Blog

Google Sitelinks: The Ultimate Guide

Google Sitelinks: The Ultimate Guide

Why do some websites have direct links to their site pages from google – and others not?

What exactly is google sitelinks? And how do you get your site to display links to some of your most popular pages?

Asking these questions is the same as asking: “How does Google’s Algorithm work?” or “How can you get me on the first page of Google?”

It’s never a straight-forward answer.

However, as with all things SEO, there are some tried and tested methods that you can deploy, that might get you the kind of listing you desire. But first, let’s look at the advantages of sitelinks.

What are the advantages of sitelinks?

1.Get results in a flash 

We use them as  online navigation tools to skip unnecessary search paths, and to get the best results in the shortest amount of time.

Let’s say your smartphone is due for an upgrade and you simply click on “Upgrade with Vodacom.” By doing so, you’ve skipped one step of the search process and obtained the information you were looking for.

2.Keep it simple 

The easier it is for users to gain information, the more traffic you will have on your site. Sitelinks point out the pages that are accessed the most .

Google determines which links are most commonly used by looking at the amount of internal and external links. Sitelinks are a great way to inform people about your product and increase brand awareness.

Let’s use Lady Gaga’s fan page as an example:

 

Fans can easily buy merchandise, listen to her music or confirm tour dates. 

3.Users can browse deeper pages

Users are most likely to browse through your homepage and look at product and service pages. On average, users visit 4-5 pages before they move on the the next site.

Consider this: If they have not yet found what they are looking for after an extensive search without results, will they continue searching?

Probably not.

 

4.Huge CTR increase

There are many different ways to measure the success of your website. a High ranking is every marketer’s main objective, but a high CTR rate is equally effective in generating organic traffic to your site.

55% Of all clicks can can be traced back to the first three search results, but fluctuation in numbers is possible.

For example:

If a keyword gets 10,000 searches in one month, the first google result receives 3,124 clicks. If you ad sitelinks, you receive 20% more clicks since they dominate the top half of the page. That’s an extra 2000 clicks on your site. Not bad.

Sitelinks can also pop up in paid search results. Studies found a direct correlation between CTR and sitelink visibility. After removing sitelinks, CTR had a massive drop from 20% to 10%.

5.Gain credibility and trust

Google knows that sitelinks rule the bottom half of their page and pushes other search results lower down the fold. If a site has sitelinks, you can be sure that it’s legit.

It’s a sign that Google has enough trust in them to give them sitelinks. If it’s good enough for Google, it’s good enough for any online marketer.

Google is committed to giving it’s users the best results in the shortest amount of time, therefore they will not grant sitelinks if:

  • The site is unknown or unpopular
  • The site structure is not compatible with Google algorithms
  • The users search is not relevant to sitelinks.

 

HOW TO GET GOOGLE SITELINKS

These links are automatically created by algorithms based on the link popularity of your internal pages, combined with the number of internal links you have pointing to your inner pages.  According to Google, they analyse the link structure of your site to find shortcuts.

 

*What are Internal links: a Hyperlink on a webpage that leads to another page. E.g. Images or documents, on the same website or domain.

 

1.User friendly design

Your website should be easy to use with a clear hierarchy and structure for easy navigation. If Google struggles to find the pages and understand the relevance to each other, it won’t be able to show site links.

Keep your home page as your “core” page. Visitors will usually start here and navigate further. Therefore, this page should be extremely well designed to assist visitors while browsing

For example, if you sell shoes online:

Home page -> Ladies’ Shoes -> sizes -> Boots, sandals, pumps

 

2. Add a sitemap.xml file to your Google Search Console account (Google Webmasters tool)

Sitemaps increase coverage of your website and explains the most important pages of your site. Google responds when they see your site generates a lot of traffic.

If you don’t have an account:

  1. Log onto Google Search Console and click on your website
  2. On the dashboard, click on the sitemaps link
  3. On the next screen, click on “Add/Test Sitemap” (it’s in the right-hand corner). In the pop-up box, add the location of your sitemap (usually “sitename.com/sitemap.xml”).

You can make your own sitemap if you don’t have one already:

Google XML Sitemaps plugin (for WordPress sites)

XML-Sitemaps.com (for HTML websites)

For those who use a WordPress plugin like All in One SEO or Yoast SEO, both plugins have Sitemap functionality built in.

3.Build internal links

Frequently visited product pages are an indication to Google which pages are important.

You can track internal links from Google Webmaster Tools. To do this:

  1. Log into your dashboard
  2. Click on “Search Traffic”
  3. -> Internal Links
  4. Cross check your page titles

The right page title is of cardinal importance. Google looks at these titles to provide sitelinks.

Page titles should be a short description of the page itself to avoid confusion when users are browsing through. The correct title is short and be applicable to visitors expectations.

4. Structured Data

Structured data helps Google understand the content on your site, which can be used to display rich snippets in search results.
You provide structured data by adding HTML markup to your site’s pages, so this means that someone with quite a bit of HTML knowledge will need to assist you in creating the Structured Data.
For instructions on how to do this, and to see if Google currently detects Structured Data on your site, go to your search console.

