The skills we teach deliver real ROI.

Takeaways from Google Marketing Next

There were some exciting announcements from Google Marketing Next this week about Google technologies for marketers.  Some offerings are available now and others are coming soon. Read below for key takeaways from the event.

One second or one step

When it comes to the online experience,  brands need to stay ahead of customers and offer a solution within one step or one second.


Google’s internal research shows that a slow page load time – especially on mobile – significantly impacts the probability of a high bounce rate.  If a page takes more than three seconds to load, half of visitors will not stick around.  Online brands need to respond quickly to searchers online with a google web experience.


A Beginner’s Guide to Facebook and Instagram Live

 Facebook and Instagram’s live video recording features are great ways to connect with viewers. But they can be intimidating, even scary. After all, live videos, by their very nature, mean the audience sees whatever happens on camera, good or bad. But live videos don’t have to be intimidating; they can actually be a lot of fun. With this guide to help you, you’ll be familiar with the ins and outs of live videos in no time.

What Can Facebook and Instagram Live Do For Me?


9 Tips and Tools for SEO

Optimizing your site for organic search is not a one-time process.  Fortunately, there are some clear cut steps that, over time, will improve your overall ranking.  Follow the nine tips below to improve your search results.

View the Google landscape

Know the keywords that come up in a search. Do people look for accountants or “financial planners”?  Try incognito searches on your potential keywords and see how many results there are for your searches. Also note which ones come up in the local search results on Google where you see maps and starred ratings. Those results are in a local section because those business owners have created a local page with Google My Business and often have a number of Google reviews.

Identify goal keywords


7 Best Practices for Landing Pages

Landing pages are an important part of your conversion funnel and that’s why you may want separate landing page for every marketing campaign you do.  But not any landing page will do.  There are seven best practices for creating landing pages that convert.

Back up “free”

If there’s a free offer on your landing page, show what the value actually is. Is it a trial for a course that normally costs $299? If so, you want to say that. Otherwise “free” is not meaningful to the visitor since they cannot determine the value.

Use videos and images

Show the benefits of your offer visually. Videos can help clarify any benefits that are written.  But make sure they are relevant to the specific offer rather than something added to the page to take up space. You want your visitors to imagine how using your product or service will benefit them.  For example, if you’re selling a cruise vacation, show images from the ship and destination rather than only explaining through text. An image of beautiful scenery has a lot more impact than the words “beautiful scenery”,

Happy people

Use pictures of people on your landing page that look happy. Even if you’re selling something that’s not necessarily uplifting, such as a drug rehabilitation center, you want to show people after they’ve achieved recovery rather than people who are rock bottom. Remember you’re selling a solution.  Visitors already know they have a problem.  Showing people can build that element of trust and make them feel positive about your offer. When people feel good about a solution, they are more likely to invest in it.

Contrasting colors

Include contrasting colors, such as a blue button on a white background.  It helps your CTA stand out so visitors can quickly convert.   And make your button very obvious since it’s the most important part of your page. The ultimate goal is for people to convert and to convert, they need to see the button immediately that will enable them to do so.  Even if the button location seems obvious to you, you might still use an arrow to point to it. If you have a video, the person in it can look at the button or point to the location on your page.

Obvious benefits

Show that your offer will meet their needs. Make it very clear what they will receive if they purchase what you offer.  But do this in a list or a very short blurb. I’ve seen pages where a company wants to list everything they offer and includes the type of information you might see in a corporate document. People don’t care. You only have a few short seconds to convince them that you are their solution and frustrated visitors who have to scroll through a lot of information probably will not be convinced.

Remove distractions

If there is something on your landing page that is not about the primary offer on the page, you can remove it such as the navigation bar and outside links. Too many options of what they can do on your page will only result in confusion. If they have to think about what to do next, they may get overwhelmed and just leave.  Have only one action.

Connect to your PPC campaign

You want the keywords in your paid campaign to match the content of your landing page. When people come to your page from an ad, it should be an obvious extension of that ad.  You may even want to try different landing pages for tightly themed ad groups. It may be the same offer but presented differently depending on the targeted audience.  Speaking about the benefits differently on two separate pages for two separate ad groups can help you determine which segmented audience converts the best.

Your ultimate goal with all of your marketing efforts is to influence someone’s behavior and landing pages are a very important part of that strategy.

Why Online Marketers Have to Know More than Marketing

This article was originally posted on

It’s not enough for marketers to know only about marketing. Serving clients in this digital age means understanding outside elements that can improve marketing strategies and business results, like data automation or virtual reality technology, for example.

online-marketer-blog-image-150x150@2xBut it doesn’t have to involve the latest digital advancements to be effective; it can be as simple as knowing how to measure the success of social media based on telephone calls.

I bring up this last example because of a conversation with a client more than a year ago. Simply put, the client wanted a way to track phone calls that were specifically driven by their social media posts. Of course, we weren’t in the business of telecommunications, but we did know a thing or two about how to use them within our strategy. So we decided to implement a unique telephone number for the client’s business (different from their main numbers on the website) that would only be used with their social media content. Any time they received a call to that number, we would assign credit to their social media.


Google Analytics for Content Marketers

When you create content, you write not only for your website visitors, but also to reach their connections so you want to make sure your content is worth sharing.  With Google Analytics, you can see what people like based on engagement metrics and how often your content is shared.  Using the below metrics can help you make decisions about which content you want to create next.

Content Grouping

An advanced feature of Google Analytics, Content Grouping, lets you aggregate your content into categories as defined by you. You determine these categories based on how you want to report out on the content people engage with on your site.  For example, if you primarily write about Google Analytics, SEO, and AdWords, you can create three groupings and see the performance of your posts by the main category they fall into.  You can create these in the Admin section of Google Analytics by defining groupings by URL and WordPress users can easily do this with a plug-in. However you set this up, you are now able to see the bigger picture with your site content.

