How to Use Micro-Influencers to Gain Customers

 

You know the big-time influencers in your niche. They may have 100,000 social followers, and maybe even a million or more.

You know their name. Your co-workers know their name. Everyone knows their name.

You can’t doubt their status.

When you use the word “influencers,” that’s what most people think of.

Why Do Companies Care about Influencers So Much?

Today, they hold the key to lots of sales. And those sales come fast. They have a high level of trust with their audience, and when they tell them to buy something, their audience doesn’t hesitate.

But big-time influencers can be difficult to reach. Everyone wants to have a business relationship with them. And since they have such a high level of trust with their audience, they’re highly selective about what they recommend to them.

So, it can be nearly impossible to get through to big-time influencers on a consistent basis.

Instagram, in 2016, generated $570 million in sales through influencer marketing, for example.

So, Why Go After Micro-Influencers?

Because, they’re much easier to access, while still having a large enough audience (25,000 or less) in a focused niche that can drive serious sales.

Here’s how you might do that:

  1. Focus on Influencers Who Embody What Your Company Does

As you look at social media accounts, you’ll come across people who love to hike. If you sell products for outdoor enthusiasts who like hiking, you’ve found a natural connection.

Make sure they get a good amount of comments, likes, and shares when they post. That way, you know they have an engaged audience.

  1. Get Users to Generate content for Your Campaign

Say you run a company that conducts tours. Pretty boring on the surface, right?

Yep. But not when you involve influencers.

For example, you might ask them to post pictures of the amazing sights they see on one of your tours. You could offer them a free tour in exchange for their honest feedback, for example.

User-generated content works so well because it comes across as more authentic. Compare that to a $100,000 photo shoot depicting a celebrity doing the same thing.

Which would you trust more?

  1. Sponsored posts

These are logistically easy. Simply reach out to the influencer, ask them to create a detailed content piece about your product, but only after they experience your product firsthand.

It’s important you don’t show you’re trying to influence their opinion. You want their honest feedback…and not positive feedback just because they get their product for free.

Even if that feedback ends up not being positive, at least you learn how to improve your product to fit your market’s needs.

As you can see, building relationships with micro-influencers doesn’t need to be difficult. Just make sure you take time to qualify each one first.

Do they seem to be the perfect fit for your product?

Do they have an engaged audience?

If so, reach out. It could be just the spark your business needs to catch fire.

5 Quick Tips on Creating Ads That Drive Sales

How many ads do you get bombarded by on a daily basis? Can you even count? And these days, websites want to send push notifications too. Your Android smartphone offers suggested notifications from Google.

It’s impossible to really get away from advertising. So what makes internet ads work?

Here are several things:

Consistent Messaging Throughout the Customer Journey

What are all the steps your customer has to take before they make a purchase? Their journey may look something like this:

  1. Do a Google search
  2. See a PPC ad and click on it
  3. Arrive at a landing page
  4. Click on a specific product to learn more

You don’t have to use exactly the same title throughout. In fact, you shouldn’t. Because that puts your potential customers to sleep. But you do want to use some of the same words and phrases so they know they’re getting what they clicked for.

Segment

Your audience has multiple segments. Segmentation sounds like a ton of work at first. But it doesn’t have to be. You could segment by geography just to start.

Anyway, when you segment, you get higher conversion rates. So, that should be enough to motivate you to at least do some basic segmentation.

Use Remarketing/Retargeting

Ever notice the ads that “follow” you around the web? Those websites participate in Google’s retargeting program.

You may think that this would bore users or cause them to not want to see your ad. However, this tactic’s been proven over and over again to raise your conversion rates.

Put a Big Benefit Front and Center

Don’t make false or exaggerated promises. Then, you’re “overpromising and underdelivering.”

Give your customers a big potential benefit in every ad and step in their customer journey. Make it realistic, and then overdeliver with your product or service.

If you’re not seeing the CTR you want, A/B test variations of your ads, changing just 1-2 words to improve clarity.

Understand How Your Audience Views Colors

Believe it or not, a large part of your market’s purchase decision is made based on color. Say you sell a financial service or investing guide. Green, the color of money, would be a good color for that audience. You may also try black, which is majestic and royal. Or, maybe you use a dominant green with black as a supporting color.

