7 Important Live Chat Best Practices

Live Chat Best Practices

Live Chat Best PracticesLive Chat is a powerful and timely way to connect with customers and be able to directly impact and quicken the buying process. It can also greatly enhance overall customer experience and remind people why they love and enthusiastically support your brand. There are many other compelling reasons to make Live Chat a vital component of your marketing and support efforts. If you are about to get your company’s initiative started, make sure to follow these live chat best practices.

Keep it Simple, but Inviting

From the very beginning, make your initial message very straightforward, yet with a friendly tone. A short greeting with an invitation to ask questions or chat will suffice. Do not abuse the privilege of this instant access to a potential customer’s screen by being too forward or pushy.

Something like— “Welcome, let me know if you have any questions.”—is just fine.

Some chat systems will automatically pop-up after a certain amount of time on designated pages of a website, while others choose to not present themselves to the visitor and remain an easily accessible contact option they can choose to initiate.

Train Your Team

Empower your agents by providing them with a protocol to follow and access to all the information they will need to respond to the expected range of questions when engaging with customers. It is important that live chat agents have a steady demeanor and not panic if they get stumped by a question. It is alright for an agent to tell someone “I do not have that information can I get back to you?” Over time continue to fill in the gaps in your program by updating your protocols and information libraries on a very regular basis. Make sure your strategy includes continuous, ongoing training and education for your live chat agents. And finally, make sure to always follow through with promises of an email or other type of escalation.

Be Professional with Some Personality

Agents should always be professional, be able to relate to the customer and be able to demonstrate knowledge and expertise. The tone of the dialogue should also be appropriate for your industry. Investment firms will have have a more serious tenor than a company that sells flip flops. Live chat is another important touchpoint to educate or reinforce to a customer what your brand or company is all about. No matter what persona you end up taking on, make it conversational and make sure the visitor knows they are dealing with a real human being.

Have a Dual Purpose: Support and Sales

Live chat can function to support existing customers as well as to convert interested visitors into new ones. Be sure to hire and train agents that have the proper mix of customer service and sales DNA for the types of visitors and interactions you expect them top be having on a daily basis. Supporting and keeping existing customers is obviously a high priority, but do not miss out on opportunities to have agents use suggestive selling techniques. If done properly, these recommendations will come across as helpful to the customer and are never pushy in nature.

Prepare Responses to FAQs

This does not mean that you are just providing canned responses to all the commonly asked questions. By having thorough responses that are quick to deploy it will give the visitor a quick answer and allow your agents to multitask and help more customers. Give these responses a personal touch and always assure the customer you are here to continue to answer questions and provide additional support.

Ask For a Positive Review

If you do not ask you do not get, as the saying goes. Train agents to make it a regular practice to ask customers that have positive experiences and seem to be fans or advocates of your brand to give your company a favorable review, to “like” your Facebook page or another call to action.

Evaluate Multiple Live Chat Options

Before settling on a live chat provider be sure to take several for a test drive first. Start by engaging with the chat functionality on their website. See how the agents respond and use the product themselves. This should be a solid indicator as to the range of capabilities, as no one should be better at using their own product. From there, go to some other websites in your industry that the provider lists as a user of their product. Each of these providers should also be able to give you a demo from an agent’s perspective as well to help you make the best decision for your company.

Provide Multiple Avenues of Communication

Live chat should not be your sole method of communication, but rather a significant part of a comprehensive strategy to be available in all the ways your customers are comfortable reaching out to you. This will vary based on your demographics, industry and products/services you offer.If you do not plan on having agents available 24/7, then you need to make sure that visitors are informed during this time and directed to another means of connecting such as a contact form with a place for them to communicate their request.

Follow these live chat best practices and harness the powerful impact and connection capabilities this essential marketing and support tool can deliver for your customers!

Improving SEO with High Quality Content

SEO and High Quality Content

SEO and High Quality ContentIncreasing your online visibility and developing trust with your target audience is the key to converting interested prospects into customers. There are many ways to achieve this goal, but one of the most effective routes is through SEO (search engine optimization). Search engines like Google are both widely used and widely trusted, but in order to get them to display your content in front of their massive audiences, your content needs to be useful and trustworthy. In this post we’ll go over the importance and characteristics of high quality content, so that you can leverage the power of search engine optimization to grow your business.

SEO and High Quality Content

Search engines like Google strive to provide the best user experience possible, with relevant, trustworthy, and valuable search results. However, Google isn’t able to determine the quality of content on its own. It can crawl a page for keywords and other indicators, but it relies heavily on its users’ behavior with a page in order to gauge its quality.

Therefore, if you want to rank higher on search engines, your online content must not only be easy for search engines to crawl and categorize, but also of high value to its users. Making your pages more “crawlable” is more of a structural task. Providing value is much more strategic, and is rooted in quality content. So what is high quality content? Read on to find out.

What is High Quality Content?

Below are some of the essential characteristics of high quality content, that can help to boost its value to readers and improve your SEO.

