5 Things to Know About Voice Search and Bing


Voice search is growing fast, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. This is an exciting development for marketers since the advent of voice search could alter the SEO landscape, but there is a lot to learn about this technology, and everything could change in just a few years. The more you can get up to speed and get involved now, the better you will be positioned for what the future holds.

Voice Search: The Next Frontier for Search Marketers

Voice search is becoming more popular and prevalent all the time. The SEMrush blog even called it back in 2016. Voice-powered digital assistants like Siri and Cortana are constantly improving, and smart devices entirely powered by voice – like Amazon Echo and Google Home – are enjoying a surge of popularity right now.

Why are tech users starting to shift away from text and towards voice? There are several factors that explain the rise of voice search.

  • Voice search is fast. Most people speak much more quickly than they type.
  • Voice search is hands-free, so users can get information when they are driving, cooking, or otherwise occupied with something else.
  • For people on a mobile device, asking a question out loud is usually easier than typing on a tiny screen.
  • It is getting easier and more convenient to use voice search. As more and more people get smartphones, it is natural that most will try out the built-in voice capabilities.
  • Voice search is still a fun novelty for many people.

This slide below from Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends report illustrates some of the major reasons people use voice search:

voice-searchAt this point, it is clear that voice is going to play a big role in future search technology. But since voice search is still relatively new, there are lots of ways it could develop, and it isn’t obvious which companies will rule the field in ten years.

5 Things Marketers Need to Know About Voice Search and Bing

Google is currently top dog in most aspects of search, but when it comes to voice, Google might not have much of an edge over its competitors. Microsoft is also a major player in the field of voice technology, and its search engine, Bing, may be poised to dominate voice search in the future. Here is what you should know about Bing and voice search as voice technology goes mainstream.

Voice Search is Here for the Long Haul

In 2017, many people still think of voice search as a novelty or a toy. This perception isn’t going to last much longer. An October 2015 study by artificial intelligence platform MindMeld found that the growth of voice search is happening strikingly fast: 40% of voice search users had only adopted the technology in the last six months, and 60% had adopted it in the last year.

The sharp growth of voice technology is expected to continue through 2017 and beyond. In 2016, there were between 8 million and 9 million voice-first devices like Amazon Echo in use.

In 2017, VoiceLabs predicts there will be 22.5 million devices shipped, leading to a total device footprint of 33 million voice-first devices in circulation.

As voice search continues to grow, it could rival or even overtake text search.


A Quarter or More of Bing Searches are Voice-Based

For Bing, voice searches may become the norm sooner rather than later. Search Engine Land reports that in May 2016, Bing representatives revealed that 25% of all searches conducted through the Windows 10 taskbar were voice-based. The percentage may be even greater now, considering voice search’s increasing popularity.

Google hasn’t gone fully public with its numbers on voice searches, but it is probably not far behind Bing. During the same month, Sundar Pichai of Google announced that one out of five Google searches conducted on a mobile device are voice searches. A lot can change in a year, so it will be interesting to see what kind of voice search statistics surface next.

Bing Powers More Voice Technology than Google Does

It might seem surprising that Bing had an edge over Google for voice search in 2016, but there’s a good reason for that. Three of the four major virtual assistants on the market – Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa – use Bing for their searches. Google, of course, powers its own Google Assistant.

Virtual Assistant Technology Still Has Some Improving to Do

Voice technology has gotten much better over the last few decades, but tech companies are still working on perfecting it. There is a lot at stake in this race. Andrew Ng, former chief scientist at Baidu, has said that voice search will really take off when accuracy gets to 99% or better. None of the four major virtual assistants has reached that level of accuracy yet, but all of them are getting close.

The Time to Optimize for Voice Search is Now

Whether you advertise on Google, Bing, or both, you should think about setting up your site and your paid campaigns to snag voice searchers as well as keyboard searchers. If you start working on this now, you will have a leg up on people who wait to optimize until voice searches overtake text-based searches.

Not sure how to optimize for voice searches? The last section of this article will give you a crash course on how to make it happen (it is simpler than you might think!).

How to Optimize Your Site for Voice Queries in Bing and Google

Voice search and text search are fundamentally different, even though they are ostensibly performing the same function. People usually phrase voice searches like they would if they were talking to another person. For instance, you might say, “Siri, where can I find a dry cleaner that’s open late?”. If you were going to do the same search on a keyboard, you would be more likely to type something like, “dry cleaner open late”.

