09 Feb 2018

Social media or email marketing: How do you choose?

Every business needs to determine the best use of their marketing budget. When your budget is limited, you may not have enough resources to pursue every avenue available. Even though both social media and email marketing are inexpensive, you’ll want to direct your resources to the method that gets you the best results.

 

Without some knowledge of these different forms of digital marketing, you won’t be able to make the right decision. So let’s start with a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of each:

 

Social Media Marketing

The first thing you need to know about marketing your business on social media is which platforms to use. The most popular and well-known platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn.

 

Your business doesn’t need to be on every platform. You simply need to work out which platform/s your target market uses. Posting regular updates on the social media platforms you’ve selected will help your credibility, but unless you pay to advertise, you’re unlikely to get the results you want.

 

Advertising on social media requires a variety of skills such as copywriting, graphic design and strategy. Most channels allow you to target a very specific set of demographics, but if you can’t design an eye-catching ad with persuasive copy, you’ll struggle to convert clicks into customers.

 

One of the strengths of social media marketing is the fact that it’s affordable. You don’t need a large budget to start advertising and you should see a decent response to your efforts. It’s best suited to B2C businesses that have a product or service to promote. However, B2B businesses can use paid advertising on social media to increase brand awareness.

 

Email Marketing

These days, email marketing isn’t just a matter of sending out a monthly newsletter to your database – although, this is a good place to start. With a proper strategy in place, you can create sales funnels to direct your subscribers to taking the action you want them to, such as signing up for a course or buying a product.

 

Email marketing works just as well for B2B as it does for B2C business models. Not only does regular communication with your existing customers keep you top of mind, it also encourages new customers to learn more about your business and what you have to offer. The goal of email marketing should never be to push sales, but rather to demonstrate what value you can add or what problems your product or service can solve.

 

Creating content for your newsletters does take some time and effort. Your newsletter will also need images to help grab your subscribers’ attention and encourage them to read your articles. This requires the skills of a graphic designer. If you don’t have the time required to generate copy or the skills to design your newsletter, you can outsource this task to a reputable digital marketing agency.

 

Not only will an agency be able to design a professional newsletter for you, they’ll manage the distribution and provide you with a full report on its performance. Learning what type of content your subscribers respond to best will help you create better newsletters.

Understanding your audience

When your budget forces you to make a choice between two different marketing methods, the most important factor to consider is your target market.

 

Now, you might assume that if your target market is under 30 then social media is the obvious answer. However, research shows that most young consumers prefer to interact with brands and businesses via email. The point here is research your target market to learn their preferences.

 

Both social media and email marketing can help you achieve your business goals, and if you have the resources, you should include both methods in your marketing strategy.

 

Working with a digital marketing agency

If you don’t want to hire a digital marketing manager to manage this function in-house, you’ll need to outsource the work to an agency. There are a number of benefits to working with an agency such as access to skilled and experienced marketers, monthly reports to track your ROI and a set monthly cost.

 

Don’t expect to see an immediate improvement in your business. Any marketing strategy takes time to deliver the results you want and it’s essential to lay a solid foundation. As time goes by, you’ll see your social media community grow and more subscribers will respond to your newsletters. There may even come a time when you’ll need to invest more money into your digital marketing efforts.

 

If you’ve decided that 2018 is the year to start marketing your business online, have a look at our range of digital marketing packages. From the Social Starter which focuses on basic social media management up the Marketing Maven which is a full-service package that includes blogging, newsletters and paid advertising, you’ll find something to suit your budget.

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25 Jan 2018

5 Tips for dealing with Facebook’s latest algorithm update

The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, recently announced his intention to change the goal of Facebook’s News Feed. Instead of providing Facebook’s millions of users with relevant content, the focus will now be on promoting content that elicits meaningful interactions.

 

That means posts from your friends, family and groups will take the top spots in your news feed. And while this is good news for those of us who use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends, it will affect those who use Facebook Business Pages to promote their business.

 

If you manage your company’s Facebook page, you will have noticed that organic reach has declined significantly over the years. And with these recent changes, your figures are likely to drop even further.

 

 Has anything really changed?

 

This isn’t the first time that Facebook has changed their algorithm, and it won’t be the last. Given that organic reach has declined over the years, will this update make any difference?

