Cold Email Marketing A Powerful Lead Generation Strategy

In the dynamic realm of digital marketing, where competition is fierce and attention spans are fleeting, finding innovative ways to generate leads is crucial for business success. Cold email marketing has emerged as a powerful and often underestimated strategy for acquiring new leads, fostering relationships, and driving revenue. In this article, we delve into the reasons why your business should embrace cold email marketing as a key component of your lead generation arsenal.

1. Direct Access to Your Target Audience:
Cold email marketing provides a direct and unobtrusive way to reach your target audience. Unlike other marketing channels where your message competes for attention, emails land directly in your prospect’s inbox. Crafting compelling subject lines and personalized content ensures that your emails stand out and grab the recipient’s attention, offering a valuable opportunity to make a meaningful connection.

2. Cost-Effective Lead Generation:
For businesses operating on a budget, cold email marketing presents a cost-effective alternative to traditional advertising and outbound marketing strategies. With minimal upfront costs and no need for expensive ad space, businesses can execute targeted email campaigns at a fraction of the cost, making it an ideal choice for startups and small enterprises looking to maximize their return on investment.

3. Scalability and Efficiency:
Cold email marketing allows for easy scalability. Whether you’re a burgeoning startup or an established enterprise, you can tailor your cold email campaigns to suit the size of your target audience. Automation tools enable the efficient scheduling and sending of emails to a large number of prospects, saving time and resources while maintaining a personalized touch through segmentation and customization.

4. Data-Driven Decision Making:
The beauty of cold email marketing lies in its measurability. Analytics provide insights into key metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. This data allows businesses to track the performance of their campaigns, identify what works, and refine their strategies accordingly. The ability to make data-driven decisions ensures continuous optimization, leading to more effective lead generation over time.

5. Personalization for Greater Impact:
The success of cold email marketing hinges on the ability to personalize your messages. By leveraging data about your prospects, you can tailor your emails to address their specific needs, pain points, and interests. Personalization goes beyond just using the recipient’s name; it involves crafting content that resonates with their challenges and aspirations, significantly increasing the likelihood of engagement.

6. Building Relationships and Trust:
Cold email marketing, when executed thoughtfully, is not just about making a sale; it’s about building relationships. Consistent and relevant communication fosters trust over time. By providing value through informative content, industry insights, or exclusive offers, businesses can position themselves as valuable resources rather than mere service providers, ultimately leading to stronger, long-lasting relationships with leads.

7. Targeting Niche Markets:
Cold email marketing enables businesses to target specific niches with precision. Whether you’re aiming to connect with a particular industry, geography, or demographic, cold emails allow you to tailor your messaging to resonate with the unique needs and challenges of that niche. This focused approach increases the relevance of your communication, making it more likely that your message will resonate with the recipients.

8. Overcoming Geographical Barriers:
For businesses with global aspirations, cold email marketing is a game-changer. It transcends geographical barriers, allowing you to reach prospects in different corners of the world. This global reach opens up new opportunities for expansion and growth, providing access to markets that may have been challenging to tap into through traditional means.

9. Immediate Response and Feedback:
Cold email marketing facilitates swift communication and immediate responses. Prospects can reply to emails, ask questions, or express interest in real-time. This instant feedback loop is invaluable for businesses, allowing them to gauge the effectiveness of their messaging and adapt their approach based on the responses received.

10. Adaptability in Changing Markets:
In today’s fast-paced business landscape, adaptability is key to survival. Cold email marketing allows businesses to pivot quickly and adjust their messaging based on market trends, customer feedback, or changes in the competitive landscape. This flexibility ensures that your lead generation efforts remain relevant and effective in the face of evolving market dynamics.

In conclusion, cold email marketing is a dynamic and adaptable strategy that holds immense potential for lead generation. When executed strategically, it provides businesses with direct access to their target audience, cost-effective scalability, and the ability to build meaningful relationships. By leveraging the power of personalization, data-driven insights, and efficient automation, businesses can unlock the full potential of cold email marketing as a driving force behind their lead generation efforts. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, embracing the art and science of cold email marketing can be a transformative step towards sustained business growth.

Website redesign SEO checklist: Retaining and improving SEO

A new website should be an opportunity to improve SEO, conversion rates and digital marketing as a whole. Unfortunately, it can also be an SEO disaster if not carefully managed. This is a website redesign seo checklist.

This article outlines the main areas you must consider when redesigning a website to ensure you retain (and improve) your SEO.

A cautionary tale

Maintaining traffic during a redesign can be tricky.

Google’s John Mueller was asked if there is a way to prevent traffic loss during a redesign, and he had a strong, simple answer – no.

Website redesign SEO checklist

During my career, I have seen many new, expensive, mission-critical websites that have wholly decimated important and profitable organic traffic.

However, one project has always stuck with me among the many horror stories.

The website was for a small multiple sclerosis (MS) charity. The charity promoted a natural approach to helping with MS and, as such, was not well-funded.

The site had gradually built organic traffic over several years but desperately needed a visual overhaul.

After a protracted website redesign involving two companies over 12 months, the new site finally launched. Everyone was super excited about taking things to the next level.

And then this happened:

Website redesign SEO checklist

Organic traffic dropped by over 90%. 

This was not simple turbulence – the traffic stayed low.

Excitement turned into panic.

After a month of waiting for things to improve and receiving no support from either of the web design agencies involved, we got the call and took it on as a pro bono project.

To try and resolve these issues after the fact is difficult.

It is hard enough if you consider your organic traffic from the outset – but to try and reverse engineer the problems is far more difficult.

Where SEO has not been considered, any number of problems may make recovering traffic problematic.

Fortunately, with much pain, wailing and gnashing of teeth, we recovered around 90% of the traffic. But it was painful for all involved.

Two years later, we helped architect a new site and weave SEO into the website planning, enabling the charity to supersede historic organic traffic.

With this site, we were careful to establish clear SEO goals and track SEO KPIs, so we understood what worked and used that to inform the website planning.

The SEO website redesign takeaway is simple – failing to plan is planning to fail. 

SEO and website redesign: The basics

Maintaining (and ideally improving) your rankings and organic traffic during a redesign has three key components:

  • An understanding of what works currently with your SEO.
  • Knowledge of common issues that crop up with a redesign.
  • A detailed plan of what will change on the new site.

My advice would always be to aim high. Don’t just try to retain traffic. Look to improve it. Research to understand both your SEO strengths and weaknesses. 

Let us look at each of these areas in more detail.

What works currently

If you are running SEO campaigns, you should (hopefully) have a good idea of what is working currently: keywords and topics that rank, pages that bring in organic traffic and any other organic visibility.

By clearly documenting what works, you can ensure this is factored into the design and planning for the new website – you can’t rank for something that is no longer there!

Common issues

There are many reasons for a site redesign, and this can be as much to do with branding and technology as it can be with traffic and lead generation.

Things that typically can change or be problematic for SEO during a redesign include:

  • Content can be removed. (It won’t rank if it is not there!)
  • Content can be changed.
  • Content may move within the site’s hierarchy.
  • URLs may change.
  • Page-level optimization may change.
  • New content can be added.
  • New sections can be added to the site.
  • New technology or features may be used.
  • New technical issues can be introduced.
  • Internal link structure could change.
  • The domain name may change.
  • The subdomain may change.
  • The protocol may change.

Any of the above can cause issues with your SEO. And if there are multiple issues, such as content changing and being moved to a new URL, then it gets harder to diagnose the root cause of problems.

Multiple issues can multiply your SEO problems. Changing your website’s domain, hosting, CMS and architecture in one go? This will multiply the likelihood of SEO problems.

Have this conversation with the team so you can balance the desire for change with the need to retain and improve organic traffic. Remember, you don’t need to do everything at once in most cases, so minimize the variables.

Ensure that during all website planning discussions, an SEO stakeholder is involved and armed with information on what works and must be factored into the new site.

Get SEO in at the planning stage – don’t try to fix things when development has started.

What will change with the redesign?

Armed with a knowledge of what works and what can go wrong, you can review the goals for the new site.

Two key SEO goals should be:

  • To preserve the existing rankings and traffic.
  • To improve the rankings and traffic.

Ideally, you will have a complete sitemap for the new site that you can use to compare against the existing site and create mappings for URL moves.

Website redesign SEO checklist

Fortunately, with some preplanning, avoiding SEO disasters and maintaining SEO during a website redesign is pretty straightforward. Website redesign SEO checklist.

Following the stages in this website redesign SEO checklist will ensure you preserve your precious SEO rankings and traffic.

1. Keep the old site live

Keep the old site live on a private web address if you can. Make sure a crawler can’t access the site.

Some HTTP authentication is best, but having the old site to refer to when you hit a snag can be a godsend.

Some or part of the site will often be on the web archive, but having the real thing is way better.

2. Save crawl data

Save a crawl of the old site, even if you have the site on a temp URL. Screaming Frog is great for this, and again, you can load up the old site crawl if you need to do any analysis.

