Higgins Marketing Group https://higginsmarketinggroup.com Small Business Marketing Consulting | Higgins Marketing Group Wed, 05 Jun 2019 18:03:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 UX Mistakes That Are Driving Traffic Away From Your Website https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/ux-mistakes-that-are-driving-traffic-away-from-your-website/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/ux-mistakes-that-are-driving-traffic-away-from-your-website/#respond Wed, 05 Jun 2019 17:00:54 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4912 The post UX Mistakes That Are Driving Traffic Away From Your Website appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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UX Mistakes That Are Driving Traffic Away From Your Website

Let’s say you are offering the best product/service in your industry. Your pricing is competitive, your SEO is top notch, and your online reviews are stellar. All of that is great! But if you don’t have a website to match, none of that will matter much.

Have you noticed the intense focus marketing professionals and creatives have placed on UX? How the number of jobs with the word “UX” in them has exploded over the last few years? Consumers are more sophisticated than they have ever been, so their expectations are high. And what we’ve seen is that nothing, and we mean NOTHING, will drive consumers away from a business faster than a bad website.

So let’s talk about some of the mistakes we see businesses making on their websites that are absolute killers of user experience.

Slow-Loading Pages

Patience is a virtue, but it’s one that seems to be taken for granted these days. The highest converting sites have a page load time between 1.8 and 2.7 seconds. Sites with the lowest bounce rate are even fast, clocking in no longer than 1.2 seconds all the way down to 700 milliseconds. Clearly, consumers aren’t willing to wait around very long.

Disappearing Drop Down Menus

Have you ever visited a site, hovered over a heading on the navigation bar and then just when you think you’re going to click your search term … the whole thing vanishes? This can be extremely frustrating for consumers who don’t want to perform nav bar gymnastics just to find what they’re looking for. Navigating your site should be simple and intuitive –– users won’t stick around to learn your navigation.

Autoplay Video

This is how it usually goes. A user comes to your website interested to learn more about your product/service, and within a few seconds of entering a video starts to play. They have forgotten that the volume on their speakers was turned up, and not only does the sound startle them, but it drives them into a mini panic as they scramble around the site trying to find the video to stop or mute it. Maybe they find it and hit mute, but it’s more likely that annoyed users will just X out of your site to stop the noise.

Super Long Forms

Yes, you need to collect information from your site visitors. And yes, having more information about those prospects allows you to tailor their experience. But do you really need to know their address? The name of their employer? When it comes to forms, users want to things to be short and sweet. Forms require effort and prospective customers simply don’t want to expend more than they need. All a long form does is signal that it’s time for them to bail.

If you need help developing or updating your website, we’d love to help! At Higgins Marketing Group, we bring together great design and marketing savvy to create beautiful websites that convert. Contact us today to get started on your new website!

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How Online Reviews are Powering Small Business Marketing https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/how-online-reviews-are-powering-small-business-marketing/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/how-online-reviews-are-powering-small-business-marketing/#respond Wed, 01 May 2019 17:00:27 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4883 The post How Online Reviews are Powering Small Business Marketing appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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How Online Reviews are Powering Small Business Marketing

Long gone are the days where customers walk blindly into a small business without having some level of expectation for the product or service they’re about to receive. You can thank sites like Amazon, Yelp and Google for that.

These sites have empowered consumers like never before, giving them a platform to share their experiences with your business, both good and bad. I’m talking about online reviews. You’ve seen them — The 5-star ratings underneath a product description, the glowing recommendation from someone whose life was changed, the grammar defying rants of a traumatized customer, the list goes on.

Online reviews have become a powerful force in small business marketing. They can do everything from build confidence in your brand, generate leads and drive organic search results. So how does it all work? Let’s take a look at why you should start soliciting online reviews for your small business and the best strategies to go about it.

Why Do Online Reviews Matter?

Online reviews are such a big deal that BrightLocal started conducting an annual Local Consumer Review Survey to explore just how consumers read and use online reviews, and how this ultimately affects their interactions with local businesses. Here are three key takeaways from the 2018 report:  

  • 86 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses
  • When it comes to choosing a business, 57 percent said they would only use one with a 4-star rating or higher
  • Potential customers will read an average 10 reviews before they trust your business

Customers obviously take online reviews seriously, so you probably should, too.

When it comes to trusting your business, reviews can go a long way. More than half of the people surveyed by BrightLocal said that positive reviews made them more likely to use a local business, and a whopping 91 percent of people age 18-34 trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend. It makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, how likely are you to spend your hard-earned cash on a product or service that you’ve heard bad things about? Probably not very.