Unique and Original

There’s nothing wrong with using information from elsewhere on the web to produce your web content, as long as you properly cite it. However, the more unique and original your content is, the higher its quality. Make your content unique by expressing otherwise mundane or general terms in your brand voice. Make it original by using data and information from within your business.

Accurate

Having inaccurate content may even be worse than having no content at all. No content might limit your online visibility, but inaccurate content will quickly cost you the trust of your audience members. High quality content is content that can be trusted, so make sure to do your research, fact check your work, and proofread for any misleading errors.

Evergreen

Not all high quality content is evergreen, but most evergreen content tends to be high quality. Writing about trending topics or news-related matters might earn you increased traffic, but not a sustained increase. Content that is of use over time, even if it requires a few updates here and there, is of higher quality when it comes to building your reputation and the trust of your audience.

Prioritized

Not every sentence in your content is going to be of the utmost value, but that’s not a characteristic of high quality content. All content will have a mix of information and words that are of varying value. What makes it quality content is that the most important information is prioritized so that the reader can get their immediate questions answered. To properly prioritize your content, try to include a large portion of your most important information in the beginning, and start each your paragraphs with strong sentences.

Interesting

As mentioned above, search engines like Google can identify high quality content based on how many users are visiting that page, how long they’re staying on it, and other data. Make your content interesting to your target audience, and their resulting behavior with your page will indicate its quality to Google.

Relatable

For some businesses, it might seem challenging to create interesting content related to your business. How do you make finances interesting? Plumbing? The fact of the matter is, “interesting” doesn’t refer to just the topic of the content, but also the way you convey it. Use language common to your target audience, and include examples and anecdotes they can relate to. You’d be surprised at how much familiarity and relatability can hold a person’s attention.

Easy to Read

High quality content doesn’t mean fancy vocabulary or industry jargon—unless of course that’s the language of your target audience. Users searching a topic online are doing so because they want to learn more about it. Make it easy for them to learn by providing information that they can understand and absorb quickly.

Organized

Using the language your audience uses and simplifying things isn’t the only characteristic of easy to read content. Without any organization, you’re likely to overwhelm your reader just as much as if you wrote it in complicated terms.

High quality content is structured in a way that provides an experience for the user. You want them to feel like they are progressing through your content, while also gathering information along the way. Be sure to use paragraphs, bullet points, headings, subheadings, and lists to present your information in a clean and engaging manner.

Relevant

To produce high quality content for your target audience, stick to topics relevant to your business. You don’t have to cut out trending topics and newsworthy pieces altogether, but try to stay as relevant to your business as possible.

Includes Keywords

Keywords are core to both the search engine and user aspects of SEO practices. They help the search engine to properly identify and categorize your content, and they also help you to match your content with those who will be most interested in it.

However, using more keywords doesn’t equate to higher quality. Using too many different keywords in your content is likely to dilute it and make it harder to rank for any given keyword. On the other hand, using too many of the same keyword on one page can make it appear robotic, and you may even get penalized for keyword stuffing. Improve the quality of your content with relevant keywords, that are included in a natural way.

Search engines may still be using algorithms to rank web pages, but these algorithms are incorporating human behavior more and more. Use these tips to create high quality content for your business, so that search engines can put you in front of more of the right people.

Understanding Your Facebook Page Insights

Understanding Facebook Insights

Understanding Facebook InsightsFacebook Insights is one of the newest and most helpful features that can help business owners track exactly who is looking at their Facebook business page, when they are looking, and what they are looking at. Facebook Insights provides you with the information you need to see what parts of your Facebook marketing tactics earn the largest response from your customers. However, as informative as this tool can be, it can also be confusing and overwhelming. In this post we’ll cover the basics of Facebook Insights, some important metrics, and how to view them and make sense of them.

What are Facebook Insights?

Facebook Insights is a tool that collects, tracks, and displays user interaction data on your Facebook business page. Like Google Analytics for your website, Facebook Insights is used to quantify, measure, and optimize your business page’s performance. Insights can be seen by all of your business page’s administrators, and can help you identify the best times to post, the most popular and engaging content for your users, and much more.

How to View Insights on Facebook

To view Facebook Insights for your business page, head to your page and at the top there will be a menu bar with an Insights tab. Once you’ve selected this, you can see different metrics about your page by clicking on the various options on the menu on the left side of the screen. There, you will have options to view such as Page Views, Publications, and Videos.

Facebook Insights Metrics

Below is an example of what your dashboard look like when you viewing Facebook Insights Metrics. You will be able to see Actions on your page, Page Views, Page Likes, Reach, Engagements, Messages, and Videos over the past seven days. In addition, you will be able to graphically see the changes week over week, as well as the exact percentage of change.

Understanding Facebook Insights

Facebook Metrics will also let you compare a group of your most recent posts to see what type of content is attracting the most engagement. With this strategy you can find exactly which types of social media posts to focus on, whether your audience responds more to text posts, curated link posts, or another type of status update.

