Saturday, August 12, 2017

Gary Vaynerchuk - Entrepreneur | Business Strategy

Marketing Tips - Gen Z - Social Media

10 Tips For Marketing To Gen Z On Social Media

Generation Zers were born between 1995 to 2012. They are an ambitious, entrepreneurial and multicultural generation that tends to embrace technology and change. They are also the first generation to have never spent a single day without the internet, cell phone or computer.

For marketers, Generation Z holds a great deal of potential. They are slightly more numerous than millennials and already have $44 billion in buying power. That number will only get larger with time as members of Gen Z move into the workforce.

Members of Gen Z spend an average of 74% of their free time online, according to a study cited in Forbes. That means that social media is one of the best channels to connect with Gen Z, since they are already there in great numbers. Here are 10 tips to keep in mind when marketing to Gen Z via social media.

Social Media Marketing | Social Media Tips - Gen Z

4 Social Media Marketing Tips Gen Zers Should Learn

Social media is one of the most effective marketing channels for companies of any size. In fact, it works so well that more than half of U.S. small businesses are planning to increase their social media marketing budget this year.

Generation Z is at the forefront of social media -- they are extremely active on social networks, with half of Gen Z connected online via their smartphones for approximately 10 hours per day. This generation loves personalized apps, and a poll from SCG notes that 88% of Gen Zers are primarily using Instagram and Snapchat. Because of the new ways in which Gen Z is using social media, they’re changing the outlets associated with these platforms as well, with music at the forefront. 

Fabrizio Moreira, founder of recording company VIP Music Records, understands the marketing punch social media can deliver, when executed correctly. The company is expanding rapidly, and recently inked a long-term contract with The Orchard, a division of Sony Music.

However, their primary focus has been Latin America, where they now hold the top spot for music distribution in the youth market. As a global study by Nielsen notes, listening to music is a primary source of Generation Z’s entertainment, with 37% of respondents stating it was top choice. This suggests Moreira is on his way to making his label a household name across the globe.

The fast growth of Moreira’s recording company and the success of its artists is a result of several factors, with a solid social media marketing strategy leading the way. I recently spoke with Moreira, and asked him for his top social media marketing tips for Gen Zers.

Digital Marketing | Video, Content, Applications

5 Digital Marketing Trends Your Business Needs to Try

In order for your business to keep growing in the digital marketplace, you've got to develop a marketing strategy that keeps up with the technology.

We are a society tearing through the digital landscape, and there’s no hint of us slowing down anytime soon. New stars are born every day in the digital world. Some stay burning bright, while others quickly burnout.

Take for example, the Pokémon Go craze that took the world by storm in 2016. The augmented reality game exploded onto the global app scene early last summer. And while a series of technical and safety-related missteps led to its slowdown, it quickly clued marketers into the possibility of augmented reality.

On the flipside, mobile app Snapchat has held strong in the social media realm since its release in 2012. This social media starlet has clued marketers into the power of expiring content, so much so that it was offered (and rejected) a $3 billion buy-out from Facebook.

But, what the rise and fall of these digital stars tell us is that new technologies are rapidly evolving, right alongside the wants and needs of consumers. And in order for your business to keep growing in the digital marketplace, you’ve got to develop a marketing strategy that keeps up with the technology. Here, we take a look at five of the biggest digital marketing trends for 2017 to help you get started.

SEO | SEO Tips - Make PDFs SEO Friendly

10 Tips to Make Your PDFs SEO Friendly

Optimizing PDFs for SEO, however, remains a largely untapped opportunity.

Google can crawl, index, and rank the documents, but simple best practices are often under-utilized or just unknown.
PDF documents often contain a large amount of rich content that Google is able to index, which should really make them perfect fodder for SEO campaigns.

However, optimizing PDFs for search requires SEOs to follow a slightly different set of rules. The framework is broadly the same as a typical SEO approach, but the details differ in some crucial ways.

PDFs are also used to house a specific type of content and, as such, attempts to optimize these documents must bear that in mind.

Follow the 10 tips below and you should have a much better chance of gaining SEO traffic from PDFs.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Marketing - Marketing Strategy | Advertising, Networking

The Many Ways You're Marketing Even When You Don't Even Know You Are

The less your marketing resembles advertising the closer the connection you'll make with your customers.

