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Top Spring Marketing Campaign Ideas

Spring is here, and with that comes the demand for creating marketing plans and strategies for the new season.

But this is no ordinary spring, especially for small businesses and web design companies. But Salt Rank is here to help.

We’re all in this together as the coronavirus ravages the global economy. Now more than ever is the time to start planning long term for your business. We have to begin working smarter to survive the challenges ahead.

 

 

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How Your Business Can Survive the Coronavirus Outbreak

Businesses are now examining their marketing budgets more carefully, trying to figure out if they’re getting the most out of every dollar that they spend, as well as looking at cost-effective strategies for delivering products and services.

Cutting the marketing budget may seem like an obvious choice at this point, but it’s just a short term solution that will have negative after-effects. After all, without having a visible presence in your target market, your long term profitability will sink.

And while everyone will be watching their money more closely, they have no choice but to spend it. While people do have the option to spend less, our job is to determine what they’re still purchasing. They don’t want to be wasteful in a time like this; people want to purchase what they need from businesses that they are able to trust.

 

1) Make Yourself Prominent and Visible During This Crisis

Remember that old saying “out of sight and out of mind?” Well, we need to remember that now more than ever before. If you can’t maintain the line of communication with your customers, then you risk losing them. Also, it’s always less expensive to keep your current customers than it is to find new ones.

And as other businesses make the wrong decision and begin to pull the plug on creating visibility, that creates a vacuum for your business to fill.

You should be putting more effort into marketing now because as the recession worsens, many people who get laid off will try and start a business. These new businesses will be competing with yours for visibility, and do you want to risk losing that battle? 

So, to build up your brand awareness, you must increase visibility. To enhance visibility, you must drive more people to your site where you can make more sales. And the easiest way to get discovered by potential customers or clients is during the buying process when they’re searching for what you sell.

There are a few essential principles to understand when it comes to visibility:

  • What others say about you has more of an impact than what you say about yourself. An inexpensive way of getting your name out is by leveraging the influence and authority of other experts in your niche.

 

  • Evergreen content needs to be updated. Just because it’s evergreen doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t water (update) it every now and again. Your main objective is for this eternally useful content to rank high in the search engines. So when you give it an update, that should be your goal.

 

  • You’ve no doubt heard of the mere exposure effect. This effect happens when a person is so frequently exposed to something (such as an advertisement) that they begin to form a preference for it merely because it’s familiar. So if you can find an inexpensive way to keep your brand in front of potential customers as much as possible, you’ll be setting yourself up for success. Setting aside a dedicated budget for this principle alone is worth it.

 

 

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2) Optimize for Conversions ASAP

One high impact low-cost digital marketing method that you should get familiar with quickly is conversion rate optimization. This means making small adjustments to the buyer’s journey to convert as many website visitors into clients or customers as possible. Here are a few examples of conversion rate optimization strategies:

  • Understand the basics of machine learning and artificial intelligence. The latest developments in these two fields will give you the competitive edge you need to find the right customers at the right times. By utilizing this, you’ll be able to lower your cost per lead and get the right message out to the right prospect at the right time.

 

  • Providing a good experience for customers is crucial. Spend the money needed to make your website fast and personalized for visitors. And when it comes to keeping costs done, keep in mind that small adjustments to your site will have a disproportionately large impact on the end results.

 

  • Utilize social proofing techniques for your business. Use your case studies, reviews, and recommendations at every touchpoint of your marketing. Also, make sure that this content is included in different places on your website. And finally, remember to share it all on social media.

 

3) KPIs are Critical

If you don’t measure your results, then you won’t be able to manage your marketing effectively, and you may just be throwing your money away.

You want to hold yourself accountable for your marketing expenses. You can do this by measuring your results vs. the criteria you have for success. These criteria might be upselling, referrals, or the number of leads you generate. Now more than ever is when KPIs (key performance indicators) matter.

Here’s how you can configure your KPIs if you haven’t already:

  • Determine your ROI from social media. When budgets are tight, social media can appear to be a sensible option for cutting. After all, it can be a time-consuming activity. However, before you cut the cord, make sure that you understand how social media is producing results for your business. How much profitability, engagement, and visibility does it bring to your company?

 

  • Use Google Analytics to its full potential. Make sure that you’re using all of the available data to improve your marketing efficiency. Some questions you should ask are: Did we set up goals properly? Is the Search Console connected? Did we define what we’re measuring? And finally, are we utilizing all of the free data available from Google Analytics in our marketing strategy?

When marketing budgets are tight, you can fall back on your KPIs to help guide you through the storm. By knowing your KPIs, you’ll be able to answer the question, “what kind of spending really matters for my business?”

 

 

 

 

Using Images to Market on Social Media

Do you like to share images on social media without a second thought? If so, have you ever wondered whether that’s the right thing to do? Knowing the basics about copyright law will allow you to use images on social media legally as well as help you protect your content.

There are rules and laws to follow when it comes to image marketing, and a good online marketing services company will adhere to them.

The following guidelines can protect your business from a copyright infringement lawsuit.

 

 

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What is Copyright Protection?

Copyright can apply to many different types of creative works. Copyright protection is automatic (if you used it, then that work is assumed to be yours). But what about the copyright symbol? Well, some people still like to use it as a way of saying, “Hey, this is mine,” even though it isn’t legally required.

Copyright essentially means that nobody else can use your creation without permission.

However, the protection can only be enforced if you apply with the US Copyright Office within 90 days of when you released your content. So, for example, if a violation occurs on June 1, you’ll have until September 1 to apply. If you don’t apply by then, you won’t be able to sue for copyright infringement.

 

Using Others’ Work

When it comes to using others’ work, always remember this rule: if you didn’t create it, then you shouldn’t use it. Even giving the creator credit won’t always be enough.

