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Marketing Tips for F&B Businesses

Marketing Tips for F&B Businesses

The world of marketing has grown leaps and bounds today from where it was just a decade ago. Thanks to the birth of social media, marketing has become easier than ever — and with the existence of digital marketing as the great equalizer, every business now has a level playing field and equal opportunity to be discovered. All they need to do is be smart about how and where to market their products.

Among the businesses that thrive from digital marketing, the food and beverage (F&B) business are one of which that benefits the most. Since F&B is a visual business online, a big chunk of a successful F&B marketing plan relies on content and design. Let’s take a look at how you can make your marketing plan an effective one for your business:

1. Take great photos!

If you haven’t already noticed, half of a food product’s marketing legwork is done by its captivating, drool-worthy images. Almost nobody would care to read for more information if the images used are not attention-grabbing. Food pictures look more tantalizing with warmer, orange-toned lighting (research shows that orange-coloured things make you hungry!) and it also helps to take pictures that are high-resolution and crisp.

Having said that, in the long run, it pays to invest in a good quality camera and perhaps even take a food photography course to further sharpen your skill for the trade.

2. Post regular updates

If you have a website for your business, posting regular updates on your blog is a surefire way to get better hits on the search engine and garner more following. Your posts don’t have to be written as obvious sales pitches, but you can always create relevant content that is currently in trend and (stealthily) give your product a cameo appearance in them. For instance, if you sell poke bowls and it’s currently the season for beach vacations, you can create a blog post about sticking to a bikini body meal plan using your very own poke bowl menu!

Remember to always keep up to date with the current happenings. You can even create quirky posts that are inspired by the trending memes or news highlights.


3. Deliver far and wide

Distribution-wise, that is. Instead of just serving your customers at your own premises, which may have limited dine-in capacity, you should opt to also utilize food delivery services like Food Panda and Grab Food. As customers nowadays are placing more emphasis on convenience, hopping on the food delivery bandwagon is more likely going to help to spread the word around on your establishment.

Sometimes, the reason your food products remain undiscovered is not because of its quality, but more due to the location. Offering food delivery options allow your products to reach out to customers living further beyond the area of your premise — some of whom may not even get the chance to stumble upon your business if it has not been for food delivery services.

4. Promote reviews and user-generated content

Like with any product, reviews are an important part of marketing, especially for new products that have yet to gain public trust and recognition. To encourage your customers to write reviews on TripAdvisor, Google My Business, and on your Facebook page, you can give a special offer such as a discount on their next spending or even a simple freebie (bookmark, pen, recyclable bag, etc.) with your logo printed on it, which also works well as a mini ambassador for your business.

You can also approach social media influencers and get them to do a review of your business. Try getting a mix of macro and micro-influencers who are more likely to hit your target audience more evenly.

5. Print eye-catching X-banners and roll-ups

Just because digital marketing is trending today doesn’t mean that you should do away with traditional marketing Far from it! In fact, effective marketing still requires an amalgamation of digital and traditional approaches. Perhaps, you no longer have to print hundreds of fliers to distribute (you can send e-fliers instead!), but still, need to have an eye-catching and easily noticeable banner in front of your premise that draws attention to its whereabouts.

Invest in good-quality banners that you can use for a year or more and not need updating. A banner only serves to draw attention to your business and be your business calling card to potential customers. Other seasonal or frequently-changing information, such as menu changes and offers can be updated on your website or your social media accounts.

 

Tips for Email Marketing That Works

Tips for Email Marketing That Works

Does email marketing still work? A lot of business owners are doubting if customers even open their emails. Are the emails sent read or are they being marked as spam? Even worse, maybe the customers are unsubscribing instead. Don’t give up just yet! When done right, email marketing works and could generate more sales.


1. Know Your Target Audience

You want to be friends with your audience in this case. Hence, you have to know what their interests are and what will pique their interest. It will be easy to send out one email blast to everyone in your subscriber list but think about it, even as friends, not all your friends share the same interests. 

Don’t make the rookie mistake of sending one same email to all your subscribers. 

So how do you really go about sending the right message? What do you do to make sure your email content is relevant enough? How do you ensure your email isn’t ignored?

Have an email list segmentation where you can divide your email list into smaller and more targeted sub-groups. How do you segment your email list? It can be divided into data such as age, demographic, location, gender, behavior and many more. 

Highly targeted campaigns work and saw better average open rates, click-through rates, and higher average revenue per recipient. And, average unsubscribes were lower too!

 

2. Be Consistent, Not Spamming

How do you send emails to your subscribers consistently without looking spammy and desperate? First of all, when your subscribers willing joined your subscription emails, it means that they are interested to be kept in the loop of what’s happening. So do not feel obligated to keep those emails coming because it increases the chance of your sales!

Once you have a relationship with your audience, it is easier for you to define what emails to send to which audience. Remember, by subscribing to your emails or newsletters, they are agreeing to receive updates from you. Sending consistent emails to your subscribers is an act of nurturing a relationship with your customers and audience.

 

3. Keep Your Emails Out Of Their Spam Folders

When your audience or clients have opted to receive emails from you, your emails will not go to spam automatically. However, let’s play safe and avoid any circumstances that can put your email to the SPAM or JUNK folders. Don’t use UPPERCASE for your whole email or even the subject title. We know you’d like to get your point across but avoid using too many exclamation marks as well.

According to MailChimp, here are a few key pointers of the CAN-SPAM law:

  • Never use deceptive headers, From names, reply-to addresses, or subject lines.
  • Always provide an unsubscribe link.
  • The unsubscribe link must work for at least 30 days after sending.
  • You must include your physical mailing address.

