Using Social Media to build relations with Customers

Marketing on Social media has now been proved to be a profitable way to generate leads and sales for businesses. But some of the social media campaigns by businesses out there still think that blasting messages every now and then would help in getting them new customers.

Building a social media strategy to rope in prospective customers and retain existing ones should be one that is focused on sharing useful information like samples of your work  or business expertise, pictures of your workplace or store, posts related to your employee welfare activities, happy customer testimonials etc. Sharing information with customers creates an impression about your business of one that is positive and one that he would carry in his head for a very long time. Secondly prospective customers feel at ease doing business with a firm that is open minded and cares for its employees and customers.

Regular posts with offers, ongoing updates on projects, big deals won etc., helps in keeping your business fresh in the mind of your prospective customer nurturing them, and preparing a funnel, when they would finally sign the check for you.

This great infographic below shows you how social media is relevant in developing your love story to attract new clients that would culminate to a happy ending when you clinch the deal and keep them interested after the ‘honeymoon’.

social-part-of-social-media-a-love-story-infographic1

 

Blasting irrelevant messages involving ‘self-praise’ or posting pictures not related to your business just because it is trending on Twitter or passing daily discount deals won’t help. Social media is free, but takes a lot of time in understanding what your customer expects from you, and posting content and information that would interest them and push them in taking some action.

To know how you can leverage Social Media for your business, write to us at sales@radical.co.in or drop in your contact details here.

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Website Re-design of Confident Group website

We are pleased to announce that we added a new client - Confident Group - an Indian conglomerate headquartered in Bangalore. We revamped their website which was earlier a static HTML website to one developed using DNN Software (formerly DotNetNuke). The Confident Group has business interests in infrastructure, hospitality, aviation, entertainment, education and health care.  Confident Group is the largest owner and operator of hotels in Bangalore. The Confident Group website showcases the groups strengths with their business interests and projects spread across the Bangalore, Kerala & Dubai. The infrastructure pages of the website that show-case the Commercial and Residential projects were given special focus to include a landing page for every project that includes the project brief, images, project schedules and status and an enquiry form to enable visitors to request for a site visit from the company..Website Redesign

Key features of the website include the option to

The ability to browse all projects of Confident Group with an option to filter projects based on City, budget, commercial or residential property and finally by status of completion. The feature allows for quick access to all projects and assists the prospective buyer to decide which project he would like to invest in. Confident Group uses the Internet aggressively for their marketing activities with the extensive of use of Social media and Search engine advertising and marketing. The revamped website will be used as a vehicle to reach out to their existing and prospective customers by delivering current project information, company news and achievements, customer feedback among ongoing updates about Confident group’s other business divisions.

OLD Website:

Dated design, poorly designed navigation structure

No provision to search for projects

Even minor edits of the site required a trained designer

No visible project specific inquiry forms for customers fill in their queries

NEW Website:

Search for projects with filters on budget, city & completion status

Quick Inquiry forms from project forms

Back-end CMS to edit & update projects & information

Easy access to project information & project status photos

Clear navigation structure for their hospitality business with individual micro-sites

If you feel your website could use a make-over, do not hesitate to check with us. Drop in a mail at sales@radical.co.in drop in your contact details here.

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The future of Marketing on the Internet as seen by SEO industry experts

The future of Internet Marketing as seen by SEO Industry Experts

With the limited options for marketers in reaching their target audience, driving organic web traffic through Search Engine Optimization (SEO)still remains one of the most promising and economical solutions available. Mobile search is growing significantly with more than 46% of searchers using their mobiles to find products & services or just conduct research on any topic of their interest. So as there are more and more people using search engines today, what is the future of marketing online and the key things that online marketers have to do right?

Salesforce caught up a panel of experts including Rand Fishkin, CEO and Cofounder of Moz, Duane Forrester, Senior Product Manager Bing and Will Critchlow of Distilled Inc., and asked them 3 specific questions.

seo-industry-experts-future-internet-marketing

What is the future of SEO?

Rand Fishkin answers this by saying that SEO is just not a standalone activity anymore. It is a part of a connected inbound marketing system that includes organic search, social media, email, content etc. Marketers who use an SEO company that just focuses on traditional SEO without using these channels may not be able to produce the desired results ultimately.

