An excellent way to start a relationship with our clients is using email marketing strategies, which allow us to personalize, automate and optimize the messages we send. However, when using this type of strategy it is very important to take into account not only the content of the message, but also the design and other elements that significantly influence its effectiveness.
One of the critical moments of an entrepreneur comes when one has to choose the business model to follow or which are the related business models to be connected to produce more profit. Whether you have an Internet Business or not, today you have the opportunity to increase your visibility with an Information Business.
I have been doing this for over 10 years during which I not only developed 4 Business Online based on my experiences and passions, but I also created more than 50 niche business with my partners and my clients.
Even today, people are so confused about the topic “Information Business” and today I want to solve this problem once and for all and give you the information you need to understand if it can be a viable route for you.
How to open an online store? Which eCommerce platform to choose?
Opening an online store is an essential activity for any company. The incessant growth of the e-commerce phenomenon, in fact, knows no limits with a net + 15% in the last two years.
The data recorded by the latest Nielsen research leaves no room for doubt: consumers prefer online purchases. 95% of users active on the web have made at least one online purchase. The eCommerce market playing in billions. What are the reasons for this development? Simple: ultra-fast shipments, 24-hour purchase options and excellent payment authentication systems. Opening an online store is therefore an inevitable step for any successful business.
But how can you open an online store? There are two different methods that require different financial resources …
Create an eCommerce customized with a programmer or a web agency
It is possible to create a totally personalized e-commerce site designed specifically for your business, but it is also very expensive. To process an eCommerce of this type it is, in fact, necessary to contact a computer programmer or a web-agency. These professionals will be able to create tailor-made web pages that perfectly meet the merchant’s requests. A job of this type undoubtedly requires a considerable economic expenditure. Established company brands or already well-positioned online businesses can afford to choose this type of route without any problem. Smaller and more novice companies with the online world need other cheaper solutions.
Choose an open source online platform
For small businesses or companies still outside the eCommerce world, the ideal solution to open an online store is simple: use an open source platform. In fact, there are many online platforms with free registration used to create online stores. These softwares allow you to design eCommerce immediately from operational in a simple and intuitive way, without the need to contact third parties. The unique feature of open source platforms is the public use license. In other words, anyone who downloads this software will have the opportunity to view and modify the source code in a free and simplified way. The open source platform allows the merchant to independently create his eCommerce, most of the time with the help of a qualified support team 24/7.
Open an online store: The 10 best open source eCommerce platforms
Open source platforms are the cheapest and easiest way to start an eCommerce store, let’s find out which are the top 10 online:
1) WooCommerce – WordPress
WooCommerce is one of the most used eCommerce platforms and is a plug-in of the well-known WordPress CMS. To install WooCommerce it will therefore be necessary to use WordPress and use the appropriate free plug-in. This platform is great for small / medium sized businesses. The use is intuitive and simple: in about half a day it is possible to learn to use the software in a discreet and complete way. WooCommerce is also excellent for SEO purposes. With the “Yoast” feature of WordPress, it will be possible to optimize all the contents of your site for search engines. The extreme simplicity of WooCommerce could constitute a limit: the graphics and templates are not very elaborate. A unique feature of this software is the ability to have a blog integrated into your online store. WooCommerce is able to easily connect to all payment gateways. PayPal is provided as the primary payment method while all payments are accepted e-wallets such as Amazon Pay or Apple Pay. A final winning feature of this platform is the enormous availability of the support team. Opening an online store with WooCommerce is therefore recommended for novice businesses with e-commerce that are already using WordPress.
Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms on the market: there are currently around 200,000 online stores that use Shopify. This platform is simple and intuitive, excellent for novice stores. Shopify provides many free templates with excellent graphics and a wide range of customization options. Shopify technical assistance is among the most prepared in the sector and is available 24 hours a day with email and direct chat. The platform has several plug-ins – free or paid – that can optimize your online store. Through plug-ins it is possible to create a dual language store, optimize the quality of the images and still manage the contents from a SEO perspective. Another particularly positive feature of Shopify concerns the level of security. All check-out and payment procedures are previously set according to high standards of online security. Shopify is undoubtedly one of the most recommended solutions for every reality that faces the ecommerce world.
Magento is the most complete open source platform available online, but not the simplest. A detailed and sometimes complex software, able to professionally manage any eCommerce. If Shopify or WooCommerce are limited platforms, but easy to use, Magento is the exact opposite. This platform works like a CMS and has countless advanced features. Magento is perfectly integrated with eBay and PayPal and has its own multilingual system, perfect for franchised stores. Magento is a mobile friendly platform able to manage catalog, warehouse and sales process in an optimal way also from mobile. With Magento you can manage orders quickly and easily, create automated reports, use effective marketing tools and share promotions and coupons with your customers. This is a platform suitable for already “expert” web and eCommerce personalities: its use is not immediate and often may require the help of an IT expert. Magento is therefore recommended for established companies that want to optimize their online store with professional features. For small shops that interact for the first time with the online world, simpler and more intuitive platforms are recommended.
Squarespace is a simple and intuitive open source platform, known for its potential in terms of design. This is an economic software in terms of hosting, but it has less functionality than the already mentioned Shopify and Magento. Just like the other platforms, Squarespace is also mobile friendly and responsive. The strong point of this eCommerce software is undoubtedly the graphics. The editing and design potential of Squarespace is not matched by any other open source resource. For online stores that rely heavily on visual impression, this platform is the right one! If the priorities are functionality and practicality, Shopify or WooCommerce are the best choices.
PrestaShop is the young French platform that is developing a significant increase in membership in the last two years. There are about 150,000 online stores that currently use this software. Using PrestaShop is intuitive and simple compared to the more complex Magento with a user-friendly interface. With this software it will be possible to automate the management of your online store, customize it and connect it to the best Market Place. Among the most developed features of PrestaShop are sales management, recovery of abandoned carts and automatic newsletter planning. Another positive feature of PrestaShop is the presence of countless diametrically different themes and templates. Even the installation of plug-ins is simple and intuitive with PrestaShop. This platform, like Shopify, can be the ideal solution for small companies wishing to open an online store. For more established and established entities, more elaborate platforms such as Magento are recommended.
