Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Using Google+ to promote your business

Google+ has been a topic of conversation for a while, back in 2012 we discussed the reasons why Google+ is good for business use and looked at the benefits is can bring for businesses.  Yet many business owners still do not fully understand the benefits of using Google+ to market their business and there have been contradicting reports debating its relevance within the digital marketing mix. Some marketers have claimed that the social media website is a ghost town with little use for business marketing; however, here some great reasons to use Google+ to promote your business.

Improved search results

SEO experts often emphasise the importance of Google+ as it is a Google product and ties in with its search engine and other products. Social signals are becoming a key feature of algorithms used by many search engines and Google will pay particular attention to engagement on its own social networking website.
Google+ content also has the ability to appear in search results as each post is given its own unique URL. Every time a Google+ post attracts attention in the form of comments, +1’s or shares it increases the likelihood of this post being given a higher ranking in search engine results.
When a web user searches Google for a specific hashtag, recent Google+ posts that have incorporated the hashtag are given a high priority within the search pages.

Owned content

Google+ offers two essential features to use when creating and distributing your own content as part of your marketing strategy. The Google+ authorship and publisher features enable its users to take ownership of their original content wherever it appears on the internet.
Google+ pages and personal profiles can be connected to webpages, blog posts and articles showing who the author of the content is. This allows users to claim ownership of the content and demonstrate their expertise in their field, becoming a thought leader within their industry. 
Google+ publisher allows its users to gain ownership of their earned content including customer reviews. The publisher feature connects your Google+ local page to your website and displays an ‘information graph’ of relevant items when your business name or other brand signals are searched for using the search engine. This information includes the number of followers on your Google+ page, your recent posts and even reviews of your business from other Google+ users.

Integration with other platforms

Google+ integrates with many other platforms and social applications and there are usually options to +1 or share content on most websites. Creating all of your Google networks with the same username and account will also increase the transparency of your business and gain the trust of your audience.
Google’s ownership of Youtube is also important to note here, as it is the second biggest search engine in the world and users now need to have a Google account to create a Youtube channel.

Increased engagement

Google+ is a great tool for communicating and engaging with your customers. The circles function was designed with business marketing in mind and allows you to segment and target your audience with content specifically created for each section.
Google+ hangouts are also an innovative way of interacting with your audience and can be used for a variety of activities. For example, businesses can unveil new products, conduct interviews or hold live Q&A sessions with followers using the video streaming feature.

Using Google+ for your business

Like any social network, when using a Google+ page to promote your business and engage with your audience, you should develop a regular posting schedule of fresh and relevant content. Also, where possible, use hashtags in your posts so that people can easily search for and find your content.
You can also use Google+ to engage with other users by adding a +1 to their posts and sharing/commenting on them. This will encourage others to do the same with your content!
Promoting your Google+ presence on your website and across other social media platforms will also alert your customers to your page. Give them an incentive to follow you on the network by posting original and engaging content.


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

What is Conversion Rate Optimisation?

Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is the practice of using a combination of analytics and feedback to improve the performance and user experience of your website. Your conversion rate is calculated by dividing the total number of conversions by the number of visitors to your website. A conversion is classed as an action that you want your customers to perform, whether it is making a purchase, subscribing to your newsletter or visiting a certain page of your website.


CRO techniques can be used to improve any Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) but are mostly used to acquire new customers, increase sales and attract new members to your database. Employing conversion rate optimisation is a great way of gaining the best return in investment (ROI) when it comes to your website and helps increase your customer numbers without additional costs.

Developing a Conversion Rate Optimisation Strategy

Once you have calculated your website’s conversion rate it is then best to analyse it using an initial set of metrics. Firstly, begin by looking at the bounce rate of your site – how many people leave after visiting just one page? Secondly, take a look at the exit rate and determine which page most people leave your site on and the average amount of time they spend browsing your website. If there are certain pages that keep cropping up when determining the exit rate of your website, this can act as a red flag to warn you of potential user issues on these pages.

A good conversion rate optimisation strategy will also aim to improve the overall user experience of your website. To lay the foundations for this there are a number of areas you should examine, such as general usability and the conversion funnel. The conversion funnel is simply the path that a user takes on your website to achieve the conversion, or goal, you want to measure. So, if you want your visitors to make a purchase, how many pages and clicks does it take for them to reach the checkout page? The conversion funnel should be made as simple as possible so that users do not become frustrated and abandon their journey.

When optimising your website for conversions you should also use A/B testing techniques and user testing to make sure its usability is as easy as possible. Ensure that the website’s graphics are clear and do not obstruct any important information, ensure that your calls to action are suitably placed and easy to see and if operating an ecommerce website, establish whether the checkout process is easy to follow.

