Why do you need online reviews?
Online reviews are a staple of our lives now. Why should you care about the reviews that your company or products are getting online? Here’s what we have found!
The Social Proof Phenomenon
What do online reviews have to do with “social proof?” “Social Proof” is the phenomenon based on the fact that it’s easier to buy things or trust companies if we know that other people already have. Our peers provide the proof of somethings value.
“Social proof” is part of the transparency that builds brand trust. Most consumers (almost 88%) research a business before buying from them. A lot of that research comes from reviews and reading what other people have said about their experiences.
What else can Reviews Do for you?
Reviews can help educate consumers on your products and services. Reviewers usually talk about their specific experiences in their reviews. It can be an easier way for potential customers to learn more about what you offer.
Reviews Boost SEO. Specifically, Google Reviews. Google indexes reviews connected to your listing to help filter results. Especially for local traffic. “Best __ Near Me” is decided by reviews and stars. Customers will often use your keywords in reviews without even realizing it. This helps Google learn about you.
What can you do to collect reviews?
People are inclined to leave reviews if they a specifically positive or negative experience. Therefore, work hard to provide an overwhelmingly positive expertise for your customers! (You should be doing this anyway; the review is just a byproduct. 😉 )
People like to do things for other people so a great way to collect reviews is to just ask for them! A follow up survey email after they buy from you is an easy way to this. Ask them specific, easy to answer questions about things such as: service response times, shipping times, product or service quality etc.
Make it easy to review you. No one has time to take 10 minuets following a complicated review survey with long required written answers. People are doing you a favor by reviewing you, show that you apricate it by being respectful of their time and effort. Take out pain points of the review process: go through and make sure there aren’t any unnecessary steps or questions. Double check the user interface, id it easy to figure out?
Incentivizing your reviews (specifically ecommerce) is a big no-no! As temping as it is to show your appreciation for the review with a coupon or free shipping, or something: don’t. Both Google and Yelp have policies in place banning incentivized reviews. They will take the reviews down and give you a slap on the wrist.
What to do with reviews once you have them
You have the reviews – now what? Here’s 2 ways to leverage them!
- Show them off
Let your reviews sell your product for you. Happy previous customers can be a great way to convince your potentials to buy from you! Show off your reviews on your home page with Google review widget or prominently feature some reviews as part of the design. Don’t forget to ask for permission first if you are going to highlight a specific review, especially if you are going to use their picture.
- Engage with reviewers
let them know you appreciate them! It doesn’t have to be a big deal, simply liking the review or just saying thanks goes a long way. That little bit of effort can turn a happy customer into a loyal one. And a lot of marketing automation software makes replying to reviews across multiple platforms easy.
Do you have a favorite customer review?
While we are on the subject… leave us a review! 😜
All The Things You Need To Boost SEO
SEO has proven over and over again that it is essential to growing (and maintaining) your business. However, it doesn’t often get the spotlight it deserves! So, here’s some things you need to know to boost SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engines look at look at many site elements like structure and design, visitor behavior, content, and other external factors to decide how highly ranked your site should be in the results pages. SEO has become the catch all term for all things you can do to make your site look more appealing to search engines.
What are the advantages of good SEO?
Good SEO gives your website credibility. It makes it easier for people to find your website when they search for it. And it helps create a smoother user experience.
The other important reason for making sure your websites SEO is up to snuff is that it helps generate organic traffic. 53% of all trackable website traffic comes from organic search. SEO is the main thing influencing how easy it is to find you online organically. Which is probably why it’s estimated that agencies and brands spent over $79.27 Billion on SEO services last year.
SEO is also important in driving local searches. When you search for “Best Pizza Place” near me, the results you are shown are based on the pizza place’s SEO keywords.
Where do you need to pay attention to SEO?
Everything “online” can be indexed and therefore optimized. Google indexes websites and apps that they own. So, your YouTube video search optimization is connected and combined with your website optimization. However, some companies, like Facebook, categorize videos and posts internally, meaning that it doesn’t help general search engine SEO.
What can you do to boost SEO?
Personally, I would split SEO into 2 main categories: Content and Categorization. Both are super important but require different things.
