If you are marketing a B2B business but have yet to implement Facebook as part of your overall marketing strategy, you are not alone. Unfortunately, you also are missing out on a critical platform that can help with lead generation and establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

In his article, Why Facebook is Essential to Your B2B Marketing, Gene Hammett explains how Facebook offers a unique opportunity for B2B marketers to connect with, engage, and provide added value to their clients. He also explains why if it has been a while since you have explored Facebook, you should take another look at this popular social media platform and some of its many new offerings.

Valerie Shoopman is an expert on Facebook Marketing. In his article, Hammett quotes Shoopman on the topic of Facebook ads. According to Shoopman:

The newest thing on the Facebook platform that has people talking is the new Lead Gen ads. It is lowering the cost to acquire new leads and works extremely well with mobile.

So what else does Facebook have to offer B2B marketers that they can’t afford to miss out on? Advertising intelligence and brand and reputation management. Advertising intelligence allows businesses to create customized messaging to a highly targeted audience. Brand and reputation management allows a business to participate in the world’s largest social-media conversation thanks to Facebook’s 1.55 billion users. Other new Facebook offerings include live video, video posts, and advertisements.

If you are still utilizing old search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, or worse, your SEO vendor who you are paying continues to implement old SEO techniques, you may (and probably will) wake up one day and find your website is nowhere to be found within the search engines. That’s because the game of SEO and online visibility has changed dramatically. It’s not about the links. It’s about the content. Put bluntly, it’s about the value you bring to visitors when they are searching for your product.

The new rules of online visibility is about content, blogging, social media, mobile friendliness, videos, etc. Don’t be left behind. If you have positioning, don’t lose it. If you don’t have good visibility within the search engines, don’t fret. Believe it or not, it’s easier to get on Page 1 than you may think. That’s because so few companies are following the new SEO rules. Start looking at content more closely for your website, and you will be amazed at the increase of visibility you will see. And what does more visibility mean to you? More customers.

If you want to learn more about this, contact GoLeads, and we’ll be happy to speak with you about this. We work with numerous companies, managing their website and social media platforms, and helping them grow their business. We can do the same for you.

 

The one thing that will never change about content marketing is the fact that it will always be changing. Now that 2016 is here, it’s time to take a look at what many experts believe will be the biggest trends in content marketing over the next 12 months.

  1. Mobile first. While there has been an ongoing shift toward mobile marketing, if you are in the marketing game, there is no longer any way to avoid going mobile. Touchscreen technology will be of particular importance. From making purchases to posting reviews, if people are doing it, chances are they are doing it on their mobile device.
  2. Marketers need to focus on SEO and social media. Consumers are looking to social media when performing searches. They like the visual nature of social content, as well as the reviews and comments. So if you can’t be found on social media, you will be missing out on a large market segment.
  3. Facebook isn’t going anywhere but new sites are cropping up everywhere. Facebook continues to add functionality and tighten security and anyone who says it is becoming less relevant is mistaken. However, marketers would be wrong to not pay attention to other sites like Snapchat and Instagram when it comes to getting noticed and obtaining sales leads. While these newer sites have a younger demographic and were originally used only for personal communication that is changing—quickly.
  4. Options for publishing online content will increase. In 2015, Facebook launched Instant Articles. This new technology allows publishers to stream content directly to Facebook. When it launched, only nine major publishers could use Instant Articles, but it appears it will soon be more accessible. Other social media platforms trying to keep up with Facebook are likely to begin offering this type of service, as well, and this will benefit smaller businesses.
  5. An increase in demand for quality content. The savviest content creators will take note of user preferences for video and images. They also will steer clear of blatant sales content.

By year’s end there may be other content marketing trends that no one saw coming. But one thing is for sure, to remain competitive in the world of content marketing, you must always stay on top of the latest trends—whether expected or not!

 

Many small businesses believe they do not need to be concerned with SEO but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, recent changes to SEO practices have shifted a great deal of focus to local SEO, making it more important than ever to small and local businesses.

Local businesses that aren’t maximizing their SEO results are likely to lose potential customers to their competitors who are easier to find online. It is essential, therefore, that businesses keep up with changes in SEO in order to achieve a higher local SEO ranking. After all, if you are a small, local business most of your sales leads will be local.

If you still believe SEO isn’t something you need to invest in, you might change your mind after considering the following:

  1. Local SEO improves your visibility because it gives you a better spot on a search engine result pages that show only local businesses.
  2. Local SEO attracts a very specific target audience. If are a painting company and someone types in house painters in your area, it is likely they really want someone to paint their house. This leads to much better conversion rates.
  3. Local SEO results in less competition. If your customers are looking for an interior designer, they likely want one in their area. In most cases, they don’t want to do business with someone four states away. If there are only a handful of interior designers in your area, your pool of competitors just got a whole lot smaller and your chance of landing a new customer a whole lot greater.
  4. Local SEO is an important element when it comes to mobile apps. Research shows that more than half of all internet searches take place on mobile phones. If you aren’t visible through SEO on mobile devices, people will not be able to find you. What’s more, Google reports that if an individual looks for a business on his or her phone, they are likely to visit that business the same

While small businesses may think that SEO is something they need not concern themselves with, this is absolutely false. In fact, SEO is critical to the success of all businesses, no matter how big or how small.

