Blog

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April 10th, 2014 by: Abdul El-Tayef
Abdul El-Tayef

woman-on-computer

When it comes to company websites, small business owners often find it difficult to prioritize their maintenance and optimization efforts. Keeping a business website up to speed with the changing web can feel like a full time job. While they understand that search engine optimization is important, they also recognize that the user experience is just as critical. According to local marketing experts, the best websites integrate SEO and user experience into a seamless collaboration.

Move Away from Broad Terms

The main issue here with the term “user experience” is that web designers and marketers often use it to justify their web design decisions. It can be easy to say that a blog or a revolving home page image, for instance, will improve the user experience. However, more often than not we need to move away from the broad term to zero in on the individual components of user experience. This is where significant strides towards improving user experience can be had. According to The User Experience Honeycomb, developed by Peter Morville, websites perform best when they are:

  • Useful
  • Usable
  • Desirable
  • Valuable
  • Accessible
  • Findable
  • Credible

When we break user experience down into these categories, it is much easier and simpler to set concrete goals towards improving user experience.

Test Your User Experience

To improve usability and other attributes of a high-quality website, website managers often turn to testing their users to see whether or not they can find the information they’re looking for. In addition, they may also ask them what they remembered about the website; effective online communication makes it easy for people to remember key pieces of information from a website. Also, usability testers pay particular attention to the percentage of people who would recommend the website to others.

No matter how your small business decides to evaluate its user experience, it is important to make sure that you’re making web design decisions based on data rather than blindly trying to improve “user experience” for the sake of it. For help with Google Analytics and other website tracking tools, turn to local marketing experts or see our Google guide.

Good SEO Often Improves User Experience

Even if a website’s user experience is outstanding, it is rendered useless if no one can find it. That’s where findability and SEO come into play. When small businesses employ SEO tactics and organize their website content, they usually help both search engines and customers find their website. As a small business owner in a competitive industry, this is everything and you can’t afford to neglect either area.

Help Customers Find What They Want

In general, customers get frustrated with slow websites, so it’s important to reduce your site’s download time as much as possible. However, there is also evidence that customers get just as frustrated when they can’t find information they’re looking for. When these customers have difficulty finding what they need, the perception here is that the entire website is slow.

The takeaway here is to present information in a logical way so that it appeals to both users and search engines and that will ultimately improve user experience.


Hot Topic
April 7th, 2014 by: Brian Seskin
Brian Seskin

At a fundamental level, the job of small business owners is to solve their customers’ problems, whether they need to have a cavity filled, repair a leaky roof, or find legal council. In some cases, you may have the solutions to your customers’ problems before they themselves even know they have a problem. This proactive approach to marketing translates easily to the web, where it is now possible to get into consumers’ heads, so to speak, as they’re trying to solve a particular problem.

SolutionFor several years, marketers have relied on remarketing as a primary way to reconnect with people who almost made a purchase but didn’t for whatever reason. The solution to this problem is simple: the business sends the customer an email or displays an ad for the product they almost bought, hoping that they will reconsider. But what if you could place ads directly in front of people who are in the market for your product?

As local internet marketing tactics become more complex, small businesses are trying to capture customers’ interest at earlier points in the buying cycle. It is no longer enough waiting until the buyer is almost ready to make a purchase. Marketers are now using a tactic called Premarketing to reach them while they’re still mulling a purchase over.

Beyond Segmentation

A few years ago, online marketers began placing consumers into segments based on their location, age, and interests. While this helps to deliver relevant ads to consumers, they may be viewing them at the wrong time. For instance, if your small business sells laptop cases, you’ll maximize your efforts by targeting people who are in the early stages of researching new laptops. That way, your brand will be at the top of your customers’ minds when it’s time for them to commit to a laptop and a bag.

Here’s another example. Say that you own a local home remodeling business. By targeting ads to people who are searching online for previously owned homes in your area, your efforts may be more likely to pay off. When customers eventually do purchase a home, they will likely decide to modify or renovate areas of their home to better suit their lifestyle.

