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Voice Search Optimization: How to Improve Your Website Content

While many businesses are waking up to the benefits of search engine optimization (SEO), few appear aware of the importance of voice search optimization. As more consumers begin to use phones, in-house smart speakers, and other tech products to research goods and services, audio searches are more prevalent than ever. At present, around 40% of consumers use voice searches regularly.

On the other hand, less than 5% of companies optimize their online content for voice search. Not only does this mean that businesses are missing out on valuable searches, but it also indicates there is a huge market to capture. By servicing consumers who use voice search queries to find products, your business can be one of the first entrants to this budding digital advertising channel.


Quick Takeaways

  • An overwhelming majority of companies have not invested in optimizing web content for voice search.
  • Voice search is a rapidly growing form of web search.
  • Voice search optimization requires businesses to address longer keyword phrases and questions.
  • Voice search results must be concise and filled with valuable content.
  • Location optimization is a critical component of succeeding in ranking high in voice query results.


What is Voice Search?

A voice search occurs when an individual uses a voice-activated device to ask questions or make a request. For example, when someone uses Siri or the Google Voice Search app, they might ask for a local sporting goods store to purchase a bike. This is often seen as a much more convenient way to ask a question to search engines – users don’t have to type questions or keywords phrases.

Smartphones and smart speakers are more popular than ever. Over 20% of Americans own smart speakers, and over 80% of Americans own smartphones. Estimates suggest that 2020 will see more than half of searches become voice-activated.

While voice search accesses the same search engines and platforms, it’s much different from traditional search engine queries. The core variation lies in the way that users interact with the platform. While a Google search includes concise keyword phrases, voice searches often come in the form of a question or longer search.

This means that Google and other search platforms must find answers that relate to different types of queries. Additionally, many voice response platforms prefer to provide short answers to voice queries. The algorithm will search for content that can answer the question in the most concise way possible.


How Consumers Use Voice Search

Consumers use voice search to speak Google queries aloud. In some cases, a voice search will simply request dates, facts, data, or other small pieces of information. However, many voice searches will ask direct questions about products or services.

As questions are a primary focus of many voice searches, businesses must address keywords that include question phrases (What, Where, How, etc.). Most voice-activated platforms are now considered ‘dialogue’ systems, which means that users interact with voice-activated devices in a similar manner to the way they would interact with another human.

Also, as many consumers ask for ‘services near me’ or other geo-specific requests, location is critical in modern voice queries.


The Impact of Voice Search on Businesses

Voice search is changing the way that businesses access customers online. For businesses that already invest in SEO, voice search poses a new challenge in the fight for modern consumers. It is yet another example that you can’t remain complacent if you want to dominate digital marketing channels.

Also, a voice-activated search doesn’t provide the same options as a traditional search. While browser users have a variety of options to choose from when they ask a question or search for a service, voice searches typically generate one response. If a business owner wants to benefit from a voice query, they must focus on offering the best option for Google.

Voice-activated searches are immensely favorable for businesses that offer local services. As long as you’re optimized for local searches, voice searches may improve your ability to source local clients.


Optimizing Your Website Content for Voice Search

If you’re ready to take advantage of the potential of voice search optimization, it’s critical to get started on the right foot. There are already excellent avenues you can take to improve your online content’s voice search query suitability. Below, let’s explore five actions you can take to improve your voice search results.


1.      Focus on Longer Keyword Phrases

As voice searches tend to consist of longer phrases or questions, it’s critical to optimize these types of queries. Using longtail keyword phrases or conversational keywords will help you access consumers using voice searches. Make sure to look for question-style phrases when you’re performing keyword research – you must put yourself in the shoes of someone who needs help solving a problem or finding a suitable product.


2.      Optimize for Shorter Responses – Snippets Can Help

Research suggests the average voice search result is only 29 words. This means business owners must optimize for snippets and short responses. Focus on building FAQ-style answers that are rich in information and concise in format.

Content must be constructed to provide information in a short response. It’s critical to reformat your content to offer snippet-style responses to a ‘search Google’ query.


3.      Focus on Page Speed

As with traditional searches, voice searches require fast page speed. If a voice query app or platform wants to provide a quick answer to a device user, your page must load quickly. If your page speed is currently underperforming, switching hosting companies or web builders can make a drastic improvement.

Evidence suggests that voice-activated SERPs respond significantly faster than traditional searches. Make sure that page speed is a top priority when you’re building a site for a voice-activated Google search.


4.      Local SEO – Use Google My Business and Google Maps

Overwhelming evidence suggests that many voice search users are seeking local products or services. It’s not enough to optimize your website’s content for the entire United States – you should also consider the local customers seeking your products or services.