Content is all the things you put out there. Search engines look at what you are putting out there to determine your search rankings. Google likes blog articles and web pages with a lot of content. Adding pictures, videos, links, and charts shows search engines that what you are creating should be seen. They are going to rank something high in the search results if they don’t think its valuable.
To go along with that, search engines look at user experience. Is your website/blog easy to read? Do you have paragraphs, subheadings, punctuation, and spacing? Is it super short? (Long form content, over 2,000 words, tends to rank higher.) Do your pictures and video take a long time to load? How about accessibly? Do you have alt text for your images and text readers?
Search engines want to provide the best possible experience for its user and will rank your website accordingly.
Categorization is all the “backend” stuff. Keywords, hashtags, blog categories, utm links, exerpts, and featured images all fall into this bucket. The best way to boost this type of SEO is literally just fill in every box provided. If the video you are uploading to YouTube as a field for title, description, keywords, hashtags, ect: give them that information! Search engines need to know what they are ranking, and all the backend information is how they know what it is and where it should go.
If you write an article called “How to make good pizza” the search engine will put with other information on pizza. However, if your article also has keywords like, “good pizza,” “how to,” “cooking,” “dinner for two,” “Italian food,” and so on, the search engine has a lot more places it can show the article.
Another thing you can do to boost SEO is to repurpose content. Search engines like to see a lot of content that revolves around a single topic. It shows a consistent brand message and purpose. A consistent brand message can indicate brand value.
What ways have you found to be effective in boosting SEO? Do you have a favorite method?
All The Reasons You Need A Buyer Persona
Buyer Personas or Avatars are one of those confusing marketing things that seems to be really important, but no one ever explains why or how you can make one. Buyer Personas are especially valuable in this digital age where you can’t see your customers. They can help make your digital presence and marketing more personal.
It’s a lot easier to market to one single person than to a crowd. We’ve talked in the past about social media (and email) feels like a personal one-on-one conversation between brand and consumer. Building a buyer persona connects with that thinking. Having a buyer persona helps you to hon in on who you are reaching and who you want to reach.
What are Buyer Personas or Avatars?
In the simplest terms, a buyer persona is exemplification of all of your customers. The most common way to do this is to create a fictional person that has the most common demographics and interests of your customers. What are your customers common denominators? What do they want? What are their pain points? Taking this information and combining it into a person you can picture makes it easier to connect with the crowd. A lot of marketers recommend giving your buyer personas names.
Jim Edwards from Funnel Scripts explains buyer personas as the main character in the story of your company’s customer journey. Although your company already has its own personality, (or brand) in order to success the narrative you’re telling haws to focus on what the customer wants and needs. You are there to help them get to where they want to go. Jim Edwards example buyer persona was for a weight loss company. Their buyer persona is a middle-aged unicorn named Fred who needs to lose weight if he wants to be successful at his quests. Fred is the main character in the story. The weight-loss company is there to help him.
What information do you need to create a buyer persona?
Like any good main character, your buyer persona needs to be well rounded. It needs to have a purpose, interests, goals, and struggles. It’s especially important to know what motivates them so you can help them.
Here’s some common buyer persona attributes.
- What are their basic demographics?
What gender to they identify as? How old are they? Where do they live? What is their relationship status? Are they educated?
- What do they do for work?
What’s their job title and description? But more than that, are they a decision maker? What do they influence at work?
- What are their interests?
Do they have hobbies or interests? What do they do in their free time? Are they part of a community?
- What do they want and why can’t they have?
This a big thing for figuring out what you can do to help them! What are their goals and dreams? What are their pain points? Like, what keeps them up at night?
- Why wouldn’t they buy from you?
What’s stopping them from buying from you? What objections may they have?
- What ways would they prefer to interact with you?
Do they use social media? Do like a particular social media? Is a phone call the best way to reach them?
Once you have that all that information, you will have a very clear image of who your customer is!
A lot of companies create multiple buyer personas. It is a very good way to segment out different sections of your business. It is also helpful to create a buyer persona for your ideal customer as well! You can take the information you’ve learned about your ideal customer and use it to go and get those customers.
Do you have a buyer persona for your business? And more importantly: what did you name them? 😜
Be Your Own Brand Spokesperson – Why?
