Qiigo Named To INC. 5000 List For 6th Year In A Row

We did it again! Inc. magazine revealed last week that Qiigo has officially ranked on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

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The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.

This is the 6th consecutive year that Qiigo has been named to the Inc. 5000 list. You can view our page on the Inc. 5000 here.

Don’t forget to follow along with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Get Your Online Presence Back On Track with these Tips

The COVID pandemic has led to a sharp increase in time spent online. With so much of the world actively engaged online, your brand should not be an exception. Many brands, however, are left wondering what kinds of messages they should be sending, and how to stay relevant when nearly every brand is fighting for attention in the virtual space?

Building your online presence during a pandemic is no easy feat, but with the right tools and perspective you can develop a genuine connection with your customers that leads to increased online interaction even as consumer purchasing patterns fluctuate.

The Best Digital Marketing Strategies for Today’s Circumstances

If you’re looking for a roadmap to guide you through this unfamiliar environment, we can help. 

Here are our tips for maintaining your brand’s image and connecting with customers in the current climate of uncertainty.

Tip #1: Focus on Delivering Value

Be sure any message you send is one that contains some kind of value for the customer. With so many brands taking the “we’re in this together”, it’s no surprise that many consumers are starting to feel a little skeptical or even cynical about these kinds of messages. 

Rather than putting all of your efforts into projecting positive vibes, focus on serving your target audience in concrete ways. It’s through action, not just words, that you will build trust and retain attention.

Tip #2: Understand that Mistakes Happen 

We’re all new to this, and no one has a degree in marketing during a pandemic. If you do get started off on the wrong foot or find that your messages aren’t generating the positive reaction you hoped for, don’t be afraid to apologize. Listening to your audience and acknowledging that you’ve made an error is the best way to move forward.

Tip #3: Cater Content to Consumers’ Current Needs

Right now, it may be best to emphasize qualitative over quantitative data. You may need to focus on creating content that doesn’t necessarily generate the kind of outcomes you’re used to.

Instead of producing content meant to increase your ROI, you may want to ask yourself how you can provide consumers with a positive experience they’ll remember in more stable times. This could involve putting out some kind of “infotainment” that helps customers fill their time in a constructive way, or other types of creative content that are relevant to your industry but don’t necessarily promote your product or service outright.

Tip #4: Take Advantage of PPC Marketing

With fewer people out and about, more and more individuals have taken up residence in front of their screens. This means more Google searches and more eyeballs on pay-per-click (PPC) ads. 

If you’re not already using PPC marketing, there’s never been a better time to start. Thanks to a decrease in cost-per-click and increase in viewership, you’ll get the best bang for your buck with this digital marketing strategy.

Tip #5: Put an Emphasis on SEO

Don’t consider this lull a time to pull back on your SEO efforts. Instead, you should be optimizing your website and content on a very frequent basis to remain on the front page of Google SERPs.

Implementing local SEO strategies is also more crucial than ever as many families are sticking to their local neighborhoods for supplies and services. Local SEO can help ensure your website appears in “near me” searches and makes it easier for customers in your area to find your information. Not only can local SEO drive new customers to your business, but it can also help you be there for your community when they need you most.

Tip #6: Use Social Media for Its Intended Purpose

Connecting with others has always been the main goal of social media. Now is the time to take a moment to connect with your audience over the shared experience of the pandemic. 

There will be time for sales pitches and marketing pushes in the future. However, as we all begin to embrace a new normal, you have the chance to tap into the emotions your audience is feeling and let them know they’re not alone.

Bringing back your local audience with Social Media

As the effects of the COVID-19 shutdowns are setting in, it’s not easy for businesses to know how they can maintain a connection with their customers during this time. With more and more individuals staying home and exploring socially distancing alternatives for their normal routines and daily activities, social media has become an important outlet for both consumers and businesses. 

Along with these changes, an increasing number of people are getting more comfortable using Facebook and Instagram. They are also beginning to appreciate what an amazing tool these platforms can be.

