Link Building: How to Increase ROI and Strengthen Online Presence

These days, a majority of the communication between businesses, whether to consumers or to other companies, is carried out electronically, primarily through e-mail and online messaging systems. But beyond providing a convenient way for businesses and clients to stay in touch, the web can be a powerful tool for making connections. And what could be better at building digital connections than hyperlinks?

Corporations looking to attract new clients, promote their services, and increase revenue should (of course) be using several effective methods to fortify their online presence. However, the most beneficial strategy – the one you can’t afford to miss – is link building. Yes, you can increase your company’s popularity, respect, and web traffic by making good use of all those underlined words!

Consider these statistics: Facebook users average 150 friends apiece, and nearly one-quarter of all LinkedIn users have between 500 and 1,000 connections. Essentially, link building is the electronic equivalent of getting recommendations and referrals by tapping into these and other existing networks.

Link Building Brings Business

The process of link building can be broken down into two parts: integration and accrual. Integration refers to the volume (or lack) of interesting internal features that make a website stand out from competitors, thus making it popular (or unpopular) among consumers and clientele. A fully integrated site considers the needs and interests of all potential audience members, including customers, employees, prospective clients, industry affiliates, and competitors.

You can improve your link-building program by growing relationships with anyone who wants to spread the word of your company’s excellence: loyal customers, employees, friends and family, brand advocates, and key business partners.

Link Building Brings BusinessHow did the blog Little Red Mommy Hood achieve this exponential growth? Building relationships! (Source: Search Engine Land).

Using SEO for Link Building

Links are also important, both in quality and quantity, to make your website more visible in internet searches. Search engine optimization (SEO) can be a powerful tool for bringing traffic to your site, but you’ll never get a top Google ranking without external hyperlinks. Search engines work by picking up signals from links; therefore, the more high-quality links you have from your site to others – and from other sites to yours – the more often your webpages will appear. With a customized SEO strategy incorporating hyperlinks, your company will be able to achieve better search engine results.

Once you start a link-building campaign, how do you know if it’s working? The tricky thing about grabbing the attention of search engines like Google and Bing with all those little hyperlinks is that they don’t work individually. All of the keywords on your website work like a team to increase your search engine ranking. If you want to know how the different SEO keywords work – including which ones are the biggest earners of traffic and ROI – you’ll need tools to do it.

Are All These Links Driving Traffic?

Generally, your link-building success can be measured in your SEO ranking and by the number of quality links you have on your site. You can also pinpoint your best keywords by looking at referrals in Google Analytics. These simple statistics can be tracked internally, or you can hire an outside consultant to do the ’net detective work.

Tracking the progress of your link-building campaign is where a digital marketer becomes invaluable. I can collect thorough information about your website, including which other sites and social media networks it interacts with, and provide real-time feedback to make sure your campaign is progressing as it should. If a link is hurting your site instead of helping, I can quickly identify and remove it. By analyzing data about your SEO keywords, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly what’s working (and what’s not) in your web content strategy.

Don’t Wait – Make the Right Connections Today

Link building can benefit your business tremendously. When done properly, it places your company’s name in front of more web users, specifically those in your target market. In today’s digital age, gaining the competitive edge in the online market is critical, and knowing how to generate traffic to your website by using SEO tactics and external links will boost your business, increasing your return on investment (ROI).

Carry the Conversation Forward with Social Media Campaigns

Even though many traditional aspects of doing business are experiencing upheaval as industries gravitate towards the digital marketplace, the underlying principle of marketing remains the same: foster a unique connection with your target audience. Nowadays there are just many more places to share your message and meet new customers, and that’s where the new marketing landscape starts to get rocky.

Keep in mind that social media is to digital branding and advertising what relationships and referrals were to businesses in the past. When used strategically, these online networks have the potential to be even more effective in reaching consumers and more powerful in driving sales as compared to traditional advertising.

Keep Your Old Friends While Making New Ones

Social media is all about connecting with the people you already know – plus those who you want to know. The key to having a successful social media branding campaign, then, is fostering social engagement. This is achieved by clarifying your marketing message and delivering it to a larger audience through videos, comments, and other multimedia formats.

By giving you a new space to develop personal relationships with customers, social media networks empower you to directly share your message with others. They allow you to continue the conversation that started while you were behind the counter – not the next time your customers stop by, but as soon as they are back in the comfort of home. This one-on-one connection can increase your electronic sales and brand awareness.

Become a Trendsetter

While making your first Facebook profile is a good social media start, following trends is the key to an effective online marketing campaign. Experts predict that in 2014 Twitter will take the lead, the popularity of Google+ will grow, visual content will be critical for marketing success, micro videos will replace longer clips in effectiveness, and user-generated content (e.g., customer photographs, blogs, and reviews and ratings) will become more important in increasing brand awareness and brand name visibility.

Speaking of those users, focus your message on reaching your true fans, not on wooing the big-name bloggers and other top influencers. Research has shown that brand advocates – the everyday people who know and love your products – are whose voices really count.

A good way to know whether or not influencers are following your brand online is to check which sources are driving traffic to your website using Google Analytics. For greater detail, you can see who’s mentioning your products and keywords with SocialMention, a tool that compiles data from 80 different social media sites. To look at blogs too, IceRocket runs a similar keyword search with a wider scope.

Become a Trendsetter

                                         Source: ConvinceAndConvert.com

Keep the Conversation Going 

The more that people can relate to – and have a personal connection with – the company whose products they are purchasing, the more inclined they are to keep that business-consumer relationship going. Show your customers they are valued by soliciting their feedback and opinions through reviews, polls, and surveys. Allowing them to have their say helps build trust and confidence in your current customers, which is evident to potential consumers, ultimately increasing your visibility and your revenue.

