Small Business Content Marketing: Is it Worth It?

As a small business with limited time and resources, you may be wondering if content marketing is really worth it? With larger companies that have greater funds and more employees, it may seem like an easier question for them to answer. But all companies, both large and small, can reap the benefits of content marketing, especially when new content is created consistently and promoted effectively.

For small businesses, your content will reflect your niche and will be a key driver for how prospective clients will find you online. Your content marketing strategy needs to focus on your target audience, the keywords those potential clients are using, the type of content you will create and how often, and how you will track your effectiveness (i.e. conversion tracking, etc.). These efforts will be worth your while when you see your traffic and sales increase.

Qseeker can help you create a content marketing and overall search engine marketing plan to drive the right customers to your small business online. If you have any questions, please contact Francis McGovern at 617-816-2969 for more information.

Cultivate an Inbound Marketing Strategy Targeted towards Customers Who Want to Find You

If you own a business, then you are probably familiar with “outbound marketing.” But is it providing the biggest marketing bang for the buck? It employs traditional marketing tactics that include print advertising, direct mail, sales calls, commercials and billboards. Although some of these strategies can be effective in the long run, these advertisements are often seen by many people who have no interest in your products or services, making it a costly effort. With “inbound marketing” however, marketing efforts focused on strategies such as keyword-optimized content, social media, blogging, search engine optimization and paid advertisements will organically attract those who are searching online for your product or service. As written in the article Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing – What’s Best for 2017?, “According to the article, SEO-generated inbound leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads have a 1.7% close rate. Why? Inbound leads are coming from people who initiated a call or navigated to a website. They’re actively shopping and intend to make a purchase.”

As mentioned in our previous post here, now is the time to think about how you want to spend your marketing dollars in 2017. Qseeker can help you cultivate an inbound marketing effort focused on the customers who want to find you, providing you a greater return on your investment. Call Francis McGovern at 617-816-2969 for more information.

Online Marketing: A Must for Small Businesses in 2017

As 2016 comes to a close, businesses are not only reflecting on the past year but also looking ahead to 2017, including analyzing their yearly budgets. In
particular, small businesses have more limited financial resources and need to be smart and efficient with their dollars. Every small business will have a marketing budget, and there is evidence and positive benefits why they should focus more of their dollars on online marketing in 2017.

A recent article on Search Engine Land, Why SMBs should spend more of their budget on online marketing in 2017, lists a few top reasons why online marketing should be given more focus in the marketing budgets of small businesses. First, as traditional advertising spend is falling, online marketing spend continues to rise. For your small business, this means that your competitors are most likely spending more on search engine optimization and search engine marketing because customers are increasingly searching online for products and services. Second, online marketing has a host of benefits, including a higher return on investment, being able to immediately track metrics to provide ongoing feedback, and the low cost of channels such as social media that can reach a larger audience than traditional means. Lastly, the article references a recent study of small businesses, and the results support the trend towards the need for a larger online marketing budget to gain a greater search engine presence and, in turn, more customers.

Contact Qseeker to help you understand how your small business can experience a higher return on investment when you focus on online marketing. Call Francis McGovern at 617-816-2969 for more information.

(image courtesy of jphotostyle.com)

The Power of the Niche

At Qseeker we believe in the importance of the niche, that by understanding your very specific target market, you can succeed. You may feel that your small business and website is at an SEO disadvantage when competing with bigger sites, but there are strategies you can use to get more targeted and niche search engine traffic that the bigger sites just can’t do. On the SEO blog Moz.com, Rand Fishkin’s article, How Can Small Businesses/Websites Compete with Big Players in SEO?, describes just how small businesses and websites can use their smaller size to their advantage in their SEO efforts.

Fishkin goes on to explain that both the large sites and small sites have their own respective advantages, and that smaller businesses can be just as competitive in their search engine marketing if they focus on specific niches. For example, big sites tend to have better domain authority, quantity and diversity of external links, trustworthiness, financial resources and the ability to invest if and when something is a big priority. For smaller sites, they have the benefit of being able to switch directions and priority quickly due to less and smaller teams, the ability to be more creative, have a specific focus, and build their business around a particular niche.

