While several online marketing techniques keep on evolving now and then, the essence of SEO remains unchallenged. Undoubtedly, it can help businesses to grow exceptionally regarding online presence, web traffic, and high-end revenues. Findings from a slew of valuable survey reports echo this very fact in large volumes.
The below stats from varied survey reports give an insight into the significance of SEO for businesses worldwide:
1. SEO matters
A report by Conductor entitled “Inside Enterprise SEO: SEO Survey Benchmarks for Large Companies”, found great support for SEO among the enterprises. The survey included inputs from 442 marketers. It revealed that 72% acknowledged positive role of SEO in achieving the coveted business goals of web traffic and lead generation.
2. SEO & content marketing
Content marketing delivers best results when executed with a well thought SEO plan. The fact came into reckoning with this State of Search Marketing Report 2013 researched by E-consultancy in collaboration with SEMPO. The survey included participation from 400 professionals including client-side advertisers as well as agencies. It covered the importance of SEO along with other contemporary digital marketing techniques that lead to enhanced business growth. According to the report:
45% of the company expressed their willingness to integrate content marketing with their SEO strategy.
24% opted for Paid search marketing
16% favored mobile marketing to be associated with content marketing
3. High revenues
Moving over, SEO Industry Survey 2014 carried out by Bright Local with the support of Search Engine Land highlighted the increasing growth of businesses regarding revenues. In its poll, which included 1,759 SEO professionals, some major findings comprised as below:
62% of the respondents earned over $75,000 in the previous year
27% of the companies surveyed worked as Freelance SEO, and 11% as in-house SEO
84% of those interviewed have at the most 5 SEOs in their organization
17% believe SEO to be the most effective mode to engage new customers, which is only next to mouth publicity (28%)
These stats speak of the indispensable necessity of SEO toward ensuring business growth. Moreover, a majority of companies prefer having a team of around 5 SEO professionals, which yet again highlights the dependence of businesses on search engine optimization. No wonder, it is the most trustworthy mode to lure new customers after the company’s reputation, which spreads best through mouth publicity.
4. Best SEO marketing services
In the same Bright Local survey, the most preferred SEO/Online marketing services by customers consisted of the following:
On-Site SEO (16%)
Google+ Optimization (13%)
Website Development (12%)
Citation Building (10%)
Social Media Marketing (10%)
5. The future
When Bright Local survey asked about the expected chances of business growth in the SEO industry in the next year:
A staggering 93% showed positive response
70% plans revealed plans to recruit more staff in the coming 12 months.
All these findings reflect an optimistic attitude of the SEO companies and indicate a bright future for companies finding solace with search engine optimization in the better future.
The reputation of a company stems largely on the quality of customer service it provides. While amicable customer assistance increases customer base exponentially, a careless attitude holds high possibility of dragging your company to the worst of its plights. Hence, the ultimate solution to survive the cutthroat competition is to spruce up your customer service. Below are some vital tips in this context that could enable you withstanding the current and future market upheavals.
2014 Customer Service Report by Corsiva revealed that 60% of the 1,200 US consumers interviewed think that customer service across varied industries has improved as compared to the previous year. In addition, it also unleashed some important points for businesses to improve their customer services, which include as below:
1. Hire the best workforce
As per the infographic report, 49% of the respondents believed that companies could improve their services by hiring well-aware, smart, and communicative agents.
2. Train your agents
37% consumers favored the agents to be knowledgeable as they form an important link between the company and the customer. Hence, they need to be properly trained.
3. Interact in real
80% of the respondents complained that their phone interaction with the customer care team is more robotic or scripted than real. This ultimately creates a wide scope for genuine customer interaction.
4. Have multiple interaction points
55% believe that calling is the best way to assist clients. However, 34% still think that diversity in communication channels, such as the use of emails, chat, web forms, etc., should also be encouraged.
5. Do not keep customers on hold
32% participants accepted getting irritated for being kept on hold for more than 5 minutes. Consequently, a sizable 49% advocate that lowering down hold times may enhance customer service.
