How to use location-based marketing to draw in new customers.

Digital marketing strategies are a lot more specific than ever before. With so many competitor brands vying for your target audience’s attention, you have no choice but to make sure that you are using your marketing spend as wisely as possible.

With mobile growing at a rapid rate, every brand should be including mobile in their digital marketing strategies as we move into 2017. One of the major advantages of mobile marketing is that you get to benefit from geolocation.

Geolocation recap

Geolocation technology uses a device’s built-in GPS to locate where a user is at any given time. This location data is used by apps that the user has installed on their device.

Users do have the ability to turn this feature off but it isn’t the case very often.

Using geolocation to market your brand

There are so many benefits to being able to place your brand in front of a mobile user at exactly the right time. These are some of the most effective strategies:

Invite consumers to your store

Location-based marketing is the perfect way to get users to come to your store when they’re in the area.

If you already have an app, you could even push through notifications about a sale, a specific product or offer a coupon when an app user is within a certain radius of your store.

If you don’t yet have an app there is also the option of using mobile ads to ensure that your store or business shows up in search results when a potential customer is located in your area.

Recommended Read: Thinking About Developing An App? Here’s What You Need to Know.

Focus on consumer habits

This will require some knowledge of your target audience. As a brand, you need to get into the minds of your audience to understand exactly when they would most likely be in the market for your product or service.

For example, busy commuters that are using the subway during the week will more than likely really enjoy a cup of coffee to give them that boost before they start their day. You need to have a good idea of the venues, events and areas that your target audience frequents and what their needs would be at that exact moment in order to make your marketing message as relevant as possible.

Brands can also make use of a user’s search history to better serve their needs. For example, a mobile user that is searching for information on the best beaches in Miami is more than likely planning a trip there so a guest house or hotel could push through an ad or message to this particular user.

Get a little competitive

If you have competitor brands in your immediate area, why not have your message show up when a potential customer happens to be near your competitors store or place of business?

Offer them a coupon or a special offer that would make your brand more appealing and potentially drive them to your place of business instead. Taking the time to get to know your competitors might be really worthwhile.

Provide access to relevant content

The more relevant you are to an online user, the more appealing your brand and offering will be. When a user clicks through to your website, are they seeing information that’s specific to them? One tactic that you can use is to slightly change up your ad landing pages to be more relevant to users in specific areas.

Recommended Read: Improve Your Landing Page Copy With These Tips.

Even though mobile and location-based marketing does have its limitations, the number of mobile users is only going to increase so taking the time to find out what works for you as a brand when it comes to incorporating geolocation into your marketing is definitely worthwhile.

How to increase your YouTube video views.

Video has become one of the fastest growing forms of content in 2016. In fact, YouTube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% every year.

YouTube is also one of the biggest search engines online today so if you have the means to create interesting and unique video content, it really makes sense to have a presence on this site.

If you already have a YouTube channel setup and you’re looking for ways to increase your views, there are several simple tactics that you can use to do just that.

Titles and descriptions matter

If you want to get someone to watch your video, you need to offer them an intriguing video title and description. Use relevant keywords and phrases in both your description and title as this will not only assist with your video optimization but it will help you draw in the right types of viewers. Keep your titles short and to the point and make your descriptions a little longer and more detailed. Think of your description as a mini blog post.

Keep an eye on analytics

While you might have a million video ideas, they won’t all necessarily be what your audience is looking for. Keep a close eye on your analytics to ascertain which videos have received the most views to date. It’s also helpful to keep an eye on your video comments as this might give you insights into what your viewers enjoyed and didn’t enjoy about the video. Viewers might also offer you video suggestions in your comments section so this is definitely a valuable source of information.

Related Read: Using Facebook Live to Boost Your Brand.

Make use of tags

When you upload your videos, you will see a field for Tags. This is not a field that you should leave open as it will help the right viewers find your videos. Research a few keywords, create some variations and use them when you upload your next video.  Make sure that the keywords are relevant to that specific video though and not your brand in general. More specific, long-tail keywords will ensure that when someone lands on your video they know exactly what to expect.

