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Meet Catrina, Our New Intern!

It’s been an exciting week at SEO it Right as we have welcomed Catrina to the team!

Catrina is 20 years old and is currently in her second year of studying Digital Marketing in Lisbon Portugal. She will be with us for the next 6 weeks to help us with all things digital.

We sat down with Catrina to talk about her first week in the UK as part of the SEO it Right team:

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Hi Catrina! How have you enjoyed your first week at SEO it Right?

I really love it! The team are great and have been very welcoming. I was soon set the challenge of designing images for social media. I really like the feel to the team; they want to learn and grow professionally.

Are you enjoying studying marketing in Portugal? What do you like most about your course?

Yes, I’m really enjoying it. When I chose the course, it was much broader than just marketing, but during my studies I have become more and more interested in marketing and I always read as many articles about this topic as possible.

In the future, my wish is to be a designer. As part of my course, I had to create a product and set its concept, packaging and everything else. This helped me to realise that I would love to work on designing packaging and prototypes, as well as websites, logos and animations.

How are you finding it living and working in another country?

It’s my first time away from home, but I have been very lucky with the internship and the team here, as well as my home and host family. It’s very good to be here and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot over these six weeks.

What do you like most about the UK so far? Is there anything you miss most about home?

I haven’t travelled very far yet, but what I like about staying in Walsall is that it is a small town with many parks and open areas.

I do miss my family. This is my first time being away from them and out of my comfort zone. I came to a place where the language is not my mother tongue and I am a long way away from the people I love most. All the rewarding experiences will make being away from home worth it over the next 6 weeks!

Which parts of your experience so far have you most enjoyed?

I have really enjoyed my internship so far. The schedule is really great, the people are amazing and I have daily challenges where I can give my best. Every day is a different day.

I have enjoyed learning what’s involved in a normal day for each member of the team, but especially what Riz does. I loved learning how it is possible to see where people are most likely to click on a website using heatmaps. This helps us to discover where the most interesting content on a website is and helps us to improve websites by looking at the most clicked areas.

What would you like to achieve during your time with SEO it Right?

I would like to further develop my design skills and learn more about what makes a good image for social media. I am looking forward to learning more about how search engine optimisation works and how to define an online strategy for a business.

I’m ready to absorb as much information as possible over these 6 weeks, and I’m sure I’ll finish my time here having gained much more knowledge and ready to work in the digital marketing industry in the future.

What would you like to achieve in your career?

I’d love to study design and apply these skills to digital marketing and start a company that could serve other enterprises with the skills I have developed, creating business strategies and putting them into practice.

For now, I intend to create a website to help me learn more about web design and development and train my competence in it.

It has been fantastic to have Catrina here. During the last week, she has been very eager to learn and has produced some great work and asked many excellent questions.

We will touch base with Catrina again next week!

 

 

Your Online Marketing News Round-up

We’ve nearly reached the half-way mark for 2016 and in this short space of time we’ve seen some massive changes in the online marketing scene.

At the start of the year many of the industry’s leaders shared their predictions for the future across SEO, social media and technology. The trends that cropped up on many a marketers’ lists included:

  • The explosion of video and video ads
  • The dominance of mobile
  • The rising popularity of digital assistants such as Siri and Cortana
  • The uptake of the dedicated app
  • The marketing opportunities of the Internet of Things (IoT) – i.e. wearable technology

Some of these predictions have seen more progress than others so far, and other completely new developments have come to shake up our approaches to online marketing. Here are some of the latest and biggest updates that have come to us as we take on the second part of 2016, and what new trends will be changing the way businesses tackle their online goals.

Google

In February Google removed ads on the right side of desktop search results, closing the gap between desktop and mobile ad displays and working to improve ad relevancy. Now that only 3 or 4 ads are displayed above the fold of a results page, it’s been suggested that CPC (cost-per-click) bids are likely to increase.

However, a few months on and in their blog titled ‘Ads and analytics innovations for a mobile-first world’, Google let us know of its AdWords redesign. Major news. The redesign allows for expanded text ads, giving businesses more ad space to showcase their products and services:

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Optimised for screen sizes of the most popular smartphones, this move surely shows the value of serving the on-the-go mobile user of today and beyond – take note if you don’t yet have a mobile-friendly website!