Whether you’re currently open for business, are trying to find innovative ways to offer your products and services, or are closed for the time being, staying in touch with your target audience on social media is essential. 

Below, we’ve listed some ways that you can utilize social media as your brand faces unprecedented challenges.

Instruct

Even the CDC recognizes the power of social media for creating localized efforts in the fight against COVID-19. This government agency has released a social media toolkit with a range of templates to help businesses get the word out to their customers about practicing social distancing and other important habits to promote health and safety in the face of the pandemic.

From Facebook and Twitter message templates to creative graphics and instructive videos, this toolkit includes a wealth of resources that businesses can use free of charge as part of their social media campaigns. Most importantly, you can be confident you’re putting out reliable information when you utilize these materials to keep your customers up to date.

Inform

In addition to the larger concerns on all of our minds, there’s also an unprecedented number of questions about things that once seemed simple. Taking the initiative to answer questions relating to your business will give your customers one less thing to worry about. 

From your business’s current status of operation to changes in the way you’re delivering your services to clarifications about your policies, these informative details can be crucial in helping your customers plan their day.

Instagram Stories and Facebook Live are two great ways to keep your customer base informed. You can hold an FAQ session on either platform to answer questions that you’re frequently receiving as direct messages. As Stories can only be viewed for 24 hours after they’re posted, they’re best for providing to-the-minute updates as your business situation evolves, including notes on inventory and last-minute deals.

Facebook has also released a set of new templates to help you answer basic questions such as “Are you still taking orders?” and “Can I shop online?” These simple visual tools can be easily used to direct customers to your current purchasing options and communicate important changes in your opening hours or delivery policies.

Connect

Providing your audience with behind-the-scenes insights into what’s going on at your business as a result of the pandemic will give them a better understanding of any changes you’re having to make. You may want to illustrate how you’re addressing important issues, like social distancing, during your daily operations, or show what you’re doing to give back to your local community.

You can think of these types of posts as simply keeping in touch with your customer base, and keeping them in the loop about how your industry is being impacted by recent developments. Not only will your audience appreciate that you’re taking the time to reach out to them, but you’ll also be able to express how much you appreciate their support as you continue to meet their needs.

Engage

Starting a conversation with your customers via social media is a convenient method for getting crucial feedback on any changes you’ve implemented in your business model. In addition, it’s a good way to gain insight into how your audience is feeling overall, so you can strike the right tone with your messaging.

There are plenty of ways to engage with your customers on social media. For feedback on specific issues, Instagram has a useful question sticker you can add to posts in your Stories. To bring your audience together as a community, try using Instagram Live for hosting events online. Be sure to post a notification well in advance of your event to ensure you have as many viewers as possible engaging at the same time.

You can also use Facebook and Instagram to promote challenges that help your customers feel part of a community. Whether the winner of the challenge receives a prize or the reward is simply the engagement in and of itself, there are plenty of ways to leverage your brand to help your audience feel less alone during these difficult times. 

The New Rules of Customer Touchpoints

Some may remember the, ‘Rule of 7’. In the past, businesses relied on roughly 7 touchpoints to drive customers and prospects down the sales funnel. In today’s marketing landscape, it takes anywhere from 13 to 20 touchpoints to convert those prospects and customers, depending on your business/industry.

 

When interacting with your customer they become the recipient of an experience involving a moment of truth. This moment of truth is filled with touchpoints and other factors involving their decision whether to return, to recommend your business to a friend or colleague, or to turn their back on your business, product, and/or website. Improving the customer experience and value of touchpoints can help your business grow.

 

The new rules of customer touchpoints are not your products or services, but how you create an experience for customers and prospects as they interact with your brand. Think about how you attract your customers through ANY interaction, such as your website, social media, newspaper ad, blog, etc. No matter how small, add it to a list.

 

Identify your business goals and cross-reference the parallels your touchpoints have with the customer’s lifecycle. Keep in mind all of the earned and paid opportunities you have. Content is King and if you have that in your back pocket, it will be easy to identify how best to engage with customers and prospects and on what platforms.

