Microsoft and Verizon Media first announced their enhanced search partnership in January 2019 for search marketers to have a global platform to run search advertising campaigns. On the 25 June 2019, both Microsoft and Verizon Media officially confirmed the search partnership expansion across Australia and New Zealand. Now both Yahoo and AOL campaigns are exclusively serviced by Microsoft Advertising.
As a Microsoft Advertising Elite Channel Partner, ReachLocal is excited to hear about this partnership. It will enhance and add more reach to search advertising campaigns which ReachLocal are running for our clients. They are likely to see an increase in the volume of high-quality clicks and conversions, specifically for clients targeting Australia and New Zealand.
By consistently optimising search campaigns, our conversion-based technology takes advantage of this expansion by monitoring budgets to capture the potential increase in click volume. In order to connect to the right audience with the right message, ReachLocal’s technology adds Microsoft Artificial Intelligence inputs to its own capabilities.
By the end of 2019, marketers in some regions will have a single global platform to create search advertising campaigns that will reach audiences across the Bing, Yahoo and AOL networks where relevant.
At ReachLocal, we are confident that the partnership between Microsoft and Verizon Media will bring in more advertising possibilities and opportunities for our clients across the ANZ market.
In December 2018, we predicted that video marketing would be the most prominent trend of 2019, and we were right. As of this year, 87% of businesses have used video as a marketing tool. Video today has a significant impact on consumers’ choices and buying decisions, so it’s essential for marketers to understand the most valuable ways to apply it.
Along with creating eye-catching Stories, we highly recommend marketers and brands put aside budget to invest in high-quality Instagram Story Ads. The best way to achieve a successful Story Ad is by having minimal text, attractive visuals (static image or video, depending on your budget) along with super funky music or voice overs that guarantee you’ll capture a viewers’ attention immediately.
The main objectives are:
Build brand awareness by reaching users who are likely to be interested in your products
Get in front of maximum number of users
Drive conversions by adding CTA links such as ‘Swipe Up’ that will take users directly to your landing page
Instagram TV (aka IGTV)
Instagram TV launched in June 2018, specifically designed to produce longer videos up to ten-minutes in duration. At present, this trend is not as popular as Live Videos or Stories, but more and more brands are adopting IGTV as a marketing tactic, like us. IGTV helps build a niche audience with exclusive content. For example, you can produce series of videos that speak about your service and products to help you build brand credibility.
Since 2018, we have seen a rapid growth in video consumption on LinkedIn, as marketers discover its potential n B2B marketing. LinkedIn presents a great opportunity to promote B2B products or services through video marketing content directly to the businesses you want to interact with. It’s ideally used as ‘how-to’ or product demonstration content, or to answer FAQs or share details of an upcoming product launch. The key for getting the most engagement on LinkedIn is to upload your video directly on the platform. Native videos auto-play in the feed, and are more likely succeed in grabbing an audiences’ attention..
Videos on Landing Pages
Videos should be used on landing pages, especially if it speaks about your product or service. Used here, videos not only keep users on your website longer, they also give your SEO a boost, and make it 53% more likely you’ll show up on page one of the search engine results. More and more e-commerce sites have started including product videos, in response to data indicating that 72% of people prefer video over text when learning about a new product or service.
Video marketing is soaring this year as more and more consumers tune in to watch videos from their favourite brands. With so many emerging video advertising channels, if your business is looking to invest in video marketing, now is the time. ReachLocal offer a range of video marketing solutions to drive leads for your business, including Social Media Advertising, YouTube Advertising and customised solutions. Get in touch to discuss a solution that is right for your business.
If you have a web form on your website, then it’s likely you have come across spam and junk responses – unfortunately it is inevitable. Not only is it frustrating, but web form spam can also affect your ranking in SERPs.
Before we dive into the main cause of web form spam, let’s first understand that this spam is not caused by your site’s functionality, or your online marketing campaigns.
What is a web form spam?
It’s a method of spamming a website’s submission form with unwanted information, such as links to an offer, advertisements and phishing.
Form spammers’ primary goal is to hijack the form and use it to their advantage through comments and guestbooks. They are either using it to promote their own business or they use them for malicious purposes.
Some of these ways include:
Automated bot programs which are created by hackers that find web forms, fill them out with text, spam links and promotional content and submit the form.
Human spammers that manually abuse web forms. They are even more difficult to block as they are able to cross security measures.
What can you do to prevent web form spam?
The best way to protect against web form spam is by making it difficult for these auto bots to fill in the form. Here are the three techniques we think could help prevent spammers without hindering your genuine human users.
