Native Rank is a Finalist for the 2016 Red Herring 100 Global Award

global-finalistDENVER, CO, - 11/3/2016Native Rank today announced that it has been selected as a candidate for Red Herring's 2016 Top 100 Global award, a prestigious recognition honoring the year’s most audacious and far-reaching private technology companies and entrepreneurs from across the globe.

The Red Herring editorial team selected the companies demonstrating the most innovative technologies and business models originating from over 1,000 companies from more than 40 nations. These companies, representing past Red Herring Asia, Europe and North America award winners in their respective regions, are judged on a range of qualitative and quantitative metrics, including but not limited to, technology innovation, financial performance, growth criterion, management's execution standards, potential globalization of the strategy, and market share improvement.

“In today's economies, the unrivaled technology ubiquity is not only disrupting how we work but also how we live and think. The vast amount of data and intellectual property combined with the innovation and disruption created by today’s entrepreneurs is touching every sector. More than 300 startups are striving in the construction field alone. The 2016 Red Herring nominees have proven that while some will worry about a bubble, there is no pause in innovation any time soon. And nothing must be taken for granted in this electoral year,” said Red Herring CEO, Alex Vieux. “Speed, creativity and unconventional business models are constantly shifting investors' thesis and users' behavior -  both are demanding more, not less, from entrepreneurs. An unprecedented number of entrepreneurs are jumping ahead of the competition and making a difference. Constant breakthroughs make recent developments obsolete faster than ever before.

In light of everything Native Rank is performing exceptionally well in its field and deserves to be singled out as one of the Red Herring Global finalists. At this stage, we are left with the daunting task to select the best qualified companies for the 2016 Top 100 Global Award."

The finalists are invited to present their winning strategies at the Red Herring Global forum in Los Angeles, November 15 to 17. The Top 100 winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony on November 17.


About Red Herring

Red Herring is a global media company that unites the world’s best high-technology innovators, venture investors and business decision-makers in a variety of forums, including print, online and exclusive events worldwide. Red Herring provides an insider’s access to the global innovation economy, identifying new and innovative technology companies and entrepreneurs. Its Red Herring 100 awards for North America, Europe, Asia and Global have recognized more than 5,000 companies in their early stages, including Baidu, Google, eBay and Skype. For more information, please go to: http://www.redherring.com/events/

What are Business Listings?

What are business listings?businesslistings

  • Business listings are online profiles that contain basic business information (name, address, phone number, website, etc.) and other pertinent details, such as products, services, hours, photos, reviews, and service areas within a business directory.
What are online business directories?

  • A business directory is a website that lists all businesses within a specific category. Businesses can be categorized by industry, services, products, location, activity, or size.
  • A business directory is similar to a search engine, where potential customers search within that directory to find relevant businesses.
  • Yelp, Foursquare and Yellow Pages are examples of online business directories, just like its predecessor, the traditional print Yellow Pages or phone book.
  • Business directories can also be in the form of maps, apps, GPS platforms, social media channels, and search engines.
What are the benefits of business listings?

  • Positions your business in front of potential customers searching for your products or services within a multitude of online business directories.
  • Displays business contact information to the searcher, allowing them to call you, get directions to the business location, or visit your website.
  • Provides maximum exposure to potential customers searching on mobile devices, which is roughly 50%+ of all searches conducted.
  • Increases your digital visibility online by creating referrals from all business directories to your website, improving the authority of your business for search engines.
Why do I need a business listing solution?

  • Inaccurate or incomplete business listings information causes small businesses to lose a portion of potential customers in the amount of $10 billion dollars per year.
  • Unverified or inconsistent business listings can negatively affect your digital exposure and ability to win new customers.
  • Today, 4 out of 5 consumers search for local businesses online. When consumers find incorrect information about your business online, 73% lose trust in that business. Over 40% of business location information online is inaccurate. Inaccurate information will not only result in losing the potential customer, but will also affect your digital presence and authority negatively.
  • There is no permanent record or single source of business location data online, making it very difficult to manage.
  • There are many business directories and each has its own database and method of compiling business listing data.
  • Most digital agencies use data aggregators that submit only basic information, which does not verify, optimize, or suppress duplicate business listing information.
  • Data aggregators business information takes up to 4 -6 months to publish.
  • There is no business listing performance reporting or status provided
Get Your Free Business Listings Audit Today

Native Rank, Inc. Receives 2016 Denver Award in Digital Media

DENVER, COLORADO |  September 8, 2016 -- Native Rank, Inc. has been selected for the 2016 Denver Award in the Digital Media category by the Denver Award Program.

Each year, the Denver Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Denver area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2016 Denver Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Denver Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Denver Award Program The Denver Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Denver area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Denver Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

About Native Rank, Inc. 

Founded in 2010, Native Rank is a performance-driven digital marketing company with a history for generating great results in an array of industries across the globe. With services in both local and national SEO, PPC, web design, social media, and more, Native Rank’s ambition to be the world’s most innovative, customer-centric, and comprehensive digital marketing company is second to none, as exemplified by their recent alliance with Google as an AdWords Premier SMB Partner. By achieving this milestone, Native Rank has proven to be an industry leader in meeting and exceeding the highest standards of client’s advertising experiences and expectations. The customer transparency and rapport they possess, the high-performance local and national campaigns they execute, and the expertise they have in more than generating traffic towards your business, but also accruing you actual customers has set the benchmark for the digital marketing industry.

Native Rank Wins the 2016 Red Herring Top 100 North America Award

N_America_Winner-e1401214733156DENVER, COLORADO | 9 June 2016—Native Rank, Inc., a global leader in digital marketing solutions and website development, announced today that they have been selected as the winner of the 2016 Red Herring Top 100 North America Award, honoring both the company and CEO, George Avery, alike. Red Herring’s prestigious Top 100 list demonstrates the most promising private technology ventures from the North American business region.

Red Herring has been compiling their list of North America’s top 100 most cutting-edge and innovative private businesses since 1996, meticulously endorsing an exclusive association of companies that have established growth at an explosive rate.  In being named a ‘Top 100’ Award winner, Avery has dignified himself as one of the top CEO's in North America, representing technology, design, and marketing innovation.

"In 2016, selecting the top achievers was extremely difficult," said Alex Vieux, publisher and CEO of Red Herring. "The variety, depth, disruption and traction we saw from the early stage companies to those with significant scale made it one of the toughest vintages to judge. The North America Winners are representative of the amazing ecosystem that never ceases to astound, with new and experienced entrepreneurs continuing to push the barriers of innovation. As one of the winners, Native Rank should be proud of its accomplishment under such strong competition."

In order to determine companies which companies meet the criteria for their ‘Top 100’ list, Red Herring’s editorial team analyzes over 20 aspects of a company- level of specialty, IP in the solution created through internal R&D, social contribution, and market maturity are a few of these characteristics. Amongst over 30 million businesses whom met the qualifications for the award, Avery and Native Rank have positioned themselves alongside other notable winners of the award in recent years, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Skype, and YouTube.

ABOUT NATIVE RANK, INC.

Founded in 2010, Native Rank is a performance-driven digital marketing company with a history for generating great results in an array of industries across the globe. With services in both local and national SEO, PPC, web design, social media, and more, Native Rank’s ambition to be the world’s most innovative, customer-centric, and comprehensive digital marketing company is second to none, as exemplified by their recent alliance with Google as an AdWords Premier SMB Partner. By achieving this milestone, Native Rank has proven to be an industry leader in meeting and exceeding the highest standards of client’s advertising experiences and expectations. The customer transparency and rapport they possess, the high-performance local and national campaigns they execute, and the expertise they have in more than generating traffic towards your business, but also accruing you actual customers has set the benchmark for the digital marketing industry.

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Native Rank is a Finalist for the 2016 Red Herring Top 100 North America Award

red-herring-740x400DENVER, COJune 2, 2016 – Native Rank announced today it had been selected as a finalist for Red Herring's Top 100 North America award, a prestigious list honoring the year’s most promising private technology ventures from the North American business region.

Red Herring has been selecting the most exciting and promising start-ups and "scale ups" since 1995. Finalists are still evaluated individually from a large pool of hundreds of candidates based across North America. Twenty major criteria underlie the scoring and process. They include, among others: the candidate company's addressable market size, its IP and patents, its financing, the proof of concept, trailing revenues and management's expertise. Each company goes through an individual interview after filling out a thorough submission, complemented by due diligence from the Red Herring panel. The list of finalists includes some of the best performing and prominent companies of that year.

This unique assessment of potential is in addition to a review of the company’s actual track record and standing, which allows Red Herring to see past the “buzz” and make the list a valuable instrument for discovering and advocating the greatest business opportunities in the industry.

2016 will be remembered as a special vintage. "The finalists’ list confirms the excellent choices made by entrepreneurs and VCs and the start-ups' solid roots in corporate America, embracing their innovations. By all metrics, it emphasizes the United States’ entrepreneurial excellence," said Alex Vieux, publisher and CEO of Red Herring.

