MWC 2017: Lo que veríamos de Huawei

Falta pocos días para que dé comienzo el Mobile World Congress, una fiesta tecnológica que se llevará a cabo desde el 26 de Febrero en la ciudad de Barcelona. Un lugar donde muchos fabricantes de tecnología aprovechan para presentar sus novedades en dispositivos móviles.

Uno de estos fabricantes es la compañía china, Huawei, empresa que poco a poco se ha consolidado en el mercado hasta consagrarse como uno de los más consolidados. Ante esta responsabilidad la empresa durante el MWC presentará su próximo buque insignia, el Huawei P10 y P10 Plus.

Lo que se espera del P10 y P10 Plus

A través de las redes sociales el fabricante ha presentado algunos apéndices de lo que veremos en su evento, el Huawei P10 vendría con pocos cambios comparado con su antecesor, el P9. Por ejemplo, mantiene dos cámaras traseras, cada una de 12 megapíxeles y una vez más con la tecnología de Leica. Para la parte frontal se espera 8 megapíxeles, suficientes para las fotografías de selfie.

El procesador sería un HiSilicon Kirin 960 de fabricación propia, acompañado de una memoria RAM de 6 GB para la versión estándar y 8 GB para el P10 Plus. La pantalla de 5,5 pulgadas con resolución QHD para disfrutar la mejor experiencia visual.

Para el almacenamiento interno se baraja dos versiones, un dispositivo con 128 GB y otro con 256 GB de almacenamiento, este último es el que cuenta con mayor capacidad de RAM. En el mismo evento se espera que el fabricante presente una nueva iteración del Huawei Watch.

Via – Cnet


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The One-Week Social Selling Action Plan

The One-Week Social Selling Action Plan written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Think back to a sales situation with a friend of a friend, one where you started with a huge trust advantage: how much smoother and faster was the process?  What if you could replicate that dynamic on a much larger digital scale?

Your friends of friends are not hiding in distant corners of the world, in fact, they’re probably right in front of you, and you can take advantage of warm connections without attending more energy-sucking business mixers or cocktail events.

By the end of this post, you will have a one-week action plan for systematizing social selling to win dozens of more meetings and closed business every month, and once your system is up and running, you’ll find that the time investment is very minimal.

25% of your prospects’ day is spent HERE…

US workers spend 6.3 hours per day in their inboxes (source).  Distraction-heavy social media darlings come and go, but the email inbox is going strong after more than two decades.

Moreover, the inbox is where your prospects go to get things done, including research and purchases.  Twitter and Facebook can generate traffic, but when it comes to getting an immediate action, like a sales conversation, I’d rather hang out where business is being done, not where news articles and cat videos are consumed.

With all that in mind, your action plan will center on lukewarm, email, and in my experience, many business owners and marketers have head trash about it, so let’s cover some common misconceptions:

Misconception 1: “Unsolicited email is SPAM!”

Nope, it’s not as long you comply with a few simple regulations – here are the rules, straight from the FTC.  If you’re outside the US, regulations can vary, so be sure to check the receiving nation’s rules.

Misconception 2: “I always ignore cold email, and my buyers will too.”

Overall, the bar is extremely low when it comes to cold email – most practitioners dip the scale way too far toward quantity over quality, and their campaigns rarely produce results.

Most of us ignore cold emails because they are A) poorly targeted, B) self-serving or irrelevant, C) poorly timed, or D) all of the above.  While bad timing can be tough to completely avoid in every situation, you can always create a well-targeted list and write a compelling message, and by the end of this article, you’ll know how to do that.

Misconception 3: “Maybe cold email works for some people, but it won’t for my high-end prospects.”

I used to think that until our cold campaigns started landing meetings and closed business with Fortune 500s for mid-five figure deals.  While big ticket products might carry longer and more complex sales cycles, high-end buyers are just as lazy as the rest of us, so they use the same methods: Google, social media, and yes, their inboxes.

The strategy in a nutshell

Here’s what you’ll learn how to do:

  1. Use LinkedIn, and later other social networks like Twitter, to curate a list of high-value, warmly-connected prospects.
  2. Hire a virtual assistant to find your targets’ emails and other information.
  3. Write and send email sequences to your list.
  4. Optimize and repeat.

Goals and benchmarks

When it comes to social selling, the trust advantage you enter with will produce results superior to almost any other strategy.  Here’s what you’re going for:

  • New recipients per week: 150-300
    We’re not shotgunning emails to the masses, and 150-300 per week is a list you can curate.
  • Open rates: 70%+
  • Response rates: 10%+
  • Meetings per week: 8-15
  • Click rates
    Who cares: we want the shortest path to a conversation, not necessarily traffic to your site.

The One-Week Action Plan

Day 1: Post hiring ad for lead generation VA

If you already have this role filled, then feel free to skip ahead to Day 2.

Since getting applicants will take a few days, we’ll get the ball rolling right away.  Your lead generation VA will be researching prospects according to the plan you develop. He will track down emails, verify them to avoid bounces, and log custom fields in your spreadsheet.  Later, your email platform will pull this data to form your email template.