BigCommerce is another popular platform for selling online. This program is very similar to Shopify for functionality and plug-ins, although many users prefer the latter in terms of performance. Over 50 thousand online stores are active on BigCommerce. The platform offers over 65 different payment methods and more than 100 different graphic templates. BigCommerce is mobile friendly, but, unlike other software such as Magento, it is not multilingual. This solution is also ideal for small and novice realities with the eCommerce world.
OpenCart is one of the youngest open source platforms in the online market. Opening an online store with OpenCart is quick and easy. Just like Shopify and BigCommerce, also OpenCart is particularly intuitive with regards to use. The features are not different from those of other platforms: list of unlimited products, enabling different payment gateways and SEO optimization for search engines. The OpenCart templates are simple and functional and there will be no need for special additional plug-ins to create a unique site. Even OpenCart, like most open source platforms, provides a single interface to manage multiple online stores. Using this platform users will be able to enable comments. OpenCart,
Volusion is a platform of American origin and is one of the best software on the market to open an online store. Firstly it is simple to use, has an excellent security system and is perfectly integrated with the best Amazon and eBay Market Place. Volusion is mobile friendly and has more than 80 completely free templates to create a unique and innovative online store. This platform is perfectly connected to the Facebook social network. Another particularly positive feature of this platform is customer service: telephone and online assistance available 24 hours a day. Volusion is a platform suitable both for novice realities and for already established online stores.
Opening an online store with osCommerce is simple: it is famous for its ease of use and is one of the first eCommerce solutions launched on the market. This online cart is very similar to WordPress. It is intuitive and has multiple plug-ins to improve its performance. Unfortunately osCommerce is not updated enough to keep up with the times and this makes its features often less effective than those of other platforms. The most well-known Shopify and PrestaShop are therefore preferred to osCommerce, similar in setting, but more modern in terms of functionality. However, this software remains a valid open source solution for start-ups and small businesses.
JigoShop is a platform very similar to WooCommerce in that it is aimed at sites that use WordPress. Just like WooCommerce it is simple to install and completely free. JigoShop is also very easy to use and allows you to manage every aspect of the eCommerce website from a single dashboard. JigoShop offers the customer the possibility to test all the free templates in demo version, to check which one is actually the best for their products. Unlike Shopify or WooCommerce, however, this platform does not have a customer service via chat or by phone. All information requested by customers can only be found within the forum or community. JigoShop and WooCommerce are an excellent ecommerce solution for WordPress users.
Do you want to grow your business and improve your business results?
It is now known … digital marketers have well understood the fact that the Internet is the most powerful means to sell, promote and advertise any product or brand. Traditional media have been easily overcome. The present is already evolving. The future goes towards augmented reality and virtual reality.
Therefore traditional advertising media, such as radio and television, may soon know their definitive sunset.
Google my business: The winning web marketing strategy for SMEs …
In less than 40% of small businesses have their own online space, investments to structure an effective website require considerable efforts: Google my business is the free tool that opens the doors of the online market to SMEs and businesses locals.
The data emerged from the research carried out by experts in Local Search Marketing, leave no room for doubt: due to the scarce resources and high costs, the number of commercial realities that invest their resources in the creating your own web page. Google therefore provides an innovative and totally free tool: Google My Business.
What is Google my business?
Google my business (GMB) is a tool made available by Google for business activities: thanks to this feature any type of physical business gets the chance to be present on the search engine and on Google Maps with its own detailed card.
Google my business requires the activities to share constantly updated information with the search engine regarding various topics of interest to users: images of the activity, geographical position, contacts and opening and closing times.
An analysis by Ipsos Study states that 41% of online searches aimed at physical companies involve, when possible, a user’s on-site visit: a company that wishes to promote itself locally and intrigue new potential customers cannot ignore the potential of ‘innovative Google tool as it provides fundamental tools to assert its identity on the web.
My business, however, is not aimed solely at the local market: the latest innovation introduced by GMB to lead small businesses in the online world is, in fact, the possibility of creating their own website at no cost. The potential web page has a customized domain, is optimized for mobile devices, has no menus and reports information retrieved directly from the my business card.
Google My Business: Features
What can you do with Google my business?
1) Insert and modify personal and multimedia contents related to the company from a single page: all the information entered in the descriptions of GMB are updated in real time on the search engine;
2) Know the users’ comments about the activity, respond in real time to consumer questions and monitor reviews and feedback;
3) Through the use of personalized statistics and interaction with AdWords Express, it is possible to identify the communication channels through which users come into contact with the activity;
4) View in real time the number of clicks on the web page, on the multimedia contents and on the contacts;
5) Manage all information and updates using a single specific application available for any iOS or Android operating system.
Google My Business: Create a free website
To develop a website with GMB you must be registered on the Google my business page. Using the Google tool is very simple: just go to the specific my business page, enter the personal information of the activity and add multimedia content to improve the company’s web reputation.
