Best Social Media Management Tools 2015

Managing your social media channels can be time-consuming and therefore, expensive. Finding a great social media management tool for your business is the key to maximising the impact and ROI of this precious time resource. Despite the costs involved social media is here to stay and can be a super way of engaging with customers and finding new ones. So this begs the question – what’s the best social media management tool for my business?

Great news – the team at Seriously Social, has created an infographic comparing the best Social Media Management tools in 2015 based on user reviews collected by G2Crowd. Want to find a social media management tool that streamlines activities, cuts down on time pulling together reports and analytics and offer competitive metrics for benchmarking purposes?  This is the infographic for you – see it in full below.

So What’s the Best Social Media Management Tool?

Having reviewed the cool infographic, I’m delighted to see that the tool I recommend, AgoraPulse, comes very highly recommended – scoring top or close to top in all categories – including best value! It’s not just the high scoring that’s so impressive.  This is a real David and Goliath story with the small, committed team of 13 souls at AgoraPulse pitted against the goliath of HootSuite, Hootsuite has raised $260M and has a team of 550 employees. Just goes to show bigger isn’t always better!

Check out the infographic below to see the full findings.

The Top 4 Rated Social Media Management Tools of 2015 Infographic brought to you by Seriously Social and G2 Crowd

 You can read the original Seriously Social  article here. If you want some advice on what the best social media platforms are for your business or how you can boost your online sales with our internet marketing expertise, please don’t hesitate to give EzSales a call on 0862108821 or use the contact form on our website. Hou can also check us out here on LinkedIN.

What is Google AdWords Remarketing?

Increase online conversions for your business using Google AdWords Remarketing

Google AdWords Remarketing is the next generation of online marketing opportunities. It is sophisticated, measurable and will unlock the potential of your online presence by increasing sales and generating quality leads for your business.

Remarketing in itself is not a new concept. Savvy marketers know the value of repeat business and qualified leads. Targeting existing and potential customers who meet certain criteria can deliver excellent ROI.

What is Google AdWords Remarketing?

Remarketing with Google AdWords allows businesses to target people who have already visited their website with online adverts as they browse the web.  Think about the potential of that for a second. These people have already visited that business’s website, they are aware of the brand and some need they are looking to fulfil has already brought them to the site. Thanks to the sophisticated targeting options available via Google AdWords Remarketing, business owners and marketers can now unlock the potential of that visit.

How does Google AdWords Remarketing Work?

Google Analytics is a free tool many businesses use to analyse website traffic. Analytics works using a tracking cookie; when a visitor lands on a web page the tracking cookie is triggered and stays on the visitor’s computer for a period of time. Google AdWords Remarketing works by recognising that cookie and displaying ads as the visitor continues to browse the web.

Google remarketing requires a slight change to the Google Analytics tracking code and that Analytics and AdWords are connected. It should be noted that Google Remarketing can be used for both display and search advertising campaigns.

What are the capabilities of Google AdWords Remarketing?

I have already mentioned that Google Remarketing is a sophisticated tool, with wide-reaching capabilities. Like any good database, segmenting potential customers based on various key attributes is vital. Google Remarketing comes with several pre-defined marketing lists, and multiple remarketing lists can exist on one website. Users can customise the parameters of their own remarketing lists in AdWords using the Rule Builder, which is mainly URL based. Because Google Remarketing leverages the best of AdWords and Analytics businesses can also create remarketing lists in Analytics based on Custom Segments and then use those lists to retarget visitors via AdWords.

When creating a remarketing list in Analytics, business owners can use any of four predefined segments:

  • All users to your site
  • Users to a specific page or area of your site
  • Users who completed a specific conversion or goal (These must be enabled, set up and triggering conversions)
  • Smart Lists  – Users that Google determines, via machine learning, to be viable candidates

There is also a fifth option. Users who match the criteria of a segment you configure based on Analytics Dimensions and Metrics. Segmenting by Analytics Dimensions and Metrics is a powerful tool. Here are some examples of Analytics Dimensions and Metrics.

Dimensions Metrics
E-commerce Transactions – the number of transactions the user has completed. Per user, per session,  <, >, = etc.
Gender Male, female
Device category Desktop, Tablet, or Mobile.
Location – where visitors are from Country, Region, City
Medium – the mediums which referred traffic. Organic, Direct(none), AdWords

 

When creating a remarketing list in Analytics it is necessary to specify the AdWords account in which that list is available. That list then functions the same way as any remarketing list created within AdWords.

