The Whiteclick SEO blog aims to keep you up to date with the latest in the search engine optimisation and marketing industry and the company.
I’ve been analysing online retail trends and wanted to share some insights and key trends...
Let’s start with the obvious. A long-held shopping tradition sees retailers thrive in the lead-up to and aftermath of Christmas, with bricks and mortar stores experiencing massive spikes in foot traffic and sales.
· What about online?
· How do consumers behave online during November, December and January?
· What should retailers be doing to cash in on this behaviour?
Looking at the data from the past two years, there is obvious growth in visitor numbers to the category in November, December and January – with a clear spike in December.
In December 2011, for example, there were half a billion visits to sites in the category. With an Internet population of 19 million in Australia, this equates to about 26 visits per person – almost one a day. The increase in visitation to online shopping sites during this period represents a huge opportunity for retailers.
We are predicting that 2012 will see 25 million more visitations to online shopping sites over the holiday period compared to last year.
So how do marketers best leverage these great opportunities? As search, email and social are the top three drivers to the Shopping and Classifieds category over the holiday season,
Driver #1: Search
Search is the strongest driver to the Shopping and Classifieds category. It is a key tool in attracting people that want to buy to your website; and is valuable in giving consumers the confidence that they will be able to find what they are looking for on your site. As such, marketers should ensure that their websites are better geared for SEO, and that a carefully calculated pay-per-click plan is in place for the holiday period.
Key search tips:
• Take into account that Sundays are the peak visitation days in the two months leading up to Christmas, with a slight drop in traffic in the third week of December.
Boxing Day represents a huge peak in search traffic, with the time spent per visit increasing by almost 30 per cent on this day, as consumers seek value on big ticket items like electrical goods.
• Strong baseline activity: Don’t just plan for the peaks. You should have a strong baseline SEO/PPC strategy in place to capture the overall rise in traffic during the holiday season.
• Incorporate smartphone and tablet ‘friendly’ search methods - ensuring that your campaign incorporates mobile and/or tablet executions could lead to major sales this year.
• Make your campaigns ’Pinteresting’ - Pinterest is one of the hottest names in social media right now perhaps the hottest. And it’s looking to be particularly effective for some retailers, as it provides opportunities to entice consumers with beautiful product images. Retailers running a rich media campaign can use Pinterest to enable users to scroll through holiday products, choose their favourite items, pin those directly to their own boards, and of course follow the retailer’s Pinterest boards.
What about social?
While a recent Experian whitepaper showed that social networks are on the up and up – with Australians typically spending 14.5 hours per month on Facebook and co. – the holiday season is not the best time for marketers to capitalise on this phenomenon.
Over the holiday period, social network usage declines across the board. Along with this decline in overall usage comes a shift in how people are using social networks – the focus is on sharing photos, connecting with friends and sending holiday messages. In short, over Christmas, social networks are used for socialising.
Given that social doesn’t play as significant a role in driving traffic to the shopping and classified category in the holiday season as search and email, marketers should review their spend in this period accordingly. Overall get started now.
The holiday season is nearly upon us, and most marketers will have already done much of the hard work in developing campaigns around driving more traffic to online stores and boosting conversion rates. A lot of campaigns can take months to prepare, so if you’re not ready early, chances are that you will miss out.
So, what should you do? Contact Whiteclick and let's start planning your Christmas search engine marketing now!
A corporate consulting company approached us to see if we could increase their web enquiries. After a quick glance we noticed it was difficult to find information on contacting the business (note: a tiny link to the contact page was buried in the bottom right corner of every page). So we added an eye-catching—but not ugly—link to the contact form in in the top right corner of every page. The result? Their enquiries went through the roof—almost doubling with an increase of 76%. Here’s a Google Analytics screenshot showing the result.I’m not suggesting you should go crazy and turn your website into a dog’s breakfast—you would be surprised at what some people do to pretty looking sites in a misguided attempt to make more sales. Simply make your contact details noticeable by adjusting the font-size, colour or position. This small-yet-simple adjustment can show tremendous results when put into action.
1. Do: Share links pointing to content on your website!
It's concerning how many businesses share links over social networks that direct potential visitors to other sites instead of their own! Your primary social media objective should always be to engage with your target audience, lure them back to your website using great content, and then convert to leads or sales.