Geo-specific content can help you access consumers who need immediate help in your area. For example, if a homeowner comes home to a leaking pipe, they may request their Amazon Echo to find a nearby plumber. If your website is optimized for their neighborhood, you can benefit from the query.

One of the best ways to generate local interest is to use Google My Business. When you register your company with Google My Business, you must input your address and phone number. This will automatically help you source voice query customers in your area – Google Maps will locate local services and businesses.

PRO TIP: If you already have a Google My Business Listing, it is important to remember that you can’t just set it and forget it. Make sure that you update and add content regularly to increase the likelihood of being chosen for those featured spots in local search. Not sure how your GMB listing stacks up compared to industry benchmarks? Use our Free Google My Business Audit Tool to find out!


5.      Mobile Websites Matter

While consumers utilize voice searches on a variety of devices, phones tend to be one of the most popular platforms. This means that consumers are often redirected to mobile websites when they ask about a service, product, or general query. If you want your business to benefit from a mobile-based voice search, it’s critical to optimize your website for mobile visitors.

Creating a responsive website is an excellent way to ensure you can convert visitors that use mobile device voice searches. Make sure to test your website on a mobile browser before you launch it.


Update Your SEO to Tap into New Markets

If you want to access new customers using voice-activated devices, it’s critical to begin optimizing your website content. Question-based queries will only increase in popularity over the coming years. Now is the time for local business owners to take advantage of this rare opportunity to begin optimizing for voice search customers before the rest of the market shifts their content.

Not sure where to start? Let Vivial’s SEO experts do it for you – contact us today!

5 Instagram Story Types to Increase Customer Engagement

With a plethora of social platforms available, it can be challenging to know where to direct your marketing efforts. With 1 billion active users each month, it is not a surprise that many local businesses have decided Instagram is a platform worthy of their attention. However, many still don’t take full advantage of all of its great features, such as Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories have over 500 million active users daily, making it a feature you shouldn’t neglect. Here is a complete guide your business can follow to help up your Stories game!

What Are Stories?

Launched in 2016 as a response to Snapchat, the Instagram Stories allow accounts to post photos and short videos to their ‘story’ – where they will be visible to their followers for 24 hours.Since its launch, updates and revisions have included the addition of filters, stickers, locations, music, and interactive features – such as polls, ranking bars, external links, and question stickers. These updates allow for increased engagement and interaction with your audience.

How Is This Different From Just Posting on Instagram?

If your brand is already active on Instagram and you share posts to your feed often, do you need to post Stories too? The answer is yes!

Instagram Stories add a level of engagement and interaction that you cannot achieve through feed posts alone. By incorporating Stories into your social media marketing strategy, you can interact with your audience by responding to polls and asking questions through the stickers. Better yet, you can give them the option to swipe up to go to an external link of your choosing, which is a function that is not available in Instagram photo captions. Better yet, your brand’s Story can even feature user-generated content by reposting a story one of your followers has tagged you in!

Due to their fleeting nature, Stories are also better for fast, time-sensitive information – such as promotions, flash sales, or giveaways – that might become outdated too quickly to be featured in regular Instagram posts.

What Kind of Stories Should My Business Post?

Once you decide to concentrate on Stories, you may not know what to post to get your business the most traction – but we do! Here are 5 Story ideas for inspiration to get you started.

1.      Tutorials

Stories’ short, sequential formatting makes them perfect for sharing bite-sized educational tutorials or hacks. At-home recipes, beauty how-tos, or more on-brand tutorials relating to your business’s products or service area are the perfect Story posts for educating and engaging your followers.

2.      Behind the Scenes

Stories have a more casual, informal nature compared with traditional posts. Therefore, they are the perfect platform for posting behind the scenes exclusive looks. Snap a few pics from the set-up for an event you’re hosting or give a quick view of what you are finding during a home inspection or service call, and why it is an issue. You can even share the various work-from-home set-ups of your team members running a “day in the life of an employee at _____” series.

3.      Exclusive Promotions

Your Stories are likely going to be watched by your most loyal and engaged followers, so running giveaways, flash sales, and exclusive promotions via Stories is a great way to reward those who follow your brand the closest.

Additionally, offering an exclusive gift or prize to a lucky follower who shares your Story on their own is a great way to spread the word about your business and products and get your page in front of potential new followers and customers!

4.      User-Generated Content

One of the best things about Instagram Stories is that you can share any Story that has tagged your business on your own Story. Your followers will love seeing their posts featured, which will boost their engagement, and truly make your followers feel like they are an important part of your brand – because they are!