Moving over, Client Heart Beat seeks the assistance of a survey report comprising 200 senior marketing managers to indicate the importance of customer satisfaction and how could it be accentuated. The points are as follows:
6. Satisfaction rating
Ask consumers to rate your services as per the satisfaction level between 1-10. Customers giving 9-10 ratings are your potential buyers. Those giving 7 or above could be expected to come back. Ratings of 6 or below means that your customers are unhappy, and something is seriously wrong with your service that needs to corrected.
7. Improve quality
As per an Accenture global customer satisfaction report (2008), customer deviation results mainly due to poor quality or customer service, and not due to its cost. Hence, it is better to perk up your service standards.
8. Avoid falling prey to negative publicity
According to a McKinsey report, one unhappy customer could share his bad experience with 9-15 people. Overall, 13% dissatisfied customers spread the loopholes of the concerned product or service with 20 people. It is therefore better to avoid such negative word of mouth by enhancing your services.
9. Retain existing customers
It costs around 6-7 times more to make new customers than retaining the existing ones, it is hence good to invest in the latter option. Methods such as blog posts, emails, etc., to educate customers about the positive aspects of your business could be helpful in this regard.
10. Take care of every touch point
The point of customer contact, such as ads, reviews, ratings, websites, retail stores, and customer service form the touch points of your business. Make sure to keep a regular check on each of them for improvement.
Customer Relationship Management (or CRM), as the name suggests involves implementing distinct ways to manage a healthy and long-term relationship with the customers. Taking a leaf out of it, the modern day CRM systems serve the chief objectives of customer identification, acquisition, and retention. To attain these coveted goals, the CRM tools perform a series of beneficial functions like order management, customer support, sales force automation, persistent information flow between corporate stakeholders, and so on. However, amid a range of benefits, these advanced software are likely to fall prey to various security hassles as well.
Below are top five of the most common blunders in CRM security that could cause irreparable business damages:
1. Inability to anticipate threats: Some of the obvious threats like malware, viruses, or Denial of Service (DOS) attacks can be covered using apt methods. However, the problem occurs when an unknown threat attempts to take the advantage of a CRM loophole. A common instance is the one where an end-user device attempts to hack the CRM data hidden behind the firewalls or servers. Incorporating a multi-layered security infrastructure would be feasible to avert breaches from such unanticipated threats.
2. Lapse in data security: Stakeholders of an organization, such as employees, customers, partners, or end-users often try to access the CRM data through their own devices. Most of these devices are insecure and much prone to intrusion, specifically mobile phones. The threat could grow even bigger in case of their theft, which ultimately could tend almost anyone to gain access to the mine of data. Encrypting the data files with Advanced Encryption Standards (AES) could protect the unauthorized access of information in any such case.
3. Allowing redundant access to staff: If you are allowing your sales staff to access reports out of their context, you may be committing a serious blunder. It could aggravate the chances of your confidential business data being comprised. As a stiff security measure, make sure to restrict the access of the sensitive date to a small group that includes mainly pre-authorized staff members. Moreover, using an alert system in the CRM could also be helpful in identifying the unauthorized access of any report.
4. Absence of alert system: Despite the CRM security being intact, the possibility of an external attack could not be ruled out completely. In addition, the absence of any security alert system that could adhere to a pre-specified security policy and trigger alarms accordingly could also prove to be detrimental. To the contrary, the availability of these facilities could help the management team to deal with the threats at the initial stages. Timely monitoring and alert notifications could also decrease the recovery time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective appreciably.
5. CRM with minimal security: Businesses often don’t mind investing in lesser known and comparably cheaper CRM software to save expenses. However, such systems are more likely to be low on security standards and could expose your CRM data to persistent intrusion threats. A better option is therefore to choose a CRM system that:
Comprises the requisite security certifications
Enables you to set user-defined roles
Secures your data through apt encryption
Incorporates Intrusion Detection/Prevention systems (IDS/IPS), and;
Having very fewer finances to spare for marketing, the small and the medium-sized businesses struggle to market their products and businesses. The best and inexpensive medium for these businesses to market and grow gradually is Email marketing that has the ability to contact the customers directly.