2. Do: Finally get around to setting up your business blog
Speaking of great content - a blog is one of the most effective pages to drive traffic to your site! Companies which blog have 434% more indexed pages and 97% more inbound links. For non-SEO nerds, in English this means that investing time and money into a business blog will:
4. Do: Post blogs regularly
Commit to generating 1 to 2 articles a month at minimum. There is nothing worse than visiting a business blog page only to find that their latest article dates back to the time when Nokia's 3310 was still the most widely used mobile phone device!
5. Do: Analyse what content engages best with your audience
Take notice of what is working. Assess your most popular blogs by views per month; your social media updates that garner the most 'likes', 'comments' or 'shares' etc. Use this data as a guide for future posts. It seems like common sense but you'd be surprised at how many businesses fail to identify what makes their audience tick.
6: Do: Set measurable Social Media goals
A big trend for 2012 embraces higher levels of social media monitoring and metrics - but how can you measure your digital marketing success unless you first set goals that are realistic and achievable? Here are a few simple ones to start with:
7: Don't: Ignore Google+
A huge development in 2011 was the emergence of Google's answer to Facebook: Google+. Early membership numbers broke every record in the book, and in late November the search heavyweight announced the provision of Business Pages for brands. While Google was quick to deny any relational effects to SEO and PPC, early data suggests otherwise. Don't be left behind, build your business presence on this network now.
8. Don't: Be tempted to cut costs by attempting DIY pay-per-click
While DIY PPC management may provide initial budget relief in an economic downturn, it often ends up costing much more than you save. The keyword selection process is far more involved than just knowing what your customers are searching for. Targeting the wrong keywords drains advertising spend without providing any ROI. It's a no brainer: Employ an expert to make sure that you're getting the best keywords at the lowest possible price point.
9. Don't: Forget the power of customer testimonials
It is estimated that by 2014, 53% of total retail sales (online and offline) will be affected by consumers who use the Internet to research products before purchasing. Social Media is the new 'word of mouth'. Populate your product/services LinkedIn page so happy customers can endorse you, and encourage influencers to write online reviews or recommend your brand on Facebook.
10. Don't: Be oblivious to what is being said about your business online
Use free web services such as socialmention.com and wotnews.com or even by conducting a simple name search on Twitter to find out how your brand is perceived by the public. Appease customers with complaints and nurture brand ambassadors. Social media is not just for promotions, it is also an invaluable market research tool.
11. Don't: Lose potential business by having an outdated, user un-friendly website
Your website is often the first experience a potential customer has with your company brand. Just like in a job interview, you need to make those first impressions count! Does your homepage load up quickly? Is your content optimized for search? Do you provide eCommerce facilities for users to buy your products online? Or is 'Lets do the time warp again' ringing in your visitors ears when they view your page design?!
12. Don't: Optimise your website for mobile and tablet devices at your own peril!
Sales of iPhones, Androids, iPads and other tablet devices are on the rise and expected to outstrip laptops and traditional computers as the home hardware of choice by 2015. Don't give potential customers an excuse to buy from your competitors - make sure your website can be viewed and utilized in any format.
What are your digital marketing resolutions for 2012?
After many years guiding businesses on how to retool their web sites into effective marketing machines, we've uncovered 5 unbreakable laws for building web sites that sell. Read on to gain precious insights for multiplying the return on your marketing dollar.
1. Do looks really matter? 76% of web site visitors judge the credibility of a business from the appearance of the web site alone—not the content. Many people know professional looking designs increase credibility in the eyes of your web site visitors, but few consider the damage shoddy advertising does to a business. Your web site must look professional otherwise you literally risk damaging your brand.
2. Drive targeted traffic to your business. It's no secret the vast majority of customers now use online search to find local businesses. Many businesses have realised there is little or no benefit in building a web site that no one visits and are getting better and better at finding customers online. Target these customers with online marketing, or somebody else will.
3. Engage your web site visitors. Advertising legend David Ogilvy once said, 'You cannot bore people into buying' and his advice still rings true today. Consumers have never been so informed, discerning and impatient.