Try running a user-generated Story campaign by creating a hashtag unique to your brand and encourage your followers to tag your account and hashtag in their own Stories. From there, you will be able to interact with them and repost their Stories, all while expanding your brand reach and engaging with your followers.

5.      Paid Story Ads

If you are in a position where your brand can run paid ads, Instagram Story ads are a great route to take. When clicking through Stories, the average Instagram user will see a paid Ad every fourth Story. For Instagram users who follow upwards of a thousand accounts, that’s a lot of ads and potential purchase opportunities! Take advantage of this by designing a Story ad catered to your target audience. Keep in mind the Instagram Story specs and best practices when creating your campaign, and you will be golden!


With total creative liberty at your fingertips, Instagram Stories provide an endless canvas for stellar audience engagement. For more tips on how to build successful marketing campaigns, talk with one of our digital marketing experts today!


3 Insider Tips to Kickstart Your Holiday Marketing Campaigns

The holiday season may seem far off, but with medium-sized businesses doing 20%-40% of all their sales in the final two months of the year, they need to begin planning their holiday marketing strategy months before campaigns launch.

While preparing for such a crucial season can seem overwhelming, there are a few key areas to consider – data analytics, current yearly events, and trends, and the needs of your consumer, to name a few. Read on for a few key things you should consider when kickstarting your holiday planning!

Look Back At Last Year’s Data

Data analytics are essential when planning any marketing campaign, and the holiday season is certainly no exception. Website clicks, social media metrics, and online reviews can help your business pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses. By reviewing the data, you can determine what products or services were popular during the previous season and what campaign types earned the highest engagement. Combine with current industry trends, and you will have everything you need to build a strategy for the holidays that will bring in new customers and drive sales.

Holidays Will Be Different This Year

While it may seem obvious, this holiday season is likely going to look much different than previous years – and your brand should adjust accordingly. While you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, it’s important to face the fact that the COVID pandemic has changed the way consumers are buying.

If we have learned anything this year so far, it is that mobile device optimization for your website is vital. While it is very dependent on the region in which your business is located, the state in which we will be in regarding the Coronavirus in November and December is unknown. If we can continue on the path of re-opening and returning to full operation, consumers still may feel wary of venturing into the packed-stores and large crowds of shoppers typical of holiday shopping. Therefore, if you haven’t already looked into eCommerce options or updated your website to be responsive and mobile-friendly, now is the time.

Create a Marketing Plan For Every Platform

Running a successful campaign on one platform in today’s digitally-driven society is no longer enough. In fact, 72% of consumers prefer to have interaction with businesses via multiple channels, but only 39% are receiving that. This is why you should take advantage of various platforms to get enough traction to ensure the success of your campaigns.

Start by taking a look at your target audience and determine what channels they are most likely to engage with during the holiday season. Online advertising, social media platforms, text messaging, and email marketing – all of these are viable options that can effectively enhance brand recall and awareness, capture the attention of current and potential customers, and drive consumer engagement.

If this is your first time creating a multichannel marketing campaign or if you have been implementing them for years, it is important to remember our number one rule:

Be Consistent With Your Messaging!

While the platforms may be different, your campaign’s content should have the same overall look, feel, and messaging. Not only does this avoid any confusing or conflicting information, but it helps build your brand as reliable, trustworthy, and memorable.  That being said, you should still tailor it to meet best practice guidelines for each platform. For example, the use of hashtags is ideal for posting on Instagram and can increase engagement, but that is not for posts on Facebook.


Although the holiday season seems far off, businesses are already starting their holiday promotions. Early and informed planning and decision making around campaigns and marketing strategies will save your business time and heartache when the holidays inevitably sneak up on us! For more in-depth expert help on how to run a successful integrated campaign, contact one of Vivial’s Digital Media Marketing Specialists!


5 Quick Digital Marketing FAQs for New Business Owners

Digital Marketing can be complex and overwhelming. So, whether you are just starting or you are looking to invest more time into digital marketing for your local business, it is our goal to simplify it by providing you with the answers and advice you need to get the ball rolling. Below, Vivial’s V.P. of Marketing, Laura Cole, answers five questions about digital marketing that we are asked frequently by new business owners.

Why Is It Important for Local Businesses to have an Online Presence?