Once you have identified any problems users may be encountering on your website you can then begin to rectify these issues, making the site easier and more enjoyable to use.  Using Google Analytics you can also set up goals and funnels metrics to monitor the success of your CRO strategy. A Google analytics goal measures the time it takes for users to complete a specific action on your website, whilst the funnel tracks the pages and clicks they made in order to achieve this goal.

Simplify your conversion rate optimisation

There are a number of online resources and software packages available to help you develop and execute your conversion rate optimisation strategy. Software programs such as Crazy Egg show you a detailed ‘Heat map’ which highlights the most active areas of your website in terms of clicks and engagement. This then allows you to see areas of the site that may be under performing, or calls to action that are being missed or ignored.

Whilst software applications such as Wingify provide an easy way to perform A/B testing in order to “Tweak, optimize & personalize your website and apps with minimal IT help.” With full statistical reports, heat maps and user insights Wingify is a great starting place for those who are new to conversion rate optimisation. 

Monday, 18 August 2014

What is content marketing and why is it important?


A relatively new form of digital marketing, content marketing is the practice of consistently creating and distributing engaging, useful content with the aim of attracting a clearly defined audience.

The importance of content marketing has increased recently because traditional forms of marketing, such as print and television advertising or online adverts and banners, are becoming ineffective. Therefore, marketing professionals have needed to develop a new way of communicating with customers and prospects with the goal of influencing their behaviour and increasing profitable customer actions.
Content marketing focuses on owning media and becoming a source of relevant, valuable information for your target audience. The content that a business creates and shares should emphasise its expertise in the area of business and establish the firm as a thought leader.


Creating a content marketing strategy


Developing a plan

Like any other form of marketing, you should begin your content marketing efforts with a plan or strategy. Key points to consider include; the purpose of your marketing campaigns- what do you want to achieve? Identify your unique selling points of your product or service so you can promote these through your content.
Identify the core messages and values of your business and ensure that these are promoted through the content created and curated.

It is also advisable to create a content calendar so you can schedule content creation and identify particular times at which your content will be most useful to your audience. A calendar will also allow you to take advantage of specific dates and events throughout the year.


Identifying your audience

Having a clear target audience in mind when developing a content marketing strategy is crucial. Spend time developing personas and then ask yourself what each of the segments want from your business. What questions do they want you to answer, which products are most suitable for them and what types of content (ie. Blog post, video, images, inforgraphics) will appeal to them most.


Choosing the right channels

Your content strategy should dictate the channels you use to communicate with your audience, not the other way around. Whether its social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ or a blog on your website or even a Youtube channel, there a multiple ways to communicate with your audience.

Consider the best times to post on each channel and the types of content that will work well. For example many businesses find that images attract a lot of engagement on Facebook and have built this into their content strategy.


Developing the content process

From content creation through to engaging with followers and fans, a well-planned out process with ensure that you keep on top of your content marketing strategy.

Start by creating content that is informative and engaging and optimise it so that it is easily found and appears in search results. Then find some trusted sources with valuable content that you can aggregate through your channels.

Finally, build in some time to interact and communicate with your audience. It is important to create a dialogue with your prospects and customers instead of simply talking at them. Listen to their feedback and incorporate this into your content plan.


Measure and Analyse

Like any marketing activity, it is important to measure the results of you content marketing campaign. Most channels have analytical tools allowing you to measure the impact of your efforts. Websites and blogs can be tracked using Google Analytics, Facebook has its own insights feature and other platforms can be measured by monitoring the number of followers and how they interact with your posts.


Are you using content marketing as part of your digital marketing strategy? Tweet us @evonomie or follow us on Facebook and tell us about it!  

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Email Marketing Metrics: How to measure the success of your email marketing campaigns

A good email marketing campaign can have a significant impact on the results of your marketing efforts, but each campaign needs to be accurately monitored to determine its success rate. To help you calculate the return on investment (ROI) of an email marketing campaign we have listed some key metrics to keep an eye on.


Open Rate

The open rate of an email campaign is a good metric to track over time and it can signal progress or problems with your email marketing. Likewise, the amount of opens per subscriber is a good rate to look at as it will show if your content is interesting and engaging.

Whilst the open rate is a good indicator of general engagement with your subscribers it is not the most important metric. The open rate of an email campaign can yield unreliable results as image blocking and other factors can stop all opens being accurately tracked.

Click-Through Rate

A more reliable metric than the open rate, but not as reliable as more in-depth metrics such as measuring conversions or revenue generated, the click-through rate measures activity on an email message. Showing which links the subscribers have clicked on, the click-through rate serves as a good indicator of which content is working well within your email messages.

It is also useful to look at the number of clicks per clicker, as higher rates show that subscribers are interested in your content and engaging with it. Good content for an email marketing campaign gives the recipient multiple opportunities and incentives to click on links.

