Beneficial Benchmarking: The Advantages of Comparing Your Business to Others

Many business owners might not even know what benchmarking is. That’s a problem because benchmarking can actually really help your business. So, what is it? It’s when your business looks at data from the wider market. It allows to find out where your business stands in relation to the other businesses that offer similar services or products. The reason for the doing this is to identify how the business is doing compared to others and what should be changed next.

It’s a healthy and positive process, and more business owners should consider doing it. You might not see comparing your business to others as positive. But, remember, this is not about comparing your business to other specific cases. It’s actually about comparing your business to averages and industry norms. You want to be doing better than average, not worse, so it makes sense to look at this data. There are all kinds of advantages that can come about as a result of partaking in benchmarking. Keep reading to learn all about them and what they could mean for your company.

beneficial-benchmarking

Set Expectations and Goals

By looking at what the standards and norms are within your industry, you can set expectations and goals. This is something that you really need to get right if you want to make your business secure for years to come. You can set minimum goals and further goals. You need to make sure that you are at least meeting the industry norms, and, ideally, you want to do better than that. These goals and expectations should be shared with everyone in the office to ensure that everyone is on the same page. You can add incentives to encourage people to work harder at achieving those goals.

Pay Employees the Going Rate

One of the ways in which benchmarking can be used is to look at industry standards in terms of pay. Seeing how much other similar businesses pay their employees can be very useful. It allows you see what the going rate for each of your job roles is. You can then find out if you’re paying your employees more or less than the industry average. If you’re paying them more, then your wage bill might be too big. And if you’re paying less, you could run the risk of losing your employees to other companies. Salary Search – job evaluation software can help you if you want to see average industry salaries.

Improving the Quality of Products

The quality of the products you sell is what customer really care about. Once they buy from you, they don’t want to be disappointed once they get home and start using it. Designers and engineers often use benchmarking to compare their products to the designs of rival companies. Knowing exactly what the competition is doing with their products is very important indeed. If you want to get ahead of them and ultimately defeat them, you have to know what you’re up against. It’s not about stealing ideas but assessing them. When you have assessed what they’re doing, you can go one step further and better than they already have.

Increased Sales and Profits

When your products improve, you can also ensure that your business’s sales figures improve too. This is something that you have to be aware of. Every change you make should be planned out, and it should say something about what your business wants to achieve. In the end, all that really matters is how many products you sell and how wide your profit margins are. That’s what business is all about, so it’s something that you need to pay attention to as you go through the benchmarking process. This relates directly to how your products are produced and sold. But there are many other ways in which benchmarking can help improve the business.

Knowledge of How & Where the Business Must Improve

When you know what the industry standards are, you can see exactly where your business is falling behind. This might relate to your profit margins, wage bill or productivity. It doesn’t matter what it is; what matters is that you are aware of how and where your business must improve. This is the first step on the road to making your business and more competitive in the market. You can’t expect to beat the competition unless you’re keeping up with them and advancing past them in key areas. So, don’t be afraid to look carefully at your failings and at the ways in which your business doesn’t yet measure up.

Content Marketing, Content Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy

In the digital marketing world, the terms content marketing, content strategy and content marketing strategy are often used interchangeably. But, contrary to the popular conception they are not the same things. They might come close to sharing a couple of things, but their objectives and functions remain entirely exclusive to their respective fields.

The confusion and ignorance regarding the terms still exist because not many have put efforts to clarify the difference. Even the job skills required for content marketing and content strategist sometimes overlap, thus creating even more confusion.

content strategy vs content marketing

It is vital to understand the difference and importance of each term so that they can be used rightly for the maximum benefits. Foraying into the content marketing world is like going into the sea to find a one tiny thing. So, here is a basic understanding of the content marketing, content strategy and content marketing strategy:

Content Strategy

Any campaign requires planning and organizing and online campaign is no different. For a business to achieve its goal and succeed in the tough competition scenario will need a strong content strategy, which basically deals with planning, creation, delivery and controlling of the contents across the various platforms. The content includes everything from words to images to videos – anything that is needed to convey the message or provide specific information. The basic goal of the content strategy is to create contents that are meaningful, engaging and has the power to move the readers or viewers.