Benefit from annotations

When you last watched a YouTube video you might have noticed a few annotations pop up. The reality is that YouTube favors channels that have more subscribers so why not ask people to subscribe during your videos. Annotations are not only great for encouraging viewers to subscribe to your channel but you can also get them to watch some more of your videos too. Keep it simple but noticeable. Some videos really overuse annotations and that usually leads to a viewer getting annoyed and leaving your channel for one that offers the same content but fewer distractions.

Promotion is key

As soon as you post a new video, promote it on your website and on your social media accounts. Some brands will create a short blog post that speaks to their latest video and provide a link to it. For some added reach you can even pay to promote your latest video on social media. If you have a newsletter that’s sent out on a regular basis, include your video there too as your subscribers are already fans of your brand. Don’t forget to link to your YouTube channel from your website too.

Channels that get it right

Here are a few YouTube channels that currently have a high number of subscribers.

PewDiePie

Smosh

Jenny Marbles

College Humor

Why you should optimize your social media profiles and how to do it.

Almost every digital marketer and business owner out there has heard of search engine optimization (SEO) and developed a strategy for that exact purpose, but there aren’t many businesses who have also taken the time to optimize their social media profiles.

The search functionality on social media platforms plays an important role in helping users find the brands they love, which is exactly why you should be aiming to optimize your online presence for both Google search engines and for the search functions on your social media profiles.

Adding keyword research and placement to your social media strategy helps create a well-rounded strategy that will boost your placement on both social media and Google search results pages.

Start with keywords

Search marketing begins with keywords. Keyword research and analysis is the first step to optimizing your social media profiles.

By identifying the right keywords you’ll be able to communicate your marketing message a lot more effectively and give bots a better idea of what your pages are all about too. Knowing which keywords will most appeal to your audience will also help you engage with them around topics they would find interesting.

You can use tools such as Google Keyword Planner to research potential search terms but social media platforms are also great keywords research tools. For example, Twitter offers users insights into trending topics and hashtags that you can use to optimize your profile and create your content plans.

Related Read: Using Instagram Stories to Boost Your Brand.

Optimizing your social media profiles

Facebook

When it comes to Facebook your page’s title and description is what you need to focus on first. Your page title should clearly state who you are so make the name as precise as possible. The page’s description should be no more than 160 characters so that when it shows up in Google’s search results, online users will be able to see all of the text.

Your page’s sub-category will play an important role in Facebook’s search results. If you want your page to make an appearance under Pages or Places, make sure that your main keyword is used as your sub-category. For example, if your brand is Nissan India and you want to rank for the car keyword when someone clicks on Car Pages or Places, your page’s sub-category should be ‘car’ or ‘cars’.

It’s also important to have a friendly URL, link to your Facebook page from your website and post content on a regular basis in order to send good signals to search engines.

Twitter

If you want your Twitter profile to appear in Google’s search results, it’s best to concentrate on placing relevant keywords in your profile name and Twitter handle. When Google pulls a brand’s Twitter profile into their search results they show the name, Twitter handle and the number of followers, so using a generic keyword such as ‘cars’ in your Twitter bio will only help you if a user is searching for that term on Twitter.

For example, Nissan India would appear on Google SERPS if someone searched for ‘Nissan India’ but it wouldn’t necessarily appear for ‘cars’ because that term is not present in their Twitter handle or name. If someone had to search for ‘cars India’ on Twitter though, they would show up in search results as their brand is associated with cars and the term has been mentioned in their bio and their tweets.

Along with the above, make sure that you’re tweeting on a regular basis, are retweeting influential people in your sector and that you have a link to your Twitter profile on your website.

LinkedIn

In order to boost your placement in Google’s SERPs, use keywords in your LinkedIn company name and description fields. When a user performs a search within LinkedIn, your company has a better chance of appearing first if their keyword appears in your company or group name too.

Again, it’s important to include a link to your LinkedIn page on your website and even in your emails since you’ll more than likely be emailing potential customers and business associates.

Related Read: Why Your Brand Should Be Using Facebook Live.

While your brand might be present on several social media platforms, there is a way to see how best to optimize your profile on each platform. Search for your company name and keywords within Google Search as well as on the relevant social media platform to see how the search results are being listed and what information is being pulled through.

