Trying to find the Best SEO agency in Sydney or locally in Australia is a tough and tedious endeavour akin to making your way across a minefield.

 

For starters, there are just so many people and agencies calling themselves SEO experts nowadays.

 

These so called SEO agencies are all claiming to get your business to the top spot on search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.

 

Added to that, you are constantly bombarded with emails of similar claims with pricing ranging anywhere from free to thousands of dollars per month.

SEO agencies email

 

How on earth could you possibly tell the good from the bad and choose the right SEO agency that will help your business accomplish its marketing objectives?

 

Never fear, in this guide, we show you how to do just that. We will highlight all aspects in choosing the right SEO agency, the warning signs of a bad SEO agency and questions to ask to help you choose your next local SEO partner in whether you’re in Sydney or anywhere locally in Australia.

 

We will reveal to you industrial secrets and highlight some of the key questions to ask SEO companies to choose the best one for your marketing objective and how to weed out dodgy SEO operators locally and from overseas.

 

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*** BONUS – This is quite a lengthy article. We highly recommend reading through it because if you're about to spend thousands of dollars a month on something, then it makes sense to take 10 minutes to learn about it.

However, if you're short on time, you can download a summary of this article and a checklist below to determine the best SEO agency for your business. 

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Why Are There so Many Dodgy SEO Agencies

To be fair, there are not as many dodgy SEO agencies as there are scams involving SEO. Many of the so called SEO agencies are in fact not real SEO agencies but are scammers out to get your private information or hard earned money. Labeling themselves as an SEO agency only provides them with an outlet to carry out their attack.

 

This can be contributed to:

  • SEO is in demand and a necessity in today's online world

 

  • SEO takes time to see results. 

 

  • Many business owners and directors are clueless about SEO. 

 

  • It's low stakes high reward

 

SEO is a Necessity and in Demand

Any growth or in demand industry with high initial costs are prone to scammers and SEO is no different.

SEO just works and below are the statistics to support that:

  • 93% of online experiences start on a search engine

 

  • 75% of users don't scroll past the first page of a search result

 

  • 70-80% of users prefer organic SEO rather than paid ads

SEO stats

 

With these stats, it's no wonder businesses want to have their name pop up on the first page whenever someone searches for their products and services online.

 

Unscrupulous operators realise the huge demand of SEO for every company needing an online presence so it essentially provides them with an endless supply of targets.

 

SEO Takes Time

SEO takes time. Specifically, good SEO takes time to see results. This is because:It takes time for search engines to index and rank your website compared to your competitors. 

 

Your competitors may already been doing SEO for years, which gives them an advantage to rank higher which means it will take longer to overtake them. 

 

Researching, planning and creating unique, engaging content and getting links to them takes time. Establishing yourself as a credible company takes time in the real world as do online.

 

Dodgy SEO agencies can't be proven in the short term unless you are experienced in the field of digital marketing.

 

After the realization a few months later, the scammers are long gone with your hard earn money or private details.

 

Don't worry because we will let you on some telltale signs of dodgy SEO practices later on.

 

 

Many Business Owners are Clueless About SEO and How to Differentiate Between a Good and a Bad SEO Agency

As a business manager or owner, time is a scarce commodity. There are a hundred and one things you need to make a decision on everyday. So how on earth can you make time to learn something completely new and constantly changing.

 

SEO can be complex topic for many business owners. Most owners will know that SEO will get them to the top page when people search for them but often do not know the process and work required to achieve it.

 

Differentiating good from bad SEO is not as simple as choosing an apple in the supermarket but there are definite signs.

 

'Managing and running a business is difficult enough as it is without SEO.'

 

 

It's Low Stakes High Reward

Setting up a fake email address claiming to sell SEO online while spamming thousands of Australian businesses are a low stakes high rewards venture. They only need to scam one or two for it to be worthwhile. Obviously, it’s profitable enough to be working because we are still being flooded with phishing spam everyday. In fact, a study shows over 60% of our emails are unsolicited or spam.

 

Healthcare and dating scams are the most prolific but SEO scams for businesses doesn’t seem too far behind. 

 

SEO scam signs

 

 

The 3 Stages of Finding the Best SEO Agency

 

In order to choose the best SEO agency for your business, we established a 3 stage process as outlined below:

 

Stage 1: Weeding out Scammers: This stage is used to weed out the scammers and fraudsters. You will learn telltale signs of a bad SEO and common tactics scammers used to steal your private information or hard earned money. Any agencies offering you SEO from this stage, you should run away from and do not reply to their emails or calls.

 

Stage 2: Separating the good and the bad SEO Agencies: Here, we learn to identify the bad SEOs. These are not scammers per se but you will find little value in using these agencies if at all. They rely on locking you in with bold promises but lack the experience to truly make you rank well for your industry related keywords. A lot of overseas and a surprisingly large number of local companies fall under this category.

