QR Codes Are Making A Comeback in 2021

QR Codes Are Making A Comeback in 2021

Ever heard of QR codes?

Unless you work in the marketing industry, chances are you’ve probably only heard of them occasionally.

A QR code is essentially an enhanced version of the average barcode. However, they can hold roughly 350 times the amount of information that could be stored on a typical one dimensional barcode. 

QR codes saw a sharp increase in popularity when they were first introduced, but then started steadily declining in popularity when they were not widely adopted by Apple and Samsung smart phone manufacturers.

In addition, WiFi technology had made serving in-store advertising easier, which pushed QR codes further down the “must have” list.

During the month of June 2011, 14 million American mobile users scanned a QR code or a barcode. Some 58% of those users scanned a QR or barcode from their homes, while 39% scanned from retail stores; 53% of the 14 million users were men between the ages of 18 and 34.

QR code usage decreased to 9.76 million in 2018 but is expected to grow to a total of 15 million households by the end of 2021. This is largely due to the newer smart phones adopting the technology “natively”, meaning, you don’t need to download a third party app, it’s built right into the phone camera.

The pandemic also created a huge need for QR codes with contactless shopping and delivery. I t also created a need for communicating information without touching an item others had touched, too. This meant developing a way to communicate lots of information quickly without touch. Rather than reinvent the wheel, marketers and computer techs realized the power of QR codes to do exactly what is needed.

The humble QR code stepped in to provide a succinct way to communicate information and complete transactions. A business can provide a QR code for customers to scan that lets them instantly register for delivery programs, loyalty programs, etc. It provides a method of completing contact-free retail purchases via mobile wallet. According to Juniper Research, by 2025 about 2.2 billion people will use QR codes for payments. That’s nearly one-third of smartphone users – 29 percent.

What is a QR code?

The term QR code refers to a Quick Response (QR) code. A smartphone can read this two-dimensional code using its camera. This lets retailers place these codes in store windows or at checkout stands or on the aisles of a store to provide consumers with a way of quickly scanning to obtain more information.

Consumers can also create QR codes using the retailer’s website or an app. These codes can contain the information from a coupon, gift certificate, or online order number. By displaying their cell phone at the register, the sales representative can scan the item using the register wand. Neither party needs to touch, and the entire transaction can occur through a clear plexiglass sneeze guard.

Which country has the largest QR code adoption?

Asia, specifically China, uses QR codes most frequently. It has also seen the greatest adoption of e-wallets such as WeChat and AlliPay. In 2019, almost half of the point-of-sale payments in that country used QR codes, a total of 48 percent.

Plaid and PayPal have introduced a QR code option. This lets users of those two worldwide payment services use the technology to accept or make payments.

According to a 2019 Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey, 91 percent of Australians own a smartphone. Only ten percent of those use QR payments though, says a Roy Morgan report from the same year. Australia’s mature market with widespread NFC and a massive 900,000 point of sale (POS) devices make it easy for the country’s residents to make contactless payments. In 2019, most of the country’s purchases were contactless – 83 percent. Since its populace would likely immediately adopt a QR code option, its federal government plans a national plan it will implement in 2021.

New Zealand joined the fray in 2020 when the Union Pay International (UPI) system it uses introduced a consumer payments QR code program. Australian retailers can also use the UPI system. Its competitor, Azupay, and the regional NSW government partnered to offer QR code payments.

QR Codes = Simplicity and Usefulness

As part of a payments system, the simple technology has grown quickly due to its easy adoptability and adaptability. It requires no extra hardware since the user’s smartphone can scan the code to complete the transaction. This use of existing hardware also makes the QR code more convenient. Although a tiny two-dimensional picture, a single code holds lots of information. Its data capacity is such that it communicate payment, identity, and loyalty.

Some older phones require a separate app. Newer smartphones come ready to scan though. They use built-in software. This means any customer with a smartphone can install the app needed to read the codes which are also free.

Its only two drawbacks include risk of fraud since a customer could scan a fake code which results in them completing a phone call they’re charged for or otherwise losing money and privacy issues. The customer may not immediately understand what information the QR code accesses or uses.

QR as a Marketing Tool

The QR code offers an opportunity for retailers to market their products or business more effectively. Because it can quickly communicate information, the codes provide a useful mechanism with many uses including:

  • Restaurants: communicating the entire menu through a code to eliminate hands-on menus. The restaurants’ website or app also enables touchless, contactless ordering.
  • Hotels: provide contactless check-ins, room service menus and ordering mechanisms, lighting and air conditioning controls.
  • Museums and art galleries: provide visitor maps and guides.
  • Medical facilities: communicate health education materials.

Other ways to use the QR code include as an advertising tool. Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram require a square photo or graphic.

When you create an ad on Facebook, it warns you not to use text. The reason for this is because ads with lots of text simply don’t perform that well. Using a QR code lets you embed the code in the center of the graphic, and this enables you to put all a large amount of text in the page which the QR code sends the visitor to.

You can communicate all the information you need in that one QR code.

Your one sentence headline can be concise and direct, while the QR code carries all of the extra information. Users can like your post and scan the QR code to gain access to more information. This lets you embed a paragraph on a code so you can provide users with details instead of the bare minimum.

Similarly, you use QR codes to sell products. A customer only needs to scan the code to order the product. You can set up an entire store on any platform even if it does not offer an e-commerce option or interface with a store environment like Etsy.

In Conclusion

QR codes can help you accept orders, take payments, advertise products, offer coupons, communicate information. You can create a QR code that houses your entire menu or sells a t-shirt.

Provide a QR code on a poster to link to a website with further information. Gyms can use them to educate consumers on how to use each piece of equipment or use them so patrons can check in on each apparatus.

Any time you need to graphically communicate lots of info at once, leverage a QR code. They’re not just for e-books anymore.

While they did wane in use for a little while, once people could not enter stores, they made a comeback.

Whether you use a tablet, smartphone, or a computer, you can create, obtain, or access a QR code. This makes it simpler for all sizes of businesses to utilize this technology and improve their sales, tracking, and customer service.