Because they use more natural language, voice searches are likely to involve connecting words (and, to, or, etc.) and to be phrased as a question. Text searches, on the other hand, are likely to be a string of keywords with extra words removed. Unsurprisingly, this means voice searches are usually longer than text searches.


This data from Microsoft shows that Cortana voice searches tend to be significantly longer than text searches. You can learn more about optimizing for voice search here.

Unfortunately, neither Bing nor Google lets you separate voice searches from text searches in your analytics yet. But since voice queries look different from keyboard queries, it is not hard to identify them manually. To start optimizing for voice searches, look at your analytics and find the searches that look like natural language. Compile them into a list and look for patterns. Which questions are people asking to find your site?

After that, pick some natural-language, long-tail keywords that will help voice searchers find your site more easily. Make sure they reflect the way people actually talk. For instance, you would want to use the keyword “hire a piano mover in Boise” not “piano mover Boise”.

Another way to get on voice searcher’s radar is to include questions and answers on your website. After all, many voice searchers are asking their digital assistants questions, so you will be more likely to rank in the results if you anticipate those questions and answer them. At the very least for Q&A, you should have a FAQ page. If you are creative, you can probably find natural ways to build questions and answers into your other pages, too.

Finally, make sure all your business’ information is easy to find. Searchers should be able to find your location, hours, and phone number on your website as well as in search engine’s databases of business information. If you haven’t done so yet, claim your Places for Business listing on Bing and your My Business listing on Google.

Why is this so important? Many mobile and voice search users ask questions like, “Where can I find a coffee shop near me” The search engine then uses the person’s location information to find nearby businesses. If the search engine doesn’t have any information about your business, you won’t show up in their list of results.

The Takeaway

Voice search is going to change the landscape of digital marketing over the next few years, but no one knows exactly how yet. One thing is for sure, though: this technology is only going to get bigger, so it is important to start learning about it now. By keeping yourself up-to-date on new developments and optimizing your site for voice search sooner rather than later, you will gain an advantage over marketers who are slower to adapt.




Google has dropped Google Instant Search

Several years after Google launched Google Instant, they are killing the default search feature to bring search more inline with mobile devices.

After launching Google Instant – Google’s method of showing search results as you type them – several years ago, Google has removed the feature from search effective today.

The Most Important Steps To Establishing Your Brand Online

The Most Important Steps To Establishing Your Brand Online

It’s hard isn’t it?
Yes, I’m talking about establishing your brand online. As you have probably learned, you can’t just throw up a cool-looking website and then expect thousands of visitors to come flocking to it.
It doesn’t work that way. And it’s pretty frustrating, right? You’ve probably dabbled in social media. You may have even written a few blog posts.
But nobody comes to visit. And you’re probably about to lose your mind.
To add salt to the wound, you have probably seen many business owners make it look easy. How do they get so many visitors and subscribers?
Here’s reality: it’s not easy at all. Building a strong online presence takes a lot of time and hard work. But that’s not all. It also requires you to make sure you’re taking the right steps. After all, you don’t want to waste time working hard on something that isn’t going to get you anywhere, do you?

Online Branding Steps

1. Start Your Blog

If you have done any reading on online marketing, you’ve already learned why blogging is important for business owners. Blogs remain one of the most powerful tools for expanding your influence, building credibility, and getting more exposure for your business.
Businesses who blog earn tons more leads than those that don’t.
Here are some of the benefits of blogging:

  • Blogging improves your search engine rankings, making it easier for prospective clients to find your business online.
  • It increases the likelihood that prospects will become paying clients.
  • Blogs are a great way to build your email list.

So why don’t more entrepreneurs blog? Well, one of the reasons is because they believe it’s too hard to build and maintain one.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. There are steps you can follow to establish a high-quality blog.

2. Start Creating Content

After you have chosen your platform and web host, and your blog is completely set up, you need to start creating content. This is the part you’ve been waiting for, right?
Not so fast.
Before you start writing content you need to have a plan. You don’t want to just start writing whatever you feel like writing. You need to know what type of content you need to write.
Fortunately, this isn’t too hard. You just need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What type of information does my audience need? What questions are they asking?
  • What types of blog posts would work the best for my readers?
  • What have others in my industry written about? How can I take a unique approach?