Finalist selections for the 2016 edition of the Red Herring 100 North America award are based upon technological innovation, management strength, market size, investor record, customer acquisition and financial health. During the several months leading up to the announcement, hundreds of companies in the fields of security, Web 2.0, software, hardware, life sciences, cloud, mobile and others completed their submissions to qualify for the award.

Finalists are asked to present their winning strategies at the Red Herring North America Forum in Newport Beach, CA., June 6 to 8, 2016. The Top 100 winners will be announced during a special awards ceremony the evening of June 8.

 

 

Native Rank Has Achieved Status of a 2016 American Express Member Favorite

nrlogoDENVER, COLORADO | 29 April 2016-- Native Rank, Inc., a highly-revered industry leader in digital marketing, web design, and online search solutions, has been named an American Express Member Favorite for the second consecutive year. The American Express Member Favorite program acknowledges reputable companies that their card members choose to visit and conduct business with time and time again, rendering it a credible organization so you can rest easy knowing you’re protected and in good hands. Being an AMEX Member Favorite indicates a business’ integrity and allegiance to their respective community.

“It is an honor to be recognized by American Express and their Member Favorite Program for the second consecutive year. As an organization, customer rapport and satisfaction is always at the forefront of each and every one our business initiatives. Ensuring a quality product, while uniquely understanding and solving our customers’ needs, is at the core of Native Rank’s business philosophy. Being strategically aligned with American Express has only helped to corroborate those efforts, and for that we are truly grateful,” Native Rank CEO, George Avery, offered on being selected for American Express’ 2016 Member Favorite program.

Native Rank was established six years ago on Avery’s insight of the significance of having a strong search presence for all businesses- from mom and pop shops to Fortune 1,000 firms- in the ever-evolving digital space, as well as his ambition to change the virtual landscape for companies on a national scale. In recognizing the importance of having a tenacious online presence in today’s digital climate, Native Rank facilitates greater online visibility for their clients by utilizing innovative and strategic digital marketing solutions.

ABOUT NATIVE RANK, INC.

Founded in 2010, Native Rank is a performance-driven digital marketing company with a history for generating great results in an array of industries across the globe. With services in both local and national SEO, PPC, web design, social media, and more, Native Rank’s ambition to be the world’s most innovative, customer-centric, and comprehensive digital marketing company is second to none, as exemplified by their recent alliance with Google as an AdWords Premier SMB Partner. By achieving this milestone, Native Rank has proven to be an industry leader in meeting and exceeding the highest standards of client’s advertising experiences and expectations. The customer transparency and rapport they possess, the high-performance local and national campaigns they execute, and the expertise they have in more than generating traffic towards your business, but also accruing you actual customers has set the benchmark for the digital marketing industry.

10 Best Practices for Growth Hacking Every Smart Leader Needs to Know

We are living in the modern day. Everything is changing with the advancement of time and technology. Science has touched almost all the spheres of life to make the living comfortable. As a result, numerous changes have taken place around us and the issues of being a smart leader is also influenced with the changes. Business, marketing, economics everything has been changed and scientific methods are applied on the sectors to make them improved and easy-to-use for all the people. Consequently the people who are related to these sectors are turning more successful with the implementation of the techniques and methods in their real life situations.

There is a saying that leaders are not born rather created and the growth hacking tips help the leaders to grow in their respective arenas. Growth hacking is the latest way to market products in a specific manner so that those get the desired exposure with less efforts. So, the smart leaders are following the ways and it is a kind of must for them to know about the hacking tips. This is in fact the marketing strategy of the current day. The users are to analyse the market data with different analysers and then come into a decision to grow the products in a specific or unique manner so that the business could grow. By this process, a wide number of things are brought under consideration of the leaders to bloom in their respective arena.

In this process, usually the available data over any specific issue is collected and analysed to know more about the products and then decisions are adopted based on the analysis result. Gradually, the products get more exposure to the consumers and the business grows to the largest extent. But the leaders are to follow some steps and at times they are to follow specific tips for the improvement of their business and their individual growths as a leader. The goals of growth hacking are not limited for the development of the business or the leaders. Rather it is about customer satisfaction as well. The goals also aim to bring the customers under the shade of your sincere service so that they could be made into the returning customers only for your service. Growth hacking helps to deal with all the possible aspects of your business growth and make you a perfect leader into your business arena or the other aspects you are dealing with.

Here are some widely used tips for the leaders who want to grow and want to see them in the top position of their service arena within a short time.

1) Make attempts Attempts are the most important thing for growth of the smart leaders. You need to take attempt to move ahead. If you sit idly and plan for doing a large number of things without attempting them, you cannot reach your goal. So, it is the most important thing to attempt the thing you want to do or want to be done by others. The thing will remain undone unless it is done. You might be unable to take the right attempt in the beginning, but it would help you gain experiences and in future regarding the same attempts, there will be no such mistakes like the past time. So, it is important to make attempts and the attempts should be daunting so that everybody becomes amazed with your initiatives. Sometimes, your attempts may be failed as well but you need not to be disheartened with the failures. The failures will take you into the position you want to go or long been dreaming for. The smart leaders never get frustrated with their failures.

2) Set your plan Planning is another important factor for growth, and without planning you cannot expect for a better outcome from your efforts. If you do not have any specific plan and just work hard, it is impossible for you to reach the goals in time or at times you would be unable to recognize your goals as you lack plans. So, planning is one of the factors that dominate the growth hacking and if you do not set your own plan, it is tougher for you to be a smart leader. The smart leaders of the current day generally set a strategy for them before they start something. They analyse the situation first and then set the plan, and inside the plan they set the priorities to avoid troubles. This is a highly helpful technique for them and by utilizing the feature they have climbed in the top of success. So, if you want to be a smart leader, plan for your works or goals.

3) Several goals If you truly want to get success and make yourself a smart leader, you need to have several goals together. It is done mostly to prevent risks and troubles. For example, you have set a goal to reach into a sales target so that your business could grow and you also have some other issues to take care of from the sales profit. But you did not get the desired sales in the month and your plans and consequently the plans you had set earlier did not come true. If you could have several goals and could set a couple of alternatives to earn the profit from the sales, the scenario would have been changed. If you could have disseminated your sales teams into sections to sale products into different zones, there were chances to make the desired sales as buying behavior is not the same in everywhere. But you did not set the goals. Consequently, you are experiencing losses which does not match with the smart leaders.

4) Compute progress Sometimes you need to evaluate your progress on your current activities. You have to count the number of advancement against your set targets and compare them with your checklist if you are advancing. If there are no significant advancements found, then you are to check the entire process again and again and sort out the loopholes where you are making mistakes or lagging behind. And if you have the desired improvements in the fields you have marked before, then please note down the advancements you have made so far after the initiation of your attempts. So, the evaluation of your achievements and revise them again and again is a must for you if you want to be smart leader.

5) Think different If you want to be a smart leader with Growth Hack techniques, you have to think a bit of different from others. You are to learn thinking individually and sometimes you are to think in a team as well. But in most of the cases, your thoughts should be different from others and out of the box thoughts are the best suited things here. If you want to make a difference, you need to have ideas about the thing you are dealing with. Sometimes the ideas may turn inappropriate as they are different from the others and sometimes you are to be strict with your plans and decisions. If you cannot think differently, you cannot shine as the thoughts and ideas could not surpass the others who are playing with you. If you cannot imagine of a changed situation you cannot think of the desired success. All of your thoughts would remain the same with the others and thus you cannot think you being into a smart leader. The smart leaders do not do the things in similar ways, they think and act differently and thus they are smart leaders.

6) Be innovative You are to exercise all of your creative abilities in this case if you truly want to be a smart leader using the growth hack technique. So, you are to invest your imagination power to improve the situations. Firstly, you have to invent some unique ideas to promote your business or bring a discipline among the employees who are following your directions. Sometimes you have to adopt different policies to control the situations and most importantly you are to be creative in making decisions and solutions. You are to take decisions in such a way that has never been taken before. Your decisions should amaze the people in your surrounding and it will make you different from other. Gradually you will be moving towards a smart leadership. You need to invent some awesome ideas to promote your business or deal with the people you are working with following the growth hack technique.

7) Test your ideas Sometimes it may happen that you have applied an idea and that proved inactive and ultimately it will lead you to failure. So, before you jump into something, check your back side and resources. If you have the resources and checked your back side, now it is time to test your ideas. The growth hack technique never allows the smart leaders to jump into situations they have never tested before. So, it is a must for the future smart leaders to test the ideas and modify them accordingly. Growth hack always tests the methods and plans those have been set to reach any goal. When you will move ahead without testing the efficiency of your ideas, there are huge chances that you are making mistakes, and thus the method allows you to test those before you start.