 

What many forget about the customer journey is how important it is to have a strong online presence. If you’re not integrating with things like Local Listings, Pay Per Click, SEO, etc., odds are your competitors are and you’ll be missing out on valuable touchpoints that have the potential to push your customers to their front door instead of yours.

Every customer interaction is important, but some are more critical than others. The goal here is to identify those touchpoints that are most important to both customers and the company. Once you’ve identified the weak spots in your customer experience, you’ll have a better grasp on what needs to be done to create a more positive user experience which should in turn impact customer retention, referrals, and reviews.

The “New Normal” of Buyer Behaviors

The business landscape has changed dramatically over the past couple months, leaving business owners in uncharted territory. While our world has gone virtual almost overnight due to the pandemic, the truth is that it’s been heading in that direction for a long time. 

Rather than taking a step backward, we’re hurtling forward into a new reality where consumers rely on technology and digital media in new, although not unpredictable, ways. In the face of all these changes, are you ready to show your flexibility and willingness to innovate? 

Below, we’ve outlined some of the new purchasing patterns and consumer habits you can expect to encounter as you strive to meet your customers’ needs. While challenging, this “new normal” also presents an opportunity for your business to reinvent itself, cater to customers’ changing preferences, and implement innovations that lead to improved efficiency for both your team and your clientele.

What’s Changed: Consumer Purchasing Patterns

In light of the requirements of social distancing, many customers have been forced to explore new experiences they may have eschewed in the past. It goes without saying that ordering groceries online and holding appointments through video chat are now as commonplace as sitting in a waiting room or perusing supermarket shelves once were. 

Now that consumers have experienced the convenience that these new options offer, many of them won’t want to go back to the old way of doing things.

In short, consumer preferences are changing, causing them to develop new habits that will lead to new buying patterns and expectations. Even those who do choose to go back to their old ways will be more aware of the possibilities available to them through technology. They will likely also become more comfortable with the idea of trying out new opportunities in the future. 

As the marketplace is moving online, these virtual experiences are becoming increasingly important to customers. Real-time communication with brands is now a necessity, as is a fluid purchase journey. More than ever, customers are focusing not just on the quality of the product or service they receive, but the quality of the purchase experience as a whole.

Adapting to this new baseline of consumer expectations may require different actions on the part of different businesses. Whether the crucial adaptations for your business involve streamlining your website, installing a chatbot to connect users with the right department, creating an online scheduling application, or arranging the logistics of delivery, it’s now your mission to follow through on these changes so your business can rise to the occasion.

What Hasn’t Changed: The Need to Focus on the Customer

While many things have changed, one factor will always stay the same: Your focus should remain on improving your customers’ experience with your business in every way possible. Examine each point of interaction, from initial contact to returns and reviews, and don’t overlook any opportunity you have to improve their experience.  

Although it’s easy to think of customers as a category separate from yourself as a business owner, the truth is that you’re a customer in many aspects of your life, too. You can help eliminate the ambiguity of these uncertain times by analyzing your own thoughts and actions. Ask yourself:

  • What changes are you expecting from the businesses you frequent? 
  • How have your purchasing preferences changed?
  • What patterns have become habits that will stick? 

Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes will help ensure you create an environment that will make your customers comfortable in the “new normal.”

Another thing that hasn’t changed, despite the upheaval in the market, is the importance of data and measurement. As you begin to make adjustments to your business model, implement new marketing strategies, and roll out new services, be sure to review results often and gain as much feedback as possible. Not every innovation or experiment is going to resonate with your customers, but you can’t be certain until you try.

Getting Your Business Ready For A Comeback

Undoubtedly, the last several weeks have been some of the most challenging we’ve ever faced as a nation and franchise community.  The good news is there’s light at the end of the tunnel – the pandemic is receding and discussions are well underway to begin winding back restrictions and reopening the economy in a staged approach over the next couple of weeks.  This is obviously very welcomed news for all of us from both a personal and business perspective.

Through the unprecedented times we find ourselves in, there are unique opportunities out there to both help your business adapt and prepare for coming out of this situation stronger and more successful than ever. Read below to learn more about the tools you can use now to perfect your digital marketing campaign and expand your influence online.