Online reviews can also affect your search rankings. Google has taken to giving prime real estate in its results to businesses that have a number of reviews. The search engine giant’s algorithm pulls information from a number of third-party sites, like Yelp, in addition to its own platform to scour for reviews. The more reviews you have, and the more positive they are, the higher you’re going to show up in Google’s rankings.

How Do I Get Reviews for My Business

The goal of any small business marketing strategy is to increase awareness to generate leads that are going to turn into conversions. In simple terms, to get more people visiting your business and spending their money. Online reviews can do that for you. But how do you get them?

Ask your customers. The easiest way to get online reviews is, well, to simply ask for them. The idea likely makes you uncomfortable. But it doesn’t have to be as desperate as it sounds. Your customers know how important online reviews are to a business. For all you know, a good review is what brought them to you in the first place! If you’ve provided them with excellent service and a great product, they won’t feel annoyed or used if you ask them to provide their feedback.

Provide an incentive. If you still feel bad about asking your customers to go out of their way to leave you a review, consider offering them an incentive. There’s a difference between “buying” reviews and offering a little perk. You can host a monthly giveaway exclusively for customers who have left online reviews, or hook them up with a $5 gift card to the local coffee shop.

Make it easy. Even your best customers aren’t going to spend more than a few minutes trying to leave you a review, which is why you need to make it as easy as possible for them. Make sure you have profiles on multiple review sites, then share the links to those profiles on your website, social media pages and in any email marketing campaigns. The easier you make the process, the more likely you are to get reviews.

What About Negative Reviews?

You will get some negative reviews. This is just something you have to accept upfront. No business is perfect, and even if you did everything you could to provide a good experience for someone, there are always those people who simply can’t be pleased.

Don’t let this discourage you! Actually, a few not-so-great reviews can be beneficial. For one, it shows readers that the reviews are “real.” Nothing looks fishier than a business that has only positive reviews and five-stars across the board. Some business owners have been caught leaving their own reviews or paying for fake reviews to make themselves look better. Consumers are on the lookout for these kinds of schemes and are not going to do business with someone who is trying to trick them.

Plus, negative reviews give you an opportunity to grow. Constructive criticism is something you should value, so take the time to read negative reviews to learn how you can improve your business to better serve your customers.

If you get a bad review, own up to it. Don’t try to hide it by removing it from your page. Transparency will go a long way toward building trust with your customers and show that you really do care about their experience with your business/product. Respond to the person who left the review and let him or her know what steps you are taking to remedy the situation. They might be so impressed by your commitment that they change their mind about you and your business.

Still Not Sure Where to Start?

Developing a marketing strategy for a small business isn’t rocket science, but it’s not a walk in the park, either. Taking charge of your online reviews is a great way to dip your feet into the marketing pool, but if you want to kick things up a notch, you’ll want to lean on a savvy marketing professional who knows what makes small businesses successful.

At Higgins Marketing Group, we focus exclusively on helping small- to medium-sized businesses develop marketing strategies that will grow their revenues. We know how small businesses work and what it takes to get their name out there — it’s simply our area of expertise. We would be happy to talk to you about how to develop your digital marketing strategy. Just contact us today and we’ll get started!

 

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Don’t forget to follow HMG on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ and make sure to share this post via the social media icons below!

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So Your Website Has a High Bounce Rate… What Does it Mean and How to Fix It? https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/so-your-website-has-a-high-bounce-rate-what-does-it-mean-and-how-to-fix-it/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/so-your-website-has-a-high-bounce-rate-what-does-it-mean-and-how-to-fix-it/#respond Wed, 23 Jan 2019 18:00:17 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4692 The post So Your Website Has a High Bounce Rate… What Does it Mean and How to Fix It? appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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So Your Website Has a High Bounce Rate… What Does it Mean and How to Fix It?

A lot of marketers will tell you not to focus too much on your bounce rate, and they make some great points. We agree that there is a lot of context missing in Google Analytics when it comes to bounce rate, but we don’t think you should ignore it altogether.