After registering on GMB you can design your own website at no cost, let’s see how …
1) The first activity to be carried out to activate the Google my business web site is to access your GMB panel, click on “Manage site” and then on the “Website”, in this way Google can automatically generate the company site;
2) After accessing the website it is possible to start the customization activity. The first element to change is the cover: it is necessary to choose a cover image that coherently represents one’s own activity. The selected photo should be uniform and free of text as it is not only the cover on the page, but also the background for presenting some company information;
3) Google my business provides the user with ten different themes: it is essential to identify a template with characters and colors that well represent the company;
4) The choice of the theme enables the possibility of modifying the cover title: the title must be short, intuitive, and consistent with the activity. The my business website is automatically generated by the search engine based on the information found in the information sheets: the present title should therefore already be optimized with the keywords previously selected;
5) Another essential element for a performing website is the description: GMB provides users with a description of about 140 characters in which to describe their services and enter the reference keywords;
6) Google my business provides a further possibility of customizing the template by inserting a summary title, in other words a short text of about 40 characters with the aim of communicating a feature that distinguishes its business thus diversifying it from potential competitors;
7) A further indispensable feature for an efficient website is the description of the activity: in this section GMB does not insert character limits and allows the company not only to specify information of an informative and commercial nature, but also to insert links and keywords aimed to a good positioning of the page on the search engines;
8) After having taken care of the informative aspect of the website modifying the textual contents, it is necessary to take care of the multimedia functions by inserting images and photos depicting the activity and its services. All the photographs included in the web page are automatically transferred to the my business tab;
9) The last activity to be carried out to reach significant online goals is related to the website settings: in this phase it is possible to define the URL of the online page. Google my business autonomously generates domains ending with “.business.site”, the modifiable part is therefore the one before the point in which it is recommended to enter the name of the activity and the relative reference keywords.
Google My Business: What are the advantages?
Google my business optimizes various specific activities aimed at acquiring new potential customers, see which ones …
1) Improve the online visualization of the company
GMB allows users to easily trace a local business: through the information shared on my business information sheets, in fact, companies can become visible on search engines and on Google Maps;
2) Affects the positioning SEO
My business allows companies to positively position themselves in the Google ranking: a company with a business profile can easily be traced thanks to a local SEO automatically created by Google;
3) Optimize the corporate web reputation
Creating a GMB card allows users to leave feedback about the company activity: reviews are fundamental for the company as they optimize its web reputation and online image;
4) Increase interactions with users
Feedback and reviews are an important tool for identifying points of contact with their customers: a company that is present and attentive to customer care has greater chances of success online;
5) Monitor the performance of the business
Google my business provides the company with accurate statistics on user behavior: every type of interaction between customer and activity is recorded by GMB, thus allowing the optimization of business communication strategies;
6) Use a responsive template
My business card is “mobile friendly”: all information is displayed in an optimized way, even on a smartphone or tablet, giving an image of the company that is always positive;
7) It offers the possibility of creating a constantly updated website and with a personalized domain
Google my business allows the commercial reality to create a website at no cost, with a personalized domain and continuously updated in real time based on the information contained in the GMB sheets.
Do you want to grow your business and improve your business results?
On any Sunday you find yourself walking in a shopping center: you buy something, using one of the many loyalty cards for the discount of the month, you connect to WiFi, or wander through various shops not having a clear idea of what that we would like to buy. Willy-nilly, only with our disinterested passage, we can generate a large amount of data that can be reworked and used in a variety of ways by that mall. This logic can be easily applied in companies that have the resources to analyze and interpret collected data, also called “Big Data”.
What are Big Data?
Now we hear about it more often, but maybe you do not have a clear idea of what they are in the specific. The same term can be misleading as instinctively we associate it with a great deal of data, not knowing that our intuition is only partially true.
To better understand we can say that every day we produce a huge amount of information through smartphones, credit cards, sensors installed almost everywhere, and much more; this mass can be identified with the name of Big Data only after having been properly processed and analyzed to find objective comparisons.
Basically, what matters is the algorithm used to manage the amount of information collected and the many variables considered in a short time and with few resources compared to the past. The result is a more visual approach that suggests models of interpretation and new patterns.
A welcome feature is the fact that they are usable not only in the IT industry, but also in completely different markets like healthcare, retail, manufacturing, finance and many others. Practically this approach is functional for any sector foreseeing marketing actions.
Big Data is an ally for agile marketing
Among the billions of terabytes collected, there is a treasure of marketing data that companies need to analyze and understand to know what is relevant and what is not and how to use it to achieve better business results.
It’s not an easy job considering that according to some surveys, companies waste 40% of their marketing budget due to the inadequate use of big data. Big data is naturally all-encompassing and can be difficult to manage or use effectively.
They include structured and unstructured data that comes from many devices. With this wide range of information available, the company’s marketers need to focus on high-impact information – the data that can drive the company’s strategic decisions.
The only way marketing managers can exploit the right form of data is to know what is relevant and what is not. This helps a company to differentiate itself from the competition.
How to understand which data are relevant to marketing? Here are some suggestions …
Use goals to focus
Better analysis of marketing data can reduce ROI from 10% to 20%. But to take full advantage of this, you will need to determine the most relevant data for your business goals and then focus accordingly. About 50% of the companies interviewed by McKinsey showed that companies are struggling to know the effects of digital marketing on profits and sales. There seemed to be a chasm between the information available and the sellers’ ability to link the data with the results. For example, a retailer who wants to increase conversions on one of the web pages should take a close look at the keywords that help drive traffic and then link the metrics with targeted results, such as revenue and conversions. Using this intelligence, the retailer can design a plan that regulates the keywords to provide a positive impact.
Precision of priorities
Regardless of the relevance of data, it is only useful when these are reliable. If certain specific types of data do not fall within core competencies, but are meaningful to the business, do not ignore them. Rather, make sure that you consider alternatives that can help fill in information gaps. When possible, leverage partnerships to obtain reliable sources that provide accurate data. For example, you can collaborate with a company that has close relationships with Twitter when examining social network information.
The multidimensional and immense nature of Big Data becomes “digestible” by the company and useful only when you look at the specific instead of considering the entire universe of existing information. Rather than checking all the information it is better to group them so as to have smaller and more homogeneous areas. For example, when you see a chance to improve the performance of your mobile devices, take a look at the sharing you have and compare it with that of your strongest competitor. Analysts can use big data to generate information about customer experiences and behavior. This information can then be used to better understand customers, allowing them to meet their needs more effectively.
How useful Big Data can be?
