Featured Article

Introduction To The Importance Of Local SEO

As a small local business you’ve probably heard the phrase “local SEO,” or you’ve been told you “need to optimize your business listing for local search.”
In return, you might have shown confusion in your eyes, or you have felt overwhelmed, wondering “what exactly is local SEO?, what is its difference from existing SEO efforts? And how exactly should I start?”
Do not worry, this post will describe how your business can be optimized for a marketing strategy to local search engines. As a subset of SEO practices, local SEO involves three factors:

  • Local listings and quotations
  • Online reviews
  • Local SEO site optimization

This post will show an introduction to each of these components, and probably on succeeding articles, speak to each in depth. If you’re ready to start becoming a place with excellent visibility, then you’re in the right place. First, let’s see how modern consumer looks and currently buys.

The modern consumer

Not long ago, the client should go to the local section of newspapers or yellow pages to find a local business, searching by category. By finding what he wanted, he wrote down the address and telephone number of the establishment to make a call from home.
Those standards sound a bit outdated now, right?

Currently, more than 125 million American consumers bring a smartphone, representing 54% of people who consume a product. Here we break down how they use their smartphone to access local information:

  • 47% of customers use their smartphone to search for information from a local business
  • 29% of smartphone users are willing to scan a code that makes them get coupons
  • About 50% of people will search for a product from their smartphone before buying.

It is a common practice that you have searched for a keyword followed by your city. For example, instead of just searching for “burger,” you search for “burger in Jacksonville.”
MOZ Local highlights the following statistics to give small businesses an idea of how often consumers are looking for locally:

  • 4 trillion desktop searches in the US are intended locally.
  • Over 50% of smartphone searches have local intent.
  • Almost 15-20% of searches are mobile

Based on that statistics, it is estimated that there are approximately 7 billion different monthly local searches on Google in the US. Searches such as Jacksonville SEO marketing is not uncommon.
Well, now that you agree on the importance of local SEO optimized for your business, the following are some of the few places to start doing it.

Local listings and quotations

There are literally hundreds of places where you can list your business online, and basically creating local lists is a key to any local SEO company, but take a step back and think for a while why it is so important.
To better understand the importance of these lists and appointment it’s better to recognize the motives and experiences of two relevant variables, search engines, and users.

Users are saturated with so many options that are available to them, either food places, clothing stores or gas stations. So seekers will make your life much easier by allowing them to enter some keywords, and change several options and well positioned based on some factors that will facilitate their decisions and can help them make the transaction. If the recommendations are satisfactory, users will return to the browser and use it again, allowing you to monetize through advertising.

To ensure complete satisfaction, searchers process massive data loads to provide the most relevant and best-valued option, all ordered by geographical location. The quality of this data is used to process information and can make or break a service, and this was precisely what Google separated from other search engines because it provides the best and most relevant results.

So how do you ensure that data is reliable? Through cross-referencing of each data point via the web. However, there are three main corridors whose data are from the likes of Google, Bing, Yahoo, Apple and more options, especially when it comes to small business listings, and are:

  • Infogroup
  • Neustar Localeze
  • Dexknows

Data that provide these giants are backed by public business listing services such as:

  • Google+ local
  • Yelp
  • Bing Places
  • Yellow Pages
  • Yahoo Local
  • Foursquare

Essentially, the more visitors your business listings have, a better picture of consistency and reliability for many data providers will be painted, and will be an option for Google or any other search engine when someone types your keyword. Quality and relevance are essential to remember.

Find out how to optimize your Google local business listing in this article

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Featured Article

How To Identify Business Opportunities

If there is one aspect that defines the entrepreneur, be it the brave who is mounting a startup or the one who launches new lines of business in a consolidated company, it is his ability to identify new business opportunities and above all, to go further and get To work to take advantage of them … but how to do it? What options are there? This article will discuss some of the ways to identify ideas or business opportunities that entrepreneurs can pursue.

Find Possible Clients

The basis for creating and leveraging a customer niche is to identify a group of customers whose needs are only partially solved, for example, although they can cover the basis of their problem, they are not happy with how their specific needs are met. Similarly, there are customers who consider that the current market offer is “excessive” for what they need, and would be happier with a cheaper offer but with better prices such as with low-cost airlines.

Find a way to provide more efficient service or product

Look for aspects in the markets that can be improved and allow customers to take better advantage of their products or services. This means, for example, increasing the information available to the customer to make better decisions, making it easier to obtain a product or service by improving access, optimizing processes to make the relationship faster, etc. In other words, fixing something on the market that we think does not work well enough.