 

4. Keep “Em Short And Straight To The Point

You are sending an email, not a newspaper article. Keep your emails short and simple but also get straight to the point. Nobody has the time to read a lengthy email from an online store. If they’d want to read something lengthy, they’d be reading the text message sent from a very angry significant-other explaining why “they find it funny how…” You get what we mean here.

Lyfe Marketing had some simple pointer to keep your emails short without miscommunicating:

Avoid beating around the bush and write as much as required to convey your message

If you want to share more information right in the email, use bullet points to break your email

Have one major call to action per email message rather than adding multiple ones


5. Entice Them With Interesting Subject Line

The first thing that your subscribers see when their mobile phone or laptop dings is the recipient and the subject line. It’s like the first impression that is given to someone you first met. Make the most of your subject line by making it transparent and not gimmicky because those can turn someone off, just like how it is on your first date.

Your subject line will determine whether or not your subscriber will open that particular email. 

So here are a few things you need to keep in mind when crafting the subject line:

  • Keep it short but informative enough
  • Throw in some human touch and make them feel connected. 
  • Throw in a personal touch as though they are receiving an email from a family or a close friend.
  • If you’ve got a sense of humor or tend to be punny, make good use of it. People love a good laugh.

 

6. Have A Specific Landing Page For Campaigns

The reason you are sending your emails out to your subscribers is probably that you have something going to show them or sell to them. It’s also a way to keep them informed and remind them to pay your online store a visit. 

After you have caught their attention with your crafty subject line and quality content, they would want to go further from that email immediately.

Have a specific landing page ready for their convenience, where they can just click and be brought to what you have mentioned in the newsletter or email. This directs them to your website and bringing more traffic to your website. Also, increasing the chance of them purchasing items from your store.

 

Conclusion

You may think email marketing is old fashion and might not work anymore but think deeper, do you have a specific online store or subscription that you always, always open emails send by them? See, this shows that email marketing works if done correctly. All it takes is some creativity and patience.


Feel free to contact Weave Asia if you have more questions regarding email marketing or general digital marketing via phone at +60 088-718 418/+ 65 69085642 or email us at hello@weave.asia.

Planning & Researching Topics for Your Blog’s Content

Planning & Researching Topics for Your Blog’s Content

Your website’s blog serves more than a column for you to express your thoughts and ideas — it also serves to register the online footprints of your target audience, as well as helps up your website’s searchability factor when it comes to SEO.

If your business blog lacks organic visibility and barely registers the footprints of your target audience, you will no doubt be searching for ideas on how to attract them. Unfortunately, many online resources suggest finding blog post ideas in random and often fruitless ways, such as browsing social media networks and comments, sending polls, and even making use of blog idea generators.

The main disadvantage of these methods, though, is a lack of data proving overall audience interest, which only leads to unmethodical insights.

So, how do you know if the topics you choose are capable of attracting and engaging a significant portion of your target audience?

One thing is for sure: Researching blog topics requires strategy.

Let’s get straight into the complete workflow for compiling a content plan for your business blog, using a strategic and data-led approach.

Step 1. Outlining Your Blog Strategy

A documented strategy comes before all else. Here are the steps you will need to take to define one for your blog.

If you already have an all-encompassing strategy for your purpose, personas, and goals, you can skip to Step 2 to identify your blog’s core topics.

Determining Your Business Blog’s Purpose

This will help you set clear goals for all your blog content. Ask yourself:

  • Why do you need a blog? 
  • What area of your business are you trying to improve with your blog?
  • What do you expect your audience to do after they read your content?

Consider how your blog’s content will fit into your overall content strategy and, in turn, what kind of content people should expect to see depending on which stage of the buyer’s journey they are at when they visit.

Your blog’s purpose might be:

  • Attracting quality traffic;
  • Generating leads;
  • Driving conversions or
  • Educating users about your product.

Once you have identified the stage and purpose, you will develop a better understanding of which topics suit your blog and which might be better for other pages.

According to the CMI, 31% of B2B and B2C content marketers consider blog posts the highest-performing content type for building brand awareness. HubSpot also reports that B2B marketers who blog get 67% more leads than those who don’t, so it’s important to consider the potential a blog might have as part of your overall marketing mix.

Setting up Your Blog Goals

Think of a goal as one step on the path towards driving profitable action for your business, whether it is in terms of savings or revenue. Make your goals specific and measurable, for example:

  • Attract X% of the total addressable market (TAM);
  • Increase organic traffic by X%; or
  • Get X% more leads in a year.

Tip: To keep track of your progress and see the impact of your blog with the right metrics, choose a goal-setting framework that suits you best. For example, SMART, CLEAR, KPIs, or OKRs.

Defining Your Target Audience

Readers of your blog won’t always be buyers of your products. 

Be sure to get to know what your audience wants on an individual level so you can work out how to appeal to them with targeted, optimized content.

Create a portrait of each persona specifying their age, gender, interests, education, and job title, and explore the Jobs to be Done (JTBD) framework as part of our Ultimate Guide to Content Strategy to develop an even deeper understanding of their needs.

Deciding on the Content You’ll Publish

Think about what value you’re going to bring with your content and how you can differentiate yourself from your competitors’ blogs. 

Next, craft a mission statement for your blog. Include your company’s unique vision for content, the value that content provides, the audience it benefits, and the principles it upholds. 

With all this in mind, decide on the content you are going to publish. One of the approaches to this is to consider two kinds of content strategies, namely Publications and Libraries, according to Andy Crestodina: 

  • Publications cover the latest industry news and trending topics that may become irrelevant in the future. This content is mostly distributed by emails and social media to subscribed audiences.
  • Libraries focus on evergreen content, such as how-tos, best practices and guides. This content is distributed organically via search engines and makes your audience aware of your brand.

Devising how you are going to reach your audience — via search engines, social media or email, for instance — may give you a starting point for this. 