If you’re not familiar with bounce rate, a bounce occurs when a user comes to your website and leaves without visiting a second page – typically a quick view and then they’re gone. A good bounce rate is relative –– it can vary by industry and it really depends on what your site’s goals are. But generally speaking, here’s how bounce rate is scored:

  • 25% or lower: This is very atypical (in fact, it often signals an error in recording)
  • 26-40%: Awesome
  • 41-55%: Average
  • 56-70%: A bit high but nothing outside the norm
  • 70% or higher: Not good and you probably want to investigate

Now, there is a chance your bounce rate is high because users landed on page that answered all their questions and there was simply no need to wander further. Your content was just that good! The most obvious example here is a 1-page website. These sites are more and more common… and bounce rate is an irrelevant statistic for these sites (instead, the key statistic to monitor is conversions)

But let’s assume that isn’t the case. What would drive users away from your site? Here are three of the top reasons people tend to bounce.

 

Your page is taking too long to load

A great place to start when you see a high bounce rate is your site speed. We live in an instant-gratification world, making us easily distracted and more impatient than ever. If your site is taking a long time to load, you’re going to be ancient history.

A recent Kissmetrics survey found that 40% of people will abandon a website that takes longer than two seconds to load. That’s hardly enough time to blink!

If you see a page has a high bounce rate, run it through some tests to see how long it takes to load and what you can do to speed things up. Google’s PageSpeed tool is pretty handy, and there’s also Pingdom and GTmetrix. Many times, it’s a page’s visual content that is bogging it down. Compressing images can be a quick and easy fix to decrease load time.

 

Your ads are annoying people

When you land on a page and the first thing you’re greeted with is a flashy banner, a video that starts auto-playing at full volume and an email newsletter sign-up form … chances are you’re a little annoyed. If you don’t like it, do you really think someone visiting your business’ website is going to enjoy it?

Nothing kills the user experience like an onslaught of pop-ups and ads. A recent study found that “too many ads” was the number one reason users said they would want a website blocked from their search results.

If you’re going to use a pop-up, wait to have it appear until the user has scrolled a bit down the page and keep other ads to a minimum. Focus on quality content to engage and convert users instead.

 

Your content is hard to read

Speaking of content, how does yours hold up when it comes to readability? Because the last thing a user wants to see when they come to your site is a giant wall of text that may or may not be relevant to their search.

People read content online in a much different way than they would sitting on the couch with their favorite novel. Users want to be able to skim a page and find what they’re looking for fast. If they can’t, they’re going to bounce.

So how do you make sure your content is skimmable? Using subheadings, bulleted lists and images to break up the text is a great start. The easier your pages are to read, the longer users will stick around.

Keep in mind that context is important when interpreting bounce rate. But if you have a high bounce rate on important pages of your website and you don’t know what to do about it, we can always take a look. Higgins Marketing Group knows what it takes to create a website that supports your business’ goals and brings in the conversions. Contact us today to set up a consultation and get your website in order.

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Don’t forget to follow HMG on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ and make sure to share this post via the social media icons below!

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5 SEO Ranking Factors You Might be Overlooking https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/5-seo-ranking-factors-you-might-be-overlooking/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/5-seo-ranking-factors-you-might-be-overlooking/#respond Wed, 05 Dec 2018 18:00:56 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4655 The post 5 SEO Ranking Factors You Might be Overlooking appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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5 SEO Ranking Factors You Might be Overlooking

So… exactly how many ranking factors does Google look at when deciding whether they’re going to list your website in a user’s search result? It’s a great question and one that we wish we had a definitive answer to.

Unfortunately, Google keeps the specifics of their search algorithm a very tight-lipped secret… it’s a bit like the Colonel Sanders’ secret recipe of the digital marketing world! Sure, they let us know about things like optimizing for keywords and mobile-friendliness, but there’s so much more hiding behind the curtain.

SEO experts near and far (HMG included!) have been experimenting with Google’s ranking signals for years now. Our best estimate is that Google has somewhere around 200 ranking signals, maybe a bit more.

That’s a lot for an SEO expert to pay attention to, much less a business owner trying to run the daily operations!

Chances are you already know some of the big ones. We mentioned mobile-friendliness… and there’s also things like domain authority, quality backlinks, page load times, etc. But what about some of the more obscure ones? Are there ranking factors that you’re not aware of that might represent opportunity to improve your company’s rankings?

We think so, and here are 5 we think you should consider for your business’ website.

HTTPS

You know what they say –– safety first! We wrote a whole post about Secure Sockets Layer certificates and why you may (or may not) see a little green lock next to your website address. It’s all about making the internet a safer place for everyone, something our friends at Google are very passionate about. So guess what they did? They built it into their algorithm so that sites with HTTPS connections will enjoy a rankings boost. One Google rep disclosed it could be the “tie-breaker” between two otherwise equal search results.

