News

How Any Small Enterprise Can Compete with the Massive Boys Utilising Search engine optimisation and Social Media

I get it. I understand how brutal it can be—trying to market your small business in a world of billion-dollar businesses and multi-million dollar marketing budgets. You have a limited budget, limited time, limited knowledge, and a limited arsenal of tactics that you can afford to implement. But the big brands? They can do anything they want, hire as many people as they want, and unleash any tactic they want. Today’s small businesses are forced to compete in an increasingly saturated marketplace. The competition is fierce, and it has become incredibly difficult to rise above the noise. Combine this with the massive disparity between a small business’s marketing budget and a much larger enterprise’s seemingly infinite resources, and it’s obvious that the cards are stacked against small businesses. In fact, finding new customers is one of the top concerns of small business owners, and 66% claim this is the biggest issue they face. How can small businesses tip the scales in their favour and go head to head with mega juggernauts? When done correctly, these strategies can help any small business compete with the big boys. It’s part of the glory of digital marketing. Anyone can compete. Anyone can succeed. Even the little guy. You just have to know how. Leveling the playing field. The beautiful thing about these two mediums—SEO and social media—is that they are impartial. They show no favoritism. Google doesn’t care what business is offering which product. It’s just looking to provide users with the best and most relevant results....

Google Penguin 4.0 update; What does it mean?

In case you missed it, Google very recently announced that Penguin is now part of their core algorithm. So, what does that actually mean for your website? Penguin – what is it? Firstly, a quick reminder of what Penguin is all about. Introduced by Google back in 2012, it sought to see an end to the dark arts of black-hat webspam SEO. The algorithm assesses the quality of inbound links to a website and attempts to figure out which are natural/spammy and penalises your website if you have a disproportionate number of low quality, inbound links. Many websites fell foul of the new algorithm when it was rolled out – in some cases rightly so but others more inadvertently – many businesses for example had invested in paying SEO agencies for link building. Google were only reviewing links periodically, maybe once or twice a year so even after removing low quality links to your site, recovery times could be frustratingly slow. So, what’s changed? Penguin is now real-time – changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after Google re-crawl and re-index a page. So, all in all, good news. As soon as you get low quality links removed, Google will recognise this and adjust accordingly. Which serves to highlight the importance of keeping a very close eye on your inbound links. Monitoring inbound links There’s a somewhat overwhelming plethora of tools that can do this for you. Some free, some cheap, some expensive, some reliable, some not-so-reliable. There are two go-to tools (because one will generally miss some off the list and vice-versa). Take the links and put them into your own spreadsheet. Google Search Console – Grab your inbound links by going to ‘Search Traffic’ > ‘Links to your site’ Moz Open Site Explorer – enter your URL, download and merge them with your spreadsheet. Remember to remove any duplicates. How to identify spammy inbound links | Google Penguin Update 4.0 Identifying spammy links Moz rather helpfully will provide indicators of the quality of the inbound links spam scores. But there’s no substitute for manually reviewing each link to see if it’s natural or from a low quality, irrelevant site. If you need...

Real World Problem Solving: The sound of gold — Paralympics 2016

What does gold sound like? If you followed the 2016 Paralympics, which ended this Sunday, Sept. 18, you may have observed some medalists on the podium shaking their medals next to their ears. This year’s medals, the product of an innovatively inclusive effort to provide enhanced sensory experiences for Paralympic athletes with visual impairments, were uniquely designed to produce sound when shaken. Although the sonorous design of the 2016 Paralympic medals is simple, it is also unprecedented. Small steel pellets are implanted within a hollow space on the inside of each medal. Gold, silver and bronze medals contain a different number of pellets, giving each a distinct sound. The idea for audible medals, produced by Brazilian designer Claudia Gamboa, was readily embraced by Olympic brand managers. Coining the new medal design the “sound of victory”, Olympic design manager Dalcacio Reis was hopeful that the innovation would begin “a new way of celebrating on the podium”. The modification of Olympic medals to accommodate athletes with visual impairments is not new. For the past several competitions, the standard design has been enhanced with additional embossment in braille. However, the design of the shakable medals allows athletes to identify the distinction between gold, silver and bronze. Gold medals (containing 28 pellets) have the weightiest sound, while bronze medals (containing 16 pellets) elute the softest rattle. The design provides a way for athletes with visual impairments to identify their medal, establishing another sensory dimension to their hard earned victories. Athletes from the United States have won 112 Paralympic medals over the past 11 days of competition in Rio de Janiero. This count includes 40 gold medals, 42 silver and 30 bronze. However, this haul only puts the United States in 4th place of the overall medal count, with Ukraine, Great Britain and China filling in the top three slots. China’s Paralympic medal count is nearly double that of the United States. Why doesn’t team USA dominate here, as it does in the Olympics? Compared to other nations, whose Paralympic teams are often totally subsidized, US Paralympic athletes struggle to receive any kind of sponsorship, public or private....

