In 2016, SEO will be more important than ever for local businesses.This isn’t just wild conjecture; all data points to the ever-increasing importance of search engines.
Take a look at this study by GE Capital Retail Bank, which said that 81% of shoppers research online before making big purchase decisions. Or this study by Google, Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands, which concluded that 3 out of 4 people are more likely to visit local stores after finding them in search results.
(Source: Google Infographics)
The importance of search engines doesn’t end once you get customers in your store either. Google found that 42% of customers conduct research online while they’re inside your store, mostly using search engines (69%) or your own website (46%).
With Google processing well over 100 billion queries per month, 43% of which are local in nature, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that if you want local customers to find you, you have to invest in SEO.
But how can you excel at local SEO in 2016? Let’s dig through the SEO trends you need to focus on, and give you some actionable advice to rock your local business SEO in the coming year.
Things to consider with SEO for local businesses in 2016
What does the SEO landscape look like in 2016?
Here are the 4 key trends that are going to shape the SEO world in the coming year:
1. GMB takes over local SEO from Google+
Google+ has been announced dead more than a few times in the last couple of years. At one point, it even seemed to be the official position, especially after Google removed the Google+ requirement for YouTube accounts. Around a month ago, Google released a revamped version of Google+ with a focus on ‘communities and collections’.
- Communities are a gathering place for Google+ users interested in a topic.
- Collections help users curate posts on a particular topic, or follow previously curated lists of posts/articles.
From a local SEO point of view, the new G+ redesign meant that the following features were no longer supported; reviews, categories, directions, stars, photo uploads, interior photos, maps, hours & open table/apps integration. However, people can still see this information on Google maps and SERP (search engine result pages), and you can manage these from your GMB (Google My Business) dashboard.
We all know that reviews make or break a local business in SERPs – a fact backed up by a recent study from BrightLocal that shows 92% of consumers read online reviews and that star rating is the #1 factor used by consumers to judge a business.
With the new G+ update some of the popular hacks used in Local SEO, like the direct review link for customers using G+, no longer work. We have built a new tool that can help you create direct links to your Google review popup, that you can pass on to your customers.
What this means for local businesses
If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to move on to GMB to mange your Local SEO.
2. Local SEO and mobile optimized sites go hand in hand
According to International Data Corporation (IDC), 3.2 billion people (roughly 44% of the global population) will have internet access in 2016. Of these, roughly 2 billion will use the internet through mobile devices.
The smartphone is the default internet device for an increasingly large number of people. And it’s not just the sheer numbers; there is also a qualitative difference in the way people use smartphones vs. desktops.
For example, a KPCB Mobile Technology Trends report shows that the time Americans spend on mobile-based digital media (51%) is considerably more than the time they spend on desktops or laptops (42%).
Another report says that customers are more likely to shop on mobiles than desktops.
Search engines have responded accordingly. In April 2015, Google announced a ‘mobile-friendly update’ that gives better rankings to mobile-friendly pages in Google search results. A few months later, Google announced that it was processing more mobile search queries than desktop queries.
What this means for local businesses
The question now isn’t whether people actually use their mobile phones to conduct online searches – it’s whether you actually have a competent mobile-friendly search optimization strategy. Without a strong, mobile-focused website and content, be prepared to be decimated in the search engines by the competition who do.
3. Click-through rates for top organic search results are falling
In a 2006 study of over half a million users on 20 million search queries, AOL revealed that the top ranking page gathered about 42% of all clicks. The second ranked page attracted 12% of clicks, while the third ranked page got about 8.5% of all clicks.
Overall, AOL showed that the top 10 organic results received about 90% of all clicks.
A year later in 2007, Mediative (then known as Enquiro) released data which showed that the top ranked page got 25% clicks, second position got 11% clicks, while the third position got 8% clicks.
However, in 2011, Slingshot revealed that the number one ranking page on Google got only about 18% clicks, while number two ranking got about 10% of clicks.
Within a span of five years, we’ve gone from the top ranked page getting 42% of all clicks to just 18% of all clicks.
Please note that all of these statistics are from reports by different organizations, so we’re not exactly comparing apples to apples. One of the closest things we have to that would be the CTR study by AWR, an awesome tool by Philip Petrescu, which shows a decline in CTR for organic results.
The reason why should be apparent to anyone who has ever used a search engine recently. The top half of the page (above the fold) is usually dominated by ads:
In the case of local search results, Google Places dominates the above the fold area. For most searches, you get the ‘3-Pack’ results.
In fact, home service businesses (plumbers, locksmiths, etc.) can even buy ‘Home Service Ads’ in AdWords to make sure that their site gets priority placement in local search results.
What this means for local businesses
Top rankings matter, but not as much as they used to. Just like Facebook, Google seems to be slowly transitioning to a ‘pay to play’ model in a lot of verticals. The big exception is the Local 3 Pack result which can be achieved through local SEO. To stay relevant in this space, you should have a PPC budget to complement your SEO efforts.
4. Voice Search and SEO
With the rise of mobile devices we have seen a greater demand for voice search. Studies shows that 56% of on the go searches have local intent.