Pro Tip: Installing HTTPS on your website is not a DIY kind of job unless you are a techee. If you make a mistake, your website could suffer from increased page loading times and a host of error messages. Get help from your hosting provider, domain registrar, IT or marketing partner.

Content Length

When it comes to content, relevancy is always going to be #1 in determining where your page ranks on any given search. But following close behind is how extensive your content is.

Now, we’re not saying that word count is officially a ranking factor, but there is some research to show that in-depth articles will rank higher than those who only spare a few hundred words. Let’s hear it for long-form content!

Pro Tip: Long-form content works best when you break up the text –– keep paragraphs short, use, subheadings and be sure to include relevant pictures/graphics.

Image Alt Text

It’s easy to overlook image alt text, but it can actually have a big impact on your website. First, if someone’s web browser is having a hard time displaying your images, alt text will fill in the blank… literally (in fact the whole underlying purpose of this is to make website images “readable” for visually impaired readers). But from and SEO persective, images can actually send signals back to Google through their alt text. That means Google has another place to look when deciding if your content is relevant to someone’s search and, ultimately, serving your content to them.

Pro Tip: Try to work a keyword into your alt text for an extra rankings boost. Make it natural, though. No keyword stuffing!

Heading Tags

Are you using H1 and H2 tags on your pages? Despite what some people might think, they’re not just an easy way to make important words bigger. H tags are designed to create an established hierarchy for the page. This is important for two reasons: 1. It makes your content easier to read. Trust us, nobody wants to read a giant block of text. And 2. Hierarchy = organization, and that level of organization gives Google a clearer picture of what your content is about. The easier you make it for Google, the better they’re going to rank you.

Pro Tip: If you haven’t been incorporating heading tags, don’t panic. Start by adding them to the three most important pages of your site and any new pages that you create.

Interstitial Ads

This one is more of a “don’t” than a “do.”

Now that we’re moving into a mobile-first world, Google is cracking down on annoying pop-up and interstitial (aka full screen) ads. Can’t say that we blame them. With such a small screen, it’s easy for a pop-up ad to overshadow important content that a user needs and ruin the experience.

Google announced early last year that they were going to start penalizing sites with intrusive mobile ads. If you’re running these types of ads on your site, it might be time to rethink your strategy.

Pro Tip: You can work around Google’s rules on interstitial ads. This article provides some great advice on how to make the policy work for you and how to get creative with traditional banner ads.

Sure hope this helps! As always if you have questions about your SEO strategy or other elements of your marketing mix, we’re only a call away… 407-680-3735, Option 1. Or contact us online here

 

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Don’t forget to follow HMG on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ and make sure to share this post via the social media icons below!

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Which Social Media Channels Should I Use for My Small Business? https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/which-social-media-channels-should-i-use-for-my-small-business/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/which-social-media-channels-should-i-use-for-my-small-business/#respond Wed, 17 Oct 2018 14:59:54 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4635 The post Which Social Media Channels Should I Use for My Small Business? appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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Which Social Media Channels Should I Use for My Small Business?

One of the most common questions we get from our clients is “which social media channels are best to help grow our business?” And it’s a great question to be asking. Blindly establishing and maintaining a presence across all “the popular” channels isn’t a good plan at all. Instead, focusing your efforts on only THE RIGHT channels for your business is the way to go.

Let’s take a look at how to make this happen.

Step 1: Define your business’ social media goals

Like with any marketing adventure, the first thing you need to ask yourself is “what are my goals?” You should have spent some time outlining a social media strategy complete with clearly defined objectives.

So what are you trying to get out of social media marketing? Are you hoping to raise brand awareness? Do you want to promote new products and services? Or are you looking for a way to interact more directly with customers?

You want to choose the platforms that are going to best deliver the results you’re aiming for. If you haven’t ironed out your social media goals, it’s time to go brainstorm!

Step 2: Find out which platforms your customers already use

The whole point of social media marketing is to connect with your customer base. You can’t do that if you’re just shouting into a void.

It would be foolish to assume that customers will start following you on a certain social platform simply because you created a profile there. If it isn’t already woven into their social media routine, it will be difficult for you to build up an audience. It makes way more sense to create profiles on platforms your customers are already using.

But how do you know which ones are their go-tos? One way would be to dig into demographic data. There are so many reports and guides that can break down social media usage by age, gender, income level, devices, you name it. Here are a few we like:

Or you could always survey some of your current customers and ask them which platforms they like/would prefer to interact with you on. It could be just that easy!

