Top 5 Benefits of Social Selling
No business can afford to be without social media today.
At the most basic level, a social presence equips you with a platform upon which to advertise your products and services. However, simply using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to bombard followers with explicit sales-focused content is typically a fast track to being ignored.
Brands have to be a little more sophisticated in their social media marketing. It’s all about building a connection with prospects, engaging followers and expanding your reach in an organic way to achieve sales goals.
Still, some businesses — big and small — have yet to realize the full potential social media offers for ongoing growth. If this sounds familiar, you could be holding yourself back and missing out on real rewards.
Take a look at the five benefits of social selling below to find the inspiration you need.
#1: Build valuable relationships
Unfocused selling isn’t enough anymore.
For a long time, countless businesses used cold calling as a key sales technique. However, as anyone who has received unwanted phone calls from a company again and again will know, they do little to secure your custom.
This revolved around trying to connect with as many people as possible in the hopes that at least a small portion of contacts would take an interest. Social selling may be targeted at large numbers of people, but it’s nothing like cold calling.
You can use social networks to find conversations related to your business, your industry or your products. You can identify prospects who may be looking for the goods or services you supply and begin reaching out to them in a slow, steady process. Your first point of contact with them can be more personalized and relevant, rather than throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.
This may be answering a question about your business or products they have asked their friends / followers. It’s a small, simple step but can start to build a strong relationship.
Always make sure you converse with prospects in a personable way, rather than structuring everything as a blatant sales pitch. Provide valuable responses and engage with them at a human level.
#2: Manage your reputation and encourage trust
Online reviews and public feedback provide consumers with a voice. One unsatisfied buyer can share their experience with others and cause instant damage to your reputation.
If prospects research your business and come across enough of these, they may choose to take a punt on a competitor instead. More and more customers are using social networks to make complaints and negative feedback, and you cannot afford to ignore them.
That can be tempting when you feel people are essentially attacking your brand, but failing to respond will do more harm than good. Prospects researching your business will see that you have done nothing to satisfy those people and suspect you have something to hide.
On the other hand, a company which regularly engages with people, answers questions, apologizes for lapses in good service and generally treats their customers with respect is likely to be viewed in a more positive light.
As research is a key part of the customer’s journey, you should never underestimate the power of a good social reputation. This makes generating leads and attracting sales a little easier.
#3: Retain customers for years to come
Retaining satisfied customers is more cost-effectivethan attracting new ones. Delivering exceptional service and maintaining close ties with buyers is essential to keep them coming back in the future.
Your brand should stay in touch with any customers who have praised your products or services on social media. Perhaps they shared a picture of an item when it arrived and thanked you for improving their life. Maybe they run a business and specify how your services will enhance their performance in years to come.
Whatever the nature of their praise, your team should seize the opportunity to build a lasting relationship.
Thank them for taking the time to let you know about their positive experience, and invite them to ask any questions they may have about the product / service. Reach out to them again a little later to ask if they’re still satisfied with their investment. Offer them a discount on future purchases too.
Prospects who see past customers are satisfied with your brand’s performance will feel more trust in the company. This can be pivotal during the research phase of their journey.
Sharing content that helps buyers get more out of their purchase — such as tips, maintenance advice etc. — will encourage brand loyalty too.
#4: Social communication is easier, less formal and free
Customers who have questions, complaints or suggestions may dread having to pick up the phone to call a business directly. The prospect of being put on hold or bounced from one call center agent to another is enough to make them ask ‘why bother?’.
That’s not to mention the cost of a call to what may be a premium-rate number.
Communicating via social media is a much faster, informal and — crucially — free option. Buyers and prospects can reach out to you or other customers just by opening an app on their device.
This cultivates more interaction and gives you more opportunities to engage.
#5: Enhance the overall customer experience
Social selling allows companies of all sizes to enhance the entire customer experience.
This plays a key role in fostering ongoing relationships, building brand recognition and keeping customers engaged with your company. A positive experience is enough to make buyers view your products and services as more valuable than your competitors, even if they are paying a little more for yours than others.
In fact, 86 percent of consumers will pay extra for goods if the overall experience is better. That’s a huge number.
Focus on giving people the information they want on social media and provide them with valuable content that suits their interests. Even if significant time passes between purchases, they are likely to still follow your brand, share your posts and recommend you to others.
Want to learn more about how social media marketing can help your brand grow? Give us a call today!
Why Does my Company Need a Local Presence in Google My Business?
Every business has to continually take advantage of the latest marketing opportunities, and if you’re not, you could be missing out on valuable business.
Google My Business is one of the simplest options available if you want to boost your website’s visibility on Google’s search engine results pages, but too many companies still aren’t using it.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of using Google My Business for your enterprise, and why you should always keep your eye on your major competition.
Google My Business: The Basics
In essence, Google My Business is a listings service for local companies of all sizes. You can find listings for all types of business, on mobile and desktop, using voice or text-based searches.
