What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results” (as defined by Wordstream.)
SEO is an extremely powerful tool for companies today. Why? Because if you can increase the chances of consumers seeing your site, you are increasing leads and sales. There is SO much internet traffic, especially specific high-internet traffic. If there are consumers within your target market looking for companies like yours, you want to do everything you can to get them to click on YOUR site rather than your competitors.
You know how when you Google something, there are pages and pages of site results? The goal is to get your site on that first page and better yet, at the top of that first page. You’ll see a few ‘AD’ spots at the top of every search page, but your goal is to be one of the first results below those ads.
See below: the first red arrow points to an AD and the second red arrow points to the first non-ad search result.
Search engine results are constantly changing. For example, Google has algorithms that are continually looking for the best, high quality information to match a searcher’s inquiry. Google also weighs other various factors such as your site’s mobile friendliness, loading speed, content quantity and length of time consumers spend on your site to determine if it is worthy of a higher spot in the search engine results.
So how do you build an SEO strategy for YOUR company’s site?
First, according to Hubspot you’ll need to take a look at three different areas: the technical aspects of your website, your content and the links in each page.
When looking at a web page, we see the fully designed finished product complete with colors, images, etc. But all a search engine sees is text. This is where links, keywords, page speed, url’s etc. come in to play to optimize the page’s compatibility to what search engines looks for. Check out Hubspot’s guide on how to optimize your on site technical setup.
Content is key! The more content you launch out creates a higher possibility of being seen. Search engine bots scan the pages looking for the best content to match a searcher’s query. So the quality of your content IS important.
Think about what keywords consumers might use when searching for what product/service you offer. Now incorporate those key words into your web pages as much as possible to increase the chances of your pages showing up for consumers.
Visit Hubspot’s “Guide to On-Page SEO Strategy” for more directions.
Now that we have discussed the technical and content aspects of SEO, let’s move on to links. Links are an important piece to this puzzle. The goal is to include as many links to high quality pages so you’re ranking will increase.
This is just the basics so visit Wordstream’s advice about Quality Link Building here.
There is so much more than the very basics that we have discussed here but hopefully this was enough to get you started into the world of SEO.
Debunking 10 marketing myths
In the world of marketing there are quite a few misconceptions. We want to prevent these misconceptions from hurting your marketing efforts. So let’s destroy some myths shall we?
1. Myth: Marketing = Advertising
Contrary to popular belief….advertising and marketing are NOT the same thing.
Marketing is the overall plan of developing and delivering a product or service for the marketplace. This includes everything from the design of your product/service, to development, to making decisions such as pricing, where the product will be available etc. It is identifying the need of your consumers and then meeting that need.
Advertising fits in to the marketing plan. It is the tool used to spread the word when the product or service is released into the marketplace.
In other words, marketing encompasses the entire process of preparing and delivering a product/service for the marketplace and advertising is the step of making that product/service known.
2. Myth: Marketing is only to acquire new customers
It is just as important to work to maintain your current customers as it is to gain new customers. You should never lose sight of your existing customers, you’ve worked so hard to gain them!
3. Myth: If it works for another company, it will work for you
This would be nice….but unfortunately this is not true. Mimicking something that proved to be successful for another company, is not a guarantee that it will work for you. Instead, focus on learning more about your own target audience and find the best way they respond.
4. Myth: You don't have the knowledge to market your business
Though it will take a lot of hard work, there are no previous qualifications needed in order to create a successful marketing plan. Create a plan, follow it, learn from it, adjust and keep going. The key is finding out what works for you and your customers. This takes time but it can be done!
5. Myth: Small businesses don't need to spend time or money on marketing
False! Small businesses may not have as many resources to use on marketing as other companies but this does not mean they should skip marketing completely. Developing a detailed marketing plan for a small business is extremely important though it may require a bit more thought, research, and planning. But it is not a waste of your time and money, because it WILL pay off in the end.
6. Myth: Marketing will produce results quickly
It is true that online marketing may produce results faster than traditional marketing methods, HOWEVER, marketing of any method still requires time to produce results. Even in online marketing you cannot expect to see results right away, it can take several clicks or interactions before a consumer responds. A great marketing campaign, SEO, paid marketing, etc. will all take time but in the end will produce solid results. Remember you are competing with established companies, so it will take time for consumers to become aware of your brand.
7. Myth: Good products/services sell themselves
EVERY company needs marketing. There are millions of small businesses in the United States, not to mention all the big corporations. No matter how good or unique your product offering is, you are still up against competitors. Big, established corporations still market their companies so you should too. Marketing is an essential tool that is needed to spread brand awareness of your product offerings to consumers.