Tip: You don’t have to choose between Publications or Libraries, but rather decide on a percentage distribution that fits your blog strategy. For example, Flying Hippo offers the 80 percent rule, which consists of publishing 80% evergreen content and 20% timely content. 

Step 2. Identifying Your Core Blog Topics

Identifying your blog’s core topics allows you to get a bird’s-eye view of your future editorial plan.

Take the HubSpot topic cluster model as an example. The idea is to identify 5-10 core topics for your blog, and then expand on them using different data sources. 

Introducing Topic Clusters

Topic clustering is an SEO tactic that focuses on topics (as opposed to keywords) that:

  • Improve your website architecture;
  • Make it easier for Google to discover related content; and
  • Boost your search engine visibility.

To recreate this model for your blog, you’ll need to publish:

  • A ‘pillar’ page that roughly covers a general topic, and usually targets a high-volume keyword (e.g. ‘SEO copywriting’); and
  • Several ‘cluster’ pieces of content that focus on specific, long-tail keywords (e.g. ‘How to write SEO content’, ‘What is SEO copywriting?’).

Here’s what a topic cluster may look like, according to HubSpot:

The main advantage of this grouping model is that it gives an organic traffic boost to the whole cluster if just a single cluster page from the group performs well — but only if the interlinking is properly optimized. 

The pillar page should link to each piece of cluster content, while cluster pieces should link back to the pillar.

Determining Your Pillar Topics

To determine your pillar topics, think about them as they relate to your product or service. 

In this step, you’ll need to review your product’s value proposition and persona portrait. 

Merge your audience’s challenges with the challenges your product solves to find a common topic you could cover on your blog. 

To identify the first pillar topic, start by analyzing a specific feature that solves a specific user problem. Next, formulate this problem as a general concept, as per this model:

Product (or specific feature) > Specific user problem topic > Pillar topic

To give you an example, let’s say I develop a blog for copywriters. I sell an SEO copywriting tool (product) that helps my users to write optimized texts (problem), a concept that is widely known as ‘SEO copywriting’ (pillar topic). Other pillar topics I might define are ‘content marketing’, ‘content management’, or others that are relevant to both my audience and my tool. 

Formulate 5-10 pillar topics to keep your blog’s focus clear, and keep them in a file that you’ll expand on later.

Since this model is tied to organic activity, make sure your pillar topics are searched for online. To do so, analyze each topic with a keyword research tool to find more popular synonyms of these topics. 

Liz Moorehead suggests that your core pillar topic should have substantial search volume, but not too much: 500 searches per month may not be worth your time; 1,200 to 6,400 is more on target; and 33,000 is too many to consider. Keep in mind that these are just rough figures and may vary significantly from industry to industry and country to country. 

When you come up with your pillar topic, your next step is to find cluster topics you can cover using different data sources.

Recommended tools: 

Step 3. Expanding Your Topic List

Identifying your core topics will have sent you in the right direction for finding more ideas for your blog. 

Next, let’s look at topic research using multiple sources, such as:

  • Brainstorming;
  • Competitors’ keywords;
  • Search and social media trends; and
  • Keyword research tools.

Brainstorming Topics

You will probably already have a wealth of industry knowledge in your company to exploit for blog content topics. Invite marketers, product managers, and sales and account executives to pinpoint the most relevant topics for your users. 

Think of topics as general concepts, not as titles. These will be the foundation of your future keyword research.

Tip: Don’t like brainstorming or don’t have a team? Come up with at least three topics of your own that answer the questions from each group below, and proceed to the next step.

1. Industry Topics

Content on these topics may help you attract people who are genuinely interested in your industry, searching for trends, or looking to apply best practices.

Ask yourself:

  • What topics are most discussed in your industry?
  • What are the latest trending topics?
  • What do the industry experts discuss?
  • What topics are the most controversial?

2. User-problem-related Topics 

Creating content around these concepts may help you attract people who are looking to solve a problem, or profit by overcoming it. 

You can also relate to these topics as ‘issue or opportunity’ terms. Focus on your target audience’s pain points first, and then on the benefits they could get by using a solution to that problem. Think of what questions they tend to ask most frequently and what final goals they want to achieve.

Ask yourself:

  • What problems do people suffer from in your industry?
  • What fears do they have?
  • What are they trying to achieve?

3. Product/service-related Topics

Creating content on these topics may help you attract the attention of people who are looking for a solution to their problems. 

Think of which solutions people are looking for, and how they search for them. 

Ask yourself:

  • What products/services are you competing with?
  • How do users search for a product like yours?
  • What products/services are popular in your industry (even if you don’t compete with them directly)?

What to do next: Collect all the topics you have identified in a file with your pillar topics. Make sure you’ve indicated the data source next to each one. This column will help you prioritize your topics, learn where to dig out more information, and consider article distribution. We’ll come back to this file later.

Recommended tools: 

  • Topic Research to generate popular topics when I’m stuck, or to broaden a list of topics. Learn how to generate content ideas using the tool in a particular location and based on a particular topic you have in mind.

Collecting Competitors’ Keywords

The next step is to check relevant topics that both your direct and indirect competitors cover.

Remember that industry blogs are your competitors as well, even if they don’t sell a product like yours. You should keep an eye on them if you want to attract organic traffic on topics relevant to your audience.

Analyzing Competitor Blog Focus

Start by going straight to your competitors’ blogs and checking the categories to reveal their general focus. Remember to check tags and, if possible, filter them to see which categories are most prevalent on their blog. 

Any of these tags or categories could be your competitor’s pillar topics. Consider adding a couple of them to your plan if they match your strategy and have sufficient volume. 

Conducting Competitor Keyword Research

Next, you’ll have to proceed to competitive keyword research to find gaps in your strategy.

