SEMPO’s State of Search Report has been an industry stalwart for eight years running providing valuable data and insights regarding search strategy and tactics. In order to gain as much participation as possible and thereby provide more actionable data, we are extending our 9th Annual Survey period through November 23.
For those who have not yet taken the survey, we’re excited to announce some new features/topics that have been added while we have retained some of the aspects that have provided unique perspective over the years. Here’s a quick rundown of what we’ve kept and what’s new:
- We’ve kept the core strategic questions around channel specific budget increases/decreases, objectives, and metrics so we can compare/contrast with the results from previous studies. That’s one of the advantages of having established benchmarks over the years.
- We’ve also kept the key survey structure that has similar but separate tracks of questions for advertisers and for agencies. This is a unique feature of the SEMPO Survey that has consistently generated interesting take-aways and discussion when we analyze and report the survey results.
- We added Social Media to the survey several years ago as it was becoming clear that social activity was being incorporated into search engine ranking algorithms. This year we’ve added Mobile and Email Marketing questions to further gauge the expanding integration and evolving role of search with other digital content marketing channels.
- And we’ve added questions around some of the major developments recently announced (Hummingbird, keywords not provided, etc.) along with our now standard questions to help identify and prioritize other emerging trends and industry challenges.
The 2013 State of Search survey is open to SEMPO members and non-SEMPO members alike and it’s time for your voices to be heard. Please take the 10 minutes or so to participate by clicking here. By participating in the survey, you will receive a complimentary copy of the report as well as a chance to win an iPad 3. Please also help us spread the word. The more participation we get, the better the data is for all of us.
A key finding from SEMPO’s 2012 State of Search Report was that advertisers and agencies had a very different perspective on the need to integrate search and social media activities.
We are pleased to announce that the 4th Annual Salary Survey Results is now available for download.
The report provides an in-depth look into search marketers’ salaries, job roles and responsibilities, verticals/segments, compensation extras and perks, budgets, and more. The results and key findings are compared to previous Salary Survey results in order to evaluate trends in the search marketing job market.
Findings for 2013 include:
- A 10% growth in Entry-Level Employees with 27% of respondents reporting they have been in search for 0-3 years. The majority of these salaries were in the 0-$30K range with some representation in the $30-$60K range.
- Top Salaries including for VPs decreased and the number of respondents in the top four salary ranges also decreased.
- The average salary across the board decreased from $75,543 to $68,600.
- Holistic marketing that included a combination of organic and paid grew by 11%. Additional growth was in search combined with email and online media efforts.
- 64% of respondents report up through the Marketing Department rather than to a Search or IT department.
Conducted in January 2013, the survey was completed by 2,180 respondents. The 4th Annual Salary Survey was fielded by the SEMPO Research Committee in conjunction with ClickZ. The 23-question survey collected data from both in-house advertisers and third-party agency personnel including SEMPO members and non-members.
SEMPO members can view the detailed survey findings for free by downloading the 2013 Salary Survey here. You can also see how the search marketing landscape industry has changed by viewing SEMPO’s past Salary Surveys here.
Past Salary Surveys are available to non-SEMPO members as well but the current Salary Survey is only available to members. To become a SEMPO Member and view the 2013 Salary Survey results, please click here.
Content, content, content. There’s a lot of talk about the importance of content. But does it really make that big of a difference? You better believe it. The right content can attract new customers and help SEO for your site, which results in all the precious leads. According to B2B Infographics, 92% of SEO practitioners say content creation is an effective SEO tactic, and 76% regularly invest in content creation.
Let’s take a step back and start at the beginning. Content is a cycle that helps create brand awareness, website traffic, and leads and build relationships. Your social media presence, blog, email marketing, and paid search work together for consumers to find your business online. All of these activities increase brand awareness. Then, your engaging content sends customers directly to your website, where they can scope out your business.
Content also improves your SEO by helping your website get indexed faster, increasing rankings for search terms, and increasing domain ranking. It’s a win-win. According to iMedia Connection, 71% of marketers say that content marketing has helped improve their site’s ranking in organic search, and 77% say it has increased website traffic.
So we understand why it’s important but how can using content be put into action to generate leads?
1. Create a mix
Develop a mix of both paid and owned content to generate leads. Mixing PPC ads and social media ads along with engaging content will allow new customers to become aware of your business. In combination with your engaging content, customers will never want to leave.