 

Stage 3: Shortlisting and choosing the best SEO agency – You should choose your SEO agency from theis shortlist. However, there will be some that are better than others and you will learn the questions to ask and what answers to look for to find the best SEO partner for your business .

 

Stage 1 : Weed Out Dodgy SEO/SCAMMERS

They Are Emailing You From Free Email Account Such as Gmail

Dodgy and scammy agencies often use any free online email services such as gmail, outlook or yahoo mail to target unsuspecting business owners. This is because it provides a free and easy way to get in and get out.

 

All scammers like to take the easy approach. Setting up an official company website via .com or .com.au domain and fill it with relevant info will be too much like work.

 

A free email address means once they are caught or are blacklisted, they can easily switch to another free email account. Furthermore, without a proper company setup, there are no trails once they scam you of your hard earn money or private data.

 

No reputable company will operate under a gmail account so if you see a 'company' approaching you via anything besides a .com or .com.au email account, flag it as spam. Don't even reply to the email because replying means they can use whatever you say against you.

 

Refusal To Do a Live Meeting or Telephone Call

Scammers like to hide behind a screen of anonymity. If an agency put forward a SEO proposal and will not take a telephone or live meeting then chances are they do not like to be put under scrutiny for being a fraud and most are not legit.

 

The reason why scammy operators shy away from live phone interviews and meetings is because they often need time to research how actual SEO works (like reading this article).

 

Like many scammers, the more questions you ask them, the easier you can spot their flaws. Which is why they will not often take your call.

 

Do They Guarantee #1 or First Page Results Within a Short Time Frame?

SEO takes time. How long you say? While SEO is different for every company the typical time frame for SEO results to show is after 4 months. In competitive industries, SEO make take over a year to show some results.

 

How can an agency readily promise number #1 rankings in a month ( for high volume search keywords ) when the industry average is 4 or more?

 

Any agency that promises first page or even #1 position on Google within a very short time frame is preying on the 'instant gratification' psyche and definitely do not having your best interest in mind. Steer clear like you would any 'get rich quick' schemes.

 

In fact, if an agency guarantees #1 ranking altogether, you might want to double check their legitimacy as will be explained below:

 

Readily Promise Number #1 Ranking on Google

You may come across ads or emails with bold headlines such as promising number #1 ranking results. If an agency claims such bold statements, you may want to take things with a grain of salt.

 

For starters, It’s relatively easy to get on the first page or even number #1 ranking but for only for terms that no one searches for or unique such as your company name or a long-tailed search phrase.

 

For instance, consider the following search

 

  • Buy iPhone online

 

  • Buy pink and purple iPhone case with sparkling diamonds

 

Average monthly search for the first one is in the thousands. Average monthly search for the second is not likely to be many

 

The second search will be much much easier to rank for but it will have no traffic. When an SEO promises first page results, they often mean search terms that has very little search volume or a variation of your business name.

 

Another scenario where you can easily get on the first page or number #1 position on Google is by spending money via PPC.

 

Google ads a PPC or what we called a paid per click advertising platform will almost always get you on the first page but it will cost you money for every click you get. It is different from SEO because traffic is paid. SEO traffic comes naturally. SEO results are long term while PPC results will cease once you stop paying for ad placement.

 

SEO vs Google Ads

 

If any SEO agency in Sydney or within Australia promises first page or number #1 ranking results, your follow up question should be ‘do I get to choose my search terms or keywords`.

 

Have a 'Work For Free' model

A 'work for free until we rank you on the first page' is another common technique used to dupe business owners and managers into shelling out private info or phishing scams.

 

Reason – As stated above, SEO is something that takes time and tremendous amount of effort. What's more, Google themselves stated 'Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings'.

 

So, if something that is in demand and valuable, takes effort but with no guarantees to achieve results – why would anyone do it? Companies are paying millions of dollars to gain top positions on search engines for their desired keywords, SEO agencies that don't have the confidence to charge what they're worth are often not worth it or they have other ulterior motives.

 

Agencies that use these too good to be true or overly aggressive models are why SEO gets its bad reputation and the reason why this guide exists.

 

Stage 1 Summary

Having common sense and avoid too good to be true scammers is probably the main objectives at this stage.

 

Don't be fooled by too good to be true offers. Being on the first page of SEO or Bing is lucrative business. Thousands if not millions of people visit their websites every month. If companies are paying millions to get their business on the front of the internet via search engines, do you really think you can do the same with only a few hundred dollars from someone off the Internet with a gmail email account?

 

 

Stage 2: Filtering the Good from the Bad

 

After you weed out the fraudulent and scammers in stage 1, we can begin stage 2 testing.

 

Stage 2 SEO agencies while not flat out scammers are often inexperienced or use shady SEO techniques.

 

Surprisingly, we found a lot of overseas companies and plenty of local companies fall under this category.

