My Online Creative
VR systems are getting more advanced, but they're still primarily available on niche hardware and software. That could be about to change, with the latest beta version of Google's Chrome browser supporting web-based VR.
The beta of Chrome 79 reveals the details about the support for web-based virtual reality (VR) experiences. Developers can create websites with content including games, 360-degree videos and immersive art using the WebXR Device API, with controllers supported by the GamePad API. Sites can be displayed on a smartphone or on a head-mounted display such as an Oculus Quest.
Support for web-based VR content will be coming to other Chromium-powered browsers in addition to Chrome soon, including Firefox Reality, Oculus Browser, Edge and Magic Leap's Helio. In the future, Chrome and other browsers will support augmented reality features as well.
Other new features in Chrome 79 include tab freezing, in which pages that have been open in the background for more than five minutes will be suspended. As long as the tab isn't playing music or video and the site hasn't opted out, the page will be frozen. This should help make Chrome less of a resource hog, especially on less powerful devices.
Additionally, according to XDA Developers which investigated Chrome's bleeding edge version Canary, a shared clipboard is also coming to Chrome. This allows users to send text from their browser to another device like an Android phone, by highlighting the text and using the "Send to [device name]" context menu option. The text can then be pasted into any field on the Android device.
You can download the beta of Chrome 79 now, or wait for the features to make their way to the main Chrome browser on December 10th.
Google says it’s investigating ways to preserve users’ privacy without impacting their display ads experiences, in part through AI and machine learning. In a blog post this morning, the Mountain View company announced it’ll soon introduce an ad frequency feature in Display & Video 360 — its end-to-end programmatic ad campaign management platform — that’ll tap AI to help advertisers “[respect] user privacy” when third-party cookies aren’t present.
Google explains that the tool, which it plans to bring to display offerings in Google Ads in the near future, will leverage traffic patterns where a third-party cookie is available and analyze them at an aggregated level across Google Ad Manager publishers to generate predictive models. This will enable it to estimate how likely it is that users visit different publishers serving the same ads through Google Ad Manager, and to optimize how often those ads should be shown to users who lack third-party cookies.
Google is already using machine learning in Google Ads, albeit mostly to generate ad suggestions, better match users’ searches, and adjust video bids. But Google Ads Privacy product manager Rahul Srinivasan asserts this new AI-driven frequency management approach is more “privacy safe” than workarounds like fingerprinting, which rely on user-level signals like IP address, device type, and installed fonts to generate unique identifiers. If all goes according to plan, it should result in fewer instances of users repeatedly encountering the same ads as a result of blocked or restricted cookies, he says.
“Since we aggregate all user data before applying our machine learning models, no user-level information is shared across websites. Instead, this feature relies on a publisher’s first-party data to inform the ad experience for its own site visitor,” said Srinivasan. “This is a step in the right direction as we work across Google to raise the bar for how our products deliver better user experiences while also respecting user privacy.”
Today’s announcement, which coincided with Google’s discussions this week with advertising and publishing partners in Europe at a series of events in London, comes after the company revealed it would introduce protections in Chrome to protect users from cross-site cookies and fingerprinting. Google also recently announced it would launch an open source ads transparency browser extension. And in August, it launched Privacy Sandbox, an initiative to develop a set of open standards to enhance privacy on the web in a fashion that’s “consistent with users’ expectations of privacy.”
Not having a mobile-optimized site in 2019 is like riding a bicycle to compete in a NASCAR event-- you're going to be left in the dust by your competitors from the start.
No one wants to squint at text or have to pinch and zoom on an image just to engage with your content. So if your business's website is not mobile-friendly, then it's simply not user-friendly.
Search engines know that people are increasingly using their phones to search, and that's why Google started indexing "mobile-first" last July, meaning they crawl the mobile version of your site rather than the desktop version.
If your site isn't mobile friendly, you'll lose organic rankings and therefore traffic and leads. Here's how to make sure you're not getting overlooked by Google's algorithm.