2. Get creative
There are numerous ways to reach customers through engaging content. One way to reach customers and build relationships is through email. For example, after a customer makes a purchase, offer them a discount if they review your product. This will not only show that you care about what customers think but also provides incentives for making another purchase. You just generated another lead through content (Go you!).
3. Drive it back home
Consistently linking content and paid search back to your website will help drive traffic to your website, therefore creating leads. Whether it’s a blog post, mobile app, or a Facebook ad, every piece should have a website link. Provide a contact form on each page, ask for feedback, post customer reviews, and get customer contact information to continually generate leads.
Once you’ve executed your plan, it’s time to analyze your success. Determine the cost per lead by using your PPC amount and the number of leads you received. Use Google Analytics to determine the number of clicks from social to your website. By analyzing the data, you can make informed decisions to decrease your costs and increase your profits.
iMedia Connection found that 70% of marketers say that content marketing has increased their brand awareness,59% believe it supports sales growth, and 45% say it has reduced their advertising costs. After analyzing the data, it’s important to remember that generating leads through engaging content is an ongoing cycle that can play an integral role in your business’ success.
Compelling website content is the key to engaging with your audience. It needs be unique, shareable, and useful for the reader, as well as optimized to help attract/influence search engines… Let’s go back to the basics with 10 tips to writing engaging, optimized content:
1. Headline – When it comes to creating content, a headline needs to be compelling. Why? Simply because it is the first thing readers look at. When trying to write a headline, keep in mind that it should draw in readers and give them (and search engines) a very concise idea of what your content will be about.
2. Show and Tell – Write your article as if you were writing your English papers back in college. Back up your points with reliable sources (links when possible) as this will make your content more credible. Also consider using graphics to reinforce key points (see below for more on this).
3. The 5 W’s – Try to answer the “who, what, when, where, and why” questions as concisely as possible. When each of these questions are answered, your content becomes more useful and more likely to be shared.
4. KISS (“Keep It Simple Stupid”) – Most of the time, content that is to the point keeps readers interested and more likely to read through the whole article; put away those thesauruses and avoid using jargon!
5. Meta Description – Like the headline, the meta description is what search engines use in their results listing to let your readers know exactly what your content is about. Try to be as specific as possible so as to capture your reader’s attention.
6. Optimize with Keywords – A very easy way for your content to be easily searched and receive higher traffic is by implementing the use of keywords. Focus on a single keyword or keyword phrase for each piece of content. Include several “natural/conversational” keyword mentions but don’t overdo it. Remember, it’s always quality over quantity.
7. Images – Like keywords, images are what draw readers to your content. Remember, search engine bots don’t see pictures, so be sure to optimize your images. This can be done by including a descriptive file name, alt text, and a caption for your images.
8. Summary – As a conclusion to your content, always recap what you are trying to say in the article. For some readers, the conclusion is where they draw most of the information, or at least tidbits of the information. It’s also a good place to encourage feedback from your readers.
9. Revision – When you believe you have finished writing your article, think again. Always revise and edit until you cannot revise anymore. Then don’t be afraid to make more changes to the content if it’s not getting the readership you expected.
10. Social Sharing – Finally, include social sharing features on each page of your website. When people share your content through social, it can help your website rankings.
Try out different tips to see what works for you and what doesn’t. Always experiment until you’ve come to the right recipe for drawing readers to your website.
Do you have a tip for writing engaging, optimized content? Share in the comments below:
You wake up to the alarm on your phone. Then you quickly check the weather forecast for the day from your weather app. While standing in line for the elevator at work, you get caught up on world news through Twitter. When it’s time for lunch, you don’t feel like walking down the street, so you order takeout from your favorite restaurant through their app. As you are about to leave work, you get an alert about a traffic accident. Now you know to take an alternate route. After a long day, you’re not sure what to eat for dinner, so you find a new recipe with a quick search. All in a day’s work for your mobile device.
If this is how you are using your mobile device, you better believe your customers are using it the same way.
Mobile is no longer an option; it is a way of life. According to StatCounter, mobile devices now drive almost 20% of all global internet traffic. Google recently confirmed that sites without optimized mobile experiences won’t rank as high in their search results. And if you want Google to like your business, you better start with some mobile initiatives.
Most consumers are not only using mobile devices for search but they are starting with mobile devices for search. 50% of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. This isn’t just when they don’t have access to a computer; this is when consumers are at home, on the couch, with friends, or travelling. To be straightforward, if you don’t have a mobile strategy, you are losing out.