What if you tried pink? Well, people associate that with Valentine’s Day, women, or breast cancer awareness. So you’d really confuse your market if you went that route.

Color means different things to different markets. So try to understand what color means to your audience, and use meaningful colors to them.

Apply these tips, and you’ll notice better conversion rates in your internet advertising.

 

 

‎Google Releases “Smart Bidding” To Set the Ideal Bid for Each PPC Ad

 

Google makes the overwhelming majority of its revenue from its Adwords PPC advertising. No other revenue stream even comes close.

So of course, they’ll pay the most attention to it out of all their various services. They have investors watching their earnings, and they don’t want to report those earnings aren’t meeting expectations. That could cause their stock price to fall which would cost Google billions.

With That in Mind, Google’s Introduced “Maximize Conversions” to Adwords

What is “Maximize Conversions?” It uses smart bidding to automatically set the right bid for each PPC ad auction.

…But doesn’t that sound a little fishy? Google, who has a substantial financial interest in seeing you spend more, will automatically set how much you bid?

Now, of course it’s in their interest to give you good results for the money you invest. Because, if you don’t, you won’t keep spending with Google. You might move over to Bing.

But then again, Google stands to profit. And research has found it generally costs you more for the same results than Bing.

So what’s the reality? Should you use this feature? Should you insist your internet marketing company use it?

Let’s find out.

One Agency Generally Experiences Positive Results…With a Small Catch

Seer Interactive does its fair share of Adwords campaigns. The decided to put this “Maximize Conversions” feature to the test. And this is what they found:

  1. In 85% of their tests, clients experience better results with Maximize Conversions
  2. During the first two weeks of the campaign, results got worse while Google learned what to do. However, results improved during the final two weeks, ending up in a net gain.
  3. No patterns existed by client or industry type. They concluded you need to test for yourself to see what happens.

Google also notes that decking company Trex experienced a 73% increase in conversions with the new feature, while also getting a 42% decrease in cost-per-acquisition. And interestingly, Trex was a customer of Seer Interactive at the time.

Test and Be Careful

Google’s likely somehow making more money off this “Maximize Conversions” feature. But initially, it looks like they’re helping you improve your results too (in most cases).

So consider asking your SEO company to test the feature. But do understand, that while it’s likely you’ll experience positive results, there’s no guarantee.

New Google “Fred” Update Rocks SEO World

Well, Google’s finally started stop picking on animals with its updates.

One of Google’s current spokesmen jokingly called the new update “Fred.” And he said he’ll continue to call all future updates the same name also.

What Does Google “Fred” Do?

No one’s positive yet. All everyone knows is that on February 7th, many websites saw a noticeable change in their traffic. As always, some rejoiced with great gains. Others threw their arms up in the air in anger after experiencing massive losses.

Current speculation from Search Engine Roundtable believes the update more carefully examines the quality of your links. It’s still early yet, and others think the update may look at the quality of your content also.

But, at this point, the strongest argument is for link quality. That’s because the Black Hat SEO forums are the most active with debate. Black Hat SEOs tend to use links to manipulate their way up the search rankings (versus creating and promoting quality content). And that of course exposes them to this risk.

Now that they’re getting burned by it, they’re not too happy.

What To Do about This Update

If you’ve already been hit by this update, your business will hurt for a while. Sorry, but that’s the honest-to-goodness truth.

If you noticed a big drop in traffic in your analytics on February 7th, or shortly after, you likely got nailed by it.

The first thing to do would be to talk with your SEO company. If you’ve had multiple SEO companies over the past several years, then you’ve got a real mess on your hands. You don’t know who’s responsible. So, talk to your current SEO company to see what they say and how you should proceed. You may have to decide whether to terminate your relationship with your current SEO company.

The good news is you can recover. There’s three things you can do:

  1. Work on making a Disavow request, which is where you ask Google to ignore certain links pointing to your site. It’s a fair amount of work that you should leave to your SEO company. Moz offers a spectacular guide for how this works if you want to learn about it.
  2. If you got a manual notification of a penalty you’ll have to do the Disavow work, plus possible other work to get back in Google’s good graces. Again, you’ll need an ethical SEO company to do this for you. Then, you submit a reconsideration request once you believe you’ve done all the work necessary to clean up your SEO.
  3. You need to keep creating interesting and unique content. This attracts quality white-hat links to you. And that keeps you safe in Google’s search results.