For example, if you’re looking for fast food restaurants you could expect to see global giants like Burger King and McDonald’s alongside independent, local establishments too.
Each company can benefit from appearing on Google My Business. Your brand will be displayed in searches of different kinds, though the most common one will be users running a search based on your name.
Google My Business displays key information on businesses that would otherwise be available on the website, but within the search engine itself. Companies using the service properly will be able to present prospects with their address, opening hours, contact number and a selection of images. The location on a Google Map can accompany all of this too.
The benefits of Google My Business
The Google My Business listings are ideal for a number of reasons.
One key benefit is immediacy: if someone has recommended your establishment to a friend, they will then be able to run a quick search to get all the details they need.
If they want to visit on their lunch break, they can see how close the business is and decide whether to go then or wait until they have more time. The details on Google My Business save searchers time and give them a flavor of your company before they even arrive at your website or at your door.
However, they will likely still click through to the full site to see pictures, view menus, brochures, product catalogs, and more if your listing catches their attention.
You will have to complete the Google My Business profile for your company in full, to ensure all key data appears in your listing. Verify your location(s) too, so they are more likely to appear on maps and searches and keep your opening hours accurate.
Prospects will be able to find your Google My Business listing if they look for local companies by business type too.
Searching for ‘bars in Chicago’, for example, will present you with three main listings (sometimes known as the ‘three pack’) which are considered the most relevant. Take a look below to see for yourself.
A business listing can help your brand stand out from competitors and make it much easier for potential customers to find you. However, while Google My Listings results will be displayed for searches by brand name, they may not for searches by business type.
In this case, your visibility will be based on how many businesses are competing for prominence in the local area, as well as review scores. Google will also judge your business’s placement according to how relevant it is to users’ searches, the distance from a location term in the search, and your prominence.
The more well-known your brand is, the higher it’s likely to appear in Google My Business listings. This applies to online and offline brands alike. Google will base prominence on the amount of information on the business it can pull from online resources like articles and directories.
Reviews are an important part of boosting your Google My Business listing’s visibility. Positive reviews written by satisfied customers can make your company more likely to rank and provide prospects with reliable information on whether your business is right for them.
Encourage customers to leave their own reviews by creating a link on your site or social media, and they may actually help you out.
You can add Google Posts too, which appear on search pages and maps. These allow you extra room in which to promote special deals, newsletters, news, and more. Posts are intended to make your website / business more attractive and offer extra value.
Watching your Competitors
When you create your own Google My Business listing, take a look at your competitors’.
This includes those in your local area and around the world, across online and offline sectors. Your bigger competitors should be your main focus, particularly those which are leading the market.
Take a look at the review scores, images, and additional elements they include in their listings. Could you learn anything from them? Are your own images of an equal standard? Do they include Google Posts, and if so, how do they make you want to click through to their site?
You may not be able to compete with your leading rivals, especially if they have decades worth of experience and reputation-building than you do. However, following their lead can help you improve your Google My Business listing in years to come.
At Reputation Mart, we can help your business reach a wider audience, maintain your reputation, run your social media marketing, and deliver outstanding PPC services. Want to know more? Give us a call!
12 Benefits of PPC for Your Business
Building your brand’s online visibility is critical to achieve long-term success, but today’s market is increasingly competitive.
Depending on the sector in which you operate, you could be just one of hundreds of businesses vying for consumers’ money. Online reviews, email marketing and social media marketing are all effective ways to widen your reach, but what about PPC?
PPC is key. Every business of every size must incorporate paid advertising into its marketing strategy.
Here are 12 benefits of PPC …
#1: Reaching your Audience is Easier
When setting up and managing your PPC campaign, an extensive range of targeting options helps you reach the right audience.
You can hone your paid ads to appear according to various factors, such as location, device, date, and keywords (both positive and negative). This ensures you’re spending your money on the most suitable searchers, rather than paying to target everyone.
#2: Get Quick Results
You can start using PPC ads right away. Even if you have only just launched your website (or even your entire business), you can dive into paid search marketing immediately.
It’s vital to spend time refining your keywords and targeting first, but once you’re set up you can start competing for clicks fast.
#3: Suitable for all Budgets
PPC can work for any business on any budget. Companies with big money to invest may be able to go after the most competitive search terms and cover more bases, but even startups with almost no marketing budget can get results.
You choose the amount you pay for clicks, which makes staying within your limits much easier.
#4: You can Measure your Success
PPC is measurable, thanks to the wealth of analytical data platforms provide. You can monitor which of your ads attract the most clicks, which keywords are most effective, and which choices offer the strongest ROI.
Tracking your performance is essential to identify potential flaws and find new ways to improve.
