The Internet is full of possibilities to develop your brand, gain new customers and become more popular on your local market. Constant improvements to your online presence have become a kind of a survival tactic for most marketers. They just keep producing content, making links and throwing money for paid advertisement, without considering that all these chaotic actions actually make them vulnerable. In order to have a successful brand with a strong and positive online presence, first you need to assess all the threats on your way to success. Only after evaluating and avoiding them, you will be able to see actual growth from your online marketing efforts. Here are a few pointers.
1. Spammy links to your site
This is one of the main issues online marketers face. The rich backlink profile of your website is pivotal to your good rankings in search engines. However, it also matters how you get the links – if they are coming from high quality sources, or just some spammy directories nobody cares about. Don’t get me wrong, having your business listed in various directories can be helpful, but it’s not everything. The excess of this type of links will act as a warning to search engines that your website is not so good after all. This is why you should observe your backlink profile closely. Find out who links to you and how, and remove low quality links that may harm you. A common misconception is that links from foreign websites are always spammy. But the truth is, that it depends on the link – if it’s just some blog sharing some resource from your website or someone giving you credit, then it’s fine. However, if the links are located in spammy comments or seem made by bots, then you might have a problem.
2. Negative reviews
Most business owners are painfully familiar with those. The first negative review you get always feels like the end of the world. Then comes the second and the third one, and after some time you start to feel indifferent about them. Negative reviews can’t be escaped, especially when you know that a client is much more motivated to write a review when the experience is bad. Happy clients just keep being happy, they don’t feel the need to write it down somewhere. The big issue is how you deal with those reviews. Not responding to them and pretending they don’t exist is not an option. Each review has to be answered, the case checked, and the situation needs to be mended, if possible. This way your clients will know that you care, some of those negative reviews can be turned into positive ones, and our online reputation can only gain from that. We all make mistakes; the important part is to take responsibility for them.
Interesting Read: How Reviews Impact SEO
3. Poorly maintained social media accounts
Everything is on social media today, even your favourite supermarket. Having properly maintained profiles in social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can really help businesses get closer to their clients. However, creating a page and posting something in it is not enough. You need to explore and exploit all the options your social profiles can get you. For a couple of dollars extra you can gain more exposure, advertise your products and services to your target audiences, and gain new connections. Facebook groups, for instance, have proven to be a great place to distribute your content. Remember to use social media marketing the smart way, be consistent and engage with your readers.
Interesting Read: Actionable Advice: Using Social Media Marketing as an Opportunity
4. The rise of paid media
Getting your brand ranked in Google’s organic results meant great exposure 5 years ago. But a lot has changed since then. Today, with the rise of paid media in the face of PPC, social media ads and all the other options we have out there, ranking in organic doesn’t guarantee your online presence will improve much. Nowadays 1 PPC ad takes at least 3 times more space in the results page, compared to 10 years ago. And studies show, that things won’t get better for organic-only rankers. Pay Per Click is already taking over the results pages, with 4 giant ads on top of organic results, and soon there will be 4 ads in the bottom of the pages also (it’s already happening in some SERPs, they are testing). Let’s not mention that they have also now started putting ads in local results too. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid that, since it’s a billion-dollar industry. The only way to overcome this difficulty for your brand’s online presence, is to get on board and start exploring the most suitable and profitable paid advertisement options for your business. It’s quite the investment, but if you do everything right, it should pay off in the long term.
Interesting Read: SEO or PPC – Which is Better for Your Business?
5. You’re not mobile friendly
Studies prove that over 70% of the online searches are performed on mobile devices. Therefore, if you want to advertise your products and services online, you need to be where people are searching for you. Many of the big companies lately are shifting their websites to a mobile-first model of work, which means that the primary device their websites are designed for is mobile. Progressive web apps, which load content on your phone even when you’re offline, are also gaining lots of popularity lately. The smaller businesses are still catching up to the tendency, so you can be one of the firsts!
Interesting Read: Mobile Advertising – You Just Can’t Ignore It Anymore
Who is killing your brand within your organization?
Sorry about the dramatic heading but I honestly feel that people who play havoc with the corporate logo or template are seriously killing the brand and seriously damaging the reputation. Every time someone tries to do that, your brand identity is at stake.