 

It will, so if you’re not already doing the following, start now with:

 

  • Creating high-quality content that adds value to your followers
  • Encouraging users to interact with you but avoiding clickbait
  • Finding new ways to tell your story without pushing sales

 

What can you do to ensure your Facebook followers still see your content?

 

Posting your latest promotions, funny memes and cat videos just won’t cut it anymore. If you want to continue using Facebook as part of your social media marketing strategy, try these tips:

 

  1. Create more video content

If there’s one type of content that gets more engagement than anything else—it’s video. Don’t be reluctant to experiment with the medium, especially if no-one else in your industry is using it. Even B2B businesses can use video effectively; think of doing an interview with your CEO, a behind-the-scenes segment on your manufacturing process or product demonstrations.

 

You could also use Facebook’s own live-streaming feature, Facebook Live to broadcast live from events and exhibitions. Be sure to tell your followers when you’ll be going live so they can catch your broadcast.

 

  1. Post your content on other channels

If you publish regular blogs on your website, and you share these links on your Facebook page, think about other places where you could share this content. You can investigate other social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.

 

Reach out to other websites (not your competition, obviously) related to your industry, and ask them if they’d be interested in sharing your content on their website or social media accounts.

 

  1. Ask your followers to activate the See First option

Making sure your followers see your posts could be as simple as asking them. Simply tell your followers to navigate to your Facebook page, click on the ‘Following’ button and select ‘See First’ from the drop down menu. If they do this, they’ll be less likely to miss your updates.

 

  1. Create a Facebook Group for your page

Last year, Facebook made it possible for Business Pages to create Group Pages. Previously, you could only create a group in your personal capacity. While this has opened up more opportunities for businesses to share their content on Facebook, keep the following in mind if you decide to create a group:

 

  •  Don’t use your group to promote your business: Remember, the purpose of a group is share information, so focus on providing your members with relevant content.

 

  • Be firm about spam: Create a set of guidelines for your group and add it to your description. If you’re members are constantly bombarded with irrelevant spam, they’ll leave.

 

  • Encourage your members to provide feedback: Your group is a direct line to your customers, so get them involved by asking for feedback on your products or services.

 

  • Use your group to provide great customer service: Let your customers use the group to contact you with their questions and concerns. Answer comments swiftly and demonstrate your commitment to keeping your customers happy.

 

  1. Invest in Facebook Ads

It’s called ‘pay to play’ and it’s the one way you’re guaranteed to reach a wider audience on Facebook. Paid advertising on Facebook is inexpensive and allows you to reach a very specific demographic. If you think about the time you current spend maintaining your Facebook Page, and the fact that you’re unlikely to see a decent return on the hours you put in, it’s worth experimenting with Facebook Ads.

 

However, if you’re unfamiliar with setting up Facebook Ads, you could still be wasting your money. Don’t hesitate to partner with a digital marketing agency that has experience advertising on Facebook. While it will cost you more than running a campaign yourself, you’ll get a better return on your investment.

 

As the largest social media platform out there, businesses can’t afford to ignore Facebook. While changes to the algorithm will affect your results, there are still lots of opportunities to explore.

 

If you see the potential of Facebook, but you don’t have the time or expertise to manage it yourself, call Web Changes. We’ll create optimised content for your account and set-up and manage your paid advertising efforts for a very reasonable fee.

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12 Jan 2018

2018’s digital marketing trends for small businesses

Every year the internet is flooded with articles from digital marketers about the big trends that will dominate their industry. Of course, this information is generally only of interest to other digital marketers. It means nothing to the thousands of small to medium business owners who can’t decide whether they should have a Facebook page for their business.

 

So, to provide you with information that will help you make that decision, we’re looking at the big digital marketing trends for 2018 and how they could help you grow your business.

 

  1. The rise and rise of video

This isn’t a new trend, but it’s one that continues to grow in popularity. Live videos, such as Facebook Live, are tremendously popular and generate more engagement than any other type of content.

 

If you’re not sure where to start with video, here are some ideas:

 

– Give your followers a peek behind-the-scenes of your business

– Create a video showing your products in action

– Get satisfied customers to provide you with video testimonials

– Give an interview as an industry expert

 

It may mean stepping out of your comfort zone, but if you can find a way to use videos in your marketing strategy, you’ll definitely stand out from your competition.

