Posts

Top 4 SEO Strategies for Small Businesses

Being a small brand doesn’t negate you from the benefits of SEO. In fact, you can even begin to compete with bigger brands when you optimize your website. Big brands might spend thousands of dollars on marketing, but small businesses can get a lot of search engine traffic when they spend their money wisely on SEO and helpdesk services.

1. Consider Your Existing SEO Advantages

Some small businesses are poised to perform outstandingly without even knowing it. If your business has an old domain name that is at least a decade old, your website will be favored by search engine results. Search engines see businesses with old domains as reliable and stable. Utilizing your existing SEO assets allows you to compete without breaking the bank.

2. Start Revamping Your Website

Before you go all out on optimizing your website, do some research into your analytics. Which pages are driving the most organic traffic? What product pages or blog posts are getting the most views? Consider the most valuable pages that already exist on your website and use them as your starting point.

You don’t have to spend a penny on SEO services to get your website in better shape. Start by creating keyword-based title tags, including useful and authoritative content, and composing articulate Meta descriptions.

Related: 7 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Online Marketing

 

3. Develop Strong Keywords

Your first instinct might be to use high-volume keywords to compete with bigger brands in your industry. This often fails due to the large volume of searches and how established brands are already using keywords. Instead, consider focusing your energy on longer keywords that competing brands might not be using as much. Using unique and longer phrases can result in better conversion rates.

4. Create High Quality Content

Content marketing has become a key aspect of SEO strategies in recent years. While it is crucial to have high quality content on your website, search engines favor brands that place this content offsite. Big brands are almost solely focused on their own websites. When they do create offsite content, it is usually not written by the actual business owners and therefore less compelling. Carefully crafting an offsite content marketing strategy will set you apart and give you an authoritative voice in your industry.

5. Use SEO to Improve Customer Service

Integrating marketing and customer support is a smart strategy if you’re looking to compete with big brands. Utilize customer data to find out what your knowledge base site is lacking and how you can optimize it. Ask yourself these questions:

• What questions are customers asking?
• What are customers looking for?
• Is there sufficient information on my site?
• If not, how can I add it?

Customer data provides a direct insight into what your customers want. You can create keywords and entire web pages based around this information. Integrating your SEO strategy with customer service support via a cloud based help desk solution that offers a knowledge base will increase customer engagement and returns.

Don’t believe the lie that you can’t compete with bigger brands. When you use good SEO and customer service practices, you will see conversions and sales increase. Your website is just waiting for you to tap into its potential.

Cayzu Helpdesk – Make your customers happy!

Like what you’ve read? Subscribe via email!

7 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Online Marketing

The Internet may still be young, but online marketing is imperative to a highly successful businesses. Especially for small companies, a quality web presence can increase revenue and profit by making your products and services available to your customers twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Many enterprises aren’t making the most of their various internet platforms and customer service software, but with the right shifts, any company can begin converting web leads into paying customers.

1. Don’t Get Caught in the Family Trap

One of the hallmarks of entrepreneurship is calling in favors from friends and family. Though these types of “associates” usually come without fees, they are rarely experts in advertising or online content. The truth is you probably entrust your web presence to professionals who understand the market.

2. Choose the Right Service and Provider

Some firms are huge and mainly focus on even larger clients. Others will offer unbelievable pricing, but low quality services. When you are setting up your online business components like a cloud help desk, make sure you hire partners like Cayzu who have a track record of excellence.

Related: 7 Tips to Ensure That Your New Small Business is Successful 

3. Hop on the SEO Bandwagon

SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization and it involves the use of keywords to get to the top of search engine results. Most companies base their efforts on the Google algorithms, but if you have an international business, you should cater to other popular search engines as well.

4. Beef Up Your SEM

Search engine marketing or SEM incorporates SEO tactics but it is a much wider discipline. The system might employ pay-per-click advertising as well as SEO to drive your businesses websites to increase search engine visibility. As far as customer acquisition, this s considered on of the most effective tactics currently in use. With over 3.5 billion daily Google searches, it’s not hard to imagine why.

Related: How to Keep Your Customers Right Where They Are 

5. Put the Work in for a Perfectly Engineered Site

Modern consumers are impatient and 40 percent of Internet users will leave a website if it doesn’t load in three seconds. Plus, 50 percent of web searches happen on mobile phones and apps. For these reasons, you website needs to adjust for mobile devices, be devoid of glitches and instantly engage leads with its design.

6. Sincerely Engage Social Media

When social media sites first popped up, they were seen as a way for young people to connect with each other, but they were not considered fit for professionals. Now, even the white house has an active Twitter presence. Social media sites reach millions of people and can be responsible for effective advertising.