#5: PPC ads put you at the top of the Page
This is simple but true: paid ads place your brand at the top of the results page. This elevates you above your competitors below and means you’re more likely to attract clicks, as people place trust in those higher up the page.
If you have site extensions and a click-to-call option in your ads, you’re even more appealing to searchers looking for fast results.
#6: Paid ads are Independent of Algorithm Changes
Whenever Google updates its algorithm, your placement in search engine result pages can change (often without you realizing why, without in-depth research).
Fortunately, PPC ads exist outside of these changes. If you keep paying for your placements, consumers will keep seeing them.
#7: You can test Different Combinations Easily
A/B testing is a common practice in the world of online marketing, and PPC ads offer an easy way to experiment.
Perhaps you have two conflicting ideas for an ad, but don’t know which one to go with. You can create both and run them for a short period of time (two or three weeks, say), before examining the results.
The ad with the strongest Click Through Rate (or CTR) will be the most effective of the two.
You can then use the positive response to the style and tone of that ad to inform the rest of your marketing materials, giving you valuable inspiration for emails, social media posts etc.
#8: PPC ads Build Brand Recognition
Consumers who search for the same products or services on a regular basis will likely see your ads again and again.
Even if they choose not to click on any of your paid ads, they will still come to recognize your business name and remember you in the future. As a result, they may start to place trust in you, and could eventually visit you through your website rather than a paid ad.
This is true of paid ads on social media networks too: even if they keep scrolling, a well-presented ad can catch their eye and ensure future encounters with your business start off on a positive note.
#9: PPC Helps you Compete with Bigger Rivals
PPC is available to everyone, and the biggest competitors you face with be using it too. Their branding will carry a lot of authority and trust, giving them an immediate advantage over you.
However, you can try targeting less-popular keywords that are still relevant to your target audience, particularly those that your competitors might not consider. Being the underdog gives you a chance to be more creative and think outside the proverbial box.
With paid ads, you might not be able to pay the same as larger rivals, but you can still share the top of the page with them. It makes the playing field a little more fair.
#10: You Only pay for Interactions
You don’t have to pay to just have your ads sitting on a results page: only whenever someone clicks on them.
This is a stark contrast to more static advertising methods (such as placing an ad in a newspaper or on a billboard) in which you have to pay the costs even if they don’t bring anyone new to your brand.
#11: PPC Helps you Attract Local Buyers
Research from Google shows that three in four peoplewho find valuable information on local businesses in search results are more likely to actually visit them.
If you target areas local to your business in your PPC ads, you can give them valuable information such as opening hours and links to popular product lines. This may sway their decision to shop with you.
#12: PPC is Accessible
PPC is accessible to all businesses, even those which are new to digital marketing. Choosing keywords and creating ads is fairly straightforward, with a little help from an experienced expert.
This makes it much easier to actually have input into your ads and the message you put out for consumers, and helps you stay in control. You can see what works and what doesn’t courtesy of reporting tools and have your say in the which changes are made.
At Reputation Mart, our expert team can create a bespoke PPC campaign for your business, enhancing your online visibility and helping you reach a wider audience. Why not give us a callto discuss your options?
How can You Use Customer Reviews to Drive Sales?
Believe it or not, 85 percent of consumers tend to put as much trust in online reviews as they do personal recommendations.
Furthermore, 68 percent left a business review when prompted.
This demonstrates not just the importance of online reviews, but people’s willingness to leave them.
Despite this, though, some businesses don’t give online reviews the recognition and credit they deserve. They believe reviews are little more than a potential hazard to their reputation, as no company can please all of the people all of the time.
That’s technically true: negative reviews are inevitable, however rare.
Rather than being a hindrance, though, online reviews can be a major help to your brand, actually driving sales instead of reducing them.
Let’s take a closer look.
Building Your Brand, Building Trust
Gathering customer reviews can help to build your brand’s reputation to great effect.
When prospective buyers start looking into your business’s products and quality of service, having access to a large collection of reviews from previous customers can help them to gain a comprehensive insight they won’t find anywhere else.
They might be able to browse your website and find information on your company history, your own promotional copy, and your various products. However, only reviews can provide them with an unbiased idea of your brand’s performance.
Making that first purchase with a business they haven’t used before can be intimidating for consumers, especially if large amounts of money are involved. Scanning other buyers’ experiences with your brand can give them the confidence they need to spend, more so than your own marketing efforts.
As the stat at the start of this piece shows, buyers put a lot of faith in the feedback other consumers provide. By encouraging customers to leave reviews at dedicated sites and / or your own website, you are giving future buyers the chance to make an informed choice.
If they see a number of other people are pleased with their purchase, they are more likely to buy.
Your Responses Show You Care
Bad reviews vary wildly in tone and coherence.
We’ve all read feedback that makes little sense and appears to have been written by someone with a chip on their shoulder about something else beyond the products or services.
