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SEO Saturday: Should I Invest In PPC Ads Or Content Marketing?

This can be a tough question to answer for many business owners and managers. Should you invest more of your money into PPC ads and see results now or should you invest in content marketing and possibly reap the investment for years to come? Which choice is the best one for you? Let’s explore how to arrive at that decision.

If It Ain’t Broke…

First of all, if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it! This holds true for your marketing. If you are running PPC ads with strong ROI, then keep it up. If your organic content is making you a killing, then keep that up. The point is, if you are already doing something and it is successful, keep doing that.

However, don’t forget to experiment with other marketing and advertising to see what works because this will change over time. For instance, you can maintain your PPC advertising campaign, but go ahead and try a small amount of content marketing for one month and measure what effect it has.

Core Differences Between PPC Advertising And Content Marketing

There are two essential differences when it comes to PPC advertising and content marketing, and those two factors are time and guarantees.

Time

Once you stop paying, your ads will stop displaying

PPC advertising has an extremely short life span, once you stop paying, your ads will stop displaying. This means that you have to constantly spend money to keep traffic coming to your site.

On the flip side, content marketing can have a indefinite impact. One post that you write this week could bring your site a substantial amount of traffic for the next several years. Content marketing has a longer shelf life than a PPC ad by a long shot.f

Guarantees

PPC advertising has a sort of guarantee that comes along with it. You will know ahead of time about how much traffic you can generate at what cost. This consistency and ability to know before starting is what comforts a lot of marketers and businesses alike.

Content marketing lacks any gaurantee. You could spend weeks writing what you think is the greatest blog post to ever be written only to find out that not a single person on the internet cares. It could also take weeks for your content to pick up any traction, or it could be months, or years. Costs for content marketing can be all over the place too, do you need a video or an infographic this week? How much does that cost? Oh, this blog post took longer than expected to write, that will be an extra $150! These variables can be a campaign killer for an unorganized marketer or business.

Choosing A Side

Now that we have covered the basic differences between the two types of marketing, we can begin to discuss which marketing method is best for your business or situation. Although it is generally recommended to use a balance of both techniques, some businesses may cater themselves strongly to one side or the other.

Ask yourself the following 5 questions about your marketing campaign goals:

  • Is it time sensitive?
  • Do you have specific sales goals that need to be met?
  • Do you sell your product/service online (no phone call or further action needed)?
  • Does your product have a short buying cycle?
  • Is there enough search volume to sustain your business?

If you answered yes to these 4 questions, PPC advertising is mostly likely your best option. If you answered yes to most of these questions, your answer is most likely yes as well, but I highly recommend talking to a marketing consultant or agency about your situation.

If you answered yes to some, but not all of the above questions, ask yourself these 6 questions to see if content marketing is best suited for you:

  • Are you willing to invest the time?
  • Do you have the basic writing skills?
  • Do you have other ways to promote content?
  • Is branding (and brand recognition) is a major goal of the campaign?
  • Do you need authority to sell your product?
  • Is there a long time between consumer purchases?

If you can answer yes to all of these, content marketing is a great option for you to explore. Content marketing will offer you traffic now and increasingly in the long run, making this marketing method a great option for campaigns that aren’t facing definite short term goals. You will also need another way to promote this content, especially at first before you start getting traffic from the search engines. A few ways to do this are to utilize your social media channels, do some guest blogging, use forums, and you can even use PPC ads!

Sites that need authority to help sell their products or services will generally benefit the most from content marketing. Companies that need authority to sell are companies that tend to charge a premium price for their product. Customers need content to be convinced that your product or service is worth the additional cost.

Products or services with long purchasing cycles tend to experience good results with content marketing as well. This is because these kinds of purchasing decisions are usually made with more research. This means that you need to have a steady supply of onsite content, as well as other online touch points for your potential customers to find you (they won’t do all of their research on just your site).

In conclusion

You should now have a pretty good idea about how to make a decision between PPC advertising and content marketing. It is not always a clear cut decision, and as I mentioned earlier, it is usually best to utilize both for maximum effect. If you are still not sure, ask me on Twitter or on Google+ and I’d be glad to help.

