Using Social Media & High Quality Content For Online Reputation Marketing

Written by Todd McPartlin on . Posted in Blog, Newsletter

It doesn’t make sense to ignore Online Reputation Management in today’s highly connected, online world. A study in 2013 by Dimensional Research revealed some startling figures about how consumers choose where to do business online. In regards to online reviews, 86% surveyed confirmed that a negative review would negatively impact their buying decision, while a similar 90% said that a positive review would make them more likely to do business with a company.

With statistics like that, online reputations today can’t be left to chance. Businesses need to take a proactive approach to online reputation management if they want to attract and retain customers.

Your Reputation Goes beyond a Simple Review

Consumer reviews are a powerful force. The above statistics are a testament to the fact. Up to 97% of your potential customers will research local businesses online, so it’s highly likely that customers will find reviews and publicity about your business, both good and bad. Managing your online reputation is in part concerned with offsetting any negative reviews about your company and products by increasing the number of positive reviews available.

But before you make the mistake of thinking, great, I only need to get some positive reviews posted, think again. Positive reviews cannot simply be fabricated, and that’s not the only thing that ORM is about. Fake reviews can be identified and traced, and in the US, the Attorney General has even been looking in to the legal implications of fake reviews. Imagine the damage that would be caused to your reputation if you were caught engaging in such a practice.

So What Is Online Reputation Management/Marketing?

More than just a review, and never a fake review, ORM concerns controlling distribution of any content that displays your company in a positive light. This could include social media, forum postings, press releases, company blogs, and of course positive customer reviews. Just because you can’t post your own reviews doesn’t mean that you can’t encourage positive reviews through other means. ORM is all about showing your business in the best possible way, with complete integrity.

ORM is not in itself unethical. How can it be unethical to promote your business? The key here is to do things honestly. You can encourage positive customer reviews without fabricating them. You can post blog content about some of the great things your company is doing without misleading people. ORM is not here to completely discredit bad press about your company, but rather it will overcome negativity by addressing issues, and showcase what you’re already doing right.

There’s nothing misleading about publishing legitimate consumer reviews on behalf of your customers. By controlling your online reputation you are able to go directly to your target market, and raise the positive exposure of your business. You’re not only promoting yourself, but you’re educating customers about your key differentiators and what you have to offer them.

Striking a Balance between Promotional Content and Consumer Opinions

Content can always be defined within two categories. Owner generated, and user generated.

  • Owner generated content can be blog posts, press releases, forum postings on relevant community sites, paid promotional articles in the press or on industry specific sites, and generally any published content that originated from the business owner. A Nielson study revealed that up to 58% of customers will trust content generated by the business owner. You can control every single piece of information that comes through this channel, so as a business owner, you need to make the most of it.
  • The flip side of owner generated content is the user content. This can come through similar channels like blogs, testimonials, forum postings, editorial reviews, and consumer reviews around the internet. The majority of consumers will trust businesses who have positive consumer reviews. So while not 100% under your control, the user generated content is a powerful decider in businesses success.

How to Do ORM Right

Successful implementation of online reputation marketing relies on a basic flow of events. Beginning with research, and ending with the publication of content.

  • Research. Before you can even begin, you need a holistic overview of your online presence. This would include keyword research to identify what your prospective customers are searching for when they encounter your company. Identifying these keywords helps you know where to target your content, and what the content will include.
  • Content Setup / Social Media Setup. All of your content needs to be delivered through the most relevant media. In this step, all of your content deployment channels are created including social networking accounts, your company website, company blogs, and sites like Youtube could also be included. Every delivery channel should be branded and optimized for your target market.
  • Publication. The final step involves uploading all of your content. This includes your blog posts, your promotional articles, the user reviews you have obtained from satisfied customers, even social media updates, tweets, Youtube videos, and any other targeted content that you will be using to boost your online reputation.

Make or Break with Engagement and Maintenance

The previous steps in ORM are relatively easy, and can be completed within a short time frame. It’s the ongoing management that’s going to make or break your whole strategy. When we talk about research, setup, and publication, what is the point if you don’t continually manage your reputation, while engaging your customers online? Both of these elements are essential in maintaining a positive reputation.