On the other hand, some bad reviews are well-written and cover fair grievances. For example, a customer may supply negative feedback because their item (let’s say a smartphone) was delivered in damaged packaging, or because it didn’t work as advertised.
You can’t stop people from writing bad reviews about your brand, but there’s no need to: they provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate how much you care about your buyers’ satisfaction and your business’s reputation.
Prospective customers browsing previous feedback and seeing negative reviews can feel put off, but a well-written, well-reasoned response from your brand has the power to turn one buyer’s complaint on its head.
If one customer complains that your smartphone (to return to the earlier example) failed to operate as it should have, you can take this chance to address the issue. Was it a manufacturing fault, and can it be returned to be repaired? Are they simply not using the handset the right way?
Offering to help demonstrates your business’s willingness to put things right. Even if your company has a global customer-base and the loss of one buyer means little in the long-term, you need to recognize that this really does matter to the consumer – which means it should matter to you too.
If you can’t solve a problem through a repair or replacement, offer to fix things in another way. Can you provide a discount in the future? Can you offer them a sincere apology and make sure they understand how committed you are to putting things right?
Prospective buyers reading this will likely have more faith in your brand, but don’t just focus on the negative reviews either. Offer a brief ‘thank you’ to the good ones too, and explain how you appreciate their custom.
Add Fresh Content for Better Rankings and Visibility
Publishing new content on your website, blog, and social channels on a regular basis can help to boost your rankings and drive fresh traffic to your site.
Crawlers like to see websites staying current. It shows that your brand is relevant and offering consistent value to searchers. More than this, though, fresh reviews are better for your reputation, and are more likely to encourage prospective customers into making that first purchase.
If prospects can only see reviews of your brand from around two years ago, how can they trust that your quality of service hasn’t declined since then? How can they decide whether you’re still reputable or not?
Keep requesting that customers leave feedback, good and bad. Don’t let them dry up and lose their relevancy.
Share Reviews Across Social Media
Sharing positive reviews about your business across social media can help to attract new prospects and drive traffic to your site.
Show your followers how satisfied previous customers are and highlight the products / services they received. Perhaps turn it into a brief case study, touching on why they wanted the goods in the first place, how you helped, and what solution your service brought.
Did they buy a pair of your running shoes for a fundraising marathon? Did they need to buy your computers for their business, and are now up and running thanks to you?
Focus on covering the customer’s journey in a short, simple social media post to drive prospects to your site. Even if they don’t click, they may well remember your brand in the future when they need the products you provide.
Online reviews can be a big help to your reputation and managing this is critical to your success. Have you found positive results from gathering customer reviews and responding to them?
50 Shocking Stats About Online Reputation Management
How Social Media Impacts Your Online Reputation
Social media matters. Even if you try to avoid it in your personal life, your business must be represented on the major social networks.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other networks have billions of users across the globe. Consumers of all ages and demographics use them on a daily basis, and countless businesses are actively engaging with them through text, images, and video.
If you aren’t, you’re falling behind, and your reputation may be suffering.
So just how does social media impact your online reputation, and how can you use it to your advantage?
Be Inspired to Be Better
Word of bad behavior or gaffs on social networks carry real weight with consumers and can bring negative attention to your brand within hours.
For example, United Airlines made the news in 2017 when a paying customer was dragged off one of their planes because it had been overbooked. The violent video went viral, and the situation only worsened when the CEO was found to have little grasp of the incident’s horror.
In a case like this, social media showed the world a glimpse of United Airlines’ corporate attitude and values that was truly ugly, and people voiced their disgust by the thousand. It was inevitable that someone would record the incident on their smartphone and share it with others, but United Airlines did little to ease people’s fury.
Social media should make you more aware than ever that everyone has a voice today. One consumer who experiences appalling service (or flat-out indecency, as with United Airlines) now has the power to tell millions of others across the globe to boycott the business in question.
How can you avoid such extreme repercussions? Concentrate on making sure your company’s protocols, processes, and training allows no room for incendiary behavior. At the least, you reduce the risk of damaging your own reputation. At the most, you will help it get better and better.
Also, social media results tend to appear high on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Any results carrying negative information on your brand will be eased lower and lower down the page, reducing the risk of consumers seeing bad reviews before visiting your warm, welcoming social accounts.
Of course, as we established above, bad customer experiences can find their way onto social networks and catch fire quickly. Your page may be bombarded with questions and demands for a response if your business acts in a way it shouldn’t – visitors will encounter this and may form an unfair opinion.
Keep Up to Date with Your Reputation
Another perk of social media is that it lets you monitor what people are saying about your business.
You may not be able to track every comment on every network, but you can still see enough to gauge public opinion. It’s vital to respond to people as and when you can, to help manage your reputation.
Nothing makes a business appear unprofessional and uncaring than a string of unanswered Tweets or Facebook posts on their page. Consumers lodging complaints, asking about upcoming products, demanding information on late deliveries, and generally sounding off can be enough to paint quite the unattractive picture of a business within seconds.
