Posts Tagged ‘digital marketing’

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Test My Site, an updated Google tool, delivers a better, faster and more user-friendly mobile experience

Every second it takes for your pages to load, you risk losing both new and existing users.

Several factors come into play when businesses build their websites and blogs, but most important among them is ensuring that your website provides the best experience possible for the user, especially on mobile devices.

Visuals – color schemes, font size, text placement and overall layout – are important, but they’re also subjective. Page load speed, on the contrary, is highly objective, not to mention measurable.

Numerous case studies, including one conducted by Pinterest, which increased its search engine traffic and sign-ups by 15 percent when the social media web and mobile application company reduced wait times by 40 percent, have concluded that speed performance plays a huge roll in the success of retaining users.

At best, slow performance causes annoying delays, but if your mobile website or blog is unresponsive or takes too long to load, users may give up and point their browser elsewhere.

As a business, you want users to read your website content and blog posts, but for every second it takes for your pages to load, you risk losing both new and existing users.

DoubleClick by Google found 53 percent of mobile site visits were cast aside if a page took longer than three seconds to load. In that same study, sites that loaded within 5 seconds had 70 percent longer sessions, 35 percent lower bounce rates and 25 percent higher ad viewability than sites taking nearly four times longer to load.

Just how important is it to ensure your users experience a fast and easy mobile experience?

According to a study released by The State of Online Retail Performance, “a one-second delay in mobile load times can impact conversion rate by up to 20 percent.”

It was that statistic that propelled Think with Google, a one-stop online shop for consumer, industry and marketing trends and insight, to create Test My Site, a tool that enables businesses to optimize their blogs and websites on mobile devices. Specifically, the tool allows businesses to see:

  • The speed of both their entire site and of individual pages 
  • Whether their site/page speed is faster or slower compared to the prior month
  • Whether their site speed/page speed ranks fast, average or slow
  • How their site speed compares to others in the industry 
  • The potential impact of site speed on revenue
  • A detailed list of recommended fixes to increase speed on up to five pages on their site
  • A complete report to share with colleagues

With Google’s updated Test My Site, businesses now have a single destination to measure, benchmark and take action on mobile site speed—the first step toward a better mobile experience for your clients.

Real Estate Corner:
Fall could result in a seller’s market, thanks to falling mortgage rates and low inventory

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According to realtor.com, the real estate slump that took hold last summer may be showing signs of reversal, especially as we look toward fall. If that prediction comes to fruition, sellers will profit the most.

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Voice search, an emerging mobile technology trend, is the future for digital marketers

Hey, Alexa! Hi, Siri! Hey, Google! “Can you tell me what the temperature is going to be today?”

There’s no question that voice search, which allows users to speak directly into a device in lieu of typing text into a search field to generate results, is gaining momentum.

And with the increasing popularity of voice search (also known as digital assistants), businesses would be wise to add it to their digital arsenal. 

Voice search improves the user experience of search engines—it’s faster and easier—and provides more accurate results. Bottom line: if your website content is effectively optimized, especially for mobile users, your business could be the first one that Google recommends.

That’s a big deal when you’re considering the ways that voice search affects SEO.

“Voice search trends are already making it clear that effective, customized SEO plays a vital role in getting your content featured. Optimizing your site and content for voice search is step one in the transformation to voice marketing. Consider all things audio and how they translate when broadcast on an audio channel,” writes Merilyn Pereira, a staff writer for martechadvisor.com.

Even more persuasive: Google claims that by 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be conducted using voice search. And even if you’re not a tech titan, it’s not difficult to optimize your website content with voice search technology.

There are, however, a few tips that make the optimization process easier, including creating content that keeps the conversation flowing, researching keywords that often appear in mobile searches and foregoing superfluous lingo and buzzwords.