Here’s the thing: you’re not just writing content for the sake of writing content. Each blog post you write needs to have one objective: to benefit your readers as much as possible.
People don’t read content that isn’t helpful. Chances are, if they came to your blog it’s because they believe you’re providing information that they need. You need to deliver the goods!

3. Create Your Social Media Strategy

Creating a blog is an important step, but it’s pretty much useless if nobody reads it, right? That’s where social media comes in.
Social media is the best way to promote your content and your business. It’s the tool you will use to attract visitors to your blog and your website. An effective social media strategy can get your website more exposure and enable you to interact with your audience.

4. Use The Right Social Media Platform

Before implementing a social media strategy, you need to know which platforms to use. Otherwise, you might be wasting a lot of time posting on platforms that your audience doesn’t use.
The key is to find out which services your target market is using the most. You have to understand the demographics that make up your audience. Fortunately, you may already know this if you’re familiar with your industry.

5. Social Media Marketing Is About Being Helpful

Just like writing content, your main objective when using social media should be to help as many people as you can. It’s not about just promoting your products and services. Social media should be used to share your content and engage with your prospective clients.
Now, I’m not saying that you should never use social media to promote your products and services. It’s a great way to create awareness of what your business offers. However, you don’t want to overdo it.
One effective method for sharing on social media is to use the 30/60/10 rule. Here’s how this works:

  • 30 percent of your social media posts should be your own content.
  • 60 percent should be curated posts of other people’s content.
  • 10 percent should be posts that promote your products or services.

You don’t have to stick hard and fast to that ratio. You might find that tweaking it a bit will work better for your business. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Find out what’s most effective for you.

6. Give A Compelling Offer

How many times have you visited a website and been offered something cool for free? No doubt you’ve probably downloaded at least a few ebooks, checklists, and other types of content from sites that had valuable information to share.
Chances are, you only had to type in your email address, then download the goods, right?
So why does this work? Well it’s a little thing called the reciprocity principle. It simply means that if you give something valuable to another person, they will be more willing to give you something that you want.
In order to get subscribers, you have to offer something valuable. You can’t expect your visitors to give you their highly-prized email address if they’re not going to get anything out of it.
The great thing about this is that it’s not too difficult. You just have to think of what types of information would be the most valuable to your visitors.
Here are a few examples of free offers you can give to your readers:

  • Ebooks
  • Cheat sheets
  • Checklists
  • White papers
  • A free consultation
  • A video teaching

Not too hard right? But here’s the key: it has to be something that goes deeper than the value you’re already providing on your blog. You have to give them a reason to want it.

7. Engage With Your Audience

After you have gained permission to contact your visitors, you need to engage with them. This is where you will develop your email marketing campaigns.
When email your list, you don’t want to send only promotional materials. Similar to social media campaigns, email marketing should be used to provide value to your readers. Otherwise, they will stop opening your emails. They may even unsubscribe.
You don’t want that, right?
Figure out ways you can give your readers more of what they want: helpful information. Here are some suggestions:

  • Send updates on your latest blog posts.
  • Give content that only your email list gets to see.
  • Ask for some feedback from your audience. It’s a great way to gain a deeper understanding of your subscribers.
  • Give your readers a behind the scenes look at what your business is doing.

When you’re focused on providing more value with your email marketing, your readers will be more likely to spend their money with you. You don’t want to send a ton of sales emails if you’re not also providing a benefit to your readers.


Building an online footprint isn’t easy. It does take time. You will need to work hard to promote your website and build a healthy following. Most businesses don’t get instant results.
But if you’re consistent, you will be able to build an engaged audience. It does require perseverance, but when you finally start getting more clients, the hard work will pay off.


Snapchat is pushing marketers to make ads that look like they were made on Snapchat


A recent Snap Ad by Pepsi

With a flurry of recent updates to its ad products, Snapchat is inviting marketers of all sizes to buy ads on the social app. But the company still seems intent on keeping its sanctity intact.In other words, despite opening up its doors to the ad masses, it still wants Snapchat to look like Snapchat.

Come July, advertisers will have access to a slick new creative tool called Snapchat Publisher, which will let them create ads in less than two minutes. But before the tool is widely rolled out, Snapchat seems to be doing some quality-control.