 

However, companies under this stage you are safe to take calls from or even set up an initial meeting.

 

Below are some common signs

 

Pricing Too Good To Be True

Similar to stage 1 'work for free' models, these plans are designed to trap to you a contract or worse.

 

What's an example of pricing too good to be true you ask?

 

Considering that good SEOs easily charge $100 per hour. Anything less than $1000 per month (for small to medium sized businesses) are unlikely to yield measurable results.

 

Is $1000 too much to pay? Well, that's something only you can answer. Consider it this way – if for every $1000 you spend, you get $2000 in return or $10,000 in return. Will that be too much?

 

Good SEO is an investment not an expense.

 

However, if you find $1000 too expensive, we recommend that you abort SEO altogether and search for an alternative marketing solution rather than waste money on bad SEO.

 

SEO pricing Sydney

 

SEO Agency Chooses Keywords for You

As per stage 1, it is not hard to rank for obscure or long phrase keywords. Any agency that chooses keywords for you without consulting with you and showing proof of monthly search volume is not an agency you want to work with.

 

Ideally, the SEO agency will talk with you on what keywords your business is ranking and its estimated monthly volume. They will also talk about how competitive each keywords are and what are some easy win keywords that has low competition and high search volume.

 

SEO Agency Sets the Number of Keywords

 

If an SEO agency says they can get you to rank for 50 keywords – your follow up questions should be 'can I choose them' and 'how many hours will you spend on each keyword or search term'.

 

Setting a high number of keywords do not mean anything if none of them have the search volume to back it up. One high search volume keyword may take 10 times longer than 50 lesser searched keywords to rank for so you can see why agencies promising high number of keywords is not necessarily a good thing.

 

Promising Hundreds or Thousands of Links

 

Links are very important metric affecting SEO and as such many SEO firms may try to sell you on the idea that more is better. This is not necessarily the case. You see, not every link is the same.

 

Links coming from relevant industry or well established websites are worth more than inbound links from irrelevant sources. So one relevant high authority link can have the same value as hundreds of irrelevant links.

 

Links can quite simply be classified as good or bad. Good links will provide value for your SEO while bad links will harm it.

 

High valued links are often difficult to obtain that's why agencies promising hundreds or thousands of links are going for low valued links that provides no value to your SEO campaign and oftentimes are detrimental to it .

 

This case is especially true when a SEO agency’s main strategy of link building is by submitting it to hundreds of online directories. While it is worthwhile to submit to a few local directories when starting out, the risks outweighs the benefits in a long term SEO strategy as many online directories carry a Google rankings penalty.

 

Stage 2 Summary

Just because we weed out the scammers in Stage 1 doesn’t mean we can let our guards down. In this stage, we separate the good from the bad SEO agencies. We reveal the signs of a bad SEO and also some things they promise that are of little value or actually detrimental for your business such as promising a large number of low volume keywords and setting those keywords for you or promising a large number of (bad)links that they use to try and hook you in.

 

Stage 3: Choosing the Best SEO Agency

The best SEO agency in Sydney or locally in Australia belong in this stage and they should be in your shortlist for agencies to hire. However, there are some that are better than others. Below are the questions to weed out the good from the great.

 

Do They Lock you in a Contract

We get that SEO takes time but is it really in your best interest to be locked in a six months or yearly contract?

 

An SEO agency may get you to sign a long term contract because they say that you will not get the full benefits otherwise. While this is generally true, there are so many other factors involved such as:

 

No Results – Obviously, you want to see some results. What happens if after a few months have passed and there were none and you want to change providers?

 

Communications and Customer Service – You may not like the agency's way of communication. Their customer service may not be up to scratch.

 

Change of Circumstance – Perhaps you want to focus your budget on another aspects such as Google Ads. If you are locked in you will have to see things through good or bad.

 

Budgeting and cash flow Issues – You may run into cash flow issues and want to postpone the campaign until everything's back to normal. A locked in contract will not allow that.

 

As you can understand, a bad SEO agency will negatively impact your company's search engine rankings. You definitely want the flexibility to see see some initial results, re-negotiate terms or even leave rather than being locked in a long contract.

 

Are They a Local Company?

Since in this article we are looking for the best SEO agency in Sydney or locally in Australia, it stands to reason that an SEO not operating in Australia should be excluded. A local company provides many benefits such as ease of communication and local know how.

 

For many small to medium sized companies, their client base may only be within a certain city or region.

 

Having a local partner means they know the local conditions better such in-depth knowledge of your competitors and operations. They will also have good connection with other local companies and make it easier for them to reach out to them for industry related backlinks.

 

Backlinks if you don’t know already are one of the main factors for good SEO rankings.

 

'Hiring a local SEO company can be advantageous if most of your clients are locally based '

 

local-seo

 

Is the Agency Currently Working With Other Companies in the Same Industry as Yours

SEO at its core is ranking your company higher than your competitors. As such you can see why an agency currently working with many of your competitors may not always have your best interest at heart.