This step is unthinkable without using analytics tools. To find keywords that your competitors rank for, take a free 7-day SEMrush trial and use the Organic Research report. You’ll be able to not only research more than 18 billion keywords, but also access other data-driven tools to create your content plan.

Check keywords for:

  • The entire website (competitor’s domain); or
  • The blog section only (competitor’s subdomain).

Now, collect the most relevant keywords that your competitors rank for in organic terms. To do so, filter keywords by a specific word, e.g. ‘SEO’. I focus on collecting high-volume keywords first, but I also add those that have quite a low volume, but are still strategically important for our business.

What to do next: Export your keywords and copy and paste them into your original file. Don’t forget to indicate your data source.

Recommended tools: 

Finding Trending Topics

Now, search for trending topics relevant to your industry. For this step, you’ll need reliable tools that can help you spot organic trends that have proven to be of interest to your audience. 

Detecting Trends on Google

The most obvious data source is Google Trends. One by one, enter your pillar topics, and those that you brainstormed in the previous steps. Then, check their trending status (you can compare up to 5 keywords at once) and find related queries. 

Check queries that have the greatest increase in search frequency. Pay special attention to the results marked ‘Breakout’. Google describes these as queries that have had a huge increase in search frequency, as they are new and have had few prior searches.

If you see a spike in a particular month, the keyword may be seasonal. Mark it as such in your file, so you can schedule an article on this topic in advance.

Analyzing Social Media Trends

Depending on where your audience tends to spend time, the exact steps of finding trends on each social platform may vary. However, the general workflow is the same, since the social trends are mostly personalized and tied to your profile interests. 

Subscribe to your industry influencers and media. Keep monitoring what’s being talked about and see what’s trending in your feed. 

Evaluate posts by engagement. Compare the number of likes (or other kinds of reaction) to the number of subscribers to see the scale of the audience’s overall interest. 

You may also want to check Reddit to see if there is a dedicated subreddit for your industry. If you’re lucky, you can sort posts by ‘Hot’ (trending) or ‘Top’ (most upvoted (liked)) topics within a preferred period. 

Besides trends, you can also use Reddit for keyword research to find more content ideas for your content strategy.

Another way to learn about social media trends is to search for industry research reports, like the ‘Top Twitter Trends’ we did last year.

Using Data-driven Tools

While the manual research in Google Trends may take hours, there are ways to find trending topics much faster. Using data-driven tools like Topic Research, which is available for trial, will help you find trending topics based on a particular location in no time. 

Type a topic you have in mind and find topics that have been trending online for the last 60 days by using the trending filter. Trending topics are marked with a fire icon. Also, you’ll instantly see the topic volume, allowing you to assess the organic interest of your audience.

To avoid manual research in social media, you can start tracking your competitors or industry experts using Social Media Tracker. This allows you to detect the most engaging posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, video on YouTube, and pins on Pinterest.

What to do next: Add new topics to your original file. Don’t forget to indicate your data source.

Recommended tools

Researching Keywords

Now, it’s time to expand the list of all topics and keywords you’ve collected, and make them more specific.

For this step, you can use Google Autocomplete, one of the best free keyword research techniques, or take advantage of your free SEMrush trial. You can research keywords using SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool, which features more than 18 billion keywords with volume, keyword difficulty, CPC and other metrics.

Broadening Your Keyword List

This step will help you find keywords or synonyms for your topics that you might have overlooked. Start broadening your keyword list by researching a single topic or keyword from your list one by one.

Search for expanded keyword phrases that include your queried term. Find long tail keywords that are more specific but less popular. Check for semantically-related keywords based on your list of seed keywords. If you’re using the Keyword Magic Tool, click on the ‘Related’ filter to see these. 

Repeat these steps for each keyword for which you want more ideas. 

Tip: What to get more specific? Head to our ‘Keyword Research guide’ and discover how to make use of SEMrush to research keywords.

What to do next: Export new keywords and paste them into your file. 

Recommended tools: 

Finding Related Questions

Be sure to search for questions that include your keywords, since questions allow you to better understand a searcher’s intent. 

Answering specific questions in your blog posts will help you bring value to your audience, and increase your chances of ranking higher or getting into featured snippets and voice search results.

Using Question Keyword Tools

Aside from checking Google’s ‘People also ask’ feature in the SERPs, you can find common questions by using tools that collect people’s search queries, such as Topic Research. Simply type a topic and explore popular questions via the filters.

What to do next: Paste your questions into your original file. Don’t forget to indicate your data source.

Recommended tools: 

Step 4. Filtering and Grouping Your Topics

Now that you’ve collected a list of topics and keywords, you’ll need to pick those that could bring the best results for your blog.

Next, you’ll learn how to clean your topic list based on keyword popularity and competitiveness. 

We will also get back to the topic cluster model so you’ll be able to group your keywords by clusters.

Filtering Keywords by Keyword Volume and Difficulty

This is where you need a keyword research tool that tracks search volumes, so you can be sure that your content plan is based on the organic interest of your audience. 

The key tactic here is to focus on keywords with:

  • The highest volume – the higher the volume, the more popular the keyword; and
  • The lowest keyword difficulty (KD) / keyword competitiveness – the lower the metric, the less competitive the keyword.

If you’re using SEMrush, the right tool for this task is Keyword Manager. Paste all the keywords from your file into the tool and update the metrics for each of them. 

Aim for keywords with low KD (around 60% or so), since these should be the easiest starting points.

You should also keep the keywords that have both low volume and low KD. They may not bring you the most traffic, but you might have an opportunity to occupy the highest Google position for them in your niche.

Also, if any of your questions have no or low volume, don’t rush to get rid of them. They are probably too long, but still contain a popular keyword. Keep all the questions in a separate tab named ‘Backlog’, and get back to them when you start creating an article. These questions will help you come up with headers or subheaders for your posts. 