Step 3: Consider what kind of content you can create

This one is important. Content doesn’t just appear out of thin air –– you have to create it, and that takes time and resources to do right.

First, you need to be honest with yourself about what kind of content creation is in your wheelhouse. What can you feasibly do on your own or appoint someone on your staff to do? Don’t stretch yourself too far beyond your talents and resources.

Then, remember that different types of content will work better on some platforms than others. For example, blog posts are great on Facebook because customers can simply click the link and be taken straight to the post. Not the case on Instagram. If you want to share blog posts there, you’ll have to get a little creative.

Step 4: Bring it all together

OK, so you’ve got your goals, you know what social channels your customers like, and you have a good idea of what content you can create. Now it’s time to start signing up for social media accounts.

Our advice: Start with Facebook. Facebook has roughly 2 billion active users monthly and it works for a diverse range of content. It’s also pretty simple to create a business page, has great insights, and the ability to run ads to help you grow. Once you get comfortable there, pick another platform that lines up with your overall goals and audience and dive in.

Need a more hands-on approach to your marketing strategy? That’s where Higgins Marketing Group comes in. We’ve been in the marketing game for a long time –– we’ve learned a lot along the way and we want to share that knowledge with you. Contact us today for a strategy meeting and learn how you can jumpstart your business’ growth.

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Don’t forget to follow HMG on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ and make sure to share this post via the social media icons below!

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3 Design Trends Coming to a Website Near You! https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/3-design-trends-coming-to-a-website-near-you/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/3-design-trends-coming-to-a-website-near-you/#respond Wed, 12 Sep 2018 17:00:37 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4584 The post 3 Design Trends Coming to a Website Near You! appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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3 Design Trends Coming to a Website Near You!

In our opinion, one of the best things about web design is that it’s always changing. Sure, that introduces some challenges, but it also keeps things fresh and interesting.

It seems there are always new layouts, color schemes, widgets and typography combos to experiment with. And, or course, there are larger shakeups introduced by Google and others that demand you stay on your game.

As interesting as all this might be to us, to the typical business owner it means a lot of work trying to stay current and outpace their competition.

So what are you supposed to do?

Not all the latest web design trends are going to be worth your time. You don’t need all the bells and whistles to have a good website. But change can be good, refreshing even, when done for the right reasons. In our minds, there are two important RIGHT reasons:

  • to create an exceptional experience for your prospects
  • to convert a higher percentage of those prospects into leads or sales.

Here are three notable web design trends we’re seeing that you may want to consider implementing for your company’s website.

Minimalist Vibe

This one is really a continuation of an existing trend. Sometimes less really is more, and that’s certainly true when it comes to the modern website. Right now we’re seeing a big push for even MORE simple, MORE clean designs. Not only does a minimalist site lend an air of sophistication to your business, but it’s much easier for users to navigate and consume. A minimalist approach to web design puts your message front and center, and isn’t that the whole point of your website?

In case, you need a visual to solidify this concept, there’s no better example than the Kings of Minimalism… Apple

HMG - 3 Design Trends Coming to a Website Near You - minimal

But there is a risk here. Don’t let form take your eyes off function. Content is still important, especially if you want any chance of being found in the search engines. We often advise our clients to present their content in “layers,” allowing their prospect to consume the information at the layer that make most sense for them:

Layer 1: Headlines and concise benefit-focused descriptions

Layer 2: Expandable or link-accessed supporting information (the cliff notes)

Layer 3: Downloadable or reference page resources (the more detailed stuff)

Bold Color Use

With flat, minimalist designs ruling the day, business owners have opted for bright pops of color to create visual interest on their sites. The use of bold colors can really shape the look & feel for your brand, setting the tone for what customers should expect. Plus, they’re great at drawing customers in. Calls to action, important messaging, you name it –– it’s more impactful and more memorable when it’s said in color.

Pro Tip: The power of color often lies in its “contrast effect” – its ability to draw attention from one area on the page to another. As such, it’s important you don’t inadvertently create competition for that attention by overusing bold colors – here are a couple examples, we’ll let you decide which website best leverages the contrast effect, and which doesn’t…

HMG - 3 Design Trends Coming to a Website Near You - color 2

HMG - 3 Design Trends Coming to a Website Near You - color1

Micro-Interactions

Here’s a design element that’s certainly on the rise. Chances are you’ve had a micro-interaction while using an app or while navigating a favorite website and you didn’t even realize it. A micro-interaction is just a fancy name for an interactive single-task event. Their purpose? To entertain and delight the user.