You can focus on the relationship of the Brand with the customer on digital channels, a challenge that becomes more complex day by day due to mobile and IoT. To cope with this difficulty, companies need to be flexible, have an agile marketing and develop more and more skills.
Many of these new skills, which include the ability to select and interpret the collected data for strategic purposes, are still missing in many companies. According to a research by the Boston Consulting Group, 60% of companies underutilize data or do not collect them systematically as they would like.
A rather discouraging fact because the applications of an analysis of this kind are numerous and potentially useful for improving performance and ROI.
For example, Data Driven Marketing investigates among the innumerable information on the customers gathered – demographic, behavioral data, related to the relationship with the company – to identify the best strategies to acquire, maintain or regain customers. In this case, the magic word is customization: being able to interpret the needs of the consumer in more depth allows us to offer goods / services that are more suited to their satisfaction.
Through Data Mining it is possible to identify unusual and potentially useful correlations. For example, according to some research evaluating the financial risk of a person, it has been noticed that the subjects who buy furniture felts can be among the best clients for the lenders, because they are less likely to contract debts.
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Like it or not: for a simple “communication” presence through a Fan Page, to manage a community with Facebook Groups or to try to grab some extra leads or sales by sponsoring posts or Facebook Ads.
On the effective management of a Fan page on Facebook, however, you read everything online and the opposite of everything: anyone has his own opinion and that’s Okay, but you often meet 3 great myths that I think you need to refute before possible.
Let’s see …
More budget in Facebook Ads, better performance -> Not necessarily
A greater amount of resources to invest in Social can translate into more budgets to invest in Facebook Ads.
An increase in the published announcements or the adv budget does not necessarily lead to a proportional increase in the results, in fact usually there is a worsening of key values such as the cost per conversion (of contacts, sales, etc). Also testing various types of advertisements – virtuous action in terms of performance study, during testing – can only lower the average yield of the most performing ads.
Resources must be conscientiously invested; certainly it is good to think in terms of …
- Raising the average quality of the published contents (with consequent improvement of both the organic results and the results from Adv). The higher quality can also pass through a reduced frequency of publication.
- Budget optimization through different types of campaigns; this means going out of Facebook and testing other types of promotions, from LinkedIn to Twitter Ads, even though the never-defunct DEM. Or maybe it means totally changing the type of actions, with a view to integrated Marketing Mix (perhaps with campaigns to influencers or focusing more on SEO Copywriting … There are not only social).
Sponsor any post to give it visibility
By staying inside Facebook Ads, a little advice below can be the following. First observe how the post is going in terms of natural reach; if you get some results, then it can mean that you like your target and then you can decide to ride the wave, sponsoring it.
On the contrary, given the poor visibility of natural posts, we tend to sponsor any post or almost all (I mean: who has budget to invest). Instead the most sensible procedure could be just the opposite, as mentioned above, that is to sponsor only the posts that actually find a user’s interest, in addition to the central posts from the commercial point of view. To see if a post gets natural results, you may have to wait even a day or two.
In any case, keep an eye on your Facebook Insights during the campaigns: when the scope of the sponsored post begins to fall, it may be appropriate to stop the sponsorship, to avoid filling up (spending!) of off-target users.
The more fans I have, the more visibility I get … sure?
The vast majority of fan pages find that as the absolute number of fans grows, the number of fans who see / interact with posts decreases more and more.
The number of fans that will interact with the posts of a page will therefore be quite low compared to the total number of fans, ergo the percentage of these users who interact with the posts will tend to lower more as the number of page fans grows.
The greater the number of fans in absolute terms, the lesser the percentage of fans that interact will be.
In addition to this, user news feeds tend to show more and more content published by family and friends (due to updates to the Facebook algorithm that took place between 2017 and 2018), so the fan pages will be getting harder and harder.
This leads us to consider an aspect, often underestimated: the advertising campaigns for the increase of fans are substantially useless and sometimes even potentially harmful.
I do not go into the details of the Facebook algorithm; a super depth was done a few months ago by Hubspot.
What factors have made local promotion on search engines important? If you scroll down in the next few minutes you will understand the importance of positioning yourself on local search.
Why local search on Google is important?
A mix of 3 factors has contributed over the years to increase the importance of Local Search and, in particular, the local promotion on search engines referring to all commercial activities with one or more physical locations. Here are these three factors in details …
1. Launch of Universal Search
When Google launched Universal Search in 2007, it laid the groundwork for the exponential growth of Local SEO in the broader sense of Local Search. Through Universal Search, Google returns, on a single page, search results from various sub-groups, or vertical engines (web, news, videos, maps, images, blogs, …).
From that moment on, the geolocalized results (which appear in most cases in a box in the form of a listing) have been perfectly integrated into the SERPs and returned for local search queries, for example. “Hotel + location”.
These results will be taken from a structured database of commercial activities in which, therefore, it is important to be present in order to appear following a given query. In this way the SEOs were seen to jump over the maps and started to study them and give us the right weight.
2. Mobile Development
The advent and the widespread use of modern devices (smartphones, tablets …) makes the presence of a company on maps unavoidable. At any time, a user who searches for a given activity will have the possibility to immediately find his/her “localization” and can easily reach it, taking advantage of the various existing navigation applications.
According to a Google search in USA, “over 90% of smartphone owners have done at least once a local search” and subsequently also performed a specific action, such as calling or going to the store. On smartphones among other things, local searches are not only done with browsers, but also with dedicated apps.
3. The Google Algorithm Update
“Local promotion strengthened in February 2012 when Google launched the local algorithm Update.”
With the new algorithm Google provides local results also for general search queries, which is without the indication of the location, based on the location, detected automatically via the IP address and, in the case of mobile results, through the GPS.
This is the case of “dentist” or “restaurant” research. In November 2013 there was another update with the result of a further strengthening of the effects of the previous local algorithm Update and practically the “local” results dominate some SERPs (Search Engine Result Page).