QR STUFF

If you’re searching for a free QR code generator, I evaluated and compared several tonight, and found this one to be best for my needs: https://www.qrstuff.com

100% Ad Free QR Codes

QR Stuff has QR codes that are guaranteed 100% ad-free, even for free users, so you can get on with promoting your product without someone else’s brand getting in the way.

I used this QR code generator successfully for my pest control Brezden Pest Control. They needed a QR code added on a few of their products so that technicians in the field could quickly pull up ingredient lists and instructions.

Here is QR Stuff FAQ:

Can I use the website as a free user?

Yes. You can create fully functional QR codes anonymously as a free user with no need to sign up or open an account. No sign-up = no email address harvesting = no spam from us 🙂

Also, unlike some others, our free QR codes aren’t crippleware that stop working 14 days later. Our free QR codes aren’t time-limited in any way, don’t expire, and are ad-free.

What’s the subscription fee for?

The subscription fee charged relates to providing time-based subscription access to the extended feature set of the website for the period of the subscription purchased.

Opening an account is required for paid subscribers in order to co-ordinate the functionality of your account and to allocate the QR codes you create to your account history (but still no spam!).

No component of the subscription fee relates to purchasing the QR codes themselves.

Will my QR codes “expire”?

No. The QR codes (and any underlying short URL’s) created by both free users and paid subscribers are permanent and will continue to function indefinitely, however temporary scan limits may apply as outlined below.

Can I use your QR codes commercially?

Yes. There are no restrictions on commercial use however temporary scan limits may apply as outlined below.

Are there any limits on use?

The short answer is Yes, but the reality is that the vast majority of users won’t be affected by them. These limits only apply to dynamic QR codes that use our (optional) URL shortener – QR codes that do not use our URL shortener (static QR codes) have no scan limits.

Free Users: While there are no limits on the number QR codes you can create as either a free or paid user, a limit of 50 scans per month is applied to each QR code created by free users. This monthly scan limit presently affects less than 0.001% of the QR codes in our system so it will not impact the overwhelming majority of users. If you anticipate that your QR code will be scanned more than 50 times per month, you should probably consider a paid subscription.

Current Full Paid Subscribers: There are no pre-set scan limits for QR codes associated with current (paid-up) full subscriber account.

Expired Full Paid Subscribers: A 50 scan/month limit is applied to QR codes associated with expired paid subscriber accounts. This scan limit for expired subscribers is a “per QR code” limit and is only applied to the individual QR codes that exceed the monthly 50 scan limit, and does not affect any other QR codes associated with the expired subscriber account. The scan limit is re-set at the start of each calendar month.

At our discretion a temporary Fair Use monthly scan limit may be applied to unusually high scan-volume QR codes (>30,000 scans/month) belonging to current paid subscribers. This Fair Use Policy limit is intended to ensure that the scan activity of a minority of users doesn’t adversely impact optimal platform performance for all users.

Don’t worry – current subscribers will be contacted well in advance if any of their QR codes are approaching a Fair Use threshhold so that we can work out a solution with them.

Collectively, these measures will only affect about 1 in every 10,000 users – the other 9,999 won’t even know that any limits exist 🙂

And just to reiterate – these limits only apply to dynamic QR codes (the QR codes that use our optional URL shortener). All other QR codes are unlimited.

What do I do if my QR codes are scan-limited?

Expired full subscribers simply need to renew their subscription and the scan limit status of their account will be automatically reset from expired to current.

Free users who upgrade to a full paid account (1 month or longer) can contact us to have the QR codes they created as free user moved to their subscriber account which will remove the 50 scans/month limit from them. This is a complimentary service for up to 10 QR codes.

Are your QR codes ad-free?

Yes. Both our free and paid QR codes are guaranteed 100% ad-free. If you see an ad after scanning one of our QR codes, the QR code scanning app that you’re using put it there.

Is a license required to create QR codes?

No. The QR code is clearly defined and published as an open ISO standard. Denso Wave owns the patent rights on the QR code creation process, and the methods used to encode and create them, but has chosen not to exercise those rights. The term “QR code” itself is a registered trademark of Denso Wave Incorporated.

The answer to the following questions is always “No”

  • Can I add a QR code to my account that I created somewhere else?
  • Can I get analytics from you for a QR code that I created somewhere else?
  • Can I have a free trial subscription?
  • I’m making my own QR code website. Can you tell me how you did everything on yours?

How To Increase Facebook Likes With a Semi-Automated Facebook Marketing Strategy

Semi-Automated Facebook Marketing Strategy

One important aspect of growing your business online is social media. Many business owners turn to social media platforms such as Facebook to market their business. While some might think of Facebook as a purely social medium for individuals, there are plenty of good reasons to also include it as a major part of your business marketing strategy:

  • Facebook has an incredible audience: According to the company, there are 2.74 billion monthly users! That is a lot of people who use the channel to post updates, share content and watch videos. It’s a good bet that a significant percentage are in surrounding communities, and these people are anxious to learn about and connect with your local business.
  • Facebook is heavily used: Most fans visit Facebook daily. In fact, it ranks only behind Google and YouTube as one of the world’s most visited websites.
  • People are engaged when they visit Facebook: Users spend over a half hour each day visiting Facebook, most of them from a mobile device. Even better, two-thirds of Facebook users said they visit a Facebook Page from a local business at least once a week.
  • It works for local businesses: Partly due to more people searching for local services during the pandemic and also an increase in “Support Local” trends, Facebook clicks on searches for local business increased by 23% from February through May, 2020.

Despite all these great statistics, not every small business is thriving on Facebook, due to a lack of engagement from their Facebook community. To be successful on Facebook, you need to be active and you need to generate content that motivates your community to action through “likes,” comments, or shares. It’s not enough to just post occasionally and hope that people react to it.  You have to construct an effective plan to increase those likes and generate comments.

Know Your Audience to Increase Facebook Likes

The first step to increasing your Facebook likes is to make sure you know your audience. Knowing whether your prospects are young or old, male or female, consumer or business, will make all the difference in the type of content you share on Facebook and how you share it.