 

  1. The importance of being mobile-friendly

Again, this isn’t a new trend but one that’s become absolutely essential if you want your website to rank well organically. About three years ago, Google started prioritising mobile-friendly websites in search results. But that isn’t the only reason why your site should be mobile-friendly.

 

With more people using their phones and laptops to find products and services on-the-go, you’ll want a website that makes it easy for them to interact with you. Mobile-friendly sites have a number of elements and functions that make them suitable for viewing on a smaller screen. Copy and images display correctly, contact forms are simple and intuitive and you can make a click just by clicking on a number.

 

If you have a site that isn’t mobile-friendly, make 2018 the year you get your site updated otherwise, you’ll struggle to compete with sites that already meet this essential criterion.

 

  1. Content Marketing is the preferred strategy

Given the amount of advertising that the average person is bombarded with every day, it’s no surprise that most people would prefer to learn about a business through an article or video rather than an advert.

 

Many of the large retailers in South Africa have developed sophisticated content marketing campaigns to engage with the customers. However, B2B businesses can benefit just as much from creating content rather than relying on traditional marketing methods.

 

As their customer base often requires more information before making a purchasing decision, whitepapers, case studies, newsletters and blogs offer an engaging way to deliver information. Content marketing is inexpensive and produces a steady stream of qualified leads. That alone may convince you to at least start a business blog this year.

 

  1. Marketing with transparency

An objection we often face with clients about having a social media presence is the concern that a customer may give them a bad review. How we overcome their concerns is by assuring them that provided they handle a complaint the right way, their business won’t suffer for it.

 

In fact, one of the big trends for 2018 suggests that encouraging clients to leave feedback on your website and social media platforms is a better way to do business. It also means that brands must be prepared to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at how they run their business. If you’re transparent about your business, your customers will reward you for it.

 

And there you have it, four digital marketing trends that you should keep in mind when planning your marketing strategy for 2018. If you’re not on social media or your accounts have been inactive for months, now’s the time to dust them off. If your competitors are already on social media or sending out newsletters, you’re losing out.

 

Don’t be afraid to show your customers what you’re all about—from your products or services to your company culture—this is exactly what they want to see. If you don’t have the time, resources or skills to manage your digital marketing in-house, outsource it to an agency like Web Changes. We’ll help develop a cost-effective and manageable digital marketing strategy for 2018 and beyond.

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10 Nov 2017

How to improve your AdWords ranking (without spending more money)

You don’t have to blow your entire marketing budget to ensure your ad appears in the top spot on Google. There are better and cheaper ways to get your ad to the top. As an added bonus, you could also increase your conversion rate – and that’s what you really want.

How Google determines the position of your ad

Before you learn how to improve your ranking, you need a basic understanding of how Google decides which ad appears where. The answer to this lies in the following formula:

Cost per Click Bid x Quality Score = Ad Rank

Let’s break this down further. Cost per Click refers to the maximum amount you’re willing to bid on a particular keyword. While the Quality Score is determined by these three factors:

1. Expected Click-Through-Rate
Google uses an algorithm to estimate the percentage of people who will click on your ad. It is partly based on the previous performance of your ad.

2. Ad Relevance
How well the copy and message in your ad match your keyword will determine your ad relevance score.

3. Landing Page Experience
Once a user has clicked on your ad and landed on your website, how good is their experience? Are they able to find what they’re looking for or do they click away within seconds?

If you think that Google simply awards first place to the highest bidder – you’re wrong. And there’s a good reason for that. Google has built their reputation on providing users with the most relevant content and information. If they simply allowed advertisers with badly designed and content-poor websites to dominate search results, nobody would use their search engine.

That means, even small businesses with small budgets have an opportunity to succeed on Google without spending ridiculous amounts of money.

So how can you take advantage of Google’s Ad Ranking formula to improve your ranking? Start with these tips:

1. Make your ads relevant

You wouldn’t get very far in business if you didn’t deliver on your promises – and the same applies to Google AdWords. Make sure that the page your customer land on matches the content of your ad.

For example, if you’re running an ad for cupcakes, don’t send visitors to a general baking page – send them right to the cupcake page.