When using voice for search, people usually use natural language as opposed to keywords. For example you might say OK Google … “Where can I find a good locksmith in Richmond?” – but if you’re on the desktop version you might have typed in “locksmith Richmond”.
Google has been getting a lot better at understanding us especially using voice search.
What this means for local businesses
Voice search is changing the way people search. You should make sure your business has a content strategy to target long tail keywords and informational queries with things like How-To articles, explainer videos and so on.
This covers some of the key things to consider for local businesses with SEO in 2016. Now let’s shift focus to how you can change your SEO strategy in 2016 to win big.
Local business SEO tips for 2016
Here are a few actionable tips that can have a big impact on your local business’ SEO in 2016.
1. Invest in getting listed in directory companies
Based on the dominance of Google Places in local SERPs, you might be led to believe that you can safely ignore sites like Yelp, Womo, etc in favor of Places. In truth, an ‘either or’ strategy no longer works for local SEO. You need to have a strong presence in both local directories and Google.
- Sites like Yelp provide review data that shows up in Apple Maps, which is increasingly replacing Google Maps as the default map app for iOS users.
- Sites like Yelp are growing at an alarming rate and analysts believe they can overcome Google dependence.
- With a monthly average of 89 million unique visitors via mobile, Yelp itself gets a large number of searches.
Ideally, you should have a vibrant presence on both Google Places and online directories like Yelp.
2. Build quality links
Most local websites hardly have any links to speak of. Investing even a tiny bit into building quality white-hat backlinks can go a long way towards pushing your site to the top of the SERPs.
Here are a few simple and easy to follow methods:
- Build your own Citation and Directory links: Quality citations can boost your business in local packs on Google SERPs. One way to find these opportunities are to use some Local SEO Tools.
- Connect with local bloggers: If you’re in a moderately sized city, there will be plenty of local bloggers who’ll be more than happy to link out to a local business. Give them some free products/services in exchange for a link. Alternatively, share your expertise via a guest post on their blog.
- Reach out to people who’ve linked to your competitors. Find bloggers who have linked to content on your competitors’ websites. Create a better version of this content, then reach out to bloggers for backlinks (aka the ‘Skyscraper Technique’ by Brian Dean).
3. Invest in content
An SEO strategy without strong content is bound to fail in 2016. Just take a look at some of the top results in your industry. Do you see any pages with short, useless content that’s stuffed with keywords?
Of course not. Google has made content essential to good rankings. While building backlinks is important, you won’t go far without solid, useful content.
In fact, in a recent hangout, Google’s John Mueller even mentioned the importance of content:
“But past that, of course, high quality content is something I’d focus on…….We want to bring content to people that is really useful for them and if your content is really useful for users then we want to bring that to people.”
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Go deep instead of wide: According to SERPIQ, the top 10 results in Google have 2,000 or more words. This means that instead of creating short posts on hundreds of topics, you’ll do better by creating long, in-depth posts on a limited number of topics.
- Create visual content: People are more likely to share images, videos, GIFs, etc. than plain textual content. There are various sites that offer free images and videos that you can use in your posts and projects.
- Repurpose content. Once you create an article, repurpose it into infographics, eBooks, presentations, etc. to spread your content as far as possible. There are many DIY tools you can use to create these yourself.
The SEO industry is going through a soft upheaval. From links and technical SEO, content has come to form the foundation of online rankings. At the same time, mobile search and decreasing CTR is making SEO a challenge for small, local businesses. However, top marketing companies will always find ways to get their clients listed in the search results, no matter how they are delivered.
Guest Author: Saijo George, is the SEO Strategy Director at Supple, an award winning SEO agency from Melbourne, Australia. You can get in touch with him on Twitter or Linkedin
Your product is ready. Finally!
You have invested time, money and resources. The product has to be a hit, otherwise, it was all for nothing.
You push publish and it’s live. You have finally launched the product and… Silence… Uh, oh.
No one cares, let alone buys your new product.
You messed up, that’s what. You didn’t build pre-launch buzz.
I do not want this to happen to you. I have been through the product to market cycle many times and worked with hundreds of startups.
Here are a few ways that you can build real buzz before your product is released and avoid failing.
1. Consider the product and how it changes lives or an industry
It all starts with the product itself. How does it disrupt the status quo?
Your new product should be destructive and creative. It should eliminate an older way of doing something and offer a new, innovative means of achieving the same goal.
If you begin from that framework, you can start your preliminary advertising about the product by honestly saying that it will change the way people live and/or do business. That’s sure to generate some press and put your company in the spotlight. Make notes on the core features that are 100% unique. That will be important later.
2. Demonstrate the issue clearly and show how you solve it
You don’t want to brag about the product’s features. You want to share how it will make life easier for people who use it.
Think about the last time you saw one of those “But wait! There’s More!” TV commercials advertising some clever new gadget. Those commercials offer a great formula to follow for building buzz about a product before its launch.
The gadget commercial usually begins in black-and-white showing somebody struggling to accomplish an everyday task. An announcer chimes in with something like: “Are you fed up with….?” Then, the commercial goes on to demonstrate the numerous benefits of the gadget.