Here are 4 tips to develop a robust mobile strategy:
1. Know Your Business and Know Your Consumers
It may seem like a no brainer, but the first step in developing a mobile strategy is starting with self-reflection. Determine the key aspects of your business and what consumers need from your brand. For instance, analyze the mobile visitor’s behavior on the current site. What pages are they requesting? Where are most of the mobile visitors dropping? Once you know what they need and what you want to get across, you can begin to cultivate a plan of action.
2. Create a Mobile Website
Consumers expect to easily be able to view a company website through their mobile device. One of the best options recommended by Google for a mobile-optimized website is responsive web design in which the website responds to the device your customer uses. This means one website with a layout that varies depending on whether your customer is on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone. Without a mobile-optimized website, customers can become frustrated and annoyed by the enlarging, scrolling, and unnecessary clicking they may have to do. A mobile-optimized website allows consumers to find the information they need quickly. Create a layout that highlights key points your consumers will want to find – location, phone number, hours, sales, or specials.
You will also want to optimize your mobile pages for organic search. Google recommends focusing on rendering above-the-fold content to users in one second or less while the rest of the page continues to load and render in the background. Web pages that render quickly will rank better than those that have a long load time. Another consideration for the web developer is to avoid common configuration mistakes that affect rankings in a Google search. These mistakes include unplayable videos, faulty redirects, and app download interstitials.
3. Understand and Develop PPC ads
Mobile PPC ads are based on four main factors:
Position – Because screen sizes on smartphones are smaller than desktops, it is extremely important for advertisers to bid more aggressively for the first two positions on the search page results. If you don’t come up in the first 2 positions, your ads will be shown at the bottom of the first screen, or worst, pushed to the second page, increasing the chance of not being seen.
Keywords – Generally, mobile searches include more misspellings and shorter phrases than those performed on desktop computers. If budget allows, keep this in mind and bid on commonly misspelled brand and related terms.
Individuality – Write ads that are tailored specifically for mobile users. Potential customers performing searches on mobile devices want to find information quickly and be able to navigate the site easily as possible. Mobile accessible discounts, promotional codes, or sales alerts that are triggered by location encourage users to utilize a business’ mobile site or app.
Extensions – When possible, ads should take advantage of call extensions. If your business has a phone number, you can easily include a “Call” button in your ad or on your website that allows the searcher the option to call your business right then and there. Remember, 52% of users have called a business after searching.
4. Incorporate Social Media
Social media and a mobile strategy go together like peanut butter and jelly. This is where you can really engage your consumers to use all the mobile strategies you’ve been working on. Offer mobile-friendly coupons, start a loyalty program that requires customers to “check-in” to earn rewards, or go big and create an app designed precisely for the needs of your customers. Encourage your customers to continue to use the app/mobile device to drive engagement and build brand loyalty.
70% of mobile searches lead to action within an hour. Can you imagine what that number will be like in the next year? The next two years? Consumers expect a mobile strategy. However, don’t jump into creating it without a plan. It’s important to make your mobile strategy memorable and creative but most importantly useful. Don’t forget about the “real world” aspects and how mobile will be incorporated. Developing a strategy to serve your customers, creating a mobile-optimized website, utilizing mobile ads, and incorporating social media are four main ways to ensure your business will be ready for 2014 and most importantly, ready to serve your customers.
According to comScore, one in every three minutes spent online is spent on devices other than a PC. With the increase in usage of mobile and tablets, businesses need a mobile strategy to compete and meet customer needs, regardless how big or small the company is.
Mobile devices are extensions of the people who use them. According to research done by Morgan Stanley, 91% of all Americans have their mobile devices within reach of them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Given the growth of the industry, Internet availability, and the number of consumers using mobile devices, there should be no question as to whether or not a business should develop a mobile strategy to reach local consumers.
Let’s talk about the keys to an effective mobile strategy:
A Mobile-Optimized Website
A mobile-optimized website is essential for an effective mobile strategy. According to Google, 67% of mobile users say they are more likely to buy a product or service from a site that is mobile-friendly because a well-designed mobile experience allows users to easily find the information they are looking for without frustration. When designed correctly, mobile sites can make a sale available at the touch of a button.