Related: 3 Effective Ways to Combat the Decline in Social Media Customer Service 

7. Snail Mail Is Dead but Email Isn’t

Email is fast and doesn’t require postage. Regular newsletters, blog content or special offers are a great way to keep customers engaged and they foster consistent communication between the business and client. Like social media, you can track results and statistics, which will help you make smarter company decisions down the line.

No enterprise should view their web presence as unnecessary or unimportant. Something as simple as having an accessible online helpdesk can draw in and retain clients who like the ease and design of the system. Follow these tips to get the most out of your Internet media.

Cayzu Helpdesk – Make your customers happy!

Like what you’ve read? Subscribe via email!

Acing Idea Execution as a Small Business

Conjuring up ideas that never come to fruition and spinning those ideas into tangible products and services are what separates successful businesses from those that struggle to get off of the ground. Cayzu helps small businesses meet their helpdesk needs, but our cloud-based products aren’t quite as useful if a business has trouble following through on ideas. Learn how to efficiently execute those great ideas you’ve got rolling around in that beautiful mind of yours.

Give Your Employees Free Rein

Rather than boxing your employees into parameters, give them the freedom they need and desire to thrive. While your team is taking care of business, make sure they’re actually performing as a cohesive team, and that they’re rewarded for their successes. This all goes a long way in boosting employee satisfaction and loyalty.

Related: 6 Ways to Boost the Customer Service Capabilities of Your Small to Medium Business 

Lead the Shot

Rather than waiting on problems to arise before you make improvements to your business model, take the proactive approach and make adjustments based on your results. Our cloud help desk is designed to allow you to do just that and much more. Be sure to use metrics and other useful data to find new opportunities for improvement.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize…and on Everything Else

It’s never been easier to keep track of the business results we touched on in the above tip. After all, you can’t build on results that you don’t fully understand or can’t even see. In addition to focusing on your end goal, focus on the milestones that bring you closer to that goal and any indication that you may want to consider adjusting your end goal.

Related: The Trickle-Down Effect of Customer Service 

Establish a Rapport

Proper and efficient communication is also fundamental to proper idea execution, no matter the size of your business. The key to communication is making sure everyone is on the same page and that everyone, team members and customers alike, knows their voice will be heard.

Even the brightest of idea light bulbs will burn out if not supplied with a constant stream of power. Use these tips to keep the lights on and ideas flowing from conception to execution.

Cayzu Helpdesk – Make your customers happy!

Like what you’ve read? Subscribe via email!

7 Tips To Get the Most Out Of Online Marketing For your SMB

The Internet may still be young, but online marketing is imperative to a highly successful businesses. Especially for small companies, a quality web presence can increase revenue by as much as 20 percent. Many enterprises aren’t making the most of their various internet platforms and customer service software, but with the right shifts, any company can begin converting web leads into paying customers.

1. Don’t Get Caught in the Family Trap

One of the hallmarks of entrepreneurship is calling in favors from friends and family. Though these types of “associates” usually come without fees, they are rarely experts in advertising or online content. The truth is you probably entrust your web presence to professionals who understand the market.

2. Choose the Right Service and Provider

Some firms are huge and mainly focus on even larger clients. Others will offer unbelievable pricing, but low quality services. When you are setting up your online business components like a cloud help desk, make sure you hire partners like Cayzu who have a track record of excellence.

3. Hop on the SEO Bandwagon

SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization and it involves the use of keywords to get to the top of search engine results. Most companies base their efforts on the Google algorithms, but if you have an international business, you should cater to other popular search engines as well.

Related: 7 Resolutions for Increased Web Site Conversions 

4. Beef Up Your SEM

Search engine marketing or SEM incorporates SEO tactics but it is a much wider discipline. The system might employ pay-per-click advertising as well as SEO to drive your businesses websites to increase search engine visibility. As far as customer acquisition, this s considered on of the most effective tactics currently in use. With over 3.5 billion daily Google searches, it’s not hard to imagine why.

5. Put the Work in for a Perfectly Engineered Site

Modern consumers are impatient and 40 percent of Internet users will leave a website if it doesn’t load in three seconds. Plus, 50 percent of web searches happen on mobile phones and apps. For these reasons, you website needs to adjust for mobile devices, be devoid of glitches and instantly engage leads with its design.

Related: Increasing Conversion Rates Through Customer Feedback 

6. Sincerely Engage Social Media

When social media sites first popped up, they were seen as a way for young people to connect with each other, but they were not considered fit for professionals. Now, even the white house has an active Twitter presence. Social media sites reach millions of people and can be responsible for effective advertising.

7. Snail Mail Is Dead but Email Isn’t

Email is fast and doesn’t require postage. Regular newsletters, blog content or special offers are a great way to keep customers engaged and they foster consistent communication between the business and client. Like social media, you can track results and statistics, which will help you make smarter company decisions down the line.