2. Keep links to a minimum

A landing page cluttered with links can be confusing, so avoid the clutter and make it easy for your potential customer to find what they’re looking for.

The more options you give them, the more likely they are to click away before they make a purchase.

3. Include a clear Call to Action (CTA)

What action do you want visitors to take once they’ve clicked your ad: make a purchase, fill in a contact form or download a document. Whatever it is, don’t be shy to ask them to take the next step.

Include a clear CTA on your landing pages along with some persuasive copy and you’ll see the difference in your conversions.

4. Use high-quality, relevant images

People are attracted to images, so use high-quality, relevant images to grab your visitors attention and reinforce your message.

This is especially important if you’re selling a product. As you customers can’t interact with the product, they’ll be relying on clear and sharp images and your copy to give them an idea of what to expect should they buy from you.

5. Keep your copy short and sweet

While you want your visitors to spend more time on your site, you don’t want to waste their time with lots of meaningless waffle. Get to the point quickly and give them the information they’re looking for upfront. Then, use your Call to Action to guide them through your sales funnel.

6. Add options for social sharing and testimonials

Give visitors the opportunity to share the content on your website with their network on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Adding testimonials increases your credibility and will encourage new customers to do business with you.

7. Speed up your site

It’s no secret that if your pages take more a few seconds to load, visitors will click away. Check your site speed and make sure your landing pages load quickly. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a sale or a lead just because your site is sluggish.

Google tends to favour sites that load quickly for organic search results too, so it’s worth ensuring that your site is up to speed.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on paid advertising channels to get results. If you concentrate on crafting relevant ads and filling your landing pages with top-notch content, you’ll get more traffic for less money. Pay attention to your Quality Score and you’ll see a better return on your investment – no matter how big or small your budget is.

At Web Changes, we manage large and small Google AdWords budgets for a variety of businesses. Our approach to paid advertising includes auditing your landing pages to ensure that the clicks you get on your ads turn into real, paying customers. Contact Web Changes for assistance with your paid advertising strategy.

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03 Nov 2017

Why every business needs email marketing

With social media constantly in the spotlight, is there any reason why you should include email marketing in your marketing strategy? According to Everlytic’s recent Email Marketing Benchmarks Report, South African businesses that engage in email marketing are reaping the benefits.

 

The state of email marketing in South Africa

Everyltic’s report has revealed what many marketers already know – that people prefer to communicate with businesses via email. Social media is still an important element of your online presence, but it’s email marketing that encourages engagement.

 

Two of the most interesting statistics to emerge from the report are:

 

  • Unsubscribe rates have decreased from 0.253% to 0.220%

You are required to provide your subscribers with a clear and easy way to opt out of receiving communications from you. Offering an option to unsubscribe has benefits for businesses too. It’s far better to have a smaller database of customers who are truly interested in your content, then a large database of subscribers that will never open your emails.

 

The fact that unsubscribe rates have declined may also indicate that businesses are succeeding at producing relevant and engaging content.

 

  • Mobile rates have increased from 25.88% to 28.10%

With more people relying on their smartphones for internet access, it follows that they’ll be checking their emails throughout the day. Designing your newsletters with mobile users in mind may have an effect on the success of your email marketing efforts.

 

According to Everlytic’s report, the Lifestyle, Art and Entertainment Industry exceeds all others with more than 35% of their emails being read on a mobile. Clearly, their content is well-suited to this platform and those newsletters should serve as an example to others wishing to emulate their results.

 

It’s worth investing in email marketing

Yes, writing and designing an enticing newsletter does take time and effort. But there are some very convincing reasons why you should consider investing your time and money in email marketing.

 

  1. Emails work on every platform

Unlike a website which needs to be responsive or mobile-friendly to adapt to a smaller screen, emails work on every platform. It doesn’t matter when, where or how your customers access their emails – they’ll always be able to view your newsletters the way you intended them to.

 

And unlike social media where you’re limited to the number of characters you can use, a newsletter can be as long or as short as you want it to be.

 

  1. Emails are ideal for keeping your customers up-to-date

Whether you’re running a promotion, received an award or started stocking a new product, a newsletter is the best way to tell your customers about it.

Even if some of the people on your database haven’t bought from you yet, by opting in to receive your newsletters, they’re clearly interested in what you have to offer. If they like your newsletters, they may even share them with other people in their network.