3. Don’t fix what is not broken

Keep things the same where you can – particularly URLs. If you can keep the URL structure and page names the same, there is way less that can go wrong.

If you have to make changes, so be it. But make sure they are warranted for the greater good, not just done for the heck of it.

Remember, you don’t need to keep things that are not working.

4. Set up 301 redirects

Redirecting old URLs to new ones should be the first job on your list. If possible, keep content on the duplicate URLs when redesigning a site.

For instance, a WordPress or Shopify redesign can keep the same URL structure. This is desirable. If not, you will want a spreadsheet of all URLs on the old and new sites to implement and test your 301 redirects.

When the new site is live, you will want to crawl the old list of URLs (another time that saved crawl comes in handy) to ensure everything 301 redirects correctly.

5. Maintain your content

Where you have content that performs well, you’ll want to minimize changes (or improve it).

There will be plenty of opportunities to tweak your content in its new home after it is indexed and ranked, but for now, aim to minimize the variables of change.

6. Optimize for on-page elements

Crawling your old site will allow you to easily export all key on-page elements: page titles, meta descriptions, headers, etc.

Where the site is well optimized, keep these elements the same.

Document your backlinks and where URL changes are made. Attempt to update these links – research in Google Search Console and the typical link index tools.

Once you have a list, contact the website managers to update these where possible. You should have a 301 in place, so don’t lose any sleep over this, but updated backlinks can help get the new site indexed and ranking quickly.

Be mindful of any changes to the internal link structure. Again, your historic crawl data can be helpful here.

If you have pages that had thousands of internal links previously but are now barely linked, then this can impact the rankings for that page.

9. Update your XML sitemap

Update your XML sitemap and submit it to Google and Bing.

We want our 301s, page structure, navigation and XML sitemap to align and indicate the new site structure to help search engines understand the changes quickly.

10. Monitor rankings

You can expect some fluctuations, but you should be back at a baseline within a month or so of launch (ideally sooner).

If you have issues, investigate them now to identify and resolve them. Sometimes, with more significant sites, it can take longer for deeper pages to be recrawled, so be mindful of this. Website redesign SEO checklist.

11. Monitor organic traffic

For larger sites, you can never rank-track every possible keyword that drives traffic, so also monitor traffic to key pages to ensure you see improvements.

You can compare a simple before and after using Google Search Console that will clearly document any drops so you can take action.

12. Do a technical site audit

Ideally, use a technical site audit tool to provide proactive information on any technical issues.

13. Use Google Search Console

Google Search Console keeps improving and will give you diagnostic information directly from Google. Here you can track:

  • Indexing.
  • Sitemaps.
  • Page experience.
  • Mobile usability.
  • Products.
  • Enhancements.
  • Links.

If you have problems, the information here can help you track and remediate them. Website redesign SEO checklist. 

Retain and improve your SEO during a redesign

The crucial factor here is planning.

New websites fail in many ways, but always due to a lack of diligent planning.

SEO failures in website redesigns are, in our experience, nearly always down to a lack of planning and a clear and well-articulated SEO plan for the new site. 

Ensure that SEO is factored into the website redesign process, and you can launch your new site confidently.

How to calculate your SEO ROI

 

2023-08-24_22-18-40

Why use a CRM

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is a software tool designed to help businesses manage and optimize their interactions with customers and potential customers throughout the entire customer lifecycle. There are several reasons why businesses use CRM systems:

1. **Centralized Customer Data**: CRM systems store and organize customer information in a central database. This allows businesses to have a holistic view of their customers, including contact details, purchase history, interactions, preferences, and more. Having all this information in one place enables better decision-making and personalized communication.

2. **Improved Customer Service**: CRM systems facilitate better customer service by providing quick access to customer information. When a customer contacts the company, the support team can easily retrieve relevant information, understand the customer's history, and provide more tailored assistance, leading to a better customer experience.

3. **Sales and Lead Management**: CRM systems help sales teams manage leads, track sales opportunities, and forecast revenue. By capturing interactions with leads and customers, businesses can better understand their sales pipeline, identify potential bottlenecks, and make data-driven decisions to improve sales processes.

4. **Marketing Automation**: CRM systems often integrate with marketing automation tools. This integration allows businesses to create targeted marketing campaigns, segment their audience, and send personalized messages based on customer behavior and preferences.

5. **Data Analysis and Reporting**: CRM systems offer reporting and analytics features that provide insights into customer behavior, sales trends, and overall business performance. This data-driven approach helps businesses make informed decisions and adjust their strategies as needed.

6. **Task and Time Management**: CRM systems can help teams manage tasks, appointments, and follow-ups. This ensures that important interactions with customers are not overlooked and helps maintain a consistent and organized approach to customer interactions.

7. **Enhanced Collaboration**: CRM systems often have collaboration features that enable different teams within an organization (sales, marketing, customer service) to work together seamlessly by sharing customer information, notes, and updates.

8. **Customer Segmentation and Personalization**: By categorizing customers into segments based on their behaviors and preferences, businesses can create personalized marketing messages and offers, increasing the chances of engagement and conversion.

9. **Customer Retention and Loyalty**: A CRM system can help track customer interactions, enabling businesses to proactively address concerns, provide timely support, and build stronger relationships. Satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat buyers and advocates for the brand.

10. **Scalability and Growth**: As a business expands, managing customer relationships manually becomes challenging. A CRM system provides a scalable solution that can accommodate larger volumes of customer data and interactions without sacrificing quality.

In essence, a CRM system streamlines and optimizes customer-related processes, leading to improved customer satisfaction, increased sales, and more efficient internal operations. It allows businesses to build stronger, more personalized relationships with their customers, which ultimately contributes to long-term success.

Team Debello's custom configured CRM platform is called Magnetic-Leads and has all the tools and integrations you need for marketing, sales, content management, and analytics reporting. Each product in the platform is powerful alone, but the real magic happens when you use them together.

These 5 ways can help improve your PPC lead quality

Online leads are not all equal. The quality of those leads ultimately matters in driving meaningful business outcomes.

Focusing on high-quality leads in your PPC campaigns increases your return on investment for your marketing dollars.

Additionally, improving lead quality allows salespeople to focus on more promising opportunities, streamline their sales process, and cultivate a loyal customer base.

Here are the tools and strategies you can employ to drive better leads and more ideal customers to your doorstep:

Key 1: Teach Google what a good lead looks like

Google’s ad bidding algorithm is a sophisticated system determining whom to target and how much to pay for a click.

The algorithm considers many factors, such as the bid, the ad and landing page quality, the expected click-through rate, and other historical performance data.

The better quality data you can provide to Google, the better the algorithms will do your bidding (literally).

You can do this by providing Google the following:

  • Clean conversion tracking, depending on what clean means for you.
  • Customer lists that are filtered for your highest-quality customers while meeting the 1,000-user threshold.
  • Conversion values for designating more highly profitable leads from others.

Positive feedback loops

Algorithms like Google’s ad bidding system are designed to continuously improve performance by leveraging a feedback loop. This loop allows the algorithm to learn from past decisions and adjust its strategies for better outcomes.

When the algorithm receives accurate and high-quality initial inputs, it establishes a strong foundation for this learning process. The algorithm can make increasingly precise bidding decisions as it refines its understanding of user behaviors and preferences.

Fueled by the right inputs, this positive feedback loop results in more accurate learnings and better bidding decisions, enhancing campaign effectiveness and improving return on investment.

Key 2: Don’t neglect offline conversion tracking

One of the best practices for improving your PPC lead quality is offline conversion tracking or Enhanced Conversions for Leads.

Offline conversion tracking in Google Ads lets you link online ad interactions with offline actions, like in-store purchases or phone orders.

Doing so better informs Google’s bidding algorithms on what and who to optimize for increased profits and offline sales.

Here’s how it works:

High-quality lead data curation

Compile your online leads that generated revenue offline with an average volume of 30 or more per month and an average lag of 90 days or less.

Consider creating a database of all of the high-quality leads generated, whether they purchased or not. This is recommended because we aim to inform Google of the ideal lead candidates and to generate more of these, whether they become customers or not.

Integration with CRM or database

Next, integrate your offline data with Google Ads. This can be done by collecting and associating a Google Click ID (GCLID) with your leads.

Alternatively, consider using Enhanced Conversions for Leads for less technical and more streamlined implementation.

Ideally, you will have an automatic upload of this data into Google Ads regularly. If you use Salesforce or HubSpot, Google Ads has an easy and direct integration for uploading these offline sales conversions.

Attribution and reporting

Once Google matches the lead with the originating click ID, it can attribute the ads, keywords, campaigns, etc., that drive these valuable offline actions.

You can see reporting on the associated metrics like conversion value, conversion rate, and return on ad spend (ROAS).

Identify optimization opportunities

This data lets you understand which keywords, ads, or campaigns drive the most valuable offline conversions.

These insights will help you to make informed decisions about budget allocation, keywords, ad creatives, and targeting to optimize your campaigns.

Google Ads conversion tracking

Key 3: Exclude low-quality lead sources

Once you can identify what is generating your best-quality leads, you want to use these insights to pull spending away from your low-quality lead sources.