1. Use responsive design.
Your website should seamlessly display and operate on mobile devices. To do that, you'll want to ensure it's coded to be responsive-- that means it automatically morphs to fit the screen size, be it a smartphone or tablet.
Separate mobile sites are not recommended. They used to be a go-to tactic, but they make search engine optimization (SEO) more difficult to execute and tend to offer varied experiences between desktop and mobile. Responsive design, on the other hand, is the preferred method of web developers, users and search engines alike.
Responsive design preserves the general look and feel of your website but reorganizes, resizes and re-optimizes it for a smaller, touch-sensitive, (primarily) vertically-oriented mobile screens. Most CMS platforms have responsive templates, so if you're building or re-launching a site, make sure to grab one of those.
2. Remove pop-ups and unplayable Flash videos.
These are two of the biggest offenders in a negative mobile user experience (UX). Pop-ups are annoying in general, but they become especially pesky on mobile, where it's more difficult to see around them and click that tiny "x" in the corner to close.
Flash video, which was originally built around desktop experiences and mouse roll-overs, usually just doesn't work on mobile. The last thing you want mobile users to see is a big blacked-out video box with no available content-- you can bet they won't want to stick around.
3. Run the "thumb test" to check UX.
The "thumb test" is just what it sounds like. We navigate our mobile smartphone experiences with our thumbs, one-handed. If it can't be reached with a thumb click, users are less likely to click it.
So pull up your business's website on your mobile device and note where your fingers can reach without repositioning the phone or scrolling -- is there a CTA in reach? Is the info you see compelling, or did you save the good stuff for lower down the page?
4. Make sure page speed is up to snuff.
Page speed is king. It's one of those search results ranking factors that Google values highly because according to their own data, 53 percent of people abandon a mobile page if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
Therefore, if a page takes too long to load, it's going to drop down on the search engine results page (SERP). When you are loading your website to perform the "thumb test" from above, did you notice a lag in the loading of the site's content? If you did, then your users definitely will.
There's technical ways to go about measuring page speed, but simply pulling it up on your own mobile device is an easy litmus test. If there's a delay, get your web developers or SEO team involved.
Remember, mobile users typically won't have as strong of an Internet connection. So you want to make sure that high resolution images and other page elements (especially that funky design you paid thousands for) serve up quickly so your user doesn't back out frustrated -- and click on your competitor's site instead.
5. Get ready for local customers.
Your contact and locations page(s) should make it easy as pie for users to find you, because 94 percent of smartphone users pick up their phone to make local searches. These should be optimized with Google My Business listings that include easy click-to-call buttons. You should also build in buttons for directions, so a user can easily tap to set their GPS and head your way.
Consider this, too: Google prioritizes relevant local options when it serves up search results. If you're gunning for local customers, you want to play by Google's rules. Showing up at the top of locally oriented searches can be a lightning-quick route to that next sale.
6. Run a test on Google Mobile Friendly Checker.
Google may be known for playing its search algorithm cards close to the vest, but it actually aims to be as transparent and helpful as possible. Consider its Mobile Friendly Test tool. Simply paste in your website URL to let Google scan it. You'll either get the green light -- good for you, you're mobile friendly -- or you'll get a list of site elements to address.
These six steps give you a solid start on mobile friendliness and light the way towards a fully mobile-optimized website. But it doesn't end here -- the rise of mobile device usage continues, and that means an increasing importance of mobile SEO, voice search, position-zero search results and other mobile-specific search considerations. If mobile isn't on your priority list, it should be. Hang up that bicycle and hop in your speed racer.
When the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday (Oct. 7) let stand a ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, it ended a long-lasting battle about whether mobile sites — as well as desktop sites — need to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and provide full accessibility to those who are visually impaired. The appellate panel had ruled that mobile sites do indeed need to be fully compatible, and the Supreme Court decided to not intervene in that ruling.