The exception is if the image is “labeled for reuse” or if the owner gave their express permission for others to use their image. Also, pay attention if there are any caveats like “for non-commercial usage only.”

 

Read the Terms of Service

Each social media website has its own rules put in place to protect their company and their users. That’s why if you’re a business, then this next step really is mandatory: you must read through the website’s terms of service. It’s super important and can save you much trouble down the line.

 

Why You Should Read the Terms of Service: A Real-World Example

We need to hammer this point home, which is why we’re going to show you an example of why you should understand terms of service. On Pinterest, they have a couple of interesting rules. The first one is that you’re responsible for everything that you post on the platform. The second rule is that you’re allowed to repin other people’s images on Pinterest. 

The first rule can get you into trouble. Let’s say that Sarah has a blog about puppies, Rachel on Pinterest loves one of those puppies and copies the picture onto her Pinterest account. Jane comes along and repins the image onto her board of adorable puppies. In this case, Rachel and Jane would be violating the terms of service, even though Jane wasn’t aware of where the image originally came from. That’s because of the seemingly simple rule “you’re solely responsible for the content you post to Pinterest.”

So it’s essential to not only read all of the rules and terms but to understand them as well. This area is where an online marketing services company can be very beneficial. They will make sure that all of the rules are followed to protect you and your business/brand.

 

 

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Understand Image Licensing

Another layer of complexity comes from stock services: image licensing. You can purchase images from these stock websites, and you have the option of what kind of license you’d like them to have. Generally speaking, the more expensive licenses allow you to do more with the image. Depending on the license in question, you may only be able to post the picture a certain number of times, or for certain types of usage only. With images and licenses, it’s essential to know what you’re buying.

 

Seek Permission From the Creator

You should always try and get permission from the owner before using their image or video. Many people will be happy for you to use their image, provided that you give them credit. Also, keep in mind that there are attorneys and photographers out there looking for people who violate copyright. Most of them will be happy to settle outside of court, but that can still cost you thousands of dollars. Just remember it’s better to be safe than sorry when you’re considering whether or not to use an image or video to market on social media.

 

Fair Use Guidelines

But what about fair use? You might assume that fair use doesn’t apply to images used in marketing campaigns, and your assumption would most likely be correct. You see, fair use is one of the only exceptions to the copyright rule. The purpose of the fair use doctrine is to allow for exceptions of when images and content can be used by others, as long as that usage doesn’t impede the original author’s rights.

Giving credit to the creator isn’t the same thing as fair use. Fair use refers to how you are using that content. If you’re using it for education or nonprofit purposes, then it’s more likely to be considered fair use.

Whether or not it’s fair use depends on the nature of the work.  Also, how much did you use – for example, did you use a single page of a book or the entire book?

An example would be a TV show. Sure it’s fine to take a snapshot of the TV show and post the picture in your ebook. However, what you can’t do is take an entire episode of said TV show and publish it on your website while claiming fair use for educational purposes.

When it comes to fair use, always ask yourself the question, “why am I using this content, and how much of it am I using?”

Continue reading “Using Images to Market on Social Media”

Top 6 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

The number of mistakes that can be made in marketing (especially online marketing) is endless. This blog post will focus on some of the biggest marketing mistakes that you’ll want to avoid at all costs. Some of these mistakes can be applied to any kind of online marketing; others relate to common and specific methods (like email marketing), and so they deserve mention on this list.

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Just knowing about all of these mistakes should put you in a great position as an online marketer. Here are the top 6 online marketing mistakes recommended by Salt Rank that you can’t afford to make.

1. Not Having a USP

A USP is a unique selling proposition. This is what sets you apart from your competition. Ideally, it should be just one statement, and in that statement, you explain the benefits of your product for your target audience.

The key is that these benefits should be unique to your product only, thus giving you the edge over your competition. Here are some questions to ask to help create your USP:

  • Can your product solve a problem that no other competitor has solved yet?

  • Does your product offer superior quality at an unbeatable price?

  • Does your product or service offer customers a specific lifestyle?

  • Does your product incorporate materials and resources in a better way? For example, is your product more eco-friendly than the competition?

The competition is fierce online. Your target audience is being bombarded with several different marketing messages, and without a USP, your message is likely to be lost.

USP is critical in every aspect of your marketing. Before implementing any kind of new online marketing strategy, you should think about how your USP can fit into it. That way, prospects will know why they need your product so that they will become customers.

2. Using Black Hat Tactics

This kind of clickbait is all too common: “Rank in the top 10 of Google, guaranteed!” Even though this is an obvious scam to anyone who has a clue about SEO, marketers, and business owners who desperately want to get traffic to their website might be willing to take them up on this offer. And after all, who doesn’t love a quick fix?

However, be wary. While our web design services company is reputable, many other companies aren’t, and will promise instant results.

The companies that aren’t outright lying about achieving instant results (and many of them do) might be able to do it for you using “black hat” techniques. Black hat strategies are implemented to “trick” a search engine into giving your website a rank that it doesn’t deserve for specific keywords.

By taking them up on this offer, you might experience a short burst of new traffic, but you’ll be playing a dangerous game. Google invests a ton of money for catching cheaters, and the penalties for cheating are not small either. If you get penalized by Google (or worse – outright banned), you’ll find that this is extremely hard to fix and will also permanently damage your website’s reputation and marketing efforts.

Have we convinced you yet? Avoid black hat SEO at all costs and stick to “white hat” SEO strategies to help your website rank higher. Doing it the right way will take more time and cost more money, but it’s a safe bet for long term success.

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3. Ignoring the 80/20 Rule

You’ve almost certainly heard of this rule before. 80% of your success comes from 20% of your efforts. But have you ever thought about how that principle can apply to your marketing efforts?

