Category: Content

Four initiatives B2Bs must tackle now to win in 2020

While ecommerce businesses are in the midst of the Q4 craziness and rising CPCs of the holiday season, B2B clients are planning for their business to pick up at the start of 2020.

In this post, I’ll walk through a few things to consider and refresh before Q1 gets here.

1. Study the competitive landscape

One of the most valuable sources of knowledge from Google campaigns is the ‘Auction Insights’ report, which provides info on when competitors have come into and out of the auction during the year. It’s also valuable to look at competitors that might be newer in the space and have recently entered the auction. With this information, you can dive into new keyword research by using tools like SEMrush and SpyFu. I also recommend studying creative, offers, and copy that your competitors are using across their ads helping to inform potential creative and development and testing for the start of the year. 

2. Reevaluate budgets for 2020

As the start of the year approaches, look to set budgets based on historical performance and anticipated seasonality. In order to have a strong plan in place, you should look beyond monthly breakdowns.

Some questions to consider

  • Did you expand into new channels late into the year?
  • Do you need to invest in more budget into certain channels?
  • Are our remarketing campaigns fully funded across channels?
  • Are you planning on investing budget into new channels?
  • How much of the budget will you set aside for testing?

Answering these questions will help ensure you budget appropriately for both historically efficient channels and promising new channels that can get you some early-adoption benefits. 

3. Refresh and rethink audiences

It’s important to review the audiences that you have been targeting over the past few months. Along with identifying new audiences to add and poor-performing audiences to pause, consider re-engaging qualified leads that went dark, bolstering account-based marketing efforts, and testing new lookalike audiences. 

4. Map out new creative and content

Creative and content are some of the most crucial aspects of campaign development. While you are preparing for Q1, make sure to do an audit of your current and planned creative and content. Are you thinking about the full funnel? Users who haven’t engaged with the brand before are typically looking to download a piece of content that they find valuable. It could be a whitepaper, case study, infographic, or something else that could engage them. 

As users progress down the funnel, they will be more willing to give their information to request a demo or get contacted by your company. It’s important to understand where a user is in the funnel and offer them content that aligns with that step. Make sure you’re analyzing content from 2019 and identifying your successes. Which can be spun forward, made into a series, or meaningfully refreshed? Give yourself a leg up by producing content you know to be effective.

Looking at historical performance will help you understand your successes and failures in 2019 and incorporate those into the 2020 planning. Creative, testing, competitive insights, and new audiences will be key efforts in driving growth and performance in the new year, so lay the groundwork now to get ahead of steam going into January.

Lauren Crain is a Client Services Lead in 3Q Digital’s SMB division, 3Q Incubate.

The post Four initiatives B2Bs must tackle now to win in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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admin November 26, 2019 0 Comments

Going international: How to make your WordPress site globally friendly

International expansion is an expected ambition for progressive WordPress sites and ones of similar likes. The online nature of this global reach means that the uncertainties, legal dangers, and cultural hazards are minimized. The world is at your fingertips, and the costs in reaching it successfully are minimal.

The rationale for reaching out to a new audience, readership, viewership or listenership, maybe one of opportunity, exciting new prospects, high growth potential, or to escape a domestic audience that has become too saturated or competitive.

With only some limitations, the internet is a global phenomenon that effectively ties us all together with invisible strings. Send a Tweet from Prague and reply to it in Illinois. Publish an eBook in Seattle and share it with your friends in Beirut. There are practically no boundaries when it comes to sharing content online.

When it comes to your WordPress website, the one you’ve dedicated time, money and energy building, I expect that you will want it to possess the maximum global reach possible. This doesn’t just happen by chance and requires some key features within your site to make this happen. The following tips and suggested plugins should set you and your WordPress site on the path to international influence.

Four tips to help make your WordPress site globally friendly

1. Globalize your content

The foundation of an internationally appealing website is its content transcreation. This does not focus on the mere translation of words but ensures the recreation of meaning, intent, and context.

It is important to make sure that the meaning of the content does not change when translated into another language and does not convey your message wrongly. Cultural hazards are rife when it comes to the international expansion of any kind. To be accepted and welcomed in a different geographical area, you cannot afford to display misunderstood and potentially offensive content.

Unsurprisingly, over 73% of the global market prefers websites with content in their native language. If people cannot understand the content on your website, you cannot hope to keep their interest. In the same vein, inaccurate translations just won’t cut it. The best option is to find a content writer who can craft the copy in a specific language for better quality content.

2. Avoid rigid localized options

Some websites choose the default website domain and language based on dynamic Geolocation IP tracking. Others do not have rigid local settings and allow their websites to be accessed by users from anywhere. If you are hoping to reach as many readers as possible, this option is best. No matter the country from which your website is browsed, it can be accessed without limitations of location.