8) Keep focusing on jobs In most of the times when the leaders get a bit of success in their relevant sectors they forget on focusing what they actually aimed for. As a result, they cannot sustain in their positions for longer hours. They fall unfortunately and cannot rise again. But if you want to avoid such situations, you have to focus on your jobs. If you lose attention from the job and focus on the other aspects other than the goals, made after data analysis, you may turn failure. Growth hack does not allow losing focus from the job you are actually aiming at. Sometimes, it may happen that over excitement may make you derail from your focus, but never allow that to happen with you. Once you are losing the attention, you may lose everything. This is quite natural that when you will pay attention on the unnecessary things, there are chances to get demoralized from the real goal you are actually planned for. So, never lose your attention and keep focusing on the job.

9) Meet new people The growth hack technique greatly emphasizes on communication. The smart leaders become more successful when they have more connections and they maintain the connections regularly. Network with people and frequently meeting with them is the other best way to be a smart leader. This is a unique technique of growth hack and there are no alternatives of this technique. When you are meeting with new people, you will have the chances to explore them and sometimes you could also derive better ideas from them considering their own experiences. Sometimes, you will be able to formulate new ideas after consultation with them and also test the ideas in real life situations. You can ask them about your initiative and get their feedbacks as test which will be effective for you to be a smart leader using the growth hack.

10) Make everything simple Marketing is not a rocket science or any complex issue. But most of the time it is made so and there are some impressions provided that marketing is the job for only those who have a strong ability to speak in public. But growth hack has made it easier for all and the smart leaders use the ways in their marketing strategies. They make everything simple including preparing a presentation for their product for the board meeting to meeting a man for a short time. Nothing is made complicated which is another key rule for success according to growth hack technique.

To wrap up the issue, you are to keep in mind that you are hacking your growth. Hacking is not that much difficult task but it requires a special set of skills and expertise to perform. Everybody cannot be hacker but who have tried a lot. So, if you want to be a smart leader in your life or respective working arena (whatever it is), you are to follow the aforesaid tips and keep practicing until you get the desired success.

Native Rank Helps Local Business to Achieve National Recognition on ABC's 'Shark Tank'

DENVER, COLORADO |  January 21, 2016 -- Native Rank, Inc. is extremely proud to announce that our clients Jeff Popp and Casey Lorenzen, founders of Denver-based integrated smart pack backpack company CO.ALITION, will be featured on ABC’s Shark Tank on Friday, January 29th at 7PM MST. Jeff and Casey will pitch CO.ALITION to a panel of ‘Sharks’ that includes venture capital moguls Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Daymond John, Lori Greiner, and Robert Herjavec.

Native Rank’s web development and search engine optimization teams have been hard at work for CO.ALITION, building them a new, cutting-edge website that has been enhanced for optimal search engine results and marketability. CO.ALITION’s new site allows for customers to build and personalize a backpack to meet their needs, making it as ‘smartas they desire by giving them the capability to add a multitude of power and wireless hard drive options.

Shark Tank is notorious for driving such high volumes of traffic to their contestants’ sites that they inevitably crash- not to worry though; Native Rank’s cloud-based resources automatically scale to the high volume of traffic CO.ALITION will expectantly receive. Needless to say, Native Rank is honored and privileged to be collaborating with such an ambitious and innovative company as CO.ALITION, and we’re looking forward to seeing our marketing services facilitate their growth in the imminent future.

Two millennials from Denver, CO want to sell the sharks on a high-tech backpack company but plan on keeping their lucrative other backpack company for themselves.” Shark Tank

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About Native Rank Founded in 2010, Native Rank is a performance-driven digital marketing agency with a track record for generating great results in an array of industries across the globe. With services in both local and national SEO, PPC, web design, social media, and more, our ambition to be the world’s most innovative, customer-centric, and comprehensive digital agency is second to none, as exemplified by our recent alliance with Google as an AdWords Premier SMB Partner. By achieving this milestone, Native Rank has proven to be an industry leader in meeting and exceeding the highest standards of our client's advertising experiences and expectations. The customer transparency and rapport we possess, the high-performance local and national campaigns we execute, and the expertise we have in more than generating traffic towards your business, but also accruing you actual customers has set the benchmark for the digital industry.

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          About CO.ALITION CO.ALITION is a Denver-based company that makes high quality, elegant and technology integrated urban bags. It was founded off one simple idea, The Evolution of Carry™. Carry is always evolving, and CO.ALITION is devoted to finding the best ways for people to carry what’s important to them. These days, your bag should do more than just carry things; it should be as advanced as the technology it carries.

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Optimizing Your Facebook Business Page for SEO

seo-and-socialSocial media platforms have increasingly become invaluable digital marketing tools that are integral to the success of any online marketing campaign; Facebook of course being the crème de la crème of them all. The best things about it? It's free, and essentially functions as your business' secondary online home page. Applying some of the SEO tactics discussed below can help immensely in terms of driving more traffic and awareness towards your business, which will expectantly convert into revenue increases as well as an enhanced brand identification and recognition.

1) Determine a fitting name

It should go without saying that choosing the right name for your Facebook Business Page is imperative to the success of its SEO, and although this may seem counter-intuitive to traditional SEO practices, you want to choose a name that is descriptive, yet concise. Stuffing your Facebook Business Page’s name with highly-generic keywords like ‘Kyle’s Sporting Goods- Hockey, Lacrosse, Baseball, Football, Golf Equipment & More!’ will in all likelihood give the impression to both social media users and search engines alike that your page may be spam, crippling your viral growth rate in the process. On the other hand, choosing a page name that is ultra-mundane such as ‘Sporting Goods’ is likely to be shut down by Facebook, since their intention behind brand pages is to credibly represent authentic businesses and brands. Your best bet is to utilize your business’ true name as the name of your Facebook brand page as well, for Google puts the most weight on the first word of your fan page’s title. Also, never change the name of your page once you have established it- Facebook punishes business pages when their titles are changed.

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2) Customize your vanity URL

When you sign up for a Business Page, Facebook automatically generates a generic URL (what Facebook calls your ‘username’) for you- do not settle for the automated URL. After your page receives 25 likes, Facebook allows you to customize your URL, and a personalized URL greatly increases your searchability in both Facebook as well as search engines. You want your URL or username to be aligned with the name of your brand, making it exclusive and easy to remember, which strengthens brand recognition. For example, we chose www.facebook.com/NativeRank since it genuinely depicts our company. Keep in mind that once a URL or username has been established it can never be changed- so choose wisely and pick one that you are confident will be productive in the long term.

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3) Implement keywords for calculated on-site SEO 

Keywords aren't exclusively used for traditional websites anymore; they also play a significant role in on-site SEO for social media platforms. Your About Us, Company Description, and Mission sections are especially important as these sections are crawled by search engines as SEO components, so meticulously choose targeted keywords that accurately and concisely describe your business. It is also essential for local SEO efforts to include your address, city, state, zip code, phone number, and web site, considering search engines put a greater emphasis on pages with this information. Illustrated below is an example of how search engines would index your Facebook Business Page:nr11realtime

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Keep in mind that the underlying intention of a Facebook Business Page is to facilitate engagement between customers and your business by way of delivering them practical, entertaining, and useful content. While optimizing your Facebook Business Page for SEO will increase your brand's digital awareness, recognition, and user experience- all of which are compulsory to your success- it will bear little significance if creative planning and persistent execution are neglected on your end.

In the Know SEO for 2016

As digital marketers, we must acknowledge that search engine optimization is an ever-changing practice that constantly incorporates the unveiling of novel updates, the deliberation over modern trends, and in turn, the implementation of new strategies to go about accounting for these advancements. Google altered their search algorithm over 500 times in 2015 alone, and while the vast majority of these changes are subtle, occasionally a considerable algorithmic update is divulged that influences search engine results in critical ways. Knowing these algorithmic updates can help immensely in terms of driving organic traffic to your website and ultimately bettering your SEO practices. A few of these significant changes to Google’s algorithm in 2015 were:

1) Mobile Updates

Also referred to as ‘Mobilegeddon’ or ‘Mobilepocalyse’, on April 21st of this year Google released an update to their algorithm that rewards mobile-friendly pages—pages that are usable and legible on mobile devices—with a boost in rankings, while punishing the rankings of pages designed strictly for desktops and other large screens. Mobilegeddon was probably the most critical update Google made in 2015, accounting for the fact that now over half of Internet users are operating from their mobile devices. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Google has always proclaimed that websites that are responsive deliver the greatest user experience, and user experience is highly valued, as it should be. To see how this update may affect your website’s rankings, check here.

2) Panda 4.2

Google announced that they would begin to roll out Panda 4.2 on July 17th, although also stating that it would take a few months before it was in full effect. Panda 4.2 is essentially just a refresh of Google Panda, which is a filter that prohibits low quality sites and pages from achieving high rankings on their search engine results pages (SERP’s). Google employs Quality Raters, which are basically human fact-checkers whose job it is to ensure that their algorithm is providing users with what they are actually searching for, and to answer questions such as ‘Should I trust this site with my own credit card?’, in order to discern between sites with high and low quality and authenticity. Panda 4.2 accounts for rankings of the entire site as a whole, rather than just the individual pages of the site, once again putting emphasis on quality over quantity.