In the context of marketing, this rule means that 80% of your success will be the result of providing value to your target audience, and 20% of it will be the result of your promotional materials. This balance will ensure that your customers are engaged and ready to buy when the time comes.

If you flip that balance around, though, you’ll repel potential customers instead of attracting them. Remember, forming long term relationships with customers is critical in online marketing.

4. Trying to Market to Everyone

This is perhaps the biggest rookie marketing mistake, but this mistake goes even further.

Too many companies mistakenly focus too much on the total number of visitors instead of analyzing the types of visitors they’re attracting. Consequently, these companies double down on their efforts to attract more visitors and end up wasting money because not enough of these visitors convert into customers.

Instead, you should focus on marketing to a niche. That way, you can attract the right kind of visitors. You’ll know who the right kinds of visitors are once you create your company’s Buyer Personas. These personas should be based on your most high-value customers. 

5. Focusing Your Email Marketing on Promotional Efforts

Once upon a time, email marketing was only used for promotion and advertising. However, any professional email marketer these days realizes that engaging with and building trust with prospects is essential for getting customers, as well as retaining previous customers.

Not following this advice can severely harm your online business. Not only will you turn off your subscribers and potential customers (remember the 80/20 rule), but you can also get spam complaints.

6. Neglecting Repeat Customers

Neglecting existing customers in the pursuit of new ones is a common marketing error. However, it’s not one that you should make. Consider the fact that it’s 5 times more expensive to market to new customers than it is to existing ones, on average.

Why is it easier to market for existing customers? Because your marketing funnel for existing buyers will be smaller than for newer buyers since they’ve already bought from you before.

Try to split your marketing efforts 50/50 into retaining repeat customers as you do for acquiring new ones.

Conclusion

No matter how well you plan things out, marketing mistakes will still happen. If you experience sub-optimal results from your marketing, don’t dismiss them outright – instead, reflect on what could have gone wrong. Continuous improvement is the name of the game. If you’re struggling with marketing, try to understand the needs of your customers better. You might see things start to turn around! 

7 Reasons to Get Involved With eCommerce

Whether you have a lot of money to invest or you only have a small budget,  eCommerce can be a potential opportunity for you. Even if you’re just a beginner, there are many online tools and resources out there that can help you. A digital marketing firm such as Salt Rank can provide a solution..

Here are 7 reasons why you might want to consider starting an eCommerce business.

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1. Worldwide eCommerce Growth Is Expected to Go Up

2018 and 2019 saw huge growth in eCommerce worldwide and in the US. When choosing a segment of the eCommerce market to focus on, start by looking at the trends. Move into a growing market whenever possible. The numbers show that eCommerce is a valid possibility for new and existing entrepreneurs.

2. More Visibility and a Global Reach

With brick and mortar businesses, location is key. This saying is true because of the huge difference that a good location can make in obtaining sales. When it comes to eCommerce, your domain name is your storefront, and it can be seen by a global audience. That is the possibility offered by eCommerce. You only need one storefront, not several, to be seen by people worldwide.

In fact, in this new global economy, we see a phenomenon that hasn’t been noticed before– the pop up shop. It’s where someone carries nothing more than a few of their products, a tablet, and a card reader for taking orders. They meet their customers in person, and they don’t have to worry about violating any laws or regulations while operating their “store.” This way they can also be in several high visibility places at once (parks, prominent street corners, subway stations, etc.).

The above is only made possible by new and emerging technologies. Speaking of which…

3. Evolving Technology

Technology continues to innovate and improve on the eCommerce front, with new apps and payment systems emerging regularly. There’s also Blockchain technology, which can allow you to secure even more different types of payments.

Focusing on technology in the business world is likely the best way to reach success with an online business today. Thankfully the cost of many essential aspects of a business (video conferencing, collaboration tools, etc.) is going down, which makes it easier to conduct business internationally as well. Paying for flights to meet customers is no longer a requirement, nor do you even have to leave your home. Improvements in technology make it all possible to run everything from your personal computer.

4. User-Friendly Seller Platforms are Available

It’s relatively simple to get started in eCommerce. However, the hard part and where many people fail is in getting set up with a product (we’ll discuss that more below). The set up is easier now than it ever was. That doesn’t mean it’s a complete walk in the park or free, but nevertheless, there are many low-cost eCommerce tools that are available: marketing automation, SEO tools, user-friendly selling platforms, etc.

As we said, the hardest part of setting up an eCommerce business is the product aspect. What are you going to sell? The advice commonly given is that you should choose a product you’re passionate about – something that you’ve used yourself and can recommend to others. That passion will also be helpful in creating relationships with distributors or with someone who can be your product source. And finally, that passion will help motivate you to keep going as you build your business. The motivation to help others by recommending them a product you’ve happily used can be quite effective for some people who lack the motivation to succeed.

5. eCommerce is Going Mainstream

Eighty percent of people online have made an online purchase. That number is expected to grow. To succeed as an eCommerce business, you must create trust and credibility in your business. Some ways you can do this include

·         making your website attractive and easy to navigate

·         creating helpful and valuable content for your customers

·         showing customer testimonials

You must keep faith that if you commit to improving trust between your business and your customers, eventually, you’ll have a loyal following of people.

While eCommerce is becoming more and more mainstream, trust is still a key part of running a successful eCommerce business. Also, many people are still cautious shoppers and highly value their privacy and security.

6. The Little Guys are Getting Noticed 

You might think that you can’t compete with huge giants like Amazon and eBay, but this isn’t always true anymore. If you choose the right product niche and sell good quality products, it’s still possible to run a successful business. The reason why is that there is more information out there than ever before about the different products and services that are being sold online. In other words, thanks to bloggers and social media, people are beginning to notice the “little guys.” This is all thanks to the internet. Now, the rest is just simple math – the more clicks you get from interested people, the more likely you are to get sales. This is a big deal especially for someone on a tight budget who is trying to get their business off the ground.