Be sure to let myself and others know how you determine whether to use PPC advertising or Content Marketing in the comments below!

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What Is A Marketing Persona And Why Would I Need One?

So you have at least heard of a marketing persona by now, but what the hell is it and why on earth would your business need one? I often hear this type of question from my clients at the beginning stages of their project, but not long after that they start to see the full power and usefulness of creating these buyer personas. Even more exciting, they really want to help and offer to make these themselves! Of course I don’t let my clients do all the work and then pay me for it, but the fact that they are getting that excited shows off the greatness these personas can have.

Consumer Targeting History 101

Let’s start with a little bit of history, but not too much. In the past, marketers didn’t have access to their customers and the hoards of data that we do today, so they had to rely on what they could measure. This usually meant age, sex, location, income level, and maybe ethnicity.

Well, as you have probably observed in your life, you can’t really predict a person’s actions very well based on that criteria. Things had to change. With the rise of large data farms, social networks (not much different than a data farm), analytics, and more in depth sociological and consumer studies, we now have way more information about consumer behavior than we ever did before.

So, what can we do with all of this access to consumers and their buying habits? We create marketing personas of course! But wait, what is a marketing persona?

What Is A Marketing Persona?

A marketing persona is essentially a fictional consumer profile based on who your company’s customers really are. We are beyond the days of targeting middle income Latina females between the ages of 30-50 or black men between the ages of 18-24. That was the old way. The new way allows us to dive deeper into who our customers are. We ask questions like what are their goals and values, where do they research before buying, what pain points do they come across during the buying process, and more. HubSpot has written a great post about the kinds of questions you can ask to make these profiles highly useful.

Asking and answering these kinds of questions allow us to really understand who our consumers are so that we can improve our products, buying experience, marketing materials, and web presence in a way that will attract and convert more of the customers we want. You do want more customers and lower customer acquisition costs, don’t you?

Why Do I Need A Marketing Persona?

When we create these marketing personas, we are painting a really clear picture of who our customers are. When we know who our customers are, we can offer them what they want and how they want it. When you offer what your customers want and give it to them the way they want it, you can increase your sales and profits. It is a win-win situation for consumers and marketers alike.

Creating these profiles is extremely useful for marketing. However, as I tell all of my clients, it is much more than that! These profiles should be the backbone of everything your business does. Without customers, you don’t have a business, so don’t overlook the weight these personas carry. Marketing personas should be implemented in everything your business does, including the products/services that you offer, your pricing, marketing, design style, customer service approach, and anything else that your business does.

Great, So Now What?

Awesome, you now understand that marketing personas are fictional consumer profiles based on your real customers. You also know that these profiles extend greatly beyond just your company’s marketing materials and they help form the backbone of your business. Well, now that you have the basics, I highly recomend checking out a marketing persona template so that you can wrap your head around what this might look like when it is finished. Also, feel free to see what others have done as well, some can be very simple while others get very complex and detailed.

Do you need help putting together your marketing personas? Hire an expert marketer to help!

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Hootsuite bulk tweet upload Google Spreadsheet tool

Spreadsheet Sunday: Hootsuite Bulk Tweet Scheduler

Hootsuite is a great tool for almost any social media manager out there. It lets you manage multiple accounts and schedule social media posts across channels. Hootsuite is probably most used by marketers to help manage multiple twitter accounts and streams, and it is a great tool for doing that.

One of the power features that Hootsuite offers is bulk message scheduling via a CSV file. Bulk scheduling tweets can be a huge time saver, especially if you want to promote certain tweets or links several times throughout a month. However, creating a bulk upload sheet can be a bit of a pain with the default CSV template that Hootsuite provides.

Worry no more, you can use this simple Google Spreadsheet to help you bulk schedule your tweets with ease! Simply use the “Editor” sheet in this Google Doc and you can enter your tweet’s information. What this sheet will help you do is after you add your message and a link (if you want to include one) and this sheet will perform a character count for you to make sure your tweets are within the 140 character limit. You can also choose the time and date with ease by clicking on the little triangle in the cell and selecting the options you want from a drop down menu.

