.

We’ve discussed in previous blogs the importance of the “pull not push” method as it pertains to marketing during a time of crisis. This begins with compassion when communicating with your customers.  “Trends suggest that how a business communicates with clients during a time of crisis will directly impact the brand’s reputation for the foreseeable future. The goal is to design a communication strategy that leads with empathy from an honest place.” 

Naturally, a crisis will push you into a fight or flight mindset. Now is your opportunity to adapt and be willing to try something new when it comes to your marketing strategy. We know that empathetic messaging is important. However, some trends now suggest that this messaging is becoming mundane thus losing its honesty. So, how do you begin that message to your customers? 

 

Step one:  Construct a crisis communication plan.  

This will serve as an outline for how & when you intend to communicate with your clients, and the message you want to convey.

Focus on  keeping your existing and potential customers updated and informed. 

If your company has employees that interact frequently with clients, consult with them. They are a key piece to the puzzle because of their relationships & conversations with customers. Lean on them for insight into your customer experience - what questions do they have that you can provide answers directly? 

 

Here are 5 suggestions to help you construct a crisis communication plan:

  1. Update  your Google business listing so that when a client searches for your company they receive the most updated information. Include any special offers or messages related to the crisis at hand.
  2. Update your hours + other helpful info on your business voicemail.   
  3. Create a newsletter or a monthly email that highlights useful + positive information, and positions your company as a helpful resource. 
  4. Update your company website with a banner on the homepage that leads to a landing page or aggregate FAQ’s page that is concise and easy to read. Include a way for them to contact you directly online with a form + capture the client information.  
  5. When creating content for these newsletters, think about what questions your customers want answered. Provide these answers in an easily accessible location. (For example, how can customers  purchase from you? What is the best way to get in touch with you? Upcoming events and/or cancellations?)

 

Next, data shows that people increase digital consumption during a crisis.

Take the time to update testimonials from clients you’ve helped in a crisis before to create trust with a potential customer. Capitalize on this trend by preparing a solid SEM strategy & finessing your SEO for effective customer acquisition.

What is SEM? According to HubSpot, “SEM, or search engine marketing, is using paid advertising to ensure that your business's products or services are visible in search engine results pages (SERPs). When a user types in a certain keyword, SEM enables your business to appear as a result for that search query.” SEM strategies include methods like keyword research and analysis (Indexability of your website, popular keywords searched as it relates to your industry and business, and integrating these words into your site), as well as PPC (pay per click) advertising strategies through platforms such as Google Ads. PPC is a form of digital marketing where advertisers “pay per click” on their strategically placed ad.  This is a method of paying for website visitors and potential customers versus relying solely on organic website traffic. Learn more about our Search Engine Marketing services.

 

Lastly, get creative.

Now is the time to bundle and put together packages that add value and incentivize a purchase. Be innovative in your crisis preparedness - focus on a positive mindset and problem solving. In what ways can your company adapt to the current situation to achieve success?

 

 

PandCDigitalLORES

Our Journey to 10k

Our Journey to 10K

The Post and Courier has recently achieved a milestone of 10,000 paid digital subscribers. This accomplishment can be attributed to a multitude of efforts from our newsroom and marketing team. But, what does this really mean and how is it relevant to you as a business partner?

 

It is no secret that in general we spend more time on the internet today than we did even a year ago. Since January, we’ve seen an increase of over 2,000 new paid digital subscribers - an increase of over 27%. What this trend tells us is that our audience is craving digital news updates and informative resources more than ever before. 

 

Let’s address what this engaged digital audience means to a business owner and how it can be leveraged through digital advertising.  HubSpot describes, “Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers.” 

 

Just like all marketing, your goal is to connect with your target audience in the right place at the right time. 

 

The benefit of advertising with The Post and Courier is our standing trust with our readers and our ability to connect you with your target audience based on the behaviors of our engaged readers. This keeps us connected with our readers' needs and thus the needs of our partners. 

 

Claire Linney, our Emerging Sales expert explains, "For example, we have a Food & Dining newsletter that is sent to readers specifically interested in reading about all things food related (restaurant news, recipes, new breweries, food events).  As an advertising partner, this proposes an opportunity to reach a targeted audience with specific interests by investing in an advertising position in a fitting newsletter.  We’re here to help you navigate your spending and ensure your investments are strategically aligned with goals.."

 

As a company, The Post and Courier continues to be digital first, with focus on increasing and expanding an engaged digital audience.   With the hard work of our newsroom, producing special reporting about topics directly impacting our community and state, our audience continues to grow and see value in our in-depth coverage.  