Social Sharing


How to Measure Behavior with Google Analytics Cohort Analysis

I introduced the Cohort Analysis in an earlier post, noting that it is a Google Analytics feature that lets you “look at a group of users based on a shared acquisition date”.  I noted that my preference has been to create segments, but I wanted to explore this beta feature in Google Analytics a bit more in this post and offer some use cases for it. You will still want to spend time getting familiar with segments because they make this feature more useful.

A Cohort Analysis is worth exploring if user retention is a key metric on your site since this feature measures behavior over time.  If you see a significant increase in traffic, this helps you determine if a cohort is responsible for the majority of that change.  You can also determine if a specific group completed an action on your site after their initial visit.

If you are interested in doing a Cohort Analysis, you can decide the size of your cohort by day, week or month; the metric (the number you want to measure), and the date range (how far back you want to analyze).  With a size of day, the cells in your resulting table will each display a single date. With a metric, you can only select one number at a time and these are displayed as columns in your table.  And the date range determines how much data will appear and corresponds to the number of rows that are in your table.

Although I primarily look at the tables, you can also view your data in a chart, which is a cumulative metric for your particular cohort. In the below example, you can see a significant drop in pageviews for each user after the initial visit, which could imply there is not enough compelling content that brings people back to the site.




Identifying micro and macro trends

Are you wondering how a specific campaign impacted your sales? Do you also want to know if a visitor from a campaign took action immediately or came back a month later? Since your cohort groups visitors by similar dimensions (such as traffic source), you can view them by a particular source, such as Paid Traffic by selecting that segment.


For this Paid Traffic group, session duration increases in some weeks after they first came on the site.  The darker color in each cell indicates the value of the metric when compared to other values in the table.


Behavior by Device

You do not need to be told that a mobile-friendly site is non-negotiable for today’s businesses. But have you wondered how behavior varies on a mobile device?  Here we can see that more purchases are made in following months for desktop users than mobile users. It’s worth exploring why that could be.


Analyzing by Channel

With segments you can select multiple channels at a time. Here we can see goal completions for this account’s paid traffic versus organic traffic. Both channels are bringing people back, but organic channels perform better when it comes to the goal completion metric.


One of the more useful features of a Cohort Analysis is that it helps you understand how long it takes for a visitor to make a decision. These views can also help you determine if a remarketing strategy is good for your business.  If you notice that traffic declines after a certain day, you may want to start remarketing at that time.

If you discover that a Cohort Analysis is useful for your business, you can save a view as a shortcut, email it, or add it to a dashboard like you would with other reports in Google Analytics.  To reiterate, this helps you analyze group behavior on your site based on common attribution.  In my opinion, it is still limited since only Cohort Type is Acquisition Date. If Google makes other options available, it will increase the usefulness of this tool. In the meantime, use segments to drill into your data for a Cohort Analysis.

Now You Can Target Facebook Ads to Those Who Engage With You

This article was originally posted on

Even if you have trouble keeping up with all of Facebook’s changes, you’ll want to pay attention to this one. Your Facebook ads can now be targeted specifically to people who engage with your page or ad, using a new feature called Facebook Page Engagement.

What is Facebook Page Engagement?

Facebook Ad Targeting

The Facebook Page Engagement feature in Custom Audiences gives you precise targeting for Facebook ads.

Located in your Ads Manager account under Custom Audiences, the new Facebook Page Engagement tool allows you to take your ad targeting a step further. You can target any user who has engaged with your page or ads, using one of these six different conditions:

  • Everyone who engaged with your page – Like the name suggests, this option targets everyone who has engaged with your page or ads on Facebook or Messenger. It gives you the broadest audience selection of the six, but it may return the least conversions.
  • Anyone who visited your page – No mystery here. This option lets you target your Facebook advertisements to anyone who has visited your page. The audience is a bit narrower than what’s available with the previous option.
  • People who engaged with any post or ad – This Facebook Page Engagement option gives you even more precise targeting. It includes people who engaged with any of your posts or ads, including reactions, shares, comments, link clicks, and carousel swipes. It’s a great choice if your content gets a lot of action, because it essentially lets you remarket to those who have already shown interest.
  • People who clicked on any call-to-action button – Any time someone clicked on a call-to-action button (in an ad or in your shop, for example), you can target your Facebook ad to them with this option. Consider this option when you want to remarket to someone who clicked but didn’t convert the first time around.
  • People who sent a message to your page – If you get a lot of messages on your page, then this option could be a great way to follow up with a special offer via Facebook ads. The audience is narrow but more likely to convert since they’ve reached out to you before.
  • People who saved your page or any post – This last Facebook Page Engagement condition is a natural fit for anyone who saved your page or your post. You may want to use this option to target this audience with ads featuring content similar to what they previously saved.

When setting up your Facebook ad using Page Engagement, you can also specify the window of engagement. For example, you can target your ad to everyone who engaged with your page in the last 180 days. Or you can narrow it down to people who sent you a message in the last 60 days.

Facebook Page Engagement is like hyper-targeting for your Facebook ads. It’s a great way to touch warm prospects who have already shown interest. Give this new feature a try, and compare your results with your previous campaigns.

Remarketing is Now Even More Important for Online Marketing

This blog was originally posted on and can be accessed here.

Global cart abandonment is on the rise – up to 76.8% over the last quarter, according to recent data. That means even more website visitors are deciding against purchases. Companies that want to improve their online marketing this year may need to consider remarketing as a means of loss mitigation. (more…)