Call Conversions: the Blind Spot Threatening Digital Marketing ROI

In 2017, digital ad spending in the United States will exceed TV ad spending for the first time. And, by 2020, marketers will spend 36 percent more on digital than on TV. Those predictions are a powerful testament to the importance digital advertising has in modern marketing. Still, as spending on digital channels increases, so does pressure on marketing teams to prove and improve ROI; and that can be a challenge. A recent survey found that 89 percent of participating marketers didn't think their digital marketing efforts were working. For marketers struggling to increase ROI from search, Facebook, display and other digital channels, the problem might not be their ads. The problem might be their data. Benchmark data such as CPL (cost per lead) and CPA (cost per acquisition) help take the guesswork out of decision-making by enabling marketers to optimize for what’s really driving leads, customers and revenue. But this only works if the data is accurate; and, unfortunatley, many marketers have a blind spot in their data that is causing CPL, CPA and other ROI metrics to be off by as much as 50 percent or more. The unexpected impact of call conversions on ROI. The problem, simply put, is the smartphone. It has transformed the way consumers research purchases and engage with businesses online. The result is that today, instead of following the traditional desktop-centric path of converting by filling out a web form on a landing page, smartphone users are converting simply by calling. According to research by analyst firm BIA/Kelsey: Search, social and display advertising will drive over 108 billion call conversions to U.S. businesses in 2016. That number will grow to 162 billion calls by 2019. Search advertising alone will drive over 40 billion call conversions in the United States this year. Calls convert to revenue 10 times more than web leads and will influence over $1 trillion in U.S. commerce this year. Despite the significant and growing role call conversions play in digital marketing success, many marketers have been slow to adjust. They still calculate the ROI of their digital campaigns using web forms as the sole conversion metric. Call conversions remain...

Typography Nerds: Here’s the Story Behind the ‘Stranger Things’ Title Sequence

Everyone knows the written word can be a powerful thing. Less discussed — except perhaps among a distinct, proud, self-identifying group commonly known as typography or font nerds — is how a typeface choice can shape a reader’s feelings about the text’s meaning. Need proof? Just ask the black sheep of the font family, Comic Sans. On the other end of the spectrum, one study showed that printing your manifesto in Baskerville is your best bet for getting followers to trust you. And if you want ’80s nostalgia-riddled adults worldwide to look at a title sequence and suddenly be overcome by a swell of emotion toward the sci-fi novels and films of their youth? Apparently, you make a beeline for ITC Benguiat, a font used on everything from Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books to the Smiths’ record Strangeways, Here We Come to Paramount Pictures’ FBI piracy warning (which, if you remember VHS tapes, is almost certainly emblazoned onto a tiny corner of your consciousness somewhere). In a fun explainer video for Vox, the creative director of Imaginary Forces — a Los Angeles studio responsible for creating title sequences on some of the best-loved TV shows of the past decade — details how her team took this careful font choice and ran with it when tasked with creating a title sequence for Stranger Things, the retro-tastic, runaway Netflix hit of the summer. Using somewhat outdated methods to create a typeface that blends the gritty, organic feel of pre-digital-era lettering with a bit of computerized trickery, the company conjured the precise feel of the series, which is to say: brand new yet very, very familiar. (You can play around with creating your own sequence right here.) The result? It doesn’t really matter what year you were born. When you settle in for an episode of Stranger Things, the part of your brain that feels warm and fuzzy about, say, E.T. or The Goonies is activated long before you see Winona Ryder even pick up that wall-mounted landline. Give the video a watch below. ...