How do I apply Remarketing to my business?

Here are some examples of how business owners could apply Google Remarketing to their online advertising campaigns with the goal of increased sales and leads.

Example One – Abandoned Shopping Cart

Online retailers can retarget abandoned shopping carts in multiple ways, via both search and display campaigns. Remarketing lists can handle multiple parameters. By creating a custom combination list that includes all visitors who put something in their cart but excludes customers who completed a purchase; businesses can retarget these customers. A remarketing list like this can be easily created using the URL Rule Builder in AdWords.

This can be further fine-tuned based on the product category of the item the person added to the cart. This requires the implementation of custom parameters to build more advanced remarketing lists in AdWords, but is highly recommended for online retailers.

Example Two – Hotel Wishing to Generate More Wedding Enquiries

Create a remarketing list that includes visitors to the wedding pages of the hotel website. A good strategy for the hotel to implement when creating this remarketing list would be to add a parameter that excludes visitors below a minimum time on the page. This may be a good way to segment out less qualified leads.

Follow up by creating a remarking campaign in Google AdWords to retarget these potential customers with creative visuals and strong calls to action.

Example Three – Target customers who have previously converted and who have recently visited your website.

Targeting high value, repeat customers seems like a good strategy to me!  This is an example of a Google Analytics Segment that includes UK or Irish customers who have previously bought on the site, and have visited the site in the past 14 days. It can be used to create a Remarketing list.

Once you have selected the AdWords account to associate the remarketing list with, this custom remarketing list will appear in that AdWords account almost instantly and can then be targeted with ads.

Where to Start?

The capabilities of Google AdWords Remarketing are significant and sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start. I believe that Remarketing has the potential to drive sales and leads for any business with one caveat; Remarketing is dependent on the quality and volume of traffic to the website.  My advice?  Give it a try, start with a test campaign for one product or service and build your remarketing campaign from there.

Sue Palmer, Partner at EzSales, is an internet marketing consultant based in Galway. She has been running AdWords campaigns for over 10 years. Sue loves sports, particularly basketball and sitting by the fire with a nice glass of red wine. Find out more about how EzSales can help your business with online advertising.

Check out my LinkedIN profile http://ie.linkedin.com/in/suepalmerezsales/

 

Sales strategy – Improve Your Selling Skills at Trade Events

Getting Value for Your Money

Participation at trade events and exhibitions in these challenging economic times can be very expensive – travel, accommodation and related expenses, stand rental, display material, perhaps floral features, audio-visual, signage, hospitality etc. In other words,  a costly mix of investment outlay that can make serious inroads into the sales and marketing budget of any business, so it’s important to have the right sales strategy.

There are some simple guidelines that can make the difference between success and disappointment when taking part at consumer and trade markets.  It’s really all about good preparation. And then the manner of delivery. Obvious but essential points of emphasis.

It’s important therefore to be very focused on what you have to sell, how you present your propositions, and what you expect to achieve.

And then, there’s the all-important matter of follow-up.

Research your Potential Market in Advance

Find out beforehand what companies will be attending. Study closely the scope of their business activities. Prepare a short list of your Most Preferred Contacts. Do some background research on their buyers, their sales representatives.

Ideally and if you can, let them know in advance that you will be attending and would like to meet them. So make definite appointments if at all possible.

Then get ready to maximise your time by preparing a daily timetable or diary. Remember that time is one of your most valuable commodities when interfacing with potential customers. You must invest it wisely. To quote that well-worn cliché and with no offence implied: make sure you’re not a busy fool!

At the Event

Dress appropriately to do your business. A casual look might be interpreted by some as a casual approach. Make sure your name badge can be easily read and preferably, that it’s positioned on the right hand side of your body– that will make it simpler for all to see.

Stock up with sufficient supplies of your business card. Keep printed material to the necessary minimum. Nobody wants to have to carry bagfuls of sales literature around an exhibition venue all day long.

Don’t expect  your guests to stand around to talk business. For this, you need comfortable lounge seating.  Good quality drinking water is probably the most suitable hospitality drink. Don’t over-do the freebies or the gimmicks. It’s really not necessary and it’s almost always expensive to do this well.