When you are ready to schedule your tweets, simply go to the “Export” sheet and export the sheet as a CSV file to upload to Hootsuite. This “Export” page automatically puts the data in the proper format for uploading to Hootsuite, so there is no extra work for you to do.

To get your own copy, click the button below, select “File” from the menu, then select “Make a copy…” to create a copy that you can use. Don’t forget to share this page with anyone who you think might find it useful!

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SEO Saturday: Should I Be Worried About Google’s Organic Results Space Decreasing?

A recent article by Aaron Harris has sparked a lot concern and controversy lately over Google’s organic results on the SERPs. It claims that only 13% of Google’s SERPs are dedicated to showing organic results. This information has a lot of uniformed SEO’s and marketers going crazy.

Are Google's organic search results dead?

The problem with this lies in the way they calculated their findings. The page was only calculated with what was shown above the fold on a 13in MacBook Air, not the entire page. The way he breaks up the content on the page isn’t exactly a science either, more so it is a bad assumption.

Even Search Engine Land has added their two cents on the issue, citing “if you measure the page not by pixel count but by actual listings, the situation is brighter than some of the “death of organic listings” proponents might think.” They also go on to say later in the article that if we look at the total number of listings, and not the pixel count, we find that the “Total paid versus unpaid: 70% to 30%” and “Paid versus unpaid, middle column: 50% to 50%.” These numbers are again counting the listings “above the fold” and not the entire page.

When I ran the same search on my 11 inch Chromebook here in Chicago, I found that there were 6 ads and 4 organic listings above the fold, making this a 60/40 spit between paid and organic results respectively. When we consider the entire page, we find that there are 11 ads and 18 organic listings, meaning that we are seeing close to 62% organic listings, and only about 38% paid listings. This is painting a completely different picture.

Google SERPs for Auto Mechanic showing that organic results are not dead

So, you can now make the decision to fear Google and believe that it is trying to kill organic and useful listings, or you can be a grown up and realize that you are just consuming garbage information without researching it for yourself. What will it be?

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Adwords Ad Formating Google Spreadsheet to test the character count of PPC ads for Google Adwords

Spreadsheet Sunday: Easy Adwords PPC Ad Formatting

When you manage Google Adwords PPC ad campaigns for your self or for your clients, you know that going into Adwords can be a waste of time when all you want to do is test some new ad copy. I’ve experienced it many times myself, I know how annoying it can be to set up a new ad just to see if your character count will fit. It is especially annoying when you are proposing ads, as the client often won’t have an account or they want to see a few examples of what you might give them before the buy into it.

Your pains are no more. Use this simple Google Spreadsheet to help you format your proposed PPC ads for Adwords. Simply fill out the required lines in the Spreadsheet and it will automatically show you if you are beyond the allowed character count. As an added bonus, the ads are all formatted like they would appear on Google, so you can copy and past your ads on to another sheet and send the client a PDF of what the ads will look like!

Get Your Free Copy Of The Adwords PPC Ad Formatter

Ready to get started? Simply click a button below, make a copy of the Google Spreadsheet (File > Make a copy), and you are all set and ready to go!


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Yelp listings fetcher Google Spreadsheet for local seo

SpreadSheet Sunday: Copy and Paste Yelp Competitor Info With Ease

If you handle local seo or just seo in general, you know that Yelp can be a very powerful tool to help you with competitor research. If you have ever gotten tired of going to each company’s page to get their info, you are in luck. With this new, easy to use spreadsheet you can easily copy and paste any info that you might need from your competition all in one easy place. If you can use yelp and you know how to copy and paste, there is nothing else to learn!

Here are some ideas you can use this spreadsheet for, please add your own ideas to the comments below to let others know.

  • Gathering the names and contact information of local business that compete with your company.
  • Getting a list of competitor URL’s to use for keyword and SEO research.
  • Discovering where you fit into the rankings for certain keywords
  • Discovering the number of reviews your competition has
  • Collecting the names and phone numbers of local businesses that you want to visit on a trip.