Look for a New Type or Group of Consumers

New customer segments appear periodically, either because there are changes in demographics such as increased population, new social classes or simply because a segment that was not representative becomes important, for example, classes without access to certain products that have seen a great improvement in their economic situation in recent years. Recognizing their existence and analyzing their specific needs is often a good starting point for the new business.

Search for Unresolved Frustrations

This is arguably one of the most powerful elements for identifying viable businesses. This doesn’t only refer to special “needs” but to day-to-day aspects that make a customer frustrated. What differentiates a need from frustration is their level of intensity, the greater the frustration, the more likely the customer will be willing to pay. The best way to identify these frustrations is through personal experience or that of someone close to you who suffers from such frustration.

New Opportunities or Products

One of the elements that quickly transforms markets is the emergence of a new technology. A good analysis will show dozens of opportunities that can accompany it. This has happened with products like the iPad which has led to new educational, health, entertainment or professional uses or GPS technology that beyond navigation has revolutionized for example the world of sports.

New Legislation or Policy

The emergence or disappearance of regulations, laws or policies usually promotes of a large number of products and services, for example, mandatory vaccination which create a demand for a huge number of vaccines. Hundreds of products will be required to serve certain regulations such as personal data protection or regulatory changes in the field of photovoltaic energy are good examples. Entrepreneurs need to be very attentive to the appearance of new regulations and react very quickly once they are launched.

Understanding Consumer Needs

The marketing is a set of activities to meet the needs and desires of the markets but also individual customers. There are many definitions of marketing, but many of them take this into account. For example, Philip Kotler says that “marketing is a social and administrative process by which groups and individuals obtain what they need and desire through generating, exchanging and offering valuable products with their peers.

Types of Customer Needs

The needs may be related to the basic satisfactions, although they may also have to do with more specific satisfactions. Not all needs have to be the elementals for subsistence.

The needs can also be specific, unspecific and unrealizable. An example of concrete needs is if a person is thirsty you can give him drink, if he is hungry you can give him food, these are specific needs, while the abstract are for people with intangible desires. Such needs can be emotional such as happiness, love, affection, etc. People’s need for security is also an intangible desire. The unrealizable are those that are impossible to satisfy, such as immortality, superpowers, and others.

Concrete needs are the easiest to satisfy, while abstract can be offered through exclusivity and luxury. Insurance and third party warranty also satisfy people’s need for security by providing customers assurance that they will be taken care of in case something unfortunate happens to their health, job and property. Unrealizable ones are often related to pseudoscience and mysticism.

The Maslow pyramid also helps to understand the needs of the market because it deals with the basic psychology of human needs. Since it is a pyramid with a base of basic needs and will rise up to additional needs, it will be easier to understand or visualize the hierarchy of human necessities.

In order to satisfy the customers’ needs, it is necessary to know the consumer’s behavior or their needs, so that studies must be carried out with this objective and the marketing strategies must be designed according to the objectives pursued, that is, Clients to achieve greater goals within the company.

The behavior of the customer, who consumes, buys or uses a product or service must be studied. A knowledge about consumer’s behavior is advantageous to any entrepreneurs because he knows what a customer is going to do, what he wants, what he needs, what he will buy, and what desire or need is not being satisfied. The consumer should be the most important point to consider in marketing strategies, knowing what to buy, who buys, how to buy, why to buy, when to buy, where to buy, how much to buy and how to use it. Based on this, the pertinent studies are made to know their specific needs and how to satisfy them.

 

How To Create Market Demands

No matter how big the consumer consumption, the gaps remain that separate what consumers really want from the goods and services that they receive. Such gaps represent opportunities for the creation of new demand.

Good businessmen are creators of demand. They reimagine the reality and then rework it. The result of that process is that they end up engineering products that customers cannot resist and that the competition cannot copy. This process entails taking several steps that all the great creators of demand follow.

Create Attraction

When it comes to creating demand, it is not the first speaker who wins. The victor is the first one to create and capture the emotional space of the market.

Look for Flaws

Most of the products available are imperfect and generate drawbacks. It is very rare that consumers enjoy everything they want or have a perfect customer experience. Make the service more simple but with more options, provide greater automation but at the same time personalized service, give better quality but lower prices. That’s where the demand creator creates enormous opportunities.

Consider all background

The things we do not see can make or destroy a product. As long as the whole context and all background are not clearly constituted, the demand simply does not occur. Demand creators connect all the points needed to map the client’s drawbacks.