You can use Facebook Insights to not only see how many likes and unlikes you’ve received, but you will also be able to see exactly where they came from, whether it’s from your page, page suggestions, an ad, or other platform. In terms of reach, this graph from Insights shows the exact number of people your posts have reached, both organically and through promotions. This will give you an at-a-glance look to see if your Facebook ads and posts are working.

Facebook Insights Glossary

Overview

This tab allows you to easily view and interpret the most important data on your page, including new page likes, and engagement over the past week.

Promotions

Facebook promotions can range from a giveaway, contest, competition, or other offering that helps you interact with your followers while simultaneously highlighting certain aspects of your business.

Likes

Likes are a fast and easy way for your followers to let you know they have seen, enjoyed, and acknowledged your post.

Reach

The number of unique Facebook users who see your content. This affects other trackable metrics such as engagement, likes, comments, clicks, and negative feedback. There are also different types of reach such as post, page, organic, viral, and paid. This is similar to search engine marketing, where your business can appear as an organic or paid listing.

Page Views

This section of Facebook lets you see information about the people who view your Facebook. Page Views show that people are taking part in a higher level of engagement by actually seeking out information on your page, rather than simply liking a post that shows up on their own Timeline.

Actions on Page

Actions represent the number of times people have taken an action, such as liking your page, after being exposed to your ad on Facebook.

Posts

Also known as a “status update,” a post is a comment, picture, or other type of media that is posted on a Facebook user’s Timeline. Keep in mind that not all posts have to be status updates. In fact, it might be that none of your posts are status updates. Typically, businesses post useful and relevant content for their target audience, with some company updates sprinkled in here and there.

Branded Content

Content that features a third party product, brand, or sponsor. This type of content is usually posted by media companies or other thought leaders and influencers.

Events

Calendar-based resource that can be used to alert your Facebook fans of upcoming events that you are hosting or attending. These can be open to the public so your followers can invite their friends, or private so that you specifically select who you are inviting to the event.

Video

Videos are now auto-played as users scroll past them, making them much more eye-catching than before. Videos provide an outlet to educate your audience about who you are and what your business does, include a call to action to tell your audience how to further engage with your business, and how to contact you. These videos create a more personal experience for your customers rather than having them just read a text post.

Local

Once called “Facebook Nearby,” Local is a mobile application feature is a way for users to find local business recommendations. This feature can be used by tapping the menu button in the lower right hand of the app, then clicking on “local search” in the menu. From there, users can search by name or type of business to see what’s around them.

Messages

Messages that your Facebook fans send will go directly to your business’ account so you can keep your personal account private. This feature allows your fans to send you personal messages without having to call or visit your business.

Hopefully this post as equipped you to view and make sense of Facebook Insights, ultimately being able to specialize your Facebook page to the needs and wants of your Facebook Fans.

How to Promote Your Small Business During Small Business Week

How to Promote Your Business During Small Business Week

How to Promote Your Business During Small Business WeekNational Small Business Week is a week dedicated to hard working small business owners across the country. Awards are given to entrepreneurs for their achievements, and awareness is raised about the contributions of small business to our economy and communities. With National Small Business Week just a week away (April 30-May 6, 2017), we thought we’d supply you with some ideas for promotions, deals, and offers you can create to promote your small business, delight your customers, and obtain new leads.

Create Urgency

Adding urgency to your deals and offers is a great way to get people to act now. In addition to using urgent words in your copy such as “now” and “get started today”, make your deals available for only a limited time. For example:

•  Offer a discount/free gift with purchases made during Small Business Week, or a different offer each day.
•  Create a time-limited special promotional code or coupon through Instagram or Snapchat Stories.
•  Create last minute deals for upcoming holidays (which you will see below)

Get Creative

Have a creative side? Use Small Business Week to exercise it! Or, use the creative holidays within that week for some inspiration. Here are some ideas:

•  All customers that purchase during SBW are entered into a drawing for a chance to win a prize or discount.
•  Come up with a series of creatively themed promotions for each day of Small Business Week (Markdown Monday, Two-For-One Tuesday, etc.)
•  Use fun observances that are happening during Small Business Week, such as:

Teacher Appreciation Day Tuesday 5/2/17
Star Wars Day Thurs 5/4/17
Cinco de Mayo Friday 5/5/17
Kentucky Derby Saturday 5/6/17

For more holidays, observances, and marketing ideas, check out our 2017 Marketing Calendar.

Attract New Customers

With the increased awareness of small businesses, use this week to bring in new customers. For example:

•  Take advantage of foot traffic if you have a physical location in a popular area. Create eye-catching signs and attractive promotions to get passersby to stop in.
•  Give first-time customers during this week a discount or reduced rate.
•  Referral bonuses: refer a friend during this week and get half off.

Grow Your Email List

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to build trust, obtain new customers, and drive traffic to your website. Here are a few ways to grow your email list during Small Business Week:

•  Offer a discount to customers who subscribe to your newsletter or business blog this week.
•  Create a guide that is relevant to small business owners within your target audience, promote it on social media and require an email address for download (for example, accountants could write an eBook on “10 Tips to Keep Your Small Business Expenses Down).
•  Host an event and have an email signup station.