Ready to get started? Simply click the button below, make a copy of the Google Spreadsheet (File > Make a copy), and you are all set and ready to go!

Sure, I’ll Check It Out

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Why Keywords Are Dead

For a long time, marketers have been caught up in a game of over optimizing for keywords in order to top the rankings and bring in sales. The trend of over optimizing has come to an end thanks to the likes of Google’s initial Panda update and other updates since then. There is a problem however, with Google Analytics and Google’s Adwords tools, we are still facing a set of data that puts keywords at the forefront of our marketing. I am here to tell you that this trend is fading, and that’s a good thing!

The Semantic Web

One of the biggest things pushing this change is the rise of the semantic web. The semantic web allows search engines to know and uderstand so much more about how ideas relate to one another. This alone is helping to destroy the keyword based web. Search engines are no longer paying attention to just a few metrics that can be gamed, now they are listening to social chatter, reference websites, and so much more to determine where your content fits into the web of information.

User Tracking

User tracking will be the future of the web. HubSpot has been implementing it, and now Google offers a half baked version through their Universal Analytics (read more about UA from Marketing Land).

Why does User tracking matter so much? Let’s consider this scenario: You are walking through the city and you see a really cool t-shirt in a window, you take a quick picture to save it for later. You come home later and you are watching TV, during a commercial break you suddenly remember that awesome t-shirt and reach for your tablet to do a quick price search. You find the shirt online, price compare it to a few other places quickly and decide where you will get it from. Your show comes back on and your attention is taken away again. The next day while at work you remember the awesome shirt and show it to your coworker, who also thinks it is awesome, so you then give yourself a mental reminder to order it when you get home. When you get home, you pull out the trusty laptop, find that awesome shirt again, and then make an order.

90% of multiple device owners switch between screens to complete tasks.

Source: The New Multi-Screen World Study

What does all of this mean? In terms of Google Analytics, you would have already had at least 3 unique views from this scenario. In addition to this misleading data, you would have likely seen a conversion from a brand related keyword, since the user most likely searched your website name on Google to get there and place his order from his laptop. The reality is, this is not the keyword that brought the user to your site or helped them actually convert, it is simply the keyword they used to finalize the purchase after they already decided that you were the right choice. As you can see, we are really getting an unclear picture of what is happening here.

With HubSpot’s tracking software, you get to really see who your customers are, where they are coming from, what they care about, and then you can follow up with them based on what marketing buckets you place them in. I see this as being the future of where marketing will go, since keywords are helpful, but so is knowing who your users are and what they are doing. Whoever can give us access to this user based tracking, create a UI that makes sense, delivers powerful insights, and is affordable will be the market leader in the Analytics and Advertising platforms of the future.

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performing market research for your website, the good old fashioned way

Content Strategy Research Essentials: The 4 Things You Need To Know

When it comes to conducting content strategy research for a website, there are 4 main areas that you will want to research to ensure that you have your bases covered. These 4 areas are simple, yet essential and powerful. If you choose to ignore them or research them lazily, I can almost guarantee that you will screw something up.

The research phase of creating your website’s content strategy is important and valuable for pretty obvious reasons, the more informed you can be, the better decisions you can make. However, don’t get caught up in the notion that you will need to know everything ahead of time or you may get stuck in fear of starting the unknown, which will likely kill your project before it ever gets started. There is plenty that will happen that you just can’t know until you get there, this is completely normal for marketing (and everything else), so don’t freak out.

“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” Sven Goran Eriksson

It is also important to note that the research your content strategy never really ends, it simply just has to begin. There will be things that you know before you get started and there will be things that you won’t discover until long after you launch your site. The thing to remember is that you need to document everything and update all of your research as you go along, there is no point in doing the work if you can’t refer to it later on. You can only act upon the information you have available (memory is a sloppy tool).

Now that you have been prepped to take on this article, let’s get you started with the first area of market research, the customers.

Customer Research

This is the the most vital part of the research phase. Unfortunately, most people or agencies tend to skip through this section and just make simple assumptions. This can and will seriously hurt everything you do from this point forward, so don’t skim over this lightly and assume that you are right.