In the past, the buying funnel was typically linear line – research, narrow down to a specific company then make a purchase. These days the buying cycle is more of an all over the place, zig-zagging line with a few u-turns thrown in. The main reason for this shift is due to easy access to the internet from their mobile devices. Consumers can investigate and narrow down what item they want, and then purchase it either in-person or online with the click of a button. Therefore to be successful, you must think about how you can be well-represented and in front of them during every step of their buyer’s journey – you want to make sure you are found.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing is any aspect of marketing that occurs online and ensuring that your business can be found as consumers are browsing, researching and shopping everything from desktop computers and laptops to tablets and mobile devices.

Why Do Businesses Need Digital Marketing?

Especially now with the evolution of mobile, everyone has the internet at their fingertips. Consumers are online now more than ever – even while they are shopping in-store! They have access to hundreds of other businesses that provide the same products and services allowing them to comparison shop and look for alternative options. Therefore, you are missing out if you aren’t finding ways to capture their attention like having your business online where consumers are searching most.

What is the Biggest Mistake Made with Digital Marketing?

Too often, we see business owners that think you can set it and forget it when it comes to digital marketing. But the reality is that the world of digital marketing changes constantly. Every platform from Google to Facebook uses an algorithm to determine what they are going to show, to what audience, at what time. These algorithms are continually updated, many times without notice.  Therefore, you must be nimble and stay on top of things which is one of the main reasons business owners partner with a marketing company, like Vivial, that is completely dialed in to what is happening.

What is the Future of Digital Marketing?

Voice search is becoming even more prevalent. There is a new generation that has been exposed to a plethora of technological advances since birth which gives them a completely different understanding and thought process when it comes to using technology devices. For example, an adult in their 40’s is with their young children at home. They then decide they want ice cream but aren’t sure of where to go because they are new to the area. The adult will more likely head straight to their laptop to Google “ice cream stores near me.” However, before they get the laptop open, the kids are asking their Alexa where they can get ice cream and the device begins rattling off a list of locations close by.  As technology continues to evolve, the use of virtual assistant devices is only going to continue to grow.


Do you have questions about digital marketing for your local business? Reach out to our Digital Marketing Experts for a quick consultation!

Your Top Google My Business Questions Answered

Vivial’s Digital Experts Answer Questions You Asked During Our Google My Business Masterclass: How to Find, Promote & Engage with New Customers

Google My Business (GMB) is a necessity for businesses that want to be found in local searches. In our recent Masterclass, we discussed the importance of developing a comprehensive Google My Business strategy and how to leverage your listing to not only find new customers and promote your business to them but also engage with them and close the sale.

Watch the Webinar On-Demand

In combination with the webinar, viewers received access to our GMB Strategy Planning Kit that includes access to our Google My Business Audit, which compares your listing with industry benchmarks for 18 key factors that impact visibility in local search.

Run your Free Google My Business Audit now!

Throughout the live webinar, we received a plethora of great Google My Business questions from local business owners looking to improve their GMB listing. While we tried to answer as many of them as possible during the live session, we weren’t able to get to them all. Therefore, we have put together a quick recap of the questions asked and provided answers for those that attended and anyone else looking to optimize their Google My Business profile.


Claiming Your Google My Business Listing

How do you “add” or “claim” my Google My Business profile?

To create your GMB listing, you must use or create a Google Account and log into Google My Business. It will prompt you to enter the address for your businesses. If your business doesn’t have a physical location, you can list the area instead.

You will then select whether you want it to appear on Google Maps, select the business categories, and enter a phone number or website.  Lastly, you will select a verification option that will allow Google to verify your authority to claim and manage the listing.


Do you need a physical address for your business to get a GMB profile?

If you have a service-area business, you do not need to have a physical address listed on the account. However, when you go to verify your listing, it will require you to enter a mailing address that will be hidden from the public. Note that Post Office boxes are not eligible.

Keep in mind that to qualify for a Google My Business listing, your business must make in-person contact with customers during hours stated on your profile. Therefore, online businesses do not qualify.


How can you create a Google My Business listing when you share a building with other companies?

In most cases, a building that hosts multiple businesses has a suite or floor number that can be used to differentiate your business according to Google’s address guidelines.  If you are an individual practitioner or department within a business, you may create your own listing if:

  • They operate in a public-facing role. Support staff should not create their own listings.
  • They can be contacted directly at the verified location during stated hours.


Learn how to set up a GMB listing for an individual practitioner here.


If I have an online business and work from home, what should my address be for my GMB listing?

Unfortunately, if your business is strictly online, and you do not meet with customers in-person, then you do not qualify for a Google My Business listing, according to Google’s Guidelines.

If your business does meet the criteria of a service area business, then you would put your home address, which would be hidden from the public and only used to verify your listing.



GMB Profile Information

Where do you change your category?