While branding your company most people focus on things like logos, colors, message. Which is all super important! However, in this visual digital world we are living, putting a face to the name (or brand, in this case) is very valuable. For example, pictures with faces in them are on average 38% more likely to get likes and 32% more likely to receive comments.
Here’s some specific reasons to use your face in branding and ways to do so!
Why Showing Your Face Helps Your Business
Here are 4 reasons!
- Using your face helps brand recognition
There’s a reason why brands use spokespeople. It is often easier for people to remember other people than it is to remember brands or companies.
- It humanizes your brand
People like to work with people, not “soulless corporations.” Connecting your face to your company makes it easier for customers to relate to you and build an emotional connection. This is one reason why it’s helpful to use your face. Chances are that you and your company share the same values and goals. Having that message come from you and the company reinforces those ideals and helps other care about them too!
Another aspect of humanizing your brand is the trust that comes with it. It’s much easier to trust a person than a company; you know who they are and what they stand for. Linking you to your brand pulls that trust over.
- It creates engagement
Knowing who they are engaging with makes it easier for customer to connect with you on social media. Also, our brains are literally wired to find faces so putting your face front and center will help draw people to your content.
- It helps shape your community
This may sound confusing but linking your face and your brand can help create a more accurate and diverse business community. We all play a part in shaping the communities we are a part of. All of us have a story or journey to share. Highlighting your story along with your company story creates diversity. And you never know who your story will touch!
How to put your face front and center
Here’s some tips to get started
Show behind the scenes
Pull back the curtain on your day to day. Everyone loves behind the scenes. Showing what you are doing is a good way to ease into using your face for marketing. It’s can be simple to do, just bring your audience along to your tasks! It’s a good way for people to get to know you and all the things you. It also can help your customers appreciate all you do!
Stories is a great place to show all those behind-the-scenes shots. It’s also a great place to speak to the camera about your company and your mission. Stories get a lot of engagement but disappear after 24 hours so there’s a lot less pressure! To make it easier on yourself, prerecord your videos. Make “eye contact” with the camera, don’t look at your own face. Have a general idea of what you want to say, a bullet point list helps! And don’t worry about any word whiskers. The point of this is to help people get to know you and show authenticity. It doesn’t have to be perfect!
You might be surprised by how much more engagement live videos get! Unlike prerecorded videos, live streams make viewers feel like they are a part of the conversation. The more authentic interactions create more engagement. For example, on average, live content generates 10x more the comments that prerecorded videos. And people tend to watch live content 10-20x longer.
We want to see your face! How do you connect your personal brand to your company brand?
Let’s Talk: Digital Display
We’ve talked a lot about specific types of Digital Display Ads but what are the differences them? And how do you what type of Digital Display (Or online ad) is the best fit for your business?
What is Digital Display?
Digital Display Ads can be split into 5 main categories:
- Digital Audio Ads
- CTV (Connected TV)
- Video Ads
- Static Ads
- HTML5 Ads
What do Digital Display Ads do?
Digital Display Ads encompasses just about every type of online ad. Each type of Digital Display Ad has its own strengths and weakness. Effective campaigns are often the ones that know how to best utilize each type of ad.
Digital Audio Ads
What is Digital Audio Advertising? It’s all the ads you get that are just sound. For example, any podcast, Spotify or Pandora ad is Digital Audio. It’s expected that Digital Audio Ads from just podcasts will surpass a BILLION dollars in 2021 and that the average American will spend nearly 90 minutes a day listening to streamed music or podcasts by 2022.
Digital audio ads are a great way to connect with consumers through a channel that they enjoy. And it is very cost effective, because the ad only plays if they are listening to music or a podcast.
CTV (Connected TV)
Connected TV advertising refers to ads that are delivered to internet-connected TVs – for instance, via Hulu or Roku. CTV is increasing in popularity for marketers! Consumers are embracing these platforms so more and more ad inventory is becoming available. In fact, CTV advertising spend is expected to grow from $6.94 billion in 2019 to $8.88 billion this year, a 28% increase.
The specifies depend on what you need your funnel to accomplish. Some of the processes used are A/B testing, improving user on-page experiences, usability tests, and optimizing existing content.
