Nov 30
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

While writing about a new topic in your field, how often do you think to link that new topic with an old one? Many marketers get so excited about the new ideas they are sharing that it does not cross their minds to relate it back to a hyperlink containing previously discussed subjects. This text, known as anchor text, is frequently overlooked. However, when used correctly, anchor text can help customers understand topics in more depth and boost your SEO. Optimizing anchor text might sound like a trivial task, but it yields big results.

What is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is simply a clickable, hyperlinked text on a website that leads to other pages on or off of the same domain. It is used to help tell search engines what the page is about, and to help direct customers to a more in-depth answer in the case they do not fully understand a concept you mention. To get the most out of your anchor text, make sure it is truly relevant and specific to the topic. While you do not need keywords for your anchor text, you should include it in a sentence that contains your target keyword. When anchor text is linked to relevant and descriptive information, search engines (especially Google) are able to detect the keywords, and it will help rank both your current topic and the hyperlinked topic higher in searches.

What to avoid with Anchor Text:

Keyword “stuffing” is using the exact same keywords repetitively, and this is something to watch out for with anchor texts. While you do want to mention your keyword so the search engines will pick it up, stuffing keywords will make them suspect that your main goal is to rank higher, rather than provide helpful content. Do not try to use links that do not look like links for the sake of keeping your page uniform or trying to hide the anchor text. By not allowing the anchor text to stand out, your readers will likely miss the links.

Types of Anchor Text:

All anchor text is not created equal. There are many ways you can go about creating anchor text, but here are four of the most popular and commonly used types.

Partial match: The most common method of anchor text, partial match uses a variation of the keyword describing the linked page’s topic. This method works so well because it clearly informs the reader and search engine of the topic of the link, while allowing the content to flow naturally. Partial matching helps eliminate awkward phrasing for the sake of including a keyword in the anchor text.

Exact match: Exact match is much like a partial match, except that it does include the exact keyword or key phrase in the anchor text. While exact matches are not a bad method, be cautious to not over use keywords. As previously discussed, using a certain keyword too frequently leads search engines to believe that you are not producing quality content. This means that your helpful article or updated web page might not be seen by your target audience, because Google will mark it as a quantity over quality page.

Generic: Generic anchor text uses a common word or phrase to describe the link, such as “this blog post” or “this page”. Your audience will be able to follow this easily. Search engine bots will have to search a little bit harder for what you are referring to, so if you choose to use this method for an anchor text make sure you have keywords nearby in the sentence for optimal results.

Anchor texts might seem small and unimportant, but to really stand out against your competitors they are critical. Using the hyperlinks and keywords together will allow search engines to understand what your page, blog or article is about and help you to reach an even wider audience.

Nov 23

Small Business, Big Impact

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Black Friday is one of the single largest shopping days of the year. Customers wake up at the crack of dawn to ensure that they get the best deals on presents for their loved ones, and might even snag a few things for themselves. For small businesses, Black Friday can seem daunting. How do you keep up with these large corporations? While offering Black Friday deals is a great idea to stay competitive, there is a new holiday on the rise: Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday falls the day after Black Friday, and was started to encourage communities to support their local stores. No matter if you want to plan a last-minute sale or start planning for next year, here are some tips and tricks to make the most of the holiday.

How did Small Businesses Saturday start?

In 2010, American Express created Small Business Saturday to help support the growth of small businesses in their local communities, as well as small ecommerce companies. Many customers enjoy supporting small companies, as they can see the impact directly on their community. Even purchasing through a small company online usually comes with more personal customer service and products. American Express even went so far as to create a helpful guide to help small business create customizable advertising materials, an event planning checklist, event fliers, and ideas of events to take part in. With Black Friday rapidly gaining a reputation for being full of intense shoppers, limited sale items, and and an early start time every year, Small Business Saturday is rising in popularity.

How can I get involved in Small Business Saturday?

