Internet searches are now more likely to take place on a mobile device than on a desktop and this trend shows no signs of slowing. While experts have long predicted mobile would eclipse desktop usage, many small businesses are understandably unsure about their mobile SEO strategy.

The popularity of mobile is no reason for businesses to panic but they do need to face the fact that more than half of all internet searches are now taking place on mobile devices. They also need to make sure that their SEO efforts are optimized for mobile or they are going to lose out on a lot of traffic.

The fact is, most businesses understand the importance of SEO. Now they need to understand how to use that knowledge and apply it to mobile. What follows are a list of tips to get started on the path to successful SEO for mobile:

  1. Compose Compelling, Concise Headlines. Since mobile screens are smaller, it is important that headlines are short and to the point. Creativity is the key here. Headlines cannot be too wordy and they must quickly grab the attention of the reader.
  2. Clip Content. Posting an important article or blog in its entirety is fine but include some snippets of information at the top of the story so readers know if they want to commit to reading the whole article.
  3. Test on Different Devices. Many businesses only test their website on one type of device, but this is a mistake. Test to see that your website fits devices of all sizes so that your website is accessible to all. Likewise, website designs and features that work well on desktop screens don’t always translate to mobile. Test to find out if yours does. If it doesn’t, go for a simpler, cleaner look for mobile.
  4. Mind Your Load Times. Loading speeds are important to users who are in a hurry and also to search engines. If it takes too long for your website to load, both will bail out on you.
  5. Don’t Forget Social Media. Optimizing your website for mobile is critical but don’t forget to do the same for social media.

Finally, while mobile optimization is getting a lot of attention these days, remember that just less than half of visitors to your website will be doing so from their desktop. This means that while you should make sure your website is optimized for mobile, it should not be at the expensive of visitors using desktops.

Email marketing is a great way to reach new customers. And while landing new customers is an outstanding reason to use email marketing, it isn’t the only one.

Customer loyalty is another reason to employ email marketing. After all, customer loyalty is essential to the success of any business. Further, it is much more expensive to obtain a new customer than it is to retain a current one. And according to a recent study, email marketing did more to promote customer loyalty than social media.

Of course, using email to attract new customers and using it to retain current ones require slightly different tactics. Therefore, it’s important to know how to implement an email campaign that specifically targets your existing customers. What follows are some tips that will help make sure that you are engaging current customers with your email efforts.

  1. Get personal. A person’s name in the subject line is proven to increase open rates and increase spending! One study showed that transaction rates were more than 20 percent higher when an email was personalized in this manner.
  2. Remember that content is still king. Content that connects, educates and inspires is particularly important when targeting existing customers. If an individual is your customer, chances are that you have earned their trust. Continuing to provide them with quality content will take it a step further. They will come to see you as a thought leader in your industry and will be more likely to make purchases based on your recommendations.
  3. Segment your lists. Just as your target audience of prospects is segmented, your target audience of current customers should be, as well. A good way to make sure that your emails are being read is to tailor those emails to a particular demographic. Research shows that segmented email campaigns have an almost 15 percent greater open rate and get almost 60 percent more clicks than those that are not segmented. The best part is that since these are your customers, you have the data necessary to segment your list. Choose demographics such as age, gender, income, locale, purchase history and more.
  4. Don’t forget the call-to-action. Of course, there is one important thing that all emails-whether they target existing customers or prospects-must contain. A well-written, easy to see call-to-action is critical to getting customers and prospects to take the next step.

Email marketing is a tremendous way to attract and retain customers. The key is to tailor each campaign for the individuals you are targeting.

If your business uses Twitter to connect with customers and prospects, you probably know that you can now use 280 characters per tweet. What you may not know is what exactly that means for your Twitter marketing strategy.

Many businesses are under the mistaken impression that more characters simply allow them to say more of the same thing. The truth is, these extra characters, when used correctly, can boost engagement. The key is to know how to use them to your advantage. What follows are some simple ways to make every extra character count:

  1. Include additional information. The 140-character limit usually meant you had a choice to inform or to make an offer. Now you can do both. This makes your tweets twice as valuable to customers.
  2. Express yourself. Let’s face it, there is only so much you can say in 140 characters so your use of the language was pretty limited. The higher character count allows you to be more expressive and creative, making your tweets more compelling to readers because you are able to appeal to their emotions.
  3. Increase readability. Line and sentence breaks were once considered a waste of valuable Twitter characters, making tweets difficult to read. Now you can write in a manner that is easier to understand and one that would make your high school English teacher proud!