Even if you’re at a very early stage, if you’re reading this, it’s safe to say that research tasks are below your pay grade, and conducting them will leave you time for little else.

The good news: hiring a lead gen VA is low-cost (we’re talking as low as $20 per week for a very limited campaign).

Step 1: Create Upwork hiring account

If unfamiliar, Upwork is one of the largest freelance hiring platforms.  If you have other hiring resources you trust, feel free to run with them, but if you’re starting from zero, Upwork will let you hire quickly and cheaply.  The client setup process is pretty straightforward, but here’s an article that will guide you through it.

Step 2: Post job ad

Now you will write and post your job ad so you can get the best quality applicants.  Make sure to sell the opportunity a bit, and be very specific.

Job ad example: 

Best practices:

Use Google forms to weed out the templated applications

Simply include the link to the form in your job post and ask applicants to apply. The questions you include are not especially important, as this is just a weed-out tool.

Make sure they know how to do email research

You should not have to explain the step-by-step process for email research, as this is the mainstay of the trade, and any specialist worth their salt should know the basic process for hunting down addresses based on names and company details.

Ideal rates for lead generation research: $4-7/hour

Go for project-based arrangements when you can, estimating 2-4 hours of work to find 50-100 targets.

Step 3: Invite applicants

If you’re new to Upwork, it will take some time to attract applicants, so it helps to send invites to the job ad as you’re getting started.

Typical search parameters I use to find lead generations VAs:

Application invite example:

Upwork tips

Best lead generation talent: The Philippines and Eastern Europe

Watch for red flags, but don’t get too hung up on experience or feedback ratings

While you should keep an eye out for negative feedback, a millions amazing reviews and thousands of working hours logged do not always indicate reliability.  Keep in mind that there are many highly experienced low-cost specialists who are new to Upwork and have little official history.

Build your hiring history to attract better and cheaper talent

Once you build a track record on the platform it becomes easier to bring on top notch people.

Prioritize responsiveness and written language skills

Once you develop a shortlist of applicants, send them messages and ask to follow up questions.  Their responsiveness and written language skills are often litmus tests for later performance.

Hire fast, fire fast

Don’t wring your hands to find the perfect candidate – start testing specialists, and move on if they’re not working out.

Keep great freelancers on board

If you make an awesome hire, and you can afford it, it’s worth the investment to find things for them to do so you can keep them with you for the long haul.

Day 2: Create lead research procedure

Sometimes determining your target audience can make your head spin – maybe your business serves a variety of different niches.

On Day 2, you’ll zero in on the prospects who inhabit your personal network and are most likely to purchase, or at least refer you to someone who will.

In the background, the VA applications will be drifting in, so you’ll have options to consider on days 3 and beyond.

Step 1: Complete The 3-Question Targeting Diagnostic

If you’re having trouble pinpointing the ideal niche to start with, give this diagnostic a try:

Where do you have leverage?

Which of your client verticals are your champions?

These are niches represented by clients who are chomping at the bit to give you testimonials and refer you business since you’ve created huge wins for them.

Where is there market growth?

Where, on a macro level, are the money winds blowing?

All things being equal, you may prioritize big data software companies over printing companies, for example.

Who is most receptive?

In which verticals do you experience smooth, seamless sales processes, instead of arduous uphill battles?

Which clients just get it?

Step 2: Determine your targets’ revenue floor and ceiling

Go after clients where the investment in your solution will be an easy-fitting line item and not a budget boondoggle.  To identify the companies that can afford you, keep in mind that marketing budgets typically represent 7-10% of total yearly revenues (source).

How can you estimate total yearly revenues if they’re not public?  You can guess by multiplying the number of employees by the typical revenue per employee for the industry you’re targeting.  In the ad agency world, for example, $100k-200k yearly revenues per employee is typical.  You can easily find the rough number of employees from LinkedIn, which you’ll do on the next step.
While you your prospects should easily afford you, you also want to ensure they’re not too big to accommodate.

Step 3: Set up LinkedIn advanced search

You have a clear picture of your buyer or at least a solid guess, and now it’s time to build your LinkedIn advanced search and see how it plays out.

You might be skeptical since many of our Linkedin connections are loose at best.  I felt the same way.  What I found after hitting pay dirt with this strategy is that the power lies with combined mental triggers: when you stack the relevance of your offer (more on that later) with the trust of even a loose personal connection, it’s often enough to lock down the conversation.

Here is an Advanced search I used to source a list used to generate a consistent stream of 7-10 sales consultations each week, in the niche of creative service agencies sized 11-50 employees:

Note: while the extra search parameters provided by LinkedIn Premium speeds up the process, you can avoid this expense with additional research in the form of guessing and checking titles and company sizes.  (I think splurging for Premium is worth it).

What if you don’t get enough search results or enough relevant results?

If the results are limited or irrelevant, refine your search until they’re mostly on point.

It’s ok to start small.  As you connect with more people, you’ll develop a larger web of 1st and 2nd-degree connections, and your network will grow by leaps and bounds.  This is The Connection Snowball Effect, and what starts as a limited group will quickly become scalable.

