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5 Cost-effective content marketing ideas for a small business

Marianna Muscat - Monday, January 11, 2021
Content marketing

If you are running a small business on a tight budget with little to spend on marketing, take a look at these 5 budget-friendly content marketing ideas to turn your small business into an empire. 

1. Repurposing old content

Repurposing old content or Historical optimization as it is also known, is a great way to breathe new life into your ‘old’ content. Freshen up and update old content from a few years back or even from last month. Make sure it is updated for SEO with link building and keywords so that it’s able to generate more traffic and conversions than it already does. You can even take it a step further and recycle your old content in new creations. Take a blog post and turn it into a video or take a series of blog posts and turn them into an ebook.

2. Be a savvy social networker

SMM (Social Media Marketing) does not always have to include paid platforms or PPC (pay-per-click) advertising if your budget is tight. Share your content across a variety of social media networks by posting text, status updates, and videos without forking out a dime. UGC (user-generated content) is another extremely valuable tool to keep your content authentic and to create a sense of community around your brand. Best of all, it’s totally free.

3. Lists 

People love lists and they are among the most shared content on the internet. Lists are a great way to engage your audience with useful and straightforward information and it’s generally easy content to compile. Use a variety of formats to keep it interesting and create lists that are relevant and helpful to your specific audience. 

4. Blog posts and articles 

 Great content needs to be relevant to your target audience and optimized for SEO. If you are unsure what your customers want to read about – ask them. Update your content regularly so your audience can always have something new and interesting to read and share. 

5. Infographics

Infographics are not only powerful marketing tools, but are also a feast for the eyes and usually easy for audiences to understand. If you are up for it, create your own infographics using free vector kits that provide you with all the elements you need to make colorful and informative infographics. Remember to include your business name and website somewhere on the infographic so that if it gets shared, people will revert back to your website when they want more information. For more information on website design get in touch with WSI New Media Marketing in Greensboro, NC, today.  

What is an inbound ready website?

Marianna Muscat - Monday, January 4, 2021
inbound ready website

To understand what an inbound ready website is, you will first need to know what inbound marketing is. Inbound marketing is a type of marketing that puts the human element back into marketing. It educates and engages with potential buyers instead of just selling to them. Outbound marketing, on the other hand, interrupts your potential buyers with brochures, television and radio advertisements, print ads, cold calls, and email blasts. Inbound marketing does not do any of this. 

Inbound marketing does not fight for potential customers, rather it attracts customers through informative and engaging content. It addresses problems and concerns of potential clients, answers those concerns, and builds trust and credibility in the brand. Inbound marketing includes email marketing, but it’s targeted at true opt-in contacts and not just blasted at an audience who may not even want to hear from you. Inbound marketing is about nurturing your leads and audiences by offering them something valuable, like perhaps a jam-packed and informative newsletter. 

Inbound website design

An inbound ready website uses a modern website design called UX/UI design. These initialisms stand for User Experience Design and User Interface Design. Both need to be in place to totally optimize your user’s experience and for your site to be fully functional as an inbound website. 

Your inbound ready website needs to make good use of whitespace. Less is more, and you don’t want your pages crammed to the brim with content and visuals. A clean and simple website with lots of whitespace will be easy to view and navigate.

Lastly, an old and outdated website can reflect poorly on your brand and destroy your reputation. Audiences will not want to linger on a website that has nothing to offer them. Make sure yourAbout us’ page tells a great story and is up to date. Outsource a writer to do this for you to liven it up and make it interesting to read. Be sure to add fresh Search Engine Optimized content to your site regularly. Make your content great so that users check in regularly to see what’s new. Don’t forget to include CTA’s (calls-to-action) strategically throughout your pages to motivate your audience to take action.

Whether you are totally new to the world of digital marketing and need a complete revamp or simply want to improve your current digital marketing strategy, our digital marketing agency in Greensboro, NC, can help. We also offer web design, content creation, and copywriting services. 