That tried-and-true method will work for your product launch as well. Begin your ad copies and social media campaigns by identifying the problem (“Don’t you hate it when…?”, “Are you frustrated with…?”). And then, just leave them hanging.
Say no more. For a while, anyway.
Repeat the problem identification message for a period of time. Then, after a little while, turn it into something more positive: “Wouldn’t it be great if you could…?”
Now, you’re generating curiosity.
And buzz will follow.
3. Get influential bloggers on board
If you’re product is ready to go but hasn’t reached its launch date yet, then you should contact bloggers who reach people in your target market and make the product available to them free of charge in exchange for a review or feedback.
The best way to approach this is to look at your competitor’s products and Google the <product name> plus “review.” This will bring up all the people who reviewed your competitors. Make a list of all these people in a Google sheet.
Next, use tools like BuzzSumo and Followerwonk to determine the influencial people in your space. Add those people to your list as well. Send your product to as many bloggers, editors and writers as possible. The more you reach, the better your chances.
That will benefit you in several ways.
First of all, people who view the blogs will read about your product and you’ll generate more interest. You’ll build the size of your market at launch time.
Second, almost all popular bloggers know how to use social media to promote their posts. As a result, word about your product will find its way on popular social media sites.
And do not forget to ask these same people to come to your event…
4. Create an event surrounding your product launch
Are you planning on launching your product with a bang or with a whimper?
If you’re thinking to just make the product “available for purchase” on a certain date and that’s it, then you’re not building excitement. Why should people believe that your product is a big deal if you don’t even believe it’s a big deal?
On the other hand, if you’ve rented out a venue, sent invitations to decision-makers, hired a band, purchased a few prizes for a raffle, and contracted a stand-up comic to participate in your launch, then people are going to think that your launch is a big deal.
5. Take pre-orders
Apple is the undisputed pre-launch product buzz king. Follow that company’s lead and allow people to pre-order your product.
When you do that, you’ll find that eager customers (the best kinds of customers, by the way) will be lining up before the doors even open on launch day because they want to be among the first people to get your product. You might even have to call the police to stop a few fights (a good problem to have).
When you let people pre-order, you’re creating a groundswell of enthusiasm that exists prior to the release date that’s sure to generate lots of buzz.
6. Keep them in suspense
If you want to generate some free PR about your upcoming product launch, advertise that it will offer a radical change to the way people live or do business and then keep them guessing.
Run ads that drop clues about how your product will benefit people. Be sure not to disclose complete spoilers, though. Give them just enough information to want more.
Steve Jobs was the quintessential genius at this tactic.
7. Ask for social shares on landing pages
Your product has a landing page, right? If not, it should.
Use that landing page to ask people for social shares. Once they sign up to learn more about your product (so that you have their email addresses for email marketing purposes), you can take them to a “Thank You” page that presents them with social share buttons.
8. Use crowdfunding
If you want to build buzz about your launch, use crowdfunding.
You might be thinking: “I don’t need to use crowdfunding, I have all the money I need thanks to my investors.”
Use crowdfunding anyway.
Why? Because it’s a great way to build buzz about your product launch. Remember, with crowdfunding, you’re giving away prizes to people who offer money. Make sure that those prizes are useful and that they promote your brand. It’s pretty cool when people give you money so that they can advertise your business.
Also, with crowdfunding, you’re by definition creating a crowd that’s interested in your product. Those people will take to social media to talk about the fact that they’ve contributed to your launch and might be making history in the process.
And you’ll have more buzz.
9. Build a website, optimize it and do some content marketing
What keywords are related to your new product that are also popular search terms? Identify a few and build a website that’s optimized for those keywords.
You’ll generate some pre-order interest if people stumble across a site that teases your product with a simple Google search.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of video marketing. That’s because statistics show that video increases engagement.
Sit down with your marketing team and craft a well-produced video that creates a sense of anticipation about your upcoming product launch. Distribute that video to the usual quarters (YouTube and Vimeo at a minimum) and be sure to share it on your social media channels.
Also, feel free to run the video as a YouTube promoted ad. Target people in the YouTube community based on interests and demographics so that they see your video even if they don’t subscribe to your channel.
Finally, keep in mind that YouTube is also a search engine. Be sure to optimize your video for keywords relevant to your product.
11. Promote pins
Use the image-driven social media website Pinterest to prove that a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. Create a clever image that reflects your product, include a brief ad copy, and pin it to Pinterest. Consider teasing people on Pinterest with the revolutionary way your product will solve a problem, but not telling them how.
Then, promote it. Pinterest allows you to promote your pins so that they appear to users who don’t follow your brand or any of its boards.
Schedule at least a few promoted pins to roll out in the weeks and months leading up the launch. If your images look great, you’ll have people on the social media site liking and re-pinning your pins.
12. Facebook ads
As of this writing, there are more than a billion and a half people on Facebook. It’s safe to say that if you want to generate buzz about your product online, that’s where you should be making a statement.