Your content strategy tells you what contents need to be created and why it should be created – the objective and requirements of your business or personal goals.

The goal of a content strategist is to identify how the contents of the organization can be created and used to influence people’s experience with the brand through a strategy which includes:

  • Creating a blueprint of what content you need in order to accomplish your goals.
  • Creating content plan and formats to be used
  • What style to be used across all media channels for creating a consistent brand image?
  • Using keyword research to drive content strategy

Content Marketing

Content marketing on the other hand is totally different thing even though it is a part of the content strategy when seen in the larger perspective. Like the marketing department of any organization and anywhere else, the purpose of content marketing is to deal with distribution of the content over the media and attract and retain customers through relevant contents and information sharing. It exits to improve user’s experience with the brand so that they remain loyal to it for a long time.

Content marketing uses various social media tools like the blogs, podcasts, articles, videos, infographics, email newsletters and social media post to generate interest which ultimately leads to traffic and then conversion.

Content marketing goals are:

  • Creating brand awareness across all the platforms
  • Lead generation.
  • Engagement and participation of the target audiences
  • Promoting sales
  • Customer retention and loyalty

What is the Basic Difference Between the two?

Although, at some point of time they may sound similar, there is a great difference between the content strategy and content marketing. They are both needed to create the strong online campaign that your business or client needs. The content strategy is the foundation of content marketing as it provides the basic ingredient for marketing. Yet creating a marketing strategy is totally different than content strategy as the later doesn’t actually focus on the distribution and generating leads.

Content strategy is all about producing the product or services while content marketing concerns itself with the distribution and promotion of the same product and services.

Now, where does the content marketing strategy come into play?

Now, you know what content strategy is and what content marketing is. The next part of the enigma is the content marketing strategy. Again, this term is widely used interchangeably with content strategy and content marketing.

The most interesting thing is content marketing strategy combines some of the objectives and functions of both content strategy and content marketing. Content marketing strategy lies somewhere in between the content strategy and content marketing. When the objectives of both content strategy and content marketing overlap, you have your content marketing strategy as depicted in the picture.

The Importance of knowing the difference

The only benefit of knowing the difference between this seemingly similar terms is that it helps you set the goals and that too the right one. When you understand the difference and importance of each term, you will end up with a better strategy and plan for achieving the goals.

Since, the confusion over the terms isn’t going to clear up in near future, it is important that the marketers and anyone who is interested in content marketing must be aware of such confusions.

Everything You Need to Know About Google Possum Update

Based on dozens of ranking report’s analysis, the community of SEO experts announced another massive Google algorithm update on 1st September of 2016. One of the industry experts, Phil Rozek, gave it the name “Google POSSUM update”.

So below we are going to briefly discuss what the Google possum update is.

Actually, a massive change had been noticed on September first, i.e. the variation in the ranking of Google 3 pack and local finder results (AKA the local results or Google map results).

Google Possum Update

What the Google Possum update was in fact,

After the update, industry experts noticed that there is a massive change in Google local business ranking.

According to joy Hawkins (a lead name in SEO industry’s experts),

“Google’s aim with this update was to diversify the local result and remove the duplicate and spammy businesses listing from Google’s local pack result.”

With the change in the algorithm, now Google uses a proximity test to diversify their local search, to rank the quality business lists whether you are outside the city or in the heart of the city.

Here is the perfect example of “Direct inspections”; they extremely wanted to rank for the keyword “home inspector Sarasota” but they were based in outside the city so that time because of Google’s algorithm they couldn’t rank in the list of 10 for that keyword.

Possum Update local pack

But after the possum update, their rank jumped directly 31 to 6. That is an amazing example of “Google possum update”.

Google start to filter local result on the basis of address

As we saw before, sometimes the SEPR (search engine page results) of local business contains some business with the same address. However, their website and contact information was different. So after this update, we will not see these types of spam again.

Indeed, Google updated their algorithm to list only legitimate businesses. They start to filter also on the basis of address.

It should be noted, though two businesses can use same address if their businesses are different.