At this point, you should be able to get rid of irrelevant, low volume or highly competitive keywords that won’t help your strategy. 

What to do next: When you’re done, export the keywords to a file. Clean up your sheet — leave only the metrics that matter to you, which might be volume and KD, as illustrated above.

Recommended tools: 

  • Keyword Manager to check up-to-date metrics for my keyword list and to prioritize keywords. 

Grouping Keywords by Topic Clusters

The next step is to cluster your keywords into the 5-10 core topics you identified earlier.

To do so, you will need to manually tie each keyword to a general pillar topic. During manual filtration and grouping, you may come across a more general or popular topic that fits your pillar topic list. This is when you can substitute your original topic, or add a new one.

When mapping keywords, try not to think about headlines just yet, but keep the final goal in mind. The goal of this model is to surround your future pillar page with related cluster content.

HubSpot calls pillar pages ‘Ultimate Guides’, which give a comprehensive overview of a general topic. The cluster content would include a number of related posts on more specific topics and keywords, which are still related to the general pillar topic, but in a narrower manner.

Working with your spreadsheet, introduce:

  • A pillar topic column with your 5-10 topics; 
  • A cluster topic column with the remaining topics distributed by core pillar topics; and
  • A product/feature column for each topic.*

*Keep in mind how your product or feature relates to your pillar topics (we identified this at step 2). Each of the cluster topics may match the same product or feature as its pillar topic. However, some of them can also be matched with a different product if that product meets the users’ needs better and topic search intent more precisely.

You may also distribute your trending topics throughout the table, or keep them separate, since their lifespan may be quite short.

Step 5. Identifying Potential Headlines

To earn and keep high organic positions, your blog posts must meet your audience’s expectations — in other words, they must match search intent.

Understanding the intent allows you to create the right format and come up with attractive headlines (and, of course, content) for your audience. 

Here’s how to identify search intent for your keywords, and decide on post types and headlines accordingly.

Matching Search Intent with the Buyer’s Journey

The specific intentions of search queries commonly fall into the following four categories:

  • Informational: The searcher is looking for specific information on a topic. The query may contain phrases like ‘guide’, ‘tutorial’ or question words, such as who, how, etc. (e.g. ’how to write SEO articles’). Informational keywords may indicate that the user is at the awareness stage (or pre-awareness, if they are not aware of a problem).
  • Navigational: The searcher is looking for a specific webpage or site. The query usually includes the name of a brand, product, or service (e.g. ‘SEMrush Site Audit’). Navigational keywords may indicate that the user is at the consideration stage, as they want to learn more about a specific product or service.
  • Commercial: The searcher is considering a purchase and wants to investigate their options. The query may contain product modifiers like ‘best’, ‘cheapest’, ‘top’, or ‘review’ (e.g. ‘best SEO writing tool’). Commercial keywords may indicate that the user is at the consideration stage, as they are comparing several products with the intention to buy one. 
  • Transactional: The searcher wants to purchase something. The query may contain such words as ‘buy’, ‘price’, ‘coupon’, etc. (e.g. ‘SEMrush subscription plans’). Transactional keywords mostly indicate that the user is at the decision stage, so they are ready to buy a product.

Identifying Search Intent for Your Keywords

To identify search intent for your own list of keywords, check for keyword modifiers from the previous section (e.g. ‘how’, ‘review’, ‘price’) and, if you need to, type a keyword into the Google search bar to check for any SERP features. For instance:

  • Featured snippets may indicate informational intent;
  • People also ask may indicate informational intent;
  • Site links may indicate navigational intent;
  • Google Ads may indicate commercial or transactional intent; and
  • Google Shopping ads may indicate commercial or transactional intent.

You should now decide how to deal with keywords from your list that fall outside of your blog’s purpose, such as ensuring navigational keywords point to category pages or transactional keywords point to product pages.

What to do next: Refer to the infographic above to identify search intent for every keyword from your keyword list, and mark it with the appropriate journey stage.

Deciding on Post Types and Headlines

Now that the priorities are set, you can start thinking about the kinds of posts and potential headlines you are going to create for your future blog posts. 

Remember to consider the searcher’s intent. No matter how creative your post headline is, when typing a search term into Google, a user expects to find specific information in a specific format. If you don’t provide this for them, you run the risk of losing both your audience and rankings.

Your topic list should already give you an indication of what people expect to find on a particular subject matter. Informational topics starting with ‘how to’ are expected to be covered with a how-to guide. Commercial topics containing ‘best’, ‘reviews’, or ‘cheapest’ are expected to be covered with a review or comparison article.

If you’re struggling to identify what content type you should produce, search for your topic to check what’s out there. Your competitors will certainly give you an insight.

You can also get back to your ‘Backlog’ tab and search for related questions that could serve as a title.

Concentrate on headlines that completely and clearly indicate what a reader will find inside, i.e. the problem they will solve or the benefit they will get from reading it. 

Recommended tools: 

  • Topic Research to find the most resonant headlines for a topic and to understand the user intent better;
  • SEO Content Template to analyze top-10 articles ranking for a keyword in a specific location, featuring an average word count, additional keywords, readability, and other metrics. All this data helps to get a full picture of what content type is more relevant for a keyword.

Step 6. Prioritizing Topics Based on Your Goals

Here are a few ideas on how you can prioritize your article publication in line with your business goals:

According to Your Cluster Topics

Pick a cluster that covers a specific user problem and create posts around it. You may want to choose a cluster that brings you the most visibility (high volume), so create a pillar page and then start writing cluster articles based on your comprehensive keyword research. 