How to create a social media marketing strategy

Marianna Muscat - Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Social Media Marketing

Setting up a social media marketing strategy can seem like a momentous task and that could be why some businesses end up doing just the bare minimum when it comes to building their online social media presence. Others hire a digital marketing agency to help them out. Challenges abound, like finding the time that is required to do your social media correctly, and then also which platforms to choose? There are so many platforms today that all have enough traffic to merit consideration – so where does one start?

Have a clear vision for your company and set some goals

Your vision for your company should determine your goals. Ask yourself what you would like to achieve from your social marketing strategy. Not sure? Here are some ideas.

  1. Increasing brand awareness
  2. Generating more sales
  3. Growing your audience
  4. Capturing, let’s say 50 or 100 more email addresses a week
  5. Responding to all social media comments and queries

Choose the right channels

 A golden rule here is to do a handful of channels and to do them well. Pinterest, for example, is a graphics-heavy platform with 71% female users so that may not be a good channel to use if you are selling a service or appliance more suitable for men.  Facebook is by far the biggest platform with over 2 billion monthly active users and is great for lead generation and to show the human side of your business. Linkedin, on the other hand, is great for B2B businesses and editorial content and has a slightly older audience than some of the other platforms with most users being between 30 – 49 years old.

Analyze your competition

Keep abreast of what your competition is up to, not to copy them, but to rather gain valuable insight on what is (or is not) working for them. Look out for posts on their pages that perform well and then analyze why. You can then adapt your campaign based on your conclusions.

Plan your content

In January 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay entitled “content is king” and great content is certainly key to inbound marketing which draws your audience to you. Great content is still key to inbound marketing and also arguably the most important part of your digital marketing efforts. It helps you to build trust and to connect with your audience. 

Create a content calendar to clearly outline your content strategy. If consistency is a problem, think about how a theme could help. For example, on Instagram, you could run all your photos through the same filter to ensure consistency. Or, you can lessen your workload and increase your credibility by inviting consumers to submit user-generated content (UGC) in the form of photos or videos.  And if you’re not a professional designer, there is no need to fret as you can create engaging imagery relatively easily with a free app like Canva.

In summary – Your social media strategy cannot be a static exercise and will need to be constantly adapting and evolving to work for you. Companies with a clear strategy and realistic goals in place will be much more successful with their digital marketing campaigns. Find out more by reaching out to WSI New Media Marketing in Greensboro today.

Are Google ads worth the investment?

Marianna Muscat - Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Google ads

There is little point in having an amazing website if nobody can find it on the web. Yes, you can spread the word to family and friends and potential clients, but there could literally be thousands of others that would be using or buying your products or services – if only they knew you existed. This is where digital marketing and online advertising can help you.

What are  Google Ads?

Google ads (previously Google Adwords) is a PPC (pay per click) online advertising platform developed by Google, that allows you to advertise on a SERP (search engine results page) by paying for specific keywords that are pertinent to your product or service. Every second, there are around 2.3 million searches performed on Google, and most of the search results pages include Google ads that are paid for by businesses.  Of course, you could also get your business to show up on a SERP organically through SEO, and then your business or service would probably show up a little bit below the paid Google ads – which isn’t too much of a problem. So are Google ads really worth it then?

Pros

  • You can do location targeting and zero in on a specific area or niche
  • PPC means you only pay when someone clicks on your website or landing page
  • Easy to track ROI (return on investment) 
  • You can start, stop or adjust your bid at any time giving your business great flexibility
  • It allows you to advertise to thousands (if not millions) of people for a relatively low cost

Cons

  • Google ads can be hard to navigate so it is easy to make mistakes
  • Keyword pricing can be heavily influenced by the competition
  • Will need a great website or landing page
  • Ad campaigns need to be managed and adjusted to optimize results
  • May take a while to see long-term benefits

Website or landing page specifications 

If you decide Google ads would be good for your business,  you don’t want to be giving Google your hard-earned cash for nothing. Since you will be sending more potential clients to your website, make sure your website or landing page is easy to navigate, not confusing in any way, and very importantly, actionable. Increased traffic to your website does not automatically mean more clients, so make sure your web page keeps them engaged and motivates your audience to take action.

For cutting-edge digital marketing services and solutions to take your business to new heights contact WSI New Media Marketing in Greensboro today.