Businesses work hard to create effective marketing campaigns, coming up with strategies carefully crafted to promote their brands both online and off.

But whether you realize it or not, you can promote brand awareness even when you’re unaware of it. A company’s image starts with its leadership and spreads to its employees and the work they do.

Here are some effective ways you build and grow brand awareness in ways you may not have considered.

Social Media Marketing | Artificial Intelligence

New AI-Based Tools Are Transforming Social Media Marketing

With the vast amounts of unstructured social data, the myriad of social media influencers and the growing number of requests for service via social channels, marketers can often get overwhelmed. Throwing more bodies at the problem doesn’t usually help much so marketers are beginning to explore AI-based tools to help them better leverage the power of social media.

As a participant in this growing technology category, Lux Narayan, CEO of Unmetric, an AI-powered social media metrics company, has been following the category closely. Narayan admits “The whole social space has a lot of noise. It's very difficult to disambiguate one company from the other.  But I think there are distinctive patterns in what companies do. And indeed, in where they're starting to deploy AI within each of those subdomains. More specifically, they fit into six broad areas within social.”

According to Narayan, the six areas of social media marketing being impacted by AI are:

1. Content creation: “People are creating content at the speed of culture. And that's a cadence for marketers that we've haven't seen before. 20 years back the average brand would do one campaign every six months and now they do six campaigns a month. That's a lot of content. We're seeing interesting applications of AI being used in content creation.” says Narayan. On his watch list is Twizoo, a social content platform that uses artificial intelligence to automatically discover and display user generated social media content across a brand’s website.

2. Consumer intelligence: “This is essentially pulling out the needles from the haystack,  filtering out signals from noise and finding interesting relevant signals for a brand that it can take forward into actionable insights,” he adds. Converseon is a digital consultancy uses a machine-learning platform to gain insights from social and voice-of-customer data.

3. Customer service: Narayan continues, “There's a lot of experimentation but we're seeing interesting things happening in the chatbot space where it's either a machine replacing or augmenting what a human is doing.” He is keeping an eye on Conversocial, a platform that makes it easier for customers to get help through social, mobile channels.

How Successful People Think - Gary Vaynerchuk

Social Media | Management, Marketing, Business Strategy

How to Talk Social in the C-Suite

It’s every social media professional’s greatest fear: Asking the C-suite for an increased social budget without a clear return on investment to show for it.

The social media department is often walled off from other departments, which makes it even more challenging for social media managers to rally support. It’s a daunting task even if you speak the language of the C-suite, but recent advancements in marketing technology have made it possible for companies to break down the walls of their internal structures and give consumers what they expect.

More than 90 percent of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all other forms of advertising, and today’s typical internet-using consumer lives in a social-first world. Studies show that the average customer has seven social media accounts, and they aren’t shy about telling friends and family how they feel about your brand via social media.

The customer journey is changing. Corporate behavior and priorities are unfortunately playing a game of catch-up with both technology and consumers’ use of it. While social media is driving this change, it’s also the best solution to closing the gap between consumer and brand communication.

Social impact on the bottom line

Here comes the hard part—convincing the C-suite that social can drive ROI, match sales or marketing efforts and help push the company out of the past and into the future. So, how do you make them listen?

Present clear social strategies and objectives

Clearly outline how social fits into the company’s overall marketing, sales or public-relations strategy. This will look different for each organization depending on key audiences, overarching goals, etc., but weaving social into this process will help the C-suite understand its relationship toward similar strategies and objectives.

It’s important that social is recognized as a separate entity, but explain how it can belong to the larger ecosystem of marketing communications goals.

SEO - Brand Authority

Why No Brand is Too Big for SEO

If you’ve ever helped lift a new brand off the ground and generate a large amount of organic visibility, you know that doing so is no easy feat.

All of this takes time. Usually a lot of time.

On the other side of this spectrum are large brands. Those sites with so much brand equity that some may question whether SEO is even really a need.