 

  1. Emails can be integrated with your other marketing tactics

If you have different target markets, you can easily divide your database and send different newsletters to your different market segments. This works equally well for B2C and B2B businesses.

 

In fact, marketers highly recommend that you segment your newsletter list and test and measure the response to your emails. That way you can determine what type of content your customers prefer and use that information for future newsletters and marketing campaigns.

 

  1. Emails are cost-effective

Even if you use the services of a digital marketing agency to manage your email marketing, it remains one of the cheapest forms of advertising available. And the larger your database, the more cost-effective it becomes.

 

This makes email marketing an excellent strategy for small businesses on a budget. Encouraging people to sign up for your newsletters on your website is also a great way to grow your leads. You could even set up a series of newsletters to guide new subscribers through your sales funnel to encourage them to make a purchase.

 

Every business can benefit from email marketing. Thanks to the research carried out by Everlytic, there is proper evidence that South Africans are as responsive to email marketing as consumers overseas.

 

Keen to try email marketing but don’t have the time or skills to do it yourself? Web Changes can do it for you. Our digital marketing team can create, distribute and manage your newsletters and provide you with a full reporting function. For an effective email marketing service, get in touch with us today.

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27 Oct 2017

Five ways to get more traffic to your eCommerce website

Achieving the number one spot on Google is the Holy Grail for anyone with an e-commerce website. It’s a coveted spot because it gets your business right in front of potential customers who are looking for the product or service you offer. People search online because it saves them time and if your site is buried on the second or third page of results, it’s unlikely anyone will click on it.

 

But getting onto the first page takes a combination of SEO savvy and some kind of marketing budget. Beyond setting up Adwords and exchanging links there are some simple things you can do to boost your rankings. In this article, we’ll show you five steps you can take to help your website make the grade, without a whole lot of SEO jargon. These tips are most suitable for e-commerce websites, so let’s get started.

 

  1. Leverage user-generated content to build trust

 

Include features on your site that allow your customers to rank and review your products. Not only will this provide with valuable feedback that you can use to improve your offerings, but it will help build trust with your customers. Research has shown that people are more likely to buy from a website that includes customer reviews.

 

Reviews can increase page rankings by increasing the popularity of your site. This means more users visit it and spend time looking at more than one page.

 

  1. Create original product descriptions

 

If you’re stocking common products that may be found on several sites, it’s easy to use the description provided by the manufacturer. But Google isn’t fond of duplicate information. If it comes across two or more pages on your site with the same content it will only index one page.

 

If your inventory isn’t massive, invest some time or employ a copywriter to come up with fresh product descriptions. Google, just like people enjoys fresh content and it will help your rankings.

 

  1. Elevate your product categories

 

After the home page, category pages are the most important part of an e-commerce website. They provide essential information for users and search engines alike. Make you category products more than just a boring list of products. Include information that will help buyers decide what to purchase.

 

Like product descriptions, avoid generic terms and come up with something fresh, unique and SEO-friendly that helps your visitors.

 

  1. Provide an internal search function

 

If you have a large number of products listed on your site, it makes sense to include a search function to make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for. Add filters, such as colours, sizes or price ranges so customers can drill down into the results to find what they want quickly.

An internal search engine makes it easier for people and search engines to navigate your site.

 

  1. Optimise your visual content

 

Using high-quality images and videos are important to customers. Because they aren’t in a store where they can interact with the product, clear images can help convince them to make a purchase. But don’t rely on large files that will only slow your site down because they take too long to load.

 

Strike a balance between image quality and speed. Otherwise, customers will get bored waiting for an image to load and may leave your site.

 

For many e-commerce websites, achieving the top spot on Google appears to be the ultimate sign of success. However, what’s more important is whether your site is bringing in qualified leads that convert into sales. The tips we’ve mentioned above will do this and as a result, you’ll also see an improvement in your rankings.

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20 Oct 2017

How to optimise your social media accounts

Social media is an affordable way for small businesses to promote themselves and connect with old and new customers. But in recent years, it has started to influence search rankings. There are two reasons for this: First, it creates another opportunity for you to connect with new customers and second, search engines will pick up on the external links that point to your site from your profile.