Tips for getting the most out of your holiday marketing

Marianna Muscat - Monday, November 9, 2020
Pay Per Click Red Button

This holiday season, make pay per click advertising (PPC) the strongest weapon in your marketing arsenal.

We have seen how this year has flown by in a haze and the holiday marketing season – along with a chance to make good on the year’s targets – will soon be upon us.

Why is PPC so effective? 

The primary benefit of PPC is that you only pay for the ads that have been clicked on. This means that you are only paying for an already-filtered audience and people who have no interest in your product or service are already sifted out of the potential audience. Minimal wastage.  It also means that your marketing message is highly customizable and can be tailored for a more selected or niched market, creating what is perceived as an intuitive, bespoke message.

From the back end, we as your local SEO company can track your advertising and thereby provide valuable data on your ROI almost immediately, allowing you to respond to trends or opportunities as they arise.

One of the attractions of PPC is that it levels the playing field for smaller businesses which can ordinarily not compete with the huge ad spend of large corporations – especially in the holiday season when those budgets go into the millions.

We can even tailor your PPC advertising so that you can show ads on mobile search results giving users an option to click-to-call from the ad and make direct contact with your company.

Another PPC marketing benefit is that it allows you to drive traffic to your site within hours, so your holiday marketing can be time-specific. It is faster than an SEO campaign that could take weeks or longer to show results.  With PPC advertising, your ad will show up on search result pages as soon as the campaign goes live.

Why is the holiday season the ideal time to start using PPC advertising to bolster your campaign? 

Apart from the obvious benefit of creating a seasonal campaign so that your ad appears only for a certain time period, you can also bid on only the amount you are willing to spend. You can even choose to target your ads to a specific position, keyword, or time of day! Holiday season marketing campaigns are the ideal time to incorporate PPC advertising into your campaigns, so speak to your SEO service provider to action this.

The local SEO agency with global expertise 

For more information on pay per click advertising, as well as effective social media marketing, local marketing, and mobile content marketing, contact your local SEO company – WSI New Media Marketing in Greensboro – today!

The five critical elements for local marketing success

Marianna Muscat - Monday, November 2, 2020
Two guys looking at computer screen

Local SEO marketing increases geographically-relevant traffic to your website so that prospects in your area can easily find your business. It is particularly important that your business appears in local searches on mobile devices – where users are looking for a solution on-the-go. Google notes that 46% of searches have a “local intent”. Here are five critical elements to get more outstanding visibility than your local traffic competitors.

1. Listing management 

This is the bedrock of a successful local marketing strategy. It is not as creative and colorful, as methodical and systematic.

Claim your listing on search engines and online directories like Google, Facebook, Apple Maps, Bing, Yelp, and industry-specific directories.

Clean up your data by making sure that every citation of your business on the web is accurate and in alignment, especially your NAP – business name, address, phone number – must be exactly the same throughout.

Elevate search engine rankings with correct, current, and consistent local data including:

  •         Maps
  •         Product categories and descriptions and/or services provided
  •         Business hours
  •         Payment options and coupons or vouchers
  •         Photos – In the last couple of years Google has increased the number of mobile SERPs that contain an image thumbnail by a whopping 200%.

2. Local SEO 

The algorithms used by search engines return more pertinent results according to user location, so it makes sense to use local SEO strategies to build a strong customer base. If you are a national brand with multiple branches, your local pages need to be discoverable individually and via your brand website. Localize your site by:

  •         Incorporating city and state names in title tags.
  •         Including product categories in your meta descriptions.
  •         Helping search engines to understand your page better with schema markup for local business names, addresses, and phone numbers.
  •         Including local street names and product categories to URL structures.
  •         Sharing operating hours, directions, and local descriptions via on-page business content.
  •         Track and update citations. 

3. Local landing pages   

Create a mobile-friendly landing page for each of your locations. Not only does this capture local consumer demand, but it also collates valuable metrics for your ongoing local marketing efforts. Ditto utilizing trackable local phone numbers – mobile phone users want to contact local businesses and campaign performance can be measured.

Link to review sites such as Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, and other industry-specific sites to boost your reputation management and review marketing.