You need to stay on top of your social accounts as best you can and engage with followers whenever possible. Even if they are saying something negative, your response can prove essential in winning them over. You need a strategy in place to handle comments and feedback, no matter the language used, no matter how angry the writer obviously is.
Allowing yourself or anyone else from your company to respond without thinking, based on emotion rather than good business management, can be a terrible mistake. Even if you cannot think of a suitable way to address it immediately, it may be best to leave the comment without a response for a day or so – this would be far less harmful than an enraged rant.
We can help you setup the right tools to monitor mentions of your brand, and let you know whenever your brand is mentioned on social sites, forums, news pages, and more.
Following on from responding to negative comments and feedback, you need to interact with people writing positive things too.
Saying thank you, sharing their kind words, or simply replying with a sweet emoticon can all show your business in a good light. It proves that you listen to what people have to say and value their input or custom.
Still, a positive, well-written, contemplative response to a criticism can bring good attention to your brand out of bad, too. It’s vital to be apologetic and address how your business will attempt to fix the problem caused.
You need to remember that other people will see any interaction you have on social media (unless it’s through direct messages), and even simple but positive comments can boost users’ opinion of your business. They may take a look at your account to investigate your products or services, and possibly follow through to your site.
Another key factor to consider is the tone of voice you use, and how engaging it is for your followers. You need to show consistency in your language and style from one post to the next, otherwise people may be confused. Social media can help you cultivate a strong brand personality and boost your appeal to your target demographic, so use whichever tone best suits your market.
Never underestimate the power of social media as a business tool, no matter how big or small your company is. Startups with one employee can build a wider audience through a well-managed social account, while the biggest corporations can be dealt major blows by their poor choices.
Call us today and we will help you create a social media strategy that incorporates the points discussed above, and you can help to make sure your online reputation remains strong for years to come.
The True Power of Online Reviews
Today, every consumer has a voice. You have the power to share your own positive or negative experience of a specific product, service, or brand with the entire world.
88 percent of buyers trust online reviews just as much as recommendations from people they know. This is just one of the major cultural changes the internet has created: in the past, you only had word of mouth or a printed review to go on. Failing that, you simply had to take a punt and hope for the best.
Today, it’s a whole new world. You can find reviews of almost any restaurant, store, bar, club, independent retailer, or global corporation written by real customers. Search engines, directory websites (Yelp), social media, specialist sites (TripAdvisor), and others all host thousands of reviews to help guide buyers’ decisions.
How powerful are online reviews, and why?
Attracting New Customers
A kind word goes a long way. 72 percent of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a company more, while just 18 percent said the same reviews make no difference to their buying decisions.
These statistics suggest you have more chance of attracting new customers by promoting good reviews, so take the time to share them on your website and social media. These will give an invaluable insight into the level of service prospects can expect to enjoy, and build a positive image of your company overall.
You should provide facilities on your website and social media for customers to write reviews direct, rather than having to go to external sites (though this can still be helpful).
Boosting Your Rankings
Giving customers the opportunity to write reviews on your website may improve your organic rankings.
At the most basic level, reviews add fresh content to your site, especially if you have enough customers for new reviews to appear on a regular basis. For local businesses, a strong body of reviews can cause a star rating to appear in search results when users Google you. All you need to do is generate at least five reviews on Google+ Local.
Positive reviews will give your local business an impressive score, which can give you an edge over competitors that are newer or have less stars to their name.
Painting a Broad Picture of Your Brand
Customer reviews can cover different areas of your business respectively, or overall. For example, one buyer may simply review the product they bought from you, which is especially beneficial if it’s unique to your brand.
Alternatively, another customer could leave a review praising your entire service, from the easy checkout process on your site to the fast delivery and strong packaging. These might be areas you fail to actually promote, but potential buyers may well be curious about. Smaller elements all add up to make a big impact.
In such cases, positive reviews will form a comprehensive overview of your business beyond just your products or prices.
Showcasing Your Professionalism and Desire to Please
Of course, you can’t please everyone. There is a chance that a customer may be dissatisfied with your prices, your delivery process, or another part of your business entirely. If they share this in a review and give you a low rating, this can affect your whole online reputation.
However, it’s vital to keep this in perspective. If you have one weaker review for every 10 positive ones, customers are likely to recognize that they have a high chance of a pleasant buying experience.
Poor customer reviews give you an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to the best service and learning from mistakes. If you can, respond to reviews in a polite, accommodating manner. Apologize for any errors your business may have made and offer to make things right: this might be a refund, a discount on future purchases, or another form of compensation.
Not only could this possibly appease the dissatisfied customer, it also demonstrates your focus on pleasing everyone. This can help to keep your reputation untarnished, particularly if good reviews far outweigh bad ones.