Find the Detonators

The biggest obstacles to creating demands are inertia, skepticism, habit, and indifference. Although often even the best companies take years to find the detonators indicated. The great creators of demand no longer waste time experimenting with this and that. They provide what is needed to gain undecided customers.

Project a Path of Improvement

The launch of a product is nothing more than the first step in a series of attacks against market indifference. On the very day of the launch, the great creators of demand jump to the next phase with a simple question:  “How fast can we make ourselves better?” They know that any improvement they make whether technical or emotional will open up new layers of demand and will close spaces to the opportunistic imitations of the competition.

Consider Every Customer’s Needs

It is to look for efficient and cost-effective ways to create product variations that best fit the changing needs of different types of customers discarding surplus (which we do not want) and gaps (gaps we want to fill). Every customer is different and it is difficult to provide different options and product variations that will perfectly meet the individual needs. The great creators of demand are constantly improving between 60% and 90%, adjusting their product against different types of customers.

The process of demand generation gives entrepreneurs an advantage by being able to provide product or service that consumers will be genuinely interested in buying.

 

Customer Personas Is Just A Waste Of Time And Money

There are a lot of talks and hypes about customer personas for marketing and business but personally, I have never been a fan of it because I don’t think it helps to grow a brand and my or any other business.

You spend hell a lot of time, resources and money into market research, customer survey, and focus groups trying to gather data to define these personas. Try adding up the money on this and it’s a real scary bill. Instead of this, why not spend it on creating relevant and mass appeal content that will actually work. Kissmetrics has an article where research shows that the most effective online lead nurturing tactic is creating relevant content. All these segmentation and personas targeting is below the list.

We as individuals are all different with different behaviors and personas. If you really want to group your customers into segments or persona groups, how many of these groups are you going to create? Probably tons of them but perhaps only 4, 5 or 10 just so you think you really know your customers? Think hard about it and put your hand on your heart and ask yourself really??

Remember at the end of the day a brand grows and successful businesses and companies have mastered is to gain more customers via mass marketing. I have written a blog entry about this before and I also want to pull this short summary of how brand grows out from Brand Genetics:

Mass Marketing Works

Moreover, when you look at the evidence, there is no reason to complicate your marketing lives with targeting and segmenting customers, whether based on lifestyle, category usage or brand loyalty. Positioning brands for particular target segments is as futile as brand positioning by creating a differentiated brand ‘personality’. Successful growth brands have universal appeal, and mass marketing with a reach-optimised single simple message, rather than being a mass mistake, is still the most effective way to drive sales.

Imagine putting this into the offline world. I run a successful small retail business with my wife and if we do go down the path of personas, we probably won’t have time to run the most important part of growing our business – customer service, offer new product range, increase our sales on best sellers etc. and all of these using a mass marketing and customer approach. Instead, I would probably be dissecting my retail business and products into different sections, segments, personas, groups, audience, target markets, and…into a real mess!

Now I want to show you some quantitative data below of a lead generation campaign.

Conversions Cost Per Conversion
Personas Campaign 69 $312
Mass Campaign 1960 $120
Difference 28.4 2.6

28 times more conversions for mass campaign vs personas campaign – You need to work 28 times higher to get to the same mass and the cost per conversion for the personas campaign is 2.6 times higher and to sum it up simply (I am not a statistician or anything near), you need to work 28.4 x 2.6 = 73.84 times harder and most effectively and efficiently in order to get to the same result as a mass campaign will achieve. Translate that into dollars, wow, that’s really something to think about isn’t it?

Just to end this post, here‘s a funny excerpt from The Sales Lion:

Company: Marcus, we are on our way with content marketing. We’ve identified all of our marketing personas!

Me: That’s wonderful. But how much content have you actually produced?

Company: Well, not much, but we’ve identified our marketing personas!

And so it goes

And very true but hard to master:

 

For the majority of companies around the world, the more complicated you make sales and marketing, the less they’ll actually get done.

How To Bullshit Your Brand!

BullshitOh man, I love this brand bullshit blogpost from Bob Hoffmans’ The Ad Contrarian. This is so funny and it is not just bullshit but scientifically true and a hilarious follow up to my previous blog post of how to grow your brand & market share. Read some of the funny excerpts below:

“Okay, just for the record let’s state the obvious:

  • Yes, having a strong brand is very valuable.
  • Yes, the highest goal of advertising is to create a strong brand.

Now, let’s get to the bullshit

  • No, for the most part consumers are not in love with brands
  • No, consumers do not want want to have a conversation with your brand, or an “authentic relationship” with it, or co-create with it, or engage with it, or dance with it, or take a shower with it.