3) RankBrain

On October 26th, Google revealed that they were utilizing an artificial intelligence, machine-learning system called ‘RankBrain’. Machine learning is the process of a computer taking what it already knows and building on it, making connections and recognizing patterns along the way, rather than being programmed to do so by a human. RankBrain is using artificial intelligence to assist Google in processing search results and delivering these more relevant search results to users, and Google claims RankBrain is currently the third most important ranking factor (of over 200) in their algorithm. The intent behind RankBrain is to take words and phrases from search queries it is familiar with to infer what is meant in search queries it is unfamiliar with, drawing connections that makes it much more productive in assessing those search queries it has not seen before.

As a result of these new releases and updates, we need to modify the way we go about digitally marketing our businesses. The guidelines for effective SEO have shifted drastically over the last couple years, and we have reason to believe it will continue to do so in years to come. The reality is Google, Bing, and other search engines are becoming more intelligent and adaptive with each new update that emerges, and this means content marketers must shift their focus from archaic SEO tactics like keyword stuffing to cultivating high quality content, which is all centered around providing users with a practical and relevant experience. Here are a few SEO tips to help keep your business moving forward in 2016:

1) Optimize for mobile traffic 

As previously stated, mobile traffic has exceeded desktop traffic in 2015, which is why Google's 'Mobilegeddon' update is rewarding responsive sites that are user-friendly with higher rankings, and punishing unresponsive sites that do not deliver the same quality user experience. But don't just think of optimizing your site for mobile devices as an SEO tactic; do it because the better the experience your site's visitors have the more likely they are to continue visiting your site in the future.

2) Shift concern from keyword rankings to ROI data 

Sure your keywords may be ranking well, but does that mean they're leading to revenue increases? Of course not. You're putting time and money into your SEO practices, so what would you rather hear from your marketing personnel? "We're ranking number one for children's tennis shoes! But we have no idea what that coverts to in dollars", or "The blog post we published last month was shared 82 times, attained 54 conversions, and is responsible for $36,454 in sales."

3)  Focus on the quality of your content 

Delivering fresh, insightful, and high quality content to visitors of your website will work wonders for your digital presence and credibility, in terms of both Google's quality score and rankings, but also in the eyes of potential and existing customers. The greater the quality of your content, the more likely people are to share it, recommend your business to others, and needless to say, open their wallets and become paying customers.

So You Think You Can Blog?

images The fact of the matter is everyone and their dog has a blog nowadays; from your aspiring fashion designer friend, to the person who thinks it’s their duty to promote their political views, and even your grandmother, there are more than 164 million blogs on the World Wide Web. Of these blogs, 80% deteriorate with slim to no traffic and hardly any readership, and that is primarily due to the way in which bloggers encourage their readers, or lack thereof, to engage and interact.

Business blogs on the other hand, have two discernible differences from personal blogs: (1) they’re not your hobby like a personal blog, and (2) they are not the main way in which your business makes money. Similarly to other digital marketing mediums like social media and email marketing, blogs are just another marketing channel that assists in facilitating business growth by driving awareness to your site and converting that traffic into paying customers. Despite this being the case, blogs are all too often overlooked as invaluable tools for digital marketers, and they can give your small business the boost it needs if executed correctly.

Incorporating a blog onto your website can have immense benefits for your search engine optimization efforts, but the readership needs to be there. If you were hosting a Christmas party and didn’t send out invitations, what would you expect the turnout would be? Merely hosting a Christmas party doesn’t mean that people will come. Same goes for blog posts- simply having a blog won’t generate the results you’re looking for, because like anything else that requires cooperation, blogs need to be promoted in some fashion or another. A few established and effective ways to increase the readership of your blog are:

  1. increase-blog-trafficShare on social media and encourage others to share your content as well
  2. Distribute posts through email marketing services
  3. Use pay-per-click (PPC) ads to drive awareness (budget permitting)
  4. Administer SEO tactics into blog content

The benefits of business blogging for digital marketing and SEO purposes can really help to increase the visibility and traction to your website by way of a few tactics that I will discuss shortly. Most small businesses do not have a blog implemented onto their websites, and if they do chances are they aren’t utilizing it correctly; as in infrequently posting, repurposing web content that is not original or unique, making sales pitches within blog content, etc. So by constructing a blog for your small or medium sized business’ website, and executing efficiently, you can see a multitude of benefits for your digital marketing efforts. You should use blogging as a marketing initiative in order to:

1) Generate more traffic towards your site url

More than likely, the majority of your website’s visitors are landing on your site through ways other than directly typing the URL into their search bar, and even if they are, they have to already know of your business and this does nothing for generating more traffic than you already have. That means search engines, backlinks, and social media are the primary traffic drivers to your site unless you’re also administering a paid search campaign. Creating fresh, original, and relative blog content is what entices readers, and that encourages them to share your content which helps to reveal your business to a market that probably isn’t aware of you yet. Additionally, with each blog post you write and each new page that post generates, your chances of achieving a favorable search engine ranking become greater. Since search engines factor in how active a webpage is when determining rankings, the more pages you have and the more practical the content is on those pages all helps to increase your results on search engine pages.

2) Convert that traffic into customers or leadstraffic-3

With each new visitor to your blog comes another chance to convert that visitor into a customer or lead. The most effective way to go about facilitating blog visitors into leads is by implementing a CTA button, or call-to-action on each one of your blog posts that offers the visitor some sort of advantage by exchanging their information with you. Some incentive along the lines of coupons or discounts to future products or services, special or limited time offers, newsletters with informative content, etc. If your blog’s readers know that they are reaping some sort of benefit by viewing your blog-whether that is in the form of industry knowledge and relative trends, special offerings, or insight to future products or services- they will keep coming back, which in turn makes them more likely to open their wallets to whatever your business is offering them.

3) Assist in establishing credibility Build-Credibility-Purch-image-1024x1003

Writing and delivering relevant, practical, and unique content through your business’ blog to your target audience on a consistent basis demonstrates that you’re a credible resource that they can turn to when seeking out knowledge of your industry. Most successful business blogs answer questions and concerns that potential customers may have about products or services, and by doing so you’re rendering prospects more confident of your company since you’re educating them about the industry you operate within. If used correctly (as in not for making sales pitches), blogs can foster a trustworthy relationship between your business and your clients, because high quality blog content that delivers entertaining and practical information establishes industry credibility, the impression that you value your customers and their opinions, and care about more than merely making a sale.

This list is of course not all-encompassing, but the primary reasons above should be sufficient enough to get you to create a blog for your business' website if you don't already have one, or to get you to start utilizing your already existing blog more efficiently. Along with these primary reasons for business blogging, there are a multitude of others, like using your blog as a channel for gaining customer insight, relaying information such as upcoming events or press releases, and establishing brand identity and values. If appropriate steps are taken when creating your business blog, it will corroborate all of the digital marketing endeavors you have put forth in terms of driving traffic towards your website and converting this traffic into paying customers.

Do You 'Listen' To Your Social Media Data?

SocialMediaListeningCanYouHearthePublicNow You’ve heard it before, you’ll hear it again, and you’ll hear it now; social media is a two way street in which you must give a lot in order to receive anything. Social media ‘listening’ is the practice of determining what is being said about your business on social media platforms, assessing this relevant information, and reacting accordingly. The process is 50% being cognizant about what followers are saying and 50% engagement with those followers. The latter is critical because by replying to feedback on your social accounts, regardless of whether feedback is positive or negative, you are essentially humanizing your brand while also demonstrating that customer feedback is of utmost importance to you.  Digital marketers have repeatedly proclaimed that social media should be utilized more like a telephone and less like a megaphone; meaning, you need to engage in conversation with your social media followers, rather than just spitting out promotional information endorsing your product or service at them.

Amazon.com’s founder, Jeff Bezos, claims “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”, and while this is most certainly true, when it comes to social media, your brand is what people say about you when you are in the room. And this is a good thing, because it allows you to understand your customer’s thoughts and maximize what aspects of your business customers have an affinity for while minimizing what they are dissatisfied with. Social media data metric engines should be utilized to do the following:

Establish a target audience

Use social media channels to establish who your target market is by assessing the demographics of your followers, in terms of age, gender, nationality, education, income, location, etc.; psychographics, which encompass consumer behavior trends such as buying patterns, interests, influencers, values, opinions, attitudes; firmographics like competitive analysis, market research, prospecting, and sales intelligence. There are a number of analytical engines available to you that are useful in assessing this data and determining where you should allocate your marketing efforts. Here are a few that I find to be particularly useful:

Facebook’s Audience Insights is Facebook’s own internal analytics platform that delivers important information regarding the characteristics of your followers, including: age, gender, geographic location, behaviors, language, relationship status, education, occupation, income, and political views.

