Small Business Saturday has come and gone. Maybe you’re feeling the rush from all the extra customers, or maybe you’re wondering why they didn’t show up. Either way, you might be considering what you can do to increase your online presence and continue to drive sales to your small business after the shopping holidays are over.

Here are three easy digital marketing tips you can follow to set your business up for success for years to come!

1. Get your business on local listings.

If you have a brick and mortar storefront, you want people to be able to find you! Make it easy for them by getting your business published on local business listings. Most of us already know about sites like Google+, Yelp, Yahoo Local and Yellow Pages. Don’t underestimate the power of getting your listing on all available sites (check out Hubspot’s comprehensive list of review sites). While it may seem tedious, it can be worth it in the end: Some of these sites share data, and the more consistent your listings are across them, the more chances you have of ranking in a local search query on a search engine.

Still think a small business can’t make an impact on the big search engines? Consider this: More than 50% of all searches are mobile, and nearly half of mobile searches have local intent. That means that someone is actively searching for a product or service near them. If you offer what they’re looking for, that means you may have someone close by who wants something you have right now. But the search engine needs to know where you have, and what you have to offer.

2. Get social!

Those of us on Flying Cork’s content team will be the first to admit that a full social strategy isn’t exactly easy, but for a small business owner, it’s an accessible, affordable place to start. Most social platforms are free to join, and some of them offer inexpensive advertising options. On Facebook, for instance, a $100 monthly marketing budget can go a long way, whether that’s through fan growth, deal promotions or eye-catching product ads.

Because social media can be a time-consuming effort, I recommend that you start small. Pick one platform you can stick with, and plan to post consistently. When choosing your platform, think about both your product and your message. Do you want to post specials and deals, blog posts or product photos? Do you want to explain a service, start a conversation or show off product functions?

More importantly, picture your ideal customer – who are they? Are they young or old? How do you think they would want to engage with or learn about your offerings? The answers to these questions will help you find your ideal social platform.

3. Create an online review strategy.

Online reviews can have a huge impact on your business. Sure, this can lead to some negative feedback, but that gives you, the business owner, a direct opportunity to join in the conversation, learn more about your customers and immediately remedy problems you may not have been aware of otherwise.

But how do you get reviews? Help your customers help you. Make sure they’re aware of various review sites where they can find your business. Consider creating separate printouts, follow-up emails or extra information printed on receipts that point customers in the direction of review sites without outright asking for a review. Talk to your staff about a review strategy; make sure they know to direct their happy customers toward an online review.

Just make sure you’re up-to-date on guidelines for various review sites. Yelp, for instance, can be pretty unforgiving with their standards in order to keep fake reviews out of the mix. They also discourage business owners from asking for reviews.

So just remember: never pay for reviews, and never leave fake reviews for your own business. Doing so could backfire and cause potential customers to lose trust. Also, know that this can take time – you won’t get a ton of reviews overnight, and that’s fine. You’d rather have a slow, steady stream of reviews than a bunch all at once and then silence. And remember, the best way to ensure positive reviews is to consistently delivery stellar customer service.

Marketing in any form can be time-consuming and often even frustrating, especially for small business owners who have so many other things to think about. By doing a little bit at a time, you can set yourself up for a future full of success!

I’d just written an SEO report for a client who had been using an H1 tag in multiple places per page on their site—something I see fairly often—and as usual, I made sure to call this out in my report.

You should only ever have one H1 tag per page, I wrote. My normal elaboration goes like this: Think of your header tags like a topic hierarchy. The primary header, or H1, should encompass the main concept or topic of the page. H2s are subheads that support that topic. H3s are subheads that support topics under H2s, etc. Because there’s only supposed to be one topic per page, each page should only have one H1.

“But what about long-form webpages?” Aart, the creative director, asked. It wasn’t really a question. More of a challenge, really. But it got me thinking. (Mission accomplished, Aart.)

Web developments and designs are always changing. Attention spans are shortening. Pages are getting longer and fancier, with a bigger emphasis on user experience and eye-catching design. We’re trying to make it easier for the user to find what they need in fewer clicks. All those different pages that were crucial for SEO value don’t always work with contemporary designs.