Find out whether your interstitial ads will get the green light from Google.

As of 10 January 2017, Google will be cracking the whip and penalizing intrusive interstitials.

What this means is that if your mobile website appears in Google’s search results and a user can’t easily transition to your site due to an interstitial ad, Google might penalize your website by lowering its ranking.

What qualifies as an intrusive interstitial?

Google has provided the following “intrusive” signals that can be used to gauge whether your own ads might be penalized.

  • If an interstitial is covering your content immediately after a user clicks through to your website or while they are browsing, it could be seen as intrusive.
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content can be seen as intrusive.
  • Making use of a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold could also raise red flags.

Here are some examples of ads that could be seen as intrusive.

unacceptable-interstitials

Your brand can however use interstitials in the following way to avoid potential penalization:

  • Interstitials can be used for legal obligations such as cookie usage or age verification.
  • Interstitials should use a reasonable amount of screen space and should easily be dismissible.
  • Interstitials can be used as login screens for private content.

Here are some examples of ads that will be accepted by Google.

acceptable-interstitials

Where to from here?

With this new requirement looming, some brands might move away from interstitial ads completely but this isn’t necessary.

With mobile stats rising at a rapid rate, brands will need to start being more strategic about their mobile ads overall anyway, because if you aren’t giving your users a great mobile experience chances are you’re going to drive them away. Interstitial ads are just going to be something extra to pay attention to and be more strategic about.

Brands such as Air BnB are experimenting with interstitial ads that are user-friendly and aren’t raising any red flags with Google.

air-bnb-banners

Google themselves have found a way to still benefit from mobile traffic. Their Google Docs web page might look like an interstitial ad but it is in fact a web page.

google-docs-interstitial-banner

As we move into 2017, it’s time to rethink your digital strategy by focusing more on mobile and how you can best cater to the needs of your audience.

Core benefits of programmatic advertising as we head into 2017.

Programmatic advertising has become a regular feature in most digital strategies and it now represents close to 68% of all digital spend in the US.

Programmatic is so efficient because it affords brands the opportunity to marry rich audience data with targeting and available ad inventory.

2016 is the year that mobile programmatic spend will surpass its desktop counterpart, and mobile video ads in particular will reach record levels in terms of spend according to a report published by eMarketer.

If you’re in the process of developing your 2017 digital marketing strategy, these are just a few of the reasons why you should strongly consider including programmatic advertising, especially mobile video advertising.

Programmatic platforms have evolved

Platforms such as Google DoubleClick Bid Manager are better than ever before. Their comprehensive reports help you understand your traffic and your audience so that you can better optimize your campaigns. It also helps demonstrate the value of programmatic advertising should you ever need to justify your marketing spend to senior management. Programmatic really stands out when you consider that you can show one of your ads to a very specific portion of your audience at a particular time of the day to increase efficiency.

Save on marketing costs

One of the main attractions of programmatic has always been the cost. The cost per impression is significantly lower than if you had to purchase the same inventory from individual publishers directly. Because programmatic allows you to set your own budget, there is also no risk of overspending.

Related Read: How to Design Digital Ads that Convert.

Broader reach

Programmatic is advertising that gives you more bang for your buck. Not only can you advertise your brand on the websites of several different publishers without spending an absolute fortune but you also have the option of advertising across a variety of different devices, which broadens your reach even more.

Instant campaign optimization

The beauty of programmatic is that there’s no need to wait until the end of a campaign to judge how successful it was. With real-time data streaming in all the time you can optimize your campaign whenever you want, which in turn means a lot less wastage in terms of your budget. Programmatic is also a great way to try out A/B testing.

Brands should seriously consider getting on-board with programmatic advertising in 2017 if they aren’t using it already.

How to get the best results from your content marketing.

Nobody gets their marketing right all the time and content marketing is no different.

In fact, making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn what works and what your target audience expects from your brand.

Content marketing should be used to attract a relevant audience and get them to trust your brand. This means creating interesting, useful content on a continuous basis and distributing it on the right platforms in order to reach your ideal target audience.

