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content-marketing-strategyWith the attention span of web surfers decreasing steadily, it pays to entice them within the first few seconds after they have landed at your website. You should learn the fine art of balancing keywords and readability so that your content attracts search engine spiders and human readers alike. If you are still not sure about the importance of compelling and optimized content for your website, here are some factors that will drive the point home.

Helps to attract the readers and add stickiness: Your readers are your future clientele. So, you need to have content that attracts readers to your website and entices them enough to stay for a long time on the site, exploring different web pages, special deals, services or products offered etc. Since you can’t talk to the reader directly, having a compelling content is the best thing that you can do to attract and retain web traffic.

Assists in creating an effective online presence: To captivate your targeted market, the content of your website should have a zing in it. Since most visitors will be wondering – “what is there for me in it?”, you have to address them in your content and keep the focus on how your clients can benefit from your services rather than beating your own drum and having a content that’s all about you. Remember – the key is to make the prospective and existing customers feel important. This way, you will also ensure a strong web presence in your niche market.

Adds value to your offerings: Since many companies these days offer the same kind of products or services, it becomes important to stand apart from the rest. Compelling and exclusive content can help you in this endeavor and add value to your offerings. If you can offer some analysis or insight that nobody else has done, or share something important that no one else has shared, you stand the chance of being noted and talked about.

Gives a timeless feel to your site: Compelling content doesn’t become dated with time. By having such content on your website, your message will stand relevant and memorable even a few years down the line just as it is today. So, you won’t need to sacrifice on a steady stream of visitors who will continue to come to your website.

Helps you to bait the search engines: By having optimized content on your site that comes with an adequate keyword density, you can bait the search engine spiders and get ranked favorably on the search engine results for your targeted keywords. This will help your site get featured on organic search results and drive traffic to your website. You can turn such leads into sales and make a killing on the web.

Though producing compelling content is not an easy job and often has a steep price tag attached to it, it can turn out to be a valuable tool to help your business rise to the next level. If you haven’t thought about it yet, it’s time to figure out a strategy for having compelling and optimized content for your website.

increasing comments on your blogBlogs are an excellent way to interact with your customers, both present and prospective, provided they are informative. According to most expert bloggers, successful blogs are those that help the reader or customer find timely solutions to their problems. Solution oriented blogs are not only good for reading but contribute to sound business sense as well. Recently, however internet marketing and blog specialists concur that blogging has taken a completely different route - it has gone vertical. In other words, vertical blogs are the current blogging sensation making huge rounds in the business world.

In order to understand vertical blogs, it’s important to have an idea about vertical markets. Vertical markets, also called niche markets, are essentially those areas in a business that are closely connected to yours. Businesses that are closely aligned with each other, often share similar customers - if not the same and should be targeted using the same marketing strategies for successful promotion.

Given that aligned businesses are coming closer and sharing marketing strategies, it’s not surprising that they have adopted the concept of vertical blogs. Vertical blogs are nothing but blogs that focus on a particular niche or aspect of the industry connected to your business. In other words, vertical blogs talk about a specific aspect of your business, which is related to yours, although it is not your exact area of business.

The biggest advantage of vertical blogging is the direct increase in traffic to your website. In other words, when you write blogs on topics that are broadly connected with your area of business but not specifically limited to yours, you are targeting all those people who are interested in such areas. For example, if your business is kitchen décor and you have many blogs on that matter, a vertical blog could be specifically on topics like in-house lighting or recipes or even nutrition etc. Experts believe that people interested in any one of these similar topics will automatically link to your site, if only to find out more about you and your business. This results in more traffic to your website, especially to the interested category.

The first step toward incorporating vertical blogs in your marketing arsenal is to identify all allied niches. Identifying such niches is easily done by searching the kind of audience you want to reach out to and matching it with the kind of websites it usually targets. In short, make a list of the people who are likely to require and benefit from your services. Secondly, it is important to ensure that your message in such vertical blogs is essentially what the customer wants to hear or learn about.

Finally, focus on offering timely solutions in your blogs as this is the key to successful vertical blogging. Understanding your target audience and their needs and requirements will help you in developing these specific blogs. Furthermore, it helps in determining the kind of engagement you visualize and expect from your audience.

5 things you didn't know about yelpEstablished in the year 2004, Yelp has grown to become one of the leading websites for customer reviews, and helps people to spot the best local businesses such as restaurants, hair stylists, dentists, mechanics, and much more. The review writers or Yelpers have offered over 36 million reviews so far. In addition to the reviews, lists and events are provided as well, and visitors are allowed to discuss with the Yelpers to get answers to their queries.

Despite the fact that Yelp is one of the most popular sites, there are certain things that many don’t know yet. Some of these include:

Sizeable traffic from the home page: Similar to other social media platforms, Yelp too favors mobile and enjoys about 78 million visitors to its home page each month. While the majority of the search results are from desktops, over 7 million people are mobile users, and the trend over the next few years is going to favor mobile and smartphone users.

Feedbacks and customer reviews: Yelp discourages businesses to coerce customers to post reviews. Rather, it emphasizes the importance of making the customers aware. In fact, according to a Yelp research, businesses that provide top-notch customer service stand the highest chance to acquire a 5 star rating. In general, a business review is more likely to get a 5 star review rather than just a single star. However, since customer service is of prime importance, more than 70% of businesses without proper customer services have been trashed by reviewers and received just a single star rating.

Free signage via Flickr: Despite discouraging businesses from coercing customers to write reviews, Yelp encourages more delicate means of persuasion. Many don’t know that Yelp provides downloadable signage via a Flickr stream. You can also leverage Yelp by using a Yelp link on your business cards and in your email signatures.

