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Digital Marketing

Digital advertising has become a major component of modern day marketing strategies—and if it’s not part of your business strategy, it should be. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, by implementing digital advertisements correctly, you’ll be able to successfully grow your online presence, and ultimately foster more conversions and sales. Now more than ever, digital advertisements allow your company to have more visibility throughout a much wider audience. However, if your ads aren’t well thought out, you most likely won’t get the outcome you’re hoping for. Whether it be the design, channel, or messaging elements, every aspect of the advertisement needs to be taken into consideration for it to work in your favor. To determine the very best ways to create and implement digital ads, we’ve turned to experts across the digital advertising industry, and have consulted with our own thought-leaders from Blue Fountain Media, to create a collection of tips that will help any company get the most out of their campaigns. From the best channels, to the best converting content—we’ve got it covered. Take a look at these 10 tactics, and see if integrating them into your own marketing strategy can help your company get the digital advertising results you’re looking for:

1. Creative Elements:

Your business has visual elements that make it stand out from your competition. Use that to your advantage in your marketing efforts. Whether it is a logo, mascot, font, or color scheme, having it included can help make your brand recognizable. You want to catch the eye of the audience, but you also want to maintain their attention and have them remember your brand. Incorporating unique and creative visual elements into your ads is crucial to the success the ads will bring you. Sarah Maloy, Content Marketing Manager at Shutterstock points out that you want a variety of creative images, but they should be consistent:

“When advertising on social media, it’s important to refresh your creative often so that it is relevant and so that users aren’t seeing the same post more than once. When testing variations and trying out new campaigns, look for images that have a consistent aesthetic so that your overall social campaign will feel familiar, but not repetitive, to users who may come across more than one ad. Overall, you want to make sure your social ads tell a cohesive story, and that the image aligns with the copy, which aligns with the CTA or link content, which of course should align with your branding.”

-Sarah Maloy, Content Marketing Manager, Shutterstock



2. Spend Wisely:

Each platform used to market online provides you with a different value. You need to analyze which outlets you should invest more time and money into, and which ones are not as imperative. Some platforms that work really well for one company, yield little to no results for another. It is all very specific to your brand, and you need to plan your budget accordingly. Determining what each platform is going to do for your specific advertising efforts should be the basis for the decisions you make with your campaigns, explains Hitesh Sahni, Marketing Consultant at Smemark:

“It’s imperative to understand the value each channel offers. Search advertising platforms, such as Google Adwords, work best when there is a clear demand for your product or service, and you want to target people who search for your product or service online. Search advertising is less effective for a startup that has created a new and innovative product never before seen in the market. Or for something that most people buy at brick and mortar stores and rarely search online. In these cases, you want to create demand from scratch. That’s where Facebook fills the gap. Facebook users fill out their profile with demographic details and other interests. This means you can target people who are likely to be interested in your business, whether they are searching for your business or not.”

-Hitesh Sahni, Marketing Consultant, Smemark



3. Do Your Research:

You may have ideas for what is going to work best for your audience based on past experience with your ads, but taking the time to conduct thorough research and have data to support your actions is important. You may anticipate that your customers will behave a certain way, when in fact they go in a completely different direction. It’s essential to be prepared for this ahead of time and use the information you collect from research to plan your marketing strategy. Elliot Simmonds explains this concept below:

“ A lot of people use sponsored posts and other paid advertising, and it seems that many are happy to simply pay the money and watch the views and clicks roll in – even if some of those clicks are from individuals tangential to the product or service they’re promoting. Most platforms allow you to specifically target your sponsored posts and ads, and my tip is to do so following a period (even if it’s only a short period) of actual research. Your gut instinct might tell you a lot about who your clients are, but you should also take the time to find out for yourself – which profiles of consumer spend the most? Who are the ones who return time and again? Where are more of your clients based?”