7. Content Marketing Can Bring More eCommerce Sales Long-Term

Reducing friction during the buying process is important for maximizing your sales potential. Abandoned shopping carts are a common occurrence in the eCommerce world. You’ll have to be committed to improving your marketing funnel.

Technology also comes to the rescue here with retargeting apps and tools (like CartHook) that can help bring back customers who get lost in the woods before they disappear forever.

Content marketing is also a method of maximizing sales in the long term. By creating relevant and valuable content for your online following, you can then have them opt-in as email subscribes. And once you have an email list, you can then notify them about sales, promos, and discounts that you’re planning to do.

How To Capture Company Diversity With An Online Marketing Agency

For a long time marketers all aimed at attracting WASPS: white anglo Saxon protestants. This strategy used to make sense because they made up most of the consumer market. In 2020 that approach is not only outdated but potentially harmful to your business. Perhaps it’s time to seek an online marketing agency to ensure that you are reaching a full spectrum of new business.

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For starters, it ignores the changing demographics of the United States.

In 2019, millennials made up the largest generation in the United States and around the world. They are also entering their prime spending years, and this represents a golden opportunity for marketers everywhere.

Millennials today are the most diverse generation ever to exist, so narrow targeted campaigns will no longer work.

Inclusion is also a key value of this generation, and a significant 70% said that they wouldn’t consider a brand whose promotions and offerings weren’t diverse enough if there was another alternative.

What this means is that marketers today must embrace a concept now known as diversity marketing.

We’re going to give you an overview of diversity marketing from the perspective of an online marketing agency, strategies that you can utilize in your marketing efforts, and some examples from companies and that have used it correctly.

Diversity Marketing Definition

Diversity marketing refers to any marketing campaign that recognizes the differences within subgroups of people. These subgroups include age, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, sexual identity, disability, and so on.

You can go into even more segmentation through sorting them by weight, marital status, job occupation, education level, income, and you get the idea…

In short, diversity marketing means hyper-targeting your marketing campaign in order to connect with the largest variety of people within your target market.

When Should You Do Diversity Marketing?

When you’re starting out your business or brand, it’s ok to have a very focused business persona. However, as your business grows, you’ll need to reach out to a wider range of customers in a genuine manner. If your message is shallow, then you’ll experience poor results in your marketing and possibly incur other negative side effects. Here are some examples of those negative side effects:

  • Offending your target customers. If you aren’t diverse enough or come across as ignorant, then you risk offending your potential customers and possibly current ones as well. For example, addressing a group of people in the wrong way is a common mistake that businesses make.
  • You can lose out on potential customers. With diversity marketing, you can make your target audience feel like you know them personally, which will help you gain their trust. They can also relate to your brand better that way too.
  • Change can be difficult. Going from a non-diverse approach to a diverse approach isn’t easy, but the longer you wait the harder it will be to pull off. And as time goes on it will become harder to explain when your competition is going full steam ahead into diversity marketing.

The time is now to put diversity marketing into practice in your digital marketing strategy. The question is how do you do it? With these tips of course! Here are some simple ways that you can capture company diversity with your online marketing.

Market Research is a Necessity

Market research is a key step in diversity marketing, especially with an online marketing agency. The US population is more diverse and outspoken now than it has even been before. Companies are also discovering the internal advantages that diversity brings, including increased productivity, more innovation, and a better company message.

Diversity looks at all of the following (and more): race, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity. So to be successful, you must understand your target audience and how your brand fits into their lives. There’s just as much to learn from failed campaigns (like the ones from Pepsi and Visa) as from the successful ones.

So how can market research help you incorporate diversity into your digital marketing campaigns? In the following ways:

  • Lets you know about potential problems before they infect your wider campaign. For example, are you going to use a Spanish ad translation? If so, then have a native speaker look it over and make sure that your translation isn’t offensive or inaccurate.
  • Allow for a review of images. Pepsi learned this lesson the hard way with their protest ad featuring Kendall Jenner. It’s always a good idea to get an outside perspective before allowing an image or ad to go viral (in a bad way).
  • Prevent disaster. Be careful not to get stuck in your company bubble. If you don’t get any outside opinions or ideas, then that will lead to stagnation and failure in the long run. Additionally, if you’re surrounded by people who already know your company, product offering, and brand, then you’ll be at greater risk of making errors in judgment.

Don’t Cut Yourself on Too Much Edginess

So you’d like to run an edgy campaign. Well, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Doing something different from your competition can certainly send you to the top. However, you should always have a voice of reason in your campaign sessions who can bring up some key questions.

So with all that in mind here’s how you can embrace edginess AND diversity in your ad campaigns

  • Outside perspectives should be welcomed. Make it a point to hire outside consultants or remote workers to get some honest opinions and viewpoints.
  • When trying to birth new ideas, bring as many different backgrounds, and ethnicities into the discussions as possible.
  • Your ultimate goal should be empathy. Your customers should be able to relate with your ads despite (or perhaps because of) their edginess. However, you should use caution and make sure they aren’t condescending or offensive.

Some examples of good ads following these principles are the Coca-Cola “America is Beautiful” ads, and any ads by Apple, which is a company that is leading the way in utilizing diversity marketing.

Test Your Ads

The last step is to test your ads on small groups. Run A/B test ads before starting your full-blown digital marketing campaign.

Remember, the more testing you do, the more sure you’ll be that your message will align with your target audience’s values.

Contact Salt Rank today for more information on how an online marketing agency can help implement diversity marketing for your small business.

Best SEO Services and Advice For Online Stores

Ecommerce is a big deal all around the world. The desire to sell things online is a strong one, with the payoff being just as sweet. Of course, since the appeal of eCommerce is so big, so too will be your competition. Amazon will likely be a competitor, as well as smaller stores. Some of the best SEO services are the simplest.