The easiest way to participate in Small Business Saturday is to check your local listings and see if there are any events going on that you can take part in. Events that bring multiple small businesses together are great for expanding your customer base, introducing new products, and getting old customers excited about purchasing from you again. Customers who are familiar with other companies at the event will be introduced to your products and vice versa. Not only will you get more support for your business, you will be helping other small businesses as well. If there is not an organized Small Business Saturday event, you can look into starting one by contacting venues and other local organizations. Or, you could simply host one at your own store. If you only sell products online, and do not want to set up a booth at an event, you can still participate in a virtual Small Business Saturday by updating your website to reflect the holiday and offer specials to new customers. This is also a great opportunity to try running an ad campaign to boost your marketing efforts.

How does Small Business Saturday effect my business and community?

Small Business Saturday is wonderful in many ways. Aside from gaining new customers, it is also a great opportunity to form relationships with other local businesses. Even if you do not sell similar products, you can help support one another by displaying business cards, fliers, and even products if you can find a way to incorporate them. If you have a positive relationship with other businesses, they are likely to refer their customers to you if they do not have the product or service they are looking for. This allows businesses of all types to cross over, as the same customer could be looking for a new clothing shop, a restaurant, and a home décor store all in the same day. Additionally, small businesses helps employ members of the community. Small Business Saturday allows the community to form relationships with the businesses as well. Having a personal relationship with customers increases loyalty, as they are visiting for shop of the experience as well as the product. If you sell your products only online, you can still build relationships with other companies and customers by reaching out with personalized notes, and having stellar customer service.

While big retailers might seem impossible to beat, with Small Business Saturday rapidly gaining popularity, small businesses can have a very successful holiday season. Even if you are preparing last-minute for this year’s Small Business Saturday, by spending less than an hour creating social media posts and extending your Black Friday sale you will set yourself up for a prosperous season.

Nov 16
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Gift cards have been around for a long, long time in brick and mortar stores, but the idea to create them for ecommerce companies is fairly new. While the general idea is the same, ecommerce gift cards vary from the traditional plastic cards you are most likely familiar with. For large or small ecommerce brands, gift cards can be a unique way to bring in new customers and allow current customers to treat one another or reward themselves. While there are some major advantages to ecommerce gift cards, there are also some factors to keep aware of to ensure safety for you and your customers.

Benefits of gift cards: Before we discuss the potential negatives of ecommerce gift cards, it is important to keep in mind the benefits they can bring you. Customers love to give and receive gift cards any time of the year, not just around holidays. It is a special gift that lets loved ones show the gift card receiver that they know them well enough to know what they like, while allowing them the fun of choosing a specific item themselves. Many customers will spend more than the value of the gift card, as they have extra money to put towards a product or service they might not have wanted to splurge on in the past. Gift cards are also a great way to recruit new customers. If someone who has never shopped with you before receives a gift card, they are more than likely going to spend it. These customers will get a higher sense of satisfaction with their products, as they did not have to spend their own money and therefore are getting a great deal. Gift cards can also help increase brand awareness. If you have a customer who loves your product, they might want to give out ecommerce gift cards as a present to their friends and family with similar interests. This expands your audience, and can be a great source of advertising.

Precautions for gift cards: Ecommerce gift cards can often be very easy for thieves to steal. Since there is no physical card, nor it is attached to any personal information, these digital cards are an easy target. If an ecommerce gift card is stolen, it is very difficult to trace the culprit. Criminals also like to take advantage of high volume times, such as during a big sale or near the holidays, so companies are busy and even less likely to notice suspicious activity. These criminals are also know to re-sell the gift cards for profit. If your gift cards often get stolen and the customer is left without reimbursement, this can also lead to negative reviews for your company and loss of customers.