Below is the list of some of the best, low-cost and dominating Email marketing applications today.
It is free for up to 2000 subscribers and offers the users to send 12,000 free emails every month. It has more than 400 templates for Emails and also comes with the easy to use drag and drop editor feature for quick access. It uses open API and allows other applications like Google Analytics, Paypal, Survey Monkey and many more to integrate with MailChimp.
The first 200 subscribers are free, and you’re free to send 12,000 emails every month. MailChimp offers plans that range from $10/month for 500 additional subscribers and $240/month for up to 50,000 subscribers.
It gives 400 customizable Email templates and also offers blank templates or code directly with HTML or CSS. It has the Facebook fan page application that allows the fans to directly sign up for the mails from the page. Its reporting data is very clear; the email bounces, click-throughs, social shares, complaints can be viewed easily.
ConstantContact offers monthly plans based on the number of addresses with $10/month for 500 addresses and $75/month for up to 10,000.
It offers hundreds of templates for Emails. It has a feature to implement drag and drop technique for the users who do not have advanced skills. It provides integrated social sharing that enables sharing on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn etc. It shows deep contact history that help in managing the relationship with subscribers.
iContact offers plans based on the number of subscribers. The price ranges from $14/month for 500 subscribers, $29/month for 2,500 subscribers and many other monthly plans depending on the number of subscribers.
The main standalone feature of Emma, is the design qualities which are far superior to any other Email marketing application. Emma integrates with the social media sites, Google Analytics, which makes it easier to interpret and report. It has a drag and drop editor like the other Email marketing applications.
Price ranges from $30 per month for 1,000 emails to $125/month up to 10,000 emails.
It gives the option to leverage data from any source. It allows integration with many third party applications and is great for many other add-ons. It offers to drill down into individual subscriber data such as times of open, survey results and links clicked.
The prices are fixed after the discussion with Account Executives, and they offer the plan based on the number of subscribers.
Zoho Campaigns surely makes it easy to design, send, promote and track all of your email marketing campaigns. It also allows you to segment your subscribers based on any specific criteria. Also in it, you can extract detailed report that gives you the complete the picture including the opens, click-through rates, unsubscribes, bounces, social media engagement and even geolocation reports.
It offers a Free Plan which is up to 2000 Subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. If your requirement is higher, it has monthly plans starting from as low as $5 for up to 500 subscribers with unlimited emails and reaching to $350 for 50001-100000 subscribers. One unique pricing plan it provides is Pay-As-You-Use.
It has the option for custom HTML and allows adding attachments to the Emails. It also has 150 templates to choose from, for the emails. It allows segmenting the subscribers by click, location or even what pages the subscribers have visited on the website. It can be integrated with Eventbrite, WordPress and Paypal.
Pricing ranges from $19/month for 500 subscribers and $149/month for up to 25,000 subscribers.
It is easy to build own email templates with the Campaign Monitor’s easy to build template editor. It has easy optimization for mobile. Any template designed in it, can easily be optimised for the mobile usage. Thus, the email will look the same in Outlook or any mobile device
Sign up for Campaign Monitor is free and it offers the campaigns starting from $9/month.
It offers users the option to create professional looking emails with about 400 templates, which range from newsletters and promotional designs to the event invitations and cards. It helps in gathering data with custom polls and surveys. It offers schedule sequences of automatically delivered emails.
It offers free sign up and three pricing categories, depending on the plan selected. Offers to send 600 mails per month with $10/month, unlimited emails to 600 contacts with $12/month and $400/month for 150,000 emails.
It offers marketing, transactional and mobile emails from a single platform. It provides customised reports based on the timeframe, email category, geography and the device type. It also offers drag and drop facility, predefined templates and ability to use own HTML.
SendGrid offers email credits and the prices vary in accordance of the plan selected. $10/month for 40,000 email credits, $80/month for 100,000, $200/month for 300,000 and $400/month for 700,000 emails.
Some of the best email marketing applications explained above are very economical and can help the Small businesses grow with their support of cost efficient email marketing solutions.