Jim Yu, CEO of BrightEdge, one of the other expert panel members answered by stating that Mobile devices and tablets would play a significant role in the future with different keywords and different conversion metrics.

What is the relationship between Social Media and SEO?

This is the biggest riddle for marketing managers on whether they should dive into Social media or just wait and watch. And it was seen that nearly all the experts were unanimous in their opinion, stating that SEO and Social media today go hand in hand. Will Critchlow adds by saying “I believe we are only in the very earliest stages of seeing search benefits of social aside from it generating regular links. We should be thinking about social and search as channels that need a unified approach, because the best content should appeal to both channels and the cross-over benefits/economies of scale are potentially huge”

How has Content Marketing changed SEO?

The experts here are very clear that Marketers need to create content not just because they have to create content. They need to drive traffic that is targeted and relevant. So if people search for content that is interesting, the half the battle is won. Duane Forrester sums up saying “Stay focused on creating engaging content experiences and impress visitors and thoughtful usability, making their job easier”

SEO is no longer just about keywords, back links and ranking. It is that and a whole lot more, sign-up today for a free consultation on how you can ‘future-proof’ your internet marketing plan

SEO-Experts-Infographic
Source: SalesForce

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5 Reasons Why Small & Medium Businesses cannot avoid Social Media

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In the new age of ‘Social’, everyone knows that social is important. According to an IBM report, with the world spending 110 billion minutes on social networks and blog sites per month, this equates to 22 percent of all time spent online.

Few companies can afford to ignore this opportunity to gain competitive advantage. For many business owners, the question is not that you are missing a chance, but WHY are you missing the incredible social media opportunity boat. And benefits of having a social media presence aren’t just limited to web based businesses. Ignoring social media can result in more than one missed or lost opportunity including – extended reach, engagement, visibility, influence, competitor insight etc. But then, just how important is Social Media along with hundreds of other necessary tasks a business owner needs to perform.

Here are the new ‘Social truths’ that your business cannot afford to ignore anymore–

# Truth 1 Social Media is your New Marketing Opportunity

Social media networks are accessible 365*24*7. With little or no investment required (except time), it is the newest marketing opportunity you certainly do not want to miss out on.

With social media you can:

  • Easily interact with current customers/clients.
  • Connect to thousands of potential clients/customers (domestic/global)
  • Build your image and a professional brand.
  • Really know your target audience.
  • Develop a competitive edge.

****CASE STUDY****
OfficeYes.com, a New Delhi based e-commerce website that focuses on B2B office supplies recently launched a new range of school stationary items via social media. With a campaign that was run on Twitter under the hashtag #SchoolMemory, it was able to reach out to over 1.6 lakh users within a period of 20 days and increase their followership by 50%!

#Truth 2 Social Media Boosts Productivity

For many mid-sized businesses openness is the most troubling aspects of being social. But not when you realize that being open can actually improve bottom-lines. For those in customer service, teams are more effective and benefit from an ongoing exchange about problems and solutions in real-time from customers of Facebook or Twitter, instead of relying on older sources of information. Product development teams can quickly address issues or mistakes through complaints on social media forums. Geographically dispersed sales personal can exchange information and find information that helps him have a better meeting with a potential client. With people collaborating across borders, you can save money in ways you hadn’t even thought of.

****CASE STUDY****
Cuponnation.in is a website that provides e-commerce coupons in India. The company launches large scale business campaigns every two months. Earlier this year, after having interacted with thousands of customers on Facebook and Twitter, they were able to identify a big opportunity to promote coupons for the sports category and started a Fit India Movement campaign using platforms like YouTube, resulting in a growth in fan base by 25%.

#Truth 3 Social helps Leverage New Opportunities and Avert Damage

“Conventional marketing wisdom long held that a dis-satisfied customer tells ten people. But…in the new age of social media, he or she has the tools to tell ten million” says author and social consultant, Paul Gillin in his book.

Social media continues to expand and people discuss just about everything. However as messages and people get savvier, your company’s successes, failures and mistakes can all get amplified, displayed and shared online for the whole world to see. Only if you’re paying attention, can you reap real benefits or avert real damage.

