Why You Should Continue Marketing Through These Tough Times

To say the last few weeks haven’t affected all of us both personally and professionally would be a disservice to our families and businesses. We want to reassure you that we are here for you and remind you of the importance to stay engaged with your clients – even online.

It may be your gut instinct to preserve your business by making cuts to your budget – particularly in marketing. However, studies of recent recessions have shown that businesses that refocus spending outperformed businesses that made sweeping cuts. Businesses that take a more progressive approach to spend during recessions have higher profitability and come out of recessions ahead of their competition.

That’s why it’s so critical to not direct funds away from marketing, but instead, reallocate funding into marketing. When we work together we can ensure that your sales and marketing efforts will not only continue but potentially thrive and lead to a greater chance of success when this time of crisis passes.

Here are some suggestions we have for continuing to reach your customers during the pandemic:

1. Be Easy to Find Online

There are currently more people online than there are people in their cars or walking around outside. Eyeballs are on screens. It’s never been more important to be searchable online.

Now is not the time to be hidden online. You should have:

2. Stay Active on Social Media

It’s not just to remind your customers that your business is still here and needs support, it’s an opportunity to show your audience real empathy. Never has been there a more ideal time to stand out in the marketplace by showing sensitivity and consideration toward people.

Show the people behind the business – staying at home, managing social isolation just like everyone else. Show how you care and how you’re helping – maybe by doing charitable acts or

fundraising. You can promote these good deeds on social media to build your brand. This will resonate with people and they will remember when this pandemic passes and money can flow more freely again.

3. Focus on SEO & Online Reviews

During the very few times many of us leave our homes, we want to stay close by to get food and supplies. Using SEO strategies to optimize your website can help put you closer to the top of the list of search results when people are making location-based searches.

Additionally, now is a great time to accumulate positive online reviews. If you can provide great service during a time of crisis, you can prove the best of your business’s reputation. Ask past customers and, especially, customers you serve during this time to leave you a review either on Google or Facebook.

4. Be Flexible & Connect in Uncertain Times

Nobody really knows what’s going to happen with how COVID-19 plays out and how much it will affect the economy so it’s imperative to remain flexible and fluid with your business during these times. Stay in touch with your customers – via email, social media, snail mail, website, or otherwise – and let them know how you’re adapting your business during these times. For example, if you’re a restaurant – delivery or curbside pick-up. Or if you’re a consultation-based buisness– online meetings only. Let your network know how you’re handling the changes as they come.

5. Use the Downtime to Finish To-Do Lists

Now that we’re restricted to working from home and have reclaimed some time from daily commutes back and forth to the office, it’s likely you have some extra time. Now is a great time to address those marketing to-do list items that have been sitting on the backburner.

Maybe your website needs a redesign and update, or you need some new blog content or social media content. Perhaps you want to start a new email campaign. Now is a great time to outsource that work and get it done. Here are some additional ways to spend marketing dollars on a budget.

Conclusion

We need to stay relevant and top of mind with our clients, especially when the dust settles from this coronavirus pandemic. This disruption will not last forever and we can still reach clients via email, social media, website, and snail-mail. Simply stated virtual is now our reality, but content is still king! As you know, the content that you present becomes your voice. Please reach out to CommCore Marketing if you need assistance with marketing during these uncertain times. Our thoughts go out to all of those affected by this crisis, please take good care of yourself and your family.

What is SEO?

Search engines, like Google, use search algorithms to rank page results that come up when you put in a question or keyword. We try to optimize our content to appeal to or influence these algorithms with SEO techniques. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

SEO is simply the act of attempting to improve search engine rankings by showing relativity and their authority. Higher ranking can mean more web traffic, and more web traffic means a better shot at creating conversions.

Relativity is what Google deems what you would most likely find relevant as results to a given search term. Authority has to do with the number and quality of links from other pages. It’s kind of like an Internet recommendation—the sites with more and higher quality links have more trust and credibility than ones that have fewer links.

 

Mobile-friendly

However, relativity and authority are not the only factors Google’s algorithm cares about. The developers at Google are always working to update the algorithm so Google becomes an even better tool to us. Since everyone started using smartphones, Google decided a couple of years ago to add “mobile-friendliness” into their algorithm.

That means sites will be ranked lower on Google if their site doesn’t have a readable and easily usable layout on a smaller screen.

So, how do you optimize your rankings on Google?

  1. By creating content that uses words and phrases people use when searching for products and services related to your industry
  2. By having your content linked and shared

In simple terms, you’re trying to establish relevance and authority within your industry on the search engine.

 

Keyword Research

When you create content that really offers something useful to the market of interest, you’re doing a great service to your target market. They’re getting good advice from you—for FREE! People love getting valuable information for free.

To make this valuable and free information more accessible, we do research to find out which keywords and key phrases are most optimal to be used in your content so that people who are interested will have an easier time finding it. Hence, more traffic!

You might be thinking “well, hey I know what words and phrases my target market is using. I’ll just load my content up with these words!” Not a good idea. This is called keyword stuffing, and Google will penalize your site in the search rankings if too many of the same words or phrases end up on the page together, or too close to each other.