-Elliot Simmonds, Lead Consultant, Rippleout Marketing



4. The Buyer Process:

Understand the buyer journey and what you need to present them with at each stage of the process to more effectively reach users. There are so many detailed options when it comes to viewing buyer analytics. You can see each step a visitor takes throughout your website, how much time they spent on each page, and even what pages caused them to possibly leave. Use this information to cater your digital marketing to those audience members so that you can make the process simple for them, and beneficial for you. James Kirby, PPC Specialist at Blue Fountain Media, highlights the importance of this:

“Start targeting users who are near the bottom of the funnel. For instance, in-market audience targeting allows Google to observe user history to better understand where they are in their buying phase. This will then allow retailers to target potential customers who are further down the funnel and are close to making a purchase. Currently there are 492 different market audiences to reach. Targeting methods like this are often overlooked by marketers and retailers so it’s important to take advantage.”

-James Kirby, PPC Specialist, Blue Fountain Media



5. Know Your Target Audience:

Fully grasping who your audience is, and how to best market to them is critical. You need to know who you want your buyers to be before you try to market to them. This is an important step in any marketing strategy whether it be on or offline, and it is a clearly defined aspect of your brand that you can keep referring back to. Sean Gallahar, Social Media Director at i7 Marketing explains the importance of clearly defining your target audience when you’re beginning your digital advertising campaigns:

“When it comes to digital advertising it is important to remember that for any business to be effective, they need to know who their audience is, which social media sites their audience spend time, and then they have to make sure to be able to provide content for the platforms their audience spends time on. When it comes to marketing through social media, Facebook is definitely leading the race because they have the best options to define who you want to market to and you can set whatever budget you are comfortable with. Facebook also allows you to target your audience based on up to 10 interests of your audience. This is why it’s important to have a defined target audience, you have to know what they like to do and what they want so you know how to create content that will capture their attention.”

Sean Gallahar, Social Media Director, i7 Marketing



6. Connect Social Media Metrics With ROI:

To see which efforts are working best, you need to be able to tie your data back to the direct result it produces. When you are marketing online, you are reaching a diverse group of people, and that needs to be taken into consideration when measuring your results. You need to look at what is promoting engagement with your company, versus what is actually driving conversions. To develop a reliable social media attribution strategy, Harpreet Singh, CEO and co-founder of Kvantum, says that a brand needs to consider these key factors:

“1. Your social audience is not a single undifferentiated blob of people trying to friend others or find deals. They can be divided and defined into distinct behavioral groups with distinct missions, when interacting with your brand.
2. The social channels represent a living, breathing group of people voicing opinions and responding to world events. They are in constant flux. Developing a capability to monitor this in real time and responding to it with agility is critical to being relevant to the social conversation.
3. Just because there are more likes or more shares does not mean that the consumer is going to walk into a store and buy. While there is some correlation, there are many other factors in play like paid or organic social, cross-channel effects, size of target audience, social interaction themes, competitive social media, etc. A brand needs to connect the social media metrics with hard metrics like sales, ROI, registrations and leads.”

-Harpreet Singh, CEO and co-founder, Kvantum



7. Leverage Facebook:

According to a study from eMarkter, 80% of small and medium-sized businesses haven’t used ads for Facebook. Jayme Pretzloff, Director of Marketing for Wixon Jewelers, says that Facebook is a great advertising space for small businesses, and stresses the importance of exploring this channel:

“Facebook has allowed you to take word of mouth to a whole new level. Now, more than ever, recommendations from friends have a huge impact and can sway even the most cautious consumer. To do this, you have to get in front of your clients-past, present and future. We know that Facebook followings don’t happen overnight for businesses so how could we possibly assemble a tribe in a short period of time in an effort to jump start your social media presence? Facebook has a great advertising model in place that enables small businesses to advertise to very specific target markets very easily and without breaking the bank. Even with a modest investment, you can reach your clients and get them on board. Facebook can be a powerful advertising tool if used correctly. Make sure to try out some ads, test them out and figure out what is going to work for your organization.”

-Jayme Pretzloff, Director of Marketing, Wixon Jewelers



8. Integrate All Marketing Channels:

To reach your audience effectively, you need to have consistent messaging. This means making sure that your ads are integrated across various platforms and giving users the same message, regardless of the platform. We know each social media outlet has a different vibe and feel to it, so you need to take the time to get your digital efforts to match each site, while still maintaining a unique yet consistent voice for your brand. Adam O’Leary, President of Encite Marketing, details this idea:

“The best digital advertising tip we can share with business owners is to ensure that your campaign is integrated with your other marketing channels. An integrated marketing campaign will garner much better results than any single initiative. For example, Facebook Ads work really well on their own when promoting a sale or publicizing a new product, but it works much better when supporting another marketing channel such as email.”