Also, following their AMP project for mobile (reducing website’s loading times on mobile devices), Google have begun to pre-roll video ads in AMP video. They will also be rolling out sticky ads that stay at either the top or bottom of the screen as the user scrolls through content, as well as flying carpet ads, again with a focus on the mobile user’s convenience. It looks like the professionals were right about the prominence of video and mobile, but these developments from Google are putting these trends to effect.

Email Marketing

In an effort to level out the playing field between big brands and SMEs, leading email marketing platform MailChimp has released Product Recommendations, which generates personalised items that each subscriber is most likely to buy. For small businesses, this means that a time consuming process can be automated easily, helping them to strengthen customer relations and brand loyalty.

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Facebook

Facebook has been very busy this year, with a few notable changes to their offerings for businesses including:

  • January – March: the global rollout of Facebook Live, a livestreaming feature enabling businesses to share video content with customers in real time.
  • February: the release of Facebook Reactions to the public. The 6 additional reactions let people express their response to a post beyond just the “like” action.
  • April: a roadmap was published for product developments including Messenger chatbots. The bot platform allows businesses to send sponsored messages (including images and interactive rich bubbles containing multiple calls-to-action) to people who have messaged them in the past.
  • May: the announcement that Facebook will be shutting down its desktop ad exchange (FBX). A key reason behind this is that 82% of its ad revenue is coming from mobile ads. Instead, the major online organisation will be focusing on its Audience Network. This is a retargeting ad scheme that allows businesses to target users on Facebook’s network websites, regardless of whether they’re using Facebook or not.
  • June: Facebook is experimenting with a new design for the desktop version, which removes sidebar ads, and more:

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Instagram

Instagram have reported that on average, 70% of people have been missing items in their feed. That’s why after a trial in March, Instagram will officially be rolling out their algorithm based feed from this month. This means that brands will have to look to increase their audiences and create relevant and engaging content with their target market in mind.

Recently Instagram announced that they will be launching their Business Tools feature, to help businesses stand out and gain valuable insights. As such, its Tools will include dedicated Business Profiles, which gives businesses the chance to choose how they’d like to be contacted – call, text or email. Plus, there’ll be an Insights feature providing actionable user information, as well as a Promote tool, where well-performing posts can be turned into ads.

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Instagram is a social site that has really grown in popularity and it will be definitely one to watch this year and in future.

Twitter

It seems that Twitter has announced the end of its sometimes frustrating 140 character limit for Tweets. Twitter will be excluding media attachments and @usernames (in replies) against a tweet’s 140-character limit, although links will still count. Images or other media attachments take up 24 characters in an update, so the exclusion of these will help business create more in-depth, engaging Tweets.

In addition, Twitter is set to follow the likes of Facebook, Google and Instagram, through their latest carousel ad format. The carousel feature lines up an array of up to 20 tweets — text, photos or videos — into a horizontal slideshow. Brands can choose from their own tweets and ads, along with tweets from users with permission given, or those in the Twitter-owned influencer program.

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There’s a lot happening in online marketing this year, and these updates only prove the significant role of technology in advancing businesses and their customer relations. If you’d like to improve your online marketing and better succeed online, why not chat to the SEO it Right team? Simply call 0121 308 0219 or use our online contact form, and we’ll be happy to assist.

Useful Tips for a Mobile-First Content Strategy

It’s no secret that people in general are spending more and more time on their mobile devices. This means that a large percentage of the time, people will view your online content on a mobile device, usually as they multitask in one way or another. Frequently, they will browse the internet and social media apps as they walk, commute, or even as they watch TV or a film.

Research suggests that throughout the world, on average 42% of content is consumed on a mobile device, with this number exceeding 50% in the UK. Another telling statistic is that of the 5.6 hours we spend on the internet each day, 3 hours are usually spent on mobile devices. With this in mind, it’s essential to ensure that your content is suitable for mobile viewing.