Although this decision should end the debate and make it clear to companies that sites must be coded to be fully compatible — and, no, throwing in a toolbar option doesn't do it — it's astounding that companies ever resisted it. The appellate decision at issue here is Robles vs. Domino's Pizza, and Domino's was a classic resister.
Domino's argued that the literal phrasing of the ADA — passed by Congress in 1990 — doesn't mention mobile or websites and merely references "places of public accommodation," which Domino's chose to interpret as just applying to its physical store locations. Even though the internet had existed for quite a long time by 1990 (as had the much newer World Wide Web), the popularization of the web for most businesses and consumers didn't happen until about 1995. So Congress, which is typically many years behind the times anyway, especially in technology, can be forgiven for not specifying website support.
The appellate panel that wrote the decision, speaking of itself in the third person, wasn't having it: "The panel held that the ADA applied to Domino’s website and app because the Act mandates that places of public accommodation, like Domino’s, provide auxiliary aids and services to make visual materials available to individuals who are blind. Even though customers primarily accessed the website and app away from Domino’s physical restaurants, the panel stated that the ADA applies to the services of a public accommodation, not services in a place of public accommodation. The panel stated that the website and app connected customers to the goods and services of Domino’s physical restaurants." [Note: the emphasis referenced here was from the appellate panel's decision.]
But Domino's executives already knew that. They simply didn't want to be bothered with the expense of changing all of its pages. But why? In 2019, there's nothing especially difficult or, relatively speaking, expensive about making a site compatible. And it opens the door to purchases from a large number of visually impaired customers, in addition to the gratitude of friends/family of those visually impaired customers. In short, Domino's went out of its way to alienate a lot of customers. Kris Rivenburgh, an attorney specializing in accessibility issues who runs a site called accessible.org, estimates that 5% of the U.S. population has a visual disability that impacts their ability to navigate mobile and desktop websites.
Is your website causing you to lose customers?
Great design, on-target messaging, compelling calls-to-action, and valuable content are just the baseline for engaging your market online. But can your customers make a buying decision solely using content from your site? Too often websites address only the discovery phase of a buying process.
Even the most creative, pithy, or in-depth description of what you do for whom and why you're the best is not enough. Your prospects must be able to evaluate your offering, believe your claims are credible, and understand what you're like to work with—all from within your site. Leaving these key purchase criteria questions unanswered interrupts prospect attraction, creating a barrier to buying.
At Great-to-Market Labs, my executive consulting firm in San Francisco, we hit that decision-wall with a vendor last year and ended up buying from a competitor. We were in the market for an e-mail-marketing tool and were partial to My Emma. Its website clearly identified our problem and explained how it presented a solution.
The hitch? We couldn't see the product. There were no pictures, videos, or free trials. Instead, the site asked us to call and talk to a representative for product details. Yes, we were curious enough to call (although I would argue that most prospects won't). We asked why they wanted us to call before we could see the product, and they said they wanted to qualify prospects because they were wary of spammers.
There are plenty of excuses for not giving potential customers exactly what they want to see on your website. Here are some. We can't:
So, how do you know what information your prospects need to complete a buying decision?
Start by interviewing your best salesperson to build a map of your sales process in action. Ask her or him to write down their view of the sales process from the first contact to final contract. Check out all of the materials your sales team members use during the sales dialogue (links to the website, presentations, demos) and at what point of the process they employ them. Finally, ask them to comprehensively note questions that the customers ask and the most effective responses to those questions (objections, comparisons).
Now, step into the role of your most promising prospect. Attempt to look at your website with fresh eyes, and try to make a decision to buy your product or service from your website. If you can't be objective, then ask a contemporary or mentor outside your company to be your prospective customer. Follow this path:
1. Do a Google search to get to your site (it never hurts to check up on the effectiveness of your keywords).
2. Can you easily identify with the problem being presented and the solution being offered enough to want to continue? If not, then you need to work on your targeting and messaging. For example, a provider of healthcare services sold to employers, but used by employees, would separate content specific to each audience, emphasizing competitive evaluation for the employers (the buyer in this case), while focusing on service benefits for employees (the users). You can see here where Castlight Health separates its value proposition into employer and employee categories, minimizing confusion and speaking clearly to each audience.
