It is no secret that an online presence creates brand awareness and helps to portray your climbing centre or you as a professional instructor yet many people I have dealt with over the years,especially within the climbing world, seem to miss out on this opportunity or completely disregard it as valid option or worse a total waste of their time.
Unfortunately if you are in latter category that time has passed and ultimately if you want to continue to do business or start a new one you will have to enter the online world.
It could be that climbing has always been an adventurous sport with the aim to spend as much time spent outside as possible or that its just sitting and typing on a computer is the last and worse thing on any outdoor persons mind either way it seems that this gap has yet to filled by most of the rock climbing centres or companies out there as a climber first the Web developer and Social marketer second and can understand the pain of it, however its not as bad as it seems out there.
It has become extremely popular by most for anyone who is building a career or local business to advertise and connect with their clients or potential clients on social media networks like Facebook, Youtube and Google+. Your online brand is as important as any traditional forms of branding, you may believe that as you have been guiding for years or your centre has been open since 1990 that its reputation speaks for itself, while this is absolutely true there are people everyday search and finding, or not finding your brand and using that as a guidance to your validity and professionalism, it becomes what people think of you and your product when you are not available to meet them.
Trust and Validity Online
Most people today typically rely on a company’s online presence to test its validity and reliability, by investing in time as well as marketing you can increase the trust potential clients see in your brand, its reported that 82% of buyers say that they would trust a company more if its director or managers interacted with them on a social network(*1) yet most business say that 36% of their companies Directors ” either does not care, of cares little, about the companies reputation in social media”(*2). 82% of people is a very large number of people to ignore as potential client base and risk losing simple from not interacting with them, maybe that interaction is simple confirming dates or maybe its posting photos and video of them having amazing day at a new crag.
With 699 million daily Facebook visitors and 340 million user monthly on Google+ its hard to ignore the possibilities of that market and how they could change your business profile and profit.
It seems that no matter what platform you choose to use though, even if it is old media, content then is still the king. B2B Infographics confirms that 92% of SEO experts agree that content creation is effective and essential Search engine tactic and 76% of business’ invest ( time and money ) regularly in content creation.
Blogging, above and beyond your static website
Even if you have a website developed already, a Blog is still one of the most effective ways to improve the visibility and validity of your company profile online as well as transferring this profile into the ‘real world.
Blogging will greatly improve your search engine rank, establishes your brand and helps to cultivate relationships within, not just those in the blogging world but those in all social networks, Which with over 1 billion users on Facebook is almost everyone that you are interested in selling your product to.
The content that you invest time and money into creating should not be left static on your website, by making every effort to share and publish this on as many networks you ensure a high level of possible conversion for you hard work. Many of the blogging platforms have automatic sharing capabilities built in to allow you to do this with ease.
Creating useful intelligent content and using keywords or phrases that you company wants to be known is the key to all of this and will ultimately help people find your company online, blogging is a very effective strategy in the world of social media and search, most searches for companies or products result in landing on article and posts pages instead of actually websites so it becomes important that your posts have links and Calls to action on them encouraging customers to you main website.
Many important client connections can be made through Sharing of content( blogging ) throughout the web which helps increase your traffic by directing some of their own traffic to your website ( even if its a competitor ). Becoming a company that networks effectively is hard at the start, however if you become a great networker, you will receive more traffic and create a experience around your product that people find hard to turn away from.
Although sites like Google+ and Twitter are excellent sources of increasing traffic to your website, Facebook with 699 million daily visitors is considered to be the most effective social media site on the planet.
By regularly posting photos, updating you statuses and building up your Facebook page, you will increase traffic to your website and increase your audience, you can also increase the likelihood of customers returning by interacting with them online after the course or session is over. everyone loves to feel wanted.
Facebook, like blogging is just a portal where you can interact with clients and introduce them to your products and service in a quick and non intrusive way, on average Facebook users spend on average 20 mins a day logged in so potential you have a short time to present your brand however if this is done can greatly improve you main website visits and overall relationship with you customers.
Marketing with social media enables you to reach large targeted audiences and has become one of the most effective and cost effective ways to promote your business. One of the greatest things about creating an online company presence is that it captures the attention of the targeted audience and allows for high visibility of your brand while increasing online credibility.
As with all of these online services there are different ways and strategies to posting and interacting for example to improve visibilities of posts saturday at noon has the largest amount of visitors in the week while posting updates with images will get 53% more ‘Likes’ and 104% more comments (*3) than just posting with text. Each Network takes time to learn and is easy to pass over as to difficult or to see it as a time waster, but clearly from the statistics its a matter of we ‘have to’ instead of ‘should we’.
There are always other networks coming out and it can be difficult to determine what or which one should take up most of our allocated time for network marketing, that will always be the case so it becomes a matter of research before diving in.
Smaller social platform such as Pinterest may not have the volume of Facebook or Google but should not be avoided on that alone, small means targeted and if targeted correctly means high conversions. Pinterest for example is useful for many things, it is especially good it seems for a young female audiences, as 83 percent of Pinterest users are women and currently is the largest growing social network today.