Alternatively, you can start with creating cluster content focused on low-competition keywords to get some visibility on a topic, and after that, create a pillar page that will give a broader view of a high-volume topic. Thanks to low-competition topics that rank well, your pillar page may stand more of a chance of ranking higher and boosting the entire cluster.

According to the Buyer’s Journey

If your blog is mostly focused on a specific stage of the buyer’s journey, you should start developing content serving this stage first. Ensure you help the reader move to the next stage of the buyer’s journey by including CTAs and inserting relevant links into articles.

According to Volume and KD

If you’re focused mostly on organic traffic, you should mostly publish content that targets keywords with the highest search volumes and the lowest keyword difficulties to stand a chance of appealing to more people.

According to Your Product or Feature Releases

To support your product or feature release with blog posts, you could start producing content on any specific user problems it solves or benefits it gives, which you should have already identified in the product or feature development stage. 

Good practise is to serve every stage of the buyer’s journey with relevant, optimized content. Start from the pre-awareness stage’s topics and ensure you walk your reader through to the end, i.e. the decision stage, which may be another channel rather than a blog post. Make sure to interlink your blog posts, too, so the buyer’s journey does not get interrupted.

According to Trends

If your blog post is a news-oriented channel, you should publish articles on trending topics as quickly as it’s convenient for you to do so. Covering trends won’t allow you to create a content plan for a specific time period, but you can still produce evergreen content in the background to support your online visibility.

Source: How to Research Topics for Your Blog’s Content Plan

How to Build Trust with Your Online Audience

How to Build Trust with Your Online Audience

Trust is the foundation of every successful organization — in terms of having a successful business online this, too, is no exception. With the many options served to shoppers today, customer loyalty is harder to attain.

If you’re just starting How does trust develop for shoppers when they purchase a new product online or buy from an online store they’re unaccustomed to? What elements of an online store’s experience are trust builders or trust deal breakers?

What makes for a trustworthy website?

Last year, the teams at Shopify conducted a series of in-depth interviews with a diverse set of North American shoppers, asking them to walk us through their recent online purchase experiences.

The Shopify team sat with each shopper for one hour and asked them to review a recent purchase, involving either a product they’ve never bought before or a store they’ve never bought from before. We also asked them to make a real purchase of up to $40 on a Shopify store they’ve never bought from before.

The aim of the study was to understand what makes a new shopper comfortable purchasing a new item or buying from an unfamiliar store. Specifically, Shopify wanted to find out:

  • How does trust form for shoppers assessing a purchase of a new item on a new store?
  • Which pages or elements in your store are most important for building trust with shoppers?

After analyzing their actions during these purchases, they noted a few patterns which allowed them to pinpoint design elements that are trust breakers and trust builders in online stores.

Trust builders are elements or design details that reassure shoppers — they quell doubts and help shoppers feel relaxed about making a purchase. Trust breakers fill shoppers with apprehension, making them question the validity and authenticity of the business and creating doubt as to whether making a purchase is a safe choice.

Here are what the study found:

1. Ace the first impression with your homepage

What the customer is asking: Does this website feel safe? Can I find what I’m looking for and navigate this site easily?

Business goal: Create a welcoming homepage and establish the overall look and feel of your store on the first visit.

We found shoppers are more critical of a store’s design and layout on their first visit, regardless of whether they’re looking for an item they’ve never purchased or a product they’re already familiar with. Since your homepage often serves as a digital welcome mat, it’s a vital location for building customer trust and should focus on acing the first impression, as well as providing guidance for where shoppers can head next.

Our findings show there are essential must-have elements that shoppers seek out when evaluating a homepage, along with nice-to-have details that can further tip the scales in your favor — though only after the must-haves are in place. Throughout this piece we’ll separate these two groups so you know what to prioritize.

Must-have

  • Content that is consistent and polished, with high-quality photography and error-free copy present across the site
  • A layout that is clean and uncluttered (important for North American shoppers)
  • Category navigation that is easy to understand and use across all devices

Nice-to-have

  • Category names in your navigation that are clear and easy to understand (e.g., Shop, Women, Men, About, Contact, etc.)
  • When selling internationally, copy and content translated into the shopper’s language and prices listed in the local currency
  • Fast-loading pages across your store, with no errors (shoppers usually only notice performance issues when pages are slow or broken)

2. Provide customers with essential information

What the customer is asking: Does this product solve my problem?Is it well made and the right size or dimensions? Is the price fair, and can I afford it?

Business goal: Make product information easy to discover with detailed product pages, accurate search results, and collection pages.

Once a new shopper navigates away from the homepage, we found they typically head straight to a product page. The product page is where shoppers evaluate a product’s value, whether they’re visiting a new store or a store they’re familiar with.

The right layout and design elements on your product page make it easier for customers to determine if each product offers the value they’re looking for. Images, descriptions, sizing charts, stock and inventory details, and information about shipping and taxes draw outsized attention from customers. 

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to designing the perfect product page, our findings once again show there are cardinal details to consider for building trust, regardless of your industry.

Must-have

  • A variety of product photos for each product page
  • Product descriptions organized into distinct sections for readability
  • A size chart, preferably with size conversions, on your product page, when appropriate
  • Recent product reviews on the product page

Nice-to-have

  • Return policy and shipping information included on the product page
  • A product video included on the product page
  • Desktop only: a “quick view” option on collections that allows customers to view the product without opening the product page

3. Share your story and why the business started

What the customer is asking: Is this an upstanding business? Does it treat its customers fairly?

Business goal: Help the shopper feel reassured this is a legitimate business. If you have a mission or values, share your brand story and why the business was started.

We found that shoppers want to navigate to an About Us page to learn more about the brand — and the people — behind the products. An About Us page should offer up answers to quell the two curiosities that shoppers have.