No enterprise should view their web presence as unnecessary or unimportant. Something as simple as having an accessible online helpdesk can draw in and retain clients who like the ease and design of the system. Follow these tips to get the most out of your Internet media.

Cayzu Helpdesk – Make your customers happy!

Like what you’ve read? Subscribe via email!

7 Resolutions for Increased Web Site Conversions

While there have never been more opportunities to turn help desk website visitors into loyal customers, you have to make sure your conversion strategy makes the most of those opportunities. Rather than feel bogged down and overwhelmed with your options. Cayzu is here to give you seven site conversion resolutions to implement this year.

1. Consider Conversion Rate Optimization Skill-Building and Learning

If you’ve got the resources, consider establishing a department that’s solely focused on conversion rate optimization, testing your website, improving user experience and drafting persuasive marketing and advertising. Smaller companies can implement this step by learning the basics of conversion rate optimization.

2. Revamp Your Website

Before making minor adjustments to your site, decide whether you need to make a drastic redesign to address issues users might be having and to better optimize your site. If you’re afraid that such a significant change will do more harm than good, don’t be. Your site’s current design might be exactly what’s keeping you from experiencing more conversions.

3. Shift Your Focus From Testing to a More Organized Conversion Strategy

Instead of focusing only on how well your cloud help desk site works, you’ll be better off recognizing when testing your site can do more harm than good, concentrating on ways to improve your profits and utilizing more flexible testing tools. Bear in mind that testing your website and optimizing your site aren’t the same thing.

4. Target and Divide With a Goal in Mind

When tightening your focus on the makeup of your audience, divide them according to their psychographic profiles, demographic, special aspects of your industry and how they behave while on your site. To help you with this resolution, turn to a trusted analytics tool, such as Google Analytics.

5. Personalize the Right Way

If you decide to personalize your user experience, do it the right way. You might be shocked to learn that only roughly 25% of businesses are actually utilizing site personalization. Personalization is one of the most effective and least expensive ways to start improving your site conversion rate this year and every year afterwards. If you’ve already personalized your site, see if you can tighten your settings to make sure you’ve got suggested products in stock and that they’re in the style, size or color the customer desires.

6. Upgrade Mobile Usability and UX

Your website should be optimized for mobile use, if it can be accessed on a smartphone or tablet. Remember that the screens and layouts of phones and tablets aren’t the same as computers, and you can easily miss out on opportunities to make a conversion if visitors don’t have an easier time of navigating your site while they’re on the go. When optimizing and designing your mobile site, use mobile analytics to improve the user experience.

7. Implement Consistent Multi-Channel Experiences

Whenever your customers interact with your company, be it through social media, email, a mobile site or an app, their experience should always be the same. They should automatically know they’re dealing with your company and brand no matter how they decide to interact with you. Make it easy and convenient for users to connect with you no matter how they choose to do so.

Here at Cayzu we want this year to be one of the best years yet for your business and your site. Put these tips to good use and watch as visitors turn into loyal customers and advocates for your business.

Cayzu Helpdesk – Make your customers happy!

Like what you’ve read? Subscribe via email!

Increasing Conversion Rates Through Customer Feedback

The use of a help desk system reduces the average response time for support requests and increases overall customer satisfaction. However, gathering insight from your data proves invaluable because it provides a window into the minds of your clients by telling you exactly what they need to convert. This knowledge enables you to create an educated hypothesis about what will increase the rates of conversion for your business.

Utilizing Cloud Help Desks to Optimize Landing Pages

Cloud help desks are suitable for businesses that want to improve customer feedback using flexible ticket management with automated workflows. The multichannel support covers web, email, chat, phone and social media. Key benefits include:

  • Highly customizable content
  • Fast and robust reporting for higher quality advanced analytics and decision-making capabilities
  • Knowledge-based portals and community forums
  • Easy branding of customer facing web interface


Conversion Enhancement Tips

If achieved correctly, feedback can add a meaningful measurement and a consciousness of integrity to product pages. Competitors cannot imitate it easily, and the text diversity is engaging to search engines. This approach assures alignment with the latest and most relevant keywords used by customers. In fact, Google has distinct feedback tags to place the data directly into its results page.

  • Increased sales: Presuming that superior and high-quality customer service is your goal, positive remarks from previous buyers make the conversion process simpler. You can increase sales from a reliable feedback system and realize the benefits from enhanced search engine positions.

 

  • Managing feedback: Every company gets things wrong and has unsatisfied customers. You can either manage customer comments or outsource them to an independent third party. However, feedback remarks that sounds like marketing scripts are likely to be ignored. Posting negative remarks on your site makes them less likely to emerge on other media and guarantees that you can respond with the action you chose. In the mind of most consumers, this substantiates the positive and enhances your image.