To remain competitive, Fishkin lays out 5 ways small businesses can thrive and grow. First, focus on keywords that bigger sites are not or cannot compete on. This will require some analysis of specific target markets that you can specialize in. Also, build up your authority, trust and brand for your specific areas, which includes targeting content that is more indirect and does not take the same path to conversion as your larger competitors. Once you have targeted your specific keywords, strive to be the best resource by focusing more energy in those areas and developing more content than your larger competitors ever would. Lastly, build more direct and stronger relationships with those that will help boost your authenticity, trust and niche appeal.

Use your smaller size and website to your advantage and discover the SEO opportunities that you may be overlooking. Qseeker can help you do just that.

In the Plex – Short Note on a Great Book

This is another great book about Google. It’s a really well written take on Google from Steven Levy. It’s long and in-depth but reads really well. Levy is an excellent writer. There is some great info on how Google was founded and the challenges, new products and people, and the search engine’s leadership. Steven Levy does a really interesting job at explaining the history and different phases of Google’s growth and development, from the China challenges to social networking. Google is really about smart people and how they have pushed quality to new limits and possibilities.

 

Are You Feeling Lucky?

By nature we are all curious creatures. From a young age we find ourselves asking “Why?” as we attempt to make sense of the world around us.  A great question may leave us pondering the universe; it may puzzle or enchant us.  In law, it can be powerful tool when it comes to a cross-examination, a deposition, or even an initial interaction. But did you know that as of this past September, asking the right questions can improve your business like never before?

Well, you better believe it. Because on September 26th, 2013, on the eve of its Quinceañera, Google launched a new search algorithm called the Hummingbird. Named for the speed and accuracy of the small bird, the Hummingbird is meant to be ‘a more human way to interact with users and provide a more direct answer’ (according to Wikipedia).

The new algorithm, which impacts the results of 90% of searches, relies heavily on questions and conversational topics, unlike the old model which focused on keywords. How this works is Google looks at your search as a combination of words, allowing it to process your query like never before.

As one Entrepreneur article suggests, the goal is to provide results that actually answer the question at hand. It seems that the days of trial and error may finally be behind us. If you want something from Google, all you have to do is ask. 

So how can understanding Google’s Hummingbird model improve the online visibility for your law practice?

One of the best ways to improve online visibility for your law practice is to ask all of the right questions! This means optimize your website, start a blog, and set up a Q&A section that your clients can use as a point of reference. Once you start updating regularly and cross-promoting on social media, you will see the difference it makes.

Not only does actively posting strong, original content help your website pop up in search engines, but doing so empowers your client to get informed before your preliminary phone conversation.  It’s a win-win situation.

If you are determined to be one step ahead of your competition, take advantage of your communication skills, set up a compelling blog with original content, and use the new Google Hummingbird model to ensure that you’re the lawyer everybody’s asking about.

And if you don’t have time to do it, then it’s a good thing you’ve found the experts that do. Qlegal will tailor a strategy with your individual needs in mind to help you capitalize on the many clients already searching for you and your services today.

For SEO, blog, website, and marketing inquiries you can also email Lia Gurin directly at lia.gurin@qlegal.com

Twitter: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Twitter went public on Thursday, with its shares originally priced at $26 — higher than first expected. According to CNBC, executives at the company have been spending time on Wall Street and visiting other major cities to promote the forthcoming public offering. Yet, despite their efforts and the overwhelming popularity of Twitter as a social media platform, investors are skeptical.

In a poll by AP-CNBC, almost half of polled “active” investors – those active with their investments in the past year – claim Twitter is a poor investment of your money.

Because the most active Twitter users fall into the 18-29 age range (according to a 2013 study by Pew Research Center), it could be that the majority of active Twitter users are not yet established enough to invest in the stock market. As this generation gets older, this could change.  However, a poll conducted by Wells Fargo has shown that out of the 1,500 22-32 year-old individuals surveyed, the majority expressed little interest in the stock market.

But this skepticism may simply reflect an overcautious public hesitant to take the investment plunge with a relatively new social network (It launched in 2006). After all, the stock opened trading at $45.10, which was 74% higher than the initial price of $26.  While Facebook, which went public in May 2012, remains the most lucrative Internet technology public offering, Twitter fell only slightly behind, becoming the third largest Internet IPO.