First, interest in a brand’s About Us page piques when someone is suspicious about whether the store is real or authentic. Shoppers often are trying to make sure a business will be around for the long term and won’t suddenly close up shop. This is why a Contact page can be useful: by listing a contact phone number, email, and retail location (if there is one), it offers shoppers reassurance.

Second, many customers are interested in the business’s mission and purpose and if they share any values with the business (e.g., sustainability). They will turn to the About Us page to learn more about who they’re buying from and, for more socially conscious customers, how the business is run.

Must-have

  • An About Us page
  • A Contact page
  • A phone number included on the Contact page
  • A detailed story of the brand included on the About Us page 

Nice-to-have

  • A professional email associated with the store domain included on the contact page (e.g., info@yourstore.com and not yourstore@outlook.com)
  • An option to contact support via an online chat
  • When appropriate, the address of the merchant’s physical location(s) included on the contact page

4. Show current customer satisfaction

What the customer is asking: Do other customers think the product is as described? Does the business treat its customers fairly?

Business goal: Provide customers with the social proof they’re looking for about your brand and its products.

Our research found shoppers greatly value the reassurance they get through impartial customer and store reviews — unsurprisingly, they pay close attention to what previous customers have to say. 

When considering a purchase on a new website, shoppers want to read reviews on product pages, external sites and marketplaces, and social media before completing the transaction. Specifically, shoppers look for any inconsistencies or explicit warnings from previous customers, or feedback that contradicts what a business says on its website. On social media, shoppers may, for example, use mental math to figure out if the ratio of Instagram followers to likes feels authentic.

It’s essential business owners understand that community sentiment can be what makes or breaks the decision to purchase a product.

Must-have

  • Positive product reviews that have a rating of 70% or more
  • Product reviews posted on social media that are mostly positive (e.g., reviews shared on Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
  • Product reviews that are descriptive and with customer ratings
  • A social media following on Instagram, Facebook, or other platforms
  • Positive store reviews on external websites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, Trust Pilot, Amazon, eBay, etc.

Nice-to-have

  • Product reviews on product pages that include photos
  • Product reviews for clothing/accessories/health and beauty that include the reviewer’s description of themselves (so shoppers can relate to review more)
  • Product reviews that include a video of the product
  • Links to the store’s social media profiles that are easily visible in the store

5. Ensure the transaction is transparent and easy

What the customer is asking: What is the cost of delivery and how much are taxes or duty going to be? Are the payment options familiar and secure, and do they function well? 

Business goal: Remove customer doubts and risk when calculating the total cost at shipping and payment.

As the saying goes, “Price is what you pay, and value is what you get.” While high-quality photography and compelling copy help communicate product value, shoppers also want to easily access the total price they’ll pay — with all discounts and fees included — as early in the purchase as possible.

Price is fairly straightforward, but there is lots of subjectivity to what a product costs and how valuable a customer feels it is. That means adding context around price, and reducing unnecessary surprises, is a valuable way to build trust.

Must-have

  • A return policy that is clear and easy to understand
  • When shipping internationally, a shipping policy that clearly states who pays duties and taxes

Nice-to-have

  • Surface shipping costs on the online store
  • Ability to apply discount codes in the cart
  • Ability for the shopper to edit the cart’s content
  • Familiar payment methods (such as PayPal and Shop Pay)
  • Optional order status tracking 
  • Rewards and discounts for future sales, surfaced on the order confirmation page
  • Easy access to the contact page in case order editing is needed
  • For international stores, a language and currency switcher

Customers reward businesses they trust

Customer trust is frequently a blind spot for businesses — especially newly formed businesses — because founders don’t question their own trustworthiness. And when you’re fulfilling promises made to customers and telling true facts and stories in your marketing, why would you ever consider yourself “untrustworthy”? But it’s important to remember that trust is a matter of perception and something every business has to earn.

Over time, your business can build trust by way of many satisfied customers and positive word of mouth. By then, your reputation will precede you and the finer details of your site may not have to do such heavy lifting. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t incorporate proven best practices to make your site feel familiar, reliable, and clear. Doing so will put shoppers at ease, make it easier to buy from your store, and potentially unlock step level growth for your business. 

Source: Shopify blog

What are the creative social media trends of 2019?

What are the creative social media trends of 2019?

As we’re marching into the final quarter of the year 2019, it is not a surprise that there are many “trends” circulating in the social media world. You might just shrug and scroll or tap next to these trends but what you don’t know is, these trends will help your brand stay relevant and ahead of the competition. Trends are effective because it represents the “now” and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to stay significant in social media platforms.

Let’s dive into the 2019 trends made popular in social media and get your social media growing with followers and engagements!

 

Adding Animations To Your Stories & Posts

Instagram has been rolling out many new features and it has made the platform so interesting to use. Simply adding the stickers, GIF, music and or AR feature to your posts and it immediately animates a boring ol’ post into something interesting. People are more likely drawn to colorful images and videos and with the use of these trends, you’ll draw more engagement and create a dynamic experience on your stories.

 

Adding Subtitles/ Closed Captions To Videos

What are the creative social media trends of 2019?

@refinery29

 

Admit it, most of the time your phone is on silent mode and you can’t be bothered to turn up the volume to watch a video. A lot of times when people are on their social media, they are most likely in public places like being on the train, eating out, waiting in line, etc. Some may argue that they could use their earphones but be real, how often do you take them out. 

It is almost a MUST to add subtitles to your videos- whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram or Youtube. Up to 85% of the videos on social media platforms are being watched without sound. 

With these subtitles added on, you’ll be surprised to see how much of an increase your engagement gets and it also improves your viewers’ attention span. Bonus point: having subtitles on your videos and content are more user-friendly for people with hearing impairment.