Make Use of Analytics

When it comes to digital marketing, data is king. Analytics (from Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, or other industry-specific brands) offer insight into your customers’ behavior that can be leveraged in a number of ways. If you’re not making use of this tool already, you’re doing your brand a disservice.

For example, you can utilize analytics to better understand which search engines people are using to get to your site. You can also determine the keywords that are producing the most hits, which can help you develop a more effective SEO strategy.

In addition, analytics can be used to find out how long customers stay on your page before clicking away, and which links they tend to follow on your site. And if you’re interested in the demographics of your customers, this tool can provide you with in-depth information about viewers’ locations.

Focus on Building Keyword-Specific Pages

While efficiency is critical in many aspects of your business, it’s not always the goal when building out your website. Rather than creating a single page for a category of products or services, take the time to build individual pages for local terms that include precise on-page optimization. This division of pages can help increase organic traffic to your site and offers more opportunities for you to create eye-catching content.

You can also build campaign-specific landing pages to minimize friction during the purchase journey. Unlike homepages, landing pages that have a clear message unburdened by distracting site navigation options tend to have a high conversion rate.

Embrace Social Media

While most of us are on some form of social media, not everyone feels quite social media savvy. When you think about putting your business on different social media platforms, you may hesitate for fear you’ll make a mistake.

However, social media is just too good of a tool to pass up. Not only is it relatively easy to use and inexpensive considering the broad audience it can reach, but it also makes it possible for you to engage with customers in a way that traditional marketing techniques simply can’t match.

With social media, the options are quite literally endless. It can be used:

  • For anonymously getting an up-close look at your competitors in order to find ways to distinguish your brand from theirs. 
  • As a platform to request feedback from customers.
  • To post minute-by-minute updates of store events, sales, and new inventory. 
  • To shine the spotlight on your hardworking employees, giving your audience the chance to make a more personal connection with your brand.

Stay Relevant with Retargeting

If a great first impression doesn’t do the trick, how about a second? With retargeting tools, you can continue to display ads to viewers even after they’ve left your site. Since retargeting can reach across multiple platforms, including social media feeds, blog posts, and different websites, viewers will be able to keep your brand in mind no matter where their internet travels take them. Finally, retargeting is the best way to keep your product or service in front of consumers’ eyes even when they aren’t actively seeking it out.

Rethinking Your Digital Marketing Through COVID-19

With the news of the impact of COVID-19 changing every day, it can be tough to grasp how all of these new changes will affect your business overall, not to mention what the situation signals for your digital marketing campaign. While there are many uncertainties that lie ahead, there are still concrete steps you can take to maintain a marketing strategy that makes sense for your brand.

In normal times, marketing is all about adaptation – to new trends, new data, and changing consumer behaviors. Now more than ever, that ability to remain fluid through changing circumstances is key.

Your team should be thinking on its feet, while also being sure that any and all decisions are made in a spirit of compassion. This is the time to invest in long-term consumer trust and loyalty, keeping your brand in a positive light throughout the ups and downs that the future holds.

Adjusting Your Digital Marketing Approach During Uncertain Times

Here are our suggestions for maintaining a strategic approach to digital marketing while navigating this uncharted territory:

Aim to pivot, not pause.

While in-store traffic is being curtailed in the wake of the pandemic, TV usage, and at-home online activity are skyrocketing. This presents an opportunity for advertisers to reach their target audience through more targeted investments in different forms of advertising. Rather than pausing your campaign altogether, you can pivot your digital marketing strategy to comprise platforms that are most relevant to the here and now. 

OTT-CTV is one example that shouldn’t be overlooked. OTT-CTV advertising combines the impact of traditional TV advertising with the precise targeting capabilities of a digital campaign, including addressable targeting, behavioral targeting, and demographic targeting. 

The use of Social Media in the United States is up 30% in recent weeks. This is the time to make sure you’re staying in front of your audience and reminding them of your services. It’s also a great way to provide thoughtful content and share supportive resources with your audience.