 

Who will they give priority to? Will they limit your results so they can get better results for your competitor? Will they reveal your secrets to gain a boost to the competitor?

 

Given an agency will have many or even hundreds of clients. It can be unrealistic for one to only focus on you out of your entire industry. How comfortable you are with them also working with your competitors will depend on your individual tolerance and how far you are currently ranking.

 

How Many Other Companies is Your Consultant Working With

Through your agency you will most likely be assigned a single consultant to handle your SEO. One thing you need to ask is how many other SEO jobs do they have on hand? Reason is you do not want them to be too busy as good SEO takes time.

 

As a general rule, you do not want your consultant to be working on more than 10 clients at the same time otherwise they are spreading themselves too thin.

 

How Will They do SEO?

This is quite a broad question but SEO generally begins with a website audit or competitor or keyword analysis and research.

 

A SEO agency that doesn't begin with some sort of audit or research do not truly understand your current position to beat existing competition.

 

Do They Have Detailed Case Studies of Their Process and Results?

With so many SEO companies nowadays, you really need one who can walk the walk and talk the talk. A detail case study of SEO means you see them in action and you can more accurately judge the quality of their work.

 

Don't settle for just a logo of clients or written testimonial.

 

Do They Help You to explain their reason behind each SEO activity?

No successful SEO campaign is ever achieved without collaboration from the agency and their customer. The best seo agency in Sydney or in fact within all of Australia will know their stuff but they will not know all the in and outs of your own business and industry – only you do.

 

How Often Do They Keep You Updated?

Reporting can vary between agencies. Typical reporting occurs every two weeks or end of month. However, you may want to contact the agency for urgent matters.

 

Do They Do Other Forms of Digital Marketing?

SEO does not work independently. It works best when combined with an overall digital marketing plan involving:

 

Website Design and Optimization – A fast, clean website is one of the fundamentals of good SEO.

 

Content Marketing – Good content are an essential part of SEO to get traffic, mentions and backlinks.

 

Social Media – Social media indirectly affects SEO and are used to spread good content around and redirect traffic to your website.

 

Public Relations – PR can also indirectly affect SEO with mentions on popular and high authority websites and publications.

 

Email Marketing – Email marketing provides one of the best marketing ROI. A good SEO plan will definitely involve email and content marketing.

 

digital marketing diagram

 

Do They Tailor Approach to Your Business and Industry

You cannot apply the same SEO techniques and expect the same results for every business.

 

How SEO is applied will depend on a number of things including if a business is new, if your clients are local or international and your current ranking position among many other things to consider.

 

An agency that can tailor your SEO strategy is one that will ultimately achieve the best results in the least amount of time.

 

Are You Satisfied With Their Initial Meeting

After stage 3, you will most have a shortlist of capable SEO agency candidates.

 

Do they tick all the boxes of this article and how satisfied are you with the initial meeting?

 

Stage 3 Summary

This stage provides technical questions to separate the best from the good. We look at some deciding factors such as if they will lock you in on a long term contract, their current work load and if they are working for your competitors as well as you. We see if they can walk the walk with a case study request and finally score them based on their initial telephone conference or meeting.

 

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best SEO agency in Sydney or locally is not easy. It incorporates many stages of selection including weeding out bad SEO agencies and scammers, shortlisting the good candidates and finally choosing the best one for your business objectives.

 

Choosing the best SEO agency is a tedious task but if you look for common sign and ask the right questions you are well on your way to finding a partner you can count on in a long term and mutually beneficial relationship.

marketing-for-tradies

Tradies, the backbone of the Australian economy – Slugging it out day after day fixing leaky taps or installing new floorboards. Make no mistake, it is back breaking labour yet they put their money where their mouth is and persevere. Maybe it’s their relaxed attitude or casual appearance but they oftentimes have a reputation and perception that’s quite far from the truth. Take for example the controversial Snickers ad that’s having a little fun with the trade industry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqgjTZQiySw. Their hard working, down to earth attitude and modesty however can also be their downfall as they often do very little if at all to promote their services and even getting more word of mouth ( a large portion of their revenue stream) is overlooked. This digital (and traditional) marketing for tradies made simple article will try to address some of these issues and highlight some points and strategies tradies can use to promote themselves and their business to drive in new and returned business.

 

While marketing techniques for tradies follows marketing principles for any other industry, there are a few areas you want to put your efforts on to get maximum returns and that is local SEO and Word of mouth. This is because unless you are a large corporation that can serve customers in many states, you will need local customers – this is when local SEO comes in and word of mouth is what’s going to give you an edge over your competitors.

Digital Marketing

DigitalMarketingGraphic

Website:

A website that contains great and relevant content with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) optimised with your industry specific keywords will not only do great in local search but also act as a platform for customers to sing your praise.