Be sensitive and sensible in the matter of mobile phone usage.  Don’t ever interrupt a sales pitch by taking or making a call. It’s always best to deal with your daily business by text messaging and to leave your mobile conversations to the end of the day. For all of that, your potential customers may well have a different set of priorities – or rules – so do respect them if and when they get diverted.

If you are using hi-tech aids, be conscious that not everyone is fully conversant with the complex language of today’s IT world.  Keep it simple and don’t over-elaborate to show your expertise. Establish a connection at the appropriate level and stay there. You don’t want a client nodding animatedly in agreement unless they fully understand what you’re telling them, and most likely trying to sell them too.

If you quickly establish that the contact is unlikely to be productive,  don’t hesitate to move things on. ‘You probably have a very busy schedule, so I won’t hold you up’ is a good finishing line. Likewise, if things are going well, you might suggest having ‘five minutes more’ or better still, make an appointment for a follow-up personal call.

After-Sales Service

As soon as the event is over, you should grade your contacts by order of priority for follow-up purposes. It’s a good idea to write them all, even the ones who don’t make your Top Ten. You never know when a door might later open.

Your ideal objective is a personal appointment with some real business potential.  There’s nothing to equal a one-to-one sales session in the privacy of a secure environment. And then comes the real test of your selling and negotiating skills. But that’s another day’s work altogether!

In Conclusion

One final observation. If you are participating at an event that is open to the public at large, don’t have your sales material contribute to the mass of merchandise that frequently ends up in the venue’s refuse bins.

It’s still OK to give out balloons to the kids though!

For more information on sales strategy and other top business tips – sign up to our newsletter.

Internet Marketing: 11 things to think about when redesigning your website

In the course of my work as an internet marketing consultant I often get asked for my advice on how best to approach a web redesign project. It is really important to protect the performance of a successful website that just requires a new look!

  • Keep Your Current URL Structure

Where possible keep your current URL structure.  This means that if the contact us page of the website current exists at www.mysite.com/contact-us don’t change it to www.mysite.com/contact.

If your widgets are currently to be found at mysite.com/catalogue/widgets don’t move them to mysite.com/widgets

Make a list of all your current website pages to make sure this doesn’t happen. A Sitemap generator such as http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ is a useful free tool for getting this information. You should not need to change URL’s at all if your website only needs a ‘Facelift’ in terms of graphic design and you are not adding or removing products or services.

  • Map old pages to a relevant section of the redesigned website using a permanent 301 redirect.

If you are getting rid of old services or downgrading their importance and absolutely need to move or remove the URL, decide where you want to send visitors and search engines that are looking for the old page.  Prepare a document  of all your old/defunct URLs and specify what the new URL will be or where you want to re-direct people who have book-marked the old page or search engine spider that are trying to crawl it.

  • Make sure each page has a purpose

This is fundamental to a successful website and to the implementation of an effective internet marketing strategy. If you are adding new pages to the website make sure they have a purpose. What content will you be adding to the page and what is the purpose of that content? Will visitors find it useful?  Unless it is a form of some type the content on a page should exceed 75 words. If you don’t have more than that to say you possibly don’t need the page.

  • Prepare a Tender Document for your Web designer

Prepare a document for your website designer that includes all of the expectations and requirements that you have in relation to the website, such as the points above and how you need the website to perform for you – i.e. that the goal of the website is.

  • Copyright

Include in the tender document that once the website is paid for that it becomes your property. Make sure the domain name is also registered in the name of the company and not the developer. This is hardly ever an issue anymore but better safe than sorry.

  • Google Analytics Tracking

Don’t forget to include your current Google Analytics code in the new website. Don’t create a new one –you don’t want to start from scratch. Make sure the company owns and has access to the Google Analytics account. I had a client who told me they had previously lost 5 years’ worth of analytics data when the google account was closed by a disgruntled employee of the website developer.

  • Check for broken links

You should do this regularly anyway but specially after going through a redesign.  Use W3 Schools link checker. http://validator.w3.org/checklink

  • Don’t move server

This one is fairly self-explanatory. Don’t move server at the same time as making other major changes to your website.