By taking into account how your customers’ consumption of media is changing as their daily lives are altered, you can be sure to reach them as they embrace different platforms. 

Take a leadership role.

Customers may not know how the pandemic is changing how your industry operates, and providing them with more information can help them see you as an authority in your industry. From a quick email blast to social media posts or an informative banner on your website, there are many ways to go about getting clear information out there concerning any processing changes or limitations that are affecting the way your business normally runs.

Ask the right questions.

What do customers need from your brand right now? How can you adjust your services to make them more viable as self-isolation and social distancing measures become necessary? 

Many of these questions can be difficult to answer. Make sure you’re communicating with your digital marketing partner to help you navigate the right path you should be on during these uncertain times.

Strive to stay tonally on point.

In this day and age, certain subjects, images, and types of humor aren’t going to be perceived in the same way as they would have been even just a few weeks ago. Take the initiative to reassess all aspects of your digital campaign, from keywords and copy to visuals and other creative elements, in light of the current situation. Being proactive about tweaking these aspects of your digital marketing creative now can mean the difference between running an effective campaign and running one that is seen as being tone-deaf.

Trying times often call for creative thinking and a willingness to adapt. By taking things one day at a time while also keeping an eye on what the future holds, your team can make digital marketing decisions that give your customers confidence, shine a positive light on your brand, and help make the future a little brighter. 

Perfecting Your Online Credibility With These Digital Marketing Tips

Local SEO can be a tough nut to crack for most businesses. Those with multiple locations have an even greater challenge to tackle! Whether you operate a chain of local businesses or a franchise with locations across the country, it’s crucial you take the steps needed to provide each and every one of your storefronts with plenty of online visibility.

In fact, boosting the online credibility of your businesses can have a huge impact on your conversion rates. Consumers are using their mobile devices to find information about local stores with increasing frequency. The better your online visibility and credibility, the more likely you are to attract customers you may not reach through traditional marketing methods.

Our Guide to Boosting Online Credibility

Putting all these steps together may take some time, and won’t result in overnight success. However, building credibility is a process that’s well worth the effort. Here are some easy steps you can take to promote the visibility of your locations.

Location Based Web Pages

Build location-based web pages

If you have numerous locations, creating a single website isn’t going to benefit your brand as much as multiple, location-based web pages will. Having dedicated pages for each of your locations enables you to optimize your online presence for local searches. Just remember that your location pages can’t be identical—unique content is key. In addition, each page needs to include local business schema specific to the individual location.

After designing individual web pages for each of your locations, you can develop their Google My Business listings. Each listing should like to that location’s URL. 

In order to create separate listings for each location, you’ll have to get them verified by Google. This entails waiting to receive a code by mail to corroborate the location-specific details, as well as taking and posting location-specific photos.

It’s also important to choose the right category when developing your Google My Business listings. Ensure that each location is listed under the same category, and avoid selecting categories that are too broad. 

While this step is easy to overlook in the process of creating your listings, it’s actually crucial for you to select the most accurate category to safeguard your appearance in relevant local search results.

Inconsistencies in your business citations across various channels, such as Yelp, Google, and Yahoo Local, can cause major problems for your SEO efforts and make it harder to attract locals to your storefront. What’s most important is that your business’s NAP—shorthand for name, address, and phone number—stays the same from channel to channel. Google recognizes consistency in this area as credibility; any discrepancies may cause you to be pulled from aggregator sites.

Location-specific reviews are a huge factor in boosting the credibility of your business. Consumers often place the same level of trust in online reviews as they do recommendations from people they’ve met in person, making reviews a signal of legitimacy. Plus, reviews are now a prominent feature in online search results, meaning they’ll be one of the first things people see when they search for your business location.

Of course, there is a downside to encouraging customers to review each of your locations: you open yourself up to the possibility of receiving negative reviews. Be prepared to draft a thorough and professional response to any neutral or negative reviews that appear so that you can make the most of this opportunity to leave a positive impression on potential customers.