If this penalty hit you, sorry to hear that. But, just know that while it may hurt your business, it’s far from the end of the road for you.

How Qualified is Your SEO Traffic?

Blue keyboard button for search engine optimization

Rankings and traffic are often the most important indicators of web search success to small business
owners.

Sense a “but” coming?

Here it is:

But, you have to think about those metrics in the context of your business and your own SEO.

Typically, they’re a good indicator of search marketing success. But, take a look at some of the ins and outs before you sit back and relax, thinking everything’s okay:

  1. What’s the Source of Your Traffic?

No website has 100% perfect traffic from awesome sources. None. Spammers hit every domain on the web to some extent.

Take a look at the source of your traffic in Google Analytics. You will see some sources that come from foreign countries where you’d never possibly do business (like Russia or China).

We’re guessing you don’t want any HVAC customers from that area.

That’s an obvious example.

But, it gets less obvious. Again, if you’re an HVAC company, how valuable are certain keywords and phrases like “fix your air conditioner?”

You have to be a little careful with some of your traffic sources.

  1. What Keywords Do You Rank For?

Just like traffic sources, you have to know what keywords you rank for and consider their context. If you have great rankings for keywords that aren’t really relevant to your industry, those rankings really aren’t valuable at all.

It’s hard to find all the keywords you rank for these days. Google’s concealing that data, making it harder to access so you move over to their profit center they call “Adwords.”

  1. This Is Where Experienced SEO Companies Come In

Technically, your SEO is never done. You can always do another thing or try something else to grow your business online.

The web is so complex. And it changes so fast.

Some SEO companies are better than others at finding the right keywords for your niche. And that’s really where their experience makes a difference for your company.

Other companies can find keywords that will drive you more business. However, they may miss some of the best opportunities.

That’s why you want to go with a company who’s been around in the SEO game for a long time. They’ve navigated the murky waters of SEO. And they know how to choose the highest-converting keywords right away.

It’s some helpful advice that you must keep in mind to ensure your success online.

How to Combat Fake Content in 2017

Hands typing on laptop computer

Yes, it’s here: fake content. And it’s here in great supply. Some web experts speculate that machines may be able to write as convincingly as humans in the near future.

So, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can counter the various types of fake content out there so you don’t find yourself getting burned by competitors who cheat.

  1. Fake Reviews

Ahh…nothing looks better on your company or product than a nice 4-5 star rating. Fall below that magic 4-star threshold, and you start to lose a lot of credibility and customers.

Fortunately, you don’t have to find yourself falsifying reviews to keep up. Not only would you feel guilty, but some websites, like Amazon actually sue customers who knowingly engage in such practices.

90% of consumers say they’ll happily leave a positive review when you offer a good product or service. So, it’s really just a matter of asking.

  1. Fake Viewing of Your Ads.

Did you hear about the Russian “Methbot” scam? It involved multiple hackers creating “bots” (software programs) that accurately mimicked consumer behavior on the web. The amazing part of the scam was that it was done in such a sophisticated way that fraudulent activity was difficult to detect.

The software attacked hundreds and thousands of websites. The websites attracted ad algorithms, which then showed the ads. The bots clicked the ads, generating revenue for the hackers. Current reporting states about $180 billion were stolen.

It’s hard to protect yourself from this one. But, you can look for unusual traffic spikes in your advertising platform. Your suspicion should go up exponentially if you notice a number of these spikes in a short time span.

  1. Fake Business Listings

Yes, your competitors do know how to create call centers, complete with a local Google map listing, that make it appear as though the company is owned and operated locally. This is true for local professional services like plumbing, heating, locksmithing, and carpet cleaning. To top it off, they often send in professionals who aren’t competent and charge excessively high prices for their services.

Google nails these from time-to-time. However, they pop up quickly to the point where even Google can’t keep up.

You can keep yourself safe by displaying photos of your storefront and referring to local neighborhoods you serve. Plus, you can also report the fake listings to Google.

Fake content will continue to be a challenge to deal with. But you can beat it with the help of these tips.