4. Reputation management 

Because 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, social proof your offerings by encouraging online reviews and other forms of user-generated content (testimonials, social posts, and comments). The best way to increase the volume of positive reviews is to ask your customers to write them. Encourage review-writing by making it easy.

Use marketing automation tools to keep track of what is being said about your brand, and swiftly address inevitable negative feedback.

5. Paid search and social media 

Geographically target your marketing message on social platforms according to location to engage mobile consumers and increase offline conversions.

Use paid search and social advertising to boost markets that are underperforming. 

The local SEO agency with global expertise 

For more information on local marketing, as well as effective social media marketing, pay per click advertising, and mobile content marketing, contact WSI New Media Marketing in Greensboro today!

 

 

Three Types of Social Media Marketing You Shouldn’t Ignore

Marianna Muscat - Tuesday, October 13, 2020
social media services

As part of your social media marketing strategy, you should include paid social media, dark social media, and influencer marketing. Here’s why:

Paid Social Media Marketing 

Social media marketing has progressed to a point where sharing the odd post – no matter how well-crafted – with your followers and expecting them to do the rest is no longer effective.

To target your ideal customer, nurture their buyer journey, and ultimately get them to purchase from your website, you need to take advantage of the fact that all social networks now offer post promotion. Not only does paid social media put your message in front of far more users, not using this tool actually puts you on the back foot. According to a 2018 survey, 92% of small businesses are increasing their investment in social media.

Even though advertising on social media gives immediate visibility to your brand, don’t give in to the temptation to spend, spend, spend! From elementary user demographics to psychographics such as values and attitudes, interests and lifestyles, and personality, social media platforms have parameters to enhance your targeting.

But first, you need to determine whether Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Instagram is the best fit for your ideal client. It’s all about utilizing the appropriate platform to target the right audience with engaging content.

Facebook is by far the biggest of all the social networks with 2.41 billion monthly active users. An average Facebook user clicks on 11 ads per month. Their advertising costs vary depending on many factors like your industry, location, and objectives, but the average price for an advert decreased 4% in Q2 2019. Facebook is therefore a good place to start.

Dark Social Traffic 

Not to be confused with marketing on the dark web, dark social media refers to the sharing of your content without your knowledge. Although you cannot track the impact of dark social media with your regular analytics, more than 80% of sharing from marketing websites happens “invisibly”.

If you think of it as a digital word of mouth, it makes sense that this is even more powerful amid COVID-19 social distancing, working from home, and digital communities.

So how do you get in on this action? Make sure that you include buttons on all your output that encourages sharing through email, text message, or direct social messaging. Moreover, include a strong call to action to go to a landing page, read another post, or sign up to your email list.

Having a prominent, respected trendsetter in your niche share your content in this intimate way will drive mass traffic. That’s where the next category comes in.

Influencer Marketing 

As consumers are bombarded with ever more marketing messages, so they tend to filter out an increasing amount. One way to catch the attention of prospects is to leverage the power of humans in your digital marketing.

Marketing guru Seth Godin notes that “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.”

From published authors in serious fields to mainstream celebrities for younger audiences, influencer marketing uses the trust they have established with their large following to punt your product by supporting or endorsing your brand or co-creating content.

This is not an overnight strategy, as you need to build a relationship with influencers in your niche. Engage with them to the point where they value your expertise and enjoy your content. Slow and steady is the name of this game, but the results are well worth the wait.

If you are looking for a world-class social media marketing agency to keep you current and competitive, then you are in the right place. WSI New Media Marketings social media services can help you realize the true potential of social media for meaningful conversations and winning relationships. For more information about our digital marketing agency in Greensboro, contact us today.

Ten Tips for Aligning SEO & PPC for Better Ecommerce Results

Marianna Muscat - Tuesday, October 6, 2020
SEO services

The change in lifestyle brought about by COVID-19 has highlighted the need for SEO services more than ever. Even demographics who would previously not have been big e-commerce shoppers have been persuaded to go online as the pandemic has kept them indoors. This makes logical sense, and the stats prove it:

  • Compared to the same period last year, U.S. e-commerce sales in July increased a whopping 55%.
  • As a total of retail sales in the U.S., e-commerce more than doubled from Q1 2020 to Q2. “That’s over a decade of growth in the space of just a few months.”
  • Year on year, Amazon sales rose by 40% for Q2 2020 to $88.9 billion.