 

A website that has shareable buttons will make things easier for your clients to share content and your business details with their friends and family. Social media buttons on every page is even more ideal. For special offers, you will need an opt in form to collect your customer details. Put in some extra efforts for your term and conditions and what’s covered in your rates and it will separate you from the good to the great.

 

Location Location

Make sure your business name, type of business and location in searchable html form and map form are included in relevant pages (Home and Contact Us page minimum). Ideally you want a different page for a different location if you have multiple locations to maximise the benefits.

 

Clients

Are they happy with your service? If so, ask them for reviews. List them on your website. Link to them. Show other prospects you are doing great work within the community.

 

Case Studies

A highly targeted case study that’s well written and addresses the right issues with measurable results will do wonders to promote recognition and credibility with other local clients.

 

News

Have you recently made contributions to the local community or school or have you purchased a new van or ute for your business? Share it! Even small or what may seem insignificant events can help to boost your recognition and establish rapport with your local customers. Sometimes what seem like insignificant news can play to your advantage because you appear more real and easy to work with than larger corporations.

 

Testimonials

Testimonials on your website provides great social proof. Whenever someone says something great about you or your business ask them if you can use their comments. If your service area has a tight knit community, recognising that a comment or testimonial comes from a friendly neighbor will definitely put you in their priority list when they need your services further down the road. It your clients have a linkedin, social media or business page, linking to them will create valuable real-world connection.

 

Reviews

Study have shown people mainly write reviews when they are not happy with a product or service. That’s why it’s imperative that tradies go above and beyond to ask for good reviews. Review snippets can be seen when people search for your company or when you advertise on Adwords with reviews extension so it’s a core aspect of your business you want to put effort into and get right.

 

Social Media

Social media is king when it comes to sharing content online especially for B2C businesses and of course for tradies. Depending on where your customers hang out, at least two social media accounts are recommended.

 

Google + and Google My Business account:

For customers to leave reviews, a Google + account does wonders. If your business is already listed on Google, make sure to claim it with a Google My Business account and add contact information such as your business phone number, location and website to boost your local search ranking.

 

Local Search Engine Optimisation

Local-SEO-for-tradies

With recent algorithm updates, Google is giving higher priority to local businesses on search result. This means bigger companies with huge advertising budgets no longer have the upper hand and small businesses are enjoying a much needed boost to their business online. To find out more and how to rank higher in local SEO, please visit our blog how to improve your local SEO. In it we emphasis on the three ingredients to get right with local SEO

  • Set up Google My Business Account and link it to your Google+ profile
  • Add location data to your business account emphasising on address and telephone number
  • Link to local established websites such as community, school or newspaper

Having claimed your locations and phone number will enable your business to be found locally and be well on your way to ranking a high position in search engines.

 

Search Engine Marketing

Adwords

Proximity search is the key here because you don’t want to waste your money from customers who are outside your location of service. Demographic also plays a vital role – are most of your clients aged between 40-50? Are they self employed? Etc… A highly targeted adwords campaign will do wonders for your business guaranteed!

 

Traditional Marketing

Although digital marketing plays a major role in promoting your business, we must not forget about traditional marketing. In fact, for local businesses a traditional approach may be what separates it from larger international companies that serve the same industry.

word-of-mouth

Word of Mouth

For businesses that only serves clients within a particular location, word of mouth is especially important in spreading the word so to speak. This being said, seldom do tradies leave a platform for their customers to sing their praise. The idea is to make reviews and sharing of your content as easy as possible. Below are some ideas you can use to promote word of mouth the old fashion way:

 

Business cards

You’ll be surprised at how many times tradies forget this. They turn up for work, complete it and leave an invoice and off they go to their next client or the local pub. A basic business card is one of the simplest things you can give to a client. A business card set up as a fridge magnet or with a promotion for returning customers is an even better idea.

 

Connecting with Local Chamber of Business or Meetups

If you’re servicing clients locally, it is especially important to become friendly with the locals (from a business perspective and also personally of course!). You may want to check out a local Meetup group or join your area’s business chamber. A local business chamber also has the resources to help you start and grow your business.

 

Branded Company Car

With such fantastic branding, who else am I gonna call?

 

If you’re constantly doing jobs in a particular region, a company car will do wonders to your brand recognition and promote word of mouth.

 

We hope you got something out of our marketing for tradies made simple article. Bear in mind, these are just tip of the iceberg. What marketing strategies has worked for you? Please share below or subscribe to our Newsletter to the right for future articles delivered straight to your inbox.

 

Marketing-to-Chinese-Consumers-header

With its natural beauty and laid back lifestyle, Australia has been and still is a top destination among holidaymakers. While New Zealand holds the number one foreign visitors to Australia for many years, it has seen stagnant growth. The country that’s making the most of their holiday down-under now is China. In this article, we will focus on the Chinese buyer mentality and shopping habits and how you can market to Chinese consumers locally and online to get your business China Ready.