  • Engagement. Engagement flows naturally from all of your previous effort. You should be tweeting regularly, updating your Facebook account and posting your blog and forum articles. Not only that, you need to actively engage your customers in the process. Respond to questions and comments, grow your network of friends and followers, run competitions if you have the means. Everything you do here based around the online community will engage the audience and bring them closer to your business.
  • Maintenance. Online reputation marketing doesn’t just end with the posting of your content. It’s not a set and forget venture. Successful businesses will maintain their reputation throughout their existence. Stopping any part of the process at any point could severely impact your reputation with customers. New research may be required when you open new lines of business or release new product sets, and as new delivery methods emerge, your content and social media strategy may change. Companies that pay close attention to their ORM strategy are the ones who come out best off in a competitive online community.

Go Ahead, Search for Your Company Online

Look up your company in any of the major search engines like Bing and Google. What do you find there? Do you have a strong presence around your expected keywords? Do you find any publicity about yourself, positive or negative? What you find is what your customers will find. If you’re not getting a good impression from what you see, how can you expect your customers to choose you over the competitors, who are literally just a click away?

Use our free tool to check your online reputation here.

If you want your customers to notice you, and most importantly, choose to do business with you, then you need to implement Online Reputation Management now.

We’re an online marketing agency and are experts in ORM & online reputation marketing. We can help you improve and manage your reputation online, and we do ORM the right way. We’re offering free consultations to show you what we can do for your business, so why not give us a call on 979-314-7213, or drop us a message at leader@imarketingleader.com today.

Qualities of an Effective Online Marketing Agency: Guide for Business Owners

Written by Todd McPartlin on . Posted in Newsletter

To give your business a solid online presence, you need the help of an online marketing agency. Research shows that in 91% of small businesses, the CEO also serves as the primary marketer. Playing double roles doesn’t come as a surprise as 96% of these businesses have a staff of five or fewer.

Unfortunately, business owners and managers like you simply do not have enough time to dabble and experiment online. The core business – be it a bakery, carwash, dental clinic, or restaurant – needs you. You need to be running operations. Trying to learn the technical aspects of online marketing and sacrificing time for the business is not worth it.

So why burden yourself when you can leave the technical stuff to an agency, right? Correct! But now, here’s the challenge: how do you choose the right provider for your business? Here’s some helpful advice.

But First, Be Wary of Unrealistic Promises

Internet marketing consultants or companies typically make the same promise to business owners: more traffic, leads, and sales online. What business owner wouldn’t want those results, right? But the question is, can they really deliver? Are they telling the truth, or merely making promises to peddle their services? Just remember, if the promises are too good to be true, they probably are.

It’s easy to plunge into this pitfall as many businesses are in dire need of services, and are assigning these needs to providers. For instance, one research found that 63% of marketers will spend more on content creation this year. That’s how bad they need new content. Meanwhile, 50% will spend more on search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing efforts delegated to agencies.

But First, Be Wary of Unrealistic Promises

Internet marketing consultants or companies typically make the same promise to business owners: more traffic, leads, and sales online. What business owner wouldn’t want those results, right? But the question is, can they really deliver? Are they telling the truth, or merely making promises to peddle their services? Just remember, if the promises are too good to be true, they probably are.

It’s easy to plunge into this pitfall as many businesses are in dire need of services, and are assigning these needs to providers. For instance, one research found that 63% of marketers will spend more on content creation this year. That’s how bad they need new content. Meanwhile, 50% will spend more on search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing efforts delegated to agencies.

But while you may badly need these services, remember that falling for “we’ll give you the moon and the stars” type of promises is the biggest pitfall small business owners make when hiring an Internet marketing agency. Be careful when choosing your online marketing provider. After all, that company will represent your business online. If they create a faulty and spammy website, publish irresponsible Facebook status posts, or write articles with terrible grammar, it’s your business that will bear the brunt.

So how do you choose the right online marketing service provider for your business? Here are two qualities you need to look for.

Expertise: Testing and Experience Combined

Unlike major corporations, small and medium-sized businesses have small and medium-sized marketing coffers, too. As an owner, you want to ensure that you will get your money’s worth when entrusting online marketing activities to an agency. And to ensure you get a return on investment, one of the things you should search for in an agency is expertise.