SEO and PPC tips for e-commerce success

  1. Create a strategy for SEO and PPC synergy

Google Shopping has reintroduced free listings that are generated by the Google Merchant Center. Maximize your holiday shopping campaign by aligning your organic search (SEO) and paid search (PPC).

Use your PPC spend to target high-value queries on channels where paid listings lead the results.

Seek out opportunities to use SEO to rank for searches that attract a high click-through rate.

  1. Analyze Search Trends

Take note of the top search queries in your category. Utilize the results to keep SEO core to your strategy, influence your marketing messaging, and inspire your paid search.

  1. Plug Fresh Content

Use SEO analysis as a guideline to create current, pandemic-related content that develops trust with your readers by showing your understanding and support.

PPC can then be used to attract some immediate traffic and fill in any gaps. The best part? Informational queries are generally cheaper per click – extending your budget.

  1. Test with PPC

Paid search provides feedback on what type of message and imagery works best – almost immediately. Use PPC to test various new ideas and tweak your SEO accordingly.

  1. Lengthen Your Marketing Funnel

The more familiar people are becoming with using search engines, the more diverse their reasons for doing so.

Take time to nurture prospects during the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey using an appropriate blend of SEO and PPC efforts.

  1. Draw your audience a picture

As part of your search plan, make sure to include images and videos to keep up with the increasingly visual nature of Google. Keep your visual content consistent in SEO and PPC.

  1. Leverage Ad Extensions

Take advantage of callouts, structured snippets, and other ad extensions – such as Google’s beta “Curbside pickup” badge – to share extra information about your products and services.

  1. Add to Google

As Amazon and Walmart’s advertising improves, you may want to spread your e-commerce budget across all retailers and search engines – adjusting as their ROI becomes evident.

  1. Avoid Google

Consider how you can optimize your PPC spend and SEO efforts with alternatives to Google. Specialist search engines are slightly less competitive as they already have built-in customer intent. Video search engines are increasingly gaining popularity – an exciting way to showcase what you have to offer.

  1. Make the Most of Automation

Wouldn’t it be awesome to get real-time insights in the face of such an unsure time? Automated rules and AI smart bidding for PPC does just that with a flexible solution to boost your SEO and PPC strategy.

If you are looking for a holistic approach to increase online leads and sales, WSI New Media Marketing in Greensboro, North Carolina is the perfect fit. For more information on how to get your business in the spotlight with SEO services such as SEO optimization, link building services, and PPC, contact our digital marketing agency in Greensboro today.

4 blog content marketing ideas for every business

Marianna Muscat - Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Content marketing

Keeping your blog posts fresh and informative can be easier than you think. As with most areas of content marketing, blogging doesn’t necessarily require you to draw new ideas out of the ether. Blogging is a means of telling your customers the ongoing story of your company. This story develops naturally as you go about your business every day. 

Armed with this ever-developing story, creating engaging blogs is then a matter of fitting the content into pre-existing paradigms and formats. These have already proven themselves reliable vehicles for marketing content, and offer you inspiration and a structure to help you organise and present your information. They are frameworks and general outlines, into which the story of your business can be molded. There is a saying among musicians that there are only 12 notes but thousands of ways of playing them. The same goes for blogs: there are only so many kinds of blogs, and the key to their substance, variety and level of engagement is your content. Here are four of the most popular blog post concepts or formats into which any business can fit their stories.

1. A success story

There’s nothing wrong with taking a moment to brag a little – provided you do it with style, of course! A well-chosen success story allows you to demonstrate how your products or services work in a real-world scenario. Pick an example, describe the salient details and use the moment to show, rather than tell your readers why they should buy your products.

2. An ongoing series on a single topic

Sometimes a single blog, consisting of a few hundred words, is not enough to communicate the information you want to get across. You may want to explore the background of your industry, analyse complex market trends, or expound on the many uses and benefits of a particular product line. The best thing to do – both for your sake and your customers’ – is to break it up into shorter pieces that you can publish over several weeks or months. It would help if you didn’t let this run on for too long, however. Strike a balance between detail and sustained engagement. 