5. Rich Cards

Rich cards are a good way to provide data to Google Search about events, products, or opportunities on your website. Rich card data can be displayed to users in a variety of formats on different devices, and can help drive traffic to your website.

6. Data Highlighter

Does your site contain structured data like event listings or review ratings?
Now there’s a new alternative to webmaster markup for helping Google understand your site’s data. With Data Highlighter, you simply “tag” each data field with your mouse.
Then Google can present your data more attractively, and in new ways, in search results.

Can all of the above guarantee a listing with sitelinks?

No.

But it will definitely increase your chances SIGNIFICANTLY!

So, as with all things SEO, it’s up to Google whether it will or won’t display your sitelinks. So do everything that you can – and then remember to give it some time… it won’t happen overnight!

Internship Program Now Open

Internship Program Now Open

Inbound Inc. is expanding fast, and we have some fantastic internship opportunities available! If you are hoping to become a Digital Marketer/Strategist, a Graphic/Web designer, Video editor/Animator or an amazing copywriter, then make sure to send your application to esther@inboundinc.net today!

 

Digital Marketing Intern Position

Digital marketing intern with the possibility of getting a full time position. We offer a three month internship with extensive training and hands on work experience.

 

Requirements:

  • Relevant degree in marketing or design is a plus
  • Must know Excel, Word and PowerPoint
  • Must know how to use Google properly
  • Strong communication and presentation skills, both verbal and written

 

The intention is to give practical work experience to students who are in their last year of study and require In-Service Training in order to obtain their qualification and/or those recently graduated but unemployed and require exposure in a work environment.

 

Your daily activities will include things like:

  • Daily monitoring of social media accounts
  • Managing clients’ social media pages
  • Gathering and reporting on data
  • Scheduling and posting approved content
  • Providing support to your team
  • Researching market/industry trends
  • List building
  • Creating and sending marketing mailers
  • Creating social media content

 

Advantageous

  • HTML knowledge
  • Active on social media
  • Strong interest in digital marketing

 

Prospective interns must submit the following:

  • Covering letter/ Letter of motivation
  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • Latest academic record
  • Copy of Grade 12 certificate
  • Certified copy of identity document

 

Applications must be sent to: esther@inboundinc.net

 

Applications for this 3-month internship position close on 15 October 2017

Applicants must be available for an interview in Johannesburg. No recruitment agencies please. Should you not receive a response within 2 weeks, please consider your application unsuccessful.

 

Graphic and Web design Intern Position

Web design intern with the possibility of getting a full time position. We offer a three month internship with extensive training and hands on work experience.

 

Requirements:

  • Relevant qualification
  • Must know WordPress (or another CMS platform)
  • Must know how to use Google properly
  • Some knowledge of photoshop and illustrator

 

The intention is to give practical work experience to students who are in their last year of study and require In-Service Training in order to obtain their qualification and/or those recently graduated but unemployed and require exposure in a work environment.

 

Your daily activities will include things like:

  • Building new websites in WordPress
  • Creating banners, ads, headers and other design collateral to be used on the websites
  • Uploading articles/blog posts onto wordpress
  • Making updates & changes on client websites
  • Installing Google analytics on websites
  • SEO on websites

 

Advantageous

  • HTML knowledge
  • CMS knowledge
  • Interest in digital marketing and design

 

Prospective interns must submit the following:

  • Covering letter/ Letter of motivation
  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • Latest academic record
  • Copy of Grade 12 certificate
  • Certified copy of identity document
  • Portfolio

 

Applications must be sent to: esther@inboundinc.net

 

Applications for this 3-month internship position close on 15 October 2017

Applicants must be available for an interview in Johannesburg. No recruitment agencies please. Should you not receive a response within 2 weeks, please consider your application unsuccessful.

 

Copywriter Intern Position

Copywriter intern with the possibility of getting a full time position. We offer a three month internship with extensive training and hands on work experience.

 

Requirements:

  • Relevant qualification
  • Must know Microsoft Word
  • Excellent research skills

 

The intention is to give practical work experience to students who are in their last year of study and require In-Service Training in order to obtain their qualification and/or those recently graduated but unemployed and require exposure in a work environment.

 

Your daily activities will include things like:

  • Writing website content
  • Writing blog articles on various topics
  • Writing copy for online ads
  • Writing social media copy
  • Writing for SEO

 

Advantageous

  • Interest in Digital Marketing
  • Knowledge of SEO

 

Prospective interns must submit the following:

  • Covering letter/ Letter of motivation
  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • Latest academic record
  • Copy of Grade 12 certificate
  • Certified copy of identity document
  • Portfolio/ Link to personal blog or any other writing that you’ve done

 

Applications must be sent to: esther@inboundinc.net

 

Applications for this 3-month internship position close on 15 October 2017

Applicants must be available for an interview in Johannesburg. No recruitment agencies please. Should you not receive a response within 2 weeks, please consider your application unsuccessful.

 

Video Editor/Special effects Intern Position

Video Editor/Special effects intern with the possibility of getting a full time position. We offer a three month internship with extensive training and hands on work experience.

 

Requirements:

  • Relevant qualification
  • Must know Adobe Premier Pro/Final Cut Pro and After Effects

 

The intention is to give practical work experience to students who are in their last year of study and require In-Service Training in order to obtain their qualification and/or those recently graduated but unemployed and require exposure in a work environment.