Captcha and ReCaptcha
Remember the time when you had to fill up distorted letters and numbers before hitting the submit button? Yes, that would have been the most popular ways of blocking spam. Fun fact – the full form of CAPTCHA is ‘Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart’. It is built with the purpose of identifying human vs bots. With time, the bots have advanced at deciphering words, and therefore captchas make it even harder to read. However, this advantage can hinder your user experience. But then there is reCaptcha from Google which is a more simplified solution, causing minimal impact on user experience and yet guards your form against bots. CAPTCHA – the most popular way of blocking web form spam. Fun fact: CAPTCHA stands for ‘Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart’. It is built with the purpose of identifying human vs bots. Bots have become better at deciphering words, so CAPTCHAs make it harder to read. However, this can hinder the experience of genuine users. reCaptcha from Google is a simplified solution, which causes a minimal negative impact on user experience whilst guarding your form against bots.
2. Ask Random Questions
Ask a question that only a human can answer. This way a bot won’t have any idea what to fill in, making it easy for you to filter out submissions with an incorrect answer. “What is 2+2?” is an easy question for humans, but not for these bots. This is an efficient way to block bot access to your web form.
3. Honey Pot – It’s a Trap
Honey Pot is a method that adds an extra field in your form that is invisible to customers but only seen by spam bots, as they read the HTML code. The bots will attack the HTML while leaving the real forms. This tells the form that the submitter is not human, and the submission will be blocked.
Honey Pot provides the following security mechanisms:
If a value has been entered in the hidden field when the form is submitted, then this indicates that the form was completed by a spambot and the submission is blocked.
If the form is submitted before a specified time has elapsed (five seconds by default), it is assumed that this is too short a time for a human to have completed the form, and the submission is blocked. You can specify the time length.
Besides these techniques, there are several other plugins and tools you can use to help combat nasty spam bots. If you have any other recommendations or advice of your own, then please share in the comments. (Not you, spammers!)
A solid marketing strategy is imperative for any business wanting to make an impact in the marketplace. With a strategic approach, your business can both win new customers and keep existing ones coming back. With such a variety of marketing tactics available, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed with where to start. Here are four pillars for building a solid foundation for your marketing strategy, which you can build upon with additional tactics in time.
Having a strong online presence is crucial for all businesses. Consumers are most likely to go to your website to seek information – it’s your frontline online asset where you will drive all your traffic.
A great website will have a value proposition statement which tells a story to visiting consumers about what you offer as a brand, what you do and why you are best at it. This should be prominently communicated as soon as a consumer lands on your home page. If you are not sure of how your message is appearing to consumers, then you can consider A/B testing which allows you to test different designs and layouts to find which works best.
You also want to create a website that is clean and easy to navigate, providing friendly user experience. Your contact information should be displayed neatly on each page, which prompts consumers with that next step to contact you, every time they load a page.
In March last year, Google announced their next algorithm change would rank mobile-friendly websites higher than non-responsive or desktop-only versions. Alongside having a strong website, you must ensure your website is mobile-responsive. By the end of 2019, 79% of all web traffic will come from mobile phones so you need to be sure your website loads quickly. You can easily check your this through Google PageSpeed. To learn more about the advantages of a mobile-friendly website, read our post on the benefits of revamping your website.
Now you have a well-designed, responsive website; how do you drive consumers there? By making your business visible in other organic marketing channels. The best way to achieve this is by being present on Google. You need to ensure that you are showing up in organic search results through the power of SEO, and by having a profile on Google My Business.
In addition to search engines, your business needs to be visible on social media channels and relevant review sites for your industry. If you don’t exist on sites like Facebook or Yelp, then now is the time to create a business profile, page or listing. These pages will also allow you to keep your information such as opening hours, address, and phone number, up to date.
It’s equally important to invest in paid search advertising in order to get the most out of your marketing efforts. Why? Because paid ads directly target consumers that are already searching for a business like yours. And since the paid ads sit at the top of the search engine results page, consumers will see an ad before the organic results.
Even in 2019, email marketing is one of the most effective forms of online marketing tactic, maintaining its historically high ROI. It is best used to cultivate relationships with potential customers, as well as keeping current and past customers informed and updated on your brand and offering. As a more direct form of marketing, it is often more efficient, and is a proven way to foster loyal customers.
There’s a lot you can do to build a strong foundation for your marketing strategy. For help getting started, call ReachLocal and speak to one of our experts: 1300 655 312 (Australia) | 0800 466 585 (New Zealand).