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Social Mention is a social media search platform which aggregates data from a multitude of social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Photobucket, etc. and provides you with some basic, yet essential data metrics. Social Mention denotes your brand’s strength, sentiment, passion, and reach, as well as top keywords, users, hashtags and sources.

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Mention is an Internet listening tool that focuses on social media accounts and provides you with data such as the number of mentions your pages are receiving, which platforms mentions are coming from, the frequency and timeframe of those mentions, the languages of mentions, as well as the geographic location they are coming from.

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Optimize business decisions and development

Other than determining a target market and advertising your business, utilizing social media platforms to ascertain insight as to what potential and existing customers like or dislike about your product or service, what their consensus seems to be in accordance with your competitors, as well as what they think about your brand and its value in general is highly valuable. By ‘listening’ to comments on social media, or going as far as asking your followers for input, you can easily recognize what is working and what is not, and modify your business practices accordingly. If executed properly, social media can essentially function as a free and current focus group where social users offer their feedback.

Connectwith your audience

Unless you're being proactive in using your social media accounts, and by that I mean listening to your followers and actually engaging in conversation with them, they will have no value to your business. According to NM Incite, Nielsen and McKinsey's joint social media advisory committee, social users who receive a timely and proficient response from brands on social media are 71% more likely to refer your business to other potential customers. Antithetically, social users who don't receive a quick response are only 19% likely to refer your business. Be proactive by listening to what followers have to say, mitigating their concerns, resolving their issues, showing gratitude for their recognition, and expectantly, this will  assist in converting customers into advocates for your brand.

Target the interests of your audience through keyword research

When speaking of keywords and keyword research, the practice typically refers to SEO and paid search, but keyword analysis can also have a significant influence on targeting the interests of your audience and optimizing your business’ social media prevalence and relevance. By conducting keyword research for social media purposes, you can conveniently determine what topics are trending in your industry, what users are searching for when they land on your page, the language they employ for their searches, and what their interests and concerns are in accordance with your product or service. After thoroughly researching and understanding which social media keywords are most applicable for your business, you can engage potential and existing customers more proficiently, communicate with clientele more effectively, and adjust aspects of your product or service based on what people have to say. All of these efforts are factored in to receive the most benefit out of your social media marketing campaigns.

The benefit social media listening tools harness can only truly exercise themselves after you have identified what the goals are for your business' digital marketing strategy.  Whether they're being used to track and comprehend the demographics of those in your target market, concerns of potential and existing customers, brand sentiment (customer association with your brand), passion and loyalty, strength, reach, or what have you, social media tools should focus on monitoring not just what is said about your business, but also why it is being said. So take the data you accumulate by listening to social media, analyze it, and modify your efforts accordingly.

Courtesy of barnraisersllc.com

The Do's and Don'ts of Content Marketing

8348487818_77c7d33803_b The concept of content marketing seems straightforward- the process involves the frequent production and distribution of valuable, applicable, and genuine media content with the underlying intention of attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. According to Demand Metric, a research and advisory firm that assists B2B marketing departments in improving their marketing capabilities, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing mediums and generates approximately three times as many leads, making it an incredibly profitable, cost-effective, and time-efficient advertising medium. Although the end goal here is of course to facilitate sales, at its core, content marketing is a practice of engaging in communication with your target audience without solicitation or invasiveness. By providing potential and existing clients with practical and functional information that renders them more knowledgeable about the industry your business operates in, expectantly, they will reciprocate the favor with their business and ongoing devotion to your brand.

Unfortunately for us marketers, it isn’t as unequivocal as the name suggests; it is a process of trial and error and often takes many failures to realize what is not working in order to modify efforts and maximize what is. Regardless of which digital advertising efforts you use, whether it be email marketing, social media marketing, SEO, PPC, a combination of all, etc., the quality of your content needs to maintain a high level of consistency.  Content marketing is not and should not be viewed as guaranteed success for your business, but following these do’s and don’ts you will put your business in a much more advantageous position than abandoning the process altogether.

1. Do post content that addresses the issues and interests of your clientele

In other words, your content has to be fresh, insightful, and pertinent to current industry trends. The goal here is to deliver consumers of published content with useful information that educates them about the realm your business operates within, in turn establishing your business as a credible resource that they may resort to when seeking authentic knowledge of your industry. If customers are skeptical about an aspect or two of your business, use content to your advantage by disbanding their apprehensions and engaging with what may be worrisome to them. Instead of concealing or disregarding customer comments that may present your business in an unfavorable fashion, addressing them exhibits that their opinions are valued. After all, chances are if one customer vocalizes their concerns, there are many more thinking it.

2. Don't publish content for the sole endorsement of your business

Promoting your business’ product in your content is deterring to customers, and will offer the impression that you’re indifferent towards their concerns and are merely exploiting them to open their wallets. We tend to see this with internally published blogs- companies will often craft up a post about the benefits of products or services in their respective industry, and then dive into a sales pitch at the end as to why you should go with them. Don’t do that. Rather, be transparent, intriguing, and stimulating- customers aren’t stupid and know that it’s your job to sell them something, so accept this while giving them the knowledge they’re looking for.

3. Do coordinate your brand values with the principles of your customers

A simple way to go about establishing brand value is by stating your brand philosophy and principles outlining what you want people to understand about your brand in accordance with who you are, what it is you do, and why it is you do it. Keep these five things in mind when demonstrating brand value:

CaptureBrand Promise- what your business entrusts to those who engage with it and what they should expect from you

Brand Personality- the personality characteristics your business wants to be known for and elements of which your audience can relate to

Brand Position- highlights the unparalleled aspects of your business and what sets you apart from competing brands in your industry

Brand Authority- what your business has done to earn credibility within your respective industry

Brand Connection- answers questions of how customers feel about your business, as well as how your business connects and communicates with them

4) Don't disregard the significance of user-friendly navigation or layout design

As previously mentioned, producing strong content is imperative to the success of your content marketing initiatives, but that will be compromised if your website, blog, social media platforms, or whichever medium that showcases your content is aesthetically displeasing or difficult to navigate, leaving visitors with a disgruntled impression of your business. Strong, well-written content will quickly and certainly become worthless if viewers cannot find it. Successful web design funnels visitors from one section of a site to the next, while emphasizing fundamental take-away points in the process. To add to that, 55% of Internet users are operating on their cell phones in 2015, so ensuring that your content is mobile-friendly and responsive is crucial to its reach and overall effectiveness.

5) Do measure the success of your content marketing campaigns

One thing that traditional advertisers lack that content marketers have the immense benefit of utilizing; analytical metric software systems that make it convenient to track the performance of content marketing campaigns. Traditional advertising’s efficacy (i.e. TV commercials, radio ads, print ads, etc.) can only be measured by sales at the end of a fiscal quarter, and even then, sales increases do not necessarily reflect the success of an ad campaign. As digital marketers, employing analytics trackers like Google Analytics, KISSmetrics, and HubSpot (a few of many) are exceptionally valuable when it comes to assessing the following valuable information:4-buckets-of-content-metrics

Consumption Metrics- measures how many people are consuming your content, the regularity of their consumption, and the channels which they use to consume it

Sharing Metrics- indicate which facets of your content is being shared, who is doing the sharing, and how and where they are sharing it

Lead Metrics- assess how effective a piece of content is in converting those who are consuming it into new leads, as well as existing leads that content is reaching

Sales Metrics- look at how successful your content is in generating revenue, and ultimately, how frequently do consumers of your content convert into customers

                                                                                     

6) Don't overwhelm content with keywords

If executed correctly, SEO can be a pivotal practice for increasing your brand’s digital presence, but as search engines have refined their algorithms in recent years, quality content has shown to trump more antiquated keyword stuffing tactics. Now I’m not saying that implementing relevant keywords into content has become obsolete by any means, but the practice of stuffing content with a horde of keywords has; keyword stuffing content is dismally repetitious, impersonal, robotic, and above all and unbeknownst to many, counterproductive to search engine rankings. About four months ago Google released Hummingbird, their new search engine algorithm that values content relevancy and ideas represented by keywords, rather than the keywords themselves. Hummingbird rewards pages with greater content relevance, while punishing pages that are abundant with keywords that bear little practical  information.

Successful content marketers recognize that all of their digital efforts factor into cultivating a sense of community for potential and existing customers alike. This is done by engaging in conversation with them, delivering practical, relevant, and informative content that educates them about your industry and business, and establishes your business as a credible and authoritative one within your industry. Ultimately, as is the case with all marketing mediums, the end goal here is to ascertain new customers while maintaining the loyalty of existing ones.

The Small Business Digital Marketing Guide

As a small business owner, attracting new customers and maintaining the loyalty of old ones is always your top priority. One of the most efficient ways to go about accomplishing this is by implementing a digital marketing campaign; compared to traditional marketing mediums, they’re cost-effective, time-efficient, and if executed correctly, can have massive benefits for your digital presence (and ultimately, sales). Sounds easy enough, but as you begin to explore all of the advertising opportunities that are available to your business digitally, it can become overwhelming, and fast. Here’s a practical guide to help you kickstart digital marketing ventures for your small business.