Start by using Facebook native ads. Those are the ads that appear in a user’s newsfeed as though they’re content posted by friends. There will be a “Sponsored” message on the ad, but it won’t be too obvious. Your ad should include a link to some outstanding, teasing content about your upcoming launch. The content should have a compelling headline. Additionally, you should follow the advice of Kim Walsh-Phillips and use the text area of the ad to say something catchy about your product. Hit them with a double-tease using both the text of the ad and the headline of the content.
Also, run a “Like” campaign for the Facebook page associated with your product (you do have a Facebook page, right?). Once again, you can get creative with the text you use. One of the best approaches is to ask people to click “Like” if your product solves their problem. For example, if you’re launching a product that makes it easier for people to work from home, the text can read: “Click Like if you if you want to work from home every day!”
Make sure that you target the right types of people with both of your ads. Fortunately, Facebook allows you to craft an ad campaign with laser-like precision to users based on demographics and interests.
13. LinkedIn sponsored updates
A great way to build buzz about your product, especially if you’re in the B2B space, is to use LinkedIn Sponsored Updates. Here’s how it works: you use your company page to create some amazing content, then promote that content so people in your target market see it even if they’re not connected to you.
It’s native advertising for LinkedIn.
Once again, create a compelling headline and a fascinating lead. Follow the “slippery slide” policy made popular by legendary copywriter Joseph Sugarman. He said that readers should be so compelled to read your copy that they can’t stop reading until they read all of it, as if they were sliding down a slippery slide.
14. Twitter advertising
Another social media channel that offers you a veritable ocean of prospects is Twitter. You can tweet a brief text message in 140 characters or less, an image, or even a video.
Then, you can promote the tweet so that even people who don’t follow you will see the tweet. You’ll be charged based on engagement.
Fortunately, Twitter Ads allow you to target your tweet to people based on interests and demographics, so be sure to promote the tweet to people who are in your target market.
15. Email marketing
Another way to generate buzz about your upcoming product is to build an email list of people interested in it and send out periodic teases to the list.
The usual rules apply here. Send people in your target market to a page that offers something of value in exchange for an email address. Make sure that your offer also builds your brand (e.g. a discount on the product when it launches).
Also, set up a Facebook quiz that asks fun questions related to your product (take a look at the quiz created by Crystal Ski Holidays for an example). People who want to participate in your quiz will have to provide an email address. The great thing about this tactic is that quizzes are shareable on Facebook, so you can generate even more buzz if your quiz goes viral.
Once you’ve got a list, be sure to email it regularly so that people don’t lose interest.
16. Press releases
Hire someone to write a professional press release and distribute it to one or more newswires. Make sure that your article teases your product well but doesn’t offer too many spoilers. You want to generate curiosity.
Why? Because you might have professional journalists calling you and asking for more information about your product. Grant those interviews and offer the journalists the appropriate level of information. You’ll get free advertising in their media outlets when they publish the story. Note that you can also add images and videos to press releases, so make sure to integrate your strategies.
17. Declare your milestones
A great way to combine social proof while generating anticipation at the same time is to brag about your milestones online in terms of orders placed.
For example, when you receive your first 100 pre-orders, tweet something like: “We already have 100 pre-orders!” Then, tweet out a similar message when you have 500 orders, 1,000 orders, 5,000 orders, and so on.
You’ll create a snowball effect. People will buzz about your product because there’s already buzz. That buzz will continue to build as you share your milestones.
18. Advertise your social responsibility
It’s usually not a great idea to brag about your charitable giving, but if you want to create some pre-launch product buzz, you probably should.
For example, issue a press release declaring that, for every 10 products sold, your business will donate $100 to the Red Cross or the Salvation Army. That kind of good-natured expression will get people talking and might even land you a few more interviews.
19. Keep blogging
It’s so easy to get caught up in looking for new ways to promote your product that you forget about the basics. Don’t neglect content marketing during your pre-launch era.
At least once a week, blog about your upcoming product. Use titles and copy that are rich in keywords related to your niche. You’ll gain an audience from search engines and boost the buzz about your product.
20. Guest blogging
Hopefully, you’ve established relationships with business owners who aren’t competitors. Those entrepreneurs almost certainly have blogs. Reach out to them and ask about guest posting.
Use your guest posts to not only talk about your brand and your product, but also to provide contextual backlinks to your own blog. This is an effort at SEO as well as product promotion.
21. Create infographics
Infographics are thoroughly enjoyable and often shared. A great way to start some conversation is to create an engaging infographic about your product. Be sure it’s tailor-fit to people in your target market as well.
Follow the usual pattern of infographics. Offer plenty of stats with visuals that complement the information. Post the infographic to your blog and share the link on your social media channels.
22. Use HARO
The Help a Reporter Out website brings journalists and sources together. It also offers you a great way to get some free press about your product.
Sign up as a source on the website and offer your expertise in a way that’s related to your upcoming product launch. There’s no guarantee, of course, but a reporter from The Chicago Tribune or Time might call you and ask a few questions. When the story gets published your name and company name will be mentioned and you’ll have some additional publicity.