-Adam O’Leary, President, Encite Marketing



9. Geo-Fencing:

The relatively new venture in digital advertising holds a lot of promise for marketers—especially those in the B2C space. It allows you to target customers in a whole new way based on their physical location, in the hopes of naturally guiding them to your business. Andrea Mocherman, VP of Marketing at Gravit8 Marketing explains how geo-fencing can be effective for a variety of businesses when it comes to driving sales:

“What is increasingly becoming more and more effective tool for marketers is utilizing geo-fencing in combination with digital advertising to engage consumers at the right time, with the right message to drive in-store traffic. These types of campaigns typically generate three times the amount of foot traffic and produce a 27 percent increase in sales on average. What makes geo-fencing so powerful for marketers is the ability to target consumers based on their interests and engage them by delivering offers that will push them down the path to purchase. Geo-fencing allows marketers to draw a virtual fence around any address or point of interest and send a notification when a customer crosses that line. Whether it’s a small business owner or a large retailer, they can use this technology to grab a customer’s attention before their competition does to deliver timely offers that will drive in-store traffic and ultimately revenue.”

-Andrea Mocherman, VP of Marketing, Gravit8 Marketing



10. Optimize Product Listing Ads:

Product listing ads should have all the elements that users want to see when they do a search. You don’t want potential customers to have to go and do more research at the risk of losing interest, so answer any questions they may have up front. Any information that could be beneficial to the purchase process, include it! Enhancing these ads will ensure that they stand out explains Monica Cabaniss, PPC Associate at Blue Fountain Media:

“Take the time to build a product feed that gives a detailed description of your products so that they can be presented well in PLA’s on Google, Bing and now Facebook. Pairing a product picture with the product description on a search results page will add visual appeal to the normal text ads.”

-Monica Cabaniss, PPC Associate, Blue Fountain Media

 

Ultimately, digital advertising can be the key to success for any company looking to market effectively to the appropriate audience. If you’re looking to enhance your tactics, and widen the scope of your current practices, try integrating these techniques into your digital marketing strategy. While employing these tips should help improve your overall ROI in the present and near future, remember to continuously be eager to learn about the changes and fluctuations in digital advertising, regardless of the platform or channel that you are on. Being proactive about it and keeping on top of trends and updated will set yourself apart from your competition.

Via BlueFountainMedia.

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What’s The True Price Point Behind A Successful SEO Marketing Strategy?

Search engine optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, is a widely used Internet marketing strategy that helps to bolster the awareness of a brand, build a list of targeted traffic and promote a company’s performance in Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engines’ search results.  Businesses are always looking for ways to spread the word of their product or service. There is no doubt how beneficial SEO can be. However, the cost to carrying out your company’s SEO strategy is going be dependent on two things:
  • The kind of strategy to be put into place
  • Company’s goals
Your budget doesn’t really matter, as the costs that go with SEO promotions need to be seen as an investment, and like all investments, you must be concerned about the ROI – to get the best one possible. Before you sign anything, you need to carefully think about what you want and look over the document to ensure it’s going to fit in with your SEO strategy. You need to be realistic in the goals you have so that you set the right budget amount to spend on this investment. If the goal you have for your company is to boost sales by 25 percent, you need to determine how much money you want to pay for it. How is this going to affect the future budgeting and marketing choices you make? The bigger your goal is, the bigger your monthly spend will end up being. Once your company’s SEO and marketing goals have been established, you’ll be better informed on what your needs are when shopping for SEO. Make sure you consider everything related to your campaign – not just the cost – before you make decisions on who to hire to implement your strategy. You have the option for an internal SEO specialist or team or a contracted SEO agency. Here’s a look at each option and what you’ll need to consider:

Internal Hires:

If you hire an internal SEO team or specialist, you’ll pay more upfront for the training costs. However, if you have a large corporation or have a very detailed strategies list you need to put into action, this is one option to consider if you’re going for a long-term strategy. When you’re trying to find the right candidate, you need to look at the skills they have. Do they have knowledge in any of the following:
  • Analytical mindset
  • Technical SEO
  • Link building
  • Content marketing
  • Social media
Of course, this can be costly, and a veteran SEO expert can bring in $100,000 or more. A team is generally much better in handling all your needs in SEO, as one person can’t always handle it all.