Types of content marketing

There are several types of content that fit in the content marketing box and it definitely doesn’t just consist of blog posts. Some of the most popular content found online today includes:

  1. Infographics
  2. Videos
  3. Blog Posts
  4. How-To Guides
  5. Case Studies
  6. Memes
  7. Ebooks
  8. Podcasts
  9. User-Generated Content

It’s all about finding out what sort of information your audience is looking for and how your brand can best cater to their needs.

Related Read: Should You Still Be Using Clickbait?

Common content marketing mistakes to avoid

If you would like to see better content marketing stats and results, you should avoid the following mistakes:

Not starting with the bigger picture

Before you start filling out a content calender and spend time creating a variety of content, you need to understand and plan out how this content is going to benefit your brand in the long run. Will it help create awareness or perhaps it will be able to translate into sales?

Not knowing your audience inside and out

Don’t presume to know what interests your audience, instead do the groundwork and put some time and effort into research. If you aren’t able to speak directly to your audience via an interview or survey, using tools such as Google Trends, Reddit and Google Keyword Planner are good places to start.

Selling and not offering value

If an online user feels like they’re reading a sales pitch and not getting any real value from your content, it’s not going to make much of an impact. Make sure that you’re creating content with your audience in mind. While you do want them to eventually become customers, you’re not going to do that if they don’t feel like you’re making an effort to build a relationship with them.

Making content a one way street

Once your content is out there, you need to keep an eye on any feedback that you might be receiving. Engage with your audience around your content, answer their questions and offer even more value where you can.

Not including a call-to-action

While you shouldn’t be developing content to look like a giant online brochure, if you’re not subtly encouraging your audience to take the next step, you might be losing out. It can be something as small as encouraging them to check out your latest catalogue at the end of a blog post or redirecting them to a sale URL at the end of a video.

Being nervous to change things up

You shouldn’t underestimate the power of trying new forms of content, video is one such example. It has become one of the most successful and powerful forms of content as brands can really get creative and users simply need to click the play button to engage with your brand.

Forgetting to promote your content

Your content might be incredible but this doesn’t mean that users will necessarily find it themselves. You have to help your content along by including it in your emails and on social media if you want it to make an impact and start spreading.

Not paying attention to analytics

Once you’ve started promoting your content, pay attention to your analytics. Your analytics will tell you what content it performing the best so that you can create more of the same. You can end up wasting a lot of time and resources if you’re not using your analytics to create content that your audience reacts to.

Related Read: How to Use Old Content for SEO Purposes

How to know whether you should take the app plunge or not.

Now days, there’s an app for pretty much everything. In fact, there are over 1.4 million apps in the Google Play and App Store.

For business owners who are considering building their own app, these are some of the general reservations and questions that come to mind:

  1. App development takes time, money and additional resources
  2. The app market is already quite saturated so is an app really worthwhile?
  3. If I already have a mobi-site, is an app truly necessary?

The reality is that yes, building an app is not something that can be done in a week by your marketing team. If you want an app that makes a real impact and that users will enjoy using, you need to not only have the right resources available to build it but you also need to plan it out thoroughly if you want to benefit from it in the long run.

Did You Know: Users spend 90% of their time in apps compared to the mobile web. —Flurry, 2015

Benefits of building an app

So why should your business develop an app when you already have a responsive website?

Customer loyalty personified

While a mobile website might help you attract new customers on a regular basis, having an app that functions alongside your mobile website means you’re also creating loyal customers. The reason for this is that an app’s icon is present on a mobile device’s screen all the time so your brand is kept top of mind and your mobile platform can be accessed with the touch of a button. It is suggested that you have both a mobile website and an app if you really want to grow your online visitors and customer numbers.

Increased marketing and engagement opportunities

The beauty of an app is that it allows for push notifications, which in turn gives your business additional ways to reach customers. A mobile app fits so well into your overall digital strategy because along with having your websites and engaging with people on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, you can also benefit from personalized, on-demand push notifications that appear right on a user’s device. Push notifications can be used to remind people about your app, you can also send them notifications about sales, offer them discounts and get them to enter upcoming competitions.