3. Look at the sales process created by your sales rep. Does your site enable prospects to easily find information while in each stage?
For instance, while in courting prospects in discovery, you need to establish credibility. Great sites establish credibility by offering third-party validation (product or service reviews, awards won), customer testimonials (short video clips are effective), and lists of customers (think logo walls). For example, HubSpot is a relatively new vendor to the lead generation space, so it knows that advertising how and which companies are using HubSpot will create credibility. With that in mind, the company actually uses one of the six precious tabs on its home page for 'Who Uses HubSpot.'
While in evaluation, the prospect is looking for you to differentiate yourself. Show photos, screenshots or video tours so prospects can experience your product or service. Demonstrate thought leadership by offering education content for free. Provide frequently updated, valuable insight via your blog and social media feeds. Offer contact information for domain experts within your company. For example, check out how 37Signals uses tours to demo its products.
Customers also want to know exactly what happens after a purchase (implementation, adoption). Have you posted case studies of successful customer experiences? Make sure you describe how you will deliver your product and service as well as what buyers should do for post-sale support. You can see how salesforce.com, one of the pioneers of self-service, has a section of its website dedicated to explaining how to implement. In addition to aiding the sales process, this is also an effective way to reduce implementation costs and increase user adoption.
4. Is all of the information that the sales rep is using in the sales process available on the site? Is it easy to find? Be careful not to hide information that feels uncomfortable to you just because you haven't created your answer. Pricing is a great example of this. We talk to a lot of clients who don't want to post it because they aren't sure they have it right. Resist the urge to withhold. By putting it out there, you'll find out if it's right or not. And, you'll once again move the sales process along for your promising prospects. See here how Vertical Response makes pricing very clear.
5. Do your FAQs answer the tough questions provided to you by the sales rep or is your prospect going to get the real truth when they start calling around or Googling you?
This can be an extremely effective test of the effectiveness of your e-selling (or rather e-buying from your customer's perspective). When I became the VP of Sales for Vindicia, an online billing SaaS vendor, several years ago, I informally went through this process and found that the customer had to call to talk to a sales rep for nearly everything. And here we were selling online billing to e-merchants! It wasn't that the executive team was opposed to exposing information; rather, it was that the material just hadn't been created.
Salespeople are still critical to business models, but communicating effectively to prospects online can generate efficiency far more valuable than the risk of exposing too much information, even in wildly competitive markets. Use your website to bring prospects as close to a buying decision as possible and focus your sales teams on consultative, strategic selling, which is really what we pay them to do anyway.
While it seems counterintuitive to lessons of the past several decades, self-service of the buying process will create a positive relationship with your customer. It is not only what they expect, but also what they need in order to feel comfortable with you as a vendor. They will view you as current, transparent, and confident about your products and services. And that will win you more deals.
Making your website easily navigable and congruent with the way the human brain operates will go a long way toward inducing your customer to purchase.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Human psychology plays a massive role in determining the kind of experience a visitor to your site has. Website design optimization that makes use of the principles of psychology and neuro-marketing has a significant impact on the conversion rate of your website.
Knowledge of how the human brain works and the psychology behind actions is essential for getting people to click on a call-to-action button on your website and for ensuring that your CRM's pipeline is filled to the brim with fresh leads.
A lot of research is currently taking place in the field of psychology, giving us insight into psychological hacks that get your website visitors to take action and eventually convert. Here is a list of strategies that you should keep in mind when you design your website.
1.) Keep the design distraction free.
According to the theory of cognitive fluency, a person is more likely to prefer a simpler task that requires less strain over a complex task that requires more mental processing. If your SaaS website happens to be easy to understand and intuitive to navigate, the chances of conversion increase.