For example, if a user searches from New York for the “restaurant” query, without explicitly specifying the location, by virtue of the algorithm update, Google will return geolocalized results, i.e. all referred to the city of New York.
These updates have produced a lot of side effects, for example they make the ranking reports very useless for some keywords, as the results change depending on where you are!
To place generic keywords with strong local value, you must have a local physical presence wherever you want to appear or at least talk about local businesses.
The benefits of local search marketing for a business
I had already talked about what is meant by Local Search (local results) and how important it is for a business. Today I want to go deeper to try to understand what the real benefits of positioning in the local market can be.
A great visibility in local positioning
Recent official Google data are clear, 30% of smartphone searches are local. What does all this translate into? The answer is simple, when a person needs something, be it a product or a service, he/she searches for it nearby, relying on a local search and consequently a local result.
I could say that the first big advantage of being present in that particular type of results, then among the results of local type such as Local Pack, Google Maps, etc. is to ensure great visibility.
A greater number of contacts
Another very interesting aspect, highlighted by a Google study, is that this type of users often converts immediately, even within a day. This means that being visible among the local results guarantees you a greater number of contacts, whether it be phone calls or in-store visits, in a period that is relatively short.
The advantages become even more evident in the catering sector because, from another Google survey, it is highlighted that the people who decide to go to a place use their smartphone and, in particular, the applications of Online Maps both to decide the local where to go, both to get information on driving directions. In this case, users are particularly “hot” wanting to satisfy a need, that of looking for a restaurant, almost in real time.
In a period of deep economic crisis, digital marketing activities can represent a lifeline, a way to stay afloat and take advantage of the competition. And in the case of activities with physical locations, such as restaurants, hotels, shops, activities that provide a service in a specific area (e.g. plumbers, etc.), local search marketing is an essential activity.
Very often, what asset owners underestimate is that their business may already be present online among local results (therefore primarily on Google Maps) even without ever having to worry about creating and verifying the Google My Business card relating to their activity.
Why does this happen? Because Google automatically creates local listings based on the data it finds on the web and often comes from user-generated content.
What does this mean? It’s very simple … can happen to be online (without even knowing it) with a card that shows wrong opening hours, wrong address, wrong phone number, even with a phrase “permanently closed” even when it is not true.
The consequences can be disastrous because in all these cases your potential clients will look for you, they will not find you and they will go elsewhere. Verifying or claiming a Google My Business card gives you another big advantage.
Manage, as far as possible, your online presence with correct and updated data. The management of the local card also allows you to respond directly to user reviews, paying particular attention to your brand awareness and brand protection.
Who needs to invest in local promotion?
Geolocalization basically serves all activities (companies, public bodies, accommodation facilities, sales points …) with one or more physical sites “open to the public” and therefore potentially suitable for researching local purposes of various types …
- When the user searches for a specific activity (that is the one!): in this case the optimization of his/her presence at the local level improves the user experience that finds all the useful information to reach (even physically) what he/she sought.
- To find a business (not one in particular!) in a given area: in cases where local search is used by the user as a means of exploration. This is the case of research such as “hydraulic in New York” or “Restaurant in Toronto”. Being visible among the local results, following topical queries, means giving your business a great visibility that can turn into a concrete and direct “contact”.
Obviously, some product categories derive more benefits from local promotion than others. For example, for accommodation facilities, for restaurants, for pharmacies, for the various assistance and rescue services of all kinds (but there are also other categories), a good presence in the local search area is vital.
In these cases you can even get half of the traffic coming from local search! In the case of accommodation / recreation we can perhaps speak of “local” categories par excellence. This type of category has a strong feature that is to draw on a vast pool of users and above all a type of highly “profiled” users, accustomed to carrying out local searches and using geolocation using mainly mobile devices.
In some cases, local search is used with the Brand. For example, I’m a big fashion house, I have hundreds of stores and an ecommerce, and maybe some users use ecommerce as a catalog and then want to buy in the physical store. Here it is essential to be present correctly both on the maps and with an optimized store locator. Finally, keep in mind that the more we address non-permanent people, the more useful is the support of local search tools for our business.
I try to explain myself better: those who have been living in the same area for a long time, know a good part of the shops and so they can get there even without maps. Instead the tourist, who has just moved, who is passing through, needs these tools to get acquainted offline! Usually people use maps more in large cities and less in small ones.
How to appear between local searches?
What are the strategies, methods and resources to use to be able to position yourself on google locally? In order to appear among local searches, a business must invest in appropriate promotion strategies that require, a priori, targeted optimization interventions that require qualified skills.
How to position yourself between local searches on Google?
As a basis you need to claim your business card on map systems, first of all on Google Business, without neglecting other systems such as Yelp.
At this stage it is necessary to pay the maximum attention:
- To the presence of local cards already present, automatically created by Google on the basis of data collected from other local portals
- The correctness of the data (NAP: name, address and phone) indicated on the form
- The exact position of the PIN Locator
- To the choice of the most appropriate category
- The exact compilation of the Local card in its entirety.
Then you need to perform a series of On Page optimizations on the site that must include:
- The optimization of Meta Tag Title and Description
- The correct insertion of the address and of the telephone number, perhaps using microdata, in particular Schema.org Local Business through which Google, and the other search engines, include in an even more detailed way the information present on your site
- Optimization of local side content. If there are so many sites, the architecture of the website is crucial to fully exploit the Venice Update.
Do not forget also the geolocated sitemap or the KML file that helps a lot to understand the places where we are.
Finally, there are all the Off Page factors, which include, in addition to classic SEO factors, especially quotes and reviews.
Regarding the classic SEO factors, there are some that contribute to a greater extent to local promotion such as:
- Domain authority of the website
- Diversity of incoming links to the domain
- Quality / Authority of links entering the domain
- Amount of incoming links to the domain
The quotes are all the mentions related to your business (especially those bearing name, address, etc.) on the web, even if there is, within the quote, the presence of a direct link to your site or your local card.