 

Your daily activities will include things like:

  • Assisting Camera operators on shoots
  • Editing Videos in Premier Pro
  • Creating Animations and special effects in After Effects
  • Uploading videos to Youtube

 

Advantageous

  • Interest in Digital Marketing

 

Prospective interns must submit the following:

  • Covering letter/ Letter of motivation
  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • Latest academic record
  • Copy of Grade 12 certificate
  • Certified copy of identity document
  • Portfolio/ Link to your Vlog or any video/animation projects that you’ve worked on.

 

Applications must be sent to: esther@inboundinc.net

 

Applications for this 3-month internship position close on 15 October 2017

 

Applicants must be available for an interview in Johannesburg. No recruitment agencies please. Should you not receive a response within 2 weeks, please consider your application unsuccessful.

10 Types of videos for each stage of your marketing funnel

By now, you all know that video marketing is one of the best ways to get your customer’s attention! But you’re probably sitting and wondering what kind of videos you should be making for your business… and how it will fit in to your marketing plan.

We’ve made a handy infographic for you on 10 different types of videos and how they could fit in to every stage of your marketing.

Video Marketing: Content that moves, and moves you

Video Marketing: Content that moves, and moves you

Online video has revolutionized the world of digital marketing.

We react, re-watch and remember better.

 

WHY WILL MY CLIENTS REACT BETTER TO ONLINE VIDEO VS. TEXTUAL CONTENT?

Simple.

Video is the most powerful tool to evoke emotions, even if you are sitting at your desk. It overrules traditional content tenfold, because it holds the  ability to stimulate the viewer’s senses on different levels.

Tone of voice, music and facial expressions have instant effect on viewers psychological interior. Memorable, satisfying and thought provoking video content will result in:

  • positive consumer decision making
  • Better ROI
  • Improved SEO

Fact: Including video Increases the chances of a front page google result with 53 times. (Martech Zone)

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY ONLINE MARKETING CAMPAIGN WILL BE A SUCCESS?

You’ve spent a pretty penny with the design of a new website. Looks great. But how do you know for sure that your efforts are not in vain?

Consistent online contribution has reached an almost relentless level that presents marketers with a new challenge: How do I keep track of my viewers? How do I know my brand is attracting an audience?

This is where video marketing takes the cake.

  • Video content has a built in feedback loop
  • Viewers can comment with questions, concerns or complaints
  • Keep track of viewing number. Who knows, maybe we go viral!
  • Keep track of shares on social media. #winning!
  • Administer the amount of clicks on your link

FACT: More video content is uploaded in 1 month than TV  has produced in the past three decades. (Hubspot)

The proof is in the pudding. The feedback on your video shows what you are doing right. It shows what your target market wants, and also, what they DON’T want.

EXAMPLE: PRET A MANGER – LITTLE VEGGIE SHOP

This ad is not  flashy or action packed , but the I’ve included the campaign for a very specific reason. This brand included their users by asking them questions to gain knowledge of the wants and needs of their consumers.

The campaign consisted of an online poll asking if customers would be interested in vegan stores. This resulted in the Little Veggie Pop-up Shop.

Marketers often find listening as their greatest challenge. They usually have the final concept in their minds before consulting their target audience. That is a error that needs to be addressed. Customer advice needs to be taken seriously for successful brand sharing.  

As a result, the stores profits increased and customers got exactly what they wanted.

HOW WILL VIDEO MARKETING INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF SALES?

Your product is not flying off  the  shelves as you hoped it would?

The problem is not your product, but the way in which your product is presented. Technology has knocked out a couple of primordial business terms but, “Presentation is everything” is still as relevant as ever.

Ok great, But HOW AND WHY  will consumers react better?

  • Adding instructional “How to” videos make the product more accessible and desirable
  • Live video chats improve user experience and eliminates the anonymous nature of online retail which will appeal to clients who are wary of scams.
  • Online interaction via Video can inspire and unite. Users can express and share their views, resulting in brand exposure and serious traffic on your site
  • Video marketing has less constraints and can be more creatively executed than textual content. Things that look cool, are cool.

Fact: Consumers are 64% more likely to purchase a product after watching video content (Kiss metrics)

The great thing about Video marketing is that people prefer watching to reading. Compare: When last did you watch the news versus reading the newspaper?

As a result of video marketing, consumers tend to spend an extra 2 minutes on sites.

This will lead to an increase in future sales engagements and will establish a long-lasting relationship between you and your client.

Example: Cornetto — Love in 8 Seconds

 

The Campaign:

China’s leading ice cream brand wanted to connect with the a younger target audience through social media on smartphones in order to guarantee their position as market leaders. The campaign tapped into the psyche of “the 90s generation.” Research has shown that this particular group struggle to reveal what’s really going on in their minds. Self expression is scary right? The resulting campaign led to the creation of an online film starring some of China’s most iconic stars to help teens ask themselves the question: “If you had only 8 seconds left before the end of the world, how would you express your love?”. Participants used “Weishi” – the Chinese version of Vine – to make their contributions.  