To update your business categories in your GMB listing, you should first log into your Google My Business account and then use the left-hand navigation to select the ‘Info’ tab. At the top of the page, you will find the categories currently listed under your business name. Click the pencil icon  edit icon  to edit the categories.


How can you make sure you are listing the most accurate categories for your business?

When choosing your business categories, the primary should represent your company at the highest level. For example, if you are a General Contractor that does plumbing and electrical work, your primary category would be ‘General Contractor.’

Then you can add additional categories to let customers know about the specific services you provide – ‘Plumber’ and ‘Electrician.’


How do I prevent other companies from editing my Google My Business listing?

Claim your listing! One of the key reasons every business should claim their listing is so they can secure their listing and ensure the information is always accurate.


Updating & Publishing GMB Content

How often should we be publishing on GMB?

While you don’t need to be publishing content to your Google My Business page as often as you do for social platforms like Facebook, you must stay consistent. We recommend posting a minimum of once a month, but there isn’t a need to post more than once every seven days. Keep in mind that updates are typically only featured for seven days and will then be seen as old content.


Should I use hashtags in Google My Business posts?

While they will not cause harm, hashtags are not used by Google in the same way as social platforms. Therefore, we recommend skipping them.


Where do we post the videos in the photo section?

Yes, you can add videos within the ‘Photos’ tab in your Google My Business manager. Another option is to upload a video when posting an update under the ‘Posts’ tab.


Where do I add Q&A on my GMB listing?

GMB Questions & Answers

Make sure you log into the Google account tied to your GMB listing, then navigate to your listing through either Google Search or by clicking ‘View on Search’ under Your Business on the Google section on your dashboard. Once you are viewing your listing, you will see an “Ask a Question” button that is under the Questions & Answers section.


Google My Business Reviews

Is there an automated texting feature within GMB to help generate reviews?


Unfortunately, automated text messaging is not a built-in feature of GMB. However, there are a variety of products/services—like Vivial’s Marketing Platform—that can send and/or automate text messages to your customers. And to top that off, Google has made it easy by providing you a direct link to the Share a Review form for your listing. Find it by going on the Home dashboard within your Google My Business manager.


GMB 5-Star Review

It is understandable to reply to negative reviews, but why do you need to respond to 5-star ones as well?

If a company gets a lot of reviews each day, it may be next to impossible to reply to all of them. However, for most SMBs, that isn’t the case. Responding to all reviews, even the good ones, shows your customers and potential future customers that you are monitoring and appreciate the feedback.


When responding to a review, can you ask a question back regarding their opinion on a product?

If you ask a customer for their opinion within a review, you need to be prepared to accept whatever their opinion is – the good and the bad. Once a customer puts it out there, you are unable to remove any unfavorable comments or negative feedback. Therefore, we typically recommend taking these conversations offline in a private message or phone call.



If you have any additional questions about Google My Business—or are looking for help with any of your digital marketing and want to make sure your local business is found online—contact our digital experts today!

How to Format Your Business Listings for Optimal SEO Impact

In the last few years, “near me” searches for businesses have increased by over 500%, making search engine optimization (SEO) more important than ever for local businesses. However, when someone hears the term SEO, many automatically assume we are talking about website optimization. However, it applies to a variety of other things like business listings on sites like Facebook and Google.


Business Listing Optimization

It might seem unimportant, but how your information is entered and displayed on the internet can significantly impact your business’s ability to rank in local search. Read on for a few tips on how to format your listing for optimal impact!


Where Should I Start?

Google is the dominant player in local search, and typically establishes best practices. Luckily, they offer a complete overview of their suggested general guidelines to follow, which can be critical for your listing’s optimization. Directing your attention to how you fill out your Google My Business listing is a great place to begin because it can immediately improve its ranking ability and also help increase your website’s visibility in local search.

Now while Google may lead in the local search game, it is also important not to neglect other platforms such as Bing Local, Facebook, and Yahoo Local. Consistency across all online listings will impress algorithms and show credibility to your customers.


PRO TIP: Once you’ve filled out your Google My Business listing, create a document containing the exact wording of each section you filled in. This resource will serve as an excellent reference as you update and add other listings. Plus, you can lessen the likelihood of typos, misinformation, and inconsistencies across platforms by copying and pasting the data.


What Should You Include in My Business Listing?

While each listing site asks for slightly different information, here’s a quick overview of the main components your listing needs to have.