Why not just send InMails?

I tried this strategy and got stagnant results.  A few reasons why I gave up on it:

  • Most people don’t check their LinkedIn inboxes regularly.
  • Unless you are 1st degree connected, your InMail allowance is limited to just a few per day.
  • InMail convos tend to quickly drop off, and it’s tough getting communications from InMail to the calendar.
  • Bottom line: the email inbox is where you want to be, for the reasons described earlier.
Step 4: Create spreadsheet template and custom fields

Now that you have solid search results, it’s time to set up your spreadsheet template. (Google Sheets is recommended since it makes collaboration easy).

Your email platform will be pulling fields from your spreadsheet to create a customized, yet automated email template, so the syntax of each field in your spreadsheet should match up with the way you have each logged in your platform (more on platforms later).

When you’re determining your fields, use these heuristics:

  1. How can you demonstrate impressive research about your prospects (even if it’s automated)?
  2. What knowledge will fit nicely into a spreadsheet cell?
  3. What knowledge will look natural and relevant in an email?

Custom field ideas:

  • Previous clients your recipients worked with.
  • Company nickname:
    Consider how employees in the target company refer to it ie. NOT “ACME Creative Inc.”, just “ACME”.
  • Reference a recently-launched product.
  • A new job title they’re hiring for, and the hiring site you used to find it.
  • Years in business.

Intimidated by custom fields?  No worries.  At a minimum, just make sure you have columns for FirstName, LastName, and Email.  You can get fancy later on if you’d prefer.

Spreadsheet example

Step 5: Curate your list and make LinkedIn connections

Now that you have your custom fields set up in a spreadsheet template, you can start curating your list.

I tried to automate everything from the beginning, asking my VA to build the list soup to nuts based on a search parameter.  Once your VA fully understands your target audience, they can take everything over, but at the outset, a bit of curation on your part will make the difference between dozens of conversions and completely stagnant results.  Plus, it’s your personal network, and you probably want to have at least some control over who you’re hitting up.

To curate the list, as you peruse the LinkedIn search, simply copy/paste each target’s LinkedIn URL to the appropriate column in your spreadsheet (you’ll find the URL under the profile pic).

As you go along, connect on LinkedIn with the prospects you’re adding to the list, if you’re not connected already.  You can expect reconnection rates of 50%+ since you’re already a 2nd-degree connection.  This is powerful because even if they don’t accept, they are likely to become at least loosely familiar with your name and face, which will go a long way when you start sending emails a few days from now.

Days 3-6: Hire VA and delegate lead research

Now that you have a curated list, your VA has work to do.  On days 3-6, your VA will be gathering fuel for your campaigns by completing the missing fields and finding the emails and other info for your warm, personally connected prospects.

Step 1: Arrange interviews and delegate research on curated list

Shortlist your VA applicants based on relevant experience and their follow through on instructions, and send them rough instructions and the curated list.

From there, set up interviews for the purpose of further explaining and clarifying, and then let them get off and running with research.  If possible, record these interviews and provide your VA with the video for future reference.  If your budget allows it, bring on multiple VAs and treat this exercise as a test assignment.

Again, make sure your VAs should have their own email research procedures, as this task is a mainstay of the trade.
Step 2: Delegate email scrubbing

To keep your bounce rates low, and mitigate your risk of having your domain flagged by email providers, make sure to run your list through an email scrubber, which checks if addresses are valid.  Bulk Email Checker is a good option, although many email platforms have this functionality built it from the start.

Step 3: Review progress and correct course

After your VA finds 50 addresses, review their progress.  Later, when they are doing all the curation and research, make sure to leave detailed feedback within the spreadsheet when your VA inputs an irrelevant target.  Before long, they will understand your target market.

Day 7: Write and schedule email sequences

By now you hired one or two skilled lead generations specialists, and they have built a list of 50-100 prospects who are warmly connected to you.

Now you will setup your email platform and write your sequences.  Stay alerted: this is the point at which many starts going down the over-complication rabbit hole.  You do not need to build a Rube Goldberg machine of sales funnels and marketing automation that’s integrated into absolutely everything else in your business.  Though there are a few technical considerations, which I’ll cover, at the end of the day we’re simply sending emails with the aim to lock down a meeting.  You’ll put each recipient into a sequence, each message spaced out by 3-7 days, and when someone shows interest, you put them into your CRM.

Step 1: Set up outbound email platform

Email platforms are always changing, and setting up the campaigns in each one is beyond the scope of this article (that good news: most platforms are easy to use).

When you’re picking your outbound email platform, make sure you’re NOT using one intended for newsletters, autoresponders, and other inbound marketing to those who have opted into your list: you won’t use products like MailChimp, aWeber, or ConvertKit.

Here are a few solid outbound email options:

Step 2: Set up alternate domain and DKIM/SPF registrations

Make sure you’re sending your cold emails from an alternate domain, NOT your main one, which you use for all other communications.  By setting up an alternate, if you get flagged as spam, you won’t have your main domain trashed by email providers.  Instead of being SomeDude@ACME.com you’ll become SomeDude@Acme.co.  From there, have your alternate URL redirect to your main.