When researching your target audience, you really have to really dive deep into the subject matter. Doing so will help reveal small subtleties that your competition is either unaware of or just ignoring all together. These small subtleties can be turned into a major competitive advantage for you. You do want to have a better chance than your competition, right?

So, what information do you need to know about your target audience in order to develop a content strategy that users will love and choose over the competition? Know what they are truly looking for and why. If you get nothing else out of this, at least burn that into your brain. It’s one thing to know that your customers are looking for a specific product, but to understand why they are looking for it and being able to cater to that why will help make your website really stand out to a user.

Other important information to discover or decipher are your customers’ pain points, their motivations, their demographics, their buying process, their purchasing frequency, and how your product or service fits into their lifestyle.

It is at this point where I like to create my marketing personas. A marketing persona is essentially a fictional consumer profile based on your research. The point of these is that you learn to stop targeting demographics and start targeting real world people who use your products and services.

Keyword Research

The next phase of the content strategy research process is to execute the keyword research. Your keyword research should start with your marketing personas. Knowing who your customers are, why they are looking for your services, and how they find your services online will lead you into finding the keywords that really matter.

Take these keywords and start plugging them into Google and/or Bing and look at what it is recommending for related searches and results. This will give you a solid idea of good, related longtail keywords. You can also use the Long Tail Keyword Prospecting Tool (Instructions), it does essentially the same task for you in a Google Spreadsheet.

One of the free, go-to resources for keyword research by almost all online marketers and SEOs is Google’s Keyword Tool. This tool will help you discover what Google thinks are related terms to your keywords. You will have to think of a few basic search terms that your personas would type into a search engine, and then Google will create a list of related search terms to help you expand your list. Be cautious with this though, make sure you analyze these keywords to make sure they are a good match and don’t fall into the lazy habit of just checking them simply because they are on the list.

You will also be able to see and filter the number of local and global searches for these search terms, helping you find keywords that will match the volume of clicks you need to generate. As a bonus, this should also help you reduce costs from wasteful keyword targeting.

Finding keywords with high search volume and low competition is usually a good recommendation, especially for smaller or newer companies. However, you can’t ignore keywords with high competition either. It may be a good idea to target these at the start with PPC ads, it can be a decent way to get some brand exposure on the low level topics just so people become familiar with your name in the product category while generating some top of the funnel traffic.

Using other keyword tools will probably help you discover similar results, while also having the added bonus of a few other features or insights.

Other notable keyword research tools include:

Competitive Research

Searching what your competition is doing to find success in the rankings is a great idea. This will help expedite some of your strategizing by giving you insights into what is working for other businesses that you can uniquely adopt for your own site and strategy.

You should be looking for who your competition is, where are they getting links from, what keywords they rank well for, what kind of content they are generating, how users are used to doing what you want them to do, and much more depending on your specific circumstances and competition.

To get your competitive research started, open an incognito or private browser window and start searching for keywords that you want to rank for. You can then see who is ranking for these key terms and go to their site to find out why they are ranking so well. You will want to be sure to check for how they are positioning themselves, what kind of content is popular on their site, and other notable aspects to their online presence. To get a more thorough example of how to do this, read up on HubSpot’s post How to Conduct Competitive Analysis to Step Up Your Content Strategy.

There are also a host of great tools for doing competitive research and finding great insight into the more technical aspects of why they are ranking so well. On the flip side, you also want to pay attention to what they aren’t doing to see if there are gaps in the rankings where you may be able to take over.

Some of these tools are free while others are paid. Do a little research and find the tools that will work best for your business. While these tools do provide a lot useful data, data is only as useful as the person who interprets it. Don’t think that just because you have a ton of graphs and charts flashing on your screen that your job is over and you are ready to move on. Take the time to carefully analyze this data and make valuable documented insights.

Social Media Research

Social media research is not the most important area to research for your content strategy, but it can lead to some interesting insights and help you learn who the influencers are. You will want to start by searching for some of your keywords across LiknedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. Pay attention to what kind of content pops up, and again, what kind doesn’t. After you search around for a while and get familiar with the content (document your research!), it is time to start finding the key players.