Goals/ Conversions

One of the best ways to measure the results of your email marketing efforts is to establish goals that you want your subscribers to achieve. This can be done using a tool such as Google Analytics and can include events such as making a purchase or downloading a specified item.

Measuring goals and conversion rates will accurately tell you if your email marketing campaign is achieving the results you want.

Share Rate

A high share rate shows that your subscribers find your email useful or entertaining and wish to share it with their network. Not only does this show that you are on the right path with your content, it also increases the amount of people that will see your marketing messages.

Revenue

Many businesses use their email marketing campaigns as a way of generating more leads and increasing revenue. Tracking the revenue resulting directly from a particular email campaign over a set period of time is a brilliant way of establishing an accurate ROI.

Hard Bounce Rates

A hard bounce rate refers to an undelivered email that has failed due to a fault with the recipient’s email address. Marketers need to practice good ‘list hygiene’ and regularly remove bad email addresses to avoid high bounce rates.

Unsubscribe Rates

Much like monitoring the open rate of an email campaign, looking at the unsubscribe rate can give a broad overview of subscriber behaviour. Keeping track of the rise and fall of unsubscribe rates can tell you how your subscribers are reacting to your content.

Complaint Rate

If you find you are getting a lot of unsubscribes and complaints then perhaps people are being misled when they sign up for your emails and are not receiving the information they wanted. Review the ways in which you are building your database and see if you can refine it to target only a relevant audience.

Establishing consistent contact with your database through regular email campaigns should be an important part of your digital marketing strategy. What do you find is the best metric to measure your email campaign success rate? Tweet us @evonomie and let us know!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Wearable Technology



A market that is continually evolving, the wearable technology industry has seen much recent advancement. Here are some of the latest wearable technology developments; 


iRing

Developed by IK Multimedia the iRing is a gesture based wearable device that allows the user to create different musical sounds. The touch-less MIDI controller and associated music app uses the front facing camera on mobile ios devices and an advanced algorithm to detect the dot patterns of the wearable device. These patterns are then paired with various functions on the mobile device being used.
Whilst the iRing has a lot of potential, it is still limited in its usage unlike some of the more powerful gesture based technology on the market such as Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Kinect. Users need to be no more than five feet away from the camera and their movements must also be very defined and rigid for the iRing to pick them up correctly.


Garmin Approach S6

Wearable technology for the golf market, car mapping system makers Garmin have developed the Approach S6. Designed for use by advanced golfers and beginners alike, the analytical watch is aimed at helping golfers improve their golf swings and keep track of their progress.
With a colour touchscreen interface, the Approach S6 has an inbuilt audio metronome designed to help golfers time their swings and an accelerometer for them to measure the strength of each swing. In addition, the watch is able to measure the tempo of a golfers swing by measuring the strength of their upswings and downswings and can offer tempo training to optimize swings.
Acting as a digital caddy, the Approach S6 also offers advice on the percentage of strength to use when hitting the ball with different clubs and includes colour graphics of over 30,000 golf courses internationally.
The accompanying app, Garmin connect allows users of the smart watch to keep track of their statistics and progress.


The Bionic Pancreas

A project developed by researches from Boston University and Massachusetts General Hospital, the bionic pancreas brings wearable technology into the medical field. Designed to aid patients with Type 1 diabetes, the bionic pancreas offers a better form of glycaemic control.
Consisting of an app and cradle designed for an iphone 4s and a G4 platinum continuous glucose monitor which communicates with a sensor worn by the user, the bionic pancreas uses algorithms to wirelessly control subcutaneous injections of insulin and glycogen. This is a more accurate way of emulating the physiological function of the pancreas than any existing forms of treatment currently available.
The blood glucose levels are streamed from a sensor worn by the user into the iphone receiver which then passes the data onto the app. The specifically designed algorithm then makes a therapeutic decision to release a dose of either insulin (which lowers blood glucose levels) or glycogen (which raises blood glucose levels) into the body. It is hoped that this type of medical technology will help users to live a more normal life and regulate their medicine more easily.

 

Glance

Developed by Kickstarter company Kiwi Wearables, Glance is a wristband prototype that can transform a regular watch into a smart watch. The device alerts the wearer of incoming calls or text messages and can even be used as a remote control for smart televisions. Using a 3D motion detector to measure movement, the Glance device can also be used to track the number of steps taken in a day or the amount of miles biked.
Battery life is an issue for many wearable devices but the makers of the Glance device have solved this problem, giving it a battery life of up to a week without the need for charging. When the device does need charging, it uses a simple USB port like many other smart devices.
The makers of the glance wearable device are currently trying to crowd fund the project and are looking to raise $150,000 to begin production.