Audience demographics such as age and household income levels will come to light.

For example, you could discover that conversions are from 18- to 24-year-olds but not revenue. Use this discovery to exclude those age demographics from accruing ad spending in your campaigns.

Placement exclusions

Regularly check your placements report for low-quality websites, apps, and YouTube channels where your ads showed.

This can be tedious, but it will allow you to exclude placements that do not align with your brand or match your targeting. This is a great strategy to exclude low-quality lead sources.

Google Ads placement exclusions

Turn off demographics expansion

If you use demographic exclusions to improve lead quality, it is crucial to understand that Video Action campaigns using optimized targeting will ignore these exclusions.

Be sure to submit a request to your Google rep for whitelisting to turn off the demographics expansion.


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Key 4: Attract high-quality leads who want to do business with you.

How good is your brand at attracting your ideal prospects, and does this high-caliber lead want to work with you?

If you’re facing challenges in attracting quality leads to your brand or would like to improve overall, start by evaluating and enhancing your brand strategy.

Consider refreshing your brand identity, including your website, ads, logos, and colors. Be sure these are all effectively resonating with your desired customers.

Revisit your target audience and ensure your brand’s messaging aligns with their preferences and needs. Clarify your value proposition, highlighting how your brand addresses users’ specific problems.

Last, embrace personalization to connect with different segments of your audience and resonate more deeply.

Examples include personalized landing pages, dynamic website content based on the visitor’s preferences and behavior-based retargeting ads.

Key 5: Disqualify leads before they reach a salesperson

I learned this from Perry Marshall, who has a story from John Paul Mendocha about “racking the shotgun,” and it’s about applying the 80/20 rule to your prospecting.

Ideally, you would disqualify folks before they click on your ad, costing you money. You can apply these other techniques after excluding your low-quality lead sources.

Use price as a disqualifier

Some prospecting strategies include concealing the price. I recommend using it as a disqualifier. You will likely prevent the leads from entering your funnel who cannot afford what you offer.

Disqualify leads with your online form

If displaying your price doesn’t make sense, use your online form to ask a qualifying question about the budget or how much they plan to invest. Doing so allows you to route leads with more profitable follow-up tactics based on their response.

Urgency is another qualifier that can be asked online, such as how significant is this problem they are trying to solve? One way would be to ask for their timeframe.

Alternatively, they can rank the importance of finding a solution from one to five.

Disqualify leads over chat

Similarly to the online form, use chat to help disqualify potential leads just as much as you would try to convert them. Ask the same qualifying questions to identify if your solution doesn’t fit their needs.

Bonus key: Get targeting feedback directly from salespeople

One bonus point for improving your PPC lead quality is getting targeted feedback directly from salespeople.

As PPC marketers, we tend to work in a black box. Getting insights directly from salespeople can help inform our targeting and exclusion strategies.

Not only can this make our direct campaigns more profitable, but sending through more highly qualified leads improves the results for the salespeople, increases retention, enhances your brand reputation, and reduces wasted resources.

Increase lead quality to increase your resources

Improving lead quality can significantly impact a business across various aspects. This impact will be more significant if most of your leads come from PPC sources.

Ultimately, focusing on lead quality can lead to more efficient resource allocation, better customer relationships, increased conversion rates, higher revenue and overall business success.

7 Email Design Best Practices for 2023 – Email Marketing

Let’s talk email marketing – We’ve put together a list of our favorite email design best practices to help you increase open rates, drive conversions, and grow your customer base in 2023.

Research shows that in 2019, roughly 294 billion emails were sent worldwide every day. That figure is expected to reach 347 billion by 2023.

Yet many of these emails remain unread, or even worse – unopened. They get marked as spam, deleted, or completely ignored.

That’s why a well-designed, attractive email is essential to drive engagement and conversions. From the moment an email appears in your reader’s inbox, you want them to feel compelled to click through, even after just a glance. Beautifully designed and informative emails result in greater ROI and fewer unsubscribers.

To make the most of these best practices, follow along in your Team Debello-Magnetic Leads account and create your own stunning email content. Don’t have an account yet? Create one today!

Magnetic Leads free plan includes access to, email templates, unlimited contact storage, email marketing automation features, and more.

1. Nail your email marketing basics – email marketing

First impressions count for a lot in the world of marketing, and your emails are no exception.

You can spend all the time in the world crafting compelling email copy, but if your envelope content doesn’t hit the mark, it’s unlikely that your target audience will engage much. (That means low click through rates.)

Your envelope content consists of three key elements: sender name, subject line and a preheader. These are the basic foundations of effective email marketing. Without them, your body copy doesn’t stand a chance of holding its own. No one seems to want to use the preheader, why, because most 3rd party email tools cant create one, OR, you just didn’t want to, but its really part of email basics to use it.

Photo of an email inbox on a mobile device. Arrows labelling the sender name, subject line, and preheader.

Sender name

We’re considering sender name as an element of email design. It’s a hugely influential factor when it comes to open rates and is arguably even more important than your subject line. Why? Because it’s inextricably linked to trust.

The first subconscious question readers ask themselves when scanning their inbox is ‘Is this genuine?’ Your contacts generally look at the sender name first to determine whether the email is spam.

The best way to reinforce trustworthiness and brand recognition is to incorporate your brand name into your sender name.

This could mean opting for your company name on its own, or personalizing it with an employee’s first name, for example, ‘Sarah at Team Debello’ Including a name can be an effective way to engage your readers on a more personal level.

Many larger companies use a distinct sender name to differentiate departments, products, services, or types of emails to reveal key information about the message itself, for example, ‘Team Debello-Magnetic Leads News’ or ‘Team Debello-Magnetic Leads Automation.’

The most important thing is to make sure your sender name displays a real name, whether it be the company’s name or an employee’s name – not just an email address.

Subject line

Aim to make your subject line relatively short (to avoid being truncated) but as informative as possible to capture your reader’s attention. This means highlighting the most important information that you want to communicate upfront. Users tend to only take a glance at the subject line, so you need to grab their attention with the first few words!

Based on the character limits set by various email providers, aim to limit your email subject line to 50 characters or less. In addition, be aware that mobile device users may see even less of the message.

TIP: Don’t overdo it with excessive capitalization, special characters, or punctuation. Not only will this kind of messaging compromise your reputation, but your email could also end up being classified as spam.

Email subject line A/B testing is a handy Team Debello-Magnetic Leads feature that can help you drastically improve your email open rates. This is your chance to entice your prospect to open and click, so don’t waste it – use data to determine which subject line works best!

Preheader text

Preheader text is the short snippet of text immediately following the subject line when viewing an email in the inbox. Preheaders add valuable context to your subject line and can also boost your open rates.

Your subject line and preheader text should work together to start telling your readers a story. If you don’t customize it, it will read as the text that first appears in your email, which could be ‘View this email in your browser’. Now that wouldn’t give a great first impression, would it? Get customizing!

2. Design your emails using visual hierarchy
As consumers, we tend to follow predictable patterns when engaging with content. Visual hierarchy is a powerful email design best practice that marketers can use in emails to exploit these tendencies.

Employing visual hierarchy not only allows your email content to be scanned and understood easily, but it also helps to direct your reader to the most important elements of your email.

Let’s take a look at two email layouts utilizing visual hierarchy…

Email layouts

First, the Z pattern is an effective way to get subscribers to read through all your email content. (Or at least more than they otherwise would.) This strategy plays on patterns of eye movement. Reading left to right, we have a tendency to jump ahead when engaging with content.

As marketers, we can capitalize on this tendency by dispersing particularly eye-catching content throughout the copy. This way, readers are less likely to get bored part-way through.

Email example from Truecaller with arrows indicated the Z pattern of content

Second, the inverted pyramid email layout is another strategy to consider. As you’ll see in the example below, this layout works by broadly catching readers’ attention at the top of the email before narrowing their focus to a call to action, product feature, or whatever the primary goal of your email is.

A newsletter by Strava with overlaid arrows indicating the inverted pyramid content structure.

Whichever layout you opt for, your content should be arranged to tell a story that guides your reader toward the action that you want them to take. Email design aspects such as placement, size, color, contrast, and fonts all play an important role in establishing visual hierarchy.

Optimize your CTAs

Now’s a good time to discuss optimizing your CTAs. As you’ve seen in the examples above, there are CTA buttons placed strategically in accordance with the email layout.

This strategy helps boost click through rates. Laying out your content to figuratively point toward a call to action is like giving your contacts a gentle nudge.

As well, the text on your CTA buttons should be specific and to the point. If you’re promoting a new product line, you could write something like, “explore our new collection.” If you just launched a promotion, try something along the lines of “save 20% on shoes.”

Phrases like “read more” or “learn more” are better suited for lower level CTAs.

Some final tips on email layout:

Here are some additional factors to consider when mapping out your content:

People tend to place more value in objects that are larger, so consider displaying the most important information as larger blocks, in bigger fonts, or in heavier weights.
Elements higher up on the page are perceived as more important too, so start your email with the most important information.