 

Even if you don’t have a social media strategy, implementing the tips we’ve outlined below will help you get more out of social media for your business:

 

Include social share buttons on your website

Make it easy for people to share your content, and they will. Include links to all the social media platforms you have an account with on your website. Even if a prospect doesn’t buy something on their first visit, following you on social media acts like a bookmark. If they see your posts they may visit your site again.

 

Don’t forget your blog. Add share buttons to every blog post and focus on creating useful content. People like to share helpful information with their network. And make sure that every profile you have includes a link to your website.

 

Keep your profiles consistent

All the contact information and even the images you use should be the same across all of your social media profiles. Complete every field on your profile. It may seem like a lot of work, but search engines prefer profiles that have all the required information. It makes your company come across as polished and professional.

 

Use your SEO keywords in your profile

Using a keyword or phrase in your profile makes it easy for people to find you. This works for searches within the social network and for search engines such as Google and Bing. But it must sound natural. Stuffing keywords in randomly will only make you look unprofessional.

 

Use hashtags in your posts

Like keywords, it’s important that the hashtags you use are relevant to the audience you want to reach. People use hashtags to find information that they need. Proper use of hashtags will help you to find new audiences outside of your regular followers. Research shows that posts with hashtags get more engagement, so spend some time researching relevant hashtags you can use.

 

Be social and encourage engagement

Social media is all about relationships. Don’t just post it and forget it. And don’t make the mistake of only posting promotional content. Ask questions, start a conversation and engage with your followers. Share relevant content from your own site and other sites, but make sure your followers will find it helpful or amusing.

 

Use images properly

Images can be a powerful way to communicate your brand to potential customers. So invest in professional images of a good quality. Check the size guides for each platform and make sure your images are correctly formatted and displayed. Like the language you use, your images should be consistent across all your profiles. This creates a good impression and strengthens your brand.

 

Use one email address

While you might want to share the social media duties between your employees, it makes sense to use one email address. That way, if someone leaves the company, you can still access your profiles and manage your accounts.

 

Because social media sites tend to have a high authority ranking, links from social media are considered high-quality. There are many ways you can use optimise your social media, but these tips are a good place to start. Let your audience be your guide and don’t be afraid to experiment.

 

Prefer to outsource your social media to an agency? Web Changes offers several affordable digital marketing packages to suit your budget. See what social can do for your business.

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13 Oct 2017

5 ways to convert website visitors into paying customers

You’ve put a lot of effort into setting up your website and perfecting your paid advertising campaigns. People are flocking to your site and your traffic statistics have never looked better. But you’re still not seeing the increase in revenue you hoped for. What could be wrong?

 

Don’t fret! We’ve got 5 simple things you can do today to turn those qualified leads into paying customers:

 

1. Use email marketing to build relationships

You wouldn’t buy something from someone you just met, would you? Well, neither would your website visitors.

 

You need to start building a relationship with your visitors as soon as possible. Make sure you get their contact details right away. Offer them something of value in exchange for their email address, such as a free trial or a discount coupon if they sign up.

 

Start with a simple welcome email and follow this up with more emails showcasing your products or services. Initiating contact with your visitors, even before they’ve purchased from you, will prevent them from losing interest in your company.

 

2. Use testimonials, case studies and product reviews to build trust

If you offer a service, put a testimonial from a satisfied customer on your landing page. Include as much detail as possible. Long testimonials are more convincing than short ones.

 

Case Studies can work too. Go into detail about the steps you took to help another customer. Case studies are most effective when you break down the steps you took. Then show how you can help a new customer achieve the same results. The more information you add, the more convincing you’ll be.

 

An e-commerce business can improve sales just by including product reviews to their site. Unsolicited opinions from others can encourage visitors to make a purchase.

 

‘Show – don’t tell’, is great advice for businesses. It establishes trust with potential customers by showing them that others are benefiting from what you offer.

 

3. Use logos to build a reputation

If you’ve worked with some well-known companies you should add their logos to your website. Have you won an award or received recognition from a professional body in your field? Find a way to display this news where first-time customers can see it right away.

 

This lends credibility to your business. Online shoppers are more likely to buy from you if you seem like a reliable, established company.