8. Myth: Marketing is a waste of money
We just discussed the need for EVERY business to implement marketing into their business plan. Marketing is always needed. BUT when marketing is done incorrectly it can be a waste of your time and money. This is why it is important make a plan, have a budget and above all, MONITOR your results so you know what methods work and which to let go of. This is also why it takes time to see results (see Myth #6). Creating a marketing technique that works for your consumers will take some time but in the end will prove itself.
9. Myth: If I use social media, I don't need a website
It is true social media is a big component of marketing in today’s world. But a good social media presence will hopefully drive consumers to your website. You need a place to lead your consumers to and give them a call to action. You should never rely on social media alone. With constant algorithm changes it has proven to be unpredictable. And from a consumers perspective, a company with a website may appear to be more established than one without.
10. Myth: Online marketing is all you need
Online marketing is a valuable method that is used by almost every business today. Small businesses especially love online marketing because it is generally the most feasible method. But it is always best not to put all of your eggs in one basket. In fact, a complete marketing plan is known as the “Marketing Trifecta”. The trifecta incorporates PAID MEDIA (ads, etc.), OWNED MEDIA (mostly online assets such as social media and websites) and EARNED MEDIA (word of mouth, reviews, etc.). Both online and offline methods are needed to reach this marketing trifecta.
Bonus Myth: All content should center around my business
When the only message you put out there is to promote and buy, consumers are likely to disengage with your brand. People desire a connection and the same is true with consumers. Content marketing helps to engage your audience. This may mean putting out content that doesn’t always center around your products or services. Be relatable, be the answer to someone’s question, provide tips and free resources etc.
We’ve compiled a list of FREE marketing resources that you can utilize for your business. We love the things on this list, not only because they are free but because they are actually great resources.
So let’s dive in.
Canva is a unique design platform. Create anything you need from a template (pre-designed or blank) or build something completely from scratch.
Here are a few examples of how you can utilize Canva. (For a full look at everything they offer, visit canva.com)
Develop your resume, creating invoices or even designing a logo just got easier. When it comes to social platforms they have thousands of pre-designed templates for Facebook posts, Instagram stories, Facebook Cover photos, Pinterest posts etc. Make it a group effort by sharing your design with others who can view and/or edit. Set your brand profile by picking your brand colors, uploading your logo and selecting a brand font to make creating graphics a quick and easy.
All of this you can do for free with he basic Canva account. There is also a Canva Pro subscription that you can purchase which allows you access to exclusive design content.
Social Media Scheduling
Don’t sleep on the resources that allow you to schedule out your posts. If you are a business that often gets caught up in the day-to-day tasks which causes you to forget to keep up your posting regimen, fear not because there are many resources to help you. There a several popular scheduling platforms out there such as Buffer and Later to name a couple. Most are manageable via their webpage or an app.
Most of these platforms have several different plans to choose from. How many accounts you can manage and posts you can schedule at once varies on the plan. Of course the free plan is going to be the most restrictive but is still a useful resource, especially if you are only managing social media for one or two businesses.
Facebook Business Suite
This is a personal favorite of ours. By linking your Instagram and Facebook business pages, you are able to schedule to both platforms via business.facebook.com. This has been an absolute lifesaver for us and a tool that we HIGHLY utilize.
Google My Business
Creating a Google My Business profile is a great way to establish your business in the eyes of consumers. It is an easy way for connect to your website, view your business hours and phone number.
It will also provide insights on your business listing such as how many searches you appeared in and what percentage was direct or discovery, actions taken once they find your profile, and what key words consumers are using to come across your business.
Hubspot is a CRM platform but they have an educative blog that covers just about any business topic you can think of. Use this blog as a resource that can answer any marketing questions you could have. Go ahead and subscribe to their blog to stay up to date with new posts or take one of their free courses!
Ever thought of starting a blog of your own? If you have a website, maybe it’s time to take the leap and start. This is a great way to incorporate key words, links etc. to increase the chances of your website showing up in Google searches.
Facebook, Instagram, Youtube etc.
You already know the drill. If you aren’t utilizing social media platforms (they are free!) then it’s time you start. Over half of the world population uses social media, this makes social media a great marketing resource to meet the people where they’re at and increase your brand awareness.
Hopefully you will start utilizing these great resources for your own business. We have found them very helpful and think you will too!
Word of Mouth Marketing (also referred to in this blog as WOMM) is the act of a business trying to get consumers to actively talk about their brand, product or service that they offer. It also refers to the act of the consumer talking about the product and sharing their own experiences with the brand, good or bad. Word of Mouth is extremely important and arguably one of the most influential forms of marketing there is. A high percentage of marketing executives believe that it has proved to be the most effective form of marketing.
