5 Advanced Marketing Strategies to Elevate Your Business

When marketing your business online, you have to stay ahead of the curve. Rather than simply creating a social media account, you need to make sure that you can engage your audience in ways that your competition is not taking advantage of.

For that reason, marketers and business owners constantly inquire about the newest and most effective marketing opportunities available online. If you have a similar question, here are 5 advanced marketing strategies your business can take advantage of.

1) Add Value to Your Product or Service

Value adds are a perfect way to both increase awareness of and loyalty towards your brand. If you can give away more than the actual value of your product or service, the persuasive power of your marketing efforts will increase immensely.

Value additions can come in a variety of forms. For example, you can give loyalty discounts to repeat customers, or add a free promotional gift for new customers. Increasingly, companies focusing on digital lead generation are adding value through high-quality gated content, such as whitepapers, webinars, and free trials.

The goal of this marketing strategy is simple. If a member of your target audience has to choose between you and your closest competition, what will make them more likely to choose your product or service? The answer to that question translates into your specific value ad.

2) Take Advantage of Enhanced Personalization

At this point, it’s no longer news to say that your digital marketing efforts should be personalized. In fact, the clear majority of your audience expects exactly that. In turn, distinguishing yourself from your competition has to include an effort to go the next step.

In your digital marketing, that next step could consist of smart content. True website personalization goes beyond simply including a recipient’s first name in an email, instead adjusting website content dynamically based on previous information gathered about a visitor.

An existing lead, for example, can now see an entirely different homepage than a visitor that has never before made it to your website. As a result, you can deliver more personalized content, which in turn helps to increase the relevance of your messaging for your audience.

The same personalization is also possible through other marketing channels. Emails, for example, can be customized entirely using advanced audience segmentation and custom content blocks. The goal, as in the above, is to create a more relevant marketing experience for potential customers.

3) Build an Influencer Network

Many experts in digital marketing believe that leveraging influencers is the next big thing. Audiences across demographics are growing increasingly weary of traditional advertisements. Ad blockers are causing billions of revenue losses. The solution: work with key members of your audience to make sure the message comes from them, not you.

Building an influencer network takes significant time and effort. It includes not just finding powerful online users who your audience trusts, but also developing a relationship with them. Only finding the right users, and successfully encouraging them to share the right content, can help you succeed.

But if you get there, the positive effects are powerful. In fact, one case study found that influencer marketing delivers an 11 times higher ROI than other digital marketing methods.

4) Utilize the Power of Local SEO

In the last few years, search engine optimization has evolved to far more than a universal ranking on search results. For example, Google now takes into the account the location of searchers, allowing local brands to stand out even against national competitors.

As a result, Google is now encouraging businesses of all sizes to focus on local SEO. The keys to success can vary. But a successful strategy can ensure that your key demographics will find you when looking for a brand like you.

Especially mobile audiences can make a big impact on your SEO efforts. In fact, 50% of users who conducted a local search on their smartphone visit a store they found in that search the same day. Meanwhile, 89% of participants in a recent survey said they search for local businesses at least once per week.

5) Create Enriched Visual Content

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of visual content. Unless you are new to digital marketing, you probably already know the impact that videos and images can have on your visits, engagements, and conversions. But the possibilities don’t end there.

360 degree video, for example, is becoming increasingly popular. It allows you to showcase your brand and its product in more creative ways. Google and Facebook both support this virtual reality opportunity, while the cost of 360 cameras has dropped to prices affordable even for small businesses.

The key is no longer to use visuals, but to use visuals that are different from your competition. Enriched content, such as 360 degree video and even infographics, can help you get there.

Building a Digital Strategy for 2017 and Beyond

These strategies are not always simple. It’s easier to simply send out an email blast or post on social media than it is to create a 360 degree video or rank #1 in local searches. But executed correctly, they can become the cornerstone of a successful digital marketing strategy that puts your brand ahead of your competition.

Of course, you need a sound backend for any of these strategies to work. Increasingly, websites are becoming the foundation of successful digital marketing, offering the conversion opportunities as well as in-depth content your audience looks for after first being exposed to your marketing messages.

