New Report Shows SEO, Blogging, Social Media’s Big Return on Investment

Over 6,000 people (including Klik Marketing!) Thursday attended a webinar on The State of Inbound Marketing in 2012. Hosted by HubSpot’s CMO Mike Volpe and Inbound Marketing Manager Melissa Miller, the session outlined findings on “permission-centric” inbound marketing channels from a survey of North American marketing professionals conducted in January.

The HubSpot report reveals some serious advantages of spending more of our budgets on inbound marketing. Not only are inbound marketing leads less expensive, they are also more likely to convert to a sale:

  • Average cost per lead for inbound marketing-dominated businesses: $135 dollars. Meanwhile, the average cost for business primarily using outbound marketing rang in at $346 dollars per lead!
  • 89% of marketing professionals say that they will either maintain or increase their budget for inbound marketing this year
  • 47% of respondents said they will increase their marketing budgets. Of those, over half said this was because of their past success with inbound strategies.
  • Of those not planning on increasing their inbound budgets, 62% said it was because of the bad economy and 21% cited a change in management. Only 4% said it was due to past success with outbound strategies.
  • SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads only close the sale 1.7% of the time.

 “Even the people not increasing their spending on inbound, there are other factors driving it,” noted Mike. Melissa and Mike let us in on some interesting quotes from the respondents regarding outbound marketing failures. One individual had zero return on an outbound marketing campaign.

“This past year we spent a few hundred dollars on a door hanger marketing campaign, we got zero response.”A small professional services business

Another said that the worst mistake his company made was attending trade shows which provided no return on investment. On the other hand, a marketing professional at a manufacturing company raved about the benefits of social media and blogging.

“The best thing we’ve done is embrace social media, establish a blog and convince the ownership to embrace inbound marketing.” – Manufacturing company

Small businesses, defined in the report as having 1-5 employees, said that they planned to spend a whopping 43% of their lead generation budgets on inbound marketing.  

 “Small businesses are leveraging inbound budgets more than large businesses,” said Melissa. Large businesses plan to spend only 21% of their budgets on inbound marketing.

Mike added that if you want the most efficient marketing budget, you should focus on inbound and ROI. But as your business grows, you will start to have other objectives, like branding, that might require other outbound media channels.  

Blogging and Social Media

The webinar emphasized the strengths of blogging and social media as part of an inbound marketing campaign. In the survey data, blogs were most frequently cited as having a below average cost per lead. 

In the past four years, businesses have more than doubled their spending on blogging and social media. The HubSpot report noted a correlation between the frequency of blogging and return.  

 “The most successful category is those who blog multiple times a day,” said Melissa. 92% of companies that blog several times a day reported acquiring a new customer because of their blog. A surprising 25% of respondents said that their blog was “critical” to their business and 81% said that they viewed their blog as being “useful” or better.

Melissa and Mike acknowledged that though social media generates leads, it should be judged for appropriateness in relation to the industry. For example, one marketing professional said that he didn’t target social media because his client sells expensive software to banks, and those bankers don’t spend a lot of time on social media sites.

Generating great blog content isn’t easy, said Mike. The biggest problem for companies starting a blog is that they don’t know what to write about. One of the easiest ways to get good ideas is to consider the type of questions you are getting from leads and customers on a regular basis. Plus, the blogs will get more traffic because they are addressing keywords for which users are already searching.

Mike told webinar attendees that blogging is difficult, but that we should be glad it is.

“The more content the better. No one said that these things are easy. But we did say it works. The reason why it works is because not everyone can figure out how to do it.”

If everyone knew how to blog well, Mike added, “The entire internet would be flooded with this kind of stuff.” This gives us an advantage in using this strategy proven to convert leads into customers.  

The HubSpot hosts also said blogs should be integrated with social media to be effective.

“It’s important to remember that a lot of these techniques tie into each other,” said Mike. “A lot of the effectiveness [HubSpot has] had with social media is because we have a strong blog to support that social presence.”