But we can put this question to rest when we consider all that SEO encompasses.
SEO isn’t simply about attracting new visitors who know little about your brand. A lot of what SEO is composed of is the “maintenance” of your organic online presence and the experience that you provide to your site users.

Let’s think for a moment about one of the biggest brands in the world, Coca-Cola.

It’s amazing to think that this ad and marketing spend totals 6 percent of the entire forecasted SEO expenditure of the world’s companies for 2016.

They definitely don’t need to concentrate on SEO, right?

Wrong!

SEO - SEO Tips - Best SEO Practices

What’s the most important aspect of SEO?

This is one of the most common questions in SEO.

And debate rages to this day.


How about links?

Is technical SEO just makeup? 

The answer is that it varies by company, industry, and location. Read on for some generalized explanations of what should be “king” in different scenarios.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Branding, Marketing | Ask Gary Vee Show | Jon Taffer Bar Rescue

SEO Tips | Search Engine Marketing | Entrepreneurs Guide

These 9 SEO Tips Are All You'll Ever Need to Rank

Entrepreneurs hoping for strong SEO (search engine optimization) rankings might take a lesson here. They can create a checklist of their own to make sure everything is perfect for their next website article. No, an SEO checklist won't protect you from crashing and burning. But it will help ensure that your post has the best chance it needs to rank high in Google. 

So, before you publish your next piece of web content, run it through the following 9-point checklist for the best SEO tips.

1. Pick a good keyword to focus on.

The first step is to simply pick the search term or phrase you want the post to show up for. If I am writing about the best dog toys for small dogs, I'll want to find out what people are actually searching for. The easiest way to do this is use Google Keyword Planner, a free tool that will show you an estimate for any search phrase. (Although Keyword Planner is free, you may need to set up an AdWords account to gain access.)

For example, I noticed that "small dog toys" receives 590 monthly searches -- higher than any other related combination of words. However, I'm still not totally ready to start writing about this topic. First, I need to do some research. 

2. Research the competition.

Now that I have a term I want to try to rank for, I'm going to go undercover and do some recon! Jump over to your "private browsing" mode on your web browser ("Incognito" in Chrome, "Private" in Safari and Firefox, "InPrivate" on Internet Explorer) and head to Google.com. (At my company, we do "private mode" because we don't want Google to use our past search history to influence what we see on the search results page.) Take a look at all the content on page one of Google, ignoring any ad results at the top. The 10 (or so) results are your competition! What are they missing? Can you do better?

3. Write the best content.

Now that you know what your competition looks like, it's time to create the content that is going to blow those folks out of the water. This is perhaps the most difficult part, but it's the most important. It needs to be amazing. I don't care if you are creating a blog post, ecommerce store page or sales-landing page. It needs to be better than the rest, or else neither Google nor your audience will ever take note.

For an example of an article I recently wrote -- with just this goal in mind -- check out "How to Become a Millionaire: The Ultimate Guide.". My goal with that post was to write superb content about that topic. How did I do? Related: 5 Ways Small Businesses Can Compete With Giants in SEO

4. Put the keyword in your page title.

This should be a no-brainer, but I'll say it anyway: Your page title should contain your keyword, but that doesn't mean it has to be exact (though it can be). Additionally, the title must also be interesting enough that people will actually want to click on it! A good example of this would be PT from PTMoney.com, who wrote a great post about "making extra money." However, rather than a boring title, like "Make Extra Money," he titled it "52 Ways to Make Extra Money." Now that is something I would want to read.

5. Put the keyword in your header.

You can organize most webpages by having a large title at the top, followed by several sub-headers throughout the page (like the sub-headers in this post). This organization is helpful not only for people in skimming blog-post articles, it's helpful in showing Google exactly what your blog post is about. Therefore, be sure to use your exact keyword phrase at least once in your sub-headers.

Influencer Marketing: Personal Branding, Building Authenticity

The Importance and Impact of Influencer Marketing in 2017

Why Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is making a splash. Many thought it was just a fad and would vanish soon, but it is growing rapidly. Let us see some reasons why influencer marketing is important:
  • Almost every company is using it to reach their target audience quickly.
  • An efficient way to enter the target market quickly and reach the real audience.
  • An alternative to paid ads and more efficient.
  • High ROI because of targeted exposure.
  • A great strategy to position the brand image and identity.
  • The safe way to market the product or service through trusted people in the industry.
  • A known personality talking about your product sells better than a text with a clickbait call to action.
What Makes a Great Influencer?