Twitter is immensely popular among social media users – it’s the most popular social network after Facebook – yet, the question that investors must ask is whether or not this popularity is lasting. Not all social networking platforms succeed in the long run.  Just as MySpace. It appears, for the future of Twitter, only time will tell if the company’s marketing strategy is sustainable.

Source: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101165620

All (Everything) is Local: The Exception

We all know the axiom that “all politics is local” — well, in the days of the Internet you can pretty much fill in the blank. In the case of Blockbuster you might say: “All quality is local,” or “All entertainment is local.” Too local, maybe. How is it possible for a company — a brand — to lose the entertainment foothold, to lose the living room of millions of consumers, and just fade away?

*

Blockbuster was an entertainment staple when it was first conceived in the 1980s, and it remained a go-to source for movies into the new millennium. Yet, it appears to be the end of an era for the one-time video giant. Dish Network Corp., which bought the brand in 2011 as it was approaching bankruptcy, now plans to close its 300 remaining retail stores by early 2014.

At its pique of success, Blockbuster was a booming and lucrative franchise, allowing consumers to rent movies to watch at their leisure – a cheaper alternative to purchasing video tapes or heading to the theater. Read more.

“Diners’ Choice”: OpenTable Names Boston’s Best Restaurants

OpenTable, the online reservation juggernaut, organizes frequently updated lists of their “Diners’ Choice” restaurants in major cities. Over 1.2 million diners rated these Boston restaurants after their dining experience.  The ranking process is unique because it can’t be skewed by falsified reviews – only OpenTable reservations that have been marked as “seated” by the restaurant are approached for feedback.

The most recent Boston list isn’t especially surprising – most of the restaurants are some of the most exclusive dining establishments in Boston.  Top of the Hub hold the number 1 spot, which should come as no surprise to Boston residents.  The elegant establishment is a long-time fixture to the Boston dining scene.  With award-winning cuisine and unmatched views of the Boston skyline, Top of the Hub is a staple to the city’s dining scene due to its solid reputation, which is only enhanced by its inclusion on the OpenTable list. Read more.

The Growing Influence of LinkedIn

As far as social media goes, LinkedIn is actually older than Facebook.  Launched in May of 2003, it was conceived as as a social networking site for business professionals – which, of course, it still is.  Yet, LinkedIn has come a long way since it first debuted.  It is now a social media heavy hitter, with over 225 million users.

For a long time, LinkedIn was a simple networking hub, where you could display your resume or look for a job. It served its purpose, and was a great way to merge the age-old necessity of networking with the internet-savvy populace. Yet, you didn’t check your LinkedIn page like you would a Facebook page. There was no consistent interaction, especially if you were happily employed.

This past October, LinkedIn entered new social media territory, rolling out its own unique content called “Influencers,” written by a group of elite professionals.  These “Influencers” indeed hold a lot of influence in their fields and include Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and President Obama.  The contributors are not paid, and instead share random commentary on life, work, and happiness – posts that seem a little off beat for such high powered individuals, and yet work well to show them as normal individuals, who just happen to have become successful through determination and drive — a motivating influence for the under- or unemployed droves trolling LinkedIn on a daily basis.

The fun conversational tone makes these power players relatable, and fosters a more positive and interactive environment for LinkedIn users.  Instead of hearing tales of unemployment, users are regaled with stories of success.

In addition to this new content, LinkedIn has also received another social media makeover – tweaks to its features which encourage interaction on par with Facebook and Twitter.  “Who’s Viewed Your Updates” and “You Recently Visited” increase the visibility of user activity.  In the former you can see two weeks worth of profile viewer information, including Facebook-esque “likes,” “shares,” and “comments” – and it also informs you if these viewers are in your second- or third- degree connections, which can serve as an alternative means of introduction.

Ultimately, LinkedIn has maintained true to its original purpose – a networking site for business professionals – but it has utilized the best and most efficient aspects of social media for its own ends.  After all, the common interests shared by users can lead to more professional connections, new job opportunities, and career inspiration, ultimately making it a social media contender.