You can find some good examples of micro-interactions here. These may seem like a small element in the overall design (they are “micro” interactions after all), but more and more, they are playing a growing role in giving customers instant feedback, making their experience more engaging and interactive. Here’s a quick example:

HMG - 3 Design Trends Coming to a Website Near You - input-filed-micro-interaction

Like anything, micro-interactions can be overdone. So be careful to use them only when they truly add value to your website visitor.

These are just a few things to keep your eye on as your consider your next website redesign. It’s truly becoming a mobile-centric world and the latest design trends certainly reflect this. As always, if you need assistance with website design, SEO, PPC  or other areas of your marketing strategy, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

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Don’t forget to follow HMG on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ and make sure to share this post via the social media icons below!

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Top Pay-per-Click Mistakes You May Be Making https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/top-pay-per-click-mistakes-you-may-be-making/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/top-pay-per-click-mistakes-you-may-be-making/#respond Wed, 08 Aug 2018 17:00:51 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4568 The post Top Pay-per-Click Mistakes You May Be Making appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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Top Pay-per-Click Mistakes You May Be Making

There is a lot that goes into creating a PPC campaign.

There’s the keyword research, which is no small undertaking. Then you have to organize those keywords into ad groups and develop landing pages to go along with the campaigns. And it doesn’t stop there! You have to go back in and optimize your ads to make sure they’re actually getting you conversions.

It’s no wonder that so many business owners make mistakes when diving into PPC.

If you’ve been managing your paid ads strategy all on your own, chances are you’ve fumbled a few things. Here are the top PPC mistakes we see when working with our clients and how you can fix them.

Not using negative keywords

There’s something about the word negative that throws people off. All a negative keyword is is a term you don’t want to show up for.

But wait, don’t you want to throw a wide net? You know, to get more customers? Not necessarily.

Remember what PPC stands for – Pay Per Click. There is no point in showing up in searches that aren’t relevant to your business and your goals. Including negative keywords in your set-up makes sure that your ads are only being served when/where it makes sense.

Getting into a bid war trying to be #1

Being at the top of the list isn’t everything. There’s a huge misconception that the business in the #1 spot is getting the most conversions, but that simply isn’t true.

All of the players in the top pack typically get a good amount of clicks. And who doesn’t love an uptick in web traffic? When it comes to conversions, though, research has shown that the 3rd and 4th ad positions tend to perform the best.

As alluring as being #1 can be, getting into a bid war trying to increase your ad position to the top spot is going to burn through your budget and won’t guarantee better results. So don’t waste your money!

Saying “pass” to split-testing

This might be the worst mistake on the list. Split testing is a vital part of the paid-advertising process.

Basically, split testing just refers to making small, but specific, changes to your ad to determine what does/doesn’t work to convert customers. You’ll run two variations of the same ad and compare results to see which one is performing better, and then go with that one for long-term use.

A lot of business owners just don’t see the point in this. We’re here to tell you that the point is to make sure you’re running an ad that is optimized to meet your business’ goals, which is kind of important, don’t you think?

Forgetting to set up a landing page

Landing pages can really come in handy when it comes to paid ads.

First, they seriously improve your conversion rate. Did you know the average conversion rate for an ad is only about 2.7 percent? The average rate for a landing page, on the other hand, is somewhere between 5 and 15 percent. Having your ad send leads to an optimized landing page instead of your website is a great way to boost your chances of converting them.

Second, they can help keep your costs lower! The nice thing about setting up a landing page, is that you can match the content on the page to the ad you’re running. Why is that important? Well, better message matching = a better AdWords Quality Score and a better Facebook Relevance Score, if you’re running the ads on Facebook. That should keep your cost-per-click a little lower.

So take a minute and run through your running campaigns and your PPC strategy. See if any of these blunders are popping up and fix them if they do! The sooner you get on top of these issues the better.

Want to up your PPC game? We can help. The team at Higgins Marketing Group is skilled at managing AdWords accounts as well as building intelligent Facebook ad campaigns. Contact us today to get started on your PPC strategy.