Video marketing is another effective way to promote your business. Youtube although there are other such as Vimeo or Mevio will definitely get your brand noticed and bring targeted traffic to your website from which you can feed onto your blog, website and other social platforms. Creating Youtube has had many problems in the past with duplicate accounts and confusing settings, recently it has been re-hauled and can now connected to a Google+ business page keep all you posts, video and images under one roof making it even easier now to cross promote. Not as many people have youtube user accounts as other social platforms however Youtube still has millions of visits per day and with the correct Keywords links and promotions can be a very successful marketing campaign.
A post with Video will gain 83% more likes and comments than a post with just text and 100% more interest than if you just do nothing.
Customers as a part of your Brand
People see great value in you and your business when they can see themselves as part of your progress and can take away memories, which must importantly they can share online, it gives them the ability to share with their friend and colleges, giving them a feeling of pride and excitement while increasing the views and interaction with your company, by making the post catchy, descriptive and spending some time editing the photos or videos as well as integrating keywords and links back to your website or social pages you increase the chance of it being re-shared and re-shared again.
By posting anything from a trip away or a simple one day course you are showing that the day was all about them and when they went home you were still working for them, writing and posting content on their behalf.
Google – What is so important about being at the top
Google is a multinational corporation specialising in Internet-related services and products, such as search, software and online advertising. Google affects the success or failure of marketing strategies greatly as it is listed as the most visited website in the world with 500 million searches every day. Owning a blog, Social page or website for your business that can be searched for and found on Google easily and at least on the first page will gain you a huge increase in traffic giving you more chance at successful conversions.
To be hugely successful within a market a website will need to be in the top 3 of searches and should always have a SEO( search engine strategy ) to reach N0.1 and stay there. According to a report from Chitika and backed up by similar services being ranked No.1 will receive 33% of traffic, rank 2 17%, rank 3 11% rank 4 only 8% then 6 then 4 then 3% after the 11th place, which is the second page of google the percentage drops down below 1%
There are many steps however to achieving higher rankings and success within the search, such as a correctly created sitemaps, keyword research, correct submissions, well written articles to name just a few. Many of the stages necessary to be seen as high value by google can be view as simple and yet so many companies fail early on, thereby lose rankings to the competition organically or by being actually penalised by Google and others for their mistakes.
A simple SEO step often missed that can make a big difference
An example of simple steps along the road of SEO that is often missed or deemed as unnecessary is creating a site map. A sitemap is a list that notifies Google and others about all the pages on your website even the ones that might not otherwise be easily discovered by the Google Robots that are constantly scanning the internet.
Creating a Sitemap helps make sure that Google’s robots know about all the pages on your site, as well as URLs that may not be discoverable by Google’s normal crawling process and so ensures that all the content will be indexed by google correctly, Google has a huge amount of data to process per month, by making it easy to index a site you increase the chance of being successful in the results.
There are two popular versions of a site map. An XML Sitemap is a structured format that tells the search engine about the pages in your site, and how often they are updated, while remaining hidden to the user, whereas HTML sitemaps are designed for the visitor to help them find content on the pages within your site.
For newer sites this may be how your content gets discovered in the first place and for more established sites your new content can be indexed in a matter of minutes. It is important to understand the difference though as google will not scan the HTML version, it is essential then to have created a .XML site map and submitted to a search engine.
Googles search algorithm is becoming smarter in the way it displays results with every update since 2012 nearly 1/3 or all results are local results, that means that Google has taken your location into consideration and presented you with results more likely required because of your location.
With the internet expanding day by day, this is the way search is going, this means that targeting you brand to its market location would increase your ranking, Google will be scanning and determining results based on locations so it would, as with sitemaps be advantages to assist them .
‘Rock Climbing’ which is searched for 48000 times month is hard market to break into, especially when depending on the searchers location depends on which of the 68000 competitors for that keyword they would see, it would be much better to capitalise on google local search terms and market your website, blog and Social networks and SEO strategies on ‘Rock Climbing in pembrokeshire’ for example.
Google is also placing more and more authority on websites and brands who have registered for Googles Local Business registration, creating a larger and more eye catching search result, this is another example of the many steps to securing top of the list positions within Google’s results.
On a successful visit to your site due to organic search result or Social marketing it now important to have call to action in place so as to capitalise on this visit, this may not yet be purchasing a product or service it maybe filling out a contact form,sharing a post or ‘like’ing a page.
Call to Actions
A social media call to action is an strong element of an effective social media strategy that is often overlooked. Social media allows the public to easily find out more about your product or company, and by using sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Youtube. posts will receive more success rates if they contain calls to action.
For instance on Facebook, if you include a phrase such as “please share” or “click here”, it is much more likely to receive more likes, comments and shares, endlessly expanding your audience. Make your CTAs clear is an integral part of your marketing plan, it is important to gain the prospects attention for even the shortest span of time.
Whichever type of conversion is required it should be measured and quantified in some way in order to correct and improve on ideas and concepts, Many of the Social networks have integral service within their platform that will allow you to monitor the strategies.