Being good at business helps, and so does having a business consultant, but that won’t be enough on its own. You need to be able to get discovered on the first page of Google, and that’s where SEO comes into play. You need the best SEO advice at your fingertips if you’re going to succeed. Let’s get started!

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“Selling” Keywords

To come up with keyword ideas, think about the product you are selling and the categories it belongs to. There are two requirements that a keyword must fulfill:

  1. Act as a magnet to pull in potential customers
  2. Improve your chances to outrank your competitors

Not every keyword will be suitable, of course. Some of them will be too short and too vague to attract the right buyers to your website. Smart SEO means using keywords that are not too short, are specific enough, and are searched plenty of times in Google, to attract the largest number of possible visitors. A keyword that fulfills all of these criteria is called a long-tail keyword.

Once you have your list of keywords, its time to optimize your website. To make your pages rank high on Google, you should add the keywords to the following places:

  • Product descriptions
  • H1-H4 header tags
  • Title tags
  • URLs
  • Image titles and ALT tags
  • Meta description tags

Your product descriptions should all be unique; otherwise, Google will filter them out. They should include words and terms that someone would use to describe the products that you sell. And finally, write descriptions in a compelling way that will make someone want to purchase it after reading.

Linking And Navigation

Saying that eCommerce sites have a lot of pages is an understatement. Amazon’s product selection is counted in the hundreds of millions! This is why your site needs to be easy to navigate. Does your website at least compare to Amazon in terms of usability? In order to make your visitors’ browsing experience as easy as possible, you need an effective and efficient linking strategy between all of your site pages.

The structure for most eCommerce sites goes like this: homepage – product category – subcategory – product page. Removing subcategories will make your website even more comfortable to navigate. You can also follow the tips below:

  • Link to your main page on every other page. The most accessible place to include this link is in your company logo at the top of the page.
  • Add a navigation bar. The best type of navigation bar for an eCommerce site is one where the user searches for something. The bar will collapse into different menus providing users easy access to your product categories.
  • Add breadcrumbs to your site. They don’t take much space, and they help users avoid getting lost on your website.
  • Don’t use pagination. This often comes with many different online platforms used to create your store. However, they aren’t the most user-friendly option because they increase loading times for users. The solution is to create a “load more items” button instead that, when pressed, will allow users to view more products. That way, they don’t have to deal with paginations or infinite amounts of scrolling.
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Security And Safety

You might question how much you should invest in the security of your website. Well, remember what happened with the Facebook data leaks? Both Facebook and its users were hurt by these leaks. Facebook’s reputation was damaged, and its users’ personal information was at risk. If Facebook weren’t such a big company, its stock and reputation would have been damaged beyond recovery. That is why you should take online security seriously.

Customers should feel safe when browsing your website. You’ll want to make it as safe for them as possible.

Indexing Your Pages

You don’t want to make the embarrassing mistake of forgetting to make sure that your pages are indexed by Google! If your pages aren’t indexed, then they won’t get found by Google. Your customers won’t be able to find you online, and all that work you did on your website will be wasted. To ensure that this doesn’t happen just generate a sitemap of your online store and submit it to Google.

Google’s Mobile-First Index

As you probably know, mobile search gets more search queries than desktop now, and this has had a direct impact on why Google created its mobile-first index. This can affect your online store. If you don’t design your website with mobile users in mind, then you’ll lose out on all of those customers who search Google using mobile phones.

Blog Posts

The role of a good eCommerce site is to close sales quickly. If your page doesn’t convince visitors right away to make a purchase, then you won’t make much money. That is why you should save your long-winded product descriptions for blog posts, which is why you should have a blog for your website. A blog can help gain extra traffic for your site as well as help your site rank higher overall. Remember to enable sharing on your posts to increase these effects even further.

Check Your Site For Errors

Ecommerce is one niche where you can’t afford to have any errors on your website. You can’t let your users down because it might freeze your own business or hurt your customers’ wallets. That’s a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. You must fix technical errors on your website as soon as you notice them.

Finally, don’t forget to monitor your rankings and traffic! You’ll want to see how well you did to keep yourself motivated. However, even if your rankings do drop, this isn’t necessarily a sign of doom. Ups and downs are normal and should signal to you that you have to work extra hard on your SEO. A big drop in traffic could mean that you got a penalty from Google though. So you should scan your website at least once a week.

How Can SEO Improve Business?

You’ve likely heard countless times that SEO is an invaluable digital marketing method. However, even if you have a basic understanding of its importance, you might still not have a solid enough grasp to use it to its full potential. Salt Rank is a well-oiled and diverse SEO agency and digital marketing company that aims to educate clients.

SEO is made up of multiple elements, and understanding what they are and how they work is the key to understanding its overall importance. To sum it up, though, SEO is important because it increases the visibility of your website, and thus the traffic and sales.

SECONDARY BENEFITS

-create brand awareness

-position yourself as an expert and authority in your field

-build relationships with potential customers

So, let’s talk about SEO and everything you need to know about it to succeed in today’s digital world.

The Key Aspects Of An SEO Agency

Keywords

The days of keywords being the only thing that mattered in SEO are over. However, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still hugely important. The way that keywords differ today is that they must be chosen carefully to fit the content on the page. In other words, they must be relevant to the page’s content. But first of all, what is a keyword? It’s simply a phrase that your target audience would use to find your products or services. You can use them to help your potential customers connect with your website and your business.

Content

Good content is essential for SEO because it’s the vehicle that carries the rest of the techniques. Think of it this way: your customer needs a vehicle to reach you online (your content). It needs to be the right kind of vehicle, though, meaning that it has to be content that your target audience would be interested in. 

For example, if your website is about cooking, then you would need to write blog posts about different cooking recipes, cooking techniques, cooking stories, nutritional information posts, etc., you get the drift. 