Anyone who works in search engine optimization knows that it’s already pretty hard to find the right balance between SEO and UX, but how can you do it when your design dictates more than one topic on a page? How do you make solid SEO-related decisions that work with new user experiences?

Well…the truth is, you actually can use more than one H1 per page—but only if you’re “up to code,” so to speak.

First: Make sure you’re using HTML 5.

Unlike previous versions, HTML5 is equipped with the capability to code multiple sections into a webpage. Search crawlers can process these tags and understand that the content inside is unique to that section, and not necessarily pertaining to the overall topic of the page (more on that below). Older versions of HTML don’t give the same clues in a way that makes sense to a crawler in terms of optimization.

Second: You’ve gotta get your tags right.

In terms of SEO, there are two different types of HTML5 tags that can help crawlers dissect your page: <section> tags and <article> tags. When used correctly, these tags help crawlers understand that different topics exist on a single page. A <section> tag indicates that the content inside that tag relates to a single theme, and an <article> tag indicates a piece of content that could stand on its own, like a blog post or a news story.

For sections, think of it like this: you have a page about SEO Fundamentals that’s divided into three separate, robust sections about Content, Site Architecture and Link Building. You don’t want to have three separate pages about these items, so you put them all on the same page. Each is related to the main topic – SEO Fundamentals – and each topic could be considered just as important as the others. They all carry the same weight.

For articles, on the other hand, think about a blog that scrolls infinitely. In other words, when you get to the bottom of the page, more articles are loaded so you can keep on scrolling and reading. It can feature a variety of topics, from digital marketing to restaurant reviews (clearly our theoretical blog writer has a lot of diverse interests). Each one of these articles can stand on its own, away from the context of the page.

Third: Make sure you’re only using one H1 tag per section.

If you think about it, the same header tag hierarchy that you’d use for a single page also applies to a single section or article. So you’d use one H1 to capture the topic of the section; H2s to designate a subtopic of the H1; H3s to designate subtopics of H2s, etc. Just because you’re using more than one H1 per page doesn’t mean you get to escape the hierarchical logic after all!

The Final Verdict

So can you use more than one H1 tag on a page?

Yes if you can properly code out sections or articles on your page, and you’re following W3C best practices.

No if you’re using a version of HTML that predates HTML5, or if you’re using header tags to style different parts of your site rather than make a logical page structure. (Yup, it happens.)

Not sure if your site structure is up to snuff? Contact the experts at Flying Cork!

Confession: I’m a CrossFit® junkie, so I was beyond excited to watch the Reebok CrossFit Games last week. But even as I amped up my personal excitement, I started to view the Games through another lens – as a marketer. There’s no other way to say it: The CrossFit Games’ use of social media to drive engagement and heighten anticipation is masterful.

Grab some bacon. Let’s discuss.

What Did They Do?
As I was scrolling through my Instagram feed on Wednesday morning, I saw posts that athletes were told to be at a designated location at 3 a.m. True Hunger Games-style – the events weren’t supposed to start yet!  If you wanted to know what was happening, you had to watch on Facebook Live.

Over on Facebook, thousands of viewers were watching (many at the crack of dawn or earlier) as athletes sat in a hotel ballroom for close to an hour, where they were eventually given plane tickets. The destination? A surprise event that will be streamed only on Facebook.

Later that morning, 11,000 viewers were watching a live stream of people boarding an airplane. Next to paint drying, there’s nothing more boring than watching people fasten their safety belts and put their tray tables in an upright and locked position. Why are we doing this?

Because we want to be part of the action. Essentially CrossFit harnessed the power of their myriad of social profiles to drive excitement among their loyal fan base. In return, those fans reacted and replied – and those reactions were now on the friends of fans news feeds, and the message spread.

Statistics show that Facebook users have an average of 338 friends. If even 10% of those noticed their friend’s reaction to the video and clicked over to see what was going on, that’s more than 371,000 potential new fans. Those fans get intrigued by the hype, they keep watching and that enters their friends’ newsfeeds, and so on.