3. Avoid using text on images

Google cannot translate text on images. This is the same for logos, headings, and other information. This can be majorly off-putting for readers who do not understand some parts of your website. Further, no translator or software that runs on your multilingual site can translate graphical text. Therefore, avoid it altogether for the best results, or keep it to a minimum for a more international audience.

4. Localize checkout and shipping factors

Whether your WordPress site is an online store or sells software as a service that doesn’t require any shipping at all, your checkout process should be appropriately localized. Currency options are fundamental to users taking that final step to make the purchase. There are WordPress plugins available to allow for multiple currencies to be displayed and chosen from.

If you are giving the option of international shipping then inform the buyer beforehand whether or not the product is available for shipping to his local address. Make the option to convert the currency clear and choose a suitable API tool for currency conversions. In order to keep on track of abandoned cart figures, allow the user to view the delivery charges and taxes prior to checking out. Finally, remember that people from different locations are more comfortable with different payment methods- so ensure to provide multiple options.

Plugins to help make your WordPress site globally friendly

1. TranslatePress

This full-fledged WordPress multilingual plugin translates every aspect of your website. Its main feature is that it allows you to translate directly from the front-end. It allows you to easily switch languages during the translation- and the live preview is updated instantly. All translations of content, theme, plugins and even meta-data can be made without changing the interface.

It is ideal for manual translations. Do it yourself or assign a custom translator ‘user role’ to any user on your site. Users will then be able to translate as and when they want, without needing access to the admin area.

Lastly, the plugin creates SEO friendly URLs for all languages and boosts you up the local SEO results. Ranking well will make this extra effort to globalize your site worth all the while. Once you have established yourself as an authoritative and respectably ranking website abroad, you’re in and can continue the normal operation of your site.

2. Multi-currency for WooCommerce

As discussed, the need for multiple currencies on your international online store is unchallenged. This plugin allows users to easily switch to different currencies and make use of currency exchange rate converter with no limits. It can be used to accept only one currency or all currencies. Multi-currency for WooCommerce helps enhance your site’s user experience and will do so for free. It’s a no brainer.

These tips and plugins will help you achieve your international SEO goals. Wish to add more tips and plugins to this list? Mention them in the comments.

The post Going international: How to make your WordPress site globally friendly appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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admin November 20, 2019 0 Comments

12 Email marketing best practices for sales

Everybody may be talking about witty tweets, quick-tip videos, and memorable memes, but there is one marketing tool that remains powerful after all these years: emails.

But an effective email marketing strategy in the 2000s may not work in 2019 anymore. Chances are, sales offer sent to inboxes will be marked as spam and forever left unopened. In March 2019, spam messages accounted for 56% percent of global email traffic. The challenge is to develop email campaigns that are as appealing and informative as other marketing tools heavily consumed in this age of social media and apps.

Times have changed, and so are email marketing trends. Know what works and what does not. Here is a roundup of 12 effective email marketing tactics you should know about.

1. Truly connect with your audience

At one point in your online life, you may have received tons of offers to buy to join a matchmaking community for veterans or something that’s not even remotely connected to you or your interests. Random mass email blasts like these don’t benefit anyone.

Create an email marketing campaign that connects with your readers. You can do this by dividing your email list into more targeted groups. The Annual Email Optimizer Report by Lyris found numerous benefits of email list segmentation including increased open rates, greater email relevance, and lower opt-out or unsubscribe rates.

You may segment the readers based on age, gender, and location. This will help ensure that you’re sending the right communication to the right people.

Check out this example of a geographically segmented email by UBER for Chicago

Uber email marketing best practice example

2. Customize your blasts

Email marketing tools, like tweets and Instagram ads, should speak directly to a specific reader. There is no better way of doing this than by customizing the content of your emails.

After segmenting your email recipients, get to know them better. What appeals to them? What are they looking for when browsing for products and services? How do they define good customer service? What made them visit a website and subscribe? By familiarizing yourself with your readers, it’ll be easier to customize your emails, follow-ups, and reminders.

For instance, your millennial recipients would love to receive informative yet concise messages with appealing images. The best way to do this is via infographics, which they can also easily share with their circle.

3. Grab your audience’s attention, and keep them interested

Today’s consumers are multi-taskers. They are scrolling their news feeds and checking for work-related emails in between. You are in for a cutthroat competition for your reader’s attention.

Craft creative ways to grab their attention, and hold it until you have delivered your message. You can use witty headlines, visually-appealing images, and straightforward emails. Strictly no click-baits.