 

As Chinese people get wealthier, they are shopping and  traveling more and Australia remains one of their top destinations. As a matter of fact, China has overtaken New Zealand now as the number one foreign visiting nation in Australia with almost 1.5 million visiting last year [2].

 

Not only are they visiting more, they are also spending more. Research has shown Chinese spend more more than $8000 per trip, more than the UK and the US (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-15/chinese-tourists-spend-more-money-in-australia/7633736).

 

Cashed Up and Ready to Spend

Chinese tourists spend $2500 per trip on shopping and with its widespread counterfeit problem at home, Chinese visitors like to splash out on branded clothing and accessories. Organic foods and supplements are also a hit. It doesn’t matter if they can get the same brand in their country, they will always pay more for an identical product in Australia because they know they are getting the authentic product and not a counterfeit or a watered down version.

 

Why are Chinese Traveling to Australia More?

It’s not that Chinese are traveling to Australia more, it’s that they are generally traveling a lot more as a nation. Apart from Australia, the Chinese also love to visit France, the US, Japan and the Maldives.

tourists-in-Australia-by-country

Foreign visitors to Australia by country – Australian Bureau of Statistics shows Chinese’s explosive growth in the past decade compared to other countries.

 

Not Just Tourism

Shopping holidays are common for Chinese people but at home, they are also spending up on Aussie products.

 

Periods of Buying Frenzy

During the Chinese new year ( mid February), student holidays and Xmas time are when they tend to spend the most. However, the day they spend the most by far is Singles Day November 11th.

 

Singles Day November 11 or 11/11

Is like Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Click Frenzy in that most retailer partake in nationwide discounts. The date November the 11th or 11.11 was supposedly for single people to indulge by spending on themselves but it has now turned into a national shopping event. Singles day is an online only event and it sets the record as the world’s largest online sales event in one day.

singles-day-sale-numbers

In 2016, 23.39 billion worth of sales in one day was reached – more than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

 

Pandas during singles day 11/11

Yes, this is exactly what happens during Singles Day 11/11.

 

What Chinese People Love to do When Traveling

Chinese people love bragging rights. They like to flaunt their wealth especially in front of other people. It’s not necessarily an act of vanity but it is a cultural thing. Chinese have a proverb ‘ren yao lian, shu yao pi’ which translates to “people can’t live without ‘face’ or reputation just as a tree can’t live without it’s bark”. So it comes with no surprise that they like to shop when they are on holidays. They will splash out more on souvenirs to take back home than they will spend on tourist experiences here. This is because it’s in Chinese culture to buy souvenirs to curry favour for business and to show other people they’ve been to a particular place or destination.

 

Don’t be surprised if you see Chinese tourists spending more time on taking and posing for photos than actually enjoying the event or attraction.

chinese-tourists-on-beach

Two young ladies having fun on the beach. Don’t expect this to be the norm back home because in general Chinese girls prefer whiter skin than a tan as it’s deemed more beautiful.

 

Now that we identified the spending power and some shopping habits of Chinese buyers, we need to set up an action campaign that takes advantage of it. Below are some ways to promote your brand and products to Chinese customers:

 

How to Have Your Business China Ready

Having a translated Chinese brand for recognition

A vast majority of Chinese people doesn’t understand English and how to pronounce words written in English so in order to promote your brand there, a translated Chinese name will do wonders for localisation and recognition. This will make your brand easier to remember and be readily accepted. For a good translation, take into consideration phonetic sound, name, meaning and message behind your brand.

Below are good and bad examples of English translated Chinese brands

coca-cola-chinese-translation

Coca Cola to ‘ke kou ke le’ which literally means tasty and joyful.

 

Lost in Translation – American brand Best Buy’s translation is ‘bai si mai’ which sounds similar to best buy in Chinese. However, to a native Chinese the meaning is ‘Think 100 times before buying’. It’s easy to see why it failed to connect with Chinese shoppers.

best-buy-fail-china

Better ‘think 100 times before buying’.

 

Retailers Missing Out on Boom

Tour operators/ staff – Although, not every store will need a Chinese speaking staff, having one doesn’t hurt and shows your enthusiasm to welcome them as customers.

 

Signs

At the very least, have signs in your shop, business or attraction that says a welcoming message or instructions. Do not be over reliant on Google Translate however.

 

UnionPay

You may think everyone has a MasterCard, Visa or American Express credit card. Wrong! China’s most popular Credit Card is actually UnionPay. In fact Union Pay’s long held monopoly over the domestic card market only came to an end in June 2016 (http://www.scmp.com/business/banking-finance/article/1968737/chinas-55-trillion-yuan-credit-card-clearing-market-now). In the meantime if you want Chinese clients, apply for an account to accept Union Pay with your bank soon.