Related: 4 Ways to Make Your Business Website More User-Friendly
Our brain battles with chaos. The principles of minimalistic design ensure that your website appears to be free of distracting elements. Organizing the content on the website in a viewer friendly manner ensures that visitors to your website can easily navigate through without feeling overwhelmed by chaotic information bombarded at them.
Simple visual design has two benefits. First, it prevents visitors jumping away from the site because they are overwhelmed by complexity. Secondly, a distraction-free design ensures that visitor’s attention is directed exactly where you want it to go, thus improving the chances of conversion.
2. Limit the number of choices.
Hick’s Law states that the time taken for an individual to make a decision is directly proportional to the number of possible choices available.The human brain goes for a toss when it encounters choice abundance. When offered excessive choice, it ends up getting overwhelmed, and decision paralysis occurs, which hinders the decision making capacity.
In a research study popularly known as the "paradox of choices," a higher number of choices increases the number of visitors, but the actual conversion or buy decision remains low. On the other hand, when the number of options available are less, the number of people stopping by reduces, but the actual conversions taking place increase.
Related: Crave-Worthy Products Is How You Cut Through the Paradox of Choice
Have a clear, doable call to action (CTA), and make sure that areas where your provide options to your visitors (for example, the checkout page or the pricing page) have limited choices available.
3. Create a sense of urgency.
Urgent situations compel us to take action. Urgency also evokes aversion to loss, popularly known as the "fear of missing out." When used in moderation and in combination with a stellar offering, a sense of urgency is an effective technique to push visitors to act, increasing conversions.
Showcasing a scarcity works well for creating a sense of urgency in the visitors at your website. Provide something of value for a limited time, say free e-books or a free e-learning course for a limited period of time, and you have managed to make your potential customers more likely to complete the task rather than clicking away from your website thinking, “I might do it later.”
4. Lead them on the path of least resistance
The website design needs to be intuitive and easily navigable. This can be done by ensuring that the website design and placement of the different elements follows the "law of past experience." Our previous experiences influence our interpretation of our current experiences, and any detraction from known experiences hinders the visitor’s attention.
Related: 189 Words That Get Your Customer's Attention Every Time
A user’s natural behaviour while browsing any website is to read the contents on the screen in an F-shaped pattern. Placing the contents of the website along the top and left border of your website has the maximum chances of capturing attention. Placing the important elements along the “F” gives the visitors a path of least resistance and guides them through your website.
You want to make the process as simple as possible to make sure that a visitor gets converted into a customer. Make the checkout process seamless, optimize the form fields to require only the minimum information for lead capturing, essentially remove any step that may cause friction and prevent the user from finally converting.
5. Leverage human emotion.
Effective use of relevant images creates emotional resonance with visitors, helping them to resonate with your brand. Humans are continually on the lookout for other humans, on a subconscious level. Make use of human imagery not only to leverage human emotion but also to direct a visitor's attention where you want it.
For example, if you have an image in which a person is looking in the direction of your CTA button, the visitor’s attention would automatically get directed there, as they follow the gaze of the person in the image subconsciously.
Having happy faces on your website creates emotional resonance with your brand and helps visitors connect as well. Using customer’s pictures as social proof along with testimonials is also a great tool for building trust and credibility and for pushing the visitors on your website to click and convert.
There is no single formula to ensure a successful website design that brings in conversions for your business. Using the power of psychology to understand and leverage human emotions is a great tool for bringing in conversions. Try out these psychological hacks on your website, do A/B testing and figure out what works best for your company.
Targeting customers through digital means has become easier than ever. It's no longer necessary to meet potential customers in person, call them on the phone, or even directly message them; you just have to gain their attention! This is how to target prospective customers and increase sales.
Use Targeted AdsTargeted Ads are different from a commercial or billboard that advertises to the general public. Although it may seem like a good thing to broadcast your service to as many people as possible, it can be quite costly and also ineffective. If you use targeted ads, you can pinpoint your target audience through location, gender, age, interests and more to ensure you get in front of the people who are most likely to use or buy your products. That's more cost effective than broadcasting.
