Monthly Archives: September 2019

Amazon on phone

The Amazon Ecommerce Market: Lessons to Take From an Online Empire

This entry was posted in ecommerce, Marketing on by .

The impact of emerging technologies and social media year-to-year continues to astonish businesses and consumers alike. Ecommerce has become a staple of a growing business, and one of the most recent but fast-growing giants in the market is Amazon. So how did the online empire of Amazon emerge, and how did it grow so quickly?

Prior to 2001, Amazon didn't even turn a profit, and the numbers grew very slowly for many years. But in 2016, the company began to grow suddenly. It’s quarterly net profits that were well under half a billion quickly became close to the one billion mark.

And in 2019, profits somehow have continued to climb. In Q1 Amazon's net profits peaked at a hefty 3.56 billion dollars. Amazon took almost 50% of e-commerce sales in 2018, a figure sure to rise this year. Amazon’s reputation is so large that it’s common to hear about the “Amazon Effect, referring to the competitive difficulty retailers in many industries often face trying to keep up with Amazon.

An Integrated Marketing System

Not only does Amazon sell its own services and merchandise, but it also owns the platform by which many other businesses market their products. For smaller retailers, the latter step is probably unlikely for the near future. However, there is much to be gained by pursuing other opportunities for vertical integration.

A business should always be looking for ways to consolidate their supply chain. This can take the form of franchising, contracting, or direct incorporation. Amazon has a long history of such experiments, from establishing their own publishing imprint to developing their own delivery service. They also arrange unique deals with their manufacturers which allow them to freely enter and participate in the operations of their own brands.

Developing your own web platform to engage directly with consumers is essential. In the digital environment, those who own and operate apps, websites, and databases are important links in the chain. Amazon Web Services, which provides cloud computing and storage tools for businesses, is a powerful example of vertical integration in the digital world – they also use AWS for their own retail sites.

Horizontal integration is also key – putting new products into new markets is on many companies' to-do lists, and Amazon sells much more than books now. Famously, they purchased Whole Foods in 2017, a surprising entry into a new market with the hidden benefit of adding new information about consumer habits to their databases. All these moves, while seemingly risky in many cases, make headlines and expand Amazon's reach dramatically.

Innovative Customer Experience

Not long ago, a web-integrated approach to retail was simply called “multichannel”: brick-and-mortar stores and online selling would work in tandem but were viewed as two separate, but parallel, aspects of the business. Today, the “omnichannel” model is gaining prominence.

The concept of omnichannel marketing is like that of a vertical marketing system in that it calls for a unified approach to retail, but where vertical integration largely affects behind-the-scenes operations, an omnichannel strategy directly targets customer experience. The idea is that customers should be able to move seamlessly between various connected platforms and services while experiencing a unified brand experience.

For example, one should easily be able to purchase things in one way – say, on Amazon.com – and return them in another, such as a physical location, seamlessly. Amazon unveiled yet another one of their famous experiments this year when they made a deal allowing Amazon customers to return their products in Kohl's stores, which handle the packing and shipping themselves. This move appears to have greatly benefited both companies.

One of the biggest differences between a traditional business model and an omnichannel approach is the way shipping is handled. Large companies are not just shipping from distribution centers to stores—fulfillment centers have been introduced to package and ship parcels individually to consumers.

Amazon has contracts with several shipping companies around the US, including UPS and FedEx, which provide them with cheaper shipping rates in exchange for the extra business. FedEx recently allowed their express shipping contract with Amazon to expire, so they may be looking for new retailers to contract with. Developments like this are worth paying attention to.

Amazon has also received a great deal of media attention in recent years for its interest in radical new ways to deliver goods faster than ever before. The most remarkable example of this is their testing unmanned aerial vehicles as a way to ship small products directly to customers' doors in 30 minutes or less.

We haven't yet exhausted the many ways Amazon is dedicated to new technologies. As climate concerns and renewable energy efforts make headlines more and more, Amazon pays attention.