It goes without saying that your website must be mobile friendly, but when you are creating new content for web pages or your blog, you should also take into account that we don’t consume content on a mobile device in the same way that we would on a desktop. As we will often multitask as we read content online, our attention span is often much shorter as we are forced to alternate between our surroundings and the smartphone screen.

The big question is, how do we go about creating content that engages today’s on the go, multi-tasking consumers?

These 5 tips will help you to create a mobile-first content strategy:

Use short and hard hitting headlines

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Your content is worthless if people don’t click through to it in the first place. Use short headlines that sum up what your content is about and can be read without the user having to swipe or scroll on their screen.

Keep your content short

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When creating content for mobile, it should be short and get to the point quickly. Whilst it’s always important to get to the point, this is especially important on mobile devices. If you think about your usual experience of using a smartphone, a reasonable amount of your time will be spent browsing to use up time in between other activities. Given that there is so much information available on a smartphone, not to mention messaging apps, calls and other notifications, there are plenty of distractions. Your content needs to draw the reader in straight away, and make its point before the reader loses interest. Use short, snappy sentences and don’t use unnecessary words.

Break your content up into chunks

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As well as the written words, the appearance of your online content is also vital. As the average human’s attention span is quite limited, presenting a phone screen full of heavy blocks of content is enough to put off most readers. Always break your content into bitesize chunks that are easy to take in:

  • Use short, subtitled sections
  • Use bullet points to go into detail
  • Lots of visuals are essential to break up text

Words are important, but imagery is often more powerful. Our brains can take in information from images and graphics much faster than words, so use them to strengthen the points you are making. Videos can also be powerful, but they should be kept to a short length.

Mobile optimisation

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With the sheer number of people that are using mobile devices every day, all websites should be optimised for mobile use. If people have to navigate standard web pages on a limited sized screen, the chances are that they will click off very quickly.

Mobile optimisation goes further than just your content though. It’s important to include links in your content to offer more value to the reader. However, it’s essential to think about where links will lead to – make sure the destination page is also mobile friendly.

Any links or icons should also be easily clickable for touchscreen users without the need to zoom in.

Analyse and learn from your successes and mistakes

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Use analytics reports to research your mobile audience. Focus on learning more about what your mobile audience are looking for, not only on your site, but the internet in general. The more you understand about your audience, the more effectively you will be able to meet their needs.

If you need assistance in making sure your website is fully mobile friendly, or would like to learn more about creating mobile friendly content strategies, you can call SEO it Right on 0121 308 0219 and our team will be glad to help you.

Rob Edwards

SEO it Right Turns 6 Years Old – Another Excuse For Cake

On the 30th of April, SEO it Right will celebrate 6 years in business. Having first been set up as a specialist SEO company by our Directors Adam and Frances Berry, we have now evolved into a digital marketing agency, offering a wide range of content marketing, SEO, social media, PR and paid advertising solutions to small businesses all over the UK. One thing that has stayed the same is that we still find any excuse for cake!

To celebrate our 6th birthday, we have put together a list of 6 tips to help you build your online presence.

SEO it Right - A Year in Pictures

SEO it Right – A Year in Pictures

1. Decide on your goals

Firstly, it’s important that you establish your goals for both the short-term and long-term future. With these goals in place, as you create a strategy to grow your online presence, you can regularly turn to your goals to see how your online efforts are helping you to move forward. Rather than just building an online presence because you’re expected to, be sure to build your presence strategically so that you can work towards your business goals as a whole.

2. Build a solid website

To develop your online presence, to start with you will need a solid platform, i.e. a great website. Your website is a central place where people can learn more about your business, find out how to contact you and engage with your content.

Your website should:

  • Say what your business is about in a clear message
  • Contain all of your contact information
  • Be optimised for search engines (SEO)
  • Be mobile and user friendly

3. Provide value for your audience

Make sure the content that you are publishing is valuable to your audience. Whether this be on your website, through your social media channels, videos or a podcast, make sure that your content is of a consistent quality and provide your audience with useful information. Be the solution to their problems.

4. Be social

The internet allows you access to a huge audience. Social media can be a hugely effective way to reach your target audiences.