 

Longer Videos on Instagram with IGTV

Remember the horrible days when Instagram would only allow uploading videos of only up to 1 minute? How limited our contents were back then? Everything had to be crammed into a minute and that was not enough, obviously. Luckily for us, Instagram heard our frustrations and answered our prayers. Thus, IGTV was born!

With IGTV, we no longer have to succumb to the limited 1-minute content, we now have the freedom of up to 10 minutes! Are you a verified account? Well, good news, you get up to 60 minutes long! While this is celebratory, always remember that nobody wants to watch a video that’s 3 minutes long. While 2 minutes would be the ideal amount, we’re quite pushing the human attention span here. In order to have one person stay till the end of the video, you have to grab their attention within the first 8 seconds of the video.

So, make your IGTV content worthwhile because you can either make it or break it.

Nevertheless, we’re grateful for this!

 

Product Tagging & Shoppable Posts

What are the creative social media trends of 2019?

@lanecrawford

 

This…THIS really comes in handy if your brand has an e-commerce website. With the convenience of displaying your product to the most-used social media platform aka Instagram, why not make it a one stop shop? With the product tagging feature, you can link your website to your Instagram account and watch those shoppers rolling in.

Similar to user tagging, product tagging allows you to tag the item directly and when your followers tap on the tag, it opens up to the exact item page on your website. Shoppers can now shop directly from that Instagram post without leaving the app. 

 

Color-blocking & Grid Planning Your Feed

What are the creative social media trends of 2019?

@sarahhearts/ @bossbabe.inc

There’s nothing more pleasing and attractive than landing on some Instagram account that looks like it has its life figured out. Well, in this case, it’s the amount of thought and planning one has put into making their feed look aesthetically perfect. This might not be news to you, many influencers and big brands play around their feed- alternating posts, color themes, micro-color blocking and more.

An aesthetically impressive feed tells a lot about your brand. It subconsciously implants the impression that your brand is putting in effort and a lot of strategic planning is done. A beautiful feed will get visitors tapping on that “Follow” button in no time, hence, giving you more potential customers to your brand.

 

Incorporating Memes In Your Content

What are the creative social media trends of 2019?

@kungfuteausa

 

Yes, memes (pronounced as meems, not mi-mi) are taking over the world. Everyone loves a good, funny meme especially your potential customers- the millenials. While memes are very trendy, it is also very fast-paced. A new meme could be born within minutes to seconds but a good meme gets caught on for a long time, long enough for you to ride on it.

Take for example the latest celebrity meme that has the world talking about – Kylie Jenner and “Rise and Shine”. It all started with a Youtube video of Kylie Jenner giving an office tour and she walks into her daughter, Stormi’s playroom and nonchalantly melodize these three simple words “rise and shine”. It went viral and almost everyone on the internet is singing to the “tune”.

And what did the billionaire do? As what a smart entrepreneur would do, Kylie Jenner laughed about it and turned a meme into a business opportunity. You can now buy that meme merch which is a hoodie on her website. What. A. Freaking. Genius.

 

Conclusion

While trends are ever changing and gets replaced in no time, it is vital that your brand leverage on trends to be relevant in the social media world. While not all trends may fit your brand’s identity, there are tons of other trends that will fit perfectly. Don’t be afraid to play around, at least you’ve tried!

Will Instagram Hiding Likes Affect Your Social Media Presence

Will Instagram Hiding Likes Affect Your Social Media Presence

Will Instagram Hiding Likes Affect Your Social Media Presence

Some of you with Instagram accounts may have noticed that the little thing under your post looks unnoticeably yet so obviously different. Instagram has rolled out an update where it hides your likes on your posts. This update is currently still in its testing phase, and only certain countries or accounts are affected by it.

Will Instagram Hiding Likes Affect Your Social Media Presence

This is what it looks like with no likes displayed.

 

So, the question here is, will this affect your social media presence? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? In their defence, Instagram’s reason for removing the number of likes on your post and the number of views on your video is to improve the lives of consumers. They also quote “we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”

Currently, the countries affected with this update are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. There are also users in Hong Kong reportedly don’t see the number of likes anymore.

How will this update affect your social media presence? And how are the users reacting to this?

While some people are reacting negatively to it, claiming “nobody asks for this”, some people love this new update- giving them less anxiety to keep checking on how many “likes” their posts have achieved.

Will Instagram Hiding Likes Affect Your Social Media Presence

Influencers and KOLs are making a huge deal out of this because they claim to rely on the engagement rates as their KPIs when it comes to sponsored posts. Just like the number of followers they get, the number of likes is equally essential to them to prove that they have high engagement rates.

Will Instagram Hiding Likes Affect Your Social Media Presence

Does this matter? This is exactly what Instagram is trying to banish. The obsession with the number of likes on users’ posts.

Will Instagram Hiding Likes Affect Your Social Media Presence

@kyliejenner with over 8million likes in a post

 

How will it look for the world of marketing without likes displaying?

Hiding the likes on Instagram posts will help boost authenticity in the posts and might resolve the problem of fake data. For years, users have been buying likes to give their profile a boost and to appear relevant. Without the display of the number of likes, the pressure of needing to keep up with Instagram likes can be deterred. Social media can now be authentic and postings don’t have to be so heavily planned and curated- just post whatever you like!

Everyone is now equal when the likes are hidden. You’d be surprised at how many people’s self-esteem relies on the number of likes they get on one post. The anxiety caused by waiting on the likes to keep rolling in is a real thing and can be considered worrying. With the likes hidden, this issue can be defeated when users can post without thinking and worrying about the number of likes they would get.

In conclusion, the removal of likes does not negatively affect your social media presence. Instead, from a positive perspective, users are more likely sharing their posts with more freedom. They will no longer be bounded with the idea of “more likes equal higher self-esteem”.

 

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