When Google scans the results of the web, it stores all the info that in some way leads to the same activity regardless of the source (citations can be published on press release sites, social networks, local portals, etc.) considering them as an element for the purposes of the local ranking, provided that all data are homogeneous and consistent with each other.
If the citations scattered on the web and, all attributable to the same business, present incorrect, incongruous or inconsistent information, not only is the ranking at local level compromised (it does not appear among the local results) but it may even risk its own is somehow “penalized” (no longer appears on the maps or does not appear in the Local Knowledge), or that appears in the wrong way generating confusion in users (wrong location of the Pin Locator, incorrect address, etc.).
Not to be missed, as already mentioned, the reviews intended not only as those published by users directly on the local business card, but also all those published on other online portals (for example, TripAdvisor, Booking and similar).
If used well, email marketing remains an effective tool for most businesses: 8 guidelines to develop a perfect email marketing strategy.
Despite the growing predominance of Social Media, email marketing remains one of the most effective marketing tools for the store as well as for most businesses. It is in fact an excellent channel to keep in touch with customers, but how can it be used to increase sales? Here is a brief guide to find out how to do it.
We assume that each of your clients has at least one e-mail address. An e-mail account is, in general, like a diamond: forever. People can change house and physical address, can change phone number but, in principle, once it has an e-mail address continues to use it for life. It is therefore the most reliable contact system there is.
And it is the best way to create and maintain a relationship with the customer, because, if used in the right way, can help you in many aspects useful for your business …
- Increase Sales
- Optimize the conversions obtained from your contacts
- Reach new customers
- Increase the engagement of your brand
- Retain customers
8 tips to create a perfect email marketing strategy
Here are 8 tips to create a perfect email marketing strategy. The important thing, however, is to have a clear understanding of the marketing objectives that you want to achieve. At that point, you can start thinking about these key points …
1) Define the right tone of voice
What should be the perception of your business by customers? Serious and set, informal, authoritarian, captivating?
Emails allow you to set a tone that your customers can immediately recognize and identify. Pay close attention to this crucial aspect.
2) Get customers’ trust
People are careful about how and where they spend their money, and they need security and reliability. Each of us receives dozens of emails every day, but how many are read or even just open? You cannot allow your emails to end up in the spam folder, being first of all well aware of respecting privacy and not underestimating legal obligations …
- Entrust exclusively to an opt-in email marketing. Customers must decide to leave their data knowing how you will use them.
- Simplify the procedures for revoking the subscription to the mailing list. The customer has the right to change his mind. Show him that you are aware of it and that he respects his choice.
- Describe and explain in the clearest possible way what benefits the registration will entail. A discount coupon? An exclusive content? The possibility to access services or reserved offers?
- Give customers the opportunity to choose the type of information and the frequency with which they will receive it. They will decide according to their interests, and they will appreciate to have this possibility of control.
- Do not overdo the frequency of sending your emails. One thing is to create and maintain the right engagement, another is boring. Most users decide to unsubscribe from a newsletter due to too many emails received. Allowing customers to choose and possibly change the frequency of your communications will reduce in advance the possibility that they decide to permanently refuse your newsletter.
3) Offer interesting content
You must know the public you are addressing to, and be sure to send only and exclusively communications that may interest you. It may be useful to segment your mailing list, subdividing it into smaller and more targeted lists. In this way your newsletters will be more targeted and, therefore, more effective.
4) Integrate emails with other media
Email marketing is more effective if it is combined with other communication media, such as a regularly updated website – perhaps with a blog section – and your social media channels.
By coordinating the different platforms and using promotion systems (Facebook Ads, Google Ads …) you can increase the effectiveness of your email marketing.
5) Measure and optimize
Emails can be tracked and monitored, you can easily see if and when they are received and opened. Using tools like Google Analytics or Facebook Analytics you can understand how your customers react to your emails, what actions they perform and with which time. All this information will help you to detail and further optimize your strategy.
6) Track each email
It is essential to understand which emails work and which do not. Here are the metrics you need to use to understand it …
- Number of emails sent;
- Number of emails delivered;
- Percentage of emails delivered;
- Number of undelivered emails;
- Number of emails delivered but not yet open;
- Number of emails delivered and open;
- Percentage of open emails;
- Number of clicks obtained;
- Percentage of clicks obtained (CTR);
- Number of unsubscription requests;
7) Ask your customers for feedback
Asking your customers to give you their feedback will make them feel more involved and will help you optimize your marketing strategy.
8) Analyze the results and act accordingly
What are the audiences from which you get the best results? Which object of the email and which Call To Action were most successful? What are the times of the day and the days of the week when the public is more responsive? Change your strategy based on the answers to these questions to increase conversions of your business.
Once your strategy is defined and optimized, it’s time to take care of the practical details.
How to make sure that your emails are read
If you limit yourself to sending emails without thinking carefully about their content, you risk your audience ignoring them or canceling them without even opening them. Make sure you do not neglect any of these rules to send quality emails …
Personalize your newsletters
Your emails must include the exact name of each individual recipient. Any email marketing software allows you to do this. This will help you reassure your customers that it is a communication dedicated specifically to them and will show that you are also attentive to small but important details.
Pamper your best customers
Keep a sort of ranking of the most loyal and profitable customers for your business, and reward them with personalized offers or by presenting exclusively some new products to test their reaction.
Target your emails based on behavior
Customize your communication based on demographics and the habits of your target audience. Age, gender, lifestyle, interests are all very important aspects to consider. To profile your audience even more effectively, you can use RFM analysis (Recency, Frequency, Monetary), a statistical technique that predicts segmentation of your audience, which allows you to associate a score to customers based on three parameters:
- Recency: Is the metric that tells you when is the last time the user has purchased on your site;
- Frequency: Tells you how often the user buys;
- Monetary: What is the average user spend during the reference period?
The best customers are of course those with higher RFM scores.