Being social means that you should work out which social media platforms work best for your business and regularly post and engage. As with creating any online content, consistency is important; you should develop a consistent voice and continue to provide the same value for your customers. Using social media effectively can help you gain fans and followers and once you have gained an audience, social is also a fantastic way to reach and engage the followers that have developed trust in you and like your brand. The more conversations you can draw up with your audience, the stronger the relationships that you build.

5. Always look to improve

There’s no way that your marketing materials will be perfect straight away, so don’t be afraid to publish! Your content will improve with every piece that you create if you are continually looking for ways to improve and optimise what you do. It’s a long process to work out exactly what does and doesn’t work – even the big brands are still learning from their mistakes, big or small.

6. Track your progress

Tracking your progress is the best way to know if your efforts for building your online presence are working. Be sure to track website visits, social media follows and engagement, look for spikes in traffic and look for trends.

To find out more about how we can help you to develop your business’s presence online, or to learn more about the range of digital marketing services we can provide, feel free to call us on 0121 308 0219 and our team will be happy to help.

The Future of Digital: What’s In-store For Online Marketing?

online marketingThe way we develop and implement marketing strategies is rapidly changing; marketers and brands alike are all aware of the impending domination of digital driving us to take to social media, online advertising and a more mobile-centric approach to consumer engagement. With online companies such as Google and Facebook massively shaping the way businesses communicate and promote their products and services, we’re all feeling the pressure to stay up to date with the latest marketing trends and stay afloat amongst the flood of online competition.

But, ensuring that you’re meeting the needs of your digital market doesn’t have to cost the world or take an army of marketers to achieve. By making a few changes to your marketing campaign, looking to the predicted trends for the online market, you’ll be able to benefit from increased online presence, brand awareness and traffic to your website. Here are some of the ways marketing will change this year and what we expect brands to be doing to fully engage online:

How you can adapt to the latest online marketing trends

What’s new for SEO?

According to Search Engine Land, 70-80% of users ignore paid ads in the search engine results pages (SERPS), and only focus on the organic result. This means that building your organic visibility by focusing on properly optimising your brand’s content should be a key priority – here’s what you can do:

Mobile is a must: It’s predicted that mobile-optimisation will become more important than desktop optimisation. Ensuring that your website is responsive to mobile and tablet devices, will therefore be a strong factor influencing your online visibility and rankings in the SERPS. User experience for mobile users is a must; statistics show that 57% of mobile users will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load on their device.

Additionally, the future is seemingly geared towards the mobile app; apps are becoming increasingly popular with the rise of wearable technology and the ease of usage. As it’s already been reported that users spend 90% of mobile usage on apps, Google will be indexing apps in a much similar way to how it indexes traditional websites. How can you cater for this growing market?

Social media gains more power: It looks like your social media content will become as or even more valuable than content from your independent website pages. Social content is becoming more readily indexed, which means that your communications must be consistent, relevant and targeted across the social sites your target audience interact with. Last year:

  • Instagram is now bigger than Twitter
  • Snapchat is growing at a rate of 56% each year
  • Tumblr signs up an average of 120,000 users a day

If your marketing strategy isn’t geared towards providing a comprehensive social experience of your brand, you’ll be missing out to competitors.

Social is a discovery engine

Facebook has already overtaken Google for news traffic and will look to officially release its ‘Instant Articles’ feature this year. This will give users the opportunity to view brands’ content – articles and blogs – without having to leave the platform. Combined with the introduction of the ‘Buy’ button for Facebook as well as Twitter, marketers must look to take advantage of the increasing power of social media sites early on.

The video boom

Google is experimenting with in-SERP video advertising, in a bid to compete with Facebook and Bing who have started to offer video options for advertisers. Video will become an extremely important marketing device this year and beyond; in fact, it’s predicted that video will account for 69% of consumer internet traffic by 2017. Did you know that currently 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute? Make sure you benefit this year by tapping into the video boom.