Business Name

Unsurprisingly, your business name serves as the primary way consumers will search for your listing. As a best practice, use your real-world business name exactly as it appears on your signage and logo. If you have multiple locations, such as franchises, it’s important not to add geographical terms or locations to your listing name. For example, instead of using Karen’s Cafe – Main Street, instead keep it just Karen’s Cafe.



When adding your business address, Google asks that you place your street address in line one, and any suite or mailbox numbers in line two. Unstaffed virtual offices or PO boxes should not be included, and don’t require their listings either.

For service area businesses – such as electricians or plumbers that service multiple geographic areas – your listing should only include your main office’s address, not each location you serve.


PRO TIP: While it may sound nitpicky, try to be consistent with the little things when writing your address with abbreviations or spelling out numbers.


Phone Number

Google guidelines request businesses to use phone numbers that will lead directly to whom they want to talk to if they are looking for general information about your business. Sending a local searcher to a corporate headquarters or a 3rd party service that doesn’t know if you have a specific brand item in stock can be a big turnoff and will likely lead to losing the sale.

Additionally, make sure to format your number exactly the same across listing platforms. For example, listing (555) 555-5555 on your Facebook, but 555-555-5555 on your Google listing can be seen as conflicting information, and lower your SEO rankings.


PRO TIP: Don’t forget to include your area code! Not everyone is going to know the local area code, and anyone using a cell phone with an out-of-state number may be required to include it to complete the call correctly.


Website Link

According to Google, your listed business URL should go directly to a domain page owned by your business, rather than a third party or social profile site. For companies with franchises or multiple locations, it’s best practice to link to a landing page for your location, rather than the corporate homepage.


Enhanced Content

While your business NAP (name, address, phone number) data are all necessary to include in a successful listing, don’t underestimate the power of combining it with quality enhanced content.

Enhanced content is a catch-all term for all the components that set your brand apart and detail what your business is all about! It includes photos, videos, customer reviews, taglines, certifications, awards, or any other attributes that can further build your brand identity and differentiate it from competitors.



Want to find out how well your Google My Business listing is optimized? Run our FREE GMB Audit!

6 Easy Ways to Grow Your Business’s SMS Texting List

With endless opportunities to connect and reach consumers, it may seem an unnecessary nuisance to also reach out to them by text message (SMS). However, recent consumer research points to quite the contrary.

When asked about their feelings towards receiving text messages from brands, 55% cited it as the most convenient way to receive reminders. Not only is texting a preferred method of communication for consumers, but the success of SMS campaigns is also tangible. The average open rate for SMS messaging is 99%, over double the average opening rate for email communications.

So how can your business grow their SMS subscribers list and reap the benefits? Read on for a few helpful tips to get you started.


1.  Make SMS Valuable for Consumers

To entice customers to join your SMS subscription list, make it worth their while! Consumers love when brands give them an exclusive, VIP experience. By offering first dibs on great deals or exclusive and priority access to benefits, your consumers will feel there is extra value to be had by opting-in to your brand’s SMS. In fact, businesses who offered an opt-in bonus – like a 25% discount for new subscribers – were able to grow their SMS lists 520% faster.

2.  Keep SMS Messages Short and Clear

90% of SMS messages are opened in under three minutes, and typically contain less than three text lines. Consumers don’t want to receive an influx of long, wordy, non-timely texts, so it’s essential to keep the natural cadence of texting in mind when crafting your SMS messages. Keep SMS messages simple, short, and on a need-to-know basis, so consumers don’t start to dread your notifications.

3.  Use Keyword Opt-In

It’s crucial to make signing up a breeze, and using a keyword opt-in lets you do that. Keyword opt-in allows potential subscribers to sign up by simply texting a specific keyword to a number provided by your business. For example, a restaurant’s SMS advertisement could read – “to receive special offers and our most up to date information sent straight to your mobile phone, text ‘VIP’ to 45434”. Place this messaging around checkout points, on social media accounts, and at the bottom of emails and receipts to make sure you capture every consumer!

4.  Cross-Promote Access to Opt-In Across Social

Your brand likely has an established following across your social media sites, so why not leverage those existing connections for your SMS lists as well? By offering an “opt-in” feature for SMS messaging across your social channels – with either a form to fill out or a keyword opt-in – you will give consumers a super convenient way to subscribe to your list, free of any entry barriers or extra steps.

Pro-Tip: This is an excellent opportunity to use an exclusive opt-in offer, as we discussed above!

5.  Add a Website Sign Up Option

Imagine if you could easily give every website visitor the option to join your SMS list quickly? Great news – you can! Displaying a pop-up form to opt-in to SMS messaging when a user visits your site is a great way to capture consumers who are already interested in your brand. You can also add your keyword opt-in message at the bottom of your web page or suggest it to customers when using your chat feature.

