Thursday, 11 August 2011

How Helpful are Social Networks?

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and now Google+. How helpful these social networks really are for businesses? How to take advantage of these social networks? How to develop an integrated social media marketing strategy? How can you make it useful? Can we generate quality traffic to website and sales from these? The answer is YES and they can be really helpful. Here is the how.

What Should You Know/Keep in Mind?
  1. People won’t come knocking on the door to join.
  1. Your goal is to converse, not to send the people running.
  1. Most of your friends/followers/connections/groups are passive. Even though they might have liked your updates they wouldn’t Like/Retweet/Share/+1 it.
What Should You Do/Have?
  1. Secure best available/most suitable social URL for the organization.
  1. Develop / design / modify / refine the business page.
  1. Create profile and optimize it.
  1. Integrate suitable apps and create if necessary.
  1. Create better landing pages.
  1. Create Facebook Badge and use wisely.
  1. Use detailed info about the products/services.
  1. Use real photographs and use keywords in descriptions.
  1. Integrate Youtube videos with the biz page.
  1. How-to tutorials about products and its maintenance.
  1. Links to online reviews and comparisons.
  1. Add industry news, articles and events.
  1. Generation of discount coupon codes available only for social media fans.
  1. A tab for job openings.
  1. Syndicate your blog with the profile.
  1. Have Never-before-seen photos and videos.
  1. Integrate contests and polls.
  1. A page for Customer success stories.
  1. A page for office Locations and Directions.
  1. Invitation to sign up for newsletter.
  1. Network with interested groups.
  1. Find people by company and designation.
  1. Try to get in touch with the decision makers and heavyweights.
  1. Invite key industry experts to join and engage.
  1. Invite coworkers, past colleagues, and customers to join and start discussions.
  1. Invite the folks in your email list.
  1. Offer an incentive to join.
  1. Run Ad campaigns.
  1. Make the members aware/remind you are interested in them.
  1. Make special announcements on the social page before you do elsewhere.
  1. Flaunt social buttons on the website.
  1. Have a monthly draw just for fans.
  1. Ask for recommendations.
  1. Cross-market to related groups on different social networks.
  1. Integrate Social media to all of your marketing and branding efforts.
  1. Have genuine communications and maintain a friendly tone.
  1. Maintain a ratio between entertaining, engaging, educating and promotional messages.
  1. Update status messages periodically without grammar and spelling mistakes.
  1. Send updates targeting geographically and age wise.
  1. Respond to comments.
  2. Take a note of complaints, if any, and inform the concerned.
Results Expected
  1. Personal and better relationships.
  1. User generated content.
  1. Blended search results.
  1. More visits to website.
  1. Increased customer loyalty and retention.
  1. Enhanced brand awareness and recall.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Why Search Engine Optimization?

Having a website is very essential in today’s geek world, but just having a website does not fulfill the purpose. According to studies nearly 7 million websites have been added in the year 2011 itself. How to survive in such a tough scenario? The best answer would be Search engine optimization.

70% of the net users use search engines as the primary method to find websites. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing are the majorly used search engines (Google amounts for 80% of share). There are millions of users who are searching online for the product and / or service that you provide. They don’t know you and won’t be referred by any one because they don’t know any of your current customers.
Designing a website and optimizing it are two different things.
SEO Makes your website easily accessed and viewed by potential clients from around the world.

Following are some of the points that explain why SEO is a better marketing strategy than newspaper ads and TV commercials:

1. Search engine visitors’ conversion ratio is better than any other traffic sources.

2. SEO gives your business global reach with minimum amount of investment in terms of money.

3. SEO is used by major SMEs and big corporates alike to generate traffic.

4. ROI (Return on Investment) is higher than any other marketing mediums.

5. Studies show that companies appearing well in search engines command more respect.

6. It gives you an edge and advantage over your competitors.

7. It works for you nonstop 24/7.

Things to be kept in mind while opting for a SEO company:

1. Performing SEO is about taking a marketing approach and having technical skills at the same time. It is best done by a marketing mind with technical support rather than someone with just technical background.

2. Ask for the company’s past works and check the results in the real time.

3. Avoid companies claiming guaranteed results within short span of time. SEO is not a short term process and takes at least around 2-3 months time to start showing up on search engine result pages.