Social Media PresenceYour idea customer is already here---why aren't you? It's important to consistently post relevant content and to engage with your ideal customer on whichever platform you choose. People love it when you pay attention to them: the ability to build a one-on-one connection is what makes social media so powerful, especially in the beginning.
Study Your Visitors to Make Smart RecommendationsSoftware like Facebook's Pixel or Google Analytics can tell you who visits your website, where they've come from, and even which pages they stayed on. You can use this information to push more relevant content or offers towards common entry points---if 72% of your site's visitors navigate to a specific category on your site, why not call that out on the home page? .
In the past decade or so, there has been a drastic shift in the way society consumes information, mainly due to the boom in smartphones and tablets. Many companies didn’t realize the potential of digital marketing and how it would affect everyday life. In days past, companies created templated and static websites with simplified box layouts and different colored backgrounds.
When companies update those websites, they often are faced with complete overhauls — costly in terms of time, money, and workforce power. In a recent survey of companies taking on website redesigns, 80% admitted that their websites overhauls would probably take more than a year to complete.
As information technology has evolved, the old method of designing and redesigning traditional websites has become inefficient. Thanks to an emphasis on IoT and integrated data, sites must be responsive in more ways than one.
In the current market, your brand’s website needs to be picturesque on any connected device. With new devices releasing every year, screen ratios and specs are continually changing. Your website also needs to be compatible to integrate with many other apps and platforms — when your sales team changes CRM providers, your website’s back end must work with the new system.
The only way to stay relevant and agile in this era of rapid digital flux is to practice growth-driven design.Growth-driven design means launching a fully functional, scaled-down version of your website to accurately track data and then make incremental pivots and improvements that lead to more effective versions over time. Start lean and make smart, responsive decisions about how to expand based on how consumers act on your site.
Here’s how growth-driven design plays out: A shoe company wants to start selling its designs online, but the brand has no idea what its customers want from a website experience. The company should begin with a lovely but basic version of its site — a 10-page representation of the company and its offerings. The goal is to launch quickly with any necessary information its customers want and need so that the company can track consumer behavior and data.
That data will then inform future decisions about format, design, function, and content.After the launch pad is live, the company can make monthly edits based on buyer behavior. If the company sees a big trend for women’s running shoes, for example, it can shift the homepage to point users in that direction.
Digital content is king — consumers are looking for the newest and most relevant answers to their pain points immediately. Your website has to provide up-to-date, relevant solutions.
Give your website the tools it needs for long-term success by creating a framework that allows for agile pivots, updates, and integrations. Now’s the time to put strategies in place to start practicing growth-driven design. Here’s how:
1. Track data properly.
The “magic” of growth-driven design is rooted in data. You need to add consumer behavior tracking to your daily routine, and that data should inform decisions about your website, content, and other marketing strategies. But you can’t build a responsive website without gathering the insights you’ll respond to.
Begin with basic tracking through platforms such as Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel. These tools allow you to see how people navigate your website, capturing data such as bounce and conversion rates. Add other tracking and optimization tools after you build a solid foundation. HotJar works well for heat-mapping, and HubSpot helps with A/B testing marketing messages.
2. Resist the temptation to change too much, too soon.
If you’re designing a website from scratch or working on a new version, it’s tempting to load up with every bell and whistle in an attempt to impress the passing consumer. But that’s not how to create a successful launchpad in growth-based design.
Avoid making assumptions about what your customers want and instead focus on obtaining as much data as you can. That way, you don’t have to guess what users need from your website — their behavior will tell you. Get your launchpad up and running as soon as possible so you can begin gathering data, growing your website from there.
3. Keep your target market top-of-mind.
The decision-makers in your business will often represent a different demographic than your target audience. A disconnect with the decision-makers can lead to design and functionality choices that appeal to the wrong people — certainly not your target market.