****CASE STUDY****
Burgs, a restaurant that is famous for its Burgers chose to crowd source the new burger by inviting 30 renowned food bloggers to participate in a one of a kind chance to invent their own burgers. By involving the right influencers on the project, the restaurant was able to bring about sufficient credibility to their menu change while averting possible negative feedback, all with the help of social media.

pixabay.com

#Truth 4 Social Media Drives More Leads and Sale Transactions

Thousands of small and growing businesses have tailored their company’s social media strategy to drive sales.

Top line findings have shown that a vast majority of consumers (80 percent) say that social media posts in terms of “Shared or Favorited” Or Liked/Commented/Pinned on Facebook, Pinterest OR tweeted/retweeted on Twitter have inspired them to make a purchase. Moreover, more than four out of five people are also influenced into making purchase decisions by social media posts from friends

That means, if the approach is right, say, by posting relevant pictures of your products or providing special discounts and deals on social media, companies can generate vast momentum in driving traffic and increased sales transactions like no other

****CASE STUDY****
A classic example of is of Taxi Driver Devesh Mishra from Banaras who was able to bring in a great amount of his business, which includes a large number of international clientele, by optimizing his video on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Yw1azIAXWs

# Truth 5 Social Media can result in Increased Trustworthiness & Revenue

Engagement with social customers allows for direct two way communication. These consumers in turn have the reach to influence others, share opinions and in turn expand your customer base – driving for you new business and increased trustworthiness.

However, how you reap the benefits of a social media presence depends on your overall marketing strategy, consistency of your presence and messaging and the audience you have positioned yourself in front of.

****CASE STUDY****
London Market, a destination apparel store that gained popularity among art and antique lovers for its jewelry and fashion accessories made intelligent use of Facebook and a woman’s innate need to talk about their latest shopping experiences to create an online buzz.  Within a span of few weeks, their “Style Stalked Contest” and “Loyalty Program” and “posting of latest apparel pics” they were able to connect to over 4500 more fans which saw a direct growth in the number of people looking taking advantage of their card program.

To know how you can leverage Social Media for your business, write to us at sales@radical.co.in or drop in your contact details here.

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SEO for beginners, real people who want to rank on Google but dont know how!

I had a client calling in today asking if we can provide SEO services and next came the most obvious question on the costs, and enquiring if we can give them a quote in the next 1 hour. The lady was bold enough to admit that she was a total newbie in terms of SEO, and it was her boss who had asked her to find some SEO ‘magicians’ who could help them in ranking in Google. She told me that her boss was spending a big budget on marketing and wanted to explore the online marketing options as well. During the course of discussion, i found how gullible people really are and could be easily taken for a ride by unscrupulous agencies promising the moon and charging a bomb in return. I thought of sharing my discussion with this client as a post, if it can of any help. The client is into manufacturing of mattresses’, with a specialty product catering to people with back/spinal problems.

Quote:

The first step is in identifying keywords that are relevant to your keywords. We have to think like a customer and what they would look for when they use Google to search for products or services. In your case, we can identify ‘mattresses’ as a keyword, but this becomes a very high competitive keyword with a lot of bigger brands already in the market and getting a high rank on this kind of keyword on Google becomes difficult. You can compare this to a situation wherein you are trying up a new shop in a locality where there are already many established players with bigger marketing budgets. Coming back to your website, the next step is to choose a keyword that is more likely to be searched by your customer and in this case ‘mattresses for spinal problems’ or ‘mattresses for back pain’. Even though these keywords are quite competitive, ranking can be achieved for these keywords provided the website supports the effort with adequate information like specifications, charts, medical benefits, testimonials by customers etc.

Google will give priority to your page provided you address the requirement of customers who are using relevant keywords. Ideally it is required that you will need to have the information about your product on the home page along with information in the product page. In this case your website does not even have a dedicated page for the product. You have a generic page called ‘Home Comforts’, which has a list of all your products with some size dimensions. Ideally it would have been good to have a page dedicated to this product like ‘Spinal Support Mattress’ allowing Google to understand that you have a link on your site with a keyword, and further you have detailed information supporting the product thereby proving to Google that your website is indeed competent to get good ranking on its search engines. After all it is all about pleasing Google and note that Google rewards high quality website with high traffic and customers.