3. A guide to common mistakes in your field

This is a very popular choice for almost all industries. Listicles that expound on the various ‘what not to dos’ of your industry enable direct and honest engagement with your readership, as well as the chance to present your business as a solution provider. You draw readers in with questions of how they could be doing things better – and then you provide the answers.

4. A spotlight on the latest trends

This is one of the simplest options. All industries are constantly shifting and evolving. If you take the initiative and use a blog to highlight your industry’s condition at any given moment, you present yourself as a business that has its fingers on the pulse. You can use the opportunity to tell readers how your products and services exemplify, take advantage of, or provide solutions for the current trends. 

If you are unsure how to tackle your blogging strategy, why not entrust it to the experts? WSI New Media Marketing in Greensboro is a proud member of the global WSI digital marketing family. In addition to building brands through content marketing, website design, mobile marketing and SEO optimization, we are also one of North Carolina’s top social media marketing strategists. Contact us and see what we can do for your brand and blog content.

5 Common PPC Mistakes Almost Every Business Makes

Marianna Muscat - Wednesday, September 2, 2020
PPC

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be a potent digital marketing tool as long as you use it with clarity, intent, and to its fullest potential. However, this can be challenging at times because it is not an exact science. It can take a bit of trial and error to achieve a good return on investment. With some research and tinkering, you can reap excellent rewards – up to $2 in revenue for every $1 spent, according to Google. To fast-track this success, it is best to avoid these five common PPC mistakes.

1. Not paying attention to data

Before making any hard and fast decisions about how your campaign is doing, and which ads and keywords to target, carefully analyze all the available data. You may find that you are doing well overall, with plenty of clicks and conversions, and so you might decide to keep your current spread of ads as it is. However, parts of your campaign may be working well, while others are not working at all. One or two of your ads may be carrying your entire campaign. Analyzing the data allows you to shift your strategy and spending to maximize your results.

2. Not using negative keywords

Many marketers either forget, neglect, or choose to ignore negative keywords. This can be a big mistake. While it may seem counterintuitive to target keywords that are meant to keep people away from your website, it is actually one of the best ways to establish your niche and make sure that you attract only visitors who are most likely to become paying clients. You would be doing both yourself and internet users a favor by establishing these limits at the very beginning. Yes, negative keywords will lead to less traffic, but they will eliminate only the non-converting visitors and ensure that you get the right traffic.

3. Not using ad extensions

Ad extensions can increase your click-through-rate by 10-20% – and they don’t cost any extra – yet many people forget to include them in their campaigns. As extensions can increase your ad’s reach, they can provide better value for money, and they offer more ways to reach you while increasing your online visibility. They may include contact details, site links, invitations to download an app (if you have one) or testimonials from your customers, among other things. Be sure to include as many of them as you can.

4. Forgetting to bid on your own brand keywords

You should always run at least one campaign that is dedicated to your own brand keywords. The main advantages of doing so are that brand keywords are generally much cheaper, yield higher search scores and convert much better than generic keywords. By neglecting to set up brand keyword PPC campaigns, you miss out on opportunities to capture your market.

5. Targeting the wrong keywords 

Sub-optimum keyword selection is a mistake that many companies make in their search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. It can be particularly costly when it comes to PPC, as choosing the wrong keywords can result in either no hits at all or hits that don’t convert to sales, but which you still have to pay for. One of the best ways to target your PPC ads is with long-tail keywords. The main characteristic that distinguishes long-tail keywords from short-tail ones is that they usually consist of two or more words that resemble detailed queries. In contrast, short-tail keywords generally consist of single words or phrases without context. Using long-tail keywords will narrow your traffic considerably and help ensure that your PPC costs are worthwhile.

For an effective, error-free PPC campaign that gives you the highest possible ROI, it’s best to engage the services of a professional search engine optimization company. WSI New Media Marketing in Greensboro, a proud member of the global WSI family, is a digital marketing company with considerable experience and success in strategies such as SEO marketing, PPC, content marketing and more. Contact us for more information.

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