 

  • Actual customers: There are valid motives for limiting feedback to current buyers. First, they are actively interested in your product, and you can solicit feedback directly from them. This approach can make the response process straightforward. You can obtain higher levels of genuine feedback by targeting individual customers. This method also excludes competitors and prevents disgruntled customers from continuing to post repeatedly, which can be a real problem with unrestricted feedback systems.

 

Related: Benefits a Help Desk Can Offer Small Businesses 

The New Norm

The new feedback norm for keeping up with social media networking feedback is utilizing a cloud help desk. Consumers demand more interactive participation with a company, and they recognize marketing copy immediately. Listening and responding genuinely to complaints is crucial. Ignoring this essential component can ruin your reputation and discredit your validity in the industry.

The choice between encouraging feedback that can build your sales or ignoring issues and hoping for the best resolution is obvious. The need for a helpdeskis a significant and growing sector that every web store must consider.

Once you have a deeper understanding of why prospects are not converting, you can efficiently optimize communication on your landing pages to boost sales. Ultimately knowing your prospects starts with collecting feedback, creating hypotheses and validating your assumptions. Cayzu has the ideal cloud help desk solution to fit your needs. Contact us today for more details.

Cayzu Helpdesk – Make your customers happy!

Like what you’ve read? Subscribe via email!

The Complete Customer Acquisition Guide for Cash Strapped Start ups and Small Businesses (Part 3)

All good things must come to an end and so does this 3 part series we call, The Complete Customer Acquisition Guide for Cash Strapped Start ups and Small Businesses.

This three part series has only one purpose, to teach you how to drive traffic! Just because you built it,  doesn’t mean they will come!  So roll up your sleeves and get ready to do some good old fashioned hard work!

If you are new to this guide, make sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2.  Enjoy!

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Web Marketing Wizardry

This instalment is kind of a Hogwarts School crash course for start-ups and any business that hasn’t had their site tricked out by an SEO and Web Marketing wizard. And it can be used as a brief to hand to the wizard to let them know you’ve done your homework and you know what you want!

So we were able to track down veteran cyber warrior Hayden Bond to update our consciousness on SEO and Web marketing.

The following is Bond’s up-to the now report, with only a bit of necessary editing to make talking readable where necessary—here we go!:

I think a lot of people are stuck with this misconception that SEO is about number “1” ranking and that you’re going to see traffic coming to your site from your ranking on Google or referral traffic from other sites, but it doesn’t work that way any more.

That was back in ‘90s and maybe up to 2012, when you could manipulate search results and acquire all these customers, and do that by various technical means or spamming Google’s index, to make it seem like your site is a higher authority, but that’s no longer the case.

Now Google has been penalizing companies and businesses trying to manipulate their site rankings via links, spamming links—that was the Google Penguin Update. So if you’re just seeking out authorities’ sites and putting text links on there, and it used to work really well, now Google is saying, for example, if you’re a surf board company based in Santa Cruz, California, why is someone from Australia with a very high authority web site ranking on Google linking back to your web site in California with a key word that they are trying to rank for? The only reason that link is there is because the company in California purchased it and manipulated the system to give itself a higher authority.

[Note: Just to make sure everybody knows what the Google Penguin Updates are, before April 2012, most search engines used keyword density as a major factor to determine the relevance of a website and how well it should rank in its search results. If you wanted your site to rank for the keyword “red dress,” for example, you just place more instances of “red dress” on your page. So you can see how search results were not very hard to manipulate.

Also, the more links on other websites linking to your site, the more authoritative your site appears to be, which also affects search results ranking. The higher the authority of a site linking to yours the better. For example, think how much better your link on today’s super-popular site Red Dress Boutique is than a link on your local mom ‘n pop thrift store’s site.

It was easy for SEO experts to figure out how to get your site ranked on the first page of a Google search. The problem was, while your site might have ranked high in a search result, your site might have been useless for the person who had conducted the search. As in our example above, if you live in Perth, Australia, and you’re looking for a surf board shop, a link to a shop in California isn’t going to help you.

So this is the gist of Google’s Penguin Updates, and you can see how it’s a helpful thing for people searching for something to actually find it instead of being misled by a plethora of spam links.

Back to Mr. Bond . . .

How Google determines what a spam link is and what a relevant link is, is best explained by how Google’s “dwell time” metric works. Google measures how much time passes after you click on a link. If the page you access isn’t relevant to your search or isn’t interesting to you, you might stay there for a second or two. So Google determines that that link isn’t relevant, it’s just a spam link, and it gets red flagged. If there’s a lot of these short “dwell time” links referring to your site, Google will suspect that the site has spammed or bought the links, and penalize the site.