Encourage Return Customers

Getting new customers is an important goal for your business, but don’t forget that repeat customers are just as important! Repeat customers turn into loyal customers, and loyal customers become brand evangelists for your business.

•  Provide coupons with purchases that can only be redeemed on the final day of Small Business Week.
•  Purchase this week and repeat the same purchase free on National Repeat Day (June 3).
•  Purchases during Small Business Week come with a free tune-up or bike accessory May 14-18 (Bike to Work Day 5/19)
•  Tag us on Instagram this week and get a free burger on National Burger Day 5/28.

Take Advantage of Holidays and Seasons

Small Business Week isn’t the only observance in May! There are many observances and holidays in the subsequent weeks that you can take advantage of for promotions. For example:

•  Create Mom- and Dad-themed gift certificates or packages (Mother’s Day 5/14/17 and Father’s Day 6/18/17)
•  Purchases during Small Business Week come with a free item or coupon for Mom/Dad on their special day.
•  Issue coupons during Small Business Week for buy-one-get-one deals on Best Friend Day 6/8/17

When running promotions like these, bundle your products and/or services into tangible, visually-appealing packages that make gift-giving easy. You could also offer a discount, coupon, or free wrapping with the purchase of a gift.

One last tip: Be sure to capture the coupon holders’ email address so that you can send email reminders about the coupon. You may also want to post reminders to social media.

Benefits of Retargeting: 10 Reasons to Retarget Your Website Visitors

Benefits of Retargeting

 Benefits of RetargetingRetargeting sounds like starting over with the targeting of a prospect. Who wants to start over from scratch every time a visitor comes to their site and leaves without taking any kind of action whatsoever? Ironically, retargeting is a marketing practice that saves you from doing just that. It is the strategy of targeting someone who showed some initial interest in your products or services by visiting your website. Rather than trying to attract first-time visitors who may or may not convert, retargeting strives to get repeat visitors who are more likely to convert.

Once you see how powerful retargeting can be, you’ll find yourself wondering why you haven’t put the benefits of retargeting to work for your organization sooner. Here are some of the top benefits of retargeting ads and some eye-popping statistics to back them up.

Generate More Sales

This is the most obvious and important benefit of retargeting as a part of your digital marketing strategy. Different companies have different metrics they pay attention to depending on what type of business or industry the are operating, but every organization that intends to stay in business must pay attention to revenue.

Reach Interested Prospects

This is the difference between opening a phone book and cold calling prospects and making a call to someone who called you first. These potential customers showed an initial interest in your offering, now you just need to remind them or nudge them a bit to take the next step. Retargeting benefits your business because through it you are reaching interested prospects, rather than reaching members of your target audience who are only likely to be interested.

Increase Brand Awareness

Studies continue to demonstrate that it may take seven impressions by your brand on a customer to build up enough trust for them to take action. Retargeting can shorten the amount of time it takes for your prospects to build enough brand awareness and make a buying decision. Even if they do not convert right away, you are putting the odds in your favor that your brand will be the first one they remember when they do decide to move forward. Brand awareness is huge for business growth, and retargeting offers benefits in that area.

Gain Insights

Another benefit of retargeting is that it can allow you understand where the highest percentage of your retargeting conversations are being recaptured after leaving your site. The analytics of your current and previous retargeting campaigns are the road map for your future efforts to bring more qualified traffic to your website. Over time you can create laser focus for all your digital marketing efforts to maximize results.

Improve Cost Effectiveness

Where will your business get the strongest ROI for every $1 spent on digital advertising? Banner ads are effective, but there is still some element of hope that the online users you are targeting are ready to take action. With retargeting, you are reaching people who have already been to your website at least once, and are that much closer to taking action.

Keep up with Digital Marketing

Retargeting is not a trend that will lose traction. Like most other digital marketing channels, it continues to evolve as technology advances and becomes more intelligent. Start using retargeting now and you’ll lose no time in reaping the additional benefits it will afford as it advances.

The Benefits of Retargeting by the Numbers

They say that 95% of all statistics are made up. We promise these stats about the power and benefits of retargeting are right on the money!

Only 2% of visitors take action on their first visit to a website.

That means 98 out of 100 just bounce off your site and may or may not return. If they are comparison shopping you against your competitor, whose site will they end back on to ultimately make a purchase? Retargeting sets you apart from the competition and provides your prospect with timely reminders about your products and services.

Three out of five people notice ads for products they looked up on other sites.

You know this one is true. We have all experienced it first hand when that same pair of running shoes keep showing up in an ad on multiple websites in exactly the color you were looking to buy. The algorithms that drive retargeting campaigns have gotten crazy smart. Be smarter than your competition and put smart retargeting on your digital marketing team.

There is a 147% increase in conversion rate with retargeting leads.