Streaming of the live events garnered hundreds of thousands of viewers posting and reacting to the videos. The potential for organic fan growth just from these efforts is exponentially higher than that – much higher than could likely be accomplished through a paid campaign.

Finally, long after events had ended, a video was posted that showcased footage from actual CrossFit gyms, under the title “Now it’s Your Turn.” It included a link to a map to find a local affiliate. That video was seen by more than 60,000 viewers. If only 5% of viewers’ friends considered signing on, that’s more than 1 million new members becoming active in the community.

What Does It All Mean?
Granted, this type of social marketing isn’t right for every company. But what this can show us is the importance of giving the fans you do have what they want—engaging them across your platforms with content you know they’ll enjoy.

When it comes to social media, as long as what you’re saying is on-brand for your company, it’s not really about what you want to say. It’s more about what your audience wants to hear. For the CrossFit Games, fans wanted to see as much of the action in real-time as possible, and the organizers knew it. Every social platform offers insights and analytics on what kind of content is engaging your audience. Do they want Facebook videos? Instagram photos with links to your blog? Maybe they’re driven by sponsored content on LinkedIn? What’s important is that you learn and understand what they like, and incorporate that your content strategy.

Want to learn more about growing your social presence or building a content strategy? You’ve come to the right place. Explore Flying Cork.

The Case for Needs Analysis

You may have seen it posted many times on LinkedIn; in fact, I just saw it today:

Which (marketing automation, email distribution system, etc.) system do you recommend?

People post single-word responses proclaiming solidarity with their favorites, and that’s the end of the conversation. The original poster may then take the most popular response or two, look at the price/features breakdown, discuss with some internal organization partners and make a decision.

Fast forward a few months. The system has been implemented, but it might not be exactly what that LinkedIn poster was hoping. Perhaps it doesn’t work as hoped with internal systems, or maybe there’s data that’s still not being used effectively.

It is possible to avoid buyer’s remorse, but it’s going to take some work in the form of a needs analysis.

The Why Factor

It’s obvious that there’s a hole in your organization – people are spending hours doing work that could easily be automated, thereby making them more efficient; you’re missing an opportunity to grow business with a prospect-turned-customer because you’re not tracking their journey after the sale. Whatever it is, the first key is identifying that missing piece of the puzzle.

Once you’ve figured out this part of the riddle, it’s time to start asking of your organization:

  • Why do we have this role?
  • Why do we feel that now is the time to make a change?
  • Why do we think x type of system with solve it?

Answers that Create More Questions

So great, now you have the answers to those questions, and probably have an idea of the type of system you want to implement. Now it’s time to dive into your collective final goals – what efficiencies will the newly implemented system realize, how will it enhance the customers’ experience with your company and, last but certainly not least, how will this new system increase your overall bottom line?

Then, in order to achieve these goals, it’s finally time for the needs analysis. During this step you’ll identify what feature(s) of the ideal system you’ll need to help you achieve these goals. For example, if you’re interested in marketing automation, you’ll need to describe the prospect’s entire journey to becoming a customer, and identify what touch points you need at each stage to make the transition successful. Once that sale is made, you’ll map the customer’s journey (and, again, associated touch points) to re-engagement. How will this new system touch both internal and external users, and how will those touch points trigger customer interaction back with your company?

Finally, you’re ready to begin looking at the myriad systems likely available for what you need. Sometimes you’ll know the right fit from the get go. Sometimes there’s an ideal fit but a less than ideal price, so you have to be willing to compromise. Before you reach that point, alleviate disappointment and the creation of unrealistic expectations by identifying the minimum viable requirements: What are the absolute must-haves to consider this a success, and what are the nice-to-haves that aren’t completely necessary at this stage?

Time Will Be On Your Side

It’s important to be thorough; the more information you have, the better you’ll be able to trust that you’re making the right decision. Needless to say, this is not something that can be done quickly. It takes time to conduct the various levels of analysis needed to make an informed decision. But as a wise man once told me, “You can have it fast, cheap or well done. Three choices, you get two. Choose wisely.”

You do have one more possible ace in the hole: Flying Cork. If you’re looking for a new digital marketing system, our team will become your organization’s partner, helping you identify and implement the right system for your needs.