Contrast is key, especially for readers who are scanning your email. Important elements, like your call-to-action, should generally stand out from the rest of the email.

Separating sections with white space allows the reader to understand where one element ends and the next begins. This helps to communicate information in a clear, organized, and attractive way.

NOTE Great email layout is also vital for accessibility. It’s important to make your email easily readable for all contacts, including those who are visually impaired. Don’t forget to include descriptive alt text for any images and make sure the background color of your emails allows for ease of reading.

3. Use an email template – email marketing

For those of us who aren’t experts in graphic design, using an email newsletter template is a great way to get started creating beautiful emails.

Email templates will help give your content a professional looking structure and speed up the design process.

As well, be sure to use responsive email templates. This means templates that automatically convert the content layout to be viewable on desktop, tablets, and mobile devices.

Your email marketing tool should have some type of drag and drop editor. This lets you create content without having to know HTML or code. Once you’ve selected a template, all you need to do is rearrange the design elements the way you like and add the email copy.

Now, to make the most of a template, you’ve got to go a bit further than replacing the placeholder text with your copy. Templates are a great foundation for effective email design. But moreso, they’re an opportunity for your brand image to shine through.

Don’t feel obligated to stick to a template’s design features. In fact, we recommend changing anything that isn’t consistent with your brand image like the background color or the fonts, for example!

To build a sense of reliability and trust with your audience, your email campaigns should be consistent in terms of design. This means sticking to a color scheme, font, heading structure, and a consistent email footer.

Email marketing design doesn’t have to be only for the big guys. Businesses of all sizes can create a brand image for their email campaigns. For inspiration, check out Coolors.co. Their site lets you experiment with different color palettes. Perfect for discovering your brand colors!

4. Add images where they add value – email marketing

Another email design best practice is using images where they add value.

Now, you may be tempted to flood your email campaigns with all your latest product photos. While photos are a great way to break up your email message and make your content a bit easier to digest, there’s something to be aware of.

Put yourself in the shoes of the email recipient here. Sending emails with too many photos, infographics, or illustrations can result in a few scenarios:

  • Emails taking a long time to load;
  • Issues in displaying the content;
  • A vague and unfocused message to your audience.

To avoid these pitfalls, be sure to always ask yourself what kind of value an image adds to your content.

Including a few high-quality photos of your products, spotlighting a team member, and using an explanatory infographic are typically great ways to include images in your email campaigns.

By contrast, stock images or excessively large files are great ways to get your readers to click on the unsubscribe link.

5. Use interactive content in your email design

Interactive email design is a powerful way to boost engagement by enabling subscribers to interact with content without ever leaving your email.

Interactive elements create a sort of gaming experience within the email that not only reduces barriers to engagement, but also provides a better user experience as subscribers can interact with content without the need to follow links or click through to your site. This is key to generating high intent clicks within your email.

Take a look at this example of an embedded survey in an email from Bellroy:

An email newsletter by Bellroy which includes an embedded survey. Survey asks "how likely is it that you will recommend Bellroy to a friend?" and allows readers to select a box from 1 to 10.

Here are some exciting interactive email elements to consider in 2023:

  • Animated buttons and call-to-actions
  • Hamburger menus and search options
  • Product carousels
  • Rollover effects to showcase products and offerings
  • Offer reveals
    Accordion features to make your emails more compact
  • Add-to-cart functionality
  • Polls, surveys, and user-generated interactive content

Of course, you’re going to need skills in HTML and CSS to be able embed such interactive content into your emails using an email editor.

NOTE When you design interactive elements, keep in mind that not all email clients may display them correctly. You may need to create segments for email clients (Gmail, Apple Mail, etc.) to ensure optimal user experience.

6. Feature user-generated content in your email design

The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer Report found that 68% of consumers said trusting brands is more important today than ever before.

More often than not, people trust peer recommendations over brands. So why not let your customers have a say in your email content?

What is user-generated content?
User-generated content (UGC) is any piece of content that has been created by the end-user. This includes product reviews, customer feedback, photos, and social media posts.

Incorporating these elements into your email is an effective way to tap into social proof and reinforce your brand’s credibility and reliability. Highlighting real people brings a two-way dialogue into your emails that helps humanize your brand.

Through skilful targeting and segmentation, marketers can streamline the UGC experience by delivering personalized content, like reviews or Instagram posts, based on email subscriber interests and behavior.

Including relevant buyer endorsements across the email journey is a powerful method to drive conversions. Here’s an example of it in action:

Newsletter campaign by Bose which includes user generated content in the form of a quotation from a satisfied customer.

7. Get personal with dynamic content

As we move into 2023, you can expect to hear less and less about B2B and B2C marketing and more about H2H – human-to-human marketing.

One of the biggest trends we’re seeing in email design is a move away from the one-to-many generic approach in favor of personalized one-to-one emails based on customer behavior.

Features like email automation, lead scoring, and segmentation mean content creation can be tailored to the individual like never before, resulting in the most dynamic, innovative, and subscriber-relevant email design to date.

What’s more, email personalization goes even further than using contacts’ first names in the greeting. We’re talking about dynamically changing entire sections of content based on a user’s interests and behavior, such as personalized product recommendations, offers, abandoned cart emails, and customer surveys.

For further reading, you may like the articles below!

5 Email Marketing Benefits for New Businesses

Quick fixes to improve your website conversion rate

Why email marketing is crucial for businesses

20 things your website should do and 5 things it shouldnt

Local SEO Checklist

Local SEO is definitely not new in 2022 but it does continue to grow in importance–if that even seemed possible. Nearly a third of consumers search for a local business online every day, and almost 50% of all searches on Google are for local information.

Just look at these local SEO statistics:

  • Google Maps searches for “curbside pickup” grew 9,000% year-over-year
  • Searches containing “local” and “business” grew more than 80% year-over-year
  • Nearly 80% of smartphone searches for local businesses lead to an offline purchase
  • Local searches lead to purchases 28% of the time

These stats show that if you don’t have a local SEO strategy in 2022, you’re missing out on local searchers looking for businesses like yours.

To help, I’ve put together this handy 13-point local SEO checklist featuring the top areas you can optimize around to get found by local customers in your area, and I’m sharing some actionable tips and examples to help you get started.

local SEO Checklist

Local SEO checklist

By checking off the items in this local SEO checklist, you can increase your chances of getting found for relevant local searches while driving more (potential) local customers to your website.

Keep reading, or skip to the checklist item you want to learn more about below:

  • Solid website
  • Structured data
  • Local keywords in web content
  • Optimized title tags + meta descriptions
  • Keyword-rich blog content or FAQs
  • Claimed + optimized Google Business Profile
  • Good reviews (with responses)
  • Consistent local listings
  • Local backlinks
  • Social media strategy

1-4. Create a solid foundation with your website

You can’t have good local SEO without a solid foundation to build on. And your website is the most important component—without a great website that adheres to SEO best practices, no amount of optimization is going to get you the results you want.

Make sure your website includes the following:

  1. Mobile-friendly or responsive design. Google now indexes the mobile version of your website over your desktop version, so this is a must for local SEO.
  2. Fast page speed. Page speed is an increasingly important ranking factor—plus, searchers will leave a website if it doesn’t load quickly.
  3. The right URL structure. The way your website is structured matters to both searchers and search engines. Make sure you have an easy-to-navigate site with a clear path for users to take from the moment they land on your site until they become a lead. (You should also submit your sitemap to Google to help here!)
  4. Internal links. Linking relevant pages of your site together can help Google and searchers find information on your site.

5. Use structured data

Structured data is a standardized format of code that you add to the backend of your website to provide information that can help Google and other search engines decipher your content and what your page is about. This is often referred to as Schema markup.

You can add Local Business structured data to give Google information about your hours of operation, what your business offers, your reviews, and more to help you show up better for relevant local searches.

6. Identify and incorporate local keywords

Speaking of local searches, it’s important to know the types of local searches you want your business to rank for in local searches. The best way to do that? Conduct local keyword research to build your keyword list.

Keywords are the words or phrases that people use to find information on search engines. By targeting specific keywords as part of your local SEO strategy, you can increase your chances of appearing for those searches.

You want your keywords to be related to your business, your products or services, and your location so you can target searchers in your area. Here are some examples of good local keywords for a plumber:

  • Best plumber in Anaheim
  • Anaheim plumbing
  • Plumbing company Anaheim

local keyword examples

Examples of local keywords from WordStream’s Free Keyword Research Tool.

You should also identify some long-tail keywords, which are longer and more specific phrases customers are using to find businesses like yours. You can use these phrases to create valuable content that will drive more traffic to your website from search engines. Here are some examples of long-tail keywords for a plumber:

  • How to fix a clogged drain
  • What to do if my toilet is leaking
  • How do I keep my faucet from dripping

Your keywords should be included in your title tags, meta descriptions, and on-page content for your website but can also be used in your Google Business Profile and social media profiles, which we’ll talk more about later.