6.  Run Giveaways Via SMS

There’s nothing buyers love more than a sweet giveaway, making it enticing for them to subscribe to your business’s SMS campaign! Running a giveaway is a fast way to boost your subscriber numbers, and is also the perfect opportunity to utilize and leverage a business partnership! For example, a hair salon could offer a hair care prize basket packed with goodies from brands they use in their salon to a few lucky subscribers.


SMS messaging is one of the best, most personal ways to access your customers quickly and effectively. For more help on how to brand your business and grow your following, reach out to a Vivial digital media specialist today!


Why Every Business Needs an Online Review Management Strategy

With more opportunities to leave and read reviews than ever before, it isn’t surprising to hear that online feedback can sway consumers’ purchasing decisions. In fact, 90% of consumers report taking the time to read online reviews before deciding to visit a business. While you may think reviews are out of your business’s control, a robust online review management system can help you monitor and capitalize on them!


What is an Online Review Management Strategy?

Online review management is the process of monitoring, analyzing, and responding to both positive and negative feedback posted about your business on the internet.


This feedback encompasses more than just formalized reviews on platforms such as Yelp and Google Reviews. Casual comments posted about your business on social sites such as Twitter and Facebook also play an integral part in the perception of your business online.


Why Should You Invest in Online Review Management?

Displaying Reviews Helps Breed Brand Transparency

Today’s prevalence of reviews is undoubtedly helpful for consumers but can be just as valuable for your business. And even though it may seem counterintuitive to display negative reviews, most consumers will value your brand’s honesty and transparency.


Quick Fact: Displaying reviews can increase your conversion rates by 270% especially since 92% of customers hesitate to make a buying decision if there are no reviews at all. 


Your SEO Can Benefit From Reviews

While reviews can have a profound effect on swaying consumer behavior, they can also impact your brand’s SEO too! Formalized review platforms such as Facebook and Google average out customer rankings and display a tallied average for your local business. These ratings can go a long way in determining your overall online presence and improving your page rankings in organic results, since search engines like Google use them as a factor when choosing which pages to display.

Online Review Example

Your Business Model Could Benefit From Feedback

While not every review will be 100% positive, your business can gain valuable information from those that leave constructive criticism. Understanding customers’ experiences and pain points is a great way to target areas that could use improvement and hold yourself and employees accountable. For example, seeing that multiple customers had a poor experience with your online booking is an excellent indicator that it may be time to reevaluate your system.

Online Review Example

Which Kind of Reviews Should You Respond To?

Trick question – your business should be replying to all types of reviews, positive or negative! Responding to positive reviews shows your appreciation to the consumers who took the time to praise your company.

Online Review Example

At the same time, it is critical that you don’t turn a blind eye to negative comments. While It may seem as though a one-off negative review isn’t worth responding to, in reality, 44% of consumers say that a great response to a negative review would win them back!


There is one important rule, however, that you should always follow even though it can be especially difficult when you are passionate about your product, service and business. Do not get defensive! As hard as that may be sometimes, it opens the door for an online battle between you and the reviewer that you may not want potential customers to see.


Instead, responding to negative reviews with a sincere apology for their experience and that you will investigate and address the issue. If the reviewer is vague in terms of what the issues were, ask them to reach out to you directly so that you may get a better understanding of their experience.


By approaching negative reviews in this way, you establish your brand as transparent, responsive, and in-tune with your customers.

Online Review Example

If managing your reviews and social media sounds overwhelming, don’t fret! Contact our Digital Media Specialists at Vivial today and ask about our All-In-One Marketing Platform—a comprehensive, cohesive dashboard that makes managing your reviews and online presence a breeze!


5 Ways You Can Use SEO To Generate New Content Topics

In a world where consumers have a constant stream of information at their fingertips, it can be hard to keep up with the demand for fresh content. In fact, 44% of marketers cite coming up with content as their primary challenge. But did you know that your business can leverage your existing SEO, or search engine optimization, to come up with new content topics?

SEO writing is a branch of copywriting that focuses on prioritizing the experience of an organic visitor. Read on for a few tips on how your brand can start SEO writing!

1.      Expand Existing Content

Search engines like Google favor fresh, updated content, but this includes refreshed material as well. Updating and republishing your existing successful content is a great way to keep your posts relevant and higher up on results lists while improving click through rates and ensuring statistics are up to date. Check out our blog on repurposing content for more in-depth tips!