Besides knowing who you want to reach on Facebook, you must also build content in a number of different ways. Don’t just post videos, comical images, or promotions. Try mixing things up by incorporating different types of content such as brand stories, personal updates, lead nurturing and authority-building posts. Yes, you want to share your blog posts on Facebook, but also create unique posts that could start a conversation with your audience, stir a reaction from them, or solve their problems.

What to Include in a Marketing Strategy to Increase Facebook Likes

There are two ways to increase awareness of your business Facebook page. First, you want to have a large audience. This means more people will see your content every time you share it. Second, you want to have great content, so more of your current audience will like and share it to their social media circle. This spreads the word about your business to a larger audience than you might ever hope to reach through traditional advertising means.

You might see some ads offering to sell Facebook likes, but the quality of those connections is questionable. Better to do it yourself and have control over building your community. Here are some tips that will increase engagement with your business on Facebook:

  • Pay attention to your Facebook Page: This is the first thing people will see when they think about connecting with your business. Make sure it is optimized for search engines, has a crisp appearance, uses compelling photos, provides useful information, and includes your location and contact information.
  • Include Facebook links on your website and social media pages: Put buttons on your website that automatically direct visitors to your Facebook page, and be sure to ask them to “like us on Facebook,” especially on your Contact Us page. Ask your Twitter and Instagram followers to like you on Facebook, too.
  • Share your blogs on Facebook: Every time you post a blog on your website, share it to your Facebook page. Use an image and captivating headline to grab attention. Ask your blog readers to share your posts, too.
  • Ask people to “like” you: Tell your current customers that you have a Facebook page, ask them to like and share it with their friends. When you send an email to welcome new customers, inform them about your Facebook page. Include your Facebook address on your business cards, newsletter and email signature block.

Semi-Automate Your Facebook Likes Marketing Strategy

Here are just a few of the many tactics you can use to get your Facebook family more engaged with your content, and more likely to share it:

  • Create great content: Always have content that is topical and fresh. Use powerful images and headlines. Ask questions. Introduce your team, or tell a great customers service story. People get a lot of information through their Facebook streams, so your updates must stand out.
  • Add your posts to community pages: Facebook users are paying more attention to local community pages. If you have a service business, add something to the group’s page that provides helpful information for their community. You can also do this if there are groups that pertain to your business such as local bicycle groups, cooking groups or computer groups.
  • Boost posts: There are times when you put a lot of work into a post that you want more people to see. Boosting a Facebook post gets it in front of more people from a targeted audience you choose, and increases its engagement. If somebody likes one of your boosted posts, make sure you are set up to send them an auto-invite to like your page.
  • Pin your top posts: If you get a post that really spurs a response, you can keep the momentum going by pinning it to the top of your business page. Anyone who visits your page automatically sees this great piece of content first, so they will like your business and like your post, too.
  • Create a Facebook group: 1.8 billion people use Facebook Groups. If you have a really targetable audience, Facebook groups for business can be a great way to reach prospects outside your company’s brand’s page. Use your group to provide exclusive content, build community, and attract new customers.
  • Tag other pages: When you tag other relevant pages, your post will appear on their wall and may spark the interest of that page’s fans.
  • Share infographics: A good infographic on a pertinent topic can draw a lot of attention. If the information is really good, it should bump up your likes and shares tremendously.
  • Post videos: The average engagement rate for Facebook video posts exceeds other types of Facebook content. Viewers watch video intently and tend to be more engaged. Your videos can be a produced piece, or something that you shoot and post quickly on Facebook Live covering a particular topic of interest.
  • Cross-promote: Find other non-competitive local businesses and cross-share your Facebook content with them. It boosts your audience and gives your fans valuable content about local companies.
  • Website pop-up: Add a pop-up to your website that asks people to join your email list and like your Facebook page.
  • Ask customers to post: Encourage customers to post video or photos using your product or service. This provides an extended audience reach and an “accidental” testimonial.
  • Run Facebook ads: One quick way to garner attention is to run Facebook Ads that promote your brand. This is a paid strategy, but it can be useful for getting your name known quickly. There are software tools that help automate the creation of Facebook ads.
  • Time your posts: It just makes sense to share content when your audience is online, but how do you know when that is? Your Page Insights tab provides the answers. Once you understand more about when your audience is most active, you can establish your own posting schedule or schedule your posts if you’re unavailable to publish them manually.
  • Tell a story: 500 million people use Facebook Stories daily. Creating content for Facebook Stories is different from creating content for your news feed. The pace is faster, and you’ve got less text to work with. But Facebook Stories have the strategic advantage of appearing at the top of the viewer’s screen.

How Do I Know What Works Best on Facebook?

The Facebook Insights feature identifies the kinds of posts getting the most reach and engagements. Use this information to create more of the content your audience wants from you.  Facebook Insights give you the ability to learn from your mistakes and give followers what they want, so you’ll be able to continue increasing those likes!

Another way to determine what works best is to look at case studies from other brands. Here are a few you can check out:

  • Facebook Group: In 2018 Starbucks launched a Facebook group, the “Leaf Rakers Society,” for its Pumpkin Spice Latte drink. Since this is a seasonal drink, Starbucks uses the group to generate a “latte love” all year long. This group builds anticipation for the yearly release of its famous drink. Currently there are 41.0K members in the group.
  • Facebook Video: For Halloween 2016,Tomcat (a rodent extermination company) created a live video event featuring mice in a haunted cabin (Yikes!). During the video, the audience was questioned as to how the story should evolve. The video got as astonishing 2.3 million unique views, with 21% of viewers actively participating in the fun. The Tomcat Facebook fan page also grew by a whopping 58%.
  • Facebook Ads: In 2017, Brewer Direct used two fundraising strategies to determine if it could acquire new donors, generate revenue, and garner a positive ROI. The campaigns were a success – they generated instant donations, added new members to the Facebook audience and acquired new email addresses.