7. Optimize title tags and meta descriptions

Once you know that your website is in good shape and you have a strong local keyword list, you can start optimizing for local searches. One important way to do this is by optimizing the title tags and meta descriptions for each of your web pages.

Title tags are the HTML code that shows the title of the page—this is also what shows up in search results.

Your title tags should be between 50-60 characters long and include your target keyword and potentially your location (depending on the page).

Meta descriptions are the HTML code that shows under the title of a page in search results to give users a better idea of what content to expect on the page before they click.

Your meta descriptions should be between 50-160 characters long and include your target keyword and a description of the content on the page.

meta tags

8. Consider a blog (or an FAQ page)

Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are three key ranking factors Google looks at to determine whether or not the content on a website will be useful for a searcher. Creating regular content in the form of a blog can help you exponentially in these areas. A blog gives your business a place to showcase your expertise and authority while keeping your website consistently updated with fresh, keyword-rich content.

Plus, you can use the content you’re creating for your website throughout your marketing. For example, you can share links to your posts on your social media sites, feature your blog posts in a regular newsletter, and create more in-depth downloadable content to capture web visitors’ information like their email address and phone number.

If you already have a blog for your business, make sure you’re creating content that is keyword-focused (this is where that long-tail keyword research comes in handy!). If you don’t already have a blog for your business and you want to start one, you can do keyword research, use tools like Google Trends to find out what people are searching, and even ask your customers what they might want to see from you. (You can also check out this guide for how to start a business blog!)

If you don’t think you have the time or resources to maintain a business blog (it does take time and planning), you can still create helpful keyword-rich content in the form of an FAQ page. An FAQ page can provide answers to commonly searched long-tail local keywords while also giving search engines and searchers valuable information that can help you rank or win business.

9. Claim and optimize your Google Business Profile

Your Google Business Profile can help you get found in local searches happening directly on Google Search and in Google Maps. Google Business Profiles contain a ton of information that can help customers take action (like calling your business or getting directions!) right from your profile. Plus, they’re typically the first batch of results that show below ads for any local search.

google business

The first step here is to make sure you claim your Google Business Profile. You can now do this directly from Google Search! Simply:

  1. Search for your business on Google
  2. Click into the result for your business and click “Own this business?”
  3. Then follow the prompts to claim the page

If your business isn’t already listed on Google, you can add it:

  1. Go to business.google.com
  2. Click “Manage now”
  3. Click “Add your business to Google”
  4. Then follow the prompts to add your business

Make sure that you verify your Google Business Profile after claiming or adding it so you can make changes to the page as needed.

Once your listing is claimed, you can take steps to optimize it. Multiple components of your Google Business Profile can give your local SEO a boost, so this is an important step.

Here are some crucial ways to optimize your Google Business Profile for local SEO:

  1. Make sure all information is accurate. It’s important that your hours of operation, business website, business phone number, and address are correct (and consistent with other listings—which we’ll talk about more later.)
  2. Fill out all the sections. It’s best to add as much information as possible to your Google Business Profile so you can present the best picture of your business to prospective customers.
  3. Add the right business categories. Many SEO experts believe the primary category you choose has the most impact on your local search rankings, so choose wisely! (You can also change it later if needed.)
  4. Upload relevant pictures. Google allows you to add a number of pictures and suggests including your logo, a cover photo, the interior and exterior of your building, your team, and action shots of your team at work.

10. Manage reviews (and get more!)

Reviews are another important local ranking factor that your business can’t (and shouldn’t) ignore. Nearly 90% of people read reviews for local businesses—and search engines want to give the people what they want. Which is clearly: reviews.

Google looks at your reviews, including how many reviews you have, when determining your rank for specific searches. Certain keywords or phrases within your reviews can also help (or hurt) your performance in local search results.

And, having a higher star rating can also help you in local search—when a person conducts a search containing “best,” Google will only source businesses with a 4.0 star rating or higher.

All this to say that it’s extremely important to make sure you’re getting good reviews!

You can get Google reviews by:

  • Asking your happy customers to leave you feedback
  • Including a link to your Google Business Profile on your website
  • Including a link to your Google Business Profile in customer emails
  • Sending an email survey

Once you have reviews, the work doesn’t stop. It’s also important to respond to reviews. Google lists “Manage & respond to reviews” as a way to improve your local ranking on Google.

reviews

11. Keep your local listings consistent

Local listings are a huge component of local SEO. Listings show up in local search results and can help your business get discovered on specific maps, apps, or sites (as well as search engines), so it’s important to have your business listed on the top local listings sites.

But it’s even more important that your business information across all those sites is consistent. Search engines want to make sure they’re showing searchers the most accurate and useful information. They do this by using signals from across the web—if they see that all the crucial information about your business (specifically your Name, Address, and Phone Number—AKA NAP) is consistent, then they have a high level of trust that they’re showing the correct information.

However, if they find conflicting information or inconsistencies, they have a lower level of trust and may not show information about your business on the first page of search results (or at all 😱).

This is why it’s important to add local listings consistency to your local SEO checklist. You want your business name, address, and phone number listed the EXACT same across every directory—including Google Business, Yelp, CitySearch, and more.

NAP

An example of consistent vs. inconsistent Google Business Profile listings.

12. Build local backlinks

Link building remains an important SEO tactic. And local link building can boost your business’s SEO by sending signals to search engines that other local sites find your website authoritative and trustworthy.

Here are some ways to build local backlinks:

Manage local listings. We already touched on the importance of local listings, but these provide built-in backlinks to your site.

Guest posting. Guest posting allows you to build your business’s credibility by sharing useful posts on other websites/blogs to reach your target audience. Many websites accept guest posts with links to your brand website and brand mentions. Aim to get your posts published on authoritative websites in your niche and neighborhood.
Sponsor local events. Aside from being a great way to support your local community, sponsoring events brings publicity to your business, guarantees valuable links to your website on the event page, and can earn your business media mentions. All of these boost traffic. To sponsor local events, start small and don’t limit your idea of sponsorship to funding. You can sponsor events by donating snacks to attendees (if you run a catering service)—don’t be afraid to think outside of the box!

Local digital news sites. Don’t underrate local newspapers. A 2019 survey showed that local newspapers remain, by far, the most significant providers of journalism in their communities. Write press releases to be published on local news sites or talk to reporters and supply them stories relating to your business. You can even become a columnist in local media and publish regular commentary on brand-related topics.

13. Use Social Media to add some juice as needed

It may not seem intuitive to include social media marketing as part of your local SEO checklist, but hear me out. It can actually benefit your business’s SEO in a few different ways.

For one, social media sites like Facebook and Instagram give you opportunities to include your business address—which can act almost like their own little listing sites.

Plus, social media sites routinely show up in local search results for your business name, so by managing profiles across social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you can give your business more real estate on search results pages when a person searches for your business.

It’s also important to remember that while search engines are still the primary place that people are searching for businesses, they’re increasingly open to finding new businesses through social media. So by investing in a social media marketing strategy, you can increase your chances of getting found in multiple channels by potential customers.

Check all the boxes for your local SEO checklist

Local SEO is a valuable addition to your marketing plan and is one of the best ways to drive more traffic to your website and get in front of local searchers.

Here’s your 2022 local SEO checklist:

  • Have a mobile-friendly or responsive website
  • Test your site speed
  • Use SEO-friendly URLs
  • Create internal links with locally-relevant anchor text
  • Add structured data
  • Identify and incorporate local keywords into your web content
  • Optimize title tags and meta descriptions
  • Write keyword-rich blog content (or FAQs)
  • Claim and optimize your Google Business Profile
  • Manage reviews (and get more!)
  • Keep your local listings consistent
  • Build local backlinks
  • Use social media

For more information on any of these topics, you can always reach us here!


Google knows what you type, watch, and say — unless you take these steps

You might laugh thinking about all the random Google searches you’ve done over the years. Imagine someone getting access to that list, and you might instead shudder in embarrassment.

Did you know your entire Google history is accessible online? If you’re signed in, a snoop can poke through it all. Tap or click here for steps to password protect that page and your private info.

There are, of course, ways to keep your searches private. Tap or click for some clever methods, including hiding your activity from your internet service provider and wiping your browser sessions.

When you rely on Google and its services, though, you know many things are being tracked. Here are three you can stop.

YOUR APPS ARE WATCHING EVERYWHERE YOU GO UNLESS YOU CHANGE THIS SETTING

1. Every email you type

Google scans the contents of your inbox, from receipts and private messages to medical documents and bills.

The handy Smart Compose setting even allows Google to scan your emails as you type them. It’s an AI-powered feature that tries to help you write faster. It helps finish common phrases. “Let me” becomes “Let me know if you have any questions.”

Although it’s useful, it means Google is watching what you type as you type it. You can turn Smart Compose off. Here’s how:

  • Open Gmail.
  • Tap the gear icon in the upper right corner for Settings.
  • Select See all settings.
  • Choose the General tab near the top of the page.
  • Scroll to the Smart Compose section.
  • Turn Writing suggestions off by clicking on the circle next to it.
  • Scroll to the bottom and click Save Changes.