The company has been circulating updated specifics and guidelines that marketers are encouraged to keep in mind while creating Snap ads, multiple sources told Business Insider. The updated “Creative Guidelines & Specs” deck for Snap ads started making the rounds earlier this month , when the platform announced a series of new ad efforts, including a new Ad Manager tool and a Certified Partners program, apart from the Publisher tool.

“The general theme on Snapchat has been to use all the tools at our disposal to create low-fi ads instead of polished ones,” an agency media buyer, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “But we’ve been getting more of those directives the past few weeks.”

“They’ve definitely been pushing for content that feels native to the platform,” said Jill Sherman, svp of social media at DigitasLBi. “They’ve always emphasized content that feels as though it was created on the app itself, instead of being highly produced.”

Snapchat pioneered the vertical video format, and the new Publisher tool makes it even easier for marketers to adopt it. It can import existing brand assets, trim horizontal videos for the vertical format and also offers Snap-provided ad templates.

Since Snapchat is throwing open the ad floodgates, it makes sense that it would remind marketers of the guidelines for Snap Ads.

“Not all creative agency partners are used to creating videos just for platform,” said Sherwin Su, associate social director at digital agency Essence.

But Snapchat has tweaked some of these best practices, too. There are two key differences in the most recent set of guidelines put forward by the company, pointed out Su, associate social director at digital agency Essence.

“Brands are no longer limited to videos, the latest update allows more formats in snap ads including still images, gifs, cinemagraphs and slideshows,” he said. “And sound is now optional.”

According to another anonymous agency social lead, Snapchat is continuing to do creative tests, even encouraging marketers to incorporate organic native tools on the platform like bitmojis and stickers. While it currently allows only emojis and text graphics, it restricts the inclusion of Snapchat native creative tools in ads. That might change moving forward, said the source.

Here are some key guidelines for creating Snap Ads posted by the company:

  • The ads must be full screen and vertically formatted, and feature visual branding
  • Strong and relevant call-to-action for Snap Ads with attachments are encouraged
  • No letterboxing/borders of any kind, static collages that fill the screen for the entirety of the ad, copy-heavy ads or the use of Snapcodes or Snapchat usernames
  • No imitation of Snapchat native creative tools and UI features like static doodles, stickers, Bitmoji
  • For Snap ads that have web view attachments, no URLs with auto-playing video or audio, or Facebook, Instagram or Twitter URLs


How to optimise a website for multi-device browsing

In order to succeed in the digital age, businesses must cater to an increasingly mobile audience: building a ‘one size fits all’ website is no longer an option. Having a site that forces people to scroll and zoom through pages that aren’t built for mobile browsing will lead to frustrated customers and lost sales.

If you have decided to take the plunge and optimise your website for multi-device browsing, here are four things to consider to ensure your site provides maximum ROI.

1.  Website overhaul vs mobile templates

You have to weigh up whether the cost of an overhaul is worth it

Budget is a key consideration for businesses looking to optimise their web presence for mobile and building a few mobile-specific templates has the benefit of requiring less up-front financial investment. In general, not all content will or can be viewed on a mobile device, so the most prudent method is to analyse current web traffic and identify the pages most viewed on mobile devices.

Looking at bounce rates and the length of time visitors spend on a page can help establish engagement levels. Then, having identified the best performers, it’s possible to build templates just for these select pages. This is a good short-term solution on a low budget, however, long term it can be more complex as it effectively creates two sites that will, over time, cost more to maintain.

For a longer lasting solution, building a responsive website is more efficient, cost-effective and generally easier to maintain despite requiring a larger immediate investment. An important factor to consider is the age of the current website; if the website is three years of age or older then it’s beneficial to re-design and develop a fully responsive site. In addition to only having to maintain one site, the site will feature the latest technology and most importantly, security.

2. The impact of a separate mobile site on SEO

Google’s opinion on separate platforms has varied over the years

This subject has attracted much debate over the past few years and is understandably a concern for businesses looking to make their website work across multiple devices. Google algorithms are a closely guarded secret, but the main SEO concern seems to be ‘does your website keep visitors engaged, is the content relevant and does it provide value over other competitor websites?’

One thing that is becoming apparent is that algorithms are starting to stop content that isn’t optimised for mobile from appearing in search results. If a website is not engaging, has a high bounce rate, content which is not relevant, and forces the user to squint and zoom their way through a site not built for mobile browsing, it’s likely the site will be penalised by Google.