1) Determine Objectives 

Simply put, you cannot begin to structure your business’ digital marketing campaign without first defining your end business goals, which are embodied in the 'Five S's':

  1. Sell- grow sales and attract business5 s's
  2. Speak- constant communication with customers
  3. Serve- add value by satisfying customers wants/needs
  4. Save- reduce costs using digital mediums instead of traditional ones
  5. Sizzle- building your brand’s online presence by conveying benefits, aesthetics, and value, rather than features
2) Establish your target market

Before employing a digital marketing campaign, you first need to decide what groups of people would benefit the most, and be in the market, for your product or service. After thoroughly comprehending who your audience is, engaging and communicating with them becomes that much simpler.  Keep in mind the following things when establishing your target market:
  1. Demographics of existing and potential customers
  2. Their objectives
  3. Who/what influences them
  4. What they want from you
  5. What you want from them
3) Develop your website

Considering your website is the focal point and primary information channel for your business, it is essential for your site’s design and layout to be easy to navigate while incorporating color schemes, logos, and banners that are aligned with your brand’s image. 55% of users access the internet from their cell phones, so you need to assure that your website is conducive for mobile browsing. Customers are easily deterred when text is cut off on their device, if images are not being displayed correctly, or when font sizes are so small they need to zoom in to read your content. Adding a blog to your site also has incredible benefits in terms of fostering a trustworthy relationship between you and your clients; high quality blog content that delivers entertaining and practical information establishes industry credibility, the impression that you value your customers, and care about more than merely making a sale.

4) Conduct market research on competitor’s keywords 

kw researchSEO tools like SEMrush, SpyFu, and KeywordSpy are incredibly valuable when it comes to keyword research- they allow you to track the rankings of keywords being used by your competitors, which is of course useful in determining which keywords are advantageous for your business to rank for. Assessing your competitors’ keywords will also help in deciding if it is worth it to put in competing bids for those keywords, or whether you should seek out less competitive ones (both are logical SEO tactics). Tracking competing keywords also helps to enhance the deliberation process of choosing relevant keywords to utilize for your campaign.

5) Decide which keywords you want to rank for

The first task at hand in deciding which keywords you should rank for is so obvious that it is often overlooked- if you were in the market for your business’ product or service, what would you search for? More often than not, the best keywords are three to four word phrases that express what your business offers using common language that users are inclined to search for.  You want to avoid using keywords that are either too broad or too specific; generally broad keywords have more competition, making it difficult to achieve a favorable ranking for them, and ultra-specific keywords are unlikely to yield many searches. To account for this, a valuable strategy to take here is to use generic keywords on your homepage while limiting more targeted ones to your segmented content pages. This way, the logical result with search engines is to pull your site’s overall subject matter from the homepage’s keywords and more specific data from precise keywords on internal pages.

6) Optimize your website for on-page SEO

After deciding which keywords are likely to be successful for your business, return back to your website and incorporate these searchable keywords onto each page and service tab:

  1. Title tags help to define the title of a specific document, are most effective when specific and concise, and are essential to both user experience and SEO
  2. Meta descriptions, although not directly factored into your search engine rankings, help to increase your click-through rate and decrease your bounce rate by providing concise descriptions on search engine result pages of what the content on the webpage holds
  3. H1 tags also play a significant SEO role in rankings, user experience and navigability, as well as in relaying information to search engines about the content of a page. H1’s denote the central theme of a page, makes it easier for users to skim your content, and aids in a search engine’s comprehension of the development of a page’s content
7) Optimize your website for local SEO

Optimizing your website for local business listings like Yahoo Small Business, Google+ Local, Yelp, Bing Places, and other relevant directories takes little time to do, is cost-efficient, and makes it that much easier for customers to find and get in contact with your business. First and foremost, ensure that your business information- i.e. name, address, and phone number- are correct on each platform. Even the slightest disparities in this information will cause your local authority on these directories to plunge. Including city and street in title tags, H1 tags, content, and even URL’s provides both your customers and search engines with relevant information that all factors into growing brand awareness and identification.

8) Build and maintain an active social media presence social

Using social media to engage with potential and existing customers is a cheap and efficient way to promote brand identity and awareness. Social media is truly a medium in which you get out what you put in; if followers begin to notice that you are merely using social to advertise features and other details of your products or services they are likely to overlook your posts or unlike/unfollow your page. Use social to deal with customer feedback- good or bad; acknowledging praise, showing appreciation, and handling customer complaints and concerns goes a long with social users, and this personal interaction is critical to cultivating and maintaining a favorable reputation of your business.

10) Implement an email marketing campaign

email marketingConsidering its substantiated effectiveness and practical simplicity, email marketing is vastly under-utilized as a digital advertising tool. Email marketing is undoubtedly one of, if not the most powerful way to grow your business online. There are a great number of advantages associated with it: for one, it has shown to be 40 times more effective in ascertaining new clients than Facebook or Twitter. A post to social media only reaches a small fraction of a page or businesses’ followers, and although email recipients have the option not to read it, 78% of the time it reaches its intended destination. So, unlike social media where posts can be and typically are overlooked, email requires you to actively end its life span by clicking delete, in turn prompting recipients to react. Additionally, email marketing data metrics are simple to measure, allowing you to adjust accordingly based on what has been working and what has not.

11) Routinely review analytics trackers

With the extensiveCapture advancements of analytics tracking in recent years, measuring your ROI is easier to do and more practical now than ever before. Digital marketing is a speculative endeavor; a constant process of trial and error, which is why assessing the effectiveness of your website, social media presence, and overall content will save you time and money, while allowing you to maximize efforts for what has been working and modify what has not. At Native Rank, our top priority is to provide our customers with the feedback they need to ensure their advertising dollars are not wasted, and this is why we set the digital marketing industry standard. Our state-of-the-art, proprietary dashboard metrics engine displays an aggregation of essential statistics that your marketing success is contingent upon- most importantly, your average pages per session, clicks, views, and bounce rate.

12) Frequently update web content
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Frequently updating web content isn’t the only way to stay relevant within your industry, but without doing it you can bet that you won’t. Stale content is deterring to existing and potential customers, but also to search engines- your site’s visitors aren’t the only ones browsing the web for information about what your business does. Periodically refreshing content is also valuable in terms of generating backlinks, which produces more organic traffic to your site, and in turn Google takes notice because each backlink is essentially a digital referral. Fresh content is motivation for people to keep coming back to your site for more.

Simply put, there is not a single small business in our current digital age that would fail to benefit from an increased online presence, and constructing a digital strategy for your business is an excellent way to do so without breaking the bank or consuming much time. Initially, with all of the digital marketing mediums you have to choose from, this can seem extremely overwhelming. Fortunately it is much less complicated than you think, and as time goes on and as you begin to attain more experience in carrying out your marketing initiatives, all of this will start to become second nature.

Five Crucial Elements of a Successful Social Marketing Campaign

Social-Media-300x300Social media marketing can be your business’ best friend or worst enemy; the proof is in the execution. What many social media marketers in today’s digital era fail to realize is that social media is not and should not function as an instrument solely utilized for ‘pushing’ your products or services on potential customers- social initiatives are ‘push-pull’ strategies in which you must give a lot if you expect to receive anything. If you merely treat your social following as potential prospects for your business, this can act counter-productively to building your brand’s image- you will leave existing and potential customers alike with a greedy and distasteful impression of your business. It is imperative to recognize why your customers do business with you instead of your competitors, then harness these notions and promote them through your social platforms.

1) Interact with your Social Community and Provide Practical Support

Perpetuate engagement with your social media following by asking questions, posting polls, and asking for their opinions on subject matters pertaining to your specific industry. Furthermore, by replying to their comments and questions on your page, you will bolster rapport with your followers and gain the reputation of a highly-responsive and user-friendly business. This will exemplify that you genuinely care about the wants and needs of potential and existing customers alike. Utilize social media as a customer service and communication portal by inviting and welcoming your page’s followers to comment, compliment, and even criticize your products or services, for this all factors into strengthening brand image. This information is also highly valuable for analyzing your consumers’ behavior, gaining insight as to their wants and needs, and consequently modifying your business practices accordingly. As marketers, we must recognize that social media platforms are as much, or even more so, an analytical tool as well as an advertising platform.

2) Earn Your Right to Sell and Offer Something in Return

When you’re beginning to structure a social media marketing campaign for your business, it is crucial to avoid pitching your products or services to potential customers right off the bat. You need to earn the right to push a marketing message on them- and you do this by first catering to your target audience and providing them with lots of valuable content upfront, and then, after time, and after a mutual rapport has been established, you can ask for something in return. After you have gained your following’s trust, offering special promotional deals or offers, displaying current products or services, and providing insight and sneak previews to future launches, without explicitly prompting followers to open their wallets, can be mutually beneficial for your business as well as your clients’ needs and desires.