Video Advertising fits into 2 categories: The ads that play connected to streamed content, such as Youtube ads, and display ads with video content. Those are the ads that start playing a video when your cursor scrolls over it and native video ads.
Video ads are extremely effective. Video content is more eye catching and engaging than static images or text and they are easier to remember. They are great at story telling and promoting brand messaging. Studies show that almost 75% of consumers prefer Video Ads over Text Ads.
Many Video Ads on social media platforms are re-sharable like native content, which makes it easier for consumers to promote your content for you.
Static Display Ads are probably what you think when you think of online ads. Static Display Ads (or Banners) are the ads that are a solid image of various sizes in designated areas of a webpage or app.
Static Ads are very effective for generating general brand awareness, retargeting, drawing attention to a specific sale, targeting location based traffic, and much more!
HTML5 Ads are attention-grabbing, interactive (or responsive) ads optimized for Google.
HTML5 allows a lot of flexibility and creativity with ads content and formatting. Video, text, imagery, and audio files can all be used. More imaginative ads create more engagement. HTML5 ads tend to have much hight click-through rates than static ads!
HTML5 ads are rendered in code. You are sent to code itself as well as the MP4 video.
What’s the best fit for you?
Every business and situation is different! No one type of ad is best for each business but usually a combination of the 5. Online advertising can be touchy so it’s important to have a strategy.
What’s your favorite type of Digital Display Ads to use for your business?
What do you need to create a successful podcast?
Nearly 51% of adult Americans listen to podcasts!
Here’s the steps you need to create your own successful podcast!
Step One: Get Over Your Fear!
The first step to success is to just start! There’s a lot of fears people have about starting a podcast.
“My voice sounds weird.”
“I don’t have enough technical know-how.”
“The equipment is expensive.”
“A podcast is time consuming.”
Chances are that once you get started, those fears will dissipate!
Step Two: What Do Want To Say?
One of the most important things about starting a new venture, like podcasting, is to have a mission. For example, our podcast, BeGrowthDriven, was started because our mission as a company is to help business grow. We wanted to connect like-minded business and entrepreneurs to share advice and recourses. That goal informs all the decisions we make about the podcast.
How to you want to help your audience or customers? What is the goal of your business? You can expand on that to create your podcast’s mission.
Step Three: Record Your First Episode
You don’t need expensive equipment to get started! (Though podcast mics start at like, $30 on Amazon.) Here’s what tools we have found to be helpful.
Part of recording your episode is the editing and mixing side of things. It’s totally up to you how much editing you want to do! It all depends on what you want the feel of your podcast to be.
Step Four: Publish Your Podcast
There are many directories to publish podcasts on. That big three are iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.
Doing well on iTunes/Apple Music is the goal. Around 70% of all podcast listens and downloads happen through Apple. It can be trickery to get monetarization on Apple than on Spotify or Google. So, having your podcast available on as many platforms as possible is good idea!
It’s also a good idea to publish three to five episodes at launch to give your new listeners something to listen to.
Step Five: Promote, Promote, Promote
Podcasting has been around for a long time so there are many recourses and tools available for promoting (or learning how to promote) your podcast. Here’s some tips and tricks
- Tap into your guest’s audience
Chances are if they are a good fit to be a guest on your podcast, there audience could also benefit form your content. Make it easy for your guest to share out pull quotes, images, and links from their episode.
- Use social media.
This is kinda a no brainer. Podcasts can be slip into so many different types of content that is easy to post them across many different platforms. Pull quotes do great on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Links can be shared on twitter and Facebook. Twitter also has a great SoundCloud integration you can use.
Social media can be used to promote the episode ahead of time as well as sharing past highlights. Social media also is great way to connect with fans and listeners one personal level and add another channel for them to interact with you.
Step Six: Repurpose Content
Podcast content can be repurposed into many other different types of content. We’ve already talked about pull quotes and highlight clips, there’s way more things you can do. For one thing, it’s common place to film the recording of the podcast. That video can be put on YouTube. And video highlights can be put on social media. Putting the video on YouTube also gives you some accessibility features such as closed captioning. Since YouTube is owned by Google, videos on YouTube boost your overall brand SEO which as far-reaching benefits.