You may have already seen some big names from looking at content, that is a good place to start. Once you have them listed, perform searches for Twitter Lists and other top lists of people to follow in the industry for sites like Google+ and Facebook. These are likely filled with a lot of big names in the industry, start to follow many of them and pay attention to what they are doing and how well its working.

At this point, you will also want to document key websites and people that you can connect with for blogging outreach and places to share your content. Social is a great source for this beyond search engines because it helps you discover what people are actually talking and excited about, not just sites that were chosen by a machine trying to understand people.

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Why I Prefer Google Spreadsheets Over MS Excel For SEO

Microsoft Excel has been a staple program for SEO’s for a long time. However, the days of Excel acting as the reigning champion in this category are over. Everyone, make room for Google Spreadsheets as your go to spreadsheet program for SEO.

Excel was a great tool because it had arguably the most functional spreadsheet editor known to computer users. There are also some powerful extensions out there that make Excel even more powerful for SEO work. So why then would you want to give all of that up and make the switch to Google Spreadsheets? Keep reading to find out.

Web Scraping

This is arguably the most powerful reason to choose Google Spreadsheets over Microsoft Excel for your go to SEO tool. While there are ways to do this in Excel, it is not exactly built in nor easy to use. With Google Spreadsheets, you can easily scrape all sorts of data from Google and from specific websites. The main way to do this is to use the “importxml” function, which you can learn how to use it here.

This powerful little function lets you scrape all sorts of great info like Google Search results, Trends, and even to find specific HTML tags on a page (list elements, titles, links, etc..). You can get very creative with how you use it, the options are pretty much endless and many of them are quite simple to make. You can check out a few useful SEO tools that others have made here, this will give you a good idea of what kind of power this can have. After that, you can take a stab at building your own agile Google Spreadsheet SEO tools.

Direct Export to Google Spreadsheets

Like many SEO’s out there, I heavily rely on Google Anayltics, Keyword Research Tools, and other Google products to get the job done fast and efficiently. Another nice thing about using Google Spreadsheets over Excel is that you can export data directly into a Google Spreadsheet from most of the other Google products.

This eliminates the hassle of having to download a file and open it in Excel or worse, downloading a file and having to upload it back into Google Drive to use it. You can even bypass this whole exporting process and get live Analytics data directly into your Google Spreadsheets, this can be a huge time saver if you manually generate reports for clients via Spreadsheets.

This doesn’t work for all of Google’s products, yet. But for where it does work, it is a much needed and appreciate function.

Effortless Online Backup, Synchronizing, Sharing, and Collaboration

Needless to say, all of the other joys that come from using Google Drive over Microsoft Office come into play here as well. Knowing that your files are being instantly saved and backed up online is a major relief. Having all of your files ready to be shared with a coworker or client is another great feature that we can’t overlook. And last but not least, the ability to work with someone live on the same document can be such a powerful feature to have, especially when it comes to slicing and analyzing data.

What reasons do you have for choosing Google Spreadsheets over Excel? Or do you think Excel is the better choice? Let us know your reasons in the comments!

Do you need help with your SEO? Get a free one hour consultation phone call today!

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How To Understand The Differences Among Inbound Marketing Offers

inbound marketing offers sales funnel

Kickstart your Inbound Marketing and download your free 6 Month Inbound Marketing Plan Template.

One of the most important aspects of Inbound Marketing besides creating your marketing personas, is creating your inbound marketing offers to attract and convert those leads. There is a lot of confusion surrounding what kind of content is best suited for each stage of the buying process, I know that I was a little confused with this for a while when being trained as a partner with HubSpot. After doing more of my own research and completing my training through HubSpot, I am here to help clarify this stage of the process for the rest of us.

Top of the Funnel – Generating Leads

The top of the funnel is the first stage of the buying process. These are the people who are doing the equivalent of window shopping. They are out looking around, not really ready to buy and not entirely sure what they want, but they are open to options.