How to plan your app

If you’ve decided to go ahead with an app, here’s what to keep in mind:

  1. Decide on a budget. How much are you able to spend on an app? Include development and marketing in your budget and decide whether you’ll be hiring a developer or using an app development program to build it yourself.
  2. Choose a platform. Delve into some of your website stats to find out which devices your customers are using before you decide on an app platform.
  3. Pick your app features. You will need to decide on the features you would like your app to have before you start developing it. Popular features include loyalty programs, push notifications, geolocation capabilities, social media integration and now even virtual reality.
  4. Create a marketing strategy. Once your app is ready to be launched, how will you market it? Make sure that a link to your app is present on both your desktop and mobile sites and promote it on your social media pages. If you have a big sale or event coming up, try and launch it around that for maximum impact.

How to improve the performance of your website for increased conversions.

We live in a world of instant gratification and the world of digital is not a place where users practice a lot of patience. The reality is that users don’t need to be patient because if your platform isn’t giving them what they want fast enough, chances are they can find it elsewhere.

Testing your website speed

When last did you test your website’s speed? It might be the one thing that is contributing to your low conversion rates. Here are some tools that you can use to test your website speed:

Pingdom

GTmetrix

Google Developer Tools

If your website loads in less than 1 second, there is no need to take further action. Anything between 1-3 seconds is above average and anything more than 7 seconds is considered very slow.

If you’ve found your website speed score to be on the low side, you might want to implement a few of the following tips to increase the speed and in turn increase your website traffic and conversion rates.

Related Read: Tips for improving your landing page copy.

Tips for improving your website speed

  1. Re-evaluate your hosting company. Sometimes the only barrier that’s standing between you having a lightning fast website and a slow one is your hosting company. It might be a good idea to check out a few online reviews to find out whether your hosting service provider has a reputation for slow loading times.
  2. Tweak your images. If the images you’re using on your website are too large, they will contribute to slow website speeds. Identify the larger images on your site and reduce them in size where possible.
  3. Clean up the backend of your site. Your website code could also be affecting your load times. Overly complicated code can slow down a website quite drastically. If you’re using a platform such as WordPress, low quality plugins or even unnecessary plugins could also be clogging up your system.
  4. Reduce redirects. Redirects will create additional HTTP requests and in turn slow your website down. Responsive websites will usually have redirects when a user needs to be shown the mobile version of their website. 301 redirects are another example. Screaming Frog is a great tool for identifying these and cleaning them up.
  5. Fix broken links. Use Google Webmaster Tools to identify 404 errors so that you can clean up any broken links or irrelevant pages that might be slowing down your website.
  6. Enable browser caching. When someone visits a website for the first time, the elements of that site are downloaded and stored on their hard drive in a cache. By enabling browser caching, a user won’t have to wait for all of your website elements to load every time and should help speed up your website.

Website loading times play a big role in how users perceive a website and the brand behind it so it’s highly recommended that you pay attention to your loading times and improve where you can on a continuous basis.

How to go about designing the creatives for your next digital campaign.

Display advertising first made an appearance in the early 90’s. Online marketing was a brand new concept and the way that businesses went about advertising online wasn’t nearly as well thought out and strategic as it is today.

Before we knew it, display advertising was popping up everywhere, and a lot of the creatives that crossed your screen were badly designed and almost never relevant to you.

A lot has changed since then and display advertising now takes many forms. You can run banner ads, videos, in-app advertising and social ads. There are multiple ways to reach your ideal customer as they go about their daily browsing but so are a million other brands.

While digital advertising offers incredible and effective branding opportunities, it’s become quite a tough game to be in. Online users are becoming a lot more picky about what they respond to and with the rise of ad blockers, it has become increasingly difficult to get your branding message in front of your ideal audience.

Related Read: What You Need to Know About Ad Blockers.

As you start brainstorming your next digital campaign, you will get to the design aspect of it. This is of course one of the most important aspects of the campaign development process and if given enough attention, can really boost your campaign results.

How to design digital ads that convert

As you design the creatives for your next display advertising campaign, keep the following things in mind.