Set the best item for your email and check it with an A / B test
The object is the bait by which the user will decide whether or not to open your email. It should not exceed 60 characters and should contain some keywords such as “yours”, “for you”, “exclusive”, “extra”, “limited time”, just to mention some of the most used. Almost all DEM clients allow you to test the effectiveness of your email subject using A / B test and providing you with the percentages of open emails sent.
Use an informal and friendly language
Always check that the contents are written in correct Italian and do not contain typos. The form, in a communication based on reading, is as important as the substance. Avoid the slang forms and the excess of technicalities, use short sentences that go straight to the point.
Do not use a language too “marketing” and not be too insistent in requesting a CTA, many people can find it repelling. Prefer softer formulas to push an action, for example using instead of a BUY NOW button! A softer formula like Discover more.
Use the calendar to choose when to send your emails
You can use the calendar to find some strategic dates, days or periods particularly relevant for your promotional communications. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, the periods of traditional seasonal sales or Black Friday are absolutely unmissable moments for any type of commercial activity. But many retailers also schedule their emails on certain fixed dates, like the 11th of each month, when customers have just received their salaries and may be more likely to make purchases.
Make sure your content is readable and usable even on mobile devices
By now everyone receives and regularly consult e-mails from a mobile device.
You must always be sure that the layout of your emails is perfectly responsive and adaptable to any type of screen, and that they are any landing page and optin-page to which refer your Call To Action. The tracking information obtained from Google or Facebook Analytics, and the statistical reports obtained from your Email Marketing Client (MailUp, MailChimp, etc.) will give you a complete overview of the devices used by your customers.
Consider email marketing as an integral part of your business
DEM activity should be considered as a regular and constant activity, and not something that can be done occasionally. Here are some ways to use Direct Email Marketing successfully …
- When a customer places an order, send him a confirmation email, where he will update him on the status and mode of the shipment. You can also take advantage of it to report to him some products that, depending on the purchase made, might interest him (e.g. he bought a technical mountain jacket? Suggested trekking shoes).
- If your customer data includes your date of birth, you can send emails corresponding to their birthday, including a coupon or special offer. The date on which the customer registered on your site or the anniversary of his first purchase can also be used for targeted and personalized emails.
- If you notice that one of your customers has had one or more items in the shopping cart for some time but has not yet finalized the purchase, send them an email that encourages them to complete the transaction. Reporting that the availability of the item is limited or offering a discounted price will help you finish the order.
- Email marketing works best when both the sender and the recipient gain a mutual benefit. As a sender, your goal is to increase sales and consequently profits, and the best way to do it and offer customers what they really want. Send well-written and well-presented emails, targeted on a careful profiling of your audience and that are able to convey valuable content. Discounts, special offers and personalized purchase proposals will encourage your customers to buy from your site.
If set up and managed in the right way, email marketing will help you convert visits into orders, retain customers and gain new ones, using an easy-to-manage tool and, usually for small and medium-sized businesses, free.
In any business it is important to understand which channel of communication with the client is better fulfilled. Your advertisements or emails can be viewed, clicked on the link, but still not buy. In order not to waste money, you need to be able to count the effectiveness of each channel and choose the performance metrics that brings more money and regular customers.
11 PERFORMANCE METRICS FOR ADVERTISING
It is important to understand what audience, on what platforms and with what offer (offer) to launch advertising. Performance Metrics will help assess how correctly these success components were selected, here you will find 11 performance metrics but we have considered KPI …
CTR (CLICK THROUGH RATE) – THE COEFFICIENT OF CLICKABILITY
Often, using this metric determines the effectiveness of a particular contextual advertising or a whole campaign. You can calculate how effectively a particular banner worked using a simple formula.
CPC (COST PER CLICK) – COST PER CLICK
By placing ads on any resource, you do not follow the frequency of impressions. You important number of people who go to the site. Therefore, choosing a site, watch the conditions: pay for the action, and not for the empty flickering of your banner. You can calculate how much you pay for each person’s entry into the site using CPC.
EMAIL MARKETING METRICS
OR (OPEN RATE) – THE PERCENTAGE OF OPEN LETTERS
With this indicator, you can assess the involvement of your subscribers. It is also a good indicator of the topics of your letters: after all, the letter depends on the topic whether the letter will open or not. OR can be calculated using the formula.
CTR (CLICK THROUGH RATE) – THE COEFFICIENT OF CLICKABILITY
The coefficient of clickability in a letter helps to determine whether your letter is correctly formed: is the information easy to read, how well is it displayed, and most importantly, how much your “call to action” – the words on the transition button are interesting to subscribers.
CR (CONVERSION RATE) – THE RATIO OF PURCHASES FROM LETTERS
Moving to a website from a letter is not a conversion to a purchase. To find out how many of your subscribers are buying during the transition, add utm tags to links and track performance in Google Analytics.
METRICS TO INCREASE REVENUE
CPO (COST PER ORDER) – PURCHASE PRICE
In order not to wake up in a cold sweat from the horror that the advertising budget is spent, and the proceeds are too low, you need to know the cost of the order. It is necessary to keep track of this metric constantly and twist every day. It is considered easy: we divide the money spent on advertising on the total number of orders.
CRR (COST REVENUE RATIO) – THE RATIO OF INCOME AND EXPENDITURE ON ADVERTISING
In Russia, the abbreviation DDR is often used – the share of advertising expenses. This indicator is considered the division of money spent on money earned. It seems so simple, yes? Then let’s take it faster, because it is with this formula that you can clearly understand whether you are moving in the right direction of earning or roll down the slope, merging the budget.
AOV (AVERAGE ORDER VALUE) – AVERAGE BILL
Indicator of the solvency of your audience. Illustrates the ratio of the cost of all completed orders to their quantity. With it, you can predict the store’s revenue (knowing the traffic to the site and the conversion to the purchase), as well as edit the marketing strategy in time. For example, to offer related products to the order, add a button on the site “learn about the receipt of goods”, set up an abandoned basket, etc.