You can create urgency, tapping on today’s culture of “FOMO” (fear of missing out). Try using “You’re missing out on amazing rewards”, or “[URGENT] You’ve got ONE DAY to read this…”.

Humor never fails. The Muse has used the subject, “We like being used” while OpenTable cracked “Licking your phone never tasted so good” in one of its email campaigns.

Example of adding catchy CTAs to marketing emails

Source: Artem Beliaikin via Pexels

4. State a clear call-to-action

So you have successfully earned the attention of your target audience. They also read your message in its entirety. Now what?

Your emails should have a clear purpose which you could achieve with a call-to-action. Do you want your readers to visit your website or subscribe to your newsletter? Do you want them to “Like” your Facebook page or make a purchase in your online store? Lead them to these goals with an effective CTA.

Researchers at Marketing Experiments recommend offering your visitors value at low or no costs in exchange for a click. Avoid asking too much too soon. The researchers found that tweaking commonly-used CTAs have amazing benefits. By changing “Find your solution” to “Learn more”, the clickthrough rate rose by 77%. Using “Subscribe and save” instead of  “View subscription options” led to a +181% clickthrough rate increase.

To encourage a purchase, you can use these CTAs like the ones given below

  • Shop now
  • Save today
  • Yes! I want one
  • Claim your coupon
  • Get 20% off now

To promote content, here are sample CTAs

  • Curious? Read on
  • Read the full story
  • Download now

5. Limit your email blasts

Do you know that an average office worker receives 121 emails per day? That’s a lot. You wouldn’t want your message to be sent to the infamous spam folder for sending too many emails to your subscribers.

People signed up for your updates and newsletters because they are interested in your brand, products or services. They want to stay connected. But this doesn’t give you permission to bombard them with emails. Limit your messages once a week.

6. Craft catchy subject lines or headlines

Email subjects or headlines are deal-breakers. Readers can easily ignore or delete your email with a boring or clickbaity headline. MailChimp conducted an email marketing study and found that short and descriptive subject lines could entice readers.

You can include words that suggest urgency, ask a question or challenge a common notion. Use your segmented email list to craft direct and catchy headlines customized to your readers.

7. Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly

A recent study suggests that the number of mobile Internet users will hit five billion in 2025. More people are browsing the web, scrolling through social media pages and checking their emails via their handheld devices. Make sure that your email promotions are mobile-optimized. To create a mobile-friendly digital asset, consider the length of texts and visuals. Some image files may not display on smartphones, and others may slow downloading time.

8. Write professional emails

How would you perceive a business that sends out emails fraught with typos and grammar errors? These mistakes will definitely reflect badly on the sender. Always prepare your messages well. Email promotion is no different from any other marketing campaign. Take the time to plan out and draft an outline. Write a copy and proofread it several times. Use a voice that is consistent with your brand.

9. Build an inclusive community

People no longer surf the internet to just get quick information online. They meet others, join groups, and essentially create a world that is as real as their offline sphere. Go the extra mile with your email marketing campaign by letting your readers in an inclusive community. You can share personal updates about your life that don’t necessarily relate to your usual promotions. Perhaps a sneak peek into your work routine or a photo of your puppy or cat? Make your audience feel at home.

Another tip is to keep the conversation going by sending email notifications to users every time someone replied to their comments or whenever a new topic of interest is opened. You can also send updates on community stats such as a list of top users, top comments and most popular topics. These can encourage your users to play a more active role in the community.

10. Giveaway rewards

Giveaway rewards keep subscribers excited for your next blasts and increases the chances of them even sharing your promotions with their network. Budget airline companies are a great example of this as they’re winning the email marketing game through amazing rewards and promos. Their email subscribers get the latest updates on promos and the chance of winning all-expenses-paid trips. Giving away rewards and gifts is a smart way of acknowledging your loyal subscribers.

11. Stay consistent

You may not hit your target email subscribers right away, but that shouldn’t put off your email marketing campaign. Run your campaigns according to schedule. If you promised a special promo to your current list, make sure you deliver on time.

You may get 50 new subscribers this week and only 10 the next, but that should be no reason for you to hold off. Stick with your schedule and the effort will pay off.

12. Run a regular assessment of your campaigns

Know what’s working and what’s not by running a regular assessment of your email marketing campaigns. Wield the power of analytics in deciding how to proceed. You can choose the appropriate metrics, based on your goals. You may measure the clickthrough rate or the rate of readers who clicked on links in an email promotion or the conversion rate or the percentage of readers who completed the desired action such as purchasing a product.