It’s worth noting: Google still has access to all the content in the emails you send and receive. If you want to stop that, you need to switch to a privacy-based email inbox.

2. OK, Google, are you listening?

Despite what Big Tech companies say, smart assistants often listen more than you intend. The reason is simple: Sometimes, your device hears one thing you say and interprets it as the wake word.

You can always turn Google Assistant off if you’re not using it.

How to turn off Google Assistant on Android:

  • Open the Settings app on your phone. Then, scroll down and tap Account Services.
  • Tap Search, Assistant & Voice. Then, tap Google Assistant.
  • Tap on Assistant. Then, scroll down to Assistant devices and tap Phone.
  • Tap the Google Assistant slider to turn it off.

How to turn off Google Assistant on iPhone:

  • Open Settings > Privacy.
  • Locate the menu labeled Microphone and tap it.
  • Find Assistant in the list of apps and toggle the green switch to the off position.
  • Go a step further and shut down every device that might be listening. Tap or click for steps to tell Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and others to butt out.

3. And then there are the videos you watch

After Google, YouTube is the second largest search engine on the web. And, of course, it is owned by Google. That means the company knows the videos you watch, the comments you leave, and who you interact with.

Clearing your YouTube history is simple. Head to My Google Activity, select YouTube History and switch the toggle to Off.

Be warned: YouTube will still track your search history. On the YouTube History page, you will see a section that says Filter by date. To the left, tap on the small down arrow next to Delete. A box will pop up and you can clear out your searches. Confirm by hitting Delete and you’re good to go.

7 BRILLIANT WAYS YOUR SMART PHONE CAN HELP YOU GET THINGS DONE

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple, Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast player.

We think of our gadgets as helpful tools that make our lives easier, but they can also be turned against us. The data your devices collect is so valuable it could be used against you in a criminal trial, requested by police or even bought by the government through a data broker. I sat down with technologist Bennett Cyphers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who reveals all the secrets you’re losing — and which devices do the most stealing.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2021, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved. By clicking the shopping links, you’re supporting my research. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products I believe in.

How to Delete a Yelp Review

You know the feeling. That sinking feeling. You see you’ve got a new review, you pull it up expecting to see good things, and then bam! It’s a one-star bombshell. And then the disappointment grows when you realize the poor feedback has been shared on Yelp.

With over 31 million app users and millions more web visitors, Yelp is a platform with a high level of visibility. A poor experience amplified on Yelp can have immediate fallout and impact your bottom line.

Yelp’s own research suggests that 90% of Yelp users make a purchase within seven days of visiting the platform, so you’ll need to act quickly to protect your business.

So can you delete a Yelp review? The good news is that ‘yes it can be done’ (mostly), but with a caveat that users can’t do it themselves. It takes a little work and know-how, so either skip straight to the steps, or read on to find out more about bad reviews and the Yelp platform first.

Why You May Need to Remove a Bad Review

Whether a review is a fair assessment of a customer’s experience or not, any poor review is potentially problematic because peer feedback is so intrinsic to the modern decision-making process.

Today’s consumers use reviews to:

  • Create shortlists of businesses to buy from
  • Compare and contrast potential product/service providers
  • Decide between businesses offering the same thing
  • Weed out businesses that may provide a disappointing experience

Consumers reading positive reviews are more likely to interact with that business—by visiting the website (31%), traveling to the business location (17%), or contacting the business (12%).

Conversely, negative reviews make 92% of consumers less likely to use a business. Removing fake or malicious reviews can therefore have a very tangible real-world impact.

Yelp and Fake Reviews

The Harvard Business Review says there is a “large and thriving market” for fake reviews. Given that reviews not only influence consumers and sales figures but also search engine rankings, it’s no surprise that they’re big business.

As a real-life example, data cited as part of a 10-month study of restaurant reviews suggests that Yelp filters out about 16% of reviews as ‘being fake’ with its own algorithm. That leaves a high proportion of risk for local business owners in that industry.

Yelp also says that it is a “community-driven site” and doesn’t take the removal of third-party content such as images or reviews lightly. It also says it won’t take sides in factual disputes.

Clearly, it’s not a cut-and-dried process, so the best thing to do is to approach the review as genuine, whilst also looking for any evidence that it’s fake or malicious.

1. Responding to bad Yelp reviews

The temptation will be to rush in quickly with a strongly-worded reply. Resist that temptation!

Poorly worded review responses can quickly create a negative impression of your business and put other customers off using you. In the worst-case scenario, they could also go viral, creating exactly the kind of publicity you don’t want for your business.

You’ll need to keep a cool head, and show that you’ve tried addressing the bad review in a constructive and professional way.

  • If you have a record of that customer, try connecting with them offline to fully understand the issues that led to the poor review.
  • If you can’t find contact information, leave a (very) polite reply thanking the customer for their feedback, assure them that you wish to investigate further, and invite them to reach out so that you can work towards a resolution.

For a genuinely negative experience, this should impress the reviewer with your commitment to putting things right, allowing you to ask them to update (or even delete) the original review to give a more balanced opinion.

We’ve put together an article on dealing with negative reviews like a pro.

2. Deleting a malicious Yelp review

If the above fact-finding mission fails, then take comfort in knowing you’re now in a stronger position to report the review to Yelp as being false, defamatory or malicious in nature.

Yelp has clear guidelines governing reviews left on its site. It specifies that reviews:

  • Should not be exchanged for payment
  • Should be based on the reviewer’s own first-hand experience
  • Should be factually correct
  • Should not be based on previous brand interactions
  • Should not be promotional
  • Should not represent a conflict of interest (leaving a positive review for a friend’s business or a negative review of a competitor for example)

Start with “Should be factually correct”. Collate as much information from your business records as you can, including your documented attempts to address their concerns as genuine.

See if you can prove that the review has a clear conflict of interest, such as a review left by a disgruntled former employee or a competitor.

Highlight any examples of inappropriate material, such as threats, hate speech, or harassment—either in the original review or in subsequent communications.

You can now skip to the step-by-step process of requesting a review removal from Yelp.

3. Deleting a fake Yelp review

As noted above, fake reviews are big business in some corners of the internet, and they’re a pain to investigate if there’s no genuine information to cross-reference within your business.

Instead, make a strong case for removal by gathering evidence to present to Yelp:

  1. Dig into your client records to verify that they’re not a genuine customer. This shows that they’re in violation of Yelp’s requirement that all reviews relate to that person’s own experience of your business.
  2. Take a look at how many other reviews that person has left and for what businesses. A brand new account with just your review is a strong indicator that it’s fake.
  3. Study the language and tone of the review. Is this mirrored on other reviews posted at the same time? If so, it could be a part of a wider fake review campaign.
  4. Check if you have a series of other bad reviews, posted at the same time but by different usernames. This is a common tactic used by fake review spammers.

Once you’ve collected enough evidence of fakery to present to Yelp moderators, you’re ready to submit your request.

How to Get a Yelp Review Removed

Here’s the nitty-gritty of how to remove bad reviews from Yelp—and always keep in mind that the more evidence you can present here the better.

Step 1 – Claim your Yelp business profile

If you’ve not done so already, then the first step to remove Yelp reviews is to claim your Yelp business profile.

This is easy to do—go to Yelp For Business and follow the steps outlined. This Yelp blog post also provides more detailed instructions if you need help with this essential step.

Step 2 – Log in and find the review

Log into your Yelp business account. From your dashboard, navigate to “Reviews” and then scroll down to find the review you’re asking Yelp to remove.

Step 3 – Go to the “Report review” button

You’ll see three dots to the side of the review text. Click on those dots to pull up a menu and from there, select “Report review”.

Step 4 – Complete the form

Select the most appropriate reason for requesting the Yelp review removal, and complete the form with as much information as possible. It will then be reviewed by the platform’s Moderators.

Step 5 – Be patient!

Now comes the hard part…the wait! Yelp will inform you of the outcome of their investigation, and in the event that the Yelp review is removed, the original author will also be notified.

This process can take up to a week, but either way, you should be notified of the result. If you don’t hear anything, then contact Yelp directly with your case number to try and secure an update.

What if the Yelp Review Isn’t Removed?

Yelp may not uphold your complaint. If that’s the case, then the negative review will remain on your profile.

While this is frustrating, your best course of action is to learn what you can from the feedback so that future reviews will be more positive.

Our complete guide to building positive reviews is packed with tips, strategies and advice to help you do just that.

Got any tips on how to remove reviews from Yelp? Let the community know in our comments section below.

How to Calculate Your SEO ROI Using Google Analytics

You’ve spent hours learning the most effective SEO tactics, but they won’t be useful if you can’t measure them.

Measuring SEO return on investment (ROI) involves two factors: KPIs (key performance indicators) and the cost of your current SEO campaigns. Tracking these key metrics monthly enables you to tweak and optimize your strategy, as well as make educated business decisions.

To get the most bang for your buck (or time), consider using Google Analytics (GA) to calculate your ROI. With GA, you can pinpoint where your audience is coming from, set goals to stay on track, and incorporate the most attractive keywords to rank better in search engines.