Likewise, if you handle weak feedback in a poor manner, the damage to your reputation will only be increased. It can be tough, but it’s vital to manage your emotional response to unflattering sentiments – otherwise, an aggressive rant will make you appear less than attractive to prospects.
Always treat unsatisfied customers with tact and courtesy. They may be exaggerating a negative experience or change their mind at a later date.
Perhaps the most important point is to stay calm when you see poor reviews of your business. With the right response, you can transform a customer’s experience of your brand, leave them more satisfied, and possibly cause them to edit their original feedback to write something better.
Still, negative reviews can still help to build trust. Customers checking reviews only to find them all filled with nothing but praise may become suspicious, and wonder whether they should believe anything written about your business. Sincerity matters, and a healthy ratio of good to bad reviews is nothing to worry about.
Following on from the point above, your business shouldn’t feel restricted to responding to negative reviews only: interact with customers leaving positive feedback too.
This enables you to convey more of your brand’s personality and show appreciation of your customers. Independent hotels often thank most customers who leave kind words on TripAdvisor, but businesses in all sectors can take the same approach.
On one hand, it makes the reviewer’s effort feel worthwhile and shows that the business has taken notice of their feedback, Also, fellow customers will see the business in a positive light, which contributes to their entire view of the company.
Over time, a high response rate to positive and negative reviews will show you as a brand that really cares.
Online reviews are an integral part of marketing your business and managing your reputation. They should motivate you to make your company the very best it can be and may continue to attract newcomers to your business for years to come.
How Website Speed Can Make or Break Your Online Reputation
The easy access to information via smartphones has empowered Canadian consumers to make decisions faster than ever before, and they want to act upon these decisions straight away.
Any hurdles in accessing information such as slow load time of your website can negatively affect your online reputation.
Rise of Smartphone Use
According to Statista, 62.37% of the population in Canada used a smartphone in 2016. The Statista 2016 data showed:
A Google report showed that 82% of smartphone owners used a search engine as the initial step to gratify at least one of their needs.
According to Google, Canadians, in particular, use a search engine at the exact time they want something. This means that they’re more likely to be loyal to their needs than to any brands or products that they’ve used before.
An example of this demand to satisfy one’s need on-the-spot is the rise the search phrase “open now”. The search giant reported that search interest in the keyword phrase “open now” has increased 3 times since 2015.
Expectation to Get Products & Services Immediately
With the rise in smartphone usage, consumers’ expectation to get the products and services they need as soon as possible has also increased.
Canadian consumers, according to Google, aren't any more willing to wait even for a few days for their orders to arrive. They want to get the products or services as soon as possible. The tech giant reported that searches for the keyword phrase “same day shipping” has grown by 160% since 2015.
The Need to Know Where to Get Products & Services
Google research showed that consumers are using their smartphones as “anywhere” assistants, turning to their phones in search of stores where they can visit to get what they want prior to leaving the house – a phenomenon that renders store browsing close to oblivion.
According to Google, over the past 2 years, mobile searches for keywords “where to shop” and “where to buy” have increased by more than 100%.
Speed Equals Revenue
Whether your website visitor is a plan-ahead type, impromptu type or that last-minute type, each of these visitors all want the same experience: they want to get the information they want right here and right now.
The basic website load time can either make or break your brand reputation.
SOASTA’s report "The State of Online Retail Performance" released in Spring 2017 found the following key insights regarding site load time:
Google, for its part, reported that the average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds. Fifty-three percent of mobile site visitors, however, according to Google, abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load.
More than half of the overall web traffic, Google reported, comes from mobile. Despite this traffic lead, mobile falls behind desktop in terms of conversion rates.
Google researchers analyzed 900,000 mobile ads' landing pages in 126 countries. The researchers found that bulk of these mobile sites are slow and stuffed with too many features.
"Our research has been eye-opening,” said Daniel An, Global Product Lead, Mobile Web at Google. “For 70% of the pages we analyzed, it took nearly seven seconds for the visual content above the fold to display on the screen, and it took more than 10 seconds to fully load all visual content above and below the fold.”
You can check how your website fared in terms of speed at Test My Site – a free service offered by Google that analyzes your website in terms of speed and usability.
According to Google, these two are the top factors that affect site loading: number of site elements and number of images.
Researchers at Google said the high number of site elements results in greater site's weight and complexity. A typical webpage today, the researchers said, weighs 2,486KB and holds nearly 100 assets hosted on dozens of different servers – issues that contribute to slow loading.
The second factor that contributes to the slow loading of a page, the researchers said, is the high number of images. A typical page can contain logos, favicons and product images that can easily add up to two-thirds of a page's total weight – equivalent to hundreds of kilobytes. This results in cumulatively slow page loads throughout a session, the researchers said.
Reducing the number of elements and reducing the number of images in your site can make your site load faster.