3) If you want someone to do something, you must first make them feel something

This comes off as relatively straight-forward, but too many social media marketers fail to take this into consideration when they’re structuring their digital advertising endeavors. Traditional advertising mediums like TV commercials do just this- they attempt to make you feel a certain way about a product or service, and this is what establishes your brand’s identity. Social media marketing is no different; you want your potential and existing customers to associate your brand with something greater than it. And one simple way to do this is to give the impression that you are passionate and enthusiastic about what your business does, because no follower will be excited about what you have to offer if you don’t come across that way yourself.

4) Be entertaining and useful

If you want both potential and existing customers to become brand advocates for your company, it is crucial to provide them with entertaining and useful content to capture and sustain their interest. If you post valuable content on social platforms relative to your business’ industry, you will facilitate trustworthiness with your page’s viewers which in turn establishes your authenticity and credibility. Your followers will start to visit your various social platforms for industry news and trends, which is where the ‘social’ aspect of social media comes into play. You build and gain traction for social media campaigns by having users act as advocates for your brand by linking to content, and liking, sharing, and commenting on your posts. Your followers will only do this if the content you are posting is entertaining and useful, and leaves them with a favorable impression of your business.

5) Be Consistent Across All of Your Social Media Platforms

This can be as simple as making sure that visual content like logos and banners are uniform across all of your social platforms, for if a potential customer sees one logo on Facebook and then another on Twitter or Google+, they may come to believe that they landed on a page that is not your own. You also need to ensure that logistical information like phone numbers, locations, and even the services your business offers are identical across these platforms. Additionally, the names you utilize for your business’ social platforms should be constant in order to strengthen brand recollection, especially for a company that is beginning their social endeavors. To illustrate this, we wouldn’t entitle our Facebook page ‘Native Rank’ and then have our Twitter handle read ‘NRank’. No matter how well-known the name of your business is, consistency is critical to customer brand name recall.

What it comes down to is that people rarely visit social media with the sole intention of finding a product or service to buy, which is why it is crucial for you to post entertaining and engaging content for your followers, or risk being overlooked. Social media users have an extremely short attention span when it comes to evasive and self-servient content on their respective newsfeeds; hitting ‘unlike’ or ‘unfollow’ is convenient and easy to do, and is what they will do if they come to realize this about your social practices. The content you promote on social should be fresh and relevant to industry times and trends, published regularly, and highly engaging in terms of getting your followers to interact.  Social media is an extremely useful channel for exhibiting your brand’s values and conveying to customers that your values are aligned with their own.

Does Your Website's Colors Impact Consumer Behavior?

Most people are aware that different colors have different associations and meanings, and evoke different emotions and feelings amongst consumers and their subsequent behavior. As marketers, color is an integral part of what we do, since it is highly influential on consumers’ emotions and their perceptions of our goods or services. The Color Marketing Group, based out of Alexandria, Virginia proclaims that color “Can account for up to 85% of the reason people buy one product over another”. To illustrate these associations, warm colors like shades of red, orange, and yellow procure characteristics of excitement, intensity, and passion, to denote some characteristics. Cool colors such as greens, blues, and purples tend to elicit a calming and trustworthy effect. Neutral colors, i.e. black, white, and gray, are most influential when utilized supplementally, or can be mixed with either warm or cool colors to tone down their overpowering effects. It’s evident that consumer behavior is predicated upon the type of reaction we want to induce from our potential customers, so colors and color schemes should be taken into account and modified accordingly for your business’ product or service.

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Health & Wellness

If your business operates within the health or wellness realms, you want to utilize colors for your site that promote peace of mind; i.e. tranquility and relaxation. Cool colors like purples and blues are restful and tend to put people at ease, eliciting calmness from the viewer. They have also been proven to balance the thyroid and even lower blood pressure. This is extremely important to take note of, as those who are in the market for health and wellness products or services are often times skeptical during the buying process, since there are negative connotations associated with these industries. Evoking a trustworthy rapport with these types of consumers will produce a feeling of integrity when they’re checking out your business, which is highly valuable and can efficiently translate to increases in sales.

Environmental Businesses  

Similar to health and wellness, environmentally-oriented businesses want to convey a sense of naturalness and purity to their consumers. Environmentally-oriented businesses of course want to be symbolic of growth and vitality, while also establishing attitudes of care and compassion for their consumers. Needless to say, the colors that tend to do this the best are earthy tones, which typically consist of darker shades of green, medium to dark shades of brown, as well as beiges and tans. These earthy tones mentally correlate with naturalness, renewal, and restoration; all characteristics that are desirable within the environmental realm. However, make sure not to inundate potential consumers with too much of any one of these colors, as excessive use can generate feelings of greed (i.e. money), dullness, or impurity.

Technology & Communication

Tech and communication businesses want to connote impressions of intelligence and intellectuality to potential consumers. The colors that are likely to do this most favorably are essentially all shades of blue, especially when combined with grays and silvers, because they evoke the conception of being high-tech. Lighter shades of orange are also valuable for tech sectors, because they stimulate mental activity and even increase oxygen supply to the brain.  Other neutral colors, i.e. black and white, tend to be popular in the tech and communication sector because they boast sophistication and sleekness.

Food Services

The psychological impact of color is probably most influential when it comes to food service businesses, as in restaurants and other nutritional products. Orange has a tendency to facilitate social conversation due to its vibrancy, enthusiasm, and comfortability, so it is often used in the décor (e.g. light fixtures or furnishings) of restaurants in attempts to generate memorable experiences for their visitor’s. Orange has also shown to stimulate mental activity, which also stimulates sensations of hunger. When it comes to what colors to stray away from for food service businesses, blue supersedes all others. Since blue is associated with calmness, it is more apt to put people to sleep than get them to eat, and color psychologists have noted that blue lighting in restaurants tends to suppress appetites.

Fashion and Apparel

In fashion and apparel industries, your business wants to be inviting to consumers, while still being alluring. Warmer colors, like lighter shades of oranges and golds are symbolic of calls-of-action, comfort, and reliability, while maintaining a reassuring and energetic demeanor. Other warm, bright colors like reds and yellows are attention grabbers; red because it lures in attention from your website’s viewers and calls them to stop what they’re doing to assess what they’re looking at, and yellow because it is the color first perceived by the retina. But use these loud colors cautiously, because too much of their boldness can be overwhelming, and in turn deterring.

Small Business Services

When you own a small business that functions as some sort of operational service such as an auto repair shop, a cleaning service, or a locksmith, you want to offer authenticity, credibility, and trustworthiness to consumers, while grabbing their attention and creating enthusiasm. The colors that tend to elicit these responses the best are typically all shades of blue, lighter reds, and brighter shades of orange. You want to juxtapose sentiments of credibility and authenticity with liveliness and enthusiasm, so utilizing a color scheme that elicits attention and reliability will be extremely advantageous for your small business services.

As advertisers, color psychology and corresponding consumer behavior is essential to take into consideration when designing websites and creating supplemental content for the specific industry or niche your business operates within. Subsidiary exposure to color has been proven to influence consumers' emotions and perceptions of businesses, and this is crucial in regard to their willingness to pay. Colors contain significant psychological implications with consumers, and although this largely functions on the subconscious level, studies have shown immense correlations between a website’s aesthetic appearance and the influence it has on consumers’ readiness to open their wallets.

SEO & Content Writing: Quality is King

SEO word cloudIf you haven’t heard, the Internet has quite a bit of information. As a digital marketer, you of course, want to set your business apart from all of the fluff that exists out there- essentially; you want to convey to both potential and existing customers that the products or services that your website offers are superior to your competitors’. Now, there are a number of ways in which Native Rank goes about executing this for our clients, but there seems to be one factor that transcends almost all high traffic e-commerce websites: that is, high quality content.

Presumably, there are reasons as to why this is the case. But before we dive into how and why quality content is imperative to your online marketing success, let’s discuss what composes it. Quality content can manifest itself in various forms; there are blog posts, articles relative to your business, industry trends that are in accordance with your specific business practices, etc. What it all boils down to is that your content must exhibit likeability and teachability. In order to produce high quality content, you first need to keep the following things in mind:

Determine your target audience’s needs, wants, and search habits

Quality is determined by how well your content attracts, connects, and engages with your customers—by understanding their wants, needs, interests and how they phrase them; you can optimize your content accordingly to ensure a greater searchability. Constructing an on-site search function will compile a list of terms that your visitors’ type in while browsing your site, making it much simpler to grasp their search habits.

High quality content is both likeable and practical

Finding a cohesive balance between content that is engaging, interesting, and impressionable, yet also educational, useful, and informational is paramount to maintaining visitors’ loyalty to your site. The underlying essence of the Internet is for users to seek solutions, so your content must be practical, relevant, and appealing.

High quality content establishes trust

Posting high quality and engaging content serves the purpose of facilitating a trustworthy relationship between your customers and your business. Using web content such as blog posts to try and market and sell your products is detrimental to maintaining a mutually beneficial rapport with your clients.