The addition of Facebook to your business marketing strategy can make a marked difference in awareness and results, but it is important to be consistent in your efforts. Use as many semi-automated techniques as you can to get your business noticed on Facebook and build an engaged audience.

10 Best Facebook Marketing Ideas

Facebook Marketing Ideas

Great Facebook marketing is not a one size fits all approach, but one piece of strategy advice I give all my clients is that social media marketing must be an integral component of your web marketing campaign.

Social media is the better, faster way to reach customers because social media sites have become the newspapers, backyard fences, and water coolers of our daily life.

At the top of our social media communication list is Facebook marketing.

Here are few shocking Facebook marketing statistics to illustrate the importance of including Facebook in your marketing mix:

  • Facebook Monthly Active Users: Facebook monthly active users totaled 2.80 billion as of December 31, 2020. This represents an increase of 12% year-over-year.
  • Leading Social Media Engagement Platform: eMarketer reports that Facebook is the leading social platform and business marketplace. It reaches 59% of social media users, and is projected to continue its domination at least through 2024. Interestingly enough, the pandemic renewed curiosity about Facebook’s outreach capabilities.
  • Great for Small Business Marketing: There must be some pretty strong reasons over 200 million small businesses from around the world include Facebook tools as part of their marketing strategy.

What this means is that your business needs top-notch Facebook marketing to achieve its goals in this highly-competitive, attention-grabbing medium. You can use Facebook marketing to share business information, increase your online presence, build your audience, and connect with prospects and customers.

I created an easy-to-understand Facebook marketing infographic which you can download here.

Best Facebook Marketing Ideas

What is Facebook Marketing?

Facebook marketing offers a variety of highly targeted paid advertisements and organic posts which help your business put its products and services in front of a targeted audience.

A slew of ad formats is available, including video, image, carousel, collection, slideshow and lead generation.

Start by establishing a goal, then define your target audience, upload your images and content, set a duration, and set your budget.

If needed, Facebook will create a personalized ad plan focused on your goal.

Below are some useful ideas for your next Facebook marketing campaign:

  1. Target an Insanely Specific Audience: You might think you know your audience but is “people over 35 who live within 25 miles of my business” really helpful? Hone in and drill down to those people who have the best opportunity of becoming customers. Would you be shocked to find out that about 85% of Facebook advertisements are targeted by country instead of a specific location? And only about 45% of these advertisements use Interest Targeting! Facebook has targeting options for location, behavior, demographics, connections and interests that deliver your ads to people who will love your business.
  2. Run a Simple Contest to Boost Engagement: A contest is a great way to attract attention and introduce your business to potential new customers. In one example a start-up with no marketing budget generated some 30,000 new likes over six weeks using a simple Facebook contest. Align the prize with your brand, follow all of Facebook’s rules for promotions, and make sure it is a true, legal contest.
  3. Create Short, Enticing Video Posts: Videos get all the attention these days. In 2018, 54% of consumers said they wanted more video content from brands or businesses they support. And that was before COVID kept everybody inside using social media for a year! Video ads have high click-through rates, and Facebook helps you reach your audience with videos created using photos and footage you already have, or with a selection of free stock images.
  4. Use Eye Contact in Your Images to Direct Attention: Eye contact draws viewers into your photo and creates a bond. It demonstrates that your brand is open and willing to look viewers “in the eye.” Cornell University research showed that eye contact, even with an inanimate object such as the Trix cereal rabbit, produces a powerful, subconscious sense of connection.
  5. Post Adorable Images of Puppies: Puppies just make people feel good – who can resist those adorable puppy eyes? Android’s “Friends Furever” commercial showing unlikely animal pairings has been watched and shared more than 22 million times. Heck, even the gecko commercials have been watched over 25 million times, more than any other car insurance company!
  6. Target the Leads You Already Have on Facebook: Use lead ads to encourage people to contact your business for more information. Make it easy and user-friendly, especially for your mobile-savvy prospects. Lead ads allow viewers to request specific information, and they help you capture customer details for later targeting. Facebook lead ads can be used to collect newsletter sign-ups, follow-up calls, price estimates, and other business information.
  7. Clone Your Main Revenue-Generating Audience: If you really know your customer base, and simply want to expand it, find more people exactly like them by creating a lookalike audience. Here Facebook works to match the people in your existing audience to profiles of potential prospects from its database of over 1.1 billion people.
  8. Humanize Your Brand with Fun Employee Photos: If you want to make an instant connection, employee photos can add a nice “face” to your business. Don’t just use headshots of smiling people standing in front of your building or logo, though. Use fun photos of your team in action, helping customers, or just running a good business others want to know, but make sure you have signed permission to do so.
  9. Only Pay to Promote Your Best Content: You can use your Facebook stream to share different information about your business to an existing audience at no cost, but you should only pay to promote your best content to a bigger audience. Use the metrics at your disposal to identify your top-performing content, and then take advantage of Facebook’s highly specific audience-targeting to boost your top posts with a paid promotion.
  10. Use Emojis in Your Facebook Marketing: Have a little fun, and add some of today’s quirky emojis to your Facebook marketing. Most millennials believe emojis communicate thoughts and feelings better than words do. You will even see better engagement and a higher click-through rate on the same ads with and without them.

Energize your Facebook marketing results with Search Engine Pros, a full-service, multi-touch online marketing services agency. Call 800-605-4988 or schedule a consultation and learn how the experts at SEP can incorporate these ideas into your marketing strategy!

How Do I Automate My Social Media Marketing?

Automate My Social Media Marketing

Nearly 3.5 billion people worldwide use social media. That is almost half of the people on the planet.

No business can afford to do without a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other popular social media sites.

If you are an entrepreneur or an executive at a large and established company, you should leverage the power of social media to promote your brand and your product.

What is Social Media Marketing Automation?

Engaging people on social media is time-consuming. According to a recent survey, marketing teams spend 16 hours a week on tasks involving social media.

You can save your team and company time and money by installing special tools that will do the work of monitoring and managing social media.

Social media marketing automation consists of a set of tools that are designed to decrease your workload and enhance your social media marketing campaign.