Now we can determinately say that Google is now more sophisticated than before.

Now location of searcher’s also matter

It is simple to understand, let’s consider that you’re a business owner and there are several branches of your business and your head office is based in Texas. So if your one branch is based in Florida and also rank 1st for the keyword “web-development company in Florida”.

But after the possum update, if you search the same keyword from your head office i.e. Texas, then you found that your rank will down in local business page result.

Because of possum update, the local business search result page will show different pages for different searcher’s locations.

So if the searcher searches the keyword “web-development company in Florida” from Florida then he will found the same result as before.

It is highly sensitive term to change a few of keywords

Undoubtedly, that is another big effect of the Google’s possum update. So now if you’re going to search keywords with some time with small changes, then you will find the different pages for every single change.

For an instance, if someone Google for “attorney in San Diego” and “attorney in San Diego, California” then the both page result will be slightly or may be extremely different.

(5). Local listing operates independently to the organic filter

As we’ve seen before the update, local lists didn’t contain any result that linked to an organic filtered site.

It also has been seen after this update that now the list isn’t affected by linking problem with organic filtered site.

After the update, it can be easily seems that lots of businesses rank high for competitive keywords, while they are linked to the pages that are organically filtered.

Unique And Creative Ideas For Promoting Your Business

A major part of any business is advertising and marketing. You most likely know all about popular advertising methods such as SEO, commercials, and billboards. But taking unique approaches to promoting yourself can help pique people’s interest.

There are ways you can market your business that many people don’t consider. Some of these are even free, and can be an excellent way to get ahead of your competition. Here are some unique promotional ideas to consider.

creative Ideas For Promoting Your Business

Create All Kinds Of Content

The internet and all its various social media channels provide us with many ways to reach out to people. You should have a page for your business on all commonly used social media websites. Having a blog is also useful for creating text content, and this can be shared across email and social media. However, this isn’t the only kind of content that can help.

Many consumers prefer video content to text content. Offering video reviews, tutorials, or other such content related to your business can get you more customers. The best place to do this on YouTube. There are also resources to help you get views, for example, see www.myfollowersherd.com/buy-youtube-views/.

You could also post image content such as product photos and infographics on Instagram and Tumblr. Different types of content appeal to different people, so make use of all formats.

Street Marketing

Web advertising has become so prominent that many businesses forget to take their promotion to the streets. Street marketing is great in the sense that you can bring your business to people’s attention without them looking for it.

Traditional street marketing ideas include handing out flyers and renting billboards on public transport. The great thing about street marketing is you can really get creative with it. A lot of companies have painted advertisements on walls, floors or even benches. You can see some cool examples at www.widewalls.ch/10-best-street-art-ads/.

You could also use stickers. Clubs often have a sticker team to post promotional stickers on lamp posts, trees, and anywhere else people might be passing by.

QR Codes

Quick response (QR) codes are a type of barcode people can scan on their phone to direct them to a site or app. This is ideal for marketing, as you can bring people directly to your company website.

QR codes can be displayed practically anywhere. You could put them on leaflets, emails, business cards, and even t-shirts. Relating back to street marketing, you could also have stickers with your QR code for your marketing team to stick up around town.

Sponsorships And Product Placement

Big businesses often pay celebrities to use their products, or sports teams to display their logo on their kits. However, even for small businesses, there are opportunities for sponsorship and product placement.

You could turn to popular bloggers in your field and ask them to feature your product. In many cases, you may simply need to offer your product for free to get a review. Some companies sponsor people with a large Twitter or Instagram following to post about their goods or services. These methods will bring your business to the attention of a wider audience.

5 Guaranteed SEO Guidelines to Increase Rankings on Google

Your rankings on search engines determine how successful your webpage has been in reaching visitors. Higher rankings determine that the webpage has been rated helpful to the visitors in their search queries, while it boasts high quality content and shows relevancy in its niche.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vast field that deals with improving rankings given to webpages by search engines. Google keeps its algorithms a cryptic mystery but the effects of certain changes on webpages can be felt through rise or fall in rankings. This has led to development of SEO techniques.