Consistency is key

The implication behind a site that frequently posts high quality, engaging content is authenticity and credibility. When site visitors see that content is posted often, the perception will be that you are atop industry trends. Not to mention that there is a strong correlation between content generation and search queries.

Your web content is analogous with your web identity

What is posted, linked to, and shared in accordance with your site’s content becomes your brand’s identity. If content is consistently reputable, authentic, and relative, users will begin to associate your site with good rapport in your respective niche. Go the extra mile; if your content is of a higher quality and creativity than your competitors’, people will take notice.

Needless to say, content that is considered to be of high quality is contingent upon the realm that your business operates in. Search engines are focused on creating a relevant and user-friendly experience, which is why content creation is essential to effective SEO practices in the current search climate. The advantages of incorporating suitable and significant content exceed far beyond just rankings, for users will remain loyal to your business’ site if they are gathering constructive and practical information with each visit. What it comes down to is determining what and which types of content are most applicable to your business, devising a plan for delivering this quality content to your customers, and then implementing it accordingly on a consistent basis.

Using PPC Data to Formulate Your SEO Strategies

Paid search advertising, also known as pay-per-click marketing (PPC), is a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their advertisements receives a ‘click’ through to their website or landing page. PPC is essentially a method of purchasing visits to your site rather than earning them organically through (unpaid) SEO initiatives, such as implementing keywords, search terms, backlinking, etc. Internet marketers are continuously presented with the decision of how to best go about driving traction and awareness to their own or their client’s websites to facilitate conversion, and in the past it was typically one or the other: PPC or SEO. However, any successful SEO strategy is best served by combining SEO and PPC practices, and there are a number of ways as to how and why using PPC and SEO in tandem is likely to maximize your efforts. We at Native Rank believe that integrating PPC and SEO together is the best way to cover the most ground when it comes to executing your digital marketing campaign. What many of today’s marketers fail to realize is that although SEO and PPC ultimately share the same intention of driving traffic towards your products or services, they function in entirely different ways and best serve different purposes.

flowchartPPC allows for the greatest immediate exposure of your business since you don’t need to wait until your site begins to appear on organic search engine results pages to receive valuable traffic data metrics like with SEO, but obviously requires a greater initial investment; PPC has more operational utility in the short-term. Since Google’s algorithm tends to factor in the content of your website, the age of your domain name, and the number of inbound links that point to your site when determining your ranking, SEO is a longer road and better suited for the long term.

Herein lies the rationale as to why using PPC data to plan for SEO strategy is the best way to maximize your time, money, and effort. So when establishing an online marketing campaign, your first and foremost task is to run a paid promotion campaign on the ad platform of your choice, whether that is Facebook, Twitter, Bing Ads Editor, or our preferred Google AdWords. In doing so, you can test out and play with creative ideas and target more niche, specific keywords and phrases to effectively gauge the reactions of your target audiences. In going about the process in this way, by establishing a well-executed and thought out AdWords campaign, you can benefit in the following ways:

  1. Due to the fact that SEO typically takes some time to start producing results, running a PPC campaign during the initial stages of your advertising process is the most economically efficient way of allocating your time and money accordingly. Since you only pay when a potential customer clicks on an ad that directs them to your site, you can see some return on your investment in terms of web traction.
  2. An AdWords campaign holds value regardless of whether or not it is lucrative when you’re starting out. In addition to its primary intention of actually advertising your product or service, it also builds the awareness surrounding your brand, and then provides you with the data metrics to demonstrate how potential customers connect with your site, what pages have high conversion rates, and which keywords are performing well and which are not.
  3. Additionally, AdWords bestows you with invaluable information regarding their assessment of your site. Such criteria includes, but is not limited to: the quality components of Ad Rank as in your ad auction eligibility, cost-per-click, keyword’s ad position estimates, ad and display URL’s click-through rate, geographic performance in your region, which pages and keywords have the best quality score and conversion rates, etc.
The advantage for SEO here is embedded within the notion that having tangible data insight as to what aspects are performing the best is extremely valuable information when it comes to writing keyword-rich content for your site. After the data metrics in association with your marketing efforts has been compiled from your PPC campaign, you can formulate and adjust your SEO initiatives accordingly, based on what has and has not been productive. Enabling a site search function also has high utility, because information such as what your customers’ search habits are is extremely useful when attempting to accommodate for their needs. It will also provide insight as to how you can adjust your keywords to ensure a greater searchability.

What is effective for PPC tends to also be effective for SEO, so utilizing PPC ads, analyzing and assessing the data they provide you with, and implementing the most productive keywords, title tags, meta descriptions, and page content is always of great benefit to you and the success of your campaign.

Do Social Signals Affect Your Search Engine Rankings?

As a result of the increased prevalence of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc., marketers and others involved in the industry have begun to question whether or not search engines like Google and Bing take into account social signals when determining placement on their services. When I say social signals I am referring to the data metrics on these platforms, as in Google+ and Facebook’s likes, shares, and comments; Pinterest’s pins, likes, and comments as well; and tweets and retweets on Twitter.

The general consensus in the industry seems to be that social media relevance does have a relation when it comes to search engine rankings, but that this relation is predicated upon correlation, not necessarily causation. Translated into simpler terms, this means that just because a certain page has garnered a lot of traction on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, that does not necessarily mean that its search engine rankings will too improve. When a page achieves a favorable social media following, that is probably due to the fact that its content is alluring and well-executed, and in all likelihood will accrue a lot of people linking to it, which is what drives search engine rankings.

flow chart

Courtesy of Problogger.net

Google has repeatedly denied that their algorithm directly factors in social signals from various social platforms, but this certainly does not render social media an ineffective tool in soliciting potential customers towards your business. We need to keep in mind that these social mediums bear significant value for more than just SEO-related purposes, but also for what their original intention was: to drive awareness and acknowledgement towards the services your business offers. What it eventually boils down to is that social media will always essentially be a sort of tangible word-of-mouth.

So when we ask the question as to whether or not social signals affect search engine rankings, the conclusion we come to is: yes, but not necessarily directly. What matters is that an efficient social media campaign is likely to positively impact your search engine optimization, which is why Native Rank and other marketers are placing an increased importance on social media expeditions. One thing is certainly true in regards to this question, and that is that the quality of the content you publish will always act in collaboration with whatever SEO initiatives you may be taking. Content of great caliber is more likely to receive the recognition, links, and shares that you are searching for than content of a lesser quality.

FB chart

Courtesy of Searchmetrics.com 

The chart above demonstrates the correlation between a webpage’s social signals on Facebook and its corresponding ranking on Google. The webpages encompassed within position one on Google have about twice as many Facebook social signals than the webpages that are in position two, delineating a very strong correlation between their Facebook prevalence and their Google positioning.

Although Google denies that their algorithm does not directly factor in social signals when determining rankings, pages that are active in their social community tend to have a much higher ranking than ones that do not. The data represented above is indicative of why we at Native Rank place such a strong emphasis on social media marketing when taking efforts to drive more recognition towards your business; it is clear that social signals have an important function in regards to brand awareness, direct traffic, and the traction that your site attains. Having a cohesive SEO and social strategy is the most effective way in ensuring major real estate for your brand.

Once considered to be entirely separate entities, the lines between search engine optimization and social media marketing are beginning to blur. What this means for you, is that when making attempts to promote the greatest force of your online presence, the surge lies in the union between the SEO initiatives you have taken and the caliber of your social content. Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to increase your capacity on social media:

  1. Take the time to formulate connections between the services you offer specific to your business and other businesses who run a similar operation
  2. Increase your involvement in social media communities that are comparable to the one your business is in
  3. Coordinate the compositions of both your website content and your various social mediums to ensure a greater searchability
  4. Have patience. This process takes time and effort, especially trial and error. Don’t expect to show up on Google’s front page within a matter of days or weeks; this is a lengthy process that will factor in all of the ventures you take online

Native Rank is a 2015 Google Partners All-Stars Winner!

Native Rank is proud to announce we have been selected as winners of the 2015 Google Partners All-Stars Contest, an international competition for Google Partners that excel at providing AdWords services to clients.

Members of the Native Rank team won an exclusive, 3 day trip to the Google All-Stars Global Summit at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. We’ll be touring the facility, interacting with the AdWords team, see what Google is focusing on next and networking with other Global Summit participants. 26971 As a member of Google Partners, where membership is earned through some stringent agency requirements such as product certifications, adherence to best practices and excelling with customer service, Native Rank receives access to personnel, agency-only tools, training and other special events.

Congratulations to the entire Native Rank team, but specifically to Jeremy Metzker, Tamas Zalabai, Chelsie Reynolds and Angelina Gurule, for performance excellence, hard work and dedication to the paid search program at Native Rank. PartnerBadge-Horizontal We’ll be sure to update this with photos and experience from the trip in early September. Thanks to all our clients, we hope to continue to help you grow your business!