The three most popular automation devices are:

  • Scheduling tools
  • Content curation tools
  • Social listening tools

Social Media Scheduling Tools

Members of your executive team have more important things to do than update your company’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

A scheduling tool relieves them of this burden by posting valuable content on your social media accounts automatically.

The posts will be sent out at optimal times so that you get maximum engagement with your audience.

Here are some of the more popular scheduling devices available on the market:

1. Buffer

Buffer allows you to schedule posts and tailor the content to each social media account. Buffer also has a calendar feature that allows you to review what you have already posted. This gives you the ability to organize, manage, and rearrange your posts as you like.

2. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is known for its elegant and accessible design, which makes it easy to automate your posts. It offers a bulk scheduling option. It also gives you the ability to schedule content you see while surfing the web.

3. Sendible

There are 3 main features that stand out in this tool. First, there is a content recommendation device. If you want to send a post with a news article link, you can conduct a search by topic and it will give you a long list of trending articles to share.

Second, Sendible has a built-in CRM. The latter presents background information on anyone you interact with. This will enable you to send customized content to whomever you are in conversation with.

Third and finally, Sendible can monitor Twitter for certain keywords and phrases and send an automatic reply.

Content Curation Tools

Content curation tools allow you to easily find content that you can share with your social media followers through your posts.

According to one recent study, companies that share curated content receive 33% more clicks than those without it.

Here are a few of the top tools available on the market:

1. Feedly

This tool analyses the topics that interest you and your target audience and shows you related content. The tool comes with an AI research assistant named Leo who helps declutter the information so that you are able to share the best pieces with your followers.

2. Socialinsider

Socialinsider.io is one of the most comprehensive social media analytics and reporting tools. It is perfect for digital agencies and companies that employ digital technology extensively. You can track your company’s level of engagement on different social media pages and compare them. You can also compare these numbers with your competitors and industry benchmarks.

The site makes it easy to build a large report and to download it as a PDF and PPT file.

3. Curata

This tool will automatically search thousands of web sources to find content related to your keywords. You will then be able to approve or reject the suggestions that are to be shared on your social media sites.

Curata also allows you to edit the text and alter the images in the content that you share. You can also add notes and comments to each piece.

Social Listening Tools

These devices help you monitor all online chatter about your company and brand. They help you identify influencers who may be praising and promoting your products.

They can also inform you of any negative reviews of your products or company online.

Social listening tools provide great insight into how consumers are interacting with your company and its products in real-time.

Social listening sites will help you discern trends that drive your highest performing posts. They also help companies build better relationships with followers and identify profitable gaps in the market.

You need not track down every single comment and critique that is made about your company. You can have this done for you with social listening software.

Here are some of the sites that offer social listening solutions:

1. Mention

This tool sifts through billions of sources each day and informs you when and on what site your company’s name has appeared in conversation. You can also set up alerts that inform you when the names of your competitors are mentioned, which can help you analyze social discussions they are involved in.

Mention can be especially helpful to large companies with well-known brands.

2. Sprout Social

This social media management tool was designed with businesses in mind. The team at Social Sprout has identified 5 key pieces of information that are gained from social listening: brand health, industry insight, competitive analysis, campaign analysis, event monitoring. The software allows you to tailor your social listening experience to fit one or more of these categories.

Sprout Social also has tools that allow you to go beyond the mere mention of your company to figure out the sentiment behind it. Your company can be talked about in a positive or negative context. Sprout Social helps you determine which.

In summary, there are plenty of ways to automate your social media marketing operations. Using one or more of the sites discussed above can help your company punch above its weight.

Using social media marketing automation tools can give you deep insights into your target market and help you build better relationships with customers.

SOCIAL MEDIA TOOL REVIEW: Why We Use Socialinsider

SOCIAL MEDIA TOOL REVIEW: Why We Use Socialinsider

As a social media marketer did you ever ask yourself, “I wonder what my competitors are doing on social media, and whether their strategy works better than ours?” Well, maybe not those exact words, but surely you notice if your Google rankings take a header, or your competitor suddenly starts raking in the dough.

Here at Search Engine Pros, it is crucial for us to keep up-to-date on what our competitors are doing in the social media space. We also keep tabs on what the competitors for our clients are doing so we can provide spot-on recommendations and implement effective counter-punch online marketing strategies.

That’s why we use Socialinsider, a social media analytics tool which serves up a full view of any competitor’s digital strategy for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Why Do You Need a Competitive Awareness Strategy?

There are lots of reasons to find out what your competitors are doing. Here are just a few:

  • Find out how you rank: If you’re not at the top of search results, you’re losing out. In the fast-moving online world, you need to know exactly what content your competitors are using that works, when they post, their engagement metrics, audience growth, and their overall digital strategy so you can take appropriate counter measures.
  • See if you should boost any content: Sometimes a competitor will get a bump in results because they spent money to boost a blog post or video. You need to know when this happens so you can determine whether to boost any posts of your own.
  • Track, analyze, and tweak: Some online marketing tactics work better than others, but you need to keep track of everything from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so you can compare your results against those of your competition and make necessary changes.
  • Get new ideas: When you know what your competitors are doing, you can either offer a different take or show why you can do it better.
Social Media Publishing Tool


How Does Socialinsider Give You the Competitive Edge?

At Search Engine Pros, we love the way Socialinsider gives us and our clients the competitive edge:

  • Facebook Analytics and Reports: Not only do you get insights for your own Facebook pages’ performance, you can also sneak a look at the boosted content strategy of your competitors’ Facebook pages. Get key insights on historical post data and page evolution, as well as audience growth, engagement performance and content performance. It also allows users to perform a multi-page performance comparison and analyze comment activity.
  • Instagram Analytics and Reports: Find out how a competitor’s Instagram profile has grown over time, so you can promote your own brand more aggressively. You can review historical posts data to see what campaigns they roll out and when, so you can time yours to run concurrently. You can also get engagement reports and compare profiles to gain insights about content strategy.
  • Twitter Analytics and Reports: Keep an eye on how your competitors use Twitter to engage with their target audience. See what content they publish on Twitter, when they post and what engages the most on their profiles. You can review engagement reports now, and will soon be able to compare Twitter profiles as well.
Social Media Publishing Tool

We love it, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Socialinsider is trusted by such big-names as HubSpot, BlitzMetrics, Geometry Global and Georgia Tech. And their pricing is pretty cost-effective for all the insights you get – $59 per month for the Social Media Manager plan, $99 for Small Agency, and $199 for Agency, with a two month discount for yearly plans. Best of all, you can get started with a seven day free trial. Now you can act like the pros and get the competitive social media marketing information you need with Socialinsider.