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Why a Content Marketing Strategy is a Must-Have for any Small Business https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/why-a-content-marketing-strategy-is-a-must-have-for-any-small-business/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/why-a-content-marketing-strategy-is-a-must-have-for-any-small-business/#respond Wed, 11 Jul 2018 17:00:42 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4545 The post Why a Content Marketing Strategy is a Must-Have for any Small Business appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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Why a Content Marketing Strategy is a Must-Have for any Small Business

There once was a time when content marketing was something you did to set yourself apart from everyone else. Because nothing said “look how cool/different/trendy our business is!” like a blog. You were considered revolutionary, ahead of the curve for taking the time to write fun and helpful posts for your customers.

But that was then. And this is now.

Content is still king, and these days content marketing is more of a necessity than a luxury for business owners who want to stay competitive. Here’s why.

Content boosts your SEO efforts

SEO is an ever changing game. You’ve really got to stay on your toes to do it and do it well. The one thing that stays constant, though, is the need for quality content.

The whole point of Search Engine Optimization is to get your business in front of the right people at the right time, and it’s all about keywords. Content is the best way to create more keyword opportunities.

There’s only so much you can do with the static pages of your website –– your product descriptions, about page, the alt-text for your images, etc. With articles, blog posts and other guides, the possibilities are endless. You can get tons of keywords onto your site this way and that’s only going to help more people searching for businesses like yours find their way to you.

Content builds links

You know what else helps your SEO efforts? Backlinks. Know what a great way to get them is? You guessed it! Content marketing.

We’ve mentioned before how Google’s algorithms are starting to place more weight on backlinks rather than keywords. No one is going to send their hard-earned traffic your way unless you’re legit. By creating content that is both interesting and helpful, you’ll increase your chances of having influencers share and link back to your content.

Content generates new leads 

When it comes to generating leads, most business owners turn to Search Engine Marketing and Paid Advertising. There’s nothing wrong with that! Both have proven to be effective at drumming up new business and both should play some role in your marketing mix.

However, if you want to maximize your search results, investing some time and energy into producing ongoing, high-quality content is a wise choice. Yes, IT DOES take time to develop all that content and, yes, IT WILL take some time before you’ll see the results. But even if you can spend just 1-2 hours each week on content marketing, the payoff can be significant.

Content supports all of your other digital marketing strategies

The best thing about content marketing is that it is so versatile.

Looking for something to share on social media? Need something for your next email newsletter? Want to spice up the landing page for your upcoming ad campaign? Your latest content –– whether it’s a blog post, video, e-book or anything in between –– will do the job.

Investing in content marketing ensures you have a gold mine of resources to use whenever and however you need. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

So do yourself a favor, and set aside just 1-2 hours this week to develop some new content for your business. If you’ve got a case of writer’s block or are just feeling otherwise uninspired, don’t worry. As always, we have you covered. Just head over to this post: Need Some Inspiration for Your Content Marketing? Try these Six Sources! or just give us a call.

 

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5 Great Tools to Help You Monitor Your Online Reputation https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/5-great-tools-to-help-you-monitor-your-online-reputation/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/5-great-tools-to-help-you-monitor-your-online-reputation/#respond Wed, 20 Jun 2018 17:00:27 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4532 The post 5 Great Tools to Help You Monitor Your Online Reputation appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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5 Great Tools to Help You Monitor Your Online Reputation

Do you know what people have been saying about you and your business online?

As a small business owner, you know that reputation is everything. Reviews are one of the first things a potential customer will look at when deciding whether they want to do business with you. Positive reviews will help foster trust and generate new business, which is what you want! But of course, there’s the flip side – a pattern of negative reviews will end up driving people away.

This is why staying on top of your online reputation is essential. But who has time to create and manage profiles across the MANY review sites out there? It can feel a bit overwhelming.

Don’t sweat it, though! Here are some great tools to help you monitor your business’ online reputation.

Google Alerts

When in doubt, turn to Google. With Google Alerts, all you have to do is type in your business’ name and wait for the alerts to come in. Google will scour the web for any mentions of your business and send the results right to your inbox. If you want to be super thorough, you can create additional alerts for all your brand keywords and product names.

Cost: Free

Social Mention

Consumers love to share their sentiments on social media. Whether they love your business or hate it, this is where they’ll go to spread the word. Social Mention is a search engine that monitors 80+ social media sites –– Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. –– to help you track who is talking about your business and what they’re saying. The results gauge:

  • Strength: How likely it is that your business will be talked about on social media
  • Sentiment: The ratio of positive to negative mentions
  • Passion: How likely it is that the people talking about your business will continue to talk about it
  • Reach: The total number of unique consumers who mention your business

Cost: Free

ReviewTrackers

It can be cumbersome to log-in and check on your latest reviews when you’re getting feedback on 10+ platforms. Luckily, there is ReviewTrackers, which brings all of your business’ reviews into one dashboard. It will even send you email reports to keep you up to speed and has great reporting features to help you track any patterns in customers’ feedback.