I hope this information will help you in your search engine ranking efforts for your company.

Unquote:

Cheers!

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Google stops Free Google Apps sign-ups

It was bound to happen, and it finally did. Google has finally pulled the plug on free sign-ups for its Google Apps for Business. It was a great service that was being offered for free for small businesses. Guess not a great time for Google to make this announcement considering that Christmas is around the corner. If you are looking for buiness Email, then be ready to shell out $50 per user per year. There are other alternatives if you don’t want all the frills that Google offer, but just Business email that is reliable and efficient with standard hosting companies such as ours..!

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Why Is Content Good for SEO – Check this infographic – Truth is out there!!

Content is king, we have always keep saying it. Keep your website updated with great content, Google and other search engines will send you a cheque (in terms of visitors & customers). Believe it or not, check this infographic on why well written content for your website, can do help you in SEO, generating website traffic and sales! Can’t write your own content, does’nt matter, get a content writer, but do it.

 

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Email marketing and SEO – a nice combination to generate leads and customers (Part 1/2)

Email marketing has been around for some time now, and has proved itself beyond doubt, when it comes to building customer relations and generating new leads. Search engine optimisation as we know can generate a targeted audience for your website, who may visit your site, but may just click around and ultimately leave without giving you as much as a chance to know more about  them. If we can combine email marketing with SEO, it can possibly lead to building long-term relations with your visitors who may have come to your website, maybe with no buying decisions, but to identify possible companies from whom they would like to deal with in the future.

Consider this – your prospective target audience surfing the internet, looking for the’ real’ stuff in terms of information, literature, and ‘guru’ knowledge, at the same time avoiding sites that only have  marketing messages and sales talk. They want to hear from companies who can give them information that is new and ‘breaking’ in their respective fields. They want companies which can satisfy their quest for knowledge and have the right answers to their questions.

Coming down to ways in which you can attract that audience, your website content can be optimised with keywords and phrases that do not include any ‘business-like’ keywords like ‘buy my product’ or ‘product available here’. Instead your keywords and phrases can be ‘how to use xyz techniques’ or ‘technical whitepapers for download’ etc. The keywords are more aligned towards searches that are targeting people researching information in the specified field, with no current intention to buy.  (To be continued)

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Email marketing and SEO – a nice combination to generate leads and customers (Part 2/2)

This is the second part of our earlier post on Email Marketing and SEO. Read the first part here

 

So if he is not going to buy, then why bother to target such visitors is what you may ask! The catch lies in the fact that customers never really buy a product unless they believe in the product, brand or company.  One of these factors definitely makes an impact in the buying decision. So if a business does not have a brand name or a ‘hot-selling product, then how does he get the prospect to buy from him somewhere down the line.

Business owners can think of generating newsletter content that dishes out relevant articles, whitepapers, technical videos and graphs that can interest a visitor to hit the newsletter signup button. A sample newsletter can be provided as bait, so that he can preview before signing up. Thereafter, the mailer sent out should be a pure information oriented mailer with no straight forward marketing messages. A subtle way to reach out to your prospects would be to maybe include some of your customer case studies with videos, which would put your product/service in front without really making him think that you are hard selling him something. As this strategy evolves over a period of time, and you make efforts to increase your subscriber list, you can also ensure that your content becomes more appealing, powerful and something of immense value to your audience.

The end result is your target audience is a ready and target market where you can roll out your product demos, collect feedback, create subtle marketing campaigns, to this audience which readily believes in the company and its products & services. This audience would like to hear more about your company and its products. And would not hesitate to promote your company with word-of-mouth marketing. All this will ultimately lead to that one thing which every business owner wants – more sales and satisfied customers. So next time if you are planning on a SEO campaign, try not to make it with the intention to generate sales, but to generate long time prospects by having them hooked on to a email campaign, giving away relevant and useful information ultimately having them become paying customers to just prospects.

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Google rewards Websites with original content but copy cats and spam websites punished.