Google researchers also found that webpages that have more images and other elements result in fewer conversions.
To speed up your site, a mere compression of images and text can make a big difference. Thirty percent of webpages, according to Google, could save more than 250KB through this simple process.
"It's no secret that shoppers expect a fast mobile experience,” An said. “If there's too much friction, they'll abandon their cart and move on. Today, it's critical that marketers design fast web experiences across all industry sectors. Consumers want to quickly pay bills on finance sites, get rapid results when they're browsing vacation reviews, and view an article immediately when they click through.”
How Marketing Across Canada’s Culturally Diverse Consumers Helps Brand’s Reputation
Canada is a multicultural country. Connecting with Canada’s culturally diverse consumers can help your brand’s reputation.
Canada’s Multicultural Landscape
According to Statistics Canada, 1 in 5 Canadians are born outside of Canada. Toronto and Vancouver, in particular, are the most culturally diverse cities, with 49% to 51% of their residents born outside of this country but call Canada home. Statistics Canada said the number of visible minorities in this country will only become bigger, with nearly one-third of the population will be a visible minority by 2031.
A study conducted from June 2017 to July 2017 by MediaCom showed that only 25% of people who self-identify as a visible minority feel that brands speak to people with different cultural backgrounds. More than a third of those who self-identify as visible minority feel that in cases where their ethnicity is represented, it’s frequently done in a stereotypical manner.
Finances and Spending Trends
The MediaCom study found that many of the first-generation visible minorities in Canada are professionals. While their household incomes aren’t higher than the average Canadian consumer, first-generation visible minorities have significant savings.
With their significant savings and the desire to live permanently in Canada, the study found that first-generation visible minorities tend to spend more on personal care to electronic gadgets to cars.
The study showed that first-generation visible minorities in Canada make up 34% of those who opened a bank account in the past 12 months in Canada, 43% of those who subscribed to an internet service provider, and 57% of those who bought a mobile phone.
In the study "Marketing across Canada’s multicultural landscape? New research from MediaCom Canada reveals what you need to know", MediaCom surveyed these ethnic groups: Chinese, South Asian, Latin/Central/South American, Arab, and Southeast Asian (including Japanese and Korean).
These ethnic groups who now consider Canada as their home are mobile-first consumers. The reason why they’re considered as mobile-first consumers is because these ethnic groups came from countries that moved directly to mobile to access the internet, skipping the broadband internet connection phase.
Visible minorities in Canada reported spending 20% less time watching TV, 12% less time listening to the radio and 42% more time on mobile phones compared to the average Canadian consumer.
First-generation visible minorities reported they are exposed to 13 digital touchpoints (defined as any digital means a consumer interacts with a business) each week; second-generation visible minorities said they are exposed to 12 digital touchpoints each week; and the average Canadian consumers said they’re only exposed to 9 digital touchpoints each week.
Marketing in a Multicultural Society
Here are some takeaways on how to connect with Canada’s culturally diverse consumers and in the process help build your brand’s reputation:
If your company wants to connect with the first-generation and second-generation visible minorities, the right venue is the mobile platform. As mentioned, these visible minorities are mobile-savvy, taking into consideration that they’ve skipped the broadband internet connection phase.
As the Canadian marketplace is becoming more and more diverse, it’s important for businesses to balance the need to reach the masses with specific targeting. According to MediaCom, if you want your brand to connect with a particular ethnicity, it’s important to provide content for them in their native language.
Nearly two-thirds of the visible minorities surveyed by MediaCom reported that when brands communicate via advertising using their native language “they feel closer and it makes the brand appear more meaningful”.
“Marketers can serve an ad in a native language, but that is just the first step,” MediaCom said. “They need to create content that accurately represents consumers of different cultural backgrounds. The longer-term goal would be to build culturally meaningful connections with these consumers that celebrates diversity.”
One approach in accurately representing Canada’s diverse cultural backgrounds is by using diverse imagery.
“Businesses and brands have been slow to move with the times as it relates to how they visually market their brand and products,” said Robyn Lange, Curator and photo Editor at Shutterstock. “However, the world is increasingly diverse and multicultural, meaning these businesses need to quickly catch up if they are to continue engaging their customers and growing their business.”
Lange added, “In a time where images and video content dominate our feeds, visual choices are critical considerations as a brand looks to stand out from the crowd and connect with their audience.”
Coca-Cola is an example of a company that promotes diversity and inclusion in its ad campaigns. In the late 1960s, following the Detroit race riots and assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the company came up with an ad that featured African-Americans and whites together – something that the company had never done before.
The ad known simply as “Boys on a Bench” showed an iconic shot of a group of boys – African-Americans and whites – sitting shoulder to shoulder on a segregation bench, with their arms touching across the segregation bar looking relaxed and happy, sharing a lighthearted moment over a Coke.