This statistic demonstrates the power of putting more of your digital marketing efforts in continuing to remind and coax prospects that already demonstrated to you that they are interested in your product and services. Yes, you will always need more new prospects and first-time visitors to your web sites, but be smart and efficient about making the most of the opportunity they have given you to continue retargeting ads to them.

26% of retargeted prospects return and complete an online checkout.

If you are not retargeting people who abandoned a shopping cart containing an item they were specifically about to purchase then you really are missing out. Go into your eCommerce site and look at the analytics about how many times a shopping cart was abandoned in the last 30 days. Would you like to magically convert one out of four of those into a sale? Do the math for the last quarter and the previous year as well. Do not beat yourself up too hard for what you have been missing out on as long as you choose to make retargeting a central part of your digital marketing strategy.

The effectiveness of retargeting becomes fairly obvious once the straightforward logic of the benefits are presented. Plus, it does not hurt that retargeting has been around for a while now, so there are plenty of strong numbers to back up these claims. Retargeting will only continue to get more effective as technology evolves, so get on board now!

How to Measure Brand Awareness

How to Measure Brand Awareness

How to Measure Brand AwarenessBrand awareness plays a major role in the growth of your business, so it is a crucial element to pay attention to. However, it’s not as easy to quantify and measure as say, how many new leads your business generated last month. In this post we’ll discuss the importance of building brand awareness and how to measure it, so that you can add structure and success to your brand building efforts.

The Importance of Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is all about what your ideal client thinks when they see or hear your company’s name. It plays a key role in:

• Promoting your business
• Successfully introducing new products or services
Building your business reputation
• Helping your company to differentiate itself from its competitors

Keeping tabs on where your business stands in the eyes of the buying public can go a long way toward becoming the brand of choice. If your business doesn’t have a brand, people won’t think much of your business, as they don’t have much to work with. It is extremely important to identify and strengthen your business brand so that you can harness it for success.

Why Measure Brand Awareness?

Every marketing goal, brand awareness included, needs a plan, and every plan must be measured to determine:

• Whether it’s working
• How well it’s working, and
• How to fix what’s not working

Brand awareness is an important metric to explore for a variety of reasons—the most important of which is the fact that the greater your brand awareness, the higher your sales are likely to be.

Do people know your name, what you sell, and where your company lives, both online and off? Is there a desirable age group you’ve yet to connect with? Devising ways to gauge how recognizable your business is will not only show you what people think of your company, but also where you could be better allocating time and funds to broaden your exposure.

Measuring Brand Awareness

Vague signs of brand awareness span from social media likes, media coverage, website traffic, and more. Taking advantage of specialized metrics to measure brand awareness will help you convert these abstract indications into a solid measure of ROI. The more data you can pull to express your company’s brand awareness achievements in quantifiable terms, the more you can do to effectively promote your products and services to the right market. This is especially important when it comes to staying ahead of the competition and generating more revenue.

Brand Awareness Metrics

This is where we get down to the nuts and bolts of putting some numbers to your brand awareness efforts. How do you figure out if your business is resonating with its target market, and if it is, how much of that market is being impacted in terms of the whole? Here are some of the top brand awareness areas your business should be cultivating, monitoring, and measuring on a regular basis.

Branded Keywords

When a consumer knows enough about your business to want to find out more, that level of awareness gets demonstrated every time they use branded keywords – online search words or phrases containing your company’s name – to seek information. Direct Traffic Analyzing website traffic can help you to separate arbitrary visits from intentional ones. While there will always be people who stumble across your company more or less by accident, calculating the number of website visitors who get there directly by way of your URL is a viable indicator of the brand awareness you’ve achieved.

Blog Impact

Analytics can also help you to track the volume of traffic the specific pages of your website are generating, as well as how they are performing in terms of shares, likes, external links, and reader comments.

Social Media

How influential is your company name or logo on social media, and how often is it mentioned by your preferred demographic? Social media metrics can monitor everything from number of followers and retweets, to video views and specific brand mentions. There are also tools specific for monitoring social mentions, such as Mention.

Customer Surveys

Don’t overlook the value of leveraging paid and proprietary consumer polls and surveys to determine the reach and engagement of your company’s brand. Measuring positive responses over a specified period can provide valuable insight into the success of your brand awareness campaign.

So, what’s in your marketing toolkit? Including metrics from keyword tools, website analytics, and SOV (share of voice) indicators will let you determine just how good a job your business is doing at helping target customers remember—and ultimately choose—your brand.

What is Paid Search Advertising and Why Use It?

What is Paid Search Advertising and Why Use It

What is Paid Search Advertising and Why Use ItIf you run a business or market for one, it’s likely that you’ve heard of paid search advertising, also known as search engine marketing (SEM) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. However, it is also likely that you aren’t clear on exactly what it is and how it can help your business. If this is you, read on to learn about what paid search advertising is, how it works, and how it benefits businesses of any size.

What is Paid Search Advertising?