Then there’s the Google Panda Update, which applies to thin content. “Thin content” means, for example, if you are a bicycle shop, of course you sell red, white, and blue Schwinns—but in order to manipulate it you create a page on your site around the key word “red Schwinn bicycle.” But that’s of no use to the user. Of course that page may rank high in search engines for a red Schwinn bicycle, but what does that content on that page have to do with anything other than just finding creative ways to repeat that over and over and over again?

Google No Longer a Search Engine?

Another SEO misconception is people think that Facebook likes or Twitter posts correlate to a higher ranking on Google—but what they don’t understand is that in this day and age Google is no longer really a search engine in the original sense.

Because when you’re searching you’re essentially asking a question. And with the proliferation of mobile devices, your search and the information you’re giving—the search engine is now contextually aware, it’s now location-aware, and it’s historically aware.

If you’re sitting in your living room and you type in “pizza delivery,” the search engine’s probably going to know if you prefer Two Guys From Italy over Dominos, it’s going to know that you’re at home, and it’s going to serve you a link to that location, based on your history and your preference of ordering pizza.

If you’re in another city and you do that same query, Google’s going to know that you’re visiting that city, and it’s probably going to give you map results, and might even give you the place that has best reviews for thin crust pizza if that’s your historical preference—and with driving directions.

So now Google’s not just saying, here’s a page, figure it out, they’re trying to give you that complete answer. So your search is not necessarily about the ranking of a site that’s relevant to your search terms, it’s trying to give you the most specific answer to what it sees as a question—where is the best pizza for you based on your location, ordering history, and preference? It’s based on your profile and what it interprets is the intent of your query.

Another example is, if you enter the term “mountain bikes,” that’s probably your first “footprint” to do with mountain bikes, it’s general, so you’re in the research phase, and Google won’t know what brand you want, but it’s considering what your next steps will be. They’re looking at a metric called “dwell time.” You type in “mountain bikes,” which is your query, Google serves up a bunch of search results, you click on a result and when you visit a page, the longer you are on that page—that’s your “dwell time”—the longer you’re on that page the more relevant the content is to your query.

But if you just want to know the temperature in Mesa, Arizona, Google serves up search results, you click on one, see the temperature and you click off of the page right away—that’s a different metric.

Other examples lead in the opposite direction. If you type in “Who is Neil Young?,” the search results are going to include Wikipedia, other biographical sites, Neil Young’s web site, rock music sites—a lot of general stuff.

Or if your wife likes to shop on-line only at Nordstrom’s, when you search for “hand bag,” “watch,” etc., Nordstrom’s is going to rank highest in the search results based on the person’s shopping history or preference—even if Amazon or Macy’s would universally rank higher, because of your historical shopping preference.

Related: Why Customer Service Should Replace your Marketing 

They’ve Got You Covered

Even if you don’t realize it, you’ve got a mobile device that’s being passed, you’ve got an IP address being passed, so even though you’re blocking cookies or you’re “Private” surfing on Safari, Big Data has gotten so good that just by providing your zip code they can pretty much guess who you are.

Just recently there was a story in the news about a guy who was shopping at Target, and he gets something in the mail from Target for baby clothes, and it was addressed to his 16-year-old daughter. So he’s very upset and he goes into Target and asks them what’s going on, what’re they doing sending that to his daughter? Then he finds out his daughter is pregnant, and based on her recent purchases at Target they started sending her targeted mailers.

Every time you’re swiping a credit card you’re leaving a footprint—and especially with mobile devices it’s your location—they know exactly where you are to send you advertisements.

So that’s what SEO is now.

Don’t Let Your Customers Get Lost . . .

Let’s say you’re selling pressure washers for cleaning vinyl siding, and you’re based in the Midwest. Your key words aren’t going to be just “pressure washers” and “vinyl siding.” What type of people are you selling these to? People who are going to do this residentially, commercially? So the question you have to answer is, how are these people going to go about finding you? It’s a big question.

And when they land on your web site, how are you going to be relevant to them at that time? Is it because it’s convenient to get there or is the price? Your site hosts different models and customers aren’t necessarily familiar with the technical details of each, so you need to explain them all so they know which model to choose. Your customers need to know your location, how far away they are from them, how long it’ll take to get there and the directions.

So this is also the future of SEO: If you’re understanding your user’s intent in the context of their search, and you’re giving them real value—you’re going to earn organic links to your site.

Everybody says link-building is dead, and to a certain degree that’s true. But there are still relevant links that you’d want to get. You would want to put your business in Google business management, Bing business management, put it on Google Maps, etc. There’s a legitimate need to do that. But would I do that on every business directory and web forum out there? Probably not—that’s redundant, and it’s kind of spammy, just trying to get your web site linked to more and more pages across the internet.

