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Archive of ‘Marketing’ category

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

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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 rso-consulting.com.

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.

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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

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Remarketing is Now Even More Important for Online Marketing

This blog was originally posted on http://www.rso-consulting.com 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…)

5 Google Analytics Performance Dashboards

Google Analytics Dashboards are a great tool for my clients who do not like logging into their accounts. They often become overwhelmed with the amount of data in analytics and prefer to see data at a glance.

I have a previous post on how to use the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery for dashboards. The gallery permits you to use dashboards created by other Google Analytics users.  But even that can be overwhelming with hundreds of dashboards to choose from.

Below I’ve listed five of my favorites for measuring performance with Google Analytics. Please note that I did start with some dashboards I imported from the gallery and modified them to be a better fit for my reporting needs. Each heading below links to a dashboard you can automatically add to your account as long as you are logged into Google Analytics when you click on the link.

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Organic Search Performance

How often are people finding you through organic search?  With this dashboard, you can see the behavior of people coming to your site through organic search results. And yes, it probably will primarily be Google for your organic source, but you can see other sources of organic searches such as Bing, Yahoo, or AOL. You can also measure how this source impacts the number goals completed and pages viewed.

Paid Search Performance (AdWords)

Advertisers will definitely want to see how their paid campaigns perform when compared to other channels, such as organic or email. It’s also valuable to drill into paid campaigns to compare them to each other. Are visitors performing a desired action in one campaign more so than the others?  Although this dashboard is for AdWords, it can be modified to also view other paid campaigns, such as with Facebook or Bing.

Social Media Performance

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How to Use Google Analytics to Optimize Your Website

Google Analytics not only provides a picture of the good things happening on your site which include sales and lead generation. It can also point out the things that are not working well that need to be changed. Below are five steps for optimizing your website based on data available in Google Analytics.

Identify pages with the highest bounce rates

In the Site Content section of Behavior data, you can view your landing pages. View which pages are the common entry points to your site. Are those pages designed to receive new visitors? In other words, will a new visitor know what your website is about if they land on one of these pages rather than the home page? If you see a high bounce rate, it could be that it is not a good introduction for people who are new to your business and there is some room for improvement. Pay special attention to landing pages with a large number of visitors and a significantly higher bounce rate than the other pages on your site.

Analyze goal performance

The easiest way to see how you are doing on your site is to look at your goals in Google Analytics. However, rather than looking at just the raw numbers or the absolute percentages, examine what’s been happening over time so you can see if there’s been an improvement in site performance. So yes, you will still want to look at conversions as a number on it’s own, but make sure you do watch for trends over time. And give extra attention to any spikes and conversions that may be related to a new marketing activity that you started or perhaps an update that was made to your website.

General site performance

The Site Speed section under Behavior is more relevant to the website developers then to the marketers. However if you are involved in decisions about the design, it is helpful to know if an image-heavy page seems to be causing a slow load time. With short attention spans, you are losing potential customers who lose patience and visit another site. The good thing is that this is one of those problems that can be fairly easy to fix and it’s very clear-cut.

Check the Reverse Goal Path report

In a previous article, I wrote about how the User Flow through a website might not be that meaningful for many sites. If there is not a clear path through your website to reach a conversion, it is hard to know what you are measuring other than the end result. However, you may still want to check the Reverse Goal Path report to see the pages a visitor navigated before converting on your site. It can be helpful to know which pages are the common steps followed by people who eventually complete a desired action

Look for drop offs in your conversion funnel

Once you set up goals you can see how people travel through your site to complete them with a Funnel Visualization report (found in Goals section of Conversions). With this report, you can learn which pages have a high exit rate in the funnel and brainstorm ways to improve them.

Website optimization is all about using data to make your website more attractive to visitors and make visitors more inclined to complete a desired action on your website. Looking for ways to improve your site using your analytics and qualitative data such as customer surveys is an ongoing process.