To understand paid search advertising, you must first understand a search engine results page (SERP). When you type something into a search engine (like Google), the search engine responds with a list of web pages (their title, links, and description) that are relevant to your query. This is your SERP. The bulk of that list is comprised of organic results: web pages that the search engine algorithm determined were the best match for your search.

PPC ads are the results (web page names) that appear at the top and bottom of your SERP. While we often think of ads as visually distinct elements, SEM/PPC ads look similar to the organic listings between them, but are labeled in some way to distinguish them as an ad. Here’s an example of an Adwords ad, which is the paid search ad for Google.

Paid Search Ads vs Display Ads

While display ads are also a form of pay per click advertising, they are different from paid search ads. Display ads show up on web pages themselves (which you arrive at by clicking on one of the results of your SERP or by typing the address into your browser. They typically take the form of a box or banner, and have an image/graphic and distinct call to action button.

Who Uses Paid Search Ads?

Paid search ads may happen on search engines, and search engines may be huge, but you do not have to be a big business to use them. Businesses of any size can use and benefit from paid search ads—in particular, businesses whose customers have a high lifetime value (such as dentists or colleges), or those who provide high margin products or services (such as lawyers or car dealerships).

How do Paid Search Ads Work?

Paid search ads cost the advertiser a defined amount each time someone clicks on that result. Cost per click can range from 50 cents to several dollars per click, depending on various factors and the search engine’s algorithms. When setting up your paid search ad campaign, you will be asked to identify the maximum amount that you want to spend per click (bid), and the maximum amount you’re willing to spend for the campaign (budget).

Why Paid Search?

Paid search ads can increase your visibility on search engines and traffic to your website, and ultimately sales. Sound familiar? Search engine optimization (SEO) also yields these benefits, without spending a dime. So why pay to rank on search engines when you can do so freely and organically?

The answer is that increasing your search rankings organically isn’t entirely free. You may not be paying money, but you do need to invest thought, time, and effort into creating maintaining quality content. Furthermore, good SEO doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a few months for you to accumulate content, and for search engines to gather enough user data on your content to rank it accurately.

Benefits of Paid Search Advertising

1.Get On the First Page of Google. Fast

There is limited real estate for the top positions in organic search results, and despite your best efforts you may never get there with all the competition. If you’re a new business or an existing one just starting to build your online presence, search ads can get you in front of highly targeted customers in a matter of minutes!

2. Maintain Your Reputation

With paid search ads, users will see that you have paid to be on the first page of Google. However, this will not reflect poorly on your business reptutation.  Just like with organic rankings, search engines have a set of requirements and factors in place for paid rankings, to ensure that the ads it puts in front of its users are relevant and trustworthy.

Your ad rank is not solely based on how high you bid. Google and other search engines also look at your quality score, which is a measure of how relevant your keyword is to your ad text and to what a user is searching for.

2. People Who Click on Paid Search Ads are Ready to Buy

People who see your paid search ads are those who are searching for your product or service. They are most likely doing so because it is something they want to obtain now or in the near future.  Since paid search ads target’ specific search queries, you can be sure that anyone who clicks on your ad is not arbitrarily surfing the web, but rather, is highly likely to buy your product or service.

3. Paid Search Analytics

Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing provide marketers using their advertising platform with free real-time data and analytics. With this information you can learn quite a bit about those who click on your ad, including:

• Where that person is located
• How much time they spent on your site
• What pages they visited on your site
• What type of device they were using (mobile, tablet, laptop)

This detailed data allows you to see exactly what you’re getting from every paid search dollar you spend. Use it to be more efficient with your advertising, to continuously improve your campaigns, and to get the results you want.

Paid search advertising is a great way to leverage the widespread use of, and trust in, search engines to grow your business. If you’re not confident in the management and metrics, it might be worth using a professional for your first campaign.

10 Reasons to Use Live Chat

10 Reasons to Use Live Chat

10 Reasons to Use Live ChatPeople love shopping at home these days. Rather than hunting for a parking space, fighting the crowds, or going in and out of multiple stores, they can enjoy the comfort of their own home, sitting on their couch. Similarly, live chat is another channel through which prospective customers can achieve their goals with less hassle. Yet live chat is not just beneficial to consumers. This real-time tool provides businesses with ample engagement opportunities, from marketing to support, that improves the overall customer experience and captures more sales. Here are 10 compelling reasons to implement this excellent tool in your business.

1. Live Chat is Convenient

When a customer is browsing on your business website, they do not have to make a phone call, wait on hold, or send an email and wait a few days for a response. They can either initiate the chat session on their own or be prompted by a pop-up from your agent. They are already on their computer, already on your site. Not only are waiting times in queue greatly reduced, but the speed of resolution is greatly increased as well. Live chat is the easiest and quickest way to make that connection with your customer.

2. Engagement is More Personal

Another great reason to use live chat is because it facilitates more personalized interaction with your audience. Live chat is like texting with a friend. The customer has chosen to engage in this more casual dialogue and is thus more inclined to share exactly what they are looking for or what questions they have.