Content Marketing Agencies:

These kinds of agencies provide an array of SEO services along with their other service offerings. These agencies don’t focus solely on SEO, which is why you need to find out if they have the technical knowledge to handle your strategy. SEO services may be bundled with their packages, which could increase the cost. This option is worthwhile if you’re looking to do several marketing tasks at one time.

Dedicated SEO Firms:

Firms that focus primarily in SEO usually have the most industry experience because they constantly use and test the latest SEO techniques in various industries. Larger firms hire specialized staff to make sure their SEO challenges are dealt with. Dedicated SEO firms provide an array of services and have a range of pricing options that will cater to your company’s needs including:
  • Hourly consultations
  • Project-based contracts
  • Monthly contracts
If your company is dealing with project-based, individualized, technical or continuous SEO needs, this may be what you need for your strategy.

What Kinds of Costs Can You Expect With SEO:

The amount of money your company spends on SEO is going to be dependent on two things:
  • Organization’s needs
  • Service provider’s experience level
It’s important to know the price range you could expect to pay for the kind of service you opt for. With that in mind, you should have a good idea of what type of service you’ll get on a monthly retainer.

$500 or less per month:

When it comes to paying for SEO services, you really need to be wary of a company that offers their services for $500 or less unless you’re a local company or your website is small. The reason is that these companies focus their efforts on link building, hire overseas labor and do just the general on-site technical work. This may be well and good for local companies who want to show in Google Local or Yelp, but not good if your goal is to use a keyword that’s got a lot of competition behind it.

$1,000 to $5,000 per month:

Small companies who don’t have a lot of SEO demands or have easy target keywords can do well on paying within this range. However, lower costs often equates to inexperience or lack of real results. SEO demands continuous content creation, good link building and real focus on improving conversions, accessibility and usability. It’s very hard to find a company that provides these services within this price range.

$5,000 to $10,000 per month:

In this price range, you’re liable to come across more experienced SEO companies that have a proven track record in regards to success, which is necessary if your company will invest in SEO. This price range ensures you get a company with a dedicated SEO team that uses professional content managers, copy editors, web development experts, account executives, analytics experts, link outreach specialists and conversion specialists. This type of team ensures you get the support you’re looking for.

$10,000 to $20,000 or more per month:

Companies that have ambitious goals usually work with SEO companies or partners within this price range. After all, the SEO team or partner generally handles everything from beginning to end. With this kind of price range, a senior SEO team is generally reserved and the investment made tends to bring in significant results, as the project is fully funded and ensures more opportunities. If your company is in a competitive market, this type of investment is typical for the first year or so. Some companies spend more than $100,000 a month for SEO when they decide to target the lucrative keyword spaces.

Fixed Price or A La Carte Contracts (Contracted Services):

What are your SEO needs? Well, this will be dependent upon four things:
  • Where you’re currently at in SEO techniques
  • Your site’s size
  • Your competitors
  • Your objectives
What kinds of contracted services can you expect?
  • Link profile audits ($2,500 or higher) – dependent upon the link profile size
  • SEO/website audits ($1,000 to $3,000) – dependent upon the site’s size and audit depth
  • Link building ($250 to $2,000 for each link) – dependent upon quality and tactic
  • Per page implementation and optimization ($100 to $250)
  • Copywriting ($0.75 to $1) per word
If your staff includes a solid strategist and you have the resources for excellent content and copywriting but lacks any link building or technical capabilities, hire an a la carte service provider that is highly effective.