 

 

Marketing your business through social media is critical to the success of your brand. In fact, social media marketing is no longer an option for businesses looking to promote their brand, products and services—it is a must.

Social media also is critical to SEO ranking. In her article, 10 Things You Have to Know about SEO & Social Media in 2016, Dee Stephens says that the relationship between social media and SEO rankings involves much more than creating and posting great content.

It’s about promoting that content so that it achieves the results we are looking for.

Unfortunately, many businesses today aren’t quite sure what they are looking for. Thankfully, Stephens’ article helps you to better ascertain what you need from social media as well as how to get it. She touches on topics such as why you need more than a social presence to increase your SEO ranking; the importance of post optimization; and the fact that SEO and social media are both considered to be inbound marketing techniques.

Stephens concludes her article with a healthy dose of realism.

As we move into 2016, it’s important that businesses’ and brands make allowances for social media, content marketing and SEO in their marketing budgets, and have these disciplines implemented in their business this year, as without these things working like a well-oiled machine, I fear those left behind in 2017 will stay behind.

If you are a business owner, you know you need to be on social media. In fact, you are probably spending a good deal of your marketing budget making sure you are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And with so many other high-profile social media sites cropping up, that is unlikely to change.

In your rush to get on social media and continue to remain active there, however, you may have forgotten why you are there in the first place. Is social media really that important? How is it helping your business?

The New Year is always a good time to step back and reflect on why you made particular business decisions. So why not spend a little time reflecting on your decision to get active on social media. In other words, ask yourself, what has social media done for you lately?

It has improved your search engine optimization. Every tweet, post, and update leads to more traffic to you website. Many of those visitors are prospects that are interested in your product or service (aka sales leads)!

It has established you as an expert in your field. Through a blend of content and engagement, people can tell that you know what you are talking about – and they look to you for the answers. And when it comes time to make a buying decision, they will look to you, as well!

It has improved your customer service. Comment or question? Problem or complaint? No matter what your customers need, you can get it for them. Equally important, when you solve a customer’s dilemma quickly and completely, the whole world can witness it!

It has built your brand. Your brand is your most important asset. No matter what message you want your brand to convey, social media lets you do it. It also lets you tweak your message along the way if you feel that is necessary.

It has helped you get to know your audience. Are the people you are trying to reach bored with your message? Do they want to know more about you? Do they love what they are learning from you? Social media allows you to answer all of these questions so that you can literally “give the people what they want.”

 

Websites have always been the primary factor search engines took into account when it came to their rankings. But the times are changing.

Updates in Google’s algorithm means much more interest is being paid to where people are hanging out online. Google and other search engines also are looking for quality, engaging content that is shared and commented on. And where is this type of content most likely to be found? Social media sites.

Social media is fast becoming the website of the 90s. This is true for several reasons in addition to SEO. If you have a customer or prospect who wants to learn more about your company, in many cases they are no longer going to look at your website only. They are going to check you out on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Social media is actually moving in the same direction as websites did in the beginning. First, it was important to just have a website. Then you had to make sure that you kept that website updated. The same is now true of social media. Many business owners once felt that if they had a basic Facebook or Twitter account set up they were good to go.  That is no longer the case. Social media sites need to have fresh, new content posted on a regular basis.

Think of your own life when you research a company. You land on a site, and then click on their Facebook, Twitter and/or Blog icons, only to see a blank page, or maybe worse, the last post being in 2014. What did you think? How did that make you feel about that company? Even if it were just for a split second, you may have perceived the company in a negative light. Most businesses can’t afford that. We can’t afford spending money to bring visitors to our site, only to have our website and our social media sites work against us.

Fresh, new content is so important to your online presence and visibility. Social media is a great way to engage and strengthen our relationship with our prospects and clients.

Many business owners understandably are concerned it is difficult to measure social media’s ROI. And truth be told, for most businesses it’s probably not a primary medium when it comes to a purchase. But I also don’t think it’s a stretch to think that social media plays a huge role when it comes to influencing someone’s decision to purchase. We all know the slightest negative vibe can ruin a deal. It’s always worse when it’s something we could have controlled.

One more side note on the value of social media. It can help you attract prospective employees. When considering job offers, potential employees say that they will peruse a company’s social media sites to get a feel for the organization.  And there’s the value. Social media may not be a direct conduit to the client, but it sure plays a huge part when it comes finalize a purchase.

Social media can do so many great things for a company. What’s best, it doesn’t take a huge investment to stand out among the competition. What it does take is some time and effort. Many companies will choose to outsource their social media management if they feel they don’t have the time or expertise to do it themselves. If this is something you would be interested in, GoLeads can help. We think you will be surprised at how affordable it can be to keep your social media sites fresh, engaged and garnering the attention they deserve.