Also, respond to requests from reporters if they’re looking for sources related to your expertise. Reporters are always looking for quotes from business leaders to add to their stories. You can make that work to your advantage.
23. Attend trade shows
“Old school” marketing still works when it comes to pre-launch promotion. Attend trade shows and industry events and start networking.
While at the show, you’ll run into a potpourri of editors, reporters, and influential bloggers. Offer a product demo to them and you could gain some additional press.
Wrapping it up
To reach your sales potential, you need to create buzz about your product before it launches. With just a few easy-to-implement tactics, you can have people talking about your product and excited for its release date. Then, you’ll hear the cash register ring repeatedly.
Guest Author: John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility and a digital marketing teacher at the University of California San Diego. Lincoln has worked with over 400 online businesses and has generated millions in revenue for clients. In 2014 and 2015, Ignite Visibility was named #1 SEO company in California and top 2 in the nation. You can keep up with his latest work on the Ignite Visibility blog or by following him on Twitter @johnelincoln
Ok marketers, the year’s in full swing so it’s time to get your mobile strategy in shape.
In 2015, mobile traffic for the first time exceeded that of desktop. 100% of Facebook’s revenue growth comes from smartphones and tablets. Plus, with Mobilegeddon, Google has conveyed a strong message…
“Non-mobile-friendly sites will disappear from top results”
2015 was the year that mobile surpassed every other device and in 2016 we will see its full effects. Including more integration between the online experience and the real one, as well as even more multimedia communication with users, texts, images, video and live streaming.
To perform well and stay ahead of your competitors, you need a strong mobile strategy. Is your site ready?
The workout plan for your next mobile strategy
Keeping up with the pace of these changes isn’t easy. Mobile is a new world and the strategies that were valid up until a few years ago are now unfashionable and inadequate.
To help you out I’ve put together six exercises that will help your projects get back into shape and strengthen your mobile marketing strategy. If you are dedicated, you’ll be faster than your competitors and you’ll become more flexible for future developments.
1. Tone up your mobile site
After the recent Google search algorithm changes, it is clear that a great desktop site has less and less relevance to Google. What matters is that it has to be mobile-optimized, have fast loading time and rich content for users.
The key is to tone up your website content: text, structure, images, and everything else must be reduced to the essentials.
Your mobile site doesn’t have to be an exact copy of what is meant for desktop because the way of using it is completely different. People who browse on smartphones are interested in finding information they need right away. So opt for much less information, but make it all relevant.
With technology you can do so much more than just offer a “recommended product”. You can offer the users the possibility to choose items in their preferred color or price and suggest the nearest store where they can buy it. Why not take advantage of this opportunity?
To streamline your content, these are the tools that are a must in your training bag:
2. Cross-fit the formats
Which format do website visitors engage with the most?
That’s right, video. 50% of mobile traffic consists of video, and by 2017 it will reach 69% of all online traffic, rising up to 79% in 2018 (source: Hubspot).
Facebook offers advertisers the possibility to insert video ads. Google is also planning to introduce video ads in search results in 2016.
Here’s the secret – don’t just create video and stop. Create a path of multi-format content. Slideshows, infographics, guides, branded comics…
That’s how you will keep your audience engaged for longer.
Here are some free tools that will help you along the way:
3. Stretch the app
Some have already figured this out for some time now, but in 2016 most brands will fully realize the importance of an app in their mobile strategy.
Apps can do anything that a website can, but in a more intuitive and accessible way. For this reason, they will gain more exposure even on Google’s search results.
But how do you create one that works? Put yourself in the shoes of the user. Today there is an app for everything: to plan your meetings, check your sports activity and performance, or help you follow your diet. Most importantly they all deal with one thing at a time.
There are two ways to create an app depending on the time and budget you have available. If you’re time poor but have some budget, contact a specialized web agency.
Otherwise, choose an online system for creating websites and apps. These systems do not require technical expertise and offer ready-made templates to create your own app in a couple of minutes on a tight budget.
4. Pump-up Facebook campaigns
Do you know how many advertisers there are on Facebook?
2.5 million (source: Venturebeat), an increase of 80% over the past two years, while 57% of their budget is dedicated to mobile (source: Socialbakers).
Advertising on Facebook is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive, and it will be even more so in 2016. However, considering that it has 1.1 billion active users, we’re forced to be part of the game.
To get noticed by your customers without an unnecessary waste of resources, you should focus on increasing conversions.
Integrate these tools into your daily routine
- Hootsuite Ads to automatically generate your ads from the content on your Facebook page
- Qwaya to automate testing on best performing ads
- AdEspresso’s Facebook Ads Compass to have a full report of all the data of your campaigns
5. Jump in the conversation
Mobile will grow in 2016, that’s for sure. While many marketers are focused on advertising, emails and digital coupons, walk an extra mile and start a conversation with your customers. This is also what smartphones are for – to connect directly with other people. It is no surprise that messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Messenger have 900 million monthly active users (source: Fortune).
There will soon be marketing spaces here, as announced by Facebook, and they will provide more opportunities compared to traditional ads. Keep this in mind for your strategy. Allocate a portion of your budget to these novelties and be the first one to try them out.