Google deploys spiders to crawl over the website to evaluate its rankings based on over 200+ factors such as quality content, nature of content, relevancy, backlinks, domain age, internal linking, page load time, relevancy to the search term, social signals, CTR it attracts and how often it has been updated.

SEO Guidelines to Increase Rankings on Google

SEO aims to score high on the spiders’ criteria to score higher rankings. Although understanding Googles algorithms is a near impossible task, by following these easy 5 SEO guidelines you can also increase the rankings of your website.

Personal Domain and Hosting Always Helps

It doesn’t matter if you are a skilled SEO specialist or a beginner jumping into the field – always remember to have your won domain and hosting. Don’t expect free blogs to contribute for your SEO and rankings because owning your own domain and hosting acts as a symbol of your determined resolve to promote your webpage and brand and without it, you are considered somewhat an amateur. If possible register your domain for a longer period of time, say 8-10 years.

Google marks websites with genuine input and content updates as reliable and hence grants them higher rankings. Starting off your blogs with a personal domain and hosting is a strong start towards SEO efforts since it marks the start of your blog history from a personal domain and the longer it continues, the better it marks it secures on Google.

Original Content Always Wins

Search engines rank user experience as their top priority to ensure the user returns to utilize the search engine again. To achieve this, Google hunts for relevant and high quality content to display to the user for their query. If a search engine fails to deliver results according to expectations or relevance of a search query, users will be diverted towards other search engines which provide better outcomes and the said engine will be abandoned.

Content is king and decides how successful your webpage will be in the competition. Always create unique content which is helpful for the target audience and shows high quality standards for increased ratings. Such content is often shared among users and on social media which further spreads word of your webpage and earns greater rankings as Google also calculates the social media factor.

Original content is no longer limited to text as the terminology has broadened to explain a vast array of information ranging from images, videos, podcasts, plugins and tools to radio broadcasts and advertisements. By ensuring quality, your content achieves vast sharing on social media which brings greater traffic and adds to Search Engine Rankings Positions (SERPs).

Always Choose Natural Backlinks

Backlinks are links hosted by a website on their webpages which points towards another website. When it comes to them, there are certain guidelines to follow for ensuring your website benefits from backlinks and does not end up getting penalized by Google.

  • Take Care of Anchor Text: Anchor Text are the words chosen to write the backlink itself. Add keywords and avoid sounding vague or confusing in the link. Choose simple and straightforward words which explain to the user where the backlink will lead.
  • Backlink Host Reputation: The reputation of your backlink provider is critical towards deciding if the backlink will even have any effect. If the webpage is shady or serves as a spamming ground for posting backlinks, you will actually be penalized by Google even if your content was valuable.
  • Do not Purchasing Backlinks: Purchasing backlinks is the taboo of outreach since it never ends well. Googles algorithms have built in protocols to sniff out which links were purchased and which are natural. If it senses they are not natural, Google will automatically eliminate your webpage from its searches. Purchased backlinks almost always stem from spammy, disreputable webpages and have no real value. Your monetary resources, time and content will all go down the drain if you resort to such cheap tactics.
  • Quality Over Quantity: Choose to create quality content and backlinks from verified and trusted webpages to be sure your resources and efforts do not go to waste.

Sitemap for Enhanced User Experience

A relatively simple yet effective technique is to install Google Sitemap plugin which maps a complete list of your posts, webpages and content which you have published. The sitemap automatically updates data and uploads to search engines for validity and so the users are aware if new content has been added or activity has been initiated on your behalf.

Stay Active On Other Blog Discussions

Don’t just go around optimizing your content and webpage – participating in discussions on other blogs attracts traffic towards your own webpage, builds relationships with new audience and can even contribute towards securing backlinks.

Conclusion:

SEO may seem like a challenging task and in reality, it can be a daunting endeavor. These 5 friendly SEO guidelines will ensure that you refrain from committing beginner mistakes and have your webpage optimized in no time.

Komal Parveen is the CEO of Marketing Wind and is an experienced SEO Outreach expert and advertisement specialist. Her interests lie in Digital Marketing Management. She is an internet marketing enthusiast and her specialty is in search engine optimization outreach and content marketing.