Without going too far into the technical forest, SPF, or the Sender Policy Framework, and DKIM, domain keys identified mail, tell recipient email providers that you have authorized your email service, like Google apps or your outbound email platform, to send emails on your behalf.  Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to do this – most platforms offer step-by-step instructions.

Step 3: Write your main offer email

The quality of your list is 75% of the battle.  The remaining 25% is the quality of your messaging, which is where we are now.

One of the most powerful mental triggers you can leverage is the community and the trust that goes along with it.  Being even loosely connected to your prospect will make you safe in their eyes, so be sure to lead with the connection.  Also, some custom field-driven black magic never hurts.

You’re probably eager to see that million dollar email template, right?

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all template, and the canned messages that float around on sales forums are of limited value because they’re not properly crafted to your situation.  With that in mind, use other people’s templates for inspiration only. 

But here’s what I’ll do: I’ll guide you through the conceptual framework for what I’ve seen work by using question-based heuristics, and then I’ll contextualize it all by showing you a template I’ve used successfully.  Sound good?

Overarching best practices

  • Keep it relatively short: 2-5 brief paragraphs
  • Tone: write like you’re reconnecting with the friend of a friend you met at that cocktail party.
  • Avoid marketing copy: no false scarcity, no gushing adjectives, no litany of features and benefits.

Subject Lines

How can you be intriguing without being deceptive or misleading?

Best practices:

  • Include custom fields in your subject line (usually the company name suffices).
  • Questions tend to get higher open rates ie. What does ACME look for in a website rebuild?

Beginning (1st paragraph)

How can you demonstrate understanding where all others have missed the mark?

How can you make them feel like a unique snowflake instead of another brick in the wall?

Best practices

  • Lead with customization, demonstrate research.
  • Use first names (“Hi Bob”, not “Dear Mr. Peterson”).
  • Ideal place to include custom fields ie. recent job openings, product rollouts, relevant clients they’ve worked with, funding rounds…

Middle (2nd and later paragraphs)

How can you demonstrate falsifiable results?

What outcome is so compelling or alleviating that even the faint glimmer of its realization would compel them to talk to you?

BAD: “We’ve built stunning websites for our tech clients”

BETTER: “Our sites have helped our SaaS clients convert 5% more leads in less than 3 months.”

What if you don’t have a bunch of sexy case studies like that?

Don’t worry – you can mention relevant clients you’ve worked with or other wins.  Just try to be as specific as possible.  Remember that your offer should help your prospect to easily visualize an amazing outcome.

End: Call to Action (CTA)

So what action are you going for?  Should you direct your prospects to a sales page, a white paper, a tripwire product, a calendar widget, a webinar?  There are many choices, and the CTA you choose will depend on your overall strategy.

That said if you want leads for a high-end product or service, and you’re getting started with cold email, go for a simple, low-commitment conversation.  If your list and messaging are on-point, this is NOT too much to ask.

So what does low commitment mean?  Let’s answer that with examples…

This is NOT low commitment:  Can we schedule a meeting next week to see if you’re a fit?

 “Meeting” = long and grinding, and “to see if you’re a fit” = one-sided sales pitch.

BETTER:

Can we chat briefly next week so I can give you all the details on the program?

Would you be interested in a free review of your current lead generation and sales approaches?  We’ll go over what you’re doing, I’ll tell you all about our program, and if nothing else, you’ll leave with a helpful idea or two.

Put your CTA at the end, and don’t muddle it.

You’ve probably received terrible cold emails that have multiple actions to complete: the sender wants you to download a free ebook, set up a demo, and schedule a meeting, all in one email.  Decision fatigue sets in, so you do nothing.

Template example

The following is a template I used to reach out to my 1st and 2nd-degree connections in the boutique marketing agency niche.

{{BRACKETS}} = Custom fields pulled from spreadsheet

SUBJECT: Found you on Linkedin, curious how {{nickname}} handles lead generation…

Results (after week 1)

Step 4: Write follow up emails

What should you do after you send the first email?  What happens if you don’t get a response?

Don’t give up after the first touch point because it’s often the second, third, or fourth emails where you’ll get an agreement, and herein lies the power of sequences.

Email 2: Professional persistence

How can you demonstrate professional persistence, and show that you care enough to follow up?  Usually, a casual one-liner does the job.

Email 3: Risk reversal

How can you reduce your recipient’s uncertainty and mystery about your offering?  How can you make the pain of remaining the same more than the pain of fulfilling your call to action?  This is where you might link to a PDF or an info page.

Email 4: Loss aversion

If they’ve been busy, on the fence, or interested but unsure, how can you tip them over the edge?  How can you gently imply that an opportunity is about to pass them by?

What happens if you still get no response?

Leave them alone for a while, but in the future, you might send them helpful content, or a different offer.

Reminder: always honor opt-out requests promptly

Do this by setting the recipient as “do not contact” in your email platform.