“The expression “keep it simple” applies now more than ever before. From talk to text, voice prompt calling and more, we’re doing less typing and more talking. Companies can optimize both content and connection by keeping things simple. Skip the jargon. Use clear, succinct verbiage to improve your efficacy and amplify your message,” suggests the Forbes Communications Council, which outlines 14 other top tips to optimize your content for voice search.

Real Estate Corner:
Voters in Lakewood, a Denver suburb, approve cap on new housing construction

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Voters in Lakewood, a Denver suburb and Colorado’s fifth-largest city, approved a ballot initiative that caps new residential construction.

The Denver Post reports that almost 53 percent of the tally, or 18,771 votes, was in favor versus 47 percent, or 16,913 votes, against.

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The best Google marketing tools for businesses

Whether you’re a new business or one that’s been a part of the landscape for years, you want to take advantage of every tool that has the potential to increase your online visibility.

To that end, Google offers a multitude of free (and paid) services that businesses can use to their benefit. From designing a more intuitive website that also tracks site traffic to improving your website’s SEO rank, these Google services should be part of your company’s marketing arsenal.

Google Trends
Google Trends isn’t your everyday SEO tool. The search feature is all about products and topics that are currently trending, and a large part of your marketing strategy should be focused on understanding how your target audience can find you.

With Google Trends, businesses can monitor industry trends and test specific words, terms and phrases in their marketing vernacular to see how well they hold up.

Updated in real time, this tool enables businesses to evaluate the popularity of their marketing language and compare them against other keyword variations, a feature that can be helpful in getting new keyword suggestions.

Think with Google
Full of industry insights, helpful articles, case studies, research documents, data reports, innovative ad campaigns, videos, digital trends, infographics and interviews with top industry leaders, Think with Google is a one-stop shop digital newsletter that takes a deep dive into consumer trends, marketing insights and industry research.

The site is frequently updated with useful and inspirational content to help drive business growth and reach.

Google My Business
More than 100 billion searches are performed on Google every month, which means that if your business isn’t discoverable in a search, you’re losing out.

Google My Business generates free business profiles that pop up when consumers search for related terms through Google Search and Maps.

By default, Google includes what it knows about a local business, including customer reviews from across the Web. But you can tweak your listing – and attract more customers – by submitting your own information, including photos, offers, promotions, news and text edits to Google Places.

As well, businesses can respond to reviews, message with their customers and see who follows you.

Google Alerts
To stay updated about industry news – and news about your own company – take advantage of this useful free service from Google that sends you email alerts whenever there’s news about a topic that you’re following.

Signing up is free, and after adding a topic or search phrase, you’ll be notified whenever there’s a mention of your company, products, people or your competition.

Google Keyword Planner
If you want to tun paid ads on Google, Keyword Planner is a must-have tool for your search network campaigns.

Aside from giving businesses estimates on search traffic, the free tool also shares the most relevant and successful keywords, URLs and phrases that people are searching for most often.

The tool even allows you to input your own list of keywords to see how they might perform.

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Improve your marketing email campaigns by integrating these successful tips

Marketing pros live and die by email, and with good reason: Email marketing provides the highest ROI of any marketing channel, especially when it’s done correctly.

But while your ROI has the potential to be monumental, the strategies behind successful email marketing campaigns aren’t always quick or easy.

To maximize your reach and covert your copy into a convincing narrative, you’ve got to be thoughtful, captivating and customer-centric.

Follow these effective tips for crafting compelling email marketing messages that will help grow your business.

Research Your Target Audience

Your audience is the most valuable asset to your business, and it’s your job to ensure that you develop customer profiles that align with your business and its values and mission.

That starts with compiling organic email lists based on everything from demographic data to hobbies and interests.

Verify that every name on the list wants to be included in your email marketing campaigns. The fastest way to get blacklisted by the major ISPs is to purchase or rent email lists.

Building the lists from scratch is time-consuming, but the reward is much higher engagement.

Test Your Email Content

Before you send out a campaign to hundreds, if not thousands of readers, be sure to test your content first for broken links, image resolution issues, spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and design layout.