While waiting for these new spaces to promote your brand, start monitoring what your customers are talking about.
- BuzzSumo will help you find out which topics your target market is most interested in
- Mention keeps an eye on people’s opinion on your competitors
- SocialSearcher will help you monitor the status of users on Facebook and Twitter
6. Remember to breathe
Focusing on your own mobile strategy is important, but you should also look around from time to time. During the year, new trends that are currently emerging could become significant such as Echo, Cortana, Siri and other personal assistance systems. Being among the first ones to ride the wave of the latest trends will give you a great competitive advantage.
Keep up with the latest trends. Participate in webinars and join events. Check out marketing novelties on a daily basis.
Do you think it will take too much time? Here are some tools that will help you quickly absorb ideas:
- Feedly to have an eye on news of the sectors that interest you
- Wordtracker to find out the most relevant keywords in the past 48 hours
- TweetStats to know the hottest topics on Twitter
Now it’s your turn
If you adopt a mobile attitude to strengthen up your marketing strategy on a day-to-day basis, with perseverance and confidence in your abilities, we assure you that you will obtain great results.
The tips mentioned above can apply to everyone and your job now is to understand how to apply them – every athlete has weaknesses they have to work on. Take your mobile strategy for 2016 and look at its critical points.
What will you start working on?
Guest Author: Silvio Porcellana is the CEO and Founder of mob.is.it, the online tool over 1,000 agencies and professionals use to build mobile websites and native apps for customers worldwide. From his retreat in the Monferrato Hills in North West Italy, he bootstraps companies, writes about web and mobile marketing, and helps customers succeed online. Read more from Silvio at mob.is.it blog. Twitter: @silvioporcellan
Social media is an addiction.
Well, it is for many of us. Most people can’t walk straight these days as they have their head in the mobile phone and one eye on the pavement. If someone from 100 years ago was transported to 2016, they would think we were mad as we talk to ourselves with white wires hanging from our ears!
So why are we so captivated?
It’s about human connection at scale that networks us to billions of people. We are curious about the impact of our creations. Will they like it? Are they sharing my thoughts, photos and videos?
It also gives us a voice.
Social media makes us feel empowered
This intersection of humanity and technology is human super consciousness enabled by hardware, apps and wireless connectivity. It’s a global mind meld that allows us to share thoughts, feelings and images with our family and friends no matter where we or they are. Virtual reality is becoming the reality. Social media is now a big part of that reality.
We can also join in global engagement of our individual interests.
A niche interest in playing a certain online game, sharing train watching ideas and cave diving tips can now be indulged with other like minded humans that become our global interest tribes. You no longer have to drive or fly to join or create a conversation. Skype, Periscope or Blab can help you connect from home.
It’s hyper connectivity at scale. It’s changing the world as we know it. And we don’t know where it is going.
The social web and the digital world is forcing business to think different about its marketing, what content it creates and to focus on innovation.
What worked just 5 years ago doesn’t work today.
Relying on organic traffic from Facebook shares was the main social sharing tactic 5 years ago now. We now know we need to pay for that traffic in 2016!
So you need to try the other options. These include:
Flipboard: Over 70 million users
WhatsApp: Just cracked the 1 billion user mark
Snapchat: Reported to have 100 million users
Social media is splintering. It’s no longer just about Facebook.
So the social sharing buttons need to be updated. I have now added Flipboard and WhatsApp. To help me do that I use one of the best Apps for bloggers and website owners.. (an awesome app called SumoMe).
It allows me to easily connect and update my sharing buttons (plus 11+ other cool options) which can be a floating sidebar, at the top or sitting at the bottom of the page.
Not only that but it provides you with great metrics and stats. Here is some of the data that you can get from the dashboard.
Above is my first day of metrics capture. The data that shows on a mouseover is also very insightful.
Here are the share splits.
- Twitter was top at 63
- LinkedIn was next at 17
- Pinterest – 16
- Email – 15
- Facebook -12
- Google+ -10
- WhatsApp – 9
- Buffer – 6
- Flipboard – 2
What surprised me was how many people shared via email, WhatsApp and also FlipBoard. So we have the old and the new! Shows you not assume how and what people share. You need to know the data so you can optimize and maximize your sharing.
If you want to know some more about SumoMe check out this post on “How to Double Your Traffic Without Paying Google or Facebook a Cent“. Where I take a closer look at the key 12+ tools you can use to double your traffic.
The social web will amplify brand awareness, grow your traffic and increase leads and sales if it is done well.
Flipboard goes viral
Three weeks ago something happened that surprised me.
I published a post “7 Inspiring Books You Must Read” and then I flipped that post into one of my personal Flipboard magazines where I put all my blog posts.
A couple of hours later my traffic blew up.
I found the major source for the traffic of 200 readers a minute was coming from Flipboard.
Flipboard is a social-network aggregation magazine format mobile app that was founded in 2010 and I joined up a few years ago and have been playing at its edges . But the traffic it is driving in 2016 to my site is now very surprising but welcome.
So here are the lessons on viral.
Keep innovating and trying new tactics. You will be surprised often by what works and what doesn’t.
