Try These 11 Marketing Ideas to Help Get You Through the Pandemic

August 16, 2020 / Roberta Hill  / 

Have you cut back on marketing due to the COVID-19 pandemic? You’re not alone. A lot of business owners are trying to save money by reducing their spending. Or maybe you don't have a marketing budget at all.  Well now might be the time to set a small amount aside specifically now. Costs have never been lower.

Cutting back is understandable and may be necessary, but marketing isn’t a luxury for your business. It’s a necessity. And it’s possible to keep things going even if you need to reduce your spending. Here are eleven ideas to help you stay in the marketing flow.

#1: Focus on Social Media

According to Statista, Americans are spending more time on social media now than they did before the pandemic. That translates to an opportunity for businesses who need low-cost ways to engage their target customers.

It’s a good time to share the ways your business is coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight the ways your business can help people cope with social distancing and stay-at-home orders. You may also want to consider boosting your ads or running a page promotion to get your business in front of potential new customers.

#2: Take Advantage of Cheap Advertising

Speaking of running ads, one of the biggest potential upsides to the pandemic is that advertising costs are lower than usual.

If you’re wondering how low prices are, the answer might surprise you. There’s no hard data, but anecdotally, marketing agencies are reporting costs that are between 50% and 75% lower than they were before the pandemic. That includes pay per click advertising and social media advertising, where you’ll mostly pay based on impressions.

You may want to investigate the costs for your target market and rethink your budget to take advantage of the savings while they last.

#3: Don’t Lose Sight of SEO 

Search engine optimization is easy to neglect when money is tight. There’s a tendency among small business owners to invest in SEO only when it becomes a problem.

The issue with that mindset is that SEO is the longest game in digital marketing. If you don’t stay on top of it now, you could find yourself facing an uphill battle to regain your coveted page one rank on Google. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, but you should stay on top of keyword research and maintain your local SEO to ensure you don’t slip.  

If SEO confuses you, check out this article.
 Be sure to download the article in pdf which includes a great infographic. (more…)

What Are the Most Important SEO Metrics to Track?

August 17, 2020 / Roberta Hill  / 
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SEO matters. You don’t need me to tell you that – although I certainly have told you all about it!

Understanding the importance of SEO is one thing and knowing what to do with your SEO metrics is another. With so many metrics to choose from, how do you know where to put your focus? Which metrics can help you the most?

It’s a lot to ask any small business owner to learn everything there is to know about SEO. It’s a complex topic. But here are the SEO metrics that you really should be tracking, even if you don’t have time for anything else.

Organic Traffic

The traffic your website generates is the life’s blood of your business online. If your site doesn’t attract new visitors, it’s a sure sign that your SEO isn’t doing what it should.

Organic traffic is all the traffic you don’t pay for – in other words, it’s the traffic you get because someone searched for a keyword on Google and then clicked on your link. Traffic from paid ads is not organic.

You need to track organic traffic using Google Analytics because it’s a good barometer of your SEO in general. If you get little or no organic traffic, it means your site needs work. If your organic traffic is high, your SEO is doing something for you.

Your Target Keywords

What are the keywords you want people to use to find you? Tracking their search volume and variations on them can help you target them on your website.

A tool such as Keywords Everywhere is a good place to start. You should look at the monthly search volume and dig into the search results looking for opportunities to rank for them. You may be able to identify opportunities that other websites have missed.

The Keywords You Already Rank For

How are people finding your website now? Whether you meant to target them or not, there are keywords that earn your website a first-page spot on Google. Knowing what they are is essential if you want to fine-tune your SEO.

The best tool for the job is Google Search Console. I recommend using your existing rankings to capitalize on opportunities at the same time you think about how you can use the traffic you have to get the traffic you want.

Backlinks  

Backlinks are still a huge factor in SEO. A site that has an array of high-quality backlinks is always going to rank higher on Google than a site with few or low-quality backlinks.

There are two aspects to tracking your backlinks. The first is tracking your own, which you can do using Google Search Console. Seeing what you have can help you identify the areas where you’re falling short.

The second aspect is tracking your competitors’ backlinks. There are a lot of potential backlinks out there and I’m willing to get you haven’t capitalized on all of them. Using a backlink evaluation tool, such as the SEMRush Backlink Checker or Moz can help you spy on your competitors’ backlinks.

If you see an authority backlink that you’d like for your own site, you can work on getting it. Some of the best methods include writing a guest blog post or simply contacting the site directly to ask if they’d be willing to link to your site.

Social Media Traffic

Google says social media posts (and other metrics, including Likes, Follows and Shares) don’t impact your Google rank directly.

“Directly” is the keyword because there is evidence that social media activity does impact a website’s rank in some way. There’s a reason that when you search for a big company, their social pages show up at the top of Google’s SERP.

The good news is that you can track your social traffic using Google Analytics, which is free. Pay special attention to the posts and activity that’s leading people back to your website. You can use that information to do a better job of targeting your social media posts – and to create the kind of content that people will respond to on social media.

Voice Search Rankings 

Alexa, are people finding your website through voice search?

If you’re not asking that question, you should be. Voice search is taking over the world of search. As of 2020, 49% of all searches are voice searches. Mobile phones are still the source of most voice searches, but virtual assistants Alexa, Cortana and Siri aren’t far behind.

You can get your Alexa search rank on Alexa.com. Apple doesn’t release search rankings for Siri, but you should make sure that your business is listed on Apple Maps if you want to rank on Siri, and Google Maps is a must for Google voice search.

One final note about voice search. Unlike regular Google rankings, voice search provides a single answer to a single question. That means your best bet is to identify questions that the people in your target audience are likely to ask and then optimize your content for them.