In this digital era, consumers are heavily dependent on what others are saying about your business to help them make wise and informed decisions when making purchases. Online reviews provide consumers with an easy way to publish their personal experiences, good or bad. This helps to share their unbiased experience with others looking to buy or engage in similar service.
In this blog, we will break down the important aspects of online reviews and how they impact SEO.
Search Engines Love Consumers
Search engines such as Google and Bing strive to keep up with consumer trends, and how and what people are searching for, all while providing authentic and trustworthy information. Quality backlinks are an important component for SEO, as they help search engines have more trust in your website. And so, search engines will favour businesses and brands with good reviews coming from a variety of relevant review sites.
If your business is getting positive feedback, then search engines send a signal to consumers looking up information for businesses like yours. Google uses online reviews to gauge whether or not your brand is meeting the needs of consumers. This is where online reviews play a pivotal role in helping raise businesses with a good rating in search results.
More Website Traffic
Reviews make your business website more attractive in search results, which then leads to more website traffic. Here’s a recent experience – About a week ago I signed up for adult swimming lessons (yes, I am a hopeless swimmer). The first thing I did was search for adult swimming lessons on Google. Instantly, my eyes were drawn toward schools with 4+ star ratings or reviews.
I then narrowed down my options to schools with the highest number of positive reviews, and from there I went on to their website to find more information such as class times, cost, and of course, see the images for my reference. Listings with top results from reviews are a powerful way to funnel consumers to your website.
Online reviews that contain keywords associated with your business are also a determining factor for SEO. The more content search engines can read, the more it understands your business. Customers unintentionally describe your products and services with ‘keywords’ to Google, and those reviews add SEO value to your business.
This means, your focus isn’t just to get more positive online reviews, but also focus on the keywords to help boost your local SEO.
Get More Online Reviews
The most common and simplest way to get more reviews is by simply asking your customers to write you one. If your product and service offering has been of quality experience, then most times they will be happy to leave a review. For more tips, read our blog on 5 Ways to Get More Online Reviews.
Recently, Microsoft named ReachLocal ANZ as one of a select group of top performing partners to act as trusted advisors to their growing customer base for search advertising opportunities with the Bing Network. We take immense pride in retaining this title for three consecutive years. We also won the Bing Rising Star Partner of the Year award in 2017 and the Bing APAC Channel Partner of the Year award in 2018. In addition, we were excited to learn just this week that we are a finalist for the category ‘Channel Partner of the year APAC’ at the Global Bing Partner Awards to be held in Seattle in late April 2019.
As an Elite Partner to Bing Ads, the world’s number two search advertising provider, ReachLocal will continue to enhance the expertise and service provided to clients through exclusive access to training, marketing and technology development.
“We are delighted to see ReachLocal continue to grow with us and retain their Bing Elite Partner Program status in 2019 and are excited to see what we can achieve as partners for the remainder of the year and beyond,” said Paul Korber, AUNZ Partner Development Director for Microsoft Bing Australia.
At ReachLocal, we successfully offer Search Engine Marketing to more than 1,500 customers. Almost all of our customers benefit from the power of Bing ads within their PPC campaigns.
ReachLocal has successfully been offering choice and increased levels of ROI to our search advertising clients thanks to our partnership with Bing. Across APAC in 2018, ReachLocal used Bing in 2,309 campaigns for 17,314 cycles (a cycle is approximately 30 days). Through this, we generated 35,805,905 unique impressions for our clients, driving approximately 955,156 clicks and nearly 32,161 calls. We look forward to bringing in more business opportunity for both our clients in the market.
ReachLocal looks forward to expanding their search advertising offering with Bing Ads as it continues to grow globally, with over one third PC search market share in the US (34%), 21% in the United Kingdom and Germany, 16% in France and 15% in Australia through the Bing network.(*data source comScore qSearch, Sept 2018)
For more details about the Bing Partner Program, please visit here.
By ReachLocal ANZ Digital Marketing Consultant, Garry Mautner.
How many times have I heard this?
“No, it’s okay. All of our business comes through word-of-mouth and referrals. We don’t need any help with online marketing, thanks.”
Let’s take a step back and think about this a bit more. Is there anything we do these days, where we don’t read online reviews?
You’re planning a birthday surprise for your significant other. You know you’re under pressure to do better than last year, because that sad excuse of a hotel (in the middle of the sticks, with a dodgy set-menu dinner) just won’t do this time around. It needs to be good! Let’s look at a couple of scenarios.
