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 Outdated SEO techniques 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?

 

 

Free Coronavirus Guides from The Post and Courier

Free Coronavirus Guides from The Post and Courier

Free Coronavirus Guides from The Post and Courier

We are in this together.

During these uncharted times, it is essential that we do what we can to help our community and local businesses; therefore, we’ve created these free coronavirus guides. We are working hard behind the scenes to keep our readers informed and to provide our community with updates to support our state and its businesses as we navigate this unprecedented time together.

 

The Post and Courier COVID-19 Business Guide

In order to better support the resilient and creative businesses during this unprecedented time, The Post and Courier is offering a free way for businesses to connect with their customers.  This guide provides a place for businesses to share how to continue to shop and offer support. With options to provide updated hours, location, current deals, or send a kind message to the community, we're here to help!  SUBMIT YOUR BUSINESS HERE

COVID-19 Business Guide The Post and Courier

 

The Post and Courier Dining Guide

Looking for some take-out or delivery options for Charleston-area restaurants? We are  gathering and providing an active list of local food & beverage businesses that are open and providing take-out + delivery options. We’re here to help you support our local restaurant industry! SUBMIT YOUR RESTAURANT HERE

Coronavirus Dining Guide

 

The Post and Courier’s COVID-19 News Guide 

With daily coronavirus updates, coverage map of the virus, and useful resources like No Intermission, The Post and Courier has you covered. Our goal is to provide our readers with the latest news, community updates, and resources in an effort to support our state and its businesses. At this time, we are offering this COVID-19 News for free without a subscription as a public service. READ MORE NEWS HERE

Post and Courier COVID 19 News

 

Marketing Your Business in a Time of Crisis:  A Free Webinar Guide with The Post and Courier + Evening Post Newspapers 

The coronavirus outbreak has changed the marketing landscape for businesses. As a result, The Post and Courier wants to provide useful marketing resources for our clients. In early April we hosted a webinar with renowned marketing experts to discuss how to manage your marketing in a time of crisis. Miss the webinar? Don’t worry, The Post and Courier has you covered.  ACCESS FREE WEBINAR VIDEO + PRESENTATION HERE!

Crisis Webinar Blog Image

Crisis Marketing Webinar Downloads

 

The Post and Courier Business Marketing Guide

As the coronavirus crisis extends further into 2020, The Post and Courier Advertising division is dedicated to providing your businesses with useful blogs full of marketing useful information and free resources.  We're discussing important topics like social media trendsemail marketing strategies, and sponsored events updates. READ MORE HERE

Post and Courier Marketing Blog

 

The Post and Courier Charity Guide

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, financial strain on some industries and the community is becoming increasingly heavy.  The Post and Courier wants to help. We are offering a free way to share your cause and spread the word. View our Charity Guide to contribute + submit your local fundraising opportunities for those in need. SHARE YOUR FUNDRAISER HERE

Post and Courier Charity Guide

 

 

 

 

 

Positive thinking during coronavirus

The Power of Positive Thinking During the Coronavirus

The Power of Positive Thinking During the Coronavirus

How to market your business without seeming insensitive

When tragedy and chaos strike on a global level, it is more important than ever to practice positive thinking - not only in your personal life, but also regarding your business. History shows that during times of recession, it is not beneficial to decrease your advertising efforts. Now what? How do you shift marketing and advertising strategies to stay relevant during a crisis? 

Before we unpack this crisis marketing strategy, we must begin viewing the current market as a cup half-full, despite the underlying situation. We acknowledge that we are experiencing a health crisis like no other. However, the US economy was healthy and strong prior to this outbreak, and it will return when social distancing concludes. Is important to stay relevant and prepare your return strategy.

Data shows that people consume more media during a crisis.

At The Post and Courier, traffic analytics including visitors + session length have tripled. As some businesses unfortunately are forced or decide to cut advertising and/or marketing spending, opportunity is present for surviving businesses to get in front of a large audience, with less competing ads.

Borrell Crisis Marketing Webinar
© 2020 Borrell Inc.
Crisis is not a time to decrease communication

Alternatively, companies should actually be communicating more with customers.  However, instead of an advertising approach, the conversation should transition into positive communication.

Keep the goal of your communication in-line with the company's new marketing goals.  Stay relevant with clients without seeming “pushy” or “sales-y” by being a helpful resource during this time.  Whether this is a small-scale effort by emailing helpful articles (like this one) you've found over coffee in the morning to clients, or building a resource online with free & useful business information for consumers to visit like our Charleston-area Takeout & Delivery Guide. Share your knowledge about a topic as a free resource via a virtual platform, like this Crisis Marketing Webinar.

The tone of communication should be empathetic, with a message that conveys a sense of togetherness. 

The goal is to position the company to be useful during this unprecedented time. Retaining current customers is key - their support will be needed throughout! This is also a great time to offer a hand to the community and clients, and gain new customers along the way through your thoughtful crisis message.   

Credit Karma founder Ken Lin recently shared the importance of choosing your customers when faced with doing the right thing for your customers vs increasing your bottom line. 

“This is an unprecedented time and all Americans are being impacted — some more severely than others. ... As a business owner, your customers and their trust are paramount. You need to be willing to sacrifice short term profit gains to protect your customer,"

From a marketing perspective, now is the time to get creative.

Remember:  What a person decides to spend their money on should never be assumed.  What should shift in the business's strategy is how to innovate existing + future marketing efforts to adapt to the current situation. Take a look at your current campaigns from the perspective of the new normal.  Is this messaging still relevant?  

Brainstorm and implement creative promotional campaigns and strategize going forward based on your results.

Don’t be afraid to use some tasteful humor to relate - it is okay! Creative and relatable advertising takes businesses to a new level during times of crisis and recession. It is more important now in 2020 than ever before to be relatable with your approach. 

Unsure of how to do this in a helpful way? Your company could decide to launch a fun contest and in turn gain followers and capture email leads.  Or, capture email addresses of customers who’d like to be communicated with regarding company updates, new hours, promotions, re-open information, etc.  Include business information in FREE resources like The Post and Courier Business Guide. Submit your business listing for our COVID-19 Business Guide for free here. 

If business is currently closed or experiencing a decrease in sales, utilize this downtime to prepare a strategy for when social distancing ends. That marketing or rebranding initiative you’ve always wanted to start but haven’t? Now is the time to. Have an innovative business idea? Work hard and don’t be afraid to implement it. Many successful startup companies began amidst the 2008 recession including companies like Slack, whose innovation has landed them financial success again during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Whether your company is temporarily closed or ramping up advertising efforts, we are here for you. Continue to communicate and engage with your customers using empathy first. Shift your strategy to, “how can I be useful to my clients?” Keep in mind that your customers are generally stressed and will remember how your messaging made them feel during this crisis. Lend a helping hand, and prepare for the return. We will make it through this together.