For the past 4 or 5 months, there much being written on the rise of the number of SPAM sites showing up in Google search results. SPAM sites for the uninitiated – are sites that have no useful content relevant to the search results and may just contain links to advertisements or malware (trojan) websites. In fact there was recent article in New York Times, which showed even how a major retail chain in the US could push up traffic by employing black hat search engine optimisation techniques. What the retail giant did was to buy links on thousands of other websites which had little or no connection to the fashion, retail industry. By having links on other websites pointing to different pages/products in their site, searches for dresses, suitcases, ladies handbags was getting them top listing in Google even beating out websites of product manufacturers which that retail chain was actually selling!

Google was getting a lot of bad publicity in the search industry blogs and forums. Google had declared war on spam sites that were employing banned methods to drive their traffic, and even introduced a chrome browser extension that allows users to block unwanted sites from appearing in their search results. The extension was to helps users spot and block low-quality spam content that they want to avoid. The sites will not show up in search results, though users can see blocked sites at any time and manage them. This data collected from users was one of the dozens of other sources that Google was using to fight spam.

The big change in the Google algorithms that power the website ranking systems came on the 25th of February 2011. This change was supposed to impact almost 11.8 % of the search queries, wherein spam sites, sites with low or no value, sites that have copied content, would be literally pushed out of the ranking system or ‘demoted’ as some people would like to call it.

Going forward in 2011, this should be an eye-opener for website owners and businesses that don’t bother to write original content, but depend on copied content. This important update by Google should warn businesses that need Search optimisation and ranking services about the importance of using ‘white-hat’ or genuine SEO techniques and ensure that they hire SEO consultants who believe in ethics and good business practises.

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Google cuts down number of free users on Standard edition of Google Apps

Google apps is a service provided by Google targeted at businesses who are using free email services like Hotmail, Yahoo, and are keen to shift to using business email along with applications to communicate & collaborate. Google apps was launched with a free edition, called ‘Standard’, with businesses having up to 100 users eligible for the free service. It was an immediate success, with many small and large companies readily signing up for the service. Google later cut down the number of free accounts from 100 to 50. The paid version ‘Google apps for business’ costs about $50 or about Rs.2500 per user, which is quite a considerable sum for companies with 25 or more employees. As of April 27th, Google announced that it would further slash the number of free accounts to 10. This new limit comes into effect from May 10th 2011. Google has also announced that existing customers with more than 50 accounts won’t be affected, but it remains to be seen, for how long.
Till then any company with less than 50 users, who is looking for free business email with word processing, spreadsheets & other features can register before the 10th of May from when the new limits come into effect. But it sure looks like a nice marketing ploy, by Google. By providing an extended deadline, it sure can attract new businesses with less than 50 users, who would be happy to use the free services. But what happens if Google all together scraps the standard edition of Apps in the future, and businesses with 1 or 50 users have to pay for continued use of services! Windfall for one, heartburn for others!

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Free Website for Small Businesses by Google…Hmm …should you take the jump or not..

There is a lot of Buzz and news all over the Internet about Google’s initiative to help small businesses in India by offering  freebies like a domain name, website and hosting..all for freeeeee..

There are few catches – here are some of them – taken from their ‘FAQ‘ pages

> Your free domain can only be a ‘.IN’ domain. Wonder why. Is it because they only cost something like 80 bucks (rupees), as compared to a .COM that costs nearly Rs.400

> You cannot get this offer for an existing website, that you may already have -no free hosting for existing website! Cry

> You cannot take your ‘FREE’ .IN domain and host it elsewhere for the first year atleast – stuck with the hosting company for the first year!

> Personalised Customer service – really wonder how people feel about talking to agents about their website on a ‘1-800′

Press ‘1’ for design, ‘2’ for ‘how to check email’… ’50’ for ‘how to view website statistics’ !!

Self-service in India – may work in ‘darshini’ hotels and take-away restaurants, but websites – i am not too sure!

A website after all today is not about just having one, and raving about it. But in ensuring that it has great content, a creative design & SEO to help you get sales enquiries. A real world web designer or design company can offer the kind of personalised service required for this industry, to ensure that a business can get online and stay online for 12 months or 12 years – don’t matter!

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