This form of communication feels less scripted than most call centers or automated support systems. With more transparent communication, the agent on the other end can better assist the user and represent your business in the best light.

3. You Can Seize the Moment

Strike while the iron is hot! Not warm, cool, or even worse: cold. If a user is browsing your site, they are most likely interested in your product or services. Live chat allows you to take advantage of that exact moment of interest—not the minutes (or hours or days) following it.

4. Live Chat Cuts Costs

Efficiency is another reason to use live chat, as it can greatly reduce customer support expenses and lower average interaction costs. Agents in a call center can only talk to one person at a time, but live chat agents can handle multiple clients simultaneously as well as multitask other aspects of their support or sales role.

Keep in mind that live chat allows the customer to multitask as well. This way, taking a phone call or tending to something happening in their house does not end the engagement with your business.

5. Targeting and Customization

The specificity of live chat provides yet another great reason to use it for your business. You can choose to have the live chat feature only be active on certain pages of your website, or to only invite the visitor to chat after a certain amount of time.

You could even have different team members monitor the chat on certain pages. This is particularly beneficial if your industry requires more highly specialized responses or if you are dealing with a wide range of topics or products.

6. You Will Gain Insights

Engaging in live chat with your website visitors and potential customers will help you identify and understand their pain points. This can allow your business to continually improve your products or service offerings to more specifically address the needs of your target audience. You can also view the scripts from prior conversations, which make great training tools.

7. It’s Profitable

Having an agent ready to initiate a conversation or to personally respond to any concern a user has will help to keep them moving through the decision-making process. Prospects may no longer feel like they need to do additional research or compare a competitor’s product or service. Responding immediately to questions or concerns while prospects are in a buying frame of mind can reduce bounces from your website and drive sales.

Agents can also be trained to see opportunities to upsell customers or make other suggestions in a no-pressure manner.

8. Become the Go-To for Your Audience

The average question on live chat can be answered in 48 seconds. With sites that have live chat capabilities, customers can get all of their questions and concerns addressed without long hold times, transfers or escalations.

In the future, customers will know that instead of just “Googling’ for an answer, they can just come back directly to you for that conversation and get the information they need straight from the source. This creates a more integrated and complete customer experience that you can impact. It also drives more traffic to your website, which can help with your SEO.

9. Break Down Language Barriers

Live chat is great for team members and customers whose first language may not be English. You can offer chat in other languages if needed, but it is easier to communicate in any language in writing than it is via the spoken word. Plus, more people now prefer chat over phone calls. Think about the way most people communicate with their friends and family every day: Mostly quick text messages and phone calls only if they absolutely have to do so.

10. Get that Competitive Edge

Having a live chat team to respond to customers will most certainly give you a competitive edge. Think of these agents as the front-line soldiers in the battle for the hearts and wallets of your customers. In one study, 38% of customers who bought products from e-commerce sites that utilize live chat did so because of the additional information or confidence they gained during the interaction to make their buying decision. Overall chat respondents drop more shopping online as a whole and spend more money as well.

Live chat has now gone completely mainstream and is an expected feature by most savvy online shoppers. Make sure that your business gives your customers the immediate and personal customer experience that will keep them coming back again and again!

An Introduction to Retargeting

Introduction to Retargeting

Introduction to RetargetingIf you have spent any time at all researching a product online, then there’s an almost 100% chance you have experienced some form of retargeting—even if you were not aware of it. Retargeting has gotten so powerful with recent technology that it may even feel a bit creepy for internet users. The good news is, no one’s looking over your shoulder. However, brands and search engines do have the capabilities to obtain information as if they were. Read on to learn more about retargeting, why it’s not as “creepy” as it seems, and how to harness this digital superpower for your company’s benefit.

What is Retargeting?

Also known a remarketing, retargeting is a digital advertising strategy aimed at online users who have visited your business website. That is, targeting potential customers who have already expressed interest in your business.

Retargeting is a way of reminding people that they were once interested in your site. An effective retargeting ad should noticeable to users, but not so noticeable that they feel intruded upon.

Why Retargeting?

Many studies show that only 2% of people who visit a website are converted to a sale of some kind during their initial visit. Retargeting is the purposeful pursuit of these other 98%, who have already found your website in today’s noisy and crowded web. It makes sense to put your digital marketing dollars into vehicles that are going after interested prospects, instead of people who have not already demonstrated an interest and taken the first step.

How Does Retargeting Help a Business

Retargeting will not drive new traffic to your site, but it will give you additional exposure to those customers who have browsed your website at least once. Here are a few more compelling reasons to start a retargeting campaign for your brand:

• Find customers more easily
• Target precise populations
• Increase conversions
• Generate leads
• Maximize return
• Create brand awareness
• Reinforce loyalty

With an effective strategy in place to gain initial traffic to your site, retargeting will then help you to get the most out of this traffic.

How Does Retargeting Work?

Retargeting is all about browser cookies. A java script code inserted on your website creates a list of people who have visited your site and inserts an unobtrusive cookie into their browser. This allows retargeting providers to isolate out the people who were previously on your website, and to serve your online ads to them as they traffic other sites on the web.