As a marketing professional, it is nightmarish for me to make mockery of the company logo and templates. I get utterly irritated to see images or logos being ruthlessly stretched to a point where they are no longer recognizable. Yes, I’m trying to tell you how distressing Shadow Marketing is. There is a lot of conflict between sales and marketing teams because of – yes, you guessed it right – Shadow Marketing. For example, the sales team, in a lot of situations, will roll out their own email campaigns without keeping the marketing team in loop.
Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/people-woman-shadow-legs-dark-2595583/
Shadow Marketing is often compared with Shadow IT. We understand Shadow IT as the use of software by people in the organization without explicit permission. To define, Shadow Marketing is when groups, other than Marketing of course, start to do things their own way that somewhat threatens the marketing strategy and execution. It is not just limited to Marketing but it can happen with other departments too. For example, what if the Marketing department purchases something from a vendor not in the list of approved vendor. That will be bypassing the Purchasing department. There might be restrictions from the Legal department on what to publish (or not publish) on social media channels.
For organizations using marketing software or tools or CRM, the IT department has a lot of control over how it is adopted, configured and distributed. The tool is a key driving factor to superior customer experience and the competitiveness of the brand. This, of course, has become really critical as consumers a brand to give a holistic experience. They are looking for instant gratification, and not having to go through the trouble of filling forms. Single registration might sound like an exciting idea and the IT department can even enable it but it will be difficult to qualify leads from junk in that case and obviously something that the marketing department does not want.
Can the issue of Shadow Marketing be tackled?
To do that the most important that a marketing leader needs to do is to make the reason for their existence clear to all departments. The role of the marketing team is to create demand and generate revenue. To facilitate that they use a number of engines, for example the sales collateral. But if the sales people are not able to use the collateral when they need it, the marketing unit will continue to be a cost center for the organization.
The marketing leader should ensure that they are able to provide all the support and there are no issues related to accessibility or expectations.
Make people in the organization aware of the marketing strategy, let everyone understand the content strategy, become aware of all the engines used, and of course the key focus areas. Incorporate the feedback from other departments, encourage inter-departmental dialogue, and work towards making your marketing strategy useful to all.
I’d also like to call the marketing teams as tech marketing now. These teams cannot do without technology, and of course we need the IT department’s buy-in to implement a CRM, marketing automation and other software.
Do you some more ideas on how to curb Shadow Marketing and protect your brand? Speak to one of our all-rounder marketing experts.
Search expert Jennifer Johnstone revealed how search can be measured more accurately and the difference between measuring branded and non-branded search efforts. While it is important to have a robust measuring scheme in place, the numbers will not make sense if brand and non-brand search terms are analyzed separately. Measures like Cost Per Acquisition or Cost Per Action (CPA), Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), Value Per Action (VPA), Cost Per Impression (CPI) and Click-Through Rate (CTR) are superficial if additional diagnostics are not used.
Branded and non-branded search terms have different behaviors. Even Google introduced a feature, last year, which differentiates brand and non-brand, paid and generic search terms. Once the distinction is made, brand search terms are identified as paid search effort and analytics will make assumptions based on that terms’ CTR, domain name or text string. The non-brand search terms are identified as generic paid search effort. If your brand search efforts are giving you poor results then you can focus your non-brand search terms of that keywords. For example, if your brand search is giving weaker results for ‘black lycra leggings’ then you can focus on it through your non-branded search.
If managed effectively, brand searches have a high return on ad spend or ROAS as the user is aware of your brand and closer to make a decision. In comparison, non-branded searches are users who are not aware of your brand and represent less inclined users. But when your ads show up for generic terms, your brand awareness is created. Once you have analyzed both these search terms separately, you can further optimize the non-brand search terms on the basis of various factors. These factors typically are the location, age group, gender, time and duration of the users. This will make your ads reach a targeted set of users who, most likely, are closer to conversion.
Jane Wilson is the digital marketing manager of Fantastic Cleaners – Melbourne, a licensed provider of cleaning services on the local market. Managing a company, which advertises their services primarily online, she knows how important it is to keep a meticulous online presence.