Personal branding and building authenticity are two important factors everybody should consider while becoming an influencer. Being yourself, putting in a lot of time and effort in something you believe and passion is not enough. You need to have a social media presence and should be able to share your thoughts out confidently on these social media platforms. Once you know you have built a decent follower base, it is time to become a great influencer.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Content Marketing | Online Marketing Strategy

Content Marketing Musts: 5 Keys To Driving Sales With Content

Everybody knows that these days, content is king. But not everybody knows how to create effective content for their brand. Brands that create content on the fly without a strategic plan and objectives in place are sure to be disappointed in the results their efforts return. Those that don’t know how to optimize content with an eye toward conversions will be similarly disappointed.

Content marketing is a long-term strategy. Unlike paid search, for example, it simply isn’t a channel that will generate immediate returns. Content marketing must be built and nurtured over time, and it must be designed with conversion potential in mind. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when creating and optimizing content that will convert.

1. Test site messaging and copy

Content is about more than just blog posts and whitepapers -- content is central to every single marketing message your brand creates. Every piece of content has the potential to impact conversions. That includes everything from a million dollar Super Bowl ad to the button text of your homepage call-to-action. We often see brands in such a rush to create new, exciting content that they fail to optimize the content their users encounter on a daily basis: website copy.

Website copy -- button text, product copy, main messaging, etc. -- is one of the biggest conversion influencers. It will either create user desire to browse deeper or it will convince the user to look elsewhere. One of the best things you can do to use content to drive conversions is to audit your website copy, searching for opportunities to speak more clearly and effectively to your audience. Test different value propositions and messaging to identify the highest-performing variations.

2. Include a Call-To-Action

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of CTAs to your content’s ability to convert its audience. Every promotional message should include a CTA because without one the audience will be at a loss about what they’re supposed to do next. It may seem like a pretty basic recommendation and it’s not one that’s usually missed on more obvious pieces of content like emails. But what about the rest of your content? Do you include CTAs on your blog posts? What about your videos? Your whitepapers? Don’t miss an opportunity to tell the user what to do next. Include relevant, logical CTAs in all your content.

READ MORE >>

Content Marketing | Social Media Marketing Tips

3 Tips to Create Content And Social Media Marketing That Sells

With the pressure on financial marketers to demonstrate ROI intensifying, it’s more important than ever to understand the buyer’s journey and create content that moves people through the sales funnel. To drive measurable growth, bank and credit union marketers need to target key audiences with relevant content to that speaks to their specific needs at each stage of the funnel.

Consumers are visiting branches less often. They can open accounts on mobile phones, and apply for loans at work on their lunch break. While lead nurturing and effective prospecting can be accomplished cost effectively in digital channels, the financial services industry has lagged behind. Banks and credit unions have failed to allocate sufficient budgetary resources where users spend most of their time. Instead, financial institutions have been flushing money down the toilet on tactics that can’t be tracked and don’t produce leads.

This is why a content marketing strategy is more important than ever before. Now that people can be targeted in digital channels with amazing accuracy, it makes financial sense to move budgets away from traditional media towards content marketing strategies that focus on generating leads, growing relationships and improving the bottom line.

Internet Marketing | Voice Search, SEO

Voice search and SEO: Why B2B marketers need to pay attention now

Voice search is commonly discussed in the context of local and B2C SEO, but it’s being used for more than just getting directions to nearby restaurants or hearing the next step in a recipe while cooking. Voice search is being adopted for a variety of purposes, and its influence on B2B decision-makers is growing as well.

By looking at who’s using voice search, why they’re using it, and where they’re using it, it becomes very clear that the impact of voice search on B2B SEO is inevitable. Adoption of the technology is on the rise, so it’s time for brands to begin optimizing for voice search.
Who’s using voice technology?