Missing Link

Now, even more important than links in some instances, is something that’s called co-citation and co-occurrence. Google is aware that your company, company name, is a brand, an entity—it’s called entity search—and Google’s all about defining entities. What is this entity, what does it do? And then it classifies that information. So now, if there’s an article talking about what your company does, and it mentions you along with some high-authority sites in the same business as you, but there’s no link to them, that’s still valuable because your company is a start-up or not well known yet, it’s being mentioned along with these other high-authority sites. There’s not a link there, but these kinds of links don’t always drive traffic but can help with authority.

If you have a link on a high-trafficked site—there are certain instances where this happens, it’s called “barnacle SEO,” a link to your site on another site, but maybe not just a link in a blog post. But if you read a blog and it’s something cool, something interesting, and you’re looking for something specific, like WordPress magazine themes and you see a blog post that says here are the top 10 magazine themes, then, those links are probably going to get a bit of traffic.

So it’s not about link building any more, it’s about link earning—it’s someone saying, “You’re good, I’m linking to you.” By all means, list your site on Google Maps, Google Business Management and list your site in the appropriate business directories. . . . After that, think about contributing to the conversation and that’s what’s going to juice your traffic—sharing with your relevant audience, and how is it tying into your business goals, and target people you already know are authorities—it’s very easy to use research tools (like Buzzsumo) to find who the influencers are on-line on a particular topic.

For example, if you’re targeting someone for your marijuana legalization news website, your “holy grail” thing is for NORML to like your content, or mention it, or say this is a must-read. So you can directly target them via Twitter, or five other sites like them, hoping they’ll join the conversation. But more so, you should be participating with them— build up some rapport, share some of their stuff first, add something to a conversation if they’re doing something on Twitter, and then say, “Hey, guys, here’s something that I wrote, I really liked this other article, here’s something that I think complements it”— then go ahead and share, and those amplifiers will help spread your content around.

Social Media : )

With Facebook and Twitter, big numbers might be look good, might gain your trust—if you see a Facebook page with 80,000 “Likes” versus one with 6,000, but at the end of the day we’re looking at results.

The 6,000 “Likes,” the people might be real, they are actually interested in the product, have a use for it, and work within the industry. So when you run ads on Facebook or do social media promotions, you’re not targeting them with nonsense or broadcasting to fake people, you’re actually reaching real customers. And those 6,000 real people are more likely to share your content because it’s more applicable to them and their circles and the people they’re associated with.

Related: Using Twitter to Improve Your Social Customer Service

Whereas the 80,000 “Likes” on Facebook or tens of thousands of followers on Twitter could be purchased—your place of business could be in Idaho and you have 10,000 Twitter followers in Bulgaria, from a list that the business purchased.

And Pinterest, which drives a huge amount of traffic, but what nobody takes into account is that Pinterest cares about the user, they’re all about the user. So what value are you providing to the user—are they engaging with your content, are they pinning it, curating it?

So it’s not a sheer numbers game. Sure, you can have a bot or a service add 80,000 people, but you’re going to get zero return. You’re better off finding 300 real people.

You can use a site like Followerwonk—there are numerous Twitter research sights, you could type in “LASIK for presbyopia,” for example, and see not only people who have talked about that, but people who have put that as an interest or who follow that particular topic.

So already you know whom to target. It’s not a crap shoot. The data’s there, in the searching.

Even with Tweet Desk, Twitter’s own management tool, you can search for a particular keyword and see who’s talking about it live and it populates in real time. So there’s really no excuse to go buy 40,000 fake followers when all you have to do is search for them.

Related: 7 Ways to Boost Your Small Business on Facebook

Your “A” Game

So that’s what SEO is about, you’ve got to be on your “A” game, you can’t just willy nilly create keywords all over. If you think about it from a cost perspective, Google has made SEO harder for sure, and they’ve also made it much more expensive. But from a business model it’s smart for Google. Instead of always trying to stay ahead of the next SEO trick, they just price people out of the market who are trying to game the system with spam links and thin content.

Back in the day, you could just spam some links with a few dollars here and a few dollars there. But creating content, putting that effort, that blood, sweat, and tears into creating a web site that works across all mobile devices, which takes into account your users, provides them with that information . . . that’s expensive.

Bonus from Shark Tank!

The solely online business Red Dress Boutique has just earned phenomenal growth from 1.8 million in sales their first year to 7.5 million their second. How did they do it? Shark Tank’s October 17, 2014 episode, where Red Dress pitched the Sharks for investment, tells the story.

Shark Tank: How did you make this grow so big, so fast, and all on-line?

Red Dress: Through social media, but more than that, it’s because I invite people in. I put the question out there to my customers: “What made you all come to me, what makes Red Dress so special?” And they give amazing answers, they say, “Oh it’s the colorful clothes, it’s the fact that we can get a high-end look for under 50 dollars.”