The Bottom Line:

More than 70, 0000 reacted with their video contributions which were viewed over 9 million times on Cornetto’s Weishi page. There campaign successfully reached millions of teens.

OKAY GREAT! BUT WHAT ABOUT VIDEO MARKETING ON SMARTPHONES?

We are a society that compulsively communicates which has led to a revolutionary product that has shaped our habits and changed our lives.

The Smartphone.

Free Wi-Fi is available in more and more places, meaning that access to video marketing via smartphones will increase. Mobile devices offer easy online access to consumers who don’t have computer resources.

  • It’s way easier to watch a video vs. reading text on a four-inch screen
  • Millennials rely more on their smartphones than any other device
  • Video on a smartphone is far less distracting than it is on TV
  • Brands can reach people anywhere, any time
  • Mobile ads are easier to remember
  • Mobile ads can be anchored to the bottom of the page making them less intrusive than TV ads

LET’S GET BUSY

Images have a significant link in the evolution of communication. The love of images is as old as humanity itself, but our desire  for speed has increased due to the development of technology. Humans can communicate faster, more frequently and on a global scale. Technology has caught up with our brain’s capability to process images… Or the attention span of online users has plummeted to an all time low.

It’s the duty of the modern marketer to deliver large amounts of information in a blink,  and on the go. Video marketing is affordable, universal and reaches colossal audiences with speed. Video marketing is, without a doubt, a fundamental tool for a victorious campaign.

 

Is your site ready for paid traffic?

 

Is your site ready for paid traffic?

Is your website ready for paid traffic?

When it comes to pay-per-click (PPC) ads, the majority of people seem to have a “build it and they will come” kind of mindset. These ads are portrayed as being the easiest way to direct the kind of traffic you want to your website. It looks like all you need is a URL it can be directed to and the right keywords. But is this really the case? What happens once they’re on your site?

With the PPC bandwagon on the roll, many have jumped on it without hesitation, spending large amounts of money on PPC campaigns. These companies think they’re paying for visitors who end up spending money on their site, yet all they’re really paying for is the traffic – with little to no knowledge of where these visitors end up or whether they’re turning into leads.

The overlooked component of paid traffic

Approximately 64.6% of people click on Google Ads when they’re searching for a product or service, proving that PPC ads do hold value. So if your PPC campaign hasn’t been delivering quite the results you expected, you need to investigate the possibility of another component affecting the strength of your ads.

The biggest mistake businesses make is setting up a PPC campaign and failing to consider the rest of the journey that visitor takes once they’re on your website. Your website is often the first interaction customers have with your brand and needs to be a professional representation of what you do. If your website can’t accurately welcome PPC paid traffic and direct them to the appropriate product or service, it will hamper the effectiveness of your PPC ads.

How do I know if my website is ready?

To gain better control over where your paid traffic goes and whether they turn into leads, you need to look at the following aspects of your website:

Is your website up to date?

The look and feel of your website is important to your corporate image and a sleek, up to date website will distinguish you from your competitors. Any potential leads also need to be able to easily find the information they’re looking for.

Is your website responsive?

Many companies run mobile PPC ads without making sure their site is responsive, meaning they pay for traffic that can’t properly navigate the site once they’re there. A responsive site will improve the user experience and this will, in turn, increase the chance of a conversion.

Is your website converting?

If your site gets high traffic but few conversions, it means visitors aren’t able to find what they’re looking for and your site isn’t selling your product or service well enough. To gain more conversions, your site needs to be optimised or, better yet, you need to direct paid traffic to a landing page.

It all starts with impressive website design

What do visitors see when they land on your website? If the answer is anything other than a unified representation of your brand, perhaps it’s time to consider a redesign. Not only does a clean, stylish website make your brand stand out, but it will also make your PPC ads more effective. In a previous blog we discuss the advantages of growth-driven design, and this is exactly what you need to leverage to get better PPC conversion rates. A streamlined, optimised website with good site speed and an impressive user experience will ensure you direct the traffic you pay for to the appropriate destination.

In addition to your site’s design, another effective way of improving your conversion rate is directing your paid traffic to a landing page and not your homepage. This dedicated page can be structured in such a way that it best serves the keywords you have selected. Sending traffic to a homepage leaves the user with no desired action to take, whereas a landing page can have a clear headline and call to action (CTA), and give them exactly the information they need.

Whether it’s a new website design, a redesign, or a landing page, Inbound Inc. can design and develop the mobile-responsive website your business deserves. As part of a range of professional services, our web development involves CMS design, analytic tools and creating a unified brand. If you find yourself seeking an optimised website and better PPC conversion rates, then perhaps this is the first step.

 

The Evolving Website: The advantages of growth driven design

Growth Driven Design

 

The modern consumer is never fully satisfied.  Whilst brands try their best to keep up with ever-changing customer wants, needs and demands, the simple fact is that the consumer is always going to expect more, better, simpler and faster, and if your brand can’t sustain a culture of constantly delivering on this, they’ll turn to one that can.

In this age of perpetually evolving customer demands the brand that is in a state of ultra-responsive flux is always going to come out on top, as they react faster and more efficiently to what their customers want and need. You either adapt and evolve or you die; welcome to the jungle.