If you do opt for separate mobile templates, ensure that you adhere to Google best practice codes to avoid looking as though you’re trying to ‘trick’ it with more than one URL for the same content. Google states that if a mobile site requires multiple URLs for the same content then it should all be accessible for Googlebot user-agents.

Building a separate mobile site will not impact your SEO negatively as long as you adhere to best practice codes; but as these are constantly changing, a responsive site offers a better long-term solution as you only have to update one site to reflect these changes instead of two sets of templates.

3. Optimise your content for a range of devices

It’s important that content is optimised as well as design

When building a responsive site, the easiest approach is to code for the mobile version first and then scale up to incorporate tablets and devices. This allows code breakpoints to be content dependent as opposed to device dependent, as well as implementing additional functionality to cater for the increased capabilities of larger devices. This approach ensures that the pursuit of a quality mobile experience doesn’t mean you have to neglect your other platforms.

When deciding how to distribute your content, view it as a unique opportunity to tap into your customers’ browsing habits. Mobile sites should be punchy and use short, sharp content. It’s unlikely that someone browsing on an iPhone will want to spend hours reading case studies or in depth product reviews, so make mobile content light on words and less heavy on visuals. Many customers visiting your mobile site will be new to your service or product, so it’s important that it has a ‘best foot forward’ feel to it.

4. Keep your content fresh and your site secure

Security is a key factor

As sites have to cope with an increasingly broad range of devices; from older smartphones right up to ultra-HD desktops; there is a challenge to ensure that all customers are getting a positive experience. This demands that businesses keep their websites updated, addressing the technical advances to allow all of these devices to be targeted regardless of their capabilities.

Often, once a website goes live, there is no ongoing strategy for maintaining the technical aspects of the site. As such, the CMS often doesn’t get updated when newer versions and security patches become available. This poses a serious threat for businesses as they risk being hacked and in more serious cases; breach data protection which in turn will lose the trust of their customers.

To keep up to date involves assigning budget to keep on top of such updates and make them regularly. A good way to achieve this is for a business to have a maintenance agreement with their agency. This allows agencies to be proactive with their clients and share the latest trends, technology and security, whilst the business benefits from the knowledge and expertise their agency offers.


The Captivating Power Of Amazing Short Blog Posts

Short blog posts can be good.

Why Short Blog Posts Are Cool

This goes against a lot of common advice.  Longer blogposts (above 2,000 words!) drive more traffic. And from an SEO perspective, this is true.

But: Short pieces of content have their place in blogging and content production in general. The cornerstone of blogging success is value – not wordcount. And while in general longer posts may drive more traffic, this is not always true!

Why? Because short form also has a lot of advantages:

  • Good short posts get to the point faster
  • Short pieces are easier to consume – this is blogging, not scientific research
  • Short pieces (with value!) often work better on social media
  • Do you need to blog more often? Short posts take less time.

Can I Back This With Data?

In this case, the data is so openly available that I am surprised this doesn’t get mentioned in the blogosphere more often:

Take clickbait sites – let’s go for Upworthy and Buzzfeed:

These sites drive incredible amounts of traffic through social media. Their content is optimized for social. Take this Upworthy post for instance: https://www.upworthy.com/republicans-and-democrats-should-never-forget-what-paul-ryan-just-said-about-the-poor?c=pop

This is long for Upworthy… 700 words. It was in Upworthy’s most shared posts this week, over 7,000 shares. (Contrary to popular belief clickbait sites are bringing value in their posts – that is exactly why they are getting so much traffic!)

Want more data? Here are the Alexa ranks for Upworthy and Buzzfeed:

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Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 16.39.50


The Problem: Value per Word

This is not an excuse for creating many short posts that bring little value.

Focus on value per word.

Creating short posts that still bring loads of value to readers is a craft – an it needs to be practiced. Which is why so few recommend short posts.

Value per word is harder to achieve than increasing your word count. You will have to write slower than usual – you will have to think about how to best get your point across, how to shorten your sentences while not losing meaning.

But most audiences will accept short and long form content. The real question is how much value you are giving. And value per word is actually harder to produce in a long post. Producing very long posts with very little information won’t help you.


Why should your website be in multiple languages?

Contrary to the common knowledge, not many people actually speak or use English outside some certain islands in Europe.

True – educated, younger people do often speak 3-4 languages, including their mother tongue and English. But that’s not as big a percentage as you’d think. Worse, knowing a language isn’t the same as preferring or even using it.

