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“Special on massages this month only. Sign up now with the promo code ‘summer’ to qualify for 10% off!”Pretty generic, right? And 10% off? That’s not very much. Certainly not enough to get someone who couldn’t afford to book a massage this month to come in. What’s most likely, is that you’re going to be giving a discount to people who are already within your social network and were likely to come in for a massage anyway. That doesn’t seem very effective nor does it offer an opportunity for much brand awareness.
“A special summer treat for you and a bestie! Tag one of your best friends below for a chance to win a 1 hour massage for both of you for this month! A $350 value! We’ll randomly pick 1 person at the end of next week. You can enter up to 3 times by tagging 3 different people in 3 different posts. Good luck to everyone!”A few important things to take note of. First, the offer. A free massage for 2 vs. 10% off a booking. It’s obvious which one is more likely to get people commenting, sharing, and excited about your offer. Second, because you are encouraging your network to tag people, there’s a very good chance they’re going to be tagging people that are not part of your network, which extends your reach and brand to new people. Finally, the wording of the post is a bit more playful and engaging with words like ‘bestie’, instead of seeming serious and business-like. You need to always be aware of how your brand is being perceived and make sure that you push all the way to the edge of the boundaries.
If you look at the wonderful infographic put together by Column Five for Search Engine Land, we can see that the top factors that go into a well rounded SEO strategy are broken up into two categories; on-site SEO and off-site SEO. Let’s take a quick look at the key factors we feel are the most important when addressing each of these areas.
Firstly, on-site SEO. Content is King (or Queen). You want to make sure that your content is fresh, new, and unique. Most importantly, you want to make sure that your content is is relatable to what people will be wanting when they come to your site/blog. What you want to avoid with your content is keyword stuffing. This used to be what a lot of companies would do to “fake” the quality of their content. For example, if you are a painter that services Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton, you do not want to have on your site: “home painting Toronto, office painting Toronto, condo painting Toronto, home painting Mississauga, office painting Mississauga, condo painting Mississauga, home painting Brampton, office painting Brampton, condo painting Brampton.” Instead you would just say: “We specialize in home, condo or office painting in Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton.” The second thing that is very important with your on-site SEO is what we call the back-end of your website. You want to make sure that your website has a responsive design, meaning that if someone views your website on their mobile device, or on a tablet, that it loads in a user-friendly way that is easy to read and navigate. If you do only one thing on this entire periodic table of SEO this would be the one that we suggest!
Off-site SEO can be a trickier endeavour. Ultimately you want to have reputable sources link to your website. This helps tell the search engines that you must be very credible. One of the best ways to do this is to offer to write content for industry publications and have them link that content back to your website. You can also respond and engage on public forums, with links to your content. You also want to make sure that all of your profiles on other websites have consistent information (think: social media pages, review sites, directory listings) and that you have updated and completed the profiles as well as possible. Finally, try to put yourselves in the shoes of your consumer. What would people want to share and engage with? If you create good, relevant content, and people engage with it and share it with their community, that will help boost your results even better.
As we can see, there are many factors involved with search engine optimization. To have the most long lasting results you need to take your time and do it properly. There are no short cuts, and anyone suggesting such should probably not be trusted. It takes time to build credibility and reputation, and depending on how much your competition is doing could have a huge impact in what your realistic expectations should be to pass them on a search engine results page. If you would like a free assessment of your current website and what is suggested for you to start making some positive growth with your SEO, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation. We know this stuff can be tricky and confusing, and we will do whatever we can to help you out!
A local Toronto artist has a unique way of engaging with his community on instagram, while giving his followers a chance at snagging a piece of his art for less than they would have to pay at a gallery. Anser (@ansermysteriousdate) posts a unique piece of art every Friday under the hashtag Affordable Art Friday. What this essentially means for his over 12k followers is that they have a chance to claim a beautiful piece of artwork each week at a lower cost than what most artists would charge at a gallery, assuming they’re the lucky one to send him an email first!
Now, why would he do this? Does this diminish the perceived value of his work? In speaking with another local artist, that fear certainly is real. It can also be tricky when an artist is signed to a gallery to distribute art anywhere but there. However, in this instance, I think it’s important to take note of something; these are not finished, gallery-ready pieces on canvas. These are quicker sketches, sometimes on unique materials, and the engagement generated from his posts on instagram each week are unusually high.
When comparing his instagram engagement to other local artists, there are a few things I notice. Firstly, the comments on his work seems to be from people outside of his own social following. Why is this important? The value in a strong social media presence is not just better engagement with your friends – it’s also for reaching new people! This is why often with social media contests you are asked to tag a friend in the comment section to enter. They don’t just want you to see it, they want your friends to see it too! Secondly, it’s easy for supportive friends, family and followers to say “love this!” but to see post after post with people upset that they couldn’t get their hands on a specific piece of art? That kind of demand is hard to drum up! Finally, it’s hard not to think about the valuable insights you can gain by looking at which styles are engaged with the most. How many emails you get for people wanting a specific piece. The feedback it encourages is enormously valuable.