While you will be writing more content per tweet, you will likely find that these tweets will actually take less time to compose. That’s because trying to fit what you wanted to say in 140 characters took a lot of editing and re-editing. Longer tweets allow you to say what you want to say without forcing you to spend valuable time deciding what you needed to leave out in order to come in under the character count.

Finally, when you customers and prospects connect with you via Twitter, you can actually engage with them in a more impactful way. Since so many people use Twitter to comment on customer service these extra characters will go a long way toward allowing you to get your point across when you reply.

Longer tweets mean more visibility and visibility is what social media is all about. Twitter’s increased character limits, when used to their full advantage, will help your brand be better seen and heard by customers and prospects.

The holidays are right around the corner and everyone is full of good cheer. Well, maybe not everyone. If you are a small business owner it can be difficult to find a work – life balance between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

Small business owners are well aware of the fact that if they aren’t working they aren’t making money – and may be losing customers. They also are (or should be) aware that if they don’t take a break from the stresses of work from time to time, they won’t be able to perform the way they need to. They also may regret not spending enough time with friends and family.

So what’s a business owner to do? Here are some tips for achieving balance during the holiday season:

  1. Get organized. Set up meetings and calls with clients but also make sure you schedule time for non-work related activities. This reduces stress because you can be fully present no matter if you are at work or at play because you aren’t neglecting either.
  2. Communicate with clients. Letting your clients know in advance what your availability will be over the holidays goes a long way toward making the holidays go more smoothly. The fact is, most of your clients don’t want to be in work mode throughout the holiday season so they would like to get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible, as well. The simple act of telling clients when you will be open for business will allow them to plan ahead and reassure them that you are taking care of business.
  3. When you work, work hard. We’re all guilty of wasting time on social media or checking our emails more than necessary during the workday. To ensure you are as productive as possible, don’t try to sneak in online holiday shopping while at the office, for example. You also should work at times when you are the most productive. If you are a morning person, for example, go into the office as early as possible and get as much work done as you can before noon and then leave. Working at full speed all morning and then leaving early makes much more sense than staying all day but taking breaks or getting distracted and wasting time.

The holidays should be the most wonderful time of the year. By making sure that you achieve the right balance between what you need to do and what you want to do, it will stay that way. The key is to plan in advance so you don’t find yourself stressed on all fronts.

As the year-end approaches, it is a good time to reflect on what marketing methods have proven most effective over the course of the past year. With B2B lead generation marketing budgets expected to increase by approximately 5 percent in 2018, it is important to know which techniques are working so that you know where to invest your marketing dollars.
So what were the clear winners in 2017 when it came to B2B lead generation tactics? Read on to find out and to learn more about how these tactics can help make 2018 your business’s most successful year ever.

  1. Content Marketing. It seems cliche by now but content really is king. Well-written content that connects, educates and inspires its readers will establish you as a thought leader in your industry. It also will do wonders for your SEO ranking so people can find you online. Finally, it will increase the number of prospects who reach out to you instead of the other way around. What’s best? The cost-per-lead is very reasonable.
  2. Email Marketing. Email marketing continues to be a force unlike any other in the world of lead generation. Part of its appeal is its versatility. Use it to promote your blog, sales event or just to connect with customers and prospects. Make sure it includes a killer call – to – action and there is virtually no end to the success you can achieve with this type of marketing. In fact, email marketing has been shown to be one of the best ways to nurture leads.
  3. Pay-Per-Click. One key to making PPC work harder for you is to make sure that all of your ads don’t end up on the same landing page. With separate landing pages for each keyword, your PPC campaign can be even more successful at converting sales. Just make sure that your landing page copy matches the initial search.
  4. Social Media Marketing. This technique is proof that it pays to be patient. If you keep with it over the long haul, your social media efforts are very likely to pay off in the form of new leads. Consider this: In 2017, the third leading source of visits to websites originated from social media platforms. With almost 75 percent of internet users on social media, it is easy to see how lucrative social media marketing can be in terms of lead generation.