As early as 2014, 55 percent of teens and 41 percent of adults were already using voice technology daily. Adults use it to dictate texts, illustrating a desire to avoid typing on small devices. Teens use it to get help with homework, demonstrating an early adoption of voice technology for organic search.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Marketing Strategy | Build SEO in Google

4 Strategic Steps to Build SEO in Google

Pay Close Attention to the Content You Generate

The content you generate for your website will have an impact on your SEO ranking in Google, so don’t underestimate how powerful it actually is. Content development works beautifully for both search engines and visitors to your website. The more relevant content you generate, the more likely visitors will spend more time on your website. Search engines make note of that and will use more of your web pages in the search engine index – thrusting your ranking upwards. A reputable search engine optimization company suggests that your content should include:
  • Creation of blog posts about topics related to your website’s business.
  • Industry articles and white papers that elevate your authority as an industry expert.
  • How to guides and tutorials showing visitors how to follow your desired call to action.
  • Videos, pictures, podcasts and infographics to demonstrate visual power on your website.
  • General articles covering topics related to your business.
Creating high-quality content for your website takes time and money, but the effort is well worth it when you see it translate into tangible results for your business. Search engines like Google love good content and visitors will find it easy to navigate through your website.

SEO - Content Marketing | Internet Marketing Strategy

SEO Content and Convergence: Content Marketing Strategy 

It’s no secret that SEO and content marketing complement each other. SEO helps users connect with and discover information about your brand, while content marketing ensures that information is relevant, engaging and primed for conversion.

Just as SEO alone is not enough to guarantee content quality and relevance, content marketing alone is not enough to guarantee performance and results. When the art of content marketing combines with the science of SEO disciplines, marketing success is truly guaranteed.

The convergence of SEO and content marketing has been a topic of conversation for many years, and now the fusion is finally happening. Case in point, BrightEdge (my company) recently surveyed 250 digital marketers from leading global brands and found that 97 percent of marketers surveyed believe that SEO and content have become more integrated and/or are converging into a single function, with only 3 percent viewing them as separate disciplines.

Social Media Marketing | Social Media Tips

5 Best Practices of Social Media Marketing

Build Trust in your Brand

According to Cairns, most people are looking for brand recommendations and social media allows this easily through user generated content. Since people can share their thoughts about any brand on social media, it makes it easier for them to trust a brand if it gets a positive reaction on the platform.

Look closely at user Generated Content

Cairns also believes that it’s more challenging for brands to promote on social media because the brand is not in total control of the content that gets generated. However, in her view, the user generated content can provide crucial insights to brand owners and help them approach their audience in a more targeted way.

It’s all about the Right Strategy

Social media marketing success is the outcome of well planned strategy, says Cairns. She believes that it is important for marketers to know what they want to achieve, to be able to differentiate between brand awareness and engagement, and above all, to know how to choose the right social media platform to target their audience.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence | Marketing, Technology

Virtual reality: A New Technology Revolution

Customers have made their preference for online and mobile commerce clear, and as companies continue to adapt to this and propel towards providing advanced self service, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence are stepping into the limelight. Sylvia Jensen, Director of Marketing EMEA at Oracle Marketing Cloud, discusses this technology revolution and what it means for the future.

The dynamic between brands and customers has reached a tipping point, and all signs point to a technology revolution that will yet again reshape the customer experience. People have made clear their preference for online and mobile commerce and in response, companies are moving further away from real-life, human interactions in favour of advanced self service. So it is no surprise that large proportions of sales and marketing leaders are citing Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence as the biggest game-changers in communication for 2017 and beyond.

Self Service Gets an Upgrade

From VR dressing rooms on a retailer’s website to intelligent chatbots on a telecoms company’s service portal, merchants are already finding ways to make the customer experience more convenient and familiar to consumers whose primary communication platforms have become messaging apps and social networks.

AI and VR have the potential to greatly enhance the customer experience but brands must ensure they are set up to succeed. Unless these technologies are underpinned by an overarching data strategy that unifies and organises customer and prospect data, they will only deliver a fraction of their potential. Brands will always look to experiment with new technologies as they try to find ways of delivering innovative and memorable experiences for their customers, but they need to ensure that they are able to truly understand their customers first. Having the right data will enable organisations to deliver a better, more personalised experience to their customers and deliver the right message to the right person at the right time on the right channel – through VR, AI, on social or otherwise.