Looking for a powerful way to motivate customers to pick up the phone and call your business? The easiest way is to do a bit of online market research and post a compelling offer unlike anything offered by your competitors and post it on your web site. This is a deceptively simple—yet staggeringly effective—way to differentiate your brand from the competition.
4. Make it easy for your customers. The customer of the 21st century is overwhelmed with information and easily frustrated. Usability and clear information design are vital for a successful business web site. Does your home page look like a christmas-tree by cramming everything but the kitchen sink into one page? Or does it present a simple selection of options-just enough for your web site visitors to know how to easily get to the information they're looking for?
Make it easy for your customers…. Or they will go elsewhere.
5. Use your best resource for more sales. Your existing client base have already developed trust and familiarity with your business and will readily buy from you again. And a well constructed web site is the most economical and effective tool to communicate with your customers. Mailing lists, blogs and social media sites all rely upon your web site as the nerve centre for communicating with your customers and new prospects. Have you been using your web site to re-engage your customers?
Are there more approaches than these to make web sites that sell? Sure. But this is the best place to start.
Remember —a well built web site is an investment, not an expense. Poorly constructed web sites almost always come with high maintenance fees and are inevitably scrapped and replaced by better ones as a business grows.
You wouldn't trust just anyone to be the face of your business-and the first time a person visits a business web site is the very first sales meeting that takes place between the customer and your brand. Invest wisely.
A bright eyed and excited constituent of the Whiteclick team invaded Sydney's convention centre, ready to man our first ever booth at the Online Retailer Exhibition with a secret weapon up our sleeves - enter caricaturist extraordinaire and honorary Whiteclick staffer for the week, Kumar!
The idea: Passers by were enticed onto the Whiteclick stand with the offer of a free caricature, to be uploaded to our Facebook fan page. Delegates could then visit the page, tag their own caricature and share with friends.
The hook : The person with the most 'liked' caricature would win a luxurious night away at one of Sydney's leading hotels.
What's in it for us? A way to differentiate Whiteclick from neighboring stands giving out bags, brochures and other 'collectibles' that inevitably get thrown away post conference; not to mention a talking point to start some great conversations with potential new clients. Cool idea huh?!
Did it work? So far we have increased the 'likes' to our Facebook fan page by almost 50%, not to mention more than 17,000 post views which (as you can see by the graphs below) is a phenomenal response!
Final Thoughts : In all our conversations with delegates at the stand, something that became apparent was that there is often a missing element (moving away from all hype that surrounds Social Media Marketing) - its not the amount of likes or followers you have…. It's actually what you DO with them that counts!
So you have 12,000 Facebook fans, but what do you do now? How can you convert these fans into potential new clients/customers?
In the meantime - what are some examples of social media marketing campaigns you feel were the best? What about the worst? Have you attempted to generate users to your fan page with a promotion or marketing campaign? Were you successful?
Website security is an often-overlooked part of developing a site. Everyone says 'yes, we provide the utmost in web security', but what do they actually do? What questions can you ask your web design company to make sure they're actually doing it? And what steps can you take to help protect your site? Read on....
Open source software is much more prevalent in the market these days. We use it ourselves. CMS's like Wordpress, Drupal and Magento are now common bits of software that people know about. These are great tools, however you must keep them updated. While we love open source, it does mean that the code is available to anyone. And that means those with not-so-good intentions can try and find security holes to exploit. The open source community is pretty good with this - there are always updates available and it's highly recommended you keep your software up-to-date!
There's another really common scenario with open source software. And that's the install folder/files! You must remove these once the software is installed. Otherwise anyone can come along and reinstall it. And if you don't back up your site regularly, this can have a devastating effect. So don't just rename the install files - make sure you remove them completely.
So, you've got your software up-to-date, and have removed the install files/folder. What's next? How about your login and passwords? I hope you're not using the default admin:admin or admin:admin123. That would be a bad idea. Go and check this. Now. And if it's default, change it. Heck, why don't you change it regardless!
Ok now we're going to get a bit more technical. You'll most likely have heard of SSL. What's this? It stands for 'Secure Sockets Layer'. That probably still doesn't mean anything to you. Well, to put it simply, it's a security protocol that ensures that data sent using the Internet is encrypted. You'll often see secure web sites displayed with a nice little padlock in your browser.