Enter the evolving website, a growth driven approach

Growth driven website design is a concept that effectively addresses the aforementioned issues, in the online space at least. It may sound like an intimidating new approach to web design, but really, adopting a growth driven approach to building and managing your website can be a relatively simple process that will see far greater ROI in the long-term.

To begin with, let’s look at what growth driven design, also called iterative website design actually is. At its core, a growth driven approach involves a continuous process of refinement and improvement on a website.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to constantly be adding functionality, changing your content and growing your website everyday. But what it does mean, is that your website is flexible enough to evolve in line with your brand’s and consumer’s needs.

4 reasons to adopt a growth driven approach

1. Become highly responsive to your clients’ needs

One of the key benefits of an iterative web build is its highly flexible nature, allowing you to quickly and easily respond to changing circumstances and requirements.

It doesn’t really matter which industry you’re in these days, the customer is always king. If your website is giving your users what they want and addressing their concerns, you’re far more likely to convert them into customers.

Building your website iteratively allows you to regularly take feedback from your site users and determine what they want to see on your site, before adding that feature or function.

As this becomes part of your website design culture, your users will notice this and really appreciate the fact that their feedback is being implemented and making a difference, which will in turn generate a deeper affinity for your brand. It’s a real win-win.

2. Identify bugs and other issues and fix them quickly

When you adopt a growth driven approach, it gives you the unique advantage of being able to respond to bugs or other issues on the website almost as soon as they are identified.

Web users are notoriously impatient and they will quickly judge a website on any problems they encounter, with stats showing that up to 39% of web users will leave a website simply because images load too slowly or incorrectly.

It’s an unforgiving world wide web out there. You can spend massive amounts of time and money trying to create a perfect website, and it will still have bugs and other issues.

However, if you simply adopt a growth driven approach and build a good, flexible website, you will be able to fix and improve on any issues that you encounter before they can cause too much damage.

3. Ensure your site’s content is fresh and on-brand

It’s quite simple really, if your site’s content is outdated or misaligned to your current marketing messages and campaigns, users will get fed up pretty quickly.

A growth driven approach not only makes it simple to add and update your content as often as you need or want, but it will allow you to quickly change the core message of your site to suit the current stage of your business or campaigns that tend to take over your whole brand message for extended periods.

Additionally, regularly updating your content helps you rank higher in your SEO, and with 93% of online experiences beginning with a search engine, according to imFORZA.com, this is an undeniable advantage for any website.

4. Save time, money and energy

The traditional approach to web design goes a little like this: you spend significant resources that include time, money, energy and often sanity, in developing a website that you think is as perfect as possible. You think it’s exactly what your clients want and you believe that once this world-beater website goes live, you can just sit back and reap the benefits of users visiting your site, being amazed and subsequently compelled to buy your products or services.

This is rarely how it actually pans out.

After investing numerous resources in your perfect site, you’ll soon realise that it isn’t quite so perfect. You might come to find your customers don’t enjoy it, it quickly becomes outdated and, having spent your entire budget on this behemoth, you simply don’t have the time or money to address these mounting issues. What a nightmare!

A growth driven approach, conversely, allows you to create a good site, which has the basics but isn’t too set in its design, content or functionality.

It is a work in progress, an evolving entity that you add to and improve as and when needed, and in line with what your users want. In this way you’ll save time and money and be able to get more, from less.

The benefits of a growth driven approach to your website are clear. While this might not be ideal for some businesses, it’s a strategy that you should consider and may end up giving you far more value on your website than you ever imagined.

Inbound Inc. is launching a new range of products this week that contains various options for growth driven design and marketing services to suit your budget. To have a look at these packages, click here!

Redesign time: 4 Signs it’s time to give your website a facelift

Redesign time: 4 Signs it’s time to give your website a facelift


Website redesign with Inbound Inc

We live in an undeniably digital world. Technology seems to be improving at an exponential rate and, as everything gets smaller, smarter and a lot more powerful, it’s becoming more and more difficult for brands to ride out the technological wave and keep their heads above water.

Even the smallest SMMEs are waking up to the need to establish an online presence for their business, whether it’s as basic as having a Facebook page or as complex as running multiple social media accounts, a website and a blog simultaneously. The harsh new reality is that if your business is not online, it simply isn’t relevant to the majority of contemporary consumers.

If you haven’t been living under the proverbial rock and your business isn’t in its absolute infancy, you’ll probably already have a website. You might even have a few social media profiles for your business if you’re particularly clued on the advantages of below-the-line marketing. But don’t pat yourself on the back just yet; simply being online is no guarantee that you’re getting the most ROI from your digital endeavours.

Years of experiencing in conceptualising, designing and building websites has left me somewhat jaded at the state of some of the sites floating around the Internet. From both a consumer and supplier perspective I can say with absolute certainty that a poorly designed and built website can not only put customers off doing business with you, it can significantly damage your brands’ reputation.

So should you consider redesigning your website?

This is a tough question for many businesses, particularly smaller businesses that don’t exactly have the funds for a site revamp. Many see it as being an unnecessary or luxury expense. Why spend on a site redesign when you have one that’s doing the job already?