“Expert” level Internet marketing agencies typically possess these characteristics:

  • Carry out research and development 
  • Conduct testing 
  • Continuously improve services 
  • Frontliner in the industry 
  • Have sufficient experience

Agencies that are experts in what they do are always on the lookout for new techniques and strategies to help promote your business online. They do not merely rely on previous experiences. They keep on improving services by combining experience and results of new tests they conduct. They stay sharp through research.

That is why they understand what Google Panda and Penguin updates are, what the Hummingbird algorithm is, and what all of these terms mean to your SEO strategy. They understand how to maximize online maps, local directory listings, check-in sites, and review sites to boost your local online presence. They know that sharing content via social media is better than building cheap links and spamming. If a provider is a front liner in the industry, and has sufficient experience, there’s a good chance it can also handle and steer your business to online marketing success.

Passion: How Bad They Want You to Succeed

Passion, they say, is a subjective quality that you cannot measure. But if you ask any entrepreneur, they’ll say that passion is a crucial factor in the success of any venture. And for an online marketing agency to be able to help your business succeed online, they must be passionate in helping you achieve your marketing goals. How can you tell if they have this passion? Ask yourself these three questions:

  • Does this agency listen to my needs?
  • Do they provide In-depth consultation based on these needs?
  • Do they align their services toward my marketing goals?

If you answered yes to all these questions, and you’ve determined their expertise based on the characteristics we mentioned earlier, then you might just be looking at the online marketing agency you’re looking for. The important thing to remember here is that passionate agencies do not simply offer specific packages without first listening to you and analyzing your business. No one knows your business better than you do!

That’s why it’s important that the agency takes the time to listen to you and give you an in-depth consultation based on your needs. Knowing your marketing goals and business needs is always the first step to achieving online success. It’s also a very good indicator of the agency’s expertise and passion in helping your business make the most out of SEO, Local Marketing, Google, Social Media, Facebook, Responsive Web Design and online marketing in general.

We’re not shy to say we’re experts at what we do and we’re passionate in helping businesses succeed online. Send us a message now at leader@imarketingleader.com or call us at 979-314-7213 to find out how we can help you meet your business goals through online marketing today.

PPC Advertising: Online Marketing with Instant, Highly-targeted Traffic and Measurable ROI for Your Business

Written by Todd McPartlin on . Posted in Newsletter

Business owners are reluctant to engage in online marketing activities not because they don’t want to see their website online, or they don’t have the budget for it. Mostly, it’s because they struggle to track Internet marketing’s return on investment or ROI. Indeed it is difficult to invest in something whose value is not obviously apparent. Good thing there’s PPC or pay-per-click advertising.

 

PPC not only gives businesses quick results, it also tracks these results – allowing owners to see exactly what they are making through this channel. In fact, a recent study showed that 50% of marketers that use PPC do so because they want to achieve or increase their measurable ROI. PPC is indeed the online advertising model businesses need right now.

 

‘Complex’ Concept Simplified

 

When business owners hear the word “PPC,” they usually think of it as a highly complex, completely technical, paid online advertising model that they should stay away from. And indeed you have reason to think of it that way. Perhaps you’ve been approached by a consultant before with terms like “spend, bids, impressions, CTR and quality score” didn’t really make sense to you. But really, what you should know about PPC is in the name itself: pay per click. Unlike other forms of advertising, you only pay when users click your advertisements. No click means no payment.

 

Paid advertisements may appear on various online locations but the simplest and most popular form of PPC is the search results text ad, which is displayed on top of and beside “organic” search results. Each ad is composed of four lines of text. Currently, 95% of PPC marketers consider these text ads as important, according to a digital marketing survey. Paid ads may also appear as banners on partner sites and on video content (such as YouTube). But in this article, we’ll focus on search text ads.

 

Should You Spend on PPC Ads?

 

Research by MarketingSherpa showed that online marketers indeed are dedicating a significant amount of their budgets to paid search. A quarter of the marketing budget is spent on PPC! Another 25% is allotted to the business website. SEO gets 21% of the pie. The rest is intended for email and other channels and activities. In the United States alone, search ad spending is expected to hit $22.86 billion in 2013, up from merely $15.36 billion two years ago, estimates by eMarketer showed. By 2014, it’s expected to reach $25.41 billion and by 2016, a massive $25.41 billion!