Ways to calculate your SEO ROI using Google Analytics

#1 Page value

Page value is an important aspect to consider when talking about ROI.

Think about it like money. In the US, paper money has been dated back to the late 1600s as a way of symbolizing the value of something. Instead of bartering, citizens began attaching a value to a 10 dollar bill or a 100 dollar bill to obtain an item they needed that was worth the equivalent value.

Page value assigns an average monetary value to all pages viewed in a session where a transaction took place. Specifically for e-commerce sites, it helps assign a value to non-transactional pages such as articles and landing pages. This is useful to understand because although a blog didn’t necessarily produce revenue, that doesn’t mean it didn’t contribute to a customer’s buying decision in the future.

With lead generation pages, a value can be assigned to a goal like the contact form submission, so you can more accurately measure whether or not you’re on track.

Below is a visual that depicts how page value is calculated according to Google:

In the first example, Page B is visited once by a user before continuing to the Goal page D (which was assigned a value of $10) and Receipt page E (which generated $100). That means a single pageview of Page B generated $110, which gives us its Page Value.

In equation form, this is how it looks:

Page Value for Page B =
E-commerce Revenue ($100) + Total Goal Value ($10)
Number of Unique Pageviews for Page B (1)
= $110

But not all pageviews lead to a conversion. That’s why it’s important to keep track of data and recalculate your Page Value as more information comes in. Let’s see how this works with the second example.

Here we see two sessions but only one converted to an e-commerce transaction (session 1). So even if we have two unique pageviews for Page B, the e-commerce revenue stays the same. We can then recalculate our Page B’s Page Value using this new information.

Page Value for Page B =
e-commerce revenue ($100) + Total Goal Value ($10 x 2 sessions)
Number of Unique Pageviews for Page B (2)
= $60

With more sessions and more data, you’ll get a better idea of which pages contribute most to your site’s revenue.

#2 E-commerce settings

If you’re not managing an e-commerce business, skip this section. For those of you who do, there’s a more advanced feature on Google Analytics that can prove extremely useful. By turning on the e-commerce settings, you can track sales amounts, the number of orders, billing locations, and even the average order value. In this way, you can equate website usage to sales information and better understand which landing pages or campaigns are performing the best.

How to turn on e-commerce settings

  • In your Google Analytics left sidebar panel, click on ADMIN > under the VIEW panel (rightmost panel), click on “E-commerce Settings” > Enable E-Commerce > Enable Enhanced E-commerce Reporting.

To finalize this go over to where it says, “Checkout Labeling” underneath the Enhanced E-commerce settings, and under “funnel steps” type in:

  1. Checkout view

  2. Billing info

  3. Proceed to payment

Below is a picture to better explain these steps:

If you have Shopify or Woocommerce, make sure to set up tracking over there, too, so that Google Analytics can communicate and relay this crucial information to you.

Once you have the E-commerce tracking setup, you’ll have access to the following data:

  • An overview of your revenue, E-commerce conversion rate, transactions, average order value, and other metrics

  • Product and sales performance

  • Shopping and checkout behavior

These give you a better understanding of how your customers are interacting with your site and which products are selling the most. In terms of calculating SEO ROI, knowing the steps that your customers take and the pages they view before making a purchase helps you analyze the value of individual pages and also the effectiveness of your overall SEO content strategy.

#3 Sales Performance

Again, this is for e-commerce only. The sales performance feature shows sales from all sources and mediums. You can view data for organic traffic only and identify its revenue.

How to view your sales performance

  • In your Google Analytics’ left panel, click on “Conversions” > “E-commerce” > “Sales Performance”.

This gives you an overview of your revenue and a breakdown of each transaction. Tracking this through time and seeing how it trends guides your content strategy.

What is the average transaction amount and what does it tell you about your customers? Does tweaking your copy to promote up-sells or cross-sells have an impact on your per-transaction revenue?

Another set of data that helps you calculate your SEO ROI and optimize your content strategy is your customers’ shopping behavior.

How to see your customers’ shopping behavior in-depth

  • Click over to “Conversions” > “E-Commerce” > “Shopping Behavior”

At a glance, you can see how effective your purchase funnel is – how many sessions continue from one step to the next? How many people went to your page and didn’t purchase, or added to the cart but didn’t follow through with payment?

This helps you identify areas that need more SEO attention. This also helps you draw projections on how much your revenue can increase by optimizing your copy and implementing SEO to boost organic traffic, which helps you get a better idea of your SEO ROI.

For instance, if there’s a high percentage of users visiting your page but not going through the buying cycle, maybe you need to tweak your copy to include searchable keywords or copy that resonates better with your audience.

Additionally, it’s worth remembering that while this does show organic sales, you can’t identify the keyword that led to that sale, but organic traffic can be an indicator of holistic marketing efforts working. For example, PR may increase brand searches on Google.

Quick tip: you can get an idea of which keywords bring in the most traffic to your website with Google Search Console and then follow the navigation history from Google Analytics in order to connect specific keywords with sales.

Overall, to truly measure the ROI of your SEO you need to discover which keywords are working for your business, because although people may be interested in your business due to some amazing PR exposure, they might not actually be interested in your services. To really hit this one home, select keywords that have purchase intent. That way you can attract more qualified leads to your site.

#4 Engagement Events

If you’re not working on an e-commerce site (hint, hint, my fellow B2B marketers), here’s where you’ll want to pay attention. Both e-commerce and lead generation sites can make use of engagement events.

Align with your sales team to assign a value to a goal based on average order value, the average number of sign-ups, and conversion rate. Although useful for e-commerce, these analytics are likely to be most beneficial for lead generation sites who have longer sales cycles and transactions that occur off-site or after multiple sessions (for example, B2B SaaS or a marketing agency).

Examples of engagement events include:

  • Newsletter sign up

  • Contact form submission

  • Downloads

  • Adding to a cart

How to view your campaign engagement data

  • Click on “Behavior” > “Events” > “Top Events”

Below is an image so you can follow along:

This type of tracking gives greater insight into how people are interacting with parts of your website, and how engaged they are at different parts of the journey. Use it to set goals for your lead generation and investigate whether or not your SEO efforts are paying off.

Let’s say you find that your website gets a ton of traffic to your services page, and a high percentage of those visitors download a case study. This means they’re interested in what you have to offer and would like to see more case studies from you.

Use ROI calculations to make better strategic decisions for your business

Ultimately, when using Google Analytics for SEO, you should work to align business goals with specific measurable metrics so that you can create a long-term plan for sustainable growth. It’s no secret SEO is a powerful tool for your business, but putting it into an actionable and personalized plan to get the train continuously going uphill is what counts.

How much does a website design or redesign cost in 2021?

Website Design Cost
Designing a website yourself is the cheapest option. The cost can range anywhere from a $100 to $3,000 or more. A simple custom website design from an agency can range from $15,000 to $30,000, whereas bigger and more complicated websites will cost between $40,000 to $75,000+.

How much will your new website cost?

Your website is the most important sales and marketing tool you have. It’s the hub of your inbound marketing strategy and it’s the number one thing your prospects want to explore before making a purchase, or even talking to a human.

Now that most businesses understand the value of inbound marketing, business websites overall are getting better. They’re faster, sleeker, mobile-friendly, and expected to be more useful. This is great for the consumer but makes the job of a marketer that much harder.

In this environment, we’re all forced to step our game up if we want to stand out from our competitors, which leads us to the inevitable project all modern businesses will face at one point or another — a website redesign.

The cost of a website redesign can vary tremendously from as low as a few hundred dollars if you do it yourself to millions of dollars for an advanced, custom-built website.

Since businesses often have no idea how much they should pay for a website redesign and what to expect for their money, we’ve decided to answer that question once and for all.

Why web design costs have increased

Like everything else, the price of a website redesign largely comes down to supply and demand. When the internet was still relatively new, businesses didn’t understand how valuable a website really was, so they weren’t willing to pay a high price.

Today, a website is one of the first considerations a business makes when planning their launch. In fact, many entrepreneurs narrow down their potential business names based on which domains are available and how the URL will look.

Of course, increased demand isn’t the only factor, however.

Websites must be more advanced now

As time has passed, web designers have improved their techniques and they have access to much better tools. On one hand, pumping out a decent-looking website is easier than ever with builders like Squarespace and WIX. On the other hand, building a truly first-class, strategic website requires more work.

The digital landscape is rapidly evolving — even more than in the first decade of the internet. For example, it wasn’t until 2015 that Google announced that their search algorithms would show preference to mobile-friendly websites, even though web designers were preaching its importance since around 2009;

They knew that not only did businesses need to deliver a better user experience, but eventually Google would raise the standards looking at the growth of mobile buyer behavior. At the time, mobile design was more difficult than it is today, and it was much easier for designers (and cheaper for their clients) to avoid it.

In today’s world, if your website doesn’t include mobile optimization Google is going to penalize you for it.