Environmental Focus

Products and business practices viewed as “green” are still all the rage with both consumers and companies. This trend shows few signs of slowing down as demand continues to increase and smaller companies invest more frequently in the renewable energy industry.

Major players are getting involved too. In fact, it seems Amazon is determined to take the lead in environmental awareness and renewables investment going forward. In February, they announced their intent to make at least 50% of their shipments have a net carbon impact of zero, a plan fittingly named “Shipment Zero. Amazon has 61 ongoing renewable energy projects across the globe, two of which were just announced at the start of August.

They have also started shipping more of their items in lightweight plastic mailers rather than boxes to fit more items in fewer trucks and planes. Producing these mailers emits fewer greenhouse gases and uses less petroleum than making boxes from recycled cardboard, experts told The Washington Post.

While there are environmental pros and cons to most types of packaging, other companies would do well to explore innovative alternatives to stay ahead of the curve.

Amazon is also pushing for better practices from its various manufacturers: they have outlined a program requiring some manufacturers to change their packaging to make it sturdier, less expensive, and more eco-friendly. Brands that comply early will be rewarded with a credit of $1 per item shipped, but after August 1st, non-compliant items will incur a surcharge of $1.99 each, Forbes reported.

With all the expansion and innovation behind Amazon's rocket to prosperity, it's not surprising that many business owners would fear the Amazon Effect. However, with increasing worry about the impact of big business and tech companies, more avenues for smaller trustworthy competitors may be opening up in the near future.

But this is not to say that important lessons can’t be taken from the rise of the Amazon ecommerce empire. If your business hasn’t created an avenue for online sales, or is looking to increase your conversion rate, consider getting in touch with SeoTuners today. With affordable SEO solutions that include web design, social media, custom link building, SEO penalty recovery, and more, we’re confident we have a solution for all your marketing needs. Contact us today to learn about how we can help you grow your business online.

Hiring an SEO Agency to Enhance Your Business Revenue

This entry was posted in Advertising, Local, Marketing, SEO on by .

Better marketing leads to higher conversion rates and sales. If your products and services aren’t selling as much as you thought, you may be marketing them wrong. With more and more consumers switching to online shopping, you have a vast market to win over. Don’t waste your shot. Make your campaigns count by hiring the services of an SEO agency in Ventura. Expert online marketing advice can help you grow your business and revenue.

Know your market

SEO offers you a multitude of consumer data, the Entrepreneur shares. By knowing your target market inside and out, you’ll have a better idea of why your campaigns fail, why your competitors succeed, and what you can do to turn things around.

Drive website traffic

Organic search remains the primary source of online traffic, the Search Engine Journal notes. If you’ve got poor organic search traffic, though, an SEO agency can step in and help. Pros can implement campaigns to get your pages to rank higher. Better rankings will mean greater visibility, which leads to more sales. Remember that a reputable firm won’t promise to put you on the first page of the Google search results, though. Anyone who works in digital marketing knows that search marketing campaigns take time. If a firm comes up to you and says they can do it in a month or two, they’re lying.

Build trust and credibility

The goal of most companies is simple: to cultivate a loyal consumer base that will continue to increase demand for the company’s products. That’s one way to keep the business going. Rabid consumer loyalty doesn’t happen overnight, though, not unless you’re Robert Downey Jr. playing Iron Man for the first time. Companies with little to no star power can rely on SEO marketing campaigns to do this for them instead. With marketing campaigns that establish your business as an authority in the field, you can get the trust and confidence of your market. If they trust your brand or business, they’re more likely to try out your products or services.