Page Speed

Nobody likes a slow website and research shows that if your site takes more than a few seconds to load, people will navigate away. That makes tracking your page speed a no-brainer.

This is an easy metric to track using Page Speed Insights by Google. If your page is slow, you’ll need to address it immediately.

Organic Conversions

I saved the best for lost. Your organic conversion rate is a measurement of how well your organic search rank is converting casual searchers to subscribers or (best of all) paying customers.

Here again, you can use Google Analytics – which is free – to track your conversions. You might get a ton of organic traffic, but if it’s not helping you build your list, attract leads, and make sales, then it’s not doing you any good.

Most of these metrics are free to track. You don’t need fancy tools, nor do you need to be an SEO expert. With a bit of research and perseverance, you can use your metrics to help you do a better job of optimizing your site – and growing your business.

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My personal interest and expertise are in social media rather than SEO. However, if you do need help in this area, I would be pleased to do an overall analysis of your site and then make some recommendations for you.

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Critical Tools to Help You Learn about Your Audience and Potential Customers

August 15, 2020 / Roberta Hill  / 
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In order for your business to succeed, you need to get to know your customers on a one-on-one basis. Since you can’t do that with hundreds or thousands of customers over the internet, tech tools can help you learn as much as possible about them.

What Do You Need to Know about Your Customers?

Demographics. Demographics tell you who your customers are and includes data such as age, geographic location, economic status, family make-up, and other data.

Psychographics. This data identifies psychological factors such as values, needs, beliefs, and issues the customer faces.

Buying Behavior. It’s especially important to look at how people make decisions about what they buy.

Analytics Programs

Analytics can help you get to know your audience. Google Analytics is a free tool offered by the world’s biggest search engine that offers a wealth of information on website visitor behaviour. It tells you how people interact with your website, which pages they spend time on, what traffic sources direct them to your site, and much more. Through Google Analytics, you can discover things like which of your pages’ content is most interesting to your audience.

Take advantage of the analytics offered by any tool you use. For example, Facebook offers various data for its Pages.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System

Customer relationship management (CRM) programs help you collect and analyze a variety of data about your customers, including demographics and behaviour. They track every interaction you have with your customers from initial inquiries to repeat purchases. This data is analyzed and presented to show trends that give you insights into your audience.

Online Surveys

If you can’t talk to your customers directly, you can do so virtually through online surveys. Tools like Survey Monkey allow you to create and run surveys where you ask your audience whatever you’d like. To get more responses, you can offer a discount or freebie as an added incentive.

Look at the platforms you use as well to see if they have survey functions. Many social media platforms offer built-in survey features.

Social Media Tools

Social media is a great way to learn about your audience. There are many tools that can give you insights from these platforms. Tools like Mention let you choose topics to follow since you can’t follow every single conversation. HubSpot has a free tool that uses social media to help you create a customer persona. Tools can help you analyze content and profiles for overall trends.

Don’t Forget the Personal Touch

In addition to the above tools, don’t forget to maintain the personal connection. Nothing is more valuable than the relationships you nurture with your customers. Keep channels of communication open and encourage them to reach out to you. Spend time interacting in a friendly way on social media. Use every interaction as a valuable opportunity to learn about the people you serve.

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Essential Tools You Need for Effective TeleWorking

August 2, 2020 / Roberta Hill  / 
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Make It Happen New Ways Positive Thinking Proactive Concept

Teleworking working has become a regular part of life for many of us, especially if you run your own business. There are many things to learn and get used to, but it’s much easier if you have the right tools. Here is everything you need to work remotely.

A Good Computer with Reliable Internet

The very basics are a good working computer and a reliable internet connection. A PC gives you a bigger screen and more power, but a laptop gives you the option of working on the go. Your regular household Wi-Fi is probably enough for remote working, but you may also look at your usage and consider adding more bandwidth.

Communication Tools

Remote working requires some kind of communication tool beyond email to talk to your colleagues and clients. Email gets clunky and hard to manage. Messages pile up on threads. It’s especially inconvenient when you have a team of people talking together. A chat platform like Slack or Skype is a much better option. You can talk throughout the day as if you were together at the office.

Video Conferencing

It’s highly likely that you’ll sometimes have to attend meetings. For this, you’ll need video conferencing software. With a program like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, you can have virtual meetings where you can see everyone and take advantage of features like screen share and presentations.

Project Management

If you’re collaborating on projects with other people, you’ll need a project management program like Asana, Jira, or Basecamp. These programs allow you to see and edit the progress of projects, share and edit documents, and communicate together as you work.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage allows you to store files in the cloud rather than on a physical device. The advantage is that you can access these files anywhere. It also gives you more storage in addition to what your computer can handle. The simplest and most popular are Google Drive and Dropbox.

Pocket Wi-Fi

If you’re going to be taking your work on the road, you may want to buy a pocket Wi-Fi. This is a small device that gives you your own hotspot. It allows you to use Wi-Fi anywhere and not have to rely on unsecured public networks. You can also use it as a backup at home if your Wi-Fi goes out.

Organizational Tools

Finally, there is a wide selection of tools that help you get and stay organized. When working remotely without a boss or office, this can be quite helpful for staying on top of things. These tools include online calendars, time management tools, automated to-do lists, and time trackers that help you audit how you spend your time at work.

Many of these options can be found for free and are very easy to use. They make work easier and more efficient for remote workers.

Do you want to learn more about using Zoom effectively? Check out my course, Communicate & Meet with Zoom, which teaches you the A to Z of leveraging all aspects of video conferencing.  Free for a limited time. Click the Image below.

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