Days 8+: Optimize and continue

Once your campaigns are rolling, the first priority is building up enough warm and connected targets to fuel your campaigns.  As you expand your LinkedIn connections, you’ll see a snowball effect, and a higher percentage of new contacts will accept your requests.

You can apply this exact same strategy using Twitter – simply search for niche-relevant keywords among your followers and build up your list that way.

From there, it’s all about a/b testing.  Testing can create overwhelm, and sometimes it’s tough to find a good starting point.  Begin by testing subject lines, and once there’s a clear winner based on open rate, move on to testing your body content.

Focus on open rate and response rate.  Don’t put too many links in your messages, and don’t worry too much about click rate – after all, you want meetings, not traffic.

Send no more than 50 emails per day

The small batch approach makes it easier to monitor results and correct course before you either blow out your list or spend too much time and money on lead research that’s not working.

Also, you need to let your domain warm up in the eyes of Google and other email providers.  If you send hundreds of emails immediately, it looks unnatural and you might get flagged.

Resources

Click here to get all the tools you need to implement your Action Plan.

What you’ll find:

  • Video webinar of this Action Plan so you can see how it plays out.
  • Targeting Game Plan Template so you can get laser-focused on your most likely buyers.
  • Email templates used to win five-figure engagements.
  • The spreadsheet template I use to create all my custom emails.

About the Author

Dan Englander is the founder of Sales Schema, where he helps marketing agencies grow by way of done-for-you lead generation and sales consulting.  He’s the author of Mastering Account Management.  Previously he was the first hire at the New York animation studio IdeaRocket.  He’s a decent living room guitarist and he makes a mean paella.

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Netflix promociona “Santa Clarita Diet” con una sangrienta (y polémica) campaña

“Santa Clarita Diet” es una de las últimas series que Netflix ha estrenado en su plataforma. Por si no la has visto nunca, su protagonista (encarnada por Drew Barrymore) se convierte en una especie de “caníbal” que solo se alimenta de carne humana. Bajo esta premisa, Netflix ha elaborado una divertida y sangrienta campaña de presentación que no ha pasado desapercibida.

Una de las acciones más llamativas para promocionar la serie la han llevado a cabo en Times Square, donde Drew Barrymore va saltando de pantalla publicitaria en pantalla publicitaria comiéndose a los personajes de otros anuncios. Puedes ver cómo funcionaba en este vídeo, aunque te advierto que los figurantes de la calle son malísimos y sobreactuados a más no poder.

 

Mientras tanto, parece que la campaña de publicidad que han llevado a cabo en Alemania no ha tenido la acogida esperada y mucha gente se ha quejado de esta valla publicitaria en la que un dedo está condimentado como se fuera una currywurst.

La campaña era bastante ambiciosa e incluso incluía food trucks, aunque finalmente tuvieron que pararla tras la cantidad de quejas recibidas.

That’s quite the ad. #SantaClaritaDiet #PotsdamerPlatz pic.twitter.com/L6qPZkJm9c

— Manuel (@ArtVande1ay) 18 de febrero de 2017

Santa Clarita Diet ist eine US-amerikanische Horror Comedy Fernsehserie. El dedo al curry coge media cuadra de Potsdamer Platz, en Berlín. pic.twitter.com/eoOO5Ig9w5

— Aslloly Villa (@asllolyvilla) 21 de febrero de 2017

heute mal ne diet :-)#santaclarita #netflix #boulevard #berlin #gratis #superaktion pic.twitter.com/IHQgSEppb1

— Britta (@BerlinBritta) 18 de febrero de 2017

 

Por cierto, la valla publicitaria del dedo-curriwurst era una adaptación para el mercado alemán de la campaña gráfica que Netflix ha lanzado en Estados Unidos. En ella, muestran partes humanas convertidas en platos que todos conocemos: un corazón dentro de una hamburguesa, un paquete de patatas fritas con dedos, un brazo envuelto como si fuera un bocadillo y un saludable smoothie orgánico de sangre, sesos y otras vísceras humanas.

Divertido, sangriento y asqueroso a partes iguales.

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[Visto en: Adweek 1 | 2]

La entrada Netflix promociona “Santa Clarita Diet” con una sangrienta (y polémica) campaña aparece primero en La criatura creativa.

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Local SEO & Beyond: Ranking Your Local Business in 2017

Posted by Casey_Meraz

In 2016, I predicted that ranking in the 3-pack was hard and it would continually get more competitive. I maintain that prediction for 2017, but I want to make one thing clear. If you haven’t done so, I believe local businesses should start to look outside of a local-SEO-3-Pack-ONLY focused strategy.

While local SEO still presents a tremendous opportunity to grow your business, I’m going to look at some supplementary organic strategies you can take into your local marketing campaign, as well.

In this post I’m going to address:

  • How local search has changed since last year
  • Why & how your overall focus may need to change in 2017
  • Actionable advice on how to rank better to get more local traffic & more business

In local search success, one thing is clear

The days of getting in the 3-pack and having a one-trick pony strategy are over. Every business wants to get the free traffic from Google’s local results, but the chances are getting harder everyday. Not only are you fighting against all of your competitors trying to get the same rankings, but now you’re also fighting against even more ads.