Influencer Marketing - Generation Z | Millennials

3 Ways To Pick The Right Influencers When Marketing To Generation Z

What does it take to reach Generation Z? It’s pretty simple, actually: Don’t make it look like an advertisement!

Generation Z is the generation currently between high school and college, born in the late 1990s through the mid-2010s. It is the first generation to be born into the mature digital age. While Millennials (their slightly older counterparts) have memories of life before AOL Instant Messenger, Gen Z’s childhood consisted of iPad games and smartphones.

You can’t expect old advertising tactics to work on these young, digital natives. It doesn’t matter how amazing the camera, how beautiful the shots, how clever the copy — if it sounds like an ad, Gen Z is gone and paying attention to something else until it’s over.

What many big brands and businesses don’t seem to understand is that Gen Z has grown up in an era of vulnerable YouTubers and confessional bloggers. They don’t just watch TV; they watch their favorite vloggers.

This is why influencer marketing has become so popular with younger consumers. Brands are beginning to realize that in order to reach these new viewers, they need to share their message where Gen Z is looking: on their smartphones and social media feeds.

But even though influencer marketing is still fairly new (five years ago, the thought of paying a social influencer 6-plus figures to mention your brand or wear your logo was unheard of), the landscape has already begun to change drastically.

Influencer marketing has been proven and scaled, which means it is becoming more refined. In fact, according to VentureBeat, 75% of marketers use influencer marketing in their overall strategy. Influencer marketing is no longer uncommon. The key is to utilize influencers the right way.

So, how do you use influencers when marketing to Gen Z? Here are three tips.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Social Media | Social Media Marketing, SEO

8 Ways To Use Social Media To Promote Your Company

Modern society revolves around technology and mobile devices, so using social media to reach your audience is a great way to promote your business. However, there are still countless marketers and small business owners that are struggling to harness the power of social media.

Social media is an awesome, cost-effective way to market your company and build a relationship with your potential customers. It can (and should!) be used by virtually any business, regardless of its size or industry.

Although social media can bring a number of great benefits, using these platforms effectively can be a bit overwhelming. To help you, I’ve put together a list of 8 ways you can use social media to promote your company and build an enduring relationship with your audience.

Why Should You Use Social Media?

The emergence and widespread use of new technology have changed many aspects of modern culture, including our shopping habits. Consumers spend a huge amount of time on social media every day, and savvy companies are taking advantage of this. Aside from being cost-effective, promoting your company on social media has many advantages, some of which include:
  • Giving your company personality
  • Sharing your knowledge
  • Becoming a thought leader in your industry
  • Building brand awareness
  • Generating more traffic for your website
  • Improving SEO
  • Increasing loyalty levels
Another great reason to use social media is the emotional aspect. Because social media is a source of entertainment and interactive leisure, consumers are more open-minded and receptive to your marketing efforts, contrary to traditional marketing channels.

Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Your Business

You can promote your company through social media in many different ways. That being said, you have to pay a lot of attention to your audience and your industry. Creating buyer personas, or fictional depictions of your perfect client, will help you set the right tone for your posts and the content you share.

Social media marketing campaigns can be very effective, especially if they are used as a part of a bigger marketing scheme, like an inbound marketing strategy. Here are some of the most effective ways to use social media as a stand-alone strategy or as part of a bigger scheme.

Small Business Marketing | Internet Marketing Tips

10 Tips for Promoting Your Small Business from Online Entrepreneurs

How do you promote your small business? You can use content marketing. You can focus on social media. You can host some sales or other events. And that’s just the start.

For more ideas on how to give your small business a boost this spring, check out these tips from members of our small business community.

Use These Spring Promotion Ideas for Family Friendly Businesses

Spring is a great time to try to appeal to families with your marketing. And there are some really great promotional ideas out there, including the ones listed in this post for family friendly recreation businesses by Jenny Hayward of Signpost.

Use a Blog to Boost Your Business

Blogging isn’t exactly a new promotional strategy for businesses. But it’s important that you have an actual plan for how you can use a blog to really boost your business. Marc Prosser elaborates in this post on the CorpNet blog.

