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
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
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
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
A detailed list of recommended fixes
to increase speed on up to five pages on their site
A complete report to share 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.
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.
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.
Running out of time to manage social media? By now, you know the value of social media to your business development. It’s a vital avenue to reach new business, strengthen existing relationships and maintain positive connections with current and future employees. It’s a way for you to share your business culture, events and news in your communities.
But finding the time to create all those posts and review your post performances is the challenge. So, how can you do that when your time is spent out networking and conducting your daily business operations?
Here are time saving tools that allow you to share valuable content with your audiences. Social media scheduling tools allow you to manage multiple profiles and networks from one location. So, you can schedule your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other posts for the week (or the month or longer) via one tool, saving you valuable time. You can also review reports (or customize reports) to view your post performances. For instance, you can track how many people you reached, how many people liked, shared, commented on, etc. each post.
Since there are numerous social media scheduling programs available, each with their own set of advantages, drawbacks and prices (some programs are offered at no charge), be sure to do your research prior to choosing a social media scheduling program for your business. Here are a few of the more popular social media scheduling programs:
This program optimizes your time by allowing users to manage all social profiles from a single dashboard. Users customize their dashboard in the way they want to see their data. The program comes with a default reporting system for social media analytics and you can also customize the reports to meet your particular needs. Hootsuite is a popular and widely-used program for businesses of all sizes.
MavSocial is a platform that allows users to schedule and track social media posts and their performance. Another MavSocial time saver is its large stock image gallery for ease of finding images for your posts.
Built to scale, Sprout Social saves time for teams of varying sizes. This social media management platform provides engagement, publishing, analytics and collaboration tools. Sprout Social includes a robust selection of reporting tools to analyze your social media performance. Sprout Social is a popular program for advertising and PR agencies that manage multiple client social media accounts.
One additional note: Remember Alliant National is a great resource to advise and educate independent agents on social media best practices, including which social media management tool is ideal for your needs.
Here’s How to Increase Audience Engagement Via Social Media
Social media is everywhere. And it seems like every day another social media network pops up. How do you make the best use of your time, while also keeping up with new networks, new ideas and all that posting work?
Start by understanding which networks are available, and of those networks:
Who is their target audience?
What is their primary purpose?
Then, match that data to your target audience to determine which networks you should engage with to get maximize your audience engagement. Alliant National’s marketing team can help you make that determination. The most popular social networks for Alliant National’s independent agents are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Once you know which networks to join, create a strategy that includes: topics you’ll post about, as well as the frequency of your posts (2-3 times per week, consistently, is great). Here are a few tips to get the most audience engagement out of your social media activities:
Include graphics in your posts. Everyone loves graphics in social media posts. They are easy to spot when scrolling though our feeds and the more eye-catching, the better. Make sure you use clear, politically-correct and appropriately sized graphics for your post. Do a quick google search to determine size requirements. Also, be sure to give appropriate credit to each image.
#UseHashtags. Hashtags help keywords stand out in the post, and they’re also handy for tracking discussion around a specific topic and connecting with people who are searching for that particular hashtag.
Create interesting posts. Posts should be insightful, informative, fun and thought-provoking to audiences. People don’t want to be advertised to through your social media channels. Share industry-related articles, fun holidays, pictures and stories of your business supporting local charities, events happening in your community, etc. Invite your audience to share their stories and pictures and to comment on your posts.
Join the social media party. Don’t just post. Read and respond to all comments you receive on your social media networks. Comment on social media posts from business contacts. Think of it as a networking event. You have to get out there and be social in order for it to be a valuable experience.
One additional note: Remember Alliant National is a great resource to agents in helping them with social media best practices. We can get you started and/or help you get on the right path to increased audience engagement. We love our independent agents!
Influencer marketing is a powerful tool for marketing and growing your business. If you aren’t already utilizing this method of marketing, you’re missing a big opportunity.
And, hopefully you don’t have the mindset that, “I’ve done great so far without it, why start now when it may just be a fad?” Influencer marketing is here to stay!
Influencer marketing has been here for centuries, but in other forms. Referrals and customer complaints are influencer marketing. The art of influence elicits changes in thinking or behavior.
An influencer is someone who has the power to change our perception and behavior.
Because social media is now mainstream, influencer marketing is everywhere. Customers don’t have to go looking for referrals. Referrals (and other influencing content) are everywhere.
So, what’s the best way to use influencer marketing to grow your business?
Here are several ways to increase influencer marketing within your business:
Know the influencers and build relationships with them. Influencers include “influential” people within your community, such as prominent bloggers and local non-competing business people. The influencer’s audience should be the same audience you are trying to reach.
Offer valuable information (contributed article, tips, etc.) to the influencers, asking them to consider sharing the content on their blogs or other social media. The key is to make it pertinent information for the influencer’s audience, and not “salesy” content.
Ask your satisfied customers (who, by the way, are influencers) to review your business on Yelp, Google and Facebook. They love you, so be sure they share their love for you. The goal is for prospective customers to see these reviews when they are researching and making purchase decisions.
Ask customers to “check-in” on Facebook when they visit your office. This is a great method for growing your business’s popularity on Facebook. Consider offering a small monthly prize ($25 gift card to local restaurant) via a random drawing from all people who’ve checked in over the past month.
Engage with your clients via social media. This is a great method of personalizing your service and further integrating into your community. Be cautious of sharing, liking or commenting on any potentially objectionable content. Keep it clean!
One additional note: you should avoid paying influencers to market your product, as paid endorsements lose credibility with buyers.
Follow these tips and you’ll be practicing influencer marketing! It’s not rocket science. It just takes a conscious effort, a plan and a common-sense approach.