Another helpful way to repurpose podcast content is to have the podcast transcribed. If you don’t have time to do that yourself, (understandable: it’s time consuming) companies like Rev.com or Fiverr offer cheap transcription services. Once your podcast is transcribed, it can be used as blog content to make it accessible on another channel and boost SEO.
Step Seven: Get Featured On Other Podcasts!
A great way to promote your podcasts and reach new audiences is to be a guest on other podcasts! The podcast community is well connected and worth tapping into.
Do you have a podcast? We want to hear all about it!
Should You Repurpose Content?
Yes! Recycling or repurposing content has a lot more advantages than just saving time. (Although that is very helpful. As the old adage says… Time is Money! 💰 )
What does it mean to repurpose or recycle content? There are a couple ways to do it. One way is to repost or reshare the content as is. A lot of companies do this with TBTs or just highlighting past content. Another way to repurpose content is to take old content and use it as an outline for new content.
For example, once a Live Video stream is over, the audio can be published as a podcast on platforms like Spotify or Apple Music. Video clips of highlights can be repurposed into social content or ads. As well as pull quotes. The transcript can be turned into a blog article.
(This article is based off an outline for a live video, that was in turn, based off another blog article, that was itself based off one of Live Roundtables. Content can generate other content.)
What’s Your Message?
If you have been making content for a while, you probably have a good idea of what your message is. So, no matter what you do, some part of everything you create will be a reiteration of something you’ve said better before. That’s a good thing! Constantly adding drastically different messaging can create a confusing overall brand message. Your brand pillars and values aren’t going to change so your general message probably won’t either.
For example, the foundation for everything we do is using accurate data to create effective marketing. All the content we create is in some way or another connected to that. Therefore, it makes sense that we reiterate ideas and messages. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have anything new to say because there are always new ways of approaching information. The world around us, as well as technology and industry standards are always changing. There are always new things that can be added. Adding information keeps your messages up to date. Up-to-date content is more accurate and provides for value to your followers.
Your Audience Grows and Changes
Another reason to recycle content is that it gives more people an opportunity to see it. And even if someone has been following you for a long time there’s a good chance that they didn’t see the content the first time around. Social media platforms notoriously fail to consistently promote content. And we are all busy, it’s easy to miss something. And your followers might appreciate or need a piece of content now, more than they did when it was first published. Repurposing the information is a way to help your customers get the information they need.
Know What Your Customers Need
The more times goes on, the more you know about your audience’s interests. We are all constantly learning about our followers and audience. The more time goes on the more First Party Data is available. Knowing more about who your customers are can help you to understand what content they actually need. You can then reframe the information that you know would more benefit them.
Recycling Content Boosts SEO
One added benefit of repurposing content is that it boosts SEO. Search engines like to see a lot of content that revolves around a single topic. It shows a consistent brand message and purpose. A consistent brand message can indicate brand value.
What ways do you repurpose content?
Let’s Talk First Party Data
We talk about First Party Data a lot. What it is?
First party data is data that your company has collected directly from your audience which is made up of customers, site visitors, and social media followers. “First party” refers to the party that collected the data firsthand.
First Party Data is collected from the people you have the most to learn from: your current customers! That makes the data as reliable as possible.
How can you collect 1st party data?
You can attain first party data from your CRM, surveys and subscription-based emails or products. This is also where Google and Social Media Analytics are important.
Google Analytics has a massive list of capabilities and ways to track website data. Using tracking code, Analytics collects information about the way the website was used.
- Time of visit
- Pages viewed
- The time spent on each page
- What browser and OS are being used
- Referring site details
- Network location and IP address.
This information can help you see where (and how) traffic is following to and through your website. Google Analytics also has a lot of other tools such as URL Builder that make it easier to track customer data.
Social media analytics are helpful for flushing out the demographics are your most engaged customers. What can you learn about customer from social media? Here’s are some things you can learn:
- What platforms your customers prefer to engage on
- What content do your customers enjoy most
- What type of campaign or advertising works for them?
- Do they have any other hobbies or interests?