Create High Converting Content

Whether you’re creating blog posts, social media or other types of content, you need to always keep in mind how that content is going to convert customers. In this Content Marketing Institute post, Shane Barker shares how you can create high converting content for your business.

Drive Traffic With LinkedIn Marketing

When you think of social media marketing, your mind probably goes right to Facebook or maybe Twitter. But there are some powerful tools on LinkedIn that you can use to promote your business, as Ravi Chahar outlines in this Inspire to Thrive post. You can also see commentary on the post over on BizSugar.

Use Customer Empowerment to Improve Retention Rates

Your small business’s promotions shouldn’t be all about gaining new customers. It can also be about improving retention rates. This Kissmetrics post by Nadav Dakner goes into more detail about how customer empowerment can improve retention rates for small businesses.

Digital Marketing Trends | AR, VR, Videos, Data, Apps

5 Digital Marketing Trends You Should Be Paying Attention to in 2017

When it comes to digital marketing, content is still king. Content marketing comprised 20.3% of the digital marketing techniques implemented so far in 2017, although big data (crunching numbers to reveal buying patterns, for instance) is quickly gaining a foothold in online commerce.

The point is, businesses that still do not see the significance of digital marketing to boost their presence and revenue will end up being left behind by the competition.
According to a report from Statista, digital ad spending in the U.S. is expected to grow to $118 billion in 2020 from just a shade under $60 billion in 2015. That's more than double in just five years. In the global scale, the amount is expected to reach over $250 billion by 2018.

Here are just five of the digital marketing trends to watch for this year:

1. AR & VR Technology

The potential of augmented reality and virtual reality in business applications has never been more promising. After the gaming industry latched on to the new technology to enhance the user experience for gamers, developers have released apps that can help boost businesses. For instance, architects can make use of AR to give clients a virtual tour of what the finished product would be like. In digital marketing, businesses can exploit VR to help customers get a better picture of their vision more than any other type of messaging could.

2. Live Videos

Facebook Live and Snapchat Videos are just some of the platforms that can be exploited by digital marketers. Video content will dominate the scene in the next few years with Cisco predicting that 80% of consumer internet traffic by 2020 will be cornered by videos. Meanwhile, Facebook Live is growing 94% each year in the U.S. with eight billion views daily.

Facebook was embroiled in a scandal when its video platform was used to broadcast several violent attacks, which prompted founder Mark Zuckerberg to announce the hiring of 3,000 more people to police the platform of any offensive content.

3. Apps for Data Visualization

Applications like Data Hero, Tableau, Dygraphs, and Visual.ly have been helping digital marketers package big data for easy consumption not just for businesses but the consumers as well. This is not exactly a new trend. However, for this year, it's projected that businesses will make sure to exert more effort in using these tools to interpret the facts and figures at their disposal.

SEO - Internet Marketing | Importance of META Tags

Why are META Tags Essential for SEO and Website Ranking?

How to rank better in the search engines? One good SEO technique includes HTML meta tags. Here are 6 types of meta tags and why you should use them.

If your business has a website, then it’s important to think beyond just writing keyword rich copy for the page. It’s also vital to utilize the catalog of meta tags available that can be associated with that page in order to get better traction in the search engines. One of the parts of good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques includes HTML Meta tags. Thankfully, you don’t need to be a programmer to learn the basics of meta tag relevancy and how you can use them to draw your ideal client in to visit your site.

Unlike the early stages of search engines, adding relevant keyword meta tags won’t rank your website higher in the search results anymore. However, meta tags are a great way for business owners to provide search engines, and their users, with information about their website.

SEO - Optimize Website Images | ALT Tags

Why You Should Still Optimize Your Photos For SEO

Most SEOs will tell you that it’s important to optimize your images. It has long been considered an essential part of on-site optimization, especially if images are a central part of your content strategy.

But in recent years, website builders like WordPress have been able to offer more out-of-the-box on-site optimization, with automatically formatted images in many cases.
So just how important is it to optimize your images in 2017?

What Image Optimization Is For

First, let’s explore why you would want to “optimize” your images in the first place. This includes all images on your website, from header and “featured” images to embedded images in your blog posts.