If you want to see how the jeffbullas.com posts look like on FlipBoard come and check it out here. For more information on Flipboard, check out this article. “6 Ways Brands Can Amplify Their Marketing With FlipBoard Magazines”
So after that small digression let’s have a closer look at the social media facts that behind how the social web is changing how we communicate, market and create content.
Facebook owns some companies that you maybe aren’t aware of. Instagram(bought for $1billion), Occulus Rift (for $2 billion) and WhatsApp (purchase price of $19 billion). These are some of the Facebook facts from their investor relations division
- Monthly active users (MAUs) - MAUs were 1.59 billion as of December 31, 2015, an increase of 14% year-over-year.
- Revenue - Revenue for the full year 2015 was $17.93 billion, an increase of 44% year-over-year.
- Income from operations - Income from operations for the full year 2015 was $6.23 billion.
- Net income - Net income for the full year 2015 was $3.69 billion.
- Free cash flow - Free cash flow for the full year 2015 was $6.08 billion.
- Daily active users (DAUs) - DAUs were 1.04 billion on average for December 2015, an increase of 17% year-over-year.
- Mobile DAUs - Mobile DAUs were 934 million on average for December 2015, an increase of 25% year-over-year.
- Mobile MAUs - Mobile MAUs were 1.44 billion as of December 31, 2015, an increase of 21% year-over-year.
- Mobile advertising revenue - Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 80% of advertising revenue for the fourth quarter of 2015, up from 69% of advertising revenue in the fourth quarter of 2014.
The role of mobile is a staggering 80% of all advertising revenue. The money machine rolls on.
Twitter in the last 12 months has taken a battering in the press, lost it’s CEO and is still struggling to monetise its platform. But it has a truckload of cash in reserves (at $3.5 billion) and at the current burn rate will be around for another 412 years according to USA Today.
- 320 Million users
- Twitter will be offering live embedded feeds from Periscope directly in the Twitter feed via the Twitter app on the Apple iOS.
- 120 million monthly users
- 500 million tweets are sent per day
Below are some more stats.
Image source Twitter:
Snapchat launched in 2011 and was initially almost dismissed as a joke. A fad that would pass. It was reported that Facebook offered $3 billion to buy the company and everyone thought they were mad to reject it.
But the facts in 2016 show a different story.
- 100 million active daily users
- 18% of all social media users in the USA use Snapchat
- 30% of all US. millennials use the network
- 8,796 photos a second are shared on Snapchat
- Snapchat is reputed to have 5% of the overall selfie market
Statistics source: Expanded Ramblings
Infographic source: Growingsocialmedia
This story behind the brand name was a play on words of “What’s Up”. Facebook bought it for $19 billion on Valentine’s Day, 2014 after beating Google’s offer of $10 billion.
It’s core philosophy is simplicity.
This is a little different to how Google approached the concept with Google+. Which was more about the big bang and big bucks theory of beating Facebook. We know how that strategy played out.
So here are some of the facts behind WhatsApp.
- Founded in 2009 by Jan Koum and Brian Acton
- Just hit 1 billion users
- 7oo million pictures get shared on the platform daily
- 100 million new users are added daily
- More than 100 million videos are shared daily
- The average user send more than 1000 messages per month on WhatsApp
- Average user checks the app 23 times per day
Infographic source: Shoponless.com
Google+ seems to have become more about one of its key features. Google+ Hangouts. Google+ has even admitted that Google+ maybe split up into its functional parts.
Maybe the problem was that it tried to do too much rather than start simple and evolve. Cases to prove that simple works include Twitter, Snapchat and WhatsApp.
It’s big bang theory that imploded after investing over half a billion in it’s design and development. Deep pockets don’t always win.
Google won at search but not social.
Despite that here are some figures I managed to dig up.
- There are 2.2 billion G+ profiles
- Only 9% have any publicly posted content. Do the math. That’s 198 million that published!
- 37% mentioned that those activities were comments on YouTube videos
Statas source: Socialscoremedia
Instagram has now passed Twitter in the user count and it looks like it is Facebook’s best investment. After buying it for $1 billion on April 9, 2012… Citibank valued it at $35 billion just before the start of 2015 when it had 300 million users.
At the beginning of 2016 it has even more. Here are some facts about Instagram to ponder.
- Instagram has 420 million users
- Users share 70 million photos a day
- Instagram is considered the most important social network by American teens than any other network at 32% vs 24% for Twitter and Facebook at 14%.
Infographic source: Instagramchief.com
Pinterest feels like it has been around forever. But it hasn’t. On the social media scene it is almost middle aged. It started in 2009.
Here are a few facts that you may use when planning your social media marketing.
- 100 million users
- 80% are female
- 30% of US social media users are on Pinterest
Infographic source: Brandingandbuzzing.com
Blab burst on the scene in 2015 and is a live streaming video app that allows up to 4 people to be the hosts while the rest of the world looks on and comments. Sort of like the love child of Periscope and Google+ Hangouts.
- Number of users – No idea! But it has got a lot of attention over the last 6 months. I couldn’t find any numbers. If you have the inside scoop please let me know!!