By learning everything you can about your targets through research and data collection, you can make confident choices based on what will most resonate with your target audience.
As you grow your website, remember to base each decision on what will connect best with the people who will use your website to find answers and make purchase decisions.Growth-driven design is your key to dealing with a more agile site design that easily can be tested to deliver the best results at a lower cost. It takes away the looming fear of website redesign and puts you in control of navigating your users’ shifting needs and interests. Once you have a lean launchpad and behavior data at your disposal, you can make responsive, insightful decisions about content, functionality, and design.
The internet has revolutionized the way companies find and reach their customers. No longer reliant on billboards and television ads to gain visibility, small businesses can launch powerful, hyper-focused campaigns to target their specific niche in the market. However, consumers are becoming savvier to traditional marketing techniques, and tend to be wary of paid results. In fact, a study from group GroupM UK and Nielsen found organic searches are favored 94% of the time, and according to the group Search Engine Watch the first page of links receives 92% of all clicks. This is why a strong search engine optimized content strategy needs to be central to your startup’s marketing plan.
1. Play the Long Game
The first thing to know about SEO optimization is that it takes time. That can mean anywhere from six months to a year to start seeing results, even if your content is excellent. There are many techniques to game Google’s algorithm such as landing pages and pillar pages, but these rely on slowly building a strong SEO content ecosystem. The most important strategy is to find the words and questions that your customers are searching for, and creating content that will be helpful, engaging, and relevant while also developing your brand. Naturally, this can not be the only marketing technique your company uses, but establishing a deep, interconnected content library will pay dividends down the line. This doesn’t just mean search rankings either. Good SEO content can be repurposed and condensed for engaging social media posts, or collected and offered as an ebook on your landing page.
2. Get Specific
Say your company operates in a small niche of an overcrowded market, like making organic pet food for older dogs. It clearly wouldn’t be good SEO content strategy to try and compete with all the other articles just about ‘food’, or ‘dogs’, or even ‘dog food’. Instead, imagine what your customer is searching for and work from there. How does your company connect to their niche issue? What words and phrases describe your company, but not the rest of the market? Creating a narrow focus with keywords means you aren’t wasting time trying to compete with larger companies, better established, and gives you a more direct line to your customer.
The real work for a niche start-up comes from balancing SEO competition with web traffic for those terms. Luckily, there are ways to help eliminate the guesswork. For example, the Mangools extension for Chrome makes it easy to find long-tail keywords with low competition, and helps you choose between options. From there, any professional-grade marketing platform will support A-B testing, which can be used to fine-tune your messaging and SEO keyword selection as you rise through the ranks.
3. Make Something Up
It might seem obvious, but the best way to make a search term direct the consumer to your articles is by coining the term yourself. This is becoming increasingly common for startups in sectors like technology, where differentiation can be especially difficult. Of course, this is best employed once an online presence is already established, so you can maximize the visibility of your new idea. A zero-competition keyword is no good if it’s getting zero traffic. Additionally, balance the coining of new terms with consistency in what you are already saying. Just because a term isn’t catching on immediately doesn’t mean it won’t. Be patient, and if it becomes clear the tactic isn’t working, move on. A unique term also has the power to turn your brand into a thought leader within your niche if it gets adopted by others in your field. This is extremely powerful for SEO, as outside links to your pages will strengthen your position in search rankings.
4. Don’t Stop There
As mentioned above, SEO marketing is a vital base for startups looking to develop their online presence and visibility, but it is just one part of the whole marketing picture. It works best in combination with a solid inbound marketing strategy to draw potential customers down the buyers’ pipeline. The SEO in your long-form content can also be used to help develop a cohesive social media presence to build brand awareness. Banner ads and calls-to-action can leverage the value provided by your content to build email lists of interested readers. Any startup planning to market itself absolutely needs SEO content for a successful campaign, but that SEO content needs to be surrounded by a solid marketing strategy. Hiring a professional inbound marketing firm or freelancer can provide great ROI for new startups, as they can develop content, social media, and email strategy together.