Finally, if you are taking a wait-and-see approach to social media, keep in mind that your competition is not. And every day you are not engaging with your customers and prospects on social media, someone else is.

 

 

 

 

If you are like most people, you probably will make a few New Year’s resolutions to get healthier or happier in 2016. But what about making a few resolutions for your business?

Lisa Stevens believes that the New Year is the ideal time for a small business to review its goals and create new ones. In her article, 4 New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Owners, Stevens encourages small business owners to choose resolutions that will help their businesses thrive in the New Year.

We all know that the first step toward realizing our goals is to set them, the New Year offers the perfect opportunity to review your organization’s goals and create new ones.

Stevens suggests the following resolutions for small businesses:

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Jump start your competition
  3. Re-think your payment options
  4. Manage cash flow

Stevens expands on each of these resolutions and breaks them down into manageable steps. For example, by planning ahead business owners are able to “prioritize how to spend their time and money and set measurable goals.”

Of course, not all business owners will have the same resolutions. Every business will have a unique set of improvements it needs to look at in the coming months.

Whether it’s to decrease costs, grow market share, improve cash flow or get more organized, a new year provides the opportunity to begin with a clean slate.

If you are a small business that is using Twitter to market your product, service or brand, congratulations! Twitter is an outstanding way to increase brand awareness and generate sales leads.

However, as is the case with all types of social media, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. That is why it is so important to continue to use the best Twitter practices to promote your product or service. What follows are some of the latest and greatest ways to use Twitter as part of your overall marketing strategy:

  • Be careful how many links you put in your tweets. If you have an important link to share, do so – but for the most part keep in mind that tweets without links get more engagement.
  • Hashtags give your tweets context but don’t overdo it. Want to find out how relevant your hashtags are? Rite Tag is one of the many tools available today to help you do just that.
  • Images improve engagement. Further, images set you apart from the competition, especially when the competition doesn’t take the time to use them on a consistent basis.
  • Want to quote someone? Try quoting yourself. This gives you credibility and establishes you as a thought leader.
  • Send out tweets on a regular basis. It is important to reach the happy medium between tweeting too much and not tweeting enough. Once or twice a day is probably the right amount unless something really important is happening in your industry.
  • Track mentions and keywords so that you know what is being said about you on Twitter. It also is important to respond quickly to any praise, comments or complaints.
  • While you probably retweet on a regular basis, favoriting tweets can get you even more attention.
  • Special discounts or deals offered to your Twitter followers are a great way to engage followers.
  • Make sure that Twitter is just one part of your overall marketing effort. For example, if you are running a Twitter promotion, send the link out to your email subscribers, as well.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of a mention. Include @username in your message to thank someone, ask a person a question or give someone a shout out. This is an outstanding way to build relationships.

Twitter is one of the most important and effective ways to market your business. Make sure you are taking full advantage of it by keeping up on all of the latest trends!

 

 

 

Website Design, SEO, Google Marketing

Every business owner understands that in order to succeed in today’s crowded marketplace, they must have a website. After all, if someone is looking for your business, or a product or service that you offer, the first place he or she will turn is online.

While getting your website up and running is a great accomplishment, it is only the first step in making sure that your website is doing all that it can for your business. Unfortunately, many business owners don’t even know what they want to get out of their website. Is it lead generation? Brand awareness?

Whatever you want your website to achieve, it is important to remember that what you put into it is going to have a direct effect on what you get out if it. To ensure that your website is doing all that it can to advance your overall business strategy, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is it easy to find? You can have the most impressive website in the world, but if no one can find it, it won’t matter. If you want your website to be noticed by all the major search engines – Google, Yahoo, Bing – and appear as high as possible in the organic search results of those search engines it must be optimized for search, including mobile search results. This is accomplished through fresh, relevant content that is updated regularly. Such content encourages engagement by compelling people to leave feedback and share it with others.
  2. Is it easy to update? One of the biggest reasons why businesses don’t update their website more frequently is that it is too difficult. This is common when businesses maintain their websites in-house without a dedicated staff that really understands the ins and outs of website maintenance. It also occurs when a business farms out their website maintenance to a huge company – sometimes overseas – that is impossible to reach and has very little interest in customer service once a contract has been signed.
  3. Is it easy to look at? Does your homepage reflect the personality and culture of your business? Is your contact information front and center? Is there a good mix of white space, text and visuals? We’ve all visited websites that are so far from user-friendly we simply move on. A quality website is easy to navigate because it is organized in a logical, user-friendly manner.

Like every other aspect of your business, your website must constantly evolve to meet the needs of your business. Unfortunately, many business owners mistakenly believe that if they build a website, people will find it. The truth is, websites must be built, maintained and kept fresh and up-to-date. Only then will customers and prospects visit your site, and keep coming back for more.