Chances are if you own a small business you are using social media to market your brand, as well as the products and services you provide. After all, social media is one of the best methods to connect with customers and prospects without breaking the bank.

Unfortunately, many small businesses reach a point where they feel as if they have done all that they can when it comes to social media. They enjoy a good following and are able to interact with customers and prospects on a fairly regular basis. The truth is, however, that social media’s reach is truly endless and no matter how much success you are currently enjoying, you can always achieve more.

So how can you kick it up a notch when it comes to your social media? What follows are some tips to expand your reach, increase your number of followers and, as a result, improve your lead generation efforts and overall sales.

  1. Up your posting game. Posting consistently on your social media sites is imperative to your success. Sporadic posting just won’t cut it. Review what you are posting, as well. It can be easy to fall into the trap of just slapping up a post to say you posted. As difficult as it may be, aim for making every post better than the last.
  2. Always be analyzing. Learn from your successes and failures on social media. Always track your posts to determine what worked best and what didn’t work. Use this knowledge to tailor future posts. It also is a good idea to analyze what your competitors are posting and how many likes, shares, etc. they are seeing. Are there topics they are focusing on that you aren’t? Give those same topics a try.
  3. Make sure your visuals really enhance your posts. It is well-known that pictures and videos increase engagement – but only if they are compelling. Make sure any picture or video you post is pertinent to the content it accompanies.
  4. Join the club. Join communities but be careful about promoting your product. If someone asks a question, you can share a solution but straight out selling is a no-no. Many small businesses wonder what the benefit of joining communities is if they can’t sell to these communities. Two words: relationship building.

Social media is one of the most inexpensive ways to market your business. Make sure you are taking full advantage of it by always looking for ways to do things better!

If you are looking to draw more traffic to your website, organic searches are an outstanding way to do that. While chances are great that pay-per-click ads also will be a part of any truly effective marketing strategy, organic searches are an excellent tool that allows small businesses to generate qualified leads.

As a small business owner it can be difficult to know exactly how to increase organic traffic—especially when so many other businesses (with similar product offerings) are trying to do the same thing. In light of this fact, here are some important reminders small businesses should keep in mind when trying to increase organic traffic:

  1. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Many small businesses that sell to a specific target market try to water down their overall message to try to appeal to a greater number of people. This is almost always a mistake. Why? You often end up alienating the very customers and prospects who are really interested in what you have to sell. Therefore, it is always best to cater to your specific audience.
  2. People understand that they get what they pay for. If you offer the best product or service, people will be willing to pay for it. It’s that simple. Sure, there will always be those consumers who are only interested in a low price but those individuals almost never remain loyal to any business or brand. Most people are very aware that you get what you pay for and may actually be put off if your price is too low.
  3. Focus on community building. Connect and engage with customers and prospects on social media. Make sure your content always connects, educates and inspires. People may be initially attracted to your product or service because of a promotional offer, for example, but customer loyalty comes about through building long-term relationships. That is why it is important that you foster these types of relationships.

Organic marketing is not always easy and it does takes time. However, if done correctly it can have a tremendously positive effect on your bottom line. In the end, organic marketing is about building something of value that goes beyond just what you are selling. And once you create that value you can be sure that customers will keep coming back for more.

No business exists in a vacuum. If you aren’t aware of what your competition is doing at any given time it could spell big trouble for your bottom line.

While this is probably not the first time you’ve heard this advice, it can be difficult to follow. After all, running a business takes a lot of time and energy. Further, even if you really want to keep tabs on the competition, it can be difficult to know exactly how to do that.

If you are wondering how exactly to track what your competition is doing so that you can stay one step ahead of them, we have some simple tips to help you out.

  1. Jump on their website. What are your competitors selling, how much are they selling it for and is it something that you should sell but don’t? Are your competitors offering discounts and promotions that seem to be working especially well? How does their landing page look? Is it easy to navigate? A competitor’s website is a treasure trove of information.
  2. Do a keyword search. Who is coming up when you perform a search with words your customers and prospects are likely to use when looking for you. If your competitors show up on the first page of search results but you don’t then it’s time to up your SEO game.
  3. Follow them on social media. If your competition has a large following you can better understand why that it is when you peruse their social media sites. It also will help you to get a glimpse of how they interact with customers and prospects.
  4. Make a purchase. Wonder what the customer experience is like for a customer of another brand? Become a customer and you’ll get the answer. Along those same lines, give their customer service line a call. Find out how they handle questions or complaints to discover if you could be doing things better.
  5. Attend tradeshows. Visit competitors’ booths and see what they have to say and how they are presenting that information to prospects. Tradeshows also are often the place where new initiatives are launched so you can get those details first hand.