About Search Engine Pros:  Search Engine Pros is a full service web marketing agency located in Santa Barbara, CA. The company provides web marketing services, including social media consulting,  web programming, and marketing SEO. Visit the website at https://TheSearchEnginePros.com for a complimentary Google rank analysis. “Like” the Facebook page for regular insights on WordPress SEO. Call 800-605-4988 to learn more about online marketing.

Taylor Reaume To Speak At Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference

Taylor Reaume To Speak At Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference

For Immediate Release – Santa Barbara, CA – June 20, 2018: Taylor Reaume, president and founder of Search Engine Pros (SEP), a full-service web marketing company in Santa Barbara, CA, will be a member of a panel discussing “Navigating the Amazon: Building Your Author Platform” at the upcoming Santa Barbara Writers Conference. This prestigious conference brings together writers from around the world to meet with fellow storytellers, celebrate well-known authors, and network with publishing professionals. The 46th Annual Santa Barbara Writers Conference will be held at the charming, beachside Hyatt Centric from June 17-22 for a week-long journey through the exciting world of writing.

The panel discussion in which Reaume will participate will be held on Friday, June 22 at 4:00p.m. in Vista III. With over a decade of expertise in e-business and marketing, he has developed over 600 websites and online businesses, built 30,000+ inbound links to his client’s web sites, and published over 10,000 pages of content on the web. Reaume holds a B.S. in Marketing and Economics, promotes the ideas of social business, and demonstrates how search marketing can help spread awareness for businesses, nonprofits and authors.

“Writing a screenplay or book, and building a platform to bring attention to that work are two different skill sets. At the panel, I’ll be sharing tools, tips and websites that will help writers create an effective web strategy which builds appreciation for their work,” commented Reaume.

Other members of the panel with Reaume include moderator Marla Miller, author Janet Randall, screenplay writer Cathy Byrd, author and noted screenplay writer Eric Edson – whose web presence was built by Search Engine Pros. This session will be open to registered conference attendees as well as the public, for only $10 at the door. The conference also includes substantial networking opportunities, five days of workshops, five keynote presentations by successful authors, book signings with author-speakers, and optional one-on-one manuscript consultations.

About Search Engine Pros:  Search Engine Pros is a full-service web marketing agency located in Santa Barbara, CA. The company provides web marketing services, including social media consulting WordPress web designcustomized WordPress pluginsweb programmingand internet marketing strategy. Visit the website at https://TheSearchEnginePros.com for a complimentary Google rank analysis. “Like” the Facebook page for regular insights on WordPress SEOWriters can call 800-605-4988 to learn more about using online marketing to build their author platform.

Is SEO the New PR?

Is SEO the New PR?
Google PR marketing

Way back before the internet had even been invented, companies hired PR firms to get their name out, build a brand name reputation, and help prospective customers learn about them. Public relations professionals would dutifully go about writing press releases, scoring feature stories, and negotiating product presentation opportunities in the name of finding more buyers.

Then the internet came along and everything changed. Press releases lost their power to serve as a news source because newspapers and magazines were folding. Feature stories weren’t read because they didn’t stand out in the sea of information. Product placement decreased in value because there were so many new ways of viewing content.

Fortunately, there is still a way of getting your name in front of prospects when they look for the product or service you offer. It’s called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. This is a way of formulating your website, blogs, and social media content to be responsive to online search queries. If someone uses Google to search for “hotels in Santa Barbara,” or “restaurants in Santa Ynez Valley,” you want your website to pop up on the first page of their results.

How to Blend SEO Into Your PR Efforts

Here are tips you can use to incorporate more SEO, increase your visibility in search engine results, and help the internet drum up more business for your business:

  • Make your website accessible: Search engines and potential customers need to be able to easily access your website. In addition to great content, you also want to get the technical parts right. You don’t want someone clicking to your website because you are the answer to their problem, only to get a “website not found” error. Check all pages for functionality, eliminate duplicate content, include title and H2 tags, and have a rich source of content.
  • Think about keywords: What do prospects search for when they need your product or service? Develop a list of words they might type into the search engine bar. If those words aren’t prominently included in your website copy, your site will not appear in their results. The content needs to be informative and natural; you can’t just add a list of keywords to the bottom of the page and hope it generates results. If there is a lot of competition in your field, incorporate plenty of terms which make your business stand out from the crowd.
  • Be a valuable resource: Look at your website as a potential customer might and ask yourself, “Does this help me?” You brought in somebody who searched for a particular term, so that had better appear right on your landing page. If you can’t see any benefits, then you’ve got some rewrites to do. Have content that is educational, helpful and easy to understand, and make sure it is current. There is nothing worse than navigating to a site that is chock full of old info. This effort helps prospects learn about you, and also signals the search engine algorithms that your site has something valuable to offer their users.
  • Provide a great website experience: Have a compelling website experience for your visitors. Most leave in seconds if they don’t think you can help, so have your prime selling proposition front and center. Make a clear learning path, avoid large blocks of content, and include helpful headlines that communicate key selling points. Include lots of pictures, graphics, and videos to quickly provide information. And make it easy to contact or buy from you.
  • Get social: Once your website strategy is in place, start bulking up your online presence through a concerted social media strategy. Have a Facebook page and Twitter account that offer useful information and drive visitors to your site. Provide the same branding experience across all outlets. This also increases the likelihood that the search engines will aggregate and incorporate additional contact opportunities for your company. Search results that include a website, Facebook page and LinkedIn page for a single company demonstrate a great deal of online flexibility. Use social media to encourage interaction and you’ll also boost search-ability.
  • Build more links: Search engines love it when other sites link to yours because this reflects your online credibility, but they can’t be random or low-quality links. Ask your current customers and contacts to link to your site if it makes sense for their business. You can provide reviews and referrals for complementary companies, and they can do the same for you. Bring in guest bloggers who will certainly link to your site from their blog, and you may even get organic links just because you have such helpful information in your blog. Make it easy for them by providing sample emails, tweets, or Facebook posts they can use to let others know more about you. You can also search for informative articles online and post comments on them that will introduce a new set of readers to your company.
  • Review sites: There are a number of online review sites that can help prospects find your business. You need to think in terms of Yelp, TripAdvisor, Open Table, Angie’s List, and other sites people go to gather insights. Initially, you just want to make sure they have the correct basic information such as address and phone number, but then you can ask your happiest clients to start posting reviews. If you’re in a more technical field, make sure your product specifications are included in industry sites.