Though it might be the last thing you want to think about, a website redesign could just be the best decision you make this year.

Besides the potential for lost sales and reputational damage, a bad website is a wasted opportunity.

As one of the first and most important touch points for new or potential clients, your website should be functioning as a sales tool, a valuable informational resource, a customer service portal, a showroom for your products/services, and so much more.

If your website isn’t a powerfully engaging, visually enticing, multi-functional digital ambassador for your brand, the chances are that it’s hindering your business and you should seriously consider a redesign.

4 signs it’s redesign time

1. Your website looks ugly or outdated

If you spend a decent amount of time online you’ve probably seen some gorgeous websites along the way, sites that catch the eye and entice you to actually explore them.

A website can be a beautiful visual journey that makes effective use of colour, imagery, animation, texture, pattern, audio and video. Although your site doesn’t necessarily have to be winning any design awards and have Hollywood-level production values, there is no reason you can’t have a good looking, well designed website without breaking the bank.

A recent study by ResearchGate found that 94% of people believe that a well designed website is more trustworthy! So if you take an honest, objective look at your website and notice that the colour scheme is boring, the imagery looks like a 90’s era Backstreet Boys album and it doesn’t quite meet your expectations for a well designed website, perhaps it’s redesign time.

2. Your website isn’t mobile-friendly or responsive

This is a really big one. According to Comscore, the number of Internet users that browse online on their mobile devices now outnumbers those using a desktop computer. This trend aligns with the ever-increasing number of smartphone users and we can expect to see this becoming even more prevalent as we enter the age of the smartphone.

The simple fact is that people are far more likely to visit your website on their mobile device than via a desktop, and if your site isn’t responsive across various screen sizes and platforms, you’re going to lose those potential customers.

It’s quite simple really, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s redesign time!

3. Your website isn’t converting visitors to customers

Your site might be an endless hub of traffic, with users visiting it in their droves… but if those visitors aren’t taking the plunge and buying your products/services, then what’s the point?

Your website should be designed with one main action in mind. Whether that is to get people to buy your product, sign up for a newsletter or just click the link to like your Facebook page, all of your content and functionality should be set up with that end goal in mind and relentlessly drive site visitors to complete that action.

If your site isn’t converting your visitors to customers, then it’s most definitely time for a redesign.

4. Your website isn’t really yours

This may seem a little nonsensical, but essentially what is meant here is that if you can’t manage your website or least make basic updates to the site’s content by yourself, then your site isn’t really yours.

Many organisations make use of a web design agency or entity that will build and maintain their site for them and these entities will often build the site in such a way that they are the ones required to update and add to the site whenever it becomes necessary. This guarantees that the client will have to keep coming back to them for more business. However, websites with built-in Content Management Systems (CMS) are now becoming something of a standard in web design and it’s easier than ever for clients to update and maintain their sites themselves.

This makes particular sense for SMMEs that can’t really afford to pay an agency every time they make a small update to their site. If you don’t have full control of your website and you find that you’re held hostage by the agency that built it, maybe it’s redesign time.

There are many other reasons you might want to redesign your website. Perhaps your business has changed and you need to reflect that with the website?

Maybe you want to build an e-commerce platform into your website to sell your products?

Whatever the reason, you can’t really go wrong with upgrading to a highly functional, well designed website.

If you’re considering a redesign for your website, why not get in touch with us and tell us what you’re looking for?

What makes content go VIRAL?

What makes content go VIRAL?


 Viral Content

Going viral is something of a holy grail to the content marketer. When a piece of content goes viral it’s not just seen as a validation of its quality and relevance, but as an opportunity for it to take on a whole new life as it’s shared far and wide and leaves a significant and measurable impact in the hearts and minds of all who interact with it.

Unfortunately, there’s no unequivocal way to define and quantify what it is that makes something go viral. It’s a perfect storm made up of a number of factors, which vary according to the content itself, the timing of its release, the audience that view it and much more. As such, it’s almost impossible to guarantee that a piece of content will go viral, unless you’re willing to spend significantly to boost and promote it, something which simply isn’t feasible for the majority of SMMEs and isn’t even a sure thing. Viral content is actually considered an unusual phenomenon, an outlier to the status quo of the endless reams of content that saturate the Internet.

So how does one create content that has the best chance of going viral?

To begin to understand and answer that question, we first need to define what is meant by viral content.  Essentially, and the name itself is a dead give away here, a piece of viral content is one that is viewed and shared many times, by many different users on the internet. The content itself can be anything from a piece of information to a video or audio clip and, much like its namesake, spreads quite indiscriminately from user to user as they internalise it and subsequently pass it on to those within their circle of influence; a fitting metaphor indeed.

Logically one might assume that in order for a piece of content to become viral, it needs to appeal to many different people and be optimised for sharing across many different channels. Creating content that has this universal appeal and compels a user to share it of their own volition, however, is not as straightforward as it may seem.  There are currently over 3 billion daily active Internet users in the world and this is increasing by the second.

With such a large and diverse audience, it becomes extremely difficult to create content that will resonate with as many of them as possible and, ironically enough, research has shown that content that is too general and tries to appeal to too large an audience is unlikely to go viral.