Improve engagement

Ever wonder what causes people to go to the theater and sit down to watch the same film for the hundredth time? Why do people line up just to get an ultra-expensive phone when they can get one for a much lower price? That’s brand engagement at work. It’s not enough that people know your brand. Your brand could be around for decades and still not elicit any consumer engagement. By hiring an SEO agency, though, you have pros to help you. They’ll determine the reasons behind your brand’s poor engagement and implement strategies to upgrade your brand. For some companies, it’s as simple as consumers confusing their brand with another firm. For some, consumers simply find their story boring. With expert assistance, you can transform your brand, create a story that your customers will love, and create deeper, lasting engagement. With greater engagement, you’ll get more people to buy your products and try out your services.

How to Market Your Drug Rehabilitation Center

This entry was posted in Advertising, Marketing, SEO on by .

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health states there are about 19.7 million adults in the U.S. who struggle with substance abuse disorder. The fact that drug addiction and abuse is costing American society more than $740 billion annually in lost workplace productivity and healthcare bills. Add to that rime-related expenses, and the numbers become even more alarming. There’s a need to ensure that people with the addiction get the treatment they need.

 

Treatment for select few

 

If you already have a drug rehabilitation center, then you’ll want to make sure your facility is always at full capacity. However, while the numbers of substance abuse and addiction in the country are high, only a quarter of that seek out or even receive proper treatment. Plenty of factors contribute to that. People are afraid of the stigma attached to addiction and would rather suffer on their own than seek out treatment. Some are afraid of the unknown. Unsure of the treatment, they refuse to check into rehab. Some cite cost as a problem. Out of all these, your campaigns should target those who want treatment but are afraid because they don’t know enough to make the right decision. That’s your market.

 

Marketing to solve the problem

 

Knowing the challenges that face the addiction recovery market will help you come up with better strategies. Once you’ve identified your audience, start looking for professional help for drug rehab marketing. Each strategy will focus on building and providing the necessary knowledge that people with addiction need to decide about pursuing treatment.

 

Choosing the right team

 

Smart, focused, and insightful marketing doesn’t happen by accident, though. It’s a product of skill and experience. That’s why it’s important to find the right marketing firm to create your campaigns. Do your homework. What kind of qualifications does the firm have? How long has the company been in the business? What kind of marketing services does it offer?

 

Look for specialization

 

Not all SEO marketing firms have meaningful experience in marketing drug rehab facilities. If you want stellar results, pick a firm that has already handled drug rehab marketing in the past. Ask them questions about that project. What marketing campaigns or strategies did they use, and will they use the same techniques again? Were the results successful?

 

Ask about the process

 

What strategies will they implement for your facility? Addiction recovery centers operate under the idea of trust and credibility. Given how serious addiction is, it’s only right that people take the time to get more information about the facility. They read reviews. They check websites. They ask for credentials. They want to know that the facility is trustworthy. Your marketing strategy needs to integrate that into the campaigns. A good marketing firm understands that. A bad one does not. Look out for that difference when you ask the company about their plans for your facility. If the company is more concerned about getting customers to your door by marketing low-cost services over building trust, look elsewhere.

 

Considerations When Choosing a Web Design Company

This entry was posted in Marketing, Web Design Posts on by .

Bad design hurts your business. If your pages are cluttered, has too many graphic elements, and unnecessary pages, you’ll lose potential customers before they even have a chance to find out what your products or services are all about. Improve their experience by hiring a web design company in Ventura to fix your site. The right one will make your pages mobile-friendly, clean up the visual clutter, and entice visitors to stay longer, increasing the chances for conversions and sales. Here are several considerations to factor into your decision.

Check out its site

Your hiring decision impacts your bottom line. Pick a bad firm and you could end up making mistakes and losing potential customers. If the company’s site is amateurish and lacks professionalism, look elsewhere. If the site is clean, simple, and easy to navigate, those are all signs that the firm knows what good web design is all about.

Browse through the portfolio

A lot of companies have online portfolios where they show samples of previous work. Go over those samples. Do you see anything you like? That may be a sign that the firm is a good fit for your project, Small Business Trends says. If you don’t like anything, though, be wary. Firms include their best works in the portfolio. If nothing impresses you, their style may not appeal to you. When you pick a web design team, experience and expertise aren’t the only qualities that matter. Fit matters too. If the work doesn’t suit the style of your business, think about moving on to other options.