- More specific customer demographics, such as age or gender
It’s also super important to connect as many touch points to your customers as possible. The more ways you have to interact with the customer the more likely they are to become a repeat loyal customer. Think about the companies you follow on social media. Have you bought from them? More than once? Are you loyal to them? Do you agree with their mission and goals? Following companies on social media feels like a personal one-on-one connection and generates loyalty.
Organization is Key
The next step of having/using first party data is organization. Having important information about your customers and leads doesn’t do much good if you can’t find it or if it’s connected properly. No matter what size your business is, having a CRM is key. The days of using a Rolodex are long gone. Now there a lot more channels of data to connect to a contact.
For example, in our CRM we keep track of more than just name, company, phone, and email. Our CRM keeps track of what social media we are connected on and any times the contact has engaged with us. We have it set up so that the CRM assigns a number value to actions a contact or lead can take, such as opening emails, clicking links, liking a post, and any orders.
How does all that information benefit us?
There are many ways! For one, we can use the information we have to target or retarget contacts, leads, and prospects. We can try different channels and types of touches until we find which one they respond best to. Having more than one channel connected to each contact makes multichannel campaigns possible.
The other advantage to First Party Data is that you can collect data and analytics about your customers from the channels you are using to constantly to learn more about your demographics and your customer’s buying habits. The more channels you use the easier it will be to learn about your customer. Then the more customers you have the more information you can learn about your potential target audience. You can use a Look-A-Like to build a list of potentials you can target based on information on your current customers.
What ways do use First Party Data?
Here’s how First Party Data might the key to the future cookie-less world.
Data & The Instagram Algorithm
The Instagram algorithm is the bane of some people’s existence. And yes, it is confusing since they moved from a chronological feed. It’s important to know how to best leverage the Instagram algorithm to make sure your content is being seen!
According to Instagram, they decide to show your content based on 6 factors:
The first three are somewhat self-explanatory. Instagram shows you things based on what you’ve liked in the past. They highlight posts from people they’ve decided are close to you: people whose content you most engage with, the people who tag you, the people you DM etc. Instagram also cares about when you post. Keeping track of your analytics can give you a good idea about when the best times to post for you are.
#4 Frequency isn’t about how often you post but instead about how often interact with the app. The more often you check your Instagram feed the more likely your feed will be chronological because they are always trying to show you the newest content available. This is helpful to understand what type of Instagram users your followers are. If they don’t check the app that often, then it will be harder to have your posts seen. Building up the other 5 components to the algorithm will be all the more important.
Instagram assigns value to follower counts in a couple different ways. First, is simple: the more followers you have the more likely your posts will be highlighted in your follower’s feeds. However, they also look at your follower’s engagement levels. If you have a lot of ghost followers that don’t interact with you, then they could actually be hurting you. Another thing to consider, the more people your followers follow the more competition for space in their feed. Do your followers follow a lot of people? Understanding that can help you decide if you need to adjust where you focus your efforts.
This is how Instagram qualifies the amount of time spent on the app. The more time spent on the app, the deeper into its catalogs they have to pull from to show content. You can use this to your advantage by using hashtags or developing content that matches with the interests of Instagram’s heavy users.
What ways do you try to leverage the Instagram algorithm to work for you?
A DOOH Overview
Digital Out-Of-Home (DOOH) is a return to old school advertising, combining the classic advertising experience with new technology and programmatic ad delivery. DOOH isn’t just roadside billboards anymore, digital advertisements can found just about anywhere now, elevators, gyms, airports, public transport, office buildings etc. Why is DOOH so popular?
According to MediaPost, DOOH is likely to become a more than $26 billion industry by 2023. Why? DOOH allows marketers to tailor their advertising to location, time of day, weather and traffic conditions, and more, making its reach and engagement highly effective.
DOOH can be split into two main categories: large-format displays and digital place-based media. Large format displays are properly the main thing people think of when it comes to Digital display advertising. These displays are generally large format screens in high traffic areas such as highways and subways.
Digital place-based media are display screens located in “destinations.” These destinations are places that people are going to for a specific reason instead of just passing by.
What are the advantages of DOOH verses traditional out-of-home displays? DOOH allows marketers to update their messaging remotely and in real time. It also allows marketers to pick times of day and other factors when deciding when to show their ad.
Curious to know more about DOOH? Get in touch!