 

Menus & Pamphlets

To cater for Chinese clients, menus and pamphlets that’s written in their language will make their stay more enjoyable and memorable so they can share with their friends in person or via social media. When designing menus and pamphlets do NOT forget to include QR code to link to additional resources such as your website or social media!

 

QR (Quick Response) code

While originally created for the automotive industry in Japan, QR or Quick Response codes have taken the Chinese by storm and remains hugely popular to this day thanks to Wechat, China’s version of Whatsapp that has a built-in QR scanner thus allowing more than 600 million of its active users access to its functions.

QR-code
QR codes are still widely popular among Chinese

 

Avoid Taboos and Superstition

When planning your marketing material, there are a few things to keep in mind. Avoid the numbers 4 and black colors besides both of these resemble death and bad luck. You may find buildings that are missing the 4th or 14th floor in China. Gold, silver, rose similar to the new Apple Iphone is normally favored by Chinese people as it’s good luck. The number 8 is also good luck as it sounds like the word ‘fa’ which translate to ‘prosperity’. So pricing a product $888 is a better pricing strategy than $444.

 

Digital Marketing to Chinese Consumers 101

A big part of succeeding in China is having your brand recognised online. With over 1.1 billion active mobile phone users, China is at the forefront of the digital economy and how you market to them will determine your success or failure.

 

Have a Chinese Website

Having a Chinese website is advantageous as it builds rapport and authenticity. Potential customers will quickly abandon a website if it’s in a language they do not understand. Having a Chinese website will make it viewable and searchable in China’s largest search engine Baidu thus Opening your door to millions of potential new clients.

In summary, having a Chinese website can have the following benefits:

  • Gain Trust
  • Create New Opportunities
  • Be More Competitive
  • Be in native search engines
  • Increase Sales and Bottom Line

 

Why Google Translate Doesn’t Work

Google translate is good at getting the general idea of a sentence and works most of the time but do not be too reliant on it. Below is a literal translation:

English Text Google Translated How its Actually Interpreted
Get your foot in the door 让你的脚在门里 Let your foot trapped inside the door

As you can see above, sometimes Google Translate just plain fails. The reverse is also true. Just go to any Chinese website, hit Google Translate and see what you can understand from it. To really connect to Chinese buyers, you will need a multilingual website.

 

Ways Your Website Might get Blocked by the Great Firewall of China

China has a very strict censorship and surveillance system in place and for websites that don’t adhere to their views politically you can be sure they will get blocked. While there are no sure fire ways to know if your website will get blocked, a good guide is to look at existing sites that are blocked and not associate your website with them or link to them.

For a list of the most popular websites that are blocked by the Great Firewall of China check here. You can see many of the most popular websites today are blocked including Google, most social media, pornographic and news websites. Another way you can disassociate yourself from blocked websites is having a dedicated server rather than shared hosting with known blocked websites.

 

So I Should Host my Website in China?

After reading the above, you’ll be under the impression it’s best to host your website in China. That way you can get unrestricted access and faster speeds. Not quite. You will be under the scrutiny as outlined above and maybe even more so. To have a website in China, you will require a business registration number, be currently operating in China and have an ICP (Internet Content Provider) license. Getting an ICP license is a long and complicated process that we do not recommend you do yourself. There is a way around it though and that is not in host in China entirely.

The Solution?

Host in surrounding countries with a more lax registration process. This allows for the fastest speeds and unrestricted access.

 

Chinese Social Media

Wechat or Weixin in China is a popular messaging app similar to WhatsApp in the western world. WeChat has functions and features to that of Facebook and Whatsapp combined which is why many people prefer it over WhatsApp. Likewise, people who want a simplified platform prefer WhatsApp. While we won’t be comparing the two in this article, we will point out that Wechat is by far the most commonly used among Chinese people.

Wechat also offer companies and businesses an option to create an Official Account. Similar to a Facebook business page, an Official Account allows your business to provide article feeds to subscribers. To apply for a Wechat account please visit http://apply.wechat.com/

Note: Wechat users will have access to Chinese and International accounts. However, Chinese users of Weixin will NOT have access to International accounts created on Wechat.

Weibo – Twitter like alternative in China. Use it to follow celebrities and advertise your current products and services.

Hopefully this articles provides you with some insights on how to sell to the Chinese consumer. It only touches the surface. In part 2, we will explain in greater detail on how to promote your business digitally in China and how Chinese culture influences buying habit and preference.

That side, all businesses are different and do not take a one size fits all approach. What’s been working for you? What hasn’t? Please share comments below.

To get your business China-Ready regarding branding, multilingual website localisation, digital marketing and more, please do not hesitate to contact us with your requirements.