Cost: $49/month

Complaint Search Box

Just because you don’t see a complaint, doesn’t mean it’s not there. This nifty web tool will help you find them. The Complaint Search Box can search more than 40 complaint websites all at once. It’s quick, easy and, best of all, free. If someone has had a negative experience with your business and aired it out online, there’s a good chance Complaint Search Box will find it.

Cost: Free

Review Push

Review Push is a great all-in-one tool. First, it monitors the most popular review sites, such as Facebook, Google, Foursquare, etc. Anytime your business gets a new review on one of these sites, Review Push will notify you by email. It also allows you to respond to the review, which is pretty handy. And to top it all off, Review Push can help you generate new reviews by sending requests out to your customers. It’s a win-win-win!

Cost: $10/month

For more tips on reputation management, check out some of our other blog posts:

Hope these resources help! If you have any favorites we haven’t mentioned here, make sure and let us know.

 

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6 Simple Ways to Increase Engagement on Facebook https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/6-simple-ways-to-increase-engagement-on-facebook/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/6-simple-ways-to-increase-engagement-on-facebook/#respond Wed, 06 Jun 2018 17:00:00 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4498 The post 6 Simple Ways to Increase Engagement on Facebook appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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6 Simple Ways to Increase Engagement on Facebook

As business owners, we want to believe that as long as we’re scheduling posts on our Facebook page, the engagement will surely follow. Why else do people follow our pages if not to like our posts?

Well, unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

First of all, what does Facebook engagement even mean? Facebook engagement encompasses a lot of things. There’s the obvious — liking, commenting or sharing a post. But it also includes clicking a link, watching a video, etc. Basically it’s any action a person takes on your page.

So how do you get people to do that? We won’t drone on about creating killer content and posting consistently. No question, that’s important, but you already know all of that. So what else can you do to increase engagement on your page?

Here are some ideas that maybe you haven’t tried yet.

Ask a question

One of the easiest ways to get people talking (i.e. engaging with your post) is to ask them a question. The nice thing about this method is that it requires little resources and the possibilities are pretty much endless. Here’s an example — if you’re a real estate agent, you can ask your followers what their #1 must-have in a new house is and why. Keep these posts simple and light hearted to get the best response.

Post at the right time

It absolutely matters what time of day you schedule posts. You’ll find plenty of articles online that say they’ve figured out the optimal time to schedule posts on every platform. These are great guidelines to follow, but take them with a grain of salt. The best way to find out when you should share your posts is to look at your analytics. Just go to Facebook Insights and click Posts to see the days/times your followers tend to be online and schedule your posts accordingly.

Include compelling visuals

We can’t say enough how important visuals are when it comes to social media marketing. And they have a big impact on your engagement numbers. Social media posts that include an image get a whopping 650 percent higher engagement than those without. Investing time into finding or creating high-quality images for your posts is a must. You can find free stock photos on sites like Unsplash and Pexels, and Canva is a nice basic tool for designing graphics.

Host a contest

Who doesn’t love winning free stuff? The answer is no one. Hosting a contest is a great way to reward your loyal fans and create buzz around your brand to bring in new ones! Again, there are a lot of possibilities with contests. The most important things to remember here are 1. Don’t go overboard. Host them once a quarter at the most to keep yourself in the green. And 2. Make sure the prize is relevant to your business and your followers. Pro tip: Include in the contest rules that followers have to tag a friend in the comments to increase engagement and your reach.

Reply to comments

Now that you’re putting all this effort into boosting your engagement, chances are more comments will be coming in. Please, please, please don’t let them just sit there with no response. Remember, you started the conversation, so don’t just get something going and walk away. Replying to comments makes your followers feel heard and appreciated, which will foster brand loyalty and encourage more engagement in the future.

Show off your personality

People come to your Facebook page to get to know you and your business better. So show them who you are! Are you a little sarcastic? Incorporate a post every now and then with some dry humor. Is your brand bubbly and motivational? Make sure the tone of your posts matches that. The more you show off your personality, the more authentic your posts are going to feel, and that’s what resonates with people.

Looking for more tips on how to get the most out of your Facebook page? Check out some of our other blog posts on using Facebook for business:

Keep Marketing!

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