They want it to work well, taste good, be reasonably priced, and look pretty. End of story.”

“I promise you, if Pepsi would disappear tomorrow, most Pepsi “loyalists” would switch over to Coke with very little psychological damage.

Nike devotees would throw on a pair of Adidas without having to enter rehab.

McDonald’s faithfuls would cheerfully eat a Whopper without the need for counseling.

In fact, according to Havas Media, “in Europe and the US, people would not care if 92% of brands disappeared.” And, to be perfectly honest here, I would not care if Havas Media disappeared. “

Future of Retail – Free Shipping No. 1 Incentive To Shop Online More

If you are an online retailer, you should definitely download and read this report from WalkerSands Communication’s Reinventing Retail: Four Predictions for 2016 and Beyond.

Here I thought are some key points:

  • Nine out of 10 of the survey participants said free shipping was the No. 1 incentive when asked what would make them shop online more often.
  • In addition to free shipping, 69 percent of the consumers listed one-day delivery as an incentive to shop online more, and 68 percent listed free returns and exchanges. Other incentives to shop online more included same-day shipping and in-store returns.
  • Sixty percent of frequent shoppers have purchased products online to pick up in store (click and collect), four times more than the consumers who shop online only a few times a year.

Source: MarketingLand.com

How Many Times Should I Call To Get The Sale?

An interesting research I found – extract from ‘Cold Calling Success -15 Tactics for Getting the Appointment By Victor Antonio’




National Sales Executive Association Survey

  • 2% of sales are made on the 1st call
  • 3% of sales are made on the 2nd call
  • 5% of sales are made on the 3rd call
  • 10% of sales are made on the 4th call
  • 80% of sales are made on the 5th call

If 80% of the sales are made on the 5th call, it begs the question, “How many salespeople actually make that 5th call?”  The study found that:

  • 48% of salespeople quit after the 1st call
  • 25% quit after the 2nd call
  • 12% quit after the 3rd call
  • 5% quit after 4th call
  • 10% made that 5th call or more

What are Heat Maps and should you really trust Heat Maps?

Ok, we (I mean all digital/online marketers at the very least) all know what Heat maps are and what it is used for. If you don’t, very simply Heat Maps shows you EXACTLY (really?) where people are (or not) clicking on your website. With this information, you can then:

  • find the best position for your form fields or buttons
  • move your Call-to-actions (CTAs) to make them more visible
  • see which banners or sales ads are clicked more often, etc

In case you don’t know, there are basically 3 types of Heatmaps (Source: Hotjar):

  1. Click Maps – helps you determine where your visitors are clicking or tapping (if they are on a mobile/tablet). These heatmaps help you quickly uncover issues with your page – for example, are visitors clicking your links? Or are they clicking areas that aren’t links?
  2. Move/Attention Heatmaps – show where visitors have moved their mouse on the screen.
  3. Scroll Heatmaps – used to show you how far down your visitors scroll.

The next big question that comes is: Should we really trust Heat Maps? How do we know if it is really accurate? People might be looking at things that they don’t hover over or maybe they are just hovering over things that are not important? Conversionxl has an article as to why accuracy of mouse movement heatmaps is questionable.

Click Maps on the other hand is probably more useful where you can see when people click on things that aren’t links. If you discover something (an image, sentence, or whatever) that people want to click on, but isn’t a link, then either make it into a link, or don’t make it look like a link.

Scroll maps are also useful where it shows you where users tend to drop off, and can be very useful (helps with prioritising content as well).

Attention maps help you see which parts of the websites are most visible to all users, across all browsers and devices. They help you decide where to put your value prop and other important elements.

User session replays

This isn’t really a ‘heat map’ per se, but is the most valuable bit in most tools that offer heat maps.

Use session replays allow you to record video sessions of people going through your site. It’s kind of like user testing, but has no script and no audio. But people are risking with their actual money – so it can be more insightful.

 

This is more qualitative data. You’re trying to detect bottlenecks and usability issues. Where are people not able to complete actions? Where do they give up?. One of the best use cases for session replays is watching how people fill out forms. Though you could configure event tracking for Google Analytics, it wouldn’t provide the level of insight as user session replays. Also, if you have a page that is performing badly, and you don’t know why, then you can watch user session replays to figure out possible problems. You can also see how fast they read, scroll down the page, etc. Analysing them is, of course, timely. User session replays are irreplaceable tools in your arsenal.