Industries are changing, the marketing landscape is evolving, and digital is the future -- you hear it time and time again. But while you might want to adapt your skill set, get your own business off the ground or target your offerings to the right people, you just don't know exactly how to start. That's where digital marketing comes in.
The Complete SEO & Digital Mega Marketing Bundle ($49; stacksocial.com) is a bundle of 15 courses that includes over 90 hours of instruction on all things digital marketing.
What exactly is digital marketing? In the most basic sense, it encompasses all marketing efforts that take place digitally or online. Email marketing, social media marketing, search marketing and affiliate marketing are all specific elements of digital marketing. And you'll cover all four of those types of marketing within the course.
Social media marketingSix of the 15 courses in the bundle focus on social media marketing. Social media is a crucial part of digital marketing, and there's a lot to cover, since the course includes tools and skills specific to individual social media platforms. Social Media Marketing Master Class (9 hours, 155 lessons) and How To Start a Profitable Social Media Marketing Agency (2 hours, 17 lessons) both provide you with a more holistic view of social media marketing as a discipline. The other four courses cover specific skills relevant to some of the most popular social media platforms that digital marketers use on a daily basis. These are Facebook Ads & Facebook Marketing Mastery Guide 2019 (14 hours, 110 lessons), The LinkedIn Marketing & Sales Lead Generation Blueprint (1 hour, 21 lessons), Instagram Marketing 2019: Grow from 0 to 40K in 4 Months (22 hours, 147 lessons) and How To Use Snapchat For Marketing (1 hour, 34 lessons).
Google and SEOFour of the courses in the bundle focus on Google and search engine optimization, another super important component of any business's digital marketing strategy or digital marketer's skill set. In SEO Training 2019: Beginner To Advanced (7 hours, 77 lessons) you'll cover the basics of all things SEO-related, starting with industry terminology and vocabulary. In Advanced SEO 2019: Learn SEO Tools & Rank Higher on Google (1 hour, 18 lessons), you'll build on your knowledge and learn about popular tools used to help boost the efficiency of your search campaigns. And by the end of The Complete SEO & Backlink Master Course (16 hours, 144 lessons) you'll know how to do everything from gather backlinks to create content for different networks. Finally, The Complete Google AdWords Course: Beginner to Advanced (8 hours, 77 lessons) shows you how to leverage Google's advertising platform in order to successfully convert customers.
Email marketingEmail marketing can be one of the most effective digital marketing tools when it's used right. In Email Marketing For Business: How To Grow Your Business (2 hours, 18 lessons) you'll cover building an email list that works for your business needs and objectives as well as how you can utilize your email list to increase your overall online presence. Then in MailChimp 101: Learn Email Marketing (1 hour, 24 lessons) you'll learn all about MailChimp, one of the most popular tools available for email marketing. And you'll cover everything from building an email subscriber list to actually building out email marketing campaigns.
Affiliate marketingOne of the lesser-known ways to enhance your digital marketing abilities is through affiliate marketing. In Affiliate Marketing: The Fast Track Formula (2 hours, 26 lessons) you'll learn all about what it is, how to utilize it as part of your digital marketing strategy, and best practices when it comes to promoting your content and earning money through affiliate marketing.
CopywritingEven though copywriting isn't a pillar of digital marketing in the same way these other courses are, it's a crucial component of every one of the marketing strategies. In order to persuade people, you have to speak to them in a way that will resonate with them. Whether it's through trust, humor or just concise language, it's important you have the writing chops to support your message and marketing know-how. Both Copywriting: Write Marketing Headlines That Sell (1 hour, 14 lessons) and The 2019 Complete Content Writing 3-in-1 Course (3 hours, 38 lessons) will cover everything from how to write punchy headlines to how you can effectively promote your own content.
Note: The price above reflects the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.