- Users can sign in to the Blab through Twitter account only.
- Blabs can be recordable both as audio and video files
- The recorded Blabs can be share and upload onto the social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube etc.
- Blab is available for both Android and iOS platform devices
- The 20 characters that are additional in Twitter profile bio will be lost if you have edit the information for Blab.
- Viewing Blab without participating in was called as Lurk mode on Blab
- Blab allows maximum six hour lengthy content
The Blab rules
Graphic source: Marc-levy.com
Periscope was launched in March, 2015 and is an app that allows live video streaming from the app on your mobile phone. Live streaming video from the mobile took off in 2015 with the launch of Meerkat, Periscope and Blab.
Using these platfroms to build brand awareness and market your business are still in embryonic stages. So watch this space
- Periscope was acquired by Twitter for $86 million
- People are watching 40 years worth of live video every day
- 350,000 hours of video is streamed daily
- Since Periscope launched last year, people have created over 100 million live broadcasts according to the Twitter blog.
- Estimated number of users has passed 10 million
- Daily active users has passed 1.85 million
Source of data: Omnicoreagency.com
Infographic source: JenLehner.com
So I am maybe pushing the boundaries of what is a social network but Flipboard does allow sharing, content publishing and comments.
It “is” still social media.
Flipboard was launched in 2010 by former Apple iPhone engineer, Evan Doll, and former Tellme CEO, Mike McCue. The duo set out to create an app that merged the simplicity and feel of a magazine with the accessibility and collaboration that technology provides. The app integrates news from media outlets from around the world and presents it in a magazine format.
- 72 million monthly users
- 36 million use it every week
- It is in more than 20 languages
- Users flip through 8.2 billion stories a month
- They have raised over $200 million in funding
Over to you
How is social media, the apps and the social web changing your world?
Are you innovating or stagnating? What’s working for you? Look forward to your insights and feedback in the comments below.
Business is tough.
Let’s face it… the facts are frightening. According to Bloomberg “8 out of 10 businesses will crash and burn within the first 18 months“.
The good news!….
If you get through that testing time then the chances for success get better.
The dreams of a business that create the lifestyle and freedom that many of us desire and yearn for are often are dashed upon the rocks of reality.
But many of us are eternal optimists…
We don’t want to be distracted by the dismal destruction of the few and the foolish.
The dismissing of potential failure is a conversation that runs like this.
They didn’t know what they were doing….
I am smarter than them….
My idea is a winner….
So we step up to the plate and start swinging. That attitude took us from drawing in caves to landing on the moon.
So are you ready to start a business now?
Despite those failure rates and dashed dreams we still keep leaving the day jobs and embarking on a journey to what we hope is the promised land. It’s what beckons a lot of us and makes us human.
Growing as a person by confronting and overcoming challenges.
So the reality.
We don’t succeed by staying in bed…
Pulling up the covers…
Shutting the blinds…
We need to get up, step up and do the work.
You want to make your current business grow
You have an existing business and the promise of strong streams of revenue and profits still entice us, strap ourselves in and grind it out. It often keeps us up late at night, getting up early and searching for solutions.
So what is stopping us from knocking it out of the park?
If you can identify what the 3 biggest challenges are and put in place strategies and tactics to overcome them, then your chances of success increase dramatically.
But first you need to know what they are.
3 big obstacles that can stop the dream
Josh Turner is a good friend of mine who has built a very profitable and successful business. He knows from personal and hard experiences what is required to win in a digital world as an entrpreneur. He is the author of the Wall Street Journal Best Seller “Connect”.
We caught up in Chicago last year at a Mastermind event and spent a lot of time chatting about the state of business in a digital world and how to grow a sustainable business. Since 2010 he has helped thousands of businesses and professionals to demonstrate their expertise, generate leads, and increase sales.
He has identified these three problems that you need to confront, combat and fix.
So I decided to sit down with Josh and have a chat. He reveals his business journey and insights about succeeding at business.
It’s just 30 minutes and we chat about how to win by overcoming the 3 biggest challenges that entrepreneurs have.
1. Cash flow rollercoaster: This challenge can be a biggie. If you don’t learn how to overcome this then it alone can be a major source of failure.
2. Lack of consistent leads and appointments: Leads are the lifeblood for any entrepreneur. So identifying the best ways to capture leads and getting those appointments are essential for long term success.
3. No systems: Just making it up as you go along with having systems in place is a recipe for disaster. Business systems can provide the backbone that sustains profit and build that money making machine you dreamed about.
In this interview I chat with Josh about these challenges and how to face them and fix them.
If you want some more great insights then “The State of Small Business Report – 2016″ is also worth checking out.
This industry study, drawn from the survey results of over 1,200 small business owners, can give you a real understanding of the state of small businesses today, and what they’ve got planned for 2016.
“Download the “State of Small Business Report” Here“
Over to you
How is your cashflow, your lead generation and systems? Could you do better. Is it time to create the frameworks and implement tactics that could help you build a more sustainable business?
Look forward to hearing your stories and insights in the comments below.
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