Rolling with the Punches: How staying agile will make you a better digital marketer

Digital Marketing blog postRolling with the Punches: How staying agile will make you a better digital marketer
The following is a cautionary tale for when digital marketing is separated or siloed from other pieces, like the ability to modify the website. This is based on my experience working on a digital campaign when a client refused to give access to their landing page and website. My hope is that the lessons that I learned will help you too.

All the players were on the field: our search ads were driving relevant traffic, social media was tuned in for customer service and our display ads were ready for retargeting, but when the time came to score, we couldn’t convert. It was devastating. The sign-up process on the client website was messy and made the customer jump through too many hoops. It was like driving the ball towards the goal and passing it back and forth between players without actually scoring. The unforgiving truth about the success of digital campaigns is that all of the parts need to work together or whole the campaign may fail. Your website, landing page, email, digital ads and social media must play as a team to guide the customer to the desired goal.
Key Takeaways: Identify your final goal and understand how all of the digital elements fit together to achieve it.

At the end of each round, listen to your analytics
The first round was shaky, but the fight wasn’t over. We got back on our feet by reviewing the data and gathering insights of the campaign so far. We initially divided our budget between social, digital and display, but the data clearly pointed in the direction of Facebook ads. We shifted the budget to Facebook ads and saw a spike in positive conversions.  Unlike TV and Radio, digital ads allow for instant feedback on the campaign performance and the ability to shift the budget to the segments that are performing better.
Key Takeaway: Listen to your analytics – they will show you where the opportunities are.

When in doubt get back to basics
Everything goes back to simplicity: you must make the customer journey easy. The easier it is the more likely they’ll make it to the end. Every clickthrough, bad landing page and extra fields they need to fill out works against you. As more data came in, we could easily see where the target traffic came from, what they clicked on, and where we lost them.  All the traffic and attention we bought to the website was met with an obstacle: the client-ran website. It was full of annoying pop-ups, long registration forms and no onboarding process for new clients.  It was like putting in the hard work and having your opponent on the ropes only to step away without finishing the fight.
Key Takeaways: If the conversion process is broken no amount of ad traffic, Facebook likes or blog posts will fix that.  Your website and landing page needs to be designed with the customer in mind.

Reviewing the Tape
In sports, reviewing the tape refers to watching video of your past performance to look for opportunities to improve. Looking back at this campaign I wish we would have started with a smaller project to gain more trust with the client so we could work better as a team.
Key Takeaway: Never walk away without learning something new from the project.

Why Your Website Isn’t Getting Visitors (and what you can do about it)

You have a fabulous idea for an online business. You’ve done your due diligence by researching the need, target market, and even had the “talk”. You know, the “if only 10 people buy per day, that’s like and extra $2 grand a month” talk.

If only it were that easy.

Build It and They Will Come

Unless blessed already large, built in customer base, launching a website will generally get you crickets (nada). Simply putting up a website these days is not enough. If you want to increase your exposure, you’ve got some work to do.

Search Engine Marketing


Different than Search Engine Optimization (SEO), search engine marketing is the process of buying digital advertising for the sole purpose of driving traffic. Works wonders when you’re just starting out. You can serve relevant targeted ads based on location. For example I could target someone searching for “SEO Services” within 20 miles of Grand Rapids, Michigan. This would show my ad to anyone typing that search into Google, Yahoo, or Bing (if that’s where I advertise). Just be sure  to set a budget.  SEM can get extremely expensive if you dont’ watch it carefully.

 

 

Search Engine Optimization

If you’re going to do Search Engine Marketing, it’s important to know that SEO (search engine optimization) plays a role in the cost of advertising. The more optimized your landing page (the place people land when they click you ad) the lower your overall

cost per click will be. An example: A page on your site sells manly man soap. You decide to serve up ads for anyone searching your competitor. Nothing illegal about it, although this will cost your more on average than if you targeted individuals searching “manly man soap”.

Also make sure that the pages of your website are optimized. Does every page have a title? Keywords? Description? You can check by right clicking the mouse and selecting “view source”  (See image below. It’s missing keywords and description)

Social Media Marketing

Social media has come a long way since the early days. Companies now understand that less is more. You already know your target market, now figure out where they spend their time online. This could be forums, Twitter, Facebook, a blog, all of the above or or a combination of a few.

It’s really easy to get lazy here. Don’t just follow random people. Be intentional. Follow people in your area. In your target market. While it takes time in the beginning. You WILL reap the benefit in the long haul.

Did we miss anything?

 

 

 

 

 

Why Forums Aren’t Dead and How Your Business Can Make the Most of Them

I’m pretty sure the fact that I use forums may date me. But they are a useful tool when it comes to business.

I like to think as forums as on of the original social networks. You could come together with like-minded individuals for some pretty in-depth conversations.

forums plural of fo∙rum (none)  1. A meeting or medium where ideas and view on a particular issue can be exchanged.  2. An internet message board

 

1.  Forums are Niche

Sure there are forums that are wide reaching, but the majority of forums are specific to an industry, topic (photography, motherhood, business), group. Which leads us to:

2.  Get backlinks from relevant websites

Getting back links is good for Search Engine Optimization. One advantage to being a forum member is the ability to create a signature that links back to your website. There may also be a minimum requirement of posts before you can add a signature. Each forum is different. Some have a no-follow rule (tells Google not to follow the link), you’ll need to check the forums terms of service to see how they handle back-links.

 3.  Pick a Good Username

Try to avoid names like PinkyStar8047. Especially if it’s a business forum. Consider using your business or your real name. And be sure to add an avatar. Other users are more likely to interact with you vs. a logo. That being said, a logo is still fine just make sure you take the time to re-size it and that it identifies with your brand.

4.  Introduce Yourself

Most forums have a thread that allows you to introduce yourself to the other members. Take advantage of this as the more active members will generally take the time to welcome you. Let them know what that your goal is to contribute to the community. Don’t try to sell anything here. It will get you banned.

5.  Observe the Natives

Don’t be “that guy”, the one who jumps in to a conversation simply to get several posts so you can add your signature. See how the other members interact with one another to better understand the community you joined. It will help you figure out who the influential members are and allow you to fit in faster.

6.  Give to get

Don’t just be a lurker. The more involved you are the better the community is as a whole. You get to build relationships all while promoting your business. Win/Win.

When you’re ready to make the leap look for forums that are active or overrun with spam. Of note: Try to avoid one hosted by a competitor.  Even if you decide not to do the whole forum marketing thing, forums are worth considering for market research. You can find a wealth of information ranging from customer satisfaction to areas in the marketplace that need to be filled.