  • Link Canonicalization

Ensure correct link canonicalization is in place. E.g. www.mywebsite.ie & http://mywebsite.ie

  • Responsive Design

More and more people are accessing the internet on mobile devices and tablets. Make sure that your website design is responsive. Find out more in this blog article on responsive website design.

  • XML Sitemap

Create and submit a new XML Sitemap to tell search engine crawlers what pages are contained in your website. Use the link above to create it. Find out how you can submit it to Google here

Internet Marketing – Launching a New Website – Advanced Preparation

Internet marketing strategies generally involve significant investment in a company website. Launching a new website or upgrading an existing one can be a difficult process and many business owners struggle to manage the process successfully.  Even if you have a great website designer, it can be difficult to transfer your vision onto the screen and even the savviest of business people can find themselves overwhelmed by the process.

In addition to managing the technical side of developing a new website, business owners must also go through the process of deciding on and creating the content for their website.  They must develop the correct marketing messages for their business and decide how to convey those messages on their new website.  As a result of all of this many business owners end up compromising on the vision they had for their company website and the functionality that they wanted from it.

Here are some top tips on how to save you some heartache and get the most from the process.

  1. Before you invest in a new website development project or website upgrade look at your internet marketing strategy and where your website fits into it. What are the business goals that you are trying to achieve and where does your online presence fit into that?
  2. Set specific goals for your website. Decide what you want customers to do once they visit your website?  Is it an e-commerce site – you want to make a sale? Do you want potential clients to download an eBook, sign up to a newsletter or fill out a contact form?  Once you set the goals of your website you can use them as reference points when making decisions on the functionality and structure of the website.
  3. Prepare an outline of the structure.  How are you going to organise your website?  By product? By service?  By location? What pages do you need and how do they relate to one another?  When you are doing this, keep your goals in mind. You want potential customers to find your essential products and services easily, and then convert in a streamlined way as possible. There is no point in having your eBook five pages deep and only accessible if visitors follow a specific path.
  4. Integrate your other online marketing platforms. How and where are you going to integrate your blog – social media Pages etc. into your website?
  5. Standard pages.  Don’t forget that there are certain pages that you will need to include.  These include a CONTACT US page and a PRIVACY POLICY if you are using tracking software to monitor the success of the goals you have set for the website.  You may also wish to include things like a PRESS page, TESTIMONIALS, TERMS OF BUSINESS, SITEMAP and or a GALLERY.  Adding additional pages to the structure of the site once development has begun can add to the costs incurred and may compromise the functionality of the site.
  6. Research. Find examples of websites that you like, in terms of colour scheme, style, functionality and layout.  They don’t necessarily need to be from your own industry but will give your web designer a good feel for what you are looking for.

I have managed the building of many websites on behalf of clients, working as an intermediary between the company and the website designer.  The relationship is similar to that of an architect working with their clients and building contractor. Knowing what you want your website to do for your business and being clear on how it fits into your overall internet marketing strategy will mean that you will get more from the time you spend with your developer and can concentrate on building a website that achieves your goals and looks great too!

We haven’t covered the content side of developing a new website in this article – I’ll shed more light on that particular subject next week – it’s a favourite of mine!

Internet Marketing Blogs – Top 5 to Watch in 2014

Uncover the best internet marketing blogs. There is a lot of great content to be found on the web, in fact there is so much that it can seem overwhelming. Time is precious and it can be difficult to know what blogs you should follow to keep up to date.  Here are my top 5 favourite blogs, covering various important elements of interent marketing.

  1.  Website Usability

This is fundamentally important and often overlooked, which is why it is top of my list. Businesses often focus so much on how they want their website to look, that they forget to take into account how it should function. Website usability is fundamental to the success of any website. Find out how the design, layout and content of a website affects it usability and ultimately its success.

http://www.nngroup.com/articles/

  1. Google Analytics

This is my favourite and a no brainer as far as I am concerned. Analysis how customers interact with your website is crucial to its success. Keep on top of new tips, tricks and functionality by following Google’s own blog.

http://analytics.blogspot.ie/

  1. Search Engine Optimisation

The internet is alight with search engine optimisation blogs but my favourite is the SeoMoz blog. Now known as Moz.com, I find it helps to keep up with what is going on, best practise and changes to the Google search algorithm that significantly impact ranking. It’s also ‘white hat’ oriented so it will keep you and your websites out of trouble. Some of the articles are opinion pieces and not all the ‘experts’ agree with each other, so bear that in mind before taking any content that you read here as gospel.