On the other hand, 52% of users say a poor mobile experience will make them less likely to engage with that brand in the future. So you can see how critical a mobile-optimized website is to conversions and your company’s brand and reputation.
A Local Search Strategy
Approximately 40% of all mobile searches on Google are for local purposes and that number will continue to grow. In today’s world, consumers are relying on their mobile devices for information on everything, including local products and services. This is a big opportunity for local businesses to be found.
An SEO campaign that targets a specific location is the most effective way to ensure potential customers can find you. A well-executed local SEO strategy means your website is optimized for location-specific keywords as well as for local business directories like Google+ Local and Bing Local. These directories are important because Google and Bing have assigned the top of their search results pages to local businesses for local searches. Being listed at the top of the search results page is important; 92% of traffic comes from first page search results.
In addition to organic search, consider using paid search to increase mobile traffic. The key is creating a PPC campaign that targets the specific location you serve. This includes adding the business phone number and address in the PPC ad. This will allow mobile users to quickly find you or easily click to call you. It is important to test and monitor your ad ranking to make sure it is being shown at the top of the first page of results, as traffic drops by 95% when you move to page two.
As consumer behaviors and attitudes change, marketers will need to quickly adapt to stay ahead of the competition. According to Collin Cornwell, Vice President, Natural Search, iCrossing, “In order to compete for today’s sophisticated online consumers, brands must have a deep understanding of how users arrive at their website, and the tools and know-how to optimize their site to stay in front of the consumer at every step of the purchase cycle.”
Multi-channel customer care options including a mobile-optimized website and paid search advertising are becoming a must for businesses. By developing an effective mobile strategy, your business will strengthen customer relationships, build brand loyalty, and increase its bottom line.
Are you fine-tuning your mobile strategy? Share your ideas in the comments below:
Consumers live in social media so it only makes sense for you to establish your company there as well. Businesses have spent the last few years trying to figure out how to effectively use social media as a customer acquisition channel. A recent study showed that 77% of B2C companies and 43% of B2B companies have acquired customers from Facebook, so there is evidence that you can successfully turn fans into real-life customers.
As an efficient platform for engagement and community building, Facebook allows businesses to share information within seconds and stay linked with their fan base. It is important to establish a connection and interact with customers through this channel for entertainment, branding, and customer support purposes.
“Building a solid community from your loyal customer base is the best way to attract quality prospects that can be converted,” says Debra Ellis, a business consultant and author of 31 Ways to Supercharge Your Email Marketing. “The people who use your products and services are the ones who are most likely to have friends and family that would like your company too.”
Here are 5 ways your company can turn Facebook fans into paying customers:
Sweepstakes and Contests – Promotionsare a great way to increase traffic to a website and develop sales leads. Traffic to a website is important because traffic increases the opportunity to make sales. Running a giveaway not only keeps your customers engaged and sharing your brand but it’s also a useful way to grow your email listings. Whether you are starting with 100 or 100,000 fans on your Facebook page, giveaways have been proven to increase that number. A basic enter-to-win sweepstakes with a lower barrier to entry often proves the best option.
Facebook Ads – Take advantage of Facebook ads and direct traffic to your website. Facebook ads aren’t simply more established on the site, they are actually more efficient. You can entice your audience with special offers and sales. The advantage of using Facebook ads is you can target your customers by location, age, gender, and even interest. Facebook ads also allow you to remarket your ads, so if a customer searches for your product or a similar product outside of Facebook, they can be reached when they return based on their search information.
Outreach With Email – While social media platforms are instant and easy to share, the best way to acquire and retain customers is through email marketing. Use every opportunity to encourage customers to join your mailing list. As mentioned earlier, promotions are a great way to build your email list. Include a checkbox in sweepstakes forms for participants to sign up for promotional deals, or consider linking your signup form to your Facebook page with an app. Offer incentives for participation with a special discount.
“Fan-Only” Coupons – Having a Facebook fan base gives you the ability to stay in contact with your current customers and reach potential customers. Coupons are a great way to bridge the gap between fan and customer. Many of your fans already use your products so take advantage of that. Coupons aren’t pushy, but act more as an invitation to browse your products. If a fan “likes” your page, they are already showing interest in your brand. For those who like your page but have never purchased your product, a “Fan-Only” coupon will entice them to make a first purchase. In fact, a recent study by ExactTarget and CoTweet found that 40% of people who liked a Facebook page did it initially to receive a discount or coupon. Coupons give you the opportunity to take the conversation off your Facebook page and into your store. Using a variety of coupon campaign applications, you can easily create a coupon that customers can print out and redeem in store. If you want to build your email list, you can have your customers enter their email address to receive coupons. Also, making the coupon “Fan-Only” can drive more clicks because of the exclusivity.