If you write good content and follow the right SEO techniques, your blog posts would come up first in the search results, thus allowing you to start building a relationship with prospects by presenting them with valuable information. 

If that person wanted to try a new recipe, your blog might be the first one that comes to mind. If you’re going to have any hope of succeeding with content marketing, then your content has to be interesting, shareable, relevant and engaging. 

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Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO is exactly as the name implies; it’s SEO practices that happen away from your website as opposed to on-page SEO. The primary way that this happens is through building up backlinks to your website. These are links from other websites (preferably high authority websites) that tell Google that your website is trustworthy and useful enough to garner backlinks from other relevant websites. 

There are several legitimate tactics for getting backlinks for your website. Some of the most popular methods include guest blogging, giving shoutouts to influencers in your content, and creating highly sharable infographics.

Local SEO

The importance of local SEO is increasing, along with the usage of mobile devices. Today at least 57% of searches are done by mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones, and at least half of those are done with local intent. 

This means that, for example, a local restaurant can attract customers using local SEO techniques. For instance, if you’re a seafood restaurant, then ranking for “best seafood in [city], [state]” would be highly desirable. 

Other techniques for implementing local SEO for your business include: creating pages for your business on all of the different Google apps and websites (Google Maps, Google+, Google My Business), creating different website pages targeting different local keywords that you want to rank for, and finally, claiming directory listings.

Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing, or SEM, refers to paid advertising. It includes many different options such as display ads, pay-per-click (PPC), Google AdWords, Google shopping ads, social media ads, native ads, and the list goes on and on… 

While it’s not an essential component of SEO, it does still have its place in directing highly targeted customers to your website. 

The Importance Of SEO 

In case you need more convincing about the importance of SEO, the following points should help hammer it home:

Gain Visibility And Rank Higher

Visibility is a crucial function of SEO, and it’s directly correlated with your ranking in the search engines. It’s an especially critical factor when 1/4 of all web users never click past the first SERP.

Gain Traffic To Your Website

This is one of the main objectives of SEO. Ranking number one or in the top 5 results are the key to this. Nearly 33% of clicks go to the top search result, and the first 5 results receive 75% of the total clicks.

Grow Your Authority

This is a relatively new metric that search engines are now using. In the early days of the internet, authority didn’t matter, but it matters now more than ever before. The simple reason is that there are just too many websites these days, and the authority metric helps to narrow down the list of websites that have a chance of ranking. 

Give A Better User Experience

This is a side effect of creating good SEO, which is another reason why SEO is essential these days. Great content + good on-site SEO = a good UX (user experience). One example of good on-site SEO is having a website that’s responsive to all types of online users, including mobile users, desktop users, and laptop users. 

Grow Your Business

In the end, it all boils down to this. An SEO agency will help you to achieve all of your business goals. When an agency and a client join SEO forces, magic can happen in:

-building stronger relationships with your audience

-creating a better experience on your website for your customers

-increasing your online authority and helping to gain the trust of new visitors

-bringing more people to your website

-giving you an advantage over your competitors

-increasing sales and conversions

All of this results in creating a more loyal customer base as well as producing long term growth for your business.

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What are the Best Digital Marketing Strategies on SEO

Whether you are running a business in Kansas City or running a business anywhere else in the world, you know the importance of having an effective online advertising and marketing strategy. An integral part of any digital marketing strategy is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). 


What is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO is a collection of tools and techniques that help your website to rank higher in search engine results, thereby putting your site closer to the top of the search results, driving more traffic to your site and hopefully more business.

SEO used to be about adding keywords to your site for search engines to find; now, it is so much more than that. It has now become a highly involved strategy that often requires so much time and attention that many companies are hiring website designers and marketing experts for support.

Creating Your SEO Strategy

As the online marketing industry and SEOs, in particular, are continually evolving with the application of new technologies and changing user behaviors, standard practices come and go in the blink of an eye. Trying to plan a successful online campaign without SEO, though, will likely keep your business from ever reaching its full potential. As your business is ever-evolving to keep up with trends and market demands, so too much your SEO strategy. You must be continually monitoring and adjusting so that you ensure that your business is not falling behind. So here are a few things to consider when planning your SEO strategy:

  1. Know your target market – SEO today is not about just grabbing as much web traffic as possible. You want instead to be attracting high-value visitors that are interested in what you offer and hence, more likely to convert. In terms of demographics, you need to figure out what your target market is searching for. How are they performing those searches? Where are they located? The more specific and detailed your information, the more valuable your information for SEO planning will be. One tool to assist you with this is Google Analytics.
  2. Mobile devices are big – The mobile market has exploded, surpassing desktops years ago. This means that the majority of your customers are completing searches only using their phones. Hence, optimizing your website for mobile users is critical if you want to rank well in search engine results pages. An excellent tool for helping you to evaluate your website as to the ease of use for mobile phones is to enter your site’s URL in Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
  3. Don’t neglect other search engines – While Google is a massive name in the search engine market, with a considerable share of the market, there is still a significant portion of users using other search engine sites to complete their searches. Make it a point to review how your website stacks up on other search engine sites. All it may take is something little, and your site can get a significant boost in ranking.
  4. Know how your market is searching – When search engines were new, consumers had to create very broad search requests in an attempt to find what they were looking for. Searches like “take-out Kansas City.” Now, as search engine technology has changed, people feel more comfortable typing in things like, “where can I go for Chinese Food in Kansas City?” These changes in user habits, while subtle, can have a big effect on which keywords will be best suited to bringing valuable traffic to your site. Instead of focusing on what keywords get you the most traffic, try and focus your keywords on the traffic that will translate into the most conversions, revenue and overall profits.
  5. Design your website well – A well-designed, user-friendly website, with interesting, relevant and easy-to-find information is key to boosting your traffic and conversion rates. Each page should be built around keyword themes so that search engines can easily index your site and rank you higher. Positive behaviors from site visitors (like time spent at your site and conversion rates) are your best bet for improving your ranking. So, make sure that you are keeping your content natural and focuses. Avoiding business jargon and keyword stuffing helps to ensure that users that click on your site will not be left unhappy, which will hurt your ranking.
  6. Develop relationships with other businesses – When other business links to your website from theirs, search engines consider that to be an indicator that your site contains valuable content. While having dozens of links from low-quality sites used to be all it took, technology has developed here as well. The value of a link to your website also depends on the quality of the site that links you. So, developing partnerships with other related but different businesses, where links for each other are posted on both sites, can help you with improving your own site’s ranking. Just a few links from other high-traffic quality sites will do wonders for your ranking.
  7. Take advantage of social media – Just as search engines are continually evolving their technology, so too is social media. What was once merely a platform for basic communication has become a highly profitable marketing channel. Many users begin their searches on social media and will make their way to your website from there. So, by keeping your social media site active and up-to-date, with engaging and personalized content, you will be attracting more people to your profile and, hence, your website.
  8. Analysis, analysis, analysis – When looking to plan or update your SEO strategy, analysis is the key to determining what will work best. Start by tracking the most important website metrics and set a baseline performance for your site. Make one or two small content changes and see if you notice a boost in your site traffic or your site rankings. Avoid making too many changes at once or making unrelated changes simultaneously, as that will make tracking your results pretty much impossible. You want to be able to keep track of what was responsible for improvements in your site’s traffic and conversion rates, as well as keeping track of which changes did not work.

These are just a few of the possible tools and techniques that you can use to devise an SEO strategy. Contacting a local online marketing firm in Kansas City can give you a big head start into developing the best campaign for your business, as well as the continuous monitoring and adjusting that all good online marketing campaigns require.

Do’s and Dont’s of the Perfect Landing Page

PPC landing pages are something that every business struggles with. While they may seem simple in theory, their execution is often less than desirable.

Poor execution might be because several different departments can get involved in the creation of a single landing page.

Each part of a company can have a different agenda for the landing page. Customer service wants to highlight their warranty plan. IT wants to stick with their ordinary web template, and the legal team wants to put the company’s policies in an attention-grabbing place.

So many competing interests.

How can you, as the company’s PPC expert, possibly make visitors convert amidst all these competing agendas?

As you know, a PPC landing page can’t do everything on its own.

So how do you balance these different goals?

Start with these do’s and don’ts of the perfect PPC landing page. Here are the do’s, first.

PPC Landing Page Do’s

1. Make Sure That Your Headline, CTA and Offer all Align

These things must align to prevent confusion among visitors. Remember this rule: confusion is bad for conversions.

To bring more clarity to your landing page, follow this rule: the copy should be all about the user.

Discuss the outcome and benefits for the users who decide to take action. And most importantly, remember to keep the writing clear and straightforward.

Now, this is not as easy as it sounds. You might need to start working with a pay per click company.  It takes experience to know how to write compelling copy, stick to the main point of the page and come at it from the perspective of prospective customers.

2. Improve Your Website Design and Graphics

Good web copy is essential – but so are the images and design. They need to meet specific standards so as not to undermine the compelling content that you’ve written.

The first rule is that you need to use images that are relevant to your offer. If you’re selling a book, then you need a picture of the book.

Sounds simple, but this doesn’t always happen for various PPC offers.

The second and final thing you need to know regarding design is that frequently a simple landing page design is all you need, supported by a clear and bold CTA button.

3. Show Your Product In Motion

Videos can do wonders for conversions, especially when offering hard to describe products or services.

However, that doesn’t mean that you should stick any old video onto your landing page. On the contrary. Videos, like images, need to be as relevant as possible to the goal of your landing page.

4. A/B Test Trust Signals

These are things that signal trust. They can include testimonials, trust seals, etc.

You don’t need to clutter your page with them. Even just one or two good ones can tip visitors over the edge and into your sales funnel.

Your landing page may not need them, but you should test them first.

5. Utilize Your Thank You Page

Not only is saying thank you the polite thing to do, but it’s also the right thing to do!

What do we mean by that?

Well, your company might, for example, want to include a bunch of different links on your landing page.

Instead of doing that though, save some of those links and call to actions for your thank you page!

This way, you can have your cake and eat it too.

Keep your landing page clean. And remember this: the conversion doesn’t have to end the conversation!

6. A Landing Page is Not Set in Stone

You should expect possible resistance from your company to landing page revisions or new landing page additions.

After all, landing pages are a big deal to the company’s bottom line, and represent a significant change – and change can always be scary.

Not only that, many companies also collaborate at length before publishing a landing page. Redoing them can be an alarming prospect.

So to sell the idea to your company, start by implementing some of the essential changes. Perhaps the results of those changes will help them see your point of view better…

PPC Landing Page Don’ts

7. Leave Out Distractions

Distractions include external links, social media links, sidebars, site menus, etc. These are (or should be) an obvious no-no.

After all, why would you want to lead your prospects astray when you’ve got them right where you want them?

Don’t let prospects get lost in the woods, because they might not come back.

8. Don’t crowd your landing page with different agendas

Finally, we come full circle to our first point, the most critical part of creating a perfect PPC landing page.

The goal of a PPC landing page should be above all else conversions.

Multiple agendas on your PPC landing page will interfere with this goal.

What are conversions?

Conversions in B2C means selling your product or service.

Conversions in B2B, on the other hand, could mean any of the following: capturing an email address, signing them up for a webinar, or having them download a freebie like an eBook.

You don’t want to ‘oversell” on a landing page by presenting multiple different options. Having “contact us, read this post, read that post, look at our new service offering,” and so on, will just clutter your PPC landing page.