Get into graphics: Along with the increasing visual appeal of online communications through video, shareable graphics will take preference for consumers digesting content. The trend for websites is becoming decidedly minimalistic, with clean, clear and easy to read written content. To grab your audience’s attention, you’ll need to develop or share more images to match the content created, which clearly relates to your brand and your brand message.

How will content marketing be affected?

HubSpot found that in 2015, companies who blog received 97% more links to their website and B2B marketers that use blogs received 67% more leads than those who didn’t.

Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information, so it’s no surprise that for the online future, creating quality blog content built around the consumer will be the priority. This needs to be strategically integrated with all the other marketing channels. As well as sharing blog content through social media, you’ll need to integrate it into email communications, influencer relations, media relations, content sponsorships and social advertising.

Engaging content matters: A central focus for online marketing will be on providing engaging, helpful content. Header and pop-up advertisements will begin to decline on web pages, particularly on mobile devices. This means that the content you provide on a page needs to be of a high quality to engage audiences’ interest and secure further interaction with your brand. The emphasis will be on creating an engaging headline that stirs curiosity and content that entices action. From there, you could include links within the content to a more ad-heavy page. By delivering quality content, you’ll ensure that your audience will click through and that responses to advertisements will be willingly made.

To find out more about creating an engaging online marketing campaign or for help with building your marketing strategy, please email us at enquiries@seo-it-right.co.uk or call 0121 308 0219 to speak to a member of our team.

SEO it Right for Sport Relief 2016

On Friday 18th March, the SEO it Right team will be joining people from all across the UK and doing our bit for Sport Relief. To raise money for vulnerable people throughout the UK and all over the world, we will be taking part in an 8 hour sponsored walking relay. Each member of the team will take it in turns walking the streets of Sutton Coldfield throughout the working day, from 9am until 5pm.

sport relief 2016

Not only is walking a great form of exercise, but studies have also found that even a short walk on your lunch break can help to increase your productivity. People who walk or otherwise exercise regularly are commonly calmer and more alert than inactive people; even a gentle stroll can help to improve your mood, increase your output and your ability to handle stress at work.

First launched in 2002, Sport Relief is a biennial event that makes a huge difference to people in need all around the world. By bringing the British public together to get active, the strength in numbers helps to generate money to change many vulnerable people’s lives. 50% of all money raised by Sport Relief is used to help people here in the UK, with the remaining 50% being used to transform the lives of many in the world’s very poorest communities.

Sport Relief 2016 takes place from the 18th – 20th March, with fundraising events planned all over the UK, combined with fantastic television and radio entertainment to raise more funds for a brilliant cause.

To sponsor the SEO it Right team, please click here to visit our Giving Page.

Context Marketing – There’s more to Content than Just Keywords

There is no doubting that creating content is an essential part of fighting your way up the Google search results pages. However, content alone isn’t enough to jump up the rankings. There is truth in saying that SEO is part of the answer to helping your content move up in SERPs, however, if used properly, SEO techniques shouldn’t affect the actual content of your website or blog.

A few years ago, it was easier to move up in search rankings by stuffing content with relevant keywords. Even if the content didn’t actually provide a good user experience, or sometimes, it may not have been very relevant to the actual search query, it could be found above higher quality, relevant content due to an abundance of keywords. However, as Google is constantly refining its search algorithms, it’s now much harder to fool the system with artificial techniques.

context marketing

Google is now much more context sensitive – this means that content is useless on its own if it doesn’t provide a valuable user experience. Google is focused on providing a good user experience, so content must be relevant and well written to provide value. Without providing content that your audience are interested in and want to read, they won’t have a reason to find your content and engage with you. As a result, your digital marketing will suffer and your content won’t rank well in SERPs. Keywords will always be important, but only in the right context.

Introducing context marketing

Essentially, context marketing is about knowing your audience well enough to create content that is reliable and valuable to them. For example, what knowledge do your audience need? Which products and services will be of the most use to them? Rather than a hard sell, adding context helps your content marketing efforts to feel helpful; as a result, your audience are more likely to build trust in you and engage. The more your audience are willing to engage, the more you know about them and the more valuable your marketing content can be.

Getting to know your audience

To use content marketing successfully, it’s important that you know as much about your audience as possible and this means getting know them as individuals.