If you thought it was hard to get top placement today in the local pack, just consider that you’re also fighting against 4+ ads before customers even have the possibility of seeing your business.

Today’s SERPs are ad-rich with 4 paid ads at the top, and now it’s not uncommon to find paid listings prioritized in local results. Just take a look at this example that Gyi Tsakalakis shared with me, showing one ad in the local pack on mobile ranking above the 3-pack results. Keep in mind, there are four other ads above this.

If you were on desktop and you clicked on one of the 3-pack results, you’re taken to the local finder. In the desktop search example below, once you make it to the local finder you’ll see two paid local results above the other businesses.

Notice how only the companies participating in paid ads have stars. Do you think that gives them an advantage? I do.


Don’t worry though, I’m not jaded by ads

After all of that gloomy ad SERP talk, you’re probably getting a little depressed. Don’t. With every change there comes new opportunity, and we’ve seen many of our clients excel in search by focusing on multiple strategies that work for their business.

Focusing on the local pack should still be a strong priority for you, even if you don’t have a pay-to-play budget for ads. Getting listed in the local finder can still result in easy wins — especially if you have the most reviews, as Google has very handy sorting options.

If you have the highest rating score, you can easily get clicks when users decide to sort the results they see by the business rating. Below is an example of how users can easily sort by ratings.

But what else can you do to compete effectively in your local market?


Consider altering your local strategy

Most businesses I speak with seem to have tunnel vision. They think it’s more important to rank in the local pack and, in some cases, even prioritize this over the real goal: more customers.

Every day, I talk to new businesses and marketers that seem to have a single area of focus. While it’s not necessarily a bad thing to do one thing really well, the ones that are most successful are managing a variety of campaigns tied to their business goals.

Instead of taking a single approach of focusing on just free local clicks, expand your horizon a bit and ask yourself this question: Where are my customers looking and how can I get in front of them?

Sometimes taking a step back and looking at things from the 30,000-ft view is beneficial.


You can start by asking yourself these questions by examining the SERPs:

1. What websites, OTHER THAN MY OWN, have the most visibility for the topics and keywords I’m interested in?

You can bet people are clicking on results other than your own website underneath the local results. Are they websites you can show up on? How do you increase that visibility?

I think STAT has a great tracking tool for this. You simply set up the keywords you want to track and their Share of Voice feature shows who’s ranking where and what percentage of visibility they have in your specific market.

In the example below, you can see the current leaders in a space I’m tracking. Notice how Findlaw & Yelp show up there. With a little further research I can find out if they have number 1–2 rankings (which they do) and determine whether I should put in place a strategy to rank there. This is called barnacle SEO.

2. Are my customers using voice search?

Maybe it’s just me, but I find it strange to talk to my computer. That being said, I have no reservations about talking to my phone — even when I’m in places I shouldn’t. Stone Temple recently published a great study on voice command search, which you can check out here.

Some of the cool takeaways from that study were where people search from. It seems people are more likely to search from the privacy of their own home, but most mobile devices out there today have voice search integrated. I wonder how many people are doing this from their cars?
This goes to show that local queries are not just about the 3-pack. While many people may ask their device “What’s the nearest pizza place,” other’s may ask a variety of questions like:

Where is the highest-rated pizza place nearby?
Who makes the best pizza in Denver?
What’s the closest pizza place near me?

Don’t ignore voice search when thinking about your localized organic strategy. Voice is mobile and voice can sure be local. What localized searches would someone be interested in when looking for my business? What questions might they be asking that would drive them to my local business?

3. Is my website optimized for “near me” searches?

“Near me” searches have been on the rise over the past five years and I don’t expect that to stop. Sometimes customers are just looking for something close by. Google Trends data shows how this has changed in the past five years:
Are you optimizing for a “near me” strategy for your business? Recently the guys over at Local SEO Guide did a study of “near me” local SEO ranking factors. Optimizing for “near me” searches is important and it falls right in line with some of the tactical advice we have for increasing your Google My Business rankings as well. More on that later.

4. Should my business stay away from ads?

Let’s start by looking at a some facts. Google makes money off of their paid ads. According to an article from Adweek, “During the second quarter of 2016, Alphabet’s revenue hit $21.5 billion, a 21% year-over-year increase. Of that revenue, $19.1 billion came from Google’s advertising business, up from $16 billion a year ago.”

This roughly translates to: “Ads aren’t going anywhere and Google is going to do whatever they can to put them in your face.” If you didn’t see the Home Service ad test with all ads that Mike Blumenthal pointed out, you can check it out below. Google is trying to find more creative ways to monetize local search.
Incase you haven’t heard it before, having both organic and paid listings ranking highly increases your overall click-through rate.

Although the last study I found was from Google in 2012, we’ve found that our clients have the most success when they rank strong organically, locally, and have paid placements. All of these things tie together. If potential customers are already searching for your business, you’ll see great results by being involved in all of these areas.