 

Here are other statistics that matter:

 

  • Estimated $22.86 billion U.S. paid search spending in 2013 (eMarketer)
  • By 2016, PPC is expected to become a $61.1 billion industry worldwide! (Kissmetrics)
  • Increase web traffic – 63% (MarketingSherpa)
  • Generate more leads – 62% (MarketingSherpa)
  • Increase online sales revenue – 57% (MarketingSherpa)
  • Achieve or increase measurable ROI – 50% (MarketingSherpa)

 

What these numbers is trying to say is this: PPC works. Online marketers are spending on PPC, and are looking to spend more on it in the future. This upward trend in spending says a lot about the power of paid search. But as research shows too, the main hindrance preventing B2C businesses from increasing online budgets is the difficulty to prove ROI. But what it you can track ROI, and see results instantly?

 

Instantly Appear on Google Search Results

 

One of the top reasons why pay per click advertising is popular among business owners is its power to propel websites to the first page of Google – “instantly.” Instant in this case is in comparison with SEO or search engine optimization, which is a slower but nevertheless necessary online strategy. With SEO, it can take time to rank on search engines, especially for competitive keywords. But with PPC, you can immediately ascend to the much-coveted search results page and advertise your business to interested prospects without waiting for months.

 

The instant appearance on Google search results brings instant traffic to the website. Research shows that increasing web traffic is top objective of 63% of PPC advertisers. So if you’re just getting started with SEO, or your website needs a traffic boost fast, you may use pay per click to get it.

 

Take note though that being on Google’s Page 1 is not just about extra traffic; it’s also about spreading brand awareness. Whenever users see your search result, they get an “impression” of your business. You do not pay for impressions. This means you get to give your brand exposure with little or no cost, and do it instantly. It’s also about converting the traffic to leads and sales.

 

Measurable: from Impression to Conversion


PPC networks such as Google AdWords and Bing Ads allow businesses to track a wide array of metrics, from impressions to clicks to conversions. These metrics enable businesses to see whether they are indeed getting the “conversions” or results they want from paid ads. You get to see how many people saw your advertisement, how many clicked the ad, and how many performed the desired action on your landing page.

 

Because you can measure impressions to conversions, you’ll be able to see how much a particular conversion cost you. Calculating your “cost per click” will let you determine the amount you spent for every advertisement clicked by a user. “Cost per conversion or action or acquisition” is the amount you spent for that lead, sale, or whatever conversion you are tracking.

 

Being able to measure not just traffic but also money spent and earned is an attractive feature of PPC. It is one of the reasons why pay-per-click is very popular in the retail industry, which accounts for 16% of businesses that run PPC ads. Case in point: Amazon. The e-commerce giant spent $55.2 million on Google AdWords in 2011. Retailers are tracking not just how many clicks they got but how much they earn from these clicks. Businesses in other industries are following suit.

 

Don’t be left behind. We can implement pay-per-click advertising for you and help you get instant, highly-targeted traffic and measurable ROI for your website and your business. Send us an email at leader@imarketingleader.com or call us at 979-314-7213 now to schedule your free in-depth consultation on PPC advertising.

Beyond Local Online Presence: How Your Local Business Can Keep the Cash Register Ringing with ‘Local Buzz’

Written by Todd McPartlin on . Posted in Newsletter

According to statistics, an overwhelming 78% of consumers research about products and services on the Internet before buying locally. The message consumers are sending local business owners is therefore clear: be visible online or get ready to close shop.

A lot of business owners have responded to this message by getting a website done. They also pay for SEO or search engine optimization services to make sure they appear on Google when their prospects look for products they offer. But is this strategy good enough to keep your cash register ringing every day? Or is there a better way to ensure your business dominates “locally”?

Anatomy of a Social Buyer: Use Social Media Optimization to Understand Your Customer & Get Sales

Written by Todd McPartlin on . Posted in Newsletter

Social media optimization is a known business necessity. Owners understand that for their venture to withstand the competition and survive in the current economic environment, they need to be on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. They need to update fan pages, upload photos, and interact with their audience. After all, 67% of all Internet users use social networks, according to Pew Internet research. Indeed no online marketing strategy is ever complete without it. But at the end of the day, its sales—not likes, retweets, or repins—that keep the business going. So the question now is…

“Do businesses actually get sales from social media?”