 

Here are some fun statistics that expand on the significance of this milestone of 10,000 paid digital subscribers and value of The Post and Courier broadened digital audience:

 

With the current state of the economy & recovering businesses, it is more important than ever to make certain your company is investing wisely via digital platforms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charleston's Choice 2019_2

How sponsorships and event partnerships benefit businesses in quarantine

How sponsorships and event partnerships benefit businesses in quarantine

Sponsorships are a key pillar in any businesses’ ability to reach new audiences. In a world under quarantine, it can be tough to find relevant events and other sponsorship opportunities. But as the world figures out how to operate under social distancing rules, certain events are finding ways to thrive. 

It's important to consider the benefits that sponsorships can bring your business. Because as with all advertising right now, when the competition is low, it's a great time to put yourself out in front of audiences. So here are some of the top reasons you should sponsor events right now.

Build Consumer Confidence

Any customer that’s willing to attend an event right now likely has trust in the hosting company. Aligning your brand with a company that already has high customer confidence will also help build confidence in your brand. The public perception of your brand will be just as large as that of the event host.

There has been a misconception lately that sponsorships can only build consumer confidence if they are for charitable causes. While customers do value seeing brands align with charities right now, that doesn’t mean that traditional sponsorships are any less valuable for your brand.

Generate Leads

The potential for return on investment with event sponsorships is high. People are there to experience the event and will naturally learn about the sponsoring brands while they are there. Customers are more open to discovering new products and services. 

You have your audience’s attention much more than when they can ignore your ad at home or in a print product. These are all people that you need to follow up with after. Build a solid post-event marketing plan around the leads that you capture. Make sure your sponsorship artwork, video, booth, etc. has a solid way of either capturing contact info or driving people to your website.

Be sure to look at the ROI on your sponsorship and use that info to consider future sponsorships and where to invest your money. Getting in front of the right audience in the right way is something that comes with practice.

Reach your target audience

One of the more valuable reasons to sponsor an event is that you can reach a highly-specific audience.

Claire Linney

"For example, our Bicycle Across South Carolina event has an audience of people who are generally active, interested in outdoors and a healthy lifestyle," event sales manager Claire Linney notes.

"This audience matches well with a business like a chiropractic center who wants to reach active people in the community. We can create custom sponsorships that allow the client to connect with attendees one-on-one to build new relationships and generate new leads. In this example, the chiropractor can connect with “active lifestyle” potential patients.

Gather audience insights

Events are a great place to gather valuable information on your potential client base. You get to see what the spenders in your community value and how they like to engage with brands. Demographic data and audience preferences can help you build nurture campaigns. You can learn how and when to talk to your audience in the way they prefer.

Work with the event host to make a plan for capturing that data. Show that you have an active and growing interest in their audience. This will make future partnerships with the host business easier and more beneficial to both parties.

Our annual Family Expo attracts thousands of parents, and a previous financial firm sponsor saw strong return on their investment. "The in-person data collection allows them to have the contact information of these event attendees to re-connect with a follow-up about their services specific to families," Claire said.

"Because the consumer has already met the financial group in person, they are warmed up and familiar with the business, and more likely to respond. "

Increase Visibility

The bigger the event, the better the visibility you’ll get. As the world continues to open up and allow people to gather (at a safe distance), people will be hungry to attend events. Look at your opportunities throughout the end of this year and beyond.

Post and courier drive-in movie night

Your sponsorship plan doesn’t have to be focused on the present. Although there are unique events that are benefitting from the need to socially distance ourselves. Drive-in movies have made a resurgence, and are a great chance to advertise in a theater-like experience.

Build Partnerships

Event sponsorships are a good way to meet non-competitive companies in your area. Always be on the lookout for new partnership opportunities.

Look at the ways that audiences benefit from learning about all of the brands that are sponsoring the event. Maybe there are creative ways to partner with another brand that drives audiences to each business. 

Competition is low

As mentioned before, the world is in a unique place in which many businesses aren’t comfortable or able to spend dollars on sponsorships. Unfortunately, these businesses will continue to struggle when the COVID-19 crisis fades away, as they won’t have set themselves up for future success. History shows this has been the case whenever businesses stop advertising during a crisis, and eventually fall behind their competition.

Social media opportunities

Being a part of an upcoming event opens many doors on social media platforms that are great for capturing attention. There are tons of unique ways to promote your participation

And using the native tools that platforms like Facebook have for events allows you to become a full part of the event’s promotion. Facebook allows event pages or promoted posts to tag a partner business. Whether you are the venue hosting the event or just a paid sponsor, you can appear as an official partner on the event’s social media promotion.

This is a great way to gain new followers. As a part of your promotion, you can potential work out an arrangement for the event host to encourage their followers to follow your business as well. 

Social media users are ready for interaction, and are the easiest leads to warm up and get them to click over to your website.

Find sponsorship opportunities as they become available

If any of the reasons above sound like they would lead to higher sales for your business, then now is the time to start planning your event participation for the year. Event dates may have had to change over recent months, but the world will keep moving forward and people are ready to find a new normal.

To find out more about upcoming events and other sponsorship opportunities in the Charleston area, talk to your Post and Courier advertising sales representative, or contact us here.