So when you're using a web site with an SSL certificate, any data that's transmitted between your computer and the web site server is secure (read:encrypted). This means that no-gooders that are 'listening' to this to and fro traffic can't see what's being sent. Which is a really good idea when you're sending private information. Like credit card details. So, if you're web site sends and receives private information, it's a good idea to use SSL.
There's a bunch of different providers of SSL certificates out there; Verisign, RapidSSL and Comodo to name a few. And of course, if that's all a bit confusing, get in touch and we'll talk you through it.
Next up, do you have an online store? Take payments? I hope you're using a secure payment gateway. If not, maybe you're storing credit card information. Please, please tell me you're using SSL. And if you are, you do know this is just a start right?
SSL doesn't completely protect your web site. It does protect the data being transmitted to and from your site. But that's not the information your site holds!
The majority of online stores use a database. And if that database holds credit card information, it makes them it a very desirable target for scammers or hackers. Don't think it won't happen to you.
What's the moral of this story? Only store credit card details if you absolutely must. If you can use a third party payment gateway (Paypal, eWay etc etc...) it does remove the burden somewhat. And if decide to store the info regardless, encrypt it. Plaintext passwords with credit card details are just a recipe for disaster.
Right, I hope this article has shed some light on web site security for you. This is by no means an exhaustive list. It's just a few simple (and not so simple!) steps you can take to help. If it all seems a bit overwhelming, drop us a line, we'd be happy to help. Adios!
Trying to create eye-catching Twitter tweets? Even if you're the strong silent type, 140 characters isn't much to play with.
If you've got a lot to say, yet so little room to say it in, here are some tips to help you create Twitter posts that get noticed, read and retweeted:
Make every word count
Your tweet needs to be punchy, persuasive and straight to the point. For example, "How NOT to...", "6 reasons why...". And a dash of fun can boost your personal/business brand. For example, if you're an accountant and it's tax time, you could tell the world your staff are, "Bean counting like it's 1999"
Include the most powerful message
If you're linking to further information on a site, blog, YouTube, etc make it very clear what the content is all about. Sometimes the existing headline doesn't do that effectively.
Know when it's TMI
Sharing something personal eg birthday, special event etc can help build relationships, as long as it's vaguely relevant. People don't want to know what your cat ate for lunch (unless perhaps, it was a something laying around the home/office that's not designed to be food).
Make it easy to understand
Be creative with your tweet, but not at the expense of clarity. For example, if you're offering financial advice, it's better to say, "6 great ways to skyrocket your superannuation returns" than "Take charge, prosper and reap the rewards". You only have a second or two to grab someone's attention.
By including keywords and #hashtags, people can quickly get the gist of your topic. They can also find your post through search engines, twitter search tools, and hashtag searches/links.
Leave room for sharing
Sorry, but we're going to confiscate another 20 - 40 of your characters. "But why!?", you cry in anguish. So readers can retweet (share) your brilliant message to others.
See how our Account Manager, Jess, keeps her tweets short and beneficial to the reader, with relevant hashtags included?
1. What's my goal with this post?
2. How does it add to my followers and people they might share it with?
3. Does it stand out from the pack?
4. Does it make sense, grammatically?
5. Is the spelling correct?
6. Is it too personal?
7. Am I encouraging people to interact?
8. If I want answers, is this the best way to ask the question?
9. If I have a link, is it working (and is it the right one)?
Sometimes, Facebook feels like being back in the school playground - and not just because you can catch up with the friends and secret crushes you had before taxes, responsibilities and other alien concepts got in the way of a good time.
What I mean is that, we still have a need to be 'Liked' by as many people as possible. At least when it comes to our business pages.
So why aren't we over the popularity contests?
Well you see, some very exciting things happen when people Like your Facebook Page (business page):
Of course, this can depend on how people have their account set up (some only choose to see updates from certain people/companies), but potentially your messages could be reaching tens, hundreds, even thousands of times more people than the number who Like your Facebook page. I guess you'd call it word-of-mouth marketing on steroids.