Boost revenues but not much effective for chains: Studies have shown that high Yelp rankings give a boost to revenues by as much as 5 to 9%. However, Yelp tends to support independent businesses, and has statistically insignificant effect on chains.

Disputing reviews on Yelp: Many business owners do nothing when a string of negative reviews trash their business on Yelp, as they believe that they can’t change the situation. But the reality is quite different. In fact, you can dispute such reviews on Yelp and if the need arises, the reviewers may be made answerable to you (the business owner).  However, Yelp cautions against businesses that plan to give legal threats and talk about filing lawsuits against such negative and unreasonable reviews as such actions would cost a lot of money, effort, and time, and may ultimately not help much. Yelp stresses the fact that its review filters are on the prowl and bogus reviews have a high chance of being taken down in the long run.

So, while formulating your Yelp strategy, keep these lesser known factors in mind to benefit from Yelp listings the most.

Comparing top social media sitesDid you know that over 900 million users around the world use Facebook, which is closely followed by Twitter (555 million) and YouTube with a viewer base of 490 million? Google+ ((170 million), LinkedIn (150 million), Pinterest (11.7 million), Tumblr and Digg come next in the list.

When you consider monthly visits on top social networking g sites, Facebook with 7012.9 million is the leader, followed by Twitter (182 million), Google+ ((61 million), LinkedIn (85.7 million), Pinterest (104.4 million).

When it comes to the male-female ratio, women are found to be more active on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, where the ratio is pegged in their favor at 60% (against 40% of males), 57% (against 43% of males), and 68.2% (against 31.8% of males) respectively. 63% of males use Google+ against 37% of females, while for LinkedIn, the male-female ratio stands at 55%-45%. The sex ratio of users for Digg is 60-40 in favor of males. 

Comparison based on age demographics

Social networking sites

13-17 years

18-25 years

26-34 years

35-44 years

45-54 years

55+

Facebook

11%

29%

23%

18%

12%

7%

Twitter

4%

13%

30%

27%

17%

9%

Google+

9%

23%

35%

15%

11%

7%

LinkedIn

0%

18.1%

31.2%

24.8%

15%

10.5%

Pinterest

3%

6%

28%

28%

25%

11%

 

While Tumblr is good for reaching out to people belonging to the 18-34 years’ age group, Digg users mostly belong to the age group of 21-34 years, with a few belonging to the age group of 14-21 years.

With such statistics, it is obvious that you ask questions regarding the disparity in user stats amongst these social media platforms. In order to understand why one particular social networking site is more popular than the other, it is important to understand the basic aspects of each site and compare it with the other. Here is a brief comparison of these social networking platforms that is aimed at giving you an idea of how things work with a hope that it helps you choose the best one for your needs.

Overview of top social media platforms

Before choosing a social media platform to meet your business needs, it is important to understand the different and popular platforms and how they differ. The most popular platforms include Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Digg, Tumblr and YouTube. Here is a brief overview of all the platforms.

Facebook: If you are looking for brand exposure and building customer relations, this the perfect social media platform. Here you can create your own profile, exchange messages and stay updated on the recent happenings. However, the only drawback is the fact that this site is not SEO friendly, largely because Google does not consider Facebook shares as a separate part of their ranking algorithm. However, this does not mean that you cannot make Facebook SEO friendly. Choosing an appropriate page name and using keyword rich content in your About Us and information sections, can definitely add SEO value to your page.

Twitter: If you are looking for ways to respond to your customers quickly, Twitter is your best friend. However, given that most people tend to abuse such instantaneous means of communication, there is a large follower drop out issue that comes hand in hand with this site. . This is largely because the website is extremely strict against spammers and data inconsistencies. 

Pinterest: This social photo sharing site has steadily gained followers and you too can use its virtual pinboard service to grab eyeballs on the World Wide Web. Some recent statistics have shown that 72% to an astounding 97% of its user base is female. So, businesses targeting females can definitely use this site to their advantage.

LinkedIn: This site displays an almost even ratio of female and male users, who use it to connect with peers and other business professionals. Many companies these days even use this site to hire new employees or do some research on their prospective candidates before offering them a position.

Google+: Although a recent addition, this is a great place to interact with your customers. However, the only drawback is that not many people are onto this networking platform, which could make it difficult for you to reach a wide clientele base.

YouTube: If you are seeking promotion through video blogs or tutorials etc, this is the perfect way to reach out to your customer base. However, you might find it difficult to direct traffic back to your website from this site. However, you can always use the annotation feature in YouTube to add a call for action button, directing your viewers to go to your website. Interlinking your videos on YouTube with some annotations is the only way you can easily direct traffic from your video to your site.

Tumblr: This is a great site if you are planning on reaching out to the 18 and 34 year old demographic. This site is even good if you wish to reach out to people under the age of 18. 

Digg: This is excellent for brand exposure but not so good for customer interaction.

How to begin

When comparing different social media platforms for your business, it is equally important to understand how to begin each journey. Given that each social media platform is different from the other, it is obvious that each website will have its own set of do’s and don'ts to follow.

Similarly, it is equally obvious that each site will have its own set of lingo and jargon that you need to know and understand before attempting any successful social media intervention. However, most sites have their own tutorials and guides that will help you in this regard.

Understanding the value of each social media platform is extremely essential before going onto using it for your business. This brief comparison is primarily aimed at helping you develop that basic understanding. Undoubtedly, identifying your needs, in terms of what social media intervention you require, is the basis to successful marketing campaigns.

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