It is at this point that you want to start getting on the customers’ radar. Let them know that your business has the products or services that they might be interested in and let them know what benefit you can offer them.

    Here is some great content for Top of the Funnel Offers:

  • Ebooks
  • Educational Content
  • “What is ‘X’?”
  • Email lists
  • Infographics

Middle of the Funnel – Creating Prospects

The middle of the funnel is the part of the buying process where the shopper has identified that they need something and they are taking a look at their options. This is the stage where you will want differentiate yourself from the competition so the customer will be more likely to choose you over the competition.

You really want to go deeper into describing the benefits of your product or services at this stage. The customer is more aware of the market and competition, and has likely picked up on some buzzword lingo.

    Here is some great content for Middle of the Funnel Offers:

  • Case studies
  • “What can ‘X’ do for my business
  • Stats analysis
  • Trend reports
  • Templates
  • Tip sheets
  • Tutorials
  • Checklists
  • Advanced email lists
  • Videos
  • FAQ sheets

Bottom of the Funnel – Convert Prospects into Sales

This is the final stage of the sales funnel. The customer knows their options and they are preparing to make a decision. You should have talked to them personally at least once by this point, if not, do so immediately to boost your chances of getting the sale. If you have talked to them once or more, it is time to start pushing the sale.

    Here is some great content for Bottom of the Funnel Offers:

  • Pricing
  • Coupons or limited time deals
  • Free trial
  • Assessment or consulting session
Are you still struggling to understand the differences? Schedule a free 1 hour consultation with me to get the answers and help you need.

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Top 3 Mistakes Made By Facebook Advertisers

Facebook ads can be a great way to connect with more of your current and potential customers. However, that does not mean that all Facebook ads are created equally. Many Facebook advertisers make the same mistakes over and over again, costing them more money and creating a disconnect for their customers. Listed below are the top 3 mistakes to avoid as a Facebook advertiser.

  1. Lack of proper ad targeting

    It’s truly unfortunate, but so many advertisers still fall under “the more, the merrier” mindset when it comes to ad targeting. They are so afraid of missing one potential customer that they feel it is better to pay to target nearly everyone. This has a few negative effects, first and foremost being that you are paying way more than you need to. You have to pay for all those impressions and clicks from uninterested people, often several times.

    The second major problem that this is creating is that you are sending annoying and irrelevant messages to people. If your ad shows up enough, they may be inclined to think bad things about your company and possibly could even influence their friends to think the same. All of this leads to bad business. Don’t be afraid to micro-target, you can expand as needed.

  2. Generic messages

    Generic ad copy is another huge waste of time and money for many companies. While your ads might be successful using the same copy over and over to target different markets, it is almost certain that you can improve your CTR with unique and customized copy. If you are targeting people in a different areas or with different interests, your ad copy should reflect that.

    Most businesses have multiple services or products, but fail to realize the difference to the customer. Let’s say you sell clothes online. Many Facebook advertisers out there would make one ad that claims they have awesome shirts out there. That’s great, but so do many other businesses, this doesn’t give the user a great reason to click on your ad. However, let’s say there is a classic rock section to your store (among other categories). Instead of making that generic ad and blasting it out to everyone, you would most likely have much greater success if you made your ad about classic rock tshirts and then targeted it to people who like classic rock. Repeat this for your other categories and you should be spending less while getting more clicks.

  3. Poor use of images

    Images are one of the most important assets to your limited ads. These are usually what will grab the readers eye and direct the user to reading your ad. Getting their attention with an image and using a related image that adds meaning to your ad are often two different things for many Facebook advertisers.

    You are limited to 25 characters for your title and 90 characters for your ad, so it is vital that you use your images wisely to create the most impact for your ads. Be sure to avoid using an eye catching image if it doesn’t add meaning to your ad, otherwise you will create a disconnect for the user and will most likely miss out on their business, even after they clicked your ad. Choose an image that compliments your ad copy, but also one that is fitting and evokes the feeling you would like for your brand.

What other big mistakes do you find Facebook advertisers making over and over? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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What Makes A Great Social Media Marketing Plan Work?