There is no denial of the extremely apparent wave of online branding. In contemporary world it has become more essential than ever to learn how to brand your business through online modes. If you associate your online brand with trust and quality, clients and prospects will associate your brand image – logo, colors and message – with that value as well. This escalates customer trust, loyalty and familiarity, and also makes your business more credible and recognizable.
Branding was a far easier task when there were no websites, smart phones, interactive games or social media. These days, creative teams are required to impeccably brand products across multiple media, using the same voice, design and messaging.
To submerge your dilemma of how to brand your business online we have listed 5 most cost effective and easy ways:
1. Add relevant content on website- Your website speaks volumes about you so make sure it is attractive and engaging. For that you must have; Infographics, they are viewed and loved more than most other content types; Videos, a good video communicates a message in a concise and memorable way and off course a detailed list of Products/Services.Displaying actual products, staff and customers, can position you as reliable and credible.
2. Kick off Social Media- Social Media Marketing is one of the most cost effective ways to promote both small businesses and corporations, and enhance the visibility of the brand. It promotes brand loyalty, acknowledgment, and also raises sales. It enables businesses to reach worldwide audiences with minimum expenditure.
3. Start a Blog– A blog can elevate brand visibility and improve the probabilities of success. It establishes validity in the brand and increases your reach. In addition, blogging helps in cultivating relationship with customers and other influencers. Blog opens opportunities for engagement with current and prospect customers, and also helps you in educating them about your expertise.
4. Participate in Forums- If you frequently participate in forums, you will network with other like minded people and a natural product of networking is branding. When you participate regularly, people begin to remember and recognize you, and that brands your business and also drives traffic to your site. While participating in forums, converse about the topics you are an expert in and try to provide sound advice to forum members as that will bestow an impression of your comprehensive knowledge about the industry.
5. Be Distinctive and Authentic- When creating an online brand; don’t attempt to create your brand like any other brand in the market. Come up with a distinctive tone to persuade your target audience. Also be authentic; if you can be truthful with your customers about your brand’s value, you will be able to authenticate this value far efficiently while creating your online brand presence.
Following are some Do’s and Don’ts of email marketing which can help you in executing better e-mail campaigns.
Do’s for E-mail Marketing
Personalised Emails-The e-mail must be personalised and should be compatible with mobile devices as most of the users today access their emails through smartphones.
Segment the Email Database- The subscribers for the emails must be segmented before sending the emails as segmentation helps in targeting the customers based on their liking and needs. Also segmented emails have a better click through rates as the customers receive what they are interested in.
Give Subscribers Freedom to Choose- The subscribers must be given freedom to choose from the list of contents, which will be coming to their inbox. They must also be given scope to choose for the subscription such as daily, weekly or monthly subscriptions.
Use of Dedicated Email Id- Dedicated email id must be used which can enable the customers to reply and contact back. The automated emails must be avoided.
Show the Brand Voice: The email must be dominated by the brand voice, as to why your brand is superior as compared to the competitors. The unique features identifying your brand should be manifested.
Attractive Email Subject- An eye-catching subject for the email must be cited as it is the first thing customer notices in the email. Attractive subject will make the customer curious to go through the whole content of the email.
Focus on Single Topic- The email must address only one topic at a time.
Give the Email Distinctive Look: Catchy taglines or images must be included in the mail. This will draw the attention of the customers and also help them remember the campaign in a unique way.
Do Not Spam- Never spam the customers. If people notice spams they will immediately unsubscribe to the emails and will opt out of the campaign. If emails are reported spam, too many reports can lead to the blacklisting of the campaign.
Don’t Send Erroneous Email- Precedence must not be given only to the content and the grammar but also to the links which are included in the email. First impression is last and hence, the email must be perfect and free of errors.
Avoid Lengthy Forms- Emails which ask customers to subscribe must not have endless and lengthy forms. This may irritate the customers and make them opt out of the subscription.
Don’t Include Too Much Graphics- The use of graphics and the images must be limited. Adding lot of content in the email will make it bulky and the mail will take a lot more time to open.
Never Send E-mail with Unsubscribe Link- The email which is sent to the potential customers must not have a global unsubscribe button.