Shark Tank: So you learned from them, you used social media, and you kept perfecting your business with their answers?

Red Dress: I developed a program called “Buy for the Boutique,” and when I go to my markets, I go every three weeks—I go to Los Angeles, I go to Las Vegas, I go to Atlanta, and I curate. But more than that, I see items and I will take a picture of them with my phone and throw it out into social media and say: “Do you love this, yes or no? Do you want this—do you want it in red, do you want it in blue?” And no one had ever done that before and they love it.

Shark Tank: And so word of mouth gave you 4x growth?

Red Dress: We have 27,000 Instagram followers, we have just shy of a million Facebook followers—organic followers.

Conclusion

I really do hope you enjoyed our 3 part Customer Acquisition Guide!  With my farewell, I leave you with one burning question: Are YOU ready to bring your traffic driving A-GAME… ? I TRULY HOPE SO!

 

Sources:

www.rainassembly.com 

www.cayzu.com 

Cayzu Helpdesk – Make your customers happy!

Like what you’ve read? Subscribe via email!

The Complete Customer Acquisition Guide for Cash Strapped Start ups and Small Businesses (Part 1)

All great products and services start with an idea.  From the idea comes the prototype written on a napkin and after a lot more hard work the product is released.  Now comes the hardest part, how do I get people to buy it?

Many entrepreneurs have the mindset that:  If I build it, they will surely come.  That is not always the case and is one of the most common mistakes and leading reasons that 8 out of 10 businesses fail in the first 18 months of existence.  Because let’s face it, if no one sees your product how will they ever buy it?

Every new and existing business wants to drive more traffic to their site and everyone asks the same question: how!?.  After a lot of reading, researching and thinking back on my own personal experiences, I came up with the idea for the: The complete customer acquisition guide for cash strapped start ups and small businesses.

I’ve broken this guide up into multiple parts so make sure to subscribe to our blog to ensure that you get notified of each new release!

Part 1: 

Website Referral Traffic:

SEO and Content Marketing

Customer acquisition online depends mainly on two things: (1) people visiting your website either when they do an Internet search for something you sell, or via a link to your site on another web page, in an email, or link or referral in social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc; and (2) your website, to inspire people who arrive there to purchase your products or services, or both, once they get there.

SEO

The purpose of Search Engine Optimization is to increase website-visitor count by getting your website home page ranked very high in the results of search engines. When shopping around for an SEO expert to help you with your site, it’s just as important that the individual or company follow ethical principles of SEO.

On the subject of SEO, at the end of last year Google started penalizing websites that used “Black Hat” SEO. This is something you may want to avoid. Courtesy of WordSteam: ‘Black Hat SEO is a practice that increases a web page’s rank in search engines’ results through means that violate a search engine’s terms of service. The term “black hat” originated in Western movies to distinguish the “bad guys,” who wore black hats, from the “good guys,” who wore white hats.’ For a good look and feel of this, find a “Spy vs. Spy” vignette in an original Mad magazine issue.

Black Hat SEO really works, and it can really bump your page up to the top of a search list. But as WordStream adds: “Implementing Black Hat SEO tactics and strategies can get your site banned from search engines, excluding you from the number one traffic referral source on the Internet.”

WordStream also explains “How to achieve Black Hat results without doing anything immoral or jeopardizing your long-term business,” and balances that enthusiasm with the cautionary section, “How to Report Black Hat SEO.”.

Startups and other entrepreneurs take heart—here’s where it begins to get positive. Mashable responded to Google’s SEO clamp-down with an article titled, “How do you combat Google’s new initiative to stop the SEO benefits that link-building [a Black Hat SEO trick] businesses bring?”

Mashable conducted many interviews including one with social media expert and entrepreneur Sarah Ware, CEO of Markerly, who says: “We are entering into a new Internet age, and the best way to build your page rank is by writing quality content that organically gets read and distributed. A more effective and faster alternative is to pay for sponsored content [we will see about that, Sarah, in our “Sponsored Content” section below, heh heh heh]. This will bring traffic to your site and increase awareness and page rank. Work only with respected content agencies because Google will penalize and remove any publisher [i.e., website] that does not disclose sponsored content correctly on Google News”—so you can tip your Black Hat (SEO) to sponsored content….

If you are a startup or an already started-up business and want to increase the power in your online marketing strategy, you are probably looking extra hard for the right help.  Maybe Google did you all a favor by imposing SEO restrictions, which placed due focus on content—as another expert weighs in on Mashable’s Google discussion, Kelsey Meyer of Contributor Weekly: “Link-building by simply dropping irrelevant links into content just isn’t okay any more. Ask the [SEO expert you are considering hiring] if they . . . care about the content. High-quality contributed content will work better in the long run.”