For help in creating a website that can support advanced marketing strategies like the above, contact us. We’d love to work with you in making sure that your marketing efforts stand out, both in 2017 and in years to come.

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Everything You Need to Know about the Google Sitelinks Search Box

The Google Sitelinks Search Box is yet another SEO feature that can impact your site traffic and user experience. In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the search box, including how to use it to your benefit.

What it is

First, let’s go over what the Google Sitelinks Search Box looks like, because chances are you’ve already seen it. It appears on Google’s SERPs under a website link and lets you search there before taking you directly to the website’s search results.

The Google Developers page explains the need for this feature. Their goal is to make the search experience better for users by allowing them to place all of their searches right on Google’s site:

“Search users often perform navigational searches using product or brand names. Then, on the product or company website, they perform a second search for specific details. Using sitelinks searchbox markup in your content lets the user perform the second search without leaving the original, navigational search results.”

For Google, it’s all about providing users with an optimal experience. The real question is how this affects businesses and their website’s usability.

How it works

The function of the Google Sitelinks Search Box is simple. The Google Developer’s Page offers Pinterest as an example. If you search Pinterest on Google, then you’ll see the corresponding search box directly under the first link.

If you search for something within that box, then you’ll be brought straight to the search results on Pinterest’s website. It’s the same as going directly to Pinterest and using the search box on the site. Just simpler and fewer steps.

How you can optimize your site for it

This feature is mostly beneficial for businesses. Not only does it bring users to your site, but it also lets them search for specific terms before they ever get there.

The only thing that’s left is optimizing your site for the search box. The Google Developers Page offers some help in this respect. It suggests, for example, adding a markup to your site’s homepage, specifying only one URL search pattern per platform, and always including a search target for your website.

If you have a WordPress site, then you just have to add a few lines of code to the header.php file of your site. This will signal to Google that your site is compatible with the Sitelinks Search Box.

How to disable it

Of course, not all businesses will want to take advantage of this feature. You might think that by allowing users to go straight to the search box on Google’s SERPs, they’ll be missing an important component of your site experience. This may compromise your content hierarchy and encourage users to skip over critical information. Alternatively, you might be considering this feature’s impact on your page views and ad revenue. Either way, there are legitimate reasons to disable it for your site.

The good news is that you can disable the feature at any time. This Search Engine Land article offers the code you need to do that:

  • (meta name=”google” content=”nositelinkssearchbox”)

Here’s the one caveat, according to the article:

“Webmasters who add this tag to their site, will communicate to Google not to show a sitelinks search box when your site appears in the search results. The sitelinks search box will be disabled as part of the normal Googlebot crawling and processing of the page, which can take a few weeks depending on the site and other factors.”

So, it might take a couple of weeks to disable the feature completely. But once it’s gone, it won’t come back.

If at any point in time you decide you’d rather have the Sitelinks Search Box, then you can just remove the code, and wait a week or two for it to start showing up again in Google’s SERPs.

Why it’s not appearing for your site 

Some businesses want the Sitelinks Search Box to appear under their link on Google’s SERPs, but never actually see it. There are a few possible reasons why this could happen.

This SEM Post article takes a look at what John Mueller said in a recent Google Webmaster Office Hours event. According to the article, the main takeaway is that just adding a schema to your site won’t guarantee it to get a Sitelinks Search Box in Google’s SERPs:

“If you do not already show a Google search box in your Google search results listing, merely adding the schema won’t trigger Google to suddenly display it.  So while you can still add the schema, don’t expect to suddenly see the site search box for your site in the search results.  This is something that John Mueller explained in a recent Google Webmaster Office Hours.”

In other words, while optimizing your site for the search box won’t hurt your chances, it also won’t automatically trigger it on Google’s SERPs.

Like always, Google factors in site quality and searcher intent when incorporating these features. If you’re doing everything you can for the Sitelinks Search Box and still not getting one, you might be better off reevaluating your site content and design.

The Google Sitelinks Search Box can improve your user engagement by making it easier to search on your site. Optimizing your site for this feature is relatively easy if you use WordPress. Moreover, you can also easily disable the feature if you decide that’s best for your user experience.

To talk more about the Google Sitelinks Search Box and how it affects your web design and marketing strategy, contact us today.

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