This is just further evidence that creating viral content is an imprecise science. But, while luck will always play a major role in determining whether content goes viral, there are certain guidelines you can follow to increase your chances of getting lucky.

The 3 key dimensions of virality

Although we’ve already determined that there’s no definitive way to ensure virality, trend-mapping has identified certain dimensions that will increase the likelihood of content going viral.

1. Make it visual

Visual content has consistently proven to have the highest level of virality compared to other forms of content. A recent study by Buzzsumo, which analysed 2000 of the most viral content pieces of 2015, found that out of the top 50 most shared pieces 45% were video and 24% image-based.  With 72% of the top 50 being primarily visual, it’s undeniable that visual content is far more likely to go viral.

The main reasoning behind this is that people find visual content far quicker and easier to engage with. It’s less demanding and facilitates ease of comprehension and sharing. Remember the old adage ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’? Well, in this case, that seems to hold true.

2. Make it informative

Whilst this doesn’t imply that you should load your content with facts and figures and reams of research, trends show that content that piques the users interest and leaves them somewhat more enlightened on a certain topic or issue, has a much higher chance of going viral.

There are many ways to achieve this, whether it’s in the form of a warning, advice, tips and tricks, interesting facts and trends or anything else that is likely to intrigue the everyman. Content that is informative and adds value to your audience’s lives is far more likely to get a share.

3. Make it emotionally-charged

Stimulating some kind of emotional response from your audience has shown to be a highly effective method to facilitate virality and, with the nearly endless array of human emotions we’re subject to on a daily basis, there are many ways to go about this.

Humour is generally the most powerful of emotions to leverage when virality is the end goal, and a witticism in your title, a lighthearted angle or just the odd comedic element in the content can see a huge increase in the chances of the content going viral.

Content that stimulates sadness, anger, joy, fear or any number of emotional responses, often proves to be highly shareable and really lends itself to virality.

Getting it right

So now that you have a better understanding of what virality is and the 3 key dimensions that increase its likelihood, let’s look at an example that managed to tick all three of these boxes and hit the viral jackpot.

Buzzfeed is something of an authority on viral content. They optimise their posts to try and ensure every piece of content they produce sees the highest number of shares possible and this post entitled ‘21 pictures that will restore your faith in humanity’ is one of their most successfully viral pieces to date, with over 8.7 million views. One of the 21 Pictures include the one below of Chicago Christians who showed up at a gay pride parade to apologise for homophobia in the Church.

Gay Pride viral content

(Michelle Gantner / Maladjusted Media)

As you can see in the above example taken from the post, they really have leveraged the 3 dimensions we identified.

It’s visual: Powerful images are used in each of the 21 examples, making it far easier for the audience to engage with and understand.

It’s informative: Each of the examples gives a scenario and then backs it up with the necessary facts and context so the audience learns something about that particular issue.

It’s emotionally-charged: Everything in this post is designed to stimulate an emotional reaction in the audience. From the emotive title to the imagery and language used, it’s all designed to make you feel a range of emotions and compel you to share the post.

Going viral is always going to be the most desirable outcome when developing content, and, although you might not get it right as much as you would like, if you start incorporating the dimensions above into your content on a regularly basis, your next piece may just be a winner.

If you need assistance in creating highly effective and shareable content to suit your audience, visit our content page to see what types of content we can assist you with.

Engage, convert, delight: The power of video in content marketing

Engage, Convert, Delight: The Power of Video in Content Marketing


Video in content marketing

We live in an age of instant gratification. Ultra-fast Internet speeds are ubiquitous for most and we have become accustomed to having virtually unlimited access to any information and content we require, in the blink of an eye.

This is not a trend in isolation. Rather, it has arisen as a consequence of our busy modern lives. We have become exceptionally time-poor as we strive to do business in a global marketplace that is more connected, and less patient, than ever before. Consequently, the nature of marketing, and content marketing in particular, has changed.

Brands are turning away from traditional Above The Line media, such as radio and television, in favour of leveraging off of more cost-effective and innovative Below The Line and direct marketing channels. It is becoming commonplace to target specific customers and communicate with them on their terms, catering marketing messages to microcosms of your target audience, rather than simply developing a blanket message to chuck at anyone who will listen.

In this contemporary global market you don’t have the luxury of long sales pitches and most customers will only give you a few minutes to convince them that your product/service is what they need. As a result, content, and its subsequent delivery, has become king. You have to get your message right and deliver it in the most concise, direct and engaging way possible and whilst a picture can tell a story, a video can embody an entire experience.

The undeniable value of video

Video content is experiencing something of a revolution. From SMMEs to global mega-brands, more and more businesses are discovering the inherent value of video, over other media, in conveying impactful and effective messages, faster than ever. According to Comscore, the threshold for average internet users watching online video everyday has broken 100 million and continues to grow at a rapid rate.

It’s even gotten to the point that just the thought of video content is a far more attractive proposition than other content forms, with recent studies from Brainshark suggesting that simply mentioning the word ‘video’ in an email subject line can increase the likelihood of a mail being opened by up to 19%.

The question is no longer ‘Should my business be using video marketing?’ but rather ‘How do we get the best ROI from our video marketing efforts?’