Sure, maybe the “long run” strategy sounds okay for later, but what about if you are set in the blocks and ready to start off—or start up—on a 100-meter dash to launch your enterprise’s website and/or start making some good money immediately? By now I think we are beginning to see that SEO and content are walking hand-in-glove, and that you would do very well to hire experts to provide both.

Getting to the Content

Good content on your site drives traffic to your site. One of the best ways to energize visits to your page is to create good content that will appear on other sites and link back to your site. “Content is a big driver for SEO and very important for link-building. A good piece of content will be shared on social media and possibly picked up by other sites, which will add organic links back to your websites. If you find somebody who has strong and organic relationships with bloggers or PR sites, then it might make more sense to work with them,” says Andy Karuza of Brandbuddee, in the Mashable article. Karuza also says, “[For example,] I was published for my commentary here [on Mashable] with a link to my website”—as is also done for him here in this blog—good on ya, mate!

So, you can see how we are modelling this exemplary content marketing strategy. Because someone writes good content which helps you, they get kudos, props, and maybe you as at least a window shopper and referrer.

Where the rubber hits the road about now is your finding the SEO and content experts who will work professionally, ethically, and who are to your personal liking—after all, it’s your advertising, marketing, and product or service—your brand—that’s going out to the world, to hundreds of millions of potential customers. We break this out into a suggested list of experts we trust at the end.

To sum up here are a few specific words to the wise about hiring anybody. By the way, as you probably know, whether it’s hiring a potential long-term employee or for a one-off project, whom you hire to do anything is just as super-critical as any other business dynamic and decision.

So whom will you hire to do your SEO and content?; and it might be two different companies or individual experts. According to Brett Farmiloe of Digital Marketing Agency: “Many SEO companies are scams. Get a name, a number, and social media accounts of the person who will do the SEO on your site. Why? If you don’t know who will be doing the SEO on your site, there’s a good chance the vendor is simply a front to accept your business and outsource everything. Buyers should know from whom they are purchasing and what they’re purchasing. If they do give a name, allow a 60-day period before you hire them. During those 60 days, you’ll see if the person working on your site is someone you feel comfortable working with. Call the person a few times and ask questions. Does your contact answer his phone or respond to email, or do your questions go unanswered? Does he check out online? Make sure the person is real.”

While this may seem like overkill, again, the importance of hiring the right or best people cannot be overemphasized.

Word of Caution on Sponsored Content

Last but not least, content gurus at Contently have just exploded the sponsored content syndrome. What is sponsored content? American Press Institute describes it as “native to the specific publication or platform [i.e., the website or page] it appears on, mimicking the qualities of [the site or page]…. It is generally understood to be content that takes the same form and qualities of a [site’s or page’s] original content. It usually serves useful or entertaining information as a way of favorably influencing the perception of the sponsor brand”—i.e., attempting to influence you to purchase the product or service advertised.

Doesn’t sound all that nasty, or does it? Contently’s research poll reveals the following:

(1) Two-thirds of readers feel deceived upon realizing that an article or video is sponsored by an advertiser.

(2) 54 percent of readers don’t trust sponsored content.

(3) 59 percent of readers believe a news site loses credibility if it runs articles sponsored by an advertiser.

And speaking of nastiness, in a move that almost equals using sponsored content on your site, Fortune scooped the Contently article the same day and published a version of the story almost as if it was Fortune’s original idea! I mean, is this cyber-cannibalism or what? The Fortune piece does get some good licks in, though, such as a meme with a funny photo with this caption: “Everything was going well until John realized that the hilarious list of management failures he was reading was sponsored by a burrito.” That’s kind of like the meme of the toaster turned on its side to make grilled cheese, which shoots out the toast ‘n cheese onto the floor :(

After Contently had only plunged the dagger in, now they twisted it. “But how do readers feel about sponsored content?,” the article asks. In his research, “Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat,” revealed that only 24 percent of website visitors read sponsored content, and that they only scroll down about one-third of the way. Whereas 71 percent of visitors read “normal content”—that’s the good kind, “White Hat” kind.  Contently says Haile’s research is “a damning indictment of the quality of sponsored content at large.”

Ultimately, every startup is his or her own creator of his or her own site, its content, and how the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the cyber-way will drive there and shop. Beep beep, tout tout… Oh, better get a move on…to…

Related: Part 2 of the Complete Customer Acquisition Guide for Cash Strapped Start ups and Small Businesses 

Again, as a reminder.  I’ve broken this guide up into multiple parts so make sure to subscribe to our blog (below) to ensure that you get notified of each new release!  Enjoy!

Cayzu Helpdesk – Make your customers happy!

Like what you’ve read? Subscribe via email!