Having a multilingual website in Europe is a must. Otherwise you switch off a huge part of your potential audience.

1. On average we use just our native language

Or even worse – in most countries it’s normal to really not know more than one (or two) languages.

Median number of languages a person speaks in the countries of the European Union

2. European nations are really small

Large proportion of your potential customers are from the neighbouring countries and most probably speak another language. Be inclusive, your market can’t possibly end with the borders of your tiny home country.

Populations of EU countries compared to USA (millions)

3. Millions around you don’t share your mother tongue

It would be easy to think that in Belgium, “Belgish” is spoken. But no, there is no such thing. Most of the people there speak either French of Flemish, a dialect of Dutch. But there are millions more, who speak the language they brought from home with them when they came to live and work in the heart of Europe. Address more than just the main language of your country.

5 million UK residents don't speak English as their mother tongue, 15 million in Germany

4. Going English-only is especially bad idea

Outside of UK and Ireland not so many can even speak it not to mention use it for meaningful usage of your website.

5. Never forget Google search results

More than 30% of the visitors on an average website come from search engines. Almost all the searches are done in the native language of the searcher. If your website has no content in their language, they will never even see your site in the results.


10 Online Marketing Tips for Car Dealers

Online marketing is an essential part of your automotive marketing, and the online world is constantly changing.

auto dealer marketing

You need to stay up to date, and connect with your customers over multiple modes of communication in order to be effective. We have some tips to help you out.

1. Connect Effectively with Online Leads

Many dealerships do not know how to reach out to online leads that visit their website or their social media pages. In order to draw in online visitors, place calls to action and signup forms on multiple pages of your website and on your Twitter and Facebook pages. Signup forms should allow visitors to subscribe to your marketing emails or text messages. Calls to action can encourage customers to download any inbound marketing resources that you offer, such as a car buying guide, or to click for a special promotional offer.

2. Keep your Social Media Pages Up to Date

Don’t try to be on every social media site online. Instead, focus on distributing quality content on a few of the most popular sites, such as Facebook. If your social media pages are stagnant, visitors will think your auto business is lazy or doesn’t care about its customers. An automated marketing solution can help you keep your pages current, without you having to manually update it all the time. Create posts and tweets in advance and schedule them to post over time.

3. Provide Useful Auto Dealership Marketing Resources

In order to truly engage your online customers, you need to provide valuable, relevant resources. These can include informative emails, text message coupons, auto maintenance tips, industry news, whitepapers and so on. These resources help to establish your auto dealership marketing as an automotive authority and create ongoing interest in your customers.

4. Use Automated Marketing to Personalize Marketing Campaigns

An automated marketing solution can be used to make your marketing campaigns highly personalized for each of your customers. A customer profile is created which stores customer preferences, vehicle history, purchase and auto maintenance history and individual customer dates. This information is used to send personalized promotional messages and maintenance reminders at exactly the right time. Personalized campaigns help to drive business back to your dealership and boost customer satisfaction.

5. Respond to Online Feedback Promptly

Just as you would quickly follow up with an in-person customer complaint or other feedback, you must also follow up with any online feedback. If a customer posts a comment on your Facebook or Twitter page, reply in a friendly and professional manner. Don’t ever start an argument with a customer on social media or it will come back to haunt you, and can even seriously damage your auto dealership reputation.

6. Gather Feedback Easily through Surveys

One of the most important aspects of any type of marketing, is to continually analyze your campaigns and see how they can be improved. Gaining useful customer feedback through online surveys is a simple way to learn what your customers want. Try to make survey questions simple and straightforward so your customers will be able to answer them clearly. Surveys can be sent out to customers after they visit the dealership in order to gauge their opinions about the service. Survey distribution and the gathering of information can be made much easier and more efficient with an automated survey tool.

7. Offer Special Marketing Promotions

Promotions and contests are very effective ways to engage customers. Many customers will go to your dealership over a competitor dealer if you have a special promotion going on. You can easily promote your contests, coupons and auto sales on your website and on your social media pages. Promotions are a great way to draw new and repeat business to your auto dealership.

8. Interact with Your Customers Online

This tactic is an excellent way of connecting with your customers, and works as a form of indirect marketing. Online communication, especially social media, is all about two way interaction between businesses and their customers. Pose questions, such as “What is your favorite song to listen to in the car?” Join conversations on Twitter by using hashtags (relevant keywords or phrases with the # sign in front of them) and contribute useful auto information. Communicating actively with your customers online shows that your auto dealership is active and engaged with its customers, and that you value your customers’ opinions.