Even if you are receiving responses from fans, how can you know it’s enough to call your social media campaign a success? Tracking tools will help you visualize the volume of conversations occurring on social media. For example, Facebook Insights is provided for free to all business page admins. It not only shows you how many interactions your Facebook posts get, but when your page fans are most likely to see them. Similar tools like Pinterest Web Analytics and Tweriod exist for other social networks.

Increase Conversion with Quality Conversation

Social media, like it or not, is here to stay. Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram are among the most important tools your company can use to increase its visibility in the electronic marketplace – and to gain and retain customers. If you want to boost web traffic to your site, engage customers and clients, and expand your business exponentially, it’s time to dip your toes into social media and test the waters of online interaction.

Now you know where your business needs to be in the world of social media, and you have tools to measure how engaged your audience is. But, what about the bottom line – is all of that talk adding up to sales? Tracking ROI can be difficult because each fan follows a unique path from your social media pages: jumping to your blog, becoming a newsletter subscriber, downloading your app, or heading straight to your store.

To follow all those leads from LinkedIn, Twitter, and more, a tool like Oktopost provides an overview to see which platforms and messages are your biggest earners. After you can assess that – either on your own or with a digital marketing pro – you’ll be able to spend your social media time more wisely to further bump up your conversion rate.

Technology Trend: Ecommerce Moves to Mcommerce

As traditional methods of doing business are falling by the wayside, the survival and success of any company depends on its ability to adapt to, and dominate, the electronic market. According to estimates set forth by the International Data Corporation (IDC), revenue from electronic sales will grow at nearly 19% through 2017, which translates to billions of dollars. So, how can you get a slice of the pie?

Make Your Customers Happy

While cash registers are being traded for web transactions, it is important to remember that humans are behind the screens on both ends – seller and buyer. My belief is that even in today’s highly technological society, developing a personal connection with clients does wonders for a business. In fact, creating an innovative, entertaining, and memorable user experience is an essential driver of your company’s digital growth.

Some of the simplest aspects of user experience are often overlooked. Make it quick and easy for clients to select, purchase, and return products. They should be able to research and select items from a multitude of electronic devices, including computers, phones, and tablets. If you feel overwhelmed by the demands of the online marketplace, hiring a marketing consultant can help you make your company as accessible as possible on the web.

Jump on the Mcommerce Bandwagon

Mcommerce Bandwagon

                                         Source: eMarketer, September 2013

Mobile commerce, or mcommerce, is expanding at a rapid pace. While mcommerce has facilitated sales year-round, it has been especially effective for retailers during the holiday season. According to IBM, mobile shopping boosted total sales by 42% over Black Friday weekend in 2012. Getting involved in selling products on the mobile market is a good way to increase your company’s visibility and bring in more revenue.

Part of the success of the mcommerce movement is driven by social media. If your customers and clients are all connected to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media, you should be too! These networks are fast and effective ways to spread the word about your products, services, and unique offers.

Be There in Times of Need 

One key component of an increased market presence is making sure to follow up and follow through. That means being attentive to customers’ wants, needs, and demands. Many customers submit queries and inquiries through mobile devices, and you will need to offer complete device support to keep them satisfied.

How can you know what your customers need and if your business is satisfying their expectations? First, take a look at how many visitors are coming from mobile devices. If your customers don’t find your online store easy to browse from a smartphone or tablet, your business is falling behind the curve – and fast. According to ShopVisible, smartphones and tablets accounted for 30% of all e-commerce traffic in 2013.

There are other e-commerce metrics to measure your store’s success as compared to the rest of the online marketplace. If your online storefront is fulfilling customer needs, you’ll see a low cart abandonment rate, healthy average order size (in part thanks to add-on purchases), and a steady increase in value per visit, which is your sales revenue divided by number of visitors.

Think Outside the Store Window

As you are looking to enhance your online presence, a little SEO can go a long way. Several studies indicate that the higher ranked your company is, the more chances you will have of being seen. So how can you increase your rankings? With creativity and innovation. Enhance product visibility with videos, interactive applications, customer reviews or polls, and other engaging and informative methods.

The more accessible and readily available you make your products, the more likely you are to achieve your sales targets. It’s recommended to use multiple shopping channels, including at least one available through a mobile app, so your customers don’t have to jump through hoops.

One major advantage over a brick-and-mortar retail setting is it’s easy to check your e-store statistics to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses. E-commerce analytics tracking includes regular monitoring of how shoppers navigate the homepage, how long they take to complete the checkout process (if they even do!), through which channels they’re finding your storefront, and what happens when shoppers run search inquiries of your inventory.

Offer and Express Value

Immediate value like incentives and rewards will attract and retain customers. By offering giveaways, freebies, samples, discounts, and limited-time deals, you will keep your customers coming back for more. Once you’ve offered value on the front end, use customer loyalty programs to express how grateful you are.

As they continue to purchase your products, your company will in turn continue to profit, all the while building a meaningful relationship. Once customers feel comfortable and confident interacting with your ecommerce company, they will start recommending your online store to friends, family, and coworkers – sharing the value they’ve found with others. Make it easy for them to spread the word by integrating social media into your online storefront, and soon enough smartphones and tablets will be used worldwide to add your wares to customers’ cart.

Mcommerce Survey
                                                        Source: GetElastic.com

Ecommerce has the potential to help your business steal the e-spotlight. With just a few exceptional tricks and techniques, like ensuring your online store is mcommerce-ready, embracing creativity, and offering value to keep your loyal buyers happy, you will soon realize how many more opportunities ecommerce provides for you to grow your sales and build a successful brand.