One of the simplest and best ways to learn more about your audience is through social media. As with website or blog content, social media messages must have context. Simply broadcasting a message is not only ineffective, but it can also be damaging; modern consumers aren’t interested in blatant, pushy sells, they want to form a relationship with brands and a sense of trust.

The biggest benefit of social media is that it allows your audience to contact you easily and confidently, so by posting engaging content, you can learn a lot about your audience when they choose to engage with your content. The more you learn, the more context you can add to your social media content, helping you present your brand as the solution to your audience’s problem. As well as broadcasting interesting and useful information, you can aim to give hope, inspiration or even humour, creating awareness of your brand in a very positive way.

By engaging with your audience on social media, you can then use what you have learned to provide context in all of your marketing media, including blog and website content. This helps you create a reputation as a credible, knowledgeable and authoritative source that your audience will want to continually buy from or use your services.

At SEO it Right, contextual content has always been our approach. As a marketer, Google’s shift towards context makes my job much more enjoyable. When I create content, rather than writing for a search engine, I write for an audience and rather than obsessing over keywords, I think about creating content that provides value to a specific audience. By combining context with content, marketers have the opportunity to be much more creative and to build relationships with people, not fight for rankings.

If you would like to learn more about how you can use context in your content and social media marketing campaigns, you can call the SEO it Right team on 0121 308 0219.

Rob Edwards

Are You Connecting With Your Mobile Audience?

It’s happened. Google has lately confirmed that ‘more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan’. It appears that the relative volumes of desktop and mobile internet use are shifting, as more people begin to connect online ‘on the go’, and are adapting to the explosive real-time culture made more accessible through mobile devices. For businesses this revelation signals the pressing need to consider the benefits of targeting an increasing mobile audience, and especially take advantage of Google’s recent mobile-friendly algorithm update.

Consumers are increasingly shifting to using their mobile devices for purchases. Predictions expect that the market share for smart devices for both 3G and 4G, will grow by as much as 127% by 2019. Advancements in technology also mean that handset prices are also decreasing, driving more people to use their mobile devices as the primary method for engaging with the online world.

Plus, with consumers generating more data than ever before through mobile devices, now is the right time to use the data analytics to improve attribution (the measurement of user events such as click-throughs, app installs and launches, or in-app purchases), and create a better overall user experience.

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The Challenges of Mobile Marketing

The recent boost and predicted increase in user data generated from mobile devices, is an exciting new potential resource for marketers, however one which does present some challenges. In its early stages it’s still difficult to measure the success of mobile marketing campaigns, and there are additional issues regarding data accuracy. This could prevent businesses engaging with mobile marketing from reaching their target audience with the appropriate message.

Data Technology

Effective mining of mobile data will involve relying less on cookie-based technology and getting access to more offline data. Marketers will therefore need to move towards the real-time insights of their users, which as a new development, cannot currently be provided by many third-party data companies.

To move away from cookies, mobile technology uses ‘identifiers’ for data based user measurement strategies. As the most prominent operating systems, iOS and Android have made some headway in making their identifiers user friendly and privacy compliant. It’s been stated that identifiers are more persistent than cookies, so further developments in mobile technology will enable a more strategic and long-term data audience measurement.

Location Targeting

Businesses aim to target specific audience groups or target consumers through points of interest, however currently only location technology is a proven method to create mobile campaign attribution.

According to a study by xAd in May this year, 8 in 10 marketers worldwide use location targeting for mobile advertising. Mining mobile data in this way can provide valuable customer insight; for store based brands for example, mobile location data can help determine who’s visiting its stores and what places they visit outside of the store, such as the workplace or a university. However, marketers will need to approach the challenge of reaching the right audience within the targeted location.

Mobile for the Future

  • As online advertising and video promotion continues to increase alongside the growth of the Internet of Things, mobile location targeted ad spend is expected to rise. It’s important to be able to stand out amongst the surge in these advertising strategies, with personalised and audience specific, experience focused offerings.
  • Although location technology is a valuable tool, it is the developments in real-time insights which will really enhance the measurement of mobile campaign attribution.
  • Mobile devices are already becoming slimmer and smaller, and smaller future screens will be orientated around increased functionality and user experience. In this case, design will be a key aspect for ensuring mobile websites and advertisements and campaigns, are fully optimal.