http://moz.com/blog

  1. Facebook Marketing

I love the Agora Weekly Pulse, a weekly roundup of the best Facebook marketing and advertising blogs each week with their key points in bullet form. An excellent resource to stay on top of what the Facebook Marketing experts are saying each week, without having to follow each individual blog.

http://www.agorapulse.com/blog

  1. E-Commerce and Inbound Marketing

I wanted to include blogs in these areas, but to be honest all the bloggers that I follow occasionally, such as Shopify and HubSpot include a hard sell with their content that I dislike, this is not to say that the content is not worthwhile. The result being a name-check but no link :-)

I hope this has proved useful and that you will learn loads to help you in your internet marketing efforts in 2014.

How do I identify the Colours Used on my Website?

Matching colours can be tricky. There are at least four different ways of identifying a colour:

RGB is based on the projection of light.  It is a colour model in which red, green, and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colours.

A hex colour is a six-digit hexadecimal number used in website coding and other computing applications to identify a colour. The bytes represent the red, green and blue components of the colour.

Therefore hex colours and RGB are methods of identifying on-screen colours. There are different methods for identifying colours for print.

Pantone is a system for matching colours, used in specifying printing inks, it is generally used to identify corporate or brand colours.

Although a significant proportion of the world’s brands identify their colours using the Pantone system, the majority of the world’s printed material is produced using the CMYK process; this is done by mixing various amounts of 4 colours cyan, magenta, yellow and black.  Most of the Pantone system’s spot colours cannot be replicated using CMYK, the Pantone system uses 13 base pigments plus black and white mixed in specified amounts.

 

All of this underlines the fact that colours on screen and in print do not necessary correspond and exporting one to the other can cause issues. Pantones don’t necessarily work for digital print or for websites, and RGB and hex colours are unreliable ways of identifying a colour for print.

Some pantones do convert to CMYK, so you should ask your graphic designer to ensure to use one of those colours when they are creating your logo and brand identity, you should also ask them who to supply Pantone and CMYK details at the time they are working on your brand identity, so that you can to use them as references when printing, depending on what method of print you are going with.

Free Tool to Identify Colour Used on a Website

So how do I identify the hex colour used on a website?  I use a great free tool to for this. It is a toolbar extension called ColorZilla, it is available for Firefox and Chrome, here is the link to it in the Chrome store will give you the RGB and Hex colour used on any website and much more to boot.

I hope this article was useful, feel free to leave your comments on our Facebook Page if you liked it!

What is responsive web design and why do I need it?

Web design that adapts content layout in response to the device that it is being viewed on is the essence of responsive web design.  Web designers and developers have had to change tack in how they handle mobile browsers.  Initially, mobile websites using a subdomain such as m.mydomain.com with reduced content and a single column were seen as best practice.  This thinking has changed as mobile Smartphone technology has developed.

Responsive web design adapts to the device.  Customers on the website see the same content, at the same URL whether they are viewing it on an 1800 pixel desktop computer or on a 320 pixel Smartphone.  The layout of the content will be very different though.  Another advantage is for the client, as they only need to post content to the website once and no longer have to edit it for a mobile specific website.  Given the growth in mobile internet usage it also makes sense to concentrate on one message and one website.

Internet usage on mobile smart phones and tablets has grown exponentially, it is growing faster than desktop; and will overtake it in the near future.  People browsing the internet on their mobiles expect the same great content as those browsing at their desk at work and if your current web design doesn’t allow your website to display in a usable way on a Smartphone, you could be missing business opportunities.

So how does responsive web design work?  Thanks to CSS web developers can now define how content will render based on min/max device and display width/ height and on device orientation e.g landscape.  CSS allows up to 13 different factors to be taken into consideration and because of these multiple factors CSS media queries work better than a simple screen resolution detection system.

In Ireland we are ahead of the curve in terms of our mobile phone usage, there are more active mobile phones in Ireland than there are people.  You only need to look around you on a bus or train or in a café and you will see people all around browsing the internet on their mobile phone.