During a question and answer session, Mike and Melissa responded to Twitter comments asking how to effectively use a blog to increase leads and sales. Mike said that blogging “gives you great content to use within social media.” It also helps to attract more people to your website through SEO by creating content with keywords, and attracts links with relevant content. The effectiveness of your blog can be measured by the number of page views and inbound links for each of the articles you write.  

Blogging Musts:

  • Include a call to action at the end of every blog. Point people to a lead generation form
  • Share blog content on social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Klik Marketing’s team includes SEO professionals and copywriters who can effectively manage your blogging and social media needs. Request an SEO Quote Today!

The Klik Blog is written by Klik Marketing founder and President Eric Fransen. Eric has been involved with the Internet Marketing industry since the late 1990’s.

Comments { 0 }

Small Business SEO – 6 SEO Tips for Local Optimization

A big part of small business SEO is local search optimization. The first step is providing search engines with information about your geographic location. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Add Company Address & Phone Number To Footer
    Adding your contact information to a footer that appears on every page lets search engines index your site for local search. Also, where natural, include the city’s name a few times in-text and in title tags.
     
  2. Add Your Company To Local Directories
    Look up industry specific directories or umbrella organizations that might be interested in listing your services. As a small business, it is especially important that you are listed in all local business or industry directories.
     
  3. Find and Target Local Exact Match Keyword Phrases
    If your city is large enough, many users will type in what they are looking for plus the name of the city where they are trying to find it. Use keyword tools to find and target complete keyword phrases with your city’s name in them. For example “Boston car repair shops” or “Atlanta salons.” Don’t forget to try searching for city abbreviations as well. Google Insights has a filter function where you can narrow search by city and state, though many results do not have enough search volume to return results.
     
  4. Add Company to Search Engine’s Local Listings
    Getting on Google Places, Yahoo!, Bing and Yelp’s local directories should be at the top of your list. Also, because of the rise of blended search (SERPs including a mix of video, images and news) make sure to add photos to your local profile. Ask your satisfied customers, especially those who are repeats, to leave you a review on one of the above listings. Your business will rank higher if it has more positive rankings.
     
  5. Add Company to Local Business Listings on LinkedIn
    It’s free. LinkedIn is considered one of the most important professional businesses databases online. Add your site by clicking here. Make sure to complete your profile, adding as much information as possible.
     
  6. Set Your Geographic Location in Google Webmaster Tools
    Some people try to use meta geo tags, or meta data that specifies a city, state and geographic location of a website. But Google says it places very little weight on those tags. Instead, Google recommends setting your location through Google Webmaster Tools! Go to Webmaster Tools Homepage. Site Configuration. Setting. Geographic target. Select your location option.  There are lots of different ways to tell the search engines about your geographic location. 

    Each of the steps above is just a small percent of the total equation for local optimization. So make sure to put your company on every local listing you can and keep on-page local optimization in mind.

    Once you’ve completed these steps, you can start using more creative ways to optimize your site for your target city or region. For example, try submitting press releases to PR Web. You should always tag the city where the news is happening in any press release. This affords you a great (and natural) opportunity for local optimization. 

    The Klik Blog is written by Klik Marketing founder and president Eric Fransen. Eric has been involved with the Internet Marketing industry since the late 1990’s

Comments { 0 }

Content Marketing: The Missing SEO Piece for Many Small Businesses

The days of black hat SEO are gone. And while SEO strategy certainly isn’t dead, the release of Google Panda, the Google algorithm that crowned quality as king, ensures that meta stuffing isn’t the best way to climb to the top of the SERPs. It appears that Google is moving steadily in this direction of rewarding high-quality sites with real content, rather than sites with keyword-heavy articles and tags. As SEO experts try to think of more and more ways to get any old site in the #1 spot, Google is creating more and more ways to make its crawler more intuitive so as not to be ‘tricked’ by those tactics.