Keeping a close eye on the competition will help you understand how your competitors are able to succeed. It also will give you some ideas on how you can better promote your products and services and interact with customers and prospects.

Much is made about the importance of identifying a qualified lead. Equally important, however, is deciding whether a lead is a dead-end.
If you want to meet your sales quota, it is important that you spend time on leads that are likely to make a purchase. Unfortunately, many leads that have no intention of buying can suck up a lot of your time. That’s because these leads talk a lot about buying without having any intention of doing so.

In order to identify leads that are all talk but no action, we’ve come up with nine surefire ways to pinpoint leads that are likely nothing but time-wasters. And once you identify them, you will be free to concentrate on leads with real potential.

  1. Conduct background checks. Find out exactly who the lead is and if they fit into your target audience. If they don’t fit your criteria, go no further.
  2. Find out what their problem is. Ask the lead what problem your company can solve. If there isn’t one, you can bet there won’t be a sale, either.
  3. Ask about their budget. If your product or service costs more than their budget allows, it’s time to move along.
  4. Discover what they think your company can do for them. If a lead has an unrealistic view of what you can do for them, things aren’t going to work out.
  5. Ask about the competition. Serious leads are likely getting a variety of bids or checking out different companies. If you are the only one they have approached this is a red flag.
  6. Identify the decision maker. If you are not talking to a decision maker ask if you can, if the answer is no, there’s no point in pursing this lead.
  7. Get an address. If a lead is located outside your service area it’s time to move along.
  8. Check their level of engagement. If a lead is really interested in your company or service, they likely would have visited your website or connected with you on social media. If they haven’t, you can bet that they aren’t that into you.
  9. Consider how easy they are to follow up with. If you can’t get in touch with a lead after the initial contact (despite a few good attempts), it is probably best to move on. If they were really interested, they wouldn’t be avoiding you.

While you don’t want to discount a lead that may convert into a sale, neither do you want to waste your time on a dead-end lead. While being too picky may seem like a bad thing, being specific about what types of leads to pursue will pay off in the long run.

Many businesses are using content marketing to promote their business online. This is no surprise given the many ways these businesses can use content marketing to leverage their brand. From allowing a business to be seen as thought leader in their industry to capturing leads to building brand loyalty, content marketing is the name of the game.

Unfortunately, your business is not the only one that knows this. As a result, your target audience is relentlessly being bombarded with online messages. So how is a business to stand out? What follows are three strategies to help you get noticed and stand out from the crowd.

1. Know your audience. You must do more than just create content. Make no mistake, posting content that doesn’t connect with your target audience is as pointless as not posting any content at all. Think of it this way: Is your content entertaining? Great. But is it entertaining to your specific target audience? It better be or it won’t do a thing for your business. Does your content tell stories that your target audience wants to hear? Does it solve the problems your target audience is experiencing? If the answer to these questions is no, then your content is nothing but clutter your target audience will tune out. What’s worse, your target audience will come to see your business as a nuisance they want to avoid.

2. Think in terms of maximum engagement. Is your content merely consumed by your target audience? If so, it’s not doing its job. Your content must be easily shared but it needs to go a step further. It must be likely to be shared. You can include a million share buttons but if your content is not viewed as something that inspires readers to bring to the attention of others, that content has a very limited shelf-life (never a good thing in the world of content marketing ). You also must make sure your content does not exist in a silo. Repurpose your content so it fits different platforms. This includes everything from blogs to social media to email marketing. Your content’s reach should be far and wide.

3. Beware of content overload. It goes without saying that quality trumps quantity. However, your content needs to be more than just high quality. It must be something your target audience not just wants to read but feels that they have to read. This type of remarkable content not only breaks through the clutter, it is something your readers anxiously wait for because it is that significant and helpful.

Content marketing has proven itself invaluable to businesses competing for attention online. As a result, the stakes are higher than ever to break through the noise that surrounds it.