Great design and thoughtful preparation of your email campaigns can really give your web traffic a boost. Though it may not seem like a logical pairing, email marketing and SEO (search engine optimization) can and do indeed work together. Here are a few tips on how to create a successful email design that will be more likely to be opened and inspire click-throughs to your site.
Thoughtful Email Design and Content
Email services like Optify, MailChimp, and Campaign Monitor, to name just a few, make it easy to choose a great looking, responsive template. Here at Placemaking Group, we create uniquely branded designs for our clients, too, but they all have a few things in common.
Google officially launched the Knowledge Graph Carousel for local search this week for English searches in the US (Forbes). The carousel concept has been around for a while but it is now being used for local results. Here is a sample of a search for restaurants in Oakland.
The question is what can be done to make the most of this new feature?
When you click on the carousel image the Google+ Places information shows on the right side. But how did Ichiro Sushi get the first place spot with only 6 reviews and no rating. Zachary’s Pizza has a 26 Zagat rating and 448 reviews. That makes sense that they would be second.
However, when you scroll through using the carousel you’ll see Yoshi’s, which is a world class restaurant, but not on the first screen. Yoshi’s may want to work on its photo. The photo for the restaurant in the first place spot appears to be from its Google + page. We think the best way to capture searchers is to make sure your photo is really sharp and represents your brand well.
The social aspect is definitely more prominent in this search, with consumer driven reviews in the results and event listings. What isn’t clear is if the reviews and ratings are from your network and how much weight they receive.
We’ll keep you posted as we figure out the best way to get optimal results from Google knowledge graph SEO.
Do you take the opportunity to speak at industry events, conferences and meetings?
You can get double the value from a good speaking engagement. Not only can you share your expertise, but when promoting your speech, there are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) benefits.
Most people tend to shy away from public speaking, which provides more opportunity for you. The key to public speaking in many ways is the same as any other communication — make sure you know who you’re talking to and what you are going to tell them. This is the key to marketing in general. If you’re talking to a group that could potentially help your business, then that’s good. Next, think about what you’re going to say. It’s a good idea to make sure that the subject matter you are talking about is what you want people to know about you and your business.
Many professional services firms (lawyers, management consultants, accountants, IT consultants and architects) we work with are developing content for their customers and using website content to educate and demonstrate knowledge to potential clients. According to a benchmark survey by the Content Marketing Institute, 33% of marketing budgets for professional services firms are spent on content marketing.
The question often comes up during meetings with our clients: ”What content is valuable enough to be gated?”
First, what is Gated Content?
Gated content is when a website requires visitors to fill out a form before they can get the content, whether it is a PDF that gets emailed to the person, or a webpage, or MP3, that is delivered via the web.
LinkedIn currently reports that it has 200 million members worldwide. Most have probably created a LinkedIn page to connect with colleagues and clients and have high hopes of connecting to prospects. However, many will probably never be found, because they have not maximized their profiles. Here are five LinkedIn profile strengthening tips to boost your profile and create a network of professionals that has the potential to increase your business.
Here’s a great example of why you should be careful about what you post on the web, especially social media. A restaurant owner in Arizona has been getting bad reviews for a while now and was recently on Fox reality TV show “Kitchen Nightmares” starring Chef Gordon Ramsey.
That show didn’t go well for him either, so he ranted on Twitter… “I AM NOT STUPID ALL OF YOU ARE, YOU JUST DO NOT KNOW GOOD FOOD.”
There’s a great article in the San Jose Mercury about this. “You need thick skin in this business,” Chef Ramsay said before walking out. It was the first time he wasn’t able to reform a business, according to the show. But the owner continued his rant on Twitter, Facebook and anything else he could find. That led to closing the restaurant for a week or two to let things simmer.
Pinterest can be a powerful and fun addition to your travel and tourism PR social networking program. For those of you not already on the bandwagon, Pinterest is a social networking platform that allows users to create virtual bulletin boards on which they can “pin” inspiring images or videos.
Followers can like your pins, effectively bookmarking them, or repin them to their own boards to share them with their own followers. Gorgeous travel shots are particularly suited to the Pinterest audience; the combination of images, video and descriptions can bring a place to life for its followers. It’s a visually rich way to create a buzz around any travel destination.