LTV (LIFETIME VALUE) – THE MONEY THAT THE CLIENT BRINGS DURING THE LIFE CYCLE
It is no secret that the client is not eternal, there is a certain life cycle. And your task is to create conditions in which the client can make purchases from you as long as possible. Knowing the value of this indicator, you can tighten the strategy of attracting customers, improve the retention strategy depending on the communication channels, improve the triggers, etc.
SAS RATE (CUSTOMER ACQUISITION COST) – THE COST OF ATTRACTING A NEW CUSTOMER
Calculate how much each new customer costs. Here and advertising, and communication online, and, perhaps, calls the call center. It is important to keep a balance: laying down the budget for attraction is not to be greedy, but not to throw money around. To understand that you are doing everything right, compare the CAC and LTV indicators: the cost of attracting a new client should be significantly lower than the income from it for the entire time.
RR (RETENTION RATE) – CUSTOMER RETENTION RATE
Retaining a customer is much cheaper than attracting a new one. Therefore, Retention Rate is one of the key metrics for an online store. Working on loyalty, helping the client, rather than no matter what, you will not only save money on marketing and advertising, but also launch word of mouth – recommendations that will bring you more income without your direct cash costs.
Checklist for a multi-marketer or what if analytics is not your forte?
- Most of the indicators for evaluating email marketing will be considered by the platform for you. Now almost all services clearly show the percentage of discoveries, clicks, and non-existent addresses.
- Use pass-through analytics software. Analytics program will collect data from your CRM, website, advertising sites and will give the result. For you only making strategic decisions.
- Set your goals in Google Analytics, and better give the setting to the experts – once a well-tuned analyst will bring many right decisions in the future.
- IMPORTANT! No one likes to sit and count, analyze, compare and analyze again (well, almost no one). But without analytics, NO marketing activity is possible. Test, look at the results and improve your performance every day!
We cannot improve all your indicators, but with these performance metrics you will be able to achieve great results with the help of your advertising and email marketing.
In the past I often saw local companies open Twitter channels for local web marketing, which may be operated in areas of the province. The reason? Because Twitter was considered the second Social Network after Facebook and therefore “we must be there”. The results were mostly poor: compared to budgets spent on articulated publishing plans, few followers were collected and even fewer visits.
Twitter is just one example, but it helps me to redefine the strategies of local web marketing, i.e. those strategies that for objectives or needs must operate in narrow geographical areas (think of a local store: generally it does not make sense to look for customers 200 km away).
For this reason, today I want to try to identify the true and authentic local web marketing for those wishing to avoid national or mass media, which can geolocate their advertising campaigns but at much higher costs. When I speak of authentic local web marketing I refer to activities, groups and media that live in your own territory. Here, then, 6 ideas to take advantage of local web marketing with very low or even zero costs …
1. Local organizations and associations
Often with non-profit purposes, they are available to give visibility at a decidedly low cost. These are also young organizations, which can effectively exploit Social Media – with high numbers and engagement – of strong relationships of trust with local citizens. With a quick search on Google and on Facebook, they are easily found.
Banally, on social networks it is sufficient to do a search by entering your city / area of interest or through #hashtag to discover a world of local pages and interests.
2. Fan Pages, Groups and Local Social Channels
There is a “young” Web, without programming skills but with strong communication skills , which jumps the construction of a website and a web marketing strategy “with all the trappings”, opening in a few minutes Social channels which are quickly invaded by contents, often very effective. Result: Local social channels are often crowded with fans and followers, with unimaginable growth and interactions.
Often these are “spiritual” social channels, but sometimes they share people who share social causes, passions, hobbies. If you promote something relevant to the subject of these pages, why not give it a try.
Attention also to Facebook groups, often underestimated, which by the nature of notifications that reach all the members are a tool with very high interactions.
3. Blogger and local newspapers
The newspapers are not dead, let alone the local ones, capable of giving a very precise visibility and targeting to local businesses. In particular, online is the master. The interesting aspect of local newspapers is given by the fact that they are definitely “more reachable” than national journalists, because they can easily intercept in relevant events of the local community. With a real PR activity, you can get coverage on partially promotional news for free or almost. You have to be good – in this case – to “create the news”, so that it is sufficiently attractive for the journalist.
Here, try to imagine having a local business. You could try to find sites and blogs of this kind to promote …
- Coupons and discounts that can be spent in your business;
- Download an app or guide;
- Collection of subscribers to your site (you have to offer something in return, though)
4. Google My Business – Bing Places
If you have not yet opened a page in these free services, it’s better if you move.
In practice, open the free cards related to your business, providing data on what you do, how you do it, where you do it, prices, timetables, etc. Your business listing will appear on maps and local searches. No need to explain the advantages of being so present on search engines …
Participating in online city life means many things: it means attending forums, groups and pages that are very popular and – where possible and consistently with the topic – showing what you are doing (but paying attention to the rules and not spamming).
It’s a practice a bit ‘to the limit, but there are those who can do it with dexterity …
6. Social Ads
OK, you already knew this. For those who do not know, even with less than 50 euros a month you can promote on Facebook their activities on a very specific local basis, identifying very precise target users to show your ad, divided by interest, age, sex, type of mobile device used, family status and other curious socio-demographic variables.
With figures a little higher you can do the same thing on Twitter and, soon, even on emerging social networks such as Snapchat. If you do not know the advertising on Social Media, it will be good to inform you.
Not just online
There are many other minor modes, but if you already follow these 6 points for local web marketing well the results will not be long in coming. I would like to point out, however, that many offline modes such as flyers and advertisements on inserts, magazines and local flyers still carry quite a bit of success.
I say this from personal experience: it is wrong to think that your geographical area is populated only by nerd-geeks who use only internet. People locally move, attend places of aggregation and “still trust the doctor or the parish priest.”