 

4. Use a clear call to action to direct your customers towards a specific action

Take a careful look at the landing pages you’ve created for your ads. Does each one have a clear Call To Action (CTA) that makes it obvious to the customer what they should do next? Should they sign-up, or add a product to their basket?

 

Highlight any sales or promotions you want customers to be aware of and make sure they stand out on the page. Then, add a clear Call To Action so your visitors know what the next step is.

 

5. Use technology to make your website fast

Have you ever visited a site that took so long to load that you just gave up, closed the window and looked for something else? Nothing frustrates users more than waiting for the information they want. The modern world is not a patient one and we’ve been conditioned to expect instant gratification.

 

So do whatever you can to make your website load as quickly as possible. A faster website makes it more pleasant for your visitors to use.  It means they’ll spend more time on your site and look at more of your content. The more time they spend on your site, the more opportunities you’ll have to convince them to make a purchase or contact you.

 

Apply the five suggestions we’ve listed to your website and you’ll soon turn more of your visitors into paying customers and qualified leads.

 

If you need some advice or assistance boosting your online presence, give Web Changes a call. Our Digital Marketing Team is eager to show you how to leverage the power of digital marketing to grow your business.

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06 Oct 2017

Simple SEO tips for small business owners

Every website needs SEO – it’s what helps your site rank well in organic searches. It also plays an important role in your marketing strategy. And while there is a technical side to SEO, there are things small business owners can do to improve their websites for search engines.

 

By incorporating these tips into your website design and content, you can harness the power of SEO to get your website seen by more of your target market.

Optimise for mobile

By now you’re probably aware that more people use their smartphones to browse the internet than laptops or desktops. This is particularly true in South Africa where smartphones are more affordable than any other type of computer.

 

With the majority of your existing and potential customers browsing your site on their phones, it’s crucial that your design is responsive – able to adapt to smaller screens and easy to navigate.

 

Whether you’re designing a new site from scratch or updating an existing site, you need to pay attention to how your content and functions will work on a smartphone. If your site is unattractive and it’s too difficult to search for products or complete a contact form, your visitors will go somewhere else.

 

Build good-quality links

When other reputable and high-ranking websites link to you, it can do wonders for your ranking. Google puts a great emphasis on links, so it’s worth putting in the effort to build meaningful affiliations with other websites.

 

But before you reach out to other websites, make sure you have plenty of relevant, high-quality information on your own website. Good quality links aren’t enough to make up for bad content.

 

Answer questions in your copy

Have you ever typed a question into Google and seen the answer appear in the search results? These snippets are known as ‘Rich Answers’ and, as you can see from the example below, Google retrieves them from high-ranking websites.

An example of a Rich Result on Google

The copy is structured in a way that makes it easy for Google to find and display it. And most importantly, it provides the searcher with the answer they’re looking for without having to open a website.

 

Imagine how your website would rate if your copy appeared in a Rich Answer whenever a potential customer searched for information on your products or services.

 

You can increase the chances of this happening by asking and answering common questions in your copy. You can also create lists and a separate FAQ page. Creating valuable content and structuring it the right way will help search engines and people see you as an authority in your industry.

 

Use shorter URLs

Adding keywords to your URLs is a well-known SEO trick. And while you may be tempted to squeeze in as many keywords as you can, it seems that using shorter URLs could improve your ranking.

 

While there are no hard and fast rules, it’s the first five words that carry the most weight. To make this work for your website, identify your primary keywords and use these first. You should limit the number of keywords in your URLs to five at most.

 

Optimise your site for local search

With smartphones making easier to access the internet on the move, it follows that they’re looking for local businesses. So if your business services a specific area, it makes sense to optimise it for local searches.

 

There are a few ways you can do this. First, be sure to add the name of the city your business services in your title tags and meta-descriptions. This is the information Google uses to create a description for your listing in organic search results. Adding your locations here will let the searcher know that you’re in their area.

 

You should also claim your Google My Business (GMB) page. You’ll need to verify your business with a pin code that Google will send to you on a postcard. On your GMB page, you can supply important information about your business, such as the physical location of all your stores, your contact information, a link to your website and directions and even your hours of business.

 

Then, when customers search for you, all that information appears in a block on the first page of the search results. Customers can instantly find out everything they need to know about your business and get in touch with you.