They’ve been dropping hints about a new smartwatch, but you’re not sure which one to get . So you do some reading, make some comparisons, and check out the reviews on Google and eBay.
That romantic getaway deal you’ve found online looks impressive, but you’re not sure if it’s too good to be true. So you do some reading, make some comparisons and check out the reviews on Facebook and TripAdvisor.
The fact is, more than 90% of us rely on online reviews when making that crucial buying decision. Even more incredible, is the fact that we trust online reviews more than word-of-mouth reviews from friends, family or colleagues.
Reviews for your business
We all use research and reviews in our day-to-day lives, so why doesn’t the same logic apply to business?
It’s essential that every single business considers how they appearonline, no matter their industry, and include this as part of their overall digital strategy. 10 years ago, every business needed a website. 5 years ago, it had to be mobile-friendly. Today, it’s all about how you engage and informyour customer online.
Have you ever Googled your own business to look at how and where you appear? Remember, it’s not just about what you’re saying to your audience on your own site and profiles, but also what your audience is sayingabout you. Consider your image; how your business is being positioned against the competition, and your customers experience with your brand throughouttheir buying journey online.
Search engine ranking
You need to impress robots as well as humans. As we all know, Google, Bing & Yahoo all have complex algorithms that look at different factors to determine where your business is ranked. How often your business is reviewed and mentioned online has a massive influence on this.
As technology gets smarter themore expectant your audience becomes, which means you have to work that little bit smarter to help customers choose you.
Many of the businesses I meet are initially reluctant to embrace this reality, for fear of the unknown. They also feel it leaves them vulnerable to negative reviews, and Ican understand why.
However, if you’re out for dinner, and you overhear a customer saying they’d had a bad experience with your business, you’d be keen to resolve it for them. If a customer leaves a heated message on your answer phone, you’d call them back to sort it out.
At the end of the day, you can’t really control what people say about you. But how you reactto the comments and reviews you receive, can carry far more credibility than having 100% 5-star reviews. Think about it: if you’re looking at hotels on TripAdvisor, do you choose the one that has “★★★★★ from 5 reviews”, or the one that has ” ★★★★✰ from 3,257 reviews”?
Every good business sets out to offer the best product or service they can, so that people recommend them. That’s why the best businesses get a lot of work through word-of-mouth, or referrals.
These days through word-of-mouth is online. It’s all about word-of-mouse.
How to get more online reviews
Customers always ask, “How do I get more reviews?” Simple, just ask for them. It might seem a little daunting at first, but the more you ask, the more comfortable it becomes, and the more reviews you’ll get.
Make it as straightforward as possible. No one wants to have to go through finding your profile, searching for the right button or hunting for your email address. Put a link to your listing in your email signature. Why not even send your customer a link in a follow-up email? Then you can personalise it to them, making them feel super-valued, and even offer a thank you for their trouble!
Social media reviews
68% of consumers look to social media for reviews. So why not reach out to your followers and ask them for some honest feedback? If some are less positive than others, look at this as an opportunity to improve, and resolve for a happy customer. Having a range of reviews simply gives more credibility to your best reviews!
Make sure you respond
Above all else, respond to your customers online. At the end of the day, if someone has taken time out of their day to leave some feedback, there’s no better way to thank them than by responding directly. The higher your engagement, the more confidence customers have that they’re being heard, and the better their opinion of your business will be.
You have heard of digital marketing consultants (DMC), but not too sure of what they really do. You are not alone. Before working in digital marketing, I was also clueless.
They have many different roles and responsibilities and considered as a jack of all trades. Ideally, they are responsible to get the business visible online and help attract new customers.
With more and more businesses looking for effective digital marketing, the need for skilled and experienced DMCs are always in demand.
To learn more about them, we decided to interview one of our Sydney based Digital Marketing Consultants, Ivan Rios, who will tell us everything that you should know.
Hi Ivan, thanks for doing this interview. Could you tell us, what attracted you to Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing consultants are involved in advising businesses on the best methods to reach their potential customers and with my background in sales, I knew I would be a right fit and was highly motivated to grow my career in online marketing. I also wanted to know what Google was all about.
Tell us a little bit about how you came to work for ReachLocal?
I had just returned from six months of traveling and was looking for a job in digital marketing. It was the most up and coming industry, and I wanted to learn more about the future of online advertising. I started my journey with ReachLocal 7 years ago, as an Internet Marketing Consultant. Since then I have seen digital landscape evolve. You never stop learning!
What does a ‘usual day’ (9 to 5) look like for you?