9. Integrate Your Marketing Efforts

Your online marketing campaigns should go hand in hand in order to make the most of your budget and your efforts. Post signup forms on your website and social media pages that encourage visitors to subscribe to your email marketing newsletters and text message campaigns. Your email marketing newsletters should have social sharing and social following buttons that allow subscribers to easily share your content with a wider audience. Whenever you send out marketing messages, think about how you can integrate that message in with your other marketing efforts.

10. Create Videos

Videos are some of the most engaging things you can put on your website and social media pages. They are engaging, informative and interesting to your auto customers. Your auto videos can advertise your newest vehicles or special sales you are having, or they can be all about automotive tips and can provide your customers with information they can really use. Videos can also be easily shared so more people see them and you will bring in new business for your dealership.


How to Better Spend Your Social Media Marketing Budget [Infographic]

Social media is now a major part of most marketing budgets, and over the next five years social marketing spend is projected to increase by 90%. However, 86% of marketers still want to learn how to more accurately measure social ROI.

Finding the ROI is important, as marketers are often active on various social platforms. And with new networks and options being introduced every day, its important for marketers to know where they should be spending their time and effort to maximize return.

No matter your budget, a careful examination of your social media marketing budget is imperative.

Create a strategy, consider your budget, and then find how to manage your social media in a way that’s right for your company.

How to Better Spend Your Social Media Marketing Budget [Infographic] | Social Media Today


Basics of Online Reputation Management

As much time and effort that marketers put into improving visibility within search results, not all search engine ranking pages (SERPs) are good.

Increasing numbers of companies are experiencing the sharp edge of the sword from disgruntled employees or customers taking advantage of the amazingly simplistic process of publishing content to the web.

Because these references occur within the search results, many companies perceive search engine reputation management as a SEO problem. But displacing negative search results only treats the symptoms of the problem. It’s not a cure.

While other companies see tarnished brand issues as more of a public relations issue, it’s important to understand that sometimes it’s the PR firm that is at the root of the problem.

Negative search results are not limited to standard search engines either. Blog search engines, video sites like YouTube, social news such as Digg and news search can be affected as well.

Negative commentary can have a significant impact on brands that companies have spent years and immense resources to build. It pays to protect those brands where ever consumers can interact with them.

There are three fundamental concepts to master when dealing with search engine reputation management: Monitor, Optimize and Engage.

What to monitor?

  • Brands
  • Products
  • Company
  • Key Executives

Include modifiers: “sucks”, “scam”.

Types of content to monitor include: News Search, Social Media/Tags, Standard Search Results, Blogs and Forums.

Where to Monitor

  • Google Alerts – google.com/alerts
  • Yahoo Alerts – alerts.yahoo.com
  • RSS feed subscriptions to search results Technorati, Yahoo & Google News, BlogPulse
  • Social Media via tags: tagbulb.com, tagfetch.com, keotag.com

Optimizing is most effective as a preventive measure rather than a reactive measure. However, reactive optimization for displacing negative search results is what most online reputation management services focus on. It leaves the company chasing after the various dissenters and does not put the brand in a position of control.

Treat the Symptoms

Companies that want to protect their brand visibility on the web would do well to make optimizing their brand content a best practice. Optimizing all digital communications including: PR, marketing, SEO, HR, investor relations and related electronic content that is publicly available on the web as well as social media: text, images, audio, video will produce more branded content in the SERPs. Doing so doesn’t necessarily put the brand in control, but it’s a much better situation than scrambling after the fact.

Engage & Address the Cause

Once a negative mention has been identified, here are a few basic steps in dealing with it:

  • Research the situation – is there merit?
  • If not, provide the facts and ask for corrections
  • If yes, then offer to discuss
  • Be ready to respond with your own blog
  • Be honest, be transparent and LISTEN

Results can be a anything from a positive turn around to a loyal brand evangelist.

Implementing a proactive monitoring campaign provides insight into the kinds of content interactions audiences are having with your brand. When identified and qualified, situations need to be addressed directly. At the same time, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, and companies need to implement holistic brand content optimization as a best practice. The more branded content in the search results, the more diluted any negative brand content will be.