Ask questions

Before you dismiss the company, though, reach out and ask them whether they have any experience working on a project like yours. They may have someone on the team who can execute the designs in the styles you want. Talk to them and ask. If you pick a reputable firm, they may come up with an arrangement that will suit you. Give it a try.

Consider the basics

Don’t forget to go over the basics. How long has the firm been in the business? Does it have any credentials? Who are the firm’s clients? Are you in good company? Do they have several clients in the same industry as your firm? Dig into the data and learn more about the firm’s reputation and track record. Are there legal complaints against the firm? If the firm has an excellent reputation and a track record for delivering excellent client solutions, then it deserves your business, the Business2Community says.

Read the reviews

Positive reviews are a good marker for a reputable company. But don’t just be satisfied with a high rating. Go over them and note down details that stand out. Do clients mention outstanding employees by name? What were some of the issues that they encountered? Are these recurring problems? What were they happy and unhappy about when it came to the firm’s services? These questions will help you figure out the right firm for your web design needs.

 

A voice search on phone

Is It Worth Optimizing for Voice Searches In 2019?

This entry was posted in Marketing, Mobile on by .

Google launched its first voice search App in 2008, and it wasn’t long after that similar voice recognition devices were released, including Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Echo (Alexa), and Google’s refined Google Assistant.

Voice assistant software has continued to increase in popularity up until 2019, where it seems to have decreased slightly. In 2017, 13% of all households in the United States owned a smart speaker, and in 2018, 72% of people who own voice-activated speakers said that their devices were used as part of their daily routines.

But how popular is voice search in 2019, and is it worth targeting specifically with SEO?

Is Voice Search as Popular as We Once Thought?

Most people who use voice assistant software currently use it for voice commands, such as making phone calls, sending texts, or setting alarms, which don’t require an internet search. Voice search is just one aspect of voice assistant software, but it’s the one that can be capitalized on most for marketing. Unfortunately, the statistics of one are often conflated with the other, so it’s hard to pin down just how popular voice search really is.

For example, a popular statistic that floats around online is the forecast that in five years’ time (which would be in 2020) 50% of all searches will be done by voice.

This statistic likely came from a misquoting of Braidu’s former Chief Data Scientist, Andrew Bg, in a 2014 Fast Company Interview. Baidu is a Chinese search engine, so this quote was speaking from data based in China which could be drastically different from the U.S. for several reasons.

Not only that, but it was a forecasted from 2014 and was in reference to speech and image searches. Statistics are often misquoted and repeated out of context to the point that they become inaccurate or untraceable altogether. Voice search is certainly nothing to ignore, but it’s growing at a much slower rate than we once thought it would.

So Why Is Voice Search on the Decline?

Aside from the overly zealous prediction that voice search will make up half of all searches by 2020, there was a consensus among experts that it would take off much quicker than it has.

One of the reasons may be that the technology is still being perfected—users may avoid opting into voice search if it takes multiple attempts to get the information that they could’ve found in one attempt on a manual search.

But this could soon be corrected. According to Google, voice recognition accuracy has increased to 95% since 2013. But it may still take time for many people to give voice technology a chance.

Chart on google machine learning

According to a study from Stone Temple released in March of this year, voice search has actually lagged from third to fourth place in how people use their phones to find information.

Chart on top 3 choices for performing searches

What was interesting about this study, though, is that it also suggested that those who did use voice search considered it their top choice. This means that there are many people who just have not tried the new technology, had a bad experience with it in the past, or do not have a voice technology assistant for financial or personal reasons, who may eventually prefer voice search.

This decline in voice searches may also be due in part to privacy concerns that have been mounting in the past few years. Before Bloomberg reported that Amazon was reviewing the spoken commands given to Alexa, many people were not aware that all major voice assistant data is reviewed by human personal.  But this should come as no surprise—technology companies review frequent commands and searches made and how their technology responds to them in order to increase accuracy.