How Premarketing Can Work for Small Business Owners

Businesses that are interested in implementing a Premarketing strategy of their own may want to start by thinking through their customers’ thought process. Begin with a few simple questions to get the ball rolling: Before they come to your business for products or services, what does the average consumer do? Do they research another product? Check online reviews? Once you figure out the typical entry points for customers, it will be easier for you to determine your best options for advertising and when to strategically target them.

As always, you can turn to local marketing experts for help with your marketing campaign.


pinterest
April 7th, 2014 by: Alexandra Reichenbach

Person Using PinterestAlthough Pinterest started out as another image gallery website, it has transformed into much more. It’s now a major player in the  influential, unpredictable world of social media with continued growth expected on the horizon. Pinterest is also proving itself as a critical local social media marketing tool, allowing businesses who capitalize on this resource to reach new heights.

When it comes to commercial users, Pinterest is living up to the hype. It recently elevated its game with the introduction of Rich Pins, which are now used by the top retail companies. Although, as of now, only larger companies are leading the way when it comes to Rich Pins, small businesses may want to get in on the Rich Pin action as well.

What Are Rich Pins?

Rich Pins, as the name suggests, are simply an enhanced version of Pinterest Pins. They enable users to learn a great deal of information about your company and your products. This additional information appears just below your photo, where users can find a description of your photo, plus your company location, the price of the item, and more. Currently there are five types of Rich Pins:

  • Place
  • Article
  • Recipe
  • Product
  • Film

Why Should My Small Business Use Rich Pins?

As local marketing experts, we know that small business owners are constantly pressed for time. Time is everything! Thankfully, Rich Pins are effective and easy to implement allowing you to allocate that precious time to other areas of your business.

Automatic Updates

One of our favorite features is the automatic updates. Say you use a Rich Pin to tell users about a new product that is available on your website. After a couple of weeks, you decide to lower the price. All that is required of you is to update the price on your website, and the Rich Pin will change automatically. There’s no additional work for busy small business owners!

Best of all, if you decide to drop your price by 10 percent or more, Pinterest will even send a free email notification to the people who have pinned your item.

More Relevant Information for Users

When more information is added to pins, users see more pins that are relevant to their interests and needs. Although there are not a lot of results based on hard data available yet, companies that have implemented Rich Pins, such as Target, have seen a tremendous traffic boost. Any significant increase in traffic is bound to lead the way to an increase in sales, too.

The additional information not only attracts more users to Pinterest, but it also helps to ensure that the people who are looking at your pins are more likely to buy your products.

Luckily, we just had a Webinar, “5 Pinterest Secrets that Get You Leads. Feel free to take a look for free here!


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March 20th, 2014 by: Brian Seskin
Brian Seskin

Organic search results are responsible for over 94% of clicks in Google, almost 92% of which are for sites on page 1. However, getting to page 1 in organic search can be a very time consuming process and the results may vary depending on the competitiveness of your keywords. This means that if you’re a small business in a very crowded industry and area, your SEO campaign may not bear fruit within the time frame and price range you expect.

PPC equals leadsThe disadvantages of SEO are the advantages of PPC

Even though only 6% of searchers click on paid links, there are many compelling reasons you should still invest in them. With PPC, you can see immediate results and your ad placement depends entirely on your budget. PPC more cost-effective to implement and this is definitely a boon for small businesses that are just starting to carve out an online presence.

According to an infographic made by Wordstream, among the people who use search engines, more than 64% of those with a high commercial intent choose PPC links. This indicates that while the program carries an initial cost, in the long run, you pay less for PPC leads than you do for those generated through SEO. Since you only pay for clicks to your ad, there’s a stronger likelihood for quality visits deriving from this channel because more than half of the people who click your ad have the intent to buy.

Make PPC work with your SEO campaign

Despite the inherent advantages of PPC for marketing, getting the attention of the mentioned 94% of searchers is still essential for building your brand name, which will help to drive users toward your paid links. After all, people who don’t already have a specific company in mind tend to click on the top 3 organic search results. To make your PPC push successful, you have to use the same elements that make websites rank organically, including keywords and content marketing.

One of the most important things you can take from SEO is that your landing page’s content should be optimized properly with call to action buttons placed in appropriate locations – check out one of our blog posts that details their powerful effect on conversions. Our custom marketing programs can help you find out how to make your SEO and PPC campaigns work hand-in-hand to maximize your lead generation potential.