The other benefit of having a decent number of Likes is that new visitors to your page feel more comfortable about Liking you too - especially if one of their friends has already endorsed you as "likeable".
So what makes people Like company Facebook Pages?
In 2010, Exact Target did some research to find the answers. Here were the top 12 reasons:
What can we learn from this? You're more likely to be liked on Facebook if you:
Why do you choose to Like brands and businesses on Facebook?
... Plus the one thing you can never forget
Every business wants a piece of social media these days. But once you're there, how do you grow a base of fans, followers and friends who want to hear from you, Like and Retweet you, respond to you, become your customers - and recommend you to their own friends and peers?
Here are 10 (+ one) practices that will help you and your business become very 'sociable':
1. Listen to your audience
I don't mean to sound like your third grade teacher or anything, but listening really is 50% of communication.
To understand who your customers are; the things that make them tick; and what they love, hate, and really need from you, take time to read what they have to say in social networks about themselves, their lives, their views, as well as your industry, business, website, social pages, content, the products and services you offer, or are considering selling.
People like to be listened to - and they like the people who listen.
2. Engage with them, don't talk at them
When it's time to talk, show your audience that you really do care about what they say, think and feel. Ask questions, reply to their comments, thank them, praise them where you genuinely believe they've deserve it. Much like all those things we love to hear from the people who matter in our real worlds.
3. Slip in to your customer's cyber shoes
When it's so easy (and cheap) to communicate with your target audience, there's a temptation to bombard them with deals, information and other messages. So every time you create a blog post, Facebook update, tweet, etc, sit back for a moment and ask yourself:
Give them things they can use and they'll be much happier to 'see' you on their social pages.
4. Offer content and ideas they can't find elsewhere
Like the rest of the world, your customers/fans are drowning in a sea of information overload. The only way they can stay afloat is to ignore the bits that don't add value to their world. So how do you get read, re-read and recommended as an expert in your field?
You toss people life rafts of information filled with fresh ideas, viewpoints, statistics, or anything else that makes you one of the few businesses or people they can't afford to let go of.
5. Share your own stories
Relevant stories can offer a glimpse into your business, personality, values, etc. It could be a story about something that happened to you, a client or staff member. It might be funny, informative or heartfelt, such as charitable work your team does or supports. Photos and videos work well too.
Real stuff makes you and your brand more human.
6. Share their news with your circle
Let's face it, the real reason we all love social networks is that it gives us an opportunity to voice and be acknowledged for our views. That's ok, we're only human!
Sharing, retweeting, Liking and commenting positively or constructively on fans/followers/customers content is an endorsement that you appreciate their opinion, sense of humour, etc. How could they not then see you as a smart, likeable and all around fantastic person? :)
7. Timing is everything
When it comes to social content, you snooze you lose. Not just in terms of relevance to your audience needs, current trends etc, but publishing it at the time of the day/week when your audience is likely to be looking at their social pages.
8. Invite customers to be your fans
If you are trying to build your numbers, loyal customers are a logical place to start. They already like you in the real world. And when they comment, Like, retweet, etc online, all their social network friends and colleagues see your words/videos/photos of wisdom too.
9. Respond quickly to the good, bad and ugly
Good and bad word spreads fast in social media. In the past, Dell, United and other major organisations have lost millions of dollars through a single case of bad social media publicity. And it could have all been avoided if they responded immediately in a way that showed they cared and were taking action to help the customer.
People don't expect you to be perfect, they just expect you to treat them with respect when things go wrong.
10. Subtly show your credibility
No one likes a poser. But they do like to know that the people/companies they're buying or learning from have a good understanding of the industry, area, niche, etc they're writing about.
Once you listen, ask questions and understand what your audience need, don't stand up and yell "Hey you, over here, I'm brilliant I am at that!" Instead, weave your experience and knowledge into your stories, ideas, conversations and let them do the talking.
11. Keep it real
People want to get to know other people, not companies. Don't try to 'create' a personality or readers will see straight through you. Yes, have goals, use the steps discussed above, but most importantly, just be your wonderful self.
For a FREE initial consultation with Whiteclick give us a call today.
Talk to our team or arrange a meeting.
02 8212 5425