Don’t Forget to Keep Track- The emails which are sent must be kept track of. This will help to know the customers better and also help in the segmentation.
As the name suggests, Customer Relationship Management deals with strengthening the relationships with existing customers, finding prospective customers and attracting former ones. When the information related to customers is collected, organized and managed in the form of software, this system is brought into being. Implementation of CRM strategy is beneficial for both small and large scale business ventures.
Here is how the CRM software can prove out to be a solution for the success of your company.
It improves customer relations
Customer satisfaction is one of the major benefits of CRM software. The dealings involving marketing, selling and servicing products to customers can be easily carried in a systematic and organized manner making use of this. Customer services can be improved by having better understanding of issues related to them which decreases their agitation and increases loyalty. Loyal customers are more likely to give feedback for your products which again is beneficial for you. They may also spread a positive word-of-mouth.
It increases revenues for the company
Making use of the CRM strategy, revenues of the company can be increased manifold. The marketing campaigns of a company may be put up in a more effective manner making use of the data collected by CRM. Promotions can reach a wider range of customers; both new and existing ones thus increasing the revenue.
It maximises up-selling and cross-selling
CRM system lets the customers have the advantage of getting premium products which fall in the category of their purchase. It also lets customers have complementary products based on their purchase history. This is done by understanding the needs, wants and purchase patterns of the customers. All the data is stored in a central database that is easily accessible to employees of the company. In this way things run in a geared-up manner. As soon as an opportunity arises, employees can easily do promotional things.
It improves Internal Communication
A better communication relationship can be built up within a company by following CRM strategy. Easy sharing and accessibility of data to various departments within the company enables it to run as a team. This helps in making the working style faster and better.
It optimises marketing
CRM lets a company understand the needs and wants of its customers which helps in cutting down the time and cost in identifying the correct opportunity to market a product. CRM also helps in identifying the most profitable customer group which lets the company save time spent on less profitable groups.
Some of the best CRM software used worldwide are:
CRM systems have come a long way since 90s. Salesforce.com is believed to provide the best CRM system and is the market leader with 16% market share in the year 2013. SAP and Oracle follow salesforce with 13 and 10% market share respectively.
CRM thus helps in a lot of ways. It saves time and money, makes you look professional, it is convenient and also secure.
More than 2 million small and medium organizations are actively trading in the Australian market. However, with sparse resources in hand, small businesses struggle with expanding and gaining popularity. Lack of sufficient funds also constrains the organizations from allocating huge budgets for marketing. But, small organizations come with a benefit of having focused teams which work together in coordinating, planning and strategizing.
With the domination of social media, marketing has become easier as the way to reach people has dramatically changed.Various marketing techniques such as the advertisement on the social media sites like Facebook is the new favourite for the small organizations. With the very limited amount of money given away from their pockets, the small entrepreneurs are happy to market on the social media websites.
But, the main catch here is the number of followers on the social media webpage which makes it strong. It is a huge task for the organizations to gain popularity on the social media websites with the presence of competitors and paid advertisements which demand a huge amount of money.
Along with the social media advertising, the organizations are diverting their path to the fresh technology in marketing i.e. E-mail marketing. E-mail marketing is the best, easiest and direct way to reach the customers. The businesses do not even have to shell out a large amount of money as all they need is the e-mail addresses of the targeted customers. Through e-mails, they can easily reach out to the customers with exciting offers.
“Every Coin has two sides” and so does the concept of email marketing. With the advantage of directly reaching the customers, the primary hindrance here is email policies adopted, which control these emails from entering the inbox of the customers directly. With filtering techniques deployed, the promotional and marketing emails are filtered out and categorized as “Spam” and, the emails from these folders are generally ignored by the customers.
Nevertheless, developments in technology have brought in miracles and the tools like Vision6 which have the capability to deliver the emails directly to the inbox of the customers with the spam compliance, have thus improved the deliverability. It also helps in connecting the users on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter through email.
Thus with a helping hand for the small organizations to overcome their financial and resource shortcomings, and availability of these tools at affordable prices to small businesses, the concept of Email marketing is indeed a boon to the small businesses.