How does Google define the quality of a webpage? 

 Who better to advise us on this subject than Google itself? The search engine’s staff has been making noise for some time now about websites that create a poor “user experience.” Those sites are usually advertisement-laden and provide little useful information to the visitor based on the key words they were searching for. And Google has tweaked its algorithm to penalize them. Characteristics of a strong webpage in Google’s eyes include: non-recycled content with relevant information, recently posted content and fewer advertisements located on the top half of a page.

Where does Content Marketing Fit in With SEO?

If you only update your site once a month, people don’t have any reason to visit it more often than that… Innovative content has the power to tell relatable stories and the fluidity to travel easily throughout the internet. It will naturally earn you link juice, keep visitors on your site for longer periods of time and help you brand your site, which will earn you higher rankings in the SERPs. Creating content with these characteristics will require a good deal of creativity.  

Here are some strategy tips for creating your content marketing plan:

  • Figure out where you will promote your content – website, Facebook, Twitter, guest post on another blog?
  • Research your competitors. Where are they posting, what keywords are they targeting, what type of content are they producing?
  • Decide what type of content you will be creating. Try to use a mix of content that appeals to different types of viewers. An article can be enhanced with an informational video or chart/graphic explaining some concept in the content. Perhaps an editorial cartoon?

Strategies for Developing Content Ideas

The key here is creating something that people will want to share. That means posting lots of new content that your visitors will find intriguing. Here are some ideas to help you get your creative juices flowing:

  • Create a how-to video for your product or service
  • Film videos of your expert staff answering questions submitted by site visitors
  • Analyze several recent pieces by well-known bloggers or experts and give your own commentary
  • Create a poll on your site and then use the results as a hook for an article or blog
  • Get an interview with an expert or popular blogger and post the it on your site Q & A style
  • Attend a conference or webinar, summarize what you’ve learned and give your own opinions about the programming
  • Download Feedreader (a search feed aggregator) and set up Google Alerts for pertinent keywords in your field to try to spark ideas

For small businesses, it is important to first do research to learn about the people you are marketing to in your community. Ask your customers about their interests and try to keep them satisfied by frequently posting new content to answer questions you think they might have or give analysis on topics they care about.     

Once you’ve created original content, consider it a prime SEO real estate and do your best to optimize it without interfering with the quality of the user’s experience.  Then you’ll have a powerful package of great content and SEO.

The Klik Blog is written by Klik Marketing founder and president Eric Fransen. Eric has been involved with the Internet Marketing industry since the late 1990’s.

 

 

Comments { 0 }

The Page Layout Algorithm and Other 2012 Google Updates

The Page Layout Algorithm and Other 2012 Google Updates  

It’s only February, but Google is already hard at work making changes to its algorithm. By the end of 2012, Google is expected to make over 500 changes to the way its Googlebot crawls sites.

 The Page Layout Algorithm Update, announced in January, penalizes sites that place excessive amounts of advertisements on the top half of the web page. Google had received user complaints about content being buried under advertisement blocks. When users click a hyperlink they want to see relevant content, not a collage of ads that make it hard for them to find any content at all.

  • If you have been affected by this Google algorithm change, you should minimize the percentage of your “above-the-fold” real estate roped off for advertisements. If you are using a WordPress template for your page layout, try switching to a layout that allows you to format advertisements in a side bar rather than a top bar. Note: After making changes, it could take several weeks or longer for you to see your site rise back up in the rankings. Your site’s size and architecture will affect how long it takes for Google to re-crawl the updated site.   
  • If your site wasn’t top heavy in the first place, you probably saw no to little change in your rankings. In fact, Google said that only 1 in 100 searches would be affected.

With the introduction of a November 2011 algorithm, Google vowed to knock low-quality sites down the rankings ladder, while pushing high quality sites straight to the top. Dubbed Google Panda after Google engineer Naveneet Panda, the algorithm sent a strong message to web developers that sites must be first and foremost user-friendly.