If you want to create several different calls to action, then you’ll need to create several different landing pages. Makes sense right?

It’s a lot easier than it sounds, especially when you have already come up with your landing page design template.

Conclusion

While this advice will give you a good start in creating the perfect PPC landing page, it’s by no means a comprehensive list, nor will every tip here work for every company. You’ll need to test these ideas out for yourself and see how they pan out in your PPC accounts.

After all, PPC can be full of surprises. Every PPC marketer has seen things that shouldn’t work work, and things that should work, not work at all.

Even if these are the right principles for the majority of PPC experts, individual companies might do some things differently.

So please spread the word, and let’s try and get every company on board with these principles.  

If you’re ready to start working with a pay per click company, we’d be glad to help. Reach out to us here.

Pay-Per-Click Marketing: Using PPC to Build Your Business

Pay-per-click marketing is a way of using search engine advertising to generate “clicks” to your website.  One specific way that you’ve probably seen is Google Ads PPC.  The pictured ads at the top of a search with sponsored in the corner, or those links in the search lines with the little green box that says ad in them.  That is what pay-per-click advertising is.

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Here’s how it works.  Every time your ad is clicked, a consumer is sent to your website and you pay the search engine a small fee, hence the term pay-per-click.  When your PPC campaign is well-designed, that fee will be trivial because the visit is worth more to your business than what you pay for it.  For example, if you paid $5 for a click, but the click resulted in a $100 sale, using PPC would be a given.  In order to make the most of your PPC campaign in Kansas, contact an advertising agency that specializes in pay-per-click to help you develop the best campaign for your specific business.

Ultimately, pay-per-click marketing is a win-win scenario for everyone.

  • It’s good for the searchers – Research has shown that searchers click on paid search ads more often than any other form of digital advertising.  This means that people really don’t mind being advertised to, provided that the products and services advertised actually fit what they are looking for.  Because pay-per-click ads are search engine based, the results and ads shown are generally highly relevant to what that consumer was searching for. 
  • It’s good for the advertisers – Advertisers are offered a unique means of putting their product in front of consumers who are actively and specifically seeking out that product.  This is because searchers reveal their intent through their search query.  Advertisers are also able to accurately measure the quality of the traffic that results from each search engine click which enables them to fine-tune their advertising efforts.  Your local pay-per-click company in Kansas, such as SaltRank, is a great place to start a winning PPC campaign.
  • It’s good for search engines – PPC enables search engines to meet the needs of searchers and advertisers at the same time.  Searchers comprise their user-base and they want to provide relevant results to those searchers so that they stay happy users.  Advertisers provide the search engines with their revenue stream, so the engines want to ensure that the ads shown are relevant to the consumer so that the advertiser has success and continues to use them as a marketing strategy.
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A unique advantage of PPC marketing is that Google (and other ad networks) don’t just reward the highest bidders for that ad space.  They reward the highest-quality ads that are the most popular with the users.  So, the better and more relevant your ads are, the greater your click-through rates will be, and the lower your cost per click will be.  This is a great reason why you should contact an advertising agency specializing in pay-per-click advertising.

Is Pay-Per-Click Marketing Right For You?

So, now that we’ve discussed a bit about pay-per-click marketing, let’s discuss whether it’s right for you.  PPC offers advertisers a unique opportunity to:

  • Grow your customer base – PPC allows you to connect with searchers who are actively looking for products and services like yours.
  • General leads at low costs – Because pay-per-click marketing allows you to reach leads and prospects when they are researching and looking to buy, it’s a highly effective way to bring interested visitors to your site and likely convert those visits into sales.  Also, search engines generally offer an algorithmically generated discount for making their users happy.

In truth, pay-per-click marketing is a strategy that can work for almost any kind of business.  Whether you’re looking to sell products through e-commerce sites, generate leads for a service-based industry, build your brand awareness, or drive foot traffic to your local store, PPC can help with that.  The difficulty is in the execution.  In order to get the most out of your pay-per-click campaign, you need to follow a few best practices.

Keyword research. 

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Keyword research for PPC can be very time consuming, but it is incredibly important.  Your entire PPC campaign revolves around keywords.  The businesses that are the most successful are continuously growing and refining their PPC keyword list.  If you only do your keyword research once, you are likely going to be missing out on hundreds or even thousands of valuable, low-cost and highly relevant keywords that could be driving traffic to your site.  An effective keyword list should be relevant, exhaustive, and expansive.  In addition, your PPC keyword strategy should also include regular negative keyword discovery which can help to ensure that your ads are not showing up for searches that are not relevant to your business.  If you’re looking for help and advice with this in Kansas, don’t hesitate to reach out to a local advertising agency that specializes in PPC advertising.

Managing your pay-per-click campaigns.

Once you have created your ad campaign, you’ll need to manage it regularly to make sure that it is, and will continue to be, effective.  Regular account activity is one of the best predictors of account success.  You should be continuously analyzing the performance of your ads.  Even 20 minutes a week can make a bit different.  Here are a few things that you should monitor and adjust as necessary.

  1. Add PPC keywords – Expand the reach of your pay-per-click campaigns by adding keywords that are relevant to your business.
  2. Add negative keywords – Add non-converting terms as negative keywords to improve your campaign’s relevance, as well as reducing wasted spent. 
  3. Split Ad Groups – Improve click-through rate (CTR) and Quality Score by splitting up your ad groups into smaller, more relevant ad groups, which help you to create more targeted ad text, and better landing pages.
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By continuously optimizing your pay-per-click campaigns, you’ll be able to grow your customer base and increase your ROI.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to your local advertising company in Kansas to help you with your PPC campaign.  Spending a little more money to get started on the right foot can increase your returns and decrease your costs in the long run.

Let’s talk about your business

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