It’s always best to send a few test mails to yourself to ensure that everything looks correct.

Beware of Spam-Like Content

Always, always keep your content relevant to your audience and consistent with your brand.

Everyone has spam filters and “junk” email inboxes, and if your subject headers, for example, are too gimmicky, have too many exclamation points or contain misspellings, it’s likely that your email campaigns will be promptly dumped into the trash bin.

Always Include a Call-to-Action

There’s nothing worse than leaving your audienceat a dead end.

One of the most crucial email marketing best practices is to be abundantly clear and direct with your audience – and that means telling them exactly what you’d like them to do next.

The point to any marketing message is to get a response.

Provide sign-up links, for example, if you’re promoting a class, workshop or webinar. If you’re hosting an event, be sure to include an RSVP link. And if you’re offering promotional offers, use action verbs – “reserve,” “act,” “subscribe,” “save,” “start” and “get,” for instance – to persuade your audience to respond.

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Are online reviews important, and should you respond to them?

It used to be that personal recommendations solidified decisions, but in today’s fast-moving digital orbit, news about your company travels differently, and online reviews—think Yelp, Google and Facebook—are a primary source of feedback.

In fact, a recent survey conducted by Pew Research Center concluded that 78 percent of Internet users conduct research online and believe reviews are the most credible form of advertising.

A 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey conducted by Brightlocal.com reported that 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and that 57 percent of consumers will only use a business if it’s rated four stars or higher.

Suffice it to say that online reviews are remarkably influential.

Not everyone responds to reviews, but there are several reasons why you should (even if they’re negative), including the fact that replying to feedback shows that you’re paying attention to your clients and customers, you’re not afraid of transparency and your business is all about building relationships.

The goal is to convert fans of your business into super-fans and offer disappointed reviewers an acceptable resolution, which often leads to a revised review or inspiration to remove a negative one. While there are multiple ways to respond to reviews – the positive and the negative – follow these tips to put the face of your business in the best light.

Be pleasant and don’t hurl insults: When a client or consumer is frustrated, they’re ready to fight. The last thing your business wants to do is fuel the fire or burn bridges, so when you’re responding to negative reviews, take a deep breath, be courteous and polite and provide solutions when feasible.

A little sympathy goes a long way in defusing an unpleasant situation. If you sense that the dialogue is taking a turn for the worse, suggest settling the matter offline, far away from judgmental public eyes. 

Keep your responses short and to the point: Social media users are looking to digest information quickly. If they want to read a novel, they’ll grab their Kindle or head to the bookstore. Keep your responses brief and genuine and stay on topic.

Thank those who post positive reviews: While handwritten “thank you” notes are, sadly, a thing of the past, clicking the “Like” button on a positive Facebook comment takes a second. Literally. Typing “Thank you for the kind words!” takes four seconds – five if your typing skills need work.

You don’t have to thank every single person, but if someone takes the time to write a favorable review, it’s a good idea to show your appreciation.

Don’t be a salesperson: When a user writes a review, it’s usually proof that they’ve already interacted with your business, so there’s no need to tell them what they already know.

If you have something new to share about your business, it’s fine to share, but make sure the content isn’t spammy or irrelevant.

Let clients and customers know that you loved working with them: Want to turn a customer or client into repeat customers or clients? If they post a glowing review, let them know how much you enjoyed working with them – and you’d welcome the opportunity to do so again.

If you want people to continue to work with your business, you need to let them know that you’re the kind of business that welcomes them back.


Real Estate Corner:
Mortgage rates are the lowest in a year and a half, but homebuyers aren’t taking the bait

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Mortgage rates continue to fall, but homebuyers aren’t impressed, writes Diane Olick, real estate reporter for CNBC.com.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 2 percent in the last week in May and were barely 0.5 percent higher than a year ago, she notes.

And despite rates that are the lowest they’ve been in a year and a half, “High prices continue to sideline buyers, especially first-time buyers, who are a growing segment of the market.

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