While I’m not a fan of only taking a pay-to-play approach, you need to at least start considering it and testing it for your niche to see if it works for you. Combine it with your overall local and organic strategy.

5. Are we ignoring the featured snippets?

Searches with local intent can still trigger featured snippets. One example that I saw recently and really liked was the snowboard size chart example, which you can see below. In this example, someone who is interested in snowboards gets an answer box that showcases a company. If someone is doing this type of research, there’s a likelihood that they may wish to purchase a snowboard soon.
Depending on your niche, there are plenty of opportunities to increase your local visibility by not ignoring featured snippets and creating content to rank there. Check out this Whiteboard Friday to learn more about how you can get featured snippets.

Now that we’ve looked at some ways you can expand your strategies, let’s look at some tactical steps you can take to move the needle.


Here’s how you can gain more visibility

Now that you have an open mind, let’s take a look at the actionable things you can do to improve your overall visibility and rankings in locally centric campaigns. As much as I like to think local SEO is rocket science, it really isn’t. You really need to focus your attention on the things that are going to move the needle.

I’m also going to assume you’ve already done the basics, like optimize your listing by filling out the profile 100%.

Later last year, Local SEO Guide and Placescout did a great study that looked at 100+ variables from 30,000 businesses to determine what factors might have the most overall impact in local 3-pack rankings. If you have some spare time I recommend checking it out. It verified that the signals we put the most effort into seem to have the greatest overall effect.

I’m only going to dive into a few of those factors, but here are the things I would do to focus on a results-first strategy:

Start with a solid website/foundation

What good are rankings without conversions? The answer is they aren’t any good. If you’re always keeping your business goals in mind, start with the basics. If your website isn’t loading fast, you’re losing conversions and you may experience a reduced crawl budget.

My #1 recommendation that affects all aspects of SEO and conversions is to start with a solid website. Ignoring this usually creates bigger problems later down the road and can negatively impact your overall rankings.

Your website should be SEO-friendly and load in the 90th percentile on Google’s Page Speed Insights. You can also see how fast your website loads for users using tools like GTMetrix. Google seems to reduce the visibility of slower websites, so if you’re ignoring the foundation you’re going to have issues. Here are 6 tips you can use for a faster WordPress website.

Crawl errors for bots can also wreak havoc on your website. You should always strive to maintain a healthy site. Check up on your website using Google’s Search Console and use Moz Pro to monitor your clients’ campaigns by actively tracking the sites’ health, crawl issues, and domain health over time. Having higher scores and less errors should be your focus.

Continue with a strong review generation strategy

I’m sure many of you took a deep breath when earlier this month Google changed the review threshold to only 1 review. That’s right. In case you didn’t hear, Google is now giving all businesses a review score based on any number of reviews you have, as you can see in the example below:
I know a lot of my colleagues were a big fan of this, but I have mixed feelings since Google isn’t taking any serious measures to reduce review spam or penalize manipulative businesses at this point.

Don’t ignore the other benefits of reviews, as well. Earlier I mentioned that users can sort by review stars; having more reviews will increase your overall CTR. Plus, after talking to many local businesses, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback that consumers are actively using these scores more than ever.

So, how do you get more reviews?

Luckily, Google’s current Review and Photo Policies do not prohibit the direct solicitation of reviews at this point (unlike Yelp).

Start by soliciting past customers on your list
If you’re not already collecting customer information on your website or in-store, you’re behind the times and you need to start doing so immediately.

I work mainly with attorneys. Working in that space, there are regulations we have to follow, and typically the number of clients is substantially less than a pizza joint. In pickles like this, where the volume is low, we can take a manual approach where we identify the happiest clients and reach out to them using this process. This particular process also creates happy employees. 🙂

  1. List creation: We start by screening the happiest clients. We then sort these by who has a Gmail account for priority’s sake.
  2. Outreach by phone: I don’t know why digital marketers are afraid of the phone, but we’ve had a lot of success calling our prior clients. We have the main point-of-contact from the business who’s worked with them before call and ask how the service they received was. The caller informs them that they have a favor to ask and that their overall job performance is partially based off of client feedback. They indicate they’re going to send a follow-up email if it’s OK with the customer.
  3. Send a follow-up email: We then use a Google review link generator, which creates an exact URL that opens the review box for the person if they’re logged into their Gmail account.
  4. Follow-up email: Sometimes emails get lost. We follow up a few times to make sure the client leaves the review…
  5. You have a new review!

The method above works great for low-volume businesses. If you’re a higher-volume business or have a lot of contacts, I recommend using a more automated service to prepare for future and ongoing reviews, as it’ll make the process a heck of a lot easier. Typically we use Get Five Stars or Infusionsoft integrations to complete this for our clients.