Social Media is a very exciting topic for a lot of people, especially for business owners and managers. Therein lies the problem however, companies get excited and they jump right into doing it. This is what creates so much confusion and frustration for them, after they jump in and post random links and images like they heard from somewhere online, they wonder where their results are. My question to them is, “What are your goals and how are you measuring?” Without knowing that, its hard to know if you are really achieving anything. This is why it is important to have a Social Media Marketing plan.

Sounds great; but how do I actually do it? I believe there are only 4 simple requirements to make a great social media marketing plan: research, strategy, execution, and maintenance. “Rsem” is an acronym I use for this, it is pronounced similar to “awesome” but with an “r” sound instead of the “awe” sound. If you get these basics of Rsem down you are well on your way to utilizing social media for your business instead of wasting time and resources with it.

Research

Research, research, research! This is the most essential stage of setting a plan. Get to know your customers, what kind of results are realistic, and what channels will work best. A little research can go a long way and save you tons of headaches down the road.

Strategy

This is where you set your goals and define how you will achieve them. Having a strategy gives you a starting point and direction for your social media execution. You should include information about what social media channels you will be using, when and how often you will post, the tonality of your posts, the types of content you will share, who is responsible for posting, and other relevant information.

Execution

Success is a good friend of action. At this stage you have already triumphed through the hard parts, now its time to put that knowledge into practice. Monitor and analyze as you go, making sure to have a little patience and to avoid making decisions with information or findings that are not based on enough analytical data.

Maintenance

After you have been implementing and executing your plan, you must be sure that you are maintaining it properly. This means checking to make sure you are reaching your goals, tracking data insights efficiently, paying attention to trends, and utilizing new or viral opportunities. A social media plan is not a stiff, unchangeable marketing execution. The social landscape is constantly changing and you need to make sure you can keep up and handle the ride.

Do you need someone to handle one or more social media accounts for you? Get hassle-free professional and effective social media marketing services, contact me now.

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SEO Isn’t Just SEO Anymore

SEO has been a staple buzzword in marketing for years now, but something has changed. When SEO first started, there were very few channels to have your content discovered other than on major news networks or on rudimentary search engines. Now there are tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of niche networks, blogs, major news outlets, social media sites, ecommerce, review and local sites, and amazing search engines. This makes the old way of just getting links from a few link farms far too obsolete and spammy. The internet has grown into a powerful, but highly complex web of ranking factors. What does all of this mean for the humble SEO out there? This means that simply building links or increasing page views on a site is no longer good enough, we must be much more than that!

If pageviews and inbound links are no longer good enough, what does an SEO really need to do? I’m glad you asked. Gone are the days of solely tracking pageviews, inbound links, and simple keywords as the primary metrics for SEO success. There are too many ranking factors in today’s search engine focused world to only focus on a few useful, but incomplete metrics from the dark ages of SEO. Now, we have to worry about leads, conversions, social, and much more.

Your social media affects your page views and other factors, which in turn affects your rankings. Distributed content or guest blogging is a still a great tactic, but with the decreasing importance of anchor link text it is becoming less powerful than it once was. Keywords used to work, now its all about key phrases and conversion paths. With all of the local listing sites and link farms out there, Google and other search engines are starting to decrease their link values as well. So where does an SEO fit into this modern mix?

Without access and control over all of the digital marketing, it is hard to be a successful SEO and get your clients to rank high in the SERPs. There are tons niche networks popping up everyday, while these sites may be a low source of traffic for your site, if used properly they can often bring high converting web traffic. Same goes for social media. This is really where the new modern SEO fits in, finding ways to help their clients find reliable sources of high converting leads and ways to gain publicity online.

But wait, that sounds like being a marketing manager or business analyst! Well, to some degree it really is. However, it’s still far away from doing the complete scope of marketing and you there is much more to being business analyst, so don’t freak out yet. There is a lot to learn from these two business positions, and if you want to secure your future position with SEO, you better take notice.

Other useful resources:

16 Marketers on the metrics that matter
Fixing the Broken Culture of SEO Metrics – Whiteboard Friday

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