All in all, what I think matters most in this particular case is that sometimes it’s good to get outside of the status quo. We often have a tendency to price ourselves at a certain level, which is great, but being creative and trying to drum up new business however we can get it is important. If you are a creator of content, whether it be art or music or anything else, you should be creating non stop. You need to love what you do and pour every ounce of yourself into it. Not every piece is gallery worthy, or album worthy. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t share that with your community and give them a reason to care about you in return. Maybe giving back just might be what actually gives the greatest returns back to you.
We get asked often about strategies on creating amazing landing pages. Truth be told, there’s no one perfect answer! It depends completely on why you are creating the landing page to begin with, and also what you plan on doing with it once it’s created. Let’s examine reasons why someone would want to create a landing page, and what they may be using the page for once it’s created.
Reasons for creating a landing page:
How to market your landing page:
Ok, but seriously, there are two ways that we find are the most productive for advertising a landing page. Social media is very effective if your trying to promote a sale, or an event. That one’s easy. But how should you create a landing page that will be more effective with your SEM strategy? Here’s one super helpful tip and suggestion that will help you take advantage of perhaps the greatest extension available to you in AdWords, the sitelink extension. And even better, you can put this information into practice right away! Instead of a landing page, creating a landing hub.
What’s a landing hub? To us at CTA, a landing hub is simply a sub section of your website focusing on a product/service or even a type of customer, that has multiple links and information tailored to that one specific thing. Before we get into two examples, if you are unfamiliar with what a sitelink extension is you can click here to read up on it! Here are two examples on what we’re talking about.
Example 1. You are a company that offers products and services to businesses. You have, say, 3 products that you focus on, but they each have their own information, pricing, service guarantees etc. so you decide to create a landing page for each one. You could have all of this information on one page, making it very easy to read, navigate, and user friendly, OR, to take advantage of the sitelink extension and having your landing page with a few different links; pricing, FAQ, a contact page, an about the company. Ultimately what this will allow you to do is use the sitelink extension to take up more space on the search engine results page, which we have seen have an incredible influence on our client’s AdWords campaigns.
Example 2. You are a home service company looking for consumers in your area who are looking for your services. In this example, let’s say that you are a painter. You decide that you want to have a very simple page that lets people know about your home painting services. Like the example above, you could very easily have a 1 page landing page for your business, OR, to take advantage of the sitelink extension, you could break out the page into a home page which is about your business and your home painting services, a page on interior painting, a page on exterior painting and a contact us page. That would allow you to take advantage of the sitelink extension and run a much more effective AdWords campaign.
If you have any questions about how to take advantage of the sitelink extension for your business, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and we’d be happy to brainstorm some ideas with you!
Something as simple as a great business card can get you more business. Sounds weird, right? Check the date. No, it’s not the 80s. In a world surrounded by everything digital, we truly believe that a great business card can set you apart. More than just your card though, the philosophy behind why a great business card can set you apart can be applied to other practices, and if done properly, will help grow your business.
A few months ago, when we started handing out our new business cards we saw something we weren’t ready for – people started asking us for additional business cards. From there we saw a higher percentage of first time meetings turned into second meetings. We saw our referral rate go up. And that got us to thinking, when was the last time that someone asked you for additional business cards? If it’s been a while, perhaps it’s time for a redesign and an upgrade. Maybe you should add a second side to your card. Or even a contrast on the card between a matte and gloss finish for a more tactile experience. Whatever the case it’s important to remember that what worked for you years ago should continue to be reinvented.
In keeping with that same idea, how does your website look? When was the last time you updated it? How’s your suit? Or uniform? Or company logo? It’s important to continue to try and put your best foot forward and it’s time to start with the things that can help build a great first impression. So how about you? What do you need to refresh?
Social media. Most of have social media accounts for our own purposes, but when it comes to using social media for our businesses, many of us fall short. Some of us have a hard time finding value or ROI in social media, where others know they should do it, but just don’t know where to start. Let’s take a look at some interesting stats from the BDC on how Canadian entrepreneurs are using social media currently:
When we look at these numbers there are a few startling things that jump out. Firstly, the percentage of business owners that have a website in today’s digital age should be 100%, or as close to that as possible. Secondly, online advertising is one of cheapest, low-hanging fruit client acquisition things that you can do. If you aren’t advertising online, you probably aren’t doing any other form of advertising. Finally, while 2/3 of advertisers are doing some form of social media advertising, the degrees at which “doing” vary are vast.
While there are fundamental pieces that all business owners should have as part of their marketing strategy, often the best way to get ahead of your competitors is to exploit things they aren’t doing properly, or at all. This is where a strong, well planned social media strategy can help. Not to be too much of a Canadian cliché, but what made Gretzky so great at hockey is that he went to where the puck was going, not where it was at currently. We should operate our businesses the same way. The consumer shift to social is already in full effect, why are we not engaging with those consumers where their interests lay instead of trying to lure them away from those platforms to where we wish they were?
If you’re serious about improving your overall marketing strategy and want to look into adding a social media strategy to your efforts, we would love to help you out! Feel free to check out our social media section for more details.