Getting your video marketing right

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing video marketing and selecting the right agency to develop and deliver your video is the most important step in ensuring you see real value and measurable ROI.

Inbound Inc. is adept at developing content marketing videos that not only address all of your marketing KPIs and reach your intended audience, but also ensure that you see these leads converted into real sales, before continuing to engage with and delight new and existing customers.

Working in collaboration with the highly distinguished, award-winning PLR Productions, our track record in producing engaging, effective video content is second to none. From corporate videos, animations and product/service explanation videos to interviews, seminar coverage, training videos and more, we have a versatile range of solutions to meet your video marketing needs.

The Inbound Inc. video marketing process

We follow a tried and tested process that ensures the videos we produce exceed our clients’ expectations, delivering real value that goes beyond simply conveying their message.

1. Understanding your target audience:

It is essential that your content be directed at the right audience. A broad blanket message that will speak to any audience is far less likely to see real, measurable impact and engagement than a carefully targeted piece of content that speaks the language of your intended customer. We conduct meticulous market research and draw strategically–driven insights into your target market, to ensure we know exactly at whom the message is directed and develop the content accordingly to see optimum levels of customer engagement.

2. Strategy and concept development:

With a clear understanding of the intended audience, we develop a powerful, strategically-aligned concept, from which concise, targeted content can be created. From storyboarding to scriptwriting, we ensure that the content of the video is of the highest standard and designed to resonate with your audience.

3. Producing the video:

Once the content is approved and the strategic direction is in place, we set about the production of the video. Whether it’s animation or live-action video, we take the utmost care and precision with every single frame to ensure that the lighting, composition, colours, graphics and audio are optimised to the highest production standards. We take care of all the logistical requirements, from sourcing actors and voice-over artists, scouting and arranging locations, sourcing props, makeup, wardrobe and whatever else is required to produce video that will leave a lasting impression!

4. Post-production:

Once the footage has been shot, the magic happens. Our post-production gurus set about cutting and editing the footage to ensure only the best shots are used, before bringing it all together in a concise and engaging narrative that will ensure your audience is hooked from the first frame to the last.  In this stage we also finalise the music, audio and visual effects, video graphics, colour and resolution, before rendering and preparing a range of video files and sizes for your intended media channels.

5. Going the extra mile:

Once we’ve created your video and are totally satisfied that it meets our stringent quality standards, we don’t just hand over and send you on your way. We go above and beyond by assisting and facilitating the delivery of your video across a range of digital and social media channels. We aren’t happy until we know the right audience is seeing your video content and the highest possible levels of engagement are recorded, thereby generating real ROI and ensuring your message is received.

It’s undeniable that video is the future of content marketing and, in order to really connect with the contemporary consumer, your business should be tapping into this invaluable resource wherever possible.

If you would like to learn more about the range of video marketing solutions that Inbound Inc. offers, or you’re ready to discuss your video idea with us, give us a call and start leveraging off of this most versatile and robust medium!

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

 

Inbound vs outbound marketing

Have you ever become frustrated with trying to market your business and not seeing any results? Are you tired of spending your entire marketing budget on ineffective tactics and pushing your messages out far and wide hoping that it resonates with someone… anyone?

Have you ever enjoyed getting a cold call by a telemarketer or irrelevant spam in your inbox?

The truth is, outbound marketing tactics of the past are no longer appropriate for most businesses and have become increasingly ineffective.

That is why marketers have started to change the way they market and sell from outbound to inbound.

Inbound is less about manipulation and more about genuinely helping people. It’s less about charm and more about empathy. It’s less about making a quick buck and more about building a brand people want to buy from.

Inbound focuses on attracting the right kind of prospects to your business and turning them into happy customers.

To do this, you have to understand the basics of the inbound marketing methodology.

It all starts with attracting the right customers through great content – and making it easy for those prospective customers to find that great content.

For this you need:

  • A beautiful, user friendly website that can be viewed on any device
  • Great SEO, so that search engines such as Google will be able to find you
  • Content on your website that is helpful to your prospective customers

Next, you want to be able to convert those visitors into leads by collecting their contact information.
To do this, you need to offer something of value in exchange. Using your buyer personas as the foundation, crafting resourceful downloadable offers such as e-books, whitepapers, videos, or checklists you can optimize your website for lead generation.

The next step is “closing” those leads and turning them into happy customers through lead nurturing and marketing automation tactics. You want to make sure that you stay top of mind for when those leads are ready to make the purchasing decision.

Finally, and most importantly, is establishing brand loyalty, and in order to do so you need to continue to show your customers that you value them. After sales nurturing is as important as pre- sales nurturing… you want those customers not only to come back for more – but to also bring their friends along, when they come back for more!

One of the best things about inbound marketing is that every step of the marketing journey gives you the capability to measure, analyse and optimize. So the better you get to know your prospects, the better you can make their journey to discovering, purchasing and enjoying your product or service.

Stop wasting your time and money on expensive marketing campaigns that doesn’t give you a return on investment, and start using your marketing budget on tactics that work – ones that are measureable, optimizable and aligned with how your ideal customers want to be marketed and sold to.

Image source: http://www.optimed.co.uk

Page 1 of 212