Now websites also contain live chat so users can instantly get in contact with your company, self-selection tools to show them the right services and products to solve their problems, and even calculators to show them how much they can save/grow/transform (insert your word here) when working with your team.

Not only has functionality changed, but the requirements to have an optimized website have become more rigorous. Focusing on page speed, accessibility, and user experience are more important than ever.

All of these factors can affect the cost of your website redesign, but another major is the process or method behind its execution.

In this article, we’ll look at three of the most popular methods: building your website yourself with an online tool, hiring a freelancer, or hiring an agency.

The cost of doing your own website redesign

Building or redesigning a website yourself with a template is usually the cheapest option. It can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $3,000 or more, but the real “cost” here is the time and hassle required.

Generally speaking, the less money you spend, the more time and hassle you can expect to deal with to get the site how you want it — and it likely won’t be exactly how you want it to be without the ability to code.

New startups with limited budgets and no web developer often have to start small. ThemeForest offers tons of affordable website themes (especially for WordPress) to choose from that usually cost around $30 to $100.

Functionality, performance, and ease-of-use from those themes vary widely including the level of customization you can achieve, how easily it is to update the theme, and out of the box templates that are included. Once you find a theme that meets your needs, you’ll also have to make sure that it’s received a lot of positive reviews, has a strong track record, and allows you to make edits without any technical skill.

Another popular option is a website builder such as Elementor, which is essentially an updated back-end editor for your website that you install on WordPress. This allows you to create content and edit the visual features of your theme with ease by giving you a variety of modules and widgets to level, each with its own unique formatting and styling options.

Once you’ve installed the framework, you’ll be able to select a theme to match the aesthetic you’re looking to achieve.

Their framework is a huge step up from the average, lower-priced themes on the market. They look great, are mobile-friendly, optimized for search engines, and easy to use. Take a look at their themes here — a lot of them will look familiar because tons of websites use them.

You can start using Elementor for free, but the Pro level of $49 per year for one site gives you more robust widgets, templates, support, and more.

However, if you want more marketing capabilities and integration, there’s an even better option.

We recommend using HubSpot’s CMS Hub, which costs $300 per month. They have many customizable themes to choose from or you can build one from scratch using their drag-and-drop builder. CMS Hub also has everything you need built-in, from SEO to content management so there is little need for add-ons.

Our own website runs on CMS Hub and we’ve loved it.

The cost of hiring a freelancer for a website redesign

The next level up from building your own website is hiring a freelance website designer. Freelancers have various levels of talent and will charge accordingly.

Depending on what your goals are, you’ll be able to find a freelancer that will charge anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 for a simple website and upwards of $10,000 to $20,000+ for a bigger website with a variety of template designs, custom features, and a more professional aesthetic than you may be able to create on your own.

They will vary further depending on the experience of your freelancer and your project details.

For example, if your freelancer is extremely talented and can build you a custom self-selection tool such as a product configurator, or you opt to go through a branding exercise with them your costs may go even higher than that.

When working with a freelancer, you can likely expect a design that looks good and functions well without any glaring flaws. They will likely take your ideas, come up with a few mock-ups for you to consider, and then they’ll build off of the one you like best.

In most cases, the freelance designer is primarily focused on delivering the aesthetic appeal you describe to them while suggesting certain features to improve user experience.

However, the downsides are that freelancers tend to be more hit-or-miss. The project might take longer if they are doing everything by themselves or are juggling multiple projects, and they might not offer much insight outside of design and development knowledge.

At the end of the day, if you’re not in the DIY type of mood, you’ll likely be able to find a freelancer to fit your budget, just keep in mind that it will go up or down based on how big and complex your project is.

The cost of hiring an agency for a website redesign

The other option is hiring an agency to handle your website redesign, which gives you access to a team of seasoned experts who likely have experience with goals like yours and designing a website around them. s. However, as you would expect, a website redesign from an agency costs the most.

A simpler website redesign can run anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 depending on the size of the site, whereas websites with a large page count, custom functionality, and more unique needs can cost between $40,000 and $75,000+.

This may seem absurd compared to the other options, but  working with an agency goes much further than superficial design. Agencies spend equal time on content, user experience, conversion rate optimization, and everything else that makes your website a valuable asset to your company and to actually achieve your goals.

What sets an agency apart from most freelance web designers is the amount of strategy that goes into building a powerful and effective lead-generating machine for your business.

A typical agency will work with you to map your sitemap architecture so you can understand the structure of your website and how the users will navigate through it to their goals. They’ll also look at your historical data to make recommendations on what will work best for your specific users — all with the goal of removing friction in the user’s journey.

You’re gaining access to a range of experts who can pull from their combined years of experience across design, development, strategy, content, testing, and more, not just a single, finite resource.

If you have the budget to hire an agency, it’s well worth your time to talk with some to see what options you have available.

Continuous improvement through growth-driven design

Your website design or redesign launching, while a cause for celebration, doesn’t mean you should move on to new projects until you redesign again in three years.

That’s another reason to consider an agency, and the team of experts you get access to — Growth-driven design. Growth-driven design is a website redesign process that helps you build a stronger website month over month using user data to help improve the user journey.

Just like a plant needs water, light, care and attention to grow strong and thrive, so does your website. It needs to be monitored, regularly updated, and re-calibrated both to reflect the changes in your business and to meet the evolving needs of your buyer.

I know what you’re thinking, “This sounds expensive” and yes, there is an investment to make to continuously improve your website.

You can expect anywhere from $5,000 per month to $10,000 per month on growth-driven design with an agency depending on how aggressive your goals are and how much focus you’re willing to put into research and updates.

Each quarter you’ll work with the agency team to identify the biggest areas for improvement on your site based on user data, plan tests and experiments to drive better results, and execute on them through design, copy, and UX changes among other things.

It’s a collaborative process that enables your team to add to the roadmap of items to be worked on and prioritize it based on what will yield the most improvement to the user and metrics.

How does content affect the cost of your website redesign?

Content is one the most important parts of your website redesign.

It’s what gets your site to rank in the search engines, drives your user to take action, and sets your company up as a thought leader and expert that buyers should trust.

At the most basic level, your website exists to connect with your prospects and persuade them to buy what you offer. Unless you’re selling some type of design service, no one is going to be persuaded to buy based on your design alone — it’s the content that delivers your value proposition.

It’s also one of the more time-consuming aspects of a redesign.

To tackle it, we ideally recommend taking a content-first approach, where you build your website around your content, instead of designing your website and filling in the content afterwards.

However, in a world where most companies want their website redesigned yesterday, a more realistic approach is to focus on the 20% of your website that drives 80% of the value for your user — then continue to update the rest after your relaunch.

A great design is important as it helps deliver your message effectively and enhances the user experience — but without the content, the design won’t matter.

Content when building your website yourself

If you’re doing a website redesign yourself, start by mapping out all of the pages you want your website to include and then write the actual content for each of those pages. That way, when you’re comparing website themes, you can pick out one that accommodates your content strategy best.

Content when working with freelancers and agencies

A lot of freelance web designers will either have a copywriter they collaborate with or they’ll be happy to work with a copywriter that you hire yourself. Either way, you want to ensure that both individuals are on the same page because the process requires some back-and-forth communication.

Agencies will vary in how they support your content creation. Ranging from having an in-house content writer to create content for you to leveraging an outsourced network of writers.

Writing copy for a large website is no small undertaking — it’s basically writing the book about your business and should be treated with the same importance.

That’s why focusing on the most important pages for your redesign, then improving the rest over time versus doing all content at once can prove beneficial.

Content costs will widely range depending on the size of your site, the amount of content, and the level of expertise needed (and if you’re doing it yourself or having someone else do it). You can expect to pay anything from a few hundred to thousands of dollars for the right content for your website.

Putting the price of your website into perspective

Imagine you just hired a new salesperson who works around the clock, day and night, promoting your business to prospects with perfect consistency. Given the right tools, this salesperson continually improves with minimal supervision and intervention on your part.

Whenever a prospect wants information about your business at midnight, and you’re sleeping, your star employee is there with a big smile and all the information your prospect desires.

Now imagine this new sales rep doesn’t want to work on commission, doesn’t want a salary, and could care less about any of the benefits your company offers. All they want is an upfront fee of $40,000 and a few thousand each month to keep their skills sharpened.

Would that be worth it to you?

Of course, it would. Your company website is this dream sales rep — well, a great company website.

Inbound marketing is the premier form of marketing today and your website is the foundation of your inbound marketing strategy. Everything else revolves around bringing more people to it so it can work its magic on them.

No human alive can do what a great website can for your business, yet, so many businesses look at it as one of the first areas to cut corners.

Humans will always play invaluable roles in business, and remarkable employees deserve the high salaries they command, but where else can you get the incredible ROI that a powerful, well-designed website offers?

Your website is the smartest and cheapest salesperson you’ll ever hire. Treat it right.

Have A Question?
Ready For Answers?
Call Us 1-949-954-7769
eMail us at: wantmore@teamdebello.com

Have A Question?
Ready For Answers?
Call Us 1-949-954-7769
eMail us at: wantmore@teamdebello.com