Both islands use a mixture of original content from the Visitors Bureau uploaded to Pinterest, and repinned content posted by other Pinterest fans of Guam and Kosrae. Being engaged by sharing images is part of what it’s all about. With that in mind, Pinterest posts can easily be shared across platforms, cross-promoting your posts via Facebook and Twitter.
Do you want better SEO? Do you know why you want better SEO? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is becoming one of the most effective tools in the world of marketing–but only when it is used correctly. In the world of PR, we’ve been using it for years. Our goal is to get journalists to find the information for their story ideas at our clients’ websites, or by contacting them directly. We do keyword tweets on Twitter. We make sure that the keywords are clear on press releases and on our clients’ websites.
One of the ways to get better Search Engine Optimization is a process called Article Marketing. Here are two excellent resources for Article Marketing. You can start at Wikipedia and get the basics. There you learn that Article Marketing has been around as long as there have been newspapers and magazines. To use Article Marketing effectively, you must be an expert at something. You write an article about that subject, and you try to get it placed in a newspaper or magazine. The article has your name on it, and you are on your way to becoming well-known in your industry. That’s how Public Relations really started in the early 1900s. When the early PR professionals realized that if they helped make the journalist’s job easier by providing the right information for a story, they could get their clients’ stories placed in print publications.
When you add the Internet with Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., Article Marketing became, for some companies, a way of tricking the search engines to get your company higher up on the search engine listings. There were sites on the web that charged you for a link. Google and their colleagues eventually figured out what was happening and then made it very difficult for them to succeed.
But the actual concept of Article Marketing really can work for you. Your story has to be well written and informative. It can be a blog post, a press release that you have on your site, an article that you got placed in some other journalist website, or a case study that you have on your site. You want people to read it, and then go to your website and contact you. Phil Stone has written a really instructive piece called “What Is Article Marketing?” He gives you a good idea of the process, and what is possible.
The important thing to remember is to make sure your keywords are embedded in your story. But more importantly, make sure your story is worth reading–or it is a waste of your time and money.
Do you often find yourself sitting at your computer noodling through a solution to a challenging technical problem only to find that the next time you need to perform the same task, or even worse, the next time you need to show someone how to perform it, you have totally forgotten the steps to success you had painstakingly sleuthed out? Well say hello to your new best friend, screen capture or casting. By simply capturing the activity on your screen and a voice over as you work through a solution, you can now walk the viewer through complex concepts more efficiently, helping you explain any subject with more depth and understanding.
Here at Placemaking Group we often use screen casting to record walk-throughs on the back end of our custom CMS system, “elfCP”. We are able to perform specific tasks in the admin panel for a client’s website and record the process with voice over tips and direction. This streamlines and simplifies the training process by showing the client exactly what to do step by step onscreen. The best thing is that the videos are then available for them to reference whenever they need a refresher course on completing a certain task or a when a new employee takes over the responsibility of completing it.
Here is an example of a walkthrough we created for one of our clients using the built in QuickTime Player screen recording feature.
Think about how you could utilize screen casting to your advantage in the business you are in; maybe it is demoing a new piece of software you have created, or maybe it is simply showing your employees how to fill out their electronic timesheet correctly, speeding up productivity and clearing up confusion … the possibilities are endless and exciting!
Software Looking for a screencasting application? For the little video above, we used the built in screen recording function in QuickTime Player, which works great, and if you have a Mac running 10.7 or above you most probably have it right there in your Applications folder for free!
Here are a couple more options to check out if you want to start your screencasting adventure and dont have Quicktime already installed:
Jing (Windows/Mac, Basic: Free, Pro: $14.95 per year)
That should not be a surprise. For the times when we react to social media, there must be some very personal connection. Unfortunately for most marketers, they just haven’t been able to put a heartfelt personal connection into their ads and posts.
No one needs to tell you that communicating with your financial advisor can be VERY personal. So, as I’ve said before, social media is a set of tools. But they aren’t the answer for every situation. Remember, if you intend to use social media, make sure you can get a heartfelt, personal connection into it!