If you’ve got a real news story, keep in mind that you can still generate PR with media outlets; it’s just moved online, too. If you’ve got a targeted customer base, check out your local media websites and look at ways you can provide news. They might have blogs or event calendars, or you might be able to email an editor or news director with a storyline about your business. SEO really can be the new PR for your company – you just need to know how to use it.

Top 10 Restaurant Marketing Ideas for 2019

Top 10 Restaurant Marketing Ideas for 2019

Innovative marketing is essential to the success of any restaurant. Whether you’re launching a new eatery or have been running a successful bistro for years, you should never overlook fresh advertising concepts. So, check out these top 10 restaurant marketing ideas to get diners talking about your business and bring customers through the door.

1) Produce a professional website

Your restaurant website is the most important online marketing tool you have, so make sure it’s functional, attractive and professional. One of the best ways to do this is by selecting a top pre-made restaurant theme that you can customize to suit your business. Look for a theme that has:

  • A simple drag-and-drop page builder function
  • The ability to add menus
  • Contact forms and table booking systems
  • Review/testimonial functions
  • Slider galleries to show personalized images of your food
  • Ability to add a blog
  • Mobile-friendly functionality

Make sure you use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques throughout your site so that it ranks in search engine results. If you’re struggling to create your website, hire a professional to help.

2) Get reviews on Yelp

Word-of-mouth has long been known as the most powerful marketing tool. Recent surveys show that word-of-mouth reviews influence purchasing decisions for 74% of consumers and 88% of people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from personal contacts. Yelp, which ranks businesses according to customer reviews, is one of the best tools for word-of-mouth marketing. So set up your Yelp business profile today and always remember to personally respond to customer reviews.

3) Interact with customers on social media

You can’t ignore the power of social media in today’s internet-obsessed world where two billion people spend over an hour and a half every day on social networks. Plus, having a social media presence makes it easy for customers to find and connect with you. So, if you haven’t already, set up your profiles on key platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and integrate them with your website. Next, take the time to really connect with your customers on social media; share relevant content and news with them, reply to comments and run special offers. Social media can also be a useful tool for gathering customer feedback, so don’t forget to ask your followers questions so you can improve your restaurant experience.

4) Localize your SEO

Make sure your website ranks highly on Google when people search for restaurants in your local area. For example, if you run a Mexican restaurant in Santa Barbara, you want your website to show up when people type: top Mexican restaurants in Santa Barbara into Google.  Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Use the free Google Keyword tool to find out exactly which phrases people are searching for related to restaurants in your area, such as: where to eat in Santa Barbara, or best Santa Barbara restaurants. Include keyword findings on your website in title tags, H2 tags, meta descriptions, content and alt tags.
  • Make sure your business is listed on Google Places by signing up to Google My Business.
  • Add your business NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) to every page of your website. Make sure this information is consistently listed and formatted across all social media platforms and review websites.

5) Create a blog

Produce an engaging blog for your website to increase organic traffic, restaurant bookings and boost your search engine rankings. Make sure you update your blog consistently with original content including plenty of personalized images and videos. Use your blog to share restaurant news such as seasonal dishes, write about topical food subjects, and post recipes and ideas. Promote all of your articles on social media and ask food bloggers to guest post on your site. Make your blog easy to navigate and ensure readers can comment on posts and share your content with the click of a button.

6)  Engage with local food influencers

Find out who the biggest local food bloggers, Youtubers and Instagrammers are in your area and invite them to dine at your restaurant for free. They’ll photograph, review and film the experience to share with their food-obsessed followers, which is marketing gold dust. Recent studies show that collaborating with social influencers has become one of the most powerful ways to reach customers and over 80% of companies who’ve already tried this strategy say it was successful. You can also partner with food influencers by rewarding them to mention your restaurant or one of your promotions on their channels.

7)  Grow your customer database

Build up your email database by placing call-to-actions across your website asking people to sign up to your newsletter for special offers. Send out tailored deals to encourage bookings or share news about upcoming events. You can also email out your latest blog articles, top monthly dishes and advertise current contests. Run a special meal discount for all new customers in exchange for signing up to your newsletters. Remember not to spam your subscribers and only email them useful and engaging content. You can take this tactic a step further by collecting the phone numbers of local customers to send them offers via SMS.

8)  Run social media discounts and contests

Reward your loyal customers and drum up extra business via your social media channels. Make eye-catching graphics to promote time-limited discounts and offers especially for your followers. Get creative with your deals and run social media contests and sweepstakes with prizes. This will create excitement around your brand and keep customers coming back to both your social media pages and your restaurant. Give your campaigns an extra boost by promoting them in a Facebook Ad for maximum exposure.

9)  Host events at your restaurant

Draw a crowd by hosting exciting events and entertainment at your restaurant. Think live music every Thursday, monthly comedy nights, or speed dating evenings. Get involved during key holiday seasons by offering special menus for Thanksgiving and Christmas or sponsoring the local Halloween parade, for example. Publicize all your special events on your social media channels, website, and e-newsletters.