Consider using analytics tools such as EmailAnalytics, Sortd, or Todoist. EmailAnalytics provides pertinent data such as the number of emails received in all your Gmail folders, the number of emails you send every day, who you email and how the conversations proceed. Sortd primarily helps organize email inboxes. It allows you to create categories and set priorities for each. The email workflow you can make in Sortd gives info on how you are performing at each stage of the email campaign. With Todoist, you may convert your inbox into a to-do list in relation to your campaign. It allows you to identify, organize and complete tasks, and run reports on your daily performance.

For sure, email marketing isn’t dead. It just evolved over time. As an entrepreneur or a marketer, it is your task to keep abreast of trends in digital marketing. Consumers today want you to speak to them on a more personal level. Get to know them. Engage them. Reward their loyalty. Remember that your email recipients are people, so connect with them in the most natural way possible.

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admin November 11, 2019 0 Comments

How to create an SEO strategy for website redesign and migration

A new guide, Best Practices for Website Redesign & Migration, outlines detailed best practices for implementing search engine optimization (SEO) for a website redesign. 

It includes a list of comprehensive tips aimed at educating website owners about common redesign obstacles, website structure as it relates to SEO, preserving domain and URL equity, keyword research, and more.

This post summarizes some key SEO migration elements listed in the guide, with an emphasis on helping organizations avoid costly errors related to a website redesign and domain or platform migration.

Content produced in collaboration with Investis Digital.

Common SEO obstacles in website redesign and migration

A proliferation of web design platforms and tools have made it easier than ever for businesses to complete a website redesign in record time. 

However, many of these platforms aren’t fully compatible with older computers, slower connection speeds, and present obstacles for search engine spiders.

planning a website redesign for searchable content for search engines and SEO

 

The Investis Digital SEO guide lists twelve of the most common obstacles and includes tips for avoiding them. Here are a few examples:

Dynamic URLs that don’t include keywords

Dynamic URLs rely on variable parameters provided by the web server and are not easily indexed by search engines since they change based on user query input. A dynamic URL typically includes character strings versus keywords. Investis Digital recommends that dynamic URLs be rewritten to include relevant keywords.

Non-permanent redirects

Investis Digital recommends avoiding all redirects that aren’t permanent. That is, only permanent 301 server-side redirects should be incorporated into your website update. That means avoiding 302, JavaScript, and meta refresh redirects.

Page content

Since text is the backbone of how search engines determine keyword relevancy, the Investis Digital guide recommends that some relevant content be included on all pages. Ideally, at least one short paragraph of unique text should be present on each page. If this isn’t possible, then tier-one and tier-two pages should incorporate text-based, keyword-rich headers.

Three of the twelve obstacles listed in the Investis Digital SEO guide

 

Six key elements of an SEO-focused redesign

The Investis Digital guide lays out a comprehensive list of elements that companies should incorporate into their redesign strategy, from website structure to keyword research, and from to meta information to internal site linking. The guide acts as a blueprint for businesses so they can minimize the impact of the redesign on organic search engine rankings and traffic. Here is a brief summary of each element:

1. Website structure

Folder structure, web page file names, and keyword-rich content all play a role in an optimal website structure. “The decisions you make about the naming conventions of your folders and files, and the way in which you point to specific pages of your website, can have a huge impact on overall traffic and sales,” writes Investis Digital.

2. Keyword research

Keyword research should be the starting point of your website redesign so that you can incorporate relevant, high-volume keywords throughout the entire site structure. Investis Digital reviews important keyword guidelines such as how many different terms to target and what keyword research tools to use when gathering information.

3. Meta information

Meta information—also referred to as metadata—is the information that appears in search engine results pages for organic listings. SEO meta information includes a variety of tags such as <title> and <meta-description>. The guide provides checklists to help businesses fully optimize each of these important tags.

4. Body content

Body content is important for good search engine rankings as well as overall website usability. The Investis Digital guidelines cover the specifics of creating high quality, SEO-friendly content attributes that will contribute to search ranking such as keyword choice, frequency, placement, spacing, and titles.

5. Internal site linking

Internal links are an important element of good SEO design as they determine how search engines perceive relevancy for specific keywords. Investis Digital covers the best practices for internal link creation such as using descriptive text-based links in the main navigation, limiting the number of links on a page, and more.

6. URL equity

URL equity is “the sum of several important values tied to URL structure.” Dynamic versus static URLs, as noted above, play a role in URL equity as do a URL’s external links to the website, age of the domain, and more.

The importance of creating an SEO redesign strategy

A key pain point with any redesign is the loss of organic search traffic that occurs when established domain equity is lost. The Investis Digital guide provides information to help companies avoid the negative effect a large-scale redesign can have on search visibility and website traffic.