4. Avoid companies who promise 1000+ directory submissions and book markings.

5. Select a company that does social media marketing along with SEO. Both SEO and SMM should complement each other to stay afloat, create brand awareness, reach and engage your target audience and be competitive.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Role of SEO Service Providers

Any firm who has an online presence wants to do SEO. There are N number of companies and individuals proclaiming they are SEO specialists or professionals. There are N numbers of online firms who hired these so called experts and burnt their fingers. So the question here is what should one look for in a SEO firm and what should be the approach of an SEO firm?
Everyone tends to believe that- SEO firms and their clients as well- getting ranked for some industry related keywords/phrases and some visits from the Search engines is what a SEO firm supposed/expected to do. What about other free and effective online vehicles, leads and sales?
The most surprising thing is that these SEO firms promise utilization of all these frugal vehicles when the contract is being signed. Once the campaign starts, both the parties involved are busy checking rankings on Search engine result pages. Rest is blissfully forgotten.
SEO service providers can save a lot of time, embarrassments, disputes, legal battles if they do their job as it is supposed to. To begin with, the service providers should make their clients understand that the ‘ranking’ doesn’t happen overnight. A good SEO project takes two to three months to begin showing a real impact - especially for generic keywords. That too depends on number of factors such as the age of your site, number of quality inbound links you already have and competitiveness of the keywords.
The best strategy would be to have intelligent attractive profiles and listings in reputed classifieds, marketplaces, B2B search engines, directories and other portals along with other on-site processes. Besides getting good rankings on Search engines for these listings – it happens very often – you also get leads from these vehicles. Make sure call-to-action (landing page optimization) in every important page of your website in a subtle way and easy access to detailed contact info.
Now you get the picture. SEO guys are doing only what they have already promised – make sure they do it. In return it generates awareness about the client’s company and so traffic, leads and sales. To top that, performing these activities acts as a supplement (back links) to get the actual intended ranking.
All you need to understand is, it is not practically possible to rank for each and every keyword you wish to in a short span of time and Search engines are NOT all. Drive quality traffic by following the potential customer wherever he goes on web, make use of tactics like tutorials for better exposure and ensure repeated visits by having a user friendly website.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

How to Multiply Consumers Online ?

The convenience, ease of finding items that are hard to find otherwise, ease of finding the best bargains, confidence in the ability to make the right purchase decision, time saving and being anonymous to an extent are the benefits which turn consumers to Internet for shopping. The number of shoppers would be even higher, if the stores could minimize the frustrations, frictions, confusions, concerns, and worries users encounter and infuse the safety feeling about the e-commerce environment in the course.
Though financial worries have affected behavior and spending plans of online shoppers with the need to economize, for most online users they are over weighed by better website usability, easy to access product information, operational effectiveness, price, word of mouth and trust.
Participation in social networks, involvement with blogs, discussion forums and rating and review systems altered the way consumers make their purchasing decisions. They consider them as the most valuable sources of information as they could choose companies, shops, brands and products based on others' experiences. With the help of technology they are spreading the word when they have had a bad experience or problems conducting online transactions. This is one of the powerful recommendations against something a consumer can make
When most of the online shops believe that they deliver best user experience, in contrast very few percentage of users have actually experienced it. In tiring times even the so famous consumer loyalty will take a toll if the shops continuously fail to understand how the economic news has impacted customer's mindset, lifestyle buying behavior etc. and when you lose one customer replacing would be more costly and time consuming than other times
Incorporating intelligent social media in marketing strategies, reducing interruptive ads to reduce the dizziness, reaching local users through trusted local websites, delivering a superior user experience, personalized re marketing strategies and thus letting your customers do the marketing for you would be the best ways to drive traffic, convert sales and to stay cost effective and profitable in the age of heightened accountability. Displaying product or service related customer questions and answers too may be more effective and would aid shoppers in making purchase decisions and help drive continued success
In a time when a consumer takes longer to make a purchase decision, a single disappointing experience may lead the customer to make the switching decision to your competition. Very often the consumer gives more value to satisfaction over price when they purchase something online. Its time to recognize and realize the true meaning "Customer rules" and react accordingly.