Facebook is a great example of retargeting. Have you ever searched for a product on its website, and then the next time you were on Facebook, started seeing ads in your feed for exactly the same item? This is retargeting working its magic.

Types of Retargeting

There are different types of retargeting depending on what types of digital activity your traffic was engaged in. These can be broken down into two different categories: On-site events and off-site events.

Retargeting On-Site Events

Website Retargeting:
Triggered by any action that a user completes on your website, abandonment of a shopping cart or general product browsing.

SEO/SEM Retargeting:
Allows the source of your traffic to direct them to a customized message that is specifically targeted to this demographic.

Email Retargeting:
Subscribers to your email lists can be targeted based on their responsiveness to your promotions, offers, and newsletters sent to their inbox.

Retargeting Off-Site Events

Search Retargeting:
Takes place when potential customers search for products on Google, Yahoo or other search engines.

Social Retargeting:
Allows you to created granular, targeted ad campaigns to people who are interested in similar content as your current customers.

Contextual Retargeting:
Occurs when potential customers have visited or shown an interest in an affiliate or partner site that appeals to similar interests and topics as your website.

Engagement Retargeting:
Users take specific action after viewing or interfacing with a click-to-expand ad or online game or application.

The digital marketing tools available today make retargeting more simple than ever. Hopefully this introduction to retargeting will encourage you to develop a retargeting strategy of your own so that you can capitalize on your website traffic.

The Benefits of Marketing Through Snapchat

Benefits of Marketing with Snapchat

Benefits of Marketing with SnapchatSnapchat is a social media platform by which users communicate through chat and time-limited media. Many businesses are jumping on board with the app, finding new and creative ways to use Snapchat for marketing. Yet there are still some businesses and marketers who are not quite there—be they skeptical, unclear about, or just not interested in Snapchat. Like any social media platform, Snapchat isn’t for every business. However, there are several benefits to marketing through Snapchat if it is in fact the right fit. This post will cover those benefits so that you can decide whether it’s a tool you want to add to your marketing repertoire.

Why Use Snapchat as a Marketing Tool?

Since the launch of the app, Snapchat has evolved into more than just a way to just send fun pictures to friends. Now users rely on the app to get a real-time view of what their favorite celebrities, shows, and businesses are up to, making Snapchat a great new marketing tool to personally interact with your customers.

Benefits of Marketing Through Snapchat

Gain Exposure

When it comes to usage, Snapchat has some impressive stats. Of the 158 million people who use Snapchat every day, the average user opens and checks the app 18 times per day, totaling about 25-30 minutes spent on the app per day. If you want more exposure for your business, you need to place yourself where your audience is. If your audience uses Snapchat, then it’s time to create an account!

Speaking of creating an account—once you create your account on Snapchat, you can upload the QR code to your other social media accounts and make it easy for your current followers to add you.

Capitalize on Relevancy

As previously mentioned, Snapchat’s purpose has broadened. In addition to checking up on their friends and those they follow, Snapchat users are also using the Discover feature to check for news on nearby locations and accounts they have subscribed to. The Discover feature is mainly reserved for big names like National Geographic and The Food Network, but since users are checking Snapchat constantly for this relevant content, getting on the platform is a way of capitalizing on that traffic.

Of course you can also use Snapchat to post relevant content about your business, particularly by using Stories to publish content that stays up for 24 hours only.

Market in Real Time

Time-limited Stories is one of the key feature of Snapchat that offers real-time benefits to marketing. One of the newest Story features launched by Snapchat allows users viewing a Story to hold down on the screen and send the screen shot to someone else on their friends list.

This feature can be useful for your business with regard to promotions. For example, you could post a promo code or announcement and say “Refer a friend and both of you get 10% off when you show the screenshot in stores.”

Target Locations

Snapchat gives businesses the chance to interact with their followers in a not just a real time context, but also a location based manner as well. If your business is having a special event at your brick and mortar location, consider getting a Geofilter for the event! Encourage those who visit your location to post a picture using the Geofilter on their personal Stories, and let their friends know where they are. This is a great way to gain visibility among the friends of those who visit your location.

Build a Community

Marketing is not about getting customers to buy your product. It’s about creating a relationship with your audience. Snapchat allows you to engage one-on-one with your customers, allowing them to see that you truly value them. Individual chats and behind the scenes posts are helpful in showing people know who you are and what you do, building a positive association with your brand. The more that you post on Snapchat, the more that you show the human side of your company, which will help to reinforce your brand overall.

Enjoy Less Competition (For Now)

Business tend to gravitate towards Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for their social media marketing, making it hard for new or small businesses to stand out among the competition. Businesses are only slowly beginning to realize the benefits of marketing through Snapchat, which is a benefit in and of itself! Getting on Snapchat before your competitors is a great way to set yourself apart.

If you think Snapchat could benefit your business, give it a shot! Start thinking about how you can use the app to strengthen your brand and your customer relationships.