Fraud tactics: There are many ways that criminals will try to steal from your company. Stealing data and fraudulent chargebacks are two of the most common ways. Chargebacks alerts can take up to 180 days to reach the merchant, and criminals take advantage of that time frame to use stolen information to purchase gift cards. They then sell them to make a profit for themselves. By the time they are caught, the damage has been done and it is very difficult to remedy the situation. More experienced criminals will even go to far as to take over customer’s accounts, and have emails and calls re-routed to themselves. This allows them to make as many purchases and transfers as they want, with less suspicion. Bots are another advanced form of fraud, which allows criminals to increase the number of attacks in a time period. There are many more tactics criminals use to commit fraud, and it is helpful to be aware of them.

Fraud prevention: Despite criminals trying their best to swoop in and steal your money, as well as your customer’s money, there are precautions you can use to deflect them. Before you start selling digital gift cards, develop a plan to help you account for all contingencies. Set several fraud detection points in to trip up criminals and allow you more time to catch them. You want it to be difficult and layered, so that is it not worth their time to hack you or your customers. Two factor authentication is a popular and easy way to help prevent fraud by sending a conformation via SMS or requiring a PIN. Make sure that your fraud prevention accepts all payment types, so criminals are still blocked when you expand into new markets and countries. Set your fraud prevention to allow you complete control to decline, approve, and review all digital interactions. By allowing yourself the option to review everything manually, you are much more likely to catch thieves and stop them from stealing money and information.

Ecommerce gift cards can be a great asset to your business, and very popular with customers. Staying safe and alert allows you and your customers to fully enjoy the benefits of gift cards.

Nov 9
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Every smart company and marketer knows that social media is important for developing your brand, increasing your sales, and keeping in touch with customers. While you might have researched the best social media platforms to use, how to use social media to boost SEO, and even how to research your competition, many marketers fail to research how often they should be posting. All social media channels are not created equal, and audiences love each one for a different reason. There is a fine balance between posting too much and not posting enough. Here are 5 tips to help you decide how to best use your social media accounts.

When to post: There is no firm answer to the question of when to post on each social media channel. However, figuring this out is a very important step in keeping up a good social media presence. The maximum guideline for each outlet is as follows: Facebook up to twice a day; Twitter up to ten times a day; Pinterest up to 30 times a day; LinkedIn about once per business day; Instagram up to twice per day. This does not include disappearing “stories” on the sites that do provide them, although you do not want to go overboard with those either. Alter this guide to what channels you are using, and how often your customers are responding to your posts. It is important to find the right balance for your company so that your audience is neither bored nor overwhelmed. Besides the trial and error method, there are infographics to help you decide when and how often you should post.

Choose your channels: Every company does not need to be on every social media channel. Know your target audience and choose to spend your time and efforts on social media sites that they actually use. For example, if your main demographic is middle aged men, you will not have much of a need for a Pinterest account. Instead, you would focus on LinkedIn and Facebook. If your target demographic is young women, you will want to utilize more social media accounts such as Instagram and even Snapchat. Bringing content to your users in a way that they value will help you connect with them. Also take into consideration what outlets will play your strengths. If you do not have a psychical product you are selling, than Instagram and other visual-based outlets are probably not worth your time. However, if you sell apparel, home goods, or other aesthetically pleasing items, Instagram will be valuable to you.

Share content from others: Your social media accounts are not all about you. Rather, they are all about your customers. Do not be afraid to share content from other sources that you think your customers would like. Pay attention to what your audience is responding to, and what audience’s on your competitor’s pages are responding to. One of the best reasons to use social media is to directly interact with customers, and listening to their feedback shows that you care about them, and not just about sales. However, do not rely on others to come up with all of your content. Your customers are interacting with your social media channels to see what you are doing and keep up with your products and services. Let shared material be a guest appearance, rather than the norm.

Publish content at busy times: With all of the ever-changing algorithms, posting at high volume times of day is the best way to get your content to reach as much of your audience as possible. Often, posting when a large number of users are online will allow a wider audience to see the post when it appears. Having your post near or at the top of audience’s feed means having their attention, and a higher chance of them interacting with the post. The more people like, share, or comment, the more “relevant” the post is labeled, which means that it will continue to show up at the top of other customer’s feeds.