Companies are beginning to take a stronger stance on diversity and inclusion. For instance, "CoverGirl” launched in late 2016 its diversity and inclusion campaign featuring a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.
A study conducted by Shutterstock and Censuswide showed that UK marketers are increasingly using images that promote diversity and inclusion. Seventy-nine percent of the marketers surveyed by Shutterstock and Censuswide confirmed they are using more images of homosexual couples and 71% are choosing more racially diverse images.
The study showed that marketers are conscious of the need to be more inclusive in the images they choose for ad campaigns, not just for promoting a brand message (30%) but also to better reflect modern-day society (71%).
Nowadays, social media savvy consumers are quick to call out those brands that don’t promote diversity and inclusion in their campaigns. Employees, partners, stakeholders and investors are also becoming less tolerant of homogeneity and are turning to brands that better reflect culturally diverse society.
How Will GDPR Impact Your Organization’s Online Reputation
May 25, 2018 is the enforcement date of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Not many organizations, however, are aware of this implementation date nor are they aware of what the GDPR is all about and its effects to online reputation.
The HubSpot GDPR Survey conducted in the third quarter of 2017 showed that only 36% of business leaders and marketers surveyed heard of GDPR. Put it in a different way, less than half of the business leaders and marketers surveyed by HubSpot are aware that GDPR exists.
As expected, when asked about their preparation for the implementation of GDPR, the answer wasn’t encouraging either, with 42% saying they're only "somewhat prepared" for the GDPR, while 23% saying they aren't sure if their company has started to prepare for the GDPR.
Being compliant with GDPR is more than following the law. Being compliant with GDPR is a brand awareness issue. It sends a positive message to your customers that your organization values their privacy and security.
Recent exposure of high-profile data breaches that of Equifax and Uber showed the world the ill-effects of weak cyber security measures, mishandling of sensitive data and late reporting of data breaches.
What is GDPR?
GDPR is a European Union (EU) law that sets forth harsh penalties to organizations that fail to protect the personal data of EU residents. The law replaces EU’s former data protection legislation, the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC.
The law is aimed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe. Unlike its predecessor the Data Protection Directive, the GDPR isn’t open to interpretation by national governments. It’ll surely send shockwaves, not only in Europe but in other countries as well.
If your organization or business isn’t based in the EU, it’s normal that you’d instinctively dismiss this law for its geographical inapplicability. GDPR, however, shouldn’t be dismissed as solely an EU law as this law has an “extra-territorial” applicability. This means that your organization or business, even though based outside the EU, will still be covered by this law if your organization or business processes personal data – offer goods or services online or monitor the online behavior of EU residents.
Key Provisions of GDPR
Here are the top 5 key provisions of the GDPR:
1. Consent Requirement
Under GDPR, EU customers have the right to choose whether they want an organization or business to store their personal data. They also have the right to choose whether they want to be contacted or not. In the case of a minor, parental consent is required.
2. Right to be Forgotten
Under GDPR, EU customers have the right to be forgotten, also known as the right to erasure. This requires organizations to delete the data of customers that no longer serve the original purpose or when customers choose to decide that their data shouldn’t anymore be processed or stored.
Under GDPR, EU customers have the right to get information from organizations whether or not their personal data are processed, where and for what purpose. Organizations are required to supply customers the information by providing a copy of the personal data, free of charge and in an electronic format.
4. Cyber Security
Under GDPR, organizations are required to implement cyber security measures that ensure safety and privacy of personal data that are being processed or stored. Cyber security measures referred under this law are those that prevent data breaches, not reactionary measures.
5. Data Breach Notification
Under GDPR, organizations are required to report where a data breach is likely to “result in a risk for the rights and freedoms of individuals”. This breach notification must be done within 72 hours after the discovery of the data breach.
For violating the substantial provisions of the law like consent, the maximum fine that can be imposed is 4% of the annual global turnover or €20 Million, whichever is higher. For violating procedural provisions of the law like data breach notification, the penalty of 2% of the annual global turnover or €10 million, whichever is higher, can be imposed.
Based on the HubSpot survey, the following marketing activities are expected to be impacted by the GDPR implementation: how data of customers are collected, security and privacy protocols, email opt ins, length of time personal data of customers are retained in the system, cold calling (sales outreach), how to renegotiate contract of marketing software vendors if they aren't compliant and lead enrichment.
If given the right to choose, EU consumers surveyed by HubSpot said they would:
While less than half of the business leaders and marketers surveyed by HubSpot are unaware and unprepared of GDPR, about half of those represented by those surveyed have undergone or undergoing the following activities in preparation for the GDPR implementation:
With the implementation of GDPR next year, business leaders and marketers surveyed by HubSpot said they will focus on the following:
Learn how to get GDP compliant and protect your business investments using The Driz Group compliance services. They have helped many organizations to make sense of the new legislation.
ReputationMart.com - passionate digital marketing team.