Example of a successful client domain migration. Source—Investis Digital

 

With a strong emphasis on maintaining URL equity, a sample workflow to help with planning, and a list of expected obstacles, businesses can use this guide to create a comprehensive SEO strategy for their website redesign or platform migration.

For more tips on how to create an SEO strategy for website redesign and migration, check out the full guide, “Best Practices for Website Redesign & Migration.”

The post How to create an SEO strategy for website redesign and migration appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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admin November 5, 2019 0 Comments

Pre-made calendar with over 300 holidays to help plan editorial content

A carefully planned content marketing strategy contains several key ingredients including an understanding of who you’re creating content for (e.g., your persona or personas), how your content will help them, and some key performance indicators to measure success.

However, even the most thoughtful and well-planned content strategy can run into roadblocks without a detailed editorial plan. The editorial plan should include what categories and topics you plan to write about, how you intend to amplify your content (e.g., social media, email, etc.) and—the most important bit of all—a list of relevant, highly engaging ideas that incorporates a balance of evergreen and time-sensitive content.

Event-specific content can be challenging to create with any consistency, but with some planning and foresight, it is possible to plan out your editorial calendar in advance. One way to do this is to align some of your topics with seasonal holidays, observance days, and themes. 

holiday planner social media

[Image source]

A holiday for every week, month and season 

At CommonMind, we’ve compiled a holiday planner specifically aimed at social media content planning. It contains more than 300 holidays bucketed in three categories as follows:

  • 2019/2020 U.S. National Holidays: This calendar contains all the top favorites like Christmas, New Year’s Day and Tax Day (that last one is somebody’s favorite, I’m sure).
  • Educational Calendar/Events: This includes key dates such as Global Family Day and National Science Fiction Day which are observed globally. 
  • A Food-themed Calendar: Technically, these aren’t holidays, but they’re fun to observe and perfect for helping fill your editorial calendar, particularly if you are in the food and beverage industry (though this isn’t a requirement).

Since a long list of every conceivable holiday can seem a bit daunting to wrap your brain around, we’ve also created an embedded Google calendar that can be viewed in weekly or monthly increments or printed. 

holiday planner for social media example calendar

November 2019 Holiday Calendar – Source: CommonMind

Holiday planning isn’t just for retailers

When people think of the holiday season, it tends to mean the period of time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s (although it’s been creeping up in the calendar to incorporate Halloween as well). But holiday content planning isn’t just for retailers or companies whose business ebbs and flows depending on the season. Here are a few examples of how some lesser-known holidays and observed days can inspire great content.

World Vegan Day (November 2, 2019): This is relevant to a variety of businesses in the health and wellness industry. Here are a few examples:

  • A nutritionist could write a piece about how to create a nutrient-rich vegan diet.
  • A healthcare provider could create a list of physical signs for vegans to be aware of that indicate they’re not getting enough of a specific vitamin or mineral.
  • A fitness expert (or gym) could write about how to ensure vegans have enough energy for various types of workouts.

World Kindness Day (November 13, 2019)

  • A marketing agency could write about an ad campaign or case study which features kindness as the main theme.
  • A veterinary clinic could write about how kindness helps both pets and their owners live happy, more fulfilling lives.
  • Any  number of businesses can write about kindness as their approach to doing business such as through employee wellness and medical programs, community service and involvement, or promoting an internal culture of kindness.

National Hot Cocoa Day (December 13, 2019)

  • This is a cocoa-manufacturer’s dream holiday and the perfect day to promote their cocoa products with a blog post as well as via social media.
  • Food-related organizations (coffee shops, restaurants, caterers, grocery stores, etc.) could create an event around this day (e.g., drop in for a free cup of cocoa!) and promote it via their blog and social media accounts.
  • Retailers can cash in on the height of shopping season by offering free cocoa in stores, coupons that fall on this day, and stories that humanize the company which can be featured on the blog (e.g., feature an employee cocoa-related story).

As you can see, becoming familiar with nonstandard holidays as well as observance days can help spur creative ideas for content that’s relevant to a variety of businesses and industries (you don’t have to sell cocoa to take advantage of National Hot Cocoa Day).

Our Google Holiday Calendar is a great way to familiarize yourself with upcoming holidays and can be imported into your own calendar for easy reference. Since this may be overwhelming, you can also peruse the long list of holidays to begin brainstorming and filling out your editorial calendar for the rest of 2019 and into 2020.

Happy content planning!

Jacqueline Dooley is Director of Digital Strategy for CommonMind.

The post Pre-made calendar with over 300 holidays to help plan editorial content appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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admin October 31, 2019 0 Comments
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