If you’re looking to immerse your business in this growing market and integrate mobile marketing with your existing strategies, the SEO it Right team are happy to offer advice. Contact us today on 0121 308 0219 to find out more.

Clare Evans

Social Media – Why Customers Hold More and More Power in the Marketing Mix

social media marketingAs internet culture continues to grow and transform the way we do business, it’s no surprise that more and more businesses are looking to spend more time and money on online advertising strategies to market their products and services. Whilst paid and organic search advertising continues to be an extremely useful means of driving traffic, marketers are increasingly looking to social media marketing and user generated content to raise their brand’s profile online.

Rather than simply targeting customers through inputted search terms, social media advertising proactively engages relevant users before they even get as far as opening a search engine. With smartphones and other mobile devices constantly available, information is at our finger tips at all times, and social media apps are often our first port of call when we pick up our device. Whilst potential customers absentmindedly scroll through their social media newsfeeds, marketers have opportunity to attract their attention.

Capturing customer’s attention isn’t as easy as it used to be. Traditional sales spiel no longer has the same effect that it once did; in fact, a hard sell often makes a brand seem less trustworthy. This is where some marketers have gone wrong with social media in the past – social media isn’t about sales, it’s about engaging and building a relationship with the customer. By earning their customer’s trust, businesses are much more likely to see increased sales.

Engagement
Social media provides the perfect opportunity for brands to learn more about customers through engagement. By encouraging social media users to put their point across and give their opinions, brands not only capture the interest of their audience, but can benefit hugely from the new information that they get. As marketers learn more about what the customer likes, dislikes, needs and avoids, they can then use this information to deliver a direct solution to the customer’s problem.

Engagement is a key method of developing trusting relationships with customers and potential customers, not only increasing the possibility of sales, but also making it more likely that happy customers will do their part to spread brand awareness.

User Generated Content
Social media is an extremely potent and powerful tool, of which customer engagement is only one part. One of the biggest parts of engaging with customers through social media is that customers effectively become members of a brand’s marketing team. Social media, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, or the increasingly popular Instagram provides the perfect opportunity for customers to promote a brand in their own way. This could be to take a picture of themselves in a new outfit, share a post by one of their favourite brands, or even to leave a review. This is called user generated content and is fast becoming one of the most important marketing tools in any brand’s arsenal and can be much more effective than dated sales patter.

The modern consumer doesn’t want to buy a product or a service unless they trust it, and while a large percentage of people are mistrusting of a few lines of description on a website, if a friend or another trusted source gives a positive spin on said product or service, a person is much more likely to develop trust and make a purchase.

By taking the time to engage with customers through social media and learn more about their requirements, brands can carefully devise their posts to increase the creation of user generated content. For example, a clothing company can ask their followers to post a picture of their latest purchase and tag the brand in, or use a specific hashtag. By taking this sort of strategy, a brand’s online reach can be hugely increased.

Marketers are finally realising that the customer is always right and that customer opinion is one of the most powerful sales tools there is. Social media marketing is a relatively low-investment, but high-impact way of raising brand awareness and increasing sales that can’t be ignored.

Rob Edwards

The Rise of Social Media Marketing For 2015

With the rapid evolution of the Internet of Things it is now easier than ever for businesses to promote brand reputation, boost sales and increase growth for a worldwide market. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Linkedin, are fast becoming the norm over other marketing strategies, as a device for brands to connect with their audiences and develop a more customer-centric approach to sales. Recent studies have found that 42% of the world’s population are active internet users, and over a quarter of the population engage with social media on a daily basis.

Research by Smart Insights asked marketers to rate different marketing channels for volume of leads or sales expected by the business. Only 4% didn’t use social media, compared with SEO at 5%, to display advertising at 16%. The need is more apparent now than ever for companies to stay updated with the latest, continually adapting social media trends, so that they can strategically invest in resources to formulate long-term business opportunities. But which networks are the most popular, and what industries will capitalise from them most?