Define your purpose

Before you even begin creating your next campaign, you need to define its purpose. Why are you running this campaign and what are you hoping to achieve? Do you simply want to create awareness, drive traffic to your website or perhaps you want users to make a purchase. Jot down your campaign objectives and share them with your team before you begin brainstorming creative ideas.

Use your real estate correctly

Display adverts only give you a few moments to capture the attention of an online user and get your message across so it’s important not to jam as much information as possible into a small space. Keep your banner sizes in mind as you develop your wording and when choosing your imagery. Simple is always better. It is also highly recommended that you stick to standard banner sizes.

What are your colors saying?

So many brands forget how impactful colors can be. Every color has the potential to spark a specific emotion in someone so whatever colors you decide to use in your creatives, choose colors that speak to your branding message and what your brand stands for.

what-colors-mean

Flash is a no-no

Whatever you do, don’t let a designer talk you into using flash banners. HTML5 is a much better alternative if you’re looking to create something fun and interactive. It’s also important to keep any animations and banner features simple though as you no longer need dramatic animations in bright colors to grab a user’s attention.

What now?

If you’re looking for users to take a specific action, don’t forget that all-important call-to-action. Some research shows that placing your call-to-action on a button actually increases conversion rates as it really makes the next step obvious to the user.

Make sure it’s readable

Spend time developing your copy and find ways to keep it to-the-point. The fonts that you use will also make a difference to conversion rates. Use a font that is instantly readable or you will most certainly miss out on the chance to bring your message across.

Get picky about pictures

There are a lot of different opinions about whether or not to use images in your banners. Pictures are definitely not a necessity but if you do use them be very strategic about it and make sure that it speaks to your offering. For example, rather than just using a photo of a smiling woman, rather use a photo of a woman interacting with your product.

Should you be worried about the large amount of people blocking ads?

It’s a great time to be a brand. The online world offers a multitude of marketing opportunities every single day and you can speak to your ideal customer without having to spend a fortune.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of people are installing ad blockers on their browsers that are building a wall between themselves and the brands they love.

Ad blocking software stops ads from being served and in turn is limiting advertisers’potential views and clicks.

Ad blocker software usage has grown by 41% globally YoY (Q2 2014 – Q2 2015). Source: Adobe

Unfortunately ad blockers are here to stay and it’s up to brands to think of new, innovative ways to reach their audience.

The reality is that online advertising has gotten a little out of control on some platforms so it’s not hard to see why online users are choosing to block ads out completely. Brands have to become far more strategic when it comes to online marketing. They will also need to think twice about their creatives and brand messages because it’s going to take a lot more if you want to grab an online consumer’s attention.

How to work around ad blocking software

First party data is the way forward

Because you have to be more relevant than ever, simply relying on third party data alone is no longer good enough. Brands should instead be using first party data to develop their targeting strategies and when crafting their branding messages. It’s also important to make sure that your ads are showing at the right frequency and that you aren’t showing up on the wrong websites.

Change up your social strategy

While social media platforms are a lot less affected by ad blockers, brands still need to spend a lot more time understanding their audience. Social media now gives users the option to customize their newsfeeds and only see ads that they feel are relevant to their interests. Make sure that you’re one of the brands that get the green light.

Related Read: Boost Your Brand with Facebook Live

Get real about marketing

Your target audience won’t always be in the market for what you have to offer, which is where real-time marketing comes in. Real-time marketing helps you get in front of a consumer when they’re ready to buy your products or services. By making an effort to keep track of trends, events and popular topics you can quickly cater your marketing to the requirements of your target audience. Real-time marketing also helps you tick the instant gratification box.

Think Apps

If you haven’t yet explored the world of in-app advertising, now might be the time. Ad blockers don’t always apply to all apps so this is still a great opportunity to reach your target audience. It’s advisable to still create a killer campaign if you want to grab a user’s attention though.

Related Read: A Guide to In-App Advertising

Explore native advertising

Native advertising is another way to reach users who might have already installed ad blocking software. Offering readers interesting or helpful content is a great brand placement strategy and the bonus of native advertising is that it’s more likely to be shared than banner ads.