Post Testimonials – We all know that Word-of-Mouth is the best form of advertising, and this holds true online. Post customer testimonials to let your fans see what real people are saying about your products. Don’t just have testimonials that say your products are great; post testimonials that discuss how the product solved a common problem, too. A great example of this is weight-loss products that show photos and post testimonials from people who have used them. They don’t sell; they tell a story about their product.
It is possible to turn Facebook fans into paying customers but you need to do it in ways that are much different than traditional advertising. People go on Facebook to read stories, not to look at products. Tell a story, engage with your audience, solve a problem, and then you will get new paying customers.
With hundreds of thousands of new accounts created each day, Twitter is arguably one of the most powerful tools for increasing brand awareness. As the second-largest social network, it reaches millions of people every second with 400 million tweets a day.
To increase brand awareness and promote your brand on this platform, consider these simple approaches to monitoring and managing your account:`
1. Stay In Touch With Hashtags
Have you ever considered the impact of a hashtag on your company’s brand buzz? In a survey conducted by RadiumOne, an online advertising firm, 71% of the respondents used hashtags on a regular basis and 34% of them used hashtags to search for and follow brands they are interested in. With the help of hashtags, Twitter allows companies to easily track how active they are in the Twitter community. Be sure to consistently monitor Twitter for mentions of your company. Hashtags have become so popular that American Express announced a new program, Amex Sync, that will allow cardholders make purchased by using hashstags.
2. Reach Out And Engage – Being mentioned is one thing, but responding to those who are talking about your brand is another. Research indicates 56% of customer tweets to companies are being ignored. This is a missed opportunity. It is important to ask questions, answers questions, and acknowledge tweets regarding your company. By building a presence on Twitter, your customers will make a personal connection with your brand; this will lend to your business’s credibility and trustworthiness. One company that has mastered customer service on Twitter is JetBlue. We all know how frustrating flight delays and cancellations can be, so JetBlue acknowledged this and made it a priority not only engage with happy customers but to respond to and help frustrated customers as quickly as possible.
3. Quality Over Quantity – Use Twitter to give instant updates and insights regarding your brand, but be sure not to flood your followers with the same tedious messages. It is important to mix things up. There must be a real etiquette to your approach. Take a look at Nike for example. Nike engages its followers with interesting tweets and retweets. It pulls in its audience with messages directly related to its product but also counter-balances with tweets unrelated with its sales efforts. Nike also does a great job of showcasing future products and retweets their followers’ opinions on them. The company also has individual accounts for its subsidiary brands, including golf, running, football, and basketball. This is used to keep the messages tailored to each individual audience.
4. Incorporate Twitter into Promotions – Just like with Facebook, you can run promotions on Twitter and increase awareness using Promoted Trends and Promoted Tweets. For example, Ciroc Ultra-Premium wanted to engaged Twitter users over the age of 21 to build its brand awareness and did so by creating a New Year’s Eve campaign that combined Twitter’s age screening technology with a Promoted Trend and Promoted Tweets to connect with their targeted audience. By incorporating the hashtag #CirocTheNewYear, the company launched the campaign that had the highest Promoted Trend engagement in 2012 by an alcohol brand and a 369% increase in positive brand mentions. Promoted Trends and Tweets are a great way to increase brand awareness because they will be placed where your audience can easily see them and can be targeted by keywords, interest, gender, and location.
5. Promote a Twitter Chat – Twitter chats are an excellent way to establish your company as an influencer on a given industry. They allow you to establish rapport with your audience and offer you valuable opinions. TipIt, an app that organizes your travel plans in one place, holds a monthly chat on Twitter where it discusses new topics and gives away prizes to participants. Creating a Twitter chat isn’t hard. You simply decide on a relevant Twitter hashtag and tweet about the topic at a set time and date. The key is to encourage other people to join the conversation and allow them to offer input. Post the Twitter chat on each of your social platforms and your website. You can find daily Twitter chats on different topics by visiting TweetReports.com.
What other ways have you used Twitter to promote your client or business? Tell us about your successes in the comments below.