10)  Run Google Ads around the holidays

Give your business an extra boost around key holiday periods by running time-limited Google Advertising campaigns. When you use Google Adwords you’re paying to have your restaurant show up on the first page of the search results, along with your address and contact information. Adwords allows you to send out geo-targeted ads to people in your local area and easily reach mobile customers. The great thing about Google Adwords is that you can easily control your campaign budget and analyze its results.

Which of these top restaurant marketing ideas will you try? Share your comments below.

Is Facebook advertising the best way to boost your business?

Is Facebook advertising the best way to boost your business?

The world of advertising is transforming. In a society saturated by information, it’s harder than ever to grab the attention of potential customers. So, just how do you get people to take notice of your business? Try reaching them through social media. Facebook has nearly 1.8 billion monthly active users, so advertising on its platform could be the answer. Learn more about how Facebook advertising works and find out how Search Engine Pros can help you harness its power to boost your business.

Why use Facebook advertising?

Facebook advertising tips and ideas

Here are the key reasons why Facebook advertising wins over traditional ad formats like print, billboard, radio, TV and even Google Adsense:

  • Facebook ads are far cheaper in terms of cost to reach 1,000 people. For example, Buffer app found that spending just $5 per day on Facebook adverts bought them 9 likes, 1 click to their homepage and 787 new views. Moz claims that spending $1 per day on Facebook gets your brand in front of 4,000 people.
  • Facebook ads run on pay-per-click or pay-per-day impressions, similar to Adsense. That means that you’re in control of your budget and can set daily caps or limits on the total campaign.
  • Facebook ads are highly visible because they’re placed directly in users’ news streams.
  • You can target specific audiences with Facebook ads based on a number of factors including interests, age, behaviour, connections, languages, gender, location, religion, politics, marital status and occupation.
  • Facebook allows you to find existing customers using contact lists, web traffic from your site or activity in your app. This allows you to remarket to an audience who has already visited your site and has some interest in your business.
  • Once you have a converting audience you can use the Lookalike Audience feature to reach new people who have similar profiles.
  • You can test and track the success of your advertising campaigns in real time with Facebook Analytics and adjust them using the Adverts Manager tool.

Exactly how does Facebook advertising work?

Facebook advertising tips and ideas

Facebook has made over $6.4 billion in advertising revenue in the second quarter of 2016 alone. The social network has become a key leader in the ad field by creating the most sophisticated consumer profiling ever.  Here’s how it works:

  • When you’re logged into Facebook, it tracks everything you do on the internet. This allows it to build a profile of your lifestyle including what brands you like, your hobbies and interests, favorite foods, music, films and so much more.  
  • Facebook knows where you live and uses your electronic device and location settings to figure out key information about you.
  • The company also uses consumer data that has been sourced by credit companies and research firms like Experian to build a fuller idea of your lifestyle habits.

This might sound pretty scary for consumers, but it’s a dream for advertisers who can use this information to target very specific audiences. Plus, if they wish, Facebook users can adjust their privacy settings using the Ad Preference Tool to avoid being tracked.

What makes Facebook advertising even better is that it has 10 different ad methods which cater to different business aims:

  1. Boost your posts to a wider audience.
  2. Promote your page to get more likes.
  3. Send people to your website.
  4. Increase conversions on your website.
  5. Get people to install your app.
  6. Increase engagement in your app.
  7. Reach people who live near your business.
  8. Get people to attend an event.
  9. Get people to claim an offer, such as a discount on next purchase or enter a sweepstake.
  10. Generate video views.

How can we help you with Facebook advertising?

Facebook advertising tips and ideas

Whether you want to drive sales or increase brand awareness, with a little bit of time, money and testing, Facebook ads can provide a real boost for your business. If you need assistance setting things up, Search Engine Pros can help in the following ways:

  • We can work with you to assess your advertising needs.
  • Set up your Facebook advertising account
  • Test various adverts and analyze what works best.
  • Set up a regular advertising budget and schedule your Facebook ads.

Contact us to get started with your Facebook advertising campaign.

6 Marketing Strategies To Drive Thanksgiving Sales

6 Marketing Strategies To Drive Thanksgiving Sales

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the cornucopia of online marketing options available today. The truth is that a well thought-out and carefully implemented online marketing plan can open a business to a new stream of prospective customers, drive leads to a website and motivate increased sales. With that in mind, here are six search marketing strategies to be thankful for this Thanksgiving:

  1. Event Marketing: Whether your business is holding a holiday sale or sponsoring a major conference, there is no better way to attract attention than online event marketing. Target a potential audience online and get them excited about your event.
  2. Local Search: If your business caters to a particular geographic area, use local search strategies to become the big fish in your small pond. When customers in your target area search for a business or services similar to yours, your company should be at the top of their results.
  3. SEO Marketing: Search engine optimization (SEO) studies how search engines rank their results and implements strategies to maximize exposure through this means. SEO marketing encompasses blogs, newsletters, website copy and design, and social media to drive higher rankings and awareness.
  4. WordPress CMS: Efficiently manage your online content using WordPress CMS (Content Management System), which offers one convenient location for organizing web pages, blog content, and search marketing. WordPress Plugins allow you to easily extend the features and functionality of your blog or website. Thousands of customization options allow you to improve your search engine optimization, develop a client portal for private information, and add display features such as widgets or navigation bars.
  5. Google Marketing: There are many ways to use Google’s SEO tools to increase your online visibility. Your business can run Google ads which are only shown to people who are searching for exactly what your company offers. It’s a great way to get big budget results with small budget costs.
  6. Social Media: All of your prospects and customers are already using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms every day. Your company can utilize social media marketing to engage with them every time they are online and become part of the conversation.

Your online marketing plan needs to take advantage of the most effective marketing tactics, and know which to gracefully avoid. Contact Search Engine Pros at 800-605-4988 and find out how wecan help your business compete more effectively online.

Happy Thanksgiving from Search Engine Pros!

Thanksgiving Marketing Tips
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