Hourly Consultation ($100 to $300 per hour)

If you want to work with an SEO consultant, you could spend more than $100 an hour for a professional that can produce results for your company. This price range is extremely competitive but you need to be mindful of the “too good to be true” consultants. Bear in mind that SEO specialists are an investment, and you don’t need to cut any corners. Be sure you find a consultant that’s had a good track record and will deliver what you’re looking for. You can find less expensive consultants, but they are generally not as experienced and tend to take longer in getting you results.

Employee Costs ($50,000 to $120,000 or more a year)

Your company may have continuous needs that demand certain attention that can be dealt with internally. However, you can always hire the experience of a manager or SEO strategist. The salary of an SEO employee is generally based on geographical location and experience. For instance, an SEO director at a large San Francisco tech company can make nearly $200,000 a year. What should you pay for an SEO specialist? Check out websites like Glassdoor and Indeed for your region. Now, it’s possible that some solutions may not be in within your company’s budget or be the right thing for you. However, whatever option you decide to go with, the results you get need to be based on goals and time to generate a positive return on investment. For most cases, employing a marketing or SEO manager to have on staff is a sensible thing to do. However, if you have really ambitious goals, it may be a good idea to outsource some parts of the work. This is especially true of link building and web copy, as these are often time consuming and dedicated.

5 Things to Watch Out For In Choosing Your SEO Solution

When it comes to picking the right SEO solution for your company, you want to do a little bit of research to ensure you get the right partner to attain results. What kinds of flags should you be on the lookout for so you know to steer clear?

1 – Claims of Immediate Results or Overpromising Guarantees

It doesn’t matter how good an SEO consultant, agency or specialist claims they are, they don’t need to make promises of guaranteed instant success. A well-thought-out SEO strategy could take up to six months to see any positive results. When you choose your SEO provider, you want them to explain everything about how they will attain the goals you have and how long it’ll take them. If you have a complex strategy, results could take up to a year to be seen.

2 – Be Apprehensive Regarding Link Building Strategies

If you come across a strategy that recommends you buy large amounts of email lists, followers or link, be apprehensive of them. For the short-term aspect, they could help boost your SEO efforts but it could actually damage your website’s reputation. Google, Yahoo and other search engines are always on the lookout for suspicious SEO activity, and if they find it, they’ll do one of two things:
  • Penalize your website
  • Blacklist the website
Be sure the provider you use is experienced in penalties and will recognize suspicious backlinks. Many competitors today will use various bulk methods to cause a negative impact on their competition. When you use a good SEO company, they can protect you from these issues, and deal with them if they should arise.

3 – Low Market Value Costs Choices

If an option seems too low with a deal you can’t pass it, it may be a sign that the person or agency doesn’t have the experience necessary to provide you with positive results. That’s not always the way it goes because some newbie SEOs are trying to build their reputation and will offer their services for a lower price to get established. The best thing you can do is ask them about their lower prices, and see if they’ll provide you with the names and contact information of their previous clients so you can make an informed decision.

4 – Costly Resolutions with No Prior Track Record

When it comes to SEO options, some options are going to cost you more than others. However, the solutions offered need reasons to be higher in price. When you look at these expensive options, be sure you ask for references and proof that they’ve garnered success. Bear in mind that you want campaigns that are closely related to yours. You’ll need a comprehensive proposal centered on the goals you have. Ask them to explain why you should consider their services over other SEO options that are available.

5 – Other Companies Have Seen Success

Don’t ever fall for the assumption that a certain SEO spltion is going to work for your company just because it’s worked for other companies or your competitors. Every company has their own unique set of goals and needs, and if you limit your options to one solution, your business could suffer significantly. For instance, content marketing may work for a startup company but that doesn’t mean a local retailer will see the same kind of results. When you’re trying to find the right SEO solution, you don’t need to consider just price. While people are typically motivated by numbers, you need to weigh the pros and cons – don’t make rash decisions. In order for the right decision to be made, you need to have a solution that goes within your budget, is on target with your company’s goals or needs and can ensure a measurable return on investment in due time. What do you anticipate in terms of paying for a worthwhile SEO solution? What kinds of goals does your company have that an SEO agency or specialist can assist you in attaining? What do you feel is the most important part of SEO – what should you consider – to find the best possible solution? When you know the answers to these questions, you can weigh the pros and cons of each possible SEO option and make informed decisions.
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