Here we take a look at the dominant social media trends which have shaped the marketing efforts of businesses in 2015 and how marketers can best benefit from the social networks; plus we’ll consider some of the key upcoming trends for 2016.

Choosing the Right Social Media Network

Published in January 2015, research from the Global Web Index highlighted the most popular social networks by their percentage of internet users. Facebook dominated with 81%, followed by YouTube and Google +, both at 60%. Twitter came in at 53%, with Instagram at 29%, Pinterest at 27% and LinkedIn at 13%. These platforms are fast growing through adapting to mobile users and integrating new advertising strategies. Some of the new developments in the way these networks are increasing their marketing capability for businesses include:

– Facebook: has removed the charge for likes and has made changes to its Newsfeed visibility
– Twitter: introduced the ability to stream Periscope, for live broadcast and recording
– Instagram: there are new Carousel Ads featuring URLs and multiple photos. These can be swiped for users to find out more
– Pinterest: offer buyable pin buttons
– LinkedIn: introduced a Lead Accelerator to target and convert specific users

In an increasingly automated brand to consumer relationship, businesses will need to implement social media to enhance their relations, improve reputation and make their brand stand out from the crowd. But which networks and will allow businesses to be best seen by their target audience and how can their reach be widened?

starting your social media journey

Make Your Business Mobile

Worldwide social desktop traffic in Q2 of this year decreased, while the rise in dedicated mobile web apps and the number of users adopting them caused mobile web share to go up for all social networks aside from LinkedIn and Reddit. Social media sites are becoming more optimised with geo-targeted and real-time content, meaning that advertising on these mobile sites is now greatly poplar as a strategy for business reach and growth. Mobile devices can let you receive ads at every log in into your accounts, whether for a quick check of your Facebook newsfeed or sending a snap via Snapchat. Using these ads will track users’ behaviours, and offer tailored advertising based on their actions.

Finding out whether your target market are using sites on their desktop, or responsive websites or dedicated apps on their mobile devices is key to ensure your business anticipates the needs of customers in line with the evolving social trends.

A More Integrated Social Advertising

This trend looks to customise advertising based on behavioural data on the social media networks. Integrated social advertising has been on the rise in 2015, with the introduction of video ads on Instagram and auto-play ads on Facebook. Snapchat has also capitalised on fully integrated advertising by displaying brands’ ‘stories’, giving users real-time ads targeted to their behaviours.

In-messaging advertising, through a social network’s private messaging function, is also becoming a marketing tool which will shape the future of advertising. Popular social apps such as Whatsapp and Kik, are signing huge marketing deals to boost in-app advertising.

This Rise of Social Video

Videos are ever more popular this year for brands looking to attract consumers quickly and build up a relationship visually. Most social sites allow for companies to display videos and enable great storytelling opportunities for increased consumer trust. Vine, Snapchat and Instavid are some of the dedicated social video networks which can be used by businesses to promote products and pave a unique identity in a compelling way.

Video is set to increase further throughout the rest of 2015 and over next year, Facebook is hoping to overtake YouTube, as it already experiences one billion video views a day, according to the Independent.

Social Media and E-Commerce

A study by SimilarWeb shows the worldwide percentages for desktop social traffic for popular ecommerce industries:

– Wedding: 11.38%
– Clothing: 6.14%
– Antiques and Collectibles: 5.88%
– Publications: 4.17%

The importance of social media as a marketing tool for these industries is worth noting, though businesses should be aware of their target market when investing in boosting social traffic to increase sales; the study showed that a higher percentage of social traffic in India and France was generated from the Ethnic and Regional category, as opposed to the UK and US which saw Weddings take the higher percentage.

The extent businesses should expect to engage with users via social networking sites, will depend on the interest in the specific industry for social activity. Changing your marketing strategies to fit in with the latest social media trends may not necessarily improve business if they do not fit in with your industry and the needs of your customers.

If you feel your business would benefit from implementing a social media campaign, then get in touch with the SEO it Right team on 0121 308 0219.