References

[1] What Chinese tourists like and dislike about Australia

http://www.traveller.com.au/what-chinese-tourists-like-and-dislike-about-australia-31kby

[2] Chinese tourists spend record amounts but Australian retailers risk missing the boom

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-15/chinese-tourists-spend-more-money-in-australia/7633736

[3] China’s 55 trillion yuan credit card clearing market now open for competition

http://www.scmp.com/business/banking-finance/article/1968737/chinas-55-trillion-yuan-credit-card-clearing-market-now

Australia Tourism plans towards 2020

http://www.blockedinchina.net/ – Test if your website is blocked in china

Destination NSW – Strategies for China Tourism in NSW

Guinness book records for Singles Day 

After you have avoided the hidden traps of purchasing a website and it’s finally SEO optimised and running, you are now ready to promote the heck out of it. However, not every business is set for world domination. If your business only serves clients locally, it makes sense to put most of your marketing efforts into local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This guide gives you proven tips and tricks to improving your local SEO.

One of the things we get asked the most from our local clients is how can they get their business on the top right position with a photo, phone number and address details similar to what we did with our client Wardsteel & Aluminium below when certain industry related keywords are searched via Google search engine.

google local search

As you can probably guess, having the top position shown along with your company photo, website details and telephone numbers when potential clients search for a product and service does wonders for your business’s bottom line like nothing else. It means Google places enough trust on it (on top of the other hundreds of similar business listings) to recommend their seal of approval.

Firstly, before we tackle the problem of optimising your website locally, we need to understand there are two criteria for it to appear in that position:

  1. Their business name and domain name are at the top position when you search for them. As you can guess, unique business names make this step a lot easier.
  2. They need to be in the top position already with certain targeted keywords – this is the harder version.

For 1, it is as easiest as starting a Google + account and claiming your business listing with your business name, address, telephone number and operating hours here.

For 2, which is what your aim should be, it can be a little more difficult. Below are a list of things we did to help our clients reached the top position in Google search.

Before we start, you will need to copy a paste a few things about your business so have these prepared will save you time further down the track:

  • Business Name
  • Business Address
  • Business Email address
  • Business Phone number
  • Business Description
  • Business ABN/ACN
  • Social Media links

Establish a Google + account

First things first, in order to get to 2, we must first complete 1. Sign up to Google + and claim your business listing in the link above. Remember to link your website to this business page otherwise you will not benefit from the added traffic from this.

You will receive your Google verification code in the mail in a few business days. After you received this code, enter it in and voila, you are verified!

Establish Local Presence

While there are many ways to establish local presence, the easiest and the fastest way is to associate yourself with local providers and directories. Now, not every local directory is made equal, there are a few directories that will generate a higher value for your website. Depending on the industry you’re in, these directories will be different as well. The food industry and the automotive industry for instance will be quite different. However, in Australia, the directories that will generally get you the best results are:

  1. Yellowpages
  2. Truelocal
  3. Yelp
  4. Hotfrog
  5. Startlocal

Of course you can add more directories but it’s more about quality than quantity with link building. Because you’ve already written down the requirements above, filling in these shouldn’t take too long.

After completing these two steps, you’ll be well ahead of other similar websites to ranking well for local SEO.

However, local SEO is about consistency and effort so it’s a good idea to include content marketing on a regular basis.

Local Association

By associating yourself with local businesses, you validate yourself to Google that you are also a local business. Below are some communities and events you might want to associate yourself with:

Local schools/high Schools

Schools give out high value links locally because they are normally well established and recognised.

Local sporting events

Sporting events brings people together. Why not see if your local footy club requires sponsorship?

Local charitable events

Local fundraising or voluntary events can be good opportunities to network

Local industry directory

As mentioned briefly, local directories can provide high value links for your business.

Local newspaper

The newspaper you get delivered free every week can provide great opportunities for you to reach out to other businesses and people within your area.

Review Sites

Review take up nearly 10% of the factors deciding local ranking. Why are reviews important? It’s because it authenticates the business and people want to do businesses that are rated well by others hence Google takes it into consideration.

Because of that, it’s a good idea to have your business to promote positive reviews and also  monitor and respond to bad reviews on various review sites.

Review sites will vary depending on the industry you’re in. Take for instance, the food and hospitality industry will have more relevant reviews from Zomato, goodfood.com.au and tripadvisor while the automotives industry will benefit from productreviews.com.au. If unsure, simply Google on the review of your largest competitor. You should then have an idea of which review websites are prevalent within your industry.

Note – Do NOT try to set up fake accounts to give yourself positive reviews or your competitors fake negative reviews as you will lose all beneficial ratings or even get penalised if discovered.

While doing all the above will give you good results, it may still not reach the top position. There are many factors influencing this including age of your website, its click through rate compared to your competitors, number of links, content quality etc.. but as long as you keep your website up to date with excellent information and allow it some time, it will be in a good position to rank high.

What are some of the best techniques you use for local SEO? Please share comments below.

By David Zhou

Consultant at ShoutItOUt.com.au

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