Firstly, no two days are the same for a DMC. Usually, my day would start with creating an agenda of all the meetings for the day. I usually go to current clients’ site, discuss their overall campaign performance, which would then get followed by scheduling meetings with new prospects and constantly be looking out for new account opportunities. Basically, I am always on the move.
How do you know which solution would work the best for each business?
Well, first thing first, each client’s needs and goals are different and unique to each business. You really need to do your homework and find out that gap that can help expand their business. Work together with your client to identify their needs. Not all solutions are for every business. Remember we are here to HELP the client with a problem not to SELL them a problem.
What keeps you going every day?
There are a lot of things, but to name a few, I truly enjoy helping businesses grow and make a significant difference.
You work with a number of clients. How do you manage your time to ensure the best service for each of them?
Well, to be honest, you must be organised and be excellent with time management to ensure you are giving ongoing service and support to all your clients. I work closely with my support team, ensuring we are servicing and empowering each client as much as we can.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in digital marketing?
Educate yourself! If you have never worked in the industry, then read about it, do online courses, see Digital Garage by Google. Familiarise yourself with digital marketing solutions that are out there, for e.g. Google Ads, SEO, Facebook Ads & More. Get familiar with the digital marketing jargon. Stay confident!
There are great benefits available to SMBs from running a display advertising campaign. Not only do display ads attract traffic, but they also turn website visitors into paid customers. How can you achieve this? Effective display advertising consists of a few elements that help perform an advertising campaign better.
An Eye-Catching Landing Page
A display ad is an invitation for a potential customer to visit your website, which then creates the first impression about what you offer as a business. If your landing page doesn’t provide that valuable experience, then the visitor will immediately lose interest. For an optimum experience, your landing pages need to make a strong visual and instant information connection, which will give visitors a reason to stay on the page and learn more. For example, if your ad offers a free guide for “creating the best recipe”, then this information should be easily accessible to instantly retain their interest.
Target the Right Audience
With display advertising, optimisation technology intelligently finds your potential consumers based on their location and online behaviour. The technology will serve your ad to the right audience at right time. It also lets you target consumers that may not know about your business or offerings, giving an advertiser more flexibility to focus on winning their attention and purchases.
Stand Out Banner Ads
Visual branding is an area of display advertising that gives businesses a valuable opportunity. The basic elements that your branding would require are a logo, fonts and colours that represent your business. Your brand image is important as this leaves an impression on your customers, building public recognition of what you offer as a business. The most effective way to create visual branding that will resonate with clients is by using an appealing design with as little text as possible, using attractive images, and keeping it uncluttered. In short, it should catch their attention, prompting them to act.
An Attention-Grabbing Call to Action (CTA)
A clear call to action is a must in your ad. Creating an urge for website visitors to take an action is a step toward conversion. Three things to remember when adding CTA to your display advertising:
Give your audience something to takeaway, for example: “Sign up for a free trial”, “Get your free eBook today” or “Get a free consultation”.
Add visual design that points the viewer to the information that will nudge them to act. Through the use of bold fonts, less text and pop colours they are encouraged to act, while ensuring the design aligns visually with your brand.
Provide easy access for viewers to click a button that says, “Yes, I want a Free eBook!” or “Buy Now!”
Mobile phones are like tracking devices, using GPS, Wi-Fi and radio frequency identification to give their location. Geofencing is a location-based mobile service that allows businesses to push notifications to smartphone users within a specified geographical area. It targets consumers in distinct strategic locations and tracks them when they walk into your location.
Geographic ‘fencing’can be set around the perimeter of your business or can be as broad as a 9km radius. When a consumer with a smartphone enters this virtual fence, the technology will directly engage potential customers in that area with your marketing through message alerts, mobile ads or in mobile apps.
Geofencing is helpful for businesses from a wide range of industries for several reasons. It brings in customers by sending ads, sales and promotions straight to smartphone users within the area of your business.
It’s an effective way to promote your service or products by offering special discounts. For example, if you find your restaurant is slower during weekday lunchtimes, then you can target nearby office workers with special lunch offers. You will only engage the most relevant customers that are likely to take action or redeem a coupon.
Geofencing is a step toward fully understanding the value of display advertising for SMBs. It’s a mobile-focused strategy that lets you target consumers at a hyperlocal level, to increase brand awareness. Local businesses are typically less well-known by consumers than big brand names, and this is why Geofencing is particularly useful to help grow your business.
Get in touch with us to learn more about Targeted Display and Geofence, and how it can benefit your business.