Every business, big or small, should utilize and learn from, word of mouth marketing. It is
important to note that the word of mouth experiences that are being shared about your business may impact your business. Because it may not always be something that you can ‘see’ take place, you should think of ways to spark good word of mouth marketing by ensuring the customer has a great experience with your company. Many consumers may choose to only talk about their experience with your company in a personal way and not take it to an online outlet such as leaving a review or sharing about it on their social media.
You can develop a Word of Mouth Marketing Strategy that will suit your specific needs
and help to achieve your goals. An example of how to start out a good WOMM strategy is to offer good customer service from the moment a consumer enters into contact with your business. Whether that is a physical storefront, an online store or website offering products or services, your social media accounts, etc. there are ways to make it a welcoming environment that will kickstart a good experience for the consumer. Customer reviews are also a great opportunity to utilize WOMM. The more positive reviews a product has, the more likely it will convince a new consumer to use the product. You can encourage and create good opportunities for customers to leave reviews. Think outside the box of ways to set your brand apart, this will spark organic word of mouth from your customers.
Where word of mouth was once only achieved in face to face interaction, it has now
expanded to the online world. With this, brings an increased chance of both positive and
negative word of mouth experiences about your brand. Writing reviews online and sharing about your experience on social media is as easy as clicking a button. This is why a business should be aware that every point of interaction with their customers is important. Though experiences with a company or product can be shared online or in person, know that Word of Mouth thrives on a level of trust. Hearing about an experience with a business or product from someone you know will be more effective than reading about a company online.
Developing a strategy that works towards Word of Mouth Marketing is important. Here is a good resource to learn more about WOMM and strategy examples that you can utilize for your business. Thank you for joining us on the Rancher Profiles blog today!
Rancher Profiles is happy to offer you a few simple tricks to keep up with the online marketing game. Things are constantly changing including how people are reached through online initiatives. We are excited to offer tips to help you maintain and grow your business and this post will be the first of many that highlight new ways to keep up with online marketing trends.
1. Be Consistent
Be consistent with the information that you are putting out there. If you haven’t done so already take some time to think about your brand from a design perspective. Develop a color palette that will help keep your branding consistent. Have a few colors that match your logo and brand that you can pull from when you start to create graphics and other content. Having the colors of your social media, website and advertisements be consistent will allow your brand to become recognizable. Not to mention it will also make creating content a bit easier because you will have a limited amount of colors to choose from. Be consistent with your posting as well. The more content you put online the higher the chance someone will see.
2. Be Active On Social Media
This goes along with being consistent but once you’ve created your social media profiles: Instagram, Facebook, Google Business, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. be engaged on those platforms! It isn’t enough to simply have an Instagram account. You need to be active in your posting and engagement with other accounts. Algorithms for social media platforms are constantly changing, so even if people follow you on an account they may not see your content. You need to spend time liking, commenting and interacting with other accounts. Take advantage of other opportunities to post by using the “Stories” and “Highlights” features on your Facebook and Instagram pages. This is also a good way to reuse content that you have already created.
3. Email Campaigns
The point of businesses using social media as a marketing tool is to guide traffic back to your business whether that’s a brick and mortar, online storefront, or your website where you offer services. Encourage your current clients and online platform followers to stay in touch by using email campaigns. Offer special discounts, highly sought after information and other special content to those who sign up for your email campaign. How often you should send out email campaigns is dependent on your business type but no matter how little you choose to send out emails, that one extra point of contact with customers is a step in the right direction.
4. Word of Mouth - Reviews
Word of Mouth is perhaps the most compelling form of marketing there is. You can see an ad on social media repeatedly for weeks and make no move purchase or learn more about the item. But if someone you know says something good about that item your perspective will instantly change. This is the power of words. One way that ‘word of mouth’ can travel online is through reviews. Guide your current and new customers/clients to write you reviews so people interested in your services can see other customers’ first hand experiences with your business. Reviews can easily be written on your Google Business Page or you can ‘feature’ customers’ reviews on your website and social media.
While Rancher Profiles is geared toward ranchers and the cattle industry, we believe these tips apply to any business, big or small. If you ARE a rancher wanting to increase your online presence to gain more customers, this is for you. Use these digital marketing techniques to share your story. The point of digital marketing is not to HAVE social media, websites, etc. but to USE those platforms to bring the customers back to you. Rancher Profiles hopes that these tips were beneficial in learning how to increase your online presence. Stay tuned for more tips and stories coming your way!