Be social: Social media is named that for a reason. You get the unique opportunity to be able to interact with customers one-on-one, and to allow them to interact with one another. Make sure to engage with customers, ask questions to get conversations started, and monitor your posts to ensure everyone is being respectful to one another.

Although posting on social media seems like a simple task anyone can do, posting at the right time takes research and consistency. Having a strategy and analyzing what works as you go along will pay off, and you will quickly start to see great results.

Nov 2

Getting Started With Facebook Ads

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Over one billion people are active users of Facebook. This huge, global platform can be any marketer’s dream or nightmare. While having access to such a huge audience is wonderful, it can also be intimidating and easy to get lost in the swarms of other businesses trying to reach the same target audience as you. However, with this year’s new algorithm, it is harder for businesses to connect with audiences. This is to encourage meaningful interactions between friends and family, rather than having user’s feeds full of notifications from companies. With Facebook ads, you can continue to interact with your customers in a way that does not take away from their interactions with loved ones, while still reaching them and promoting your brand. While there are a variety of Facebook ads and ways you can use them, here are a few of the most popular.

Photo ads: Photo ads are a great start for companies that do not have much experience with Facebook ads. Chances are, you have posted a picture on your Facebook account at some point. If you have a picture that you think really defines your brand or stands out, you can boost the post, and create an ad out of it. If you want to use a photo you have not previously posted, you can simply choose to create a new Facebook ad and use the picture you want to use.

Video ads: Video ads are eye catching, and a great way to show off your product. They can be silly, inspirational, or encourage users to give your product a shot. Dollar Shave Club is a well-known razor brand that mails razors to it’s users each month for a low cost. They are known for their funny ads, including their Trick to an Amazing Shave series, featuring short commercials of people doing “tricks” to change their blades. RXBAR is another famous brand with a much different style of commercial. They are known for using simple, healthy ingredients to make their bars, and listing the ingredients in bold. Their commercials go along with the style of the bars- clean and simple. Both brands did a wonderful job researching their audiences and keeping their ads in line with the brand image they wanted to project.

Carousel ads: Carousel ads are creative, fun, and grab the customers attention. While this style is a bit more complicated than a picture or video, it is worth the extra effort. Carousel ads are an interactive ad format that allow you to post up to 10 GIFs, pictures, or clips in one post. Users can then scroll through them to see more. Some companies choose to break up one picture into several pieces, while others showcase different products. Tieks shows a creative way to show off a single product, where Pura Vida shows off different products while advertising their mission to help artisans in Costa Rica and keeping a cohesive color scheme.

Create your ad campaign: Even if you choose the perfect type of Facebook ad, without some preparation it will not do much good. The first step in starting your campaign is to choose a objective. Facebook makes this easy by offering 11 marketing objectives based off of what you hope to achieve. The objectives are brand awareness, reach, traffic, engagement, app installs, video reviews, lead generation, messages, conversions, catalog sales, and store visits. It is important to choose your category based off of your top goal. For example, if you have recently launched an app, you will probably want to focus on app installs rather than messages or store visits. While all of the objectives are important, focusing on one will bring better results. After choosing your objective and naming your campaign, choose where you would like your ads displayed. Remember that ads will show up different on mobile and desktop devices, so determine if you want to use ads optimized for one or both types of devices, and create them accordingly. The last step is to set your budget and schedule. For your first ad campaign, you might not want to go all-out until you can experiment and research what your audience is responding to, and what they do not like as much. The advanced budget options will allow you to get into fine details about how and where you would like your money spent. It is very important to track and analyze your ads so that you can continue to improve on them in the future.

There are many types of Facebook ads, and many ways you can run them. The most important thing is to be creative and give your customers content that they enjoy, while showing them how great your company is. Do not be afraid to think outside of the box. If you have fun creating your ads, it will show and your customers will respond positively.