Google isn’t stupid. The algorithm helps it read your content so it can rank it for user experience. Ultimately, search engine ranking all comes down to user experience.

Keywords are just one on-page factor that contributes to SEO. Other things to consider include:

  • Slug (this is the part of the URL that comes after the site name.)
  • Title tags
  • Meta descriptions
  • Header tags
  • Alt tags (tags on images)
  • Internal links

 

Create Authority by Creating Value

When you get more traffic, more people will want to share the valuable information you have to offer. Google will take note of this and say “Hey, this site must have something of value to people, we better put it up higher in the rankings so it’s easier to find!”

And just like that, you’ll have more authority on Google. But you can’t just be shared or linked to by any old website. You could have 10 really poor quality websites linking to your content and that wouldn’t mean as much to Google as one really high-quality website linking to your content.

 

Linking Structure

In fact, if you do have poor quality websites linking to your content, Google might actually penalize you! Why you might ask? Because years ago before Google ranked sites on quality, everyone was trying to get as many links to their website as they could to manipulate search results.

Google caught on to this and put a stop to it. Now you can’t have any old spammy site linking to you. You have to have sites with good authority linking to you. Just like with people, in the search engine ranking world, you are only as good as the company you keep.

This is called backlinking. In addition to backlinking, other off-site ranking factors can include:

  • Citations
  • Reviews
  • Social traffic
  • Paid search results

(Yes, your paid ads will affect your organic rankings!)

 

Conclusion

Don’t get on Google’s naughty list, do SEO the right way. (Also known as white hat SEO.) Create valuable and useful content with researched keywords and phrases, strong links, and thoroughly optimized on-page elements—content so good that people have to share!

 

9 Tools for Optimizing your Website

When it comes to marketing in 2017, you want your website in tip-top shape for your users. Your website is your digital storefront. A slow-functioning site, poor user experience, or less than stellar content might as well be a dingy, unkempt shop that has your name and reputation on it.

But let’s be real— when you’re busy running a business, it’s difficult to stay on top of your website. Even if you outsource your web management to save yourself time, you can run into snags. Not every freelancer or agency can be trusted to produce the quality work you deserve. Going back to improve outsourced work is a waste of your time and money.

So how do you manage to optimize your website when you’re busy with clients and the thousands of other things you do to keep your business growing?

Luckily for you, there are some tools out there to help make the task of managing your website easier. Here are nine tools you should know about:

1. Copyscape
Whether you outsource your content or have it written in-house, it’s important that your content is not plagiarized. But you can hardly take the time to double-check by Googling chunks of your content line by line.

Enter Copyscape.

It’s a cloud-based content scanner that tells you how unique your content is, and whether or not it’s duplicated from some other content out there on the web. While the free version of Copyscape won’t scan unpublished content, the paid version allows you to scan content in draft form.

2. SEO for Chrome
If you’re a Chrome user, you know how useful toolbar extensions can be. SEO for Chrome allows you to instantly check up on your search engine ranking compared to your competitors. You can also analyze SEO to analyze PageRank.

SEO is available for the Firefox toolbar as well.

3. Google Webmaster Tools
This is an incredible free tool that sets you up for success when it comes to SEO. It includes very helpful features such as HTML improvements, a structured data testing tool, removes URLs, and a data highlighter. This is an especially helpful tool because it’s made by Google, the number one authority on search engine rankings.

4. Open Site Explorer (formerly SEOMoz)
This tool created by Moz offers a wide selection of optimization tools.
Some notable features include:
● Quickly finding backlinks
● Link analyzation with data demonstrating how those links can influence your ranking
● Competitor site comparison
● Free for a limited number of queries per day

5. Google Adwords Keyword Planner
This tool is the one-stop shop for figuring out what keywords you want to use. The Keyword Planner is perceptive and user-friendly, providing a rough estimate of traffic for each keyword, a mix and match keyword planning feature, and the ability to save multiple keyword lists.

6. KISSMetrics
Google Analytics is great for giving you insight into your website, but KISSMetrics takes it up a level. KISSMetrics gives you data on who specifically is visiting your website and taking action. This information is far more valuable and takes your insights deeper.

7. CrazyEgg
Have you ever wondered how a visitor’s eyes move across your web page? CrazyEgg gives you heat maps of your website that gives you insight into where your visitors click and how far down the page they scroll. This is especially helpful for determining where to place calls to action on your page.

8. Test my Site by think with Google
Did you know that most sites lose half their visitors while the site is loading? You can retain visitors simply by speeding up the load time of your site. Test my Site allows you to plug in your URL for free and gives you feedback on how fast your site is compared to others, and suggestions on how you can speed up your load time.

9. Sumo
Sumo is software as a services (SaaS) that helps you grow website traffic and conversions. This software works effectively to build lists of leads by placing unique pop-ups and share buttons in optimal locations on your pages. Sumo also features heat maps and real-time visitor analytics.

Conclusion
Don’t get caught with a less-than-optimized website. Take advantage of these tools, especially the free ones. If the ones listed above don’t fit your fancy, there are a plethora of other tools out there to improve your website.