Responsive web design is just one of the important factors that you need to consider when developing a new website. If you are developing a new website or redeveloping an old one – talk to us – we have lots of project management experience in this area and we can also help to recommend the right developer for your project, be it an e-commerce or a corporate website.

Why is Professional Website Copywriting so Important?

Why is website content so important? We get asked this question all the time, and I suppose the answer hasn’t changed for some time. Having professional content on your website is important for two reasons:

  • You need to deliver your marketing messages to website visitors and effectively convey your Unique Selling Point’s to maximise conversions
  • The way your website will rank in the search results partly depends on the strength of your keywords and how frequently you have used them in the areas of your site that are crawled by search engines.  Search engines use algorithms that will seek out the frequency of those keywords in your content and add that to the number of times that your site has been visited and again further to check how often people have linked to your site through recommendations or backlinks

It all starts with content in this process because all search engine algorithms use Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI. Latent Semantic Indexing is the discovery process for finding related terms and phrases in a document or group of documents; it is a mathematical equation that relies heavily on the context in which any given word is used. For example, if the term “flat tyre” is used in a document, some semantically related terms would be: car, vehicle, repair, wheel, tyre pressure, and wheel brace. You can see that all the words in the list are related to the term “flat tyre”.

How Do I Optimise My Content?

As a business creates content for their website or other online platforms, there is often an overriding goal to have this newly created content found by search engines, however it is important to bear I mind that content needs to be written primarily for your customers. There is no point in ranking highly if none of the visitors to your website convert to sales.

In order to write good website copy businesses need bear two fundamentally important things in mind. Website copy needs to be compelling enough for visitors to the website to generate conversions and the backlinks that are the recommendations that also contribute to your site being found in search, and it also needs to contain the keyword rich content that will satisfy the requirements of LSI. Finding the correct balance is where a good website copywriter comes in.

How Can EzSales Help?

Well, that’s easy.  We help our clients to develop strong keyword strategies and then we assist them in developing great website copy that will balance the need to convert website visitors to customers, while at the same time optimising content for search through LSI.  We will work on the overall content for the main pages of your website and can also assist in developing weekly or monthly blog posts to keep your content fresh.

After all, if you are committed to marketing your services on your company website, you’re going to be working on great new content all the time, right?  Why not work smarter rather than working harder?  Talk to us today about our professional website copywriting services.

How to Re-Size an Image

This is a straightforward process for many of us but for small business owners who are trying to manage images on their website using a CMS, it is only straightforward once someone has shown you how it’s done!

First of all I use Microsoft Office Picture Manager to resize my images. It is available in most recent versions of Windows and the process of resizing an image is simple and straightforward.

Step 1: Find out the size of the image that you require in pixels. If you are unsure but know it needs to be the same size as other images in the CMS you can usually navigate to your website, hover over a similar image, right-click with your mouse and view image properties. Write down the size. Lets use 600×400 as an example. Width is listed first.

Step 2: Open your image using Microsoft Picture Manager. To do this locate the folder that your image is stored in. You may need to night click on your mouse and select open with Microsoft Office Picture Manager.

open with screen

Step 3: Once the image opens in Picture Manager select ‘edit pictures’ from the menu on the top of the page and then ‘resize’ from the menu that appears on the right hand side once you have selected ‘edit pictures’.

edit pictures screen shot

Step 4: Enter the dimensions that you require into the custom width and height field. Then check the size setting summary. As you can see if I resize this image to 600pxiels wide it will only be 325 pixels high, which is too small. This means that I need to do some cropping.

resize screen shot

Step 5: Set dimensions to the minimum size that will allow cropping from only one of either the width or height dimensions, but not both. In this instance when I set height to 400 width defaults to 737. As you can see I had to play around a little with the width to get the height to the 400 pixels that I was looking for.

Step 6: Select OK when you have the crop-able width or height that you are looking for.

corrent dimension screen shot

Step 7: Select edit images from the top menu again and then select crop from the menu on the right hand- side.

Step 8: Crop the image to the size that you want and reposition the crop line to display the optimum section of the image.

Step 9:Select OKAY

Cropping screen shot

Final step: Go to file and save as. Save the image under a different file name so that you don’t lose the original high resolution image. This is because images can’t be successfully sized up in the way that I have outlined.

I hope this helps!