Businesses with multiple locations can utilize backlinks to increase their online legitimacy. One of the best ways to do this is to partner with local entities such as Chambers of Commerce, charities, and other local organizations whose links to your pages can bolster your standing as a fixture in your community.

While maintaining an appearance in local search results is essential, it has also become crucial for local businesses to promote their presence on social media platforms. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can use networks like Facebook and Twitter to connect with consumers in your community and remain relevant in the minds of previous and potential customers. Creating a listing for each location on these platforms and posting fresh and engaging content will only help support your online credibility.

Qiigo Named Top Marketing Company In Atlanta

For the 4th consecutive year, Qiigo has been named one of the top companies in Atlanta by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. We’re excited to announce that we came in #12, a jump from the #21 spot we secured in 2019.

The see the entire list of winners, click here.

The Real Benefits of a Paid Search Engine Marketing Strategy

With such a wide array of digital advertising options out there to try, you may not know where to begin when it comes to formulating a digital marketing strategy that makes sense for your business and budget. Paid search engine marketing is one often-overlooked route that can help you reach your target audience and boost your marketing ROI.

Read on to learn about some of the benefits that come along with this dynamic marketing technique.

Why Try Paid Search?

One of the biggest players in paid search, and the one you’ve surely heard of, is Google with their easy-to-use Google Ads platform. However, there are plenty of others to look into, including Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, and LinkedIn Ads. YouTube, Yahoo, and Bing also offer their own paid search channels.

If you’re not already using paid search advertising, also known as pay-per-click (PPC), you may be missing out on both traffic and revenue. Here are just a few of the benefits of giving PPC a go:

You’ll Reach the Right Customers

With paid search, improving your market saturation is simple. These ads increase brand recognition, as they place your business in front of high-quality leads in a natural manner. Most importantly, you get to decide who sees your ads and when this exposure occurs. 

It’s also possible to target a specific geographic area so that your ads are most relevant. While many traditional marketing strategies waste time struggling to capture the attention of a large audience in hopes of landing a handful of leads, paid search eliminates wasted effort by ensuring you only reach out to a specific group of people.

You’ll Bolster Your Image

Some of the biggest companies in the world make use of paid search, meaning viewers recognize these ads as being used by credible brands. This type of advertising can help underscore your brand’s credibility and convey the right message to potential customers.

You’ll Take Advantage of a Great ROI

Of the full spectrum of digital marketing methods, paid search has one of the strongest ROI when implemented correctly. Of course, in order to take advantage of this benefit, you’ll need to spend some time optimizing your campaign for keyword relevancy, engaging copy, and precise demographic targeting.

You Can Combine It with Other Marketing Channels

PPC works especially well with SEO, meaning you’ll find that your SEO efforts are reinforced by your decision to invest in paid search. After all, the two digital marketing strategies both target people who are using a search engine to discover products and services. Plus, data from PPC regarding conversions, clicks, and impressions can provide you with valuable insight on what keywords to prioritize through SEO.

You’ll Have Access to a Range of Targeting Options

PPC enables you to take a multifaceted approach to digital marketing. You can try a mix of text ads, remarketing, and pinpointing specific audience demographics to ensure you’re getting the full benefit of this tool and the optimal number of impressions for your efforts.

How to Manage Your Paid Search Campaign

While setting up a paid search campaign is easy, it does require a little maintenance in order to run effectively. It’s important to take stock of the results of the campaign on a regular basis and to make adjustments to your marketing tactics based on these measurements. Without these check-ins, you simply can’t expect to realize the full potential of your paid search strategy.

Cost per conversion (CPC) is an especially significant number that you’ll want to pay attention to as you find the sweet spot for your digital marketing campaign. This number signifies how much it costs to convert a viewer through PPC. By comparing the conversion rate of a few different ads, you can make educated decisions to reduce the CPC and ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

It’s also crucial to remember that click-through rates aren’t the only signifiers of the success of your ads. If people arrive on your homepage but don’t stick around, then you have some work to do. Establishing a solid landing page with engaging content and a compelling call-to-action is just as important for boosting conversion rates.