So it should come as no surprise that Google would update its algorithm in a way that forces web site owners to scrub the top half of their viewers’ screens of unsightly and distracting advertisements. The algorithm rewards sites with most of the space above the fold dedicated to relevant content that includes the keywords for which the user is looking.

Several other 2012 tweaks to Google’s algorithm confirm the search engine’s focus on assuring its users are able to quickly locate the most recent, quality information.     

  • The Freshness Algorithm released in November 2011 has also been updated since the start of the New Year. Google called the updates “minor” and said they are intended to turn the “freshest, most relevant results.” Google also said that it has improved the way it detects and determines the date of a document in hopes of producing, “more timely results, particularly for pages discussing recurring events.”
  • Blending News and Search Results Google changed its algorithm to identify specific queries which should show news results and how to blend those news results with other search results so that they appear only when relevant.
  • Rolling Panda Updates In January, Google said that it “improved how Panda interacts with our indexing and ranking systems, making it more integrated into our pipelines.”

Google’s New Year Resolution for 2012 is to “…focus on creating a beautifully simple, intuitive user experience across Google…” My advice to any small business owner is to create a website in which every single component is designed with the user in mind. Instead of trying to predict Google’s every algorithm shift, a more holistic approach is to make sure that your SEO doesn’t create a poor user experience.

The Klik Blog is written by Klik Marketing founder and president Eric Fransen. Eric has been involved with the Internet Marketing industry since the late 1990’s.

Comments { 2 }

Account / Sales Manager for Charlotte, NC Area

Are you a self-starter, an entrepreneur, do you get things done? Do you like a flexible work schedule? Are you willing to go the extra mile for a big reward? If so Klik Marketing might be for you!

Klik Marketing, an internet marketing firm with offices in Charlotte, NC and Duluth, MN is seeking a Account/Sales Manager for our Charlotte office that is charged with attracting new clients for our Search Engine Optimization and Website Development solutions. 

Klik Marketing’s proprietary SEO processes, along with our industry knowledge allows us to maximize online marketing campaign results and ROI for our clients’ online campaigns.

JOB OBJECTIVE:

The Account/Sales Manager position is directly responsible for acquiring new clients and then managing the client account throughout the life of the engagement. This individual will be an experienced salesperson ideally with a background in Internet Marketing / Website Design sales. We are looking for an energetic self-starter who is pro-active in driving revenue, increasing client base and selling marketing solutions for Klik Marketing. You must be results-driven and committed to creating new business opportunities. Travel throughout the Carolinas should be expected about 25% of the time, as well as building high-level relationships with all possible clients in your defined territory.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS:

1. Acquire new clients for Klik Marketing’s SEO Services and Website Design team through prospecting, presentations and proposal development.

2. Develop, with Executive team, ongoing improvements to the process of prospecting, qualifying and closing key accounts.

3. Work with SEO Specialists and designers to effectively manage accounts, delivering superior customer service while maintaining and growing account services.

4. Consistently meet or exceed sales goals, demonstrating focused sales efforts, leadership, understanding of the Klik Marketing business model, and a solid understanding of Internet Marketing with a focus on Search Engine Optimization.

EXPERIENCE REQUIRED:

1. Should ideally have a solid knowledge of Internet Marketing / SEO or a Proven sales track record.

2. Strong knowledge of advertising sales, search and internet preferred.

3. Business contacts/existing client base a plus.

4. Excellent English oral and written communication skills

  1. Experience monitoring client budgets and billing processes for accuracy and timeliness.
  2. A professional, organizational skills and attention to detail. The ability to work independently, solve problems, and see projects through to completion.

KlikMarketing.com offers a growth-oriented, entrepreneurial work environment with lucrative commissions, a base salary and a flexible work schedule. 

Please send your Resume and cover letter in the body of your e-mail to our company President, Eric Fransen. His email is eric@klikmarketing.com.

Comments { 0 }