2.      Use Your Most Successful Posts as Guides

Using tools such as Google Analytics to get an idea of which past posts performed best will help you determine what content your readers want to see. This insight can give you a good look at what topics have been popular with your audience, content structure, and the type of content they tend to gravitate towards. You can then expand on those subjects in new content or use the same structure or type of content for other posts.

3.      Turn Your FAQ’s Into Blogs

Does your website have a page of frequently asked questions? If so, that can be a content gold mine! These are likely topics your page viewers are curious about. Keep a brief answer on your FAQ page, and then create a separate blog that you can link to that goes more in-depth into the topic. This approach is a great way to generate new ideas and show your company as a leader in the industry by providing further explanation of subjects specific to your field.

4.      Use Google Autofill

Take advantage of Google’s autofill feature to brainstorm ways to expand your content topics. Type in key phrases related to your content you’ve previously found successful and look through the results that auto-populates for phrases that take a slightly different direction or narrow in on a specific aspect of the subject.

5.      Perform Keyword Research

Keyword research is a must in any branch of SEO, and content writing is no exception! However, it’s just as important to back up your choice of keywords to focus on with data. First, you should take advantage of the Google Ads Keyword Planner to gather the data and insights needed to identify relevant keywords. Once you’ve selected the most attainable words, you will be able to weave them into your headlines and copy.

Already done your keyword research and have specific ones you want to rank better for? Monitoring where you rank within SERPs (search engine results pages) with platforms such as SEMrush will allow you to see where the holes are. You can refresh or generate new content tied to those specific keyword phrases, which will help move you up in position.


From content writing to results page optimization, a strong SEO strategy will elevate your online presence to new heights. For more tips on content writing, or help improving SEO, ask our digital experts today!

How SEO and SEM Work Together

If you’re involved in the world of digital marketing, you’ve likely at least heard the acronyms SEO and SEM. Still, you may be unsure of the differences, similarities, and benefits each brings to your business. Read on to learn more about how you can leverage these concepts together to your business’ advantage!


What is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing your website to generate organic traffic from the search engine results page. SEO involves making adjustments to your site so that it is as appealing to search engines as possible, in hopes that it will be placed higher on the search result pages.


What is SEM?

SEM is an acronym standing for search engine marketing. SEM includes various types of paid search advertising, such as a Google Ad. SEM often involves careful use of keywords, targeted paid ad campaigns, or applying key performance indicators such as cost-per-click to advertising activities.


What are the Differences and Similarities?

Although closely related, the two are oriented differently. SEM refers strictly to paid, targeted advertising, while SEO centers around increasing unpaid, organic site traffic.

As for similarities, both rely on the strategic use of keywords, focus on traffic flow to your website, and complement other digital marketing activities. They go hand in hand, as SEM campaigns are generally more successful when paired with strong SEO and vice versa.


How Do They Work Together

Marketers using both organic SEO techniques and pay-per-click ads see an average of 25% more clicks and 27% more profits compared to using a single method. What’s right for your business’s SEO strategy is usually suitable for SEM as well. For example, by optimizing your website with keywords while simultaneously using those keywords in paid, targeted ads, your business will have more chances to occupy the results page for your industry.

Your business can draw data and insights from your SEO, such as conversion, click-through rates, and time spent on sites, which will help you build a strong foundation for your next targeted SEM campaign.


How Can I Leverage Them Both to Maximize Outcomes?

Approach Them Together

By looking at SEO and SEM holistically, you will be better able to integrate them into your marketing strategies. For example, place paid, targeted ads to run next to your organic search results, which increases visibility and click-through rates, giving you the most bang for your buck.

Share Metrics and Goals

Set shared goals and utilize shared metrics. Sharing information gathered from both entities – conversion, click-through rates, return on investment, and user engagement – gives your business a broader, more assorted sample of data, making it easier to justify actions and campaigns. The information from an organic avenue may not be diverse enough to make actionable recommendations. When combined with SEM metrics, your business will be able to move forward with a much fuller data portfolio.

Sharing goals between SEM and SEO also ensures your approaches are working harmoniously together. All team members are then on the same page about what your business wants to accomplish through SEO and SEM campaigns.

Share Keyword Data

As consumers search with more complete phrases than ever before, keyword data takes on a whole new level of importance. Incorporate the same ones across the board in your strategies to increase site traffic, both paid and organically.

For example, a paid Google Advertising provides you with word by word conversion data. This information can help determine which keywords to target and optimize for via SEO and use in your next SEM campaign, ultimately increasing your click-through and conversion rates – on both sides of the coin!


Want more information on SEO or help with lead capture? Ask our Digital Marketing Experts about how we can help!