As technology improves and more people invest in voice technology assistants, voice search can be expected to grow—even if it doesn’t grow as fast as we’d once thought.

What’s Unique About Voice Search Technology?

According to Google, people often use their voice technology because it can help them multitask, making their daily routine easier and faster. Voice searches, specifically, allow them to instantly get answers and information without having to type and weed through more irrelevant information.

Voice search is convenient for hands free searching, which likely occurs most in the car. People may use it to ask for directions or recommendations for restaurants, businesses, or treatment centers when they’re on a time constraint. And with many states cracking down on texting and touching phones while driving, voice search allows people continued access to information in a much safer way.

Businesses like treatment centers should be especially conscious of voice search SEO, as addicts as well as friends and family of addicts may search for a drug rehab facility on the go or in a time sensitive situation.

Finally, voice search has immense potential for increasing ADA accessibility on the web. Rather than having to type, whether on a phone or desktop computer, a user can simply speak an action phrase such as “ok Google” followed by a query. And rather than having to visually and mentally comb through a multitude of results, a user will be read aloud the most relevant answer to their query.

For individuals with physical, visual, and mental disabilities, voice search could level the playing field and allow easier access to information online.

While voice search will probably never monopolize online searches, it’s absolutely worth accounting for in your SEO strategy.

How to Optimize SEO for Voice Search

The best strategy to optimize for voice search is do so when developing content from the beginning—that’s why you should work it into your SEO and content strategies now.

One major difference between voice and manual search is that voice search is much more conversational. Whereas someone might Google “drug rehab treatment centers in Los Angeles no insurance”, they might voice search “where can I go for drug rehab without insurance?”

People who know how to search efficiently will naturally pack their inquiries with keywords and relevant information like locations and stipulations, but voice search is unique in that it is meant to be treated like a (human) personal assistant.

So, you may need to fill in some of the gaps in your content. While packing in keywords may do some good for manual SEO, voice searches tend to pull from conversational content that happens to have relevant words in it. And since everyone speaks differently, you’ll have to consider the many different variations of questions people may ask and try to phrase your content to fit as many of them as possible.

The good news is, there are countless SEO tools to help you do this! For example, there is a tool called Answer the Public that will give you a map and list of commonly asked questions related to the keywords you type in. Google even has their own tool called “People Also Asked” that can give you related questions to any that you input.

As far as developing voice search friendly content, FAQ pages are incredibly effective at answering common voice search queries in a conversational tone about how-to’s, locations, and product and service information.

Additionally, it’s important to note that a vast amount of voice searches are made on mobile phones, meaning that having a mobile-friendly website is key. For example, page speed is a huge mobile ranking factor, and that comes through in voice searches. According to Backlino, voice search results load 52 percent faster than average pages.

Optimizing your site for local search results will also benefit your voice search SEO, so be sure to claim your business listing through Google My Business if you haven’t already done so and ensure all this information is accurate. You can then make content on your site that answers location and services-based questions in an accessible, voice search friendly tone.

So, the more you can do to optimize your site and content for local search results, the better optimized you’ll be for both kinds of queries. Claiming your business listing through Google My Business is the first step. Then you can develop content that easily answers location-based questions.

Securing your website with an HTTPS website domain may also boost your voice search SEO. According to Backlinko, 70.4% of Google Home result pages are secured with HTTPS.

Don’t wait until voice search actually makes up half of all online searches, start optimizing for it today! If you have questions about voice search or general SEO tactics, get in touch with us.

SeoTuners is well-versed in SEO and can help craft a custom, affordable solution for your business to increase exposure and SERP rankings. With affordable SEO solutions that include web design, social media, custom link building, SEO penalty recovery, and more, we’re confident we have a solution for all your marketing needs. Contact us today to learn about how we can boost your Google rankings.