Invest in longer content

Businesses that blog get more visitors, more leads and more links. It’s worth the effort to post fresh content on your site as often as you can. New research suggests that how often you blog is not the only factor that can affect your rankings – the length of your posts is also important.

 

It’s no longer enough to dash off a 300 or 500-word article; you need to be aiming for blogs that are at least 1200 – 1500 words long. If you’re creating ‘evergreen’ content (content that stays relevant all year round), you should aim for 2000 words or more.

 

Most small business owners don’t have the time to write blogs every week (even short blogs), but this is a job that can easily be outsourced to a competent copywriter for a reasonable fee.

 

Reduce your page loading times

Google prefers sites that load faster because it knows that people are impatient. If users have to wait more than a few seconds for your website to appear, they won’t hesitate to click away.

 

Site speed is even more important when it comes to viewing sites on smartphones. Remember that people use their smartphones to access the internet and get information while they’re on the go. They don’t want to waste time waiting for a site to download; they need the right answer immediately.

 

Your web maintenance company should be able to test your site speed and find ways to improve it.

 

Think about the way customers search for your business

Don’t just think about the keywords you want your site to rank well for; think about the way people look for your business online. How would they phrase a search query to locate the products and services you offer?

 

Do some analysis and find out if the keywords you’re using attract the customers you want. Do your keywords just drive more traffic to your website, or do they convert visitors into paying customers.

 

Implementing all of these suggestions won’t get you to the top spot on Google right away; SEO isn’t a magic wand. It takes time for your efforts to be recognised and rewarded. But if you focus on using your keywords in the right places, create valuable content and provide users with a good experience on your site, your ranking will improve.

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29 Sep 2017

Clever ways to use your keywords

When you think about keywords you probably imagine how they’re used in SEO or PPC campaigns. They’re the words you use to on your website to make sure that people find you when they’re looking for information on a particular product. They also help search engines understand what your site is about.

But it doesn’t have to end there. Keywords can be used throughout your marketing strategy in ways you’ve never imagined. Here are some ideas on how you can get the most out of your keywords.

Generating topic ideas for your content

Creating blog posts, videos and podcasts that get noticed can be difficult. This is how your keywords can make it easier:

  •  You can create content that you think your readers will be interested in. Then, go back and look for the keywords and phrases that fit the topic. Work these in to your content in a way that is natural.
  • Or, you can research the keywords for your industry first and choose some that you think would make for great content. If you use Google Adwords Keyword Planner, you can find out how many people are using these keywords in their online searches. Then use this information to generate ideas for blog posts and videos.

Researching keywords related to your business will help you consistently come up with fresh ideas for content you can use on your website, blog and social media platforms.

Optimising your social media profiles

You can optimise elements of your social media profiles and pages with your keywords and phrases.

For example:

  • Twitter: Use your keyword phrase in your bio.
  • Facebook: Add your keyword phrases to your Category, Short Description, and Long Description tabs.
  • Pinterest: Include your keywords in the About You box
  • LinkedIn Company Page: Use your keywords in your company description and company specialities.
  • Google+ Page: Insert your keyword phrase in your introduction.

The trick with keywords is to use them naturally. Stuffing your copy with keywords will only result in Google penalising you – and your visitors, fans and followers won’t be impressed either.

In your email subject lines

Now this is a really clever idea. Although it won’t influence your search engine ranking, using keywords in the subject line of emails you send to customers has a surprising benefit.

Bear in mind that emails are also searchable. We all have overflowing inboxes, so using the right keywords can help someone find your email in a flash. Perhaps they’ve contacted several companies for a quote. Think about the words they might use to find your email after a few days and put these keywords in the subject line.

In your offline marketing

How would you describe your business to someone who doesn’t have access to the internet? Do you have brochures or pamphlets with your keyword phrases that you can hand out at exhibitions? Are your services or products visible on your delivery vehicles?

These are places where your keywords can be used to give people a clear idea of what your business is all about. And because keywords and phrases are short and memorable, they can be most effective for offline marketing opportunities.

Keywords may be the cornerstone of SEO, but with a little imagination you can use them throughout your marketing strategy.  In some cases, such as your social media profiles, they can increase your organic search rankings. But even using them in your offline marketing materials will make it easy for your customers to remember you and what you do.

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