The wearable technology market is ever expanding with exciting designs being revealed regularly. Have we missed any? Tweet us @Evonomie and let us know!

Monday, 14 July 2014

How to use Hashtags as part of your marketing strategy



Originally adopted by Twitter users as a way of categorizing messages, placing the hashtag symbol before a relevant keyword or phrase turns them into searchable links that bring together all posts containing the marked word or phrase.



Hashtags can be used to cover any subject from serious events such as government elections to popular culture and even celebrity scandals. After footage of Solange Knowles attacking sister BeyoncĂ©’s husband, rapper Jay Z trending hashtags included #WhatJayZSaidToSolange with users adopting it to tweet speculation and jokes about the incident.

Hashtags are most effective when used to set the tone and voice of a post and work as a way of adding humorous asides and sarcasm or to give context to a post. For example, ‘Let the weekend begin! #TGIF’ or ‘Just spilt my second drink! #Fail’

Hashtags are also very effective when used as part of a social media marketing strategy and are a brilliant way of promoting products or campaigns. An excellent example of this was Domino’s #LetsDoLunch campaign which ran from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on March 5. The pizza chain vowed to cut the price of its Pepperoni Passion Pizza by one pence every time someone tweeted the hashtag #letsdolunch. After 85,000 tweets, the price dropped from £15.99 to £7.74, and Domino's offered that price from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day. Here are some more hashtags campaigns that worked really well.

Brands can also use relevant hashtags to ensure their posts and marketing materials are positioned in front of the correct audience. By using popular and trending hashtags, businesses can join in conversations and interact with their target audience. Hashtags.org is a website that monitors trending hashtags in real time, a useful tool for business marketers.

Supported Platforms


Twitter
As Twitter was the first platform to use hashtags, the features offered are more advanced than other social networks. The main purpose of hashtags on Twitter is to separate and sort tweets into different categories. A ‘trends’ sidebar also suggests hashtags that the user may be interested in based on their previous tweets.
Hashtags on Twitter can also be filtered using various options. By selecting ‘top’, users can see the most recent and popular tweets that feature the selected hashtag, ‘All’ will show every tweet that has used the hashtag displaying results in real time and ‘People you follow’ will show only tweets using the hashtag from people you follow.

Facebook
Hashtags are a recent addition to Facebook, becoming available in June 2013. A more simplified version of the Twitter hashtag, clicking onto a Facebook hashtag will display all posts containing that hashtag with no filtering options.

Instagram
Hashtags on Instagram are used to help users find posts and discover new accounts to follow. When used correctly, relevant hashtags will categorise your pictures with similar posts that have used the same hashtag.

Google+
Google+ uses hashtags in the same way as other platforms, to sort and categorise posts. Google+ is unique in that it will show posts containing the original hashtag and also suggest similar hashtags and keywords that may be relevant to the user.

Google+ also has the option to search on Facebook and Twitter for posts containing the selected hashtag.

Tumblr
Posts on Tumblr have a specific ‘tag’ section designed to organise the posts by topic. These will only work when included in the correct section; a hashtag included in the main body of the post will not become a searchable link.

Pinterest
Pinterest uses hashtags to mark content and make it searchable. Clicking on a hashtag on Pinterest will bring up all posts containing that specific hashtag and pins that have the same keyword or phrase in the description.

Do you use hashtags as part of your digital marketing strategy? Tweet us @Evonomie and tell us how!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

IFTTT for social media automation




IFTTT, an acronym for If This Then That, is an automation tool that connects two services together so that an action from one service triggers an action on another. For example, an email could trigger a tweet or changing the profile picture on a Facebook page could automatically change the profile picture of a Twitter page too. The creators of the IFTTT tool say it is designed to enableeveryone to take creative control over the flow of information."


A brilliant way of saving time and smarter working, IFTTT currently connects with over 100 channels and is continuously adding more to its repertoire. Popular social media channels currently covered include; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Instagram, Tumblr and Youtube. IFTTT also released its first mobile app in 2013, making automation between channels even easier to control and tweak.

IFTTT allows its users to browse a gallery of popular ‘recipes’ to trigger different actions or they can create their own from scratch. Each channel has its very own landing page explaining all of the different triggers and actions that can be used for that service. For example, the Facebook landing page informs users that they are able to automatically share photos to Facebook if they are placed in a specific photo album, tweet Facebook status updates or save any photo posted on instagram with a specific hashtag into a purposely created Facebook photo album and lots more.

Outside of social media IFTTT also connects with a variety of other applications and hardware such as; Evernote, Gmail, Google calendar, sound cloud and smart light bulbs or TV’s. In this context recipes can be used for triggering smart light bulbs or TV’s to turn on when a user walks into a room.

There are many blog posts and guides listing some of the best IFTTT recipes, some of our favourites include;