If you run a good business that people like, you can see results like this. This is a local business which had 7 reviews in 2015. Look where they are now with a little automation asking happy customers to leave a review:

Don’t ignore & don’t be afraid of links

One thing Google succeeded at is scaring away people from getting manipulative links. In many areas, that went too far and resulted in people not going after links at all, diminishing their value as a ranking factor, and telling the world that links are dead.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you need good links to your website. If you want to rank in competitive niches or in certain geographic areas, the anchor text can make a big difference. Multiple studies have shown the effectiveness of links to this very day, and their importance cannot be overlooked.

This table outlines which link tactics work best for each strategy:

Strategy Type Link Tactic
Local SEO (3-Pack) Links to local GMB-connected landing page will help 3-pack rankings. City, state, and keyword-included anchor text is beneficial
Featured Snippets Links to pages where you want to get a featured snippet will help boost the authority of that page.
Paid Ads Links will not help your paid ads.
“Near Me” Searches Links with city, state, or area anchor text will help you in near me searches.
Voice Search Links to pages that are FAQ or consist of long-tail keyword content will help them rank better organically.
Barnacle SEO Links to websites you don’t own can help them rank better. Focus on high-authority profiles or business listings.

There are hundreds of ways to build links for your firm. You need to avoid paying for links and spammy tactics because they’re just going to hurt you. Focus on strong and sustainable strategies — if you want to do it right, there aren’t any shortcuts.

Since there are so many great link building resources out there, I’ve linked to a few of my favorite where you can get tactical advice and start building links below.

For specific tactical link building strategies, check out these resources:

If you participate in outreach or broken link building, check out this new post from Directive Consulting — “How We Increased Our Email Response Rate from ~8% to 34%” — to increase the effectiveness of your outreach.

Get relevant & high-authority citations

While the importance of citations has taken a dive in recent years as a major ranking factor, they still carry quite a bit of importance.

Do you remember the example from earlier in this post, where we saw Findlaw and Yelp having strong visibility in the market? These websites get traffic, and if a potential customer is looking for you somewhere where you’re not, that’s one touchpoint lost. You’ll still need to address quality over quantity. The days of looking for 1,000 citations are over and have been for many years. If you have 1,000 citations, you probably have a lot of spam links to your website. We don’t need those. But what we do need is highly relevant directories to either our city or niche.

This post I wrote over 4 years ago is still pretty relevant on how you can find these citations and build them with consistency. Remember that high-authority citations can also be unstructured (not a typical business directory). They can also be very high-quality links if the site is authoritative and has fewer business listings. There are millions of listings on Yelp, but maybe less than one hundred on some other powerful, very niche-specific websites.

Citation and link idea: What awards was your business eligible or nominated for?

One way to get these is to consider awards where you can get an authoritative citation and link to your website. Take a look at the example below of a legal website. This site is a peanut compared to a directory like Yelp. Sure, it doesn’t carry near as much authority, but the link equity is more evenly distributed.


Lastly, stay on point

2017 is sure to be a volatile year for local search, but it’s important to stay on point. Spread your wings, open your mind, and diversify with strategies that are going to get your business more customers.

Now it’s time to tell me what you think! Is something I didn’t mention working better for you? Where are you focusing your efforts in local search?

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Ron Barceló viste su botella de Carnaval con un colorido diseño de Víctor Jaubert

Con febrero llega una de las fiestas más coloridas y con más historia de nuestro país: el Carnaval. Y si hay un sitio donde viven el Carnaval con mucha intensidad es en Canarias, por eso Ron Barceló ha querido dedicar su última edición limitada a esta divertida celebración. Para diseñarla, han contado con el buen hacer del diseñador tinerfeño Víctor Jaubert, que ha llevado a la botella de la famosa marca de ron el colorido y el espíritu optimista del Carnaval de Canarias.

El diseño representa, a través de las vivencias del actor Álex García, el día y la noche de la fiesta canaria en cada una de las caras de la botella. Un packaging que se ha vestido con tonos vivos y divertidos para transmitir la esencia del Carnaval, que el actor describe como “un buen ejemplo de disfrute auténtico de la vida, de saborear cada momento, de no juzgar, de olvidarse de los problemas y de sólo quedarse con la parte lúdica, creativa y compañera de la vida y del ser humano”.

La ilustración muestra elementos propios de esta fiesta como las comparsas, la reina del Carnaval, coreografías a ritmo de batucada, trajes llenos de lentejuelas y plumas, personas disfrazadas o el entierro de la sardina. En cuanto a los colores, Víctor cuenta que los ha elegido cuidadosamente: “naranja esterlicia, el color de una puesta de sol, el verde de una platanera, el color del mar, y el blanco también. Todos estos colores están marcados por el factor tropical Canario”. Además, la etiqueta está impresa con tintas luminiscentes para que luzca bajo la luz negra.

¿A que mola?

barcelo-carnaval-0000 barcelo-carnaval-0001 barcelo-carnaval-0007 barcelo-carnaval-0008 barcelo-carnaval-0002 barcelo-carnaval-0005 barcelo-carnaval-0003 barcelo-carnaval-0004 barcelo-carnaval-0006

 

La entrada Ron Barceló viste su botella de Carnaval con un colorido diseño de Víctor Jaubert aparece primero en La criatura creativa.

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