And always remember that no matter how great you may think your website is, you are not the customer. If you can stay curious about what it is your website visitors want, it’s easier to get rid of your assumptions and to be more open to creative ways for improving performance. There can be room to change your overall copy, your images, your navigation, your offers, your landing pages etc. The bottom line is if you adopt a mindset where your website is not a one-time project, you will increase the ROI with the channels used to send you traffic.

 

Inside View of Agile Marketing

Do you feel like your company doesn’t understand what you do? Do you have a constant stream of requests and ideas coming into your team? Are you expected to immediately act on all requests? Do you feel like you can’t say no or negotiate? First of all, you are not alone!

What I learned

I recently instructed the Agile Marketing Boot Camp, and this is what I learned from my students. This class was comprised of mainly management-level marketing professionals that realized it was time to make a change in the way they are doing their work. The industry is changing and becoming more technology dependent. Teams are becoming more cross-functional, and marketers are now expected to have a wider range of skills including some IT functions.

The common theme with the students was that they were overworked and misunderstood. Marketing teams typically have too many stakeholders to keep up with. Within the 30 minute break, one of the students said that she had already received multiple urgent requests. If you are not on a marketing team and reading this, you are probably thinking well that’s just business, right?

Let me paint you a picture. You have 10 people in your company who each have a very important project that month and that is their top priority. Each of these people also has three or four ideas on what they want to do to market or promote their project. This is where the flood happens because these people either cannot or do not want to execute on those ideas. That is what the marketing team is for. Meanwhile the marketing team is drowning because these 40 requests have all come into the department at the same time, all marked as “top priority.”  The last line of these emails is something usually along the lines of, “Can you get this back to me this week?” Of course they feel like they cannot just say no, and then weeks go by without any progress and stakeholders become frustrated.

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Because of the nature of the marketing industry, it is more common now that executives and stakeholders are not doing this intentionally. They are simply unaware of what truly goes into completing some of these tasks. Marketing has become technical, and with that there are a lot of misconceptions of what a marketer does. I for one can’t even explain to my friends what exactly it is that I do. Most other departments in an organization don’t really know what marketing does either.

How Agile Can Help

Marketers are seeking out Agile Marketing for these reasons. They want to find a way to help their team organize priorities, utilize their resources, and manage stakeholder expectations.  Most of the students were aware of Agile from what they had heard within the IT Teams at their organization. They understand that the Agile methodology can truly be applied to the marketing industry in an effective way because of the growing use of technology and the structure of the project teams. Some had even taken some steps to start building up an Agile framework within their department. The common pain points were lack of resources and lack of communication between teams.

Over the two days of class, we focused on how to set up a structure within the marketing teams to help them organize their priorities and create a way to become more transparent within the organization. Agile Marketing is based off a foundation of transparency within the team and stakeholders. Teams are able to use data and organized planning to communicate and justify the projects they are prioritizing and give a more accurate estimate of project completions to stakeholders.

I could tell that they were truly excited to get started on what they learned in class and they were able to walk away with tools and foundations for starting to implement Agile within their teams. If you are looking for a way to find some real solutions for your team, click here to find out more about the Agile Marketing Boot Camp.

How to Optimize Your YouTube Campaigns

youtubeAfter your YouTube ads run for a while, you have access to valuable data about their effectiveness.  You can measure views and clicks as well as actions that happened at a later date but were initiated by your YouTube ad. Using these available metrics, you can measure performance and make decisions about what to optimize in the campaign moving forward.

Below are some considerations in optimizing your YouTube campaign.

Start with automatic placements

When selecting a targeting method, such as the topic, Google will select the relevant placements for you. Give this some time to run before adding managed placements to the campaign.  This gives you time to learn which types of sites perform well for you.

Remove low performing placements

After a period of time, compare your views and conversions for the different placements where your ad is viewed. If there are some placements that do not do well, you may want to exclude them from your campaign. Even if a particular site seems relevant to your business, it does not guarantee your audience is there.

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